Old London Bridge, A Romance of the Sixteenth Century

Rodwell, G Herbert





So discreet and fair of eloquence

So benign, and so digne of reverence,

And could so the people's heart embrace,

That each her loveth that looketh on her face. Chaucer.

WHEN the merchant and his party had well cleared Temple Bar, and got, as it were into the open country-for as yet, although there were many houses built on different portions of the Strand, they were so straggling and far apart, that the road could scarcely yet be called a street-the three females, lifting their thick veils, disclosed the fair faces of Alyce, Anne, and Flora.

Anne had now reached that sweetest of all epochs in a female life- the bud of womanhood, when every leaf is opened by the flattering breath of Hope, when Truth's bright wings seem fluttering o'er all around. Deceit is only known by name, as some fell ogre in a wild romance-a thing to dread in fancy, but never really to be found on earth. How strangely do a few short years reverse the picture! Deceit is found at every turn-Truth's fluttering wings are now outstretched to bear its soul so far away, that scarcely is it ever really seen again-or if it be, 'tis so disguised we pass it by unheedingly; Hope, which was first in youth, is last in age; it now can be discerned but through refracted rays, that to our deluded vision seem to place it upon the earth, while its real home can alone be found in heaven.

Anne had not outgrown the promise her infant beauty had made, of what perfection should be her own in womanhood: the same sweet lovely face, that had caused her to be called the Infant Venus of the show, was there-the same luxuriant tresses, in graceful ringlets, fell over and partially hid from view her sweetly-moulded shoulders, and descending, reached nearly to the waist. Checklocke's admiration of her waist, and of her tiny foot, was but the echo of that praise which all bestowed who saw them.

It is often said, that one of the greatest beauties of a beautiful girl, lies in her not knowing that she is beautiful; this is absurd-every beauty knows herself to be such; but every one of sense keeps that knowledge from obtruding itself on others, and thus gains double admiration;


for in this instance, as in that of charity, we are more inclined to bestow where we are not asked to give.

Anne knew full well that she was lovely; but those upon whom she daily looked were nearly as fair as she, so that the idea of being different to others never crossed her mind. She had felt the bitterness of her early life so acutely, that now the happiness she possessed was all in all to her; admiration could have added but little to her present comfort; and, indeed, the secluded life she had been for some years passing, prevented her obtaining the knowledge of any pleasure derivable from such a source. Her father, Edward, and the Bridge-shooter, were the only males she ever conversed with, and those were not likely to apply the match of flattery to that train of vanity, which, if once lighted, so often ends in the destruction of those who allow so deadly an enemy of woman to approach the citadel of the mind. The only one of the three who could have been at all expected to gaze upon Anne with an eye of admiration, such as to lead the tongue to proclaim its adulation, was Edward Osborne. Now, it so happened, that these two had grown up together in that peculiar intimacy of brotherly and sisterly love, which seldom ends in a warmer feeling; so that it never entered either of their minds to think of what relationship they really stood in to each other.

As they rode along, the hand of the merchant was scarcely for a moment from his pouch, unless while bestowing some trifling alms upon the beggars who thronged the whole line of road, from the City of London to that of Westminster; nor was it long before it was again returned to that pouch, but merely for another alms.

As we have said before, the dissolution of the monasteries had caused the whole country to be overrun with vagabonds and beggars; but, what was worse, a great portion of these vagabonds were also thieves, who took whatever they could get by asking, or if not easily obtained that way, they helped themselves to what they liked without leave given.

This state of things had been gradually increasing for some years, and had now attained such a fearful height, that shortly after the accession of Edward VI. one of the most extraordinary laws was created, which for severity is unexampled, and will astonish many of our readers to peruse-yes, a law was passed which ordered " that any person found living 'idly or loiteringly' for the space of three days, should on being brought before a justice, be marked as a vagabond, with a hot iron on the breast, and adjudged to be the slave for two years of the person informing against him, who, it is added,' shall take the same slave, and give him bread, water, or small drink, and refuse meat, and cause him to work, by beating, chaining, or otherwise, in such work and labour as he shall put him to, be it never so vile.' If in the course of this term the slave absent himself for fourteen days, he was to be marked with a hot iron on the forehead, or the ball of the cheek, and adjudged to be a slave to his master for ever ! If he ran away a second time, he was to suffer death as a felon. Masters were empowered to sell, bequeath, let out for hire, or give the service of their slaves to any person whomsoever, upon conditions, and for such term of years as the said persons be adjudged


. to them for slaves, after the like sort and manner as they may do of any other moveable goods or chattels."

A master was likewise authorized to put a ring of iron about the neck, arm, or leg of his slave, for a more certain knowledge and surety of keeping him. Finally, " all persons that chose were authorized to seize the children of beggars, and to retain them as apprentices, the boys till they were twenty-four, the girls till they were twenty years of age ; and if they ran away before the end of their term, the master was permitted, upon recovering them, to punish them in chains, or otherwise, and to use them as slaves till the time of their apprenticeship should have expired."

As the historian justly observes, fearful as such a diabolical act appears, it is yet interesting, as giving a clear proof of the enormous evil of vagrancy at that time, and how almost impossible it was to check the growth of that evil, if to do so it required such a dreadful act as the one we have quoted.

When our party had reached Charing Cross, they halted for a moment, for such crowds of persons filled up the road down to Holbien's beautiful gate of Whitehall, which then stood across the road near where the Horse-Guards now is, that the merchant altered his first intention of crossing the river at the Horseferry for Westminster and Lambeth, so turned up Hedge-Lane, a pretty lane, with hedges on each side, afterwards known as Witcomb Street, now a dirty and inconvenient, but much used thoroughfare for omnibuses, just beyond the National Gallery. This lane was chosen in preference to the next turning, called, even then, the " Haymarket," as being more retired. At the top of this lane they turned to the left into what is now Coventry Street and Piccadilly, but then an open country road, called the "Waye to Redinge :" this road passed straight on beyond the corner at Hyde Park, to the Knight's Bridge. Passing this bridge, they entered Bell Lane, well known in these days as Brompton Row: here once was a large bell, near the turning in the road, belonging, doubtless, to some religious house hard by, and placed there, in all probability, for the double purpose of religion, and to warn travellers of their locality in times of darkness or of fogs. This bell, in part, appears to have given the name to a sign on a public house now standing upon the spot, called " the Bell and Horns."

Our travellers soon found themselves on the common of Chelsea, which led to the top of Church Street, still so called, and where, until a few years ago, when it was burnt to the ground, stood an ostlery, at which Henry the Eighth's horses were changed when he travelled that road. Near Church Street was the ferry: here Edward pointed out to Anne the spot on the other side where he had taken his first lesson in swimming from his now old friend, the Bridge-shooter, and had thus laid the foundation of his knowledge of that art, which so soon enabled him to save the life of young Talbot.

"Yes," said Anne, kindly pressing his hand, " and of another whom you seem to have forgotten-where should I have been now, Edward, but for that knowledge ?"

They now passed the ferry, and as the evening began to close in, put spurs to their horses, and, at a good round pace, but to the slight alarm


of Flora, who laughed very loud indeed, to hide, as well as she could, her fear, they made no stop until they reached the heath. The three cavaliers soon lifted their fair charges to the ground, and now, the signal being given, the door was opened; but such strict orders had been issued never to open those doors until it was beyond all doubt as to whom they were opening, that, the apparent inhospitable delay rather pleased the merchant than otherwise, proving, as it did, that those in care of his rural abode attended well to what he said.

The sharp evening breeze had given such a glow to the cheeks of the three fair ones, that the merchant could not help shewing his admiration of their beauty by a sly look at Edward and the Bridge-shooter, as much as to say " Did you ever see three such pretty creatures."

He was once more comfortably at home, for the merchant never now called it being " at home" whilst on the Bridge, and, indeed, for some weeks past, he had been literally abroad, and would, almost immediately, be compelled again to absent himself from the heath and all he loved. How long he might be away he scarcely knew.

After having exhausted all the topics which the wonderful sights they had that day seen gave rise to, the conversation, they knew not how, gradually took a more sombre tone, and was settling into that exciting, but absurd strain, of telling ghost stories. The merchant invented two or three, which, being brought up to a climax that made Flora creep almost into the very arms of William for shelter, he would suddenly give such a ridiculous turn to them, that every one present felt quite ashamed at having been nervous at such nonsense.

"Well," said William, " I don't know, but although I am not very superstitious, I can't help thinking that-and, by the by, mother, who grows younger every day, instead of growing older, which is rather odd, if she is not a witch, declares, that for several nights past, she has seen the ghost of -"

He suddenly checked himself as his eyes met those of Alyce, who seemed to be devouring his words.

" Of whom?" enquired the merchant, smiling, " speak out, speak out! we are not afraid of hearing whose ghost your mother fancies she has seen-it's too absurd to look so serious about. Was it mine? or Edward's ? or Anne's ?--perhaps Flora's ? But if you are afraid of frightening our dame and maidens here, whisper the dreadful name into my ear, and let me have a hearty laugh; for laugh I shall, depend on't"

" Oh do," said Alyce, " tell your master; for then I, his wife, shall be sure to know it by and by."

"That thou shalt, sweet one," replied the merchant, taking her hand in his own.

" I doubt it," replied the Bridge-shooter; " but since you command me, know then that she says for nights past she has seen the same vision-the same ghost of - "

Here he whispered into the merchant's ear. Hewet's countenance in an instant became deathly pale.

" Oh heavens!" exclaimed Alyce, starting to her husband. "Gracious powers! what ails you ? William, William! what has he said ? tell me, tell me !"



" Not for worlds, dear," replied the merchant, who, quickly rousing his energy, endeavoured to laugh, and after a time so far rallied, that, assuming an unconcerned air, he enquired jokingly, " and what might the terrible ghost say, pray ?"

" Nothing !" replied the Bridge-shooter, rather annoyed at the merchant's seeming want of belief.

" Nothing !" echoed the merchant; " well, then, as the conjurers say, ' where there's nothing in, why, nothing can come out.' I think we may safely predict that nothing will come out of this."

" No !" said the Bridge-shooter, " the ghost said nothing; but mother says a good deal, as she generally does upon most occasions; but 'mark me,' says she, 'if before the moon shall wane, you hear not something that shall surprise you all, believe not in my power over the spirits of another world-murder never lies still in its bed of blood."

" Oh, mercy, William !" exclaimed Flora, " don't, don't talk so!"

"But I must," interrupted the Bridge-shooter, " I must say what I was told to say. Yes, those were her words-' murder never lies still in its bed of blood, nor does the murdered victim in his gory winding- sheet. Danger threatens some one who was dear to him who's dead- he cones to warn them."

" Whom means she by them ?" enquired Alyce, anxiously.

"She pretends not to know as yet; but what is strange, she says, is that, whenever the vision is about to appear, her ears are filled by the sweetest sounds of music floating in the air."

" Hush!" exclaimed Alyce, almost in a whisper, her eyes starting with fear; " hush ! 'tis there again."

Every face now evinced anxiety, for in the night-breeze could distinctly be heard a sweet and melancholy air, in flute-like tones.

" This is not the first night we have heard that sound," said Flora softly to William; " hark! 'tis fainter now-and now-'tis gone."

After the last sad note had died away, the whole party sat for several seconds perfectly still, as if fearful of breaking some dreadful spell, but what spell they knew not. At last, the merchant, who was anxious to relieve the fears of his dear Alyce, and, indeed, of his child, and Flora too, endeavoured to persuade them that it was merely the sighing of the wind through the boughs of the trees, aided by their own heated imaginations.

"But, father, dear father," said Anne, " we have heard it before for several nights, and 'tis not likely the boughs of trees would sigh the self same air again and again. I could sing it, were I not afraid."

"And so could I !" exclaimed Flora.

"Desist, desist, foolish girls !" said the merchant, sharply; " we have talked upon these follies too long already: so to rest, to rest, all of ye !"

Flora, taking the lamps, attended Alyce and her daughter to their rooms.

When they were gone-" Now, William," said the merchant, " our good dame being away, speak out; but it was a foolish subject to touch upon, while she was present."

" I know it was, master," said the Bridge-shooter; "but when once I had got into the mire, I did not know how to get out again. It's very odd, though, is it not, master, that the old woman should always be dreaming-for it must be a dream-that she sees the murdered knight


Sir Filbut ? and she says he's covered all over with diamonds, and keeps pointing to one upon his breast."

" What annoys me most, in this night's silly affair," said Master Hewet, or Master Allen, as he was called upon the heath, " is, that I fear it will raise an impediment to our leaving the women here alone: 'tis true there are plenty of servants and people at the farm, to protect them from real danger-- But, no no ! I will not create difficulties; perhaps, by the morning, all will have been forgotten; so farewell."

When Edward had entered his room, he found it filled with smoke from the wood fire; he threw open the window to breathe more freely, and gazed for some time upon the moonlight scene without. He fancied at one moment that he saw a figure half hidden behind a tree, as of some one watching the dwelling, but as the figure gave no signs of motion, he believed himself mistaken; and as the smoke had now disappeared, he lighted his lamp, which hung by a long line from the ceiling, and the room being still warm and close, he left the window open, and seating himself near the table, for a time was completely lost in a reverie.

At last, having shaken this sad feeling off, but not feeling inclined for sleep, he drew forth from his travelling bag a thick strongly-bound book; it was mounted in brass, and had an antique lock.-" When I began to write in this book," he said, " I thought it would be an endless source of pleasure to me, in after years, to look back upon what I did, and thought, and hoped, from day to day; but I have lived long enough to find, that a diary is, to the writer, one of the saddest of sad books to read. Ah!" he said, as he read from one of the early pages, "I was a boy when I wrote that-it was the day of my apprenticeship. What a little thing Anne was then ! I was her playmate in those days; and, oh, what happy romps we used to have together! I am now a man, and she almost a woman. Sometimes, when I look at her, I doubt that she can be herself, and that I gaze upon her who used to love to climb upon my shoulder, and would kiss me until I carried her around the place, and then would kiss me again, as she said, in payment for her ride. Heigho! heigho! I wish we could have always remained as we then were! But no, I then sighed to be a man; and now I am a man I sigh to be a boy! I wonder if there be, in this whole world, one human being who is content ? May -On this day it was I saved Anne's life.' The record of that day alone shall prevent me ever destroying this book! Ah ! and there is the night of the marsh ! Oh! I shudder at the remembrance of that horrid night!--I'll read no line of that," and he turned over many pages. " On this day Sir Filbut was murdered-how strange that no clue should ever have been discovered by which the murderers could be traced !"

The book suddenly fell from his hand, as he started up. He gazed around, really alarmed, for in his ear was murmuring the very air they had that night heard with so much dread. It was but a strain, and all again was still. He shook himself, as though he had been dreaming, and that motion would wake him. "Oh," he said, " this is too weak! I'll just set down the occurrences of to-day, and then to bed."

He picked up the book, and also a piece of paper, that had fallen out; he looked at it-it was anything but likely to raise his spirits, for it


. was the summons, written in blood, which had caused him to seek the Witch of the Marsh. He replaced it, and then commenced writing.

Edward wrote a beautiful, though rather peculiar hand; the signature at the foot of the plate is a fac-simile of an autograph of Edward Osborne, now in the British Museum.

He had just come to that part of the events of the evening, when they had heard the mysterious music, when suddenly the lamp fell from the ceiling and was extinguished; the fire had dwindled to a few smouldering ashes ; he was stooping in the endeavour to kindle a piece of paper by their heat, when he again started at hearing a repetition of the very same strain he had so recently heard before--it lasted but for a second. He stood erect, and said firmly, although in a low and measured tone-"If thou be a spirit, speak thy will ! Wicked as I know I am, as a creature of God,' I am still good enough, 'as a being of earth, not to fear thy words or sight! Speak ! I am prepared to answer thee !"

Notwithstanding all his imagined firmness and determination, large drops would start from his brow: the silence now seemed unendurable, yet he feared to speak again, for he felt that he should start at his own voice. He hurried to his couch, and flinging himself, dressed as he was, beneath the coverlid, passed an anxious and almost sleepless night.

Edward Osborne remained for several hours in this state of mysterious apprehension, and it was not until morn, that sleepess fear gave way to sleep's sweet self. A s he descended to the early meal, he was debating with himself, how he should best reveal what he had heard in the dead hour of night, when-could his ears deceive him ? or was he really bewitched ? His hand was on the latch--he hesitated-for from the very room he was about to enter, he again heard the air which had so startled him in the night. He opened the door suddenly, and stood bewildered before the whole family, who had already assembled, and were now in high glee, and laughing heartily.

" Heavens!" exclaimed Anne, running to him, "what ails you? Why, Edward, 'you are ill !"

Osborne observing that all the rest of the party had smiles on their faces, felt the colour rise into his cheeks, 'from shame at his own fears.

"We were afraid," continued Anne, " that you had heard the ghost in the night, as Flora did."

"Has Flora heard it too ?" enquired Edward, quickly.

"Oh, yes!" replied the laughing girl, "and we've found him. Yes, we have, we have found the ghost."

" Ghost indeed!'" said Flora; "no, Master Edward, but we have discovered the cause for our alarm: last night I was turning and tossing in my bed, thinking of William, and all sorts of other horrid things, when I was made almost to jump out of my skin, by hearing the air again: it came from Mistress Anne's room. I took my lamp, for I had been afraid to put it out, and plucking up all my courage, I entered, determined that if a ghost had come to run away with her, he should run away with me too; and there I found-now what do you think I found ? --why, my sweet young mistress fast asleep, singing the very tune: she has got it quite pat, and was just now humming it t[ ]"[ ]

Osborne again quite blushed, for he remembered th[ ]


divided his own room from that of Mistress Anne's. "But you said just now, you had found the ghost," observed Edward, still clinging to the mysterious.

"No, we have not," replied Flora, "but Bridget, the dairymaid, has. She was not so foolish as we, for when she heard the music first, she thought it was some wandering minstrel passing along, so going to the gate, there she found a very nice young man, playing upon a flute, she gave him a silver penny. ' Thank you, my pretty maid,' said he, ' and since you are so generous, I will give you something in return :' he placed a piece of money in her hand, which, upon coming into the house she discovered was gold. The same minstrel passes here every night, but since that time at a greater distance from the cottage."

" Come, come to breakfast," said the merchant, " and let us make a ghost of that; the horses will be here anon, and it's but sorry travelling this time of year, unless one has a good lining to one's jerkin."

"Then you must go, William ?" said Alyce kindly. "Ay, sweetheart, and, alack ! I know not for how many days, nay, perhaps weeks; but Edward and his squire there shall come down on Saturdays as usual, and Flora-- "

" Lawks, master !" said Flora, " I had forgot that I, too, am to go away to-day; my old aunt at Hampton is ill; I have a great mind not to go."

" Indeed, but you must Flora-I insist," said Alyce. " It may perhaps be the last time you may ever see your aunt in this world; go, by all means; Anne and I shall do right well, believe me; for she, bless her, is ever so kind, so cheerful, that I am never lonely if I only feel that she is within my call." A short time more, and the horses were at the door. Flora bustled about, and was soon warmly wrapped up, indeed, warmer then she liked; but the Bridge-shooter insisting upon wrapping all sorts of things round her, she was fain to consent, for she seldom had the heart to refuse him anything. She and William were quickly mounted, in the same manner they had arrived, and bidding the rest adieu, rode towards Hampton. Alyce and her daughter put on their walking gear, and with the merchant and Edward, who led their horses, strolled for a mile along the road towards London

"Promise me," said Osborne, addressing his young mistress, with whom he was walking, "promise me, Anne, that you will write every day the carrier comes to London, for, although Flora was no great protector, nor is there here much danger, yet, her being away seems to -to-I don't know what I fear, yet I should like to know all that is passing at the cottage, so that I may forward the account to your good father; do you promise ?"

"Why should I not ?" replied Anne; " a letter is no such mighty task, thanks to your early care of my writing, and the good tuition of my kind instructresses." This point being settled, and the time for parting having arrived, the merchant and Edward mounted, and riding off at a brisk trot, were soon lost to sight. They had not gone far, before they met with two of the most ill-looking ruffians that eyes ever beheld; the one was an old man, the other about


. thirty, but both were athletic, and had a dash of the military swagger about them, although their attire did not bespeak them of that class. So infested had every road now become with mendicants of every description, that they would have been passed by unnoticed, had not the elder one placed himself before the horses, and taking off his cap, as did the other, began to beg.-" Hast no charity, master ?" said the man.

"Ay, marry," replied the merchant, " plenty for those who deserve it."

"And what for those who do not ?" enquired the other, saucily.

"Hard knocks," said the merchant, "or, perhaps, a piece of lead in lieu of gold."

" I have had enough of lead," said the elder ruffian, " and of hard knocks too, and could tell you a little about taking what doesn't belong to one, for I was with Tom Cromwell at the sacking of Rome; but now would fain lay hands upon nought but what's freely given--so, charity, master, charity."

" That you may not have an excuse for doing worse-there, take that !" and as he said this he threw a piece of money upon the ground; it fell at the side of his horse; the old man stooped to pick it up, as the young one said, " Have you nothing more? This won't do !" He seized the merchant's rein, but almost at the same moment let it loose again, for a terrific blow from the but-end of Hewet's riding-whip nearly broke his wrist. The merchant and Edward waited not an instant; but, putting spurs to their horses, galloped off.

" Curses on you for a fool!" exclaimed the old man; "that's what one gets by having to do with boys-couldn't you see what I was about ? In another moment I had lifted him off by the heel, head foremost: when down, one blow with your staff would have settled him, and the other fellow would have flown for his life: he was worth the plucking. I know him well, although he has forgotten me."

The younger one said nothing to his mate; but, rubbing his wrist, kept on muttering the most horrible oaths the tongue of man could utter. They turned down a lane, and were soon hid from view.

" Never was there such a lovely morn as this, dear mother-was there ?" said Anne, throwing open her warm mantle; "it is more like spring than winter, the sun is so glowing. Oh, how I should have delighted in such a day as this when I was a child, to have run about these fields, and played and romped with Edward! That's the worst of growing old; one must not be really happy, and play the child."

" Most girls at your age, dearest," replied her mother, " too often want to play the woman: they little know what cares and dangers are attached to that envied title. Be a child, dear Anne, as long as thou canst; for I would have thee happy. And when thou art a woman--"

' But why, dear mother, cannot women be happy, as well as children ? I could live with you, and have Flora, and Edward, and -" she stopped suddenly. " Did you hear that ? she said, " How alarmed we should have been, but for good Bridget's tale-listen! It is the very air: it comes from yonder copse. Let us steal softly thither; and who knows but we may see the cause of all our fears!"

Before Alyce could make reply, Anne had nearly reached the thicket: her mother followed, rather to bring her back, than sanction her curiosity


the sounds of the flute had ceased, and through a slight opening between the boughs they saw a young man sitting upon the stones of a small ruined chapel: he was plainly attired, but appeared, to judge by the slight view they obtained, to be particularly handsome-perhaps more as to his general bearing than mere beauty of features. His flute was now slung at his back; a gun lay by his side; and he was busily engaged sketching the remains of a beautiful cross that stood at some little distance.

Alyce led her daughter gently away without speaking, fearful that her voice might attract his notice; and she saw in what an unworthy light they should appear, were he to observe them at that moment.

"But only to think, now," said Anne, " that that very young man should have been the cause of giving us so much alarm; and now I have seen him, I am sure there is nothing alarming about him. I wish he had seen us, for I should have liked to have looked at the sketch he was making. I wonder if he would have gratified us if we had asked him ?"

" Dear Anne, you are indeed now talking like a child," said Alyce; surely you are not serious. Think you that it would have become us to have spoken to a stranger, and he a young man, and--"

" And so handsome!-I know you were going to say that," replied Anne. " Well, dear mother, there would have been no harm if you had; you always tell me to speak the truth, and that is the truth-he is handsome."

" Let us hasten home, child," said her mother; "we have strolled to far away, and I am not certain that we are in the right road. Mount, dear, on yon rising ground, and look if you can discern where we really are."

Anne was in an instant on the brow of the little hill. She uttered a scream, and flying back to her mother, clung round her in fearful alarm.

" Heavens !' exclaimed Alyce; " speak! speak ! why this terror ?" " There! there !" ejaculated Anne, as she, with averted look, pointed towards the hill. Alyce bent her gaze in that direction, when she saw, just over the rising ground, the ruffianly heads of the two men who had so recently met the merchant and Edward.

" Charity, charity !" said the old villain, as he and his companion advanced towards them; " charity, fair ladies; if we receive not charity from angels, where shall we look for it, eh ?" "Yes, yes, good man," said Alyce, at the same time drawing a purse from her pouch; "you are-yes ! you are, very welcome, and--" "Do not hurry yourself, fair lady, we can wait, and if there be any difficulty, we will open the purse for you." He put out his hand as if to take it; Alyce involuntarily threw her own hand backwards, when the other thief snatched the purse in a moment from her grasp. "Merciful powers !" she exclaimed, now fully aware of their intent, you do not mean to rob us ?"

" Rob you," said the old man, " rob you? Heaven forbid ! I rob a lady-no, no; but charity, you know, is the surest ladder to lead to heaven, and he who makes you charitable, is deserving of some reward. You are rich, lady, and we are poor, and ' he who gives to the poor--"


. but I need not remind you of your duty. I'm thinking how much mole good that gold chain around your neck would do to such poor devils as we are, than it ever can to the like of you."

" Oh, no, no, no ! not that, not that I" exclaimed Alyce, in perfect agony. " It was the gift of one I love more than life."

" Oh, do not take that!" said Anne; "here is mine; take all I have there, there, and there." She cast down everything she could tear from off herself.

As the thieves stooped to pick up the jewels and money that lay about-" Fly !" exclaimed Alyce, seizing hold of her daughter's hand; in another instant, and they had bounded over the little hill, and were for a time out of sight of the robbers, who, swearing, picked up the valuables as rapidly as they could, and then started in pursuit of the fugitives.

"They must be deers indeed," said the old ruffian, " to outrun such huntsmen as we. I'll have that chain, or I'll cut her throat in half with it." He then bawled out, at the top of his voice-" Stop, fools, or it will be the worse for you!"

The few moments start which Alyce and Anne had had, placed a good space between them and their pursuers, for the poor souls felt that they were flying for their lives, and such a feeling adds wings to the feet of all who experience its agony ; every moment brought the wretches closer upon them, and every moment reduced their power to fly: despair had seized upon both their hearts, when they were overtaken, and seized by the iron grasp of the ruffians.

" Ye shall pay soundly for this, my mistresses-no more foolery !" and the old villain seized Anne round the waist, while the other caught hold of Alyce: they were just dragging them asunder-the air was filled with the screams of the helpless creatures-when suddenly one of the ruffians uttering a cry, fell heavily upon his face; at the same instant, the report of a gun sounded in their ears; the younger wretch, believing a rescue was at hand, bounded over a hedge, and disappeared in a deep ravine.

Alyce and her daughter had sunk upon their knees from fright, locked in each others arms, when they were almost maddened with joy, by hearing a voice assuring them that they were safe; then looking round, they saw, standing close to them, the same young man whom they had so lately observed sketching the cross near the ruined chapel. He assisted them to rise; when both Alyce and Anne, clinging to him, spoke their gratitude in a violent flood of tears.

" Courage! courage, ladies!" said the young man; "you are safe now; one villain has flown; and as to this monster," and he gave the body a push with his foot, " if ever he fly again, it will be with a warmer pair of wings than Heaven will ever send him for the purpose."

" Oh, sir !" said Alyce, endeavouring to compose her trembling nerves, " to whom do we owe this deep debt of gratitude ?"

"You owe me nothing, ladies," he replied; " but I owe you one of the greatest happinesses of all my life-your having given me the opportunity to serve you. You ask me who I am-a poor artist, yes, a really poor artist; for, I fear me, my talent is as poor as is my purse-they call me Walter Lerue."