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much for her, and, unable to control her grief, she fainted. Meanwhile, the grave was rapidly filled, all lending their aid to the task; and nothing was wanting but to restore the slab to its original position. By the united efforts of Catesby, Kelley, and the sexton, this was soon accomplished, and the former, unaware of what had happened, was about to proceed to Viviana to tell her all was over, when he was arrested by a loud knocking at the church door, accompanied by a clamorous demand for admittance.
“We are betrayed !” exclaimed Catesby. “It is as I suspected. Take care of Viviana, father. I will after the hoary impostor, and cleave his skull. Extinguish the lights-quick! -quick!”
Garnet hastily complied with these injunctions, and the choir was plunged in total darkness. He then rushed to the stalls, but could nowhere find Viviana. He called her by name, but received no answer, and was continuing his fruitless search, when he heard footsteps approaching, and the voice of Catesby exclaimed,
“ Follow me with your charge, father.”
“ Alas! my son, she is not here,” replied Garnet. “I have searched each stall as carefully as I could in the dark. I fear she has been spirited away.”
“Impossible !” cried Catesby. And he ran his hand along the row of sculptured seats, but without success. “She is indeed gone!” he exclaimed, distractedly. “It was here I left her-nay, here I beheld her at the very moment the lights were extinguished. Viviana !— Viviana !”
But all was silent.
“It is that cursed magician's handiwork !” he continued, striking his forehead in despair.
“ Did you find him?" demanded Garnet.
“ No," replied Catesby. “ The door of the chapter-house was locked inside. The treacherous villain did well to guard against my fury.”
" You provoked his resentment, my son,” rejoined Garnet. “But this is not a season for reproaches. Something must be done. Where is Kelley ? "
At the suggestion, Catesby instantly darted to the spot where the seer had stood. He was not there. He then questioned the assistants, whose teeth were chattering with fright, but they had neither heard him depart, nor could tell anything about him; and perceiving plainly from their trepidation that these men would lend no aid, even if they did not join the assailants, he returned to communicate his apprehensions to Garnet.
During all this time, the knocking and vociferations at the door had continued with increased violence, and reverberated in hollow peals along the roof and aisles of the church.
The emergency was a fearful one. Catesby, however, had
been too often placed in situations of peril, and was too constitutionally brave, to experience much uneasiness for himself; but his apprehensions lest Garnet should be captured, and the sudden and mysterious disappearance of Viviana almost distracted him. Persuading himself she might have fallen to the ground, or that he had overlooked the precise spot where he had left her, he renewed his search, but with no better success than before; and he was almost beginning to believe that some magic might have been practised to cause her disappearance, when it occurred to him that she had been carried off by Kelley.
“ Fool that I was, not to think of that before !” he exclaimed. “I have unintentionally aided their project by extinguishing the lights. But, now that I am satisfied she is gone, I can devote my whole energies to the preservation of Garnet. They shall not capture us so easily as they anticipate."
With this, he approached the priest, and grasping his hand, drew him noiselessly along. They had scarcely passed through the arched doorway in the screen, and set foot within the nave, when the clamour without ceased. The next moment a thundering crash was heard, the door burst open, and a number of armed figures bearing torches, with drawn swords in their hands, rushed with loud vociferations into the church.
“We must surrender, my son,” cried Garnet. “It will be useless to contend against that force.”
“But we may yet escape them,” rejoined Catesby. And glancing hastily round, he perceived a small open door in the wall at the right, and pointing it out to the priest, hurried towards it.
On reaching it, they found it communicated with a flight of stone steps, evidently leading to the roof.
“ Saved ! saved !” cried Catesby, triumphantly. “ Mount first, father. I will defend the passage."
The pursuers, who saw the course taken by the fugitives, set up a loud shout, and ran as swiftly as they could in the same direction, and by the time the latter had gained the door they were within a few yards of it. Garnet darted up the steps; but Catesby lingered to make fast the door, and thus oppose some obstacle to the hostile party. His efforts, however, were unexpectedly checked, and, on examination, he found it was hooked to the wall at the back. Undoing the fastening, the door swung to, and he instantly bolted it. Overjoyed at his success, and leaving his pursuers, who at this moment arrived, to vent their disappointment in loud menaces, he hastened after Garnet. Calling loudly to him, he was answered from a small dark chamber on the right, into which the priest had retreated.
“ We have but prolonged our torture," groaned Garnet. “I . can find no outlet. Our foes will speedily force an entrance, and we must then fall into their hands.”
“There must be some door opening upon the roof, father,"
rejoined Catesby. “Mount as high as you can go, and search carefully. I will defend the stairs, and will undertake to maintain my post against the whole rout.”
Thus urged, Garnet ascended the steps. After the lapse of a few minutes, during which the thundering at the door below increased, and the heavy blows of some weighty implement directed against it, were distinctly heard, he cried,
“I have found a door, but the bolts are rusty — I cannot move them.”
“Use all your strength, father,” shouted Catesby, who having planted himself with his drawn sword at an advantageous point, was listening with intense anxiety to the exertions of the assailing party. “Do not relax your efforts for a moment."
“ It is in vain, my son,” rejoined Garnet, in accents of despair. “ My hands are bruised and bleeding, but the bolts stir not.”
“ Distraction !” cried Catesby, gnashing his teeth with rage. “Let me try.”
And he was about to hasten to the priest's assistance, when the door below was burst open with a loud crash, and the assailants rushed up the steps. The passage was so narrow, that they were compelled to mount singly, and Catesby's was scarcely a vain boast when he said he could maintain his ground against the whole host. Shouting to Garnet to renew his efforts, he prepared for the assault. Reserving his petronels to the last, he trusted solely to his rapier, and leaning against the newel, or circular column round which the stairs twined, he was in a great measure defended from the weapons of his adversaries, while they were completely exposed to his attack. The darkness, moreover, in which he was enveloped offered an additional protection, whereas the torches they carried made his mark certain. As soon as the foremost of the band came within reach, Catesby plunged his sword into his breast, and pushed him back with all his force upon his comrades. The man fell heavily backwards, dislodging the next in advance, who in his turn upset his successor, and so on, till the whole band was thrown into confusion. A discharge of fire-arms followed ; but, sheltered by the newel, Catesby sustained no injury. At this moment, he was cheered by a cry from Garnet that he had succeeded in forcing back the bolts, terror having supplied him with a strength not his own; and, making another sally upon his assailants, amid the disorder that ensued, Catesby retreated, and rapidly tracking the steps, reached the door, through which the priest had already passed. When within a short distance of the outlet, Catesby felt, from the current of fresh air that saluted him, that it opened upon the roof of the church. Nor was he deceived. A few steps placed him upon the leads, where he found Garnet.
" It is you, my son," cried the latter, on beholding him; “I thought from the shouts you had fallen into the hands of the enemy."
“No, Heaven be praised ! I am as yet safe, and trust to deliver you out of their hands. Come with me to the battlements.”
“ The battlements !” exclaimed Garnet. “A leap from such a height as that were certain destruction.”
“ It were so," replied Catesby, dragging him along. “ But trust to me, and you shall yet reach the ground uninjured.”
Arrived at the battlements, Catesby leaned over them, and endeavoured to ascertain what was beneath. It was still so dark that he could scarcely discern any objects but those close to him, but as far as he could trust his vision, he thought he perceived a projecting building some twelve or fourteen feet below; and calling to mind the form of the church, which he had frequently seen and admired, he remembered its chantries, and had no doubt but it was the roof of one of them that he beheld. If he could reach it, the descent from thence would be easy, and he immediately communicated the idea to Garnet, who shrank aghast from it. Little time, however, was allowed for consideration. Their pursuers had already scaled the stairs, and were springing one after another upon the leads, uttering the most terrible threats against the destroyer of their comrade. Hastily divesting himself of his cloak, Catesby clambered over the battlements, and, impelled by fear, Garnet threw off his robe, and followed his example. Clinging to the grotesque stone water-spouts which projected below the battlements, and placing the points of his feet upon the arches of the clerestory windows, and thence upon the mullions and transom bars, Catesby descended in safety, and then turned to assist his companion, who was quickly by his side.
The most difficult and dangerous part of the descent was yet to be accomplished. They were now nearly thirty feet from the ground, and the same irregularities in the walls which had favoured them in the upper structure did not exist in the lower. But their present position, exposed as it was to their pursuers, who, having reached the point immediately overhead, were preparing to fire upon them, was too dangerous to allow of its occupation for a moment, and Garnet required no urging to make him clamber over the low embattled parapet. Descending a flying buttress that defended an angle of the building, Catesby, who was possessed of great strength and activity, was almost instantly upon the ground. Garnet was not so fortunate. Missing his footing, he fell from a considerable height, and his groans proclaimed that he had received some serious injury. Catesby instantly flew to him, and demanded, in a tone of the greatest anxiety, whether he was much hurt.
“My right arm is broken,” gasped the sufferer, raising himself with difficulty. “ What other injuries I have sustained I know not; but every joint seems dislocated, and my face is covered with blood. Heaven have pity on me!”
As he spoke, a shout of exultation arose from the hostile party, who having beard Garnet's fall, and the groans that succeeded it, at once divined the cause, and made sure of a capture. A deep silence followed, proving that they had quitted the roof, and were hastening to secure their prey.
Aware that it would take them some little time to descend the winding staircase, and traverse the long aisle of the church, Catesby felt certain of distancing them. But he could not abandon Garnet, who had become insensible from the agony of his fractured limb, and lifting him carefully in his arms, he placed him upon his shoulder, and started at a swift pace towards the further extremity of the churchyard.
At the period of this history, the western boundary of the Collegiate Church was covered by a precipitous sandstone rock of great height, the base of which was washed by the waters of the Irwell, while its summit was guarded by a low stone wall. In after years, a range of small habitations was built upon this spot, but they have been recently removed, and the rock having been lowered, a road now occupies their site. Nerved by desperation, Catesby, who was sufficiently well acquainted with the locality to know whither he was shaping his course, determined to hazard a descent, which, under calmer circumstances he would have deemed wholly impracticable. His pursuers, who issued from the church porch a few seconds after he had passed it, saw him hurry towards the low wall edging the precipice, and, encumbered as he was with the priest, vault over it. Not deeming it possible he would dare to spring from such a height, they darted after him. But they were deceived, and could scarcely credit their senses, when they found him gone. Holding down their torches, they perceived him shooting down the almost perpendicular side of the rock, and the next moment a hollow plunge told that he had reached the water. They stared at each other in mute astonishment.
“Will you follow him, Dick Haughton ? " observed one, as soon as he had recovered his speech.
“Not I,” replied the fellow addressed. “I have no fancy for a broken neck. Follow him thyself if thou hast a mind to try the soundness of thy pate. I warrant that rock will put it to the proof.”
6 Yet the feat has just been done, and by one burthened with a wounded comrade into the bargain,” remarked the first speaker.
“He must be the devil, that's certain,” rejoined Haughton, 6 and Doctor Dee himself is no match for him.”
“ He has the devil's luck, that's certain,” cried a third soldier. “ But hark! he is swimming across the river. We may yet catch him on the opposite bank. Come along, comrades.”
With this, they rushed out of the churchyard ; made the best of their way to the bridge; and crossing it, flew to the bank of the river, where they dispersed in every direction, in search for