Puslapio vaizdai

tance, and what was more, as one who well deserved his whose eyes, naturally enough, "the silversmith to the good fortune.

Ten, twenty years, even five-and-twenty, passed away, but Sir Marmaduke Sherrington never came back to claim his precious deposit. Eventful years were these. The King had returned "to enjoy his own again," and the great men of the Commonwealth, and the great principles of the Commonwealth, were become a scoff and a mockery to those who, pensioners of the French court, had lost all sympathy with England and Englishmen. And now did the wheel of fortune begin to turn with the "silversmith to the Lord Protector;"' at first his troubles came but slowly on, chiefly in the form of loss of old customers, who, anxious to ingratiate themselves with the Court, could not bear even to have a spoon or a mere bodkin from the shop of him who had supplied plate to the "arch-traitor" Cromwell. Ere long, however, he found himself a marked man; for as Luke Willingham's principles had not been taken up for sake of lucre, he was not prepared for worldly advantage to change them; so he became an object of suspicion to some of his more vehemently loyal neighbours, and many a story was told of his republican opinions, and he was almost openly accused of endeavours to plot against the State.

Manfully, however, did Luke Willingham struggle on. He was conscious of integrity; and he still trusted he should surmount these unjust suspicions when the plague year came; and not only during its continuance was all stop put to business, but the inhabitants of London, impoverished and dispirited, had little inclination to purchase mere articles of luxury. And then came the fire of London: and, anxiously as the mighty column of fire slowly, steadily, but irresistibly advanced up Cheapside, day after day, did the poor silversmith fear, and yet sometimes hoped that his dwelling-his own property might be saved.

At length the flames seized on old St. Pauls; and now the inhabitants of Ludgate began in good earnest to remove their property. It was then remarked that Luke Willingham was exceedingly anxious to secure the contents of a certain closet; and much surprise was expressed by those who aided him in removing, when they saw him quitting his home with a small bundle under his


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I should be well pleased to open that bundle," said the constable of the ward to a byestander; "there'd be hanging matter found therein, I doubt me not, for some half dozen of your canting Round-heads." Little did he imagine that the box, committed to the care of the puritan silversmith by a Cavalier, was the object of his suspicion. Lake Willingham's home shared the fate of the many hundred others; and, until the necessary arrangements could be made for rebuilding the city, our poor silversmith was enforced to remain idle-thankful, however, that his stock had been saved, and that none of his family had sustained injury.

At length the city slowly arose from her ashes; and anxiously did each tradesman seek to re-occupy his former shop. But while no obstacle was placed in the way of his neighbours, Luke Willingham's offer was peremptorily refused. The land on which his home had stood belonged to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, in

Lord Protector" found no favour; so Master Sheldon's offer (he was a distant relation of the bishop) was accepted; and poor Luke Willingham was compelled to see the place where he had dwelt for more than twenty happy years in possession of another, and the Silver Unicorn swinging from the door, but with a stranger's name beneath it.

In his reduced circumstances, it was difficult to obtain a suitable house; for the new ones built along the chief streets were more expensive than his means would allow ; nor would his company assist him, as was usual in such cases, for his religious opinions were against him.

In the present day, change of residence is not so injurious as it was in those times, when the same family often carried on the same business, in the same house, for almost a century; and poor Luke Willingham found to his cost, when at length he opened a small shop in Bucklersbury, that scarcely one of his old customers came; but that he had, as it were, to begin the world anew. And during all these changes, nothing could he learn of Sir Marmaduke Sherrington. That worthy knight had not returned from France at the Restoration; and from some of the cavaliers, of whom Luke inquired, he learned that he was on ill terms with some of the King's friends, and it was even thought had retired to Holland. But then, again, it was said he had visited Sherrington Manor House; and that he had again set out, none could tell whither. "My duty is clear, however," said Luke Willingham sadly to himself; "it is still to keep the box ;but good Sir Marmaduke, that ye would reclaim it!"

Meanwhile, in the midst of all his troubles, and all his anxieties, his daughter Grace grew up a beautiful young woman; and often would poor Luke Willingham look proudly at her, as he marked the admiration she excited; little dreaming of the greater trouble of which her beauty would be the source. Most unfortunately-perhaps Grace scarcely thought so- -the beauty of the silversmith's daughter attracted the notice of Alderman Stanton's eldest son, as she sat plying her needle in the shop during the absence of her father. This young man was the darling son, heir of all the ambitious hopes, as well as the property of the haughty old man; but when he found him determined to reject the hand of a wealthy city heiress, and learnt from his own lips, that it was for love of the puritan silversmith's daughter, the rage of the father exceeded all bounds, and chasing the son with fiercest anger from his presence, he vowed never to rest until he had completed the ruin of the unfortunate Luke Willingham.

At this period, too easily could this threat be accomplished. There were pains and penalties attached to almost every right which we now enjoy unrestrainedly; there were informers, in closest disguise, to keep watch over the intended victim, and discover or invent what might best effect that end; and there were justices, too, armed with full power to act as both judge and jury, and who knew that the Court would well reward an excess of zeal and activity. And so it came to pass with poor Luke Willingham. Information after information was laid against him, under the Corporation and Conventicle Acts; articles were exhibited against him in the ecclesiastical courts; he was fined, and distressed, and almost sold up, when worthy Mr. Ashurst, who had long known and honoured him, together with Sir Samuel Bar

nardiston, who had often suffered in the same cause, de- | leave for the night; and then the poor silversmith, overtermined together to take a shop for him just over against whelmed with the thoughts of the coming trial, sat down the Royal Exchange, where, as the Alderman of Corn--not to plan how to protect his own property-but to hill was of their own opinions, the poor silversmith would, secure that precious box for Sir Marmaduke Sherrington. at least, be secure of legal protection. Sadly he took it from its safe hiding-place in the little closet, within the corner cupboard, but which he knew would be no hiding-place on the morrow, when bedchambers, more than any other rooms, were strictly searched, often even to the pulling down of the wainscot; and as he anxiously looked at it, who should wonder that regret should arise in his mind when he thought of the risk he had run in securing jewels for one who perchance might be dead, and when but only two or three of those diamonds would have availed to set him free from his difficulties. This was but a passing thought." My word is pledged for twenty, even for thirty years, to keep it," said he, and he returned to the sitting-room.

Thankful to his kind friends for their aid, here Luke Willingham once more set up the Silver Unicorn, and for a third time began trade again; and prosperity, at last, seemed about to revisit him. His eldest son, by the same kind help of Mr. Ashurst, was sent out as an agent of the Turkey Company; his younger was bringing up to his own trade; and even Grace, by her exquisite embroidery, aided in relieving the expenses of the family. Poor Grace! she had a deep trouble of her own, but, still, she was too affectionate a daughter not to rejoice in the returning comfort of her father.

But all this time, Alderman Stanton was not idle. He had been deeply mortified to find that his unremitting persecution had drawn the attention of two of the wealthiest and most honourable of the London merchants to his intended victim; and had actually been the means of re-establishing him. He hated those two honourable gentlemen too, who prospered even through these trying times, and in spite of repeated fines, as though by the express blessing of God; and anxiously did that vindictive old man seek their ruin.

"I would we could get a search-warrant for Master Willingham's house," said Keating, a man well known at this period, for the sad eminence of being the most cunting and unscrupulous of all the London informers, as he duly signed his depositions, and the alderman duly signed the warrants, to distrain the goods of ten quakers charged with the unbearable wickedness of holding a silent meeting. "I would, your worship, we could have a search-warrant against him, for it might go far to prove an independent plot, as well as a presbyterian ; and such things, your worship knows, are well taken by the Court."

Yes, well did Alderman Stanton know it; but a searchwarrant, even in these times, could not be obtained without some ground for it. So Keating forthwith hired himself as porter to poor Luke Willingham, who, deceived by the forged certificate he pretended to bring from worthy Mr. Astie, late minister in Suffolk, trusted much to him, and spoke out more freely than he otherwise would have done, Still there was nothing that could be made ground of accusation against Luke Willingham, nor could aught suspicious be discovered, although Keating listened outside the window at night, and opened and re-sealed each letter that came; and even opened the poor silversmith's strong chest with a false key, and made strict search therein.

At length, weary of longer waiting, the pretended porter one evening came to his master, and with well-affected surprise and sorrow, acquainted him that he had just discovered that a search-warrant, on plea of discovering treasonable papers, was about to be sent down to the house; and he earnestly entreated him, therefore, to take the chance ere the morrow of removing whatever he most wished to conceal.

Poor Luke Willingham was thunderstruck at the intelligence; for well did he know the powerful enemy to whom he owed this new misfortune. With many lamentations, mixed with proffers of service, the porter took his

There sat Grace, still engaged, although the evening was far advanced, on her broidery, for it was to be taken home early on the morrow; and as the poor silversmith cast his eyes on the table they fixed upon a small pasteboard box, in which the various more delicate articles of ladies' dress, such as point or embroidered cuffs, were carried.

"Dear Grace," said he, as the sudden thought struck him, "there is one thing which presses heavily on my mind, and of which I must at last make you my confidant ;'' and forthwith he detailed how the box had been left in his care, how anxious he was for its safety, and how he thought, if placed in the small pasteboard box, it might be carried away without suspicion ere the officers came.

Grace took the box, packed it carefully up with some skeins of silk, and laid her finished work, which was to be carried to Madam Ashurst, on the top; and then, little thinking, though overwhelmed with sorrow, of the greater sorrow the morning would bring, the father and daughter sat down to their humble meal.

Joyfully did Keating, now that his plan had succeeded so well, (and who had listened to the colloquy of the father and daughter, safely concealed in the closet on the staircase), now proceed to Alderman Stanton. “We shall not require a search-warrant to-morrow, your worship," said he, " for if we take fair mistress Grace into custody, as she leaves the house, it will be sufficient,** Well pleased was the vindictive old man; he signed the warrant for the apprehension of "Grace Willingham, spinster, daughter of Luke Willingham," with right good will, and then went to rest.

Early on the morrow, though not so early as to awaken suspicion, the door of the poor silversmith was softly opened, and, wrapped in her mantle and hood, Grace Willingham came forth. "God grant you success,'* whispered the anxious father, as he closed the door.

Alas! two doors off stood Keating and the two officers charged with the execution of the warrant. This poor young woman was rudely seized, the box snatched from her, and entrance was forcibly made into her father shop. "Wherefore is this?" cried Luke Willlingham, looking wildly at his daughter, and thunderstruck at th sight of his own servant, apparently foremost in the outrage.

"Ah! worthy Master Willingham," cried the ina former, laughing, "we have caught you at last, and methinks, there's hanging matter for a dozen at least, in this box."

Yes! there was the very box, snatched for ever from him; and the story how he became possessed of it, would it be believed? Could it be thought that a Puritan would, for so long, and with so great care, take charge of jewels -most valuable jewels-for a Cavalier? and he, although twice brought to the verge of bankruptcy, never even had attempted to pledge them. No! surely no one would believe that story; but the jewels would be viewed as the produce of ill-gotten gains-perchance of absolute robbery. And, 0! how would his enemies-the enemies of the cause-exult.

not until the eve of the fatal battle of Worcester, that I met his majesty, and then he thought they would be more secure in my keeping than in his. They were broken from their setting that they might be placed in a smaller compass; and, after enduring much trouble and anxiety to secure them, I gave them, when I quitted England three-and-twenty years ago, into the hands of good Luke Willingham. On the Restoration, I sent to his sacred Majesty to notify with whom they had been left; and when, after long absence from England, seven years ago I visited London, I was told that Luke Willingham had gone, none knew whither; nor could my most earnest inquiries discover him.-Open the box, therefore, and you will find therein eight large rose diamonds, twenty-six smaller ones, and nineteen brilliants."

It was to be a high day, that day, in the city; for his sacred Majesty had promised to dine with the Lord Mayor at his own house. So, anxious to display his zeal and activity in so worthy a cause, and, perchance, to obtain notice of the Court, Keating determined to take his poor prisoner, not to the alderman of the Ward, but to Guild-precious contents were counted out before him, "there is hall; regardless of her earnest prayers not to be made a no charge against this young woman, she must be set at gazing-stock along the streets. liberty."

Onward they went, followed by a fast-increasing crowd; while poor Grace tried to draw the hood more closely over her face, and her tears fell thick and fast from the long silken lashes. But his brutal plan was unsuccessful; for the beautiful young woman, as she was dragged along the streets, became an object of warmest pity to all, and loud and violent was the clamour against the hated informer. At the corner of King Street, the crowd had increased so greatly as to stop the way; and Keating, fearful of being overborne, called loudly for aid. The confusion increased: "What is this?" said an old gentleman, leaning out of his heavy velvet coach, "what is that affray about?"

Poor Grace! surely she recognised that voice, though more than twenty years had passed since she heard it; surely she remembered that face, though the brow was wrinkled, and the locks had become quite white. "Good Sir Marmaduke,'' cried she, attempting to spring forward, "good Sir Marmaduke, God hath sent you hither in our greatest need. It is for your box-your box left with my father-that I am now a prisoner."

The old man gazed earnestly on the young maiden's pale but beautiful features. "What! is it my little Grace Willingham?" said he.

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"It is quite correct," said the sitting alderman, as the

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"Nay, my sacred Majesty doth will it," answered Charles, laughing; "poor fellow, he hath been my jewel keeper it seems, for three-and-twenty years, and a right honest one too; so methinks I will. Moreover, he was silversmith, was he not, to old Noll ?” "He was, your sacred Majesty," replied the sorelytroubled Lord Mayor.

"Well then," cried Charles, quietly tossing off his glass, and balancing it on his finger, "'twill be just the thing, for it will give him a Rowland—ha Georgie! will it not? A Rowland for an Oliver.''

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There was some objection among the subordinates as to allowing him to enter; but Sir John Starling, who remembered the cavalier knight when in France, led him, with all courtesy, to the table where the aldermen were seated. "I am come to lay claim to that box," said Sir And so it was, to the great wonder both of royalists Marmaduke Sherrington; "that box which, twenty-three and Whigs; nor least of all to Luke Willingham himyears ago, tied by my own hands, and sealed with my self. He indeed viewed it as no great honour, but in own seal, I delivered into the keeping of my good friend, these unsettled times, as a security, its value was great. Luke Willingham. The jewels contained therein belong to So under the especial protection of the Duke of Buckingour gracious King; being the diamond hat-band worn by my ham, whose whim it just now was to conciliate the Nonlate dear and honoured master, his father, and the diamond conformists, Luke returned to his original shop, and George. These, just before the flight from Oxford, were beneath the shadow of the original Silver Unicorn, carried delivered into the hands of brave Colonel Wyndham, from on business long and most prosperously, none daring to whom, when mortally wounded, I received them. It was make him afraid. Nor ever, in the darkest times did

Luke Willingham seek to disguise his principles, and | ham was a frequent guest. Early on the death of Aldergreat and striking was his reward. man Stanton she was married to his son, and when Sir Marmaduke died, full of years, she became the Lady of

As to Sir Marmaduke Sherrington, he settled once more at Sherrington Manor House, where Grace Willing- | Sherrington Manor.



THE lady had a swarthy cheek, and glossy raven hair,

And eyebrows dark, in feathery streak, springing like arches rare:
Full gleamingly her flashing eye lit up her smile of scorn,
As forth her MAIDEN TRAIN she led upon the wall that morn.

"Now, by my foy!" quoth MONTAGUE, who spied her from afar,
"I trow what WARDER we have here-BLACK AGNES OF DUNBAR!"

Shrill crew the cock; the war-trump harsh a shriller echo gave,
As MONTAGUE his challenge wound, and brandish'd high his glaive:
"Surrender, lady! for thy lord, I wot, is far from hence ;-
The surest hold can hardly stand where women make defence!"

"Defy thee, then, proud MONTAGUE! and all thy men at war!”
With loud derisive laugh replied BLACK AGNES OF Dunbar.
"Twere a fair mark," cried LINCOLN WILL, "to hit a tooth of pearl,
Or, with a cloth-yard shaft, to spill the gloss of yonder curl!"
"Beshrew thy heart, thou coward knave! and durst thou blur my name
With thy goose-barb?" said MONTAGUE;"I blush for very shame!”

"How now, my Masters!-quail your hearts before a woman's star?"
Loud shouted then, with scoff and taunt, BLACK AGNES OF Dunbar.

"Bring forth, bring forth the engines fierce!-hurl ye the massive stone!
Bid stauncheons crash, and splinter oak, till some good breach be shown!
Poise high the ram!-the crumbling wall shall totter to its fall!
We'll know what cheer my Lord of March fends for his lady's hall!"’
Grammercy! what a dust is here!-Slow maidens that ye are!
Go! wipe it, with a napkin, off!" quoth AGNES OF DUNBAR.

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"If needs we must-why, then-THE SOW! Advance beneath its shield!
Few strokes of its rude strength, I trow, shall make yon proud dame yield!"
The engine stands against the wall-the warriors lurk within-

The ponderous log is ready swung, its thunders to begin

When, from the Bartizan above" Proud MONTAGUE, bewar'!
Thy sow may farrow ere her time!" cried AGNES of Dunbar.

A cloud-like darkness, from on high, fell o'er that fated shed--
'Twas but an instant, and a crash, and they within were-dead!
"I told thee," said that saucy dame-as limbs, from bodies torn-
Steel panoplies and bruised mail-and plumes from knighthood shorn-
Were dash'd before the falling mass-" I thus thy sport should mar ;-
I redd ye e'er again to flout with AGNES OF Dunbar!''

What dame is she, of daring mould, stands up for SCOTLAND still,
When ev'ry fastness, far and wide, the tyrant foemen fill?
When HALIDON's dire fight had thinned our country's proud array,
And bitter FATE in malice grinned on Scotia's evil day?

In fields of strife that lady's LORD fights on with many a scar-
The grandchild of the GLORIOUS BRUCE is AGNES OF DUNBAR!

A ruin crumbles on the verge of dark basaltic rocks,

From out whose breast, in clouds, emerge the sea-birds' plumy flocks→→→→
Though scarce a shred of that old wall lingers a tale to tell,
Yet AGNES, and her MAIDENS tall, are there remembered well;

For, while TRADITION's pulse beats true to glory and to war,
A guerdon of renown is due BLACK AGNES OF DUNbar.

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As we are all of us crazy when the wind sits in some particular quarter, let not Mr. Landor be angry with me for suggesting that he is outrageously crazy upon the one solitary subject of spelling. It occurs to me, as a plausible solution of his fury upon this point, that perhaps in his earliest school-days, when it is understood that he was exceedingly pugnacious, he may have detested spelling, and (like Roberte the Devillet) have found it more satisfactory for all parties, that when the presumptuous schoolmaster differed from him on the spelling of a word, the question between them should be settled by a stand-up fight. Both parties would have the victory at times and if, according to Pope's expression, "justice rul'd the ball," the schoolmaster (who is always a villain) would be floored three times out of four; no great matter whether wrong or not upon the immediate point of spelling discussed. It is in this way, viz. from the irregular adjudications upon litigated spelling, which must have arisen under such a mode of investigating the matter, that we may account for Mr. Landor's being sometimes in the right, but too often (with regard to long words) egregiously in the wrong. As he grew stronger and taller, he would be coming more and more amongst polysyllables, and more and more would be getting the upper hand of the schoolmaster; so that at length he would have it all his own way; one round would decide the turn-up; and thenceforwards his spelling would become frightful. Now, I myself detested spelling as much as all people ought to do, except Continental compositors, who have extra fees for doctoring the lame spelling of ladies and, gentlemen. But, unhappily, I had no power to thump the schoolmaster into a conviction of his own absurdities; which, however, I greatly desired to do. Still, my nature, powerless at that time for any active recusancy, was strong for passive resistance; and that is the hardest to conquer. I took one lesson of this infernal art, and then declined ever to take a second; and, in fact, I never did. Well I remember that unique morning's experience. It was the first page of Entick's Dictionary that I had to get by heart; a sweet sentimental task; and not, as may be fancied, the spelling only, but the horrid attempts of this depraved Entick to explain the supposed meaning of words that probably had none; many of these, it is my belief, Entick himself forged. Among the


strange, grim-looking words, to whose acquaintance I was introduced on that unhappy morning, were abalienate and ablaqueation-most respectable words, I am fully persuaded, but so exceedingly retired in their habits, that I never once had the honour of meeting either of them in any book, pamphlet, journal, whether in prose or numerous verse, though haunting such society myself all my life. I also formed the acquaintance, at that time, of the word abacus, which, as a Latin word, I have often used, but, as an English one, I really never had occasion to spell, until this very moment. Yet, after all, what harm comes of such obstinate recusancy against orthography? I was an "occasional conformist;" I conformed for one morning, and never more. But, for all that, I spell as well as my neighbours; and I can spell ablaqueation besides, which I suspect that some of them can not.

My own spelling, therefore, went right, because I was left to nature, with strict neutrality on the part of the authorities. Mr. Landor's too often went wrong, because he was thrown into a perverse channel by his continued triumphs over the prostrate schoolmaster. To toss up, as it were, for the spelling of a word, by the best of nine rounds, inevitably left the impression that chance governed all; and this accounts for the extreme capriciousness of Landor.

It is a work for a separate dictionary in quarto to record all the proposed revolutions in spelling, through which our English blood, either at home or in America, has thrown off, at times, the surplus energy that consumed it. I conceive this to be a sort of cutaneous affection, like nettle-rash, or ring-worm, through which the patient gains relief for his own nervous distraction, whilst, in fact, he does no harm to anybody for usually he forgets his own reforms, and if he should not, everybody else does. Not to travel back into the seventeenth century, and the noble army of shorthand writers who have all made war upon orthography, for secret purposes of their own, even in the last century, and in the present, what a list of eminent rebels against the spelling-book might be called up to answer for their wickedness at the bar of the Old Bailey, if anybody would be kind enough to make it a felony! Cowper, for instance, too modest and too pensive to raise upon any subject an open standard of rebellion, yet, in quiet Olney, made a small émeute as to

With a special reference to the Works of Walter Savage Landor. "Roberte the Deville :"-See the old metrical romance of that name: it belongs to the fourteenth century, and was printed some thirty years ago, with wood engravings of the illuminations. Roberte, however, took the liberty of murdering his schoolmaster. But could he well do less? Being a reigning Duke's son, and after the rebellious schoolmaster had said

"Syr, ye bee too bolde:

And therewith tooke a rodde hym for to chaste."

Upon which the meek Robin, without using any bad language as the schoolmaster had done, simply took out a long dagger "hym for to chaste," which he did effectually. The schoolmaster gave no bad language after that.



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