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AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE.
ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.
BOOK THE FIRST.
CHAPTER XVI. v.: ; the COLLEGIATE CHURCH AT MANCHESTER.. Bidding Kelley remain with Guy Fawkes, Doctor Dee signified to Viviana that he had a few words to say to her in private before his departure, and leading the way to an adjoining room, informed her that he was aware of her desire to have her father's remains interred in the Collegiate Church, and that, so far from opposing her inclinations, he would willingly accede to them, only recommending as a measure of prudence that the ceremonial should be performed at night, and with as much secrecy as possible. Viviana thanked him in a voice of much emotion for his kindness, and entirely acquiesced in his suggestion of caution. At the same time, she could not help expressing her surprise that her thoughts should be known to him: Though, indeed,?" she added, " after the wonderful. exhibition I have just witnessed of your power, I can scarcely conceive that any limits ought to be placed to it.” : cum
* Few things are hidden from me," replied Dee, with a gratified smile; - “even the lighter matters of the heart, in which I might be supposed to take little interest, do not altogether elude my observation. In reference to this, you will not, I am sure, be offended with me, Miss Radcliffe, if I tell you I have 'noticed with some concern the attachment that has arisen between you and Humphrey Chetham."
Viviana uttered an exclamation of surprise, and a deep blush suffused her pallid cheeks. .. .!
“I am assuming the privilege of an old man with you, Vivi: ana," continued Dee, in à graver tone, " and I may add of an old friend, — for your lamented mother was one of my dearest and best friends, as you perchance called to mind, when you sent me to-day, by Mr. Catesby, the token I gave her years ago. You have done unwisely 'in 'inviting Humphrey Chetham to come hither to-night.” “ How so ? " she faltered.
“ Because, if he keeps his appointment, fatal consequences may ensue,” answered Dee. “ Your message has reached the ears of one from whom,-most of all, you should have concealed it."
“Mr. Catesby has heard of it, I know,” replied Viviana. “But you do not apprehend any danger from him ?”
“ He is Chetham's mortal foe,” rejoined Dee, “ and will slay him, if he find an opportunity."
“ You alarm me,” she cried. “I will speak to Mr. Catesby on the subject, and entreat him, as he values my regard, to offer no molestation to his fancied rival.”
“ Fancied rival !” echoed Dee, raising his brows, contemptuously. “Do you seek to persuade me that you do not love Humphrey Chetham ?"
“ Assuredly not,” replied Viviana. “ I freely acknowledge my attachment to him. It is as strong as my aversion to Mr. Catesby. But the latter is aware that the suit of his rival is as hopeless as his own.”
“ Explain yourself, I pray you ? ” said Dee.
“ My destiny is the cloister, - and this he well knows,” she rejoined. “As soon as my worldly affairs can be arranged, I shall retire to the English nunnery at Brussels, where I shall vow myself to heaven.”
“Such is your present intention," replied Dee. “But you will never quit your own country.”
“What shall hinder me?” asked Viviana, uneasily.
“ Many things," returned Dee.“ Amongst others, this meeting with your lover.”
“ Call him not by that name, I beseech you, reverend sir,” she rejoined. “Humphrey Chetham will never be other to me than a friend.”
“ It may be,” said Dee. “ But your destiny is not the cloister.”
“For what am I reserved, then ?” demanded Viviana, trem
“All I dare tell you," he returned, “ all it is needful for you to know, is, that your future career is mixed up with that of Guy Fawkes. But do not concern yourself about what is to come. The present is sufficient to claim your attention.”
" True,” replied Viviana; “ and my first object shall be to despatch a messenger to Humphrey Chetham to prevent him from coming hither.”
“ Trouble yourself no further on that score," returned Dee. “I will convey the message to him. As regards the funeral, it must take place without delay. I will be at the south porch of the church with the keys at midnight, and Robert Burnell, the sexton, and another assistant on whom I can depend, shall be in attendance. Though it is contrary to my religious opinions and feelings to allow a Romish priest to perform the service, I will not interfere with Father Garnet. I owe your mother a deep debt of gratitude, and will pay it to her husband and her child."
- Thanks !—in her name, thanks !” cried Viviana, in a voice suffocated by emotion.
“ And now," continued Dee, “ I would ask you one further
question. My art has made me acquainted that a dark and dangerous plot is hatching against the King and his Government by certain of the Catholic party. Are you favourable to the design?”
“ I am not,” replied Viviana, firmly. “ Nor can you regard it with more horror than myself.”
“I was sure of it,” returned Dee. “Nevertheless, I am glad to have my supposition confirmed from your own mouth.”
With this, he moved towards the door, but Viviana arrested his departure.
“Stay, reverend sir," she cried, with a look of great uneasipess; “if you are in possession of this dread secret, the lives of my companions are in your power. You will not betray them. Or, if you deem it your duty to reveal the plot to those endangered by it, you will give its contrivers timely warning.”
“ Fear nothing," rejoined Dee. “I cannot, were I so disposed, interfere with the fixed purposes of fate. The things revealed by my familiar spirits never pass my lips. They are more sacred than the disclosures made to a priest of your faith at the confessional. The bloody enterprise on which these zealots are bent will fail. I have warned Fawkes ; but my warning, though conveyed by the lips of the dead, and by other potent conjurations, was unavailing. I would warn Catesby and Garnet, but they would heed me not. Viviana Radcliffe,” he continued, in a solemn voice, “ you questioned me just now about the future. Have you courage to make the same demand from your dead father? If so, I will compel his corpse to answer you."
“Oh! no — no," cried Viviana, horror-stricken ; " not for worlds would I commit so impious an act. Gladly as I would know what fate has in store for me, nothing should induce me to purchase the knowledge at so dreadful a price."
"Farewell, then,” said Dee. “At midnight, at the south porch of the Collegiate Church, I shall expect you.”
So saying, he took his departure; and, on entering the gallery, perceived Catesby hastily retreating.
“ Aha!” he muttered. “ We have had a listener here. Well, no matter. What he has heard may prove serviceable to him."
He then returned to the chamber occupied by Guy Fawkes, and finding he had dropped into a deep and tranquil sleep, motioned Kelley, who was standing by the bedside watching his slumbers with folded arms, to follow him, and bowing gravely to Garnet, quitted the hall.
As he crossed the court, on his way to the drawbridge, Catesby suddenly threw himself in his path, and laying his hand upon his sword, cried in a menacing voice, — “Doctor Dee, neither you nor your companion shall quit the hall till you have solemnly sworn not to divulge aught pertaining to the plot, of which you have so mysteriously obtained information.”
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« Is this my recompense for rescuing your comrade from the jaws of death, sir?” replied Dee, sternly.
“The necessity of the case must plead its excuse,” rejoined Catesby. “My own safety, and the safety of those leagued with me in the great design, require that I should be peremptory in my demand. Did I not owe you a large debt of gratitude for your resuscitation of Guy Fawkes, I would have insured your secrecy with your life. As it is, I will be content with your oath.”
“Fool !” exclaimed Dee, “stand aside, or I will compel you to do so."
“Think not to terrify me by idle threats,” returned Catesby. “ I willingly acknowledge your superior skill, -as, indeed, 'I have good reason to do,-in the science of medicine ; but I have no faith in your magical tricks. A little reflection has shown me how the knowledge I at first thought so wonderful was acquired. You obtained it by means of Martin Heydocke, who, mounted on a swift steed, reached the College before me. He told you of the object of my visit,-of Viviana's wish to have her father interred in the Collegiate Church, - of her message to Humphrey Chetham. You were, therefore, fully prepared for my arrival, and at first, I must confess, completely imposed upon me. Nay, had I not overheard your conversation just now with Viviana, I might have remained your dupe still. But your allusion to Chetham's visit awakened my suspicions, and, on re-considering the matter, the whole trick Aashed upon me.”
“ What more?” demanded Dee, his brow lowering, and his eyes sparkling with rage.
“ Thus much," returned Catesby. “I have your secret, and you have mine. And though the latter is the more important, inasmuch as several lives hang upon it, whereas a conjuror's worthless reputation is alone dependent on the other, yet both must be kept. Swear, then, not to reveal the plot, and in my turn I will take any oath you choose to dictate not to disclose the jugglery I have detected.”
"I will make no terms with you," returned Dee; “and if I do not reveal your damnable plot, it is not from consideration of you or your associates, but because the hour for its disclosure is not yet arrived. When full proof of your guilt can be obtained, then rest assured it will be made known,—though not by me. Not one of your number shall escape-not one."
Catesby again laid his hand upon his sword, and seemed from his looks to be meditating the destruction of the Doctor and his assistant. But they appeared wholly unconcerned at his glances.
“ What you have said concerning Martin Heydocke is false as false as your own foul and bloody scheme," pursued Dee. “ I have neither seen, nor spoken with him.”
“But your assistant, Edward Kelley, has," retorted Catesby, “and that amounts to the same thing."