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to canter, that she had been the favourite palfrey of Constance all the summer long. It added to his pleasure in seeing her again: he frequently patted her neck, and even talked to her of her mistress, who had rode her once on a visit to this very spot. The docile animal seemed, as he thought, to understand him, by the sensible manner in which she received his caresses; “but she will, I fear, ride you no more, Beauty,” said De Vere, and the thought added not to his spirits,
Having now crossed the Dove, and advanced midway into the village of Tutbury, the zigzag Saxon arches, and gothic old segments of the church, half-way up the hill, arrested and pleased his eyes, as they had often done before; and the castellated towers above seemed to beckon his return to them so much in the character of an old friend that he could not continue his route, but delivering Beauty to his groom," I will give one more hour,” said he, “ to a place which used to make so many happy."
Accordingly, he bounded up the steep, and as he traced out (as he easily could, though ruined) the rude out: lines of this great bargnịal residence, he fell into more precise thoughts upon such a scene than had employed his mind in earlier days. For he had not then seen mods ern courtiers, or jealous politicians; he knew not then the meaning of intrigue nor the silent and baneful machinations of a parvenu.
His better information now drew a comparison, prompted by the place, between the modern grandee and the ancient noble; and he thought with vivid interest of the changes which time had so strongly wrought in the pride, power, and consequence of the feudal chief. I will not say that he lamented it, or preferred the lot of the lordly savage; though had he by chance been born the owner of such a castle as Tutbury three or four centuries sooner, he perhaps would not have complained. It is certain he fell into a train of meditation upon the high-minded bearing of the old English gentleman, compared with his diminished consequence in modern days, not very much to the advantage of the latter.
We believe it is Smith who makes a comparison between the personal consequence of an old baron and a courtier of the present day; the latter of whom, in order to shine in a drawing-room, spends that on a dia. mond buckle which enabled his ancestors to maintain a thousand retainers. De Vere had not then read Smith. His feelings, however, made him jump to the same conclusion; when, contemplating the almost inaccessible fastness where he found himself, he exclaimed with the stout Earl of Norfolk
“Were I in my castle of Bungay,
Hard by the river Waveney,
In fact the scenes he had left in London sank almost into contempt when he thought of that enviable independence, as he called it, which used to be asserted by ihe great English thane ; and it need not be wondered, that, in the present moody state of his mind, he did not advert to the questionable nature of the independence itself. For the safety even of such a chief could not be named with the immense improvement in the lot of all, which the greater security of balanced rights and a government by law have since established.
He did not then think himself wrong; but looking only at the dark side of one picture, and the bright side of the other, he almost apostrophized the castle, as with folded arms he walked the area of its keep.
“Yes !” said he (thinking, perhaps, of the ancient earls of his own name), “ there was a charm in the feudal times, with all their faults! If they were insecure and ignorant, they were favourable to the manly virtues. Mansions like these, massive and impenetrable, though rude and rough, were the emblems of their lords,-little refined, but hospitable, bold, and commanding. I question if they have done well to exchange their power of protecting themselves and others (while they lived doing deeds of kindness among a devoted tenantry) for the favour of court smiles, or the ambiguous expectations kindled by a Lord Oldcastle.'
We by no means give these reflections as just. Nay, De Vere soon after himself corrected them.
But they exemplified how easily, when the mind is under any commanding impression, the judgment will take its tinge from the colouring of the mind.
With these reflections, De Vere strode across the keep, now a green sheep-walk, where once the minstralx of the midland counties sang in weeds of peace, but where no sound was now heard, save that of the sheep-bell.
His object was to visit a homely old couple, who had, nine or ten years before, inhabited the great tower* of the place, and had often kindly received him in his wanderings. They were a farmer and his wife, who rented the keep and other lands, turning the spacious and massive tower into an inconvenient farin-house.
De Vere remembered with pleasure the talk he used to have with the kind old man and woman, and the impression their singular habitation made upon him.
It was still the same as when he last saw it, though it had certainly undergone a strange metamorphosis since the days when “time-honoured Lancaster” kept royal feasting within its precincts. There were still, however, some remnants of the more modern days of Elizabeth :.
“ An old buttery hatch, worn quite off the hooks;
And an old kitchen that maintained half a dozen old cooks." There was, indeed, no
“Old study filled full of learned old books," but there was the same old Bible, in black-letter, with the chain which had once attached it to the clerk's desk in the church below; together with the same Pilgrim's Progress, and Gulliver's Travels; which latter used so to puzzle both the farmer and his wife in a winter's evening, to make out whether it was true or false. These were all lodged in the kitchen window, so high from the floor, and so deep in the wall, that a portable wooden horse-block always stood under it, to enable the farmer to reach them when he was studiously inclined.
The kitchen was at least sixteen feet high. A smaller room adjoining, but full as high, contained a bedstead as old as Plantagenet, with modern yellow woollen curtains, not a great deal older than the Restoration. This was lighted, far above man's height, by loop-holes glazed on the outside, save where “ the temple-haunting martlet" had made its way through the aperture, to build its nest in security.
Here, for thirty years, the farmer and his wife had reposed, with nothing to disturb them within, and indifferent to the storms which often rattled without.
Above, a corresponding chamber served as a cheeseroom, and another as a granary; and the whole was so still, and so secluded, that one might have supposed it the abode of the early inhabitants of the earth. This had never struck De Vere, when in his state of rusticity, as out of the common course. Returned from the world, and cognizant now of its thronged exhibitions, its strivings, and gilded trappings, the contrast forcibly engaged him. He questioned his old friends with his usual affability; but they were so impressed with the imposing air and countenance which a few critical years, added to education, had given him, that they viewed him with a sort of sheepish wonder. By degrees, this wore off; but the monotony and seclusion of their life, though they denoted no unhappiness, occupied as they were with their country gear, whispered him that those born in the world were made to mix in the world.
“ Not, however," added he to himself, as he clambered to the leads of the tower to try to discover Castle Mowbray in the distance; “not as my uncle mixes in it."
That residence of his ancestors was indistinctly visible to the naked eye, though several miles off. Indeed, its site was pretty much the same as Tutbury, each being built on a sudden and precipitous ridge, overlooking a wide-extended plain through which the Dove and the Trent both meandered. But his friend the farmer now brought him an old-fashioned spying-glass, left there by some of the Vernons when they visited the keep; and through this he easily discovered, not only the white turrets of his uncle's mansion, but the terrace where he had so often walked, and the park where he had so often rode, with one with whom he felt as if he should never walk or ride again. The scenes, indeed, of his happiness with his cousin thronged upon and vanished from his fancy so fast that he thought them a dream.
“ Alas!” cried he, " would that they had really been so !" and he descended hastily from the tower.
This distant view of the castle he had so loved filled De Vere with the desire of approaching it nearer, and as he had announced to his mother no particular time for his arrival, he resolved to make a circuit of some miles, in order, before he joined her, once more to visit that proud place, where not many months before he had been so happy, that his present lot seemed wretched by comparison.
Haply this life is best,
The beams of the sun had for some time sloped apwards, when De Vere left Tutbury Castle and recrossed the Dove, with a view to push on towards Castle Mowbray that night. The mood generated by his visit to Tutbury was not exhilarating. The contrast between the wild and bounding elasticity of his spirits when first he saw it, and seemed to take possession of all that he saw from it, and now, that he felt disappointed (for he did so) in all the hopes hitherto of his life, made his heart heavy within him. He revolved all that had passed since he first left the forest of Needwood; and, in a spirit of mortification, he could not help mentally exclaiming * Roll on, ye dark brown years; ye bring no joy on your wings to Ossian."
He checked his horse for a minute, when he came once more to Sudbury, and lingered over that beautiful front, " looking tranquillity," which had always pleased, but in his present humour pleased him more than the utmost sublimity of grandeur. There are moments, indeed, when the soul may be so pensively occupied with its own feeling, and that feeling requires so much the balm of quiet, that grandeur seems even offensive to it; and while De Vere loitered willingly beside the low gray wall that bounded this gentle though ample mansion, he would have passed at a gallop the façades of Versailles, or the princely elegance of Siowe itself
. Presently he again joined the Dove, and as it was scarcely a longer road to Castle Mowbray, and a splendid sun promised a long length of evening, he resolved to pursue the beautiful course of the river, through all its valleys, and along all its rocks, which, towards its source, render it so infinitely more romantic than when gliding gently through the plain. He was acquainted