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The traveller hears him, away! away!
Over the wide wide heath he scurries;
But ever the faster and faster he hurries.
He is caught-he must “ stand and deliver;"
As the game of all games-high tuby?
of high toby;
To blue devils, blue plumbs (10) give the go-by;
Even rack punch has some bitter in it,
'Twill be over in less than a minute !
“And now, pals,” said Dick, who began to feel the influence of these morning cups, “I vote that we adjourn. Believe me I shall always bear in mind that I am a brother of your band. Sir Luke and I must have a little chat together ere I take my leave. Adieu !”
And taking Luke by the arm, he walked out of the tent. Peter Bradley rose, and followed them.
At the door they found the dwarfish Grasshopper with Black Bess. Rewarding the urchin for his trouble, and slipping the bridle of his mare over his hand, Turpin continued his walk over the
green. For a few minutes he seemed to be lost in rumination.
“ I tell you what, Sir Luke,” said he; “I should like to do a generous thing, and make you a present of this bit of paper. But one ought not to throw away one's luck, you know—there is a tide in the affairs of thieves, as the player coves say, which must be taken at the flood, or else
Your old dad, Sir Piers (God help him!), had the gingerbread, that I know; he was, as we say, a regular rhino-cerical cull. You won't feel a few thousands, especially at starting; and besides, there are two others, Rust and Wilder, who row in the same boat with me, and must therefore come in for their share of the regʻlars. All this con
(8) Pocket-book. (11) The gallews
(9) Money. (12) Ditto
sidered, you can't complain, I think, if I ask five thousand for it That old harridan, Lady Rookwood, offered me nearly as much.”
“I will not talk to you of fairness," said Luke; “ I will not say that document belongs of right to me. It fell by accident into your hands. Having possessed yourself of it, I blame you not that you dispose of it to the best advantage. I must, perforce, agree to
“Oh no,” replicd Dick, “it's quite optional; Lady Rookwood will give as much, and inake no mouths about it. Soho, lass! What makes Bess prick her ears in that fashion ?-Ha! carriagewheels in the distance! that jade knows the sound as well as I do. I'll just see what it's like!-you will have ten minutes for reflection. Who knows if I may not have come in for a good thing here?
At that instant the carriage passed the angle of a rock some three hundred yards distant, and was seen slowly ascending the hill-side. Eager as a hawk after his quarry, Turpin dashed after it.
In vain the sexton, whom he nearly overthrow in his career, called after him to halt. He sped like a bolt from the bow.
May the devil break his neck!” cried Peter, as he saw him dash through the brook; "could he not let them alone?"
“ This must not be,” said Luke; “know you whose carriage it is?”
" It is a shrine that holds the jewel that should be dearest in your eyes," returned Peter; “haste, and arrest the spoiler's hand.
“Whom do you mean?" asked Luke.
“Eleanor Mowbray,” replied Peter. “She is there. To the rescue-away.”
“Eleanor Mowbray !" echoed Luke—“and Sybil!At this instant a pistol-shot was heard.
“ Will you let murder be done, and upon your cousin?” cried Peter, with a bitter look. “ You are not what I took
for." Luke answered not, but, swift as the hound freed from the leash, darted in the direction of the carriage.
Devils' Lar Case.
The course of our tale returns now to Eleanor Mowbray. After she had parted from Ranulph Rookwood, and had watched him disappear beneath the arches of the church porch, her heart sank, and, drawing herself back within the carriaye, she became a prey to the most poignant affliction. In vain she endeavoured to shake off this feeling si desolation. It would not be. Despair had taken possession of her; the magic fabric of delight melted away, or only gleamed to tantalise, at an unreachable distance. A presentiment that Ranulph would never be hers had taken root in her imagination, and overshadowed all the rest.
While Eleanor pursued this train of reflection, the time insensibly wore away, until the sudden stoppage of the carriage aroused the party from their meditation. Major Mowbray perceived that the occasion of the halt was the rapid advance of a horseman, who was nearing them at full speed. The appearance of the rider was somewhat singular, and might have created some uneasiness as to the nature of his approach, had not the major immediately recognised a friend; he was, nevertheless, greatly surprised to see him, and turned to Mrs. Mowbray to inform her that Father Ambrose, to his infinite astonishment, was coming to meet them, and appeared, from his manner, to be the bearer of unwelcome tidings.
Father Ambrose was, perhaps, the only being whom Eleanor disliked. She had felt an unaccountable antipathy towards him, which she could neither extirpate nor control, during their long and close intimacy. It may be necessary to mention that her religious culture had been in accordance with the tenets of the Romish Church, in whose faith (the faith of her ancestry) her mother had continued; and that Father Ambrose, with whom she had first become acquainted during the residence of the family near Bordeaux, was her ghostly adviser and confessor. An Englishman by birth, he had been appointed pastor to the diocese in which they dwelt, and was, consequently, a frequent visitor, almost a constant inmate, of the château; yet though duty and respect would have prompted her to regard the father with affection, Eleanor could never conquer the feelings of dislike and distrust which she had at first entertained towards him; a dislike which was increased by the strange control in which he seemed to hold her mother, who regarded him with a veneration approaching to infatuation. It was, therefore, with satisfaction that she bade him adieu. He had, however, followed his friends to England under a feigned name as (being a recusant Romish priest, and supposed to have been engaged in certain Jesuitical plots, his return to his own country was attended with considerable risk), and had now remained domesticated with them for some months. That he had been in some way, in early life, connected with a branch of the house of Rookwood, Eleanor was aware (she fancied he might have been engaged in political intrigue with Sir Reginald, which would have well accorded with his ardent, ambitious temperament), and the knowledge of this circumstance made her doubly apprehensive lest the nature of his present communication should have reference to her lover, towards whose cause the father had never been favourable, and respecting whose situation he might have made some discovery, which she feared he might use to Ranulph's disadvantage.
Wrapped in a long black cloak, with a broad-brimmed hat drawn closely over his brows, it was impossible to distinguish further of the priest's figure and features beyond the circumstance of his height, which was remarkable, until lie had reached the carriage window, when, raising his hat, he disclosed a head that Titian might have painted, and which, arising from the dark drapery, looked not unlike the visage of some grave and saturnine Venetian. There was a venerable expanse of forehead, thinly scattered with hair, towering over black pent-house-like brows, which, in their turn, shadowed keen penetrating eyes; the temples were hollow, and blue veins might be traced beneath the sallow skin; the cheekbones were high, and there was something in the face that spoke of self-mortification; while the thin livid lips, closely compressed, and the austere and sinister expression of his countenance, showed that his self-abasement, if he had ever practised it, had scarcely prostrated the demon of pride, whose dominion might still be traced in the lines and furrows of his haughty physiognomy. The father looked at Mrs. Mowbray, and then glanced suspiciously at Eleanor. The former appeared to understand him.
“ You would say a word to me in private,” said Mrs. Mowbray; 6 shall I descend?”
The priest bowed assent.
“ It is not to you alone that my mission extends," said he, gravely; "you are all in part concerned; your son had better alight with you."
" Instantly,” replied the major. “If you will give your horse in charge to the postilion, we will attend you at once.”
With a feeling of renewed apprehension, connected, she knew not why, with Ranulph, Eleanor beheld her relatives descend from the carriage; and, in the hope of gaining some cluc from their gestures to the subject of their conversation, she watched their inotions as narrowly as her situation permitted. From the earnest manner of the priest, and the interest his narrative seemed to excite in his hcarers, it was evident that his communication was of importance.
Presently, accompanied by Father Ambrose, Mrs. Mowbray returned to the carriage, while the major, mounting the priest's horse, after bidding a hasty adieu to his sister, adding, with a look that belied the consolation intended to be conveyed by his words, that “all was well,” but without staying to offer her any explanation of the cause of his sudden departure, rode back the way they had just traversed, and in the direction of Rookwood. Bereft of the only person to whom she could have applied for information, though dying with curiosity and anxiety to know the meaning of this singular interview, and of the sudden change of plans which she felt so intimately concerned herself, Eleanor was constrained to preserve silence, as, after their entrance into the carriage, her mother again seemed lost in painful reflection, and heeded her not; and the father, drawing from his pocket a small volume, appeared intently occupied in its perusal.
“Dear mother,” said Eleanor, at length, turning to Mrs. Mowbray, “my brother is gone
“To Rookwood,” said Mrs. Mowbray, in a tone calculated to check further inquiry; but Eleanor was too anxious to notice it.
“And wherefore, mother?” said she. “May I not be informed?"
“Not as yet, my child—not as yet,” replied Mrs. Mowbray. “ You will learn all sufficiently early."
The priest raised his cat-like eyes from the book to watch the effect of this speech, and dropped them instantly as Eleanor turned towards him. She had been about to appeal to him, but having witnessed this look, she relinquished her scarce-formed purpose, and endeavoured to divert her tristful thoughts by gazing throngh the glimmering medium of her tears upon the soothing aspect of external nature—that aspect which, in sunshine or in storm, has ever relief in store for a heart embittered by the stormy coldness of the world.
The road, meanwhile, led them through a long woody valley, and was now climbing the sides of a steep hill. They were soon in the vicinity of the priory, and of the gipsies' encampment. The priest leaned forward, and whispered something in Mrs. Mowbray's ear, who looked towards the ruined shrine, part of the mouldering walls being visible from the road.
At the moment the clatter of a horse's hoofs, and the sound of a loud voice, commanding the postilion, in a menacing tone, to stop, accompanied by a volley of imprecations, interrupted the conference, and bespoke the approach of an unwelcome intruder, and cne whom all, too truly, feared would not be readily disinissed.