Part 6 out of 15
captor's presence, often puzzled and scandalized him by his
waywardness. Fits of deep melancholy alternated with bursts of
Spanish boastfulness, utterly astonishing to the modest and sober-
minded Englishman, who would often have fancied him inspired by
usquebaugh, had he not had ocular proof of his extreme
"Miserable?" said he, one night in one of these fits. "And have I
not a right to be miserable? Why should I not curse the virgin and
all the saints, and die? I have not a friend, not a ducat on
earth; not even a sword--hell and the furies! It was my all: the
only bequest I ever had from my father, and I lived by it and
earned by it. Two years ago I had as pretty a sum of gold as
cavalier could wish--and now!"--
"What is become of it, then? I cannot hear that our men plundered
you of any."
"Your men? No, senor! What fifty men dared not have done, one
woman did! a painted, patched, fucused, periwigged, bolstered,
Charybdis, cannibal, Megaera, Lamia! Why did I ever go near that
cursed Naples, the common sewer of Europe? whose women, I believe,
would be swallowed up by Vesuvius to-morrow, if it were not that
Belphegor is afraid of their making the pit itself too hot to hold
him. Well, sir, she had all of mine and more; and when all was
gone in wine and dice, woodcocks' brains and ortolans' tongues, I
met the witch walking with another man. I had a sword and a
dagger; I gave him the first (though the dog fought well enough, to
give him his due), and her the second; left them lying across each
other, and fled for my life,--and here I am! after twenty years of
fighting, from the Levant to the Orellana--for I began ere I had a
hair on my chin--and this is the end!--No, it is not! I'll have
that El Dorado yet! the Adelantado made Berreo, when he gave him
his daughter, swear that he would hunt for it, through life and
death.--We'll see who finds it first, he or I. He's a bungler;
Orsua was a bungler--Pooh! Cortes and Pizarro? we'll see whether
there are not as good Castilians as they left still. I can do it,
senor. I know a track, a plan; over the Llanos is the road; and
I'll be Emperor of Manoa yet--possess the jewels of all the Incas;
and gold, gold! Pizarro was a beggar to what I will be!"
Conceive, sir, he broke forth during another of these peacock fits,
as Amyas and he were riding along the hill-side; "conceive! with
forty chosen cavaliers (what need of more?) I present myself before
the golden king, trembling amid his myriad guards at the new
miracle of the mailed centaurs of the West; and without
dismounting, I approach his throne, lift the crucifix which hangs
around my neck, and pressing it to my lips, present it for the
adoration of the idolater, and give him his alternative; that which
Gayferos and the Cid, my ancestors, offered the Soldan and the
Moor--baptism or death! He hesitates; perhaps smiles scornfully
upon my little band; I answer him by deeds, as Don Ferdinando, my
illustrious grandfather, answered Atahuallpa at Peru, in sight of
all his court and camp."
"With your lance-point, as Gayferos did the Soldan?" asked Amyas,
"No, sir; persuasion first, for the salvation of a soul is at
stake. Not with the lance-point, but the spur, sir, thus!"--
And striking his heels into his horse's flanks, he darted off at
"The Spanish traitor!" shouted Yeo. "He's going to escape! Shall
we shoot, sir? Shall we shoot?"
"For Heaven's sake, no!" said Amyas, looking somewhat blank,
nevertheless, for he much doubted whether the whole was not a ruse
on the part of the Spaniard, and he knew how impossible it was for
his fifteen stone of flesh to give chase to the Spaniard's twelve.
But he was soon reassured; the Spaniard wheeled round towards him,
and began to put the rough hackney through all the paces of the
manege with a grace and skill which won applause from the
"Thus!" he shouted, waving his hand to Amyas, between his curvets
and caracoles, "did my illustrious grandfather exhibit to the
Paynim emperor the prowess of a Castilian cavalier! Thus!--and
thus!--and thus, at last, he dashed up to his very feet, as I to
yours, and bespattering that unbaptized visage with his Christian
bridle foam, pulled up his charger on his haunches, thus!"
And (as was to be expected from a blown Irish garron on a peaty
Irish hill-side) down went the hapless hackney on his tail, away
went his heels a yard in front of him, and ere Don Guzman could
"avoid his selle," horse and man rolled over into neighboring bog-
"After pride comes a fall," quoth Yeo with unmoved visage, as he
lugged him out.
"And what would you do with the emperor at last?" asked Amyas when
the Don had been scrubbed somewhat clean with a bunch of rushes.
"Kill him, as your grandfather did Atahuallpa?"
"My grandfather," answered the Spaniard, indignantly, "was one of
those who, to their eternal honor, protested to the last against
that most cruel and unknightly massacre. He could be terrible to
the heathen; but he kept his plighted word, sir, and taught me to
keep mine, as you have seen to-day."
"I have, senor," said Amyas. "You might have given us the slip
easily enough just now, and did not. Pardon me, if I have offended
The Spaniard (who, after all, was cross principally with himself
and the "unlucky mare's son," as the old romances have it, which
had played him so scurvy a trick) was all smiles again forthwith;
and Amyas, as they chatted on, could not help asking him next--
"I wonder why you are so frank about your own intentions to an
enemy like me, who will surely forestall you if he can."
"Sir, a Spaniard needs no concealment, and fears no rivalry. He is
the soldier of the Cross, and in it he conquers, like Constantine
of old. Not that you English are not very heroes; but you have
not, sir, and you cannot have, who have forsworn our Lady and the
choir of saints, the same divine protection, the same celestial
mission, which enables the Catholic cavalier single-handed to chase
a thousand Paynims."
And Don Guzman crossed himself devoutly, and muttered half-a-dozen
Ave Marias in succession, while Amyas rode silently by his side,
utterly puzzled at this strange compound of shrewdness with
fanaticism, of perfect high-breeding with a boastfulness which in
an Englishman would have been the sure mark of vulgarity.
At last came a letter from Sir Richard Grenville, complimenting
Amyas on his success and promotion, bearing a long and courtly
message to Don Guzman (whom Grenville had known when he was in the
Mediterranean, at the battle of Lepanto), and offering to receive
him as his own guest at Bideford, till his ransom should arrive; a
proposition which the Spaniard (who of course was getting
sufficiently tired of the Irish bogs) could not but gladly accept;
and one of Winter's ships, returning to England in the spring of
1581, delivered duly at the quay of Bideford the body of Don Guzman
Maria Magdalena. Raleigh, after forming for that summer one of the
triumvirate by which Munster was governed after Ormond's departure,
at last got his wish and departed for England and the Court; and
Amyas was left alone with the snipes and yellow mantles for two
more weary years.
HOW THE MAYOR OF BIDEFORD BAITED HIS HOOK WITH HIS OWN FLESH
"And therewith he blent, and cried ha!
As though he had been stricken to the harte."
Palamon and Arcite.
So it befell to Chaucer's knight in prison; and so it befell also
to Don Guzman; and it befell on this wise.
He settled down quietly enough at Bideford on his parole, in better
quarters than he had occupied for many a day, and took things as
they came, like a true soldier of fortune; till, after he had been
with Grenville hardly a month, old Salterne the Mayor came to
Now Don Guzman, however much he might be puzzled at first at our
strange English ways of asking burghers and such low-bred folk to
eat and drink above the salt, in the company of noble persons, was
quite gentleman enough to know that Richard Grenville was gentleman
enough to do only what was correct, and according to the customs
and proprieties. So after shrugging the shoulders of his spirit,
he submitted to eat and drink at the same board with a tradesman
who sat at a desk, and made up ledgers, and took apprentices; and
hearing him talk with Grenville neither unwisely nor in a vulgar
fashion, actually before the evening was out condescended to
exchange words with him himself. Whereon he found him a very
prudent and courteous person, quite aware of the Spaniard's
superior rank, and making him feel in every sentence that he was
aware thereof; and yet holding his own opinion, and asserting his
own rights as a wise elder in a fashion which the Spaniard had only
seen before among the merchant princes of Genoa and Venice.
At the end of supper, Salterne asked Grenville to do his humble
roof the honor, etc. etc., of supping with him the next evening,
and then turning to the Don, said quite frankly, that he knew how
great a condescension it would be on the part of a nobleman of
Spain to sit at the board of a simple merchant: but that if the
Spaniard deigned to do him such a favor, he would find that the
cheer was fit enough for any rank, whatsoever the company might be;
which invitation Don Guzman, being on the whole glad enough of
anything to amuse him, graciously condescended to accept, and
gained thereby an excellent supper, and, if he had chosen to drink
it, much good wine.
Now Mr. Salterne was, of course, as a wise merchant, as ready as
any man for an adventure to foreign parts, as was afterwards proved
by his great exertions in the settlement of Virginia; and he was,
therefore, equally ready to rack the brains of any guest whom he
suspected of knowing anything concerning strange lands; and so he
thought no shame, first to try to loose his guest's tongue by much
good sack, and next, to ask him prudent and well-concocted
questions concerning the Spanish Main, Peru, the Moluccas, China,
the Indies, and all parts.
The first of which schemes failed; for the Spaniard was as
abstemious as any monk, and drank little but water; the second
succeeded not over well, for the Spaniard was as cunning as any
fox, and answered little but wind.
In the midst of which tongue-fence in came the Rose of Torridge,
looking as beautiful as usual; and hearing what they were upon,
added, artlessly enough, her questions to her father's: to her Don
Guzman could not but answer; and without revealing any very
important commercial secrets, gave his host and his host's daughter
a very amusing evening.
Now little Eros, though spirits like Frank Leigh's may choose to
call him (as, perhaps, he really is to them) the eldest of the
gods, and the son of Jove and Venus, yet is reported by other
equally good authorities, as Burton has set forth in his "Anatomy
of Melancholy," to be after all only the child of idleness and
fulness of bread. To which scandalous calumny the thoughts of Don
Guzman's heart gave at least a certain color; for he being idle (as
captives needs must be), and also full of bread (for Sir Richard
kept a very good table), had already looked round for mere
amusement's sake after some one with whom to fall in love. Lady
Grenville, as nearest, was, I blush to say, thought of first; but
the Spaniard was a man of honor, and Sir Richard his host; so he
put away from his mind (with a self-denial on which he plumed
himself much) the pleasure of a chase equally exciting to his pride
and his love of danger. As for the sinfulness of the said chase,
he of course thought no more of that than other Southern Europeans
did then, or than (I blush again to have to say it) the English did
afterwards in the days of the Stuarts. Nevertheless, he had put
Lady Grenville out of his mind; and so left room to take Rose
Salterne into it, not with any distinct purpose of wronging her:
but, as I said before, half to amuse himself, and half, too,
because he could not help it. For there was an innocent freshness
about the Rose of Torridge, fond as she was of being admired, which
was new to him and most attractive. "The train of the peacock," as
he said to himself, "and yet the heart of the dove," made so
charming a combination, that if he could have persuaded her to love
no one but him, perhaps he might become fool enough to love no one
but her. And at that thought he was seized with a very panic of
prudence, and resolved to keep out of her way; and yet the days ran
slowly, and Lady Grenville when at home was stupid enough to talk
and think about nothing but her husband; and when she went to Stow,
and left the Don alone in one corner of the great house at
Bideford, what could he do but lounge down to the butt-gardens to
show off his fine black cloak and fine black feather, see the
shooting, have a game or two of rackets with the youngsters, a game
or two of bowls with the elders, and get himself invited home to
supper by Mr. Salterne?
And there, of course, he had it all his own way, and ruled the
roast (which he was fond enough of doing) right royally, not only
on account of his rank, but because he had something to say worth
hearing, as a travelled man. For those times were the day-dawn of
English commerce; and not a merchant in Bideford, or in all
England, but had his imagination all on fire with projects of
discoveries, companies, privileges, patents, and settlements; with
gallant rivalry of the brave adventures of Sir Edward Osborne and
his new London Company of Turkey Merchants; with the privileges
just granted by the Sultan Murad Khan to the English; with the
worthy Levant voyages of Roger Bodenham in the great bark Aucher,
and of John Fox, and Lawrence Aldersey, and John Rule; and with
hopes from the vast door for Mediterranean trade, which the
crushing of the Venetian power at Famagusta in Cyprus, and the
alliance made between Elizabeth and the Grand Turk, had just thrown
open. So not a word could fall from the Spaniard about the
Mediterranean but took root at once in right fertile soil.
Besides, Master Edmund Hogan had been on a successful embassy to
the Emperor of Morocco; John Hawkins and George Fenner had been to
Guinea (and with the latter Mr. Walter Wren, a Bideford man), and
had traded there for musk and civet, gold and grain; and African
news was becoming almost as valuable as West Indian. Moreover, but
two months before had gone from London Captain Hare in the bark
Minion, for Brazil, and a company of adventurers with him, with
Sheffield hardware, and "Devonshire and Northern kersies," hollands
and "Manchester cottons," for there was a great opening for English
goods by the help of one John Whithall, who had married a Spanish
heiress, and had an ingenio and slaves in Santos. (Don't smile,
reader, or despise the day of small things, and those who sowed the
seed whereof you reap the mighty harvest.) In the meanwhile, Drake
had proved not merely the possibility of plundering the American
coasts, but of establishing an East Indian trade; Frobisher and
Davis, worthy forefathers of our Parrys and Franklins, had begun to
bore their way upward through the Northern ice, in search of a
passage to China which should avoid the dangers of the Spanish
seas; and Anthony Jenkinson, not the least of English travellers,
had, in six-and-twenty years of travel in behalf of the Muscovite
Company, penetrated into not merely Russia and the Levant, but
Persia and Armenia, Bokhara, Tartary, Siberia, and those waste
Arctic shores where, thirty years before, the brave Sir Hugh
"In Arzina caught,
Perished with all his crew."
Everywhere English commerce, under the genial sunshine of
Elizabeth's wise rule, was spreading and taking root; and as Don
Guzman talked with his new friends, he soon saw (for he was shrewd
enough) that they belonged to a race which must be exterminated if
Spain intended to become (as she did intend) the mistress of the
world; and that it was not enough for Spain to have seized in the
Pope's name the whole new world, and claimed the exclusive right to
sail the seas of America; not enough to have crushed the
Hollanders; not enough to have degraded the Venetians into her
bankers, and the Genoese into her mercenaries; not enough to have
incorporated into herself, with the kingdom of Portugal, the whole
East Indian trade of Portugal, while these fierce islanders
remained to assert, with cunning policy and texts of Scripture,
and, if they failed, with sharp shot and cold steel, free seas and
free trade for all the nations upon earth. He saw it, and his
countrymen saw it too: and therefore the Spanish Armada came: but
of that hereafter. And Don Guzman knew also, by hard experience,
that these same islanders, who sat in Salterne's parlor, talking
broad Devon through their noses, were no mere counters of money and
hucksters of goods: but men who, though they thoroughly hated
fighting, and loved making money instead, could fight, upon
occasion, after a very dogged and terrible fashion, as well as the
bluest blood in Spain; and who sent out their merchant ships armed
up to the teeth, and filled with men who had been trained from
childhood to use those arms, and had orders to use them without
mercy if either Spaniard, Portugal, or other created being dared to
stop their money-making. And one evening he waxed quite mad, when,
after having civilly enough hinted that if Englishmen came where
they had no right to come, they might find themselves sent back
again, he was answered by a volley of--
"We'll see that, sir."
"Depends on who says 'No right.'"
"You found might right," said another, "when you claimed the Indian
seas; we may find right might when we try them."
"Try them, then, gentlemen, by all means, if it shall so please
your worships; and find the sacred flag of Spain as invincible as
ever was the Roman eagle."
"We have, sir. Did you ever hear of Francis Drake?"
"Or of George Fenner and the Portugals at the Azores, one against
"Or of John Hawkins, at St. Juan d'Ulloa?"
"You are insolent burghers," said Don Guzman, and rose to go.
"Sir," said old Salterne, "as you say, we are burghers and plain
men, and some of us have forgotten ourselves a little, perhaps; we
must beg you to forgive our want of manners, and to put it down to
the strength of my wine; for insolent we never meant to be,
especially to a noble gentleman and a foreigner."
But the Don would not be pacified; and walked out, calling himself
an ass and a blinkard for having demeaned himself to such a
company, forgetting that he had brought it on himself.
Salterne (prompted by the great devil Mammon) came up to him next
day, and begged pardon again; promising, moreover, that none of
those who had been so rude should be henceforth asked to meet him,
if he would deign to honor his house once more. And the Don
actually was appeased, and went there the very next evening,
sneering at himself the whole time for going.
"Fool that I am! that girl has bewitched me, I believe. Go I must,
and eat my share of dirt, for her sake."
So he went; and, cunningly enough, hinted to old Salterne that he
had taken such a fancy to him, and felt so bound by his courtesy
and hospitality, that he might not object to tell him things which
he would not mention to every one; for that the Spaniards were not
jealous of single traders, but of any general attempt to deprive
them of their hard-earned wealth: that, however, in the meanwhile,
there were plenty of opportunities for one man here and there to
enrich himself, etc.
Old Salterne, shrewd as he was, had his weak point, and the
Spaniard had touched it; and delighted at this opportunity of
learning the mysteries of the Spanish monopoly, he often actually
set Rose on to draw out the Don, without a fear (so blind does
money make men) lest she might be herself drawn in. For, first, he
held it as impossible that she would think of marrying a Popish
Spaniard as of marrying the man in the moon; and, next, as
impossible that he would think of marrying a burgher's daughter as
of marrying a negress; and trusted that the religion of the one,
and the family pride of the other, would keep them as separate as
beings of two different species. And as for love without marriage,
if such a possibility ever crossed him, the thought was rendered
absurd; on Rose's part by her virtue, on which the old roan (and
rightly) would have staked every farthing he had on earth; and on
the Don's part, by a certain human fondness for the continuity of
the carotid artery and the parts adjoining, for which (and that not
altogether justly, seeing that Don Guzman cared as little for his
own life as he did for his neighbor's) Mr. Salterne gave him
credit. And so it came to pass, that for weeks and months the
merchant's house was the Don's favorite haunt, and he saw the Rose
of Torridge daily, and the Rose of Torridge heard him.
And as for her, poor child, she had never seen such a man. He had,
or seemed to have, all the high-bred grace of Frank, and yet he was
cast in a manlier mould; he had just enough of his nation's proud
self-assertion to make a woman bow before him as before a superior,
and yet tact enough to let it very seldom degenerate into that
boastfulness of which the Spaniards were then so often and so
justly accused. He had marvels to tell by flood and field as many
and more than Amyas; and he told them with a grace and an eloquence
of which modest, simple, old Amyas possessed nothing. Besides, he
was on the spot, and the Leighs were not, nor indeed were any of
her old lovers; and what could she do but amuse herself with the
only person who came to hand?
So thought, in time, more ladies than she; for the country, the
north of it at least, was all but bare just then of young gallants,
what with the Netherland wars and the Irish wars; and the Spaniard
became soon welcome at every house for many a mile round, and made
use of his welcome so freely, and received so much unwonted
attention from fair young dames, that his head might have been a
little turned, and Rose Salterne have thereby escaped, had not Sir
Richard delicately given him to understand that in spite of the
free and easy manners of English ladies, brothers were just as
jealous, and ladies' honors at least as inexpugnable, as in the
land of demureness and duennas. Don Guzman took the hint well
enough, and kept on good terms with the country gentlemen as with
their daughters; and to tell the truth, the cunning soldier of
fortune found his account in being intimate with all the ladies he
could, in order to prevent old Salterne from fancying that he had
any peculiar predilection for Mistress Rose.
Nevertheless, Mr. Salterne's parlor being nearest to him, still
remained his most common haunt; where, while he discoursed for
"Antres vast and deserts idle,
And of the cannibals that each other eat,
Of Anthropophagi, and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders,"
to the boundless satisfaction of poor Rose's fancy, he took care to
season his discourse with scraps of mercantile information, which
kept the old merchant always expectant and hankering for more, and
made it worth his while to ask the Spaniard in again and again.
And his stories, certainly, were worth hearing. He seemed to have
been everywhere, and to have seen everything: born in Peru, and
sent home to Spain at ten years old; brought up in Italy; a soldier
in the Levant; an adventurer to the East Indies; again in America,
first in the islands, and then in Mexico. Then back again to
Spain, and thence to Rome, and thence to Ireland. Shipwrecked;
captive among savages; looking down the craters of volcanoes;
hanging about all the courts of Europe; fighting Turks, Indians,
lions, elephants, alligators, and what not? At five-and-thirty he
had seen enough for three lives, and knew how to make the best of
what he had seen.
He had shared, as a lad, in the horrors of the memorable siege of
Famagusta, and had escaped, he hardly knew himself how, from the
hands of the victorious Turks, and from the certainty (if he
escaped being flayed alive or impaled, as most of the captive
officers were) of ending his life as a Janissary at the Sultan's
court. He had been at the Battle of the Three Kings; had seen
Stukely borne down by a hundred lances, unconquered even in death;
and had held upon his knee the head of the dying King of Portugal.
And now, as he said to Rose one evening, what had he left on earth,
but a heart trampled as hard as the pavement? Whom had he to love?
Who loved him? He had nothing for which to live but fame: and even
that was denied to him, a prisoner in a foreign land.
Had he no kindred, then? asked pitying Rose.
"My two sisters are in a convent;--they had neither money nor
beauty; so they are dead to me. My brother is a Jesuit, so he is
dead to me. My father fell by the hands of Indians in Mexico; my
mother, a penniless widow, is companion, duenna--whatsoever they
may choose to call it--carrying fans and lapdogs for some princess
or other there in Seville, of no better blood than herself; and I--
devil! I have lost even my sword--and so fares the house of De
Don Guzman, of course, intended to be pitied, and pitied he was
accordingly. And then he would turn the conversation, and begin
telling Italian stories, after the Italian fashion, according to
his auditory: the pathetic ones when Rose was present, the racy
ones when she was absent; so that Rose had wept over the sorrows of
Juliet and Desdemona, and over many another moving tale, long
before they were ever enacted on an English stage, and the ribs of
the Bideford worthies had shaken to many a jest which Cinthio and
Bandello's ghosts must come and make for themselves over again if
they wish them to be remembered, for I shall lend them no shove
And so on, and so on. What need of more words? Before a year was
out, Rose Salterne was far more in love with Don Guzman than he
with her; and both suspected each other's mind, though neither
hinted at the truth; she from fear, and he, to tell the truth, from
sheer Spanish pride of blood. For he soon began to find out that
he must compromise that blood by marrying the heretic burgher's
daughter, or all his labor would be thrown away.
He had seen with much astonishment, and then practised with much
pleasure, that graceful old English fashion of saluting every lady
on the cheek at meeting, which (like the old Dutch fashion of
asking young ladies out to feasts without their mothers) used to
give such cause of brutal calumny and scandal to the coarse minds
of Romish visitors from the Continent; and he had seen, too, fuming
with jealous rage, more than one Bideford burgher, redolent of
onions, profane in that way the velvet cheek of Rose Salterne.
So, one day, he offered his salute in like wise; but be did it when
she was alone; for something within (perhaps a guilty conscience)
whispered that it might be hardly politic to make the proffer in
her father's presence: however, to his astonishment, he received a
prompt though quiet rebuff.
"No, sir; you should know that my cheek is not for you."
"Why," said he, stifling his anger, "it seems free enough to every
counter-jumper in the town!"
Was it love, or simple innocence, which made her answer
"True, Don Guzman; but they are my equals."
"You are a nobleman, sir; and should recollect that you are one."
"Well," said he, forcing a sneer, "it is a strange taste to prefer
"Prefer?" said she, forcing a laugh in her turn; "it is a mere form
among us. They are nothing to me, I can tell you."
"And I, then, less than nothing?"
Rose turned very red; but she had nerve to answer--
"And why should you be anything to me? You have condescended too
much, sir, already to us, in giving us many a--many a pleasant
evening. You must condescend no further. You wrong yourself, sir,
and me too. No, sir; not a step nearer!--I will not! A salute
between equals means nothing: but between you and me--I vow, sir,
if you do not leave me this moment, I will complain to my father."
"Do so, madam! I care as little for your father's anger, as you
for my misery."
"Cruel!" cried Rose, trembling from head to foot.
"I love you, madam!" cried he, throwing himself at her feet. "I
adore you! Never mention differences of rank to me more; for I
have forgotten them; forgotten all but love, all but you, madam!
My light, my lodestar, my princess, my goddess! You see where my
pride is gone; remember I plead as a suppliant, a beggar--though
one who may be one day a prince, a king! ay, and a prince now, a
very Lucifer of pride to all except to you; to you a wretch who
grovels at your feet, and cries, 'Have mercy on me, on my
loneliness, my homelessness, my friendlessness.' Ah, Rose (madam I
should have said, forgive the madness of my passion), you know not
the heart which you break. Cold Northerns, you little dream how a
Spaniard can love. Love? Worship, rather; as I worship you,
madam; as I bless the captivity which brought me the sight of you,
and the ruin which first made me rich. Is it possible, saints and
Virgin! do my own tears deceive my eyes, or are there tears, too,
in those radiant orbs?"
"Go, sir! " cried poor Rose, recovering herself suddenly; "and let
me never see you more." And, as a last chance for life, she darted
out of the room.
"Your slave obeys you, madam, and kisses your hands and feet
forever and a day," said the cunning Spaniard, and drawing himself
up, walked serenely out of the house; while she, poor fool, peeped
after him out of her window upstairs, and her heart sank within her
as she watched his jaunty and careless air.
How much of that rhapsody of his was honest, how much premeditated,
I cannot tell: though she, poor child, began to fancy that it was
all a set speech, when she found that he had really taken her at
her word, and set foot no more within her father's house. So she
reproached herself for the cruelest of women; settled, that if he
died, she should be his murderess; watched for him to pass at the
window, in hopes that he might look up, and then hid herself in
terror the moment he appeared round the corner; and so forth, and
so forth:--one love-making is very like another, and has been so, I
suppose, since that first blessed marriage in Paradise, when Adam
and Eve made no love at all, but found it ready-made for them from
heaven; and really it is fiddling while Rome is burning, to spend
more pages over the sorrows of poor little Rose Salterne, while the
destinies of Europe are hanging on the marriage between Elizabeth
and Anjou: and Sir Humphrey Gilbert is stirring heaven and earth,
and Devonshire, of course, as the most important portion of the
said earth, to carry out his dormant patent, which will give to
England in due time (we are not jesting now) Newfoundland, Nova
Scotia, and Canada, and the Northern States; and to Humphrey
Gilbert himself something better than a new world, namely another
world, and a crown of glory therein which never fades away.
HOW EUSTACE LEIGH MET THE POPE'S LEGATE
"Misguided, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
Thou see'st to be too busy is some danger."
It is the spring of 1582-3. The gray March skies are curdling hard
and high above black mountain peaks. The keen March wind is
sweeping harsh and dry across a dreary sheet of bog, still red and
yellow with the stains of winter frost. One brown knoll alone
breaks the waste, and on it a few leafless wind-clipt oaks stretch
their moss-grown arms, like giant hairy spiders, above a desolate
pool which crisps and shivers in the biting breeze, while from
beside its brink rises a mournful cry, and sweeps down, faint and
fitful, amid the howling of the wind.
Along the brink of the bog, picking their road among crumbling
rocks and green spongy springs, a company of English soldiers are
pushing fast, clad cap-a-pie in helmet and quilted jerkin, with
arquebus on shoulder, and pikes trailing behind them; stern
steadfast men, who, two years since, were working the guns at
Smerwick fort, and have since then seen many a bloody fray, and
shall see more before they die. Two captains ride before them on
shaggy ponies, the taller in armor, stained and rusted with many a
storm and fray, the other in brilliant inlaid cuirass and helmet,
gaudy sash and plume, and sword hilt glittering with gold, a quaint
contrast enough to the meager garron which carries him and his
finery. Beside them, secured by a cord which a pikeman has
fastened to his own wrist, trots a bare-legged Irish kerne, whose
only clothing is his ragged yellow mantle, and the unkempt "glib"
of hair, through which his eyes peer out, right and left, in
mingled fear and sullenness. He is the guide of the company, in
their hunt after the rebel Baltinglas; and woe to him if he play
"A pleasant country, truly, Captain Raleigh," says the dingy
officer to the gay one. "I wonder how, having once escaped from it
to Whitehall, you have the courage to come back and spoil that gay
suit with bog-water and mud."
"A very pleasant country, my friend Amyas; what you say in jest, I
say in earnest."
"Hillo! Our tastes have changed places. I am sick of it already,
as you foretold. Would Heaven that I could hear of some adventure
Westward-ho! and find these big bones swinging in a hammock once
more. Pray what has made you so suddenly in love with bog and
rock, that you come back to tramp them with us? I thought you had
spied out the nakedness of the land long ago."
"Bog and rock? Nakedness of the land? What is needed here but
prudence and skill, justice and law? This soil, see, is fat
enough, if men were here to till it. These rocks--who knows what
minerals they may hold? I hear of gold and jewels found already in
divers parts; and Daniel, my brother Humphrey's German assayer,
assures me that these rocks are of the very same kind as those
which yield the silver in Peru. Tut, man! if her gracious majesty
would but bestow on me some few square miles of this same
wilderness, in seven years' time I would make it blossom like the
rose, by God's good help."
"Humph! I should be more inclined to stay here, then."
"So you shall, and be my agent, if you will, to get in my mine-
rents and my corn-rents, and my fishery-rents, eh? Could you keep
accounts, old knight of the bear's-paw?"
"Well enough for such short reckonings as yours would be, on the
profit side at least. No, no--I'd sooner carry lime all my days
from Cauldy to Bideford, than pass another twelve-month in the land
of Ire, among the children of wrath. There is a curse upon the
face of the earth, I believe."
"There is no curse upon it, save the old one of man's sin--'Thorns
and thistles it shall bring forth to thee.' But if you root up the
thorns and thistles, Amyas, I know no fiend who can prevent your
growing wheat instead; and if you till the ground like a man, you
plough and barrow away nature's curse, and other fables of the
schoolmen beside," added he, in that daring fashion which
afterwards obtained for him (and never did good Christian less
deserve it) the imputation of atheism.
"It is sword and bullet, I think, that are needed here, before
plough and harrow, to clear away some of the curse. Until a few
more of these Irish lords are gone where the Desmonds are, there is
no peace for Ireland."
"Humph! not so far wrong, I fear. And yet--Irish lords? These
very traitors are better English blood than we who hunt them down.
When Yeo here slew the Desmond the other day, he no more let out a
drop of Irish blood, than if he had slain the lord deputy himself."
"His blood be on his own head," said Yeo, "He looked as wild a
savage as the worst of them, more shame to him; and the ancient
here had nigh cut off his arm before he told us who he was: and
then, your worship, having a price upon his head, and like to bleed
to death too--"
"Enough, enough, good fellow," said Raleigh. "Thou hast done what
was given thee to do. Strange, Amyas, is it not? Noble Normans
sunk into savages--Hibernis ipsis hiberniores! Is there some
uncivilizing venom in the air?"
"Some venom, at least, which makes English men traitors. But the
Irish themselves are well enough, if their tyrants would let them
be. See now, what more faithful liegeman has her majesty than the
Inchiquin, who, they say, is Prince of Themond, and should be king
of all Ireland, if every man had his right?"
"Don't talk of rights in the land of wrongs, man. But the
Inchiquin knows well that the true Irish Esau has no worse enemy
than his supplanter, the Norman Jacob. And yet, Amyas are even
these men worse than we might be, if we had been bred up masters
over the bodies and souls of men, in some remote land where law and
order had never come? Look at this Desmond, brought up a savage
among savages, a Papist among Papists, a despot among slaves; a
thousand easy maidens deeming it honor to serve his pleasure, a
thousand wild ruffians deeming it piety to fulfil his revenge: and
let him that is without sin among us cast the first stone."
"Ay," went on Raleigh to himself, as the conversation dropped.
"What hadst thou been, Raleigh, hadst thou been that Desmond whose
lands thou now desirest? What wilt thou be when thou hast them?
Will thy children sink downwards, as these noble barons sank? Will
the genius of tyranny and falsehood find soil within thy heart to
grow and ripen fruit? What guarantee hast thou for doing better
here than those who went before thee? And yet, cannot I do justice
and love mercy? Can I not establish plantations, build and sow,
and make the desert valleys laugh with corn? Shall I not have my
Spenser with me, to fill me with all noble thoughts, and raise my
soul to his heroic pitch? Is not this true knight-errantry, to
redeem to peace and use, and to the glory of that glorious queen
whom God has given to me, a generous soil and a more generous race?
Trustful and tenderhearted they are--none more; and if they be
fickle and passionate, will not that very softness of temper, which
makes them so easily led to evil, make them as easy to be led
towards good? Yes--here, away from courts, among a people who
should bless me as their benefactor and deliverer--what golden days
might be mine! And yet--is this but another angel's mask from that
same cunning fiend ambition's stage? And will my house be indeed
the house of God, the foundations of which are loyalty, and its
bulwarks righteousness, and not the house of fame, whose walls are
of the soap-bubble, and its floor a sea of glass mingled with fire?
I would be good and great--When will the day come when I shall be
content to be good, and yet not great, like this same simple Leigh,
toiling on by my side to do his duty, with no more thought for the
morrow than the birds of God? Greatness? I have tasted that cup
within the last twelve months; do I not know that it is sweet in
the mouth, but bitter in the belly? Greatness? And was not Essex
great, and John of Austria great, and Desmond great, whose race,
but three short years ago, had stood for ages higher than I shall
ever hope to climb--castles, and lands, and slaves by thousands,
and five hundred gentlemen of his name, who had vowed to forswear
God before they forswore him and well have they kept their vow!
And now, dead in a turf-hovel, like a coney in a burrow! Leigh,
what noise was that?"
"An Irish howl, I fancied: but it came from off the bog; it may be
only a plover's cry."
"Something not quite right, sir captain, to my mind," said the
ancient. "They have ugly stories here of pucks and banshees, and
what not of ghosts. There it was again, wailing just like a woman.
They say the banshee cried all night before Desmond was slain."
"Perhaps, then, this one may be crying for Baltinglas; for his turn
is likely to come next--not that I believe in such old wives'
"Shamus, my man," said Amyas to the guide, "do you hear that cry in
The guide put on the most stolid of faces, and answered in broken
"Shamus hear naught. Perhaps--what you call him?--fishing in ta
"An otter, he means, and I believe he is right. Stay, no! Did you
not hear it then, Shamus? It was a woman's voice."
"Shamus is shick in his ears ever since Christmas."
"Shamus will go after Desmond if he lies," said Amyas. "Ancient,
we had better send a few men to see what it is; there may be a poor
soul taken by robbers, or perhaps starving to death, as I have seen
many a one."
"And I too, poor wretches; and by no fault of their own or ours
either: but if their lords will fall to quarrelling, and then drive
each other's cattle, and waste each other's lands, sir, you know--"
"I know," said Amyas, impatiently; "why dost not take the men, and
"Cry you mercy, noble captain, but--I fear nothing born of woman."
"Well, what of that?" said Amyas, with a smile.
"But these pucks, sir. The wild Irish do say that they haunt the
pools; and they do no manner of harm, sir, when you are coming up
to them; but when you are past, sir, they jump on your back like to
apes, sir,--and who can tackle that manner of fiend?"
"Why, then, by thine own showing, ancient," said Raleigh, "thou
may'st go and see all safely enough, and then if the puck jumps on
thee as thou comest back, just run in with him here, and I'll buy
him of thee for a noble; or thou may'st keep him in a cage, and
make money in London by showing him for a monster."
"Good heavens forefend, Captain Raleigh! but you talk rashly! But
if I must, Captain Leigh--
'Where duty calls
To brazen walls,
How base the slave who flinches'
Lads, who'll follow me?"
"Thou askest for volunteers, as if thou wert to lead a forlorn
hope. Pull away at the usquebaugh, man, and swallow Dutch courage,
since thine English is oozed away. Stay, I'll go myself."
"And I with you," said Raleigh. "As the queen's true knight-
errant, I am bound to be behindhand in no adventure. Who knows but
we may find a wicked magician, just going to cut off the head of
some saffron-mantled princess?" and he dismounted.
"Oh, sirs, sirs, to endanger your precious--"
"Pooh," said Raleigh. "I wear an amulet, and have a spell of art-
magic at my tongue's end, whereby, sir ancient, neither can a ghost
see me, nor I see them. Come with us, Yeo, the Desmond-slayer, and
we will shame the devil, or be shamed by him."
"He may shame me, sir, but he will never frighten me," quoth Yeo;
"but the bog, captains?"
"Tut! Devonshire men, and heath-trotters born, and not know our
way over a peat moor!"
And the three strode away.
They splashed and scrambled for some quarter of a mile to the
knoll, while the cry became louder and louder as they neared.
"That's neither ghost nor otter, sirs, but a true Irish howl, as
Captain Leigh said; and I'll warrant Master Shamus knew as much
long ago," said Yeo.
And in fact, they could now hear plainly the "Ochone, Ochonorie,"
of some wild woman; and scrambling over the boulders of the knoll,
in another minute came full upon her.
She was a young girl, sluttish and unkempt, of course, but fair
enough: her only covering, as usual, was the ample yellow mantle.
There she sat upon a stone, tearing her black dishevelled hair, and
every now and then throwing up her head, and bursting into a long
mournful cry, "for all the world," as Yeo said, "like a dumb four-
footed hound, and not a Christian soul."
On her knees lay the head of a man of middle age, in the long
soutane of a Romish priest. One look at the attitude of his limbs
told them that he was dead.
The two paused in awe; and Raleigh's spirit, susceptible of all
poetical images, felt keenly that strange scene,--the bleak and
bitter sky, the shapeless bog, the stunted trees, the savage girl
alone with the corpse in that utter desolation. And as she bent
her head over the still face, and called wildly to him who heard
her not, and then, utterly unmindful of the intruders, sent up
again that dreary wail into the dreary air, they felt a sacred
horror, which almost made them turn away, and leave her
unquestioned: but Yeo, whose nerves were of tougher fibre, asked
"Shall I go and search the fellow, captain?"
"Better, I think," said Amyas.
Raleigh went gently to the girl, and spoke to her in English. She
looked up at him, his armor and his plume, with wide and wondering
eyes, and then shook her head, and returned to her lamentation.
Raleigh gently laid his hand on her arm, and lifted her up, while
Yeo and Amyas bent over the corpse.
It was the body of a large and coarse-featured man, but wasted and
shrunk as if by famine to a very skeleton. The hands and legs were
cramped up, and the trunk bowed together, as if the man had died of
cold or famine. Yeo drew back the clothes from the thin bosom,
while the girl screamed and wept, but made no effort to stop him.
"Ask her who it is? Yeo, you know a little Irish," said Amyas.
He asked, but the girl made no answer. "The stubborn jade won't
tell, of course, sir. If she were but a man, I'd make her soon
"Ask her who killed him?"
"No one, she says; and I believe she says true, for I can find no
wound. The man has been starved, sirs, as I am a sinful man. God
help him, though he is a priest; and yet he seems full enough down
below. What's here? A big pouch, sirs, stuffed full of somewhat."
"Hand it hither."
The two opened the pouch; papers, papers, but no scrap of food.
Then a parchment. They unrolled it.
"Latin," said Amyas; "you must construe, Don Scholar."
"Is it possible?" said Raleigh, after reading a moment. "This is
indeed a prize! This is Saunders himself!"
Yeo sprang up from the body as if he had touched an adder. "Nick
Saunders, the Legacy, sir?"
"Nicholas Saunders, the legate."
"The villain! why did not he wait for me to have the comfort of
killing him? Dog!" and he kicked the corpse with his foot.
"Quiet! quiet! Remember the poor girl," said Amyas, as she
shrieked at the profanation, while Raleigh went on, half to
"Yes, this is Saunders. Misguided fool, and this is the end! To
this thou hast come with thy plotting and thy conspiring, thy lying
and thy boasting, consecrated banners and Pope's bulls, Agnus Deis
and holy waters, the blessing of all saints and angels, and thy
Lady of the Immaculate Conception! Thou hast called on the heavens
to judge between thee and us, and here is their answer! What is
that in his hand, Amyas? Give it me. A pastoral epistle to the
Earl of Ormond, and all nobles of the realm of Ireland; 'To all who
groan beneath the loathsome tyranny of an illegitimate adulteress,
etc., Nicholas Saunders, by the grace of God, Legate, etc.' Bah!
and this forsooth was thy last meditation! Incorrigible pedant!
Victrix causa Diis placuit, sed victa Catoni!"
He ran his eye through various other documents, written in the
usual strain: full of huge promises from the Pope and the king of
Spain; frantic and filthy slanders against Elizabeth, Burghley,
Leicester, Essex (the elder), Sidney, and every great and good man
(never mind of which party) who then upheld the commonweal;
bombastic attempts to terrify weak consciences, by denouncing
endless fire against those who opposed the true faith; fulsome
ascriptions of martyrdom and sanctity to every rebel and traitor
who had been hanged for the last twenty years; wearisome arguments
about the bull In Caena Domini, Elizabeth's excommunication, the
nullity of English law, the sacred duty of rebellion, the right to
kill a prince impenitently heretical, and the like insanities and
villainies, which may be read at large in Camden, the Phoenix
Britannicus, Fox's Martyrs, or, surest of all, in the writings of
the worthies themselves.
With a gesture of disgust, Raleigh crammed the foul stuff back
again into the pouch. Taking it with them, they walked back to the
company, and then remounting, marched away once more towards the
lands of the Desmonds; and the girl was left alone with the dead.
An hour had passed, when another Englishman was standing by the
wailing girl, and round him a dozen shockheaded kernes, skene on
thigh and javelin in hand, were tossing about their tawny rags, and
adding their lamentations to those of the lonely watcher.
The Englishman was Eustace Leigh; a layman still, but still at his
old work. By two years of intrigue and labor from one end of
Ireland to the other, he had been trying to satisfy his conscience
for rejecting "the higher calling" of the celibate; for mad hopes
still lurked within that fiery heart. His brow was wrinkled now;
his features harshened; the scar upon his face, and the slight
distortion which accompanied it, was hidden by a bushy beard from
all but himself; and he never forgot it for a day, nor forgot who
had given it to him.
He had been with Desmond, wandering in moor and moss for many a
month in danger of his life; and now he was on his way to James
Fitz-Eustace, Lord Baltinglas, to bring him the news of Desmond's
death; and with him a remnant of the clan, who were either too
stout-hearted, or too desperately stained with crime, to seek peace
from the English, and, as their fellows did, find it at once and
There Eustace stood, looking down on all that was left of the most
sacred personage of Ireland; the man who, as he once had hoped, was
to regenerate his native land, and bring the proud island of the
West once more beneath that gentle yoke, in which united
Christendom labored for the commonweal of the universal Church.
There he was, and with him all Eustace's dreams, in the very heart
of that country which he had vowed, and believed as he vowed, was
ready to rise in arms as one man, even to the baby at the breast
(so he had said), in vengeance against the Saxon heretic, and sweep
the hated name of Englishman into the deepest abysses of the surge
which walled her coasts; with Spain and the Pope to back him, and
the wealth of the Jesuits at his command; in the midst of faithful
Catholics, valiant soldiers, noblemen who had pledged themselves to
die for the cause, serfs who worshipped him as a demigod--starved
to death in a bog! It was a pretty plain verdict on the
reasonableness of his expectations; but not to Eustace Leigh.
It was a failure, of course; but it was an accident; indeed, to
have been expected, in a wicked world whose prince and master, as
all knew, was the devil himself; indeed, proof of the righteousness
of the cause--for when had the true faith been other than
persecuted and trampled under foot? If one came to think of it
with eyes purified from the tears of carnal impatience, what was it
but a glorious martyrdom?
"Blest Saunders!" murmured Eustace Leigh; "let me die the death of
the righteous, and let my last end he like this! Ora pro me, most
excellent martyr, while I dig thy grave upon this lonely moor, to
wait there for thy translation to one of those stately shrines,
which, cemented by the blood of such as thee, shall hereafter rise
restored toward heaven, to make this land once more 'The Isle of
The corpse was buried; a few prayers said hastily; and Eustace
Leigh was away again, not now to find Baltinglas; for it was more
than his life was worth. The girl had told him of the English
soldiers who had passed, and he knew that they would reach the earl
probably before he did. The game was up; all was lost. So he
retraced his steps, as a desperate resource, to the last place
where he would be looked for, and after a month of disguising,
hiding, and other expedients, found himself again in his native
county of Devon, while Fitz-Eustace Viscount Baltinglas had taken
ship for Spain, having got little by his famous argument to Ormond
in behalf of his joining the Church of Rome, "Had not thine
ancestor, blessed Thomas of Canterbury, died for the Church of
Rome, thou hadst never been Earl of Ormond." The premises were
certainly sounder than those of his party were wont to be; for it
was to expiate the murder of that turbulent hero that the Ormond
lands had been granted by Henry II.: but as for the conclusion
therefrom, it was much on a par with the rest.
And now let us return to Raleigh and Amyas, as they jog along their
weary road. They have many things to talk of; for it is but three
days since they met.
Amyas, as you see, is coming fast into Raleigh's old opinion of
Ireland. Raleigh, under the inspiration of a possible grant of
Desmond's lands, looks on bogs and rocks transfigured by his own
hopes and fancy, as if by the glory of a rainbow. He looked at all
things so, noble fellow, even thirty years after, when old, worn
out, and ruined; well for him had it been otherwise, and his heart
had grown old with his head! Amyas, who knows nothing about
Desmond's lands, is puzzled at the change.
"Why, what is this, Raleigh? You are like children sitting in the
market-place, and nothing pleases you. You wanted to get to Court,
and you have got there; and are lord and master, I hear, or
something very like it, already--and as soon as fortune stuffs your
mouth full of sweet-meats, do you turn informer on her?"
Raleigh laughed insignificantly, but was silent.
"And how is your friend Mr. Secretary Spenser, who was with us at
"Spenser? He has thriven even as I have; and he has found, as I
have, that in making one friend at Court you make ten foes; but
'Oderint dum metuant' is no more my motto than his, Leigh. I want
to be great--great I am already, they say, if princes' favor can
swell the frog into an ox; but I want to be liked, loved--I want to
see people smile when I enter."
"So they do, I'll warrant," said Amyas.
"So do hyenas," said Raleigh; "grin because they are hungry, and I
may throw them a bone; I'll throw you one now, old lad, or rather a
good sirloin of beef, for the sake of your smile. That's honest,
at least, I'll warrant, whosoever's else is not. Have you heard of
my brother Humphrey's new project?"
"How should I hear anything in this waste howling wilderness?"
"Kiss hands to the wilderness, then, and come with me to
"You to Newfoundland?"
"Yes. I to Newfoundland, unless my little matter here is settled
at once. Gloriana don't know it, and sha'n't till I'm off. She'd
send me to the Tower, I think, if she caught me playing truant. I
could hardly get leave to come hither; but I must out, and try my
fortune. I am over ears in debt already, and sick of courts and
courtiers. Humphrey must go next spring and take possession of his
kingdom beyond seas, or his patent expires; and with him I go, and
you too, my circumnavigating giant."
And then Raleigh expounded to Amyas the details of the great
Newfoundland scheme, which whoso will may read in the pages of
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Raleigh's half-brother, held a patent for
"planting" the lands of Newfoundland and "Meta Incognita"
(Labrador). He had attempted a voyage thither with Raleigh in
1578, whereof I never could find any news, save that he came back
again, after a heavy brush with some Spanish ships (in which his
best captain, Mr. Morgan, was killed), having done nothing, and
much impaired his own estate: but now he had collected a large sum;
Sir Gilbert Peckham of London, Mr. Hayes of South Devon, and
various other gentlemen, of whom more hereafter, had adventured
their money; and a considerable colony was to be sent out the next
year, with miners, assayers, and, what was more, Parmenius Budaeus,
Frank's old friend, who had come to England full of thirst to see
the wonders of the New World; and over and above this, as Raleigh
told Amyas in strictest secrecy, Adrian Gilbert, Humphrey's
brother, was turning every stone at Court for a patent of discovery
in the North-West; and this Newfoundland colony, though it was to
produce gold, silver, merchandise, and what not, was but a basis of
operations, a halfway house from whence to work out the North-West
passage to the Indies--that golden dream, as fatal to English valor
as the Guiana one to Spanish--and yet hardly, hardly to be
regretted, when we remember the seamanship, the science, the
chivalry, the heroism, unequalled in the history of the English
nation, which it has called forth among those our later Arctic
voyagers, who have combined the knight-errantry of the middle age
with the practical prudence of the modern, and dared for duty more
than Cortez or Pizarro dared for gold.
Amyas, simple fellow, took all in greedily; he knew enough of the
dangers of the Magellan passage to appreciate the boundless value
of a road to the East Indies which would (as all supposed then)
save half the distance, and be as it were a private possession of
the English, safe from Spanish interference; and he listened
reverently to Sir Humphrey's quaint proofs, half true, half
fantastic, of such a passage, which Raleigh detailed to him--of the
Primum Mobile, and its diurnal motion from east to west, in
obedience to which the sea-current flowed westward ever round the
Cape of Good Hope, and being unable to pass through the narrow
strait between South America and the Antarctic Continent, rushed up
the American shore, as the Gulf Stream, and poured northwestward
between Greenland and Labrador towards Cathay and India; of that
most crafty argument of Sir Humphrey's--how Aristotle in his book
"De Mundo," and Simon Gryneus in his annotations thereon, declare
that the world (the Old World) is an island, compassed by that
which Homer calls the river Oceanus; ergo, the New World is an
island also, and there is a North-West passage; of the three
brothers (names unknown) who had actually made the voyage, and
named what was afterwards called Davis's Strait after themselves;
of the Indians who were cast ashore in Germany in the reign of
Frederic Barbarossa who, as Sir Humphrey had learnedly proved per
modum tollendi, could have come only by the North-West; and above
all, of Salvaterra, the Spaniard, who in 1568 had told Sir Henry
Sidney (Philip's father), there in Ireland, how he had spoken with
a Mexican friar named Urdaneta, who had himself come from Mar del
Zur (the Pacific) into Germany by that very North-West passage; at
which last Amyas shook his head, and said that friars were liars,
and seeing believing; "but if you must needs have an adventure, you
insatiable soul you, why not try for the golden city of Manoa?"
"Manoa?" asked Raleigh, who had heard, as most had, dim rumors of
the place. "What do you know of it?"
Whereon Amyas told him all that he had gathered from the Spaniard;
and Raleigh, in his turn, believed every word.
"Humph!" said he after a long silence. "To find that golden
emperor; offer him help and friendship from the queen of England;
defend him against the Spaniards; if we became strong enough,
conquer back all Peru from the Popish tyrants, and reinstate him on
the throne of the Incas, with ourselves for his body-guard, as the
Norman Varangians were to the effeminate emperors of Byzant--Hey,
Amyas? You would make a gallant chieftain of Varangs. We'll do
"We'll try," said Amyas; "but we must be quick, for there's one
Berreo sworn to carry out the quest to the death; and if the
Spaniards once get thither, their plan of works will be much more
like Pizarro's than like yours; and by the time we come, there will
be neither gold nor city left."
"Nor Indians either, I'll warrant the butchers; but, lad, I am
promised to Humphrey; I have a bark fitting out already, and all I
have, and more, adventured in her; so Manoa must wait."
"It will wait well enough, if the Spaniards prosper no better on
the Amazon than they have done; but must I come with you? To tell
the truth, I am quite shore-sick, and to sea I must go. What will
my mother say?"
"I'll manage thy mother," said Raleigh; and so he did; for, to cut
a long story short, he went back the month after, and he not only
took home letters from Amyas to his mother, but so impressed on
that good lady the enormous profits and honors to be derived from
Meta Incognita, and (which was most true) the advantage to any
young man of sailing with such a general as Humphrey Gilbert, most
pious and most learned of seamen and of cavaliers, beloved and
honored above all his compeers by Queen Elizabeth, that she
consented to Amyas's adventuring in the voyage some two hundred
pounds which had come to him as his share of prize-money, after the
ever memorable circumnavigation. For Mrs. Leigh, be it understood,
was no longer at Burrough Court. By Frank's persuasion, she had
let the old place, moved up to London with her eldest son, and
taken for herself a lodging somewhere by Palace Stairs, which
looked out upon the silver Thames (for Thames was silver then),
with its busy ferries and gliding boats, across to the pleasant
fields of Lambeth, and the Archbishop's palace, and the wooded
Surrey hills; and there she spent her peaceful days, close to her
Frank and to the Court. Elizabeth would have had her re-enter it,
offering her a small place in the household: but she declined,
saying that she was too old and heart-weary for aught but prayer.
So by prayer she lived, under the sheltering shadow of the tall
minster where she went morn and even to worship, and to entreat for
the two in whom her heart was bound up; and Frank slipped in every
day if but for five minutes, and brought with him Spenser, or
Raleigh, or Dyer, or Budaeus or sometimes Sidney's self: and there
was talk of high and holy things, of which none could speak better
than could she; and each guest went from that hallowed room a
humbler and yet a loftier man. So slipped on the peaceful months,
and few and far between came Irish letters, for Ireland was then
farther from Westminster than is the Black Sea now; but those were
days in which wives and mothers had learned (as they have learned
once more, sweet souls!) to walk by faith and not by sight for
those they love: and Mrs. Leigh was content (though when was she
not content?) to hear that Amyas was winning a good report as a
brave and prudent officer, sober, just, and faithful, beloved and
obeyed alike by English soldiers and Irish kernes.
Those two years, and the one which followed, were the happiest
which she had known since her husband's death. But the cloud was
fast coming up the horizon, though she saw it not. A little
longer, and the sun would be hid for many a wintry day.
Amyas went to Plymouth (with Yeo, of course, at his heels), and
there beheld, for the first time, the majestic countenance of the
philosopher of Compton castle. He lodged with Drake, and found him
not over-sanguine as to the success of the voyage.
"For learning and manners, Amyas, there's not his equal; and the
queen may well love him, and Devon be proud of him: but book-
learning is not business: book-learning didn't get me round the
world; book-learning didn't make Captain Hawkins, nor his father
neither, the best ship-builders from Hull to Cadiz; and book-
learning, I very much fear, won't plant Newfoundland."
However, the die was cast, and the little fleet of five sail
assembled in Cawsand Bay. Amyas was to go as a gentleman
adventurer on board of Raleigh's bark; Raleigh himself, however, at
the eleventh hour, had been forbidden by the queen to leave
England. Ere they left, Sir Humphrey Gilbert's picture was painted
by some Plymouth artist, to be sent up to Elizabeth in answer to a
letter and a gift sent by Raleigh, which, as a specimen of the men
and of the time, I here transcribe*--
"BROTHER--I have sent you a token from her Majesty, an anchor
guided by a lady, as you see. And further, her Highness willed me
to send you word, that she wisheth you as great good hap and safety
to your ship as if she were there in person, desiring you to have
care of yourself as of that which she tendereth and, therefore, for
her sake, you must provide for it accordingly. Furthermore, she
commandeth that you leave your picture with her. For the rest I
leave till our meeting, or to the report of the bearer, who would
needs be the messenger of this good news. So I commit you to the
will and protection of God, who send us such life and death as he
shall please, or hath appointed.
"Richmond, this Friday morning,
"Your true Brother,
* This letter was a few years since in the possession of Mr.
Pomeroy Gilbert, fort-major at Dartmouth, a descendant of the
"Who would not die, sir, for such a woman?" said Sir Humphrey (and
he said truly), as he showed that letter to Amyas.
"Who would not? But she bids you rather live for her."
"I shall do both, young man; and for God too, I trust. We are
going in God's cause; we go for the honor of God's Gospel, for the
deliverance of poor infidels led captive by the devil; for the
relief of my distressed countrymen unemployed within this narrow
isle; and to God we commit our cause. We fight against the devil
himself; and stronger is He that is within us than he that is
Some say that Raleigh himself came down to Plymouth, accompanied
the fleet a day's sail to sea, and would have given her majesty the
slip, and gone with them Westward-ho, but for Sir Humphrey's
advice. It is likely enough: but I cannot find evidence for it.
At all events, on the 11th June the fleet sailed out, having, says
Mr. Hayes, "in number about 260 men, among whom we had of every
faculty good choice, as shipwrights, masons, carpenters, smiths,
and such like, requisite for such an action; also mineral men and
refiners. Beside, for solace of our people and allurement of the
savages, we were provided of musique in good variety; not omitting
the least toys, as morris-dancers, hobby-horses, and May-like
conceits, to delight the savage people, whom we intended to win by
all fair means possible." An armament complete enough, even to
that tenderness towards the Indians, which is so striking a feature
of the Elizabethan seamen (called out in them, perhaps, by horror
at the Spanish cruelties, as well as by their more liberal creed),
and to the daily service of God on board of every ship, according
to the simple old instructions of Captain John Hawkins to one of
his little squadrons, "Keep good company; beware of fire; serve God
daily; and love one another"--an armament, in short, complete in
all but men. The sailors had been picked up hastily and anywhere,
and soon proved themselves a mutinous, and, in the case of the bark
Swallow, a piratical set. The mechanics were little better. The
gentlemen-adventurers, puffed up with vain hopes of finding a new
Mexico, became soon disappointed and surly at the hard practical
reality; while over all was the head of a sage and an enthusiast, a
man too noble to suspect others, and too pure to make allowances
for poor dirty human weaknesses. He had got his scheme perfect
upon paper; well for him, and for his company, if he had asked
Francis Drake to translate it for him into fact! As early as the
second day, the seeds of failure began to sprout above ground. The
men of Raleigh's bark, the Vice-Admiral, suddenly found themselves
seized, or supposed themselves seized, with a contagious sickness,
and at midnight forsook the fleet, and went back to Plymouth;
whereto Mr. Hayes can only say, "The reason I never could
understand. Sure I am that Mr. Raleigh spared no cost in setting
them forth. And so I leave it unto God!"
But Amyas said more. He told Butler the captain plainly that, if
the bark went back, he would not; that he had seen enough of ships
deserting their consorts; that it should never be said of him that
he had followed Winter's example, and that, too, on a fair easterly
wind; and finally that he had seen Doughty hanged for trying to
play such a trick; and that he might see others hanged too before
he died. Whereon Captain Butler offered to draw and fight, to
which Amyas showed no repugnance; whereon the captain, having taken
a second look at Amyas's thews and sinews, reconsidered the matter,
and offered to put Amyas on board of Sir Humphrey's Delight, if he
could find a crew to row him.
Amyas looked around.
"Are there any of Sir Francis Drake's men on board?"
"Three, sir," said Yeo. "Robert Drew, and two others."
"Pelicans!" roared Amyas, "you have been round the world, and will
you turn back from Westward-ho?"
There was a moment's silence, and then Drew came forward.
"Lower us a boat, captain, and lend us a caliver to make signals
with, while I get my kit on deck; I'll after Captain Leigh, if I
row him aboard all alone to my own hands."
"If I ever command a ship, I will not forget you," said Amyas.
"Nor us either, sir, we hope; for we haven't forgotten you and your
honest conditions," said both the other Pelicans; and so away over
the side went all the five, and pulled away after the admiral's
lantern, firing shots at intervals as signals. Luckily for the
five desperadoes, the night was all but calm. They got on board
before the morning, and so away into the boundless West.*
* The Raleigh, the largest ship of the squadron, was of only 200
tons burden; The Golden Hind, Hayes' ship, which returned safe, of
40; and The Squirrel (whereof more hereafter), of 10 tons! In such
cockboats did these old heroes brave the unknown seas.
HOW BIDEFORD BRIDGE DINED AT ANNERY HOUSE
"Three lords sat drinking late yestreen,
And ere they paid the lawing,
They set a combat them between,
To fight it in the dawing"--Scotch Ballad.
Every one who knows Bideford cannot but know Bideford bridge; for
it is the very omphalos, cynosure, and soul, around which the town,
as a body, has organized itself; and as Edinburgh is Edinburgh by
virtue of its castle, Rome Rome by virtue of its capitol, and Egypt
Egypt by virtue of its pyramids, so is Bideford Bideford by virtue
of its bridge. But all do not know the occult powers which have
advanced and animated the said wondrous bridge for now five hundred
years, and made it the chief wonder, according to Prince and
Fuller, of this fair land of Devon: being first an inspired bridge,
a soul-saving bridge, an alms-giving bridge, an educational bridge,
a sentient bridge, and last, but not least, a dinner-giving bridge.
All do not know how, when it began to be built some half mile
higher up, hands invisible carried the stones down-stream each
night to the present site; until Sir Richard Gurney, parson of the
parish, going to bed one night in sore perplexity and fear of the
evil spirit who seemed so busy in his sheepfold, beheld a vision of
an angel, who bade build the bridge where he himself had so kindly
transported the materials; for there alone was sure foundation amid
the broad sheet of shifting sand. All do not know how Bishop
Grandison of Exeter proclaimed throughout his diocese indulgences,
benedictions, and "participation in all spiritual blessings for
ever," to all who would promote the bridging of that dangerous
ford; and so, consulting alike the interests of their souls and of
their bodies, "make the best of both worlds."
All do not know, nor do I, that "though the foundation of the
bridge is laid upon wool, yet it shakes at the slightest step of a
horse;" or that, "though it has twenty-three arches, yet one Wm.
Alford (another Milo) carried on his back for a wager four bushels
salt-water measure, all the length thereof;" or that the bridge is
a veritable esquire, bearing arms of its own (a ship and bridge
proper on a plain field), and owning lands and tenements in many
parishes, with which the said miraculous bridge has, from time to
time, founded charities, built schools, waged suits at law, and
finally (for this concerns us most) given yearly dinners, and kept
for that purpose (luxurious and liquorish bridge that it was) the
best stocked cellar of wines in all Devon.
To one of these dinners, as it happened, were invited in the year
1583 all the notabilities of Bideford, and beside them Mr. St.
Leger of Annery close by, brother of the marshal of Munster, and of
Lady Grenville; a most worthy and hospitable gentleman, who,
finding riches a snare, parted with them so freely to all his
neighbors as long as he lived, that he effectually prevented his
children after him from falling into the temptations thereunto
Between him and one of the bridge trustees arose an argument,
whether a salmon caught below the bridge was better or worse than
one caught above; and as that weighty question could only be
decided by practical experiment, Mr. St. Leger vowed that as the
bridge had given him a good dinner, he would give the bridge one;
offered a bet of five pounds that he would find them, out of the
pool below Annery, as firm and flaky a salmon as the Appledore one
which they had just eaten; and then, in the fulness of his heart,
invited the whole company present to dine with him at Annery three
days after, and bring with them each a wife or daughter; and Don
Guzman being at table, he was invited too.
So there was a mighty feast in the great hall at Annery, such as
had seldom been since Judge Hankford feasted Edward the Fourth
there; and while every one was eating their best and drinking their
worst, Rose Salterne and Don Guzman were pretending not to see each
other, and watching each other all the more. But Rose, at least,
had to be very careful of her glances; for not only was her father
at the table, but just opposite her sat none other than Messrs.
William Cary and Arthur St. Leger, lieutenants in her majesty's
Irish army, who had returned on furlough a few days before.
Rose Salterne and the Spaniard had not exchanged a word in the last
six months, though they had met many times. The Spaniard by no
means avoided her company, except in her father's house; he only
took care to obey her carefully, by seeming always unconscious of
her presence, beyond the stateliest of salutes at entering and
departing. But he took care, at the same time, to lay himself out
to the very best advantage whenever he was in her presence; to be
more witty, more eloquent, more romantic, more full of wonderful
tales than he ever yet had been. The cunning Don had found himself
foiled in his first tactic; and he was now trying another, and a
far more formidable one. In the first place, Rose deserved a very
severe punishment, for having dared to refuse the love of a Spanish
nobleman; and what greater punishment could he inflict than
withdrawing the honor of his attentions, and the sunshine of his
smiles? There was conceit enough in that notion, but there was
cunning too; for none knew better than the Spaniard, that women,
like the world, are pretty sure to value a man (especially if there
be any real worth in him) at his own price; and that the more he
demands for himself, the more they will give for him.
And now he would put a high price on himself, and pique her pride,
as she was too much accustomed to worship, to be won by flattering
it. He might have done that by paying attention to some one else:
but he was too wise to employ so coarse a method, which might raise
indignation, or disgust, or despair in Rose's heart, but would have
never brought her to his feet--as it will never bring any woman
worth bringing. So he quietly and unobtrusively showed her that he
could do without her; and she, poor fool, as she was meant to do,
began forthwith to ask herself--why? What was the hidden treasure,
what was the reserve force, which made him independent of her,
while she could not say that she was independent of him? Had he a
secret? how pleasant to know it! Some huge ambition? how pleasant
to share in it! Some mysterious knowledge? how pleasant to learn
it! Some capacity of love beyond the common? how delicious to have
it all for her own! He must be greater, wiser, richer-hearted than
she was, as well as better-born. Ah, if his wealth would but
supply her poverty! And so, step by step, she was being led to sue
in forma pauperis to the very man whom she had spurned when he sued
in like form to her. That temptation of having some mysterious
private treasure, of being the priestess of some hidden sanctuary,
and being able to thank Heaven that she was not as other women are,
was becoming fast too much for Rose, as it is too much for most.
For none knew better than the Spaniard how much more fond women
are, by the very law of their sex, of worshipping than of being
worshipped, and of obeying than of being obeyed; how their coyness,
often their scorn, is but a mask to hide their consciousness of
weakness; and a mask, too, of which they themselves will often be
the first to tire.
And Rose was utterly tired of that same mask as she sat at table at
Annery that day; and Don Guzman saw it in her uneasy and downcast
looks, and thinking (conceited coxcomb) that she must be by now
sufficiently punished, stole a glance at her now and then, and was
not abashed when he saw that she dropped her eyes when they met
his, because he saw her silence and abstraction increase, and
something like a blush steal into her cheeks. So he pretended to
be as much downcast and abstracted as she was, and went on with his
glances, till he once found her, poor thing, looking at him to see
if he was looking at her; and then he knew his prey was safe, and
asked her, with his eyes, "Do you forgive me?" and saw her stop
dead in her talk to her next neighbor, and falter, and drop her
eyes, and raise them again after a minute in search of his, that he
might repeat the pleasant question. And then what could she do but
answer with all her face and every bend of her pretty neck, "And do
you forgive me in turn?"
Whereon Don Guzman broke out jubilant, like nightingale on bough,
with story, and jest, and repartee; and became forthwith the soul
of the whole company, and the most charming of all cavaliers. And
poor Rose knew that she was the cause of his sudden change of mood,
and blamed herself for what she had done, and shuddered and blushed
at her own delight, and longed that the feast was over, that she
might hurry home and hide herself alone with sweet fancies about a
love the reality of which she felt she dared not face.
It was a beautiful sight, the great terrace at Annery that
afternoon; with the smart dames in their gaudy dresses parading up
and down in twos and threes before the stately house; or looking
down upon the park, with the old oaks, and the deer, and the broad
land-locked river spread out like a lake beneath, all bright in the
glare of the midsummer sun; or listening obsequiously to the two
great ladies who did the honors, Mrs. St. Leger the hostess, and
her sister-in-law, fair Lady Grenville. All chatted, and laughed,
and eyed each other's dresses, and gossiped about each other's
husbands and servants: only Rose Salterne kept apart, and longed to
get into a corner and laugh or cry, she knew not which.
"Our pretty Rose seems sad," said Lady Grenville, coming up to her.
"Cheer up, child! we want you to come and sing to us."
Rose answered she knew not what, and obeyed mechanically.
She took the lute, and sat down on a bench beneath the house, while
the rest grouped themselves round her.
"What shall I sing?"
"Let us have your old song, 'Earl Haldan's Daughter.'"
Rose shrank from it. It was a loud and dashing ballad, which
chimed in but little with her thoughts; and Frank had praised it
too, in happier days long since gone by. She thought of him, and
of others, and of her pride and carelessness; and the song seemed
ominous to her: and yet for that very reason she dared not refuse
to sing it, for fear of suspicion where no one suspected; and so
she began per force--
"It was Earl Haldan's daughter,
She look'd across the sea;
She look'd across the water,
And long and loud laugh'd she;
'The locks of six princesses
Must be my marriage-fee,
So hey bonny boat, and ho bonny boat!
Who comes a wooing me?'
"It was Earl Haldan's daughter,
She walk'd along the sand;
When she was aware of a knight so fair,
Come sailing to the land.
His sails were all of velvet,
His mast of beaten gold,
And 'hey bonny boat, and ho bonny boat,
Who saileth here so bold?'
"'The locks of five princesses
I won beyond the sea;
I shore their golden tresses,
To fringe a cloak for thee.
One handful yet is wanting,
But one of all the tale;
So hey bonny boat, and ho bonny boat!
Furl up thy velvet sail!'
"He leapt into the water,
That rover young and bold;
He gript Earl Haldan's daughter,
He shore her locks of gold;
'Go weep, go weep, proud maiden,
The tale is full to-day.
Now hey bonny boat, and ho bonny boat!
Sail Westward-ho, and away!'"
As she ceased, a measured voice, with a foreign accent, thrilled
"In the East, they say the nightingale sings to the rose; Devon,
more happy, has nightingale and rose in one."
"We have no nightingales in Devon, Don Guzman," said Lady
Grenville; "but our little forest thrushes sing, as you hear,
sweetly enough to content any ear. But what brings you away from
the gentlemen so early?"
"These letters," said he, "which have just been put into my hand;
and as they call me home to Spain, I was loath to lose a moment of
that delightful company from which I must part so soon."
"To Spain?" asked half-a-dozen voices: for the Don was a general
"Yes, and thence to the Indies. My ransom has arrived, and with it
the promise of an office. I am to be Governor of La Guayra in
Caracas. Congratulate me on my promotion."
A mist was over Rose's eyes. The Spaniard's voice was hard and
flippant. Did he care for her, after all? And if he did, was it
nevertheless hopeless? How her cheeks glowed! Everybody must see
it! Anything to turn away their attention from her, and in that
nervous haste which makes people speak, and speak foolishly too,
just because they ought to be silent, she asked--
"And where is La Guayra?"
"Half round the world, on the coast of the Spanish Main. The
loveliest place on earth, and the loveliest governor's house, in a
forest of palms at the foot of a mountain eight thousand feet high:
I shall only want a wife there to be in paradise."
"I don't doubt that you may persuade some fair lady of Seville to
accompany you thither," said Lady Grenville.
"Thanks, gracious madam: but the truth is, that since I have had
the bliss of knowing English ladies, I have begun to think that
they are the only ones on earth worth wooing."
"A thousand thanks for the compliment; but I fear none of our free
English maidens would like to submit to the guardianship of a
duenna. Eh, Rose? how should you like to be kept under lock and
key all day by an ugly old woman with a horn on her forehead?"
Poor Rose turned so scarlet that Lady Grenville knew her secret on
the spot, and would have tried to turn the conversation: but before
she could speak, some burgher's wife blundered out a commonplace
about the jealousy of Spanish husbands; and another, to make
matters better, giggled out something more true than delicate about
West Indian masters and fair slaves.
"Ladies," said Don Guzman, reddening, "believe me that these are
but the calumnies of ignorance. If we be more jealous than other
nations, it is because we love more passionately. If some of us
abroad are profligate, it is because they, poor men, have no
helpmate, which, like the amethyst, keeps its wearer pure. I could
tell you stories, ladies, of the constancy and devotion of Spanish
husbands, even in the Indies, as strange as ever romancer
"Can you? Then we challenge you to give us one at least."
"I fear it would be too long, madam."
"The longer the more pleasant, senor. How can we spend an hour
better this afternoon, while the gentlemen within are finishing
Story-telling, in those old times, when books (and authors also,
lucky for the public) were rarer than now, was a common amusement;
and as the Spaniard's accomplishments in that line were well known,
all the ladies crowded round him; the servants brought chairs and
benches; and Don Guzman, taking his seat in the midst, with a proud
humility, at Lady Grenville's feet, began--
"Your perfections, fair and illustrious ladies, must doubtless have
heard, ere now, how Sebastian Cabota, some forty-five years ago,
sailed forth with a commission from my late master, the Emperor
Charles the Fifth, to discover the golden lands of Tarshish, Ophir,
and Cipango; but being in want of provisions, stopped short at the
mouth of that mighty South American river to which he gave the name
of Rio de la Plata, and sailing up it, discovered the fair land of
Paraguay. But you may not have heard how, on the bank of that
river, at the mouth of the Rio Terceiro, he built a fort which men
still call Cabot's Tower; nor have you, perhaps, heard of the
strange tale which will ever make the tower a sacred spot to all
"For when he returned to Spain the year after, he left in his tower
a garrison of a hundred and twenty men, under the command of Nuno
de Lara, Ruiz Moschera, and Sebastian da Hurtado, old friends and
fellow-soldiers of my invincible grandfather Don Ferdinando da
Soto; and with them a jewel, than which Spain never possessed one
more precious, Lucia Miranda, the wife of Hurtado, who, famed in
the court of the emperor no less for her wisdom and modesty than
for her unrivalled beauty, had thrown up all the pomp and ambition
of a palace, to marry a poor adventurer, and to encounter with him
the hardships of a voyage round the world. Mangora, the cacique of
the neighboring Timbuez Indians (with whom Lara had contrived to
establish a friendship), cast his eyes on this fair creature, and
no sooner saw than he coveted; no sooner coveted than he plotted,
with the devilish subtilty of a savage, to seize by force what he
knew he could never gain by right. She soon found out his passion
(she was wise enough--what every woman is not--to know when she is
loved), and telling her husband, kept as much as she could out of
her new lover's sight; while the savage pressed Hurtado to come and
visit him, and to bring his lady with him. Hurtado, suspecting the
snare, and yet fearing to offend the cacique, excused himself
courteously on the score of his soldier's duty; and the savage, mad
with desire and disappointment, began plotting against Hurtado's
"So went on several weeks, till food grew scarce, and Don Hurtado
and Don Ruiz Moschera, with fifty soldiers, were sent up the river
on a foraging party. Mangora saw his opportunity, and leapt at it
"The tower, ladies, as I have heard from those who have seen it,
stands on a knoll at the meeting of the two rivers, while on the
land side stretches a dreary marsh, covered with tall grass and
bushes; a fit place for the ambuscade of four thousand Indians,
which Mangora, with devilish cunning, placed around the tower,
while he himself went boldly up to it, followed by thirty men,
laden with grain, fruit, game, and all the delicacies which his
forests could afford.
"There, with a smiling face, he told the unsuspecting Lara his
sorrow for the Spaniards' want of food; besought him to accept the
provision he had brought, and was, as he had expected, invited by
Lara to come in and taste the wines of Spain.
"In went he and his thirty fellow-bandits, and the feast continued,
with songs and libations, far into the night, while Mangora often
looked round, and at last boldly asked for the fair Miranda: but
she had shut herself into her lodging, pleading illness.
"A plea, fair ladies, which little availed that hapless dame, for
no sooner had the Spaniards retired to rest, leaving (by I know not
what madness) Mangora and his Indians within, than they were
awakened by the cry of fire, the explosion of their magazine, and
the inward rush of the four thousand from the marsh outside.
"Why pain your gentle ears with details of slaughter? A few
fearful minutes sufficed to exterminate my bewildered and unarmed
countrymen, to bind the only survivors, Miranda (innocent cause of
the whole tragedy) and four other women with their infants, and to
lead them away in triumph across the forest towards the Indian
"Stunned by the suddenness of the evils which had passed, and still
more by the thought of those worse which were to come (as she too
well foresaw), Miranda travelled all night through the forest, and
was brought in triumph at day-dawn before the Indian king to
receive her doom. Judge of her astonishment, when, on looking up,
she saw that he was not Mangora.
"A ray of hope flashed across her, and she asked where he was.
"'He was slain last night,' said the king; 'and I, his brother
Siripa, am now cacique of the Timbuez.'
"It was true; Lara, maddened with drink, rage, and wounds, had
caught up his sword, rushed into the thick of the fight, singled
out the traitor, and slain him on the spot; and then, forgetting
safety in revenge, had continued to plunge his sword into the
corpse, heedless of the blows of the savages, till he fell pierced
with a hundred wounds.
"A ray of hope, as I said, flashed across the wretched Miranda for
a moment; but the next she found that she had been freed from one
bandit only to be delivered to another.
"'Yes,' said the new king, in broken Spanish; 'my brother played a
bold stake, and lost it; but it was well worth the risk, and he
showed his wisdom thereby. You cannot be his queen now: you must
content yourself with being mine.'
"Miranda, desperate, answered him with every fierce taunt which she
could invent against his treachery and his crime; and asked him,
how he came to dream that the wife of a Christian Spaniard would
condescend to become the mistress of a heathen savage; hoping,
unhappy lady, to exasperate him into killing her on the spot. But
in vain; she only prolonged thereby her own misery. For, whether
it was, ladies, that the novel sight of divine virtue and beauty
awed (as it may have awed me ere now), where it had just before
maddened; or whether some dream crossed the savage (as it may have
crossed me ere now), that he could make the wisdom of a mortal
angel help his ambition, as well as her beauty his happiness; or
whether (which I will never believe of one of those dark children
of the devil, though I can boldly assert it of myself) some spark
of boldness within him made him too proud to take by force what he
could not win by persuasion, certain it is, as the Indians
themselves confessed afterwards, that the savage only answered her
by smiles; and bidding his men unbind her, told her that she was no
slave of his, and that it only lay with her to become the sovereign
of him and all his vassals; assigned her a hut to herself, loaded
her with savage ornaments, and for several weeks treated her with
no less courtesy (so miraculous is the power of love) than if he
had been a cavalier of Castile.
"Three months and more, ladies, as I have heard, passed in this
misery, and every day Miranda grew more desperate of all
deliverance, and saw staring her in the face, nearer and nearer,
some hideous and shameful end; when one day going down with the
wives of the cacique to draw water in the river, she saw on the
opposite bank a white man in a tattered Spanish dress, with a drawn
sword in his hand; who had no sooner espied her, than shrieking her
name, he plunged into the stream, swam across, landed at her feet,
and clasped her in his arms. It was no other, ladies, incredible
as it may seem, than Don Sebastian himself, who had returned with
Ruiz Moschera to the tower, and found it only a charred and
bloodstained heap of ruins.
"He guessed, as by inspiration, what had passed, and whither his
lady was gone; and without a thought of danger, like a true Spanish
gentleman and a true Spanish lover, darted off alone into the
forest, and guided only by the inspiration of his own loyal heart,
found again his treasure, and found it still unstained and his own.
"Who can describe the joy, and who again the terror, of their
meeting? The Indian women had fled in fear, and for the short ten
minutes that the lovers were left together, life, to be sure, was
one long kiss. But what to do they knew not. To go inland was to
rush into the enemy's arms. He would have swum with her across the
river, and attempted it; but his strength, worn out with hunger and
travel, failed him; he drew her with difficulty on shore again, and
sat down by her to await their doom with prayer, the first and last
resource of virtuous ladies, as weapons are of cavaliers.
"Alas for them! May no true lovers ever have to weep over joys so
soon lost, after having been so hardly found! For, ere a quarter
of an hour was passed, the Indian women, who had fled at his
approach, returned with all the warriors of the tribe. Don
Sebastian, desperate, would fain have slain his wife and himself on
the spot; but his hand sank again--and whose would not but an
Indian's?--as he raised it against that fair and faithful breast;
in a few minutes he was surrounded, seized from behind, disarmed,
and carried in triumph into the village. And if you cannot feel
for him in that misery, fair ladies, who have known no sorrow, yet
I, a prisoner, can."
Don Guzman paused a moment, as if overcome by emotion; and I will
not say that, as he paused, he did not look to see if Rose
Salterne's eyes were on him, as indeed they were.
"Yes, I can feel with him; I can estimate, better than you, ladies,
the greatness of that love which could submit to captivity; to the
loss of his sword; to the loss of that honor, which, next to god
and his mother, is the true Spaniard's deity. There are those who
have suffered that shame at the hands of valiant gentlemen" (and
again Don Guzman looked up at Rose), "and yet would have sooner
died a thousand deaths; but he dared to endure it from the hands of
villains, savages, heathens; for he was a true Spaniard, and
therefore a true lover: but I will go on with my tale.
"This wretched pair, then, as I have been told by Ruiz Moschera
himself, stood together before the cacique. He, like a true child
of the devil, comprehending in a moment who Don Sebastian was,
laughed with delight at seeing his rival in his power, and bade
bind him at once to a tree, and shoot him to death with arrows.
"But the poor Miranda sprang forward, and threw herself at his
feet, and with piteous entreaties besought for mercy from him who
knew no mercy.
"And yet love and the sight of her beauty, and the terrible
eloquence of her words, while she invoked on his head the just
vengeance of Heaven, wrought even on his heart: nevertheless the
pleasure of seeing her, who had so long scorned him, a suppliant at
his feet, was too delicate to be speedily foregone; and not till
she was all but blind with tears, and dumb with agony of pleading,
did he make answer, that if she would consent to become his wife,
her husband's life should be spared. She, in her haste and
madness, sobbed out desperately I know not what consent. Don
Sebastian, who understood, if not the language, still the meaning
(so had love quickened his understanding), shrieked to her not to
lose her precious soul for the sake of his worthless body; that
death was nothing compared to the horror of that shame; and such
other words as became a noble and valiant gentleman. She,
shuddering now at her own frailty, would have recalled her promise;
but Siripa kept her to it, vowing, if she disappointed him again,
such a death to her husband as made her blood run cold to hear of;
and the wretched woman could only escape for the present by some
story, that it was not the custom of her race to celebrate nuptials
till a month after the betrothment; that the anger of Heaven would
be on her, unless she first performed in solitude certain religious
rites; and lastly, that if he dared to lay hands on her husband,
she would die so resolutely, that every drop of water should be
deep enough to drown her, every thorn sharp enough to stab her to
the heart: till fearing lest by demanding too much he should lose
all, and awed too, as he had been at first by a voice and looks
which seemed to be, in comparison with his own, divine, Siripa bade
her go back to her hut, promising her husband life; but promising
too, that if he ever found the two speaking together, even for a
moment, he would pour out on them both all the cruelty of those
tortures in which the devil, their father, has so perfectly
instructed the Indians.
"So Don Sebastian, being stripped of his garments, and painted
after the Indian fashion, was set to all mean and toilsome work,
amid the buffetings and insults of the whole village. And this,
ladies, he endured without a murmur, ay, took delight in enduring
it, as he would have endured things worse a thousand times, only
for the sake, like a true lover as he was, of being near the
goddess whom he worshipped, and of seeing her now and then afar
off, happy enough to be repaid even by that for all indignities.
"And yet, you who have loved may well guess, as I can, that ere a
week had passed, Don Sebastian and the Lady Miranda had found
means, in spite of all spiteful eyes, to speak to each other once
and again; and to assure each other of their love; even to talk of
escape, before the month's grace should be expired. And Miranda,
whose heart was full of courage as long as she felt her husband
near her, went so far as to plan a means of escape which seemed
possible and hopeful.
For the youngest wife of the cacique, who, till Miranda's coming,
had been his favorite, often talked with the captive, insulting and
tormenting her in her spite and jealousy, and receiving in return
only gentle and conciliatory words. And one day when the woman had
been threatening to kill her, Miranda took courage to say, 'Do you
fancy that I shall not be as glad to be rid of your husband, as you
to be rid of me? Why kill me needlessly, when all that you require
is to get me forth of the place? Out of sight, out of mind. When
I am gone, your husband will soon forget me, and you will be his
favorite as before.' Soon, seeing that the girl was inclined to
listen, she went on to tell her of her love to Don Sebastian,
entreating and adjuring her, by the love which she bore the
cacique, to pity and help her; and so won upon the girl, that she
consented to be privy to Miranda's escape, and even offered to give
her an opportunity of speaking to her husband about it; and at last
was so won over by Miranda, that she consented to keep all
intruders out of the way, while Don Sebastian that very night
visited Miranda in her hut.
"The hapless husband, thirsting for his love, was in that hut, be
sure, the moment that kind darkness covered his steps:--and what
cheer these two made of each other, when they once found themselves
together, lovers must fancy for themselves: but so it was, that
after many a leave-taking, there was no departure; and when the
night was well-nigh past, Sebastian and Miranda were still talking
together as if they had never met before, and would never meet
"But it befell, ladies (would that I was not speaking truth, but
inventing, that I might have invented something merrier for your
ears), it befell that very night, that the young wife of the
cacique, whose heart was lifted up with the thought that her rival
was now at last disposed of, tried all her wiles to win back her
faithless husband; but in vain. He only answered her caresses by
indifference, then by contempt, then insults, then blows (for with
the Indians, woman is always a slave, or rather a beast of burden),
and went on to draw such cruel comparisons between her dark skin
and the glorious fairness of the Spanish lady, that the wretched
girl, beside herself with rage, burst out at last with her own
secret. 'Fool that you are to madden yourself about a stranger who
prizes one hair of her Spanish husband's head more than your whole
body! Much does your new bride care for you! She is at this
moment in her husband's arms!'
"The cacique screamed furiously to know what she meant; and she,
her jealousy and hate of the guiltless lady boiling over once for
all, bade him, if he doubted her, go see for himself.
"What use of many words? They were taken. Love, or rather lust,
repelled, turned in a moment into devilish hate; and the cacique,
summoning his Indians, bade them bind the wretched Don Sebastian to
a tree, and there inflicted on him the lingering death to which he
had at first been doomed. For Miranda he had more exquisite
cruelty in store. And shall I tell it? Yes, ladies, for the honor
of love and of Spain, and for a justification of those cruelties
against the Indians which are so falsely imputed to our most
Christian nation, it shall be told: he delivered the wretched lady
over to the tender mercies of his wives; and what they were is
neither fit for me to tell, nor you to hear.
"The two wretched lovers cast themselves upon each other's neck;
drank each other's salt tears with the last kisses; accused
themselves as the cause of each other's death; and then, rising
above fear and grief, broke out into triumph at thus dying for and
with each other; and proclaiming themselves the martyrs of love,