HOW LEONARD RESCUED THE LADY ISABELLA.
The course of events having been somewhat anticipated in the last chapter, it will now be necessary to return to an earlier stage in the destruction of the cathedral, namely, soon after the furious bursting forth of the flames from the great eastern windows. While Leonard, in common with the rest of the assemblage, was gazing at this magnificent spectacle, he heard a loud cry of distress behind him, and turning at the sound, beheld Doctor Hodges rush forth from an adjoining house, the upper part of which was on fire, almost in a state of distraction. An elderly man and woman, and two or three female servants, all of whom were crying as loud as himself, followed him. But their screams fell on indifferent ears, for the crowd had become by this time too much accustomed to such appeals to pay any particular attention to them. Leonard, however, instantly rushed towards the doctor, and anxiously inquired what was the matter; the latter was so bewildered that he did not recognise the voice of the speaker, but gazing up at the house with an indescribable anguish, cried, “Merciful God! the flames have by this time reached her room—she will be burned—horror!”
“Who will be burned?” cried Leonard, seizing his arm, and gazing at him with a look of apprehension and anguish equal to his own—“Not the Lady Isabella?”
“Yes, Isabella,” replied Hodges, regarding the speaker, and for the first time perceiving by whom he was addressed. “Not a moment is to be lost if you would save her from a terrible death. She was left in a fainting state in one of the upper rooms by a female attendant, who deserted her mistress to save herself. The staircase is on fire, or I myself would have saved her.”