« السابقةمتابعة »
so obstinately attached to their Irishry gate; but long before that time all the authat no hopes could be entertained of their thorities of Youghal, civil and religious, had civilisation ; a foray into their lands pre- hasted to the shore to welcome their old vented knightly swords from becoming favourite, Green, the captain of a royal rusty, and what was even more important, vessel employed to chase the pirates, furnished the means of purchasing a share while he was himself the most rapacious of the luxuries brought by the Bristol and unscrupulous plunderer that ever crossed pirates.
the channel. A loud shout greeted this In the end of John's reign, the distractions worthy as he sprung ashore; the abbot proof England gave fresh vigour to the bucca- nounced a solemn benediction, the monks neering trade, while that monarch's disputes attempted to raise a psalm of triumph but with the pope rendered the royal authority stumbled in the music and the Latin, the little better than nominal. Richard Grace, mayor doffed his cap of maintenance, while abbot of St. Mary's, took upon himself the the garrison made an attempt at a military rule of Youghal, and laughed to scorn the salute of spears, scarcely less awkward than remonstrances of the Lord President of “a present arms” by the yeomanry of the Munster. Raymond le Poer, Grand Master same place in more modern times. Green of the Templars, made war and peace with received all these honours with the lurking the Irish sépts as caprice or interest dictated. vanity that belongs to mean birth thrust The proud Geraldines, though they scorned into high station. He cast his eyes round the king, quailed before those religious the group, and then turning to the abbot, lords, and even the White Knight refused said, to exercise his privileges as hereditary “Holy father! I have urgent business seneschal of Imokilly when they interfered with the Grand Master of the Templars ;" with the pretensions of Abbot or Prior. and drawing near he added in a whisper, Matters were in this state when early on a “ for by his means alone can I be freed summer's morning the warder of the pre- from the presence of a troublesome spy.” ceptory blew the trumpet note that an- “ Doubtless the Lord Le Poer will be in nounced a vessel entering the harbour of town ere long ; he hath promised to share Youghal. The Templars hasted to the our noon-tide meal, and we hope, gallant ramparts, leaving matins unsung and prayers captain, that thou wilt not refuse to particiunsaid, to speculate on the size and probable pate in our convent fare-But whom have freight of the ship. “By our Lady,” said
we here ?" Lacy, who had served in Palestine under A strange knight, clothed in complete and against the lion-hearted Richard, “ by armour, wearing his vizor down, had sprung our Lady, my life is well nigh done unless to land in the midst of the conversation ; he she brings us wine from the lands of the was followed by a stalwart squire, and a sun : for three weeks we have had nothing gigantic negro slave, the first, for aught we but filthy beer, or the mead of these savages know, that had ever been seen in Ireland. who never saw the clustering grapes." The appearance of the black was more
“ There is my laughing dame of Cap- effectual than reading the riot act at John pagh," said Aylmer, a young knight whose O'Connell's election; children screamed, vows were of recent date, “she loves to be womenshrieked, soldiers dropped their arms, confessed by aTemplar, and I have promised , nuns told their beads, monks tried to to bring heran embroidered hood, such as the remember their prayers, the mayor set the worthy abbot yonder presented to—how example of running away, a piece of wiscall you the fair penitent that the thrice dom not forgotten in similar alarms by his holy Richard Grace loves to shrive ?”
successors; the Water-gate was wedged with “She bears St. George's cross,” said Le fugitives, and ere Green could answer the Poer, “and a knight's pennon seems to flutter question, knight, captain, and abbot, were at her mast-head; she is a royal galley, I hurried along by the crowd like pieces of ween, and brings intelligence from England. drift timber in the ebb of the tide. Ho there, my squires! saddle my war-horse, devil!" shouted Green in fury; his cry and let my train be ready forthwith to at- was mistaken for terror, and it rendered the tend me to the town."
horror of the crowd incurable. No one The hour of noon had arrived ere the doubted that Satan, in proper person, had galley came to anchor opposite the Water- come to take possession of Youghal as his
peculiar inheritance, or that he had at least the knights to accompany him to the monchosen it for his bathing-place
astery, where all these puzzling scenes “In the sultry month of August,
could be explained. When the weather is hot below.
The negro, the innocent cause of the In fewer minutes than it has taken to uproar and mischief, followed his master write the description, the belief in the through the town; and a few who venbodily presence of Satan pervaded the re-, tured to peep from their windows, thought motest corners of the town. . Never did that Satan having been conquered by the Youghal display greater consternation, ex- pious Richard Grace, was now led in triumph cept perhaps in the winter of 1825, when to be confined in the dungeons of the abbey. some one vented a prophecy that a lean Some of the monks seemed to have formed turkey would serve for the dinner of all the the same belief; for, when the abbot inProtestants there resident * on the ensuing vited his guests to follow him to the refecChristmas day; and the half-pay officers, tory, they hasted to prevent the slave from who had found the cheapness of the markets accompanying the train ; and it was to convenient to their purses, took sudden them a new lesson in physiology, to learn alarm and fled to England. The bells of that a woolly head, white teeth, and a churches and abbeys tolled, the streets were black skin, might belong to a mortal man. flooded with holy water, and the few who It was not until they entered the refecretained their senses were menaced with tory, that Green found an opportunity of the fate of St. Stephen, for nothing is so delivering his message to the Grand Master. offensive to a terrified multitude as want of “I present to you,” he said, pointing to the sympathy in their fears.
stranger, “the worthy knight, Sir Colman The Grand Master of the Templars was Rashleigh, who has been sent to perform a riding slowly onwards, when the peal of penance in the preceptory of Rencrew.” the alarm. bells rung in his ears. He Poer had previously recognised in the hastily formed his train in battle array, and stranger, a brother of his order, and had galloped onwards, to what he supposed felt surprised that a Templar should have must be a furious battle, nor did he draw come, without any previous announcement bridle till stopped by the barriers of the of his intention. He received Sir Colman North Gate. It was long before the terri- courteously and said, “I trust my brother fied warders attended to his impatient will find the penances of Rencrew very summons, it was longer ere their feeble light.” hands removed bolt and bar. At length When the guests sate down to table, the Templars were admitted, and beheld Rashleigh, for the first time, raised his with wonder a scene of confusion which visor, and showed a countenance once passed all powers of description or under- handsome, which a Syrian sun had burned standing. Poer was not the most patient and a ghastly wound disfigured. His manof men ; having vainly questioned the first ners were cold and stately; they effectually he met as to the cause of the tumult, he damped the mirth which usually reigned levelled his lance and galloped through the in the refectory of St. Mary's;
and the shrieking crowd followed by his attendants. meal, instead of being protracted to a late Near the Town-hall, he found Green, the hour, was terminated with unusual rapidity. abbot, and the stranger knight, trying to Green spoke a few words in private to the address the multitude, amid a jumble of Grand Master, who turned to the stranger noises to which Babel was a mere joke. and said, “ After the fatigues of your voyage, Less evidence of an insurrection has often rest is needful; the preceptory is but a been received by Irish authorities, and short hour's ride from hence, one of my Poer at once directed his followers to charge squires shall conduct you thither. I will the mob. Real dangers were now added not return until the morrow.” to groundless fears ; the names of the devil Sir Colman bowed and withdrew, foland the Templars, casually but not un- lowed by his train. Green, the Abbot, and happily united, were shrieked out by the Grand Master remained to discuss the wretches, crushed, struck down, and tram- disposal of certain valuable plunder, which pled. But the military force soon had Green had not been able to land in Bristol. cleared an open space, and the abbot invited Weeks rolled on; the Templars of Ren
crew were heartily weary of their new
* A fact.
companion ; silent and moody, he kept bleak December; the nuns, whose turn it aloof from them all, and scarcely returned was to go out and tend the beacon fire while their ordinary salutations. He was often they recited prayers for the venturous absent from the preceptory; but the only mariners, declined, as earnestly as they companion of his rambles was his negro dared, the task of sitting in the lonesome slave, and with him he conversed in a lan- round tower. But the laws of the convent guage known only to themselves. He were peremptory, and the two reluctant sometimes visited the town, where a new sisters, whose turn it was, prepared to face tale respecting the negro had become popu- the storm, when Martha and the old porlar; it was satisfactorily determined that tress volunteered to go in their stead. Sir Colman Rashleigh had sold himself to Evening was beginning to close in when the powers of evil, and that the negro was a vessel, which from her rigging all guessed a fiend sent to watch his motions until the to be Green's corsair, was seen making for time when Satan should have him altoge- the harbour; but the tide was running out, ther.
and the wind, though not directly off the It was soon observed that the negro, shore, was so unfavourable that, without the whenever he came to town, generally ho- aid of the tide, it was certain that the vered around the nunnery, and he was galley could not get under shelter of the once seen to speak at the grate with one of headlands. A knot of the town's people the inmates; it was said, the same that had had assembled on the rocks beneath the been brought to the convent by the pirate Light-house ; perched on the cliff close to Green. These circumstances gave ample the tower, sate the negro, perfectly motionroom for conjectures; sister Martha was as less, looking over the wide expanse of waters much disliked by the nuns, as brother Col- —just such a figure as superstition might man by the Templars; and for the same imagine to be the demon invoking the reason, her unsocial qualities and conduct. storm. When the two nuns approached to It was, however, strange that the haughty take their post, the negro, as if accidentally, lord abbot of St. Mary's paid more respect walked past them: sister Martha stopped to the gloomy Martha than to all the sister- and beckoned him. “Ride,” said she,“ ride hood, including even the prioress. No for thy life ; tell thy master that the night other nun had ever been shrived by him, of vengeance is come, and the pirate may no other had ever spoken with him in pri- be lured to his doom." The negro hasted vate, or scarcely even received a passing past, he was seen to seek the road to Renword in public; but Richard Grace, the crew; and on that night Sir Colman Rashhaughtiest man that ever trode a cloistered leigh disappeared from the preceptory. aisle, was known to come before a simple A part of our tale must now be taken nun, and to practise every art to win her from the narrative of a shipwrecked mafavour.
riner. He said that the corsair to which The nuns often puzzled themselves vainly he belonged made the harbour of Youghal to account for this favour shown to her they on a squally evening, and made short tacks. deemed their most unworthy member; the at the entrance of the bay, waiting for the aged portress when she overheard them turn of the tide to cross the bar. He saw only shook her head, and smiled in that the beacon kindled at the usual hour, and dubious fashion that seems to mock at its light directed them for several hours, mirth. Once, and once only, she hinted but it was suddenly obscured at the moment that she knew more than it would be safe when the increasing darkness and rising to tell; she spoke of Grace as one whose wind rendered its aid most necessary. When early youth was little consonant to his holy it next appeared they thought that the ves
He had once been a traveller, and sel must have drifted very strangely, or that a strange tale had been told of his having by some miracle the tower had changed its joined with the pirates of the channel, of position, for the light seemed in a very difhis captivity, his liberation by a fair dame, ferent direction from what they had exhis flight with her to Ireland, her sudden pected. Green, the captain, was completely disappearance, and his unexpected entrance puzzled; he had been agitated the whole into the monastery, of which family con- day, especially as some one had casually nections had made him the head.
named the date of the month and
and It was a stormy day, the bleakest of a it coincided with a day which the sailor
knew that Green had very good, or rather gloom of his disposition seemed aggravated, very evil, cause to remember. In his con- and his motions more strange.
He was fusion he ordered the pilot to steer by the frequently absent for days together, the light as usual, and a few minutes afterwards negro being the sole companion of his the galley struck the bar with such violence excursions. Once he went alone; on his that her bows were stove in. The sailor, return he seemed to be frenzied, and when when the rest of the crew had been his slave approached, he felled him to the whelmed in the waves, had the good earth with a violence that seemed to have fortune to grasp a spar, by which he was destroyed life, and rushed to his cell. The supported until thrown upon the beach. negro arose, stunned by the blow: it was All his companions had perished. The some time before he recovered his senses, commentary on his tale was that in the but when he was able to speak he solicited morning the beacon was found extinct, audience from the master of the preceptory, sister Martha and her companion had dis- and was conveyed to his presence. appeared, and the remains of a fire were The nature of the negro's tale may be discovered on the top of Claycastle, a hill guessed from its effects; Sir Colman Rashby the side of the water, which offered leigh was hurried from his cell to a dunevery convenience for the display of a false geon and heavily fettered; the alarm bell light.
of the preceptory was rung, the gates closed, All the authorities investigated the affair; the watch doubled. Expresses were sent Richard Grace shewed especial anxiety, he to the town, to the President of Munster, interrogated every person that had been on to the Seneschal of Imokilly, and to the the rocks or near the tower during the neighbouring garrison of Dungarvan. As eventful evening, and was particularly night approached, farther precautions were struck by the account of the negro's pre- taken ; their necessity soon became obvious.
A hasty summons was despatched The preceptory was suddenly attacked by to the preceptory, and the master, attended a body of the wild Irish, who seemed to by the great body of the knights, Sir Col- rise out of the ground by magic; they man Rashleigh among the rest, soon arrived Aung themselves into the ditch, they scaled in the town. Circumstances transpired the ramparts, they hurled their long knives which gave room for suspicion. Rashleigh at the soldiers, and raised their wild cry had gone from the preceptory late in the of “ Forrah !” “ Forrah!” as if assured of evening, accompanied by his black servant, victory. and had not returned until the following A similar attack had been made on the noon; two horsemen very similar to them town, but the garrison, warned of its danger, in appearance had been met by a peasant was on the alert, and the Irish were beaten on the hills north of the town, about two back from the walls. The preceptory was hours before midnight, and several of the well defended, the knights clad in impeneknights remembered that Rashleigh had trable armour baffled their naked adversaalways shown unusual agitation whenever ries, but swarm succeeded swarm, and Green's name was mentioned. Poer, how- they were beginning to sink from sheer ever, declared that Rashleigh had been that fatigue, when morn dawned on the desnight employed by him on a mission of perate fight. The light showed them fresh peculiar importance in the skirts of the hordes of enemies pouring on, and they Roches' country, and that he had executed beheld a woman on a crag urging their his task, which was of course a proof that efforts, by reciting the prophecies that foreon the memorable night he was far from told Erin's deliverance from the stranger. Youghal.
But day brought them also aid from the The disappearance of Martha and the town, and Le Poer ordered a charge to portress continued inexplicable. Rigid open a passage for the succours. The search was made through the surrounding Irish in all their insurrections have ever country, but no trace of the fugitives could quailed before a charge of cavalry; when be discovered. Large rewards were offered, the gates of the preceptory were flung open, but not a particle of information was and the Master galloped forth attended obtained.
only by twelve Templars, and they too exFour years passed away ; Rashleigh con- hausted by the labours of the night, the tinued to belong to the preceptory, but the insurgent multitude bore back, reeled, and
was in a few moments a helpless mass of ings of Normandy, have wrested land and confusion.
title from Saxons and from Irishmen. I “ Seize the prophetess," shouted Le Poer, could not rouse my own countrymen in and towards her the knights rode with Devon and Cornwall, to-strike down the levelled lances, trampling down the naked Plantagenet. But for my own intemperance, heroes, whó no longer thought of resistance. I would have succeeded here. Poor worm !”
The heroine vainly strove to cheer the he continued, turning to the negro, thou, Irish to the fight, by precept and example. proud of thy secret, dared to breathe unhalArmed with a short sword, she struck the lowed wishes to the Lady Edith, and to steed of the foremost rider, and horse and threaten vengeance. . I should have slain, horseman rolled on the plain ; but she was and not punished; but thy treason has had at the same moment stunned by the blow of its reward, the rack has done its worst.” a lance, and the soldiers from the town, who “ It seems that there is no need of further had now reached the scene of action, easily evidence," said the President.
66 Give the made her captive. They recognised in her Templar a short shrift and a long cord. the fugitive nun.
Bring in the woman.” Several nights after this sudden outbreak, My lord," said the Master of the Tema solemn court was held in the vaults of plars, “hemp must not touch a Knight who St. Mary's Abbey. The Lord President of has drawn sword in a holy cause, nor must Munster, Richard Grace, and the Master of a layman's voice pronounce his doom. A the Templars, sat as judges; the instruments darker and worse fate awaits him and the of torture were before them, and a negro, perjured nun. They must share a living whose limbs were dislocated by the rack, tomb: the vault is already prepared.” was obstinate in refusing to answer their The unhappy sister Martha, we should interrogatories.
rather say the once renowned Lady Edith, Bring in Sir Colman Rashleigh," said was next brought forward. Death, however, the Abbot.
had already placed his signet upon her, and He was introduced, heavily fettered. she could scarcely falter à reply to the
“ Sir Knight,” said Grace, “ thou art questions of her judges. In this state she accused of treason to thy King, of falsehood. was delivered to a guard, to be carried for to thy God, of treacherous murder, and dis- trial to her own convent; but it is believed honourable fraud. What sayest thou to that she did not pass the portals alive, and the charge?"
that the monastic cruelties were exercised “Lord Abbot,” replied the Templar, on a senseless carcase. “ I am no traitor. I am a Saxon prince- Sir Colman Rashleigh was conveyed to and owe no fealty to the Norman. For my his preceptory, and sentenced to the dreadbroken vows, the sin be on the head of those ful penalty of broken vows, to be built up who stormed the castle of Fordwych, and alive into a niche of the vaults beneath the led me to believe that my betrothed bride chapel. The executioners of this dread was the victim of their ruffian violence. decree heard from him no word of sorrow Richard Grace, thou didst aid the deed, or complaint. His story was forgotten, unwhich was planned by the villain Green, til the recent storms laid bare the ancient now gone to his long account.”
ruins, and disclosed to the terrified rustics “ And why didst thou come to raise foul who went to search for imaginary treasures, rebellion in this land?” demanded the Pre- a skeleton in a nook, covered in with masident.
sonry, which had once worn the form of the “I will answer thee, Lord Geraldine, — last representative of the kings of Wessex. because thou and thy ancestors, the scour
VOL. X.-NO. I.--JANUARY 1837.