Part 7 out of 15
commended their souls to God, and then stepped joyfully and proudly
to their doom."
"And what was that?" asked half-a-dozen trembling voices.
"Don Sebastian, as I have said, was shot to death with arrows; but
as for the Lady Miranda, the wretches themselves confessed
afterwards, when they received due vengeance for their crimes (as
they did receive it), that after all shameful and horrible
indignities, she was bound to a tree, and there burned slowly in
her husband's sight, stifling her shrieks lest they should wring
his heart by one additional pang, and never taking her eyes, to the
last, off that beloved face. And so died (but not unavenged)
Sebastian de Hurtado and Lucia Miranda,--a Spanish husband and a
The Don paused, and the ladies were silent awhile, for, indeed,
there was many a gentle tear to be dried; but at last Mrs. St.
Leger spoke, half, it seemed, to turn off the too painful
impression of the over-true tale, the outlines whereof may be still
read in old Charlevoix.
"You have told a sad and a noble tale, sir, and told it well; but,
though your story was to set forth a perfect husband, it has ended
rather by setting forth a perfect wife."
"And if I have forgotten, madam, in praising her to praise him
also, have I not done that which would have best pleased his
heroical and chivalrous spirit? He, be sure, would have forgotten
his own virtue in the light of hers; and he would have wished me, I
doubt not, to do the same also. And beside, madam, where ladies
are the theme, who has time or heart to cast one thought upon their
slaves?" And the Don made one of his deliberate and highly-
"Don Guzman is courtier enough, as far as compliments go," said one
of the young ladies; "but it was hardly courtier-like of him to
find us so sad an entertainment, upon a merry evening."
"Yes," said another; "we must ask him for no more stories."
"Or songs either," said a third. "I fear he knows none but about
forsaken maidens and despairing lovers."
"I know nothing at all about forsaken ladies, madam; because ladies
are never forsaken in Spain."
"Nor about lovers despairing there, I suppose?"
"That good opinion of ourselves, madam, with which you English are
pleased to twit us now and then, always prevents so sad a state of
mind. For myself, I have had little to do with love; but I have
had still less to do with despair, and intend, by help of Heaven,
to have less."
"You are valiant, sir."
"You would not have me a coward, madam?" and so forth.
Now all this time Don Guzman had been talking at Rose Salterne, and
giving her the very slightest hint, every now and then, that he was
talking at her; till the poor girl's face was almost crimson with
pleasure, and she gave herself up to the spell. He loved her
still; perhaps he knew that she loved him: he must know some day.
She felt now that there was no escape; she was almost glad to think
that there was none.
The dark, handsome, stately face; the melodious voice, with its
rich Spanish accent; the quiet grace of the gestures; the wild
pathos of the story; even the measured and inflated style, as of
one speaking of another and a loftier world; the chivalrous respect
and admiration for woman, and for faithfulness to woman--what a man
he was! If he had been pleasant heretofore, he was now enchanting.
All the ladies round felt that, she could see, as much as she
herself did; no, not quite as much, she hoped. She surely
understood him, and felt for his loneliness more than any of them.
Had she not been feeling for it through long and sad months? But
it was she whom he was thinking of, she whom he was speaking to,
all along. Oh, why had the tale ended so soon? She would gladly
have sat and wept her eyes out till midnight over one melodious
misery after another; but she was quite wise enough to keep her
secret to herself; and sat behind the rest, with greedy eyes and
demure lips, full of strange and new happiness--or misery; she knew
not which to call it.
In the meanwhile, as it was ordained, Cary could see and hear
through the window of the hall a good deal of what was going on.
"How that Spanish crocodile ogles the Rose!" whispered he to young
"What wonder? He is not the first by many a one."
"Ay--but-- By heaven, she is making side-shots at him with those
languishing eyes of hers, the little baggage!"
"What wonder? He is not the first, say I, and won't be the last.
Pass the wine, man."
"I have had enough; between sack and singing, my head is as mazed
as a dizzy sheep. Let me slip out."
"Not yet, man; remember you are bound for one song more."
So Cary, against his will, sat and sang another song; and in the
meanwhile the party had broken up, and wandered away by twos and
threes, among trim gardens and pleasaunces, and clipped yew-walks--
Where west-winds with musky wing
About the cedarn alleys fling
Nard and cassia's balmy smells--"
admiring the beauty of that stately place, long since passed into
other hands, and fallen to decay, but then (if old Prince speaks
true) one of the noblest mansions of the West.
At last Cary got away and out; sober, but just enough flushed with
wine to be ready for any quarrel; and luckily for him, had not gone
twenty yards along the great terrace before he met Lady Grenville.
"Has your ladyship seen Don Guzman?"
"Yes--why, where is he? He was with me not ten minutes ago. You
know he is going back to Spain."
"Going! Has his ransom come?"
"Yes, and with it a governorship in the Indies."
"Governorship! Much good may it do the governed."
"Why not, then? He is surely a most gallant gentleman."
"Gallant enough--yes," said Cary, carelessly. "I must find him,
and congratulate him on his honors."
"I will help you to find him," said Lady Grenville, whose woman's
eye and ear had already suspected something. "Escort me, sir."
"It is but too great an honor to squire the Queen of Bideford,"
said Cary, offering his hand.
"If I am your queen, sir, I must be obeyed," answered she, in a
meaning tone. Cary took the hint, and went on chattering
But Don Guzman was not to be found in garden or in pleasaunce.
"Perhaps," at last said a burgher's wife, with a toss of her head,
"your ladyship may meet with him at Hankford's oak."
"At Hankford's oak! what should take him there?"
"Pleasant company, I reckon" (with another toss). "I heard him and
Mistress Salterne talking about the oak just now."
Cary turned pale and drew in his breath.
"Very likely," said Lady Grenville, quietly. "Will you walk with
me so far, Mr. Cary?"
"To the world's end, if your ladyship condescends so far." And off
they went, Lady Grenville wishing that they were going anywhere
else, but afraid to let Cary go alone; and suspecting, too, that
some one or other ought to go.
So they went down past the herds of deer, by a trim-kept path into
the lonely dell where stood the fatal oak; and, as they went, Lady
Grenville, to avoid more unpleasant talk, poured into Cary's
unheeding ears the story (which he probably had heard fifty times
before) how old Chief-justice Hankford (whom some contradictory
myths make the man who committed Prince Henry to prison for
striking him on the bench), weary of life and sickened at the
horrors and desolations of the Wars of the Roses, went down to his
house at Annery there, and bade his keeper shoot any man who,
passing through the deer-park at night, should refuse to stand when
challenged; and then going down into that glen himself, and hiding
himself beneath that oak, met willingly by his keeper's hand the
death which his own dared not inflict: but ere the story was half
done, Cary grasped Lady Grenville's hand so tightly that she gave a
little shriek of pain.
"There they are!" whispered he, heedless of her; and pointed to the
oak, where, half hidden by the tall fern, stood Rose and the
Her head was on his bosom. She seemed sobbing, trembling; he
talking earnestly and passionately; but Lady Grenville's little
shriek made them both look up. To turn and try to escape was to
confess all; and the two, collecting themselves instantly, walked
towards her, Rose wishing herself fathoms deep beneath the earth.
"Mind, sir," whispered Lady Grenville as they came up; "you have
"If you are not on my ground, you are on my brother's. Obey me!"
Cary bit his lip, and bowed courteously to the Don.
"I have to congratulate you, I hear, senor, on your approaching
"I kiss your hands, senor, in return; but I question whether it be
a matter of congratulation, considering all that I leave behind."
"So do I," answered Cary, bluntly enough, and the four walked back
to the house, Lady Grenville taking everything for granted with the
most charming good humor, and chatting to her three silent
companions till they gained the terrace once more, and found four
or five of the gentlemen, with Sir Richard at their head,
proceeding to the bowling-green.
Lady Grenville, in an agony of fear about the quarrel which she
knew must come, would have gladly whispered five words to her
husband: but she dared not do it before the Spaniard, and dreaded,
too, a faint or a scream from the Rose, whose father was of the
party. So she walked on with her fair prisoner, commanding Cary to
escort them in, and the Spaniard to go to the bowling-green.
Cary obeyed: but he gave her the slip the moment she was inside the
door, and then darted off to the gentlemen.
His heart was on fire: all his old passion for the Rose had flashed
up again at the sight of her with a lover;--and that lover a
Spaniard! He would cut his throat for him, if steel could do it!
Only he recollected that Salterne was there, and shrank from
exposing Rose; and shrank, too, as every gentleman should, from
making a public quarrel in another man's house. Never mind. Where
there was a will there was a way. He could get him into a corner,
and quarrel with him privately about the cut of his beard, or the
color of his ribbon. So in he went; and, luckily or unluckily,
found standing together apart from the rest, Sir Richard, the Don,
and young St. Leger.
"Well, Don Guzman, you have given us wine-bibbers the slip this
afternoon. I hope you have been well employed in the meanwhile?"
"Delightfully to myself, senor," said the Don, who, enraged at
being interrupted, if not discovered, was as ready to fight as
Cary, but disliked, of course, an explosion as much as he did; "and
to others, I doubt not."
"So the ladies say," quoth St. Leger. "He has been making them all
cry with one of his stories, and robbing us meanwhile of the
pleasure we had hoped for from some of his Spanish songs."
"The devil take Spanish songs!" said Cary, in a low voice, but loud
enough for the Spaniard. Don Guzman clapt his hand on his sword-
"Lieutenant Cary," said Sir Richard, in a stern voice, "the wine
has surely made you forget yourself!"
"As sober as yourself, most worshipful knight; but if you want a
Spanish song, here's one; and a very scurvy one it is, like its
Walked on the Prado,
And there he met his enemy.
He pulled out a knife, a,
And let out his life, a,
And fled for his own across the sea."
And he bowed low to the Spaniard.
The insult was too gross to require any spluttering.
"Senor Cary, we meet?"
"I thank your quick apprehension, Don Guzman Maria Magdalena
Sotomayor de Soto. When, where, and with what weapons?"
"For God's sake, gentlemen! Nephew Arthur, Cary is your guest; do
you know the meaning of this?"
St. Leger was silent. Cary answered for him.
"An old Irish quarrel, I assure you, sir. A matter of years'
standing. In unlacing the senor's helmet, the evening that he was
taken prisoner, I was unlucky enough to twitch his mustachios. You
recollect the fact, of course, senor?"
"Perfectly," said the Spaniard; and then, half-amused and half-
pleased, in spite of his bitter wrath, at Cary's quickness and
delicacy in shielding Rose, he bowed, and--
"And it gives me much pleasure to find that he whom I trust to have
the pleasure of killing tomorrow morning is a gentleman whose nice
sense of honor renders him thoroughly worthy of the sword of a De
Cary bowed in return, while Sir Richard, who saw plainly enough
that the excuse was feigned, shrugged his shoulders.
"What weapons, senor?" asked Will again.
"I should have preferred a horse and pistols," said Don Guzman
after a moment, half to himself, and in Spanish; "they make surer
work of it than bodkins; but" (with a sigh and one of his smiles)
"beggars must not be choosers."
"The best horse in my stable is at your service, senor," said Sir
Richard Grenville, instantly.
"And in mine also, senor," said Cary; "and I shall be happy to
allow you a week to train him, if he does not answer at first to a
"You forget in your courtesy, gentle sir, that the insult being
with me, the time lies with me also. We wipe it off to-morrow
morning with simple rapiers and daggers. Who is your second?"
"Mr. Arthur St. Leger here, senor: who is yours?"
The Spaniard felt himself alone in the world for one moment; and
then answered with another of his smiles,--
"Your nation possesses the soul of honor. He who fights an
Englishman needs no second."
"And he who fights among Englishmen will always find one," said Sir
Richard. "I am the fittest second for my guest."
"You only add one more obligation, illustrious cavalier, to a two-
years' prodigality of favors, which I shall never be able to
"But, Nephew Arthur," said Grenville, "you cannot surely be second
against your father's guest, and your own uncle."
"I cannot help it, sir; I am bound by an oath, as Will can tell
you. I suppose you won't think it necessary to let me blood?"
"You half deserve it, sirrah!" said Sir Richard, who was very
angry: but the Don interposed quickly.
"Heaven forbid, senors! We are no French duellists, who are mad
enough to make four or six lives answer for the sins of two. This
gentleman and I have quarrel enough between us, I suspect, to make
a right bloody encounter."
"The dependence is good enough, sir," said Cary, licking his sinful
lips at the thought. "Very well. Rapiers and shirts at three
tomorrow morning--Is that the bill of fare? Ask Sir Richard where,
Atty? It is against punctilio now for me to speak to him till
after I am killed."
"On the sands opposite. The tide will be out at three. And now,
gallant gentlemen, let us join the bowlers."
And so they went back and spent a merry evening, all except poor
Rose, who, ere she went back, had poured all her sorrows into Lady
Grenville's ear. For the kind woman, knowing that she was
motherless and guileless, carried her off into Mrs. St. Leger's
chamber, and there entreated her to tell the truth, and heaped her
with pity but with no comfort. For indeed, what comfort was there
. . . . . . .
Three o'clock, upon a still pure bright midsummer morning. A broad
and yellow sheet of ribbed tide-sands, through which the shallow
river wanders from one hill-foot to the other, whispering round
dark knolls of rock, and under low tree-fringed cliffs, and banks
of golden broom. A mile below, the long bridge and the white
walled town, all sleeping pearly in the soft haze, beneath a
cloudless vault of blue. The white glare of dawn, which last night
hung high in the northwest, has travelled now to the northeast, and
above the wooded wall of the hills the sky is flushing with rose
A long line of gulls goes wailing up inland; the rooks from Annery
come cawing and sporting round the corner at Landcross, while high
above them four or five herons flap solemnly along to find their
breakfast on the shallows. The pheasants and partridges are
clucking merrily in the long wet grass; every copse and hedgerow
rings with the voice of birds, but the lark, who has been singing
since midnight in the "blank height of the dark," suddenly hushes
his carol and drops headlong among the corn, as a broad-winged
buzzard swings from some wooded peak into the abyss of the valley,
and hangs high-poised above the heavenward songster. The air is
full of perfume; sweet clover, new-mown hay, the fragrant breath of
kine, the dainty scent of sea-weed wreaths and fresh wet sand.
Glorious day, glorious place, "bridal of earth and sky," decked
well with bridal garlands, bridal perfumes, bridal songs,--What do
those four cloaked figures there by the river brink, a dark spot on
the fair face of the summer morn?
Yet one is as cheerful as if he too, like all nature round him,
were going to a wedding; and that is Will Cary. He has been
bathing down below, to cool his brain and steady his hand; and he
intends to stop Don Guzman Maria Magdalena Sotomayor de Soto's
wooing for ever and a day. The Spaniard is in a very different
mood; fierce and haggard, he is pacing up and down the sand. He
intends to kill Will Cary; but then? Will he be the nearer to Rose
by doing so? Can he stay in Bideford? Will she go with him?
Shall he stoop to stain his family by marrying a burgher's
daughter? It is a confused, all but desperate business; and Don
Guzman is certain but of one thing, that he is madly in love with
this fair witch, and that if she refuse him, then, rather than see
her accept another man, he would kill her with his own hands.
Sir Richard Grenville too is in no very pleasant humor, as St.
Leger soon discovers, when the two seconds begin whispering over
"We cannot have either of them killed, Arthur."
"Mr. Cary swears he will kill the Spaniard, sir."
"He sha'n't. The Spaniard is my guest. I am answerable for him to
Leigh, and for his ransom too. And how can Leigh accept the ransom
if the man is not given up safe and sound? They won't pay for a
dead carcass, boy! The man's life is worth two hundred pounds."
"A very bad bargain,, sir, for those who pay the said two hundred
for the rascal; but what if he kills Cary?"
"Worse still. Cary must not be killed. I am very angry with him,
but he is too good a lad to be lost; and his father would never
forgive us. We must strike up their swords at the first scratch."
"It will make them very mad, sir."
"Hang them! let them fight us then, if they don't like our counsel.
It must be, Arthur."
"Be sure, sir," said Arthur, "that whatsoever you shall command I
shall perform. It is only too great an honor to a young man as I
am to find myself in the same duel with your worship, and to have
the advantage of your wisdom and experience."
Sir Richard smiles, and says--"Now, gentlemen! are you ready?"
The Spaniard pulls out a little crucifix, and kisses it devoutly,
smiting on his breast; crosses himself two or three times, and
says--"Most willingly, senor."
Cary kisses no crucifix, but says a prayer nevertheless.
Cloaks and doublets are tossed off, the men placed, the rapiers
measured hilt and point; Sir Richard and St. Leger place themselves
right and left of the combatants, facing each other, the points of
their drawn swords on the sand. Cary and the Spaniard stand for a
moment quite upright, their sword-arms stretched straight before
them, holding the long rapier horizontally, the left hand clutching
the dagger close to their breasts. So they stand eye to eye, with
clenched teeth and pale crushed lips, while men might count a
score; St. Leger can hear the beating of his own heart; Sir Richard
is praying inwardly that no life may be lost. Suddenly there is a
quick turn of Cary's wrist and a leap forward. The Spaniard's
dagger flashes, and the rapier is turned aside; Cary springs six
feet back as the Spaniard rushes on him in turn. Parry, thrust,
parry--the steel rattles, the sparks fly, the men breathe fierce
and loud; the devil's game is begun in earnest.
Five minutes have the two had instant death a short six inches off
from those wild sinful hearts of theirs, and not a scratch has been
given. Yes! the Spaniard's rapier passes under Cary's left arm; he
"A hit! a hit! Strike up, Atty!" and the swords are struck up
Cary, nettled by the smart, tries to close with his foe, but the
seconds cross their swords before him.
"It is enough, gentlemen. Don Guzman's honor is satisfied!"
"But not my revenge, senor," says the Spaniard, with a frown.
"This duel is a l'outrance, on my part; and, I believe, on Mr.
"By heaven, it is!" says Will, trying to push past. "Let me go,
Arthur St. Leger; one of us must down. Let me go, I say!"
"If you stir, Mr. Cary, you have to do with Richard Grenville!"
thunders the lion voice. "I am angry enough with you for having
brought on this duel at all. Don't provoke me still further, young
Cary stops sulkily.
"You do not know all, Sir Richard, or you would not speak in this
"I do, sir, all; and I shall have the honor of talking it over with
Don Guzman myself."
"Hey!" said the Spaniard. "You came here as my second, Sir
Richard, as I understood, but not as my counsellor."
"Arthur, take your man away! Cary! obey me as you would your
father, sir! Can you not trust Richard Grenville?"
"Come away, for God's sake!" says poor Arthur, dragging Cary's
sword from him; "Sir Richard must know best!"
So Cary is led off sulking, and Sir Richard turns to the Spaniard,
"And now, Don Guzman, allow me, though much against my will, to
speak to you as a friend to a friend. You will pardon me if I say
that I cannot but have seen last night's devotion to--"
"You will be pleased, senor, not to mention the name of any lady to
whom I may have shown devotion. I am not accustomed to have my
little affairs talked over by any unbidden counsellors."
"Well, senor, if you take offence, you take that which is not
given. Only I warn you, with all apologies for any seeming
forwardness, that the quest on which you seem to be is one on which
you will not be allowed to proceed."
"And who will stop me?" asked the Spaniard, with a fierce oath.
"You are not aware, illustrious senor," said Sir Richard, parrying
the question, "that our English laity look upon mixed marriages
with full as much dislike as your own ecclesiastics."
"Marriage, sir? Who gave you leave to mention that word to me?"
Sir Richard's brow darkened; the Spaniard, in his insane pride, had
forced upon the good knight a suspicion which was not really just.
"Is it possible, then, Senor Don Guzman, that I am to have the
shame of mentioning a baser word?"
"Mention what you will, sir. All words are the same to me; for,
just or unjust, I shall answer them alike only by my sword."
"You will do no such thing, sir. You forget that I am your host."
"And do you suppose that you have therefore a right to insult me?
Stand on your guard, sir!"
Grenville answered by slapping his own rapier home into the sheath
with a quiet smile.
"Senor Don Guzman must be well enough aware of who Richard
Grenville is, to know that he may claim the right of refusing duel
to any man, if he shall so think fit."
"Sir!" cried the Spaniard, with an oath, "this is too much! Do you
dare to hint that I am unworthy of your sword? Know, insolent
Englishman, I am not merely a De Soto, though that, by St. James,
were enough for you or any man. I am a Sotomayor, a Mendoza, a
Bovadilla, a Losada, a--sir! I have blood royal in my veins, and
you dare to refuse my challenge?"
"Richard Grenville can show quarterings, probably, against even Don
Guzman Maria Magdalena Sotomayor de Soto, or against (with no
offence to the unquestioned nobility of your pedigree) the bluest
blood of Spain. But he can show, moreover, thank God, a reputation
which raises him as much above the imputation of cowardice, as it
does above that of discourtesy. If you think fit, senor, to forget
what you have just, in very excusable anger, vented, and to return
with me, you will find me still, as ever, your most faithful
servant and host. If otherwise, you have only to name whither you
wish your mails to be sent, and I shall, with unfeigned sorrow,
obey your commands concerning them."
The Spaniard bowed stiffly, answered, "To the nearest tavern,
senor," and then strode away. His baggage was sent thither. He
took a boat down to Appledore that very afternoon, and vanished,
none knew whither. A very courteous note to Lady Grenville,
enclosing the jewel which he had been used to wear round his neck,
was the only memorial he left behind him: except, indeed, the scar
on Cary's arm, and poor Rose's broken heart.
Now county towns are scandalous places at best; and though all
parties tried to keep the duel secret, yet, of course, before noon
all Bideford knew what had happened, and a great deal more; and
what was even worse, Rose, in an agony of terror, had seen Sir
Richard Grenville enter her father's private room, and sit there
closeted with him for an hour and more; and when he went, upstairs
came old Salterne, with his stick in his hand, and after rating her
soundly for far worse than a flirt, gave her (I am sorry to have to
say it, but such was the mild fashion of paternal rule in those
times, even over such daughters as Lady Jane Grey, if Roger Ascham
is to be believed) such a beating that her poor sides were black
and blue for many a day; and then putting her on a pillion behind
him, carried her off twenty miles to her old prison at Stow mill,
commanding her aunt to tame down her saucy blood with bread of
affliction and water of affliction. Which commands were willingly
enough fulfilled by the old dame, who had always borne a grudge
against Rose for being rich while she was poor, and pretty while
her daughter was plain; so that between flouts, and sneers, and
watchings, and pretty open hints that she was a disgrace to her
family, and no better than she should be, the poor innocent child
watered her couch with her tears for a fortnight or more,
stretching out her hands to the wide Atlantic, and calling wildly
to Don Guzman to return and take her where he would, and she would
live for him and die for him; and perhaps she did not call in vain.
HOW THE GOLDEN HIND CAME HOME AGAIN
"The spirits of your fathers
Shall start from every wave;
For the deck it was their field of fame,
And ocean was their grave."
So you see, my dear Mrs. Hawkins, having the silver, as your own
eyes show you, beside the ores of lead, manganese, and copper, and
above all this gossan (as the Cornish call it), which I suspect to
be not merely the matrix of the ore, but also the very crude form
and materia prima of all metals--you mark me?--If my recipes, which
I had from Doctor Dee, succeed only half so well as I expect, then
I refine out the luna, the silver, lay it by, and transmute the
remaining ores into sol, gold. Whereupon Peru and Mexico become
superfluities, and England the mistress of the globe. Strange, no
doubt; distant, no doubt: but possible, my dear madam, possible!"
"And what good to you if it be, Mr. Gilbert? If you could find a
philosopher's stone to turn sinners into saints, now--but naught
save God's grace can do that; and that last seems ofttimes over
long in coming." And Mrs. Hawkins sighed.
"But indeed, my dear madam, conceive now.--The Comb Martin mine
thus becomes a gold mine, perhaps inexhaustible; yields me
wherewithal to carry out my North-West patent; meanwhile my brother
Humphrey holds Newfoundland, and builds me fresh ships year by year
(for the forests of pine are boundless) for my China voyage."
"Sir Humphrey has better thoughts in his dear heart than gold, Mr.
Adrian; a very close and gracious walker he has been this seven
year. I wish my Captain John were so too."
"And how do you know I have naught better in my mind's eye than
gold? Or, indeed, what better could I have? Is not gold the
Spaniard's strength--the very mainspring of Antichrist? By gold
only, therefore, can we out-wrestle him. You shake your head, but
say, dear madam (for gold England must have), which is better, to
make gold bloodlessly at home, or take it bloodily abroad?"
"Oh, Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Gilbert! is it not written, that those who
make haste to be rich, pierce themselves through with many sorrows?
Oh, Mr. Gilbert! God's blessing is not on it all."
"Not on you, madam? Be sure that brave Captain John Hawkins's star
told me a different tale, when I cast his nativity for him.--Born
under stormy planets, truly, but under right royal and fortunate
"Ah, Mr. Adrian! I am a simple body, and you a great philosopher,
but I hold there is no star for the seaman like the Star of
Bethlehem; and that goes with 'peace on earth and good will to
men,' and not with such arms as that, Mr. Adrian. I can't abide to
look upon them."
And she pointed up to one of the bosses of the ribbed oak-roof, on
which was emblazoned the fatal crest which Clarencieux Hervey had
granted years before to her husband, the "Demi-Moor proper, bound."
"Ah, Mr. Gilbert! since first he went to Guinea after those poor
negroes, little lightness has my heart known; and the very day that
that crest was put up in our grand new house, as the parson read
the first lesson, there was this text in it, Mr. Gilbert, 'Woe to
him that buildeth his house by iniquity, and his chambers by wrong.
Shalt thou live because thou closest thyself in cedar?' And it
went into my ears like fire, Mr. Gilbert, and into my heart like
lead; and when the parson went on, 'Did not thy father eat and
drink, and do judgment and justice? Then it was well with him,' I
thought of good old Captain Will; and--I tell you, Mr. Gilbert,
those negroes are on my soul from morning until night! We are all
mighty grand now, and money comes in fast, but the Lord will
require the blood of them at our hands yet, He will!"
"My dearest madam, who can prosper more than you? If your husband
copied the Dons too closely once or twice in the matter of those
negroes (which I do not deny,) was he not punished at once when he
lost ships, men, all but life, at St. Juan d'Ulloa?"
"Ay, yes," she said; "and that did give me a bit of comfort,
especially when the queen--God save her tender heart!--was so sharp
with him for pity of the poor wretches, but it has not mended him.
He is growing fast like the rest now, Mr. Gilbert, greedy to win,
and niggardly to spend (God forgive him!) and always fretting and
plotting for some new gain, and envying and grudging at Drake, and
all who are deeper in the snare of prosperity than he is. Gold,
gold, nothing but gold in every mouth--there it is! Ah! I mind
when Plymouth was a quiet little God-fearing place as God could
smile upon: but ever since my John, and Sir Francis, and poor Mr.
Oxenham found out the way to the Indies, it's been a sad place.
Not a sailor's wife but is crying 'Give, give,' like the daughters
of the horse-leech; and every woman must drive her husband out
across seas to bring her home money to squander on hoods and
farthingales, and go mincing with outstretched necks and wanton
eyes; and they will soon learn to do worse than that, for the sake
of gain. But the Lord's hand will be against their tires and
crisping-pins, their mufflers and farthingales, as it was against
the Jews of old. Ah, dear me!"
The two interlocutors in this dialogue were sitting in a low oak-
panelled room in Plymouth town, handsomely enough furnished,
adorned with carving and gilding and coats of arms, and noteworthy
for many strange knickknacks, Spanish gold and silver vessels on
the sideboard; strange birds and skins, and charts and rough
drawings of coast which hung about the room; while over the
fireplace, above the portrait of old Captain Will Hawkins, pet of
Henry the Eighth, hung the Spanish ensign which Captain John had
taken in fair fight at Rio de la Hacha fifteen years before, when,
with two hundred men, he seized the town in despite of ten hundred
Spanish soldiers, and watered his ship triumphantly at the enemy's
The gentleman was a tall fair man, with a broad and lofty forehead,
wrinkled with study, and eyes weakened by long poring over the
crucible and the furnace.
The lady had once been comely enough, but she was aged and worn, as
sailors' wives are apt to be, by many sorrows. Many a sad day had
she had already; for although John Hawkins, port-admiral of
Plymouth, and patriarch of British shipbuilders, was a faithful
husband enough, and as ready to forgive as he was to quarrel, yet
he was obstinate and ruthless, and in spite of his religiosity (for
all men were religious then) was by no means a "consistent walker."
And sadder days were in store for her, poor soul. Nine years hence
she would be asked to name her son's brave new ship, and would
christen it The Repentance, giving no reason in her quiet steadfast
way (so says her son Sir Richard) but that "Repentance was the best
ship in which we could sail to the harbor of heaven;" and she would
hear that Queen Elizabeth, complaining of the name for an unlucky
one, had re-christened her The Dainty, not without some by-quip,
perhaps, at the character of her most dainty captain, Richard
Hawkins, the complete seaman and Euphuist afloat, of whom, perhaps,
With sad eyes Mrs. (then Lady) Hawkins would see that gallant bark
sail Westward-ho, to go the world around, as many another ship
sailed; and then wait, as many a mother beside had waited, for the
sail which never returned; till, dim and uncertain, came tidings of
her boy fighting for four days three great Armadas (for the coxcomb
had his father's heart in him after all), a prisoner, wounded,
ruined, languishing for weary years in Spanish prisons. And a
sadder day than that was in store, when a gallant fleet should
round the Ram Head, not with drum and trumpet, but with solemn
minute-guns, and all flags half-mast high, to tell her that her
terrible husband's work was done, his terrible heart broken by
failure and fatigue, and his body laid by Drake's beneath the far-
off tropic seas.
And if, at the close of her eventful life, one gleam of sunshine
opened for a while, when her boy Richard returned to her bosom from
his Spanish prison, to be knighted for his valor, and made a privy
councillor for his wisdom; yet soon, how soon, was the old cloud to
close in again above her, until her weary eyes should open in the
light of Paradise. For that son dropped dead, some say at the very
council-table, leaving behind him naught but broken fortunes, and
huge purposes which never were fulfilled; and the stormy star of
that bold race was set forever, and Lady Hawkins bowed her weary
head and died, the groan of those stolen negroes ringing in her
ears, having lived long enough to see her husband's youthful sin
become a national institution, and a national curse for generations
I know not why she opened her heart that night to Adrian Gilbert,
with a frankness which she would hardly have dared to use to her
own family. Perhaps it was that Adrian, like his great brothers,
Humphrey and Raleigh, was a man full of all lofty and delicate
enthusiasms, tender and poetical, such as women cling to when their
hearts are lonely; but so it was; and Adrian, half ashamed of his
own ambitious dreams, sate looking at her a while in silence; and
"The Lord be with you, dearest lady. Strange, how you women sit at
home to love and suffer, while we men rush forth to break our
hearts and yours against rocks of our own seeking! Ah well! were
it not for Scripture, I should have thought that Adam, rather than
Eve, had been the one who plucked the fruit of the forbidden tree."
"We women, I fear; did the deed nevertheless; for we bear the doom
of it our lives long."
"You always remind me, madam, of my dear Mrs. Leigh of Burrough,
and her counsels."
"Do you see her often? I hear of her as one of the Lord's most
"I would have done more ere now than see her," said he with a
blush, "had she allowed me: but she lives only for the memory of
her husband and the fame of her noble sons."
As he spoke the door opened, and in walked, wrapped in his rough
sea-gown, none other than one of those said noble sons.
Adrian turned pale.
"Amyas Leigh! What brings you hither? how fares my brother? Where
is the ship?"
"Your brother is well, Mr. Gilbert. The Golden Hind is gone on to
Dartmouth, with Mr. Hayes. I came ashore here, meaning to go north
to Bideford, ere I went to London. I called at Drake's just now,
but he was away."
"The Golden Hind? What brings her home so soon?"
"Yet welcome ever, sir," said Mrs. Hawkins. "This is a great
surprise, though. Captain John did not look for you till next
Amyas was silent.
"Something is wrong!" cried Adrian. "Speak!"
Amyas tried, but could not.
"Will you drive a man mad, sir? Has the adventure failed? You
said my brother was well."
"He is well."
"Then what-- Why do you look at me in that fashion, sir?" and
springing up, Adrian rushed forward, and held the candle to Amyas's
Amyas's lip quivered, as he laid his hand on Adrian's shoulder.
"Your great and glorious brother, sir, is better bestowed than in
"Dead?" shrieked Adrian.
"He is with the God whom he served!"
"He was always with Him, like Enoch: parable me no parables, if you
love me, sir!"
"And, like Enoch, he was not; for God took him."
Adrian clasped his hands over his forehead, and leaned against the
"Go on, sir, go on. God will give me strength to hear all."
And gradually Amyas opened to Adrian that tragic story, which Mr.
Hayes has long ago told far too well to allow a second edition of
it from me: of the unruliness of the men, ruffians, as I said
before, caught up at hap-hazard; of conspiracies to carry off the
ships, plunder of fishing vessels, desertions multiplying daily;
licenses from the general to the lazy and fearful to return home:
till Adrian broke out with a groan--
"From him? Conspired against him? Deserted from him? Dotards,
buzzards! Where would they have found such another leader?"
"Your illustrious brother, sir," said Amyas, "if you will pardon
me, was a very great philosopher, but not so much of a general."
"General, sir? Where was braver man?"
"Not on God's earth, but that does not make a general, sir. If
Cortez had been brave and no more, Mexico would have been Mexico
still. The truth is, sir, Cortez, like my Captain Drake, knew when
to hang a man; and your great brother did not."
Amyas, as I suppose, was right. Gilbert was a man who could be
angry enough at baseness or neglect, but who was too kindly to
punish it; he was one who could form the wisest and best-digested
plans, but who could not stoop to that hail-fellow-well-met
drudgery among his subordinates which has been the talisman of
Then Amyas went on to tell the rest of his story; the setting sail
from St. John's to discover the southward coast; Sir Humphrey's
chivalrous determination to go in the little Squirrel of only ten
tons, and "overcharged with nettings, fights, and small ordnance,"
not only because she was more fit to examine the creeks, but
because he had heard of some taunt against him among the men, that
he was afraid of the sea.
After that, woe on woe; how, seven days after they left Cape Raz,
their largest ship, the Delight, after she had "most part of the
night" (I quote Hayes), "like the swan that singeth before her
death, continued in sounding of trumpets, drums, and fifes, also
winding of the comets and hautboys, and, in the end of their
jollity, left off with the battle and doleful knells," struck the
next day (the Golden Hind and the Squirrel sheering off just in
time) upon unknown shoals; where were lost all but fourteen, and
among them Frank's philosopher friend, poor Budaeus; and those who
escaped, after all horrors of cold and famine, were cast on shore
in Newfoundland. How, worn out with hunger and want of clothes,
the crews of the two remaining ships persuaded Sir Humphrey to sail
toward England on the 31st of August; and on "that very instant,
even in winding about," beheld close alongside "a very lion in
shape, hair, and color, not swimming, but sliding on the water,
with his whole body; who passed along, turning his head to and fro,
yawning and gaping wide, with ugly demonstration of long teeth and
glaring eyes; and to bid us farewell (coming right against the
Hind) he sent forth a horrible voice, roaring or bellowing as doth
a lion." "What opinion others had thereof, and chiefly the general
himself, I forbear to deliver; but he took it for bonum omen,
rejoicing that he was to war against such an enemy, if it were the
"And the devil it was, doubtless," said Adrian, "the roaring lion
who goes about seeking whom he may devour."
"He has not got your brother, at least," quoth Amyas.
"No," rejoined Mrs. Hawkins (smile not, reader, for those were days
in which men believed in the devil); "he roared for joy to think
how many poor souls would be left still in heathen darkness by Sir
Humphrey's death. God be with that good knight, and send all
mariners where he is now!"
Then Amyas told the last scene; how, when they were off the Azores,
the storms came on heavier than ever, with "terrible seas, breaking
short and pyramid-wise," till, on the 9th September, the tiny
Squirrel nearly foundered and yet recovered; "and the general,
sitting abaft with a book in his hand, cried out to us in the Hind
so oft as we did approach within hearing, 'We are as near heaven by
sea as by land,' reiterating the same speech, well beseeming a
soldier resolute in Jesus Christ, as I can testify he was.
"The same Monday, about twelve of the clock, or not long after, the
frigate (the Squirrel) being ahead of us in the Golden Hind,
suddenly her lights were out; and withal our watch cried, the
general was cast away, which was true; for in that moment the
frigate was devoured and swallowed up of the sea."
And so ended (I have used Hayes' own words) Amyas Leigh's story.
"Oh, my brother! my brother!" moaned poor Adrian; "the glory of his
house, the glory of Devon!"
"Ah! what will the queen say?" asked Mrs. Hawkins through her
"Tell me," asked Adrian, "had he the jewel on when he died?"
"The queen's jewel? He always wore that, and his own posy too,
'Mutare vel timere sperno.' He wore it; and he lived it."
"Ay," said Adrian, "the same to the last!"
"Not quite that," said Amyas. "He was a meeker man latterly than
he used to be. As he said himself once, a better refiner than any
whom he had on board had followed him close all the seas over, and
purified him in the fire. And gold seven times tried he was, when
God, having done His work in him, took him home at last."
And so the talk ended. There was no doubt that the expedition had
been an utter failure; Adrian was a ruined man; and Amyas had lost
Adrian rose, and begged leave to retire; he must collect himself.
"Poor gentleman!" said Mrs. Hawkins; "it is little else he has left
"Or I either," said Amyas. "I was going to ask you to lend me one
of your son's shirts, and five pounds to get myself and my men
"Five? Fifty, Mr. Leigh! God forbid that John Hawkins's wife
should refuse her last penny to a distressed mariner, and he a
gentleman born. But you must eat and drink."
"It's more than I have done for many a day worth speaking of."
And Amyas sat down in his rags to a good supper, while Mrs. Hawkins
told him all the news which she could of his mother, whom Adrian
Gilbert had seen a few months before in London; and then went on,
naturally enough, to the Bideford news.
"And by the by, Captain Leigh, I've sad news for you from your
place; and I had it from one who was there at the time. You must
know a Spanish captain, a prisoner--"
"What, the one I sent home from Smerwick?"
"You sent? Mercy on us! Then, perhaps, you've heard--"
"How can I have heard? What?"
"That he's gone off, the villain?"
"Without paying his ransom?"
"I can't say that; but there's a poor innocent young maid gone off
with him, one Salterne's daughter--the Popish serpent!"
"Rose Salterne, the mayor's daughter, the Rose of Torridge!"
"That's her. Bless your dear soul, what ails you?"
Amyas had dropped back in his seat as if he had been shot; but he
recovered himself before kind Mrs. Hawkins could rush to the
cupboard for cordials.
"You'll forgive me, madam; but I'm weak from the sea; and your good
ale has turned me a bit dizzy, I think."
"Ay, yes, 'tis too, too heavy, till you've been on shore a while.
Try the aqua vitae; my Captain John has it right good; and a bit
too fond of it too, poor dear soul, between whiles, Heaven forgive
So she poured some strong brandy and water down Amyas's throat, in
spite of his refusals, and sent him to bed, but not to sleep; and
after a night of tossing, he started for Bideford, having obtained
the means for so doing from Mrs. Hawkins.
HOW SALVATION YEO SLEW THE KING OF THE GUBBINGS
"Ignorance and evil, even in full flight, deal terrible backhanded
strokes at their pursuers."--HELPS.
Now I am sorry to say, for the honor of my country, that it was by
no means a safe thing in those days to travel from Plymouth to the
north of Devon; because, to get to your journey's end, unless you
were minded to make a circuit of many miles, you must needs pass
through the territory of a foreign and hostile potentate, who had
many times ravaged the dominions, and defeated the forces of her
Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and was named (behind his back at least)
the King of the Gubbings. "So now I dare call them," says Fuller,
"secured by distance, which one of more valor durst not do to their
face, for fear their fury fall upon him. Yet hitherto have I met
with none who could render a reason of their name. We call the
shavings of fish (which are little worth) gubbings; and sure it is
that they are sensible that the word importeth shame and disgrace.
"As for the suggestion of my worthy and learned friend, Mr. Joseph
Maynard, that such as did inhabitare montes gibberosos, were called
Gubbings, such will smile at the ingenuity who dissent from the
truth of the etymology.
"I have read of an England beyond Wales, but the Gubbings land is a
Scythia within England, and they pure heathens therein. It lieth
nigh Brent. For in the edge of Dartmoor it is reported that, some
two hundred years since, two bad women, being with child, fled
thither to hide themselves; to whom certain lewd fellows resorted,
and this was their first original. They are a peculiar of their
own making, exempt from bishop, archdeacon, and all authority,
either ecclesiastical or civil. They live in cots (rather holes
than houses) like swine, having all in common, multiplied without
marriage into many hundreds. Their language is the dross of the
dregs of the vulgar Devonian; and the more learned a man is, the
worse he can understand them. During our civil wars no soldiers
were quartered upon them, for fear of being quartered amongst them.
Their wealth consisteth in other men's goods; they live by stealing
the sheep on the moors; and vain is it for any to search their
houses, being a work beneath the pains of any sheriff, and above
the power of any constable. Such is their fleetness, they will
outrun many horses; vivaciousness, they outlive most men; living in
an ignorance of luxury, the extinguisher of life. They hold
together like bees; offend one, and all will revenge his quarrel.
"But now I am informed that they begin to be civilized, and tender
their children to baptism, and return to be men, yea, Christians
again. I hope no CIVIL people amongst us will turn barbarians, now
these barbarians begin to be civilized."*
* Fuller, p. 398.
With which quip against the Anabaptists of his day, Fuller ends his
story; and I leave him to set forth how Amyas, in fear of these
same Scythians and heathens, rode out of Plymouth on a right good
horse, in his full suit of armor, carrying lance and sword, and
over and above two great dags, or horse-pistols; and behind him
Salvation Yeo, and five or six north Devon men (who had served with
him in Ireland, and were returning on furlough), clad in head-
pieces and quilted jerkins, each man with his pike and sword, and
Yeo with arquebuse and match, while two sumpter ponies carried the
baggage of this formidable troop.
They pushed on as fast as they could, through Tavistock, to reach
before nightfall Lydford, where they meant to sleep; but what with
buying the horses, and other delays, they had not been able to
start before noon; and night fell just as they reached the
frontiers of the enemy's country. A dreary place enough it was, by
the wild glare of sunset. A high tableland of heath, banked on the
right by the crags and hills of Dartmoor, and sloping away to the
south and west toward the foot of the great cone of Brent-Tor,
which towered up like an extinct volcano (as some say that it
really is), crowned with the tiny church, the votive offering of
some Plymouth merchant of old times, who vowed in sore distress to
build a church to the Blessed Virgin on the first point of English
land which he should see. Far away, down those waste slopes, they
could see the tiny threads of blue smoke rising from the dens of
the Gubbings; and more than once they called a halt, to examine
whether distant furze-bushes and ponies might not be the patrols of
an advancing army. It is all very well to laugh at it now, in the
nineteenth century, but it was no laughing matter then; as they
found before they had gone two miles farther.
On the middle of the down stood a wayside inn; a desolate and
villainous-looking lump of lichen-spotted granite, with windows
paper-patched, and rotting thatch kept down by stones and straw-
banks; and at the back a rambling court-ledge of barns and walls,
around which pigs and barefoot children grunted in loving communion
of dirt. At the door, rapt apparently in the contemplation of the
mountain peaks which glowed rich orange in the last lingering sun-
rays, but really watching which way the sheep on the moor were
taking, stood the innkeeper, a brawny, sodden-visaged, blear-eyed
six feet of brutishness, holding up his hose with one hand, for
want of points, and clawing with the other his elf-locks, on which
a fair sprinkling of feathers might denote: first, that he was just
out of bed, having been out sheep-stealing all the night before;
and secondly, that by natural genius he had anticipated the opinion
of that great apostle of sluttishness, Fridericus Dedekind, and his
faithful disciple Dekker, which last speaks thus to all gulls and
grobians: "Consider that as those trees of cobweb lawn, woven by
spinners in the fresh May mornings, do dress the curled heads of
the mountains, and adorn the swelling bosoms of the valleys; or as
those snowy fleeces, which the naked briar steals from the innocent
sheep to make himself a warm winter livery, are, to either of them
both, an excellent ornament; so make thou account, that to have
feathers sticking here and there on thy head will embellish thee,
and set thy crown out rarely. None dare upbraid thee, that like a
beggar thou hast lain on straw, or like a travelling pedlar upon
musty flocks; for those feathers will rise up as witnesses to choke
him that says so, and to prove thy bed to have been of the softest
down." Even so did those feathers bear witness that the possessor
of Rogues' Harbor Inn, on Brent-Tor Down, whatever else he lacked,
lacked not geese enough to keep him in soft lying.
Presently he spies Amyas and his party coming slowly over the hill,
pricks up his ears, and counts them; sees Amyas's armor; shakes his
head and grunts; and then, being a man of few words, utters a
A strapping lass--whose only covering (for country women at work in
those days dispensed with the ornament of a gown) is a green bodice
and red petticoat, neither of them over ample--brings out his
fishing-rod and basket, and the man, having tied up his hose with
some ends of string, examines the footlink.
"Don vlies' gone!"
"May be," says Mary; "shouldn't hay' left mun out to coort. May be
old hen's ate mun off. I see her chocking about a while agone."
The host receives this intelligence with an oath, and replies by a
violent blow at Mary's head, which she, accustomed to such slight
matters, dodges, and then returns the blow with good effect on the
Whereon mine host, equally accustomed to such slight matters,
quietly shambles off, howling as he departs--
Mary runs in, combs her hair, slips a pair of stockings and her
best gown over her dirt, and awaits the coming guests, who make a
few long faces at the "mucksy sort of a place," but prefer to spend
the night there than to bivouac close to the enemy's camp.
So the old hen who has swallowed the dun fly is killed, plucked,
and roasted, and certain "black Dartmoor mutton" is put on the
gridiron, and being compelled to confess the truth by that fiery
torment, proclaims itself to all noses as red-deer venison. In the
meanwhile Amyas has put his horse and the ponies into a shed, to
which he can find neither lock nor key, and therefore returns
grumbling, not without fear for his steed's safety. The baggage is
heaped in a corner of the room, and Amyas stretches his legs before
a turf fire; while Yeo, who has his notions about the place, posts
himself at the door, and the men are seized with a desire to
superintend the cooking, probably to be attributed to the fact that
Mary is cook.
Presently Yeo comes in again.
"There's a gentleman just coming up, sir, all alone."
"Ask him to make one of our party, then, with my compliments." Yeo
goes out, and returns in five minutes.
"Please, sir, he's gone in back ways, by the court."
"Well, he has an odd taste, if he makes himself at home here."
Out goes Yeo again, and comes back once more after five minutes, in
"Come out, sir; for goodness' sake come out. I've got him. Safe
as a rat in a trap, I have!"
"A Jesuit, sir."
"I tell you truth, sir. I went round the house, for I didn't like
the looks of him as he came up. I knew he was one of them villains
the minute he came up, by the way he turned in his toes, and put
down his feet so still and careful, like as if he was afraid of
offending God at every step. So I just put my eye between the wall
and the dern of the gate, and I saw him come up to the back door
and knock, and call 'Mary!' quite still, like any Jesuit; and the
wench flies out to him ready to eat him; and 'Go away,' I heard her
say, 'there's a dear man;' and then something about a 'queer
cuffin' (that's a justice in these canters' thieves' Latin); and
with that he takes out a somewhat--I'll swear it was one of those
Popish Agnuses--and gives it her; and she kisses it, and crosses
herself, and asks him if that's the right way, and then puts it
into her bosom, and he says, 'Bless you, my daughter;' and then I
was sure of the dog: and he slips quite still to the stable, and
peeps in, and when he sees no one there, in he goes, and out I go,
and shut to the door, and back a cart that was there up against it,
and call out one of the men to watch the stable, and the girl's
crying like mad."
"What a fool's trick, man! How do you know that he is not some
honest gentleman, after all?"
"Fool or none, sir; honest gentlemen don't give maidens Agnuses.
I've put him in; and if you want him let out again, you must come
and do it yourself, for my conscience is against it, sir. If the
Lord's enemies are delivered into my hand, I'm answerable, sir,"
went on Yeo as Amyas hurried out with him. "'Tis written, 'If any
let one of them go, his life shall be for the life of him.'"
So Amyas ran out, pulled back the cart grumbling, opened the door,
and began a string of apologies to--his cousin Eustace.
Yes, here he was, with such a countenance, half foolish, half
venomous, as reynard wears when the last spadeful of earth is
thrown back, and he is revealed sitting disconsolately on his tail
within a yard of the terriers' noses.
Neither cousin spoke for a minute or two. At last Amyas--
"Well, cousin hide-and-seek, how long have you added horse-stealing
to your other trades?"
"My dear Amyas," said Eustace, very meekly, "I may surely go into
an inn stable without intending to steal what is in it."
"Of course, old fellow," said Amyas, mollified, I was only in jest.
But what brings you here? Not prudence, certainly."
"I am bound to know no prudence save for the Lord's work."
"That's giving away Agnus Deis, and deceiving poor heathen wenches,
I suppose," said Yeo.
Eustace answered pretty roundly--
"Heathens? Yes, truly; you Protestants leave these poor wretches
heathens, and then insult and persecute those who, with a devotion
unknown to you, labor at the danger of their lives to make them
Christians. Mr. Amyas Leigh, you can give me up to be hanged at
Exeter, if it shall so please you to disgrace your own family; but
from this spot neither you, no, nor all the myrmidons of your
queen, shall drive me, while there is a soul here left unsaved."
"Come out of the stable, at least," said Amyas; "you don't want to
make the horses Papists, as well as the asses, do you? Come out,
man, and go to the devil your own way. I sha'n't inform against
you; and Yeo here will hold his tongue if I tell him, I know."
"It goes sorely against my conscience, sir; but being that he is
your cousin, of course--"
"Of course; and now come in and eat with me; supper's just ready,
and bygones shall be bygones, if you will have them so."
How much forgiveness Eustace felt in his heart, I know not: but he
knew, of course, that he ought to forgive; and to go in and eat
with Amyas was to perform an act of forgiveness, and for the best
of motives, too, for by it the cause of the Church might be
furthered; and acts and motives being correct, what more was
needed? So in he went; and yet he never forgot that scar upon his
cheek; and Amyas could not look him in the face but Eustace must
fancy that his eyes were on the scar, and peep up from under his
lids to see if there was any smile of triumph on that honest
visage. They talked away over the venison, guardedly enough at
first; but as they went on, Amyas's straightforward kindliness
warmed poor Eustace's frozen heart; and ere they were aware, they
found themselves talking over old haunts and old passages of their
boyhood--uncles, aunts, and cousins; and Eustace, without any
sinister intention, asked Amyas why he was going to Bideford, while
Frank and his mother were in London.
"To tell you the truth, I cannot rest till I have heard the whole
story about poor Rose Salterne."
"What about her?" cried Eustace.
"Do you not know?"
"How should I know anything here? For heaven's sake, what has
Amyas told him, wondering at his eagerness, for he had never had
the least suspicion of Eustace's love.
Eustace shrieked aloud.
"Fool, fool that I have been! Caught in my own trap! Villain,
villain that he is! After all he promised me at Lundy!"
And springing up, Eustace stamped up and down the room, gnashing
his teeth, tossing his head from side to side, and clutching with
outstretched hands at the empty air, with the horrible gesture
(Heaven grant that no reader has ever witnessed it!) of that
despair which still seeks blindly for the object which it knows is
Amyas sat thunderstruck. His first impulse was to ask, "Lundy?
What knew you of him? What had he or you to do at Lundy?" but pity
"Oh, Eustace! And you then loved her too?"
"Don't speak to me! Loved her? Yes, sir, and had as good a right
to love her as any one of your precious Brotherhood of the Rose.
Don't speak to me, I say, or I shall do you a mischief!"
So Eustace knew of the brotherhood too! Amyas longed to ask him
how; but what use in that? If he knew it, he knew it; and what
harm? So he only answered:
"My good cousin, why be wroth with me? If you really love her, now
is the time to take counsel with me how best we shall--"
Eustace did not let him finish his sentence. Conscious that he had
betrayed himself upon more points than one, he stopped short in his
walk, suddenly collected himself by one great effort, and eyed
Amyas from underneath his brows with the old down look.
"How best we shall do what, my valiant cousin?" said he, in a
meaning and half-scornful voice. "What does your most chivalrous
Brotherhood of the Rose purpose in such a case?"
Amyas, a little nettled, stood on his guard in return, and answered
"What the Brotherhood of the Rose will do, I can't yet say. What
it ought to do, I have a pretty sure guess."
"So have I. To hunt her down as you would an outlaw, because
forsooth she has dared to love a Catholic; to murder her lover in
her arms, and drag her home again stained with his blood, to be
forced by threats and persecution to renounce that Church into
whose maternal bosom she has doubtless long since found rest and
"If she has found holiness, it matters little to me where she has
found it, Master Eustace, but that is the very point that I should
be glad to know for certain."
"And you will go and discover for yourself?"
"Have you no wish to discover it also?"
"And if I had, what would that be to you?"
"Only," said Amyas, trying hard to keep his temper, "that, if we
had the same purpose, we might sail in the same ship."
"You intend to sail, then?"
"I mean simply, that we might work together."
"Our paths lie on very different roads, sir!"
"I am afraid you never spoke a truer word, sir. In the meanwhile,
ere we part, be so kind as to tell me what you meant by saying that
you had met this Spaniard at Lundy?"
"I shall refuse to answer that."
"You will please to recollect, Eustace, that however good friends
we have been for the last half-hour, you are in my power. I have a
right to know the bottom of this matter; and, by heaven, I will
"In your power? See that you are not in mine! Remember, sir, that
you are within a--within a few miles, at least, of those who will
obey me, their Catholic benefactor, but who owe no allegiance to
those Protestant authorities who have left them to the lot of the
beasts which perish."
Amyas was very angry. He wanted but little more to make him catch
Eustace by the shoulders, shake the life out of him, and deliver
him into the tender guardianship of Yeo; but he knew that to take
him at all was to bring certain death on him, and disgrace on the
family; and remembering Frank's conduct on that memorable night at
Clovelly, he kept himself down.
"Take me," said Eustace, "if you will, sir. You, who complain of
us that we keep no faith with heretics, will perhaps recollect that
you asked me into this room as your guest, and that in your good
faith I trusted when I entered it."
The argument was a worthless one in law; for Eustace had been a
prisoner before he was a guest, and Amyas was guilty of something
very like misprision of treason in not handing him over to the
nearest justice. However, all he did was, to go to the door, open
it, and bowing to his cousin, bid him walk out and go to the devil,
since he seemed to have set his mind on ending his days in the
company of that personage.
Whereon Eustace vanished.
"Pooh!" said Amyas to himself, "I can find out enough, and too
much, I fear, without the help of such crooked vermin. I must see
Cary; I must see Salterne; and I suppose, if I am ready to do my
duty, I shall learn somehow what it is. Now to sleep; to-morrow up
and away to what God sends."
"Come in hither, men," shouted he down the passage, "and sleep
here. Haven't you had enough of this villainous sour cider?"
The men came in yawning, and settled themselves to sleep on the
No one knew; he had gone out to say his prayers, and had not
"Never mind," said Amyas, who suspected some plot on the old man's
part. "He'll take care of himself, I'll warrant him."
"No fear of that, sir;" and the four tars were soon snoring in
concert round the fire, while Amyas laid himself on the settle,
with his saddle for a pillow.
. . . . . . .
It was about midnight, when Amyas leaped to his feet, or rather
fell upon his back, upsetting saddle, settle, and finally, table,
under the notion that ten thousand flying dragons were bursting in
the window close to his ear, with howls most fierce and fell. The
flying dragons past, however, being only a flock of terror-stricken
geese, which flew flapping and screaming round the corner of the
house; but the noise which had startled them did not pass; and
another minute made it evident that a sharp fight was going on in
the courtyard, and that Yeo was hallooing lustily for help.
Out turned the men, sword in hand, burst the back door open,
stumbling over pails and pitchers, and into the courtyard, where
Yeo, his back against the stable-door, was holding his own manfully
with sword and buckler against a dozen men.
Dire and manifold was the screaming; geese screamed, chickens
screamed, pigs screamed, donkeys screamed, Mary screamed from an
upper window; and to complete the chorus, a flock of plovers,
attracted by the noise, wheeled round and round overhead, and added
their screams also to that Dutch concert.
The screaming went on, but the fight ceased; for, as Amyas rushed
into the yard, the whole party of ruffians took to their heels, and
vanished over a low hedge at the other end of the yard.
"Are you hurt, Yeo?"
"Not a scratch, thank Heaven! But I've got two of them, the
ringleaders, I have. One of them's against the wall. Your horse
did for t'other."
The wounded man was lifted up; a huge ruffian, nearly as big as
Amyas himself. Yeo's sword had passed through his body. He
groaned and choked for breath.
"Carry him indoors. Where is the other?"
"Dead as a herring, in the straw. Have a care, men, have a care
how you go in! the horses are near mad!"
However, the man was brought out after a while. With him all was
over. They could feel neither pulse nor breath.
"Carry him in too, poor wretch. And now, Yeo, what is the meaning
of all this?"
Yeo's story was soon told. He could not get out of his Puritan
head the notion (quite unfounded, of course) that Eustace had meant
to steal the horses. He had seen the inn-keeper sneak off at their
approach; and expecting some night-attack, he had taken up his
lodging for the night in the stable.
As he expected, an attempt was made. The door was opened (how, he
could not guess, for he had fastened it inside), and two fellows
came in, and began to loose the beasts. Yeo's account was, that he
seized the big fellow, who drew a knife on him, and broke loose;
the horses, terrified at the scuffle, kicked right and left; one
man fell, and the other ran out, calling for help, with Yeo at his
heels; "Whereon," said Yeo, "seeing a dozen more on me with clubs
and bows, I thought best to shorten the number while I could, ran
the rascal through, and stood on my ward; and only just in time I
was, what's more; there's two arrows in the house wall, and two or
three more in my buckler, which I caught up as I went out, for I
had hung it close by the door, you see, sir, to be all ready in
case," said the cunning old Philistine-slayer, as they went in
after the wounded man.
But hardly had they stumbled through the low doorway into the back-
kitchen when a fresh hubbub arose inside--more shouts for help.
Amyas ran forward breaking his head against the doorway, and
beheld, as soon as he could see for the flashes in his eyes, an old
acquaintance, held on each side by a sturdy sailor.
With one arm in the sleeve of his doublet, and the other in a not
over spotless shirt; holding up his hose with one hand, and with
the other a candle, whereby he had lighted himself to his own
confusion; foaming with rage, stood Mr. Evan Morgans, alias Father
Parsons, looking, between his confused habiliments and his fiery
visage (as Yeo told him to his face), "the very moral of a half-
plucked turkey-cock." And behind him, dressed, stood Eustace
"We found the maid letting these here two out by the front door,"
said one of the captors.
"Well, Mr. Parsons," said Amyas; "and what are you about here? A
pretty nest of thieves and Jesuits we seem to have routed out this
"About my calling, sir," said Parsons, stoutly. "By your leave, I
shall prepare this my wounded lamb for that account to which your
man's cruelty has untimely sent him."
The wounded man, who lay upon the floor, heard Parsons' voice, and
moaned for the "Patrico."
"You see, sir," said he, pompously, "the sheep know their
"The wolves you mean, you hypocritical scoundrel!" said Amyas, who
could not contain his disgust. "Let the fellow truss up his
points, lads, and do his work. After all, the man is dying."
"The requisite matters, sir, are not at hand," said Parsons,
"Eustace, go and fetch his matters for him; you seem to be in all
Eustace went silently and sullenly.
"What's that fresh noise at the back, now?"
"The maid, sir, a wailing over her uncle; the fellow that we saw
sneak away when we came up. It was him the horse killed."
It was true. The wretched host had slipped off on their approach,
simply to call the neighboring outlaws to the spoil; and he had
been filled with the fruit of his own devices.
"His blood be on his own head," said Amyas.
"I question, sir," said Yeo, in a low voice, "whether some of it
will not be on the heads of those proud prelates who go clothed in
purple and fine linen, instead of going forth to convert such as
he, and then wonder how these Jesuits get hold of them. If they
give place to the devil in their sheepfolds, sure he'll come in and
lodge there. Look, sir, there's a sight in a gospel land!"
And, indeed, the sight was curious enough. For Parsons was
kneeling by the side of the dying man, listening earnestly to the
confession which the man sobbed out in his gibberish, between the
spasms of his wounded chest. Now and then Parsons shook his head;
and when Eustace returned with the holy wafer, and the oil for
extreme unction, he asked him, in a low voice, "Ballard, interpret
And Eustace knelt down on the other side of the sufferer, and
interpreted his thieves' dialect into Latin; and the dying man held
a hand of each, and turned first to one and then to the other
stupid eyes,--not without affection, though, and gratitude.
"I can't stand this mummery any longer," said Yeo. "Here's a soul
perishing before my eyes, and it's on my conscience to speak a word
"Silence!" whispered Amyas, holding him back by the arm; "he knows
them, and he don't know you; they are the first who ever spoke to
him as if he had a soul to be saved, and first come, first served;
you can do no good. See, the man's face is brightening already."
"But, sir, 'tis a false peace."
"At all events he is confessing his sins, Yeo; and if that's not
good for him, and you, and me, what is?"
"Yea, Amen! sir; but this is not to the right person."
"How do you know his words will not go to the right person, after
all, though he may not send them there? By heaven! the man is
It was so. The dark catalogue of brutal deeds had been gasped out;
but ere the words of absolution could follow, the head had fallen
back, and all was over.
"Confession in extremis is sufficient," said Parsons to Eustace
("Ballard," as Parsons called him, to Amyas's surprise), as he
rose. "As for the rest, the intention will be accepted instead of
"The Lord have mercy on his soul!" said Eustace.
"His soul is lost before our very eyes," said Yeo.
"Mind your own business," said Amyas.
"Humph; but I'll tell you, sir, what our business is, if you'll
step aside with me. I find that poor fellow that lies dead is none
other than the leader of the Gubbings; the king of them, as they
dare to call him."
"Well, what of that?"
"Mark my words, sir, if we have not a hundred stout rogues upon us
before two hours are out; forgive us they never will; and if we get
off with our lives, which I don't much expect, we shall leave our
horses behind; for we can hold the house, sir, well enough till
morning, but the courtyard we can't, that's certain!"
"We had better march at once, then."
"Think, sir; if they catch us up--as they are sure to do, knowing
the country better than we--how will our shot stand their arrows?"
"True, old wisdom; we must keep the road; and we must keep
together; and so be a mark for them, while they will be behind
every rock and bank; and two or three flights of arrows will do our
business for us. Humph! stay, I have a plan." And stepping
forward he spoke--
"Eustace, you will be so kind as to go back to your lambs; and tell
them, that if they meddle with us cruel wolves again to-night, we
are ready and willing to fight to the death, and have plenty of
shot and powder at their service. Father Parsons, you will be so
kind as to accompany us; it is but fitting that the shepherd should
be hostage for his sheep."
"If you carry me off this spot, sir, you carry my corpse only,"
said Parsons. "I may as well die here as be hanged elsewhere, like
my martyred brother Campian."
"If you take him, you must take me too," said Eustace.
"What if we won't?"
"How will you gain by that? you can only leave me here. You cannot
make me go to the Gubbings, if I do not choose."
Amyas uttered sotto voce an anathema on Jesuits, Gubbings, and
things in general. He was in a great hurry to get to Bideford, and
he feared that this business would delay him, as it was, a day or
two. He wanted to hang Parsons, he did not want to hang Eustace;
and Eustace, he knew, was well aware of that latter fact, and
played his game accordingly; but time ran on, and he had to answer
"Well then; if you, Eustace, will go and give my message to your
converts, I will promise to set Mr. Parsons free again before we
come to Lydford town; and I advise you, if you have any regard for
his life, to see that your eloquence be persuasive enough; for as
sure as I am an Englishman, and he none, if the Gubbings attack us,
the first bullet that I shall fire at them will have gone through
his scoundrelly brains."
Parsons still kicked.
"Very well, then, my merry men all. Tie this gentleman's hands
behind his back, get the horses out, and we'll right away up into
Dartmoor, find a good high tor, stand our ground there till
morning, and then carry him into Okehampton to the nearest justice.
If he chooses to delay me in my journey, it is fair that I should
make him pay for it."
Whereon Parsons gave in, and being fast tied by his arm to Amyas's
saddle, trudged alongside his horse for several weary miles, while
Yeo walked by his side, like a friar by a condemned criminal; and
in order to keep up his spirits, told him the woful end of Nicholas
Saunders the Legate, and how he was found starved to death in a
"And if you wish, sir, to follow in his blessed steps, which I
heartily hope you will do, you have only to go over that big cow-
backed hill there on your right hand, and down again the other side
to Crawmere pool, and there you'll find as pretty a bog to die in
as ever Jesuit needed; and your ghost may sit there on a grass
tummock, and tell your beads without any one asking for you till
the day of judgment; and much good may it do you!"
At which imagination Yeo was actually heard, for the first and last
time in this history, to laugh most heartily.
His ho-ho's had scarcely died away when they saw shining under the
moon the old tower of Lydford castle.
"Cast the fellow off now," said Amyas.
"Ay, ay, sir!" and Yeo and Simon Evans stopped behind, and did not
come up for ten minutes after.
"What have you been about so long?"
"Why, sir," said Evans, "you see the man had a very fair pair of
hose on, and a bran-new kersey doublet, very warm-lined; and so,
thinking it a pity good clothes should be wasted on such noxious
trade, we've just brought them along with us."
"Spoiling the Egyptians," said Yeo as comment.
"And what have you done with the man?"
"Hove him over the bank, sir; he pitched into a big furze-bush, and
for aught I know, there he'll bide."
"You rascal, have you killed him?
"Never fear, sir," said Yeo, in his cool fashion. "A Jesuit has as
many lives as a cat, and, I believe, rides broomsticks post, like a
witch. He would be at Lydford now before us, if his master Satan
had any business for him there."
Leaving on their left Lydford and its ill-omened castle (which, a
century after, was one of the principal scenes of Judge Jeffreys's
cruelty), Amyas and his party trudged on through the mire toward
Okehampton till sunrise; and ere the vapors had lifted from the
mountain tops, they were descending the long slopes from Sourton
down, while Yestor and Amicombe slept steep and black beneath their
misty pall; and roaring far below unseen,
"Ockment leapt from crag and cloud
Down her cataracts, laughing loud."
The voice of the stream recalled these words to Amyas's mind. The
nymph of Torridge had spoken them upon the day of his triumph. He
recollected, too, his vexation on that day at not seeing Rose
Salterne. Why, he had never seen her since. Never seen her now
for six years and more! Of her ripened beauty he knew only by
hearsay; she was still to him the lovely fifteen years' girl for
whose sake he had smitten the Barnstaple draper over the quay.
What a chain of petty accidents had kept them from meeting, though
so often within a mile of each other! "And what a lucky one!" said
practical old Amyas to himself. "If I had seen her as she is now,
I might have loved her as Frank does--poor Frank! what will he say?
What does he say, for he must know it already? And what ought I to
say--to do rather, for talking is no use on this side the grave,
nor on the other either, I expect!" And then he asked himself
whether his old oath meant nothing or something; whether it was a
mere tavern frolic, or a sacred duty. And he held, the more that
he looked at it, that it meant the latter.
But what could he do? He had nothing on earth but his sword, so he
could not travel to find her. After all, she might not be gone
far. Perhaps not gone at all. It might be a mistake, an
exaggerated scandal. He would hope so. And yet it was evident
that there had been some passages between her and Don Guzman.
Eustace's mysterious words about the promise at Lundy proved that.
The villain! He had felt all along that he was a villain; but just
the one to win a woman's heart, too. Frank had been away--all the
Brotherhood away. What a fool he had been, to turn the wolf loose
into the sheepfold! And yet who would have dreamed of it? . . .
"At all events," said Amyas, trying to comfort himself, "I need not
complain. I have lost nothing. I stood no more chance of her
against Frank than I should have stood against the Don. So there
is no use for me to cry about the matter." And he tried to hum a
tune concerning the general frailty of women, but nevertheless,
like Sir Hugh, felt that "he had a great disposition to cry."
He never had expected to win her, and yet it seemed bitter to know
that she was lost to him forever. It was not so easy for a heart
of his make to toss away the image of a first love; and all the
less easy because that image was stained and ruined.
"Curses on the man who had done that deed! I will yet have his
heart's blood somehow, if I go round the world again to find him.
If there's no law for it on earth, there's law in heaven, or I'm
With which determination he rode into the ugly, dirty, and stupid
town of Okehampton, with which fallen man (by some strange
perversity) has chosen to defile one of the loveliest sites in the
pleasant land of Devon. And heartily did Amyas abuse the old town
that day; for he was detained there, as he expected, full three
hours, while the Justice Shallow of the place was sent for from his
farm (whither he had gone at sunrise, after the early-rising
fashion of those days) to take Yeo's deposition concerning last
night's affray. Moreover, when Shallow came, he refused to take
the depositions, because they ought to have been made before a
brother Shallow at Lydford; and in the wrangling which ensued, was
very near finding out what Amyas (fearing fresh loss of time and
worse evils beside) had commanded to be concealed, namely, the
presence of Jesuits in that Moorland Utopia. Then, in broadest
"And do you call this Christian conduct, sir, to set a quiet man
like me upon they Gubbings, as if I was going to risk my precious
life--no, nor ever a constable to Okehampton neither? Let Lydfor'
men mind Lydfor' roogs, and by Lydfor' law if they will, hang first
and try after; but as for me, I've rade my Bible, and 'He that
meddleth with strife is like him that taketh a dog by the ears.'
So if you choose to sit down and ate your breakfast with me, well
and good: but depositions I'll have none. If your man is enquired
for, you'll be answerable for his appearing, in course; but I
expect mortally" (with a wink), "you wain't hear much more of the
matter from any hand. 'Leave well alone is a good rule, but leave
ill alone is a better.'--So we says round about here; and so you'll
say, captain, when you be so old as I."
So Amyas sat down and ate his breakfast, and went on afterwards a
long and weary day's journey, till he saw at last beneath him the
broad shining river, and the long bridge, and the white houses
piled up the hill-side; and beyond, over Raleigh downs, the dear
old tower of Northam Church.
Alas! Northam was altogether a desert to him then; and Bideford, as
it turned out, hardly less so. For when he rode up to Sir
Richard's door, he found that the good knight was still in Ireland,
and Lady Grenville at Stow. Whereupon he rode back again down the
High Street to that same bow-windowed Ship Tavern where the
Brotherhood of the Rose made their vow, and settled himself in the
very room where they had supped.
"Ah! Mr. Leigh--Captain Leigh now, I beg pardon," quoth mine host.
"Bideford is an empty place now-a-days, and nothing stirring, sir.
What with Sir Richard to Ireland, and Sir John to London, and all
the young gentlemen to the wars, there's no one to buy good liquor,
and no one to court the young ladies, neither. Sack, sir? I hope
so. I haven't brewed a gallon of it this fortnight, if you'll
believe me; ale, sir, and aqua vitae, and such low-bred trade, is
all I draw now-a-days. Try a pint of sherry, sir, now, to give you
an appetite. You mind my sherry of old? Jane! Sherry and sugar,
quick, while I pull off the captain's boots."
Amyas sat weary and sad, while the innkeeper chattered on.
"Ah, sir! two or three like you would set the young ladies all
alive again. By-the-by, there's been strange doings among them
since you were here last. You mind Mistress Salterne!"
"For God's sake, don't let us have that story, man! I heard enough
of it at Plymouth!" said Amyas, in so disturbed a tone that mine
host looked up, and said to himself--
"Ah, poor young gentleman, he's one of the hard-hit ones."
"How is the old man?" asked Amyas, after a pause.
"Bears it well enough, sir; but a changed man. Never speaks to a
soul, if he can help it. Some folk say he's not right in his head;
or turned miser, or somewhat, and takes naught but bread and water,
and sits up all night in the room as was hers, turning over her
garments. Heaven knows what's on his mind--they do say he was over
hard on her, and that drove her to it. All I know is, he has never
been in here for a drop of liquor (and he came as regular every
evening as the town clock, sir) since she went, except a ten days
ago, and then he met young Mr. Cary at the door, and I heard him
ask Mr. Cary when you would be home, sir."
"Put on my boots again. I'll go and see him."
"Bless you, sir! What, without your sack?"
"Drink it yourself, man."
"But you wouldn't go out again this time o' night on an empty
"Fill my men's stomachs for them, and never mind mine. It's
market-day, is it not? Send out, and see whether Mr. Cary is still
in town;" and Amyas strode out, and along the quay to Bridgeland
Street, and knocked at Mr. Salterne's door.
Salterne himself opened it, with his usual stern courtesy.
"I saw you coming up the street, sir. I have been expecting this
honor from you for some time past. I dreamt of you only last
night, and many a night before that too. Welcome, sir, into a
lonely house. I trust the good knight your general is well."
"The good knight my general is with God who made him, Mr.
"Foundered at sea on our way home; and the Delight lost too."
"Humph!" growled Salterne, after a minute's silence. "I had a
venture in her. I suppose it's gone. No matter--I can afford it,
sir, and more, I trust. And he was three years younger than I!
And Draper Heard was buried yesterday, five years younger.--How is
it that every one can die, except me? Come in, sir, come in; I
have forgotten my manners.
And he led Amyas into his parlor, and called to the apprentices to
run one way, and to the cook to run another.
"You must not trouble yourself to get me supper, indeed."
"I must though, sir, and the best of wine too; and old Salterne had
a good tap of Alicant in old time, old time, old time, sir! and you
must drink it now, whether he does or not!" and out he bustled.
Amyas sat still, wondering what was coming next, and puzzled at the
sudden hilarity of the man, as well as his hospitality, so
different from what the innkeeper had led him to expect.
In a minute more one of the apprentices came in to lay the cloth,
and Amyas questioned him about his master.
"Thank the Lord that you are come, sir," said the lad.
"Because there'll be a chance of us poor fellows getting a little
broken meat. We'm half-starved this three months--bread and
dripping, bread and dripping, oh dear, sir! And now he's sent out
to the inn for chickens, and game, and salads, and all that money
can buy, and down in the cellar haling out the best of wine."--And
the lad smacked his lips audibly at the thought.
"Is he out of his mind?"
"I can't tell; he saith as how he must save mun's money now-a-days;
for he've a got a great venture on hand: but what a be he tell'th
no man. They call'th mun 'bread and dripping' now, sir, all town
over," said the prentice, confidentially, to Amyas.
"They do, do they, sirrah! Then they will call me bread and no
dripping to-morrow!" and old Salterne, entering from behind, made a
dash at the poor fellow's ears: but luckily thought better of it,
having a couple of bottles in each hand.
"My dear sir," said Amyas, "you don't mean us to drink all that
"Why not, sir?" answered Salterne, in a grim, half-sneering tone,
thrusting out his square-grizzled beard and chin. "Why not, sir?
why should I not make merry when I have the honor of a noble
captain in my house? one who has sailed the seas, sir, and cut
Spaniards' throats; and may cut them again too; eh, sir? Boy,
where's the kettle and the sugar?"
"What on earth is the man at?" quoth Amyas to himself--'flattering
me, or laughing at me?"
"Yes," he ran on, half to himself, in a deliberate tone, evidently
intending to hint more than he said, as he began brewing the sack--
in plain English, hot negus; "Yes, bread and dripping for those who
can't fight Spaniards; but the best that money can buy for those
who can. I heard of you at Smerwick, sir--Yes, bread and dripping
for me too--I can't fight Spaniards: but for such as you. Look
here, sir; I should like to feed a crew of such up, as you'd feed a
main of fighting-cocks, and then start them with a pair of
Sheffield spurs a-piece--you've a good one there to your side, sir:
but don't you think a man might carry two now, and fight as they
say those Chineses do, a sword to each hand? You could kill more
that way, Captain Leigh, I reckon?"
Amyas half laughed.
"One will do, Mr. Salterne, if one is quick enough with it."
"Humph!--Ah--No use being in a hurry. I haven't been in a hurry.
No--I waited for you; and here you are and welcome, sir! Here
comes supper, a light matter, sir, you see. A capon and a brace of
partridges. I had no time to feast you as you deserve."
And so he ran on all supper-time, hardly allowing Amyas to get a
word in edge-ways; but heaping him with coarse flattery, and urging
him to drink, till after the cloth was drawn, and the two left
alone, he grew so outrageous that Amyas was forced to take him to
"Now, my dear sir, you have feasted me royally, and better far than
I deserve, but why will you go about to make me drunk twice over,