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dismounted, and fastened his horse to the gate with a trembling hand. With hurried, unsteady steps, he passed through the courtyard, which was growing gloomy with the shadows of evening. He approached a large, irregularly built mansion, heavy with cumbrous, dingy-hued timberworks; and each angle was garnished with a small square turret ; but for what earthly use is beyond conjecture. The door was beneath a ponderous stone porch. He raised his hand to the latch; but he could not move it. Again and again he shook the door, with what little strength he had left, but he heard only its faint echoes through the silent chambers. He called out faintly, “ Jeanet !” but received no answer. As he turned round to examine the ground casement, his startled eye caught a glance of a tall dim figure, gliding swiftly and noiselessly by the gates through which he had entered ; and his ear caught the low querulous neighing of his horse, as though it had been startled or disturbed by the being, whoever it was, that passed.
Once more he shook the oaken door, but in vain. He leaned disconsolately against the porch, and groaned. He was gazing on the door, when he saw it move: he pushed it and it fell back. After a moment's pause of apprehension, he crossed the threshold. Had he possessed sufficient recollection and presence of mind, he might have been surprised and alarmed at the sudden opening of the door—but it escaped his notice. As he paced the dim passage, his heart leaped within him at the echo of every footfall. He was surprised at the unusual, the dreary, the ominous silence which pervaded the house. Sickening with a vague apprehension of horror, he ascended the oaken stairs which led to his sleeping chamber. He opened the door. The last lingering sunlight, which shed a melancholy gleam around, revealed to him the figure of his wife, stretched in blood on the floor, which had issued from a wound in her breast, where the fatal instrument yet remained. He seemed petrified, as his reeling eyes encountered the staring eyeballs of his murdered wife. While he gazed in silence on the frightful spectacle, he heard a wild unmeaning laugh behind him: he turned round with tottering steps, and beheld the monk.
“ Ha, Davie! art thou at thy trade of blood again ?" he inquired, with bitter derision.
Davie's limbs refused him any longer support; and he fell down by the side of his wife, his eyes still riveted on the fiendish figure of the monk.
The monk drew back his sleeves from his hands, and knelt down deliberately by his side. He slowly drew out the long knife, which stood in the gashed bosom of the wife.
“ Dost thou remember, I said I would meet thee again? Art thou prepared ?"
He wiped the wet blade upon his sleeve, and, with terrible calmness, unbuckled Davie's tunic. He laid his hand upon Davie's heart.
" Thou art still warm with life, Davie: it is warm !" he continued, and it seemed as though a pang of momentary remorse thrilled through his black heart; for he folded his arms on his breast, and gazed anxiously on the haggard countenance of his unresisting victim.
“ Davie ! dost thou remember me?" asked the monk, flinging wide his hood.
“My brother !" gasped the dying wretch.
The words had scarcely quivered from his lips, when the monk uplifted his knife, and plunged it thrice into his bosom, yelling, “ Die, accursed !--die, die, die !
“ It is done !” groaned the monk ; “now for Italy.” He sprang from the scene of fratricidal horror, and hurried through the courtyard.
Soon after the monk had left the cavern in Monkwynd Forest, Father Gootle contrived to rouse his sinking spirits, by an appeal to a sure and often-tried friend -a flask of Gascon wine, which he had concealed in a dark corner by way of dernier resort. Never had a similar application been so instantaneously successful. It infused new life and vigour into his system,
and recruited his mental energies. He commenced a soliloquy
“An it please Heaven, this deed of blood shall either be prevented, or visited with due punishment. It will be a deed of excellent service to the church. But what an I should perish, in working this good ? Could the holy mother church afford to lose me? Truly, I fear not. Marry, this is my consolation, Sanguis martyrum semen ecclesiæ, as one saith. My singular eloquence hath often, in times past, edified the church; and I have done many other excellent things, which it becometh not me to name. And-supposing I should die, at a sudden push, in defence of the church's purity -hem, hem,” chuckled the friar—"methinks it would sound indifferent well in after ages, for folks to beseech the intercession of Blessed St. Gootle! But I must be doing : ay, i'faith ; and what shall I do ?”
Here a short pause ensued. “I will hie me to Wrexham, (which lieth at little more that half a mile's distance,) to Irongripe, the bailiff, and bring him, with some few other stout fellows, to Davie's house ;. and our Lady grant I may be in time to prevent the shedding of blood !"
It is true, the fierce threats of the monk came to his remembrance; but then he easily consoled and fortified himself with mentioning the words, “ Blessed St. Gootle.” So away went the good father, as fast as his limbs could carry him, puffing all the way to Wrexham. He was successful. Irongripe, a very valiant and noted thieftaker, instantly accompanied him with three other bloodhound followers. They met the monk riding rapidly along on the horse of Davie.
“ See-see the blood on his cloak! Look, stout Irongripe !"
The monk heard the voice of the friar, and looked up: for he was riding along moodily, with his eyes bent towards the ground. He saw Father Gootle, who had considerably preceded Irongripe and his party. He sprang from his horse, exclaiming,
« Thou here, caitiff? Die !"
Before he had seized the trembling friar, the monk was locked in the strong arms of the bailiff and his constables.
• Die ! thou caitiff friar! Die, caitiff !” thundered the monk, his eye still singling out Father Gootle-at the same time that he struggled to burst from those who held him.
“Haste thee! Haste thee, holy father! Mount that horse, and ride off for thy life!" roared out one of the men. Fear lent agility to the exhausted friar : he managed to clamber, with some little difficulty, into the saddle, and was out of sight presently.
The infuriated monk struggled like a giant with his resolute and powerful assailants. Twice he burst from their united grasp, and flung Irongripe and his head constable on the ground with stunning violence. But his opponents, besides being familiar with such encounters, were well-trained wrestlers, and rose unhurt from every
fall. “ Unhand me, knaves! Bloodthirsty villains, away!" roared the monk, as he hurled them off on all sides. He perceived, however, that his strength began to fail, while that of his assailants seemed wholly exhausted. His eyes glared furiously around him ; in the darkness he discovered his revenge.
“ The cliff! the cliff! He drags us to the cliff's edge! Hold, away, or we are lost!" shouted the constables. The powerful monk swayed his devoted foes nearer and nearer to the fatal verge. Around three he wreathed his giant arms : he had devoted them to destruction.
Help, as ye are men! Help!” roared Irongripe, as a body of horsemen appeared, bearing torches, headed by the indefatigable friar. Again, trusting to their instant arrival, he rushed to the rescue of his companions. But the monk also had seen the approaching reinforcement; and, with a last tremendous effort, whirled himself and his four assailants from the precipice. Close clasped together in the embrace of death, they fell, crashing from crag to crag, into the river beneath.
When the horsemen, with their waving torches, galloped to the scene of this terrible catastrophe, it was overspread with the pall of silence and darkness.
Ever after this terrible transaction, superstition hung her portentous ensign over the ancient forest of Monkwynd and the house of the murdered Davie. The peasant who dared to linger within its dreary precincts an hour after sunset, was esteemed unusually stout hearted. But as for Davie's mansion, if report may be credited, none ever had the temerity to enter its bloodstained walls, which were suffered, year after year, to crumble in solitary gloom and desolation. Many legends of the spectre monk (first promulgated, perhaps, by Father Gootle) were current in the neighbourhood. Nay, qne very valiant fellow went so far as to say he had several times seen, in the gloom of evening, a tall, gaunt, dim shape, sitting on the edge of Monkwynd Cliff
, (as it was called,) which then sank down out of sight: which circumstance, as he very sagaciously predicted, evinced that his soul was doomed to suffer penance there, for nobody knows how many centuries.
As for Father Gootle, I have never been able to meet with any information respecting his history; and, as one never hears, in the Cornish calendar, of the
Blessed St. Gootle," we may fairly infer that he was never thought worthy of canonization.
END OF MONKWYND.