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with, he believed her early education It were vain to dwell on his affectionate entreaties. Marian, overpowered by his distress, and by her desire of hastening his departure from the metropolis, ultimately consented; and, in the presence of Mistress Moreton and the old nurse of her childhood, who had also been a faithful attendant upon her mother, did Marian become the wife of Herbert Lisle. On the bridal day they separated, and, as Herbert pressed her with rapture to his heart, and imprinted a farewell kiss on her lips, Marian seemed oppressed with a fearful presentiment that her happiness had vanished, and she trembled to think of the dangers to which her beloved Herbert was about to be exposed.
From the day of their parting, Marian's health declined, and her depression of spirits became evident to every one. Indeed, for some time, she scarcely dared raise her eyes to her father's face, lest he should discover her secret; and her brother evidently seemed to suspect that she had some cause for her unhappiness. Marian, however, soon had ostensible reason for her melancholy, in the death of Mistress Moreton, which took place, suddenly, about a week after Herbert's departure; and her father readily accepted, on her account, the offer which was made to him of taking up his abode for a short time in Holborn. The house which he inhabited had, at the back of it, an uninterrupted view of fields, meadows, and pasture lands, with pleasant shady laues and humble cottages; a space of ground now occupied by Red Lion Square, and the streets adjacent and beyond. Marian loved her new abode, as her dear old nurse lived only about two or three fields off, and she could therefore visit her frequently, and talk to her of her gallant husband.
After the battle of Worcester, when Marian was made acquainted with the dreadful tidings that her husband was a prisoner, and that in all probability his life would be sacrificed, from the known stern devotion
had fortified her against imbibing their principles; and, while he condemned their conduct and opinions, he himself pitied their misfortunes. Marian had thus an opportunity, at her aunt's, of frequently meeting the young and accomplished Herbert Lisle. Insensibly they became attached to each other. Marian wept over his ruined fortunes, and the perils to which he was exposed; and he loved to look on her beautiful countenance, and listen to her gentle voice; yet even more than that did he love her purity of heart, her simplicity of soul, and her noble and confiding disposition. In the first dawn of their attachment, they remembered not the perils by which they were surrounded, nor how eventually hopeless their love might prove. Soon, however, they were awakened from their dream of bliss, and the young soldier was obliged to follow the fortunes of his royal master. Yet he went secure in the possession of Marian's faithful and unchanging love. When he left her, though Marian had fears for him, she had none for herself: she had bestowed her affection on Herbert Lisle, and she was resolved that no earthly power should compel her to abandon him.-When the young king marched into England, after the unfortunate battle of Dunbar, Herbert Lisle obtained a short leave of absence; and, disguised, he reached London, where he again beheld his beloved Marian. But a thousand fears for his safety tormented her, and she urged his immediate departure. Herbert, however, refused to leave her: he might never see her more, or her friends would oblige her to forsake him. He tormented her and himself with a thousand groundless suspicions and harassing thoughts (for man knows not the unchanging nature of woman's true affection), and he eloquently urged that nothing short of her consenting to a private marriage would satisfy him, or calm his melancholy forebodings.
and unbending loyalty, both of himself and his father, her distress was nearly insupportable. She resolved, however, that, if she could not save him, she would die with him; and, comforting herself with this assurance, she calmly prepared to make the only effort in her power on his behalf, viz., that of a personal appeal to General Cromwell. This was a bold step for one so young; but Marian stopped not to weigh either the peril or the possible cousequences of the undertaking. She imparted her determination to no one but her nurse. "God will be my guide," she said to the old woman, who would fain have dissuaded her from the attempt; "but give thou to me that trinket of my mother's-the watch she gave thee-I may need it."
"Well, but you know not, perhaps, the tale that belongs to it," said the old woman.
"Yes, yes!" said Marian; "I know it all; I have heard it many times."
Thus admonished, the nurse unlocked a small drawer, and drew forth a small watch hanging to a steel chain, which was partly rusted. The case of the watch was of gold: it had small steel beads around it, and a raised border of flowers of the same metal on the back. Exactly in the centre was a small painting of a female head, exquisite in expression and beauty. The dark raven hair parted on the forehead, the eyes full of tenderness, and the faint blush just tinging the fair cheek, made Marian weep as she gazed on it; and, pressing the trinket to her lips, she exchanged an affectionate farewell with her nurse, and hastened homewards.
In honour of the victory which General Cromwell had obtained at Worcester, the citizens of London resolved on giving a grand entertainment. Great preparations were made on the occasion, and he was to be feasted in Guildhall. Matthew Godfrey intended to be present at the civic festival; and the day before it
was to take place he went to his house in Aldersgate Street, from which he did not intend to return until the day after the dinner given to General Cromwell and his officers. This was the time which Marian judged as most favourable for her purpose; and, soon after her father had left Holborn, she, with a beating heart, and in her most simple apparel, with her lovely countenance shrouded in a black silk hood, set off for the palace at Whitehall, where she had been informed the General then was.
On making known her desire to the attendants, she was told that the Lord General had been occupied nearly all the day with business of importance, and that it was not likely she would be able to see him, but that she could wait if she pleased. Marian accordingly sat down on a bench in a corridor leading to the principal apartments. Here she waited in agonizing suspense ; persons passed to and fro, but none seemed to notice her, and she thought with bitterness of the precious moments thus passing away, which might probably be fraught with danger to her beloved Herbert. An elderly man, in the garb of a puritan minister, entered the gallery: his look seemed benevolent, and Marian resolved to address him, and request his assistance. At first he looked at her suspectingly; but a second glance at her noble brow and modest countenance reassured him. He saw that her distress was real, and, certain that her object could be one of no common interest, he promised, if possible, to obtain her an interview with the Lord General.
This person, who was the celebrated Hugh Peters, was as good as his word. In a few moments he again approached her, and, taking her hand, he led her to the door of an apartment, and whispering"The Lord prosper thy petition," the door was thrown open, and Marian found herself in the presence of General Cromwell.
The room into which Marian was
ushered was a high and noble apart ment, commanding a spacious view of the Thames, with all the varied and bustling scenery constantly observable thereon. Three sides of the room were occupied by bookshelves, filled with large and seemingly ponderous volumes; at the upper end stood a table, covered with a Turkey carpet, on which lay numerous papers; and, in a plain high-backed chair, covered with black leather, sat the man who was soon to be raised to the supreme power in these kingdoms-Oliver Cromwell. He was plainly dressed, in a suit of mulberry colour, with a short cloak of the same. His hat lay beside him on the table. His hair was partially grey, and his whole countenance spoke the decision and quick penetration that belonged to his character; though, at times, there was a softening expression in the eyes which moderated the effect his stern features would otherwise have produced. At first he looked harshly at Marian; but when he saw that her whole frame trembled with agitation, he said, mildly" Maiden, what is thine errand ?"
earnestly for a stranger youth: betake thee to thine home."
The blood rushed into Marian's cheeks and forehead, and she replied hastily-" Is it, then, a crime for woman to plead for mercy? Be it so! Yet the laws, both of God and man, are on my side, when I would ask your aid for my unhappy husband."
"Ha!" he said, "I looked not for this; but thine appeal is vain :" and he glanced pityingly on her."In these stirring times domestic ties must be rent asunder, when the glory of the Lord and the welfare of the State require it."
"Alas! alas!" cried Marian, "and will you consign my husband to perish? What is his crime? He did but follow a kind master, and fight in support of his cause, as he was bound by his oath of loyalty. Thou thyself hast done as much; but, alas! thou hast chosen a more fortunate path."
Cromwell's brow darkened: "Say rather," he added, "that the Lord hath guided me to choose light rather than darkness. But, touching this matter of thine, Herbert Lisle will be dealt with as the State shall think fit; and, if his life be forfeited, pray thou unto the Lord, and he will comfort thee in thine affliction."
"Not so," said Marian eagerly; "I know thou art all powerful, and that a word from thee could save him. Mercy, then, mercy! Bethink thee how this gracious act would gladden thy dying hour, and rob death of its bitterness."
Cromwell shook his head, and Marian, in the energy of her supplication, dropped on her knees, and held up with both her hands, the watch she had received from her nurse, aud which she had kept till now concealed in her bosom.
The moment Cromwell's eyes rested upon it, he started from his seat, and advanced towards Marian. "Where got ye this?" he said; while his strong frame trembled with emotion; and he snatched the trinket from her hands, and as he gazed
on the sweet face painted thereon, he turned aside, and Marian saw the big drops of sorrow fall on his weather-beaten cheek.
"Know ye whose watch this once was?" he said, as he turned to Marian.
"It was my mother's, who has been dead many years," she replied; "and my father is Matthew Godfrey, citizen of London."
Cromwell started. He approach ed Marian, who was still on her knees, and, pushing aside her brown hair, which had fallen over her white forehead, he paused a minute, then added "Thine is a face fair to look upon; and ye have your mother's noble brow, but not her raven hair and eye. In days long past, when I was a student at the Inns of Court, I loved your mother fondly and truly; but her parents suffered her not to listen to my words. Perchance they acted wisely, for mine has been a stormy course;" and he sighed. 66 The Lord's will be done!"
last saw her, comes over me as a pleasant dream." He looked on the picture, and sighed as he put it into her hands. Farewell!" he said; "all I can do for thee I will, and God's blessing be ever with thee!" He pressed her hand kindly. Marian's heart was full, and she could but weep her thanks, as the General touched a small silver bell, when the door was opened, and she passed forth from the presence of General Cromwell with renewed hopes and a thankful spirit.
Not many days after this interview, Marian's nurse came to her, and informed her that Herbert Lisle, her beloved husband, was at liberty; that he had been with her, and desired her to tell Marian he was impatient to behold her once more, and to bid her farewell, as he had given his promise to the State to depart forthwith, and his steps were therefore watched by their emissaries. She added, that he would expect Marian at her cottage, at the close of that same evening.
It were needless to speak of Marian's gratitude, when she heard that Herbert was really at liberty-of the many affectionate messages to him with which she charged her nurseof the trembling impatience with which she awaited the appointed hour to behold him.
Evening came, at length, and the darkening clouds, and the moaning of the wind, seemed to portend a storm; but Marian heeded not these gloomy appearances. She had kept aloof in her chamber from the family all that day, under the plea of indisposition; and it was quite dusk, and all was still in the house, ere she ventured forth. With noiseless steps she passed down the garden at the back of the house, and unfastened the door at the extremity of it, which led into the fields, and hastened onwards, as she believed, unheard and unobserved. Once or twice, as Marian proceeded through the lane which led to the cottage of her nurse, she thought she heard a footstep behind her. She stopped, and
listened intensely, but all was perfectly still, and she felt certain that she had been deceived-that the sound had been merely the rustling of the wind through the hedge.
In a few minutes she gained the cottage, and, hastily unfastening the latch, she entered. There was a light in the room, but Marian saw no one but her nurse. "Where is he?" she exclaimed. The old woman pointed to an inner apartment; but Herbert had heard the sound of her voice, and he rushed forth, and caught Marian in his arms. "Beloved of my soul!" said the young Cavalier, as he tenderly bent over his weeping wife, "what a debt of gratitude do I owe thee! Alas! must the joy with which I now enfold thee so soon pass away ? And must I be banished from thy dear presence? Cruel, cruel fate!"
"Nay, dear Herbert!" replied Marian, "let us not embitter the few moments which remain to us by useless repinings; let us feel grateful that thy life is spared!"
"Bauishment from thee is worse than death!" said Herbert.
"When thou art abroad, and in safety, I may find means to join thee," replied Marian. Happy hours may yet be in store for us.'
"Bless thee, dearest!" said her husband, as he passed his arm around her waist, and her head reclined on his shoulder.
They had stood thus for a few seconds, beside the window, when Herbert quitted his position, and advanced towards the inner apartment, whither a sudden call from the nurse invited hin. Marian had taken but a single step to follow him, when the report of a pistol was heard, and Marian, with a deep groan, sank on the cottage floor.
Herbert flew towards her: he raised her in his arms: but the ball had entered her side, and the blood flowed freely. Herbert bent over her in indescribable agony. Her face was deathly pale; but her eyes turned with fondness on her husband, as, with difficulty, she articulated 53 ATHENEUM, VOL. 9, 2d series.
he saw her in the arms of a young cavalier, though he distinguished not that it was Herbert Lisle-be witnessed their endearments; and, fraught with madness at the disgrace which he imagined had been thus brought upon his family, he drew forth his pistol and aimed it at Herbert. But Marian, his sister, was fated to be the unhappy sufferer from his deadly purpose. He stayed not to know the event; as, fearful of pursuit, he hastened immediately from the spot. Bitter was his repentance, when he found that he had sacrificed his beloved sister; and when the true circumstances of the case were made known to him, he was unable to bear his reflections, and sailed soon after for America, where he died at the close of a few years.