Part 2 out of 4
"That, Sir Giles, I leave competent authority to decide," Lord Roos
And as he withdrew, the curtains before the upper table were entirely
withdrawn, disclosing the whole of the brilliant assemblage, and at the
head of them one person far more brilliant and distinguished than the
"Buckingham!" Sir Giles exclaimed. "I thought I knew the voice."
It was, indeed, the King's omnipotent favourite. Magnificently attired,
the Marquis of Buckingham as far outshone his companions in splendour of
habiliments as he did in stateliness of carriage and beauty of person.
Rising from the table, and donning his plumed hat, looped with diamonds,
with a gesture worthy of a monarch, while all the rest remained
uncovered, as if in recognition of his superior dignity, he descended to
where Sir Giles Mompesson was standing. It need scarcely be said that
Jocelyn Mounchensey had never seen the superb favourite before; but he
did not require to be told whom he beheld, so perfectly did Buckingham
realize the descriptions given of him. A little above the ordinary
height, with a figure of the most perfect symmetry, and features as
aristocratic and haughty as handsome, it was impossible to conceive a
prouder or a nobler-looking personage than the marquis. His costume was
splendid, consisting of a doublet of white cut velvet, roped with
pearls, which fitted him to admiration. Over his shoulders he wore a
mantle of watchet-coloured velvet; his neck was encircled by a falling
band; and silken hose of the same colour as the doublet completed his
costume. His deportment was singularly dignified; but his manner might
have conciliated more if it had been less imperious and disdainful.
Sir Giles made a profound obeisance as Buckingham advanced towards him.
His salutation was haughtily returned.
"I have heard something of your mode of proceeding with the keepers of
taverns and hostels, Sir Giles," the proud marquis said; "but this is
the first occasion on which I have seen it put in practice,--and I am
free to confess that you deal not over gently with them, if the present
may be considered a specimen of your ordinary conduct. Those
letters-patent were not confided to you by his Majesty to distress his
subjects, for your own particular advantage and profit, but to benefit
the community by keeping such places of entertainment in better order
than heretofore. I fear you have somewhat abused your warrant, Sir
"If to devote myself, heart and soul, to his Majesty's service, and to
enrich his Majesty's exchequer be to abuse my warrant, I have done so,
my lord Marquis,--but not otherwise. I have ever vindicated the dignity
and authority of the Crown. You have just heard that, though my own just
claims have been defeated by the inadvertence of my co-patentee, I have
advanced those of the King."
"The King relinquishes all claims in the present case," Buckingham
replied. "His gracious Majesty gave me full discretion in the matter,
and I act as I know he himself would have acted."
And waving his hand to signify that he would listen to no remonstrances,
the Marquis turned to Madame Bonaventure, who instantly prostrated
herself before him, as she would have done before royalty itself, warmly
thanking him for his protection.
"You must thank my Lord Roos, and not me, Madame," Buckingham graciously
replied, raising her as he spoke. "It was at his lordship's instance I
came here. He takes a warm interest in you, Madame."
"I shall ever be beholden to his lordship, I am sure," Madame
Bonaventure said, casting down her eyes and blushing, or feigning to
blush, "as well as to you, Monseigneur."
"My Lord Roos avouched," pursued Buckingham, "that at the Three Cranes I
should find the prettiest hostess and the best wine in London; and on my
faith as a gentleman! I must say he was wrong in neither particular.
Brighter eyes I have never beheld--rarer claret I have never drunk."
"Oh, Monseigneur! you quite overwhelm me. My poor house can scarcely
hope to be honoured a second time with such a presence; but should it so
"You will give me as good welcome as you have done to-day. No lack of
inducement to repeat the visit. Sir Giles Mompesson!"
"My lord Marquis."
"I lay my commands upon you, good Sir Giles, that no further molestation
be offered to Madame Bonaventure, but that you give a good report of her
house. Withdraw your followers without delay."
"Your commands shall be obeyed, my lord Marquis," Sir Giles rejoined;
"but before I go I have an arrest to make. That young man," pointing to
Jocelyn, "has been talking treason."
"It is false, my lord Marquis," Jocelyn replied. "His Majesty hath not a
more loyal subject than myself. I would cut out my tongue rather than
speak against him. I have said the King is ill served in such officers
as Giles Mompesson and Sir Francis Mitchell, and I abide by my words.
They can reflect no dishonour on his Majesty."
"Save that they seem to imply a belief on your part that his Majesty has
chosen his officers badly," Buckingham said, regarding the young man
"Not so, my lord Marquis, These men may have been favourably represented
to his Majesty, who no doubt has been kept in ignorance of their
"What are you driving at, Sir?" Buckingham cried, almost fiercely.
"I mean, my lord Marquis, that these persons may be the creatures of
some powerful noble, whose interest it is to throw a cloak over their
"'Fore heaven! some covert insult would seem to be intended," exclaimed
Buckingham. "Who is this young man, Sir Giles?"
"He is named Jocelyn Mounchensey, my lord Marquis; and is the son of an
old Norfolk knight baronet, who, you may remember, was arraigned before
the Court of Star-Chamber, heavily fined, and imprisoned."
"I do remember the case, and the share you and Sir Francis had in it,
Sir Giles," Buckingham rejoined.
"I am right glad to hear that, my lord," said Jocelyn. "You will not
then wonder that I avow myself their mortal enemy."
"We laugh to scorn these idle vapourings," said Sir Giles; "and were it
permitted," he added, touching his sword, "I myself would find an easy
way to silence them. But the froward youth, whose brains seem crazed
with his fancied wrongs, is not content with railing against us, but
must needs lift up his voice against all constituted authority. He hath
spoken contemptuously of the Star-Chamber,--and that, my lord Marquis,
as you well know, is an offence, which cannot be passed over."
"I am sorry for it," Buckingham rejoined; "but if he will retract what
he has said, and express compunction, with promise of amendment in
future, I will exert my influence to have him held harmless."
"I will never retract what I have said against that iniquitous
tribunal," Jocelyn rejoined firmly. "I will rather die a martyr, as my
father did, in the cause of truth."
"Your kindness is altogether thrown away upon him, my lord," Sir Giles
said, with secret satisfaction.
"So I perceive," Buckingham rejoined. "Our business is over," he added,
to the nobles and gallants around him; "so we may to our barges. You, my
lord," he added to Lord Roos, "will doubtless tarry to receive the
thanks of our pretty hostess."
And graciously saluting Madame Bonaventure, he quitted the tavern
accompanied by a large train, and entering his barge amid the
acclamations of the spectators, was rowed towards Whitehall.
The 'prentices and their leader.
While the Marquis of Buckingham and his suite were moving towards the
wharf, amid the acclamations of the crowd (for in the early part of his
brilliant career the haughty favourite was extremely popular with the
multitude, probably owing to the princely largesses he was in the habit
of distributing among them), a very different reception awaited those
who succeeded him. The hurrahs and other vociferations of delight and
enthusiasm were changed into groans, hootings, and discordant yells,
when Sir Francis Mitchell came in sight, supported between two stout
myrmidons, and scarcely able to maintain his perpendicular as he was
borne by them towards the wherry in waiting for him near the stairs.
Though the knight was escorted by Captain Bludder and his Alsatian
bullies, several of the crowd did not seem disposed to confine
themselves to jeers and derisive shouts, but menaced him with some rough
usage. Planting themselves in his path, they shook their fists in his
face, with other gestures of defiance and indignity, and could only be
removed by force. Captain Bludder and his roaring blades assumed their
fiercest looks, swore their loudest oaths, twisted their shaggy
moustaches, and tapped their rapier-hilts; but they prudently forbore to
draw their weapons, well knowing that the proceeding would be a signal
for a brawl, and that the cry of "Clubs!" would be instantly raised.
Amongst the foremost of those who thus obstructed Sir Francis and his
party was a young man with a lithe active figure, bright black eyes,
full of liveliness and malice, an olive complexion, and a gipsy-like
cast of countenance. Attired in a tight-fitting brown frieze jerkin with
stone buttons, and purple hose, his head was covered with a montero cap,
with a cock's feather stuck in it. He was armed neither with sword nor
dagger, but carried a large cudgel or club, the well-known and
formidable weapon, of the London 'prentices, in the use of which,
whether as a quarterstaff or missile, they were remarkably expert. Even
a skilful swordsman stood but poor chance with them. Besides this
saucy-looking personage, who was addressed as Dick Taverner by his
comrades, there were many others, who, to judge from their habiliments
and their cudgels, belonged to the same fraternity as himself; that is
to say, they were apprentices to grocers, drapers, haberdashers,
skinners, ironmongers, vintners, or other respectable artificers or
Now Dick Taverner had an especial grudge against our two extortioners,
for though he himself, being 'prentice to a bookseller in Paul's
Churchyard, had little concern with them, he was the son of an
inn-keeper--Simon Taverner, of the Emperor's Head, Garlick Hill--who had
been recently mined by their exactions, his licence taken from him, and
his house closed: enough to provoke a less mettlesome spark than Dick,
who had vowed to revenge the parental injuries on the first opportunity.
The occasion now seemed to present itself, and it was not to be lost.
Chancing to be playing at bowls in the alley behind the Three Cranes
with some of his comrades on the day in question, Dick learnt from
Cyprien what was going forward, and the party resolved to have their
share in the sport. If needful, they promised the drawer to rescue his
mistress from the clutches of her antagonists, and to drive them from
the premises. But their services in this respect were not required. They
next decided on giving Sir Francis Mitchell a sound ducking in the
Their measures were quickly and warily taken. Issuing from an arched
doorway at the side of the tavern, they stationed some of their number
near it, while the main party posted themselves at the principal
entrance in front. Scouts were planted inside, to communicate with
Cyprien, and messengers were despatched to cry "Clubs!" and summon the
neighbouring 'prentices from Queenhithe, Thames Street, Trinity Lane,
Old Fish Street, and Dowgate Hill; so that fresh auxiliaries were
constantly arriving. Buckingham, with the young nobles and gallants,
were, of course, allowed to pass free, and were loudly cheered; but the
'prentices soon ascertained from their scouts that Sir Francis was
coming forth, and made ready for him.
Utterly unconscious of his danger, the inebriate knight replied to the
gibes, scoffs, and menaces addressed to him, by snapping his fingers in
his opponents' faces, and irritating them in their turn; but if he was
insensible of the risk he ran, those around him were not, and his two
supporters endeavoured to hurry him forward. Violently resisting their
efforts, he tried to shake them off, and more than once stood
stock-still, until compelled to go on. Arrived at the stairhead, he next
refused to embark, and a scene of violent altercation ensued between him
and his attendants. Many boats were moored off the shore, with a couple
of barges close at hand; and the watermen and oarsmen standing up in
their craft, listened to what was going forward with much apparent
Hastily descending the steps, Captain Bludder placed himself near the
wherry intended for the knight, and called to the others to make short
work of it and bring him down. At this juncture the word was given by
Dick Taverner, who acted as leader, and in less than two minutes, Sir
Francis was transferred from the hands of his myrmidons to those of the
'prentices. To accomplish this, a vigorous application of cudgels was
required, and some broken pates were the consequence of resistance; but
the attack was perfectly successful; the myrmidons and Alsatians were
routed, and the 'prentices remained masters of the field, and captors of
a prisoner. Stupefied with rage and astonishment, Captain Bludder looked
on; at one moment thinking of drawing his sword, and joining the fray;
but the next, perceiving that his men were evidently worsted, he decided
upon making off; and with this view he was about to jump into the
wherry, when his purpose was prevented by Dick Taverner, and a few
others of the most active of his companions, who dashed down the steps
to where he stood. The captain had already got one foot in the wherry,
and the watermen, equally alarmed with himself, were trying to push off,
when the invaders came up, and, springing into the boat, took possession
of the oars, sending Bludder floundering into the Thames, where he sunk
up to the shoulders, and stuck fast in the mud, roaring piteously for
Scarcely were the 'prentices seated, than Sir Francis Mitchell was
brought down to them, and the poor knight, beginning to comprehend the
jeopardy in which he was placed, roared for help as lustily as the
half-drowned Alsatian captain, and quite as ineffectually. The latter
was left to shift for himself, but the former was rowed out some twenty
or thirty yards from the shore, where, a stout cord being fastened to
his girdle, he was plunged head-foremost into the river; and after
being thrice drawn up, and as often submerged again, he was dragged on
board, and left to shiver and shake in his dripping habiliments in the
stern of the boat. The bath had completely sobered him, and he bitterly
bemoaned himself, declaring that if he did not catch his death of cold
he should be plagued with cramps and rheumatism during the rest of his
days. He did not dare to utter any threats against his persecutors, but
he internally vowed to be revenged upon them--cost what it might. The
'prentices laughed at his complaints, and Dick Taverner told him--"that
as he liked not cold water, he should have spared them their ale and
wine; but, as he had meddled with their liquors, and with those who sold
them, they had given him a taste of a different beverage, which they
should provide, free of cost, for all those who interfered with their
enjoyments, and the rights of the public." Dick added, "that his last
sousing was in requital for the stoppage of the Emperor's Head, and
that, with his own free will, he would have left him under the water,
with a stone round his neck."
This measure of retributive justice accomplished, the 'prentices and
their leader made for the stairs, where they landed, after telling the
watermen to row their fare to the point nearest his lodgings; an order
which was seconded by Sir Francis himself, who was apprehensive of
further outrage. Neither would he tarry to take in Captain Bludder,
though earnestly implored to do so by that personage, who, having in his
struggles sunk deeper into the oozy bed, could now only just keep his
bearded chin and mouth above the level of the tide. Taking compassion
upon him, Dick Taverner threw him an oar, and, instantly grasping it,
the Alsatian was in this way dragged ashore; presenting a very woful
spectacle, his nether limbs being covered with slime, while the moisture
poured from his garments, as it would from the coat of a water-spaniel.
His hat had floated down the stream, and he had left one boot sticking
in the mud, while his buff jerkin, saturated with wet, clung to his skin
like a damp glove.
Leaving him to wring his cloak and dry his habiliments in the best way
he could, the leader of the 'prentices collected together his forces,
and, disposing them in something like military array, placed himself at
their head, and marched towards the tavern, where they set up a great
shout. Hitherto they had met with no interruption whatever. On the
contrary, the watermen, bargemen, and others, had cheered them on in
their work of mischief; and the crowd on shore appeared rather friendly
to them than otherwise. Flushed with success, the riotous youths seemed
well disposed to carry their work of retribution to extremities, and to
inflict some punishment upon Sir Giles proportionate to his enormities.
Having ascertained, from their scouts, that no one connected with the
usurious knight had come forth, they felt quite secure of their prey,
and were organising a plan of attack, when intelligence was brought by a
scout that a great disturbance was going on inside, in consequence of a
young gentleman having been arrested by Sir Giles and his crew, and that
their presence was instantly required by Madame Bonaventure.
On hearing this, Dick Taverner shouted--"To the rescue! to the rescue!"
and rushed into the house, followed by the 'prentices, who loudly echoed
"_Par ici, Messieurs! Par ici!_--this way, this way!" vociferated
Cyprien, who met them in the passage--"the bowling-alley--there they
But the Gascon's directions were scarcely needed. The clashing of swords
would have served to guide the 'prentices to the scene of conflict.
When Jocelyn Mounchensey called for his reckoning, Madame Bonaventure
took him aside, showing, by her looks, that she had something important
to communicate to him, and began by telling him he was heartily welcome
to all he had partaken of at her ordinary, adding that she considered
herself very greatly his debtor for the gallantry and zeal he had
displayed in her behalf.
"Not that I was in any real peril, my fair young Sir," she continued,
"though I feigned to be so, for I have powerful protectors, as you
perceive; and indeed this was all a preconcerted scheme between my Lord
Roos and his noble friends to turn the tables on the two extortioners.
But that does not lessen my gratitude to you; and I shall try to prove
it. You are in more danger than, perchance, you wot of; and I feel quite
sure Sir Giles means to carry his threat into execution, and to cause
Seeing him smile disdainfully, as if he had no apprehensions, she added,
somewhat quickly--"What will your bravery avail against so many, _mon
beau gentilhomme? Mon Dieu_! nothing. No! no! I must get you
assistance. Luckily I have some friends at hand, the 'prentices--_grands
et forts gaillards, avec des estocs;_--Cyprien has told me they are
here. Most certainly they will take your part. So, Sir Giles shall not
carry you off, after all."
Jocelyn's lips again curled with the same disdainful smile as before.
"_Ah I vous etes trop temeraire!"_ Madame Bonaventure cried, tapping his
arm. "Sit down here for awhile. I will give you the signal when you may
depart with safety. Do not attempt to stir till then. You understand?"
Jocelyn did not understand very clearly; but without making any
observation to the contrary, he took the seat pointed out to him. The
position was well-chosen, inasmuch as it enabled him to command the
movements of the foe, and offered him a retreat through a side-door,
close at hand; though he was naturally quite ignorant whither the outlet
might conduct him.
While this was passing, Sir Giles was engaged in giving directions
respecting his partner, whose inebriate condition greatly scandalized
him; and it was in pursuance of his orders that Sir Francis was
transported to the wharf where the misadventure before related befel
him. Never for a moment did Sir Giles' watchful eye quit Jocelyn, upon
whom he was ready to pounce like a tiger, if the young man made any
movement to depart; and he only waited till the tavern should be clear
of company to effect the seizure.
Meanwhile another person approached the young man. This was the friendly
stranger in the furred gown and flat cap, who had sat next him at
dinner, and who, it appeared, was not willing to abandon him in his
difficulties. Addressing him with much kindness, the worthy personage
informed him that he was a bookseller, named John Wolfe, and carried on
business at the sign of the Bible and Crown in Paul's Churchyard, where
he should be glad to see the young man, whenever he was free to call
"But I cannot disguise from you, Master Jocelyn Mounchensey--for your
dispute with Sir Francis Mitchell has acquainted me with your name,"
John Wolfe said--"that your rashness has placed you in imminent peril;
so that there is but little chance for the present of my showing you the
hospitality and kindness I desire. Sir Giles seems to hover over you as
a rapacious vulture might do before making his swoop. Heaven shield you
from his talons! And now, my good young Sir, accept one piece of caution
from me, which my years and kindly feelings towards you entitle me to
make. An you 'scape this danger, as I trust you may, let it be a lesson
to you to put a guard upon your tongue, and not suffer it to out-run
your judgment. You are much too rash and impetuous, and by your folly
(nay, do not quarrel with me, my young friend--I can give no milder
appellation to your conduct) have placed yourself in the power of your
enemies. Not only have you provoked Sir Francis Mitchell, whose malice
is more easily aroused than appeased, but you have defied Sir Giles
Mompesson, who is equally implacable in his enmities; and as if two such
enemies were not enough, you must needs make a third, yet more dangerous
"How so, good Master Wolfe?" Jocelyn cried. "To whom do you refer?"
"To whom should I refer, Master Jocelyn," Wolfe rejoined, "but to my
lord of Buckingham, whom you wantonly insulted? For the latter
indiscretion there can be no excuse, whatever there may be for the
former; and it was simple madness to affront a nobleman of his exalted
rank, second only in authority to the King himself."
"But how have I offended the Marquis?" demanded Jocelyn, surprised.
"Is it possible you can have spoken at random, and without knowledge of
the force of your own words?" John Wolfe rejoined, looking hard at him.
"It may be so, for you are plainly ignorant of the world. Well, then,"
he added, lowering his tone, "when you said that these two abominable
extortioners were the creatures of some great man, who glozed over their
villainous practices to the King, and gave a better account of them than
they deserve, you were nearer the truth than you imagined; but it could
hardly be agreeable to the Marquis to be told this to his face, since it
is notorious to all (except to yourself) that he is the man."
"Heavens!" exclaimed Jocelyn, "I now see the error I have committed."
"A grave error indeed," rejoined Wolfe, shaking his head, "and most
difficult to be repaired--for the plea of ignorance, though it may
suffice with me, will scarcely avail you with the Marquis. Indeed, it
can never be urged, since he disowns any connection with these men; and
it is suspected that his half-brother, Sir Edward Villiers, goes between
them in all their secret transactions. Of this, however, I know nothing
personally, and only tell you what I have heard. But if it were not
almost treasonable to say it, I might add, that his Majesty is far too
careless of the means whereby his exchequer is enriched, and his
favourites gratified; and, at all events, suffers himself to be too
easily imposed upon. Hence all these patents and monopolies under which
we groan. The favourites _must_ have money; and as the King has little
to give them, they raise as much as they please on the credit of his
name. Thus everything is _sold_; places, posts, titles, all have their
price--bribery and corruption reign everywhere. The lord-keeper pays a
pension to the Marquis--so doth the attorney-general--and simony is
openly practised; for the Bishop of Salisbury paid him L3,500 for his
bishopric. But this is not the worst of it. Is it not terrible to think
of a proud nobleman, clothed almost with supreme authority, being
secretly leagued with sordid wretches, whose practices he openly
discountenances and contemns, and receiving share of their spoil? Is it
not yet more terrible to reflect that the royal coffers are in some
degree supplied by similar means?"
"'Tis enough to drive an honest man distracted," Jocelyn said, "and you
cannot wonder at my indignation, though you may blame my want of
caution. I have said nothing half so strong as you have just uttered,
"Ah! but, my good young Sir, I do not publicly proclaim my opinions as
you do. My lord of Buckingham's name must no more be called in question
than his Majesty's. To associate the Marquis's name with those of his
known instruments were to give him mortal offence. Even to hint at such
a connection is sufficient to provoke his displeasure! But enough of
this. My purpose is not to lecture you, but to befriend you. Tell me
frankly, my good young Sir--and be not offended with the offer--will my
purse be useful to you? If so, 'tis freely at your service; and it may
help you in your present emergency--for though there is not enough in it
to bribe the master to forego his purpose against you, there is amply
sufficient to procure your liberation, privily, from the men."
"I thank you heartily, good Master Wolfe, and believe me, I am not
withheld by false pride from accepting your offer," Jocelyn replied;
"but I must trust to my own arm to maintain my liberty, and to my own
address to regain it, if I be taken. Again, I thank you, Sir."
"I grieve that I cannot lend you other aid," John Wolfe replied, looking
compassionately at him; "but my peaceful avocations do not permit me to
take any part in personal conflicts, and I am loath to be mixed up in
such disturbances. Nevertheless, I do not like to stand by, and see
"Concern yourself no more about me, worthy Sir," interrupted Jocelyn.
"Perhaps I shall not be molested, and if I should be, I am well able to
take care of myself. Let those who assail me bear the consequences."
But John Wolfe still lingered. "If some of my apprentices were only
here," he said, "and especially that riotous rogue, Dick Taverner,
something might be done to help you effectually.--Ha! what is that
uproar?" as a tumultuous noise, mixed with the cries of "Clubs!--Clubs!"
was heard without, coming from the direction of the wharf. "As I live!
the 'prentices _are_ out, and engaged in some mischievous work, and it
will be strange if Dick Taverner be not among them. I will see what they
are about." And as he spoke he hurried to the oriel window which looked
out upon the wharf, exclaiming--"Ay, ay,--'t is as I thought. Dick _is_
among them, and at their head. 'Fore heaven! they are attacking those
ruffianly braggarts from Whitefriars, and are laying about them lustily
with their cudgels. Ha! what is this I see? The Alsatians and the
myrmidons are routed, and the brave lads have captured Sir Francis
Mitchell. What are they about to do with him? I must go forth and see."
His purpose, however, was prevented by a sudden movement on the part of
Sir Giles and his attendants. They came in the direction of Jocelyn
Mounchensey, with the evident intention of seizing the young man.
Jocelyn instantly sprang to his feet, drew his sword, and put himself in
a posture of defence. The myrmidons prepared to beat down the young
man's blade with their halberds, and secure him, when Jocelyn's cloak
was plucked from behind, and he heard Madame Bonaventure's voice
exclaim--"Come this way!--follow me instantly!"
Thus enjoined, he dashed through the door, which was instantly fastened,
as soon as he had made good his retreat.
The Arrest and the Rescue.
Lupo Vulp had endeavoured to dissuade Sir Giles from putting his design
of arresting Jocelyn into immediate execution; alleging the great risk
he would incur, as well from the resolute character of the young man
himself, who was certain to offer determined resistance, as from the
temper of the company, which, being decidedly adverse to any such step,
might occasion a disturbance that would probably result in the
"In any case, Sir Giles," said the wily scrivener, "let me counsel you
to tarry till the greater part of the guests be gone, and the assemblage
outside dispersed; for I noted many turbulent 'prentices among the mob,
who are sure to be troublesome."
"Since the young man shows no present disposition to quit the house,"
Sir Giles replied, looking askance at Jocelyn, who just then had moved
to another part of the room with Madame Bonaventure, "there is no
urgency; and it may be prudent to pause a few moments, as you suggest,
good Lupo. But I will not suffer him to depart. I perceive, from her
gestures and glances, that our tricksy hostess is plotting some scheme
with him. Plot away, fair mistress; you must have more cunning than I
give you credit for, if you outwit me a second time in the same day. I
can guess what she proposes. You note that side door near them, Lupo?
She is advising the youth's flight that way; and he, like a hair-brained
fool, will not listen to the suggestion. But it will be well to watch
the outlet. Hark ye, Lanyere," he added to the promoter, "take three men
with you, and go round quickly to the passage with which yon door
communicates. Station yourselves near the outlet; and if Mounchensey
comes forth, arrest him instantly. You see the door I mean? About it,
And Lanyere instantly departed with three of the myrmidons.
"I would this arrest could be lawfully effected, Sir Giles," said Lupo
Vulp, "by a serjeant-at-arms or pursuivant. There would then be no risk.
Again I venture to counsel you to proceed regularly. No great delay
would be occasioned, if your worship went to Westminster, and made a
complaint against the young man before the Council. In that case a
messenger of the Court would be despatched to attach his person; and
even if he should quit the house in the meanwhile, Lanyere will keep on
his track. That were the surest course. As to the manner of proceeding,
I conclude it will be by _Ore tenus_. It is not likely that this youth's
headstrong temper, coupled with his fantastic notions of honour, will
permit him to deny your worship's accusation, and therefore his
confession being written down, and subscribed by himself, will be
exhibited against him when he is brought to the bar of the Star-Chamber,
and he will be judged _ex ore suo_. Your worship will make quick work of
"_Cum confitente reo citius est agendum_" replied Sir Giles. "No one
knows better than thou, good Lupo, how promptly and effectually the
court of Star-Chamber will vindicate its authority, and how severely it
will punish those who derogate from its dignity. No part of the sentence
shall be remitted with my consent. This insolent youth shall suffer to
the same extent as Lanyere. Pilloried, branded, mutilated, degraded, he
shall serve as a warning to my enemies."
"Your worship can scarce make him more of a scarecrow than you have made
of Lanyere," Lupo remarked with a grin. "But do you decide on applying
in the first instance to the Council?"
"No," Sir Giles replied, "I will not lose sight of him. He shall not
have a chance of escape. Marked you not, Lupo, how the rash fool
committed himself with Buckingham? And think you the proud Marquis would
hold me blameless, if, by accident, he should get off scot-free, after
such an outrage? But see! the room is well-nigh cleared. Only a few
loiterers remain. The time is come."
And he was about to order the attack, when the disturbance outside
reached his ears, and checked him for a moment. Sir Giles was
considering what could be the cause of the tumult, and hesitating
whether to go forth and support Sir Francis, in case he stood in need of
assistance, when the discomfited myrmidons rushed into the room. A few
words sufficed to explain what had occurred, and indeed the bloody
visages of some of the men showed how roughly they had been handled.
Though greatly exasperated, Sir Giles was determined not to be baulked
of his prey; and fearing Jocelyn might escape in the confusion, which an
attack upon the 'prentices would occasion, he gave the word for his
instant seizure, and rushed towards him, as before related. How he was
baffled has already been told. His wrath knew no bounds when the young
man disappeared. He hurled himself furiously against the door, but it
resisted all his efforts to burst it open. Suddenly the bolt was
withdrawn, and Clement Lanyere and his men stood before him.
"Have you secured him?" Sir Giles demanded, trying to descry the
fugitive among them. "Death and fiends! you have not let him escape?"
"No one has passed us, except Madame Bonaventure," the promoter replied.
"She was wholly unattended, and came in this direction. We were
stationed within yon anti-chamber, which appears to be the sole means of
communication with this passage, and we ought therefore to have
intercepted the young man when he came forth."
"You were not wont to be thus short-sighted, Lanyere. There must be some
other mode of exit, which you have failed to discover," Sir Giles cried
furiously. "Ha! here it is!" he exclaimed, dashing aside a piece of
tapestry that seemed merely hung against the wall, but in reality
concealed a short flight of steps. "Purblind dolts that you are, not to
find this out. You shall answer for your negligence hereafter, if we
take him not."
And, accompanied by the troop, he hurried down the steps, which brought
him to a lower room, communicating on one hand with a small court, and,
on the other, with the kitchen and offices attached to the tavern.
Directing Lanyere to search the latter, Sir Giles rushed into the court,
and uttered a shout of savage joy on perceiving Jocelyn, sword in hand,
scaling a wall which separated the court from the bowling-green.
Some difficulty, it appeared, had occurred to the hostess in forcing
open a private door in the yard leading to the green, which being rarely
used (for the principal entrance was situated elsewhere), its fastenings
were rusty, and refused to act. This delay favoured the pursuers; and on
hearing their approach, Jocelyn strove to effect his retreat in the
But Sir Giles was further served, though unintentionally, by Madame
Bonaventure, who succeeded in drawing back the rusty bolt at the very
moment he came up; and no impediment now existing, the knight thrust her
rudely aside, and sprang through the doorway just as Jocelyn leaped from
Disregarding Sir Giles's summons to surrender, the young man hurried on
till he reached the middle of the bowling-green, where, finding flight
impossible, as there was no apparent outlet at the further end of the
garden, while it was certain that the tipstaves would pluck him from the
wall with their hooks if he attempted to clamber over it, he turned, and
stood upon his defence.
Willing to have the credit of disarming him unaided, and confident in
his own superior strength and skill, Sir Giles signed to his myrmidons
to stand back, while he alone advanced towards the young man. A turn in
his strong wrist would, he imagined, suffice to accomplish his purpose.
But he found out his error the moment he engaged with his opponent. In
dexterity and force the latter was fully his match, while in nimbleness
of body Jocelyn surpassed him. The deadly glances thrown at him by the
young man showed that the animosity of the latter would only be
satisfied with blood. Changing his purpose, therefore, Sir Giles, in
place of attempting to cross his antagonist's sword, rapidly disengaged
his point, and delivered a stoccata, or in modern terms of fence, a
thrust in carte, over the arm, which was instantly parried. For some
minutes the conflict continued without material success on either side.
Holding his rapier short, with the point towards his adversary's face,
Jocelyn retreated a few paces at first, but then, charging in turn,
speedily won back his ground. Stoccatas, imbroccatas, drittas,
mandrittas, and riversas were exchanged between them in a manner that
delighted the myrmidons, most of whom were amateurs of sword-play.
Infuriated by the unexpected resistance he encountered, Sir Giles, at
length, resolved to terminate the fight; and, finding his antagonist
constantly upon some sure ward, endeavoured to reach him with a half
incartata; but instantly shifting his body with marvellous dexterity,
Jocelyn struck down the other's blade, and replied with a straight
thrust, which must infallibly have taken effect, if his rapier had not
been beaten from his grasp by Clement Lanyere at the very moment it
touched his adversary's breast. At the same time the young man's arms
were grasped from behind by two of the myrmidons, and he lay at his
Sir Giles, however, sheathed his rapier, saying, with a grim smile,
"that he did not mean to deprive himself of the satisfaction of seeing
his foe stand in the pillory, and submit to the sworn torturer's knife;"
adding, "it was somewhat strange that one who could guard his body so
well, should keep such indifferent watch over his tongue."
Jocelyn made no reply to the sarcasm, and the knight was preparing to
depart with his followers, when a loud and tumultuous uproar proclaimed
the approach of the apprentices. The posse of victorious youths made
their way to the bowling-green by the principal entrance, situated, as
before mentioned, at a different point from the door by which the others
had gained it. More apprehensive of losing his prisoner, than concerned
for his personal safety (for though the aggressive party greatly
exceeded his own in numbers, he knew well how to deal with them, being
accustomed to such encounters), Sir Giles gave some orders respecting
Jocelyn to Clement Lanyere, and then prepared to resist the onslaught,
by causing his band to form a solid square; those armed with bills and
staves being placed in the foremost ranks. This disposition being
quickly made, he drew his sword, and in a loud authoritative tone
commanded the apprentices to stand back. Such was the effect produced by
his voice, and the terrors of his countenance, which seldom failed to
strike awe into beholders, that the intending rescuers came to a halt,
and showed some hesitation in engaging him.
"What means this disturbance?" thundered Sir Giles; "and why do you
offer to molest me in the execution of my duty? Know you not that
assemblages like yours are unlawful, and that you are liable to severe
punishment, unless you immediately disperse yourselves, and peaceably
depart to your own habitations? About your business, I say, and trouble
me no longer! But first, I command you to deliver up your ringleaders,
and especially those who, as I am told, have perpetrated the gross
outrage and violence upon the person of Sir Francis Mitchell. An example
shall be made of them."
"You waste your breath, Sir Giles, and your big words will avail you
nothing with us," Dick Taverner replied. "Now hear me in return. We, the
bold and loyal 'prentices of London, who serve our masters and our
masters' master, the king's highness, well and truly, will not allow an
unlawful arrest to be made by you or by any other man. And we command
you peaceably to deliver up your prisoner to us; or, by the rood! we
will take him forcibly from your hands!"
"Out, insolent fellow!" cried Sir Giles; "thou wilt alter thy tune when
thou art scourged at the cart's-tail."
"You must catch me first, Sir Giles," replied Dick; "and two words will
go to that. We have read Sir Francis Mitchell a lesson he is not likely
to forget; and we will read you one, an you provoke us. We have a few
old scores to wipe off."
"Ay, marry! have we," cried an embroiderer's apprentice;
"these extortioners have ruined my master's trade by their
"Hundreds of worthy men have been thrown out of employment by their
practices," said a vintner's 'prentice. "We sell not half the wine we
used to do. And no wonder! seeing two-thirds of the inns in London are
"The brewers will be all ruined," said a burly 'prentice, with a wooden
shovel over his shoulder; "since every day a fresh ale-house is closed;
and no new licences are granted. Murrain seize all such monopolists!
They are worse than the fly in hops, or smut in barley."
"Ay, plague take 'em!" exclaimed Dick Taverner. "They are as bad as the
locusts of Egypt. When they have devoured the substance of one set of
tradesfolk they will commence upon that of another. No one is safe from
them. It will be your turn next, Master Mercer. Yours after him, Master
Ironmonger, however hard of digestion may be your wares. You will come
third, Master Fishmonger. You fourth, Master Grocer. And when they are
surfeited with spiceries and fish, they will fall upon you, tooth and
nail, Master Goldsmith."
"I trow not," cried the apprentice last appealed to. "Our masters are
too rich and too powerful to submit to such usage."
"The very reason they will undergo it," replied Dick. "Their riches are
only a temptation to plunder. I repeat, no man is safe from these
extortioners. Since the law will not give us redress, and put them down,
we must take the law into our own hands. They shall have Club Law."
"Ay, ay--'Prentices' law--Club law!" chorussed the others.
"Sir Giles will make a Star-Chamber matter of it. He will have us up
before the Council," laughed the goldsmith's 'prentice.
"He will buy a monopoly of cudgels to deprive us of their use," cried a
"We will bestow that patent upon him gratis," quoth Dick, making his
staff whistle round his head.
"The prisoner!--gentlemen 'prentices--do not forget him!" cried Cyprien,
who, with two other serving-men and the cook, had joined the assailing
party. "Madame Bonaventure implores you to effect his rescue."
"And so we will, my jovial Gascon," replied Dick. "Come, Sir Giles! are
we to have the young gentleman from you by force or free-will?"
"You shall have him in neither way, sirrah," the knight rejoined. "You,
yourself, shall bear him company in the Fleet. Upon them, my men, and
make for the door!"
And as the command was given, he and his troop made a sudden dash upon
the 'prentices, who, unable to stand against the bills levelled against
their breasts, gave way. Still, the gallant youths were by no means
routed. Instantly closing upon their opponents, and being quite as
nimble of foot as they, they contrived to cut off their retreat from the
garden; and a sharp conflict took place between the parties, as they
came to close quarters near the entrance. Three of the myrmidons were
felled by Dick Taverner's cudgel; and at last, watching his opportunity,
with both hands he launched a bowl which he had picked up at Sir Giles's
head. If the missile had taken effect, the fight would have been over;
but the knight avoided the blow by stooping down, and the bowl, passing
over him, hit Lupo Vulp full in the stomach, and brought him to the
ground deprived of breath. Meanwhile, Sir Giles, springing quickly
forward, pinned the apprentice against the wall with his rapier's point.
"I have thee at last, knave," he cried, seizing Dick by the collar, and
delivering him to the custody of the myrmidons nearest him--"I told thee
thou should'st visit the Fleet. And so thou shalt."
Notwithstanding the capture of their leader, the 'prentices fought
manfully, and it still appeared doubtful whether Sir Giles would be able
to effect a retreat after all, embarrassed as he now was with two
prisoners. Under these circumstances he made a sign to Clement Lanyere
to withdraw with Jocelyn through the other door, ordering the two
myrmidons who had charge of Dick Taverner to follow him with their
It was no easy task to carry out the order; but the promoter managed to
accomplish it. Single-handed he drove back all who opposed his progress,
while the two prisoners were borne towards the door by the men having
them in custody.
Hitherto Jocelyn had made no attempt at self-liberation; awaiting,
probably, the result of the 'prentices' efforts in his behalf, or some
more favourable opportunity than had hitherto presented itself. On
reaching the little court the time for exertion seemed to be come.
Shaking off the myrmidons who pinioned him, and seizing a bill from one
of them, he instantly stretched the fellow at his feet, and drove off
his comrade. This done, he lent immediate assistance to Dick Taverner,
setting him free, and arming him with as much promptitude as he had used
to effect his own deliverance.
While thus engaged, he received no interruption from Clement Lanyere,
though, if he had chosen, the promoter might no doubt have effectually
opposed him. But Lanyere either was, or feigned to be, engaged with some
skirmishers at the door; and it was only when both the prisoners had got
free, that he rushed towards them, loudly reprehending the men for their
carelessness. But if they were to blame, he was no less so, for he
showed little address in following the fugitives, and managed to take a
wrong turn in the passage, which led both him and the myrmidons astray,
so that the prisoners got clear off.
How Jocelyn and Dick Taverner contrived to reach the Vintry Wharf,
neither of them very distinctly knew,--such was the hurried manner in
which they passed through the tavern; but there they were, precisely at
the moment that Sir Giles Mompesson, having fought his way through all
opposition, issued from the porch at the head of his band.
Quite satisfied with his previous encounter with the redoubtable knight,
and anxious to escape before his evasion should he discovered, Dick
beckoned to his companion, and, making all the haste they could to the
stairs, they both jumped into the nearest wherry, when the apprentice
ordered the two watermen within it to row for their lives to
How Jocelyn Mounchensey encountered a masked horseman on Stamford Hill.
Two days after the events last recorded, a horseman, followed at a
respectful distance by a mounted attendant, took his way up Stamford
Hill. He was young, and of singularly prepossessing appearance, with a
countenance full of fire and spirit, and blooming with health, and it
was easy to see that his life had been passed in the country, and in
constant manly exercise; for though he managed his horse--a powerful bay
charger--to perfection, there was nothing of the town gallant, or of the
soldier, about him. His doublet and cloak were of a plain dark material,
and had seen service; but they well became his fine symmetrical figure,
as did the buff boots defending his well-made, vigorous limbs. Better
seat in saddle, or lighter hand with bridle, no man could possess than
he; and his noble steed, which like himself was full of courage and
ardour, responded to all his movements, and obeyed the slightest
indication of his will. His arms were rapier and dagger; and his
broad-leaved hat, ornamented with a black feather, covered the luxuriant
brown locks that fell in long ringlets over his shoulders. So
_debonnair_ was the young horseman in deportment, so graceful in
figure, and so comely in looks, that he had excited no little admiration
as he rode forth at an early hour that morning from Bishopgate Street,
and passing under the wide portal in the old city walls, speeded towards
the then rural district of Shoreditch, leaving Old Bedlam and its
saddening associations on the right, and Finsbury Fields, with its
gardens, dog-houses, and windmills, on the left. At the end of
Bishopgate-Street-Without a considerable crowd was collected round a
party of comely young milkmaids, who were executing a lively and
characteristic dance to the accompaniment of a bagpipe and fiddle.
Instead of carrying pails as was their wont, these milkmaids, who were
all very neatly attired, bore on their heads a pile of silver plate,
borrowed for the occasion, arranged like a pyramid, and adorned with
ribands and flowers. In this way they visited all their customers and
danced before their doors. A pretty usage then observed in the environs
of the metropolis in the month of May. The merry milkmaids set up a
joyous shout as the youth rode by; and many a bright eye followed his
gallant figure till it disappeared. At the Conduit beyond Shoreditch, a
pack of young girls, who were drawing water, suspended their task to
look after him; and so did every buxom country lass he encountered,
whether seated in tilted cart, or on a pillion behind her sturdy sire.
To each salutation addressed to him the young man cordially replied, in
a voice blithe as his looks; and in some cases, where the greeting was
given by an elderly personage, or a cap was respectfully doffed to him,
he uncovered his own proud head, and displayed his handsome features yet
So much for the master: now for the man. In his own opinion, at
least--for he was by no means deficient in self-conceit--the latter came
in for an equal share of admiration; and certes, if impudence could help
him to win it, he lacked not the recommendation. Staring most of the
girls out of countenance, he leered at some of them so offensively, that
their male companions shook their fists or whips at him, and sometimes
launched a stone at his head. Equally free was he in the use of his
tongue; and his jests were so scurrilous and so little relished by those
to whom they were addressed, that it was, perhaps, well for him, in some
instances, that the speed at which he rode soon carried him out of
harm's reach. The knave was not ill-favoured; being young, supple of
limb, olive-complexioned, black-eyed, saucy, roguish-looking, with a
turned-up nose, and extremely white teeth. He wore no livery, and indeed
his attire was rather that of a citizen's apprentice than such as
beseemed a gentleman's lacquey. He was well mounted on a stout sorrel
horse; but though the animal was tractable enough, and easy in its
paces, he experienced considerable difficulty in maintaining his seat on
In this way, Jocelyn Mounchensey and Dick Taverner (for the reader will
have had no difficulty in recognising the pair) arrived at Stamford
Hill; and the former, drawing in the rein, proceeded slowly up the
* * * * *
It was one of those delicious spring mornings, when all nature seems to
rejoice; when the newly-opened leaves are greenest and freshest; when
the lark springs blithest from the verdant mead, and soars nearest
heaven; when a thousand other feathered choristers warble forth their
notes in copse and hedge; when the rooks caw mellowly near their nests
in the lofty trees; when gentle showers, having fallen overnight, have
kindly prepared the earth for the morrow's genial warmth and sunshine;
when that sunshine, each moment, calls some new object into life and
beauty; when all you look upon is pleasant to the eye, all you listen to
is delightful to the ear;--in short, it was one of those exquisite
mornings, only to be met with in the merry month of May, and only to be
experienced in full perfection in Merry England.
* * * * *
Arrived at the summit of the hill, commanding such extensively charming
views, Jocelyn halted and looked back with wonder at the vast and
populous city he had just quitted, now spread out before him in all its
splendour and beauty. In his eyes it seemed already over-grown, though
it had not attained a tithe of its present proportions; but he could
only judge according to his opportunity, and was unable to foresee its
future magnitude. But if London has waxed in size, wealth, and
population during the last two centuries and a-half, it has lost nearly
all the peculiar features of beauty which distinguished it up to that
time, and made it so attractive to Jocelyn's eyes. The diversified and
picturesque architecture of its ancient habitations, as yet undisturbed
by the innovations of the Italian and Dutch schools, and brought to full
perfection in the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth, gave the whole
city a characteristic and fanciful appearance. Old towers, old belfries,
old crosses, slender spires innumerable, rose up amid a world of quaint
gables and angular roofs. Story above story sprang those curious
dwellings; irregular yet homogeneous; dear to the painter's and the
poet's eye; elaborate in ornament; grotesque in design; well suited to
the climate, and admirably adapted to the wants and comforts of the
inhabitants; picturesque like the age itself, like its costume, its
manners, its literature. All these characteristic beauties and
peculiarities are now utterly gone. All the old picturesque habitations
have been devoured by fire, and a New City has risen in their
stead;--not to compare with the Old City, though--and conveying no
notion whatever of it--any more than you or I, worthy reader, in our
formal, and, I grieve to say it, ill-contrived attire, resemble the
picturesque-looking denizens of London, clad in doublet, mantle, and
hose, in the time of James the First.
Another advantage in those days must not be forgotten. The canopy of
smoke overhanging the vast Modern Babel, and oftentimes obscuring even
the light of the sun itself, did not dim the beauties of the Ancient
City,--sea coal being but little used in comparison with wood, of which
there was then abundance, as at this time in the capital of France. Thus
the atmosphere was clearer and lighter, and served as a finer medium to
reveal objects which would now be lost at a quarter the distance.
Fair, sparkling, and clearly defined, then, rose up Old London before
Jocelyn's gaze. Girded round with gray walls, defended by battlements,
and approached by lofty gates, four of which--to wit, Cripplegate,
Moorgate, Bishopgate, and Aldgate--were visible from where he stood; it
riveted attention from its immense congregation of roofs, spires,
pinnacles, and vanes, all glittering in the sunshine; while in the midst
of all, and pre-eminent above all, towered one gigantic pile--the
glorious Gothic cathedral. Far on the east, and beyond the city walls,
though surrounded by its own mural defences, was seen the frowning Tower
of London--part fortress and part prison--a structure never viewed in
those days without terror, being the scene of so many passing tragedies.
Looking westward, and rapidly surveying the gardens and pleasant
suburban villages lying on the north of the Strand, the young man's
gaze settled for a moment on Charing Cross--the elaborately-carved
memorial to his Queen, Eleanor, erected by Edward I.--and then ranging
over the palace of Whitehall and its two gates, Westminster Abbey--more
beautiful without its towers than with them--it became fixed upon
Westminster Hall; for there, in one of its chambers, the ceiling of
which was adorned with gilded stars, were held the councils of that
terrible tribunal which had robbed him of his inheritance, and now
threatened him with deprivation of liberty, and mutilation of person. A
shudder crossed him as he thought of the Star-Chamber, and he turned his
gaze elsewhere, trying to bring the whole glorious city within his ken.
A splendid view, indeed! Well might King James himself exclaim when
standing, not many years previously, on the very spot where Jocelyn now
stood, and looking upon London for the first time since his accession to
the throne of England--well might he exclaim in rapturous accents, as he
gazed on the magnificence of his capital--"At last the richest jewel in
a monarch's crown is mine!"
After satiating himself with this, to him, novel and wonderful prospect,
Jocelyn began to bestow his attention on objects closer at hand, and
examined the landscapes on either side of the eminence, which, without
offering any features of extraordinary beauty, were generally pleasing,
and exercised a soothing influence upon his mind. At that time Stamford
Hill was crowned with a grove of trees, and its eastern declivity was
overgrown with brushwood. The whole country, on the Essex side, was more
or less marshy, until Epping Forest, some three miles off, was reached.
Through a swampy vale on the left, the river Lea, so dear to the angler,
took its slow and silent course; while through a green valley on the
right, flowed the New River, then only just opened. Pointing out the
latter channel to Jocelyn, Dick Taverner, who had now come up, informed
him that he was present at the completion of that important undertaking.
And a famous sight it was, the apprentice said. The Lord Mayor of
London, the Aldermen, and the Recorder were all present in their robes
and gowns to watch the floodgate opened, which was to pour the stream
that had run from Amwell Head into the great cistern near Islington. And
this was done amidst deafening cheers and the thunder of ordnance.
"A proud day it was for Sir Hugh Myddleton," Dick added; "and some
reward for his perseverance through difficulties and disappointments."
"It is to be hoped the good gentleman has obtained more substantial
reward than that," Jocelyn replied. "He has conferred an inestimable
boon upon his fellow-citizens, and is entitled to their gratitude for
"As to gratitude on the part of the citizens, I can't say much for
that, Sir. And it is not every man that meets with his desserts, or we
know where our friends Sir Giles Mompesson and Sir Francis Mitchell
would be. The good cits are content to drink the pure water of the New
River, without bestowing a thought on him who has brought it to their
doors. Meantime, the work has well-nigh beggared Sir Hugh Myddleton, and
he is likely to obtain little recompense beyond what the consciousness
of his own beneficent act will afford him."
"But will not the King requite him?" Jocelyn asked.
"The King _has_ requited him with a title," Dick returned. "A title,
however, which may be purchased at a less price than good Sir Hugh has
paid for it, now-a-days. But it must be owned, to our sovereign's
credit, that he did far more than the citizens of London would do; since
when they refused to assist Master Myddleton (as he then was) in his
most useful work, King James undertook, and bound himself by indenture
under the great seal, to pay half the expenses. Without this, it would
probably never have been accomplished."
"I trust it may be profitable to Sir Hugh in the end," Jocelyn said;
"and if not, he will reap his reward hereafter."
"It is not unlikely we may encounter him, as he now dwells near
Edmonton, and is frequently on the road," Dick said; "and if so, I will
point him out to you, I have some slight acquaintance with him, having
often served him in my master's shop in Paul's Churchyard. Talking of
Edmonton, with your permission, Sir, we will break our fast at the
Bell, where I am known, and where you will be well served. The host
is a jovial fellow and trusty, and may give us information which will be
useful before we proceed on our perilous expedition to Theobalds."
"I care not how soon we arrive there," Jocelyn cried; "for the morning
has so quickened my appetite, that the bare idea of thy host's good
cheer makes all delay in attacking it unsupportable."
"I am entirely of your opinion, Sir," Dick said, smacking his lips. "At
the Bell at Edmonton we are sure of fresh fish from the Lea, fresh eggs
from the farm-yard, and stout ale from the cellar; and if these three
things do not constitute a good breakfast, I know not what others do. So
let us be jogging onwards. We have barely two miles to ride. Five
minutes to Tottenham; ten to Edmonton; 'tis done!"
It was not, however, accomplished quite so soon as Dick anticipated. Ere
fifty yards were traversed, they were brought to a stop by an
Suddenly emerging from a thick covert of wood, which had concealed him
from view, a horseman planted himself directly in their path; ordering
them in a loud, authoritative voice, to stand; and enforcing attention
to the injunction by levelling a caliver at Jocelyn's head.
The appearance of this personage was as mysterious as formidable. The
upper part of his features was concealed by a black mask. His
habiliments were sable; and the colour of his powerful steed was sable
likewise. Boots, cap, cloak, and feather, were all of the same dusky
hue. His frame was strongly built, and besides the caliver he was armed
with sword and poniard. Altogether, he constituted an unpleasant
obstacle in the way.
Dick Taverner was not able to render much assistance on the occasion.
The suddenness with which the masked horseman burst forth upon them
scared his horse; and the animal becoming unmanageable, began to rear,
and finally threw its rider to the ground--luckily without doing him
Meanwhile the horseman, lowering his caliver, thus addressed Jocelyn,
who, taking him for a robber, was prepared to resist the attack.
"You are mistaken in me, Master Jocelyn Mounchensey," he said; "I have
no design upon your purse. I call upon you to surrender yourself my
"Never, with life," the young man replied. "In spite of your disguise, I
recognise you as one of Sir Giles Mompesson's myrmidons; and you may
conclude from our former encounter, whether my resistance will be
determined or not."
"You had not escaped on that occasion, but for my connivance, Master
Jocelyn," the man in the mask rejoined. "Now, hear me. I am willing to
befriend you on certain conditions; and, to prove my sincerity, I engage
you shall go free if you accept them."
"I do not feel disposed to make any terms with you," Jocelyn said
sternly; "and as to my freedom of departure, I will take care that it is
"I hold a warrant from the Star-Chamber for your arrest," said the man
in the mask; "and you will vainly offer resistance if I choose to
execute it. Let this be well understood before I proceed. And now to
show you the extent of my information concerning you, and that I am
fully aware of your proceedings, I will relate to you what you have done
since you fled with that froward apprentice, whose tricks will assuredly
bring him to Bridewell, from the Three Cranes. You were landed at London
Bridge, and went thence with your companion to the Rose at Newington
Butts, where you lay that night, and remained concealed, as you fancied,
during the whole of the next day. I say, you fancied your retreat was
unknown, because I was aware of it, and could have seized you had I been
so disposed. The next night you removed to the Crown in Bishopgate
Street, and as you did not care to return to your lodgings near Saint
Botolph's Church without Aldgate, you privily despatched Dick Taverner
to bring your horses from the Falcon in Gracechurch Street, where you
had left them, with the foolhardy intention of setting forth this
morning to Theobalds, to try and obtain an interview of the King."
"You have spoken the truth," Jocelyn replied in amazement; "but if you
designed to arrest me, and could have done so, why did you defer your
"Question me not on that point. Some day or other I may satisfy you. Not
now. Enough that I have conceived a regard for you, and will not harm
you, unless compelled to do so by self-defence. Nay more, I will serve
you. You must not go to Theobalds. 'Tis a mad scheme, conceived by a hot
brain, and will bring destruction upon you. If you persist in it, I
must follow you thither, and prevent greater mischief."
"Follow me, then, if you list," Jocelyn cried; "for go I shall. But be
assured I will liberate myself from you if I can."
"Go, hot-headed boy," the man in the mask rejoined, but he then added
quickly; "yet no!--I will not deliver you thus to the power of your
enemies, without a further effort to save you. Since you are resolved to
go to Theobalds you must have a protector--a protector able to shield
you even from Buckingham, whose enmity you have reason to dread. There
is only one person who can do this, and that is Count Gondomar, the
Spanish lieger-ambassador. Luckily, he is with the King now. In place of
making any idle attempts to obtain an interview of his Majesty, or
forcing yourself unauthorised on the royal presence, which will end in
your arrest by the Knight Marshall, seek out Count Gondomar, and deliver
this token to him. Tell him your story; and do what he bids you."
And as he spoke the man in the mask held forth a ring, which Jocelyn
"I intended to make certain conditions with you," the mysterious
personage pursued, "for the service I should render you, but you have
thwarted my plans by your obstinacy, and I must reserve them to our
next meeting. For we _shall_ meet again, and that ere long; and then
when you tender your thanks for what I have now done, I will tell you
how to requite the obligation."
"I swear to requite it if I can--and as you desire," Jocelyn cried,
struck by the other's manner.
"Enough!" the masked personage rejoined. "I am satisfied. Proceed on
your way, and may good fortune attend you! Your destiny is in your own
hands. Obey Count Gondomar's behests, and he will aid you effectually."
And without a word more, the man in the mask struck spurs into his
horse's sides, and dashed down the hill, at a headlong pace, in the
direction of London.
Jocelyn looked after him, and had not recovered from his surprise at the
singular interview that had taken place when he disappeared.
By this time, Dick Taverner having regained his feet, limped towards
him, leading his horse.
"It must be the Fiend in person," quoth the apprentice, contriving to
regain the saddle. "I trust you have made no compact with him, Sir."
"Not a sinful one I hope," Jocelyn replied, glancing at the ring.
And they proceeded on their way towards Tottenham, and were presently
saluted by the merry ringing of bells, proclaiming some village
 Lest we should be charged with an anachronism, we may mention that
the Bell at Edmonton, immortalized in the story of John Gilpin, was in
good repute in the days we treat of, as will appear from the following
extract from John Savile's Tractate entitled, _King James, his
Entertainment at Theobald's, with his Welcome to London_. Having
described the vast concourse of people that flocked forth to greet their
new Sovereign on his approach to the metropolis, honest John
says--"After our breakfast at Edmonton at the sign of _the Bell_, we
took occasion to note how many would come down in the next hour, so
coming up into a chamber next to the street, where we might both best
see, and likewise take notice of all passengers, we called for an
hour-glass, and after we had disposed of ourselves who should take the
number of the horse, and who the foot, we turned the hour-glass, which
before it was half run out, we could not possibly truly number them,
they came so exceedingly fast; but there we broke off, and made our
account of 309 horses, and 137 footmen, which course continued that day
from four o'clock in the morning till three o'clock in the afternoon,
and the day before also, as the host of the house told us, without
intermission." Besides establishing the existence of the renowned _Bell_
at this period, the foregoing passage is curious in other respects.
The May-Queen and the Puritan's Daughter.
Popular sports and pastimes were wisely encouraged by James the First,
whose great consideration for the enjoyments of the humbler classes of
his subjects cannot be too highly commended; and since the main purpose
of this history is to point out some of the abuses prevalent during his
reign, it is but fair that at least one of the redeeming features should
be mentioned. It has ever been the practice of sour-spirited
sectarianism to discountenance recreations of any kind, however
harmless, on the Sabbath; and several flagrant instances of this sort of
interference, on the part of the puritanical preachers and their
disciples, having come before James during his progress through the
northern counties of England, and especially Lancashire, he caused, on
his return to London, his famous Declaration concerning Lawful Sports on
Sundays and holidays to be promulgated; wherein a severe rebuke was
administered to the Puritans and precisians, and the cause of the people
espoused in terms, which, while most creditable to the monarch, are not
altogether inapplicable to other times besides those in which they were
delivered. "Whereas," says King James, in his Manifesto, "We did justly
rebuke some Puritans and precise people, and took order that the like
unlawful carriage should not be used by any of them hereafter, in the
prohibiting and unlawful punishing of our good people for using their
lawful recreations and honest exercises upon Sundays and other holidays,
after the afternoon sermon or service: we now find that two sorts of
people wherewith that country is much infested (we mean Papists and
Puritans) have maliciously traduced those our just and honourable
proceedings. And therefore we have thought good hereby to clear and make
our pleasure to be manifested to all our good people in those parts."
And he sums up his arguments, in favour of the license granted, as
follows:--"For when shall the common people have leave to exercise, if
not upon the Sundays and holidays, seeing they must apply their labour,
and win their living in all working days?" Truly, an unanswerable
At the same time that these provisions for rational recreation were
made, all unlawful games were prohibited. Conformity was strictly
enjoined on the part of the Puritans themselves; and disobedience was
rendered punishable by expatriation, as in the case of recusants
generally. Such was the tenor of the royal mandate addressed to the
bishop of each diocese and to all inferior clergy throughout the
kingdom. Arbitrary it might be, but it was excellent in intention; for
stubborn-necked personages had to be dealt with, with whom milder
measures would have proved ineffectual. As it was, violent opposition
was raised against the decree, and the Puritanical preachers wore loud
in its condemnation, and as far as was consistent with safety, vehement
in their attacks upon its royal author.
The boon, however, was accepted by the majority of the people in the
spirit in which it was offered, and the licence afforded them was but
little abused. Perfect success, indeed, must have attended the benign
measure, had it not been for the efforts of the Puritanical and Popish
parties, who made common cause against it, and strove by every means to
counteract its beneficial influence: the first because in the austerity
of their faith they would not have the Sabbath in the slightest degree
profaned, even by innocent enjoyment; the second, not because they cared
about the fancied desecration of the Lord's day, but because they would
have no other religion enjoy the same privileges as their own. Thus
sectarianism and intolerance went for once hand in hand, and openly or
covertly, as they found occasion, did their best to make the people
dissatisfied with the benefit accorded them, trying to persuade them its
acceptance would prejudice their eternal welfare.
Such arguments, however, had no great weight with the masses, who could
not be brought to see any heinous or deadly sin in lawful recreation or
exercises after divine service, always provided the service itself were
in no respect neglected; and so the King's decree prevailed over all
sectarian opposition, and was fully carried out. The merry month of May
became really a season of enjoyment, and was kept as a kind of floral
festival in every village throughout the land. May-games, Whitsun-ales,
Morrice-dances, were renewed as in bygone times; and all robust and
healthful sports, as leaping, vaulting, and archery, were not only
permitted on Sundays by the authorities, but enjoined.
These preliminary remarks are made for the better understanding of what
is to follow.
We have already stated that long before Jocelyn and his companion
reached Tottenham, they were made aware by the ringing of bells from its
old ivy-grown church tower, and by other joyful sounds, that some
festival was taking place there; and the nature of the festival was at
once revealed, as they entered the long straggling street, then, as now,
constituting the chief part of the pretty little village, and beheld a
large assemblage of country folk, in holiday attire, wending their way
towards the green for the purpose of setting up a May-pole upon it, and
making the welkin ring with their gladsome shouts.
All the youths and maidens of Tottenham and its vicinity, it appeared,
had risen before daybreak that morning, and sallied forth into the woods
to cut green boughs, and gather wild--flowers, for the ceremonial. At
the same time they selected and hewed down a tall, straight tree--the
tallest and straightest they could find; and, stripping off its
branches, placed it on a wain, and dragged it to the village with the
help of an immense team of oxen, numbering as many as forty yoke. Each
ox had a garland of flowers fastened to the tip of its horns; and the
tall spar itself was twined round with ropes of daffodils, blue-bells,
cowslips, primroses, and other early flowers, while its summit was
surmounted with a floral crown, and festooned with garlands,
various-coloured ribands, kerchiefs, and streamers. The foremost yokes
of oxen had bells hung round their necks, which they shook as they moved
along, adding their blithe melody to the general hilarious sounds.
When the festive throng reached the village, all its inhabitants--male
and female, old and young--rushed forth to greet them; and such as were
able to leave their dwellings for a short while joined in the
procession, at the head of which, of course, was borne the May-pole.
After it, came a band of young men, armed with the necessary implements
for planting the shaft in the ground; and after them a troop of maidens,
bearing bundles of rushes. Next came the minstrels, playing merrily on
tabor, fife, sacbut, rebec, and tambourine. Then followed the Queen of
the May, walking by herself,--a rustic beauty, hight Gillian
Greenford,--fancifully and prettily arrayed for the occasion, and
attended, at a little distance, by Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck,
the Hobby-horse, and a band of morrice-dancers. Then came the crowd,
pellmell, laughing, shouting, and huzzaing,--most of the young men and
women bearing green branches of birch and other trees in their hands.
The spot selected for the May-pole was a piece of green sward in the
centre of the village, surrounded by picturesque habitations, and
having, on one side of it, the ancient Cross. The latter, however, was
but the remnant of the antique structure, the cross having been robbed
of its upper angular bar, and otherwise mutilated, at the time of the
Reformation, and it was now nothing more than a high wooden pillar,
partly cased with lead to protect it from the weather, and supported by
four great spurs.
Arrived at the green, the wain was brought to a halt; the crowd forming
a vast circle round it, so as not to interfere with the proceedings. The
pole was then taken out, reared aloft, and so much activity was
displayed, so many eager hands assisted, that in an inconceivably short
space of time it was firmly planted in the ground; whence it shot up
like the central mast of a man-of-war, far overtopping the roofs of the
adjoining houses, and looking very gay indeed, with its floral crown
a-top, and its kerchiefs and streamers fluttering in the breeze.
Loud and reiterated shouts broke from the assemblage on the
satisfactory completion of the ceremony, the church bells pealed
merrily, and the minstrels played their most enlivening strains. The
rushes were strewn on the ground at the foot of the May-pole, and
arbours were formed, with marvellous celerity, in different parts of the
green, with the branches of the trees. At the same time, the ancient
Cross was decorated with boughs and garlands. The whole scene offered as
pretty and cheerful a sight as could be desired; but there was one
beholder, as will presently appear, who viewed it in a different light.
It now came to the Queen of the May's turn to advance to the pole, and
stationing herself beneath it, the morrice-dancers and the rest of the
mummers formed a ring round her, and, taking hands, footed it merrily to
the tune of "Green Sleeves."
Long before this, Jocelyn and his attendant had come up, and both were
so much interested that they felt no disposition to depart. Gillian's
attractions had already fired the inflammable heart of the apprentice,
who could not withdraw his gaze from her; and so ardent were his looks,
and so expressive his gestures of admiration, that ere long he
succeeded, to his no small delight, in attracting her notice in return.
Gillian Greenford was a bright-eyed, fair-haired young creature; light,
laughing, radiant; with cheeks soft as peach bloom, and beautifully
tinged with red, lips carnation-hued, and teeth white as pearls. Her
parti-coloured, linsey-woolsey petticoats looped up on one side
disclosed limbs with no sort of rustic clumsiness about them; but, on
the contrary, a particularly neat formation both of foot and ankle. Her
scarlet bodice, which, like the lower part of her dress, was decorated
with spangles, bugles, and tinsel ornaments of various kinds,--very
resplendent in the eyes of the surrounding swains, as well as in those
of Dick Taverner,--her bodice, we say, spanning a slender waist, was
laced across, while the snowy kerchief beneath it did not totally
conceal a very comely bust. A wreath of natural flowers was twined very
gracefully within her waving and almost lint-white locks, and in her
hand she held a shepherdess's crook. Such was the Beauty of Tottenham,
and the present Queen of the May. Dick Taverner thought her little less
than angelic, and there were many besides who shared in his opinion.
If Dick had been thus captivated on the sudden, Jocelyn had not escaped
similar fascination from another quarter. It befel in this way:
At an open oriel window, in one of the ancient and picturesque
habitations before described as facing the green, stood a young maiden,
whose beauty was of so high an order, and so peculiar a character, that
it at once attracted and fixed attention. Such, at least, was the effect
produced by it on Jocelyn. Shrinking from the public gaze, and,
perhaps, from some motive connected with religious scruples, scarcely
deeming it right to be a spectator of the passing scene, this fair
maiden was so placed as to be almost screened from general view. Yet it
chanced that Jocelyn, from the circumstance of being on horseback, and
from his position, was able to command a portion of the room in which
she stood; and he watched her for some minutes before she became aware
she was the object of his regards. When, at length, she perceived that
his gaze was steadily fixed upon her, a deep blush suffused her cheeks,
and she would have instantly retired, if the young man had not at once
lowered his looks. Still, he ever and anon ventured a glance towards the
oriel window, and was delighted to find the maiden still there,--nay, he
fancied she must have advanced a step or two, for he could
unquestionably distinguish her features more plainly. And lovely they
were--most lovely! pensive in expression, and perhaps a thought too
pale, until the crimsoning tide had mounted to her cheek. Thus mantled
with blushes, her countenance might gain something in beauty, but it
lost much of the peculiar charm which it derived from extreme
transparency and whiteness of skin--a tint which set off to perfection
the splendour of her magnificent black eyes, with their darkly-fringed
lids and brows, while it also relieved, in an equal degree, the jetty
lustre of her hair. Her features were exquisitely chiselled, delicate
and classical in mould, and stamped with refinement and intelligence.
Perfect simplicity, combined with a total absence of personal ornament,
distinguished her attire; and her raven hair was plainly, but by no
means unbecomingly, braided over her snowy forehead. Something in this
simplicity of costume and in her manner inclined Jocelyn to think the
fair maiden must belong to some family professing Puritanical opinions;
and he found, upon inquiry from one of his neighbours in the throng--an
old farmer--that this was actually the case.
The young lady was Mistress Aveline Calveley, his informant said, only
child of Master Hugh Calveley, who had but lately come to dwell in
Tottenham, and of whom little was known, save that he was understood to
have fought at the battle of Langside, and served with great bravery,
under Essex, both in Spain and in Ireland, in the times of good Queen
Bess--such times as England would never see again, the old farmer
parenthetically remarked, with a shake of the head. Master Hugh
Calveley, he went on to say, was a strict Puritan, austere in his life,
and morose in manner; an open railer against the licence of the times,
and the profligacy of the court minions,--in consequence of which he had
more than once got himself into trouble. He abhorred all such sports as
were now going forward; and had successfully interfered with the parish
priest, Sir Onesimus, who was somewhat of a precisian himself, to
prevent the setting up the May-pole on the past Sunday,--for which, the
farmer added, some of the young folks owe him a grudge; and he expressed
a hope, at the same time, that the day might pass by without any
exhibition being made of their ill-will towards him.
"These Puritans are not in favour with our youth," the old man said;
"and no great marvel they be not; for they check them in their
pleasures, and reprove them for harmless mirth. Now, as to Mistress
Aveline herself, she is devout and good; but she takes no part in the
enjoyments proper to her years, and leads a life more like a nun in a
convent, or a recluse in a cell, than a marriageable young lady. She
never stirs forth without her father, and, as you may suppose, goes more
frequently to lecture, or to church, or to some conventicle, than
anywhere else. Such a life would not suit my grandchild, Gillian, at
all. Nevertheless, Mistress Aveline is a sweet young lady, much beloved
for her kindness and goodness; and her gentle words have healed many a
wound occasioned by the harsh speech and severe reproofs of her father.
There, Sir,--you may behold her fair and saintly countenance now. She
seems pleased with the scene, and I am sure she well may be; for it is
always a pleasant and a heart-cheering sight to see folks happy and
enjoying themselves; and I cannot think that the beneficent Power above
ever intended we should make ourselves miserable on earth, in order to
win a place in heaven. I am an old man, Sir; and feeling this to be
true, I have ever inculcated my opinions upon my children and
grandchildren. Yet I confess I am surprised--knowing what I do of her
father's character--that Mistress Aveline should indulge herself with
beholding this profane spectacle, which ought, by rights, to be odious
in her eyes."
The latter part of this speech was uttered with a sly chuckle on the
part of the old farmer, not altogether agreeable to Jocelyn. The growing
interest he felt in the fair Puritan rendered him susceptible. The eyes
of the two young persons had met again more than once, and were not
quite so quickly withdrawn on either side as before; perhaps, because
Aveline was less alarmed by the young man's appearance, or more
attracted by it; and perhaps, on his part, because he had grown a little
bolder. We know not how this might be; but we _do_ know that the fair
Puritan had gradually advanced towards the front of the window, and was
now leaning slightly out of it, so that her charms of face and figure
were more fully revealed.
Meanwhile, the May-pole had been planted, and the first dance round it
concluded. At its close, Gillian, quitting her post of honour near the
tree, and leaving the morrice-dancers and mummers to resume their merry
rounds, unsanctioned by her sovereign presence, took a tambourine from
one of the minstrels, and proceeded to collect gratuities within it
intended for the hired performers in the ceremony. She was very
successful in her efforts, as the number of coins, soon visible within
the tambourine, showed. Not without blushing and some hesitation did the
May Queen approach Dick Taverner. The 'prentice made a pretence of
fumbling in his pouch in order to prolong the interview, which chance
had thus procured him; and after uttering all the complimentary phrases
he could muster, and looking a great deal more than he said, he wound up
his speech by declaring he would bestow a mark (and that was no slight
sum, for the highest coin yet given was a silver groat) upon the
minstrels, if they would play a lively dance for him, and she, the May
Queen, would grace him with her hand in it. Encouraged by the laughter
of the bystanders, and doubtless entertaining no great dislike to the
proposal, Gillian, with a little affected coyness, consented; and the
mark was immediately deposited in the tambourine by Dick, who,
transported by his success, sprang from his saddle, and committing his
steed to the care of a youth near him, whom he promised to reward for
his trouble, followed close after the May Queen, as she proceeded with
her collection. Ere long she came to Jocelyn, and held out the
tambourine towards him. An idea just then occurred to the young man.
"You have a pretty nosegay there, fair maiden," he said, pointing to a
bunch of pinks and other fragrant flowers in her breast. "I will buy it
from you, if you list."
"You shall have it and welcome, fair Sir," Gillian replied, detaching
the bouquet from her dress, and offering it to him.
"Well done, Gillian," the old farmer cried approvingly.
"Ah! are you there, grandsire!" the May Queen exclaimed. "Come! your
gift for the minstrels and mummers--quick! quick!"
And while old Greenford searched for a small coin, Jocelyn placed a
piece of silver in the tambourine.
"Will you do me a favour, my pretty maiden?" he said courteously.
"That I will, right willingly, fair Sir," she replied; "provided I may
do it honestly."
"You shall not do it else," old Greenford observed.
"Come, your gift, grandsire--you are slow in finding it."
"Have patience, wench, have patience. Young folks are always in a hurry.
"Only a silver groat!" she exclaimed, tossing her head. "Why, this young
man behind me gave a mark; and so did this gallant gentleman on
"Poh! poh! go along, wench. They will take better care of their money
when they grow older."
"Stay, my pretty maiden," Jocelyn cried; "you have promised to do me a
"What is it?" she inquired.
"Present this nosegay on my part to the young lady in yonder window."
"What! offer this to Mistress Aveline Calveley?" Gillian exclaimed in
surprise. "Are you sure she will accept it, Sir?"
"Tut! do his bidding, child, without more ado," old Greenford
interposed. "I shall like to see what will come of it--ha! ha!"
Gillian could not help smiling too, and proceeded on her mission.
Jocelyn put his horse into motion, and slowly followed her, almost
expecting Aveline to withdraw. But he was agreeably disappointed by
finding her maintain her place at the window. She must have remarked
what was going forward, and therefore her tarrying emboldened him, and
buoyed up his hopes.
Arrived beneath the window, Gillian committed the tambourine to Dick
Taverner, who still hovered behind her like her shadow, and fastening
the bouquet to the end of her shepherdess's crook held it up towards
Aveline, crying out, in a playful tone, and with an arch look, "'Tis a
love gift to Mistress Aveline Calveley on the part of that young
Whether the offering, thus presented, would have been accepted may be
questioned; but it was never destined to reach her for whom it was
intended. Scarcely was the flower-laden crook uplifted, than a man of
singularly stern aspect, with gray hair cut close to the head, grizzled
beard, and military habiliments of ancient make, suddenly appeared
behind Aveline, and seizing the nosegay, cast it angrily and
contemptuously forth; so that it fell at Jocelyn's feet.
Jocelyn at once comprehended that the person who had thus dashed the
nosegay to the ground could be no other than Hugh Calveley. But all
doubt on the point was removed by Aveline herself who exclaimed in a
reproachful tone--"O father! what have you done?"
"What have I done?" the Puritan rejoined, speaking in a loud voice, as
if desirous that his words should reach the assemblage outside. "I have
done that which thou thyself should'st have done, Aveline. I have
signified my abhorrence of this vain ceremonial. But wherefore do I find
you here? This is no fitting sight for any discreet maiden to witness;
and little did I think that daughter of mine would encourage such
profane displays by her presence. Little did I think that you, Aveline,
would look on and smile while these ignorant and benighted folk set up
their idol, piping, dancing, and singing around it as the Gentiles did
at the dedications of their deities. For it _is_ an idol they have set
up, and they have become like the heathens, worshippers of stocks and
stones. Are we not expressly forbidden by the Holy Scriptures to make
unto ourselves idols and graven images? The sins of idolatry and
superstition will assuredly provoke the Divine displeasure, and kindle
the fire of its wrath, as they did in the days of Moses, after the
worshipping of the Golden Calf by the Israelites. Thus spake offended
Heaven:--'Let me alone that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that
I may consume them.' Grievously will the Lord punish such as are guilty
of these sins, for hath He not declared, as we read in Leviticus, 'I
will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries to desolation?'
And be assured, O daughter, that heavy judgments will descend upon the
land, if warning be not taken in time."
"Nay, dear father, I cannot view the matter in the same serious light
that you do," Aveline rejoined, "neither do I think evil can be derived
from pastimes like the present, unless by the evil disposed. I must
frankly own that it is pleasant to me to witness such innocent enjoyment
as is here exhibited; while as to yon May-pole, with its pretty floral
decorations, I can never be brought to regard it as an emblem of
superstition and idolatry. Nevertheless, had you commanded me to refrain
from the sight, I would unhesitatingly have obeyed you. But I thought I
was free to follow my own inclinations."
"Why so you were, child," the Puritan rejoined, "because I had full
reliance on you, and did not conceive you could have been so easily
beguiled by Satan. I lament to find you cannot discern the superstition
and wickedness lurking within this false, though fair-seeming spectacle.
Do you not perceive that in setting up this wooden idol, and worshipping
it, these people are returning to the dark and sinful practices of
Paganism of which it is an undoubted remnant? If you cannot discern
this, I will make it manifest to you anon. But I tell you now briefly,"
he continued in a voice of thunder, calculated to reach those at a
distance, "that the ceremony is impious; that those who take part in it
are idolaters; and that those who look on and approve are participators
in the sin; yea, are equal in sin to the actors themselves."
Hereupon some murmurs of displeasure arose among the crowd, but they
were instantly checked by the curiosity generally felt to hear Aveline's
reply, which was delivered in clear and gentle, but distinct tones.
"Far be it from me to dispute with you, dear father," she said; "and it
is with reluctance that I offer an opinion at all adverse to your own.
But it seems to me impossible to connect these pastimes with heathenish
and superstitious rites; for though they may bear some resemblance to
ceremonials performed in honour of the goddesses Maia and Flora, yet,
such creeds being utterly forgotten, and their spirit extinct, it cannot
revive in sports that have merely reference to harmless enjoyment. Not
one, I am sure, of these worthy folk has the slightest thought of
"You know not what you say, girl," the Puritan rejoined sharply. "The
evil spirit is _not_ extinct, and these growing abominations prove it to
be again raising its baleful crest to pollute and destroy. Listen to my
words, ye vain and foolish ones!" he continued, advancing to the front
of the window, and stretching forth his arms towards the assemblage.
"Repent! and amend your ways ere it be too late! Hew down the offensive
idol, which you term your May-pole, and cast it into the flames! Cease
your wanton sports, your noisy pipings, your profane dances, your filthy
tipplings. Hear what the prophet Isaiah saith:--'Wo to them that rise up
early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink.' And
again:--'Wo to the drunkards of Ephraim.' And I say Wo unto you also,
for you are like unto those drunkards. 'O do not this abominable thing
that my soul hateth.' Be not guilty of the brutish sin of drunkenness.
Reflect on the words of holy Job,--'They take the timbrel and harp, and
rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend their days in mirth, and
in a moment go down, to the grave.' Hew down your idol I say again.
Consume it utterly, and scatter its ashes to the winds. Strip off the
gaudes and tinsel in which you have decked your foolish May Queen. Have
done with your senseless and profane mummeries; and dismiss your Robin
Hoods, your Friar Tucks, and your Hobby-horses. Silence your pestilent
minstrels, and depart peaceably to your own homes. Abandon your sinful
courses, or assuredly 'the Lord will come upon you unawares, and cut you
in sunder, and appoint your portion among unbelievers.'"
So sonorous was the voice of the Puritan, so impressive were his looks
and gestures, that his address commanded general attention. While he
continued to speak, the sports were wholly stopped. The minstrels left
off playing to listen to him, and the mummers suspended their merry
evolutions round the May-pole. The poor denounced May Queen, who on the
rejection of her nosegay had flown back to Jocelyn, now looked doubly
disconcerted at this direct attack upon her and her finery, and pouted
her pretty lips in vexation. Dick Taverner, who stood by her side,
seemed disposed to resent the affront, and shook his fist menacingly at
the Puritan. Jocelyn himself was perplexed and annoyed, for though
inclined to take part with the assemblage, the growing interest he felt
in Aveline forbade all interference with her father.
Of the sign given by the Puritan to the Assemblage.
Meanwhile, a great crowd had collected beneath the window, and though no
interruption was offered to the speaker, it was easy to discern from the
angry countenances of his hearers what was the effect of the address
upon them. When he had done, Hugh Calveley folded his arms upon his
breast, and sternly regarded the assemblage.
He was well-stricken in years, as his grizzled hair and beard denoted,
but neither was his strength impaired, nor the fire of his eye dimmed.
Squarely built, with hard and somewhat massive features, strongly
stamped with austerity, he was distinguished by a soldier-like
deportment and manner, while his bronzed countenance, which bore upon it
more than one cicatrice, showed he must have been exposed to foreign
suns, and seen much service. There was great determination about the
mouth, and about the physiognomy generally, while at the same time there
was something of the wildness of fanaticism in his looks. He was habited
in a buff jerkin, with a brown, lackered, breast-plate over it,
thigh-pieces of a similar colour and similar material, and stout
leathern boots. A broad belt with a heavy sword attached to, it crossed
his breast, and round his neck was a plain falling band. You could not
regard Hugh Calveley without feeling he was a man to die a martyr in any
cause he had espoused.
A deep groan was now directed against him. But it moved not a muscle of
his rigid countenance.
Jocelyn began to fear from the menacing looks of the crowd that some
violence might be attempted, and he endeavoured to check it.
"Bear with him, worthy friends," he cried, "he means you well, though he
may reprove you somewhat too sharply."
"Beshrew him for an envious railer," cried a miller, "he mars all our
pleasures with his peevish humours. He would have us all as discontented
with the world as himself--but we know better. He will not let us have
our lawful sports as enjoined by the King himself on Sundays, and he now
tries to interfere with our recreations on holidays. A pest upon him for
a cankerbitten churl!"
"His sullen looks are enough to turn all the cream in the village sour,"
observed an old dame.
"Why doth he not betake himself to the conventicle and preach there?"
old Greenford cried. "Why should we have all these bitter texts of
scripture thrown at our heads? Why should we be likened to the drunkards
of Ephraim because we drink our Whitsun-ales? I have tasted nothing
more than my morning cup as yet."
"Why should our May-pole be termed an idol? Answer me that, good
grandsire?" Gillian demanded.
"Nay, let him who called it so answer thee, child, for I cannot," the
old farmer rejoined. "I can see naught idolatrous in it."
"Why should our pretty May Queen be despoiled of her ornaments because
they please not his fanatical taste?" Dick Taverner demanded. "For my
part I can discern no difference between a Puritan and a knave, and I
would hang both."
This sally met with a favourable reception from the crowd, and a voice
exclaimed--"Ay, hang all knavish Puritans."
Again Hugh Calveley lifted up his voice. "Think not to make me afraid,"
he cried; "I have confronted armed hosts with boldness when engaged in a
worse cause than this, and I am not likely to give way before a base
rabble, now that I have become a soldier of Christ and fight his
battles. I repeat my warnings to you, and will not hold my peace till
you give heed to them. Continue not in the sins of the Gentiles lest
their punishment come upon you. These are fearful times we live in.
London is become another Nineveh, and will be devoured by flames like
that great city. It is full of corruption and debauchery, of
oppressions, thefts, and deceits. With the prophet Nahum I exclaim--'Wo
to the city, it is full of lies and robbery! What griping usury, what
extortion are practised within it! What fraud, what injustice, what
misrule! But the Lord's anger will be awakened against it. Palaces of
kings are of no more account in His eyes than cottages of peasants.--He
cutteth off the spirits of Princes: he is terrible to the Kings of the
earth.' He knoweth no difference between them that sit on thrones, and
those that go from door to door. For what saith the prophet Isaiah?--'I
will punish the stout heart of the King of Assyria, and the glory of his
high looks.' Let the Great Ones of the land be warned as well as the
meanest, or judgment will come upon them."
"Methinks that smacks of treason," cried Dick Taverner. "Our Puritan has
quitted us poor fowl to fly at higher game. Hark ye, Sir!" he added to
Hugh Calveley. "You would not dare utter such words as those in the
"Thou art mistaken, friend," the other rejoined. "It is my purpose to
warn him in terms strong as those I have just used. Why should I hold my
peace when I have a mission from on high? I shall speak to the King as
Nathan spoke to David."
"He speaks like a prophet," cried the miller; "I begin to have faith in
him. No doubt the iniquities of London are fearful."
"If he preach against extortioners and usurers only, I am with him,"
Dick Taverner said. "If he rid London of Sir Giles Mompesson and his
peers he will do good service--still better, if he will put down
corruption and injustice as exhibited in the Court of Star-Chamber--eh,
Master Jocelyn Mounchensey?"
At the mention of this name the Puritan appeared greatly surprised, and
looked round inquiringly, till his eye alighted upon the young man.
After regarding him for a moment fixedly, he demanded--"Art thou Jocelyn
The young man, equally surprised, replied in the affirmative.
"The son of Sir Ferdinando Mounchensey, of Massingham, in Norfolk?"
inquired the Puritan.
"The same," Jocelyn answered.
"Thy father was my nearest and dearest friend, young man," Hugh Calveley
said; "and thy father's son shall be welcome to my dwelling. Enter, I
pray of you. Yet pause for a moment. I have a word more to declare to
these people. Ye heed not my words, and make a mock of me," he
continued, addressing the assemblage: "but I will give you a sign that I
have spoken the truth."
"He will bring the devil among us, I trow," cried Dick Taverner.
"'Tis to be hoped he will not split the May-pole with a thunderbolt,"
said the miller.
"Nor spoil our Whitsun-ales," cried old Greenford.
"Nor lame our Hobby-horse," said one of the mummers.
"Nor rob me of my wreath and garlands," said Gillian.
"That he shall not, I promise you, fair May Queen!" Dick Tavernor
"I will do none of these things. I would not harm you, even if I had the
power," the Puritan said. "But I will discharge a bolt against the head
of yon idol," he added, pointing towards the flower-crowned summit of
the May-pole; "and if I break its neck and cast it down, ye will own
that a higher hand than mine directs the blow, and that the
superstitious symbol ought not to be left standing."
"As to what we may do, or what we may acknowledge, we will give no
promise, Master Hugh Calveley," rejoined old Greenford. "But e'en let
fly thy bolt, if thou wilt."
Some dissent was offered to this singular proposition, but the majority
of voices overruled it; and withdrawing for a moment, Hugh Calveley
returned with an arbalist, which he proceeded deliberately to arm in
view of the crowd, and then placed a quarrel within it.
"In the name of the Lord, who cast down the golden idol made by Aaron
and the Israelites, I launch this bolt," he cried, as he took aim, and
liberated the cord.
The short, iron-headed, square-pointed arrow whizzed through the air,
and, by the mischief it did as it hit its mark, seemed to confirm the
Puritan's denunciation. Striking the May-pole precisely at the summit,
it shattered the wood, and brought down the floral crown surmounting it,
as well as the topmost streamers.
The spectators stared aghast.
"Be warned by this," thundered Hugh Calveley, with gloomy triumph. "Your
idol is smitten--not by my hand, but by His who will chastise your
Whereupon he closed the window, and departed. Presently afterwards, the
door was opened by an old, grave-looking, decently-clad serving-man.
Addressing Jocelyn, who had already dismounted and given his horse in
charge to the youth engaged for a similar purpose by Dick Taverner, this
personage invited him, in his master's name, to enter; and, with a heart
throbbing with emotion, the young man complied. Chance seemed to
befriend him in a way he could never have anticipated; and he now hoped
to obtain an interview with Aveline.
His conductor led him through a passage to a large chamber at the back
of the house, with windows looking upon a garden. The room was panelled
with dark shining oak, had a polished floor, an immense chimney-piece,
and a moulded ceiling. Within it were a few high-backed chairs, and
some other cumbrous furniture, while on an oak table at the side, was
spread the simple morning repast of the Puritan and his daughter. But
all these things were lost upon Jocelyn, who had eyes only for one
object. She was there, and how lovely she appeared! How exquisite in
figure--how faultless in feature! Some little embarrassment was
discoverable in her manner as the young man entered; but it quickly
disappeared. Her father was with her; and advancing towards Jocelyn, he
took him kindly by the hand, and bade him welcome. Then, without
relinquishing his grasp, he presented the young man to his daughter,
"This is Jocelyn, the son of my dear departed friend, Sir Ferdinando
Mounchensey. Some inscrutable design of Providence has brought him
hither, and right glad I am to behold him. Years ago, his father
rendered me a signal service, which I requited as I best could; and
there is nothing I would not gladly do for the son of such a friend. You
will esteem him accordingly, Aveline."
"I will not fail in my duty, father," she replied, blushing slightly.
And Jocelyn thought these words were the sweetest he had ever heard
"I would pray you to break your fast with us, if our simple fare will
content you," said Hugh Calveley, pointing to the table.
"I am not over-dainty, and shall do ample justice to whatever is set
before me," Jocelyn replied, smiling.
"It is well," said the Puritan. "I am glad to find the son of my old
friend is not a slave to his appetites, as are most of the young men of
With this they approached the board; and, a lengthy grace being
pronounced by Hugh Calveley, Jocelyn sat down by the side of Aveline,
scarcely able to believe in the reality of his own happiness--so like a
dream it seemed.
A rash promise.
During the slender repast, Jocelyn, in reply to the inquiries of the
Puritan, explained the two-fold motive of his coming to London; namely,
the desire of taking vengeance on his father's enemies, and the hope of
obtaining some honourable employment, such as a gentleman might accept.
"My chances in the latter respect are not very great," he said, "seeing
I have no powerful friends to aid me in my endeavours, and I must
consequently trust to fortune. But as regards my enemies, if I can only
win an audience of the King, and plead my cause before him, I do not
think he will deny me justice."
"Justice!" exclaimed the Puritan with deep scorn. "James Stuart knows it
not. An archhypocrite, and perfidious as hypocritical, he holdeth as a
maxim that Dissimulation is necessary to a Ruler. He has the cowardice
and the ferocity of the hyaena. He will promise fairly, but his deeds
will falsify his words. Recollect how his Judas kiss betrayed Somerset.
Recollect his conduct towards the Gowries. But imagine not, because you
have been evil intreated and oppressed, that the King will redress your
wrongs, and reinstate you in your fallen position. Rather will he take
part with the usurers and extortioners who have deprived you of your
inheritance. How many poor wretches doth he daily condemn to the same
lingering agonies and certain destruction that he doomed your father.
Lamentable as is the good Sir Ferdinando's case, it stands not alone. It
is one of many. And many, many more will be added to the list, if this
tyrannical Herodias be suffered to govern."
And as if goaded by some stinging thought, that drove him nigh
distracted, Hugh Calveley arose, and paced to and fro within the
chamber. His brow became gloomier and his visage sterner.
"Bear with him, good Master Jocelyn," Aveline said in a low tone. "He
hath been unjustly treated by the King, and as you see can ill brook the
usage. Bear with him, I pray of you."
Jocelyn had no time to make reply. Suddenly checking himself, and fixing
his earnest gaze upon the young man, the Puritan said--
"Give ear to me, my son. If I desired to inflame your breast with rage
against this tyrant, I should need only to relate one instance of his
cruelty and injustice. I had a friend--a very dear friend," he
continued, in a tone of deep pathos--"confined within the Fleet Prison
by a decree of the Star-Chamber. He was to me as a brother, and to see
him gradually pining away cut me to the soul. Proud by nature, he
refused to abase himself to his oppressor, and could not be brought to
acknowledge wrongs he had never committed. Pardon, therefore, was denied
him--not pardon merely, but all mitigation of suffering. My friend had
been wealthy; but heavy fines and penalties had stripped him of his
possessions, and brought him to destitution. Lord of an ancient hall,
with woods and lands around it, wherein he could ride for hours without
quitting his own domains, his territories were now narrowed to a few
yards; while one dark, dreary chamber was alone accorded him. Finding he
must necessarily perish, if left to rot there, I prevailed upon him (not
without much reluctance on his part) to petition the King for
liberation; and was myself the bearer of his prayer. Earnestly pleading
the cause of the unfortunate man, and representing his forlorn
condition, I besought his Majesty's gracious intercession. But when I
had wearied the royal ear with entreaties, the sharp reply was--'Doth he
make submission? Will he confess his offence?' And as I could only
affirm, that as he was guilty of no crime, so he could confess none, the
King returned me the petition, coldly observing--'The dignity of our
Court of Star-Chamber must be maintained before all things. He hath been
guilty of contempt towards it, and must purge him of the offence.' 'But
the man will die, Sire,' I urged, 'if he be not removed from the Fleet.
His prison-lodging is near a foul ditch, and he is sick with fever.
Neither can he have such aid of medicine or of nursing as his case