“Ay, Heaven be praised! I can weep,” she replied; “and so ease my over-burthened heart. Oh! sire, none but those who have experienced it can tell the agony of being denied this relief of nature. Farewell for ever, my blessed child!” she exclaimed, kissing her brow again; “and you, too, her beloved. Nicholas Assheton—it was her wish to be buried in the same grave with Richard. You will see it done, Nicholas?”
“I will—I will!” replied the squire, in a voice of deepest emotion.
“And I likewise promise it,” said Sir Ralph Assheton. “They shall rest together in Whalley churchyard. It is well that Sir Richard and Dorothy are gone,” he observed to Nicholas.
“It is indeed,” said the squire, “or we should have had another funeral to perform. Pray Heaven it be not so now!”
“Have you any other request to prefer?” demanded the King.
“None whatever, sire,” replied the lady, “except that I wish to make full restitution of all the land I have robbed him of, to Master Roger Nowell; and, as some compensation, I would fain add certain lands adjoining, which have been conveyed over to Sir Ralph and Nicholas Assheton, only annexing the condition that a small sum annually be given in dole to the poor of the parish, that I may be remembered in their prayers.”
“We will see it done,” said Sir Ralph and Nicholas.
“And I will see my part fulfilled,” said Nowell. “For any wrong you have done me I now freely and fully forgive you, and may Heaven in its infinite mercy forgive you likewise!”
“Amen!” ejaculated the monarch. And all the others joined in the ejaculation.
The King then moved to the door, which was opened for him by the two Asshetons. At the foot of the steps stood Master Potts, attended by an officer of the guard and a party of halberdiers. In the midst of them, with their hands tied behind their backs, were Jem Device, his mother, Jennet, and poor Nance Redferne. Jem looked dogged and sullen, Elizabeth downcast, but Jennet retained her accustomed malignant expression. Poor Nance was the only one who excited any sympathy. Jennet’s malice seemed now directed against Master Potts, whom she charged with having betrayed and deceived her.
“If Tib had na deserted me he should tear thee i’ pieces, thou ill-favourt little monster,” she cried.
“Monster in your own face, you hideous little wretch,” exclaimed the indignant attorney. “If you use such opprobrious epithets I will have you gagged. You will be taken to Lancaster Castle, and hanged.”
“Yo are os bad as ey am, and warse,” replied Jennet, “and deserve hanging os weel, and the King shan knoa of your tricks,” she vociferated, as James appeared at the door of the pavilion. “Yo wished to ensnare Alizon. Yo wished me to kill her. Ey was only your instrument.”
“Stop her mouth—gag her!” cried Potts.
“Nah, nah!—they shanna stap my mouth—they shanna gag me,” cried Jennet. “Ey win speak out. The King shan hear me. You are as bad os me.”