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room, and accompanied the captain to his retreat, where the wine proved even more attractive than the entertainer bad promised.

He would not have consented so readily to accept this hospitality had he suspected that Katherine's companion was the person wbom his warrant authorized him to conduct as a prisoner from the dungeon of the palace to the keep of Cochrane's Tower. Ross had only directed his suspicion to the lady ; and that, the King's signet and the conduct of Captain Murray had removed.

The wine was good; Torphicben forgot his mission, and the warrant still remained unopened. But the conviviality of the captain and his guest was abruptly checked by the appearance of Cochrane, to whom Ross had hastened as soon as he became satisfied that the purpose of Mistress Katherine was not to conduct her companion to the presence of the Queen, but to enable him to quit the palace unobserved. He was then certain that this was an affair for the immediate attention of his master, and so it proved.

Torpbichen looked up at the scowling visage of his principal in happy unconsciousness of any dereliction, save in the matter of half an hour's delay, which was of no consequence.

Murray flushed slightly, and then assumed an expression that was almost dogged in its resolution to maintain silence.

“I required you to make speed, Torphichen,” said Cochrane, darkly, “and this seems a droll fashion of obedience.”

“Swords and daggers, man,” cried the impetuous little master, his good humour changing on the instant to rage, "am I your cur that I must do your dirty work and be whipped for it by you? 'Sblood, sir, I but stayed to drain a cup of good fellowship with my comrade here in order to give me spirit for the knave's task you set me: and forsooth, because I tarry so long as a man may drink in comfort you turn upon me. There, take your warrant, and do the thing yourself."

This ebullition was the result of the wine that was in the man's stomach, rather than the judgment that was in his head; for although somewhat of a blusterer at all times, he was usually careful to avoid giving offence to Cochrane. But the pique with which he saw him elevated





to the first place in the King's favour found vent in this moment of tyrannical oppression, for such he considered the attack of Cochrane.

The latter picked up the warrant which was flung at him by his hot-headed compeer, and noting that the seal was unbroken, his scowl became darker. Without a word he turned to Murray.

“This is for you, sir. Has it not been presented before ?"

“It was, and I am to blame, perhaps, for not examining it sooner.

But the matter did not seem of pressing import, and I laid it on the table there whilst I helped my guest to prepare for his journey."

“You have helped him to drown what little wit he had. Read now.”

Torphichen swaggered up to his compeer.
“Much or little wit, Cochrane, I stand slight from no

You will see to this business yourself, and I thank the saints my hands are clear of it."

“ Tush!” ejaculated Cochrane, with the gesture of impatience he might have used had a child stumbled in his way at a busy moment.

“This way, gentlemen,” said Murray, quietly, after reading the warrant.

The fencing-master sullenly reseated himself at the table. Cochrane followed the captain.

They went to the dungeon in which Lamington had been confined, and found it unoccupied.

“You shall answer for this with your head, Captain Murray,” cried Cochrane, in savage chagrin.

“I shall answer to my master, sir, in whatever he may require of me," answered the soldier, with dignity.

The royal favourite turned from him exasperated, but not foiled yet. He addressed his own retainers.

“Pass the word to the sentinels—a prisoner has escaped. Let every door and gate be closed, and let none pass without permission given under my hand or the King's. The rest of you call upon every man in the palace to begin the search, and leave no corner, however low or high or sacred, that you do not penetrate.

He wheeled round to Murray.
“You, sir, will call the gentlemen of the guard together

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and inform them that you have permitted the villain who attempted the life of his Majesty to escape. Redeem your error-if it be no more than error-by prompt service now.'

Murray bowed, and departed to summon the guard.

Cochrane had examined the sentinel and the men who had been in the ward-room when the prisoner passed, and although astonished to find that the King's signet had been ühe token which enabled him to escape, he was satisfied that Murray had betrayed his trust, and Torphichen too.

The alarm passed from one quarter of the palace to another with the rapidity of lightning; and in ten minutes after the discovery of the escape every man and woman within the precincts of the royal dwelling was on the alert.

Cochrane himself led the search, fired by all the passions of disappointed malice, fear, and jealousy. He moved from place to place with the nimbleness of a panther —now issuing commands, now questioning those whom he encountered as to their success. He first made sure that no one bad passed through the gates for two hours, and then he felt that the victim was still within reach.



“ All night I'll watch you in the park,

With me till morning stay ;
For dark and dreary is the night,

And dangerous is the way.
“ Beneath the bush he laid him down,

And wrapped him in his plaid ;
While trembling for her lover's fate,
At distance stood the maid.”

Sir James the Rose.



PROCEEDING at a quick pace, but not so hastily as to excite suspicion in the minds of any of the persons they met in the corridors, Katherine and Lamington, without obstruction, reached the tower in which the Confessional was situated, and where she had first presented herself to the Queen,

There was a private corridor leading thence to the chapel ; but it was guarded by a door, and when she tried it this door was fast.

She did not know how or where to procure the key ; the door was too strong to be easily forced, and the poor lady turned with eyes of dismay to her lover.

He was calmer, and the emergency only made his resolution the more desperate.

“Since that way is closed,” said he, quietly, “I must try the bolder course, and openly cross the square. The alarm has not been raised yet, and I may pass the guard by some lucky chance in time.”

" It is madness. You would be challenged; you have not got the word, and you would be stayed at once."

“I must venture that,” he answered; "for to remain here is only to be captured, without even the poor chance of escape I may find at the gates."

Ross had got near enough to catch the last words, and thereupon he departed to find his master.

Katherine remembered Mysie Ross, and fancied that she might know where to procure the key of this obstinate door which barred them from safety.

“No, there is another hope. Remain here."

She pointed to the embrasure of a window, which was dark enough to screen him from any casual observation. There he ensconced himself whilst she hurried away quest of Mysie.

The delay was unfortunate, for the girl was unable to supply the required information.

Katherine rejoined Gordon.

“You have failed," he said, reading the disappointment in her face.

Yes; you must make the venture of crossing the square."

They retraced their steps to the head of the principal staircase. As they approached it the alarm was given, and the pursuit commenced.

Hurrying footsteps, the murmur of voices, and the clank of arms were the sounds which suddenly greeted them, and they drew back appalled.

“It is too late,” he said ; "and I have no weapon with which to secure for myself an honourable death.”

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“ Too late for that course," she said, stifling her agitation and quickly devising a new scheme, “but not too late for another. Yonder stair leads to the ramparts. Ascend ; they may not think of searching there, and if they do, you may still find means of hiding till they retreat."

“Good-farewell. You will hear of me whether I fall

or live.”

"First, give me your cloak and hat-quick, they are coming."

Without questioning her purpose, he obeyed. Then touching her hand with his lips, and with one look of love and gratitude for the devotion and courage she displayed on his account, he sprang up the stairs which she had pointed out.

Cochrane a moment afterwards stood on the spot where the lovers had parted. With him were half a dozen of his followers and Ross.

They saw a figure in cloak and hat moving rapidly along the corridor.

“Yonder's the man,” cried Ross, pointing to the figure; “I could swear to the hat and cloak,

Cocbrane, with an exclamation of satisfaction in the immediate prospect of triumph, pursued.

The figure glided onward swiftly and noiselessly. The pursuer was startled and brought to an abrupt stand, when the figure boldly entered the ante-room of the Queen's apartments.

After a moment's hesitation, Cochrane rudely thrust open the door and followed.

“Her Majesty's privacy must be protected from such intrusions as this,” he muttered; "and our prisoner must be seized."

He was confronted by Katherine.

Bebind her stood several attendants, staring with considerable amazement at the lady and at the pursuers. On the floor at her feet lay the cloak and hat which had beguiled the enemy.

“Where is the man who entered here but now?” he demanded, fiercely.

“No man has entered here," she replied, calmly.
“ It is false. I saw him not a moment gone.'

“You were mistaken, sir. Appeal to these gentlemen, if you still doubt me.”

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