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Lii LIBRAR

ASTOR, LENOX TILDEN FOUNDATIONS.

MACMILLAN'S MAGAZINE.

MAY, 1904.

THE QUEEN'S MAN.

A ROMANCE OF THE WARS OF THE ROSES.

CHAPTER I.

oldest friend, praying her to take

Margaret into her own house, and SIR WILLIAM RODEN, Knight, had to provide for the trusty management made his will, and the long parchment of her property till she should be lay upon the table. He had left large

married or of age.

And in all these benefactions to the poor, and to the matters he prayed her ladyship to parish church; he had given exact take counsel with the executors of directions for his burial in the this last will of his, namely, her chapel north of the choir (where his step-son the Lord Marlowe, Sir wife and his two sons already lay), as Thomas Pye the Vicar of Ruddiford, to the torches that were to be carried and the Masters Simon and Timothy in his funeral procession and the Toste, brothers, the doctor and the tapers to be burnt upon his grave lawyer, in whom he placed confidence. for seven years after and on every And so, with many pious words, he anniversary following, as to the ended his testament. prayers for his soul to be said in “Now read it in our ears, my good that same chapel (which indeed he Timothy," he said. had built) by an honest priest of The attorney obeyed him, his thin good conversation, for a period of voice ringing through such silence time that he did not think it neces- as could be had on that November sary to limit. The dim future might afternoon, with the great west wind be safely left to the care of God, and rattling the lattices and roaring in to the piety of his one dear grand- the wide chimney. There was an child and her descendants. To her,

To her, unearthly pause, the stillness of death Margaret Roden, he left everything; for a minute or two, through which the castle and manor of Ruddiford, the voice piped clearly; then the with all its estates and tenements, thundering waves came rolling up farms, mills, pastures, market dues, once more over moor and meadow and advantages of every kind, and and forest, and the wind yelled and the household goods of which he screeched with more fury for the added & long inventory. And, in long breath it had taken. case the rheumatism which racked Logs were burning on the hearth, his limbs should kill him while she and Sir William, a noble-looking old was still young and unmarried, he man with a white beard, was sitting committed her to the care and in his high carved chair close to the guardianship of the Lady Isabel, chimney-corner, his velvet gown folded Baroness Marlowe, the widow of his round his knees. In the middle of

No. 535.- VOL. XC.

B

was

the vaulted room, his own room, the most simple-minded of men, had reached by a short flight of steps watched them growing up and defrom the castle hall, four persons sat veloping side by side, stronger and opposite to him at a table, one of more beautiful every day, and had them reading, the other three listen- given no thought to the probable end ing to the will, the contents of which of this childish intimacy, or to the they all knew already ; for three of necessity of providing his grandchild them were executors, and the fourth, with some other companion than the Sir William's secretary, had acted low-born, velvet-eyed foreign boy, till as clerk to Timothy Toste on the Master Simon Toste plucked up couroccasion.

age to speak to him on the subject. The two listening old friends,-Sir Then Sir William, unwillingly conThomas the Vicar, thin and tall, with vinced, did the easiest thing that a face like a turnip-lanthorn, so did came to hand, sending to his neighthe spirit shine through the starved- bours the Tilneys at King's Hall, half looking flesh, and Simon Toste the a dozen miles away, and proposing apothecary, fat, short, with a beam- that their daughter Alice, a couple ing smile that almost undid the harm of years older than Margaret, should of his medicines-shook their heads come to Ruddiford and live with her simultaneously as they realised the for an indefinite time. This proposal unbounded confidence their patron being kindly received, he was satisfied, was placing in the Lady Marlowe. and would not listen for a moment The secretary smiled faintly as he to Simon Toste's further advice, — watched them, seeming to read their “ Send the Italian fellow back to thought. He & marvellously Italy." Sir William was fond of handsome young man, an Italian, Antonio, who knew how to make himbrought to England when a boy by self indispensable, and who now very John Roden, Sir William's son, who easily, as it seemed, transferred his had lived much abroad and had caressing ways from Mistress Marmarried a Venetian lady at the garet to her grandfather. The old court of King René of Anjou. man was growing helpless. Antonio These two had followed the Princess became his devoted personal attendant Margaret when she came to England as well as his capable secretary. as the bride of Henry the Sixth, and Though the steward, the bailiff, the both had died of the English fogs, town officials, the men-at-arms even leaving as a legacy to Sir William (for Ruddiford had its little garrison) their small page Antonio, picked up were disposed to sneer at receiving as a beggar in the street, and their Sir William's orders frequently by the precious little daughter, the Queen's mouth of Antonio, they had no real godchild, Margaret. Before this time, fault to find. He did no harm to William Roden, the knight's elder

any one.

If he had any evil passions son, had been killed in a brawl in or wild ambitions, they were kept London streets, dying unmarried, so well in check. He was a foreigner, that the baby child was the one hope with a clever head and a face of of the house of Ruddiford.

classical beauty. Perhaps this was Both children, Antonio being seven enough to make the sturdy Midyears older than Margaret and her landers hate him. With women, as slave and play-fellow, throve wonder- a rule, he did as he pleased, though fully in the chilly northern air and no scandal had yet touched him, and hardy life of the castle. Sir William, through his discretion no one knew

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that Mistress Alice Tilney had fallen cheeks. “What are you plotting, desperately in love with him.

you three ? Anything wrong with This young girl's parents had both the will ? Keep your fault-finding died of the pestilence since she came till I ask for it. Your business is to live at Ruddiford, and King's Hall not to carp, but to carry out faithhad now fallen into the hands of her fully. Fetch

the witnesses, you brother, Jasper Tilney, who kept rascal, Tony. Am I to be obeyed ? house there with a set of wild and -Well, Parson, say your say." daring companions, and had lately “It is about these Marlowes, Sir given great offence to Sir William William,” said the Vicar. Roden by coming forward as a suitor “Ay, Sir Thomas, and what about for Margaret. The estates marched: them? My oldest friends, remember.” this was his only excuse for such “A friendship of a long while presumption; and Sir William refused back, if I am not mistaken.” his offer with a cold politeness very “And pray, sir, is it the worse for near contempt, thus turning his neigh that? A long while back? Yes, bour into a troublesome enemy. from the field of Agincourt,—not that Such was the state of affairs when it began then.

We were

brothers Sir William Roden made his will ; in arms, Marlowe and I. King Harry and beyond the boundaries of Ruddi. knighted us both with his own hand, ford and King's Hall, the war of the after the battle. He bound us for Red and White Roses, in that year ever to his service, and that of his of our Lord 1460, was desolating the Ah, in those days, England land in its wandering changing way. wanted no one but Harry. He was At this moment, the party of the our man, a man indeed! All these White Rose had the best of it, and Yorks, with their false pretty faces King Henry was a prisoner in their and curly pates, -away with 'em ! hands, while the Queen and the young I'll leave Meg in the charge of a good Prince were fugitives in Scotland. Lancastrian, and though I have not

“That is my will,” Sir William seen Harry Marlowe for years, I said loudly, when Timothy ceased to know he is as true a man as his read. "Now to sign it.

But we

father, God rest him. Well, Parson, must have witnesses. Go, Tony, call what maggot have you got in that a couple of fellows who can write ; wise head of

yours

?" Nick Steward for one, the parish Thomas Pye listened patiently. clerk for t’other. You might have He knew very well that his patron, brought him with

master once fairly off on the legend of AginParson."

court and the friends of his youth, The secretary rose readily enough, would not be checked by reason. but looked askance, as he did so, at Indeed, Sir William was at no time the three old executors. They were very reasonable. With charming putting their heads together, mutter qualities, he was a wilful man, and it ing doubtfully. Antonio's dark and was sometimes easier to lead him in brilliant eyes, glancing from them to small matters than in great. If once his master, seemed to convey to him

convinced in his own mind, opposithe consciousness of disapproval on tion was apt to be useless. The good

men of Ruddiford took him as he was “What's the matter ?” the Knight and followed him meekly, except eried sharply, and his impatient where Mistress Margaret was temper surged up red into his pale cerned. There, love and duty gave

you,

their part.

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them courage, and they spoke their The old Knight stared at him with minds, as little Simon had done in wide blue eyes, “On my faith,” he the case of Antonio.

said, "you talk like a crazy fellow, “We are all mortal, Sir William," Thomas Pye.” said the Vicar. “ I hope from my

They call him Mad Marlowe. heart that you may live twenty years They say that a few years ago, when longer, by which time this will of he disappeared for a time and was yours will signify nothing, so far as said to be abroad, his step-mother it affects your granddaughter. But was compelled to put him in chains you may die next week, Sir.”

for his violence. He recovered, merci. “Without doubt, Thomas,” said Sir fully. He is a good Lancastrian, yes, William, smiling and stroking his for what he is worth. He follows beard. “I have provided for that, the Queen everywhere, or journeys as you hear.”

on her business.

A true man, I "Ah! You have left Margaret's believe, but," the Vicar touched entire future in the hands of this his forehead significantly. Lady Marlowe, the second wife of “Why did I not hear all these your old friend."

tales before I made

my

will ?" “A most religious lady of high growled Sir William. birth and great position."

I heard them from my brother “Ah! My brother, who lives at but yesterday. Master Timothy had Coventry, and who had some work as already drawn out your will, but I a lawyer with the Parliament, was in knew little of its particulars. You London a month ago. He heard that will not sign it, I hope, in its prethe Earl of March had,-slanderous sent form? You will not leave your tongues will talk--had visited the grandchild in the hands of these Lady Marlowe at her house in Buck- persons ?” inghamshire.”

“Is your brother here?Sir William laughed aloud. She No, Sir William. is a woman of fifty, at least," he back to Coventry." said. “ Your brother might have Then followed a short and sharp been better employed than in listen- argument, at the end of which Sir ing to such tales, my good Thomas." William Roden flew into one of those

The Vicar blushed. “You misin- rages which had often harmed himterpret me,” he said. “I was think- self and those dear to him. He ing of politics. They say, plainly spoke words of such violence to the speaking, that Yorkist

Vicar, that this excellent man strode would bring over the Lady Marlowe erect out of the castle, back to his and her large influence to that side. house beside the church, shaking the There is some emnity between her dust off his feet and leaving the foolish and the Queen—"

old Knight to do as he pleased with "I do not believe it,” said Sir his own. Timothy and Simon quailed William. "The Lady Isabel would beneath the old man's furious anger never be so disloyal to her husband's and soon Aled also in a less dignified memory. Besides, her son would see fashion. Antonio hastily fetched two to that. You will tell me next that witnesses ; the will was signed as Harry Marlowe is a follower of York!" it stood, and locked away in Sir

“Harry Marlowe,-do you know William's great chest, with the other what they call that unfortunate man, deeds of the estate. Sir William ?"

When all this was done, Sir

He has gone

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William became calm, and sat for saint; but what should move him to a long time silent by the fire. The listen to that peddling brother of his raging wind had fallen; there was against my noble friends, and to no sound in the room but the crack- expect me-me !—to change my plan ling of the logs, and now and then for his scandalous gossiping? He the pushing of benches, the clatter might have considered,-here is Meg of steel, and the hum of voices in sixteen years old and more--I may the hall below. Antonio sat at the die next week,-to-night, for that table, his face in his hands, and matter,—Tony, I may die to-night.” watched the old man between his “No, no," the young man fingers. He loved him in his cat-like mured soothingly ; " but if you did, way, and admired his high spirit and there is the will safely made.” suddenly flaming temper.

“No thanks to those three fools,” him a thrill of physical pleasure to said Sir William. “Yes, 'tis safely see those three wise worthies dis- made ; but if I had listened to them, credited and driven out like a set of and died, or even did I live to make fools by Sir William's proud loyalty another, in these frightful times, how to his old traditions and the name could I devise to protect Margaret ? of his earliest friend. What did it Her old nurse and Alice Tilney matter if the Vicar was right, if against the world ! No marriage these Marlowes were unworthy of the arranged for, -Jasper Tilney bold as trust to be placed in them? It the very devil, -he and his Fellowmight not be any the worse, in the ship might step in and carry her off end, for Antonio.

before she could reach safety with A low whistle from the old master the Abbess of Coleford! There, to fetched him to his feet. It was the the abbey, she would have to go, call of his childhood, to which he and Alice with her, for in her own had answered always like a dog, fear- castle she would not be safe. Yes, less of the fiery temper that kept by Our Lady, and as I hope to be most people on their guard. Next saved, the will is not enough, Tony. probably to his grandchild, though Fetch your ink and pens. You will with a long interval and on a dif- write a letter to my Lady Marlowe; ferent plane altogether, Sir William you will tell her of the trust I have loved this other legacy from the hand- placed in her and Harry, and of the some, luxurious, wandering younger whole state of things here ; you will son who had come home to Ruddiford bid her send a person, with authority only to die.

from herself, to take charge of my Antonio made two steps across the grandchild if need arises, and in case floor and crouched before Sir William, of

my death or any other accident to whose thin hand fumbled with his fetch her away to Swanlea or elseblack mop of hair.

where, if it be her will. We shall " Tony, I hate to be thwarted,” he have men enough for an escort, said.

unless indeed my Lady finds Meg a "And it is the worse for those' husband in the meanwhile, who can who thwart you," murmured the enter into possession here and guard Italian. “You send them skipping, his wife and her estates. Well, well, dear Sir,” and he showed his white all this in good time. Light up your teeth, laughing silently.

candles, throw on another log, and “Peace, rascal, no irreverence," sit down and write as I bid you. said the old man. " Sir Thomas is a My Lady go over to York, because

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