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JOHN MILTON

AND HIS TIMES.

AN HISTORICAL NOVEL.

BY

MAX RING.

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN, BY

F. JORDAN.

COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME.

With Illustrations by Gaston Hay.

NEW YORK:

D. APPLETON & CO., 90, 92 & 94 GRAND STREET.

1868.

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In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern District of

New York.

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JOHN MILTON AND HIS TIMES.

CHAPTER I.

LOST IN HAYWOOD FOREST.

BOOK I.

Two young noblemen, accompanied by their sister, rode in the most beautiful month of spring through Haywood Forest, one of those splendid woods which formerly adorned Old England so charmingly, and which are fast disappearing from the surface of the country. They had paid a visit to their relatives at Harefield, the noble house of Derby, and were now returning to Ludlow Castle, the residence of their father, who was no other than the Earl of Bridgewater, at that time Lord President of Wales. The earl was the son of Thomas Egerton, the celebrated jurist, who, under the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and her successor, had held the responsible and commanding positions of Lord Keeper of the Seal and Chancellor of England with the greatest distinction to an advanced period of his life. The descendants of this eminent man were not unworthy of him. His grandsons, mere youths at the time at which our story opens, had not become degenerate; and charming Lady Alice Egerton was considered everywhere one of the most beautiful and amiable young ladies in Merry Old England. She and her brothers were in the full bloom of youth,

beauty, and vivacity. They were tenderly attached to each other, and no calamitous event had hitherto disturbed the clear and even current of their lives. Joy and hilarity beamed from their sparkling eyes and blooming cheeks.

Thus they rode, chatting gayly and carelessly, through the verdant, fragrant forest. Merry jests, such as only the young know and like, caused them from time to time to burst into ringing laughter, in which the birds of the forest joined now and then harmoniously with their sweet warbling and chirping. Haywood forest, like the larger portion of the county of Hereford, in which it is situated, consists of a series of undulating knolls and heights, densely covered with tall, gigantic oaks and beeches. The highway, on which the travellers were riding at the time, led them first past a deep gorge, and then along the base of a precipitous hill, from which a small rivulet rushed noisily into the depth below. Many a by-path intersected the road and penetrated deeper and deeper into the thicket. There were still remote parts of the forest which human feet had rarely or never trodden, and into which no murderous axe had yet penetrated-virginal sanctuaries, clad with all the weird charms of lonely and undefiled nature.

The three travellers had entered one of these by-paths, in the eagerness of their conversa

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