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Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley

Part 4 out of 15

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hereafter. On three sides, to the north, west, and south, the
lofty walls of the old ballium still stood, with their machicolated
turrets, loopholes, and dark downward crannies for dropping stones
and fire on the besiegers, the relics of a more unsettled age: but
the southern court of the ballium had become a flower-garden, with
quaint terraces, statues, knots of flowers, clipped yews and
hollies, and all the pedantries of the topiarian art. And toward
the east, where the vista of the valley opened, the old walls were
gone, and the frowning Norman keep, ruined in the Wars of the
Roses, had been replaced by the rich and stately architecture of
the Tudors. Altogether, the, house, like the time, was in a
transitionary state, and represented faithfully enough the passage
of the old middle age into the new life which had just burst into
blossom throughout Europe, never, let us pray, to see its autumn or
its winter.

From the house on three sides, the hill sloped steeply down, and
the garden where Sir Richard and Amyas were walking gave a truly
English prospect. At one turn they could catch, over the western
walls, a glimpse of the blue ocean flecked with passing sails; and
at the next, spread far below them, range on range of fertile park,
stately avenue, yellow autumn woodland, and purple heather moors,
lapping over and over each other up the valley to the old British
earthwork, which stood black and furze-grown on its conical peak;
and standing out against the sky on the highest bank of hill which
closed the valley to the east, the lofty tower of Kilkhampton
church, rich with the monuments and offerings of five centuries of
Grenvilles. A yellow eastern haze hung soft over park, and wood,
and moor; the red cattle lowed to each other as they stood brushing
away the flies in the rivulet far below; the colts in the horse-
park close on their right whinnied as they played together, and
their sires from the Queen's Park, on the opposite hill, answered
them in fuller though fainter voices. A rutting stag made the
still woodland rattle with his hoarse thunder, and a rival far up
the valley gave back a trumpet note of defiance, and was himself
defied from heathery brows which quivered far away above, half seen
through the veil of eastern mist. And close at home, upon the
terrace before the house, amid romping spaniels and golden-haired
children, sat Lady Grenville herself, the beautiful St. Leger of
Annery, the central jewel of all that glorious place, and looked
down at her noble children, and then up at her more noble husband,
and round at that broad paradise of the West, till life seemed too
full of happiness, and heaven of light.

And all the while up and down paced Amyas and Sir Richard, talking
long, earnestly, and slow; for they both knew that the turning
point of the boy's life was come.

"Yes," said Sir Richard, after Amyas, in his blunt simple way, had
told him the whole story about Rose Salterne and his brother,--
"yes, sweet lad, thou hast chosen the better part, thou and thy
brother also, and it shall not be taken from you. Only be strong,
lad, and trust in God that He will make a man of you."

"I do trust," said Amyas.

"Thank God," said Sir Richard, "that you have yourself taken from
my heart that which was my great anxiety for you, from the day that
your good father, who sleeps in peace, committed you to my hands.
For all best things, Amyas, become, when misused, the very worst;
and the love of woman, because it is able to lift man's soul to the
heavens, is also able to drag him down to hell. But you have
learnt better, Amyas; and know, with our old German forefathers,
that, as Tacitus saith, Sera juvenum Venus, ideoque inexhausta
pubertas. And not only that, Amyas; but trust me, that silly
fashion of the French and Italians, to be hanging ever at some
woman's apron string, so that no boy shall count himself a man
unless he can vagghezziare le donne, whether maids or wives, alas!
matters little; that fashion, I say, is little less hurtful to the
soul than open sin; for by it are bred vanity and expense, envy and
heart-burning, yea, hatred and murder often; and even if that be
escaped, yet the rich treasure of a manly worship, which should be
kept for one alone, is squandered and parted upon many, and the
bride at last comes in for nothing but the very last leavings and
caput mortuum of her bridegroom's heart, and becomes a mere
ornament for his table, and a means whereby he may obtain a
progeny. May God, who has saved me from that death in life, save
you also!" And as he spoke, he looked down toward his wife upon
the terrace below; and she, as if guessing instinctively that he
was talking of her, looked up with so sweet a smile, that Sir
Richard's stern face melted into a very glory of spiritual

Amyas looked at them both and sighed; and then turning the
conversation suddenly--

"And I may go to Ireland to-morrow?"

"You shall sail in the 'Mary' for Milford Haven, with these letters
to Winter. If the wind serves, you may bid the master drop down
the river tonight, and be off; for we must lose no time."

"Winter?" said Amyas. "He is no friend of mine, since he left
Drake and us so cowardly at the Straits of Magellan."

"Duty must not wait for private quarrels, even though they be just
ones, lad: but he will not be your general. When you come to the
marshal, or the Lord Deputy, give either of them this letter, and
they will set you work,--and hard work too, I warrant.

"I want nothing better."

"Right, lad; the best reward for having wrought well already, is to
have more to do; and he that has been faithful over a few things,
must find his account in being made ruler over many things. That
is the true and heroical rest, which only is worthy of gentlemen
and sons of God. As for those who, either in this world or the
world to come, look for idleness, and hope that God shall feed them
with pleasant things, as it were with a spoon, Amyas, I count them
cowards and base, even though they call themselves saints and

"I wish you could persuade my poor cousin of that."

"He has yet to learn what losing his life to save it means, Amyas.
Bad men have taught him (and I fear these Anabaptists and Puritans
at home teach little else), that it is the one great business of
every one to save his own soul after he dies; every one for
himself; and that that, and not divine self-sacrifice, is the one
thing needful, and the better part which Mary chose."

"I think men are inclined enough already to be selfish, without
being taught that."

"Right, lad. For me, if I could hang up such a teacher on high as
an enemy of mankind, and a corrupter of youth, I would do it
gladly. Is there not cowardice and self-seeking enough about the
hearts of us fallen sons of Adam, that these false prophets, with
their baits of heaven, and their terrors of hell, must exalt our
dirtiest vices into heavenly virtues and the means of bliss?
Farewell to chivalry and to desperate valor, farewell to patriotism
and loyalty, farewell to England and to the manhood of England, if
once it shall become the fashion of our preachers to bid every man,
as the Jesuits do, take care first of what they call the safety of
his soul. Every man will be afraid to die at his post, because he
will be afraid that he is not fit to die. Amyas, do thou do thy
duty like a man, to thy country, thy queen, and thy God; and count
thy life a worthless thing, as did the holy men of old. Do thy
work, lad; and leave thy soul to the care of Him who is just and
merciful in this, that He rewards every man according to his work.
Is there respect of persons with God? Now come in, and take the
letters, and to horse. And if I hear of thee dead there at
Smerwick fort, with all thy wounds in front, I shall weep for thy
mother, lad; but I shall have never a sigh for thee."

If any one shall be startled at hearing a fine gentleman and a
warrior like Sir Richard quote Scripture, and think Scripture also,
they must be referred to the writings of the time; which they may
read not without profit to themselves, if they discover therefrom
how it was possible then for men of the world to be thoroughly
ingrained with the Gospel, and yet to be free from any taint of
superstitious fear, or false devoutness. The religion of those
days was such as no soldier need have been ashamed of confessing.
At least, Sir Richard died as he lived, without a shudder, and
without a whine; and these were his last words, fifteen years after
that, as he lay shot through and through, a captive among Popish
Spaniards, priests, crucifixes, confession, extreme unction, and
all other means and appliances for delivering men out of the hands
of a God of love:--

"Here die I, Richard Grenville, with a joyful and quiet mind; for
that I have ended my life as a true soldier ought, fighting for his
country, queen, religion, and honor: my soul willingly departing
from this body, leaving behind the lasting fame of having behaved
as every valiant soldier is in his duty bound to do."

Those were the last words of Richard Grenville. The pulpits of
those days had taught them to him.

But to return. That day's events were not over yet. For, when
they went down into the house, the first person whom they met was
the old steward, in search of his master.

"There is a manner of roog, Sir Richard, a masterless man, at the
door; a very forward fellow, and must needs speak with you."

"A masterless man? He had better not to speak to me, unless he is
in love with gaol and gallows."

"Well, your worship," said the steward, "I expect that is what he
does want, for he swears he will not leave the gate till he has
seen you."

"Seen me? Halidame! he shall see me, here and at Launceston too,
if he likes. Bring him in."

"Fegs, Sir Richard, we are half afeard. With your good leave--"

"Hillo, Tony," cried Amyas, "who was ever afeard yet with Sir
Richard's good leave?"

"What, has the fellow a tail or horns?"

"Massy no: but I be afeard of treason for your honor; for the
fellow is pinked all over in heathen patterns, and as brown as a
filbert; and a tall roog, a very strong roog, sir, and a foreigner
too, and a mighty staff with him. I expect him to be a manner of
Jesuit, or wild Irish, sir; and indeed the grooms have no stomach
to handle him, nor the dogs neither, or he had been under the pump
before now, for they that saw him coming up the hill swear that he
had fire coming out of his mouth."

"Fire out of his mouth?" said Sir Richard. "The men are drunk."

"Pinked all over? He must be a sailor," said Amyas; "let me out
and see the fellow, and if he needs putting forth--"

"Why, I dare say he is not so big but what he will go into thy
pocket. So go, lad, while I finish my writing."

Amyas went out, and at the back door, leaning on his staff, stood a
tall, raw-boned, ragged man, "pinked all over," as the steward had

"Hillo, lad!" quoth Amyas. "Before we come to talk, thou wilt
please to lay down that Plymouth cloak of thine." And he pointed
to the cudgel, which among West-country mariners usually bore that

"I'll warrant," said the old steward, "that where he found his
cloak he found purse not far off."

"But not hose or doublet; so the magical virtue of his staff has
not helped him much. But put down thy staff, man, and speak like a
Christian, if thou be one."

"I am a Christian, though I look like a heathen; and no rogue,
though a masterless man, alas! But I want nothing, deserving
nothing, and only ask to speak with Sir Richard, before I go on my

There was something stately and yet humble about the man's tone and
manner which attracted Amyas, and he asked more gently where he was
going and whence he came.

"From Padstow Port, sir, to Clovelly town, to see my old mother, if
indeed she be yet alive, which God knoweth."

Clovally man! why didn't thee say thee was Clovally man?" asked all
the grooms at once, to whom a West-countryman was of course a
brother. The old steward asked--

"What's thy mother's name, then?"

"Susan Yeo."

"What, that lived under the archway?" asked a groom.

"Lived?" said the man.

"Iss, sure; her died three days since, so we heard, poor soul."

The man stood quite silent and unmoved for a minute or two; and
then said quietly to himself, in Spanish, "That which is, is best."

"You speak Spanish?" asked Amyas, more and more interested.

"I had need to do so, young sir; I have been five years in the
Spanish Main, and only set foot on shore two days ago; and if you
will let me have speech of Sir Richard, I will tell him that at
which both the ears of him that heareth it shall tingle; and if
not, I can but go on to Mr. Cary of Clovelly, if he be yet alive,
and there disburden my soul; but I would sooner have spoken with
one that is a mariner like to myself."

"And you shall," said Amyas. "Steward, we will have this man in;
for all his rags, he is a man of wit." And he led him in.

"I only hope he ben't one of those Popish murderers," said the old
steward, keeping at a safe distance from him as they entered the

"Popish, old master? There's little fear of my being that. Look
here!" And drawing back his rags, he showed a ghastly scar, which
encircled his wrist and wound round and up his fore-arm.

"I got that on the rack," said he, quietly, "in the Inquisition at

"O Father! Father! why didn't you tell us that you were a poor
Christian?" asked the penitent steward.

"Because I have had naught but my deserts; and but a taste of them
either, as the Lord knoweth who delivered me; and I wasn't going to
make myself a beggar and a show on their account."

"By heaven, you are a brave fellow!" said Amyas. "Come along
straight to Sir Richard's room."

So in they went, where Sir Richard sat in his library among books,
despatches, state-papers, and warrants; for though he was not yet,
as in after times (after the fashion of those days) admiral,
general, member of parliament, privy councillor, justice of the
peace, and so forth, all at once, yet there were few great men with
whom he did not correspond, or great matters with which he was not

"Hillo, Amyas, have you bound the wild man already, and brought him
in to swear allegiance?"

But before Amyas could answer, the man looked earnestly on him--
"Amyas?" said he; "is that your name, sir?"

"Amyas Leigh is my name, at your service, good fellow."

"Of Burrough by Bideford?"

"Why then? What do you know of me?"

"Oh sir, sir! young brains and happy ones have short memories; but
old and sad brains too long ones often! Do you mind one that was
with Mr. Oxenham, sir? A swearing reprobate he was, God forgive
him, and hath forgiven him too, for His dear Son's sake--one, sir,
that gave you a horn, a toy with a chart on it?"

"Soul alive!" cried Amyas, catching him by the hand; "and are you
he? The horn? why, I have it still, and will keep it to my dying
day, too. But where is Mr. Oxenham?"

"Yes, my good fellow, where is Mr. Oxenham?" asked Sir Richard,
rising. "You are somewhat over-hasty in welcoming your old
acquaintance, Amyas, before we have heard from him whether he can
give honest account of himself and of his captain. For there is
more than one way by which sailors may come home without their
captains, as poor Mr. Barker of Bristol found to his cost. God
grant that there may have been no such traitorous dealing here."

"Sir Richard Grenville, if I had been a guilty man to my noble
captain, as I have to God, I had not come here this day to you,
from whom villainy has never found favor, nor ever will; for I know
your conditions well, sir; and trust in the Lord, that if you will
be pleased to hear me, you shall know mine."

"Thou art a well-spoken knave. We shall see."

"My dear sir," said Amyas, in a whisper, "I will warrant this man

"I verily believe him to be; but this is too serious a matter to be
left on guess. If he will be sworn--"

Whereon the man, humbly enough, said, that if it would please Sir
Richard, he would rather not be sworn.

"But it does not please me, rascal! Did I not warn thee, Amyas?"

"Sir," said the man, proudly, "God forbid that my word should not
be as good as my oath: but it is against my conscience to be

"What have we here? some fantastical Anabaptist, who is wiser than
his teachers."

"My conscience, sir--"

"The devil take it and thee! I never heard a man yet begin to
prate of his conscience, but I knew that he was about to do
something more than ordinarily cruel or false."

"Sir," said the man, coolly enough, "do you sit here to judge me
according to law, and yet contrary to the law swear profane oaths,
for which a fine is provided?"

Amyas expected an explosion: but Sir Richard pulled a shilling out
and put it on the table. "There--my fine is paid, sirrah, to the
poor of Kilkhampton: but hearken thou all the same. If thou wilt
not speak an oath, thou shalt speak on compulsion; for to
Launceston gaol thou goest, there to answer for Mr. Oxenham's
death, on suspicion whereof, and of mutiny causing it, I will
attach thee and every soul of his crew that comes home. We have
lost too many gallant captains of late by treachery of their crews,
and he that will not clear himself on oath, must be held for
guilty, and self-condemned."

"My good fellow," said Amyas, who could not give up his belief in
the man's honesty, "why, for such fantastical scruples, peril not
only your life, but your honor, and Mr. Oxenham's also? For if you
be examined by question, you may be forced by torment to say that
which is not true."

"Little fear of that, young sir!" answered he, with a grim smile;
"I have had too much of the rack already, and the strappado too, to
care much what man can do unto me. I would heartily that I thought
it lawful to be sworn: but not so thinking, I can but submit to the
cruelty of man; though I did expect more merciful things, as a most
miserable and wrecked mariner, at the hands of one who hath himself
seen God's ways in the sea, and His wonders in the great deep. Sir
Richard Grenville, if you will hear my story, may God avenge on my
head all my sins from my youth up until now, and cut me off from
the blood of Christ, and, if it were possible, from the number of
His elect, if I tell you one whit more or less than truth; and if
not, I commend myself into the hands of God."

Sir Richard smiled. "Well, thou art a brave ass, and valiant,
though an ass manifest. Dost thou not see, fellow, how thou hast
sworn a ten-times bigger oath than ever I should have asked of
thee? But this is the way with your Anabaptists, who by their very
hatred of forms and ceremonies, show of how much account they think
them, and then bind themselves out of their own fantastical self-
will with far heavier burdens than ever the lawful authorities have
laid on them for the sake of the commonweal. But what do they care
for the commonweal, as long as they can save, as they fancy, each
man his own dirty soul for himself? However, thou art sworn now
with a vengeance; go on with thy tale: and first, who art thou, and

"Well, sir," said the man, quite unmoved by this last explosion;
"my name is Salvation Yeo, born in Clovelly Street, in the year
1526, where my father exercised the mystery of a barber surgeon,
and a preacher of the people since called Anabaptists, for which I
return humble thanks to God."

Sir Richard.--Fie! thou naughty knave; return thanks that thy
father was an ass?

Yeo.--Nay, but because he was a barber surgeon; for I myself learnt
a touch of that trade, and thereby saved my life, as I will tell
presently. And I do think that a good mariner ought to have all
knowledge of carnal and worldly cunning, even to tailoring and
shoemaking, that he may be able to turn his hand to whatsoever may

Sir Richard.--Well spoken, fellow: but let us have thy text without
thy comments. Forwards!

Yeo.--Well, sir. I was bred to the sea from my youth, and was with
Captain Hawkins in his three voyages, which he made to Guinea for
negro slaves, and thence to the West Indies.

Sir Richard.--Then thrice thou wentest to a bad end, though Captain
Hawkins be my good friend; and the last time to a bad end thou

Yeo.--No denying that last, your worship: but as for the former, I
doubt--about the unlawfulness, I mean; being the negroes are of the
children of Ham, who are cursed and reprobate, as Scripture
declares, and their blackness testifies, being Satan's own livery;
among whom therefore there can be none of the elect, wherefore the
elect are not required to treat them as brethren.

Sir Richard.--What a plague of a pragmatical sea-lawyer have we
here? And I doubt not, thou hypocrite, that though thou wilt call
the negroes' black skin Satan's livery, when it serves thy turn to
steal them, thou wilt find out sables to be Heaven's livery every
Sunday, and up with a godly howl unless a parson shall preach in a
black gown, Geneva fashion. Out upon thee! Go on with thy tale,
lest thou finish thy sermon at Launceston after all.

Yeo.--The Lord's people were always a reviled people and a
persecuted people: but I will go forward, sir; for Heaven forbid
but that I should declare what God has done for me. For till
lately, from my youth up, I was given over to all wretchlessness
and unclean living, and was by nature a child of the devil, and to
every good work reprobate, even as others.

Sir Richard.--Hark to his "even as others"! Thou new-whelped
Pharisee, canst not confess thine own villainies without making out
others as bad as thyself, and so thyself no worse than others? I
only hope that thou hast shown none of thy devil's doings to Mr.

Yeo.--On the word of a Christian man, sir, as I said before, I kept
true faith with him, and would have been a better friend to him,
sir, what is more, than ever he was to himself.

Sir Richard.--Alas! that might easily be.

Yeo.--I think, sir, and will make good against any man, that Mr.
Oxenham was a noble and valiant gentleman; true of his word, stout
of his sword, skilful by sea and land, and worthy to have been Lord
High Admiral of England (saving your worship's presence), but that
through two great sins, wrath and avarice, he was cast away
miserably or ever his soul was brought to the knowledge of the
truth. Ah, sir, he was a captain worth sailing under!

And Yeo heaved a deep sigh.

Sir Richard.--Steady, steady, good fellow! If thou wouldst quit
preaching, thou art no fool after all. But tell us the story
without more bush-beating.

So at last Yeo settled himself to his tale:--

"Well, sirs, I went, as Mr. Leigh knows, to Nombre de Dios, with
Mr. Drake and Mr. Oxenham, in 1572, where what we saw and did, your
worship, I suppose, knows as well as I; and there was, as you've
heard maybe, a covenant between Mr. Oxenham and Mr. Drake to sail
the South Seas together, which they made, your worship, in my
hearing, under the tree over Panama. For when Mr. Drake came down
from the tree, after seeing the sea afar off, Mr. Oxenham and I
went up and saw it too; and when we came down, Drake says, 'John, I
have made a vow to God that I will sail that water, if I live and
God gives me grace;' which he had done, sir, upon his bended knees,
like a godly man as he always was, and would I had taken after him!
and Mr. O. says, 'I am with you, Drake, to live or die, and I think
I know some one there already, so we shall not be quite among
strangers;' and laughed withal. Well, sirs, that voyage, as you
know, never came off, because Captain Drake was fighting in
Ireland; so Mr. Oxenham, who must be up and doing, sailed for
himself, and I, who loved him, God knows, like a brother (saving
the difference in our ranks), helped him to get the crew together,
and went as his gunner. That was in 1575; as you know, he had a
140-ton ship, sir, and seventy men out of Plymouth and Fowey and
Dartmouth, and many of them old hands of Drake's, beside a dozen or
so from Bideford that I picked up when I saw young Master here."

"Thank God that you did not pick me up too."

"Amen, amen!" said Yeo, clasping his hands on his breast. "Those
seventy men, sir,--seventy gallant men, sir, with every one of them
an immortal soul within him,--where are they now? Gone, like the
spray!" And he swept his hands abroad with a wild and solemn
gesture. "And their blood is upon my head!"

Both Sir Richard and Amyas began to suspect that the man's brain
was not altogether sound.

"God forbid, my man," said the knight, kindly.

"Thirteen men I persuaded to join in Bideford town, beside William
Penberthy of Marazion, my good comrade. And what if it be said to
me at the day of judgment, 'Salvation Yeo, where are those fourteen
whom thou didst tempt to their deaths by covetousness and lust of
gold?' Not that I was alone in my sin, if the truth must be told.
For all the way out Mr. Oxenham was making loud speech, after his
pleasant way, that he would make all their fortunes, and take them
to such a Paradise, that they should have no lust to come home
again. And I--God knows why--for every one boast of his would make
two, even to lying and empty fables, and anything to keep up the
men's hearts. For I had really persuaded myself that we should all
find treasures beyond Solomon his temple, and Mr. Oxenham would
surely show us how to conquer some golden city or discover some
island all made of precious stones. And one day, as the captain
and I were talking after our fashion, I said, 'And you shall be our
king, captain.' To which he, 'If I be, I shall not be long without
a queen, and that no Indian one either.' And after that he often
jested about the Spanish ladies, saying that none could show us the
way to their hearts better than he. Which speeches I took no count
of then, sirs: but after I minded them, whether I would or not.
Well, sirs, we came to the shore of New Spain, near to the old
place--that's Nombre de Dios; and there Mr. Oxenham went ashore
into the woods with a boat's crew, to find the negroes who helped
us three years before. Those are the Cimaroons, gentles, negro
slaves who have fled from those devils incarnate, their Spanish
masters, and live wild, like the beasts that perish; men of great
stature, sirs, and fierce as wolves in the onslaught, but poor
jabbering mazed fellows if they be but a bit dismayed: and have
many Indian women with them, who take to these negroes a deal
better than to their own kin, which breeds war enough, as you may

"Well, sirs, after three days the captain comes back, looking heavy
enough, and says, 'We played our trick once too often, when we
played it once. There is no chance of stopping another reco (that
is, a mule-train, sirs) now. The Cimaroons say that since our last
visit they never move without plenty of soldiers, two hundred shot
at least. Therefore,' he said, 'my gallants, we must either return
empty-handed from this, the very market and treasury of the whole
Indies, or do such a deed as men never did before, which I shall
like all the better for that very reason.' And we, asking his
meaning, 'Why,' he said, 'if Drake will not sail the South Seas, we
will;' adding profanely that Drake was like Moses, who beheld the
promised land afar; but he was Joshua, who would enter into it, and
smite the inhabitants thereof. And, for our confirmation, showed
me and the rest the superscription of a letter: and said, 'How I
came by this is none of your business: but I have had it in my
bosom ever since I left Plymouth; and I tell you now, what I
forbore to tell you at first, that the South Seas have been my mark
all along! such news have I herein of plate-ships, and gold-ships,
and what not, which will come up from Quito and Lima this very
month, all which, with the pearls of the Gulf of Panama, and other
wealth unspeakable, will be ours, if we have but true English
hearts within us.'

"At which, gentles, we were like madmen for lust of that gold, and
cheerfully undertook a toil incredible; for first we run our ship
aground in a great wood which grew in the very sea itself, and then
took out her masts, and covered her in boughs, with her four cast
pieces of great ordnance (of which more hereafter), and leaving no
man in her, started for the South Seas across the neck of Panama,
with two small pieces of ordnance and our culverins, and good store
of victuals, and with us six of those negroes for a guide, and so
twelve leagues to a river which runs into the South Sea.

"And there, having cut wood, we made a pinnace (and work enough we
had at it) of five-and-forty foot in the keel; and in her down the
stream, and to the Isle of Pearls in the Gulf of Panama."

"Into the South Sea? Impossible!" said Sir Richard. "Have a care
what you say, my man; for there is that about you which would make
me sorry to find you out a liar."

"Impossible or not, liar or none, we went there, sir."

"Question him, Amyas, lest he turn out to have been beforehand with

The man looked inquiringly at Amyas, who said--

"Well, my man, of the Gulf of Panama I cannot ask you, for I never
was inside it, but what other parts of the coast do you know?"

"Every inch, sir, from Cabo San Francisco to Lima; more is my
sorrow, for I was a galley-slave there for two years and more."

"You know Lima?"

"I was there three times, worshipful gentlemen, and the last was
February come two years; and there I helped lade a great plate-
ship, the Cacafuogo,' they called her."

Amyas started. Sir Richard nodded to him gently to be silent, and

"And what became of her, my lad?"

"God knows, who knows all, and the devil who freighted her. I
broke prison six weeks afterwards, and never heard but that she got
safe into Panama."

"You never heard, then, that she was taken?"

"Taken, your worships? Who should take her?"

"Why should not a good English ship take her as well as another?"
said Amyas.

"Lord love you, sir; yes, faith, if they had but been there.
Many's the time that I thought to myself, as we went alongside,
'Oh, if Captain Drake was but here, well to windward, and our old
crew of the "Dragon"!' Ask your pardon, gentles: but how is
Captain Drake, if I may make so bold?"

Neither could hold out longer.

"Fellow, fellow!" cried Sir Richard, springing up, "either thou art
the cunningest liar that ever earned a halter, or thou hast done a
deed the like of which never man adventured. Dost thou not know
that Captain Drake took that 'Cacafuogo' and all her freight, in
February come two years?"

"Captain Drake! God forgive me, sir; but--Captain Drake in the
South Seas? He saw them, sir, from the tree-top over Panama, when
I was with him, and I too; but sailed them, sir?--sailed them?"

"Yes, and round the world too," said Amyas, "and I with him; and
took that very 'Cacafuogo' off Cape San Francisco, as she came up
to Panama."

One glance at the man's face was enough to prove his sincerity.
The great stern Anabaptist, who had not winced at the news of his
mother's death, dropt right on his knees on the floor, and burst
into violent sobs.

"Glory to God! Glory to God! O Lord, I thank thee! Captain Drake
in the South Seas! The blood of thy innocents avenged, O Lord!
The spoiler spoiled, and the proud robbed; and all they whose hands
were mighty have found nothing. Glory, glory! Oh, tell me, sir,
did she fight?"

"We gave her three pieces of ordnance only, and struck down her
mizzenmast, and then boarded sword in hand, but never had need to
strike a blow; and before we left her, one of her own boys had
changed her name, and rechristened her the 'Cacaplata.'"

"Glory, glory! Cowards they are, as I told them. I told them they
never could stand the Devon mastiffs, and well they flogged me for
saying it; but they could not stop my mouth. O sir, tell me, did
you get the ship that came up after her?"

"What was that?"

"A long race-ship, sir, from Guayaquil, with an old gentleman on
board,--Don Francisco de Xararte was his name, and by token, he had
a gold falcon hanging to a chain round his neck, and a green stone
in the breast of it. I saw it as we rowed him aboard. O tell me,
sir, tell me for the love of God, did you take that ship?"

"We did take that ship, and the jewel too, and her majesty has it
at this very hour."

"Then tell me, sir," said he slowly, as if he dreaded an answer;
"tell me, sir, and oh, try and mind--was there a little maid aboard
with the old gentleman?"

"A little maid? Let me think. No; I saw none."

The man settled his features again sadly.

"I thought not. I never saw her come aboard. Still I hoped, like;
I hoped. Alackaday! God help me, Salvation Yeo!"

"What have you to do with this little maid, then, good fellow!"
asked Grenville.

"Ah, sir, before I tell you that, I must go back and finish the
story of Mr. Oxenham, if you will believe me enough to hear it."

"I do believe thee, good fellow, and honor thee too."

"Then, sir, I can speak with a free tongue. Where was I?"

"Where was he, Amyas?"

"At the Isle of Pearls."

"And yet, O gentles, tell me first, how Captain Drake came into the
South Seas:--over the neck, as we did?"

"Through the Straits, good fellow, like any Spaniard: but go on
with thy story, and thou shalt have Mr. Leigh's after."

"Through the Straits! O glory! But I'll tell my tale. Well, sirs
both--To the Island of Pearls we came, we and some of the negroes.
We found many huts, and Indians fishing for pearls, and also a fair
house, with porches; but no Spaniard therein, save one man; at
which Mr. Oxenham was like a man transported, and fell on that
Spaniard, crying, 'Perro, where is your mistress? Where is the
bark from Lima?' To which he boldly enough, 'What was his mistress
to the Englishman?' But Mr. O. threatened to twine a cord round
his head till his eyes burst out; and the Spaniard, being
terrified, said that the ship from Lima was expected in a
fortnight's time. So for ten days we lay quiet, letting neither
negro nor Spaniard leave the island, and took good store of pearls,
feeding sumptuously on wild cattle and hogs until the tenth day,
when there came by a small bark; her we took, and found her from
Quito, and on board 60,000 pezos of gold and other store. With
which if we had been content, gentlemen, all had gone well. And
some were willing to go back at once, having both treasure and
pearls in plenty; but Mr. O., he waxed right mad, and swore to slay
any one who made that motion again, assuring us that the Lima ship
of which he had news was far greater and richer, and would make
princes of us all; which bark came in sight on the sixteenth day,
and was taken without shot or slaughter. The taking of which bark,
I verily believe, was the ruin of every mother's son of us."

And being asked why, he answered, "First, because of the discontent
which was bred thereby; for on board was found no gold, but only
100,000 pezos of silver."

Sir Richard Grenville.--Thou greedy fellow; and was not that enough
to stay your stomachs?

Yeo answered that he would to God it had been; and that, moreover,
the weight of that silver was afterwards a hindrance to them, and
fresh cause of discontent, as he would afterwards declare. "So
that it had been well for us, sirs, if we had left it behind, as
Mr. Drake left his three years before, and carried away the gold
only. In which I do see the evident hand of God, and His just
punishment for our greediness of gain; who caused Mr. Oxenham, by
whom we had hoped to attain great wealth, to be a snare to us, and
a cause of utter ruin."

"Do you think, then," said Sir Richard, "that Mr. Oxenham deceived
you wilfully?"

"I will never believe that, sir: Mr. Oxenham had his private
reasons for waiting for that ship, for the sake of one on board,
whose face would that he had never seen, though he saw it then, as
I fear, not for the first time by many a one." And so was silent.

"Come," said both his hearers, "you have brought us thus far, and
you must go on."

"Gentlemen, I have concealed this matter from all men, both on my
voyage home and since; and I hope you will be secret in the matter,
for the honor of my noble captain, and the comfort of his friends
who are alive. For I think it shame to publish harm of a gallant
gentleman, and of an ancient and worshipful family, and to me a
true and kind captain, when what is done cannot be undone, and
least said soonest mended. Neither now would I have spoken of it,
but that I was inwardly moved to it for the sake of that young
gentleman there" (looking at Amyas), "that he might be warned in
time of God's wrath against the crying sin of adultery, and flee
youthful lusts, which war against the soul."

"Thou hast done wisely enough, then," said Sir Richard; "and look
to it if I do not reward thee: but the young gentleman here, thank
God, needs no such warnings, having got them already both by
precept and example, where thou and poor Oxenham might have had
them also."

"You mean Captain Drake, your worship?"

"I do, sirrah. If all men were as clean livers as he, the world
would be spared one half the tears that are shed in it."

"Amen, sir. At least there would have been many a tear spared to
us and ours. For--as all must out--in that bark of Lima he took a
young lady, as fair as the sunshine, sir, and seemingly about two
or three-and-twenty years of age, having with her a tall young lad
of sixteen, and a little girl, a marvellously pretty child, of
about a six or seven. And the lady herself was of an excellent
beauty, like a whale's tooth for whiteness, so that all the crew
wondered at her, and could not be satisfied with looking upon her.
And, gentlemen, this was strange, that the lady seemed in no wise
afraid or mournful, and bid her little girl fear naught, as did
also Mr. Oxenham: but the lad kept a very sour countenance, and the
more when he saw the lady and Mr. Oxenham speaking together apart.

"Well, sir, after this good luck we were minded to have gone
straight back to the river whence we came, and so home to England
with all speed. But Mr. Oxenham persuaded us to return to the
island, and get a few more pearls. To which foolishness (which
after caused the mishap) I verily believe he was moved by the
instigation of the devil and of that lady. For as we were about to
go ashore, I, going down into the cabin of the prize, saw Mr.
Oxenham and that lady making great cheer of each other with, 'My
life,' and 'My king,' and 'Light of my eyes,' and such toys; and
being bidden by Mr. Oxenham to fetch out the lady's mails, and take
them ashore, heard how the two laughed together about the old ape
of Panama (which ape, or devil rather, I saw afterwards to my
cost), and also how she said that she had been dead for five years,
and now that Mr. Oxenham was come, she was alive again, and so

"Mr. Oxenham bade take the little maid ashore, kissing her and
playing with her, and saying to the lady, 'What is yours is mine,
and what is mine is yours.' And she asking whether the lad should
come ashore, he answered, 'He is neither yours nor mine; let the
spawn of Beelzebub stay on shore.' After which I, coming on deck
again, stumbled over that very lad, upon the hatchway ladder, who
bore so black and despiteful a face, that I verily believe he had
overheard their speech, and so thrust him upon deck; and going
below again, told Mr. Oxenham what I thought, and said that it were
better to put a dagger into him at once, professing to be ready so
to do. For which grievous sin, seeing that it was committed in my
unregenerate days, I hope I have obtained the grace of forgiveness,
as I have that of hearty repentance. But the lady cried out,
'Though he be none of mine, I have sin enough already on my soul;'
and so laid her hand on Mr. Oxenham's mouth, entreating pitifully.
And Mr. Oxenham answered laughing, when she would let him, 'What
care we? let the young monkey go and howl to the old one;' and so
went ashore with the lady to that house, whence for three days he
never came forth, and would have remained longer, but that the men,
finding but few pearls, and being wearied with the watching and
warding so many Spaniards, and negroes came clamoring to him, and
swore that they would return or leave him there with the lady. So
all went on board the pinnace again, every one in ill humor with
the captain, and he with them.

"Well, sirs, we came back to the mouth of the river, and there
began our troubles; for the negroes, as soon as we were on shore,
called on Mr. Oxenham to fulfil the bargain he had made with them.
And now it came out (what few of us knew till then) that he had
agreed with the Cimaroons that they should have all the prisoners
which were taken, save the gold. And he, though loath, was about
to give up the Spaniards to them, near forty in all, supposing that
they intended to use them as slaves: but as we all stood talking,
one of the Spaniards, understanding what was forward, threw himself
on his knees before Mr. Oxenham, and shrieking like a madman,
entreated not to be given up into the hands of 'those devils,' said
he, 'who never take a Spanish prisoner, but they roast him alive,
and then eat his heart among them.' We asked the negroes if this
was possible? To which some answered, What was that to us? But
others said boldly, that it was true enough, and that revenge made
the best sauce, and nothing was so sweet as Spanish blood; and one,
pointing to the lady, said such foul and devilish things as I
should be ashamed either for me to speak, or you to hear. At this
we were like men amazed for very horror; and Mr. Oxenham said, 'You
incarnate fiends, if you had taken these fellows for slaves, it had
been fair enough; for you were once slaves to them, and I doubt not
cruelly used enough: but as for this abomination,' says he, 'God do
so to me, and more also, if I let one of them come into your
murderous hands.' So there was a great quarrel; but Mr. Oxenham
stoutly bade put the prisoners on board the ships again, and so let
the prizes go, taking with him only the treasure, and the lady and
the little maid. And so the lad went on to Panama, God's wrath
having gone out against us.

"Well, sirs, the Cimaroons after that went away from us, swearing
revenge (for which we cared little enough), and we rowed up the
river to a place where three streams met, and then up the least of
the three, some four days' journey, till it grew all shoal and
swift; and there we hauled the pinnace upon the sands, and Mr.
Oxenham asked the men whether they were willing to carry the gold
and silver over the mountains to the North Sea. Some of them at
first were loath to do it, and I and others advised that we should
leave the plate behind, and take the gold only, for it would have
cost us three or four journeys at the least. But Mr. Oxenham
promised every man 100 pezos of silver over and above his wages,
which made them content enough, and we were all to start the morrow
morning. But, sirs, that night, as God had ordained, came a mishap
by some rash speeches of Mr. Oxenham's, which threw all abroad
again; for when we had carried the treasure about half a league
inland, and hidden it away in a house which we made of boughs, Mr.
O. being always full of that his fair lady, spoke to me and William
Penberthy of Marazion, my good comrade, and a few more, saying,
'That we had no need to return to England, seeing that we were
already in the very garden of Eden, and wanted for nothing, but
could live without labor or toil; and that it was better, when we
got over to the North Sea, to go and seek out some fair island, and
there dwell in joy and pleasure till our lives' end. And we two,'
he said, 'will be king and queen, and you, whom I can trust, my
officers; and for servants we will have the Indians, who, I
warrant, will be more fain to serve honest and merry masters like
us than those Spanish devils,' and much more of the like; which
words I liked well,--my mind, alas! being given altogether to
carnal pleasure and vanity,--as did William Penberthy, my good
comrade, on whom I trust God has had mercy. But the rest, sirs,
took the matter all across, and began murmuring against the
captain, saying that poor honest mariners like them had always the
labor and the pain, while he took his delight with his lady; and
that they would have at least one merry night before they were
slain by the Cimaroons, or eaten by panthers and lagartos; and so
got out of the pinnace two great skins of Canary wine, which were
taken in the Lima prize, and sat themselves down to drink.
Moreover, there were in the pinnace a great sight of hens, which
came from the same prize, by which Mr. O. set great store, keeping
them for the lady and the little maid; and falling upon these, the
men began to blaspheme, saying, 'What a plague had the captain to
fill the boat with dirty live lumber for that giglet's sake? They
had a better right to a good supper than ever she had, and might
fast awhile to cool her hot blood;' and so cooked and ate those
hens, plucking them on board the pinnace, and letting the feathers
fall into the stream. But when William Penberthy, my good comrade,
saw the feathers floating away down, he asked them if they were
mad, to lay a trail by which the Spaniards would surely track them
out, if they came after them, as without doubt they would. But
they laughed him to scorn, and said that no Spanish cur dared
follow on the heels of true English mastiffs as they were, and
other boastful speeches; and at last, being heated with wine, began
afresh to murmur at the captain. And one speaking of his counsel
about the island, the rest altogether took it amiss and out of the
way; and some sprang up crying treason, and others that he meant to
defraud them of the plate which he had promised, and others that he
meant to desert them in a strange land, and so forth, till Mr. O.,
hearing the hubbub, came out to them from the house, when they
reviled him foully, swearing that he meant to cheat them; and one
Edward Stiles, a Wapping man, mad with drink, dared to say that he
was a fool for not giving up the prisoners to the negroes, and what
was it to him if the lady roasted? the negroes should have her yet;
and drawing his sword, ran upon the captain: for which I was about
to strike him through the body; but the captain, not caring to
waste steel on such a ribald, with his fist caught him such a
buffet behind the ear, that he fell down stark dead, and all the
rest stood amazed. Then Mr. Oxenham called out, 'All honest men
who know me, and can trust me, stand by your lawful captain against
these ruffians.' Whereon, sirs, I, and Penberthy my good comrade,
and four Plymouth men, who had sailed with Mr. O. in Mr. Drake's
ship, and knew his trusty and valiant conditions, came over to him,
and swore before God to stand by him and the lady. Then said Mr.
O. to the rest, 'Will you carry this treasure, knaves, or will you
not? Give me an answer here.' And they refused, unless he would,
before they started, give each man his share. So Mr. O. waxed very
mad, and swore that he would never be served by men who did not
trust him, and so went in again; and that night was spent in great
disquiet, I and those five others keeping watch about the house of
boughs till the rest fell asleep, in their drink. And next
morning, when the wine was gone out of them, Mr. O. asked them
whether they would go to the hills with him, and find those
negroes, and persuade them after all to carry the treasure. To
which they agreed after awhile, thinking that so they should save
themselves labor; and went off with Mr. Oxenham, leaving us six who
had stood by him to watch the lady and the treasure, after he had
taken an oath of us that we would deal justly and obediently by him
and by her, which God knows, gentlemen, we did. So he parted with
much weeping and wailing of the lady, and was gone seven days; and
all that time we kept that lady faithfully and honestly, bringing
her the best we could find, and serving her upon our bended knees,
both for her admirable beauty, and for her excellent conditions,
for she was certainly of some noble kin, and courteous, and without
fear, as if she had been a very princess. But she kept always
within the house, which the little maid (God bless her!) did not,
but soon learned to play with us and we with her, so that we made
great cheer of her, gentlemen, sailor fashion--for you know we must
always have our minions aboard to pet and amuse us--maybe a monkey,
or a little dog, or a singing bird, ay, or mice and spiders, if we
have nothing better to play withal. And she was wonderful sharp,
sirs, was the little maid, and picked up her English from us fast,
calling us jolly mariners, which I doubt but she has forgotten by
now, but I hope in God it be not so;" and therewith the good fellow
began wiping his eyes.

"Well, sir, on the seventh day we six were down by the pinnace
clearing her out, and the little maid with us gathering of flowers,
and William Penberthy fishing on the bank, about a hundred yards
below, when on a sudden he leaps up and runs toward us, crying,
'Here come our hens' feathers back again with a vengeance!' and so
bade catch up the little maid, and run for the house, for the
Spaniards were upon us.

"Which was too true; for before we could win the house, there were
full eighty shot at our heels, but could not overtake us;
nevertheless, some of them stopping, fixed their calivers and let
fly, killing one of the Plymouth men. The rest of us escaped to
the house, and catching up the lady, fled forth, not knowing
whither we went, while the Spaniards, finding the house and
treasure, pursued us no farther.

"For all that day and the next we wandered in great misery, the
lady weeping continually, and calling for Mr. Oxenham most
piteously, and the little maid likewise, till with much ado we
found the track of our comrades, and went up that as best we might:
but at nightfall, by good hap, we met the whole crew coming back,
and with them 200 negroes or more, with bows and arrows. At which
sight was great joy and embracing, and it was a strange thing,
sirs, to see the lady; for before that she was altogether
desperate: and yet she was now a very lioness, as soon as she had
got her love again; and prayed him earnestly not to care for that
gold, but to go forward to the North Sea, vowing to him in my
hearing that she cared no more for poverty than she had cared for
her good name, and then--they being a little apart from the rest--
pointed round to the green forest, and said in Spanish--which I
suppose they knew not that I understood,--'See, all round us is
Paradise. Were it not enough for you and me to stay here forever,
and let them take the gold or leave it as they will?'

"To which Mr. Oxenham--'Those who lived in Paradise had not sinned
as we have, and would never have grown old or sick, as we shall.'

"And she--'If we do that, there are poisons enough in these woods,
by which we may die in each other's arms, as would to Heaven we had
died seven years agone!'

"But he--'No, no, my life. It stands upon my honor both to fulfil
my bond with these men, whom I have brought hither, and to take
home to England at least something of my prize as a proof of my own

"Then she smiling--'Am I not prize enough, and proof enough?' But
he would not be so tempted, and turning to us offered us the half
of that treasure, if we would go back with him, and rescue it from
the Spaniard. At which the lady wept and wailed much; but I took
upon myself to comfort her, though I was but a simple mariner,
telling her that it stood upon Mr. Oxenham's honor; and that in
England nothing was esteemed so foul as cowardice, or breaking word
and troth betwixt man and man; and that better was it for him to
die seven times by the Spaniards, than to face at home the scorn of
all who sailed the seas. So, after much ado, back they went again;
I and Penberthy, and the three Plymouth men which escaped from the
pinnace, keeping the lady as before.

"Well, sirs, we waited five days, having made houses of boughs as
before, without hearing aught; and on the sixth we saw coming afar
off Mr. Oxenham, and with him fifteen or twenty men, who seemed
very weary and wounded; and when we looked for the rest to be
behind them, behold there were no more; at which, sirs, as you may
well think, our hearts sank within us.

"And Mr. O., coming nearer, cried out afar off, 'All is lost!' and
so walked into the camp without a word, and sat himself down at the
foot of a great tree with his head between his hands, speaking
neither to the lady or to any one, till she very pitifully kneeling
before him, cursing herself for the cause of all his mischief, and
praying him to avenge himself upon that her tender body, won him
hardly to look once upon her, after which (as is the way of vain
and unstable man) all between them was as before.

"But the men were full of curses against the negroes, for their
cowardice and treachery; yea, and against high Heaven itself, which
had put the most part of their ammunition into the Spaniards'
hands; and told me, and I believe truly, how they forced the enemy
awaiting them in a little copse of great trees, well fortified with
barricades of boughs, and having with them our two falcons, which
they had taken out of the pinnace. And how Mr. Oxenham divided
both the English and the negroes into two bands, that one might
attack the enemy in front, and the other in the rear, and so set
upon them with great fury, and would have utterly driven them out,
but that the negroes, who had come on with much howling, like very
wild beasts, being suddenly scared with the shot and noise of the
ordnance, turned and fled, leaving the Englishmen alone; in which
evil strait Mr. O. fought like a very Guy of Warwick, and I verily
believe every man of them likewise; for there was none of them who
had not his shrewd scratch to show. And indeed, Mr. Oxenham's
party had once gotten within the barricades, but the Spaniards
being sheltered by the tree trunks (and especially by one mighty
tree, which stood as I remembered it, and remember it now, borne up
two fathoms high upon its own roots, as it were upon arches and
pillars), shot at them with such advantage, that they had several
slain, and seven more taken alive, only among the roots of that
tree. So seeing that they could prevail nothing, having little but
their pikes and swords, they were fain to give back; though Mr.
Oxenham swore he would not stir a foot, and making at the Spanish
captain was borne down with pikes, and hardly pulled away by some,
who at last reminding him of his lady, persuaded him to come away
with the rest. Whereon the other party fled also; but what had
become of them they knew not, for they took another way. And so
they miserably drew off, having lost in men eleven killed and seven
taken alive, besides five of the rascal negroes who were killed
before they had time to run; and there was an end of the matter.*

* In the documents from which I have drawn this veracious history,
a note is appended to this point of Yeo's story, which seems to me
to smack sufficiently of the old Elizabethan seaman, to be inserted
at length.

"All so far, and most after, agreeth with Lopez Vaz his tale, taken
from his pocket by my Lord Cumberland's mariners at the river
Plate, in the year 1586. But note here his vainglory and
falsehood, or else fear of the Spaniard.

"First, lest it should be seen how great an advantage the Spaniards
had, he maketh no mention of the English calivers, nor those two
pieces of ordnance which were in the pinnace.

"Second, he saith nothing of the flight of the Cimaroons: though it
was evidently to be gathered from that which he himself saith, that
of less than seventy English were slain eleven, and of the negroes
but five. And while of the English seven were taken alive, yet of
the negroes none. And why, but because the rascals ran?

"Thirdly, it is a thing incredible, and out of experience, that
eleven English should be slain and seven taken, with loss only of
two Spaniards killed.

"Search now, and see (for I will not speak of mine own small
doings), in all those memorable voyages, which the worthy and
learned Mr. Hakluyt hath so painfully collected, and which are to
my old age next only to my Bible, whether in all the fights which
we have endured with the Spaniards, their loss, even in victory,
hath not far exceeded ours. For we are both bigger of body and
fiercer of spirit, being even to the poorest of us (thanks so the
care of our illustrious princes), the best fed men of Europe, the
most trained to feats of strength and use of weapons, and put our
trust also not in any Virgin or saints, dead rags and bones,
painted idols which have no breath in their mouths, or St.
Bartholomew medals and such devil's remembrancers; but in the only
true God and our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom whosoever trusteth, one
of them shall chase a thousand. So I hold, having had good
experience; and say, if they have done it once, let them do it
again, and kill their eleven to our two, with any weapon they will,
save paper bullets blown out of Fame's lying trumpet. Yet I have
no quarrel with the poor Portugal; for I doubt not but friend Lopez
Vaz had looking over his shoulder as he wrote some mighty black
velvet Don, with a name as long as that Don Bernaldino Delgadillo
de Avellaneda who set forth lately his vainglorious libel of lies
concerning the last and fatal voyage of my dear friends Sir F.
Drake and Sir John Hawkins, who rest in peace, having finished
their labors, as would God I rested. To whose shameless and
unspeakable lying my good friend Mr. Henry Savile of this county
did most pithily and wittily reply, stripping the ass out of his
lion's skin; and Sir Thomas Baskerville, general of the fleet, by
my advice, send him a cartel of defiance, offering to meet him with
choice of weapons, in any indifferent kingdom of equal distance
from this realm; which challenge he hath prudently put in his pipe,
or rather rolled it up for one of his Spanish cigarros, and smoked
it, and I doubt not, found it foul in the mouth."

"But the next day, gentlemen, in came some five-and-twenty more,
being the wreck of the other party, and with them a few negroes;
and these last proved themselves no honester men than they were
brave, for there being great misery among us English, and every one
of us straggling where he could to get food, every day one or more
who went out never came back, and that caused a suspicion that the
negroes had betrayed them to the Spaniards, or, maybe, slain and
eaten them. So these fellows being upbraided, with that altogether
left us, telling us boldly, that if they had eaten our fellows, we
owed them a debt instead of the Spanish prisoners; and we, in great
terror and hunger, went forward and over the mountains till we came
to a little river which ran northward, which seemed to lead into
the Northern Sea; and there Mr. O.--who, sirs, I will say, after
his first rage was over, behaved himself all through like a valiant
and skilful commander--bade us cut down trees and make canoes, to
go down to the sea; which we began to do, with great labor and
little profit, hewing down trees with our swords, and burning them
out with fire, which, after much labor, we kindled; but as we were
a-burning out of the first tree, and cutting down of another, a
great party of negroes came upon us, and with much friendly show
bade us flee for our lives, for the Spaniards were upon us in great
force. And so we were up and away again, hardly able to drag our
legs after us for hunger and weariness, and the broiling heat. And
some were taken (God help them!) and some fled with the negroes, of
whom what became God alone knoweth; but eight or ten held on with
the captain, among whom was I, and fled downward toward the sea for
one day; but afterwards finding, by the noise in the woods, that
the Spaniards were on the track of us, we turned up again toward
the inland, and coming to a cliff, climbed up over it, drawing up
the lady and the little maid with cords of liana (which hang from
those trees as honeysuckle does here, but exceeding stout and long,
even to fifty fathoms); and so breaking the track, hoped to be out
of the way of the enemy.

"By which, nevertheless, we only increased our misery. For two
fell from that cliff, as men asleep for very weariness, and
miserably broke their bones; and others, whether by the great toil,
or sunstrokes, or eating of strange berries, fell sick of fluxes
and fevers; where was no drop of water, but rock of pumice stone as
bare as the back of my hand, and full, moreover, of great cracks,
black and without bottom, over which we had not strength to lift
the sick, but were fain to leave them there aloft, in the sunshine,
like Dives in his torments, crying aloud for a drop of water to
cool their tongues; and every man a great stinking vulture or two
sitting by him, like an ugly black fiend out of the pit, waiting
till the poor soul should depart out of the corpse: but nothing
could avail, and for the dear life we must down again and into the
woods, or be burned up alive upon those rocks.

"So getting down the slope on the farther side, we came into the
woods once more, and there wandered for many days, I know not how
many; our shoes being gone, and our clothes all rent off us with
brakes and briars. And yet how the lady endured all was a marvel
to see; for she went barefoot many days, and for clothes was fain
to wrap herself in Mr. Oxenham's cloak; while the little maid went
all but naked: but ever she looked still on Mr. Oxenham, and seemed
to take no care as long as he was by, comforting and cheering us
all with pleasant words; yea, and once sitting down under a great
fig-tree, sang us all to sleep with very sweet music; yet, waking
about midnight, I saw her sitting still upright, weeping very
bitterly; on whom, sirs, God have mercy; for she was a fair and a
brave jewel.

"And so, to make few words of a sad matter, at last there were none
left but Mr. Oxenham and the lady and the little maid, together
with me and William Penberthy of Marazion, my good comrade. And
Mr. Oxenham always led the lady, and Penberthy and I carried the
little maid. And for food we had fruits, such as we could find,
and water we got from the leaves of certain lilies which grew on
the bark of trees, which I found by seeing the monkeys drink at
them; and the little maid called them monkey-cups, and asked for
them continually, making me climb for them. And so we wandered on,
and upward into very high mountains, always fearing lest the
Spaniards should track us with dogs, which made the lady leap up
often in her sleep, crying that the bloodhounds were upon her. And
it befell upon a day, that we came into a great wood of ferns
(which grew not on the ground like ours, but on stems as big as a
pinnace's mast, and the bark of them was like a fine meshed net,
very strange to see), where was very pleasant shade, cool and
green; and there, gentlemen, we sat down on a bank of moss, like
folk desperate and fordone, and every one looked the other in the
face for a long while. After which I took off the bark of those
ferns, for I must needs be doing something to drive away thought,
and began to plait slippers for the little maid.

"And as I was plaiting, Mr. Oxenham said, 'What hinders us from
dying like men, every man falling on his own sword?' To which I
answered that I dare not; for a wise woman had prophesied of me,
sirs, that I should die at sea, and yet neither by water or battle,
wherefore I did not think right to meddle with the Lord's purposes.
And William Penberthy said, 'That he would sell his life, and that
dear, but never give it away.' But the lady said, 'Ah, how gladly
would I die! but then la paouvre garse,' which is in French 'the
poor maid,' meaning the little one. Then Mr. Oxenham fell into a
very great weeping, a weakness I never saw him in before or since;
and with many tears besought me never to desert that little maid,
whatever might befall; which I promised, swearing to it like a
heathen, but would, if I had been able, have kept it like a
Christian. But on a sudden there was a great cry in the wood, and
coming through the trees on all sides Spanish arquebusiers, a
hundred strong at least, and negroes with them, who bade us stand
or they would shoot. William Penberthy leapt up, crying 'Treason!'
and running upon the nearest negro ran him through, and then
another, and then falling on the Spaniards, fought manfully till he
was borne down with pikes, and so died. But I, seeing no thing
better to do, sate still and finished my plaiting. And so we were
all taken, and I and Mr. Oxenham bound with cords; but the soldiers
made a litter for the lady and child, by commandment of Senor Diego
de Trees, their commander, a very courteous gentleman.

"Well, sirs, we were brought down to the place where the house of
boughs had been by the river-side; there we went over in boats, and
found waiting for us certain Spanish gentlemen, and among others
one old and ill-favored man, gray-bearded and bent, in a suit of
black velvet, who seemed to be a great man among them. And if you
will believe me, Mr. Leigh, that was none other than the old man
with the gold falcon at his breast, Don Francisco Xararte by name,
whom you found aboard of the Lima ship. And had you known as much
of him as I do, or as Mr. Oxenham did either, you had cut him up
for shark's bait, or ever you let the cur ashore again.

"Well, sirs, as soon as the lady came to shore, that old man ran
upon her sword in hand, and would have slain her, but some there
held him back. On which he turned to, and reviled with every foul
and spiteful word which he could think of, so that some there bade
him be silent for shame; and Mr. Oxenham said, 'It is worthy of
you, Don Francisco, thus to trumpet abroad your own disgrace. Did
I not tell you years ago that you were a cur; and are you not
proving my words for me?'

"He answered, 'English dog, would to Heaven I had never seen you!'

"And Mr. Oxenham, 'Spanish ape, would to Heaven that I had sent my
dagger through your herring-ribs when you passed me behind St.
Ildegonde's church, eight years last Easter-eve.' At which the old
man turned pale, and then began again to upbraid the lady, vowing
that he would have her burnt alive, and other devilish words, to
which she answered at last--

"'Would that you had burnt me alive on my wedding morning, and
spared me eight years of misery!' And he--

"'Misery? Hear the witch, senors! Oh, have I not pampered her,
heaped with jewels, clothes, coaches, what not? The saints alone
know what 'I have spent on her. What more would she have of me?'

"To which she answered only but this one word, 'Fool!' but in so
terrible a voice, though low, that they who were about to laugh at
the old pantaloon, were more minded to weep for her.

"'Fool!' she said again, after a while, 'I will waste no words upon
you. I would have driven a dagger to your heart months ago, but
that I was loath to set you free so soon from your gout and your
rheumatism. Selfish and stupid, know when you bought my body from
my parents, you did not buy my soul! Farewell, my love, my life!
and farewell, senors! May you be more merciful to your daughters
than my parents were to me!' And so, catching a dagger from the
girdle of one of the soldiers, smote herself to the heart, and fell
dead before them all.

"At which Mr. Oxenham smiled, and said, 'That was worthy of us
both. If you will unbind my hands, senors, I shall be most happy
to copy so fair a schoolmistress.'

"But Don Diego shook his head, and said--

"'It were well for you, valiant senor, were I at liberty to do so;
but on questioning those of your sailors whom I have already taken,
I cannot hear that you have any letters of license, either from the
queen of England, or any other potentate. I am compelled,
therefore, to ask you whether this is so; for it is a matter of
life and death.'

"To which Mr. Oxenham answered merrily, that so it was: but that he
was not aware that any potentate's license was required to permit a
gentleman's meeting his lady love; and that as for the gold which
they had taken, if they had never allowed that fresh and fair young
May to be forced into marrying that old January, he should never
have meddled with their gold; so that was rather their fault than
his. And added, that if he was to be hanged, as he supposed, the
only favor which he asked for was a long drop and no priests. And
all the while, gentlemen, he still kept his eyes fixed on the
lady's corpse, till he was led away with me, while all that stood
by, God reward them for it, lamented openly the tragical end of
those two sinful lovers.

"And now, sirs, what befell me after that matters little; for I
never saw Captain Oxenham again, nor ever shall in this life."

"He was hanged, then?"

"So I heard for certain the next year, and with him the gunner and
sundry more: but some were given away for slaves to the Spaniards,
and may be alive now, unless, like me, they have fallen into the
cruel clutches of the Inquisition. For the Inquisition now,
gentlemen, claims the bodies and souls of all heretics all over the
world (as the devils told me with their own lips, when I pleaded
that I was no Spanish subject); and none that it catches, whether
peaceable merchants or shipwrecked mariners, but must turn or

"But how did you get into the Inquisition?"

"Why, sir, after we were taken, we set forth to go down the river
again; and the old Don took the little maid with him in one boat
(and bitterly she screeched at parting from us and from the poor
dead corpse), and Mr. Oxenham with Don Diego de Trees in another,
and I in a third. And from the Spaniards I learnt that we were to
be taken down to Lima, to the Viceroy; but that the old man lived
hard by Panama, and was going straight back to Panama forthwith
with the little maid. But they said, 'It will be well for her if
she ever gets there, for the old man swears she is none of his, and
would have left her behind him in the woods, now, if Don Diego had
not shamed him out of it.' And when I heard that, seeing that
there was nothing but death before me, I made up my mind to escape;
and the very first night, sirs, by God's help, I did it, and went
southward away into the forest, avoiding the tracks of the
Cimaroons, till I came to an Indian town. And there, gentlemen, I
got more mercy from heathens than ever I had from Christians; for
when they found that I was no Spaniard, they fed me and gave me a
house, and a wife (and a good wife she was to me), and painted me
all over in patterns, as you see; and because I had some knowledge
of surgery and blood-letting, and my fleams in my pocket, which
were worth to me a fortune, I rose to great honor among them,
though they taught me more of simples than ever I taught them of
surgery. So I lived with them merrily enough, being a very heathen
like them, or indeed worse, for they worshipped their Xemes, but I
nothing. And in time my wife bare me a child; in looking at whose
sweet face, gentlemen, I forgot Mr. Oxenham and his little maid,
and my oath, ay, and my native land also. Wherefore it was taken
from me, else had I lived and died as the beasts which perish; for
one night, after we were all lain down, came a noise outside the
town, and I starting up saw armed men and calivers shining in the
moonlight, and heard one read in Spanish, with a loud voice, some
fool's sermon, after their custom when they hunt the poor Indians,
how God had given to St. Peter the dominion of the whole earth, and
St. Peter again the Indies to the Catholic king; wherefore, if they
would all be baptized and serve the Spaniard, they should have some
monkey's allowance or other of more kicks than pence; and if not,
then have at them with fire and sword; but I dare say your worships
know that devilish trick of theirs better than I."

"I know it, man. Go on."

"Well--no sooner were the words spoken than, without waiting to
hear what the poor innocents within would answer (though that
mattered little, for they understood not one word of it), what do
the villains but let fly right into the town with their calivers,
and then rush in, sword in hand, killing pell-mell all they met,
one of which shots, gentlemen, passing through the doorway, and
close by me, struck my poor wife to the heart, that she never spoke
word more. I, catching up the babe from her breast, tried to run:
but when I saw the town full of them, and their dogs with them in
leashes, which was yet worse, I knew all was lost, and sat down
again by the corpse with the babe on my knees, waiting the end,
like one stunned and in a dream; for now I thought God from whom I
had fled had surely found me out, as He did Jonah, and the
punishment of all my sins was come. Well, gentlemen, they dragged
me out, and all the young men and women, and chained us together by
the neck; and one, catching the pretty babe out of my arms, calls
for water and a priest (for they had their shavelings with them),
and no sooner was it christened than, catching the babe by the
heels, he dashed out its brains,--oh! gentlemen, gentlemen!--
against the ground, as if it had been a kitten; and so did they to
several more innocents that night, after they had christened them;
saying it was best for them to go to heaven while they were still
sure thereof; and so marched us all for slaves, leaving the old
folk and the wounded to die at leisure. But when morning came, and
they knew by my skin that I was no Indian, and by my speech that I
was no Spaniard, they began threatening me with torments, till I
confessed that I was an Englishman, and one of Oxenham's crew. At
that says the leader, 'Then you shall to Lima, to hang by the side
of your captain the pirate;' by which I first knew that my poor
captain was certainly gone; but alas for me! the priest steps in
and claims me for his booty, calling me Lutheran, heretic, and
enemy of God; and so, to make short a sad story, to the Inquisition
at Cartagena I went, where what I suffered, gentlemen, were as
disgustful for you to hear, as unmanly for me to complain of; but
so it was, that being twice racked, and having endured the water-
torment as best I could, I was put to the scarpines, whereof I am,
as you see, somewhat lame of one leg to this day. At which I could
abide no more, and so, wretch that I am! denied my God, in hope to
save my life; which indeed I did, but little it profited me; for
though I had turned to their superstition, I must have two hundred
stripes in the public place, and then go to the galleys for seven
years. And there, gentlemen, ofttimes I thought that it had been
better for me to have been burned at once and for all: but you know
as well as I what a floating hell of heat and cold, hunger and
thirst, stripes and toil, is every one of those accursed craft. In
which hell, nevertheless, gentlemen, I found the road to heaven,--I
had almost said heaven itself. For it fell out, by God's mercy,
that my next comrade was an Englishman like myself, a young man of
Bristol, who, as he told me, had been some manner of factor on
board poor Captain Barker's ship, and had been a preacher among the
Anabaptists here in England. And, oh! Sir Richard Grenville, if
that man had done for you what he did for me, you would never say a
word against those who serve the same Lord, because they don't
altogether hold with you. For from time to time, sir, seeing me
altogether despairing and furious, like a wild beast in a pit, he
set before me in secret earnestly the sweet promises of God in
Christ,--who says, 'Come to me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I
will refresh you; and though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be
as white as snow,--till all that past sinful life of mine looked
like a dream when one awaketh, and I forgot all my bodily miseries
in the misery of my soul, so did I loathe and hate myself for my
rebellion against that loving God who had chosen me before the
foundation of the world, and come to seek and save me when I was
lost; and falling into very despair at the burden of my heinous
sins, knew no peace until I gained sweet assurance that my Lord had
hanged my burden upon His cross, and washed my sinful soul in His
most sinless blood, Amen!"

And Sir Richard Grenville said Amen also.

"But, gentlemen, if that sweet youth won a soul to Christ, he paid
as dearly for it as ever did saint of God. For after a three or
four months, when I had been all that while in sweet converse with
him, and I may say in heaven in the midst of hell, there came one
night to the barranco at Lima, where we were kept when on shore,
three black devils of the Holy Office, and carried him off without
a word, only saying to me, 'Look that your turn come not next, for
we hear that you have had much talk with the villain.' And at
these words I was so struck cold with terror that I swooned right
away, and verily, if they had taken me there and then, I should
have denied my God again, for my faith was but young and weak: but
instead, they left me aboard the galley for a few months more (that
was a whole voyage to Panama and back), in daily dread lest I
should find myself in their cruel claws again--and then nothing for
me, but to burn as a relapsed heretic. But when we came back to
Lima, the officers came on board again, and said to me, 'That
heretic has confessed naught against you, so we will leave you for
this time: but because you have been seen talking with him so much,
and the Holy Office suspects your conversion to be but a rotten
one, you are adjudged to the galleys for the rest of your life in
perpetual servitude.'"

"But what became of him?" asked Amyas.

"He was burned, sir, a day or two before we got to Lima, and five
others with him at the same stake, of whom two were Englishmen; old
comrades of mine, as I guess."

"Ah!" said Amyas, "we heard of that when we were off Lima; and they
said, too, that there were six more lying still in prison, to be
burnt in a few days. If we had had our fleet with us (as we should
have had if it had not been for John Winter) we would have gone in
and rescued them all, poor wretches, and sacked the town to boot:
but what could we do with one ship?"

"Would to God you had, sir; for the story was true enough; and
among them, I heard, were two young ladies of quality and their
confessor, who came to their ends for reproving out of Scripture
the filthy and loathsome living of those parts, which, as I saw
well enough and too well, is liker to Sodom than to a Christian
town; but God will avenge His saints, and their sins. Amen."

"Amen," said Sir Richard: "but on with thy tale, for it is as
strange as ever man heard."

"Well, gentlemen, when I heard that I must end my days in that
galley, I was for awhile like a madman: but in a day or two there
came over me, I know not how, a full assurance of salvation, both
for this life and the life to come, such as I had never had before;
and it was revealed to me (I speak the truth, gentlemen, before
Heaven) that now I had been tried to the uttermost, and that my
deliverance was at hand.

"And all the way up to Panama (that was after we had laden the
'Cacafuogo') I cast in my mind how to escape, and found no way: but
just as I was beginning to lose heart again, a door was opened by
the Lord's own hand; for (I know not why) we were marched across
from Panama to Nombre, which had never happened before, and there
put all together into a great barranco close by the quay-side,
shackled, as is the fashion, to one long bar that ran the whole
length of the house. And the very first night that we were there,
I, looking out of the window, spied, lying close aboard of the
quay, a good-sized caravel well armed and just loading for sea; and
the land breeze blew off very strong, so that the sailors were
laying out a fresh warp to hold her to the shore. And it came into
my mind, that if we were aboard of her, we should be at sea in five
minutes; and looking at the quay, I saw all the soldiers who had
guarded us scattered about drinking and gambling, and some going
into taverns to refresh themselves after their journey. That was
just at sundown; and half an hour after, in comes the gaoler to
take a last look at us for the night, and his keys at his girdle.
Whereon, sirs (whether by madness, or whether by the spirit which
gave Samson strength to rend the lion), I rose against him as he
passed me, without forethought or treachery of any kind, chained
though I was, caught him by the head, and threw him there and then
against the wall, that he never spoke word after; and then with his
keys freed myself and every soul in that room, and bid them follow
me, vowing to kill any man who disobeyed my commands. They
followed, as men astounded and leaping out of night into day, and
death into life, and so aboard that caravel and out of the harbor
(the Lord only knows how, who blinded the eyes of the idolaters),
'with no more hurt than a few chance-shot from the soldiers on the
quay. But my tale has been over-long already, gentlemen--"

"Go on till midnight, my good fellow, if you will."

"Well, sirs, they chose me for captain, and a certain Genoese for
lieutenant, and away to go. I would fain have gone ashore after
all, and back to Panama to hear news of the little maid: but that
would have been but a fool's errand. Some wanted to turn pirates:
but I, and the Genoese too, who was a prudent man, though an evil
one, persuaded them to run for England and get employment in the
Netherland wars, assuring them that there would be no safety in the
Spanish Main, when once our escape got wind. And the more part
being of one mind, for England we sailed, watering at the Barbadoes
because it was desolate; and so eastward toward the Canaries. In
which voyage what we endured (being taken by long calms), by
scurvy, calentures, hunger, and thirst, no tongue can tell. Many a
time were we glad to lay out sheets at night to catch the dew, and
suck them in the morning; and he that had a noggin of rain-water
out of the scuppers was as much sought to as if he had been
Adelantado of all the Indies; till of a hundred and forty poor
wretches a hundred and ten were dead, blaspheming God and man, and
above all me and the Genoese, for taking the Europe voyage, as if I
had not sins enough of my own already. And last of all, when we
thought ourselves safe, we were wrecked by southwesters on the
coast of Brittany, near to Cape Race, from which but nine souls of
us came ashore with their lives; and so to Brest, where I found a
Flushinger who carried me to Falmouth and so ends my tale, in which
if I have said one word more or less than truth, I can wish myself
no worse, than to have it all to undergo a second time."

And his voice, as he finished, sank from very weariness of soul;
while Sir Richard sat opposite him in silence, his elbows on the
table, his cheeks on his doubled fists, looking him through and
through with kindling eyes. No one spoke for several minutes; and

"Amyas, you have heard this story. You believe it?"

"Every word, sir, or I should not have the heart of a Christian

"So do I. Anthony!"

The butler entered.

"Take this man to the buttery; clothe him comfortably, and feed him
with the best; and bid the knaves treat him as if he were their own

But Yeo lingered.

"If I might be so bold as to ask your worship a favor?--"

"Anything in reason, my brave fellow."

"If your worship could put me in the way of another adventure to
the Indies?"

"Another! Hast not had enough of the Spaniards already?"

"Never enough, sir, while one of the idolatrous tyrants is left
unhanged," said he, with a right bitter smile. "But it's not for
that only, sir: but my little maid--Oh, sir! my little maid, that I
swore to Mr. Oxenham to look to, and never saw her from that day to
this! I must find her, sir, or I shall go mad, I believe. Not a
night but she comes and calls to me in my dreams, the poor darling;
and not a morning but when I wake there is my oath lying on my
soul, like a great black cloud, and I no nearer the keeping of it.
I told that poor young minister of it when we were in the galleys
together; and he said oaths were oaths, and keep it I must; and
keep it I will, sir, if you'll but help me."

"Have patience, man. God will take as good care of thy little maid
as ever thou wilt."

"I know it, sir. I know it: but faith's weak, sir! and oh! if she
were bred up a Papist and an idolater; wouldn't her blood be on my
head then, sir? Sooner than that, sooner than that, I'd be in the
Inquisition again to-morrow, I would!"

"My good fellow, there are no adventures to the Indies forward now:
but if you want to fight Spaniards, here is a gentleman will show
you the way. Amyas, take him with you to Ireland. If he has
learnt half the lessons God has set him to learn, he ought to stand
you in good stead."

Yeo looked eagerly at the young giant.

"Will you have me, sir? There's few matters I can't turn my hand
to: and maybe you'll be going to the Indies again, some day, eh?
and take me with you? I'd serve your turn well, though I say it,
either for gunner or for pilot. I know every stone and tree from
Nombre to Panama, and all the ports of both the seas. You'll never
be content, I'll warrant, till you've had another turn along the
gold coasts, will you now?"

Amyas laughed, and nodded; and the bargain was concluded.

So out went Yeo to eat, and Amyas having received his despatches,
got ready for his journey home.

"Go the short way over the moors, lad; and send back Cary's gray
when you can. You must not lose an hour, but be ready to sail the
moment the wind goes about."

So they started: but as Amyas was getting into the saddle, he saw
that there was some stir among the servants, who seemed to keep
carefully out of Yeo's way, whispering and nodding mysteriously;
and just as his foot was in the stirrup, Anthony, the old butler,
plucked him back.

"Dear father alive, Mr. Amyas!" whispered he: "and you ben't going
by the moor road all alone with that chap?"

"Why not, then? I'm too big for him to eat, I reckon."

"Oh, Mr. Amyas! he's not right, I tell you; not company for a
Christian--to go forth with creatures as has flames of fire in
their inwards; 'tis temptation of Providence, indeed, then, it is."

"Tale of a tub."

"Tale of a Christian, sir. There was two boys pig-minding, seed
him at it down the hill, beside a maiden that was taken mazed (and
no wonder, poor soul!) and lying in screeching asterisks now down
to the mill--you ask as you go by--and saw the flames come out of
the mouth of mun, and the smoke out of mun's nose like a vire-
drake, and the roaring of mun like the roaring of ten thousand
bulls. Oh, sir! and to go with he after dark over moor! 'Tis the
devil's devices, sir, against you, because you'm going against his
sarvants the Pope of Room and the Spaniard; and you'll be Pixy-led,
sure as life, and locked into a bog, you will, and see mun vanish
away to fire and brimstone, like a jack-o'-lantern. Oh, have a
care, then, have a care!"

And the old man wrung his hands, while Amyas, bursting with
laughter, rode off down the park, with the unconscious Yeo at his
stirrup, chatting away about the Indies, and delighting Amyas more
and more by his shrewdness, high spirit, and rough eloquence.

They had gone ten miles or more; the day began to draw in, and the
western wind to sweep more cold and cheerless every moment, when
Amyas, knowing that there was not an inn hard by around for many a
mile ahead, took a pull at a certain bottle which Lady Grenville
had put into his holster, and then offered Yeo a pull also.

He declined; he had meat and drink too about him, Heaven be

"Meat and drink? Fall to, then, man, and don't stand on manners."

Whereon Yeo, seeing an old decayed willow by a brook, went to it,
and took therefrom some touchwood, to which he set a light with his
knife and a stone, while Amyas watched, a little puzzled and
startled, as Yeo's fiery reputation came into his mind. Was he
really a salamander-sprite, and going to warm his inside by a meal
of burning tinder? But now Yeo, in his solemn methodical way,
pulled out of his bosom a brown leaf, and began rolling a piece of
it up neatly to the size of his little finger; and then, putting
the one end into his mouth and the other on the tinder, sucked at
it till it was a-light; and drinking down the smoke, began puffing
it out again at his nostrils with a grunt of deepest satisfaction,
and resumed his dog-trot by Amyas's side, as if he had been a
walking chimney.

On which Amyas burst into a loud laugh, and cried--

"Why, no wonder they said you breathed fire? Is not that the
Indians' tobacco?"

"Yea, verily, Heaven be praised! but did you never see it before?"

"Never, though we heard talk of it along the coast; but we took it
for one more Spanish lie. Humph--well, live and learn!"

"Ah, sir, no lie, but a blessed truth, as I can tell, who have ere
now gone in the strength of this weed three days and nights without
eating; and therefore, sir, the Indians always carry it with them
on their war-parties: and no wonder; for when all things were made
none was made better than this; to be a lone man's companion, a
bachelor's friend, a hungry man's food, a sad man's cordial, a
wakeful man's sleep, and a chilly man's fire, sir; while for
stanching of wounds, purging of rheum, and settling of the stomach,
there's no herb like unto it under the canopy of heaven."

The truth of which eulogium Amyas tested in after years, as shall
be fully set forth in due place and time. But "Mark in the
meanwhile," says one of the veracious chroniclers from whom I draw
these facts, writing seemingly in the palmy days of good Queen
Anne, and "not having" (as he says) "before his eyes the fear of
that misocapnic Solomon James I. or of any other lying Stuart,"
"that not to South Devon, but to North; not to Sir Walter Raleigh,
but to Sir Amyas Leigh; not to the banks of Dart, but to the banks
of Torridge, does Europe owe the day-spring of the latter age, that
age of smoke which shall endure and thrive, when the age of brass
shall have vanished like those of iron and of gold; for whereas Mr.
Lane is said to have brought home that divine weed (as Spenser well
names it) from Virginia, in the year 1584, it is hereby
indisputable that full four years earlier, by the bridge of Putford
in the Torridge moors (which all true smokers shall hereafter visit
as a hallowed spot and point of pilgrimage) first twinkled that
fiery beacon and beneficent lodestar of Bidefordian commerce, to
spread hereafter from port to port and peak to peak, like the
watch-fires which proclaimed the coming of the Armada or the fall
of Troy, even to the shores of the Bosphorus, the peaks of the
Caucasus, and the farthest isles of the Malayan sea, while
Bideford, metropolis of tobacco, saw her Pool choked with Virginian
traders, and the pavement of her Bridgeland Street groaning beneath
the savory bales of roll Trinadado, leaf, and pudding; and her
grave burghers, bolstered and blocked out of their own houses by
the scarce less savory stock-fish casks which filled cellar,
parlor, and attic, were fain to sit outside the door, a silver pipe
in every strong right hand, and each left hand chinking cheerfully
the doubloons deep lodged in the auriferous caverns of their trunk-
hose; while in those fairy-rings of fragrant mist, which circled
round their contemplative brows, flitted most pleasant visions of
Wiltshire farmers jogging into Sherborne fair, their heaviest
shillings in their pockets, to buy (unless old Aubrey lies) the
lotus-leaf of Torridge for its weight in silver, and draw from
thence, after the example of the Caciques of Dariena, supplies of
inspiration much needed, then as now, in those Gothamite regions.
And yet did these improve, as Englishmen, upon the method of those
heathen savages; for the latter (so Salvation Yeo reported as a
truth, and Dampier's surgeon Mr. Wafer after him), when they will
deliberate of war or policy, sit round in the hut of the chief;
where being placed, enter to them a small boy with a cigarro of the
bigness of a rolling-pin and puffs the smoke thereof into the face
of each warrior, from the eldest to the youngest; while they,
putting their hand funnel-wise round their mouths, draw into the
sinuosities of the brain that more than Delphic vapor of prophecy;
which boy presently falls down in a swoon, and being dragged out by
the heels and laid by to sober, enter another to puff at the sacred
cigarro, till he is dragged out likewise; and so on till the
tobacco is finished, and the seed of wisdom has sprouted in every
soul into the tree of meditation, bearing the flowers of eloquence,
and in due time the fruit of valiant action." With which quaint
fact (for fact it is, in spite of the bombast) I end the present



"It is virtue, yea virtue, gentlemen, that maketh gentlemen; that
maketh the poor rich, the base-born noble, the subject a sovereign,
the deformed beautiful, the sick whole, the weak strong, the most
miserable most happy. There are two principal and peculiar gifts
in the nature of man, knowledge and reason; the one commandeth, and
the other obeyeth: these things neither the whirling wheel of
fortune can change, neither the deceitful cavillings of worldlings
separate, neither sickness abate, neither age abolish."--LILLY's
Euphues, 1586.

It now falls to my lot to write of the foundation of that most
chivalrous brotherhood of the Rose, which after a few years made
itself not only famous in its native country of Devon, but
formidable, as will be related hereafter, both in Ireland and in
the Netherlands, in the Spanish Main and the heart of South
America. And if this chapter shall seem to any Quixotic and
fantastical, let them recollect that the generation who spoke and
acted thus in matters of love and honor were, nevertheless,
practised and valiant soldiers, and prudent and crafty politicians;
that he who wrote the "Arcadia" was at the same time, in spite of
his youth, one of the subtlest diplomatists of Europe; that the
poet of the "Faerie Queene" was also the author of "The State of
Ireland;" and if they shall quote against me with a sneer Lilly's
"Euphues" itself, I shall only answer by asking--Have they ever
read it? For if they have done so, I pity them if they have not
found it, in spite of occasional tediousness and pedantry, as
brave, righteous, and pious a book as man need look into: and wish
for no better proof of the nobleness and virtue of the Elizabethan
age, than the fact that "Euphues" and the "Arcadia" were the two
popular romances of the day. It may have suited the purposes of
Sir Walter Scott, in his cleverly drawn Sir Piercie Shafton, to
ridicule the Euphuists, and that affectatam comitatem of the
travelled English of which Languet complains; but over and above
the anachronism of the whole character (for, to give but one
instance, the Euphuist knight talks of Sidney's quarrel with Lord
Oxford at least ten years before it happened), we do deny that
Lilly's book could, if read by any man of common sense, produce
such a coxcomb, whose spiritual ancestors would rather have been
Gabriel Harvey and Lord Oxford,--if indeed the former has not
maligned the latter, and ill-tempered Tom Nash maligned the
maligner in his turn.

But, indeed, there is a double anachronism in Sir Piercie; for he
does not even belong to the days of Sidney, but to those worse
times which began in the latter years of Elizabeth, and after
breaking her mighty heart, had full license to bear their crop of
fools' heads in the profligate days of James. Of them, perhaps,
hereafter. And in the meanwhile, let those who have not read
"Euphues" believe that, if they could train a son after the fashion
of his Ephoebus, to the great saving of their own money and his
virtue, all fathers, even in these money-making days, would rise up
and call them blessed. Let us rather open our eyes, and see in
these old Elizabeth gallants our own ancestors, showing forth with
the luxuriant wildness of youth all the virtues which still go to
the making of a true Englishman. Let us not only see in their
commercial and military daring, in their political astuteness, in
their deep reverence for law, and in their solemn sense of the
great calling of the English nation, the antitypes or rather the
examples of our own: but let us confess that their chivalry is only
another garb of that beautiful tenderness and mercy which is now,
as it was then, the twin sister of English valor; and even in their
extravagant fondness for Continental manners and literature, let us
recognize that old Anglo-Norman teachableness and wide-heartedness,
which has enabled us to profit by the wisdom and civilization of
all ages and of all lands, without prejudice to our own distinctive
national character.

And so I go to my story, which, if any one dislikes, he has but to
turn the leaf till he finds pasturage which suits him better.

Amyas could not sail the next day, or the day after; for the
southwester freshened, and blew three parts of a gale dead into the
bay. So having got the "Mary Grenville" down the river into
Appledore pool, ready to start with the first shift of wind, he
went quietly home; and when his mother started on a pillion behind
the old serving-man to ride to Clovelly, where Frank lay wounded,
he went in with her as far as Bideford, and there met, coming down
the High Street, a procession of horsemen headed by Will Cary, who,
clad cap-a-pie in a shining armor, sword on thigh, and helmet at
saddle-bow, looked as gallant a young gentleman as ever Bideford
dames peeped at from door and window. Behind him, upon country
ponies, came four or five stout serving-men, carrying his lances
and baggage, and their own long-bows, swords, and bucklers; and
behind all, in a horse-litter, to Mrs. Leigh's great joy, Master
Frank himself. He deposed that his wounds were only flesh-wounds,
the dagger having turned against his ribs; that he must see the
last of his brother; and that with her good leave he would not come
home to Burrough, but take up his abode with Cary in the Ship
Tavern, close to the Bridge-foot. This he did forthwith, and
settling himself on a couch, held his levee there in state, mobbed
by all the gossips of the town, not without white fibs as to who
had brought him into that sorry plight.

But in the meanwhile he and Amyas concocted a scheme, which was put
into effect the next day (being market-day); first by the
innkeeper, who began under Amyas's orders a bustle of roasting,
boiling, and frying, unparalleled in the annals of the Ship Tavern;
and next by Amyas himself, who, going out into the market, invited
as many of his old schoolfellows, one by one apart, as Frank had
pointed out to him, to a merry supper and a "rowse" thereon
consequent; by which crafty scheme, in came each of Rose Salterne's
gentle admirers, and found himself, to his considerable disgust,
seated at the same table with six rivals, to none of whom had he
spoken for the last six months. However, all were too well bred to
let the Leighs discern as much; and they (though, of course, they
knew all) settled their guests, Frank on his couch lying at the
head of the table, and Amyas taking the bottom: and contrived, by
filling all mouths with good things, to save them the pain of
speaking to each other till the wine should have loosened their
tongues and warmed their hearts. In the meanwhile both Amyas and
Frank, ignoring the silence of their guests with the most provoking
good-humor, chatted, and joked, and told stories, and made
themselves such good company, that Will Cary, who always found
merriment infectious, melted into a jest, and then into another,
and finding good-humor far more pleasant than bad, tried to make
Mr. Coffin laugh, and only made him bow, and to make Mr. Fortescue
laugh, and only made him frown; and unabashed nevertheless, began
playing his light artillery upon the waiters, till he drove them
out of the room bursting with laughter.

So far so good. And when the cloth was drawn, and sack and sugar
became the order of the day, and "Queen and Bible" had been duly
drunk with all the honors, Frank tried a fresh move, and--

"I have a toast, gentlemen--here it is. 'The gentlemen of the
Irish wars; and may Ireland never be without a St. Leger to stand
by a Fortescue, a Fortescue to stand by a St. Leger, and a
Chichester to stand by both.'"

Which toast of course involved the drinking the healths of the
three representatives of those families, and their returning
thanks, and paying a compliment each to the other's house: and so
the ice cracked a little further; and young Fortescue proposed the
health of "Amyas Leigh and all bold mariners;" to which Amyas
replied by a few blunt kindly words, "that he wished to know no
better fortune than to sail round the world again with the present
company as fellow-adventurers, and so give the Spaniards another
taste of the men of Devon."

And by this time, the wine going down sweetly, caused the lips of
them that were asleep to speak; till the ice broke up altogether,
and every man began talking like a rational Englishman to the man
who sat next him.

"And now, gentlemen," said Frank, who saw that it was the fit
moment for the grand assault which he had planned all along; "let
me give you a health which none of you, I dare say, will refuse to
drink with heart and soul as well as with lips;--the health of one
whom beauty and virtue have so ennobled, that in their light the
shadow of lowly birth is unseen;--the health of one whom I would
proclaim as peerless in loveliness, were it not that every
gentleman here has sisters, who might well challenge from her the
girdle of Venus: and yet what else dare I say, while those same
lovely ladies who, if they but use their own mirrors, must needs be
far better judges of beauty than I can be, have in my own hearing
again and again assigned the palm to her? Surely, if the goddesses
decide among themselves the question of the golden apple, Paris
himself must vacate the judgment-seat. Gentlemen, your hearts, I
doubt not, have already bid you, as my unworthy lips do now, to
drink 'The Rose of Torridge.'"

If the Rose of Torridge herself had walked into the room, she could
hardly have caused more blank astonishment than Frank's bold
speech. Every guest turned red, and pale, and red again, and
looked at the other as much as to say, "What right has any one but
I to drink her? Lift your glass, and I will dash it out of your
hand;" but Frank, with sweet effrontery, drank "The health of the
Rose of Torridge, and a double health to that worthy gentleman,
whosoever he may be, whom she is fated to honor with her love!"

"Well done, cunning Frank Leigh!" cried blunt Will Cary; "none of
us dare quarrel with you now, however much we may sulk at each
other. For there's none of us, I'll warrant, but thinks that she
likes him the best of all; and so we are bound to believe that you
have drunk our healths all round."

"And so I have: and what better thing can you do, gentlemen, than
to drink each other's healths all round likewise: and so show
yourselves true gentlemen, true Christians, ay, and true lovers?
For what is love (let me speak freely to you, gentlemen and
guests), what is love, but the very inspiration of that Deity whose
name is Love? Be sure that not without reason did the ancients
feign Eros to be the eldest of the gods, by whom the jarring
elements of chaos were attuned into harmony and order. How, then,
shall lovers make him the father of strife? Shall Psyche wed with
Cupid, to bring forth a cockatrice's egg? or the soul be filled
with love, the likeness of the immortals, to burn with envy and
jealousy, division and distrust? True, the rose has its thorn: but
it leaves poison and stings to the nettle. Cupid has his arrow:
but he hurls no scorpions. Venus is awful when despised, as the
daughters of Proetus found: but her handmaids are the Graces, not
the Furies. Surely he who loves aright will not only find love
lovely, but become himself lovely also. I speak not to reprehend
you, gentlemen; for to you (as your piercing wits have already
perceived, to judge by your honorable blushes) my discourse tends;
but to point you, if you will but permit me, to that rock which I
myself have, I know not by what Divine good hap, attained; if,
indeed, I have attained it, and am not about to be washed off again
by the next tide."

Frank's rapid and fantastic oratory, utterly unexpected as it was,
had as yet left their wits no time to set their tempers on fire;
but when, weak from his wounds, he paused for breath, there was a
haughty murmur from more than one young gentleman, who took his
speech as an impertinent interference with each man's right to make
a fool of himself; and Mr. Coffin, who had sat quietly bolt
upright, and looking at the opposite wall, now rose as quietly, and
with a face which tried to look utterly unconcerned, was walking
out of the room: another minute, and Lady Bath's prophecy about the
feast of the Lapithae might have come true.

But Frank's heart and head never failed him.

"Mr. Coffin!" said he, in a tone which compelled that gentleman to
turn round, and so brought him under the power of a face which none
could have beheld for five minutes and borne malice, so imploring,

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