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at this? You must consider that it was but childishness." 'Ay, it is indeed," said Cole, and with that he began to nod. Then they asked him if he would go to bed. "No," said he, "although I am heavy, I have no mind to go to bed at all." Then certain musicians of the town came to the chamber, and knowing Master Cole was there, drew out their instruments, and very solemnly began to play. "This music comes very well," said Cole; but after he had listened a little while he said, "Methinks these instruments sound like the ring of St Mary Overie's bells; but the bass drowns all the rest, and in my ear it goes like a bell that rings a frozen one's knell. For God's sake, let them leave off, and bear them this simple reward." The musicians having left, his host asked if now it would please him to go to bed; for it was now nearly eleven o'clock.
At that Cole looked earnestly at his host and hostess, and started back, saying, "What ails you to look so like pale Death? Good Lord! what have you done, that your hands are thus bloody?" "What, my hands?" said his host; "why, you may see that they are neither bloody nor foul; either your eyes do greatly dazell, or else fancies of a troubled mind do delude you."
"Alas! my host, you may see," said Cole, "how weak my wits I never had my head so idle before. Come, let me drink once more, and then I will to bed, and trouble you no longer." With that he undressed himself, and his hostess warmed a kerchief and put it about his head. "Good Lord!" said he, "I am not sick, I praise God; but such an alteration I find in myself as I never did before." With that the Scritch-Owle cried piteously, and anon after the
Night - Raven sate croking hard by his Window. "Jesu! have Mercy upon me! quoth hee, what an ill-favoured Cry doe yonder Carrion-Birds make;" and therewith-all he laid him downe in his Bed, from whence he never rose againe.
The innkeeper and his wife were somewhat disturbed by the mental condition of their victim, and the man said he knew not what were best to be done. "By my consent," quoth he, "the matter should pass, for I think it best not to meddle with him;" but the woman was relentless. "What, man, faint you now! have you done so many, and do you shrink at this?" and with that she showed him a great deal of gold which Cole had put into her care. "Would it not grieve a body's heart to lose this? Hang the old churle, what should he do living any longer? He hath too much and we have too little: tut, husband, let the thing be done, and then this is our own.'
Presently, when they listened at his chamber door, they heard the man sound asleep. The servants were all in bed; down they went into the kitchen, pulled out the iron pins, the bed fell, and the man was dropped into the boiling caldron. Soon betwixt them they cast his body into the river and disposed of his clothes, &c. ; but when the man went to the stable to take away Cole's horse, they found that somehow it had got loose, and out into a meadow adjoining an inn. Then after leaping divers hedges, being a lusty, stout horse, it had got to a ground where a mare was grazing. Presently both horses were out on the highway, where a man who knew the mare met them and took both her and the horse to the one who owned her. Early in the morning
the musicians arrived again, wishing to give their good friend Cole some music early. They were told, however, that he had taken horse before day. Presently came the man who owned the mare, inquiring up and down the place which of them had missed a horse. At the Crane the ostlers told him they had missed no horse, at which the man took it back to his own
house, saying, "I perceive my mare is good for something, for if I send her to field single she comes home double."
On the third day after this, Cole's wife sent out one of her men on horseback to meet his master. "And if," said she, "you meet him not between this and Colebrook, ask for him at the Crane. If you find him not there, ride to London; for I doubt he is either sick, or else some mischance hath fallen unto him." The fellow did so, and when he asked for him at Colebrook he was told that he had travelled farther on such a day. Puzzled by this, the man made much inquiry in the town, and in so doing heard of the horse which had been found on the highway, which no one claimed. At once he recognised this to be his master's, and back to the Crane he went with him. That same night the innkeeper fled secretly away, and Cole's servant going to the justice claimed his help. As soon as it was known that Jarman of the Crane was gone, no one knew whither, also that the musicians said that the innkeeper had told them he himself had seen Cole off
before daybreak, the woman was apprehended, and being examined, she confessed the truth. Jarman was taken soon afterwards in Windsor Forest, and he and his wife were both hanged, but not before they had confessed their evil deeds. The husband explained that, being a carpenter by trade, he had made that false falling-floor; but it seems it was his wife who
had devised it. And with it they had murdered in all sixty persons. Yet, strangely enough, in spite of all the money they had got through this, they had never prospered, and at their death were found to be deeply in debt. The news of the murder of his favourite clothier was speedily carried to the king, and for the space of seven days, says the old book, he was SO sorrowfull and heavy as he would not hear any suit." He ordered also that the inn called the Crane, in which Cole had been murdered, should be burned to the ground.
Yet to this very day the Ostrich Inn bears the evil reputation of having had these murders committed in it, and, as I was myself told, the children of the present innkeeper used to fear to enter Turpin's chamber, believing that in it had been the trap-door through which the victims disappeared. The river runs, as it did, past the yard of the old inn, and some say, adds our old chronicler, that this stream, "whereinto Cole was cast, did ever since carrie the name of Cole, being called, The River of Cole and the Towne Colebrooke."
J. A. OWEN.
IN 'MAGA'S' LIBRARY.
WHEN the prevailing passion for biography and autobiography is raging like an epidemic, it would be strange if there were not lives of rare interest and excellence. We have selected three in very different styles, but each delightful of its sort. Although Lord Dufferin has done good service to the State, and filled with honour and no ordinary distinction the highest and most responsible posts in the empire, we could almost regret that he had not devoted himself to literature. Few men are more perfect masters of style; fewer still are more richly gifted with the rare quality of literary tact. His 'Letters from High Latitudes' had made him a reputation which, with more ambitious opportunities, he could afford to neglect. It is very evident that he has not been demoralised by the dictating of State papers and diplomatic despatches. He could hardly have undertaken a more delicate task than writing the memoirs of a mother he adored,1 but the inevitable difficulties have been triumphantly surmounted. It is a graceful panegyric, which is no whit exaggerated, inspired by filial affection, and confirmed in each particular by a cloud of disinterested witnesses. He makes his readers sympathise with his own loving admiration. He excels in vigorous portraiture-witness his presentation of Lord Giffordand in the art of throwing off effective sketches; but we believe that he has painted Lady Dufferin to the life, and assuredly no per
sonality could be more fascinating. This is how he describes her, after her first husband's sudden death, when the young widow was still in the fresh blush of her beauty:
of her temperament and her powers My mother, in spite of the gaiety of enjoyment, or perhaps on that very account, was endued with a deep religious spirit-a spirit of love, purity, self-sacrifice, and unfailing faith in God's mercy. In spite of her sensitive taste, keen sense of humour, involuntary appreciation of the ridiculous, and exquisite critical faculty, her natural impulse was to admire, and to see the good in everything, and to shut her eyes to what was base, vile, or cruel. Nowhere is this instinctive benevolence more apparent than in her letters, for among the hundreds which I possess,. there is scarcely one which could not be published as it stands, without causing pain to any human being. The intensity of her love of Nature was another remarkable characteristic. I never knew any one who seemed to derive such enjoyment as she did from the splendour of earth and heaven, from flowers, from the sunshine or the birds. A beautiful view produced in of song her the same ecstasy as did lively music. But the chief and dominant characteristic of her nature was the In my mother's power of loving. case love seemed an inexhaustible force."
Love begot love in turn, with perfect trust and absolute unreserve: the son remembered the mother's coming of age, for she had married Captain Blackwood when a mere girl, and with all the reverence of the only child on whom her deepest and fondest affections were centred, their relations rather resembled
1 Songs, Poems, and Verses, by Helen, Lady Dufferin (Countess of Gifford). With a Memoir, by her Son, the Marquess of Dufferin and Ava. London: John Murray. 1894.
those of a brother and sister. Lady Dufferin's fascinations of person and intellect had descended to her by right of inheritance. Nothing is more interesting than the prologue to the memoir, in which the writer tells in rapid outline the remarkable story of his maternal ancestors. Biographical genealogy is generally desperately dull; but Lord Dufferin gives an extraordinary charm to his cursory narrative of the successive generations of the gifted Sheridans. We hope that some day he may be tempted to do deliberate justice to the family history. The ancient Irish race had produced innumerable warriors, and sundry statesmen and bishops; but the first of them who is familiar to English readers is Sir Thomas. He was a privy councillor and Irish Secretary under James II., and he followed the fallen monarch into exile. He married a natural daughter of the sovereign, and became the father of the still better known son who landed with the young Chevalier in Moidart. Sir Thomas, the younger, acted through the campaign as the Prince's Secretary, and with regard to him Lord Dufferin has a curious story to relate. His lordship was accompanying the late Duke and Duchess of Sutherland on a yachting cruise. The Duchess, then Lady Stafford, was lineal representative of the attainted Earls of Cromartie, and the party had gone to Cromartie House. One day Lord Dufferin remarked a chest, which was said to contain old family papers. He asked permission to open it and examine them.
"The very first proved to be an order written and signed by Sir Thomas Sheridan, instructing the Earl of Cromartie of that day to burn down the castle of the Earl of Sutherland. It was curious that the VOL. CLVI. NO. DCCCCL.
first time that this paper saw the light since reaching its destination three persons so closely connected with the original three concerned in its subject-matter should have been alone together."
Passing downwards, we come to Dr Sheridan, the familiar friend of Swift and of the brilliant wits of the day. With all his humour and his exceptional talents, he showed a strange absence of worldly wisdom.
His son was the
friend of Garrick, whom Johnson nicknamed Sherry, and who is familiar to the readers of Boswell. Seldom has there been such an illustration of heredity as the transmission of talent in these Sheridans. For his son was the famous Richard Brinsley, Lord Dufferin's great-grandfather. He would have easily taken the foremost place in any all-round competitive examination among the illustrious men of the world who were his contemporaries. He wrote the best comedy; he wrote the best farce; in a generation of orators, at the trial of Warren Hastings he is said to have made the most brilliant oration. Yet perhaps he survives chiefly in faint traditional recollections of his sparkling wit and unrivalled readiness of repartee. As Lord Dufferin remarks regretfully, "The real Sheridan, as he was known in private life, is irrecoverably gone." Not unsuccessfully he undertakes a pious defence of his great ancestor's memory. He drank freely, in days when deep drinking was habitual; when Pitt invariably primed himself for speeches with port - wine, and when he and his boon-companion Dundas strewed "marines" beneath the table,—and with his nervous temperament, "the effects upon his brain and constitution were exceptionally deleterious." He was careless in 3 K
his expenditure and generous to prodigality; but he lived as a poor man with the wealthy: he had the heavy misfortune of the burning of his theatre, and after all, his debts were comparatively insignificant. Considering that he began life without a shilling-we remember the famous retort to his father -and that he married a penniless beauty for love,-considering the many temptations which beset him, we may fairly say he did wonderfully well. He married the lovely Miss Linley, and for her, says Lord Dufferin, "I have not words to express my admiration." In many respects he seems to regard her as the prototype of his mother. His grandchildren, Lady Dufferin and her accomplished sisters, were the daughters of another beauty, Miss Callander of Craigforth. The fair trio were known as the Graces: they were Mrs Norton, Lady Dufferin, and the Duchess of Somerset, who had been enthroned as Queen of Beauty at the Eglinton Tournament. "My mother, though her features were less regular than those of her sisters, was equally lovely and attractive. Her figure was divine, the perfection of grace and symmetry, her head being beautifully set upon her shoulders." And if we look at the sweet serenity of the face which fronts the titlepage, we feel sure that her sisters cannot have surpassed her. Moreover, she sang delightfully, and set her own songs to music. She heard an opera overnight, and would be singing the airs that took her fancy on the following morning.
The bright young beauty, on the persuasion of her friends, made a mariage de raison with a man considerably older than herself, yet it proved a happy love-match. Captain Blackwood, although he had become heir-presumptive to the
family title by the dramatic death of an elder brother on the field of Waterloo, had only his pay as a naval officer. His relatives thought he had done badly for himself, and it was to spare her the mortification of a cold reception that he took his young bride abroad. Lord Dufferin was born at Florence in 1826, and he recently visited the house at Siena and the old castle in the Apennines where his father had taken his wife for her health, as she had nearly succumbed during her confinement. They returned to England, and were happily settled at Ditton, when they had to resign themselves to a long separation. Captain Blackwood was appointed to a frigate ordered on foreign service, nor could he afford to refuse. During his four years' absence, and after his return, his wife devoted herself to their boy. Her husband had become heir-presumptive to the title and estates, and their circumstances were easier, although still straitened, for he had many younger brothers and sisters. But young Blackwood, the future Marquis, was distinguishing himself at Eton, and the outlook seemed bright and prosperous, when all was overclouded. Captain Blackwood had died suddenly while crossing to Ireland, and the shock to his wife and son was terrible. fell the heavier on her that she was absent in Italy at the time, and it was but slowly she re covered from a serious illness. Then she removed from Naples to Rome, and Mrs Somerville writes in her Personal Recollections' :
"There was much beauty in Rome at that time. I recollect Lady St Peter's, in her widow's cap, with a Dufferin, at the Easter ceremonies at large black crape veil over it, creating quite a sensation. With her exquisite