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Chapter 4

OUR escort had been directed to prepare our abode for the night at the inn,
opposite the ascent to the Castle. We could not again visit the halls and
familiar chambers of our home, on a mere visit. We had already left for
ever the glades of Windsor, and all of coppice, flowery hedgerow, and
murmuring stream, which gave shape and intensity to the love of our
country, and the almost superstitious attachment with which we regarded
native England. It had been our intention to have called at Lucy's dwelling
in Datchet, and to have re-assured her with promises of aid and protection
before we repaired to our quarters for the night. Now, as the Countess of
Windsor and I turned down the steep hill that led from the Castle, we saw
the children, who had just stopped in their caravan, at the inn-door. They
had passed through Datchet without halting. I dreaded to meet them, and to
be the bearer of my tragic story, so while they were still occupied in the
hurry of arrival, I suddenly left them, and through the snow and clear
moon-light air, hastened along the well known road to Datchet.

Well known indeed it was. Each cottage stood on its accustomed site, each
tree wore its familiar appearance. Habit had graven uneraseably on my
memory, every turn and change of object on the road. At a short distance
beyond the Little Park, was an elm half blown down by a storm, some ten
years ago; and still, with leafless snow-laden branches, it stretched
across the pathway, which wound through a meadow, beside a shallow brook,
whose brawling was silenced by frost--that stile, that white gate, that
hollow oak tree, which doubtless once belonged to the forest, and which now
shewed in the moonlight its gaping rent; to whose fanciful appearance,
tricked out by the dusk into a resemblance of the human form, the children
had given the name of Falstaff;--all these objects were as well known to
me as the cold hearth of my deserted home, and every moss-grown wall and
plot of orchard ground, alike as twin lambs are to each other in a
stranger's eye, yet to my accustomed gaze bore differences, distinction,
and a name. England remained, though England was dead--it was the ghost
of merry England that I beheld, under those greenwood shade passing
generations had sported in security and ease. To this painful recognition
of familiar places, was added a feeling experienced by all, understood by
none--a feeling as if in some state, less visionary than a dream, in some
past real existence, I had seen all I saw, with precisely the same feelings
as I now beheld them--as if all my sensations were a duplex mirror of a
former revelation. To get rid of this oppressive sense I strove to imagine
change in this tranquil spot--this augmented my mood, by causing me to
bestow more attention on the objects which occasioned me pain.

I reached Datchet and Lucy's humble abode--once noisy with Saturday night
revellers, or trim and neat on Sunday morning it had borne testimony to the
labours and orderly habits of the housewife. The snow lay high about the
door, as if it had remained unclosed for many days.

"What scene of death hath Roscius now to act?" I muttered to myself as
I looked at the dark casements. At first I thought I saw a light in one of
them, but it proved to be merely the refraction of the moon-beams, while
the only sound was the crackling branches as the breeze whirred the snow
flakes from them--the moon sailed high and unclouded in the interminable
ether, while the shadow of the cottage lay black on the garden behind. I
entered this by the open wicket, and anxiously examined each window. At
length I detected a ray of light struggling through a closed shutter in one
of the upper rooms--it was a novel feeling, alas! to look at any house
and say there dwells its usual inmate--the door of the house was merely
on the latch: so I entered and ascended the moon-lit staircase. The door of
the inhabited room was ajar: looking in, I saw Lucy sitting as at work at
the table on which the light stood; the implements of needlework were about
her, but her hand had fallen on her lap, and her eyes, fixed on the ground,
shewed by their vacancy that her thoughts wandered. Traces of care and
watching had diminished her former attractions--but her simple dress and
cap, her desponding attitude, and the single candle that cast its light
upon her, gave for a moment a picturesque grouping to the whole. A fearful
reality recalled me from the thought--a figure lay stretched on the bed
covered by a sheet--her mother was dead, and Lucy, apart from all the
world, deserted and alone, watched beside the corpse during the weary
night. I entered the room, and my unexpected appearance at first drew a
scream from the lone survivor of a dead nation; but she recognised me, and
recovered herself, with the quick exercise of self-control habitual to her.
"Did you not expect me?" I asked, in that low voice which the presence of
the dead makes us as it were instinctively assume.

"You are very good," replied she, "to have come yourself; I can never thank
you sufficiently; but it is too late."

"Too late," cried I, "what do you mean? It is not too late to take you from
this deserted place, and conduct you to---"

My own loss, which I had forgotten as I spoke, now made me turn away, while
choking grief impeded my speech. I threw open the window, and looked on the
cold, waning, ghastly, misshaped circle on high, and the chill white earth
beneath--did the spirit of sweet Idris sail along the moon-frozen crystal
air?--No, no, a more genial atmosphere, a lovelier habitation was surely
hers!

I indulged in this meditation for a moment, and then again addressed the
mourner, who stood leaning against the bed with that expression of resigned
despair, of complete misery, and a patient sufferance of it, which is far
more touching than any of the insane ravings or wild gesticulation of
untamed sorrow. I desired to draw her from this spot; but she opposed my
wish. That class of persons whose imagination and sensibility have never
been taken out of the narrow circle immediately in view, if they possess
these qualities to any extent, are apt to pour their influence into the
very realities which appear to destroy them, and to cling to these with
double tenacity from not being able to comprehend any thing beyond. Thus
Lucy, in desert England, in a dead world, wished to fulfil the usual
ceremonies of the dead, such as were customary to the English country
people, when death was a rare visitant, and gave us time to receive his
dreaded usurpation with pomp and circumstance--going forth in procession
to deliver the keys of the tomb into his conquering hand. She had already,
alone as she was, accomplished some of these, and the work on which I found
her employed, was her mother's shroud. My heart sickened at such detail of
woe, which a female can endure, but which is more painful to the masculine
spirit than deadliest struggle, or throes of unutterable but transient
agony.

This must not be, I told her; and then, as further inducement, I
communicated to her my recent loss, and gave her the idea that she must
come with me to take charge of the orphan children, whom the death of Idris
had deprived of a mother's care. Lucy never resisted the call of a duty, so
she yielded, and closing the casements and doors with care, she accompanied
me back to Windsor. As we went she communicated to me the occasion of her
mother's death. Either by some mischance she had got sight of Lucy's letter
to Idris, or she had overheard her conversation with the countryman who
bore it; however it might be, she obtained a knowledge of the appalling
situation of herself and her daughter, her aged frame could not sustain the
anxiety and horror this discovery instilled--she concealed her knowledge
from Lucy, but brooded over it through sleepless nights, till fever and
delirium, swift forerunners of death, disclosed the secret. Her life, which
had long been hovering on its extinction, now yielded at once to the united
effects of misery and sickness, and that same morning she had died.

After the tumultuous emotions of the day, I was glad to find on my arrival
at the inn that my companions had retired to rest. I gave Lucy in charge to
the Countess's attendant, and then sought repose from my various struggles
and impatient regrets. For a few moments the events of the day floated in
disastrous pageant through my brain, till sleep bathed it in forgetfulness;
when morning dawned and I awoke, it seemed as if my slumber had endured for
years.

My companions had not shared my oblivion. Clara's swollen eyes shewed that
she has passed the night in weeping. The Countess looked haggard and wan.
Her firm spirit had not found relief in tears, and she suffered the more
from all the painful retrospect and agonizing regret that now occupied her.
We departed from Windsor, as soon as the burial rites had been performed
for Lucy's mother, and, urged on by an impatient desire to change the
scene, went forward towards Dover with speed, our escort having gone before
to provide horses; finding them either in the warm stables they
instinctively sought during the cold weather, or standing shivering in the
bleak fields ready to surrender their liberty in exchange for offered
corn.

During our ride the Countess recounted to me the extraordinary
circumstances which had brought her so strangely to my side in the chancel
of St. George's chapel. When last she had taken leave of Idris, as she
looked anxiously on her faded person and pallid countenance, she had
suddenly been visited by a conviction that she saw her for the last time.
It was hard to part with her while under the dominion of this sentiment,
and for the last time she endeavoured to persuade her daughter to commit
herself to her nursing, permitting me to join Adrian. Idris mildly refused,
and thus they separated. The idea that they should never again meet grew on
the Countess's mind, and haunted her perpetually; a thousand times she had
resolved to turn back and join us, and was again and again restrained by
the pride and anger of which she was the slave. Proud of heart as she was,
she bathed her pillow with nightly tears, and through the day was subdued
by nervous agitation and expectation of the dreaded event, which she was
wholly incapable of curbing. She confessed that at this period her hatred
of me knew no bounds, since she considered me as the sole obstacle to the
fulfilment of her dearest wish, that of attending upon her daughter in her
last moments. She desired to express her fears to her son, and to seek
consolation from his sympathy with, or courage from his rejection of, her
auguries.

On the first day of her arrival at Dover she walked with him on the sea
beach, and with the timidity characteristic of passionate and exaggerated
feeling was by degrees bringing the conversation to the desired point, when
she could communicate her fears to him, when the messenger who bore my
letter announcing our temporary return to Windsor, came riding down to
them. He gave some oral account of how he had left us, and added, that
notwithstanding the cheerfulness and good courage of Lady Idris, he was
afraid that she would hardly reach Windsor alive. "True," said the Countess,
"your fears are just, she is about to expire!"

As she spoke, her eyes were fixed on a tomblike hollow of the cliff, and
she saw, she averred the same to me with solemnity, Idris pacing slowly
towards this cave. She was turned from her, her head was bent down, her
white dress was such as she was accustomed to wear, except that a thin
crape-like veil covered her golden tresses, and concealed her as a dim
transparent mist. She looked dejected, as docilely yielding to a commanding
power; she submissively entered, and was lost in the dark recess.

"Were I subject to visionary moods," said the venerable lady, as she
continued her narrative, "I might doubt my eyes, and condemn my credulity;
but reality is the world I live in, and what I saw I doubt not had
existence beyond myself. From that moment I could not rest; it was worth my
existence to see her once again before she died; I knew that I should not
accomplish this, yet I must endeavour. I immediately departed for Windsor;
and, though I was assured that we travelled speedily, it seemed to me that
our progress was snail-like, and that delays were created solely for my
annoyance. Still I accused you, and heaped on your head the fiery ashes of
my burning impatience. It was no disappointment, though an agonizing pang,
when you pointed to her last abode; and words would ill express the
abhorrence I that moment felt towards you, the triumphant impediment to my
dearest wishes. I saw her, and anger, and hate, and injustice died at her
bier, giving place at their departure to a remorse (Great God, that I
should feel it!) which must last while memory and feeling endure."

To medicine such remorse, to prevent awakening love and new-born mildness
from producing the same bitter fruit that hate and harshness had done, I
devoted all my endeavours to soothe the venerable penitent. Our party was a
melancholy one; each was possessed by regret for what was remediless; for
the absence of his mother shadowed even the infant gaiety of Evelyn. Added
to this was the prospect of the uncertain future. Before the final
accomplishment of any great voluntary change the mind vacillates, now
soothing itself by fervent expectation, now recoiling from obstacles which
seem never to have presented themselves before with so frightful an aspect.
An involuntary tremor ran through me when I thought that in another day we
might have crossed the watery barrier, and have set forward on that
hopeless, interminable, sad wandering, which but a short time before I
regarded as the only relief to sorrow that our situation afforded.

Our approach to Dover was announced by the loud roarings of the wintry sea.
They were borne miles inland by the sound-laden blast, and by their
unaccustomed uproar, imparted a feeling of insecurity and peril to our
stable abode. At first we hardly permitted ourselves to think that any
unusual eruption of nature caused this tremendous war of air and water, but
rather fancied that we merely listened to what we had heard a thousand
times before, when we had watched the flocks of fleece-crowned waves,
driven by the winds, come to lament and die on the barren sands and pointed
rocks. But we found upon advancing farther, that Dover was overflowed--
many of the houses were overthrown by the surges which filled the streets,
and with hideous brawlings sometimes retreated leaving the pavement of the
town bare, till again hurried forward by the influx of ocean, they returned
with thunder-sound to their usurped station.

Hardly less disturbed than the tempestuous world of waters was the assembly
of human beings, that from the cliff fearfully watched its ravings. On the
morning of the arrival of the emigrants under the conduct of Adrian, the
sea had been serene and glassy, the slight ripples refracted the sunbeams,
which shed their radiance through the clear blue frosty air. This placid
appearance of nature was hailed as a good augury for the voyage, and the
chief immediately repaired to the harbour to examine two steamboats which
were moored there. On the following midnight, when all were at rest, a
frightful storm of wind and clattering rain and hail first disturbed them,
and the voice of one shrieking in the streets, that the sleepers must awake
or they would be drowned; and when they rushed out, half clothed, to
discover the meaning of this alarm, they found that the tide, rising above
every mark, was rushing into the town. They ascended the cliff, but the
darkness permitted only the white crest of waves to be seen, while the
roaring wind mingled its howlings in dire accord with the wild surges. The
awful hour of night, the utter inexperience of many who had never seen the
sea before, the wailing of women and cries of children added to the horror
of the tumult. All the following day the same scene continued. When the tide
ebbed, the town was left dry; but on its flow, it rose even higher than on
the preceding night. The vast ships that lay rotting in the roads were
whirled from their anchorage, and driven and jammed against the cliff, the
vessels in the harbour were flung on land like sea-weed, and there battered
to pieces by the breakers. The waves dashed against the cliff, which if in
any place it had been before loosened, now gave way, and the affrighted
crowd saw vast fragments of the near earth fall with crash and roar into
the deep. This sight operated differently on different persons. The greater
part thought it a judgment of God, to prevent or punish our emigration from
our native land. Many were doubly eager to quit a nook of ground now become
their prison, which appeared unable to resist the inroads of ocean's giant
waves.

When we arrived at Dover, after a fatiguing day's journey, we all required
rest and sleep; but the scene acting around us soon drove away such ideas.
We were drawn, along with the greater part of our companions, to the edge
of the cliff, there to listen to and make a thousand conjectures. A fog
narrowed our horizon to about a quarter of a mile, and the misty veil, cold
and dense, enveloped sky and sea in equal obscurity. What added to our
inquietude was the circumstance that two-thirds of our original number were
now waiting for us in Paris, and clinging, as we now did most painfully, to
any addition to our melancholy remnant, this division, with the tameless
impassable ocean between, struck us with affright. At length, after
loitering for several hours on the cliff, we retired to Dover Castle, whose
roof sheltered all who breathed the English air, and sought the sleep
necessary to restore strength and courage to our worn frames and languid
spirits.

Early in the morning Adrian brought me the welcome intelligence that the
wind had changed: it had been south-west; it was now north-east. The sky
was stripped bare of clouds by the increasing gale, while the tide at its
ebb seceded entirely from the town. The change of wind rather increased the
fury of the sea, but it altered its late dusky hue to a bright green; and
in spite of its unmitigated clamour, its more cheerful appearance instilled
hope and pleasure. All day we watched the ranging of the mountainous waves,
and towards sunset a desire to decypher the promise for the morrow at its
setting, made us all gather with one accord on the edge of the cliff. When
the mighty luminary approached within a few degrees of the tempest-tossed
horizon, suddenly, a wonder! three other suns, alike burning and brilliant,
rushed from various quarters of the heavens towards the great orb; they
whirled round it. The glare of light was intense to our dazzled eyes; the
sun itself seemed to join in the dance, while the sea burned like a
furnace, like all Vesuvius a-light, with flowing lava beneath. The horses
broke loose from their stalls in terror--a herd of cattle, panic struck,
raced down to the brink of the cliff, and blinded by light, plunged down
with frightful yells in the waves below. The time occupied by the
apparition of these meteors was comparatively short; suddenly the three
mock suns united in one, and plunged into the sea. A few seconds
afterwards, a deafening watery sound came up with awful peal from the spot
where they had disappeared.

Meanwhile the sun, disencumbered from his strange satellites, paced with
its accustomed majesty towards its western home. When--we dared not trust
our eyes late dazzled, but it seemed that--the sea rose to meet it--it
mounted higher and higher, till the fiery globe was obscured, and the wall
of water still ascended the horizon; it appeared as if suddenly the motion
of earth was revealed to us--as if no longer we were ruled by ancient
laws, but were turned adrift in an unknown region of space. Many cried
aloud, that these were no meteors, but globes of burning matter, which had
set fire to the earth, and caused the vast cauldron at our feet to bubble
up with its measureless waves; the day of judgment was come they averred,
and a few moments would transport us before the awful countenance of the
omnipotent judge; while those less given to visionary terrors, declared
that two conflicting gales had occasioned the last phaenomenon. In support
of this opinion they pointed out the fact that the east wind died away,
while the rushing of the coming west mingled its wild howl with the roar of
the advancing waters. Would the cliff resist this new battery? Was not the
giant wave far higher than the precipice? Would not our little island be
deluged by its approach? The crowd of spectators fled. They were dispersed
over the fields, stopping now and then, and looking back in terror. A
sublime sense of awe calmed the swift pulsations of my heart--I awaited
the approach of the destruction menaced, with that solemn resignation which
an unavoidable necessity instils. The ocean every moment assumed a more
terrific aspect, while the twilight was dimmed by the rack which the west
wind spread over the sky. By slow degrees however, as the wave advanced, it
took a more mild appearance; some under current of air, or obstruction in
the bed of the waters, checked its progress, and it sank gradually; while
the surface of the sea became uniformly higher as it dissolved into it.
This change took from us the fear of an immediate catastrophe, although we
were still anxious as to the final result. We continued during the whole
night to watch the fury of the sea and the pace of the driving clouds,
through whose openings the rare stars rushed impetuously; the thunder of
conflicting elements deprived us of all power to sleep.

This endured ceaselessly for three days and nights. The stoutest hearts
quailed before the savage enmity of nature; provisions began to fail us,
though every day foraging parties were dispersed to the nearer towns. In
vain we schooled ourselves into the belief, that there was nothing out of
the common order of nature in the strife we witnessed; our disasterous and
overwhelming destiny turned the best of us to cowards. Death had hunted us
through the course of many months, even to the narrow strip of time on
which we now stood; narrow indeed, and buffeted by storms, was our footway
overhanging the great sea of calamity--

As an unsheltered northern shore
Is shaken by the wintry wave--
And frequent storms for evermore,
(While from the west the loud winds rave,
Or from the east, or mountains hoar)
The struck and tott'ring sand-bank lave.[1]

It required more than human energy to bear up against the menaces of
destruction that every where surrounded us.

After the lapse of three days, the gale died away, the sea-gull sailed upon
the calm bosom of the windless atmosphere, and the last yellow leaf on the
topmost branch of the oak hung without motion. The sea no longer broke with
fury; but a swell setting in steadily for shore, with long sweep and sullen
burst replaced the roar of the breakers. Yet we derived hope from the
change, and we did not doubt that after the interval of a few days the sea
would resume its tranquillity. The sunset of the fourth day favoured this
idea; it was clear and golden. As we gazed on the purple sea, radiant
beneath, we were attracted by a novel spectacle; a dark speck--as it
neared, visibly a boat--rode on the top of the waves, every now and then
lost in the steep vallies between. We marked its course with eager
questionings; and, when we saw that it evidently made for shore, we
descended to the only practicable landing place, and hoisted a signal to
direct them. By the help of glasses we distinguished her crew; it consisted
of nine men, Englishmen, belonging in truth to the two divisions of our
people, who had preceded us, and had been for several weeks at Paris. As
countryman was wont to meet countryman in distant lands, did we greet our
visitors on their landing, with outstretched hands and gladsome welcome.
They were slow to reciprocate our gratulations. They looked angry and
resentful; not less than the chafed sea which they had traversed with
imminent peril, though apparently more displeased with each other than with
us. It was strange to see these human beings, who appeared to be given
forth by the earth like rare and inestimable plants, full of towering
passion, and the spirit of angry contest. Their first demand was to be
conducted to the Lord Protector of England, so they called Adrian, though
he had long discarded the empty title, as a bitter mockery of the shadow to
which the Protectorship was now reduced. They were speedily led to Dover
Castle, from whose keep Adrian had watched the movements of the boat. He
received them with the interest and wonder so strange a visitation created.
In the confusion occasioned by their angry demands for precedence, it was
long before we could discover the secret meaning of this strange scene. By
degrees, from the furious declamations of one, the fierce interruptions of
another, and the bitter scoffs of a third, we found that they were deputies
from our colony at Paris, from three parties there formed, who, each with
angry rivalry, tried to attain a superiority over the other two. These
deputies had been dispatched by them to Adrian, who had been selected
arbiter; and they had journied from Paris to Calais, through the vacant
towns and desolate country, indulging the while violent hatred against each
other; and now they pleaded their several causes with unmitigated
party-spirit.

By examining the deputies apart, and after much investigation, we learnt
the true state of things at Paris. Since parliament had elected him
Ryland's deputy, all the surviving English had submitted to Adrian. He was
our captain to lead us from our native soil to unknown lands, our lawgiver
and our preserver. On the first arrangement of our scheme of emigration, no
continued separation of our members was contemplated, and the command of
the whole body in gradual ascent of power had its apex in the Earl of
Windsor. But unforeseen circumstances changed our plans for us, and
occasioned the greater part of our numbers to be divided for the space of
nearly two months, from the supreme chief. They had gone over in two
distinct bodies; and on their arrival at Paris dissension arose between
them.

They had found Paris a desert. When first the plague had appeared, the
return of travellers and merchants, and communications by letter, informed
us regularly of the ravages made by disease on the continent. But with the
encreased mortality this intercourse declined and ceased. Even in England
itself communication from one part of the island to the other became slow
and rare. No vessel stemmed the flood that divided Calais from Dover; or if
some melancholy voyager, wishing to assure himself of the life or death of
his relatives, put from the French shore to return among us, often the
greedy ocean swallowed his little craft, or after a day or two he was
infected by the disorder, and died before he could tell the tale of the
desolation of France. We were therefore to a great degree ignorant of the
state of things on the continent, and were not without some vague hope of
finding numerous companions in its wide track. But the same causes that had
so fearfully diminished the English nation had had even greater scope for
mischief in the sister land. France was a blank; during the long line of
road from Calais to Paris not one human being was found. In Paris there
were a few, perhaps a hundred, who, resigned to their coming fate, flitted
about the streets of the capital and assembled to converse of past times,
with that vivacity and even gaiety that seldom deserts the individuals of
this nation.

The English took uncontested possession of Paris. Its high houses and
narrow streets were lifeless. A few pale figures were to be distinguished
at the accustomed resort at the Tuileries; they wondered wherefore the
islanders should approach their ill-fated city--for in the excess of
wretchedness, the sufferers always imagine, that their part of the calamity
is the bitterest, as, when enduring intense pain, we would exchange the
particular torture we writhe under, for any other which should visit a
different part of the frame. They listened to the account the emigrants
gave of their motives for leaving their native land, with a shrug almost of
disdain--"Return," they said, "return to your island, whose sea breezes,
and division from the continent gives some promise of health; if Pestilence
among you has slain its hundreds, with us it has slain its thousands. Are
you not even now more numerous than we are?--A year ago you would have
found only the sick burying the dead; now we are happier; for the pang of
struggle has passed away, and the few you find here are patiently waiting
the final blow. But you, who are not content to die, breathe no longer the
air of France, or soon you will only be a part of her soil."

Thus, by menaces of the sword, they would have driven back those who had
escaped from fire. But the peril left behind was deemed imminent by my
countrymen; that before them doubtful and distant; and soon other feelings
arose to obliterate fear, or to replace it by passions, that ought to have
had no place among a brotherhood of unhappy survivors of the expiring
world.

The more numerous division of emigrants, which arrived first at Paris,
assumed a superiority of rank and power; the second party asserted their
independence. A third was formed by a sectarian, a self-erected prophet,
who, while he attributed all power and rule to God, strove to get the real
command of his comrades into his own hands. This third division consisted
of fewest individuals, but their purpose was more one, their obedience to
their leader more entire, their fortitude and courage more unyielding and
active.

During the whole progress of the plague, the teachers of religion were in
possession of great power; a power of good, if rightly directed, or of
incalculable mischief, if fanaticism or intolerance guided their efforts.
In the present instance, a worse feeling than either of these actuated the
leader. He was an impostor in the most determined sense of the term. A man
who had in early life lost, through the indulgence of vicious propensities,
all sense of rectitude or self-esteem; and who, when ambition was awakened
in him, gave himself up to its influence unbridled by any scruple. His
father had been a methodist preacher, an enthusiastic man with simple
intentions; but whose pernicious doctrines of election and special grace
had contributed to destroy all conscientious feeling in his son. During the
progress of the pestilence he had entered upon various schemes, by which to
acquire adherents and power. Adrian had discovered and defeated these
attempts; but Adrian was absent; the wolf assumed the shepherd's garb, and
the flock admitted the deception: he had formed a party during the few
weeks he had been in Paris, who zealously propagated the creed of his
divine mission, and believed that safety and salvation were to be afforded
only to those who put their trust in him.

When once the spirit of dissension had arisen, the most frivolous causes
gave it activity. The first party, on arriving at Paris, had taken
possession of the Tuileries; chance and friendly feeling had induced the
second to lodge near to them. A contest arose concerning the distribution
of the pillage; the chiefs of the first division demanded that the whole
should be placed at their disposal; with this assumption the opposite party
refused to comply. When next the latter went to forage, the gates of Paris
were shut on them. After overcoming this difficulty, they marched in a body
to the Tuileries. They found that their enemies had been already expelled
thence by the Elect, as the fanatical party designated themselves, who
refused to admit any into the palace who did not first abjure obedience to
all except God, and his delegate on earth, their chief. Such was the
beginning of the strife, which at length proceeded so far, that the three
divisions, armed, met in the Place Vendome, each resolved to subdue by
force the resistance of its adversaries. They assembled, their muskets were
loaded, and even pointed at the breasts of their so called enemies. One
word had been sufficient; and there the last of mankind would have
burthened their souls with the crime of murder, and dipt their hands in
each other's blood. A sense of shame, a recollection that not only their
cause, but the existence of the whole human race was at stake, entered the
breast of the leader of the more numerous party. He was aware, that if the
ranks were thinned, no other recruits could fill them up; that each man was
as a priceless gem in a kingly crown, which if destroyed, the earth's deep
entrails could yield no paragon. He was a young man, and had been hurried
on by presumption, and the notion of his high rank and superiority to all
other pretenders; now he repented his work, he felt that all the blood
about to be shed would be on his head; with sudden impulse therefore he
spurred his horse between the bands, and, having fixed a white handkerchief
on the point of his uplifted sword, thus demanded parley; the opposite
leaders obeyed the signal. He spoke with warmth; he reminded them of the
oath all the chiefs had taken to submit to the Lord Protector; he declared
their present meeting to be an act of treason and mutiny; he allowed that
he had been hurried away by passion, but that a cooler moment had arrived;
and he proposed that each party should send deputies to the Earl of
Windsor, inviting his interference and offering submission to his decision.
His offer was accepted so far, that each leader consented to command a
retreat, and moreover agreed, that after the approbation of their several
parties had been consulted, they should meet that night on some neutral
spot to ratify the truce. At the meeting of the chiefs, this plan was
finally concluded upon. The leader of the fanatics indeed refused to admit
the arbitration of Adrian; he sent ambassadors, rather than deputies, to
assert his claim, not plead his cause.

The truce was to continue until the first of February, when the bands were
again to assemble on the Place Vendome; it was of the utmost consequence
therefore that Adrian should arrive in Paris by that day, since an hair
might turn the scale, and peace, scared away by intestine broils, might
only return to watch by the silent dead. It was now the twenty-eighth of
January; every vessel stationed near Dover had been beaten to pieces and
destroyed by the furious storms I have commemorated. Our journey however
would admit of no delay. That very night, Adrian, and I, and twelve others,
either friends or attendants, put off from the English shore, in the boat
that had brought over the deputies. We all took our turn at the oar; and
the immediate occasion of our departure affording us abundant matter for
conjecture and discourse, prevented the feeling that we left our native
country, depopulate England, for the last time, to enter deeply into the
minds of the greater part of our number. It was a serene starlight night,
and the dark line of the English coast continued for some time visible at
intervals, as we rose on the broad back of the waves. I exerted myself with
my long oar to give swift impulse to our skiff; and, while the waters
splashed with melancholy sound against its sides, I looked with sad
affection on this last glimpse of sea-girt England, and strained my eyes
not too soon to lose sight of the castellated cliff, which rose to protect
the land of heroism and beauty from the inroads of ocean, that, turbulent
as I had lately seen it, required such cyclopean walls for its repulsion. A
solitary sea-gull winged its flight over our heads, to seek its nest in a
cleft of the precipice. Yes, thou shalt revisit the land of thy birth, I
thought, as I looked invidiously on the airy voyager; but we shall, never
more! Tomb of Idris, farewell! Grave, in which my heart lies sepultured,
farewell for ever!

We were twelve hours at sea, and the heavy swell obliged us to exert all
our strength. At length, by mere dint of rowing, we reached the French
coast. The stars faded, and the grey morning cast a dim veil over the
silver horns of the waning moon--the sun rose broad and red from the sea,
as we walked over the sands to Calais. Our first care was to procure
horses, and although wearied by our night of watching and toil, some of our
party immediately went in quest of these in the wide fields of the
unenclosed and now barren plain round Calais. We divided ourselves, like
seamen, into watches, and some reposed, while others prepared the morning's
repast. Our foragers returned at noon with only six horses--on these,
Adrian and I, and four others, proceeded on our journey towards the great
city, which its inhabitants had fondly named the capital of the civilized
world. Our horses had become, through their long holiday, almost wild, and
we crossed the plain round Calais with impetuous speed. From the height
near Boulogne, I turned again to look on England; nature had cast a misty
pall over her, her cliff was hidden--there was spread the watery barrier
that divided us, never again to be crossed; she lay on the ocean plain,

In the great pool a swan's nest.

Ruined the nest, alas! the swans of Albion had passed away for ever--an
uninhabited rock in the wide Pacific, which had remained since the
creation uninhabited, unnamed, unmarked, would be of as much account in
the world's future history, as desert England.

Our journey was impeded by a thousand obstacles. As our horses grew tired,
we had to seek for others; and hours were wasted, while we exhausted our
artifices to allure some of these enfranchised slaves of man to resume the
yoke; or as we went from stable to stable through the towns, hoping to find
some who had not forgotten the shelter of their native stalls. Our ill
success in procuring them, obliged us continually to leave some one of our
companions behind; and on the first of February, Adrian and I entered
Paris, wholly unaccompanied. The serene morning had dawned when we arrived
at Saint Denis, and the sun was high, when the clamour of voices, and the
clash, as we feared, of weapons, guided us to where our countrymen had
assembled on the Place Vendome. We passed a knot of Frenchmen, who were
talking earnestly of the madness of the insular invaders, and then coming
by a sudden turn upon the Place, we saw the sun glitter on drawn swords and
fixed bayonets, while yells and clamours rent the air. It was a scene of
unaccustomed confusion in these days of depopulation. Roused by fancied
wrongs, and insulting scoffs, the opposite parties had rushed to attack
each other; while the elect, drawn up apart, seemed to wait an opportunity
to fall with better advantage on their foes, when they should have mutually
weakened each other. A merciful power interposed, and no blood was shed;
for, while the insane mob were in the very act of attack, the females,
wives, mothers and daughters, rushed between; they seized the bridles; they
embraced the knees of the horsemen, and hung on the necks, or enweaponed
arms of their enraged relatives; the shrill female scream was mingled with
the manly shout, and formed the wild clamour that welcomed us on our
arrival.

Our voices could not be heard in the tumult; Adrian however was eminent for
the white charger he rode; spurring him, he dashed into the midst of the
throng: he was recognized, and a loud cry raised for England and the
Protector. The late adversaries, warmed to affection at the sight of him,
joined in heedless confusion, and surrounded him; the women kissed his
hands, and the edges of his garments; nay, his horse received tribute of
their embraces; some wept their welcome; he appeared an angel of peace
descended among them; and the only danger was, that his mortal nature would
be demonstrated, by his suffocation from the kindness of his friends. His
voice was at length heard, and obeyed; the crowd fell back; the chiefs
alone rallied round him. I had seen Lord Raymond ride through his lines;
his look of victory, and majestic mien obtained the respect and obedience
of all: such was not the appearance or influence of Adrian. His slight
figure, his fervent look, his gesture, more of deprecation than rule, were
proofs that love, unmingled with fear, gave him dominion over the hearts of
a multitude, who knew that he never flinched from danger, nor was actuated
by other motives than care for the general welfare. No distinction was now
visible between the two parties, late ready to shed each other's blood,
for, though neither would submit to the other, they both yielded ready
obedience to the Earl of Windsor.

One party however remained, cut off from the rest, which did not sympathize
in the joy exhibited on Adrian's arrival, or imbibe the spirit of peace,
which fell like dew upon the softened hearts of their countrymen. At the
head of this assembly was a ponderous, dark-looking man, whose malign eye
surveyed with gloating delight the stern looks of his followers. They had
hitherto been inactive, but now, perceiving themselves to be forgotten in
the universal jubilee, they advanced with threatening gestures: our friends
had, as it were in wanton contention, attacked each other; they wanted but
to be told that their cause was one, for it to become so: their mutual
anger had been a fire of straw, compared to the slow-burning hatred they
both entertained for these seceders, who seized a portion of the world to
come, there to entrench and incastellate themselves, and to issue with
fearful sally, and appalling denunciations, on the mere common children of
the earth. The first advance of the little army of the elect reawakened
their rage; they grasped their arms, and waited but their leader's signal
to commence the attack, when the clear tones of Adrian's voice were heard,
commanding them to fall back; with confused murmur and hurried retreat, as
the wave ebbs clamorously from the sands it lately covered, our friends
obeyed. Adrian rode singly into the space between the opposing bands; he
approached the hostile leader, as requesting him to imitate his example,
but his look was not obeyed, and the chief advanced, followed by his whole
troop. There were many women among them, who seemed more eager and resolute
than their male companions. They pressed round their leader, as if to
shield him, while they loudly bestowed on him every sacred denomination and
epithet of worship. Adrian met them half way; they halted: "What," he said,
"do you seek? Do you require any thing of us that we refuse to give, and
that you are forced to acquire by arms and warfare?"

His questions were answered by a general cry, in which the words election,
sin, and red right arm of God, could alone be heard.

Adrian looked expressly at their leader, saying, "Can you not silence your
followers? Mine, you perceive, obey me."

The fellow answered by a scowl; and then, perhaps fearful that his people
should become auditors of the debate he expected to ensue, he commanded
them to fall back, and advanced by himself. "What, I again ask," said
Adrian, "do you require of us?"

"Repentance," replied the man, whose sinister brow gathered clouds as he
spoke. "Obedience to the will of the Most High, made manifest to these his
Elected People. Do we not all die through your sins, O generation of
unbelief, and have we not a right to demand of you repentance and
obedience?"

"And if we refuse them, what then?" his opponent inquired mildly.

"Beware," cried the man, "God hears you, and will smite your stony heart in
his wrath; his poisoned arrows fly, his dogs of death are unleashed! We
will not perish unrevenged--and mighty will our avenger be, when he
descends in visible majesty, and scatters destruction among you."

"My good fellow," said Adrian, with quiet scorn, "I wish that you were
ignorant only, and I think it would be no difficult task to prove to you,
that you speak of what you do not understand. On the present occasion
however, it is enough for me to know that you seek nothing of us; and,
heaven is our witness, we seek nothing of you. I should be sorry to
embitter by strife the few days that we any of us may have here to live;
when there," he pointed downwards, "we shall not be able to contend, while
here we need not. Go home, or stay; pray to your God in your own mode; your
friends may do the like. My orisons consist in peace and good will, in
resignation and hope. Farewell!"

He bowed slightly to the angry disputant who was about to reply; and,
turning his horse down Rue Saint Honore, called on his friends to follow
him. He rode slowly, to give time to all to join him at the Barrier, and
then issued his orders that those who yielded obedience to him, should
rendezvous at Versailles. In the meantime he remained within the walls of
Paris, until he had secured the safe retreat of all. In about a fortnight
the remainder of the emigrants arrived from England, and they all repaired
to Versailles; apartments were prepared for the family of the Protector in
the Grand Trianon, and there, after the excitement of these events, we
reposed amidst the luxuries of the departed Bourbons.

[1] Chorus in Oedipus Coloneus.

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