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Woodstock; or, The Cavalier by Sir Walter Scott

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THE WOODSTOCK SCUFFLE; or, Most dreadfull apparitions that were lately
seene in the Mannor-house of Woodstock, neere Oxford, to the great
terror and the wonderful amazement of all there that did behold them.

It were a wonder if one unites,
And not of wonders and strange sights;
For ev'ry where such things affrights
Poore people,

That men are ev'n at their wits' end;
God judgments ev'ry where doth send,
And yet we don't our lives amend,
But tipple,

And sweare, and lie, and cheat, and--,
Because the world shall drown no more,
As if no judgments were in store
But water;

But by the stories which I tell,
You'll heare of terrors come from hell,
And fires, and shapes most terrible
For matter.

It is not long since that a child
Spake from the ground in a large field,
And made the people almost wild
That heard it,

Of which there is a printed book,
Wherein each man the truth may look,
If children speak, the matter's took
For verdict.

But this is stranger than that voice,
The wonder's greater, and the noyse;
And things appeare to men, not boyes,
At _Woodstock_;

Where _Rosamond_ had once a bower,
To keep her from Queen _Elinour_,
And had escap'd her poys'nous power
By good-luck,

But fate had otherwise decreed,
And _Woodstock_ Manner saw a deed,
Which is in _Hollinshed_ or _Speed_

But neither _Hollinshed_ nor _Stow_,
Nor no historians such things show,
Though in them wonders we well know
Are pickled;

For nothing else is history
But pickle of antiquity,
Where things are kept in memory
From stinking;

Which otherwise would have lain dead,
As in oblivion buried,
Which now you may call into head
With thinking.

The dreadfull story, which is true,
And now committed unto view,
By better pen, had it its due,
Should see light.

But I, contented, do indite,
Not things of wit, but things of right;
You can't expect that things that fright
Should delight.

O hearken, therefore, hark and shake!
My very pen and hand doth quake!
While I the true relation make
O' th' wonder,

Which hath long time, and still appeares
Unto the State's Commissioners,
And puts them in their beds to feares
From under.

They come, good men, imploi'd by th' State
To sell the lands of Charles the late.
And there they lay, and long did waite
For chapmen.

You may have easy pen'worths, woods,
Lands, ven'son, householdstuf, and goods,
They little thought of dogs that wou'd
There snap-men.

But when they'd sup'd, and fully fed,
They set up remnants and to bed.
Where scarce they had laid down a head
To slumber,

But that their beds were heav'd on high;
They thought some dog under did lie,
And meant i' th' chamber (fie, fie, fie)
To scumber.

Some thought the cunning cur did mean
To eat their mutton (which was lean)
Reserv'd for breakfast, for the men
Were thrifty.

And up one rises in his shirt,
Intending the slie cur to hurt,
And forty thrusts made at him for't,
Or fifty.

But empty came his sword again.
He found he thrust but all in vain;
An the mutton safe, hee went amain
To's fellow.

And now (assured all was well)
The bed again began to swell,
The men were frighted, and did smell
O' th' yellow.

From heaving, now the cloaths it pluckt
The men, for feare, together stuck,
And in their sweat each other duck't.
They wished

A thousand times that it were day;
'Tis sure the divell! Let us pray.
They pray'd amain; and, as they say,
---- ----

Approach of day did cleere the doubt,
For all devotions were run out,
They now waxt strong and something stout,
One peaked

Under the bed, but nought was there;
He view'd the chamber ev'ry where,
Nothing apear'd but what, for feare.
They leaked.

Their stomachs then return'd apace,
They found the mutton in the place,
And fell unto it with a grace.
They laughed

Each at the other's pannick feare,
And each his bed-fellow did jeere,
And having sent for ale and beere,
They quaffed.

And then abroad the summons went,
Who'll buy king's-land o' th' Parliament?
A paper-book contein'd the rent,
Which lay there;

That did contein the severall farmes,
Quit-rents, knight services, and armes;
But that they came not in by swarmes
To pay there.

Night doth invite to bed again,
The grand Commissioners were lain,
But then the thing did heave amain,
It busled,

And with great clamor fil'd their eares,
The noyse was doubled, and their feares;
Nothing was standing but their haires,
They nuzled.

Oft were the blankets pul'd, the sheete
Was closely twin'd betwixt their feete,
It seems the spirit was discreete
And civill.

Which makes the poore Commissioners
Feare they shall get but small arreares,
And that there's yet for cavaliers
One divell.

They cast about what best to doe;
Next day they would to wisemen goe,
To neighb'ring towns some cours to know;
For schollars

Come not to Woodstock, as before,
And Allen's dead as a nayle-doore,
And so's old John (eclep'd the poore)
His follower;

Rake Oxford o're, there's not a man
That rayse or lay a spirit can,
Or use the circle, or the wand,
Or conjure;

Or can say (Boh!) unto a divell,
Or to a goose that is uncivill,
Nor where Keimbolton purg'd out evill,
'Tis sin sure.

There were two villages hard by,
With teachers of presbytery,
Who knew the house was hidiously

But 'lasse! their new divinity
Is not so deep, or not so high;
Their witts doe (as their meanes did) lie

But Master Joffman was the wight
Which was to exorcise the spright;
Hee'll preach and pray you day and night
At pleasure.

And by that painfull gainfull trade,
He hath himselfe full wealthy made;
Great store of guilt he hath, 'tis said,
And treasure.

But no intreaty of his friends
Could get him to the house of fiends,
He came not over for such ends
From Dutch-land,

But worse divinity hee brought,
And hath us reformation taught,
And, with our money, he hath bought
Him much land.

Had the old parsons preached still,
The div'l should nev'r have had his wil;
But those that had or art or skill
Are outed;

And those to whom the pow'r was giv'n
Of driving spirits, are out-driv'n;
Their colledges dispos'd, and livings,
To grout-heads.

There was a justice who did boast,
Hee had as great a gift almost,
Who did desire him to accost
This evill.

But hee would not employ his gifts.
But found out many sleights and shifts;
Hee had no prayers, nor no snifts,
For th' divell.

Some other way they cast about,
These brought him in, they throw not out;
A woman, great with child, will do't;
They got one.

And she i' th' room that night must lie;
But when the thing about did flie,
And broke the windows furiously
And hot one

Of the contractors o're the head,
Who lay securely in his bed,
The woman, shee-affrighted, fled
---- ----

And now they lay the cause on her.
That e're that night the thing did stir,
Because her selfe and grandfather
Were Papists;

They must be barnes-regenerate,
(A _Hans en Kelder_ of the state,
Which was in reformation gatt,)
They said, which

Doth make the divell stand in awe,
Pull in his hornes, his hoof, his claw;
But having none, they did in draw
---- ---- ----

But in the night there was such worke,
The spirit swaggered like a Turke;
The bitch had spi'd where it did lurke,
And howled

In such a wofull manner that
Their very hearts went pit a pat;
* * * * *
---- ---- ----

The stately rooms, where kings once lay
But the contractors show'd the way.
But mark what now I tell you, pray,
'Tis worth it.

That book I told you of before,
Wherein were tenants written store,
A register for many more
Not forth yet,

That very book, as it did lie,
Took of a flame, no mortall eye
Seeing one jot of fire thereby,
Or taper;

For all the candles about flew,
And those that burned, burned blew,
Never kept soldiers such a doe
Or vaper.

The book thus burnt and none knew how
The poore contractors made a vow
To work no more; this spoil'd their plow
In that place.

Some other part o' th' house they'll find,
To which the divell hath no mind,
But hee, it seems, is not inclin'd
With that grace;

But other pranks it plaid elsewhere.
An oake there was stood many a yeere,
Of goodly growth as any where,
Was hewn down,

Which into fewell-wood was cut,
And some into a wood-pile put,
But it was hurled all about
And thrown down.

In sundry formes it doth appeare;
Now like a grasping claw to teare;
Now like a dog; anon a beare
It tumbles;

And all the windows battered are,
No man the quarter enter dare;
All men (except the glasier)
Doe grumble.

Once in the likenesse of woman,
Of stature much above the common,
'Twas seene, but spak a word to no man,
And vanish'd.

'Tis thought the ghost of some good wife
Whose husband was depriv'd of life,
Her children cheated, land in strife
She banist.

No man can tell the cause of these
So wondrous dreadful outrages;
Yet if upon your sinne you please
To discant,

You'le find our actions out-doe hell's;
O wring your hands and cease the bells,
Repentance must, or nothing else
Appease can't.

No. II.




[London, printed in the year 1660. 4to.]

The names of the persons in the ensuing Narrative mentioned, with

Mr. CROOK, the Lawyer.
Mr. BROWNE, the Surveyor.
Their three Servants.
Their Ordinary-keeper, and others.
The Gatekeeper, with the Wife and Servants.

Besides many more, who each night heard the noise; as Sir Gerrard
Fleetwood and his lady, with his family, Mr. Hyans, with his family, and
several others, who lodged in the outer courts; and during the three
last nights, the inhabitants of Woodstock town, and other neighbor

And there were many more, both divines and others, who came out of the
country, and from Oxford, to see the glass and stones, and other stuffe,
the devil had brought, wherewith to beat out the Commissioners; the
marks upon some walls remain, and many, this to testifie.


Since it hath pleased the Almighty God, out of his infinite mercy, so to
make us happy, by restoring of our native King to us, and us unto our
native liberty through him, that now the good may say, _magna temporum
felicitas ubi sentire quoe velis, et dicere licet quoe sentias_, we
cannot but esteem ourselves engaged in the highest of degrees, to render
unto him the highest thanks we can express. Although, surpris'd with
joy, we become as lost in the performance; when gladness and admiration
strikes us silent, as we look back upon the precipiece of our late
condition, and those miraculous deliverances beyond expression. Freed
from the slavery, and those desperate perils, we dayly lived in fear of,
during the tyrannical times of that detestable usurper, Oliver Cromwell;
he who had raked up such judges, as would wrest the most innocent
language into high treason, when he had the cruel conscience to take
away our lives, upon no other ground of justice or reason, (the stones
of London streets would rise to witness it, if all the citizens were
silent.) And with these judges had such councillors, as could advise him
unto worse, which will less want of witness. For should the many
auditors be silent, the press, (as God would have it,) hath given it us
in print, where one of them (and his conscience-keeper, too,) speaks
out. What shall we do with these men? saith he; _Aeger intemperans
crudelem facit medicum, et immedicabile vulmis ense recidendum_. Who
these men are that should be brought to such Scicilian vespers, the
former page sets forth--those which conceit _Utopias_, and have their
day-dreams of the return of I know not what golden age, with the old
line. What usage, when such a privy councillor had power, could he
expect, who then had published this narrative? This much so plainly
shows the devil himself dislikt their doings, (so much more bad were
they than he would have them be,) severer sure than was the devil to
their Commissioners at Woodstock; for he warned them, with dreadful
noises, to drive them from their work. This councillor, without more
ado, would have all who retained conceits of allegiance to their
soveraign, to be absolutely cut off by the usurper's sword. A sad
sentence for a loyal party, to a lawful King. But Heaven is always just;
the party is repriv'd, and do acknowledge the hand of God in it, as is
rightly apply'd, and as justly sensible of their deliverance in that the
foundation which the councillor saith was already so well laid, is now
turned up, and what he calls day-dreams are come to passe. That old line
which (as with him) there seemed, _aliquid divini_, to the contrary is
now restored. And that rock which, as he saith, the prelates and all
their adherents, nay, and their master and supporter, too, with all his
posterity, have split themselves upon, is nowhere to be heard. And that
posterity are safely arrived in their ports, and masters of that mighty
navy, their enemies so much encreased to keep them out with. The eldest
sits upon the throne, his place by birthright and descent,

"Pacatumque regit Patriis virtutibus orbem;"

upon which throne long may he sit, and reign in peace. That by his just
government, the enemies of ours, the true Protestant Church, of that
glorious martyr, our late sovereign, and of his royal posterity, may be
either absolutely converted, or utterly confounded.

If any shall now ask thee why this narrative was not sooner published,
as neerer to the times wherein the things were acted, he hath the reason
for it in the former lines; which will the more clearly appear unto his
apprehension, if he shall perpend how much cruelty is requisite to the
maintenance of rebellion; and how great care is necessary in the
supporters, to obviate and divert the smallest things that tend to the
unblinding of the people; so that it needs will follow, that they must
have accounted this amongst the great obstructions to their sales of his
majestie's lands, the devil not joining with them in the security; and
greater to the pulling down the royal pallaces, when their chapmen
should conceit the devil would haunt them in their houses, for building
with so ill got materials; as no doubt but that he hath, so numerous and
confident are the relations made of the same, though scarce any so
totally remarkeable as this, (if it be not that others have been more
concealed,) in regard of the strange circumstances as long continuances,
but especially the number of persons together, to whom all things were
so visibly both seen and done, so that surely it exceeds any other; for
the devils thus manifesting themselves, it appears evidently that there
are such things as devils, to persecute the wicked in this world as in
the next.

Now, if to these were added the diverse reall phantasms seen at
Whitehall in Cromwell's times, which caused him to keep such mighty
guards in and about his bedchamber, and yet so oft to change his
lodgings; if those things done at St. James', where the devil so joal'd
the centinels against the sides of the queen's chappell doors, that some
of them fell sick upon it; and others, not, taking warning by it, kild
one outright, whom they buried in the place; and all other such dreadful
things, those that inhabited the royal houses have been affrighted with.

And if to these were likewise added, a relation of all those regicides
and their abettors the devil hath entered into, as he did the Gadarenes'
swine, with so many more of them who hath fallen mad, and dyed in
hideous forms of such distractions, that which hath been of this within
these 12 last years in England, (should all of this nature, our
chronicles do tell, with all the superstitious monks have writ, be put
together,) would make the greater volume, and of more strange

And now as to the penman of this narrative, know that he was a divine,
and at the time of those things acted, which are here related, the
minister and schoolmaster of Woodstock; a person learned and discreet,
not byassed with factious humours, his name Widows, who each day put in
writing what he heard from their mouthes, (and such things as they told
to have befallen them the night before,) therein keeping to their own
words; and, never thinking that what he had writ should happen to be
made publick, gave it no better dress to set it forth. And because to do
it now shall not be construed to change the story, the reader hath it
here accordingly exposed.

The 16th day of _October_, in the year of our Lord 1649, the
Commissioners for surveying and valuing his majestie's mannor-house,
parks, woods, deer, demesnes, and all things thereunto belonging, by
name Captain Crook, Captain Hart, Captain Cockaine, Captain Carelesse,
and Captain Roe, their messenger, with Mr. Browne, their secretary, and
two or three servants, went from Woodstock town, (where they had lain
some nights before,) and took up their lodgings in his majestie's house
after this manner: The bed-chamber and withdrawing-room they both lodged
in and made their kitchen; the presence-chamber their room for dispatch
of their business with all commers; of the council-hall their
brew-house, as of the dining-room, their wood-house, where they laid in
the clefts of that antient standard in the High-Park, for many ages
beyond memory known by the name of the King's Oak, which they had chosen
out, and caused to be dug up by the roots.

_October_ 17. About the middle of the night, these new guests were first
awaked by a knocking at the presence-chamber door, which they also
conceived did open, and something to enter, which came through the room,
and also walkt about that room with a heavy step during half an hour,
then crept under the bed where Captain Hart and Captain Carelesse lay,
where it did seem (as it were) to bite and gnaw the mat and bed-coards,
as if it would tear and rend the feather beds; which having done a
while, then would heave a while, and rest; then heave them up again in
the bed more high than it did before, sometime on the one side, sometime
on the other, as if it had tried which Captain was heaviest. Thus having
heaved some half an hour, from thence it walkt out and went under the
servants' bed, and did the like to them; hence it walkt into a
withdrawing room, and there did the same to all who lodged there. Thus
having welcomed them for more than two hours' space, it walkt out as it
came in, and shut the outer door again, but with the clap of some
mightie force. These guests were in a sweat all this while, but out of
it falling into a sleep again, it became morning first before they spake
their minds; then would they have it to be a dog, yet they described it
more to the likeness of a great bear; so fell to the examining under the
beds, where, finding only the mats scracht, but the bed-coards whole,
and the quarter of beef which lay on the floor untoucht, they
entertained other thoughts.

_October_ 18. They were all awaked as the night before, and now
conceived that they heard all the great clefts of the King's Oak brought
into the presence-chamber, and there thumpt down, and after roul about
the room; they could hear their chairs and stools tost from one side of
the room unto the other, and then (as it were) altogether josled. Thus
having done an hour together, it walkt into the withdrawing-room, where
lodged the two captains, the secretary, and two servants; here stopt the
thing a while, as if it did take breath, but raised a hideous one, then
walkt into the bed-chamber, where lay those as before, and under the bed
it went, where it did heave and heave again, that now they in bed were
put to catch hold upon bed-posts, and sometimes one of the other, to
prevent their being tumbled out upon the ground; then coming out as from
under the bed, and taking hold upon the bed-posts, it would shake the
whole bed, almost as if a cradle rocked. Thus having done here for half
an hour, it went into the withdrawing-room, where first it came and
stood at the bed's feet, and heaving up the bed's feet, flopt them down
again a while, until at last it heaved the feet so high that those in
bed thought to have been set upon their heads; and having thus for two
hours entertained them, went out as in the night before, but with a
great noise.

_October_ 19. This night they awaked not until the midst of the night;
they perceived the room, to shake with something that walkt about the
bedchamber, which having done so a while, it walkt into a
withdrawing-room, where it took up a brasse warming-pan, and returning
with it into the bed-chamber, therein made so loud a noise, in these
captains' own words, it was as loud and scurvy as a ring of five untuned
bells rung backward; but the captains, not to seem afraid, next day made
mirth of what had past, and jested at the devil in the pan.

_October_ 20. These captains and their company, still lodging as before,
were wakened in this night with some things flying about the rooms, and
out of one room into the other, as thrown with some great force. Captain
Hart, being in a slumber, was taken by the shoulder and shaked until he
did sit up in his bed, thinking that it had been one of his fellows,
when suddenly he was taken on the pate with a trencher, that it made him
shrink down into the bed-clothes, and all of them, in both rooms, kept
their heads at least within their sheets, so fiercely did three dozen of
trenchers fly about the rooms; yet Captain Hart ventured again to peep
out to see what was the matter, and what it was that threw, but then the
trenchers came so fast and neer about his ears, that he was fain quickly
to couch again. In the morning they found all their trenchers, pots, and
spits, upon and about their beds, and all such things as were of common
use scattered about the rooms. This night there were also, in several
parts of the room and outer rooms, such noises of beating at doors, and
on the walls, as if that several smiths had been at work; and yet our
captains shrunk not from their work, but went on in that, and lodged as
they had done before.

_October_ 21. About midnight they heard great knocking at every door;
after a while the doors flew open, and into the withdrawing-room entered
something as of a mighty proportion, the figure of it they knew not how
to describe. This walkt awhile about the room shaking the floor at every
step, then came it up close to the bed-side, where lay Captains Crook
and Carelesse; and after a little pause, as it were, the bed-curtains,
both at sides and feet, were drawn up and down slowly, then faster again
for a quarter of an hour, then from end to end as fast as imagination
can fancie the running of the rings, then shaked it the beds, as if the
joints thereof had crackt; then walkt the thing into the bed-chamber,
and so plaied with those beds there; then took up eight peuter dishes,
and bouled them about the room and over the servants in the
truckle-beds; then sometimes were the dishes taken up and thrown crosse
the high beds and against the walls, and so much battered; but there
were more dishes wherein was meat in the same room, that were not at all
removed. During this, in the presence-chamber there was stranger noise
of weightie things thrown down, and, as they supposed, the clefts of the
King's Oak did roul about the room, yet at the wonted hour went away,
and left them to take rest, such as they could.

_October_ 22. Hath mist of being set down, the officers imployed in
their work farther off, came not that day to Woodstock.

_October_ 23. Those that lodged in the withdrawing-room, in the midst of
the night were awakened with the cracking of fire, as if it had been
with thorns and sparks of fire burning, whereupon they supposed that the
bed-chamber had taken fire, and listning to it farther, they heard their
fellows in bed sadly groan, which gave them to suppose they might be
suffocated; wherefore they called upon their servants to make all
possible hast to help them. When the two servants were come in, they
found all asleep, and so brought back word, but that there were no
bedclothes upon them; wherefore they were sent back to cover them, and
to stir up and mend the fire. When the servants had covered them and
were come to the chimney, in the corners they found their wearing
apparrel, boots, and stockings, but they had no sooner toucht the
embers, when the firebrands flew about their ears so fast, that away ran
they into the other room for the shelter of their cover-lids; then after
them walkt something that stampt about the room as if it had been
exceeding angry, and likewise threw about the trenchers, platters, and
all such things in the room--after two hours went out, yet stampt again
over their heads.

_October_ 24. They lodged all abroad.

_October_ 25. This afternoon was come unto them Mr. Richard Crook the
lawyer, brother to Captain Crook, and now deputy-steward of the manner,
unto Captain Parsons and Major Butler, who had put out Mr. Hyans, his
majestie's officer. To entertain this new guest the Commissioners caused
a very great fire to be made, of neer the chimneyfull of wood of the
King's Oak, and he was lodged in the withdrawing-room with his brother,
and his servant in the same room. About the midst of the night a
wonderful knocking was heard, and into the room something did rush,
which coming to the chimney-side, dasht out the fire as with the stamp
of some prodigious foot, then threw down such weighty stuffe, what ere
it was, (they took it to be the residue of the clefts and roots of the
King's Oak,) close by the bed-side, that the house and bed shook with
it. Captain Cockaine and his fellow arose, and took their swords to go
unto the Crooks. The noise ceased at their rising, so that they came to
the door and called. The two brothers, though fully awaked, and heard
them call, were so amazed, that they made no answer until Captain
Cockaine had recovered the boldness to call very loud, and came unto the
bed-side; then faintly first, after some more assurance, they came to
understand one another, and comforted the lawyer. Whilst this was thus,
no noise was heard, which made them think the time was past of that
night's trouble, so that, after some little conference, they applied
themselves to take some rest. When Captain Cockaine was come to his own
bed, which he had left open, he found it closely covered, which he much
wondered at; but turning the clothes down, and opening it to get in, he
found the lower sheet strewed over with trenchers. Their whole three
dozen of trenchers were orderly disposed between the sheets, which he
and his fellow endeavoring to cast out, such noise arose about the room,
that they were glad to get into bed with some of the trenchers. The
noise lasted, a full half hour after this. This entertainment so ill did
like the lawyer, and being not so well studied in the point as to
resolve this the devil's law case, that he next day resolved to be gone;
but having not dispatcht all that he came for, profit and perswasions
prevailed with him to stay the other hearing, so that he lodged as he
did the night before.

_October_ 26. This night each room was better furnished with fire and
candle than before; yet about twelve at night came something in that
dasht all out, then did walk about the room, making a noise, not to be
set forth by the comparison with any other thing; sometimes came it to
the bedsides, and drew the curtains to and fro, then twerle them, then
walk about again, and return to the bed-posts, shake them with all the
bed, so that they in bed were put to hold one upon the other, then walk
about the room again, and come to the servants' bed, and gnaw and
scratch the wainscot head, and shake altogether in that room; at the
time of this being in doing, they in the bed-chamber heard such strange
dropping down from the roof of the room, that they supposed 'twas like
the fall of money by the sound. Captain Cockaine, not frightened with so
small a noise, (and lying near the chimney) stept out, and made shift to
light a candle, by the light of which he perceived the room strewed over
with broken glass, green, and some of it as it were pieces of broken
bottles; he had not been long considering what it was, when suddenly his
candle was hit out, and glass flew about the room, that he made haste to
the protection of the coverlets; the noise of thundering rose more
hideous than at any time before; yet, at a certain time, all vanisht
into calmness. The morning after was the glass about the room, which the
maid that was to make clean the rooms swept up into a corner, and many
came to see it. But Mr. Richard Crook would stay no longer, yet as he
stopt, going through Woodstock town, he was there heard to say, that he
would not lodge amongst them another night for a fee of 500 L.

_October 27_. The Commissioners had not yet done their work, wherefore
they must stay; and being all men of the sword, they must not seem
afraid to encounter with any thing, though it be the devil; therefore,
with pistols charged, and drawn swords laied by their bedsides, they
applied themselves to take some rest, when something in the midst of
night, so opened and shut the window casements with such claps, that it
awakened all that slept; some of them peeping out to look what was the
matter with the windows, stones flew about the rooms as if hurled with
many hands; some hit the walls, and some the beds' heads close above the
pillows, the dints of which were then, and yet (it is conceived) are to
be seen, thus sometime throwing stones, and sometime making thundering
noise for two hours space it ceast, and all was quiet till the morn.
After their rising, and the maid come in to make the fire, they looked
about the rooms; they found fourscore stones brought in that night, and
going to lay them together in the corner where the glass (before
mentioned) had been swept up, they found that every piece of glass had
been carried away that night. Many people came next day to see the
stones, and all observed that they were not of such kind of stones as
are naturall in the countrey thereabout; with these were noise like
claps of thunder, or report of cannon planted against the rooms, heard
by all that lodged in the outer courts, to their astonishment, and at
Woodstock town, taken to be thunder.

_October_ 28. This night, both strange and differing noise from the
former first wakened Captain Hart, who lodged in the bed-chamber, who,
hearing Roe and Brown to groan, called out to Cockaine and Crook to come
and help them, for Hart could not now stir himself; Cockaine would faine
have answered, but he could not, or look about; something, he thought,
stopt both his breath and held down his eye-lids. Amazed thus, he
struggles and kickt about, till he had awaked Captain Crook, who, half
asleep, grew very angry at his kicks, and multiplied words, it grew to
an appointment in the field; but this fully recovered Cockaine to
remember that Captain Hart had called for help, wherefore to them he ran
in the other room, whom he found sadly groaning, where, scraping in the
chimney, he both found a candle and fire to light it; but had not gone
two steps, when something blew the candle out, and threw him in the
chair by the bedside, when presently cried out Captain Carelesse, with a
most pitiful voice, "Come hither, O come hither, brother Cockaine, the
thing's gone of me." Cockaine, scarce yet himself, helpt to set him up
in his bed, and after Captain Hart, and having scarce done that to them,
and also to the other two, they heard Captain Crook crying out, as if
something had been killing him. Cockaine snacht up the sword that lay by
their bed, and ran into the room to save Crook, but was in much more
likelyhood to kill him, for at his coming, the thing that pressed Crook
went of him, at which Crook started out of his bed, whom Cockaine
thought a spirit made at him, at which Crook cried out "Lord help, Lord
save me;" Cockaine let fall his hand, and Crook, embracing Cockaine,
desired his reconcilement, giving him many thanks for his deliverance.
Then rose they all and came together, discoursed sometimes godly and
sometimes praied, for all this while was there such stamping over the
roof of the house, as if 1000 horse had there been trotting; this night
all the stones brought in the night before, and laid up in the
withdrawingroom, were all carried again away by that which brought them
in, which at the wonted time left of, and, as it were, went out, and so

_October_ 29. Their businesse having now received so much forwardnesse
as to be neer dispatcht, they encouraged one the other, and resolved to
try further; therefore, they provided more lights and fires, and further
for their assistance, prevailed with their ordinary keeper to lodge
amongst them, and bring his mastive bitch; and it was so this night with
them, that they had no disturbance at all.

_October_ 30. So well they had passed the night before, that this night
they went to bed, confident and careless; untill about twelve of the
clock, something knockt at the door as with a smith's great hammer, but
with such force as if it had cleft the door; then ent'red something like
a bear, but seem'd to swell more big, and walkt about the room, and out
of one room into the other, treading so heavily, as the floare had not
been strong enough to beare it. When it came into the bed-chamber, it
dasht against the beds' heads some kind of glass vessell, that broke in
sundry pieces, and sometimes would take up those pieces, and hurle them
about the room, and into the other room; and when it did not hurle the
glasse at their heads, it did strike upon the tables, as if many smiths,
with their greatest hammers, had been laying on as upon an anvil;
sometimes it thumpt against the walls as if it would beat a hole
through; then upon their heads, such stamping, as if the roof of the
house were beating down upon their heads; and having done thus, during
the space (as was conjectured) of two hours, it ceased and vanished, but
with a more fierce shutting of the doors than at any time before. In the
morning they found the pieces of glass about the room, and observed,
that it was much differing from that glasse brought in three nights
before, this being of a much thicker substance, which severall persons
which came in carried away some pieces of. The Commissioners were in
debate of lodging there no more; but all their businesse was not done,
and some of them were so conceited as to believe, and to attribute the
rest they enjoyed the night before this last, unto the mastive bitch;
wherefore, they resolved to get more company, and the mastive bitch, and
try another night.

_October_ 31. This night, the fires and lights prepared, the ordinary
keeper and his bitch, with another man perswaded by him, they all took
their beds and fell asleep. But about twelve at night, such rapping was
on all sides of them, that it wakened all of them; as the doors did seem
to open, the mastive bitch fell fearfully a yelling, and presently ran
fiercely into the bed to them in the truckle-bed; as the thing came by
the table, it struck so fierce a blow on that, as that it made the frame
to crack, then took the warming-pan from off the table, and stroke it
against the walls with so much force as that it was beat flat together,
lid and bottom. Now were they hit as they lay covered over head and ears
within the bed-clothes. Captain Carelesse was taken a sound blow on the
head with the shoulder-blade bone of a dead horse, (before they had been
but thrown at, when they peept up, and mist;) Browne had a shrewed blow
on the leg with the backbone, and another on the head, and every one of
them felt severall blows of bones and stones through the bed-clothes,
for now these things were thrown as from an angry hand that meant
further mischief; the stones flew in at window as shot out of a gun, nor
was the bursts lesse (as from without) than of a cannon, and all the
windows broken down. Now as the hurling of the things did cease, and the
thing walkt up and down, Captain Cockaine and Hart cried out, In the
name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what are you? What would you
have? What have we done that you disturb us thus? No voice replied, (as
the Captains said, yet some of their servants have said otherwise,) and
the noise ceast. Hereupon Captains Hart and Cockaine rose, who lay in
the bed-chamber, renewed the fire and lights, and one great candle, in a
candlestick, they placed in the door, that might be seen by them in both
the rooms. No sooner were they got to bed, but the noise arose on all
sides more loud and hideous than at any time before, insomuch as (to use
the Captains' own words) it returned and brought seven devils worse than
itself; and presently they saw the candle and candlestick in the passage
of the door, dasht up to the roof of the room, by a kick of the hinder
parts of a horse, and after with the hoof trode out the snuff, and so
dasht out the fire in the chimnies. As this was done, there fell, as
from the ceiling, upon them in the truckle-beds such quantities of
water, as if it had been poured out of buckets, which stunk worse than
any earthly stink could make; and as this was in doing, something crept
under the high beds, tost them up to the roof of the house, with the
Commissioners in them, until the testers of the beds were beaten down
upon, and the bedsted-frames broke under them; and here some pause being
made, they all, as if with one consent, started up, and ran down the
stairs until they came into the Councel Hall, where two sate up
a-brewing, but now were fallen asleep; those they scared much with the
wakening of them, having been much perplext before with the strange
noise, which commonly was taken by them abroad for thunder, sometimes
for rumbling wind. Here the Captains and their company got fire and
candle, and every one carrying something of either, they returned into
the Presence-Chamber, where some applied themselves to make the fire,
whilst others fell to prayers, and having got some clothes about them,
they spent the residue of the night in singing psalms and prayers;
during which, no noise was in that room, but most hideously round about,
as at some distance.

It should have been told before, how that when Captain Hart first rose
this night, (who lay in the bed-chamber next the fire,) he found their
book of valuations crosse the embers smoaking, which he snacht up and
cast upon the table there, which the night before was left upon the
table in the presence amongst their other papers; this book was in the
morning found a handful burnt, and had burnt the table where it lay;
Browne the clerk said, he would not for a 100 and a 100 L that it had
been burnt a handful further.

This night it happened that there were six cony-stealers, who were come
with their nets and ferrets to the cony-burrows by Rosamond's Well; but
with the noise this night from the Mannor-house, they were so terrified,
that like men distracted away they ran, and left their haies all ready
pitched, ready up, and the ferrets in the cony-burrows.

Now the Commissioners, more sensible of their danger, considered more
seriously of their safety, and agreed to go and confer with Mr. Hoffman,
the minister of Wotton, (a man not of the meanest note for life or
learning, by some esteemed more high,) to desire his advice, together
with his company and prayers. Mr. Hoffman held it too high a point to
resolve on suddenly and by himself, wherefore desired time to consider
upon it, which being agreed unto, he forthwith rode to Mr. Jenkinson and
Mr. Wheat, the two next Justices of Peace, to try what warrant they
could give him for it. They both (as 'tis said from themselves)
encouraged him to be assisting to the Commissioners, according to his

But certain it is, that when they came to fetch him to go with them, Mr.
Hoffman answered, that he would not lodge there one night for 500 L, and
being asked to pray with them, he held up his hands and said, that he
would not meddle upon any terms.

Mr. Hoffman refusing to undertake the quarrel, the Commissioners held it
not safe to lodge where they had been thus entertained any longer, but
caused all things to be removed into the chambers over the gatehouse,
where they stayed but one night, and what rest they enjoyed there, we
have but an uncertain relation of, for they went away early the next
morning; but if it may be held fit to set down what hath been delivered
by the report of others, they were also the same night much affrighted
with dreadful apparitions; but observing that these passages spread much
in discourse, to be also in particulars taken notice of, and that the
nature of it made not for their cause, they agreed to the concealing of
things for the future; yet this is well-known and certain, that the
gate-keeper's wife was in so strange an agony in her bed, and in her
bed-chamber such noise, (whilst her husband was above with the
Commissioners,) that two maids in the next room to her, durst not
venture to assist her, but affrighted ran out to call company, and their
master, and found the woman (at their coming in) gasping for breath; and
the next day said, that she saw and suffered that, which for all the
world she would not be hired to again.

From Woodstock the Commissioners removed unto Euelme, and some of them
returned to Woodstock the Sunday se'nnight after, (the book of
Valuations wanting something that was for haste left imperfect,) but
lodged not in any of those rooms where they had lain before, and yet
were not unvisited (as they confess themselves) by the devil, whom they
called their nightly guest; Captain Crook came not untill Tuesday night,
and how he sped that night the gate-keeper's wife can tell if she
dareth, but what she hath whispered to her gossips, shall not be made a
part of this our narrative, nor many more particulars which have fallen
from the Commissioners themselves and their servants to other persons;
they are all or most of them alive, and may add to it when they please,
and surely have not a better way to be revenged of him who troubled
them, than according to the proverb, tell truth and shame the devil.

There remains this observation to be added, that on a Wednesday morning
all these officers went away; and that since then diverse persons of
severall qualities, have lodged often and sometimes long in the same
rooms, both in the presence, withdrawing-room, and bed-chamber belonging
unto his sacred Majesty; yet none have had the least disturbance, or
heard the smallest noise, for which the cause was not as ordinary as
apparent, except the Commissioners and their company, who came in order
to the alienating and pulling down the house, which is wellnigh


(This Survey of Woodstock is appended to the preceding pamphlet)

The noble seat, called Woodstock, is one of the ancient honours
belonging to the crown. Severall mannors owe suite and service to the
place; but the custom of the countrey giving it but the title of a
mannor, we shall erre with them to be the better understood.

The mannor-house hath been a large fabrick, and accounted amongst his
majestie's standing houses, because there was alwaies kept a standing
furniture. This great house was built by King Henry the First, but
ampleyfied with the gate-house and outsides of the outer-court, by King
Henry the Seventh, the stables by King James.

About a bow-shot from the gate south-west, remain foundation signs of
that structure, erected by King Henry the Second, for the security of
Lady Rosamond, daughter of Walter Lord Clifford, which some poets have
compared to the Dedalian labyrinth, but the form and circuit both of the
place and ruins show it to have been a house and of one pile, perhaps of
strength, according to the fashion of those times, and probably was
fitted with secret places of recess, and avenues to hide or convey away
such persons as were not willing to be found if narrowly sought after.
About the midst of the place ariseth a spring, called at present
Rosamond's Well; it is but shallow, and shows to have been paved and
walled about, likely contrived for the use of them within the house,
when it should be of danger to go out.

A quarter of a mile distant from the King's house, is seated Woodstook
town, new and old. This new Woodstock did arise by some buildings which
Henry the Second gave leave to be erected, (as received by tradition,)
at the suite of the Lady Rosamond, for the use of out-servants upon the
wastes of the manner of Bladon, where is the mother church; this is a
hamlet belonging to it, though encreased to a market town by the
advantage of the Court residing sometime near, which of late years they
have been sensible of the want of; this town was made a corporation in
the 11th year of Henry the Sixth, by charter, with power to send two
burgesses to parliament or not, as they will themselves.

Old Woodstock is seated on the west side of the brook, named Glyme,
which also runneth through the park; the town consists not of above four
or five houses, but it is to be conceived that it hath been much larger,
(but very anciently so,) for in some old law historians there is mention
of the assize at Woodstock, for a law made in a Micelgemote (the name of
Parliaments before the coming of the Norman) in the days of King

And in like manner, that thereabout was a king's house, if not in the
same place where Henry the First built the late standing pile before
his; for in such days those great councils were commonly held in the
King's palaces. Some of those lands have belonged to the orders of the
Knights Templers, there being records which call them, _Terras quas Rex
excambiavit cum Templariis_.

But now this late large mannor-house is in a manner almost turned into
heaps of rubbish; some seven or eight rooms left for the accommodation
of a tenant that should rent the King's medows, (of those who had no
power to let them,) with several high uncovered walls standing, the
prodigious spectacles of malice unto monarchy, which ruines still bear
semblance of their state, and yet aspire in spight of envy, or of
weather, to show, What kings do build, subjects may sometimes shake, but
utterly can never overthrow.

That part of the park called the High-park, hath been lately subdivided
by Sir Arthur Haselrig, to make pastures for his breed of colts, and
other parts plowed up. Of the whole saith Roffus Warwicensis, in MS.
Hen. I. p. 122. _Fecit iste Rex Parcum de Woodstock, cum Palatio, infra
praedictum Parcum, qui Parcus erat primus Parcus Angliae, et continet
in circuitu septem Miliaria; constructus erat. Anno 14 hujus Regis, aut
parum post_. Without the Park the King's demesne woods were, it cannot
well be said now are, the timber being all sold off, and underwoods so
cropt and spoiled by that beast the Lord Munson, and other greedy
cattle, that they are hardly recoverable. Beyond which lieth Stonefield,
and other mannors that hold of Woodstock, with other woods, that have
been aliened by former kings, but with reservation of liberty for his
majestie's deer, and other beasts of forrest, to harbour in at pleasure,
as in due place is to be shewed.

* * * * *


It is not my purpose to inform my readers how the manuscripts of that
eminent antiquary, the Rev. J. A. ROCHECLIFFE, D.D., came into my
possession. There are many ways in which such things happen, and it is
enough to say they were rescued from an unworthy fate, and that they
were honestly come by. As for the authenticity of the anecdotes which I
have gleaned from the writings of this excellent person, and put
together with my own unrivalled facility, the name of Doctor Rochecliffe
will warrant accuracy, wherever that name happens to be known.

With his history the reading part of the world are well acquainted; and
we might refer the tyro to honest Anthony a Wood, who looked up to him
as one of the pillars of High Church, and bestows on him an exemplary
character in the _Athenae Oxonienses_, although the Doctor was educated
at Cambridge, England's other eye.

It is well known that Doctor Rochecliffe early obtained preferment in
the Church, on account of the spirited share which he took in the
controversy with the Puritans; and that his work, entitled _Malleus
Haeresis_, was considered as a knock-down blow by all except those who
received it. It was that work which made him, at the early age of
thirty, Rector of Woodstock, and which afterwards secured him a place in
the Catalogue of the celebrated Century White;--and worse than being
shown up by that fanatic, among the catalogues of scandalous and
malignant priests admitted into benefices by the prelates, his opinions
occasioned the loss of his living of Woodstock by the ascendency of
Presbytery. He was Chaplain, during most part of the Civil War, to Sir
Henry Lee's regiment, levied for the service of King Charles; and it was
said he engaged more than once personally in the field. At least it is
certain that Doctor Rochecliffe was repeatedly in great danger, as will
appear from more passages than one in the following history, which
speaks of his own exploits, like Caesar, in the third person. I suspect,
however, some Presbyterian commentator has been guilty of interpolating
two or three passages. The manuscript was long in possession of the
Everards, a distinguished family of that persuasion. (It is hardly
necessary to say, unless to some readers of very literal capacity, that
Dr. Rochecliffe and his manuscripts are alike apocryphal.)

During the Usurpation, Doctor Rochecliffe was constantly engaged in one
or other of the premature attempts at a restoration of monarchy; and was
accounted, for his audacity, presence of mind, and depth of judgment,
one of the greatest undertakers for the King in that busy time; with
this trifling drawback, that the plots in which he busied himself were
almost constantly detected. Nay, it was suspected that Cromwell himself
sometimes contrived to suggest to him the intrigues in which he engaged,
by which means the wily Protector made experiments on the fidelity of
doubtful friends, and became well acquainted with the plots of declared
enemies, which he thought it more easy to disconcert and disappoint than
to punish severely.

Upon the Restoration, Doctor Rochecliffe regained his living of
Woodstock, with other Church preferment, and gave up polemics and
political intrigues for philosophy. He was one of the constituent
members of the Royal Society, and was the person through whom Charles
required of that learned body solution of their curious problem, "Why,
if a vessel is filled brimful of water, and a large live fish plunged
into the water, nevertheless it shall not overflow the pitcher?" Doctor
Rochecliffe's exposition of this phenomenon was the most ingenious and
instructive of four that were given in; and it is certain the Doctor
must have gained the honour of the day, but for the obstinacy of a
plain, dull, country gentleman, who insisted that the experiment should
be, in the first place, publicly tried. When this was done, the event
showed it would have been rather rash to have adopted the facts
exclusively on the royal authority; as the fish, however curiously
inserted into his native element, splashed the water over the hall, and
destroyed the credit of four ingenious essayists, besides a large Turkey

Doctor Rochecliffe, it would seem, died about 1685, leaving many papers
behind him of various kinds, and, above all, many valuable anecdotes of
secret history, from which the following Memoirs have been extracted, on
which we intend to say only a few words by way of illustration.

The existence of Rosamond's Labyrinth, mentioned in these pages, is
attested by Drayton in the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

Rosamond's Labyrinth, whose ruins, together with her Well, being paved
with square stones in the bottom, and also her Tower, from which the
Labyrinth did run, are yet remaining, being vaults arched and walled
with stone and brick, almost inextricably wound within one another, by
which, if at any time her lodging were laid about by the Queen, she
might easily avoid peril imminent, and, if need be, by secret issues
take the air abroad, many furlongs about Woodstock in Oxfordshire.
[Drayton's England's Heroical Epistles, Note A, on the Epistle, Rosamond
to King Henry.]

It is highly probable, that a singular piece of phantasmagoria, which
was certainly played off upon the Commissioners of the Long Parliament,
who were sent down to dispark and destroy Woodstock, after the death of
Charles I., was conducted by means of the secret passages and recesses
in the ancient Labyrinth of Rosamond, round which successive Monarchs
had erected a Hunting-seat or Lodge.

There is a curious account of the disturbance given to those Honourable
Commissioners, inserted by Doctor Plot, in his Natural History of
Oxfordshire. But as I have not the book at hand, I can only allude to
the work of the celebrated Glanville upon Witches, who has extracted it
as an highly accredited narrative of supernatural dealings. The beds of
the Commissioners, and their servants, were hoisted up till they were
almost inverted, and then let down again so suddenly, as to menace them
with broken bones. Unusual and horrible noises disturbed those
sacrilegious intromitters with royal property. The devil, on one
occasion, brought them a warming-pan; on another, pelted them with
stones and horses' bones. Tubs of water were emptied on them in their
sleep; and so many other pranks of the same nature played at their
expense, that they broke up housekeeping, and left their intended
spoliation only half completed. The good sense of Doctor Plot suspected,
that these feats were wrought by conspiracy and confederation, which
Glanville of course endeavours to refute with all his might; for it
could scarce be expected, that he who believed in so convenient a
solution as that of supernatural agency, would consent to relinquish the
service of a key, which will answer any lock, however intricate.

Nevertheless, it was afterwards discovered, that Doctor Plot was
perfectly right; and that the only demon who wrought all these marvels,
was a disguised royalist--a fellow called Trusty Joe, or some such name,
formerly in the service of the Keeper of the Park, but who engaged in
that of the Commissioners, on purpose to subject them to his
persecution. I think I have seen some account of the real state of the
transaction, and of the machinery by which the wizard worked his
wonders; but whether in a book, or a pamphlet, I am uncertain. I
remember one passage particularly to this purpose. The Commissioners
having agreed to retain some articles out of the public account, in
order to be divided among themselves, had entered into an indenture for
ascertaining their share in the peculation, which they hid in a bow-pot
for security. Now, when an assembly of divines, aided by the most strict
religious characters in the neighbourhood of Woodstock, were assembled
to conjure down the supposed demon, Trusty Joe had contrived a firework,
which he let off in the midst of the exorcism, and which destroyed the
bow-pot; and, to the shame and confusion of the Commissioners, threw
their secret indenture into the midst of the assembled ghost-seers, who
became thus acquainted with their secret schemes of peculation.

It is, however, to little purpose for me to strain my memory about
ancient and imperfect recollections concerning the particulars of these
fantastic disturbances at Woodstock, since Doctor Rochecliffe's papers
give such a much more accurate narrative than could be obtained from any
account in existence before their publication. Indeed, I might have gone
much more fully into this part of my subject, for the materials are
ample;--but, to tell the reader a secret, some friendly critics were of
opinion they made the story hang on hand; and thus I was prevailed on to
be more concise on the subject than I might otherwise have been.

The impatient reader, perhaps, is by this time accusing me of keeping
the sun from him with a candle. Were the sunshine as bright, however, as
it is likely to prove; and the flambeau, or link, a dozen of times as
smoky, my friend must remain in the inferior atmosphere a minute longer,
while I disclaim the idea of poaching on another's manor. Hawks, we say
in Scotland, ought not to pick out hawks' eyes, or tire upon each
other's quarry; and therefore, if I had known that, in its date and its
characters this tale was likely to interfere with that recently
published by a distinguished contemporary, I should unquestionably have
left Doctor Rochecliffe's manuscript in peace for the present season.
But before I was aware of this circumstance, this little book was half
through the press; and I had only the alternative of avoiding any
intentional imitation, by delaying a perusal of the contemporary work in
question. Some accidental collision there must be, when works of a
similar character are finished on the same general system of historical
manners, and the same historical personages are introduced. Of course,
if such have occurred, I shall be probably the sufferer. But my
intentions have been at least innocent, since I look on it as one of the
advantages attending the conclusion of WOODSTOCK, that the finishing
of my own task will permit me to have the pleasure of reading
BRAMBLETYE-HOUSE, from which I have hitherto conscientiously abstained.



Some were for gospel ministers,
And some for red-coat seculars,
As men most fit t' hold forth the word,
And wield the one and th' other sword.
Butler's _Hudibras_.

There is a handsome parish church in the town of Woodstock,--I am told
so, at least, for I never saw it, having scarce time, when at the place,
to view the magnificence of Blenheim, its painted halls, and tapestried
bowers, and then return in due season to dine in hall with my learned
friend, the provost of ----; being one of those occasions on which a man
wrongs himself extremely, if he lets his curiosity interfere with his
punctuality. I had the church accurately described to me, with a view to
this work; but, as I have some reason to doubt whether my informant had
ever seen the inside of it himself, I shall be content to say that it is
now a handsome edifice, most part of which was rebuilt forty or fifty
years since, although it still contains some arches of the old chantry,
founded, it is said, by King John. It is to this more ancient part of
the building that my story refers. On a morning in the end of September,
or beginning of October, in the year 1652, being a day appointed for a
solemn thanksgiving for the decisive victory at Worcester, a respectable
audience was assembled in the old chantry, or chapel of King John. The
condition of the church and character of the audience both bore witness
to the rage of civil war, and the peculiar spirit of the times. The
sacred edifice showed many marks of dilapidation. The windows, once
filled with stained glass, had been dashed to pieces with pikes and
muskets, as matters of and pertaining to idolatry. The carving on the
reading-desk was damaged, and two fair screens of beautiful sculptured
oak had been destroyed, for the same pithy and conclusive reason. The
high altar had been removed, and the gilded railing, which was once
around it, was broken down and carried off. The effigies of several
tombs were mutilated, and now lay scattered about the church,

Torn from their destined niche--unworthy meed
Of knightly counsel or heroic deed!

The autumn wind piped through empty aisles, in which the remains of
stakes and trevisses of rough-hewn timber, as well as a quantity of
scattered hay and trampled straw, seemed to intimate that the hallowed
precincts had been, upon some late emergency, made the quarters of a
troop of horse.

The audience, like the building, was abated in splendour. None of the
ancient and habitual worshippers during peaceful times, were now to be
seen in their carved galleries, with hands shadowing their brows, while
composing their minds to pray where their fathers had prayed, and after
the same mode of worship. The eye of the yeoman and peasant sought in
vain the tall form of old Sir Henry Lee, of Ditchley, as, wrapped in his
lace cloak, and with beard and whiskers duly composed, he moved slowly
through the aisles, followed by the faithful mastiff, or bloodhound,
which in old time had saved his master by his fidelity, and which
regularly followed him to church. Bevis, indeed, fell under the proverb
which avers, "He is a good dog which goes to church;" for, bating an
occasional temptation to warble along with the accord, he behaved
himself as decorously as any of the congregation, and returned as much
edified, perhaps, as most of them. The damsels of Woodstock looked as
vainly for the laced cloaks, jingling spurs, slashed boots, and tall
plumes, of the young cavaliers of this and other high-born houses,
moving through the streets and the church-yard with the careless ease,
which indicates perhaps rather an overweening degree of self-confidence,
yet shows graceful when mingled with good-humour and courtesy. The good
old dames, too, in their white hoods and black velvet gowns--their
daughters, "the cynosure of neighbouring eyes,"--where were they all
now, who, when they entered the church, used to divide men's thoughts
between them and Heaven? "But, ah! Alice Lee--so sweet, so gentle, so
condescending in thy loveliness--[thus proceeds a contemporary annalist,
whose manuscript we have deciphered]--why is my story to turn upon thy
fallen fortunes? and why not rather to the period when, in the very
dismounting from your palfrey, you attracted as many eyes as if an angel
had descended,--as many blessings as if the benignant being had come
fraught with good tidings? No creature wert thou of an idle romancer's
imagination--no being fantastically bedizened with inconsistent
perfections;--thy merits made me love thee well--and for thy faults--so
well did they show amid thy good qualities, that I think they made me
love thee better."

With the house of Lee had disappeared from the chantry of King John
others of gentle blood and honoured lineage--Freemantles, Winklecombes,
Drycotts, &c.; for the air that blew over the towers of Oxford was
unfavourable to the growth of Puritanism, which was more general in the
neighbouring counties. There were among the congregation, however, one
or two that, by their habits and demeanour, seemed country gentlemen of
consideration, and there were also present some of the notables of the
town of Woodstock, cutlers or glovers chiefly, whose skill in steel or
leather had raised them to a comfortable livelihood. These dignitaries
wore long black cloaks, plaited close at the neck, and, like peaceful
citizens, carried their Bibles and memorandum-books at their girdles,
instead of knife or sword. [This custom among the Puritans is mentioned
often in old plays, and among others in the Widow of Watling Street.]
This respectable, but least numerous part of the audience, were such
decent persons as had adopted the Presbyterian form of faith, renouncing
the liturgy and hierarchy of the Church of England, and living under the
tuition of the Rev. Nehemiah Holdenough, much famed for the length and
strength of his powers of predication. With these grave seniors sate
their goodly dames in ruff and gorget, like the portraits which in
catalogues of paintings are designed "wife of a burgomaster;" and their
pretty daughters, whose study, like that of Chaucer's physician, was not
always in the Bible, but who were, on the contrary, when a glance could
escape the vigilance of their honoured mothers, inattentive themselves,
and the cause of inattention in others.

But, besides these dignified persons, there were in the church a
numerous collection of the lower orders, some brought thither by
curiosity, but many of them unwashed artificers, bewildered in the
theological discussions of the time, and of as many various sects as
there are colours in the rainbow. The presumption of these learned
Thebans being in exact proportion to their ignorance, the last was total
and the first boundless. Their behaviour in the church was any thing but
reverential or edifying. Most of them affected a cynical contempt for
all that was only held sacred by human sanction--the church was to these
men but a steeple-house, the clergyman, an ordinary person; her
ordinances, dry bran and sapless pottage unfitted for the spiritualized
palates of the saints, and the prayer, an address to Heaven, to which
each acceded or not as in his too critical judgment he conceived fit.

The elder amongst them sate or lay on the benches, with their high
steeple-crowned hats pulled over their severe and knitted brows, waiting
for the Presbyterian parson, as mastiffs sit in dumb expectation of the
bull that is to be brought to the stake. The younger mixed, some of
them, a bolder license of manners with their heresies; they gazed round
on the women, yawned, coughed, and whispered, eat apples, and cracked
nuts, as if in the gallery of a theatre ere the piece commences.

Besides all these, the congregation contained a few soldiers, some in
corslets and steel caps, some in buff, and others in red coats. These
men of war had their bandeliers, with ammunition, slung around them, and
rested on their pikes and muskets. They, too, had their peculiar
doctrines on the most difficult points of religion, and united the
extravagances of enthusiasm with the most determined courage and
resolution in the field. The burghers of Woodstock looked on these
military saints with no small degree of awe; for though not often
sullied with deeds of plunder or cruelty, they had the power of both
absolutely in their hands, and the peaceful citizen had no alternative,
save submission to whatever the ill-regulated and enthusiastic
imaginations of their martial guides might suggest.

After some time spent in waiting for him, Mr. Holdenough began to walk
up the aisles of the chapel, not with the slow and dignified carriage
with which the old Rector was of yore wont to maintain the dignity of
the surplice, but with a hasty step, like one who arrives too late at an
appointment, and bustles forward to make the best use of his time. He
was a tall thin man, with an adust complexion, and the vivacity of his
eye indicated some irascibility of temperament. His dress was brown, not
black, and over his other vestments he wore, in honour of Calvin, a
Geneva cloak of a blue colour, which fell backwards from his shoulders
as he posted on to the pulpit. His grizzled hair was cut as short as
shears could perform the feat, and covered with a black silk scull-cap,
which stuck so close to his head, that the two ears expanded from under
it as if they had been intended as handles by which to lift the whole
person. Moreover, the worthy divine wore spectacles, and a long grizzled
peaked beard, and he carried in his hand a small pocket-bible with
silver clasps. Upon arriving at the pulpit, he paused a moment to take
breath, then began to ascend the steps by two at a time.

But his course was arrested by a strong hand, which seized his cloak. It
was that of one who had detached himself from the group of soldiery. He
was a stout man of middle stature, with a quick eye, and a countenance,
which, though plain, had yet an expression that fixed the attention. His
dress, though not strictly military, partook of that character. He wore
large hose made of calves-leather, and a tuck, as it was then called, or
rapier, of tremendous length, balanced on the other side by a dagger.
The belt was morocco, garnished with pistols.

The minister, thus intercepted in his duty, faced round upon the party
who had seized him, and demanded, in no gentle tone, the meaning of the

"Friend," quoth the intruder, "is it thy purpose to hold forth to these
good people?"

"Ay, marry is it," said the clergyman, "and such is my bounden duty. Woe
to me if I preach not the gospel--Prithee, friend, let me not in my

"Nay," said the man of warlike mien, "I am myself minded to hold forth;
therefore, do thou desist, or if thou wilt do by my advice, remain and
fructify with those poor goslings, to whom I am presently about to shake
forth the crumbs of comfortable doctrine."

"Give place, thou man of Satan," said the priest, waxing wroth, "respect
mine order--my cloth."

"I see no more to respect in the cut of thy cloak, or in the cloth of
which it is fashioned," said the other, "than thou didst in the Bishop's
rochets--they were black and white, thou art blue and brown. Sleeping
dogs every one of you, lying down, loving to slumber--shepherds that
starve the flock but will not watch it, each looking to his own

Scenes of this indecent kind were so common at the time, that no one
thought of interfering; the congregation looked on in silence, the
better class scandalized, and the lower orders, some laughing, and
others backing the soldier or minister as their fancy dictated. Meantime
the struggle waxed fiercer; Mr. Holdenough clamoured for assistance.

"Master Mayor of Woodstock," he exclaimed, "wilt thou be among those
wicked magistrates, who bear the sword in vain?--Citizens, will you not
help your pastor?--Worthy Alderman, will you see me strangled on the
pulpit stairs by this man of buff and Belial?--But lo, I will overcome
him, and cast his cords from me."

As Holdenough spoke, he struggled to ascend the pulpit stairs, holding
hard on the banisters. His tormentor held fast by the skirts of the
cloak, which went nigh to the choking of the wearer, until, as he spoke
the words last mentioned, in a half-strangled voice, Mr. Holdenough
dexterously slipped the string which tied it round his neck, so that the
garment suddenly gave way; the soldier fell backwards down the steps,
and the liberated divine skipped into the pulpit, and began to give
forth a psalm of triumph over his prostrate adversary. But a great
hubbub in the church marred his exultation, and although he and his
faithful clerk continued to sing the hymn of victory, their notes were
only heard by fits, like the whistle of a curlew during a gale of wind.

The cause of the tumult was as follows:--The Mayor was a zealous
Presbyterian, and witnessed the intrusion of the soldier with great
indignation from the very beginning, though he hesitated to interfere
with an armed man while on his legs and capable of resistance. But no
sooner did he behold the champion of independency sprawling on his back,
with the divine's Geneva cloak fluttering in his hands, than the
magistrate rushed forward, exclaiming that such insolence was not to be
endured, and ordered his constables to seize the prostrate champion,
proclaiming, in the magnanimity of wrath, "I will commit every red-coat
of them all--I will commit him were he Noll Cromwell himself!"

The worthy Mayor's indignation had overmastered his reason when he made
this mistimed vaunt; for three soldiers, who had hitherto stood
motionless like statues, made each a stride in advance, which placed
them betwixt the municipal officers and the soldier, who was in the act
of rising; then making at once the movement of resting arms according to
the manual as then practised, their musket-buts rang on the church
pavement, within an inch of the gouty toes of Master Mayor. The
energetic magistrate, whose efforts in favour of order were thus
checked, cast one glance on his supporters, but that was enough to show
him that force was not on his side. All had shrunk back on hearing that
ominous clatter of stone and iron. He was obliged to descend to

"What do you mean, my masters?" said he; "is it like a decent and
God-fearing soldiery, who have wrought such things for the land as have
never before been heard of, to brawl and riot in the church, or to aid,
abet, and comfort a profane fellow, who hath, upon a solemn thanksgiving
excluded the minister from his own pulpit?"

"We have nought to do with thy church, as thou call'st it," said he who,
by a small feather in front of his morion, appeared to be the corporal
of the party;--"we see not why men of gifts should not be heard within
these citadels of superstition, as well as the voice of the men of crape
of old, and the men of cloak now. Wherefore, we will pluck yon Jack
Presbyter out of his wooden sentinel-box, and our own watchman shall
relieve the guard, and mount thereon, and cry aloud and spare not."

"Nay, gentlemen," said the Mayor, "if such be your purpose, we have not
the means to withstand you, being, as you see, peaceful and quiet
men--But let me first speak with this worthy minister, Nehemiah
Holdenough, to persuade him to yield up his place for the time without
farther scandal."

The peace-making Mayor then interrupted the quavering Holdenough and the
clerk, and prayed both to retire, else there would, he said, be
certainly strife.

"Strife!" replied the Presbyterian divine, with scorn; "no fear of
strife among men that dare not testify against this open profanation of
the Church, and daring display of heresy. Would your neighbours of
Banbury have brooked such an insult?"

"Come, come, Master Holdenough," said the Mayor, "put us not to mutiny
and cry Clubs. I tell you once more, we are not men of war or blood."

"Not more than may be drawn by the point of a needle," said the
preacher, scornfully.--"Ye tailors of Woodstock!--for what is a glover
but a tailor working on kidskin?--I forsake you, in scorn of your faint
hearts and feeble hands, and will seek me elsewhere a flock which will
not fly from their shepherd at the braying of the first wild ass which
cometh from out the great desert."

So saying, the aggrieved divine departed from his pulpit, and shaking
the dust from his shoes, left the church as hastily as he had entered
it, though with a different reason for his speed. The citizens saw his
retreat with sorrow, and not without a compunctious feeling, as if
conscious that they were not playing the most courageous part in the
world. The Mayor himself and several others left the church, to follow
and appease him.

The Independent orator, late prostrate, was now triumphant, and
inducting himself into the pulpit without farther ceremony, he pulled a
Bible from his pocket, and selected his text from the forty-fifth
psalm,--"Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory
and thy majesty: and in thy majesty ride prosperously."--Upon this
theme, he commenced one of those wild declamations common at the period,
in which men were accustomed to wrest and pervert the language of
Scripture, by adapting to it modern events.

(See "Vindication of the Book of Common Prayer, against the contumelious
Slanders of the Fanatic Party terming it Porridge."

The author of this singular and rare tract indulges in the allegorical
style, till he fairly hunts down the allegory.

"But as for what you call porridge, who hatched the name I know not,
neither is it worth the enquiring after, for I hold porridge good food.
It is better to a sick man than meat, for a sick man will sooner eat
pottage than meat. Pottage will digest with him when meat will not:
pottage will nourish the blood, fill the veins, run into every part of a
man, make him warmer; so will these prayers do, set our soul and body in
a heat, warm our devotion, work fervency in us, lift up our soul to God.
For there be herbs of God's own planting in our pottage as ye call
it--the Ten Commandments, dainty herbs to season any pottage in the
world; there is the Lord's Prayer, and that is a most sweet pot-herb,
cannot be denied; then there is also David's herbs, his prayers and
psalms, helps to make our pottage relish well; the psalm of the blessed
Virgin, a good pot-herb. Though they be, as some term them,
_cock-crowed_ pottage, yet they are as sweet, as good, as dainty, and as
fresh, as they were at first. The sun hath not made them sour with its
heat, neither hath the cold water taken away their vigour and strength.
Compare them with the Scriptures, and see if they be not as well
seasoned and crumbed. If you find any thing in them that is either too
salt, too fresh, or too bitter, that herb shall be taken out and better
put in, if it can be got, or none. And as in kitchen pottage there are
many good herbs, so there is likewise in this church pottage, as ye call
it. For first, there is in kitchen pottage good water to make them so;
on the contrary, in the other pottage there is the water of life. 2.
There is salt, to season them; so in the other is a prayer of grace to
season their hearts. 3. There is oatmeal to nourish the body, in the
other is the bread of life. 4. There is thyme in them to relish them,
and it is very wholesome--in the other is the wholesome exhortation not
to harden our heart while it is called to-day. This relisheth well. 5.
There is a small onion to give a taste--in the other is a good herb,
called Lord have mercy on us. These, and many other holy herbs are
contained in it, all boiling in the heart of man, will make as good
pottage as the world can afford, especially if you use these herbs for
digestion. The herb repentance, the herb grace, the herb faith, the herb
love, the herb hope, the herb good works, the herb feeling, the herb
zeal, the herb fervency, the herb ardency, the herb constancy, with many
more of this nature, most excellent for digestion." _Ohe! jam satis._ In
this manner the learned divine hunts his metaphor at a very cold scent,
through a pamphlet of six mortal quarto pages.)

The language which, in its literal sense, was applied to King David, and
typically referred to the coming of the Messiah, was, in the opinion of
the military orator, most properly to be interpreted of Oliver Cromwell,
the victorious general of the infant Commonwealth, which was never
destined to come of age. "Gird on thy sword!" exclaimed the preacher
emphatically; "and was not that a pretty bit of steel as ever dangled
from a corslet, or rung against a steel saddle? Ay, ye prick up your
ears now, ye cutlers of Woodstock, as if ye should know something of a
good fox broad sword--Did you forge it, I trow?--was the steel quenched
with water from Rosamond's well, or the blade blessed by the old
cuckoldy priest of Godstow? You would have us think, I warrant me, that
you wrought it and welded it, grinded and polished it, and all the while
it never came on a Woodstock stithy! You were all too busy making
whittles for the lazy crape-men of Oxford, bouncing priests, whose eyes
were so closed up with fat, that they could not see Destruction till she
had them by the throat. But I can tell you where the sword was forged,
and tempered, and welded, and grinded, and polished. When you were, as I
said before, making whittles for false priests, and daggers for
dissolute G--d d--n-me cavaliers, to cut the people of England's throats
with--it was forged at Long Marston Moor, where blows went faster than
ever rung hammer on anvil--and it was tempered at Naseby, in the best
blood of the cavaliers--and it was welded in Ireland against the walls
of Drogheda--and it was grinded on Scottish lives at Dunbar--and now of
late it was polished in Worcester, till it shines as bright as the sun
in the middle heaven, and there is no light in England that shall come
nigh unto it."

Here the military part of the congregation raised a hum of approbation,
which, being a sound like the "hear, hear," of the British House of
Commons, was calculated to heighten the enthusiasm of the orator, by
intimating the sympathy of the audience. "And then," resumed the
preacher, rising in energy as he found that his audience partook in
these feelings, "what saith the text?--Ride on prosperously--do not
stop--do not call a halt--do not quit the saddle--pursue the scattered
fliers--sound the trumpet--not a levant or a flourish, but a point of
war--sound, boot and saddle--to horse and away--a charge!--follow after
the young Man!--what part have we in him?--Slay, take, destroy, divide
the spoil! Blessed art thou, Oliver, on account of thine honour--thy
cause is clear, thy call is undoubted--never has defeat come near thy
leading-staff, nor disaster attended thy banner. Ride on, flower of
England's soldiers! ride on, chosen leader of God's champions! gird up
the loins of thy resolution, and be steadfast to the mark of thy high

Another deep and stern hum, echoed by the ancient embow'd arches of the
old chantry, gave him an opportunity of an instant's repose; when the
people of Woodstock heard him, and not without anxiety, turn the stream
of his oratory into another channel.

"But wherefore, ye people of Woodstock, do I say these things to you,
who claim no portion in our David, no interest in England's son of
Jesse?--You, who were fighting as well as your might could (and it was
not very formidable) for the late Man, under that old blood-thirsty
papist Sir Jacob Aston--are you not now plotting, or ready to plot, for
the restoring, as ye call it, of the young Man, the unclean son of the
slaughtered tyrant--the fugitive after whom the true hearts of England
are now following, that they may take and slay him?--'Why should your
rider turn his bridle our way?' say you in your hearts; 'we will none of
him; if we may help ourselves, we will rather turn us to wallow in the
mire of monarchy, with the sow that was washed but newly.' Come, men of
Woodstock, I will ask, and do you answer me. Hunger ye still after the
flesh-pots of the monks of Godstow? and ye will say, Nay;--but
wherefore, except that the pots are cracked and broken, and the fire is
extinguished wherewith thy oven used to boil? And again, I ask, drink ye
still of the well of fornications of the fair Rosamond?--ye will say,
Nay;--but wherefore?"--

Here the orator, ere he could answer the question in his own way, was
surprised by the following reply, very pithily pronounced by one of the
congregation:--"Because you, and the like of you, have left us no brandy
to mix with it."

All eyes turned to the audacious speaker, who stood beside one of the
thick sturdy Saxon pillars, which he himself somewhat resembled, being
short of stature, but very strongly made, a squat broad Little John sort
of figure, leaning on a quarterstaff, and wearing a jerkin, which,
though now sorely stained and discoloured, had once been of the Lincoln
green, and showed remnants of having been laced. There was an air of
careless, good humoured audacity about the fellow; and, though under
military restraint, there were some of the citizens who could not help
crying out,--"Well said, Joceline Joliffe!"

"Jolly Joceline, call ye him?" proceeded the preacher, without showing
either confusion or displeasure at the interruption,--"I will make him
Joceline of the jail, if he interrupts me again. One of your
park-keepers, I warrant, that can never forget they have borne C. R.
upon their badges and bugle-horns, even as a dog bears his owner's name
on his collar--a pretty emblem for Christian men! But the brute beast
hath the better of him,--the brute weareth his own coat, and the caitiff
thrall wears his master's. I have seen such a wag make a rope's end wag
ere now.--Where was I?--Oh, rebuking you for your backslidings, men of
Woodstock.--Yes, then ye will say ye have renounced Popery, and ye have
renounced Prelacy, and then ye wipe your mouth like Pharisees, as ye
are; and who but you for purity of religion! But I tell you, ye are but
like Jehu the son of Nimshi, who broke down the house of Baal, yet
departed not from the sins of Jeroboam. Even so ye eat not fish on
Friday with the blinded Papists, nor minced-pies on the 25th day of
December, like the slothful Prelatists; but ye will gorge on sack-posset
each night in the year with your blind Presbyterian guide, and ye will
speak evil of dignities, and revile the Commonwealth; and ye will
glorify yourselves in your park of Woodstock, and say, 'Was it not
walled in first of any other in England, and that by Henry, son of
William called the Conqueror?' And ye have a princely Lodge therein, and
call the same a Royal Lodge; and ye have an oak which ye call the King's
Oak; and ye steal and eat the venison of the park, and ye say, 'This is
the king's venison, we will wash it down with a cup to the king's
health--better we eat it than those round-headed commonwealth knaves.'
But listen unto me and take warning. For these things come we to
controversy with you. And our name shall be a cannon-shot, before which
your Lodge, in the pleasantness whereof ye take pastime, shall be blown
into ruins; and we will be as a wedge to split asunder the King's Oak
into billets to heat a brown baker's oven; and we will dispark your
park, and slay your deer, and eat them ourselves, neither shall you have
any portion thereof, whether in neck or haunch. Ye shall not haft a
ten-penny knife with the horns thereof, neither shall ye cut a pair
of breeches out of the hide, for all ye be cutlers and glovers; and
ye shall have no comfort or support neither from the sequestered
traitor Henry Lee, who called himself Ranger of Woodstock, nor from
any on his behalf; for they are coming hither who shall be called
Mahershalal-hash-baz, because he maketh haste to the spoil."

Here ended the wild effusion, the latter part of which fell heavy on the
souls of the poor citizens of Woodstock, as tending to confirm a report
of an unpleasing nature which had been lately circulated. The
communication with London was indeed slow, and the news which it
transmitted were uncertain; no less uncertain were the times themselves,
and the rumours which were circulated, exaggerated by the hopes and
fears of so many various factions. But the general stream of report, so
far as Woodstock was concerned, had of late run uniformly in one
direction. Day after day they had been informed, that the fatal fiat of
Parliament had gone out, for selling the park of Woodstock, destroying
its lodge, disparking its forest, and erasing, as far as they could be
erased, all traces of its ancient fame. Many of the citizens were likely
to be sufferers on this occasion, as several of them enjoyed, either by
sufferance or right, various convenient privileges of pasturage, cutting
firewood, and the like, in the royal chase; and all the inhabitants of
the little borough were hurt to think, that the scenery of the place was
to be destroyed, its edifices ruined, and its honours rent away. This is
a patriotic sensation often found in such places, which ancient
distinctions and long-cherished recollections of former days, render so
different from towns of recent date. The natives of Woodstock felt it in
the fullest force. They had trembled at the anticipated calamity; but
now, when it was announced by the appearance of those dark, stern, and
at the same time omnipotent soldiers--now that they heard it proclaimed
by the mouth of one of their military preachers--they considered their
fate as inevitable. The causes of disagreement among themselves were for
the time forgotten, as the congregation, dismissed without psalmody or
benediction, went slowly and mournfully homeward, each to his own place
of abode.

* * * * *


Come forth, old man--Thy daughter's side
Is now the fitting place for thee:
When time hath quell'd the oak's bold pride,
The youthful tendril yet may hide
The ruins of the parent tree.

When the sermon was ended, the military orator wiped his brow; for,
notwithstanding the coolness of the weather, he was heated with the
vehemence of his speech and action. He then descended from the pulpit,
and spoke a word or two to the corporal who commanded the party of
soldiers, who, replying by a sober nod of intelligence, drew his men
together, and marched them in order to their quarters in the town.

The preacher himself, as if nothing extraordinary had happened, left the
church and sauntered through the streets of Woodstock, with the air of a
stranger who was viewing the town, without seeming to observe that he
was himself in his turn anxiously surveyed by the citizens, whose
furtive yet frequent glances seemed to regard him as something alike
suspected and dreadful, yet on no account to be provoked. He heeded them
not, but stalked on in the manner affected by the distinguished fanatics
of the day; a stiff solemn pace, a severe and at the same time a
contemplative look, like that of a man discomposed at the interruptions
which earthly objects forced upon him, obliging him by their intrusion
to withdraw his thoughts for an instant from celestial things. Innocent
pleasures of what kind soever they held in suspicion and contempt, and
innocent mirth they abominated. It was, however, a cast of mind that
formed men for great and manly actions, as it adopted principle, and
that of an unselfish character, for the ruling motive, instead of the
gratification of passion. Some of these men were indeed hypocrites,
using the cloak of religion only as a covering for their ambition; but
many really possessed the devotional character, and the severe
republican virtue, which others only affected. By far the greater number
hovered between these extremes, felt to a certain extent the power of
religion, and complied with the times in affecting a great deal.

The individual, whose pretensions to sanctity, written as they were upon
his brow and gait, have given rise to the above digression, reached at
length the extremity of the principal street, which terminates upon the
park of Woodstock. A battlemented portal of Gothic appearance defended
the entrance to the avenue. It was of mixed architecture, but on the
whole, though composed of the styles of the different ages when it had
received additions, had a striking and imposing effect. An immense gate,
composed of rails of hammered iron, with many a flourish and scroll,
displaying as its uppermost ornament the ill-fated cipher of C. R., was
now decayed, being partly wasted with rust, partly by violence.

The stranger paused, as if uncertain whether he should demand or assay
entrance. He looked through the grating down an avenue skirted by
majestic oaks, which led onward with a gentle curve, as if into the
depths of some ample and ancient forest. The wicket of the large iron
gate being left unwittingly open, the soldier was tempted to enter, yet
with some hesitation, as he that intrudes upon ground which he
conjectures may be prohibited--indeed his manner showed more reverence
for the scene than could have been expected from his condition and
character. He slackened his stately and consequential pace, and at
length stood still, and looked around him.

Not far from the gate, he saw rising from the trees one or two ancient
and venerable turrets, bearing each its own vane of rare device
glittering in the autumn sun. These indicated the ancient hunting seat,
or Lodge, as it was called, which had, since the time of Henry II., been
occasionally the residence of the English monarchs, when it pleased them
to visit the woods of Oxford, which then so abounded with game, that,
according to old Fuller, huntsmen and falconers were nowhere better
pleased. The situation which the Lodge occupied was a piece of flat
ground, now planted with sycamores, not far from the entrance to that
magnificent spot where the spectator first stops to gaze upon Blenheim,
to think of Marlborough's victories, and to applaud or criticise the
cumbrous magnificence of Vanburgh's style.

There, too, paused our military preacher, but with other thoughts, and
for other purpose, than to admire the scene around him. It was not long
afterwards when he beheld two persons, a male and a female, approaching
slowly, and so deeply engaged in their own conversation that they did
not raise their eyes to observe that there stood a stranger in the path
before them. The soldier took advantage of their state of abstraction,
and, desirous at once to watch their motions and avoid their
observation, he glided beneath one of the huge trees which skirted the
path, and whose boughs, sweeping the ground on every side, ensured him
against discovery, unless in case of an actual search.

In the meantime, the gentleman and lady continued to advance, directing
their course to a rustic seat, which still enjoyed the sunbeams, and was
placed adjacent to the tree where the stranger was concealed.

The man was elderly, yet seemed bent more by sorrow and infirmity than
by the weight of years. He wore a mourning cloak, over a dress of the
same melancholy colour, cut in that picturesque form which Vandyck has
rendered immortal. But although the dress was handsome, it was put on
with a carelessness which showed the mind of the wearer ill at ease. His
aged, yet still handsome countenance, had the same air of consequence
which distinguished his dress and his gait. A striking part of his
appearance was a long white beard, which descended far over the breast
of his slashed doublet, and looked singular from its contrast in colour
with his habit.

The young lady, by whom this venerable gentleman seemed to be in some
degree supported as they walked arm in arm, was a slight and sylphlike
form, with a person so delicately made, and so beautiful in countenance,
that it seemed the earth on which she walked was too grossly massive a
support for a creature so aerial. But mortal beauty must share human
sorrows. The eyes of the beautiful being showed tokens of tears; her
colour was heightened as she listened to her aged companion; and it was
plain, from his melancholy yet displeased look, that the conversation
was as distressing to himself as to her. When they sate down on the
bench we have mentioned, the gentleman's discourse could be distinctly
overheard by the eavesdropping soldier, but the answers of the young
lady reached his ear rather less distinctly.

"It is not to be endured!" said the old man, passionately; "it would
stir up a paralytic wretch to start up a soldier. My people have been
thinned, I grant you, or have fallen off from me in these times--I owe
them no grudge for it, poor knaves; what should they do waiting on me
when the pantry has no bread and the buttery no ale? But we have still
about us some rugged foresters of the old Woodstock breed--old as myself
most of them--what of that? old wood seldom warps in the wetting;--I
will hold out the old house, and it will not be the first time that I
have held it against ten times the strength that we hear of now."

"Alas! my dear father!"--said the young lady, in a tone which seemed to
intimate his proposal of defence to be altogether desperate.

"And why, alas?" said the gentleman, angrily; "is it because I shut my
door against a score or two of these blood-thirsty hypocrites?"

"But their masters can as easily send a regiment or an army, if they
will," replied the lady; "and what good would your present defence do,
excepting to exasperate them to your utter destruction?"

"Be it so, Alice," replied her father; "I have lived my time, and beyond
it. I have outlived the kindest and most princelike of masters. What do
I do on the earth since the dismal thirtieth of January? The parricide
of that day was a signal to all true servants of Charles Stewart to
avenge his death, or die as soon after as they could find a worthy

"Do not speak thus, sir," said Alice Lee; "it does not become your
gravity and your worth to throw away that life which may yet be of
service to your king and country,--it will not and cannot always be
thus. England will not long endure the rulers which these bad times have
assigned her. In the meanwhile--[here a few words escaped the listener's
ears]--and beware of that impatience, which makes bad worse."

"Worse?" exclaimed the impatient old man, "_What_ can be worse? Is it
not at the worst already? Will not these people expel us from the only
shelter we have left--dilapidate what remains of royal property under my
charge--make the palace of princes into a den of thieves, and then wipe
their mouths and thank God, as if they had done an alms-deed?"

"Still," said his daughter, "there is hope behind, and I trust the King
is ere this out of their reach--We have reason to think well of my
brother Albert's safety."

"Ay, Albert! there again," said the old man, in a tone of reproach; "had
it not been for thy entreaties I had gone to Worcester myself; but I
must needs lie here like a worthless hound when the hunt is up, when who
knows what service I might have shown? An old man's head is sometimes
useful when his arm is but little worth. But you and Albert were so
desirous that he should go alone--and now, who can say what has become
of him?"

"Nay, nay, father," said Alice, "we have good hope that Albert escaped
from that fatal day; young Abney saw him a mile from the field."

"Young Abney lied, I believe," said the father, in the same humour of
contradiction--"Young Abney's tongue seems quicker than his hands, but
far slower than his horse's heels when he leaves the roundheads behind
him. I would rather Albert's dead body were laid between Charles and
Cromwell, than hear he fled as early as young Abney."

"My dearest father," said the young lady, weeping as she spoke, "what
can I say to comfort you?"

"Comfort me, say'st thou, girl? I am sick of comfort--an honourable
death, with the ruins of Woodstock for my monument, were the only
comfort to old Henry Lee. Yes, by the memory of my fathers! I will make
good the Lodge against these rebellious robbers."

"Yet be ruled, dearest father," said the maiden, "and submit to that
which we cannot gainsay. My uncle Everard"--

Here the old man caught at her unfinished words. "Thy uncle Everard,
wench!--Well, get on.--What of thy precious and loving uncle Everard?"

"Nothing, sir," she said, "if the subject displeases you."

"Displeases me?" he replied, "why should it displease me? or if it did,
why shouldst thou, or any one, affect to care about it? What is it that
hath happened of late years--what is it can be thought to happen that
astrologer can guess at, which can give pleasure to us?"

"Fate," she replied, "may have in store the joyful restoration of our
banished Prince."

"Too late for my time, Alice," said the knight; "if there be such a
white page in the heavenly book, it will not be turned until long after
my day.--But I see thou wouldst escape me.--In a word, what of thy uncle

"Nay, sir," said Alice, "God knows I would rather be silent for ever,
than speak what might, as you would take it, add to your present

"Distemperature!" said her father; "Oh, thou art a sweet lipped
physician, and wouldst, I warrant me, drop nought but sweet balm, and
honey, and oil, on my distemperature--if that is the phrase for an old
man's ailment, when he is wellnigh heart-broken.--Once more, what of thy
uncle Everard?"

His last words were uttered in a high and peevish tone of voice; and
Alice Lee answered her father in a trembling and submissive tone.

"I only meant to say, sir, that I am well assured that my uncle Everard,
when we quit this place"--

"That is to say, when we are kicked out of it by crop-eared canting
villains like himself.--But on with thy bountiful uncle--what will he
do?--will he give us the remains of his worshipful and economical
housekeeping, the fragments of a thrice-sacked capon twice a-week, and a
plentiful fast on the other five days?--Will he give us beds beside his
half-starved nags, and put them under a short allowance of straw, that
his sister's husband--that I should have called my deceased angel by
such a name!--and his sister's daughter, may not sleep on the stones? Or
will he send us a noble each, with a warning to make it last, for he had
never known the ready-penny so hard to come by? Or what else will your
uncle Everard do for us? Get us a furlough to beg? Why, I can do that
without him."

"You misconstrue him much," answered Alice, with more spirit than she
had hitherto displayed; "and would you but question your own heart, you
would acknowledge--I speak with reverence--that your tongue utters what
your better judgment would disown. My uncle Everard is neither a miser
nor a hypocrite--neither so fond of the goods of this world that he
would not supply our distresses amply, nor so wedded to fanatical
opinions as to exclude charity for other sects beside his own."

"Ay, ay, the Church of England is a _sect_ with him, I doubt not, and
perhaps with thee too, Alice," said the knight. "What is a Muggletonian,
or a Ranter, or a Brownist, but a sectary? and thy phrase places them
all, with Jack Presbyter himself, on the same footing with our learned
prelates and religious clergy! Such is the cant of the day thou livest
in, and why shouldst thou not talk like one of the wise virgins and
psalm-singing sisters, since, though thou hast a profane old cavalier
for a father, thou art own niece to pious uncle Everard?"

"If you speak thus, my dear father," said Alice, "what can I answer you?
Hear me but one patient word, and I shall have discharged my uncle
Everard's commission."

"Oh, it is a commission, then? Surely, I suspected so much from the
beginning--nay, have some sharp guess touching the ambassador also.--
Come, madam, the mediator, do your errand, and you shall have no reason
to complain of my patience."

"Then, sir," replied his daughter, "my uncle Everard desires you would
be courteous to the commissioners, who come here to sequestrate the
parks and the property; or, at least, heedfully to abstain from giving
them obstacle or opposition: it can, he says, do no good, even on your
own principles, and it will give a pretext for proceeding against you as
one in the worst degree of malignity, which he thinks may otherwise be
prevented. Nay, he has good hope, that if you follow his counsel, the
committee may, through the interest he possesses, be inclined to remove
the sequestration of your estate on a moderate line. Thus says my uncle;
and having communicated his advice, I have no occasion to urge your
patience with farther argument."

"It is well thou dost not, Alice," answered Sir Henry Lee, in a tone of
suppressed anger; "for, by the blessed Rood, thou hast well nigh led me
into the heresy of thinking thee no daughter of mine.--Ah! my beloved
companion, who art now far from the sorrows and cares of this weary
world, couldst thou have thought that the daughter thou didst clasp to
thy bosom, would, like the wicked wife of Job, become a temptress to her
father in the hour of affliction, and recommend to him to make his
conscience truckle to his interest, and to beg back at the bloody hands
of his master's and perhaps his son's murderers, a wretched remnant of
the royal property he has been robbed of!--Why, wench, if I must beg,
think'st thou I will sue to those who have made me a mendicant? No. I
will never show my grey beard, worn in sorrow for my sovereign's death,
to move the compassion of some proud sequestrator, who perhaps was one
of the parricides. No. If Henry Lee must sue for food, it shall be of
some sound loyalist like himself, who, having but half a loaf remaining,
will not nevertheless refuse to share it with him. For his daughter, she
may wander her own way, which leads her to a refuge with her wealthy
roundhead kinsfolk; but let her no more call him father, whose honest
indigence she has refused to share!"

"You do me injustice, sir," answered the young lady, with a voice
animated yet faltering, "cruel injustice. God knows, your way is my way,
though it lead to ruin and beggary; and while you tread it, my arm shall
support you while you will accept an aid so feeble."

"Thou word'st me, girl," answered the old cavalier, "thou word'st me, as
Will Shakspeare says--thou speakest of lending me thy arm; but thy
secret thought is thyself to hang upon Markham Everard's."

"My father, my father," answered Alice, in a tone of deep grief, "what
can thus have altered your clear judgment and kindly heart!--Accursed be
these civil commotions; not only do they destroy men's bodies, but they
pervert their souls; and the brave, the noble, the generous, become
suspicious, harsh, and mean! Why upbraid me with Markham Everard? Have I
seen or spoke to him since you forbid him my company, with terms less

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