Part 13 out of 15
himself). But when she was remonstrated with, her only answer was
that Cary was a cacique as well as Amyas, and that there ought not
to be two caciques; and one day she actually proposed to Amyas to
kill his supposed rival, and take the ship all to himself; and
sulked for several days at hearing Amyas, amid shouts of laughter,
retail her precious advice to its intended victim.
Moreover, the negroes came in for their share, being regarded all
along by her with an unspeakable repugnance, which showed itself at
first in hiding from them whenever she could, and, afterwards, in
throwing at them everything she could lay hands on, till the poor
Quashies, in danger of their lives, complained to Amyas, and got
rest for awhile.
Over the rest of the sailors she lorded it like a very princess,
calling them from their work to run on her errands and make toys
for her, enforcing her commands now and then by a shrewd box on the
ears; while the good fellows, especially old Yeo, like true
sailors, petted her, obeyed her, even jested with her, much as they
might have done with a tame leopard, whose claws might be
unsheathed and about their ears at any moment. But she amused
them, and amused Amyas too. They must of course have a pet; and
what prettier one could they have? And as for Amyas, the constant
interest of her presence, even the constant anxiety of her
wilfulness, kept his mind busy, and drove out many a sad foreboding
about that meeting with his mother, and the tragedy which he had to
tell her, which would otherwise, so heavily did they weigh on him,
have crushed his spirit with melancholy, and made all his worldly
success and marvellous deliverance worthless in his eyes.
At last the matter, as most things luckily do, came to a climax;
and it came in this way.
The ship had been slipping along now for many a day, slowly but
steadily before a favorable breeze. She had passed the ring of the
West India islands, and was now crawling, safe from all pursuit,
through the vast weed-beds of the Sargasso Sea. There, for the
first time, it was thought safe to relax the discipline which had
been hitherto kept up, and to "rummage" (as was the word in those
days) their noble prize. What they found, of gold and silver,
jewels, and merchandise, will interest no readers. Suffice it to
say, that there was enough there, with the other treasure, to make
Amyas rich for life, after all claims of Cary's and the crew, not
forgetting Mr. Salterne's third, as owner of the ship, had been
paid off. But in the captain's cabin were found two chests, one
full of gorgeous Mexican feather dresses, and the other of Spanish
and East Indian finery, which, having come by way of Havana and
Cartagena, was going on, it seemed, to some senora or other at the
Caracas. Which two chests were, at Cary's proposal, voted amid the
acclamations of the crew to Ayacanora, as her due and fit share of
the pillage, in consideration of her Amazonian prowess and valuable
So the poor child took greedy possession of the trumpery, had them
carried into Lucy's cabin, and there knelt gloating over them many
an hour. The Mexican work she chose to despise as savage; but the
Spanish dresses were a treasure; and for two or three days she
appeared on the quarter-deck, sunning herself like a peacock before
the eyes of Amyas in Seville mantillas, Madrid hats, Indian brocade
farthingales, and I know not how many other gewgaws, and dare not
say how put on.
The crew tittered: Amyas felt much more inclined to cry. There is
nothing so pathetic as a child's vanity, saving a grown person
aping a child's vanity; and saving, too, a child's agony of
disappointment when it finds that it has been laughed at instead of
being admired. Amyas would have spoken, but he was afraid:
however, the evil brought its own cure. The pageant went on, as
its actor thought, most successfully for three days or so; but at
last the dupe, unable to contain herself longer, appealed to
Amyas,--"Ayacanora quite English girl now; is she not?"--heard a
titter behind her, looked round, saw a dozen honest faces in broad
grin, comprehended all in a moment, darted down the companion-
ladder, and vanished.
Amyas, fully expecting her to jump overboard, followed as fast as
he could. But she had locked herself in with Lucy, and he could
hear her violent sobs, and Lucy's faint voice entreating to know
what was the matter.
In vain he knocked. She refused to come out all day, and at even
they were forced to break the door open, to prevent Lucy being
There sat Ayacanora, her finery half torn off, and scattered about
the floor in spite, crying still as if her heart would break; while
poor Lucy cried too, half from fright and hunger, and half for
Amyas tried to comfort the poor child, assured her that the men
should never laugh at her again; "But then," added he, "you must
not be so--so--" What to say he hardly knew.
"So what?" asked she, crying more bitterly than ever.
"So like a wild girl, Ayacanora."
Her hands dropped on her knees: a strong spasm ran through her
throat and bosom, and she fell on her knees before him, and looked
up imploringly in his face.
"Yes; wild girl--poor, bad wild girl. . . . But I will be English
"Fine clothes will never make you English, my child," said Amyas.
"No! not English clothes--English heart! Good heart, like yours!
Yes, I will be good, and Sir John shall teach me!"
"There's my good maid," said Amyas. "Sir John shall begin and
teach you to-morrow."
"No! Now! now! Ayacanora cannot wait. She will drown herself if
she is bad another day! Come, now!"
And she made him fetch Brimblecombe, heard the honest fellow
patiently for an hour or more, and told Lucy that very night all
that he had said. And from that day, whenever Jack went in to read
and pray with the poor sufferer, Ayacanora, instead of escaping on
deck as before, stood patiently trying to make it all out, and
knelt when he knelt, and tried to pray too--that she might have an
English heart; and doubtless her prayers, dumb as they were, were
So went on a few days more, hopefully enough, without any outbreak,
till one morning, just after they had passed the Sargasso-beds.
The ship was taking care of herself; the men were all on deck under
the awning, tinkering, and cobbling, and chatting; Brimblecombe was
catechising his fair pupil in the cabin; Amyas and Cary, cigar in
mouth, were chatting about all heaven and earth, and, above all, of
the best way of getting up a fresh adventure against the Spaniards
as soon as they returned; while Amyas was pouring out to Will that
dark hatred of the whole nation, that dark purpose of revenge for
his brother and for Rose, which had settled down like a murky cloud
into every cranny of his heart and mind. Suddenly there was a
noise below; a scuffle and a shout, which made them both leap to
their feet; and up on deck rushed Jack Brimblecombe, holding his
head on with both his hands.
"Save me! save me from that she-fiend! She is possessed with a
legion! She has broken my nose--torn out half my hair!--and I'm
sure I have none to spare! Here she comes! Stand by me, gentlemen
both! Satanas, I defy thee!" And Jack ensconced himself behind
the pair, as Ayacanora whirled upon deck like a very Maenad, and,
seeing Amyas, stopped short.
"If you had defied Satan down below there," said Cary, with a
laugh, "I suspect he wouldn't have broken out on you so boldly,
"I am innocent--innocent as the babe unborn! Oh! Mr. Cary! this is
too bad of you, sir!" quoth Jack indignantly, while Amyas asked
what was the matter.
"He looked at me," said she, sturdily.
"Well, a cat may look at a king."
"But he sha'n't look at Ayacanora. Nobody shall but you, or I'll
In vain Jack protested his innocence of having even looked at her.
The fancy (and I verily believe it was nothing more) had taken
possession of her. She refused to return below to her lesson.
Jack went off grumbling, minus his hair, and wore a black eye for a
"At all events," quoth Cary, re-lighting his cigar, "it's a fault
on the right side."
"God give me grace, or it may be one on the wrong side for me."
"He will, old heart-of-oak!" said Cary, laying his arm around
Amyas's neck, to the evident disgust of Ayacanora, who went off to
the side, got a fishing-line, and began amusing herself therewith,
while the ship slipped on quietly and silently as ever, save when
Ayacanora laughed and clapped her hands at the flying-fish scudding
from the bonitos. At last, tired of doing nothing, she went
forward to the poop-rail to listen to John Squire the armorer, who
sat tinkering a headpiece, and humming a song, mutato nomine,
concerning his native place--
"Oh, Bideford is a pleasant place, it shines where it stands,
And the more I look upon it, the more my heart it warms;
For there are fair young lasses, in rows upon the quay,
To welcome gallant mariners, when they come home from say."
"'Tis Sunderland, John Squire, to the song, and not Bidevor," said
"Well, Bidevor's so good as Sunderland any day, for all there's no
say-coals there blacking a place about; and makes just so good
harmonies, Tommy Hamblyn--
"Oh, if I was a herring, to swim the ocean o'er,
Or if I was a say-dove, to fly unto the shoor,
To fly unto my true love, a waiting at the door,
To wed her with a goold ring, and plough the main no moor."
Here Yeo broke in--
"Aren't you ashamed, John Squire, to your years, singing such
carnal vanities, after all the providences you have seen? Let the
songs of Zion be in your mouth, man, if you must needs keep a
caterwauling all day like that."
"You sing 'em yourself then, gunner."
"Well," says Yeo, "and why not?" And out he pulled his psalm-book,
and began a scrap of the grand old psalm--
"Such as in ships and brittle barks
Into the seas descend,
Their merchandise through fearful floods
To compass and to end;
There men are forced to behold
The Lord's works what they be;
And in the dreadful deep the same,
Most marvellous they see."
"Humph!" said John Squire. "Very good and godly: but still I du
like a merry catch now and then, I du. Wouldn't you let a body
sing 'Rumbelow'--even when he's heaving of the anchor?"
"Well, I don't know," said Yeo; "but the Lord's people had better
praise the Lord then too, and pray for a good voyage, instead of
"A randy, dandy, dandy O,
A whet of ale and brandy O,
With a rumbelow and a Westward-ho!
And heave, my mariners all, O!"
"Is that fit talk for immortal souls? How does that child's-trade
sound beside the Psalms, John Squire?"
Now it befell that Salvation Yeo, for the very purpose of holding
up to ridicule that time-honored melody, had put into it the true
nasal twang, and rung it out as merrily as he had done perhaps
twelve years before, when he got up John Oxenham's anchor in
Plymouth Sound. And it befell also that Ayacanora, as she stood by
Amyas's side, watching the men, and trying to make out their chat,
heard it, and started; and then, half to herself, took up the
strain, and sang it over again, word for word, in the very same
tune and tone.
Salvation Yeo started in his turn, and turned deadly pale.
"Who sung that?" he asked quickly.
"The little maid here. She's coming on nicely in her English,"
"The little maid?" said Yeo, turning paler still. "Why do you go
about to scare an old servant, by talking of little maids, Captain
Amyas? Well," he said aloud to himself, "as I am a sinful saint,
if I hadn't seen where the voice came from, I could have sworn it
was her; just as we taught her to sing it by the river there, I and
William Penberthy of Marazion, my good comrade. The Lord have
mercy on me!"
All were silent as the grave whenever Yeo made any allusion to that
lost child. Ayacanora only, pleased with Amyas's commendation,
went humming on to herself--
"And heave, my mariners all, O!"
Yeo started up from the gun where he sat.
"I can't abear it! As I live, I can't! You, Indian maiden, where
did you learn to sing that there?"
Ayacanora looked up at him, half frightened by his vehemence, then
at Amyas, to see if she had been doing anything wrong; and then
turned saucily away, looked over the side, and hummed on.
"Ask her, for mercy's sake--ask her, Captain Leigh!"
"My child," said Amyas, speaking in Indian, "how is it you sing
that so much better than any other English? Did you ever hear it
Ayacanora looked up at him puzzled, and shook her head; and then--
"If you tell Indian to Ayacanora, she dumb. She must be English
girl now, like poor Lucy."
"Well then," said Amyas, "do you recollect, Ayacanora--do you
recollect--what shall I say? anything that happened when you were a
She paused awhile; and then moving her hands overhead--
"Trees--great trees like the Magdalena--always nothing but trees--
wild and bad everything. Ayacanora won't talk about that."
"Do you mind anything that grew on those trees?" asked Yeo,
She laughed. "Silly! Flowers and fruit, and nuts--grow on all
trees, and monkey-cups too. Ayacanora climbed up after them--when
she was wild. I won't tell any more."
"But who taught you to call them monkey-cups?" asked Yeo, trembling
"Monkey's drink; mono drink."
"Mono?" said Yeo, foiled on one cast, and now trying another. "How
did you know the beasts were called monos?"
"She might have heard it coming down with us," said Cary, who had
joined the group.
"Ay, monos," said she, in a self-justifying tone. "Faces like
little men, and tails. And one very dirty black one, with a beard,
say Amen in a tree to all the other monkeys, just like Sir John on
This allusion to Brimblecombe and the preaching apes upset all but
"But don't you recollect any Christians?--white people?"
She was silent.
"Don't you mind a white lady?"
"A woman, a very pretty woman, with hair like his?" pointing to
"What do you mind, then, beside those Indians?" added Yeo, in
She turned her back on him peevishly, as if tired with the efforts
of her memory.
"Do try to remember," said Amyas; and she set to work again at
"Ayacanora mind great monkeys--black, oh, so high," and she held up
her hand above her head, and made a violent gesture of disgust.
"Monkeys? what, with tails?"
"No, like man. Ah! yes--just like Cooky there--dirty Cooky!"
And that hapless son of Ham, who happened to be just crossing the
main-deck, heard a marlingspike, which by ill luck was lying at
hand, flying past his ears.
"Ayacanora, if you heave any more things at Cooky, I must have you
whipped," said Amyas, without, of course, any such intention.
"I'll kill you, then," answered she, in the most matter-of-fact
"She must mean negurs," said Yeo; "I wonder where she saw them,
now. What if it were they Cimaroons?"
"But why should any one who had seen whites forget them, and yet
remember negroes?" asked Cary.
"Let us try again. Do you mind no great monkeys but those black
ones?" asked Amyas.
"Yes," she said, after a while,--"devil."
"Devil?" asked all three, who, of course, were by no means free
from the belief that the fiend did actually appear to the Indian
conjurors, such as had brought up the girl.
"Ay, him Sir John tell about on Sundays."
"Save and help us!" said Yeo; "and what was he like unto?"
She made various signs to intimate that he had a monkey's face, and
a gray beard like Yeo's. So far so good: but now came a series of
manipulations about her pretty little neck, which set all their
fancies at fault.
"I know," said Cary, at last, bursting into a great laugh. "Sir
Urian had a ruff on, as I live! Trunk-hose too, my fair dame?
Stop--I'll make sure. Was his neck like the senor commandant's,
Ayacanora clapped her hands at finding herself understood, and the
questioning went on.
"The 'devil' appeared like a monkey, with a gray beard, in a ruff;--
"Ay!" said she in good enough Spanish, "Mono de Panama; viejo
diablo de Panama."
Yeo threw up his hands with a shriek--"Oh Lord of all mercies!
Those were the last words of Mr. John Oxenham! Ay--and the devil
is surely none other than the devil Don Francisco Xararte! Oh
dear! oh dear! oh dear! my sweet young lady! my pretty little maid!
and don't you know me? Don't you know Salvation Yeo, that carried
you over the mountains, and used to climb for the monkey-cups for
you, my dear young lady? And William Penberthy too, that used to
get you flowers; and your poor dear father, that was just like Mr.
Cary there, only he had a black beard, and black curls, and swore
terribly in his speech, like a Spaniard, my dear young lady?"
And the honest fellow, falling on his knees, covered Ayacanora's
hands with kisses; while all the crew, fancying him gone suddenly
mad, crowded aft.
"Steady, men, and don't vex him!" said Amyas. "He thinks that he
has found his little maid at last."
"And so do I, Amyas, as I live," said Cary.
"Steady, steady, my masters all! If this turn out a wrong scent
after all, his wits will crack. Mr. Yeo, can't you think of any
Yeo stamped impatiently. "What need then? it's her, I tell ye, and
that's enough! What a beauty she's grown! Oh dear! where were my
eyes all this time, to behold her, and not to see her! 'Tis her
very mortal self, it is! And don't you mind me, my dear, now?
Don't you mind Salvation Yeo, that taught you to sing 'Heave my
mariners all, O!' a-sitting on a log by the boat upon the sand, and
there was a sight of red lilies grew on it in the moss, dear, now,
wasn't there? and we made posies of them to put in your hair,
now?"--And the poor old man ran on in a supplicating, suggestive
tone, as if he could persuade the girl into becoming the person
whom he sought.
Ayacanora had watched him, first angry, then amused, then
attentive, and at last with the most intense earnestness. Suddenly
she grew crimson, and snatching her hands from the old man's, hid
her face in them, and stood.
"Do you remember anything of all this, my child?" asked Amyas,
She lifted up her eyes suddenly to his, with a look of imploring
agony, as if beseeching him to spare her. The death of a whole old
life, the birth of a whole new life, was struggling in that
beautiful face, choking in that magnificent throat, as she threw
back her small head, and drew in her breath, and dashed her locks
back from her temples, as if seeking for fresh air. She shuddered,
reeled, then fell weeping on the bosom, not of Salvation Yeo, but
of Amyas Leigh.
He stood still a minute or two, bearing that fair burden, ere he
could recollect himself. Then,--
"Ayacanora, you are not yet mistress of yourself, my child. You
were better to go down, and see after poor Lucy, and we will talk
about it all to-morrow."
She gathered herself up instantly, and with eyes fixed on the deck
slid through the group, and disappeared below.
"Ah!" said Yeo, with a tone of exquisite sadness; "the young to the
young! Over land and sea, in the forests and in the galleys, in
battle and prison, I have sought her! And now!--"
"My good friend," said Amyas, "neither are you master of yourself
yet. When she comes round again, whom will she love and thank but
"You, sir! She owes all to you; and so do I. Let me go below,
sir. My old wits are shaky. Bless you, sir, and thank you for
ever and ever!"
And Yeo grasped Amyas's hand, and went down to his cabin, from
which he did not reappear for many hours.
From that day Ayacanora was a new creature. The thought that she
was an Englishwoman; that she, the wild Indian, was really one of
the great white people whom she had learned to worship, carried in
it some regenerating change: she regained all her former
stateliness, and with it a self-restraint, a temperance, a softness
which she had never shown before. Her dislike to Cary and Jack
vanished. Modest and distant as ever, she now took delight in
learning from them about England and English people; and her
knowledge of our customs gained much from the somewhat fantastic
behaviour which Amyas thought good, for reasons of his own, to
assume toward her. He assigned her a handsome cabin to herself,
always addressed her as madam, and told Cary, Brimblecombe, and the
whole crew that as she was a lady and a Christian, he expected them
to behave to her as such. So there was as much bowing and scraping
on the poop as if it had been a prince's court: and Ayacanora,
though sorely puzzled and chagrined at Amyas's new solemnity,
contrived to imitate it pretty well (taking for granted that it was
the right thing); and having tolerable masters in the art of
manners (for both Amyas and Cary were thoroughly well-bred men),
profited much in all things, except in intimacy with Amyas, who
had, cunning fellow, hit on this parade of good manners, as a fresh
means of increasing the distance between him and her. The crew, of
course, though they were a little vexed at losing their pet,
consoled themselves with the thought that she was a "real born
lady," and Mr. Oxenham's daughter, too; and there was not a man on
board who did not prick up his ears for a message if she approached
him, or one who would not have, I verily believe, jumped overboard
to do her a pleasure.
Only Yeo kept sorrowfully apart. He never looked at her, spoke to
her, met her even, if he could. His dream had vanished. He had
found her! and after all, she did not care for him? Why should
But it was hard to have hunted a bubble for years, and have it
break in his hand at last. "Set not your affections on things on
the earth," murmured Yeo to himself, as he pored over his Bible, in
the vain hope of forgetting his little maid.
But why did Amyas wish to increase the distance between himself and
Ayacanora? Many reasons might be given: I deny none of them. But
the main one, fantastic as it may seem, was simply, that while she
had discovered herself to be an Englishwoman, he had discovered her
to be a Spaniard. If her father were seven times John Oxenham (and
even that the perverse fellow was inclined to doubt), her mother
was a Spaniard--Pah! one of the accursed race; kinswoman--perhaps,
to his brother's murderers! His jaundiced eyes could see nothing
but the Spanish element in her; or, indeed, in anything else. As
Cary said to him once, using a cant phrase of Sidney's, which he
had picked up from Frank, all heaven and earth were "spaniolated,"
to him. He seemed to recollect nothing but that Heaven had "made
Spaniards to be killed, and him to kill them." If he had not been
the most sensible of John Bulls, he would certainly have
forestalled the monomania of that young Frenchman of rank, who,
some eighty years after him, so maddened his brain by reading of
the Spanish cruelties, that he threw up all his prospects and
turned captain of filibusters in the West Indies, for the express
purpose of ridding them of their tyrants; and when a Spanish ship
was taken, used to relinquish the whole booty to his crew, and
reserve for himself only the pleasure of witnessing his victims'
But what had become of that bird-like song of Ayacanora's which had
astonished them on the banks of the Meta, and cheered them many a
time in their anxious voyage down the Magdalena? From the moment
that she found out her English parentage, it stopped. She refused
utterly to sing anything but the songs and psalms which she picked
up from the English. Whether it was that she despised it as a
relic of her barbarism, or whether it was too maddening for one
whose heart grew heavier and humbler day by day, the nightingale
notes were heard no more.
So homeward they ran, before a favoring southwest breeze: but long
ere they were within sight of land, Lucy Passmore was gone to her
rest beneath the Atlantic waves.
HOW AMYAS CAME HOME THE THIRD TIME
"It fell about the Martinmas,
When nights were lang and mirk,
That wife's twa sons cam hame again,
And their hats were o' the birk.
"It did na graw by bush or brae,
Nor yet in ony shough;
But by the gates o' paradise
That birk grew fair eneugh."
The Wife of Usher's Well.
It is the evening of the 15th of February, 1587, and Mrs. Leigh
(for we must return now to old scenes and old faces) is pacing
slowly up and down the terrace-walk at Burrough, looking out over
the winding river, and the hazy sand-hills, and the wide western
sea, as she has done every evening, be it fair weather or foul, for
three weary years. Three years and more are past and gone, and yet
no news of Frank and Amyas, and the gallant ship and all the
gallant souls therein; and loving eyes in Bideford and Appledore,
Clovelly and Ilfracombe, have grown hollow with watching and with
weeping for those who have sailed away into the West, as John
Oxenham sailed before them, and have vanished like a dream, as he
did, into the infinite unknown. Three weary years, and yet no
word. Once there was a flush of hope, and good Sir Richard
(without Mrs. Leigh's knowledge, had sent a horseman posting across
to Plymouth, when the news arrived that Drake, Frobisher, and
Carlisle had returned with their squadron from the Spanish Main.
Alas! he brought back great news, glorious news; news of the
sacking of Cartagena, San Domingo, Saint Augustine; of the relief
of Raleigh's Virginian Colony: but no news of the Rose, and of
those who had sailed in her. And Mrs. Leigh bowed her head, and
worshipped, and said, "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord!"
Her hair was now grown gray; her cheeks were wan; her step was
feeble. She seldom went from home, save to the church, and to the
neighboring cottages. She never mentioned her sons' names; never
allowed a word to pass her lips, which might betoken that she
thought of them; but every day, when the tide was high, and red
flag on the sandhills showed that there was water over the bar, she
paced the terrace-walk, and devoured with greedy eyes the sea
beyond in search of the sail which never came. The stately ships
went in and out as of yore; and white sails hung off the bar for
many an hour, day after day, month after month, year after year:
but an instinct within told her that none of them were the sails
she sought. She knew that ship, every line of her, the cut of
every cloth; she could have picked it out miles away, among a whole
fleet, but it never came, and Mrs. Leigh bowed her head and
worshipped, and went to and fro among the poor, who looked on her
as an awful being, and one whom God had brought very near to
Himself, in that mysterious heaven of sorrow which they too knew
full well. And lone women and bed-ridden men looked in her
steadfast eyes, and loved them, and drank in strength from them;
for they knew (though she never spoke of her own grief) that she
had gone down into the fiercest depths of the fiery furnace, and
was walking there unhurt by the side of One whose form was as of
the Son of God. And all the while she was blaming herself for her
"earthly" longings, and confessing nightly to Heaven that weakness
which she could not shake off, which drew her feet at each high
tide to the terrace-walk beneath the row of wind-clipt trees.
But this evening Northam is in a stir. The pebble ridge is
thundering far below, as it thundered years ago: but Northam is
noisy enough without the rolling of the surge. The tower is
rocking with the pealing bells: the people are all in the streets
shouting and singing round bonfires. They are burning the pope in
effigy, drinking to the queen's health, and "So perish all her
enemies!" The hills are red with bonfires in every village; and
far away, the bells of Bideford are answering the bells of Northam,
as they answered them seven years ago, when Amyas returned from
sailing round the world. For this day has come the news that Mary
Queen of Scots is beheaded in Fotheringay; and all England, like a
dreamer who shakes off some hideous nightmare, has leapt up in one
tremendous shout of jubilation, as the terror and the danger of
seventeen anxious years is lifted from its heart for ever.
Yes, she is gone, to answer at a higher tribunal than that of the
Estates of England, for all the noble English blood which has been
poured out for her; for all the noble English hearts whom she has
tempted into treachery, rebellion, and murder. Elizabeth's own
words have been fulfilled at last, after years of long-suffering,--
"The daughter of debate,
That discord aye doth sow,
Hath reap'd no gain where former rule
Hath taught still peace to grow."
And now she can do evil no more. Murder and adultery, the heart
which knew no forgiveness, the tongue which could not speak truth
even for its own interest, have past and are perhaps atoned for;
and her fair face hangs a pitiful dream in the memory even of those
who knew that either she, or England, must perish.
"Nothing is left of her
Now, but pure womanly."
And Mrs. Leigh, Protestant as she is, breathes a prayer, that the
Lord may have mercy on that soul, as "clear as diamond, and as
hard," as she said of herself. That last scene, too, before the
fatal block--it could not be altogether acting. Mrs. Leigh had
learned many a priceless lesson in the last seven years; might not
Mary Stuart have learned something in seventeen? And Mrs. Leigh
had been a courtier, and knew, as far as a chaste Englishwoman
could know (which even in those coarser days was not very much), of
that godless style of French court profligacy in which poor Mary
had had her youthful training, amid the Medicis, and the Guises,
and Cardinal Lorraine; and she shuddered, and sighed to herself"--
To whom little is given, of them shall little be required!" But
still the bells pealed on and would not cease.
What was that which answered them from afar out of the fast
darkening twilight? A flash, and then the thunder of a gun at sea.
Mrs. Leigh stopped. The flash was right outside the bar. A ship
in distress it could not be. The wind was light and westerly. It
was a high spring-tide, as evening floods are always there. What
could it be? Another flash, another gun. The noisy folks of
Northam were hushed at once, and all hurried into the churchyard
which looks down on the broad flats and the river.
There was a gallant ship outside the bar. She was running in, too,
with all sails set. A large ship; nearly a thousand tons she might
be; but not of English rig. What was the meaning of it? A Spanish
cruiser about to make reprisals for Drake's raid along the Cadiz
shore! Not that, surely. The Don had no fancy for such
unscientific and dare-devil warfare. If he came, he would come
with admiral, rear-admiral, and vice-admiral, transports, and
avisos, according to the best-approved methods, articles, and
science of war. What could she be?
Easily, on the flowing tide and fair western wind, she has slipped
up the channel between the two lines of sandhill. She is almost
off Appledore now. She is no enemy; and if she be a foreigner, she
is a daring one, for she has never veiled her topsails,--and that,
all know, every foreign ship must do within sight of an English
port, or stand the chance of war; as the Spanish admiral found, who
many a year since was sent in time of peace to fetch home from
Flanders Anne of Austria, Philip the Second's last wife.
For in his pride he sailed into Plymouth Sound without veiling
topsails, or lowering the flag of Spain. Whereon, like lion from
his den, out rushed John Hawkins the port admiral, in his famous
Jesus of Lubec (afterwards lost in the San Juan d'Ulloa fight), and
without argument or parley, sent a shot between the admiral's
masts; which not producing the desired effect, alongside ran bold
Captain John, and with his next shot, so says his son, an eye-
witness, "lackt the admiral through and through;" whereon down came
the offending flag; and due apologies were made, but not accepted
for a long time by the stout guardian of her majesty's honor. And
if John Hawkins did as much for a Spanish fleet in time of peace,
there is more than one old sea-dog in Appledore who will do as much
for a single ship in time of war, if he can find even an iron pot
to burn powder withal.
The strange sail passed out of sight behind the hill of Appledore;
and then there rose into the quiet evening air a cheer, as from a
hundred throats. Mrs. Leigh stood still, and listened. Another
gun thundered among the hills; and then another cheer.
It might have been twenty minutes before the vessel hove in sight
again round the dark rocks of the Hubbastone, as she turned up the
Bideford river. Mrs. Leigh had stood that whole time perfectly
motionless, a pale and scarcely breathing statue, her eyes fixed
upon the Viking's rock.
Round the Hubbastone she came at last. There was music on board,
drums and fifes, shawms and trumpets, which wakened ringing echoes
from every knoll of wood and slab of slate. And as she opened full
on Burrough House, another cheer burst from her crew, and rolled up
to the hills from off the silver waters far below, full a mile
Mrs. Leigh walked quickly toward the house, and called her maid,--
"Grace, bring me my hood. Master Amyas is come home!"
"No, surely? O joyful sound! Praised and blessed be the Lord,
then; praised and blessed be the Lord! But, madam, however did you
"I heard his voice on the river; but I did not hear Mr. Frank's
with him, Grace!"
"Oh, be sure, madam, where the one is the other is. They'd never
part company. Both come home or neither, I'll warrant. Here's
your hood, madam."
And Mrs. Leigh, with Grace behind her, started with rapid steps
Was it true? Was it a dream? Had the divine instinct of the
mother enabled her to recognize her child's voice among all the
rest, and at that enormous distance; or was her brain turning with
the long effort of her supernatural calm?
Grace asked herself, in her own way, that same question many a time
between Burrough and Bideford. When they arrived on the quay the
question answered itself.
As they came down Bridgeland Street (where afterwards the tobacco
warehouses for the Virginia trade used to stand, but which then was
but a row of rope-walks and sailmakers' shops), they could see the
strange ship already at anchor in the river. They had just reached
the lower end of the street, when round the corner swept a great
mob, sailors, women, 'prentices, hurrahing, questioning, weeping,
laughing: Mrs. Leigh stopped; and behold, they stopped also.
"Here she is!" shouted some one; "here's his mother!"
"His mother? Not their mother!" said Mrs. Leigh to herself, and
turned very pale; but that heart was long past breaking.
The next moment the giant head and shoulders of Amyas, far above
the crowd, swept round the corner.
"Make a way! Make room for Madam Leigh!"--And Amyas fell on his
knees at her feet.
She threw her arms round his neck, and bent her fair head over his,
while sailors, 'prentices, and coarse harbor-women were hushed into
holy silence, and made a ring round the mother and the son.
Mrs. Leigh asked no question. She saw that Amyas was alone.
At last he whispered, "I would have died to save him, mother, if I
"You need not tell me that, Amyas Leigh, my son."
"How did he die?" whispered Mrs. Leigh.
"He is a martyr. He died in the----"
Amyas could say no more.
A strong shudder passed through Mrs. Leigh's frame, and then she
lifted up her head.
"Come home, Amyas. I little expected such an honor--such an honor--
ha! ha! and such a fair young martyr, too; a very St. Stephen!
God, have mercy on me; and let me not go mad before these folk,
when I ought to be thanking Thee for Thy great mercies! Amyas, who
And she pointed to Ayacanora, who stood close behind Amyas,
watching with keen eyes the whole.
"She is a poor wild Indian girl--my daughter, I call her. I will
tell you her story hereafter."
"Your daughter? My grand-daughter, then. Come hither, maiden, and
be my grand-daughter."
Ayacanora came obedient, and knelt down, because she had seen Amyas
"God forbid, child! kneel not to me. Come home, and let me know
whether I am sane or mazed, alive or dead."
And drawing her hood over her face, she turned to go back, holding
Amyas tight by one hand, and Ayacanora by the other.
The crowd let them depart some twenty yards in respectful silence,
and then burst into a cheer which made the old town ring.
Mrs. Leigh stopped suddenly.
"I had forgotten, Amyas. You must not let me stand in the way of
your duty. Where are your men?"
"Kissed to death by this time; all of them, that is, who are left."
"We went out a hundred, mother, and we came home forty-four--if we
are at home. Is it a dream, mother? Is this you? and this old
Bridgeland Street again? As I live, there stands Evans the smith,
at his door, tankard in hand, as he did when I was a boy!"
The brawny smith came across the street to them; but stopped when
he saw Amyas, but no Frank.
"Better one than neither, madam!" said he, trying a rough comfort.
Amyas shook his hand as he passed him; but Mrs. Leigh neither heard
nor saw him nor any one.
"Mother," said Amyas, when they were now past the causeway, "we are
rich for life."
"Yes; a martyr's death was the fittest for him."
"I have brought home treasure untold."
"What, my boy?"
"Treasure untold. Cary has promised to see to it to-night."
"Very well. I would that he had slept at our house. He was a
kindly lad, and loved Frank. When did he?"--
"Three years ago, and more. Within two months of our sailing."
"Ah! Yes, he told me so."
"Told you so?"
"Yes; the dear lad has often come to see me in my sleep; but you
never came. I guessed how it was--as it should be."
"But I loved you none the less, mother!"
"I know that, too: but you were busy with the men, you know, sweet;
so your spirit could not come roving home like his, which was free.
Yes--all as it should be. My maid, and do you not find it cold
here in England, after those hot regions?"
"Ayacanora's heart is warm; she does not think about cold."
"Warm? perhaps you will warm my heart for me, then."
"Would God I could do it, mother!" said Amyas, half reproachfully.
Mrs. Leigh looked up in his face, and burst into a violent flood of
"Sinful! sinful that I am!"
"Blessed creature!" cried Amyas, "if you speak so I shall go mad.
Mother, mother, I have been dreading this meeting for months. It
has been a nightmare hanging over me like a horrible black thunder-
cloud; a great cliff miles high, with its top hid in the clouds,
which I had to climb, and dare not. I have longed to leap
overboard, and flee from it like a coward into the depths of the
sea.--The thought that you might ask me whether I was not my
brother's keeper--that you might require his blood at my hands--and
now, now! when it comes! to find you all love, and trust, and
patience--mother, mother, it's more than I can bear!" and he wept
Mrs. Leigh knew enough of Amyas to know that any burst of this
kind, from his quiet nature, betokened some very fearful struggle;
and the loving creature forgot everything instantly, in the one
desire to soothe him.
And soothe him she did; and home the two went, arm in arm together,
while Ayacanora held fast, like a child, by the skirt of Mrs.
Leigh's cloak. The self-help and daring of the forest nymph had
given place to the trembling modesty of the young girl, suddenly
cast on shore in a new world, among strange faces, strange hopes,
and strange fears also.
"Will your mother love me?" whispered she to Amyas, as she went in.
"Yes; but you must do what she tells you."
"She will laugh at me, because I am wild."
"She never laughs at any one."
"Humph! " said Ayacanora. "Well, I shall not be afraid of her. I
thought she would have been tall like you; but she is not even as
big as me."
This hardly sounded hopeful for the prospect of Ayacanora's
obedience; but ere twenty-four hours had passed, Mrs. Leigh had won
her over utterly; and she explained her own speech by saying that
she thought so great a man ought to have a great mother. She had
expected, poor thing, in her simplicity, some awful princess with a
frown like Juno's own, and found instead a healing angel.
Her story was soon told to Mrs. Leigh, who of course, woman-like,
would not allow a doubt as to her identity. And the sweet mother
never imprinted a prouder or fonder kiss upon her son's forehead,
than that with which she repaid his simple declaration, that he had
kept unspotted, like a gentleman and a Christian, the soul which
God had put into his charge.
"Then you have forgiven me, mother?"
"Years ago I said in this same room, what should I render to the
Lord for having given me two such sons? And in this room I say it
once again. Tell me all about my other son, that I may honor him
as I honor you."
And then, with the iron nerve which good women have, she made him
give her every detail of Lucy Passmore's story and of all which had
happened from the day of their sailing to that luckless night at
Guayra. And when it was done, she led Ayacanora out, and began
busying herself about the girl's comforts, as calmly as if Frank
and Amyas had been sleeping in their cribs in the next room.
But she had hardly gone upstairs, when a loud knock at the door was
followed by its opening hastily; and into the hall burst,
regardless of etiquette, the tall and stately figure of Sir Richard
Amyas dropped on his knees instinctively. The stern warrior was
quite unmanned; and as he bent over his godson, a tear dropped from
that iron cheek, upon the iron cheek of Amyas Leigh.
"My lad! my glorious lad! and where have you been? Get up, and
tell me all. The sailors told me a little, but I must hear every
word. I knew you would do something grand. I told your mother you
were too good a workman for God to throw away. Now, let me have
the whole story. Why, I am out of breath! To tell truth, I ran
three-parts of the way hither."
And down the two sat, and Amyas talked long into the night; while
Sir Richard, his usual stateliness recovered, smiled stern approval
at each deed of daring; and when all was ended, answered with
something like a sigh:
"Would God that I had been with you every step! Would God, at
least, that I could show as good a three-years' log-book, Amyas, my
"You can show a better one, I doubt not."
"Humph! With the exception of one paltry Spanish prize, I don't
know that the queen is the better, or her enemies the worse, for
me, since we parted last in Dublin city."
"You are too modest, sir."
"Would that I were; but I got on in Ireland, I found, no better
than my neighbors; and so came home again, to find that while I had
been wasting my time in that land of misrule, Raleigh had done a
deed to which I can see no end. For, lad, he has found (or rather
his two captains, Amadas and Barlow, have found for him) between
Florida and Newfoundland, a country, the like of which, I believe,
there is not on the earth for climate and fertility. Whether there
be gold there, I know not, and it matters little; for there is all
else on earth that man can want; furs, timber, rivers, game, sugar-
canes, corn, fruit, and every commodity which France, Spain, or
Italy can yield, wild in abundance; the savages civil enough for
savages, and, in a word, all which goes to the making of as noble a
jewel as her majesty's crown can wear. The people call it
Wingandacoa; but we, after her majesty, Virginia."
"You have been there, then?"
"The year before last, lad; and left there Ralf Lane, Amadas, and
some twenty gentlemen, and ninety men, and, moreover, some money of
my own, and some of old Will Salterne's, which neither of us will
ever see again. For the colony, I know not how, quarrelled with
the Indians (I fear I too was over-sharp with some of them for
stealing--if I was, God forgive me!), and could not, forsooth, keep
themselves alive for twelve months; so that Drake, coming back from
his last West Indian voyage, after giving them all the help he
could, had to bring the whole party home. And if you will believe
it, the faint-hearted fellows had not been gone a fortnight, before
I was back again with three ships and all that they could want.
And never was I more wroth in my life, when all I found was the
ruins of their huts, which (so rich is the growth there) were
already full of great melons, and wild deer feeding thereon--a
pretty sight enough, but not what I wanted just then. So back I
came; and being in no overgood temper, vented my humors on the
Portugals at the Azores, and had hard fights and small booty. So
there the matter stands, but not for long; for shame it were if
such a paradise, once found by Britons, should fall into the hands
of any but her majesty; and we will try again this spring, if men
and money can be found. Eh, lad?"
"But the prize?"
"Ah! that was no small make-weight to our disasters, after all. I
sighted her for six days' sail from the American coast: but ere we
could lay her aboard it fell dead calm. Never a boat had I on
board--they were all lost in a gale of wind--and the other ships
were becalmed two leagues astern of me. There was no use lying
there and pounding her till she sank; so I called the carpenter,
got up all the old chests, and with them and some spars we floated
ourselves alongside, and only just in time. For the last of us had
hardly scrambled up into the chains, when our crazy Noah's ark went
all aboard, and sank at the side, so that if we had been minded to
run away, Amyas, we could not; whereon, judging valor to be the
better part of discretion (as I usually do), we fell to with our
swords and had her in five minutes, and fifty thousand pounds'
worth in her, which set up my purse again, and Raleigh's too,
though I fear it has run out again since as fast as it ran in."
And so ended Sir Richard's story.
Amyas went the next day to Salterne, and told his tale. The old
man had heard the outlines of it already: but he calmly bade him
sit down, and listened to all, his chin upon his hand, his elbows
on his knees. His cheek never blanched, his lips never quivered
throughout. Only when Amyas came to Rose's marriage, he heaved a
long breath, as if a weight was taken off his heart.
"Say that again, sir!"
Amyas said it again, and then went on; faltering, he hinted at the
manner of her death.
"Go on, sir! Why are you afraid? There is nothing to be ashamed
of there, is there?"
Amyas told the whole with downcast eyes, and then stole a look at
his hearer's face. There was no sign of emotion: only somewhat of
a proud smile curled the corners of that iron mouth.
"And her husband?" asked he, after a pause.
"I am ashamed to have to tell you, sir, that the man still lives."
"Still lives, sir?"
"Too true, as far as I know. That it was not my fault, my story
bears me witness."
"Sir, I never doubted your will to kill him. Still lives, you say?
Well, so do rats and adders. And now, I suppose, Captain Leigh,
your worship is minded to recruit yourself on shore a while with
the fair lass whom you have brought home (as I hear) before having
another dash at the devil and his kin!"
"Do not mention that young lady's name with mine, sir; she is no
more to me than she is to you; for she has Spanish blood in her
Salterne smiled grimly.
"But I am minded at least to do one thing, Mr. Salterne, and that
is, to kill Spaniards, in fair fight, by land and sea, wheresoever
I shall meet them. And, therefore, I stay not long here,
whithersoever I may be bound next."
"Well, sir, when you start, come to me for a ship, and the best I
have is at your service; and, if she do not suit, command her to be
fitted as you like best; and I, William Salterne, will pay for all
which you shall command to be done."
"My good sir, I have accounts to square with you after a very
different fashion. As part-adventurer in the Rose, I have to
deliver to you your share of the treasure which I have brought
"My share, sir? If I understood you, my ship was lost off the
coast of the Caracas three years agone, and this treasure was all
"True; but you, as an adventurer in the expedition, have a just
claim for your share, and will receive it."
"Captain Leigh, you are, I see, as your father was before you, a
just and upright Christian man: but, sir, this money is none of
mine, for it was won in no ship of mine.--Hear me, sir! And if it
had been, and that ship"--(he could not speak her name)--"lay safe
and sound now by Bideford quay, do you think, sir, that William
Salterne is the man to make money out of his daughter's sin and
sorrow, and to handle the price of blood? No, sir! You went like
a gentleman to seek her, and like a gentleman, as all the world
knows, you have done your best, and I thank you: but our account
ends there. The treasure is yours, sir; I have enough, and more
than enough, and none, God help me, to leave it to, but greedy and
needy kin, who will be rather the worse than the better for it.
And if I have a claim in law for aught--which I know not, neither
shall ever ask--why, if you are not too proud, accept that claim as
a plain burgher's thank-offering to you, sir, for a great and a
noble love which you and your brother have shown to one who, though
I say it, to my shame, was not worthy thereof."
"She was worthy of that and more, sir. For if she sinned like a
woman, she died like a saint."
"Yes, sir!" answered the old man, with a proud smile; "she had the
right English blood in her, I doubt not; and showed it at the last.
But now, sir, no more of this. When you need a ship, mine is at
your service; till then, sir, farewell, and God be with you."
And the old man rose, and with an unmoved countenance, bowed Amyas
to the door. Amyas went back and told Cary, bidding him take half
of Salterne's gift: but Cary swore a great oath that he would have
none of it.
"Heir of Clovelly, Amyas, and want to rob you? I who have lost
nothing,--you who have lost a brother! God forbid that I should
ever touch a farthing beyond my original share!"
That evening a messenger from Bideford came running breathless up
to Burrough Court. The authorities wanted Amyas's immediate
attendance, for he was one of the last, it seemed, who had seen Mr.
Salterne had gone over, as soon as Amyas departed, to an old
acquaintance; signed and sealed his will in their presence with a
firm and cheerful countenance, refusing all condolence; and then
gone home, and locked himself into Rose's room. Supper-time came,
and he did not appear. The apprentices could not make him answer,
and at last called in the neighbors, and forced the door. Salterne
was kneeling by his daughter's bed; his head was upon the coverlet;
his Prayer-book was open before him at the Burial Service; his
hands were clasped in supplication; but he was dead and cold.
His will lay by him. He had left all his property among his poor
relations, saving and excepting all money, etc., due to him as
owner and part-adventurer of the ship Rose, and his new bark of
three hundred tons burden, now lying East-the-water; all which was
bequeathed to Captain Amyas Leigh, on condition that he should re-
christen that bark the Vengeance,--fit her out with part of the
treasure, and with her sail once more against the Spaniard, before
three years were past.
And this was the end of William Salterne, merchant.
HOW THE VIRGINIA FLEET WAS STOPPED BY THE QUEEN'S COMMAND
"The daughter of debate,
That discord still doth sow,
Shall reap no gain where former rule
Hath taught still peace to grow.
No foreign banish'd wight
Shall anker in this port
Our realm it brooks no stranger's force;
Let them elsewhere resort."
QU. ELIZABETH. 1569.
And now Amyas is settled quietly at home again; and for the next
twelve months little passes worthy of record in these pages. Yeo
has installed himself as major domo, with no very definite
functions, save those of walking about everywhere at Amyas's heels
like a lank gray wolf-hound, and spending his evenings at the
fireside, as a true old sailor does, with his Bible on his knee,
and his hands busy in manufacturing numberless nicknacks, useful
and useless, for every member of the family, and above all for
Ayacanora, whom he insults every week by humbly offering some toy
only fit for a child; at which she pouts, and is reproved by Mrs.
Leigh, and then takes the gift, and puts it away never to look at
it again. For her whole soul is set upon being an English maid;
and she runs about all day long after Mrs. Leigh, insisting upon
learning the mysteries of the kitchen and the still-room, and,
above all, the art of making clothes for herself, and at last for
everybody in Northam. For first, she will be a good housewife,
like Mrs. Leigh; and next a new idea has dawned on her: that of
helping others. To the boundless hospitality of the savage she has
been of course accustomed: but to give to those who can give
nothing in return, is a new thought. She sees Mrs. Leigh spending
every spare hour in working for the poor, and visiting them in
their cottages. She sees Amyas, after public thanks in church for
his safe return, giving away money, food, what not, in Northam,
Appledore, and Bideford; buying cottages and making them almshouses
for worn-out mariners; and she is told that this is his thank-
offering to God. She is puzzled; her notion of a thank-offering
was rather that of the Indians, and indeed of the Spaniards,--
sacrifices of human victims, and the bedizenment of the Great
Spirit's sanctuary with their skulls and bones. Not that Amyas, as
a plain old-fashioned churchman, was unmindful of the good old
instinctive rule, that something should be given to the Church
itself; for the vicar of Northam was soon resplendent with a new
surplice, and what was more, the altar with a splendid flagon and
salver of plate (lost, I suppose, in the civil wars) which had been
taken in the great galleon. Ayacanora could understand that: but
the almsgiving she could not, till Mrs. Leigh told her, in her
simple way, that whosoever gave to the poor, gave to the Great
Spirit; for the Great Spirit was in them, and in Ayacanora too, if
she would be quiet and listen to him, instead of pouting, and
stamping, and doing nothing but what she liked. And the poor child
took in that new thought like a child, and worked her fingers to
the bone for all the old dames in Northam, and went about with Mrs.
Leigh, lovely and beloved, and looked now and then out from under
her long black eyelashes to see if she was winning a smile from
Amyas. And on the day on which she won one, she was good all day;
and on the day on which she did not, she was thoroughly naughty,
and would have worn out the patience of any soul less chastened
than Mrs. Leigh's. But as for the pomp and glory of her dress,
there was no keeping it within bounds; and she swept into church
each Sunday bedizened in Spanish finery, with such a blaze and
rustle, that the good vicar had to remonstrate humbly with Mrs.
Leigh on the disturbance which she caused to the eyes and thoughts
of all his congregation. To which Ayacanora answered, that she was
not thinking about them, and they need not think about her; and
that if the Piache (in plain English, the conjuror), as she
supposed, wanted a present, he might have all her Mexican feather-
dresses; she would not wear them--they were wild Indian things, and
she was an English maid--but they would just do for a Piache; and
so darted upstairs, brought them down, and insisted so stoutly on
arraying the vicar therein, that the good man beat a swift retreat.
But he carried off with him, nevertheless, one of the handsomest
mantles, which, instead of selling it, he converted cleverly enough
into an altar-cloth; and for several years afterwards, the
communion at Northam was celebrated upon a blaze of emerald, azure,
and crimson, which had once adorned the sinful body of some Aztec
So Ayacanora flaunted on; while Amyas watched her, half amused,
half in simple pride of her beauty; and looked around at all
gazers, as much as to say, "See what a fine bird I have brought
Another great trouble which she gave Mrs. Leigh was her conduct to
the ladies of the neighborhood. They came, of course, one and all,
not only to congratulate Mrs. Leigh, but to get a peep at the fair
savage; but the fair savage snubbed them all round, from the
vicar's wife to Lady Grenville herself, so effectually, that few
attempted a second visit.
Mrs. Leigh remonstrated, and was answered by floods of tears.
"They only come to stare at a poor wild Indian girl, and she would
not be made a show of. She was like a queen once, and every one
obeyed her; but here every one looked down upon her." But when
Mrs. Leigh asked her, whether she would sooner go back to the
forests, the poor girl clung to her like a baby, and entreated not
to be sent away, "She would sooner be a slave in the kitchen here,
than go back to the bad people."
And so on, month after month of foolish storm and foolish sunshine;
but she was under the shadow of one in whom was neither storm nor
sunshine, but a perpetual genial calm of soft gray weather, which
tempered down to its own peacefulness all who entered its charmed
influence; and the outbursts grew more and more rare, and Ayacanora
more and more rational, though no more happy, day by day.
And one by one small hints came out which made her identity
certain, at least in the eyes of Mrs. Leigh and Yeo. After she had
become familiar with the sight of houses, she gave them to
understand that she had seen such things before. The red cattle,
too, seemed not unknown to her; the sheep puzzled her for some
time, and at last she gave Mrs. Leigh to understand that they were
"Ah, madam," quoth Yeo, who caught at every straw, "it is because
she has been accustomed to those great camel sheep (llamas they
call them) in Peru."
But Ayacanora's delight was a horse. The use of tame animals at
all was a daily wonder to her; but that a horse could be ridden was
the crowning miracle of all; and a horse she would ride, and after
plaguing Amyas for one in vain (for he did not want to break her
pretty neck), she proposed confidentially to Yeo to steal one, and
foiled in that, went to the vicar and offered to barter all her
finery for his broken-kneed pony. But the vicar was too honest to
drive so good a bargain, and the matter ended, in Amyas buying her
a jennet, which she learned in a fortnight to ride like a very
And now awoke another curious slumbering reminiscence. For one
day, at Lady Grenville's invitation, the whole family went over to
Stow; Mrs. Leigh soberly on a pillion behind the groom, Ayacanora
cantering round and round upon the moors like a hound let loose,
and trying to make Amyas ride races with her. But that night,
sleeping in the same room with Mrs. Leigh, she awoke shrieking, and
sobbed out a long story how the "Old ape of Panama," her especial
abomination, had come to her bedside and dragged her forth into the
courtyard, and how she had mounted a horse and ridden with an
Indian over great moors and high mountains down into a dark wood,
and there the Indian and the horses vanished, and she found herself
suddenly changed once more into a little savage child. So strong
was the impression, that she could not be persuaded that the thing
had not happened, if not that night, at least some night or other.
So Mrs. Leigh at last believed the same, and told the company next
morning in her pious way how the Lord had revealed in a vision to
the poor child who she was, and how she had been exposed in the
forests by her jealous step-father, and neither Sir Richard nor his
wife could doubt but that hers was the true solution. It was
probable that Don Xararte, though his home was Panama, had been
often at Quito, for Yeo had seen him come on board the Lima ship at
Guayaquil, one of the nearest ports. This would explain her having
been found by the Indians beyond Cotopaxi, the nearest peak of the
Eastern Andes, if, as was but too likely, the old man, believing
her to be Oxenham's child, had conceived the fearful vengeance of
exposing her in the forests.
Other little facts came to light one by one. They were all
connected (as was natural in a savage) with some animal or other
natural object. Whatever impressions her morals or affections had
received, had been erased by the long spiritual death of that
forest sojourn; and Mrs. Leigh could not elicit from her a trace of
feeling about her mother, or recollection of any early religious
teaching. This link, however, was supplied at last, and in this
Sir Richard had brought home an Indian with him from Virginia. Of
his original name I am not sure, but he was probably the "Wanchese"
whose name occurs with that of "Manteo."
This man was to be baptized in the church at Bideford by the name
of Raleigh, his sponsors being most probably Raleigh himself, who
may have been there on Virginian business, and Sir Richard
Grenville. All the notabilities of Bideford came, of course, to
see the baptism of the first "Red man" whose foot had ever trodden
British soil, and the mayor and corporation-men appeared in full
robes, with maces and tipstaffs, to do honor to that first-fruits
of the Gospel in the West.
Mrs. Leigh went, as a matter of course, and Ayacanora would needs
go too. She was very anxious to know what they were going to do
with the "Carib."
"To make him a Christian."
"Why did they not make her one?"
Because she was one already. They were sure that she had been
christened as soon as she was born. But she was not sure, and
pouted a good deal at the chance of an "ugly red Carib" being
better off than she was. However, all assembled duly; the stately
son of the forest, now transformed into a footman of Sir Richard's,
was standing at the font; the service was half performed when a
heavy sigh, or rather groan, made all eyes turn, and Ayacanora sank
fainting upon Mrs. Leigh's bosom.
She was carried out, and to a neighboring house; and when she came
to herself, told a strange story. How, as she was standing there
trying to recollect whether she too had ever been baptized, the
church seemed to grow larger, the priest's dress richer; the walls
were covered with pictures, and above the altar, in jewelled robes,
stood a lady, and in her arms a babe. Soft music sounded in her
ears; the air was full (on that she insisted much) of fragrant odor
which filled the church like mist; and through it she saw not one,
but many Indians, standing by the font; and a lady held her by the
hand, and she was a little girl again.
And after, many questionings, so accurate was her recollection, not
only of the scene, but of the building, that Yeo pronounced:
"A christened woman she is, madam, if Popish christening is worth
calling such, and has seen Indians christened too in the Cathedral
Church at Quito, the inside whereof I know well enough, and too
well, for I sat there three mortal hours in a San Benito, to hear a
friar preach his false doctrines, not knowing whether I was to be
burnt or not next day."
So Ayacanora went home to Burrough, and Raleigh the Indian to Sir
Richard's house. The entry of his baptism still stands, crooked-
lettered, in the old parchment register of the Bideford baptisms
"Raleigh, a Winganditoian: March 26."
His name occurs once more, a year and a month after:
"Rawly, a Winganditoian, April 1589."
But it is not this time among the baptisms. The free forest
wanderer has pined in vain for his old deer-hunts amid the fragrant
cedar woods, and lazy paddlings through the still lagoons, where
water-lilies sleep beneath the shade of great magnolias, wreathed
with clustered vines; and now he is away to "happier hunting-
grounds," and all that is left of him below sleeps in the narrow
town churchyard, blocked in with dingy houses, whose tenants will
never waste a sigh upon the Indian's grave. There the two entries
stand, unto this day; and most pathetic they have seemed to me; a
sort of emblem and first-fruits of the sad fate of that worn-out
Red race, to whom civilization came too late to save, but not too
late to hasten their decay.
But though Amyas lay idle, England did not. That spring saw
another and a larger colony sent out by Raleigh to Virginia, under
the charge of one John White. Raleigh had written more than once,
entreating Amyas to take the command, which if he had done, perhaps
the United States had begun to exist twenty years sooner than they
actually did. But his mother had bound him by a solemn promise
(and who can wonder at her for asking, or at him for giving it?) to
wait at home with her twelve months at least. So, instead of
himself, he sent five hundred pounds, which I suppose are in
Virginia (virtually at least) until this day; for they never came
back again to him.
But soon came a sharper trial of Amyas's promise to his mother; and
one which made him, for the first time in his life, moody, peevish,
and restless, at the thought that others were fighting Spaniards,
while he was sitting idle at home. For his whole soul was filling
fast with sullen malice against Don Guzman. He was losing the
"single eye," and his whole body was no longer full of light. He
had entered into the darkness in which every man walks who hates
his brother; and it lay upon him like a black shadow day and night.
No company, too, could be more fit to darken that shadow than
Salvation Yeo's. The old man grew more stern in his fanaticism day
by day, and found a too willing listener in his master; and Mrs.
Leigh was (perhaps for the first and last time in her life)
seriously angry, when she heard the two coolly debating whether
they had not committed a grievous sin in not killing the Spanish
prisoners on board the galleon.
It must be said, however (as the plain facts set down in this book
testify), that if such was the temper of Englishmen at that day,
the Spaniards had done a good deal to provoke it; and were just
then attempting to do still more.
For now we are approaching the year 1588, "which an astronomer of
Konigsberg, above a hundred years before, foretold would be an
admirable year, and the German chronologers presaged would be the
climacterical year of the world."
The prophecies may stand for what they are worth; but they were at
least fulfilled. That year was, indeed, the climacterical year of
the world; and decided once and for all the fortunes of the
European nations, and of the whole continent of America.
No wonder, then, if (as has happened in each great crisis of the
human race) some awful instinct that The Day of the Lord was at
hand, some dim feeling that there was war in heaven, and that the
fiends of darkness and the angels of light were arrayed against
each other in some mighty struggle for the possession of the souls
of men, should have tried to express itself in astrologic dreams,
and, as was the fashion then, attributed to the "rulers of the
planetary houses" some sympathy with the coming world-tragedy.
But, for the wise, there needed no conjunction of planets to tell
them that the day was near at hand, when the long desultory duel
between Spain and England would end, once and for all, in some
great death-grapple. The war, as yet, had been confined to the
Netherlands, to the West Indies, and the coasts and isles of
Africa; to the quarters, in fact, where Spain was held either to
have no rights, or to have forfeited them by tyranny. But Spain
itself had been respected by England, as England had by Spain; and
trade to Spanish ports went on as usual, till, in the year 1585,
the Spaniard, without warning, laid an embargo on all English ships
coming to his European shores. They were to be seized, it seemed,
to form part of an enormous armament, which was to attack and
crush, once and for all--whom? The rebellious Netherlanders, said
the Spaniards: but the queen, the ministry, and, when it was just
not too late, the people of England, thought otherwise. England
was the destined victim; so, instead of negotiating, in order to
avoid fighting, they fought in order to produce negotiation.
Drake, Frobisher, and Carlisle, as we have seen, swept the Spanish
Main with fire and sword, stopping the Indian supplies; while
Walsingham (craftiest, and yet most honest of mortals) prevented,
by some mysterious financial operation, the Venetian merchants from
repairing the Spaniards' loss by a loan; and no Armada came that
In the meanwhile, the Jesuits, here and abroad, made no secret,
among their own dupes, of the real objects of the Spanish armament.
The impious heretics,--the Drakes and Raleighs, Grenvilles and
Cavendishes, Hawkinses and Frobishers, who had dared to violate
that hidden sanctuary of just half the globe, which the pope had
bestowed on the defender of the true faith,--a shameful ruin, a
terrible death awaited them, when their sacrilegious barks should
sink beneath the thunder of Spanish cannon, blessed by the pope,
and sanctified with holy water and prayer to the service of "God
and his Mother." Yes, they would fall, and England with them. The
proud islanders, who had dared to rebel against St. Peter, and to
cast off the worship of "Mary," should bow their necks once more
under the yoke of the Gospel. Their so-called queen, illegitimate,
excommunicate, contumacious, the abettor of free-trade, the
defender of the Netherlands, the pillar of false doctrine
throughout Europe, should be sent in chains across the Alps, to sue
for her life at the feet of the injured and long-suffering father
of mankind, while his nominee took her place upon the throne which
she had long since forfeited by her heresy.
"What nobler work? How could the Church of God be more gloriously
propagated? How could higher merit be obtained by faithful
Catholics? It must succeed. Spain was invincible in valor,
inexhaustible in wealth. Heaven itself offered them an
opportunity. They had nothing now to fear from the Turk, for they
had concluded a truce with him; nothing from the French, for they
were embroiled in civil war. The heavens themselves had called
upon Spain to fulfil her heavenly mission, and restore to the
Church's crown this brightest and richest of her lost jewels. The
heavens themselves called to a new crusade. The saints, whose
altars the English had rifled and profaned, called them to a new
crusade. The Virgin Queen of Heaven, whose boundless stores of
grace the English spurned, called them to a new crusade. Justly
incensed at her own wrongs and indignities, that 'ever-gracious
Virgin, refuge of sinners, and mother of fair love, and holy hope,'
adjured by their knightly honor all valiant cavaliers to do battle
in her cause against the impious harlot who assumed her titles,
received from her idolatrous flatterers the homage due to Mary
alone, and even (for Father Parsons had asserted it, therefore it
must be true) had caused her name to be substituted for that of
Mary in the Litanies of the Church. Let all who wore within a
manly heart, without a manly sword, look on the woes of 'Mary,'--
her shame, her tears, her blushes, her heart pierced through with
daily wounds, from heretic tongues, and choose between her and
So said Parsons, Allen, and dozens more; and said more than this,
too, and much which one had rather not repeat; and were somewhat
surprised and mortified to find that their hearers, though they
granted the premises, were too dull or carnal to arrive at the same
conclusion. The English lay Romanists, almost to a man, had hearts
sounder than their heads, and, howsoever illogically, could not
help holding to the strange superstition that, being Englishmen,
they were bound to fight for England. So the hapless Jesuits, who
had been boasting for years past that the persecuted faithful
throughout the island would rise as one man to fight under the
blessed banner of the pope and Spain, found that the faithful, like
Demas of old, forsook them and "went after this present world;"
having no objection, of course, to the restoration of Popery: but
preferring some more comfortable method than an invasion which
would inevitably rob them of their ancestral lands and would seat
needy and greedy Castilians in their old country houses, to treat
their tenants as they had treated the Indians of Hispaniola, and
them as they had treated the caciques.
But though the hearts of men in that ungodly age were too hard to
melt at the supposed woes of the Mary who reigned above, and too
dull to turn rebels and traitors for the sake of those thrones and
principalities in supra-lunar spheres which might be in her gift:
yet there was a Mary who reigned (or ought to reign) below, whose
woes (like her gifts) were somewhat more palpable to the carnal
sense. A Mary who, having every comfort and luxury (including
hounds and horses) found for her by the English Government, at an
expense which would be now equal to some twenty thousand a year,
could afford to employ the whole of her jointure as Queen Dowager
of France (probably equal to fifty thousand a year more), in
plotting the destruction of the said government, and the murder of
its queen; a Mary who, if she prospered as she ought, might have
dukedoms, and earldoms, fair lands and castles to bestow on her
faithful servants; a Mary, finally, who contrived by means of an
angel face, a serpent tongue, and a heart (as she said herself) as
hard as a diamond, to make every weak man fall in love with her,
and, what was worse, fancy more or less that she was in love with
Of her the Jesuits were not unmindful; and found it convenient,
indeed, to forget awhile the sorrows of the Queen of Heaven in
those of the Queen of Scots. Not that they cared much for those
sorrows; but they were an excellent stock-in-trade. She was a
Romanist; she was "beautiful and unfortunate," a virtue which, like
charity, hides the multitude of sins; and therefore she was a
convenient card to play in the great game of Rome against the Queen
and people of England; and played the poor card was, till it got
torn up by over-using. Into her merits or demerits I do not enter
deeply here. Let her rest in peace.
To all which the people of England made a most practical and
terrible answer. From the highest noble to the lowest peasant,
arose one simultaneous plebiscitum: "We are tired of these
seventeen years of chicanery and terror. This woman must die: or
the commonweal of England perish!" We all know which of the two
alternatives was chosen.
All Europe stood aghast: but rather with astonishment at English
audacity, than with horror at English wickedness. Mary's own
French kinsfolk had openly given her up as too bad to be excused,
much less assisted. Her own son blustered a little to the English
ambassador; for the majesty of kings was invaded: whereon
Walsingham said in open council, that "the queen should send him a
couple of hounds, and that would set all right." Which sage advice
(being acted on, and some deer sent over and above) was so
successful that the pious mourner, having run off (Randolph says,
like a baby to see the deer in their cart), returned for answer
that he would "thereafter depend wholly upon her majesty, and serve
her fortune against all the world; and that he only wanted now two
of her majesty's yeoman prickers, and a couple of her grooms of the
deer." The Spaniard was not sorry on the whole for the
catastrophe; for all that had kept him from conquering England long
ago was the fear lest, after it was done, he might have had to put
the crown thereof on Mary's head, instead of his own. But Mary's
death was as convenient a stalking-horse to him as to the pope; and
now the Armada was coming in earnest.
Elizabeth began negotiating; but fancy not that she does nothing
more, as the following letter testifies, written about midsummer,
"F. Drake to Captain Amyas Leigh. This with haste.
"As I said to her most glorious majesty, I say to you now. There
are two ways of facing an enemy. The one to stand off, and cry,
'Try that again, and I'll strike thee'; the other to strike him
first, and then, 'Try that at all, and I'll strike thee again.' Of
which latter counsel her majesty so far approves, that I go
forthwith (tell it not in Gath) down the coast, to singe the king
of Spain's beard (so I termed it to her majesty, she laughing), in
which if I leave so much as a fishing-boat afloat from the Groyne
unto Cadiz, it will not be with my good will, who intend that if he
come this year, he shall come by swimming and not by sailing. So
if you are still the man I have known you, bring a good ship round
to Plymouth within the month, and away with me for hard blows and
hard money, the feel of both of which you know pretty well by now.
Amyas clutched his locks over this letter, and smoked more tobacco
the day he got it than had ever before been consumed at once in
England. But he kept true to his promise; and this was his reply:--
"Amyas Leigh to the Worshipful Sir F. Drake, Admiral of her
Majesty's Fleet in Plymouth.
"MOST HONORED SIR,
"A magician keeps me here, in bilboes for which you have no
picklock; namely, a mother who forbids. The loss is mine: but
Antichrist I can fight any year (for he will not die this bout, nor
the next), while my mother--but I will not trouble your patience
more than to ask from you to get me news, if you can, from any
prisoners of one Don Guzman Maria Magdalena Sotomayor de Soto;
whether he is in Spain or in the Indies; and what the villain does,
and where he is to be found. This only I entreat of you, and so
remain behind with a heavy heart.
"Yours to command in all else, and I would to Heaven, in this also,
I am sorry to have to say, that after having thus obeyed his
mother, Master Amyas, as men are too apt to do, revenged himself on
her by being more and more cross and disagreeable. But his temper
amended much, when, a few months after, Drake returned triumphant,
having destroyed a hundred sail in Cadiz alone, taken three great
galleons with immense wealth on board, burnt the small craft all
along the shore, and offered battle to Santa Cruz at the mouth of
the Tagus. After which it is unnecessary to say, that the Armada
was put off for yet another year.
This news, indeed, gave Amyas little comfort; for he merely
observed, grumbling, that Drake had gone and spoiled everybody
else's sport: but what cheered him was news from Drake that Don
Guzman had been heard of from the captain of one of the galleons;
that he was high in favor in Spain, and commandant of soldiers on
board one of the largest of the marquis's ships.
And when Amyas heard that, a terrible joy took possession of him.
When the Armada came, as come it would, he should meet his enemy at
last! He could wait now patiently: if--and he shuddered at
himself, as he found himself in the very act of breathing a prayer
that Don Guzman might not die before that meeting.
In the meanwhile, rumor flew thousand-tongued through the length
and breadth of the land; of vast preparations going on in Spain and
Italy; of timber felled long before for some such purpose, brought
down to the sea, and sawn out for shipbuilding; of casting of
cannon, and drilling of soldiers; of ships in hundreds collecting
at Lisbon; of a crusade preached by Pope Sixtus the Fifth, who had
bestowed the kingdom of England on the Spaniard, to be enjoyed by
him as vassal tributary to Rome; of a million of gold to be paid by
the pope, one-half down at once, the other half when London was
taken; of Cardinal Allen writing and printing busily in the
Netherlands, calling on all good Englishmen to carry out, by
rebelling against Elizabeth, the bull of Sixtus the Fifth, said (I
blush to repeat it) to have been dictated by the Holy Ghost; of
Inquisitors getting ready fetters and devil's engines of all sorts;
of princes and noblemen, flocking from all quarters, gentlemen
selling their private estates to fit out ships; how the Prince of
Melito, the Marquess of Burgrave, Vespasian Gonzaga, John Medicis,
Amadas of Savoy, in short, the illegitimate sons of all the
southern princes, having no lands of their own, were coming to find
that necessary of life in this pleasant little wheat-garden. Nay,
the Duke of Medina Sidonia had already engaged Mount-Edgecombe for
himself, as the fairest jewel of the south; which when good old Sir
Richard Edgecombe heard, he observed quietly, that in 1555 he had
the pleasure of receiving at his table at one time the admirals of
England, Spain, and the Netherlands, and therefore had experience
in entertaining Dons; and made preparations for the visit by
filling his cellars with gunpowder, with a view to a house-warming
and feu-de-joie on the occasion. But as old Fuller says, "The bear
was not yet killed, and Medina Sidonia might have catched a great
cold, had he no other clothes to wear than the skin thereof."
So flew rumor, false and true, till poor John Bull's wits were
well-nigh turned: but to the very last, after his lazy fashion, he
persuaded himself that it would all come right somehow; that it was
too great news to be true; that if it was true, the expedition was
only meant for the Netherlands; and, in short, sat quietly over his
beef and beer for many a day after the French king had sent him
fair warning, and the queen, the ministry, and the admirals had
been assuring him again and again that he, and not the Dutchman,
was the destined prey of this great flight of ravenous birds.
At last the Spaniard, in order that there should be no mistake
about the matter, kindly printed a complete bill of the play, to be
seen still in Van Meteran, for the comfort of all true Catholics,
and confusion of all pestilent heretics; which document, of course,
the seminary priests used to enforce the duty of helping the
invaders, and the certainty of their success; and from their hands
it soon passed into those of the devout ladies, who were not very
likely to keep it to themselves; till John Bull himself found his
daughters buzzing over it with very pale faces (as young ladies
well might who had no wish to follow the fate of the damsels of
Antwerp), and condescending to run his eye through it, discovered,
what all the rest of Europe had known for months past, that he was
in a very great scrape.
Well it was for England, then, that her Tudor sovereigns had
compelled every man (though they kept up no standing army) to be a
trained soldier. Well it was that Elizabeth, even in those
dangerous days of intrigue and rebellion, had trusted her people
enough, not only to leave them their weapons, but (what we,
forsooth, in these more "free" and "liberal" days dare not do) to
teach them how to use them. Well it was, that by careful
legislation for the comfort and employment of "the masses" (term
then, thank God, unknown), she had both won their hearts, and kept
their bodies in fighting order. Well it was that, acting as fully
as Napoleon did on "la carriere ouverte aux talens," she had raised
to the highest posts in her councils, her army, and her navy, men
of business, who had not been ashamed to buy and sell as merchants
and adventurers. Well for England, in a word, that Elizabeth had
pursued for thirty years a very different course from that which we
have been pursuing for the last thirty, with one exception, namely,
the leaving as much as possible to private enterprise.
There we have copied her: would to Heaven that we had in some other
matters! It is the fashion now to call her a despot: but unless
every monarch is to be branded with that epithet whose power is not
as circumscribed as Queen Victoria's is now, we ought rather to
call her the most popular sovereign, obeyed of their own free will
by the freest subjects which England has ever seen; confess the
Armada fight to have been as great a moral triumph as it was a
political one; and (now that our late boasting is a little silenced
by Crimean disasters) inquire whether we have not something to
learn from those old Tudor times, as to how to choose officials,
how to train a people, and how to defend a country.
To return to the thread of my story.
January, 1587-8, had well-nigh run through, before Sir Richard
Grenville made his appearance on the streets of Bideford. He had
been appointed in November one of the council of war for providing
for the safety of the nation, and the West Country had seen nothing
of him since. But one morning, just before Christmas, his stately
figure darkened the old bay-window at Burrough, and Amyas rushed
out to meet him, and bring him in, and ask what news from Court.
"All good news, dear lad, and dearer madam. The queen shows the
spirit of a very Boadicea or Semiramis; ay, a very Scythian
Tomyris, and if she had the Spaniard before her now, would verily,
for aught I know, feast him as the Scythian queen did Cyrus, with
'Satia te sanguine, quod sitisti.'"
"I trust her most merciful spirit is not so changed already," said
"Well, if she would not do it, I would, and ask pardon afterwards,
as Raleigh did about the rascals at Smerwick, whom Amyas knows of.
Mrs. Leigh, these are times in which mercy is cruelty. Not England
alone, but the world, the Bible, the Gospel itself, is at stake;
and we must do terrible things, lest we suffer more terrible ones."
"God will take care of world and Bible better than any cruelty of
ours, dear Sir Richard."
"Nay, but, Mrs. Leigh, we must help Him to take care of them! If
those Smerwick Spaniards had not been--"
"The Spaniard would not have been exasperated into invading us."
"And we should not have had this chance of crushing him once and
for all; but the quarrel is of older standing, madam, eh, Amyas?
Amyas, has Raleigh written to you of late?"
"Not a word, and I wonder why."
"Well; no wonder at that, if you knew how he has been laboring.
The wonder is, whence he got the knowledge wherewith to labor; for
he never saw sea-work to my remembrance."
"Never saw a shot fired by sea, except ours at Smerwick, and that
brush with the Spaniards in 1579, when he sailed for Virginia with
Sir Humphrey; and he was a mere crack then."
"So you consider him as your pupil, eh? But he learnt enough in
the Netherland wars, and in Ireland too, if not of the strength of
ships, yet still of the weakness of land forces; and would you
believe it, the man has twisted the whole council round his finger,
and made them give up the land defences to the naval ones."
"Quite right he, and wooden walls against stone ones for ever! But
as for twisting, he would persuade Satan, if he got him alone for
half an hour."
"I wish he would sail for Spain then, just now, and try the powers
of his tongue," said Mrs. Leigh.
"But are we to have the honor, really?"
"We are, lad. There were many in the council who were for
disputing the landing on shore, and said--which I do not deny--that
the 'prentice boys of London could face the bluest blood in Spain.
But Raleigh argued (following my Lord Burleigh in that) that we
differed from the Low Countries, and all other lands, in that we
had not a castle or town throughout, which would stand a ten days'
siege, and that our ramparts, as he well said, were, after all,
only a body of men. So, he argued, as long as the enemy has power
to land where he will, prevention, rather than cure, is our only
hope; and that belongs to the office, not of an army, but of a
fleet. So the fleet was agreed on, and a fleet we shall have."
"Then here is his health, the health of a true friend to all bold
mariners, and myself in particular! But where is he now?"
"Coming here to-morrow, as I hope--for he left London with me, and
so down by us into Cornwall, to drill the train-bands, as he is
bound to do, being Seneschal of the Duchies and Lieutenant-General
of the county."
"Besides Lord Warden of the Stanneries! How the man thrives!" said
"How the man deserves to thrive!" said Amyas; "but what are we to
"That is the rub. I would fain stay and fight the Spaniards."
"So would I; and will."
"But he has other plans in his head for us."
"We can make our own plans without his help."
"Heyday, Amyas! How long? When did he ask you to do a thing yet
and you refuse him?"
"Not often, certainly; but Spaniards I must fight."
"Well, so must I, boy: but I have given a sort of promise to him,
"Not for me too, I hope?"
"No: he will extract that himself when he comes; you must come and
sup to-morrow, and talk it over."
"Be talked over, rather. What chestnut does the cat want us
monkeys to pull out of the fire for him now, I wonder?"
"Sir Richard Grenville is hardly accustomed to be called a monkey,"
said Mrs. Leigh.
"I meant no harm; and his worship knows it, none better: but where
is Raleigh going to send us, with a murrain?"
"To Virginia. The settlers must have help: and, as I trust in God,
we shall be back again long before this armament can bestir
So Raleigh came, saw, and conquered. Mrs. Leigh consented to
Amyas's going (for his twelve-month would be over ere the fleet
could start) upon so peaceful and useful an errand; and the next
five months were spent in continual labor on the part of Amyas and
Grenville, till seven ships were all but ready in Bideford river,
the admiral whereof was Amyas Leigh.
But that fleet was not destined ever to see the shores of the New
World: it had nobler work to do (if Americans will forgive the
speech) than even settling the United States.
It was in the long June evenings, in the year 1588; Mrs. Leigh sat
in the open window, busy at her needle-work; Ayacanora sat opposite
to her, on the seat of the bay, trying diligently to read "The
History of the Nine Worthies," and stealing a glance every now and
then towards the garden, where Amyas stalked up and down as he had
used to do in happier days gone by. But his brow was contracted
now, his eyes fixed on the ground, as he plodded backwards and
forwards, his hands behind his back, and a huge cigar in his mouth,
the wonder of the little boys of Northam, who peeped in stealthily
as they passed the iron-work gates, to see the back of the famous
fire-breathing captain who had sailed round the world and been in
the country of headless men and flying dragons, and then popped
back their heads suddenly, as he turned toward them in his walk.
And Ayacanora looked, and looked, with no less admiration than the
urchins at the gate: but she got no more of an answering look from
Amyas than they did; for his head was full of calculations of
tonnage and stowage, of salt pork and ale-barrels, and the packing
of tools and seeds; for he had promised Raleigh to do his best for
the new colony, and he was doing it with all his might; so
Ayacanora looked back again to her book, and heaved a deep sigh.
It was answered by one from Mrs. Leigh.
"We are a melancholy pair, sweet chuck," said the fair widow.
"What is my maid sighing about, there?"
"Because I cannot make out the long words," said Ayacanora, telling
a very white fib.
"Is that all? Come to me, and I will tell you."
Ayacanora moved over to her, and sat down at her feet.
"H--e, he, r--o, ro, i--c--a--l, heroical," said Mrs. Leigh.
"But what does that mean?"
"Grand, good, and brave, like--"
Mrs. Leigh was about to have said the name of one who was lost to
her on earth. His fair angelic face hung opposite upon the wall.
She paused unable to pronounce his name; and lifted up her eyes,
and gazed on the portrait, and breathed a prayer between closed
lips, and drooped her head again.
Her pupil caught at the pause, and filled it up for herself--
"Like him?" and she turned her head quickly toward the window.
"Yes, like him, too," said Mrs. Leigh, with a half-smile at the
gesture. "Now, mind your book. Maidens must not look out of the
window in school hours."
"Shall I ever be an English girl?" asked Ayacanora.
"You are one now, sweet; your father was an English gentleman."
Amyas looked in, and saw the two sitting together.
"You seem quite merry there," said he.
"Come in, then, and be merry with us."
He entered, and sat down; while Ayacanora fixed her eyes most
steadfastly on her book.