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bis safety as the most devoted adherent could have been -"or you doubt my tidings; but here is the Queen's signet. Your own ears will satisfy you of the approach of the conspirators; and I, unhappily, have too sure a knowledge of their intent. In the name of my generous protectress and mistress, I implore your Grace to seek safety in some place of hiding."

Yes, yes, I understand," muttered the King, bewilderedly; " but who are the men-the traitors ? By our royal hand they shall pay the penalty."

“For your life do not dally with the few minutes which are still left to your Grace. What matter who or what the men are ? All that you can learn when the present peril is over."

“We shall call the guard."

“ It is too late. Those who are faithful to their trust have been overpowered by this time. Oh, my liege, my liege, why stay here when you are but one man against so

“Because I am their King."

He pronounced the words with a dignity and calmness inspired by the sense of his high office. Had he been gifted with the strength of character to sustain that bearing it is probable that even Angus and his followers would have been as much impressed by it as Katherine was.

She was silenced, although still apprehensive of the consequences of what appeared to her the very rashness of kingly valour.

Cochrane rushed back to the chamber, closing and barring the door behind him.

" It is too true, my liege," he cried, breathlessly ; " gon are trepanned—the knaves have overcome the guard and are close upon us. Fly, your Grace, fly, and I will linger behind to give you what time the sacrifice of my life

may win for you ; or to gather what assistance may be found to rescue us all from the bloodhounds who assail us.

All the dignity which had been displayed by the King a moment before was changed into a manner of nervous agitation. He dropped his mantle from his shoulders, exposing his shirt of mail, but he seemed incapable of moving without direction. He eagerly sought for some weapon of defence, and not having a sword, he clutched the hilt of his poniard spasmodically.

At this moment Rogers and the others, who had been disturbed by the various unusual sounds they had heard, ventured forth from their place of retirement.

Away you, Rogers and Torphichen," cried Cochrane, as soon as he observed them; "there may yet be time for you to quit the palace; hasten to the town, rouse the soldiers who are quartered there, and bring them to the help of our master. Away! Be silent and be speedy on

your lives.”

Rogers and the master of fence had heard enough to comprehend something of the position of affairs, and with. out a word they wheeled about to seek egress by the same passage

which had admitted Cochrane to the royal a partments.

“Hark you, Innis,” continued Sir Robert, rapidly, addressing the armour-bearer; "remain you here, there is no danger to you, for those who are coming hither seek higher game. If they find entrance, detain them while you can, and when they force you to speak bid them search yonder chamber."

The latter words were spoken under his breath, so that only Innis heard them distinctly. The apartment he indi. cated was the sleeping-room of his Majesty.

The armour-bearer, with a bend of the head, signified his readiness to obey.

Cochrane picked up the King's mantle and proceeded to the room to which he had just referred.

“This way, sir, this way. We shall baffle them yet, despite their cunning."

James followed him with hesitating steps, bitterly sensitive to the humiliation of his position, and yet too feeble of will to remain when the eager voice of Cochrane was calling upon him to fly.

Katherine, desirous of seeing that her mission was completed, hastened after them. As soon as she had crossed the threshold the door was closed by Cochrane and secured.

CHAPTER XXV.

THE ATTACK ON THE KING,

" And they cast kevils them amang ;

And kevils them between ;
And they cast kevils them amang

Wha suld gae kill the king,
"O, some said yea, and some said nay,

Their words did not agree ;
Till up and got him, Fause Foodrage,
And swore it suld be he."

Fause Foodrage. For several minutes before the prime cause of all this disturbance had succeeded in leading his Majesty away, there had been loud knocking heard at the outer door of the buite of apartments.

So loud and furious waxed the demand for admission that little more strength seemed to be requisite to beat the door down.

From that act of violence, however, they were restrained by the venerable Lord Gray, who was most anxious that the heat of the moment should not betray his companions into any excess of violence against the King. Remember, my

lords and friends,” he said, to demand justice from his Majesty, and not to insult his authority or alarm his mind, by rushing at him like a herd of wild Highland bulls, ready to gore him to death before he has had time to hear us or to grant our demand.”

“I tell you we must force our demand,” said Angus, hotly. “ James is too woman-hearted to yield up to his favourites, even when he knows their guilt

. They will lie to him, and they will persuade him to cheat us if he can. But by the blood of the Douglas there shall be little rest for him until the murder that has been done is requited, and Albany stands free amongst us.”.

“You waste time, gentlemen,” said the Abbot Panther, approaching from the corridor as Angus concluded; "these doors are fast, and unless you mean to force them you may stand there till doomsday."

“Force them, then," ejaculated Angus.

we come

had re

“Nay, that would be an offence unpardonable against the King's person. Follow me, and I will find an entry for you that will save time and trouble.”

The first to move after the prelate was Lamington, who had remained amidst the group of nobles silent, but watchful for the moment which might bring him into contact with Cochrane.

Angus and Lord Gray, with all the others, save half a dozen who were left to guard the door, followed. They were speedily conducted by the private passage—the same by which Rogers and Torphichen had just escaped-into the royal chambers.

There they found only Innis, the armour-bearer, who was immediately seized and roughly interrogated as to the whereabouts of his master. For some time, under the prete of alarm, and the effects of the shaking ceived, he avoided answering.

But at length, when he was threatened with the point of a sword, he directed the conspirators to the door of the bedroom, according to his instructions.

The door was instantly assailed, and, on finding it fast like the others, several minutes were occupied in excitedly discussing whether or not they should break it down. In the mean time, the communication with the ante-room had been opened by one of the party, Captain Douglas, and those who had been left on guard crowded into the apartment in which the chief members of the company were now assembled.

“It is for his Majesty's sake as much as for aught else,” said Angus, darkly; "he is in the power of his minions, and Heaven knows how they may deal with him in the terror that he may deliver them into our hands. Break down the door. I say it in the King's name.'

"In the King's name it is opened to you,” said a woman's voice, as the door was suddenly flung back.

“Katherine !” exclaimed Gordon under his breath, and drawing back a pace, astounded by her unexpected apparition at such a moment and in such a place.

There was a brief pause of amazement, and then some of the younger gallants laughed, whilst the elders frowned.

Katherine, however, was too intensely absorbed in her desire to gain time for the King's retreat to observe the

laugh or frown, or to have comprehended the miserable suspicion they indicated, even if she had noted them.

But Lamington heard and saw, and his blood pringled with the shame of it, so that for the instant he was deprived of speech

i Who is the wench? ” said one.

“A fair one, i' faith," answered his neighbour, “whoever she be."

“By my soul, his Majesty's taste is perfect in the works of art,” muttered another.

“The door is open, gentlemen,” said Katherine with dignity; "you have found the only key which could undo the lock-your sovereign's name. Enter if it be your pleasure, for I will not believe that it is a regicide who demands admission with such a password.”

"Where is the King, wench ?” said Angus, sternly. “We were acquainted that he entered this room.'

“He was here," she responded evasively, wishing to detoin them as long as might be by an appearance of frank. nis3 which should disclose nothing.

“Answer straight, minion," thundered the irate earl, else we may take means to compel your tongue to utter truth for once.

Katherine's cheeks became scarlet as the fact of the equivocal position in which she stood was thus rudely manifested to her. Before she had time to answer, Gordon sprang to her side. She had not had time to observe him in the crowd, but now, with an exclamation of joyful relief, she clung to his arm.

“You are mistaken, my lord, in the person you address," he said, haughtily; "how she comes to be here I cannot answer, but Katherine Janfarie is a lady of unstained honour, and he who gainsays me does so at the peril of his life.”

Angus scowled; Lord Gray looked grave, and the others grinned.

"To that and more, in this lady's favour, I will pledge myself,” said the Abbot, forcing his way to the side of his friends; "and I must pray you all to treat her with the respect due to one whom ill-fortune has placed in perilous ways."

"Your friends discover themselves under droll guises,

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