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- St. George and St. Michael Vol. II - 1/34 -


Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Charles Franks and the Distributed Proofreading Team

ST. GEORGE AND ST. MICHAEL

BY GEORGE MACDONALD

IN THREE VOLUMES

VOL. II.

LONDON

1876

CONTENTS OF VOL. II.

CHAPTER XVII. THE FIRE-ENGINE.

CHAPTER XVIII. MOONLIGHT AND APPLE-BLOSSOMS.

CHAPTER XIX. THE ENCHANTED CHAIR.

CHAPTER XX. MOLLY AND THE WHITE HORSE.

CHAPTER XXI. THE DAMSEL WHICH FELL SICK.

CHAPTER XXII. THE CATARACT.

CHAPTER XXIII. AMANDA--DOROTHY--LORD HERBERT.

CHAPTER XXIV. THE GREAT MOGUL.

CHAPTER XXV. RICHARD HEYWOOD.

CHAPTER XXVI. THE WITCH'S COTTAGE.

CHAPTER XXVII. THE MOAT OF THE KEEP.

CHAPTER XXVIII. RAGLAN STABLES.

CHAPTER XXIX. THE APPARITION.

CHAPTER XXX. RICHARD ANDTHE MARQUIS.

CHAPTER XXXI. THE SLEEPLESS.

CHAPTER XXXII. THE TURRET CHAMBER.

CHAPTER XXXIII. JUDGE GOUT.

CHAPTER XXXIV. AN EVIL TIME.

CHAPTER XXXV. THE DELIVERER.

CHAPTER XXXVI. THE DISCOVERY.

CHAPTER XXXVII. THE HOROSCOPE.

CHAPTER XXXVIII. THE EXORCISM.

CHAPTER XVII.

THE FIRE-ENGINE.

As soon as supper was over in the housekeeper's room, Dorothy sped to the keep, where she found Caspar at work.

'My lord is not yet from supper, mistress,' he said. 'Will it please you wait while he comes?'

Had it been till midnight, so long as there was a chance of his appearing, Dorothy would have waited. Caspar did his best to amuse her, and succeeded,--showing her one curious thing after another,--amongst the rest a watch that seemed to want no winding after being once set agoing, but was in fact wound up a little by every opening of the case to see the dial. All the while the fire-engine was at work on its mysterious task, with but now and then a moment's attention from Caspar, a billet of wood or a shovelful of sea-coal on the fire, a pull at a cord, or a hint from the hooked rod. The time went rapidly.

Twilight was over, Caspar had lighted his lamp, and the moon had risen, before lord Herbert came.

'I am glad to find you have patience as well as punctuality in the catalogue of your virtues, mistress Dorothy,' he said as he entered. 'I too am punctual, and am therefore sorry to have failed now, but it is not my fault: I had to attend my father. For his sake pardon me.'

'It were but a small matter, my lord, even had it been uncompelled, to keep an idle girl waiting.'

'I think not so,' returned lord Herbert. 'But come now, I will explain to you my wonderful fire-engine.'

As he spoke, he took her by the hand, and led her towards it. The creature blazed, groaned, and puffed, but there was no motion to be seen about it save that of the flames through the cracks in the door of the furnace, neither was there any clanking noise of metal. A great rushing sound somewhere in the distance, that seemed to belong to it, yet appeared too far off to have any connection with it.

'It is a noisy thing,' he said, as they stood before it, 'but when I make another, it shall do its work that thou wouldst not hear it outside the door. Now listen to me for a moment, cousin. Should it come to a siege and I not at Raglan--the wise man will always provide for the worst--Caspar will be wanted everywhere. Now this engine is essential to the health and comfort, if not to the absolute life of the castle, and there is no one at present capable of managing it save us two. A very little instruction, however, would enable any one to do so: will you undertake it, cousin, in case of need?'

'Make me assured that I can, and I will, my lord,' answered Dorothy.

'A good and sufficing answer,' returned his lordship, with a smile of satisfaction. 'First then,' he went on, 'I will show you wherein lies its necessity to the good of the castle. Come with me, cousin Dorothy.'

He led the way from the room, and began to ascend the stair which rose just outside it. Dorothy followed, winding up through the thickness of the wall. And now she could not hear the engine. As she went up, however, certain sounds of it came again, and grew louder till they seemed close to her ears, then gradually died away and once more ceased. But ever, as they ascended, the rushing sound which had seemed connected with it, although so distant, drew nearer and nearer, until, having surmounted three of the five lofty stories of the building, they could scarcely hear each other speak for the roar of water, falling in intermittent jets. At last they came out on the top of the wall, with nothing between them and the moat below but the battlemented parapet, and behold! the mighty tower was roofed with water: a little tarn filled all the space within the surrounding walk. It undulated in the moonlight like a subsiding storm, and beat the encircling banks. For into its depths shot rather than poured a great volume of water from a huge orifice in the wall, and the roar and the rush were tremendous. It was like the birth of a river, bounding at once from its mountain rock, and the sound of its fall indicated the great depth of the water into which it plunged. Solid indeed must be the walls that sustained the outpush of such a weight of water!

'You see now, cousin, what yon fire-souled slave below is labouring at,' said his lordship. 'His task is to fill this cistern, and that he can in a few hours; and yet, such a slave is he, a child who understands his fetters and the joints of his bones can guide him at will.'

'But, my lord,' questioned Dorothy, 'is there not water here to supply the castle for months? And there is the draw-well in the pitched court besides.'

'Enough, I grant you,' he replied, 'for the mere necessities of life. But what would come of its pleasures? Would not the beleaguered ladies miss the bounty of the marble horse? Whence comes the water he gives so freely that he needeth not to drink himself? He would thirst indeed but for my water-commanding fiend below. Or how would the birds fare, were the fountains on the islands dry in the hot summer? And what would the children say if he ceased to spout? And how would my lord's tables fare, with the armed men besetting every gate, the fish-ponds dry, and the fish rotting in the sun? See you, mistress Dorothy? And for the draw-well, know you not wherein lies the good of a tower stronger than all the rest? Is it not built for final retreat, the rest of the castle being at length in the hands of the enemy? Where then is your draw-well?'

'But this tower, large as it is, could not receive those now within the walls of the castle,' said Dorothy.

'They will be fewer ere its shelter is needful.'

It was his tone quite as much as the words that drove a sudden


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