“All malice, your Majesty—all malice,” cried the attorney.
“Malice, nae doubt, in great pairt,” replied James; “but some truth as weel, I fear, sir. And in any case it will prevent my doing any thing for you.”
“There, you have ruined my hopes, you little wretch!” cried Potts, furiously.
“Ey’m reet glad on’t,” said Jennet. “Yo may tay me to Lonkester Castle, boh yo conna hong me. Ey knoa that fu’ weel. Ey shan get out, and then look to yersel, lad; for, os sure os ey’m Mother Demdike’s grandowter, ey’n plague the life out o’ ye.”
“Take the prisoners away, and let them be conveyed under a strict escort to Lancaster Castle,” said James.
“And, as the assizes commence next week, quick work will be made with them, your Majesty,” observed Potts. “Their guilt can be incontestably proved, so they are sure to be found guilty, sure to be hanged, sire.”
As the prisoners were removed, Nance Redferne looked round her, and, catching the eye of Nicholas, made a slight motion with her head, as if bidding him farewell.
The squire returned the mute valediction.
“Poor Nance!” he exclaimed, compassionately, “I sincerely pity her. Would there was any means of saving her!”
“There is none,” observed Sir Ralph Assheton. “And you may be thankful you are not brought in as her accomplice.”
As Jennet was taken away, she continued to hurl threats and imprecations against Potts.
Another officer of the guard was then summoned, and when he came, James said, “One other prisoner remains within the pavilion. She likewise must be conveyed to Lancaster Castle but in a litter, and not with the other prisoners.”
Attended by Sir Richard Hoghton, the monarch then proceeded to his lodgings in the Tower.
CHAPTER XIV.—“ONE GRAVE.”
Notwithstanding the sad occurrences above detailed, James remained for two more days the guest of Sir Richard Hoghton, enjoying his princely hospitality, hunting in the park, carousing in the great hall, and witnessing all kinds of sports.
Nothing, indeed, was left to remind him of the sad events that had occurred. The prisoners were taken that night to Lancaster Castle, and Master Potts accompanied the escort, to be ready for the assizes. The three judges proceeded thither at the end of the week. The attendance of Roger Nowell, Nicholas, and Sir Ralph Assheton, was also required as witnesses at the trial of the witches.
Sir Richard Assheton and Dorothy had returned, as already stated, to Middleton; and, though the intelligence of the death of Richard and Alizon was communicated to them with infinite caution, the shock to both was very great, especially to Dorothy, who was long—very long—in recovering from it.