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PEEP AT THE PIXIES; LEGENDS OF THE WEST.
By MRS. BRAY, AUTHOR OF OF THE TAMAR AND THE TAVY," "LIFE OF STOTHARD,' "TRELAWNY," "TRIALS OF DOMESTIC LIFE," ETC. ETC. ETC.
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY HABLOT
GRANT AND GRIFFITH, (successors to
LONDON BY UERTHUlMEll AND FINSBURY CIRCUS. :
JESSY CAEOLIXE DAVIES, who, by expressing a wish that
would write a book for
"little people," like herself, first suggested to
me the composition of the following TALES,
THESE PAGES ARE INSCRIBED BY HER AFFECTIONATE AUNT,
The Vicarage, Tavistock, August
MKS. BRAY^S WORKS.
NOVELS AND ROMANCE S, COLLECTIVELY OR SEPARATE. I.— THE WHITE HOODS (with Portrait and General Preface). Vol. II.— DE FOIX.
Vol. v.— THE TALBA. Vol.VL— WARLEIGH. Vol.VIL— TKELAWNY. Vol. VIII. -TRIALS OF THE HEART. III.— THE PROTESTANT. FITZ-FOKD. Vol. IX.— HENliY DE POMEROY. IV.— FITZ OF Vol. X.— COURTENAY OF WALREDDON.
TRIALS OF DOMESTIC LIFE; A father's CURSE; A DAUGHTER'S SACRIFICE.
LETTERS FROM NORMANDY AND BRITTANY,
MEMOIRS OF THE LATE CHARLES
THE BORDERS OF THE TAMAR AND THE TAVY.
THE MOUNTAINS AND LAKES OF SWITZERLAND. LETTERS TO THE LATE
SOUTHEY, POET LAUREATE
WITH AN ACCOUNT OF MARY COLLING, AND HEU FABLES.
WITH NUMERODS ILLUSTRATIONS FROM
ADVERTISEMENT. In a work of mine, addressed in a
series of letters to the late
Laui'eate, Robert Southey, entitled "
Tavy," I gave an account of several legends
traditions, peculiar to this delightful county:
them were a few Pixy
These had the good fortune to meet
favor both from critic and reader;
of our local superstitions, and related
and confirmed the opinion
viously formed concerning the general interest attached to Pixy lore.
following tales were written for the entertainment of a family circle
of children and tlie
Finding they afforded some amusement in
quarter for wiiich they were originally designed, I
to the press, in the
hope that they
not be altogether
unacceptable to a more extended circle in their hours of harmless recrea tion
from more serious pursuits,
A. E. B.
The Vicarage, Tavistock, Alifliist 5, 1S5-).
TABLE OF CONTENTS. page
The Three Trials
The Story of Crabby Cross
The Seven Crosses of Tiverton;
The Story of Pixy 57
The Lady of the Silver Bell The Belfry Kock;
Appendix, containing Notes in Reference to the Tales
A PEEP AT THE
with plenty of woods, and
country called Dartmoor^ where the
some of them are tiful
most pleasant part of England, the county of Devon,
we have many fields,
they are sujjposed to be, and what they do.
have a large tract of
hills are so
with a number of beau-
sparkling streams and waterfalls, and a great
and others piled on the top of the heights in such an odd way, that they look like the rocks,
ruins of castles and towers built
time, and these are called Tors
by the giants ;
in the olden
they are so lofty that the
clouds often hang upon them and hide their heads.
what with trees,
being so large and lonely, and
except in one or two spots near a river, Dartmoor
though a wild, a very grand
In going fiom Tavistock to Exeter, persons sometimes cross the
moor, where there
good road, but
A PEEP AT THE
2 so dreary
travel for miles
and only here and there see a hut of the very poorest kind, built of turf dug on the spot, and thatched with green rushes, so that at a little distance it looks like the ground on which it stands. The people who live in these humble dwellings are not very nice, for the pig-stye
near the door, and the children are not the pigs. let
the more discreditable to their mothers to
and keep clean
water enough around
the children in Devonshire.
Corn can only be made to grow in a few scanty patches on Dartmoor, but there is plenty of grass between the rocks and stones, and on this sheep and oxen feed in great
horses and young colts are also there sent and there run about and gambol, with their manes and tails flowing and whisking about to keep off the flies (which are abundant), in the most frolicksome
manner; and even the poorest have a donkey, that feeds near their huts.
The poor burn peat useful kind of fuel
nothing more than decayed turf dug
out of the surrounding bogs.
It is cut in
long pieces and
and then piled up, the one piece upon the other, till becomes a large heap, which at a little distance looks not
unlike a tent, and
are seen standing
together, they remind the traveller of a camp. is
principally sold to cottagers
carried to market,
put on what
called a crook,
and farmers is
This peat fuel;
not taken in a cart, but
made of wood,
DARTMOOR, THE ADDERS, GRANITE, MOSS, ETC. sliape
prongs of a pitchfork turned up-
ward, and when placed upon the back of a horse or donkey, it
a great load.
The moor, being very
hot in summer, abounds with
adders or vipers, that creep under the stones and hide in the
long grass; and the men,
work, bind ropes of
straw round their legs to save themselves from the bite of
venomous reptiles. The farmers hang boughs of ashround the necks of their cattle, believing that it will save them from being harmed by the adders; but it is of no use, as they are often sadly bitten. There are a great many low walls, built of loose stones, to hinder the cattle from straying; for if any of them attempt to jump o-ver, the stones not being fastened come tumbling down^ and frighten them terribly. The rocks consist of a very hard stone called granite, which is quarried out and cut into blocks; and these are sent by a rude railway to Plymouth, where they are shipped oiF to London and elsewhere, to be used for building houses, churches, bridges, etc. The famous Waterloo bridge was partly these
built of the granite
The rocks grows a
are useful in another
of grey moss, which in the autumn produces
red flower, not so big as a red berry from
the holly tree; and this moss
gathered and sold to the
which he dyes woollen cloth a bright scarlet; and many boys and girls have coats and frocks made out of dyer, with
the cloth so dyed, I
a prettier sight than to watch the river3_
A PEEP AT THE
and streams of Dartmoor, rapid
as tliey rusli along strong
and every now and
rock in a sheet of white foam, or in a number of
way, the water
over great masses of
they pass on in a more quiet
see every stone beneath
and several of the rocks standing in the middle or
the sides of these streams, are often quite
moss and what
These are of various
colours; white, gi-een, grey, or of the deepest black, like a
of rich black velvet.
here to see the water-wagtail, a nice
and grey tail
skimming over the
up and down, dipping moment.
very pretty, too, bird with white
rocks, shaking his
wings into the stream and
off again in a
On Dartmoor, too, as I have noticed in a previous work,'^ we meet in spring, upon a sunny morning, the pale yellow butterfly, usually seen in the garden among the flower beds; but here sporting on the front of some old grey rock, or settling
on the wild thyme, or on the golden
furze, as its
with a quickness that will sometimes dazzle the sight.
And how find
on the moor!
the song of the birds that
thrush, that never tires; or the
which sings first and soars highest; and the pretty wheat -ear that builds her nest amongst the old rocks, whose colour it so resembles in the black and grey of its wings, lark,
you sometimes do not observe it perched uj)on them you hear its small cry. Tliere, too, is the goshawk, so rare in Devon; and the kite, that now is seldom found in that
Borders of the Tamar and Tavj."
BIRDS OF THE MOOR inhabited valleys,
prowls, like a robber, about
of his prey; and the ring-ouzel finds
if in search
a dwelling in the hollows of the stones,
and the poor
reed-wren makes them her home: and robin, that favourite of old and young, there need fear no pilferer; for so is
this pretty bird
the familiar friend of children in our
neighbourhood, that the boys will pelt any one of their
companions who may
But though moor has its
there are so
pleasant sights, yet the hills
be visited with sudden mists which are
as thick as the clouds;
Those very high
tors are liable to
but an egg from poor robin's nest.
so hide every thing, that I
seated in a carriage and caught in one
of these say, that they could not plainly see the heads of
the horses which drew them along.
It is sad to think
people in old times before the good broad road
lost their lives
by wandering about by getting
on the moor in these mists; some cold,
and being swallowed up
night in the
help could be given them.
years ago, a very remarkable instance occurred of a
native of this place, the late
Mr. Edward Smith, being
enveloped in a mist, whilst endeavouring to make his (^from a stream
where he had been
fishing) across Mistor,
with a view to shorten his road to Princetown on the moor.
have gathered and selected
from Mr. Smith's own account of the circumstance."^ *
Given at large
vol.i, p. 208.
in tlie "
Borders of the Tamar and the Tavy,"
A PEEP AT THE
when he Was
tlian a quarter of a
dense, dark, and flaky, that
side appeared whirling masses of mist,
a straight line
aifected his very breathing.
err in hill,
The way seemed
but in this he was deceived.
of so thick a con-
would be impossible to over the summit of a
lengthen before him.
so suddenly enveloped in a cloud,
he descried a few of those
immense fragments of granite with which the summit of Their appearance through the fog the tor was strewed. was wonderfully grand, wavy, fantastic, and as if possessing life. Although even with the surface, such was the deception,
they appeared upright, each in succession perpen-
so close, that it required almost the
very touch to prove the deception. scattered sheep, one here and there.
twenty or thirty yards,
the distance of
he could distinguish nothing
had the appearance of a moving unshapen Every now and then one of these animals would start from the side of a block of
mass, infinitely larger than reality.
granite close to his feet, affrighted
ing bleat, as
Mr. Smith stood above,
â€”sometimes with a scream-
like himself, filled
and looked about him.
times even rushing, of white fog. to rest, feeling unable to painful,
with surprise and awe.
he had gained the summit,
a mass, flaky, and
and the evening rapidly approaching.
down was now The fog
length he sat
DANGER OF A AVANDERER IN A increased in miirkiness, and
looked around for some large frag-
ments of stone, under the
From exertion he had been hot but was now shivering and chilled. At
quarters for the night.
even to excess,
length he endeavoured to proceed.
The ground began himself descending
and he suddenly found
a very steep acclivity;
heard the distant rushing of water; the sound enlivened him it
like the voice of a
onward; when suddenly,
guide and friend, and he pressed so instantaneously that
nothing but the
a veil, the fog
rushed from liim, and the scene which opened induced him ahnost to doubt his very senses.
Walkham brawled amongst the On his left, was just its bed.
rocks scattered throughout
hamlet of Merrivale open to show the
sufficient of the
eastern arch of
picturesque bridge, whilst in the distance
the fantastic rocks of Vixen Tor were mist.
his right, within
two or three hundred yards,
was the very spot he had first quitted to ascend the mountain, and in front arose one of those grand and lofty tors which render the moor so striking; it was dark and frowning,
topmost ridges embosomed in clouds, whose summits
were gilded by the broad sun, now rapidly descending behind them. The whole scene was like magic; even whilst looking on
appeared to him as a dream.
during a space of two hours and a
he had walked up the mountain, taken a complete
A PEEP AT THE
summit, and almost retraced his steps in his descent,
such had been the deception of this most dangerous mist.
In the winter months, the snow often entirely covers the
moor, and so suddenly and heavily will a snow-storm come on, that travellers have not unfrequently been confined to
the house in which they
had the good luck
to take shelter
many days and weeks together. At various times, many a poor creature has been frozen to death on the moor. An instance that happened many years ago, was truly melancholy. A shepherd who had so before
perished was not found
watching near the body of
was discovered wistfully
his unfortunate master.
two boys were sent from a neighbouring some strayed sheep on the moor. They
a later period,
farm to look for were surprised by a sudden storm of snow; and not returning their master grew uneasy, and with some of his men Avent out to search for them.
buried in snow, state
they were removed
were found nearly In this
and both apparently sleeping. to
but the other was quite dead.*
Besides the huts I mentioned just now, there are a few cottages and houses, and a very large building on the
a dismal one
there was a
and France, King George
Frenchmen who were taken soldiers
â€” a prison. war between England
send there in battle
and now his grand-daughter. Queen
* In the severe winter of 1853, four soldiers and a poor pedler lost in the snow on the moor.
THE PRISONâ€” DRUIDICAL REMAINS. Victoria,
for a prison:
than twelve hvmdred convicts as a punishment for their
having broken the laws of the land in many ways.
These wicked men are not allowed to Avarden,
also a great
live in idleness;
work upon the moor, under the
are sent out to
a double-barrelled gun.
of the Queen's troops
care of a
there to guard them, and to prevent their running away,
told they sometimes do; but happily
they are always caught again through their being unable to find
any place of
or anything to live upon, in
that barren, lonely, and desolate region.
You have read, my young
friends, in your History of Engsome accounts of the ancient Britons, and of the Druids^ who were priests and judges among them. The Druids lived very much together, and formed schools, in
which they taught such arts and learning as they were acquainted with; and they studied much the stars on heights and open places, such as those on Dartmoor, where a great many of them dwelt. They said it was unlawful to perform the rites and ceremonies of their religion within a covered temple or under a roof of fore,
they chose a
any kind. Whenever they could, there-
hill or lofty
for the purpose, as
such they could have a better view of the sun, and the moon,
which they were
so ignorant as to worship.
made by setting upright rough, unhewn stones in the form of a
these temples they
and many such are
when they found
in the circle;
a very large rock of a strange
to be seen
A PEEP AT THE
they would at once choose
PIXIES. for a place of worship,
and cut hollows like basins at the top to catch the rainwater, with which they sprinkled the people, and pretended to cure them of many diseases of body and mind. One of these rocks on Dartmoor, called Vixen Tor, is a hundred and ten feet high and so curiously formed by nature, that it resembles the Egyptian Sphinx, which is a very large stone cut into the shape of a man's face and head, that ;
stands in the sandy desert on the banks of the river Kile.
of the Britons lived in huts on Dartmoor, and these
were made, like the temples, by rough hewn stones set upright in the ground, in the form of a circle, with walls
made tents. circle its
roofs of rushes,
are, also, still to
high and tapering like
be seen, here and there, a
of very strong stones, so large as to have within
enclosure a great
small huts; and the sheep and
the cattle used to be driven within
at night, to save
from being devoured by bears and wolves, which in those days prowled about the moor.
the Dartmoor Britons buried a chief,
always a warrior or a king, the Druids raised a heap of stones over his grave
and sometimes a very large single
piece of granite, supported
this they called a
upon three or four upright
see the legs support
an old fashioned table;
the moor, upon the side of a steep hill which rises
is the most curious little wood Wistman's Wood, or " the wood of
supposed to be the remains of one
above the river Dart, there ever seen. the wise
THE LITTLE PEOPLE CALLED of
sacred groves of the Druids.
very aged and stunted oaks, not above ten or twelve
boles of these dwarf-trees are covered with
moss of an exceeding thickness, hung with
altogether a most strange and antiquated appearance.
wild tract of land, as well as other parts of
Devonshire and Cornwall, of
considered to be haunted by a
are not like
and can sometimes
said they can fly as well as run,
through key-holes, and get into the
though they are
other places where
bells of flowers,
Pixies are sometimes good, and do kind acts
more frequently they are mischievous, and do a great deal of harm to men, women, and children, if they have a spite against them and often hurt the cattle. ;
people say they are the souls of poor children
unbaptised, and others think that they are a kind of
but more frolicsome, and have more power to do either
distinct race friends,
They for if
however, generally considered a
you could but see at
creature from a Fairy.
that the Faries wished very
see a Pixy,
my young was such a
matter of tradition,
to establish themselves
would not hear of it and a Oberon was, with his host, defeated majesty received a wound in the leg which proved
in Devonshire, but the Pixies terrible
none of the herbs
least beneficial effects,
his principal secretary
A PEEP AT THE
and attendant, Puck, has been in
PIXIES. searcli of
one of a
nature ever since.
racter, I will
proceed to speak a
their general cha-
Pixies and their manners in detail, as in
they are very curious
and in doing
particulars, I shall venture to
more about the
given in a former work, which, being intended for
mv young my vounof
likely to fall into the
These tiny elves are
said to delight in solitary places, to
love pleasant hills and pathless woods, or to disport themselves
on the margins of
and mountain streams.
amusements dancinsj forms
their chief delight
they are said always to practise, like the
old, in a circle or ring.
These dainty beings,
exceeding beauty in their higher
order, are nevertheless, in
instances, of strange, un-
couth, and fantastic figure and visage
deformity need give them very
though such natural
uneasiness, since they
are traditionally believed to possess the
power of assuming
various shapes at will.
Their love of dancing music, though
those sounds which nious. cry,
not unaccompanied with that of
often of a nature
ears are apt to consider
In Devonshire, that unlucky omen, the cricket's to
piercing notes of the *
animating and as well timed as the fife,
or the dulcet
melody of the
Tamar and the Tavy."
PIXY MUSIC AND DANCING.
The frogs sing their double-bass, and the to them like an aged and favoured minstrel piping in hall. The grasshopper, too, chirps with his merry note in the concert, and the humming-bee plays to mortals.
" his hautbois"
tripping on the green
small stream, on whose banks they hold their sports, seems to share their hilarity,
in emulation of the revelry, whilst crystal waters a gravelly
the jewel-house of Pixy-land sparkling in the revels as that in
as well as they,
as bright as
or else the pretty stream
burnished gold, lies
moonbeam, for no hour is so dear to Pixy which man sleeps, and the queen of night,
loves not his mortal gaze, becomes a watcher.
under the cold light of her beams, or amidst the
shadows of the dark rocks, where that light never penetrates, that on the moor the elfin king of the Pixy silent
sent, like the spirit
There each Pixy receives
Gathon of Cornw^all,
of his master in the mines, to show by sure signs, where lies
the richest lode; or sometimes to delude the unfortunate
Other Pixies are commissioned on better errands than
Ithese; since, nice in their
avowed enemies of maidens do
their dvity with
cares are neglected to give
persons, for they are the
sally forth to see if the
mop and broom, and
in this part of the world, are very particular in sweeping their houses before they
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
are great lovers of water;
by the chimney nook,
place a basin of water
date the Pixies,
times requite the good deed by dropping a piece of
into the basin.
Many a Pixy
on works of mischief
the old nurses and steal away young children, or to do them
noticed by one of our old English poets,
"Under a cradle I did creep By day, and, when the childe was asleepe At night, I suck'd the breath, and rose
phick'd the nodding nurse by the nose."
The wicked and
the dreadful errand of changing children in the cradle, are said to be squint-eyed.
In such cases (so say our gossips
Devon) the Pixies use the
mother may happen
stolen child just as the mortal
to use the changeling
bent solely on mischief are sent forth to lead
poor travellers astray, to deceive them with those called Will-o'-the-wisp, or to guide
home through woods and
and quagmires and every
a fine dance
water, through bogs as
says, to "
Mislead night-wanderers, laughing at their harms."
who may be said to content themselves with a and who love frolic better than mischief,
by blowing out the candles on a
PIXY MANNERS AND CUSTOMS. sudden, or overturning the cook's pot on the Pixies are dispatched to frolic or
noises in wells;
the more gentle and kindly race will spin flax and help
do their work.
their favourite damsels to
In Devonshire, and more especially on Dartmoor,
thing with any person
consider himself as Pixy-led, and this frequently happens to
our stout yeomen and farmers,
have a cup too much there
when they happen
himself, or if a
has nothing more to do than to
turn jacket, petticoat, pocket or apron inside out, and a
hates the sight of any impropriety in dress, can-
according to the
vulgar saying, he had been sent packing with a flea in his ear.
however, a mole
often said to be in a rock; sometimes,
a palace for the elves, or a hollow nut cracked by the "joiner squirrel," will contain the majesty of Pixy-land. And Drayton, who wrote of these little
fanciful beings as if
he were the chosen laureate of
their race^ thus describes their royal dwelling. "
The walls of spiders' legs are made, Well morticed and finely laid, He was the master of his trade It curiously that builded;
of the eyes of cats,
for a roof, instead of slats,
Is covered with the skins of bats,
With moonshine that
A PEEP AT THE
having told you that both
Cornwall and Devonshire, and more particularly the wild waste of Dartmoor, are said to be I shall
much haunted by
proceed to give you what
some amusement in those hours not devoted to your or to more serious studies^ in a few Pixy tales.
PIXY GATHON; THE tailor's NEEDLE.
times! Master Trickett," said Betsy
she turned her wheel, at which she was most industriously spinning, " bad times to night,
and do spin it,
for tho' I be at
work from morning
Kersey, tho' I say
nobody comes to buy. worked for a along with the coming in of the Scotch any
not to say
the years I've
King." " Very bad times, neighbour/' replied Trim Trickett, the tailor,
nobody wears out
to do in the old Queen's time
their clothes as they used
or alters their fashions as the
great folk did in the days of Elizabeth.
Except a pair of
trunk hose for master Justice, Sir Simon de Noodle, and a doublet for his young son; and a
for these first
crossed a leg in the
" You've as Trickett
Never had such bad
times, since I
Westcott, I have not had a job to keep
of business." deserve,
Humming," said crone, who was sitting
a cross-grained old
by the chimney nook, leaning on her staff. She was one of those village gossips who do little themselves, and spend most of their time in hindering their
in the easy chair
A PEEP AT THE
thanks to you,
me, or to any body
any good luck
else," said tlie tailor;
doing, as some folks think, a
body need not go far to find it, when you be near. I know what some people do say of other people." "And what do they say of other people?" asked Gammer Guy, "for I know you mean that hit for me, Master
you suppose every body means harm, or does it, because they be old and past work?" " No, Mother Guy, I think no such thing," replied Trim. "There is old Anastatia Steer bed-ridden now; I never thought any ill of her, nor said it_, tho' she be the oldest Trickett; but do
woman in the "Ah! poor
old soul," said Betsy
the woollen for her shroud for her long ago, and that
desire to oblige her; tho' I'm not to be paid for it
she be dead, and calls for it.'^ " Then I reckon you won't much longer be out of pocket,
Betsy/' said the
" That's true enough. Trim," replied Betsy; "and
be called on soon
for the shroud, you'll
will be grist to
then she has so
have to make
and her great great grandmany, I reckon you'll have to make them all, women and men; and what relations
children's children be so
a moiu-nlng suit for
you How your needle will go day and night to have the doublets, and hose, and the a wind-fall will that be for
gownSj and the sell
ready for the funeral
them some of my black kersies, and times will be
PIXY GATHON; OR THE TAILOR's NEEDLE. and we
do than to stand and
talk about 'era."
old neighbour's death after that fashion
ever I heard the like!" said
and Trim Trickett to go for to
a cruel and a very I
Nor I," said Betsy Humming. " Did you not talk of old Anastatia Steer's death? and what a profit it would be to you both, before it comes?" "Yes; but we did not say we'd kill her," said Betsy. "
Nor wish her dead
neither," said Trim, "
she was like to die soon.'^
not that bad enough," exclaimed
"What's the harm with old Anastatia that you should talk of her in such a way; and she only been bed-ridden these last six months?" " Why, is she not said to be one hundred and forty years old complete? And don't folks come far and near to see her as a
cuerossity?" said the
every day? She can't live for ever like the
wandering Jew." " But she has no doctor," said
" She is blind," said Betsy Humming. " And deaf," said Trim. " And has never a tooth in her head, and can't feed
a year yet to come."
A PEEP AT THE
has lost her memory, and the use of her limbs,"
"But she's Gammer Guy.
" So she may," said Trim; " but I do
say, for all that,
old Anastatia Steer being one hundred and forty years
complete, bed-ridden, blind,
supposed able to die soon, without anything going contrary to the rules of Natur,
me Humming; and we both wish
and without any ill-wishing from
her no harm."
Gammer Guy, who was
given to have
suspicions of everybody, shook her head;
a cup of
spiced ale, with an egg beat
her hospitality by spread-
ing at the next two or three neighbours where she called in for a gossip, that she was quite sure Betsy Humming, for the sake of selling
some of her black
Trickett, for the sake of having to
were both of them
make 'em up
and Trim as
poor old Anastatia
who was comfortable in her bed, free from all sickand might last as long as the king himself, let alone wicked wiles. But such ill-wishing was as bad as a
downright murdering of
was so indeed in popular opinion, at the time of my tale, in the West of England; when poor old women and men, if they once got the character of ill-wishing, were It
sure to be taken
as witches, wizards, or sorcerers,
in danger of being tried for their lives,
pixr gathon; or, the tailor's needle. under
law against witchcraft, which was particularly
by King James the
so happened, that Anastataa Steer unluckily died
suddenly within two or three days after this discourse, of
whatever, according to
from which there
sooner did Betsy
than she pro-
duced the woollen shroud, spun by herself ten years ago to oblige the departed;
and Trim very innocently
the friends and relatives of the
But what was
and that of
the honest spinster of kersies, to find doors shut in their faces,
backs turned upon them, and an expression of uni-
the very sight of them, as if they
carried about the plague, at that time rife in a distant part
of the county of Devon.
ing from his
was too bad
and Trim hear-
poor old Anastatia out of the
world, he grew furious, and at once accused cross-grained
Gammer Guy two honest
of having done this injury to the fame of
protested that he if
Never was would have at the
throne of King James the First.
But before he could seek that majestic person to obtain it, the town constable sought out him and his supposed associate, Betsy Humming, and both of them were taken into custody on the very serious charge of having conspired,
A PEEP AT THE
diabolical arts, the death of Anastatia Steer
purposes and profit. That was an awful ftiorning on which the luckless tailor and spinster appeared before the Justice of the Peace. for their
They were ushered
into an old Gothic hall, venerable from
age and the smoke of
hung antiquated esquires,
ladies, representing, in a
De Noodles who had
and died since the days of
the Conquest. Sir Simon^ the living representative of his distinguished
and importance of person. He had a proud and austere air; was tall and lank, of a somewhat withered appearance, with thin lips, and little pinky eyes, family, seemed to carry the grandeur his long line of ancestry all in his
and a sharp-hooked nose, with a pair of barnacles stuck on that pinched so close as to cause
the end of
with a small squeaking voice.
and a black velvet cap head; and when seated in his
pair of trunk hose, a rich doublet,
stuck on the crown of his
high-backed carved oak-chair, with his clerk on his right hand, prepared with pen, ink-horn, and paper, to take the depositions,
and Master Constable, a figure as broad as he his staff of office, on the other side, Sir
was long, bearing
Simon altogether presented the spectacle of a solemn, stately whose nod or whose frown was enough to scare the poor creatures who were brought before him on old gentleman,
such a charge. After surveying the accused with no very encouraging
THE TAILOR'S NEEDLE.
and hearing a general statement of the case, Sir Simon proceeded to examine Gammer Guy and the rest of the "witnesses. The evidence was by no means satisfactory; and of the '* says he," and " says she," and " says I," and " says you," that make up so much of evidence in a country scrutiny,
was a very
and much exaggeration, nothing more
really appeared against the accused thtin has already
related; not a single fact could be
brought against either
viz., that Betsy Humming had which she was known to fondle and pet considerably that pussy had been seen to sit by her side and on her knee, and to raise her tail quite into Betsy's face; that the said cat would purr to her in a very suspicious manner when pleased, or when her mistress rubbed down her back, or gave her from her own bowl
party except the following, a very favourite black cat, ;
some of her milk porridge. deposed, in the opinion of credible witnesses, spirit,
Gammer Guy and many
was no other than a
employed by the aforesaid Betsy
familiar or evil
do her wicked
as a further evidence of
do deeds of darkness,
her league with the tailor
was proved that he kept
cottage a tame, old raven, of which he was very fond
the witness who proved this, said, he would what any honest man could have to do with his dwelling?
in his ;
a raven about
that the cat beino; black and the bird
of the same colour, was such a sign of agreement in wickedness as could not be mistaken,
A PEEP AT THE
His worship, the his head,
on hearing in
all this, gravely shook an under tone, " Very sus-
His clerk shook his head in assent to the sapient observation of his
shakes of his; one,
master constable gave three
to be presumed, in concurrence
with his worship's opinion; another in assent to the echo of his clerk, and the last in confirmation of both the former
with his own.
the hearing of the evidence
asainst the accused closed. Sir afi'ain,
Simon de Noodle looked very leant
back in his
tone of voice
wise, shook his
chair, twisted his his clerk
what he thought of
clerk consulted the constable in an under-
and the constable whispered with old
Gammer Guy, who, amongst
charges she on that morning to state that
against Trim, forgot not
he had called her an old
knowing what would be the result, and fearing nothing less than hanging if the justice took up the matter with the assistance of so many counsellors, rashly stepped forward, and Trim, seeing so
consultation going on, not
proposed that the nearest relatives of the deceased,
some property by her death, should be called upon to say whether there might not be great probability of poor old Anastatia Steer, in the one hundred and fortieth had come
year of her age, managing to die a natural death, without the assistance either of witches
wizards, or witchcraft of
PIXY GATHON; OK, THE TAILOR'S NEEDLE.
more disposed Trim But Gammer to themselves. Sir Simon de Noodle was, in
the relatives of the deceased were far
to settle the matter reasonably than the enemies of
and Betsy, had they been left Guy would interfere; and as respect to knowledge of the law, quite
So she persuaded
he did not check her.
the friends of the dead to drop prosecution for witchcraft
on the accused subscribing
ing conditions of ordeal
to the follow-
namely, that Betsy
should spin one hundred and forty threads (that being the
number in agreement with the years of the deceased) and spin them so fine, that they should all pass through, and remain in the eye of Trim Trickett's needle with which he But unless this were done by usually worked in his shop. ,
the expiration of one month, and
they eventually failed
in such object, then they should both be put ujDon their trial for witchcraft
and the luckless spinster and
ordeal was a severe one
looked at each other
But Betsy had a stout heart, far stouter than the tailor; and so, raising her hand after a minute's pause, she gave Trim an encouraging slap on the back, exclaiming, " Never start from the trial, man never We have done no wrong let us do right still and fear. I can trust the rest to all the good saints in the calendar. spin with a clear conscience, and you can thread a needle with an honest man's hand; and so Til try which can spin aghast with affright.
-the finest, I or the spiders.
'Tis for life or death,
Trickett, so never fear; but look to pass one forty of
threads through your needle,
forty stick in
A PEEP AT THE
26 " But "
replied Betsy; "
tried for witchcraft
us guilty of such wickedness; and
and in one month
and murder; but that
in the land, we'll
law or justice
Trim, in some way or
his head; but the bystanders observed that
the black cat, which had been brought before the justice as a guilty party in the business, raised her
Betsy spoke, and assembly.
three times as
of dread ran through the
Simon de Noodle did not
sign, nor the understanding
the witch and her familiar, and directed the constable to detain the cat, saying as
â€” that the said cat was
remanded in point of law.
to be considered
Master constable bowed
profoundly to this command; and a bag was ordered to
convey pussy out
of the court to
cat took her
the safe keeping of the
removal very ungraciously;
scratched and resisted, and
being forced into
equivocal proof of her being a familiar
loudly, on as
spirit in a
Simon de Noodle now proceeded most solemnly to But as, for the sake of his dignity, he fancied he must do something out of his own head, he rendered the conditions still harder by ordering that Betsy Humming and Trim Trickett should be forthSir
confirm the conditions of ordeal.
with sent to gaol, there to spin the one hundred and forty threads,
them within the eye of the needle
PIXY GATHON; OR, THE TAILOR'S NEEDLE. and the sapient
justice added, that unless they could
plish this task before the expiration of the for the purpose,
he thought the evidence so strong against
both of them, that he doubted not one would be burned alive,
and the other certainly hanged.
All this was very cruel.
she nearly blinded herself with
the fineness of her work; but
could not get more than
ten or a dozen threads through the eye of his needle.
poor that they had nothing to live on but prison
â€”bread and water;
and only straw in their cold, stone For the first week, when they met every day in the court -yard of the gaol, it was only to bewail their ill-fortune, though Betsy^s heart was still fare
to sleep upon.
stouter than Trim's.
But (according to a trite and true observation), as in this is no condition, however good, but some draw-
world there back
found to attend
miserable but some consolation
load of inevitable suiFering.
with Trim Trickett.
there none, perhaps, so afforded to lighten the this
was exactly the case
the parent of a
an only child, and a very good one.
Johnny, seeing how hard
his poor father fared, could not
bear the thoughts of his having nothing to eat but bread
and water (for there
was a great demand
as other boys did at this time),
go and work in the mines, to save as much as he could of his small weekly pittance to get some comforts and a little meat
for his father
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
bread and water himself, so that he might but help his suffering parent.
not detain you,
you any long account of
a Cornish mine,
you, that, at a very great depth below the surface of the earth,
on beds, called
fire, so as
becomes a valuable metal
A pit, is
and the copper-smith works
in the earth,
found and worked several hundred
and men are
people find a
useful things for household
dug out and smelted with from the dross mixed with it, and then This
vast deal of copper ore.
those used at a well.
and other purposes.
and sometimes a mine feet
below the surface
with buckets, not unlike always found in mines
very large machines, therefore, are erected, by which constantly
men would As the
whilst digging out the copper ore.
be drowned light of
cannot penetrate thus deep in the earthy the miners used but, in our days, more frequently the lamp invented by Sir Humphrey Davy. Boys are much wanted in mines, to do many slight matters of work such as to wheel small quantities of the ore in barrows to the heap, whence the men remove the load above ground. They are sometimes also employed to pick and wash the copper, so as to free it from the loose earth with which it is
candles in lanterns
other things they are likewise very useful.
of a morose and tyrannical disposition, wanted a
lad to help
in the mines
PIXY GATHON; Johnny was once
a willing and active lad, he engaged
and the pay he was
than the boy expected. to work, but he soon self
THE TAILOr's NEEDLE.
under his new master
him at more
having placed him-
or not, the poor lad was abused
by this tyrant below-ground in a very vexatious manner, and kicked, and cuffed, and thrashed for the smallest, and oftentimes for no offence at all. treated
Johnny observed worked wherever they heard a
other practices in the mine,
that the miners anxiously
hammering noise within the rock. Their belief was, this hammering was made by a Pixy, named Gathon,
who acted with considerSometimes he would hammer where there was nothing but rubble to be found and then the men a great frequenter of mines, but able caprice.
would hear him laughing and caused their labours
heartily at haHijg so misled them, to be in vain.
times, quite unexpectedly, he to
Whilst, at other
would hammer and
richest and, hitherto, undiscovered ore.
usually brutal, so that poor â€˘
mood had been more than little
Johnny had received
several blows of a very severe kind (though he
think of quitting his employer, on account of the pittance
which enabled him resist
to help his father),
obscure corner amongst the
he could no longer
sat down in an where nobody was at was dark and gloomy, and cried as if his
giving vent to his feelings.
young heart would break
the tears literally poured
A PEEP AT THE
he endeavoured to wipe them away with
his clieeks as
Whilst he thus
deploring his hard
once he saw a bright and greenish light stream upon the opposite and, on looking up, beheld with surprise side of the rock He was very low the queerest little boy he had ever seen. they seemed to be composed of in stature, but such limbs with a face like a ball, and so full and red, rolls of fat sat
lot, all at
with a nose small,
as a bottle
gleamed out of
whilst the eyes, that were
head like a couple of bright
burning coals in a blacksmith's forge.
ears, hairy and long, resembling those of a donkey, and a tail
that he twirled and twisted about, and at last rested
the end of
when he was born
and bushy, upon his shoulder.
in his ;
hand, and was as
but that never troubled him.
the whole, there was a look in his face, merry
Johnny did not know what creature,
afraid to speak to
gentleman did not stand
of such a strange
he spoke, " Don't be frightened at me; I'm your friend, Johnny Tricket, and am come to do you good; for I'm a as
naturerl little fellow, as
my being so my hammer
Ho, ho, ho," continued he laughing, " I am just come from calling off that tyrant your master, Tregarrens, who intended to thrash you, for being absent from the gallery
when he wanted you
help to do his work.
piXT gathon; or, the tailor's needle. started to
hither, to look after you, I
and off he what they won't find, a new run of copper ore. Ho, ho, ho !" Johnny was greatly startled, and could not forbear ex-
furiously in the great rock near his standing;
to call the
to batter for
disappointment would cause his " Never mind
pressing a fear that the
master to be in a worse humour with him. that,"
the Pixy, "haven't I deceived them finely?
Ho, ho, ho
Let Gathon alone
for a frisk
But now, Johnny Trickett, leave off crying and hear me; for I'm your friend and let me tell you that you may have a worse than Pixy Gathon the hammering man." Johnny's surprise at seeing and hearing a real Pixy was very great. But the poor boy recollected that he had done no harm, though he had suffered a great deal; and so he took heart, and thanking his new friend for his good intentions, begged him to go on. " Well then, this is what I have to say. Johnny Tricand your father once did me a good kett, I pity you much turn, though without knowing it, and Pm not ungrateful. he^s in the
fools of the fellows.
once cracked a nut, into which, as
wicked old witch had squeezed me, and as
was hollow, a you may see,
I'm not the most easily to be so squeezed, and so he out;
bobbed up against
Pll repay his
to bear patiently the
rudely off or to hurt me; and
good deed, by doing good
into the bargain.
to his son,
boy, but continue
treatment of Tregarreus,
A PEEP AT THE
end of the month your poor father
be in gaol, and I will
do what no mortal creature could do since for every kick
to serve your father; and cuff which you take patiently from
your tyrant below ground,
your share, " Say
fear of a
hundred and forty
hundred and no
of your father's
lad, before the
take them patiently," said
pass a thread
Humming's spinning through
Johnny joyfully; " and then
dear father will be safe and out of gaol."
"That he will," said Pixy Gathon, "and I And with that the in doing him good I"
shall rejoice little
tumbled three times head over heels and whisked about his tail to
joy on the occasion.
" I'm sure, master Gathon," said Johnny, " that father will be grateful; and if it would be no offence to you, and you would like to have them, instead of running about naked in that fashion, father would be very glad to make you a little pair of hose, and charge nothing for them.'" " Pixies never wear hose thank you all the same for the offer, master Johnny; but Til serve you and your father
too without seeking reward;" and so for the present
Gathon took his leave, popped into a nook among the rocks, and was for the time seen no more. True indeed was the assurance of the Pixy, Johnny gotmany kicks and cuffs, and so well did Gathon keep his word, that, to his exceeding joy and surprise, the tailor,
not in the secret, found sometimes five or six
threads, or more, passed in one
day through the eye of
PIXY GATHOX; OR, THE TAILOr's NEEDLE.
needle from the skein he ah-eadj possessed of Betsy
niing's spinning. th]"eads to
there wanted a great
make up one hundred and
In the meanwhile his good in the mines,
son continued to labour
to receive all his injuries
as well as a patient spirit.
with a cheerful
one occasion, however, his
tyrant was so brutal in the fury of his passion, for some
blow when he mouth of the shaft or pit; he reeled and The poor boy must have been killed on the fell down it. spot, but for the ready services of his friend Gathon. The Pixy had been hammering near the spot, when seebjg the lad's danger he whisked into the bucket, and caught him in it ere he reached the ground, landing him in perfect safety. Tregarrens, when he saw the lad tumble down tlie slight offence, as to strike the lad a violent
stood close to the
in a terrible fright
not that he cared a rush
his means, he should be turned out of his place,
for the boy's life
be brought up before a magistrate for his conduct on a very serious charge.
had only fallen
found that the lad
and that he had not so much as a scratch by way of injury, it was such a relief to liis fears, it did what nothing else could have done in all the world,
into the bucket,
good humour with
This was the very thing which, at the moment,
the lad least desired; for there was only
complete the month allotted for his father's ordeal; ana his needle wanted but
thread more to complete the number
of one hundred and forty.
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
was^ tlierefore, in a terrible fright when, on that
day, Tregarrens, for the
time since he had been in
him a good boy; and not
his employ, called
a sign of a
manner him some-
cuif could he trace in his master's face or in his
hoping to excite
thing like an angry mood, so that
could but procure from
gentle kick, or if only a box on the ear, he pur-
posely did his task of Avork negligently; and
three wheel-barrows with the ore, standing in the
Tresarrens, so that he stumbled
nearly broke his shins.
over one of them
matters did he
neglect in the duty of the day, with the last forlorn hope
of obtaining but one more cuff; but none came.
had not yet quite recovered from the joy occasioned by his being relieved from the fright of supposing he had killed little
he could not so immediately favour
a renewal of
In this dilemma, his his aid
rough kindnesses or tyranny. fat little friend
once more came to
having bound himself by the honour of a Pixy
only to pass a thread through Trim's needle whenever his
son took a cufF patiently
was not in the power of such a
to break his
bethought him of a way to come to Johnny's relief. Whilst Treo-arrens was at work in the mine, he heard himself repeatedly called by his name, accompanied by peals of lauo-hter,
and the most insulting and provoking expressions.
looked round, and saw only Johnny standing near him. at once accused
loved the truth,
but Johnny ever
and protested he had not spoken a word.
PIXY gathon; or, the tailor's needle. much; but
Tregarrens doubted this
temper, he once more turned to his work in the rock.
engaged, peals of laughter and renewed insults
his ears, as if
spoken by some one close at his elbow,
there could be no mistake, for at his elbow stood
Now fully a
provoked, Tregarrens turned and gave the lad
most hearty box on the
ear. Johnny, delighted to think blow taken patiently would prociu'e the desired
end and his
â€” " Thank you, thank
you, Master Tregarrens," and fairly cut a frisk or two in the joy of his heart. Tregarrens, thinking
to add insult to insult, forgot his former forbearance,
extremity of his rage, snatched up his pickaxe, with
which he was working, and would have knocked poor little Johnny on the head, had not, at that moment, a most furious hammering in the rock met his ear, from the end Thinking that this was an indication where of the gallery. the rich ore might be found, for he had toiled all that day with very little effect, his covetousness overcame even his fury; and he rushed forward to find the exact spot before the mysterious
sooner was he gone, than from out an obscure chink
in the rock, near
where Johnny stood, pojjped Pixy Gathon; spirit, he tumbled head over
with his usual joyousness of heels
by way of
without doing the slightest injury
to a large bright bottle, shining like gold, .big as himself,
which he carried under
A PEEP AT THE
he squatted down
how he had
provoked, played upon,
Johnny get up
Tregarrens, he bade
in all haste
hearty laugh to think
and follow him.
obeying his whimsical
and they soon came beneath the shaft, where was hanging (suspended from aloft) the empty bucket, at a friend;
considerable height from the ground on which they stood.
" Get in this moment," said the Pixy,
the signal to those above to raise the bucket."
" Never mind that," replied
take this bottle;
it is filled
Gathon, " but catch
whisk you into
in a second.
honestly come by; for I've dug deep in the earth to get
a present of
It is it
shew myself above ground, that's not the way of the hammering man, I shall be with him before you for I will keep my word, and this day will
he will not see me,
for I don't
pass the last thread through the eye of his needle.
and whenever you hear us of the Pixy race ill spoken of as mischievous elves, remember there was one little fellow among them who served you well at the well,
hour of your need; and do us sometimes when we
justice as good-natured folk
bestir ourselves at a
So saying, the Pixy raised his
seized hold of
PIXY GATHON; OR, THE TAILOR's NEEDLE. it
as a skip
boy would of a rope when he held
danger of tumbling
and in another second
whisked him into the bucket, pulled a
and up went
Jolmny from the regions below to the surface of the earth. Need I tell what followed on that memorable morning ? That the one hundred and forty threads were completed; Humming and Trim Trickctt were set at
and that Betsy liberty
and pronounced innocent; for they had successfully
undergone the ordeal. cat
was made apparent;
the innocence of the black
Master Constable, on opening
the bag in the presence of the justice, found her dead
had been allowed no food, clearly proved she was not a familiar, who could have lived without it. Sir Avhich, as she
Simon de Noodle admitted the fact of innocence tested and proved, as pussy had very properly died from an empty stomach. Trim shared the contents of the bottle with Betsy Humming; his little boy was taken into the service of Sir Simon's lady as a very pretty page; and the golden bottle
became a sign
multitudes of people, and even King James himself went to satisfy their curiosity
by seeing one hundred and
threads within the eye of the
THE THREE TRIALS; OR,
THE STORY OF CRABBY
stormy coast of Cornwall there stand,
summit of the
the ruins of the castle of Tintagel
place so ancient that
said originally to have been built
by Prince Arthur, the famous king of the
rocks beneath run out into the sea in the most fantastic shapes,
and the waves, which break against them in sheets
of foam, produce a very beautiful
of the wails
and towers of this castle now remain and they are so old and so weather-beaten that, in colour and in form, they In the cliffs differ very little from the rocks themselves. ;
two deep caverns
one of these the sea has completely
penetrated through, and so
the continual rush of the waters, that
a narrow slip of land, or isthmus, that the summit,
only by crossing
principally stand, can be reached, and that
not without difficulty and danger.
Near Tintagel village,
Trevenna, a mean and strange-looking
with several scattered cottages and very old houses,
built in those times of
goes to see Tintagel gets
out of his carriage at Trevenna, and winds
there were in England the wars of the white
in a ravine,
THE THREE TRIALS; making the
descent, he passes
always a cheerful
object both to hear and to see in a landscape
turned by a stream which rushes
â€” a water-mill
the side of the
ravine from the heights above, and further on
some rocks into the This
a very pretty scene
but in former days
the castle stood in a perfect state, with
kept watch and ward upon the battlements, to see that no
enemy, either by land or by water, might approach unsuspected the dwelling of old Sir Rowland, the Baron of Tintagel.
courage in battle, and, strelsy,
for his hospitality,
was commonly called Sir Rowland, the merry and
the wind blew in loud gusts round the walls
and towers of Tintagel, and the sea roared
dark that not the smallest
the rain came
and the sky
could be seen, and it
was altogether so
stormy and dismal that the Baron would not have turned out a dog in such weather.
sat in his castle
with only two of his followers, over a
and heavily, either from the quantity of rain
that burnt falling
down the large old chimney, or the dampness of the logs of wood piled upon the hearth, the Baron seemed in a very Something had that day happened to vex him and those who sat with him were afraid of him, and were so silent and grave that they neither amused their angry mood. ;
master, nor themselves.
was the Baron, that,
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
when one bending
head and wagging his
attract his notice,
the hope to
he gave the poor animal a kick, and sent
him, with a howl, towards the hall door.
But, no sooner dog stopped, perked up his ears, listened, and gave a short bark two or three times. Immediately after, the blast of a horn was distinctly heard, notAvith standing the bluster of the wind and the roaring of
was he got
there, than the
The Baron commanded one of his men
to go and enquire might be that thus sounded for admission at his gates at such an hour and in such a night. In those days there were no knockers to doors, and a horn, suspended
without the castle gates, being blown by whoever wanted
porter or warder of the
The Baron was
speedily informed that there stood with-
out a couple of miserable
shelter for the night,
saying they were half dead from cold and hunger, and did
wdiere to go, for so great was the darkness they
feared to pass on their
what they were like, the warder replied, that, as well as he could see by the liglit of the torch, as he looked at them for a moment, they seemed to be very coarsely and he thought dressed, and had on old wrapping-cloaks asked,
they spoke like
men who were born
seas, in a
and manner which shewed them (so, at least, he fancied) His opinion to be more French or Spanish than English. was, that they were a couple of those wandering fools,
THE THREE TRIALS; often
foreign parts, and go about begging at
the castle and the convent doors
and, in return for their
entertainment, shew their tricks, and dance and sing, and tell
and make merry,
amusement of the
they are such, right welcome shall they be," said
the Baron, " for
lack something to
us merry; for
no two owls brought from an old church tower
companions, coidd have been more moping, dull, or dreary, than Gregory and Digory have been
away with mc
gloomy time; but they can neither sing nor say to lighten the weary moments. Go, ask these new-comers who and what they And if merry men and jongleurs from Normandy are? and Bretagne, right welcome; and if they can dance, tumble, and sing, we will have a joyful night of it, let the storm These fools be better than you or the rage as it may. to pass the hours
owls," continued the Baron, laughing at his
companions in no very courteous
Digory bowed in assent were quite in that
to their master's
as glad as himself at the prospect of a little sport
warder soon returned, but with a long face and a
very different report. The strangers were neither foreigners
carry some wax-tapers
two very poor men, father
out on an affair of business,
at the little chapel
which stood near Nathan^s Kieve, and being overtaken by the darkness and the storm, they feared to go on, and
A TEEP AT THE
at the castle-gate a shelter for the
The Baron, on hearing
was mightily disappointed;
appointed as his master,
new vexation as much disimmediately obeyed his commands
them away from
his doors as a couple of idle vaga-
he was before
made him to turn
in a very
and the warder, who was
bonds; so that, with cuffs
angry mood, and
ill words, and some kicks and two poor men were sent about their They were sadly cast down; so hard did the
to boot, the
wind blow, that they could scarcely keep their footing as they once more retraced their steps down the long, steep, and narrow path that led from the castle to the road. They were disappointed, hungry, cold, and weary; and the bundles of wax-tapers which they bore on their backs were heavy, and required care for fear of breaking by a fall.
they were going along, they eased their hearts
by grumbling, and denouncing, in no very gentle terms, the Baron of Tintagel. " Call him merry and brave, I trow," said the old man; " he 's no more mirth in him than old Joan of the wry mouth; for a merry heart likes to make glad the hearts of other men and a brave man would never go for to kick ;
out a couple of poor bodies like dogs from his door, in such a night as this; it.
as for brave, I don't believie a
only brave behind his stone walls and strong
towers; but bring
him out of them in such a wind and if he would not quake for fear if
he heard but the cry of a chough, knowing,
THE THREE TRIALS; men
Arthur is in one of those and comes to give notice of no good hick to the man
scream in a storm."*
to turn us poor folk that be so
doors," said his son,
do, that the soul of Prince
folk say she has at her
through fire and water, way." " That's
a sturdy youth, of a bold for
want of a supper. I Joan to help
I called old
one of they pixy bodies, which
would but show the
bold and as dangerous a word. Will Pen-
ever I heard," said the old man; " take heed of
what thou sayest." But scarcely had sturdy Will uttered those words, when they both saw a pale glimmering light, somewhat in the shape of a
of an emerald hue, not unlike the light
which the glow-worm gives from her little lamp on a fine summer's night. It seemed to roll on before them. 'â€˘That's very strange," said the old man, " I do not half like
" But I like see
well," said Will, " and
what comes on't;
that never burns for nothing.
be, 'tis ^11
a Pixy light, and
man; " it may lead you the mouth of a mine, or to an
son," said the old
into harm, into a bog, to
open grave in a churchyard.
* That the soul of Pi'ince Arthur resides in the body of a chough, is
the popular belief of
of the peasantry on the coast of
A PEEP AT THE
44 " But
thougli," said his son: " and I'll see the
worst or the best on 't, or my name is not Will Penruffin." " Ask it what it be first?" said the father much alarmed. " Holla, ho! you jMaster Jack-a-lantern, what be you, I Teil us if any
man may know your
and where you be going?" "Crabby Cross, To make up your loss."
These strange words seemed
spoken by no one near;
the wind appeared to carry them as the blast swept over the wanderers' heads. " Crabby Cross to make up our loss
of a supper and a bed.
gentleman, that talks as
that's to make up What, ho you young the clouds, what do you mean !
" That all
said Penruffin, " Pll see
I will," let
Will with rapid
will betide." strides
what comes of
the steep path, his father
following and not half liking the adventure, yet afraid to
(who was none of the most obedient) to his The mysterious ball of fire, if so it could be called, led them on very strangely. Sometimes it rose above their heads high in the air, and shone upon them like the linrht of the brightest star, then it sunk down upon the ground, and shewed distinctly every pebble or wild flower that was in the path, or by its side. Now it
trust his son
THE THREE TRIALS; made as if
of a very
to be the
and he rapped on the
for the night;
door with the walking-staff which he held in his hand. light instantly disappeared,
Sturdy Will at once understood that his
above the door
cottage with a thatched roof, that stood
the side of a path on a lone and dreary
making rings turned into an
at length fixed itself
Once or twice
unbeaten track, and
forward; and then
answer to WilFs
said a voice, in
wanderers in quest of shelter and a bed," said
the old man.
" Pass on then/' said the voice within, " this
to find a lodijcins;."
"But we want something more than "we be hungry; we want
"Something more than
tinued the unseen speaker.
what mean you?" conled you here?"
To make up our said Will boldly, " that's all I
Immediately there sounded from within peals of laughter but laughter so strange hens,
the whole poultry yard in commotion.
though no one seemed bolt; but
like the cackling of
exultins; in havinfj laid
The door opened,
to turn the key, or to
drop bar or
flew and in walked Will, as bold as a lion,
A PEEP AT THE
kept pulling him back by the
cloak, for he did not half like going in, but as Will
his father followed after him.
entering, they found themselves in a small low room,
surrounded by walls of stone; a wood
burning on the
lamp dimly on the table, which served more to show the gloom and discomfort of the place than any other purpose. A little old woman, who seemingly had just quitted her seat in the chimney nook, stood ready to receive the strangers. She was very ungainly to look upon. Her dress was of the coarsest brown serge, and patched with rags of many colours. Her neck bare, dark, thin and shrivelled, resembled that of a tortoise. Her eyes were black and fierce, the lids red, sore and inflamed; whilst her mouth was strangely twisted, not so much by disease, as by a cross sour temper. Such was old Joan of the wry mouth. There were many curious things, both living and dead, in that small low room. A very large black cat with green eyes was seated in the chair usually occupied by its mistress. couple of owls were at roost on a piece of wood conveniently placed for them in a little corner recess. A toad was lying at his ease upon the hearth, as a number of unusually large black beetles ran about it, and seemed to enjoy the warmth of the embers. Many herbs were hanging up in dried bundles to the rafters of the ceiling; and a raven chained by one leg, was perched on the back of the same chair, where the black cat, with her tail curled round her, and her fore legs erect, sat purring with vast content hearth, and a
THE THREE TRIALS; and
nor seemed at
tempted to move from
her station by several mice which crept in and out of their holes directly under the owls' roost; and they also appeared
disposed to do the
animals no harm.
Joan of the wry mouth proceeded to question the newcomers in a very short manner; and sturdy Penruffin, as hold as sturdy, at once
what had they had sought
that night befallen
her curiosity, by telling her
shelter at the castle of the old baron, Sir
Rowland, called the merry and brave, and had been turned away from his door; Will's desire expressed aloud to seek a supper and a bed, if he knew how" to reach the dwelling of the good old
old Joan), in whose presence he
stood, the appearance
of the mysterious light, and lastly his father's great need of a supper and a bed as well as his own.
Old Joan heard him very attentively to an end, and then saying, wovdd he do three things which she required, all his wants should be supplied, and his father's also she ;
bade him answer
Yes or No. Will's father, who had no liking either for the place or for old Joan, or for her blind bargain, would have interposed; but the young Penruffin, before his sire could speak, stretched out his great rough hand and his brawny arm from under his cloak, seized the bony hand of the witch, and causing her withered arm to ache to the very elbow with the vehemence of his shake, said, in a loud voice, as he stamped his foot on the ground, " Three things three at once.
times three things will
do at thy bidding, mother, so that
thou wilt but keep thy word."
â€” A TEEP AT THE PIXIES.
48 Joan seized
a long broom, wlilcli stood near lier chair,
about which was twisted a live snake; and flourishing
over Will's head, exclaimed "
For weal or for woe for blessing or ban Old Joan keeps her word to woman or man." ;
The bargain was
thus sealed; and no sooner was
than such a strange combination of noises
as never the like
The owls hooted;
the cat set up a caterwauling, the mice squeaked, the toad croaked, the snake hissed, and half a dozen of black hens
from some unobserved nook; these
surrounded Will, ai^d made such a cackling as nothing
could be compared to
for discordant sounds.
My family bid you welcome," said old Joan "and now for your promise, you must fulfil that given to me; and if you go well through it, and never flinch, then a "
supper and a bed shall be Tintagel,
yours, such as
when he makes merry
given to you or yours.
would never have
proof of your mettle,
you be a man." Here Will's father would again have interposed but old Joan very unceremoniously swept her broom across his
when he endeavoured
She then bade him the fire; and gave in chair near a sit down and be quiet him the assurance that, if he did not play the fool and
could not understand a word he
his son, he should presently have a good supper; but, if he disturbed her again, she vowed she would turn him out, as the bluff Baron had done, to
meddle with her and
â€” THE THREE TRIALS; wander
in the dark
midst of the storm.
obeyed, though rekictantly, for indeed he could not help himself; and seeing into
had brought him, he thought
a house his son's it
best to be quiet, for fear of
enraging so wicked and so powerful a witch as old Joan.
She now proceeded First she
drew a large
with white chalk round
She next loosed the snake from her broomstick,
beast, almost as big as
may now be
seen at the Zoological
But Will Penruffin, the sturdy
arm and let the creature twist round Joan laughed like a wild cat as she so well obeyed; and raising her skinny
and bold, held out at its
became a monstrous
gardens in a glass
and bade Will to sooner had the
round his arm.
within the it
to hold his peace as
own will. commands
hand, with the forefinger extended, so as to be in a direct line opposite the snake's head, said " Draco, Draco, well
thumb and draw
Will the bold, with a firm countenance and without
altering his position, suffered
open his huge mouth,
plunge his fangs into the fleshy part of his thumb.
The hag clapped her hands fl.inching
caught the snake upon
joy at the sight of his un-
before he could inflict a second
â€”â€” A PEEP AT THE
She looked round, and observing Will's father shaking and trembling in every limb, shrunk into
dashed at the
and told him that he was an old floor,
She next turned
harmless snake from a viper.
stamped her foot on the
fool not to
" Little Lynx, little Lynx,
Come through Immediately a
through a hole in the door.
creature was not
than seven or eight inches high, with wings like a gnat,
a curly poll,
which looked more
with a very queer and comical face; black,
bird than hair,
sharp eyes, like those of a mouse; being quite naked, and
behind, that he whisked and
twisted about at pleasure.
pretty Pixy," said old Joan.
thou there?" " Fern-seed, night-shade,
The witch snatched them from
the Pixy's tiny hand " This is
bade him begone, and gave them to Penruffin. thy reward for obeying
was of a more mysterious kind former. Again old Joan enjoined Will neither to the than offer the least resistance whatever should move nor to Having said this, she called aloud betide him. to come/' she said.
Crabby Cross, Crabby Cross,
to Will's loss."
THE THREE TRIALS; Anotlier
Pixy appeared of a
ance tliau his brother. child
more strange appear-
had the face of an ill-disposed His small legs and thighs were
round but roguish.
tail, though short, was more bushy than that of little Lynx, and he had the wings of a No sooner had bat, both on his shoulders and at his heels.
over with hair; his
he appeared than he alighted the witch
catching hold of
at once it
on the broomstick of
his tiny fat fingers,
whirled himself round, and round, and ronnd
fun, so that
Pixy, shook hira
dazzled Will's eyes only to see
did not enjoy this sport so
and sent him tumbling upon the
He would have
got a severe
two other Pixies, till that moment unseen, rushed forward and bore him up among them as their leader and or
Joan ordered him
seated himself at once
token of obedience
a spring and
upon her shoulder, and received
whisper her commands. heals, in
to leave off his antics
gave three tumbles, head over
through the key-hole, followed by
his train of attendant
than a minute, there came a great bounce against
the door, and in the Pixies rolled a large bee-hive, which
had been taken from the cottage garden. Crabby Cross, assisted by his fellows, seized upon an old kettle that stood in the chimney noOk, whilst little Lynx and two or three dozen more snatched up old Joan's
heavily burthened, assisted by a whole
and though thus
of Pixies, they
A PEEP AT THE
absolutely stuck the old kettle on tke top of Will Pen-
and there began
upon it with might swarm upon Will's face
and the bees began
and head in such a manner that notwithstanding
courage he gave himself up for a dead man. But convinced she was obeyed, and that Will would really die before he spoke, the hag bade Crabby Cross desist; and at her bidding, kettle, ladle, bees
and hive were
they had been moved on.
And now came
sturdy Will. "
Chick Pick, Chick Pick, come and soon,
Penruffin ride with thee.
Over the land, over the sea. he flinch, or if he fear. Let the winds toss him far and near 'With dead men's bones and sticks of yew,' Beat him, pinch him, black and blue." If
" We'll beat him, pinch him, black and blue," was the
chorus echoed from a thousand
leader of these was a fat black hen, which, like the
little throats, to this comand in came such a troop of hens and never before was seen.
of old Joan
no sooner entered within the charmed
wretches, some with heads like those of old men, others with
some with wings of birds, others with those of or gnats; and a thousand other winged all gathered round Will, and fairly pushed him
on the hen's back;
he was obliged to
THE THREE TRIALS
THE THREE TRIALS; for safety; as,
most marvellous of
the cottage window, which
beings, they passed through
never even touching
she dashed through
the ease imaginable,
he neither saw
and though she and Will were two such large
Will's old father did not
nor their return, so frightened
Will himself afterwards declared that he
really could not very well
remember where he had
though he was not without a suspicion he had, in that brief ascended above the storm and the clouds which hunj;
over Tintagel, and had a peep at the
was, as he described him, an old gentleman with a long
white beard, and everything about him seemed made of
supposed, but could not take upon
with certainty, that a moon-beam had been caught in
way, as when the black hen brought him down again and whisked him once more in safety through the window; this
he (Will) unquestionably had a moon-beam in his cap,
which old Joan took intention to put
he thought, with the
was so well pleased with his courage
having kept his word
that she desired
obey her in three things,
charmed herbs, brought thumb, which immediately her bidding, washed his face with
to apply the to his bitten
the dew, also given with the herbs by the Pixy, so that not
a sting from a bee remained to give the fern-seed, he cast
that to_the great black
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
which brought him back again and she fell to picking it up and eating it so heartily, that whilst she was thus en;
gaged he slipped
back without damage; and then
and she returned
he led her
to her natural size
few seeds beyond the
artfully scattering a
and cackled off in quest of her chickens.
And now came
Old Joan was not worse
than her word, as he had kept
She gave him and his
father a fine fat goose for supper; delicately cooked Pixies, with apple sauce.
and came dairy maid of the West of
formed of rennet and cream,
from the hand of the daintiest
Old Penruffin was
his nervous frights
was added a pie
rooks, a favourite dish in Devonshire;
as nice a junket
with hearty good
so well regaled that
and drank Joan's health nice a mug of mead, the pro-
will, in as
duct of her bees of the former year, as ever was tasted.
The supper ended,
bed, on a large heap of clean straw, as rest
as comforatble a
could desire to
Will Penruffin's nerves were a
shaken by his midnight journey on the hen's back, and he could not immediately
asleep, according to custom, as
soon as he laid his head on the pillow, old Joan resolved to
At her soothe and to compose him to rest with melody. command, the bellows began blowing a soft and gentle air, as the kitchen
door creaked to a perfect tune, the cuckoo
clock set to playing, and the wind came the
Will was the music.
the most plaintive and drowsy sounds.
and charmed that he soon out-snored
â€” THE THREE TRIALS
Morning came; a clear, bright, beautiful morning; and welcome it was after so stormy a night. No sooner did the fixst beams of the sun tip the clouds with red and gold, and make the blue sky look even more lovely than it naturally did by force of contrast, than Will; who was still fast asleep, felt his nose tweaked in a very queer way; whilst his mouth (which he had been sleeping with wide open) was tickled inside as if by a hair; and his ears pulled for him in right good earnest. Scarcely awake, he put up both hands, and rubbed his eyes; and in doing so, to his extreme surprise, pushed off
sides of a
his nose kicking
he had been laying his heels into the
gentleman was very dapper,
being dressed in a green cloak and hood, very like a peascod; with a white cap, resembling a pea blossom, upon his
His face was gay
head, altogether very trim and pretty.
he wore moustachios on his upper
was a free air about him, and a dash of the saucy fellow. His under clothes were tight to his shape but with a little ;
hole behind for the convenience of swinging carelessly his tail,
which was curly and
other Pixies were less
well looking, clothed and
singing in their small squeaking
Will, off the
is a-bed, and up is the sun ; Get up, Peurufl&n, and have your fun."
awake, obeyed the summons
Pixy company, who took
â€” A PEEP AT THE
the keyLole, tliey went to announce to old Joan
that her guest
dame regaled him and
bowl of milk fresh from the cow, and some hot cakes baked on the hearth, no doubt by the Pixies. Their meal ended, both father and son were about to depart, but as they would not be ungrateful for their good
father with a
cheer, they proceeded to offer their thanks to old their
old Joan bade Will put his
pocket of his vest before he departed
he instantly obeyed
her command, when what was his surprise to find in purse
with several pieces of gold coin, as bright as
just struck at the king's mint.
the purse to
count the contents, for he was desirous to ascertain the
his riches, out
Cross, as queer-
The Pixy thus
looking, with as roguish an air as ever.
addressed Penruffin, as he stood for a minute on the pieces
of gold which Will held in the open palm of his hand "
trials you bore for your supper and bed Without sign of fear or feeling of dread Old Joan keeps her word for blessing or ban, And with gold thus rewards a bold and brave man."
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON; OR,
TUE STORY OF PIXY PICKET.
about to relate occurred soon after
was slain in the Bosworth Field; and the Earl Richmond, who of of
that cruel king, the crook-backed Richard, battle
the day, ascended the throne of England, as Henry,
the seventh of that name.
During the wars which ended in being so wicked a
his downfall, Richard,
was joined by many men
low degree, who were also very wicked. was Randolph Rowle, who, for the brutality of his disposition, was commonly called Randolph the Ruffian. He had served for many years under the late King Henry the Sixth, and (though it was never proved against him) was strongly suspected, on account of his of high and
hard-heartedness, of having been chosen
smothering the poor
one of the little
in the Tower.
before this he had married a
young woman of
who was much
native town, Tiverton, in Devonshire,
used her very
and though he had
seven children, none of them lived to be a year old. Strange things were said about the
they came by their deaths.
Their poor mother, whose
Bridget, had a very tender heart, and grieved
A PEEP AT THE
for the loss of her babes, as
PIXIES. as she rejoiced
her husband went away to the wars and
her at home;
had a little quiet, with nobody to beat and illBut as her husband took with him all the little she had gained in money by working hard to help her neighbours, and even deprived her of what wheat she had stored up by gleaning in the fields, she was very poor and needy. The last time he went away was to fight in Bosworth Field; and then he left her with only seven eggs in the world to live upon and these she had concealed in an for then she
cracked oaken bowl that stood in a dark place in the
to her troubles, her
off laying eggs.
In the evening of the day of Randolph's departure,
the Avinds were blowing and the rain beating in heavy
showers against her cottage window, Bridget wood-fire
accompanied by a gentle tapping in haste, for she fancied this
bread, she would gladly share
must be the cry of some
she had but a crust of
with any poor soul
So she opened the door
and what she should
kind was her heart that
never cried to her in vain, for
Suddenly she heard a moaning without,
to help herself
a few sticks which she had collected in
the forest, thinking upon her hard
who came seen,
dressed almost in rags, dripping wet and shivering with cold. It
be a child, and a very small one, with a
face, a curly poll, a
snub nose, and blue cunning
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTOX, eyes, but very sparkling
for all the
world like a
wet rags and the either, for
old child, neither one thing
that very pretty."
a horse after a heat, and got
head, yet the
This done she
sat as well,
chimney corner; and she if never a broken leg had
was Picket, and
said that she
in the dark,
declared herself to be very hungry.
half, in the
in her dripping clothes,
one down on the low
not once rocking, as
been under her.
but never once smoked
set the little
with two legs and a
the wet from
of the petticoat remained bone dry,
she took the urchin to the
they dried in a
As to the know what to think of wiped down the creature's locks
and looked cleaner and better than when
hair, she did not
she told the story: so she used to say
nor the other, and yet for
But the most strange
was that there was a look of a
which Bridget did not know very well how to
a sigh to think
she had to offer,
but she took from the cracked bowl in the cupboard one of the seven eggs, and asked
she would like to
more eggs was
in the world.
" Six more eggs so
boiled or roasted, telling her that six
brothers and sisters
said the child, " then pray,
them to me; at home, and
very hungry;" and,
A PEEP AT THE
like Wordswortli's little girl, she
â€” " 'We
and we have neither father nor mother, and don't know what to do for a supper. So give the seven eggs to me, and I will begone, for the rain is over, and I can see through the window the moon above the clouds, and I shall now be able to find my way home, and my brothers and sisters
I will all
ceremony, the forward tied
So without waiting
thing took the seven eggs^ and
in a bit of a rag that she
like a cloak
about her. " You are welcome to the eggs, my dear," said the goodnatured Bridget, " and as for your poor little brothers and sisters, I
them very much.
makes me cry
hear their number; for I have lost seven dear babes myself,
and am now a childless woman." She wiped her eyes as she spoke, and told the little girl that if ever she could serve her, or her brothers and sisters, in any way, though she was very poor, she would never refuse to
child seemed very sensible of her kindness;
asked her what would
the most happy in the
" To have just such a pretty to look quite so
sooner had she
creature began to
than the strange
jump and leap about in
thought she would break cloak
a Avay that Bridget
the eggs she had in her
and then she laughed and began
towards the door, whisked out of
â€” THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTOX. scarcely
liow, singing very gaily tliese
"Seven given in charity Seven shall return to thee, In a hopeful progeny."
surprise, and did not know She crossed herself and blessed
bed in a very doubtful frame of mind.
The next morning when glitter in her old shoe^
she got up, she saw something
Next the hen
a piece of silver coin, fresh
as if just
saluted her ears with the greatest
cackling and ran about the yard, as if half
Bridget found she had laid an egg, and so the fowl continued to
do every day
for her to
till there were and then she reared
seven of the finest that ever were seen.
yet to be told.
A few months after all this had happened, as Eandolph Eowle was one day returning home, his absence having been shorter than usual, he observed a great many people,
young and old, about his house, all talking, moving, lifting up their hands and eyes, as if in amazement. The stir and bustle
for all the
in the village
seemed assembled together.
the matter?" inquired Eandolph
" Are you
as he apgone mad to-day, or what
my door?" " 0, Master Eandolph Eowle, don't you
has happened that you so beset
to pass?" said a neighbour.
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
Lunnun with some
" I have been up to
old fellows at arms to try to get
new king, but he will not home again, and nothing better
taken into the service of the
have us; and
exclaimed one of the
Master Randolph Rowle, you are the luckiest
in the world; there never
was such a thing known or
heard of before." " You '11 be the envy of half the great barons and ladies in the county," said a '^
You'll be talked of
"For what?" tongues that run
said an old one.
enough, but will not one of you
exclaimed Randolph. fast
me what all this is about?" " And such a blessing upon your head," said an old grandmother who was present. " And I hope you will remember the poor neighbours who first told you of it," said another speaker; " and will give me something to drink your health with, for I am quite ready to do a neighbour's part."
hope you'll give us
something to drink your
health with, and to bring good luck on your roof, for as
many more so they
blessings every year," said another gossip.
went on chattering
Randolph grew angry
was about. walking
were stunned with twenty
talking together, whilst he
knew not what
he grew rough, and
he held in his
up a great hand, vowed he would lifting
â€” THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. clear his door of
once, and in plain terms,
if they would not what had happened.
advanced, inclined her
spread out her two hands open before her,
looked up in his
said in a sort of scream, indica-
tive of an excess of joyous congratulation
Why, Randolph Rowle, this it be then. You be man in all the new king's kingdom you be
father of seven children, all alive
you will give me something to buy spoons, I stand godmother to them all myself. Joy, joy Hurra, hurra!" to you, Randolph Rowle! " And pray give something to wet the throats of us gossips, for bringing you the good news," and all the women, old and young, huddled round him^ each claiming the same time; and
a reward for herself, for having been the it,
and give him joy.
hands up to his
instinctively put his
neither seemed overjoyed, nor at
gladdened, as any
honest father would have been at the hearing of such a piece of
in one day.
rather looked vexed and angry about
luck, as having seven babies born to
and protesting that not the cackling of the geese on the
common, nor the the
his senses as their tongues;
in the plainest staff,
the cats in the village, nor
of the bee-hives^ could so vex his ears and
he gave the old crone who had
the news a poke with his
kicked and pushed the others aside with heels and
elbows, it after
made his way within him in all their faces.
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
Eandolpli found dressed in
wife sitting up, quite well, nicely-
was by her
nicest cradle, covered with a white satin quilt,
seven sweet pretty babies, just as
as like the
had ever worn.
neatest clothes she
one to the other
pats of butter.
sight of so
be very angry; and without giving one kind word, or even look, to his wife, he said, in a rough voice and manner, '.'
and to keep
me day and
stay here; I will not
night working for them, and
do no such thing.
so fine as my lady the Countess of Devon, xnp at the Castle; and white satin, too, thrown over this bundle of kittens. How comes all this? I don't understand it."
am sure, I can't tell you, husband," said Bridget, know is, that neither the clothes, nor the cradle, nor
the white satin quilt cost us the smallest bit of money; for I
by the bed-side when
on waking from the
babes were born.
I got after the dear
for the love
saints, don't call these seven sweet, pretty, dear, beautiful â€˘little
will live to be
they are made Christians, I hope they
comfoii, to you.
give tliem a father's blessing, and be thankful for having seven of them
sent all at one time to
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. " I bless tliem
what? For bringing
instead of one.
worms; wretches were
can't feed babes as thrushes do their young, with
that these seven little
food for them in the church-yard." " Randolph, don't say such a wicked thing, for fear the roof should
us and crush us both with
think such an unnatural wish should come from
the lips of a father,
babes day and night to maintain them.
them myself living.
they are old enougli to get their
So do now be a good man
Randolph looked down upon the poor innocents sleeping the cradle, but with no relenting expression. He spoke
not a word. " Don't they look just like so
daisies, sweet, pretty
dears," said Bridget, her admiration of her little
her with the
progeny and only poetical mode of
speech she ever ventured to use in the presence of her
answered her by calling her a
pains; and, without stopping to say another word, left the
cottage and went in search of old Pancras Cole, the
of the evil eye, as she was called,
lived in a lonely hut
by the road-side near the neighbouring forest. It was said that, when she had nothing else to do, she Avould amuse herself by taking a seat on a rock by the way-side, and there would work some spell to the injury of every traveller mounted on horse-back who refused to give her money;
A PEEP AT THE
66 tliat slie
his horse stumble or
throw the rider
before he got to his journey's end.
had, on more occasions than the present, been seen to seek
or his passions, like her own, were
Pancras Cole Avas seated on the rock as he approached her.
She was dressed in an
cloak, with a
hood thrown over her head, leaving the face and forehead uncovered. She had the most formidable aspect. Though seated, she appeared to be a very tall woman, strong and robust, with the muscles of her
arms so marked, that they
looked almost like whip-cords drawn round them.
were quite bare nearly up
was thrown back.
to her shoulders, for her cloak
was dark, her eyes
and she had a black beard on the upper
and would have been a great improvement She to her, had she sent for the village barber to shave it. was leaning on her staff, and seemed to be looking out for a comer, when Randolph approached. Before he could dark
about the chin;
speak, she thus greeted him. "
Dogs have whelps more than
Kittens have their deaths unheeded.
should seven make thee
Babes they are, and all thine own. Seven in a basket heap them, Seven let the river keep them. !
" Good," said Randolph the I never differ in our *'
" Mother, you and
of acting," exclaimed Pancras Cole, " but
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. you would
must be done before the moon wanes toAnd more than that, Kandolph Eowle/'
she added, " follow stout sword
and good pay
and bread and
would go below the earth and tahe service with that dark gentleman you serve so well upon it, mother, for such guerdon as you tell me of," said I
the reprobate Kandolph, with a grin which was the nearest
approach to a smile his countenance ever assumed.
flinch in the matter."
" Go and take service with the Baron La Zouch, who was King Richard's friend," said the hag. " He has been fined heavily, and his castle seized, for serving the dead king but the living one has granted him pardon for his life, and he is about to thank King Henry for it as I would have him. He is secretly drawing together a band of discontented men, and stirring up some of the great barons against him. I have given him my blessing. If this treason thrives, you will be a made man, Randolph Rowle. Go before the moon wanes to-morrow night, and, by the power of my art, I foresee you will be taken into his ;
the seven imps at
?" said the profane Ran-
this," replied old
and she rose up
and whispered something in Randolph's her arm^ and pointed with her opposite direction
ear, then raised " skinny finger" in an
and, bidding the evil one prosper
A PEEP AT THE
left liim to liiraself,
and shut the door after her. Now, ray young friends, you want said to him. But how can I tell you ? to hear
In the days of which flies,
I write, there
were neither stage-
gigs, 'nor rail-roads.
generally travelled on horse-back
subject of that whisper to
But, perhaps, the next event in
one was there
quite impossible that I can be acquainted
enable us to guess what
Rowle ever made known the
into tlie cottage,
and that through such
was long before Mr.
they seldom made a journey of any distance, unless com-
pelled so to do.
generally contented themselves, if
they lived in the country, with riding about hunting and
There were, also, no newswhat with the want of such coaches and rail-roads, and newspapers, news of any kind travelled slowly and an event which was very stirring in one village might not be known in the next for some days, This I tell you, my young friends, or even weeks, after. in order to account for Randolph Rowle's good luck, in their
papers in those days
girls all at once,
not being so speedily
much known in the neighbourhood as the gossips round his door, who wanted to get some money from him, or so
the time of
was a certain Countess of
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. Devon, a widow, wliose son was a care of a
boy, and under the
at Winclaester Scliool.
he sliould be of
age to take possession of them himself;
and she lived
took charge of
always in one or the other of these strongholds.
which had been built early in the twelfth century. It stood on the north side of the market-town of Tiverton and to this day, though but a portion of its ruins are in existence, it forms an object of curiosity with the traveller and the antiquary. The ruins consist of a large gateway and some strong towers and walls, partially overgrown with ivy. was,
a very noble residence,
Just before the opening of
the Countess had
been much annoyed by a law-suit, commenced against herself set
son by the wicked Baron
most unjust claim
he had a
to Tiverton Castle, pretending
the lands on which
a great deal of time
La Zouch, who
and money spent
and the Countess remained
no purpose, he
in full possession of the
In the times of which I write, the town and neio-hbourhood of Tiverton were different in many respects to what they now are. A large park and forest belonging to the Earls of Devon formed part of the castle domain, and the
woods that have long since been destroyed, would now be in vain to seek for the spot where the good and pious Countess of Devon erected a little
river ran through so that
chapel or oratory, to which she was fond of retiring to
pray and meditate, without being disturbed by any of her
A PEEP AT THE
numerous household or guests. The chapel was some distance from the castle, but she took a pleasure in walking to
alone early of a morning.
In one of these walks, she came suddenly npon a
who was just
about turning into a narrow path, which led
through the wood to the river. a basket, and that
would pass her
She observed he was carrying
when he saw
moved down his load for a he knew who she was,
then he stood back, then he
forward again, and though he put
minute to doff his cap to her,
yet he snatched the basket up again in a very hasty manner,
he had hardly the
so desirous to get on, that
patience to let her pass.
" Good man," said the Countess,
something very strange in
" what makes you in
such a hurry, and what have you there in that basket?" " Whelps, my lady, whelps.^^ " Whelps
said the Countess. "
They are not worth looking at, my lady," replied the man; '^ they are only puppies not worth the rearing." " And what are you going to do with them?" inquired *'
" Drown them,
into the river; such
whelps are not worth the rearing." " I will see them," said the Countess.
" Put the basket
down." " They are
own, and I have a right to do what I " If I open the
please with them," muttered the man. basket, they'll
out and run away^ and I
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. them
to spare to catch
with that he attempted to push past her in a very
But this purpose was not so easily effected. The Counthough alone, was not unattended; she had hy her side a guard who understood and obeyed the slightest sign she gave him of her pleasure.
" Seize him,
accompanied by a
motion of her hand, caused a noble bloodhound in a mo-
to ily at the fellow,
the struggle his foot slipped, and he
him by fell
on the ground, striking the back of
with some violence
head against the
The fellow was somewhat stunned by the blow. The Countess, whose command over her dog was no less surprising than his intelligence in obeying her, now made some sign, and the roots of an oak-tree that crossed the path.
hound held the man by the
throat, but without throttling
him. In another
she removed the lid from the basket;
speak her surprise,
on beholding what
Seven sweet beautiful
then met her eyes!
all put together with their heads uppermost, like birds in a nest, and some opening their mouths, as if asking for food,
like those birds,
from their dams.
wicked man!" said the Countess.
shall not escape
people shall teach
murder can neither be intended nor domain without chastisement."
the seven babies began to cry, and
A PEEP AT THE
the Countess became sorely embarrassed wliat to do, between
her desu'e to save the children, and to detain the
would have destroyed them.
were, she justly judged, of the
time was to be in
want of bread-pap.
lives of the
consequence; and no
they seemed very hungry, and
She, therefore, at once put the lid
on the basket, but found she could not carry
Calling oiF Harold from the man, she bade the
dog take one handle in his mouth, whilst she held the other, and in this way proposed to carry it between them But the noble hound, who seemed on that to the castle. morning to possess even more than his accustomed intelligence, relieved her by taking at once the basket in his mouth, and without any help whatever, wagged his tail, and trotted off with it towards the castle.
The Countess such a ruffian raising
feared to remain without her guard, near
and observing that the fellow was now
himself up from the ground, she said to him,
and be thankful that you have been prevented
doing a most cruel deed," and followed the dog
as fast as
her steps could carry her.
The Countess of Devon
truly did a
the lives of Eandolph Eowle's seven poor
the wicked purpose of their unnatural father.
knew what became
found out the mother, and was very kind to her
much had ill
Bridget fretted for the
enquiries, she ;
of her babes, and so
had she been used by her husband, that her health failed Seeing this, and thinking it not safe that
her very much.
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. the poor
remain where so cruel a husband
likely to return
some day or other
to molest her,
the Countess persuaded Bridget to go to a distance, and
recommended her to the abbess of a convent in Cornwall, where she might make herself useful in household work to help the nuns.
Bridget agreed to the proposal castle,
and, before she
took leave of her seven sweet babies very affection-
and the Countess made the poor woman quite happy, would do all for the dear little
assuring her that she
creatures just the
She kept her word an education
they were children of her own.
the last chapter.
and gave them
had passed away
since the events related in
Countess' son had
to travel for the
for the first ladies in the land.
grown up a man, his mind and
good lady-mother in the
of his castle of Tiverton, where she liked principally
The Countess now began
to consider that
time for her seven daughters, as she
Katherine, Margaret, Mabel, Alice, Isabel, and Ursula, to see something of the world, and be introduced into com-
pany, so that they might appear balls she often
at the castle.
grand dinners and
The Countess always
A PEEP AT THE
upon it to and the poor Avere
a great feast
not forgotten on so joyous an occasion. absent to
True, he was
but she loved him so dearly, that she determined
feast just as usual
as it so
she preserved the seven children on
her son's birth-day, she determined to
a festival of
more than usual splendour. So grand was everything to be, with such plenty of good cheer, that it took a whole month to prepare for the day. "When it came at last, on the 15th of July, though it was St. Swithin's day, not a drop of rain fell and the sun shone out so bright, and ;
with such a
full face, as if
he could never
and giving a warm welcome to the
Everything was ready
the Countess sat at the head of a
long table in the old castle
and pages, were her seven
daughters, the children of adoption, sat by
her, four on the right,
Knights, ladies, esquires,
present in their gayest attire
and three on the
the one from the other,
dressed in white satin, and could only be
variety in colour of the
knots of ribband which they wore upon their bosoms.
much, indeed, were they found
brown curly lilies
to distinguish them.
and necks and cheeks
hair, fine blue eyes,
alike, that the
Beautiful as they were, they were quite
they were beautiful
only contest they ever had
so grateful, that the
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVEETON.
do most to oblige and serve the good lady who had been to them all such a good friend and benefactress. It was really a very pretty sight, to see both them and sliould
out with festoons of flowers
gaily the tables
the cups of
wine and mead went sparkling round the board. It was cheering to hear with what a shouting the healths of the Countess of Devon, her absent son, and her seven fair daughters, were given in the hall, as the old harper struck
harp and sang to
echo again with
which made the old roof
Just as the harper was concluding his song, the horn,
which hung at the castle gates to announce the arrival of any one who desired admission, sounded loud and long. The Countess was surprised^ as all the guests of any consequence she had invited were already arrived, and seated al the table, and for no common person would the horn blow after that fashion. A page ran in haste up to his mistress^ and begged her to go to the window, which looked towards the lono- avenue that led to the
and she would see a sight that would surprise her. The Countess and her seven young ladies, none of whom were wanting in curiosity, did as they were advised to do, and ran to the window, and there saw what I really do not
to describe, so glorious
There appeared, coming along the Avenue, a sort of small open car, so white and dazzling that it looked as if made of ivory and silver. It was drawn by four creamcoloured ponies, but not larger than ordinary sized dogs.
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
harness they had about
them was composed of gold and
and on their heads, and
animals had bunches of flowers
pink, and green ribbands.
each wearing such shining dresses, that I can particularize them,
men on foot,
were seen around the
each carried a javelin in one hand, and a across his shoulders.
at their ears, the
was quite evident,
acted as soldiers.
In front of this guard of honour, walked the musicians;
they were very queer and whimsical in their appearance, dresses,
but some among them looked old and ugly; and each
played the fiddle had carved on the top of his instrua face resembling his
were Jew's harps, and
all its ugliness.
of old broom sticks; which was the more
where everything was
seemed to be formed out extraordinary
Several pot-lids were used
by way of cymbals; and the leader of the band, a very pompous little fellow, wearing what was in his day a novelty, a full-bottomed wig, carried a salt-box under his
arm, and played upon set
with great taste and expression
of performers on the marrow-bones and
the finest in Europe, completed the band.
In the car was seated a lady, so very splendidly dressed that to look at her as
the beams of the sun
they did on her coming into the court of the
as trying to the eyes, as it reflects the sun's rays.
was upon water, when it a nearer view, it was seen that
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. altlioiigli
she was loaded with jewels, she wore nothing
of ornament but what in form resembled some object
was made by a row of golden-crested
were of diamonds, and the
gold formed the crown of the birds of each was a
collar of the richest
of the thinest silver tissue ;
whilst round the neck
a robe lined with
the white and glossy plumage from the breast of the swan.
the back of her car sat seven ladies, her maids of
honour, each carried something in her hand over which
was thrown a white napkin probably to conceal it from common gaze. There were at least one hundred knights ;
squires, all in the
armour, and the richest velvets and jewels, and helmets and bonnets, with diamond and emerald ornaments; and white
plumes drooping over their heads. The Countess was lost in wonder; but nothing in this splendid sight so much surprised her as to see
very small were
the car, and the horses.
they really looked just like a
In point of
set of little children
kings and queens, surrounded by their court.
But there they were; and the only probable conjecture make was that they must be people from one of those strange and little known countries, over seas, in the eastern part of the world, which neither in size nor in any thing else resembled the nations of Europe. She had often heard poor pilgrims, who go about from castle to
the Countess could
castle telling the
wonders they have seen in their
speak of such beings.
A PEEP AT THE
perhaps he had visited the court of some Prince of this description,
and might have recommended him with several
of his chief nobility, or probably, his Queen, to
journey to England, and to
around her ; and they opinion.
visit his motlier at
what she thought
fancied she must be right in her to give the stranger a very
some and ceremonious reception. The grand little lady gave her hand to the chamberlain of the castle, who bent down to accommodate his height to hers, as he handed her from her car. All the pages and gentlemen present followed his example in paying their respects to the maids of also
shewed the most
and many of the household
civil attention to the
and their diminutive horses.
The grand lady
entered the hall.
length the whole of the directed the
master of the salt-box to slop the band, as she was about to
make a The
speech, and to salute the Countess of Devon.
and ventured *'
by her seven daughters, redais. She bade the who came about as high as her knee, welcome
lady standing on the
to ask her
name and her
but with a very sweet smile, lest
Princess Picket," she replied, with great dignity; as if to reassure the Countess,
the announcement of the very high rank of her guest
should be too
was then con-
ducted to the foot-stool that stood before the chair of
which was too high for her to reach, and seated upon the stool: the maids of honour stood around her, in respectful observance of her pleasure.
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. The Countess,
which she did not refuse. A nice Httle table was brought in, and many dainties placed upon it. The Princess Pickett and her ladies pulled and and her party
to take refresliment,
picked a few pieces with their fingers; but seemed to like
nothing so well that they
a jimket that
their might, lapped the
and soon emptied the dish and called
gentlemen of the Princess'
at the long board in the hall;
serving them, for they were not
as the readiest
to very heartily
on the good cheer, and did not spare the wines.
indeed, so far forgot themselves, as to take rather too
and more than one had
excited peals of laughter
who was very
like riot in her attendants
that night, and
tumble on the
which only But the Prin-
would not sanction anything
and saying she had
far to travel
must be gone, directed her people
for her departure.
She then rose and very politely complimented the Countess on her fair
of hers, and was
and on the grace and beauty of her seven
said plainly, they
astonished to find that the Princess
perfectly well their history,
added, she was aware the lady of the castle on that day celebrated the anniversary of her son's
being also the day of her having,
fifteen years before,
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
good a deed
poor babes might truly
Before her departure, she wished to give to
each young lady some token of her regard
and a word of She waved her hand to them gracefully and the girls instantly threw themselves at her feet and declared their readiness to obey her commands. ;
She bade them
Princess Pickett was satisfied.
speaking apart to her maids of honour, they also prepared to fulfil her orders.
hand of her
took her station on the right-
mistress, as she
one of the
to approach her.
Patience stepped forward.
Princess then took from
the hands of her attendant a beautiful curly ears, and presenting
dog with long
to Patience, said
" Fidele take —his watchful ear
Will ne'er be closed when danger's near."
She next ordered Katharine
something from another of her ladies in waiting, presented to this sister a small beautifully-carved ivory
hand, the fingers
of which were rather bent towards the thumb. cess
Doubt not your way by day or night This ivory hand wiU guide you right."
exactly the same ceremonies, to each of the five
phial, with these
" Take, then, this wine
hath a power
in sleep for one whole hova\"
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON.
It was in a Mabel could not help expressing her admiration of the gift in a few words of
but scarcely larger than a wren.
pretty cage with
thankful delight. its
Princess, as she put the cage with
feathered tenant into her hand, said "Safely and swiftly through the air
This faithful bird will letter bear."
Alice came next at her desire.
Princess gave her
a very plain key, suspended on a ring of gold, with these
"Through every door
Will give escape or entrance free."
Isabel she presented
gift, a little
better than a bundle of
what was apparently a very
parcel of dried herbs that looked no
Princess smiled as if
but she said as she smiled "The
at receiving so
of sharpest steel,
Sword, spear, or shaft, this herb
Ursula next advanced blushing, and in such a tremor she could hardly stand in so august a presence. cess graciously reassured her,
and with much condescension
gave her a small but elegantly formed lute with these words
"A lute can charm the bosom rude, When passion 's in its fiercest mood."
As if inspired by some powerful last gift. which encompassed them, and was quite irresistible,
This was the spell
A PEEP AT THE
82 the seven
sisters fell at tlie
to dedicate to her at
any time in which she might need had received.
Princess Picket was well pleased with their modest
and took her leave both of them
dutiful behaviour, all
Countess of Devon's
their services, the gifts they
present with her accustomed dignity.
and commanded her band
into her car,
to give a parting
token of respect to the Countess, by playing one of their
most impressive airs. The Jews' harp, the marrow-bones and cleavers, and the other instruments, led by the salt-box. struck up " Polly put the kettle on," which tune probably not even Sir Henry Bishop himself, with
knowledge date, as to
have been performed in such a presence, and by
such a distinguished
of musicians as those described
in this veritable history. It
after this eventful day, that the
her old enemy, the Baron La Zouch. lawyers, who, in the
anew the wicked
Deserted by the
had urged him on to
the law-suit, in the hope of gaining the lands, he
determined to have no more to do with such deceivers. said they took his
his cause just as
was before he had anything to do with them. Now the Baron La Zouch was a bold man and very fond of fighting, and so he called his archers and all his merry men about him, and told them that if they would follow him and storm the castle of Tiverton, that was his by right, and if it
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTOX. tliey beat tlie
Countess of Devon's
her guards, he would allow them as soon as they
got possession to share the gold and silver cups and spoons
among them, and to all
and help themselves
the wines and strong ale they could find in them.
The Baron's men were very for like their master, they
well pleased with the projjosal,
were no better than thieves: and
so they set forward to the storming of Tiverton castle. I will not detain you,
the particulars of the siege.
with a relation
It Avas a
So many men were collected in the
surrounding woods, that there was scarcely a branch of a tree,
but a nodding plume, or a helmet, or the glitter of a
cap was seen under
in the effort
There was a
the besiegers to storm the outward
and to gain access to the castle by crossing the moat or ditch by which it was surrounded. When that was gained by the enemy, there was such a blowing of bugles and sounding of trumpets, and whizzing of arrows, and twanging of crossbows; such a rolling down of stones barriers
and hot pitch from the battlements of the besiegers,
castle on the and such a shouting and a calling and a banging
with swords and axes about each other's heads
and such a
clashing of shields, that never was anything like
in battles or in tournaments.
each other for gain, or for amusement,
at last the besiegers
Baron La give over the contest and draw off
lost their lives
so that the
Zouch was obliged to men, leaving the Countess of Devon, who had sustained
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
in full possession of her castle, lier gold
cups and spoons, and
Thus defeated in law and in arms, the Baron La Zouch was nevertheless determined not to give over annoying the Covmtess; and thinking that as her son was absent over seas, if
he could but get rid of such a spirited woman, he
should soon possess himself of the
have recourse offered
La Zouch was
So wicked was he, that he
either openly or
he determined to
own people a reward in who would kill the Countess,
the worst of his
gold to any one of them
a violent ;
means he could
man, but even
so that the plots
he was desirous to carry reached the ears of the
All her seven daughters became very watchful
and anxious about her; indeed,
so did her
people generally, for she was a very good mistress over
Every precaution was taken for safety; the drawbridge that crossed the moat was raised every evening before dark, and no one suffered to pass over or to enter into the castle without the warder knowing who he was. One night when the weather was very warm, the Countess, before retiring to bed, opened a window in the room where she slept, which was much larger than castle-win-
dows of the time usually were, but she was very fond of air, and so she had it altered to suit her own
plenty of fresh fancy.
She enquired of her attendant,
room adjoining her
oratory was at his post, as,
ever since these alarms about the Baron, he was so stationed
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF as her
for tlie night.
being informed he was
in case of need, she dismissed her waiting damsel,
retired to rest.
About midnight, the Countess was awakened by a strange The raoon shone brightly, for
sound without the window. it
at the full,
flood of light,
and streamed into the apartment in a
like a child in form,
she fancied she saw a small creature
but not so high
dog which the Princess Picket had given to Patience, and which^ by that alFectionate girFs wish, the Countess had taken to sleep in her bed-chamber ever since she had been frightened about the Baron. She now looked and wondered^ and fancied that she must be the ears of the
The dog growled on having
but did not raise up his nose, which was turned towards his
he lay in a manner rolled up on the rushes
near the bed-side. self if she
But before the lady could
window, and, on looking up, saw,
squeezing himself through
The moon gleamed
he carried in
to her astonishment, a
and getting into her
upon him, and showed
that he wore a steel casque or cap
were waking or sleeping, she heard a noise
something glittered that
moment, before the Countess could spring from her bed, the dog roused up, and barked so furiously, that the man, who had cleared the window and leaped down on the floor, first made at the dog with the intent to silence it. But though he struck at it again and again, the little creature ran round and round and round him in so quick a that
A PEEP AT THE
86 manner, that
could neither strike
another, hindering every attempt he foot to reach the Countess.
before did so insignificant a a ruffian bent
nimble animal flew
He was little
put forward a
amazed, for never
dog become a match
In the interval, the Countess leaped from her bed, and
rushing towards that side of the room where her zealous little
fought so bravely for her defence,
slipped under the arras or tapestry that walls,
opened a secret door which
loose over the
moment called up the page. She told him he was too young and too slight to encounter the armed man, but bade him run and soimd the alarm-bell that was near her another
chamber, and do
all he could to rouse the castle, and call up the guard, who, night and day, were on the watch at the
She was obeyed; and the ruffian, at the very instant the dog was beginning to weary of his contest with him, was taken prisoner. The Countess spared his life, though he deserved to lose it; but she caused him to be chained and put into a dungeon of the castle. There the priest obtained from him a confession he was one of the Baron La Zouch's :
the previous evening he had contrived to de-
ceive the porter, and to pass unsuspected,
when several of wood for fires
the countrymen were bringing great loads of into the castle.
had concealed himself in some
bushes that grew under one of the outer walls; and knowing
and where the Countess
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON.
the assistance of a scaling-ladder he had got in at lior bedroom window, when all her household was at rest. He acknowledged that the little do^^ had been the means of
this, all the bushes which had anywhere grown under the walls were cut down; and the people of the castle became more than ever watchful. At
In consequence of
length the Countess was
relieved by hearing that the Zouch was absent from the country, and had taken with him all his men, except a few that he left to guard his own castle which was far distant from hers. She now thought herself safe for a time; and as she had been very
in the forest
sulting with the priest
confined within her
began to wish
and the captain of the guard, they
as their opinion that the safest
way would be
Countess and one of her daughters to dress themselves very plainly, like their waiting damsels;
without any attendance, as
household going on their market;
go out together
they were merely two of the
whereas did so great a lady go forth with her
accustomed be devised
and some new plan
for her injury.
the Countess and Katherine,
each mounted on a pretty and swift pacing pony, wrapped
around her a plain grey cloak with a hood, and having as
They soon reached
plain a foot cloth, set out for an airing.
entrance of the wood, where so
to the spot at the
years before she
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
basket of live children, she told Ka-
therine that was the place where herself and her sisters had
been saved from a cruel
at the affecting narrative,
The yoving lady shed tears pausing a few moments
to express her sense of thankfulness,
and her determination
to serve her benefactress at the risk of
tinued for some time their ride under the boughs of the
and then a deer bounded across
their path, in
way to join the herd to which he belonged, or to go down to the river's side and slake his thirst from the stream
that ran as clear as a mirror, reflecting in
the woods and the sky,
looked almost like a
Pixy world seen beneath the waters. The birds were singing merrily, and hopping about the grass, or flying from
to bough, as joyous as birds could be.
length, on advancing
more towards the depths of the
who had very
quick eyes and observed
every thing, suddenly drew up her pony by the side of the Countess, and said to her in a hurried manner, " Dear lady,
It is neither safe to
continue on this
road, nor to turn back, for I have looked well about
before I would speak to you, because I would speak with certainty.
and shining armour and arms glanced
now and then through
passed, to the right of us. glittering at this
from something that
moment yonder, under
the trees in the
am certain there are men What shall we do?"
are going, I
in that quarter also.
the boughs of the trees as
not," said the Countess, giving herself
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. " I
taken or killed
shall surely be
some of the followers of that wicked Baron
Where can we
turn for safety?"
Katherine looked for a few minutes greatly distressed;
at once, as if a
sudden thought struck her, she
stopped; her countenance brightened up; and
hand, she passed the other under her cloak, and exclaiming, " I remember now, we are safe," the rein in her
immediately drew forth the
ivory hand that had been
presented to her by the Princess Pickett.
calmness she held
up, and shewed
Instantly on doing so, the fore-finger of the delicately
hand moved, and pointed
to an obscure path
(scarcely visible to a casual observer) that led under
large overhanging oaks, to an unfrequented part of the
The Countess, who at once saw and understood the bowed her head in token of assent to it; and turning her pony in the direction to which the hand pointed, the forest.
creature set off with a speed that was astonishing; and yet so easy
was the motion, that the Countess seemed to ride on
the winds rather than on the earth. like
ridden in that forest for
Katherine followed in
this path, that the ladies
years had never
at length to
the ponies stopped of their
a very pretty spot;
continued thick above their heads with crossing boughs;
some broken rocks lay immediately before them, over which dashed with a pleasing sound a cool and sparkling fall of
A PEEP AT THE
90 water, not
but very beautiful.
stood near tbe rocks, low-built, of wood, and covered witb
On a moss-grown man in a grey gown.
a thatcb composed of green bougbs. stone, near the entrance, sat
His beard hung down upon his breast; his years, his his beard altogether looked venerable.
proach, there was something
a near ap-
seemed to speak a man whose character had not always been that of an humble and meek recluse. There were strong about the brows, which were naturally knit, and pre-
retained the traces of passions once strong, and even
not wholly subdued. felt, as all
and the Countess and
do, the highest respect for age ;
as the hermit rose to receive her
and help her
she begged his blessing.
The Countess trust so
story frankly, not fearing to
the knowledge of the truth.
heard her with attention, invited both the ladies into his
and offered them his brown loaf and a cup of water
from the spring, such being lay before them.
the refreshment he had to
then counselled them
moon when he would conduct them back to the path through the wood, known to so few that
advised to wait in his cell
such time as the
should be risen, castle
he considered there could be no danger in following
soon as they reached the outskirts, he would go forward
and give notice to the castle of the approach of its lady; and a guard of her own people might then come forth and
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. conduct
through the more known and
stantly consented, but
Katherine gave her a look, which
The Countess would have
quented part of the way.
The young lady
saying a word to the hermit, consulted again the ivory
hand, and, finding she
pointed to where he proposed to go,
All was soon arranged
agreed to adopt the plan without should be risen.
so the Countess
succeeded as well as
soon as the
could be wished;
was saved that night from danger.
But it soon appeared that the malice of her cruel enemy was not less than his covetousness and that he was determined never to let the poor lady rest till he had gained His leaving the neighbourhood possession of her castle. and it sucwas only a pretence, to put her off her guard Her cousin, Sir William Courtenay, ceeded but too well. a very brave knight, who had helped to defend her most ;
lowers, to a castle of his
retired, with his fol-
near Tregony, in Cornwall.
sooner was this known, than the Baron
with three times as it,
consequence of believing
the siege, in
La Zouch was now
he before brought against
marched suddenly upon Tiverton, surprised the guard
of the outer works, and, before the draw-bridge could be raised,
he and his
soldiers passed over
men-at-arms did their best to defend the short contest,
and her seven
completely at his mercy.
and though the
castle, after a
and the Countess
â€” A PEEP AT THE
Immediately on becoming master of the place, busied himself with securing his prize content to set
nor any one of
and that night was
so that neither the Countess,
go forth from their
sent a message, that he
time on the following day.
To describe the state of her distress would be impossible. She wrung her hands, she tore her hair, she paced her apartment in a state almost bordering on distraction, to find herself, and all she most loved on earth, prisoners to She turned
so cruel a foe.
on their account, lest, in his Baron should put them to death, as he was said malignant and revengeful.
the Countess thus poured out her griefs to them, she
to ask their advice, as to express the dreadful fears
not for myself,
think of you,
are to me, I wish the most impossible things on
account, so that I could but see
children, for such
like the birds in the air, to fly
wish that you
towers, and seek shelter afar off in some place of security."
" Wings, to fly like the birds !" exclaimed Mabel. dearest
wings may serve us
one bird in
so well as to
the bird in the golden-wired cage
Who among us
gotten the words of that grand lady, the Princess Picket '
This bird, I give, will bear a letter
Wherever bid â€” can bird do
â€” THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. Dear madam, sion to
venture to be counsellor on
one of great danger, and we must do our best
gallant cousin, Sir William Courtenay.
has happened, and
and beg him to
himself, with his brave men-at-arms,
to your relief
venture to say, that he will soon
drive this usurping tyrant out of your castle."
The Coimtess of Devon thought good that she wrote the
and with a silken neck. all
the advice of ]\Iabel so in acting
string, she tied the
The window was then opened; and fair train
the pretty bird was taken from
nounced these words,
as she let fly
She cage glossy
the Countess and
of daughters, crowded around
to see the
"Fly, pretty bird, and through the air
bird with a cheerful note, as
if in assent to
wings, and in another instant
But though he was gone, the anxiety of the Countess had not flown away She remembered however swiftly the bird with him.
his flight towards the county of Cornwall.
Tregony, and that Sir William
Courtenay and his men could not come so as the letter could speed to
and what mio-ht
in the interval, she feared even to think upon.
when on the next La Zouch entered her chamber, where
Greatly were those fears increased,
evening, the Baron
â€” A PEEP AT THE
she was sitting surrounded in tears
like the lilies
the drops of
on their heads. The Baron appeared calm and stately, which rather surprised his prisoners. He shewed some courtesy in his manner towarda the Countess, and begged are
her to favour him by hearing patiently what he had to say.
then drew from under his cloak a piece of written
not to irritate a
whose power she was so completely placed, suppressed her emotions, and as patiently as she could prepared in
to listen to him.
be aware. Countess of Devon, that you and
these fair gentlewomen, and in
in this castle, are so entirely
power, that, with a word,
and them to the lowest dungeon,
could consign both you
even worse, to instant
" I need not to be reminded,'^ replied the Countess with dignity, " that I
am the conquered, and you the conqueror. But it more becomes you as a man, as a knight, as a gentleman, to shew mercy to me and mine^ than it becomes me to ask
"True, haughty lady," he said, "but mercy is usually However, that you may see my asked before it is granted. disposition towards
to propose terms;
as are just to myself, yet are
and though only such full of mercy to you
The Countess cheered up a little at hearing this. With what feelings then of indignation did she listen to what
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON, followed
most hard and unjust, and (no
longer treated with courtesy) to which she was rather commanded than solicited to accede, in these words, " Sign this," as the
Baron La Zouch spread the written parchment
before her on the table, placed the ink-horn
with his rough and gauntleted hand her slender
and put into them a pen, and with
his rude grasp
endeavoured to make her write her name. But she stoutly resisted, saying, " What is it you would have me sign?" *'
resignation of this castle and
me, the rightful owner; a resignation
" I will never
my son, now absent, so great a wrong, though by his own generous act, he has made the castle mine. He gave do
to him, as its rightful lord, shall
refuse to do so
then?" said the Baron.
do and firmly," replied the Countess.
will be acted in
have they heard, but
La Zouch. " You Madam, they will tell
have deep dungeons in
not sign the paper."
may be not the
myself see you safely lodged, where your body, like
your pride, may find
brought low before the morning.
the utmost fury he sprang
a wild animal springs upon
upon the Countess,
iron grasp he held both her wrists in his hands, and com-
menced dragging her
room towards the
A PEEP AT THE
intercede for their benefactress.
of the sweetest music came from
a remote part of the large chamber, with such a gush of
Baron stopped, and seemed
sweetness, that the
as if sud-
denly fixed like a statue to the spot where he stood. held the Countess by her hands
along the floor
Gradually, as sound succeeded sound, as
no more violence. still
she was on her knees
body was bent in the act of drawing her after him. So he remained, but there was
note after note dropped on his ear,
now high and
sweet, like those of the lark as she ascends in the air
above the clouds, or
volume of harmony
rolled through the apartment, he relaxed his hold.
the Countess was free from his grasp, his hands continued in a position as if he pale.
was he red
Avould he tremble as if every nerve vibrated to
the " concord of sweet sounds."
Scarcely did he draw his
breath, for fear of breaking the
was so entranced.
length his head drooped
seemed to overpower him, he staggered and
a faintness fell
couch that stood near.
ear of her sister
Mabel approached and whispered in the drink, give him drink; and
â€” " Drink,
give the sleeping potion.
one whole hour.
Lose no time;
hear the approach of horsemen.
will then slumber
sister, sister, I
" I see them
exclaimed Margaret, as she
THE SEVEN CROSSES OP TIVERTON.
rushed to the window.
that of Courtenay.
they are but a small band
gain this castle by force of arms, and
a very child.
the spell of Ursula's lute.
the drink, and
all is safe."
of another moment, Margaret
they can never
the potion given her by the Princess Pickett, flew to a beaufet that was in the room, poui'ed out a cup of wine,
and mingled with
the sleeping potion.
from the power of the music, which had so completely over-
cup from her hand, and at
once drank off the contents.
In a few minutes the force
of the drug became evident ; he was
locked in the arms
" This will
but one hour," said the Countess. "
must now be done? are
but as caged birds."
" But here Alice.
" The key
shall give us liberty," said sister
" Througli every door this httle "Will give
" But we must wait escape unobserved."
escape or entrance free.
near the postern gate, for that
All the doors are locked upon us;
way we may
are right," said the Countess.
raneous passage, which runs under the moat,
men. That passage
A PEEP AT THE
a secret door, whicli covers
descend to tlie
know well the way and me when he made me and
must take a lamp with See
be your light can
and tips with her silver beams the tops of the
In half an hour
enter that subterranean vault.
mistress of this castle.
the castle will be
then for our escape."
Nothing impeded it. The key which the Princess Pickett had given to the sister, with the power to open all locks, gave the Countess and her seven adopted children a free .access to every gallery and winding stair to the walls of And in like manner the postern, without let or danger. they entered and passed the subterranean passage without risk.
they issued from
on the opposite side of the
moat, the watch stationed on the battlements of the castle saw figures, which he could not very well distinguish; he
the instant passed over the
dark or obscure;
being as reckless as the Baron, his
master, and not heeding
The in the
at the persons shaft,
or women, for a cloud at moon and rendered every object
who might be
he observed in the
though aimed ;
struck, he let fly
random, struck the Countess
she gave a piercing shriek, and
had not forgotten the virtue seemed, the time it was presented, a poor and at â€˘of what mean gift the dried, and apparently withered, herbs. She immediately took the little parcel from under her sisters
flew to her aid.
THE SEVEN CKOSSES OF TIVERTON. cloak, niglit,
where slie had purposely secured it on the previous ran and moistened a sprig in the waters of a spring
that was near the spot, and, in another minute, applied to the
of the Countess, which she bound up with
That noble-minded lady no longer felt pain or and, accompanied by her seven fair
weakness of any kind
daughters, hastened to join Sir William Courtenay and his
once put him in possession of the secret
respecting the subterranean entrance into the castle, gave
the key that opened
lose not a
bade him despatch, and
in securing the
hand on the borders of the
shelter in a convent close at forest,
the castle, whilst the guilty Baron and his
the abbess of which was her particular friend, and
she had been a benefactress to her and to the nuns.
succeeded to her wish.
She and the young
soon housed for the night in safety, whilst Sir William
Courtenay gathered around him his brave men-at-arms, and, in less than an hour, surprised the castle, and
prisoners of the bold
The next day
bring back the Countess and her adopted children once more in peace to her own home. Whilst on their road, near the outskirts of the
approaching to meet them.
four milk-white horses,
knights, esquires, and pages
they saw a goodly company
First appeared a car,
and well attended by
of very small stature,
A PEEP AT THE
except one individual, an elderly female, of of ordinary mortals; and an elderly man^
lier side. tliat tlie bright and jewelled was no other than her old acquaint-
The Countess soon perceived lady, seated in the car,
ance, the Princess Pickett.
at the very spot where, so
children had been found in the basket
Devon, and saved by her, with the hound, from a watery grave
her train stopped
years before, the seven
by the Countess of
assistance of her blood-
the noble animal, though
again sprang to her side
never forsook his mistress.
with splendour, rose from her seat, and thus addressed the seven sisters, who came forward to give her a thankful greeting for the precious gifts she had bestowed on their last
who thus have done your
have wisdom, wealth, and beauty.
And, to increase your joy the more, I your own mother here restore And, in this aged hermit, find Your Father, penitent and kind."
So saying, the Pixy Princess, with great delight, led forward, in the one hand, Bridget, and, in the other,
Kandolph Kowle, who was no other than the aged hermit the Countess had seen in the forest on a former occasion,
when he had
served her so well.
That Randolph, once
THE SEVEN CROSSES OF TIVERTON. "been
to hide his o;uilt
woods, where he shame from all the
The seven daughters now gathered round
their long lost
mother, kissed and embraced her in the fondest manner;
on their knees before their
waved her hand
and, followed by her train, in a
some tremour of the nerves.
The Pixy then
token of farewell,
be enveloped in a mist that suddenly surrounded
the spot where she bade the last adieu.
father of the seven children
hermitage, there to end his days.
to think that she lives so
The Countess of Devon,
re-union with their mother^ rejoiced
had been the means of preserving
In memory, therefore, of that event she gave a large yearly donation to the poor; and with true thankfulness
caused Seven Crosses to be erected on the spot, where the
seven babes had been saved from a cruel death.
hundred years ago, they were tion of
all travellers, as
they listened to
there could be found even one
remaining of the
Seven Crosses of Tiverton.
latter part of tlie turbulent reign
of Enojland, Sir Roofer de Stevenson
guardian, appointed by tbat sovereign, of
the orphan heir of the honourable
became the young Henry house of
Bathon, or Bath; whose was Bath Hall, in the parish of North Tawton, Devonshire. On the estate, and within sight of the mansion, was a large principal residence, at that time,
circular pool, not very deep, but of such exceedingly pure
water, issuing from
some spring in the
considered to possess a coolness, freshness, and an invigorating quality unequalled even in that county where rocky rivers, streams,
and wells of every description are found in
It was said to be favoured and protected according to tradition and the current who, by opinion, delighted to sport on its margin, to sail on its tiny waves by moonlight (for Pixies are great lovers of moon-
such abundance. the Pixies;
Whether did so; and
Pixies delighted in
their bath. it
or not, the poor certainly
labourers were toiling in the fields
during the harvest either for hay or corn, and got heated under a scorching sun, they would gladly come and slake their thirst at the Pixies' bath.
old, the feeble, or the
principally, if not entirely,
at the doors of the monasteries,
would hasten on their way,
and of the
a mile of the spot,
THE PIXIES 3BATH
fontina; or, the pixies' bath.
and to beg a morsel or a
to drink of these cool waters;
small piece of
dwelt hard by.
door of the noble family
In order to accommodate these poor people
an iron cup, secured by a chain, had been fixed to a stone seat on the margin of the bath; and this little act of charity had often brought a blessing from the lips of the weary and the traveller, on the kind hand that had bestowed it, as they drew a refreshing draught from the spring. During the minority of Henry de Bath, his guardian Sir Eoger de Stevenson was proud, lived with him.
liked not to have his purse
upon, nor his pride and grandeur disturbed by the tions or the presence of the lame, the old
and the ragged.
AVith great cruelty, therefore, did he order the iron cup to
be removed, thinking by so doing obtaining water from the pool.
hinder poor folk from
But, strange to say, though
was twice done, the cup was found, each time, restored former place the next morning. Sir Roger was very angry, and though the servants, one and all, protested that this
they had nothing to do with
he employed one or two of
remove the cup, and took it
yet he would insist
and deed in opposition
to his will.
own sturdy followers to own possession, locked
up in his strong oak chest, and put the key in his pocket. But what was his surprise, when on the next morning
he found not the cup, but his own iron basinet (a cap worn under a helmet) chained to the stone, and saw a ragged leper very quietly using it to help himself with water from the pool
Roger now raged indeed
His own basinet
A PEEP AT THE
the drinking cup of a filthy, beggarly, worthless leper
he called the poor diseased man, who was taking a
draught to slake his
was past bearing
mediately called his hounds about him, went to the pool himselfj hissed
his hands, set the
the suffering wretch, and drove
off the premises.
basinet was removed, and scrubbed
and scoured and cleaned,
had been touched by
the plague as well as the leprosy.
neither the cup nor the cap were again found at the side
of the bath.
But though the affair of the dogs was much talked of, it did not keep away the people from the grounds of young Henry, or from the seeing and the hearing of his proud Still would the laguardian. Sir Roger de Stevenson. bourer and the poor come to drink water out of the palms Still would of their own hands for the want of the cup. the children of the village follow their sports on the margin of the pool; still they delighted to swim in it their little play-thing boats; to throw the daisies they had plucked from the meadows upon its surface, and to see which way they would
of hot and spiced six inches high
said the country gossips over
they roasted crab apples for their jugs
(dressed in coats
and cloaks that
moonbeams), skimming like swallows over the surface of the pool and this might be seen of a
summer, or even of
a winter's night.
sported, these little creatures
whilst they so
so sweetly, that
FONTINA; OR, THE PIXIES' BATH. the gossips wlio told
had they heard anything
when the minstrels played in the hall at Christinas, nor when they went to churchy and there heard the country singers, on festival days, helped
Some of the young girls who listened to all that when going of a morning to milk the cows, for the poultry, they
had often found
and rose-buds, and
quantities of roses
or to look
on the pool,
and that beauti-
which everybody in
Devonshire knew the Pixies were particularly
be inferred those
have been there on the previous night
take the trouble to dress up a pool of water alter that fashion.
who was one
morose and moody, that they are neither happy themselves, nor like to see anything approaching to harmless mirth in others, took all this in a very ill-humour.
did not see
men, women children, or Pixies, should have any enjoyment contrary to his wishes. He determined, either
with the Pixies' bath, as
therefore, to take such a course
none but a man so bold and having so much power would have dared to think of doing, he would have the bath destroyed altogether. it
might be spared,
neighbourhood had drink of
In vain did his young Avard pray that as the people
and to admire
long been accustomed to see its
would be very
reputed wonders, that the ill
taken the country round.
â€” A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
In vain did Sir Malpas,
good humoured and
parson of the parish, plead for loved
so well, that after
he had made very
brown ale, at the hall, he always washed his face in, and took a refreshing draught from the pool, before he went to his own home, or ventured to scold his clerk, for taking stout
a cup too
babies' faces in
make them grow up very fair, pleaded hard to have it left for their use. And the young women, so washed when babies, who on Midsummer eve, were
performing certain rights and
the pool, looked with fear and in the
on the margin of
husbands, they also begged very hard to have
to see reflected in it the faces of their future
Eoger was decided; the pool
said that the execution of his
should be destroyed.
purpose was hastened by the following circumstance
Returning one night to the hall when
was quite dark,
he passed near the water, he heard himself called after in the most contemptuous manner. These calls were accompanied by the strangest sounds, and a hissing and a clapping of hands, even as he had hissed and clapped his hands to
dogs on the poor leper. And when he shouted and asked who was it so threatened him, the most violent set the
peals of laughter
from the pool,
as if to
was very angry, went
instantly to the hall, procured lighted torches,
about a dozen stout fellows at his heels, proceeded to survey
rONTINA; OR, THE PIXIES' BATH. the pool and
and hear notlimg;
The very next day he
began the destruction of the
but could see no one
work, and in good earnest
But, for a time,
never was there such a labour undertaken in vain.
men worked and day
for the pool,
night, was always found full in the morning.
and worked again and again, and
nor the shaking of heads, nor the turning up of
hands and eyes in wonder, nor the threats of the old
and the young
ones, too, that Sir
on himself and
Roger would bring
to him, if
could make him change his obstinate determination. " When a pig goes the way his driver would have him," said ]\label, the
Bath, " will, to
good woman who had nursed Henry de young master's guardian will change his
go the right way instead of the wrong, but not till Eoger will be hard over our young master, John
by and bye, when he comes old enough to Fm sure they wont be those of his guardian. And I should not wonder if the Pixies dont some day drown him in their bath that he is so bold as to disturb for, take my word for it, John Butler, Sir Roger will never be able to destroy it." John the Butler agreed to the same, and said it would be a mighty pity if he could, for the water from the bath made the best ale, when put to the malt and hops, in the Butler, I fear,
have his own ways; and
trying a variety of ways to succeed in this
A PEEP AT THE
determination, Sir Eoger was obliged to form an under-
ground channel^ and
to carry the
water that rose from the
spring in another direction, so as to
into a ditch that
This method proved
ran by the side of the public road.
and nothing remained near the hall but a great,
ugly, iri'egular pit, with a deep hollow in the middle.
said, that the
night before the waters were turned into
made to drain them, the most dismal cries, Everybody and groans were heard from the bath. now fell to abusing Sir Koger (behind his back) for what the channel thus shrieks,
he had done, and even he thought the very unsightly
Again the men went ^o
reluctantly to their painful toil; but
occurred while they were about
for misfortune could
One man broke
pit thus left
he determined to have
his leg, another his arm.
Every day, several
tumbled head over heels into the deep hollow in the middle,
and hurt themselves very much in the full. One got a broken head, another a broken nose; and although working in a place so lately filled with water, the fleas swarmed in such abundance, that the
bones with scratching.
tore their very skin from their
length, driven to despair
such a continuation of disasters and vexations, the poor fellows,
begged Sir Roger not
followers to such a task; terrible
wrath of the Pixies.
pleased to send a band of pit,
put his faithful
evidently exposed them to the
keep the workmen off the
they would not have cared for
they would have
fought luan to man; but there was no fighting with Pixies;
FONTINA; OR THE TIXIES' BATH.
way was own way.
work no more, made
to leave tliem alone
Sir Koger, finding that his
tended to yield his
a virtue of necessity,
will to oblige
was abandoned it remained, as every body said, as ugly an old hole as could well be seen, and a disgrace to be near the mansion of such a noble and ancient family as that
of De Bath.
Unsightly and ugly Indeed was the the worst part of
The and in in
instance occurred durino; the
so dry a
but that was not
member, however near or
poAver of predicting evil to every
remote, of the family of
proved to have a terrible
month of August,
the pit was
observed by the household to be so dry that the earth at the sides and at the bottom was or four inches asunder.
of great cracks, three
The next morning
with water, but over-flowing at the brim, so as to be very inconvenient to those who passed near it on foot. not only
Everybody was now startled, and feared something terriwas about to happen to Henry de Bath, or to the Should the ill luck fall on Sir Koger, in that household. case the bath would have over-flowed with joy to them all for none liked, and all feared him. Eyen the young master of the Hall began to feel uncomfortable under the arbitrary
rule of his guardian.
have the power
himself from his control, as soon as he came of age. Sir
Roger wished not
to be called too strictly to account
A PEEP AT THE
had done with the property during the mino-
rity, so it
kept him a httle in check towards his ward
him than with any one else but bad enough. The swollen bath now attracted was still he Many came miles to the notice of all the neighbourhood. and most went away shaking their heads, see the wonder and fearing some great calamity. was
length, one afternoon, several men-at-arms were seen
riding slowly up the avenue of old trees, towards the hall.
They were covered with surcoats soiled, they
armour was dim,
visors, whilst their
faces told of foreign toil.
They bore with
a torn banner, and a noble led war-horse, carrying on
back a helmet, a
All this seemed
and part of a broken
proclaim tidings of disaster.
stopped before the gate-
house, and asked to see the youthful master of the household.
Henry received him and the mansion
his party in the great hall of
this?" said the youth; " surely, or I am much mistaken, a cross, surmounting a the device of yonder torn banner crescent
the banner of
He who, though
Gilbert de Bath.
so gallant, so free a spirit, to take part in that
crusade set on foot by the
not twenty years old,
Say, do I
" Truly," replied the stranger " and, now, most sadly " Sadly not so, I hope," said Henry, interrupting him. ;
FONTINA; OK THE PIXIES' BATH. "
fear the worst
cousin Gilbert ?
be, in Palestine.
ransom, so that the turbaned infidel will but
take the gold.
must have gold
Sir Koger, I
plenty, to pay
aye, gold in
dear cousin's ransom, and to give
back to liberty and to his country.
his esquire of the
Henry de Bath.
loved you well,
replied the stranger;
thought of you in
dying moments. As he lay outstretched and bleeding on the burning sands before the walls of Jerusalem, which
he had attempted
promise, that I would
bring to you, with this torn, but tidings of his death
with his face to
and his your door
his banner, here his shield
he sent you the
His noble war-horse stands
broken lance. but there
honourable banner, the
of his having met
assurance of his undying affection.
he no longer
to bear a
raises his head, or chafes
at the sound of the trumpet." .
he was, Henry de Bath was, nevertheless,
deeply affected at this melancholy
courteously entertained the faithful esquire and his
banner, the shield, and the broken lance, he
desired might be
and, before he retired to
in the neighbouring church
he sent a purse of gold to the
A PEEP AT THE
next monastery, and directed one hundred masses to be sung
then retired^ un-
own chamber, and gave
himself up to that
for the repose of his cousin's soul.
attended, to his
strong and unrestrained expression of his grief, in which he
would not indulge before his people. In the morning he rose early but, early as it was, many They seemed of his household were stirring before him. ;
to be in
Several were in the court-yard,
talking to each other with grave looks and eager expressions
heads were turned,
towards the spot where, for as
weeks, and even so lately
on the preceding evening, the Pixies' Bath had over-
flowed in so strange and mysterious a manner.
now no water
perfectly dry, with
the cracks and fissures
before a drop of water had risen to cover
and the unsightly pit, deep hollow in the centre, and all at its sides, remained just as it was
to be seen in
well be supposed what a sensation this must have
occasioned in the household at the Hall.
stood what had been the object of the melancholy and fatal sign.
The waters had overflowed like the sorrow of the had foretold the death of Sir Gilbert.
survivors; their rising
sooner was that sad event announced to his nearest
kinsman, than the waters were buried again in the earth, even like him whose
they had foretold.
the same thing was repeated on the death of
months after, an old abbess, of the family of De Bath, who for many years had been the lady superior of a convent of nuns, at Lanherne, in Cornwall.
FONTINA; OR, THE PIXIEs' BATH.
Five years more, saw young Henry of age, and
Before that time arrived (as he
the rule of his guardian.
was more given to learning than to fighting) he had gone London and turned his attention to the study of the law, which he followed with zeal and ability. Whilst he was to
and Henry HI. succeeded
Here, then, for a while
next chapter will
very different events to which
the foregoing were but as the prelude.
youthful Henry, as
ancient as that of court of
became the head of
Henry HI., and
shortly after received the honour
of knighthood from the king's into favour; for he
was of a
nance, courteous in
a family so
Bath, on coming of age visited the
a fine open counte-
and of a noble
generous disposition. This worthy and accomplished gentleman rose into such esteem with his sovereign, that, in a few years, after distinguished offices had been conferred
Henry made him one oÂŁhis justices
travelled to the large country towns, tried for breaking the laws.
rapid, but well deserved
possessed, as an honest
upon him. King judges
where criminals were in the world had been
and he now used the power he
and a merciful man who had the
constantly before his eyes. I
A PEEP AT THE
But unmixed good is not tlie portion of this life. The more Sir Henry became loved and honoured, so much the more was he hated bj his late and always unworthy Though free from his control, yet such was the guardian. humility of his disposition and his sense of the authority formerly vested in Sir Koger, that he continued to treat him His house was still with all possible deference and respect. open to him whenever he pleased to make Bath Hall his home. How Sir Roger could find it in his heart to hate so good a man as Sir Henry seems almost incomprehensible, did we not know that bad men always hate good men, because the latter are as a reproof to them.
favour as his ward
could never win the sovereign's
had done; and he burnt with envy
towards him, and determined to watch ^n opportunity to ruin
him with the
happened that a follower of
he hoped much to carry on his designs
against Sir Henry, refused to do his master's bidding;
he work mischief. Seeing this, De Stevenson, in order to punish and degrade this honest servant, who had been one of his own pages, sent him down to a farm he had in Devonshire, and made him keeper of his sheep. The young man bore his degradation patiently;
would not be made the
but he had never been bred to a farming
knowing how safe,
to fold the sheep at night so as to
the wolves, that were then not
moor, did great injury; and every night a sheep or two was .
This was just what Sir Roger expected.
FONTINA; OR, THE PIXIES' BATH.
pretended, however, not to believe a word abont the
wolf, but threw poor
who made Devon
into prison on
that of being connected with a
gang of robbers,
thick forest in the north of
and secondly, accused him of supplying them with
his master's sheep.
False witnesses were bribed to support
these unjust and wicked charges. Sir Henry de Bath was the judge appointed to the circuit which embraced the town where Maurice was left to be tried. Before setting out on his duty, he went to his own home in the country, and, whilst there, the wily and treacherous Sir Eoger came to see him. Hearing on what business the judge was going, he wanted to tell him a false tale about the man who would be tried before him for stealing sheep, and supplying them to the robbers of the north of Devon. But Sir Henry only said in reply " Did yon ever learn. Sir Roger, when a judge must be deaf, and when he must hear with both his ears every word that is said to him?"
" No,^' answered Sir Roger; " a judge should never be deaf."
" yes, but he must though," replied Sir Henry. "H^e must be deaf when the matter that is to come before him is spoken of out of court. But in the court he must have both his ears open, the one for the accuser,
and the other
and he must hear both with impartiality and
Say no more, therefore, about your man and the sheep-stealing, for I have my deaf ears on now." Sir Roger was mightily vexed, but he could say no more. attention.
A PEEP AT THE
" Well, Sir Henry," lie continued after a ])ause of a few minutes, " though you will not serve me in this matter, as I expected you would, yet I must serve you." " Say not so. Sir Koger," said Sir Henry; " I will serve
God and you too, for I will endeavour to do justice between you and your man, when the cause comes before me." " Well, I
content," replied Sir Roger.
thing in which I will serve you
the roads between
here and the town of assize to which you are journeying
You say that you set forward toare in very bad plight. morrow; you will never reach the town ere nightfall. I advise you, therefore, as there is no convenient inn nor place of rest on the way, to go to the castle which you will see towards the evening to the right of your road, and The owner will not deny hospitality there pass the night. to a gentleman of your rank, nor to your followers."
the owner?'' enquired Sir Henry.
" I do not
Simon de Dinant, so often
that baron of
heard of in these parts."
" Is he not disaffected to the present king?" said Sir Henry. " A friend to the Earl of Leicester, who is stirring
on the Commons
" No," replied Sir Roger; " he has rather thrown the curb over Leicester, when, like an imruly
go too much ahead.
Simon, the bold Baron of Dinant,
a friend and not an enemy to the King." " If so," said Sir Henry, " I will call at his castle gates,
and crave the rights of
and a night's lodging
fontina; oe, the pixies' bath.
I tliank you, Sir Roger, for giving
such good couseel liow to proceed in these dreary ways and long journeys, for I am yet but new in this Western Circuit, and little know where to house with comfort or
they parted, and each went to
Early the next morning, whilst the Judge was preparing
and his childhood, old Mabel brought him a bowl of milk, to refresh him before he went down to breakfast in the great hall on b(3ef and ale. She seemed to be very officious about him, and to linger to set out, the nurse of his infancy
But Mabel was a Has my Lord Judge looked out of the window this blessed morning?" " No, jMabel; I have been too busy. But what is there to be seen by looking out of the window, that you ask me
longer than she needed in his chamber.
she thus began: "
" see full
Lord, a terrible sight
and think of
again and overflowing
away from home. "
and you are
came to tell was known :
Lord, what does that foretell?"
that terrible pool has twice before overflowed
old heart to
Pixies' bath, as people call
as soon as
in this house,
your near kinsman^s death
went back again dry
but not so our eyes, nor our hearts
plenty of water, and the other overflowed with sorrow for
A PEEP AT THE
deatli, and remember how before tlie degood lady Abbess, your honour's great aunt remember it all," said tlie Judge, " yet I must go;
poor Sir Gilbert's cease of
me away; and
have no fears. 0," she continued, forget-
ting that she was addressing the
remembrance him when a babe and a of
to day, or
do not go from home
must, for I cannot tarry here.
the Judge, in the
hensions, I promise
tenderly she had nursed and loved
old Mabel," he said, " go I
be very careful of myself in 1
on a good
errand, with a wish to do right and act justly; and so I
have no cause
" But 0, as you value your life, don't go with that Sir Roger," said the nurse, " he who behaved so bad to the
Depend upon it, they will take their revenge upon Pixies. him one of these days, and not care for who is in his company. Don't go with him !" " I am not going with him, j\Iabel." " Thank all the saints for that; but where are you going,
To hold the assize at Bodmin; and, to avoid the band who are so strong in the woods, and create so much terror in these parts towards nightfall, I am going to of robbers
beg hospitality of the Baron de Dinant, and hope night to rest at his
FONTINA, OR, THE PIXIES' BATH.
" The Baron de Dinant!" exclaimed the old Nurse. " Don't go near him, ray Lord; better to take the risk of tke robbers in the open road, than to darken the gates of
Simon de Dinant. People do
such things of him. They
do say he be leagued with worse than robbers traitors to the king, and that no good comes to anybody who goes near him, and that your guardian
and ways; do not go "
are mistaken, Mabel,
what you report
country tales. My late gaurdian has too much me to wish me to risk my safety, or my character, by advising me to take shelter under the roof of a suspected Baron. There is nothing to fear in the course I am about this day to pursue. And again I tell you that I fear nothing."
Mabel shook her head, looked grave, crossed
seeing she could do no good by her advice, she told the
judge that she would go and
candle for his safety, at the shrine of St.
ing convent of nuns vent any
with her prayers, a
Ann in a it
But her heart was very heavy,
and she could not altogether overcome her at the
from coming upon him from the rising of the
waters at the Pixies' Bath.
and rested that night little was he pleased with
Baron de Dinant's; but so some things that dropped from him in
his host, or with
conversation, expressing his dissatisfaction with the king
and the government, that he determined next morning
early as he
Simon de Dinant with
go away the
and not his
A PEEP AT THE
of Maurice, for aiding and abetting tKe robbers
stealing for tbera Sir Soger's slieep,
court at Bodmin.
evidence on both
merits of the case, he
came on before the
witli great patience
summed up with
examined into the
and being convinced of the innocence of the accused the
Sir Eoger de Stevenson, on finding what was the verdict, became greatly enraged, and more so when he learnt that from motives of charity Sir Henry had taken poor Maurice into his own service, in lais original employment, as a page. Sir Eoger's
wrath knew no bounds.
London with his revenge,
But he dissembled
to be well satisfied, set off for
a determination to lose
no time in gratifying
and in working the ruin of Sir Henry de
In private, therefore, he sought the king, and under a
show of love to his person and anxiety for his safety, pretended that he came, though with reluctance, to make known to him the treason he had detected in his former ward. Henry was startled at hearing such a charge against But though naturally inclined to his favorite judge. mercy, the king was of a weak disposition, and easily fell He into the snare that had been so artfully laid for him. great
most shameful falsehoods on the testimony
of Sir Roger and his followers in evil.
completely the dupe of these cruel ar-
determined that Sir Henry de Bath should suffer
for his supposed
FONTINA; OR, THE PIXIES' BATH. tlierefore,
unfortunate judge to be
Parliament^ to give answer to the charges of corruption
Conscious of his innocence, Sir Henry boldly came for-
ward but believing himself to be assailed by some strong and secret enemy, who had suborned a set of low villains to appear against him, he came not alone. He was attended by a noble company of knights and gentlemen from the west of England, who had frankly offered their services and their lives in defence of his innocence. Seeing how strongly he was supported, and how fearlessly he entered the Parliament, none who were to judge his cause felt disposed to run the risk of finding him guilty for ;
fear of the consequences to their lives, for in those times,
scenes of violence often took place in that assembly.
how daunted were
members, flew into a great rage, and cried out with a loud voice, " Whosoever shall kill Henry de Bath, shall be quit of his death, and I do hereby acquit him." this
Thus encouraged, the followers of Sir Roger de Stevenson would gladly have executed on the spot the terrible fate denounced against the unhappy man by the king. But fortunately Sir John Mansel, who was of the Privy Council, was present, and now interposed. Saying to these violent men, " Beware what you do. That which our sovereign hath in his wrath commanded, he will be very sorry for when his anger is overblown. And remember the friends of Sir Henry de Bath are powerful as brave. Any outrage
A PEEP AT THE
his life^ will
be fiercely revenged upon
This produced the desired
immediate danger, and was persuaded
Henry escaped the to
house in the west, and there live privately
go down till
All these particulars were speedily made
Roger de Stevenson.
the wrath of
Greatly did he
that should Sir
when he more temperate mood, to examine into the truth of the matter, there was every possibility that his own plots would be detected. He resolved therefore as the only way for safety to destroy Sir Henry before the king's anger could was
obtain an interview with his royal master,
and especially before he could
â€” that whoever might
Henry de Bath, should be
acquitted of his death, and that he did acquit him.
Stevenson consulted with his followers, and between them it
to the west
him to death men bound themselves by an oath,
dwelling, and to put
not to desert one the other, nor to betray each other in the execution of this dreadful design.
In the interval, Sir Henry,
marriage with a so
who had been on the point of when he was attend the Parliament, now
of Sir Arthur Bassett,
resolved no longer to delay the celebration of his nuptials.
home, he found old Mabel in great joy;
the Pixies' Bath was again dry, the waters having retired into the earth
on the very day
appeared) that Sir
FONTINA; OE, THE PIXIES' BATH.
Henry had been preserved from
wrath of tlie king.
expressed the liveHest sense of thaukfuhiess for his escape.
she less delighted
she found that the wed-
in a few days, as if nothing
to take place
The morning of
marriage with the
Margaret Basset, was bright and sunny.
and attended by
the knights, esquires, and ladies of the
neighbourhood, Sir Henry and IMargaret, mounted on horses gaily caparisoned, proceeded to the church porch, where, in
those days, the marriage ceremony was performed.
and young greeted them girls
they passed along, and
up a merry peal
A splendid banquet or dinner was to be served up to and followers of De Bath,
in the hall of his ancient
His tenants, labourers, and the poor, were to be
treated with an
ox roasted whole
Every heart good Sir
in the park.
to rejoice in the marriage of the
Henry, the friend of the
and children of the village ran before them, strewing
flowers in their path, whilst, as they returned
rich, the benefactor of the poor.
a point to be present at every
was seated in the
ready to strike upon his
welcome, the moment the bridal company
entered within the doors of the mansion on their return
from the church.
Mabel was busied bustling about, here, where, seeing that
at the great,
and scolding the maidens and the serving
A PEEP AT THE
was neglected or
John, the butler, was ready with his wine,
mead, metheglin, and hippocras,
came a sudden cloud over
store of flagons
the mirth and revelry and
business of the household.
the blessed Saint Bridget!" exclaimed old Mabel, as she looked out at the hall door, " if
wringing her hands
the Pixies' Bath be not risen again, and see
the avenue of old trees, and in
should have nursed
live to see this
and that on his wedding day dear Henry, what will become of him
how it overflows
the bride and brideo-room
in these arms;
to think that it is possible a burial
follow hard on the heels of a bridal in this old hall." so she
went on lamenting and bewailing; and not a
gentleman, not a lady, not a man, woman, or
on that day assembled, but shared in the
old nurse's fears.
All the mirth of the company
bore himself bravely, indeed cheerfully, as he endeavoured to raise the drooping spirits of his
to reanimate his followers
every heart feared,
come; nor were their exactly
trembled for less
Yet it would what was to
because they did not
of evil was so
such a time, there was no mistaking
these apprehensions, the dinner,
wines, and ale were so excellent and
all so plentiful,
FONTINA; OR, THE PIXIES' BATH. company found they had not
lost their appetites
125 with their
joy; and for persons In such a state of suspense and tion, they all certainly
played a very good part with the
spoons and platters; for knives and forks, in those days, were used only by the carver, and not by those for whom
he carved. Cups went round the board, and the health of the bride and the bridegroom was drunk with a cheer, notwithstanding all fears; and so potent was the ale, that some stout fellows,
made very bold by
offered to fight, if they could
only see them, the Pixies themselves, or any of their friends
and abettors; and the old harper, towards nightfall, got his spirits so raised by a full and flowing cup of metheglin,
which Mabel had served
him with her own hand,
struck the chords of his harp to a joyous measure, as if in defiance of
On many hall,
some of the young men
a pretty maiden to foot
present, led out
to the stirring
music in the
and dancing began right merrily; when, suddenly, a
cry was heard from the Pixies' Bath.
scream in the most fearful manner.
All were struck
hearing of these fearful shrieks so near
—the men and maidens stood — the bride turned Malpas put down the cupuntasted that and pale — the the moment he was of — Henry looked surprised — the revelry ceased— was quiet that
The harp was hushed
motionless in the midst of the dance
raising to his lips all
nothing but those hall.
of suffering could be heard in the
A PEEP AT THE
one spoke; when Mabel,
exclaimed with an energy that seemed for
one of her years, " That
the scream of Fontina; she
never screams but for one thing. will be in this place
in every joint,
more than natural
Before midnight, death
on whose head the
stroke will fall!"
" Fontina, Fontina,
Fontina?" whispered many
voices in the hall.
and a most
of the pool," said Mabel; " the Pixy
The screams continued the consternation and alarm now became general. Some proposed one thing, some another. At length the young men, brave in numbers as in ale, agreed to go in a body with lighted torches and to examine around the bath. Could it be a trick played off by any one to cause fear on this occasion?
a parson, lay
were a it
The screams were spirit,
quietly at the bottom of the pool
Red Sea, so as no more to company. They then proceeded to or in the
could not Sir Malpas,
disturb the peace of the
the overflowing waters.
not a creature was to be seen, nor a sound to
be heard around the Pixies' Bath. Sir
again appealed to; but he declared
that he had not his books with him; nothing could be done
without his Latin, and that he had
though ghosts and ordinaiy
could be laid in the
Sea, yet he
his doubts if
possible or lawful so to deal with Pixies.
very prudently deferred undertaking the work,
could obtain more information as to liow best to proceed
cup of mead whicli bad been
and to make up
waiting for him;
time he took
This occurrence so completely broke what of mirth and dispersed. as
merriment, that the company one and
Every body seeming anxious
he could; in order,
to be out of the reach
of death or danger which ]\Iabcl had said
screams of Fontina announced to be so near. All was soon hushed; the hall was
emptied cups stood on the board; whilst wreaths of drooping flowers,
and expiring lamps and
torches, told a tale of
mirth and a suddenly deserted banquet. fast locked, bolted,
and barred, and the watch
night in the gate-house, which stood at a fronting the hall door. ale,
But the watch had taken
The doors were
Just before midnight, a trampling of horse was heard in the long avenue,
gered on the premises.
by the fumes
or three stragglers
These had been so much overcome
of stout drink, that they had sunk
in their way home, after quitting the hall. They were, however, awake now and sober; and not a little alarmed when (unseen themselves, as they lay shaded by
the spreading branches
of a large old beech tree) they
observed several horsemen armed from head to
bearing a naked sword, passing on at a gentle pace, as if careful to avoid giving
One of the
A PEEP AT THE
awakened was an intelligent young fellow, a tenant of Sir Henry, and lie now listened witli tlie most eager attention as the leader of the armed band commanded his men to halt. All did so. In a brief and hurried manner, he then addressed them in these words: " Let some of you lead your horses yourselves so as to surround the house.
Give death to any
sion to Sir
man who would
Henry de Bath, on
can, secure this traitor before he
I will to the hall door,
Let no one escape
and demand instant admis-
moment from the Do you. Sir John
will not refuse to see me. and you, Simon de Dinant, stand close by my side, so as to enter with me, I may need support he may struggle remember, despatch him on the spot the king acquits the deed. Now forward, and this night shall yonder
the beggars that drank from
So spoke heart
master; as in those days
I destroyed the foolish Pixies'
Bath, and swept away
Eoger de Stevenson,
in the pride of his
and once more did he place himself
on to treachery and
band of ruffians, to lead them But he had not proceeded ten paces, when suddenly so thick a mist fell on him and his party, and all
around them, that neither lowers, nor even his
nor house, nor his
horse's ears, could
Nothing could exceed the confusion into which they were To add to it, two or three entrance-paths to all thrown. the woods were near the spot where this cloud fell so
rONTINA densely upon them tlie
now one way, and them
road, and carried
animals, not being guided
rein of their riders with
then another), took their into the thickest
tricate parts of the forest, instead of following the track
towards the house. Sir Roger, by this strange chance left completely alone, was the only one among them whose intimate acquaintance with the place enabled Jaim to keep the right road. Whilst he approached the Pixies' Bath, the most fearful shrieks
mist, if possible, increased
and the screams that now arose
from the pool had in them something of exultation
and curdled the very blood to hear them. The young tenant who had heard Sir Roger address
men, and who, in a moment, understood how great was the danger of his good master, in the hope to be able to save him, and to give the alarm at the Hall, followed close,
of the horse on which Sir
at the heels
Bath, he stumbled over a stone
near the Pixies'
and, so great was the
darkness, he could follow no further.
knowing what to do, or to fear, yet being full of fears, he sat down upon the large stone over which he had stumbled.
moment he heard something
and a cry arose from rejoicing at the
of a sinner.
splash into the water
hundred demons were
heard no more, for
to, or by whom he was found, when, on the next morning, Mabel was standing
and knew not how he came
A PEEP AT THE
lay on a bencli in the Hall.
over liim as
to his senses,
soon as he
and quite himself^ he asked
cup of ale, to refresh him.
nor place for carousing. an awful sight, this
how wicked men meet
this is !
reward even in
Mabel point with her hand in the direcBath for there a fearful sight indeed There stood about it Sir Henry, and his
tion of the Pixies'
was to be seen. young and beautiful bride leaning on his arm, and gazing upon it with looks of wonder and of thankfulness. Nearly The all the household, also, stood around looking on.
bath was retreated fate Sir
once more perfectly dry
the waters had
but not before they had consigned to a terrible
Roger de Stevenson.
night, the horse he rode
sufficient in the
in the darkness of the previous
had carried him
path by the
middle to drown them
into the pool,
was of depth
and there, in the
now dry, hollow pit, was mounted on his courser's back, Sir Roger de Stevensonâ€” man and horse were both dead. The Pixies
very centre of that deep, and seen,
accomplished their revenge
never flowed again
but their bath
and in a few years every vestige of
THE LADY OF THE SILVER BELL. I
already told you,
nexion with Tintagel; and
friends, a story in con-
purpose to relate to you
events of which occurred in the same place, somewhat more recent period, when a certain Baron was Lord of that ancient castle^ and lived there with much splendour and state. This great Baron had only one child, a daughter, who was as fair as a lily, and when she turned her head, her neck moved with the grace and beauty of the swan; at least in such terms of praise was she described by the old anotlier; the
harper in his songs, halls of Tintao;el
every feast day, he gladdened the
with the thrilling notes and
She was commonly called Serena, on account of her generally placid demeanour; and as her father was very fond of seeing her dressed in white and silver, because he thought she looked prettiest when so attired she was
not unfrequently called the silver lady. declared, that, when the child was in the had been blessed by the Pixies; and it was that which made her look so fair and beautiful, and caused her " But woe be to to be so lucky in all she took in hand. her," would the old gossip add, when she said this, " woe
to her, if
lady Serena should offend the Pixies
like us mortal sinners, they will often
most hate where they
A PEEP AT THE
have most loved
be jealous or
offended." Altliougli her
mother died when she was an
received a very good education so well
work with the
tapestry hangings in
needle, that all the finest
the castle were said to be in part old minstrel instructed her in play-
ing the harp; and she often sang to ballad or ditty
Father Hilary had well
disciplined her in her religious duties.
a promise that she
her nurse taught her
She had given him
would never be absent from church
the ringing of the vesper bell; never, she said, unless pre-
vented by sickness, would she be tempted to stay away
was calling her
to prayers, let
happen. She gave this promise to Father Hilary so seriously, that he, as well as the nurse, assured her, it,
the good spirits
ever she broke
her guardians would
from her, and leave her exposed to injury from the bad Serena said, in reply, " No music was so sweet to ones. her
the vesper bell."
But though the Baron's daughter had so many good qualities, she had, I am sorry to say, some very great faults. She was excessively vain and fond of dress, and at times When she grew up to sadly whimsical and capricious. womanhood, her father wanted her to marry some one of the gallant
young knights who came
to the castle
was her vanity, she deemed none good enough.
who was so how happy she
was a very gentle and amiable youth,
comely and graceful, that every body said
THE LADY OF THE SILVER BELL. would be
as liis wife.
from the dreams
old nurse declared
about liim, and his having
been brought to the sight of her young lady, by the sounds of sweet music, which seemed to float in the air and to
guide his steps to Tintagel,
moment Serena was
issuing from the castle gates, she was quite sure
and nothing but the
to give him, as a very great favour, to Serena for a husband.
appeared to like him well, and he came very
often to the castle; but at length she changed her mind, tossed her head, disappointed him, and said that neither he
nor any other of her
were handsome enough
mood, she declared would never marry unless she could meet Avith a young prince who was handsomer, and dressed better, and played on the lute sweeter, than any one she had ever yet to please her; and in the caprice of her
seen or heard.
old nurse sighed as she listened to all this,
dear young lady^ do not talk so
You have behaved
poor young gentleman, so
good and kind.
The only way
the Pixies will take
promise to Father Hilary. evil spirits
to save yourselves
very penitent for your
every body loved; he was
their revenge one of these days for the
you treated him, or I dont
and said, Beware what
spite, is to
be mindful of your
you go wrong
take advantage of
or their doings.
mislead and deceive you; and I should break
A PEEP AT THE
any liarm happened
have nursed in these arms from the hour she was born." Serena paid little heed to this good advice, but soon after
and gaiety, in
indulged in such extravagance
dancing and singing, that Father Hilary interfered, and enjoined her, as a sort of penance for spending her
time so idly, to repair alone every day for one month to
come, to a
chapel which stood
Kieve, and to be sure, according to her promise, always to enter within
doors before the ringing of the vesper bell
Nathan's Kieve was three miles and a half from Tin-
long and weary way, and over a
though Serena now and then went on horseback, yet as walking far through such rough paths was a sort of penance, to
crabbed, and had no pity for her poor feet, she more fre-
quently walked than rode.
the day of which
in her walk.
foot, as she
about to speak, Serena
was determined not
She was dressed
in a long
grey cloak, and
upon her head she wore a little grey cap made of cloth; a scallop shell was seen in front of it, to show that she was going on a sort of pilgrimage. her nurse gave her a caution to
go on straight
she put on her cloak,
nothing stay her by the
to the chapel, to enter before
the bell had ceased ringing, come straight home, for, said the good old woman, " those who allow anything they meet
with to delay them when they are going to prayers, are
THE LADY OF THE SILVER BELL. sure to lay themselves open to the spirits that I told
power of those wicked
you of before, they are sure to be punished
Serena took leave of her aged counsellor with repeated promises to mind what she said.
She passed the castle somewhat hurried manner, for fear of meeting
gates in a
as she liked
not to be lectured by him on
With a quick step of Trevenna. As she began
ascend the high ground
she slackened her pace^ and looked back upon
which now opened with all its grandeur of castle upon the view. She had never so attentively obas
day; and, she could not
she then gazed upon It
did she also pass the village
was indeed a
with a melancholy
and whilst the walls and towers lit up with a flood of was in complete gloom
of her father's ancient dwelling were light, the
from the overshadowing clouds. This rock wild, lofty, broken,
though suri-ounded by the waves, was said and especially after nightfall, by sea-gulls Serena now, therefore, looked upon it in its
close in shore,
to be peopled,
sombre hue with a
secret sense of dread.
out a shudder that as she turned to continue her walk she
saw a solitary magpie pacing up and down on the very road she had to cross. She did not like the evil sign, and she thought that she would take a shorter way, and find out that the country people sometimes took in going to chapel.
But Serena was soon bewildered, and a
at length got into
A PEEP AT THE
136 precipitously as
roof of a house to the bottom of a ravine,
beautifully clothed with wood.
She could hear the running came in sight of a stream that ran rapidly under a vast number of trees. This she crossed and still advanced. She now perceived some overhanging rocks, and on the hill above these stood the little chapel. She had not advanced very far, when she heard the vesper of water, and soon
Mindful of her promise she determined to retrace
her steps as speedily as possible,
she heard strains of the most
Serena, quickly turn, hark to
She fancied that a voice above the rocks
the vesper bell."
spoke these words. warning.
Nothing earthly seemed
enchanting music. " those sounds.
and no longer
in so lovely a scene.
she neglected the friendly
way, that way, up the ravine,
the trees, and could see no one; whilst every step
she advanced, the music of the unseen musician appeared to
" I will but tarry a few minutes
before her. it is
plays thus sweetly, and where the sounds
Serena, " I shall yet reach the chapel
yonder, before the bell has done ringing."
She now continued descending the difficult and winding which turned sharply round among rocks that peered
above her head in the most fantastic forms; the roots of
the trees clung to
in all directions.
So narrow had
the path become between the rocks and the stream, that scarcely afforded
slippery with moss
and damp, and here and there the arm
THE LADY OF THE SILVER BELL. of a tree crossed close above
head, to pass along was
Again did Serena listen, and still could slie hear, even above the sounds of the rushing waters, the vesper-bell. She now in good earnest determined
to turn back. But at moment, such a strain of sweetness arose; it caught her ear, and she became once more fixed by the spell of such enchanting harmony. Alas! it was of more power
of duty over her wavering mind.
The music now seemed
come from the opposite
of the stream; and so
her curiosity excited, that
it, and to find out She looked round and perceived which served, though not without
she took the resolution to try to cross the unseen
Serena was light of foot and very
riskj for stepping-stones.
by marking well where to venture, and springing from rock to rock, she managed to get over the stream. Again did she enter on a narrow path, and followed it for a few yards, when, on a sudden turn, she came in sight of the loveliest waterfall that she had ever beheld. active;
wildest rocks. it
at the extremity of a recess
was only in front facing the
cascade itself was not lofty, not above
or sixty feet in height
These formed so complete an inclosure, that
of such surpassing loveliness.
yards distant from the
form and accompaniments
it some which half way up had the appearance of a natural arch; and through this opening the foaming waters were
there stood fronting
A PEEP AT THE
seen leaping and
dasMng over the Tlience
rushed on in the wildest
tumult over vast masses of granite, which lay in the bed of the stream as
occasioned by the hollows beneath, might be found a calm
deep pool, undisturbed by the impetuosity of the
Serena stopped, delighted with the beauty of the scene. " This is the sweetest ravine in the world," she said; " such a beautiful waterfall, and the rocks so wild and broken;
shut in to keep
were, from the approach of
Surely this must be the very place in tells
me, that Merlin of
magician, in the days of Prince Arthur_, used to work his
where the Pixies make their favourite haunt, and where they are now most powerful, and, therefore, most to be feared. But that must be false; for nothing to be feared can ever come into such a charming scene as this. But I spells;
must not linger; and now to hasten back,
vesper-bell can be heard, nor even that delightful music
which led me hither, for here the waterfall lets no music but its own meet the ear." Well might Serena thus admire the scene, for what she so gazed upon were the rocks and fall of Nathan's Kieve. Serena gave the cascade one last farewell look, and then turned to retrace her steps;
wonder, when, quitted,
at a short distance
from the spot she had
proceed without the
danger of stepping upon a human being, who lay outstretched,
with a lute by his
on the narrow path
THE SILVER BELL
THE LADY OF THE SILVER BELL. under
so close to tlie water s edge, that
by without disturbing liim. moment; her eyes became as much fascinated
left for lier to
She paused a
beautiful appearance of the sleeping figure, as her
had before been charmed by the mysterious music. was a strange place
young man, of a very good person, and handsome features, with light brown curly hair. His attire was at once rich and elegant. He wore such a cloak and vest as Serena had never before seen; the plumage of the finest birds seemed
then the cap on his head, and the tiara which was bound
around his brows, was
and glittering with jewels,
and emeralds, and rubies, and sapphires had been clustered together so as to emulate that they looked as if diamonds,
arrangement the colours of the
her admiration of the manly beauty and
splendid attire of the youthful sleeper became as great as
which she had felt, a little while before, for the music; and far exceeded her admiration of the beauties of the scene. She thought that, if ever she married, it should be to just such a beautiful youth and then his dress was so graceful, and as for his tiara, it would be the prettiest thing so rich
imaginable to have just such another to bind around her
own dark and
none but a
prince conld altogether be so charmingly dressed, and so
handsome; and he
must be who had produced from that
lute such exquisite tones.
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
140 Serena was her,
and seeing an opening
to pass on, but looked about
some rocks near
were overshadowed by thick and pendant boughs, she determined to conceal herself and to survey more at her leisure the noble features
and the splendid adornments of
when he awoke, he would again lute. The vesper bell was forgotten;
the sleeper; hoping that,
touch the strings of his
think from what a cause
Serena had given
herself up to the influence of a vain curiosity
she cause to rue her folly
by what could be nothing more than an and deceive her the work of an enemy ;
After a while, a thick mist suddenly
every object around her.
most sadly was she beguiled
ilhision to ensnare
to her peace.
like a cloud over
rocks and trees which
no longer visible. The wind moaned, and the river rushed along in tumult as the roar of the Serena trembled waterfall became loud as rolling thunder. in every limb her heart beat quick she knew not what to sheltered her were
the spot of her concealment she dared not;
she was on the verge of despair, rose like a veil
gradually the mist
that had been thrown over the landscape,
and now raised by an invisible hand. The rocks, woods, and waterfall once more were distinctly seen, but under a melancholy aspect no sun-beam fell, upon them all was ;
She looked down on the narrow shadow and gloom. pathway; but neither the beautiful sleeping youth, nor the lute by his side were to be seen they were gone and she saw only the broken and mossy rocks wet with the spray ;
and foam of the stream
THE LADY OF THE SILVER BELL. At tlie
arose, retraced lier steps,
but the vesper bell had long ceased ringhig,
and the doors of the chapel were closed
â€” closed indeed,
the vesper service had been concluded half an hour before
Serena could not but
she reached the spot.
of her folly
and she added to
confined to her
b j keeping the knowledge
for neither to
what had happened. She was, however, often seen stealing down the pathway that led to Nathan's Kieve; for by a strange fascination she was fond of going there alone; although it was in that spot she first received those impressions which now rendered her so melancholy and unhappy. At length Father Hilary saw something was the matter^ and obtained from her a Hilary, nor to the nurse did she
confession of the trvith, but only in part told; for she confined herself to the statement of having wasted her time in
wandering up to
waterfall in Nathan's Kieve,
She blushed, but was
too late for the vespers. to confess
she had been led astray, that she said
not one word about the musician, his
Father Hilary was quite sufficiently shocked by what she confessed,
and imposed upon her a very severe penance,
namely, that she should take the ten marks given to her by the Baron to buy a splendid dress to wear at a high festival to be held at the castle,
and should expend the same
A SILVER BELL, on which she must cause attired as a penitent,
engraved an image of herself
with her hair hanging down her
A PEEP AT THE
back, and carrying a taper in her Land, in token of sorrow
what she had done amiss. Serena obeyed, and purchased the silver bell, of which I here give the picture. for
This Father Hilary presented in her name to the chapel situated on the
was done, and though Serena had worn
her old robes at the high
above Nathan's Kieve. festival of Tintagel, to the
her gaily-clad young friends,
her shabby apparel and envied her pretty looks, and though she had taken care that her
should never again interfere with the hour of ringing the vesper bell
yet was she dull and melancholy.
flagged, indeed they had never returned with their natural
vivacity since that unluckly day on which she committed so great a fault.
she longed and sighed once
hear the charming music, and to see the handsome and gaily dressed minstrel.
But she was always disappointed
and expectations. At length she became so unhappy that she told all her Now, nurse Judy, though goodsecret to nurse Judy.
in her hopes
natured was not a very wise counsellor, for fearing Father
Hilary would put the young lady to a more severe penance
than the former did he very wrong advice
as will presently
the truth, she gave her
She told Serena that she was convinced
all that had was a Pixy delusion, brought about by some of those malignant and spiteful beings, who it was well known were powerful in Nathan's Kieve, and more especially over any one who had been negligent in the
THE LADY OF THE SILVER BELL. performance of
music was the work of their
not doubt that the
Slie did spells;
as to the beautiful
was nothing more than some mischievous imp, who had assumed that appearance
certain that he
on purpose to deceive
In order therefore to counteract these
suaded Serena to go and consult old Swillpot^ the famous Cornish wizard,
dwelt near the waterfall at Nathan's
Kieve, and who, nurse
for being a he entertained no spite against the person who came to consult him; and more said,
kind wizard in his way, that was
especially if the individual gave him a purse full of money, and a jar of strong rich metheglin or mead, which had
at the full of the
(then considered the
and was three years old at least. Judy declared, that she had metheglin in her own par-
best time for
had been made under all the moon, and old Swillpot should have that
quarters of the
decocted at the
Serena, though not without fear, took
had and put it into her purse; she took also Judy's jar of metheglin, which was so large she found it difficult to carry it under her cloak, and set out for the wizard's dwelling. A very poor and miserable cottage was not the most agreeable place for so delicate a visit;
but she was unhappy and wanted
did not care to be nice, but after a gentle rap at once entered the dwelling. pot,
when he handled
the purse, and took
A PEEP AT THE
jar of metlieglin,
and with a good-humoured chuckle
He then bade Serena sit down, and he would presently talk with her. Old Swillpot had not much the look of a wizard, for he was stout and burly, had a round full face, not unlike the moon (as that luminary is painted on the face of a clock), a very round red nose, and a beard so thick and long it tucked
He was in an exceeding good humour, placed himself at the head of a little table, j)roduced a brown loaf and some Cornish cheese, as hard as reached quite
to his waist.
had been cut out of the rocks, or from one of the Cornish
mines, bustled up to his cupboard, produced a couple of
horn cups, opened the This, with a
smack of the
cellent, clear as
and very heartily pressed Serena
him some of her own
to partake with
he pronounced to be ex-
honey from which
the king himself
Serena, not to offend him, just tasted
the cup, and then would have proceeded to
but the charms of the metheglin were so
young lady in the estimation of old Swillpot, had half emptied the jar would he hear word she had to say.
those of the
that not until he
he seemed a as
Avith the strength of the
awake nor yet
tapping his fingers on the table, his nose three times redder
yawn and to let her
before, he bade her tell her story,
know how very
and gave a
end of every sentence,
attentive he was to her discourse.
THE LADY OF THE SILVER BELL.
then leaned back in his chair, looked wise, con-
a snatch at a fine tabby cat that
herself against the side of his chair, took her
knee, and rubbed her hair the wrong way, as she raised up
reached his chin and brushed his beard.
own thoughts, or the motion of was doubtful which, he very solemnly assured Serena, that all her sufferings and uneasiness proceeded from a wicked delusion that, in fact, she had been After consulting either his the
Pixy-led in the most injurious manner.
to the subject of her cure
the powerful spell under which she was
to free her
cure her vain desire to hear again the mysterious music,
handsome musician, which so disturbed her what she had to do must be performed at the Kieve, and in sight of the waterfall, at the full of the moon, he offered to accompany her to the spot. As the moon would be at the full that very night, he said no time to see the
should be lost set
was therefore agreed that they should Before departing, old Swillpot tucked
the jar, containing the remainder of the metheglin, under his arm,
so they speedily gained the place of their
But what were the when, on arriving
and astonishment of Serena, wizard directed her to climb
which forms the natural arch in and lies directly over what may truly be styled a boiling and foaming cauldron. And, when there, he directed her to perform certain magical to the top of the rock
front of the waterfall,
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
146 rites to
appease the Pixies;
had been her foes, In what all these watching the moon
rites consisted, till
a cloud passed over her disk,
then repeating certain words of mysterious signification,
were among them. the rock
Lastly, she was enjoined to stay on
she heard, even above the
the scream of a night-bird ravine,
of the water, to
and there to make the most dismal shrieks that
could be imagined. It
that was said
one knew where
was popularly believed
of the great
enchanter, Merlin, thus inhabiting the body of a bird for a certain term of years.
had been a
enemy to the Pixies. Serena was directed to watch and when she saw something dark come sailing over the cruel
rocks above, on out-spread wings, and with loud screams
prepare to dash
fall, then was which the wizard instructed her how to repeat. This done, she might descend from the rock, and would no more be troubled with any mischievous spells or fancies. Serena, with much fear, and a quickly-beating heart, managed to ascend the rock, and to take her perilous stand upon the natural arch above the rapid and roaring flood she did all as commanded. At length she heard a flapping of wings, and saw the dark form of a majestic bird, whose plumage shone bright and silvery in the moon-
she to address
the midst of the
in a form of words,
in a firm
from among the
and plaintive tone
Instantly she addressed
THE LA.DY OF THE SILVER BELL. " Bird of night,
time to leave
and seek St. Nathan's Kieve Bird of power o'er Pixy dells, Disenchant me from their spells. Give me freedom from their thrall. Ere thou seek'st yon waterfall Drive from me idle Fancy's mood, Or drown my folly in the flood." nest,
Serena, as she spoke
from the summit of the rock on which she was so precariously placed. At that very moment the bird with hastily
outspread wings dashed against the moon-illumined waterfall,
she lost her footing and tottered.
Before she could
regain her babance, old Swillpot, as fast as he could
stepped forward to give assistance. Unfortunately
whilst Serena had been performing the rites he dictated, in
order to keep the night air from chilling his stomach, he
had emptied into lin,
the remaining half of the jar of metheg-
he was a
more unsteady than before; and hand in helping, were
neither his foot in stepping, nor his so
sure of their
purpose; and he bungled so terribly in trying to give aid, that his foot slipped,
down he pushed
and having caught Serena by the arm,
her; and both were soused into the water.
Swillpot was nearer to the banks, and some
managed to scramble out. But not so the unfortunate young lady; she had been pushed so completely over the rock by the tipsy wizard^ that she fell at once into a pool which lay immediately below
the most deep and dangerous in the whole course
A PEEP AT THE PIXIES.
148 of the stream. did her
But long unhappy fate; long was her a sad example of so young and so lovely a Poor Serena was seen no more.
story told as
creature being led into folly by her vain and idle curiosity.
Old Swillpot, who was not of an unkind heart, though he did not possess a very clear head, was so shocked and concerned at what had happened, owing to his having bewildered his brains and rendered his footing unsteady,
too free with the metheglin
he could possibly
renounced strong drink for ever after.
sending such an old
vexed and angry with herself
mended her young lady
that, as the
go and consult him, and for she called him, her best and
more any mortal creature; and so
stoutest metheglin^ that she took the resolution never
away one drop of
well did she observe this determination that
went down any throat but her own. keeping so
her purpose, old Swillpot's red nose
have passed from his face to her own.
It is said to this day,
at the full,
her beams sparkle, like filaments of diamonds on the beautiful waterfall of Nathan's Kieve, Serena's Silver Bell
ringing in a slow and melancholy cadence, like a funeral
though the chapel
was given has long
been destroyed, and neither the belfry nor to be found.
THE BELFRY ROCK; OR,
the borders of 'Dartmoor, in days of yore, there lived a
rich old farmer, in one of the fields near
whose house, stood
a very curious object, a large moor-stone rock, shaped
much like an ancient Gothic church with a tower, that it was known among the country people for miles round by the name of" The Pixies' Church." It was also encompassed by a Pixy ring; and many old
persons declared that ever since they could remember, if
you placed your
ear close to the rock
on a Sunday, you
could hear a small tinkling sound, resembling the church bells at Tavistock,
very time they were
ringing to warn the good
people of that town for the
sound could be heard when the as
likewise, that the
of Tavistock chimed,
they always did at four, and eight, and twelve o'clock.
protested that so long ago as
who was fond
he was frequently seen listen, as
he had never been
of music, was a
to place his ear against the rock to
to the Pixies' ringing;
he thus learned the tune
of the 100th Psalm which the chimes there used to play daily.
declared that he heard the Pixy music best
he put his head in a hole in the portion of the rock which was called the belfry tower. When he grew up to be a man he learned to play on the bass viol with which he led the choir of a neighbouring village;
A PEEP AT THE
there was no tune he played witla so
spirit as the
100th Psahn, which he had so often heard at
the belfry rock. " And, as sure as you are alive/' said the ancient dame, who repeated this story round many a Christmas fire, " the Pixies love bell-ringing, and go to church
happened, that the farmer wanted stones, to
the wall of some additional buildings to his house " Church-rock" being near, he bethought him
how much time, trouble, and expense would be saved, by making the granite of the tower supply his need. But when he made known his intentions to his workmen, they One and all did they declare stood aghast with dread. that they would have no hand in the matter. What dare !
from the Pixies' church
to strike off even a bit of a stone
they would not do such a thing for the weight of the
whole rock in gold.
would be sure
vengeance of the whole band of Pixies upon them
scarcely ever ploughed
but they were sure to suffer for cramps, and rheumatics
dared not do
in the bones,
touching the rock, they
for their lives.
Finding that he could do nothing with farmer, being
up or disturbed a Pixy
men, the old
he was obstinate,
determined to work himself, and to make his sons help him.
earnest, they after block
began the work of
was removed from the
But this deed of mischief and spoliation was not done without some marks of anger, and even of
from the invisible
beings thus disturbed
THE BELFRY ROCK.
their favourite haunts.
and piercing shrieks were and the masons (those
constantly heard from the rock
refused to help to take the stones from such a
terribly troubled with cramps,
flesh, so that
to rest, as if pins
were running into their
they were heartily glad
revenge upon the
But now began the had been
head of thus offending them.
ing, when the old farmer came down into the kitchen, he found a heap of ashes on the hearth, within the ample
space of the chimney.
looked absolutely as
been a bonfire made of a whole rick of wood
and, on going
into the wood-yard, he found the better part of his rick,
more especially all the great logs that he had been saving up for the Christmas week, gone. He next proceeded to the cow-house. It was in the depth of winter and there ;
he was struck with horror on beholding his
and most favourite cow, the very queen of cows for grace and beauty, standing shivering and shaking, reduced to a living skeleton
her eyes staring out of her head, and her " The What a sight
bones scarcely covered with skin.
Pixies have pity on me," exclaimed the old truly do I
fear this is their
on the hearth, and now a
was just the same thing fat
the two follow-
â€” a heap of
to a living skeleton
length the old farmer plucked up courage, and deter-
on the next night, he would watch and find
out the mystery.
A PEEP AT THE
effected his purpose
by concealing himself in
place in the wall of the kitchen, called the smuggler's hole;
fame did him no wrong, the old fellow was said, now and then, to do business in an unlawful way. Well, there was he concealed. Exactly as the clock struck twelve, he heard a noise something like the humming of bees at the for, if
directly after perceived a little creature,
very diminutive, but shaped like a
forth through the key-hole.
Immediately Friskey of this Pixy) took
(for such, it
name hung near
seemed, was the
a nail, where
the door, the ponderous key (the weight of which was
at length, the
gentleman managed to unlock the door.
To next of
amazement, what should the old farmer
his utter see,
but one of his
oxen driven in by myriads
on the animal's back, others
the ears, a few swinging on his
couple of rogues, one perched on the tip of either horn,
amusing themselves by turning about, in their
the weather-cocks on the tops of the pinnacles of Tavistock
This Pixy progeny, though numerous, were by no means very handsome. The tallest of them was (said the old gossip, the narrator of this most wonderful history) not
higher than her kitchen candle-stick; that was, about six inches from crown to toe
among them, were
and the miniature Pixies, or scarcely half so
looked, added this observing old dame, for like
standing on their hinder
THE BELFRY ROCK. had
black eyes, large mouths, and red fiery tongues,
like pen-knives, as
they thrust them
This band of
be of no very
gentle or amiable nature, soon drove the poor
threw him down in a minute; fairly
ox near the
Then, urchins though they were, they all
skinned him, being careful in so doing not to break
operation was going on, another
party of these diminutive monsters
busied themselves in bringing in great logs of wood.
was truly wonderful to see such little creatures capable, by The logs were their numbers, of removing such loads.
One of the Pixies then breathed disposed upon the hearth. upon them, and immediately they kindled into a flame. Friskey next clapped his tiny hands, and forthwith three obedient Pixies appeared, each mounted and sitting between the prongs of a pitchfork turned upwards, and so they glided
onward towards the fire. The pitchforks stopped of themselves, and then the urchins dismounted; and one putting his fork into the nose of the poor ox, whilst the other did
the same to had him up
rump, and the third poked
in a trice,
for roasting before the
and contrived fire.
at his side,
him ready set to and
whirled and turned him backwards and forwards and round
about like so
and basted him with the
the butter and cream that they
could steal from the dairy; for Pixies are very good cooks, and know that meat is never delicate or tender unless basted with care. The roasting was soon finished for a fire ;
A PEEP AT THE
kindled by such means
exactly while the old farmer in
could count seven, tbree times was tbe ox tbree times again let down, before
This done, one
large kitchen table.
was transferred little
wretch, far more
the rest, with something bright and sparkling
about his brows (the form of which the farmer could not exactly make out), stamped with his tiny feet, and bade the
whole band thousand
In another moment, out flew a
to the feast.
knives, each in shape resembling a cutlass,
and each Pixy fell to " tooth and nail/' on the good cheer, They all seemed cutting and carving and helping himself highly to enjoy their supper, and chatted and talked as fast as they ate in a sort of squeak very like the squeak of mice These
in a corner.
wretches contrived in a few
minutes, to devour fat and lean, and every part of the ox
except the brain, the eyes, and bones and sinews.
bones, however, were picked quite clean, and looked to tbe
when he saw
white as drifted snow.
did tremble and quake with fear
that one of the small bones of the beast
fallen near the entrance of the hole in the wall,
had, however, courage and presence of
sufficient to stretch out his
then shut to the
hand and catch up little softly-sliding
that formed a sort of door to the entrance of his secret retreat; for
overcome with terror that he could
not bear any longer to behold such a scene of mischief,
THE BELFRY ROCK. and could
groans for tLe
However, he could not
what was still going on. Presently he perceived the Pixy company set
then, taking a peep at
this they did
in a ring,
holding each other by the hand, and making a
and strange one) which was only interrupted by the mouselike squeak and a sort of chuckling, for that was their manner of mirth and laughter.
noise like a tune (though a very wild
After tliey were pretty well tired with their sports, the little Pixy who looked more old and ugly than all the rest, gave a sharp shrill cry, and immediately all the party began to collect tlie scattered bones,
and to put them together with
wonderfiil ease and precision, fastening
however, in building up
the ox, missed the small bone, and appeared greatly alarmed
should bring upon them the anger of their king.
after consulting together,
from him pretty
they seemed to form a plan readily.
and had been doing it to oblige any Surgeon Hunter, or Professor Owen, for their schools of anatomy. They then took the horns and the hoofs (which they removed before supper) with very great care and, lastly, drew the skin over the bones with admirable dexterity. It went on without pulling, for there was no flesh left to laid out the skeleton of the ox, as clean
as perfect as if they
create the slightest difficulty.
This finished, once more
and danced three several times round the ox all
united in uttering one small shrill piercing cry.
A PEEP AT THE
witches say in the play of Macbeth, " to
them then climbed upon the creature's back, as young cats, and placed themselves about the
head, and seemed to breathe and utter sounds in the
being accomplished, the leader
from a broom in the
Pixies took several pieces of birch
after his own fashion, proceeded down the ox, from the tip of his nose to the end of tail. Whereupon the animal began slowly to re-ani-
he opened one eye, and then another
and rolled out
and then he gave such
a sudden whisk with his
tail, that he tumbled off from two of Pixies who were amusing themselves by hanging upon it, as ship-boys do upon a rope and, it
a dozen or
he gave such a bellow,
old farmer in his hole.
Their sport for the night being
with his bellowing,
would disturb the house, the Pixy drive
beast towards the door
even startled the
but they could
not do even this like other creatures, for they did
and pinching him in a very wanton manner. then it was found, that, for want of the small mis-
and went lame
however, got out,
same way that they got in. Friskey staid behind, to lock the door and hang up the key, and then bobbed through the key-hole
after the others.
THE BELFRY ROCK.
became of the old man and I '11 tell you. As soon as all was quiet, he crept out of his smuggling-hole, and went but could not get a wink of to bed, terribly frightened ;
sleep all the nisrht for thinking of the
was day, he got up, and went straight to the ox-
and there he found
Now, there was a near him, who was called
on one lived
poor skeleton beast, halting strange kind of old
though he consulted her upon the she
favour the Pixies
him, but rather inclined to
very probably they were her personal
However, being hard pressed
she told the farmer to go to a conjuror, know'n
old Joan, the witch; but,
of the White Wizard
funny old man, who was very formidable when he chose to use his
power over witches and
kinds and degrees.
The farmer did go
White had happened. How he took down the tower of the Pixy church, and broke it up for stones for his building, and every thing which had befallen Wizard
had both seen and heard with his The White Wizard thought the
that he ears.
very bad one
but not altogether hopeless.
the farmer to go home,
building, carry back all the stones to where he had taken them from, put them down on the same spot, but not to attempt to do anything more to them. Although grieved, and vexed to think he must be at so great a loss as all this implied, yet the old
A PEEP AT THE
surprise wlien, on going out the next morning,
he found the Pixy church and tower built up again^ exactly
was before, and not a stone out of
nothing went well with him
disturbed the Pixy tower,
had been which
he could not overcome, and got as lean and All able as one of his poor skeleton oxen.
old farmer related to the parson of the parish, and said that he
the confession on purpose to ease his con-
gcience before he died,
which he did soon
very sad and disastrous
tale was, for a
period, the subject of narrative at Christmas
eves, over the hot pies
and the white
hot, with the addition of spice, eggs,
and sugar, in
the villages bordering on Dartmoor.
warning both to young and
with, or to destroy, any Pixy rocks, houses or buildings, or rings of any kind or description, as these beings, though
fancy, are, nevertheless,
and revengeful in
nature, and will requite an oifence with
sometimes of service where they take a
the Tailor's Needle."
is to tliis day an expression used to denote the mischievous and wicked designs of witchcraft. To be ill-wished by an old woman, signifies neither more nor less than to be bewitched by her. Sometimes persons who fancy that their children, themselves, or their cattle, are so, go to the White Witch, who pretends to the power of curing or removing the evil brought about by the wicked one. Concerning Anastatia Steer, etc., I beg leave to subjoin, for the amusement of my readers, the following extracts from that curious work "J. View of Devonshire in 1630, with a Pedigree of most of its Gentry, hy Thonas Westcote, Gentleman,^'' which, though written so long ago, was only very lately published by subscription. Speaking of the great age of many persons in the county of Devon, the worthy author quaintly says " To add somewhat more concerning long life, it is to be proved, that Anastatia Steer, late of Roborough, hved full one hundred and forty years, double the age the prophet David allowed for old men in his time, when he said
Ill-ivishing in the
" Our time
three score years and ten
That we do
live on mould If one see four score, surely then count him wondrous old."
speaking of Crediton, he says " Their market for kersies hath been very great, especially of the finer sort; (and before the prepeticanos vfere wrought) for the aptness and diligent industry of the inhabitants (for making such
160 cloth), did
a super-eminent name above all other towns, proverb, as fine as Kerton spinning ;
(for we briefly call it Kerton) which spinning was indeed very fine which to express, the better to gain your belief, it is very true, that one hundred and forty threads of woollen yarn spun in that town were drawn together through the eye of a tailor's needle; which needle and which threads were for many years together to be seen in Watling Street in London, in the shop of one Mr. Dunscombe, at the sign of the Golden Bottle."
The Three Trials
The Story of Crabby
Tintagel. The ruins of this once magnificent old castle, traditionally said to have been built by Prince Arthur, stand to this day much as they are described in the tale. The Rev. Mr. Hawker, in his little volume of elegant poetry, called " Records of the Western Shore," says of the Chough, " This wild bird chiefly haunts the coasts of Devon and Cornwall. The common people believe that the soul of King Arthur inhabits one of these birds, and no entreaty or bribe would induce an old Tintagel quarryman to kill one of them." Black cats, black hens, and ravens, I believe, from time immemoand rial, have been considered as the peculiar property of witches the evil spirit, who becomes the familiar of any such wicked persons, is said to take up his abode in the body of one of the above named black creatures, or, in some cases, to assume the appearance of any one of them. Some time since, I saw it stated, I think in Prince's " Worthies of Devon'"' (but have lost the reference to the page), that a certain learned divine, deeply versed in magic, had an attendant spirit in the shape of a black hen, which, on some one reading in a great magical book that lay on the table in the absence of the owner, suddenly became a monstrous and dangerous bird. :
Notes to "The Seven Crosses of Tiverton; Pixy Pickett."
The Story of
The quaint old author, Westcote, above mentioned, gives the following account of the Seven Crosses of Tiverton. He begins by stating, that a poor labouring man of that town had, by his wife, seven sons at a birth, " which being so secretly kejat, as but known
and his wife he, despaii-iug of Divine Providence (which never deceiveth them that depend thereon, but giveth meat to every mouth, and tilleth with his blessing every living thing), resolveth to let them swim in our river, and to that purpose puts them all into a large basket, and takes his way towards the river. The Countess (of Devon) having been somewhere abroad to take the air, or doing rather some pious v/ork, meets him with his basket, and by some, no doubt Divine, inspiration, demands what he carried in his basket. The silly man, stricken dead well near with that question, answers, They are Let me see them,' quoth the lady. they were whelps. I will see,' not worth the rearing.' puppies,' replied he again, quoth the good Countess; and the loather he was to show them, the more earnest was she to see them which he perceiving, fell on his knees and discovered his purpose, with all former circumstances which understood, she hasteth home with them, provides nurses and all things else necessary. They all live, are bred in learning, and, being come to man's estate, gives each a prebend in this parish, which I think are vanished not to be seen, but the Seven Crosses near Tiverton, set up by this occasion, keeps it yet in memory." to himself
Notes to Sir
Henry de Bath,
and a judge
a native of
most worthy man,
IH., in consequence of the king's been prejudiced against him by an artful and designing
in the reign of
enemy, was summoned before the Pai'liament on the charges of corruption and treason. Conscious of his innocence, he came forward in the most fearless manner, supported by his friends, who entered the house armed. Those who were to sit in judgment upon him, feared so much the consequences to themselves did they con demn him, that not one present vvroukl lead the way whereupon the king, in a fit of passion, denounced him, and promised to pardon any one who should put to death Sir Henry de Bath. He, however, escaped the present danger, and was afterwards reconciled to his ;
In the court before Bath House (the ancient family residence near North Tav/ton, Devon) there was formerly a deep pit. Prince says, " so deep in the centre as the height of a man vvfcll mounted on horseback, generally dry, where would sometimes in the dryest season a spring break out, which hlled the pit so full it would overflow its banks." This overflowing of the waters became a fatal
sign of death or calamity to the family of De Bath and Westcote says in the work already cited, " That in those latter days, it had been seen to do so three times in a little more than thirty years." ;
Notes to "The Lady op the Silver Bell." For the wild Pixy incidents which suggested this
husband, the Rev. E. A. Bray, who since commenced a little poem on the subject, which is indebted to
The Belfry Rock
Belfry Rock, commonly called the Church Rock, on Dartmoor, on account of its resemblance to a church. I know not if it is still in being, as great havoc of late years has taken place on the moor many rocks have been blasted with gunpowder, broken ujj for the roads, and otherwise destroyed. But the Church Rock was long remembered and many old persons have declared, that they could recollect the time when, if you placed your ear close to it on a Sunday, you could hear a low tinkling sound like the bells of Tavistock Church, and always at the time of warning for service and they also said, that the chimes, at the regular hours of the day for chiming, could be so heard at the rock. All this was duly ascribed to the Pixies, who, it was believed, loved bell -ringing, and went to church. Hence the rock in question received the name of the Pixies' Church. It is not at all improbable, that, when the wind was in the right quartei-, the sounds heard at the rock were the faint echoes of the Tavistock bells. For a knowledge of the local tradition, on which the tale of the Belfry Rock is founded, I am indebted to Mr. Merrilield, a barrister, and a man of talent in more things than the law, a native of the town of Tavistock, and the husband of a lady well known for her literary merits.
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; I UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH ti< Uarliiigton JVLemorial Ijibrary FIXY GATHON. Page Si) By MRS. BRAY, EVANS AND BRITTAf^f, NEW YORK. WITH...