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ed, that while he took all the advantage he could from their supposed discoveries, no one should be admitted to tamper or interfere with his own plans of profit and revenge.
Chiffinch, who desirous of satisfying himself with his own eyes of that excellent beauty which had been so highly extolled, had gone down to Derbyshire on purpose, was infinitely delighted, when during the course of a two hours' sermon at the dissenting chapel in Liverpool, which afforded him ample leisure for a deliberate survey, he arrived at the conclusion that he had never seen a form or face more captivating. His eyes having confirmed what was told him, he hurried back to the little inn which formed their place of rendezvous, and there awaited Christian and his niece, with a degree of confidence in the success of their project which he had not long before entertained; and with an apparatus of luxury, calculated, as he thought to make to make a favourable impression on the mind of a rustic girl. He was somewhat surprised, when, instead of Alice Bridgenorth, to whom he expected that night to have been introduced, he found that Christian was accompanied by Julian Peveril. It was indeed a severe disappointment, for he had prevailed on his own indolence to venture thus far from the court, in order that he might judge with his own paramount taste, whether Alice was really the
prodigy which her uncle's praises had bespoken her, and, as such, a victim worthy of the fate to which she was destined.
A few words betwixt the worthy confederates determined them on the plan of stripping Peveril of the Countess's despatches; Chiffinch absolutely refusing to take any share in arresting him, as a matter of which his master's approbation might be very uncertain.
Christian had also his own reasons for abstaining
from so decisive a step. It was by no means like to be agreeable to Bridgenorth, whom it was necessary to keep in good humour;--it was not necessary, for the Countess's despatches were of far more importance than the person of Julian. Lastly, it was superfluous in this respect also, that Julian was on his road to his father's castle, where it was likely he would be seized, as a matter of course, along with the other suspicious persons who fell under Topham's warrant, and the denunciations of his infamous companions. He therefore, far from using any violence to Peveril, assumed towards him such a friendly tone, as might seem to warn him against receiving damage from others, and vindicate himself from having had any share in depriving him of his charge. This last maneuvre was achieved by an infusion of a strong narcotic into Julian's wine, under the influence of which, he slumbered so sound. ly, that the confederates were easily able to accomplish their inhospitable purpose.
The events of the succeeding days are already known to the reader. Chiffinch set forward to return to London with the packet, which it was desirable should be in Buckingham's hands as soon as possible; while Christian went to Moultrassie, to receive Alice from her father, and convey her safely to London--his accomplice agreeing to defer his curiosity to see her until they should be arrived in that city.
Before parting with Bridgenorth, Christian had exerted his utmost address to prevail on him to remain at Moultrassie; he had even outstepped the bounds of prudence, and, by his urgency, awakened some suspicions of an indefinite nature, which he found it difficult to lay to rest again. Bridgenorth, therefore, followed his brother-in-law to London; and the reader has already been made privy to the arts which Christian used to prevent
his further interference with the destinies of his daughter, or the unhallowed schemes of her illchosen guardian. Still the latter as he strode along the street in profound reflection, saw that his undertaking was attended with a thousand perils; and the drops stood like beads on his brow when he thought of the presumptuous levity and fickle temper of Buckingham—the frivolity and intemperance of Chiffinch-the suspicions of the melancholy and bigotted, yet sagacious and honest Bridgenorth. “ Had I," he thought, “but tools fitted, each to their portion of the work, how easily could I heave asunder and disjoint the strength that opposes me; but with these frail and insufficient implements, I am in daily, hourly, momentary danger, that one lever or other gives way, and that the whole ruin recoils on my own head. And yet were it not for those failings I complain of, how were it possible for me to have acquired that power over them all which constitutes them my passive tools, even 'when they seem most to exert their own free will? Yes, the bigots have some right when they affirm that all is for the best."
It may seem strange, that amidst the various subjects of Christian's apprehension, he was never visited by any long or permanent doubt that the virtue of his niece might prove the shoal on which his voyage should be wrecked. But he was an arrant rogue, as well as a hardened libertine, and, in both characters, a professed disbeliever in the virtue of
the fair sex.
As for John Dryden's Charles, I own that King
London, the grand central point of intrigues of every description, had now attracted within its dark and shadowy region, the greater number of the personages whom we have had occasion to mention.
Julian Peveril, amongst others of the dramatis personæ, had arrived, and taken
his abode in a remote inn in the suburbs. His business, he conceived, was to remain incognito until he should have communicated in private with the friends who were most like to lend assistance to his parents, as well as to his patroness, in their present situation of doubt and danger. Amongst these, the most powerful was the Duke of Ormond, whose faithful services, high rank, and acknowledged worth and virtue, still preserved an ascendancy in that very court, where, in general, he was regarded as out of favour. Indeed, so much consciousness did Charles display in his demeanour towards this celebrated noble, and servant of his father, that Buckingham once took the freedom to ask the King whether the Duke of Ormond had lost his Majesty's favour, or his Majesty the Duke's? since, whenever they chanced to meet, the King appeared the
most embarrassed of the two. But it was not Peveril's good fortune to obtain the advice or countenance of this distinguished person. His Grace of Ormond was not at that time in London.
The letter about the delivery of which the Countess had seemed most anxious, after that to the Duke of Ormond, was addressed to Captain Barstow, (a Jesuit, whose real name was Fenwicke,) to be found, or at least to be heard of, in the house of one Martin Christal in the Savoy. To this place hastened Peveril, upon learning the absence of the Duke of Ormond. He was not ignorant of the danger which he personally incurred, by thus becoming a medium of communication betwixt a Popish priest and a suspected Catholic. But when he undertook the perilous commission of his patroness, he had done so frankly, and with the unreserved resolution of serving her in the manner in which she most desired her affairs to be conducted. Yet he could not forbear some secret apprehension, when he felt himself engaged in the labyrinth of passages and galleries which led to different obscure sets of apartments in the ancient building termed the Savoy.
This antiquated and almost ruinous pile occupied a part of the site of the public offices in the Strand, commonly called Somerset-House. The Savoy had been formerly a palace, and took its name from an Earl of Savoy, by whom it was founded. It had been the habitation of John of Gaunt, and various persons of distinction—had become a convent, an hospital, and finally, in Charles II.'s time, a waste of dilapidated buildings and ruinous apartments, inhabited chiefly by those who had some connection with, or dependance upon, the neighbouring palace of Somerset-House, which, more fortunate than the Savoy, had still retained its royal title, and was the abode of a part of the court,