类型:奇幻地区:莫桑比克剧发布:2020-09-20 16:27:11


The man turned away as he spoke, and John Ball, whose mission was rather to the serf than the freeman, commenced an harangue to the gathering crowd. His figure, as we have before observed, was imposing; and as his eyes, flashing with an enthusiasm perhaps too ardent to be compatible with sound reason, fell on the numbers who now encompassed him, he looked like one fitted to become the apostle of those who had none to help them."That we shall have no taxes!" said the taciturn Theoder.

He then strode across the room, and, throwing open a door, ushered his colleagues into a place probably used by Bridget as a sort of store-room, of moderate size, with clay walls, and an earthen floor. A large iron lamp was burning on an oblong table of considerable dimensions that stood in the centre. At the upper end of the table was a chair and stools, and benches were arranged round in proper order.The galleyman had stood in the hall, a silent, but delighted, spectator of all we have detailed. His heart yearned to grasp Holgrave's hand, and tell him how much he rejoiced in his freedom; but he dared not presume so far until the yeoman should have been dismissed. Besides, his thoughts were bent upon another object: as Richard raised the parchment for perusal, the seals attracted his attention, and he instantly recognized it as one he had observed Calverley drop in Gloucester, at the time of Edith's trial; but as he saw the ungracious look the baron cast on Black Jack, he thought he would not irritate him further by mentioning it: yet, stepping forward as Oakley ceased, he said鈥

"Sacrilege!" shouted he鈥"sacrilege! Take them, dead or alive!""What ails you, Stephen," asked Margaret, alarmed at the strange paleness of the yeoman's countenance, and the agitation of his manner as he entered the cottage on the afternoon the child died. But Holgrave, without replying to her interrogatory, hastily closed and bolted the door. He then drew the large oak table from the side of the wall, and placed it as a barricade before it. "Stephen, what means this bolting and barring?" inquired Edith, as she saw with surprise his defensive preparations. "What fear you, my son?"

The treasurer turned pale, and hung his head.

Holgrave's heart might have been wrung at thus interring his own child, but his face betrayed no such feeling; it wore only the same stern expression it had worn since the day of his bondage, and it was only in Margaret's swollen eyes and heaving breast that a stranger could have surmised that aught of such agonizing interest had occurred. The bondman then threw another faggot upon the hearth, and, in the same stern voice of a master, bidding his wife tend upon the babe as if it were her own, without a kind look or word, he ascended the ladder, and threw himself upon a few dried rushes in the loft above; where he lay brooding in sullen wretchedness over the wild and daring deed he had committed."Holy Father," said she, sinking on her knees before him, and raising up a countenance which exhibited the traces of deep, mental suffering: "Holy Father, hear me? This entire day, have I been watching for you.鈥擮h, do not leave me!" she continued in agony, as the monk, disengaging his habit from her grasp, with a shudder of disgust would have hurried on. "Oh! do not leave me?" she repeated, clinging to his dress. "Have I not heard, when it was permitted me to enter the house of prayer, that the Blessed Lord had suffered a sinful woman to kneel at his feet and wash them with her tears! Alas! she could not be as sinful as I, but"鈥攕he bent down her face upon her hands鈥

"Be not angry, my Lord of Sudley: we request you to ask yonder varlet why he calls his fellow such hard names?""But, my liege," continued Oakley, still kneeling, "there is one confined in this fortress for whom I would solicit freedom."

An execration passed between Oakley's teeth鈥攈e sprang upon Tyler, and had not the smith dexterously raised his left arm and arrested the blow, Black Jack's dagger would have been buried in his bosom.It was to no purpose that the monk requested, and then commanded, that he should be permitted to pursue his journey alone. Stephen insisted upon accompanying him out of Gloucestershire, and father John, to avoid contention, feigned to defer his departure; but when the tables were spread, and the domestics and vassals had sat down to the feast, Margaret, who had been seeking the monk about the castle, looked and looked again among them all, and at length had to weep over the certainty that she should never more behold her brother. Nor did she; for John Ball did not long survive his exile. On the second anniversary of the bondman's freedom, his own spirit was freed, and his body rested in the cemetery of the monastery of Cistercium, in Burgundy."The child is better," replied Margaret, "but I am very ill."

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"What! is she so fair?"Richard observed the movement, and beckoned to Sir John to dismount, who, choking with mortification, surrendered the animal to a man whom Tyler had beckoned to approach.

"Well," resumed Calverley, taking some nobles from a small bag he had in his hand, "these must be for him who will aid me. You have been well paid, John Byles, for the work you did not do, and now,鈥攕ee if your industry and your profitable farm will befriend you as much as I should have done.""Yes, my lord.""Baron de Boteler, I have not willingly obtruded myself. The duty of affording counsel to this unfortunate man impelled me to enter thus once again. Stephen Holgrave must choose the bondage, because he would live for his wife and his yet unborn child; but, ere he resigns his freedom, he would stipulate for his offspring being exempt from the bond of slavery."




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