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AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE.
ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.
BOOK THE THIRD.
HOW GUY FAWKES WAS PUT TO THE TORTURE.
INTIMATION of the arrest of Guy Fawkes having been sent to the Tower, his arrival was anxiously expected by the warders and soldiers composing the garrison, a crowd of whom posted themselves at the entrance of Traitor's Gate, to obtain a sight of him. As the bark that conveyed the prisoner shot through London Bridge, and neared the fortress, notice of its approach was given to the lieutenant, who, scarcely less impatient, had stationed himself in a small circular chamber in one of the turrets of Saint Thomas's or Traitor's Tower, overlooking the river. He hastily descended, and had scarcely reached the place of disembarkation when the boat passed beneath the gloomy archway; the immense wooden wicket closed behind it ; and the officer in command springing ashore, was followed more deliberately by Fawkes, who mounted the slippery stairs with a firm footstep. As he gained the summit, the spectators pressed forward, but Sir William Waad, ordering them in an authoritative tone to stand back, fixed a stern and scrutinizing glance on the prisoner.
Many vile traitors have ascended those steps,' he said, but none so false-hearted, none so bloodthirsty as you.'
None ever ascended them with less misgiving, or with less selfreproach,' replied Fawkes.
• Miserable wretch! Do you glory in your villainy ? cried the lieutenant. 'If anything could heighten my detestation of the pernicious creed you profess, it would be to witness its effects on such minds as yours.
What a religion must that be, which can induce its followers to commit such monstrous actions, and delude them into the belief that they are pious and praiseworthy !
It is a religion, at least, that supports them at seasons when they most require it,' rejoined Fawkes.
• Peace ! cried the lieutenant fiercely, 'or I will have your viperous tongue torn out by the roots.'
Turning to the officer, he demanded his warrant, and glancing at it, gave some directions to one of the warders, and then resumed his scrutiny of Fawkes, who appeared wholly unmoved, and steadily returned his gaze.
Meanwhile, several of the spectators, eager to prove their loyalty to the King, and abhorrence of the plot, loaded the prisoner with VOL. VII.
execrations, and finding these produced no effect, proceeded to personal outrage. Some spat upon his face and garments ; some threw mud gathered from the slimy steps upon him ; some pricked him with the points of their halberds ; while others, if they had not been checked, would have resorted to greater violence. Only one bystander expressed the slightest commiseration for him. It was Ruth Ipgreve, who with her parents formed part of the assemblage.
A few kindly words pronounced by this girl moved the prisoner more than all the insults he had just experienced. He said nothing, but a slight and almost imperceptible quivering of the lip, told what was passing within. The jailor was extremely indignant at his daughter's conduct, fearing it might prejudice him in the eyes of the lieutenant.
Get hence, girl,' he cried, and stir not from thy room for the rest of the day. I am sorry I allowed thee to come forth.'
* You must look to her, Jasper Ipgreve,' said Sir William Waad, sternly. No man shall hold an office in the Tower who is a favourer of papacy. If you were a good Protestant, and a faithful ser. vant of King James, your daughter could never have acted thus unbecomingly. Look to her, I say,—and to yourself.'
'I will, honourable sir,' replied Jasper, in great confusion. "Take her home directly,' he added in an undertone to his wife. ' Lock her
up till I return, and scourge her if thou wilt. She will ruin us by her indiscretion.'
In obedience to this injunction, Dame Ipgreve seized her daugh. ter's hand, and dragged her away. Ruth turned for a moment to take a last look at the prisoner, and saw that his gaze followed her, and was fraught with an expression of the deepest gratitude. By way of showing his disapproval of his daughter's conduct, the jailor now joined the bitterest of Guy Fawkes's assailants; and ere long the assemblage became infuriated to such an ungovernable pitch, that the lieutenant, who had allowed matters to proceed thus far in the hope of shaking the prisoner's constancy, finding his design fruitless, ordered him to be taken away. Escorted by a dozen soldiers with calivers on their shoulders, Guy Fawkes was led through the archway of the Bloody Tower, and across the green to the Beauchamp Tower. He was placed in the spacious chamber on the first floor of that fortification, now used as a mess-room by the Guards. Sir William Wand followed him, and seating himself at a table, referred to the warrant.
• You are here called John Johnson. Is that your name ? he demanded.
If you find it thus written, you need make no further inquiry from me,' replied Fawkes. 'I am the person so described. That is sufficient for you.'
Not so,' replied the lieutenant ; and if you persist in this stubborn demeanour, the severest measures will be adopted towards you. Your sole chance of avoiding the torture is in making afull confession.'
'I do not desire to avoid the torture,' replied Fawkes. “It will wrest nothing from me.'
So all think till they have experienced it,' replied the lieutenant: 'but greater fortitude than yours has given way before our engines.'
Fawkes smiled disdainfully, but made no answer.
The lieutenant then gave directions that he should be placed within a small cell adjoining the larger chamber, and that two of the guard should remain constantly beside him, to prevent him from doing himself any violence.
• You need have no fear,' observed Fawkes. 'I shall not destroy my chance of martyrdom.'
At this juncture, a messenger arrived, bearing a despatch from the Earl of Salisbury. The lieutenant broke the seal, and after hurriedly perusing it, drew his sword, and desiring the guard to station themselves outside the door, approached Fawkes.
'Notwithstanding the enormity of your offence,' he observed, 'I find his Majesty will graciously spare your life, provided you will reveal the names of all your associates, and disclose every particu. lar connected with the plot.'
Guy Fawkes appeared lost in reflection, and the lieutenant, conceiving he had made an impression upon him, repeated the offer.
• How am I to be assured of this ? asked the prisoner.
• My promise must suffice,' rejoined Waad. f
It will not suffice to me,' returned Fawkes. 'I must have a pardon signed by the King.'
"You shall have it on one condition,' replied Waad. “You are evidently troubled with few scruples. It is the Earl of Salisbury's conviction that the heads of many important Catholic families are connected with this plot. If they should prove to be so,-or, to be plain, if you will accuse certain persons whom I will specify, you shall have the pardon you require.'
'Is this the purport of the Earl of Salisbury's despatch ? asked Guy Fawkes.
The lieutenant nodded. 'Let me look at it,' continued Fawkes. You may be practising
'Your own perfidious nature makes you suspicious of treachery in others,' cried the lieutenant-'Will this satisfy you.'
And he held the letter towards Guy Fawkes, who instantly snatched it from his grasp.
What ho!' he shouted, in a loud voice, what ho!' and the guards instantly rushed into the room. You shall learn why you were sent away.
Sir William Waad has offered me my life on the