Tantissimi classici della letteratura e della cultura politica,
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Abbe Prevost - MANON LESCAUT
Alcott, Louisa M. - AN OLDFASHIONED GIRL
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE MEN
Alcott, Louisa M. - LITTLE WOMEN
Alcott, Louisa May - JACK AND JILL
Alcott, Louisa May - LIFE LETTERS AND JOURNALS
Andersen, Hans Christian - FAIRY TALES
Anonimo - BEOWULF
Ariosto, Ludovico - ORLANDO ENRAGED
Aurelius, Marcus - MEDITATIONS
Austen, Jane - EMMA
Austen, Jane - MANSFIELD PARK
Austen, Jane - NORTHANGER ABBEY
Austen, Jane - PERSUASION
Austen, Jane - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Austen, Jane - SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
Authors, Various - LETTERS OF ABELARD AND HELOISE
Authors, Various - SELECTED ENGLISH LETTERS
Autori Vari - THE WORLD ENGLISH BIBLE
Bacon, Francis - THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING
Balzac, Honore de - EUGENIE GRANDET
Balzac, Honore de - FATHER GORIOT
Baroness Orczy - THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL
Barrie, J. M. - PETER AND WENDY
Barrie, James M. - PETER PAN
Bierce, Ambrose - THE DEVIL'S DICTIONARY
Blake, William - SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE
Boccaccio, Giovanni - DECAMERONE
Brent, Linda - INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF A SLAVE GIRL
Bronte, Charlotte - JANE EYRE
Bronte, Charlotte - VILLETTE
Buchan, John - GREENMANTLE
Buchan, John - MR STANDFAST
Buchan, John - THE 39 STEPS
Bunyan, John - THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
Burckhardt, Jacob - THE CIVILIZATION OF THE RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
Burnett, Frances H. - A LITTLE PRINCESS
Burnett, Frances H. - LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY
Burnett, Frances H. - THE SECRET GARDEN
Butler, Samuel - EREWHON
Carlyle, Thomas - PAST AND PRESENT
Carlyle, Thomas - THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
Cellini, Benvenuto - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Cervantes - DON QUIXOTE
Chaucer, Geoffrey - THE CANTERBURY TALES
Chesterton, G. K. - A SHORT HISTORY OF ENGLAND
Chesterton, G. K. - THE BALLAD OF THE WHITE HORSE
Chesterton, G. K. - THE INNOCENCE OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH
Chesterton, G. K. - THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY
Chesterton, G. K. - THE WISDOM OF FATHER BROWN
Chesterton, G. K. - TWELVE TYPES
Chesterton, G. K. - WHAT I SAW IN AMERICA
Chesterton, Gilbert K. - HERETICS
Chopin, Kate - AT FAULT
Chopin, Kate - BAYOU FOLK
Chopin, Kate - THE AWAKENING AND SELECTED SHORT STORIES
Clark Hall, John R. - A CONCISE ANGLOSAXON DICTIONARY
Clarkson, Thomas - AN ESSAY ON THE SLAVERY AND COMMERCE OF THE HUMAN SPECIES
Clausewitz, Carl von - ON WAR
Coleridge, Herbert - A DICTIONARY OF THE FIRST OR OLDEST WORDS IN THE ENGLISH
Coleridge, S. T. - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Coleridge, S. T. - HINTS TOWARDS THE FORMATION OF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE THEORY
Coleridge, S. T. - THE RIME OF THE ANCIENT MARINER
Collins, Wilkie - THE MOONSTONE
Collodi - PINOCCHIO
Conan Doyle, Arthur - A STUDY IN SCARLET
Conan Doyle, Arthur - MEMOIRS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE RETURN OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Conan Doyle, Arthur - THE SIGN OF THE FOUR
Conrad, Joseph - HEART OF DARKNESS
Conrad, Joseph - LORD JIM
Conrad, Joseph - NOSTROMO
Conrad, Joseph - THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
Conrad, Joseph - TYPHOON
Crane, Stephen - LAST WORDS
Crane, Stephen - MAGGIE
Crane, Stephen - THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
Crane, Stephen - WOUNDS IN THE RAIN
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: HELL
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PARADISE
Dante - THE DIVINE COMEDY: PURGATORY
Darwin, Charles - THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CHARLES DARWIN
Darwin, Charles - THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES
Defoe, Daniel - A GENERAL HISTORY OF THE PYRATES
Defoe, Daniel - A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR
Defoe, Daniel - CAPTAIN SINGLETON
Defoe, Daniel - MOLL FLANDERS
Defoe, Daniel - ROBINSON CRUSOE
Defoe, Daniel - THE COMPLETE ENGLISH TRADESMAN
Defoe, Daniel - THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF ROBINSON CRUSOE
Deledda, Grazia - AFTER THE DIVORCE
Dickens, Charles - A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Dickens, Charles - A TALE OF TWO CITIES
Dickens, Charles - BLEAK HOUSE
Dickens, Charles - DAVID COPPERFIELD
Dickens, Charles - DONBEY AND SON
Dickens, Charles - GREAT EXPECTATIONS
Dickens, Charles - HARD TIMES
Dickens, Charles - LETTERS VOLUME 1
Dickens, Charles - LITTLE DORRIT
Dickens, Charles - MARTIN CHUZZLEWIT
Dickens, Charles - NICHOLAS NICKLEBY
Dickens, Charles - OLIVER TWIST
Dickens, Charles - OUR MUTUAL FRIEND
Dickens, Charles - PICTURES FROM ITALY
Dickens, Charles - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Dickens, Charles - THE OLD CURIOSITY SHOP
Dickens, Charles - THE PICKWICK PAPERS
Dickinson, Emily - POEMS
Dostoevsky, Fyodor - CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV
Du Maurier, George - TRILBY
Dumas, Alexandre - THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO
Dumas, Alexandre - THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
Dumas, Alexandre - THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Eliot, George - DANIEL DERONDA
Eliot, George - MIDDLEMARCH
Eliot, George - SILAS MARNER
Eliot, George - THE MILL ON THE FLOSS
Engels, Frederick - THE CONDITION OF THE WORKING-CLASS IN ENGLAND IN 1844
Equiano - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Esopo - FABLES
Fenimore Cooper, James - THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Fielding, Henry - TOM JONES
France, Anatole - THAIS
France, Anatole - THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
France, Anatole - THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC
France, Anatole - THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD
Frank Baum, L. - THE PATCHWORK GIRL OF OZ
Frank Baum, L. - THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ
Franklin, Benjamin - AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Frazer, James George - THE GOLDEN BOUGH
Freud, Sigmund - DREAM PSYCHOLOGY
Galsworthy, John - COMPLETE PLAYS
Galsworthy, John - STRIFE
Galsworthy, John - STUDIES AND ESSAYS
Galsworthy, John - THE FIRST AND THE LAST
Galsworthy, John - THE FORSYTE SAGA
Galsworthy, John - THE LITTLE MAN
Galsworthy, John - THE SILVER BOX
Galsworthy, John - THE SKIN GAME
Gaskell, Elizabeth - CRANFORD
Gaskell, Elizabeth - MARY BARTON
Gaskell, Elizabeth - NORTH AND SOUTH
Gaskell, Elizabeth - THE LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTE
Gay, John - THE BEGGAR'S OPERA
Gentile, Maria - THE ITALIAN COOK BOOK
Gilbert and Sullivan - PLAYS
Goethe - FAUST
Gogol - DEAD SOULS
Goldsmith, Oliver - SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER
Goldsmith, Oliver - THE VICAR OF WAKEFIELD
Grahame, Kenneth - THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
Grimm, Brothers - FAIRY TALES
Harding, A. R. - GINSENG AND OTHER MEDICINAL PLANTS
Hardy, Thomas - A CHANGED MAN AND OTHER TALES
Hardy, Thomas - FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD
Hardy, Thomas - JUDE THE OBSCURE
Hardy, Thomas - TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES
Hardy, Thomas - THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE
Hartley, Cecil B. - THE GENTLEMEN'S BOOK OF ETIQUETTE
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - LITTLE MASTERPIECES
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - THE SCARLET LETTER
Henry VIII - LOVE LETTERS TO ANNE BOLEYN
Henry, O. - CABBAGES AND KINGS
Henry, O. - SIXES AND SEVENS
Henry, O. - THE FOUR MILLION
Henry, O. - THE TRIMMED LAMP
Henry, O. - WHIRLIGIGS
Hindman Miller, Gustavus - TEN THOUSAND DREAMS INTERPRETED
Hobbes, Thomas - LEVIATHAN
Homer - THE ILIAD
Homer - THE ODYSSEY
Hornaday, William T. - THE EXTERMINATION OF THE AMERICAN BISON
Hume, David - A TREATISE OF HUMAN NATURE
Hume, David - AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
Hume, David - DIALOGUES CONCERNING NATURAL RELIGION
Ibsen, Henrik - A DOLL'S HOUSE
Ibsen, Henrik - AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE
Ibsen, Henrik - GHOSTS
Ibsen, Henrik - HEDDA GABLER
Ibsen, Henrik - JOHN GABRIEL BORKMAN
Ibsen, Henrik - ROSMERHOLM
Ibsen, Henrik - THE LADY FROM THE SEA
Ibsen, Henrik - THE MASTER BUILDER
Ibsen, Henrik - WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN
Irving, Washington - THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW
James, Henry - ITALIAN HOURS
James, Henry - THE ASPERN PAPERS
James, Henry - THE BOSTONIANS
James, Henry - THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
James, Henry - THE TURN OF THE SCREW
James, Henry - WASHINGTON SQUARE
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN IN A BOAT
Jerome, Jerome K. - THREE MEN ON THE BUMMEL
Jevons, Stanley - POLITICAL ECONOMY
Johnson, Samuel - A GRAMMAR OF THE ENGLISH TONGUE
Jonson, Ben - THE ALCHEMIST
Jonson, Ben - VOLPONE
Joyce, James - A PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST AS A YOUNG MAN
Joyce, James - CHAMBER MUSIC
Joyce, James - DUBLINERS
Joyce, James - ULYSSES
Keats, John - ENDYMION
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1817
Keats, John - POEMS PUBLISHED IN 1820
King James - THE BIBLE
Kipling, Rudyard - CAPTAINS COURAGEOUS
Kipling, Rudyard - INDIAN TALES
Kipling, Rudyard - JUST SO STORIES
Kipling, Rudyard - KIM
Kipling, Rudyard - THE JUNGLE BOOK
Kipling, Rudyard - THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING
Kipling, Rudyard - THE SECOND JUNGLE BOOK
Lawrence, D. H - THE RAINBOW
Lawrence, D. H - THE WHITE PEACOCK
Lawrence, D. H - TWILIGHT IN ITALY
Lawrence, D. H. - AARON'S ROD
Lawrence, D. H. - SONS AND LOVERS
Lawrence, D. H. - THE LOST GIRL
Lawrence, D. H. - WOMEN IN LOVE
Lear, Edward - BOOK OF NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - LAUGHABLE LYRICS
Lear, Edward - MORE NONSENSE
Lear, Edward - NONSENSE SONG
Leblanc, Maurice - ARSENE LUPIN VS SHERLOCK HOLMES
Leblanc, Maurice - THE ADVENTURES OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE CONFESSIONS OF ARSENE LUPIN
Leblanc, Maurice - THE HOLLOW NEEDLE
Leblanc, Maurice - THE RETURN OF ARSENE LUPIN
Lehmann, Lilli - HOW TO SING
Leroux, Gaston - THE MAN WITH THE BLACK FEATHER
Leroux, Gaston - THE MYSTERY OF THE YELLOW ROOM
Leroux, Gaston - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
London, Jack - MARTIN EDEN
London, Jack - THE CALL OF THE WILD
London, Jack - WHITE FANG
Machiavelli, Nicolo' - THE PRINCE
Malthus, Thomas - PRINCIPLE OF POPULATION
Mansfield, Katherine - THE GARDEN PARTY AND OTHER STORIES
Marlowe, Christopher - THE JEW OF MALTA
Marryat, Captain - THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
Maupassant, Guy De - BEL AMI
Melville, Hermann - MOBY DICK
Melville, Hermann - TYPEE
Mill, John Stuart - PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY
Milton, John - PARADISE LOST
Mitra, S. M. - HINDU TALES FROM THE SANSKRIT
Montaigne, Michel de - ESSAYS
Montgomery, Lucy Maud - ANNE OF GREEN GABLES
More, Thomas - UTOPIA
Nesbit, E. - FIVE CHILDREN AND IT
Nesbit, E. - THE PHOENIX AND THE CARPET
Nesbit, E. - THE RAILWAY CHILDREN
Nesbit, E. - THE STORY OF THE AMULET
Newton, Isaac - OPTICKS
Nietsche, Friedrich - BEYOND GOOD AND EVIL
Nietsche, Friedrich - THUS SPAKE ZARATHUSTRA
Nightingale, Florence - NOTES ON NURSING
Owen, Wilfred - POEMS
Ozaki, Yei Theodora - JAPANESE FAIRY TALES
Pascal, Blaise - PENSEES
Pellico, Silvio - MY TEN YEARS IMPRISONMENT
Perrault, Charles - FAIRY TALES
Pirandello, Luigi - THREE PLAYS
Plato - THE REPUBLIC
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 1
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 2
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 3
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 4
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS 5
Poe, Edgar Allan - THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
Potter, Beatrix - THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT
Proust, Marcel - SWANN'S WAY
Radcliffe, Ann - A SICILIAN ROMANCE
Ricardo, David - ON THE PRINCIPLES OF POLITICAL ECONOMY AND TAXATION
Richardson, Samuel - PAMELA
Rider Haggard, H. - ALLAN QUATERMAIN
Rider Haggard, H. - KING SOLOMON'S MINES
Rousseau, J. J. - THE ORIGIN AND FOUNDATION OF INEQUALITY AMONG MANKIND
Ruskin, John - THE SEVEN LAMPS OF ARCHITECTURE
Schiller, Friedrich - THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
Schiller, Friedrich - THE PICCOLOMINI
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE ART OF CONTROVERSY
Schopenhauer, Arthur - THE WISDOM OF LIFE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - FLAPPERS AND PHILOSOPHERS
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - TALES OF THE JAZZ AGE
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THE BEAUTIFUL AND DAMNED
Scott Fitzgerald, F. - THIS SIDE OF PARADISE
Scott, Walter - IVANHOE
Scott, Walter - QUENTIN DURWARD
Scott, Walter - ROB ROY
Scott, Walter - THE BRIDE OF LAMMERMOOR
Scott, Walter - WAVERLEY
Sedgwick, Anne Douglas - THE THIRD WINDOW
Sewell, Anna - BLACK BEAUTY
Shakespeare, William - COMPLETE WORKS
Shakespeare, William - HAMLET
Shakespeare, William - OTHELLO
Shakespeare, William - ROMEO AND JULIET
Shelley, Mary - FRANKENSTEIN
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - A DEFENCE OF POETRY AND OTHER ESSAYS
Shelley, Percy Bysshe - COMPLETE POETICAL WORKS
Sheridan, Richard B. - THE SCHOOL FOR SCANDAL
Sienkiewicz, Henryk - QUO VADIS
Smith, Adam - THE WEALTH OF NATIONS
Smollett, Tobias - TRAVELS THROUGH FRANCE AND ITALY
Spencer, Herbert - ESSAYS ON EDUCATION AND KINDRED SUBJECTS
Spyri, Johanna - HEIDI
Sterne, Laurence - A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY
Sterne, Laurence - TRISTRAM SHANDY
Stevenson, Robert Louis - A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES
Stevenson, Robert Louis - ESSAYS IN THE ART OF WRITING
Stevenson, Robert Louis - KIDNAPPED
Stevenson, Robert Louis - NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE BLACK ARROW
Stevenson, Robert Louis - THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE
Stevenson, Robert Louis - TREASURE ISLAND
Stoker, Bram - DRACULA
Strindberg, August - LUCKY PEHR
Strindberg, August - MASTER OLOF
Strindberg, August - THE RED ROOM
Strindberg, August - THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS
Strindberg, August - THERE ARE CRIMES AND CRIMES
Swift, Jonathan - A MODEST PROPOSAL
Swift, Jonathan - A TALE OF A TUB
Swift, Jonathan - GULLIVER'S TRAVELS
Swift, Jonathan - THE BATTLE OF THE BOOKS AND OTHER SHORT PIECES
Tagore, Rabindranath - FRUIT GATHERING
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE GARDENER
Tagore, Rabindranath - THE HUNGRY STONES AND OTHER STORIES
Thackeray, William - BARRY LYNDON
Thackeray, William - VANITY FAIR
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE BOOK OF SNOBS
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE ROSE AND THE RING
Thackeray, William Makepeace - THE VIRGINIANS
Thoreau, Henry David - WALDEN
Tolstoi, Leo - A LETTER TO A HINDU
Tolstoy, Lev - ANNA KARENINA
Tolstoy, Lev - WAR AND PEACE
Trollope, Anthony - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY
Trollope, Anthony - BARCHESTER TOWERS
Trollope, Anthony - FRAMLEY PARSONAGE
Trollope, Anthony - THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS
Trollope, Anthony - THE MAN WHO KEPT HIS MONEY IN A BOX
Trollope, Anthony - THE WARDEN
Trollope, Anthony - THE WAY WE LIVE NOW
Twain, Mark - LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI
Twain, Mark - SPEECHES
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN
Twain, Mark - THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER
Twain, Mark - THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
Vari, Autori - THE MAGNA CARTA
Verga, Giovanni - SICILIAN STORIES
Verne, Jules - 20000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEAS
Verne, Jules - A JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH
Verne, Jules - ALL AROUND THE MOON
Verne, Jules - AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS
Verne, Jules - FIVE WEEKS IN A BALLOON
Verne, Jules - FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON
Verne, Jules - MICHAEL STROGOFF
Verne, Jules - THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND
Voltaire - PHILOSOPHICAL DICTIONARY
Vyasa - MAHABHARATA
Wallace, Edgar - SANDERS OF THE RIVER
Wallace, Edgar - THE DAFFODIL MYSTERY
Wallace, Lew - BEN HUR
Webster, Jean - DADDY LONG LEGS
Wedekind, Franz - THE AWAKENING OF SPRING
Wells, H. G. - KIPPS
Wells, H. G. - THE INVISIBLE MAN
Wells, H. G. - THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU
Wells, H. G. - THE STOLEN BACILLUS AND OTHER INCIDENTS
Wells, H. G. - THE TIME MACHINE
Wells, H. G. - THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
Wells, H. G. - WHAT IS COMING
Wharton, Edith - THE AGE OF INNOCENCE
White, Andrew Dickson - FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE
Wilde, Oscar - A WOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Wilde, Oscar - AN IDEAL HUSBAND
Wilde, Oscar - DE PROFUNDIS
Wilde, Oscar - LADY WINDERMERE'S FAN
Wilde, Oscar - SALOME
Wilde, Oscar - SELECTED POEMS
Wilde, Oscar - THE BALLAD OF READING GAOL
Wilde, Oscar - THE CANTERVILLE GHOST
Wilde, Oscar - THE HAPPY PRINCE AND OTHER TALES
Wilde, Oscar - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST
Wilde, Oscar - THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY
Wilde, Oscar - THE SOUL OF MAN
Wilson, Epiphanius - SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST
Wollstonecraft, Mary - A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
Woolf, Virgina - NIGHT AND DAY
Woolf, Virgina - THE VOYAGE OUT
Woolf, Virginia - JACOB'S ROOM
Woolf, Virginia - MONDAY OR TUESDAY
Wordsworth, William - POEMS
Wordsworth, William - PROSE WORKS
Zola, Emile - THERESE RAQUIN
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ISTRUZIONI D'USO DETTAGLIATE
THE CHILDREN OF THE NEW FOREST
BY CAPTAIN FREDERICK MARRYAT.
The circumstances which I am about to relate to my juvenile readers took
place in the year 1647. By referring to the history of England of that
date they will find that King Charles the First, against whom the
Commons of England had rebelled, after a civil war of nearly five years,
had been defeated, and was confined as a prisoner at Hampton Court. The
Cavaliers, or the party who fought for King Charles, had all been
dispersed, and the Parliamentary army under the command of Cromwell were
beginning to control the Commons.
It was in the month of November in this year that King Charles,
accompanied by Sir John Berkely Ashburnham and Legg, made his escape
from Hampton Court, and rode as fast as the horses could carry them
towards that part of Hampshire which led to the New Forest. The king
expected that his friends had provided a vessel in which he might escape
to France; but in this he was disappointed. There was no vessel ready,
and after riding for some time along the shore he resolved to go to
Titchfield, a seat belonging to the Earl of Southampton. After a long
consultation with those who attended him, he yielded to their advice,
which was, to trust to Colonel Hammond, who was governor of the Isle of
Wight for the Parliament, but who was supposed to be friendly to the
king. Whatever might be the feelings of commiseration of Colonel
Hammond towards a king so unfortunately situated, he was firm in his
duties towards his employers, and the consequence was that King Charles
found himself again a prisoner in Carisbrook Castle.
But we must now leave the king, and retrace history to the commencement
of the civil war. A short distance from the town of Lymington, which is
not far from Titchfield, where the king took shelter, but on the other
side of the Southampton Water, and south of the New Forest, to which it
adjoins, was a property called Arnwood, which belonged to a Cavalier of
the name of Beverley. It was at that time a property of considerable
value, being very extensive, and the park ornamented with valuable
timber; for it abutted on the New Forest, and might have been supposed
to have been a continuation of it. This Colonel Beverley, as we must
call him, for he rose to that rank in the king's army, was a valued
friend and companion of Prince Rupert's, and commanded several troops of
cavalry. He was ever at his side in the brilliant charges made by this
gallant prince, and at last fell in his arms at the battle of Naseby.
Colonel Beverley had married into the family of the Villiers, and the
issue of his marriage was two sons and two daughters; but his zeal and
sense of duty had induced him, at the commencement of the war, to leave
his wife and family at Arnwood, and he was fated never to meet them
again. The news of his death had such an effect upon Mrs Beverley,
already worn with anxiety on her husband's account, that a few months
afterwards she followed him to an early tomb, leaving the four children
under the charge of an elderly relative till such time as the family of
the Villiers could protect them; but, as will appear by our history,
this was not at that period possible. The life of a king and many other
lives were in jeopardy, and the orphans remained at Arnwood, still under
the care of their elderly relation, at the time that our history
The New Forest, my readers are perhaps aware, was first enclosed by
William the Conqueror as a royal forest for his own amusement, for in
those days most crowned heads were passionately fond of the chase; and
they may also recollect that his successor, William Rufus, met his death
in this forest by the glancing of an arrow shot by Sir Walter Tyrrell.
Since that time to the present day it has continued a royal domain. At
the period of which we are writing it had an establishment of verderers
and keepers, paid by the Crown, amounting to some forty or fifty men.
At the commencement of the civil war they remained at their posts, but
soon found, in the disorganised state of the country, that their wages
were no longer to be obtained; and then, when the king had decided upon
raising an army, Beverley, who held a superior office in the forest,
enrolled all the young and athletic men who were employed in the forest,
and marched them away with him to join the king's army. Some few
remained, their age not rendering their services of value, and among
them was an old and attached servant of Beverley's, a man above sixty
years of age, whose name was Jacob Armitage, and who had obtained the
situation through Colonel Beverley's interest. Those who remained in
the forest lived in cottages many miles asunder, and indemnified
themselves for the non-payment of their salaries by killing the deer for
sale and for their own subsistence.
The cottage of Jacob Armitage was situated on the skirts of the New
Forest, about a mile and a half from the mansion of Arnwood; and when
Colonel Beverley went to join the king's troops, feeling how little
security there would be for his wife and children in those troubled
times, he requested the old man, by his attachment to the family, not to
lose sight of Arnwood, but to call there as often as possible to see if
he could be of service to Mrs Beverley. The colonel would have
persuaded Jacob to have altogether taken up his residence at the
mansion; but to this the old man objected. He had been all his life
under the greenwood tree, and could not bear to leave the forest. He
promised the colonel that he would watch over his family, and ever be at
hand when required; and he kept his word. The death of Colonel Beverley
was a heavy blow to the old forester, and he watched over Mrs Beverley
and the orphans with the greatest solicitude; but when Mrs Beverley
followed her husband to the tomb he then redoubled his attentions, and
was seldom more than a few hours at a time away from the mansion. The
two boys were his inseparable companions, and he instructed them, young
as they were, in all the secrets of his own calling. Such was the state
of affairs at the time that King Charles made his escape from Hampton
Court; and I now shall resume my narrative from where it was broken off.
As soon as the escape of Charles the First was made known to Cromwell
and the Parliament, troops of horse were despatched in every direction
to the southward, towards which the prints of the horses' hoofs proved
that he had gone. As they found that he had proceeded in the direction
of the New Forest, the troops were subdivided and ordered to scour the
forest, in parties of twelve to twenty, while others hastened down to
Southampton, Lymington, and every other seaport or part of the coast
from which the king might be likely to embark. Old Jacob had been at
Arnwood on the day before, but on this day he had made up his mind to
procure some venison, that he might not go there again empty-handed; for
Miss Judith Villiers was very partial to venison, and was not slow to
remind Jacob if the larder was for many days deficient in that meat.
Jacob had gone out accordingly; he had gained his leeward position of a
fine buck, and was gradually nearing him by stealth, now behind a huge
oak-tree, and then crawling through the high fern, so as to get within
shot unperceived, when on a sudden the animal, which had been quietly
feeding, bounded away and disappeared in the thicket. At the same time
Jacob perceived a small body of horse galloping through the glen in
which the buck had been feeding. Jacob had never yet seen the
Parliamentary troops, for they had not during the war been sent into
that part of the country, but their iron skull-caps, their buff
accoutrements, and dark habiliments, assured him that such these must
be; so very different were they from the gaily-equipped Cavalier cavalry
commanded by Prince Rupert. At the time that they advanced, Jacob had
been lying down in the fern near to some low black-thorn-bushes; not
wishing to be perceived by them, he drew back between the bushes,
intending to remain concealed until they should gallop out of sight; for
Jacob thought, "I am a king's forester, and they may consider me as an
enemy; and who knows how I may be treated by them?" But Jacob was
disappointed in his expectations of the troops riding past him; on the
contrary, as soon as they arrived at an oak-tree within twenty yards of
where he was concealed, the order was given to halt and dismount; the
sabres of the horsemen clattered in their iron sheaths as the order was
obeyed, and the old man expected to be immediately discovered; but one
of the thorn-bushes was directly between him and the troopers, and
effectually concealed him. At last Jacob ventured to raise his head and
peep through the bush; and he perceived that the men were loosening the
girths of their black horses, or wiping away the perspiration from their
sides with handfuls of fern.
A powerfully-framed man, who appeared to command the others, was
standing with his hand upon the arched neck of his steed, which appeared
as fresh and vigorous as ever, although covered with foam and
perspiration. "Spare not to rub down, my men," said he, "for we have
tried the mettle of our horses, and have now but one half-hour's
breathing-time. We must be on, for the work of the Lord must be done."
"They say that this forest is many miles in length and breadth,"
observed another of the men, "and we may ride many a mile to no purpose;
but here is James Southwold, who once was living in it as a verderer;
nay, I think that he said that he was born and bred in these woods. Was
it not so, James Southwold?"
"It is even as you say," replied an active-looking young man; "I was
born and bred in this forest, and my father was a verderer before me."
Jacob Armitage, who listened to the conversation, immediately recognised
the young man in question. He was one of those who had joined the
king's army with the other verderers and keepers. It pained him much to
perceive that one who had always been considered a frank, true-hearted
young man, and who left the forest to fight in defence of his king, was
now turned a traitor, and had joined the ranks of the enemy; and Jacob
thought how much better it had been for James Southwold if he had never
quitted the New Forest, and had not been corrupted by evil company: "He
was a good lad," thought Jacob, "and now he is a traitor and a
"If born and bred in this forest, James Southwold," said the leader of
the troop, "you must fain know all its mazes and paths. Now call to
mind, are there no secret hiding-places in which people may remain
concealed; no thickets which may cover both man and horse? Peradventure
thou mayst point out the very spot where this man Charles may be
"I do know one dell, within a mile of Arnwood," replied James Southwold,
"which might cover double our troop from the eyes of the most wary."
"We will ride there, then," replied the leader. "Arnwood, sayest thou?
Is not that the property of the Malignant, Cavalier Beverley, who was
shot down at Naseby?"
"Even so," replied Southwold; "and many is the time--that is, in the
olden time, before I was regenerated--many is the day of revelry that I
have passed there; many the cup of good ale that I have quaffed."
"And thou shalt quaff it again," replied the leader. "Good ale was not
intended only for Malignants, but for those who serve diligently. After
we have examined the dell which thou speakest of, we will direct our
horses' heads towards Arnwood."
"Who knows but what the man Charles may be concealed in the Malignant's
house?" observed another.
"In the day, I should say no," replied the leader; "but in the night the
Cavaliers like to have a roof over their heads; and therefore at night,
and not before, will we proceed thither."
"I have searched many of their abodes," observed another; "but search is
almost in vain. What with their spring panels and secret doors, their
false ceilings and double walls, one may ferret for ever and find
"Yes," replied the leader, "their abodes are full of these Popish
abominations; but there is one way which is sure; and if the man Charles
be concealed in any house, I venture to say that I will find him. Fire
and smoke will bring him forth; and to every Malignant's house within
twenty miles will I apply the torch; but it must be at night, for we are
not sure of his being housed during the day. James Southwold, thou
knowest well the mansion of Arnwood?"
"I know well my way to all the offices below--the buttery, the cellar,
and the kitchen; but I cannot say that I have ever been into the
apartments of the upper house."
"That it needeth not; if thou canst direct us to the lower entrance, it
will be sufficient."
"That can I, Master Ingram," replied Southwold, "and to where the best
ale used to be found."
"Enough, Southwold, enough; our work must be done, and diligently. Now,
my men, tighten your girths; we will just ride to the dell: if it
conceals not whom we seek, it shall conceal us till night, and then the
country shall be lighted up with the flames of Arnwood, while we
surround the house and prevent escape. Levellers, to horse!"
The troopers sprang upon their saddles, and went off at a hard trot,
Southwold leading the way. Jacob remained among the fern until they
were out of sight, and then rose up. He looked for a short time in the
direction in which the troopers had gone, stooped down again to take up
his gun, and then said, "There's providence in this; yes, and there's
providence in my not having my dog with me, for he would not have
remained quiet for so long a time. Who would ever have thought that
James Southwold would have turned a traitor! More than traitor, for he
is now ready to bite the hand that has fed him, to burn the house that
has ever welcomed him. This is a bad world, and I thank heaven that I
have lived in the woods. But there is no time to lose;" and the old
forester threw his gun over his shoulder and hastened away in the
direction of his own cottage.
"And so the king has escaped," thought Jacob, as he went along, "and he
may be in the forest! Who knows but he may be at Arnwood, for he must
hardly know where to go for shelter? I must haste and see Miss Judith
immediately. `Levellers, to horse!' the fellow said. What's a
Leveller?" thought Jacob.
As perhaps my readers may ask the same question, they must know that a
large proportion of the Parliamentary army had at this time assumed the
name of Levellers, in consequence of having taken up the opinion that
every man should be on an equality, and property should be equally
divided. The hatred of these people to any one above them in rank or
property, especially towards those of the king's party, which mostly
consisted of men of rank and property, was unbounded, and they were
merciless and cruel to the highest degree; throwing off much of hat
fanatical bearing and language which had before distinguished the
Puritans. Cromwell had great difficulty in eventually putting them
down, which he did at last accomplish by hanging and slaughtering many.
Of this Jacob knew nothing; all he knew was, that Arnwood was to be
burnt down that night, and that it would be necessary to remove the
family. As for obtaining assistance to oppose the troopers, that he
knew to be impossible. As he thought of what must take place, he
thanked God for having allowed him to gain the knowledge of what was to
happen, and hastened on his way. He had been about eight miles from
Arnwood when he had concealed himself in the fern. Jacob first went to
his cottage to deposit his gun, saddled his forest pony, and set off for
Arnwood. In less than two hours the old man was at the door of the
mansion; it was then about three o'clock in the afternoon, and being in
the month of November, there was not so much as two hours of daylight
remaining. "I shall have a difficult job with the stiff old lady,"
thought Jacob, as he rang the bell; "I don't believe that she would rise
out of her high chair for old Noll and his whole army at his back. But
we shall see."
Before Jacob is admitted to the presence of Miss Judith Villiers, we
must give some account of the establishment at Arnwood. With the
exception of one male servant, who officiated in the house and stable as
his services might be required, every man of the household of Colonel
Beverley had followed the fortunes of their master, and as none had
returned, they, in all probability, had shared his fate. Three female
servants, with the man above mentioned, composed the whole household.
Indeed, there was every reason for not increasing the establishment; for
the rents were either paid in part or not paid at all. It was generally
supposed that the property, now that the Parliament had gained the day,
would be sequestrated, although such was not yet the case; and the
tenants were unwilling to pay, to those who were not authorised to
receive, the rents which they might be again called upon to make good.
Miss Judith Villiers, therefore, found it difficult to maintain the
present household; and although she did not tell Jacob Armitage that
such was the case, the fact was, that very often the venison which he
brought to the mansion was all the meat that was in the larder. The
three female servants held the offices of cook, attendant upon Miss
Villiers, and housemaid; the children being under the care of no
particular servant, and left much to themselves. There had been a
chaplain in the house, but he had quitted before the death of Mrs
Beverley, and the vacancy had not been filled up; indeed, it could not
well be, for the one who left had not received his salary for many
months, and Miss Judith Villiers, expecting every day to be summoned by
her relations to bring the children and join them, sat in her high chair
waiting for the arrival of this summons, which, from the distracted
state of the times, had never come.
As we have before said, the orphans were four in number; the two eldest
were boys, and the youngest were girls. Edward, the eldest boy, was
between thirteen and fourteen years old; Humphrey, the second, was
twelve; Alice, eleven; and Edith, eight. As it is the history of these
young persons which we are about to narrate, we shall say little about
them at present, except that for many months they had been under little
or no restraint, and less attended to. Their companions were Benjamin,
the man who remained in the house, and old Jacob Armitage, who passed
all the time he could spare with them. Benjamin was rather weak in
intellect, and was a source of amusement rather than otherwise. As for
the female servants, one was wholly occupied with her attendance on Miss
Judith, who was very exacting, and had a high notion of her own
consequence. The other two had more than sufficient employment; as,
when there is no money to pay with, everything must be done at home.
That, under such circumstances, the boys became boisterous and the
little girls became romps, is not to be wondered at; but their having
become so was the cause of Miss Judith seldom admitting them into her
room. It is true that they were sent for once a day, to ascertain if
they were in the house or in existence, but soon dismissed and left to
their own resources. Such was the neglect to which these young orphans
were exposed. It must, however, be admitted, that this very neglect
made them independent and bold, full of health from constant activity,
and more fitted for the change which was so soon to take place.
"Benjamin," said Jacob, as the other came to the door, "I must speak
with the old lady."
"Have you brought any venison, Jacob?" said Benjamin, grinning; "else, I
reckon, you'll not be over welcome."
"No, I have not; but it is an important business, so send Agatha to her
"I will; and I'll not say anything about the venison."
In a few minutes Jacob was ushered up by Agatha into Miss Judith
Villiers's apartment. The old lady was about fifty years of age, very
prim and starched, sitting in a high-backed chair, with her feet upon a
stool, and her hands crossed before her, her black mittens reposing upon
her snow-white apron.
The old forester made his obeisance.
"You have important business with us, I am told," observed Miss Judith.
"Most important, madam," replied Jacob. "In the first place, it is
right that you should be informed that his Majesty King Charles has
escaped from Hampton Court."
"His majesty escaped!" replied the lady.
"Yes; and is supposed to be secreted somewhere in this neighbourhood.
His majesty is not in this house, madam, I presume?"
"Jacob, his majesty is not in this house; if he were, I would suffer my
tongue to be torn out sooner than I would confess it, even to you."
"But I have more for your private ear, madam."
"Agatha, retire; and Agatha, be mindful that you go downstairs, and do
not remain outside the door."
Agatha, with this injunction, bounced out of the room, slamming-to the
door so as to make Miss Judith start from her seat.
"Ill-mannered girl!" exclaimed Miss Judith. "Now, Jacob Armitage, you
Jacob then entered into the detail of what he had overheard that
morning, when he fell in with the troopers, concluding with the
information that the mansion would be burnt down that very night. He
then pointed out the necessity of immediately abandoning the house, as
it would be impossible to oppose the troopers.
"And where am I to go to, Jacob?" said Miss Judith calmly.
"I hardly know, madam; there is my cottage, it is but a poor place, and
not fit for one like you."
"So I should presume, Jacob Armitage; neither shall I accept your offer.
It would ill befit the dignity of a Villiers to be frightened out of
her abode by a party of rude soldiers. Happen what will, I shall not
stir from this--no, not even from this chair. Neither do I consider the
danger so great as you suppose. Let Benjamin saddle, and be prepared to
ride over to Lymington immediately. I will give him a letter to the
magistrate there, who will send us protection."
"But, madam, the children cannot remain here. I will not leave them
here. I promised the colonel--"
"Will the children be in more danger than I shall be, Jacob Armitage?"
replied the old lady stiffly. "They dare not ill-treat me--they may
force the buttery and drink the ale--they may make merry with that and
the venison which you have brought with you, I presume; but they will
hardly venture to insult a lady of the house of Villiers."
"I fear they will venture anything, madam. At all events, they will
frighten the children, and for one night they will be better in my
"Well, then, be it so; take them to your cottage, and take Martha to
attend upon the Miss Beverleys. Go down now, and desire Agatha to come
to me, and Benjamin to saddle as fast as he can."
Jacob left the room, satisfied with the permission to remove the
children. He knew that it was useless to argue with Miss Judith, who
was immovable when once she had declared her intentions. He was
debating in his own mind whether he should acquaint the servants with
the threatened danger; but he had no occasion to do so, for Agatha had
remained at the door while Jacob was communicating the intelligence, and
as soon as he had arrived at that portion of it by which she learnt that
the mansion was to be burnt down that night, had run off to the kitchen
to communicate the intelligence to the other servants.
"I'll not stay to be burnt to death," exclaimed the cook, as Jacob came
in. "Well, Mr Armitage, this is pretty news you have brought. What
does my lady say?"
"She desires that Benjamin saddles immediately, to carry a letter to
Lymington; and you, Agatha, are to go upstairs to her."
"But what does she mean to do? Where are we to go?" exclaimed Agatha.
"Miss Judith intends to remain where she is."
"Then she will remain alone for me," exclaimed the housemaid, who was
admired by Benjamin. "It's bad enough to have little victuals and no
wages; but as for being burnt to death--Benjamin, put a pillion behind
your saddle, and I'll go to Lymington with you. I won't be long in
getting my bundle."
Benjamin, who was in the kitchen with the maids at the time that Jacob
entered, made a sign significant of consent, and went away to the
stable. Agatha went up to her mistress in a state of great
perturbation, and the cook also hurried away to her bedroom.
"They'll all leave her," thought Jacob; "well, my duty is plain; I'll
not leave the children in the house." Jacob then went in search of
them, and found them playing in the garden. He called the two boys to
him, and told them to follow him. "Now, Mr Edward," said he, "you must
prove yourself your father's own son. We must leave this house
immediately; come up with me to your rooms, and help me to pack up yours
and your sisters' clothes, for we must go to my cottage this night.
There is no time to be lost."
"But why, Jacob; I must know why?"
"Because the Parliamentary troopers will burn it down this night."
"Burn it down! Why, the house is mine, is it not? Who dares to burn
down this house?"
"They will dare it, and will do it."
"But we will fight them, Jacob; we can bolt and bar; I can fire a gun,
and hit too, as you know; then there's Benjamin and you."
"And what can you and two men do against a troop of horse, my dear boy?
If we could defend the place against them, Jacob Armitage would be the
first; but it is impossible, my dear boy. Recollect your sisters.
Would you have them burnt to death, or shot by these wretches? No, no,
Mr Edward; you must do as I say, and lose no time. Let us pack up what
will be most useful, and load White Billy with the bundles; then you
must all come to the cottage with me, and we will make it out how we
"That will be jolly!" said Humphrey; "come, Edward."
But Edward Beverley required more persuasion to abandon the house; at
last old Jacob prevailed, and the clothes were put up in bundles as fast
as they could collect them.
"Your aunt said Martha was to go with your sisters, but I doubt if she
will," observed Jacob, "and I think we shall have no room for her, for
the cottage is small enough."
"Oh no, we don't want her," said Humphrey; "Alice always dresses Edith
and herself too, ever since mamma died."
"Now we will carry down the bundles, and you make them fast on the pony
while I go for your sisters."
"But where does Aunt Judith go?" inquired Edward.
"She will not leave the house, Master Edward; she intends to stay and
speak to the troopers."
"And so an old woman like her remains to face the enemy, while I run
away from them!" replied Edward. "I will not go."
"Well, Master Edward," replied Jacob, "you must do as you please; but it
will be cruel to leave your sisters here; they and Humphrey must come
with me, and I cannot manage to get them to the cottage without you go
with us; it is not far, and you can return in a very short time."
To this Edward consented. The pony was soon loaded, and the little
girls, who were still playing in the garden, were called in by Humphrey.
They were told that they were going to pass the night in the cottage,
and were delighted at the idea.
"Now, Master Edward," said Jacob, "will you take your sisters by the
hand and lead them to the cottage? Here is the key of the door; Master
Humphrey can lead the pony; and Master Edward," continued Jacob, taking
him aside, "I'll tell you one thing which I will not mention before your
brother and sisters: the troopers are all about the New Forest, for King
Charles has escaped, and they are seeking for him. You must not,
therefore, leave your brother and sisters till I return. Lock the
cottage-door as soon as it is dark. You know where to get a light, over
the cupboard; and my gun is loaded, and hangs above the mantelpiece.
You must do your best, if they attempt to force an entrance; but above
all, promise me not to leave them till I return. I will remain here to
see what I can do with your aunt; and when I come back, we can then
decide how to act."
This latter ruse of Jacob's succeeded. Edward promised that he would
not leave his sisters, and it wanted but a few minutes of twilight when
the little party quitted the mansion of Arnwood. As they went out of
the gates, they were passed by Benjamin, who was trotting away with
Martha behind him on a pillion, holding a bundle as large as herself.
Not a word was exchanged, and Benjamin and Martha were soon out of
"Why, where can Martha be going?" said Alice. "Will she be back when we
come home to-morrow?"
Edward made no reply, but Humphrey said, "Well, she has taken plenty of
clothes in that huge bundle, for one night, at least."
Jacob, as soon as he had seen the children on their way, returned to the
kitchen, where he found Agatha and the cook collecting their property,
evidently bent upon a hasty retreat.
"Have you seen Miss Judith, Agatha?"
"Yes; and she told me that she should remain, and that I should stand
behind her chair, that she might receive the troopers with dignity; but
I don't admire the plan. They might leave her alone, but I am sure that
they will be rude to me."
"When did Benjamin say he would be back?"
"He don't intend coming back. He said he would not, at all events, till
to-morrow morning, and then he would ride out this way, to ascertain if
the report was false or true. But Martha has gone with him."
"I wish I could persuade the old lady to leave the house," said Jacob
thoughtfully. "I fear they will not pay her the respect that she
calculates upon. Go up, Agatha, and say I wish to speak with her."
"No, not I; I must be off, for it is dark already."
"And where are you going, then?"
"To Gossip Allwood's. It's a good mile, and I have to carry my things."
"Well, Agatha, if you'll take me up to the old lady, I'll carry your
things for you."
Agatha consented, and as soon as she had taken up the lamp, for it was
now quite dark, Jacob was once more introduced.
"I wish, madam," said Jacob, "you would be persuaded to leave the house
for this night."
"Jacob Armitage, leave this house I will not, if it were filled with
troopers; I have said so."
"No more, sir; you are too forward," replied the old lady haughtily.
"Leave my presence, Jacob Armitage, and never appear again. Quit the
room, and send Agatha here."
"She has left, madam, and so has the cook, and Martha went away behind
Benjamin; when I leave, you will be alone."
"They have dared to leave?"
"They dared not stay, madam."
"Leave me, Jacob Armitage, and shut the door when you go out." Jacob
still hesitated. "Obey me instantly," said the old lady; and the
forester, finding all remonstrance useless, went out, and obeyed her
last commands by shutting the door after him.
Jacob found Agatha and the other maid in the courtyard; he took up their
packages, and, as he promised, accompanied them to Gossip Allwood, who
kept a small ale-house about a mile distant.
"But, mercy on us! What will become of the children?" said Agatha, as
they walked along, her fears for herself having, up to this time, made
her utterly forgetful of them. "Poor things! And Martha has left
"Yes, indeed; what will become of the dear babes?" said the cook,
Now Jacob, knowing that the children of such a Malignant as Colonel
Beverley would have sorry treatment if discovered, and knowing also that
women were not always to be trusted, determined not to tell them how
they were disposed of. He therefore replied:
"Who would hurt such young children as those? No, no, they are safe
enough; even the troopers would protect them."
"I should hope so," replied Agatha.
"You may be sure of that; no man would hurt babies," replied Jacob.
"The troopers will take them with them to Lymington, I suppose. I've no
fear for them; it's the proud old lady whom they will be uncivil to."
The conversation here ended, and in due time they arrived at the inn.
Jacob had just put the bundles down on the table when the clattering of
horses' hoofs was heard. Shortly afterwards the troopers pulled their
horses up at the door, and dismounted. Jacob recognised the party he
had met in the forest, and among them Southwold. The troopers called
for ale, and remained some time in the house, talking and laughing with
the women, especially Agatha, who was a very good-looking girl. Jacob
would have retreated quietly, but he found a sentinel posted at the door
to prevent the egress of any person. He reseated himself, and while he
was listening to the conversation of the troopers, he was recognised by
Southwold, who accosted him. Jacob did not pretend not to know him, as
it would have been useless; and Southwold put many questions to him as
to who were resident at Arnwood. Jacob replied that the children were
there, and a few servants, and he was about to mention Miss Judith
Villiers, when a thought struck him,--he might save the old lady.
"You are going to Arnwood, I know," said Jacob, "and I have heard who
you are in search of. Well, Southwold, I'll give you a hint. I may be
wrong; but if you should fall in with an old lady, or something like
one, when you go to Arnwood, mount her on your crupper, and away with
her to Lymington as fast as you can ride. You understand me."
Southwold nodded significantly, and squeezed Jacob's hand.
"One word, Jacob Armitage; if I succeed in the capture by your means, it
is but fair that you should have something for your hint. Where can I
find you the day after to-morrow?"
"I am leaving the country this night, and go I must. I am in trouble,
that's the fact; when all is blown over, I will find you out. Don't
speak to me any more just now." Southwold again squeezed Jacob's hand,
and left him. Shortly afterwards the order was given to mount, and the
troopers set off.
Armitage followed slowly and unobserved. They arrived at the mansion
and surrounded it. Shortly afterwards he perceived the glare of
torches, and in a quarter of an hour more thick smoke rose up in the
dark but clear sky; at last the flames burst forth from the lower
windows of the mansion, and soon afterwards they lighted up the country
round to some distance.
"It is done," thought Jacob, and he turned to bend his hasty steps
towards his own cottage, when he heard the galloping of a horse and
violent screams; a minute afterwards James Southwold passed him with the
old lady tied behind him, kicking and struggling as hard as she could.
Jacob smiled, as he thought that he had by his little stratagem saved
the old woman's life, for that Southwold imagined that she was King
Charles dressed up as an old woman was evident; and he then returned as
fast as he could to the cottage.
In half an hour Jacob had passed through the thick woods which were
between the mansion and his own cottage, occasionally looking back, as
the flames of the mansion rose higher and higher, throwing their light
far and wide. He knocked at the cottage-door; Smoker, a large dog,
cross-bred between the fox and bloodhound, growled till Jacob spoke to
him, and then Edward opened the door.
"My sisters are in bed and fast asleep, Jacob," said Edward, "and
Humphrey has been nodding this half-hour; had he not better go to bed
before we go back?"
"Come out, Master Edward,"--replied Jacob, "and look." Edward beheld
the flames and fierce light between the trees, and was silent.
"I told you that it would be so, and you would all have been burnt in
your beds, for they did not enter the house to see who was in it, but
fired it as soon as they had surrounded it."
"And my aunt!" exclaimed Edward, clasping his hands.
"Is safe, Master Edward, and by this time at Lymington."
"We will go to her to-morrow."
"I fear not; you must not risk so much, Master Edward. These Levellers
spare nobody, and you had better let it be supposed that you are all
burnt in the house."
"But my aunt knows the contrary, Jacob."
"Very true; I quite forgot that." And so Jacob had. He expected that
the old woman would have been burnt, and then nobody would have known of
the existence of the children; he forgot when he planned to save her,
that she knew where the children were.
"Well, Master Edward, I will go to Lymington to-morrow and see the old
lady; but you must remain here, and take charge of your sisters till I
come back, and then we will consider what is to be done. The flames are
not so bright as they were."
"No. It is my house that these Roundheads have burned down," said
Edward, shaking his fist.
"It was your house, Master Edward, and it was your property; but how
long it will be so remains to be seen. I fear it will be forfeited."
"Woe to the people who dare take possession of it," cried Edward; "I
shall, if I live, be a man one of these days."
"Yes, Master Edward, and then you will reflect more than you do now, and
not be rash. Let us go into the cottage, for it's no use remaining out
in the cold; the frost is sharp to-night."
Edward slowly followed Jacob into the cottage. His little heart was
full. He was a proud boy and a good boy, but the destruction of the
mansion had raised up evil thoughts in his heart--hatred to the
Covenanters, who had killed his father and now burnt the property--
revenge upon them (how, he knew not); but his hand was ready to strike,
young as he was. He lay down on the bed, but he could not sleep. He
turned and turned again, and his brain was teeming with thoughts and
plans of vengeance. Had he said his prayers that night, he would have
been obliged to repeat, "Forgive us, as we forgive them who trespass
against us." At last he fell fast asleep, but his dreams were wild, and
he often called out during the night, and woke his brother and sisters.
The next morning, as soon as Jacob had given the children their
breakfast, he set off towards Arnwood. He knew that Benjamin had stated
his intention to return with the horse and see what had taken place, and
he knew him well enough to feel sure that he would do so. He thought it
better to see him, if possible, and ascertain the fate of Miss Judith.
Jacob arrived at the still smoking ruins of the mansion, and found
several people there, mostly residents within a few miles, some
attracted by curiosity, others busy in collecting the heavy masses of
lead which had been melted from the roof, and appropriating them to
their own benefit; but much of it was still too hot to be touched, and
they were throwing snow on it to cool it, for it had snowed during the
night. At last Jacob perceived Benjamin on horseback riding leisurely
towards him, and immediately went up to him.
"Well, Benjamin, this is a woeful sight. What is the news from
"Lymington is full of troopers, and they are not over civil," replied
"And the old lady--where is she?"
"Ah, that's a sad business," replied Benjamin, "and the poor children,
too. Poor Master Edward! He would have made a brave gentleman."
"But the old lady is safe," rejoined Jacob. "Did you see her?"
"Yes, I saw her; they thought she "was" King Charles--poor old soul."
"But they have found out their mistake by this time?"
"Yes, and James Southwold has found it out too," replied Benjamin; "to
think of the old lady breaking his neck!"
"Breaking his neck? You don't say so! How was it?"
"Why, it seems that Southwold thought that she was King Charles dressed
up as an old woman, so he seized her and strapped her fast behind him,
and galloped away with her to Lymington; but she struggled and kicked so
manfully, that he could not hold on, and off they went together, and he
broke his neck."
"Indeed!--a judgment--a judgment upon a traitor," said Jacob.
"They were picked up, strapped together as they were, by the other
troopers, and carried to Lymington."
"Well, and where is the old lady, then? Did you see and speak to her?"
"I saw her, Jacob, but I did not speak to her. I forgot to say, that
when she broke Southwold's neck, she broke her own too."
"Then the old lady is dead?"
"Yes, that she is," replied Benjamin; "but who cares about her? It's
the poor children that I pity. Martha has been crying ever since."
"I don't wonder."
"I was at the `Cavalier,' and the troopers were there, and they were
boasting of what they had done, and called it a righteous work. I could
not stand that, and I asked one of them if it were a righteous work to
burn poor children in their beds? So he turned round, and struck his
sword upon the floor, and asked me whether I was one of them--`Who are
you then?' and I--all my courage went away, and I answered, I was a poor
rat-catcher. `A rat-catcher, are you? Well then, Mr Rat-catcher, when
you are killing rats, if you find a nest of young ones, don't you kill
them too? Or do you leave them to grow, and become mischievous,
eh?'--`I kill the young ones, of course,' replied I. `Well, so do we
Malignants whenever we find them.' I didn't say a word more, so I went
out of the house as fast as I could."
"Have you heard anything about the king?" inquired Jacob.
"No, nothing; but the troopers are all out again, and, I hear, are gone
to the forest."
"Well, Benjamin, good-bye; I shall be off from this part of the
country--it's no use my staying here. Where's Agatha and cook?"
"They came to Lymington early this morning."
"Wish them good-bye for me, Benjamin."
"Where are you going then?"
"I can't exactly say, but I think London way. I only stayed here to
watch over the children; and now that they are gone, I shall leave
Arnwood for ever."
Jacob, who was anxious, on account of the intelligence he had received
of the troopers being in the forest, to return to the cottage, shook
hands with Benjamin, and hastened away. "Well," thought Jacob, as he
wended his way, "I'm sorry for the poor old lady; but still, perhaps,
it's all for the best. Who knows what they might do with these
children?--Destroy the nest as well as the rats, indeed:--they must find
the nest first." And the old forester continued his journey in deep
We may here observe that, bloodthirsty as many of the Levellers were, we
do not think that Jacob Armitage had grounds for the fears which he
expressed and felt that is to say, we believe that he might have made
known the existence of the children to the Villiers family, and that
they would never have been harmed by anybody. That by the burning of
the mansion they might have perished in the flames, had they been in
bed, as they would have been at that hour, had he not obtained
intelligence of what was about to be done, is true; but that there was
any danger to them on account of their father having been such a staunch
supporter of the king's cause, is very unlikely, and not borne out by
the history of the times; but the old forester thought otherwise; he had
a hatred of the Puritans, and their deeds had been so exaggerated by
rumour that he fully believed that the lives of the children were not
safe. Under this conviction, and feeling himself bound by his promise
to Colonel Beverley to protect them, Jacob resolved that they should
live with him in the forest, and be brought up as his own grandchildren.
He knew that there could be no better place for concealment; for,
except the keepers, few people knew where his cottage was; and it was so
out of the usual paths, and so embosomed in lofty trees, that there was
little chance of its being seen, or being known to exist. He resolved,
therefore, that they should remain with him till better times; and then
he would make known their existence to the other branches of the family,
but not before. "I can hunt for them, and provide for them," thought
he, "and I have a little money, when it is required; and I will teach
them to be useful; they must learn to provide for themselves. There's
the garden, and the patch of land: in two or three years the boys will
be able to do something. I can't teach them much; but I can teach them
to fear God. We must get on how we can, and put our trust in Him who is
a Father to the fatherless."
With such thoughts running in his head, Jacob arrived at the cottage,
and found the children outside the door, watching for him. They all
hastened to him, and the dog rushed before them, to welcome his master.
"Down, Smoker, good dog. Well, Mr Edward, I have been as quick as I
can. How have Mr Humphrey and your sisters behaved? But we must not
remain outside to-day, for the troopers are scouring the forest, and may
see you. Let us come in directly; for it would not do that they should
"Will they burn the cottage down?" inquired Alice, as she took Jacob's
"Yes, my dear, I think they would, if they found that you and your
brothers were in it: but we must not let them see you."
They all entered the cottage, which consisted of one large room in
front, and two back rooms for bedrooms. There was also a third bedroom,
which was behind the other two, but which had not any furniture in it.
"Now let's see what we can have for dinner--there's venison left, I
know," said Jacob: "come, we must all be useful. Who will be cook?"
"I will be cook," said Alice, "if you will show me how."
"So you shall, my dear," said Jacob, "and I will show you how. There's
some potatoes in the basket in the corner--and some onions hanging on
the string--we must have some water--who will fetch it?"
"I will," said Edward; who took up a pail and went out to the spring.
The potatoes were peeled and washed by the children--Jacob and Edward
cut the venison into pieces--the iron pot was cleaned--and then the meat
and potatoes put with water into the pot, and placed on the fire.
"Now I'll cut, up the onions, for they will make your eyes water."
"I don't care," said Humphrey; "I'll cut and cry at the same time."
And Humphrey took up a knife, and cut away most manfully, although he
was obliged to wipe his eyes with his sleeve very often.
"You are a fine fellow, Humphrey," said Jacob. "Now we'll put the
onions in, and let it all boil up together. Now, you see you have
cooked your own dinner; ain't that pleasant?"
"Yes," cried they all; "and we will eat our own dinners as soon as it is
"Then, Humphrey, you must get some of the platters down which are on the
dresser; and Alice, you will find some knives in the drawer. And let me
see, what can little Edith do? Oh, she can go to the cupboard and find
the salt-cellar. Edward, just look-out, and if you see anybody coming
or passing, let me know. We must put you on guard till the troopers
leave the forest."
The children set about their tasks, and Humphrey cried out, as he very
often did, "Now, this is jolly!"
While the dinner was cooking Jacob amused the children by showing them
how to put things in order; the floor was swept, the hearth was made
tidy. He showed Alice how to wash out a cloth, and Humphrey how to dust
the chairs. They all worked merrily, while little Edith stood and
clapped her hands.
But just before dinner was ready Edward came in and said, "Here are
troopers galloping in the forest!" Jacob went out, and observed that
they were coming in a direction that would lead near to the cottage.
He walked in, and after a moment's thought, he said, "My dear children,
those men may come and search the cottage; you must do as I tell you,
and mind that you are very quiet. Humphrey, you and your sisters must
go to bed, and pretend to be very ill. Edward, take off your coat and
put on this old hunting-frock of mine. You must be in the bedroom
attending your sick brother and sisters. Come, Edith dear, you must
play at going to bed, and have your dinner afterwards."
Jacob took the children into the bedroom, and removing the upper dress,
which would have betrayed that they were not the children of poor
people, put them in bed, and covered them up to the chins with the
clothes Edward had put on the old hunting-shirt, which came below his
knees, and stood with a mug of water in his hand by the bedside of the
two girls. Jacob went to the outer room, to remove the platters laid
out for dinner; and he had hardly done so, when he heard the noise of
the troopers, and soon afterwards a knock at the cottage-door.
"Come in," said Jacob.
"Who are you, my friend?" said the leader of the troop, entering the
"A poor forester, sir," replied Jacob, "under great trouble."
"What trouble, my man?"
"I have the children all in bed with the smallpox."
"Nevertheless, we must search your cottage."
"You are welcome," replied Jacob; "only don't frighten the children if
you can help it."
The man, who was now joined by others, commenced his search. Jacob
opened all the doors of the rooms, and they passed through. Little
Edith shrieked when she saw them; but Edward patted her, and told her
not to be frightened. The troopers, however, took no notice of the
children; they searched thoroughly, and then came back to the front
"It's no use remaining here," said one of the troopers. "Shall we be
off? I'm tired and hungry with the ride."
"So am I; and there's something that smells well," said another.
"What's this, my good man," continued he, taking off the lid of the pot.
"My dinner for a week," replied Jacob. "I have no one to cook for me
now, and can't light a fire every day."
"Well, you appear to live well, if you have such a mess as that every
day in the week. I should like to try a spoonful or two."
"And welcome, sir," replied Jacob; "I will cook some more for myself."
The troopers took him at his word; they sat down to the table, and very
soon the whole contents of the kettle had disappeared. Having satisfied
themselves, they got up, told him that his rations were so good that
they hoped to call again; and, laughing heartily, they mounted their
horses, and rode away.
"Well," said Jacob, "they are very welcome to the dinner; I little
thought to get off so cheap." As soon as they were out of sight Jacob
called to Edward and the children to get up again, which they soon did.
Alice put on Edith's frock, Humphrey put on his jacket, and Edward
pulled off the hunting-shirt.
"They're gone now," said Jacob, coming in from the door.
"And our dinners are gone," said Humphrey, looking at the empty pot and
"Yes; but we can cook another: and that will be more play, you know,"
said Jacob. "Edward, go for the water; Humphrey, cut the onions; Alice,
wash the potatoes; and Edith, help everybody, while I cut up some more
"I hope it will be as good," observed Humphrey; "that other did smell so
"Quite as good, if not better; for we shall improve by practice, and we
shall have a better appetite to eat it with," said Jacob.
"Nasty men eat our dinner," said Edith. "Shan't have any more. Eat
And so they did as soon as it was cooked; but they were very hungry
before they sat down.
"This is jolly!" said Humphrey, with his mouth full.
"Yes, Master Humphrey. I doubt if King Charles gets so good a dinner
this day. Mr Edward, you are very grave and silent."
"Yes, I am, Jacob. Have I not cause? Oh! If I could but have mauled
"But you could not; so you must make the best of it. They say that
every dog has his day, and who knows but King Charles may be on the
There were no more visits to the cottage that day, and they all went to
bed and slept soundly.
The next morning Jacob, who was most anxious to learn the news, saddled
the pony, having first given his injunctions to Edward how to behave in
case any troopers should come to the cottage. He told him to pretend
that the children were in bed with the smallpox, as they had done the
day before. Jacob then travelled to Gossip Allwood's, and he there
learnt that King Charles had been taken prisoner, and was at the Isle of
Wight, and that the troopers were all going back to London as fast as
they came. Feeling that there was now no more danger to be apprehended
from them, Jacob set off as fast as he could for Lymington. He went to
one shop and purchased two peasant dresses which he thought would fit
the two boys, and at another he bought similar apparel for the two
girls. Then with several other ready-made articles, and some other
things which were required for the household, he made a large package,
which he put upon the pony, and taking the bridle, set off home, and
arrived in time to superintend the cooking of the dinner, which was this
day venison-steaks fried in a pan, and boiled potatoes.
When dinner was over he opened his bundle, and told the little ones that
now they were to live in a cottage they ought to wear cottage clothes,
and that he had brought them some to put on, which they might rove about
the woods in, and not mind tearing them. Alice and Edith went into the
bedroom, and Alice dressed Edith and herself, and came out quite pleased
with their change of dress. Humphrey and Edward put theirs on in the
sitting-room, and they all fitted pretty well, and certainly were very
becoming to the children.
"Now, recollect, you are all my grandchildren," said Jacob; "for I shall
no longer call you Miss and Master--that we never do in a cottage. You
understand me, Edward, of course?" added Jacob.
Edward nodded his head, and Jacob telling the children that they might
now go out of the cottage and play, they all set off quite delighted
with clothes which procured them their liberty.
We must now describe the cottage of Jacob Armitage, in which the
children have in future to dwell. As we said before, it contained a
large sitting-room, or kitchen, in which were a spacious hearth and
chimney, table, stools, cupboards, and dressers; the two bedrooms which
adjoined it were now appropriated, one for Jacob and the other for the
two boys; the third, or inner bedroom, was arranged for the two girls,
as being more retired and secure. But there were outhouses belonging to
it: a stall, in which White Billy, the pony, lived during the winter; a
shed and pigsty rudely constructed, with an enclosed yard attached to
them; and it had, moreover, a piece of ground of more than an acre, well
fenced in to keep out the deer and game, the largest portion of which
was cultivated as a garden and potato-ground, and the other, which
remained in grass, contained some fine old apple and pear trees. Such
was the domicile; the pony, a few fowls, a sow and two young pigs, and
the dog Smoker, were the animals on the establishment. Here Jacob
Armitage had been born--for the cottage had been built by his
grandfather--but he had not always remained at the cottage. When young,
he felt an inclination to see more of the world, and had for several
years served in the army. His father and brother had lived in the
establishment at Arnwood, and he was constantly there as a boy. The
chaplain of Arnwood had taken a fancy to him, and taught him to read--
writing he had not acquired. As soon as he grew up he served, as we
have said, in the troop commanded by Colonel Beverley's father; and
after his death, Colonel Beverley had procured him the situation of
forest ranger, which had been held by his father, who was then alive,
but too aged to do the duty. Jacob Armitage married a good and devout
young woman, with whom he lived several years, when she died, without
bringing him any family; after which, his father being also dead, Jacob
Armitage had lived alone until the period at which we have commenced
The old forester lay awake the whole of this night, reflecting how he
should act relative to the children; he felt the great responsibility
that he had incurred, and was alarmed when he considered what might be
the consequences if his days were shortened. What would become of
them--living in so sequestered a spot that few knew even of its
existence--totally shut out from the world, and left to their own
resources? He had no fear, if his life was spared, that they would do
well; but if he should be called away before they had grown up and were
able to help themselves, they might perish. Edward was not fourteen
years old; it was true that he was an active, brave boy, and thoughtful
for his years; but he had not yet strength or skill sufficient for what
would be required. Humphrey, the second, also promised well; but still
they were all children. "I must bring them up to be useful--to depend
upon themselves; there is not a moment to be lost, and not a moment
shall be lost; I will do my best, and trust to God; I ask but two or
three years, and by that time I trust that they will be able to do
without me. They must commence to-morrow the life of foresters'
Acting upon this resolution, Jacob, as soon as the children were dressed
and in the sitting-room, opened his Bible, which he had put on the
table, and said:
"My dear children, you know that you must remain in this cottage, that
the wicked troopers may not find you out; they killed your father, and
if I had not taken you away, they would have burnt you in your beds.
You must therefore live here as my children, and you must call
yourselves by the name of Armitage, and not that of Beverley; and you
must dress like children of the forest, as you do now, and you must do
as children of the forest do; that is, you must do everything for
yourselves, for you can have no servants to wait upon you. We must all
work; but you will like to work if you all work together, for then the
work will be nothing but play. Now, Edward is the oldest, and he must
go out with me in the forest, and I must teach him to kill deer and
other game for our support; and when he knows how, then Humphrey shall
come out and learn how to shoot."
"Yes," said Humphrey, "I'll soon learn."
"But not yet, Humphrey, for you must do some work in the meantime; you
must look after the pony and the pigs, and you must learn to dig in the
garden with Edward and me when we do not go out to hunt; and sometimes I
shall go by myself, and leave Edward to work with you when there is work
to be done. Alice, dear, you must, with Humphrey, light the fire and
clean the house in the morning. Humphrey will go to the spring for
water, and do all the hard work; and you must learn to wash, my dear
Alice--I will show you how; and you must learn to get dinner ready with
Humphrey, who will assist you; and to make the beds. And little Edith
shall take care of the fowls, and feed them every morning, and look for
the eggs--will you, Edith?"
"Yes," replied Edith, "and feed all the little chickens when they are
hatched, as I did at Arnwood."
"Yes, dear, and you'll be very useful. Now you know that you cannot do
all this at once. You will have to try and try again; but very soon you
will, and then it will be all play. I must teach you all, and every day
you will do it better, till you want no teaching at all. And now, my
dear children, as there is no chaplain here, we must read the Bible
every morning. Edward can read, I know; can you, Humphrey?"
"Yes, all except the big words."
"Well, you will learn them by and by. And Edward and I will teach Alice
and Edith to read in the evenings, when we have nothing to do. It will
be an amusement. Now tell me, do you all like what I have told you?"
"Yes," they all replied; and then Jacob Armitage read a chapter in the
Bible, after which they all knelt down and said the Lord's Prayer. As
this was done every morning and every evening, I need not repeat it
again. Jacob then showed them again how to clean the house, and
Humphrey and Alice soon finished their work under his directions; and
then they all sat down to breakfast, which was a very plain one, being
generally cold meat, and cakes baked on the embers, at which Alice was
soon very expert; and little Edith was very useful in watching them for
her, while she busied herself about her other work. But the venison was
nearly all gone; and after breakfast Jacob and Edward, with the dog
Smoker, went out into the woods. Edward had no gun, as he only went out
to be taught how to approach the game, which required great caution;
indeed Jacob had no second gun to give him, if he had wished so to do.
"Now, Edward, we are going after a fine stag, if we can find him--which
I doubt not--but the difficulty is to get within shot of him. Recollect
that you must always be hid, for his sight is very quick; never be
heard, for his ear is sharp; and never come down to him with the wind,
for his scent is very fine. Then you must hunt according to the hour of
the day. At this time he is feeding; two hours hence he will be lying
down in the high fern. The dog is of no use unless the stag is badly
wounded, when the dog will take him. Smoker knows his duty well, and
will hide himself as close as we do. We are now going into the thick
wood ahead of us, as there are many little spots of cleared ground in it
where we may find the deer; but we must keep more to the left, for the
wind is to the eastward, and we must walk up against it. And now that
we are coming into the wood, recollect, not a word must be said, and you
must walk as quietly as possible, keeping behind me. Smoker, to heel!"
They proceeded through the wood for more than a mile, when Jacob made a
sign to Edward, and dropped down into the fern, crawling along to an
open spot, where, at some distance, were a stag and three deer grazing.
The deer grazed quietly, but the stag was ever and anon raising up his
head and snuffing the air as he looked round, evidently acting as a
sentinel for the females.
The stag was perhaps a long quarter of a mile from where they had
crouched down in the fern. Jacob remained immovable till the animal
began to feed again, and then he advanced crawling through the fern,
followed by Edward and the dog, who dragged himself on his stomach after
Edward. This tedious approach was continued for some time, and they had
neared the stag to within half the original distance, when the animal
again lifted up his head and appeared uneasy. Jacob stopped and
remained without motion. After a time the stag walked away, followed by
the does, to the opposite side of the clear spot on which they had been
feeding, and, to Edward's annoyance, the animal was now half a mile from
them. Jacob turned round and crawled into the wood, and when he knew
that they were concealed he rose on his feet and said:
"You see, Edward, that it requires patience to stalk a deer. What a
princely fellow! But he has probably been alarmed this morning, and is
very uneasy. Now we must go through the woods till we come to the lee
of him on the other side of the dell. You see he has led the does close
to the thicket, and we shall have a better chance when we get there, if
we are only quiet and cautious."
"What startled him, do you think?" said Edward.
"I think, when you were crawling through the fern after me, you broke a
piece of rotten stick that was under you, did you not?"
"Yes, but that made but little noise."
"Quite enough to startle a red deer, Edward, as you will find out before
you have been long a forester. These checks will happen, and have
happened to me a hundred times, and then all the work is to be done over
again. Now then to make the circuit--we had better not say a word. If
we get safe now to the other side we are sure of him."
They proceeded at a quick walk through the forest, and in half an hour
had gained the side where the deer were feeding. When about three
hundred yards from the game, Jacob again sank down on his hands and
knees, crawling from bush to bush, stopping whenever the stag raised his
head, and advancing again when it resumed feeding; at last they came to
the fern at the side of the wood, and crawled through it as before, but
still more cautiously as they approached the stag. In this manner they
arrived at last to within eighty yards of the animal, and then Jacob
advanced his gun ready to put it to his shoulder, and as he cocked the
lock, raised himself to fire. The click occasioned by the cocking of
the lock roused up the stag instantly, and he turned his head in the
direction from whence the noise proceeded; as he did so Jacob fired,
aiming behind the animal's shoulder: the stag made a bound, came down
again, dropped on his knees, attempted to run, and fell dead, while the
does fled away with the rapidity of the wind.
Edward started up on his legs with a shout of exultation. Jacob
commenced reloading his gun, and stopped Edward as he was about to run
up to where the animal lay.
"Edward, you must learn your craft," said Jacob; "never do that again;
never shout in that way--on the contrary, you should have remained still
in the fern."
"Why so? The stag is dead."
"Yes, my dear boy, that stag is dead; but how do you know but what there
may be another lying down in the fern close to us, or at some distance
from us, which you have alarmed by your shout? Suppose that we both had
had guns, and that the report of mine had started another stag lying in
the fern within shot, you would have been able to shoot it; or if a stag
was lying at a distance, the report of the gun might have startled him
so as to induce him to move his head without rising. I should have seen
his antlers move and have marked his lair, and we should then have gone
after him and stalked him too."
"I see," replied Edward, "I was wrong; but I shall know better another
"That's why I tell you, my boy," replied Jacob; "now let us go to our
quarry. Ay, Edward, this is a noble beast. I thought that he was a
hart royal, and so he is."
"What is a hart royal, Jacob?"
"Why, a stag is called a brocket until he is three years old; at four
years he is a staggart; at five years a warrantable stag; and after five
years he becomes a hart royal."
"And how do you know his age?"
"By his antlers: you see that this stag has nine antlers; now, a brocket
has but two antlers, a staggart three, and a warrantable stag but four;
at six years old, the antlers increase in number until they sometimes
have twenty or thirty. This is a fine beast, and the venison is now
getting very good. Now you must see me do the work of my craft."
Jacob then cut the throat of the animal, and afterwards cut off its
head, and took out its bowels.
"Are you tired, Edward?" said Jacob, as he wiped his hunting-knife on
the coat of the stag.
"No, not the least."
"Well, then, we are now, I should think, about four or five miles from
the cottage. Could you find your way home? But that is of no
consequence, Smoker will lead you home by the shortest path. I will
stay here, and you can saddle White Billy and come back with him, for he
must carry the venison back. It's more than we can manage--indeed, as
much as we can manage with White Billy to help us. There's more than
twenty stone of venison lying there, I can tell you."
Edward immediately assented, and Jacob desiring Smoker to go home, set
about flaying and cutting up the animal for its more convenient
transportation. In an hour and a half Edward, attended by Smoker,
returned with the pony, on whose back the chief portion of the venison
was packed. Jacob took a large piece on his own shoulders, and Edward
carried another, and Smoker, after regaling himself with a portion of
the inside of the animal, came after them. During the walk home Jacob
initiated Edward into the terms of venery and many other points
connected with deer-stalking, with which we shall not trouble our
readers. As soon as they arrived at the cottage the venison was hung
up, the pony put in the stable, and then they sat down to dinner with an
excellent appetite after their long morning's walk. Alice and Humphrey
had cooked the dinner themselves, and it was in the pot, smoking hot,
when they returned; and Jacob declared he never ate a better mess in his
life. Alice was not a little proud of this, and of the praises she
received from Edward and the old forester. The next day Jacob stated
his intention of going to Lymington to dispose of a large portion of the
venison, and bring back a sack of oatmeal for their cakes. Edward asked
to accompany him, but Jacob replied:
"Edward, you must not think of showing yourself at Lymington, or
anywhere else, for a long while, until you are grown out of memory. It
would be folly, and you would risk your sisters' and brother's lives,
perhaps, as well as your own. Never mention it again: the time will
come when it will be necessary, perhaps; if so, it cannot be helped. At
present you would be known immediately. No, Edward, I tell you what I
do mean to do: I have a little money left, and I intend to buy you a
gun, that you may learn to stalk deer yourself without me: for
recollect, if any accident should happen to me, who is there but you to
provide for your brother and sisters? At Lymington I am known to many;
but out of all who know me, there is not one who knows where my cottage
is; they know that I live in the New Forest, and that I supply them
venison, and purchase other articles in return. That is all that they
know; and I may therefore go without fear. I shall sell the venison
to-morrow, and bring you back a good gun; and Humphrey shall have the
carpenters' tools which he wishes for--for I think, by what he does with
his knife, that he has a turn that way, and it may be useful. I must
also get some other tools for Humphrey and you, as we shall then be able
to work all together; and some threads and needles for Alice, for she
can sew a little, and practice will make her more perfect."
Jacob went off to Lymington as he had proposed, and returned late at
night with White Billy well loaded; he had a sack of oatmeal, some
spades and hoes, a saw and chisels, and other tools; two scythes and two
three-pronged forks; and when Edward came to meet him he put into his
hand a gun with a very long barrel.
"I believe, Edward, that you will find that a good one, for I know where
it came from. It belonged to one of the rangers, who was reckoned the
best shot in the forest. I know the gun, for I have seen it on his arm,
and have taken it in my hand to examine it more than once. He was
killed at Naseby, with your father, poor fellow! And his widow sold the
gun to meet her wants."
"Well!" replied Edward, "I thank you much, Jacob, and I will try if I
cannot kill as much venison as will pay back the purchase-money--I will,
I assure you."
"I shall be glad if you do, Edward; not because I want the money back,
but because then I shall be more easy in my mind about you all, if
anything happens to me. As soon as you are perfect in your woodcraft, I
shall take Humphrey in hand, for there is nothing like having two
strings to your bow. To-morrow we will not go out: we have meat enough
for three weeks or more; and now the frost has set in, it will keep
well. You shall practise at a mark with your gun, that you may be
accustomed to it: for all guns, even the best, require a little
Edward, who had often fired a gun before, proved the next morning that
he had a very good eye; and after two or three hours' practice, hit the
mark at a hundred yards almost every time.
"I wish you would let me go out by myself," said Edward, overjoyed at
"You would bring home nothing, boy," replied Jacob. "No, no, you have a
great deal to learn yet; but I tell you what you shall do: any time that
we are not in great want of venison, you shall have the first fire."
"Well, that will do," replied Edward.
The winter now set in with great severity, and they remained almost
altogether within doors. Jacob and the boys went out to get firewood,
and dragged it home through the snow.
"I wish, Jacob," said Humphrey, "that I was able to build a cart, for it
would be very useful, and White Bill would then have something to do;
but I can't make the wheels, and there is no harness."
"That's not a bad idea of yours, Humphrey," replied Jacob; "we will
think about it. If you can't build a cart, perhaps I can buy one. It
would be useful if it were only to take the dung out of the yard on the
potato-ground; for I have hitherto carried it out in baskets, and it's
"Yes, and we might saw the wood into billets, and carry it home in the
cart instead of dragging it this way: my shoulder is quite sore with the
rope, it cuts me so."
"Well, when the weather breaks up, I will see what I can do, Humphrey;
but just now the roads are so blocked up, that I do not think we could
get a cart from Lymington to the cottage, although we can a horse,
But if they remained indoors during the inclement weather, they were not
idle. Jacob took this opportunity to instruct the children in
everything. Alice learnt how to wash and how to cook. It is true that
sometimes she scalded herself a little, sometimes burnt her fingers; and
other accidents did occur, from the articles employed being too heavy
for them to lift by themselves; but practice and dexterity compensated
for want of strength, and fewer accidents happened every day. Humphrey
had his carpenters' tools; and although at first he had many failures,
and wasted nails and wood, by degrees he learnt to use his tools with
more dexterity, and made several little useful articles. Little Edith
could now do something, for she made and baked all the oatmeal cakes,
which saved Alice a good deal of time and trouble in watching them. It
was astonishing how much the children could do, now that there was no
one to do it for them; and they had daily instruction from Jacob. In
the evening Alice sat down with her needle and thread to mend the
clothes; at first they were not very well done; but she improved every
day. Edith and Humphrey learnt to read while Alice worked, and then
Alice learnt; and thus passed the winter away so rapidly, that although
they had been five months at the cottage, it did not appear as if they
had been there as many weeks. All were happy and contented, with the
exception, perhaps, of Edward, who had fits of gloominess, and
occasionally showed signs of impatience as to what was passing in the
world, of which he remained in ignorance.
That Edward Beverley had fits of gloominess and impatience is not
surprising. Edward had been brought up as the heir of Arnwood; and a
boy at a very early age imbibes notions of his position, if it promises
to be a high one. He was not two miles from that property which by
right was his own. His own mansion had been reduced to ashes--he
himself was hidden in the forest, and he could not but feel his
position. He sighed for the time when the king's cause should be again
triumphant, and his arrival at that age when he could in person support
and uphold the cause. He longed to be in command as his father had
been--to lead his men on to victory--to recover his property, and to
revenge himself on those who had acted so cruelly towards him. This was
human nature; and much as Jacob Armitage would expostulate with him, and
try to divert his feelings into other channels; long as he would preach
to him about forgiveness of injuries, and patience until better times
should come, Edward could not help brooding over these thoughts, and if
ever there was a breast animated with intense hatred against the
Puritans it was that of Edward Beverley. Although this was to be
lamented, it could not create surprise or wonder in the old forester.
All he could do was, as much as possible to reason with him, to soothe
his irritated feelings, and by constant employment try to make him
forget for a time the feelings of ill-will which he had conceived.
One thing was, however, sufficiently plain to Edward, which was, that
whatever might be his wrongs, he had not the power at present to redress
them; and this feeling, perhaps, more than any other, held him in some
sort of check; and as the time when he might have an opportunity
appeared far distant, even to his own sanguine imagination, so by
degrees did he contrive to dismiss from his thoughts what it was no use
to think about at present.
As we have before said, time passed rapidly; with the exception of one
or two excursions after venison, they remained in the cottage, and Jacob
never went to Lymington. The frost had broken up, the snow had long
disappeared, and the trees began to bud. The sun became powerful, and
in the month of May the forest began again to look green.
"And now, Edward," said Jacob Armitage, one day at breakfast, "we will
try for venison again to sell at Lymington, for I must purchase
Humphrey's cart and harness; so let us get our guns, and go out this
fine morning. The stags are mostly by themselves at this season, for
the does are with their young calves. We must find the slot of a deer,
and track him to his lair, and you shall have the first shot if you
like; but that, however, depends more upon the deer than upon me."
They had walked four or five miles when they came upon the slot or track
of a deer, but Jacob's practised eye pointed out to Edward that it was
the slot of a young one, and not worth following. He explained to
Edward the difference in the hoof-marks and other signs by which this
knowledge was gained, and they proceeded onwards until they found
another slot, which Jacob declared to be that of a warrantable stag--
that is, one old enough to kill and to be good venison.
"We must now track him to his lair, Edward."
This took them about a mile farther, when they arrived at a small
thicket of thorns about an acre in extent.
"Here he is, you see, Edward; let me now see if he is harboured."
They walked round the thicket, and could not find any slot or track by
which the stag had left the covert, and Jacob pronounced that the animal
must be hid in it.
"Now, Edward, do you stay here while I go back to the lee side of the
covert: I will enter it with Smoker, and the stag will, in all
probability, when he is roused, come out to breast the wind. You will
then have a good shot at him; recollect to fire so as to hit him behind
the shoulder: if he is moving quick, fire a little before the shoulders;
if slow, take aim accurately; but recollect, if I come upon him in the
covert, I shall kill him if I can, for we want the venison, and then we
will go after another to give you a chance."
Jacob then left Edward, and went down to the lee side of the covert,
where he entered it with Smoker. Edward was stationed behind a
thorn-bush, which grew a few yards clear of the covert, and he soon
heard the creaking of the branches.
A short time elapsed, and a fine stag came out at a trot; he turned his
head, and was just bounding away, when Edward fired, and the animal
fell. Remembering the advice of Jacob, Edward remained where he was, in
silence reloading his piece, and was soon afterwards joined by Jacob and
"Well done, Edward!" said the forester in a low voice, and covering his
forehead to keep off the glare of the sun, he looked earnestly at a high
brake between some thorn-trees, about half a mile to windward. "I think
I see something there--look, Edward, your eyes are younger than mine.
Is that the branch of a tree in the fern, or is it not?"
"I see what you mean," replied Edward. "It is not, it moves."
"I thought so, but my eyes are not so good as they once were. It's
another stag, depend upon it; but how to get near him? We never can get
across this patch of clear grass without being seen."
"No, we cannot get at him from this spot," replied Edward; "but if we
were to fall back to leeward, and gain the forest again, I think that
there are thorns sufficient from the forest to where he lies, to creep
from behind one to the other, so as to get a shot at him; don't you?"
"It will require care and patience to manage that; but I think it might
be done. I will try; it is my turn now, you know. You had better stay
here with the dog, for only one can hide from thorn to thorn."
Jacob, ordering Smoker to remain, then set off. He had to make a
circuit of three miles to get to the spot where the thorns extended from
the forest, and Edward saw no more of him, although he strained his
eyes, until the stag sprung out, and the gun was discharged. Edward
perceived that the stag was not killed, but severely wounded, running
towards the covert near which he was hid. "Down, Smoker," said he, as
he cocked his gun. The stag came within shot, and was coming nearer
when, seeing Edward, it turned. Edward fired, and then cheered on the
dog, who sprang after the wounded animal, giving tongue, as he followed
him. Edward, perceiving Jacob hastening towards him, waited for him.
"He's hard hit, Edward," cried Jacob, "and Smoker will have him; but we
must follow as fast as we can."
They both caught up their guns and ran as fast as they could, when, as
they entered the wood, they heard the dog at bay.
"We shan't have far to go, Edward; the animal is done up, Smoker has him
They hastened on another quarter of a mile, when they found that the
stag had fallen on his knees, and had been seized by the throat by
"Mind, Edward, now, how I go up to him, for the wound from the horn of
the deer is very dangerous."
Jacob advanced from behind the stag, and cut his throat with his
hunting-knife. "He is a fine beast, and we have done well to-day; but
we shall have two journeys to make to get all this venison home. I
could not get a fair shot at him--and see, I have hit him here in the
"And here is my ball in his throat," said Edward.
"So it is. Then it was a good shot that you made, and you are master of
the hunt this day, Edward. Now, I'll remain, and you go home for White
Billy; Humphrey is right about the cart. If we had one, we could have
carried all home at once; but I must go now and cut the throat of the
other stag which you killed so cleverly. You will be a good hunter one
of these days, Edward. A little more knowledge, and a little more
practice, and I will leave it all to you, and hang my gun up over the
It was late in the evening before they had made their two trips and
taken all the venison home, and very tired were they before it was all
safely housed. Edward was delighted with his success, but not more so
than was old Jacob. The next morning Jacob set off for Lymington, with
the pony loaded with venison, which he sold, as well as two more loads
which he promised to bring the next day, and the day after. He then
looked out for a cart, and was fortunate in finding a small one just
fitted to the size of the pony, who was not tall, but very strong, as
all New Forest ponies are. He also procured harness, and then put Billy
in the cart to draw him home; but Billy did not admire being put in a
cart, and for some time was very restive, and backed and reared, and
went every way but the right; but by dint of coaxing and leading, he at
last submitted, and went straight on: but then the noise of the cart
behind him frightened him, and he ran away. At last, having tired
himself out, he thought that he might as well go quietly in harness, as
he could not get out of it; and he did so, and arrived safe at the
cottage. Humphrey was delighted at the sight of the cart, and said that
now they should get on well. The next day Jacob contrived to put all
the remainder of the venison in the cart, and White Billy made no more
difficulty; he dragged it all to Lymington, and returned with the cart
as quietly and cleverly as if he had been in harness all his life.
"Well, Edward, the venison paid for the cart, at all events," said
Jacob, "and now, I will tell you all the news I collected while I was at
Lymington. Captain Burly, who attempted to incite the people to rescue
the king, has been hung, drawn, and quartered, as a traitor."
"They are traitors who condemned him," replied Edward in wrath.
"Yes, so they are; but there is better news, which is, that the Duke of
York has escaped to Holland."
"Yes, that is good news; and the king?"
"He is still a prisoner in Carisbrook Castle. There are many rumours
and talks, but no one knows what is true and what is false; but depend
upon it, this cannot last long, and the king will have his rights yet."
Edward remained very grave for some time.
"I trust in heaven we all shall have our rights yet, Jacob," said he at
last. "I wish I was a man!"
Here the conversation ended, and they went to bed.
This was now a busy time at the cottage. The manure had to be got out
of the stable and pigsties, and carried out to the potato-ground and
garden; the crops had to be put in; and the cart was now found valuable.
After the manure had been carried out and spread, Edward and Humphrey
helped Jacob to dig the ground, and then to put in the seed. The
cabbage-plants of last year were then put out, and the turnips and
carrots sown. Before the month was over the garden and potato-field
were cropped, and Humphrey took upon himself to weed and keep it clean.
Little Edith had also employment now; for the hens began to lay eggs,
and as soon as she heard them cackling, she ran for the eggs and brought
them in; and before the month was over Jacob had set four hens upon
eggs. Billy, the pony, was now turned out to graze in the forest; he
came home every night of his own accord.
"I'll tell you what we want," said Humphrey, who took the command
altogether over the farm; "we want a cow."
"Oh yes, a cow," cried Alice; "I have plenty of time to milk her."
"Whose cows are those which I see in the forest sometimes?" said
Humphrey to Jacob.
"If they belong to anybody, they belong to the king," replied Jacob;
"but they are cattle which have strayed and found their way to the
forest, and have remained here ever since. They are rather wild and
savage, and you must be careful how you go too near them, as the bulls
will run at you. They increase very fast: there were but six a few
years ago, and now there are at least fifty in the herd."
"Well, I'll try and get one, if I can," said Humphrey.
"You will be puzzled to do that, boy," replied Jacob, "and as I said
before, beware of the bulls."
"I don't want a bull," replied Humphrey; "but a cow would give us milk,
and then we should have more manure for the garden. My garden will then
grow more potatoes."
"Well, Humphrey, if you can catch a cow, no one will interfere; but I
think you will not find it very easy, and you may find it very
"I'll look-out for one," replied Humphrey, "anyhow. Alice, if we only
had a cow, wouldn't that be jolly?"
The crops were now all up, and as the days began to be long, the work
became comparatively light and easy. Humphrey was busy making a little
wheelbarrow for Edith, that she might barrow away the weeds as he hoed
them up; and at last this great performance was completed, much to the
admiration of all, and much to his own satisfaction. Indeed, when it is
recollected that Humphrey had only the hand-saw and axe, and that he had
to cut down the tree, and then to saw it into plank, it must be
acknowledged that it required great patience and perseverance even to
make a wheelbarrow; but Humphrey was not only persevering, but was full
of invention. He had built up a hen-house with fir poles, and made the
nests for the hens to lay and hatch in, and they now had between forty
and fifty chickens running about. He had also divided the pigsty, so
that the sow might be kept apart from the other pigs; and they expected
very soon to have a litter of young pigs. He had transplanted the wild
strawberries from the forest, and had by manure made them large and
good; and he had also a fine crop of onions in the garden, from seed
which Jacob had bought at Lymington; now Humphrey was very busy cutting
down some poles in the forest to make a cow-house, for he declared that
he would have a cow somehow or another. June arrived, and it was time
to mow down grass to make into hay for the winter, and Jacob had two
scythes. He showed the boys how to use them, and they soon became
expert; and as there was plenty of long grass at this time of the year,
and they could mow when they pleased, they soon had White Billy in full
employment carrying the hay home. The little girls helped to make it,
for Humphrey had made them two rakes. Jacob thought that there was hay
enough made, but Humphrey said that there was enough for the pony, but
not enough for the cow.
"But where is the cow to come from, Humphrey?"
"Where the venison comes from," replied he,--"out of the forest."
So Humphrey continued to mow and make hay, while Edward and Jacob went
out for venison. After all the hay was made and stacked, Humphrey found
out a method of thatching with fern, which Jacob had never thought of;
and when that was done, they commenced cutting down fern for fodder.
Here again Humphrey would have twice as much as Jacob had ever cut
before, because he wanted litter for the cow. At last it became quite a
joke between him and Edward, who, when he brought home more venison than
would keep in the hot weather, told Humphrey that the remainder was for
the cow. Still Humphrey would not give up the point, and every morning
and evening he would be certain to be absent an hour or two, and it was
found out he was watching the herd of wild cattle who were feeding:
sometimes they were very near, at others a long way off. He used to get
up into the trees, and examine them as they passed under him, without
perceiving him. One night Humphrey returned very late, and the next
morning he was off before daylight. Breakfast was over, and Humphrey
did not make his appearance, and they could not tell what was the
matter. Jacob felt uneasy, but Edward laughed, and said:
"Oh, depend upon it, he'll come back and bring the cow with him."
Hardly had Edward said these words when in came Humphrey red with
"Now then, Jacob and Edward, come with me; we must put Billy in the
cart, and take Smoker and a rope with us. Take your guns too, for fear
"Why, what's the matter?"
"I'll tell you as we go along, but I must put Billy in the cart, for
there is no time to be lost."
Humphrey disappeared, and Jacob said to Edward, "What can it be?"
"It can be nothing but the cow he is so mad about," replied Edward.
"However, when he comes with the pony, we shall know; let us take our
guns and the dog Smoker as he wishes."
Humphrey now drove up the pony and cart, and they set off.
"Well, I suppose you'll tell us now what we are going for?" said Edward.
"Yes, I will. You know I've been watching the cattle for a long while,
because I wanted a cow. I have been in a tree when they have passed
under me several times, and I observed that one or two of the heifers
were very near calving. Yesterday evening I thought one could not help
calving very soon indeed, and as I was watching I saw that she was
uneasy, and that she at last left the herd and went into a little copse
of wood. I remained three hours to see if she came out again, and she
did not. It was dark when I came home, as you know. This morning I
went before daylight and found the herd. She is very remarkable, being
black and white spotted; and, after close examination, I found that she
was not with the herd, so I am sure that she went into the copse to
calve, and that she has calved before this."
"Well, that may be," replied Jacob; "but now I do not understand what we
are to do."
"Nor I," replied Edward.
"Well then, I'll tell you what I hope to do. I have got the pony and
cart to take the calf home with us, if we can get it--which I think we
can. I have got Smoker to worry the heifer and keep her employed while
we put the calf in the cart; a rope that we may tie the cow, if we can;
and you with your guns must keep off the herd, if they come to her
assistance. Now do you understand my plan?"
"Yes, and I think it very likely to succeed, Humphrey," replied Jacob,
"and I give you credit for the scheme. We will help you all we can.
Where is the copse?"
"Not half a mile farther," replied Humphrey. "We shall soon be there."
On their arrival they found that the herd were feeding at a considerable
distance from the copse, which was perhaps as well.
"Now," said Jacob, "I and Edward will enter into the copse with Smoker,
and you follow us, Humphrey. I will make Smoker seize the heifer if
necessary; at all events, he will keep her at bay--that is, if she is
here. First let us walk round the copse and find her "slot" as we call
the track of a deer. See, here is her footing. Now let us go in."
They advanced cautiously into the thicket, following the track of the
heifer, and at last came upon her. Apparently she had not calved more
than an hour, and was licking the calf which was not yet on its legs.
As soon as the animal perceived Jacob and Edward, she shook her head,
and was about to run at them; but Jacob told Smoker to seize her, and
the dog flew at her immediately. The attack of the dog drove back the
heifer quite into the thicket, and as the dog bounded round her,
springing this way and that way to escape her horns, the heifer was soon
separated from the calf.
"Now then, Edward and Humphrey," said Jacob, advancing between the
heifer and the calf, "lift up the calf between you and put it in the
cart. Leave Smoker and me to manage the mother."
The boys put their arms under the stomach of the calf, and carried it
away. The heifer was at first too busy defending herself against the
dog to perceive that the calf was gone; when she did Jacob called Smoker
to him, so as to bring him between the heifer and where the boys were
going out of the thicket. At last the heifer gave a loud bellow, and
rushed out of the thicket in pursuit of her calf checked by Smoker, who
held on to her ear, and sometimes stopped her from advancing.
"Hold her, Smoker," said Jacob, who now went back to help the boys.
"Hold her, boy. Is the calf in the cart?"
"Yes, and tied fast," replied Edward, "and we are in the cart too."
"That's right," replied Jacob. "Now I'll get in too, and let us drive
off. She'll follow us, depend upon it. Here, Smoker! Smoker! Let her
Smoker, at this command, came bounding out of the copse, followed by the
heifer, lowing most anxiously. Her lowing was responded to by the calf
in the cart, and she ran wildly up to it.
"Drive off, Humphrey," said Jacob; "I think I heard the lowing of the
heifer answered by some of the herd, and the sooner we are off the
Humphrey, who had the reins, drove off; the heifer followed, at one time
running at the dog, at another putting her head almost into the hind
part of the cart; but the lowing of the heifer was now answered by
deeper tones, and Jacob said:
"Edward, get your gun ready, for I think the herd is following. Do not
fire, however, till I tell you. We must be governed by circumstances.
It won't do to lose the pony, or to run any serious risk, for the sake
of the heifer and calf. Drive fast, Humphrey."
A few minutes afterwards they perceived at about a quarter of a mile
behind them, not the whole herd, but a single bull, who was coming up at
a fast trot, with his tail in the air, and tossing his head, lowing
deeply in answer to the heifer.
"There's only one, after all," said Jacob; "I suppose the heifer is his
favourite. Well, we can manage him. Smoker, come in. Come in, sir,
directly," cried Jacob, perceiving that the dog was about to attack the
Smoker obeyed, and the bull advanced till he was within a hundred yards.
"Now, Edward, do you fire first--aim for his shoulder. Humphrey, pull
Humphrey stopped the pony, and the bull continued to advance, but seemed
puzzled who to attack, unless it was the dog. As soon as the bull was
within sixty yards, Edward fired, and the animal fell down on its knees,
tearing the ground with its horns.
"That will do," said Jacob; "drive on again, Humphrey; we will have a
look at that fellow by and by. At present we had better get home, as
others may come. He's up again, but he is at a standstill. I have an
idea that he is hit hard."
The cart drove on, followed by the heifer; but no more of the wild herd
made their appearance, and they very soon gained the cottage.
"Now, then, what shall we do?" said Jacob. "Come, Humphrey, you have
had all the ordering of this, and have done it well."
"Well, Jacob, we must now drive the cart into the yard, and shut the
gate upon the cow, till I am ready."
"That's easy done, by setting Smoker at her," replied Jacob; "but, mercy
on us, there's Alice and Edith running out!--the heifer may kill them.
Go back, Alice, run quite into the cottage, and shut the door till we
Alice and Edith hearing this, and Edward also crying out to them, made a
hasty retreat to the cottage. Humphrey then backed the cart against the
paling of the yard, so as to enable Edward to get on the other side of
it, ready to open the gate. Smoker was set at the heifer, and, as
before, soon engaged her attention; so that the gate was opened and the
cart drove in, and the gate closed again, before the heifer could
"Well, Humphrey, what next?"
"Why, now lift the calf out and put it into the cow-house. I will go
into the cow-house with a rope and a slip-knot at the end of it, get
upon the beam above, and drop it over her horns as she's busy with the
calf, which she will be as soon as you let her in. I shall pass the end
of the rope outside, for you to haul up when I am ready, and then we
shall have her fast, till we can secure her properly. When I call out
`ready,' do you open the gate and let her in. You can do that and jump
into the cart afterwards, for fear she may run at you; but I don't think
that she will, for it's the calf she wants, and not either of you."
As soon as Humphrey was ready with the rope he gave the word, and the
gate was opened; the cow ran in immediately, and hearing her calf bleat,
went into the cow-house, the door of which was shut upon her. A minute
afterwards Humphrey cried out to them to haul upon the rope, which they
"That will do," said Humphrey from the inside; "now make the rope fast,
and then you may come in."
They went in, and found the heifer drawn close to the side of the
cow-house by the rope which was round her horns, and unable to move her
"Well, Humphrey, that's very clever; but now what's to be done?"
"First I'll saw off the tips of her horns, and then if she does run at
us, she won't hurt us much. Wait till I go for the saw."
As soon as the ends of her horns were sawed off, Humphrey took another
piece of rope, which he fastened securely round her horns, and then made
the other end fast to the side of the building, so that the animal could
move about a little and eat out of the crib.
"There," said Humphrey, "now time and patience must do the rest. We
must coax her and handle her, and we soon shall tame her. At present
let us leave her with the calf. She has a yard of rope, and that is
enough for her to lick her calf, which is all that she requires at
present. To-morrow we will cut some grass for her."
They then went out, shutting the cow-house door.
"Well, Humphrey, you've beat us after all, and have the laugh on your
side now," said Jacob. "`Where there's a will, there's a way,' that's
certain; and I assure you, that when you were making so much hay, and
gathering so much litter, and building a cow-house, I had no more idea
that we should have a cow than that we should have an elephant; and I
will say that you deserve great credit for your way of obtaining it."
"That he certainly does," replied Edward. "You have more genius than I
have, brother. But dinner must be ready, if Alice has done her duty.
What think you, Jacob, shall we after dinner go and look after that
"Yes, by all means. He will not be had eating, and I can sell all I can
carry in the cart at Lymington. Besides, the skin is worth money."
Alice and Edith were very anxious to see the cow, and especially to see
the calf; but Humphrey told them that they must not go near till he went
with them, and then they should see it. After dinner was over, Jacob
and Edward took their guns, and Humphrey put Billy in the cart, and
followed them. They found the bull where they left him, standing quite
still; he tossed his head when they approached him, which they did
carefully, but he did not attempt to run at them.
"It's my idea that he has nearly bled to death," said Jacob; "but
there's nothing like making sure. Edward, put a bullet just three
inches behind his shoulder, and that will make all safe."
Edward did so, and the animal fell dead. They went up to the carcass,
which they estimated to weigh at least fifty stone.
"It is a noble beast," said Edward; "I wonder we never thought of
killing one before."
"They ain't game, Edward," replied Jacob.
"No, they are not now, Jacob," said Humphrey; "as you and Edward claim
all the game, I shall claim the cattle as my portion of the forest.
Recollect, there are more, and I mean to have more of them yet."
"Well, Humphrey, I give you up all my rights, if I have any."
"And I all mine," added Edward.
"Be it so. Some day you'll see what I shall do," replied Humphrey.
"Recollect, I am to sell the cattle for my own self-advantage until I
buy a gun, and one or two things which I want."
"I agree to that too, Humphrey," replied Jacob; "and now to skin the
The skinning and quartering took up the whole afternoon, and Billy was
heavily laden when he drew his cart home. The next day Jacob went to
Lymington to sell the bull and the skin, and returned home well
satisfied with the profit he had made. He had procured, as Humphrey
requested, some milk-pans, a small churn, and milk-pail, out of the
proceeds, and had still money left. Humphrey told them that he had not
been to see the heifer yet, as he thought it better not.
"She will be tame to-morrow morning, depend upon it," said he.
"But if you give her nothing to eat, will not the calf die?"
"Oh no, I should think not. I shall not starve her, but I will make her
thankful for her food before she gets it. I shall cut her some grass
We may as well here say that the next morning Humphrey went in to the
heifer. At first she tossed about and was very unruly. He gave her
some grass, and patted her and coaxed her for a long while, till at last
she allowed him to touch her gently. Every day for a fortnight he
brought her her food, and she became quieter every day, till at last, if
he went up to her, she never pushed with her horns. The calf became
quite tame, and as the heifer perceived that the calf was quiet, she
became more quiet herself. After the fortnight, Humphrey would not
allow the heifer to receive anything except from the hand of Alice, that
the animal might know her well; and when the calf was a month old,
Humphrey made the first attempt to milk her. This was resisted at first
by kicking, but in the course of ten days she gave down her milk.
Humphrey then let her loose for a few days to run about the yard, still
keeping the calf in the cow-house, and putting the heifer in to her at
night, milking her before the calf was allowed to suck. After this, he
adventured upon the last experiment, which was to turn her out of the
yard to graze into the forest. She went away to some distance, and he
was fearful that she would join the herd, but in the evening she came
back again to her calf. After this he was satisfied, and turned her out
every day, and they had no further trouble with her. He would not,
however, wean the calf till the winter time, when she was shut up in the
yard and fed on hay. He then weaned the calf, which was a cow-calf, and
they had no more trouble with the mother. Alice soon learnt to milk
her, and she became very tractable and good-tempered. Such was the
commencement of the dairy at the cottage.
"Jacob," said Humphrey, "when do you go to Lymington again?"
"Why, I do not know. The end of August, as it is now, and the month of
September, is not good for venison; and, therefore, I do not see what I
shall have to go for."
"Well, I wish, when you do go, you would get something for Alice and
something for me."
"And what is it that Alice wants?"
"She wants a kitten."
"Well, I think I may find that. And what do you want, Humphrey?"
"I want a dog. Smoker is yours altogether; I want a dog for myself, to
bring up after my own fashion."
"Well, I ought to look-out for another dog: although Smoker is not old,
yet one ought to have two dogs to one's gun, in case of accident."
"I think so too," replied Edward; "see if you can get two puppies, one
for Humphrey, and one for myself."
"Well, I must not go to Lymington for them. I must cross the forest, to
see some friends of mine whom I have not seen for a long while, and I
may get some of the right sort of puppies there, just like Smoker. I'll
do that at once, as I may have to wait for them, even if I do have the
"May I go with you, Jacob?" said Edward.
"Why, I would rather not; they may ask questions."
"And so would I rather he would not, for he will shirk his work here."
"Why, what is there to do, Humphrey?"
"Plenty to do, and hard work, Edward; the acorns are fit for beating
down, and we want a great many bushels for the pigs. We have to fatten
three, and to feed the rest during the winter. I cannot get on well
with only Alice and Edith; so if you are not very lazy, you will stay
with us and help us."
"Humphrey, you think of nothing but your pigs and farm-yard."
"And you are too great a hunter to think of anything but a stag; but a
bird in the hand's worth two in the bush, in my opinion; and I'll make
more by my farm-yard than you ever will by the forest."
"Humphrey has nothing to do with the poultry and eggs, has he, Edward?
They belong to Edith and me and Jacob shall take them to Lymington and
sell them for us, and get us some new clothes for Sunday, for these
begin to look rather worn--and no wonder."
"No, dearest, the poultry are yours, and I will sell them for you as
soon as you please, and buy what you wish with the money," replied
Jacob. "Let Humphrey make all the money he can with his pigs."
"Yes; and the butter belongs to me, if I make it," said Alice.
"No, no," replied Humphrey, "that's not fair; I find cows, and get
nothing for them. We must go halves, Alice."
"Well, I have no objection to that," said Alice, "because you find the
cows and feed them. I made a pound of butter yesterday, just to try
what I could do; but it's not firm, Jacob. How is that?"
"I have seen the women make butter, and know how, Alice; so next time I
will be with you. I suppose you did not wash your butter-milk well out,
nor put any salt in it?"
"I did not put any salt in it."
"But you must, or the butter will not keep."
It was arranged that Edward should stay at home to assist in collecting
the acorns for the pigs, and that Jacob should cross the forest alone to
see after the puppies; and he set off the next morning. He was away two
days, and then returned; said that he had a promise of two puppies, and
that he had chosen them; they were of the same breed as Smoker, but they
were only a fortnight old, and could not be taken from the mother yet
awhile, so that he had arranged to call again when they were three or
four months old, and able to follow him across the forest. Jacob also
said that he was very near being hurt by a stag that had made at him--
for at that season of the year the stags were very dangerous and
fierce--but that he had fired, and struck off one of the animal's horns,
which made it turn.
"You must be careful, Edward, how you go about the forest now."
"I have no wish to go," replied Edward; "as we cannot hunt, it is no
use; but in November we shall begin again."
"Yes," replied Jacob, "that will be soon enough. To-morrow I will help
you with the acorns, and the day afterwards, if I am spared, I will take
Alice's poultry to Lymington for her."
"Yes, and when you come back you will help me to churn, for then I shall
have a good deal of cream."
"And don't forget to buy the kitten, Jacob," said Edith.
"What's the good of a kitten?" said Humphrey, who was very busy making a
bird-cage for Edith, having just finished one for Alice; "she will only
steal your cream and eat up your birds."
"No, she won't; for we'll shut the door fast where the milk and cream
is, and we'll hang the cages so high that Miss Puss won't be able to get
"Well, then, a kitten will be useful," said Edward, "for she will teach
you to be careful."
"My coat is a little the worse for wear, and so is yours, Edward. We
must try if we cannot, like Alice, find means to pay for another."
"Humphrey," said Jacob, "I'll buy all you want, and trust to you for
paying me again as soon as you can."
"That's just what I want," replied Humphrey. "Then you must buy me a
gun and a new suit of clothes first; when I've paid for them I shall
want some more tools, and some nails and screws, and two or three other
things; but I will say nothing about them just now. Get me my gun, and
I'll try what the forest will do for me--especially after I have my
"Well, we shall see; perhaps you'll like to come out with me sometimes
and learn woodcraft, for Edward knows as much as I do now, and can go
out by himself."
"Of course I will, Jacob; I want to learn everything."
"Well, there's a little money left in the bag yet, and I will go to
Lymington to-morrow. Now I think it is time that we went to bed; and if
you are all as tired as I am, you will sleep soundly."
Jacob put into the cart the next day about forty of the chickens which
Alice had reared; the others were kept to increase the number in the
poultry-yard. They had cost little or nothing bringing up; for when
quite young they only had a little oatmeal cake, and afterwards, with
the potatoes which were left, they found themselves, as fowls can always
do when they have a great range of ground to go over.
Jacob came back at sunset, with all the articles. He brought a new suit
for Alice and Edith, with some needles and thread and worsted, and gave
her some money which was left from the sale of the chickens, after he
had made the purchases. He also bought a new suit for Edward and
Humphrey, and a gun, which was much approved of by Humphrey, as it had a
larger bore and carried a heavier bullet than either Jacob's or Edward's
and there was a white kitten for Alice and Edith. There was no news,
only that the Levellers had opposed Cromwell, and he had put them down
with the other troops, and Jacob said that it appeared that they were
all squabbling and fighting with each other.
Time passed; the month of November came on without anything to disturb
the daily employments of the family in the forest: when one evening
Jacob, who had returned from hunting with Edward (the first time they
had been out since the season commenced), told Alice that she must do
all she could to give them a good dinner the next day, as it was to be a
"Why so, Jacob?"
"If you cannot guess, I won't tell you till the time comes," replied
"Well then, Humphrey must help us," replied Alice, "and we will do what
we can. I will try, now that we have some meat, to make a grand
Alice made all the preparations, and had for dinner the next day a piece
of baked venison, a venison stew, a pair of roast chickens, and an
apple-pie--which, for them, was a very grand dinner indeed. And it was
very well-dressed; for Jacob had taught her to cook, and by degrees she
improved upon Jacob's instruction. Humphrey was quite as clever at it
as she was; and little Edith was very useful, as she plucked the fowls,
and watched the things while they were cooking.
"And now I'll tell you," said Jacob, after saying grace, "why I asked
you for a feast this day. It is because exactly on this day twelvemonth
I brought you all to the cottage. Now you know."
"I did not know it certainly, but I daresay you are right," replied
"And now, children, tell me," said Jacob, "has not this year passed very
quickly and very happily--quite as quickly and quite as happily as if
you had been staying at Arnwood?"
"Yes, more so," replied Humphrey; "for then very often I did not know
what to do to amuse myself, and since I have been here the days have
always been too short."
"I agree with Humphrey," said Edward.
"And I am sure I do," replied Alice; "I'm always busy, and always happy,
and I'm never scolded about dirtying my clothes or tearing them, as I
used to be."
"And what does little Edith say?"
"I like to help Alice, and I like to play with the kitten," replied
"Well, my children," said Jacob, "depend upon it, you are most happy
when your days pass quickest, and that is only the case when you have
plenty to do. Here you are in peace and safety; and may it please God
that you may continue so! We want very few things in this world--that
is, we really want very few things, although we wish and sigh for many.
You have health and spirits, which are the greatest blessings in life.
Who would believe, to look at you all, that you were the same children
that I brought away from Arnwood? You were then very different from
what you are now. You are strong and healthy, rosy and brown, instead
of being fair and delicate. Look at your sisters, Edward, do you think
that any of your former friends--do you think that Martha, who had the
care of them, would know them?"
Edward smiled and said, "Certainly not; especially in their present
"Nor would, I think, Humphrey be known again. You, Edward, were always
a stout boy; and, except that you have grown very much, and are more
brown, there is no great difference. You would be known again, even in
your present forester's dress; but what I say is, that we ought to be
thankful to the Almighty that you, instead of being burnt in your beds,
have found health and happiness and security in a forester's hut; and I
ought to be, and am, most thankful to heaven that it has pleased it to
spare my life, and enable me to teach you all to the present how to gain
your own livelihoods after I am called away. I have been able so far to
fulfil my promise to your noble father; and you know not what a heavy
load on my mind is every day lessened, as I see each day that you are
more and more able to provide for yourselves. God bless you, dear
children, and may you live to see many returns, and happy returns, of
the day;" and Jacob was so much moved as he said this, that a tear was
seen rolling down his furrowed cheek.
The second winter now came on. Jacob and Edward went out hunting
usually about twice a week; for the old forester complained of stiffness
and rheumatism, and not feeling so active as he used to be. Humphrey
now accompanied Edward perhaps one day in the week, but not more, and
they seldom returned without having procured venison, for Edward knew
his business well, and no longer needed the advice of Jacob. As the
winter advanced Jacob gave up going out altogether. He went to
Lymington to sell the venison and procure what was necessary for the
household; such as oatmeal and flour, which were the principal wants;
but even these journeys fatigued him, and it was evident that the old
man's constitution was breaking fast. Humphrey was always busy. One
evening he was making something which puzzled them all. They asked him
what it was for, but he would not tell them.
"It's an experiment that I am trying," said he, as he was bending a
hazel stick. "If it answers, you shall know: if it does not, I've only
had a little trouble for nothing. Jacob, I hope you will not forget the
salt to-morrow when you go to Lymington, for my pigs are ready for
killing, and we must salt the greatest part of the pork. After the legs
and shoulders have lain long enough in salt, I mean to try if I cannot
smoke them, and if I do, I'll then smoke some bacon. Won't that be
jolly, Alice? Won't you like to have a great piece of bacon hanging up
there, and only to have to get on a stool to cut off what you want, when
Edward and I come home hungry and you've nothing to give us to eat?"
"I shall be very glad to have it, and I think so will you too, by the
way you talk."
"I shall, I assure you. Jacob, didn't you say the ash-sticks were the
best to smoke bacon with?"
"Yes, boy: when you are ready, I'll tell you how to manage. My poor
mother used to smoke very well up this very chimney."
"I think that will do," said Humphrey, letting his hazel stick spring
up, after he had bent it down, "but to-morrow I shall find out."
"But what is it for, Humphrey?" said Edith.
"Go away, puss, and play with your kitten," replied Humphrey, putting
away his tools and his materials in a corner; "I've a great deal on my
hands now, but I must kill my pigs before I think of anything else."
The next day Jacob took the venison into Lymington, and brought back the
salt and other articles required. The pigs were then killed, and salted
down under Jacob's directions; his rheumatism did not allow him to
assist, but Humphrey and Edward rubbed in the salt, and Alice took the
pieces of pork away to the tub when they were finished. Humphrey had
been out the day before with the unknown article he had been so long
about. The next morning he went out early before breakfast, and when he
returned he brought a hare in his hand, which he laid on the table.
"There," said he, "my springe has answered, and this is the fruits of
it. Now I'll make some more, and we will have something by way of a
change for dinner."
They were very much pleased with Humphrey's success, and he was not a
little proud of it.
"How did you find out how to make it?"
"Why, I read in the old book of travels which Jacob brought home with
him last summer, of people catching rabbits and hares in some way like
this; I could not make it out exactly, but it gave me the idea."
We ought to have told the reader that Jacob had more than once brought
home an old book or two which he had picked up, or had given him, and
that these had been occasionally looked into by Humphrey and Edward, but
only now and then, as they had too much to do to find much time for
reading, although sometimes in the evening they did take them up. When
it is considered how young they were, and what a practical and busy life
they led, this cannot be surprising.
Humphrey was now after something else. He had made several traps, and
brought in rabbits and hares almost every day. He had also made some
bird traps, and had caught two gold-finches for Alice and Edith, which
they put in the cages he had made for them. But, as we said, Humphrey
was about something else; he was out early in the morning, and in the
evening, when the moon was up, he came home late, long after they had
all gone to bed; but they never knew why, nor would he tell them. A
heavy fall of snow took place, and Humphrey was more out than ever. At
last, about a week after the snow had lain on the ground, one morning he
came in with a hare and rabbit in his hand, and said:
"Edward, I have caught something larger than a hare or a rabbit, and you
must come and help me, and we must take our guns. Jacob, I suppose your
rheumatism is too bad to let you come too?"
"No; I think I can manage. It's the damp that hurts me so much. This
frosty air will do me good, perhaps. I have been much better since the
snow fell. Now, then, let us see what you have caught."
"You will have to walk two miles," said Humphrey, as they went out.
"I can manage it, Humphrey; so lead the way."
Humphrey went on till they came close to a clump of large trees, and
then brought them to a pit-fall which he had dug, about six feet wide
and eight feet long, and nine feet deep.
"There's my large trap," said Humphrey, "and see what I have caught in
They looked down into the pit and perceived a young bull in it. Smoker,
who was with them, began to bark furiously at it.
"Now, what are we to do? I don't think it is hurt. Can we get it out?"
"No, not very well. If it was a calf we might; but it is too heavy; and
if we were to get it out alive, we must kill it afterwards, so we had
better shoot it at once."
"So I think," replied Humphrey.
"But how did you catch him?" said Edward.
"I read of it in the same book I did about the traps for hares," replied
Humphrey. "I dug out the pit and covered it with brambles, and then put
snow at the top. This is the thicket that the herd comes to chiefly in
winter time; it is large and dry, and the large trees shelter it; so
that is why I chose this spot. I took a large bundle of hay, put some
on the snow about the pit, and then strewed some more about in small
handfuls, so that the cattle must find it and pick it up, which I knew
they would be glad to do, now that the snow is on the ground. And now,
you see, I have succeeded."
"Well, Humphrey, you beat us, I will say," said Edward. "Shall I shoot
"Yes, now that he is looking up."
Edward shot his ball through the forehead of the animal, which fell
dead; but they were then obliged to go home for the pony and cart, and
ropes to get the animal out of the pit, and a hard job they had of it
too; but the pony helped them, and they did get it out at last.
"I will do it easier next time," said Humphrey. "I will make a windlass
as soon as I can, and we will soon hoist out another, like they turn a
bucket of water up from a well."
"It's nice young meat," said Jacob, who was skinning the bull, "not
above eighteen months old, I should think. Had it been a full-grown
one, like that we shot, it must have remained where it was, for we never
could have got it out."
"Yes, Jacob, we should; for I should have gone down and cut it up in the
pit, so that we would have handed it out by bits, if we could not have
managed him whole."
They loaded the cart with the skin and quarters of the animal, and then
"This will go far to pay for the gun, Humphrey," said Jacob, "if it
don't pay for more."
"I'm glad of it," said Humphrey; "but I hope it will not be the last
which I take."
"That reminds me, Humphrey, of one thing; I think you must come back
with the cart and carry away all the entrails of the beast, and remove
all the blood which is on the snow, for I've observed that cattle are
very scared with the smell and sight of blood. I found that out by once
or twice seeing them come to where I have cut the throat of a stag, and
as soon as they have put their noses down to where the blood was on the
ground they have put their tails up and galloped away, bellowing at a
terrible rate. Indeed I've heard say that if a murder has been
committed in a wood, and you want to find the body, that a herd of
cattle drove into it will serve you better than even a bloodhound."
"Thank you for telling me that, Jacob, for I should never have supposed
it; and I'll tell you what I'll also do. I'll load the cart with fern
litter, and put it at the bottom of the pit; so that if I could get a
heifer or calf worth taking, it may not be hurt by the fall."
"It must have taken you a long while to dig that pit, Humphrey."
"Yes, it did, and as I got deeper the work was harder, and then I had to
carry away all the earth and scatter it about. I was more than a month
about it from the time that I began till it was finished, and I had a
ladder to go up and down by at last, and carried the baskets of earth
up, for it was too deep to throw it out."
"Nothing like patience and perseverance, Humphrey. You've more than I
"I'm sure he has more than I have, or shall ever have, I'm afraid,"
During this winter, which passed rapidly away, very few circumstances of
any consequence occurred. Old Jacob was more or less confined to the
cottage by the rheumatism, and Edward hunted either by himself or
occasionally with Humphrey. Humphrey was fortunate enough to take a
bull and cow-calf in his pit-fall, both of them about a year or fifteen
months old, and by a rude invention of his, by way of windlass,
contrived, with the assistance of Edward, to hoist them uninjured out of
the pit. They were put into the yard, and after having been starved
till they were tamed, they followed the example of the heifer and calf,
and became quite tame. These were an important addition to their stock,
as may well be imagined. The only mishap under which they laboured was,
old Jacob's confinement to the cottage, which, as the winter advanced,
prevented him from going to Lymington; they could not therefore sell any
venison, and Humphrey, by way of experiment, smoked some venison hams,
which he hung up with the others. There was another point on which they
felt anxiety, which was, that Jacob could not cross the forest to get
the puppies which had been promised them, and the time was past, for it
was now January, when he was to have called for them. Edward and
Humphrey pressed the old man very hard to let one of them go; but the
only answer they could obtain was, "that he'd be better soon." At last,
finding that he got worse instead of better, he consented that Edward
should go. He gave directions how to proceed, the way he was to take,
and a description of the keeper's lodge; cautioned him to call himself
by the name of Armitage, and describe himself as his grandson. Edward
promised to obey Jacob's directions, and the next morning he set off,
mounted upon White Billy, with a little money in his pocket, in case he
should want it.
"I wish I was going with you," said Humphrey, as he walked by the side
of the pony.
"I wish you were, Humphrey: for my part, I feel as if I were a slave set
at liberty. I do justice to old Jacob's kindness and good-will, and
acknowledge how much we are indebted to him; but still, to be housed up
here in the forest, never seeing or speaking to any one, shut out from
the world, does not suit Edward Beverley. Our father was a soldier, and
a right good one; and if I were old enough I think even now I should
escape and join the royal party, broken as it may be, and by all
accounts is, at this moment. Deer-stalking is all very well, but I fly
at higher game."
"I feel the same as you do," replied Humphrey; "but recollect, Edward,
that the old man's very infirm, and what would become of our sisters if
we were to leave them?"
"I know that well, Humphrey; I have no idea of leaving them, you may be
sure; but I wish they were with our relations in safety, and then we
should be free to act."
"Yes, we should, Edward; but recollect that we are not yet men, and boys
of fifteen and thirteen cannot do much, although they may wish to do
"It's true that I am only fifteen," replied Edward, "but I am strong
enough, and so are you. I think if I had a fair cut at a man's head, I
would make him stagger under it, were he as big as a buffalo. As young
as I have been to the wars, that I know well; and I recollect my father
promising me that I should go with him as soon as I was fifteen."
"What puzzles me," replied Humphrey, "is the fear that old Jacob has of
our being seen at Lymington."
"Why, what fear is there?"
"I cannot tell more than you; in my opinion, the rear is only in his own
imagination. They surely would not hurt us (if we walked about without
arms like other people), because our father had fought for the king?
That they have beheaded some people is true; but then they were plotting
in the king's favour, or in other ways opposed to Parliament. This I
have gathered from Jacob: but I cannot see what we have to fear, if we
remain quiet. But now comes the question, Edward; for Jacob has, I
believe, said more to me on this one subject than he has to you.
Suppose you were to leave the forest, what would be the first step which
you would take?"
"I should of course state who I was, and take possession of my father's
property at Arnwood, which is mine by descent."
"Exactly; so Jacob thinks, and he says that would be your ruin, for the
property is sequestered, as they call it, or forfeited to the
Parliament, in consequence of your father having fought against it on
the king's side. It no longer belongs to you, and you would not be
allowed to take it: on the contrary, you would in all probability be
imprisoned, and who knows what might then take place? You see there is
"Did Jacob say this to you?"
"Yes, he did: he told me he dare not speak to you on the subject, you
were so fiery; and if you heard that the property was confiscated you
would certainly do some rash act, and that anything of the kind would be
a pretence for laying hold of you; and then he said that he did not
think that he would live long, for he was weaker every day; and that he
only hoped his life would be spared another year or two, that he might
keep you quiet till better times came. He said that if they supposed
that we were all burnt in the house when it was fired, it would give
them a fair opportunity of calling you an impostor, and treating you
accordingly; and that there were so many anxious to have a gift of the
property that you would have thousands of people compassing your death.
He said that your making known yourself and claiming your property would
be the very conduct that your enemies would wish you to follow, and
would be attended with most fatal consequences; for he said, to prove
that you were Edward Beverley, you must declare that I and your sisters
were in the forest with him, and this disclosure would put the whole
family in the power of their bitterest enemies; and what would become of
your sisters, it would be impossible to say; but most likely they would
be put under the charge of some Puritan family, who would have a
pleasure in ill-treating and humiliating the daughters of such a man as
"And why did he not tell me all this?"
"He was afraid to say anything to you; he thought that you would be so
mad at the idea of this injustice that you would do something rash: and
he said, `I pray every night that my otherwise useless life may be
spared; for, were I to die, I know that Edward would quit the forest.'"
"Never, while my sisters are under my protection," replied Edward; "were
they safe, I would be out of it to-morrow."
"I think, Edward, that there is great truth in what Jacob says; you
could do no good (for they would not restore your property), by making
your seclusion known at present, and you might do a great deal of
harm--`bide your time'--is good advice in such troubled times. I
therefore think that I should be very wary if I were you; but I still
think that there is no fear of either you or I going out of the forest
in our present dresses and under the name of Armitage. No one would
recognise us; you are grown tall, and so am I, and we are so tanned and
sunburnt with air and exercise that we do look more like children of the
forest than the sons of Colonel Beverley."
"Humphrey, you speak very sensibly, and I agree with you. I am not
quite so fiery as the old man thinks; and if my bosom burns with
indignation, at all events I have sufficient power to conceal my
feelings when it is necessary. I can oppose art to art, if it becomes
requisite, and which, from what you have said, I believe now is really
so. One thing is certain, that while King Charles is a prisoner, as he
now is, and his party dispersed or gone abroad, I can do nothing, and to
make myself known would only be to injure myself and all of us. Keep
quiet, therefore, I certainly shall, and also remain as I am now under a
false name; but still I must and will mix up with other people, and know
what is going on. I am willing to live in this forest and protect my
sisters as long as it is necessary so to do; but although I will reside
here, I will not be confined to the forest altogether."
"That's exactly what I think too, Edward, what I wish myself: but let us
not be too hasty even in this. And now, I will wish you a pleasant
ride; and, Edward, if you can, procure of the keepers some small shot
for me; I much wish to have some."
"I will not forget; good-bye, brother."
Humphrey returned home to attend his farm-yard, while Edward continued
his journey through the forest. Some estimate of the character of the
two boys may be formed from the above conversation. Edward was
courageous and impetuous--hasty in his resolves, but still open to
conviction. Brought up as the heir to the property, he felt, more than
Humphrey could be expected to do, the mortification of being left a
pauper, after such high prospects in his early days: his vindictive
feelings against the opposite party were therefore more keen, and his
spirit mounted more under the conviction which he laboured. His
disposition was naturally warlike, and this disposition had been
fostered by his father when he was a child--still a kinder heart or a
more generous lad never existed.
Humphrey was of a much more subdued and philosophical temperament, not
perhaps so well calculated to lead as to advise; there was great
prudence in him united with courage; but his was a passive courage
rather than an active one--a courage which if assailed would defend
itself valiantly, but would be wary and reflective before it would
attack. Humphrey had not that spirit of chivalry possessed by Edward.
He was a younger son, and had to earn, in a way, his own fortune, and he
felt that his inclinations were more for peace than strife. Moreover,
Humphrey had talents which Edward had not--a natural talent for
mechanics, and an inquisitive research into science, as far as his
limited education would permit him. He was more fitted for an engineer
or an agriculturist than for a soldier, although there is no doubt that
he would have made a very brave soldier, if such was to have become his
For kindness and generosity of nature he was equal to his brother, and
this was the reason why an angry word never passed between them; for the
question between them was, not which should have his way, but which
should give up most to the wishes of the other. We hardly need say,
that there never were two brothers who were more attached, and who so
mutually respected each other.
Edward put the pony to a trot, and in two hours was on the other side of
the New Forest. The directions given to him by Jacob were not
forgotten, and before it was noon he found himself at the gate of the
keeper's house. Dismounting, and hanging the bridle of the pony over
the rail he walked through a small garden, neatly kept but, so early in
the year, not over gay, except that the crocus and snow drops were
peeping. He rapped at the door with his knuckles, and a girl of about
fourteen, very neatly dressed, answered the summons.
"Is Oswald Partridge at home, maiden?" said Edward.
"No, young man, he is not. He is in the forest."
"When will he return?"
"Towards the evening is his time, unless he is more than usually
"I have come some distance to find him," replied Edward; "and it would
vex me to return without seeing him. Has he a wife, or any one that I
could speak to?"
"He has no wife; but I am willing to deliver a message."
"I am come about some dogs which he promised to Jacob Armitage, my
relation; but the old man is too unwell, and has been for some time, to
come himself for them, and he has sent me."
"There are dogs, young and old, large and small, in the kennels; so far
do I know, and no more."
"I fear then I must wait till his return," replied Edward.
"I will speak to my father," replied the young girl, "if you will wait
In a minute or two the girl returned, saying that her father begged that
he would walk in, and he would speak with him. Edward bowed, and
followed the young girl, who led the way to a room, in which was seated
a man dressed after the fashion of the Roundheads of the day. His
steeple-crowned hat lay on the chair, with his sword beneath it. He was
sitting at a table covered with papers.
"Here is the youth, father," said the girl; and having said this, she
crossed the room and took a seat by the side of the fire. The man, or
we should rather say gentleman--for he had the appearance of one,
notwithstanding the sombre and peculiar dress he wore, continued to read
a letter which he had just opened; and Edward, who feared himself the
prisoner of a Roundhead when he only expected to meet a keeper, was
further irritated by the neglect shown towards him by the party.
Forgetting that he was, by his own assertion, not Edward Beverley, but
the relative of one Jacob Armitage, he coloured up with anger as he
stood at the door. Fortunately the time that it took the other party to
read through the letter gave Edward also time for recollecting the
disguise under which he appeared; the colour subsided from his cheeks,
and he remained in silence, occasionally meeting the look of the little
girl, who, when their eyes met, immediately withdrew her glance.
"What is your business, young man?" at last said the gentleman at the
"I came, sir, on private business with the keeper, Oswald Partridge, to
obtain two young hounds, which he promised to my grandfather, Jacob
"Armitage!" said the other party, referring to a list on the table;
"Armitage--Jacob--yes--I see he is one of the verderers. Why has he not
been here to call upon me?"
"For what reason should he call upon you, sir?" replied Edward.
"Simply, young man, because the New Forest is, by the Parliament,
committed to my charge. Notice has been given for all those who were
employed to come here, that they might be permitted to remain, or he
discharged, as I may deem most advisable."
"Jacob Armitage has heard nothing of this, sir," replied Edward. "He
was a keeper, appointed under the king; for two or three years his
allowances have never been paid, and he has lived in his own cottage,
which was left to him by his father, being his own property."
"And pray, may I ask, young man, do you live with Jacob Armitage?"
"I have done so for more than a year."
"And as your relation has received no pay and allowances, as you state,
pray, by what means has he maintained himself?"
"How have the other keepers maintained themselves?" replied Edward.
"Do not put questions to me, sir," replied the gentleman; "but be
pleased to reply to mine. What has been the means of subsistence of
"If you think he has no means of subsistence, sir, you are mistaken,"
replied Edward. "We have land of our own, which we cultivate; we have
our pony and our cart; we have our pigs and our cows."
"And they have been sufficient?"
"Had the patriarchs more?" replied Edward.
"You are pithy at reply, young man; but I know something of Jacob
Armitage, and we know," continued he, putting his finger close to some
writing opposite the name on the list, "with whom he has been
associated, and with whom he has served. Now allow me to put one
question. You have come, you say, for two young hounds. Are their
services required for your pigs and cows, and to what use are they to be
"We have as good a dog as there is in the forest," replied Edward, "but
we wish to have others, in case we should lose him."
"As good a dog as in the forest--good for what?"
"Then you acknowledge that you do hunt?"
"I acknowledge nothing for Jacob Armitage, he may answer for himself,"
replied Edward; "but allow me to assure you that if he has killed
venison no one can blame him."
"Perhaps you will explain why?"
"Nothing is more easy. Jacob Armitage served King Charles, who employed
him as a verderer in the forest, and paid him his wages. Those who
should not have done so rebelled against the king, took his authority
from him, and the means of paying those he employed. They were still
servants of the king, for they were not dismissed; and, having no other
means of support, they considered that their good master would be but
too happy that they should support themselves by killing, for their
subsistence, that venison which they could no longer preserve for him
without eating some themselves."
"Then you admit that Jacob Armitage has killed the deer in the forest?"
"I admit nothing for Jacob Armitage."
"You admit that you have killed it yourself."
"I shall not answer that question, sir; in the first place, I am not
here to criminate myself; and, in the next, I must know by what
authority you have the right to inquire."
"Young man," replied the other in a severe tone, "if you wish to know my
authority, malapert as you are (at this remark Edward started, yet,
recollecting himself he compressed his lips and stood still), this is my
commission, appointing me the agent of Parliament to take charge and
superintend the New Forest, with power to appoint and dismiss those whom
I please. I presume you must take my word for it, as you cannot read
Edward stepped up to the table, and very quietly took up the paper and
read it. "You have stated what is correct, sir," said he, laying it
down; "and the date of it is, I perceive, on the 20th of the last month
of December. It is, therefore, but eighteen days old."
"And what inference would you draw from that, young man?" replied the
gentleman, looking up to him with some astonishment.
"Simply this, sir--that Jacob Armitage has been laid up with the
rheumatism for three months, during which time he certainly has not
killed any venison. Now, sir, until the Parliament took the forest into
their hands, it undoubtedly belonged to his majesty, if it does not now;
therefore Jacob Armitage, for whatever slaughter he may have committed,
is, up to the present, only answerable to his sovereign, King Charles."
"It is easy to perceive the school in which you have been brought up,
young man, even if there was not evidence on this paper that your
forefather served under the Cavalier Colonel Beverley, and has brought
you up to his way of thinking."
"Sir, it is a base dog that bites the hand that feeds him," replied
Edward with warmth. "Jacob Armitage, and his father before him, were
retainers in the family of Colonel Beverley; they were indebted to him
for the situation they now hold in the forest; indebted to him for
everything; they revere his name, they uphold the cause for which he
fell, as I "do"."
"Young man, if you do not speak advisedly, at all events you speak
gratefully; neither have I a word of disrespect to offer to the memory
of Colonel Beverley, who was a gallant man, and true to the cause which
he espoused, although it was not a holy one; but in my position, I
cannot, in justice to those whom I serve, give places and emolument to
those who have been, and still are, as I may judge by your expressions,
adverse to the present government."
"Sir," replied Edward, "your language, with respect to Colonel Beverley,
has made me feel respect for you, which I confess I did not at first;
what you say is very just; not that I think you harm Jacob Armitage; as,
in the first place, I know that he would not serve under you; and, in
the next, that he is too old and infirm to hold the situation; neither
has he occasion for it, as his cottage and land are his own, and you
cannot remove him."
"He has the title, I presume?" replied the gentleman.
"He has the title given to his grandfather, long before King Charles was
born, and I presume the Parliament do not intend to invalidate the acts
of former kings."
"May I inquire what relation you are to Jacob Armitage?"
"I believe, I have before said, his grandson."
"You live with him?"
"And if the old man dies, will inherit his property?" Edward smiled,
and looking at the young girl, said, "Now, I ask you, maiden, if your
father does not presume upon his office?"
The young girl laughed, and said, "He is in authority."
"Not over me, certainly, and not over my grandfather, for he has
"Were you brought up at the cottage, young man?"
"No, sir, I was brought up at Arnwood. I was a playmate of the children
of Colonel Beverley."
"Educated with them?"
"Yes, for, as far as my wilfulness would permit, the chaplain was always
ready to give me instruction."
"Where were you when Arnwood was burnt down?"
"I was at the cottage at that time," replied Edward, grinding his teeth
and looking wildly.
"Nay, nay, I can forgive any expression of feeling on your part, my
young man, when that dreadful and disgraceful deed is brought to your
memory. It was a stain that can never be effaced--a deed most
diabolical, and what we thought would call down the vengeance of heaven.
If prayers could avert, or did avert it, they were not wanting on our
Edward remained silent: this admission on the part of the Roundhead
prevented an explosion on his part. He felt that all were not so bad as
he had imagined. After a long pause, he said, "When I came here, sir,
it was to seek Oswald Partridge, and obtain the hounds which he had
promised us; but I presume that my journey is now useless."
"Because you have the control of the forest, and will not permit dogs
for the chase to be given away to those who are not employed by the
powers that now govern."
"You have judged correctly, in so far that my duty is to prevent it; but
as the promise was made previous to the date of my commission, I
presume," said he, smiling, "you think I have no right to interfere, as
it will be an "ex post facto" case, if I do: I shall not therefore
interfere, only I must point out to you that the laws are still the same
relative to those who take the deer in the forest by stealth--you
"Yes, sir, I do; and if you will not be offended, I will give you a
"I consider that the deer in this forest belong to King Charles, who is
my lawful sovereign, and I own no authority but from him. I hold myself
answerable to him alone for any deer I may kill, and I feel sure of his
permission and full forgiveness for what I may do."
"That may be your opinion, my good sir, but it will not be the opinion
of the ruling powers; but if caught, you will be punished, and that by
me, in pursuance of the authority vested in me."
"Well, sir; if so, so be it. You have dismissed the Armitages on
account of their upholding the king, and you cannot, therefore, be
surprised that they uphold him more than ever. Nor can you be surprised
if a dismissed verderer becomes a poacher."
"Nor can you be surprised if a poacher is caught, that he incurs the
penalty," replied the Roundhead. "So now there's an end of our
argument. If you go into the kitchen, you will find wherewithal to
refresh the outward man, and if you wish to remain till Oswald Partridge
comes home, you are welcome."
Edward, who felt indignant at being dismissed to the kitchen, nodded his
head and smiled upon the little girl, and left the room. "Well,"
thought he, as he went along the passage, "I came here for two puppies,
and I have found a Roundhead. I don't know how it is, but I am not so
angry with him as I thought I should be. That little girl had a nice
smile--she was quite handsome when she smiled. Oh, this is the kitchen,
to which," thought he, "the Lord of Arnwood is dismissed by a Covenanter
and Roundhead, probably a tradesman or outlaw, who has served the cause.
Well, be it so; as Humphrey says, `I'll bide my time.' But there is no
one here, so I'll try if there is a stable for White Billy, who is
tired, I presume, of being at the gate."
Edward returned by the way he came, went out of the front door, and
through the garden to where the pony was made fast, and led him away in
search of a stable. He found one behind the house, and filling the rack
with hay, returned to the house, and seated himself at a porch which was
at the door which led to the back premises, for the keeper's house was
large and commodious. Edward was in deep thought, when he was roused by
the little girl, the daughter of the newly-appointed Intendant of the
forest, who said:
"I am afraid, young sir, you have had but sorry welcome in the kitchen,
as there was no one to receive you. I was not aware that Phoebe had
gone out. If you will come with me, I may, perhaps, find you
"Thanks, maiden, you are kind and considerate to an avowed poacher,"
"Oh, but you will not poach, I'm sure; and if you do, I'll beg you off
if I can," replied the girl, laughing.
Edward followed her into the kitchen, and she soon produced a cold fowl
and a venison pasty, which she placed on the table; she then went out
and returned with a jug of ale.
"There," said she, putting it on the table, "that is all that I can
"Your father's name is Heatherstone, I believe. It was so on the
"Yes, it is."
"The same as my father's, I should presume."
"Yes, but your baptismal name?"
"You ask strange questions, young sir; but still I will answer you that:
my baptismal name is Patience."
"I thank you for your condescension," replied Edward. "You live here?"
"For the present, good sir; and now I leave you."
"That's a nice little girl," thought Edward, "although she is the
daughter of a Roundhead; and she calls me `sir.' I cannot, therefore,
look like Jacob's grandson, and must be careful." Edward then set to
with a good appetite at the viands which had been placed before him, and
had just finished a hearty meal when Patience Heatherstone again came in
"Oswald Partridge is now coming home."
"I thank you, maiden," replied Edward. "May I ask a question of you?
Where is the king now?"
"I have heard that he resides at Hurst Castle," replied the girl; "but,"
added she in a low tone, "all attempts to see him would be useless, and
only hurt him and those who made the attempt." Having said this she
left the room.
Edward, having finished his meal, and had a good pull at the jug of ale,
which was a liquor he had not tasted for a long while, rose from the
table and went out of the back door and found there Oswald Partridge.
He accosted him, stating the reason for his coming over to him. "I did
not know that Jacob had a grandson; indeed, I never knew that he had a
son. Have you been living with him long?"
"More than a year," replied Edward; "before that I was in the household
"Then you are of the king's side, I presume?" replied Oswald.
"To death," replied Edward, "when the time comes."
"And I am also; that you may suppose, for never would I give a hound to
any one that was not. But we had better go to the kennels; dogs may
hear, but they can't repeat."
"I little thought to have met any one but you here when I came," said
Edward; "and I will now tell you all that passed between me and the new
Intendant." Edward then related the conversation.
"You have been bold," said Oswald--"but perhaps it is all the better--I
am to retain my situation, and so are two others: but there are many new
hands coming in as rangers. I know nothing of them but that they are
little fitted for their places; and rail against the king all day long,
which I suppose is their chief merit in the eyes of those who appoint
them. However, one thing is certain, that if those fellows cannot stalk
a deer themselves, they will do all they can to prevent others; so you
must be on the alert, for the punishment is severe."
"I fear them not; the only difficulty is, that we shall not be able to
find a sale for the venison now," replied Edward.
"Oh, never fear that; I will give you the names of those who will take
all your venison off your hands without any risk on your part, except in
the killing of it. They will meet you in the park, lay down ready
money, and take it away. I don't know, but I have an idea that this new
Intendant, or what you may call him, is not so severe as he pretends to
be. Indeed, his permitting you to say what he did, and his own words
relative to the colonel, convince me that I am right in the opinion that
"Do you know who he is?"
"Not much about him, but he is a great friend of General Cromwell's, and
they say has done good service to the Parliamentary cause; but we shall
meet again, for the forest is free, at all events."
"If you come here," continued Oswald, "do not carry your gun, and see
that you are not watched home. There are the dogs for your grandfather.
Why, how old must you be, for Jacob is not more than sixty, or
"I am fifteen past, nevertheless."
"I should have put you down for eighteen or nineteen at least. You are
well grown indeed for that age. Well, nothing like a forest life to
turn a boy into a man! Can you stalk a deer?"
"I seldom go out without bringing one down."
"Indeed! That Jacob is a master of his craft is certain. But you are
young to have learnt it so soon. Can you tell the slot of a brocket
from a stag?"
"Yes, and the slot of a brocket from a doe."
"Better still. We must go out together; and besides, I must know where
the old man's cottage is (for I do not exactly); in the first place,
because I may want to come to you, and in the next, that I may put
others on a false scent.--Do you know the clump of large oaks, which
they call the Clump Royal?"
"Yes, I do."
"Will you meet me there the day after to-morrow, at early dawn?"
"If I live and do well."
"That's enough. Take the dogs in the leashes, and go away now."
"Many thanks; but I must not leave the pony; he is in the stable."
The keeper nodded adieu to Edward, who left him to go to the stable for
the pony. Edward saddled White Billy, and rode away across the forest
with the dogs trotting at the pony's heels.
Edward had much to reflect upon as he rode back to the cottage. He felt
that his position was one of more difficulty than before. That old
Jacob Armitage would not last much longer he was convinced; even now the
poor old man was shrunk away to a skeleton with pain and disease. That
the livelihood to be procured from the forest would be attended with
peril, now that order had been restored and the forest was no longer
neglected, was certain; and he rejoiced that Humphrey had, by his
assiduity and intelligence, made the farm so profitable as it promised
to be. Indeed he felt that, if necessary, they could live upon the
proceeds of the farm, and not run the risk of imprisonment by stalking
the deer. But he had told the intendant that he considered the game as
the king's property, and he was resolved that he would at all events run
the risk, although he would no longer permit Humphrey so to do. "If
anything happens to me," thought Edward, "Humphrey will still be at the
cottage to take care of my sisters; and if I am obliged to fly the
country, it will suit well my feelings, as I can then offer my services
to those who still support the king." With these thoughts, and many
others, he amused himself until, late in the evening, he arrived at the
cottage. He found all in bed except Humphrey, who had waited for him,
and to whom he narrated all that had passed. Humphrey said little in
reply; he wished to think it over before he gave any opinion. He told
Edward that Jacob had been very ill the whole of the day, and had
requested Alice to read the Bible to him during the evening.
The next morning Edward went to Jacob, who for the last ten days had
altogether kept his bed, and gave him the detail of what had happened at
the keeper's lodge.
"You have been more bold than prudent, Edward," replied Jacob; "but I
could not expect you to have spoken otherwise. You are too proud and
too manly to tell a lie, and I am glad that it is so. As for your
upholding the king, although he is now a prisoner in their hands, they
cannot blame you or punish you for that, as long as you have not weapons
in your hands; but now that they have taken the forest under their
jurisdiction, you must be careful, for they are the ruling powers at
present, and must be obeyed, or the forfeit must be paid. Still I do
not ask you to promise me this or that; I only point out to you that
your sisters will suffer by any imprudence on your part; and for their
sakes be careful. I say this, Edward, because I feel that my days are
numbered, and that in a short time I shall be called away. You will
then have all the load on your shoulders which has been latterly on
mine. I have no fear for the result, if you are prudent; these few
months past, during which I have only been a burden to you, have proved
that you and Humphrey can find a living here for yourselves and your
sisters; and it is fortunate, now that the forest laws are about to be
put in force, that you have made the farm so profitable. If I might
advise, let your hunting in the forest be confined to the wild cattle;
they are not game, and the forest laws do not extend to them, and the
meat is as valuable as venison; that is to say, it does not sell so
dear, but there is more of it; but stick to the farm as much as you can;
for you see, Edward, you do not look like a low-born forester, nor ought
you to do so; and the more quiet you keep, the better. As for Oswald
Partridge, you may trust him; I know him well, and he will prove your
friend for my sake, as soon as he hears that I am dead. Leave me now, I
will talk to you again in the evening. Send Alice to me, my dear boy."
Edward was much distressed to perceive the change which had taken place
in old Jacob. He was evidently much worse; but Edward had no idea how
much worse he was. Edward assisted Humphrey in the farm, and in the
evening again went to Jacob, and then told him of the arrangement he had
made to meet Oswald Partridge on the following morning.
"Go, my boy," said Jacob; "be as intimate with him as you can, and make
a friend of him--nay, if it should be necessary, you may tell him who
you are; I did think of telling him myself, as it might be important to
you one day as evidence. I think you had better bring him here
to-morrow night, Edward; tell him I am dying, and wish to speak to him
before I go. Alice will read the Bible to me now, and I will talk with
you another time."
Early the next morning Edward set off to the appointed rendezvous with
Oswald Partridge. The Clump Royal, as it was called, from the peculiar
size and beauty of the oaks, was about seven miles from the cottage; and
at the hour and time indicated Edward, with his gun in his hand, and
Smoker lying beside him, was leaning against one of those monarchs of
the forest. He did not wait long. Oswald Partridge, similarly
provided, made his appearance, and Edward advanced to meet him.
"Welcome, Oswald," said Edward.
"And welcome to you also, my fine lad," replied Oswald. "I have been
hard questioned about you since we parted--first, by the Roundhead
Heatherstone, who plied me in all manner of ways to find out whether you
are what you assert, the grandson of Jacob,--or some other person. I
really believe that he fancies you are the Duke of York--but he could
not get any more from me than what I knew. I told him that your
grandfather's cottage was his own property, and a grant to his
forefathers: that you were brought up at Arnwood, and had joined your
grandfather after the death of the colonel, and the murderous burning of
the house and all within it by his party. But the pretty little
daughter was more curious still. She cross-questioned me in every way
when her father was not present, and at last begged me as a favour to
tell you not to take the deer, as her father was very strict in his
duty, and, if caught, you would be imprisoned."
"Many thanks to her for her caution, but I hope to take one to-day,
nevertheless," replied Edward; "a hart royal is not meat for Roundheads,
although the king's servants may feast on them."
"That's truly said. Well, now I must see your woodcraft. You shall be
the leader of the chase."
"Think you we can harbour a stag about here?"
"Yes, in this month, no doubt."
"Let us walk on," said Edward. "The wind is fresh from the eastern
quarter: we will face it, if you please--or rather, keep it blowing on
our right cheek for the present."
"'Tis well," replied Oswald; and they walked for about half an hour.
"This is the slot of a doe," said Edward, in a low voice, pointing to
the marks; "yonder thicket is a likely harbour for the stag." They
proceeded, and Edward pointed out to Oswald the slot of the stag into
the thicket. They then walked round, and found no marks of the animal
having left his lair.
"He is here," whispered Edward; and Oswald made a sign for Edward to
enter the thicket, while he walked to the other side. Edward entered
the thicket cautiously. In the centre he perceived, through the trees,
a small cleared spot, covered with high fern, and felt certain that the
stag was lying there. He forced his way on his knees till he had a
better view of the place, and then cocked his gun. The noise induced
the stag to move his antlers, and discover his lair. Edward could just
perceive the eye of the animal through the heath; he waited till the
beast settled again, took steady aim, and fired. At the report of the
gun another stag sprung up and burst away. Oswald fired and wounded it,
but the animal made off, followed by the dogs. Edward, who hardly knew
whether he had missed or not, but felt almost certain that he had not,
hastened out of the thicket to join in the chase; and, as he passed
through the fern patch, perceived that his quarry lay dead. He then
followed the chase, and, being very fleet of foot, soon came up with
Oswald, and passed him without speaking. The stag made for a swampy
ground, and finally took to the water beyond it, and stood at bay.
Edward then waited for Oswald, who came up with him.
"He has soiled," said Edward, "and now you may go in and kill him."
Oswald, eager in the chase, hastened up to where the dogs and stag were
in the water, and put a bullet through the animal's head.
Edward went to him, assisted him to drag the stag out of the water, and
then Oswald cut its throat, and proceeded to perform the usual offices.
"How did you happen to miss him?" said Oswald, "for these are my shots?"
"Because I never fired at him," said Edward; "my quarry lies dead in the
fern--and a fine fellow he is."
"This is a warrantable stag," said Oswald.
"Yes, but mine is a hart royal, as you will see when we go back."
As soon as Oswald had done his work, he hung the quarters of the animal
on an oak-tree, and went back with Edward.
"Where did you hit him, Edward?" said Oswald, as they walked along.
"I could only see his eye through the fern, and I must have hit him
On their arrival at the spot Oswald found that Edward had put the ball
right into the eye of the stag.
"Well," said he, "you made me suppose that you knew something of our
craft, but I did not believe that you were so apt as you thought
yourself to be. I now confess that you are a master, as far as I can
see, in all branches of the craft. This is, indeed, a hart royal.
Twenty-five antlers, as I live! Come, out with your knife, and let us
finish; for if we are to go to the cottage we have no time to lose. It
will be dark in half an hour." They hung all the quarters of the stag
as before, and then set off for Jacob's cottage; Edward proposing that
Oswald should take the cart and pony to carry the meat home the next
morning, and that he would accompany him to bring it back.
"That will do capitally," said Oswald; "and here we are, if I recollect
right, and I hope there is something to eat."
"No fear of that--Alice will be prepared for us," replied Edward.
Their dinner was ready for them; and Oswald praised the cooking. He was
much surprised to find that Jacob had four grandchildren. After dinner
he went into Jacob's room, and remained with him more than an hour.
During this conference Jacob confided to Oswald that the four children
were the sons and daughters of Colonel Beverley, supposed to have been
burnt in the firing of Arnwood. Oswald came out, much surprised as well
as pleased with the information, and with the confidence reposed in him.
He saluted Edward and Humphrey respectfully, and said, "I was not aware
with whom I was in company, sir, as you may well imagine; but the
knowledge of it has made my heart glad."
"Nay, Oswald," replied Edward, "remember that I am still Edward
Armitage, and that we are the grandchildren of old Jacob."
"Certainly, sir, I will, for your own sake, not forget that such is to
be supposed to be the case. I assure you I think it very fortunate that
Jacob has confided the secret to me, as it may be in my power to be
useful. I little thought that I should ever have had my dinner cooked
by a daughter of Colonel Beverley."
They then entered into a long conversation, during which Oswald
expressed his opinion that the old man was sinking fast, and would not
last more than three or four days. Oswald had a bed made up for him on
the floor of the room where Edward and Humphrey slept, and the next
morning they set off, at an early hour, with the pony and cart, loaded
it with the venison, and took it across the forest to the keeper's
lodge. It was so late when they arrived that Edward consented to pass
the night there, and return home on the following morning. Oswald went
into the sitting-room to speak with the Intendant of the forest, leaving
Edward in the kitchen with Phoebe, the maidservant. He told the
Intendant that he had brought home some fine venison, and wished his
orders about it. He also stated that he had been assisted by Edward
Armitage, who had brought the venison home for him in his cart, and who
was now in the kitchen, as he would be obliged to pass the night there;
and, on being questioned, he was lavish in his praises of Edward's skill
and knowledge of woodcraft, which he declared to be superior to his own.
"It proves that the young man has had much practice, at all events,"
replied Mr Heatherstone, smiling. "He has been living at the king's
expense, but he must not follow it up at the cost of the Parliament. It
would be well to take this young man as a ranger if we could; for
although he is opposed to us, yet, if he once took our service, he would
be faithful, I am sure. You can propose it to him, Oswald. The
haunches of that hart royal must be sent up to General Cromwell
to-morrow: the remainder we will give directions for as soon as I have
made up my mind how to dispose of it."
Oswald left the room, and came back to Edward. "General Cromwell is to
have the haunches of your stag," said he to Edward, smiling; "and the
Intendant proposes that you should take service as one of the rangers."
"I thank you," replied Edward, "but I've no fancy to find venison for
General Cromwell and his Roundheads; and so you may tell the Intendant,
with many thanks for his good-will towards me, nevertheless."
"I thought as much; but the man meant kindly, that I really think. Now,
Phoebe, what can you give us to eat, for we are hungry?"
"You shall be served directly," replied Phoebe. "I have some steaks on
"And you must find a bed for my young friend here."
"I have none in the house, but there is plenty of good straw over the
"That will do," replied Edward; "I'm not particular."
"I suppose not. Why should you be?" replied Phoebe, who was rather old
and rather cross. "If you mount the ladder that you will see against
the wall, you will find a good bed when you are at the top of it."
Oswald was about to remonstrate, but Edward held up his finger, and no
more was said.
As soon as they had finished their supper Phoebe proposed that they
should go to bed. It was late, and she would sit up no longer. Edward
rose and went out, followed by Oswald, who had given up the keeper's
house to the intendant and his daughter, and slept in the cottage of one
of the rangers, about a quarter of a mile off. After some conversation
they shook hands and parted, as Edward intended returning very early the
next morning, being anxious about old Jacob.
Edward went up the ladder into the loft. There was no door to shut out
the wind, which blew piercingly cold, and after a time he found himself
so chilled that he could not sleep. He rose to see if he could not find
some protection from the wind by getting more into a corner; for
although Phoebe had told him that there was plenty of straw, it proved
that there was very little indeed in the loft, barely enough to lie down
upon. Edward, after a time, descended the ladder to walk in the yard,
that by exercise he might recover the use of his limbs. At last,
turning to and fro, he cast his eyes up to the window of the bedroom
above the kitchen, where he perceived a light was still burning. He
thought it was Phoebe, the maid, going to bed; and with no very gracious
feelings towards her for having deprived him of his own night's rest, he
was wishing that she might have the toothache or something else to keep
her awake, when suddenly through the white window curtain he perceived a
broad light in the room--it increased every moment--and he saw the
figure of a female rush past it, and attempt to open the window--the
drawing of the curtains showed him that the room was on fire. A
moment's thought, and he ran for the ladder by which he had ascended to
the loft, and placed it against the window. The flames were less
bright, and he could not see the female who had been at the window when
he went for the ladder. He ascended quickly, and burst open the
casement--the smoke poured out in such volumes that it nearly suffocated
him, but he went in; and as soon as he was inside, he stumbled against
the body of the person who had attempted to open the window, but who had
fallen down senseless. As he raised the body, the fire, which had been
smothered from want of air when all the windows and doors were closed,
now burst out, and he was scorched before he could get on the ladder
again, with the body in his arms; but he succeeded in getting it down
safe. Perceiving that the clothes were on fire, he held them till they
were extinguished, and then, for the first time, discovered that he had
brought down the daughter of the intendant of the forest. There was no
time to be lost, so Edward carried her into the stable and left her
there, still insensible, upon the straw, in a spare stall; while he
hastened to alarm the house. The watering-butt for the horses was
outside the stable; Edward caught up the pail, filled it, and hastening
up the ladder, threw it into the room, and then descended for more.
By this time Edward's continual calls of "Fire! Fire!" had aroused the
people of the house, and also of the cottages adjacent. Mr
Heatherstone came out half dressed, and with horror on his countenance.
Phoebe followed screaming, and the other people now hastened from the
"Save her! My daughter is in the room!" exclaimed Mr Heatherstone.
"Oh, save her, or let me do so!" cried the poor man in agony; but the
fire burst out of the window in such force, that any attempt would have
been in vain.
"Oswald," cried Edward to him, "let the people pass the water up to me
as fast as possible. They can do no good by looking on."
Oswald set the men to the work, and Edward was now supplied with water
so fast that the fire began to diminish. The window was now
approachable, and a few more buckets enabled him to put one foot into
the room, and then every moment the flames and smoke decreased.
Meanwhile it would be impossible to describe the agony of the intendant,
who would have rushed up the ladder into the flames had he not been held
by some of the men. "My daughter! My child!--burnt--burnt to death!"
exclaimed he, clasping his hands.
At that moment a voice in the crowd called out, "There were four burnt
"God of heaven!" exclaimed Mr Heatherstone, falling down into a swoon,
in which state he was carried to a neighbouring cottage.
Meanwhile the supply of water enabled Edward to put out the fire
altogether; the furniture of the room was burnt, but the fire had
extended no farther; and when Edward was satisfied that there was no
more danger, he descended the ladder, and left it to others to see that
all was safe. He then called Oswald to him, and desired that he would
accompany him to the stable.
"Oh sir," replied Oswald, "this is dreadful! And such a sweet young
"She is safe and well," replied Edward; "I think so, at least. I
brought her down the ladder and put her in the stable before I attempted
to put out the fire. See, there she is; she has not recovered yet from
her swoon. Bring some water. She breathes! Thank God! There, that
will do, Oswald, she is recovering. Now let us cover her up in your
cloak, and carry her to your cottage. We will recover her there."
Oswald folded up the still unconscious girl in his cloak, and carried
her away in his arms, followed by Edward.
As soon as they arrived at the cottage, the inmates of which were all
busy at the keeper's lodge, they put her on a bed, and very soon
restored her to consciousness.
"Where is my father?" cried Patience, as soon as she was sufficiently
"He is safe and well, miss," replied Oswald.
"Is the house burnt down?"
"No. The fire is all out again."
"Who saved me? Tell me."
"Young Armitage, miss."
"Who is he? Oh, I recollect now; but I must go to my father. Where is
"In the other cottage, miss."
Patience attempted to stand, but found that she was too much exhausted,
and she fell back again on the bed. "I can't stand," said she. "Bring
my father to me."
"I will, miss," replied Oswald.
"Will you stay here, Edward?"
"Yes," replied Edward. He went out of the cottage-door, and remained
there while Oswald went to Mr Heatherstone.
Oswald found him sensible, but in deep distress, as may be imagined.
"The fire is all out, sir," said Oswald.
"I care not for that. My poor, poor child!"
"Your child is safe, sir," replied Oswald.
"Safe, did you say?" cried Mr Heatherstone, starting up. "Safe;
"In my cottage. She has sent me for you."
Mr Heatherstone rushed out, passed by Edward, who was standing at the
door of the other cottage, and was in his daughter's arms. Oswald came
out to Edward, who then detailed to him the way in which he had saved
"Had it not been for the ill-nature of that girl Phoebe, in sending me
to sleep where there was no straw, they would all have been burnt,"
"She gave you an opportunity of rewarding good for evil," observed
"Yes, but I am burnt very much in my arm," said Edward. "Have you
anything that will be good for it?"
"Yes, I think I have: wait a moment."
Oswald went into the cottage and returned with some salve, with which he
dressed Edward's arm, which proved to be very severely burnt.
"How grateful the Intendant ought to be--and will be, I have no doubt!"
"And for that very reason I shall saddle my pony and ride home as fast
as I can; and, do you hear, Oswald, do not show him where I live."
"I hardly know how I can refuse him, if he requires it."
"But you must not. He will be offering me a situation in the forest, by
way of showing his gratitude; and I will accept of none. I have no
objection to save his daughter, as I would save the daughter of my worst
enemy, or my worst enemy himself, from such a dreadful death; but I do
not want their thanks or offers of service. I will accept nothing from
a Roundhead; and as for the venison in the forest, it belongs to the
king, and I shall help myself whenever I think proper. Good-bye,
Oswald, you will call and see us when you have time?"
"I will be with you before the week is out, depend upon it," replied
Edward then asked Oswald to saddle his pony for him, as his arm
prevented him from doing it himself, and as soon as it was done he rode
away for the cottage.
Edward rode fast, for he was anxious to get home and ascertain the state
of poor old Jacob; and, moreover, his burnt arm was very painful. He
was met by Humphrey about a mile from the cottage, who told him that he
did not think that the old man could last many hours, and that he was
very anxious to see him. As the pony was quite tired with the fast pace
that Edward had ridden, Edward pulled up to a walk, and as they went
along acquainted Humphrey with what had passed.
"Is your arm very painful?"
"Yes, it is indeed," replied Edward; "but it can't be helped."
"No, of course not, but it may be made more easy. I know what will do
it some good; for I recollect when Benjamin burnt his hand at Arnwood,
what they applied to it, and it gave him great relief."
"Yes, very likely; but I am not aware that we have any drugs or medicine
in the cottage. But here we are: will you take Billy to the stable,
while I go on to old Jacob?"
"Thank God that you are come, Edward," said the old forester, "for I was
anxious to see you before I die; and something tells me that I have but
a short time to remain here."
"Why should you say so!--do you feel very ill?"
"No, not ill; but I feel that I am sinking fast. Recollect that I am an
old man, Edward."
"Not so very old, Jacob; Oswald said that you were not more than sixty
"Oswald knows nothing about it. I am past seventy six, Edward; and you
know, Edward, the Bible says that the days of men are threescore years
and ten; so that I am beyond the mark. And now, Edward, I have but few
words to say. Be careful--if not for your own sake, at least for your
little sisters'. You are young, but you are strong and powerful above
your years, and can better protect them than I could. I see darker days
yet coming--but it is His will, and who shall doubt that that is right?
I pray you not to make your birth and lineage known as yet--it can do no
good, and it may do harm--and if you can be persuaded to live in the
cottage, and to live on the farm, which will now support you all, it
will be better. Do not get into trouble about the venison, which they
now claim as their own. You will find some money in the bag in my
chest, sufficient to buy all you want for a long while--but take care of
it; for there is no saying but you may require it. And now, Edward,
call your brother and sisters to me, that I may bid them farewell. I
am, as we all are, sinful, but I trust in the mercy of God through Jesus
Christ. Edward, I have done my duty towards you, as well as I have been
able; but promise me one thing--that you will read the Bible and prayers
every morning and evening, as I have always done, after I am gone;
promise me that, Edward."
"I promise you that it shall be done, Jacob," replied Edward, "and I
will not forget your other advice."
"God bless you, Edward. Now call the children."
Edward summoned his sisters and Humphrey.
"Humphrey, my good boy," said Jacob, "recollect that in the midst of
life we are in death; and that there is no security for young or old.
You or your brother may be cut off in your youth; one may be taken, and
the other left. Recollect, your sisters depend upon you, and do not
therefore be rash: I fear that you will run too much risk after the wild
cattle, for you are always scheming after taking them. Be careful,
Humphrey, for you can ill be spared. Hold to the farm as it now is; it
will support you all. My dear Alice and Edith, I am dying; very soon I
shall be laid by your brothers in my grave. Be good children, and look
up to your brothers for everything. And now, kiss me, Alice: you have
been a great comfort to me, for you have read the Bible to me when I
could no longer read myself. May your deathbed be as well attended as
mine has been, and may you live happily, and die the death of a
Christian! Good-bye, and may God bless you. Bless you, Edith; may you
grow up as good and as innocent as you are now. Farewell, Humphrey--
farewell, Edward--my eyes are dim--pray for me, children. O God of
mercy--pardon my many sins, and receive my soul, through Jesus Christ.
These were the last words spoken by the old forester. The children, who
were kneeling by the side of the bed, praying as he had requested, when
they rose up, found that he was dead. They all wept bitterly, for they
dearly loved the good old man. Alice remained sobbing in Edward's arms,
and Edith in Humphrey's, and it was long before the brothers could
console them. Humphrey at last said to Alice, "You hurt poor Edward's
arm--you don't know how painful it is! Come, dears, let us go into the
other room, and get something to take the pain away."
These requests diverted the attention at the same time that it roused
fresh sympathy in the little girls--they all went into the sitting-room.
Humphrey gave his sisters some potatoes to scrape upon a piece of
linen, while he took off Edward's coat, and turned up his shirt sleeves.
The scraped potatoes were then laid on the burn, and Edward said they
gave him great relief. Some more were then scraped by the little girls,
who could not, however, repress their occasional sobs. Humphrey then
told them that Edward had had nothing to eat, and that they must get him
some supper. This again occupied them for some time; and when the
supper was ready, they all sat down to it. They went to bed early, but
not before Edward had read a chapter out of the Bible, and the prayers,
as old Jacob had always done; and this again caused their tears to flow
"Come, Alice dear, you and Edith must go to bed," said Humphrey.
The little girls threw themselves into their brothers' arms; and having
wept for some time, Alice raised herself, and taking Edith by the hand,
led her away to the bedroom.
"Humphrey," said Edward, "the sooner all this is over the better. As
long as poor Jacob's body remains in the cottage there will be nothing
but distress with the poor girls."
"I agree with you," replied Humphrey; "where shall we bury him?"
"Under the great oak-tree, at the back of the cottage," replied Edward.
"One day the old man said to me that he should like to be buried under
one of the oaks of the forest."
"Well then, I will go and dig his grave to-night," replied Humphrey;
"the moon is bright, and I shall have it finished before morning."
"I am sorry that I cannot help you, Humphrey."
"I am sorry that you are hurt; but I want no help, Edward. If you will
lie down a little, perhaps you will be able to sleep. Let us change the
potato poultice before you go on."
Humphrey put the fresh dressing on Edward's arm; and Edward, who was
very much exhausted, lay down in his clothes on the bed. Humphrey went
out, and having found his tools, set to his task; he worked hard, and
before morning had finished. He then went in, and took his place on the
bed by the side of Edward, who was in a sound sleep. At daylight
Humphrey rose, and waked Edward. "All is ready, Edward; but I fear you
must help me to put poor Jacob in the cart; do you think you can?"
"Oh yes; my arm is much easier, and I feel very different from what I
did last night. If you will go and get the cart I will see what I can
do in the meantime."
When Humphrey returned he found Edward had selected a sheet to wind the
body in, but could not do more till Humphrey came to help him. They
then wrapped it round the body, and carried it out of the cottage, and
put it into the cart.
"Now, Edward, shall we call our sisters?"
"No, not yet; let us have the body laid in the grave first, and then we
will call them."
They dragged the body on the cart to the grave, and laid it in it, and
then returned back and put the pony in the stable again.
"Are there not prayers proper for reading over the dead?" said Humphrey.
"I believe that there are, but they are not in the Bible; so we must
read some portion of the Bible," said Edward.
"Yes, I think there is one of the Psalms which it would be right to
read, Edward," said Humphrey, turning over the leaves; "here it is, the
ninetieth, in which you recollect it says `that the days of man are
threescore years and ten.'"
"Yes," replied Edward, "and we will read this one also,--the 146th."
"Are our sisters risen, do you think?"
"I am sure that they are," replied Humphrey, "and I will go to them."
Humphrey went to the door, and said, "Alice--Alice and Edith--come out
immediately." They were both ready dressed.
Edward took the Bible under his arm, and Alice by the hand. Humphrey
led Edith until they arrived at the grave, when the two little girls saw
the covered body of Jacob lying in it.
"Kneel down," said Edward, opening the Bible. And they all knelt down
by the grave. Edward read the two Psalms, and then closed the book.
The little girls took one last look at the body, and then turned away
weeping to the cottage. Edward and Humphrey filled up the grave, and
then followed their sisters home.
"I'm glad it's over," said Humphrey, wiping his eyes. "Poor old Jacob!
I'll put a paling round his grave."
"Come in, Humphrey," said Edward.
Edward sat down upon old Jacob's chair, and took Alice and Edith to him.
Putting his arm round each, he said:
"Alice and Edith, my dear little sisters, we have lost a good friend,
and one to whose memory we cannot be too grateful. He saved us from
perishing in the flames which burnt down our father's house, and has
protected us here ever since. He is gone; for it has pleased God to
summon him to Him, and we must bow to the will of Heaven; and here we
are, brothers and sisters, orphans, and with no one to look to for
protection but Heaven. Here we are, away from the rest of the world,
living for one another. What then must we do? We must love one another
dearly, and help one another. I will do my part, if my life is spared,
and so will Humphrey, and so will you, my dear sisters. I can answer
for all. Now it is no use to lament--we must all work, and work
cheerfully; and we will pray every morning and every night that God will
bless our endeavours, and enable us to provide for ourselves, and live
here in peace and safety. Kiss me, dear Alice and Edith, and kiss
Humphrey, and kiss one another. Let these kisses be the seals to our
bond; and let us put our trust in Him who only is a father to the widow
and the orphan. And now let us pray."
Edward and the children repeated the Lord's Prayer, and then rose up.
They went to their respective employments, and the labour of the day
soon made them composed, although then, for many days afterwards, it was
but occasionally that a smile was seen upon their lips.
Thus passed a week, by which time Edward's arm was so far well that it
gave him no pain, and he was able to assist Humphrey in the work on the
farm. The snow had disappeared, and the spring, although it had been
checked for a time, now made rapid advances. Constant occupation and
the return of fine weather both had the effect of restoring the serenity
of their minds; and while Humphrey was preparing the paling to fix round
the grave of old Jacob, Alice and Edith collected the wild violets which
now peeped forth on sheltered spots, and planted the roots over the
grave. Edward also procured all the early flowers he could collect, and
assisted his sisters in their task; and thus, in planting it, and
putting up the paling, the grave of the old man became their constant
work-ground; and when their labour was done, they would still remain
there and talk over his worth. The Sunday following the burial, the
weather being fine and warm, Edward proposed that they should read the
usual service, which had been selected by old Jacob, at the grave, and
not in the cottage, as formerly; and this they continued afterwards to
do, whenever the weather would permit; thus did old Jacob's
resting-placing become their church, and overpower them with those
feelings of love and devotion which give efficacy to prayer. As soon as
the paling was finished Humphrey put up a board against the oak-tree,
with the simple words carved on it, "Jacob Armitage."
Edward had every day expected that Oswald Partridge would have called
upon him, as he had promised to do before the week was out; but Oswald
had not made his appearance, much to Edward's surprise. A month passed
away; Edward's arm was now quite well, and still Oswald came not. One
morning Humphrey and Edward were conversing upon many points--the
principal of which was upon Edward going to Lymington, for they were now
in want of flour and meal--when Edward thought of what old Jacob had
told him relative to the money that he would find in his chest. He went
into Jacob's room and opened the chest, at the bottom of which, under
the clothes, he found a leather bag, which he brought out to Humphrey;
on opening it, they were much surprised to find in it more than sixty
gold pieces, besides a great deal of silver coin.
"Surely this is a great sum of money," observed Humphrey. "I don't know
what is the price of things but it appears to me that it ought to last
us a long while."
"I think so too," replied Edward. "I wish Oswald Partridge would come,
for I want to ask him many questions. I don't know the price of flour
or anything else we have to purchase, nor do I know what ought to be
paid for venison. I don't like to go to Lymington till I see him, for
that reason. If he does not come soon I shall ride over and see what is
Edward then replaced the money in the chest, and he and Humphrey then
went out to the farm-yard to go on with their work.
It was not until six weeks after the death of old Jacob that Oswald
Partridge made his appearance.
"How is the old man, sir?" was his first question.
"He was buried a few days after you left," replied Edward.
"I expected as much," said the forester. "Peace be with him--he was a
good man. And how is your arm?"
"Nearly well," replied Edward. "Now, sit down, Oswald, for I have a
great deal to say to you; and first let me ask you what has detained you
from coming here according to your promise?"
"Simply, and in few words--murder."
"Murder!" exclaimed Edward.
"Yes, deliberate murder, sir; in short, they have beheaded the king--
beheaded King Charles, our sovereign."
"Have they dared to do it?"
"They have," replied Oswald. "We know little that is going on in the
forest; but when I saw you last I heard that he was then in London, and
was to be tried."
"Tried!" exclaimed Edward. "How could they try a king? By the laws of
our country a man must be tried by his equals; and where were his
"Majesty becomes nought, I suppose," replied Oswald; "but still it is as
I say. Two days after you left the Intendant hastened up to London; and
from what I have understood, he was strongly opposed to the deed, and
did all he could to prevent it, but it was of no use. When he left he
gave me strict injunctions not to go away from the cottage for an hour,
as his daughter was left alone, and as I promised, I could not come to
you; but, nevertheless, Patience received letters from him, and told me
what I tell you."
"You have not dined, Oswald?" said Edward.
"No, that I have not."
"Alice, dear, get some dinner, will you? And Oswald, while you dine,
excuse me if I leave you for a while. Your intelligence has so
astounded me that I can listen to nothing else till I have had a little
while to commune with myself and subdue my feelings."
Edward was indeed in a state of mind which required calming down. He
quitted the cottage and walked out for some distance into the forest in
"Murdered at last!" exclaimed he. "Yes, well may it be called murder,
and no one to save him--not a blow struck in his defence--not an arm
raised. How much gallant blood has been shed in vain! Spirit of my
fathers--didst thou leave none of thy mettle and thy honour behind thee?
Or has all England become craven? Well, the time will come; and if I
can no longer hope to fight for my king, at all events I can fight
against those who have murdered him."
Such were Edward's thoughts as he wandered through the forest, and more
than an hour elapsed before his impetuous blood could return to its
usual flow; at last, more calm, he returned to the cottage, and listened
to the details which Oswald now gave to him of what he had heard.
When Oswald had finished, Edward asked him whether the Intendant had
"Yes, or I should not have been here," replied Oswald. "He came back
yesterday, looking most disconsolate and grave, and I hear that he
returns to London in a few days. Indeed, he told me so himself, for I
requested permission to come over to see your grandfather. He said that
I might go, but must return soon, as he must go back to London. I
believe, from what Miss Patience told me, and what I have seen myself,
that he is sincerely amazed and vexed at what has taken place; and so
indeed are many more, who, although opposed to the king's method of
government, never had an idea that things should have turned out as they
have done. I have a message from him to you, which is, that he begs you
will come to see him, that he may thank you for the preservation of his
"I will take his thanks from you, Oswald: that will do as well as if he
gave them me in person."
"Yes, perhaps so; but I have another message from another party, which
is, the young lady herself. She desires me to tell you that she will
never be happy till she has seen you, and thanked you for your courage
and kindness; and that you have no right to put her under such an
obligation, and not give her an opportunity of expressing what she
feels. Now, Mr Edward, I am certain that she is earnest in what she
says, and she made me promise that I would persuade you to come. I
could not refuse her, for she is a dear little creature; as her father
will go to London in a few days, you may ride over and see her without
any fear of being affronted by any offers which he may make to you."
"Well," replied Edward, "I have no great objection to see her again, for
she was very kind to me; and as you say that the Intendant will not be
there I perhaps may come. But now I must talk to you about other
Edward then put many questions to Oswald relative to the value of
various articles, and to the best method of disposing of his venison.
Oswald answered all his questions, and Edward took down notes and
directions on paper.
Oswald remained with them for two days, and then bade them farewell,
exacting a promise from Edward that he would come to the ranger's
cottage as soon as he could. "Should the Intendant come back before he
is expected, I will come over and let you know; but I think, from what I
heard him say, he expected to be at least a month in London."
Edward promised that Oswald should see him in less than ten days, and
Oswald set out on his journey.
"Humphrey," said Edward, as soon as Oswald was gone, "I have made up my
mind to go to Lymington to-morrow. We must have some flour, and many
other articles, which Alice says she can no longer do without."
"Why should we not both go, Edward?" replied Humphrey.
"No, not this time," replied Edward. "I have to find out many things
and many people, and I had rather go by myself; besides, I cannot allow
my sisters to be left alone. I do not consider there is any danger, I
admit; but something might happen to them. I should never forgive
myself. Still, it is necessary that you should go to Lymington with me
some time or another, that you may know where to purchase and sell, if
required. What I propose is, that I will ask Oswald to come and stay
here a couple of days. We will then leave him in charge of our sisters,
and go to Lymington together."
"You are right, Edward; that will be the best plan."
As Humphrey made this remark, Oswald re-entered the cottage.
"I will tell you why I have returned, Mr Edward," said Oswald. "It is
of no consequence whether I return now or to-morrow. It is now early,
and as you intend going to Lymington, it occurred to me that I had
better go with you. I can then show you all you want, which will be
much better than going by yourself."
"Thank you, Oswald, I am much obliged to you," said Edward.
"Humphrey, we will get the cart out immediately, or we shall be late.
Will you get it, Humphrey? For I must go for some money, and speak to
Humphrey went immediately to put the pony in the cart, when Edward said:
"Oswald, you must not call me Mr Edward, even when we are alone; if you
do, you will be calling me so before other people, and, therefore,
recollect in future, it must be plain Edward."
"Since you wish it, certainly," replied Oswald; "indeed it would be
better; for a slip of the tongue before other people might create
The pony and cart were soon at the door, and Edward, having received
further instructions from Alice, set off for Lymington, accompanied by
"Could you have found your way to Lymington?" said Oswald, as the pony
"Yes, I think so," replied Edward; "but I must have first gone to
Arnwood. Indeed, had I been alone, I should have done so; but we have
made a much shorter cut."
"I did not think that you would have liked to have seen the ruins of
Arnwood," replied Oswald.
"Not a day passes without my thinking of them," replied Edward. "I
should like to see them. I should like to see if any one has taken
possession of the property; for they say it is confiscated."
"I heard that it was to be; but not that it was yet," said Oswald: "but
we shall know more when we get to Lymington. I have not seen it for
more than a year. I hardly think that any one will recognise you."
"I should think not; but I care little if they do. Indeed, who is there
to know me?"
"Well, my introduction of you will save some surmises, probably; and I
shall not take you among those who may be inclined to ask questions.
See, there is the steeple; we have not more than a quarter of an hour's
As soon as they arrived at Lymington, Oswald directed the way to a small
hostelrie, to which the keepers and verderers usually resorted. In
fact, the landlord was the party who took all the venison off their
hands, and disposed of it. They drove into the yard, and, giving the
pony and cart in charge of the hostler, went into the inn, where they
found the landlord, and one or two other people, who were drinking.
"Well, Master Andrew, how fare you?" said Oswald.
"Let me see," said the corpulent landlord, throwing back his head, and
putting out his stomach, as he peered at Oswald; "why, Oswald Partridge,
as I am a born man. Where have you been this many a day?"
"In the forest, Master Andrew, where there are no few chops and
"Yes, I heard you have a sort of Parliamentary keeper, I'm told; and who
is this with you?"
"The grandson of an old friend of yours, now dead, poor old Jacob
"Jacob dead, poor fellow! As true as flint was Jacob Armitage, as I'm a
born man! And so he is dead! Well, we all owe heaven a death.
Foresters and landlords, as well as kings, all must die!"
"I have brought Edward Armitage over here to introduce him to you,
Master Andrew. Now that the old man is dead, you must look to him for
"Oh, well, well, it is scarce now. I have not had any for some time.
Old Jacob brought me the last. You are not one of the Parliamentary
foresters, then, I presume?" continued the landlord, turning to Edward.
"No," replied Edward, "I kill no venison for Roundheads."
"Right, my sapling; right and well said. The Armitages were all good
men and true, and followed the fortunes of the Beverleys; but there are
no Beverleys to follow now. Cut off root and branch--more's the pity.
That was a sad business. But come in; we must not talk here, for walls
have ears, they say, and one never knows who one dares to speak before
Oswald and Edward then entered with the landlord, and arrangements were
made between Master Andrew and the latter for a regular supply of
venison during the season at a certain price; but as it would now be
dangerous to bring it into the town, it was agreed that when there was
any ready, Edward should come to Lymington and give notice, and the
landlord would send out people to bring it in during the night. This
bargain concluded, they took a glass with the landlord, and then went
into the town to make the necessary purchases. Oswald took Edward to
all the shops where the articles he required were to be purchased; some
they carried away with them; others, which were too heavy, they left, to
be called for with the cart as they went away. Among other articles,
Edward required powder and lead, and they went to a gunsmith's where it
was to be procured. While making his purchases, Edward perceived a
sword, which he thought he had seen before, hanging up against the wall
among other weapons.
"What sword is that?" said he to the man who was measuring out the
"It's not my sword, exactly," replied the man; "and yet I cannot return
it to its owner or to the family. It was brought me to be cleaned by
one of Colonel Beverley's people, and before it was called for the house
was burnt, and every soul perished. It was one of the colonel's swords,
I am sure, as there is E.B. on a silver plate engraved on it. I have a
bill owing me for work done at Arnwood, and I have no chance of its
being paid now; so, whether I am to sell the sword, or what to do, I
Edward remained silent for some little while, for he could not trust
himself to speak; at last he replied: "To be candid with you, I am, and
all my family have been, followers of the Beverley family, and I should
be sorry if the colonel's sword was to fall into any other hands. I
think, therefore, if I pay the bill which is due, you may safely let me
hold the sword as a security for the money, with the express
understanding that if it is ever claimed by the Beverley family, I am to
give it up."
"Certainly," said Oswald; "nothing can be fairer or more clearly put."
"I think so, too, young man," replied the shopkeeper. "Of course, you
will leave your name and address?"
"Yes; and my friend here will vouch for its being correct," replied
The shopkeeper then produced the account, which Edward paid; and giving
on the paper the name of Edward Armitage, he took possession of the
sword. He then paid for the powder and lead, which Oswald took charge
of, and, hardly able to conceal his joy, hastened out of the shop.
"Oswald," cried Edward, "I would not part with it for thousands of
pounds. I never will part with it but with my life."
"I believe so," replied Oswald; "and I believe more, that it will never
be disgraced in your hands; but do not talk so loud, for there are
listeners and spies everywhere. Is there anything else that you
"No, I think not; the fact is that this sword has put everything out of
my head. If there was anything else I have forgotten it. Let us go
back to the inn, and we will harness the pony, and call for the flour
When they arrived at the inn, Oswald went out to the yard to get the
cart ready, while Edward went into the landlord's room to make inquiries
as to the quantity of venison he would be able to take off his hands at
a time. Oswald had taken the sword from Edward, and had put it in the
cart while he was fastening the harness, when a man came up to the cart,
and looked earnestly at the sword. He then examined it, and said to
"Why, that was Colonel Beverley's, my old master's, sword. I knowed it
again directly. I took it to Phillips, the gunmaker, to be cleaned."
"Indeed!" replied Oswald; "I pray what may be your name?"
"Benjamin White," replied the man; "I served at Arnwood till the night
it was burned down; and I have been here ever since."
"And what are you doing now?"
"I'm tapster at the `Commonwealth,' in Fish Street--not much of a
"Well, well, you stand by the pony, and look that nobody takes anything
out of the cart, while I go in for some parcels."
"Yes, to be sure I will; but, I say, forester, how came you by that
"I will tell you when I come out again," replied Oswald.
Oswald then went in to Edward, and told him what had occurred.
"He will certainly know you, sir, and you must not come out till I can
get him away," said he.
"You are right, Oswald; but before he goes, ask him what became of my
aunt, and where she was buried, and also ask him where the other
servants are--perhaps they are at Lymington as well as he."
"I will find it all out," replied Oswald, who then left Edward, and
returned to the landlord and recommenced conversation.
Oswald, on his return, told Benjamin in what manner the sword had been
procured from the shopman, by the grandson of old Armitage.
"I never knew that he had one," replied Benjamin; "nor did I know that
old Jacob was dead."
"What became of all the women who were at Arnwood?" inquired Oswald.
"Why, Agatha married one of the troopers, and went away to London."
"And the others?"
"Why, cook went home to her friends, who live about ten miles from here,
and I have never heard of her since."
"But there were three of them," said Oswald. "Oh yes; there was
Phoebe," replied Benjamin, looking rather confused. "She married a
trooper--the jilt!--and went off to London when Agatha did. If I'd have
thought that she would have done so I would not have carried her away
from Arnwood behind me on a pillion, as I did; she might have been burnt
with the poor children, for all as I cared."
"Was not the old lady killed?"
"Yes; that is to say, she killed herself, rather than not kill
"Where was she buried?"
"In the churchyard, at Saint Faith's, by the mayor and corporation; for
there was not money enough found upon her person to pay the expenses of
"And so you are tapster at the `Commonwealth.' Is it a good inn?"
"Can't say much for it. I shan't stay longer than I can help, I can
"Well, but you must have an easy place, if you can stay away so long as
you do now."
"Won't I be mobbed when I go back! But that's always the case, make
haste or not, so it's all one. However, I do think I must be a-going
now, so good-bye, Mr Forester; and tell Jacob Armitage's grandson that
I shall be glad to see him, for old Jacob's sake; and it's hard but I'll
find him something to drink when he calls."
"I will: I shall see him to-morrow," replied Oswald, getting into the
cart; "so good-bye, Benjamin," much to the satisfaction of Oswald, who
thought that he would never go.
They went away at a rapid pace, to make up for lost time, and soon
disappeared round the corner of the street. Oswald then got out again,
summoned Edward, and having called for the flour and other heavy
articles, they set off on their return.
During the drive Oswald made known to Edward the information which he
had gained from Benjamin, and at a late hour they arrived safely at the
They staid up but a short time, as they were tired; and Oswald had
resolved upon setting off before daylight on the following morning,
which he did without disturbing any one; for Humphrey was up and dressed
as soon as Oswald was, and gave him something to eat as he went along.
All the others remained fast asleep. Humphrey walked about a mile with
Oswald, and was returning to the farm, when he thought, as he had not
examined his pit-fall for many days, that he might as well look at it,
before he went back. He therefore struck in the direction in which it
lay, and arrived there just as the day began to dawn.
It was the end of March, and the weather was mild for the season.
Humphrey arrived at the pit, and it was sufficiently light for him to
perceive that the covering had been broken in, and therefore, in all
probability, something must have been trapped. He sat down and waited
for daylight, but at times he thought he heard a heavy breathing, and
once a low groan. This made him more anxious, and he again and again
peered into the pit, but could not for a long while discover anything,
until at last he thought that he could make out a human figure lying at
the bottom. Humphrey called out, asking if there was any one there. A
groan was the reply, and now Humphrey was horrified at the idea that
somebody had fallen into the pit, and had perished, or was perishing for
want of succour. Recollecting that the rough ladder which he had made
to take the soil up out of the pit was against an oak-tree, close at
hand, he ran for it, and put it down the pit, and then cautiously
descended. On his arrival at the bottom, his fears were found to be
verified, for he found the body of a lad half-clothed lying there. He
turned it up, as it was lying with its face to the ground, and attempted
to remove it and to ascertain if there was life in it, which he was
delighted to find was the case. The lad groaned several times, and
opened his eyes. Humphrey was afraid that he was not strong enough to
lift it on his shoulders and carry it up the ladder; but on making the
attempt, he found out, from exhaustion, the poor lad was light enough
for him to carry him, which he did, and safely landed him by the side of
Recollecting that the watering-place of the herd of cattle was not far
off, Humphrey then hastened to it, and filled his hat half full of
water. The lad, although he could not speak, drank eagerly, and in a
few minutes appeared much recovered. Humphrey gave him some more, and
bathed his face and temples. The sun had now risen, and it was broad
daylight. The lad attempted to speak, but what he did say was in so low
a tone, and evidently in a foreign language, that Humphrey could not
make him out. He therefore made signs to the lad that he was going
away, and would be back soon; and having, as he thought, made the lad
comprehend this, Humphrey ran away to the cottage as fast as he could;
and as soon as he arrived he called for Edward, who came out, and when
Humphrey told him in few words what had happened, Edward went into the
cottage again for some milk and some cake, while Humphrey put the pony
into the cart.
In a few moments they were off again, and soon arrived at the pit-fall,
where they found the lad still lying where Humphrey had left him. They
soaked the cake in the milk, and, as soon as it was soft, gave him some;
after a time he swallowed pretty freely, and was so much recovered as to
be able to sit up. They then lifted him into the cart, and drove gently
home to their cottage.
"What do you think he is, Edward?" said Humphrey.
"Some poor beggar lad, who has been crossing the forest."
"No, not exactly; he appears to me to be one of the Zingaros or gipsies,
as they call them: he is very dark, and has black eyes and white teeth,
just like those I saw once near Arnwood, when I was out with Jacob.
Jacob said that no one knew where they came from, but that they were all
over the country, and that they were great thieves, and told fortunes,
and played all manner of tricks."
"Perhaps it may be so; I do not think that he can speak English."
"I am most thankful to Heaven that I chanced this morning to visit the
pit-fall. Only suppose that I had found the poor boy starved and dead!
I should have been very unhappy, and never should have had any pleasure
in looking at the cows, as they would always have reminded me of such a
"Very true, Humphrey; but you have been saved that misfortune, and ought
to be grateful to Heaven that such is the case. What shall we do with
him now we have him?"
"Why, if he chooses to remain with us, he will be very useful in the
cow-yard," said Humphrey.
"Of course," replied Edward, laughing, "as he was taken in the pit-fall,
he must go into the yard with all he others who were captured in the
"Well, Edward, let us get him all right again first, and then we will
see what is to be done with him; perhaps he will refuse to remain with
As soon as they arrived at the cottage they lifted the lad out of the
cart, and carried him into Jacob's room, and laid him on the bed, for he
was too weak to stand.
Alice and Edith, who were much surprised at the new visitor, and the way
in which he had been caught, hastened to get some gruel ready for him.
As soon as it was ready they gave it to the boy, who then fell back on
the bed with exhaustion, and was soon in a sound sleep. He slept
soundly all that night; and the next morning, when he awoke, he appeared
much better, although very hungry. This last complaint was easy to
remedy, and then the lad got up and walked into the sitting-room.
"What's your name?" said Humphrey to the lad.
"Pablo," replied the lad.
"Can you speak English?"
"Yes, little," replied he.
"How did you happen to fall into the pit?"
"Not see hole."
"Are you a gipsy?"
"Yes, Gitano--same thing."
Humphrey put a great many more questions to the lad, and elicited from
him, in his imperfect English, the following particulars.
That he was in company with several others of his race, going down to
the sea-coast on one of their usual migrations, and that they had
pitched their tents not far from the pit-fall. That during the night he
had gone out to set some snares for rabbits, and going back to the
tents, it being quite dark, he had fallen into the hole. That he had
remained there three days and nights, having in vain attempted to get
out. His mother was with the party of gipsies to which he belonged; but
he had no father. He did not know where to follow the gang, as they had
not said where they were going, farther than to the sea-coast. That it
was no use looking for them; and that he did not care much about leaving
them, as he was very unkindly treated. In reply to the question as to
whether he would like to remain with them, and work with them on the
farm, he replied that he should like it very much if they would be kind
to him, and not make him work too hard; that he would cook the dinner,
and catch them rabbits and birds, and make a great many things.
"Will you be honest, if we keep you, and not tell lies?" said Edward.
The lad thought a little while, and then nodded his head in the
"Well, Pablo, we will try you, and if you are a good lad, we will do all
we can to make you happy," said Edward; "but if you behave ill, we shall
be obliged to turn you out of doors; do you understand?"
"Be as good as I can," replied Pablo; and here the conversation ended
for the present.
Pablo was a very short-built lad, of apparently fifteen or sixteen years
of age, very dark in complexion, but very handsome in features, with
beautiful white teeth and large dark eyes; and there was certainly
something in his intelligent countenance which recommended him,
independent of his claim to their kindness from his having been left
thus friendless in consequence of his misadventure. Humphrey was
particularly pleased with and interested about him, as the lad had so
nearly lost his life through his means.
"I really think, Edward," said Humphrey, as they were standing outside
of the door of the cottage, "that the lad may be very useful to us, and
I sincerely hope that he may prove honest and true. We must first get
him into health and spirits, and then I will see what he can do."
"The fact is, my dear Humphrey, we can do no otherwise: he is separated
from his friends, and does not know where to go. It would be inhuman,
as we have been the cause of his misfortune, to turn him away; but
although I feel this, I do not feel much security as to his good
behaviour and being very useful. I have always been told that these
gipsies were vagrants, who lived by stealing all they could lay their
hands upon; and, if he has been brought up in that way, I fear that he
will not easily be reformed. However, we can but try, and hope for the
"What you say is very just, Edward; at the same time, there is an honest
look about this lad, although he is a gipsy, that makes me put a sort of
confidence in him. Admitting that he has been taught to do wrong, do
you not think that when told the contrary he may be persuaded to do
"It is not impossible, certainly," replied Edward; "but, Humphrey, be on
the safe side, and do not trust him too far, until you know more of
"That I most certainly will not," replied Humphrey. "When do you
purpose going over to the keeper's cottage, Edward?"
"In a day or two; but I am not exactly in a humour now to be very civil
to the Roundheads, although the one I have promised to visit is a lady,
and a very amiable, pretty little girl into the bargain."
"Why, Edward, what has made you feel more opposed to them than usual?"
"In the first place, Humphrey, the murder of the king--for it was
murder, and nothing better--I cannot get that out of my head; and
yesterday I obtained what I consider as almost a gift from Heaven; and
if it is so, it was not given but with the intention that I should make
use of it."
"And what was that, Edward?"
"Our gallant father's sword, which he drew so nobly and so well in
defence of his sovereign, Humphrey, and which I trust his son may one
day wield with equal distinction, and, it may be, better fortune. Come
in with me, and I will show it to you."
Edward and Humphrey went into the bedroom, and Edward brought out the
sword, which he had placed by his side on the bed.
"See, Humphrey, this was our father's sword; and," continued Edward,
kissing the weapon, "I trust I may be permitted to draw it to revenge
his death, and the death of one whose life ever should have been
"I trust that you will, my dear brother," replied Humphrey; "you will
have a strong arm and a good cause. Heaven grant that both may prosper!
But tell me how you came by it."
Edward then related all that had passed during his visit with Oswald to
Lymington, not forgetting to tell him of Benjamin's appearance, and the
arrangements he had made relative to the sale of the venison.
As soon as dinner was over, Edward and Humphrey took down their guns,
having agreed that they would go and hunt the wild cattle.
"Humphrey, have you any idea where the herd of cattle are feeding at
"I know where they were feeding yesterday and the day before, and I do
not think that they will have changed their ground; for the grass is yet
very young, and only grown on the southern aspects. Depend upon it we
shall fall in with them not four miles from where we now are, if not
"We must stalk them as we do the deer, must we not? They won't allow us
to approach within shot, Humphrey, will they?" said Edward.
"We have to take our chance, Edward; they will allow us to advance
within shot, but the bulls will then advance upon us, while the herd
increase their distance. On the other hand, if we stalk them, we may
kill one, and then the report of the gun will frighten the others away.
In the first instance there is a risk; in the second there is none, but
there is more fatigue and trouble. Choose as you please, I will act as
"Well, Humphrey, since you give me the choice, I think that this time I
shall take the bull by the horns, as the saying is; that is, if there
are any trees near us, for if the herd are in an open place I would not
run such a risk; but if we can fire upon them and fall back upon a tree
in case of a bull charging, I will take them openly."
"With all my heart, Edward: I think it will be very hard, if, with our
two guns and Smoker to back us, we do not manage to be masters of the
field. However, we must survey well before we make our approach; and if
we can get within shot without alarming or irritating them, we of course
will do so."
"The bulls are very savage at this spring-time," observed Edward.
"They are so at all times, as far as I can see of them," replied
Humphrey; "but we are near to them now, I should think--yes, there is
"There they are, sure enough," replied Edward: "now we have not to do
with deer, and need not be so very cautious; but still the animals are
wary, and keep a sharp look-out. We must approach them quietly, by
slipping from tree to tree. Smoker, to heel!--down--quiet, Smoker--good
Edward and Humphrey stopped to load their guns, and then approached the
herd in the manner which had been proposed, and were very soon within
two hundred yards of the cattle, behind a large oak, when they stopped
to reconnoitre. The herd contained about seventy head of cattle, of
various sizes and ages. They were feeding in all directions, scattered,
as the young grass was very short; but although the herd was spread over
many acres of land, Edward pointed out to Humphrey that all the
full-grown large bulls were on the outside, as if ready to defend the
others in case of attack.
"Humphrey," said Edward, "one thing is clear--as the herd is placed at
present, we must have a bull or nothing. It is impossible to get within
shot of the others without passing a bull, and depend upon it our
passage will be disputed; and moreover, the herd will take to flight,
and we shall get nothing at all."
"Well," replied Humphrey, "beef is beef; and, as they say, beggars must
not be choosers, so let it be a bull, if it must be so."
"Let us get nearer to them, and then we will decide what we shall do.
They advanced gradually, hiding from tree to tree, until they were
within eighty yards of one of the bulls. The animal did not perceive
them, and as they were now within range, they again stepped behind the
tree to consult.
"Now, Edward, I think that it would be best to separate. You can fire
from where we are, and I will crawl through the fern, and get behind
"Very well, do so," replied Edward: "if you can manage, get to that tree
with the low branches, and then perhaps you will be within shot of the
white bull, which is coming down in this direction. Smoker, lie down!
He cannot go with you, Humphrey; it will not be safe."
The distance of the tree which Humphrey ventured to get to was about one
hundred and fifty yards from where Edward was standing. Humphrey
crawled along for some time in the fern, but at last he came to a bare
spot of about ten yards wide, which they were not aware of, and where he
could not be concealed. Humphrey hesitated, and at last decided upon
attempting to cross it. Edward, who was one moment watching the motions
of Humphrey, and at another that of the two animals nearest to them,
perceived that the white bull farthest from him, but nearest to
Humphrey, threw its head in the air, pawed with his foot, and then
advanced with a roar to where Humphrey was on the ground, still crawling
towards the tree, having passed the open spot, and being now not many
yards from the tree. Perceiving the danger that his brother was in, and
that, moreover, Humphrey himself was not aware of it, he hardly knew how
to act. The bull was too far from him to fire at it with any chance of
success; and how to let Humphrey know that the animal had discovered him
and was making towards him, without calling out, he did not know. All
this was the thought of a moment, and then Edward determined to fire at
the bull nearest to him, which he had promised not to do till Humphrey
was also ready to fire; and after firing to call Humphrey. He,
therefore, for one moment, turned away from his brother, and, taking aim
at the bull, fired his gun; but probably from his nerves being a little
shaken at the idea of Humphrey being in danger, the wound was not
mortal, and the bull galloped back to the herd, which formed a closed
phalanx about a quarter of a mile distant. Edward then turned to where
his brother was, and perceived that the bull had not made off with the
rest of the cattle, but was within thirty yards of Humphrey, and
advancing upon him, and that Humphrey was standing up beside the tree
with his gun ready to fire. Humphrey fired, and, as it appeared, he
also missed his aim; the animal made at him; but Humphrey, with great
quickness, dropped his gun, and, swinging by the lower boughs, was into
the tree, and out of the bull's reach, in a moment. Edward smiled when
he perceived that Humphrey was safe; but still he was a prisoner, for
the bull went round and round the tree roaring and looking up at
Humphrey. Edward thought a minute, then loaded his gun and ordered
Smoker to run in to the bull. The dog, who had only been restrained by
Edward's keeping him down at his feet, sprang forward to the attack.
Edward had intended, by calling to the dog, to induce the bull to follow
it till within gunshot; but before the bull had been attacked, Edward
observed that one or two more of the bulls had left the herd, and were
coming at a rapid pace towards him. Under these circumstances, Edward
perceived that his only chance was to climb into a tree himself, which
he did, taking good care to take his gun and ammunition with him.
Having safely fixed himself in a forked bough, Edward then surveyed the
position of the parties. There was Humphrey in the tree, without his
gun. The bull who had pursued Humphrey was now running at Smoker, who
appeared to be aware that he was to decoy the bull towards Edward, for
he kept retreating towards him. In the meantime the two other bulls
were quite close at hand, mingling their bellowing and roaring with the
first; and one of them as near to Edward as the first bull, which was
engaged with Smoker. At last one of the advancing bulls stood still,
pawing the ground as if disappointed at not finding an enemy, not forty
yards from where Edward was perched. Edward took good aim, and when he
fired the bull fell dead. Edward was reloading his piece when he heard
a howl, and looking round saw Smoker flying up in the air, having been
tossed by the first bull; and at the same time he observed that Humphrey
had descended from the tree, recovered his gun, and was now safe again
upon the lower bough. The first bull was advancing again to attack
Smoker, who appeared incapable of getting away, so much was he injured
by the fall, when the other bull, who apparently must have been an old
antagonist of the first, roared and attacked him; and now the two boys
were up in the tree, the two bulls fighting between them, and Smoker
lying on the ground, panting and exhausted. As the bulls, with locked
horns, were furiously pressing each other, both guns were discharged,
and both animals fell. After waiting a little while to see if they rose
again, or if any more of the herd came up, Edward and Humphrey descended
from the trees and heartily shook hands.
"A narrow escape," said Edward, as he held his brother's hand.
"Yes, indeed we may thank Heaven for our preservation," replied
Humphrey; "and poor Smoker! Let us see if he is much hurt."
"I trust not," said Edward, going up to the dog, who remained quite
still on the ground, with his tongue out, and panting violently.
They examined poor Smoker all over very carefully, and found that there
was no external wound; but on Edward pressing his side the animal gave a
"It is there where the horn of the bull took him," observed Humphrey.
"Yes," said Edward, pressing and feeling softly; "and he has two of his
ribs broken. Humphrey, see if you can get him a little water, that will
recover him more than anything else; the bull has knocked the breath out
of his body. I think he will soon be well again, poor fellow."
Humphrey soon returned with some water from a neighbouring pool. He
brought it in his hat and gave it to the dog, who lapped it slowly at
first, but afterwards much faster, and wagging his tail.
"He will do now," said Edward; "we must give him time to recover
himself. Now then, let us examine our quarry. Why, Humphrey, what a
quantity of meat we have here! It will take three journeys to Lymington
"Yes, and no time to lose, for the weather is getting warm already,
Edward. Now what to do? Will you remain while I go home for the cart?"
"Yes, it's no use both going; I will stay here and watch poor Smoker,
and take off the skins ready by the time you are back again. Leave me
your knife as well as my own, for one will soon be blunt."
Humphrey gave his knife to Edward, and taking up his gun, set off for
the cottage. Edward had skinned two of the bulls before Humphrey's
return; and Smoker, although he evidently was in great pain, was on his
legs again. As soon as they had finished and quartered the beasts, the
cart was loaded, and they returned home; they had to return a second
time, and both the pony and they were very tired before they sat down to
supper. They found the gipsy boy very much recovered, and in good
spirits. Alice said that he had been amusing Edith and her by tossing
up three potatoes at a time, and playing them like balls; and that he
had spun a platter upon an iron skewer and balanced it on his chin.
They gave him some supper, which he ate in the chimney-corner, looking
up and staring every now and then at Edith, to whom he appeared very
much attached already.
"Is it good?" said Humphrey to the boy, giving him another
"Yes; not have so good supper in pit-hole," replied Pablo, laughing.
Early on the following morning Edward and Humphrey set off to Lymington
with the cart laden with meat. Edward showed Humphrey all the shops and
the streets they were in where the purchases were to be made--introduced
him to the landlord of the hostelrie--and having sold their meat, they
returned home. The rest of the meat was taken to Lymington and disposed
of by Humphrey on the following day; and the day after that, the three
skins were carried to the town and disposed of.
"We made a good day's work, Edward," said Humphrey, as he reckoned up
the money they had made.
"We earned it with some risk, at all events," replied Edward; "and now,
Humphrey, I think it is time that I keep my promise to Oswald, and go
over to the Intendant's house and pay my visit to the young lady, as I
presume she is--and certainly she has every appearance of being one. I
want the visit to be over, as I want to be doing."
"How do you mean, Edward?"
"I mean that I want to go out and kill some deer; but I will not do it
till after I have seen her: when my visit is over, I intend to defy the
Intendant and all his verderers."
"But why should this visit prevent you going out this very day, if so
"I don't know, but she may ask me if I have done so, and I do not want
to tell her that I have; neither do I want to say that I have not if I
have; and therefore I shall not commence till after I have seen her."
"When will you set off?"
"To-morrow morning; and I shall take my gun, although Oswald desired me
not; but after the fight we had with the wild cattle the other day I
don't think it prudent to be unarmed; indeed, I do not feel comfortable
without I have my gun, at any time."
"Well, I shall have plenty to do when you are away--the potatoes must be
hoed up, and I shall see what I can make of Master Pablo. He appears
well enough, and he has played quite long enough; so I shall take him
with me to the garden to-morrow, and set him to work. What a quantity
of fruit there is a promise of in the orchard this year! And Edward, if
this boy turns out of any use, and is a help to me, I think that I shall
take all the orchard into garden, and then enclose another piece of
ground, and see if we cannot grow some corn for ourselves. It is the
greatest expense that we have at present, and I should like to take my
own corn to the mill to be ground."
"But will not growing corn require plough and horses?" said Edward.
"No; we will till it by hand: two of us can dig a great deal at odd
times, and we shall have a better crop with the spade than with the
plough. We have now so much manure that we can afford it."
"Well, if it is to be done, it should be done at once, Humphrey, before
the people from the other side of the forest come and find us out, or
they will dispute our right to the enclosure."
"The forest belongs to the king, brother, and not to the Parliament: and
we are the king's liegemen, and only look to him for permission,"
replied Humphrey; "but what you say is true, the sooner it is done the
better, and I will about it at once."
"How much do you propose fencing in?"
"About two or three acres."
"But that is more than you can dig this year or the next."
"I know that; but I will manure it without digging, and the grass will
grow so rich to what it will outside of the enclosure, that they will
suppose it has been enclosed a long while."
"That's not a bad idea, Humphrey: but I advise you to look well after
that boy, for he is of a bad race, and has not been brought up, I am
afraid, with too strict notions of honesty. Be careful, and tell your
sisters also to be cautious not to let him suppose that we have any
money in the old chest, till we find out whether he is to be trusted or
"Better not let him know it under any circumstances," replied Humphrey;
"he may continue honest, if not tempted by the knowledge that there is
anything worth stealing."
"You are right, Humphrey; well, I will be off to-morrow morning and get
this visit over. I hope to be able to get all the news from her, now
that her father is away."
"I hope to get some work out of this Master Pablo," replied Humphrey;
"how many things I could do if he would only work! Now, I'll tell you
one thing--I will dig a saw-pit and get a saw, and then I can cut out
boards, and build anything we want. The first time I go to Lymington I
will buy a saw--I can afford it now; and I'll make a carpenter's bench
for the first thing, and then, with some more tools, I shall get on; and
then, Edward, I'll tell you what else I will do."
"Then, Humphrey," replied Edward, laughing, "you must tell me some other
time, for it is now very late, and I must go to bed, as I have to rise
early. I know you have so many projects in your mind that it would take
half the night to listen to them."
"Well, I believe what you say is true," replied Humphrey, "and it will
be better to do one thing at a time than to talk about doing a hundred;
so we will, as you say, to bed."
At sunrise Edward and Humphrey were both up; Alice came out when they
tapped at her door, as she would not let Edward go without his
breakfast. Edith joined them, and they went to prayers. While they
were so employed, Pablo came out and listened to what was said. When
prayers were over, Humphrey asked Pablo if he knew what they had been
"No, not much; suppose you pray sun to shine."
"No, Pablo," said Edith, "pray to God to make us good."
"You bad then?" said Pablo; "me not bad."
"Yes, Pablo, everybody very bad," said Alice; "but if we try to be good,
God forgives us."
The conversation was then dropped, and as soon as Edward had had his
breakfast, he kissed his sisters, bidding them and Humphrey farewell: he
then threw his gun over his arm, and calling his puppy, which he had
named Holdfast, set off on his journey across the forest.
Holdfast, as well as Humphrey's puppy, which had been named Watch, had
grown very fine young animals. The first had been named Holdfast,
because it would seize the pigs by the ears and lead them into the sty,
and the other because it was so alert at the least noise: but, as
Humphrey said, Watch ought to have learnt to lead the pigs, it being
more in his line of business than Holdfast's, which was to be brought up
for hunting in the forest, while Watch was being educated as a house and
Edward had refused to take the pony, as Humphrey required it for the
farm-work, and the weather was so fine that he preferred walking; the
more so, as it would enable him on his return across the forest to try
for some venison, which he could not have done if he had been mounted on
Billy's back. Edward walked quick, followed by his dog, which he had
taught to keep to heel. He felt happy, as people do who have no cares,
from the fine weather--the deep green of the verdure chequered by the
flowers in bloom, and the majestic scenery which met his eye on every
side. His heart was as buoyant as his steps, as he walked along, the
light summer breeze fanning his face. His thoughts, however, which had
been more of the chase than anything else, suddenly changed, and he
became serious. For some time he had heard no political news of
consequence, or what the Commons were doing with the king. This reverie
naturally brought to his mind his father's death, the burning of his
property, and its sequestration. His cheeks coloured with indignation,
and his brow was moody. Then he built castles for the future. He
imagined the king released from his prison, and leading an army against
his oppressors; he fancied himself at the head of a troop of cavalry,
charging the parliamentary horse. Victory was on his side. The king
was again on his throne, and he was again in possession of the family
estate. He was rebuilding the hall, and somehow or another it appeared
to him that Patience was standing by his side, as he gave directions to
the artificers--when his reverie was suddenly disturbed by Holdfast
barking and springing forward in advance.
Edward, who had by this time got over more than half his journey, looked
up, and perceived himself confronted by a powerful man, apparently about
forty years of age, and dressed as a verderer of the forest. He thought
at the time that he had seldom seen a person with a more sinister and
"How now, young fellow, what are you doing here?" said the man, walking
up to him, and cocking the gun which he held in his hand as he advanced.
Edward quietly cocked his own gun, which was loaded, when he perceived
that hostile preparation on the part of the other person, and then
replied, "I am walking across the forest, as you may perceive."
"Yes, I perceive you are walking, and you are walking with a dog and a
gun: you will now be pleased to walk with me. Deer-stealers are not any
longer permitted to range this forest."
"I am no deer-stealer," replied Edward. "It will be quite sufficient to
give me that title when you find me with venison in my possession; and
as for going with you, that I certainly shall not. Sheer off or you may
meet with harm."
"Why, you young good-for-nothing, if you have not venison, it is not
from any will not to take it; you are out in pursuit of it, that is
clear. Come, come, you've the wrong person to deal with: my orders are
to take up all poachers, and take you I will."
"If you can," replied Edward; "but you must first prove that you are
able so to do; my gun is as good and my aim is as sure as yours, whoever
you may be. I tell you again, I am no poacher, nor have I come out to
take the deer, but to cross over to the Intendant's cottage, whither I
am now going. I tell you thus much, that you may not do anything
foolish; and having said this, I advise you to think twice before you
act once. Let me proceed in peace, or you may lose your place, if you
do not by your own rashness lose your life."
There was something so cool and so determined in Edward's quiet manner,
that the verderer hesitated. He perceived that any attempt to take
Edward would be at the risk of his own life; and he knew that his orders
were to apprehend all poachers, but not to shoot people. It was true
that resistance with firearms would warrant his acting in self-defence;
but admitting that he should succeed, which was doubtful, still Edward
had not been caught in the act of killing venison, and he had no
witnesses to prove what had occurred. He also knew that the Intendant
had given very strict orders as to the shedding of blood, which he was
most averse to under any circumstances; and there was something in
Edward's appearance and manner so different from a common person, that
he was puzzled. Moreover, Edward had stated that he was going to the
Intendant's house. All things considered, as he found that bullying
would not succeed, he thought it advisable to change his tone, and
therefore said, "You tell me that you are going to the Intendant's
house; you have business there, I presume? If I took you prisoner, it
is there I should have conducted you; so, young man, you may now walk on
"I thank you," replied Edward, "but walk on before you I will not: but
if you choose to half-cock your gun again, and walk by my side, I will
do the same. Those are my terms, and I will listen to no other; so be
pleased to make up your mind, as I am in haste."
The verderer appeared very indignant at this reply, but after a time
said, "Be it so."
Edward then uncocked his gun, with his eyes fixed upon the man, and the
verderer did the same; and then they walked side by side, Edward keeping
at the distance of three yards from him, in case of treachery.
After a few moments' silence, the verderer said, "You tell me you are
going to the Intendant's house; he is not at home."
"But young Mistress Patience is, I presume," said Edward.
"Yes," replied the man, who, finding that Edward appeared to know so
much about the Intendant's family, began to be more civil. "Yes, she is
at home, for I saw her in the garden this morning."
"And Oswald, is he at home?" rejoined Edward.
"Yes, he is. You appear to know our people, young man; who may you be,
if it is a fair question?"
"It would have been a fair question had you treated me fairly," replied
Edward; "but as it is no concern of yours, I shall leave you to find it
This reply puzzled the man still more; and he now, from the tone of
authority assumed by Edward, began to imagine that he had made some
mistake, and that he was speaking to a superior, although clad in a
forester's dress. He therefore answered humbly, observing that he had
only been doing his duty.
Edward walked on without making any reply.
As they arrived within a hundred yards of the Intendant's house, Edward
"I have now arrived at my destination, and am going into that house, as
I told you. Do you choose to enter it with me, or will you go to Oswald
Partridge and tell him that you have met with Edward Armitage in me
forest, and that I should be glad to see him? I believe you are under
his orders, are you not?"
"Yes, I am," replied the verderer, "and as I suppose that all's right, I
shall go and deliver your message."
Edward then turned away from the man, and went into the wicket-gate of
the garden, and knocked at the door of the house. The door was opened
by Patience Heatherstone herself, who said, "Oh, how glad I am to see
you! Come in." Edward took off his hat and bowed; Patience led the way
into her father's study, where Edward had been first received.
"And now," said Patience, extending her hand to Edward, "thanks, many
thanks, for your preserving me from so dreadful a death. You don't know
how unhappy I have been at not being able to give you my poor thanks for
your courageous behaviour."
Her hand still remained in Edward's while she said this.
"You rate what I did too highly," replied Edward; "I would have done the
same for any one in such distress: it was my duty as a--man," cavalier
he was about to say, but he checked himself.
"Sit down," said Patience, taking a chair,--"nay, no ceremony; I cannot
treat as an inferior one to whom I owe such a debt of gratitude."
Edward smiled as he took his seat.
"My father is as grateful to you as I am--I'm sure that he is; for I
heard him when at prayer call down blessings on your head. What can he
do for you? I begged Oswald Partridge to bring you here, that I might
find out. Oh, sir, do pray let me know how we can show our gratitude by
something more than words."
"You have shown it already, Mistress Patience," replied Edward; "have
you not honoured a poor forester with your hand in friendship, and even
admitted him to sit down before you?"
"He who has preserved my life at the risk of his own becomes to me as a
brother--at least I feel as a sister towards him: a debt is still a
debt, whether indebted to a king or to a--"
"Forester, Mistress Patience, that is the real word that you should not
have hesitated to have used: do you imagine that I am ashamed of my
"To tell you candidly the truth, then," replied Patience, "I cannot
believe that you are what you profess to be. I mean to say, that
although a forester now, you were never brought up as such. My father
has an opinion allied to mine."
"I thank you both for your good opinion of me, but I fear that I cannot
raise myself above the condition of a forester; nay, from your father's
coming down here, and the new regulations, I have every chance of
sinking down to the lower grade of a deer-stealer and poacher; indeed,
had it not been that I had my gun with me, I should have been seized as
such this very day as I came over."
"But you were not shooting the deer, were you, sir?" inquired Patience.
"No, I was not; nor have I killed any since last I saw you."
"I am glad that I can say that to my father," replied Patience; "it will
much please him. He said to me that he thought you capable of much
higher employment than any that could be offered here, and only wished
to know what you would accept. He has interest--great interest--
although just now at variance with the rulers of this country, on
account of the--"
"Murder of the king, you would or you should have said, Mistress
Patience: I have heard how much he was opposed to that foul deed, and I
honour him for it."
"How kind, how truly kind you are to say so!" said Patience, the tears
starting in her eyes; "what pleasure to hear my father's conduct praised
"Why, of course, Mistress Patience, all of my way of thinking must
praise him. Your father is in London, I hear?"
"Yes, he is; and that reminds me that you must want some refreshment
after your walk. I will call Phoebe." So saying, Patience left the
The fact was, Mistress Patience was reminded that she had been sitting
with a young man some time, and alone with him--which was not quite
proper in those times, and when Phoebe appeared with the cold viands,
she retreated out of hearing, but remained in the room.
Edward partook of the meal offered him in silence, Patience occupying
herself with her work, and keeping her eyes fixed on it, unless when she
gave a slight glance at the table to see if anything was required. When
the meal was over, Phoebe removed the tray, and then Edward rose to take
"Nay, do not go yet--I have much to say first; let me again ask you how
we can serve you."
"I never can take any office under the present rulers of the nation; so
that question is at rest."
"I was afraid you would answer so," replied Patience gravely: "do not
think I blame you; for many are there already who would gladly retrace
their steps if it were possible. They little thought, when they opposed
the king, that affairs would have ended as they have done. Where do you
"At the opposite side of the forest, in a house belonging to me now, but
which was inherited by my grandfather."
"Do you live alone--surely not?"
"No, I do not."
"Nay, you may tell me anything, for I would never repeat what might hurt
you, or you might not wish to have known."
"I live with my brother and two sisters, for my grandfather is lately
"Is your brother younger than you are?"
"And your sisters, what are their ages?"
"They are younger still."
"You told my father that you lived upon your farm?"
"Is it a large farm?"
"No; very small."
"And does that support you?"
"That and killing wild cattle has lately."
"Yes, and killing deer also until lately?"
"You have guessed right."
"You were brought up at Arnwood, you told my father; did you not?"
"Yes, I was brought up there, and remained there until the death of
"And you were educated, were you not?"
"Yes; the chaplain taught me what little I do know."
"Then, if you were brought up in the house and educated by the chaplain,
surely Colonel Beverley never intended you for a forester?"
"He did not; I was to have been a soldier as soon as I was old enough to
"Perhaps you are distantly related to the late Colonel Beverley?"
"No; I am not "distantly" related," replied Edward, who began to feel
uneasy at this close cross-examination; "but still, had Colonel Beverley
been alive, and the king still required his services, I have no doubt
that I should have been serving under him at this time. And now,
Mistress Patience, that I have answered so many questions of yours, may
I be permitted to ask a little about yourself in return? Have you any
"None; I am an only child."
"Have you only one parent alive?"
"What families are you connected with?"
Patience looked up with surprise at this last question--
"My mother's name was Cooper; she was sister to Sir Anthony Ashley
Cooper, who is a person well-known."
"Indeed! Then you are of gentle blood?"
"I believe so," replied Patience, with surprise.
"Thank you for your condescension, Mistress Patience; and now, if you
will permit me, I will take my leave."
"Before you go, let me once more thank you for saving a worthless life,"
said Patience: "well, you must come again when my father is here; he
will be but too glad to have an opportunity of thanking one who has
preserved his only child. Indeed, if you knew my father, you would feel
as much regard for him as I do. He is very good, although he looks so
stern and melancholy; but he has seldom smiled since my poor mother's
"As to your father, Mistress Patience, I will think as well as I can of
one who is joined to a party which I hold in detestation: I can say no
"I must not say all that I know, or you would perhaps find out that he
is not quite so wedded to that party as you suppose. Neither his
brother-in-law nor he are great friends of Cromwell's, I can assure you;
but this in confidence."
"That raises him in my estimation; but why then does he hold office?"
"He did not ask it; it was given to him, I really believe, because they
wished him out of the way; and he accepted it because he was opposed to
what was going on, and wished himself to be away. At least I infer so
much from what I have learnt. It is not an office of power or trust
which leagues him with the present Government."
"No; only one which opposes him to me and my mal-practices," replied
Edward, laughing. "Well, Mistress Patience, you have shown great
condescension to a poor forester, and I return you many thanks for your
kindness towards me: I will now take my leave."
"And when will you come and see my father?"
"I cannot say; I fear that I shall not be able very soon to look in his
injured face, and it will not be well for a poacher to come near him,"
replied Edward: "however, some day I may be taken and brought before you
as a prisoner, you know, and then he is certain to see me."
"I will not tell you to kill deer," replied Patience; "but if you do
kill them, no one shall harm you--or I know little of my power or my
father's. Farewell then, sir; and once more, gratitude and thanks."
Patience held out her hand again to Edward, who this time, like a true
cavalier, raised it respectfully to his lips. Patience coloured a
little, but did not attempt to withdraw it, and Edward, with a low
obeisance, quitted the room.
As soon as he was out of the Intendant's house, Edward hastened to the
cottage of Oswald Partridge, whom he found waiting for him; for the
verderer had not failed to deliver his message.
"You have had a long talk with Mistress Patience," said Oswald, after
the first greeting; "and I am glad of it, as it gives you consequence
here. The Roundhead rascal whom you met was inclined to be very precise
about doing his duty, and insisted that he was certain that you were on
the look-out for deer; but I stopped his mouth by telling him that I
often took you out with me, as you were the best shot in the whole
forest, and that the Intendant knew that I did so. I think that if you
were caught in the act of killing a deer you had better tell them that
you killed it by my request, and I will bear you out, if they bring you
to the Intendant, who will, I'm sure, thank me for saying so. You might
kill all the deer in the forest after what you have done for him."
"Many thanks; but I do not think I can take advantage of your offer.
Let them catch me if they can, and if they do catch me, let them take me
if they can."
"I see, sir, that you will accept no favour from the Roundheads,"
replied Oswald; "however, as I am now head keeper, I shall take care
that my men do not interfere with you, if I can help it; all I wish is
to prevent any insult or indignity being offered to you: they not being
aware who you are, as I am."
"Many thanks, Oswald; I must take my chance."
Edward then told Oswald of their having taken the gipsy boy in the pit,
at which he appeared much amused.
"What is the name of the verderer whom I met in the forest?" inquired
"James Corbould; he was discharged from the army," replied Oswald.
"I do not like his appearance," said Edward.
"No; his face tells against him," replied Oswald; "but I know nothing of
him; he has been here little more than a fortnight."
"Can you give me a corner to put my head in to-night, Oswald? For I
shall not start till to-morrow morning."
"You may command all I have, sir," replied Oswald; "but I fear there is
little more than a hearty welcome; I have no doubt that you could be
lodged at the Intendant's house if you choose."
"No, Oswald, the young lady is alone, and I will not trust to Phoebe's
accommodation again; I will stay here, if you will permit me."
"And welcome, sir: I will put your puppy in the kennel at once."
Edward remained that night at Oswald's, and at daylight he rose, and
having taken a slight breakfast, throwing his gun over his shoulder,
went to the kennel for Holdfast, and set off on his return home.
"That's a very nice little girl," were the words which Edward found
himself constantly saying to himself as he walked along; "and she is of
a grateful disposition, or she would not have behaved as she has done
towards me--supposing me to be of mean birth;" and then he thought of
what she had told him relative to her father, and Edward felt his
animosity against a Roundhead wasting fast away. "I am not likely to
see her again very soon," thought Edward, "unless, indeed, I am brought
to the Intendant as a prisoner." Thus thinking upon one subject or
another, Edward had gained above eight miles of his journey across the
forest, when he thought that he was sufficiently far away to venture to
look-out for some venison. Remembering there was a thicket not far from
him, in which there was a clear pool of water, Edward thought it very
likely that he might find a stag there cooling himself, for the weather
was now very warm at noon-day. He therefore called Holdfast to him, and
proceeded cautiously towards the thicket. As soon as he arrived at the
spot, he crouched and crept silently through the underwood. At last he
arrived close to the cleared spot by the pool. There was no stag there,
but fast asleep upon the turf lay James Corbould, the sinister-looking
verderer who had accosted him in the forest on the previous day.
Holdfast was about to bark, when Edward silenced him, and then advanced
to where the verderer was lying; and who having no dog with him to give
notice of Edward's approach, still remained snoring with the sun shining
on his face. Edward perceived that his gun was under him on the grass;
he took it up, gently opened the pan and scattered the powder, and then
laid it down again; for Edward said to himself, "That man has come out
after me, that I am certain; and as there are no witnesses, he may be
inclined to be mischievous, for a more wretched-looking person I never
saw. Had he been deer-hunting, he would have brought his dog; but he is
man-hunting, that is evident. Now I will leave him, and should he fall
in with anything, he will not kill at first shot, that's certain; and if
he follows me, I shall have the same chance of escape as anything else
he may fire at." Edward then walked out of the covert, thinking that if
ever there was a face which proclaimed a man to be a murderer it was
that of James Corbould. As he was threading his way, he heard the howl
of a dog, and on looking round, perceived that Holdfast was not with
him. He turned back, and Holdfast came running to him. The fact was,
that Holdfast had smelt some meat in the pocket of the verderer, and had
been putting his nose in to ascertain what it was: in so doing he had
wakened up Corbould, who had saluted him with a heavy blow on the head:
this occasioned the puppy to give the howl, and also occasioned Corbould
to seize his gun, and follow stealthily in the track of the dog, which
he well knew to be the one he had seen the day before with Edward.
Edward waited for a short time, and not perceiving that Corbould made
his appearance, continued on his way home, having now given up all
thoughts of killing any venison. He walked fast, and was within six
miles of the cottage, when he stopped to drink at a small rill of water,
and then sat down to rest himself for a short time. While so doing, he
fell into one of his usual reveries, and forgot how time passed away.
He was, however, aroused by a low growl on the part of Holdfast, and it
immediately occurred to him that Corbould must have followed him.
Thinking it as well to be prepared, he quietly loaded his gun, and then
rose up to reconnoitre. Holdfast sprang forward, and Edward looking in
the direction, perceived Corbould partly hidden behind a tree, with his
gun levelled at him. He heard the trigger pulled, and snap of the lock,
but the gun did not go off; and then Corbould made his appearance,
striking at Holdfast with the butt-end of his gun. Edward advanced to
him and desired him to desist, or it would be the worse for him.
"Indeed, younker! It may be the worse for you," cried Corbould.
"It might have been if your gun had gone off," replied Edward.
"I did not aim at you. I aimed at the dog, and I will kill the brute,
if I can."
"Not without danger to yourself; but it was not him that you aimed at--
your gun was not pointed low enough to hit the dog--it was levelled at
me, you sneaking wretch; and I have only to thank my own prudence and
your sleepy head for having escaped with my life. I tell you candidly
that I threw the powder out of your pan while you were asleep. If I
served you as you deserve, I should now put my bullet into you, but I
cannot kill a man who is defenceless--and that saves your life; but set
off as fast as you can away from me, for if you follow me, I will show
no more forbearance. Away with you directly," continued Edward, raising
his gun to his shoulder and pointing it to Corbould; "if you do not be
off, I'll fire."
Corbould saw that Edward was resolute, and thought proper to comply with
his request: he walked away till he considered himself out of gunshot,
and then commenced a torrent of oaths and abusive language, with which
we shall not offend our readers. Before he went farther, he swore that
he would have Edward's life before many days had passed, and then
shaking his fist he went away. Edward remained where he was standing
till the man was fairly out of sight, and then proceeded on his journey.
It was now about four o'clock in the afternoon, and Edward, as he
walked on, said to himself, "That man must be of a very wicked
disposition, for I have offended him in nothing except in not submitting
to be made his prisoner; and is that an offence to take a man's life
for? He is a dangerous man, and will be more dangerous after being
again foiled by me as he has been to-day. I doubt if he will go home; I
am almost sure that he will turn and follow me when he thinks that he
can without my seeing him; and if he does, he will find out where our
cottage is--and who knows what mischief he may not do, and how he may
alarm my little sisters? I'll not go home till dark; and I'll now walk
in another direction, that I may mislead him." Edward then walked away
more to the north, and every half-hour shifted his course, so as to be
walking in a very different direction from where the cottage stood. In
the meantime it grew gradually dark; and as it became so, every now and
then when Edward passed a large tree he turned round behind it and
looked to see if Corbould was following him. At last, just as it was
dark, he perceived the figure of a man at no great distance from him,
who was following him, running from tree to tree, so as to make his
approach. "Oh, you are there!" thought Edward, "now will I give you a
nice dance, and we will see whose legs are tired soonest. Let me see,
where am I?" Edward looked round, and then perceived that he was close
to the clump of trees where Humphrey had made his pit-fall for the
cattle, and there was a clear spot of about a quarter of a mile between
it and where he now stood. Edward made up his mind, and immediately
walked out to cross the clearing, calling Holdfast to heel. It was now
nearly dark, for there was only the light of the stars; but still there
was sufficient light to see his way. As Edward crossed the cleared
spot, he once looked round and perceived that Corbould was following
him, and nearer than he was before, trusting probably to the increased
darkness to hide his approach. "That will do," thought Edward, "come
along, my fine fellow." And Edward walked on till he came to the
pit-fall; there he stopped and looked round, and soon discovered the
verderer at a hundred yards' distance. Edward held his dog by the
mouth, that he should not growl or bark, and then went on in a direction
so as to bring the pit-fall exactly between Corbould and himself.
Having done so, he proceeded at a more rapid pace; and Corbould
following him, also increased his, till he arrived at the pit-fall,
which he could not perceive, and fell into it headlong; and as he fell
into the pit, at the same time Edward heard the discharge of his gun,
the crash of the small branches laid over it, and a cry on the part of
Corbould. "That will do," thought Edward, "now you may lie there as
long as the gipsy did, and that will cool your courage. Humphrey's
pit-fall is full of adventure. In this case it has done me a service.
Now I may turn and go home as fast as I can. Come, Holdfast, old boy,
we both want our suppers. I can answer for one, for I could eat the
whole of that pasty which Oswald set before me this morning." Edward
walked at a rapid pace, quite delighted at the issue of the adventure.
As he arrived near to the cottage he found Humphrey outside, with Pablo,
on the look-out for him. He soon joined them, and soon after embraced
Alice and Edith, who had been anxiously waiting for his return, and who
had wondered at his being out so late. "Give me my supper, my dear
girls," said Edward; "and then you shall know all about it."
As soon as Edward had satisfied his craving appetite--for he had not, as
my readers must recollect, eaten anything since his departure early in
the morning from the house of Oswald Partridge--he entered into a
narrative of the events of the day. They all listened with great
interest; and when Edward had finished, Pablo, the gipsy boy, jumped up,
"Now he is in the pit, to-morrow morning I take gun and shoot him."
"No, no, Pablo, you must not do that," replied Edward, laughing.
"Pablo," said little Edith, "go and sit down; you must not shoot
"He shoot master then," said Pablo; "he very bad man."
"But if you shoot him, you will be a bad boy, Pablo," replied Edith, who
appeared to have assumed an authority over him. Pablo did not appear to
understand this, but he obeyed the order of his little mistress, and
resumed his seat at the chimney-corner.
"But, Edward," said Humphrey, "what do you propose to do?"
"I hardly know; my idea was to let him remain there for a day or two,
and then send to Oswald to let him know where the fellow was."
"The only objection to that is," replied Humphrey, "that you say his gun
went off as he fell into the pit; it may be probable that he is wounded,
and if so, he might die if he is left there."
"You are right, Humphrey, that is possible; and I would not have the
life of a fellow-creature on my conscience."
"I think it would be advisable, Edward, that I should set off early
to-morrow on the pony, and see Oswald, tell him all that has occurred,
and show him where the pit-fall is."
"I believe that would be the best plan, Humphrey."
"Yes," said Alice, "it would be dreadful that a man should die in so
wicked a state; let him be taken out, and perhaps he will repent."
"Won't God punish him, brother?" said Edith.
"Yes, my dear, sooner or later, the vengeance of Heaven overtakes the
wicked. But I am very tired after so long a walk; let us go to prayers,
and then to bed."
The danger that Edward had incurred that day was felt strongly by the
whole party; and, with the exception of Pablo, there was earnest
devotion and gratitude to Heaven when their orisons were offered up.
Humphrey was off before daybreak, and, at nine o'clock, had arrived at
the cottage of Oswald, by whom he was warmly greeted before the cause of
his unexpected arrival was made known. Oswald was greatly annoyed at
Humphrey's narration, and appeared to be very much of the opinion of
Pablo, which was, to leave the scoundrel where he was; but on the
remonstrance of Humphrey, he set off, with two of the other verderers,
and before nightfall Humphrey arrived at the pit-fall, where they heard
Corbould groaning below.
"Who's there?" said Oswald, looking into the pit.
"It's me--it's Corbould," replied the man.
"Are you hurt?"
"Yes, badly," replied Corbould; "when I fell, my gun went off, and the
ball has gone through my thigh. I have almost bled to death."
Humphrey went for the ladder, which was at hand, and, with much exertion
on the part of the whole four of them, they contrived to drag out
Corbould, who groaned heavily with pain. A handkerchief was tied
tightly round his leg, to prevent any further bleeding, and they gave
him some water, which revived him.
"Now, what's to be done?" said Oswald; "we can never get him home."
"I will tell you," said Humphrey, walking with him aside. "It will not
do for any of these men to know our cottage, and we cannot take them
there. Desire them to remain with the man, while you go for a cart to
carry him home. We will go to the cottage, give Billy his supper, and
then return with him in the cart, and bring your men something to eat.
Then I will go with you, and bring the cart back again before daylight.
It will be a night's walk, but it will be the safest plan."
"I think so too," replied Oswald, who desired the men to wait till his
return, as he was going to borrow a cart; and then set off with
As soon as they arrived at the cottage, Humphrey gave the pony to Pablo
to put into the stable and feed, and then communicated to Edward the
state of Corbould.
"It's almost a pity that he had not killed himself out-right," observed
Oswald; "it would have been justice to him for attempting your life
without any cause; he is a bloodthirsty scoundrel, and I wish he was
anywhere but where he is. However, the Intendant shall know of it, and
I have no doubt that he will be discharged."
"Do nothing in a hurry, Oswald," replied Edward; "at present let him
give his own version of the affair; for he may prove more dangerous when
discharged than when under your control. Now sit down and take your
supper. Billy must have an hour to get his, and therefore there is no
hurry for you."
"That is your gipsy lad, Edward, is he not?" said Oswald.
"I like the boy's looks; but they are a queer race. You must not trust
him too much," continued Oswald, in an under tone, "until you have tried
him, and are satisfied of his fidelity. They are very excitable, and
capable of strong attachment if well treated, that I know; for I did a
gipsy a good turn once, and it proved to be the saving of my life
"Oh, tell us how, Oswald," said Alice.
"It is too long a story now, my dear little lady," replied Oswald; "but
I will another time. Whatever he may do, do not strike him; for they
never forgive a blow, I am told by those who know them, and it never
does them any good; as I said before, they are a queer race."
"He will not be beaten by us," replied Humphrey, "depend upon it, unless
Edith slaps him; for she is the one who takes most pains with him, and I
presume he would not care much about her little hand."
"No, no," replied Oswald, laughing, "Edith may do as she pleases. What
does he do for you?"
"Oh, nothing as yet, for he is hardly recovered, poor fellow," replied
Humphrey. "He follows Edith, and helps her to look for the eggs; and
last night he set some springes after his own fashion, and certainly
beat me, for he took three rabbits and a hare, while I, with all my
traps, only took one rabbit."
"I think you had better leave that part of your livelihood entirely to
him; he has been bred up to it, Humphrey, and it will be his amusement.
You must not expect him to work very hard; they are not accustomed to
it. They live a roving life, and never work if they can help it; still,
if you make him fond of you, he may be very useful, for they are very
clever and handy."
"I hope to make him useful," replied Humphrey, "but still I will not
force him to do what he does not like. He is very fond of the pony
already, and likes to take care of him."
"Bring him over to me, one of these days, so that he may know where to
find me. It may prove of consequence if you have a message to send, and
cannot come yourselves."
"That is very true," replied Edward; "I will not forget it. Humphrey,
shall you or I go with the cart?"
"Humphrey, by all means; it will not do for them to suppose I had the
cart from you, Edward; they do not know Humphrey, and he will be off
again in the morning before they are up."
"Very true," replied Edward.
"And it is time for us to set off," replied Oswald. "Will Mistress
Alice oblige me with something for my men to eat? For they have fasted
the whole day."
"Yes," replied Alice, "I will have it ready before the pony is in the
cart. Edith, dear, come with me."
Humphrey then went out to harness the pony, and when all was ready, he
and Oswald set off again.
When they arrived at the pit-fall they found Corbould lying between the
two other verderers, who were sitting by his side. Corbould was much
recovered since his wound had been bound up, and he was raised up and
put on the fodder which Humphrey had put into the cart, and they
proceeded on their journey to the other side of the forest, the
verderers eating what Humphrey had brought for them as they walked
along. It was a tedious and painful journey for the wounded man, who
shrieked out when the cart was jolted by the wheel getting into a rut or
hole; but there was no help for it, and he was very much exhausted when
they arrived, which was not till past midnight. Corbould was then taken
to his cottage and put on the bed, and another verderer sent for a
surgeon: those who had been with Oswald were glad to go to bed, for it
had been a fatiguing day. Humphrey remained with Oswald for three
hours, and then again returned with Billy, who, although he had crossed
the forest three times in the twenty-four hours, appeared quite fresh
and ready to go back again.
"I will let you know how he gets on, Humphrey, and what account he gives
of his falling into the pit; but you must not expect me for a fortnight
Humphrey wished Oswald good-bye; and Billy was so anxious to get back to
his stable that Humphrey could not keep him at a quiet pace. "Horses,
and all animals indeed, know that there is no place like home; it is a
pity that men, who consider themselves much wiser, have not the same
consideration," thought Humphrey as the pony trotted along. Humphrey
thought a good deal about the danger that Edward had been subjected to,
and said to himself, "I really think that I should be more comfortable
if Edward was away. I am always in a fidget about him. I wish the new
king, who is now in France, would raise an army and come over. It is
better that Edward should be fighting in the field than remain here and
risk being shot as a deer-stealer, or put in prison. The farm is
sufficient for us all; and when I have taken in more ground it will be
more than sufficient, even if I do not kill the wild cattle. I am fit
for the farm, but Edward is not. He is thrown away, living in this
obscurity, and he feels it. He will always be in hot water some way or
another, that is certain. What a narrow escape he has had with that
scoundrel, and yet how little he cares for it! He was intended for a
soldier, that is evident; and if ever he is one, he will be in his
element, and distinguish himself, if it pleases God to spare his life.
I'll persuade him to stay at home a little while to help me to enclose
the other piece of ground; and after that is done, I'll dig a saw-pit,
and see if I can coax Pablo to saw with me. I must go to Lymington and
buy a saw. If I once could get the trees sawed up into planks, what a
quantity of things I could make, and how I could improve the place."
Thus thought Humphrey as he went along; he was all for the farm and
improvements, and was always calculating when he should have another
calf or a fresh litter of pigs. His first idea was, that he would make
Pablo work hard; but the advice he had received from Oswald was not
forgotten; and he now was thinking how he should coax Pablo into
standing below in the saw-pit, which was not only hard work, but
disagreeable, from the sawdust falling into the eyes. Humphrey's
cogitations were interrupted by a halloo, and turning round in the
direction of the voice, he perceived Edward, and turned the cart to join
"You're just come in time, Humphrey; I have some provision for Alice's
larder. I took my gun and came out on the path which I knew you would
return on, and I have killed a young buck. He is good meat, and we are
scarce of provisions."
Humphrey helped Edward to put the venison in the cart, and they returned
to the cottage, which was not more than three miles off. Humphrey told
Edward the result of his journey, and then proposed that Edward should
stop at home for a few days and help him with the new enclosure. To
this Edward cheerfully consented; and as soon as they arrived at the
cottage, and Humphrey had had his breakfast, they took their axes and
went out to fell at a cluster of small spruce-firs about a mile off.
"Now, Humphrey, what do you propose to do?"
"This," replied Humphrey: "I have marked out three acres or thereabouts
of the land running in a straight line behind the garden. There is not
a tree on it, and it is all good feeding-ground. What I intend to do is
to enclose it with the spruce-fir posts and rails that we are about to
cut down, and then set a hedge upon a low bank which I shall raise all
round inside the rails. I know where there are thousands of seedling
thorns, which I shall take up in the winter, or early in the spring, to
put in, as the bank will be ready for them by that time."
"Well, that's all very good; but I fear it will be a long while before
you have such a quantity of land dug up."
"Yes, of course it will; but, Edward, I have plenty of manure to spare,
and I shall put it all over this land, and then it will become a rich
pasture, and also an earlier pasture than what we can get from the
forest, and will be very handy to turn the cows and the calves upon; or
even Billy, if we want him in a hurry."
"All that is very true," replied Edward, "so that it will be useful, at
all events, if you do not dig it up."
"Indeed it will," replied Humphrey; "I only wish it were six acres
instead of three."
"I can't say I do," replied Edward, laughing; "you are too grand in your
ideas; only think what a quantity of spruces we shall have to cut down
on it, to post and rail what you just propose. Let it be three acres
first, Humphrey; and when they are enclosed, you may begin to talk of
"Well, perhaps you are right, Edward," said Humphrey.
"Why, here's Pablo coming after us: he's not coming to work, I presume,
but to amuse himself by looking on."
"I don't think he is strong enough to do much hard work, Humphrey,
although he appears very ingenious."
"No, I agree with you; and if he is to work, depend upon it it must not
be by having work set out for him; he would take a disgust to it
directly. I have another plan for him."
"And what is that, Humphrey?"
"I shall not set him anything to do, and shall make him believe that I
do not think he is able to do anything. That will pique him, and I
think by that means I shall get more work out of him than you would
think, especially when, after he has done it, I express my wonder and
give him praise."
"Not a bad idea, that; you will work upon his pride, which is probably
stronger than his laziness."
"I do not think him lazy, but I think him unused to hard work, and,
having lived a life of wandering and idleness, not very easy to be
brought to constant and daily work, except by degrees, and by the means
which I propose.--Here we are," continued Humphrey, throwing his axe and
billhook down, and proceeding to take off his doublet: "now for an hour
or two's fulfilment of the sentence of our first parents--to wit, `the
sweat of the brow.'"
Edward followed Humphrey's example in taking off his doublet; they
selected the long thin trees most fitted for rails, and were hard at
work when Pablo came up to them. More than a dozen trees had fallen,
and lay one upon the other, before they stopped a while to recover
themselves a little.
"Well, Pablo," said Humphrey, wiping his forehead, "I suppose you think
looking on better than cutting down trees; and so it is."
"What cut down trees for?"
"To make posts and rails to fence in more ground. I shall not leave the
"No, cut them off by and by, and then put poles on the cart and carry
Edward and Humphrey then recommenced their labour, and worked for
another half-hour, when they paused to recover their wind.
"Hard work, Pablo," said Humphrey.
"Yes, very hard work; Pablo not strong enough."
"Oh no, you are not able to do anything of this kind, I know. No work
this for gipsies; they take birds' nests and catch rabbits."
"Yes," replied Pablo, nodding; "and you eat them."
"So he does, Pablo," said Edward; "so you are useful in your way; for if
he had nothing to eat he would not be able to work. Strong man cut down
trees, weak man catch rabbits."
"Both good," said Pablo.
"Yes, but strong man like work; not strong man not like work, Pablo. So
now look on again, for we must have another spell."
"Strong man cut down trees, not strong man cut off branches," said
Pablo, taking up the billhook and setting to work to cut off the boughs,
which he did with great dexterity and rapidity.
Edward and Humphrey exchanged glances and smiles, and then worked away
in silence till it was, as they supposed, dinner-time. They were not
wrong in their supposition, although they had no other clock than their
appetites, which, however, tell the time pretty correctly to those who
work hard. Alice had the platters on the table, and was looking out to
see if they were coming.
"Why, Pablo, have you been at work?" said Edith.
"Yes, little missy--work all the morning."
"Indeed he has, and has worked very well, and been very useful," said
"It has given you an appetite for your dinner, Pablo, has it not?" said
"Have that without work," replied the boy.
"Pablo, you are a very good gipsy boy," said Edith, patting his head
with a patronising air; "I shall let you walk out with me and carry the
basket to put the eggs in when you come home in the evening."
"That is a reward," said Humphrey, laughing.
After dinner they continued their labour, and by supper-time had so many
trees cut down, that they determined to carry home the next day, and lay
them along, to see how many more they would want. While they put the
trees in the cart and took them home, Pablo contrived to lop off the
boughs and prepare the poles for them to take away. As soon as they had
cut down sufficient and carted them home, they then selected shorter
trees for posts; and when Pablo had cleared them of the boughs, they
sawed them out the proper lengths, and then carted them home. This
occupied nearly the whole week, and then they proceeded to dig holes and
set the posts in. The railing was then to be nailed to the posts, and
that occupied them three days more; so that it was altogether a
fortnight of hard work before the three acres were enclosed.
"There," said Humphrey, "that's a good job over; many thanks, Edward,
for your assistance; and thank you too, Pablo, for you really have
helped us very much indeed, and are a very useful, good boy. Now for
raising the bank--that I must do when I can spare time; but my garden is
overrun with weeds, and I must get Edith and Alice to help me there."
"If you don't want me any longer, Humphrey," said Edward, "I think I
shall go over to see Oswald, and take Pablo with me. I want to know how
that fellow Corbould is, and what he says; and whether the Intendant has
come back; not that I shall go near him or his good little daughter, but
I think I may as well go, and it will be a good opportunity of showing
Pablo the way to Oswald's cottage."
"I think so too; and when you come back, Edward, one of us must go to
Lymington; for I require some tools, and Pablo is very ragged. He must
have some better clothes than these old ones of ours if he is to be sent
messages. Don't you think so?"
"Certainly I do."
"And I want a thousand things," said Alice.
"Indeed, mistress, won't less than a thousand content you?"
"Yes, perhaps not quite a thousand, but I really do want a great many,
and I will make you a list of them. I have not pans enough for my milk;
I want salt; I want tubs; but I will make out a list, and you will find
it a very long one."
"Well, I hope you have something to sell to pay for them?"
"Yes; I have plenty of butter salted down."
"What have you, Edith?"
"Oh, my chickens are not large enough yet: as soon as they are, Humphrey
must get me some ducks and geese, for I mean to keep some; and by and by
I will have some turkeys; but not yet. I must wait till Humphrey builds
me the new house for them he has promised me."
"I think you are right, Edith, about the ducks and geese; they will do
well on the water behind the yard, and I will dig you out a bigger pool
"Edith, my dear, your little fingers are just made to weed my onions
well, and I wish you would do it to-morrow morning, if you have time."
""Yes", Humphrey, but my little fingers won't smell very nice
"Not till you have washed them, I guess; but there is soap and water,
"Yes, I know there is; but if I weed the onions I cannot help Alice to
make the butter; however, if Alice can do without me I will do it."
"I want some more seeds sadly," said Humphrey, "and I must make out my
list. I must go to Lymington myself this time, Edward; for you will be
puzzled with all our wants."
"Not if I know exactly what you do want; but as I really do not, and
probably should make mistakes, I think it will be better if you do go.
But it is bedtime, and as I shall start early, good-night, sisters; I
beg you will let me have something to eat before I start. I shall try
for some venison, as I come back, and shall take Smoker with me: he is
quite well again, and his ribs are as stout as ever."
"And, Edward," said Alice, "I wish, when you kill any venison, that you
would bring home some of those parts which you usually throw away, for I
assure you, now that we have three dogs, I hardly know how to find
enough for them to eat."
"I'll not fail, Alice," replied Edward, "and now once more good-night."
Early the next morning Edward took his gun, and, with Pablo and Smoker,
set off for Oswald's cottage.
Edward talked a great deal with Pablo relative to his former life; and,
by the answers which the boy gave him, was satisfied that,
notwithstanding his doubtful way of bringing up, the lad was not
corrupted, but was a well-minded boy. As they walked through a grove of
trees, Edward still talking, Pablo stopped and put his hand before
Edward's mouth, and then stooping down, at the same time seizing Smoker
by the neck, he pointed with his finger. Edward at first could see
nothing, but eventually he made out the horns of an animal just rising
above a hillock. It was evidently one of the wild cattle. Edward
cocked his gun and advanced cautiously, while Pablo remained where he
was, holding Smoker. As soon as he was near enough to hit the head of
the animal, Edward levelled and fired, and Pablo let Smoker loose, who
bounded forward over the hillock. They followed the dog, and found him
about to seize a calf which stood by a heifer that Edward had shot.
Edward called him over and went up to the animal; it was a fine young
heifer, and the calf was not more than a fortnight old.
"We cannot stop now, Pablo," said Edward. "Humphrey would like to have
the calf, and we must take our chance of its remaining by its mother
till we come back. I think it will for a day or two, so let us push
No further adventure happened, and they arrived a little after noon at
Oswald's cottage. He was not at home; his wife saying that she believed
that he was with the Intendant, who had come back from London the day
"But I will put on my hood and see," said the young woman.
In a few minutes she returned with Oswald.
"I am glad that you have come, sir," said Oswald, as Edward extended his
hand, "as I have just seen the Intendant, and he has been asking many
questions about you. I am certain he thinks that you are not the
grandson of Jacob Armitage, and that he supposes I know who you are. He
asked me where your cottage was, and whether I could not take him to it,
as he wished to speak to you, and said that he felt great interest about
"And what did you say?"
"I said that your cottage was a good day's journey from here, and I was
not certain that I knew the exact way, as I had been there but seldom;
but that I knew where to find it, after I saw the forests of Arnwood. I
told him about Corbould and his attempt upon you, and he was very wroth.
I never saw him moved before; and young Mistress Patience, she was
indeed angry and perplexed, and begged her father to send the assailant
away as soon as he could be moved."
"Master Heatherstone replied, `Leave it to me, my dear;' and then asked
me what account Corbould gave of himself, and his falling into the pit.
I told him that Corbould stated that he was following a deer, which he
had severely wounded about noon-day, and having no dog with him, he
could not overtake it, although he knew by its bleeding track that it
could not hold out much longer. That he followed it until nightfall,
and had it in view and close to him when he fell into the pit."
"Well, the story was not badly made up," said Edward, "only for a "stag"
read "man"; and what did the Intendant say to that?"
"He said that he believed you, and that Corbould's story was false--as,
if it had been a stag that he was following, no one would have known
that he had fallen into the pit, and he would have remained there till
now. I quite forgot to say, that when the Intendant said that he wished
to call at your cottage, the young mistress said that she would go with
him, as you had told her that you had two sisters living with you, and
she wished very much to see them and make their acquaintance."
"I am afraid that we shall not be able to prevent this visit, Oswald,"
replied Edward. "He is in command here, and the forest is in his
charge. We must see to it. I only should like, if possible, to have
notice of his coming, that we may be prepared."
"You need no preparation, sir, if he should come," replied Oswald.
"Very true," said Edward; "we have nothing to conceal, and if he finds
us in a pickle it is of no consequence."
"Rather the better, sir," replied Oswald. "Let your sisters be at the
wash-tub, and you and your brother carting manure; he will then be more
likely to have no suspicion of your being otherwise than what you assume
"Have you heard any news from London, Oswald?"
"Not as yet. I was away yesterday evening, when Master Heatherstone
came back, and I have not seen his man this morning. While you eat your
dinner I will go into the kitchen; and if he is not there, Phoebe will
be sure to tell me all that she has heard."
"Do not say that I am here, Oswald, as I do not wish to see the
"Mum's the word, sir; but you must stay in the cottage, or others will
see you, and it may come to his ears."
Oswald's wife then put before him a large pie, and some wheaten bread,
with a biggin of good beer. Edward helped Pablo to a large allowance,
and then filled his own platter; while thus occupied Oswald Partridge
had left the cottage, as agreed.
"What do you say, Pablo? Do you think you can walk back to-night?"
"Yes. Like walking at night. My people always do; sleep in a daytime."
"Well, I think it will be better to go home: Oswald has only one bed,
and I do not wish them to know that I am here; so Pablo, eat heartily,
and then we shall not be so tired. I want to get home, that I may send
Humphrey after the calf."
"One bed here; you stay," replied Pablo. "I go home and tell Master
"Do you think you would be able to find your way, Pablo?"
"Once go one way, always know same way again."
"You are a clever fellow, Pablo, and I have a mind to try you. Now
drink some beer. I think, Pablo, you shall go home, and tell Humphrey
that I and Smoker will be where the heifer lies dead, and have it
skinned by nine o'clock to-morrow morning; so if he comes, he will find
"Yes, I go now."
"No, not now, you must rest yourself a little more."
"Pablo not tired," replied the gipsy, getting up; "be back before
supper. As I go along, look at calf and dead cow--see if calf stay with
"Very well, then, if you wish it, you may go now," said Edward.
Pablo nodded his head, and disappeared.
A few minutes afterwards Oswald made his appearance.
"Is the boy gone?"
"Yes; he is gone back to the cottage;" and Edward then stated how he had
killed the heifer, and wanted to obtain the calf.
"I've an idea that you will find that boy very useful, if he is properly
"I think so too," replied Edward; "and I am glad to perceive that he is
already attached to all of us. We treat him as ourselves."
"You are right; and now for the news that I have to tell you. The Duke
Hamilton, the Earl of Holland, and Lord Capel have been tried,
condemned, and executed."
Edward sighed. "More murder! But we must expect it from those who have
murdered their king. Is that all?"
"No. King Charles the Second has been proclaimed in Scotland, and
invited to come over."
"That is indeed news," replied Edward. "Where is he now?"
"At the Hague; but it was said that he was going to Paris."
"That is all that you have heard?"
"Yes; that was what was current when Master Heatherstone was in town.
His man Sampson gave me the news; and he further said, `That his
master's journey to London was to oppose the execution of the three
lords; but it was all in vain.'"
"Well," replied Edward, after a pause, "if the king does come over,
there will be some work cut out for some of us, I expect. Your news has
put me in a fever," continued Edward, taking up the biggin and drinking
a large draught of beer.
"I thought it would," replied Oswald; "but until the time comes, the
more quiet you keep the better."
"Yes, Oswald; but I can't talk any more; I must be left alone to think.
I will go to bed, as I shall be off early in the morning. Is that
fellow Corbould getting well?"
"Yes, sir; he is out of bed, and walks a little with a stick; but he is
still very lame, and will be for some time."
"Good-night, Oswald; if I have anything to say I will write and send the
boy. I do not want to be seen here any more."
"It will be best, sir. Good-night; I will put Smoker in the kennel to
the right, as he will not be friendly with the other dogs."
Edward retired to bed, but not to sleep. The Scots had proclaimed the
king, and invited him over. "He will surely come," thought Edward, "and
he will have an army round him as soon as he lands." Edward made up his
resolution to join the army as soon as he had heard that the king had
landed; and what with considering how he should be able so to do, and
afterwards building castles as to what he would do, it was long before
he fell asleep; and when he did, he dreamt of battles and victory--he
was charging at the head of his troops--he was surrounded by the dying
and the dead. He was wounded, and he was somehow or another well again,
as if by magic; and then the scene was changed, and he was rescuing
Patience Heatherstone from his own lawless men, and preserving the life
of her father, which was about to be sacrificed; and at last he awoke,
and found that the daylight peeped through the windows, and that he had
slept longer than he had intended to do. He arose and dressed himself
quickly, and, not waiting for breakfast, went to the kennel, released
Smoker from his durance, and set off on his return.
Before nine o'clock he had arrived at the spot where the heifer lay
dead. He found the calf still by its side, bleating and walking round
uneasily. As he approached with the dog, it went to a farther distance,
and there remained. Edward took out his knife, and commenced skinning
the heifer, and then took out the inside. The animal was quite fresh
and good, but not very fat, as may be supposed. While thus occupied
Smoker growled and then sprang forward, bounding away in the direction
of the cottage, and Edward thought Humphrey was at hand. In a few
minutes the pony and cart appeared between the trees, with Humphrey and
Pablo in it, and Smoker leaping up at his friend Billy.
"Good-morning, Humphrey," said Edward, "I am almost ready for you; but
the question is, how are we to take the calf? It is as wild as a deer."
"It will be a puzzler, without Smoker can run it down," said Humphrey.
"I take him, with Smoker," said Pablo.
"How will you take it, Pablo?"
Pablo went to the cart and took out a long small cord which Humphrey had
brought with them, and made a noose at one end; he coiled the rope in
his hand, and then threw it out to its full length, by way of trial.
"This way I take him, suppose I get near enough. This way take bulls in
Spain: call him lasso. Now come with me." Pablo had his rope again
coiled in his hand, and then went round to the other side of the calf,
which still remained lowing at about 200 yards' distance.
"Now tell Smoker," cried Pablo.
Humphrey set Smoker upon the calf, which retreated from the dog,
presenting his head to run at it; and Pablo kept behind the animal,
while Smoker attacked it, and drove it near to him.
As soon as the calf, which was so busy with the dog that it did not
perceive Pablo, came sufficiently near to him, Pablo threw his rope, and
caught the loop round the animal's neck. The calf set off galloping
towards Humphrey, and dragging Pablo after him, for the latter was not
strong enough to hold it.
Humphrey went to his assistance, and then Edward, and the calf was
thrown down by Smoker, who seized it by the neck, and it was tied and
put on the cart in a few minutes.
"Well done, Pablo! You are a clever fellow," said Edward, "and this
calf shall be yours."
"It is a cow-calf," said Humphrey, "which I am glad of. Pablo, you did
that well, and, as Edward says, the calf belongs to you."
Pablo looked pleased, but said nothing.
The meat and hide were put into the cart with some of the offal which
Alice had asked for the dogs, and they set off on their return home.
Humphrey was very anxious to go to Lymington, and was not sorry that he
had some meat to take with him: he determined to get off the next
morning; and Edward proposed that he should take Pablo with him, that he
might know the way there in case of any emergency, for they both felt
that Pablo could be trusted. Edward said he would remain at home with
his sisters, and see if he could be of any use to Alice; if not, there
would be work in the garden. Humphrey and Pablo went away after
breakfast, with Billy, and the meat and skin of the heifer in the cart.
Humphrey had also a large basket of eggs and three dozen of chickens
from Alice to be disposed of, and a list as long as the tail of a kite
of articles which she and Edith required; fortunately there was nothing
very expensive on the list, long as it was; but women in those day's
required needles, pins, buttons, tapes, thread, worsted, and a hundred
other little necessaries, as they do now. As soon as they were gone
Edward, who was still castle-building instead of offering his services
to Alice, brought out his father's sword and commenced cleaning it.
When he had polished it up to his satisfaction, he felt less inclined
than ever to do anything; so after dinner he took his gun and walked out
into the forest, that he might indulge in his reveries. He walked on,
quite unconscious of the direction in which he was going, and more than
once finding his hat knocked off his head by the branch of a tree which
he had not perceived--for the best of all possible reasons, because his
eyes were cast on the ground--when his ears were saluted with the
neighing of a horse. He looked up and perceived that he was near to a
herd of forest ponies, the first that he had seen since he had lived in
This roused him, and he looked about him. "Where can I have been
wandering to?" thought Edward: "I never fell in with any of the forest
ponies before; I must therefore have walked in a direction quite
contrary to what I usually do. I do not know where I am; the scenery is
new to me. What a fool I am. It's lucky that nobody except Humphrey
digs pitfalls, or I should probably have been in one by this time; and
I've brought out my gun and left the dog at home. Well, I suppose I can
find my way back." Edward then surveyed the whole herd of ponies, which
were at no great distance from him. There was a fine horse or two among
them, which appeared to be the leaders of the herd. They allowed Edward
to approach to within two hundred yards, and then, with manes and tails
streaming in the air, they darted off with the rapidity of the wind.
"Now I'll puzzle Humphrey when I go back," thought Edward. "He says
that Billy is getting old, and that he wishes he could get another pony.
I will tell him what a plenty there are, and propose that he should
invent some way of catching one. That will be a poser for him; yet I'm
sure that he'll try, for he is very ingenious. And now which way am I
to turn to find my way home? I think it ought to be to the north; but
which is north? For there is no sun out, and now I perceive it looks
very like rain. I wonder how long I have been walking! I'm sure I
Edward then hurried in a direction which he considered might lead him
homeward, and walked fast; but he once more fell into his habit of
castle-building, and was talking to himself: "The king proclaimed in
Scotland! He will come over of course: I will join his army--and
Thus he went on, again absorbed in the news which he had gained from
Oswald, till on a sudden he again recollected himself, and perceived
that he had lost sight of the copse of trees on a high hill, to which he
had been directing his steps. Where was it? He turned round and round,
and at last found out that he had been walking away from it.
"I must dream no more," thought he; "or if I do indulge in any more
day-dreams, I certainly shall neither sleep nor dream to-night. It is
getting dark already, and here am I lost in the forest, and all through
my own foolishness. If the stars do not shine, I shall not know how to
direct my steps; indeed, if they do, I don't know whether I have walked
south or north, and I am in a pretty pickle;--not that I care for being
out in the forest on a night like this; but my sisters and Humphrey will
be alarmed at my absence. The best thing I can do, is to decide upon
taking some straight line, and continue in it: I must then get out of
the forest at last, even if I walk right across it. That will be better
than going backwards and forwards, or round and round, as I otherwise
shall do, just like a puppy running after its own tail. So now shine
Edward waited until he could make out Charles's Wain, which he well
knew, and then the Polar Star. As soon as he was certain of that, he
resolved to travel by it due north, and he did so, sometimes walking
fast, and at others keeping up a steady trot for half a mile without
stopping. As he was proceeding on his travels, he observed, under some
trees ahead of him, a spark of fire emitted; he thought it was a
glow-worm at first; but it was more like the striking of a flint against
steel; and a
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