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How The Earl Of Surrey And The Fair Geraldine Plighted Their Troth In The Cloisters Of Saint George's Chapel

How The Earl Of Surrey And The Fair Geraldine Met In King James's Bower In The Moat

Of The Combat Between Will Sommers And Patch

How King Henry The Eighth Held A Chapter Of The Garter

What Passed Between Anne Boleyn And The Duke Of Suffolk And How Herne The Hunter Appeared To Her In The Oratory

How Mabel Lyndwood Was Taken To The Castle By Nicholas Clamp

Showing How Morgan Fenwolf Escaped From The Garter Tower

Of The Meeting Of King Henry The Eighth And Anne Boleyn At The Lower Gate

In What Manner Herne Declared His Passion For Mabel

How The Fair Geraldine Bestowed A Relic Upon Her Lover



Least Viewed

How Tristram Lyndwood Was Interrogated By The King

Of The Interview Between Henry And Catherine Of Arragon In The Urswick Chapel

The Last Great Epoch In The History Of The Castle

Of The Mysterious Noise Heard In The Curfew Tower

How Sir Thomas Wyat Found Mabel In The Sandstone Cave And What Happened To Him There

How Herne The Hunter Appeared To Henry On The Terrace

Of The Desperate Resolution Formed By Tristram And Fenwolf And How The Train Was Laid

Comprising The Fourth Epoch In The History Of The Castle

How Anne Boleyn Received Proof Of Henry's Passion For Jane Seymour

How Sir Thomas Wyat Hunted With Herne






How Wyat Beheld Mabel Lyndwood








When perfect consciousness returned to him, Wyat found himself lying
upon a pallet in what he first took to be the cell of an anchorite; but
as the recollection of recent events arose more distinctly before him,
he guessed it to be a chamber connected with the sandstone cave. A small
lamp, placed in a recess, lighted the cell; and upon a footstool by his
bed stood a jug of water, and a cup containing some drink in which herbs
had evidently been infused. Well-nigh emptying the jug, for he felt
parched with thirst, Wyat attired himself, took up the lamp, and walked
into the main cavern. No one was there, nor could he obtain any answer
to his calls. Evidences, however, were not wanting to prove that a feast
had recently been held there. On one side were the scarcely extinguished
embers of a large wood fire; and in the midst of the chamber was a rude
table, covered with drinking-horns and wooden platters, as well as with
the remains of three or four haunches of venison. While contemplating
this scene Wyat heard footsteps in one of the lateral passages, and
presently afterwards Morgan Fenwolf made his appearance.

"So you are come round at last, Sir Thomas," observed the keeper, in a
slightly sarcastic tone.

"What has ailed me?" asked Wyat, in surprise.

"You have had a fever for three days," returned Fenwolf, "and have been
raving like a madman."

"Three days!" muttered Wyat. "The false juggling fiend promised her to
me on the third day."

"Fear not; Herne will be as good as his word," said Fenwolf. "But will
you go forth with me? I am about to visit my nets. It is a fine day, and
a row on the lake will do you good."

Wyat acquiesced, and followed Fenwolf, who returned along the passage.
It grew narrower at the sides and lower in the roof as they advanced,
until at last they were compelled to move forward on their hands and
knees. For some space the passage, or rather hole (for it was nothing
more) ran on a level. A steep and tortuous ascent then commenced, which
brought them to an outlet concealed by a large stone.

Pushing it aside, Fenwolf crept forth, and immediately afterwards Wyat
emerged into a grove, through which, on one side, the gleaming waters
of the lake were discernible. The keeper's first business was to replace
the stone, which was so screened by brambles and bushes that it could
not, unless careful search were made, be detected.

Making his way through the trees to the side of the lake, Fenwolf
marched along the greensward in the direction of Tristram Lyndwood's
cottage. Wyat mechanically followed him; but he was so pre-occupied that
he scarcely heeded the fair Mabel, nor was it till after his embarkation
in the skiff with the keeper, when she came forth to look at them, that
he was at all struck with her beauty. He then inquired her name from
Fenwolf.

"She is called Mabel Lyndwood, and is an old forester's granddaughter,"
replied the other somewhat gruffly.

"And do you seek her love?" asked Wyat.

"Ay, and wherefore not?" asked Fenwolf, with a look of displeasure.

"Nay, I know not, friend," rejoined Wyat. "She is a comely damsel."

"What!--comelier than the Lady Anne?" demanded Fenwolf spitefully.

"I said not so," replied Wyat; "but she is very fair, and looks
true-hearted."

Fenwolf glanced at him from under his brows; and plunging his oars into
the water, soon carried him out of sight of the maiden.

It was high noon, and the day was one of resplendent loveliness. The
lake sparkled in the sunshine, and as they shot past its tiny bays and
woody headlands, new beauties were every moment revealed to them. But
while the scene softened Wyat's feelings, it filled him with intolerable
remorse, and so poignant did his emotions become, that he pressed his
hands upon his eyes to shut out the lovely prospect. When he looked
up again the scene was changed. The skiff had entered a narrow creek,
arched over by huge trees, and looking as dark and gloomy as the rest
of the lake was fair and smiling. It was closed in by a high overhanging
bank, crested by two tall trees, whose tangled roots protruded through
it like monstrous reptiles, while their branches cast a heavy shade over
the deep, sluggish water.

"Why have you come here?" demanded Wyat, looking uneasily round the
forbidding spot.

"You will discover anon," replied Fenwolf moodily.

"Go back into the sunshine, and take me to some pleasant bank--I will
not land here," said Wyat sternly.

"Needs must when--I need not remind you of the proverb," rejoined
Fenwolf, with a sneer.

"Give me the oars, thou malapert knave!" cried Wyat fiercely, "and I
will put myself ashore."

"Keep quiet," said Fenwolf; "you must perforce abide our master's
coming."

Wyat gazed at the keeper for a moment, as if with the intention of
throwing him overboard; but abandoning the idea, he rose up in the
boat, and caught at what he took to be a root of the tree above. To his
surprise and alarm, it closed upon him with an iron grasp, and he felt
himself dragged upwards, while the skiff, impelled by a sudden stroke
from Morgan Fenwolf, shot from beneath him. All Wyat's efforts to
disengage himself were vain, and a wild, demoniacal laugh, echoed by a
chorus of voices, proclaimed him in the power of Herne the Hunter. The
next moment he was set on the top of the bank, while the demon greeted
him with a mocking laugh.

"So you thought to escape me, Sir Thomas Wyatt," he cried, in a taunting
tone; "but any such attempt will prove fruitless. The murderer may
repent the blow when dealt; the thief may desire to restore the gold he
has purloined; the barterer of his soul may rue his bargain; but they
are Satan's, nevertheless. You are mine, and nothing can redeem you!"

"Woe is me that it should be so!" groaned Wyat.

"Lamentation is useless and unworthy of you," rejoined Herne scornfully.
"Your wish will be speedily accomplished. This very night your kingly
rival shall be placed in your hands."

"Ha!" exclaimed Wyat, the flame of jealousy again rising within his
breast.

"You can make your own terms with him for the Lady Anne," pursued Herne.
"His life will be at your disposal."

"Do you promise this?" cried Wyat.

"Ay," replied Herne. "Put yourself under the conduct of Fenwolf, and all
shall happen as you desire. We shall meet again at night. I have other
business on hand now. Meschines," he added to one of his attendants, "go
with Sir Thomas to the skiff."

The personage who received the command, and who was wildly and
fantastically habited, beckoned Wyat to follow him, and after many
twistings and turnings brought them to the edge of the lake, where the
skiff was lying, with Fenwolf reclining at full length upon its benches.
He arose, however, quickly at the appearance of Meschines, and asked him
for some provisions, which the latter promised to bring, and while Wyat
got into the skiff he disappeared, but returned a few minutes afterwards
with a basket, which he gave to the keeper.

Crossing the lake, Fenwolf then shaped his course towards a verdant bank
enamelled with wild flowers, where he landed. The basket being opened,
was found to contain a flask of wine and the better part of a venison
pasty, of which Wyat, whose appetite was keen enough after his long
fasting, ate heartily. He then stretched himself on the velvet sod,
and dropped into a tranquil slumber which lasted to a late hour in the
evening.

He was roused from it by a hand laid on his shoulder, while a deep voice
thundered in his ear--"Up, up, Sir Thomas, and follow me, and I will
place the king in your hands!"





Next: How The King And The Duke Of Suffolk Were Assailed By Herne's Band

Previous: How Sir Thomas Wyat Hunted With Herne



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