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deed, was the holy Rood of Ashurst hewn asunder, to be converted into kitchen billets. From a distance I beheld the deed, and had every blow of their hatchets been struck upon my heart, it could not have been smitten with a keener pang of agony. Scarcely knowing what I did, I prowled about the house till midnight, when I scaled the wall, entered the court-yard, collected the severed fragments of the sacred Rood, returned to the subterranean crypt, and employed the whole night in endeavouring to make those fragments resume the form they had once worn, the likeness of the Mother of God.

« Maddened with grief, and thirsting for revenge, I again betook myself, on the next day, to Brambletye. The house was at that moment beleaguered by the Club-men, who were summoning every mansion to supply them with arms and money. I mixed with the multitude; and observing a richly-dressed infant seated

the grass, near the principal entrance, while its nurse had turned round to converse with a brother whom she had unexpectedly recognized among the Clubmen, I snatched it

up,

rushed into the thickest of the crowd, and hurried towards my house, exulting in the thought that I had one of the accursed tribe of the Comptons in my possession. That infant was Julia.»

« Julia, and a Compton!» cried Walton-« surely she is not a daughter of Sir John's; not a sister of Jocelyn Compton!» « Listen, and

you

shall hear all,» continued his companion. «Such was my wrath, such the irritation of

on

prepared to

now

my soul, that I hastened to the secret crypt with

my victim, intending to sacrifice it at the foot of the desecrated figure of the Virgin, whose command I had received to avenge her, even as Abraham offer

up

Isaac at the injunction of God. Leaving the infant at the foot of the shrine, I went to procure a knife for the execution of my dreadful purpose; when, upon my return, the child smiled upon me, and stretchcd out its little arms towards me, and lo! my bowels yearned within me, and a sudden gush of tenderness melted my heart, and I became filled with ruth and com passion. I know not why this should have been : I was a lone woman in the world, and had ever been so. I had never known the feelings of a mother, but they rushed into

my

bosom with an uncontrollable vehemence of affection. I threw away the knife, clasped the infant to my heart, kissed and wept over it, and the daughter of Pharaoh did not more rejoice over the child Moses, whom she had saved, than I did over my intended victim, now that I had spared it.»

« But I had neither the means nor the skill now to nourish it, and it became necessary to dispose of it immediately. I knew Valentine Walton and his wife; knew their kindly and noble natures, their ample fortune, their keen regret at the want of offspring; and, deeming that my charge could be no where better bestowed than with such a family, I hurried with it to East Grimstead. In the confusion of preparations for their contemplated departure from England, I gained admittance into the house, deposited my little burthen

upon a bed, and retired unobserved. On the next day the family quitted this part of the country, and immediately afterwards embarked for the Barbadoes.

« I soon learnt that the infant I had taken was the only child of Sir William Compton, a kinsman of Sir John's, who was a visitor at Brambletye at the time of the occurrence; and that a deadly feud had sprung up between them on the subject of the loss; a feud which has ever since set the two branches of the family in array against each other. So far I was gratified: I had quickly brought misery and disunion upon the sacrilegious race: I had done something towardsthe acquittance of my vow. From the moment that the profane act was committed, I had clad myself in deep mourning, and, coming out with the owl and the bat, I hovered at night-fall around the purlieus of the accursed house, banning its walls, and its inmates wherever I encountered them, until at length I was enabled to discover that arms, if not ammunition, were secretly conveyed into its walls for the support of the plot in which Sir John was engaged. Of this I gave information to the Protector, and thus 't was I who procured the expulsion of its owner, and the pillage, spoliation, and dismantling of Brambletye by the troops : 't was I who ferreted Sir John from his place of concealment, and made him fly the country; 't was I who compelled Colonel Lilburne to carry the boy Jocelyn to London as a prisoner; 't was I who counselled the purchaser to dilapidate the mansion and carry off the materials. What a woman's arm could achieve in rending, tearing down, and pulling asunder, I have come in the dead of night

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to perform; and when my strength failed me I spat upon the walls, and made them echo with my imprecations. I have sitten in the deep darkness, when the night storm was raging, and listened to the rattling of the tiles, slates, and fragments that were blown down from the roof, have felt the sound fall like the sweetest music on my soul, and anticipated the happy day when not one stone of the pile should be left standing upon another !»

« And how have you escaped detection ?» inquired Walton.

« I never ventured out till it was dusk, when my black garments, and the gloom of the forest, quickly enabled me to elude observation; nor was there a dell or bushy dingle, pit or quarry, cave or hollow tree, hovel or hiding-place, in the whole neighbourhood, with which I was unacquainted, and in which I have not concealed myself, when close pressed by my pursuers. I have been hunted like a beast of

prey,

assailed with stones, shot at with cross-bow, arrow, and bullet; but the blessed Virgin, whose cause I was avenging, has miraculously preserved me from harm !»

« Enough of yourself,» said Walton, who began to be weary of her history, « and tell me how you can establish the identity of Julia Compton.»

« The rich ornaments she wore at the time of her being snatched away, and the gold chain and miniature with which she was playing, I have preserved ever since. They are in pious hands of safe custody, and shall be delivered to you. If we could only remove Jocelyn--1

« For him I have already made provision,» said Walton; « he will not long thwart our plans; he will be presently disposed of, and I hope for life.»

« Good!» ejaculated his companion, then our course is easy,--our success certain,--the splendours of Brambletye will never be restored. Julia's father, the late Sir William, left a large fortune, to which she is entitled; - your rival will be removed; you will be enabled to offer her a knowledge of her parents, a restoration to her family, and a noble estate, on condition that she accepts your hand, which, when her present circumstances of obscurity, poverty, and discountenance by the world shall be aggravated by the loss of Jocelyn, she will hardly think of refusing.”

^« I see it all!» cried Walton, « it is feasible: I am ready to perform the conditions. Give me the flambeau, which I see you have provided, and let us commence the conflagration.»

She complied with his request, setting fire to the pile with her own hand on one side, while Walton lighted it on the other; and, as the ascending flames flashed upon the bare walls and lofty towers of Brambletye, while they threw a ghastly glare upon her withered features, she lifted up her arms, and her eyes, that sparkled with triumph, towards heaven, ejaculating in a tone of solemn animation,-« Sancta Maria, Regina Coeli!» thou art avenged, even upon

the
very spot

where thou wert sacrilegiously outraged. What! shall Nebuchadnezzar, while he is vaunting of his great Babylon, be bereft of his wits? Shall Herod, while he is priding himself in the applause of his people, be eaten with worms ? Shall

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