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the chamber with this man. From the chair, by extending his arms, he could reach two tables, each supporting a girandole of six lighted wax candles. On one of these tables there were papers and a casket; on the other a slight refection-a cold fowl, wine, and brandy, served on a silver gilt salver.
Through the glass of a long window, reaching from the ceiling to the floor, the clear sky of the April night was seen between a halfcircle of pillars, around a court enclosed by an entrance formed of three gates, one very large, and the other two low. The carriage gate, of great size, was in the middle; on the right, that for equestrians was less; on the left, that for foot passengers was small. These doors were closed by iron railings, with gilt points. A high piece of sculpture surmounted the central door. The columns were probably in white marble, as well as the pavement of the court, which gave the effect of snow, and which framed with its sheet of flat flags a mosaic, which showed confusedly distinct in the shadow.
This mosaic, no doubt, when seen by daylight, would have disclosed to the sight, with all its emblazonry and all its colours, a gigantic coat-of-arms, of the Florentine fashion. Zigzags of balustrades rose and fell, indicating steps of terraces. Over the court frowned an immense pile of architecture, now shadowy and vague in the night-light. Intervals of sky, full of stars, marked clearly the outline of a palace. An enormous roof could be seen, with the gable ends vaulted; garret windows, roofed over like visors; chimneys like towers; and entablatures covered with motionless gods and goddesses.
Beyond the colonnade there played in the shadow one of those fairy fountains which, as they fall from basin to basin, combine the beauty of rain with that of the cascade, and as if scattering the contents of a jewel box, fling to the wind their diamonds and their pearls as though to divert the statues around. Long ranges of windows were seen sideways, separated by panoplies in relievo, and by busts on small pedestals. On the pinnacles, trophies, and morions with plumes cut in stone, alternated with the statues of heathen deities.
In the chamber where Gwynplaine was, at the side opposite the window was a fireplace as high as the ceiling, and at another, under a dais, one of those old spacious feudal beds that were reached by a ladder, and where you might sleep lying across; the joint-stool of the bed was at the side, a range of arm chairs at the bottom of the walls, and a range of ordinary chairs, in front of
them, completed the furniture. The ceiling was domed. A great wood fire in the French fashion blazed in the fireplace; by the richness of the flames, variegated with rose-colour and green, a judge of such things would have perceived that the wood was ash -a great luxury. The room was so large that the girandoles failed to illuminate it. Here and there curtains over doors, dropped down and swaying, indicated communications with other rooms.
The style of this room was altogether that of the reign of James I.,-a style square and massive, antiquated and magnificent. Like the carpet and the lining of the chamber, the dais, the baldaquin, the bed, the stool, the curtains, the chimney, the coverings of the table, the sofas, the chairs, were all of purple velvet.
There was no gilding, except on the ceiling. Laid on it, at equal distances from the four angles, was an enormous round shield of embossed metal, where sparkled in dazzling relief, coats of arms; amongst these devices, two blazons, side by side, were to be distinguished. The cap of a baron and the coronet of a marquis; was this made of brass gilded, or was it of silver ? You could not tell. It seemed to be of gold. And in the centre of this lordly ceiling, like a gloomy and magnificent sky, this gleaming scutcheon was as the dark splendour of a sun shining in the night.
The savage, in whom is embodied the freeman, is nearly as restless in a palace as in a prison. This superb chamber was depressing. All such magnificence produced ar. Wi could be the inha itant of this stately palace. To what colossus does all this grandeur appertain? Of what lion is this the lar? Gwynplaine, as yet but half awake, was heavy at heart.
“Where am I?” he said.
Whilst Barkilphedro spoke, Gwynplaine, in a crescendo of stupor, remembered the past. Memory is a gulf that a word can move to its lowest depths. Gwynplaine knew all the words pronounced by Barkilphedro. They were written in the last lines of the two placards which lined the van where his childhood had been passed, and, by the habit of letting his eyes wander over them mechanically, he knew them by heart On reaching, a forsaken orphan, the travelling
caravan at Weymouth, he had found the inventory of the inheritance which awaited him; and in the morning, when the poor little boy awoke, the first thing spelt by his careless and unconscious look was this title and its possessions.
It was a strange circumstance, in addition to all his other surprises, that, during fifteen years, rolling from highway to highway, clown of a travelling theatre, gaining his bread day by day, picking up farthings, and living on crumbs, he had travelled with the inventory of his fortune placarded over his misery.
Barkilphedro touched with his forefinger the casket on the table.
“My lord, this casket contains two thousand guineas that her gracious majesty the queen has sent you for your present wants."
Gwynplaine made a movement.
“So be it, my lord,” said Barkilphedro. “Ursus, at the Tadcaster Inn. The Usher, who accompanied us hither, and is about to return immediately, will carry them to him. Perhaps I may go to London myself. In that case, I will take charge of it.”
“ I shall take them myself,” said Gwynplaine. Barkilphedro's smile disappeared, and he said, “Impossible !"
There is an impressive inflection of voice which, as it were, underlines the words. Barkilphedro's tone was thus emphasised; he paused, so as to put a full stop after the word he had just uttered. Then he continued, with that peculiar and respectful tone of a servant who feels that he is master,
"My lord, you are twenty-three miles from London, at Corleone Lodge, your court residence, contiguous to the Royal Castle of Windsor. You are here unknown to anyone. You have been brought hither in a close carriage, which waited for you at the door of the jail at Southwark. The servants who have introduced you into this palace are ignorant who you are ; but they know me, and that is sufficient. You may possibly have been brought to this apartment by means of a private key in my possession. There are people in the house asleep and it is not the proper hour to awaken them. Hence we have time for an explanation, which, nevertheless, will be short. I have been commissioned by her majesty
Whilst he spoke, Barkilphedro began to turn over the leaves of some bundles of papers which were lying near the casket. · My lord, here is your patent of peerage.
This is that of your Sicilian marquisate. These are the parchments and title-deeds of your eight baronies, with the seals of eleven kings, from Baldret,
King of Kent, to James the Sixth of Scotland, and First of England and Scotland united. Here are your letters of precedence. Here are your rent-rolls, and titles and descriptions of your fiefs, freeholds, dependencies, lands, and domains. That which you see above
head in the emblazonment on the ceiling are your two coronets: the circlet with pearls for the baron, and the circle with strawberry leaves for the marquis.
“Here, in the wardrobe, is your peer's robe of red velvet, bordered with ermine. To-day, only a few hours since, the Lord Chancellor and the Deputy Earl Marshal of England, informed of the result of your confrontation with the Comprachico Hardquanonne, have taken her majesty's commands. Her majesty has signed them, according to her royal will, which is the same as the law. All the formalities are complied with. To-morrow, and no later than tomorrow, you will take your seat in the House of Lords, where they have some days deliberated on a bill, presented by the Crown, having for its object the augmentation by a hundred thousand pounds sterling yearly of the annual allowance to the Duke of Cumberland, husband of the queen. You will be able to take part in the debate.”
Barkilphedro paused, breathed slowly, and resumed.
“ However, nothing is yet settled. A man cannot be made a peer of England without his own consent. All can be annulled and disappear, unless you acquiesce. An event nipped in the bud ere it ripens often occurs in state policy. My lord, up to this time silence has been preserved on what has occurred. The House of Lords will not be informed of the facts till to-morrow. Secrecy has been preserved on the whole business for reasons of state, which are of importance so considerable, that the influential persons who alone are at this moment cognisant of your existence and of your rights will forget them immediately should reasons of state command their being forgotten. That which is in darkness may remain in dark
It is easy to wipe you out; the more so as you have a brother, the natural son of your father and of a woman who afterwards, during the exile of your father, became mistress to the king, Charles II., which accounts for your brother's high position at court; for it is to this brother, all bastard as he is, that your peerage would revert. Do you wish this? I cannot think so. Well, all depends on you. The queen must be obeyed. You will not quit the house till to-morrow in a royal carriage, and to go to the House of Lords. My lord, will you be a peer of England, yes or no ? The queen has designs for you. She destines you for an alliance almost royal. Fermain Lord Clancharlie, this is the decisive