Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/287

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serving as chimneys. The S.W. wall is 51 feet, the N.W. wall 38 feet, in length. In front of the house five guns were placed. The garrison was supplied with water from a spring, which rises above the (mansion) house. It was conveyed from thence by earthen pipes. At the extremity of the rock, within the fortification, is a cave, supposed to be cut out of the rock for a store-room, or magazine, for the garrison."

We come now to the attempted assassination. Matthew Paris tells the story under the date 1238, in the reign of Henry III.

"On the day after the Nativity of St. Mary, a certain learned esquire came to the King's Court at Woodstock pretending that he was insane, and said to the King, 'Resign thy kingdom to me'; he also added, that he bore the sign of royalty on his shoulder. The King's attendants wanted to beat him, and drive him away from the royal presence, but the King interfered, saying, ’Let the madman rave—such people's words have not the force of truth.' In the middle of the night, however, the same man entered the King's bedchamber window, carrying an open knife, and approached the King's couch, but was confused at not finding him there. The King was, by God's providence, then sleeping with the Queen. But one of the queen's maids, Margaret Bisett, was by chance awake, and was singing psalms by the light of a candle (for she was a holy maid and one devoted to God), and when she saw this madman searching all the private places to kill the King, she was greatly alarmed, and began to utter repeated cries. At her cry the King's attendants awoke, and leaped from their beds with all speed, and running to the spot, broke open the door, which this robber had firmly secured with a bolt, and seized him, and notwithstanding his resistance, bound