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Full text of "The fortunes of Perkin Warbeck, a romance"



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THIS BOOK IS PRESENT 

IN OUR LIBRARY 

THROUGH THE 

GENEROUS 

CONTRIBUTIONS OF 

ST. MICHAEL'S ALUMNI 

TO THE VARSITY 

FUND 



THE 



FORTUNES 



PERKIN WARBECK, 



A ROMANCE. 



AUTHOR OF "FRANKENSTEIN." 

- 



J'ai veu filz d'Angleterre, Richard d'Yorc nomine, 
Que Ton disoit en-terre, estinct et consomme, 
Endurer grant souffrance; et par nobles exploitz, 
Vivre en bonne esperance, d'estre Roy des Angloys. 

Old French Chronicle. 



IN THREE VOLUMES. 

VOL. III. 

LONDON: 

HENRY COLBURN AND RICHARD BENTLEY, 
NEW BURLINGTON STREET. 

1830. 



LONDON : 

J. D. NICHOLS AND ION, 26, PARLIAMENT STRttT. 




PERKIN WARBECK, 



CHAPTER I. 



I am your wife, 

No human power can or shall divorce, 
My faith from duty. 

FORD. 



With 



My fortune and my seeming destiny, 

He made the bond, and broke it not with me. 

No human tie is snapped betwixt us two. 

SCHILLEE'S WALLENSTEIX. 



FRION believed that he held the strings, which 
commanded the movements of all the puppets 
about him. The intrigues of party, the habi- 
tual use of ill-means to what those around him 
deemed a good end, had so accustomed him to 
lying and forgery, that his conscience was quite 

VOL. III. B 



TERKIN WARBECK. 



seared to the iniquity of these acts; truth to 
him was an accident, to be welcomed or not 
according as it was or was not advantageous to 
his plots. 

King James prepared a fleet for the convey- 
ance of the Prince; and the Earl of Hunt- 
ley, as a matter of course, promised to enter- 
tain his daughter royally, until, in a palace in 
Westminster, she should find her destined title 
and fit abode. The Lady Katherine thanked 
him, but declared that she was nothing moved 
rom her bridal vow, and that she never would 
desert Richard's side. All that her father 
urged was of no avail. State and dignity, or 
their contraries, humiliation and disgrace, could 
only touch her through her husband; he was 
her exalter or debaser, even as he rose or 
fell ; it was too late now to repine at degrada- 
tion, which it ill-beseemed the daughter of a 
Gordon to encounter; it was incurred when she 
plighted her faith at the altar; wherever she 
was, it must be hers. As a princess she was lost 
or redeemed by her husband's fortunes. As a wo- 
man, her glory and all her honour must consist 



PERKIN WARBECK. 



in never deviating from the strait line of duty, 
which forbade her absence from his side. 

The Earl disdained to reason with a fond 
doating girl, as he called the constant-minded 
lady, but applied to the King, representing how it 
would redound to his discredit, should a princess 
of his blood wander a vagrant beggar over sea 
and land. James had passed his royal word to 
Katherine, that she should have her will on 
this point; and when, at her fathers suit he 
tried to dissuade her, he was at once silenced 
by her simple earnest words; "Ask me not," 
she said, " to place myself on the list of un- 
worthy women: for your own honour's sake, 
royal cousin, permit your kinswoman to per- 
form a wife's part unopposed. You and my 
father bestowed me, a dutiful subject, an obe- 
dient daughter, according to your will; you 
transferred my duty and obedience, and truly as 
I paid it to you, so will I keep it for my lord." 
What can we reply, my good Earl 
Marshall," said James, turning to Huntley, I 
rebelled against the religion through which I 
reign, did I deny our sweet Kate free allow- 

B2 



4 PERKIN WARBECK. 

ance to follow the dictates of her generous heart. 
Nor let us grudge the White Rose this one fair 
bloom. Love, such as Katherine feels, love, 
and the dearest, best gift of God alas ! too oft 
denied to poor humanity, and most to me self- 
complacency, arising from a good conscience, will 
repay her every sacrifice." 

Huntley retired in high indignation ; his will 
was opposed ; his word, which he deemed a law, 
had but a feather's weight. The blood of the 
Gordon was stirred to rage; and he broke forth 
in fierce and cruel expressions of anger, calling 
his daughter, ingrate her lord base, and a 
traitor. Such muttered curses were reported 
to Lord Buchan : in the scheme on foot they 
had somewhat dreaded to incur Huntley's dis- 
pleasure and revenge ; knowing how dearly he 
prized the hope of royalty for his daughter ; but 
now they fancied that they might draw him in, 
ere he was aware, to approve their deed. The 
crafty Frion was set on to sound him ; the iron 
was hot, most easily, to their eyes, it took the 
desired form. 

Huntley was a Scot, cunning even when angry 



PERKIN WARBECK. 5 

cautious when most passionate. The first inti- 
mations of the conspiracy were greedily received 
by him. He learnt the falsehood of the letter 
pretending to come from the Earl of Surrey; 
and the use that was to be made of this decoy 
to seize on the Duke of York's person. He 
did not scruple to promise his assistance ; he 
reiterated his angry imprecations against his 
unworthy son-in-law; he thanked Frion .with 
cordial warmth for affording him this opportu- 
nity for revenge ; he declared his gratitude to- 
wards the confederate nobles ; and the French- 
man left him, with the full belief that he was 
ready to lend his best aid to deliver over the 
English Prince to ignominy and death. 

Such was the end of King Henry's last 
scheme to obtain possession of his too noble, 
too excelling rival, by means of Scottish fraud, 
and the treason of York's dependents. The 
Earl of Hundey conducted the whole affair with 
the utmost secresy. Apparently he acted the 
part designed for him by the conspirators. He 
reconciled himself to the prince ; he urged an 
instant compliance with Surrey's invitation. 



6 PER KIN WARBECK. 

The English had asked for some guarantee of 
Surrey's truth. Huntley obviated this difficulty. 
Through his intervention a new and sufficing 
impulse was given. Richard appointed the day 
when he should repair to Greenock, there to 
meet the envoy who was to lead him to Lord 
Surrey's presence. In the harbour of Greenock 
rode the bark which was to convey him to his 
English prison. King Henry's hirelings were 
already there ; Frion conducted the victims 
blindfold into the net: they had meant to have 
gathered together a troop of ruffian borderers to 
prevent all resistance; but Huntley promised to 
be there himself with a band of Highlanders. 
The whole thing only seemed too easy, too secure. 
The wily secretary had overshot his mark in 
taking so readily for granted Huntley's assent to 
the ruin of the Duke of York. He had come 
upon him in his angry hour: his honied words 
were a dew of poison ; his adjurations for peace, 
oil to fire. Then, as the noble strode through 
the hall, imprecating vengeance, he slid in words 
that made him stop in full career. Men are 
apt to see their wishes mirrored in the object 
before them ; and, when the Earl bent his grey 



PERKIN WARBECK. 7 

*yes upon the Proven gal and knit his time-fur- 
rowed brow in attention and interest, Frion 
saw the satisfaction of a man on the brink of 
dear revenge. He was far a-field. The very rage 
in which the Earl had indulged, by a natural re- 
action, softened him towards his children : and, 
when the traitor spoke of schemes ripe to deliver 
York into his adversary's hands, he recoiled at 
once from the path of vengeance opened before 
him, and listened with horror to the detail of 
a conspiracy which would tear the very shadow of 
a diadem from his daughter's brow; yet he 
listened, and his words still enticed the over 
wily Frion. " Balmayne," said the Earl, " all 
must succeed, even to the death. Where he 
intermeddles, he is ruthless;" thus ran his 
comments : " My good Lord Buchan, what 
the Foul Fiend makes him so busy? Eng- 
lish gold ! Yes : Buchan loves the gilding 
better than the strong iron that it hides. The 
honour of the royal house, my most reve- 
rend uncle ! Is his animosity so stirring ? Oh ! 
priests are your only haters. So Richard's tale 
is told. The chroniclers will speak of Duke 
Perkin, of the canker that ate out the heart 



8 PERK IN WAHBECK. 

of Gordon's fair rose, the gibbet, instead of a 
throne, to which she was wed ; a fair eminence ! 
My Kate will hardly ascend it with him : she 
must halt at the gallows' foot." These words, 
said with bitterness, seemed to Frion the boil- 
ing sarcasm of an exasperated parent. The 
man's vanity was the trap in which he was 
caught : he could not believe that a savage Scot, 
an untaught Highlander, could enter the lists 
with one nurtured in the subtle atmosphere of 
Provence, with the pupil of Louis the Eleventh; 
a man schooled in eastern lore, who had passed 
a whole life of contrivance and deceit. 

The Scottish nobles, Moray, Buchan, and 
Bothwell, were satisfied in having given their 
countenance to the English hirelings; and, now 
that the more powerful Huntley promised to 
watch over the execution of their designs, they 
were glad enough to withdraw from the rude 
and inhospitable act. Huntley had every 
thing in his own hands. He, with a party of 
Highlanders, escorted the Duke and Duchess of 
York, with their friends and attendants, to 
Greenock. Frion had never shown himself so 



PERKIN WARBECK. 9 

humble or so courteous ; he seemed afraid that 
any one of his victims should escape : he was 
parti ticularly anxious to entice his old enemy, 
the Prior of Kilmainham, into the snare. His 
readiness and vivacity were remarked by all : it 
was attributed to the high hopes he entertained 
of his royal master's success through the alliance 
of the Earl of Surrey; and, wjiile York expressed 
his affectionate approbation, he smiled blandly, 
and painted every feature in the very colouring 
he wished it to wear. 

The vessel rode at anchor; the English 
sailors, on the arrival of York, went on board, 
got her under weigh, and dropt down the coast. 
With the dawn Lord Howard of Effingham, 
with a chosen troop, was, according to the false 
hopes of Richard, to arrive at the rendezvous, a 
wood about two miles south of the town, border- 
ing the sands of the sea. Here the English 
emissaries were congregated, and here a score 
of Highlanders were in ambush, to assist in the 
capture of the White Rose. Hither, even 
before dawn, the wakeful Frion came, to an- 
nounce the speedy arrival of his lord. He 
B 5 



10 PERKIN WARBECK. 

found his English friends in some anxiety. 
Clifford, who, under the name of Wiatt, had 
been chief among them, was seized with panic 
or remorse, and had gone on board the vessel, 
which had cast anchor but a few furlongs from 
the shore. The others were mean under- 
lings : Frion's presence gave them courage ; he 
was elated; his laugh was free; he had neither 
doubt nor scruple; no, not even when he turned 
from the vulgar, brutalized countenancesgpf these 
ruffians, to behold the princely victim in all the 
splendour of innocence, with one beside him so 
lovely, that the spirit of good itself had selected 
her form for its best earthly lx>wer; or to see 
Edmund, whose dark eyes beamed with unknown 
joy, and Neville, whose haughty glance was ex- 
changed for a glad smile. The man's sole 
thought was exultation at his own cleverness 
and success, in having inveigled so many of the 
noble and the brave to this dark fate. 

" What tidings of Effingham?" asked York. 

" Are ye ready?" cried Huntley. 

" All ! " replied Frion ; " all save him ye 
name Wiatt. Sir Robert, forsooth, is but half 



PERKIN WARBECK. 11 

a man, and never does more than half deed, 
though that half makes a whole crime. All 
is ready. I hear the sound of oars ; the boat 
nears the shore." 

Through the tall, bare trunks of the trees, a 
glimpse of the beach might be gained ; the roar- 
ing of the surges was distinct, now mingled with 
the cry of sailors. 

" Then lose we no time," said Huntley. " My 
Lord of York, these words sound strange. You 
expected a noble countryman, to lead you to 
victory; you find nameless fellows, and the prince 
of knaves, most ready and willing to lead you to 
everlasting prison. Lo, the scene shifts again ! 
Never be cast down, Master Frion; you are as 
subtle as any of your race only to be outwitted 
by a niggard Scotchman, who can ill read, and 
worse write; except when villainy is blazoned 
in a man's face, and his sword indites a traitor's 
fate. Your clerkship will find none among us 
learned enough to afford you benefit of clergy." 

Huntley drew his sword; and at the signal 
his Highlanders arose from their ambush. Frion 
was seized and bound. None, who even a mo- 



12 PERKIN WARBECK. 

ment before had seen the smooth-faced villain, 
could have recognised him ; he wns pale as the 
snow on Ben Nevis. A Highlander, an adept 
in such acts, dexterously threw a knotted rope 
over his head, and cast his eye up to the trees 
for a convenient branch. Such had been the 
orders ; such the summary justice of the Earl. 

Richard meanwhile looked on the blanched 
visage and quailing form of his betrayer in mere 
compassion. " Is it even so, Etienne?" he said; 
" and after long companionship we part thus." 

The trembling craven fell on his knees, though 
he tightened the halter by the movement, so that 
when Richard turned away, saying, " I had 
thought better of thee: Jesu pardon thee as 
readily as I farewell ! " he had scarce voice to 
cry for mercy. 

" Aye," cried the Gordon ; " such mercy as 
we grant the wolf and thievish fox. Short shrift 
be thine, Master Secretary ! " 

" By our Lady's grace, stay ! " said Kathe- 
rine ; " do not kill the false-hearted knave. He 
is a coward, and dares survive his honour; let 
him live." 



PERKIN WARBECK. 13 

Richard looked sternly on the kneeling slave. 
To the good there is something awful in the 
sight of a guilty man. It is a mystery to them 
how the human heart can be so perverted. Is 
it a spirit from hell, that incorporates itself with 
the pulsations of our mortal bosom ; a darkness 
that overshadows; a fiendly essence that mingles 
with the breath God gave to his own image ? 
York felt a shrinking horror. " Thou hast pur- 
sued me since my youth," he said, " forcing thy- 
self into my councils ; sometimes as a wily enemy; 
at others, befriending me in seeming, raising 
my soul, that flagged beneath the world's un- 
kind ministry; dropping balm by thy words into 
a wounded heart; to end thy office thus ! Was 
this thy purpose ever; or what demon whispered 
thee to betray? Die ! oh, no ! too many, the 
good, the great, the true, have died for me; 
live thou a monument a mark to tell the world 
that York can pardon, York can despise not so 
base a thing as thee that were little, but even 
thy employer. Go, tell my sister's husband 
that I bear a charmed life ; that love and 



14- PERKIN WARBECK. 

valour are my guards. Bid him bribe those, 
nor waste his ill-got crowns on such as thee. 
Unbind him, sirs; make signal to the boat; 
let him on board; the winds stand fair for 
England." 

The fall of many a hope, roused by the 
forgery on Surrey's name, was forgotten by 
Richard, as he sickened at this other mark of 
man's wickedness and folly. He was surely the 
dear sport of fortune, a tale to chronicle how 
faithless friends may be. If such thoughts, like 
summer clouds, darkened his mind, they va- 
nished, driven by the winds of life that bore 
him onward. This was no time for mere gloomy 
meditation. Though he was obliged to return 
to his forgotten Irish scheme, and to dismiss tin- 
glorious anticipation in which he had indulged, 
of leading the chivalry of England to the field ; 
though no real defeat had ever visited him so 
keenly as this mockery of one ; yet he was forced 
to forget himself, and to apply himself to console 
and rouse his downcast friends ; but his skill 
was well repaid, and soon he again awoke to 



PERKIN WARBECK. 15 

those feelings of buoyant hope, unwearied 
energy, and unshaken confidence which were 
the essence of his character. 

In this last trial he felt how much good he 
might derive from the sweetness and constant 
spirit of the Lady Katherine. She hoped for 
none of the world's blessings, except they came 
in the shape of loves from him to whom she was 
united ; happiness all her's as centered in her 
blameless affections; and her confidence was 
placed in the belief and knowledge, that by de- 
voting herself to her lord, to the wandering out- 
cast who so dearly needed her sacrifice, she 
fulfilled her destiny upon earth, and pleased 
the " great Task Master," who for happiness or 
misery, but certainly for good, had given her 
life. All her gentle eloquence was spent in dis- 
suading Richard from those unkind thoughts 
towards his species, which the treason of these 
base men, the caprice of James, the harsh sen- 
tence (for this was again brought home to him 
by disappointment) of Surrey, awakened in his 
bosom. It proved no hard task; soon the 
princely Adventurer, with eagle flight, soared 



16 PERKIN WARBECK. 

from the sad prostration of spirit, the birth of 
his disasters, to fresh hopes and lofty resolves. 

It was necessary immediately to prepare for his 
departure. The Earl of Huntley, struck by his 
magnanimity, no longer opposed his daughter's 
wish. The English exiles were eager for a new, 
and, they believed (for untired is Hope in man); 
for a prosperous career. Scotland grew rude, 
confined, and remote in their eyes. In Ireland 
were placed for them the portals of the world, 
to be opened by their swords; the dancing 
sea-waves invited them; the winds of heaven 
lent themselves to their service. " My friends," 
said Richard, " dear and faithful partners 
of my wayward fortunes, I would fondly be- 
lieve that we ure favoured of heaven. We 
are fevr; but the evil and the treacherous are 
no longer among us. And does old Time in all 
his outworn tales tell any truer, than that the 
many, being disunited, and so false, have ever 
been vanquished by the loving, bold, and heroic 
few? That a child may scan with its fingers 
our bare arithmetic, will therefore be to us the 
source of success, as assuredly it will be of 



PERKIN WARBECK. 17 

glory. The English were few when they mowed 
down thickly planted French at Cressy and 
Poictiers. Which among us, armed as we are 
in the mail of valour, but would encounter ten 
of Tudor's scant-paid mercenaries ? For me ! 
I do believe that God is on my side, as surely as 
I know that justice and faith are ; and I fear no 
defeat." 

It is thus that man, with fervent imagination, 
can endue the rough stone with loveliness, forge 
the mis-shapen metal into a likeness of all that 
wins our hearts by exceeding beauty, and 
breathe into a dissonant trump soul-melting 
harmonies. The mind of man that mystery, 
which may lend arms against itself, teaching 
vain lessons of material philosophy, but which, 
in the very act, shows its pow r er to play with 
all created things, adding the sweetness of its 
own essence to the sweetest, taking its ugliness 
from the deformed. The creative faculty of 
man's soul which, animating Richard, made 
him see victory in defeat, success and glory in 
the dark, the tortuous, the thorny path, which it 



18 PERKIN WARBECK. 

was liis destiny to walk from the cradle to the 
tomb. 

Oh, had I, weak and faint of speech, words to 
teach my fellow-creatures the beauty and capa- 
bilities of man's mind ; could I, or could one 
more fortunate, breathe the magic word which 
would reveal to all the power, which we all 
possess, to turn evil to good, foul to fair ; then 
vice and pain would desert the new-born world ! 

It is not thus : the wise have taught, the 
good suffered for us ; we are still the same ; and 
still our own bitter experience and heart- 
breaking regrets teach us to sympathize too 
feelingly with a tale like this ; which records the 
various fortunes of one who at his birth received 
every gift which most we covet ; whose strange 
story is replete with every change of happiness 
and misery ; with every contrast of glorious and 
disgraceful ; who was the noble object of godlike 
fidelity, and the sad victim of demoniac treason ; 
the mark of man's hate and woman's love; spend- 
ing thus a short eventful life. It is not spent ; 
he yet breathes : he is on the world of waters. 



PERKIN WARBECK. 19 

What new scene unfolds itself? Where are 
they who were false, where those who were true ? 
They congregate around him, and the car of 
life bears him on, attended by many frightful, 
many lovely shapes, to his destined end. He 
has yet much to suffer ; and, human as he is, 
much to enjoy. 



20 



CHAPTER II. 



One moment these were heard and seen ; another 
Past, and the two who stood beneath that night. 
Each only heard, or saw, or felt the other. 

SHELLEY. 



THE hour had now arrived when Richard 
took leave of Scotland. The King was humbled 
by the necessity he felt himself under, of sending 
forth his friend and kinsman into the inhospita- 
ble world ; and he felt deep grief at parting 
with his lovely cousin. She grew pale, when for 
the last time she saw the friend of her youth. 
But Katherine looked upon life in a mode very 
different from the usual one : the luxuries and 
dignities of the world never in her mind for a 
moment came in competition with her affections 
and her duty ; she saw the plain path before her ; 
whatever her father's or her royal cousin's idea 



PERKIN WARBECK. 21 

had been in giving her to the Duke of York, she 
knew that, being his, her destiny upon earth 
was to share his fortunes, and soothe his sorrows. 
This constant looking on, giving herself up to, 
and delighting in one aim, one object, one occu- 
pation, elevated her far above the common cares 
of existence. She left 

" All meaner things, 

The low ambition and the pride of Kings ;" 

to shroud herself in love; to take on herself the 
hallowed state of one devoting herself to another's 
happiness. Cleopatra, basking in sunny pomp, 
borne, the wonder of the world, in her gilded bark, 
amidst all the aroma of the east, upon the gently 
rippling Cydnus, felt neither the pride nor joy 
of Katherine, as, on the poor deck of their dark 
weather-beaten skiff, she felt pillowed by the 
downy spirit of love, fanned by its gentle breath. 
The Duke of York was more depressed ; he 
thought of how, since his miserable childhood, 
he had been the sport of fortune and her scorn. 
He thought of the false, the cold, the perished : 
a dark wall seemed to rise around him; a murky 
vault to close over him : success, glory, honour, 
the world's treasures, which he had been brought 



22 PERKIN WARBECK. 

up to aspire to as his dearest aim, his right, were 
unattainable ; he was the defeated, the outcast; 
there was a clog in his way for ever ; a foul taint 
upon his name. Thus seated on the deck, his 
arm coiled round a rope, his head leaning on his 
arm, while the stars showered a dim silvery ra- 
diance, and the sparkling sea mocked their lus- 
tre with brighter fires ; while the breeze, that 
swelled his sail, and drove him merrily along, 
spent its cold breath on him ; he, painting all 
natural objects with the obscure colouring sug- 
gested by his then gloomy spirit, distorting the 
rery scenery of heaven and vast ocean into sym- 
bols of his evil fate, gave himself up to the very 
luxury of woe, meanwhile the shadow of a lovely 
form fell on him, soft fingers pressed the curls of 
his hair, and Katherine asked, " Are the nights 
of Andalusia more glorious than this ?" 

At the voice of the charmer the daamon fled : 
sky and sea cast off the dim veil his grief had 
woven, and creation was restored its native 
beauty; Hitherto the halls of palaces, the gaiety 
of a court, the council-chamber, had been tin- 
scenes in which the princely pair had lived toge- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 23 

ther; linked to an engrossing state of things, 
surrounded by their partizans, they had been 
friends, nay lovers, according to the love of the 
many. But solitary Nature is the true temple of 
Love, where he is not an adjunct, but an essence ; 
and now she alone was around them, to fill them 
with sublime awe, and the softest tenderness. In 
Richard's eyes, the kingdom of his inheritance 
dwindled into a mere speck ; the land of her 
nativity became but a name to Katherine. It 
sufficed for their two full hearts that they were 
together on the dark wide sea ; the bright sky 
above, and calm upon the bosom of the deep. 
They could ill discern each other in the shadowy 
twilight ; a dream-like veil was cast over their 
features, as sleep curtains out the soul, so that 
we look on the beloved slumberer, and say " He 
is there, though the mystery of repose wraps me 
from him ;" so now darkness blinded and divided 
them : but hand clasped hand ; he felt that one 
existed whp was his own, his faithful ; and she 
rejoiced in the accomplishment of the master- 
sentiment of her soul, the desire of self-devo- 
tion, self-annihilation, for one who loved her. 



24 PERKIN WARBECK. 

The passion that warmed their hearts had no 
fears, no tumult, no doubt. One to the other 
they sufficed; and, but that the trance is fleeting, 
Happiness, the lost child of the world, would 
have found here her home ; for when love, 
which is the necessity of affectionate hearts, and 
the sense of duty, which is the mystery and the 
law of our souls, blend into one feeling, Paradise 
has little to promise save immortality. 

For many days this state of forgetful extacy 
lasted. Plantagenet and Neville spoke of wars 
in England ; Lord Barry and Keating of their 
I fish schemes the Prince listened and replied ; 
but his soul was far away Oh, that for ever they 
might sail thus on the pathless, shoreless sea ! 
Nothing mean or trivial or ignoble could visit 
them ; no hate, no care, no fear this might not 
be, but to have felt, to have lived thus for a few 
short days, suffices to separate mortal man from 
the groveling part of his nature no disgrace, no 
despair can so bring him back to the low-minded 
world, as to destroy the sense of having once 
so existed. And Richard, marked for misery 
and defeat, acknowledged that power which 



PERKIN WARBECK. 25 

sentiment possesses to exalt us to convince us 
that our minds, endowed with a soaring, rest- 
less aspiration, can find no repose on earth ex- 
cept in love. 



VOL. III. 



26 



CHAPTER III. 



Now for our Irish wars !" 

SHAKSFEARE. 



AGAIN the Duke of York approached the rocky 
entrance of the Cove of Cork, again he passed 
through the narrow passage, which opening, dis- 
played a lovely sheet of tranquil water, decked 
with islands. The arrival of his fleet in the 
harbour was hailed with joy. Old John O' Water 
had returned to his civic labours, and had con- 
trived to get himself chosen mayor for this year, 
that he might be of greater assistance to the 
White Rose in his enterprize. 

As soon as the arrival of his ships off the 
coast was known, O' Water dispatched messen- 



PERKJN WARBECK. 27 

gers to the Earl of Desmond, and busied him- 
self to give splendour to Richard's entrance into 
Cork. Tapestry and gay -coloured silks were 
hung from the windows ; the street was strewn 
with flowers citizens and soldiers intermixed 
crowded to the landing-place. York's heart 
palpitated with joy. It was not that thence he 
much hoped for success to his adver:ure, which 
required more than the enthusiasm of the re- 
mote inhabitants of the south of Ireland to 
achieve it, but Cork was a sort of home to him ; 
here he had found safety when he landed, barely 
escaped from Trangrnar's machinations here 
he first assumed his rightful name and title 
here,a mere boy, ardent, credulous, and bold he 
had seen strangers adopt his badge and avouch 
his cause. Five years had elapsed since then 
the acclaim of a few kind voices, the display of 
zeal, could no longer influence his hopes as then 
they had done, but they gladdened his heart, 
and took from it that painful feeling which we 
all too often experience that we are cast away 
on the inhospitable earth, useless and neg- 
lected. 

c2 



28 PERKIN WARBECK. 

He was glad also in the very first spot of his 
claimed dominions whereon he set foot, to see 
the Lady Katherine received with the honours 
due to her rank. Her beauty and affability won 
the hearts of all around, and ()' Water, with the 
tenderness that an old man is so apt to feel to- 
wards a young and lovely woman, extended to 
her a paternal affection, the simplicity and 
warmth of which touched her, thrown as she 
was among strangers, with gratitude. 

Lord Desmond arrived he was struck by the 
improvement in York's manner, still ingenuous 
and open-hearted : he was more dignified, more 
confident in himself than before the husband 
of Katherine also acquired consideration ; as an 
adventurous boy, he might be used according to 
the commodity of the hour now he had place 
station in the world, and Desmond paid him 
greater deference, almost unawares. 

But the Earl was sorely disappointed ; " Re- 
verend Father," said he to Keating, " what aid 
does Scotland promise ? Will they draw Tudor 
with his archers and harquebussiers, and well- 
horsed Knights, to the north, giving our Irish 



PERK1N WARBECK. 29 

Kern some chance of safe landing in the 
west ? " 

" Peace is concluded between Scotland and 
England," replied Keating. 

Desmond looked moody. " How thrives the 
White Rose over the water? How sped the 
Duke, when he entered England ? Some aid 
somewhere we must have, besides yonder knot of 
wanderers, and our own hungry, naked kerns." 

" By my fay ! " replied Keating, " every 
budding blossom on the Rose-bash was nipped, 
as by a north-east wind. When Duke Richard 
sowed his hopes there, like the dragon's teeth 
of Dan Cadrnus, they turned into so many armed 
men to attack him." 

" Sooth, good Prior," said the Earl, with a 
sharp laugh, " we shall speed well thereby : 
would you a re-acting of the gleeful mime at 
Stowe?" 

" Wherefore," said Keating, " fix your 
thoughts on England ? The dark sea rolls be- 
tween us, and even the giants of old broke their 
causeway, which in the north 'tis said they 
built, ere it laid its long arm on the English 



30 PERKIN WARBECK. 

shore. The name of Ireland reads as fair as 
England; its sons are as brave and politic, able 
to defend, to rule themselves : blot England 
from the world, and Ireland stands free and 
glorious, sufficing to herself. This springal, 
valorous though he be, can never upset Tudor's 
throne in London ; but he can do more for us 
by his very impotence. He is the true Lord of 
Ireland : we are liegemen in maintaining his 
right. Plant his banner, rally round it all men 
who wish well to their country ; drive out the 
good man Poynings; crush the Butlers aye, 
down with them; and when Richard is crowned 
King of Erin, and the Geraldines rule under 
him, our native land will stand singly, nor want 
England for a crutch or, by'r Lady! for a 
spear to enter her heart, while she leaneth on 
it ; so the wars of York and Lancaster may free 
us from the proud, imperious English ; and the 
Irish, like the Scotch, have a king and a state of 
their own." 

Desmond's eyes flashed for a moment, as 
Keating thus presented before them the picture 
he most desired to behold ; but they grew cold 



PERK1N WARBECK. 31 

again. " The means, reverend Prior, the arms, 
the money, the soldiers ? " 

" A bold stroke brings all : strike one blow, 
and Ireland is at our feet. We must not tarry ; 
now the Butlers and their party are asleep in 
their security; gather men together; march for- 
ward boldly ; strike at the highest, Dublin 
herself." 

" Father," replied the Earl, " long before I 
were half way there, my litter would be aban- 
doned even by its bearers, and we left alone 
among the bogs and mountains, to feed as we 
may, or die. If there be any sooth in your 
scheme, it can only prove good, inasmuch as we 
secure Connaught to ourselves, and turn this 
corner of the island into a kingdom; but 
neither one word, nor one blow, will gain 
Dublin. You are right so far, something must 
be done and speedily; and, if it be well done, 
we may do more, till by the aid of the blessed 
St. Patrick and white tooih'd Bridget ! we 
tread upon the necks of the Butlers." 

This one thing to be undertaken, after much 
consultation among the chieftains, was the siege 



32 PERKIN WARBECK. 

of Waterford : it had been summoned to ac- 
knowledge Duke Richard as its lord, and had 
refused : Keating was very averse to spending 
time before a fortified town. " On, on, boutez 
en avant ! " He reminded Lord Barry of his 
device, and strove to awaken ambition in him. 
The Prior of Kilmainham had spent all his Hie 
in Dublin, a chief member of the government, 
a seditious, factious but influential man: the 
capital to him was all that was worth having, 
while, to these lords of Munster, the smallest 
victory over their particular rivals, or the gain- 
ing a chief city in a district, which was their 
world, appeared more glorious than entering 
London itself victoriously, if meanwhile Water- 
ford, or any one of the many towns of Ireland, 
held out against them. 

On the fifteenth of July, 1497, the Duke of 
York, the Earl of Desmond, and the other 
many chief of many names, some Geraldines, 
all allied to, or subject to them, as the O'Briens, 
the Roches, the Macarthys, the Barrys, and 
others, assembled at Youghall, a town subject 
to the Earl of Desmond, and situated about 



PERKIN WARBECK, 33 

mid-way between Cork and Waterford, at the 
mouth of the river Biackwater. 

On the twenty-second of July the army was 
in movement, and entered the county of Water- 
ford ; the chiefs, at the head of their respective 
followers, proceeded to the shrine of St. Declan 
at Ardmore, to make their vows for the success of 
their expedition. The church at Ardmore, the 
round tower, the shrine, and healing-rock, were 
all objects of peculiar sanctity. The Countess 
of Desmond, and her young son, and the fair 
Duchess of York, accompanied this procession 
from Youghall. After the celebration of .mass, 
the illustrious throng congregated 6n the rocky 
eminence, on which the mysterious tower is built 
overlooking the little bay, where the calm waters 
broke gently on the pebbly beach. It was a beau- 
teous summer day ; the noon-day heat was tem- 
pered by the sea breeze, and relieved by the 
regular plash of the billows, as they spent 
themselves on the shore. A kind of silence 
such silence as there can be among a multitude, 
such a silence as is preserved when the winds 
sing among the pines possessed the crowd : 
c 5 



34 PERK1N WARBECK. 

they stood in security, in peace, surrounded by 
such objects as excited piety and awe; and yet 
the hopes of the warrior, and, if such a word 
may be used, a warrior's fears, possessed them ; 
it was such a pause as the mountain-goat makes 
ere lie commits himself to the precipice. A mo- 
ment afterwards all was in motion ; to the sound 
of warlike instruments the troops wound up the 
Ardmore mountains, looking down on the little 
fleet, that stemmed its slow way towards the har- 
bour of Waterford. The ladies were left alone 
with few attendants. The young Duchess gazed 
on that band of departing warriors, whose sole 
standard was the spotless rose ; they were soon 
lost in the foldings of the hills; again they 
emerged ; her straining eye caught them. That 
little speck upon the mountain-side contained 
the sole hope and joy of her life, exposed to 
danger for the sake of little good ; for Katha- 
rine, accustomed to the sight of armies, and to 
the companionship of chiefs and rulers, detected 
at once the small chance there was, that these 
men could bring to terms a strongly fortified 
city ; but resignation supplied the place of hope; 



', 

PERKIN WARBECK. 35 

she believed that Richard would be spared ; and, 
but for his own sake, she cared little whether a 
remote home in Ireland, or a palace in England 
received them. She looked again on the moun- 
tain path ; no smallest moving object gave sign 
of life; the sun-light slept upon the heathy 
uplands ; the grey rocks stood in shadowy gran- 
deur ; Katharine sighed and turned again to the 
chapel, to offer still more fervent prayers, that on 
this beauteous earth, beneath this bright genial 
heaven, she might not be left desolate : what- 
ever else her fortune, that Richard might be 
hers. 

The army which the Earl of Desmond led 
against Waterford, did not consist of more than 
two thousand men. With these he invested the 
western division of the city. Richard, with his 
peculiar troop, took his position at the extremity 
of this line, nearest Passage, close to Lumbard's 
Marsh, there to protect the disembarkment of 
troops from the fleet. 

Neither party failed in zeal or activity. The 
first days were actively employed in erecting 
works and bringing the cannon to play upon 



36 , PERKIN WARBECK. 

the town. On the third, in the very midst of 
their labours, while the Earl in his litter was 
carried close under the walls among the pioneers, 
and Lord Barry in his eagerness seized a spade 
and began to work, signals of attack were made 
from the town, and the troops poured out from 
the nearest gate. The advanced guard were 
too few to contend with them ; they were driven 
back on the entrenchments. The citizens were 
full of fury and indignation ; they rushed for- 
ward with loud cries, and created a confusion, 
which Desmond and Lord Barry were not slow 
to encounter ; they brought a few regular troops 
to stand the assault ; a well pointed cannon from 
the town swept the thin lines; they fell back ; 
a yell of victory was raised by the men of 
Wuterford ; it reached the out-post of Duke 
Richard : he, with a score of men, five among 
them, with himself, being cavaliers armed at all 
points, were viewing a portion of the walls 
that seemed most open to assault ; the roar of 
cannon and the clash of arms called him to 
more perilous occupation ; he galloped towards 
the scene of action ; and, while still the faltering 



PERKIN WARBECK. 37 

men of Desmond were ashamed to fly, yet dared 
not stand, he, with his little troop, attacked the 
enemy on their flank. The white steed, the 
nodding plume, the flashing sword of York were 
foremost in the frav ; Neville and Plantagenet 

v * O 

were close behind ; these knights in their iron 
armour seemed to the half-disciplined Irish like 
invulnerable statues, machines to offend, impreg- 
nable to offence ; twenty such might have turned 
the fortunes of a more desperate day : their an- 
tagonists fell back. The knight of Kerry led on at 
tliis moment a reinforcement of Geraldines, and 
a cannon, which hitherto had been rebel to the 
cannoneer's art, opened its fiery mouth with 
such loud injurious speech, that for many 
moments the dread line it traced remained 
a blank. Richard saw the post of advantage, 
and endeavoured to throw himself between 
the enemy and the city : he did not succeed ; 
but, on the contrary, was nearly cut off him- 
self by a reinforcement of townsmen, sent to 
secure the retreat of their fellows. Those who 
saw him fight that day spoke of him as a 
wonder: the heart that had animated him 



38 PERKIN WARBECK. 

in Andalusia was awake; as there he smote 
to death the turbaned Moor; so now he dealt 
mortal blows on all ai'ound, fearless of the press- 
ing throng and still encreasing numbers. While 
thus hurried away by martial enthusiasm, the 
sound of a distant trumpet caught his ear, and 
the echo of fire arms followed ; it came from the 
east his own post was attacked : now, when he 
wished to retreat, he first discerned how alone 
and how surrounded he was; yet, looking on his 
foes he saw, but for their numbers, how des- 
picable they were ; to a knight, what was this 
throng of half-armed burghers and naked 
kerns, who pell mell aimed at him, every blow 
ineffectual ? But again the loud bellow of distant 
cannon called him, and he turned to retreat a 
cloud of missiles rattled against him ; his shield 
was struck through ; the bullets rebounded from 
his case of iron, while his sword felled an enemy 
at every stroke ; and now, breaking through the 
opposing rank on the other side, his friends join- 
ed him the citizens recoiled. " Old Reginald's 
tower," they averred, " would have bled sooner 
than these Sir Tristans they were charmed 



PERKIN WARBECK. 39 

men, and lead and good arrow-heads were softer 
than paper-pellets on their sides." The first 
movement of panic was enough ; before their 
leaders could rally them again to the attack, 
the English knights were far, riding at full 
speed towards the eastern gate. 

Here Richard's presence was enough to re- 
store victory to his standard flushed, panting, 
yet firm in his seat, his hand true and dangerous 
in its blows, there was something superhuman 
in his strength and courage, yet more fearful 
than his sharp sword. The excess of chivalrous 
ardour, the burning desire to mingle in the 
thickest fight, made danger happiness, and all 
the terrible shows of war entrancing joys to 
York. When reproached for rashness by his 
cousin, his bright eye was brighter for a tear, as 
he cried, " Cousin, I must have some part of 
my inheritance : my kingdom I shall never gain 
glory a deathless name oh, must not these 
belong to him who possesses Katherine? The 
proud Scots, who looked askance at my nuptials, 
shall avow at least that she wedded no craven- 
hearted loon." 



40 PERKIN WARBECK. 

With the morrow came a new task. Their 
little fleet had made its way up Waterford 
Harbour into the river Suir ; and the troops 
destined to join his were partly disembarked. 
To protect the landing, he and Neville rode 
across the marsh to the strand. On their return 
a fresh sight presented itself the ponds of 
Kilbarry were filled, the besieged having raised 
a mound of earth to stop the course of the river 
which flows from Kilbarry into the Suir; and the 
road back to their camp was completely cut off. 
There was no mode of getting round save by 
the road to Tramore; yet to the active mind 
of Richard, it seemed that even this disaster 
might be turned into a benefit. He reimbarked 
the troops ; he himself went on board the prin- 
cipal vessel; he called to secret council the 
captains: the conclusion was not immediately 
divulged, but some adventure of peril was 
assuredly planned among them. 

The long summer day went slowly down ; 
the hum of men from Waterford reached the 
ships; the quay vas thronged with soldiers; 
several vessels were anchored in the advance, 



PERKIN WARBECK. 41 

and manned with troops ; but the English fleet, 
their anchors cast, their sails furled, seemed 
peacefully inclined. As night came on, the 
quay became a desert; the ships were worked 
back to their former stations. It grew darker ; 
the city, with its old rough tower and spires, 
was mirrored indistinctly in the twilight tide; 
the walls grew dim and gigantic ; the sound of 
fire-arms ceased ; the last roll of the drum died 
away; the city slept, fearless of its invaders. 
At this moment, the ebbing tide began to flow. 
Assisted by the rising waters, Richard and 
Neville ran a small boat under the cover of the 
opposite bank of the river, to observe what 
defences the quay might possess. The low tide 
at that hour was its best defence: a watch-tower 
or two with their centinels, completed the guard 
of a part of the town, whose defence on that side 
was neglected : by midnight also the tide would 
have risen, but it was necessary to wait for the 
following night ; for first he must communicate 
with Desmond, that a night attack in the oppo- 
site direction might effectually leave the water- 
side deserted. The vessels meanwhile dropt 



42* PERKIN WARBECK. 

down below Little Island, at once to get out of 
shot of Reginald's tower, which commands the 
harbour, and to remove from the citizens any 
apprehensions they might entertain of attack. 
The winding of the river concealed them en- 
tirely from the town. 

The next day, a burning August day, de- 
clined into a dewy night ; imperceptibly during 
the dark the vessels were nearer the city ; and, 
while the warders of the city fancied that the 
troops on board the fleet were finding a circuit- 
ous path over land to Desmond's camp, the 
stars of night twinkled through the shrouds 
upon decks crowded with men, arming them- 
selves in busy silence. Suddenly it was re- 
ported to Richard that a stranger caravel was 
among them ; she was the only vessel with set 
sails, and these were enlarged by night, till as she 
neared, she seemed a giant, a living thing stalking 
between heaven and the element beneath. A 
sudden shiver convulsed the Prince ; to his eye it 
was the likeness of that vessel which long ere this 
had traverse^, he hoped in safety, the western 
sea, stemming its mountainous waves towards 






PERKIN WARBECK. 43 

the beauteous Indian Isles. Had it been wrecked, 
and this the spectre ? It was the illusion of a 
moment; but it was necessary to ascertain the 
nature and intentions of the stranger, who was 
now close among them. York's vessel, at his 
command, got alongside of her ; he leapt upon 
the deck, and saw at once him whom the dim 
night had concealed before, Hernan de Faro 
upon the deck. 

A thousand emotions, wonder, fear, delight, 
rushed into the youth's heart ; while the Mari- 
ner, yet more weather-beaten, thin to emacia- 
tion, but still erect, still breathing the same 
spirit of fortitude and kindliness, grasped his 
hand, and blessed the Virgin for the meeting. 
The questions, the anxiety of Richard, could 
not be uttered in this hour of action ; he only 
said, " You will join us, and we will be doubly 
strong; or must you remain to guard your 
daughter?" 

" I come from her she is not with me 
more of this anon." 

Rapidly he asked and obtained information 
of the meditated attack ; in part he disapproved, 



44 PERKIN VVARBECK. 

and, with all the sagacity of a veteran in such 
enter prizes, suggested alterations. Now every 
boat was lowered with silent expedition, each 
received its freight of troops, and was rowed 
with the tide up the Suir. One skiff contained 
York and the Moor. The Prince, in the an- 
ticipation of the hazardous contest, looked seri- 
ous ; while every feature of De Faro's face was 
bright, his animated, glad smile, his flashing eyes 
all spoke the exhilaration of one engaged in 
his elected pleasure. Richard had never seen 
him thus before : usually he appeared kind, 
almost deferential; yet, except when he talked 
of the sea, heavy and silent, and speaking of 
that in a subdued tone. He now stood the 
picture of a veteran hero, self-possessed and 
calm, but for the joyousness that the very 
feeling of his sword's weight, as his right 
hand grasped the hilt, imparted to his warlike 
spirit. 

Had an angel, on poized wings of heavenly 
grain, hovered over the city of Waterford, 
gazing on its star-pointing spires, the reflecting 
waters of the Suir, the tranquil hills and woods 



PERKIN WARBECK. 45 

that gathered round the river, he would have 
believed such quiet inviolate, and blessed the 
sleep that hushed the miserable passions of hu- 
manity to repose. Anon there came the splash 
of waters, the shout of men, the sentinels' startled 
ciy, the sudden rush of the guard, the clash of 
swords, the scream, the low groan, the pro- 
tracted howl, and the fierce bark of the watch- 
dog joining in. The celestial angel has soared 
to heaven, scared; and yet honour, magnani- 
mity, devotion filled the hearts of those who 
thus turned to hell a seeming paradise. Led 
by Richard and De Faro, while a party was left 
behind to ensure retreat, another rushed for- 
ward right through the town, to throw open 
the western gate, and admit Desmond, before 
the terrified citizens had exchanged their night- 
caps for helmets ; in vain : already the market- 
place was rilled with soldiers ready for the 
encounter; guided by a native, they endea- 
voured to find a way through the bye-streets ; 
they lost themselves; they got entangled in 
narrow allies ; the awakened citizens cast upon 
their heads tiles, blocks of wood, all they could 



46 PERK1N WARBECK. 

lay hands upon ; to get back to the square was 
their only salvation ; although the storm and yell 
that rose behind, assured them that Desmond 
had commenced the attack. With diminished 
numbers York regained the market-place; here 
he was furiously attacked; the crowd still in- 
creased, until the knot of assailants might have 
been crushed, it seemed, by mere numbers ; day, 
bright day, with its golden clouds and swift pacing 
sun, dawned upon the scene. In one of those 
pauses which sometimes occur in the most chaotic 
roar, a trumpet was heard, sounding as it seemed 
Desmond's retreat from the walls. Richard felt that 
he was deserted, that all hope was over ; and to se- 
cure the retreat of his men was a work of sufficient 
difficulty. Foot to foot the young hero and the 
veteran mariner fought ; one by the quickness 
of his blows, the other by his tower-like strength, 
Iceeping back the enemy ; while retreating slowly, 
their faces to the foe, they called on their men to 
make good their escape. They reached the 
quay they saw the wide river, their refuge; 
their vessels near at hand, the boats hovering 
close, their safety was in sight, and yet hope of 



PERKIN WARBECK. 47 

safety died in their hearts, so many and so fierce 
were those who pressed on them. Richard was 
wounded, weary, faint ; De Faro alone Regi- 
nald's old tower, which, dark and scaithless, 
frowned on them, seemed his type. They were 
at the water's edge, and the high tide kissed 
with its waves the very footway of the quay : 
" Courage, my Lord, a few more blows and 
we are safe : " the mariner spoke thus, for he 
saw Richard totter ; and his arm, raised feebly, 
fell again without a stroke. At that moment, a 
flame, and then a bellowing roar, announced 
that the tardy cannoneer had at last opened his 
battery on the fleet, from the tower. One glance 
De Faro cast on his caravel ; the bolt had struck 
and damaged one of the vessels, but the Ada- 
lid escaped. " Courage, my Lord ! " again he 
shouted ; and at that moment a blow was struck 
at Richard which felled him ; he lay stretched 
at De Faro's feet. Ere it could be repeated, the 
head of the assailant was cleft by a Moorish 
scymitar. With furious strength, De Faro then 
hurled his weapon among the soldiers; the un- 
expected act made them recoil ; he lifted up the 



48 PERKIN WARBECK. 

insensible form of Richard with the power of an 
elephant ; he cast him into the near waves, and 
leapt in after : raising him with one hand, he 
cut the waters with the other, and swam thus 
towards his vessel, pursued by a rain of missiles ; 
one arrow glanced on Richard's unstrung hel- 
met, another fixed itself in the joint at the 
neck; but De Faro was unhurt. He passed, 
swimming thus, the nearest vessels ; the sailors 
crowded to the sides, imploring him to enter : as 
if it had been schoolboy's sport he refused, till 
he reached the Adalid, till his own men raised 
Richard, revived now, but feeble, to her worn 
deck : and he, on board her well-known planks, 
felt superior to every sovereign in the world. 






49 



CHAPTER IV. 



Farewell, Erin ! farewell all 
Who live to weep our fall ! 



MOORE. 



ON the height of the tower of Ardmore, the 
White Rose of young Richard kept her vigils, 
and looked across the calm sea, and along the 
passes of the mountains of Drum, in anxious 
expectation of the event of the expedition. Sad 
forebodings oppressed her; the sentiment that 
mastered every other, was that her lord should 
require her presence, her assistance, while she 
was far. He had promised to send a post each 
day; when these failed, her heart sank within 
her. The only change that occurred, was when 
she saw the Adalid proceed slowly in the calm 
towards Waterford. 

VOL. III. B 



50 PERKJN WARBECK. 

One sunny morn she from her watch-tower 
perceived several straggling groupes descending 
the mountains. She strained her eyes : no 
banners waved ; no martial music spoke of vic- 
tory. That was secondary in her eyes ; it was for 
Richard's safety that she was solicitous ; yet she 
would not, did not fear ; for there is an in- 
stinctive sense in human nature which, in time 
of doubt, sallies forth from the ark of refuge, 
and brings back tidings of peace or sorrow to 
the expectant on the perilous flood ; a prophetic 
spirit which, when it despairs woe the while ! 
the omen proves not false. The Lady Ka- 
therine watched anxiously but not in despair. 
At length heavy footsteps ascended the tower- 
stairs ; and, to answer the beatings of her heart, 
Edmund Plantagenet and the Mayor of Cork 
presented themselves ; they eagerly asked, " Is 
he not here ? " 

" Nay, he has not fled ? " she replied, while 
for the first time she grew pale. 

" Weigh our words as mere air," said O' Water; 
" for we know nothing, gentle dame, but that I 
must to Cork, to bar out the men of Waterford. 
His Highness left us for the fleet ; and the filling 



PERKIN WARBECK, 51 

up of those cursed ponds of Kilbarry ill luck 
to them ! cut off his return. Last night 
Saint Patrick knows the deeds of the last 
night ! weary from our labour the day before, 
we were all too carelessly asleep, when our camp 
was assaulted. Earl Maurice had ridden to 
Lismore to hasten his cousin, the Knight of the 
Valley. There was some report of an attack 
upon the town from the ships. Havock was the 
cry that roused the welkin from east to west. 
The sum I know not, save that we are runaways 
the siege of Waterford is raised." 

" What skiff is that ? " interrupted the 
Duchess. Round the point of Minehead first 
peeped the bowsprit, then the prow ; and last 
the complete form of a vessel in full sail, yet 
scarcely touched by the wind, weathered the pro- 
montory. " Haste we, my friends," she conti- 
nued ; " the Duke may be on board ; at least 
we shall have intelligence." 

" I know that craft full well," said O* Water ; 
" her captain is a converted Moorish pagan." 

" The White Rose waves from her mast-top," 
cried Katherine ; ' f oh, he is there ! " 

D2 



52 PERKIN WARBECK. 

" Holy angels ! " exclaimed Edmund ; " it is 
the Adalid ! I will on board on the instant." 

Already the Duchess was descending the 
steep narrow stairs; the villagers of Ardmore, 
with many of the soldiers who had fled from 
Waterford, were on the shingles, watching the 
caravel, now full in sight, yet fearful to ven- 
ture too near the shelving shore. " They are 
bound for Cork," cried a man. 

" Oh, not till I first speak to them," said 
Katherine ; " the day is fair; the sea calm ; put 
off a boat. Ah, my cousin Edmund, take me 
with thee." 

Plantagenet had already got a boat from its 
moorings. O' Water was beside the Princess to 
beseech vainly that she would be patient ; and 
poor Astley, who had been left in special 
attendance on her, waited near with blanched 
cheeks. Accompanied by these dear or humble 
friends, the White Rose was borne with the speed 
of ten oars towards the Adalid. On the deck, 
half reclining on a rude bed, very pale, yet with 
lively, wakeful eyes, lay the Prince of England. 
In a moment Katherine was assisted on board. 



PERKIN WARBECK. 53 

There was no death for Richard ; she was 
there, life of his life ; so young, so beautiful, 
and true ; the celestial goodness that beamed in 
her eyes, and dimpled her cherub countenance, 
was not like that of an inhabitant of this sad 
planet; except that spirits of beauty and love 
ever and anon do animate the frames of the 
earth-born ; so that we behold in the aspects of 
our fellow-beings glances and smiles bright as 
those of angels. De Faro himself looked with 
admiration on the bending form of this lovely 
one, till accosted by Edmund, whose first 
question was, " Don Hernan here where 
then is " 

" My beloved Monina you would ask for," 
said De Faro ; " she, who to please her vagrant 
father, would have crossed the wild Atlantic to 
visit the savage Western Isles. Poor child, 
even at the threshold of this adventure we were 
nearly wrecked. She is now in England ; she 
sent me here to tell of rebellion against King 
Henry; to invite Duke Richard to his kingdom." 

Thus they were occupied on the sunny deck ; 
die sea was calm, the keel almost stationary in 



54 PERKIN WARBECK. 



. 



the water ; they were bound for Cork ; Planta- 
genet and the Mayor gathered eagerly from De 
Faro the history of the combat. They learned 
that it had been expected that Desmond would 
have assaulted from land, while York invaded 
the city from the river ; but the fellow sent with 
Richard's missive had been taken, the city put 
on her guard. Nothing but the desire of the 
citizens to do too much, and his own desperate 
valour, had saved Richard; they resolved at 
once to receive and destroy him, and to sally 
unawares on the Earl's camp : they hoped to 
make prisoners of all the chiefs. They failed 
in this, but succeeded in raising the siege of 
their city. 

Towards evening a land-breeze sprung up, 
and two others of York's vessels hove in sight, 
and passed them quickly ; for the Adalid was 
much disabled, and made slow way. Soon in 
pursuit appeared a ship and two corvettes, which 
O' Water recognized as belonging to Water- 
ford. The corvettes proceeded on their way; 
but the larger vessel spied out the Adalid, and, 
being now in advance of her, hove to, with the 



PERK1N WAUBECK. 55 

manifest resolve of attacking her on her watery 
way towards Cork. De Faro, with his keen 
eyes fixed on the enemy's movements, stood on 
the forecastle in silence ; while Plantagenet and 
O' Water eagerly demanded arms, and exhorted 
the sailors to a most vain resistance. From the 
vessel of the foe the Moorish mariner cast his 
eyes upwards ; the wind was shifting to the west. 
With a loud voice he shouted to his crew to 
man the yards ; then, seizing the rudder, gave 
the swift orders that made the caravel go about. 
Sailing near the wind, her canvas had flapped 
lazily, now it filled ; the keel felt the impulse, 
and dashed merrily along, bounding forward 
like a courser in the race ; the ship, which had 
furled its sails in expectation of the combat, was 
in an instant left far behind ; the other vessels 
from Waterford were still further to the west, 
towards Cork. , 

All these manoeuvres were mysteries to the 
landsmen : they gladly hailed the distance placed 
between them and a superior enemy; but as 
with a freshening gale the Adalid still held her 
swift course towards the east, and the land 



56 PERK1N WARBECK. 

began to sink on the horizon, O' Water asked 
with some eagerness whither they were 
bound. 

" To safety," De Faro replied, laconically. 

" An idle answer," said Edmund ; " we must 
judge where our safety lies?" 

" I have ever found best safety on the wide 
ocean sea," cried the mariner, looking round 
proudly on his beloved element. " Your safeties 
and your Lord's, are, methinks, English born ; 
if this wind hold, on the third morning we shall 
see the coast of Cornwall." 

The mayor was aghast, exclaiming " Corn- 
wall ! England ! we are betrayed ? " 

De Faro looked on him with contempt : " I 
do not command here," he continued ; " I obey 
the Prince of England; let him decide. Shall 
we engage superior force; be boarded; taken by 
the enemy: or land, be wrecked, perchance, 
upon this savage coast; alive with vengeful 
kerns defeated men among a victorious angry 
people ? Or go where we are called by your 
leader's cause, where thousands of men are up 
in arms to receive you like brothers, to fight for 



PERKIN WARBECK. 57 

you, with you; where England, the long de- 
sired kingdom, makes you welcome to her green, 
sunny shores? Ask ye your Prince this ques- 
tion ; let his word be law." 

This statement, upheld by York, brought 
conviction to the minds of Plantagenet and 
O' Water. The latter was aware of the risk he 
ran from the awakened vengeance of Henry, to 
pursue his having fostered rebellion in the city 
of which he was magistrate; and a moment's 
reflection showed him that there was no se- 
curity for him, except in flight from Ireland. 
Meanwhile the wind, increasing in its strength, 
and right astern, carried them over the foaming 
waters. The early dawn showed them far at 
sea : they had outrun or baffled their pursuers ; 
and, though, now and then, with anxious thought, 
they reflected on the comrades left behind, on 
the poor equipage and diminished numbers 
with which they were about to land in England, 
still there was something so miraculous in their 
escape, so unforeseen in the destiny that cut 
them off, and carried them, a remnant merely 
of the war, away from its dangers, that they felt 



58 PERKIN WARBECK. 

as if they were under the immediate direction 
of a ruling Providence, and so resigned them- 
selves; greedily drinking in the while the highly 
coloured picture De Faro painted of the Yorkist 
army which awaited them in Cornwall. 

Again upon the sea again impelled by 

winds and waves to new scenes new hopes, 

tost here and there by Fortune, it was Richard's 

fate to see one frustrated expectation give place 

to another, which, in its turn, faded and died. 

This constant succession of projects, kept alive 

within him that sanguine spirit which never 

could be vanquished. Eagerly he passed from 

one idea to another, and almost welcomed 

die last disaster, which appeared but to pioneer 

the way to future success. During this voyage, 

weak as his wounds had made him, he talked of 

Kngland as his own the dearer, because he 

must spend his blood to win it. Circumstances 

had an exactly contrary effect upon Katherine. 

The continual change of schemes convinced her 

of the futility of all. She felt that, if the first 

appearance of the Duke of York, acknowledged 

and upheld by various sovereigns and dear high- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 59 

born relatives, had not animated the party of 
the White Rose in his favour, it was not now, 
after many defeats and humiliations on his 
side, and after triumphs and arrogant as- 
sumptions on that of his enemy, that bril- 
liant success could be expected. This convic- 
tion must soon become general among the York- 
ists, Richard would learn the sad lesson, but 
she was there to deprive it of its sting; to 
prove to him, that tranquillity and Katherine 
were of more worth than struggles, even if they 
proved successful, for vain power. 

It was strange that a girl of royal birth, bred 
in a palace, accustomed to a queen-like sove- 
reignty over her father's numerous vassals in 
the Highlands, should aim at restricting the am- 
bitious York to mere privacy ; while Monina, 
the humble daughter of a Moorish mariner, 
would have felt honour, reputation, all that 
is dear to man, at stake, if her friend had 
dreamed of renouncing his claims to the English 
crown. His cause was her life ; his royalty the 
main spring of all her actions and thoughts. 
She had sacrificed love to it she taught her 



60 PERKIN WARBECK. 

woman's soul to rejoice in his marriage with 
another, because his union with a princess was 
pledge to the world of his truth. Perhaps, 
had ihe time ever come when he renounced 
his struggles, she had felt with a pang that 
his lowly fortunes might not incongruously be 
shared by her, and self had mingled in the 
religion of her heart, which was virtuous de- 
votion to him; but as it was, the idea never 
presented itself. He must win, or die. Did he 
win, her happiness would result from the con- 
templation of his glory; were he to die, the 
young hero's grave would not be watered by her 
teal's : she believed that in that hour her life 
would cease. 

The Lady Katherine saw a vain mask in all 
the common-place pomp of palaces; she per- 
ceived that power failed most, when its end 
was good ; she saw that in accomplishing its 
purpose in the cottage, or in halls of state, 
felicity resulted from the affections only. It 
was but being an actor in different scenes, to 
be a potentate or a, peasant; the outward garb 
is not the livery of the mind : the refinement of 
taste, which enables us to gather pleasure from 



PERKIN WARBECK. 61 

simple objects ; the warmth of heart which ne- 
cessitates the exercise of our affections, but which 
is content when they are satisfied ; these, to her 
mind, were the only, but they were the complete 
ingredients of happiness ; and it was rarer to 
find, and more difficult to retain them, among 
false-hearted, ambitious courtiers, and the lux- 
ury of palaces, than among simple-minded pea- 
santry, and a plain natural style of living. There 
was some romance in this idea ; Katherine felt 
that there was, and subdued herself not to lay 
too much store by any change or guise of out- 
ward circumstance. She taught herself to feel 
and know, that in the tumult of camps and war, 
in the anxieties of her present vagrant life, on the 
throne which she might possess, or in the prison 
she might share ; by devoting herself to the 
happiness of him to whom she was united, whose 
heroism, goodness and love merited all her af- 
fection, she was performing the part assigned to 
her on earth, and securing a portion of happi- 
ness, far beyond the common lot of those whose 
colder harder natures require something beyond 
sympathy to constitute their misnamed felicity. 



62 



CHAPTER V. 



From Ireland thus comes York to claim his right. 
If I am not ashamed of my soldiers, I am a soused 
gurnet. 

SHAKSPEAHB. 



ON the deck of the sea-worn Adalid, watching 
die renovated strength, and attending on the 
still remaining weakness of her lord, the soft 
heart of the Princess possessed to fulness all its 
desires ; while Monina, among the wild rude 
Cornish rebels, exerted herself, to inspire zeal 
for his cause, and to increase the number of his 
partisans, winning them by her thrilling elo- 
quence, ruling them by her beauty and enthusi- 
asm. She had found the whole population ready 
to second him; but fitting leaders, noble and 
influential men, were absolutely wanting. She 



PERKIN WARHECK. 63 

sent her father to urge Richard to this new at- 
tempt, and when he should appear, attended, as 
she fondly hoped, by a train of high-born Irish 
lords, of gallant Scotch cavaliers, and devoted 
English warriors; he would be able to give a 
martial form to the rout of Cornish insur- 
gents, to discipline their wild, untamed valour, 
to attract others by name and rank, and 
Tudor at last must grow pale upon his throne. 
With eagerness she awaited the fleet that was to 
bring the chosen band of heroes ; when, after a 
long and calm voyage, on the third of Septem- 
ber, the Adalid ran into White Sand Bay, on 
the western coast of Cornwall, and Plantage- 
net, at Richard's command, disembarked and 
proceeded forthwith to Bodmin. 

4 

It was strange that the chief partizan of the 
White Rose should, on his invasion of the 
island, find a Spanish girl the main source of 
information the chief mover of the rebellion 
by which he was to profit. Yet Plantagenet 
almost forgot his mortal struggle for a kingdom, 
in the anticipation of seeing Monina. PJanta- 
genet, prouder, more ambitious for his cousin, 
than Richard for himself Plantagenet, who 



64 PERKIN WARBECK. 

had but one object, to be the guardian, sup- 
porter, defender of York, now wandered in 
thought far back through many years to their 
Spanish home ; to his tenderness for the sweet 
child of Madeline ; to the developement of the 
beauty and virtues of the lovely Moor. Thrown 
apart by their several destinies, he had scarcely 
seen her since then ; and now, in place of the 
dark, laughing-eyed girl, he beheld a woman, 
bright with intelligence and sensibility ; whose 
brow wore somewhat the sad trace of suffering, 
whose cheek was a little sunk, but in whose eyes 
there was a soul, in whose smile an enchantment 
not to be resisted. She was all life, vivacity, 
and yet softness : all passion, yet yielding and 
docile. Her purpose was steady, stubborn; but 
the mode of its attainment, her conduct, she 
easily permitted to be guided. Edmund scarcely 
recognized her, but she instantly knew him; her 
elder brother, her kind but serious guardian, 
whom she had loved with awe, as the wisest and 
best of men. Now he bore a dearer name, as 
the unfailing friend of him she loved. To both 
their hearts this meeting was an unexpected joy. 



PERKIN WARBECK. 65 

Monina had thought too much of Richard, to 
remember his cousin. He had half forgotten 
his own sensations; or, at least, was quite 
unprepared for the power and effect of her 
surpassing beauty. 

After the first overflowing of affection, Mo- 
nina eagerly detailed the forces raised, and 
dwelt on the spirit and courage of the insurgents. 
" They are poor fellows," she said, " but true ; 
burning with zeal to right themselves, and to 
avenge their losses at Blackheath. They are 
gathered together by thousands. They want 
merely leaders, discipline, arms, money, ammu- 
nition, and a few regular troops to show them 
the way : these, of course, you bring." 

" Alas ! no," said Edmund, " we bring merely 
ourselves." 

" Could Ireland, then, furnish no warlike 
stores ?" continued the zealous girl. " But this 
can be remedied, doubtless. Yourself, your 
leader, Lord Desmond, Lord Barry, the gal- 
lant Neville ; tell me who else who from Bur- 
gundywhat Irish, what Scottish knights ? " 

The last word was said with difficulty : it 



66 PERKIN WARBECK. 

made a pause in her rapid utterance ; while 
Edmund, aghast, replied, "Indeed ! none of all 
these, or very few : in a word, we have fled from 
Waterford in the Adalid. His Highness and 
myself are the sole English knights. The 
good old Mayor of Cork must represent all 
Ireland, gentle and simple, to your eyes our 
fair Duchess, Scotland: her attendants will 
follow in due time, but these are but needy 
servitors." Monina laughed. " We came to 
seek, not bring aid," continued Plantagenet 
gravely. 

" Do not be angry," replied Monina. " There 
is more bitterness and sorrow in my laugh, 
than in, methinks, a widow's tears. My dear 
friend, God send we are not utterly lost. 
Yet his Highness and yourself may work won- 
ders. Only report truly our state, that the 
Duke be not too dissatisfied, with our appear- 
ance. Tell him Lord Audley headed a worse 
organized troop : tell him that Master Heron, 
the mercer, has no silken soul that Master 
Skelton, the taylor, disdains a smaller needle 
than a cloth-yard shaft." ' 



PERKIN WARBECK. 67 

" And is it to head men like these we have 
been drawn from our Irish friends ? " cried 
Edmund ; " better return. Alas ! our path is 
besieged ; the very sea is subject to our enemy ; 
in the wide world the King of England has no 
refuge." 

" That he is King of England," said Monina, 
" let not him, let none of us forget. The very 
name is powerful : let him, on his native shores, 
assume it. Surely, if then* liege King stand 
singly in the land of his forefathers, at his sacred 
name thousands will congregate. He has dared 
too little, when he had power : at the worst, 
even now, let him dare all, and triumph." 

Her bold, impetuous language had its effect 
on Edmund : it echoed his own master passion, 
which ever cried aloud, " He is a King ! and, 
once give himself that sacred name, submission 
and allegiance from his subjects must follow." 
Buoyed up by these thoughts, his report on 
board the Adalid was free from those humi- 
liating details, which, -even if he had wished, he 
would have found no voice to communicate to 
his royal cousin. 



68 PERK1N WARBECK. 

Monina's task of imparting to her friends the 
destitute condition in which their sovereign ar- 
rived, was even easier, " He is come among tall 
men," said the pompous Heron, "who can 
uphold him for the better king, even to the satin 
of his doublet." 

" And fight for him, even to the rending of 
our own," cried Skelton. 

" And die for him, as he must too, when all 's 
done," said Trereife. " A soldier's death is 
better than a dastard's life." 

"We will have out our men in goodly array," 
said Heron. " Master Skelton, are the doublets 
cut from that piece of sad-coloured velvet, 
last of my wares, slashed with white, as I di- 
rected ? " 

" Slash me no doublets but with a Spanish 
rapier," squeaked Skelton, " Have I not cast 
away the shears ? Yet, look you now, good lack ! 
I lie. Here in my pouch be a sharp pair, to clip 
Master Walter of Horneck's ears; if by the 
help of the saints we can lay him as flat on the 
field as his own grey suit was on my board when 



PERKIN WARBECK. 69 

a shaping; by the same token that he never paid 
for it." 

" In good hour, Sir Taylor," said Monina: 
" but the talk now is, how duly to receive 
his Grace, how induce him to accept your 
aid." 

" Aye, by Saint Dunstan ! " cried Trereife, 
" he has ruffled in France and Burgundy, my 
masters, and will look on you as clowns and 
base-born burghers ' r but no man has more 
to give than his life, and if he waste that 
heartily, time was and time may be when vil- 
lains trod on the necks of knights, as the ghost 
of Charles of Burgundy could tell us. Courage 
is the beginning aud end of a soldier's cate- 
chism." 

Such were the chiefs Monina found desirous, 
and in their own conceit capable, of placing 
England's diadem on Duke Richard's head. 
Heron, the bankrupt mercer, who fancied him- 
self the base-born oifspring of the late Earl of 
Devonshire, and whose first deed of arms would 
find him Heron no more, but Sir John Courtney; 
Skelton, a luckless wight, whose shears ever 



70 PERKIN WARBECK. 

went astray, (the true cause why Walter of 
Hornbeck paid not for his misshapen suit,) 
and \vho, therefore, believed himself born for 
greater things ; and Trereife, the younger pro- 
digal son of a rural franklin, who, cast off and 
disinherited, had served in the wars in Flanders, 
gaining in that country no small reverence for 
the good Duchess Margaret, and ready there- 
fore to right her nephew ; besides, like a true 
hero, he abhorred this silken time of peace, and 
hoped to gather spoil, if not laurels, in the me- 
ditated insurrection. 

The noble passengers disembarked from the 
Adalid. " Welcome to England, sweet Kate ! 
welcome to the country of which thou art 
Queen," said York ; " and even if her reception 
be cold or rough, love her for my 'sake, for she 
is my mother." 

" A step-mother I will not call her, dear my 
Lord," replied the Princess, " but the maternal 
embrace is strangely wanting on these deserted 
sands : the narrow deck of yonder caravel were, 
methinks, a kindlier home : may we go on and 
prosper; but, if we fail, my Lord will pardon 



PERKIN WARBECK. 71 

me, if I welcome the day when I embark again 
on board the Adalid; to find, when the wide 
earth proves false, safety and happiness on the 
free waves of ocean." 



72 



CHAPTER VI. 



SK.ELTON. Tis but going to sea and leaping ashore, 
cut ten or twelve thousand unnecessary throats, fire 
seven or eight towns, take half a dozen cities, get into 
the market-place, crown him Richard the Fourth, and 
the business is finished. 

FORD. 

Am I not king ? 

Awake, thou coward Majesty ! thou sleepest. 
Is not the King's name forty thousand names ? 

SHAKSPEARE. 



THESE doughty leaders drew out their fol- 
lowers in a plain just without Bodmin. There 
were about two hundred men decently clad 
from the remnants of the mercer's wares, tole- 
rably well armed and disciplined by Trereife ; 
this troop obtained the distinction of being 



PERKJN WARBECK. 73 

selected as King Richard's body guard. Skelton 
was their captain, a rare commander, whose 
real merit was that he felt happiest when stuck 
close as a burr to Trereife ; for at heart he was 
an errant coward, though a loud braggart, 
and talked of slaying his thousands, while the 
very wounding of his doublet had made him 
wince. 

Heron was brave in his way ; a true Cornish- 
man, he could wrestle and cast his antagonist 
with the strength of a lion ; he loved better, 
it is true, to trust to his arm than to his sword, 
which, in spite of his strength, Trereife always 
made fly from his hand in their fencing lessons : 
not the less did he consider himself a gallant 
knight, and had cut up many a yard of crimson 
cramoisy to make a rich suit for himself. He 
wore Monina's glove in his cap and large yellow 
roses at his knees ; he called himself genera- 
lissimo, and marshalled under him full three 
thousand men, who in truth had 

never set a squadron in the field 
Nor the division of a battle knew 
More than a spinster; 

VOL. III. E 



74 PERKIN WARBECK. 

but they were sturdy discontented spirits, who 
valued life at its worth, which was even nothing 
to them, who had laboured with all their hearts, 
till labour was of no avail, and who then left the 
mine and the furrow to carry their loud com- 
plaints to the foot of Henry's throne they were 
better pleased with the prospect of overthrow- 
ing it. . 

" Now, my masters, make yourselves heard," 
cried Heron, as he shuffled down a little emi- 
nence on a short-legged Welch pony, the only 
steed he found he could back in safety. " His 
Grace is within ear-shot, so you be loud. Long 
life to King Richard ! down with the taxes 
Saint Michael and Cornwall for ever ! " 

The din was prolonged, ended, began, went 
on, as the Prince arrived at the summit of the 
hill with his little train Fair Katherine was 
at his side. Plantagenet, O'Water, De Faro, 
with some dozen soldiers who fled from Water- 
ford; sure never invader came so ill equipped. 
On the hill-top the illustrious wanderers paused. 
Richard hastily scanned the rough-suited multi- 
tudethen, turning to Plantagenet, " Cousin," 



PERKIN WARBECK. 75 

he said, " You told me that the insurgent army 
would be drawn out for my view; is it not 
strange that yonder rabble should hide it from 
us ? As far as my eye can reach, I see no mar- 
tial discipline, no banners, no lordly crest ; fie on 
those drums ! they have no touch of military 
concord. What makes our army so slack of 
duty, Cousin?" 

Though no fault of his, Edmund blushed 
deeply in very shame the approach of Heron, 
Skelton, Trereife, and three or four other princi- 
pal rebels, cut off his reply. It had been agreed 
that Skelton, who had a gift of eloquence, should 
speak, and many words he used to welcome his 
liege " We will have every man with a Red 
Rose in his cap, in a drag chain, please your 
Grace, and give a sound lesson to the saucy 
burghers of Exeter withall. Not a knight shall 
live in the land, but of your Majesty's dubbing. 
~We have but to put to rout King Henry's army, 
to hang the false loon for a traitor, and to set 
fire to London and the Parliament. Such 
nobles as please to doff their silken cloaks, and 
don miners' jackets, may work, the rest shall 
E 2 



76 . PERKIN WARBECK. 

hang. Their mere wardrobes, bless the day i 
will find us and your Grace in doth of gold, 
embroidery, and other rich garniture to the end 
of our lives." 

" We thank your zeal, my worthy master," 
.said Richard, courteously, " if our good troops 
do half your saying, King Henry must look 
to it." 

u Are those men to be worse than their 
word?" cried Skelton. "There is not one 
among us but has the arms of ten. We are of 
a race of giants, please your Majesty, and could 
knock the walls of Exeter down with our fists. 
Please you to enter Bodmin, whose very stones 
will cry for King Richard louder than King 
Hal's cannon ; to-morrow, God willing, we are 
for the wars." 

The royal party passed on the dark ferocity 
or sturdy obstinacy painted on the faces of the 
ill-armed rout, struck Richard as he passed 
he became meditative, while Edmund, shamed 
and angry, his cheeks burning, his eyes on the 
ground, listened in indignant silence to Master 
Skelton, who fastened on him with such talk, 



PERKIN WARBECK. 77 

that whether a soldier spoke of killing doublets, or 
a tailor prattled of fashioning a field of slaugh- 
ter, was a riddle ill to be devised. At length they 
passed the gates of Bodmin; and here was a 
louder cry of welcome from the shrill voices of 
women, who held up their thin hands and half- 
starved children, crying for vengeance on Tudor, 
blessing the sweet faces of Richard and his lovely 
wife. York's eyes flashed again with their wonted 
fires; his creative spirit had found materials 
here to work some project, all poor and rude 
as they might seem. 

They entered the town-hall ; when, by some 
sudden revulsion in the tide of the crowd, every 
Cornishman fell back, closed the doors, and 
left the wanderers alone. Something was for- 
gotten surely ; for Hercn had paced pompously 
up to Richard, when suddenly he turned on his 
heel, crying, " A word, my masters ! " and all 
were gone. The Lady Katherine had marked 
their backing and hurrying x with becoming gra- 
vity; but, when the door was fairly shut, she 
could restrain no longer a heart-felt laugh. 
Richard joined in her mirth, while Plantagenet 



78 PERKIN WARBECK. 

strode through the hall angrily ; muttering, 
" an army a rout of shirtless beggars ; is this 
England's reception for her King ? " 

" It were fine mumming," said Richard, 
" under a hedge with the green sward for a 
stage." 

" By our Lady, this passes patience ! " re- 
iterated Edmund, " where are the gentlemen 
of England? Where the sons of those who fell 
for York ? Are we to oppose these half-naked 
knaves to the chivalry of Henry? " 

" It would seem that such is expected," re- 
plied the Prince; " and, verily, Cousin, we 
might do worse. I pray you, treat the honest 
rogues well ; better may come of it ; keep we 
our secret, and have we not an army ? " 

" My Lord ! " cried Plantagenet, in wonder. 

" Patience, dear friend," said York ; " I 
have not been apprentice to adversity so many 
long years, without becoming an adept in my 
calling. I say, I have an army ; bold, though 
poor ragged truly, but exceeding faithful. Me- 
tliinks it were more glorious to put Tudor down 
with such small means, than to meet him in 



PERKIN WARBECK. 79 

equal [terms, like a vulgar conqueror. I ilo 
beseech you, Edmund, put a good face on it ; 
speak to our Cornish giants, as if they had 
souls of mettle, and bodies decked like Ponce 
de Leon and his peers, when they welcomed 
Queen Isabel to the Spanish camp. You re- 
member the golden array of the knights, Cou- 
sin?" 

Edmund was impatient of the Prince's gay 
humour ; while Katherine, seeing in his bright 
eyes heroism and lofty resolve, felt a dewy mois- 
ture gather in her own : there is something at once 
awful and affecting, when a man, the sport of 
fortune, meets her rudest blow unshrinking, and 
turns her very spite into arms against herself. 
The whole secret of Richard's present thoughts 
she could riot divine, but she saw that their 
scope was worthy of his birth, his aim ; her re- 
spect her love augmented ; and her gentle heart 
at that moment renewed its vow to devote her- 
self to him entirely and for ever. 

In the same spirit, York answered the depu- 
tation that waited on him. He commanded a 
proclamation to be made, in which he assumed 



PERKIN WARBECK. 

the title of Richard the Fourth. He announced 
his intention of immediately penetrating Eng- 
land, and seizing on sofne walled town or city, 
before Henry could be aware of his having 
landed. Nor did he confine his energy to words: 
he examined the state of his men ; their arms 
and furniture ; he provided for their better dis- 
cipline, and animated his cousin to take an 
active part in marshalling them to order. He 
went among them, learned the causes of their 
dissatisfaction, promised them better days, and 
so raised a glad spirit in them, that their hearts 
overleaping both time and circumstance, paid 
him the honour and the love he might have 
claimed, had he already led them through fer- 
tile England, and planted his victorious stand- 
ard on the Tower of London. Trereife swore 
by his beard, he was a proper youth ; the old 
soldier awoke to the remembrance of harvests 
of spoil he had gathered in the Netherlands, 
the stern encounters and the joys of success ; he 
gazed on the rough Cornish men, and wondered 
how they should withstand the nobility of Eng- 
land : but, when Richard glanced hope and 



2ERKIN WARBECK. 81 

triamph from his bright eyes, when he spoke 
of the omnipotence of resolved valour, when he 
drew a picture of their ghastly poverty, and 
showed them how, by standing firm merely, 
they might redeem themselves ; while the poor 
fellows answered with a prolonged shout, or 
better still, grasped their arms more fiercely, 
and trod the earth with free and decided steps ; 
a thousand facilities seemed to be discovered ; a 
thousand resources for the war displayed, un- 
dreamt of before. Were these mere words ? or 
at his voice did soldiers rise from the clods, and 
victory obey the sound ? 

Plantagenet, seeing his royal Cousin's resolve, 
strove to second it. With a party of men he 
assaulted a near fortress, carried it, and seized 
on a store of arms. This success looked like a 
mighty victory ; Richard exalted it as such ; and 
the very fellows who handled awkwardly their 
booty, fancied themselves heroes at the mere 
sight of it. 

On the third day they were to proceed to Exe- 
ter, it being determined that they should besiege 
this city. De Faro offered to sail to Cork to 
E 5 



82 PERKIN WARBECK:. 

invite the warlike chieftains of Munster to come 
over with their power ; and at least himself to 
bring back in the Adalid, Neville, and the rest 
of the English exiles. While Edmund, who 
looked glad at the thought, counselled that they 
should entrench themselves in this corner of 
England, which was so entirely devoted to them, 
till these forces were added to their number, and 
till by discipline, they should have made regular 
troops of the rabble, by courtesy y'cleped an 
army. 

" Wherefore, Cousin," asked Richard, " do 
you desire others to share in our disasters ? " 

" My Lord ! " cried Edmund, astounded. 

" I have but one wish," continued the Prince, 
" that you and my good O* Water were even 
now in Ireland ; so that I might stand the brunt 
of this war alone. You look amazed. Yet it 
were more amazing if I. expected to do battle 
against the Veres, the Howards, the Berkeleys, 
the Courtneys, and ten thousand other names of 
high renown, backed by their train of martial 
adherents, with ragged regiments like those we 
are about to lead to the field ; even though the 
kerns of Ireland made their number double, 



PERKIN WARBECK. J$3 

and the Geraldines, Barry and Neville added by 
their nobleness dignity to our victor's conquest. 
Remember Stoke, my cousin Edmund ; yon 
may well remember it. Remember my honoured 
kinsman the Earl of Lincoln and my lamented 
Lovel. Ah, that I did not now peril your life, 
then spared ! " 

" Yet, if your Grace fight at all," said 
O' Water, bluntly ; " methinks we were not the 
worse for being better appointed for the fray. 
For victims, even those poor honest varlets are 
too many." 

" That one other life should be wasted for 
me," replied Richard fervently, " is my saddest 
thought. I fear it must be so ; some few lives 
each as dear to him that spends it, as is the life- 
blood to our own hearts. I can say no more. 
I have a secret purpose, I confess, in all I do. 
To accomplish it and I do believe it to be a 
just one I must strike one blow ; nor fail. 
Tudor is yet unprepared; Exeter vacant of 
garrison ; with stout hearts for the work, I trust 
to be able to seize that city. There the wars of 
York shall end. So far I confide in your dis- 



8^ PERKIN WARBECK. 

cretions, that you may not deem me mad. More 
is the single property of my own soul. Will 
you help me so far, dear friends so far hazard 
life not to conquer a kingdom for Richard, 
but to redeem his honour ? " 

The warm-hearted, grey-headed Irish O* Wa- 
ter, with gushing eyes, swore to adhere to him to 
the last 

Edmund replied, " I am but a bit of thee ; 
deal with me as with thyself; and I know thou 
wilt be no niggard in giving me away to danger." 

De Faro cried, " I am a sailor, and know 
better how to face death on the waves than vic- 
tory on shore ; but, Santiago ! may our blessed 
Lady herself look shy on me at the great day, if 
the Mariner of the Wreck prove false to your 
Grace." 

" Now then to our work," cried York, " to 
speak fair to my faithful fellows and their 
braggart leaders. They at least shall be winners 
in our game ; for my hand is on my prize ; a 
spirit has whispered success to me ; my hope 
and its consummation are married even at their 
birth." 



85 



CHAPTER VII. 



Dost them hear, lady ? 
Tf from the field I shall return once more 
To kiss these lips, I will appear in blood ; 
I and my sword will earn our chronicle ; 
There is hope in it yet. 

SHAKSPEARE. 



RICHARD was obliged to plead his cause yet 
once again. Katherine had watched all his move- 
ments; she had eyed curiously the army he 
mustered to the field ; she talked to its leaders, 
and wliile they vaunted her affability, she was 
diving with earnest mind, into the truth of 
things. No fear that it could be hid from her; 
love for Richard was the bright light that dis- 
pelled every deceptive shadow from the scene. 
She saw the bare reality ; some three thousand 



86 PERKIN WARBECK. 

poor peasants and mechanics, whose swords 
were more apt to cut themselves than strike the 
enemy, were arrayed against the whole power 
and majesty of England. On the morrow they 
were to set forward. That night, while at the 
casement of his rude chamber, Richard gazed 
upon the congregated stars, trying to decipher 
in their intricate bright tracery the sure omen of 
the good he was told they charactered for him, 
Katherine, after a moment's hesitation, with a 
quivering voice, and hand that shook as it 
pressed his, knelt on a cushion at his feet, 
saying, " My sweet Richard, hear me ; hear 
your faithful friend your true wife: call not 
my councils weak and feminine, but weigh them 
sagely ere you resolve. May I speak ? " 

"Lady of my heart, arise," said Richard: 
" speak my soft-voiced Katherine my White 
Rose of beauty fair flower, crowning York's 
withered tree. Has not God done all in giving 
you to me ; yet we must part, love, for awhile. 
Your soldier is for the wars, Kate, while you sit 
in your bower, weaving victorious garlands for 
his return." 



PERKIN WARBECK. 87 

" My ever dear Lord," said Katherine, " I 
speak with fear, because I feel that I shall not 
address myself to your concealed thought. I do 
not wish to penetrate your secrets, and yet I 
tremble at their event. You have not so far 
deceived yourself as to imagine, that with these 
unfortunate men, you can ride over the pride 
and the power of this island ; did I see on what 
else you founded the lofty hope, that has, since 
we came here, beamed in your eyes, I would 
resign myself to your better wisdom. But, 
wherever I turn my view, there is a blank. 
You do not dream of conquest, though you 
feel secure of victory. What can this mean, 
save that you see glory in deatli ? " 

" You are too quick-sighted, sweet Kate," 
said Richard, " and see beyond the mark. 1 
do not set my cast upon falling in this fray: 
though it may well happen that I should : but I 
have another aim." 

" Without guessing at what that may be, " 
replied the lady, " since you seem desirous to 
withhold the knowledge, permit me to present 
another object to your choice; decide between 



88 PERKIN WARBECK. 

them, and I submit : but do not carelessly turn 
from mine. There is all to lose, nought to win, 
in what you now do. Death may blot the 
future page, so that we read neither disgrace or 
prison in its sad lines; but wherefore risk to 
die. While yet, dear love, we are young, life 
has a thousand charms, and one may be the 
miserable survivor, whose heart now bleeds at 
the mere surmise." 

She faltered; he kissed her soft cheek, and 
pressed her to his heart. " Why may we not 
why should we not live?" continued Kath- 
erine ; " what is there in the name or state of 
king, that should so take captive our thoughts, 
that we can imagine no life but on a throne ? 
Believe me, careful nights and thorny days are 
the portion of a monarch : he is lifted to that 
awful height only to view more clearly destruc- 
tion beneath ; around, fear, hate, disloyalty, all 
yelling at him. The cold, heartless Tudor may 
well desire the prize, for he has nothing save 
the gilt crown to ennoble him ; nothing but die 
supple knees of courtiers to present to him the 
show of love. But ah ! could I put fire into 



PERKIN WARBECK. 89 

my weak words my heart's zeal into my sup- 
plicatory voice persuasion would attend upon 
me, and you would feel that to the young, to 
two united as we are, our best kingdom is each 
other's hearts ; our dearest power that which 
each, without let or envy, exercises over the 
other. Though our palace roof be the rafters of 
a lowly cot, our state, the dear affection we bear 
each other, our attendants the duty and observ- 
ance of one to the other I, so served by King 
Edward's son you, by the rightful queen of this 
fair island were better waited on than Henry 
and Elizabeth, by their less noble servitors. I 
almost think that, with words like these, I might 
draw you from the uneasy throne to the downy 
paradise of love ; and can I not from this hard 
struggle, while death yet guards the palace gate, 
and you will be pierced through and through 
long ere you can enter." 

" Thus, my gentle love," said Richard, " you 
would have me renounce my birth and name ; 
you desire that we become the scorn of the 
world, and would be content that so disho- 
noured, the braggart impostor, and his dame 



90 PERKIN WAUBECK. 

Katherine, should spend their shameful days in 
an ignominious sloth, misnamed tranquillity. 
I am a king, lady, though no holy oil nor 
jewelled crown has touched this head ; and such 
I must prove myself." 

" Oh, doubt it not," she replied, " it is proved 
by your own speech and your own nobleness ; 
my heart approves you such ; the whole earth, 
till its latest day, will avouch that the lord of 
Katherine is no deceiver; but my words avail 
not with you." 

" They do avail, my best, my angel girl, to 
-liow me that the world's treasure is mere dross 
compared with thee: one only thing I prize, not 
as thy equal, but as that without which, I were a 
casket not even worthy to encase this jewel of the 
earth my honour ! A word taught me by my 
victim brother, by my noble cousin Lincoln, by 
the generous Plantagenet ; I learnt its meaning 
among a race of heroes the Christian cavaliers 
the Moorish chivalry of Spain; dear is it to 
me, since without it I would not partake your 
home of love an home, more glorious and 
more blessed than the throne of the universe. 



PERKIN WARBECK. 91 

It is for that I now fight, Katherine ; not for a 
kingdom ; which, as thy royal Cousin truly said, 
never will be mine. If I fall, that Cousin, the 
great, the munificent James, will be your re- 
fuge." 

" Never," interrupted the lady, " Scotland I 
shall never see again; never show myself, a 
queen and no queen, the mock of their rude 
speech; never put myself into my dear, but 
ambitious father's hands, to be bartered away 
to another than my Richard ; rather with your 
aunt of Burgundy, rather in Tudor's own court, 
with your fair sister. Holy angels ! of what 
do I speak ? how frightfully distinct has the 
bereft world spread itself out as my widowed 
abode ! " 

A gush of tears closed her speech. " Think 
of brighter days, my love," said Richard, " they 
will be ours. You spoke erewhile of the diffi- 
culty of giving true imagery to the living 
thought; thus, I know not how to shape an 
appropriate garb (to use a trope of my friend 
Skelton) for my inmost thoughts. I feel sure 
of success. I feel, that in giving up every pros- 



92 PERKIN WARBECK. 

pect of acquiring my birth-right, I make the 
due oblation to fortune, arid that she will be- 
stow the rest that rest is to rescue my name 
from the foul slur Henry has cast on it; to es- 
tablish myself as myself in the eyes of England ; 
and then to solicit your patience in our cala- 
mity your truth and love as the only sceptre 
and globe this hand will ever grasp. In my own 
Spain, among the orange and myrtle groves, 
the flowery plains and sun-lit hills of Andalusia, 
we will live unambitious, yet more fortunate 
than crowned emperors." 

With such words and promises he soothed 
her fears; to the word honour she had no reply. 
Yet it was a mere word here ; in this case, a 
barren word, on which her life and happiness 
were to be wrecked. 

The Prince and Monina had met with undis- 
guised delight. No Clifford would now dare 
traduce her ; she need not banish herself from 
countries where his name enriched the speech 
of all men ; nor even from that, which, invited 
by her, he had come to conquer. He was glad 
to be able to extend his zealous fraternal protec- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 93 

tion over her, to feel that he might guard her 
through life, despite of the fortune that di- 
vided them. He obtained for her the Lady 
Katherine's regard, which she sought opportu- 
nities to demonstrate, while they were avoided 
by Monina, who honoured and loved her as 
Richard's wife and dearest friend, yet made oc- 
casion to absent herself from both. Nothing 
beautiful could be so unlike as these two fair 
ones. Katherine was the incarnate image of 
loveliness, such as it might have been conceived 
by an angelic nature ; noble, soft, equable from 
her tender care not to displease others ; in spite 
of the ills of fate, gay, because self-satisfied and re- 
signed ; the bright side of things was that which 
she contemplated : the bright and the tran- 
quil although the hazards run by him she 
loved, at this period informed her thoughts 
with terror. Monina, no, there was no evil in 
Monina ; if too much self-devotion, too passion- 
ate an attachment to one dear idea, too enthusi- 
astic an adoration of one exalted being, could be 
called aught but virtue. The full orbs of her dark 
eyesj once flashing bright, were now more se- 



94 PERKIN WARBECK. 

rious, more melancholy ; her very smile would 
make you weep ; her vivacity, all concentred in 
one object, forgot to spend itself on trifles ; yet, 
while the Princess wept that Richard should en- 
counter fruitless danger for a mistaken aim, 
gladness sat on Monina's brow : " He goes to 
conquer ; God will give victory to the right : as 
a warrior he treads his native land ; as a mo- 
narch he will rule over her. The very name of 
King he bears, will shame the lukewarm English; 
they will gather round the apparent sun, now 
that he shows himself unclouded, leaving the 
false light, Tudor, to flicker fnto its native 
nothingness.'* 

" Monina," said the Prince, " you in the wide 
world can bestow richest largess on the beggar, 

O OO * 

King Richard." She looked on him in wonder. 
" I go to conquer or to die : this, lovely one, is no 
new language for you ; a warrior's friend must 
hear such words unflinching. I die without a fear 
if you take one charge upon you." Her beaming, 
expressive eyes replied to him. He continued : 
" The Adalid and safety are images most firmly 
united in my mind ; if I cannot find security on 



PERKIN WARBECK. 95 

board of her myself, let those dear to me inherit 
my possession there. The hardest thought that 
I bear with me, is that my fair Queen should be- 
come captive to my base-minded foe. May I 
not trust that if I fall, the Adalid will be her 
home and refuge to convey her to her native 
country, or any whither she may direct ? I in- 
trust this charge to you, my sister, my far more 
than sister, my own kind Monina. You will 
forget yourself in that fateful hour, to fulfil my 
latest wish ? " 

" My Prince," she replied, " your words 
were cruel, did I not know that you speak in 
over- care, and not from the impulse of your 
heart. In the same spirit, I promise that your 
desire shall be accomplished : if you fall, my fa- 
ther will protect die for my lady the Queen. 
But why speak these ill-omened words ? You 
will succeed ; you will hasten the lagging hand 
of Fate, and dethrone one never born to reign, 
to bestow on England its rightful king. The 
stars promise this in'their resplendent, unfailing 
scrowl the time-worn student in his lore has 
proclaimed it the sacred name of monarch 



96 PERKJN WARBECK. 

which you bear, is the pledge and assurance of 
predestined victory." 

" And you meanwhile will stay, and assure 
Katherine's destiny?" 

" My dear Lord, I have a task to accomplish. 
If I leave her Grace, it is because all spirits of 
good and power watch over her, and my weak 
support is needed elsewhere. I am bound for 
London." 

They parted thus. The temerity of their de- 
signs sometimes inspired them with awe ; but 
more usually animated them to loftier hopes. 
When the thickening shadows of " coming 
events " clouded their spirits, they took refuge 
in the sun-bright imaginations which painted 
to each the accomplishment of their several 
hopes. Monina felt assured that the hour of 
victory was at hand. Richard looked forward 
to a mortal struggle, to be crowned with suc- 
cess : a few short weeks or briefer days would 
close the long account: his word redeemed, 
his honour avenged, he looked forward to his 
dear reward : not a sceptre that was a play- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 97 

thing fit for Henry's hand ; but to a life of 
peace and love ; a very eternity of sober, 
waking bliss, to be passed with her he idol- 
ized, in the sunny clime of his regretted 
Spain. 



VOL. in. 



98 



CHAPTER VIII. 



Oh, that stern unbending man ! 
In this unhappy marriage what have I 
Not suffered not endured ! 

SCHILLER'S WALLENSTEIN. 

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, 
Or close the wall up with our English dead ! 

8HAKSPEAHE. 



THE lapse of years had confirmed Henry 
on his throne. He was extortionate and severe, 
it is true; and thus revolts had been fre- 
quent during die earlier portion of his reign ; 
hut they took their rise in a class which 
even in modern days, it is difficult to keep 
within the boundaries of law. The peasantry, 
scattered and dependant on the nobles, 



PERKIN WARBECK. 99 

were tranquil : but artificers, such as the miners 
of Cornwall, who met in numbers, and could 
ask each other, "Why, while there is plenty 
in the land, should we and our children starve ? 
Why pay our hard earnings into the regal cof- 
fers ? " and, still increasing in boldness, demand 
at last, " Why should these men govern us ? 

" We are many they are few !" 

Thus sedition sprung from despair, and assumed 
arms; to which Henry had many engines to 
oppose, bulwarks of his power. A commercial 
spirit had sprung up during his reign, partly 
arising from the progress of civilization, and 
partly from so large a portion of the ancient 
nobility having perished in the civil wars. The 
spirit of chivalry, which isolates man, had 
given place to that of trade, which unites them 
in bodies. 

^Among these, the White Rose of England 
had not a single partizan the nobles who once 
had upheld the house of York were few ; they 
had for the last eight years been intent upon 
restoring their fortunes, and were wholly disin- 
F 2 



100 PERK.IN WARBECK. 

clined to the endangering them afresh for a 
stranger youth. When Fitzwater, Stanley, and 
their numerous fellow-conspirators, and fellow- 
victims sided with the Duke of York, nearly 
all England entertained a timid belief in his 
identity with King Edward's lost son but those 
times were changed. Many were glad to soothe 
their consciences by declaring him an impostor ; 
many so desired to curry favour with Henry ; 
a still greater number either feared to say their 
thought, or were averse to disturb the tranquillity 
of their country, by a contest, which could be- 
nefit one man alone, and which must entail on 
them another war like that so lately ended 
Abroad, in France, Burgundy, and Scotland, 
the Prince might be discountenanced from poli- 
tical motives; but he was treated with respect, 
and spoken of as being the man he named him- 
self: in England it was otherwise contempt 
followed hard upon fear, giving birth to deri- 
sion, the best weapon against the unhappy, 
which Henry well knew how to wield. He had 
two motives in this one was, that by affixing 
disgrace and scorn to his adversary, he took 



PERKIN WARBECK. 101 

away the glitter of his cause, and deterred the 
young and ambitious from any desire to share 
in his obloquy. The other was a feeling deeper- 
rooted in his mind an intense hatred of the 
House of York an exultation in its overthrow 
and disgrace a gloating over every circumstance 
that blotted it with ignominy. If Richard had 
really been an impostor, Henry had not used 
half the pains to stigmatise him as low-born to 
blast his pride with nicknames, nor have looked 
forward with the joy he now did, to having him 
in his power to the degradation the mortal 
stain of infamy he intended to taint him with 
for ever. 

Secure in power fearless of the result, 
Henry heard with unfeigned joy that his young 
rival had landed in England, and was advancing 
into the interior of the island, at the head of the 
Cornish insurgents. He himself announced the 
rising to his nobles. Laughing, he said, " I 
have tidings for you, gentlemen: a flight of 
wild geese clad in eagles' feathers, are ready to 
pounce upon us. Even now they hover over 



102 PERKIN WARBECK. 

our good city of Exeter, frighting the honest 
burghers with their dissonance." 

" Blackheath will witness another victory," 
said Lord Oxford. 

" And my kitchen receive a new scullion," 
replied the King ; " since Lambert Simnel be- 
came falconer, our roast meat thinks itself dis- 
honoured at not being spitted by a pretender to 
my crown ; for no Audley heads these fellows, 
but the King of Rakehells himself, the most 
noble Perkin, who, to grace the more the un- 
washed rogues, calls himself Richard the Fourth 
for the nonce. I have fair hope to see his 
Majesty this bout, if he whiz not away in a fog, 
or sink underground like Lord Lovel, to the 
disappointment of all merry fellows, who love 
new masks and gaudy mumming." 

" Please your Majesty," said die young Lord 
William Courtney, " it is for the honour of 
our house that not a stone of Exeter be harmed. 
With your good leave, my father and myself 
will gather in haste what force we may : if for- 
tune aid us, we may present your Grace with 
your new servitor." 






PERKIN WARBECK. 103 

Be it so, my Lord," replied the'King, " and 
use good dispatch. We ourselves will not tarry : 
so that, with less harm to all, we may tread out 
these hasty lighted embers. Above all, let not 
Duke Perkin escape ; it is my dearest wish that 
he partake our hospitality." 

Yes," so ran Henry's private thoughts ; " he 
must be mine, mine alive, mine to deal with- as 
I list." With even more care than he put in 
the mustering his army, he ordered that the 
whole of the southern sea-coast of England 
should be guarded ; every paltry fishing village 
had its garrison, which permitted no boat to put 
off to sea, nor any to land, without the strictest 
investigation; not content with this, he com- 
mitted it to the care of his baser favourites to 
forge some plot which might betray his enemy 
without a blow into his hands. 

Give me your benison, good Bess, " said 
the Monarch, with unwonted gaiety of manner; 
with daylight I depart on the ungentle errand 
of encountering your brother Perkin." 

Elizabeth, not less timid than she had ever 
been, was alarmed by his show of mirth, and by 



104 PERKIN WARBECK. 

this appellation bestowed on one she knew to be 
so near of kin. That very morning she had 
seen Monina the enthusiastic Monina, who, 
confiding in her royal friend's success, visited 
London to watch over the fate of Elizabeth and 
her children. The Queen smiled at her offers 
of service ; she felt that no such army could 
endanger Henry's reign; but she feared for 
Richard, for her ill-fated brother, who had now 
entered the net, for whom she felt assured there 
was no escape. Trembling at her own boldness, 
she answered the King, " Whoever he may be, 
you will not destroy him in cold blood? " 

" You would have me spare the impostor ? " 
asked Henry. " Spare him who claims your 
son's throne ? By Our Lady of Walsingham, 
the maternal virtues of the daughter of York 
deserve high praise." 

Elizabeth, dreading more to offend, horror- 
struck at the idea that her husband should shed 
her brother's blood, burst into tears. " Silly 
girl," said Henry, " I am not angry; nay, 
more, I grant your prayer. Perkin, if not 
slain by a chance blow, shall live. My word is 



PERKIN WAJIBECK. 105 

passed ; trust to it : I neither inquire nor care 
whether he be the godson or the base brat of 
the libertine Edward. In either case, my revenge 
stoops not so low as his paltry life : does this 
content you ? " 

" May the saints bless your Grace," said 
Eli/abeth, " you have eased my every fear." 

" Remember then that you prove no ingrate," 
continued the King, " no dupe of report, no 
traducer of your children's birth. Betray no 
interest in the knave's downfall, save as he is 
my enemy. If you display any emotion that 
awakens a doubt, that this canker rose be aught 
in your eyes except a base pretender if you 
mark any feeling but stern contempt for one so 
vile tremble. My vengeance will fall on him; 
and his blood be on your head." 

" Magnanimous Prince ! " thought Elizabeth, 
in bitter scorn, when he had left her : " this is 
your mercy. You fear ! My poor Richard 
your sister, a monarch's daughter, is finely 
taught by this Earl's son. But you will live ; 
then let him do his worst : the Queen of Eng- 
land is not quite a slave; if Henry can bind, 
F 5 



106 PERKIN WARBECK. 

Elizabeth may loose ; and the Duke of York 
laugh in another land at the malice of his 
enemy." 

We return to this Prince, whose lofty spirit 
was sustained by an aim, an object dearer than 
a kingdom in his eyes. He arrived before 
Exeter at the head of seven thousand men. 
All the discontented in Cornwall and Devon- 
shire joined him. Some of these were younger 
brothers; some men-at-arms who repined at 
peace ; chiefly they were needy, oppressed men, 
rouzed by a sense of wrong, as destitute, but 
not so hardy as the kerns of Ireland. Still 
they were many, they were valiant ; Exeter was 
ungarrisoned, unprepared for defence, and there 
was a possibility that by sudden assault, he 
might possess himself of the town. With this 
intent he did not allow his troops time to repose, 
but at once set on for the attack, endeavouring 
to scale the lofty walls ; unaided by any fitting 
machinery, scarcely possessed of a single scaling 
ladder, he was driven back with loss. Foiled 
but not vanquished, for his heart was set upon 
this prize, for three days, though unpossessed 



PERKIN WARBECK. 107 

of artillery or any warlike engine, he exerted 
his utmost force to win the city; he contrived 
rude machinery to cast stones, he planted the 
ladders himself, he multiplied himself to appear 
everywhere, flattering, encouraging, leading his 
troops again and again to the assault. When 
they found the walls impregnable, he made an 
attempt on the gates : with fascines and hewed 
trees he set one of them on fire ; his men shouted 
as they heard the stout oak crapkle, and saw it 
split and crumble, offering a large opening ; 
but the citizens, made desperate, fearful of the 
ravages this untamed multitude might commit, 
were true to themselves ; they resisted fire by 
fire, keeping up a fierce blaze within, till with 
piles of brick and rubbish they had blocked the 
passage. Richard saw his last hope fail, " This 
is not the work of the burghers," he cried, " a 
soldier's skill is here/' 

" True as my old yard measure ! " cried 
Heron. " It was but last night that my cousin, 
the Earl of Devon, clambered into the city ; he 
came to the northern wall, where Skelton keeps 
watch ; when my valiant tailor heard the noise, 



108 PERKIN WARBECK. 

ran to look for Master Trereife, who, poor fellow, 
lies cold within the moat. The citizens heard 
and answered my Cousin the Earl's call ; but 
they were too frightened to let light through 
the keyhole of a postern; and his lordship, 
God save him ! was obliged to climb the bat- 
tlements." 

" Climb the battlements, noble Captain ? " 
said Richard ; " that is, a ladder was let down ? " 

" It was a stone ladder he scaled, my liege," 
said Heron ; " your Grace may walk up the 
same. It will scarce budge, seeing that it is 
the old part of the wall itself." 

" Who knows more of this ? " asked the 
Prince. 

" I saw the whole," said Skelton ; " That is 
the end. Master Trereife was dead for the nonce, 
so I came back to lead my men to the fray. 
There was the Earl, perched like a crow, on the 
boughs of r.n old thorn-bush, that grows at the 
top of the wall. Surely he must have torn his 
cloak, for the place is thick with all manner of 
weeds, and rough stones, and brambles. But 
more than his broad-cloth got a hole; for Clim 



PERKIN WARBECK. 109 

of Tregothius handled his bow, and let fly a 
cloth-yard shaft, which was sticking in his 
shoulder as he got down the other side." 

While the Tailor talked, Richard was pro- 
ceeding hastily to the spot. It looked -tranquil. 
The old crumbling wall was green with rank 
grass and tangled weeds. He drew nearer, and 
then a whole shower of arrows was discharged 
against him. The Earl had expected that his 
success would excite their curiosity, and prepared 
for them, with not the less zeal on account of 
his own wound. Richard escaped unhurt; but 
Edmund, who was scantily armed, received an 
arrow in his side : he fell. That same hour 
tidings came of the advance of King Henry at 
the head of a formidable army. 

Plantagenet's wound was dressed ; it showed 
signs of danger, and quite disabled him. " My 
faithful fellows swear to preserve you in safety, 
Cousin," said Richard ; " I must leave you." 

" Do you retreat ? " asked Edmund. 

" No, by my soul ! Truly, my hopes have 
somewhat quailed ; yet it is but a lucky blow, 
and I gain all. I leave you, my friend ; but I 



110 PERKIN WARBECK. 

will not leave you in doubt and ignorance. 
Read this paper : it is to enforce its contents 
to oblige my haughty foe to lay aside his worst 
weapon, detraction, that I, against all probabi- 
lity and wisdom, will urge my cause to the last. 
My kingdom, it is his : my honour he must 
restore, and I cry him quits. Now you have my 
secret. Pardon for my poor fellows ; pardon, 
and some alleviation of their cruel lot. For 
myself, as you will find, I ask little, but I must 
show no fear, no retreating, to obtain even that. 
I march forwards, then, towards Taunton : it is 
a less place than Exeter. The smallest secure 
port gained, and Henry may grant my boon." 

Plantagenet unfolded the paper, and read 
these words : 

" Richard, legitimate and true son of Edward 
the Fourth, King of England and France, and 
Lord of Ireland, to Henry, the reigning Sove- 
reign of these realms. Jn my infancy I was 
made a prisoner by an usurping uncle, escaping 
from his thrawl by aid of the most noble Earl of 
Lincoln. This uncle, this usurper, you con- 



PERKIN WARBECK. Ill 

queued, and seized upon his crown. You claim 
the same by right of Bolingbroke, and strengthen 
your title through your union with my sister, 
the Lady Elizabeth. I am poor, and an outcast : 
you a King. God has destroyed my house, and 
I submit. But I will not submit to the vile 
slander that takes from me my name, and brands 
me a dishonoured man. 

" Henry of Richmond, I neither admit nor 
combat your claim to the crown. Lancaster 
has many partizans, and the victory is yours. 
But as Duke of York, I challenge and defy 
you. I call on you, either by person or by 
champion, to meet me in the lists, that I may 
defend my honour, and maintain the right. Let 
us spare the people's blood. In single combat 
let my pretensions be set at issue ; and my good 
sword shall cut to pieces the wicked lies and 
base traditions you have calumniously and falsely 
forged to my disgrace. 

" Body to body, I will meet you or your 
champion. Name the day, the hour, and the 
place. With my lance and my sword, to the 
death I will maintain my birth. If I fall, I ask 



112 PERKIN WARBECK. 

that my wife, the Lady Katherine Gordon, be 
permitted to return to her royal cousin, James 
of Scotland; that such of my followers as 
desire it, may be allowed to go beyond seas ; 
that those of your subjects who, goaded into 
rebellion by your exactions, have taken up arms, 
receive free pardon and remission of their 
imposts. If I conquer, I add but one other 
demand that you confess to the wide world 
how foully you have slandered me ; revoke the 
lies you have published, and acknowledge me to 
all men, the rightful Duke of York. 

"If you deny my just demands, be the blood 
spilt in defence of my honour on your head ; 
England ravaged, your towns destroyed, your 
realm subject to all the calamities of war ; these 
evils rest with you. I will not sheathe my 
sword, nor tread one backward step in my 
undertaking ; but as in the lists, so on the dread 
battle-field, meet your abettors, and conquer or 
die in defence of my name. Expecting a fitting 
answer to this just defiance, I bid you heartily 
farewell. 

" RICHARD. 



PERKIN WARBECK. 1 13 

"Written under the walls of Exeter, this 
twelfth day of September, in the year of our 
Blessed Lord 1497." 

Plantagenet was deeply affected by his Cou- 
sin's gallantry. He sighed, saying, " Tudor 
has not, will not reply to your challenge ? " 

" He has not, but he may," replied Richard. 
" I have, I know not why, a firm belief that 
good will come from it. If not, in a few days all 
will be over. In a very few days you can be 
conveyed to St. Michael's Mount, where the 
Queen now is. The Adalid hovers near. Save 
her, save yourself: save one other, less helpful 
than my Katherine be a brother to Monina." 

Richard, erring in his mark, was animated 
by the most sanguine hopes, to which he was 
seduced by a constant belief that his life was not 
near its close, and therefore that his claims 
would be admitted ; as otherwise he had resolved 
to fall in the assertion of them. Leaving the 
sick couch of his Cousin, he prepared to advance 
to Taunton. A conversation meanwhile which 
he dreamt not of, and would have scorned, had 



114 PERKIN WARBECK. 

place in an obscure and gloomy spot in London, 
fraught with fate to him. 

After the base desertion of his royal master, 
Frion had sailed to England with the other 
hirelings of Henry ; among these was Clifford. 
Clifford, whose need and whose malice armed 
him against York's life, but who tried to hide 
his shame under an assumed appellation. There 
had always been a false fellowship and a real 
enmity between Frion and the knight. On his 
first arrival in Brussels, the secretary looked on 
him as an interloper; and Clifford, while he 
used the other, tried to force him into his place 
as an underling, and to blind him to his own 
designs. When he betrayed his party, spread- 
ing death among the partizans of York, and 
annihilating the cause, Frion, whose fortunes 
depended on its success, was unmeasured in his 
expressions of indignation and contempt. They 
had worked in direct opposition the year before 
in Kent; and, when Frion saw the hand of 
this reprobated man uplifted in midnight assas- 
sination, he triumphed in the lowness of his 
fall. Both were traitors now, both baffled: 



PERKIN WAHBECK. 115 

Frion looked on Clifford as the worse villain ; 
and Clifford writhed under the familiar im- 
pertinence of a menial. They arrived in Lon- 
don; Sir Robert was dismissed with barren 
thanks, Frion thrown into prison ; how far the 
knight's account gave intimation of the French- 
man's double dealing, and so brought this 
severity upon him was not known, but for three 
months this mercurial spirit had languished in 
confinement. 

Addicted to scheming, he had now full leisure 
to spend his whole thoughts that way ; a single, 
simple plot was too plain for his industrious 
soul ; he wore a whole web of them so intricate, 
that he sometimes lost the clue himself; not the 
less did he do his endeavour to put them in 
action. He intended either to lose Richard or 
make him ; either to be the cause of his over- 
throwing Henry, or of being overthrown by 
him ; in either case, to reap favour and advan- 
tage from the triumphant party. 

Sad as is ever a prison-house, it was, worse 
in those days of incivilization : this pen could 
ill describe the squalid figures and dire visages 



116 PERKIN WARBECK. 

that crowded its tumultuous court. Even here 
Frion reigned umpire; but he broke from a 
knot of noisy squabblers, who held tattered 
cards, and appealed to him on a question of fair 
play, as he saw one enter. Even he a wretch, 
yet many degrees better than the best of his 
miserable companions ; a scarlet suit, trimmed 
with gold kce, somewhat tarnished, a cloak of 
ample folds, but threadbare, a dark plutned 
bonnet, drawn over his brow, above all, a rapier 
at his side, distinguished him from the prisoners. 
" This is kind, Sir Robert," said Frion in his 
softest manner, "I half feared you were too 
proud or politic to visit a disgraced man ; for 
these last three days I have despaired of your 
worship ; by my fay ! your are right welcome." 

Clifford cast a shuddering look around the 
walls; his eyes were hollow; his cheek sunk; 
he was the mere shadow of bold Robert. " Few 
words are best thanks, Master Stephen," he re- 
plied ; " I am kind to you because the dice are 
cruel to me ; you promise largely, and my wants 
are no dwarfs. What are your designs ? " 

" This is no place for parley," said Frion ; 



PERKIN WARBECK. 117 

" follow me." He led the way through several 
narrow passages to a miserable cell; straw was 
heaped in one corner for a bed ; the walls were 
dank and tattered ; the floor broken and filthy. 
" Welcome to my domicile. Sir Knight," said 
Frion: whether it were compunction that he had 
brought him to this, or distrust that the injury 
would be revenged, Clifford shrunk back and 
his lips grew livid. " One would not live here 
from choice," said Frion, " I allow ; yet do not 
grudge me a few moments, it may stead us 
both." 

" To the point then," said the Knight ; " it 
is not the place, Master Frion ; but at the hour 
of noon " 

" No excuses, you like the place as ill as I," 
said the Frenchman with a bland smile ; " but 
you are more generous, for I would not dwell 
an instant's space here of my own will to gain 
any man's salvation. Now, what news from the 
west ? Is it true that the Duke of York is slain ? 
or Exeter taken ? both reports are rife. Adam 
Wicherly and Mat Oldcraft made their escape 
two days ago, to join the gallant. Mat was 



118 PERKIN WARBECK. 

seized again, and says that there were bonfires 
in Southwark for Richard the Fourth." 

Clifford, by a brief detail, answered, and then 
after some hesitation said, " He is not so low 
but that the King desires him to be lower : he 
who could bring him, bound hand and foot, to 
London, would be a made man. Empson saw 
Garthe yesterday ; and he, who calls me Wiatt, 
came post to consult with me; but it were 
hazardous to attempt him ; he is ten thousand 
strong." 

" You know me, Sir Robert," said Frion ; 
' there are few things I cannot bring about, so 
that I have room to ruffle in. I have a plot, 
King Richard is ours in three days, so one 
word be said ; that word is liberty to me. Take 
you the reward ; I ask no further share in your 
gains than free leave to set the channel between 
me and this dingy island." 

Each despising, each mistrusting the other, 
these men conspired for the Prince's fall : like 
" mousing owls " they hawked at an eagle with 
too true an aim. York's thoughts were of 
honour; but through them they were to be 



PERKIN WARBECK. 1 19 

drugged with ignominy and despair. It is me- 
lancholy that circumstance and fortune should 
have power to reach the very shrine of our 
dearest thoughts; degrading them from their 
original brightness to a likeness of the foul aspect 
of the outer world. Richard's free and noble 
spirit was to become plastic to the touch of such 
men as the fallen Clifford and crafty Frion. 
Men, whom he had cast from him as unworthy 
his regard, could besiege the citadel of his 
hopes, and garrison it with disgrace; forcing 
him to occupy himself with ideas as base as 
those which possessed their own minds. It is 
the high heart's curse to be obliged to expend 
its deep and sacred emotions in hatred of, or 
struggle with things so mean, so very alien to its 
own aspiring nature. 



120 



CHAPTER IX. 



Ah ! Richard, with the eyes of heavy mind, 

I see thy glory, like a shooting star, 

Fall to the base earth from the firmament. 

SHAKSPEAHE. 



RICHARD proceeded towards Taunton. Al- 
though this was in appearance an advance, his 
ill-success before Exeter, and report of the large 
force already brought against them by Sir John 
Cheney, King Henry's Chamberlain, had so far 
discouraged his followers as to occasion the 
desertion of many so that of the seven thou- 
sand he had with him in Devonshire, he retained 
but three on his arrival near Taunton. These 
consisted of the original body of insurgents, 



PERKIN WARBECK. 121 

Cornishmen, who had proceeded too far to go 
back, and who, partly in affection for their 
leader, partly from natural stubborness, swore to 
die in the cause. Poor fellows ! rusty rapiers, 
and misshapen lances were their chief arms ; a 
few had bows; others slings; a still greater 
number their ponderous tools, implements of 
labour and of peace, to be used now in slaughter. 
Their very dress displayed at once their unmar- 
tial and poverty-stricken state. In all these might 
be gathered a troop of three hundred foot, not 
wholly destitute of arms and discipline. The 
horse were not less at fault; yet among them 
there were about one hundred tolerably mounted, 
the riders indeed, but too frequently, disgracing 
their steeds. 

It required all Richard's energy of purpose to 
hold him back from despair. The bitter sense 
of degradation visited him in spite of every 
effort. Had he ever made one of the chivalry of 
France and Burgundy ? Had he run a tilt with 
James of Scotland, or grasped in knightly brother- 
hood the mailed hand of Sir Patrick Hamilton ? 
And were these his comrades? unwashed arti- 

VOL. III. G 



122 TERKIN WARBECK. 

ficers; ragged and rude peasants; vulgar- 
tongued traders? He felt, "in disgrace with 
fortune and men's eyes;" and now to obtain 
pardon for them, to send them back skaithless 
to their own homes, was his chief desire, even to 
the buying of their safety with his own 
downfall. 

After a two days march he arrived near Taun- 
ton. On reconnoitring the town, its position 
and weakness gave him hope that he might carry 
it, even with his sorry soldiery. To check these 
thoughts, tidings came, that Sir John Cheney 
was in close neighbourhood, and Henry himself 
advancing with a chosen body of men. On the 
evening of their arrival before the town, a de- 
tachment of the enemy entered it, cutting off 



the last hope of Richard. 

The next morning it became evident that the 
crisis of his fortunes was at hand. The whole 
country teemed with soldiery. As the troops 
poured towards a common centre, the array and 
order of a battle-field became apparent in their 
operations. A Battle, between a very myriad of 
golden-spurred knights, armed at all points, and 



PERKIN WARBECK. 123 

the naked inhabitants of Richard's camp ! call 
it rather a harvest; there were the reapers, here 
the bending corn. When in the north Richard 
wept over the devastation of the land, he felt that 
a word of his could counteract the har.m but 
now, his challenge had proved an airy dagger 
substanceless his resolve to encounter his foe, 
bringing the unarmed against these iron-suited 
warriors, grew in his eyes into premeditated 
murder: his heart heaved in his overcharged 
breast. To add bitterness to his thoughts there 
were his companions O' Water brave in despair ; 
Astley pale with fear for his lord ; Heron foolish 
in his unmeaning boasting; Skelton trembling 
in every joint, and talking incessantly, apparently 
to deafen himself to " the small still voice" that 
whispered terror to his heart. 

Richard spent the day among his men. They 
were prepared to fight ; if needs must, to fall : 
protestations of sturdy devotion, the overflowing 
of the rude, manly heart, always affecting, met 
him at every turn. He was beloved, for he was 
generous and kind. Often he had exposed his 
life, when before Exeter, to save some one among 
G 2 



J24 PERKIN WARBECK. 

them : when dismayed, he had cheered, when de- 
feated, he had comforted them ; nor did he leave 
the body of the meanest camp-follower unin- 
terred ; for one of Richard's characteristics was 
a quick sympathy with his species, and a rever- 
ence for all that bore the shape of man. But, 
while these qualities rendered him dear to all, 
they inspired him with a severe sense of his 
duties towards others, and a quick insight into 
their feelings; thus increasing to anguish the dis- 
quietude that agitated him. 

Towards evening he was alone in his tent 
At first he was confused by the various aspects, 
all terrible, that his fortunes assumed. By the 
caprice of destiny, he who was descended from a 
line of kings, who had so long been the inhabitant 
of courts, a Cavalier, honourable in his de- 
gree, renowned for his prowess, had not one 
noble-born part i/an near him : not one of his 
ancient counsellors, to whom he had been used 
to defer, remained ; he was absolutely alone ; 
the sense of right and justice in his own heart 
was all he possessed, to be a beacon-light in this 



PERKIN WARBECK. 125 

awful hour, when thousands depended upon his 
word yet had he power to save ? 

An idea, dim at first as a star on- the horizon's 
verge, struggling through vapours, but growing 
each second brighter and clearer, dawned upon 
his mind. All then was over ! his prophetic 
soul had proved false in its presumed fore- 
knowledge ; defeat, dishonour, disgrace tracked 
his steps To lead his troops forth, and then to 
redeem them at Henry's hand, by the condi- 
tionless surrender of himself, was the thought, 
child of despair and self-devotion, that still 
struggling with the affections and weaknesses of 
his nature, presented itself, not yet full fledged, 
but about to become so. 

He had been several times interupted during 
his meditations by the arrival of scouts, with 
various reports of the situation and proceedings 
of the enemy : Richard, better than these un- 
taught recruits, knew the meaning of the various 
operations. As if on a map, he saw the stationing 
of a large and powerful army in expectation of 
battle ; and was aware how incapable he was to 
cope with their numbers and force. At last 



]26 PERKIN WARBECK. 

Astley announced the arrival of two men : one 
was a Fleming, known to Richard as one of 
Lalayne's men, but the fellow was stupidly 
drunk; the other was an English peasant. 
" Please your worship," he said, " I am this 
man's guide, and must act as his interpreter 
besides ; nothing would serve the spungy fellow 
but he must swallow ale at every tavern on 
the way." 

"Speak, then," said Richard; "what is the 
purport of his journey ? " 

" Please you, Sir, last night three hundred of 
them came right pop upon us afore we were 
aware ; sore afraid they made us with their tall 
iron-shafted poles, steel caps, and short swords, 
calling each one for bread and beer." 

"Do you mean," cried the Prince, his eye 
brightening as he spoke, "that three hundred 
men, soldiers, armed like yonder fellow, are 
landed in England?" 

So the countryman averred; and that even 
now they were but at the distance of twenty miles 
from Richard's encampment. They were still 
advancing, when the report was spread that 



PERKIN WARBECK. 127 

the Prince's forces were dispersed, himself taken 
prisoner. The rustic drew from the Fleming's 
pocket a letter, in French, signed by Swartz, 
a son of him who fell at Stoke, a man in high 
favour with the Lady Margaret of Burgundy. 
It said how he had been dispatched by her 
Grace to his succour; how intelligence of the 
large army of Henry, and his defeat, had so 
terrified his men, that they refused to proceed, 
nay, by the next morning would take their way 
back to Poole, where they had landed, unless 
Richard himself came to re-assure them, and to 
lead them on. Every word of the letter lighted 
up to forgotten joy young Richard's elastic spirit. 
With these men to aid him, giving weight and 
respectability to his powers, he might hope to 
enforce the conditions of his challenge. All 
must be decided on the morrow : that very hour 
he would set forth, to return before morning 
with these welcome succours. 

It was near midnight ; his camp was still ; 
the men, in expectation of, the morrow's strug- 
gle, had retired to repose; their leaders had 
orders to visit their commander in his tent 



128 PERKIN WARBECK. 

at the hour which now the empty hour-glass 
told was come. Hastily, eagerly, Richard an- 
nounced the arrival of these German mer- 
cenaries ; he directed them to accompany him, 
that with some show of attendance he might 
present himself to Schwartz. The camp was 
not to be disturbed; two or three men alone 
among them were awakened, and ordered to 
keep guard in five hours assuredly he must 
return. In a brief space of time, the troop 
who were to accompany him, Heron, Skelton, 
O' Water, and Astley, with some forty more, 
led their horses to his tent in silence: there 
were few lights through all the camp; their 
honest hearts which beat within slept, while he 
was awake to succour and save them. This was 
Richard's last thought, as, mounted on his good 
steed, he led the way across the dim heatii 
towards Yeovil. 

It was such a night as is frequent at the end 
of September; a warm but furious west-wind 
tore along the sky, shaking the dark tresses of 
the trees, and chasing the broad shadows of the 
clouds across the plains. The moon, at the 



PERKIN WARBECK. 129 

beginning of her third quarter, sped through 
the sky with rapid, silvery wings ; now cutting 
the dark, sea-like ether; now plunging deep 
amidst the clouds ; now buried in utter dark- 
ness; anon spreading a broad halo among the 
thinner woof of vapours. The guide was at the 
Prince's side ; Heron, upon his short sturdy 
pony, was just behind; Skelton tried to get 
his tall mare to an even pace with Richard's 
horse, but she fell back continually : the rushing, 
howling wind, and rustling trees drowned the 
clatter of the hoofs. They reached the extreme 
edge of the common ; Richard turned his head 
the lights of his little camp burnt dim in the 
moonshine, its poor apparel of tents was lost in 
the distance: they entered a dark lane, and 
lost sight of every trace of it ; still they rode 
fleetly on. Night, and the obscure shapes of 
night around holy, blinding, all-seeing night ! 
when we feel the power of the Omnipotent as if 
immediately in contact with us ; when religion 
fills the soul, and our very fears are unearthly ; 
when familiar images assume an unknown power 
to thrill our hearts; and the winds and trees 

G5 



130 PERKIN WARBECK. 

and shapeless clouds, have a voice not their 
own, to speak of all that we dream or imagine 
beyond our actual life. Through embowered 
lanes, whose darkness seemed thick and pal- 
pable over open, moonshiny fields, where the 
airy chase of clouds careered in dimmer shapes 
upon the earth Richard rode forward, fostering 
newly-awakened hope; glad in the belief that 
while he saved all who depended 0:1 him, he 
would not prove a mere victim led in tame 
submission, an unrighteous sacrifice to the Evil 
Spirit of the World. 



131 



CHAPTER X. 



Art thou he, traitor ! that with treason vile 
Hast slain my men in this unmanly manner, 

And now triumphest in the piteous spoil 

Of these poor folk ; whose souls with black dishonour 
And foul defame do deck thy bloody banner ? 

The meed whereof shall shortly be thy shame, 
And wretched end which still attendeth on her. 

With that himself to battle he did frame ; 

So did his forty yeomen which there with him came. 



SOME miles to the east of Yeovil there was 
a deep stream, whose precipitous banks were 
covered by a thick underwood that almost con- 
cealed the turbid waters, which undermined 
and bared the twisted and gnarled roots of the 
various overhanging trees or shrubs. The left 



132 PERKJN WAUBECK. 

side of the stream was bounded by an abrupt 
hill, at the foot of which was a narrow path- 
way ; on the green acclivity flourished a beech 
grove, whose roots were spread in many direc- 
tions to catch the soil, while their trunks, 
some almost horizontal, were all fantastically 
grown, and the fairy tracery of the foliage shed 
such soft, mellowed, chequered light as must 
incline the heart of the wanderer beneath the 
leafy bower, to delicious musings. 

Now the moon silvered the trees, and some- 
times glimmered on the waters, whose murmurs 
contended with the wind that sung among the 
boughs: and was this all? A straggling moon- 
beam fell on something bright amid the 
bushes, and a deep voice cried, " Jack of the 
Wynd, if thou can'st not get to thicker cover, 
pluck darnels to cover that cursed steel cap of 
thine." 

" Hush ! " repeated another lower voice, 
" Your bawling is worse than his headpiece ; 
you outroar the wind. How high the moon is, 
and our friends not come ; he will be he here 
before them." 



PERKIN WARBECK. 133 

" Hark! a bell!" 

" Matins, by the Fiend ! may lie seize that 
double-tongued knave ! I much suspect Master 
Frion ; I know him of old." 

" He cannot mar us now, though it be he 
who made this ambushment." 

" Oh, by your leave ! he has the trick of it, 
and could spring a mine in the broadest way ; 
he can turn, and twist, and show more faces 
than a die. He laughed this morn I know the 
laugh there is mischief in V 

" But, your Worship, now, what can he do?" 

" Do ! darken the moon ; set these trees alive 
and dancing ; do ! so play the Will o' the Wisp 
that the King shall be on Pendennis and the 
Duke at Greenwich, and each fancy he is within 
bow-shot of the other ; do ! ask the Devil 
what is in his compact, for he is but the Merry 
Andrew of Doctor Frion. Hush ! " 

" It is he," said the other speaker. 

A breathless pause ensued ; the wind swept 
through the trees another sound its mono- 
tonous recurrence showed that it was a dashino- 

D 

waterfall and yet again it grew louder. 



134 PERKIN WARBECK. 

" It is he." 

" No, Gad's mercy, it comes westward 
close, my merry fellows, close, and mind the 
word ! close, for we have but half our number, 
and yet he may escape." 

Again the scene sank into silence and dark- 
ness : such silence as is nature's own, whose 
voice is ever musical ; such darkness as the em- 
bowering trees and vast island-clouds made, 
dimming and drinking up the radiance of the 
moon. 

The stillness was broken by the tramp of 
horses drawing near, men's voices mingled with 
the clatter, and now several cavaliers entered 
the defile ; they rode in some disorder, and so 
straggling, that it was probable that many of 
their party lagged far behind : die principal 
horseman had reached midway the ravine, when 
suddenly a tree, with all its growth of green and 
tangled boughs, fell right across the path ; the 
clatter of the fall deafened the screech which 
accompanied it, for one rider was overthrown: 
it was succeeded by a flight of arrows from 
concealed archers. ' ; Ride for your lives," 



PERKIN WARBECK. 135 

cried Richard : but his path was crossed by six 
horsemen, while, starting from the coppice, a 
band of near forty men engaged with the var. 
of his troop, who tried to wheel about : some 
escaped, most fell. With his sword drawn, the 
Prince rushed at his foremost enemy; it was a 
mortal struggle, for life and liberty,, for hatred 
and revenge. Richard was the better swords- 
man, but his horse was blown, and half sunk 
upon his haunches, when pressed closely by the 
adversary. Richard saw his danger, and yet 
his advantage, for his foe, over-eager to press 
him down, forgot the ward ; he rose on his 
stirrups, and grasped his sword with both hands, 
when a blow from behind, a coward's blow, 
from a battle-axe, struck him ; it was repeated, 
and he fell lifeless on the earth. 

Sickness, and faintness, and throbbing pain 
were the first tokens of life that visited his still 
failing sense; sight and the power of motion 
seemed to have deserted him, but memory re- 
viving told him that he was a prisoner. Mo- 
ments were stretched to ages while he strove to 
collect his sensations; still it was night; the 



136 PERKIN WARBECK. 

view of fields and uplands and of the varied 
moon-lit sky, grew upon his languid senses ; he 
was still on horseback, bound to the animal, and 
supported on either side by men. As his move- 
ments communicated his returning strength, one 
of these fellows rode to impart the tidings to their 
leader, while the other stayed to guide his horse ; 
the word " gallop ! " was called aloud, and he 
was urged along at full speed, while the sudden 
motion almost threw him back into his swoon. 

Dawn, which at first seemed to add to the 
dimness and indistinctness of the landscape, 
struggling through the clouds, and paling the 
moon, slowly stole upon them. The Prince 
became sufficiently alive to make observations ; 
he and his fellow-prisoners were five in number 
only, their guards were ten; foremost among 
them was one, whom in whatever guise he could 
not mistake. Each feeling in Richard's heart 
stimulated him to abhor that man, yet he pitied 
him more. Gallant, bold Robin, the frolick- 
some page, the merry-witted sharer of a thou- 
sand pleasures. Time, thou art a thief; howr 



PERKIN WARBECK. 137 

base a thief when thou stealest not only our 
friends, our youth, our hopes, but, besides, our 
innocence ; giving us in the place of light-hearted 
confidence guile, distrust, the consciousness of 
evil deeds. In these thoughts, Richard drew the 
louring of the picture, from the fresh and vivid 
tints that painted his own soul. Clifford's 
breast had perhaps never been free from the 
cares of guilt: he had desired honour; he had 
loved renown ; but the early developement of 
passion and of talent had rendered him even 
in boyhood, less single-hearted than Richard 
now. 

Clifford was triumphant; he possessed Mo- 
nina's beloved the cause of his disgrace bound, 
a prisoner and wounded. Why then did pain 
distort his features, and passion flush his brow ? 
No triumph laughed in his eye, or sat upon his 
lip. He hated the prince; but he hated and 
despised himself. He played a dastardly and 
a villain's part; and shame awaited even suc- 
cess. The notoriety and infamy that attended 
on him (exaggerated as those things usually 
are, in his own eyes), made him fear to meet 



138 PERK1N WARBECK. 

in the neighbouring villages or towns, any noble 
cavalier who might recognise him ; even if he 
saw a party of horsemen on the road, he turned 
out of it, and thus got entangled among bye- 
paths in an unfrequented part of the country. 
They continued the same-fast career for several 
hours, till they entered i\ wild dark forest, where 
the interminable branches of the old oaks met 
high-arched over head, and the paths were beset 
with fern and underwood. The road they took 
was at first a clear and open glade, but it 
quickly narrowed, and branched off in various 
directions ; they followed one of its windings, till 
it abruptly closed : the leader then reined in, and 
Clifford's voice was heard. Years had elapsed 
since it had met Richard's ear ; the mere, as it 
were, abstract idea of Clifford was mingled with 
crime and hate ; his voice, his manner, his look 
were associated with protestations of fidelity; or, 
dearer still, the intercourse of friendship and 
youthful gaiety; no wonder that it seemed a 
voice from the grave to betrayed York. 
" Halloo ! " cried Clifford, " dim of the Lyn, 



PERKIN WA'RBECK. 139 

my merry man, thou art to track us through 
the New Forest to Southampton." 

" Please your knightship," said a shaggy- 
headed fellow, " our way is clear, I am at home 
now: but, by Saint George, we must halt; a 
thirty miles ride since matins, his fast un- 
broken, would have made Robin Hood a lag- 
gard." 

" What would you eat here?" cried Clifford; 
" a stoup of canary and beef were blessings for 
the nonce ; but we must get out of this accursed 
wilderness into more Christian neighbourhood, 
before we find our hostelry." 

Clim of the Lyn grinned. " To a poor 
forester," said he, " the green-wood is a royal 
inn ; vert and venison, your worship, sound 
more savoury than four smoky walls, and a plat- 
ter of beef brought in mine host's left hand, 
while his right already says ' Pay ! ' : 

" They would feed me with mine own veni- 
son in way of courtesy, even as the Lion Heart, 
my namesake and ancestor, was feasted of old; 
mine each acre, each rood, and every noble 
stag that pastures thereon ; but I am not so 



140 PERKIN WARBECK. 

free as they; and, mine though this wild wood 
be, I must thank an outlaw ere I dine upon my 
own." 

Thus thought Richard ; and at that moment, 
with his limbs aching through their bondage, 
and with throbbing temples, liberty in the free 
forest seemed worth more than a kingdom. 
The bright sun was high the sky serene the 
merry birds were caroling in the brake the 
forest basked in noon-day, while the party 
wound along the shady path beneath. The 
languid frame of York revived ; at first to pain 
alone, for memory was serpent-fanged. What 
bird-lime was this to ensnare the royal eagle ! 
but soon Despair, which had flapped her harpy 
wings across his face, blinding him, fled away ; 
Hope awoke, and in her train, schemes of escape, 
freedom, and a renewal of the struggle. 

Meanwhile they threaded many a green path- 
way, and, after another hour's ride, arrived at 
the opening of a wide grassy dell ; a deer, " a 
stag of ten," leapt from his ferny bed and 
bounded away; a herd of timid fawns, just vi- 
sible in the distance, hurried into the thicket ; 



PERKIN WARBECK. 141 

while many a bird flew from the near sprays. 
Here the party halted ; first they unbitted their 
steeds, and then dismounted the prisoners, 
binding them for security's sake to a tree. Ri- 
chard was spared this degradation, for still he 
was a prince in Clifford's eyes; and his extreme 
physical weakness, caused by his blow, made 
even the close watching him superfluous. He 
was lifted from his horse, and placed upon the 
turf, and there left. While some of his guards 
went to seek and slay their repast, others led 
their animals to a brook, which murmured near : 
all were variously and busily employed. Clif- 
ford alone remained ; he called for water ; evi- 
dently he was more weary than he chose to own ; 
he took off his casque : his features were ghastly; 
there was a red streak upon his brow, which 
was knit as if to endurance, and his lips were 
white and quivering. Never had crime visited 
with such torment ill-fated man ; he looked a 
Cain after the murder ; the Abel he had killed 
was his own fair fame the ancestral honour of 
his race. How changed from when Richaid 
last saw him, but two years before; his hair was 



142 PERKIN WARBECK. 

nearly g*ey, his eyes hollow, his cheeks fallen 
in ; yet, though thin to emaciation, he had 
lost that delicacy and elegance of feature that 
had characterized him. Almost without reflec- 
tion, forgetting his own position in painful com- 
passion, the Prince exclaimed, " Thou art an 
unhappy man, Sir Robert ! " The knight re- 
plied with a ghastly smile, which he -meant to 
be disdainful. " But now," continued Richard, 
" while thy visor screened thy face, I was on 
the point of taunting thee as a coward,' of 
defying thee to mortal combat; but thou art 
miserable, and broken-hearted, and no match 
fdr me." 

Clifford's eyes glared, his hand was upon his 
sword's hilt: he recollected himself, reply inn. 
" You cannot provoke me, Sir, you are my pri- 
soner." 

" Thy victim, Robirr; though once saved by 
thee ; but that is past, and there is no return. 
The blood of Stanley, and of a hundred other 
martyrs, rolls between us: I conquer my own 
nature, when even for a moment I look tipc n 
their murderer." 



PERKIN WARBECK. 143 

The weakness of the prince gave a melan- 
choly softness to his voice and manner ; the 
deep pity he felt for his fallen friend, imparted 
a seraphic expression to his clear open coun- 
tenance. Clifford writhed with pain. Clif- 
ford, who, though not quick to feel for others, 
was all sense and sensitiveness for himself: and 
how often in the world do we see sensibility 
attributed to individuals, whose show of feeling 
arises from excessive susceptibility to their own 
sorrows and injuries! Clifford wished to an- 
swer to go away he was spell-bound ; his 
cowering look first animated Richard to an 
effort, which a moment before he would have 
ridiculed. " Wherefore," said he, " have you 
earned all men's hate, and your own to boot ? 
Are you more honoured and loved than in 
Brussels ? Scorn tracks you in your new career, 
and worst of all, you despise yourself." 

" By St. Sathanas and his brood ! " fiercely 
burst from the Knight. Then he bit his lip, 
and was silent. 

"Yet, Clifford, son of a noble father, spare 
yourself this crowning sin. I have heard from 



144 PERKIN WARBECK. 

travelled men, that in Heathenesse the unbap- 
tized miscreant is true to him whose hospi- 
tality he has shared. There was a time when 
my eyes brightened when I saw you ; when the 
name of Robin was a benediction to me. You 
have changed it for the direst curse. Yours are 
no common crimes. Foremost in the chroni- 
cles, your name will stand as a type and symbol 
of ingratitude and treason, written with the 
blood of Fitzwater and Stanley. But this is 
not all. The young and defenceless you de- 
stroy : you have stood with uplifted dagger over 
the couch of a sleeping man." 

Clifford had fostered the belief that this vilest 
act of his life, to which he had been driven 
rather by fierce revenge than hope of reward, 
was a secret. A moment before he had advanced 
with hasty and furious glances towards his 
enemy. Scarcely had the words passed York's 
lips, than a kind of paralysis came over him. 
His knees knocked together : his arms fell 
nerveless to his side. 

" O, man ! " continued York, " arouse thy 
sleeping faculties. Bid the fiend who tortures 



PERKIN WARBECK. 145 

thee, Avaunt ! Even now, at the word, he feels 
his power over thy miserable soul waver. By 
Him who died on the Cross, I conjure him to 
leave thee. Say thou * amen ' to my adjuration, 
and he departs- Cast off the huge burthen 
of guilt : deliver thy soul into the care of 
holy men. As thy first act, depart this spot ; 
leave me. It is I who command Richard of 
York, thy sovereign. Begone ; or kneeling at 
my feet, seek the grace thou hast so dearly 
forfeited." 

For a moment it almost seemed as if the 
wretched man were about to obey ; but at the 
moment his groom came from the spring, where 
he had been watering his horse. The sight of 
another human being, to witness his degrada- 
tion, awoke him to phrenzy. He called aloud, 
" How now, Sirrah ! Why, unbit Dragon ? 
Bring him here. I must begone." 

" He can't carry your honour a mile," said 
the fellow. 

" A miracle," cried Richard ; " you repent, 
Sir Robert." 

" As Lucifer in hell ! Look to the prisoner." 

VOL. in. H 



146 PERKIN WARBECK. 

Clifford vaulted on his horse : his head was bare, 
his eyes wild and bloodshot. Clapping spurs to 
the jaded animal's side, he put him to his speed, 
and was gone. 

" His fit is on him ! " cried his attendant, 
" and what are we to do ? He rides a race 
with the fiend, leaving us to do both their 
works.'* More whisperingly he muttered, 
** Hold Duke Richard in bonds against his will 
may I not. He gave me gold in Flanders ; he 
is a King's son and a belted Knight, and I a 
poor servitor." 

Richard had conceived a faint hope of work- 
ing on Clifford's manifest remorse, and enlisting 
liim again under the banner of the White Rose. 
His wonder was great when he saw him flying 
through the forest with uncovered head and 
dishevelled hair ; the bridle of his horse in die 
groom's hand,' while the wearied animal, spurred 
to speed, threw up his head, snorting with fear. 
Not a moment was to be lost, the Prince flew to 
his comrades in captivity. Already Heron and 
O'Water had their bonds cut by the sword of 
which he possessed himself. Heron, in whose 



PERKIN WARBECK. 147 

two arms lay his chief strength, and O' Water, 
at home in a fray, fired with the desire of liberty 
and life, got speedy hold of battle-axes, and stood 
at bay. Skelton, the next made free, began to 
run ; but finding his flight was solitary, he se- 
cured a bow and arrows, and betook himself to 
a short, sure aim from behind a tree, while he 
offered up another sigh to the memory of Tre- 
reife. Astley threw himself foremost before his 
master, unarmed. The weapons of their guard 
were chiefly in a heap, and these, defended by 
the enfranchised prisoners, were useless to them. 
Headed by Clifford's groom, who stood in salu- 
tary awe of shedding royal blood, a parley com- 
menced. He entreated Richard to submit ; he 
told him that the whole country was in arms 
against him, his way back to his army beset, 
the sea-coasts strictly guarded. What then could 
he do? 

" Die, in arms and at liberty. Stand back, 
sirs ; what would you do with me ? Your 
guilty captain has deserted you ; is there one of 
your number who will raise his accursed weapon 
against a King and a Knight ? " 
H 2 



148 PERKIN WARBECK. 

Clym of the Lyn, and another outlawed fo- 
rester, (Clifford in mustering a troop had ga- 
thered together all manner of wild companions) 
now appeared dragging in a fat buck. Clym 
grinned when he saw the altered state of things : 
" Come, my men," he said, " it is not for us to 
fight King Henry's battles ; the more Majesties 
there be in England, the merrier for us, I trow; 
and the wider and freer the range of the King 
of the New Forest. Put up your rapiers, and 
let us feast like brethren ; ye may fall to with 
your weapons afterwards. Or, if it please your 
Grace to trust to me, I will lead you where none 
of the King's men will follow." 

" Wilt thou guide me back to Taunton ?" 
asked the Prince. 

" Not for my cap full of rose nobles," replied 
the outlaw; " the way is beset : and trust me 
your worship's men are scattered far and wide 
ere this. You are a tall fellow, and I should ill 
like to see you in their gripe. Be one of us : 
you shall be King of the Greenwood-shade ; and 
a merrier, freer monarch than he who lives at 
Westminster." 



PERKIN WARBECK. 149 

" Hark ! " the word, spoken in a voice of 
alarm, made the party all ear. There was a 
distant tramp every now and then a breaking 
of bushes and a whole herd of deer came 
bounding up the glade in flight. A forester 
who had rambled further than the rest, rushed 
back, saying, " Sixty yeomen of the royal guard ! 
They are coming hitherward. Sir Harry de Vere 
leads them I know his bright bay horse/' 

" Away ! " 



150 



CHAPTER XI. 



He might have dwelt in green forest. 

Under the shadows green ; 
And have kept both him and us at rest, 

Out of all trouble and teen. 

OLD BALLAD. 



IT had been the policy of Richard's captors, 
to have remained to deliver up their priso- 
ners to a stronger force. But most of them 
were outlaws by profession, who held the King's 
men in instinctive horror : these were the first to 
fly ; the panic spread ; those who had no cause 
to fear, fled because they saw others do so. In 
a moment the sward was cleared of all save the 
prisoners, who hastily bridled their horses, and 
followed York down a narrow path into a glen, 
in an opposite direction from the approaching 
troop. With what speed they might they made 



PERK IN WARBECK. ' 151 

their way through the forest, penetrating its 
depths, till they got completely entangled in its 
intricacies. They proceeded for several hours, 
but their jaded horses one by one foundered : 
they were in the most savage part of the wood ; 
there was no beginning nor end to the prospect 
of knotted trunks, which lifted their vast leafy 
burthen into the air; here was safety and 
needful repose. Richard, animated to a sudden 
effort, could now hardly keep his seat : the state 
of their animals was imperative for a halt ; so 
here, in a wild brake, they alighted near a run- 
ning brook; and here O' Water slew a buck, 
while Astley and Skelton unbridled their horses, 
and all set about preparing a most needful re- 
past. Evening stole upon them before it was 
concluded: the slant sun-beams lay in golden 
glory on the twisted ivy-grown trunks, and 
bathed the higher foliage in radiance. By the 
time their appetites were satisfied, Heron and 
Skelton were discovered to be in a sound sleep; it 
were as well to follow their example ; neither 
men and horses could proceed without repose ; 
darkness also afforded best safety for travelling, 



152 PERK1N WARBECK. 

It was agreed that they should pursue their way 
at midnight; and so, stretched on the grassy 
soil, peace and the beauty of nature around 
them, each gave himself up to a slumber, 
which, at that extremity of fatigue, needed no 
courting. 

All slept, save the Prince ; he lay in a state 
of feverish disquietude, looking at the sky 
through the leafy tracery overhead, till night 
massed and confused every object.. Darkest 
thoughts thronged his mind ; loss of honour, 
desertion of friends, the fate of his poor men : 
he was to have devoted himself to them, but a 
stream, driven by a thundering avalanche from 
its course, had as much power as he to oppose the 
circumstances that had brought him from his 
camp near Taunton, to this secluded spot. For 
an interval he gave himself up to a tumult of 
miserable ideas, till from the grim troop some 
assumed a milder aspect, some a brighter hue ; 
and, after long and painful consideration, he ar- 
ranged such a plan as promised at least to vin- 
dicate his own name, and to save the lives of 
his adherents* Calmed by these thoughts, 



PERKIN WARBECK. 153 

soothed to repose by the gentle influence of a 
south wind, and the sweet monotony of rustling 
leaves and running water, he sank at last into 
a dreamless sleep. 

A whispering of voices was the first thing 
that struck his wakening sense : it was quite 
dark. " Is Master O' Water come back ? " 
asked Heron. 

" I am here," replied the Irishman. 

"Hast discovered aught?" 

" That the night is dark, and the forest wide, 5 ' 
replied O' Water ; " had we a planet to guide us 
we might hope to reach its skirts. We are worse 
off, than the Spanish Admiral on the western 
sea, for the compass was a star without a cloud 
to him." 

" Saint Mary save us ! " said, or rather whined 
poor Skelton, " our fortunes are slit from top 
to toe, and no patch-work will make them 
whole." 

" There is hope at the mouth of a culverin," 
said O' Water, " or at the foot of the gallows, 
so that a man be true to himself. I have 
H 5 



154- PERKIN WARBECK. 

weathered a worse day, when the Macarthys 
swore to revenge themselves on the Roches." 

" And by our Lady's grace," interrupted 
Richard, " shall again, worthy Mayor. My 
good fellows, fear nothing, I will save you, the 
ocean cannot be many miles off, for the sun set 
at our right hand, and blinded our eyes through 
the day ; the wind by its mildness is southerly : 
we will face it. When once we reach the sea- 
side, the shore of the free, wide ocean, Tudor's 
power stops short, and ye are safe ; of myself 
there will then be time to think. Say, shall we 
proceed now, or give another hour to repose? " 

All were eager to start, slowly leading their 
horses through the tangled paths they could 
find, the quarter whence the wind blew their 
only guide: morning found them toiling on, 
but morning diminished half their labours ; and, 
as the birds twittered, and the east gleamed, 
their spirits rose to meet and conquer danger. 
O* Water was in his native element, that of 
hairbreadth escape and peril. As to Heron and 
Skelton, they might have flagged, but for 
Richard ; he flattered their pride, raised their 



PERKIN WAEBECK, 



hopes, making weariness and danger a plaything 
and a jest. As the sun mounted in the sky, 
their horses showed many a sign of weariness ; 
and, in spite of a store of venison, which the 
careful Skelton had brought away with him, 
they needed refreshment : each mile lengthened 
to ten; each glade grew interminable in their 
eyes ; and the wide forest seemed to possess all 
England in its extent. Could the Prince's 
body have conquered his mind, the White. 
Rose had indeed drooped : he was parched 
with fever, and this, preying on his brain, made 
him the victim of conflicting thoughts : his 
heart, his imagination, were in his deserted 
camp; even fair Katherine, awaiting tidings of 
him in her far retreat, had not such power to 
awaken anguish in his heart, as the idea ot 
Henry's vengeance exercised on his faithful, 
humble friends, whose father and protector he 
had called himself. There was disease in the 
fire and rapidity with which these ideas coursed 
through his mind ; with a strong will he over- 
came them, bent on accomplishing his present 
purpose, and rescuing these chief rebels, wliose 



156 PERKIN WARBECK. 

lives were most endangered, before he occupied 
himself with the safety of the rest. 

At length, at noon, his quick ear caught a 
heavy, distant roar. The trees had begun to be 
more scattered : they reached the verge of the 
forest; they were too weary to congratulate 
each other; before them was a rising ground 
which bounded their view ; some straggling 
cottages crowned the height; slowly they 
reached the hill-top, and there beheld stormy 
ocean, clipping in the circular coast with 
watery girdle ; at a crow's flight it might be a 
mile distant; a few huts, and a single black 
boat spotted in one place the else desert beach ; 
a south wind swept the sea, and vast surges 
broke upon the sands; all looked bleak and 
deserted. 

They stopped at a cottage-door inquiring tin 
road ; they heard there was one, which went 
three miles about, but that the plain at their 
feet was intersected by wide ditches, which their 
fagged animals could, not leap. Moreover, 
what hope of putting out to sea, in opposition to 
the big noisy waves which the wind was hurry- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 15T 

ing towards shore ! It were safest and best to 
take a short repose in this obscure village. 
Heron and Skelton entered the poor inn, 
while Richard waited on his horse, striving to 
win him by caresses to taste the food he at first 
refused. Heron, who was warm-hearted with all 
his bluster, brought the Prince out a flagon of 
excellent wine, such, as by some chance, it 
might be a wreck, the tide had wafted from the 
opposite coast: Richard was too ill to drink; 
but, as he stood, his arm on his poor steed's 
neck, the creature looked wistfully up in his 
face, averting his mouth from the proffered 
grain; half playfully his master held out to 
him the wide mouthed flagon, and he drank 
with such eagerness, that Richard vowed he 
should have another bottle, and, buying the 
host's consent with gold, filled a large can 
from the wine-cask ; the beast drank, and, had 
he been a Christian man, could not have ap- 
peared more refreshed. The Prince, forgetful 
of his pains, was amusing himself thus, when 
Skelton, pale and gasping, came from the 
house, and voiceless through fear, laid one 
hand on his leader's arm, and with the other 



158 PERKIN WARBECK. 

pointed : too soon the hapless fugitive saw to 
what he called his attention. Along the shore 
of the sea a moving body was perceptible, ap- 
proaching towards them from west to east, 
which soon showed itself to be a troop of horse 
soldiers. Richard gave speedy order that his 
friends should assemble and mount, while he 
continued to watch the proceedings of the 
enemy. 

They were about two hundred strong they 
arrived at the huts on the beach, and the Prince 
perceived that they were making dispositions to 
leave a part of their number behind. Fifty men 
were selected, and posted as patrole the rest 
then moved forward, still towards the east. By 
this time the remaining fugitives had mounted, 
and gathered in one spot die villagers also 
were collecting Skelton's teeth chattered he 
asked an old woman if there were any sanctuary 
near. 

" Aye, by our Lady, is there," replied the 
dame, " sixteen miles along the coast is the 
monastery of Beaulieu. A sanctuary for Princes : 
by the same token that the Lady Margaret, 



PERK1N WARBECK. 159 

Saint Henry's Queen, lived safely there in spite 
of the wicked Yorkists, who would have taken 
her precious life." 

Richard turned quickly round as the woman 
spoke and heard her words, but again his eyes 
were attracted to the coast. As the troop were 
proceeding along the sands, the little knot of 
horsemen perched upon the hill, caught the 
attention of a soldier. He rode along the lines, 
and spoke to the commanding officer; a halt 
ensued, " We are lost," cried Skelton, " we are 
taken, Lord ! Lord ! will they grant us ouv 
lives?" 

" These trees are tempting, and apt for hang- 
ing," said O'Water, with the air of a con- 
noisseur. 

" Oh, for Bewley for Bewley, let us ride ! " 
exclaimed Skelton, longing to go, yet afraid of 
separating himself from his companions. 

Still the Prince watched the movements of 
the adverse party. Ten men were detached, 
and began to advance inland " Oh, dear my 
Lord," cried Astley, " betake yourself to the 
forest there are a thousand ways of baffling 



160 PERKIN WARBECK. 

these men. I will meet them, and put them to 
fault. Ride, for my lady's sake, ride ! " 

" Master Astley is a cunning gentleman," said 
Skelton ; " our horses are a- weary, and a little 
craft would help us mightily." 

Still Richard's eyes were fixed on the troopers 
the men advanced as far as a broad, deep 
stream, which intersected the plain ; here they 
hesitated ; one of the best mounted leapt across, 
the others drew back, seeking along the steep, 
shelving banks for a ford, or a narrowing of the 
stream. The eyes of the troop on the shore 
were now turned upon their comrades. " Our 
time is come," cried Richard ; " back to the 
forest." One step took them down the other 
side of the hill, hiding sea and beach and enemy 
from their eyes, and skreening them also from 
observation. They soon reached the forest, and 
entered its shade ; and then proceeded along 
just within its skirts. " Whither?" respectfully 
O' Water asked, after Skelton had for some time 
been muttering many a hint concerning sanc- 
tuary. 

" To Beaulieu," said the Prince. " We arc 



PERK1N WARBECK. 161 

barred out from the ocean we are beset at 
land the little island, ycleped sanctuary, is all 
that is left to ye. God speed us safely hither." 
Richard's horse was lively and refreshed after 
his generous draught, but those of the others 
flagged. The Prince exerted himself to keep 
up the spirits of all ; he rallied Skelton, spoke 
comfort to Astley, and good hope to Heron. 
The sturdy apprentice of danger, flight and 
trouble, O' Water, treated it all as a matter of 
course even hanging, if it so chanced, was but 
a likely accident the others needed more en- 
couragement. Astley feared for his Lord, even 
to an appearance of timidity, which, though dis- 
interested, had a bad effect on the others. 
Heron complained bitterly that his dinner had 
been left unfinished ; while the poor tailor, now 
fancying that he would run away from all, now 
fearful of solitary misadventure, kept up a gar- 
rulous harangue, of which terror was the burthen 
and the sum. Richard's voice was cheerful, his 
manner gay; but, placing his hand on Astley, it 
felt scorching; every moment it required more 
energy to throw off the clinging lethargy that 



162 PERKIN WARBECK. 

fell upon him. It was again evening a circum- 
stance that had caused them to enter deeper into 
the forest ; and it was to be feared they had lost 
their way. All were weary all, save Richard, 
hungry. The breeze had died away; the air 
was oppressive, and more and more it felt like a 
load intolerable to the Prince's burning brow* 
Night began to close in so very dark, that the 
horses refused to go forward. Suddenly a roar- 
ing sound arose, which was not the sea; and, 
but that the atmosphere was so still, the wan- 
derers would have said that it was a fierce wind 
among the trees. Such must it be, for now it 
came nearer ; like living things, the vast giants 
of the forest tossed their branches furiously ; 
and entire darkness and sudden, pouring rain 
revealed the tempest, which their leafy prison 
had before hidden <all was so instantaneous, 
that it would seem that nature was un- 
dergoing some great revulsion in her laws. 
The Prince's horse snorted and reared, while 
O' Water's dashed furiously on, striking against 
a tree, and throwing his rider, from whose lips 
there escaped a shriek. What would have been 
the last overflowing drop in the bitter cup to a 



PERKIN WARBECK. 163 

mind, restored Richard lassitude and 
despondency vanished. In an instant he was off 
his horse at O' Water's side, speaking in his own 
cheerful, kind voice. " Waste no moment on 
me," cried the generous Mayor. " My leg is 
broken I can go no further speed you, your 
Highness, to the sanctuary." 

This was the end of hope the raging storm, 
the disabled man, dark night, and Richard's 
resolve not to desert his follower, all were causes 
of terror and of despair. 

A voice in the wood was heard calling aloud ; 
no answer could be returned ; it was repeated, 
and Astley went forward to reconnoitre even 
an enemy were help in such disaster, yet Heron 
and Skelton implored him to remain. Another 
halloo Richard answered; for he recognized 
Astley's voice, who in the dark could not find 
his way back. He came at last, accompanied by 
a monk this was heaven's favour revealed; for 
the holy man was a hermit, and his poor cell 
was near : poor indeed was it, built with logs, 
the interstices filled with mud ; a bed of dried 
leaves was nearly all the furniture. The hermit 



164 PERKIN WARBECK. 

had gone on first, and lit a torch ; as they might, 
they bore along poor O ' Water, and placed 
him in his agony on the low couch. The hermit 
looked inquisitively on all the party, neglecting 
to answer Skelton, who asked for the hundredth 
time the distance to Beaulieu. 

Richard still occupied himself with the Mayor, 
endeavouring to discover if the limb were bro- 
ken. " By your leave, your Grace," said the 
hermit, " I am somewhat of a chirurgeon ; I 
boast of my cures of horses, and have saved a 
Christian man ere now." 

Scarcely did the Prince remember to wonder 
at the title by which the unknown addressed 
him. By our Lady's love he besought him to 
attend to his friend. "Trust me," said the 
hermit, "I will not fail; but you, my Lord, 
must not tarry here; the forest is beset with 
troops: but for night and storm, you would 
hardly attain Beaulieu in safety. It is but two 
miles distant : I will guide your Highness 
thither ; and then return to your follower. Have 
faith in me, my Lord ; I have served your royal 
uncle, and was enlisted under your banner last 



PERKIN WARBECK. 165 

year in Kent. I made a shift to escape, and 
took sanctuary; but the stone walls of a mo- 
nastery are little better than those of a prison; 
so I betook me to the woods. Oh, I beseech 
you, waste no time : I will return to your fol- 
lower : he is safe till then." 

" Direct us, and I will thank you," replied 
Richard; ' but you shall not desert your patient 
even for a moment." 

There was no alternative but to comply : the 
man gave as clear instructions as he might, and 
Richard again set forward with his diminished 
party. They were long entangled by trees ; and 
it was now quite night : the excitement over, the 
Prince had drooped again. Even this interval 
was full of peril a tramp of steeds was heard : 
they drew up among the trees; a party of 
horsemen passed ; one could it be the voice of 
the subtle Frion ? said, "At the end of this 
glade we shall see the abbey spires. Well I 
know the same ; for when Queen Margaret " 

This speaker was succeeded by a woman's 
voice: yet greater wonder, she spoke in Spanish, 
in unforgotten accents Richard's heart stood 



166 PERKIN WARBECK. 

still, as he heard them ; but soon both voice and 
tramp of steeds grew faint ; and his brain, be- 
coming more and more bewildered, allowed no 
thought to enter,' save the one fixed there even 
in delirium. The fugitives continued to linger 
in this spot until it was probable that the 
travellers should have arrived. True to the 
information they had overheard, the forest 
opened at the end of the glade into a leafy 
amphitheatre; an avenue was opposite, which 
led to the abbey gates, whose Gothic spires, 
buttresses and carved arches, rose above the 
tufted trees in dark masses. One end of the 
building was illuminated that was the church, 
and the pealing organ stole mournfully on the 
night, sounding a Miserere; the chaunting of 
the monks mingled with the harmonious swell, 
adding that pathos, that touch of solemn, un- 
utterable sentiment, which perhaps no music, 
save that of the human voice, possesses. 
Richard's companions were rough-suited, vul- 
gar-minded; but they were Catholic and re- 
ligious men, and were awe-struck by this voice 
from heaven reaching them thus in their deso- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 167 

lation; a voice promising safety and repose to 
their harassed, wearied bodies. 

A few steps carried them to the very spot ; 
the bell was rung, the gate was opened, sanc- 
tuary was claimed and afforded. Skelton sprang 
forward ; the other two hung back ; but, on a 
sign from Richard, they also passed the sacred 
threshold. "Farewell, my friends," he said, 
"a short farewell. Astley, I charge you wait 
for me. Sir priest, close the gate." 

The word was said, the order obeyed, Richard 
was left alone in darkness. " Now for my task 
for my poor trusty fellows. The work of mur- 
der cannot yet have begun : my life pays for all. 
Yet awhile bear me up, thou fainting spirit; 
desert not Richard's breast till his honour be 
redeemed ! " 

Vain prayer! " I must repose," he thought; 
" it is of no avail to urge nature beyond herself; 
a few minutes, and I am strong." He dis- 
mounted, and, with a sensation of delicious 
relief, threw himself at his length on the wet 
grass, pressing the dank herbage to his fevered 
brow. At first he felt recovered ; but in a few 



168 PERK1N WARBECK. 

minutes strong spasms shot through his frame ; 
and these yielded to a feebleness, that forced 
him to sink to the ground, when he endeavoured 
to rise : he forgot his situation, the near abbey, 
his friends; he forgot wherefore, but he re- 
membered that his presence was required some- 
where, and with a resolved effort he rose and 
staggered towards his horse he fell. "A little 
sleep, and I shall be well." This was his last 
thought, and he lay in a state between slumber 
and stupor upon the earth. 



169 



CHAPTER XII. 



If the dull substance of my flesh were thought. 
Injurious distance should not stop my way ; 
For then, despite of space, I would be brought 
To limits far remote, where thou dost stay. 

8HAK8PBARB. 



THERE is a terror whose cause is unrevealed 
even to its victim, which makes the heart beat 
wildly ; and we ask the voiceless thing where- 
fore, when the beauty of the visible universe 
sickens the aching sense ; when we beseech the 
winds to comfort us, and we implore the Invisi- 
ble for relief, which is to speed to us from afar ? 
We endeavour, in our impotent struggle with 
the sense of coming evil, to soar beyond the 

VOL. III. I 



170 PERKIN WARBECK. 

imprisoning atmosphere of our own identity ; 
we call upon the stars to speak to us, and 
would fain believe that mother earth, with 
inorganic voice, prophecies. Driven on by 
the mad imaginings of a heart hovering be- 
tween life and death, we fancy that the 
visible frame of things is replete with ora- 
cles or is it true ? And does air and earth, 
divined by the sorrow-tutored spirit, possess 
true auguries? At such dread hour we are 
forced to listen and believe : nor can we ever 
afterwards, in common life, forget our miserable 
initiation into the mysteries of the unexplained 
laws of our nature. To one thus aware of the 
misfortune that awaits her, the voice of consola- 
tion is a mockery. Yet, even while she knows 
that the die is cast, she will not acknowledge 
her intimate persuasion of ill; but sits smiling 
on any hope brought to her, as a mother on the 
physician who talks of recovery while her child 
dies. 

The Lady Katherine had yielded to Richard's 
wishes, because she saw that he really desired her 
absence. Alone in a monastery, in a distant part 



PERKIN WARBECK. 171 

of Cornwall, she awaited the fatal tidings, which 
she knew must come at last. She was too clear- 
sighted not to be aware, that the armed power; 
of a mighty kingdom, such as England, must 
crush at once his ill- organized revolt. She was 
prepared for, and ready to meet, all the disasters 
and humiliations of defeat : but not to be absent 
from her husband at this crisis. She ordered 
horses to be kept perpetually in readiness, that 
she might proceed towards him on the first 
intimation of change and downfall. She watched 
from the highest tower of her abode, the arrival 
of messengers : before she dared open her 
letters, she read in their faces, what news of 
Richard ? It was a bitter pang to hear that 
Plantagenet was dangerously wounded ; that the 
Prince had advanced further forward, at the 
head of his rabble soldiers. 

She had no friends, save humble ones, and 
very few of these : they borrowed their looks 
from her, yet hoped more than she did. Quickly 
she was aware of a change in them : they spoke 
in a low, subdued voice, as if awe-struck by 
some visitation of destiny. That very day let- 
i 2 



172 PERKIN WARBECK. 

ters arrived from the Prince : they were of 
ancient date, nor could she lay his terms of 
endearment and cheering to her heart and be 
consoled. In the afternoon a torn soiled billet 
was brought her from Edmund. In spite of 
his wound, he had dragged himself as far as 
Launceston, on his way to her. Forced to stop, 
lie sent her tidings of all he knew Richard's 
mysterious flight, Henry's bloodless victory, the 
eagerness the King expressed to learn where she 
was, and the dispatching of troops in search of 
her. He besought her to fly. It might be 
hoped that the Prince had escaped beyond sea, 
whither she must hasten ; or falling into his 
enemy's hands, she would never see him more. 

Perplexed and agitated, knowing that dis- 
honour would result from Richard's strange dis- 
appearance, yet persuaded that he had some 
ukerior view which it behoved her not to 
thwart, she hesitated what step to take. 

An incident ccurred to end her uncertainty. 
Suddenly, in the evening, Monina stood tafore 
her. Monina came with the safety-laden Ada- 
lid, to bear her to the shores of Burgundy. She 



PERKIN WARBECK. 173 

brought the history of the fraud practised upon 
York, of the ambush laid for his life, of his 
escape, and the arrival immediately succeeding 
to hers, of his followers at the Abbey of Beaulieu; 
how the pawing and trampling of a horse at 
the gates had brought out the monks, who 
discovered the hapless Prince senseless on the 
dark sod. He was carried in, and through her 

7 O 

care his name was entered in the sanctuary. 
She had attended on his sick couch two days 
and nights, when his first return to reason was 
to implore her to seek Katherine, to carry her 
beyond Tudor's power, out of the island prison. 
Her father's caravel was hovering on the coast. 
A favouring south-east wind bore her to these 
shores : she came at his desire : the Adalid was 
there, and she might sail, not to Burgundy, but 
even to the spot which harboured Richard. She 
also could take sanctuary in Beaulieu. 

The monastery in which the Duchess of York 
had taken refuge, was situated on Saint Michael's 
Mount, not far from the Land's End. The 
land projects romantically into the sea, forming 
a little harbour called Mount's Bay. Towards 



]74 PERKIN WARBECK. 

the land the acclivity is at first gradual, becoming 
precipitous towards the summit : now, at high 
water, the tide flows between the rock and the 
land, but it was in those days connected by a 
kind of natural, rocky causeway. Towards the 
sea it is nearly perpendicular. A strong for- 
tress was connected with the church ; and a stone 
lantern was attached to one of the towers of the 
church. Not far from the castle, in a craggy 
and almost inaccessible part of the cliff, is 
situated Saint Michael's Chair, which, on account 
'of its dangerous approach, and the traditions 
attached to it, became the resort of the pious. 
Many a legend belonged to this spot. Its thick 
woods, the hoar appearance of the crags, the 
wide spread sea, for ever warring against the land, 
which had thrust itself out into the watery space, 
usurping a part of its empire, made it singu- 
larly grand ; while the placid l)eauty of tlte little 
bay formed by the rock, and the picturesque 
grouping of the trees, the straggling paths, and 
numerous birds, added every softer beauty to 
the scene. 

Often did Katherine watch the changeful 
ocean, or turn her eyes to the more grateful 



PERKIN WARBECK. '175 

spectacle of umbrageous words, and rifted rock, 
and seek for peace in the sight of earth's love- 
liness. All weighed with tenfold heaviness on her 
foreboding soul. For the first time, they wore 
to her the aspect of beauty, when now she hoped 
to leave them. Hopes so soon to fail. A south 
wind had borne the caravel swiftly into the bay, 
but the breeze increased to a gale, and even 
while the ladies were making a few hasty pre- 
parationsi De Faro had been obliged to slip 
his moorings, and run out to sea, to escape the 
clanger of being wrecked on a lee shore. With 
a pang of intense misery, Katherine saw its 
little hull hurry over the blackening waters, and 
its single sail lose itself amidst the sea foam. 
The mariner had even, on anchoring, anticipated 
a storm ; he had informed his daughter of the 
probability there was, that he should be driven 
to seek for safety in the open sea ; but he pro- 
mised with the first favourable change of wind 
to return. When would this come ? Fate was in 
the hour, nor could even Katherine school her- 
self to patience. 
. Evening shades gathered round them; the 



176 PERK1N WARBECK. 

Princess growing each minute, more unquiet and 
miserable, sought in some kind of activity for relief 
to her sufferings. " I will go to Saint Michael's 
Chair," she said; "good spirits for ever hover 
near the sainted spot; they will hear and carry a 
fond wife's prayer to the throne of the Eternal." 
In silence Monina followed the lady. They 
were both mountain-bred, and trod lightly along 
paths, which seemed scarcely to afford footing 
to a goat. They reached the seat of the rock ; 
they looked over the sea, whose dark surface was 
made visible by the sheets of foam that covered 
it; the roar of waves was at their feet. The 
sun went down blood-red, and, in its dying 
glories, the crescent moon shewed first pale, then 
glowing; the thousand stars rushed from among 
the vast clouds that blotted the sky; and the 
wind tore fiercely round the crag, and howled 
among the trees. O, earth, and sea, and sky ! 
Strange mysteries ! that look and are so beau- 
tiful even in tumult and in storm ; did ye feel 
pain then, when the elements of which ye are 
composed, battled together ? Were ye tortured 
by the strife of wind and wave, even as the soul 



PERKIN WARBECK. 177 

of man when it is the prey of passion ? Of 
were ye unmoved, pain only being the portion 
of the hearts of the two human beings, who, 
looking on the commotion, found your wildest 
rage, calm in comparison with the tempest of 
fear and grief which had mastery over them. 

Sickened by disappointment, impatient of 
despair, each remained, brooding mutely over 
their several thoughts. 

Poor Katherine; her dearest wish was set 
upon sharing in all its drear minutiae the fortune 
of her lord, her gallant knight, her most sweet 
Richard. He was her husband ; he had taken 
her, timid yet confiding, from the shelter of her 
father's roof; they had entered the young world 
of hope and hazard together. Custom, the gen- 
tle weaver of soft woman's tenderness, had thrown 
its silken net over her; his disasters became 
hers; his wishes, and their defeat, were also 
hers. She only existed as a part of him ; while 
enthusiastic love made her fondly cling even to 
the worst that betided, as better in its direst 
shape than any misnamed good fortune that un- 
linked them. " My love, my altar-plighted 
i 5 



178 PERKIN WARBECK. 

love ! must I then wake and say no good day to 
thee; and sleep, my rest unbenisoned by thy 
good night ! The simple word, the we, that sym- 
bolized our common fate, cut in two, each half 
a nothing, so disjoined." 

While Katherine thus struggled with neces- 
sity, Monina was given up to patience. The 
present hour had fulfilled its fear ; her busy 
thoughts fashioned a thousand plans for his es- 
cape, or tremblingly painted a dark futurity. He 
.was a part of her being, though no portion of 
herself was claimed by him. She was not his, as 
a lover or a wife, but as a sister might be ; if in 
this ill world such heart's concord could exist : a 
sharing of fate and of affection, combined with 
angelic purity. As easily might she fancy ani- 
mal life to survive in her body after the soul had 
fled, as soon imagine that the beating of her heart 
.could continue when the living impulse which 
quickened its palpitations was still, as that lie. 
Jier childhood's playfellow, the golden dream of 
her youth, the shrine at which she had sacrificed 
that youth, should die, and she live on in the 
widowed world without him. 



.PERKIN WARBECK. 170 

The stars glittered over their gentle heads, and 
the moon went down in the west ; fitful, thread- 
like rays were shed upon the raging sea, whose 
heady billows foamed and roared at their feet : 
both these fair gentle creatures remained, care- 
less of the wild wind that swept their limbs, or 
the spray, which high as they stood, besprent their 
hair : both young, both lovely, both devoted to 
one, yet confiding in the reality of virtue and 
purity, trusting fully each other, the one accept- 
ing the heart's sacrifice which the other unreserv- 

o 

edly made, they watched for the Adalid, which, 
a plaything of the waves, was carried afar. Day 
dawned before they could resolve to quit this 
spot ; then they took refuge in the near monas- 
tery ; and from its towers, looked out over 
the sea. 

A few anxious hours brought the dreaded 
consummation of tneir fears. The ascent of a 
troop of horse up the steep, told Katherine that 
she was discovered. Their sudden appearance 
before her proved that she was a prisoner. For 
-the first time she saw the White and Red Rose 
entwined : the Earl of Oxford was announced 



180 PERK1N WARBECK. 

to her as their leader, and he soon appeared, to 
claim his prize. 

Katherine received him with dignified sweet- 
ness; she conquered her ill fate by smiling at 
its blows, and looked a Queen, as she yielded 
herself a slave. The watching of the night had 
all disordered her dress, and deranged her 
golden tresses ; but her wondrous fairness, the 
soft moulding of her face, her regal throat, and 
arched open brow, bending over her intelligent, 
yet soft, blue eyes ; her person majestic, even in 
its slim beauty, were tokens of a spirit, that in 
destitution must reign over all who approached it. 

Her first wdrds, to ease the awe-struck Earl, 
were an entreaty to be conducted to the King. 
She showed more earnest desire than he to pre- 
sent herself to her royal victor. In a very few 
hours, they had descended the Mount ; and has- 
tened out of hearing of the roar of the ocean, 
which had so cruelly deceived her hopes. In 
her eyes could only be read the mastery she had 
obtained over her thoughts ; no lurking weak- 
ness betrayed fear, or even disappointment. 
Surely yet she cherished some dear expectation ; 



PERKIN WARBECK. 181 

yet how, lost to liberty, could she hope to at- 
tain it? 

But thus we are, while untamed by years. Youth, 
elastic and bright, disdains to be compelled. 
When conquered, from its very chains it forges 
implements for freedom ; it alights from one 
baffled flight, only again to soar on untired wing 
towards some other aim. Previous defeat is 
made the bridge to pass the tide to another 
shore ; and, if that break down, its fragments 
become stepping stones. It will feed upon de- 
spair, and call it a medicine which is to renovate 
its dying hopes. 



182 



CHAPTER XIII. 



For, when Cymocles saw the foul reproach 
Which him appeached, pricked with noble shame 
And inward grief; he fiercely 'gan approach ; 
Resolved to put away that loathly blame, 
Or die with honour and desert of fame. 

SPENSER. 



AFTER ^he Prince, by the voyage of Moninn, 
had, as he hoped, provided for the escape and 
safety of the Lady Katherine, he could not, 
all weak as he was, remain in repose. 

From his early childhood he had been nur- 
tured in the idea that it was his first, chief duty 
to regain his kingdom; his friends lived for that 
single object; all other occupation was regarded 
as impertinent or trifling. On the table of his 



PERKIN WARBECK. 183 

ductile boyish mind, that sole intent was deeply 
engraved by every hand or circumstance. The 
base-minded disposition of his rival king adorned 
his cause with a show of use and the name of 
virtue. 

Those were days when every noble-born 
youth carved honour for himself with his sword ; 
when passes at arms were resorted to whenever 
real wars did not put weapons in their hands, 
and men exposed their breasts to sharp-biting 
steel in wanton sport. Often during his green and 
budding youth Richard had gloried in the very 
obstacles set before him ; to be cast out and forced 
to redeem his state, was a brighter destiny than 
to be lapped in the bosom of guarded royalty. 
The treason of Clifford and the sacrifice of de- 
voted friends but whetted his ambition ; ven- 
geance, the religion of that age, being a sacred 
duty in his eyes. He had been shaken by Lord 
Surrey's appeal, but cast the awakened pity off' 
as a debasing weakness. 

The painted veil of life was torn. His name 
had not armed the nobles of his native land, 
his cause had not been trumpeted with praise 



184 PERKIN WARBECK. 

nor crowned by victory; deserted by foreign 
allies, unsuccessful in Ireland, he had appeared 
at the head of a rabble army strong only in 
wrongs and in revenge. Even these he had 
abandoned, and with nameless hinds taken sanc- 
tuary ; his story was a fable, his name a jeer ; 
he no longer, so it seemed, existed; for the 
appellation of Duke of York was to be lost 
and merged in the disgraceful misnomer affixed 
to him by the Usurper. 

Richard was no whining monk to lament the 
inevitable, and tamely to await the result. To 
see an evil was to spur him to seek a remedy : 
he had given up every expectation of reign- 
ing, except such as sprung from his right, and 
faith in the justice of God. But honour was 
a more valued treasure ; and to his warm heart 
dearer still was the safety of the poor fellows 
abandoned by him. On the third day after his 
arrival at Beaulieu, he arose from his sick couch, 
donned his armour, and, yet pale and feeble, 
sent to speak with the cavalier who commanded 
the party that guarded all egress from the Abbey. 
With him he held long parley, in conclusion of 



PEHK1N WARBECK. 185 

which Sir Hugh Luttrel directed three of his 
followers to be in readiness, and two of his 
chosen horses to be led to the Abbey gates. 
Richard took leave of the Abbot ; he recom- 
mended his poor followers to him, and lightly 
answered the remonstrance of the holy man, 
who thought that delirium alone could urge the 
fugitive to quit the tranquil, sacred spot, where 
he himself passed his days in quiet, and which 
held out so secure a protection to the van- 
quished. His remonstrance was vain ; one word 
weighed more with Richard than a paradise of 
peace. Infamy, dishonour ! No ; even if his 
people were safe by throwing himself in the self- 
same peril to which he had apparently ex- 
posed them, that stain were effaced. The very 
gentleman to whom he had surrendered himself, 
had trespassed on his allegiance to Henry 
to dissuade him from the fool-hardihood of his 
adventure. It was a sight of pity to see one so 
very young walk voluntarily to the sacrifice ; and 
the princely mien and youthful appearance of 
the self- constituted prisoner, wrought all to 
compassion and respect. For still this fair White 



186 PERKIN WARBECK. 

Rose was in the very opening flower of man- 
hood ; he looked, after such variety of fortune, 
as if evil not only never had, but never could 
tarnish the brightness of his spirit or of his 
aspect ; illness had a little enfeebled him, without 
detracting from his youthful beauty, giving 
rather that softness which made it loveliness, yet 
painted fairer by his self-immolating resolve, 

" A sweet regard and amiable grace, 
Mixed with manly sternness did appear," 

and eagerness withal : for eager he was, even to 
almost foolish haste, to redeem the lost hours, 
and establish himself again no runaway. 

With fresh joy he addressed himself to retrace 
his steps to Taunton. Sanctuary and refuge 
from death oh ! how he trampled on the sla- 
- viafc thought. Death was to him a word, a 
shadow, a phantom to deride and scorn, not an 
enemy to grapple with; disgrace was his ab- 
horred foe, and hin\ he thus overthrew. His 
resolves, inspired by disdain of permitting one 
taint to blemish his career, were not the expe- 
dients of prudence, but the headlong exploit of 



PERKIN WARBECK. 187 

daring youth. The iron must indeed have en- 
tered our souls, and we be tamed from dear, 
youthful freedom to age's humble concessions to 
necessity, before we can bow our head to ca- 
lumny, smile at the shafts as they rankle in our 
flesh, and calmly feel that, among the many 
visitations of evil we undergo, this is one we are 
compelled to endure. 

Thus he, his gentle guide .and followers, tra- 
velled towards Taunton. In all prudence, from 
the moment they left sanctuary, Sir Hugh Lut- 
trel ought to have guarded him closely. But even 
the staid Sir Hugh forgot this duty; rather was 
Richard the enforcer of this journey, than his 
guard. Richard it was who at night halted un- 
willingly, Richard who first cried to horse at 
morning's dawn ; who, in spite of ill-weather, 
resisted every delay. As they drew near their 
bourne, the appellation of Perkin first met the 
Prince's ear ; he was unaware that it had ever 
been applied to him except by Henry's written 
proclamations. It acted as a galling spur ; for 
he believed, with youth's incapacity of under- 
standing systematized falsehood, that his pre- 



188 PERK1N WARBECK. 

sence would put to flight the many coloured 
web of invention, which his rival had cast over 
him to mar his truth and obscure his nobility. 

After three days they drew near Taunton. 
The stubble fields, the flowery hedges, the plen- 
teous orchards were passed. From a rising 
ground they looked upon the walls of the town, 
and the vacant moor where his camp had stood. 
Richard halted, saying *' Sir Knight, I will 
await you here do you seek your King : say, I 
come a voluntary sacrifice, to purchase with 
drops of my royal blood the baser tide of my 
poor followers. I demand no more bid him 
rear the scaffold ; let the headsman sharpen the 
axe, to lop off the topmost bough of Plaiitagenet. 
The price I ask, is the despised lives of men, who, 
but that they loved me, were incapable of merit 
or of crime in his eyes. For their humble sakes, 
like my grandfather York, I am prepared to die. 
If pledge of this be denied me, I still am free. 
I wear a sword, and will sell my life dearly, 
though alone." 

Sir Hugh Luttrel was perplexed. He knew 
the stern nature of his royal master, and how 



.PERKIN WARBECK. 189 

heavily he would visit on him any disappoint- 
ment in his dearest wish of obtaining possession 
of his rival's person. The Prince had, during 
their three days' companionship, gained great 
power over him : he felt that he was in truth the 
son of Edward the Fourth, a man he had never 
loved (for Sir Hugh was a Lancastrian), but one 
whom he had feared and obeyed as his sove- 
reign. How could he put slavish force upon his 
gallant offspring ? He hesitated, till the Prince 
demanded " Wherefore delay is there au^ht 
else that you desire ? " 

" You pledge your knightly word," said Sir 
Hugh, "not to desert this spot?" 

" Else wherefore am I here? this is idle. 
Yet, so to content you, I swear by my vow made 
nnder the walls of Granada, by our Lady, and 
by the blessed Saints, I will abide here." 

The knight rode into the town with his fol- 
lowers, leaving young Richard impatient for the 
hour that was to deliver him to servitude. 

Sir Hugh first sought Lord Dawbeny, re- 
questing him to obtain for him instant au- 
dience of the King. " His Grace," said the 



190 PERKIN WARBECK. 

noble, " is at vespers, or about to attend . 
them." 

" I dare not wait till they are said," replied 
Luttrel, who every minute felt the burthen of 
responsibility weighing heavier on him. 

" Nor I interrupt his Majesty even now he .- 
enters the church." 

In haste Sir Hugh crossed the street; and, as 
the King took the holy water from the chalice, 
he knelt before him. The few words he spoke 
painted Henry's face with exulting gladness. 
n We thank thee, good Sir Hugh," he said, 
" and will make our thanks apparent. By the 
mass, thou hast deserved well 'of us this day ! 
Where hast thou bestowed our counterfeit?" 

" Please your Majesty, he awaits your High- 
ness' acceptance of his conditions without the 
eastern gate." 

" You have placed strong guard over him ? " 

" He pledged his oath to await my return. 
He is alone." 

A dark, angry frown chased all glee from 
Tudor's brow ; bending a stern glance on his 
erewhile welcome messenger, he commanded 



PERKIN WARBECK. 191 

Lord Wells, his cousin, to take a strong force 
and to seize this Duke of Runaways. Sir Hugh, 
timid as he was, interfered : driven by respect for 
his prisoner, and fear of what might ensue, he' 
tried to enforce York's stipulation. Henry looked 
on him with scorn, then said, " Truly, Cousin, I 
have vaunted of a bloodless conquest ; so let not 
the blood of the misborn traitor stain our laurels, 
nor Sir Luttrel's Duke Perkin shed one precious 
ruby drop. Say aye to all he asks; for as it 
seems his demands are as foolish as himself, and 
need no chaffering. Tell him that his life is 
safe, but bring him here ; set him within our 
ward and limitation : do this, while we with a 
Te Deum thank our Heavenly Father for his 
watchful mercies. Sir Hugh, accompany our 
cousin, and then wend your way whither it 
please you. We have no pleasure in your pre- 
sence." 

Thus duped, even by his own generous proud 
spirit, the Duke of York became a prisoner 
delivering up his sword, and yielding himself an 
easy prey to his glad victor. Once, twice, thrice, 
as he waited the return of Luttrel, it had crossed 



192 PERKIN WARBECK. 

his mind, not to fly, his vow being pledged, but 
to remember that he was now free and uncon- 
strained, and would soon be in other's thrall 
when farewell to the aspiring thought, the deed 
of arms, and to the star of his life, to whose idea, 
now his purpose was accomplished, he fondly 
turned ! " Poor Katherine," he whispered, " this 
is the crown, the fated, fallen youth, the seer 
foretold." In after-times that scene dwelt on his 
memory ; he called to mind the evening-tide, for 
the sun was down, and the clouds, lately gold 
besprent, waxing dun, as the town walls grew 
high and dark, and the few trees about him 
waved fitfully in a soft breeze : that wind was 
free, and could career over the plain ; what spell 
bound the noble knight and stalwart steed, that 
they coursed not also free as it ? 

In a few minutes he was a prisoner and led 
within those darksome walls. At first, treated 
with some observance, he was unaware, as is 
the case in any new position, with whose circum- 
tances and adjuncts we are unacquainted, how 
utterly he had fallen. He was led to no barred 
prison ; and, for a time, the nobles and knights 



PERKIN WARBECK. 193 

who flocked to see him, were no bad exchange 
for the motley crew he had quitted. But, as if 
in a dream, he felt gather round him impalpa- 
ble but adamantine walls chains hung upon 
his limbs, not the less heavy, because the iron 
pierced his soul rather than his flesh. He had 
been a free man ; his name was attended with 
love and respect, and his aspect commanded the 
obedience of men. Now, the very appellation 
given to him was a mortal insult; a stranger 
seemed to be spoken to when he was addressed, 
and yet he must answer. He was never alone ; 
and night was the sole suspension from the in- 
sulting curiosity of the crowd. He must forego 
himself; grow an impostor in his own eyes; 
take on him the shameful name of Perkin : all 
which native honour, and memory of his Prin- 
cess bride, made trebly stinging. 

To barb the dart came intelligence that the 
Lady Katherine was a prisoner. King Henry 
had quitted Taunton, and gone towards Exe- 
ter, when, on his arrival there, the Earl of 
Oxford presented the Scottish Princess to him. 
Praises of her wondrous beauty became rife, 

VOL. in. K 



194 PERKIN WARBECK. 

brought by some of the King's train, returned 
to Taunton; praises so excessive and warm 
as could not have been inspired by celestial 
beauty in adversity, if not egged on by some 
adventitious stimulant. It was the fashion to 
speak of her as the Queen of Loveliness ; as (for 
beauty's sake the name belonged to her) the 
fairest White Rose that ever grew on thorny 
bush. By this name she was mentioned to 
York ; and it visited his heart as the first gleam 
of sunshine on his enshadowed misery : dear 
was the name of the White Rose to die fallen 
one. It had been his own in fresh and happy 
days, when first he showed his prowess among 
the knights of France and Burgundy. Still 
louder grew the echo of some mighty voice, 
that gave forth encomium of the prisoner's 
bride ; and the smiles with whicli some spoke, 
smiles half of wonder half of mockery, told 
of some secret charm, which at last was openly 
commented upon. " Again the King saw the 
lair one yestermorn ; and dallied ere he granted 
the earnest suit she made, as if he loved so to 
be entreated." 



PERKIN WARBECK. 195 

" The grave King Henry caught in the net 
of the wanton boy ! Oh, this were subject for 
a ballad for the nonce." 

" Blythe news for gentle Perkin ; his wife 
thrives at court. She takes occasion by too 
slender a hold, if she raise not her husband 
from the kitchen to a higher place at court." 

" Now we shall see our Lady, the Queen, 
jealous of her liege." 

" Our Queen? what midsummer's dream is 
this ? The White Rose will never flower in our 
court garden." 

To falsify this assertion came the next day a 
messenger, with command to convey the noble 
prisoner with all speed to London ; and for 
the attendance of the Lady Cheney and the 
Lady Howard, two noble matrons, to wait on 
the Lady Katherine, who was about to proceed 
to Westminster. Smiles and whispers were in- 
terchanged ; and, when to this was added, that 
as much courtesy should be shewn the counter- 
feit, youth as might not endanger his safe keep- 
ing, the light laugh followed ; though, as if to 
meet and overthrow the raillery, it was added, 

K2 



196 PERKIN WARBECK. 

this was ordered for his royal wife's sake, who 
was cousin to England's dear ally, the King of 
Scotland. These idle tales did not reach York's 
ear: wherever he showed himself, he enforced 
such personal respect, that there was no likeli- 
hood that any conjecture, linked with his lady's 
name, would be hazarded before him. He was 
told that the King entertained her royally ; and 
when he heard that she was to be presented to 
his sister, the Queen Elizabeth, a thrill of joy 
passed into his heart. His sister ! as a boy, he 
remembered the fair, kind girl, whom he had 
called his loved and most sweet sister : he knew 
that she was conscious of his truth, and, though 
wedded to his rival, loved not her lord. It was 
a pleasing dream, to fancy these gentle ladies to- 
gether ; to know that, while the one spoke her 
affection and praise, the other must feel the 
kindred blood warm in her heart, and proudly, 
though sadly, acknowledge him her worthy 
brother. 



197 



CHAPTER XIV. 



They are noble sufferers. I marvel 
How they 'd have looked, had they been victors, that 
With such a constant nobility enforce 
A freedom out of bondage. 

TWO NOBLE KINSMEN. 



THE vulgar rabble, fond of any sort of show, 
were greedy of this new one. In all parts the 
name of the Duke of .York, of the counterfeit 
Perkin, drew a concourse of gazers. The ap- 
petite was keenest in London ; and many a 
tawdry masque and mime was put in motion, 
to deck the streets through which the defeated 
youth was to pass. Vainly ; he entered London 
at night, and was conducted privately to West- 



198 PERKIN .WARBECK. 

minster. What strange tiling was this ? What 
mark of reality did his very forehead wear, that 
Henry, so prodigal of contumely on his foes, 
dared not bring him forward for the public 
gaze? One man was put in the stocks for a 
similar remark; and on the following day it 
was suddenly proclaimed, that Perkin would go 
in procession from Westminster to Saint Pauls, 
and back again. A troop of horse at the ap- 
pointed hour left the Palace : in the midst of 
them rode a fair young gentleman, whose noble 
mien and gallant bearing gave lustre to his 
escort : his sweet aspect, his frank soft smile, 
and lively but calm manner, had no trace of 
constraint or debasement. " He is unarmed 
is that Perkin ? No, the Earl of Warwick he 
is a prince sure yet that is he ! " Such mur- 
murs sped around ; at some little distance fol- 
lowed another burlesque procession ; a poor 
fellow, a Cornishman, was tied to an ass, his 
face to the tail, and the beast now proceeding 
lazily, now driven by sticks, now kicking, now 
galloping, made an ill-fashioned mirth for the 
multitude. Whether, as York was not to be 



PERKIN WARBECK, 199 

disgraced in his own person, the contumely was - 
to reach him through this poor rogue, or whe- 
ther the eyes of men were to be drawn from 
him to the rude mummery which followed, 
could only be guessed: the last was the effect 
produced. Richard heard mass at St. Paul's, 
and returned to Westminster unmolested by in- 
sult. It seemed but as if some young noble 
made short pilgrimage from one city to the 
other, to accomplish a vow. The visit of ill- 
fated Warwick to the cathedral, before the bat- 
tle of Stoke, had more in it of humiliating osten- 
tation. 

He returned to the palace of Westminster. 
A few weeks he spent in mingled curiosity and 
anxiety concerning his future destiny. It was 
already accomplished. Modern times could not 
present any thing more regular and monotonous, 
than the way of life imposed upon him. It was 
like the keeping of a lunatic, who, though now 
sane, might be momentarily expected to break 
out in some dangerous explosion, rather than the 
confining of a state-prisoner. Four armed at- 
tendants, changed every eight hours, constantly 



200 PERKIN WARBECK. 

guarded him, never moving, according to the 
emphatic language of the old chroniclers, the 
breadth of a nail from his side. He attended 
early mass each morning: he was permitted to 
take one hour's ride on every evening that was 
not a festival. Two large gloomy chambers, 
with barred windows, were allotted him. Among 
his guards, he quickly perceived that the same 
faces seldom appeared; and the most rigorous 
silence, or monosyllabic discourse was imposed 
upon them. Harsher measures were perhaps 
spared, from respect to his real birth, or his al- 
liance with the King of Scotland : yet greater 
severity had been less tantalizing. As it was, 
the corpse in the grass-grown grave was not 
more bereft of intercourse with the sunny world, 
than the caged Duke of York. From his win- 
dows, he looked upon a deserted court-yard; in 
his rides, purposely directed to unfrequented 
spots, he now and then saw a few human beings 
such name could be hardly bestowed on his 
stony-faced, stony-hearted guards. 

Richard was the very soul of sympathy ; he 
could muse for hours in solitude, but it must be 



PERKIN WARBECK. 201 

upon dear argument, that had for its subject the 
pleasures, interests or affections of others. He 
could not entertain a heartless intercourse. 
Wherever he saw the human countenance, he 
beheld a fellow-creature; and, duped a thousand 
times, and a thousand times deceived, " still he 
must love." To spend the hour in sportive 
talk; fondly to interchange the gentle offices of 
domestic life; to meet peril and endure misery 
with others; to give away himself, and then re- 
turn to his inner being, laden like a bee with 
gathered sweets; to pile up in his store-house 
memory, the treasured honey of friendship and 
love, and then away to nestle in the bosom of 
his own dear flower, and drink up more, or gaily 
to career the golden fields; such was his nature : 
and now this was worse than loneliness ; this 
commune with the mutes of office; to be checked 
by low-born men; to feel that he must obey the 
beck of an hireling. A month, interspersed 
with hopes of change, he had endured the de- 
gradation; now he began to meditate escape. 
Yet he paused. Where was Katherine? where 
his many zealous friends ? 

K5 



202 PERKIN WAUBECK 

The Lady Katharine was in an apartment of 
the Palace, whose arched and fretted roof, and 
thick buttresses, were well adapted to impart a 
feeling of comfortable seclusion from the rough 
elements without. The dulness of dark Novem- 
ber was gladdened by a huge wood fire. The 
little Prince of Wales was narrating some strange 
story of fairyland; and bluff Harry was setting 
two dogs to quarrel, and then beating his favour- 
ite for not conquering, which seeing, his sister 
Margaret drew the animal from him to console 
and caress it. The gentle Queen bent over 
her embroidery. Listening she was to her fa- 
vourite Arthur, interrupting him with playful 
questions and exclamations, while Katherine 
now kindly attended to the boy, now turned 
anxiously at every sound. She rose at last: 
" Surely vespers are ringing from the Abbey. 
My lord the King promised to see me before 
vespers." 

" My lord the King is very gracious to you, 
sweet one," said Elizabeth." 

" Methinks by nature he is gracious," replied 
the Princess; " at least, I have ever found him so. 



2G3 

Surely the shackles of state are very heavy, or 
ere this he would have granted my prayer, 
which he has listened to so oft indulgently." 

The Queen smiled faintly, and again pursued 
her work with seeming earnestness. Was it jea- 
lousy that dimmed the silk of her growing rose- 
hud by a tear or what name shall we give to 
the feeling? envy we may not call it, she was 
too sweetly good which now whispered, " Even 
he, the cold, the stern, is kind to her : my bro- 
ther loves her passionately; and many a lance 
has been broken for her. Happy girl; happy in 
adversity; while I, England's miserable Queen, 
am forgotten even by my fellow-prisoner of She- 
riff Hutton, poor Warwick ! he might have 
been my refuge: for the rest, how hard and rocky 
seem all human hearts to me." Her tears now 
flowed fast. Katherine saw them : she approached 
her, saying, " Dear and royal lady, none should 
weep, methinks, but only I, whose mate is caged 
and kept away; none sigh but poor Kate, whose 
more than life hangs on state policy; or is it for 
him these tears are shed?" 

Still Elizabeth wept. Accustomed to the ex- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 

cess of self-restraint, timid, schooled to patience, 
but with the proud fiery spirit of a Plantagenet, 
tamed, not dead within her, she could be silent, 
but not speak by halves. The very natural vi- 
vacity of her nature made her disdain not to have 
her will, when once it was awaked. She strug- 
gled against her rising feeling; she strove to sup- 
press her emotion; but at last she spoke; and 
once again, after the ten years that had elapsed 
since her mother's imprisonment, truth was 
imaged by her words. To none could she have 
addressed herself better. The life of the Scot- 
tish Princess had been spent in administering 
balm to wounded minds : the same soft elo- 
quence, the same persuasive counsels, that took 
the sting of remorse from her royal cousin's con- 
science, was spent upon the long-hidden sorrows 
of the neglected wife, the humbled woman. 
From her own sensitive mind she culled the 
knowledge which taught her where and how 
peace and resignation were to be found. 
The piety that mingled with her talk was the 
religion of love; her philosophy was mere love; 
and it was the spirit of love, now kindling the 



PERKIN WARBECK. 205 

balmy atmosphere of charity to many, now con- 
centred in one point, but ever ready to soothe 
human suffering with its soft influence, that 
dwelt upon her lips, and modulated her silver 
voice. Elizabeth felt as if she had wandered long 
in a wolf-haunted wild, now suddenly changed 

/ o 

to a fairy demesne, fresh and beautiful as poet's 
dream. Timidly she feared to set her untaught 
feet within the angel-guarded precincts. The 
first effect of her new friend's eloquence was to 
make her speak. After years of silence, to utter 
her very inner thoughts, her woman's fears, her 
repinings, her aversions, her lost hopes and 
affections crushed: she spent her bitterest words; 
but thus it was as if she emptied a silver chalice 
of its gall, to be refilled by Katherine with hea- 
venly dew. 

The weeks of baffled expectation grew into 
months. It is a dreary portion of our existence, 
when we set our hearts upon an object which 
recedes as we approach, and yet entices us on. 
The king's courtesy and smiles, and evident 
pleasure in her society, gave birth to warm 
hopes in the bosom of the princess. She had 



206 PERKIN WARBECK. 

asked to share her husband's prison; she had 
besought to be permitted to see him; it seemed, 
from Henry's vague but consolatory answers, 
that to-morrow she would receive even more 
than her desires. The disappointment of the 
morrow, which she lamented bitterly at first, 
then grew into the root, whence fresh hopes 
sprung again, to be felled by the cruel axe, 
again to shoot forth : the sickening sensation of 
despair crept over her sometimes; her very 
struggles to master it enfeebled her; and yet 
she did conquer all but the hard purposes of the 
tyrant. Now a messenger was to be despatched 
to Scotland ; now he expected one thence ; now 
an embassy from Burgundy : he implored her 
patience, and talked back the smiles into her 
saddened countenance. He was almost sincere 
at first, not in his excuses, but in his desire to 
please her at any sacrifice; but this disinter- 
ested wish grew soon into a mere grasping at 
self-gratification. In a little while he hoped she 
would be persuaded how vain it was to expect 
that he should set free so dangerous a rival ; 
and yet he did not choose to extinguish all her 



PERKIN WARBECK. 207 

anticipations ; for perhaps then she would de- 
sire to return to her native country; and Henry 
would have sacrificed much to keep her where 
he could command her society. Thus he en- 
couraged her friendship with the Queen, though 
he wondered how one so wise, so full of reflec- 
tion and reason as Katherine, could love his 
feeble-minded wife. 

The King underrated the talents of Elizabeth. 
This hapless woman had perceived that conten- 
tion was useless; she therefore conceded every 
thing without a struggle. Her energies, spent 
upon endurance, made her real strength of mind 
seem tamehess; but Katherine read with clearer 
eyes. We are all and each of us riddles, when 
unknown one to the other. The plain map of 
human powers and purposes, helps us not at all 
to thread the labyrinth each individual presents 
in his involution of feelings, desires and ca- 
pacities ; and we must resemble, in quickness of 
feeling, instinctive sympathy, and warm bene- 
volence, the lovely daughter of Huntley, before 
we can hope to judge rightly of the good and 
virtuous among our fellow-creatures. 



208 PERKIN WARBECK. 

The strangest sight of all was to see Henry 
act a lover's part. At first he was wholly sub- 
dued, 

" So easy is, t' appease the stormy wind 

Of malice, in the calm of pleasant womankind." 

Even generosity and magnanimity, disguises he 
sometimes wore the better to conceal his inborn 
'littleness of soul, almost possessed him ; for a 
moment he forgot his base exultation in crush- 
ing a foe, and for a moment dwelt with genuine 
pleasure on the reflection, that it was in his 
power to gratify her every wish, and to heap 
benefits on one so lovely and so true. When 
first she was presented to him, in all the calm 
majesty of her self-conquering mood; her stain- 
less loveliness had such effect, that surely he 
could deny her nothing; and when she asked 
that no foul dishonour should be put upon her 
Lord, he granted almost before she asked : his 
expressions of service and care were heartfelt ; 
and she lost every fear as she listened. When 
custom, which, with man, is the devourer of 
holy enthusiasm, changed his purer feelings into 
something he dared not name, he continued to 



PERKIN WARBECK. 209 

manifest the same feelings, which had bested 
him so well at first; and to angle with his prey. 
Though he scarcely knew what he wished, for 
a thousand worldly motives sufficed to check any 
dishonourable approach, it was enough that she 
was there ; that, when she saw him, her coun- 
tenance lighted up with pleasure; that with the 
sweetest grace she addressed her entreaties to 
his ear; not in abrupt demands, but in such 
earnest prayer, such yielding again, to return 
with another and another argument ; that often 
he thought, even if he had wished to concede, 
he would hold out a little longer, that still her 
sweet voice might address him, still her stately 
neck be bent imploring as she fixed her blue 
eyes on him. 

It was very long before the artless girl sus- 
pected that he had any other intent, but to con- 
sent at last to her supplications. As it was 
as easy to him to lure her on with a greater as 
a lesser hope, she even fancied that, under certain 
restrictions, York's freedom might be restored ; 
and that with him,* in some remote country, 
she might bless Tudor as a generous adversary. 



210 PERKIN WARBECK. 

Elizabeth was afraid to discover the truth to 
her, for she also dreaded to lose her, and was 
afraid that, on the failure of her hopes, she 
would seek to return to Scotland; or at least 
seclude herself from her husband's jailor. Mo- 
nina first awoke her to the truth. Monina, 
who had been to Brussels, to consult with the 
Duchess Margaret and Lady Brampton, and 
who came back full of projects for her friend's 
escape, heard with amazement and scorn the 
false lures held out by Henry ; she impa- 
tiently-put aside every inducement for delay, 
and with rash, but determined zeal, framed 
many a scheme for communicating with him, 
and contriving means for his flight. 

He himself the chained eagle was sick at 
heart. No word no breath no hope ! Had 
all forgotten him? Was he, yet living, erased 
from the lists of memory ? Cut off from the 
beloved beings in whom he had confided, through 
their own act no longer a part off their 
thoughts, their lives, themselves? Stood he 
alone in this miserable world, allied to it by 
hate only the hate borne to him by his foe ? 



PERKIN WARBECK. 211 

Such gloomy misgivings were so alien to his 
nature, that they visited him as cruel iron 
torture visits soft human flesh. That she the 
life of his life, should be false and cold ! Each 
friend forgetful Monina Plantagenet all 
all ! Oh, to stretch his quivering frame upon 
burning coals, had been to slumber on a bed 
of roses, in comparison with the agony these 
thoughts administered. His calmer moods, when 
he believed that, though tardy, they were true, 
were scarcely less painful. Then the real state 
of things grew more galling : the bluntness or si- 
lence of his keepers ; their imperturbable or rude 
resistance to his questions; the certainty that, 
if one answered graciously that one he should 
see no more. Often he felt as if he could not 
endure his present position one hour longer. 
Fits of hope, meditations on escape, chequered 
his days ; so that all was not so dark but the 
transition from one emotion to another, each tOx 
end in blank despair, tasked his mercurial soul. 
Patience died within him he might perish in 
the attempt, but he would be free. 

Urged by Monina, by her own awakening fears, 



212 PBRKIN WARBECK. 

and, above all, by the keen burning desire of her 
heart, the Lady Katherine became very im- 
portunate with the crafty monarch to be per- 
mitted an interview with her lord. Henry was 
in no mood to grant her request : the thousand 
designs he had meditated to disgrace his vic- 
tim, he had given up for her sake, because he 
would not refuse himself the pleasure of seeing 
her, and feared to behold aversion and horror 
mark an aspect hitherto all smiles towards him. 
The same fear, nurtured by the expressions of 
her tender affection, made him hesitate, ere he 
should endeavour to convince her that she had 
misallied herself to an impostor. Indeed, when 
at last he ventured to frame a speech bearing 
such a meaning, her answer told him, that, if he 
could have changed the royal York into base- 
born Perkin, the young and innocent wife would 
still cling to him to whom she had pledged her 
vows ; to whom she had given himself; whose 
own, in heaven's and her own eyes, she un- 
alienably was. But now Henry, grown more 
callous as time elapsed, coined a new scheme, 
vile as his own soul : he resolved, by acting on 



PERKIN WARBECK. 213 

her woman's fears, tenderness and weakness, to 
make her the instrument of persuading her lord 
to some damning confession, that must stamp 
him as a deceiver for ever. This bright project 
animated him to fresh endeavours to please, and 
her with fresh hopes; yet he paused a little 
before he sought to execute it. 

Winter crept on into spring, and spring 
ripened into summer, and still the various 
actors in this tragic drama were spending their 
lives, their every thought and heart's pulsation, 
on one object. Richard had latterly received 
intimation that he would be permitted an in- 
terview with his beloved White Rose; and a 
week or two more were patiently endured with 
this expectation. Katherine each day believed, 
that on the morrow she should see him, whom 
now she conversed with only in her nightly 
dreams, and woke each morning to find him 
fled with them. Some change approached: 
Henry's promises became more clear in their 
expression ; his assertions more peremptory ; he 
would at last name his conditions, which she was 
to communicate to her lord; even Elizabeth 



214 PERKIN WARBECK. 

almost dared to hope. Monina alone, deeply 
impressed with a belief in the malice of Tudor, 
was incredulous, and reluctantly yielded to 
^Catherine's request to suspend yet a little while 
her plots. 

Whitsuntide arrived, and Henry at last would 
decide. This festival was to be spent at Shene : 
thither the royal family went, accompanied by 
the Princess, who vanquished her disappoint- 
ment at further delay, not to appear an ingrate 
to the fair-promising King. Indeed, in the 
secure hope she cherished of again seeing him 
.who was her earthly paradise, she smiled through 
.the very heart-gushing tears expectation caused 
to flow. On Whit Sunday she awoke, resolving 
to discard the heavy load of anticipated evil that 
involuntarily weighed at her heart. She knelt 
at mass, and fervently strove to resign her dear- 
est wishes to the direction of her God; and 
yet that she should see him again soon oh ! 
how very soon filled her with such dizzy rap- 
ture, that her orisons were forgot midway re- 
membered, and turned to thanksgivings till she 
recollected that still her hope was unfulfilled ; 



PERKIN WARBECK. 215 

and fear awoke, and with tears and prayer she 
again strove to ease her agitated heart. 

That very night a thunder-storm roused her 
from slumber: with those unexplained emotions, 
which, in fateful periods, make so large a portion 
of our lives, she felt as if every clap spoke 
audibly some annunciation which she could not 
interpret : as if every lurid flash were sent to 
disclose a sight which yet she could not see. 
At length the rain ceased, the thunder grew 
distant, the lightning faint; a load was lifted 
from her soul; she slept, with the firm belief 
that on the morrow tidings, not all evil, would 
be brought from London. 

Some tidings surely came. What they were 
she was not permitted to know. For the first 
time Henry made her a real prisoner ; she was 
carefully guarded, and none were allowed to 
speak to her. Overwrought by her expectations, 
this seemed a frightful cruelty ; and yet, where 
caution was used, there must be fear : her his 
enemy feared then good Jiad occurred. She 
dared not permit her imagination to picture 



216 PERKIN WARBECK. 

forth the thing which yet was for ever present 
to it; and, while all else were amazed to hear that 
York had escaped and fled, his lovely, anxious 
wife, cut off from communication with all, knew 
only that she alone was ignorant of what she 
would have given her life to learn. 



217 



CHAPTER XV. 



Thou, God of winds, that reignest in the seas. 
That reignest also in the continent, 

At last blow up some gentle gale of ease, 

The which may bring my ship, ere it be rent. 
Unto the gladsome port of her intent. 

SPENSER. 



DURING the winter and the untoward late 
spring, Richard had endured his captivity. The 
warm happy summer season, calling all nature 
to a jubilee, at first saddened, then animated 
him to contrive new projects of escape. The 
promised interview with his White Rose tempted 
him to delay;, while an inner spirit rebelled 
even against this dear enticement, and bade 
him fly. 

On the evening of the ninth of Jane, he was 

VOL in. L 



218 PERKIN WARBECK. 

permitted to attend vespers in a secluded chapel 
of Westminster Abbey. During the short pas- 
sage from the Palace to the Cathedral, it seemed 
to him as if a new life were awake every where ; 
an unknown power, on the eve of liberating 
him. Never before had he prayed so fervently 
for freedom : the pealing organ, the dim arched 
venerable vault above, actetbas stimulants to his 
. roused and eager soul ; he stood tiptoe, as on 
the eve of the accomplishment of his desire. 

A deep and awful sound suddenly shook the 
building; a glaring, lurid flash, filled with 
strange brilliancy the long, Uark aisle. A clap of 
thunder, loud, and swiftly repeated, reverberated 
along the heavens ; the shrill scream of women 
answered the mighty voice. The priest who 
read the service, saw his sacred lx>ok glared on 
by so keen a flash, as blinded him to the dim- 
mer light that succeeded. Every being in the 
church sank on their knees, crossing themselves, 
and striving to repeat their paternosters and 
aves ; while Richard stood fearless, enjoying the 
elemental roar, exulting in the peal, the flash, 
the tempestuous havock, as powers yet rebellious 



PEIIKIN WARBECK. 219 

to his conqueror. Freedom was victorious in 
the skiey plains; there was freedom in the 
careering clouds, freedom in the sheeted light- 
ning, freedom in the cataract of sound that tore 
its way along. On his poor heart, sick of 
captivity and enforced obedience, the sweet 
word liberty hung as a spell : every bird 
and tiny fly he had envied as being free; 
how much more things more powerful, the 
chainless destructions of nature. The voice of 
God speaking in his own consecrated abode 
was terrible to all; soothing to himself alone. 
He walked to the southern entrance of the edi- 
fice to mark the splashing shower, as it ploughed 
the stones : two of his keepers remained on 
their knees, paralyzed by terror ; the two others 
followed trembling. At that moment a louder, 
a far, far louder clap, burst right above them, 
succeeding so instantaneously the blinding flash, 
that, while every object was wrapt in flame, 
the pavement and fretted roof of the Abbey 
shook with the sound. A bolt had fallen ; the 
priest at the altar was struck: with mingled 
horror and curiosity one of York's remaining 
L2 



220 PERKIN WARBECK. 

guards rushed towards the spot; the only re- 
maining one was kneeling in an agony of terror. 
York stood on the threshold of the porch ; he 
advanced a few steps beyond ; a new fear pos- 
sessed the fellow. " He will escape ! halloo ! 
James ! Martin !" The very words imparted 
the thought to the Prince, who filled erewhile 
with wonder and religious awe, had forgotten 
his own sad plight. He turned to the man, 
who was doubtful whether to rush into the 
chapel for his comrades, or singly to seize his 
prisoner his dagger was drawn. " Put up 
that foolish steel," said York, " it cannot harm 
one whom God calls to freedom listen, he 
speaks ; farewell ! " The lightning again 
flashed : with blue and forked flame it ran along 
the blade of the weapon raised against him; 
with a shriek the man dashed it to the earth. 
Richard was already out of sight 

The rain poured in torrents : it came down 
in continuous cataracts from the eaves of the 
houses. On this sunny festival few had re- 
mained at home; and those, terror-stricken 
now, were on their knees : no creature was 



PERKIN WARBECK. 221 

in the streets as the fugitive sped on, igno- 
rant whither he should go. London was a 
vast, unknown labyrinth to him : as well as he 
could divine, he directed his flight eastward, and 
that with such velocity, that he might compete 
with a horse in full career. If anv saw him, 
as thus with winged heels he flew along, they 
did not wonder that a person should hasten to 
shelter out of the storm. It was of slight regard 
to him, that rain and hail ploughed the earth, and 
continual thunder echoed through the sky ; that 
alone and friendless he fled through the streets 
of his victor's chief city. His exulting heart, 
his light, glad spirit told him that he was free ; 
if for a few minutes only, he would joyfully 
purchase with his life those few minutes' eman- 
cipation from his frightful thraldom. No words 
could speak, no thought image the supreme 
gladness of that moment. 

Meanwhile, dark night, aided by the thick 
clouds which still poured down torrents of rain, 
had crept over the dim twilight, and began to 
imbarrier with doubt the path of the rejoicing 
fugitive. He found at last, that the lines of houses 



222 PERKIN WARBECK. 

receded, and that he was in an open space, in 
the midst of which rose a gigantic shadow, 
stretching itself in stillness and vastness on the 
summit of the rising ground before him ; it was 
the Cathedral of St. Paul's. Now, cloaked -by 
the dark and inclement night, he began to re- 
flect on his actual situation: London might 
swarm with his partizans, but he knew not where 
to find one. Probably all those who were occu- 
pied by his fate resided in Westminster, whence 
he had precipitately fled ; whither assuredly 
he would not return. These reflections per- 
plexed him, but in no way allayed his transport 
at finding himself free; he felt that if he wan- 
dered to the wide fields, and died of hunger 
there, it were bliss enough to see the sky " un- 
clouded by his dungeon roof;" to behold the 
woods, the flowers, and the dancing waves ; nor 
be mocked with man's shape, when those who 
wore it had sold man's dearest privilege that of 
allowing his actions to wait upon the free im- 
pulses of his heart. 

Still therefore he hurried along, and finally 
became completely bewildered in some swampy } 



PERKIN WARBECK. 223 

low fields, intersected by wide ditches. The 
night was pitchy dark ; nor was there any clue 
afforded him, by which he could even guess whe- 
ther he might not be returning on his path. Sud- 
denly a small ray of light threaded the gloom ; 
it went and came, and at last remained station- 
ary. With wavering will and irregular steps 
the Prince proceeded towards it ; for he would 
rather have died where he stood, than discover 
himself, so to fall again into captivity. Once or 
twice he lost sight of this tiny earth-star, which 
evidently shone through some low casement; 
and, as at last he caught sight of the solitary 
miserable hut where it was sphered, the recol- 
lection of his former asylum, of ill-fated Jane 
Shore's penurious dwelling, flashed across him ; 
with speedy, reassured pace he hurried on, 
leaping a ditch that obstructed his path, careless 
of every physical obstacle, when the malice of 
man was no longer to be apprehended. " Poor 
Jane ! " he ejaculated : and again he reflected with 
some wonder that, in every adversity, women had 
been his resource and support; their energies, 
their undying devotion and enthusiasm, were 



224 PERKIN WARBECK. 

the armour and weapons with which he had 
defended himself from and attacked fortune. 
Even one so fallen and so low as poor Jane 
Shore, was, through the might of fidelity and 
affection, of more avail than all his doughty 
partizans, who, in the hour of need, were scat- 
tered and forgetful. 

The low-roofed cot was before him unmis- 
taken. The crevice whence the light emanated 
was too small to admit his enquiring glance ; 
amid the driving, pattering rain he fancied that 
he distinguished voices within ; but, with a bold- 
ness which bade him fear nothing, he lifted tle 
latch, and beheld in truth a sight of wonder ; 
Monina, with a shriek started from her seat ; she 
folded him with wild joy in her fair arms, and 
then, blushing and trembling, threw herself on 
the neck of Lady Brampton ; and Jane herself 
rose from her couch of straw, more wan, more 
emaciated than ever; yet even over her sad pale 
face a smile wandered, shewing in yet more 
ghastly hues the ruin it. illumined. 

Questions, ejaculations, wonder and delight, 
burst from every lip: "'He is here to our wish : 



PERKIN WARBECK. 225 

the means of escape are secured, and he is here ! 
Oh, dearest Lady Brampton, do not the blessed 
angels guard him?" Monina spoke, and her soft 
luminous eyes were fixed on him, as if not daring 
to believe the vision ; it was not the chastened 
delight of age, but the burning, ardent joy of a 
young heart, who had but one thought, one de- 
sire, and that about to be accomplished ; her 
flushed cheeks betokened her rapture : " J have 
repined, despaired, almost blasphemed ; yet he 
is here : how good is Almighty God ! Listen,, 
dear my Lord, how wondrously opportune your 
arrival is : Lady Brampton will tell you all. Oh, 
this new miracle is the blessed Virgin's own 
achievement you are free ! " 

Scarcely less animated, the zealous lady de- 
tailed the circumstances that united so favourably 
for him. She had been for some time at Brus- 
sels with the Duchess Margaret, who \vas more 
grieved than could be imagined at the capture of 
her beloved nephew. . She lived in a state of 
terror on his account. That his life was awhile 
spared, availed little to pacify her; the mid- 
night murders and prison-assassinations, so rife 
L 5 



226 PERKIN WARBECK; 

tin ring the wars of York and Lancaster were 
present to her imagination. She exhausted 
every device, every bribe, to gain partisans for 
him to achieve his freedom. Ajnong others, 
most liberal of promises, was the false Clifford. 
After Richard had escaped from him in the New 
Forest, he fell in with Frion, whose double plot 
being defeated, he strove to capture and accuse 
the accomplice whom, in fact, he had deceived. 
The Knight fled ; he escaped to the Low Countries ; 
and by a glozing tale easily gained the ear of 
the Duchess. Lost in England, perhaps he 
wished to rebwild his fallen fortunes; aided by 
her munificence, perhaps he prepared some 
new treachery: however it might be, he was 
trusted, and was the soul of the present enter- 
prise. De Faro's vessel, refitted and well manned, 
was now anchored in the mouth of the Thames. 
Clifford undertook the task of foisting some 
creature of his own, or even himself, disguised, 
of undertaking the part of one of Richard's 
keepers, when he doubted not to be able to 
secure his flight. 

With her usual vivacity Lady Brampton gave 



PERKIN WARBECK. 227 

this account ; but no explanations on her part 
could dissipate the horror York felt at the name 
of Clifford, or inspire him with any thing but 
distrust of his intentions. Monina, before si- 
lenced by her sanguine associates, now gave 
expression to the terror and abhorrence his in- 
terference occasioned ; she had come, exposing 
herself to a thousand perils and pains, merely 
that she might watch over his acts, and awaken 
her too credulous friends to a knowledge of his 
duplicity. But the danger was past; before, Clif- 
ford could know that he had escaped, York might 
reach the Adalid. 

Almost as an answering echo to these words 

there was a sound of hurrying steps. " It is he : 

f 
the traitor comes. Oh, bar the door ! " There 

was no bar, no mode of securing this dwelling 
of penury; three women alone were his guard: 
Monina, pale and trembling ; Lady Brampton, 
endeavouring to reassure her; while Richard 
stood forward, his gaze fixed on the opening 
door, whose latch was already touched, resolved 
to meet, with perfect show of frank reliance and 
intrepidity, the intruders. 



228 PEIIKJN WAUBECK. 

Sir Robert Clifford entered. Confusion, 
attempted boldness, and, last, sullen malice 
painted his aspect when he beheld the Prince. 
He was much changed, and looked almost 
an old man; his dark and profuse hair was 
grizzled; his grey eyes hollow; and his dress, 
though that of a cavalier, exhibited signs of 
habitual neglect. His person, always slight, 
had been redeemed from insignificance by its 
exquisite grace and elegance ; every trace of 
this was flown ; and his haggard countenance 
and diminutive size made even York scarcely 
credit that this was indeed the gay, reckless 
Robin. His resolve had been already made ; 
he addressed him kindly, saying, " Sir Robert, 
I hear that you are willing to renew to me your 
broken vows: may you hereafter keep them 
more faithfully." 

Clifford muttered a few words; he looked to- 
wards the door, as if desirous of escape; he 
struggled with shame, guilt, and .some other 
emotion. As soon as a consultation began as 
to the means to be adopted for the Prince to 
reach the sea in safety, he conquered himself 



PEHKIN WARBECK. 229 

entering into it with spirit and zeal. The plan 
he proposed was crafty, his own part in it the 
principal. He spoke of disguising the prince 
as a female attendant on Monina; of his and 
O* Water's accompanying them along the river 
banks as soon as daylight. 

" And wherefore not now ? Or rather, where- 
fore even now do we not hasten to the Thames, 
and seize a boat ? " 

" Because," said Clifford, interrupting Mo- 
nina, "his Highness's flight is already known ; 
a line of boats intersects the Thames below 
London Bridge; and lower still every craft is 
on the alert." 

Each one exchanged looks; the Knight con- 
tinued : " You all distrust me, and I wonder 
not. I am in your power now; here are my 
unarmed hands ; even a woman may bind them. 
Go forth yourselves ; seek the path to the sea : 
before an hour elapses the Duke will be again a 
prisoner. You may in this wild spot plant 
your daggers in my heart to avenge, but that 
will not save him; for I have no power here. 
But set me free, confide to my care, and, by the 



230 TERK1N WARBECK. 

God that made me, he walks the deck of the 
Adalid ere the setting sun. I could tell you 
how this can be, and ye would not the more 
trust me, if I spoke of such alliance with, such 
power over, the rogues and vagabonds of this 
saintly city, as enables me to move strange 
engines to execute my will; even if you credited 
me, you would disdain that your hero should 
owe his life to such base means. Be it as yoii 
will : believe me; and I pledge my life that his 
Grace will ride the dancing waves beyond King 
Henry's reach to-morrow night." 

" I accept the pledge," replied York, who 
had eyed him earnestly as lie spoke. " I com- 
mit myself to your care; act speedily, without 
fear of balk or suspicion on my part." 

Clifford's lips curled into a triumphant smile; 
because again he was trusted, or because again 
lie would betray, it was hard to divine. " I 
must beseech your patience in the first place," 
said Sir Robert : " I cannot get the fitting dis- 
guises during the night." 

" Night is no more," replied Richard, throw- 
ing open the casement; and the dusky room was 



PERKIN WARBECK. 231 

illuminated by the day. In the east there was 
a very fountain of light, which, welling up, 
flooded the flecked and broken clouds with rosy 
hues : the stars were gone ; a soft azure peeped 
between the breaking vapours ; the morning air 
was deliciously fresh ; the birds chirped ; a dis- 
tant watch-dog barked. Otherwise all was silent ; 
and security seemed to walk the earth. 

" I will go seek the needful dresses," said 
CliiFord. " Your Grace will await my return, 
even though my stay, lengthened beyond rny 
expectation, give some reason for the distrust I 
read in every eye." 

" It is but too natural," said the Prince, 
" that my kind friends should suspect you ; for 
myself, I have said the word ; I place myself in 
your hands : half measures were of no avail. 
If indeed you are a traitor, bring Tudor's hire- 
lings here to seize their prey. I cannot fear ; I 
will not doubt ; and, if in my soul any suspicion 
lurk, my actions shall not be guided by it. Go ; 
let your return be speedy or otherwise, I await 
you here." 

Scarcely had the door closed, when Monina, 



232 PERK1N WARBECK. 

whose eyes had been fixed on Clifford's coun- 
tenance during the whole scene, exclaimed : 
"This moment is out own ! Fly, my Prince; 
trust me I know that bad man; if he find you 
here when he returns, you are lost." 

"Hist!" Jane spoke the word, and a dead 
silence fell upon the anxious band. The steps 
of a horse were heard: Monina flew to the 
casement. " It is our faith Irish friend, my 
Lord ; it is O' Water." The door was opened: 
and each one crowded round the visitant. He 
uttered a "By the mischief!" which sounded 
like a benediction, when he saw the Duke of 
York, adding, "all is well, all in readiness; I left 
the Adalid, after the storm ycster evening, in 
safe anchorage." 

" Oh yes, safety," cried the enthusiastic 
Spaniard; "safety or death! Trust not false 
Clifford seize the fleeting, precious opportunity 
O' Water's horse " 

"Is blown," said Richard, -"he cannot carry 
me." 

" And the ways strangely beset," said the 
Mayor. " Just now I saw a young gentleman 



PERKIN WARBECK. 233 

seized, much to his annoyance, by some patroL 
He bribed dearly, but they would not listen 
the whole country is alarmed." 

"I will wait for Clifford," continued York; 
" and trust in providence. Some kind friend only 
bestow a dagger on me : I would not be taken 
like an unarmed girl." 

" A tramp of steeds they are coming, Clif- 
ford guides them hither ; we are lost ! " cried 
Lady Brarnplon. 

" Oh, flyfly my liege," said O' Water, " ex- 
pose not these women to the assault. Poor Rose 
Blanche can yet bear you fast and far." 

The sound as of a troop of horse neared. 
The Prince saw O' Water blocking up the case- 
ment, and then draw his sword. Monina, 
wild with agony, fell at his feet: "Fly, my 
Lord, fly for the Lady Katherine's sake : fly 
for mine own: must 1 see you die? I, who 
have lived alas ! how vainly. Lady Brampton 
beseech command he must fly. O, they will 
be here to seize, to murder him !" 

" Here is my dagger, my lord," said O'Water 
coolly; " Defend yourself meanwhile now 



234 PERKIN WARBECK. 

at our last hour for surely it is come, Our 
Lady recommend us to God's holy grace." 

The gallop of a troop grew yet more distinct ; 
Richard looked round : Jane was kneeling, 
her face buried in her hands : Lady Brampton 
pale, but resolved, was ready to sacrifice the life 
she had spent for him. O' Water had resigned 
himself to the final act of a life of peril, sealed 
in liis blood. The lovely Spaniard alone lost 
all her self-possession; tears streaming from her 
uplifted eyes ; her arms twined round his knees: 
to fly fly ! was the only thought she could ex- 
press. "I yield," said York; "throw open 
the door." O' Water's horse had been led 
within the hut ; he vaulted on his back ; lie 
placed the dagger in his belt. " That way," 
Lady Brampton cried, " it leads to the river's 
side below." 

A scream from Monina followed his swift de- 
parture. " He perishes he betrays us !" cried 
O' Water. Richard galloped on; not across 
the fields away from town, but right into 
danger ; there, whence the troop was certainly 
approaching. H was lost to view on the instant, 



PERKItf WARBECK. 235 

in a straggling lane which stretched out half 
across the field. A moment after, coming from 
the other side, unobserved till in the hut, Clif- 
ford entered alone. He bore a large bundle ; 
his steps were cautious and swift ; his look told 
that he was intent only on the object of his 
errand. " I have succeeded beyond my hope. 
My life on it all is safe. Where have ye hid 
the Prince ? Oh, prithee, fear not, nor trifle : 
each second is precious." 

The confused, wondering looks of all present 
replied to him. Clifford laughed, a short, sar- 
castic, bitter laugh : arid then, with a fiendlike 
expression of face, he said, "The Prince has 
done well ; and ye have all done well : and his 
Grace will thank you anon. Ye grudge me, 
maybe, the Duchess Margaret's bounty. She 
promised largely ; 'twere pity to share the boon 
among so many. Now mark the event ! " 

These words displayed the baseness of his 
motive, yet vouched for his sincerity. He threw 
a menacing glance around, and then quitted the 
hut; <and with hurried pace hastened across the 
field towards the town. 



236 



CHAPTER XVI. 



Fall many a glorious morning have I seen, 
Flatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye. 
Kissing with golden face the meadows green ; 
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy ; 
Anon, permit the basest clouds to ride 
With ugly rack on his celestial face. 

8HA.KSPEARE. 



THE Duke of York, urged so earnestly to fly, 
felt that to do so was to save himself at the ex- 
pense of his friends, on whom Henry's ven- 
geance would severely fall, when he found him- 
self balked of his victim. He. consented to 
leave Jane Shore's abode, with the resolve not of 
effecting his escape, but of securing, by surren- 
dering himself, the safety of his defenceless 
adherents united under her lowly roof. He 



PERK1N" WARBECK. 237 

directed his course as he believed into the very 
centre of danger, entering the narrow straggling 
street whence the sound of the advance of the 
troop of horse had been heard. He entered the 
lane ; it was empty. The ominous sounds were 
still sharp and near ; it seemed as if they were 
in some street parallel to the one which he 
threaded. He turned at right angles into another, 
to reach the spot ; again he turned, led by the 
baffling noise, in another direction. It was just 
four in the morning; there were but few abroad 
so early : he saw a monk gliding stealthily 
from under a dark archway, and a poor fellow, 
who looked as if he had slept beneath heaven's 
roof, and had not wherewithal to break his fast. 
True to the kindly instincts of his nature, 
Richard felt at his girdle for his purse ; it was 
long since he had possessed the smallest coin of 
his adversary's realm. "I, a Prince ! " his feeling 
had been more bitter, but that his fingers came 
in contact with his dagger's hilt, and the con- 
viction of freedom burst with fresh delight upon 
him. Free, even in spite of his intents ; for the 



238 PERKIN WABBECK. 

tramp which had gradually grown fainter, was 
dying absolutely away. 

They had probably reached the hnt: thither 
he must return. It was no easy thing to find his 
way to it, he had so entangled himself in the 
narrow lanes, and wretched assemblages of 
dwellings huddled together on the outskirts of 
London. At length they opened before him; 
there was the dingy field, there the hut, standing 
in quiet beneath the rays of the morning sun, of 
the opening, summer, soft, sweet day. He was 
quickly at its threshold; he entered. Jane was 
within, alone, seated in her wooden chair; her 
hands clasped ; her pale face sunk on her bosom : 
big tears were gathering in 'aer eyes, and rolling 
down her faded cheeks unheeded. Jane's aspect 
was usually so marble (a miraculous chiseling 
of resigned hopelessness,) her mien so unbending, 
that these signs of emotion struck the Prince 
with wonder and compassion. 

He knelt at her feet and pressed her thin, 
but little hand to his lips, saying, " Mother, 
where are my friends ? Mother, bless me before 
I go." 



PERKIN WARBECK. 239 

She dried the drops raining from her eyes, 
saying in a voice that expressed how occupied 
she was by her own emotion, " I am a sinful 
woman; well do these tones remind me of the 
same : those days are quite, quite gone, even 
from the memory of all ; but once they were as 
the present hour, when so he spoke, and I was 
lost, and still am lost ; for, through hunger, and 
cold and shame, I love, and cannot quite repent. 
Will the hour ever come when I can regret 
that once I was happy." 

Many, many sad years had passed since words 
like these had dropped from poor Jane's lips ; her 
feelings fed on her, possessed her, but she had 
been mute ; overflowing now, her accent was 
calm ; she spoke as if she was unaware that her 
thoughts framed speech, and that she had an 
auditor. 

" You have paid a dear penalty, and are 
surely forgiven," said York, striving in his 
compassion to find the words that might be balm 
to her. 

" Prince," she continued, "some time ago, 
I have lost all date; now the chasm seems 



240 PERKIN WARBECK. 

nought, now a long eternity; it was when my 
poor heart knew nothing of love save its strong 
necessity and its delight ; methought I would 
see your father's fair offspring, for I loved them 
for his sake. At the festival of Easter I placed 
myself near the gate of the royal chapel : I 
thought to be unseen. The happy Queen held 
her sons eacli by the hand; you were then, as 
now, his image, a little sportive blu>eyed che- 
rub. The Prince of Wales had his mother's 
look ; her large, dark eye, her soft, rosy mouth, 
her queenlike brow; her beauty which had won 
Edward, her chaste sweetness, which had made 
her his wife; my presence, I thought to conceal 
it better, was revealed. The Queen turned her 
face away; there was anguish surely written 
there, for the Prince darted on me 'a look of 
such withering scorn yes, even he his stain- 
less, fair brow was knit, his bright angel's face 
clouded : the look sunk in my heart. Edward's 
beautiful, pure child reproved me, hated me : 
for three days I felt that I would never see 
the deluder more : you do not share his ab- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 241 

horrence; you do not hate the pale ghost of 
Shore's wife ? " 

Such clinging to the past, such living me- 
mory of what was so absolutely dead to all 
except herself, awe-struck the Prince, "We are 
all sinners in the eye of God," he said, " but thy 
faults are surely forgiven thee, gen tie one; thy tears 
have washed every trace away, and my brother, 
my poor murdered Edward, now blesses thee. 
Alas ! would that I could soften this last stage 
of your suffering earthly life." 

" 'Tis better as it is," she answered hastily, 
" once I felt disgrace and privation keenly ; 
perhaps that may atone. Now, would it were 
more bitter, that so I might wean myself from 
him whose very memory will lose my soul. 
You are good, and Our Lady will requite you. 
Now, listen, the damsel Monina and Master 
O' Water have gone towards Southend : your re- 
maining friends watch for you here. I shall see 
them again to-night: meanwhile it is to be feared 
that Clifford plots vengeance, and you must fly; 
you must at every hazard go towards Southend. 
Beyond the town, on the lone sands, there is a 

VOL. III. M 



242 PERKIN WARBECK. 

wooden cross, telling where one escaped dread- 
ful peril through the might of Him who died 
on it for us ; the smallest sign, the waving of 
your cap, will be watched for by the Adalid, 
they will send a boat to take you on board. 
Now swiftly depart: your life hangs on the 
hour; this purse will furnish you with means: 
Lady Brampton left it for you." 
" Bless me, mother, ere I go." 
" Can a sinner's blessing avail ? fear rather 
that God punish me through you, where my 
heart is garnered. Oh, may he indeed bless 
and save you ; and I shall die hi peace." 

He kissed her withered hand and was gone ; 
she dragged her failing limbs to the casement ; 
he was already lost among the straggling tene- 
ments that bounded her field. 

Again York was flying from his foe; again stu- 
dying to elude pursuit, with how different feelings. 
Before, his flight was peremptory, for the preser- 
vation of others, while he blindly longed to de- 
liver himself to slavery.' Now liberty, for its own 
dear sake, was worth the world to him. He had 
tasted to its dregs the misery of captivity, and 
loathed the very name ; whatever might betide, 



PERKIN WARBECK. 243 

he would never submit willingly again to one 
hour's thraldom. He felt his dagger's hilt; he 
drew it from the sheath, and eyed its polished 
blade with gladness ; for eight months he had 
been living unarmed, under the perpetual keep- 
ing of armed jailors ; what wonder that he looked 
on this sharp steel as the key to set him free 
from every ill. 

He got clear of the town : the open sky, the 
expanse of summer adorned earth was before 
him. It was the " leafy month of June ; " the 
far spread corn-fields were getting yellow ; and 
on their weltering surface played the shadows of 
a few clouds, relics of the last night's storm : 
the sun was bright, the breeze balmy, already 
the very foot-paths were dry, and scarcely from 
its inmost leaves did any tree shake moisture : 
yet there was a freshness in the scene, a light- 
ness in the air, the gift of tempest. The daz- 
zling sun rose higher, and each island-vapour 
sunk on the horizon; the garish light clothed 
all things ; the lazy shadows crept up around the 
objects which occasioned them, while both ob- 
ject and its shade seemed to bask in the sunshine. 

M2 



244 PERKIN WARBECK. 

Now over head the meeting boughs of trees 
scarce sufficed to shield him from the penetrating 
glare ; now in the open path he was wholly ex- 
posed to it, as his diminished shadow clung 
almost to the horse's hoofs. The birds twittered 
above; the lazy mare was stretched basking, 
while her colt gamboled around; each slight 
thing spoke of the voluptuous indolence of sum- 
mer, and the wafted scent of hay, or gummy exha- 
lation of evergreens, distilled by the warm noon r 
fed with languid sweets every delighted sense. 
If paradise be ever of this world it now em- 
bowered Richard. All was yet insecure; his 
White Rose was far ; but nature showered such 
extasy on him that his whole being was given up 
to her influence. Latterly the form of man had 
been ever before his aching sight under the 
aspect of an enemy ; the absence of every fel- 
low-creature he hailed with gladness free and 
alone, alone and free ! With the pertinacious 
dwelling on one idea, which is characteristic of 
overpowering feeling, this combination of words 
and ideas haunted his thoughts, fell from his 
lips, and made a part of the soul-subduing rap- 
ture now his portion. 



PERKIN WARBECK. 245 

May it be added we must address the un- 
happy and imaginative, who know that the 
future is so linked with the present as to have 
an influence over that present, when we add 
that the intensity of the liberated Prince's feel- 
ings was wrought even to pain, by its being the 
last time that unalloyed delight would ever be 
his the last when he might feel himself the 
nursling of nature, allied by the bond of enjoy- 
ment to all her offspring. He knew not this 
himself. Immersed in the sense of all that he 
now possessed, he did not pause to reflect whe- 
ther this were the last time, that he, the victim 
of chance and change, might ever see the waving 
corn or shadowy trees, or hear the caroling 
birds, or the murmurs of the fresh free brooks 
gurgling round some pendant bough or jutting 
stone ; but that so it was to be, gave poignancy 
to his pleasure, a dreamy halo to the whole 
scene. 

It would appear, in spite of the precautions 
taken by his enemy, that the north bank of the 
Thames had been neglected. Richard met with 
no impediment in his progress. Whenever he 
caught a sight of the river, he perceived unusual 



246 PERKl^J WARBECK. 

signs of activity. Little wherries shot hither 
and thither on its surface, revealing to him that 
keen and vigilant search was being made. 
Meanwhile he rode on, the broad stream for 
his guide, avoiding towns and villages. He 
ventured to purchase bread at a lone farm- 
house he alighted in a little grove beside a 
rivulet, to rest his tired horse, and to refresh 
himself. The summer heat recalled Andalusia 
to his mind ; and scenes and objects quite for- 
gotten, wandered from their oblivious recesses 
back into his recollection. " My happy boy- 
hood ! My beloved Spain ! Why did I leave the 
land of beauty, where with Monina ? " The 
idea of her whose fate was so inextricably linked 
with his, of his bride, who had quitted her palace 
home to share his adversity, reproached him. 
But his imagination could not fix itself on bleak 
Scotland, its wild haunts, its capricious king : it 
could only build another bower among the 
folds of the mountains of Andalusia, and place 
his White Rose therein. 

Again he pursued his way. The slant beams 
of the descending sun were yet more sultry, but 
it sank swiftly down; now casting gigantic 



PERKIN WARBECK. 247 

shadows, bathing the tree tops in golden dew, 
and flooding the clouds with splendour ; now it 
was gone, and the landscape faded into a brown 
mellow tint. The birds' last chirp was given, 
the beetle winged her noisy flight, the congre- 
gated rooks had flown to the belfry of the 
church, or to their nests in the church-yard 
trees; silence and twilight crept up from the 
sedgy banks of the river, leaving the pale water 
alone to reflect the struggling farewell of day. 
Jn a little time the banks shelved away, giving 
place to broad yellow sand. Richard ventured 
to bend his course along the beach. There was 
a bark upon the dim tide, whose progress he 
had watched since noon, whose flapping or full 
sails were the signs by which he foretold the 
prosperity of his destined voyage. Now with 
swelling canvas it walked swiftly over the water. 
He passed South End. He perceived the tall 
rough-hewn cross. Two figures were seated at 
its foot. He hesitated, but quickly perceiving 
that one was a woman, he proceeded onwards. 
The stars were out ; the very west was dim ; in 
the offing there was a vessel, whose build and 



248 PERKIN WARBECK. 

tall slender masts he thought he recognized. 
The broad expanse of calm ocean was there, 
whose waves broke in tiny ripplets on the 
beach. He reached the cross. O' Water and 
Monina saw his approach. The Irishman 
welcomed him boisterously, in his own lan- 
guage. Monina uttered a benediction in Spa- 
nish. The scene was solitary and secure. 
Every danger was past. There floated the 
caravel which ensured escape, and the stars 
alone witnessed their flight. Monina gave her 
white veil to O'Water, who contrived to elevate 
it on the cross. In a few moments the splash 
of oars was heard, and a dark speck floated 
towards them on the waves, from the direction 
of the Adalid. " They come ; you are safe," 
murmured his lovely friend ; " this hour repays 
for all." The boat was already on the beach : 
a seaman leaped on shore. " The White 
English Rose," he said : such was the word 
agreed upon ; and, hailing it, Monina hurried 
to embark with her companions. The little 
boat was pushed from shore. O'Water gave 
vent to his delight in a shout, that resembled a 



PERKIN WARBECK. 249 

yell. Monina crept close to the Duke of York : 
that he was safe was a truth so dear, so new, 
that she forgot every thing, save her wish to 
assure herself again and again that so it was. 
At that moment of triumph, something like 
sadness invaded Richard : he had quitted the 
land for which his friends had bled, and he had 
suffered, for ever: he had left his Katherine 
there, where all was arrayed against him for his 
destruction. This was safety; but it was the 
overthrow of every childish dream, every youth- 
ful vision ; it put the seal of ineffectual nothing- 
ness on his every manhood's act. 

While each, occupied by their peculiar 
reveries, were aware only that they were being 
borne onwards on the waves, a smaller boat 
shot athwart their bows, and a voice exclaimed 
in Spanish, " Desdichados, estais alia ? " 

" My father we are betrayed," Monina 
cried : and she threw her arms round Richard, 
as if by such frail guard to shelter him another 
stronger grasp was uponhis arm as he endeavoured 
to rise a voice, husky from passion, yet still 
M 5 



250 PERKIN WARBECK. 

Clifford's voice, muttered, " The day is mine 
you she all are mine !" 

" Thou fell traitor ! What ho ! De Faro to 
the rescue ! " already the mariner had thrown a 
grappling iron already the Adalid was in mo- 
tion towards them. Clifford strove to draw his 
sword. York was upon him in mortal struggle ; 
his keen dagger, unsheathed, uplifted ; the boat 
lurched his arm descended, but half the force 
of the intended blow was lost, while both fell 
overboard. The crew rushed to the boat's side 
to loosen the grappling iron, which concluded 
its upset. De Faro, who stood high on the 
bows of his own boat, had seized Monina. Now 
another larger skiff was seen approaching, " To 
your oars ! " cried the Moor : they shot swiftly 
towards the Adalid, and while the sea became 
alive with craft, they reached the little caravel, 
who turning her canvass to the wind, dropped 
down the tide. 



251 



CHAPTER XVII. 



" Your love and pity doth th' impression fill, 
Which vulgar scandal stamped upon my brow ; 
For what care I who calls me well or ill, 
So you o'erskreen my bad my good allow ? 

SHAKSPEARE. 



ON the fourth day of her restraint, imprison- 
ment it could hardly be called, Lady Katherine 
was brought up to Westminster ; she was carried 
in a close litter, and no familiar face or accus- 
tomed attendant came near. Her anxiety, her 
anguish weighed intolerably upon her sleep 
had not visited her eyes ; she lived in perpetual 
terror that each sound was freighted with fatal 
tidings. It was in vain that even reason bade 
her nourish hope a stronger power than reason 



252 PERKIN WARBECK. 

dwelt in her heart, turning all its yearnings to 
despair. 

As she approached the city she thought each 
step must reveal the truth of what she was to 
suffer. Lo ! the palace was entered her habi- 
tual chamber silence and solitude alone mani- 
fested that some change was even now in its 
effect; she had no tears to spend upon her 
grief; her changing coldur, her quickened respi- 
ration shewed that every faculty was possessed 
by terror. Two hours, each minute stretched to 
a long long century, two hours passed, when 
a little scroll was delivered to her ; it came from 
the Queen, and contained these words, " My 
White Rose ! the tempest has past leaving, 
alas, devastation : we yet remain to each other 
come " 

These expressions spoke the worst to her 
fear-stricken mind no subsequent agony might 
ever compare to die pang, that made her very 
life-blood pause in her failing heart at that 
moment. Had the present and the future become 
void for him, to whom she was wedded heart and 
soul ? wedded in youth, when our hopes stretch 



PERKIN WARBECK. 253 

themselves not merely to to-day and to-morrow, 
but even to eternity. In this state of human 
woe, we do not describe the disheartening and 
carking sorrows of those who lag on life's high 
way but the swift, poignant, intolerable agonies 
of the young, to whom the aspiration for happi- 
ness is a condition of being. The Queen 
had been accustomed to witness and admire 
Katherine's self-command and quiet fortitude; 
she was awe-struck on beholding the devastation 
of the last four days, and the expression of wild 
horror on her soft features. With feminine in- 
stinct she read her heart, her first words were, 
" Sweet love, he lives and he will live his 
life is spared, and we may still hope." 

Tears at last flowed from the mourner's eyes, 
as she asked, " What then will be his fate? 
Shall I ever see him more ? " 

" How can we guess the hidden purposes of 
the King ? By your enforced solitude you have 
escaped his scowling brow, his violence, his 
sarcasms ; again he smiles. My gentle Kate, my 
sweet courageous sufferer, hitherto we have 
played with the lion's fangs they are un- 



254 PERKIN WARBECK. 

sheathed in anger now let us prepare : he will 
be here anon." 

The Princess desired not to exhibit too humi- 
liating a spectacle of misery to her cruel foe 
she checked her weeping she endeavoured to 
forget the burning agony that tortured her 
beating heart. " Let him but live ; let me but 
once more see him;" and the unbidden tears 
flowed again. The King soon broke in upon 
them ; his look was haughty even to insolence : 
an expression of vulgar triumph was in his eyes, 
that baffled the eager scanning gaze of the hap- 
less Princess. He said, scoffingly, (and was it in 
man's nature, or only in Henry's, to look on the 
sad, but lovely countenance of his victim, and to 
mock her woe ?) " We congratulate you, Lady, 
on the return of the gentle Perkin to our good 
city of Westminster do not weep he is in 
safe keeping now, very safe it is no feathered 
shoe our Mercury wears this day." 

" Holy Virgin ! " cried Katherine, " your 
Grace does not surely mean n 

" Fear not he lives," continued Henry, his 
scorn growing more bitter as he spoke ; " he 



PERKIN WARBECK. 255 

lives, and shall live, till the White Rose acknow- 
ledge on what base stock she is grafted, or he 
twist the rope by some new sleight. Is Perkin's 
honoured dame satisfied ? " 

" Oh no, no, no ; some covert meaning you 
have ; in pity for a woman speak." The agony 
her countenance expressed, was the mute echo 
of the frightful idea that convulsed her frame. 
" Oh, let me see him ! you have tormented me 
too cruelly ; even if my worst fears prove true, 
he suffers not more than I ; and can it be that 
the young limbs of my own loved Richard are 
put to torture ! " 

Elizabeth grew ashy white ; the King listened 
with a sarcastic smile, saying, " I had not 
thought of that ; you are a silly girl to mention 
such things." 

" I do not believe you," exclaimed the Prin- 
cess, " your looks bely your words ; let me 
but see him afar off, let me catch a glimpse of 
my princely love is he in the Tower ?" 

" Neither the Tower, nor any royal palace 
detains your lord ; he is taking the air, pleasantly 
I hope, in the high places of our town. To 



256 PERKIN WARBECK. 

finish this war of words, and your incredulity, 
will you visit your prince of plotters, and be- 
hold him on whom the King of Scotland be- 
stowed your virgin hand ? " 

" See him ! Oh, even in death to clasp his 
decaying limbs were better than this absence ! " 

An indefinable expression passed over Henry's 
countenance as he replied, " Be it as you wish : 
you must hasten, for in an hour the occasion will 
be^ past ; it is but a few steps ; you shall be at- 
tended." 

At last she was to see him; this assurance 
filled and satisfied her ; there was no place in 
her heart for any other thought, sinister as were 
her torturer's looks. Her eyes grew bright, 
her cheek resumed its vermeil tint, never had 
she looked more lovely ; it was a dazzling 
beauty ; one of those ineffable expressions, 
which, unless language could express music, or 
painting image fire, it is in vain to attempt to 
describe : an irradiation of love passed over her 
countenance ; her form ; something like it dwells 
in Raphael's Madonna's and Guide's Angel of 
Annunciation, Henry was -awestruck, yet did 



PERKIN WARBECK. 257 

not falter in his purpose; he let the bright 
angel go forth on her mission of good and love, 
to meet on her way a sight fiends might rejoice 
over. Human life and human nature are, alas ! 
a dread, inexplicable web of suffering and of 
infliction. 

In Westminster, in sight of the Abbey where 
his ancestors had been crowned kings, the spec- 
tacle intended to be so opprobrious, was set 
forth. Henry, in his angry fear on his escape, 
.in his exultation at his re-capture, forgot the 
soft tyranny of Katherine's looks ; or rather 
he despised himself for the obedience he had 
yielded to them ; and, in the true spirit of base- 
ness, was glad to revenge on her the ill effects 
that had resulted to him through his involuntary 
enslavement. It was a triumph to him to disgrace 
the object of her care, for he was ill read, his 
understanding affording him no key to the un- 
known language, in that illuminated page of 
the history of feminine excellence, which tells 
the delight she feels in exhausting her treasures 
of devoted love on the fallen, because they need 
it most : he believed, that to present her hus- 



258 PERKIN WARBECK. 

band to her, under the very infliction of ig- 
nominy, would turn her affection to cold dis- 
dain he permitted her to go. Attended by 
some of the body guard and a gentleman usher, 
she hastened through the courts of the palace 
into the open square : there was assembled a 
crowd of common people, hushed to universal 
silence : at a distance from die centre some were 
talking aloud, and the name of " Perkin" was 
the burthen of their speech; but pity stilled 
those nearest to the spot, towards which, to the 
surprise and horror of all, she hastened. The 
crowd instinctively closed to bar her advance ; 
and, when forced to make way, in spite of the 
despotism of the times, the word " Shame" 
burst from the lips of many, especially the 
women. She was agitated by the obstacles, by 
the numerous uncourtly eyes turned on her; 
still she went on, and soon saw 

She understood not what a kind of wooden 
machine in which the lord of her heart sat. 
There had been a time when pride and royal 
majesty of soul had shed such grandeur over 
York, that, when exposed as a show, he had 



PERKIN WARBECK. 259 

excited reverence, not scoffing. Now he was 
evidently labouring under great physical suf- 
fering ; his brow was streaked with mortal pale- 
ness, his cheeks were colourless; his fair hair 
fell in disordered ringlets round his youthful 
but wan countenance ; he leaned his head against 
the side of the machine ; his eyes were half 
shut; it was not shame, but suffering, that 
weighed upon their lids, and diffused an air of 
languor and pain over his whole person. Ka- 
therine hastened towards him, she knelt on 
the unworthy earth at his side, she kissed 
his chained hands. " You are ill, my love; 
my ever dear Richard, what has happened ? 
for you are very ill." 

Rouzed by such music from the lethargy that 
oppressed him, yet still overcome, he replied, 
" Yes ; and I do believe that all will soon end, 
and that I am stricken to the death." 

She grew pale ; she called him cruel ; asking 
him how he could dream of leaving her, who 
was a part of him, alone in the desolate world. 
" Because," he answered with a faint smile, 
" the world is kind to all, save me. No taint, 



260 PERKIN WARBECK. 

dear love, attaches itself to your name ; no ill 
will mark your fate, when you are no longer 
linked to such a thing as I. God has spoken, 
and told me that this earth is no dwelling for 
one, who, from his cradle to this last shame, 
has been fortune's step-child, and her despised 
toy. How often have I been dragged to the 
utmost verge of life: I have felt indignation, 
anger, despair : now I am resigned ; I feel the 
hand of the Mighty One on me, and I bow to 
it. In very truth, I am subdued ; I sleep away 
the weary hours, and death will end them all." 
With every expression of tenderness, Ka- 
therine endeavoured to recall him to life and to 
hersel She spoke of another escape, which it 
would be her care to achieve, of the solitude, 
of the paradise of love they would enjoy to- 
gether. " My poor girl," he replied, " teach 
your young heart to seek these blessings apart 
from me : I were the very wretch Tudor stig- 
matizes me, could I live under a memory like 
this. Forget me, my White Rose ; paint with 
gaudier colours the sickly emblem of my for- 
tunes; forget, that, duped by some strange 



PERKIN WARBECK. 261 

forgery, you were wedded to Perkin War- 
beck." 

In spite of himself large drops gathered in 
his eyes, swelling the downcast lids, and then 
stealing down. Katherine kissed them from his 
cheek: a thousand times more noble, royal, 
godlike, she called him ; had not the best and 
worthiest suffered ignominious punishment; even 
our blessed Lord himself? His own acknow- 
ledgment alone could disgrace him; he must 
recal the false words wrung from his agony; 
this last vile act of his enemy must awaken each 
sovereign on his throne to indignation; each 
would see in him a mirror of what might befal 
themselves, if fallen. James, her royal Cousin, 
roused by her, should resent the stigma affixed 
to his kinsman." 

" For your own sake, sweet, do so ; my soul 
dying within me is alive again with indignation, 
to think "that your plighted wedded love is he, 
who is exposed to contumely ; but for that, me- 
thinks, I would call myself by that wretched 
name I dared pronounce, so that the annals of 
the House of York escaped this stain : yet even 



262 PEKKIN WARBECK. 

thus I seem more closely allied to them; for 
violent death, treachery, and ill have waited on 
each descendant of Mortimer ; my grandfather 
bore a paper crown in shame upon his kingly 
brow." 

He was interrupted by the officer, who un- 
closed the instrument of disgrace. Richard, 
weak and failing, was assisted to rise ; Katherine 
supported him as a young mother her feeble 
offspring; she twined her arms round him as 
his prop, and, in spite of misery, was enraptured 
once again to see, to hear, to touch him from 
whom she had been absent so long. " This is 
not well ; it must not be ; his Majesty will be 
much displeased," said the chief of the guard, 
witnessing the compassion her tender care in- 
spired, " You must return to the palace, Lady." 

" One little step," pleaded Katherine ; " if I 
should never see him more, how should I curse 
your cruelty ! I will not speak, as I half thought 
I would to these good people, to tell them that 
they may well honour him a Princess Joves : 
drag me not away yet one more good bye ! 



PERKIN WARBECK. 268 

farewell, noble York, Kate's only love ; we meet 
again ; this parting is but mockery." 

She wept on his bosom ; the sound of wailing 
arose in the crowd ; the Prince's eyes alone were 
dry ; he whispered comfort to her ; he promised 
to live, to baffle his foe again for her sake ; the 
words revived her, and she saw him depart with 
hope, with new joy kindled in her bosom. 

There had been another, the public gaze, till 
Katherine came to draw all eyes to a newer 
wonder. An emaciated, pale woman, in a garb 
of penury, who knelt, telling her beads beside 
York's prison ; her face was hid ; but her hands 
were thin and white to ghastliness ; during the 
last scene she had sobbed to agony, and now as 
the place cleared, went her way silently, with 
slow, feeble steps. Many marked her with sur- 
prize and curiosity ; few knew that she was the 
Jane Shore, whose broken heart whispered 
misery, as she thought that she beheld King 
Edward's guilt, in which she had shared, visited 
on his son. This cruel lesson of religion was a 
canker in her heart, and most true it was, as 
far as regarded her royal lover, that his light 



264 PERKIN WARBECK. 

loves, and careless playing with sacred ties, had 
caused the blot of base birth to be affixed to his 
legitimate offspring, and so strewed the sad way 
that led them to untimely death. 

Henry, cruel as he was, had not the courage 
to encounter his insulted prisoner on her return. 
Kdtherine's feelings were wrought too high for 
any display of passion ; her anxiety was spent 
on how she could sooth York's wounded feel- 
ings, and restore his health ; it were vain to ask, 
she feared ; yet, if the King would permit her 
to attend on him, under whatever restrictions, 
they should be obeyed; and this while poor 
Elizabeth besought her pardon with tears, for 
being the wife of her insolent adversary. She, a 
proud Plantagenet, was more sorely stung than 
the White Rose, by the indignity offered to her 
house; and she intreated her not to love her 
brother less because of this foul disgrace. " So 
doing," said the quick-sighted Queen, " you 
fulfil his dearest wish. While you are Richard's 
loving wife, he, even he, the fallen and humi- 
liated, is an object of envy to his Majesty, who 



PERKIN WARBECK. 265 

sought, by making you witness his ignominy, to 
detach you from him." 

" How strange a mistake," replied Katherine, 
" for one so sage as the King : the lower my sweet 
Richard falls, the more need he surely has of me. 
But that love, such as ours, knits us too indivisibly 
to admit a reciprocity of benefit, I should say 
that it is to make me rich indeed, to enable me 
to bestow, to lavish good on my Lord ; but we 
are one, and I but give to myself, and myself 
receive, if my weakness is of any strength to 
him. Dear sister mine, your liege, wise as he 
may be, is a tyro in our woman's lore in the 
mysteries of devoted love ; he never felt one in- 
spiration of the mighty sprite." 

This was not quite true. For some few days 
Henry had been so inspired ; but love, an exotic 
in his heart, degenerated from being a fair, fra- 
grant flower, into a wild, poisonous weed. Love, 
whose essence is the excess of sympathy, and 
consequently of self-abandonment and gene- 
rosity, when it alights on an unworthy soil, 
appears there at first in all its native bloom, a 
very wonder even to the heart in which it has 

VOL. in. N 



266 PERKIN WARBECK. 

taken root. The cold, selfish, narrow-hearted 
Richmond was lulled to some slight forgetfulness 
of self, when first he was fascinated by Katherine, 
and he decked himself with ill-assorted virtues 
to merit her approbation. This lasted but a 
brief interval; the uncongenial clime in which the 
new plant grew, impregnated it with its own 
poison. Envy, arrogance, base desire to crush 
the fallen, were his natural propensities; and, 
when love refused to minister to these, it 
changed to something like hate in his bosom ; 
it excited his desire to have power over her, if 
not for her good, then for her bane. 

The Duke of York was imprisoned in the 
Tower. No further measures were apparently 
in action against him. Katherine no longer 
hoped any thing from her foe; and day and 
night there lay beneath her eye-lids the Image 
of Richard, wasting and dying in captivity. 
Something must be done, some aid afforded 
him ; she was anxious also to learn the details 
of his flight, and how again he fell into the 
hands of his foe. Monina, who in a thousand 
disguises had been used to penetrate every where, 



PERKIN WARBECK. 267 

was seen no more. Still public report informed 
her of many things. 

It was known, that Sir Robert Clifford, the 
old spy and traitor of the White Rose, had 
become aware of the measures taken by York's 
adherents to insure his escape from England. 
He had followed him down the river, and by a 
knowledge of the signs and countersigns of the 
party, decoyed him into a boat that was to con- 
vey his victim back to his prison-house. The 
deceit was discovered, and a mortal struggle 
ensued on board the tiny bark ; it sunk, and 
many perished, Clifford among the rest. On 
the morrow his body was found upon the beach, 
stiff and stark; a gaping wound in his neck 
showed that the waters alone had not been his 
foe ; in his clenched hand he grasped a mass of 
golden hairs, severed by some sharp implement 
from the head to which they grew : as if nought 
else could liberate his enemy from his hold. 
There he lay, bold Robin Clifford, the daunt- 
less, wily boy, hunted through life by his own 
fell passions, envy, cupidity, and libertinism; 
they had tracked him to this death ; his false- 
N 2 



268 PERKIN WARBECK. 

hoods were now mute, his deceptions passed 
away ; he could never more win by his smiles, 
or stab by his lying words ; death alone had a 
share in him, death and the cold sands beneath 
which he was interred, leaving a name, the 
mark of scorn, the symbol of treachery. 

They had struggled beneath the strangling 
waves, llichard and his adversary. The Prince 
was wounded in the scuffle, and became enfee- 
bled almost to insensibility before he could sever 
from his enemy's grasp the fair locks he clutched 
he swam away, as well as he might, and, witli 
the instinct of self-preservation, made for the 
shore he forgot, that England was a wide pri- 
son he only strove to master the fate which 
beat him to the ground. He reached the 
sands he sought the covert of some near 
underwood, and threw himself upon the earth 
in blind thankfulness; exhausted, almost inani- 
mate, he lay there, given up only to the sense 
of repose, and safety from death, which visited 
his failing heart with a strange sense of plea- 
sure. 

The following morning was far advanced, be- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 269 

fore he could rouse himself from this lethargy, 
He looked upon the waters; but the Adalid was 
no more to be seen he was quite alone ; he 
needed succour; and none was afforded him. 
Well he knew that every field, lane, dingle and 
copse swarmed with enemies, and he shuddered 
at the likelihood that unarmed, and weak as 
he was, he should fall into their hands. He de- 
sired to reach London again as his sole refuge ; 
and he journeyed, as he hoped, towards it, all 
unknowing of the route. No way-worn traveller 
in savage lands, pursued by barbarous enemies, 
ever suffered more than the offspring of Edward 
the Fourth amidst the alienated fields of his 
paternal kingdom. Cold and rain succeeded to 
the pleasant summer weather : during night he 
lay exposed to the tempests during day he 
toiled on, his limbs benumbed, his heart wasted 
by hunger and fatigue ; yet never, at the head of 
the Scottish chivalry, never in Burgundy or in 
England, did he feel more resolute not to sub- 
mit, but, baffling fortune and his enemy's power, 
to save himself in spite of fate. He had 
wandered far inland, and knew not where he 



270 PERKIN WARBECK. 

was he had indeed passed beyond London, 
and got up as high as Barnes. It was the fourth 
day from that of his escape he had tasted lit- 
tle food, and no strength remained in him, 
except that which gave energy to his purpose. 
He found himself on a wide, heathy common, 
studded with trees, or desolately open the 
rajny day closed, and a bleak east wind swept 
over the plain, and curled the leaden coloured 
waters of the river his love of life, his de- 
termination not to yield, quailed before the 
physical miseries of his - lot ; for some few 
moments, he thought that he would lie down 
and die. 

At this time another human figure appeared 
upon the scene. A Benedictine lay-brother, 
who in the freedom of solitude, in defiance of 
wind and rain, trolled a ditty, fitter for a ruf- 
fling swaggerer's bonnet, than a monk's cowl. 
He started not a little, on perceiving our wan- 
derer leaning against the scathed trunk of a 
solitary tree ; nor less did he wonder when he 
recognised the fallen Prince. It was Heron 
himself, the magnanimous mercer, who having 



PERKIN WARBECK. 271 

effected his escape with a well-hoarded purse, 
contrived to introduce himself into the house of 
Bethlem, at Shene, which was called the Priory. 
He was a little frightened to perceive his ancient 
leader; but pity succeeded to fear; and with 
many fair words and persuasions he induced 
him to permit himself to be conducted to the 
Priory. There, since he believed himself to be 
dying, he might receive the last sacraments 
there perhaps, for some few minutes, he might 
again behold his Katherine. 

Thus was the fugitive again led within the 
pale of his enemy's power. The Prior, a man 
esteemed for holiness, did not delay to make his 
sovereign acquainted with the capture of his 
rival. His awe of Katharine having vanished, 
Henry was left at liberty to follow the ungene- 
rous dictates of his groveling spirit. Many a 
courtier, true man or false, counselled the death 
of the aspiring youth ; and they praised their 
master's magnanimity, when he rejected this ad- 
vice, and in lieu exposed him, whom he knew to 
be the descendant of a line of kings, to beggarly 



272 'PERKIN WARBECK. 

disgrace. Thus worn and weak, the ill-fated son 
of York was made a public spectacle of infamy. 
But Henry went a step too far; and, when he 
thrust the Scottish Princess forward on the 
scene, he turned defeat to triumph. 

He was not to die but rather to pine out a 
miserable existence or had the sage monarch 
any other scheme? The high-spirited Prince 
was to be cooped up within the Tower there, 
where the Earl of Warwick wasted his wretched 
I He. Did he imagine that the resolved and ardent 
soul of Richard would, on its revival, commu- 
nicate a part of its energy to the son of Clarence, 
and that ere long they would be enveloped in 
one ruin ? Some words had transpired that 
appeared to reveal such an intention ; and his 
order to the Lieutenant of the Tower, that, with- 
out permitting, he should connive at any 
covert intercourse between the two his recom- 
mendation of a noted spy and hireling to a high 
trust, and the order this fellow had to bring each 
day intelligence to the palace from the prison 
spoke loudly of some design ; for Henry never 



PERKIN WAKBECK. 273 

did aught in vain. It was in circulation also 
among the lower officers in the fortress, that an 
attempt to escape was expected on the part 
of the prisoners, and that rich reward would 
attend its discovery. 



274 



CHAPTER XVIII. 



And bare, at once, Captivity displayed, 

Stands scoffing through the never-opened gate ; 

Which nothing through its bars admits, save day 

And tasteless food. 

BYBON. 



THE Lady Katherine, no longer trusting the 
good intentions of the insolent tyrant, was eager 
to communicate with her royal cousin of Scot- 
land, to urge him to save from death or disgrace, 
if not to effect the liberation, of him to whom 
he had given her hand. The difficulty of find- 
ing a. messenger was great. The Queen, all 
amiable and sorrowing as she was, shrunk from 
any act, which, if discovered, would enrage the 
King. Where did Monina tarry while her 



PERKIN WARBECK. 275 

friend was in this strait ? Of all his sometime 
associates was there not one who would risk all 
to retard the last steps of fate. Since York's 
escape she had been so vigilantly guarded, that a 
thousand schemes she had formed for her ovvji 
evasion proved abortive at their very outset. 

Help was at length afforded her unexpectedly, 
when most despairing. Edmund Plantagenet 
stood before her : changed indeed from what he 
had been ; she had not seen him since the siege 
of Exeter, where he was wounded; but slight 
was his bodily hurt in comparison to the death- 
blow his mind received. 

Plantagenet was one of those concentrated 
characters, whose very outward show of softness 
and gentleness serves the more to force the tex- 
ture of their souls to receive one indelible im- 
pression. He had passed a boyhood of visions, 
given up to mighty aspirations and engrossing 
reverie. His thoughts were stirring as the acts 
of others ; his forest-school had so tutored him, 
that he could live in bodily repose, while his mind 
ruminated : he could be quickened to hope and 
fear, to lofty ambition, to generosky, and devoted 



276 PERKIN WARBECK. 

courage, feeling in his heart the keenest im- 
pulses while around him were the mute trees 
of the wild wood and pathless glades. He 
could be satisfied with such dreamy illusions ; so 
that action with him was never the result of 
physical restlessness, nor of youthful emulation, 
nor of that stirring spirit of life which forces us 
to abhor repose. It flowed from an imperious 
sense of duty ; it welled up from the very sources 
of his soul. Other men perform the various 
parts allotted to them, and yet are something 
else the while; as is the actor, even while he 
struts in the garb of royalty: but Edmund 
yielded himself wholly up, and was the mere 
creature of the thought within. 

To be great and good great from the good he 
should effect, was his boyhood's aspiration. It is 
probable that, if he had not been subjected to 
extraneous influence, he would have devoted 
himself to religion, and become a saint or 
martyr; for his all, his understanding, heart, 
and person, would have been given up to the 
holy cause he espoused. His being led him 
to King Richard's tent, the night before the 



PERKIN WARBECK. 277 

battle of Bosworth Field, gave a new and in- 
extinguishable law to his life. Unknown duties 
were imposed. The first and dearest was, to 
redeem his father's soul from the guilt of mur- 
derous ambition, by elevating his injured nephew 
to his original greatness. He devoted himself 
to his cousin. Soon he learned to love Richard 
as the work of his own hands. He had reared 
his tender infancy; he had been his tutor in 
martial exercises, teaching him to curb the fiery 
steed, to wield the lance, and, more than all, to 
meet danger in the field fearlessly ; to be honour- 
able, brave and kind. He had led him to war, 
and shielded him with his own body from the 
cruel Moor. If ever they were divided, his 
thoughts dwelt only the more carefully with him. 
Last, he had brought him from glorious combats 
in Spain, to conquer his ancestral kingdom, and 
set him up the rival of a powerful king the 
mark of his vengeance. 

It was all over. Edmund possessed no innate 
strength to rise from the blow ; he was a mari- 
ner on the wide ocean, without compass or 
rudder. The universe had one central point for 



278 PERKIN WARBECK. 

him; that was destroyed, and a total blank 
remained. York's first surrender visited him as 
a death stroke; he struggled against it. En- 
feebled by his wound, more by despair, he 
passed over to Ireland ; there he expected to find 
friends of the White Rose; he found only 
enemies of Duke Perkin : men eager to excul- 
pate themselves, from the charges of ill faith or 
ingratitude, gladly adopted a phraseology, or a 
belief, that reduced to dust the golden glories of 
poor Edmund's idol. Perkin Warbeck ! Oh thou 
flower of York ! thou nursling of love, though 
child of calamity, is even thy bright name so 
to be tainted ? Not by those immediately ar- 
rayed by self-interest against thee ; but by the 
vulgar crew, ever eager to crush the fallen. 
There was no hope in Ireland. Keating, the 
Prio~ of Kilmainham, was dead. The Earl of 
Desmond was reconciled to the English Govern- 
ment. Lord Barry had fled to Spain. The 
Citizens of Cork were busy redeeming, by 
eager servility, their Mayor's disloyalty. 

Overcome by these sad changes, a malignant 
fever seized on Edmund : in addition to every 



PERKIN WARBECK. 279 

other disappointment, he had the consciousness 
that his aid was necessary to his cousin ; that 
his absence was probably misinterpreted by his 
friends as cowardly dereliction. York was call- 
ing on him in vain. Monina perhaps suspect- 
ed his truth. Next to the sun of his life, the 
noble Richard, Monina lay nearest his heart. 
It was a mixture of many feelings ; and even 
love, subdued by hopelessness, quickened them 
to greater intensity. As soon as he could rise 
from his couch, he directed his course to Eng- 
land. He arrived in London on the day of the 
Duke of York's worst disgrace. It was re- 
ported to him as the gossip of the town : at 
the fatal word a mortal change seized upon his 
frame : his limbs were as if struck by palsy ; 
his cheeks fell in ; his hair grew white. On his 
arrival he had taken up his abode in a monastery 
in the habit of a poor pilgrim : the sage monks 
who beheld his state, possessed no leech-craft to 
administer his cure : he lay with beating pulses 
and open eyes, while the work of the grave 
appeared already in operation against him : he 
wasted into a fleshless skeleton. And then 



280 PERKIN WARBECK. 

another secret change came over him ; he con- 
quered death, and crawled forth, the ghost of 
what he was, into the hopeless world. 

He contrived to gain admission to the Princess. 
She did not recognize him, such was the pale 
disguise disease had put upon him. His voice, 
hollow as from a tomb, was altered; his dark, 
melancholy eyes, occupying too large a portion 
of his face, gleamed from under his streaked and 
wan brow. Yet his was a visit of comfort, for 
he could do her mission to Scotland, and invite 
the forgetful James to succour his friend anil kins- 
man. Edmund listened eagerly to this pro- 
posal : a draught of soothing balm descended 
into his frame, with the thought that yet all was 
not lost. His physical energy almost returned : 
he hurried to depart " How will you traverse 
this wide kingdom?" asked the lady. "-Cannot 
the Adalid come as before, to aid and speed you 
on your way ? " 

" The Adalid is sailing on the far ocean sea," 
replied Plantagenet; " we are all as dead, in the 
eyes of De Faro and our Monina." 
* Faithless girl ! " 



PERKIN WARBECK. 281 

With a trace of his ancient warmth and 
sweetness, Edmund entered upon the gentle 
maiden's exculpation. He related that a poor 
fellow lay on the bed next his in the convent 
hospital, whom he recognised to be an Irishman, 
who had escaped from Waterford, and sailed 
with them in the Adalid to Cornwall. From 
him he heard the tale of what had befallen De 
Faro and his child. He heard how the mariner 
had long haunted the English coast waiting for 
an opportunity to carry off the Prince; of the 
fatal night, when snatching his daughter from the 
watery peril, he saw Richard, as he believed, 
perish in the waves. What more had the 
Moorish mariner and his daughter to do with 
this miserable, guilty island? He called his 
men together; he told them his resolve finally 
to quit the eastern world for the golden islands 
of the west, inviting those who were averse to 
the voyage to go on shore at once, before the fair 
wind that was rising, should hurry them into the 
open sea. The poor Irishman alone desired to 
land : before he went he saw the Spanish damsel ; 
he described her as calm and mild, though there 



282 PERKIN WARBECK. 

was something unearthly in her gleaming eyes 
and in the solemn tone of her voice. " If," she 
said, " you meet any of our friends, any who 
ask for De Faro and his daughter, if you see 
Lady Brampton, Lord Barry, or Sir Edmund 
Plantagenet, tell them that Monina lives, that 
she tarries with her father, and tasks herself to 
be his comfort and support. We seek the 
Western Indies ; well may it betide us that we 
never reach the unknown strand ; or we may be 
cast away in an uninhabited solitude, where my 
care and companionship may stead my dear 
father much ; or I may teach the sacred truths 
of our religion to the wild Indians, and speak 
the dear name of Christ to the unbaptized of 
those wilds ; or soften, as best I may, the cruel 
Spaniard, and save the devoted people from 
their barbarity. Tell them, whichever way I 
look, I perceive a thousand duties to which our 
great Taskmaster calls me, and these I live to 
fulfil, if so my feeble body will permit ; tell 
them that my only hope is death ; that, and that 
by my obedience to the Almighty will, I may 



PERKIN WARBECK. 283 

partly merit to join in Paradise the earthly 
angel who now survives there." 

Tears choked further speech ; she imprinted 
her words by a gift of gold. The boat which 
had been hailed, came alongside. The man on 
board, the sails of the Adalid swelled proudly 
in the gale ; the little caravel ran lightly along 
on the top of the roughening waters. In less 
than two hours she was out of sight, speeding 
swiftly over the sea towards the wild western 
ocean. 

Plantagenet departed ; and the Princess was 
yet more cheered when she found that no further 
injury was meditated against her lord. Impri- 
sonment in the Tower was his sole punishment. 
Her pure, gentle mind could not divine the 
full extent of King Henry's villainy, nor guess 
how he undermined the edifice he claimed praise 
for not levelling with the ground. 

Nor could her resigned, patient, feminine 
spirit conceive the cruel, biting impatience of 
his lot that York endured. He had yielded at 
first to the overwhelming sense of disgrace, and 
felt that last, worst emotion of the injured, 



284 PERKIN WARBECK. 

which answers the internal question. " What 
have I done so to be visited?" in the poet's 
words, 

-" I cannot charge 



My memory with much save sorrow but 
I have been so beyond the common lot 
Chastened and visited, I needs must think 
That I was wicked." 

But soon his eager, eagle spirit spurned the tame 
debasing thought : he resolved again to struggle, 
and at last to conquer ; the fire burned brighter 
for its short smouldering ; almost with a light 
heart he laughed, as he resolved again to en- 
deavour. 

His prison life was more than irksome ; it was 
unendurable. No change, which is the soul of 
enjoyment, varied it. No sympathy, the parent 
of content, came anear. In his young days he 
had trod on the verge of life's wave, watching 
it recede, and fancying that it would discover 
glittering treasures as it retreated into the ocean 
of eternity : now the tide ebbed sullenly ; the 
barren sands grew dark; and the expanse before 
afforded no hope what was to be done ? 



PERKIN WARBECK. 285 

He was in the Tower, whence he had twice 
escaped ; where the Earl of Warwick was im- 
mured, pining in fruitless vegetation, rather than 
living. Should he do as he had done, and be- 
come a cypher, a forgotten prisoner, a mere 
thing to wake and sleep, and be as nothing ? 
The very dog that guards a cottage-door from 
nightly harm, had more dignity and purpose in 
his life, than this victim of ambition. The bird 
that alighted on the sill of his iron-barred case- 
ment, and carried off a crumb for her nestlings, 
was an emblem of utility and freedom in com- 
parison, which Warwick, cut off from all, must 
weep to mark. How different was Richard's 
fate ; he had dear friends ready to risk all for 
him, whose life's sacrifice he could repay only 
by being true to himself: he had a wife, wedded 
to him in youth's early flower, whose happiness 
was unalterably linked to his. He had courage, 
fortitude, energy ; he would not cast these gifts 
away, a thankless boon; he valued, them at their 
price : if death crowned his efforts, it were well ; 
he was a mere toy in the hands of God, and he 
submitted ; but, as a man, he was ready to cope 



286 PERKIN WAKBECK. 

with men, and though defeated never to be 
vanquished. 

Not a month after his removal to the Tower 
he had observed his facilities, marked his instru- 
ments, and resolved to enter on his schemes : 
they were quickened by other circumstances. 

Warwick heard of his cousin's arrival ; and 
he believed this to be the signal of his own de- 
liverance. His first chief desire was to have 
communication with him. Among his attendants 
there was one to whom he could apply ; he was 
a lank, tall fellow, with little understanding and 
but one idea gratitude to the Duke of Cla- 
rence. This man, called Roger, and nicknamed 
Long Roger, his length being his chief distinc- 
tion, had been very poor, and burthened besides 
with several infant children : accidents and a 
bad season brought them to the verge of starva- 
tiofi, when a chance threw him in the way of the 
Duke of Clarence, who got him made servitor 
in the Tower. When this unfortunate Prince 
was imprisoned within its fatal walls, Long 
Roger underwent a thousand perils to wait on 
him by stealth, and to do what service he might.' 



PERKIN WARBECK. 287 

Long Roger had a prodigious appetite, and his 
chief delight was to smuggle dainties, cooked by 
his Madge, into the prison chamber of the 
Duke. The manner of Clarence's death, which 
Roger affirmed to accord with the popular tra- 
dition, alone consoled the faithful sympathizing 
fellow. Now he had turned the key for thirteen 
years on the Duke's hapless son : in spite of his 
watchful care and proffered cates, he had seen 
the poor youth dwindle to a skeleton, when 
suddenly the progress of delay was checked by 
Our Lady: it was a miracle to see Lord Edward 
grow fat and comely to look upon, changing his 
woe-begone looks into gracious smiles : by the 
Mass, there was witchcraft in it ! Warwick 
often thanked Long Roger, and told him what 
he would do when restored to freedom and 
rank ; which will never be, Roger said, except 
among the saints in Paradise ; unless it pleased 
God to remove his Majesty, when my Lady the 
Queen should fully know how fervently her 
cousin prayed for her ; and, forsooth, with sweet 
Prince Arthur, his royal mother would be all 
powerful. Long Roger's visions went not be- 



288 PER KIN WARBECX. 

yond. He never imagined the possibility of 
effecting the Earl's escape; his limited under- 
standing suggested no relief, save a bottle of 
Canary, or bunches of White Roses in June, 
which in fact was Dame Madge's feminine idea; 
and often hod the simple flowers soothed War- 
wick's care. To this man the poor prisoner 
applied, to enable him to see and converse with 
the newly arrived Richard : two are better than 
one to a ll-ast ; and, the next time Roger medi- 
tated a dainty supper for his lord, he resolved 
to endeavour that York should partake it with 
him as a guest. 

In his own guileless way, the simple-hearted 
man began to practise on and bribe one of his 
fellows, without whom it had been difficult to 
accomplish his desire. Abel Blewit had lately 
been appointed to his service : he was nearly a 
dwarf, with bushy eyebrows and red hair ; there 
was something of ill omen in his physiognomy, 
but as the tall yeoman looked over the head of 
his comrade, his courage rose : " The whipper- 
snapper could not rebuff me," he thought, as he 
drew himself up to his full height, and began to 



PERKIN WARBECK. 289 

propound the mighty deed of conducting Perkin 
by mistake to the Lord Edward's chamber, on 
his return from vespers. Roger paused sud- 
denly; for, in spite of his stature, he was appalled 
by the glance Blewet shot up from under his 
penthouses of brows: still he gave a willing 
assent, and even took upon himself the chief 
risk of the undertaking. 

The following evening, while Richard was 
yet pondering how to commence his machina- 
tions, undecided, though resolved; and while 
he made up his mind not to betray his 
thoughts to the sinister-looking being before 
him, he was surprised to find that he was led 
through an unaccustomed gallery; and still 
more, on entering the chamber into which he 
was introduced, to recognise it as that where he 
had unexpectedly found refuge during his last 
visit to the Tower, and to perceive that War- 
wick himself was there expecting him. 

Was this the thin, wasted being he had seen 
three years before ? Had Warwick been then 
set free to hunt upon the hills, he had not re- 
gained more flesh and bloom than now that 

VOL. in. o 



290 PERKIN WARBECK. 

hope liad been his only medicine. His cousin 
York had inspired him with marvellous confi- 
dence ; his last entrance into the formidable 
Tower, and his speedy exit, had appeared a 
miracle to the poor Earl, to whom these high 
walls and sad chambers formed a world, from 
which, as from the larger one, death only pro- 
mised egress. He had pined and wasted in his 
appetite to be free, to be without those gates, 
beyotad that fosse and giant battlements that 
girded him in: these portentous, insuperable 
obstacles were mere cobweb chains to Richard. 
He had come in, he had departed, and all as 
easily, so Warwick thought, as the unregarded 
fly, that had perhaps flown from Westminster, 
from Elizabeth's chamber, to light upon his cheek. 
In all the subsequent tales of York's checks and 
overthrow, he smiled at the idea that one bom 
to Victory could be thus overcome. He laughed 
at the chahw Henry had thrown over him ; and 
his transfer to the Tower elated him with a firm 
belief that liberty waS at hand. Dwelling on 
these thoughts Warwick ceased to be the dead 
alive ; he was cheerful, erect, elastic in his gait, 



PERKIN WARBECK. 291 

his complexion glowed with health, while sick- 
ness still lingered on the cheek of the younger 
Plantagenet, and a more subdued spirit dwelt 
in his heart. 

Long Roger beheld the cousins embrace : he 
heard the Earl call him, named Perkin, his liege, 
and most dear kinsman : from that moment the 
opprobrious name was banished from Roger's 
lips : he was convinced of York's truth, and the 
Lord Edward's friend became an object of 
reverence and of love. 






292 



CHAPTER XIX. 



Gentle Cousin, 

If you be seen, you perish instantly. 
For breaking prison. 

No, no, Cousin, 

I will no more be hidden, nor put off 
This great adventure to a second trial. 

TWO NOBLE KIN8MBN. 



QUICK on the first greeting followed War- 
wick's question. "And, noble Cousin, what 
have you projected? when shall we escape?" 

Richard's being in durance with him, seemed 
sufficient pledge, that without delay they should 
both be free. While York, wearied by oppo- 
sition to his mighty foe, just foiled in his endea- 
vours to preserve his freedom, even when he had 
attained it, saw giant obstacles in his path; and, 



PERKIN WARBECK, 293. 

although resolved to endeavour all, was fully 
conscious of the fatal end that must wait upon 
his too probable failure. His reply was dicta- 
ted by these feelings ; he was averse to drag one 
so inexperienced, and so unhappy, into the pit 
he believed that he was digging for himsel 
He besought the Earl well to weigh the value 
he set upon life ; to place the fatal scaffold in 
prospect ; to teach himself to know what death 
was, and to be ready to meet it, before he planned 
escape from the wily Tudor. Warwick listened 
with impatient wonder ; but when Richard con- 
cluded with affirming, thathe himself, in sober sad- 
ness, preferred hazarding all to the remaining in 
prison, and that he would be free, the Earl's coun- 
tenance again grew light and gladsome. " But 
when, Coz, when?" was still his eager question. 
Thus they had changed characters. War- 
wick, so many years secluded from the world, 
was in total ignorance of its ways. Had the 
Tower-gates been opened to himf he had trem- 
bled to walk forth alone; but restraint had made 
him feminine; and with his cousin he would 
have rushed upon an army of spears, in sure 



294 PERKIN WARBECK. 

belief that some unseen aegis would protect him. 
His position rendered him timid, indolent, and 
dependent; but he relied on Richard, as a 
woman on her lover. York beheld all things in 
their clear, true light; he was aware of every 
difficulty ; of the means he possessed for over- 
coming them, and of the hazards he ran in using 
these means. A sentiment, born of the highest 
generosity, made him hesitate before he con- 
certed any plan with Warwick. It was not alone 
that he was averse to risking another life ; but 
he felt that his cause would receive advantage 
from this link with an undoubted Plantagenet; 
nay, that, in the prison itself, the attachment and 
respect felt towards the son of Clarence, by 
some of the very men he meant to use, would 
serve him. That he should reap benefit from 
exposing the ill-fated Prince to untried dangers, 
revolted his high and independent nature. War- 
wick had recourse to many an entreaty and 
persuasion, ere he brought Richard to consent 
that their fortunes should be joined, and that, 
last of the White Rose, they would rise or fall 
together. Still York was obliged to check his 



PERKJN WARBECK. 

cousin's impatience, and to show that they must 
slowly work out the end they had in view. 

To gratify the Earl's greedy curiosity, York 
related his adventures ; they afforded him an in- 
exhaustible fund of surprise and delight. He 
sighed over his tale of wedded happiness ; and 
half wondered that angelic woman, seated high 
on the throne of loveliness and love, should deign 
to devote herself for man. A pang, not of envy, 
but of regret, on comparing their fates, shot 
across him; soon the usual current of feeling 
returned ; and, when he heard that his idolized, 
lost Elizabeth was the friend and companion of 
die devoted wife of York, his affection for 
Richard was increased. Night was far advanced 
before they separated, and then only in certain 
expectation of meeting again. 

York's hopes grew brighter, and he indulged 
in visions of the future, which lately had been 
so blank. He verily believed that he might 
escape, though still he doubted whether he 
should. He remembered the fondness of the 
Duchess of Burgundy for her brother Clarence, 
and how she had deplored the hard destiny of 



296 PERKIN WAUBECK. 

his offspring; he would present that son, liberated 
by him, to her. His junction with the Prince 
must revive the old Yorkists in his favour ; this 
worst blast of fortune might be the gale to speed 
him to the harbour of his hopes. The royal 
cousins met again and again ; nor was it long 
before their own desires, and Henry's craft, 
began to weave that fatal web which entangled 
them even in the very mode the hard-hearted 
king devised. 

Summer was gone: quicker than he was 
wont, the sun withdrew his embattled array of 
light and heat; and cold and tempest, erewhile 
driven to mountain fastnesses, or to their own 
frozen kingdoms in the north, took courage and 
force, and broke with wild fury upon the defence- 
less world : the bleak winds were their coursers ; 
savagely they yelled and howled over the land 
they desolated. First, the growth of flowers 
was their prey ; the fruits, and then the verdure 
of the earth, while the sun, each day retreat- 
ing, afforded further scope to their inroads. York 
resolved not to pass another winter in prison. 
He had quickly perceived that his purpose could 



PERKIN WARBECK. 297 

only be effected by corrupting their guards, and 
then all would depend upon the fidelity of these 
men, His first attempts were followed by an 
almost too easy success: good-hearted, dull- 
headed, Long Roger heard with unreplying cre- 
dulity the assertions of Warwick, that Richard 
must succeed in all he undertook, and readily 
promised his aid. Abel Blewet, in spite of his 
dogged, sinister aspect, yielded at once to the 
seduction of a promised bribe. Two others, by 
his advice, were associated as necessary to their 
success. Strangeways, a ruffling, drunken fellow, 
who had been thrice dismissed, but whose pretty 
wife each time procured his re- appointment ; 
and Astwood, a saving miser, who lent money to 
his fellow-servitors on usury. With these in- 
struments the Cousins went to work : Warwick 
in full belief of success : York, perceiving treason 
and discovery close to them, but ready to defy 
these bloodhounds to their worst. 

" And now, Coz," said Warwick, " in very 

truth there needs no further delay. Methinks 

were the drawbridge down, you would mistrust 

some gin, and wait to throw an arch of your- 

o 5 



298 PERKIN WARBECK. 

own across the moat. Sooth, my Lord, I am 
a weary of your sloth." 

There was a caressing sweetness in Warwick's 
voice and manner ; an ignorant, indolent, con- 
fiding enthusiasm, so unlike quick-witted Clif- 
ford, or any of Duke Richard's former friends, 
that he felt a new emotion towards him hitherto 
he had been the protected, served, and waited on, 
of his associates, now he played the protector 
and the guardian. 

" My gentle Cousin," he replied, " even at 
you trust, so you shall find me wait but a little, 
and all will be past. Yet I grieve to say, where 
you see escape, I perceive an ambushment of 
death; and, though ready to face the grim skele- 
ton, we must arm ourselves against him. I wish 
I could show you even as I see, the dangers that 
environ us perhaps you would shrink ; and it is 
yet time. What do you do ? Not only plan 
escape, but ally yourself, and give the sanction 
of your untarnished name, to one whom Tudor 
brands as an impostor, and abhors as a rival. His 
vengeance will i'all heavily for this deed, if he 
readi you. While a few years, like the many 



PERKIN WARBECK. 299 

already gone by, may lead him to his grave, and 
you to liberty. I have too often met danger to 
be frightened by him: and I endure worse than 
death, each day I pass of youth, apart my sweet 
White Rose. You have no lady-love to beckon 
you across the path of peril. Bethink you 
well, my ever dear Lord, will you not regret 
this prison, when the cruel axe glitters before 
your eyes ? " 

" Do you refuse then to take me with you ? " 
said Warwick, mournfully. 

" Be the choice yours; to go with me is 
fraught with danger to stay " 

" Hush, Cousin ! " cried the Earl, eagerly, 
" speak not the ill-omened word. Stay, to 
endure days and nights of guarded doors; 
to eat viands served up poisoned by the jailor's 
touch; to see the sky but through those iron 
bars ; alas ! in my dreams, when heaven and it 
stars are before me, they are crossed and paled 
by those accursed lines. Give me but an hour to 
tread earth a free man or, mark, Cousin ; 
sometimes I win good Roger to lead me to the 
roof of the White Tower; it is high, and over- 
hangs the deep, dangerous river The day you 



300 PERKIN WARBECK. 

quit my side, I seek that tower, I leap from its 
height, and the cold waters shall drink up my 
being, rather than I endure another hour my 
prison-life." 

" My dear, dear Cousin," said York, " it is 
written by the Fates, and I yield our fortunes 
shall be one. A few days now brings the hour; 
it will move along the dial: it will become a por- 
tion of past time what it will leave us, is in the 
hands of God." 

That hour came full soon it came the even- 
ing hour which preceded their escape. Long 
Roger served supper to the kinsmen, the last 
they were to partake within the fated walls. 
The poor fellow heaved a bitter sigh, as lie 
waited by his lord's chair. " Thou art 
downcast, good Roger," said the Earl, " pledge 
me, my man, in this ruby wine of Burgundy 
think of to-morrow, not of to-night to-morrow 
the deed will be done." 

Roger quaffed the profiered bowl he set it 
down with another sigh, almost a ^roan, adding, 
" Better drown reason than life in the vat ! " 
Then recollecting to what he alluded, and before 



PERKIN WARBECK. 301 

whom, he blushed scarlet to his very ears, and 
like a bashful man he made it worse by going 
on blunderingly, " I was never handy at these 
sort of things ; it is for all the world like turn- 
ing out of a warm bed on a cold snowy morning, 
only to think of them and when they are 
about, by the Cross, I thought no hole far 
enough or dark enough, when my Lord your 
father" 

" Roger ! " exclaimed Warwick. 

The wine had not decreased the man's terror, 
but it had opened his mouth, and taken away 
his discretion ; he continued : " It was an awful 
night. We all knew what was going to be 
done. I am sure, as Thomas Paulet said, we 
heard our very hearts beat. Then there was 
grim-faced Hobler, who at the Judgment might 
be taken for the born twin of Master Abel, only 
he was taller by a span even he looked uglier, 
nor spoke above his breath 'Is he at his 
prayers ? ' asked he, and Sir Brakenbury was as 
white as the earth itself it was the begin- 
ning of Lent; and the snow lay three feet deep 
ou it." 



302 PEBKIN WARBECK. 

By no uncommon law of our nature, the dread 
design of the present night awoke keen recollec- 
tion in the usually drowsy mind of this man. At 
first, with thrilling horror, Warwick interrupted 
him, but now the very terrors of the theme he 
chose, assumed an awful charm he was fasci- 
nated to listen, while his knees knocked toge- 
ther Richard felt also the magic of such 
perilous excitement 

" Oh, Lord Edward," continued Roger, 
" these walls have seen fiendly sights the 
blood of many a Plantagenet, York or Lan- 
caster, is on its pavement. Was it not in this 
room that the pious King, Saint Henry, as Fa- 
ther Piers calls him you will not sleep another 
night in it, so there is no harm now, telling you 
that his poor ghost lias been seen on the battle- 
ments coming from this very chamber, where he 
was murthered." 

The night wind rushed round the massy walls, 
the autumnal wind, fierce and howling York 
started up, " No more of this unreason, while 
we need all our strength, and God's grace to 
boot, to nerve us to our task. Oh, ghost of 



PERKIN WARBECK. 303 

Lancaster ! if indeed thou hauntest this spot, 
where those akin to me did the foul deed, be 
thy pious soul propitiated now ; many a mass 
shall be told for thy repose ! " 

Roger crossed himself, and said an ave ; 
then in his usual voice he rejoined, " Would 
the thing did not require blood. Master Abel 
vows by the saints 'twere better when men 
make bad oaths to swear by the fiends that Sir 
John must die ; old wrinkled Astwood squeaks 
out, ' By'r Lady, it were not worth while, with 
only promises for reward, if we have not the 
rifling of the Lieutenant's private chamber. 
They are bloody-minded men, my Lord ; Mat 
Strangeways, when he is sober, and I, fasting 
or feasting, hold out that we might bind him, 
and get the keys.' ( Blockhead,' says Master 
Blewet, saving your presence, * thou goest the 
way to hang us all.' ' 

Another goblet had* set Roger talking. War- 
wick had quitted the table. He threw open the 
casement: it was very dark, and the wind howled 
fearfully " Oh, iron bars of my prison house," 
cried the ill-fated Prince, " can only midnight- 



304 PERKIN WARBECK. 

murder wrench ye asunder ? It is a dread act 
to disobey God's word, and lay the soul under 
mortal sin must it be done?" 

** My dear Cousin," said York, " do not mis- 
take a month ago the choice was yours ; now 
there is no going back. We have no right to 
draw these poor men into peril, and then to 
quarrel at the precaution they take for their 
safeties. We said, aye, when the matter was 
proposed. Again I repeat the word ; they must 
look to it, who so savagely have driven us to the 
fatal pass. When Digby undertook the ungentle 
task of jailor, he knew that he must hold it 
at the hazard of his life." 

" Sir John has ever been kind to me," said 
Warwick, " forgive the word, my Lord, I am 
firm now away with mercy ! To win an easy 
egress from these murderous walls, I could my- 
self plant the dagger." 

" We are not executioners," interrupted the 
Duke, who felt none of Warwick's vacillations, 
now sinking beneath the required tone, now 
wound up far above it, and was perfectly calm, 
though his heart, he scarce knew why, enter- 



PERK IN WARBECK. 305 

tained no hope of success. Warwick believed 
that he should win, and mourned the losers in 
the frightful game. Richard knew that he might 
fail, and assuredly would, did he not meet each 
necessity and hazard with a dauntless spirit. 

The sound of a bell from a neighbouring 
convent was brought fitfully by the wind 
" They are ringing matins there is our signal," 
cried Roger . 

O 

" And Digby's knell." The door of the cham- 
ber opened as Warwick said these words, and 
Blewet, with his usual catlike pace, slid in ; he 
walked straight up to Roger, and casting on him 
a glance from under his brows, said only " Come." 

" Are all at rest ? " asked the Earl. 

" Two hours agone," said Master Abel, " I 
have kept myself awake sharpening my steel ;" 
he touched the handle of a huge butcher's knife 
stuck in his girdle, whose glittering blade did 
credit to his care. Warwick turned pale and 
sick. " It will be dulled anon," continued 
Blewet. 

" Where are thy comrades ? " Richard asked. 

" They wait at the end of the corridor 



306 PERKIN WARBECK. 

Master Astwood is counting his gains. Come, 
Long Roger." 

Poor Roger followed him to the door, then 
turning to the Princes ; " My royal masters," 
said he, " if this deed goes ill, and I never see 
ye more, by Christ and his Cross, I pray a bless- 
ing on ye ; if I may pray, but by the mass 1 fear 
I shall never pray, nor sup more." 

They were gone Warwick strove to look, to 
be firm, but he grew ashy white a door, clapped 
to at a distance, made him almost faint. Richard 
was pale also; but his hand shook not in the least, 
as he presented a cup of wine to his cousin. 
** Give me water rather," said the Earl, shud- 
dering, " that cup is red hark it is his 
groans ! " 

" It is the wind around the turret, where my 
liege and brother died," said York, endeavour- 
ing to give other thoughts to the poor Prince, 
who cried, 

" It is the hell-born laugh of fiends viewing 
the deed." With the breeze indeed came a 
sound of laughter. " Are we betrayed ! " cried 
York : but the sound passed away in wailing. 



PERKIN WARBECK. 307 

Warwick was on his knees " I cannot pray," 
he cried, " a sea of blood is before me." 

" Hush ! " 

Steps now approached along the corridor, and 
Blevvet, his stained, half-wiped knife in his hand, 
appeared Again the monosyllable " Come," 
was pronounced fraught with how different a 
meaning. A life had been torn from an inno- 
cent breast since then by that fell instrument. 
The Princes, awestruck, one trembling with 
dread, the other striving to quell his horror for 
a murderer, followed him, as he led through the 
gallery at the end stood Astwood with a bunch 
of keys there were no stains on his hands ; he 
looked anxious, but brightened up when he saw 
the prisoners. 

They trod stealthily along. Warwick's fal- 
tering steps scarce kept pace with their con- 
ductor's. After passing through many narrow 
high passages, they reached a low postern door. 
Astwood put the key in the lock the sound 
was magical to the fearful Earl. " Farewell, old 
frightful walls," he cried, " farewell, dark mur- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 

derous prison house, the Foul Fiend possess thee ! 
such is my benison." 

Blewet looked at him York marked the 
sarcasm, the scorn of his glance the gate mean- 
while was opened : at that moment a clash of 
arms was heard. " The sentinels at the Eastern 
gate," remarked Abel. 

" God grant it ! " cried Warwick, " God 
grant yet can it be ! and am I free ? " 

He rushed through the open door, intent to 
seize upon liberty, as Tantalus on his forbidden 
feast his first step beyond the threshold of his 
prison was followed by a shriek almost a wo- 
man's shriek, it was so shrill and piercing. 
What he quailed before, gave presence of mind 
to York experienced in ills. Whatever the 
new evil might be, he went out to meet it 
calmly. A party of archers and yeomen were 
drawn up in the court yard. " This truly is a 
mime," he said, " in which one at least wins. 
Our good Lieutenant is safe ; we are lost." 

Grim Sir John had much disliked even this 
masque of murder. He saw their seizure with 
a grin of delight. He abhorred Richard, as the 



PERKIN WARBECK. 309 

prime mover of the meditated assassination; but 
he hated Warwick more, who thus could lay 
in ambush for the life of one, who he believed 
had been a most courteous and soft-hearted 
jailor to him he commanded his myrmidons 
to lead the royal kinsmen to the strongest 
ward-rooms of the Tower, with dogged, savage 

joy- 
In dark and separate cells, in solitude and 

night, these ill-fated victims of craft and ambi- 
tion were consigned to biting reflection and 
sinister anticipation. Warwick, worn out by the 
unusual excitement of the last weeks, by his 
eager hopes, and overwhelming despair, had no 
one thought, but ten thousand thoughts, making 
a chaos and hell of his poor heart. Richard 
felt more for his cousin than for himself. " But 
for me," he repeated internally, " he had still 
been a patient prisoner. Yet to break prison 
is not crime capital- -he may yet be saved. 
Elizabeth will intercede; Tudor, for very shame, 
cannot do further wrong to one so near akin, so 
powerless and unfortunate. For myself; I am 



310 PERKIN WARBECK. 

dead already : the Duke of York died, when 
first I became a slave. So that my memory sur- 
vire in my own White Rose's heart let the 
rictor dispose at his pleasure of this mere shell 
of Richard." 



311 



CHAPTER XX. 



Tempestuous fortune hath spent all her spite, 
And thrilling Sorrow thrown his utmost dart : 

Thy sad tongue cannot tell more heavy plight 
Than that I feel and harbour in my heart. 

SPENSER. 



THE morning of the first of November dawn- 
ed ; a cheery day. Men went to their usual 
works : the earth, despoiled of her summer gar- 
niture, yet bore the change with sober content; 
for the sun shone, and soft airs, despite the 
coming winter, lightly shook the scant and al- 
tered foliage of the woods : 

All rose to do the task He set to each, 

Who shaped us to his ends, and not our own. 

And many rose 
Whose woe was such, that fear became desire. 



312 PERKIN WARBECK. 

Among such fate-hunted victims was the 
Duke of York. Hope had died in his heart ; 
and his few remaining days were only to be 
spent in celebrating her dark funeral. Morning 
opened its eyes on Prince Richard's dungeon, 
showing him vanquished by grievous overthrow 
and change. To look back through his tumul- 
tuous life, to dwell upon its chances, to think 
of the many who had suffered for him, were sad 
but fitting thoughts, to which he betook him- 
self, till death became lovely in his eyes. But 
intermingled with such retrospection were other 
memories : his own sweet love was before him, 
in her tears or smiles ; he looked into her dear 
eyes, he closed his own, and thrilling kisses 
pressed his burning lips, and soft, white arms 
were round him ; at thought of such he grew 
impatient of his chains, and the fearful cutting 
off from all that awaited him. He began to cal- 
culate on the probability that his life would be 
spared, and grew cowardly the while ; to 
feed upon those roseate lips, to drink life from 
those eyes, to clasp his beautiful, fond wife, 
feeling that beyond the circle of his arms 



PERKIN WARBECK. 313 

nought existed worthy his desires, became a 
fierce, impatient hunger, to gratify which he 
would call himself impostor, give up fame and 
reputation, and become Perkin Warbeck in all 
men's eyes. 

There was but one refuge from this battle of 
youth and life with the grim skeleton. With a 
strong effort he endeavoured to turn his attention 
from earth, its victor woes, and still more tyrant 
joys, to the heaven where alone his future lay. 
The struggle was difficult, but he effected it: 
prayer brought resignation, calm ; so when his 
soul, still linked to his mortal frame, and slave 
to its instincts, again returned to earth, it was 
with milder wishes and subdued regrets. Mo- 
nina's lovely form wandered into his mind ; she 
was an angel now, a blessed spirit, he believed ; 
for, what deceived her, deceived him; and he 
fancied that he alone had escaped from the watery 
perils of that night ; she had arrived there, where 
he soon should be, in the serene immutability 
of eternal life ; he began, in the revulsion of his 
thoughts, to pity those destined still to exist. 
Earth was a skaithed planet, a roofless, shel- 

VOL. III. P 



314 PERKIN WARBECK. 

terless home ; a wild where the human soul wan- 
dered a little interval, tortured by sharp, cruel 
storms ; lost in thorny, entangled brakes ; weary, 
repining, till the hour came when it could soar 
to its native birthplace, and find refuge from its 
ills in promised Paradise. 

His cell was indeed the haven of peace, com- 
pared to the turbid, frightful atmosphere in 
which his Katherine lived. Edmund had not 
returned; every attempt she made to commu- 
nicate with Scotland or Burgundy, failed. She 
had past a summer of wretchedness, nor could 
the tender attention of Elizabeth sooth her. 
In spite of all, the poor Queen was almost hap- 
pier than she had ever been ; for many years 
she had been " the cannibal of her own heart," 
devouring her griefs in voiceless, friendless, 
solitude ; her rery joys, and they were those 
of maternity, were locked up in her own 
bosom. It was the birth of liappiness to share 
her griefs with another; that other being so 
gentle, so wise, and yet so sensitive, as the fail- 
White Hose, who concealed her own worst 
pains, to sooth those of one possessing less for- 



PERKIN WARBECK. 315 

titude and fewer internal resources than herself. 
Yet, while thus she forgot herself, she never 
quitted in thought her Richard's side ; since the 
day she had seen him delivered over to igno- 
minious punishment, pale and ill, he was as 
it were stamped on every outward object, an 
image placed between her and her thoughts ; 
for, while those were employed apparently on 
many things, he, in truth, was their first, last, 
all-possessing idea, more engrossing than her 
own identity. At one time she spent every 
effort to obtain an interview with him in prison; 
and then she learned, through covert means, of 
die plots carrying on in the Tower for his 
escape, while the name of Warwick, mingling 
in the tale, roused the latent feelings of Eli- 
zabeth. When the last, worst hour came, 
it was less replete with pain than these 
miserable, unquiet days, and sleepless, tearful 
nights; the never-ending, still beginning round 
of hours, spent in fear, doubt, and agonizing 
prayer. 

After a restless night, the Princess opened her 
eyes upon the day, and felt even the usual 
P 2 



316 PERKIN WARBECK. 

weight at her heavy foreboding heart increased. 
The tale was soon told of Richard's attempted 
escape and failure: "What can be done?" 
" Nothing ; God has delivered the innocent into 
the hands of the cruel ; the cruel, to whom 
mercy is as unknown, as, methinks, it is even 
to the awful Power who rules our miserable 
lives." Such words, with a passionate burst 
of tears, burst from the timid Elizabeth, whose 
crushed and burning heart even arraigned the 
Deity for the agony she endured. 

Katherine looked on her with sweet compas- 
sion, " Gentle one," she said, " what new 
spirit puts such strange speech into your mouth, 
whose murmurings heretofore were those of 
piety?" 

" It is a bad world," continued the Queen ; 
" and, if I become bad in it, perchance I shall 
prosper, and have power to save : I have been 
too mild, too self-communing and self-condemn- 
ing; and the frightful result is, that the sole 
being that ever loved me, perishes on the scaf- 
fold.. Both will perish, my White Rose, doubt 
it not. Your own York, and my devoted only 



PERK1N WARBECK. 317 

loved Edward. In his prison I have been his 
dream ; he breaks it, not to find liberty again, 
but Elizabeth. Wretched boy ! knows he not 
that lie shall never again find her, who roamed 
with a free spirit the woodland glades, talking 
to him of the future, as of a scene painted to 
my will; faded, outworn, a degraded slave I 
am not Elizabeth." 

" Did you know the dearest truth of re- 
ligion," replied Katherine, " you would feel 
that she, who has been tried, and come out 
pure, is a far nobler being than " 

" I am not pure, not innocent; much you 
mistake me," said the Queen : " wicked, im- 
pious thoughts harbour in my heart, and pol- 
lute my soul, even beyond the hope of me- 
diation. Sometimes I hate my beautiful chil- 
dren because they are his ; sometimes in the 
dark hour of night, I renounce my nuptial vow, 
and lend ready, willing ear to fiendish whis- 
perings which borrow Edward's voice. I court 
sleep, because he wanders into my dreams ; and 
What do I say, what am I revealing ? Lady, 
judge me not: you married him you loved, 



318 PERKIN WARBECK. 

fulfilling thus the best destiny that can be 
given in this hard world to woman, whose life is 
merely love. Though he perish in his youth, and 
you weep for him for ever, hug yourself in the 
blessed knowledge that your fate is bright as 
angels; for we reap celestial joys, when love and 
duty, twined in sisterly embrace, take up their 
abode together within us : and I but, Ka- 
therine, did you hear me? They perish even as 
I speak : his cruel heart knows no touch of 
mercy, and they perish." 

" They shall not, dearest," said York's White 
Hose ; " it cannot be, that so foul a blot darken 
our whole lives. No; there are words and 
looks and tones that may persuade. Alas ! 
were we more holy, surely a miracle might be 
vouchsafed, nor this Pharoah harden his heart 
for ever." 

All her love-laden soul beaming in her eyes, 
with a voice that even thrilled him, though it 
moved him not, the White Rose addressed 
Henry. She had yet to learn that a tyrant's 
smile is more fatal than his frown : he was all 
courtesy, for he was resolved, implacable ; and 



PERKIN WARBECK. 319 

she gathered hope from what proved to be the 
parent of despair. She spoke With so much 
energy, yet simplicity, in the cause of goodness, 
and urged so sweetly her debt of gratitude ; 
telling him, how from the altar of their hearts, 
prayers would rise to the Eternal, fraught with 
blessings to him, that he encouraged her to go 
on, that still he might gaze on lineaments, which 
nobility of soul, the softest tenderness, and ex- 
alted belief in good, painted with angelic hues. 
At length he replied that his Council were 
examining witnesses, that her cause depended 
on facts, on its own justice; that he hoped 
report had blackened the crimes of these rash 
men; for her sake he sincerely hoped their 
guilt, as it was detailedto him, had been exag- 
gerated. 

For a moment the Princess was unaware 
what all this jargon might mean; his next 
words were more perspicuous. " Indeed, fair 
dame, you must forget this coil : if I consent, 
for the welfare of my kingdom, to sacrifice the 
Queen's nearest relative, you also must resign 
yourself to a necessity from which there is no 



320 PERKIN WARBECK. 

appeal. Hereafter you will perceive that you gain, 
instead of losing, by an act of justice which you 
passionately call cruelty : it is mercy, heaven's 
mercy doubtless, that breaks the link between a 
royal princess and a baseborn impostor." 

A sudden fear thrilled Katherine : " You 
cannot mean that he should die," she cried ; 
" for your own sake, for your children's sake, 
on whom your sins will be visited, you cannot 
intend such murder: you dare not; for the whole 
world would rise against the unchristian king 
who sheds his kinsman's blood. All Europe, the 
secret hearts of those nearest to you, your own 
knowledge, all proclaim your victim, your rival 
to be your brother, and will brand you a fratri- 
cide. You are Lancaster, your ancestors were 
kings, you conquered this realm in their name, 
and may reign over it in peace of conscience ; 
but not so may you destroy the Duke of York. 
His mother avouched him, the Duchess of Bur- 
gundy acknowledges him, I was given to him 
by my royal cousin, as to one of equal rank, and 
he upholds him More than all, his princely 



PERKIN WARBECK. 321 

self declares the truth ; nor can evil counsellors, 
nor false chroniclers, stand between you, and 
heaven and the avenging world. You vainly 
seek to heap accusation on him you term Crook- 
back's head: time will affix the worst indelible 
stain upon you. You cannot, will not slay 
him." 

What were words to the fixed mind of 
Henry? A summer breeze, whispering round 
a tempest-withstanding watch-tower he might 
grow chill at this echo of the fears his own heart 
spoke; but still he* smiled, and his purpose was 
unshaken. 

It became known that the Princes were to be 
arraigned for treason : first the unhappy, mis- 
named Perkin was tried, by the common courts, 
in Westminster Hall. When a despot gives up 
the execution of his revenge to the course of 
law, it is only because he wishes to get rid of 
passing the sentence of death upon his single 
authority, and to make the dread voice of mis- 
named justice, and its executors, the abettors of 
his crime. 

When Tragedy arrays itself in the formal 
p5 



322 PERK1N WARBECK. 

robes of law, it becomes more heart-rending, 
more odious, than in any other guise. When 
sickness threatens to deprive us of one, round 
whom our heart-strings have twined we think 
inextricably the skill of man is our friend ; if 
merciless tempest be the murderer, we feel that 
it obeys One whose ways are inscrutable, while 
we strive to believe that they are good. Groping 
in darkness, we teach our hearts the bitter lesson 
of resignation. Nor do we hate nor blame the 
wild winds and murderous waves, though they 
have drank up a life more precious and more 
beloved than words have power to speak. But 
that man's authority should destroy the life 
of his fellow man; that he who is powerful, 
should, for his own security and benefit, drive 
into the darksome void of the tomb, one united 
to our sun-visited earth by ties of tenderness 
and love one whose mind was tlve abode of 
honour and virtue ; to know that the word of 
man could still bind to its earthly tabernacle 
the being, voice, looks, thoughts, affections of 
our all ; and yet, that the man of power un- 
locks the secret chamber, rifles it of all its 



PERKIN WARBECK. 323 

treasures, and gives us, for the living mansion 
of the soul, a low, voiceless grave : against such 
tyranny, the softest heart must rebel; nor 
scarcely could religion in its most powerful 
guise, the Catholic religion, which almost tore 
aside for its votaries the veil between time and 
eternity, teach submission to the victims. 

Days flowed on. However replete with event, 
the past is but a point to us ; however empty, 
the present pervades all things. And when that 
present is freighted with our whole futurity, it 
is as an adamantine chain binding us to the hour ; 
there is no escape from its omnipotence and om- 
nipresence ; it is as the all-covering sky. We 
shut our eyes; the monster's hollow breath is on 
our cheek ; we look on all sides ; from each his 
horrid eyes glare on us; we would sleep; he 
whispers dreams. Are we intelligible? Will 
those possessed by present tell us whether any 
bondage, any Bastille, can suggest ideas of more 
frightful tyranny, misery, than the cruel present, 
which clings to us, and cannot be removed. 

" It is so ; he attempted to escape, and was 
discovered ; he is low in his dungeon ; his dear 
eyes are faint from disappointed hope. He 



324 PERKIN WARBECK. 

will l>e tried. Tyranny will go forth in a 
masque, and with hideous antics fancy that 
she mantles with a decorous garb her blood- 
thirsty acts. He will be condemned; but he 
will not die ! not die ! Oh no, my Richard is 
immortal he cannot DIE ! " 

" My royal Cousin, when you gave me to my 
sweet love, and pledged your word that in weal 
or woe I should be his ; and I promised myself 
still dearer things, to be the guardian angel 
and tutelar genius of his life ; and took pleasure, 
fond, foolish girl that I was, in the anticipation 
of misfortunes that I should rob of all power 
to hurt; no thought, among the many that 
strayed into futurity, told me of this desertion, 
this impotence of effecting good. Alas ! how 
deaf and cruel man is : I could more easily tear 
asunder his prison-walls with my hands, and 
break with my weak fingers his iron chains, 
than move one, as liable to suffer and to die 
as even his victim, to pity ! " 

Elizabeth listened pale and silent to these com- 
plaints bitter as they were, they were hushed 
to more heart-rending silence, when the hour of 



PERKIN WARBECK. 325 

trial came she should only pray to die, before the 
word that spoke his condemnation met her ear. 
Accustomed as a Princess a high-born and 
respected daughter of one most powerful, to be 
obeyed and served ; to find herself destitute of 
all influence, seemed to place her in another 
planet it was not men not her fellow-crea- 
tures that were around her ; but fiends who 
wore the mask of humanity. An uninhabited 
desert had not been more solitary than this 
populous land, whose language she possessed 
not ; for what is language, if it reach not the 
heart and move it ? 

Richard, the wonder of the time, gathered 
courage as ill-fortune pressed more hardly upon 
him ; in the hour of trial he did not quail, but 
stood in bold, fearless innocence before the men, 
whose thoughts were armed against his life. He 
was not guilty, he said, for he could not be 
guilty of treason. When the indictment was 
read which treated him as a foreigner and an 
alien, the spirit of the Plantagenet flashed from 
his eyes, and the very stony-hearted clerk, who 
read, casting his regards on him faltered and 



326 PERKIN WAHBECK. 

stammered, overawed by a blaze of dignity, 
which, did we foster antique creeds, we might 
believe was shed over him by some such spirit 
as imparted divine majesty to the person of the 
King o Ithaca. Proudly and silently Richard 
listened to the evidence on his trial. It touched 
only on such points as would afterwards be most 
material for inculpation of poor Warwick. In 
the end he was asked what he had to plead, where- 
fore judgment should not pass upon him but 
he was bid to be brief, and to beware not to use 
any language derogatory to the high and mighty 
Prince, Henry, king of these realms. A smile 
curled his lips at this admonition, and with even 
a playful air he said, " My very good Lord, I 
ask for nothing, save that a little mercy be ex- 
tended to the memory of my gracious uncle, my 
Lord of Gloucester, who was no child-mur- 
derer." 

At the word he was interrupted, and sentence 
pronounced. As the ignominious words were 
said, Richard, who from the beginning had 
abstracted himself in prayer, so that his ears 
might be as little wounded as possible by an 



PERKIN WARBECK. 327 

unconquerable impulse put his hand where his 
sword might have been. Its absence and the 
clanking of his chains recalled him to the truth, 
and he muttered the words, " Oh, basely mur- 
dered York ! " in recollection of his unhappy 
grandfather, to whose miserable fate he often 
recurred, as an example of suffering and 
patience. 

Thus ended the bitter scene; one he had 
long expected, for which he had nerved himself. 
During nearly the whole, his look was as if he 
were absent from it. But who could read the 
secrets of his heart, while his impassive eyes and 
lips were no index to the agonies that tor- 
tured it.^ 



328 



CHAPTER XXI. 



So young to go 

Under the obscure, cold, rotting, wormy ground ! 
To be nailed down into a narrow place ; 
To see no more sweet sunshine ; hear no more 
Blithe voice of living thing ; muse not again 
Upon familiar thoughts, sad, yet thus lost 

How fearful ! 

SHELLEY. 



" Speak to me, Lady, sister, speak ! your 
frozen glances frighten rne; your fingers as I 
touch them, have no resistance or life. Dearest 
and best, do not desert me, speak but one word, 
mv own White Rose." 

/ 

Katherine raised her blue eyes heavenward : 
as if the effort were too great, they fell again on 
the ground, as she said, in a voice so low that 



PERKIN WARBECK. 329 

Elizabeth could hardly catch the sound; " I 
must see him once again before he dies." 

" And you shall, dearest, I promise you. 
Cheer up, my love, not to affright him by looks 
like these. Indeed you shall see him, and I 
will also ; he shall know that he has a sister's 
prayers, a sister's love. Patience, sweet Kate, 
but a little patience." 

" Would I could sleep till then ! " replied the 
miserable wife : and she covered her face with 
her hands, as if to shut out the light of day, and 
sighed bitterly. 

When our purposes are inflexible, how 
do insurmountable obstacles break before our 
strong will? so that often it seems that we 
are more inconstant than fortune, and that with 
perseverance we might attain the sum of our 
desires. The Queen, the weak, despised, pow- 
erless Queen, resolved to gratify this one last 
wish of her beloved friend. . Many a motive 
urged her to it ; compassion, love, and even self- 
interest. At first she almost despaired ; while 
Richard continued in the Tower it was impos- 
sible; but on the twenty-third of November, 



830 PERK1N WARBECK. 

two days before the destined termination of his 
fatal tragedy, on the day of the trial of poor 
Warwick, he was removed to the prison of Lud- 
gate. And here, at dead of night, Henry, being 
absent inspecting his new palace at Richmond, 
Elizabeth, timid, trembling, shrinking now at the 
last and Katherine, far too absorbed in one 
thought to dream of fear, took boat at West- 
minster, and were rowed along the dark, cold 
tide to Blackfriiirs. They were silent; the 
Queen clasped her friend's hand, which was 
chill and deathlike. Elizabeth trembled, ac- 
customed to hope for, to seek refuge in her 
stronger mind, she felt deserted, now that she, 
engrossed by passion, silent and still, the wife 
of the near prey of death, could remember only 
that yet for a little wjiile he was alive. Their 
short voyage seemed endless; still the oars 
splashed, still the boat glided, and yet they 
arrived not. Could it last for ever with one 
hope ever in view, never to know that he was 
dead? The thought passed into Katherine's 
inind with the sluggish but absorbing tenacity 
of intense grief, and at last possessed it so 



PERKIN WARBECK. 

wliolly, that it was with a scream of fear that 
she found herself close to shore. 

The necessity of motion restored Katherine 
to her presence of mind, while it deprived the 
Queen of the little courage she possessed. 
Something was to be said and done : Elizabeth 
forgot what; but Katherine spoke in a clear, 
though unnatural voice, and followed their con- 
ductors with a firm step, supporting the falter- 
ing Queen. Yet she addressed her not; her 
energies were wound up to achieve one thing; 
more than that it would have cost her her life to 
attempt. They reached the dark walls of the 
prison ; a door was unbarred, and they were 
admitted. The Princess passed the threshold 
with a quick step, as if overjoyed thus to be 
nearer her wish. Elizabeth paused, trembled, 
and almost wished to turn back. 

They crossed the high-walled court, and 
passed through several dark galleries : it seemed 
as if they would never arrive; and yet both 
started, when they stopped at the door of a cell. 
" Does his Grace expect us ? " asked Ka- 
therine. 



332 PERKIN WARBECK. 

The turnkey looked as not understanding ; 
but their guide, who was the chaplain of the 
jail, answered, 

" He does not. Fearful that some impediment 
might intervene, unwilling to disturb by a dis- 
appointed hope a soul so near its heavenly 
home, I have told him nothing." 

" Gently, then," said Katherine, " let our 
speech be low." 

The door opened, and displayed the son of 
the proud, luxurious Edward, sleeping on a 
wretched mattress, chained to the pavement. 
The ladies entered alone. Katherine glided 
noiselessly to his side ; her first act was to bend 
down her cheek, till his breath disturbed the 
ringlet that rested on it ; thus to assure herself 
tliat life was within his lips. Elizabeth fixed 
her earnest gaze on him, to discover if in aught 
he reminded her of the blue-eyed, flaxen-haired 
bridegroom of Anne Mowbray : he more resem- 
bled a picture of her father in his early man- 
hood; and then again her aunt the Duchess 
of Burgundy, whom she had seen just before 
King Edward's death. He lay there in placid 
e ep ; thought and feeling absent ; yet in that 



PERKIN WARBECK. 333 

form resided the soul of Richard; a bright 
casket containing a priceless gem : no flaw no 
token of weakness or decay. He lived and at 
a word would come back from oblivion to her 
world of love. A few days and that form would 
still exist in all its fair proportion. But veil it 
quick ; he is not there ! unholy and false is the 
philosophy, that teaches us that that lurid 
mockery was the thing we loved. 

And now he woke, almost to joy; yet sadness 
succeeded quickly to rapture. " My poor 
girl," he said, "weep not for me; weep for 
thyself rather; a rose grafted on a thorn. The 
degraded and disgraced claims no such sorrow." 
Katherine replied by an embrace; by laying her 
beautiful head on his bosom, and listening with 
forgetful, delicious extacy to the throbbings of 
his beating heart. 

" Be not unjust to thyself," said a soft, un- 
known voice, breaking the silence of the lovers ; 
" be not false to thy house. We are a devoted 
race, my brother; but we are proud even to 
the last." 

" This is a new miracle," cried the Prince. 



334 PERKIN WARBECK. 

" Who, except this sainted one, will claim 
kindred with Tudor's enemy ? " 

" Tudor's wife ; your sister. Do you not 
remember Elizabeth?" 

As these words were said, Katherine, who 
appeared to have accomplished her utmost wish, 
sat beside him, her arms around him, her 
sweet head reposing, her eyes closed. Kissing 
her soft hair and fair brow, York disentwined 
her clasped hands, and rose, addressing the 
trembling Queen: 

" My sister," he said, " you do a deed which 
calls for blessings from heaven upon you and 
yours. Till now, such was my unmanly spirit, 
the stigma affixed to my name, the disgrace 
of my ignominious death, made me odious 
to myself. The weakness of that thought is 
past; the love of this sweetest sweet, and 
your kindness restore me. Indeed, my sister, I 
am York I am Plantagenet." 

" As such," replied the Queen, " I ask a 
boon, for which, selfish as I am, I chiefly came ; 
my brother will not deny me ? " 

' Trifler, this is vanity. I can give nothing." 



PERKIN WARBECK. 335 

" Oh, every thing," exclaimed the lady ; 
" years of peace, almost of happiness, in ex- 
change for a life of bitter loneliness and suffer- 
ing. You, my dearest Lord, know the celestial 
goodness of that fair White Rose ; in adversity 
and peril you have known it ; / amidst the cold 
deceits of a court. She has vowed never to 
return to her native land, to bear a questioned 
name among her peers ; or perhaps to be forced 
by her father to change it for one abhorred. 
Though she must hate me as the wife of her 
injurer, yet where can she better be than with 
your sister? She would leave me, for I am 
Tudor's Queen ; bid her stay with her Lord's 
nearest kinswoman ; tell her that we will beguile 
the long years of our too young life with talk of 
you ; tell her that no where will she find one so 
ready to bless your name as poor Elizabeth ; 
implore her, ah ! on my knees do I implore 
you to bid her not to leave me, a dead-alive, 
a miserable, bereft creature, such as I was ere I 
knew her love/' 

" What say'st thou, sweet? " asked Richard ; 
" am I yet monarch of that soft heart ? Will 
my single subject obey the crownless Richard? " 



336 PERK1N WARBECK. 

Katherine stretched out her hand to the 
Queen, who was at York's feet, in token of com- 
pliance: she could not speak; it was a mighty 
effort to press the fingers of Elizabeth slightly ; 
who said, 

" Before heaven and your dear Lord, I claim 
your promise ; you are mine for ever." 

" A precious gift, my Bess ; was it not thus 
my infant lips called you ? I trust her to you ; 
anil so the sting of death is blunted. Yet let not 
too fond a lingering on one passed away, tarnish 
the bright hours that may yet be in store for 
her. Forget me, sweet ones; I am nought; a 
vapour which death and darkness inhales best 
unremembered. Yet while I live I would ask 
one question our victim-cousin, Edward of 
Warwick ? " 

Elizabeth could no longer restrain her tears 
as she related, that, however weak Warwick 
might heretofore have seemed, he appeared a 
Plantagenet on his trial. He disdained the 
insulting formalities of law, where the bitter 
Lancastrian, Lord Oxford, was the interpreter 
of justice; he at once declared himself guilty of 



PERKIN WARBECK. 337 

plotting to put the English crown on the head of 
his cousin, the Duke of York. He was quickly 
interrupted, and condemned to be beheaded. 

" Generous, unhappy Warwick. Ah ! is not 
life a misery, when all of good, except ye two 
angelic creatures, die." 

The signal was now given that the interview 
must end. Elizabeth wept. Katherine, still 
voiceless, clung closer to her husband ; while he 
nerved himself to support these gentle spirits 
with manly fortitude. One long, affectionate 
kiss he pressed on the mouth of Katherine ; and 
as her roseate lips yet asked another, another and 
another followed ; their lives mingled with their 
breath. 

" We meet in Paradise, mine only one," 
whispered York ; " through our Lord's mercy 
assuredly we meet there." 

He unwound her arms; he placed her in 
those of Elizabeth. " Cherish, preserve her. 
Bless thee, my sister ; thee, and thy children. 
They at least will, by my death, reign rightfully 
over this kingdom. Farewell ! " 

He kissed her hand, and then again the life- 

VOL. III. 



338 PERKIN WARBECK. 

less hand of his wife, who stood a breathing 
statue. She had not spoken ; no words could 
utter her despair. Another moment, and their 
fair forms were gone ; the door of his cell was 
closed ; and, but for the presence of the God he 
worshipped, Richard was left alone to solitude 
and night. 



839 



CONCLUSION. 



Love is too young to know what conscience is, 
Yet who knows not, Conscience is born of Love ? 
Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss, 
Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove. 

SHAKSPEARE. 



* TIME, we are told by all philosophers, is the 
sole medicine for grief. Yet there are immortal 

* I do not know how far these concluding pages may 
be deemed superfluous : the character of the Lady Ka- 
therine Gordon is a favourite of mine, and yet many 
will be inclined to censure her abode in Henry the 
Seventh's court, and other acts of her after life. I desired 
therefore that she should speak for herself, and show 
how her conduct, subsequent to her husband's death, 
was in accordance with the devotion and fidelity with 
which she attended his fortunes during his life. 

2 2 



340 PERKIN WARBECK. 

regrets which must endure while we exist. 
Those who have met with one, with whose every 
feeling and thought their thoughts and feelings 
were entwined, who knew of no divided past, 
nor could imagine a solitary futurity, to them 
what balm can time bring ? Time, the giver of 
hours, months, and years, each one how barren, 
contemptible, and heavy to bear to the bereft ! 

There was no consolation for Katherine, which 
could make her for a moment forget that her 
present existence was but the lees of life, the 
spiritless remnants of a nectareous draught. 
But Katherine was gentle, good, and resigned ; 
she lived on, dispensing pleasure, adored by all 
who approached her, and gladly hailing any 
visitation of happiness, which might reach one 
whose affections were too fondly linked to the 
grave. 

Years had passed, since the last act of the sad 
tragedy which destroyed her dearest hopes. 
She accompanied the Queen of England on a 
progress made by her, and they remained 
one night at Eastwell Place, the seat of Sir 
Thomas Moyle. There was a park, and 



PERKIN WARBECK. 341 

stately pleasure-grounds belonging to the house, 
undulating uplands, shady copses, and sweet 
running brooks to diversify the scene. A 
crowd of the noble and the gay were there, and 
the royal party was unusually mirthful; fire- 
works, masks and dances were employed ; and 
all joyously gave themselves up to the spirit of 
the hour. The chords of a harp, a well-known 
air, first awoke in the bosom of the -White 
Rose that languid melancholy, so near allied to 
pleasure, so close a neighbour to pain. By 
degrees memory grew busy in her brain ; she 
could no longer endure the laughter of her 
companions, their sallies, nay, nor their kind- 
ness ; for Elizabeth perceived her dear friend's 
change of countenance, and was approaching, 
when Katherine, making her a sign not to re- 
mark her, stole away, and entering a straggling 
path, wandered on, struggling with the tears, 
which the beauty of the evening, and the very 
hilarity which just before she had shared, caused 
to gush, warm and fast from her eyes. 

She reached a little streamlet, and was pass- 
ing forward, when she became aware of the 



342 PERKIN WAHBECK. 

presence of another in the scene. A labouring 
man, of middle age, (but his hair was grey, 
and flowed on his shoulders,) was seated on 
the rustic masonry of a rude fountain, reading ; 
he rose when he saw the lady, and doffed his 
hat ; she, with the cordial sweetness that accom- 
panied her slightest acts, gave him an evening 
benison. Her voice, her look, her cordial man- 
ner moved to its depths a heart lately hardened 
against her. As she passed on, the man fol- 
lowed hastily, " Lady ! " he cried. 

It struck the Princess that this poor fellow 
had some request to prefer to his master, and 
that he wished to do it through her medium; 
she turned with a benevolent smile, " Can I do 
aught for you, good friend ? " 

His voice failed him; he stretched out his 
hand, which held his book, she took it : the tiny 
volume was no stranger to her eyes ; as if a 
ghost had looked on her lonely watching, she 
trembled and grew pale, when she opened it, and 
saw written in fair characters, by a hand now 
dust, " La Rosa Blanca." The rustic knelt 
before her. 



PERKIN WARBECK. 343 

" Lady, Queen ! " he cried, " Sole relic of 
the unforgotten ! is it thus that we meet ? " 

" My cousin Edmund ! " 

" Hush ! breathe not even to the silent woods 
the unknown word. Fancy not that I am Plan- 
tagenet ; for all that was of worth in him you 
name, died when the White Rose scattered its 
leaves upon the unworthy earth." 

" Ah ! would that we had all died in that 
hour," cried Katherine : " why, when the un- 
grateful world lost him, did not all the good and 
true die also, so that they might no longer 
suffer!" 

Plantagenet cast a reproachful glance on her, 
as he said, " Happy indeed are those who die. 
O God ! when I think of the many and the be- 
loved, who, a few years ago, were alive around 
me, and among whose low silent graves I now 
walk alone, methinks I am dead ; it is but the 
ghost of him you knew that lingers upon earth." 

" Yes, they are all gone," said the Princess ; 
' all who linked me to the past, and were por- 
tions of my Richard's being. They are gone 
from before me. But are they truly no more, 
or do they live, like you, brooding over the lost, 



344 PERKIN WARBECK. 

disdaining to communicate with one who lives 
but to remember them? Of the death of seve- 
ral I have heard; but often I have longed with 
bitterness to hear of you, and of the Spanish 
maiden, Monina de Faro." 

" Her gentle soul," replied Edmund, " has 
flown to join him for whom she lived and died. 
It is now two years since I was assured of this. 
A friar, whom I had formerly well known, vi- 
sited Lisbon; and I entreated him to enquire for 
De Faro and his child. The commander of the 
Adalid was almost forgotten; at last, an old sailor 
was found, who remembered that, some years 
before, he had sailed for the Western Indies, and 
was never heard of more." 

** His daughter accompanied him?" 
" In the churchyard of a convent, placed high 
among the foldings of those lovely hills which 
overlook Lisbon, he was shown an humble tomb, 
half defaced; her dear sacred name is carved 
upon it, and half the date, the 14, which 
showed that she died before the century began, 
in which we now live.* She could not have 

* Richard was put to death in 1499. 



PERKIN WARBECK. 345 

survived our Prince many months; probably she 
died before him, nor ever knew the worst pang 
of all, the ignominy linked witli his beloved 
memory." 

" And you, my kinsman, how long have you 
wedded penury and labour in this obscure dis- 
guise ? " 

" Penury and labour," said Plantagenet, " are 
not confined to the humble occupation I have 
adopted. I was made poor by the death-blow 
of my hopes ; and my chief labour is to tame my 
heart to resignation to the will of God. Ob- 
scure you may indeed call my destination. 
Would I could shroud it in tenfold night ! 
Dearer to me is the silence and loneliness of 
this spot, where I can for ever commune undis- 
turbed with the past, than a pomp which is 
stained by the blood of him, whom once I 
thought we all loved so well. 

o 

" When oh, let me not name the frightful 
thing! when he was gone for ever, the whole 
world was to me but one miserable tomb. I groped 
in darkness, misery my mate, eternal lamentation 
my sole delight. The first thing that brought 



346 PERKIN WARBECK. 

peace to ray soul, was the beauty of tins visible 
universe. When God permitted, for some in- 
scrutable purpose, moral evil to be showered so 
plentifully over us, he gave us a thousand re- 
sources out of ourselves in compensation. If I 
mingled with my fellow-creatures, how dearly 
should I miss him, who was single among men 
for goodness, wisdom, and heaven-born nobility 
of soul. My heart sickens at the evil things 
that usurp the shape of humanity, and dare deem 
themselves of the same species : I turn from all, 
loathing. But here there is no change, no falling- 
off, no loss of beauty and of good : these glades, 
these copses, the seasons' change and elemental 
ministrations, are for ever the same the type 
of their Maker in glory and in good. The 
loveliness of earth saves me from despair: the 
majesty of Heaven imparts aspiring hope. I bare 
my bosom to the breeze, and my wretched heart 
throbs less wildly. I drink in the balmy sweet- 
ness of the hour, and repose again on the good- 
ness of my Creator. 

" Yours is another existence, Lady ; you 
need the adulation of the crowd the luxury of 



PERKIN WARBECK. 347 

palaces ; you purchase these, even by commun- 
ing with the murderer of him who deserved 
a dearer recompense at your hands." 

Katherine smiled sadly at these last words, 
which betrayed the thought that rankled in her 
kinsman's mind. " I thank you," she replied, 
" for your details. I will not blame you for 
the false judgment you pass on me. When 
years and quiet thought have brought you back 
from the tempest of emotion that shakes you, 
you will read my heart better, and know 
that it is still faithfully devoted to him I have 
lost." 

" Ah ! say those words again," cried Plan- 
tagenet, " and teach me to believe them. I 
would give my right hand to approve your con- 
duct, to love and reverence you once again." 

" Will you have patience with me then, while 
I strive to justify myself? " 

" Oh, speak ! My life, my soul's salvation, 
to hang upon your words." 

Katherine raised her blue eyes to the now 
starry sky, as if to adjure that to be the witness 
of her innocent thoughts ; and then she said, 



348 PERKIN WARBECK. 

" We are all, dear Cousin, impelled by our 
nature to make ourselves the central point of 
die universe. Even those, who as they fancy, 
sacrifice themselves for the love of God, do it 
more truly for love of themselves ; and the fol- 
lowers of virtue too often see their duties through 
the obscure and deceptive medium, which their 
own single, individual feelings create. Yet we 
have one unerring guide ; one given us at our 
birth, and which He who died on the cross for 
us, taught us to understand and to appreciate, 
commanding us to make it the master-law of our 
lives. Call it love, charity, or sympathy ; it is 
the best, the angelic portion of us. It teaches 
us to feel pain at others pain, joy in their joy. 
The more entirely we mingle our emotions with 
those of others, making our well or ill being 
depend on theirs, the more completely do we 
cast away selfishness, and approach the perfec- 
tion of our nature. 

" You are going to answer, perhaps to refute 
me do not Remember I am a woman, with 
a woman's tutelage in my early years, a woman's 
education in the world, which is that of the 



PERKIN WARBECK. 349 

heart alas ! for us not of the head. I have 
no school-learning, no logic but simply the 
voice of my own soul which speaks within me. 

" I try to forget, you force me back upon 
myself. You attack; and you beseech me to 
defend myself. So to do, I must dwell upon 
the sentiments of a heart, which is human, and 
therefore faulty, but which has neither guile nor 
malice in it. 

" In my father's house and when I wan- 
dered with my beloved outcast, I had no diffi- 
culty in perceiving, nor God was so gracious 
to me in fulfilling my duties. For, in child- 
hood I was cherished and favoured by all ; and 
when I became a wife, it was no wonder that I 
should love and idolize the most single-hearted, 
generous, and kindly being that ever trod the 
earth. To give myself away to him to be a 
part of him to feel that we were an harmo- 
nious one in this discordant world, was a happi- 
ness that falls to the lot of few : defeat, chains, 
imprisonment all these were but shows; the 
reality was deep in our hearts, invulnerable by 
any tyrant less remorseless than death. If this 



350 PERK1N WARBECK. 

life were the sum and boundary of our being, I 
had possessed the consummation and fulfilment 
of happiness. 

" But we are taught to believe that our ex- 
istence here is but the stepping stone to another 
beyond, and that * death is the beginning of 
life.' When we reach the summit of our desires, 
then we fall, and death comes to destroy. He 
was lost to me, my glory, and my good ! Little 
could I avail to him now. The caresses, love, 
and watchful care, the obedience and the heart's 
sacrifice, of a poor thing who groped darkling 
upon earth, could avail nought to a spirit in 
Paradise. I was forced to feel that I was alone : 
and, as to me, to love is to exist, so in that dark 
hour, in the gaspings of my agony, I felt that 
I must die, if for ever divided from him who 
possessed my affections. 

" Years have passed since then. If grief kills 
us not, we kill it. Not that I cease to grieve ; 
for each hour, revealing to me how excelling and 
matchless the being was, who once was mine, 
but renews the pang with which I deplore my 



PERKIN WAKBECK. 351 

alien state upon earth. But such is God's will ; 
I am doomed to a divided existence, and I sub- 
mit. Meanwhile I am human ; and human 
affections are the native, luxuriant growth of a 
heart, whose weakness it is, too eagerly, and too 
fondly, to seek objects on whom to expend its 
yearnings. My Richard's last act was to bestow 
me on his sister : it were impious to retract a 
gift made by the dying. We wept together 
how long, and how bitterly the loss of our loved 
one ; and then together we turned to fulfil our 
duties. She had children ; they became as dear 
to me as to her. Margaret I cherish as the be- 
trothed bride of my ever dear cousin, the King 
of Scotland ; and, when I endeavour to foster 
the many virtues nature has implanted in the 
noble mind of Prince Arthur, I am fulfilling, 
methinks, a task grateful in the eyes of Richard, 
thus doing my part to bestow on the England he 
loved, a sovereign who will repair the usurper's 
crimes, and bestow happiness on the realm. 

" Nor is this all despise me if you will, but 
I confess that I regard others among those with 



352 PERKIN WARBECK. 

whom I associate, with a clinging affection that 
forbids me to separate myself from them. Did 
I not love the noble and good, even as he did, 
while Richard lived ? Does he not now, in his 
heavenly abode, love them? And must my 
living heart be stone, because that dear form is 
dust, which was the medium of my communica- 
tion with his spirit? Where I see suffering, 
there I must bring my mite for its relief. We 
are not deities to bestow in impassive benevo- 
lence. We give, because we love and the 
meshes of that sweet web, which mutual good 
offices and sympathy weaves, entangle and en- 
thral me, and force me to pain and pleasure, 
and to every variety of emotion which is the 
portion of those whom it holds within its folds. 

" I quarrel not with I admire those who can 
be good and benevolent, and yet keep their 
hearts to themselves, the shrine of worship for 
God, an haven which no wind can enter. 1 am 
not one of these, and yet take no shame there- 
fore : I feel my many weaknesses, and know that 
some of these form a part of my strength ; the 



PERKIN WARBECK. 353 

reviled part of our nature being a portion of that 
which elevates us to the godlike. My reason, 
my sense of duty, my conscientious observance 
of its dictates, you will set up as the better 
part ; but I venerate also the freer impulses of 
our souls. My passions, my susceptible imagi- 
nation, my faltering dependence on others, my 
clinging to the sense of joy this makes an 
integral part of Katherine, nor the worst part 
of her. When my soul quits this ' bower of 
flesh,' these leaves and flowers, which are per- 
haps the growth of it, may decay and die. I 
know not ; as it is, I am content to be an im- 
perfect creature, so that I never lose the enno- 
bling attribute of my species, the constant en- 
deavour to be more perfect. 

" I do not blame you, my Cousin, for seek- 
ing repose in solitude after much endurance. 
But unquiet should I feel in the unreplying 
loneliness, which forms your peace. I must love 
and be loved. I must feel that my dear and 
chosen friends are happier through me. When I 
have wandered out of myself in my endeavour 



354 PERKIN WARBECK. 

to shed pleasure around, I must again return 
laden with the gathered sweets on which I feed 
and live. Permit this to be, unblamed permit 
a heart whose sufferings have been, and are, so 
many and so bitter, to reap what joy it can from 
the strong necessity it feels to be sympathized 
with to love." 



THE END. 



J. B. NICHOLS AND SON, 25, PARLIAMENT STREET. 



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