Chapter 54


Scudamore was now much better, partly from the influence of reviving hopes with regard to Dorothy, for his disposition was such that he deceived himself in the direction of what he counted advantage; not like Heywood, who was ever ready to believe what in matters personal told against him. Tom Fool had just been boasting of his exploit in escaping from Raglan, and expressing his conviction that Dorothy, whom he had valiantly protected, was safe at Wyfern, and Rowland was in consequence dressing as fast as he could to pay her a visit, when Tom caught sight of Richard riding towards the cottage, and jumping up, ran into the chimney corner beyond his mother, who was busy with Scudamore's breakfast. She looked from the window, and spied the cause of his terror. 'Silly Tom!' she said, for she still treated him like a child, notwithstanding her boastful belief in his high position and merits, 'he will not harm thee. There never was hurt in a Heywood.' 'Treason, flat treason, witch!' cried the voice of Scudamore from the closet. 'Thee of all men, sir Rowland, has no cause to say so,' returned mistress Rees. 'But come and break thy fast while he talks to thee, and save the precious time which runneth so fast away.' 'I might as well be in my grave for any value it hath to me!' said Rowland, who was for the moment in a bad mood. His hope and his faith were ever ready to fall out, and a twinge in his shoulder was enough to set them jarring. 'Here comes master Hey wood, anyhow,' said the old woman, as Richard, leaving Lady at the gate, came striding up the walk in his great brown boots; 'and I pray you, sir Rowland, to let by-gones be by-gones, for my sake if not for your own, lest thou bring the vengeance of general Fairfax upon my poor house.' 'Fairfax!' cried Scudamore; 'is that villain come hither?' 'Sir Thomas Fairfax arrived two days agone, answered mistress Rees. 'Alas, it is but too sure a sign that for Raglan the end is near!' 'Good morrow, mother Rees,' said Richard, looking in at the door, radiant as an Apollo. The same moment out came Scudamore from the closet, pale as a dying moon. 'I want my horse, Heywood!' he cried, deigning no preliminaries. 'Thy horse is at Redware, Scudamore; I carry him not in my pocket. I saw him yesterday; his flesh hath swallowed a good many of his bones since I looked on him last. What wouldst thou with him?' 'What is that to thee? Let me have him.' 'Softly, sir Rowland! It is true I promised thee thy liberty, but liberty doth not necessarily include a horse.' 'Thou wast never better than a shifting fanatic!' cried sir Rowland. 'An' I served thee as befitted, thou shouldst never see thy horse again,' returned Richard. 'Yet I promise thee that so soon as Raglan hath fallen, he shall again be thine. Nay, I care not. Tell me whither thou goest, and--Ha! art thou there?' he cried, interrupting himself as he caught sight of Tom in the chimney corner; and pausing, he stood silent for a moment. '--Wouldst like to hear, thou rascal,' he resumed presently, 'that mistress Dorothy Vaughan got safe to Wyfern this morning?' 'God be praised!' said Tom Fool. 'But thou shalt not hear it. I will tell thee better if less welcome news--that I come from conducting her back to Raglan in safety, and have seen its gates close upon her. Thou shalt have thy horse, sir Rowland, an' thou can wait for him an hour; but for thy ride to Wyfern, that, thou seest, would not avail thee. Thy cousin rode by here this morning, it is true, but, as I say, she is now within Raglan walls, whence she will not issue again until the soldiers of the parliament enter. It is no treason to tell thee that general Fairfax is about to send his final summons ere he storm the rampart.' 'Then mayst thou keep the horse, for I will back to Raglan on foot,' said Scudamore. 'Nay, that wilt thou not, for nought greatly larger than a mouse can any more pass through the lines. Dost think because I sent back thy cousin Dorothy, lest she should work mischief outside the walls, I will therefore send thee back to work mischief within them?' 'And thou art the man who professeth to love mistress Dorothy!' cried Scudamore with contempt. 'Hark thee, sir Rowland, and for thy good I will tell thee more. It is but just that as I told thee my doubts, whence thou didst draw hope, I should now tell thee my hopes, whence thou mayst do well to draw a little doubt.' 'Thou art a mean and treacherous villain!' cried Scudamore. 'Thou art to blame in speaking that thou dost not believe, sir Rowland. But wilt thou have thy horse or no?' 'No; I will remain where I am until I hear the worst.' 'Or come home with me, where thou wilt hear it yet sooner. Thou shalt taste a roundhead's hospitality.' 'I scorn thee and thy false friendship,' cried Rowland, and turning again into the closet, he bolted the door. That same morning a great iron ball struck the marble horse on his proud head, and flung it in fragments over the court. From his neck the water bubbled up bright and clear, like the life-blood of the wounded whiteness. 'Poor Molly!' said the marquis, when he looked from his study-window--then smiled at his pity. Lord Charles entered: a messenger had come from general Fairfax, demanding a surrender in the name of the parliament. 'If they had but gone on a little longer, Charles, they might have saved us the trouble,' said his lordship, 'for there would have been nothing left to surrender.--But I will consider the proposal,' he added. 'Pray tell sir Thomas that whatever I do, I look first to have it approved of the king.' But there was no longer the shadow of a question as to submission. All that was left was but the arrangement of conditions. The marquis was aware that captain Hooper's trenches were rapidly approaching the rampart; that six great mortars for throwing shells had been got into position; and that resistance would be the merest folly. Various meetings, therefore, of commissioners appointed on both sides for the settling of the terms of submission took place; and at last, on the fifteenth of August, they were finally arranged, and the surrender fixed for the seventeenth. The interval was a sad time. All day long tears were flowing, the ladies doing their best to conceal, the servants to display them. Every one was busy gathering together what personal effects might be carried away. It was especially a sad time for lord Glamorgan's children, for they were old enough not merely to love the place, but to know that they loved it; and the thought that the sacred things of their home were about to pass into other hands, roused in them wrath and indignation as well as grief; for the sense of property is, in the minds of children who have been born and brought up in the midst of family possessions, perhaps stronger than in the minds of their elders. As the sun was going down on the evening of the sixteenth, Dorothy, who had been helping now one and now another of the ladies all day long, having, indeed, little of her own to demand her attention, Dick and Marquis being almost her sole valuables, came from the keep, and was crossing the fountain court to her old room on its western side. Every one was busy indoors, and the place appeared deserted. There was a stillness in the air that SOUNDED awful. For so many weeks it had been shattered with roar upon roar, and now the guns had ceased to bellow, leaving a sense of vacancy and doubt, an oppression of silence. The hum that came from the lines outside seemed but to enhance the stillness within. But the sunlight lived on sweet and calm, as if all was well. It seemed to promise that wrath and ruin would pass, and leave no lasting desolation behind them. Yet she could not help heaving a great sigh, and the tears came streaming down her cheeks. 'Tut, tut, cousin! Wipe thine eyes. The dreary old house is not worth such bright tears.' Dorothy turned, and saw the marquis seated on the edge of the marble basin, under the headless horse, whose blood seemed still to well from his truncated form. She saw also that, although his words were cheerful, his lip quivered. It was some little time before she could compose herself sufficiently to speak. 'I marvel your lordship is so calm,' she said. 'Come hither, Dorothy,' he returned kindly, 'and sit thee down by my side. Thou wast right good to my little Molly. Thou hast been a ministering angel to Raglan and its people. I did thee wrong, and thou forgavest me with a whole heart. Thou hast returned me good for evil tenfold, and for all this I love thee; and therefore will I now tell thee what maketh me quiet at heart, for I am as thou seest me, and my heart is as my countenance. I have lived my life, and have now but to die my death. I am thankful to have lived, and I hope to live hereafter. Goodness and mercy went before my birth, and goodness and mercy will follow my death. For the ills of this life, if there was no silence there would be no music. Ignorance is a spur to knowledge. Darkness is a pavilion for the Almighty, a foil to the painter to make his shadows. So are afflictions good for our instruction, and adversities for our amendment. As for the article of death, shall I shun to meet what she who lay in my bosom hath passed through? And look you, fair damsel, thou whose body is sweet, and comely to behold--wherefore should I not rejoice to depart? When I see my house lying in ruins about me, I look down upon this ugly overgrown body of mine, the very foundations whereof crumble from beneath me, and I thank God it is but a tent, and no enduring house even like this house of Raglan, which yet will ere long be a dwelling of owls and foxes. Very soon will Death pull out the tent-pins and let me fly, and therefore am I glad; for, fair damsel Dorothy, although it may be hard for thee, beholding me as I am, to comprehend it, I like to be old and ugly as little as wouldst thou, and my heart, I verily think, is little, older than thine own. One day, please God, I shall yet be clothed upon with a house that is from heaven, nor shall I hobble with gouty feet over the golden pavement--if so be that my sins overpass not mercy. Pray for me, Dorothy, my daughter, for my end is nigh, that I find at length the bosom of father Abraham.' As he ended, a slow flower of music bloomed out upon the silence from under the fingers of the blind youth hid in the stony shell of the chapel; and, doubtful at first, its fragrance filled at length the whole sunset air. It was the music of a Nunc dimittis of Palestrina. Dorothy knelt and kissed the old man's hand, then rose and went weeping to her chamber, leaving him still seated by the broken yet flowing fountain. Of all who prepared to depart, Caspar Kaltoff was the busiest. What best things of his master's he could carry with him, he took, but a multitude he left to a more convenient opportunity, in the hope of which, alone and unaided, he sunk his precious cabinet, and a chest besides, filled with curious inventions and favourite tools, in the secret shaft. But the most valued of all, the fire-engine, he could not take and would not leave. He stopped the fountain of the white horse, once more set the water-commanding slave to work, and filled the cistern until he heard it roar in the waste-pipe. Then he extinguished the fire and let the furnace cool, and when Dorothy entered the workshop for the last time to take her mournful leave of the place, there lay the bones of the mighty creature scattered over the floor--here a pipe, there a valve, here a piston and there a cock. Nothing stood but the furnace and the great pipes that ran up the grooves in the wall outside, between which there was scarce a hint of connection to be perceived. 'Mistress Dorothy,' he said, 'my master is the greatest man in Christendom, but the world is stupid, and will forget him because it never knew him.' Amongst her treasures, chief of them all, even before the gifts of her husband, lady Glamorgan carried with her the last garments, from sleeve-ribbons to dainty little shoes and rosettes, worn by her Molly. Dr. Bayly carried a bag of papers and sermons, with his doctor's gown and hood, and his best suit of clothes. The marquis with his own hand put up his Vulgate, and left his Gower behind. Ever since the painful proofs of its failure with the king, he had felt if not a dislike yet a painful repugnance to the volume, and had never opened it. It was a troubled night, the last they spent in the castle. Not many slept. But the lord of it had long understood that what could cease to be his never had been his, and slept like a child. Dr. Bayly, who in his loving anxiety had managed to get hold of his key, crept in at midnight, and found him fast asleep; and again in the morning, and found him not yet waked. When breakfast was over, proclamation was made that at nine o'clock there would be prayers in the chapel for the last time, and that the marquis desired all to be present. When the hour arrived, he entered leaning on the arm of Dr. Bayly. Dorothy followed with the ladies of the family. Young Delaware was in his place, and 'with organ voice and voice of psalms,' praise and prayer arose for the last time from the house of Raglan. All were in tears save the marquis. A smile played about his lips, and he looked like a child giving away his toy. Sir Toby Mathews tried hard to speak to his flock, but broke down, and had to yield the attempt. When the services were over, the marquis rose and said, 'Master Delaware, once more play thy Nunc dimittis, and so meet me every one in the hall.' Thither the marquis himself walked first, and on the dais seated himself in his chair of state, with his family and friends around him, and the officers of his household waiting. On one side of him stood sir Ralph Blackstone, with a bag of gold, and on the other Mr. George Wharton, the clerk of the accounts, with a larger bag of silver. Then each of the servants, in turn according to position, was called before him by name, and with his own hand the marquis, dipping now into one bag, now into the other, gave to each a small present in view of coming necessities: they had the day before received their wages. To each he wished a kind farewell, to some adding a word of advice or comfort. He then handed the bags to the governor, and told him to distribute their contents according to his judgment amongst the garrison. Last, he ordered every one to be ready to follow him from the gates the moment the clock struck the hour of noon, and went to his study. When lord Charles came to tell him that all were marshalled, and everything ready for departure, he found him kneeling, but he rose with more of agility than he had for a long time been able to show, and followed his son. With slow pace he crossed, the courts and the hall, which were silent as the grave, bending his steps to the main entrance. The portcullises were up, the gates wide open, the drawbridge down--all silent and deserted. The white stair was also vacant, and in solemn silence the marquis descended, leaning on lord Charles. But beneath was a gallant show, yet, for all its colour and shine, mournful enough. At the foot of the stair stood four carriages, each with six horses in glittering harness, and behind them all the officers of the household and all the guests on horseback. Next came the garrison-music of drums and trumpets, then the men-servants on foot, and the women, some on foot and some in waggons with the children. After them came the waggons loaded with such things as they were permitted to carry with them. These were followed by the principal officers of the garrison, colonels and captains, accompanied by their troops, consisting mostly of squires and gentlemen, to the number of about two hundred, on horseback. Last came the foot- soldiers of the garrison and those who had lost their horses, in all some five hundred, stretching far away, round towards the citadel, beyond the sight. Colours were flying and weapons glittering, and though all was silence except for the pawing of a horse here and there, and the ringing of chain-bridles, everything looked like an ordered march of triumph rather than a surrender and evacuation. Still there was a something in the silence that seemed to tell the true tale. In the front carriage were lady Glamorgan and the ladies Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary. In the carriages behind came their gentlewomen and their lady visitors, with their immediate attendants. Dorothy, mounted on Dick, with Marquis's chain fastened to the pommel of her saddle, followed the last carriage. Beside her rode young Delaware, and his father, the master of the horse. 'Open the white gate,' said the marquis from the stair as he descended. The great clock of the castle struck, and with the last stroke of the twelve came the blast of a trumpet from below. 'Answer, trumpets,' cried the marquis. The governor repeated the order, and a tremendous blare followed, in which the drums unbidden joined. This was the signal to the warders at the brick gate, and they flung its two leaves wide apart. Another blast from below, and in marched on horseback general Fairfax with his staff, followed by three hundred foot. The latter drew up on each side of the brick gate, while the general and his staff went on to the marble gate. As soon as they appeared within it, the marquis, who had halted in the midst of his descent, came down to meet them. He bowed to the general, and said:-- 'I would it were as a guest I received you, sir Thomas, for then might I honestly bid you welcome. But that I cannot do when you so shake my poor nest that you shake the birds out of it. But though I cannot bid you welcome, I will notwithstanding heartily bid you farewell, sir Thomas, and I thank you for your courtesy to me and mine. This nut of Raglan was, I believe, the last you had to crack. Amen. God's will be done.' The general returned civil answer, and the marquis, again bowing graciously, advanced to the foremost carriage, the door of which was held for him by sir Ralph, the steward, while lord Charles stood by to assist his father. The moment he had entered, the two gentlemen mounted the horses held for them one on each side of the carriage, lord Charles gave the word, the trumpets once more uttered a loud cry, the marquis's moved, the rest followed, and in slow procession lord Worcester and his people, passing through the gates, left for ever the house of Raglan, and in his heart Henry Somerset bade the world good-bye. General Fairfax and his company ascended the great white stair, crossed the moat on the drawbridge, passed under the double portcullis and through the gates, and so entered the deserted court. All was frightfully still; the windows stared like dead eyes--the very houses seemed dead; nothing alive was visible except one scared cat: the cannonade had driven away all the pigeons, and a tile had killed the patriarch of the peacocks. They entered the great hall and admired its goodly proportions, while not a few expressions of regret at the destruction of such a magnificent house escaped them; then as soldiers they proceeded to examine the ruins, and distinguish the results wrought by the different batteries. 'Gentlemen,' said sir Thomas, 'had the walls been as strong as the towers, we should have been still sitting in yonder field.' In the meantime the army commissioner, Thomas Herbert by name, was busy securing with the help of his men the papers and valuables, and making an inventory of such goods as he considered worth removing for sale in London. Having satisfied his curiosity with a survey of the place, and left a guard to receive orders from Mr. Herbert, the general mounted again and rode to Chepstow, where there was a grand entertainment that evening to celebrate the fall of Raglan, the last of the strongholds of the king.