ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by

D. APPLETON & CO., In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of

New York.


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beauty, and vivacity. They were tenderly atCHAPTER

tached to each other, and no calamitous event had hitherto disturbed the clear and even cur

rent of their lives. Joy and hilarity beamed Two young noblemen, accompanied by their from their sparkling eyes and blooming cheeks. sister, rode in the most beautiful month of Thus they rode, chatting gayly and carespring through Haywood Forest, one of those lessly, through the verdant, fragrant forest. splendid woods which formerly adorned Old Merry jests, such as only the young know and England so charmingly, and which are fast like, caused them from time to time to burst disappearing from the surface of the country. into ringing laughter, in which the birds of the They had paid a visit to their relatives at forest joined now and then harmoniously with Harefield, the noble house of Derby, and were their sweet warbling and chirping. Haywood now returning to Ludlow Castle, the residence forest, like the larger portion of the county of of their father, who was no other than the Hereford, in which it is situated, consists of a Earl of Bridgewater, at that time Lord Presi- series of undulating knolls and heights, densely dent of Wales. The earl was the son of Thom-covered with tall, gigantic oaks and beeches. as Egerton, the celebrated jurist, who, under The highway, on which the travellers were ridthe reigns of Queen Elizabeth and her suc- ing at the time, led them first past a deep cessor, had held the responsible and com gorge, and then along the base of a precipitous manding positions of Lord Keeper of the Seal hill, from which a small rivulet rushed noisily and Chancellor of England with the greatest into the depth below. Many a by-path interdistinction to an advanced period of his life. sected the road and penetrated deeper and

The descendants of this eminent man were deeper into the thicket. There were still renot unworthy of him. His grandsons, mere mote parts of the forest wbich human feet had youths at the time at wbich our story opens, rarely or never trodden, and into which no had not become degenerate; and charming murderous axe had yet penetrated- virginal Lady Alice Egerton was considered everywhere sanctuaries, clad with all the weird charms of one of the most beautiful and amiable young lonely and undefiled nature. ladies in Merry Old England. She and her The three travellers had entered one of these brothers were in the full bloom of youth, l by-paths, in the eagerness of their conversa

tion, without noticing that they had left the tain authority over his younger brother and highway. The wonderful charms of this beau- sister. However, far from availing himself of tiful wilderness fascinated them. Oh, bow, his authority now, John yielded to their glorious was this verdant solitude of the for- wishes, although their straying from the highest! There stood those primeval oaks, the way rendered him more uneasy than he adpatriarchs of creation, spreading their knotty mitted to them. arms, as if to bless the forest, over the younger “Very well,” he said, with seeming caregenerations of slender birch, maple, and chest lessness, “if you are tired, we may rest here nut trees. Flexible ivy encircled their gigantic for an hour or so. The sun is yet high in the trunks with tender gracefulness; and on their heavens, and I hope we shall reach the highbark grew long-haired, silver-colored mosses, way again. Let us, in the mean time, take our resembling gray beards, light-brown mush- dinner here in the forest, like Robin Hood, rooms, and the mysterious mistletoe, parasitic and encamp in the shade of these trees.” plants deriving life and nourishment from this “You speak as though you were Solomon curious soil. On the ends of the branches himself,” exclaimed Thomas, merrily." I say, gleamed reddish shoots like quivering flames, like Orlando : 'If this uncouth forest yield symptoms of the still undiminished vigor of any thing savage, I will either be food for it, or the trees.

bring it for food to thee.'» “Those are splendid fellows,” remarked With this classical quotation from the wellThomas Egerton, the younger brother, point- known old poet, the vivacious youth jumped ing gayly to the giants of the forest. “I do from his horse and bastened to offer his sernot remember ever having seen here such vices as equerry to his beloved sister, while he beautiful oaks, although I have passed through left to his more sedate brother John the care Haywood Forest more than fifty times.” of fastening the reins of the horses to a tree,

“I believe we have strayed from the high- and unpacking the provisions which they had way and penetrated too far into the forest,” brought with them. The young travellers were replied John, the elder brother, who, during not accompanied by their servants, as the two his father's lifetime, bore the name and title youths were sufficient for the protection of of Lord Brackley. “This part of the forest is their sister, and would not tolerate any vexentirely unknown to me."

atious companions near them. “But it is gloriously beautiful,” exclaimed The merry company sat down on the soft fair Alice, who was riding on her white palfrey green turf, in the shade of one of the primeval between her two brothers, with radiant eyes. oaks, to partake of the frugal repast. The “I should like to stay here all day.”

brothers had converted their cloaks into a “Like Celia in the play,” said Thomas, jest- pleasant seat for Alice, whom they treated in ingly. “That remark is characteristic of my every respect with the kindest attention and dear sister, who always thinks of her Shake- solicitude. In their conduct toward her, they speare. Very well, I am at your service ; let combined the tone of fraternal love with the us stop here. I shall be your Orlando, if our then customary delicate gallantry which dated melancholy Jaques does not object to it.” from the times of Queen Elizabeth, when all

The merry youth applied this name from England lay admiringly at the feet of the Shakespeare's “ As You Like It” to his graver Maiden Queen. The homage rendered to the brother, who, as the first-born son, according foremost lady of the world was soon transto the custom of the country, exercised a cer- / ferred to the whole female sex, and became a

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