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From the European Magazine, October 1817.
THE ENGLISHWOMAN. ABOUT that period of the seven- pouring mead “into the long blue horn
teenth century when the repub- of ancient silver.” Like passionate men lican enemies of King Charles, even in in general, Sir Bevil was capable of the opinion of their most active leader, abundant kindness, as the heavy dew in had medicined the Parliament till they hot climates atones for the sun's excess. had brought it into a consumption, and He had a niece, to whom, in defiance of reformed the nation “ as a man wipeth the plain pames which then prevailed, he a dish and turnetb it upside down," Sir had given the poetical one of Amaranth, Bevil De Grey retired in disgust to his promising to add his whole estate at his mansion near Worcester. He was a death. She grew up well resembling the man whose faults would have been very aromatic and unfading flower whose few if his Christian neighbours had appellation sbe bore. There was in her judged as mercifully as the recording thoughts, her countenance, and her angel of Mahomet, whois said to register voice, such an equal and combining no errors committed when a Turk is sweetness, that it tinctured whatever intoxicated, in a passion, or not arrived came within her influence. She was at years of discretion. Though he had the sole conductress of her uncle's housenow lived half a century, he was very hold, and her presence always ensured far from those years,—having a high re- that comfort for which other languages spect for drinking, as a part of old Eng. have no name, though it implies the most lish hospitality; and for fits of passion, trauquil kind of happiness. But his because, as he said, a hail-storm is better seclusion and the modesty of her nature than a fog. The churlish Puritans of allowed her few recreations except her those days saw nothing to alarm them in embroidery frame, her virginals, and the the eccentricities of an old cavalier, gardens of Bevil Lodge, until ber twentywhose attachment to the ancient order of first birth-day, when her uncle declared things shewed itself chiefly in a super- bis intention to distinguish it by a revival stitious fondness for half-forgotten cere- of the ancient English maygames and monies. He kept a falconer, a buffoon, pastime of riding the ring. For this and a decrepit Welsh musician, who purpose a large square* was staked and understood all the songs of his ancestor fenced with ropes, having also two bars Thaliessin, and especially his custom of
See Strutis Antiquities. • 3D ATN EN EUX. Vol. 2.
at the lower end, through which the ing. The ranger, in the shape of a drag, actors passed and repassed. Six young on, yelled and shook his wings admira. men entered first, clothed in leathern bly; but the most exquisite sport projerkins, with woodmen's axes upon their ceeded from a light slender boy, with small shoulders and large garlands of ivy-leaves bells attached to his knees and ancles, who and sprigs of hawthorn. Then followed capered between the two monsters, throwsix village girls, dressed in blue kirtles ing meal slily into the gazers' faces, and with primrose-wreaths, leading a fine rapping their heads with a bladder tied to sleek cow, decorated by ribbons of his staff. This actor used these privileges various colours intertwined with flowers, of the may-game with so much activity, and the horns tipped with gold. These that Sir Bevil was not surprised when he were succeeded by six foresters in green appeared at the trial of archery which tunics, hoods, and hose ; each carrying ended the pageant, and proved himself a bugle-horn attached to a silk baldrick, the most successful marksman. The good which he sounded as he passed the old Baronet beckoned him with his own frontier. Sir Bevil's chief falconer per- hand to receive the crown of laurel and sonified Robin Hood, and came next, ribbons from Amaranth, and waited with attired in a bright grass-green vest fringed some curiosity, while he untied his mask with gold, his hood and hose of parti- and beard of wire, to see by whom the coloured blue and white. He had a character of “Much the Miller" had been large garland of rose-buds on his head, so well performed. But joy, triumph, a bow bent in his hand, and a sheaf of and other sensations, had called such new arrows at his girdle, with a rich blue expression into the stripling's face,that Sir baldrick to support his bugle-horn and Bevil hardly recollected his idiot entergilt dagger. Ten attendants followed tainer, Deaf Arehibald, whom he had him in green garments, with bows and cherished many years in his household as arrows. Two maidens strewed flowers a successor to his established fool. Nobefore Amaranth herself, who obeyed body knew any thing of Archibald, except her uncle's absolute command by ap- that he had wandered alone to Sir Bevil's pearing as princess of the revels in an domain in the utmost misery of neglected antique watchet-coloured tunic reaching childhood, half-naked, half-famished, and to the ground, over which she wore a with even more stupidity than deafness white linen surcoat with loose sleeves, usually creates. Notwithstanding his fringed with silver, and very neatly deplorable tatters, the frightful vacancy plaited: her girdle of silver brocade of his large hazel eyes, and the idiot formed a double bow on the left side, grin which widened his elf-like face, he and her long flaxen hair, divided into gained an advocate in Amaranth, who many ringlets, flowed over her shoulders, humbly entreated her uncle to allow him covered on the top of her head by a net- bread and shelter in his kitchen. There work caul of gold, adorned with a wreath the poor boy found willing patrons among of violets. Two other village-maidens, the domestics, and his fantastic gestures, in sky-coloured rockets or surcoats joined to some good-nature, introduced girdled with crimson, in the fashion of him to Sir Bevil's notice. Amaranth Henry the Sixth's reign, and crowned formed a language suited to his capaciwith violets and cowslips, followed the ty, and by very slow degrees, and young heiress. Then entered the may- most patient kindness, taught bim to pole, drawn by eight fine oxen, loaded read and write. Though impenetrably with scarfs, ribbons, and flowers, round deaf, he comprehended her least whistheir gilded horos; while the hobby- per ; and about his sixteenth year, had horse and the dragon closed the proces- begun to imitate the exercises of his sion. Horns sounded, the spectators rustic companions with a kind of meshouted, the woodmen and village-girls chanical instinct when the birth-day of danced round it, and the chief minstrel his benefactress was celebrated. At the played on his bagpipes accompanied by may-games he was unanimously chosen the pipe and tabor. Sir Bevil's jester to represent the farcical personage called performed the lobby-horse with great skill “Much the Miller," and his ingenious in ambling, trotting, galloping, and frisk- mimicries excelled expectation; but
Legends of Lampidosa.— The Englishworian.
wben Amaranth placed the prize-garland who had disappeared also. But the on bis head, his vacant countenance was search was strict, and the crowd, whose suddenly and strongly convulsed, he first occupation had been so mirthful, gasped for breath, and burst into tears, were soon dispersed to alarm the neighFrom that moment sensibility and reason bourbood. Silent dismay prevailed in seemed to have awakened together. Sir the lodge itself, where the Chaplain, his Bevil mistook the first blush of conscious patron's confidential inmate, endeavoured pride for the common shame of stupid to secure caution among the household. ignorance, and, laughing, promised to Many of the elders understood his fears admit him among the riders at the ring. that some political enmity or stratagem A long thick rope was stretched across was hidden under this seeming accident. the square, supported by stakes placed All agreed in lamenting that a cherisbed parallel, and a strong pole erected about whim bad tempted their good master to four yards high. From it hung a ring, hazard an exhibition which, however or small circle of brass, with two small harmless and unconnected with royal springs affixed to the top, and thrust into pageantry, might give umbrage to the a brazen socket, which gave way when jealous republicans in power. In the the point of the lance entered the ring, dead of that fatal night, a party of the and allowed it to be drawn out without searchers returned, bringing with them damage. Two of Sir Bevil's serving- the blue velvet doublet worn by one of men, equipped as heralds, in tabards the pretended squires at the may-game. richly embroidered with silver and gold, They had found it in a lonely thicket, first entered the lists with trumpets, and traces of blood among the withered followed by five seeming knights in leaves had induced them to dig under tilting babits of silver brocade, scarlet some earth slightly heaped together. It mantles, and striped sattin bonnets, at- covered the body of a man whose cap and tended by as many bare-headed squires under-coat bore the badge of Cromwell's in one livery of blue velvet and orange- party, though remnants of a silk baldrick tawny sattin. All rode well-mounted and blue hose proved that he had been before the pavilion where Sir Bevil and one of the May-day lancers. Conscious bis niece were seated, and asked per- of the danger which might involve themmission to ride three courses at the ring. selves if this man's blood was found upon Archibald stood silently beneath it, them, the yeomen had closed up bis viewing these mock candidates with a grave, and returned to Bevil Lodge with countenance in which the light of sudden only his blue doublet carefully concealed intellect seemed struggling with confused in a sack. The Chaplain undertook 10 and gloomy feelings. He cast a glance preserve it, and, when he had dismissed of shame and anger at his own dress, and Sir Bevil's honest tenants, placed it in retired among the crowd. But when the most secret repository of the Lodge, the successful competitor struck his lance for amongst the folds he had perceived into the ring, and advanced 10 receive traces of fingers dipped in njeal which the usual recompense of an ivywreath had adhered to the blue velvet; and be from Amaranth, an uplifted hand was guessed, but dared not ask himself to suddenly seen, and Sir. Bevil, bastily believe, that the wearer's death had been leaping forward, received a pistol-shot in caused by Archibald, perhaps in venbis breast. No one doubted that it had geance for Sir Bevil's. Few, except the beep levelled at the lancer, but cries of Chaplain, expected the fortitude shewn indignation and grief from the crowd by Amaranth on this disastrous occasion. shewed their devotion to their patron. In But as iron may be found in honey, and the first moment of astonishment, none both oil and iron in water, he was not remembered to close the entrance of the surprised to discover the softness, suavity, square; and till Sir Bevil's body had and strength, united in her character. been conveyed into his hall, scarcely any She received the counsels of the good perceived that the five masked lancers pastor, and enforced bis orders with a and their attendants had disappeared. quiet and sober firmness which excited Their flight fixed upon them the suspicion emulation among her servants. They *hich had begun to rest on Archibald, had all grown grey in her uncle's service, 404
Legends of Lampidosa.—The Englishuoman. (vol. 2 and they deserved to be entrusted with “Sir," she said, “my uncle's sick-bed her safety. It was soon whispered never had any other attendant except amongst them that Sir Bevil still lived, myself, and many hours have passed and was allowed by his family-surgeon since he lost all hope of life. The Proto hope for some'months'existence, if not tector will not think it amiss that he for recovery. But no one entered his should die under his own roof in your apartment except that surgeon, the chap- custody: Permit me to consider you lain, and his neice, whoseskilful assiduity my honourable guest this night, and to was admirable. Archibald's name was morrow, if you desire it, I will accom. never mentioned in her presence, and in pany my uncle's body to London."-her cares for the invalid all remembrance · If he is dying," said the Lientenant, of the fugitive seemed to be absorbed. in an agitated voice-“If,” added the But the chaplain, who had seen the Chaplain, “if the living expeet honour, gradual unfoldings of his character, they will shew it to the dying-We are thought of the unhappy young man with all your hostages." fatherly tenderness, and of his probable Cromwell's officer looked earnestly fate with deep regret. Fearful to pre- on the silver hairs of the chaplain, still serve an evidence agaipst him, yet un- more earnestly on Amaranth, and was willing to break the clue of justice, he awed by the holiness of age and of indostood by his hearth alone at midnight, cence. He bowed and stepped back holding the ill-fated doublet in his hand with that compassionate kindness wbich over the flame to which he had half-de- few men are uewilling to shew if they termined to consign it, when the gate- are told that they possess it. But he debell rung loudly. Sir Bevil's mansion clined either refreshment or repose; and had no moat, no garrison, no means of directing his sergeant to place vigilant resistance; and while the frighted ser- guards below and round the mansion, he vants gathered together to warn him that announced that the gallery before Sir armed horsemen stood round the walls, Bevil's chamber-door would be his own the old man, defended only by his white station during the night. Amaranth hairs and the surplice which he hastily retired submissively into that chamber, put on, stationed himself opposite the followed by the chaplain, but not by the door, and seeing it burst open by the young lieutenant, to whom she offered assailants, advanced to meet their leader. the key with a grace which forbade bim He was a young man in the uniform of to accept it. He only laid it on the a Cromwellian lieutenant; and when he ground at her feet, and placed his sword saw only an aged priest and a few trem- upon it, signifying that her confidence bling servants, he ordered his soldiers to was guarded by bis honour. file peaceably into the hall. Then When Amaranth found herself alone shewing the Protector's order, he de- with the chaplain near her uncle's bed, manded the person of Sir Bevil De Grey, her glance informed him what was most which he was instructed to convey in necessary. He was going to raise the safe custody to London, where a trial trap door which lay concealed near the awaited him for outraging the Com- hearth, when it slid from beneath his monwealth by a profane pageant, and by hand, and Archibald presented himself causing one of its soldiers to be massa- -Archibald, no longer gazing with the cred. At this last intimation the chap- sullen indifference of idiotism, but pale lain trembled, as he remembered that he as death, with fierce eyes, and two pistols had left the soldier's tunic half-consumed clenched in his hands. “Shall I kill upon his hearth. But he walked up- him?" he said, in a stifled voice, with a stairs with a steady step, followed by the look towards the door which needed no young commander alone, till he reached words to explain it. Amaranth forbade the first corridor near Sir Bevil's chamber. him by one of those gestures so full of There he paused, and was going to speak, eloquence; and he, resigning bis wea. when Amaranth came forward to meet pons to the chaplain, held her in a long them. Her calm air, her beauty, and and passionate embrace. But suddely the gentle sound of her voice, touched pointing to the curtained couch, she the commissioner with respectful pity whispered—“He must go to-night, and FOL. 2.)
Legends of Lampidosa. - The Englishwoman.
instantly! -lead the way.”_"Let the Words were not necessary to tell that he chaplain shew it,” replied Arcbibald intended to befriend them. He easily “I must stay here to guard you."- conceived into how much peril the young “ He will need you both," she answered; man had plunged himself by sacrificing “ I need but One.”_" May the blessing his uncle's assassin ; and supposed it a of that Almighty One rest here !” said sufficient reason for bis mysterious conthe Chaplain, laying his hands on Archi- cealment in this chambery wbere he bald and Amaranth as they still clung never suspected that another fugitive had together. The occupier of the couch been hidden. It was agreed that Archistepped from it, covered completely by bald should remain secreted, wbile the a large dark cloak, and followed bis two Lientenant returned to certify Sir Bevil's guides down a secret passage, leaving death to Cromwell. For that purpose Amaranth with no living companion.. he departed instantly, but before his
When day-light bad begun, the door arrival in London the Protector had exof Sir Bevil's chamber was opened by his pired, and in the confusion which followchaplain to Cromwell's commissioner. eu, Amaranth's inheritance escaped con“ Enter, Sir," said Amaranth, with a fiscation. When Charles the Second countenance terribly pale and calm- made his first public tour through En“ your prisoner is ready to attend you.” gland, she still lived in Bevil Lodge with The lieutenant looked between the cur- her venerable chaplain. Charles supped tains of the bed, and saw Sir Bevil in his at her table; and while he pledged her shroud. He drew back shuddering, cast in a full bowl of wine, said, with his his eyes on a couch wbich stood near, usual gallant gaiety"I wear this suit and exclaimed, “ You bave deceived of forest-green, madam, to remind you me--this room has had another inhab- of the May-day wben I first appeared in itant, or I should bave been admitted it. No one knew, except yourself, that sooner to witness this-Many days may your good uncle devised the pageant to have past since Sir Bevil's death, and favour my secret visit here. I hope you some secret reason bas caused its con- have preserved your white tunic and cealment.”-Archibald sprang from be- watchet-coloured mantle to be worn as neath the couch~" There is no longer a bridal-dress when I give you away in any concealment- I was the living pri. marriage.” Ainaranth replied, that she soner in this room-I am her brother, “ should always keep with honour what and the punisher of that vile soldier who she had worn on a day of good fortune destroyed our uncle.”
to England."-" And this," added the Perceiving the confused astonishment graceful Monarch, “ought to be a of the Lieutenant and Amaranth's fortunate day for one of my subjects. speechless agony, the Chaplain attempted The Lieutenant who would not leave the dangerous task of explanation.- old Oliver without a just cause, will not “ This young man,” said he, “is the leave Charles for a bad one. I was not natural son of a proscribed and unsor- his King when he was my enemy; and tunate father, wbo perished on the scaffold. now I am his King, I am hovud to be Even his upele did not know him. I bis friend. I have appointed him my feared Sir Bevil's eccentricities, and ambassador to the court of Spain, and trusted only his sister with the secret. promised him the noblest woman in Her kindness rescued him from idiotism England.”—The sovereign's will was
her courage has sheltered his life-if obeyed, and his nuptial gift was a gold your duty requires you to sacrifice it, box containing a wreath resembling the remember I am her accomplice.” violet crown she had worn on May-day,
The republican officer was confounded but composed of precious stones; and by a scene so new and beautiful. He the patent of her brother's peerage, as a looked at the sister lying senseless in the recompense for the faithful escort he gare arms of her brother, whose life seemed his King from the death-chamber of Sir her's, and at the aged chaplain, who Bevil. How wisely and how happily loved them as a father. Tears, perhaps Amaranth performed the duties of a the first he had ever shed, escaped from wife and mother, appears best in her own his eyes as he gave his hand to Archibald, words to her son.