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When the trumpets ceased, Denis and his not again defraud the hangman. What, oh!' hackbutt men retreated for a short distance. he cried, to the men-at-arms. “Hang up Then, halting, a herald-at-arms proclaimed this foul traitor to the boughs on yon in a loud voice, that_“In the name of the spreading oak. Yet, stay; whose carcass King, admission had been demanded—that is this ?” And with his long sword he the King's warrantry had been despised — struck the body of the other prisoner, and that Michael de la Pole had refused which lay motionless upon the ground. to surrender when impeached for treason; " What!” he said, as though surprised ; and that he, and all who assisted in de- and leaning forward, he gazed on the prosfending him from the royal authority, were trate figure. “ What !” he said again : themselves guilty of high treason against Spanish ruff, velvet doublet-jewels, too. the King.” When he had finished speak. Now, by my troth, but this is strange. I ing, the herald pricked his horse into a warrant me, some noble gentleman waylaid gallop, and with the sergeant and men-at- and murdered by yon sorry knave. Let me arms rode away with speed.
look on his face,” he continued. And when “ Nay,” cried Michael ; the sorry the soldiers raised the body, and the light knaves escape not so easily. Fire, my fell full upon the features, he shouted out, men, to let them see we fear them not.” with even greater energy than he had used
Instantly the men obeyed, and raising on seeing Sherrin, “Now, by St. Peter, the heavy carbines to their shoulders, fired this is too much. Another traitor, and a volley. The men-at-arms advanced, how- 80 vile a hypocrite to boot. That archever, in their course, and although the traitor, Quartermain, of all others ! volley was repeated, they halted not. He said no more; for Sherrin, releasing
Yet, suddenly, the men stayed, and the himself by a powerful effort from his sergeant and herald conversed eagerly to captors, sprang towards him, and, seizing him gether. Then two of the troopers rode round the waist, hurled him to the ground. around a small copse of brushwood, and At that instant the loud fanfares of trumpets presently dismounted from their horses. and trampling of horses stayed the soldiers They appeared to creep cautiously along from the summary vengeance they would, the path which led amidst the tangled perhaps, have inflicted for so daring an mass, and, baring their weapons, entered offence; and around the winding road the thicket. The next instant a loud shout a gay company was seen advancing, led, or was heard, and the men reappeared, drag. rather preceded, by a number of men ging along two other men, one of whom, bearing flambeaux-these being closely fol. of gigantic stature, made desperate resist- lowed by a party of the nobles of the Court ance, while the other seemed to be totally in the masquer's habits, together with the unconscious.
King himself, and the stalwart Brandon, When the sergeant, the valiant Denis, Duke of Suffolk. They were escorted by perceived the fruits of his vigilant scrutiny, a party of archers, having in their custody and moreover there being but little to be three prisoners-Nathaniel Scrivener, Cordfeared from an unarmed man, he rode boldly well Colner, and the verger of Paul's. On forward, demanding, in a haughty tone, the they came, scarce halting to hear from the name and business of his prisoners. captain of the guard the strange unthought-of
No answer having been returned to his capture that had there occurred. Yet when repeated questions, the sergeant grew im- he ceased, the King bade him lift the prospatient, and drawing still more near, seized trate Quartermain: and, giving directions to a lighted torch from the nearest soldier, the men-at-arms to bear him on to Wansted and letting the light fall upon the faces of Hall, he dispatched a messenger to Pleathe strangers, he shouted out
to command the attendance of his “By the cross of Paul's, but this is fortu. own physician. When the bonds of Sherrin nate. What! Sir Hangdog Knave, Nick had been loosened, the King bid the men Sherrin-well met—well met; thou shalt | march on to Wansted Hall.
At length they stood before the battle- Two of the hackbutt men fell from its mented gateway. The courtyard was still effects, and a sharp conflict ensued; deserted, as it had been left by them : yet swords flashed in the ruddy light, and cries lights were seen, and dark shadows flittered and groans, yells of death, and the clash across the casement, whilst on the roof of of weapons, succeeded ; one by one the the donjon stood Michael, with a small | torches were extinguished by the fall of company of men. He still wore the riding those who held them, and now but few dress in which he had been present at the remained, which cast a flickering and fitful execution of Quartermain, standing bare- glare on every object. headed, and unarmed, save by a slight Michael de la Pole at length appeared, rapier.
and seeing the ill-condition the King's men Instead of halting, on entering the court had been reduced to by the fire of his men, yard, the King commanded the men to and finding that they were evidently retreatsurround the building, and prevent all ing, he seized a huge cross-handled, doubleegress; while he, with the few nobles who edged faulchion from the oaken panels, and, accompanied him, and a score of hackbutt springing forward, dealt so furious a blow at men, skirted the wall of the building to King Henry, that it would undoubtedly have the postern, near Shooter's Hill. This caused him to sleep with his fathers, had they found open and unguarded, and pass. not at that instant the great doors of the ing through, entered the long avenue lead. hall given way, and, rushing wildly in, like ing to the rear of the building. No sound a furious torrent released from its wonten was heard-no human figure could be bounds, the hackbutt and pike men came
The moon hid her silvery face in rushing, with Sherrin at their head. the black clouds, which were hurried on by Michael and his men now retreated, the night-wind.
closely pursued, to the steps up the small They quickened their pace as they drew and narrow staircase which led to the
the building; then, dismounting, donjon. "A hundred crowns," cried passed close beneath the walls to a small | Henry, “to him who arrests this Michael private entrance. This was also unclosed, de la Pole, living or dead." and they entered the dwelling.
At that moment a cry was raised from The passage they now stood in was those below that the building was on fire, totally separated from the upper portions and at the same time Cordwell Colner of the mansion, and communicated only rushed in, pursued by the men-at-arms. with the great hall. To that place, ac- “ Give way-give way!” he cried; “I'll cordingly, they bent their steps, lighted by seize this Michael de la Pole-give me but the torches which they carried, and which room.” And, bounding up the staircase, cast a sombre light upon the roughly-hewn he was soon lost amidst the serving.men walls and quaint carvings.
of Michael. When they arrived at the entrance to Michael himself fled at his approach; the hall, they were suddenly stayed, for, an undefined feeling of dread oppressed springing forward, came half a score of him at the sight of that man, and he fled mail-clad figures, who completely blocked before his unarmed foe. Up he went-up their path.
up the winding stair which led to the “On-on!" cried Henry. “Down-down; donjon. give way, ye rebels-give way!” And The fire increased every moment. Thick striving to force their way, these new ene- and dense bodies of smoke spread over the mies fell back before them, and retreated to building, and in various parts the flames the hall. But when the King and his com- burst forth, casting showers of sparks pany had entered, they perceived even a around, and mounting continually upward. stronger party of men than they had ex- This new and unexpected adversary propected, and who, without waiting for a duced at once a cessation of hostilities. word or sign, fired a volley.
Higher and higher spread the flames,
crackling and roaring in their wild fury; | Then down it came—a shriek of agony and the crash of the falling timbers added succeeded—and then a loud and dreadful to the din. But, above the mighty roar roar that seemed to shake the
earth : of the fire, the blast of a trumpet was the donjon trembled, and, with a loud and heard issuing from the northern wing of terrible crash, the whole mass fell ! the dwelling
Yet this only added fresh vigour to the “How now?” cried Henry. “ Some flames; for now, the whole mass one is confined within yon dwelling. Speak, shrouded in one sheet of flame, that cast its knaves,” he said, turning to Michael's bright and livid light for many a mile around. serving-men, who, finding resistance use- The King waited to see no more; but, less, had surrendered ; "and if ye would assembling the men-at-arms, bid them preserve your necks from the hangman's secure the prisoners, and make ready for noose, declare if any one is there detained.” the march. This was soon done, and, leav
“I, your Highness,” said the verger of ing a few of the hackbutt men to guard the Paul's, “ will declare it all. In the second spot, the word was given, and the martial story of the northern wing lie prisoners train swept onward to Pleasaunce. three persons: the first, a fair maiden, daughter of the Alderman Keble.”
CONCLUSION. “My daughter!” cried the alderman; Joy, joy in London now."-SOUTHEY. my daughter! Oh, save her! A thousand TWELY
ELVE days elapsed, and London's crowns to him who brings her forth."
multitudes poured forth again from the But it was now, indeed, a dangerous ex- banks of Father Thames. The bells from ploit to enter the building; for, surrounded every City church rang forth in merry with flames, it stood—the only portion yet peals. From brazen throats, too, came free being the tall donjon, on which two loud salutes of ordnance, whilst flags and figures might be seen struggling violently pennons played with the passing breeze, together. Heedless, however, of all danger, and Sol looked down with a beaming face Nick Sherrin sprang into the great hall, on the gay and glittering scene. and forced his way amidst the burning mass. Ay, in truth, it was a glorious sight to
Presently he reappeared, bearing in his gaze upon : the multitude shouting at every arms the apparently lifeless form of Alice indication of the coming show, and tossing Keble. Her long and sable locks hung their caps into the air, as if their owners down upon a neck of snowy whiteness. had no further use for them, as every one Her head had fallen back, and with whose dignity or office called them to take her calm and placid features, she seemed part in the day's pageant appeared. more like some beauteous statue from The quays, wharfs, barges, warehouses, the sculptor's hand, than 'a living and and every spot near the Thames, were breathing soul; and there, upon her hand, crowded by the mass of human beings ; appeared the lost ring—the signet-ring-whilst on the Bridge the crowd was so im. given on St. John's Eve by Henry to mense, that one who liked it might with Quartermain. Behind him came the trum- ease have walked on the heads of the peter, whose lusty lungs had saved the people from Southwarke to the City. rest, supporting the old priest.
Flags hung from the Bridge-gate, or It was a work of difficulty and danger to rather the battlemented turrets that the escape from the burning mass; but it was gateway flanked, and mingled with the done at length, and they stood in the open traitors' heads exposed from the same spot; air, gazing on the conflagration.
and bodies of the City trained-bands paAnd Michael and Colner still struggled raded the streets, in their velvet coats and on the donjon, the boiling lead from the steel casques. Tapestries and cloth-of-gold roof of which poured down in silvery floods; hung from the windows of the houses, and and yet the men still struggled, until the a strong party of javelin and hackbutt men, shorter of the two raised a long knife aloft. I mounted and on foot, lined the chief streets,
-West Chepe, Stocks Market, Cornhill, and ( valiant puissance of the trained-bards, and Gracious Street in order to preserve a so began to adjourn to the neighbouring passage for my Lord Mayor, Sir John Rest. hostelries, there to await the return of the
And right joyously the bells rang, for pageant. So, when the valorous City sooth: joyously the populace replied. Such knights found that their company had deloud, such lusty shouts arose, as ne'er parted, they rested from their labours, and before or since the Chepe hath echoed. also condescended to partake of refresh
When the huge clock of Paul's chimed ment, bestowed by the sight-seers-except forth the appointed hour for the commence- one, whose stature was certainly diminutive, ment of the pageant, a glittering company differing (widely from his bearing and preissued from the house of Sir John Rest, tensions. He was mounted on a stately preceded by a body of archers, their bows charger, trapped right nobly; whilst bent, and shafts of arrows by their sides. himself so bedecked with bunches Then came the whole court of aldermen, in of flowers and streamers of ribbon, that their scarlet robes, and mounted on chargers. he a perfect marvel to behold, Then the sheriffs, also mounted, and properly with his long sword and triangular shield. attended and escorted by a party of bill. This puissant knight was the lieutenant of men, in aprons and helmets of steel. Then the trained-bands--no less a person than the City musicians, in grotesque habits, that hang-dog knave, Stephen Studeley. and who sounded fanfares, and beat on the And how could he drink and make merry sheepskin with more vigour than taste. with the canaille-how could so worshipful Next, the sword-bearer, in stately armour. a gentleman associate with commoners ? Then came the Mayor himself, in all his He who at the riots had led them on-he pomp and vanity, escorted by a strong whom they had liberated from gaol-had detachment of six hundred substantial cits, now retired from their company, disdaining in dresses of cloth-of-gold.
their acquaintance. On, amidst the shouts of the assembled But, see ! a detachment of the Yeomen thousands, cometh the stately pageant-Guard approaches, in their scarlet tunics, down the West Chepe, through the Stocks and flat caps bound round with partyMarket, up Cornhill, with its quaint houses coloured ribbon. But who is that at their and twisted chimneys, so into Gracious head? What- -No-it cannot be. Yes, Street, past Fenchurch and East Chepe, though--it is no other than “Old Nick” to the Bridge.
(not Sathanus), but Nick Sherrin, you There lay the stately barges, with their know. Once, but only for once, to exhibit gilded emblems of civic dignity. There his loyalty to the citizens, he hath donned lay the very barge in which John Norman the royal livery-his first and only aprowed to Westminster in 1454. See-they go pearance in that character. And Sherrin down-embark; the long oars, splashed in and Studeley met, and held converse. the water, cast up mimic fountains at every They spoke of divers weighty matters, in stroke. Gently the prows glide through which no treason mingled. the waves, amidst the shouts of the popu
“Knowest thou aught,” quoth Studeley, lace, and the ringing of the joy-bells. “of one poor idiot-Aubrey, by name—he
Down Thames they went, in order to whose sudden disappearance from the “Taprecede the King from Greenwyche-such barde' caused such strange confusion ?” being the duty of the chief magistrate as Aye, aye,” replied Nick. “ Deeply buried conservator of the river. Hark! how the beneath the ruins of Wansted Hall, his people shout, as in all their bravery the body was discovered.” City trained-bands perform their evolutions. “ And Cordwell Colner--what im'?" Hark! how the cannons roar from the bul- “He perished in the flames, encircled by warks of Cæsar's Tower.
a deadly embrace from Michael de la Pole, But, when the stately barges were lost whom to the heart he had stabbed on the to view, the people soon grew weary of the donjon-roof.”
“And Nathaniel Scrivener, and the ver- | Tower, on to the eastern side of London
Bridge ; and there their progress was “ The first I know not; the other hath stayed, the' watermen rested on their oars, returned to his ancient business of verger and the civic barge drew near. of Paul's. But, hark! the bells chime forth The Cardinal, Wolsey, and Sir John Rest again—the gunners are at work—and the enter the royal barge together ; and there, trampeters' lungs are on duty: the trained in the presence of that vast concourse, the bands have formed. I cannot stay-fare- charters of the City are restored. well !”
Hark! hark! how the cannons roar ! On they marched, the Yeomen Guard— Hark! how merrily and joyously the bells their halberds flashing in the light, and are chiming! And, amidst the clang of marNicholas Sherrin at their head.
tial music and the shouts of the multitude, Again the banks of Father Thames are the stately pageant hies upon its way. crowded—again the bells ring out. The But hark, again, to the voice of Nick ! cannons are discharged, and the stately "Shout, my lads,” he cried; “ shout for pageant approaches slowly, majestically. his Highness.” And right lustily the people On, on-with gilded prow and canopy, did shout-one for the King, another for cometh the barge of my Lord Mayor. the Cardinal—a third and fourth for the Then, large flat-bottomed boats, filled City of London. with monstrous wild men, who continually spouted forth fire; then, the barges For threescore years and upwards subof the City companies and King's attend. sequent to this Festival, that portion of ants. Then, the barge of Wolsey, with the the ancient City denominated East Chepe arms of the King and his own emblazoned retained with the 'Prentices its popularity. together on the figure-head; while he, For the smithy was still there, and Nick, clad in his golden robes and Cardinal's hat, who had returned to his old employment, stood forth in the view of the concourse ; might there as surely have been seen, if and, lastly, the royal barge, containing the you had happened to pass that way, as the chief officers of state, with the Duke of golden vane on the top of the church hard Suffolk (Charles Brandon), the Bishop of by. Yes—his stout sledge-hammer, for London (Stokesley), Cholmondley (Lord of threescore years, rung merrily within the Wansted, clad in his priestly vestments), ancient smithy; and at evening-time a with Ambrose Wansted, and his bride, fair group was certain to assemble around the Alice Keble, and the worshipful Alderman jolly forge, to hear Nick chant his many himself, Sir Miles Partridge, and divers ballads, or tell a tale of bygone days, others; whilst, at the stem of the vessel, “ when he was a boy." stood the King and royal consort, with the A judge and umpire he was, moreover, ladies of the court, clad all in sumptuous in all disputed points of quarter-staff or habiliments; and the Earls of Norfolk, single-staff, of which he was ever a reArundel, and Essex-together with the nowned professor. He never became heralds and pursuivants.
wealthy-for that he cared not a groat; The stately show advances, passing the. but continued still, as he had ever beenTowers of Bermond's Eye and Cæsar's I the Blacksmith of the Chepe.