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ve do to ours, the names would very frequently destroy the intended effect of the criticisms.

But this assertion is by no means made of all. There are amongst them many men of excellent dispositions, unprejudiced opinions, and good-natured hearts, who; to speak from my own knowledge of them, and from what evidence can a man speak better? have treated my repeated trifles which have come before their inquisitional bar, with lenity and indulgence-by whose advice I have profited, and by whose re. marks I have been instructed.

But my readers are doubtless impatient for the conclusion of my Preface, that they may proceed to investigate the merits of my Tale; I shall, therefore, detain them with only one more observation." Is there no certain way,” enquired of me the other day, a young friend of inine, who was just turning author, “ to gain a favourable sentence from the critics ?” My reply to him was this-6. There is one habit, from which I never intend to deviate myself, and which, if it be not, ought at least to be an author's infallible p:sport to their approbationthat of making his pen a constant servant in the cause of morality; in which case, if bis execution be condemned, his motive must be approved, a decision which cannot fail to impart satisfaction to his mind, upon this reflection, that, if he cannot gain entire applause, it is infinitely more desirable to be pronounced the possessor of a good HEART, than of a good head.

* There

For the Poetry interspersed through these Volumes, the Author is indebted to several Friends.

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MYSTERIOUS

THE

MYSTERIOUS

FREE BOOT E R.

CHAP. I.

By how much unexpected, by so much
We must awake endeavour for defence;
For courage mounteth with occasion.

KING JOHN

1

It was during that hostile period when the continual inroads of the borderers, whose course was marked with death and devastation, called for the utmost vigi..? lance of the government, and rendered the fortifying and garrisoning of the northern castles an object of the greatest

importance,

VOL. I.

B

importance, that Lord William, Baron de Mowbray, received from his sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, the commission of Warden of the Borders, appointed to controul and chastise the Moss-troopers, whose ravages had risen to so alarming a height, as to attract the particular notice of those in power.

Placed in this dangerous but honourable situation, he conceived it his indispensible duty to execute the arduous employment entrusted to him with the greatest promptitude. Accordingly, with all alacrity, he strengthened his residence by every means in his power; he erected a double wall, cut trenches, and surrounded the whole by a deep moat, over which a drawbridge led to a massy iron-cased gate, and huge portcullis; around the roof were erected battlements planted with cannon ; and over these a garrison of three hundred men, selected from his vassals, and trained by himself to arms, were appointed to do duty.

The

The office upon which Lord William had now, entered, accorded but ill with those dreams of family comfort in which he had hoped to pass the evening of his . days :—but light was his repugnance to the bloody business of the field of battle, when compared with the heart of his motherless daughter, the beauteous and gentle Rosalind, which sickened in her breast as she dwelt in imagination on the scenes of blood and rapine to which she must now unavoidably become a witness.

Lord William had scarcely completed his fortifications, ere he was called upon, by the voice of danger, to an exertion of the greatest fortitude.

The clouds of evening were just closing in the parting day, when the sentinel at the drawbridge dispatched one of his comrades to the Baron, with information that a Moss-trooper, sinking under fatigue and famine, was lying at the foot of the bridge, and imploring, in terms of the most vehement entreaty, to be permitted to see Lord

B 2

Williain,

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