Kenilworth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 697 pages of information about Kenilworth.

“Thou art a fanatical ass,” replied Varney; “let us now think how the alarm should be given—­the body is to remain where it is.”

But their wickedness was to be permitted no longer; for even while they were at this consultation, Tressilian and Raleigh broke in upon them, having obtained admittance by means of Tider and Foster’s servant, whom they had secured at the village.

Anthony Foster fled on their entrance, and knowing each corner and pass of the intricate old house, escaped all search.  But Varney was taken on the spot; and instead of expressing compunction for what he had done, seemed to take a fiendish pleasure in pointing out to them the remains of the murdered Countess, while at the same time he defied them to show that he had any share in her death.  The despairing grief of Tressilian, on viewing the mangled and yet warm remains of what had lately been so lovely and so beloved, was such that Raleigh was compelled to have him removed from the place by force, while he himself assumed the direction of what was to be done.

Varney, upon a second examination, made very little mystery either of the crime or of its motives—–­alleging, as a reason for his frankness, that though much of what he confessed could only have attached to him by suspicion, yet such suspicion would have been sufficient to deprive him of Leicester’s confidence, and to destroy all his towering plans of ambition.  “I was not born,” he said, “to drag on the remainder of life a degraded outcast; nor will I so die that my fate shall make a holiday to the vulgar herd.”

From these words it was apprehended he had some design upon himself, and he was carefully deprived of all means by which such could be carried into execution.  But like some of the heroes of antiquity, he carried about his person a small quantity of strong poison, prepared probably by the celebrated Demetrius Alasco.  Having swallowed this potion over-night, he was found next morning dead in his cell; nor did he appear to have suffered much agony, his countenance presenting, even in death, the habitual expression of sneering sarcasm which was predominant while he lived.  “The wicked man,” saith Scripture, “hath no bands in his death.”

The fate of his colleague in wickedness was long unknown.  Cumnor Place was deserted immediately after the murder; for in the vicinity of what was called the Lady Dudley’s Chamber, the domestics pretended to hear groans, and screams, and other supernatural noises.  After a certain length of time, Janet, hearing no tidings of her father, became the uncontrolled mistress of his property, and conferred it with her hand upon Wayland, now a man of settled character, and holding a place in Elizabeth’s household.  But it was after they had been both dead for some years that their eldest son and heir, in making some researches about Cumnor Hall, discovered a secret passage, closed by an iron door, which, opening from behind the bed

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Kenilworth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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