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AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE.
BY W. HARRISON AINSWORTH, ESQ.
ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK,
BOOK THE THIRD.
HOW GUY FAWKES WAS PUT TO THE TORTURE.
INTIMATION of the arrest of Guy Fawkes having been sent to the Tower, his arrival was anxiously expected by the warders and soldiers composing the garrison, a crowd of whom posted themselves at the entrance of Traitor's Gate, to obtain a sight of him. As the bark that conveyed the prisoner shot through London Bridge, and neared the fortress, notice of its approach was given to the lieutenant, who, scarcely less impatient, had stationed himself in a small circular chamber in one of the turrets of Saint Thomas's or Traitor's Tower, overlooking the river. He hastily descended, and had scarcely reached the place of disembarkation when the boat passed beneath the gloomy archway; the immense wooden wicket closed behind it ; and the officer in command springing ashore, was followed more deliberately by Fawkes, who mounted the slippery stairs with a firm footstep. As he gained the summit, the spectators pressed forward, but Sir William Waad, ordering them in an authoritative tone to stand back, fixed a stern and scrutinizing glance on the prisoner.
'Many vile traitors have ascended those steps,' he said,' but none so false-hearted, none so bloodthirsty as you.'
'None ever ascended them with less misgiving, or with less selfreproach,' replied Fawkes.
'Miserable wretch! Do you glory in your villainy?' cried the lieutenant. If anything could heighten my detestation of the pernicious creed you profess, it would be to witness its effects on such minds as yours. What a religion must that be, which can induce its followers to commit such monstrous actions, and delude them into the belief that they are pious and praiseworthy!'
'It is a religion, at least, that supports them at seasons when they most require it,' rejoined Fawkes.
Peace' cried the lieutenant fiercely, or I will have your vi perous tongue torn out by the roots.'
Turning to the officer, he demanded his warrant, and glancing at it, gave some directions to one of the warders, and then resumed his scrutiny of Fawkes, who appeared wholly unmoved, and steadily returned his gaze.
Meanwhile, several of the spectators, eager to prove their loyalty to the King, and abhorrence of the plot, loaded the prisoner with 30
execrations, and finding these produced no effect, proceeded to personal outrage. Some spat upon his face and garments; some threw mud gathered from the slimy steps upon him; some pricked him with the points of their halberds; while others, if they had not been checked, would have resorted to greater violence. Only one bystander expressed the slightest commiseration for him. It was Ruth Ipgreve, who with her parents formed part of the assemblage.
A few kindly words pronounced by this girl moved the prisoner more than all the insults he had just experienced. He said nothing, but a slight and almost imperceptible quivering of the lip, told what was passing within. The jailor was extremely indignant at his daughter's conduct, fearing it might prejudice him in the eyes of the lieutenant.
'Get hence, girl,' he cried, and stir not from thy room for the rest of the day. I am sorry I allowed thee to come forth.'
'You must look to her, Jasper Ipgreve,' said Sir William Waad, sternly. No man shall hold an office in the Tower who is a favourer of papacy. If you were a good Protestant, and a faithful ser vant of King James, your daughter could never have acted thus unbecomingly. Look to her, I say, and to yourself.'
'I will, honourable sir,' replied Jasper, in great confusion. Take her home directly,' he added in an undertone to his wife. 'Lock her up till I return, and scourge her if thou wilt. She will ruin us by her indiscretion.'
In obedience to this injunction, Dame Ipgreve seized her daugh. ter's hand, and dragged her away. Ruth turned for a moment to take a last look at the prisoner, and saw that his gaze followed her, and was fraught with an expression of the deepest gratitude. By way of showing his disapproval of his daughter's conduct, the jailor now joined the bitterest of Guy Fawkes's assailants; and ere long the assemblage became infuriated to such an ungovernable pitch, that the lieutenant, who had allowed matters to proceed thus far in the hope of shaking the prisoner's constancy, finding his design fruitless, ordered him to be taken away. Escorted by a dozen soldiers with calivers on their shoulders, Guy Fawkes was led through the archway of the Bloody Tower, and across the green to the Beauchamp Tower. He was placed in the spacious chamber on the first floor of that fortification, now used as a mess-room by the Guards. Sir William Waad followed him, and seating himself at a table, referred to the warrant.
'You are here called John Johnson. Is that your name?' he demanded.
If you find it thus written, you need make no further inquiry from me,' replied Fawkes. 'I am the person so described. is sufficient for you.'