BUT the tranquillity which had commenced in the last Chapter, was not to be of long duration. Love, who bends to his sway the prince and the peasant, the conqueror and the slave, had so inflamed the heart of Sancho, now also well mellowed with ale, that he prevailed on the gentle Barbara to take time by the forelock, and to pass those precious hours in amorous parley, which the rest of the / house were devoting to barren slumber. Whether the tender maiden had taken, in the true spirit of hospitality, larger draughts than usual, of the same benignant nectar, to encourage her guests in the kitchen, and thus her usual caution was lulled asleep; or whether necessity compelled her, as she had no other time to spare the enamoured Sancho from the bustle and hurry of the season; so it was, that they were holding a conference in her chamber, in the garret, after all the visitors and family, except Mrs. Forester herself, had been long in bed. She, prudent dame, like an able general, had sallied forth, on tiptoe, to examine if every part of the fortress was safe; to pick up the valuable remains on the field of battle, and to prevent any ammunition or stores from falling into the hands of the enemy. She had an under-petticoat on, another over her shoulders, a small remnant of a candle in her hand, and was just finishing her rounds, when patrolling / on the stairs, she fancied she heard two voices in the garret. She approached gently, but her slipshod shoes falling off gave an alarm, and silence ensued. She rushed immediately, like a fury, or rather with all the vengeance of Diana 256 when any of her nymphs had disgraced her train, full butt against Barbara’s door, demanding instant admittance. After a short capitulation, which gave Sancho time to spring up the cock-loft, and conceal himself under some old canvas there deposited, the door was opened, and the enraged matron prowled about for her prey, affirming to the trembling Bab, that she certainly heard another voice. Had Bab declared the truth, the storm would have passed off with little noise or danger. But disconcerted and surprised, she obstinately denied her knowledge of it; and the old matron, having searched the bed and closets in the room, began to 194ascend to the loft above. Barbara, as well as Sancho, thought all was lost. But as she / patrolled above, more intent on discovery than on her steps, she fixed her foot on a litter of kittens; the dam, enraged, flashed fire, and flew with her talons, might and main, at the legs of the affrighted lady; who, starting suddenly back, fell over one of the joists, then dropped and extinguished the candle, and came with her seat of honour, which was equal in grandeur to her dignity, with such force and weight on the slender lath, that it gave way in a mighty chasm, and the old dame slipped through to her arms, by which, and her ruffled garments, she sustained herself from falling precipitately down; vociferating till the house rang, ‘Help! help! fire, murder! help For the love of God! Toney, Aaron, Phœbe, help! help!’