« AnteriorContinuar »
eagle, 'You had now better leave the palace. You must not appear further in this matter, except as we have arranged. Before morning, I trust we shall have the whole of the conspirators in our power, with damning proofs of their guilt.'
* By this time, my lord, they are in Tresham's hands,' replied Mounteagle.
“If he fails, not a word must be said,' observed Salisbury. 'It must not be supposed we have moved in the matter. All great statesmen have contrived treasons, that they might afterwards discover them; and though I have not contrived this plot, I have known of its existence from the first, and could at any time have crushed it, had I been so minded. But that would not have answered my purpose. And I shall now use it as a pretext to crush the whole Catholic party, except those on whom, like yourself, I can confidently rely.'
*Your lordship must admit that I have well seconded your efforts, observed Mounteagle. 'I do so,' replied Salisbury, and you will not find me ungrateful
. Farewell! I hope soon to hear of our further success.'
Mounteagle then took his departure, and Salisbury immediately caused all such members of the Privy Counsel as lodged in the palace to be aroused, desiring they might be informed that a terrible plot had been discovered, and a conspirator arrested. In a short time, the Duke of Lennox, the Earl of Marr, Lord Hume, the Earl of Southampton, Lord Henry Howard, Lord Mountjoy, Sir George Hume, and others, were assembled; and all eagerly inquired into the occasion of the sudden alarm.
Meanwhile, the Earl of Salisbury had himself repaired to the King's bedchamber, and acquainted him with what had happened. James immediately roused himself, and desired the chamberlain, who accompanied the Earl, to quit the presence.
"Will it be safe to interrogate the prisoner here?' he asked.
'I will take care your Majesty shall receive no injury,' replied Salisbury, and it is absolutely necessary you should examine him before he is committed to the Tower.'
Let him be brought before me, then, directly,' said the King. 'I am impatient to behold a wretch who has conceived so atrociousso infernal a design against me, and against my children. Harke'e, Salisbury, one caution I wish to observe. Let a captain of the guard, with his drawn sword in hand place himself between me and the prisoner, and let two halberdiers stand beside him, and if the villain moves a step, bid them strike him dead. You understand ?
'Perfectly,' replied Salisbury, bowing.
• In that case, you may take off his bonds,—that is, if you think it prudent to do so-not otherwise,' continued James. I would not have the knave suppose he can awe me.'
'Your Majesty's commands shall be fulfilled to the letter,' returned the Earl.
"Lose no time, Salisbury,' cried James, springing out of bed, and beginning to dress himself without the assistance of his chamberlain.
The Earl hastily retired, and ordered the attendants to repair to their royal master. He next proceeded to the chamber where Guy Fawkes was detained, and ordered him to be unbound, and brought before the King. When the prisoner heard this mandate, a slight smile crossed his countenance, but he instantly resumed his former stern composure. The smile, however, did not escape the notice of Salisbury, and he commanded the halberdiers to keep near to the prisoner, and if he made the slightest movement in the King's presence, instantly to despatch him.
Giving some further directions, the Earl then led the way across a court, and entering another wing of the palace, ascended a flight of steps, and traversed a magnificent corridor. Guy Fawkes followed, attended by the guard. They had now reached the antechamber leading to the royal sleeping apartment, and Salisbury ascertained from the officers in attendance that all was in readiness. Motioning the guard to remain where they were, he entered the inner room alone, and found James seated on a chair of state near the bed, surrounded by his council-the Earl of Marr standing on his right hand and the Duke of Lennox on his left, all anxiously awaiting his arrival. Behind the king were stationed half-a-dozen halberdiers.
· The prisoner is without,' said Salisbury. "Is it your Majesty's pleasure that he be admitted ?'
'Ay, let him come in forthwith,' replied James. "Stand by me, my lords. And do you, varlets, keep a wary eye upon him. There is no saying what he may attempt.'
Salisbury then waved his hand. The door was thrown open, and an officer entered the room, followed by Guy Fawkes, who marched between two halberdiers. When within a couple of yards of the king the officer halted, and withdrew a little on the right, so as to allow full view of the prisoner, while he extended his sword between him and the king. Nothing could be more undaunted than the looks and demeanour of Fawkes. He strode firmly into the room, and, without making any reverence, folded his arms upon bis breast, and looked sternly at James.
"A bold villain !' cried the King, as he regarded him with curio. sity, not unmixed with alarm. Who, and what are you, traitor ?'
‘A conspirator,' replied Fawkes.
"That I know,' rejoined James, sharply. But how are you called?'
"John Johnson,' answered Fawkes. 'I am servant to Mr. Thomas Percy.'
"That is false,' cried Salisbury. "Take heed that you speak the truth, traitor, or the rack shall force it from you.'
* The rack will force nothing from me,' replied Fawkes, sternly; neither will I answer any question asked by your lordship.'
• Leave him to me, Salisbury-leave him to me,' interposed James. "And it was your hellish design to blow us all up with gunpowder ?' he demanded.
'It was,' replied Fawkes.
• And how could you resolve to destroy so many persons, none of whom have injured you?' pursued James.
• Dangerous diseases require desperate remedies,' replied Fawkes. Milder means have been tried, but without effect. It was God's pleasure that this scheme, which was for the benefit of his holy religion, should not prosper, and therefore I do not repine at the result.'
* And are you so blinded as to suppose that Heaven can approve the actions of him who raises his hand against the King—against the Lord's anointed ?' cried James.
"He is no king who is excommunicated by the apostolic see,' replied Fawkes.
• This to our face!' cried James, angrily. Have you no remorse -no compunction for what you have done ?' "My sole regret is that I have failed,' replied Fawkes. 'You will not speak thus confidently on the rack,' said James. Try me,' replied Fawkes.
What purpose did you hope to accomplish by this atrocious de. sign?' demanded the Earl of Marr.
My main purpose was to blow back the beggarly Scots to their native mountains,' returned Fawkes.
“This audacity surpasses belief,' said James. "Mutius Scævola, when in the presence of Porsenna, was not more resolute. Harke'e, villain, if I give you your life, will you disclose the names of your associates ?
No,' replied Fawkes. They shall be wrung from you,' cried Salisbury. Fawkes smiled contemptuously. You know me not,' he said.
'It is idle to interrogate him further,' said James. • Let him be removed to the Tower.'
‘Be it so,' returned Salisbury; and when next your Majesty questions him, I trust it will be in the presence of his confederates.'
Despite the villain's horrible intent, I cannot help admiring his courage, observed James, in a low tone ; "and were he as loyal as he is brave, he should always be near our person.'
With this he waved his hand, and Guy Fawkes was led forth. He was detained, by the Earl of Salisbury's orders, till the morning-it being anticipated that before that time the other conspirators would be arrested. But as this was not the case, he was placed in a wherry, and conveyed, as before related, to the Tower.
END OF THE SECOND BOOK.
How, as through town we roam from place to place,
The touch of Vestris changes it to gold !