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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

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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

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In What Manner Herne Declared His Passion For Mabel

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How Tristram Lyndwood Was Interrogated By The King

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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






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








Transported with rage at the escape of the fugitives, Fenwolf turned to
old Tristram, and drawing his knife, threatened to make an end of him.
But the old man, who was armed with a short hunting-sword, stood upon
his defence, and they remained brandishing their weapons at each other
for some minutes, but without striking a blow.

"Well, I leave you to Herne's vengeance," said Fenwolf, returning his
knife to his belt. "You will pay dearly for allowing them to escape."

"I will take my chance," replied Tristram moodily: "my mind is made up
to the worst. I will no longer serve this fiend."

"What! dare you break your oath?" cried Fenwolf. "Remember the terrible
consequences."

"I care not for them," replied Tristram. "Harkee, Fenwolf: I know you
will not betray me, for you hate him as much as I do, and have as great
a desire for revenge. I will rid the forest of this fell being."

"Would you could make good your words, old man!" cried Fenwolf. "I would
give my life for vengeance upon him."

"I take the offer," said Tristram; "you shall have vengeance."

"But how?" cried the other. "I have proved that he is invulnerable and
the prints of his hands are written in black characters upon my throat.
If we could capture him, and deliver him to the king, we might purchase
our own pardon."

"No, that can never be," said Tristram. "My plan is to destroy him."

"Well, let me hear it," said Fenwolf.

"Come with me, then," rejoined Tristram.

And taking up the lamp, he led the way down a narrow lateral passage.
When about half-way down it, he stopped before a low door, cased with
iron, which he opened, and showed that the recess was filled with large
canvas bags.

"Why, this is the powder-magazine," said Fenwolf. "I can now guess how
you mean to destroy Herne. I like the scheme well enough; but it cannot
be executed without certain destruction to ourselves."

"I will take all the risk upon myself," said Tristram, "I only require
your aid in the preparations. What I propose to do is this. There is
powder enough in the magazine, not only to blow up the cave, but to set
fire to all the wood surrounding it. It must be scattered among the dry
brush-wood in a great circle round the cave, and connected by a train
with this magazine. When Herne comes hack, I will fire the train."

"There is much hazard in the scheme, and I fear it will fail," replied
Fenwolf, after a pause, "nevertheless, I will assist you."

"Then, let us go to work at once," said Tristram, "for we have no time
to lose. Herne will be here before midnight, and I should like to have
all ready for him."

Accordingly, they each shouldered a couple of the bags, and returning
to the cavern, threaded a narrow passage, and emerged from the secret
entrance in the grove.

While Fenwolf descended for a fresh supply of powder, Tristram
commenced operations. Though autumn was now far advanced, there had
been remarkably fine weather of late; the ground was thickly strewn with
yellow leaves, the fern was brown and dry, and the brushwood crackled
and broke as a passage was forced through it. The very trees were
parched by the long-continued drought. Thus favoured in his design,
Tristram scattered the contents of one of the bags in a thick line among
the fern and brushwood, depositing here and there among the roots of a
tree, several pounds of powder, and covering the heaps over with dried
sticks and leaves.

While he was thus employed, Fenwolf appeared with two more bags of
powder, and descended again for a fresh supply. When he returned, laden
as before, the old forester had already described a large portion of the
circle he intended to take.

Judging that there was now powder sufficient, Tristram explained to his
companion how to proceed; and the other commenced laying a train on the
left of the secret entrance, carefully observing the instructions given
him. In less than an hour, they met together at a particular tree, and
the formidable circle was complete.

"So far, well!" said Tristram, emptying the contents of his bag beneath
the tree, and covering it with leaves and sticks, as before; "and now to
connect this with the cavern."

With this, he opened another bag, and drew a wide train towards the
centre of the space. At length, he paused at the foot of a large hollow
tree.

"I have ascertained," he said, "that this tree stands immediately over
the magazine; and by following this rabbit's burrow, I have contrived
to make a small entrance into it. A hollow reed introduced through the
hole, and filled with powder, will be sure to reach the store below."

"An excellent ideal," replied Fenwolf. "I will fetch one instantly."

And starting off to the side of the lake, he presently returned with
several long reeds, one of which was selected by Tristram and thrust
into the burrow. It proved of the precise length required; and as soon
as it touched the bottom, it was carefully filled with powder from a
horn. Having connected this tube with the side train, and scattered
powder for several yards around, so as to secure instantaneous ignition,
Tristram pronounced that the train was complete.

"We have now laid a trap from which Herne will scarcely escape," he
observed, with a moody laugh, to Fenwolf.

They then prepared to return to the cave, but had not proceeded many
yards, when Herne, mounted on his sable steed, burst through the trees.

"Ah! what make you here?" he cried, instantly checking his career. "I
bade you keep a strict watch over Mabel. Where is she?"

"She has escaped with Sir Thomas Wyat," replied Fenwolf, "and we have
been in search of them."

"Escaped!" exclaimed Herne, springing from his steed, and rushing up
to him; "dogs! you have played me false. But your lives shall pay the
penalty of your perfidy."

"We had no hand in it whatever," replied Fenwolf doggedly. "She
contrived to get out of a chamber in which I placed her, and to liberate
Sir Thomas Wyat. They then procured a steed from the stable, and plunged
through the pool into the lake."

"Hell's malison upon them, and upon you both!" cried Herne. "But you
shall pay dearly for your heedlessness,--if, indeed, it has not been
something worse. How long have they been gone?"

"It may be two hours," replied Fenwolf.

"Go to the cave," cried Herne, "and await my return there; and if I
recover not the prize, woe betide you both!"

And with these words, he vaunted upon his steed and disappeared.

"And woe betide you too, false fiend!" cried Fenwolf. "When you come
back you shall meet with a welcome you little expect. Would we had fired
the train, Tristram, even though we had perished with him!"

"It will be time enough to fire it on his return," replied the old
forester; "it is but postponing our vengeance for a short time. And now
to fix our positions. I will take my station in yon brake."

"And I in that hollow tree," said Fenwolf. "Whoever first beholds him
shall fire the train."

"Agreed!" replied Tristram. "Let us now descend to the cave and see that
all is right in the magazine, and then we will return and hold ourselves
in readiness for action."





Next: How The Train Was Fired And What Followed The Explosion

Previous: How Mabel Escaped From The Cave With Sir Thomas Wyat



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