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AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE.
ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.'
i. .., BOOK. THE FIRST. .
ini.. CHAPTER XVILI. . . .. ! 1 . THE EXPLANATION. ' . UTTERING an exclamation of rage, Catesby turned fiercely upon Fawkes, and for a moment appeared disposed to accept his invitation to continue the combat with him. But as he regarded the other's haggard features, and perceived in them the traces of his recent struggle with death, -as he saw he was scarcely able to wield the blade he opposed against him, - his wrath changed to compassion, and he sheathed his sword. By this time, Humphrey Chetham had sprung to his feet, and picking up his fallen weapon, stood on his defence. But finding that Čatesby meditated no further hostilities, he returned it to the scabbard.
“I owe my life to you,” he said to Guy Fawkes, in a tone of deep gratitude.
“ You owe it to Viviana Radcliffe, not to me," returned Fawkes feebly, and leaning upon his sword for support. “Had it not been for her cries, I should have known nothing of this quarrel. And I would now.gladly learn what has occasioned
“ And I," added, Chetham; “ for. I am as ignorant as your self how I have offended Mr. Catesby,"..
“I will tell you, then,” returned Catesby, sternly..“. You were a party to the snare set for us by Doctor Dee, from which I narrowly escaped with life, and Father Garnet at the expense of a broken limb.”
“Is Garnet hurt ?" demanded Fawkes, anxiously.
“Grievously,” replied Catesby ; " but he is out of the reach of his enemies, of whom,” he added, pointing to Chetham, “ one of the most malignant and treacherous now stands before you."
“I am quite in the dark as to what has happened,” observed Fawkes, “having only a few minutes ago been roused from my slumbers by the shrieks of Viviana, who entreated me to come and separate you. But I cannot believe Humphrey Chetham so treacherous as you represent him.”
“ So far from having any enmity towards Father Garnet,” observed Chetham, “my anxious desire was to preserve him ;
and with that view, I was repairing to Doctor Dee, when I encountered Mr. Catesby in the hall, and, before I could offer any explanation, I was forced by his violence and insults into this combat."
“Is this the truth, Catesby ? " asked Fawkes.
“ Something near it,” rejoined the latter; “but perhaps Mr. Chetham will likewise inform you by whose agency Viviana was transported hither from the Collegiate Church ?"
“That inquiry ought rather to be made of the lady herself, sir," returned Chetham, coldly. “ But, as I am assured she would have no objection to my answering it, I shall not hesitate to do so. She was conveyed hither by Kelley and an assistant, who departed as soon as their task was completed."
" Indeed !” exclaimed Catesby between his ground teeth. “ But how chanced it, sir, that you arrived here so opportunely? "
"I might well refuse to answer a question thus insolently put," rejoined Chetham. “But, to prevent further misunder-standing, I will tell you, that I came by Viviana's invitation at midnight ; and, ascertaining from my servant, Martin Heydocke, whom I found watching by the couch of Guy Fawkes, the melancholy business on which she was engaged, I determined to awat her return, which occurred about an hour afterwards, in the manner I have just related.”
I was in the court-yard when Miss Radcliffe was brought has interposed Martin Heydocke, who was standing at a resvvul distance from the group; “and, after Kelley had de
her to my charge, I heard him observe in an under tone this companion, Let us ride back as fast as we can, and se what they have done with the prisoners.'”
* They made sure of their prey before it was captured," oberrad Catesby, bitterly. “ But we have disappointed them. 14 and his associate may yet have reason to repent their per
You will do well not to put yourself again in their power,” observed Humphrey Chetham. “ If you will be counselled by me, you and Guy Fawkes will seek safety in instant flight.”
“And leave you with Viviana ? ” rejoined Catesby, sarcastically.
“She is in no present danger,” replied Chetham. “But, if it is thought fitting, or desirable, I will remain with her.”
“I do not doubt it," returned Catesby, with a sneer; “but it is neither fitting, nor desirable. And, hark ye, young sir, if you have indulged any expectations with regard to Viviana Radcliffe, it is time you were undeceived. She will never wed one of your degree, nor of your faith.”
“I have her own assurance she will never wed at all,” replied Chetham, in an offended tone. “But had she not crushed my hopes by declaring she was vowed to a convent, no menaces of
yours, who have neither right nor title thus to interfere, should induce me to desist from my suit.”
“ Either resign all pretensions to her hand, or prepare to renew the combat," cried Catesby, fiercely.
“No more of this,” interposed Guy Fawkes. “Let us return to the house, and adjust our differences there.”
"I have no further business here," observed Humphrey Chetham. “ Having taken leave of Viviana,” he added, with much emotion, “I do not desire to meet her again.”
“It is well, sir," rejoined Catesby: " yet stay !—you mean us no treachery ?”
“ If you suspect me I will remain,” replied Humphrey Chetham.
“On no account,” said Guy Fawkes. “ I will answer for him with my life.”
"Perhaps, when I tell you I have procured the liberation of Father Oldcorne,” returned Chetham, “ and have placed him in security in Ordsall Cave, you will admit that you have done me wrong."
“I have been greatly mistaken in you, sir, I must own,” said Catesby, advancing towards him, and extending his hand. But Humphrey Chetham folded his arms upon his breast, and bowing coldly, withdrew. He was followed by Martin Heydocke, and presently afterwards the tramp of his horse's feet was heard crossing the drawbridge.
THE DISCOVERY, TENDERING bis arm to Fawkes, who was almost too feeble to walk unsupported, Catesby led him slowly to the hall. On reaching it, they met Viviana, in a state bordering upon distraction, but her distress was speedily relieved by their assurances that the young merchant had departed unhurt,—a statement immediately afterwards confirmed by the entrance of Martin Heydocke, charged with a message from his master to her. Without communicating his design to the others, and, indeed, almost shunning Viviana, Catesby proceeded to the outbuilding where he had deposited Garnet. He found him in great pain, and praying fervently to be released from his suffering.
“Do not despair, father,” said Catesby, in as cheerful a tone as he could assume, “the worst is over.. Viviana is in safety. Father Oldcorne has escaped, and is within a short distance of us, and Guy Fawkes is fully able to undertake a journey of any distance. You are our sole concern. But I am assured, if you will allow me to exercise the slight surgical skill I possess in your behalf, that you will be able to accompany us.” “Do with me what you please, my son," groaned Garnet.