Cleopatra.--Give me to drink mandragora, That I may sleep away this gap of time. --Antony and Cleopatra.
There passed, as we hinted at the conclusion of the last chapter, four or five years after the period we have dilated upon; the events of which scarcely require to be discussed, so far as our present purpose is concerned, in as many lines. The Knight and his Lady continued to reside at their Castle--she, with prudence and with patience, endeavouring to repair the damages which the Civil Wars had inflicted upon their fortune; and murmuring a little when her plans of economy were interrupted by the liberal hospitality, which was her husband's principal expense, and to which he was attached, not only from his own English heartiness of disposition, but from ideas of maintaining the dignity of his ancestry--no less remarkable, according to the tradition of their buttery, kitchen, and cellar, for the fat beeves which they roasted, and the mighty ale which they brewed, than for their extensive estates, and the number of their retainers.
The world, however, upon the whole, went happily and easily with the worthy couple. Sir Geoffrey's debt to his neighbour Bridgenorth continued, it is true, unabated; but he was the only creditor upon the Martindale estate--all others being paid off. It would have been most desirable that this encumbrance also should be cleared, and it was the great object of Dame Margaret's economy to effect the discharge; for although interest was regularly settled with Master Win-the-Fight, the Chesterfield attorney, yet the principal sum, which was a large one, might be called for at an inconvenient time. The man, too, was gloomy, important, and mysterious, and always seemed as if he was thinking upon his broken head in the churchyard of Martindale-cum-Moultrassie.
Dame Margaret sometimes transacted the necessary business with him in person; and when he came to the Castle on these occasions, she thought she saw a malicious and disobliging expression in his manner and countenance. Yet his actual conduct was not only fair, but liberal; for indulgence was given, in the way of delay of payment, whenever circumstances rendered it necessary to the debtor to require it. It seemed to Lady Peveril that the agent, in such cases, was acting under the strict orders of his absent employer, concerning whose welfare she could not help feeling a certain anxiety.
Shortly after the failure of the singular negotiation for attaining peace by combat, which Peveril had attempted to open with Major Bridgenorth, that gentleman left his seat of Moultrassie Hall in the care of his old housekeeper, and departed, no one knew whither, having in company with him his daughter Alice and Mrs. Deborah Debbitch, now formally installed in all the duties of a governante; to these was added the Reverend Master Solsgrace. For some time public rumour persisted in asserting, that Major Bridgenorth had only retreated to a distant part of the country for a season, to achieve his supposed purpose of marrying Mrs. Deborah, and of letting the news be cold, and the laugh of the neighbourhood be ended, ere he brought her down as mistress of Moultrassie Hall. This rumour died away; and it was then affirmed, that he had removed to foreign parts, to ensure the continuance of health in so delicate a constitution as that of little Alice. But when the Major's dread of Popery was remembered, together with the still deeper antipathies of worthy Master Nehemiah Solsgrace, it was resolved unanimously, that nothing less than what they might deem a fair chance of converting the Pope would have induced the parties to trust themselves within Catholic dominions. The most prevailing opinion was, that they had gone to New England, the refuge then of many whom too intimate concern with the affairs of the late times, or the desire of enjoying uncontrolled freedom of conscience, had induced to emigrate from Britain.
Lady Peveril could not help entertaining a vague idea, that Bridgenorth was not so distant. The extreme order in which everything was maintained at Moultrassie Hall, seemed--no disparagement to the care of Dame Dickens the housekeeper, and the other persons engaged-- to argue, that the master's eye was not so very far off, but that its occasional inspection might be apprehended. It is true, that neither the domestics nor the attorney answered any questions respecting the residence of Master Bridgenorth; but there was an air of mystery about them when interrogated, that seemed to argue more than met the ear.
About five years after Master Bridgenorth had left the country, a singular incident took place. Sir Geoffrey was absent at the Chesterfield races, and Lady Peveril, who was in the habit of walking around every part of the neighbourhood unattended, or only accompanied by Ellesmere, or her little boy, had gone down one evening upon a charitable errand to a solitary hut, whose inhabitant lay sick of a fever, which was supposed to be infectious. Lady Peveril never allowed apprehensions of this kind to stop "devoted charitable deeds;" but she did not choose to expose either her son or her attendant to the risk which she herself, in some confidence that she knew precautions for escaping the danger, did not hesitate to incur.
Lady Peveril had set out at a late hour in the evening, and the way proved longer than she expected--several circumstances also occurred to detain her at the hut of her patient. It was a broad autumn moonlight, when she prepared to return homeward through the broken glades and upland which divided her from the Castle. This she considered as a matter of very little importance, in so quiet and sequestered a country, where the road lay chiefly through her own domains, especially as she had a lad about fifteen years old, the son of her patient, to escort her on the way. The distance was better than two miles, but might be considerably abridged by passing through an avenue belonging to the estate of Moultrassie Hall, which she had avoided as she came, not from the ridiculous rumours which pronounced it to be haunted, but because her husband was much displeased when any attempt was made to render the walks of the Castle and Hall common to the inhabitants of both. The good lady, in consideration, perhaps, of extensive latitude allowed to her in the more important concerns of the family, made a point of never interfering with her husband's whims or prejudices; and it is a compromise which we would heartily recommend to all managing matrons of our acquaintance; for it is surprising how much real power will be cheerfully resigned to the fair sex, for the pleasure of being allowed to ride one's hobby in peace and quiet.
Upon the present occasion, however, although the Dobby's Walk[*] was within the inhabited domains of the Hall, the Lady Peveril determined to avail herself of it, for the purpose of shortening her road home, and she directed her steps accordingly. But when the peasant-boy, her companion, who had hitherto followed her, whistling cheerily, with a hedge-bill in his hand, and his hat on one side, perceived that she turned to the stile which entered to the Dobby's Walk, he showed symptoms of great fear, and at length coming to the lady's side, petitioned her, in a whimpering tone,--"Don't ye now--don't ye now, my lady, don't ye go yonder."
[*] Dobby, an old English name for goblin.
Lady Peveril, observing that his teeth chattered in his head, and that his whole person exhibited great signs of terror, began to recollect the report, that the first Squire of Moultrassie, the brewer of Chesterfield, who had brought the estate, and then died of melancholy for lack of something to do (and, as was said, not without suspicions of suicide), was supposed to walk in this sequestered avenue, accompanied by a large headless mastiff, which, when he was alive, was a particular favourite of the ex-brewer. To have expected any protection from her escort, in the condition to which superstitious fear had reduced him, would have been truly a hopeless trust; and Lady Peveril, who was not apprehensive of any danger, thought there would be great cruelty in dragging the cowardly boy into a scene which he regarded with so much apprehension. She gave him, therefore, a silver piece, and permitted him to return. The latter boon seemed even more acceptable than the first; for ere she could return the purse into her pocket, she heard the wooden clogs of her bold convoy in full retreat, by the way from whence they came.
Smiling within herself at the fear she esteemed so ludicrous, Lady Peveril ascended the stile, and was soon hidden from the broad light of the moonbeams, by the numerous and entangled boughs of the huge elms, which, meeting from either side, totally overarched the old avenue. The scene was calculated to excite solemn thoughts; and the distant glimmer of a light from one of the numerous casements in the front of Moultrassie Hall, which lay at some distance, was calculated to make them even melancholy. She thought of the fate of that family-- of the deceased Mrs. Bridgenorth, with whom she had often walked in this very avenue, and who, though a woman of no high parts or accomplishments, had always testified the deepest respect, and the most earnest gratitude, for such notice as she had shown to her. She thought of her blighted hopes--her premature death--the despair of her self-banished husband--the uncertain fate of their orphan child, for whom she felt, even at this distance of time, some touch of a mother's affection.
Upon such sad subjects her thoughts were turned, when, just as she attained the middle of the avenue, the imperfect and checkered light which found its way through the silvan archway, showed her something which resembled the figure of a man. Lady Peveril paused a moment, but instantly advanced;--her bosom, perhaps, gave one startled throb, as a debt to the superstitious belief of the times, but she instantly repelled the thought of supernatural appearances. From those that were merely mortal, she had nothing to fear. A marauder on the game was the worst character whom she was likely to encounter; and he would be sure to hide himself from her observation. She advanced, accordingly, steadily; and, as she did so, had the satisfaction to observe that the figure, as she expected, gave place to her, and glided away amongst the trees on the left-hand side of the avenue. As she passed the spot on which the form had been so lately visible, and bethought herself that this wanderer of the night might, nay must, be in her vicinity, her resolution could not prevent her mending her pace, and that with so little precaution, that, stumbling over the limb of a tree, which, twisted off by a late tempest, still lay in the avenue, she fell, and, as she fell, screamed aloud. A strong hand in a moment afterwards added to her fears by assisting her to rise, and a voice, to whose accents she was not a stranger, though they had been long unheard, said, "Is it not you, Lady Peveril?"
"It is I," said she, commanding her astonishment and fear; "and if my ear deceive me not, I speak to Master Bridgenorth."
"I was that man," said he, "while oppression left me a name."
He spoke nothing more, but continued to walk beside her for a minute or two in silence. She felt her situation embarrassing; and to divest it of that feeling, as well as out of real interest in the question, she asked him, "How her god-daughter Alice now was?"
"Of god-daughter, madam," answered Major Bridgenorth, "I know nothing; that being one of the names which have been introduced, to the corruption and pollution of God's ordinances. The infant who owed to your ladyship (so called) her escape from disease and death, is a healthy and thriving girl, as I am given to understand by those in whose charge she is lodged, for I have not lately seen her. And it is even the recollection of these passages, which in a manner impelled me, alarmed also by your fall, to offer myself to you at this time and mode, which in other respects is no way consistent with my present safety."
"With your safety, Master Bridgenorth?" said the Lady Peveril; "surely, I could never have thought that it was in danger!"
"You have some news, then, yet to learn, madam," said Major Bridgenorth; "but you will hear in the course of tomorrow, reasons why I dare not appear openly in the neighbourhood of my own property, and wherefore there is small judgment in committing the knowledge of my present residence to any one connected with Martindale Castle."
"Master Bridgenorth," said the lady, "you were in former times prudent and cautious--I hope you have been misled by no hasty impression--by no rash scheme--I hope----"
"Pardon my interrupting you, madam," said Bridgenorth. "I have indeed been changed--ay, my very heart within me hath been changed. In the times to which your ladyship (so called) thinks proper to refer, I was a man of this world--bestowing on it all my thoughts--all my actions, save formal observances--little deeming what was the duty of a Christian man, and how far his self-denial ought to extend--even unto his giving all as if he gave nothing. Hence I thought chiefly on carnal things--on the adding of field to field, and wealth to wealth-- of balancing between party and party--securing a friend here, without losing a friend there--But Heaven smote me for my apostasy, the rather that I abused the name of religion, as a self-seeker, and a most blinded and carnal will-worshipper--But I thank Him who hath at length brought me out of Egypt."
In our day--although we have many instances of enthusiasm among us--we might still suspect one who avowed it thus suddenly and broadly of hypocrisy, or of insanity; but according to the fashion of the times, such opinions as those which Bridgenorth expressed were openly pleaded, as the ruling motives of men's actions. The sagacious Vane-- the brave and skilful Harrison--were men who acted avowedly under the influence of such. Lady Peveril, therefore, was more grieved than surprised at the language she heard Major Bridgenorth use, and reasonably concluded that the society and circumstances in which he might lately have been engaged, had blown into a flame the spark of eccentricity which always smouldered in his bosom. This was the more probable, considering that he was melancholy by constitution and descent--that he had been unfortunate in several particulars--and that no passion is more easily nursed by indulgence, than the species of enthusiasm of which he now showed tokens. She therefore answered him by calmly hoping, "That the expression of his sentiments had not involved him in suspicion or in danger."
"In suspicion, madam?" answered the Major;--"for I cannot forbear giving to you, such is the strength of habit, one of those idle titles by which we poor potsherds are wont, in our pride, to denominate each other--I walk not only in suspicion, but in that degree of danger, that, were your husband to meet me at this instant--me, a native Englishman, treading on my own lands--I have no doubt he would do his best to offer me to the Moloch of Roman superstition, who now rages abroad for victims among God's people."
"You surprise me by your language, Major Bridgenorth," said the lady, who now felt rather anxious to be relieved from his company, and with that purpose walked on somewhat hastily. He mended his pace, however, and kept close by her side.
"Know you not," said he, "that Satan hath come down upon earth with great wrath, because his time is short? The next heir to the crown is an avowed Papist; and who dare assert, save sycophants and time- servers, that he who wears it is not equally ready to stoop to Rome, were he not kept in awe by a few noble spirits in the Commons' House? You believe not this--yet in my solitary and midnight walks, when I thought on your kindness to the dead and to the living, it was my prayer that I might have the means granted to warn you--and lo! Heaven hath heard me."
"What I was while in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity, it signifies not to recall," answered he. "I was then like to Gallio, who cared for none of these things. I doted on creature comforts--I clung to worldly honour and repute--my thoughts were earthward--or those I turned to Heaven were cold, formal, pharisaical meditations--I brought nothing to the altar save straw and stubble. Heaven saw need to chastise me in love--I was stript of all I clung to on earth--my worldly honour was torn from me--I went forth an exile from the home of my fathers, a deprived and desolate man--a baffled, and beaten, and dishonoured man. But who shall find out the ways of Providence? Such were the means by which I was chosen forth as a champion for the truth--holding my life as nothing, if thereby that may be advanced. But this was not what I wished to speak of. Thou hast saved the earthly life of my child--let me save the eternal welfare of yours."
Lady Peveril was silent. They were now approaching the point where the avenue terminated in a communication with a public road, or rather pathway, running through an unenclosed common field; this the lady had to prosecute for a little way, until a turn of the path gave her admittance into the Park of Martindale. She now felt sincerely anxious to be in the open moonshine, and avoided reply to Bridgenorth that she might make the more haste. But as they reached the junction of the avenue and the public road, he laid his hand on her arm, and commanded rather than requested her to stop. She obeyed. He pointed to a huge oak, of the largest size, which grew on the summit of a knoll in the open ground which terminated the avenue, and was exactly so placed as to serve for a termination to the vista. The moonshine without the avenue was so strong, that, amidst the flood of light which it poured on the venerable tree, they could easily discover, from the shattered state of the boughs on one side, that it had suffered damage from lightning. "Remember you," he said, "when we last looked together on that tree? I had ridden from London, and brought with me a protection from the committee for your husband; and as I passed the spot--here on this spot where we now stand, you stood with my lost Alice--two--the last two of my beloved infants gambolled before you. I leaped from my horse--to her I was a husband--to those a father--to you a welcome and revered protector--What am I now to any one?" He pressed his hand on his brow, and groaned in agony of spirit.
It was not in the Lady Peveril's nature to hear sorrow without an attempt at consolation. "Master Bridgenorth," she said, "I blame no man's creed, while I believe and follow my own; and I rejoice that in yours you have sought consolation for temporal afflictions. But does not every Christian creed teach us alike, that affliction should soften our heart?"
"Ay, woman," said Bridgenorth sternly, "as the lightning which shattered yonder oak hath softened its trunk. No; the seared wood is the fitter for the use of the workmen--the hardened and the dried-up heart is that which can best bear the task imposed by these dismal times. God and man will no longer endure the unbridled profligacy of the dissolute--the scoffing of the profane--the contempt of the divine laws--the infraction of human rights. The times demand righters and avengers, and there will be no want of them."
"I deny not the existence of much evil," said Lady Peveril, compelling herself to answer, and beginning at the same time to walk forward; "and from hearsay, though not, I thank Heaven, from observation, I am convinced of the wild debauchery of the times. But let us trust it may be corrected without such violent remedies as you hint at. Surely the ruin of a second civil war--though I trust your thoughts go not that dreadful length--were at best a desperate alternative."
"Sharp, but sure," replied Bridgenorth. "The blood of the Paschal lamb chased away the destroying angel--the sacrifices offered on the threshing-floor of Araunah, stayed the pestilence. Fire and sword are severe remedies, but they pure and purify."
"Alas! Major Bridgenorth," said the lady, "wise and moderate in your youth, can you have adopted in your advanced life the thoughts and language of those whom you yourself beheld drive themselves and the nation to the brink of ruin?"
"I know not what I then was--you know not what I now am," he replied, and suddenly broke off; for they even then came forth into the open light, and it seemed as if, feeling himself under the lady's eye, he was disposed to soften his tone and his language.
At the first distinct view which she had of his person, she was aware that he was armed with a short sword, a poniard, and pistols at his belt--precautions very unusual for a man who formerly had seldom, and only on days of ceremony, carried a walking rapier, though such was the habitual and constant practice of gentlemen of his station in life. There seemed also something of more stern determination than usual in his air, which indeed had always been rather sullen than affable; and ere she could repress the sentiment, she could not help saying, "Master Bridgenorth, you are indeed changed."
"You see but the outward man," he replied; "the change within is yet deeper. But it was not of myself that I desired to talk--I have already said, that as you have preserved my child from the darkness of the grave, I would willingly preserve yours from that more utter darkness, which, I fear, hath involved the path and walks of his father."
"I must not hear this of Sir Geoffrey," said the Lady Peveril; "I must bid you farewell for the present; and when we again meet at a more suitable time, I will at least listen to your advice concerning Julian, although I should not perhaps incline to it."
"That more suitable time may never come," replied Bridgenorth. "Time wanes, eternity draws nigh. Hearken! it is said to be your purpose to send the young Julian to be bred up in yonder bloody island, under the hand of your kinswoman, that cruel murderess, by whom was done to death a man more worthy of vital existence than any that she can boast among her vaunted ancestry. These are current tidings--Are they true?"
"I do not blame you, Master Bridgenorth, for thinking harshly of my cousin of Derby," said Lady Peveril; "nor do I altogether vindicate the rash action of which she hath been guilty. Nevertheless, in her habitation, it is my husband's opinion and my own, that Julian may be trained in the studies and accomplishments becoming his rank, along with the young Earl of Derby."
"Under the curse of God, and the blessing of the Pope of Rome," said Bridgenorth. "You, lady, so quick-sighted in matters of earthly prudence, are you blind to the gigantic pace at which Rome is moving to regain this country, once the richest gem in her usurped tiara? The old are seduced by gold--the youth by pleasure--the weak by flattery-- cowards by fear--and the courageous by ambition. A thousand baits for each taste, and each bait concealing the same deadly hook."
"I am well aware, Master Bridgenorth," said Lady Peveril, "that my kinswoman is a Catholic;[*] but her son is educated in the Church of England's principles, agreeably to the command of her deceased husband."
[*] I have elsewhere noticed that this is a deviation from the truth-- Charlotte, Countess of Derby, was a Huguenot.
"Is it likely," answered Bridgenorth, "that she, who fears not shedding the blood of the righteous, whether on the field or scaffold, will regard the sanction of her promise when her religion bids her break it? Or, if she does, what shall your son be the better, if he remain in the mire of his father? What are your Episcopal tenets but mere Popery? save that ye have chosen a temporal tyrant for your Pope, and substitute a mangled mass in English for that which your predecessors pronounced in Latin.--But why speak I of these things to one who hath ears, indeed, and eyes, yet cannot see, listen to, or understand what is alone worthy to be heard, seen, and known? Pity that what hath been wrought so fair and exquisite in form and disposition, should be yet blind, deaf, and ignorant, like the things which perish!"
"We shall not agree on these subjects, Master Bridgenorth," said the lady, anxious still to escape from this strange conference, though scarce knowing what to apprehend; "once more, I must bid you farewell."
"Stay yet an instant," he said, again laying his hand on her arm; "I would stop you if I saw you rushing on the brink of an actual precipice--let me prevent you from a danger still greater. How shall I work upon your unbelieving mind? Shall I tell you that the debt of bloodshed yet remains a debt to be paid by the bloody house of Derby? And wilt thou send thy son to be among those from whom it shall be exacted?"
"You wish to alarm me in vain, Master Bridgenorth," answered the lady; "what penalty can be exacted from the Countess, for an action, which I have already called a rash one, has been long since levied."
"You deceive yourself," retorted he sternly. "Think you a paltry sum of money, given to be wasted on the debaucheries of Charles, can atone for the death of such a man as Christian--a man precious alike to heaven and to earth? Not on such terms is the blood of the righteous to be poured forth! Every hour's delay is numbered down as adding interest to the grievous debt, which will one day be required from that blood-thirsty woman."
At this moment the distant tread of horses was heard on the road on which they held this singular dialogue. Bridgenorth listened a moment, and then said, "Forget that you have seen me--name not my name to your nearest or dearest--lock my counsel in your breast--profit by it, and it shall be well with you."
So saying, he turned from her, and plunging through a gap in the fence, regained the cover of his own wood, along which the path still led.
The noise of horses advancing at full trot now came nearer; and Lady Peveril was aware of several riders, whose forms rose indistinctly on the summit of the rising ground behind her. She became also visible to them; and one or two of the foremost made towards her at increased speed, challenging her as they advanced with the cry of "Stand! Who goes there?" The foremost who came up, however, exclaimed, "Mercy on us, if it be not my lady!" and Lady Peveril, at the same moment, recognised one of her own servants. Her husband rode up immediately afterwards, with, "How now, Dame Margaret? What makes you abroad so far from home and at an hour so late?"
Lady Peveril mentioned her visit at the cottage, but did not think it necessary to say aught of having seen Major Bridgenorth; afraid, it may be, that her husband might be displeased with that incident.
"Charity is a fine thing and a fair," answered Sir Geoffrey; "but I must tell you, you do ill, dame, to wander about the country like a quacksalver, at the call of every old woman who has a colic-fit; and at this time of night especially, and when the land is so unsettled besides."
"I am sorry to hear that it so," said the lady. "I had heard no such news."
"News?" repeated Sir Geoffrey, "why, here has a new plot broken out among the Roundheads, worse than Venner's by a butt's length;[*] and who should be so deep in it as our old neighbour Bridgenorth? There is search for him everywhere; and I promise you if he is found, he is like to pay old scores."
[*] The celebrated insurrection of the Anabaptists and Fifth Monarchy men in London, in the year 1661.
"Then I am sure, I trust he will not be found," said Lady Peveril.
"Do you so?" replied Sir Geoffrey. "Now I, on my part hope that he will; and it shall not be my fault if he be not; for which effect I will presently ride down to Moultrassie, and make strict search, according to my duty; there shall neither rebel nor traitor earth so near Martindale Castle, that I will assure them. And you, my lady, be pleased for once to dispense with a pillion, and get up, as you have done before, behind Saunders, who shall convey you safe home."
The Lady obeyed in silence; indeed she did not dare to trust her voice in an attempt to reply, so much was she disconcerted with the intelligence she had just heard.
She rode behind the groom to the Castle, where she awaited in great anxiety the return of her husband. He came back at length; but to her great relief, without any prisoner. He then explained more fully than his haste had before permitted, that an express had come down to Chesterfield, with news from Court of a proposed insurrection amongst the old Commonwealth men, especially those who had served in the army; and that Bridgenorth, said to be lurking in Derbyshire, was one of the principal conspirators.
After some time, this report of a conspiracy seemed to die away like many others of that period. The warrants were recalled, but nothing more was seen or heard of Major Bridgenorth; although it is probable he might safely enough have shown himself as openly as many did who lay under the same circumstances of suspicion.
About this time also, Lady Peveril, with many tears, took a temporary leave of her son Julian, who was sent, as had long been intended, for the purpose of sharing the education of the young Earl of Derby. Although the boding words of Bridgenorth sometimes occurred to Lady Peveril's mind, she did not suffer them to weigh with her in opposition to the advantages which the patronage of the Countess of Derby secured to her son.
The plan seemed to be in every respect successful; and when, from time to time, Julian visited the house of his father, Lady Peveril had the satisfaction to see him, on every occasion, improved in person and in manner, as well as ardent in the pursuit of more solid acquirements. In process of time he became a gallant and accomplished youth, and travelled for some time upon the continent with the young Earl. This was the more especially necessary for the enlarging of their acquaintance with the world; because the Countess had never appeared in London, or at the Court of King Charles, since her flight to the Isle of Man in 1660; but had resided in solitary and aristocratic state, alternately on her estates in England and in that island.
This had given to the education of both the young men, otherwise as excellent as the best teachers could render it, something of a narrow and restricted character; but though the disposition of the young Earl was lighter and more volatile than that of Julian, both the one and the other had profited, in a considerable degree, by the opportunities afforded them. It was Lady Derby's strict injunction to her son, now returning from the continent, that he should not appear at the Court of Charles. But having been for some time of age, he did not think it absolutely necessary to obey her in this particular; and had remained for some time in London, partaking the pleasures of the gay Court there, with all the ardour of a young man bred up in comparative seclusion.
In order to reconcile the Countess to this transgression of her authority (for he continued to entertain for her the profound respect in which he had been educated), Lord Derby agreed to make a long sojourn with her in her favourite island, which he abandoned almost entirely to her management.
Julian Peveril had spent at Martindale Castle a good deal of the time which his friend had bestowed in London; and at the period to which, passing over many years, our story has arrived, as it were, /per saltum/, they were both living as the Countess's guests, in the Castle of Rushin, in the venerable kingdom of Man.
Sorry, no summary available yet.