2021-04-17 01:47:47

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ENGLISH The tenth evening after this exploit closed in heavily, and the wind blew chill and gusty, loaded with drizzling rain. Oakley felt little inconvenience from the night as, wrapped in a large cloak, and with an unusually broad-brimmed hat, he cautiously approached the low-roofed dwelling of Holgrave, in the forest of Dean. He had little difficulty in distinguishing it, Harvey having a few days previously, though without the least intimation of the reason, watched Holgrave from the foundry to his home. The blaze of a bright wood fire was streaming through the casement. Black Jack stept near enough to obtain a view of the interior, in order to assure himself that he was not mistaken, although, from the description he had received, he had little doubt; and a single glance convinced him it was the dwelling he sought. Holgrave was lying along a bench in the opposite chimney corner, his right elbow resting on the form, and his right cheek reposing on the upraised palm. He was looking with a smile at Margaret, who was sitting with her back to the window, and, by the motion of her right hand, was apparently engaged in sewing. The gazer conjectured that Holgrave had been asking her to sing, for, as he stood, she commenced a strain of such sweet and touching melody, that even Oakley (who, spite of his being so admirably "fit for treason," had "music in his soul,") listened with such breathless attention that one would have been tempted to conclude he might "be trusted." The ballad concluded, and Oakley still looked on, until Holgrave, after a few moments of apparently cheerful conversation, arose from the bench, in all probability with the intention of preparing for rest.

"There have, indeed, been strange things done here to-day, my liege," replied De Boteler, smiling, but at heart annoyed at the thoughtless observation.

All eyes were now riveted upon Holgrave; and a mind, less firm, would have trembled and hesitated until the whole truth was either revealed or suspected: but Holgrave, although prepared for such interrogatories, did not appear disposed to give an immediate reply. He had lost the confidence in fair speeches he once possessed. His freedom had been torn from him, and, though now pronounced free, what surety had he that the morrow might not again behold him a bond-slave? Thoughts like these could easily be detected in the contraction of the brow, and compression of the lips; and there might also have been detected, together with a resentment for the suspicions which had been cast upon his mother, a determination not to subject himself to the chances of further persecution by acknowledging the wrong he had done. At this moment, when the colour was receding from De Boteler's cheek, and when every respiration which Isabella drew was distinctly audible, a figure, which had stood unnoticed behind one of the statues, moved on, and, ascending one step of the elevation, threw back a cloak from his shoulders and a cowl from his head, revealing the strongly marked countenance and imposing figure of John Ball! Several of the attendants sprung forward to secure him; but a motion from De Boteler restrained their zeal, and, without noticing the action of the menials, the monk, regarding those only who sat round the table, addressed them in that deep, solemn tone peculiar to him."And away, ill-starred prelate!away (as I prophesy) to thy doom!" returned the monk, advancing a step towards Sudbury; "ayeayeaway! and"

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Father John raised his eyes as Sudbury repeated the threat of degradation. He had expected censure; but he was not prepared for this extremity of punishment; and the wounded feelings of a high spirit spoke in the silent glance he cast upon the abbot, as he turned proudly away, and followed his conductors to the cell.

"You shall receive that of your own eyes," said Holgrave, "if it please you to accompany me;" and Richard, expressing a wish to witness every thing connected with the strange discovery, arose, and, with De Boteler, Oxford, and Sir Robert Knowles, proceeded as we have before described, to the bed-chamber. "From that bed, my lord," said Holgrave to De Boteler, "I took the childit slept soundlyI crept down these stepsit was a dark nightand I got home without being seen!""I neither gave nor promised him any thing," said Calverley, approaching the table under the impression of giving a tone to what Byles should say."Yes."

"How know you that?" asked Richard, with surprise.

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CHAPTER IV.And, incredible as it may seem, the lances were lowered, the bows relaxed, and those who so lately had vowed to live or die with Tyler, followed the king to St. George's fields, rending the air with cries of "Long live King Richard!""I have seen blue eyes and black eyesfair skinsand dark skins, but I never saw a she of them I cared to look upon the second time; but I couldn't have sheered off this night without a parting look at you, if the whole hue and cry of Winchcombe had stood to meet me. You've never been to sea, Lucy, and so you cannot tell how it cheers a man to think of the port his vessel is steering toto look across the heaving billows and to see, even in his fancy, the snug harbour where he is, at length, to cast his anchor. Now, maiden," continued Wells, pressing within his own hard palms the little hand he held, "now tell me, shall not the wandering seaman look across the ocean to a sure anchorage. May he not think of a haven where he may at last moor his tossed-about galley?"

"Is that you, Robin?" said a soft voice; and a female face was seen peeping half way down the stairs.CHAPTER III.

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Apr-17 01:47:47