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6 Not to you.
It is proved."
My brother shall hear them, and the National Estates."
“ From the lips of a maiden like you? They will only say, what I fear is the truth, that you are out of your mind.” Then with a change of tone and manner, “ But, Marie, I pray of you to consider—to be reasonable. As my betrothed
“Dare to utter that word to me again !” she interrupted passionately. "Liar! Traitor ! Evil spirit that has slain my beloved and taken his form-you-you
Her strength failed her suddenly, she tottered, sank on the nearest seat, and covered her face with her hands.
“If I am all that,” Wallingford said deliberately, standing over her, “you have sense enough left to know that I can give proof of it here, and now, by taking your life. There are none here in the house but us two, and, if you will not swear to me upon the Holy Gospels to forget this mad delusion
Marie rose suddenly, and flung herseif at his feet.
“Poor child !” he said, in a changed, pitying tone. “ Didst think I could harm a hair of thy head ? No; not to save my own life a hundred times--and it means that. I only spoke to frighten thee. Rise, and let us talk together quietly concerning this thing."
He tried to raise her, but she struck his hand away as if she loathed the touch. “Man, or demon, or whatever you may be, did you think I knelt to you for my life?” she asked. “ Edward would have known me better. But see--I kneel -I implore—I pray of you, to tell me where he is? With the living, or the dead ?”
"Suppose I humoured your delusion, as men often do with the mad, and told you he was dead?”
At the word she rose up, and stood upon her feet. There was nothing now to kneel for any more-to man. But there was something to give thanks for to God. It was not love which was dead; it was only the beloved one. A heart that has known the anguish of the first, can thank God even while it breaks over the second. “I knew it," she said calmly.
“You are wrong then. He is not dead.”
Marie turned with loathing from the "Popish gaud,” yet she honestly believed that no evil spirit could endure the sight or touch of it; and she knew that by a mortal man, if that man were a Papist, an oath upon it would be held sacred. But she could not help saying, “ And all this time that lay upon your heart! Deceiver !”
“What I am is no matter now. It only matters to save life-two lives. Listen : I swear upon this holy sign of our redemption, to speak the truth." He added the words of a most solemn oath.
“Sit down, Marie, I beg of you, for I have much to say, and you will need all your strength." She obeyed mechanically. “Only tell me of
“ Edward,” she said with white lips.
“ Edward is safe and well, though under restraint in the Jesuit College in Trèves."
“ Can I believe
“ It may be permitted you to do that falsely, as to do other villainies."
By no means. It is strange you will not believe me, even when I am speaking truth. Edward is safe; and I am truly glad of it. The next thing you want to ask me is, if he has been faithful to your religion ?”
“I ask it not,” said Marie, raising her head proudly. “If he lives, he is faithful.”
“You have judged him rightly."
“And, perhaps, gold may open the door of his prison," she suggested, as she had done before to the Béguine of Amsterdam.
“Gold cannot, but you can, Marie-Mademoiselle Marie, I should say, pardon the slip
. I have been trying to do it, little as you may
believe I had hoped to succeed ere long." Marie shook her head in emphatic incredulity
, and the two faced each other in silence for a space. Then Wallingford resumed, in a rober studiously low and gentle, “I am going to tell you all. I am Austen Wallingford. Åt Nasa tricht, I saved the life of Edward, as you have heard from the Béguine, who is aunt to buth of us."
"Perhaps her story is false, like all the rest."
“It is quite true. She knows nought of this enterprise of mine, which, I doubt not, she would have disapproved."
“Are you then Edward's brother 9” Marie asked with a bewildered look.
“No; his cousin. Our fathers were brothers, and our mothers also sisters. The likeness between us was always considered extraordinary. As boys we were playfellows, and sometimes in a frolic we have changed clothes, deceiving everyone, almost our very mothers. My hair was lighter than bis then, but time has altered that.”
“ And—the scar on your brow?”
“I gave it to myself when I undertook this thing. Edward prayed me to send you news of him, and gave me the scarf for a token. Then it was the thought came to me of going in his place. He had told me so much in our long talks about all of you, that I had nearly all the information I needed for my part."
“ A villain's part! I marvel what moved you to undertake it."
your mouth ? "
• Suppose that, instead of asking you to swear, I swear myself upon the Gospels to tell you all the truth?” said Wallingford.
Inwardly he added, “The game is up; but there is another yet to play.”
"Most like you believe not the Gospels. You are either a demon in man's form, or a Papist.”
“Yet, fortunately, I hold a spell, which, as you yourself believe, has power over both.” He unbuttoned his doublet, and after some search with his left hand produced a small box of carved ivory, out of which he took a golden crucifix.
She looked up quickly, as one who scented danger.
“ There will be no condition-no compromise of his faith required ?" she asked.
“No; he will be treated as a prisoner of war, whose faith is no one's concern save his own, and who obtains his freedom for value received--from
“ The burning longing that consumed me-for the salvation of souls.”
“What hideous mockery! Doing the devil's work to save souls for God ! "
“ Did not St. Paul become all things to all men, if by any means he might save some ?”
Marie's eyes glowed as if with some inward fire. “Leave God's saints alone, and speak plain truth, if indeed thou canst,” she said. " What is that which thou hast come to do?”
“Only that which all men do in time of war, and think no shame thereof. Your Prince of Orange, it is said, has his spies eren in King Philip's bedchamber. He cannot complain if I play the same part here."
A vile part."
“ That depends on the cause. The end hallows the means ;-though, I should add, I have other work here. I am to minister comfort and instruction, as I can, to the persecuted Catholics. Still, I own that mine is a perilous part. Spies, when taken, are hanged-or worse.”
" That is their own concern."
"Not altogether. In my case there happens to be a hostage. If I am taken, Edward goes to the Spanish Inquisition as an obstinate heretic. You know what will happen then.”
Wallingford paused, to give his words their full weight. At last he said gently—“Be comforted. I hope, not only to save him from a fate so terrible, but in due time to deliver him, and to restore him to you. Should I accomplish the signal services to God and to the Church which I propose, I have requested, as part of my reward, the gift of his freedom.”
“What signal services ? ” Marie asked sharply.
“Such as I have spoken of. Chiefly, the procuring of a certain piece of information I am on the track of now. If I told you more, you would not understand.”
“God knows what I am to understand, in such a tangled web of deceit and villainy."
“One thing-plain as life and sure as death. Proclaim your discovery, and Edward goes to the rack and the stake, for which I should grieve as well as you. Keep your own counsel until my work is done here, and I go, to send him back to you a free man.
I am ready to swear it on the crucifix." • Nay, do this rather,” Marie interposed eagerly. “Go forth safe and unhindered—to-day it will be easy. Return in peace to your friends-and send Edward back to me."
Austen shook his head sorrowfully. leave my work undone? That, indeed, would be saving my life to lose it, as the Gospel says.”
“ But if your work be treason, can 1-dare Ikeep silence ?"
" You must answer that. But remember it will be done, by me, or by another. And think what is at stake.”
May I tell my brother?”
By no means !”
“Not long-a few weeks at most. I dare not name day and hour, but I think I may promise that Edward shall spend his Easter with you."
“He ought to have been so treated throughout. Still- if I could believe you—-Should you be found out, how will your fate be known, where he is ? " “How, I cannot tell you.
What you may take for certain is-it will be known the: e.”
He rose and went to the window, as if to give her time. Presently he said, “There are people coming up the street; and hark! there go the bells. Your brother will be here anon, as he does not go to the banquet. You must decide. Is it life or death, for Edward and for me?”
“Should any other, in the meantime, guess what I know?”
“ The result is the same, whether I am betrayed by you or by another. Edward's life for mine.”
A great silence filled the room. They could both have heard the beating of their hearts, had they not been too absorbed to lister.
Marie spoke at last, but not to Austen. God! what shall I do-what ought I do?”
Wallingford left the window, and went to a shelf, from which he took a large volume. Then, bringing a small light table, he set it before Marie, and laid the book upon it, open.
She looked, and saw an engra vinz (rude indeed, but the best the art of the per od could furnish) of a Spanish Auto da Fé. The “horrible and tremendous spectacle," as one of the Inquisitors has called it, had reached its culminating point ; the flames were rising around the victims.
I yield,” she said, with a faint half-strangled cry.
“I will be silent." “I trust you—” Wallingford answered slowly, " with two lives."
He turned to go, then turned back again, and said, not without hesitation, “ You understand, the betrothal is null and void. I have to entreat your pardon for putting you, so far, in a false position, but it was inevitable.
Trust me, it shall not last. Mademoiselle Marie, may I seal our compact by kissing your hand ?”
“No!” she cried passionately, hiding the hand in her bosom. 66 Before others I must greet you as usual.
But never dare to touch me again with the lips that have lied to me!”
The next moment she was alone-alone with her sorrow, her wonder, and her joy. The joy conquered all else, and thrilled every nerve and fibre of her long-tried heart. In losing Edward Wallingford, Edward Wallingford had been in very truth restored to her.
Ever since their betrothal there had been stealing over her, slowly and gradually, the suspicion that her lover was not true. Not simply that he was not true to her, though that thought had come first, and had been hard enough to bear. But worse followed ; even the growing, awful fear that he was not true to himself and to his God. Her doubts once awakened, they spread over the
passionate prayer was poured out, not to the Divine Sufferer, but to the tender “Mother of Sorrows with the seven wounds in her breast." She would feel for him, he thought. She was for him the ideal of womanhood ; Her image mingled with that of his own mother-dead to him. Never had woman's voice, save his mother's, reached his heart ; never had woman's touch, save hers, soothed and thrilled his soul.
Never, except - unless—Was there any "except ” or “unless ” ? No; he shook off the thought as if it had been a serpent. He pitied Marie Pernet intensely ; in a brotherly fashion he even loved her. But she was nothing to him. No human being was, or could be anything to him
He repeated over, praying for strength to keep it, one of the rules of the Order_“You must divest yourself of all worldly, irregular love
whole range of their mutual intercourse. She even doubted whether he had gone to England at all, though Adrian had seen him on board an English ship, and though he had brought her costly gifts from London. In this she wronged him : he had gone to London, though not to his father's house, as he professed to do.
Yet, with all this, the thought of a change of person did not occur to her for some time, and when at first it did occur, it was summarily dismissed. Except the occasional lapses of memory, accounted for by that convenient fever, there was nothing to awaken it. More than six years had passed since she had seen Edward, and the trials and sufferings she supposed him to have undergone during those six years were enough to account for any change she found, or guessed, in him. There was the scar on his brow, there was the scarf of her own workmanship, there was the well - remembered signet ring
Of late, indeed, a horrible fancy had fitted at times across her brain. She had heard, in legends of her childhood, of a true lover slain by the Evil One, and of a wicked spirit taking his form to allure his betrothed to perdition. Once and again, in hours of depression, and oftenest “in the dead unhappy night, when the rain was the roof,” these legends came to her, making her shiver with a sickening dread. Now, the revelation that seemed to rob her of all had in truth given her all again. Edward Wallingford betrayed and in prison was Edward Wallingford still, the dear, true heart she had learned to love. Nothing could alter that.
She had not yet time to feel the awful burden of the concealment to which she had pledged herself. That was waiting for her " in calm shadow," and would know its hour to claim her, and perhaps to crush her beneath its weight. But just now she felt its pressure as little as we all feel that pressure of the atmosphere of which science tells us such formidable things. She knew very well, of course, that Spanish and Papist spies were dangerous characters, but her ideas of the kind and the amount of harm they could do were vague and indistinct.
It was over the soul of him who did, not of her who suffered the wrong, that the fiercest storm of agony broke that night. Austen Wallingford, gentleman of England, novice of the Society of Jesus, knelt before the crucifix he had shown to Marie, in his bolted room in the “ Vieux Doelen." Bui though his eye rested on the crucifix, his
towards your parents, relations, and friends, and of all worldly affairs.” “I may love her, and every one else,” he said to himself
, “ in God, that is to say, in religion. Though she hates me, loathes me like a scorpion, even now—what will it be then, when she knows a'l? When she knows that my errand here is what she would callthough, of course, call falsely-murder? It is not murder to deliver men's souls and bodies from the grasp of a tyrant.
“She is not the only one who will hate me, all is done. The uttermost wrath, the pas fury of a multitude, is no light thing for blood to face. To stand alone upon the mark for ten thousand eyes, you news of them glaring with the hate of ijken. Then it doomsman, with steel, and fire going in his place
. no! no !
Mother of Mercy, takelong talks about me, or I shall go mad!”
After a pause, and more gently : “And you as though She meant to spare my weaknes..
yet I do not thank Her. I am torn betwixt two; I would fain do the work, and yet I shrink from the penalty. This broken, helpless arm, may it not be, after all, Her grace to Her poor weak servant ? May She not think me too weak for so much agony and so much glory? Then let me take, with humble contented mind, the lower place that seems to be assigned to me. Another will do my work—and with no higher aim than that of grasping a base reward. Can God bless what is done in such a way?
“ That is no concern of mine. My care is to sanctify, by prayer and devotion to God, to His Mother, and His Saints, what otherwise would be low and mean. And--since one always comes in the end to some common-place practical detail the task that has fallen to me, though lowly, is indispensable. The poor, foolish, baseborn lad who has a heart for the deed his betters shrink from, has not even the common skill of a marks
Is it nothing, is it little, to teach him to shoot straight?
We must fix our eyes on the end, not on the means—that is what the Superior says. And I try to do it. Day by day I walk along the crowded streets of this great city, and look on the multitude of faces-crushed, overpowered, overwhelmed with the thought that all these-the men, the women, the innocent little children-have been stung by the serpent of heresy, and are doomed, doomed, doomed! Shall I be the caitiff to shrink from a few hours of anguish, for doing that which may save all these from the anguish that lasts for ever and ever? Unto all eternity! The fearful thought !
". This poor people which only asks for good counsel, and desires nothing so much as to follow it,'--whose words are these ?—will be easily led back to the fold. Smite the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. It is the other way this time-Smite the wolf, and the sheep will be gathered again.
“Whatever happens, I must recollect I was not commanded, only allowed, to undertake this. Easily remembered now -should I hold to it on the rack or the pulley ?—God help me! To work some such great deliverance has been the dream of my life, ever since those old days when I, a mere boy, fancied I could discover an elixir, not of life, but of death, which in one day would deliver my native land from that heretical, usurping Jezebel. My boyish escapade, at least, gave me an acquaintance with this city, which stands me in good stead now. But this is dreaming, not devotion. Let me to my prayers, God knows I need them as much as any man on earth. Ave san tissima ! "
almost too hard a task, even for the Prince, to make men trust the brother of the royal butcher of Et. Bartholomew. “ We must have help against Spain, and where except from France can that help come to us?” Adrian asked continually of himself and of others. But he asked it with a foreboding heart.
More personal cares pressed upon him heavily. He had carried out his intention of sending for Dirk, in spite of the strong and wholly unexpected opposition of Marie. “I thought you set much store by him,” he said to her. “And moreover he is Edward's friend. He will be glad to see him.”
“I have nought against the lad," Marie allowed. “Only it looks as if you could not live without him. I think you make Popish idols of him and of the Prince."
Adrian smiled. “How proud Dirk would be, if he heard you name him in such company! But in truth, it is partly for Edward's sake that I desire his presence. I would, Marie, thou wouldst use thy influence with thy betrothed, that he shut himself not up in his chamber like a fasting monk or a sick maiden, instead of going to the palace of St. Michael, and consorting with his own countrymen who have come with the Duke-gentlemen too of such fair fame and noble bearing. There is the illustrious Lord Leicester; and Sir Philip Sidney, of whose youthful renown Edward himself told us with such pride in Leyden."
“Speak to Master Wallingford yourself,” Marie answered shortly. “ As for me, what I have not I cannot use."
“ Master Wallingford !” repeated Adrian, with a helpless, puzzled look. “Ah, Marie, I am sore afraid things are not right between you
"Right enough, if people would let us alone," said Marie, with unmistakable temper, or want of it.
This was not the only instance in which she showed an irritation which was very new to her. Moreover, she had grown absent-minded, and neglectful even of the household duties she used to perform so zealously. It was an evidence of this, that Adrian went forth one morning with his starched ruff awry, and a conspicuous rent in the front of his doubtlet. He was met in this condition by his much respected pastor and friend M. Grandpère, who improved the occasion to exhort bim--with a plainness of speech characteristic of the time-to take unto himself, as wife, soine staid and pious gentlewoman, of suitable years and good conditions.
Adrian turned away from his spiritual pastor and master in no very happy frame of mind. He wandered into the public garden, which was near, and the day being fine and mild for early March, sat down upon a seat to rest and think. Here an unexpected solace came to him. A group of merry children, all little girls, were playing near, under the charge of a couple of attendants, gentlewomen, whose dress and language showed them to be French. Adrian well knew the little children of the Prinzen-haus; no palace, but a large hired house near the citadel, where the Prince had made his home. He lured one of them to his side, a winning little girl of five or
Prince took it from him, drew a pistol from under his coat and shot him through the head. A vile assassin, hired by the King of Spain.”
“No; by the Duke of Anjou and the French," a bystander interrupted fiercely, and wild words began between the two, others joining in.
Wallingford raised his voice again, but either it was hoarse and weak, or the uproar was too great for him to be heard. At last he shouted, - What has become of him?"
He had to repeat the question twice ere any one guessed that he meant the assassin. Then some one answered, “ Killed on the spot.”
He drew a long breath, stood up, closed the window deliberately, and turned away.
Looking round the room, he saw that he was alone. Marie,” he thought, “has been turned faint by the tidings.” But it was not anxiety for her which set the mark of such an ashr pallor on his too expressive face. Any one who saw him would have called it sheer terror. He was beginning slowly to recover his natural expression when Marie re-entered the room. At a glance he saw that a change had passed over her. There are times that make the weakest strong, the most timid brave.
Without saying a word she went to the window, re-opened it, and threw something out. "What is that?” he asked,
* The keys of this room,” she answered quietly, taking her stand by the open window. “ That was ill done.
If you are afraid the house will be attacked by the mob, you hare taken a poor way to prevent it.” “I am afraid of nothing now.
Austen Walling ford, you are a murderer. The brand of Cain is
" By my despair and my self-loathing. Howell I have been so blind to your horrible perpose ! God forgive me! But I fear He never will."
“Now, indeed, you are raving mad! What wild delusion is this?" "Of what do you suspect me!"
“ You may have words for such a crime. I have none.”
“Then I am to infer you suspect me of shooting the Prince of Orange in his own house although I was not out of your sight this day from before the preaching until this very when I stand and listen to your ravings ! 'Heard a man ever the like?”
"I am a woman, Austen Wallingford, and no doubt you suppose me
a fool. Indeed, I can scarcely blame you, for I have behaved Yet even a fool understands that the man who struck the blow must have confederates-accomplices-worse villains perhaps than himself. You are one of them.”
“ 'Twere idle to argue with a woman beside herself. Yet there is one thing which may give you pause. Were I as innocent as poor little Roskě in her grave, still, in the present temper of men's minds, the lightest hint of such an accusation would suffice to doom me." “I know it.
Therefore I have locked the door, and I stand here at the window, to escape before my brother comes back, I hare
It was Sunday morning, the 18th of March, the birthday of the Duke of Anjou and Brabant. Dirk arrived in Antwerp, very late the night before ; so he went to an inn (of more modest pretensions than Wallingford's Vieux Doelen), and only met his friends at the door of the grand cathedral, where the Mass was now replaced by a simple service and sermon. Adrian could not marvel that Wallingford failed to recognise, in the handsome bearded man, the boy he had known and loved. He only said, “Come back with us both of you after service, and dine, and you shall fird each other again.”
They did so; and they sat for a long time talking over their meal. But what they said each to other, no one of them remembered afterwards. It was blotted at one stroke from the minds of all.
Dirk had for some time been sitting in silence, gazing as one in doubt and perplexity on the face of Wallingford, when a noise in the Place outside attracted his attention. He rose, and went to the window. “Since the Duke has come, do they keep Sunday by rioting here?” he asked, pointing to the excited crowd that came rushing into the Place.
A great cry—a cry like none he had ever heard before --drowned his voice. Grief and
rage mingled with it ; but in the long wail in which it ended grief alone was heard. All were at the window now.
Adrian flung it up and shouted 6. What is it?"
One word alone surged up from the tossing crowd, “ The Prince”. “ The Prince !”
“ He is dead !” said Dirk with white lips, turning to the rest.
Adrian clung for support to the window frame. He had known all his life, as it seemed to him, that this thing would be, and would be to-day.
Wallingford said, “You don't know that." His face too was deadly pale.
But Adrian rallied his forces again, and in a moment he and Dirk were already half-way down the stairs.
The two who were left stood silent. Wallingford looked dazed and irresolute, and seemed about to leave the room. But apparently thinking better of it, he approached the window instead, and leaning out, asked for tidings. A man detached himself from the crowd, and spoke. “He is killed,” he said. “After dinner, at the Prinzenhaus, one approached with a petition, and as the
so that if you try