ePub 版

for mark me! the first among you who venture to renew the attack to-morrow. counsels, or even hints at submission, Agree to this, and my sword is again shall be shot, though that shot were the at your service, else never. These are Jast in the garrison! We have met here my thoughts, nor do I fear to utter to defend, and not to betray our trust! them; now do your worst !” Beauford, and, while two stones hold together, let who had with great difficulty retained no one talk of yielding !-Struck by possession of his seat, till the speaker these remarks, and by the manner in had concluded, no sooner perceived he which they were spoken, every one re. bad done, than he drew his sword, and mained silent ; for each had, in his own rushing forwards, proceeded to put his mind, come there for no other purpose threat into immediate execution; and than to form some plan for the preser- most likely Walter Sele would have vation of their lives, and if no other paid the forfeit of his life for his temericould be found to agree to the terms for ty, had not those around wrested the capitulation, should the Castle be again weapon of death from the hands of the attacked, as it was utterly impossible to Governor ; who, enraged at being thus defend it longer, and madness to at- thwaited, darted from the chamber, tempt any resistance farther than was swearing he would have every soul of necessary, in order to obtain from the them shot for rebels. victor as, favourable terms as possible. At this time, when the enemy from The passionate Beauford, as the silence without, and faction from within, threatstill continued, turned to those around ened the Castle with certain destruction, him, and knitting his eye-brows, un- there were, besides the military who til his countenance appeared to put on composed the garrison, within its walls, the look of a dæmon, giving vent to his several ladies, whose friends or relatives, rage, exclaimed aloud,“ Was I sum anxious for their safety, had placed moned here to be made a fool of, or, then there as beyond the reach of dancowards as you are, think you that like ger, upon the approach of the rebel yours, my heart harbours thoughts army. Among these was Deva Milton, which my tongue dares not express. the orphan daughter of an old Cavalier. Begone, I say, to your posts, and leave No more is known of the maid, than the care of providing for the Castle's that she was fair, whether in the opinsafety to me, since you appear to have ion of the world or not, it matters little, forgotten the respect which you owe to it is enough that she was so in the eyes your governor, as well as your duty to of Walter Sele. To him she was the your King! Begone, I say, begone !” fairest of the fair.” He loved her, Stung by such unmerited reproaches, and would like every true lover, have a young, but intrepid looking cavalier risked his life to serve her. To her instantly started froin his seat, “A truce little chamber it was he repaired, when to your reproaches, Sir John. That released from the duties of the day, and they are unjust, the wounds and scars in her company he was glad to forget, we bear will testify, and vindicate our for awhile, the dangers which surroundhonour from the false charge of cow- ed him. Here, therefore, it was that ardice. We have neither forgotten our he hastened upon his escape from the duty to our King, nor to our Governor; council-room; and here he determined but when the latter so far forgets him- to remain patiently, until informed that self, es to accuse those falsely who the savage rage of the Governor was have checrfully shed their best blood, cooled, and time, by replacing reason at his bidding, and neglects to provide upon her throne, should have made for their safety

the hour of danger, it him sensible of the error which he had is time they look to themselves. Hear committed. A time, alas! that Walter me then, I care not for the effects of was not fated to behold. your threatened vengeance.

I have It appears, however, that he was not hitherto fought as becomes a loyal sub- the only person among the besieged, ject of King Charles, but will fight no who was sensible of the charms of the longer, unless the terms of a surrender fair Deva. The commandant bimself, be first agreed on, in case the rebels who, to his unshaken loyalty, (almost

bis only virtue,) added all that licen- too." Flinging the pistol from his tiousness and profligacy which charac- hand, he prepared instantly for the atterised in a greater or less degree, the tack. The weapons met with the reign of every monarch of the Stuart quickness of lightning, and though the line; had also beheld and admired her event seemed to all appearance to decharms, but alas ! beheld, and admired pend more upon which was the strongthem with the most dishonourable feel- est arm, yet the blows, however irreguings; and he seized what appeared to lar and fierce, were frequently parricd him a favourable moment, when the off with great skill, as each in turn beofficers were engaged in more import- came the assailant. The combat lastant matters, to gratisy his lust; glory- ed but a few minutes ; for the foot of ing in the idea that he should, at the Beauford striking against an iron-ring same time, by this means, inflict the in the floor, he stumbled, when putmost cruel of all punishments upon the ting out his sword to prevent his fallunfortunate being, who had offended ing it snapt, and of course occasioned him ; and blast for ever his brightest that which it was intended to prevent. hopes, by ruining her who was far The issue of the strife seemed now dedearer to him than his own life. termined; but it was not so: for on

Having gained admission into the Sele's springing forward to disarm his apartment, he proceeded to flatter and adversary, he received the contents of menace by turns, but all in vain. Her a pistol in his left shoulder, and fell virtue was alike proof against both; prostrate beside him. A party of the she upbraided him with his baseness guard who had been alarmed by the and villany, and replied to his remarks, noise which the combat had necessarily with taunts and reproaches. Enraged occasioned, now rushed into the apartat her conduct, he seized her rudely, ment, when Beauford, springing up, and was proceeding to gratify by force, commanded them to raise his wounded both his revenge and his passion. His opponent, and to do as they were bid. feeble victim shrieked aloud for assist. He was instantly obeyed, and the solance, but the echo of her voice was diers, having bound him as well as they the only answer she received. Spite of were able, at the moment, followed the the resistance which she made, one mi- steps of their governor, who led the pute more would have decided the way to the foot of the staircase; where, struggle, and the fair Deva would have opening a low and narrow door, he debeen-fair no longer. At this crisis scended a few steps, when a similar the room-door yielded to the strong barrier opposed them, which was also, nerves of Sele, who snatching a pistol with some difficulty opened; and the from his belt, rushed upon the villain, interior of the castle keep presented itwhom he saw before him, and present- self to their view, darker, if possible, ed it to his head; but even at this criti.. than the sepulchres of the dead. Here, cal juncture he still retained presence just within the entrance, Beauford comof mind, sufficient not to discharge it, manded the men to lay down their lest, by any accident, the contents prisoner. They did so, and retreated. should injure her to whose rescue he The door grating upon its rusty hinges, had thus opportunely arrived. Beau- closed again; and the unfortunate Šelé ford, on feeling so rude a grasp, let go found himself in a dark, damp dungeon, the hold of his intended victim, and far from the reach of any human being. turned round to oppose this sudden and Not having been severely wounded, unlooked for enemy. It was now no. the coldness of the dungeon soon time for parley. In an instant the brought the ill-fated youth to himself sword of each had left its scabbard. again, where seating, (for the place he “Coward and slave, by heaven you was in, would not allow of his standshall not again escape me!" “ Neither ing,) himself upon the step on which slave por coward,” exclaimed the in- he had been left

, he proceeded to bind jured youth, as he recognised the well- up the wound, as well as he was able, known sound of the governor's voice, with his handkerchief: after which he - and that Beauford will soon discover felt relieved. Perfectly aware from the

situation of his prison, that it would be he could not be very distant from some in vain to attempt either by the loud- opening, and the castle clock, which he ness of his voice, or any other means distinctly heard striking the hour of ten, now in his power, to make his friends confirmed him in this opinion. Folacquainted with his fate, he made uplowing the direction of the draft, he his mind to bear manfully his present soon found that his course was considconfinement; encouraged by the hope, erably impeded by heaps of rubbish, that the garrison would soon be obliged and large fragments of stone, which to surrender, when, in all probability, had evidently been forced out of their he should regain his liberty. But the proper place; and he rightly judged, thought of his Deva being in the power from this circumstance, that here, at of one whom he was now forced to least, the enemy's artillery had accomrank as his bitterest enemy, rushed plished their intended purpose. With across his recollection, and almost a light heart, he cautiously removed the drove him to distraction. The pain of huge masses which obstructed his way, bis wound, and the dampness of his and in a short time had the happiness habitation, however, soon made him to find himself safe in the moat, on the sensible of his utter inability to be of north side of the castle. any service to her by his lamentation ; Once more at liberty, he surveyed, and reason again assuming her domin- as well as the darkness of the night ion, he began to reflect upon the possi- would permit, those parts of the fortress bility of his being able to escape. At which were near him. Burning with this instant, he fortunately thought of a desire of being revenged on the peran old tale, which he had heard when son who had so basely injured him, in a boy, respecting an outlawed chief, an evil moment, he formed the fatal wbo, according to tradition, having resolution of betraying the castle into been taken prisoner by the lord of Car- the hands of the enemy; and this resodiff Castle, and confined in the cell he lution was no sooner formed, than he then inhabited, had effected his escape proceeded to carry it into execution. by means of a secret passage, which he The moat was soon cleared, and findhad accidentally discovered. Walter ing himself once more on terra firma, Sele not being of a disposition to give “It shall be so," exclaimed he, “Yes, way to despair, while the least glimmer this very night is Cardiff Castle, Cromof hope presented itself to his mind, well's. A few feet of earth removed, seized eagerly upon this legendary ac- admits him to the postern aisle—and count; and, though not very sanguine once in, Beauford shall then oppose in in his expectations, determined at allvain--Deva I yet may snatch thee events to attempt the discovery of the from the tiger's jaws, and I will do so, reported outlet, well knowing that the though I die a traitor.” Having with strong holds of the feudal barons, fre- . these words turned his back upon the quently abounded with a multitude of walls, which but a few hours before he secret posterns, and subterranean pas- had gallantly defended, he sought with sages, for which any person except the hasty strides the camp of Cromwell. original proprietor, would be puzzled to The distance being but short, he find an use. Groping therefore his soon arrived at the enemy's picquets, way, as well as he was able, he pro- by whom, as he did not endeavour to ceeded slowly along, carefully examin- conceal himself, he was of course seized. ing with his hands the wall of the dun- Having designedly thrown himself withgeon, which ere he had gone very in their power, he now merely demandfar, became sensibly larger ; and he ed that he might be led into the preswas enabled to stand erect. Still ence of the general; with which dekeeping the wall for his guide, he had mand the guards, after first blindfoldnot proceeded much farther along his ing him, in order that he might not disdark and dismal track, when he was tinguish the disorder which prevailed agreeably surprised on finding himself around, proceeded instantly to comply. come in contact with a strong current When ushered into the tent, and perof air. He now became confident that mitted again to make use of his eyes,

he perceived the ambitious Cromwell rebel troops. On these conditions only seated at a small table, gazıng intently I become your guide !” “ Cromwell upon some papers which lay thereon. will pledge his word,” was the reply, On the entrance of the prisoner, how- " that life and freedom shall be given ever, he raised his head, and attentively to all at present, within the castle walls; surveyed his appearance; and having and as for the women, the soldiers of satisfied himself, in his usual harsh and the Parliament, rebel or not, are not abrupt manner, he addressed the fol- the licentious cavaliers of Charles, who lowing laconic question to him,—“How need be under no anxiety for the safety now, betinselled royalist ! your busi- of their courtesans. We come to fight ness here?"_“I come to act, and not with men, and not with women ! now to parley," replied the unintimidated are you satisfied ?” Sele replied in the Sele, “ to offer to a foe what be most affirmative, observing, as he concluded, wishes, possession of our castle. If he that he 6 would trust for once to the accept the offer, let him get ready in- honour of a roundhead, if such a thing stantly, and trust to the guidance of existed.” Cromwell scowled, as it one who is willing to be his friend to- seemed as if his guide suspected his night, even at the expense of lionour !" intentions, but prudence bade him conCromwell, who scarcely knew whether ceal his rage, and he merely remarked, he ought not to look upon his prisoner as he took his pistols from the table, as a madman, paused, ere he made any that he might do so safely. reply. However, as the chances, judg With a chosen body of men, upon ing from the resistance which the garri- whose fidelity he could depend, the son had already made, were so many usurper committed himself to the guidagainst his being able to take the place ance of Walter Sele, whom, however, by force of arms, he determined as a he kept close beside during the march, dernier resort, to embrace the opportu- which, without occupying much of their nity which thus offered itself, be the time, brought them unseen to the openconsequences what they might. “Being from which the betrayer had esit so," was the answer ; "he whom caped. The men having entered the you address is always ready, lead on breach, and being provided with the then, but hearken, haughty cavalier, necessary implements immediately comshould you belie your promise, your menced removing the earth from the life shall be the forfeit." “ Had I been spot pointed out to them, while Cromthe subject of fear," replied Walter well and his guide kept watch without. Sele, “ Í should not now be in the tent With such secresy were their operations of Cromwell--a truce then to your carried on, that no person within was threatenings! nor think that I betray in the least degree disturbed by them. the royal cause thus basely. Hear then Once only, (and, that by mere chance) the terms ; Nay, frown not! I'll not had they any occasion to be alarmed. be frightened from my purpose by the An officer, marching to relieve guard, frowns of any man; and unless my perceiving from the rampart some perIVO conditions are agreed to, not all sons in the moat below, hailed them in your threats shall make me even now in the accustomed form—“Who goes turu traitor. My life is in your hands, there ?”—“Friends”—“ To whom?”. and you may take it now, at midnight, “ To Beauford and the King”-Sele's or to-morrow; but that is all you have presence of mind thus extricated them within your power. Hear me then- from this danger, for the officer on hearI ask but for the life and freedom of ing the pass-word, not doubting but the garrison, for every living soul, from they were sent there by the command the person of the governor, though he of the governor, passed on his way, and is now my foe, down to the meanest left them to proceed with their undersoldier that treads along the battle- taking, without any further interruption. ments. That the few females, one of The soldiers after having effected an whom is dearer to me than life, shall opening in the ground above, were enbe secure from the gross insults of your abled with very little trouble, by means

56 ATHENEUM Vol. 1. 2d series.

of a temporary ladder, which was form- then, proud cavalier,” cried he, 4 has ed of the implements, to enter into the not the promise which I made been postern aisle, described to them by kept ? Has either maid or courtesan, their guide. Here they had both time, for whom you dared to insult the to rest, and also room enough to pre- troops of Cromwell been violated ? pare themselves for the attack, which The life and freedom of the garrison it was to be expected they would still was likewise promised, and has been have to undertake. At the end of the granted. Remember when my word passage in which they then were, a was pledged to this, thou wast not one narrow door was now the only barrier among them, therefore I owe thee to be removed, ere they effected the nothing, since it was to gratify thy object they had so long wished for own revenge, and not from love to me, -an entrance into the heart of the for- that thou hast betrayed thy party. Had tress. From its situation, as they could the service which thou hast done us, not hope to penetrate this, however been done with other motives, I would trifling it might appear, as silently as have thanked thee for it; as it is, I they had done the first, they proceeded love the treason, but I hate the traitor. by one sudden effort to force it open, Take then a traitor's just reward !" and by the rapidity of their subsequent Quick as thought, the pistol of the tymovements, to terrify the garrison from rant lest its belt,-flashed,-andWalter making any resistance. Nor were they Sele lay weltering on the ground. disappointed, for the door yielding to While the soldiers were in the act the first assault

, they found themselves of interring, at the spot alluded to in in possession of the castle, before many the commencement of this narrative, of its inhabitants were even aware of all that now remained of the once their approach.

brave, but ill-fated Sele, they were disWhen morning dawned, the royal turbed in their work, by the unlooked standard of the unfortunate Charles, for appearance of Deva Milton, who was not seen floating as heretofore rushing eagerly forward, flung herself above the lotty battlements of Cardiff upon the lifeless corpse as it lay, in the Castle ; and those who had defended dress it wore while living, upon the it so stoutly, and so gallantly, had green sward. In vain did one, more either fallen sword in hand, or had feeling than his companions, endeavour departed to seek for shelter in some to soothe her afflictions. Deaf to his other fortress, that was still enabled to consolation, and regardless of all bis keep on high a little longer the well entreaties, she still clung to the object known ensign of fast-falling royalty. of her affection with such vehemence, One only of the former garrison re- that the men had some difficulty to mained, and he with beating heart and tear it from her grasp, and even then, anxious look had twice already ex- two of them were obliged to force her plored the intricacies of each apartment, from the spot, while they unfeelingly which the castle contained, in search consigned it to its “ niother earth." for the object of his every hope and But immediately on the departure of fear, but all in vain. Still coping with the soldiers, aster their having closed the grim fiend despair, he was in the the earth, she returned again to search act of doing so for the third time, when for her lover, exclaiming in a wild and summoned, and upon his refusing to incoherent manner, that she had “found obey, forced into the presence of the her Walter,” but alas! fair maid, she iron-hearted Cromwell. Forgetting for had lost her reason. an instant his private griefs, be stood

Poor Deva lived for many years, before the tyrant, with such a noble lived to decorate the grave of him she and majestic mien, as awed all those loved, with the choicest shrubs and around; and even the mind of Crom- flowers which she could gather towell seemed for an instant to be unde- gether. When the frosts of January cided. But that it was not so in reality, threatened them with destruction, she his address to the person who stood would carefully cover them with straw, before him plainly indicated. “ Now, to be blown away perhaps by the next

« 上一頁繼續 »