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" But you
thee to touch it. 'Tis not for such as thou to meddle with these things.”
“With what things, an' it please you, master ? -I have found no harm in the book.” “ With spells of magic and sorcery.”
Henry looked in his master's face with far more keenness of comprehension than his master liked. “I crave your pardon, sir,” he said. have so often taught me to despise the prejudices of the vulgar, and told me that what they call magic and sorcery is-is-belike only some secret, precious and valuable, like the way of compounding aqua
“Hush, boy-hush !” Adrian exclaimed with growing irritation and alarm.
For his pupil evidently knew quite too much. The secrets that book contained were nothing less than recipes for the subtlest and most powerful poisons, which he had obtained in Padua at great price from an Italian skilled in the deadly art.
In his own hands they were harmless; but what harm might they not do in the hands of an ignorant, reckless boy? “ Swear to me never to touch that book again, never to reveal to living man aught thou hast read in it,” he cried.
Why should I swear such a thing ?” asked the pupil with a stare, “where is the reason in it ?”
" What is that to thee? Swear !” reiterated Adrian with increasing passion, tightening his hold
threat and return to him no more. How could he, when he had not taken with him any of his small possessions, not even his cloak and cap ?
“He will come back-he will come back," Adrian said to himself. “ Heaven send he may ; for if any
ill should come to him—what would the Cardinal
?” After standing for some time as one bewildered, he stirred himself
as to put by the dangerous book, which he first carefully locked, like the proverbial stable door. Then he took up the lamp and passed with it into his private room, resolved upon resuming his occupation.
But not all his intense love of his work, not all his sedulously cultivated powers of concentration could keep him from ever and anon looking up and listening, and when there proved to be nothing to see or to hear, ejaculating with a disappointed shake of the head, “What will the Cardinal
The boy made an effort to shake off his hand. “I should like to know why,” he grumbled.
And, master, if you had but locked the book, there would have been none of this trouble. I would not have meddled with it.—However, I give you my word as a gentleman."
Gentleman, forsooth!” interrupted Adrian. “ Insolent boy ! Swear this instant, or,” he shook him in his rage.
" Take thy hand off !” cried the pupil, with flushed face and gleaming eyes. • Know that I
a gentleman than thou, or thy great kinsman the Cardinal."
“ Thine own benefactor! Ungrateful varlet !” cried Adrian, as with a smart and sudden box on the ear he flung him from him.
The flush on the boy's face deepened to crimson, then changed to the white of intense anger. He drew up his slight figure, and said in a cold slow voice, “ Master Adrian Perrenot, you have dared to strike me, and that is an insult I take from
I have served you faithfully, as pupil serves master. But I hold you, in birth and breeding, scarce fit to touch the stirrup of my father's horse. And I have done with you nowfor ever.
Farewell.” He strode out of the room, flinging the cloor to behind him.
Adrian stood amazed, listening to his hasty steps as he descended the creaking staircase. If the skeleton kept hidden in his secret closet had lifted up its voice and spoken, his astonishment. could scarcely have been greater. What he had done was at the time so common and usual that it was only strange he had never done it before ; but then his docile and obedient pupil had never before given him any serious provocation. Still he did not dream that he would really execute his
Once hope rose high within him; there were certainly footsteps on the stairs. He raised his head, cleared his brow, and meditated kindly words of forgiveness and reconciliation. But the footsteps all passed by his door, and went downwards. It was only the breaking up of the Conventicle in the “Upper room." « Vestigia nulla retrorsum," Adrian murmured sadly to himself.
At last he gave up even the pretence of study, closed his book, put aside his drawing, and began to pace the room with restless feet. As he walked up and down, he recalled to his memory all the circumstances of his connection with his pupil, and a good deal more belonging to his past life. Scenes and events came back to him unbidden, filling his mind like a vaporous cloud, which a few words may suffice to condense into rain-drops of palpable fact.
Adrian Perrenot was the son of a poor Burgundian advocate, with a small practice and a large family ; but on the other hand, with the honour of being related, though very distantly, to the celebrated Antoine Perrenit, Bishop of Arras and afterwards Archbishop of Mechlin, though better known, both to his own contemporaries and to us, as Cardinal Granville. Want of liberality to his own kindred was not one of the many vices of this great man.
When he heard that his clever young kinsman desired above all things to study medicine at the University of Padua, he readily undertook to defray his expenses. Even without his help, Adrian would have gone there. Strong in the passion that consumed him, he would have faced with a light heart the hardships of the poor scholar of those days, and begged his scanty bread from door to door, even though Nature had enied him the sweet gift of song, which-as in one most illustrious instance--sometimes softened that dreary lot.
Thanks however to the great cardinal, he was able to sit at the feet of Vesalius, and give all his faculties to the study of the “human frame divine," undisturbed by pressing wants and sordid cares.
He profited exceedingly; and in due time passed through the prescribed academical tests with great applause. Although, as he desired to
devote himself to anatomical investigation, he would have greatly preferred to remain in Padua with Vesalius, still in order to satisfy his patron and his family, he took out not only his degree, but his licence to practise as a physician. Thus equipped, he yielded yet farther to the wishes of his father, and journeyed to the Netherlands to wait upon his illustrious kinsman, to thank him for his past benefactions, and request his patronage for the future.
The great Cardinal received the humble young physician, with tolerable kindness, at his splendid country residence of La Fontaine, near Brussels. He even found a moment, occupied though he was in great affairs of state, to advise him to stay in the Netherlands and practise his calling, promising, if he did so, to “keep an eye upon him.” What was better, he gave him (through a secretary) a sort of general safe-conduct or letter of recommendation, which would secure him from troublesome interference, civil or ecclesiastical; important matter, since his studies and researches were of a kind which the Church regarded with scant favour.
But the shy, reserved scholar was ill at ease in the cold magnificence of La Fontaine. He signified his wish to go to Antwerp, where there were Italian merchants, to whom already he was favourably known, and who would be sure to advance his interests. He did not think it necessary to tell his patron that his strongest attraction to the northern Queen of Commerce was the great printing establishment of the enlightened Christopher Plantin, where he hoped to get the anatomical work he was dreaming of properly printed and engraved. Still less could he tell him that everywhere, beyond the stately gateway of La Fontaine, the name and connection of which hitherto he had been so proud would prove his greatest hindrance. Cardinal Granville was at that time the best hated man in the Netherlands. Adrian could not appear in the streets of Brussels without being insulted, because he was known to be staying at “the Smithy," as the Cardinal's residence was called in derision. One one occasion his hat was pulled off, adorned with a fox's tail, and thrust upon his head again, while the street urchins shouted round him, 6 Down with the old fox and all his friends !” .“ Down with the Inquisition and the Placards !” No wonder he was ready to go.
When he was on the point of departure, the Cardinal condescended to ask a favour of him, and the request, of course, was equivalent to a command. Would he take as pupil one Henry Schmidt, or Smith, a young English Catholic of good family? His father, the Cardinal explained, had signally obliged him, and he wished in return to educate the boy, who had been sent first to the Jesuit College at Trèves, but showed a remarkable taste for the medical profession, for which they could not prepare him. Let Adrian take him for a year or two, and see what he was fit for; then, if he persevered, and his family consented, the Cardinal would send him to a university. Adrian could not refuse, little as he liked the task. He had no love of teaching, and a positive hatred of boys, having
been hiinself, as a studious boy, alone amongst his kind, not admitted to their freemasonry, and often the subject of their thoughtless or ill-natured sport. Though he had little sympathy with Henry, he tried to do his duty by him conscientiously, and was rewarded by finding him less troublesome, and more useful than he expected. When he first
to Antwerp, he took lodgings in the Grande Place. But one day, soon after his arrival, as he sat at his books, having steadily disregarded all the noise of a vast concourse of people assembling in the square--a strange red light cast its reflection
page before him. He rose, and went to see what this glare in full daylight might mean. common sight enough,--a
heretic was being burned to death at the stake. He turned away with a shudder. “I cannot stand this,” he said to himself, “A living man, with flesh and blood, and nerves and veins and arteries-burned up like touchwood !” It had not occurred to him, and no one had happened to tell him, that the execution of criminals of all sorts usually took place there. Without reflecting further on the matter, he came to the conclusion that such scenes (as well as other noisy exhibitions) would be a fatal interference with his work. How could he read or study with that red light falling on his book ? That was all he thought about it: it seemed to him a hindrance, rather than a horror. He was not inhuman, he was only absorbed ; and he accepted without question the ordinary course of the world around him. He removed to the far quieter Place aux Gants, where there were no executions, by fire or otherwise. Henry gave him willing help and attendance; and, as time passed on, he
grew to like, almost to love the boy.
The greater was his distress and perplexity when the day that followed Henry's departure, and many days after, went by without bringing tidings of the fugitive. Then indeed did Doctor Adrian Perrenot begin to feel himself in rather a serious difficulty. Then indeed did he repeat, with rueful countenance and anxious heart, “What will the Cardinal say ?”.
The Cardinal, it is true, was by this time no longer in the Netherlands. The popular indignation had at last forced him from his post. Whether he had abandoned it himself, or been dismissed by his sovereign, was not then known to the country he had trampled and tortured, and driven well-nigh to desperation, and which rejoiced at his downfall with exceeding joy. But to Adrian he was as much a power in Burgundy as in Brussels ; nor could he at once shake off the habit of looking to him as a sort of ultimate authority, whose fiat was to decide the outward course of his actions, although with his inner, or real life, it had absolutely nothing to do.
functions of the modern police. But Adrian was at once too easy-going and too kind-hearted for this. In the town prison there were stocks for the feet of runaways, rods for their backs, and dungeons where they might repent of their follies on bread and water. He did not like to expose Henry to the chance of such treatment.
The wonder was that the watch did not find him unsolicited, and send him back to his master. In mediæval cities the bonds of mutual dependence were drawn very tightly, every man had his recognised place and work; and fugitives, vagabonds, and “masterless men, were apt to have sharp measure dealt out to them. But, whatever might have become of Henry, one thing only was known to Adrian, he never returned.
Time passed on, and the scholar went back to his books; becoming ever more and more absorbed in them. Thus his regrets and anxieties about his pupil faded gradually away; until at last he not only ceased to hope for his return, but almost ceased to wish for it.
The question “What will the Cardinal say ?” he wisely left unanswered. Had he written to his great kinsman, his letter most probably would have been tossed aside unread. Even in his exile the Cardinal had few thoughts to spare for such insignificant persons as Adrian Perrenot and Henry Smith.
Little as Adrian cared for his personal comfort, he soon found it necessary to supply his pupil's lack of service. He spoke on the subject to the people of the house. They were Walloons, whose native tongue, like his own, was French, and who called him “Monsieur Adrian Perrenot.”
The landlord promised readily that his wife should give him the required assistance; but added, with great show of respect and some hesitation, “Monsieur, there is one request I have to make of
honourableness.” “ What is it?" asked Adrian.
Only this—that your worthiness should be · Monsieur Adrian' alone, so long as you
think fit to honour our house with your presence. Meaning no offence, the other name of Monsieur is-is-a little unpopular at present. Monsieur must see for himself that if the 'prentice lads were to take it into their heads that I had any one here belonging to the Cardinal (who is gone from us, thank God, and may he never come back) there would be breaking of windows and smashing of doors. But no doubt the honourable name of Monsieur is spelled quite differently. Only people will make mistakes. Monsieur will forgive me, I am sure.”
Adrian readily consented to waive his unpopular surname; though in a passing way he wondered at the bitter and persistent hatred the Cardinal had everywhere evoked. His landlord, Peregrine Blois, was a liberal in politics, and in conviction almost a Protestant. He had shown this plainly enough, a short time before, when the growing popular sympathy with the new Faith and its champions had compelled a sort of tacit toleration ; the persecuting Edicts continuing still in force, but no one being found able or willing to execute them. Just at this conjuncture, however, things
changed suddenly for the worse. The Cardinal
gone, but the awful power behind him remained. The king's express order arrived, utterly refusing all concessions on the subject of religion. He required peremptorily that the Edicts should be executed in all their horrors ; only a secret but equally torturing death might be substituted for public execution at the stake.
Peregrine Blois grew diligent once more at mass and confession, and which of us has the right to cast a stone at him? It was in his absence, as well as during the laxer time, that his farther advanced and much braver wife had permitted the “ Conventicles " in the
chamber. Peregrine told her now that there should be no more of them; and only her earnest entreaties induced him to allow the preacher to remain in their house, even with the most elaborate precautions, and under an assumed name.
Adrian cared for none of these things. He pursued the even tenour of his way, regardless of political or religious strife. Yet this very strife brought him shortly afterwards a piece of good fortune. The renewal of the persecution drove into exile an enormous number of Protestants of all ranks and various callings, amongst them the skilful Flemish physician who attended the Venetian merchants, settled in Antwerp. Some of these merchants, knowing by reputation the brilliant scholar of Padua and pupil of Vesalius, persuaded their colleagues to offer him the vacant post, with a salary amply sufficient for his moderate wants.
The offer came to him just as the Cardinal's parting gift was exhausted. He was glad, and grateful,—to the Venetian merchants. Of any power above them, which “shapes our ends," he took no account. He did not deny it; only it did not enter at all into his thoughts.
More and more, as weeks and months glided by, his whole nature went out in the pursuit of his fair bride, knowledge. He had so much to learn about that wondrous “Temple,” the human frame. Every separate part would require, and repay, a lifetime's study, -nay, the study of a hundred lifetimes. Those veins in the hand that he had delineated with such care, that artery in the wrist that throbbed beneath his finger—what was the meaning, the purpose, the design of these ? What did they contain ? What was their office ? What went and came by their silent pathways ? and whence ? and whither? He knew the veins contained blood, which he thought was pressed backwards and forwards to the heart by the act of breathing. Vesalius had taught him that the arteries contained chiefly a kind of air called “vital spirits,” which they carried from the heart through the body. He wanted to know a great deal more about these vital spirits, what they were, and what the heart had to do with them. Christopher Plantin, the great printer, whom he held in much esteem, had recently lent him the work of a learned Spaniard named Servetus (would that name were known to us only by its honourable connection with science !), and this suggested strange things to him about the function of the heart, and the flow of blood to and from it through the lungs.
Was it wonderful that, on such thoughts intent, he could barely snatch time during the day for his necessary meals, and his duty to his patients, and that, very often, his candle went not out by night?
Once more it was the scholar's favourite hour. As on the night of his pupil's departure, he was seated at his table in his inner and private room, absorbed in his work; but this time he was writing, not reading or studying. It was early winter; the first snow of the year was deep on the ground outside. A fire was burning on his hearth ; but he had allowed it to get very low. It would soon go out, and he was little likely to hced the cold.
a far harder heart. “For the love of God, monsieur ! · Red-rod’ is coming to take him.
He cannot escape as he did before, through the window that lets out upon the roof. For his arm is numb-dead-I know not. Oh, monsieur, sare him-hide him!”
“ Be calm, young lady, I pray of you ; try to tell me, where is your father?”
Adrian knew this was the daughter of the heretic preacher overhead, though he had never seen, or at least never noticed her before. Now he saw, now—he noticed—nothing except the anguish in the fair young face, the terror in the dark blue eyes, the trembling of the white lips.
Suddenly the door was flung open, and something robed in white flashed in. Ere he could turn, ere he could look even, the thing was at his feet, clasping his knees in passionate supplication.
Then he saw it was a girl, her face whiter than her robe, her young eyes large and wild with terror. “Save him! save him ! for God's sake save him!” she cried in tones of agony.
Here was a situation for a quiet scholar, called in the twinkling of an eye from his speculations about the blood. His own throbbed quickly in his veins, as he faltered, “What do you want of me?"
"Save my father !” wailed the girl, flinging back her long golden hair and gazing in his face with an agonised entreaty that would bave melted
A thrill never felt before passed through him, soul and body. “I will save him,” he said.
“Listen ! listen !” the girl's voice was a strangled cry. “The door is open. They are in the house. They will be here in a moment. Oh God, help save!”
Adrian Perrenot rose to his feet a new man. Amongst his ancestry were men of war with ready brains and stout hearts; and they lived again in him now.
“Fear nothing," he said. “ Those below are friendly, and will make delays. Where is your
father?” As quickly as her trembling limbs allowed, she guided him up the stairs. At the door of his room stood the preacher, a grey-haired man, pale and haggard with recent illness; but quite self-possessed. “ Follow me,” said Adrian, " I will hide you."
usually called Red-rod, stepping forward with an air of dignity. “ Open at once, in the name of the King and of the Church. Here is my warrant to search this house for the heretic preacher Gille de Marchemont, and for his daughter, Rose de Marchemont." “Peste !” muttered Adrian, as he flung the door
Then he said, as one controlling himself with an effort, “Your most humble servant, monsieur, and that of the Church and of the King, of course. But you have come at an unlucky moment. See there”- pointing to the open
In silent haste he led them to his private room. Here he put aside a curtain, which hid a recess in the wall. Out of that recess he drew a full-sized human skeleton, which was standing erect upon a redestal. Then, having motioned to the preacher to take the vacant place, he put back the curtain, and set the skeleton on guard before it. “It will take a bold man to touch that,” he said turning to the girl.
She drew a long breath of terror mingled with relief. “God bless you !” she said, “ Think you he is safe now?"
“ He is. They would touch hot iron rather than those senseless, harmless bones. But you ?”
« Oh, what of me? What matters it?”
“A great deal, poor child. They will stretch you on the rackto pieces-force you to betray him. Not to be thought of ! I must save you. Stay, I know how !”
“ Do you hear the voices ?" she cried with a convulsive shudder. “They are coming! God have mercy on us both! God save my father!”
Adrian disappeared; to return in an instant with Henry's holiday dress, a short cloak of violet-coloured velvet, and a plụmed cap to match. He threw the cloak over the girl's shoulder, and placed the cap on her golden head. Then, hastily unlocking a cabinet, he took out a small phial, which he flung with violence on the floor, near the skeleton. It shivered into fragments, filling the room with a stiflingly horrible odour. Involuntarily the girl drew back. Adrian gave her a kerchief.
"Hold that to your face, lady," he said. “Kneel down and be gathering up the fragments. Your hair suits well, but for heaven's sake let nothing tempt you to look round. You are my pupil. You have carelessly broken a phial of priceless Venetian glass, containing costly medicine."
By this time the steps had drawn near; but they passed by, and were soon heard overhead. The officers of justice, having placed some of their party on guard below, were searching the preacher's abandoned rooms. They ascertained quickly that these were empty, and that escape through the windows, or even by the chimney, had not been attempted. Then came the inevitable visit to the domicile of Adrian. He was ready. He allowed them to knock twice, then came to the door with disordered dress and an irritable manner. He half opened it, but turning back, called to some one 'within, “ Thou shalt pay for this, blundering young 'fool!” Then to the officers, “Who are you, and 'what do you want at this hour? I am busy, and would not be disturbed. There has been an accident
“I am the sheriff's officer," said the person
of the inner room-“my fool of a pupil has just broken a phial containing a costly drug--one of a poisonous nature too, evon the odour is dangerous. Ah, I see you perceive it already."
Red-rod perceived it certainly, and drew back a little. “I am sure, monsieur,” he said bowing, “that any search we may make here can be only a matter of form. But I am upon oath, and must do my duty. Pardon me," and he signed to his satellites to follow him into the room.
“You are entirely welcome,” Adrian said. “What have I to do with the re-setting of heretics ? But I may as well inform you that I hold a letter of recommendation from the Cardinal-Archbishop, who is my kinsman. Should you wish to see it?"