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Chapter 36

The thieves have bound the true men--
Now, could thou and I rob the thieves, and go
merrily to London.
_Henry IV., Part I._

The sun was high upon the glades of Enfield Chase, and the deer, with
which it then abounded, were seen sporting in picturesque groups among
the ancient oaks of the forest, when a cavalier and a lady, on foot,
although in riding apparel, sauntered slowly up one of the long alleys
which were cut through the park for the convenience of the hunters.
Their only attendant was a page, who, riding a Spanish jennet, which
seemed to bear a heavy cloak-bag, followed them at a respectful
distance. The female, attired in all the fantastic finery of the
period, with more than the usual quantity of bugles, flounces, and
trimmings, and holding her fan of ostrich feathers in one hand, and
her riding-mask of black velvet in the other, seemed anxious, by all
the little coquetry practised on such occasions, to secure the notice
of her companion, who sometimes heard her prattle without seeming to
attend to it, and at other times interrupted his train of graver
reflections, to reply to her.

"Nay, but, my lord--my lord, you walk so fast, you will leave me
behind you.--Nay, I will have hold of your arm, but how to manage with
my mask and my fan? Why would you not let me bring my waiting-
gentlewoman to follow us, and hold my things? But see, I will put my
fan in my girdle, soh!--and now that I have a hand to hold you with,
you shall not run away from me."

"Come on, then," answered the gallant, "and let us walk apace, since
you would not be persuaded to stay with your gentlewoman, as you call
her, and with the rest of the baggage.--You may perhaps see _that_,
though, you will not like to see."

She took hold of his arm accordingly; but as he continued to walk at
the same pace, she shortly let go her hold, exclaiming that he had
hurt her hand. The cavalier stopped, and looked at the pretty hand and
arm which she showed him, with exclamations against his cruelty. "I
dare say," she said, baring her wrist and a part of her arm, "it is
all black and blue to the very elbow."

"I dare say you are a silly little fool," said the cavalier,
carelessly kissing the aggrieved arm; "it is only a pretty incarnate
which sets off the blue veins."

"Nay, my lord, now it is you are silly," answered the dame; "but I am
glad I can make you speak and laugh on any terms this morning. I am
sure, if I did insist on following you into the forest, it was all for
the sake of diverting you. I am better company than your page, I
trow.--And now, tell me, these pretty things with horns, be they not
deer?" "Even such they be, Nelly," answered her neglectful attendant.

"And what can the great folk do with so many of them, forsooth?"

"They send them to the city, Nell, where wise men make venison pasties
of their flesh, and wear their horns for trophies," answered Lord
Dalgarno, whom our reader has already recognised.

"Nay, now you laugh at me, my lord," answered his companion; "but I
know all about venison, whatever you may think. I always tasted it
once a year when we dined with Mr. Deputy," she continued, sadly, as a
sense of her degradation stole across a mind bewildered with vanity
and folly, "though he would not speak to me now, if we met together in
the narrowest lane in the Ward!"

"I warrant he would not," said Lord Dalgarno, "because thou, Nell,
wouldst dash him with a single look; for I trust thou hast more spirit
than to throw away words on such a fellow as he?"

"Who, I!" said Dame Nelly. "Nay, I scorn the proud princox too much
for that. Do you know, he made all the folk in the Ward stand cap in
hand to him, my poor old John Christie and all?" Here her recollection
began to overflow at her eyes.

"A plague on your whimpering," said Dalgarno, somewhat harshly,--"Nay,
never look pale for the matter, Nell. I am not angry with you, you
simple fool. But what would you have me think, when you are eternally
looking back upon your dungeon yonder by the river, which smelt of
pitch and old cheese worse than a Welshman does of onions, and all
this when I am taking you down to a castle as fine as is in Fairy
Land!"

"Shall we be there to-night, my lord?" said Nelly, drying her tears.

"To-night, Nelly?--no, nor this night fortnight."

"Now, the Lord be with us, and keep us!--But shall we not go by sea,
my lord?--I thought everybody came from Scotland by sea. I am sure
Lord Glenvarloch and Richie Moniplies came up by sea."

"There is a wide difference between coming up and going down, Nelly,"
answered Lord Dalgarno.

"And so there is, for certain," said his simple companion. "But yet I
think I heard people speaking of going down to Scotland by sea, as
well as coming up. Are you well avised of the way?--Do you think it
possible we can go by land, my sweet lord?"

"It is but trying, my sweet lady," said Lord Dalgarno. "Men say
England and Scotland are in the same island, so one would hope there
may be some road betwixt them by land."

"I shall never be able to ride so far," said the lady.

"We will have your saddle stuffed softer," said the lord. "I tell you
that you shall mew your city slough, and change from the caterpillar
of a paltry lane into the butterfly of a prince's garden. You shall
have as many tires as there are hours in the day--as many handmaidens
as there are days in the week--as many menials as there are weeks in
the year--and you shall ride a hunting and hawking with a lord,
instead of waiting upon an old ship-chandler, who could do nothing but
hawk and spit"

"Ay, but will you make me your lady?" said Dame Nelly.

"Ay, surely--what else?" replied the lord--"My lady-love."

"Ay, but I mean your lady-wife," said Nelly.

"Truly, Nell, in that I cannot promise to oblige you. A lady-wife,"
continued Dalgarno, "is a very different thing from a lady-love."

"I heard from Mrs. Suddlechop, whom you lodged me with since I left
poor old John Christie, that Lord Glenvarloch is to marry David Ramsay
the clockmaker's daughter?"

"There is much betwixt the cup and the lip, Nelly. I wear something
about me may break the bans of that hopeful alliance, before the day
is much older," answered Lord Dalgarno.

"Well, but my father was as good a man as old Davy Ramsay, and as well
to pass in the world, my lord; and, therefore, why should you not
marry me? You have done me harm enough, I trow--wherefore should you
not do me this justice?"

"For two good reasons, Nelly. Fate put a husband on you, and the king
passed a wife upon me," answered Lord Dalgarno.

"Ay, my lord," said Nelly, "but they remain in England, and we go to
Scotland."

"Thy argument is better than thou art aware of," said Lord Dalgarno.
"I have heard Scottish lawyers say the matrimonial tie may be
unclasped in our happy country by the gentle hand of the ordinary
course of law, whereas in England it can only be burst by an act of
Parliament. Well, Nelly, we will look into that matter; and whether we
get married again or no, we will at least do our best to get
unmarried."

"Shall we indeed, my honey-sweet lord? and then I will think less
about John Christie, for he will marry again, I warrant you, for he is
well to pass; and I would be glad to think he had somebody to take
care of him, as I used to do, poor loving old man! He was a kind man,
though he was a score of years older than I; and I hope and pray he
will never let a young lord cross his honest threshold again!"

Here the dame was once more much inclined to give way to a passion of
tears; but Lord Dalgarno conjured down the emotion, by saying with
some asperity--"I am weary of these April passions, my pretty
mistress, and I think you will do well to preserve your tears for some
more pressing occasion. Who knows what turn of fortune may in a few
minutes call for more of them than you can render?"

"Goodness, my lord! what mean you by such expressions? John Christie
(the kind heart!) used to keep no secrets from me, and I hope your
lordship will not hide your counsel from me?"

"Sit down beside me on this bank," said the nobleman; "I am bound to
remain here for a short space, and if you can be but silent, I should
like to spend a part of it in considering how far I can, on the
present occasion, follow the respectable example which you recommend
to me."

The place at which he stopped was at that time little more than a
mound, partly surrounded by a ditch, from which it derived the name of
Camlet Moat. A few hewn stones there were, which had escaped the fate
of many others that had been used in building different lodges in the
forest for the royal keepers. These vestiges, just sufficient to show
that "herein former times the hand of man had been," marked the ruins
of the abode of a once illustrious but long-forgotten family, the
Mandevilles, Earls of Essex, to whom Enfield Chase and the extensive
domains adjacent had belonged in elder days. A wild woodland prospect
led the eye at various points through broad and seemingly interminable
alleys, which, meeting at this point as at a common centre, diverged
from each other as they receded, and had, therefore, been selected by
Lord Dalgarno as the rendezvous for the combat, which, through the
medium of Richie Moniplies, he had offered to his injured friend, Lord
Glenvarloch.

"He will surely come?" he said to himself; "cowardice was not wont to
be his fault--at least he was bold enough in the Park.--Perhaps yonder
churl may not have carried my message? But no--he is a sturdy knave--
one of those would prize their master's honour above their life.--Look
to the palfrey, Lutin, and see thou let him not loose, and cast thy
falcon glance down every avenue to mark if any one comes.--Buckingham
has undergone my challenge, but the proud minion pleads the king's
paltry commands for refusing to answer me. If I can baffle this
Glenvarloch, or slay him--If I can spoil him of his honour or his
life, I shall go down to Scotland with credit sufficient to gild over
past mischances. I know my dear countrymen--they never quarrel with
any one who brings them home either gold or martial glory, much more
if he has both gold and laurels."

As he thus reflected, and called to mind the disgrace which he had
suffered, as well as the causes he imagined for hating Lord
Glenvarloch, his countenance altered under the influence of his
contending emotions, to the terror of Nelly, who, sitting unnoticed at
his feet, and looking anxiously in his face, beheld the cheek kindle,
the mouth become compressed, the eye dilated, and the whole
countenance express the desperate and deadly resolution of one who
awaits an instant and decisive encounter with a mortal enemy. The
loneliness of the place, the scenery so different from that to which
alone she had been accustomed, the dark and sombre air which crept so
suddenly over the countenance of her seducer, his command imposing
silence upon her, and the apparent strangeness of his conduct in
idling away so much time without any obvious cause, when a journey of
such length lay before them, brought strange thoughts into her weak
brain. She had read of women, seduced from their matrimonial duties by
sorcerers allied to the hellish powers, nay, by the Father of Evil
himself, who, after conveying his victim into some desert remote from
human kind, exchanged the pleasing shape in which he gained her
affections, for all his natural horrors. She chased this wild idea
away as it crowded itself upon her weak and bewildered imagination;
yet she might have lived to see it realised allegorically, if not
literally, but for the accident which presently followed.

The page, whose eyes were remarkably acute, at length called out to
his master, pointing with his finger at the same time down one of the
alleys, that horsemen were advancing in that direction. Lord Dalgarno
started up, and shading his eyes with his hand, gazed eagerly down the
alley; when, at the same instant, he received a shot, which, grazing
his hand, passed right through his brain, and laid him a lifeless
corpse at the feet, or rather across the lap, of the unfortunate
victim of his profligacy. The countenance, whose varied expression she
had been watching for the last five minutes, was convulsed for an
instant, and then stiffened into rigidity for ever. Three ruffians
rushed from the brake from which the shot had been fired, ere the
smoke was dispersed. One, with many imprecations seized on the page;
another on the female, upon whose cries he strove by the most violent
threats to impose silence; whilst the third began to undo the burden
from the page's horse. But an instant rescue prevented their availing
themselves of the advantage they had obtained.

It may easily be supposed that Richie Moniplies, having secured the
assistance of the two Templars, ready enough to join in any thing
which promised a fray, with Jin Vin to act as their guide, had set
off, gallantly mounted and well armed, under the belief that they
would reach Camlet Moat before the robbers, and apprehend them in the
fact. They had not calculated that, according to the custom of robbers
in other countries, but contrary to that of the English highwayman of
those days, they meant to ensure robbery by previous murder. An
accident also happened to delay them a little while on the road. In
riding through one of the glades of the forest, they found a man
dismounted and sitting under a tree, groaning with such bitterness of
spirit, that Lowestoffe could not forbear asking if he was hurt. In
answer, he said he was an unhappy man in pursuit of his wife, who had
been carried off by a villain; and as he raised his countenance, the
eyes of Richie, to his great astonishment, encountered the visage of
John Christie.

"For the Almighty's sake, help me, Master Moniplies!" he said; "I have
learned my wife is but a short mile before, with that black villain
Lord Dalgarno."

"Have him forward by all means," said Lowestoffe; "a second Orpheus
seeking his Eurydice!--Have him forward--we will save Lord Dalgarno's
purse, and ease him of his mistress--Have him with us, were it but for
the variety of the adventure. I owe his lordship a grudge for rooking
me. We have ten minutes good."

But it is dangerous to calculate closely in matters of life and death.
In all probability the minute or two which was lost in mounting John
Christie behind one of their party, might have saved Lord Dalgarno
from his fate. Thus his criminal amour became the indirect cause of
his losing his life; and thus "our pleasant vices are made the whips
to scourge us."

The riders arrived on the field at full gallop the moment after the
shot was fired; and Richie, who had his own reasons for attaching
himself to Colepepper, who was bustling to untie the portmanteau from
the page's saddle, pushed against him with such violence as to
overthrow him, his own horse at the same time stumbling and
dismounting his rider, who was none of the first equestrians. The
undaunted Richie immediately arose, however, and grappled with the
ruffian with such good-will, that, though a strong fellow, and though
a coward now rendered desperate, Moniplies got him under, wrenched a
long knife from his hand, dealt him a desperate stab with his own
weapon, and leaped on his feet; and, as the wounded man struggled to
follow his example, he struck him upon the head with the butt-end of a
musketoon, which last blow proved fatal.

"Bravo, Richie!" cried Lowestoffe, who had himself engaged at sword-
point with one of the ruffians, and soon put him to flight,--"Bravo!
why, man, there lies Sin, struck down like an ox, and Iniquity's
throat cut like a calf."

"I know not why you should upbraid me with my upbringing, Master
Lowestoffe," answered Richie, with great composure; "but I can tell
you, the shambles is not a bad place for training one to this work."

The other Templar now shouted loudly to them,--"If ye be men, come
hither--here lies Lord Dalgarno, murdered!"

Lowestoffe and Richie ran to the spot, and the page took the
opportunity, finding himself now neglected on all hands, to ride off
in a different direction; and neither he, nor the considerable sum
with which his horse was burdened, were ever heard of from that
moment.

The third ruffian had not waited the attack of the Templar and Jin
Vin, the latter of whom had put down old Christie from behind him that
he might ride the lighter; and the whole five now stood gazing with
horror on the bloody corpse of the young nobleman, and the wild sorrow
of the female, who tore her hair and shrieked in the most disconsolate
manner, until her agony was at once checked, or rather received a new
direction, by the sudden and unexpected appearance of her husband,
who, fixing on her a cold and severe look, said, in a tone suited to
his manner--"Ay, woman! thou takest on sadly for the loss of thy
paramour."--Then, looking on the bloody corpse of him from whom he had
received so deep an injury, he repeated the solemn words of
Scripture,--"'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will repay
it.'--I, whom thou hast injured, will be first to render thee the
decent offices due to the dead."

So saying, he covered the dead body with his cloak, and then looking
on it for a moment, seemed to reflect on what he had next to perform.
As the eye of the injured man slowly passed from the body of the
seducer to the partner and victim of his crime, who had sunk down to
his feet, which she clasped without venturing to look up, his
features, naturally coarse and saturnine, assumed a dignity of
expression which overawed the young Templars, and repulsed the
officious forwardness of Richie Moniplies, who was at first eager to
have thrust in his advice and opinion. "Kneel not to me, woman," he
said, "but kneel to the God thou hast offended, more than thou couldst
offend such another worm as thyself. How often have I told thee, when
thou wert at the gayest and the lightest, that pride goeth before
destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall? Vanity brought folly,
and folly brought sin, and sin hath brought death, his original
companion. Thou must needs leave duty, and decency, and domestic love,
to revel it gaily with the wild and with the wicked; and there thou
liest like a crushed worm, writhing beside the lifeless body of thy
paramour. Thou hast done me much wrong--dishonoured me among friends--
driven credit from my house, and peace from my fireside--But thou wert
my first and only love, and I will not see thee an utter castaway, if
it lies with me to prevent it.--Gentlemen, I render ye such thanks as
a broken-hearted man can give.--Richard, commend me to your honourable
master. I added gall to the bitterness of his affliction, but I was
deluded.--Rise up, woman, and follow me."

He raised her up by the arm, while, with streaming eyes, and bitter
sobs, she endeavoured to express her penitence. She kept her hands
spread over her face, yet suffered him to lead her away; and it was
only as they turned around a brake which concealed the scene they had
left, that she turned back, and casting one wild and hurried glance
towards the corpse of Dalgarno, uttered a shriek, and clinging to her
husband's arm, exclaimed wildly,--"Save me--save me! They have
murdered him!"

Lowestoffe was much moved by what he had witnessed; but he was
ashamed, as a town-gallant, of his own unfashionable emotion, and did
a force to his feelings when he exclaimed,--"Ay, let them go--the
kind-hearted, believing, forgiving husband--the liberal, accommodating
spouse. O what a generous creature is your true London husband!--Horns
hath he, but, tame as a fatted ox, he goreth not. I should like to see
her when she hath exchanged her mask and riding-beaver for her peaked
hat and muffler. We will visit them at Paul's Wharf, coz--it will be a
convenient acquaintance."

"You had better think of catching the gipsy thief, Lutin," said Richie
Moniplies; "for, by my faith, he is off with his master's baggage and
the siller."

A keeper, with his assistants, and several other persons, had now come
to the spot, and made hue and cry after Lutin, but in vain. To their
custody the Templars surrendered the dead bodies, and after going
through some formal investigation, they returned, with Richard and
Vincent, to London, where they received great applause for their
gallantry.--Vincent's errors were easily expiated, in consideration of
his having been the means of breaking up this band of villains; and
there is some reason to think, that what would have diminished the
credit of the action in other instances, rather added to it in the
actual circumstances, namely, that they came too late to save Lord
Dalgarno.

George Heriot, who suspected how matters stood with Vincent, requested
and obtained permission from his master to send the poor young fellow
on an important piece of business to Paris. We are unable to trace his
fate farther, but believe it was prosperous, and that he entered into
an advantageous partnership with his fellow-apprentice, upon old Davy
Ramsay retiring from business, in consequence of his daughter's
marriage. That eminent antiquary, Dr. Dryasdust, is possessed of an
antique watch, with a silver dial-plate, the mainspring being a piece
of catgut instead of a chain, which bears the names of Vincent and
Tunstall, Memory-Monitors.

Master Lowestoffe failed not to vindicate his character as a man of
gaiety, by inquiring after John Christie and Dame Nelly; but greatly
to his surprise, (indeed to his loss, for he had wagered ten pieces
that he would domesticate himself in the family,) he found the good-
will, as it was called, of the shop, was sold, the stock auctioned,
and the late proprietor and his wife gone, no one knew whither. The
prevailing belief was, that they had emigrated to one of the new
settlements in America.

Lady Dalgarno received the news of her unworthy husband's death with a
variety of emotions, among which, horror that he should have been cut
off in the middle career of his profligacy, was the most prominent.
The incident greatly deepened her melancholy, and injured her health,
already shaken by previous circumstances. Repossessed of her own
fortune by her husband's death, she was anxious to do justice to Lord
Glenvarloch, by treating for the recovery of the mortgage.

But the scrivener, having taken fright at the late events, had left
the city and absconded, so that it was impossible to discover into
whose hands the papers had now passed. Richard Moniplies was silent,
for his own reasons; the Templars, who had witnessed the transaction,
kept the secret at his request, and it was universally believed that
the scrivener had carried off the writings along with him. We may here
observe, that fears similar to those of Skurliewhitter freed London
for ever from the presence of Dame Suddlechop, who ended her career in
the _Rasp-haus_, (viz. Bridewell,) of Amsterdam.

The stout old Lord Huntinglen, with a haughty carriage and unmoistened
eye, accompanied the funeral procession of his only son to its last
abode; and perhaps the single tear which fell at length upon the
coffin, was given less to the fate of the individual, than to the
extinction of the last male of his ancient race.

Sir Walter Scott