Part 2 out of 15
forgotten for awhile by all young dames, and most young gentlemen:
and his mother heaved a deep sigh, which Lady Bath overhearing--
"What? in the dumps, good madam, while all are rejoicing in your
joy? Are you afraid that we court-dames shall turn your Adonis's
brain for him?"
"I do, indeed, fear lest your condescension should make him forget
that he is only a poor squire's orphan."
"I will warrant him never to forget aught that he should
recollect," said my Lady Bath.
And she spoke truly. But soon Frank's silver voice was heard
"Room there, good people, for the gallant 'prentice lads!"
And on they came, headed by a giant of buckram and pasteboard
armor, forth of whose stomach looked, like a clock-face in a
steeple, a human visage, to be greeted, as was the fashion then, by
a volley of quips and puns from high and low.
Young Mr. William Cary, of Clovelly, who was the wit of those
parts, opened the fire by asking him whether he were Goliath,
Gogmagog, or Grantorto in the romance; for giants' names always
began with a G. To which the giant's stomach answered pretty
"Mine don't; I begin with an O."
"Then thou criest out before thou art hurt, O cowardly giant!"
"Let me out, lads," quoth the irascible visage, struggling in his
buckram prison, "and I soon show him whether I be a coward."
"Nay, if thou gettest out of thyself, thou wouldst be beside
thyself, and so wert but a mad giant."
"And that were pity," said Lady Bath; "for by the romances, giants
have never overmuch wit to spare."
"Mercy, dear lady!" said Frank, "and let the giant begin with an O."
"A false start, giant! you were to begin with an O."
"I'll make you end with an O, Mr. William Cary!" roared the testy
tower of buckram.
"And so I do, for I end with 'Fico!'"
"Be mollified, sweet giant," said Frank, "and spare the rash youth
of yon foolish knight. Shall elephants catch flies, or Hurlo-
Thrumbo stain his club with brains of Dagonet the jester? Be
mollified; leave thy caverned grumblings, like Etna when its windy
wrath is past, and discourse eloquence from thy central omphalos,
like Pythoness ventriloquizing."
"If you do begin laughing at me too, Mr. Leigh ----" said the
giant's clock-face, in a piteous tone.
"I laugh not. Art thou not Ordulf the earl, and I thy humblest
squire? Speak up, my lord; your cousin, my Lady Bath, commands
And at last the giant began:--
"A giant I, Earl Ordulf men me call,--
'Gainst Paynim foes Devonia's champion tall;
In single fight six thousand Turks I slew;
Pull'd off a lion's head, and ate it too:
With one shrewd blow, to let St. Edward in,
I smote the gates of Exeter in twain;
Till aged grown, by angels warn'd in dream,
I built an abbey fair by Tavy stream.
But treacherous time hath tripped my glories up,
The stanch old hound must yield to stancher pup;
Here's one so tall as I, and twice so bold,
Where I took only cuffs, takes good red gold.
From pole to pole resound his wondrous works,
Who slew more Spaniards than I e'er slew Turks;
I strode across the Tavy stream: but he
Strode round the world and back; and here 'a be!"
"Oh, bathos!" said Lady Bath, while the 'prentices shouted
applause. "Is this hedge-bantling to be fathered on you, Mr.
"It is necessary, by all laws of the drama, madam," said Frank,
with a sly smile, "that the speech and the speaker shall fit each
other. Pass on, Earl Ordulf; a more learned worthy waits."
Whereon, up came a fresh member of the procession; namely, no less
a person than Vindex Brimblecombe, the ancient schoolmaster, with
five-and-forty boys at his heels, who halting, pulled out his
spectacles, and thus signified his forgiveness of his whilom broken
"That the world should have been circumnavigated, ladies and
gentles, were matter enough of jubilation to the student of
Herodotus and Plato, Plinius and ---- ahem! much more when the
circumnavigators are Britons; more, again, when Damnonians."
"Don't swear, master," said young Will Cary.
"Gulielme Cary, Gulielme Cary, hast thou forgotten thy--"
"Whippings? Never, old lad! Go on; but let not the license of the
scholar overtop the modesty of the Christian."
"More again, as I said, when, incolae, inhabitants of Devon; but,
most of all, men of Bideford school. Oh renowned school! Oh
schoolboys ennobled by fellowship with him! Oh most happy
pedagogue, to whom it has befallen to have chastised a
circumnavigator, and, like another Chiron, trained another
Hercules: yet more than Hercules, for he placed his pillars on the
ocean shore, and then returned; but my scholar's voyage--"
"Hark how the old fox is praising himself all along on the sly,"
"Mr. William, Mr. william, peace;--silentium, my graceless pupil.
Urge the foaming steed, and strike terror into the rapid stag, but
meddle not with matters too high for thee."
"He has given you the dor now, sir," said Lady Bath; "let the old
man say his say."
"I bring, therefore, as my small contribution to this day's feast;
first a Latin epigram, as thus--"
"Latin? Let us hear it forthwith," cried my lady.
And the old pedant mouthed out--
"Torriguiam Tamaris ne spernat; Leighius addet
Mox terras terris, inclyte Drake, tuis."
"Neat, i' faith, la!" Whereon all the rest, as in duty bound,
"This for the erudite: for vulgar ears the vernacular is more
consonant, sympathetic, instructive; as thus:--
"Famed Argo ship, that noble chip, by doughty Jason's steering,
Brought back to Greece the golden fleece, from Colchis home careering;
But now her fame is put to shame, while new Devonian Argo,
Round earth doth run in wake of sun, and brings wealthier cargo."
"Runs with a right fa-lal-la," observed Cary; "and would go nobly
to a fiddle and a big drum."
"Ye Spaniards, quake! our doughty Drake a royal swan is tested,
On wing and oar, from shore to shore, the raging main who breasted:--
But never needs to chant his deeds, like swan that lies a-dying,
So far his name, by trump of fame, around the sphere is flying."
"Hillo ho! schoolmaster!" shouted a voice from behind; "move on,
and make way for Father Neptune!" Whereon a whole storm of
raillery fell upon the hapless pedagogue.
"We waited for the parson's alligator, but we wain't for yourn."
"Allegory! my children, allegory!" shrieked the man of letters.
"What do ye call he an alligator for? He is but a poor little
"Out of the road, old Custis! March on, Don Palmado!"
These allusions to the usual instrument of torture in West-country
schools made the old gentleman wince; especially when they were
followed home by--
"Who stole Admiral Grenville's brooms, because birch rods were
But proudly he shook his bald head, as a bull shakes off the flies,
and returned to the charge once more.
"Great Alexander, famed commander, wept and made a pother,
At conquering only half the world, but Drake had conquer'd t'other;
And Hercules to brink of seas!--"
And clapping both hands to the back of his neck, the schoolmaster
began dancing frantically about, while his boys broke out
tittering, "O! the ochidore! look to the blue ochidore! Who've put
ochidore to maister's poll!"
It was too true: neatly inserted, as he stooped forward, between
his neck and his collar, was a large live shore-crab, holding on
tight with both hands.
"Gentles! good Christians! save me! I am mare-rode! Incubo, vel
ab incubo, opprimor! Satanas has me by the poll! Help! he tears
my jugular; he wrings my neck, as he does to Dr. Faustus in the
play. Confiteor!--I confess! Satan, I defy thee! Good people, I
confess! [Greek text]! The truth will out. Mr. Francis Leigh
wrote the epigram!" And diving through the crowd, the pedagogue
vanished howling, while Father Neptune, crowned with sea-weeds, a
trident in one hand, and a live dog-fish in the other, swaggered up
the street surrounded by a tall bodyguard of mariners, and followed
by a great banner, on which was depicted a globe, with Drake's ship
sailing thereon upside down, and overwritten--
"See every man the Pelican,
Which round the world did go,
While her stern-post was uppermost,
And topmasts down below.
And by the way she lost a day,
Out of her log was stole:
But Neptune kind, with favoring wind,
Hath brought her safe and whole."
"Now, lads!" cried Neptune; "hand me my parable that's writ for me,
and here goeth!"
And at the top of his bull-voice, he began roaring--
"I am King Neptune bold,
The ruler of the seas
I don't understand much singing upon land,
But I hope what I say will please.
"Here be five Bideford men,
Which have sail'd the world around,
And I watch'd them well, as they all can tell,
And brought them home safe and sound.
"For it is the men of Devon.
To see them I take delight,
Both to tack and to hull, and to heave and to pull,
And to prove themselves in fight.
"Where be those Spaniards proud,
That make their valiant boasts;
And think for to keep the poor Indians for their sheep,
And to farm my golden coasts?
"'Twas the devil and the Pope gave them
My kingdom for their own:
But my nephew Francis Drake, he caused them to quake,
And he pick'd them to the bone.
"For the sea my realm it is,
As good Queen Bess's is the land;
So freely come again, all merry Devon men,
And there's old Neptune's hand."
"Holla, boys! holla! Blow up, Triton, and bring forward the
freedom of the seas."
Triton, roaring through a conch, brought forward a cockle-shell
full of salt-water, and delivered it solemnly to Amyas, who, of
course, put a noble into it, and returned it after Grenville had
done the same.
"Holla, Dick Admiral!" cried neptune, who was pretty far gone in
liquor; "we knew thou hadst a right English heart in thee, for all
thou standest there as taut as a Don who has swallowed his rapier."
"Grammercy, stop thy bellowing, fellow, and on; for thou smellest
vilely of fish."
"Everything smells sweet in its right place. I'm going home."
"I thought thou wert there all along, being already half-seas
over," said Cary.
"Ay, right Upsee-Dutch; and that's more than thou ever wilt be,
thou 'long-shore stay-at-home. Why wast making sheep's eyes at
Mistress Salterne here, while my pretty little chuck of Burrough
there was playing at shove-groat with Spanish doubloons?"
"Go to the devil, sirrah!" said Cary. Neptune had touched on a
sore subject; and more cheeks than Amyas Leigh's reddened at the
"Amen, if Heaven so please!" and on rolled the monarch of the seas;
and so the pageant ended.
The moment Amyas had an opportunity, he asked his brother Frank,
somewhat peevishly, where Rose Salterne was.
"What! the mayor's daughter? With her uncle by Kilkhampton, I
Now cunning Master Frank, whose daily wish was to "seek peace and
ensue it," told Amyas this, because he must needs speak the truth:
but he was purposed at the same time to speak as little truth as he
could, for fear of accidents; and, therefore, omitted to tell his
brother how that he, two days before, had entreated Rose Salterne
herself to appear as the nymph of Torridge; which honor she, who
had no objection either to exhibit her pretty face, to recite
pretty poetry, or to be trained thereto by the cynosure of North
Devon, would have assented willingly, but that her father stopped
the pretty project by a peremptory countermove, and packed her off,
in spite of her tears, to the said uncle on the Atlantic cliffs;
after which he went up to Burrough, and laughed over the whole
matter with Mrs. Leigh.
"I am but a burgher, Mrs. Leigh, and you a lady of blood; but I am
too proud to let any man say that Simon Salterne threw his daughter
at your son's head;--no; not if you were an empress!"
"And to speak truth, Mr. Salterne, there are young gallants enough
in the country quarrelling about her pretty face every day, without
making her a tourney-queen to tilt about."
Which was very true; for during the three years of Amyas's absence,
Rose Salterne had grown into so beautiful a girl of eighteen, that
half North Devon was mad about the "Rose of Torridge," as she was
called; and there was not a young gallant for ten miles round (not
to speak of her father's clerks and 'prentices, who moped about
after her like so many Malvolios, and treasured up the very parings
of her nails) who would not have gone to Jerusalem to win her. So
that all along the vales of Torridge and of Taw, and even away to
Clovelly (for young Mr. Cary was one of the sick), not a gay
bachelor but was frowning on his fellows, and vying with them in
the fashion of his clothes, the set of his ruffs, the harness of
his horse, the carriage of his hawks, the pattern of his sword-
hilt; and those were golden days for all tailors and armorers, from
Exmoor to Okehampton town. But of all those foolish young lads not
one would speak to the other, either out hunting, or at the archery
butts, or in the tilt-yard; and my Lady Bath (who confessed that
there was no use in bringing out her daughters where Rose Salterne
was in the way) prophesied in her classical fashion that Rose's
wedding bid fair to be a very bridal of Atalanta, and feast of the
Lapithae; and poor Mr. Will Cary (who always blurted out the
truth), when old Salterne once asked him angrily in Bideford
Market, "What a plague business had he making sheep's eyes at his
daughter?" broke out before all bystanders, "And what a plague
business had you, old boy, to throw such an apple of discord into
our merry meetings hereabouts? If you choose to have such a
daughter, you must take the consequences, and be hanged to you."
To which Mr. Salterne answered with some truth, "That she was none
of his choosing, nor of Mr. Cary's neither." And so the dor being
given, the belligerents parted laughing, but the war remained in
statu quo; and not a week passed but, by mysterious hands, some
nosegay, or languishing sonnet, was conveyed into The Rose's
chamber, all which she stowed away, with the simplicity of a
country girl, finding it mighty pleasant; and took all compliments
quietly enough, probably because, on the authority of her mirror,
she considered them no more than her due.
And now, to add to the general confusion, home was come young Amyas
Leigh, more desperately in love with her than ever. For, as is the
way with sailors (who after all are the truest lovers, as they are
the finest fellows, God bless them, upon earth), his lonely ship-
watches had been spent in imprinting on his imagination, month
after month, year after year, every feature and gesture and tone of
the fair lass whom he had left behind him; and that all the more
intensely, because, beside his mother, he had no one else to think
of, and was as pure as the day he was born, having been trained as
many a brave young man was then, to look upon profligacy not as a
proof of manhood, but as what the old Germans, and those Gortyneans
who crowned the offender with wool, knew it to be, a cowardly and
OF TWO GENTLEMEN OF WALES, AND HOW THEY HUNTED WITH THE HOUNDS, AND
YET RAN WITH THE DEER
"I know that Deformed; he has been a vile thief this seven years;
he goes up and down like a gentleman: I remember his name."--Much
Ado About Nothing.
Amyas slept that night a tired and yet a troubled sleep; and his
mother and Frank, as they bent over his pillow, could see that his
brain was busy with many dreams.
And no wonder; for over and above all the excitement of the day,
the recollection of John Oxenham had taken strange possession of
his mind; and all that evening, as he sat in the bay-windowed room
where he had seen him last, Amyas was recalling to himself every
look and gesture of the lost adventurer, and wondering at himself
for so doing, till he retired to sleep, only to renew the fancy in
his dreams. At last he found himself, he knew not how, sailing
westward ever, up the wake of the setting sun, in chase of a tiny
sail which was John Oxenham's. Upon him was a painful sense that,
unless he came up with her in time, something fearful would come to
pass; but the ship would not sail. All around floated the sargasso
beds, clogging her bows with their long snaky coils of weed; and
still he tried to sail, and tried to fancy that he was sailing,
till the sun went down and all was utter dark. And then the moon
arose, and in a moment John Oxenham's ship was close aboard; her
sails were torn and fluttering; the pitch was streaming from her
sides; her bulwarks were rotting to decay. And what was that line
of dark objects dangling along the mainyard?--A line of hanged men!
And, horror of horrors, from the yard-arm close above him, John
Oxenham's corpse looked down with grave-light eyes, and beckoned
and pointed, as if to show him his way, and strove to speak, and
could not, and pointed still, not forward, but back along their
course. And when Amyas looked back, behold, behind him was the
snow range of the Andes glittering in the moon, and he knew that he
was in the South Seas once more, and that all America was between
him and home. And still the corpse kept pointing back, and back,
and looking at him with yearning eyes of agony, and lips which
longed to tell some awful secret; till he sprang up, and woke with
a shout of terror, and found himself lying in the little coved
chamber in dear old Burrough, with the gray autumn morning already
Feverish and excited, he tried in vain to sleep again; and after an
hour's tossing, rose and dressed, and started for a bathe on his
beloved old pebble ridge. As he passed his mother's door, he could
not help looking in. The dim light of morning showed him the bed;
but its pillow had not been pressed that night. His mother, in her
long white night-dress, was kneeling at the other end of the
chamber at her prie-dieu, absorbed in devotion. Gently he slipped
in without a word, and knelt down at her side. She turned, smiled,
passed her arm around him, and went on silently with her prayers.
Why not? They were for him, and he knew it, and prayed also; and
his prayers were for her, and for poor lost John Oxenham, and all
his vanished crew.
At last she rose, and standing above him, parted the yellow locks
from off his brow, and looked long and lovingly into his face.
There was nothing to be spoken, for there was nothing to be
concealed between these two souls as clear as glass. Each knew all
which the other meant; each knew that its own thoughts were known.
At last the mutual gaze was over; she stooped and kissed him on the
brow, and was in the act to turn away, as a tear dropped on his
forehead. Her little bare feet were peeping out from under her
dress. He bent down and kissed them again and again; and then
looking up, as if to excuse himself,--
"You have such pretty feet, mother!"
Instantly, with a woman's instinct, she had hidden them. She had
been a beauty once, as I said; and though her hair was gray, and
her roses had faded long ago, she was beautiful still, in all eyes
which saw deeper than the mere outward red and white.
"Your dear father used to say so thirty years ago."
"And I say so still: you always were beautiful; you are beautiful
"What is that to you, silly boy? Will you play the lover with an
old mother? Go and take your walk, and think of younger ladies, if
you can find any worthy of you."
And so the son went forth, and the mother returned to her prayers.
He walked down to the pebble ridge, where the surges of the bay
have defeated their own fury, by rolling up in the course of ages a
rampart of gray boulder-stones, some two miles long, as cunningly
curved, and smoothed, and fitted, as if the work had been done by
human hands, which protects from the high tides of spring and
autumn a fertile sheet of smooth, alluvial turf. Sniffing the keen
salt air like a young sea-dog, he stripped and plunged into the
breakers, and dived, and rolled, and tossed about the foam with
stalwart arms, till he heard himself hailed from off the shore, and
looking up, saw standing on the top of the rampart the tall figure
of his cousin Eustace.
Amyas was half-disappointed at his coming; for, love-lorn rascal,
he had been dreaming all the way thither of Rose Salterne, and had
no wish for a companion who would prevent his dreaming of her all
the way back. Nevertheless, not having seen Eustace for three
years, it was but civil to scramble out and dress, while his cousin
walked up and down upon the turf inside.
Eustace Leigh was the son of a younger brother of Leigh of
Burrough, who had more or less cut himself off from his family, and
indeed from his countrymen, by remaining a Papist. True, though
born a Papist, he had not always been one; for, like many of the
gentry, he had become a Protestant under Edward the Sixth, and then
a Papist again under Mary. But, to his honor be it said, at that
point he had stopped, having too much honesty to turn Protestant a
second time, as hundreds did, at Elizabeth's accession. So a
Papist he remained, living out of the way of the world in a great,
rambling, dark house, still called "Chapel," on the Atlantic
cliffs, in Moorwinstow parish, not far from Sir Richard Grenville's
house of Stow. The penal laws never troubled him; for, in the
first place, they never troubled any one who did not make
conspiracy and rebellion an integral doctrine of his religious
creed; and next, they seldom troubled even them, unless, fired with
the glory of martyrdom, they bullied the long-suffering of
Elizabeth and her council into giving them their deserts, and, like
poor Father Southwell in after years, insisted on being hanged,
whether Burleigh liked or not. Moreover, in such a no-man's-land
and end-of-all-the-earth was that old house at Moorwinstow, that a
dozen conspiracies might have been hatched there without any one
hearing of it; and Jesuits and seminary priests skulked in and out
all the year round, unquestioned though unblest; and found a sort
of piquant pleasure, like naughty boys who have crept into the
store-closet, in living in mysterious little dens in a lonely
turret, and going up through a trap-door to celebrate mass in a
secret chamber in the roof, where they were allowed by the powers
that were to play as much as they chose at persecuted saints, and
preach about hiding in dens and caves of the earth. For once, when
the zealous parson of Moorwinstow, having discovered (what
everybody knew already) the existence of "mass priests and their
idolatry" at Chapel House, made formal complaint thereof to Sir
Richard, and called on him, as the nearest justice of the peace, to
put in force the act of the fourteenth of Elizabeth, that worthy
knight only rated him soundly for a fantastical Puritan, and bade
him mind his own business, if he wished not to make the place too
hot for him; whereon (for the temporal authorities, happily for the
peace of England, kept in those days a somewhat tight hand upon the
spiritual ones) the worthy parson subsided,--for, after all, Mr.
Thomas Leigh paid his tithes regularly enough,--and was content, as
he expressed it, to bow his head in the house of Rimmon like Naaman
of old, by eating Mr. Leigh's dinners as often as he was invited,
and ignoring the vocation of old Father Francis, who sat opposite
to him, dressed as a layman, and calling himself the young
But the said birds of ill-omen had a very considerable lien on the
conscience of poor Mr. Thomas Leigh, the father of Eustace, in the
form of certain lands once belonging to the Abbey of Hartland. He
more than half believed that he should be lost for holding those
lands; but he did not believe it wholly, and, therefore, he did not
give them up; which was the case, as poor Mary Tudor found to her
sorrow, with most of her "Catholic" subjects, whose consciences,
while they compelled them to return to the only safe fold of Mother
Church (extra quam nulla salus), by no means compelled them to
disgorge the wealth of which they had plundered that only hope of
their salvation. Most of them, however, like poor Tom Leigh, felt
the abbey rents burn in their purses; and, as John Bull generally
does in a difficulty, compromised the matter by a second folly (as
if two wrong things made one right one), and petted foreign
priests, and listened, or pretended not to listen, to their
plottings and their practisings; and gave up a son here, and a son
there, as a sort of a sin-offering and scapegoat, to be carried off
to Douay, or Rheims, or Rome, and trained as a seminary priest; in
plain English, to be taught the science of villainy, on the motive
of superstition. One of such hapless scapegoats, and children who
had been cast into the fire to Moloch, was Eustace Leigh, whom his
father had sent, giving the fruit of his body for the sin of his
soul, to be made a liar of at Rheims.
And a very fair liar he had become. Not that the lad was a bad
fellow at heart; but he had been chosen by the harpies at home, on
account of his "peculiar vocation;" in plain English, because the
wily priests had seen in him certain capacities of vague hysterical
fear of the unseen (the religious sentiment, we call it now-a-
days), and with them that tendency to be a rogue, which
superstitious men always have. He was now a tall, handsome, light-
complexioned man, with a huge upright forehead, a very small mouth,
and a dry and set expression of face, which was always trying to
get free, or rather to seem free, and indulge in smiles and dimples
which were proper; for one ought to have Christian love, and if one
had love one ought to be cheerful, and when people were cheerful
they smiled; and therefore he would smile, and tried to do so; but
his charity prepense looked no more alluring than malice prepense
would have done; and, had he not been really a handsome fellow,
many a woman who raved about his sweetness would have likened his
frankness to that of a skeleton dancing in fetters, and his smiles
to the grins thereof.
He had returned to England about a month before, in obedience to
the proclamation which had been set forth for that purpose (and
certainly not before it was needed), that, "whosoever had children,
wards, etc., in the parts beyond the seas, should send in their
names to the ordinary, and within four months call them home
again." So Eustace was now staying with his father at Chapel,
having, nevertheless, his private matters to transact on behalf of
the virtuous society by whom he had been brought up; one of which
private matters had brought him to Bideford the night before.
So he sat down beside Amyas on the pebbles, and looked at him all
over out of the corners of his eyes very gently, as if he did not
wish to hurt him, or even the flies on his back; and Amyas faced
right round, and looked him full in the face. with the heartiest
of smiles, and held out a lion's paw, which Eustace took
rapturously, and a great shaking of hands ensued; Amyas gripping
with a great round fist, and a quiet quiver thereof, as much as to
say, "I AM glad to see you;" and Eustace pinching hard with white,
straight fingers, and sawing the air violently up and down, as much
as to say, "DON'T YOU SEE how glad I am to see you?" A very
different greeting from the former.
"Hold hard, old lad," said Amyas, "before you break my elbow. And
where do you come from?"
"From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down
in it," said he, with a little smile and nod of mysterious self-
"Like the devil, eh? Well, every man has his pattern. How is my
Now, if there was one man on earth above another, of whom Eustace
Leigh stood in dread, it was his cousin Amyas. In the first place,
he knew Amyas could have killed him with a blow; and there are
natures, who, instead of rejoicing in the strength of men of
greater prowess than themselves, look at such with irritation,
dread, at last, spite; expecting, perhaps, that the stronger will
do to them what they feel they might have done in his place. Every
one, perhaps, has the same envious, cowardly devil haunting about
his heart; but the brave men, though they be very sparrows, kick
him out; the cowards keep him, and foster him; and so did poor
Next, he could not help feeling that Amyas despised him. They had
not met for three years; but before Amyas went, Eustace never could
argue with him, simply because Amyas treated him as beneath
argument. No doubt he was often rude and unfair enough; but the
whole mass of questions concerning the unseen world, which the
priests had stimulated in his cousin's mind into an unhealthy
fungus crop, were to Amyas simply, as he expressed it, "wind and
moonshine;" and he treated his cousin as a sort of harmless
lunatic, and, as they say in Devon, "half-baked." And Eustace knew
it; and knew, too, that his cousin did him an injustice. "He used
to undervalue me," said he to himself; "let us see whether he does
not find me a match for him now." And then went off into an agony
of secret contrition for his self-seeking and his forgetting that
"the glory of God, and not his own exaltation," was the object of
There, dear readers, Ex pede Herculem; I cannot tire myself or you
(especially in this book) with any wire-drawn soul-dissections. I
have tried to hint to you two opposite sorts of men,--the one
trying to be good with all his might and main, according to certain
approved methods and rules, which he has got by heart, and like a
weak oarsman, feeling and fingering his spiritual muscles over all
day, to see if they are growing; the other not even knowing whether
he is good or not, but just doing the right thing without thinking
about it, as simply as a little child, because the Spirit of God is
with him. If you cannot see the great gulf fixed between the two,
I trust that you will discover it some day.
But in justice be it said, all this came upon Eustace, not because
he was a Romanist, but because he was educated by the Jesuits. Had
he been saved from them, he might have lived and died as simple and
honest a gentleman as his brothers, who turned out like true
Englishmen (as did all the Romish laity) to face the great Armada,
and one of whom was fighting at that very minute under St. Leger in
Ireland, and as brave and loyal a soldier as those Roman Catholics
whose noble blood has stained every Crimean battlefield; but his
fate was appointed otherwise; and the Upas-shadow which has
blighted the whole Romish Church, blighted him also.
"Ah, my dearest cousin!" said Eustace, "how disappointed I was this
morning at finding I had arrived just a day too late to witness
your triumph! But I hastened to your home as soon as I could, and
learning from your mother that I should find you here, hurried down
to bid you welcome again to Devon."
"Well, old lad, it does look very natural to see you. I often used
to think of you walking the deck o' nights. Uncle and the girls
are all right, then? But is the old pony dead yet? And how's Dick
the smith, and Nancy? Grown a fine maid by now, I warrant. 'Slid,
it seems half a life that I've been away.
"And you really thought of your poor cousin? Be sure that he, too,
thought of you, and offered up nightly his weak prayers for your
safety (doubtless, not without avail) to those saints, to whom
would that you--"
"Halt there, coz. If they are half as good fellows as you and I
take them for, they'll help me without asking."
"They have helped you, Amyas."
"Maybe; I'd have done as much, I'm sure, for them, if I 'd been in
"And do you not feel, then, that you owe a debt of gratitude to
them; and, above all, to her, whose intercessions have, I doubt
not, availed for your preservation? Her, the star of the sea, the
all-compassionate guide of the mariner?"
"Humph!" said Amyas. "Here's Frank; let him answer."
And, as he spoke, up came Frank, and after due greetings, sat down
beside them on the ridge.
"I say, brother, here's Eustace trying already to convert me; and
telling me that I owe all my luck to the Blessed Virgin's prayers
"It may be so," said Frank; "at least you owe it to the prayers of
that most pure and peerless virgin by whose commands you sailed;
the sweet incense of whose orisons has gone up for you daily, and
for whose sake you were preserved from flood and foe, that you
might spread the fame and advance the power of the spotless
championess of truth, and right, and freedom,--Elizabeth, your
Amyas answered this rhapsody, which would have been then both
fashionable and sincere, by a loyal chuckle. Eustace smiled
meekly, but answered somewhat venomously nevertheless--
"I, at least, am certain that I speak the truth, when I call my
patroness a virgin undefiled."
Both the brothers' brows clouded at once. Amyas, as he lay on his
back on the pebbles, said quietly to the gulls over his head--"I
wonder what the Frenchman whose head I cut off at the Azores,
thinks by now about all that."
"Cut off a Frenchman's head?" said Frank.
"Yes, faith; and so fleshed my maiden sword. I'll tell you. It
was in some tavern; I and George Drake had gone in, and there sat
this Frenchman, with his sword on the table, ready for a quarrel (I
found afterwards he was a noted bully), and begins with us loudly
enough about this and that; but, after awhile, by the instigation
of the devil, what does he vent but a dozen slanders against her
majesty's honor, one atop of the other? I was ashamed to hear
them, and I should be more ashamed to repeat them."
"I have heard enough of such," said Frank. "They come mostly
through lewd rascals about the French ambassador, who have been
bred (God help them) among the filthy vices of that Medicean Court
in which the Queen of Scots had her schooling; and can only
perceive in a virtuous freedom a cloak for licentiousness like
their own. Let the curs bark; Honi soit qui mal y pense is our
motto, and shall be forever."
"But I didn't let the cur bark; for I took him by the ears, to show
him out into the street. Whereon he got to his sword, and I to
mine; and a very near chance I had of never bathing on the pebble
ridge more; for the fellow did not fight with edge and buckler,
like a Christian, but had some newfangled French devil's device of
scryming and foining with his point, ha'ing and stamping, and
tracing at me, that I expected to be full of eyelet holes ere I
could close with him."
"Thank God that you are safe, then!" said Frank. "I know that play
well enough, and dangerous enough it is."
"Of course you know it; but I didn't, more's the pity."
"Well, I'll teach it thee, lad, as well as Rowland Yorke himself,
'Thy fincture, carricade, and sly passata,
Thy stramazon, and resolute stoccata,
Wiping maudritta, closing embrocata,
And all the cant of the honorable fencing mystery.'"
"Rowland Yorke? Who's he, then?"
"A very roystering rascal, who is making good profit in London just
now by teaching this very art of fence; and is as likely to have
his mortal thread clipt in a tavern brawl, as thy Frenchman. But
how did you escape his pinking iron?"
"How? Had it through my left arm before I could look round; and at
that I got mad, and leapt upon him, and caught him by the wrist,
and then had a fair side-blow; and, as fortune would have it, off
tumbled his head on to the table, and there was an end of his
"So perish all her enemies!" said Frank; and Eustace, who had been
trying not to listen, rose and said--
"I trust that you do not number me among them?"
"As you speak, I do, coz," said Frank. "But for your own sake, let
me advise you to put faith in the true report of those who have
daily experience of their mistress's excellent virtue, as they have
of the sun's shining, and of the earth's bringing forth fruit, and
not in the tattle of a few cowardly back-stair rogues, who wish to
curry favor with the Guises. Come, we will say no more. Walk
round with us by Appledore, and then home to breakfast."
But Eustace declined, having immediate business, he said, in
Northam town, and then in Bideford; and so left them to lounge for
another half-hour on the beach, and then walk across the smooth
sheet of turf to the little white fishing village, which stands
some two miles above the bar, at the meeting of the Torridge and
Now it came to pass, that Eustace Leigh, as we have seen, told his
cousins that he was going to Northam: but he did not tell them that
his point was really the same as their own, namely, Appledore; and,
therefore, after having satisfied his conscience by going as far as
the very nearest house in Northam village, he struck away sharp to
the left across the fields, repeating I know not what to the
Blessed Virgin all the way; whereby he went several miles out of
his road; and also, as is the wont of crooked spirits, Jesuits
especially (as three centuries sufficiently testify), only
outwitted himself. For his cousins going merrily, like honest men,
along the straight road across the turf, arrived in Appledore,
opposite the little "Mariner's Rest" Inn, just in time to see what
Eustace had taken so much trouble to hide from them, namely, four
of Mr. Thomas Leigh's horses standing at the door, held by his
groom, saddles and mail-bags on back, and mounting three of them,
Eustace Leigh and two strange gentlemen.
"There's one lie already this morning," growled Amyas; "he told us
he was going to Northam."
"And we do not know that he has not been there," blandly suggested
"Why, you are as bad a Jesuit as he, to help him out with such a
"He may have changed his mind."
"Bless your pure imagination, my sweet boy," said Amyas, laying his
great hand on Frank's head, and mimicking his mother's manner. "I
say, dear Frank, let's step into this shop and buy a penny-worth of
"What do you want with whipcord, man?"
"To spin my top, to be sure."
"Top? how long hast had a top?"
"I'll buy one, then, and save my conscience; but the upshot of this
sport I must see. Why may not I have an excuse ready made as well
as Master Eustace?"
So saying, he pulled Frank into the little shop, unobserved by the
party at the inn-door.
"What strange cattle has he been importing now? Look at that
three-legged fellow, trying to get aloft on the wrong side. How he
claws at his horse's ribs, like a cat scratching an elder stem!"
The three-legged man was a tall, meek-looking person, who had
bedizened himself with gorgeous garments, a great feather, and a
sword so long and broad, that it differed little in size from the
very thin and stiff shanks between which it wandered uncomfortably.
"Young David in Saul's weapons," said Frank. "He had better not go
in them, for he certainly has not proved them."
"Look, if his third leg is not turned into a tail! Why does not
some one in charity haul in half-a-yard of his belt for him?"
It was too true; the sword, after being kicked out three or four
times from its uncomfortable post between his legs, had returned
unconquered; and the hilt getting a little too far back by reason
of the too great length of the belt, the weapon took up its post
triumphantly behind, standing out point in air, a tail confest,
amid the tittering of the ostlers, and the cheers of the sailors.
At last the poor man, by dint of a chair, was mounted safely, while
his fellow-stranger, a burly, coarse-looking man, equally gay, and
rather more handy, made so fierce a rush at his saddle, that, like
"vaulting ambition who o'erleaps his selle," he "fell on t'other
side:" or would have fallen, had he not been brought up short by
the shoulders of the ostler at his off-stirrup. In which shock off
came hat and feather.
"Pardie, the bulldog-faced one is a fighting man. Dost see, Frank?
he has had his head broken."
"That scar came not, my son, but by a pair of most Catholic and
apostolic scissors. My gentle buzzard, that is a priest's
"Hang the dog! O, that the sailors may but see it, and put him
over the quay head. I've a half mind to go and do it myself."
"My dear Amyas," said Frank, laying two fingers on his arm, "these
men, whosoever they are, are the guests of our uncle, and therefore
the guests of our family. Ham gained little by publishing Noah's
shame; neither shall we, by publishing our uncle's."
"Murrain on you, old Franky, you never let a man speak his mind,
and shame the devil."
"I have lived long enough in courts, old Amyas, without a murrain
on you, to have found out, first, that it is not so easy to shame
the devil; and secondly, that it is better to outwit him; and the
only way to do that, sweet chuck, is very often not to speak your
mind at all. We will go down and visit them at Chapel in a day or
two, and see if we cannot serve these reynards as the badger did
the fox, when he found him in his hole, and could not get him out
by evil savors."
"Stuck a sweet nosegay in the door, which turned reynard's stomach
at once; and so overcame evil with good."
"Well, thou art too good for this world, that's certain; so we will
go home to breakfast. Those rogues are out of sight by now."
Nevertheless, Amyas was not proof against the temptation of going
over to the inn-door, and asking who were the gentlemen who went
with Mr. Leigh
"Gentlemen of Wales," said the ostler, "who came last night in a
pinnace from Milford-haven, and their names, Mr. Morgan Evans and
Mr. Evan Morgans."
Mr. Judas Iscariot and Mr. Iscariot Judas," said Amyas between his
teeth, and then observed aloud, that the Welsh gentlemen seemed
rather poor horsemen.
"So I said to Mr. Leigh's groom, your worship. But he says that
those parts be so uncommon rough and mountainous, that the poor
gentlemen, you see, being enforced to hunt on foot, have no such
opportunities as young gentlemen hereabout, like your worship; whom
God preserve, and send a virtuous lady, and one worthy of you."
"Thou hast a villainously glib tongue, fellow!" said Amyas, who was
thoroughly out of humor; "and a sneaking down visage too, when I
come to look at you. I doubt but you are a Papist too, I do!"
"Well, sir! and what if I am! I trust I don't break the queen's
laws by that. If I don't attend Northam church, I pay my month's
shilling for the use of the poor, as the act directs; and beyond
that, neither you nor any man dare demand of me."
"Dare! act directs! You rascally lawyer, you! and whence does an
ostler like you get your shilling to pay withal? Answer me." The
examinate found it so difficult to answer the question, that he
suddenly became afflicted with deafness.
"Do you hear?" roared Amyas, catching at him with his lion's paw.
"Yes, missus; anon, anon, missus!" quoth he to an imaginary
landlady inside, and twisting under Amyas's hand like an eel,
vanished into the house, while Frank got the hot-headed youth away.
"What a plague is one to do, then? That fellow was a Papist spy!"
"Of course he was!" said Frank.
"Then, what is one to do, if the whole country is full of them?"
"Not to make fools of ourselves about them, and so leave them to
make fools of themselves."
"That's all very fine: but--well, I shall remember the villain's
face if I see him again."
"There is no harm in that," said Frank.
"Glad you think so."
"Don't quarrel with me, Amyas, the first day."
"Quarrel with thee, my darling old fellow! I had sooner kiss the
dust off thy feet, if I were worthy of it. So now away home; my
inside cries cupboard."
In the meanwhile Messrs. Evans and Morgans were riding away, as
fast as the rough by-lanes would let them, along the fresh coast of
the bay, steering carefully clear of Northam town on the one hand,
and on the other, of Portledge, where dwelt that most Protestant
justice of the peace, Mr. Coffin. And it was well for them that
neither Amyas Leigh, nor indeed any other loyal Englishman, was by
when they entered, as they shortly did, the lonely woods which
stretch along the southern wall of the bay. For there Eustace
Leigh pulled up short; and both he and his groom, leaping from
their horses, knelt down humbly in the wet grass, and implored the
blessing of the two valiant gentlemen of Wales, who, having
graciously bestowed it with three fingers apiece, became
thenceforth no longer Morgan Evans and Evan Morgans, Welshmen and
gentlemen; but Father Parsons and Father Gampian, Jesuits, and
gentlemen in no sense in which that word is applied in this book.
After a few minutes, the party were again in motion, ambling
steadily and cautiously along the high table-land, towards
Moorwinstow in the west; while beneath them on the right, at the
mouth of rich-wooded glens, opened vistas of the bright blue bay,
and beyond it the sandhills of Braunton, and the ragged rocks of
Morte; while far away to the north and west the lonely isle of
Lundy hung like a soft gray cloud.
But they were not destined to reach their point as peaceably as
they could have wished. For just as they got opposite Clovelly
dike, the huge old Roman encampment which stands about midway in
their journey, they heard a halloo from the valley below, answered
by a fainter one far ahead. At which, like a couple of rogues (as
indeed they were), Father Campian and Father Parsons looked at each
other, and then both stared round at the wild, desolate, open
pasture (for the country was then all unenclosed), and the great
dark furze-grown banks above their heads; and Campian remarked
gently to Parsons, that this was a very dreary spot, and likely
enough for robbers.
"A likelier spot for us, Father," said Eustace, punning. "The old
Romans knew what they were about when they put their legions up
aloft here to overlook land and sea for miles away; and we may
thank them some day for their leavings. The banks are all sound;
there is plenty of good water inside; and" (added he in Latin), "in
case our Spanish friends--you understand?"
"Pauca verba, my son!" said Campian: but as he spoke, up from the
ditch close beside him, as if rising out of the earth, burst
through the furze-bushes an armed cavalier.
"Pardon, gentlemen!" shouted he, as the Jesuit and his horse
recoiled against the groom. "Stand, for your lives!"
"Mater caelorum!" moaned Campian; while Parsons, who, as all the
world knows, was a blustering bully enough (at least with his
tongue), asked: What a murrain right had he to stop honest folks on
the queen's highway? confirming the same with a mighty oath, which
he set down as peccatum veniale, on account of the sudden
necessity; nay, indeed fraus pia, as proper to support the
character of that valiant gentleman of Wales, Mr. Evan Morgans.
But the horseman, taking no notice of his hint, dashed across the
nose of Eustace Leigh's horse, with a "Hillo, old lad! where ridest
so early?" and peering down for a moment into the ruts of the
narrow track-way, struck spurs into his horse, shouting, "A fresh
slot! right away for Hartland! Forward, gentlemen all! follow,
"Who is this roysterer?" asked Parsons, loftily.
"Will Cary, of Clovelly; an awful heretic: and here come more
And as he spoke four or five more mounted gallants plunged in and
out of the great dikes, and thundered on behind the party; whose
horses, quite understanding what game was up, burst into full
gallop, neighing and squealing; and in another minute the hapless
Jesuits were hurling along over moor and moss after a "hart of
Parsons, who, though a vulgar bully, was no coward, supported the
character of Mr. Evan Morgans well enough; and he would have really
enjoyed himself, had he not been in agonies of fear lest those
precious saddle-bags in front of him should break from their
lashings, and rolling to the earth, expose to the hoofs of heretic
horses, perhaps to the gaze of heretic eyes, such a cargo of bulls,
dispensations, secret correspondences, seditious tracts, and so
forth, that at the very thought of their being seen, his head felt
loose upon his shoulders. But the future martyr behind him, Mr.
Morgan Evans, gave himself up at once to abject despair, and as he
bumped and rolled along, sought vainly for comfort in professional
ejaculations in the Latin tongue.
"Mater intemerata! Eripe me e--Ugh! I am down! Adhaesit
pavimento venter!--No! I am not! El dilectum tuum e potestate
canis--Ah! Audisti me inter cornua unicornium! Put this, too, down
in--ugh!--thy account in favor of my poor--oh, sharpness of this
saddle! Oh, whither, barbarous islanders!"
Now riding on his quarter, not in the rough track-way like a
cockney, but through the soft heather like a sportsman, was a very
gallant knight whom we all know well by this time, Richard
Grenville by name; who had made Mr. Cary and the rest his guests
the night before, and then ridden out with them at five o'clock
that morning, after the wholesome early ways of the time, to rouse
a well-known stag in the glens at Buckish, by help of Mr. Coffin's
hounds from Portledge. Who being as good a Latiner as Campian's
self, and overhearing both the scraps of psalm and the "barbarous
islanders," pushed his horse alongside of Mr. Eustace Leigh, and at
the first check said, with two low bows towards the two strangers--
"I hope Mr. Leigh will do me the honor of introducing me to his
guests. I should be sorry, and Mr. Cary also, that any gentle
strangers should become neighbors of ours, even for a day, without
our knowing who they are who honor our western Thule with a visit;
and showing them ourselves all due requital for the compliment of
After which, the only thing which poor Eustace could do (especially
as it was spoken loud enough for all bystanders), was to introduce
in due form Mr. Evan Morgans and Mr. Morgan Evans, who, hearing the
name, and, what was worse, seeing the terrible face with its quiet
searching eye, felt like a brace of partridge-poults cowering in
the stubble, with a hawk hanging ten feet over their heads.
"Gentlemen," said Sir Richard blandly, cap in hand, "I fear that
your mails must have been somewhat in your way in this unexpected
gallop. If you will permit my groom, who is behind, to disencumber
you of them and carry them to Chapel, you will both confer an honor
on me, and be enabled yourselves to see the mort more pleasantly."
A twinkle of fun, in spite of all his efforts, played about good
Sir Richard's eye as he gave this searching hint. The two Welsh
gentlemen stammered out clumsy thanks; and pleading great haste and
fatigue from a long journey, contrived to fall to the rear and
vanish with their guides, as soon as the slot had been recovered.
"Will!" said Sir Richard, pushing alongside of young Cary.
"May the father of lies fly away with them over the nearest cliff!"
"He will not do that while this Irish trouble is about. Those
fellows are come to practise here for Saunders and Desmond."
"Perhaps they have a consecrated banner in their bag, the
scoundrels! Shall I and young Coffin on and stop them? Hard if
the honest men may not rob the thieves once in a way."
"No; give the devil rope, and he will hang himself. Keep thy
tongue at home, and thine eyes too, Will."
"Let Clovelly beach be watched night and day like any mousehole.
No one can land round Harty Point with these south-westers. Stop
every fellow who has the ghost of an Irish brogue, come he in or go
he out, and send him over to me."
"Some one should guard Bude-haven, sir."
"Leave that to me. Now then, forward, gentlemen all, or the stag
will take the sea at the Abbey."
And on they crashed down the Hartland glens, through the oak-scrub
and the great crown-ferns; and the baying of the slow-hound and the
tantaras of the horn died away farther and fainter toward the blue
Atlantic, while the conspirators, with lightened hearts, pricked
fast across Bursdon upon their evil errand. But Eustace Leigh had
other thoughts and other cares than the safety of his father's two
mysterious guests, important as that was in his eyes; for he was
one of the many who had drunk in sweet poison (though in his case
it could hardly be called sweet) from the magic glances of the Rose
of Torridge. He had seen her in the town, and for the first time
in his life fallen utterly in love; and now that she had come down
close to his father's house, he looked on her as a lamb fallen
unawares into the jaws of the greedy wolf, which he felt himself to
be. For Eustace's love had little or nothing of chivalry, self-
sacrifice, or purity in it; those were virtues which were not
taught at Rheims. Careful as the Jesuits were over the practical
morality of their pupils, this severe restraint had little effect
in producing real habits of self-control. What little Eustace had
learnt of women from them, was as base and vulgar as the rest of
their teaching. What could it be else, if instilled by men
educated in the schools of Italy and France, in the age which
produced the foul novels of Cinthio and Bandello, and compelled
Rabelais in order to escape the rack and stake, to hide the light
of his great wisdom, not beneath a bushel, but beneath a dunghill;
the age in which the Romish Church had made marriage a legalized
tyranny, and the laity, by a natural and pardonable revulsion, had
exalted adultery into a virtue and a science? That all love was
lust; that all women had their price; that profligacy, though an
ecclesiastical sin, was so pardonable, if not necessary, as to be
hardly a moral sin, were notions which Eustace must needs have
gathered from the hints of his preceptors; for their written works
bear to this day fullest and foulest testimony that such was their
opinion; and that their conception of the relation of the sexes was
really not a whit higher than that of the profligate laity who
confessed to them. He longed to marry Rose Salterne, with a wild
selfish fury; but only that he might be able to claim her as his
own property, and keep all others from her. Of her as a co-equal
and ennobling helpmate; as one in whose honor, glory, growth of
heart and soul, his own were inextricably wrapt up, he had never
dreamed. Marriage would prevent God from being angry with that,
with which otherwise He might be angry; and therefore the sanction
of the Church was the more "probable and safe" course. But as yet
his suit was in very embryo. He could not even tell whether Rose
knew of his love; and he wasted miserable hours in maddening
thoughts, and tost all night upon his sleepless bed, and rose next
morning fierce and pale, to invent fresh excuses for going over to
her uncle's house, and lingering about the fruit which he dared not
THE TWO WAYS OF BEING CROST IN LOVE
"I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not honor more."--LOVELACE.
And what all this while has become of the fair breaker of so many
hearts, to whom I have not yet even introduced my readers?
She was sitting in the little farm-house beside the mill, buried in
the green depths of the valley of Combe, half-way between Stow and
Chapel, sulking as much as her sweet nature would let her, at being
thus shut out from all the grand doings at Bideford, and forced to
keep a Martinmas Lent in that far western glen. So lonely was she,
in fact, that though she regarded Eustace Leigh with somewhat of
aversion, and (being a good Protestant) with a great deal of
suspicion, she could not find it in her heart to avoid a chat with
him whenever he came down to the farm and to its mill, which he
contrived to do, on I know not what would-be errand, almost every
day. Her uncle and aunt at first looked stiff enough at these
visits, and the latter took care always to make a third in every
conversation; but still Mr. Leigh was a gentleman's son, and it
would not do to be rude to a neighboring squire and a good
customer; and Rose was the rich man's daughter and they poor
cousins, so it would not do either to quarrel with her; and
besides, the pretty maid, half by wilfulness, and half by her sweet
winning tricks, generally contrived to get her own way wheresoever
she went; and she herself had been wise enough to beg her aunt
never to leave them alone,--for she "could not a-bear the sight of
Mr. Eustace, only she must have some one to talk with down here."
On which her aunt considered, that she herself was but a simple
country-woman; and that townsfolks' ways of course must be very
different from hers; and that people knew their own business best;
and so forth, and let things go on their own way. Eustace, in the
meanwhile, who knew well that the difference in creed between him
and Rose was likely to be the very hardest obstacle in the way of
his love, took care to keep his private opinions well in the
background; and instead of trying to convert the folk at the mill,
daily bought milk or flour from them, and gave it away to the old
women in Moorwinstow (who agreed that after all, for a Papist, he
was a godly young man enough); and at last, having taken counsel
with Campian and Parsons on certain political plots then on foot,
came with them to the conclusion that they would all three go to
church the next Sunday. Where Messrs. Evan Morgans and Morgan
Evans, having crammed up the rubrics beforehand, behaved themselves
in a most orthodox and unexceptionable manner; as did also poor
Eustace, to the great wonder of all good folks, and then went home
flattering himself that he had taken in parson, clerk, and people;
not knowing in his simple unsimplicity, and cunning foolishness,
that each good wife in the parish was saying to the other, "He
turned Protestant? The devil turned monk! He's only after
Mistress Salterne, the young hypocrite."
But if the two Jesuits found it expedient, for the holy cause in
which they were embarked, to reconcile themselves outwardly to the
powers that were, they were none the less busy in private in
plotting their overthrow.
Ever since April last they had been playing at hide-and-seek
through the length and breadth of England, and now they were only
lying quiet till expected news from Ireland should give them their
cue, and a great "rising of the West" should sweep from her throne
that stiff-necked, persecuting, excommunicate, reprobate,
illegitimate, and profligate usurper, who falsely called herself
the Queen of England.
For they had as stoutly persuaded themselves in those days, as they
have in these (with a real Baconian contempt of the results of
sensible experience), that the heart of England was really with
them, and that the British nation was on the point of returning to
the bosom of the Catholic Church, and giving up Elizabeth to be led
in chains to the feet of the rightful Lord of Creation, the Old Man
of the Seven Hills. And this fair hope, which has been skipping
just in front of them for centuries, always a step farther off,
like the place where the rainbow touches the ground, they used to
announce at times, in language which terrified old Mr. Leigh. One
day, indeed, as Eustace entered his father's private room, after
his usual visit to the mill, he could hear voices high in dispute;
Parsons as usual, blustering; Mr. Leigh peevishly deprecating, and
Campian, who was really the sweetest-natured of men, trying to pour
oil on the troubled waters. Whereat Eustace (for the good of the
cause, of course) stopped outside and listened.
"My excellent sir," said Mr. Leigh, "does not your very presence
here show how I am affected toward the holy cause of the Catholic
faith? But I cannot in the meanwhile forget that I am an
"And what is England?" said Parsons: "A heretic and schismatic
Babylon, whereof it is written, 'Come out of her, my people, lest
you be partaker of her plagues.' Yea, what is a country? An
arbitrary division of territory by the princes of this world, who
are naught, and come to naught. They are created by the people's
will; their existence depends on the sanction of him to whom all
power is given in heaven and earth--our Holy Father the Pope. Take
away the latter, and what is a king?--the people who have made him
may unmake him."
"My dear sir, recollect that I have sworn allegiance to Queen
"Yes, sir, you have, sir; and, as I have shown at large in my
writings, you were absolved from that allegiance from the moment
that the bull of Pius the Fifth declared her a heretic and
excommunicate, and thereby to have forfeited all dominion
whatsoever. I tell you, sir, what I thought you should have known
already, that since the year 1569, England has had no queen, no
magistrates, no laws, no lawful authority whatsoever; and that to
own allegiance to any English magistrate, sir, or to plead in an
English court of law, is to disobey the apostolic precept, 'How
dare you go to law before the unbelievers?' I tell you, sir,
rebellion is now not merely permitted, it is a duty."
"Take care, sir; for God's sake, take care!" said Mr. Leigh.
"Right or wrong, I cannot have such language used in my house. For
the sake of my wife and children, I cannot!"
"My dear brother Parsons, deal more gently with the flock,"
interposed Campian. "Your opinion, though probable, as I well
know, in the eyes of most of our order, is hardly safe enough here;
the opposite is at least so safe that Mr. Leigh may well excuse his
conscience for accepting it. After all, are we not sent hither to
proclaim this very thing, and to relieve the souls of good
Catholics from a burden which has seemed to them too heavy?"
"Yes," said Parsons, half-sulkily, "to allow all Balaams who will
to sacrifice to Baal, while they call themselves by the name of the
"My dear brother, have I not often reminded you that Naaman was
allowed to bow himself in the house of Rimmon? And can we
therefore complain of the office to which the Holy Father has
appointed us, to declare to such as Mr. Leigh his especial grace,
by which the bull of Pius the Fifth (on whose soul God have mercy!)
shall henceforth bind the queen and the heretics only; but in no
ways the Catholics, at least as long as the present tyranny
prevents the pious purposes of the bull?"
"Be it so, sir; be it so. Only observe this, Mr. Leigh, that our
brother Campian confesses this to be a tyranny. Observe, sir, that
the bull does still bind the so-called queen, and that she and her
magistrates are still none the less usurpers, nonentities, and
shadows of a shade. And observe this, sir, that when that which is
lawful is excused to the weak, it remains no less lawful to the
strong. The seven thousand who had not bowed the knee to Baal did
not slay his priests; but Elijah did, and won to himself a good
reward. And if the rest of the children of Israel sinned not in
not slaying Eglon, yet Ehud's deed was none the less justified by
all laws human and divine."
"For Heaven's sake, do not talk so, sir! or I must leave the room.
What have I to do with Ehud and Eglon, and slaughters, and
tyrannies? Our queen is a very good queen, if Heaven would but
grant her repentance, and turn her to the true faith. I have never
been troubled about religion, nor any one else that I know of in
the West country."
"You forget Mr. Trudgeon of Launceston, father, and poor Father
Mayne," interposed Eustace, who had by this time slipped in; and
Campian added softly--
"Yes, your West of England also has been honored by its martyrs, as
well as my London by the precious blood of Story."
"What, young malapert?" cried poor Leigh, facing round upon his
son, glad to find any one on whom he might vent his ill-humor; "are
you too against me, with a murrain on you? And pray, what the
devil brought Cuthbert Mayne to the gallows, and turned Mr.
Trudgeon (he was always a foolish hot-head) out of house and home,
but just such treasonable talk as Mr. Parsons must needs hold in my
house, to make a beggar of me and my children, as he will before he
"The Blessed Virgin forbid!" said Campian.
"The Blessed Virgin forbid? But you must help her to forbid it,
Mr. Campian. We should never have had the law of 1571, against
bulls, and Agnus Deis, and blessed grains, if the Pope's bull of
1569 had not made them matter of treason, by preventing a poor
creature's saving his soul in the true Church without putting his
neck into a halter by denying the queen's authority."
"What, sir?" almost roared Parsons, "do you dare to speak evil of
the edicts of the Vicar of Christ?"
"I? No. I didn't. Who says I did? All I meant was, I am sure--
Mr. Campian, you are a reasonable man, speak for me."
"Mr. Leigh only meant, I am sure, that the Holy Father's prudent
intentions have been so far defeated by the perverseness and
invincible misunderstanding of the heretics, that that which was in
itself meant for the good of the oppressed English Catholics has
been perverted to their harm."
"And thus, reverend sir," said Eustace, glad to get into his
father's good graces again, "my father attaches blame, not to the
Pope--Heaven forbid!--but to the pravity of his enemies."
"And it is for this very reason," said Campian, "that we have
brought with us the present merciful explanation of the bull."
"I'll tell you what, gentlemen," said Mr. Leigh, who, like other
weak men, grew in valor as his opponent seemed inclined to make
peace, "I don't think the declaration was needed. After the new
law of 1571 was made, it was never put in force till Mayne and
Trudgeon made fools of themselves, and that was full six years.
There were a few offenders, they say, who were brought up and
admonished, and let go; but even that did not happen down here, and
need not happen now, unless you put my son here (for you shall
never put me, I warrant you) upon some deed which had better be
left alone, and so bring us all to shame."
"Your son, sir, if not openly vowed to God, has, I hope, a due
sense of that inward vocation which we have seen in him, and
reverences his spiritual fathers too well to listen to the
temptations of his earthly father."
"What, sir, will you teach my son to disobey me?"
"Your son is ours also, sir. This is strange language in one who
owes a debt to the Church, which it was charitably fancied he meant
to pay in the person of his child."
These last words touched poor Mr. Leigh in a sore point, and
breaking all bounds, he swore roundly at Parsons, who stood foaming
"A plague upon you, sir, and a black assizes for you, for you will
come to the gallows yet! Do you mean to taunt me in my own house
with that Hartland land? You had better go back and ask those who
sent you where the dispensation to hold the land is, which they
promised to get me years ago, and have gone on putting me off, till
they have got my money, and my son, and my conscience, and I vow
before all the saints, seem now to want my head over and above.
God help me!"--and the poor man's eyes fairly filled with tears.
Now was Eustace's turn to be roused; for, after all, he was an
Englishman and a gentleman; and he said kindly enough, but firmly--
"Courage, my dearest father. Remember that I am still your son,
and not a Jesuit yet; and whether I ever become one, I promise you,
will depend mainly on the treatment which you meet with at the
hands of these reverend gentlemen, for whom I, as having brought
them hither, must consider myself as surety to you."
If a powder-barrel had exploded in the Jesuits' faces, they could
not have been more amazed. Campian looked blank at Parsons, and
Parsons at Campian; till the stouter-hearted of the two, recovering
his breath at last--
"Sir! do you know, sir, the curse pronounced on those who, after
putting their hand to the plough, look back?"
Eustace was one of those impulsive men, with a lack of moral
courage, who dare raise the devil, but never dare fight him after
he has been raised; and he now tried to pass off his speech by
winking and making signs in the direction of his father, as much as
to say that he was only trying to quiet the old man's fears. But
Campian was too frightened, Parsons too angry, to take his hints:
and he had to carry his part through.
"All I read is, Father Parsons, that such are not fit for the
kingdom of God; of which high honor I have for some time past felt
myself unworthy. I have much doubt just now as to my vocation; and
in the meanwhile have not forgotten that I am a citizen of a free
country." And so saying, he took his father's arm, and walked out.
His last words had hit the Jesuits hard. They had put the poor
cobweb-spinners in mind of the humiliating fact, which they have
had thrust on them daily from that time till now, and yet have
never learnt the lesson, that all their scholastic cunning,
plotting, intriguing, bulls, pardons, indulgences, and the rest of
it, are, on this side the Channel, a mere enchanter's cloud-castle
and Fata Morgana, which vanishes into empty air by one touch of
that magic wand, the constable's staff. "A citizen of a free
country!"--there was the rub; and they looked at each other in more
utter perplexity than ever. At last Parsons spoke.
"There's a woman in the wind. I'll lay my life on it. I saw him
blush up crimson yesterday when his mother asked him whether some
Rose Salterne or other was still in the neighborhood."
"A woman! Well, the spirit may be willing, though the flesh be
weak. We will inquire into this. The youth may do us good service
as a layman; and if anything should happen to his elder brother
(whom the saints protect!) he is heir to some wealth. In the
meanwhile, our dear brother Parsons will perhaps see the expediency
of altering our tactics somewhat while we are here."
And thereupon a long conversation began between the two, who had
been sent together, after the wise method of their order, in
obedience to the precept, "Two are better than one," in order that
Campian might restrain Parsons' vehemence, and Parsons spur on
Campian's gentleness, and so each act as the supplement of the
other, and each also, it must be confessed, gave advice pretty
nearly contradictory to his fellow's if occasion should require,
"without the danger," as their writers have it, "of seeming
changeable and inconsistent."
The upshot of this conversation was, that in a day or two (during
which time Mr. Leigh and Eustace also had made the amende
honorable, and matters went smoothly enough) Father Campian asked
Father Francis, the household chaplain, to allow him, as an
especial favor, to hear Eustace's usual confession on the ensuing
Poor Father Francis dared not refuse so great a man; and assented
with an inward groan, knowing well that the intent was to worm out
some family secrets, whereby his power would be diminished, and the
Jesuits' increased. For the regular priesthood and the Jesuits
throughout England were toward each other in a state of armed
neutrality, which wanted but little at any moment to become open
war, as it did in James the First's time, when those meek
missionaries, by their gentle moral tortures, literally hunted to
death the poor Popish bishop of Hippopotamus (that is to say,
London) for the time being.
However, Campian heard Eustace's confession; and by putting to him
such questions as may be easily conceived by those who know
anything about the confessional, discovered satisfactorily enough,
that he was what Campian would have called "in love:" though I
should question much the propriety of the term as applied to any
facts which poor prurient Campian discovered, or indeed knew how to
discover, seeing that a swine has no eye for pearls. But he had
found out enough: he smiled, and set to work next vigorously to
discover who the lady might be.
If he had frankly said to Eustace, "I feel for you; and if your
desires are reasonable, or lawful, or possible, I will help you
with all my heart and soul," he might have had the young man's
secret heart, and saved himself an hour's trouble; but, of course,
he took instinctively the crooked and suspicious method, expected
to find the case the worst possible,--as a man was bound to do who
had been trained to take the lowest possible view of human nature,
and to consider the basest motives as the mainspring of all human
action,--and began his moral torture accordingly by a series of
delicate questions, which poor Eustace dodged in every possible
way, though he knew that the good father was too cunning for him,
and that he must give in at last. Nevertheless, like a rabbit who
runs squealing round and round before the weasel, into whose jaws
it knows that it must jump at last by force of fascination, he
parried and parried, and pretended to be stupid, and surprised, and
honorably scrupulous, and even angry; while every question as to
her being married or single, Catholic or heretic, English or
foreign, brought his tormentor a step nearer the goal. At last,
when Campian, finding the business not such a very bad one, had
asked something about her worldly wealth, Eustace saw a door of
escape and sprang at it.
"Even if she be a heretic, she is heiress to one of the wealthiest
merchants in Devon."
"Ah!" said Campian, thoughtfully. "And she is but eighteen, you
"Ah! well, my son, there is time. She may be reconciled to the
Church: or you may change."
"I shall die first."
"Ah, poor lad! Well; she may be reconciled, and her wealth may be
of use to the cause of Heaven."
"And it shall be of use. Only absolve me, and let me be at peace.
Let me have but her," he cried piteously. "I do not want her
wealth,--not I! Let me have but her, and that but for one year,
one month, one day!--and all the rest--money, fame, talents, yea,
my life itself, hers if it be needed--are at the service of Holy
Church. Ay, I shall glory in showing my devotion by some special
sacrifice,--some desperate deed. Prove me now, and see what there
is I will not do!"
And so Eustace was absolved; after which Campian added,--
"This is indeed well, my son: for there is a thing to be done now,
but it may be at the risk of life."
"Prove me!" cried Eustace, impatiently.
"Here is a letter which was brought me last night; no matter from
whence; you can understand it better than I, and I longed to have
shown it you, but that I feared my son had become--"
"You feared wrongly, then, my dear Father Campian."
So Campian translated to him the cipher of the letter.
"This to Evan Morgans, gentleman, at Mr. Leigh's house in
Moorwinstow, Devonshire. News may be had by one who will go to the
shore of Clovelly, any evening after the 25th of November, at dead
low tide, and there watch for a boat, rowed by one with a red
beard, and a Portugal by his speech. If he be asked, 'How many?'
he will answer, 'Eight hundred and one.' Take his letters and read
them. If the shore be watched, let him who comes show a light
three times in a safe place under the cliff above the town; below
is dangerous landing. Farewell, and expect great things!"
"I will go," said Eustace; "to-morrow is the 25th, and I know a
sure and easy place. Your friend seems to know these shores well."
"Ah! what is it we do not know?" said Campian, with a mysterious
smile. "And now?"
"And now, to prove to you how I trust to you, you shall come with
me, and see this--the lady of whom I spoke, and judge for yourself
whether my fault is not a venial one."
"Ah, my son, have I not absolved you already? What have I to do
with fair faces? Nevertheless, I will come, both to show you that
I trust you, and it may be to help towards reclaiming a heretic,
and saving a lost soul: who knows?"
So the two set out together; and, as it was appointed, they had
just got to the top of the hill between Chapel and Stow mill, when
up the lane came none other than Mistress Rose Salterne herself, in
all the glories of a new scarlet hood, from under which her large
dark languid eyes gleamed soft lightnings through poor Eustace's
heart and marrow. Up to them she tripped on delicate ankles and
tiny feet, tall, lithe, and graceful, a true West-country lass; and
as she passed them with a pretty blush and courtesy, even Campian
looked back at the fair innocent creature, whose long dark curls,
after the then country fashion, rolled down from beneath the hood
below her waist, entangling the soul of Eustace Leigh within their
"There!" whispered he, trembling from head to foot. "Can you
excuse me now?"
"I had excused you long ago;" said the kindhearted father. "Alas,
that so much fair red and white should have been created only as a
feast for worms!"
"A feast for gods, you mean!" cried Eustace, on whose common sense
the naive absurdity of the last speech struck keenly; and then, as
if to escape the scolding which he deserved for his heathenry--
"Will you let me return for a moment? I will follow you: let me
Campian saw that it was of no use to say no, and nodded. Eustace
darted from his side, and running across a field, met Rose full at
the next turn of the road.
She started, and gave a pretty little shriek.
"Mr. Leigh! I thought you had gone forward."
"I came back to speak to you, Rose--Mistress Salterne, I mean."
"To you I must speak, tell you all, or die!" And he pressed up
close to her. She shrank back, somewhat frightened.
"Do not stir; do not go, I implore you! Rose, only hear me!" And
fiercely and passionately seizing her by the hand, he poured out
the whole story of his love, heaping her with every fantastic
epithet of admiration which he could devise.
There was little, perhaps, of all his words which Rose had not
heard many a time before; but there was a quiver in his voice, and
a fire in his eye, from which she shrank by instinct.
"Let me go!" she said; "you are too rough, sir!"
"Ay!" he said, seizing now both her hands, "rougher, perhaps, than
the gay gallants of Bideford, who serenade you, and write sonnets
to you, and send you posies. Rougher, but more loving, Rose! Do
not turn away! I shall die if you take your eyes off me! Tell
me,--tell me, now here--this moment--before we part--if I may love
"Go away!" she answered, struggling, and bursting into tears.
"This is too rude. If I am but a merchant's daughter. I am God's
child. Remember that I am alone. Leave me; go! or I will call for
Eustace had heard or read somewhere that such expressions in a
woman's mouth were mere facons de parler, and on the whole signs
that she had no objection to be alone, and did not intend to call
for help; and he only grasped her hands the more fiercely, and
looked into her face with keen and hungry eyes; but she was in
earnest, nevertheless, and a loud shriek made him aware that, if he
wished to save his own good name, he must go: but there was one
question, for an answer to which he would risk his very life.
"Yes, proud woman! I thought so! Some one of those gay gallants
has been beforehand with me. Tell me who--"
But she broke from him, and passed him, and fled down the lane.
"Mark it!" cried he, after her. "You shall rue the day when you
despised Eustace Leigh! Mark it, proud beauty!" And he turned
back to join Campian, who stood in some trepidation.
"You have not hurt the maiden, my son? I thought I heard a
"Hurt her! No. Would God that she were dead, nevertheless, and I
by her! Say no more to me, father. We will home." Even Campian
knew enough of the world to guess what had happened, and they both
hurried home in silence.
And so Eustace Leigh played his move, and lost it.
Poor little Rose, having run nearly to Chapel, stopped for very
shame, and walked quietly by the cottages which stood opposite the
gate, and then turned up the lane towards Moorwinstow village,
whither she was bound. But on second thoughts, she felt herself so
"red and flustered," that she was afraid of going into the village,
for fear (as she said to herself) of making people talk, and so,
turning into a by-path, struck away toward the cliffs, to cool her
blushes in the sea-breeze. And there finding a quiet grassy nook
beneath the crest of the rocks, she sat down on the turf, and fell
into a great meditation.
Rose Salterne was a thorough specimen of a West-coast maiden, full
of passionate impulsive affections, and wild dreamy imaginations, a
fit subject, as the North-Devon women are still, for all romantic
and gentle superstitions. Left early without mother's care, she
had fed her fancy upon the legends and ballads of her native land,
till she believed--what did she not believe?--of mermaids and
pixies, charms and witches, dreams and omens, and all that world of
magic in which most of the countrywomen, and countrymen too,
believed firmly enough but twenty years ago. Then her father's
house was seldom without some merchant, or sea-captain from foreign
parts, who, like Othello, had his tales of--
"Antres vast, and deserts idle,
Of rough quarries, rocks, and hills whose heads reach heaven."
"And of the cannibals that each other eat,
The anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders."
All which tales, she, like Desdemona, devoured with greedy ears,
whenever she could "the house affairs with haste despatch." And
when these failed, there was still boundless store of wonders open
to her in old romances which were then to be found in every English
house of the better class. The Legend of King Arthur, Florice and
Blancheflour, Sir Ysumbras, Sir Guy of Warwick, Palamon and Arcite,
and the Romaunt of the Rose, were with her text-books and canonical
authorities. And lucky it was, perhaps, for her that Sidney's
Arcadia was still in petto, or Mr. Frank (who had already seen the
first book or two in manuscript, and extolled it above all books
past, present, or to come) would have surely brought a copy down
for Rose, and thereby have turned her poor little flighty brains
upside down forever. And with her head full of these, it was no
wonder if she had likened herself of late more than once to some of
those peerless princesses of old, for whose fair hand paladins and
kaisers thundered against each other in tilted field; and perhaps
she would not have been sorry(provided, of course, no one was
killed) if duels, and passages of arms in honor of her, as her
father reasonably dreaded, had actually taken place.
For Rose was not only well aware that she was wooed, but found the
said wooing (and little shame to her) a very pleasant process. Not
that she had any wish to break hearts: she did not break her heart
for any of her admirers, and why should they break theirs for her?
They were all very charming, each in his way (the gentlemen, at
least; for she had long since learnt to turn up her nose at
merchants and burghers); but one of them was not so very much
better than the other.
Of course, Mr. Frank Leigh was the most charming; but then, as a
courtier and squire of dames, he had never given her a sign of real
love, nothing but sonnets and compliments, and there was no
trusting such things from a gallant, who was said (though, by the
by, most scandalously) to have a lady love at Milan, and another at
Vienna, and half-a-dozen in the Court, and half-a-dozen more in the
And very charming was Mr. William Cary, with his quips and his
jests, and his galliards and lavoltas; over and above his rich
inheritance; but then, charming also Mr. Coffin of Portledge,
though he were a little proud and stately; but which of the two
should she choose? It would be very pleasant to be mistress of
Clovelly Court; but just as pleasant to find herself lady of
Portledge, where the Coffins had lived ever since Noah's flood (if,
indeed, they had not merely returned thither after that temporary
displacement), and to bring her wealth into a family which was as
proud of its antiquity as any nobleman in Devon, and might have
made a fourth to that famous trio of Devonshire Cs, of which it is
"Crocker, Cruwys, and Copplestone,
When the Conqueror came were all at home."
And Mr. Hugh Fortescue, too--people said that he was certain to
become a great soldier--perhaps as great as his brother Arthur--and
that would be pleasant enough, too, though he was but the younger
son of an innumerable family: but then, so was Amyas Leigh. Ah,
poor Amyas! Her girl's fancy for him had vanished, or rather,
perhaps, it was very much what it always had been, only that four
or five more girl's fancies beside it had entered in, and kept it
in due subjection. But still, she could not help thinking a good
deal about him, and his voyage, and the reports of his great
strength, and beauty, and valor, which had already reached her in
that out-of-the-way corner; and though she was not in the least in
love with him, she could not help hoping that he had at least (to
put her pretty little thought in the mildest shape) not altogether
forgotten her; and was hungering, too, with all her fancy, to give
him no peace till he had told her all the wonderful things which he
had seen and done in this ever-memorable voyage. So that,
altogether, it was no wonder, if in her last night's dream the
figure of Amyas had been even more forward and troublesome than
that of Frank or the rest.
But, moreover, another figure had been forward and troublesome
enough in last night's sleep-world; and forward and troublesome
enough, too, now in to-day's waking-world, namely, Eustace, the
rejected. How strange that she should have dreamt of him the night
before! and dreamt, too, of his fighting with Mr. Frank and Mr.
Amyas! It must be a warning--see, she had met him the very next
day in this strange way; so the first half of her dream had come
true; and after what had past, she only had to breathe a whisper,
and the second part of the dream would come true also. If she
wished for a passage of arms in her own honor, she could easily
enough compass one: not that she would do it for worlds! And after
all, though Mr. Eustace had been very rude and naughty, yet still
it was not his own fault; he could not help being in love with her.
And--and, in short, the poor little maid felt herself one of the
most important personages on earth, with all the cares (or hearts)
of the country in her keeping, and as much perplexed with matters
of weight as ever was any Cleophila, or Dianeme, Fiordispina or
Flourdeluce, in verse run tame, or prose run mad.
Poor little Rose! Had she but had a mother! But she was to learn
her lesson, such as it was, in another school. She was too shy
(too proud perhaps) to tell her aunt her mighty troubles; but a
counsellor she must have; and after sitting with her head in her
hands, for half-an-hour or more, she arose suddenly, and started
off along the cliffs towards Marsland. She would go and see Lucy
Passmore, the white witch; Lucy knew everything; Lucy would tell
her what to do; perhaps even whom to marry.
Lucy was a fat, jolly woman of fifty, with little pig-eyes, which
twinkled like sparks of fire, and eyebrows which sloped upwards and
outwards, like those of a satyr, as if she had been (as indeed she
had) all her life looking out of the corners of her eyes. Her
qualifications as white witch were boundless cunning, equally
boundless good nature, considerable knowledge of human weaknesses,
some mesmeric power, some skill in "yarbs," as she called her
simples, a firm faith in the virtue of her own incantations, and
the faculty of holding her tongue. By dint of these she contrived
to gain a fair share of money, and also (which she liked even
better) of power, among the simple folk for many miles round. If a
child was scalded, a tooth ached, a piece of silver was stolen, a
heifer shrew-struck, a pig bewitched, a young damsel crost in love,
Lucy was called in, and Lucy found a remedy, especially for the
latter complaint. Now and then she found herself on ticklish
ground, for the kind-heartedness which compelled her to help all
distressed damsels out of a scrape, sometimes compelled her also to
help them into one; whereon enraged fathers called Lucy ugly names,
and threatened to send her into Exeter gaol for a witch, and she
smiled quietly, and hinted that if she were "like some that were
ready to return evil for evil, such talk as that would bring no
blessing on them that spoke it;" which being translated into plain
English, meant, "If you trouble me, I will overlook (i. e.
fascinate) you, and then your pigs will die, your horses stray,
your cream turn sour, your barns be fired, your son have St.
Vitus's dance, your daughter fits, and so on, woe on woe, till you
are very probably starved to death in a ditch, by virtue of this
terrible little eye of mine, at which, in spite of all your
swearing and bullying, you know you are now shaking in your shoes
for fear. So you had much better hold your tongue, give me a drink
of cider, and leave ill alone, lest you make it worse."
Not that Lucy ever proceeded to any such fearful extremities. On
the contrary, her boast, and her belief too, was, that she was sent
into the world to make poor souls as happy as she could, by lawful
means, of course, if possible, but if not--why, unlawful ones were
better than none; for she "couldn't a-bear to see the poor
creatures taking on; she was too, too tender-hearted." And so she
was, to every one but her husband, a tall, simple-hearted rabbit-
faced man, a good deal older than herself. Fully agreeing with Sir
Richard Grenville's great axiom, that he who cannot obey cannot
rule, Lucy had been for the last five-and-twenty years training him
pretty smartly to obey her, with the intention, it is to be
charitably hoped, of letting him rule her in turn when his lesson
was perfected. He bore his honors, however, meekly enough, having
a boundless respect for his wife's wisdom, and a firm belief in her
supernatural powers, and let her go her own way and earn her own
money, while he got a little more in a truly pastoral method (not
extinct yet along those lonely cliffs), by feeding a herd of some
dozen donkeys and twenty goats. The donkeys fetched, at each low-
tide, white shell-sand which was to be sold for manure to the
neighboring farmers; the goats furnished milk and "kiddy-pies;" and
when there was neither milking nor sand-carrying to be done, old
Will Passmore just sat under a sunny rock and watched the buck-
goats rattle their horns together, thinking about nothing at all,
and taking very good care all the while neither to inquire nor to
see who came in and out of his little cottage in the glen.
The prophetess, when Rose approached her oracular cave, was seated
on a tripod in front of the fire, distilling strong waters out of
penny-royal. But no sooner did her distinguished visitor appear at
the hatch, than the still was left to take care of itself, and a
clean apron and mutch having been slipt on, Lucy welcomed Rose with
endless courtesies, and--"Bless my dear soul alive, who ever would
have thought to see the Rose of Torridge to my poor little place!"
Rose sat down: and then? How to begin was more than she knew, and
she stayed silent a full five minutes, looking earnestly at the
point of her shoe, till Lucy, who was an adept in such cases,
thought it best to proceed to business at once, and save Rose the
delicate operation of opening the ball herself; and so, in her own
way, half fawning, half familiar--
"Well, my dear young lady, and what is it I can do for ye? For I
guess you want a bit of old Lucy's help, eh? Though I'm most mazed
to see ye here, surely. I should have supposed that pretty face
could manage they sort of matters for itself. Eh?"
Rose, thus bluntly charged, confessed at once, and with many
blushes and hesitations, made her soon understand that what she
wanted was "To have her fortune told."
"Eh? Oh! I see. The pretty face has managed it a bit too well
already, eh? Tu many o' mun, pure fellows? Well, 'tain't every
mayden has her pick and choose, like some I know of, as be blest in
love by stars above. So you hain't made up your mind, then?"
Rose shook her head.
"Ah--well," she went on, in a half-bantering tone. "Not so asy, is
it, then? One's gude for one thing, and one for another, eh? One
has the blood, and another the money."
And so the "cunning woman" (as she truly was), talking half to
herself, ran over all the names which she thought likely, peering
at Rose all the while out of the corners of her foxy bright eyes,
while Rose stirred the peat ashes steadfastly with the point of her
little shoe, half angry, half ashamed, half frightened, to find
that "the cunning woman" had guessed so well both her suitors and
her thoughts about them, and tried to look unconcerned at each name
as it came out.
"Well, well," said Lucy, who took nothing by her move, simply
because there was nothing to take; "think over it--think over it,
my dear life; and if you did set your mind on any one--why, then--
then maybe I might help you to a sight of him."
"A sight of him?"
"His sperrit, dear life, his sperrit only, I mane. I 'udn't have
no keeping company in my house, no, not for gowld untowld, I
'udn't; but the sperrit of mun--to see whether mun would be true or
not, you'd like to know that, now, 'udn't you, my darling?"
Rose sighed, and stirred the ashes about vehemently.
"I must first know who it is to be. If you could show me that--
"Oh, I can show ye that, tu, I can. Ben there's a way to 't, a
sure way; but 'tis mortal cold for the time o' year, you zee."
"But what is it, then?" said Rose, who had in her heart been
longing for something of that very kind, and had half made up her
mind to ask for a charm.
"Why, you'm not afraid to goo into the say by night for a minute,
are you? And to-morrow night would serve, too; 't will be just low
tide to midnight."
"If you would come with me perhaps--"
"I'll come, I'll come, and stand within call, to be sure. Only do
ye mind this, dear soul alive, not to goo telling a crumb about
mun, noo, not for the world, or yu'll see naught at all, indeed,
now. And beside, there's a noxious business grow'd up against me
up to Chapel there; and I hear tell how Mr. Leigh saith I shall to
Exeter gaol for a witch--did ye ever hear the likes?--because his
groom Jan saith I overlooked mun--the Papist dog! And now never he
nor th' owld Father Francis goo by me without a spetting, and
saying of their Ayes and Malificas--I do know what their Rooman
Latin do mane, zo well as ever they, I du!--and a making o' their
charms and incantations to their saints and idols! They be mortal
feared of witches, they Papists, and mortal hard on 'em, even on a
pure body like me, that doth a bit in the white way; 'case why you
see, dear life," said she, with one of her humorous twinkles, "tu
to a trade do never agree. Do ye try my bit of a charm, now; do
Rose could not resist the temptation; and between them both the
charm was agreed on, and the next night was fixed for its trial, on
the payment of certain current coins of the realm (for Lucy, of
course, must live by her trade); and slipping a tester into the
dame's hand as earnest, Rose went away home, and got there in
But in the meanwhile, at the very hour that Eustace had been
prosecuting his suit in the lane at Moorwinstow, a very different
scene was being enacted in Mrs. Leigh's room at Burrough.
For the night before, Amyas, as he was going to bed, heard his
brother Frank in the next room tune his lute, and then begin to
sing. And both their windows being open, and only a thin partition
between the chambers, Amyas's admiring ears came in for every word
of the following canzonet, sung in that delicate and mellow tenor
voice for which Frank was famed among all fair ladies:--
"Ah, tyrant Love, Megaera's serpents bearing,
Why thus requite my sighs with venom'd smart?
Ah, ruthless dove, the vulture's talons wearing,
Why flesh them, traitress, in this faithful heart?
Is this my meed? Must dragons' teeth alone