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all the time. Kiss me, my sweet love, and I tributed to him. His example was imitated by will absolve you from this sin by another kiss." most of the younger courtiers. Love-affairs of

By such tender jests the youth dissipated the most immoral character were even deemed the misgivings which still rose from time to meritorious, and the most heartless and revolttime in the girl's heart. He preached likewise, ing actions were not only glossed over, but but it was the gospel of enjoyment and love, more frequently praised and extolled. A spirit to which she lent only too willing an ear. of open, unbounded licentiousness reigned in Against the gloomy spirit of Puritanism he these circles ; liaisons, carousals, and gamcalled up the merry spirits of pleasure and en- bling were the rule, and not the exception. The joyment. Lucy was unable to resist him. She courtiers were leading this most objectionable shared neither the fanaticism of her father nor life under the very eyes of the king and queen. his austere views of the life of this world ; her Even the reviving arts, and especially poetry, whole nature rebelled against them. Youth were drawn into this vortex. The poets, such and love revolted in her heart at a creed which as Waller and Davenant, were either themselves was in constant opposition to the desires of dissipated courtiers, or hirelings of immorality her warm blood. “Renounce!" said to her and extravagance. The Muse had lost her the creed that was forced upon her. “Enjoy!” chastity, and occupied the degrading position whispered love into her ear. She followed the of a soubrette. sweet voice of the tempter.

In the face of this extravagance and luxury The everlasting struggle between mind and the Puritans, who were gaining new adherents matter, between resignation and enjoyment, to with astounding rapidity, denounced with stern wbich Christianity gave rise, was never carried | austerity and wild fanaticism all the pleasures on in England with greater zeal and fanaticism of this world, which they looked upon only as than in those days. On one side stood the ex seductions of hell. In their blind zeal they detravagant court, with the rich and overbearing manded the abolition of all amusements. They cavaliers. There reigned in those circles the were the sworn enemies of luxury, and preached greatest splendor and luxury, surpassing by far the greatest simplicity of dress and conduct. all that the present has to compare with it. Their favorite colors were dark brown or black, Buckingham, the favorite of two kings, may be and they were intent on imparting this sombre justly looked upon as the representative. His hue, this monotonous, joyless, and forbidding extravagance knew no longer any bounds. His character, to their own lives and those of others. palaces and country-seats were the centres of They detested music and dancing, and deemed fashion and dissipation; the value of his dia- the fine arts not only superfluous, but pernimonds and other gems exceeded the sum of cious. From their midst had risen that gloomy two hundred thousand pounds sterling. He was enthusiast William Prynne, who demonstrated the first Englishman who rode in an equipage in a thick folio volume, called Histriomastix, drawn by six horses, and he was the first also with a great display of absurd learning, the to use a sedan-chair, an innovation which ex sinfulness of theatrical amusements, plays, asperated the people greatly and was generally masques, etc. His book was received with rapdenounced, because men bad to perform in it turous applause by his fellow-dissenters, and the services of beasts of burden. His whole the author, whom the court persecuted for this life was in keeping with this extravagance. reason, and upon whom unjust and ignominiCountless liaisons, the most notorious of which ous penalties were inflicted, was adored and was that with the Queen of France were at- / revered as a martyr by the masses of the people.

ness.

Thus the hostile parties were more at vari some; his carefully-dressed blond ringlet ance than ever before: on one side, the licen- toated round his proud, aristocratic forehead; tiousness of the cavaliers; on the other, the his soft mustache and goatee shaded the finelyaustere stoicism of the Puritans. Both were chiselled mouth and chin ; a white lace collar wrong, owing to their excesses and one-sided surrounded his breast and neck; his magnifi

What with the alternate triumpbs and cent gold-embroidered dress was in striking victories of either party in the course of time, contrast with the sombre, monotonous costume England presented now the spectacle of a vo- of the Puritans, which she saw every day. luptuous wanton, now that of a stern, stony- How refined were his manners ! how sweet hearted matron. These striking contrasts have sounded his words when he spoke to her of not yet entirely disappeared, and although they his love, or told her of the amusements and are no longer as greatly at variance as they festivals at Ludlow Castle! She did not tire were then, but exist peaceably, side by side, listening to him, and did not notice how yet the whole nation is even yet affected inju- swiftly the time was passing. riously by the consequences of these two op The setting sun aạmonished her to return; posite currents. With a prudery bordering she was afraid that she might reach home too on the extremely ridiculous, the greatest licen- late, and that her old relative might notice ber tiousness frequently goes hand in hand, and prolonged absence and inform her father of it. Puritan austerity paralyzes only too often the It was with great reluctance that she tore herwings of free investigation and the develop- self from his arms; she left her heart with him. ment of genius. Lord Byron, the greatest “When shall I see you again ?” he asked, poet of modern times, was most injuriously beseechingly. affected by these moral ills of his native “Soon, as soon as possible, even though it country.

should cost my life. My father is frequently Every one unconsciously bore at that time absent from home. I do not know what he is the stamp of the party to which he belonged, doing, but he is often away for several days in and shared its sins and weaknesses. Thus succession. So soon as he is absent again I Thomas was a cavalier from head to foot; will give you a signal, and we will meet at the brave and courageous, loyal to the king and same place." Church of England, but also overbearing, “I shall die of longing until then. I will reckless, and destitute of firm moral princi- send my messenger to you.” ples. He had inhaled the poison of his time “The same man who called me hither?" and his class; for, as in the midst of the “He is shrewd, and I believe close-mouthed. plague every one bears the germ of infection You may always send me word by him.” more or less within his body, so even the best “But I must go now. Dusk has already men were not entirely free from the general set in ; detain me no longer, or you will get me corruption of their surroundings. The germ into trouble. Farewell !" was in the rash and reckless youth, and it A long, long kiss united the lovers ; Lucy needed only an opportunity to burst forth. It then tore herself from the impetuous embrace was to such hands that the inexperienced of the youth, and hastened back to her home Lucy intrusted her fate, her innocence, and like a chased roe. Thomas looked after her honor. She yielded willingly to his dangerous until her slender form had disappeared among caresses, and listened to the blandishments the trees; then he whistled to his dogs and set wþich he whispered to her. He was band. I out for Ludlow Castle.

SIR

KENELM

DIGBY.

Good luck !” shouted Billy Green to him. caused him to travel in France and Italy. Af“And if you need again a fellow to rouse the ter his return the rumor spread, and met with bounding prey for you, just inquire for me at general belief, that he had forsworn at Rome the tavern of the Three Pigeons.''

the Protestant religion, which had been forced So saying, he stooped to pick up the coin upon him; he himself, however, denied this which Thomas threw to him on going away. strenuously for some time afterward. At a He eyed the treasure with greedy eyes, and court festival, given in honor of the marriage put it into his pocket.

of the Princess Elizabeth with the Count Pala“I did not suppose that the pious Puritan tine Frederic, afterwards King of Bohemia, be girl would go so fast to the devil,” he mur became acquainted with beautiful Venetia mured, smilingly. “But what do I care for Stanley, the daughter of Sir Edward Stanley, that? I always serve him who pays me best.” whose mother was a Percy, and who, there

fore, belonged to the highest nobility of the kingdom. Notwithstanding all obstacles, he

succeeded in gaining the love of the young CHAPTER X.

lady, who was only sixteen years old, but whose reputation, according to the testimony

of her contemporaries, was none of the best. A new guest had arrived at Ludlow Castle. Before marrying her, be was obliged to take Sir Kenelm Digby deemed it incumbent on him up his abode for some time at Paris. His fine to pay, on his return trip to London, a visit to appearance and his extraordinary understandthe Earl of Bridgewater, who was nearly re- ing excited the greatest sensation at the French lated to him. Perhaps he combined still an court, and even the queen, that lovely and other object with this act of courtesy, for Sir frail Anne of Austria, fell in love with him Kenelm never did any thing without some and entered into a liaison with him. From secret purpose. The reception with which he the queen's arms, however, he hastened back met at the hands of the noble family was in to his beloved Venetia, who, if the unanimous keeping both with its far-famed hospitality and verdict of the authors of her times is to be bethe reputation of the eminent man. Kenelmlieved, was one of the most amiable and seDigby was the son of Sir Everard Digby, a ductive women in England. It was not until wealthy knight. His father, an ardent Catho- he had forcibly abducted and secretly married lic, had been executed as an accomplice in the her, that he obtained full possession of his befamous gunpowder-plot.

loved. Ambition and thirst for adventures led His orphan son was educated in the Prot- him back to the court and the bustle of the estant religion, in order to save at least a part world. He accompanied the extravagant Buckof the fortune which the crown had confiscated ingham on his embassy to France. To defray already. His guardian was the well-known the expenses of this journey, his beloved VeneArchbishop Laud, then Dean of Gloucester. tia had to pawn her valuable jewelry, which The talented boy gave promise of a remarkable she did readily and willingly. · At a later date career at an early age, and made extraordinary | he armed and equipped several vessels in the progress in all branches of knowledge. When war which King Charles waged against

' France. he became a youth, his mother, who was a As commander of these vessels, he courageousvery zealous Catholic, placed him under the ly attacked the united galleys of the French guidance of the learned Thomas Allen, and and Venetians, and achieved a brilliant victory.

He returned triumphantly to England, and de- | ing to the face, notwithstanding its intellectual voted himself during the peaceful years which stamp, a weird and ghostly expression. His ensued exclusively to his love and to science. whole appearance combined so many contraHis favorite study was chemistry, with which, dictions, that it could not but arouse some disby the most indefatigable industry, he acquired trust in the beholder's mind. Voluptuousness a familiarity such as few of his contemporaries and fanatical austerity, cold reason, and an could boast of. His wife died in the fifth year eccentricity bordering on insanity, were to be of their wedded life. Her death was so sud- | read in his keen features. The various rumors den, that suspicions of her being poisoned were which had been circulated in regard to him, aroused, and that her husband was accused were well calculated to add to the strange and of having murdered her in a fit of jealousy; mysterious impression of his person. Like for Venetia was believed to have been faithless many persons of a peculiarly intellectual charto him, which, considering her former life, was acter, the suppressed feelings of his heart, and not so very strange. However, his conduct his restrained imagination, burst forth with after this loss bordered almost on insanity. redoubled violence in unguarded moments. For months he locked himself up in his labo- His impetuousness then knew no bounds, and ratory, and shut himself entirely out from day- the outbursts of his eccentricity resembled delight. With unkempt hair and beard, he structive storms and fatal thunder-bolts. stared into vacancy, and gave way to bound Both his social position and near relationless despair. It was not until a year afterward ship to the family of the Earl of Bridgewater that he appeared again at court, where he ob- secured him an exceedingly kind reception. tained the special favor of the Catholic Queen. The lord president retired with his guest soon Charles I. made him his confidant, and after his arrival to converse with the expeappointed him bis chamberlain. The whole rienced and accomplished courtier on the conappearance and bearing of the knight were in dition of the king and the court. The earl's keeping with this eventful life of him who was private cabinet lay in one of the Gothic towat the same time a warrior, thinker, and cour ers, and commanded a delightful view of the tier. His athletic form indicated extraordi- valley and the hills of Herefordshire. Soft nary strength and energy. His gigantic neck, carpets were spread on the floor to dampen however, was surmounted by a most expressive every loud noise. The stamped leathern hang. and prepossessing head, proclaiming the su- ings contained representations from the Old premacy of the mind over this Herculean Testament. On one wall was to be seen frame. The high, strongly-arched forehead Abraham, about to sacrifice his only son; showed that he was a keen and able thinker. close to them stood the ram, and over the The glance of his dark-gray eyes was as clear altar flitted the saving angel with gilded wings. and bright as a mirror of burnished steel, and Another picture showed the Israelites in the indicated the preponderance of the intellectual desert, worshipping the golden calf; on a faculties. In striking contrast with their ex- knoll stood Moses, with an angry face, and pression was his voluptuous, soft mouth, round holding the tables of stone in his hands. In which an air of dreamy enthusiasm constantly this manner the religious spirit of the period played. His curly hair was black and glossy, showed itself everywhere in the study of a but it was already quite thin, and a part of the wealthy nobleman. Furniture, hangings, and head was bald. A dark beard fringed his pale every thing destined for household use were at cheeks and flowed down on his breast, impart-| that time in strict keeping with the views and

notions prevailing among the people. Even the joys of unlimited sovereignty, he is unthe seats and easy-chairs were covered with willing to part with them without a struggle. Biblical embroideries. Close to the window For the time being no other system is to be stood the earl's old-fashioned writing-table, thought of; and so long as he has sufficient laden with books and papers. Thick folio funds at his command, he will take good care volumes, bound in hog-skin or parchment, not to convoke a new session of those morose filled the places of our modern neat octavo and taskmasters and canting preachers.” duodecimo volumes ; and instead of the official “But the extravagant expenditures in which documents of our times, were to be seen every- the court is indulging at the present time will where heavy metal cases, enclosing the parch- soon exhaust the royal exchequer.” ments and preserving the large seals from in “Leave that to old Noy. That shrewd feljury.

low is poring night and day over worm-eaten It was in this room that the two men con parchments and dusty title-deeds. Wherever versed now, undisturbed by the presence of he finds an iota of an ancient claim of the witnesses. The Lord President of Wales was government, a mere vestige of a tax collected already an aged man, with dignified features. by the crown in former times, he follows it up Like his father, Chancellor Egerton, who and manages to coin money out of it. He is gained such great celebrity during the reigns racking his brain night and day to devise adof Elizabeth and James I., he had devoted ditional taxes and imposts of an apparently himself to the study of the law; and, like him, legal character. He is so cunning in this regiven all his life evidence of the most unwav- spect, he knows every nook and corner of our ering fidelity to duty, and a most stubborn ancient laws so well, that no one is able to resense of justice. Notwithstanding his attach- fute him. Does not the king owe to him the ment to the royal house, he was unable to ap- invention of the soap-tax, to which some old prove of the last measures of the government. statute of the time of the Conqueror gave The oppressions and extortions of the Star- rise? It is true the people are grumbling beChamber, the unjustifiable dissolution of Par cause they can no longer wash so often as liament, the arbitrary taxation brought about formerly; but what does that amount to? by this measure, had rendered him justly ap- The Puritans set a higher value on a pure prehensive of the future of the country. He heart and blameless life than a clean shirt and now. uttered his fears, though in a guarded well-washed hands." manner, to his new guest, but his innate loy “You are jesting, when I and all the true alty frequently came into conflict with his friends of the king are filled with the gloomconscience on this occasion.

iest forebodings." “Believe me,” he said, in the course of the “You are wrong to yield to any such misconversation, “the people hereabouts are givings, noble earl,” replied Sir Kenelm Digevery day more difficult to manage. The king by, with a sinister smile. “I see that, living must call a new Parliament, unless he desires in the country, you no longer know what is to provoke an extremely grave state of affairs. going on at court. No one there has any You live at court near his person, and are fears of the future. Only the pleasures of therefore able to tell me what he intends to the moment are thought of, and every day do."

brings a new festival. We all have our hands “ Charles will try to govern as long as pos- full of balls, masquerades, and similar amusesible without Parliament. Having once tasted ments. The queen has taken Buckingham's

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