A Changed Man; and other tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 338 pages of information about A Changed Man; and other tales.

Saying which, he took, as he went downstairs, one of the ash sticks used by Swetman himself for walking with.  The yeoman lighted him out to the garden hatch, where he disappeared through Clammers Gate by the road that crosses King’s-Hintock Park to Evershead.

Christopher returned to the upstairs chamber, and sat down on his bed reflecting.  Then he examined the things left behind, and surely enough in one of the pockets the gold snuff-box was revealed, containing the fifty gold pieces as stated by the fugitive.  The yeoman next looked at the sword which its owner had stated to have belonged to his grandfather.  It was two-edged, so that he almost feared to handle it.  On the blade was inscribed the words ‘Andrea FERARA,’ and among the many fine chasings were a rose and crown, the plume of the Prince of Wales, and two portraits; portraits of a man and a woman, the man’s having the face of the first King Charles, and the woman’s, apparently, that of his Queen.

Swetman, much awed and surprised, returned the articles to the closet, and went downstairs pondering.  Of his surmise he said nothing to his daughters, merely declaring to them that the gentleman was gone; and never revealing that he had been an eye-witness of the unpleasant scene in the orchard that was the immediate cause of the departure.

Nothing occurred in Hintock during the week that followed, beyond the fitful arrival of more decided tidings concerning the utter defeat of the Duke’s army and his own disappearance at an early stage of the battle.  Then it was told that Monmouth was taken, not in his own clothes but in the disguise of a countryman.  He had been sent to London, and was confined in the Tower.

The possibility that his guest had been no other than the Duke made Swetman unspeakably sorry now; his heart smote him at the thought that, acting so harshly for such a small breach of good faith, he might have been the means of forwarding the unhappy fugitive’s capture.  On the girls coming up to him he said, ’Get away with ye, wenches:  I fear you have been the ruin of an unfortunate man!’

On the Tuesday night following, when the yeoman was sleeping as usual in his chamber, he was, he said, conscious of the entry of some one.  Opening his eyes, he beheld by the light of the moon, which shone upon the front of his house, the figure of a man who seemed to be the stranger moving from the door towards the closet.  He was dressed somewhat differently now, but the face was quite that of his late guest in its tragical pensiveness, as was also the tallness of his figure.  He neared the closet; and, feeling his visitor to be within his rights, Christopher refrained from stirring.  The personage turned his large haggard eyes upon the bed where Swetman lay, and then withdrew from their hiding the articles that belonged to him, again giving a hard gaze at Christopher as he went noiselessly out of the chamber with his properties on his arm.  His retreat down the stairs was just audible, and also his departure by the side door, through which entrance or exit was easy to those who knew the place.

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A Changed Man; and other tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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