And in the dark, close sleeping-chamber within the prison cage of the noble Countess of Buchan, night too looked pityingly. Sleep indeed was not there; it had come and gone, for in a troubled slumber a dream had come of Agnes, and she had woke to think upon her child, and pray for her; and as she prayed, she thought of her promise to the poor boy who had so strangely moved her. She could not trace how one thought had sprung from the other, nor why in the darkness his features so suddenly flashed before her; but so it was. His face seemed to gleam upon her with the same strange, indefinable expression which, even at the time, had startled her; and then a sudden flash appeared to illumine that darkness of bewilderment. She started up from her reclining posture; she pressed both hands on her throbbing eyeballs; a wild, sickening yearning took possession of her whole soul; and then she felt, in its full bitterness, she was a chained and guarded prisoner and the deep anguish of her spirit found vent in the convulsive cry—
“Fool, fool that I was—my child! my child!”
Leaving the goodly town of Berwick and its busy citizens, its castle and its prisoners, for a brief space, we must now transport our readers to a pleasant chamber overlooking the Eden, in the castle of Carlisle, now a royal residence; a fact which, from its numerous noble inmates, its concourse of pages, esquires, guards, and various other retainers of a royal establishment, the constant ingress and egress of richly-attired courtiers, the somewhat bustling, yet deferential aspect of the scene, a very cursory glance would have been all-sufficient to prove.
It had been with a full determination to set all obstacles, even disease itself, at defiance, King Edward, some months before, had quitted Winchester, and directed his march towards the North, vowing vengeance on the rebellious and disaffected Scots, and swearing death alone should prevent the complete and terrible extermination of the traitors. He had proceeded in this spirit to Carlisle, disregarding the threatening violence of disease, so sustained by the spirit of disappointed ambition within as scarcely to be conscious of an almost prostrating increase of weakness and exhaustion. He had determined to make a halt of some weeks at Carlisle, to wait the effect of the large armies he had sent forward to overrun Scotland, and to receive intelligence of the measures they had already taken. Here, then, disease, as if enraged that he should have borne up so long, that his spirit had mastered even her, convened the whole powers of suffering, and compelled him not alone to acknowledge, but to writhe beneath her sway. His whole frame was shaken; intolerable pains took possession of him, and though the virulence of the complaint was at length so far abated as to permit him a short continuance of life, he could never sit his horse again, or even hope to