Page:Twice-Told Tales (1851) vol 2.djvu/23

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17
HOWE'S MASQUERADE.

he crossed the threshold, unlike the early Puritan governors, he seemed to wring his hands with sorrow.

'Prithee, play the part of a chorus, good Doctor Byles,' said Sir William Howe. 'What worthies are these?'

'If it please your Excellency, they lived somewhat before my day,' answered the doctor; 'but doubtless our friend, the Colonel, has been hand and glove with them.

'Their living faces I never looked upon,' said Colonel Joliffe, gravely; 'although I have spoken face to face with many rulers of this land, and shall greet yet another with an old man's blessing, ere I die. But we talk of these figures. I take the venerable patriarch to be Bradstreet, the last of the Puritans, who was governor at ninety, or thereabouts. The next is Sir Edmund Andros, a tyrant, as any New England schoolboy will tell you; and therefore the people cast him down from his high seat into a dungeon. Then comes Sir William Phipps, shepherd, cooper, sea-captain, and governor—may many of his countrymen rise as high, from as low an origin! Lastly, you saw the gracious Earl of Bellamont, who ruled us under King William.'

'But what is the meaning of it all?' asked Lord Percy.

'Now, were I a rebel,' said Miss Joliffe, half aloud, 'I might fancy that the ghosts of these ancient governors had been summoned to form the funeral procession of royal authority in New England.'

Several other figures were now seen at the turn of the staircase. The one in advance had a thoughtful,