“I was afraid so,” replied Melchior, “that was one reason why I obtained leave to speak to you. Wait a moment.”
Melchior then put the candle down on the ground, and went out, and turned the key. I found, on looking round, that I was right in my conjectures. I was in a cellar, which, apparently, had long been in disuse. Melchior soon returned, followed by an old crone, who carried a basket and a can of water. She washed the blood off my head, put some alve upon the wounds, and bound them up. She then went away, leaving the basket.
“There is something to eat and drink in that basket,” observed Melchior; “but I think, Japhet, you will agree with me, that it will be better to yield to the wishes of Sir Henry, and not remain in this horrid hole.”
“Very true, Melchior,” replied I; “but allow me to ask you a question or two. How came you here? where is Nattee, and how is it, that after leaving the camp, I find you so reduced in circumstances, as to be serving such a man as Sir Henry De Clare?”
“A few words will explain that,” replied he. “In my early days I was wild, and I am, to tell you the truth, in the power of this man; nay, I will tell you honestly, my life is in his power; he ordered me to come, and I dare not disobey him—and he retains me here.”
“Is quite well, and with me, but not very happy in her present situation; but he is a dangerous, violent, implacable man, and I dare not disobey him. I advise you as a friend, to consent to his wishes.”
“That requires some deliberation,” replied I, “and I am not one of those who are to be driven. My feelings towards Sir Henry, after this treatment, are not the most amicable; besides, how am I to know that Fleta is his relative?”
“Well, I can say no more, Japhet. I wish you well out of his hands.”
“You have the power to help me, if that is the case,” said I.
“I dare not.”
“Then you are not the Melchior that you used to be,” replied I.
“We must submit to fate. I must not stay longer; you will find all that you want in the basket, and more candles, if you do not like being in the dark. I do not think I shall be permitted to come again, till to-morrow.”
Melchior then went out, locked the door after him, and I was left to my meditations.
A friend in need is
a friend in deed—The tables are turned and
so is the key—The issue in deep tragedy.
Was it possible that which Melchior said was true? A little reflection told me that it was all false, and that he was himself Sir Henry de Clare. I was in his power, and what might be the result? He might detain me, but he dare not murder me. Dare not! My heart sank when I considered where I was, and how easy would it be for him to despatch me, if so inclined, without any one ever being aware