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While the ladies supported Emma from the ball, Lord Boteler and St. Clere requested an explanation from Fitzosborne of the words he had used.
“ Trust me, gentle lords,” said the Baron ot Diggswell," ye shall have wliat ye demand, when I learn that Lady Emma Darcy has pot suffered from my imprudence."
At this moment Lady Matilda, returning, said that her fair friend, on her recovery, had calmly and deliberaiely insisted thal she had deen Fitzosborne before, in the most dangerous crisis of her life.
“I dread," said she, “ her disordered mind connects all that her eye bu holds with the terrible passages that she has witnessed.”
Nay,” said Fitzosborne, if noble St. Clere can pardon the un.. authorized interest which, with the purest and most honorable intentions, 1 bave taken in his sister's fate, it is easy for me to explain this mysterious impression.”
Ile proceeded to say, 'hat, happening to be in the hostelry called the Griffin, near Baddow, while upon a jourvey in that country, he had met with the old nurse of the Lady Emma Darcy, who, being just expelled from Gay Bowers, was in the height of her grief and indignation, and made loud and public proclamation of Lady Emina's wrongs. From the description she gave of the beauty of Dar foster-child, as well as from the spirit of chivalry, Hitzosborne became interested in her fate. This interest was deeply enhanced when, by a bribe to old Gaunt the Rere, he procured a view of the Lady Einma, as she walked near the castle of Gay Bowers. The aged chiurl refused to give him access to the castle; yet dropped some hints, as if he thought the lady in danger, and wished she were well out of it. His master, he said, had heard she had a brother in life, and since that deprived him of a chance of gaining her domains by purchase, he-in short, Gaunt wished they were safely separated. “If any injury,” quoth he, should happen to the dimsel here, it were ill for us all. I tried, by an innocent straiagem, to frighten her from the castle, by introducing a figure through a trap-door, and warning her, as if by a voice from the dead, to retreat from thence; but the giglet is willful, and is run. ning upon her fate.”
Finding Gaunt, although covetous and communicative, too faith. fui a servant to his wicked master to take any active steps against his commands, Fitzosborne applied himself to old Ursely, whom he found more tractable. Through her he learned the dreadful plot Gaston lad laid to rid bimself of his kinswoman, and resolved to effect her deliverance. But aware of the delicacy of Emma's situ. ation, he charged Ursely to conceal from her the interest he took in her distress, resolving to watch over her in disguise, until he saw her in a place of safety. Hence the appearance he made before her in various dresses during her journey, in the course of which he was never far distant; and he had always four stout yeomen within hearing of his lugle, bad assistance been necessary. When she was placed in safety at the lodge, it was Fiuzosborne's intention to have prevailed upon his sisters to visit, and take hier under their protecion: but he found them absent from Diggsweli, baving gone to attend an aged relation, who lay dangerously ill in a distant county. They did not return until the day before the May-games; and th6
other events followed too rapidly to permit Fitzosborne to lay any plans for introducing them to Lady Emma Darcy. On the day of the chase he resolved to preserve his romantic disguise, and atiend the Lady Emma as a forester, partly to have the pleasure of being near her, and partly to judge whether, according to an idle report in the country, she favored his friend and comrade Fitzallen of Marden. This last motive, it may easily be believed, he did not declare to the company.
After the skirmish with the ruffians, he waited till the barop and the liunters arrived, and then, still doubt. ing the further designs of Gaston, hastened to his castle, to arm the band which had escorted them to Queen Hoo Hall.
Fitzosborne's story being finished, he received the thanks of all the company, particularly of St. Clere, who felt deeply the respectful delicacy with which he had conducted himself toward his sister. The lady was carefully informed of her obligations to him; and it is left to the well-judging reader, whether even the raillery of Lady Eleanor made her regret that Heaven had only employed natural means for her security, and that the guardian angel was converted into a handsome, gallant, and enamored knight.
The joy of the company in the hall extended itself to the buttery, where Gregory the jester narrated such feats of arms done by bimselt in the fray of the morning as might have shamed Bevis and Guy of Warwick. He was, according to his narrative, singled out for destruction by the gigantic baron himself, while he abandoned to meaner hands the destruction of St. Clere and Fitzosborne.
“But certes, ” said he, “the foul paynim met his match; for, ever as he foined at me with his brand, I parried his blows with my bauble, and closing with him upon the third veny, threw him to the ground, and made him cry recreant to an unarmed man.
“Tush, man,” said Drawslot. “ Thou forgettest thy best aux. iliaries, the good greyhounds, Help and Holdfast! I warrant thee, that when the humpbacked barvn caught thee by the cowl, which he hath almost torn off, thou hadst been in a fair plight had they not remembered an old friend, and come in to the rescue. Why, man, I found them fastened on to him myself; and there was odd staving and stickling to make them ‘ware haunch! Their mouths were full of the flex, for I had pulled a piece of the garment from their jaws. I warrant thee that when they brought him to ground thou fledst like a frighted pricket.”
* And as for Gregory's gigantic paynim,” said Fabian, “why he lies yonder in the guard-room the very size, shape and color of a spider in a yew-hedge.'
It is false!” said Gregory; “ Colbrand the Dane was a dwarf to
It is as true,' returned Fabian, as that the Taskar is to be married, on Tuesday, to pretty Margery. Gregory, thy sheet bath brought them between a pair of blankets."
“I care no more for such a gillflirt,” said the jester, “ than I do for thy leasings. Marry, thou hop-o’-nıy-thumb, happy wouldst thou be could thy head reach the captive baron's girdle. By the mass,
*” said Peter Lanaret, “I will have one peep at this burly gallant;' and, leaving the buttery he went to the guard-room where Gaston St. Clere was confined. A man-at-arins, who kept
sentinel on the strong studded door of the apartment, said he be lieved he slept; for that, after raging, stamping, and uttering the most horrid imprecations, he had been of late perfectly still. The Falconer gently drew back a sliding board, of a foot square, toward the top of the door, which covered a hole of the same size, strongly latticed, through which the warder, without opening the door, could look in upon his prisoner. From this aperture he beheld the wretched Gaston suspended by the neck, by his own girdle, to an iron ring in the side of his prison. He had clambered to it by means of the table on which his food had been placed; and, in the agonies of shame and disappointed malice, had adopted this mode of ridding himself of a wretched life. He was found yet warm, but totally lifeless. A proper account of the manner of his death was drawn up and certified. He was buried that evening, in the chapel of the castle, out of respect to his high birth; and the chaplain of Fitzallen of Marden, who said the service upon the occasion, preached, the next Sunday, an excellent sermon upon the text, Radiž mulorum est cupiditas, which we have here transcribed.
[Here the manuscript, from which we have painfully transcribed, and frequently, as it were, translated this tale, for the reader's edifi cation, is so indistinct and detaced that, excepting certain how beits, nathlesses, lo ye’s! etc., we can pick out little that is intelligible, saving that avarice is defined a likourishness of heart after earthly things.” A little further, there seems to have been a gay account of Margery's wedding with Ralph the T'askar; the running at the quintain, and other rural games practiced on the occasion. There are also fragments of a mock sermon preached by Gregory upon that occasion, as for example:
My dear cursed caitiffs, there was once a king, and he wedded a young old queen, and she had a child; and this child was sent to Solomon the Sage, praying he would give it the same blessing which he got from the Witch of Endor when she bit him by the heel. Hereof speaks the worthy Dr. Radigundus Potator; why should not mass be said for all the roasted shoe soles served up in the king's dish on Saturday; for true it is that St. Peter asked father Adam, as they journeyed to Camelot, an bigh, great, and doubtful question, ‘Adam, Adam, why eated’st thou the apple without
With much goodly gibberish to the game effect; which display of
* This tirade of gibberish is literally taken or selected from a mock discourse pronounced by a professed jester which occurs in an ancient manuscript in the Advocates' Library, the same from which the late ingenious Mr. Weber published the curious comic romance of the Hunting of the Hare. It was introduced in compliance with Mr. Strutt's plan of rendering his tale an illustration of ancient manners. A similar burlesque sermon is pronounced by the Fool in Sir David Lindesay's satire of the Three Estates. The nonsense and yulgar burlesque of that composition illustrate the ground of Sir Andrew Aguecheek's eulogy on the exploits of the jester in Twelfth Night, who, reserving his sharper jests for Sir Toby, had doubtless enough of the
jargon of his calling to captivate the imbecility of his brother knight, who is made to exclaim-In sooth, thou wast in very gracious fooling last night, when thou spokest of Pigrogremitus, and of the vapors passing the equinoctials of Quenbus; 'twas very good, 1' faith!" It is entertaining to find commentators seeking to dicover some meaning in the professional jargon of such a passsage as this.
Gregory's ready wit not only threw the whole company into convulsions of laughter, but made such an impression on Rose, the Potter's daughter, that it was thought it would be the jester's own fault if Jack was long without his Jill. Much pithy matter, concerning the bringing the bride to bed—the loosening the bridegroom's points - the scramble which ensued for them and the casting of the stocking, is alsu omitted from its obscurity.
The following song, which has been since borrowed by the worshipful author of the famous History of Fryar Bacon,” has been with difficulty deciphered. It seems to have been sung on occasion of carrying home the bride.
“ BRIDAL SONG.
The morrow after a wedding day,
And away to Tewin, away, away!
'Tis pity old customs should ever decay;
For he carried no credit away, away.
We set them a cockhorse, and made them play
And away to Tewin, away, away!
That would go to the plow that day;
And away to Tewin, away, away!
The maidens did make the chamber full gay!
And I did carry't away, away.
That he was persuaded that the ground look'd blow,
Such smiths as he there's but a few.
“A posset was made, and the women did sip,
And simpering said, they could eat no more;
But what our fair readers chiefly regret is the loss of three declarations of love; the first by St. Clere to Matilda; which, with the lady's answer, occupies fifteen closely written pages of manuscript. That of Fiizosborne to Emma is not much shorter; but the amours of Fitzallen and Eleanor, being of a less romantic cast, are closed in three pages only. The three noble couples were married in Queen Hoo Hall upon the same day, beng the twentieth Sunday after Easter. There is a prolix account of the marriage feast, of which we can pick out the names of a few dishes, such as peterel, crane, sturgeon, swan, etc., etc., with a profusion of wild-fowl and veni.
We also see that a suitable song was produced by Peretto on
the occasion; and that the bishop, who blessed the bridal beds which received the happy couples, was no wiggard of his holy water, bestowing balf a gallon upon each of the couches. We regret we can not give these curiosities to the reader in detail, but we hope to expose the manuscript to abler antiquaries, so soon as it shall be framed and glazed by the ingenious artist who rendered that service to Mr. Irelanıl's Shakespeare MSS. And so (being uvable to lay aside the style to which our pen is habituated), gentle reader, we bid theo heartily farewell.)
ANECDOTE OF SCHOOLDAYS. UPON WHICH MR. THOMAS SCOTT PROPOSED TO FOUND A TAL.
OF FICTION. It is well known in the South that there is little or no boxing at the Scottish schools. Ahout forty or fifty years ago, however, a far more dangerous mode of fighting, in parties or factions, was per. mitted in the streets of Edinburgh, to the great disgrace of the police, and davger of the parties concerned. These parties were generally formed from the quarters of the town in which the com. batants resided, those of a particular square or district fighting against those of an adjoining one. Hence it happened that the children of the higher classes were often pitted against those of the Jower, each taking their side according to the residence of their friends. So far as I recollect, however, it was unmingled either with feelings of democracy or aristocracy, or indeed with malice or illwill of any kind toward the opposite party. In fact, it was only a rough mode of play. Such contests were, however, maintained with great vigor with stones, and sticks, and fisticuffs, when one party dared to charge, and the other stood their ground. Of course, mischief sometimes happened; boys are said to have been killed at these Bickers, as they were called, and serious accidents certainly took place, as many conteniporaries can bear witness.
The author's tai her residing in George Square, in the southern side of Edinburgh, the boys belonging to that family, with others in the square, were arranged into a sort of company, to which a lady of distinction presented a handsome set of colore. Now this company, or regiment, as a matter of course, was engaged in weekly warfare with the boys inhabiting the Crosscauseway, Bristo Street, the Potter Row-in short, the neighboring suburbs. These last were chiefly of the lower rank, but hardy loons, who threw stones to a hair's breadth, and were very rugged antagonists at close quarters. The skirmish sometimes lasted for a whole evening, until one party or the other was victorious, when, if ours were successful, we drove the enemy to their quarters, and were usually chased back by the re-enforcement of bigger lads who came to their asistance. If, on the contrary, we were pursued, as was often the case, into the precincts of our square, we were in our turn supported by our elder brothers, domestic servants, and similar auxiliaries.
It followed, from our frequent opposition to each other, that