of finger or of muscle, as still as if I had been already a corpse—that I endeavoured to divert or banish disquieting thoughts, by fixing my mind on some act of repetition or arithmetical process. My blood throbbed, to my feverish apprehension, in pulsations which resembled the deep and regular strokes of a distant fulling-mill, and tingled in my veins like streams of liquid fire.

At length I arose, opened the window, and stood by it for some time in the clear moonlight, receiving, in part at least, that refreshment and dissipation of ideas from the clear and calm scene, without which they had become beyond the command of my own volition. I resumed my place on the couch, with a heart, Heaven knows, no lighter, but firmer, and more resolved for endurance. In a short time a slumber crept over my senses; still, however, though my senses slumbered, my soul was awake to the painful feelings of my situation, and my dreams were of mental anguish and external objects of terror.

I remember a strange agony, under which I conceived myself and Diana in the power of MacGregor’s wife, and about to be precipitated from a rock into the lake; the signal was to be the discharge of a cannon, fired by Sir Frederick Vernon, who, in the dress of a cardinal, officiated at the ceremony. Nothing could be more lively than the impression which I received of this imaginary scene. I could paint, even at this moment, the mute and courageous submission expressed in Diana’s features—the wild and distorted faces of the executioners, who crowded around us with “mopping and mowing”; grimaces ever changing, and each more hideous than that which preceded. I saw the rigid and inflexible fanaticism painted in the face of the father—I saw him lift the fatal match—the deadly signal exploded—it was repeated again and again and again, in rival thunders, by the echoes of the surrounding cliffs, and I awoke from fancied horror to real apprehension.

The sounds in my dream were not ideal. They reverberated on my waking ears, but it was two or three minutes ere I could collect myself so as distinctly to understand that they proceeded from a violent knocking at the gate. I leaped from my couch in great apprehension, took my sword under my arm, and hastened to forbid the admission of any one. But my route was necessarily circuitous, because the library looked not upon the quadrangle, but into the gardens. When I had reached a staircase, the windows of which opened upon the entrance court, I heard the feeble and intimidated tones of Syddall expostulating with rough voices, which demanded admittance, by the warrant of Justice Standish, and in the King’s name, and threatened the old domestic with the heaviest penal consequences, if he refused instant obedience. Ere they had ceased, I heard, to my unspeakable provocation, the voice of Andrew bidding Syddall stand aside, and let him open the door.

“If they come in King George’s name, we have naething to fear—we hae spent baith bluid and gowd for him—We dinna need to darn ourselves like some folks, Mr. Syddall—We are neither Papists nor Jacobites, I trow.”

It was in vain I accelerated my pace downstairs; I heard bolt after bolt withdrawn by the officious scoundrel, while all the time he was boasting his own and his master’s loyalty to King George; and I could easily calculate that the party must enter before I could arrive at the door to replace the bars. Devoting the back of Andrew Fairservice to the cudgel so soon as I should have time to pay him his deserts, I ran back to the library, barricaded the door as I best could, and hastened to that by which Diana and her father entered, and begged for instant admittance. Diana herself undid the door. She was ready dressed, and betrayed neither perturbation nor fear.

“Danger is so familiar to us,” she said, “that we are always prepared to meet it—My father is already up—he is in Rashleigh’s apartment—We will escape into the garden, and thence by the postern-gate (I have the key from Syddall in case of need) into the wood—I know its dingles better than any one now alive—Keep them a few minutes in play.—And dear, dear Frank, once more, fare thee well!”

She vanished like a meteor to join her father, and the intruders were rapping violently, and attempting to force the library door by the time I had returned into it.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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