2021-04-18 10:36:05

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ENGLISH "And where is her lord?""I tell you, steward," said the smith who had before spoken, and stepping so near Calverley that he involuntarily drew back, "if you prize your life, you will call no man here a bondman. I am freethat man is free" pointing to Holgrave, "and we are all freeall sworn brothers; and no one shall dare," raising his voice, "to brand, with such a name, a mother's son among us! You have received fair warning, and leave to go: retire nowinstantly, if you are wise! Clear a passage there for my Lord de Boteler's steward! There is now room for you to passyour retainers are waiting withoutand now take the man you call a bondman, and away with you all. What! you will not lay hold of him? Take him, I say!" elevating his voice"seize the villein, and drag him back to his bondage! What! not a finger, after all the trouble you have taken?then, away with you alone!away!" And Calverley, from the mere instinct of obedience to a superior power, moved towards the door. "And if ever," continued the smith, "you are found hunting in this forest again for bondmen, as you call them, we may chance to give you a lodging where you will have little reason to complain that the sun shines too brightly!"

The next morning, any one ignorant of the interest thrown around Holgrave, would have been much surprised at the extraordinary sensation created in the barony of Sudley, by a report which went abroad of the flight of the bondman. The sun had risen pretty high ere any suspicion arose that Holgrave had broken his bonds. On the previous Saturday, Calverley had ordered him to commence his next week's labor with plowing a certain field; and about two hours before noon, the steward took occasion to pass the field, in order to ascertain how Holgrave was getting on with his task; but to his surprise, however, the ground presented the same unbroken surface it had worn on the previous week; and after some fruitless enquiries after the contumacious serf, he at length repaired to his hut, which he found secured. The door was then forced with little ceremony, and the hearth was found cold, and the cottage deserted. The bed, the chest, the stools, &c. stood as heretofore; and it was but the business of a moment for the steward to glance around the apartment; to raise the lid of the chest; to spring up into the loft; to descend, and leave the cottage, and close the door as before.

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But it would have been better for Giles to have left his wife to the mercy of uncharitable whisperers than have adopted this mode of justification. The first intimation of his indiscretion was signified by an order from the parish priest instantly to separate, and by public penance to merit absolution from the church. A month was allowed them. The four weeks elapsed, and the incorrigible pair were still living beneath the same roof; and, on the fifth Sunday, at St. Peter's, the parish church of Winchcombe, the congregation were assembled; the tapers lighted, and the missal opened. Some words were then said, acquainting the people with the crime of Giles and Jane, and cautioning them against holding any communication with such obdurate sinners. The bell was next rungthe book closedthe tapers were extinguished, and the incestuous pair pronounced accursed of God and man. This ceremony was performed thrice, and when the unfortunate Jane was seized with the pangs of child-birth, Gray, after having the doors of fifty houses shut in his face, as he implored assistance for his wife, was compelled to go to Campden, a distance of thirteen miles, to try what the force of nature might effect. There his application was not rejected; the aged mother, although her heart was breaking at the lost and degraded state of her youngest child, yet consented to accompany Gray; and disguising herself, that none might recognize her, hastened to Winchcombe.Here Mrs Keelings disintegration of mind showed itself. She had but a moment before been critical of Alices silence.

"Away! Holgrave, away! we hold you free!" And Holgrave, taking advantage of the opportunity, withdrew from the side of John Ball, and springing on the back of an offered steed, was presently beyond reach of pursuit, even had pursuit been attempted."Then you must choose to submit voluntarily to my lady's wishes," he added.

In the individual thus opportunely rescued, the reader will probably recognize Black Jack. He had been detected in a conspiracy, from which, had his character been already taintless, there would have been but little chance of escape. But as matters really stood, the slightest shadow of guilt would have been made to assume a form sufficiently tangible to convict him."Yes," replied Mary; "he was by the monk when he stood at the door of the villein's hut, and I dare say he is with him now."

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"To father John Ball."

"Retire!" said he, "we shall consider of your punishment.""With whom hold ye, friend?" said Tyler, as he passed, imagining, from the dauntless manner of the man, that he was a friend.

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Apr-18 10:36:05