“Ah recreant! thou hast let him go,” cried Demdike, furiously.
Seeing his master the animal redoubled its efforts, crept ashore, and fell at his feet, with a last effort to lick his hands.
Demdike held down the torch, and then perceived that the hound was quite dead. There was a deep gash in its side, and another in the throat, showing how it had perished.
“Poor Uriel!” he exclaimed; “the only true friend I had. And thou art gone! The villain has killed thee, but he shall pay for it with his life.”
And hurrying back he dispatched four of the men in quest of the fugitive, while accompanied by the two others he conveyed Paslew back to the abbey, where he was placed in a strong cell, from which there was no possibility of escape, and a guard set over him.
Half an hour after this, two of the arquebussiers returned with Hal o’ Nabs, whom they had succeeded in capturing after a desperate resistance, about a mile from the abbey, on the road to Wiswall. He was taken to the guard-room, which had been appointed in one of the lower chambers of the chapter-house, and Demdike was immediately apprised of his arrival. Satisfied by an inspection of the prisoner, whose demeanour was sullen and resolved, Demdike proceeded to the great hall, where the Earl of Derby, who had returned thither after the midnight mass, was still sitting with his retainers. An audience was readily obtained by the wizard, and, apparently well pleased with the result, he returned to the guard-room. The prisoner was seated by himself in one corner of the chamber, with his hands tied behind his back with a leathern thong, and Demdike approaching him, told him that, for having aided the escape of a condemned rebel and traitor, and violently assaulting the king’s lieges in the execution of their duty, he would be hanged on the morrow, the Earl of Derby, who had power of life or death in such cases, having so decreed it. And he exhibited the warrant.
“Soh, yo mean to hong me, eh, wizard?” cried Hal o’ Nabs, kicking his heels with great apparent indifference.
“I do,” replied Demdike; “if for nothing else, for slaying my hound.”
“Ey dunna think it,” replied Hal. “Yo’n alter your moind. Do, mon. Ey’m nah prepared to dee just yet.”
“Then perish in your sins,” cried Demdike, “I will not give you an hour’s respite.”
“Yo’n be sorry when it’s too late,” said Hal.
“Tush!” cried Demdike, “my only regret will be that Uriel’s slaughter is paid for by such a worthless life as thine.”
“Then whoy tak it?” demanded Hal. “’Specially whon yo’n lose your chilt by doing so.”
“My child!” exclaimed Demdike, surprised. “How mean you, sirrah?”
“Ey mean this,” replied Hal, coolly; “that if ey dee to-morrow mornin’ your chilt dees too. Whon ey ondertook this job ey calkilated mey chances, an’ tuk precautions eforehond. Your chilt’s a hostage fo mey safety.”