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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



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How Tristram Lyndwood Was Interrogated By The King

The Last Great Epoch In The History Of The Castle

Of The Mysterious Noise Heard In The Curfew Tower

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

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

Comprising The Fourth Epoch In The History Of The Castle

How Herne Appeared To Henry In The Home Park

Of Henry's Attachment To Jane Seymour

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

Containing The History Of The Castle From The Reign Of Charles The Second To That Of George The Third






Of The Mysterious Disappearance Of Herne The Hunter In The Lake








Unable to procure any mitigation of Surrey's sentence, the Duke of
Richmond proceeded to the Round Tower, where he found his friend in a
small chamber, endeavouring to beguile his captivity by study.

Richmond endeavoured to console him, and was glad to find him in better
spirits than he expected. Early youth is seldom long dejected, and
misfortunes, at that buoyant season, seem lighter than they appear later
on in life. The cause for which he suffered, moreover, sustained Surrey,
and confident of the Fair Geraldine's attachment, he cared little
for the restraint imposed upon him. On one point he expressed some
regret--namely, his inability to prosecute the adventure of Herne the
Hunter with the duke.

"I grieve that I cannot accompany you, Richmond," he said; "but since
that is impossible, let me recommend you to take the stout archer who
goes by the name of the Duke of Shoreditch with you. He is the very man
you require."

After some consideration the duke assented, and, promising to return on
the following day and report what had occurred he took his leave, and
went in search of the archer in question. Finding he had taken up his
quarters at the Garter, he sent for him and proposed the matter.

Shoreditch heard the duke's relation with astonishment, but expressed
the greatest willingness to accompany him, pledging himself, as Richmond
demanded, to profound secrecy on the subject.

At the appointed hour--namely, midnight--the duke quitted the castle,
and found Shoreditch waiting for him near the upper gate. The latter was
armed with a stout staff, and a bow and arrows.

"If we gain sight of the mysterious horseman to-night," he said, "a
cloth-yard shaft shall try whether he is of mortal mould or not. If he
be not a demon, I will warrant he rides no more."

Quitting the Home Park, they shaped their course at once towards the
forest. It was a stormy night, and the moon was obscured by thick
clouds. Before they reached the hill, at the end of the long avenue, a
heavy thunderstorm came on, and the lightning, playing among the trees,
seemed to reveal a thousand fantastic forms to their half-blinded gaze.
Presently the rain began to descend in torrents, and compelled them to
take refuge beneath a large beech-tree.

It was evident, notwithstanding his boasting, that the courage of
Shoreditch was waning fast, and he at last proposed to his leader that
they should return as soon as the rain abated. But the duke indignantly
rejected the proposal.

While they were thus sheltering themselves, the low winding of a horn
was heard. The sound was succeeded by the trampling of horses' hoofs,
and the next moment a vivid flash of lightning showed a hart darting
past, followed by a troop of some twenty ghostly horsemen, headed by the
demon hunter.

The Duke of Richmond bade his companion send a shaft after them; but the
latter was so overcome by terror that he could scarcely fix an arrow
on the string, and when he bent the bow, the shaft glanced from the
branches of an adjoining tree.

The storm continued with unabated fury for nearly an hour, at the
expiration of which time it partially cleared off, and though it was
still profoundly dark, the duke insisted upon going on. So they pressed
forward beneath the dripping trees and through the wet grass. Ever and
anon the moon broke through the rifted clouds, and shed a wild glimmer
upon the scene.

As they were tracking a glade on the farther side of the hill, the
spectral huntsmen again swept past them, and so closely that they could
almost touch their horses. To the duke's horror, he perceived among
them the body of the butcher, Mark Fytton, sitting erect upon a powerful
black steed.

By this time, Shoreditch, having somewhat regained his courage,
discharged another shaft at the troop. The arrow struck the body of the
butcher, and completely transfixed it, but did not check his career;
while wild and derisive laughter broke from the rest of the cavalcade.

The Duke of Richmond hurried after the band, trying to keep them in
sight; and Shoreditch, flinging down his bow, which he found useless,
and grasping his staff, endeavoured to keep up with him. But though they
ran swiftly down the glade, and tried to peer through the darkness, they
could see nothing more of the ghostly company.

After a while they arrived at a hillside, at the foot of which lay the
lake, whose darkling waters were just distinguishable through an opening
in the trees. As the duke was debating with himself whether to go on or
retrace his course, the trampling of a horse was heard behind them, and
looking in the direction of the sound, they beheld Herne the Hunter,
mounted on his swarthy steed and accompanied only by his two black
hounds, galloping furiously down the declivity. Before him flew the owl,
whooping as it sailed along the air.

The demon hunter was so close to them that they could perfectly discern
his horrible lineaments, the chain depending from his neck, and his
antlered helm. Richmond shouted to him, but the rider continued his
headlong course towards the lake, heedless of the call.

The two beholders rushed forward, but by this time the huntsman had
gained the edge of the lake. One of his sable hounds plunged into it,
and the owl skimmed over its surface. Even in the hasty view which the
duke caught of the flying figure, he fancied he perceived that it was
attended by a fantastic shadow, whether cast by itself or arising from
some supernatural cause he could not determine.

But what followed was equally marvellous and incomprehensible. As the
wild huntsman reached the brink of the lake, he placed a horn to his
mouth, and blew from it a bright blue flame, which illumined his own
dusky and hideous features, and shed a wild and unearthly glimmer over
the surrounding objects.

While enveloped in this flame, the demon plunged into the lake, and
apparently descended to its abysses, for as soon as the duke could
muster courage to approach its brink, nothing could be seen of him, his
steed, or his hounds.





Next: Of The Compact Between Sir Thomas Wyat And Herne The Hunter

Previous: By What Means Sir Thomas Wyat Obtained An Interview With Anne Boleyn



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