The ancient town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, associated as it is with Scottish and English history from the time these two kingdoms had a name, presented a somewhat different aspect in the year 1307 to that of the present day. The key to both countries, it was ever a scene of struggle, unless the sister kingdoms chanced to be at peace, an event in the middle ages of rare occurrence, and whoever was its fortunate possessor was undeniably considered as the greater power. Since the death of Alexander it
had been captured no less than three times by Edward in 1296, by Wallace the succeeding year, and recap[Pg 267]tured by the English the following spring. To Edward, consequently, it now belonged, and many and fearful had been the sanguinary executions its walls had beheld. Its streets had been deluged with noble Scottish blood; its prisons filled with the nobles of Scotland; even high-minded women, who by their countenance and faithfulness had given a yet higher tone to patriotism and valor, were said to be there immured. It might have been termed not alone the key, but the dungeon and grave of Scotland; and many a noble spirit which had never quailed in the battle's front, shrunk back appalled as it neared those dismal walls.
In the time of Edward, the fortifications, though merely consisting of a deep moat and wooden palisades, instead of the stone wall still remaining, inclosed a much larger space than the modern town. A magnificent castle, with its "mounts, rampiers, and flankers," its towers, walls, and courts, crowned an easy ascent overhanging the Tweed, and was at this period peopled by a powerful garrison, filled with immense stores, both of arms, artillery, and provisions, and many unhappy prisoners, who from their lonely turrets could look beyond the silver Tweed on their own beautiful land, their hearts burning with the vain desire to free her from her chains. Both square and round towers guarded the palisades and moat surrounding the town, which presented a goodly collection of churches, hospitals, dwelling-houses, stores, and monastic buildings; from all of which crowds were continually passing and repassing on their several ways, and forming altogether a motley assemblage of knights, nobles, men-at-arms, archers, the various orders of monks, the busy leech from the hospital, the peaceful burgher, the bustling storekeeper, and artisan, noble dames and pretty maidens—all in the picturesque costumes of the day, jostling one another, unconscious of the curious effect they each assisted to produce, and ever and anon came the trampling of fiery steeds. It was a rich, thriving, bustling town, always presenting curious scenes of activity, at present apparently under some excitement, which the gay knights and their followers tended not a little to increase.
The popular excitement had, strange to say, been confined for an unusually long time to one subject. Orders had been received from King Edward for the erection of an extraordinary cage or tower, curiously worked in stone and iron, on the very[Pg 268] highest turret of the castle, visible to every eye, of a circular form, with pyramidal points, supporting gilded balls, giving it the appearance, when completed, of a huge coronet or crown. It was barred and cross-barred with iron on all sides, effectually preventing egress from within, but exposing its inmate, whoever that might be, to every passer-by. The impatient king had commanded several of the artisans employed in its erection to be thrown into prison, because it was not completed fast enough to please him; but, despite his wrath and impatience, the work of fashioning the iron, wood, and stone, as he required, occasioned them to proceed but slowly, and it was now, three months after the royal order had been given, only just completed, and firmly fixed on the principal turret of the castle. Day after day the people flocked to gaze and marvel for whom it could be intended, and when it would be occupied; their thoughts only turned from it by the intelligence that the Earl of Hereford, with some Scottish prisoners of high rank, was within four-and-twenty hours' march of the town, and was there to deliver up his captives to the seneschal of the castle, the Earl of Berwick. At the same time rumors were afloat, that the prisoner for whom that cage had been erected was, under a strong guard, advancing from Carlisle, and likely to encounter Hereford at the castle gates.
The popular excitement increased threefold; the whole town seemed under the influence of a restless fever, utterly preventing the continuance of their usual avocations, or permitting them to rest quiet in their houses. Crowds filled the streets, and pressed and fumed to obtain places by the great gates and open squares of the castle, through which both parties must pass. That wind, rain, and sunshine alternately ruled the day, was a matter of small importance; nor did it signify that English soldiers were returning victorious, with Scottish prisoners, being a thing now of most common occurrence. Before the day was over, however, they found anticipation for once had been less marvellous than reality, and stranger things were seen and heard than they had dreamed of.
From sunrise till noon they waited and watched, and waxed impatient in vain. About that time trumpets and drums were heard from the south, and there was a general rush towards the bridge, and hearts beat high in expectancy of they knew not what, as a gallant band of English archers and men-at-[Pg 269]arms, headed by some few knights, were discovered slowly and solemnly advancing from the Carlisle road. Where, and who was the prisoner? A person of some consequence, of dangerous influence it must be, else why had the king made such extraordinary provision for confinement? There were not wanting suggestions and guesses, and wondrous fancies; for as yet there was such a close guard in the centre of the cavalcade, that the very person of the prisoner could not be distinguished. Nay, there were some who ventured to hint and believe it might be the excommunicated Earl of Carrick himself. It was most likely, for whom else could the cage, so exactly like a crown, be intended? and there were many who vaunted the wise policy of Edward, at having hit on such an expedient for lowering his rival's pride. Others, indeed, declared the idea was all nonsense; it was not likely he would incur such expense, king as he was, merely to mortify a traitor he had sworn to put to death. The argument waxed loud and warm. Meanwhile the cavalcade had crossed the bridge, been received through the south gate, and in the same slow and solemn pomp proceeded through the town.
"By all the saints, it is only a woman!" was the information shouted by an eager spectator, who had clambered above the heads of his fellows to obtain the first and most coveted view. His words were echoed in blank amazement.
"Aye, clothed in white like a penitent, with her black hair streaming all over her shoulders, without any covering on her head at all, and nothing but a thin, torn sandal on her bare feet; and the knights look black as thunder, as if they like not the business they are engaged in."
It was even so. There was an expression on the face of the officers impossible to be misunderstood; frowningly, darkly, they obeyed their sovereign's mandate, simply because they dared not disobey; but there was not one among them who would not rather have sought the most deadly front of battle than thus conduct a woman, aye, and a most noble one, unto her prison. The very men, rude, stern, as they mostly were, shared this feeling; they guarded her with lowered heads and knitted brows; and if either officer or man-at-arms had to address her, it was with an involuntary yet genuine movement and manner of respect that little accorded with their present relative position. The crowds looked first at the cavalcade[Pg 270] and marvelled, then at the prisoner, and they did not marvel more.
Clad as she was, in white, flowing garments, very similar to those worn by penitents, her head wholly undefended from cold or rain even by a veil; her long, luxuriant, jet-black hair, in which as yet, despite of care and woe, no silver thread had mingled, falling round her from her noble brow, which shone forth from its shade white as snow, and displaying that most perfect face, which anguish had only chiselled into paler, purer marble; it could not rob it of its beauty, that beauty which is the holy emanation of the soul, that lingered still with power to awe the rudest heart, to bow the proudest in voluntary respect.
The sovereign of England had commanded this solemn procession and its degrading accompaniments to humble, to crush to dust, the woman who had dared defy his power, but it was himself alone he humbled. As she walked there, surrounded by guards, by gazing hundreds, on foot, and but protected from the flinty ground by a thin sandal, her step was as firm and unfaltering, her attitude, her bearing as dignified, as calmly, imposingly majestic as when, in the midst of Scotland's patriots, she had placed the crown on the Bruce's head. Edward sought to debase her, but she was not debased; to compel her to regret the part that she had acted, but she gloried in it still; to acknowledge his power—but in all he failed.
Calmly and majestically the Countess of Buchan proceeded on her way, neither looking to the right or left, nor evincing by the slightest variation of countenance her consciousness of the many hundreds gazing on, or that they annoyed or disturbed her; her spirit was wrapt in itself. We should assert falsehood did we say she did not suffer; she did, but it was a mother's agony heightened by a patriot's grief. She believed her son, who had been in truth the idol of her mourning heart, had indeed fallen. Her Agnes was not amongst the queen's train, of whose captivity she had been made aware, though not allowed speech with them. Where was she—what would be her fate? She only knew her as a lovely, fragile flower, liable to be crushed under the first storm; and pictured her, rudely severed from Nigel, perchance in the hands of some lawless spoiler, and heart-broken, dying. Shuddering with anguish, she thought not of her own fate—she thought but of her chil[Pg 271]dren, of her country; and if King Robert did enter these visions, it was simply as her sovereign, as one whose patriotism would yet achieve the liberty of Scotland; but there was a dimness even o'er that dream, for the figure of her noble boy was gone, naught but a blank—dull, shapeless—occupied that spot in the vision of the future, which once his light had filled.
The castle-yard was at length gained, and a half and some change in the line of march ensued; the officers and men formed in a compact crescent, leaving the countess, a herald, trumpeters, and some of the highest knights, in front. So intense was the interest of the crowd at this moment, that they did not heed the rapid advance of a gallant body of horse and foot from the north, except to rail at the pressure they occasioned in forcing their way through. They gained the castle-yard at length, and there halted, and fell back in utter astonishment at the scene they witnessed.
The herald had drawn a parchment from his belt, and made a step forward as if to speak. The knights, in sullen silence, leant upon their sheathed swords, without even glancing at their prisoner, who appeared far the most composed and dignified of all present, and, after a brief pause, words to this effect were distinguished by the crowd.
"To our loyal and loving subjects of both North and South Britain, Edward, by the grace of God, King of England, Wales, France, and Scotland, greeting. Whereas Isabella, born of Fife, and late of Buchan, which latter she hath, by foul dishonor and utter disregard of marriage vows, now forfeited, hath done traitorously and disloyally alike to her sovereign lord the king, and to her gracious lord and husband, John, Earl of Buchan, whom, for his fidelity, we hold in good favor. As she hath not struck by the sword, so she shall not perish by the sword; but for her lawless conspiracy, she shall be shut up in a stone and iron chamber, circular as the crown she gave, in this proclaiming to both countries her everlasting infamy. And this we do in mercy; for, whereas she deserveth death, we do remit the same, and give her time to repent her of her heinous crime.
"Given at our palace of Carlisle, this twenty-third day of February, in the year of our Lord and Saviour, one thousand three hundred and seven. God save the King!"
But the loyal ejaculation was not echoed, nay, the herald[Pg 272] himself had read the proclamation, as if every word had been forced from him, and the eyes of every knight and soldier had been fixed upon the ground, as if shame rested on them rather than on their prisoner. A dead silence for a few minutes followed, broken only by some faint cries of "God save King Edward, and down with all traitors!" which seemed raised more to drown the groans which involuntarily burst forth, than as the echo of the heart. They dared not evince the faintest sign of disapproval, for they stood on precarious ground; a groan even might be punished by their irritable king as treachery; but there was one present who cared little for this charge. Scarcely had the words passed the herald's lips, before a young man, whose bare head and lack of all weapons would have proclaimed him one of the Earl of Hereford's prisoners, had not the attention of all been turned from him by the one engrossing object, now snatching a sword from a soldier near him, sprung from his horse, and violently attacking the herald, exclaimed, in a voice of thunder—
"Liar and slave! thinkest thou there is none near to give the lie to thy foul slanders—none to defend the fair fame, the stainless honor of this much-abused lady? Dastard and coward, fit mouthpiece of a dishonored and blasphemous tyrant! go tell him, his prisoner—aye, Nigel Bruce—thrusts back his foul lies into his very teeth. Ha! coward and slave, wouldst thou shun me?"
A scene of indescribable confusion now ensued. The herald, a man not much in love with war, stood cowering and trembling before his adversary, seeking to cover himself with his weapon, but, from his trembling hold, ineffectually. The stature of the youthful Scotsman appeared towering, as he stood over him with his uplifted sword, refusing to strike a defenceless man, but holding him with a gripe of iron; his cheek flushed crimson, his nostrils distended, for his soul was moved with a mightier, darker passion than had ever stirred its depths before. The soldiers of both parties, joined, too, by some from the castle—for a party headed by the Earl of Berwick himself had attended to give countenance to the proclamation—rushed forward, but involuntarily fell back, awed for the moment by the mighty spirit of one man; the knights, roused from their sullen posture, looked much as if they would, if they dared, have left the herald to his fate. Hereford and[Pg 273] Berwick at the same instant spurred forward their steeds, the one exclaiming, "Madman, let go your hold—you are tempting your own fate! Nigel, for the love of heaven! for the sake of those that love you, be not so rash!" the other thundering forth, "Cut down the traitor, an he will not loose his hold. Forward, cowardly knaves! will ye hear your king insulted, and not revenge it?—forward, I say! fear ye a single man?"
And numbers, spurred on by his words, dashed forward to obey him, but fearlessly Sir Nigel Bruce retained his hold with his left hand, and with his right grasped tighter his sword, and stood, with the fierce undaunted port of a lion lashed into fury, gazing on his foes; but ere he had crossed with the foremost weapons, a slight lad burst through the gathering crowd, and with a piercing shriek threw himself at his master's feet, and grasping his knees, seemed by his pleading looks, for his words were inaudible, imploring him to desist from his rashness. At the same moment another form pressed through the soldiers, her look, her mien compelling them involuntarily to open their ranks and give her passage. The sword of Nigel was in the act of falling on a second foe, the first lay at his feet, when his arm was caught in its descent, and Isabella of Buchan stood at his side.
"Forbear!" she said, in those rich impressive tones that ever forced obedience. "Nigel Bruce, brother of my sovereign, friend of my son, forbear! strike not one blow for me. Mine honor needs no defence by those that love me; my country will acquit me; the words of England's monarch, angered at a woman's defiance of his power, affect me not! Noble Nigel, excite not further wrath against thyself by this vain struggle for my sake; put up thy sword, ere it is forced from thee. Let go thy hold; this man is but an instrument, why wreak thy wrath on him? Must I speak, implore in vain? Nay, then, I do command thee!"
And those who gazed on her, as she drew that stately form to its full height, as they heard those accents of imperative command, scarce marvelled that Edward should dread her influence, woman as she was. Despite the increasing wrath on the Earl of Berwick's brow, the men waited to see the effect of these words. There was still an expression of ill-controlled passion on Nigel's features. He waited one moment when she[Pg 274] ceased to speak, then slowly and deliberately shook the herald by the collar, and hurled him from his hold; snapped his sword in twain, and flinging it from him, folded his arms on his breast, and calmly uttering, "Pardon me, noble lady, mine honor were impugned had I suffered that dastardly villain to pass hence unpunished—let Edward act as he lists, it matters little now," waited with impenetrable resolve the rage he had provoked.
"Nigel, Nigel, rash, impetuous boy, what hast thou done?" exclaimed the countess, losing all mien and accent of command in the terror with which she clung round him, as if to protect him from all ill, in the tone and look of maternal tenderness with which she addressed him. "Why, why must it be my ill fate to hurl down increase of misery and danger on all whom I love?"
"Speak not so, noble lady, in mercy do not!" he whispered in reply; "keep that undaunted spirit shown but now, I can better bear it than this voice of anguish. And thou," he added, laying his hand on the shoulder of the boy, who still clung to his knees, as if fascinated there by speechless terror, and gazed alternately on him and the countess with eyes glazed almost in madness, "up, up; this is no place for thee. What can they do with me but slay—let them come on—better, far better than a scaffold!" but the boy moved not, Nigel spoke in vain.
The fate he dared seemed indeed threatening. Wrought well-nigh to phrensy at this daring insult to his sovereign, in whose acts of cruelty and oppression he could far better sympathize than in his more knightly qualities, the Earl of Berwick loudly and fiercely called on his soldiers to advance and cut down the traitor, to bring the heaviest fetters and bear him to the lowest dungeon. The men, roused from their stupor of amaze, rushed on impetuously to obey him; their naked swords already gleamed round Nigel; the Countess of Buchan was torn from his side, her own especial guards closing darkly around her; but vainly did they seek to unclasp the convulsive grasp of the boy from Nigel, he neither shrieked nor spake, but he remained in that one posture, rigid as stone.
"Fiends! monsters! would ye, dare ye touch a boy, a child as this!" shouted Nigel, struggling with herculean strength to free himself from the rude grasp of the soldiers, as he be[Pg 275]held the sharp steel pointed at the breast of the boy, to compel him to unloose his hold. "Villains, cowards! bear back and let me speak with him," and nerved to madness by the violence of his emotions, he suddenly wrenched himself away, the rapidity of the movement throwing one of the men to the earth, and bent over the boy; again they rushed forward, they closed upon him, they tore away the lad by force of numbers, and flung him senseless on the earth; they sought to bear away their prisoner, but at that moment Hereford, who had been parleying loudly and wrathfully with Berwick, spurred his charger in the very midst of them, and compelled them to bear back.
"Back, back!" he exclaimed, making a path for himself with his drawn sword; "how dare ye thrust yourselves betwixt me and my lawful prisoner, captive of my sword and power? what right have ye to dare detain him? Let go your hold, none but the men whose prowess gained this gallant prize shall guard him till my sovereign's will be known. Back, back, I say!"
"Traitor!" retorted Berwick, "he is no longer your prisoner. An insult offered to King Edward, in the loyal citadel of Berwick, in my very presence, his representative as I stand, shall meet with fit retribution. He hath insulted his sovereign by act and word, and I attach him of high treason and will enforce my charge. Forward, I say!"
"And I say back!" shouted the Earl of Hereford; "I tell thee, proud earl, he is my prisoner, and mine alone. Thou mayest vaunt thy loyalty, thy representation of majesty, as thou listeth, mine hath been proved at the good sword's point, and Edward will deem me no traitor because I protect a captive, who hath surrendered himself a knight to a knight, rescue or no rescue, from this unseemly violence. I bandy no more words with such as thee; back! the first man that dares lay hold on him I chastise with my sword."
"Thou shalt repent this!" muttered Berwick, with a suppressed yet terrible oath, but he dared proceed no further.
A signal from their leader brought up all Hereford's men, who, in compact order and perfect silence, surrounded their prisoner. Sternly the earl called for a pair of handcuffs, and with his own hands fastened them on his captive. "It grieves me," he said, "to see a brave man thus manacled, but thine[Pg 276] own mad act hath brought it on thyself. And now, my Lord of Berwick, an it please thee to proceed, we demand admission to thy citadel in King Edward's name. Bring up the other prisoners."
Concealing his wrath with difficulty, the Earl of Berwick and his attendants dashed forward over the drawbridge into the castle at full speed, closing the gates and lowering the portcullis after them. After a brief space, the portcullis was again raised, the gates flung wide apart, and the men-at-arms were discerned lining either side, in all due form and homage to the officers of their sovereign. During the wrathful words passing between the two earls, the attention of the crowd had been given alternately to them and to the Countess of Buchan, who had utterly forgotten her own precarious situation in anxiety for Nigel, and in pity for the unfortunate child, who had been hurled by the soldiers close to the spot where she stood.
"Do not leave him there, he will be trampled on," she said, imploringly, to the officers beside her. "He can do no harm, poor child, Scotch though he be. A little water, only bring me a little water, and he will speedily recover."
All she desired was done, the boy was tenderly raised and brought within the circle of her guards, and laid on the ground at her feet. She knelt down beside him, chafed his cold hands within her own, and moistened his lips and brow with water. After a while his scattered senses returned, he started up in a sitting posture, and gazed in wild inquiry around him, uttering a few inarticulate words, and then saying aloud, "Sir Nigel, my lord, my—my—master, where is he? oh! let me go to him; why am I here?"
"Thou shalt go to him, poor boy, as soon as thy strength returns; an they have let thee follow him from Scotland, surely they will not part ye now," said the countess soothingly, and her voice seemed to rouse the lad into more consciousness. He gazed long in her face, with an expression which at that time she could not define, but which startled and affected her, and she put her arm round him and kissed his brow. A convulsive almost agonized sob broke from the boy's breast, and caused his slight frame to shake as with an ague, then suddenly he knelt before her, and, in accents barely articulate, murmured—
"Bless me, oh bless me!" while another word seemed strug[Pg 277]gling for utterance, but checked with an effort which caused it to die on his lips in indistinct murmurs.
"Bless thee, poor child! from my very heart I do, if the blessing of one sorrowing and afflicted as myself can in aught avail thee. For thy faithfulness to thy master, I bless thee, for it speaketh well for thee, and that face would bid me love and bless thee for thyself, I know not wherefore. Good angels keep and bless thee, gentle boy, thou hast Isabella's prayers, and may they give thee peace."
"Pray for me, aye, pray for me," repeated the boy, in the same murmured tones. He clasped her hands in both his, he pressed them again and again to his lips, repeated sobs burst from his laboring breast, and then he sprung up, darted away, and stood at Sir Nigel's side, just as the Earl of Hereford had commanded his men to wheel a little to the right, to permit the Countess of Buchan, her guards and officers, free passage over the drawbridge, and first entrance within the fortress.
The brow of this noble son of chivalry darkened as, sitting motionless on his tall steed, his gaze rested on the noble woman whom it had originally been his painful charge to deliver over to his sovereign. He had not dreamed of a vengeance such as this. He could not have believed a change so dark as this had fallen on the character of a sovereign whom he still loved, still sought to admire and revere, and his spirit sunk 'neath the sorrow this conviction caused. Almost involuntarily, as the procession slowly proceeded, and the countess passed within three paces of his horse's head, he bent his lordly brow in silent homage; she saw it and returned it, more effected by the unfeigned commiseration on that warrior's face, than at aught which had occurred to shame and humble her that morning.
A brief pause took place in the movements of the officers and their prisoners, when they reached the great hall of the castle. For a brief minute Lady Seaton and the Countess of Buchan had met, had clasped hands, in sad, yet eager greeting. "My child, mine Agnes?" had been by the latter hurriedly whispered, and the answer, "Safe, I trust, safe," just permitted to reach her ear, when roughly and fiercely the Earl of Berwick summoned the Lady of Buchan to proceed to the chamber appointed for her use. Those simple words had, however, removed a load of anxiety from her mind, for they appeared to confirm what she had sometimes permitted herself to hope,[Pg 278] that Agnes had shared King Robert's exile, under the care of Lady Campbell; prevailed on to do so, perchance, by the entreaties of Nigel, who in all probability had deemed that course, though one of hardship, less perilous than remaining with him. She hoped indeed against her better judgment, for though she knew not the depth, the might of her daughter's feelings, she knew it must have been a terrible trial so to part, and she absolutely shuddered when she thought of the whelming blow it would be to that young heart when the fate of her betrothed was ascertained.
Lady Seaton had spoken as she believed. No communication had been permitted between the prisoners on their way to England; indeed, from Sir Christopher's wounded and exhausted state, he had travelled more leisurely in a litter, always in the rear of the earl's detachment, and occupied by her close attendance upon him, his wife had scarcely been aware of the young page ever in attendance on her brother, or deemed him, if she did observe him, a retainer of Hereford's own. There was so much of fearful peril and misery hovering over her in her husband's fate, that it was not much wonder her thoughts lingered there more than on Agnes, and that she was contented to believe as she had spoken, that she at least was safe.
Night fell on the town of Berwick. Silence and darkness had come on her brooding wings; the varied excitement of the day was now but a matter of wondering commune round the many blazing hearths, where the busy crowds of the morning had now gathered. Night came, with her closing pall, her softened memories, her sleeping visions, and sad waking dreams. She had come, alike to the mourned and mourner, the conqueror and his captive, the happy and the wretched. She had found the Earl of Berwick pacing up and down his stately chamber, his curtained couch unsought, devising schemes to lower the haughty pride of the gallant warrior whom he yet feared. She had looked softly within the room where that warrior lay, and found him, too, sleepless, but not from the same dark dreams. He grieved for his sovereign, for the fate of one noble spirit shrined in a woman's form, and restless and fevered, turned again and again within his mind how he might save from a yet darker doom the gallant youth his arms had conquered. And not alone on them did night look down. She sent her sweet, reviving influence, on the rays of a bright liquid[Pg 279] star, through the narrow casement which gave light to the rude unfurnished chamber where Sir Nigel Bruce and his attendant lay. They had not torn that poor faithful child from his side. Hereford's last commands had been that they should not part them, and there they now lay; and sleep, balmy sleep had for them descended on the wings of night, hovering over that humble pallet of straw, when from the curtained couch of power, the downy bed of luxury, she fled. There they lay; but it was the boy who lay on the pallet of straw, his head pillowed by the arm of the knight, who sat on a wooden settle at his side. He had watched for a brief space those troubled slumbers, but as they grew calmer and calmer, he had pressed one light kiss on the soft yielding cheek, and then leant his head on his breast, and he too slept—even in sleep tending one beloved.
And in the dark, close sleeping-chamber within the prison cage of the noble Countess of Buchan, night too looked pityingly. Sleep indeed was not there; it had come and gone, for in a troubled slumber a dream had come of Agnes, and she had woke to think upon her child, and pray for her; and as she prayed, she thought of her promise to the poor boy who had so strangely moved her. She could not trace how one thought had sprung from the other, nor why in the darkness his features so suddenly flashed before her; but so it was. His face seemed to gleam upon her with the same strange, indefinable expression which, even at the time, had startled her; and then a sudden flash appeared to illumine that darkness of bewilderment. She started up from her reclining posture; she pressed both hands on her throbbing eyeballs; a wild, sickening yearning took possession of her whole soul; and then she felt, in its full bitterness, she was a chained and guarded prisoner and the deep anguish of her spirit found vent in the convulsive cry—
"Fool, fool that I was—my child! my child!"