Still heartily she wished that her rescuer had been any one else in the wide world. It was almost uncanny that he should have sprung out of the earth at such a moment.
CHAPTER XIII: THE BONFIRE
“From Eddystone to Berwick bounds,
From Lynn to Milford Bay,
That time of slumber was as
Bright and busy as the day;
For swift to east and swift to west
The fiery herald sped,
High on St. Michael’s Mount it shone:
It shone on Beachy Head.”
Doctor Woodford and his niece had not long reached their own door when the clatter of a horse’s hoofs was heard, and Charles Archfield was seen, waving his hat and shouting ‘Hurrah!’ before he came near enough to speak,
“Good news, I see!” said the Doctor.
“Good news indeed! Not guilty! Express rode from Westminster Hall with the news at ten o’clock this morning. All acquitted. Expresses could hardly get away for the hurrahing of the people. Hurrah! hurrah! hurrah!” cried the young man, throwing up his hat, while Doctor Woodford, taking off his own, gave graver, deeper thanks that justice was yet in England, that these noble and honoured confessors were safe, and that the King had been saved from further injustice and violence to the Church.
“We are to have a bonfire on Portsdown hill,” added Charles. “They will be all round the country, in the Island, and everywhere. My father is rid one way to spread the tidings, and give orders. I’m going on into Portsmouth, to see after tar barrels. You’ll be there, sir, and you, Anne?” There was a moment’s hesitation after the day’s encounters, but he added, “My mother is going, and my little Madam, and Lucy. They will call for you in the coach if you will be at Ryder’s cottage at nine o’clock. It will not be dark enough to light up till ten, so there will be time to get a noble pile ready. Come, Anne, ’tis Lucy’s last chance of seeing you—so strange as you have made yourself of late.”
This plea decided Anne, who had been on the point of declaring that she should have an excellent view from the top of the keep. However, not only did she long to see Lucy again, but the enthusiasm was contagious, and there was an attraction in the centre of popular rejoicing that drew both her and her uncle, nor could there be a doubt of her being sufficiently protected when among the Archfield ladies. So the arrangement was accepted, and then there was the cry—
“Hark! the Havant bells! Ay! and the Cosham! Portsmouth is pealing out. That’s Alverstoke. They know it there. A salute! Another.”
“Scarce loyal from the King’s ships,” said the Doctor, smiling.
“Nay, ’tis only loyalty to rejoice that the King can’t make a fool of himself. So my father says,” rejoined Charles.