Chapter 19761454

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Chapter NumberVOL II XVII
Chapter TitleNOVEMBER, 1605
Chapter Url
Full Date1877-09-08
Page Number9
Word Count4495
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)
Trove TitleHer Majesty's Tower
article text


The Storyteller.

Her Majesty's Tower.





ON Friday, November 1st, Catesby and Tom rode over to Barnet, where Tresham came out from Clerkenwell to meet them. Catesby bluntly accused his cousin of having broken his oath and

betrayed the secret Howl asked Frank, in an injured tone. By writing that letter which -was left by the unknown messenger at Mont . fM>l*'B door. It was « critical moment for Cousin Frank. If he had paused in his reply, the daggers of his cocdrades would have passed into his flesh; but he denied the charge with so Jnucbheat and scorn, that they were staggered and knew not how to treat him. Tresham was a pupil of the Jesuits; he held that lying and deceit were lawful in a good cause; and Garnet's treatise on Equivocation was known to be his favorite book ; but they could not bring them selves to believe that he would palter with an oath on the Primer, especially when that oath had been sworn for ends which his Jesuit teachers had at heart. Frank made no secret of his opinion that the plot had failed, that everything was known to Cecil and Northampton; that his cousin was in peril and ought to fly; but he was not the less ready, in Catesby's presence, and under the spell of his haughty spirit, to pledge his soul, that if his cousin elected to stand his ground and wait events, he would live and die at Catesby's side. Perplexed in soul, the proud young squire could not consent to desert his post. Peroy was still in i the north, collecting rents on the Earl's estate; and Catesby would not hear of any change being made in their plans until that gentleman arrived in town. But if he could not fly, how could he leave his suspicious friend at large ! A test of Frank's sincerity occurred to him:—he asked his oousin for two hundred pounds, to be spent in buying horses, arms, and powder. If Frank had made his peace with Cecil, he would not dare to compromise himself afresh; he would refuse to pay the money; and then they would know with whom they had to deal A poinard thrust would make him safe. If he paid the two hundred pounds, he would be with them for life and death. ' Frank promised them at once. He did so, as he afterwarwards declared, in the hope that when Catesby got the money, he would leave the oountry. He appointed to meet Tom Winter that very night in Clerkenwell, and put the gold into his hands. . . j Tom went to Clerkenwell, where Tresham paid ? him a hundred pounds ; perhaps thinking, that if Catesby meant to go away, that sum was quite enough; bat Tom was urgent for the balance ; and Tresham, though he hoped to see no more of Tom) arranged to meet him the very next night in Lincoln's Inn Walk, whither he would bring the second of his two hundred pounds. Catesby spent the Saturday (November 2) in buying arms. In the evening, Winter was at his post near Lincoln's Inn ; to which Troaham came1 in the dark, with a very sore spirit and a bag of gold containing ninety pounds, the largest sum that he could raise in so short a time. Winter took his money and heard his speeches. More than ever, Frank felt certain that the plot was known; and once again he urged on Tom that Catesby should escape into France. He had a yacht in the river, and this vessel he was willing to lend them, if they would only fly. On Sunday morning (November S) Ward paid another visit to Winter's room. The news he brought was graver, in his own opinion, than the first The King, he said, was come to town, and having seen the Monteagle letter, was deeply moved by it; though he had urged the lords of his Council to maintain the strictest silence on the subject Search, said Ward, was to be made immediately in the vaults of Parliament-place, particularly in the passages and chambers beneath the throne, and everything they had done would now be found. Winter repaired to White Webbs with this bad news; but Catesby, though he listened to every word in fever, could not stoop to'personal fear. No doubt—he reasoned—the letter would lead to search being made ; but Bearoh was not discovery; and if Fawkes were on the spot, the heap of wood and coal might pass for what it seemed. While they were whispering to each other, Percy came to White Webbs, and this man's scorn of flight and failure overcame all previous doubts. Percy had just arrived in town, where he hoped to hide himself at Rokewood's lodgings, in St Giles's Fields. He had with him a large sum of money, belonging to the Earl, his kinsman, for which he had immediate use ; but feeling that to be in town without reporting himself at Sion was a dangerous thing, he sent Kit Wright to Isleworth, to mix with the grooms and pages, and to learn from them whether his arrival in London was known in the household. Late in the night, Kit brought him word to Mrs. More's lodgings, that his presence in London was known at Sion, in consequence of which it was resolved that he should go up the river next day and see the EarL Breaking up their conference at White Webbs, the conspirators rode back to town on Sunday evening ; Fawkee to go down at once to Vinegar House, where he noticed that the mine was still untouched; the rest to steal about the streets, from Parliament-place to Whitehall Gardens, where they found, to their amazement, every thing dull and quiet as on ordinary winter nights. No stir at the gate—no torches in the court —no tramp of men in Parliament-place ! Relieved in mind by what they saw, they crept at last to their lodgings in St Giles's Fields, and waited for the dawn. •The right of repabuahing "Her Majeaty'a Tower" tm fcem purchased bjth»jropdrtoi*c« TJU QtuauUmitr.

On Monday morning (November 4),'theyhieard from Fawkes that all wu well at Vinegar Houae. Who ooold dow say their secret was known at Court ? To-day was the King'sj to-morow Would be theirs. If Winter was a little down, Oatesby and Percy were elate and proud. • Ifhat cause had they for drooping of the spirit T Their tune was perfect,' and tneirman resolved.' In less than thirty hours, their fate would be accomplished; the House of Lords a wreck, the 1 King a cinder, the city stunned, the oountry helpleaa, and the crown their prize. Percy ran out and bought a watch, which he set in true time and sent to Fawkes, so that the watcher in the vanlt would be able to count the very seconds which their enemies had now to live. Greenway and Old courne had left for the country, with good news; the first for Goathurat and Coughton, the second for Hendlip HalL Robarts was at Vinegar House. The final words were now passed from each man to his fellow, and the plotters parted for the day; each going to his post of duty, con* fident that the mine would now be sprung. Percy went off to Sion, where the Earl detained him to dine and sup. Tom Winter returned to Mantagu Close. Bokewood and Kay remained in St. Giles's Fields, near stables in which Roke . wood's horses Btood, with the harness ready on their backs. Catesby and Jack Wright rode but quietly to Bntteld Chase, where they proposed to sleep, and trot on early next day towards Dun church, in the hope of reaching their rendezvous that night , . . .- V The plotters were hardly separated More a Btrange event occurred in Parliamenttplace. Lord Suffolk and Lord Monteagle came to Vinegar House, attended by a page, and passed into the vaults under the Prince's Chamber and.the House of Lords. Suffolk Wan the L6rd Chamber lain, aud both the peers were members of the persecuted church. No guards came with them, and they seemed to be light of mood, as though they were going through an idle form of search. Fawkes was in the vault, and watched their faces welL As they walked along the passages, they laughed and chatted with each other, and when Suffolk noticed Fawkes in the vault, he asked him in a light tone whe he was, and whose was the heap of wood and«oaL Fawkee answered that he was Mr. Percy's man, and that the fuel was' laid up for his master* us* Lord Suffolk made some joke about his merry, preparation for the Christmas fires, and then the two lords went tnrirwayi The search being over, Fawkes came out to let Percy know of the event, which had at once confirmed and removed his fears. But Percy had not come back from Sion ; but the upshot of this official search was so important that Fawkes took horse and followed liim to Isleworth, where he was sitting at table with the EarL Percy came out into the yard, and having heard the news went in again, made some excuse to Northumberland, and rode with Fawkes to town. ' • ?? ; ? The two men parted for the last time near Tothill Fields; Fawkes going down into the vault, to draw on his jack-boots, to wind up his watch, and to light his lantern ; Percy riding to Rokewood's lodging1, where he had a room,*" to persuade his comrades who were still in town that all was now going welL , About ten o'clock, in the. murky November night, Rokewood, Kay, and Percy crept from St. Giles's Fields into King-street, near the palace gates, to see and hear the news. Nothing they could see and hear alarmed them. The palace gates were open, and the court was free. Par- Bament-place was silent In the streets of West minster, not a sound of watch and guard was heard. In the palace, a light burned faintly here and there, as if some page were rather late; but the windows in the King s apartments were dark, and the lords who had supped with him appeared to have gone to bed. Looking at the blank walls and silent courts of the royal quarter, could any man believe that James was eonscieu* of what the morrow had in store ? When the docks struck twelve, and yet no sign was made, the three night-watchers crawled past Charing Cross, upSt Martins-lane, towards their lodgings in the lonely St Giles's Fields, convinced in their hearts that long before noon next day the deed would be done that was to ?hake the world. But while they were creeping through the darkness to their den, the spring had been made, and Fawkes was a prisoner to the law. The train being laid and the lantern lit, Fawkes was coming up the stain of his vault into the small enclosed court behind the Prince's Chamber, when he was suddenly seized by strong men, bound hands and feet, and searched. Sir Thomas Knyvet was earning his reward. The watch which he had just wound up, a packet of slow matches, a quantity of touch wood, were taken from his person ; and a dark lantern, with the wick alight, was found behind the cellar-door. " What are you doing here ?" asked Knyvet. " Had you but taken me inside," said Fawkes, who saw with a soldier's quickness that all was lost, " I should have blown you up, the house, myself, and aIL" Securing his prisoner. Knyvet proceeded to search the vault The cask* of powder were soon hud bare, and a rough account of them set down. From the cellars he went into Vinegar House, where he arrested Gibbins the porter, and Robarts the priest In a few minutes, Knyvet was in the King's presence at Whitehall; and in a few months, he was a member of that House of Lords the frame of which he had so boldly saved. Chapter XVIIL HONTKD DOWH. Bktdoeb on Tuesday morning, Catesby and Jack Wright were in the saddle, winding through Enfield Chase towards Ashby St Leger, which they meant to reach that night by easy stages ; unaware that Knyvet had got possession of their mine, and that Fawkes was lying on his wisp of straw in the darkest dungeon of the Tower. The plotters in St Giles's Fields were roused in the night by news that Fawkes had been seized in the vault; and some of them crept into the streets to learn whether this report was true. Kit Wright ran off to Montagu Close, ex pecting to find Tom Winter, who had gone away to his lodgings near the Strand. But in the Close he heard a cry and parley which turned him sick with fear. A noble lord was calling under Monteagle'a window, "Rise! and come with me to Essex House ! lam going to call up my Lord of Northumberland!" Kit

listened to what was said, and from the hasty words then dropped he learned that all was known. At five o'olook he found Winter in hia lodgings near the Strand, and told him what he had heard under Monteagle'a window. Tom leapt out of bed. "Go back, Mr. Wright, "he begged, "and learn what you can• about Essex Gate." In a short time Kit returned, laying surely all was kubwn ; fox the lords were then with the Earl in council, and one Leyton had just ridden at full speed from the door. The business Beamed high and pressing, for the lords came out to Bee him off. He had dashed up Fleet-Btreet "Go you then to Mr. Percy," whispered Tom; " for sure it is for Mm they seek. Bid him be gone. , I will stay and see the uttermost" They parted at the door. Kit found his comrade Percy in the street; a word sufficed to warn him, and the two men leapt to hone, and rode away through Highgate, with the cry of mounting messengers in their track. Percy had arranged his plans for leaving town, in case of failure, with suoh cunning art, that for many hours the Government were un oertain in what direction he had fled. A mes senger was sent to Ware, as Cecil inferred that he would take the great north road ; but the postmaster replied that he had not passed since Saturday* when he came up to town. The first news heard by Cecil was from Archbishop Ban croft, who reported that Percy bad been met that morning near Croydon, where he cried, as he rode along, that all London was up in arms. The best news came from the Lord Chief Justice Popham, who reported that Percy was at Graveeend, where measures had been taken for bis arrest. Later in the day, Sir William Waad, Lieutenant of the Tower, sent word to Whitehall, that Sir Edwavd Torke, in coming.up to town that day, had seen him riding northward in disguise. Winter passed down the Strand into White hall Yard, where he found the gates were olosed and guarded; aqd thence down King-street, on bis way to Parliament-place. The street was stopped, and soldiers were drawn across the road. No one was allowed to pass. Mixing with the crowd, he heard that a plot had been discovered for blowing up the King and Queen next day, and that the ruffian who was to have fired the train had been captured with his lantern add his match. Why need he wait for more ? Stealing swiftly to the stables where his gelding lay, Tom jumped into the saddle, and quitted London by the nearest lanes; not for the rendezvous of Ashby St. Leger, but for what he hoped would be the safer asylum of his brother's house. Kay hung about town until ten o'clock, and then took horse. Young Rokewood was the last to fly. Proud of his great stud, and hia greater prowess, the Suffolk squire had placed relays of horses on the road from London to Dunchuroh, so that when he rod* down to the hunting-party he could devour the distance with *"»»«'"g speed. Mounting his horse at eleven o'clock, he soon came up with his comrades on the road. At Finchley Common, he overtook Kay, whence they tore on together, until Kay, getting tired of his pace, fell off. Near BrickhiU, he overtook Cateshy and Jack Wright, who had not yet heard the news ; and a piece beyond Fenny Stratford, they met with Percy and Kit Wright From this village they held on together, pushing past Stony Stratford and Towcestef at their utmost speed. Percy and Jack Wright, less nobly mounted than their fellows, had to cast away their cloaks in that f uriouß race for life. In two hours Rokewood rode thirty miles on a single horse, and made the whole distance of eighty-one miles in less than seven hours. Unconscious of the fate then speeding towards them through the dark November night, two companies of country squires were waiting at Ashby St Leger and Dunchurch in a riotous mood of mind. News having come down that the mine was safe and all going well at West minster, Digby left his wife, his priest, and the two ladies, on Sunday morning, safe at Coughton, and came to Dunchurch with various gentlemen ready for the chase. The word was passed round the shires, and men were hurrying from every side towards the rendezvous. Robert Winter left his house near Worcester, and trotting hard all day arrived in Grafton—where his wife's father, John Talbot, a rich old Catholic squire, then lived. The Littletons, leaving Hagley at the same moment, met Winter on Monday night in Coventry, where they tslept at an inn. Next day, the fifth of November, they pricked forward to Dunchurch, where they found Sir Robert Digby of Colesbill and a strong muster of Catholic squires and their men, mounted on strong horses and armed with guns and pikes. The Littletons put up their hones and joined their friends in the village, while Winter rode on to Ashby, where he expected in a few hours to see his chief and receive the word to march. Ashby was full of guests, and Lady Catesby was just sitting down with them to supper at six o'clock, when a clatter of hoofs was heard in the court, and a moment later her son himself dashed in among them white with passien and begrimed with dirt One word told all that there was left to telL Snatching down sword and lance from the baronial hall, the gentlemen rushed towards the stables, mounted their geldinga in the dark, and made for Dunchurch, to see their comrades and resolve on what should now be done. The coming of Catesby in such a style threw everything ajar; and when the country gentlemen saw Digby and Cateaby talking apart, in eager tremulous tones, they felt Bure that the scheme had failed, that the Government was master, and that the time had come for them to fly. Sir Robert Digby left. Humphrey Littleton also left By twos and threes the company thinned, as the minutes waned, until, abcut nine o'clock, the army of Dunchurch was found to consist of few beyond those who had been sworn accomplices in the plot. Fierce was the speech, insane the counsel, offered at Dunchurch that night; but Catesby's overpowering spirit at length compelled them to decide. Fawkes being taken prisoner, they had to count on his telling—under torture—what he knew. Their lives were forfeit to the law ; and none but madmen could expect the King to overlook their mime. If .they wished to live, they mußt strike for life. One chance was left them ; an appeal to the Catholic people! Let the cry

be raised. In/Warwickahire they could not hold their ground; but Wile*, in:which they had recently invoked a powerful saint, lay open to their arms. Wales vat sternly Catholic in creed. The country was difficult* the population war like; and a religious war would feed itself on every paaaion of the Cymric heart. Cateaby's counsel being adapted, the meeting -broke up about ten o'clock, ana the company got on the road for Norbrook, which they reached in the dead of night, and rested their geldings for an hour. Digby snatched a pen and wrote a line to tell Garnet that the mine had failed, to ask hi* advice, and to beg that he would meet them at Robert Winter's house. Bates was sent with this note to Coughton, that he, as one sworn to the secret, might urge the good Father not to abandon them in their hour of need. Then, mounting once more, the band pushed forward in the early dawn towards Aloaster and Huddington, which they reached about two o'clock in the afternoon. Tom Winter had just come in. They were weaker in force thaa whan they left Norbrook, for no one joined them.on the road, and some of their stragglers had dropped behind. The country was rising round them on every side. In every stable froajw^ph theyjtok a hone, in every shop from which they snatched a gun, they raised tip swarms of enemies. Hen of all classes were on their track; the sheriffs of Worcester and Warwick being well prepared for such a chase by the recent masters and their admirable drill. How- were they to turn, unless the Jesuits came ? A soene occurred at Coughton Hall. When Bates dashed up to the door, he found the Prefect in the hall, and gave him hastily his note. As Garnet opened the paper, Greenway came in, and asked him what the matter was. Garnet read the letter aloud, on which Greenway exolaimed, "Here is no tarrying for you and me." Bates begged that ono of the Fathers at least would ride across to Huddington and comfort his young master. "I would go to him," said Greenway, "though it were to a thousand deaths ; but my going would destroy the Society." Bates begged that they would come, and come at once. Then the two Jesuits stood apart, consulting in whispers, for half an hour, at the «nd of which Greenway came out into the open air, attired in a suit of rich-colored satin, covered with gold lace, and a horse being brought round from the stable, he got on hfe back and accompanied Bates to Robert Winter's house. The interview between Greenway sad Catesby was in private. When it was over, Greenway took horse and rode away to Hendlip HalL When the priest was gone away from them, Catesby called his companions, Rokewood, Percy, Morgan, and the rest, and begged of them to confess their sins, and make up their souls for death, Father Hart, a Jesuit living in Winter's house, received them one by one in his closet, and having heard the story of their crime absolved them without a word. The thing had to be done in haste, for Catesby was convinced that the hour was nigh when they must either die like soldiers or hang like dogs. The oonfession over, and the absolution given, they took to horse once more, going straight up north through Stourbrldge, to Stephen Littleton's house at Holbeaeh, in Staffordshire; where Catesby had a mind to make his stand and die. as he had lived, in eonfliot with the law. Having crossed the borders of a oonnty, he supposed that his friends were safe from pursuit for a few hours, while the next sheriff and bis bands were getting ready; and as much of their powder had been soaked in crossing a river, he asked Morgan, Grant, and Rokewood to assist him in the dangerous task of drying it before the kitchen fire. An accident ensued. A live ooal fell into the platter on which the powder was spread—an explosion took place—and the four conspirators were blown off their seats, and their faoes blackened and burnt. A bag of powder, big enough to have burst a castle, was carried through the roof ansinged. Yet the four men were so scorched and burnt, that when their oomrades came into the kitchen they shrank from the black and ghastly figures as from so many imps. A weak and superstitious fellow, Littleton stole away from his house in the night; and when morning dawned, the servants saw that Sir Everard and Bobert Winter were also gone. Bates followed them ; and then the bolder spirits of the plot were left alone. Tom Winter, stirring early, met Stephen Littleton, who told him Catesby was dead, and urged him to save his life by flight " First, I will go and bury the body of our friend," said Tom; on hearing which Littleton slipped from the yard and left his house. When Winter found the spectres, he asked them what they would do f " We mean to die here," they answered in their pain. "'What you do, I do," said the faithful Tom. About eleven o'clock. Sir Bichard Walsh and his company, beset the house, and began to fire into the court. Tom Winter was the first to fall, though his wound was not mortal Jack Wright was then shot dead; and after him felt Kit his brother. ? Then the assailants broke into the court, and Rokewood, shot already in the arm, was pierced in the body by a lance. "Stand by me, Mr. Tom," cried Cateaby, "and we will die together." Tom was too much hurt to stand. " Sir," he said, respectful to the last, " I have lost the use of my right arm, and I fear that will cause me to be taken." One shot struck Percy and Catesby down: a shot that won a pension from King James ; and then the fight was over, and the house secured. Rokewood and Winter, Morgan and Grant were taken prisoners. Catesby and Percy stood in sore need of help; but the only aid they could get from man was such as added to the pangs of death; for, while the. sheriff was securing his prisoners, and searching the house, the boors of the Black country swarmed into the court, and finding the wounded men lying on the ground, they stripped them stark naked— stole their clothes and ornaments—exposed their gashes to the air—and caused them to expire in the Accumulating agonies of bleeding, thirst and frost. I fit) BB OOHTIWUtI). J

"I iU nddeat wh«a I rttag," mid » young tenor, turning up his eyes. " Your tentim«nU are redprocated by the whole company," replied the young bdyaddnawd.