The desire that she herself should conjure the mercy of Edward had been negatived even to her anxious heart by the assurance of both the earl and the princess, that instead of doing good to her husband’s cause she would but sign her own doom, perchance be consigned to the power of her father, and be compelled to relinquish the poor consolation of being with her husband to the last. It was better she should retain the disguise she had assumed, adopting merely in addition the dress of one of the princess’s own pages, a measure which would save her from all observation in the palace, and give her admittance to Sir Nigel, perchance, when as his own attendant it would be denied.
The idea of rejoining her husband would have reconciled Agnes to any thing that might have been proposed, and kneeling at the feet of her protectress, she struggled to speak her willingness and blessing on her goodness, but her tongue was parched, her lips were mute, and the princess turned away, for her gentle spirit could not read unmoved the silent thankfulness of that young and breaking heart.
It would be useless to linger on the trial of Nigel Bruce, in itself a mockery of justice, as were all those which had proceeded, and all that followed it. The native nobility of Scotland were no subjects of the King of England; they owed him homage, perchance, for lands held in England, but on flocking to the standard of the Bruce these had at once been voluntarily forfeited, and they fought but as Scottish men determined to throw off the yoke of a tyrant whose arms had overrun a land to which he had no claim. They fought for the freedom of a country, for their own liberty, and therefore were no traitors; but these facts availed not with the ruthless sovereign, to whom opposition was treason. The mockery of justice proceeded, it gave a deeper impression, a graver solemnity to their execution, and therefore for not one of his prisoners was the ceremony dispensed with. Sir Christopher