How Mabel Escaped From The Cave With Sir Thomas Wyat





The next day Mabel was set at liberty by her gaoler, and the hours flew

by without the opportunity of escape, for which she sighed, occurring to

her. As night drew on, she became more anxious, and at last expressed a

wish to retire to her cell. When about to fasten the door, Fenwolf found

that the lock had got strained, and the bolts would not move, and he was

therefore obliged to content himself with placing a bench against it, on

which he took a seat.



About an hour after Mabel's retirement, old Tristram offered to relieve

guard with Fenwolf, but this the other positively declined, and leaning

against the door, disposed himself to slumber. Tristram then threw

himself on the floor, and in a short time all seemed buried in repose.



By-and-by, however, when Fenwolf's heavy breathing gave token of the

soundness of his sleep, Tristram raised himself upon his elbow, and

gazed round. The lamp placed upon the table imperfectly illumined the

cavern, for the fire which had been lighted to cook the evening meal

had gone out completely. Getting up cautiously, and drawing his

hunting-knife, the old man crept towards Fenwolf, apparently with the

intent of stabbing him, but he suddenly changed his resolution, and

dropped his arm.



At that moment, as if preternaturally warned, Fenwolf opened his eyes,

and seeing the old forester standing by, sprang upon him, and seized him

by the throat.



"Ah traitor!" he exclaimed; "what are you about to do?"



"I am no traitor," replied the old man. "I heard a noise in the passage

leading to Wyat's cell, and was about to rouse you, when you awakened of

your own accord, probably disturbed by the noise."



"It may be," replied Fenwolf, satisfied with the excuse, and

relinquishing his grasp. "I fancied I heard something in my dreams. But

come with me to Wyat's cell. I will not leave you here."



And snatching up the lamp, he hurried with Tristram into the passage.

They were scarcely gone, when the door of the cell was opened by Mabel,

who had overheard what had passed; and so hurriedly did she issue

forth that she over-turned the bench, which fell to the ground with

a considerable clatter. She had only just time to replace it, and to

conceal herself in an adjoining passage, when Fenwolf rushed back into

the cavern.



"It was a false alarm," he cried. "I saw Sir Thomas Wyat in his cell

through the loop-hole, and I have brought the key away with me. But I am

sure I heard a noise here."



"It must have been mere fancy," said Tristram. "All is as we left it."



"It seems so, certes," replied Fenwolf doubtfully. "But I will make

sure."



While he placed his ear to the door, Mabel gave a signal to Tristram

that she was safe. Persuaded that he heard some sound in the chamber,

Fenwolf nodded to Tristram that all was right, and resumed his seat.



In less than ten minutes he was again asleep. Mabel then emerged from

her concealment, and cautiously approached Tristram, who feigned, also,

to slumber. As she approached him, he rose noiselessly to his feet.



"The plan has succeeded," he said in a low tone. "It was I who spoiled

the lock. But come with me. I will lead you out of the cavern."



"Not without Sir Thomas Wyat," she replied; "I will not leave him here."



"You will only expose yourself to risk, and fail to deliver him,"

rejoined Tristram. "Fenwolf has the key of his cell. Nay, if you are

determined upon it, I will not hinder you. But you must find your own

way out, for I shall not assist Sir Thomas Wyat."



Motioning him to silence, Mabel crept slowly, and on the points of her

feet, towards Fenwolf.



The key was in his girdle. Leaning over him, she suddenly and

dexterously plucked it forth.



At the very moment she possessed herself of it, Fenwolf stirred, and she

dived down, and concealed herself beneath the table. Fenwolf, who had

been only slightly disturbed, looked up, and seeing Tristram in his

former position, which he had resumed when Mabel commenced her task,

again disposed himself to slumber.



Waiting till she was assured of the soundness of his repose, Mabel crept

from under the table, signed to Tristram to remain where he was, and

glided with swift and noiseless footsteps down the passage leading to

the cell.



In a moment, she was at the door--the key was in the lock--and she stood

before Sir Thomas Wyat.



A few words sufficed to explain to the astonished knight how she came

there, and comprehending that not a moment was to be lost, he followed

her forth.



In the passage, they held a brief consultation together in a low tone,

as to the best means of escape, for they deemed it useless to apply to

Tristram. The outlet with which Sir Thomas Wyat was acquainted lay

on the other side of the cavern; nor did he know how to discover the

particular passage leading to it.



As to Mabel, she could offer no information, but she knew that the

stable lay in an adjoining passage.



Recollecting, from former experience, how well the steeds were trained,

Sir Thomas Wyat eagerly caught at the suggestion, and Mabel led him

farther down the passage, and striking off through an opening on the

left, brought him, after a few turns, to a large chamber, in which two

or three black horses were kept.



Loosening one of them, Wyat placed a bridle on his neck, sprang upon his

back, and took up Mabel beside him. He then struck his heels against the

sides of the animal, who needed no further incitement to dash along the

passage, and in a few seconds brought them into the cavern.



The trampling of the horse wakened Fenwolf, who started to his feet,

and ran after them, shouting furiously. But he was too late. Goaded

by Wyat's dagger, the steed dashed furiously on, and plunging with its

double burden into the pool at the bottom of the cavern, disappeared.





How King Henry The Eighth Held A Chapter Of The Garter How Mabel Lyndwood Was Taken To The Castle By Nicholas Clamp facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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