§ q

NIGHTSHADE:

OR,

ew UN ae

GIVING A FULL ACOCOUXT OF

NUVAL’S EXPLOITS ON THE ROAD, AND HIS ADVENTURES AT THE MASKED BALL WITH A BEAUTIFUL DUCHESS.

New York: ROBERT M. DE Witt; PUBLISHER,

No. 83 Ross STREET, (Between Duane and Frankfort Streets.) Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865,

BY ROBERT M. DEW ALAS

In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the Diiked States

for the Southern District of New York.

A

‘| HE L@SEn SS ERAab bp, PERIES.

No. 1. NIGHTSHADE; or, CLraupE Duvat, THE DasHING HIGHWAYMAN. 8vo, Paper. 25 cents.

No. 2. NIGHTSHADE ON THE HEATH;; or, CLaupe Aanp THE KING. 8vo, Paper. 25 cents.

No. 3. CLAUDE AND THE COUNTESS ; or, NicursHapr Near NeEw- GATE. 8vo, Paper. 25 cents.

No. 4. HOUNSLOW JACK; or. DuvaL anp THE DarK LANTERN. 8vo, Paper. 25 cents.

No. 5. CLAUDE IN THE CATHEDRAL; or, A Nicut IN THE VAULTs. 8vo, Paper. 25 cents.

No. 6. THE GIRL OF THE GIBBET; or, CLaupr Saves THE CAPTIVE. 8vo, Paper. 25 cents.

No. 7. THE HIGHWAYMAN’S DOOM; or, THE RoapD AND ITs RIDERs. 8vo, Paper. 25 cents.

No. 8. THE FATAL TREE; or, THe Gipper Bears FRuIv. 25 Cents.

No. 9. THE LAST LEAP; or, THE REWarRD oF CRIME. cents.

8vo, Paper.

8vo, Paper.

25

'Y Tar NicutsHape Serres of Romances, based upon the adventures of the world-renowned Claude Duval, whose reputation, although he was branded as a crimi- nal, stands unsullied as a man of personal charity, are among most interesting of fictions replete with thrill- ing incidents. The various phases of society through which this wonderful], although guilty, man passed on his road from innocent life to the gallows, are dis- tinctly marked, so that the entire course of his crime is depicted in startling and instructive characters. The fascinations of an unlawful career, the adversities of a wasted existence and culminating termination of

a perverted philanthropy are set forth in these pages with a power and vigor, bringing imagination into reality. The great Book of Life contains fewer pages more worthy of perusal, as each impresses the reader with a fresher and more novel appreciation of his own dignity. ‘The properstudy of mankind is man,” says the great poet of humanity, and where can we find bet~ ter food for contemplation and reflection than is furn- ished in the diversified career of chivalric, yet erring, members of our own race? From this point of view, criminal life is as attragtive asit is instructively useful.

b States or Canada.

\ PuBLISHED By ROBERT M. DE WITT, No. 33 Rose St., NEw York.

Kae Sent by mail, post-paid, upon receipt of price, to any part of the United

NIGHTSHADE;

OR,

CLAUDE DUVAL, THE DASHING MIGHWAYMAN.

CHAPTER I. CLAUDE DUVAL RESCUES A PRISONER AND GAINS A WIFE.

“Save me! save me! Will no one save me? I am innocent of tnis crime which is laid to my charge. It is hard to die for that which never in thought, word, or deed can cling to me in the shape of guilt. Save me, oh, save me!”

With a wild rapidity of utterance that would not be stayed.

With a shrieking vehemence which no human power could conquer.

Wringing her hands and dashing back from her pale, blanched face the luxuriant hair, that seemed, in that moment of pain and degradation, to form a veil for the lovely face it belonged to, stood a young girl.

Scarcely past the age of childhood.

A young English maiden.

Such an one as is loved and cherished and made much of,

The idol of a house.

The cherished jewel of every heart.

A creature to speak gently to—a sunshine—an angelic presence, such as might wean the soul from all degrading thoughts and aspirations.

A fair young English girl.

She stood upon a scaffold.

She was brought out to die. |

To die a death at once of horror and degradation—to be held up as a spectacle to the twice three thousand eyes bent upon her, beneath the fleecy clouds and scattered blue of a fair April sky.

To die by the hands of the common executioner, with a name which should be given over to execration when the light in those sweet eyes should be quenched forever in the gloom of the grave.

“Save me! save me! I cannot, must not die} My trial was a mockery —delusion! Iam not guilty! Help, help, I cry to all! to éarth—to hea- ven! Mercy, mercy! Is there no justice among men, or pity in heaven? [ am not guilty ! I am not guilty!”

“Stop her mouth!” growled a ruffianly voice: “sto This hake not be, Mr. Sheriff” J paid aay!

“She was given leave to speak.”

“Yes. To make a last speech and confession—but this is a defiance Stop her mouth!” “YT dare not, Mr. Mossy Pendell; I dare not! ook at ¢} you ever see such faces in your life? Look at their West aE eine 4

it would be! There now! there now!”

4 Nightshade ; or, Claude Duval, the Dashing Highwayman. ~~

A roaring cry came from a thousand throats.

That was the ery that had been evoked from all thosé hearts by the shriek- ing appeal of the young girl.

That young girl brought out to die!

Oh! what a mockery was the April sunshine, as it mingled its golden hnes with her fair hair.

The scene was old Bloomsbury Fields, The bright green spring grass spread a delicate carpet for miles around. The trees and hedges were burst- ing with new vegetation, and many a forest bird—the like of which has long since. retired from the busy haunts of the great city, which has gathered within its long arms all those once fair fields to its great wilderness of bricks aud mortar—hid themselves deep in bush and brake.

The second George was on the throne of these realms, and human life was of but little account.

‘‘Help!” shrieked the girl again, as she saw the sympathetic movement of that myriad of upturned faces around her. ‘‘ Help! save me! Not because I am brought out here to die, but because Iam innucent! You have children of your own, many of you! I see young faces among you, and I call upon them for aid! Save me! for the love of all that is merciful and just, save me from this terrible death! lam not guilty—not guilty—not guilty!”

The voice of the young creature became hoarse and appalling.

There was a spot of blood upon her lips.

The human agony of the fair face seemed to strike upon every heart there present as with a tangible blow.

Strong stalwart men fainted.

- Mothers—for there were even such as spectators of that terrible scene— clasped their children to their breasts and shrieked aloud.

The Sheriff, whose duty it was to superintend that execution, turned white as his own cravat and ruffles, and trembled palpably.

He stood by his carriage steps, and by his side was a man, tall beyond all ordinary tallness, with a face of such cadaverous malignity, that no one could look upon him without a shudder. .

That was Mossy Pendell.

“By heaven and the other place!” he shouted, “we shall have a rescue | Look to your men, Mr. Muckles ; you are the chief officer on the ground, Look to your men, and close round the scaffold. The people are already half mad with pity, and’soon they will be wholly so with rage.”

“Look to yourself, sir!” replied the officer savagely. “Look to yourself, sir; for if the people’s rage should come, I would not be in Mr. Mossy Pen- dell’s shoes for the best estate in all England.”

A terrible shout came from the crowd. ant |

Crawling up upon the scaffold through an orifice in its centre, came some- thing that looked scarcely human.

A shock of red hair,

A distorted countenance, boasting of but one eye.

A twisted trunk and legs that did not seem to belong to It.

The yell of execration came again, and the hangman—yes, that was the hangman—bent and cowered before the storm,

Now, my dear, really——”

That was the way he addressed the young girl,

He placed one of his ugly, paw-like hands upon her neck,

She cast him from her with a shudder, and he fell grovelling at her feet.

“Tyo late! too late!” she shrieked Are you to feel for me, and isit to be too late to save me? What sympathy is this, that lets the victim perish ? I call upon you to save me, and you answer me with shrieks and cries!

Nightshade ; or, Claude Duval, the Dashing Highwayman 5

Help! Help! I say again! Not that Iam young and that it is hard to die, but because I am innocent of the crime of which they have declared me guilty! Save me! save me! I tell you all that this is murder, and you are all mur- derers that can look on and see me perish without raising a hand to rescue me!”

These appeals exercised a powerful influence upon the assembled crowd,

The vast concourse swayed to and fro in an agitated fashion ; and closer

closer still around the scaffold pressed the multitude.

‘'$ was in vain that the ordinary force of police-officers strove to keep. the _ «le from passing up to the very posts that supported the platform of death,

In a few seconds more those very officers themselves formed but units of

the crowd, and were utterly helpless. In fact, they found that their own safety was concerned in Afton g an obscurity very foreign to their natures. 4

Then the few authorities that were mounted, saw that affairs were getting serious.

One man in a semi-military uniform, made a motion with his hand; and in as compact a body as they could preserve, a party of what was tien called the King’s Light Horse began to press up from a distance towards the scaffold. 7

Simultaneous with that military movement ensued another.

A company of the Foot Guard, who had rested on their arms in a hollow of the ground not far from the back of old Montague House, formed iu regu- lar compact order, and slowly began to drive stragglers before them as they too approached the scaffold.

The terrified Sheriff retreated into his carriage.

Some clouds stretched themselves over the face of the fair ®lue sky.

A sudden chill came through the atmosphere, and one of those remarkable changes which are the characteristics of an April day in England appeared ‘about to ensue.

A few large, heavy drops of rain fell upon the upturned faces of the crowd

It was a moment of perplexity.

A moment of indecision to the people.

A moment of despair to that young, fair creature, who was brought out to die in all her innocence and all her beauty on that morning of April smiles and tears.

. The spectacle presented by the whole assemblage—by the terrible appara- tus of death—and by the movement made by the civil and military authori- ties, was now strange and interesting in the extreme,

Up to that moment the people had the case in their own hands.

It only required an active movement of one or two adventurous spirits and the innocent victim would be torn from the hands of the law. ;

If, however, the company of the Foot Guard, and the small party of the King’s Light Horse, should succeed in hemming in the scaffold, all hope. of rescue would be at an end.

The crowd saw this,

The girl on the scaffold saw it.

She made a last appeal.

‘‘Help—help, again! Save me—save me! Help, ere it be. too late! chi me amvng you and save me! You cannot have come here to see me

ie

A suggestive swinging movement among the crowd, which wafted as if in wayes towards the fout of the scaffold some of the foremost of the throne was the response to this appeal. Tp

6 Nightshade ; or, Claude Duval the Dashing Highwayman.

And the foremost of all was a tall man, having the appearance of a grazier or a well-to-do farmer.

He wore a broad-brimmed slouched hat, and a white frieze coat of ample dimensions.

This man, either from accident or design, kept himself in front of the crowd, and soon reached the very foot of the scaffold.

A strange movement now took place immediately in this man’s vicmity ; and it appeared as if some eight or ten persons were violently intent upon congregating themselves around him; although, to look at them, no one could suppose for a single moment that any community of feeling or interest could be among them.

One was attired as a sailor.

eee the rags of a beggar in the last stage of destitution.

A ad the unmistakable costume of a butcher.

Others*of these men were in the ordinary costume of the half-shabby race of civilians who hover between want and a sufficiency, probably, fur the next four-and-twenty hours.

The pertinacity with which these men fought their way onward was very

reat. y And yet it was done with a good-humoured exercise of strength and movement of the shoulders which would scarcely be resented.

Bit by bit, too, inch by inch, almost, a large wagon, drawn by four huge Flemish horses, had been making its way on the outskirts of the crowd in a most singular fashion.

Commencing its route where there were but few people to interrupt it, this wagon was drawn round the place of execution iu a cirele. ~ But it was.a circle which narrowed each moment perceptibly, until at last the huge horses, ana the great lumbering vehicle, with its enormous canvass covering, had insinuated themselves into the very midst of the throng.

So dexterously had this been done, that people found themselves entangled with the wagon and its horses before they could form the slightest suspicion of its presence.

It seemed to many as if this great vehicle had suddenly dropped from the clouds, so quietly did they find themselves hemmed iv and jammed against each other by its ponderous wheels and sides.

And so the wagon neared the scaffuld.

The King’s Light Horse began to be impatient.

They were a small party of only twelve men and a sergeant.

The latter was acholeric man, and imprudently he used the flat of his sabre upon the heads of several of the crowd to force himself a passage.

For an instant a conflict ensued between the people and the troopers, which the Jatter had the good’ sense to prevent from being sanguinary, by allowing themselves to be effectually impeded by the people.

The impetuous sergeant was dismounted by the summary process of being dislodged from his saddle by a jerk of one of his legs, which no horseman could resist.

The company of foot soldiers halted on a little eminence.

And then the girl shrieked again for belp, as she gazed about her and saw all those little changes rapidly affected like the mysterious changes of a kaleidoscope. |

W hat did they portend to her? :

A chance of life, or a greater certainty of death.

The executioner evidently thought the latter.

He crawled along the planking of the scaffuld like some loathsome rep- tile.

He caught at the skirt of the dress of the young girl.

/

Nightshade ; or, Claude Duval, the Dashing Highwayman.

of

He spoke again in that same croaking voice which had before made her shudder.

‘Now, my dear, time’s up! What’s the use of making a bother about what must be ?”

“No, no!” she'shrieked. “Time is passed! I will not die! I cannot; or if I must, let me meet death in any shape but this! Help—help—help !”

The tall man in the white frieze coat scrambled up on to the scaffold.

A roaring shout arose from the crowd, for they seemed to think that now something was about to be done which would gratify the interest they felt in the young criminal.

It was a weight off every heart to see that somebody was at, all events

commencing a course of action of a more practically defiant character to .

the authorities than mere yells and outcries. ) The first movement of this tall and stalwart man was a hietds tiieplar one.

With one hearty kick he sent the executioner rolling from the scaffold among the crowd.

The fate of the hedious wretch seemed to be certain.

He was tossed from hand to hand like a human foot-ball.

Then some of these strangely assorted men who had gathered round the tall stranger in the slouched hat and the frieze coat laid hands on the half fainting wretch, and tossed him back again on to the boards of the scaffold

He rolled along until he reaehed that opening in its floor from which he had emerged, and then, dropping through it, disappeared into comparitive obscurity and safety.

The tall man standing upon the scaffold glanced about him like some gen- eral on an eminence marshalling his forces.

Aud then, notwithstanding the frieze coat, the slouched hat, the coarse feather leggings he wore, and the hob-nailed boots, every one there present felt that he was not what he appeared, but that he had come forth to play some strauge part in the exciting drama of that day.

“Friends all,” he cried, “do you wish this young girl to die ?”

No!” was shouted from every throat.

A bright smile was on the lips of the stranger. '

Then that fair young creature on the scaffold understood, in the midst of her bewilderment of head and brain, that let his power to aid her be what if might, he came as a friend.

With a shriek of joy she sank to his feet.

She clung frantically to the skirts of that coarse frieze coat.

“Save me—save me! Heaven will bless you for the act! Save me— save me! [aminnocent! Indeed I am innocent!”

Hush!” whispered the stranger.

“Qh, no—no! Let me yet speak to you! Perhaps you are not quite sure that I am innocent; but I call heaven to witness—to witness by some visible sign—if it be but a gleam of sunshine, to my perfect innocence!”

A cloud swept aside, and right on to the scaffold, gilding into beauty even the rough garments of that grazier looking man, came'a broad beam of golden sunlight.

“You are answered,” he said; “although the token was not needed.”

“And you will save me?”

“When you were a little child, perchance amid the storm of winter you slept in peace, happiness, and security in some pretty cot, over which hov- ered a mother’s love ?”

“Yes—oh, yes!” |

“You are as safe here, then, as you were in that happy time when no harm could reach you, while so fenced in by boundless affection. Hush!— do not cling to me, but let me act!”

v., *

-

§ Nighishade ; or, Claude Duval, the Dashing Highwayman.

The girl released him from her frantic hold.

She still knelt upon the rough planks of the scaffold.

Her overcharged heart found relief ‘in‘a gush of tears.

She felt assured that that man would save her, although how he was ‘to accomplish the feat was past comprehension.

CHAPTER IL. CLAUDE DUVAL CALLS FOR HIS BOOTS, HIS HAT, AND HIS HORSE.

Arrest that man! What does hedo upon the scaffold? Arresthim! ‘Ten guineas from my own pock et to the officer who makes hima prisoner!”

Mossy Pendell spoke in tones of rage.

Arrest him yourself, Mr. Pendell,” growled Muckles, the chief officer. “Don’t you see the Light Horse have come to a standstill, and how are we to persuade the people to give us free passage ?”

‘Ig the girl to escape, then ?”

Muckles shrugged his shoulders.

“T can do nothing,” he said, until reinforcements arrive. I have sent'a messenger to the King’s Mews, and we shall soon have plenty of help.”

Pendell burst into a ferocious laugh.

‘Bravo, Muckles! you’re the man after all, and it will be a sad pity if the murderess of General Everton escape justice. What is that waggon

- doing yonder ?”

Muckles shook his head.

“Tt?s a mystery to me, Mr. Pendell, but Ihave watched it for these ten minutes, and it has been getting into the crowd by going round in a circle, or rather in a kind of cork-screw fashion. Another turn and it will be at the foot of the scaffold.”

Muckles, the girl must hang, or there is no justice in England.”

“T’ve nothing to do with justice,” replied Muckles, dryly, ‘It’s my duty, as the Sheriff’s chief officer on this occasion, to see that the execution takes place, and I mean to do so.”

But the people ?”

‘Bah! let them bawl themselves hoarse till the troops come from the King’s Mews, and then we shall see another complexion put on the affair.~

And that waggon ?”

“It is driven by some fool who is probably too bewildered to know where he is going.”

“Behold! still that man upon the scaffold.”

**T see him.”

“* Who and what is he ?”

“I know not—and it matters not, except that he isgdoing you good ser- vice, Mr. Mossy Pendell.”

‘t Me service ?” é

“Certainly, you want Lucy Everton hanged, and he is. kindly putting off the time till the troops arrive from the King’s Mews, by talking some mount- ebank rubbish to the crowd.”

““Ah! look! look! I don’t know that.”

Mossy Pendell clutched the officer’s arm with the energy of a vice.

The tall man on the scaffold had not been idle during this time.

Again he spoke to the people.

“Oonvinced of the innocence of this young girl—although she has been duly convicted of the murder of her uncle, General Everton—we all want to save her.”

Nightshade ; or, Claude Duval, the Dashing Highwayman. a

“alll alll”

“There was but one man in all England who it seemed to her had the courage to attempt her rescue, and she sent to him a ring.”

“Yes! yes!” shrieked Lucy Everton. “There was one man who saved me a year since from a great danger, and on that occasion he gave me 3 ring which I was to send to him if ever I required his aid. I did send it The ring was to be placed in the crevice of an old oak on Hampstead Heath There was one who, in the dreary prison-house of Newgate, swore so to place it.”

‘‘ He did so,” said the stranger in the frieze coat.

Lucy uttered a cry of joy.

“Then he will still come to save me; but it is late, oh! it is late, and mo- ments now are hours of agony and danger.”

“Hush! Fear nothing.”

The stranger turned to the crowd again.

“Good people all, if you would save this young creature from the shame- ful death which perjury and false witnesses have prepared for her, you will let my waggon get a little nearer, for you see I am careful of Flanders horses.”

“Bring it along! bring it along! Make-way! make way there! It’s his -waggou: he’s a grazier from the marshes in Essex. He’ll take the girl home in the waggon, and make a farmer’s wife of her. Hurrah! hurrah! Bring it along!”

“And gentlemen all,’ added the stranger, ‘“ you will be so good as te keep those few sensible dragoons of his Majesty’s Light Horse at a respect- ful distance.’”’

There scarcely needed this intimation to the crowd, for the dozen mount- ed men were so completely separated and hemmed in, that for their own lives’ sakes, they were compelled to be passive spectators of whatever might happen.

“As regards the company of foot yonder,” continued the mysterious stranger, “I may tell you, all in confidence, that they are merely waiting for reinforcements from the King’s Mews.”

A tremendous yell of anger arose from the crowd. 7

“But as we don’t intend to wait, and as I come here with the full intention of rescuing this young girl, and taking her with me, perhaps—as I feel my- self among friends—it would look like a want of confidence not to let you know who Lam.”

There was a tone of high-bred courtly banter about the manner in which the seeming grazier spoke, that was exceedingly fascinating to the crowd.

He was cheered vociferonsly, and as each moment the waggon approached nearer and nearer to the scaffold, it was evident by the quick, keen movement of his head and eyes, that not the minutest change of circumstances escaped his observation.

From afar off came the light tap of a drum.

“That's kind,” he, said. ‘The reinforcements from the King’s Mews have started, and we have no time to lose.”

Every eye of that vast assemblage was fixed upon this mysterious man, as now he slowly stepped to the front of the scaffold, and took off the slouched hat which hitherto had concealed the whole upper part of: his face.

A profusion of glossy black hair, in natural wavy masses, descended nearly to his shoulders, and as he shook it back froma brow which was cer tainly one of the finest, the smile that sat upon his lips was irresistibly engaging. .

Lucy Everton uttered a shriek of joy.

“Itishe! Itis hel I know him now! Itis he, and I am saved!”

i < ar

—=10 Nightshade ; or, Claude Duval, the Dashing Highwayman.

“Hush again! Poor suffering one,” said the stranger, in low tones, “do not impede me, for we have yet much to do.”

The tears that Lucy Everton shed now were those of joy and happiness.

What faith,she must have had in that one man, to suppose that he could save her from all the power.and all the myrmidons of the law!

The distant tap of the drum, now a little more distinctly, announced the route of the reinfurcements from the King’s Mews.

‘‘We have ten minutes yet,” said the mysterious stranger.

As he spoke, he unbuttoned the frieze coat from its close contact with his neck, and dashing it aside, he rapidly stripped it off and flung it from the scaffuld, when it was caught by one of those ymen who had so closely sur- rounded him,

The metamorphosis in the stranger’s appearance was something truly astonishing.

In the frieze coat he had looked a big, burly, and somewhat shabby man about the middle age; and although this latter supposition had been dissipated by the removal of the slouched hat, that effect was nothing in comparison with what now startled the senses of the immense throng of persons whose eyes were now all fixed upon him.

The stranger now appeared as a tall slender young man, attired in such startling coutradiction to his first appearance, that heas worth a brief de- scription.

A coat of rich crimson maroon velvet, loaded with gold lace.

A cravat of the most superb texture.

Ruffles of great value.

A vest of pearl-coloured satin—the buttons of which sparkled with precious stones,

A long, straight court-sword, the hilt of which was either of gold, or richly

ilt.

° This was the kind of courtly rich apparition who emerged from beneath the frieze coat, and which bore as much resemblance to the rough-looking grazier he had first been taken for, as the most gorgeous sparkling butterfly does to the grub from which it owes its origin.

A shout of applause and a general clapping of hands arose from the de- lighted throng about the scaffold.

The elegantly attired stranger now slightly stooped, and removed the coarse leather leggings; at the same time that he knocked from his feet his heavy hubnailed shoes that had formed so characteristic a portion of his previous costame. |

Blossom!” he shouted.

“Yes, Captain!” responded a voice; and to the surprise of the crowd, a man in the costume of a very smart groom looked out from the tail of the wageon, which by this time was not twenty feet from the scaffold.

“My boots, Blossom.”

“Yes, Captain,”

F.om baud to hand a pair of tall horsemen’s boots reached the stranger, who, with all the deliberation and ease of a man in his own dressing-room, drew them on,

The mob raised another wild clamour of applause.

The costume was perfect.

The tall bright boots—the whole dress, so complete in its details, and so rich in its fabric—made this mysterious stranger look quite a picture of courtly grace and manly beauty.

“Biossom!” he cried again, when the shouts and clapping of hands had subsided—‘' my hat!” ,

An elegaut bat of black felt, looped by a diamond, was handed up to the scaffuld. :

Nightshade ; or, Claude Duval, the Dashing Highwayman. 1]

Ah!” cried the stranger, as he gracefully placed it on his head; ‘our friends from the King’s Mews are near at hand, and it is time for us to go.”

“Mr. Sheriff” roared the man who was named Mossy Pendell—‘ Mr. Sheriff, I call upon you to do your duty. Do you not see that there is something going on which will defeat justice? John Muckles, I call upon you too.”

“Peace, Mr. Pendell,” replied the officer of police. What is the use of you calling? We can do nothing. All those drums and fifes, which are now each moment becoming plainer, ring through Bloomsbury Fields.”

“Then I myself will adventure,” cried Pendell, in a voice of passion. “Twenty guineas each to every man who follows me!”

Several of the mounted police officers, allured by the bribe, put their horses in motion to fullow Mossy Pendell, who, before he started, thumped heavily upon the roof of the Sheriff's coach with the heavy loaded handle of his riding whip.

“Mr. Sheriff! Mr. Sheriff! we are going to try to vindicate the law, and it is your duty to accompany us.”

‘““Tt may be my duty,” said the Sheriff, looking from the coach window, while anger and tear struggled for mastery in his countenance,—‘‘ it may be my duty, but it is not my pleasure, and I shall wait for the reinforcements from the King’s Mews.”

One straggling horseman of the dragoons had managed to get himself clear of the crowd, and with his accoutrements disordered, and his horse lovking scared and frightened, he made his way towards the carriage of the Sheriff, and the little throng of mounted constables,

‘Hilloa, you, sir!” shouted Mossy Pendell. “I re a good shot with your carbine, you may do better service yet than all your comrades, by bringing down that man on the scaffold.”

“Yes,” said the soldier, sulkily, ‘and get pulled limb from limb for my pains. The people are half mad, and what care | if the girl hangs or not ?

“Lend it me, then.”

The trooper laughed as he flung himself from his horse, and commenced re-arranging some of the innumerable straps and buckles of his uniform.

“Take it, and welcome; but don’t draw me into a mess.”

“Ts it loaded ?”

“You may swear to that.”

Mossy Pendell stooped to the saddle of the dragoon and unhooked the ecar- bine.

He then by a rapid movement of his horse placed himself exactly behind the Sheriff's carriage.

He was then just of a height to make use of the edge of that roof as a resting-place for the carbine.

“Hold! hold, Mr. Pendell!” cried the Sheriff; ‘don’t fire! We shall all be sacrificed to your indiscretion, whether you hit or miss.”

“J will try fortune.” ,

Affairs on and about the scaffold had not stood still while Mossy Pendell was thus taking measures for the destruction of the mysterious and courtly personage who had come to the rescue of Lucy Everton.

Standing calmly near the extreme verge of the rough, uneven platform from which so much youth and beauty were \to be dashed into eternity, the distinguished looking gentleman in the crimson maroon coat ran his eyes over the vast multitude, smiling lightly and gaily as if nothing were amiss.

He gave a slight inclination of his head in the direction of the advanced Gifes and drums from the King’s Mews,

Good friends all,” he said, ™the air of Bloomsbury Fields will not for many minutes longer agree with my constitution.”

A torreut of advice, in every possible tone that the hnman voice wag capable of assuming, burst from all parts of the crowd. |

12 Nightshade ; or, Claude Duval the Dashing Highwayman.

“Off with you! Off while you may! Take the girl off, and we’ll make a lane for you! Don’t stay to be picked up bythe guard! Off with you; there are choice hiding places inold Clerkenwell! Make way for him! Make way for him! He’s some great lord, after all, who loves a pretty face! We'll make way for your honour, and good luck to you!”

The courtly personage waved his arm for silence.

‘My very excellent friends, on an occasion like this I prefer horse exercise Ah! there is less time so spare than I expected.”

A rattling roll from the brass drums of the approaching infantry smote upon the ears of the crowd.

The elegant unknown on the scaffold turned abruptly towards the Sheriff's carriage.

‘Fire, Mr. Mossy Pendell,” he cried, “or you may be too late.”

The movements of this great enemy to Lucy Everton had not for a single instant escaped the eagle glance of her handsome champion.

Mossy Pendell, upon hearing himself thus addressed, uttered a ery of alarm, and it was probably more an involuntary act than one intended at the moment, by which he pulled the trigger of the carbine.

A puff of white smoke.

A loud report.

A whistling bullet, that embedded itself deeply in one of the upright posts of the scaffold, were tbe results of this attempt to demolish the man who had become a popular idol in the space of ten minutes.

A roar of execration burst from the crowd, which in one mighty surge moved in the directién of Pendell, the Sheriff, and the group of half-terrified _ police officers who had been for some time enforced spectators of the strange rescue that was taking place.

~The horses in the Sheriff’s carriage likewise unaccustomed to such alarming noises, apparently from the carriage behind them, became restive, aud plunged and reared in an alarming fashion.

Then Lucy Everton’s protector spoke aloud, and his voice rang like a clarion from one end of the vast space to the other.

“One moment, good friends,” he cried. ‘That man will keep, for do you not see that he has been wrenched from his horse, and clings in desperation to the back of the carriage? It is now necessary that we should part, and it is more necessary still that this young girl and I should not be pursued instantly. We are about to take our way to Hampstead Heath. Ah, a strong party, by my faith!”

Scattering the outskirts of the crowd before them by a vigorous charge, appea.ed a couple of companies of the troops who had heralded their ap- proach by the clamour of the brass drums.

Blossom!” shouted the myterious stranger.

The smart-looking groom re-appeared from beneath the swning of the wagon.

“Yes, Captain.”

“My horse, Nightshade!”

CHAPTER III.

CLAUDE DUVAL SURPRISES BOTH FRIENDS AND FOES: AND GALLOPS FROM BLOOMSBURY FIELDS,

Tue offect of this cool and apparently impracticable order from the mysteri- ous and gallant-looking personage for his horse, upon the crowd, was im. mense.

Vociferous cheers greeted what seemed to be a piece of bravado.

Nightshade ; or, Claude Duval the Dashing Highwayman. 13

The few cool and calculating heads among them might now doubt if this person had in any way the power of saving the young girl from the terrible death that seemed to await her, but to the vast majority the cool assurance of the gentieman in the velvet coat was perfectly enchanting.

‘““My horse, Nightshade!”

“Yes, Captain.”

Another ringing cheer burst from the crowd.

“By your leave, gentlemen,” added the mysterious stranger; and taking from his pocket as he spoke a pair of elegantly chased silver spurs, he, with great grace of movement slipped them into the sockets in the heel of his boot.

“My horse, Nightshade! Quick, Blossom, quick!”

The crowd was awed into silence.

There was no levity about this man.

Not the ghost of a smile sat upon his finely chiselled lips as he in this manner called for a horse, which it would seem must either descend from the clouds or come up to him from the earth.

But the mystery was soon solved. |

A large portion of the awning of the huge waggon was flung aside by the smart aud agile groom. |

The gentleman in the velvet coat caught Lucy Everton in his arms, swing- ing her lightly and gracefully on one side ont of the reach of a possible danger.

Then from the waggon there leaped, like some glossy black apparition, a horse of singular beauty. .

Leaped right on to the very scaffold.

Leaped turough the intervening space, as if by some’strange effort of voli- tion, that carried the creature exactly wherever it wished to go, as though it had possessed wings.

Lightly the horse made good its footing upon the loosé woodwork in a crouching attitude, and then drawing itself up until its long slender limbs were straight as mountain saplings, the creature rested its head upon the shoulder of its master with a mute caress.

Then the hearts of all present were taken by storm.

Cheers, shouts, cries and sobs burst from the multitude, and if that noble- looking steed and its courtly master had been something really more than human, they could not have more moved the great soul of the multitude about them.

me mysterious stranger flung his arm over the arched neck of his gallant steed.

‘‘Ho, Nightshade!” he said. “My brave ized Seph we shall have a short gallop, but a sharp one!”

He spruug to the horse’s back.

Then Lucy Everton, with a cry that had some alarm mingled in it, wound her fair arms about the mane of the horse

“Me too!” she cried. “Take me too! You will not desert me now ?”

‘“‘ Now, nor ever!” was the reply.

The tap of the drums ceased.

A man on foot had reached the advacine troops, and wit i Acie -atious he had addressed the officer in cinta my a Gaia

‘Make ready! Present!” cried the officer in ringing accents, |

“Ah!” said the gallant stranger; ‘it seems these people are in earnest.”

" A shriek of dismay proclaimed that the crowd saw what was about to appen.

“A hail-storm! A hail-storm!” cried the mysteriou on ‘<6 Nightshade, down!” i as meg horse doubled its long slender legs beneath him, and rolled lightly to his

Co

14 Nightshade ; or, Claude Duval the Dashing Highwayman

The rider lay like some bright saddle-cloth over the black, glossy hide of the sagacious and obedient creatuie, and with one arm around the slender waist of Lucy Everton, he brought her down with him to the floor of the scaffold.

Wire? .

The rattling disc’ arge of musketry that followed must have been fatal to everything in life that had projected three feet above the scaffold floor; but neither the galiant stranger in the velvet coat, nor Lucy Everton, nor that coal-black steed, who had obeyed voice and hand with such exactitude, sus- tained the slightest injury.

‘Dear Lucy,” he whispered, ‘‘one word while death thus hurtles over us. Will you be mine ?”

‘Yours ?”

‘Yes, my wife! Not the partner of my heart, but its sole possessor. Here, in this moment of peril, I put to you the question commonly breathed amid sylvan scenes of beauty, or in the quietude of some kappyhome. Will you be mine ?”

Lucy looked into the bright eyes that were fixed upon her.

There was a flush in her face and a flutter at her heart.

The willing words flew to her lips.

“TI will!”

“Then, dear girl, you shall know who and what I am before you confirm this consent by another word. And now we must be off. Up, Nightshade, up! Off and away! Emulate the storm-clouds as they career befure the face of heaven! Let the loud south wind chase you in vain! Up and away, Nightshade! Up and away!”

The horse was on its feet in an instant.

Its mysterious rider rose with it.

“Spring, Lucy, spring!” he cried.

With his left arm he gave the young girl but slight assistance as she sprung behind him on the horse.

“Cling to me! cling to me! I may have much todo. Leap, Nightshade, leap!”

The horse crouched for a spring.

The mob parted right and left, like some ocean wave cleft by the keel of some mighty ship. ;

The black horse, with its double burden, leaped from the scaffold.

The hurrah that burst from every lip echoed far and near over that waste of fields now so densely populated.

For about three times@ts own length only was there space for the horse to proceed, but that short open route ever presented itself, as with a swinging half-gullop the creature sped its way.

The outskirts of the crowd were gained in two minutes.

There was a grassy knoll, near the topmost portion of which grew two small Oriental-looking cedars.

At three bounds the black horse reached the top of the knoll.

_ Then the mysterious stranger faced his steed to the people, and with a flush of excitement and joy upon his countenance, he raised his hat some half a foot from his head.

“Gentlemen all,” he said, “‘we will not part company without an intro- duction. Your names, perhaps, being so numerous, would be tedious to men- tion, so I will take you all tor Englishmen, who love justice and a pretty

irl.” ay Yes—yes!” shouted a thousand voices, ‘“ And