“If you think to frighten me by your violence, you are mistaken,” returned Judith, boldly. “Mr. Chowles has been here more than two hours—ask him whether he has seen any one.”
“Certainly not,” replied Chowles. “There is no Amabel—no Earl of Rochester here. You must be dreaming, young man.”
“The piper’s daughter affirmed the contrary,” replied Leonard. “She said she saw this woman admit them.”
“She lies,” replied Judith, fiercely. But suddenly altering her tone, she continued, “If I had admitted them, you would find them here.”
Leonard looked round uneasily. He was but half convinced, and yet he scarcely knew what to think.
“If you doubt what I say to you,” continued Judith, “I will take you to every chamber in the cathedral. You will then be satisfied that I speak the truth. But I will not have this mob with me. Your companions must remain here.”
“Ay, stop with me and make yourselves comfortable,” cried Chowles. “You are not so much used to these places as I am, I prefer a snug crypt, like this, to the best room in a tavern—ha! ha!”
Attended by Judith, Leonard Holt searched every corner of the subterranean church, except the vestry, the door of which was locked, and the key removed; but without success. They then ascended to the upper structure, and visited the choir, the transepts, and the nave, but with no better result.
“If you still think they are here,” said Judith, “we will mount to the summit of the tower?”
“I will never quit the cathedral without them,” replied Leonard.
“Come on, then,” returned Judith.
So saying, she opened the door in the wall on the left of the choir, and, ascending a winding stone staircase to a considerable height, arrived at a small cell contrived within the thickness of the wall, and desired Leonard to search it. The apprentice unsuspectingly obeyed. But he had scarcely set foot inside when the door was locked behind him, and he was made aware of the treachery practised upon him by a peal of mocking laughter from his conductress.
OLD LONDON FROM OLD SAINT PAUL’S.
After repeated, but ineffectual efforts to burst open the door, Leonard gave up the attempt in despair, and endeavoured to make his situation known by loud outcries. But his shouts, if heard, were unheeded, and he was soon compelled from exhaustion to desist. Judith having carried away the lantern, he was left in total darkness; but on searching the cell, which was about four feet wide and six deep, he discovered a narrow grated loophole. By dint of great exertion, and with the help of his sword, which snapped in twain as he used it, he managed to force off one of the rusty bars, and to squeeze himself through the aperture. All his labour, however, was thrown away. The loophole opened on the south side of the tower, near one of the large buttresses, which projected several yards beyond it on the left, and was more than twenty feet above the roof; so that it would be certain destruction to drop from so great a height.