“While we were at slipper, I observed Mrs. Hyde and her brother Frederick to look a little earnestly at me, which led me to believe they might know me. But I was not at all startled by it, it having been my purpose to let her know who I was; and, accordingly, after supper Mrs. Hyde came to me, and I discovered myself to her, who told me she had a very safe place to hide me in, till we knew whether our ship was ready or no. But she said it was not safe for her to trust anybody but herself and her sister, and therefore advised me to take my horse next morning and make as if I quitted the house, and return again about night; for she would order it so that all her servants and everybody should be out of the house but herself and her sister, whose name I remember not.
“So Robin Philips and I took our horses and went as far as Stonehenge; and there we staid looking upon the stones for some time, and returned back again to Hale [Heale] (the place where Mrs. Hyde lived) about the hour she appointed; where I went up into the hiding-hole, that was very convenient and safe, and staid there all alone (Robin Philips then going away to Salisbury) some four or five days.”
Both exterior and interior of Heale House as it stands to-day point to a later date than 1651, though there are here and there vestiges of architecture anterior to the middle of the seventeenth century; the hiding-place, however, is not among these, and looks nothing beyond a very deep cupboard adjoining one of the bedrooms, with nothing peculiar to distinguish it from ordinary cupboards.
But for all its modern innovations there is something about Heale which suggests a house with a history. Whether it is its environment of winding river and ancient cedar-trees, its venerable stables and imposing entrance gate, or the fact that it is one of those distinguished houses that have saved the life of an English king, we will not undertake to fathom.
An old mansion in the precincts of the cathedral at Salisbury is said to have been a favourite hiding-place for fugitive cavaliers at the time of the Civil War. There is an inn immediately opposite this house, just outside the close, where the landlord (formerly a servant to the family who lived in the mansion) during the troublous times acted as a secret agent for those who were concealed, and proved invaluable by conveying messages and in other ways aiding those Royalists whose lives were in danger.
[Illustration: SECRET PANEL AT SALISBURY]