The Lost Treasure of Trevlyn A Story of the Days of the Gunpowder Plot
by Evelyn Everett-Green.
Chapter 1: The Inmates Of The Old Gate House. Chapter 2: The Inmates Of Trevlyn Chase. Chapter 3: The Lost Treasure. Chapter 4: A Night On Hammerton Heath. Chapter 5: The House On The Bridge. Chapter 6: Martin Holt's Supper Party. Chapter 7: The Life Of A Great City. Chapter 8: Cuthbert And Cherry Go Visiting. Chapter 9: The Wise Woman. Chapter 10: The Hunted Priest. Chapter 11: The Lone House On The River. Chapter 12: May Day In The Forest. Chapter 13: The Gipsy's Tryst. Chapter 14: Long Robin. Chapter 15: Petronella. Chapter 16: The Pixies' Dell. Chapter 17: Brother And Sister. Chapter 18: "Saucy Kate." Chapter 19: The Cross Way House. Chapter 20: How It Fared With Cherry. Chapter 21: The Gipsy's Warning. Chapter 22: Whispers Abroad. Chapter 23: Peril For Trevlyn. Chapter 24: Kate's Courage. Chapter 25: "On The Dark Flowing River." Chapter 26: Jacob's Devotion. Chapter 27: Yuletide At The Cross Way House.
Chapter 1: The Inmates Of The Old Gate House.
"Dost defy me to my face, sirrah?"
"I have no desire to defy you, father, but—"
"But me no 'buts,' and father me no 'fathers,'" stormed the angry old man, probably quite unconscious of the Shakespearian smack of his phrase; "I am no father to heretic spawn—a plague and a curse be on all such! Go to, thou wicked and deceitful boy; thou wilt one day bitterly rue thy evil practices. Thinkest thou that I will harbour beneath my roof one who sets me at open defiance; one who is a traitor to his house and to his faith?"
A dark flush had risen in the face of the tall, slight youth, with the thoughtful brow and resolute mouth, as his father's first words fell upon his ears, and throwing back his head with a haughty gesture, he said: "I am not deceitful. You have no call to taunt me with that vice which I despise above all others. I have never used deceit towards you. How could you have known I had this day attended the service of the Established Church had I not told you so myself?"
The veins on the old man's forehead stood out with anger; he brought his fist heavily down on the table, with a bang that caused every vessel thereon to ring. A dark-eyed girl, who was listening in mute terror to the stormy scene, shrank yet more into herself at this, and cast an imploring look upon the tall stripling whose face her own so much resembled; but his fiery eyes were on his father's face, and he neither saw nor heeded the look.
"And have I not forbid—ay, and that under the heaviest penalties—any child of mine from so much as putting the head inside one of those vile heretic buildings? Would God they were every one of them destroyed! Heaven send some speedy judgment upon those who build and those who dare to worship therein! What wonder that a son turns in defiance upon his father, when he stuffs his ears with the pestilent heresies with which the wicked are making vile this earth!"
Nicholas Trevlyn's anger became so great at this point as well nigh to choke him. He paused, not from lack of words, but from inability to utter them; and his son, boldly taking advantage of the pause, struck in once more in his own defence.
"Father, you talk of pestilent heresies, but what know you of the doctrines taught within walls you never enter? Is it a pestilent heresy that Christ died to save the world; that He rose again for our justification; that He sent the Holy Spirit into the world to sanctify and gather together a Church called after His name? That is the doctrine I heard preached today, and methinks it were hard to fall foul of it. If you had heard it yourself from one of our priests, sure you would have found it nothing amiss."
"Silence, boy!" thundered the old man, his fury suddenly changing to a white heat of passion, which was more terrible than the bluster that had gone before. "Silence, lest I strike thee to the ground where thou standest, and plunge this dagger in thine heart sooner than hear thee blaspheme the Holy Church in which thou wast reared! How darest thou talk thus to me? as though yon accursed heretic of a Protestant was a member of the Church of Christ. Thou knowest that there is but one fold under one shepherd, and he the Pope of Rome. A plague upon those accursed ones who have perverted the true faith and led a whole nation astray! But they shall not lead my son after them; Nicholas Trevlyn will look well to that!"
Father and son stood with the table between them, gazing fixedly at one another like combatants who, having tested somewhat the strength each of the other, feel a certain doubt as to the termination of the contest, but are both ready and almost eager for the final struggle which shall leave the victory unequivocally on one side or the other.
"I had thought that the Shepherd was Christ," said Cuthbert, in a low, firm tone, "and that the fold was wide enough to embrace all those baptized into His name."
"Then thou only thinkest what is one more of those damnable heresies which are ruining this land and corrupting the whole world," cried Nicholas between his shut teeth. "Thou hast learned none such vile doctrine from me."
"I have learned no doctrine from you save that the Pope is lord of all——of things temporal and things spiritual—and that all who deny this are in peril of hell fire," answered the young man, with no small bitterness and scorn. "And here, in this realm, those who hold this to be so are in danger of prison and death. Truly this is a happy state of things for one such as I. At home a father who rails upon me night and day for a heretic—albeit I vow I hold not one single doctrine which I cannot stand to and prove from the Word of God."
"Which thou hast no call to have in thine hands!" shouted his father; "a book which, if given to the people, stirs up everywhere the vilest heresies and most loathsome errors. The Bible is God's gift to the Church. It is not of private interpretation. It is for the priests to give of its treasures to the people as they are able to bear them."
"Ay, verily, and what are the people to do when the priests deny them their rightful food?" cried Cuthbert, as hotly as his father. "Listen to me, sir. Yes, this once I wilt speak! In years gone by, when, however quietly, secretly, and privately, we were visited by a priest and heard the mass, and received at his hands the Blessed Sacrament, did I revolt against your wish in matters spiritual? Was I not ever willing to please you? Did I not love the Church? Was not I approved of the Father, and taught many things by him, including those arts of reading and penmanship which many in my condition of life never attain unto? Did I ever anger you by disobedience or revolt?"
"What of that, since you are doing so now?" questioned Nicholas in a quieter tone, yet one full of suspicion and resentment. "What use to talk of what is past and gone? Thou knowest well of late years how thou hast been hankering after every vile and villainous heresy that has come in thy way. It is thy mother's blood within thee belike. I did grievous wrong ever to wed with one reared a Protestant, however she might abjure the errors in which she was brought up. False son of a false mother—"
"Hold, sir! You shall not miscall my mother! No son will stand by and hear that!"
"I will say what I will in mine own house, thou evil, malapert boy!" roared the old man. "I tell thee that thy mother was a false woman, that she deceived me bitterly. After solemnly abjuring the errors in which she had been reared, and being received into the true fold, she, as years went by, lapsed more and more into her foul heretical ways of thought and speech; and though she went to her last reckoning (unshriven and unassoiled, for she would have no priest at her dying bed) before ye twain were old enough to have been corrupted by her precept and example, ye must have sucked in heresy with your mother's milk, else how could son of mine act in the vile fashion that thou art acting?"
"I am acting in no vile fashion. I am no heretic. I am a true son of the true Church."
Cuthbert spoke with a forced calmness which gave his words weight, and for a moment even the angry man paused to listen to them, eying the youth keenly all the while, as though measuring his own strength against him. Physically he was far more than a match for the slightly-built stripling of one-and-twenty, being a man of great height and muscular power—power that had in no wise diminished with advancing years, though time had turned his black locks to iron gray, and seamed his face with a multitude of wrinkles. Pride, passion, gloomy defiance, and bitter hatred of his kind seemed written on that face, which in its youth must have been handsome enough. Nicholas Trevlyn was a disappointed, embittered man, who added to all other faults of temperament that of a hopeless bigot of the worst kind. He was the sort of man of whom Inquisitors must surely have been made—without pity, without remorse, without any kind of natural feeling when once their religious convictions were at stake.
As a young man he had watched heretics burning in Smithfield with a fierce joy and delight; and when with the accession of Elizabeth the tide had turned, he had submitted without a murmur to the fines which had ruined him and driven him, a poverty-stricken dependent, to the old Gate House. He would have died a martyr with the grim constancy that he had seen in others, and never lamented what he suffered for conscience' sake. But he had grown to be a thoroughly soured and embittered man, and had spent the past twenty or more years of his life in a ceaseless savage brooding which had made his abode anything but a happy place for his two children, the offspring of a late and rather peculiar marriage with a woman by birth considerably his inferior.
The firmness without the bitterness of his father's face was reflected in that of the son as Cuthbert fearlessly finished his speech.
"I am a true son of the Church. I am no outcast—no heretic. But I will not suffer my soul to be starved. It is the law of this land that whatever creed men hold in their hearts—whether the tenets of Rome or those of the Puritans of Scotland—that they shall outwardly conform themselves to the forms prescribed by the Establishment, and shall attend the churches of the land; and you know as well as I do that there be many priests of our faith who bid their flocks obey this law, and submit themselves to the powers that be. And yet even with all this I would have restrained myself from such attendance, knowing that it is an abhorrence unto you, had there been any other way open to me of hearing the Word of God or receiving the Blessed Sacrament. But since King James has come to the throne, the penal laws have been more stringently enforced against our priests than in the latter days of the Queen. What has been the result for us? Verily that the priest who did from time to time minister to us is fled. We are left without help, without guidance, without teaching, and this when the clouds of peril and trouble are like to darken more and more about our path."
"And what of that, rash boy? Would you think to lessen the peril by tampering with the things of the Evil One; by casting aside those rules and doctrines in which you both have been reared, and consorting with the subverters of the true faith?"
"But I cannot see that they are subverters of the faith," answered the youth hotly. "That is where the kernel of the matter lies. I have heard their preachings. I have talked with my cousins at the Chase, who know what their doctrine is."
But at these words the old man fairly gnashed his teeth in fury; he made a rush at his son and took him by the collar of his doublet, shaking him in a frenzy of rage.
"So!" he cried, "so! Now we get at the whole heart of the matter. You have been learning heresy from those false Trevlyns at the Chase—those renegade, treacherous, time-serving Trevlyns, who are a disgrace to their name and their station! Wretched boy! have I not warned you times and again to have no dealings with those evil relatives? Kinsmen they may be, but kinsmen who have disgraced the name they bear. I would I had Richard Trevlyn here beneath my hand now, that I might stuff his false doctrine down his false throat to choke him withal! And to think that he has corrupted my son, as if the rearing of his own heretic brood was not enough!"
Cuthbert was unable to speak; his father's hand pressed too tightly on his throat. He did not struggle or resist. Those were days when sons—ay, and daughters too—were used to receiving severe chastisement from the parental hand without murmur: and Nicholas Trevlyn had not been one to spare the rod where his son had been concerned. His wrath seemed to rise as he felt the slight form of the lad sway beneath his strong grasp. Surely that slim stripling could be reduced to obedience; but the lesson must be a sharp one, for plainly the poison was working, and had already produced disastrous results.
"Miserable boy!" cried Nicholas, his eyes blazing in their cavernous hollows, "the time has come when this matter must be settled betwixt us twain. Swear that thou wilt go no more to the churches of the Protestant faction, be the laws what they may; swear that thou wilt hold no more converse on matters of religion with thy cousins at the Chase—swear these things with a solemn and binding oath, and all may yet be well. Refuse, and thou shalt yet learn, as thou hast not learned before, what the wrath of a wronged and outraged father can be!"
Petronella, the dark-eyed girl, who had all this while been crouching back in her high-backed chair in an attitude of shrinking terror, now sprang suddenly towards her brother, crying: "O Cuthbert, Cuthbert! prithee do not anger him more!
"Father, O dear sir, let but him go this once! He does not willingly anger you; he does but—"
"Peace, foolish girl, and begone! This is no time for woman's whining. Thy brother and I can settle this business betwixt us twain. But stay, go thou to my room and fetch thence the strong whip wherewith I chastise the unruly hounds. Those who disobey like dogs must be beaten like dogs.
"But, an thou wilt swear to do my bidding in the future, and avoid all pestilent controversy with those false scions of thy house, thy chastisement shall be light. Defy me, and thou shalt feel the full weight of my arm as thou hast never felt it before."
Petronella had never seen her father so angry in all her life before. True, he had always been a harsh, stern man, an unloving father, a captious tyrant in his own house. But there had been limits to his anger. It had taken more generally the form of sullen brooding than of wild wrath, and the irritation and passion which had lately been increasing visibly in him was something comparatively new.
Of late, however, there had been growing friction between Cuthbert and his father. The youth, who had remained longer a boy in his secluded life than he would have done had his lot been cast in a wider sphere, was awakening at last to the stirrings of manhood within him, and was chafing against the fetters, both physical and spiritual, laid upon him by the life he was forced to lead through the tyrannical will of his father. He was beginning, in a semi-conscious fashion, to pant for freedom, and to rebel against the harsh paternal yoke.
When a struggle of wills commences, the friction continues a long while before the spark is produced; but when some unwonted contest has ignited this, the flame often bursts out in wonderful fury, and the whole scene is thence forward changed.
If the old man's blood was up today, Cuthbert's was no less so. He shook himself free for a moment from his father's grasp and stood before him, tall, upright, indignant, no fear in his face, but a deep anger and pain; and his words were spoken with great emphasis and deliberation.
"I will swear nothing of all that. I claim for myself the right of a man to judge for myself and act for myself. I am a boy no longer; I have reached man's estate. I will be threatened and intimidated no longer by any man, even though he be my father. I am ready and willing to leave your house this very day. I am weary of the life here. I would fain carve out fortune for myself. It is plain that we cannot be agreed; wherefore it plainly behoves us to part. Let me then go, but let me go in peace. It may be when I return to these doors you may have learned to think more kindly of me."
But the very calmness of these words only stung Nicholas to greater fury. He had in full force that inherent belief, so deeply rooted in the minds of many of the sons of Rome, that conviction as well as submission could be compelled—could be driven into the minds and consciences of recalcitrant sons and daughters by sheer force and might. Gnashing his teeth in fury, he sprang once more upon his son, winding his strong arms about him, and fairly lifting him from the ground in his paroxysm of fury.
"Go! ay, we will see about that. Go, and carry your false stories and falser thoughts out into the world, and pollute others as you yourself have been polluted! we will think of that anon. Here thou art safe in thy father's care, and it will be well to think further ere we let so rabid a heretic stray from these walls. Wretched boy! the devil himself must sure have entered into thee. But fiends have been exorcised before now. It shall not be the fault of Nicholas Trevlyn if this one be not quickly forced to take flight!"
All this while the infuriated man had been partly dragging, partly carrying his son to a dreary empty room in the rear of the dilapidated old house inhabited by Nicholas and his children. It was a vault-like apartment, and the roof was upheld in the centre by a stout pillar such as one sees in the crypts of churches, and suspended round this pillar were a pair of manacles and a leather belt. Cuthbert had many times been tied up to this pillar before, his hands secured above his head in the manacles, and his body firmly fastened to the pillar by the leather thong. Sometimes he had been left many hours thus secured, till he had been ready to drop with exhaustion. Sometimes he had been cruelly beaten by his stern sire in punishment for some boyish prank or act of disobedience. Even the gentle and timid Petronella had more than once been fastened to the pillar for a time of penance, though the manacles and the whip had been spared to her. The place was even now full of terrors for her—a gruesome spot, always dim and dark, always full of lurking horrors. Her eyes dilated with agony and fear as she beheld her brother fastened up—not before his stout doublet had been removed—and her knees almost gave way beneath her as her father turned sharply upon her and said: "Where is the whip, girl?"
It was seldom that the maiden had the courage to resist her, stern father; but today, love for her brother overcoming every other feeling, she suddenly sank on her knees before him, clasping her hands in piteous supplication, as she cried, with tears streaming down her face: "O father, sweet father, spare him this time! for the love of heaven visit not his misdoings upon him! Let me but talk to him; let me but persuade him! Oh, do not treat him so harshly! Indeed he may better be won by love than driven by blows!"
But Nicholas roughly repulsed the girl, so that she almost fell as he brushed past her.
"Tush, girl! thou knowest not what thou sayest. Disobedience must be flogged out of the heretic spawn. I will have no son of mine sell himself to the devil unchecked. A truce to such tears and vain words! I will none of them. And take heed that thine own turn comes not next. I will spare neither son nor daughter that I find tampering with the pestilent doctrines of heretics!"
So saying, the angry man strode away himself in search of the weapon of chastisement, and whilst Petronella sobbed aloud in her agony of pity, Cuthbert looked round with a strange smile to say: "Do not weep so bitterly, my sister; it will soon be over, and it is the last beating I will ever receive at his hands. This settles it—this decides me. I leave this house this very night, and I return no more until I have won my right to be treated no longer as a slave and a dog."
"Alas, my brother! wilt thou really go?"
"Ay, that will I, and this very night to boot."
"This night! But I fear me he will lock thee in this chamber here."
"I trust he may; so may I the better effect my purpose. Listen, sister, for he will return right soon, and I must be brief. I have been shut up here before, and dreaming of some such day as this, I have worked my way through one of yon stout bars to the window; and it will fall out now with a touch. Night falls early in these dark November days. When the great clock in the tower of the Chase tolls eight strokes, then steal thou from the house bearing some victuals in a wallet, and my good sword and dagger and belt. Meet me by the ruined chantry where we have sat so oft. I will then tell thee all that is in my heart—for which time lacks me to speak now.
"Hist! there is his returning step. Leave me now, and weep not. I care naught for hard blows; I have received too many in my time. But these shall be the last!"
Petronella, trembling in every limb, shrank silently away in the shadows as her father approached, the sight of his grim, stern face and the cruel-looking weapon in his hands bringing quick thrills of pain and pity to her gentle heart. Petronella was a very tender floweret to have been reared amidst so much hardness and sorrow. It was wonderful that she had lived through the helpless years of infancy (her mother had died ere she had completed her second year) with such a father over her, or that having so lived she had preserved the sweetness and clinging softness of temperament which gave to her such a strange charm—at least in the opinion of one. Doubtless she owed much of her well being to the kindly care of an old deaf and dumb woman, the only servant in that lonely old house, who had entered it to nurse the children's mother through her last illness, and had stayed on almost as a matter of course, receiving no wage for her untiring service, but only the coarse victuals that all shared alike, and such scanty clothing as was absolutely indispensable.
To this old crone Petronella fled with white face and tearful eyes, as the sound of those terrible blows smote upon her ears with the whistling noise that well betrayed the force with which they were dealt. She quickly made the faithful old creature aware of what was going on, and her sympathy was readily aroused on behalf of the sufferer. The dumb request for food was also understood and complied with. No doubt there had been times before when the girl had crept with bread and meat in her apron to the solitary captive, who was shut up alone without food till he should come to a better mind.
Of Cuthbert's intended flight she made no attempted revelation. She must act now, and explain later, if she could ever make the old woman understand, that her brother had fled, and had not been done to death by his hard-hearted father.
Supper was over. It had been at the close of that meal that the explosion had taken place. She would not be called upon to meet her father again that day. Fleeing up the broken stone staircase just as his feet were heard returning from the vaulted room, she heard him bang to the door of the living room before she dared to steal into the little bare chamber where her brother slept, and where all his worldly possessions were stored.
The old Gate House was a strange habitation. Formerly merely the gateway to the Castle, which had once reared its proud head upon the crest of the hill to the westward, it had but scant accommodation for a family—one living room below, flanked on one side by the kitchen, and on the other by the vaulted chamber, once possibly a guardroom, but so bitterly cold and damp now that it was never used save for such purposes as had been witnessed there that evening. A winding, broken stone stairway led upwards to a few very narrow chambers above of irregular shape, and all lighted by loophole windows deeply splayed. The lowest of these was the place where Nicholas slept, and there was a slight attempt at furniture and comfort; but the upper chambers, where Petronella and Cuthbert retired out of the way of their father's sullen and morose temper, were bare of all but actual necessities, and lacked many things which would be numbered amongst essentials in later days. The stone floors had not even a carpeting of rushes, the pallet beds lay on the hard stone floor, and only the girl possessed a basin and ewer for washing. Cuthbert was supposed to perform his ablutions in the water of the moat without, or at the pump in the yard.
But Petronella had small notion of the hardness of her life. She had known no other, and only of late had she begun to realize that other girls were more gently reared and tended. Since the family had come to live at the Chase—which had only happened within the past year—her ideas had begun to enlarge; but so far this had not taught her discontent with her surroundings.
She knew that her father had fled to the Gate House as a place of retirement in the hour of his danger and need, and that nobody had denied his right to remain there, though the whole property was in the possession of Sir Richard Trevlyn, the nephew of her morose parent. Nicholas, however, as may have been already gathered, bore no goodwill towards his nephew, and would fain have hindered his children from so much as exchanging a word with their kinsfolks. But blood is thicker than water, and the young naturally consort together. Nicholas had married so late in life that his children were much about the same age as those of his nephew—indeed the Trevlyns of the Chase were all older than Petronella. Sir Richard had striven to establish friendly relations with his uncle when he had first brought his family to the Chase, and had only given up the attempt after many rebuffs. He encouraged his children to show kindness to their cousins, as they called each other, and since that day a ray of sunshine had stolen into Petronella's life, though she was almost afraid to cherish it, lest it should only be withdrawn again.
As she hurried to the tryst that evening, this fear was only second to the bitter thought of parting with Cuthbert. Yet she did not wish him to stay. Her father's wrath and suspicion once fully aroused, no peace could be hoped for or looked for. Terribly as she would miss him, anything was better than such scenes as the one of today. Cuthbert was no longer a child; he was beginning to think and reason and act for himself. It was better he should fly before worse had happened; only the girl could not but wonder what her own life would be like if, after his departing, her stern father should absolutely forbid her seeing or speaking to her cousins again.
She knew he would gladly do it; knew that he hated and grudged the few meetings and greetings that did pass between them from time to time. Any excuse would gladly be caught at as a pretext for an absolute prohibition of such small overtures, and what would life be like, she wondered with a little sob, if she were to lose Cuthbert, and never to see Philip?
Her brother was at the trysting place first. She could not see his face, but could distinguish the slight figure seated upon the crumbling fragment of the wall. He was very still and quiet, and she paused as she drew near, wondering if he had not heard her light footfall upon the fallen leaves.
"Is that thou, my sister?" asked a familiar voice, though feeble and hollow in its tones. The girl sprang quickly to his side.
"Yes, Cuthbert, it is I; and I have brought all thou biddest me, and as much beside as I could make shift to carry. Alack, Cuthbert are you sorely hurt? I heard that cruel whip!"
"Think no more of that! I will think no more myself once the smart be past. Think of the freedom thy brother will enjoy; would that thou couldst share it, sweet sister! I like not faring thus forth and leaving thee, but for the nonce there be no other way.
"Petronella, I know thou wouldst ask whither I go and what I do. And that I scarce know myself as yet. But sitting here in the dark there has come a new purpose, a new thought to my mind. What if I were to set myself to the discovery of the lost treasure of Trevlyn Chase?"
The girl started in the darkness, and laid her hand on her brother's arm.
"Ah, Cuthbert, that lost treasure! Would that thou couldst find it! But how canst thou hope to do so when so many besides have failed?"
"That is not the fashion in which men think when they mean to triumph, my sister," said Cuthbert, and she knew by his voice that he was smiling. "How this thing may be done I know not. Where the long-lost treasure be hid I know not, nor that I may ever be the one to light on it. But this I do know, that it is somewhere; that some hand buried it; that even now some living soul may know the secret of the hiding place. Petronella, hast thou ever thought of it? Hast thou ever wondered if our father may know aught of it?"
"Our father! nay, Cuthbert; but he would be the first to show the place and claim his share of spoil."
"I know not that. He hates Sir Richard. Methinks he loved not his own brother, the good knight's father. He was in the house what time the treasure vanished. Might he not have had some hand in the mystery?"
The girl shook her head again doubtfully.
"Nay, how can I say? Yet methinks our father, who sorely laments his poverty and dependence for a home upon Sir Richard's kindness, would no longer live at the old Gate House had he riches hidden away upon which he might lay his hand. Nay, Cuthbert, methinks thou art not on the right track in thinking of him. But I do not rightly know the story of that lost treasure."
"Marry, nor I neither. I have heard our father rave of it. I have heard a word here, a whisper there, but never a full account of the matter. But that there is some great treasure lost or made away with all men who know aught of the Trevlyns know well. And if, as all affirm, this same treasure is but buried in some hiding place, the clue to which none possesses, why should not I find it? Why should not I be the man at last to track and to discover it?"
Why not indeed? Petronella, full of ardent youthful imaginings, fired instantly with the thought. Why should not her brother do this thing? Why not indeed? She looked at him with eyes that shone in the gloom like stars.
"Yes, Cuthbert, be it thine to do what none else has been able. Be it thine to discover this lost treasure. Would that I could help thee in that quest! But I can give thee just this one morsel of counsel. Start not till thou hast been to the Chase and heard all the story from our cousins there. They will tell thee what there is to know, and he is twice armed who has this knowledge."
"I will follow thy good counsel, my sister, and commend thee to their kindly care. And now, let us say farewell, and be brief; for such moments do but wring the heart and take the manliness from one. Farewell, and farewell, my sweetest sister. Heaven be thy guide and protector; and be sure of one thing, that if I live I will see thee soon again, and that if I have success in my search thou and I will rejoice in it together."
Chapter 2: The Inmates Of Trevlyn Chase.
Trevlyn Chase was a fine Tudor structure, standing on the site of the more ancient castle that had been destroyed during the tumultuous days of the Wars of the Roses. Instead of the grim pile of gray masonry that had once adorned the crest of the wooded hill, its narrow loopholes and castellated battlements telling of matters offensive and defensive, a fair and home-like mansion of red brick overlooked the peaceful landscape, adorned with innumerable oriel windows, whose latticed casements shone brilliantly in the south sunlight as it fell upon the handsome frontage of the stately house. Great timbers deeply carved adorned the outer walls, and the whole building was rich in those embellishments which grace the buildings of that period. A fine terrace ran the whole length of the south front, and was bounded at either side by a thick hedge of yew. Stone steps led down into a terraced garden upon which much care had been bestowed, and which in summer was bright with all the flowers then known and cultivated in this country. Even in gloomy winter there was more of order and trimness than was often found in such places, and the pleasaunces and shrubberies and gardens of Trevlyn Chase, with the wide fish ponds and terraced paths, formed a pleasant place of resort almost at any season, and were greatly delighted in by the children of the present owner, who had only recently made acquaintance with their ancient family home.
The setting sun was shining brightly now upon the windows of the house which faced the south, with half a point of west, so that in winter the sunlight shone to the very time of its setting into the lofty and decorated chambers. The glow from blazing fires within likewise shone and twinkled hospitably through the clear glass, and one long window of one of the rooms stood open to the still evening air, and a little group was gathered together just outside.
A tall young man of some five-and-twenty summers, with the regular Trevlyn features and a pair of honest gray eyes, was standing out on the terrace with his face towards the red sky, a couple of sporting dogs frisking joyously about him, as if hoping he was bent upon a stroll in the woods. By his side stood a tall slim maiden, bright faced and laughing eyed, straight as a dart, alert and graceful in her movements, with an expression of courage and resolution on her fair face that stamped it at once with a strong individuality of its own. She was dressed simply, though in soft and rich textures, as became her station, and she held her hood in her hands, leaving her ruffled curly hair to be the sport of the light night breeze. She had very delicate features and an oval face, and from the likeness that existed between them the pair were plainly brother and sister.
Just within the open window were two more girls, dressed in the same fashion as the first, and plainly her sisters, though they were more blonde in type, and whilst very pretty, lacked the piquant originality that was the great characteristic of the dark girl's beauty. They were not quite so tall, and the elder of the blonde pair was not nearly so slim, but had something of womanly deliberation and dignity about her. She was plainly the eldest of the three sisters, as the little maid beside her was the youngest. All three were engrossed in some sort of talk that appeared full of interest for them.
"I wish he would not do it," said Philip, turning his eyes in an easterly direction, towards a hollow in the falling ground, where the ruins of the ancient wall could still be dimly traced. The old Gate House itself could not be seen from this side of the house, but it was plain that the thoughts of all had turned in that direction. "It is brave of him to obey his conscience rather than his father; but yon man is such a veritable tiger, that I fear me there will be dark work there betwixt them if the lad provoke him too far. Nicholas Trevlyn is not one to be defied with impunity. I would that Cuthbert had as much prudence as he has courage."
"So do not I," answered Kate quickly, turning her flashing eyes full upon her brother. "I hate prudence—the prudence of cowardice! I am right glad that Cuthbert thinks first of his conscience and second of his father's wrath. What man who ever lived to do good in the world was deterred from the right by craven fears? I honour him for his single mindedness. He is a bold youth, and I would fain help him an I could see the way."
"We would all gladly do that," answered Philip; "the hard thing being to find the way."
"We shall find it anon, I doubt not," answered Kate. "Things cannot go on ever as they are now."
"No; methinks one day we may chance to hear that the old Papist has done his son to death in a fit of blind fury. Then perhaps, my sister, thou wilt join with me in wishing that the lad had shown more regard for his stern sire's word."
"Nay, Philip, sure thou fearest too much," spoke Cecilia from her station beside the window. "Nicholas Trevlyn may be a dark and sour man, but he scarce would lift a hand against his own flesh and blood! I cannot believe it of any father."
"Fathers of his type have done as bad ere now," answered Philip, with gravity, "and there is no bigot like the Papist bigot, who is soured and embittered by persecution himself. Cuthbert has told me things ere this which show what an iron soul his father's is. He believes that he would wring the neck of little Petronella sooner than see her turn out of the path of unreasoning Papistry in which he has brought her up," and Philip's face darkened suddenly as he turned it towards his sisters.
"But sure the King would protect them if he knew," said Bessie, the youngest of the sisters. "Why, the law bids all loyal subjects go to church, and punishes those who stay away. The King would be sorely angry, would he not, were he to hear that any man dared use force to hinder his children from going."
Kate's delicate lips curved into a smile of derision, and Philip shrugged his broad shoulders.
"The King, my dear Bessie, is naught but a miserable pedant, who loves nothing so well as hearing himself talk, and prating by the hour together on matters of law and religion, and on the divine right of kings. He is not the King such as England has been wont to know—a King to whom his subjects might gain access to plead his protection and ask his aid. I trow none but a fool would strive to win a smile from the Scottish James. He is scarce a man, by all we hear, let alone a King. I sometimes think scorn of us as a nation that we so gladly and peaceably put our necks beneath the sceptre of such an atomy. Sure had the Lady Arabella but been a man, we should scarce have welcomed so gladly this son of Mary Stuart as our monarch."
"Have a care, my children, and talk not rank treason in such open fashion," said a deep voice behind them, and the daughters started to see the tall form of their father in the room behind them. "We Trevlyns are none too safe from suspicion that we need endanger ourselves wilfully. Whatever else James Stuart may be, he has shown that he means to be a monarch as absolute as any who have gone before him. Wherefore it behoves us to be cautious even in the sanctuary of this peaceful home.
"What is the matter, Kate, that thou art thus scornful towards his majesty? In what has he offended thee, my saucy princess?"
As Kate stepped within the room, followed by her brother, it was plain from the lighting of her father's eyes that she was the favourite daughter with him. He laid his hand lightly on her shoulder, and she stood up close beside him, her bright face upraised, a saucy gleam in her eyes, and both her attitude and bearing bespoke an affectionate confidence between father and child less common in those ceremonious days than it has since become.
"Father, we were talking of Cuthbert. Did you see him at church today? He was there both in the morning and the afternoon."
"I thought I saw him. I was not sure. I am glad his father has had the sense to relent thus far with him."
"But he has not relented," answered Kate quickly. "Cuthbert comes in defiance of his commands; and Philip says he misdoubts if his father may not do him some grievous bodily harm in his rage and fury. Bessie did ask if the King would not interfere to save him;" and then Kate broke off with her rippling, saucy laugh. "I was just answering that question when you came. But sure, father, something might be done for him. It is a cruel thing for a boy to be treated as he is treated, and all for striving to obey the law of the land."
Sir Richard Trevlyn stood in silent thought awhile. He was a fine-looking man, with a thoughtful, benevolent countenance, and eyes that Kate had inherited. He had known something of peril and trouble himself in his day, and could feel for the troubles of others. But he also knew the difficulties of dealing with such a man as his kinsman Nicholas; and without bringing him to the notice of the authorities as a concealed Papist—an idea repugnant to him where one of his own name and blood was concerned—it was difficult to see what could be done for the protection of the hapless Cuthbert and his sister.
Sir Richard Trevlyn did not wish to draw public attention upon himself. It was his desire to live as quietly and privately as possible. The Trevlyns had been for many generations a family stanch to the doctrines and traditions of the Church of Rome, and they had won for themselves that kind of reputation which clings tenaciously to certain families even when it has ceased to be a fact. The present Sir Richard's father had broken through the traditions of his race in marrying a lady of the Reformed faith. It was a love match, and all other considerations went to the winds. The lady was no theologian, and though believing all she had been taught, had no horror of Popery or of her husband's creed. They had lived happily together in spite of their respective opinions; but either through the influence of his wife, or through other causes less well understood, Sir Richard the elder in his later life became gradually weaned from the old faith, and embraced that of his wife. Some said this was done from motives of policy, since Elizabeth was on the throne, and the edicts against Papists, though only rigidly enforced by fits and starts, were always in existence, and had been the ruin of many ancient families. However that may have been, the only son of this union had been trained up a Protestant, and had brought up his own children as members of the Established Church of the land.
But still the old tradition remained that all Trevlyns must of necessity be rank Papists, and Nicholas had certainly done all he could to encourage this idea, and had ruined himself by his contumacious resistance to the laws. Both his brother and his nephew had suffered through their close relationship to such an unruly subject, and there had been dark days enough for the family during the Armada scare, when every Papist became a mark for popular hatred, and professions of loyalty and good faith were regarded with distrust.
Now, however, the family seemed to have lived through its darkest days. Peace had been made with men in high places. Sir Richard had done good service to the State on more than one occasion; and latterly he had felt sufficiently safe to retire from the neighbourhood of the Court, where he had been holding some small office, and settle down with his wife and family in his ancestral home. His marriage with Lady Frances de Grey, the daughter of the Earl of Andover, had given him excellent connections; for the Andovers were stanch supporters of the Reformed faith, and had been for several generations, so that they were high in favour, and able to further the fortunes of their less lucky kinsman. It had taken many years to work matters to a safe and happy conclusion, but at the present moment there seemed to be no clouds in the sky.
The new King had been as gracious as it was in his nature to be to Sir Richard, and did not appear to regard him with any suspicion. The knight breathed freely again after a long period of anxiety, for the tenacious memory and uncertain temper of the late Queen had kept him in a constant ferment.
It had been a kindly and courageous thing for Sir Richard to permit his contumacious and inimical kinsman to retain the possession of the old Gate House. Nicholas had no manner of right to it, though he was fond of putting forward a pretended claim; and the close proximity of a rank and bitter Papist of his own name and race was anything but a pleasant thing. But the sense of family feeling, so strongly implanted in the English race, had proved stronger than prudential scruple, and Nicholas had not been ejected, his nephew even striving at the first to establish some kind of friendly relations with the old man, hoping perhaps to draw him out of his morose ways, and lead him to conformity and obedience to the existing law.
Nicholas had refused all overtures; but his lonely son and daughter had been only too thankful for notice, and the whole family at the Chase became keenly interested in them. It was plain from the first that their father's bitterness and rigid rule had done anything but endear his own views to his children. Petronella accepted the creeds and dogmas instilled into her mind with a childlike faith, and dreamed her own devotional dreams over her breviary and her book of saints—the only two volumes she possessed. She was content, in the same fashion that a little child is content, with just so much as was given her. But Cuthbert's mind was of a different stamp, and he had long been panting to break the bonds that held both body and soul in thrall, and find out for himself the meaning of those questions and controversies that were convulsing the nation and the world.
Intercourse with his kinsfolk had given him his first real insight into the burning questions of the hour, and his attendance from time to time at the parish church had caused him fresh access of wonder at what his father could object to in the doctrines there set forth. They might not embody everything a popish priest would bid him believe, but at least they appeared to the boy to contain all the integral truths of Christianity. He began dimly to understand that the Papists were not half so much concerned in the matter of cardinal doctrines of the faith as in asserting and upholding the temporal as well as the spiritual power of the Pope; and that this should be made the matter of the chiefest moment filled the boy's soul with a loathing and disgust which were strong enough to make him half a Protestant at once.
Sir Richard had seen almost as much, and was greatly interested in the lad; but it was difficult to know how to help him in days when parental authority was so absolute and so rigidly exercised.
"We must do what we can," said Sir Richard, waking from his reverie and shaking his head. "But we must have patience too; and it will not be well for the boy to irritate his father too greatly. Tomorrow I will go to the Gate House and see my uncle, and speak for the boy. He ought to have the liberty of the law, and the law bids all men attend the services of the Established Church. But it is ill work reasoning with a Papist of his type; and short of reporting the case to the authorities, meaning more persecution for my unlucky kinsman, I know not what may be done."
"We must strive so to win upon him by gentle means that he permits his children free intercourse with ours," said gentle Lady Frances from her seat by the glowing hearth. "It seems to me that that is all we may hope to achieve in the present. Perchance as days and weeks pass by we may find a way to that hard and flinty heart."
"And whilst we wait it may well be that Cuthbert will be goaded to desperation, or be done to death by his remorseless sire," answered impetuous Kate, who loved not counsels of prudence. "Methinks that waiting is an ill game. I would never wait were I a man. I would always aet—ay, even in the teeth of deadly peril. Sure the greatest deeds have been achieved by men of action, not by men of counsel and prudence."
Sir Richard smiled, as he stroked her hair, and told her she should have lived a hundred or so years back, when it was the fashion to do and dare regardless of consequences. And gradually the talk drifted away from the inmates of the old Gate House, though Philip was quite resolved to pay an early visit there on the morrow, and learn how it had fared with his cousin.
Supper followed in due course, and was a somewhat lengthy meal. Then the ladies retired to the stately apartment they had been in before, and the mother read a homily to her daughters, which was listened to with dutiful attention. But Kate's bright eyes were often bent upon the casement of one window, the curtain of which she had drawn back with her own hand before sitting down; and as the moon rose brighter and brighter in the sky and bathed the world without in its clear white beams, she seemed to grow a little restless, and tapped the floor with the point of her dainty shoe.
Kate Trevlyn was a veritable sprite for her love of the open air, by night as well as day, in winter cold as well as summer heat. "The night bird" was one of her father's playful names for her, and if ever she was able to slip away on a fine night, nothing delighted her more than to wander about in the park and the woods, listening to the cries of the owls and night jars, watching the erratic flight of the bats, and admiring the grand beauty of the sleeping world as it lay beneath the rays of the peaceful moon.
As the reading ceased, a step on the terrace without told Kate that Philip was out for an evening stroll. Gliding from the room with her swift undulating motion, and quickly donning cloak and clogs, she slipped after him and joined him before he had got many yards from the house.
"Take me with thee, Philip," she said. "It is a lovely night for a stroll. I should love to visit the chantry; it looks most witching at this hour of the night."
They took the path that led thither. The great clock in the tower had boomed the hour of eight some time since. The moon had shaken itself free from the veil of cloud, and was sailing majestically in the sky. As they descended the path, Kate suddenly laid her hand on her brother's arm, and whispered:
"Hist! Methinks I hear the sound of steps. Surely there is some one approaching us from below!"
Philip paused and listened. Yes, Kate's quick ears had not deceived her. There was the sound of a footstep advancing towards them along the lonely tangled path. Philip instinctively felt for the pistol he always carried in his belt, for there were often doubtful and sometimes desperate men in hiding in woods and lonely places; but before he had time to do more than feel if the weapon were safe, Kate had darted suddenly from his side, and was speeding down the path.
"Marry but it is Cuthbert!" she called back to him as he bid her stop, and Philip himself started forward to meet and greet the newcomer.
"We have been talking of you and wondering how it fared with you," he said, as they reached the side of the youth "I am right glad to see you here tonight."
Cuthbert did not answer for a moment. He seemed to pant for breath. A ray of moonlight striking down upon his face showed it to be deadly white. His attitude bespoke the extreme of fatigue and weakness.
"Why, there is something amiss with you!" cried Philip, taking his cousin by the arm. "Some evil hap has befallen you."
"His father has half killed him, I trow!" cried Kate, with sudden energy. "He could not else have received injury in these few hours. Speak, Cuthbert; tell us! is it not so?"
"I have been something rough handled," answered the lad in a low voice; "but I did not feel it greatly till I began to climb the hill.
"I thank you, good Philip. I will be glad of your arm. But I am better already."
"You look like a veritable ghost," said Kate, still brimming over with pity and indignation. "What did that miserable man do to you?"
"Why, naught that he has not done a score of times before—tied me to the pillar and flogged me like a dog. Only he laid his blows on something more fiercely than is his wont, and doubled the number of them. Perchance he had some sort of inkling that it was his last chance, and used it accordingly."
The bare trees did not screen the beams of the moon, and both Philip and Kate could see the expression on Cuthbert's face. What they read there caused Kate to ask suddenly and eagerly:
"What meanest thou by that, Cuthbert? What plan hast thou in thine head?"
"Why, a mighty simple one—so simple that I marvel I have not carried it out before. I could not live worse were I to beg my bread from door to door, and I should at least have my liberty; and if whipped for a vagabond, should scarce be so badly used as my father uses me. Moreover, I have a pair of strong arms and some book learning; and I trow I need never sink to beggary. I mind not what I do. I will dig the fields sooner than be worse treated than a dog. My mind is made up. I have left my father's house never to return. I am going forth into the world to see what may befall me there, certain that nothing can be worse than what I have left behind."
"Thou hast run away from thy cruel father? Marry, that is good hearing!" cried Kate, with sparkling eyes. "I marvel we had none of us thought of that plan ourselves; it is excellent."
"It seemed the one thing left—the only thing possible. I could not endure such thralldom longer," answered Cuthbert, speaking wearily, for he was in truth well nigh worn out with the tumult of his own feelings and the savage treatment he had received. "But I know not if I shall accomplish it even now. My father may discover my flight, pursue and bring me back. This very day I asked to leave his house, and he refused to let me go. If he overtakes me I shall be shut up in strait confinement; I shall be punished sorely for this night's work. I must make shift to put as many miles as may be betwixt myself and the Gate House tonight."
"Nay, thou shalt do no such thing!" answered Kate, quickly and warmly. "I have a better plan than that. Thou shalt come home with us. My good father will gladly give thee shelter and protection. Thou shalt remain in hiding with us till the hue and cry (if there be any) shall be over past, and till thy wounds be healed and thou hast regained thy strength and spirit; and then thou shalt start forth reasonably equipped to seek thy fortune in the world; and if thou wilt go to merry London, as I would were I a man with mine own fortune to carve out, methinks I can give thee a letter to one there that will secure thee all that thou needest in the present, and may lead to advancement and good luck."
Kate's thoughts always worked like magic. No sooner was an idea formed in her busy brain than she saw the whole story unwinding itself in glowing colours; and to hear her bright chatter as the three pursued their way to the house, one would have thought her cousin's fortune already made. A soft red glow had stolen into her cheeks as she had spoken of the missive she could furnish, and Philip gave her a quick glance, a smile crossing his face.
Cuthbert was too faint and bewildered to take in all the sense of Kate's words, but he understood that for the moment he was to be cared for and concealed, and that was enough. Philip echoed his sister's invitation to his father's house as his first stage on his journey, and all that the lad remembered of the next few hours was the dancing of lights before his dazzled eyes, the sound of friendly voices in his ears, and the gentle ministrations of kindly hands, as he was helped to bed and cosseted up, and speedily made so comfortable that he fell off almost immediately into a calm refreshing sleep that was like to be the best medicine he could have.
When Sir Richard rejoined his family, it was with a stern expression on his face.
"The boy has been grossly maltreated," he said. "It is no mere paternal chastisement he has received this day, but such a flogging as none but the lowest vagabond would receive at the hands of the law. The very bone is in one place laid bare, and there be many traces of savage handling before this. Were he not mine own uncle, bearing mine own name, I would not let so gross an outrage pass. But at least we can do this much—shelter the lad and send him forth, when he is fit for the saddle, in such sort that he may reach London in easy fashion, as becomes one of his race. The lad has brains and many excellent qualities. There is no reason why he should not make his way in life."
"If he can be cured of his Papist beliefs," said Lady Frances; "but no man holding them gets on in these days, and Cuthbert has been bred up in the very worst of such tenets."
"So bad that he is half disgusted with them before he can rightly say why," answered Sir Richard with a smile. "There is too much hatred and bitterness in Nicholas Trevlyn's religion to endear it to his children. The boy has had the wit to see that the Established Church of the land uses the same creeds and holds the same cardinal doctrines as he has been bred up in. For the Pope he cares no whit; his British blood causes him to think scorn of any foreign potentate, temporal or spiritual. He has the making of a good churchman in him. He only wants training and teaching. Methinks it were no bad thing to send him to his mother's kindred for that. They are as stanch to the one party as old Nicholas to the other. The lad will learn all he needs there of argument and controversy, and will be able to weigh the new notions against the old.
"Verily, the more I think of it the better I like the plan. He is scarce fit for a battle with the world on his own account. Food and shelter and a home of some sort will be welcome to him whilst he tries the strength of his wings and fits them for a wider flight."
"His mother's kindred," repeated Kate quickly, and with a shade of hauteur in her manner. "Why, father, I have ever thought that on their mother's side our cousins had little cause to be proud of their parentage. Was not their mother—"
"The daughter of a wool stapler, one Martin Holt, foster brother to my venerated father, the third Earl of Andover," said Lady Frances, quietly. "Truly, my daughter, these good folks are not in birth our equal, and would be the first to say so; nevertheless they are worthy and honest people, and I can remember that Bridget, my mother's maid, who astonished us and deeply offended her relations by a sudden and ill-judged marriage with Nicholas Trevlyn, was a wonderfully well-looking woman. How and why such a marriage was made none may rightly know now. I can remember that the dark-browed Nicholas, who was but little loved at our house, took some heed to this girl, greatly younger than himself, though herself of ripening age when she let herself be persuaded into that loveless wedlock. It was whispered that he had made a convert of her; the Jesuits and seminary priests were hard at work, striving to win back their lost power by increasing the number of their flock and recruiting from all classes of the people. Nicholas was then a blind tool in the hands of these men, and I always suspected that this was one of his chief motives for so ill judged a step. At any rate, Bridget pronounced herself a Romanist, and was married by a priest of that Church according to its laws. Her family cast her off, and Nicholas would let us have no dealings with her. Poor Bridget! I trow she lived to rue the day; and the change of her faith was but a passing thing, for I know she returned to her old beliefs when time had allowed her to see things more clearly.
"But to return to the beginning. If Bridget's brother, Martin Holt, yet lives and carries on his father's business, as is most like, on London Bridge, his house would be no bad shelter for this poor lad, who will scarce have means or breeding as yet to take his place with those of higher quality."
"That is very true," said Sir Richard. "The lad is a right honest lad, and his gentle blood shows in a thousand little ways; but his upbringing has not fitted him for mingling with the high ones of the world, and it would be well for him to rub off something of his rustic shyness and awkwardness ere he tries to cut a fine figure. I doubt not that Martin Holt would receive his sister's son."
"A wool stapler!" muttered Kate, with a slight pout of her pretty lips. "I was going to have sent him to Culverhouse with a letter, to see what he would do for my cousin."
"Lord Culverhouse could not do much," answered her father, with a smile. "He is but a stripling himself, and has his own way yet to make. And remember too, dear Lady Disdain, that in these times of change and upheaval it boots not to speak thus scornfully of honest city folks, be they wool staplers or what you will, who gain their wealth by trading on the high seas and with foreign lands. Bethink you that even the King himself, despite his fine phrases on divine right, has to sue something humbly to his good citizens of London and his lowlier subjects for those very supplies that insure his kingly pomp. So, saucy girl, put not into young Cuthbert's head notions that ill befit one who has naught to call his own save the clothes upon his back. If he goes to these kinsfolk, as I believe it will be well for him to do, it will behove him to go right humbly and reverently. Remember this in talking with him. It were an ill thing to do to teach him to despise the home where his mother first saw light, and the kinsfolks who are called by her name."
Kate's sound sense and good feeling showed her the truth of her father's words, and she dutifully promised not to transgress; but she did not altogether relish the thought of the prospect in store for her cousin, and as she went upstairs with Bessie to the comfortable bed chamber they shared together, she whispered, with a mischievous light dancing in her eyes:
"Ah, it is one thing for the grave and reverend elders to plan, but it is another for the young to obey. Methinks Cuthbert will need no hint from me to despise the home of the honest wool stapler. He has been bred in woods and forests. He has the blood of the Trevlyns in his veins. I trow the shop on London Bridge will have small charms for him. Were it me, I would sooner—tenfold sooner—join myself to one of those bands of freebooters who ravage the roads, and fatten upon sleek and well-fed travellers, than content myself with the pottering life of a trader! Ah, we shall see, we shall see! I will keep my word to my father. But for all that I scarce think that when Cuthbert starts forth again it will be for London Bridge that he will be bound!"
Chapter 3: The Lost Treasure.
"And so it is to London thou wilt go—to the worthy wool stapler on the Bridge?" and Kate, mindful of her promise to her parents, strove to suppress the little grimace with which she was disposed to accompany her words—"at least so my father saith."
"Yes: he has been giving me good counsel, and methinks that were a good beginning. I would gladly see London. Men talk of its wonders, and I can but sit and gape. I am aweary of the life of the forest—the dreary life of the Gate House. In London I shall see men—books—all the things my heart yearns after. And my mother's kindred will scarce deny me a home with them till I can find somewhat to do; albeit I barely know so much as their name, and my father has held no manner of communication with them these many years."
"Perchance they will not receive thee," suggested Kate, with a laughing look in her eyes. "Then, good Cuthbert, thou wilt be forced to trust to thine own mother wit for a livelihood. Then perchance thou wilt not despise my poor little letter to my good cousin Lord Culverhouse."
"Despise aught of yours, sweet Kate! Who has dared to say such a thing?" asked Cuthbert hotly. "Any missive delivered to my keeping by your hands shall be doubly precious. I will deliver it without fail, be it to mine own advancement or no."
"Belike I shall claim your good offices yet, Master Letter Carrier," answered Kate, with a laugh and a blush; "and I trow my cousin will like you none the less for being bearer of my epistle. But I am not to commend you to his good graces, as once I meant. It is to your relatives you are first to look for help. It is like rubbing the bloom off a ripe peach—all the romance is gone in a moment! I had hoped that a career of adventure and glory lay before you, and behold the goal is a home beneath a wool stapler's roof!"
But there Kate caught herself up and blushed, bethinking what her parents would say could they hear her words.
But Cuthbert did not read the underlying scorn in merry Kate's tones. He was a very simple-minded youth, and his life and training had not been such as to teach him much about the various grades in the world, or how greatly these grades differed one from the other. He was looking at his cousin's bright face with thoughtful, questioning eyes, so much so that the girl asked him of what he was thinking.
"Marry of thee, Mistress Kate," he answered; for though encouraged to speak on terms of equality with his kinsfolk, he found some difficulty in remembering to do so, and they certainly appeared to him in the light of beings from another and a higher sphere than his own. "I was longing to ask of thee a question."
"Ask on, good Master Cuthbert," was the ready reply; "I will answer to the best of my humble ability."
"I have heard of this Lord Culverhouse from many beneath this roof since I have been here. I would fain know who he is."
"That is easy told. He is the eldest son of mine uncle, my mother's brother, the fourth Earl of Andover. His eldest son bears the title of Viscount Culverhouse, and he is, of course, our cousin. When we were in London we saw much of these relatives of ours, and were grieved to part from them when we left. Now, is it understood?"
"Yes, verily. And tell me this one thing more, fair cousin, if it be not a malapert question. Is it not true that thou art to wed with this Lord Culverhouse one day?"
Kate's face was dyed by a most becoming blush. Her eyes sparkled in a charming fashion. Her expression, half arch, half grave, was bewitching to see, but she laid her fingers on her lips as she whispered:
"Hush, hush! who told thee that, good Cuthbert? Methinks thou hast over-sharp eyes and ears."
"I prithee pardon me if I have seen and heard too much," answered Cuthbert; "but I had a fancy—"
He stopped, stammering, blushing, and Kate took pity on his confusion.
"I am not vexed," she said, smiling; "and in very sooth thou hast divined what is in part the truth. But we do not dare talk of it yet. There be so many weighty matters against us."
Cuthbert looked keenly interested. He was very fond of this sprightly cousin of his, who was so amusing, so kindly, and so sisterly in her ways. She had more ease of manner, as well as brightness of temperament, than her sisters, and her company had been a source of great pleasure to him. The girl saw the look of sympathetic curiosity upon his face, and she drew her chair a little nearer to that which he occupied, stirring up the logs upon the glowing hearth into a brighter blaze.
"I' faith, Cuthbert, I will gladly tell thee all there is to know, it is not much; and I like thee well, and trust thee to boot. Nor is it such a mighty secret that Culverhouse would fain make me his bride, and that I would give myself to him tomorrow an I might. I am not ashamed of loving him," cried the girl, her dark eyes flashing as she threw hack her dainty head with a gesture of pride and womanly dignity, "for he is a right noble gentleman, and worthy of any maiden's love; but whether we shall ever be united in wedlock—ah, that is a vastly different matter!" and she heaved a quick little sigh.
"But wherefore not?" asked Cuthbert quickly. "Where could he find a more beauteous or worthy wife?"
Kate gave him a little bow of acknowledgment for his compliment, but her face was slightly more grave as she made answer:
"It is not, alack! a question of dislike to me. Were that all, I might hope to win the favour of stern hearts, and bring the matter to a happy conclusion. But no; mine uncle of Andover likes me well. He openly says as much, and he has been a kind friend to us. And yet I may not wed his son; and his kindness makes it the harder for Culverhouse to do aught to vex or defy him."
"But why may you not?" asked Cuthbert quickly.
"There be more reasons than one, but I will tell you all in brief. My own father mislikes the thought of the match, for that we are cousins of the first degree; and though we Trevlyns of the older branch no longer call ourselves the servants and followers of Rome, yet old traditions linger long in the blood, and my father has always set his face against a marriage betwixt cousins nearest akin."
Cuthbert looked thoughtful. That certainly was a difficulty hard to be got over. He made no comment, but merely asked:
"And my Lord of Andover—is that the objection with him?"
"Not near so much. He would easily overlook that. There are no such strict rules with Protestants, and his family have been for many generations of the Reformed faith. But there is just as weighty an argument on his side—namely, that my father can give me but a scanty dower, and it is a very needful thing for Culverhouse to wed with one who will fill his coffers with broad gold pieces. The Trevlyns, as thou doubtless knowest, have been sorely impoverished ever since the loss of the treasure. My father can give no rich dower with his daughters; wherefore they be no match for the nobles of the land. Oh, why was that treasure lost? Why could no man be wise enough to trace and find it, when sure there must have been many in the secret? Now that a generation has gone by, what hope is there left? But for that loss my Lord of Andover would have welcomed me gladly. The lost treasure of Trevlyn has much to answer for."
Kate spoke half laughingly, half impatiently, and tapped the rush-strewn floor with the point of her shoe. Into Cuthbert's eyes a sudden light had sprung, and leaning forward in the firelight, he laid his hand upon his cousin's.
"Kate," he said, in a low voice, "I have said naught of it before—I feared it would sound but an idle boast, an idle dream; but I am pledged to the search after the lost treasure. If it yet lies hid, as men say it does, Cuthbert Trevlyn will find it."
Kate gazed at him with wide-open eyes; but there was no trace of mockery in them, rather an eager delight and excitement that was in itself encouragement and stimulus.
"Cuthbert, what meanest thou?"
"Verily no more and no less than I say. Listen, Kate. I too am a like sufferer with others of the race of Trevlyn. I have nor wealth, nor hope, nor future, save what I may carve out for myself; and my heritage, as well as yours, lies buried somewhere in these great woods, no man may say where. It came upon me as I sat in pain and darkness, the last hour I passed beneath my father's roof, that this might be the work given to me to do—to restore to the house of Trevlyn the treasure whose loss has been so sore a blow. I said as much to my sister when we bid each other adieu in the moonlit chantry; and she bid me, ere I started on the quest, come hither to you and ask the story of that loss. We know but little ourselves; our father tells us naught, and it is but a word here and a word there we have gathered. But you know—"
"We know well. We have been told the story by our mother from the days of our childhood. I trow we know all there is to know. Why hast thou not asked before, Cuthbert?"
The lad blushed a little at the question.
"Methought it would sound but folly in your ears," he said. "It was easier to speak to Petronella in the dark chantry. Kate, wilt thou tell me all thou knowest of this lost treasure? How and wherefore was it lost, and why has no man since been able to find it?"
"Ay, wherefore? that is what we all ask," answered Kate, with eyes that flashed and glowed. "When we were children and stayed once a few months here, we spent days together scouring the woods and digging after it. We were sure we should succeed where others had failed; but the forest yet keeps its secret, and the treasure has never seen the light. Again and yet again have I said to Philip that were I a man I would never rest till it was found. But he shakes his wise head and says that our grandfather and father and many another have wasted time and expended large sums of money on the work of discovery, and without success. All of our name begin to give credence to the story that the concealed treasure was found and spirited away by the gipsy folks, who hated our house, and that it has long since been carried beyond the seas and melted into coin there. Father and Philip alike believe that the Trevlyns will see it again no more."
"Dost thou believe that, too?"
"Nay, not I. I believe it will yet come back to us, albeit not without due search and travail and labour. O Cuthbert, thy words rejoice me. Would I were a man, to fare forth with thee on the quest! What wilt thou do? How wilt thou begin? And how canst thou search for the lost treasure an thou goest to thine uncle's house in London?"
"I must fain do that for a while," answered Cuthbert; "I dare not linger so close to my father's home at this time. Moreover, the winter is fast coming upon us, when the ground will be deep in snow, and no man not bred to it could make shift to live in the forest. To London must I go first. I trow the time will not be wasted; for I will earn money in honest fashion, that I may have the wherewithal to live when I go to seek this lost treasure.
"And now, my cousin, tell me all the tale. I know not rightly how the treasure was lost, and I have never heard of the gipsy folks or their hatred to our house. It behoves me to know all ere I embark on the quest."
"Yea, verily; and I will tell thee all I know. Thou knowest well that of old the Trevlyns were stanch sons to the Church of Rome, and that in the days of Bloody Mary, as men call her now (and well she merits the name), the Trevlyns helped might and main in hunting down wretched Protestants and sending them to prison and the stake?"
"I have heard my father speak of these things," answered Cuthbert, with a light shudder, calling to mind his father's fierce and terrible descriptions of the scenes he had witnessed and taken part in during those short but fearful years of Mary's reign, "but I knew not it had aught to do with the loss of the treasure."
"It had this much to do," answered Kate, "that my grandfather and your father, who of course were brothers, were so vehemently hated by the Protestant families, many of whose members had been betrayed to death by their means—your father in particular was relentless in his efforts to hunt down and spy out miserable victims—that when the Queen was known to be dead, and her successor and Protestant sister had been proclaimed in London, the Trevlyns felt that they had cause to tremble for their own safety. They had stirred up relentless enmity by their own relentless conduct, and the sudden turn in fortune's wheel had given these enemies the upper hand."
"Ah!" breathed Cuthbert, "I begin to see."
"The Trevlyns had not served the Bloody Queen and her minions without reward," continued Kate, with flashing eyes; "they had heaped together no small treasure whilst this traffic in treachery had been going on, and in many cases the valuables of the victims they had betrayed to death had passed into the keeping of the betrayer.
"Oh, it is a detestable thing to think of!" cried the girl, stamping her foot. "No wonder the judgment of God fell upon that unhallowed treasure, and that it was taken from its possessors! No wonder it was doomed to lie hidden away till those who had gotten it had passed to their last account, and could never enjoy the ill-gotten gain. And they were punished too—ay, they were well punished. They were fined terrible sums; they had to give back sums equal to the spoil they had filched from others. Thy father, as thou knowest, was ruined; and we still feel that pinch of poverty that will be slow to depart altogether from our house. Yet it serves us right—it serves us right! It is meet that the children should suffer for the sins of their parents. I have not complained, and I will not complain;" and Kate threw back her head, whilst her eyes flashed with the stress of her feeling.
"But the treasure?" questioned Cuthbert, eager to know more; "I have not yet heard how it was lost."
Thus recalled to her subject, Kate took up her narrative again.
"You doubtless know that Queen Mary died in November of the year of grace fifteen hundred and fifty-eight. In that year, some months earlier, my father was born, and at the time of the proclamation of the new Queen he was a tender infant. My grandfather was in London about the Court, and his wife and child were here in this house—the sumptuous mansion he and his father had built—not dreaming of harm or ill. They had not heard of the death of one Queen or the proclamation of the other till one dark winter's night when, just as the household were about to retire to bed, my grandfather and your father, Cuthbert, arrived at the house, their faces pale with anxiety and apprehension, their clothes stained with travel; the state of both riders and horses showing the speed with which they had travelled, and betraying plainly that something urgent had happened. The news was quickly told. Queen Mary was dead. Bonfires in London streets were blazing in honour of Elizabeth. The Protestants were everywhere in a transport of joy and triumph. The Papists were trembling for their lives and for their fortunes. No one knew the policy of the new Queen. All felt that it was like enough she would inflict bloody chastisement on those who had been the enemies of herself and of her Protestant subjects. Even as the Trevlyn brothers had passed through the streets of the city on their way out, they had been hissed and hooted and even pelted by the crowd, some amongst which knew well the part they had played in the recent persecutions. They had been not a little alarmed by threats and menaces hurled at them even in the precincts of St. James's, and it had become very plain to them that they would speedily become the objects of private if not of public vengeance. That being so, my grandfather was eager and anxious to return to the Chase, to place his wife and child in some place of safety; whilst your father's fear was all for the treasure in gold and plate and valuables stored up in the house, which might well fall an easy prey to the rapacious hands of spoilers, should such (as was but too likely) swoop down upon the house to strive to recover the jewels and gold taken from them when they were helpless to oppose or resent such spoliation."
"Then it was all laid by at the Chase—all the money and precious things taken from others?"
"Yes, and a vast quantity of silver and gold plate which had come into the possession of former Trevlyns ever since the rise of the family in the early days of the Tudors. The seventh Henry and the eighth alike enriched our forefathers, and I know not what wealth was stored up in the treasure room of this house now so drearily void. But I mind well the story our grandam told us when we were little children, standing at her knee in the ruddy firelight, of that night when all this treasure was packed up in great chests and boxes, and carried at dead of night by trusty servants into the heart of the forest, and buried beneath a certain giant oak many times pointed out to us, and well-nigh killed in after years by the diggings around it in search of the missing hoard. To secure this treasure, and bury it out of the reach of rapacious and covetous hands, was the aim and object of that hurried journey taken on the evening of the Queen's decease. None were in the secret save three old servants, whose faithful loyalty to the family had been tested in a thousand different ways. Those three, together with my grandfather and your father, packed and transported with their own hands this great treasure into the wood, and there entombed it. None else knew of that night's work. No other eye saw what was done. They worked the whole night through, and by the tardy dawn all was done, and even the soil of the forest so cleverly arranged that none could guess at the existence of that deep grave. And who would guess the secret of that tangled forest? Even were it thought that the gold and silver had been hid, who would have such skill as to guess the spot, and go and filch it thence? And yet it must have been carried away full soon. For Nicholas Trevlyn, in his anxious greed, visited the spot not many weeks later—visited it by stealth, for he and his brother were alike in hiding, waiting for the first burst of vengeful fury to be over—and he found it gone! He thought on the first survey that all was well; but on more closely examining the ground his heart misgave him, for it appeared to him as if the soil had been moved. With anxious haste he began to dig, and soon his spade struck the lid of one of the chests. For a moment he breathed again; but he was impelled to carry his search farther. He uncovered the chest and raised the lid—it was empty! In a wild fear and fury he dug again and again, and with the same result. Every chest or box was in its place, but every one was empty! The treasure had been spirited away by some spoiler's hand; the treasure of Trevlyn was lost from that night forward!"
Cuthbert was leaning forward drinking all in with eager curiosity.
"My father discovered the loss—my father?"
Kate nodded her head, and seemed to divine the thought in his mind, for she answered as if he had spoken it aloud.
"We have all thought of that. I know it is sometimes in my father's mind as he looks at his kinsman's grim face; but our grand sire never suspected him for a moment—nay, he vowed he was certain he had had no part nor lot in the matter. For there was nothing but accord between the brothers; they shared good and evil hap alike. It was with his son, my father, who abjured the old faith and became a Protestant, that your father picked a quarrel. He hated his brother's wife, it is true; but he never appeared to hate his brother. And he suffered more than any in the years that followed. He lost his all, and has been a ruined man since. If he had a secret hoard, sure he would scarce live the life he does now."
"I know not. It seems scarce like; and yet I can never answer for my father's moods, they are so wild and strange. But there is yet one thing more I would ask. You spoke awhile ago of gipsies—of a hatred they bore to our house. Tell me of that, I pray. Might it have somewhat to do with the stealing of the treasure?"
"That is what some have thought, though with what truth none can say. The story of that is soon told. Many long years agone now, the Trevlyn whose portrait hangs below in the hall—our great grandfather—gave sentence upon an old gipsy woman that she should be burnt as a witch. Men said of her that she had overlooked their children and their cattle: that the former had become sick or silly, and that the latter had incontinently died of diseases none had heard of before. There was such a hue and cry about her, and so many witnesses to testify the harm she had done, that all men held the case proven, and she was burnt in the sight of all the village out upon the common yonder by order of our forefather, whose office it was to see the law enforced. There were then many of these gipsy folk scattered about the common and forest, and this old witch belonged to them. They mustered strong upon the heath, and it was said that if the villagers had not been too strong for them they would have rescued the witch as she was led out to die. But the Trevlyns, when a thing has to be done, are wont to carry it through; and your grandfather, Cuthbert, was prepared against any such attempt, and the thing was done as had been decreed. The old woman went bravely to her death, but she turned as she passed Sir Richard and cursed him with a terrible curse. Later on some rude verses were found fastened to the wall of the church, and it was said by those who had heard the curse that these verses contained the same words. The paper was burnt by the haughty knight; but my grandam remembered some of the lines—she had got a sight of the paper—and used to tell them to us. I cannot recall them to memory now, but there was something about loss of gold and coming woe, years of strife and vengeful foe. And when years after the Trevlyn treasure was lost, there were many who vowed that it had been the work of the gipsy tribe, who had never forgotten or forgiven, and who had been waiting their turn to take vengeance upon the descendants of their old enemy."
"It seems not unlike," said Cuthbert, thoughtfully; "and if that be so, the treasure will most like be dissipated to the four winds by now. It would be divided amongst the tribe, and never be seen within the walls of Trevlyn again."
"That I know not," answered Kate, and she drew a little nearer to her cousin. "Cuthbert, dost thou believe in old saws? Dost thou believe those predictions which run in old families, and which men say work themselves out sometimes—in after generations?"
"I scarce know," answered Cuthbert, "I hear so little and see so little. I know not why they should not be true. Men of old used to look into the future, and why not now? But why speakest thou thus, sweet cousin?"
"Marry that will I tell thee, Cuthbert; but my mother chides me for such talk, and says it befits not a discreet and godly maiden. Yet I had it from mine own grandam, my father's mother, and she was a godly woman, too."
"And what did she tell thee?"
"My grandam was a Wyvern," said Kate, "as perchance thou knowest, since the match pleased not thy father. And she was not the first Wyvern who had married a Trevlyn. It was Isabel Wyvern, her aunt, who had wedded with the redoubtable Sir Richard who had burnt the old witch, and I trow had he been married when the old beldam was brought before him he would have dealt more mercifully with her; for the Wyverns ever protected and helped the gipsy folk, and thought better of them than the rest of the world. Well, be that as it may, my grandam had many stories about them and their strange ways, their fashion of fortune telling and divining, and the wonderful things they could foretell. Many a time had a Wyvern been saved from danger and perhaps from death by a timely warning from one of the gipsy folk; and from a child she went fearlessly amongst them, though all men else shunned and hated them."
"But the prediction—the prediction?" demanded Cuthbert eagerly.
"I am coming to that," answered Kate. "It is a prediction about the descendants of the Wyverns. My grandam knew it by heart—she had a wondrous memory—but my mother would never let me write down such things. She loved them not, and said they had better be forgotten. But though I cannot recall the words, the meaning stays still with me. It was that though death might thin the ranks of the Wyverns, and their name even die out amongst men, yet in the future they should bring good hap to those who wed with them, and that some great treasure trove should come to the descendants in another generation. Now, Cuthbert, though the name of Wyvern has died out—for the sons went to the Spanish main, and were killed fighting for the honour of England and the Queen in the days of Elizabeth; and the daughters are married, and have lost their title to the old name—yet thou and I have their blood in our veins. Your grandam and mine were alike of the house of Wyvern. Wherefore it seems to me that if this treasure is to be the treasure trove of the old saw, it behoves some of us to find it, and why not thou as well as another? Philip is like to our mother, who loves not and believes not such saws. Our father says that if stolen the treasure must long since have been scattered and lost. Of all our house methinks I am the only one who believes it will yet be found, as I know my grandam did. And so I say to thee, 'Go forth, and good hap attend thee.' Thou art as much a Wyvern as I, and we will have faith that all will be yet restored."
Cuthbert rose to his feet and shook back his hair. His dark eyes flashed with the fixity of his purpose.
"I will never despair till the treasure is found. Prithee, good cousin, show me the spot where it was buried first."
Cuthbert never stirred outside the house till after dark. He was still in hiding from his father, who knew not his whereabouts, and was still on the watch for the truant, believing him to be lurking about in the forest around his home. Philip had once contrived to see Petronella and soothe her fears, telling her that her brother was safe, and would be sent forth to their kinsfolk in London so soon as he was fit for the long ride. But many evening rambles had been taken by the youth, who panted for the freedom of the forest, to which he was so well used; and Kate delighted in any excuse for a moonlight stroll.
The place was soon found. Kate had visited it so often that the tangled path which led thither was as familiar to her as if it had been a well-beaten road. It lay right away in the very heart of the forest, and save for the majestic size of the oak beneath which the chests had been buried, had nothing to mark the spot. Now there were traces of much digging. The ground all around had been disturbed again and yet again by eager searchers, each hopeful to come upon some clue missed by all the rest. But nothing, save the remains of a few iron-bound chests, served to show that anything had once been secreted there; and the moonlight shone steadily and peacefully down upon the scene of so many heart-burnings and grievous disappointments, as though such things did not and could not exist in such a still and lovely place.
"Ah, if she would but tell us all she has seen!" said Kate, looking up towards the silver Queen of Night. But the moon kept her own secret, and presently the pair turned away.
"Shall we go back by the chantry?" asked Cuthbert, with some hesitation; "I should like to see it once again."
"Let us," answered Kate; "we are not like to meet thy father. He has given up by now his watch around the house. Moreover, I have eyes and ears like a wildcat. None can approach unawares upon us. I can feel a human presence ere I see it."
Cuthbert did not lack courage, and was quite willing to chance the small risk there was of an encounter with his father. He felt that he could slip away unseen were that stern man to be on the watch. Each day that had passed beneath his uncle's roof had helped him to realize more of the freedom of the subject; and very soon he would be beyond the reach of pursuit, and on his way to London.
As they approached the chantry Kate laid a hand upon his arm.
"Hist!" she said softly. "Pause a moment; I hear voices!"
He stopped instantly; and making a sign of caution to him, Kate glided a few steps onward. Then she paused again, and made a sign to him to come.
"It is all well—there is no fear. It is Philip and Petronella."
"Petronella, my sister! Nay, but this is a happy chance!" cried Cuthbert, springing eagerly forward; and the next moment Petronella, with a little cry of mingled joy and fear, had flung herself into her brother's arms.
"Cuthbert, dear Cuthbert! How I have longed to see thee once again! Hast thou come to say farewell?"
"In truth, methinks it must be farewell," answered Cuthbert, holding her tenderly to him, whilst he caressed her hair and her soft cheek with his hand. "I may not linger too long in my kind uncle's house, lest the matter should come to my father's ears, and a worse breach be made that might cause thee to suffer more, sweet sister. And now, since I may be faring forth tomorrow, tell me of thyself. How go matters at the Gate House? What said our father to my flight?"
"He is right furious thereat, and raged for two days like a madman, so that I durst not venture near him."
"He laid no hand on thee?" asked Cuthbert quickly clinching his hand in the darkness.
"Nay, he did but threaten; but as I told him all I knew, he could do no more. I said that thou hadst fled—that thou couldst brook such a life no longer, and had told him so many times thyself. I did not know myself where thou hadst gone when first he spoke, and he has asked me no question since. Tell me not too much, lest I have to tell it to him."
"Nay, once in London and I fear him not," answered Cuthbert. "There the law would protect me, since my father's only complaint against me is that I conform to that. I go first to our mother's relatives, sweet sister, They will give me food and shelter and a home, I trow, during the inclement months of the winter now before us. Later on "—he bent his head and whispered in her ear—"later on, if kind fortune befriend me, I shall return to these parts and commence that search of which we have spoken before now. My sister, if thou canst glean anything from our father anent the treasure, when his less gloomy moods be upon him, store up in thine heart every word, for some think even yet that he knows more than others. I am sad at heart to leave thee in such a home! I would fain take thee with me."
"Nay, that may not be. I should be but a stay and a burden; and I can help thee better here at home by my prayers. I will pray each hour of the day that the Holy Virgin will watch over thee and bless thee, and give us a happy meeting in the days to come."
"And I will charge myself to watch over Petronella," said Philip, stepping forward out of the shadow. "I will be a protector—a brother—to her whilst thou art away. She shall not feel too heavily her harsh father's rule. Amongst us we will find a way to ease her of a part of that burden."
The glance turned upon Philip by those big shadowy eyes told a tale of trustful confidence that set the young man's heart beating in glad response. He took in his the little hand trustingly held out, and drew Petronella towards him.
"You will trust her to me, good Cuthbert?"
"Gladly, thankfully, confidently!" answered the lad, with great earnestness; and he thought within himself that if he had the whole of the Trevlyn treasure to lay at the feet of these kinsmen, it could hardly be enough to express his gratitude to them for their timely and generous help in his hour of sore need.
"I will win it back—I will, I will!" he said in his heart, as he walked up the hill with Kate tripping lightly beside him, Philip having lingered to watch Petronella safely within the shelter of the gloomy walls of the Gate House. "She shall have her dower, that she may wed this gay Lord Culverhouse. My sweet sister shall be dowered, too, and in no danger of spending all her youth and sweetness shut up between those gloomy walls. Fortune will smile once more upon all those who have the blood of the Trevlyns and Wyverns in their veins. I believe in the old prediction. I believe that the treasure trove will come, and that it will prove to be the lost treasure of the house of Trevlyn!"
Chapter 4: A Night On Hammerton Heath.
"Farewell, Cuthbert, farewell, farewell! Heaven speed you on your way! We shall look for tidings of you some day. And when the long summer days come upon the green world, perchance you may even make shift to ride or walk the twenty miles that separates us from London to tell of your own well being and ask of ours."
These and many like words were showered on Cuthbert as he sat his steed at the door of Trevlyn Chase, as the dusk was beginning to gather, and his uncle and cousins stood clustered together on the steps to see him ride forth to seek his fortune, as Kate insisted on calling it, though her father spoke of it rather as a visit to his mother's kinsfolks.
Cuthbert had been very loath to go. He had found himself happier beneath his uncle's roof than ever he had been before (Sir Richard was in point of fact his cousin, but the lad had given him the title of uncle out of respect, and now never thought of him as anything else), but he knew that to linger long would be neither safe nor possible.
Only his strange and savage life had prevented the news of his son's present quarters from coming to the knowledge of the angry Nicholas, and all were feeling it better for the young man to take his departure. Now the moment of parting had really come, and already the hope of a flying visit to the Chase in the summer next to follow was the brightest thought to lighten the regrets of the present.
"Ay, that will I gladly do!" cried the lad, with kindling eyes. "Why, twenty miles is naught of a journey when one can rise with the midsummer sun. I trow I shall pine after the forest tracks again. I shall have had enough and to spare of houses and cities by the time the summer solstice is upon us."
"We shall look for you, we shall wait for you!" cried Kate, waving her hand; and as it was fast growing dark, Sir Richard made a sign of dismissal and farewell, and Cuthbert moved slowly along the dark avenue, Philip walking beside his bridle rein for a few last words.