The Tower Of London by W. Harrison Ainsworth

“Ay, fight for Jane, and the gospel!” shouted Cholmondeley. “Down with Renard and the see of Rome. No Spanish match! no inquisition!”

“Who are you fighting for? Who is your leader?” continued Dudley; “a base Spanish traitor. Who are you fighting against? Englishmen, your friends, your countrymen, your brothers, members of the same faith, of the same family.”

This last appeal proved effectual. Most of the royalists went over to the insurgents, shouting, “No Spanish match! no inquisition! Down with Renard!”

“Ay, down with Renard!” cried Dudley. “I will no longer oppose your just vengeance. Slay him, and we will fix his head upon a spear. It will serve to strike terror into our enemies.”

Even in this extremity, Renard’s constitutional bravery did not desert him; and, quickly retreating, he placed his back against the wall. The few faithful followers who stood by him endeavoured to defend him, but they were soon slain, and he could only oppose his single sword against the array of partisans and pikes raised against him. His destruction appeared inevitable, and he had already given himself up for lost, when a rescue arrived.

The detachment of soldiers, headed by Sir Thomas Brydges, already described as issuing from the gate near the Salt Tower, seeing a skirmish taking place, hurried forward, and reached the scene of strife just in time to save the ambassador, whose assailants were compelled to quit him to wield their weapons in their own defence. Thus set free, Renard sprang like a tiger upon his foes, and, aided by the newcomers, occasioned fearful havoc among them. But his deadliest fury was directed against those who had deserted him, and he spared none of them whom he could reach with his sword.

Lord Guilford Dudley and his esquire performed prodigies of valour. The former made many efforts to reach Renard, but, such was the confusion around him, that he was constantly foiled in his purpose. At length, seeing it was in vain to contend against such superior force, and that his men would be speedily cut in pieces, and himself captured, he gave the word to retreat, and fled towards the north-east angle of the ward. The royalists started after them; but such was the speed at which the fugitives ran, that they could not overtake them, A few stragglers ineffectually attempted to check their progress, and the soldiers on the walls above did not dare to fire upon them, for fear of injuring their own party. In this way they passed the Martin Tower, and were approaching the Brick Tower, when a large detachment of soldiers were seen advancing towards them.

“Long live Queen Jane!” shouted Dudley and his companions, vainly hoping they were friends.

“Long live Queen Mary, and death to the rebels!” responded the others.

At the cry, Dudley and his little band halted. They were hemmed in on all sides, without the possibility of escape; and the royalists on the fortifications above being now able to mark them, opened a devastating fire upon them. By this time Renard and his party had turned the angle of the wall, and the voice of the ambassador was heard crying, “Cut them in pieces! Spare no one but their leader. Take him alive.”

Hearing the shout, Dudley observed to Cholmondeley, “You have ever been my faithful esquire, and I claim one last service from you. If I am in danger of being taken, slay me. I will not survive defeat.”

“Nay, my lord, live,” cried Cholmondeley. “Wyat or the Duke of Suffolk may be victorious, and deliver you.”

“No,” replied Dudley, “I will not run the risk of being placed again in Mary’s power. Obey my last injunctions. Should you escape, fly to Jane. You know where to find her. Bid her embark instantly for France, and say her husband with his last breath blessed her.”

At this moment, he was interrupted by Cholmondeley, who pointed out an open door in the ramparts opposite them. Eagerly availing himself of the chance, Dudley called to his men to follow him, and dashed thought it, uncertain whither it led, but determined to sell his life dearly. The doorway admitted them into a low vaulted chamber, in which were two or three soldiers and a stand of arms and ammunition. The men fled at their approach along a dark, narrow passage, and endeavoured to fasten an inner door, but the others were too close upon them to permit it. As Dudley and his band advanced, they found themselves at the foot of a short flight of steps, and rushing up them, entered a semi-circular passage, about six feet wide, with a vaulted roof, and deep embrasures in the walls, in which cannon were planted. It was, in fact, the casemate of the Brass Mount. By the side of the cannon stood the gunners, and the passage was filled with smoke. Alarmed by the cries of their companions, and the shouts of Dudley and his band, these men, who were in utter ignorance of what had passed, except that they had been made aware that the summit of the bastion was carried, threw down their arms, and sued for quarter.

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