And returning, they attacked the cottage, and by a general plebiscitum, ransacked the little dwelling, partly in indignation, and partly, if the truth be told, in the hope of plunder; but plunder there was none. Lucy had decamped with all her movable wealth, saving the huge black cat among the embers, who at the sight of the bloodhound vanished up the chimney (some said with a strong smell of brimstone), and being viewed outside, was chased into the woods, where she lived, I doubt not, many happy years, a scourge to all the rabbits of the glen.

The goats and donkeys were driven off up to Stow; and the mob returned, a little ashamed of themselves when their brief wrath was past; and a little afraid, too, of what Sir Richard might say.

He, when he returned, sold the donkeys and goats, and gave the money to the poor, promising to refund the same, if Lucy returned and gave herself up to justice. But Lucy did not return; and her cottage, from which the neighbors shrank as from a haunted place, remained as she had left it, and crumbled slowly down to four fern-covered walls, past which the little stream went murmuring on from pool to pool—the only voice, for many a year to come, which broke the silence of that lonely glen.

A few days afterwards, Sir Richard, on his way from Bideford to Stow, looked in at Clovelly Court, and mentioned, with a “by the by,” news which made Will Cary leap from his seat almost to the ceiling. What it was we know already.

“And there is no clue?” asked old Cary; for his son was speechless.

“Only this; I hear that some fellow prowling about the cliffs that night saw a pinnace running for Lundy.”

Will rose, and went hastily out of the room.

In half an hour he and three or four armed servants were on board a trawling-skiff, and away to Lundy. He did not return for three days, and then brought news: that an elderly man, seemingly a foreigner, had been lodging for some months past in a part of the ruined Moresco Castle, which was tenanted by one John Braund; that a few weeks since a younger man, a foreigner also, had joined him from on board a ship: the ship a Flushinger, or Easterling of some sort. The ship came and went more than once; and the young man in her. A few days since, a lady and her maid, a stout woman, came with him up to the castle, and talked with the elder man a long while in secret; abode there all night; and then all three sailed in the morning. The fishermen on the beach had heard the young man call the other father. He was a very still man, much as a mass-priest might be. More they did not know, or did not choose to know.

Whereon old Cary and Sir Richard sent Will on a second trip with the parish constable of Hartland (in which huge parish, for its sins, is situate the Isle of Lundy, ten miles out at sea); who returned with the body of the hapless John Braund, farmer, fisherman, smuggler, etc.; which worthy, after much fruitless examination (wherein examinate was afflicted with extreme deafness and loss of memory), departed to Exeter gaol, on a charge of “harboring priests, Jesuits, gipsies, and other suspect and traitorous persons.”

Poor John Braund, whose motive for entertaining the said ugly customers had probably been not treason, but a wife, seven children, and arrears of rent, did not thrive under the change from the pure air of Lundy to the pestiferous one of Exeter gaol, made infamous, but two years after (if I recollect right), by a “black assizes,” nearly as fatal as that more notorious one at Oxford; for in it, “whether by the stench of the prisoners, or by a stream of foul air,” judge, jury, counsel, and bystanders, numbering among them many members of the best families in Devon, sickened in court, and died miserably within a few days.

John Braund, then, took the gaol-fever in a week, and died raving in that noisome den: his secret, if he had one, perished with him, and nothing but vague suspicion was left as to Rose Salterne’s fate. That she had gone off with the Spaniard, few doubted; but whither, and in what character? On that last subject, be sure, no mercy was shown to her by many a Bideford dame, who had hated the poor girl simply for her beauty; and by many a country lady, who had “always expected that the girl would be brought to ruin

  By PanEris using Melati.

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