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By What Authority? By Robert Hugh Benson Characters: 34575

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

Anthony in London, strangely enough, heard nothing of the arrest on the Sunday, except a rumour at supper that some Papists had been taken. It had sufficient effect on his mind to make him congratulate himself that he had been able to warn his friend last week.

At dinner on Monday there were a few guests; and among them, one Sir Richard Barkley, afterwards Lieutenant of the Tower. He sat at the Archbishop's table, but Anthony's place, on the steward's left hand, brought him very close to the end of the first table where Sir Richard sat. Dinner was half way through, when Mr. Scot who was talking to Anthony, was suddenly silent and lifted his hand as if to check the conversation a moment.

"I saw them myself," said Sir Richard's voice just behind.

"What is it?" whispered Anthony.

"The Catholics," answered the steward.

"They were taken in Newman's Court, off Cheapside," went on the voice, "nearly thirty, with one of their priests, at mass, in his trinkets too-Oldham his name is."

There was a sudden crash of a chair fallen backwards, and Anthony was standing by the officer.

"I beg your pardon, Sir Richard Barkley," he said;-and a dead silence fell in the hall.-"But is that the name of the priest that was taken yesterday?"

Sir Richard looked astonished at the apparent insolence of this young official.

"Yes, sir," he said shortly.

"Then, then,--" began Anthony; but stopped; bowed low to the Archbishop and went straight out of the hall.

* * *

Mr. Scot was waiting for him in the hall when he returned late that night. Anthony's face was white and distracted; he came in and stood by the fire, and stared at him with a dazed air.

"You are to come to his Grace," said the steward, looking at him in silence.

Anthony nodded without speaking, and turned away.

"Then you cannot tell me anything?" said Mr. Scot. The other shook his head impatiently, and walked towards the inner door.

The Archbishop was sincerely shocked at the sight of his young officer, as he came in and stood before the table, staring with bewildered eyes, with his dress splashed and disordered, and his hands still holding the whip and gloves. He made him sit down at once, and after Anthony had drunk a glass of wine, he made him tell his story and what he had done that day.

He had been to the Marshalsea; it was true Mr. Oldham was there, and had been examined. Mr. Young had conducted it.-The house at Newman's Court was guarded: the house behind Bow Church was barred and shut up, and the people seemed gone away.-He could not get a word through to Mr. Oldham, though he had tried heavy bribery.-And that was all.

Anthony spoke with the same dazed air, in short broken sentences; but became more himself as the wine and the fire warmed him; and by the time he had finished he had recovered himself enough to entreat the Archbishop to help him.

"It is useless," said the old man. "What can I do? I have no power. And-and he is a popish priest! How can I interfere?"

"My lord," cried Anthony desperately, flushed and entreating, "all has been done through treachery. Do you not see it? I have been a brainless fool. That man behind Bow Church was a spy. For Christ's sake help us, my lord!"

Grindal looked into the lad's great bright eyes; sighed; and threw out his hands despairingly.

"It is useless; indeed it is useless, Mr. Norris. But I will tell you all that I can do. I will give you to-morrow a letter to Sir Francis Walsingham. I was with him abroad as you know, in the popish times of Mary: and he is still in some sort a friend of mine-but you must remember that he is a strong Protestant; and I do not suppose that he will help you. Now go to bed, dear lad; you are worn out."

Anthony knelt for the old man's blessing, and left the room.

* * *

The interview next day was more formidable than he had expected. He was at the Secretary's house by ten o'clock, and waited below while the Archbishop's letter was taken up. The servant came back in a few minutes, and asked him to follow; and in an agony of anxiety, but with a clear head again this morning, and every faculty tense, he went upstairs after him, and was ushered into the room where Walsingham sat at a table.

There was silence as the two bowed, but Sir Francis did not offer to rise, but sat with the Archbishop's letter in his hand, glancing through it again, as the other stood and waited.

"I understand," said the Secretary at last, and his voice was dry and unsympathetic,-"I understand, from his Grace's letter, that you desire to aid a popish priest called Oldham or Maxwell, arrested at mass on Sunday morning in Newman's Court. If you will be so good as to tell me in what way you desire to aid him, I can be more plain in my answer. You do not desire, I hope, Mr. Norris, anything but justice and a fair trial for your friend?"

Anthony cleared his throat before answering.

"I-he is my friend, as you say, Sir Francis; and-and he hath been caught by foul means. I myself was used, as I have little doubt, in his capture. Surely there is no justice, sir, in betraying a man by means of his friend." And Anthony described the ruse that had brought it all about.

Sir Francis listened to him coldly; but there came the faintest spark of amusement into his large sad eyes.

"Surely, Mr. Norris," he said, "it was somewhat simple; and I have no doubt at all that it all is as you say; and that the poor stuttering cripple with a patch was as sound and had as good sight and power of speech as you and I; but the plan was, it seems, if you will forgive me, not so simple as yourself. It would be passing strange, surely that the man, if a friend of the priest's, could find no Catholic to take his message; but not at all strange if he were his enemy. I do not think sincerely, sir, that it would have deceived me. But that is not now the point. He is taken now, fairly or foully, and-what was it you wished me to do?"

"I hoped," said Anthony, in rising indignation at this insolence, "that you would help me in some way to undo this foul unjustice. Surely, sir, it cannot be right to take advantage of such knavish tricks."

"Good Mr. Norris," said the Secretary, "we are not playing a game, with rules that must not be broken, but we are trying to serve justice"-his voice rose a little in sincere enthusiasm-"and to put down all false practices, whether in religion or state, against God or the prince. Surely the point for you and me is not, ought this gentleman to have been taken in the manner he was; but being taken, is he innocent or guilty?"

"Then you will not help me?"

"I will certainly not help you to defeat justice," said the other. "Mr. Norris, you are a young man; and while your friendship does your heart credit, your manner of forwarding its claims does not equally commend your head. I counsel you to be wary in your speech and actions; or they may bring you into trouble some day yourself. After all, as no doubt your friends have told you, you played what, as a minister of the Crown, I must call a knave's part in attempting to save this popish traitor, although by God's Providence, you were frustrated. But it is indeed going too far to beg me to assist you. I have never heard of such audacity!"

Anthony left the house in a fury. It was true, as the Archbishop had said, that Sir Francis Walsingham was a convinced Protestant; but he had expected to find in him some indignation at the methods by which the priest had been captured; and some desire to make compensation for it.

He went again to the Marshalsea; and now heard that James had been removed to the Tower, with one or two of the Catholics who had been in trouble before. This was serious news; for to be transferred to the Tower was often but the prelude to torture or death. He went on there, however, and tried again to gain admittance, but it was refused, and the doorkeeper would not even consent to take a message in. Mr. Oldham, he said, was being straitly kept, and it would be as much as his place was worth to admit any communication to him without an order from the Council.

When Anthony got back to Lambeth after this fruitless day, he found an imploring note from Isabel awaiting him; and one of the grooms from the Hall to take his answer back.

"Write back at once, dear Anthony," she wrote, "and explain this terrible thing, for I know well that you could not do what has been told us of you. But tell us what has happened, that we may know what to think. Poor Lady Maxwell is in the distress you may imagine; not knowing what will come to Mr. James. She will come to London, I think, this week. Write at once now, my Anthony, and tell us all."

Anthony scribbled a few lines, saying how he had been deceived; and asking her to explain the circumstances to Lady Maxwell, who no doubt would communicate them to her son as soon as was possible; he added that he had so far failed to get a message through the gaoler. He gave the note himself to the groom; telling him to deliver it straight into Isabel's hands, and then went to bed.

In the morning he reported to the Archbishop what had taken place.

"I feared it would be so," Grindal said. "There is nothing to be done but to commit your friend into God's hands, and leave him there."

"My Lord," said Anthony, "I cannot leave it like that. I will go and see my lord bishop to-day; and then, if he can do nothing to help, I will even see the Queen's Grace herself."

Grindal threw up his hands with a gesture of dismay.

"That will ruin all," he said. "An officer of mine could do nothing but anger her Grace."

"I must do my best," said Anthony; "it was through my folly he is in prison, and I could never rest if I left one single thing undone."

Just as Anthony was leaving the house, a servant in the royal livery dashed up to the gate; and the porter ran out after Anthony to call him back. The man delivered to him a letter which he opened then and there. It was from Mistress Corbet.

"What can be done," the letter ran, "for poor Mr. James? I have heard a tale of you from a Catholic, which I know is a black lie. I am sure that even now you will be doing all you can to save your friend. I told the man that told me, that he lied and that I knew you for an honest gentleman. But come, dear Mr. Anthony; and we will do what we can between us. Her Grace noticed this morning that I had been weeping; I put her off with excuses that she knows to be excuses; and she is so curious that she will not rest till she knows the cause. Come after dinner to-day; we are at Greenwich now; and we will see what may be done. It may even be needful for you to see her Grace yourself, and tell her the story. Your loving friend, Mary Corbet."

Anthony gave a message to the royal groom, to tell Mistress Corbet that he would do as she said, and then rode off immediately to the city. There was another disappointing delay as the Bishop was at Fulham; and thither he rode directly through the frosty streets under the keen morning sunshine, fretting at the further delay.

He had often had occasion to see the Bishop before, and Aylmer had taken something of a liking to this staunch young churchman; and now as the young man came hurrying across the grass under the elms, the Bishop, who was walking in his garden in his furs and flapped cap, noticed his anxious eyes and troubled face, and smiled at him kindly, wondering what he had come about. The two began to walk up and down together. The sunshine was beginning to melt the surface of the ground, and the birds were busy with breakfast-hunting.

"Look at that little fellow!" cried the Bishop, pointing to a thrush on the lawn, "he knows his craft."

The thrush had just rapped several times with his beak at a worm's earth, and was waiting with his head sideways watching.

"Aha!" cried the Bishop again, "he has him." The thrush had seized the worm who had come up to investigate the noise, and was now staggering backwards, bracing himself, and tugging at the poor worm, who, in a moment more was dragged out and swallowed.

"My lord," said Anthony, "I came to ask your pity for one who was betrayed by like treachery."

The Bishop looked astonished, and asked for the story; but when he heard who it was that had been taken, and under what circumstances, the kindliness died out of his eyes. He shook his head severely when Anthony had done.

"It is useless coming to me, sir," he said. "You know what I think. To be ordained beyond the seas and to exercise priestly functions in England is now a crime. It is useless to pretend anything else. It is revolt against the Queen's Grace and the peace of the realm. And I must confess I am astonished at you, Mr. Norris, thinking that anything ought to be done to shield a criminal, and still more astonished that you should think I would aid you in that. I tell you plainly that I am glad that the fellow is caught, for that I think there will be presently one less fire-brand in England. I know it is easy to cry out against persecution and injustice; that is ever the shallow cry of the mob; but this is not a religious persecution, as you yourself very well know. It is because the Roman Church interferes with the peace of the realm and the Queen's authority that its ordinances are forbidden; we do not seek to touch a man's private opinions. However, you know all that as well as I."

Anthony was raging now with anger.

"I am not so sure, my lord, as I was," he said. "I had hoped from your lordship at any rate to find sympathy for the base trick whereby my friend was snared; and I find it now hard to trust the judgment of any who do not feel as I do about it."

"That is insolence, Mr. Norris," said Aylmer, stopping in his walk and turning upon him his cold half-shut eyes, "and I will not suffer it."

"Then, my lord, I had better begone to her Grace at once."

"To her Grace!" exclaimed the Bishop.

"Appello C?sarem," said Anthony, and was gone again.

* * *

As Anthony came into the courtyard of Greenwich Palace an hour or two later he found it humming with movement and noise. Cooks were going to and fro with dishes, as dinner was only just ending; servants in the royal livery were dashing across with messages; a few great hounds for the afternoon's baiting were in a group near one of the gateways, snuffing the smell of cookery, and howling hungrily now and again.

Anthony stopped one of the men, and sent him with a message to Mistress Corbet; and the servant presently returned, saying that the Court was just rising from dinner, and Mistress Corbet would see him in a parlour directly, if the gentleman would kindly follow him. A groom took his horse off to the stable, and Anthony himself followed the servant to a little oak-parlour looking on to a lawn with a yew hedge and a dial. He felt as one moving in a dream, bewildered by the rush of interviews, and oppressed by the awful burden that he bore at his heart. Nothing any longer seemed strange; and he scarcely gave a thought to what it meant when he heard the sound of trumpets in the court, as the Queen left the Hall. In five minutes more Mistress Corbet burst into the room; and her anxious look broke into tenderness at the sight of the misery in the lad's face.

"Oh, Master Anthony," she cried, seizing his hand, "thank God you are here. And now what is to be done for him?"

They sat down together in the window-seat. Mary was dressed in an elaborate rose-coloured costume; but her pretty lips were pale, and her eyes looked distressed and heavy.

"I have hardly slept," she said, "since Saturday night. Tell me all that you know."

Anthony told her the whole story, mechanically and miserably.

"Ah," she said, "that was how it was. I understand it now. And what can we do? You know, of course, that he has been questioned in the Tower."

Anthony turned suddenly white and sick.

"Not the-not the--" he began, falteringly.

She nodded at him mutely with large eyes and compressed lips.

"Oh, my God," said Anthony; and then again, "O God."

She took up one of his brown young hands and pressed it gently between her white slender ones.

"I know," she said, "I know; he is a gallant gentleman."

Anthony stood up shaking; and sat down again. The horror had goaded him into clearer consciousness.

"Ah! what can we do?" he said brokenly. "Let me see the Queen. She will be merciful."

"You must trust to me in this," said Mary, "I know her; and I know that to go to her now would be madness. She is in a fury with Pinart to-day at something that has passed about the Duke. You know Monsieur is here; she kissed him the other day, and the Lord only knows whether she will marry him or not. You must wait a day or two; and be ready when I tell you."

"But," stammered Anthony, "every hour we wait, he suffers."

"Oh, you cannot tell that," said Mary, "they give them a long rest sometimes; and it was only yesterday that he was questioned."

Anthony sat silently staring out on the fresh lawn; there was still a patch of frost under the shadow of the hedge he noticed.

"Wait here a moment," said Mary, looking at him; and she got up and went out.

Anthony still sat staring and

thinking of the horror. Presently Mary was at his side again with a tall venetian wine-glass brimming with white wine.

"Here," she said, "drink this,"-and then-"have you dined to-day?"

"There was not time," said Anthony.

She frowned at him almost fiercely.

"And you come here fasting," she said, "to face the Queen! You foolish boy; you know nothing. Wait here," she added imperiously, and again she left the room.

Anthony still stared out of doors, twisting the empty glass in his hand; until again came her step and the rustle of her dress. She took the glass from him and put it down. A servant had followed her back into the room in a minute or two with a dish of meat and some bread; he set it on the table, and went out.

"Now," said Mary, "sit down and eat before you speak another word." And Anthony obeyed. The servant presently returned with some fruit, and again left them. All the while Anthony was eating, Mary sat by him and told him how she had heard the whole story from another Catholic at court; and how the Queen had questioned her closely the night before, as to what the marks of tears meant on her cheeks.

"It was when I heard of the racking," explained Mary, "I could not help it. I went up to my room and cried and cried. But I would not tell her Grace that: it would have been of no use; so I said I had a headache; but I said it in such a way as to prepare her for more. She has not questioned me again to-day; she is too full of anger and of the bear-baiting; but she will-she will. She never forgets; and then Mr. Anthony, it must be you to tell her. You are a pleasant-faced young man, sir, and she likes such as that. And you must be both forward and modest with her. She loves boldness, but hates rudeness. That is why Chris is so beloved by her. He is a fool, but he is a handsome fool, and a forward fool, and withal a tender fool; and sighs and cries, and calls her his Goddess; and says how he takes to his bed when she is not there, which of course is true. The other day he came to her, white-faced, sobbing like a frightened child, about the ring she had given Monsieur le petit grenouille. And oh, she was so tender with him. And so, Mr. Anthony, you must not be just forward with her, and frown at her and call her Jezebel and tyrant, as you would like to do; but you must call her Cleopatra, and Diana as well. Forward and backward all in one; that is the way she loves to be wooed. She is a woman, remember that."

"I must just let my heart speak," said Anthony, "I cannot twist and turn."

"Yes, yes," said Mary, "that is what I mean; but mind that it is your heart."

They went on talking a little longer; when suddenly the trumpets pealed out again. Mary rose with a look of consternation.

"I must fly," she said, "her Grace will be starting for the pit directly; and I must be there. Do you follow, Mr. Anthony; I will speak to a servant in the court about you." And in a moment she was gone.

When Anthony had finished the fruit and wine, he felt considerably refreshed; and after waiting a few minutes, went out into the court again, which he found almost deserted, except for a servant or two. One of these came up to him, and said respectfully that Mistress Corbet had left instructions that Mr. Norris was to be taken to the bear-pit; so Anthony followed him through the palace to the back.

* * *

It was a startlingly beautiful sight that his eyes fell upon when he came up the wooden stairs on to the stage that ran round the arena where the sport was just beginning. It was an amphitheatre, perhaps forty yards across; and the seats round it were filled with the most brilliant costumes, many of which blazed with jewels. Hanging over the top of the palisade were rich stuffs and tapestries. The Queen herself no doubt with Alen?on was seated somewhere to the right, as Anthony could see by the canopy, with the arms of England and France embroidered upon its front; but he was too near to her to be able to catch even a glimpse of her face or figure. The awning overhead was furled, as the day was so fine, and the winter sunshine poured down on the dresses and jewels. All the Court was there; and Anthony recognised many great nobles here and there in the specially reserved seats. A ceaseless clangour of trumpets and cymbals filled the air, and drowned not only the conversation but the terrific noise from the arena where half a dozen great dogs, furious with hunger and excited as much by the crowds and the brazen music overhead as by the presence of their fierce adversary, were baiting a huge bear chained to a ring in the centre of the sand.

Anthony's heart sank a little as he noticed the ladies of the Court applauding and laughing at the abominable scene below, no doubt in imitation of their mistress who loved this fierce sport; and as he thought of the kind of heart to which he would have to appeal presently.

So through the winter afternoon the bouts went on; the band answered with harsh chords the death of the dogs one by one, and welcomed the collapse of the bear with a strident bellowing passage on the great horns and drums; and by the time it was over and the spectators rose to their feet, Anthony's hopes were lower than ever. Can there be any compassion left, he wondered, in a woman to whom such an afternoon was nothing more than a charming entertainment?

By the time he was able to get out of his seat and return to the courtyard, the procession had again disappeared, but he was escorted by the same servant to the parlour again, where Mistress Corbet presently rustled in.

"You must stay to-night," she said, "as late as possible. I wish you could sleep here; but we are so crowded with these Frenchmen and Hollanders that there is not a bed empty. The Queen is in better humour, and if the play goes well, it may be that a word said even to-night might reach her heart. I will tell you when it is over. You must be present. I will send you supper here directly."

Anthony inquired as to his dress.

"Nay, nay," said Mistress Corbet, "that will do very well; it is sober and quiet, and a little splashed: it will appear that you came in such haste that you could not change it. Her Grace likes to see a man hot and in a hurry sometimes; and not always like a peacock in the shade.-And, Master Anthony, it suits you very well."

He asked what time the play would be over, and that his horse might be saddled ready for him when he should want it; and Mary promised to see to it.

He felt much more himself as he supped alone in the parlour. The bewilderment had passed; the courage and spirit of Mary had infected his own, and the stirring strange life of the palace had distracted him from that dreadful brooding into which he had at first sunk.

When he had finished supper he sat in the window seat, pondering and praying too that the fierce heart of the Queen might be melted, and that God would give him words to say.

There was much else too that he thought over, as he sat and watched the illuminated windows round the little lawn on which his own looked, and heard the distant clash of music from the Hall where the Queen was supping in state. He thought of Mary and of her gay and tender nature; and of his own boyish love for her. That indeed had gone, or rather had been transfigured into a brotherly honour and respect. Both she and he, he was beginning to feel, had a more majestic task before them than marrying and giving in marriage. The religion which made this woman what she was, pure and upright in a luxurious and treacherous Court, tender among hard hearts, sympathetic in the midst of selfish lives-this Religion was beginning to draw this young man with almost irresistible power. Mary herself was doing her part bravely, witnessing in a Protestant Court to the power of the Catholic Faith in her own life; and he, what was he doing? These last three days were working miracles in him. The way he had been received by Walsingham and Aylmer, their apparent inability to see his point of view on this foul bit of treachery, the whole method of the Government of the day;-and above all the picture that was floating now before his eyes over the dark lawn, of the little cell in the Tower and the silent wrenched figure lying upon the straw-the "gallant gentleman" as Mary had called him, who had reckoned all this price up before he embarked on the life of a priest, and was even now paying it gladly and thankfully, no doubt-all this deepened the previous impressions that Anthony's mind had received; and as he sat here amid the stir of the royal palace, again and again a vision moved before him, of himself as a Catholic, and perhaps-- But Isabel! What of Isabel? And at the thought of her he rose and walked to and fro.

* * *

Presently the servant came again to take Anthony to the Presence Chamber, where the play was to take place.

"I understand, sir, from Mistress Corbet," said the man, closing the door of the parlour a moment, "that you are come about Mr. Maxwell. I am a Catholic, too, sir, and may I say, sir, God bless and prosper you in this.-I-I beg your pardon, sir, will you follow me?"

The room was full at the lower end where Anthony had to stand, as he was not in Court dress; and he could see really nothing of the play, and hear very little either. The children of Paul's were acting some classical play which he did not know: all he could do was to catch a glimpse now and again of the protruding stage, with the curtains at the back, and the glitter of the armour that the boys wore; and hear the songs that were accompanied by a little string band, and the clash of the brass at the more martial moments. The Queen and the Duke, he could see, sat together immediately opposite the stage, on raised seats under a canopy; a group of halberdiers guarded them, and another small company of them was ranged at the sides of the stage. Anthony could see little more than this, and could hear only isolated sentences here and there, so broken was the piece by the talking and laughing around him. But he did not like to move as Mistress Corbet had told him to be present, so he stood there listening to the undertone talk about him, and watching the faces. What he did see of the play did not rouse him to any great enthusiasm. His heart was too heavy with his errand, and it seemed to him that the occasional glimpses he caught of the stage showed him a very tiresome hero, dressed in velvet doubled and hose and steel cap, strangely unconvincing, who spoke his lines pompously, and was as unsatisfactory as the slender shrill-voiced boy who, representing a woman of marvellous beauty and allurement, was supposed to fire the conqueror's blood with passion.

At last it ended; and an "orator" in apparel of cloth of gold, spoke a kind of special epilogue in rhyming metre in praise of the Virgin Queen, and then retired bowing.

Immediately there was a general movement; the brass instruments began to blare out, and an usher at the door desired those who were blocking the way to step aside to make way for the Queen's procession, which would shortly pass out. Anthony himself went outside with one or two more, and then stood aside waiting.

There was a pause and then a hush; and the sound of a high rating woman's voice, followed by a murmur of laughter.

In a moment more the door was flung open again, and to Anthony's surprise Mistress Corbet came rustling out, as the people stepped back to make room. Her eyes fell on Anthony near the door, and she beckoned him to follow, and he went down the corridor after her, followed her silently along a passage or two, wondering why she did not speak, and then came after her into the same little oak parlour where he had supped. A servant followed them immediately with lighted candles which he set down and retired.

Anthony looked at Mistress Corbet, and saw all across her pale cheek the fiery mark of the five fingers of a hand, and saw too that her eyes were full of tears, and that her breath came unevenly.

"It is no use to-night," she said, with a sob in her voice; "her Grace is angry with me."

"And, and--" began Anthony in amazement.

"And she struck me," said Mary, struggling bravely to smile. "It was all my fault,"-and a bright tear or two ran down on to her delicate lace. "I was sitting near her Grace, and I could not keep my mind off poor James Maxwell; and I suppose I looked grave, because when the play was over, she beckoned me up, and-and asked how I liked it, and why I looked so solemn-for she would know-was it for Scipio Africanus, or some other man? And-and I was silent; and Alen?on, that little frog-man burst out laughing and said to her Grace something-something shameful-in French-but I understood, and gave him a look; and her Grace saw it, and, and struck me here, before all the Court, and bade me begone."

"Oh! it is shameful," said Anthony, furiously, his own eyes bright too, at the sight of this gallant girl and her humiliation.

"You cannot stay here, Mistress Corbet. This is the second time at least, is it not?"

"Ah! but I must stay," she said, "or who will speak for the Catholics? But now it is useless to think of seeing her Grace to-night. Yet to-morrow, maybe, she will be sorry,-she often is-and will want to make amends; and then will be our time, so you must be here to-morrow by dinner-time at least."

"Oh, Mistress Corbet," said the boy, "I wish I could do something."

"You dear lad!" said Mary, and then indeed the tears ran down.

* * *

Anthony rode back to Lambeth under the stars, anxious and dispirited, and all night long dreamed of pageants and progresses that blocked the street down which he must ride to rescue James. The brazen trumpets rang out whenever he called for help or tried to explain his errand; and Elizabeth rode by, bowing and smiling to all save him.

* * *

The next day he was at Greenwich again by dinner-time, and again dined by himself in the oak parlour, waited upon by the Catholic servant. He was just finishing his meal when in sailed Mary, beaming.

"I told you so," she said delightedly, "the Queen is sorry. She pinched my ear just now, and smiled at me, and bade me come to her in her private parlour in half an hour; and I shall put my petition then; so be ready, Master Anthony, be ready and of a good courage; for, please God, we shall save him yet."

Anthony looked at her, white and scared.

"What shall I say?" he said.

"Speak from your heart, sir, as you did to me yesterday. Be bold, yet not overbold. Tell her plainly that he is your friend; and that it was through your action he was betrayed. Say that you love the man. She likes loyalty.-Say he is a fine upstanding fellow, over six feet in height, with a good leg. She likes a good leg.-Say that he has not a wife, and will never have one. Wives and husbands like her not-in spite of le petit grenouille.-And look straight in her face, Master Anthony, as you looked in mine yesterday when I was a cry-baby. She likes men to do that.-And then look away as if dazzled by her radiancy. She likes that even more."

Anthony looked so bewildered by these instructions that Mary laughed in his face.

"Here then, poor lad," she said, "I will tell you in a word. Tell the truth and be a man;-a man! She likes that best of all; though she likes sheep too, such as Chris Hatton, and frogs like the Duke, and apes like the little Spaniard, and chattering dancing monkeys like the Frenchman-and-and devils, like Walshingham. But do you be a man and risk it. I know you can manage that." And Mary smiled at him so cheerfully, that Anthony felt heartened.

"There," she said, "now you look like one. But you must have some more wine first, I will send it in as I go. And now I must go. Wait here for the message." She gave him her hand, and he kissed it, and she went out, nodding and smiling over her shoulder.

Anthony sat miserably on the window-seat.

Ah! so much depended on him now. The Queen was in a good humour, and such a chance might never occur again;-and meantime James Maxwell waited in the Tower.

The minutes passed; steps came and went in the passage outside; and Anthony's heart leaped into his mouth at each sound. Once the door opened, and Anthony sprang to his feet trembling. But it was only the servant with the wine. Anthony took it-a fiery Italian wine, and drew a long draught that sent his blood coursing through his veins, and set his heart a-beating strongly again. And even as he set the cup down, the door was open again, and a bowing page was there.

"May it please you, sir, the Queen's Grace has sent me for you."

Anthony got up, swallowed in his throat once or twice, and motioned to go; the boy went out and Anthony followed.

They went down a corridor or two, passing a sentry who let the well-known page and the gentleman pass without challenging; ascended a twisted oak staircase, went along a gallery, with stained glass of heraldic emblems in the windows, and paused before a door. The page, before knocking, turned and looked meaningly at Anthony, who stood with every pulse in his body racing; then the boy knocked, opened the door; Anthony entered, and the door closed behind him.

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