Kenilworth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 550 pages of information about Kenilworth.
would be again in the possession of the proper messenger as soon as, in the nature of things, it could possibly be delivered.  But Wayland came not to the pageant, having been in the interim expelled by Lambourne from the Castle; and the boy, not being able to find him, or to get speech of Tressilian, and finding himself in possession of a letter addressed to no less a person than the Earl of Leicester, became much afraid of the consequences of his frolic.  The caution, and indeed the alarm, which Wayland had expressed respecting Varney and Lambourne, led him to judge that the letter must be designed for the Earl’s own hand, and that he might prejudice the lady by giving it to any of the domestics.  He made an attempt or two to obtain an audience of Leicester; but the singularity of his features and the meanness of his appearance occasioned his being always repulsed by the insolent menials whom he applied to for that purpose.  Once, indeed, he had nearly succeeded, when, in prowling about, he found in the grotto the casket, which he knew to belong to the unlucky Countess, having seen it on her journey; for nothing escaped his prying eye.  Having striven in vain to restore it either to Tressilian or the Countess, he put it into the hands, as we have seen, of Leicester himself, but unfortunately he did not recognize him in his disguise.

At length the boy thought he was on the point of succeeding when the Earl came down to the lower part of the hall; but just as he was about to accost him, he was prevented by Tressilian.  As sharp in ear as in wit, the boy heard the appointment settled betwixt them, to take place in the Pleasance, and resolved to add a third to the party, in hope that, either in coming or returning, he might find an opportunity of delivering the letter to Leicester; for strange stories began to flit among the domestics, which alarmed him for the lady’s safety.  Accident, however, detained Dickon a little behind the Earl, and as he reached the arcade he saw them engaged in combat; in consequence of which he hastened to alarm the guard, having little doubt that what bloodshed took place betwixt them might arise out of his own frolic.  Continuing to lurk in the portico, he heard the second appointment which Leicester at parting assigned to Tressilian; and was keeping them in view during the encounter of the Coventry men, when, to his surprise, he recognized Wayland in the crowd, much disguised, indeed, but not sufficiently so to escape the prying glance of his old comrade.  They drew aside out of the crowd to explain their situation to each other.  The boy confessed to Wayland what we have above told; and the artist, in return, informed him that his deep anxiety for the fate of the unfortunate lady had brought him back to the neighbourhood of the Castle, upon his learning that morning, at a village about ten miles distant, that Varney and Lambourne, whose violence he dreaded, had both left Kenilworth over-night.

While they spoke, they saw Leicester and Tressilian separate themselves from the crowd, dogged them until they mounted their horses, when the boy, whose speed of foot has been before mentioned, though he could not possibly keep up with them, yet arrived, as we have seen, soon enough to save Tressilian’s life.  The boy had just finished his tale when they arrived at the Gallery-tower.

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Kenilworth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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