Unable to procure any mitigation of Surrey's sentence, the Duke of Richmond proceeded to the Round Tower, where he found his friend in a small chamber, endeavouring to beguile his captivity by study.

Richmond endeavoured to console him, and was glad to find him in better spirits than he expected. Early youth is seldom long dejected, and misfortunes, at that buoyant season, seem lighter than they appear later on in life. The cause for which he suffered, moreover, sustained Surrey, and confident of the Fair Geraldine's attachment, he cared little for the restraint imposed upon him. On one point he expressed some regret -- namely, his inability to prosecute the adventure of Herne the Hunter with the duke.

"I grieve that I cannot accompany you, Richmond," he said; "but since that is impossible, let me recommend you to take the stout archer who goes by the name of the Duke of Shoreditch with you. He is the very man you require."

After some consideration the duke assented, and, promising to return on the following day and report what had occurred he took his leave, and went in search of the archer in question. Finding he had taken up his quarters at the Garter, he sent for him and proposed the matter.

Shoreditch heard the duke's relation with astonishment, but expressed the greatest willingness to accompany him, pledging himself, as Richmond demanded, to profound secrecy on the subject.

At the appointed hour -- namely, midnight -- the duke quitted the castle, and found Shoreditch waiting for him near the upper gate. The latter was armed with a stout staff, and a bow and arrows.

"If we gain sight of the mysterious horseman to-night," he said, "a cloth- yard shaft shall try whether he is of mortal mould or not. If he be not a demon, I will warrant he rides no more."

Quitting the Home Park, they shaped their course at once towards the forest. It was a stormy night, and the moon was obscured by thick clouds. Before they reached the hill, at the end of the long avenue, a heavy thunderstorm came on, and the lightning, playing among the trees, seemed to reveal a thousand fantastic forms to their half-blinded gaze. Presently the rain began to descend in torrents, and compelled them to take refuge beneath a large beech-tree.

It was evident, notwithstanding his boasting, that the courage of Shoreditch was waning fast, and he at last proposed to his leader that they should return as soon as the rain abated. But the duke indignantly rejected the proposal.

While they were thus sheltering themselves, the low winding of a horn was heard. The sound was succeeded by the trampling of horses' hoofs, and the next moment a vivid flash of lightning showed a hart darting past, followed by a troop of some twenty ghostly horsemen, headed by the demon hunter.

The Duke of Richmond bade his companion send a shaft after them; but the latter was so overcome by terror that he could scarcely fix an arrow on the string, and when he bent the bow, the shaft glanced from the branches of an adjoining tree.

The storm continued with unabated fury for nearly an hour, at the expiration of which time it partially cleared off, and though it was still profoundly dark, the duke insisted upon going on. So they pressed forward beneath the dripping trees and through the wet grass. Ever and anon the moon broke through the rifted clouds, and shed a wild glimmer upon the scene.

As they were tracking a glade on the farther side of the hill, the spectral huntsmen again swept past them, and so closely that they could almost touch their horses. To the duke's horror, he perceived among them the body of the butcher, Mark Fytton, sitting erect upon a powerful black steed.

By this time, Shoreditch, having somewhat regained his courage, discharged another shaft at the troop. The arrow struck the body of the butcher, and completely transfixed it, but did not check his career; while wild and derisive laughter broke from the rest of the cavalcade.

The Duke of Richmond hurried after the band, trying to keep them in sight; and Shoreditch, flinging down his bow, which he found useless, and grasping his staff, endeavoured to keep up with him. But though they ran swiftly down the glade, and tried to peer through the darkness, they could see nothing more of the ghostly company.

After a while they arrived at a hillside, at the foot of which lay the lake, whose darkling waters were just distinguishable through an opening in the trees. As the duke was debating with himself whether to go on or retrace his course, the trampling of a horse was heard behind them, and looking in the direction of the sound, they beheld Herne the Hunter, mounted on his swarthy steed and accompanied only by his two black hounds, galloping furiously down the declivity. Before him flew the owl, whooping as it sailed along the air.

The demon hunter was so close to them that they could perfectly discern his horrible lineaments, the chain depending from his neck, and his antlered helm. Richmond shouted to him, but the rider continued his headlong course towards the lake, heedless of the call.

The two behoIders rushed forward, but by this time the huntsman had gained the edge of the lake. One of his sable hounds plunged into it, and the owl skimmed over its surface. Even in the hasty view which the duke caught of the flying figure, he fancied he perceived that it was attended by a fantastic shadow, whether cast by itself or arising from some supernatural cause he could not determine.

But what followed was equally marvellous and incomprehensible. As the wild huntsman reached the brink of the lake, he placed a horn to his mouth, and blew from it a bright blue flame, which illumined his own dusky and hideous features, and shed a wild and unearthly glimmer over the surrounding objects.

While enveloped in this flame, the demon plunged into the lake, and apparently descended to its abysses, for as soon as the duke could muster courage to approach its brink, nothing could be seen of him, his steed, or his hounds.