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foul means to prevent Lamington ever appearing at Linlithgow to uphold his own cause and hers.

Her heart beat quick at the suspicion; but she was calmer now, and she saw that any outburst on her part only served to render her the more helpless in the hands of her callous captor by increasing his watchfulness. Therefore she remained silent, although she sickened at her own fancy of what might happen should Richard Janfarie, burning with desire to avenge his father's fall, and madly attributing that misfortune to her lover, encounter Lamington.

Cochrane, without appearing to observe her anxiety, directed the men to ride close; and then grasping the reins of his own horse and the leading-rein of hers tightly in his hand, he urged the animals forward at a rapid canter. He cas no look behind, and he did not seem to give any attention to his companion. His eyes appeared to be fixed on the road straight before him, but all the while with cunning side glances he was noting every change of her countenance.

She rode beside him silent, angry, and yet afraid.

CHAPTER XIV.

IN CHASE.

“ Gae, saddle me my coal-black steed,

Gae, saddle me my bonnie grey;
An', warder, sound the rising note,
For we have far to ride to-day.'

The Tweeddale Raide.

LAMINGTON was conducted by the Prior to Katherine's dormitory. The door stood wide open, and the chamber was untenanted.

The first thought which occurred to Lamington was that the Abbot had conducted her to some other apartment, and that the Prior had not been made aware of the change. He recalled the latter, who, without having entered the room, was moving away.

The Prior, as soon as he had been made aware of the absence of the lady, hastily went in search of the Abbot. He returned immediately, the prelate accompanying him.

“This was the chamber in which I left her," said the Abbot, looking round him in perplexity and amazement; “and I bade her bar the door that she might not be disturbed."

Inquiries were instantly made, and it was discovered that the Borderers had quitted the precincts of the Priory only a few minutes before; but no information as to Cochrane could be obtained.

On examining the gatekeeper, they learned that Richard Janfarie had departed half an hour before his followers, taking with him two extra horses. Further, one of the men, who had been the last to pass through the gateway, had left a scrap of paper for Bertrand Gordon.

Lamington snatched the paper from the man's hand. It was neatly folded, superscribed in a clear, clerkly style of penmanship, and it was sealed with Cochrane's signet. He tore it open, and read

“The lady has been wiser to-day than she was yesterday. She acknowledges the proper authority of her husband, and accepts his protection of her own free will, as she was bound to do by the most sacred law. Renounce her : cease your mad persecution of her, if

you

wish for success in any venture that you make. Do not seek to mar her peace again with your presence if you wish to live.

ROBERT COCHRANE." On reading this intimation that all their efforts had been foiled, Lamington knew that Katherine had been trepanned by Cochrane's cunning; but when he remembered that the Abbot had advised her to bar the door, and so keep out unwelcome intruders, he remembered also that this letter was corroborated by her treatment of him in the morning, and a doubt disturbed him.

But he flung the doubt from him with a furious exclamation.

“No, I will not believe it. I will not doubt her again until I learn from her own lips that she has been deceiving us all. She has been betrayed; and he would foist this lie upon me, to make me halt in the pursuit.”

Right,” muttered the Abbot, who had taken the letter from him and was reading it with frowning countenance

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right; it is a lie that he would foist upon you. But how has he managed to hoodwink her again ? "

“No matter how the trick has been accomplished, we must follow with all the speed horses can make.”

“Ay, follow,” continued the Abbot, apparently busy with some other thought. “But in what direction ?

“ We will discover.”

“He has a band of men to guard him, and you are alone."

“I cannot stay to count these hazards. When I reach him, I will consider in wbat way to outwit him.”

Ay; but stay,” muttered the Abbot, reflectively; “there is more in this than the mere question of rescuing the lady-much more than concerns your safety and hers.”

“What is your meaning ?”
" This.

He has got the start of us; he will reach the King before us, and his representations being the first made, as he is the first in the King's favour, will weigh so heavily against us, that it will require the strength of giants, and the subtle craft of the magician, to enable us to steer our way through this storm that is breaking over us.”

“He will not dare to present such a cause to his Majesty.”

“He will dare anything; it is the very boldness of his flights which, astounding all men, and leaving them inactive, have permitted him to reach the eyry he now occupies. You must not judge him by any common rascal, for whilst you watch for him creeping stealthily to his purpose in the dark, he will dash at it-ay, and attain itin the broad light of day."

“You have read his character closely, I can believe; but in what manner will your knowledge of it serve us in the present strait ?"

I fear that it will serve as little; but it will, at least, direct us in the course we should attempt.”

* Then that is to pursue the reptile, and strike him down without remorse.

“ And be yourself doomed to forfeit life, or to be a hopeless fugitive from the land. We must meet him with his own weapons--courage and cunning; the first, to dare any charge that he may make, and to seize upon it as an

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instrument to strike him back; the second, to guide the weapon to the vulnerable part of his armour.”

" In the saints' name, what part is that?” cried Gordon, impatiently. “Since you will not touch his life, how and where can you barm him ?”

“In his disgrace. Once degrade him in the King's eyes-once assure his Majesty of the real character of his favourite, and Cochrane will fall beneath our feet to be trampled upon and crushed out of memory, as a worthless wretch deserves.

“ And if you fail ?'

Then we will pay dearly for our temerity; and, in faith, there is much danger of our losing what little hold we have at present; for if he reach Linlithgow before me, you will find my presence at court forbidden. Give him that triumph, and he will sweep every other obstacle from his path. - Albany and Mar themselves may then have reason to dread his power, for their nighness to the throne may readily be made the means of alarming the present wearer of the crown.”

“He has not obtained that triumph yet, and swift action on our part may place it for ever beyond his reach.”

“We will try it. You follow him, and delay his progress by any means you can find, short of running him through. Take this signet, and if you show it to any of our friends on the route they will give you what assistanee

“Who are the friends ?” queried Gordon, placing the ring on his finger.

"I will give you a list of them; any one of them will place twenty men at your command at an hour's warning.”

The Abbot retired to prepare the list of gentlemen, whose service he knew might be counted upon. Lamington proceeded to the stable to saddle his horse. This task he performed rapidly, for a knight, whose career in those times was fraught with so many surprises and dangers, was bound to accustom himself to every duty that the accidents of war or feudal strife might require of him.

In a few minutes he led the horse out to the court, and was ready to start. He was presently joined by the Abbot, who placed a small tablet in his hand containing more than a dozen names of nobles and barons.

you need."

Fou?

“ Master this list as you ride forward,” said his lordship, "and then destroy the scroll; for although it would be difficult to make it hurtful to any of our friends in its present form, we cannot calculate what harm it migbt do them if it fell into the hands of one clever enough to give it the appearance of treason.”

“I will have it by rote before I have ridden ten miles.”

“That is well; but do not slacken your speed, for Cochrane must be stayed at any hazard."

And

“I ride hence on the instant and make for Linlithgow without halt or pause. Away, and Heaven speed you, for the fortunes of a State may depend on your success or failure.”

“If I fail to bar his passage, and to be ready in answer to your summons to appear before the King, reckon me amongst the dead.

The gate was thrown open; the keeper indicated in what direction the Borderers had ridden, and Lamington galloped away from the Priory with heart strung to desperate resolution.

The suu had passed the meridian : the bright tinge which gilds the fields and trees in the morning, had faded, and a dull shade was creeping over grass and leaves. The change was a delicate one, and only

perceptible in certain moods ; but in that mood the mind becomes keenly sensitive to the dulness which succeeds the glitter of the morning light, when nature assumes an appearance like that of a polished mirror which has been breathed upon. The wind, too, seems to become chiller and to whisper through the woods with more melancholy voice-all with an inexpressible subtlety suggesting the approaching shadows of the night; and to a mind influenced by circumstances, suggestive of the shades of fortune. There was, besides, a quietude in the atmosphere, disturbed only at intervals by that sad murmur of the wind, the lowing of kine, or the baying of a hound, which oppressed the man with a sense of weakness. He had sufficient of the fanciful in his nature to feel these things, but his present mission was of too high import, and his desire for retribution too strong, to permit them to obtain entire sway over his mind.

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