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Title: The Adventures of Harry Rochester - A Tale of the Days of Marlborough and Eugene
Author: Strang, Herbert
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Adventures of Harry Rochester - A Tale of the Days of Marlborough and Eugene" ***

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[Illustration: Cover art]

[Illustration: The Fight in the Castle Yard]

                           The Adventures of
                            Harry Rochester

                             A Tale of the
                     Days of Marlborough and Eugene


                             HERBERT STRANG


                  Illustrated by William Rainey, R.I.

                                NEW YORK
                          G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
                       27 AND 29 WEST 230 STREET

"Honour hath three things in it: the vantage-ground to do good; the
approach to kings and principal persons; and the raising of a man’s own


_My dear Tom,_

_You received my former books so kindly that I feel assured you will not
object to have this volume inscribed with your name.  I am not the less
convinced of this because you know well the country in which my opening
scenes are laid, and I had the pleasure last year of playing cricket
with you within a few miles of the village here disguised as Winton St.

_I hope you will bear with me for one minute while I explain that in
writing this book I had three aims.  First, to tell a good story: that
of course.  Secondly, to give some account of the operations that
resulted in one of the most brilliant victories ever gained by our
British arms.  Thirdly, to throw some light—fitful, it may be, but as
clear as the circumstances of my story admitted—on life and manners two
hundred years ago.  History, as you have no doubt already learnt, is not
merely campaigning; and I shall be well pleased if these pages enlarge
your knowledge, in ever so slight a degree, of an interesting period in
our country’s annals.  And if you, or any other Christ’s Hospital boy,
should convict me of borrowing a week from the life of a great
personage, or of antedating by a little a development in our national
pastime—well, I shall feel complimented by such evidence of careful
reading, and not be in the least abashed._

_I take the opportunity of this open letter to acknowledge my
indebtedness to the monumental "Mémoires militaires rélatifs à la
succession d’Espagne" issued by the French General Staff; to Mr. Austin
Dobson for a detail which only his perfect knowledge of the 18th century
could so readily have supplied; and to Lord Wolseley’s brilliant life of
Marlborough, which every student of military history must hope so
competent a hand will continue and complete._

_Yours very sincerely,_

_Michaelmas Day, 1905._


_Chapter_ I
       The Queen’s Purse-Bearer

_Chapter_ II
       Sherebiah Shouts

_Chapter_ III
       Master and Man

_Chapter_ IV
       Mynheer Jan Grootz and Another

_Chapter_ V
       A Message from the Squire

_Chapter_ VI
       My Lord Marlborough makes a Note

_Chapter_ VII

_Chapter_ VIII

_Chapter_ IX
       Monsieur de Polignac Presses his Suit

_Chapter_ X

_Chapter_ XI
       The Battle of Lindendaal

_Chapter_ XII
       Harry is Discharged

_Chapter_ XIII
       Concerning Sherebiah

_Chapter_ XIV
       Harry Rides for a Life

_Chapter_ XV
       The Water of Affliction

_Chapter_ XVI
       Knaves All Three

_Chapter_ XVII
       In the Dusk

_Chapter_ XVIII
       A Little Plot

_Chapter_ XXI
       Marlborough’s March to the Danube

_Chapter_ XX
       The Castle of Rauhstein

_Chapter_ XXI
       Across the Fosse

_Chapter_ XXII
       The Fight in the Keep

_Chapter_ XXIII

_Chapter_ XXIV
       The Wages of Sin

_Chapter_ XXV
       A Bundle of Letters

_Chapter_ XXVI
       The New Squire

_Chapter_ XXVII
       Visitors at Winton Hall

                        *List of Illustrations*

_Plate_ I
       The Fight in the Castle Yard . . . . . . _Frontispiece_

_Plate_ II
       Harry makes a Diversion

_Plate_ III
       My Lord Marlborough

_Plate_ IV
       At the Last Gasp

_Plate_ V
       "Mon Colonel, we are surrounded!"

_Plate_ VI
       The Stroke of Eight

_Plate_ VII
       "Fire and Fury!" shouted Aglionby

_Plate_ VIII
       Mein Wirth is Surprised

                             *Map And Plan*

Map of the Low Countries in 1703

Plan of the Battle of Blenheim

                              *CHAPTER I*

                       *The Queen’s Purse-Bearer*

Winton St. Mary—Cricket: Old Style—Last Man In—Bowled—The Gaffer
Explains—More Explanations—Parson Rochester—"The Boy"—Cambridge in the
Field—Village Batsmen—Old Everlasting makes One—The Squire—An
Invitation—Lord Godolphin is Interested—An Uphill Game—Young Pa’son—The
Winning Hit

"Stap me, Frank, if ever I rattle my old bones over these roads again!
Every joint in me aches; every wrinkle—and I’ve too many—is filled with
dust; and my wig—plague on it, Frank, my wig’s a doormat.  Look at

My lord Godolphin took off his cocked hat, removed his full periwig, and
shook it over the side of the calash, wrying his lips as the horse of
one of his escort started at the sudden cloud.  My lord had good excuse
for his petulance.  It was a brilliant June day, in a summer of glorious
weather, and the Wiltshire roads, no better nor worse than other English
highways in the year 1702, were thick with white dust, which the autumn
rains would by and by transform into the stickiest of clinging mud.  The
Lord High Treasurer, as he lay back wearily on his cushions, looked,
with his lean, lined, swarthy face and close-cropt grizzled poll, every
day of his fifty-eight years. He was returning with his son Francis, now
nearly twenty-three, from a visit to his estates in Cornwall.  Had he
been a younger man he would no doubt have ridden his own horse; had he
been of lower rank he might have travelled by the public coach; but
being near sixty, a baron, and lord of the Treasury to boot, he drove in
his private four-horsed calash, with two red-coated postilions, and four
sturdy liveried henchmen on horseback, all well armed against the perils
of footpads and highwaymen.

It was nearing noon on this bright, hot morning, and my lord had begun
to acknowledge to himself that he would barely complete his journey to
London that day.

"Where are we now, Dickory?" he asked languidly of the nearest rider on
the off-side.

"Nigh Winton St. Mary, my lord," replied the man. "Down the avenue
yonder, my lord; then the common, and the church on the right, and the
village here and there bearing to the left, as you might say, my lord."

"Look ’ee, Frank, we’ll draw up at Winton St. Mary and wet our whistles.
My lady Marlborough expects us in town to-night, to be sure; but she
must e’en be content to wait.  Time was——eh, my boy?—but now, egad, I’ll
not kill myself for her or any woman."

"’Twould be a calamity—for the nation, sir," said Frank Godolphin with a

"So it would, i’ faith.  Never fear, Frank, I’ll not make way for you
for ten years to come.  But what’s afoot yonder?  A fair, eh?"

The carriage had threaded a fine avenue of elms, and come within sight
of the village common, which stretched away beyond and behind the
church, an expanse of rough turf now somewhat parched and browned,
broken here by a patch of shrub, there by a dwindling pond, and bounded
in the distance by the thick coverts of the manor-house.  My lord’s
exclamation had been called forth by the bright spectacle that met his
eyes.  At the side of the road, and encroaching also on the grass, were
ranged a number of vehicles of various sizes and descriptions, from the
humble donkey-cart of a sherbet seller to the lofty coach of some county
magnate.  Between the carriages the travellers caught glimpses of a
crowd; and indeed, as they drew nearer to the scene, their ears were
assailed by sundry shoutings and clappings that seemed to betoken
incidents of sport or pastime.  My lord Godolphin, for all his coldness
and reserve in his official dealings, was in his moments a keen
sportsman; from a horse-race to a main of cock-fighting or a
sword-match, nothing that had in it the element of sport came amiss to
him; and as he replaced his wig and settled his hat upon it his eyes lit
up with an anticipation vastly different from his air of weary

"Split me, Frank," he cried in a more animated tone than was usual with
him; "whatever it is, ’twill cheer us up.  John," he added to the
postilion, "drive on to the grass, and stop at the first opening you
find in the ring. Odsbodikins, ’tis a game at cricket; we’ll make an
afternoon of it, Frank, and brave your mother-in-law’s anger, come what

The postilions whipped up their horses, wheeled to the right, and drove
with many a jolt on to the common, passing behind the row of vehicles
until they came to an interval between one of the larger sort and a dray
heaped with barrels of cider.  There they pulled up sideways to the
crowd, over whose heads the occupants of the calash looked curiously
towards the scene of the game.  It was clearly an exciting moment, for
beyond a casual turning of the head the nearest spectators gave no heed
to the new-comers.  A space was roped in at some distance in front of
the church, and within the ring the wickets were pitched—very primitive
compared with the well-turned polished apparatus of to-day.  The stumps
were two short sticks forked at the top, stuck at a backward slant into
the turf about a foot apart, with one long bail across them. Nothing had
been done to prepare the pitch; the grass was short and dry and stubby,
with a tuft here and there likely to trip an unwary fielder headlong.
There was no crease, but a hole in the ground.  Nor was there any
uniformity of attire among the players: all had the stockings and
pantaloons of daily wear, and if there was any difference in their
shirts, it was due merely to their difference in rank and wealth.

"Over" had just been called as Lord Godolphin and his son drove up, and
something in the attitude of the crowd seemed to show that the game was
at a crisis.  The umpires, armed with rough curved bats somewhat like
long spoons, had just taken their new places, and the batsman who was to
receive the first ball of the new over was taking his block.  A tall,
loose-limbed young fellow, he held his bat with an air of easy

"Egad, sir, ’tis Gilbert Young," said Frank Godolphin to his father.  "I
knew him at Cambridge: a sticker. Who’s the bowler?  I don’t know him."

The bowler was a youth, a mere stripling of some sixteen or seventeen
years, who stood at his end of the wicket, ball in hand, awaiting the
word to "play".  His loose shirt was open at the neck; his black hair,
not yet cropt for a wig, fell in a strong thick mass over his brow; and
as he waited for the batsman to complete his somewhat fastidious
preparations, he once or twice pushed up the heavy cluster with his left

"Gibs was ever a tantalising beast," said Frank aside. "Hi, you fellow!"
he shouted to a broad-shouldered yokel who stood just in front of him by
the rope, "how stands the score?"

The man addressed looked over his shoulder, and seeing that the speaker
was one of the "quality" he doffed his cap and replied:

"’Tis ninety-four notches, your honour, and last man in. Has a’ready
twenty-vive to hisself, and the Winton boys can’t get un out."

"Play!" cried the umpire.  The batsman stood to his block, and looked
round the field with a smile of confidence.  The bowler gave a quick
glance around, took a light run of some three yards, and delivered the
ball—underhand, for round-arm bowling was not yet invented. The ball
travelled swiftly, no more than two or three feet above the ground,
pitched in front of the block-hole, and was driven hard to the off
towards a thick-set, grimy-looking individual—the village smith.  He,
bending to field the ball, missed it, swung round to run after it, and
fell sprawling over a tussock of grass, amid yells of mingled derision
and disappointment.

"Pick theeself up, Lumpy!" roared the man to whom Frank Godolphin had
spoken.  But the ball had already been fielded by Long Robin the tanner,
running round from long-on.  Sir Gilbert meanwhile had got back to his
end of the wicket, and the scorer, seated near the umpire, had cut two
notches in the scoring stick.

Again the ball was bowled, with an even lower delivery than before.  The
batsman stepped a yard out of his ground and caught the ball on the
rise; it flew high over the head of the remotest fieldsman, over the
rope, over the crowd, and dropped within a foot of the lych-gate of the
church.  Loud cheers from a party of gentlemen mounted on coaches in
front of a tent greeted this stroke; four notches were cut to the credit
of the side, bringing the score to a hundred.  There was dead silence
among the crowd now; it was plain that their sympathies lay with the out
side, and this ominous opening of the new bowler’s over was a check upon
their enjoyment.

Sir Gilbert once more stood to his block.  For his third ball the bowler
took his run on the other side of the wicket.  His delivery this time
was a little higher: the ball pitched awkwardly, and the batsman seemed
to be in two minds what to do with it.  His hesitation was fatal. With a
perplexing twist the ball slid along the ground past his bat, hit the
off stump, and just dislodged the bail, which fell perpendicularly and
lay across between the sticks.  Sir Gilbert looked at it for a moment
with rueful countenance, then marched towards the tent, while the crowd
cheered and, the innings being over, made for the stalls and carts, at
which ale and cider and gingerbread were to be had.

"Egad, ’twas well bowled," ejaculated Lord Godolphin; "a cunning ball, a
most teasing twist; capital, capital!"

"I’ll go and speak to Gibs," said Frank.  "Will you come, sir?"

"Not I, i’ faith.  ’Tis too hot.  Bring him to me.  I’ll drink a glass
of cider here and wait your return."

There was a cider cart near at hand, and his man Dickory brought my lord
a brimming bumper drawn from the wood.  He winced as the tart liquor
touched his palate, unaccustomed to such homely drink; but it was at
least cool and refreshing, and he finished the bumper. As he gave it
back he noticed an old man slowly approaching, leaning with one hand
upon a stout knobby stick of oak, and holding in the other a rough
three-legged stool, which he placed between my lord’s calash and the
rope.  He was a fine-looking old man, dressed in plain country homespun;
his cheeks were seamed and weather-beaten, but there was still a
brightness in his eyes and an erectness in his figure that bespoke
health and the joy of life.  He sat down on the stool, took off his hat
and wiped his brow, then, resting both hands on his stick, looked
placidly around him.  There was no one near to him; the space was clear,
for players and spectators had all flocked their several ways to get
refreshment, and for some minutes the old man sat alone.  Then Lord
Godolphin, to ease his limbs and kill time, stepped out of his carriage
and went towards the veteran.

"Well, gaffer," he said, "have ye come out to get a sunning?"

The old man looked up.

"Ay sure, your honour," he said, "and to zee the match.  You med think
me too old; true, I be gone eighty; come Martinmas I shall be
eighty-one, and I ha’n’t a wamblen tooth in my head—not one, old as I
be.  A man’s as old as he feels, says my boy—one o’ the wise sayens he
has: I ha’n’t felt no older this twenty year, nay, nor twenty-vive year

"By George!  I wish I could say the same.  What’s the match, gaffer?"

"Well, they do say ’tis for a wager; ’tis all ’I’ll lay ye this’ and
’I’ll lay ye that’ in these days.  I don’t know the rights on’t, but
’tis said it all come about at a supper up at Squire’s.—Do ’ee know
Squire?  Eh well, there be the house, yonder among the trees.  Squire’s
son be hot wi’ his tongue, and at this same supper—I tell ’ee as I yeard
it—he wagered young Master Godfrey of the Grange he’d bring eleven young
gen’lmen from Cambridge college as would beat our village players at the
cricket.  A hunnerd guineas was the wager, so ’tis said.  Master Godfrey
he ups and says ’Done wi’ ’ee’, and so ’tis come about.  The Cambridge
younkers be all high gentry, every man on ’em; our folks, as your honour
med see, be just or’nary folks in the main: there’s Long Robin the
tanner and Lumpy the smith—he that turned topsy-turvy a-hunten the ball
by there; and Honest John the miller: Old Everlasten they calls un,
’cause he never gets cotched out nor bowled neither: ay, a good stick is
Old Everlasten, wi’ a tough skin of his own.  And there be Soapy Dick
the barber, and Tom cobbler, and more of the village folk; and the only
gentry among ’em is Master Godfrey hisself and pa’son’s son, and he
don’t count for gentry wi’ some.  Do ’ee know pa’son? a good man, saven
your honour, ay, a right good man is Pa’son Rochester, and stands up to
old Squire like a game-cock, so he do—a right good man is pa’son, ay
sure.  And his son Harry—well, to tell ’ee the truth, I’m main fond of
the lad; main fond; ’tis a well-favoured lad, well spoken too, and he
thinks a deal o’ me, he do, and I thinks a deal o’ he.  Why, ’twas he
bowled that artful ball as put out t’ last man from Cambridge
college.—There, my old tongue runs on; I don’t offend your honour?"

"Not a whit," said my lord.  "The young bowler is the parson’s son, eh?
Bred for a parson too, I suppose?"

"He’s over young yet, your honour, but a month gone seventeen.  He said
to me only yesterday: ’Gaffer,’ says he, ’what’ll ’ee do ’ithout me when
I go up to Oxford?’  He be gwine come October, a’ believe.  ’Twas at
Oxford college they made his feyther a pa’son, so belike the lad’ll put
on the petticoats too, though sure he’s fit for summat better.  But
he’ll make a good pa’son if he takes arter his feyther.  Bless ’ee,
Pa’son Rochester be the only man in the parish as a’n’t afeard o’
Squire.  I be afeard o’ Squire, I be, though ’ee med not think it.  Ah!
he’s a hard man, is Squire.  A’ fell out with pa’son first ’cause he
wouldn’t be his chaplain—goo up t’ hall an’ say grace and eat the mutton
and turmuts, an’ come away wi’out pudden.  Wi’out pudden!—I wouldn’t goo
wi’out pudden for no man; that’s why I first took a fancy for pa’son.
Then Squire, he wanted to fence in a big slice of this common land, as
ha’ belonged to the folks of Winton Simmary time wi’out mind; and pa’son
stood up to ’n, and told ’n flat to his face ’twas agen the law, an’ he
had the law on ’m, he did; an’ the wise judges up in Lun’on town said as
how Squire were wrong.  But Lor’ bless ’ee, Squire be as obstinate as a
pig; he don’t care nowt for judges; he ups and ’peals to King Willum
hisself.  Then King Willum dies, poor feller, an’ Queen Anne sits proud
on the gold throne, an’ there ’tis; ’twill take a time for her poor
woman’s mind to understand the rights o’ the matter; her don’t know
pa’son so well as we."

"Or she might make him a bishop, eh?  Perhaps I can put in a word for
him," said my lord jestingly.

The old man stared.

"And who med ’ee be, your honour, if I mebbe so bold to axe?" he said

"I?  Oh—well, I have care of the Queen’s purse."

"There now, and I’ve been talken to ’ee just as if ’ee were a knight or
squire, when I med ha’ known ’ee by your cut for one of the mighty o’
the earth.  But ’ee’ll forgive a old man—ay, gone eighty year.  I was
born three year afore Scotch Jamie died; no sart of a king was Jamie, a
wamblen loon, so I’ve yeard tell.  And Charles One, he was well-favoured
before the Lord, true, but not a man of his word.  Nay, Noll Crum’ell
was the right sart o’ king; I mind un well.  I was a trooper in his
regiment, and we was as fine a set o’ men as ever trod neat’s leather,
true, we was.  I rode wi’ un to Marston Moor in ’44, nigh zixty year
back.  Ay, a right king was old Noll.  And I fought in Flanders when
Noll was friends with the French king; but I left that line o’ life when
Charles Two come back with his French madams; and now we be a-fighten
the French, so ’tis said; ’twas what us Englishmen was born for, to be
sure; ay, that ’tis."

Here my lord’s attention was attracted towards a group of villagers
approaching.  They were led by a short well-set-up fellow with a
humorous cast of face; his thumbs were stuck into his arm-pits, and as
he walked he was singing to the accompaniment of a flute played by the
man at his side.  The old man looked towards him and smiled

"’Tis my boy a-comen," he said.  "Was born in ’59, your honour, the year
afore Charles Two coom back; and I chrisomed un Sherebiah
Stand-up-and-bless out of Nehemiah nine; a good boy, though wilful."

The boy of forty-three was singing lustily:

    "’Twas on a jolly summer’s morn, the twenty-first of May,
    Giles Scroggins took his turmut-hoe, and with it trudged away.
    For some delights in hay-makin’, and some they fancies mowin’,
    But of all the trades as I likes best, give I the turmut hoein’.
      For the fly, the fly, the fly is on the turmut;
      And ’tis all my eye for we to try, to keep fly off the

"Mum, boy, mum!" said his father.  "The boy has a sweet breast, your
honour," he added, turning to Godolphin, "and ’tis my belief ’twill lead
un into bad company in the days o’ his youth.  He _will_ sing ’Sir Simon
the King’ and ’Bobbing Joan’, and other sinful ditties.  Ah! I had a
good breast in my time; and you should ha’ yeard Noll’s men sing as we
marched into Preston fight; I could sing counter to any man.—Boy, doff
your hat to the Queen’s purse-bearer.—Ay, ’twas psa’ms an’ hymns an’
speritual songs in my time, as the Book says."

"Sarvant, yer honour," said the new-comer, bobbing to Godolphin.
"Feyther been taken away my good name?  ’Tis a wise feyther knows his
own child; feyther o’ mine forgot that when he named me Sherebiah
Stand-up-and-bless.  Beant the fault o’ my name I ha’n’t took to bad
courses.  But there, he’s a old ancient man, nigh ready for
churchyard—bean’t ’ee, dad?"

"Not till I make a man on ’ee, boy."

"May I present my friend Sir Gilbert Young, sir?" said Frank Godolphin,
coming up at this moment through the gathering crowd.

My lord bowed and swept off his hat in the courtly fashion of the day,
in response to a still lower salutation from the young Cambridge man.

"I am honoured, my lord," said Sir Gilbert.

"My lard, i’ fecks!" ejaculated Sherebiah’s father, with a startled
look.  "My lard,—an’ I ha’n’t even pulled my forelock!  Boy, doff your
cap to my lard!  And the Book says, ’They shall stand afore princes’,
and I’m a-sitten!"

The old fellow began to struggle to his feet with the aid of his staff,
but Godolphin laid his hand on his arm, and pressed him down.

"Sit fast, gaffer," he said.  "See, the players are coming out again.  I
am pleased to have met one of Noll’s veterans so hale and hearty, and I
hope your son will turn out as great a comfort to you as mine."

He put his arm fondly through Frank’s, and returned to his carriage.
The crowd was collecting about the rope, and the Cambridge men were
already taking their places in the field.  Their score of a hundred was
higher than the average in those days, and the villagers were eagerly
discussing the chances of their team excelling it. They had seen nothing
of the other side’s bowling powers, but as they compared notes on the
various merits as batsmen of Honest John, and Long Robin, and Lumpy, and
the rest, many of them shook their heads and looked rather down in the

The first pair of batsmen came to the wickets.  They were Old
Everlasting and Soapy Dick.  The former took the first over, bowled by
Gilbert Young, the captain of the team, and calmly blocked every ball of
the four, giving a wink to his friends in the crowd when over was
called.  Soapy Dick, at the other wicket, was a little man with very red
hair brushed up into a sort of top-knot in front.  He handled his bat in
a nervous manner, and was made still more nervous by the cries of the

"Hit un, Soapy!" cried one yokel.  "Doan’t be afeard, man."

"Gi’t lather, Soapy!" shouted another, whose cheeks cried out for the
barber’s attentions.

Dick grinned mirthlessly, and fixed his eyes on the bowler at the other
end.  The ball came towards him—a slow, tempting lob that was too easy
to let pass.  Dick lifted his bat and smote; the ball returned gently to
the bowler’s hands, and a roar of derision sped the shame-faced little
barber back to the tent.  One wicket down, and no notches!—a bad
beginning for Winton St. Mary.

Lumpy was the next to appear.  He waddled across the grass turning up
his sleeves—a fat little fellow with bandy legs, and arms as thick as
most men’s thighs.  As he stood to take his block, he seemed to handle
the bat with contemptuous surprise, as though wondering what use that
was to a man accustomed to wield the sledgehammer at the anvil.
Satisfied with his position, he planted his feet firmly, drew his left
hand across his mouth, and glared fiercely at the bowler.  He was not to
be so easily tempted as poor Soapy Dick had been. He waited for the
ball, and as it rose brought his bat down upon it with a perpendicular
blow that appeared to drive it into the turf, where it lay dead.  The
Cambridge men roared with laughter, the crowd applauded vigorously, and
Lumpy once more wiped his mouth on the back of his hand.  The third ball
of the over came, pitching slightly to leg.  Lumpy jumped completely
round as the ball reached him, and with a tremendous swipe sent it high
over long-stop’s head into a patch of gorse, whence it was not recovered
until he had had three notches cut to his credit.  The last ball of the
over thus came to Old Everlasting, who solemnly blocked it, and beamed
upon the spectators with his usual smug smile.

Lumpy had but a short life, after all.  There was no cunning about him;
if he hit a ball it was bound to travel far, but he struck out every
time with the same violence, and when he missed could hardly recover his
balance.  In twenty minutes he had scored eleven notches, Old
Everlasting having consistently done nothing but block the balls that
fell to him; then, in hitting out, Lumpy, never too steady on his bow
leg’s, overbalanced himself and fell flat, and the long bail was
promptly knocked off by the wicket-keeper.  Two wickets down for eleven.

After this, disaster followed disaster in such rapid succession that the
villagers looked blue.  Long Robin the tanner was caught second ball,
and was afterwards heard complaining bitterly of the bad leather the
ball was made of.  Tom the cobbler came to the wicket with a bat of his
own—one that he kept hanging behind his kitchen door, and took down
every week for a thorough greasing. He scored six notches, then hit a
ball into his wicket, and in the tent afterwards explained to his
cronies that another week’s greasing would have prevented the accident.
Four wickets were now down for seventeen, and Godfrey Fanshawe himself
came in, amid a great outburst of cheers from the crowd, with whom he
was very popular, and who looked to him, as the originator of the match
and the captain of the team, to retrieve the fortunes of the day.  He
snicked his first ball for one; then Old Everlasting evoked intense
enthusiasm by poking a ball between slip and point, and scoring his
first notch.  The score rose slowly to thirty-one, Fanshawe making all
the runs, and then he ran himself out in trying to snatch an extra from
an overthrow.  The fifth wicket was down. Fanshawe was reputed the best
batsman in the team, and Winton St. Mary was still sixty-nine behind.
There was much shaking of the head among the villagers, and they waited
in glum silence for the next man to appear.

"Look ’ee!" exclaimed the old trooper suddenly, "beant that old Squire
a-comen down-along by covert fence?"

"True, Gaffer Minshull," said a by-stander; "what eyes ’ee’ve got, for a
old ancient soul!  ’Tis old Squire sure enough, and young Squire and the
Cap’n wi’ un."

Old Minshull leant forward on his stick, and with pursed lips peered at
the three figures approaching.  One was a burly man in the prime of
life, dressed in semi-military garb—a feathered hat, long red coat
marked with many stains and wanting some buttons, leather breeches, and
spurred boots.  His features were coarse and red, his eyes prominent and
blood-shot; he walked with a swagger, his left hand on his sword-hilt.
The second was a youth of some twenty years, dressed in the extremity of
foppishness.  A black hat, looped up and cocked over one eye, crowned a
full auburn wig fastidiously curled.  The coat was blue, the waistcoat
purple, open to display a fine holland shirt.  A laced steinkirk was
tucked in at the breast.  The breeches matched the vest, the stockings
were of red silk, the shoes had high red heels and large silver buckles.
In Mr. Piers Berkeley’s mouth was a toothpick; from one of the buttons
of his coat dangled an amber-headed cane.

The third figure was a striking contrast to the others. He was tall and
thin and bent, with pale wrinkled cheeks and bushy white eyebrows that
ill matched his dark wig. He scarcely lifted his eyes from the ground as
he moved slowly along, leaning heavily upon a silver-knobbed stick. His
dress was fusty and of a bygone mode; to a Londoner the old man must
have resembled a figure out of a picture of Charles the Second’s time.

"Who’s this queer old put ambling along, Frank?" asked my lord.  "The
rascals there avoid him as he had the plague."

"On my life I don’t know, sir," replied Mr. Godolphin. "The fellow with
him might stand for Bobadil himself."

"Or for Captain Bluffe in Mr. Congreve’s play."

"And the young sprig wants a kicking."

"Sarvant, my lord," put in Sherebiah, who was standing by; "’tis old
Squire, and young Squire, and——  No, I won’t say ’t; a wise head keeps a
still tongue; I won’t say ’t, leastways when a fowl o’ the air med carry
it where ’twould do me and feyther o’ mine no manner o’ good."

The crowd parted with a kind of sullen unwilling respect to make way for
the new-comers.  Suddenly the squire paused, as the elder of his two
companions addressed him; flashing an angry glance at him, he said a few
vehement words in a low tone that no one else could hear.  Captain Ralph
Aglionby laughed aloud, shrugged carelessly, and sauntered across the
common towards the tent.  The squire followed him with a dark glance for
a moment, then resumed his slow progress with his son, and came to
within a few feet of Lord Godolphin’s carriage.

"Your lordship’s servant," he said with a profound bow, copied with
elaborate elegance by his son.  His voice was thin and hard, a voice
that set the teeth on edge.  "I heard your lordship was on the ground,
and made bold to come and pay my duty to your lordship."

"I am vastly beholden to you, Mr.——"

"Berkeley, my lord, Nicolas Berkeley of Winton Hall; and would your
lordship but favour me, I should be proud, when the match is over, to
offer your lordship a cover at my table—poor country fare, I fear, but
such as it is, freely at your lordship’s disposal."

"’Tis handsome of you, Mr. Berkeley, but I fear our business will not
permit us to accept of your hospitality.—Ah! I perceive the next batsman
is coming to the wicket. I hope you’re as keen a sportsman as I am
myself, and will forgive me if I fix my attention on the game."

Mr. Berkeley bowed again with expressionless face, and after a moment’s
irresolution moved away.  Gaffer Minshull might have been observed to
lick his old lips with appreciation at this the very courtliest of cold
shoulders. Piers Berkeley, the young squire, stayed for a minute or two,
gazing with silly face at my lord; then, finding that he remained
unnoticed, he stuck the head of his cane into his mouth and walked away
sucking it.

The game was resumed.  For an hour it was tedious watching.  The new
batsman snatched a run now and then, while Old Everlasting blocked every
ball that came to him with the same want of enterprise and the same
boundless self-satisfaction.  At length his partner was caught in the
long field; the sixth wicket had fallen, and the score was no more than

"Give you three to one against the rustics, Frank," said Lord Godolphin.

"I’ll take you, sir, though ’tis a risk.  Who’s our next man?"

"’Tis our bowler friend, the young sprig of a parson, unless I mistake,"
said my lord.  "What’s the lad’s name, gaffer?"

"’Tis Henry Winterborne Rochester, my lard, by the water o’ baptism; too
rich a name for poor folks like we. Young pa’son we calls un mostly."

"A limber youth.  I like his looks, eh, Frank?  Does he bat as well as
he bowls?"

"Middlen, my lord, middlen," said Sherebiah.  "Has a good eye, but a
deal o’ growen to do afore he can smite the ball as it should.  But
there, my lord, he as can’t do what he would must do what he can, as you
med say."

"Nothen truer, boy," said his father approvingly.  "Ay, ’tis a pretty
lad.  Gi’ un a cheer, souls."

"Mum, feyther," expostulated Sherebiah.  "Old Squire’s comen back-along
this way; little sticks kindle fires, as you med say."

"True.  I be a timbersome man, afeard o’ Squire, though you med n’t
think it.  Well!"

But though Gaffer Minshull forbore to cheer, the rest of the crowd had
no scruples, and the warmth of their greeting brought a flush to the new
batsman’s honest face.  He stood at the wicket with quiet ease and
watched Old Everlasting block the last ball of the over; then he glanced
around, stooped to his bat, and fixed his gray eyes steadily on the

The rest of the afternoon provided an unfailing subject for gossip in
the village for six months afterwards. Playing at first with patient
wariness, Harry never let a ball pass his bat, but treated all with a
respectful consideration that was as noticeable as his graceful style.
He played two overs without getting a notch; then, after another
excellent blocking performance by his partner, came a change.  The first
ball of the next over was rather loose; Lord Godolphin, who, perhaps
alone of the spectators, kept his gaze fixed on the batsman’s face, saw
his lips come together with a slight pressure and his eyes suddenly
gleam—and there was the ball, flying straight over the bowler’s head,
passing between two coaches into the road. Gaffer Minshull was on the
point of raising his stick to wave it, but was stopped by his son with a
"Mind old Squire, feyther o’ mine."

"Varty-vive and vour makes varty-nine," muttered the old man.  "I could
do a bit o’ cipheren in my time.  Ay, varty-nine."

Nothing came of the next ball, but the third rose most happily to
Harry’s bat, and with a neat little cut he sent it under the rope among
the crowd, who nimbly parted to let it roll.  Three notches were cut to
his credit.  Old Everlasting complacently blocked the next ball, and
Harry treated the bowler at the other end with great respect till the
fourth ball, which he snicked away for a single. Getting back thus to
the wicket at which he had started, he delighted the spectators by
driving every ball of the over, at the close of which the score had
risen to sixty-three.

"’Tis the eye doos it," said the old man delightedly; "Master Harry
has’n clear an’ steady.  Ay sure, a’ would ha’ made a good captain for
Noll Crum’ell; if so be he’s a pa’son, all the use he can make o’ his
eye, ’twill be to tarrify poor sinners like you an’ me, my lard."

But misfortune was in store for the Winton St. Mary men.  Old
Everlasting had the first ball of the next over, delivered by a new
bowler, a lanky fellow with a tremendous pace, for whom two long-stops
were placed.  The batsman was taken by surprise; he missed the ball, the
stumps went flying, and Old Everlasting walked away scratching his poll,
rejoicing in the magnificent score of one.  Harry accompanied him to the
tent, and held a short conversation with the next man.  The fruit of
this was seen as soon as they reached the wickets.  The first ball
missed bat, stumps, wicket-keeper, and both long-stops; Harry called his
partner for a bye, and though there was plenty of time for a second run
he was contented with a single, thus securing the next ball.  This he
hit round to leg, a stroke that ought to have made two, but his partner
was somewhat bulky, and suffered for his misfortune by being promptly
run out after one run had been scored.

Eight wickets were now down, and the score was sixty-five—thirty-five
behind that of the Cambridge eleven.  A restlessness was observable in
the crowd; it seemed impossible that the home team could win; and there
was general despondency when it was noticed that the incoming batsman
was a spindle-legged fellow known as Soft Jemmy, who did odd jobs about
the village.  Only Sherebiah still appeared full of confidence.

"A fight bean’t lost till it be won," he said.  "Keep up your sperits,

Soft Jemmy never got a chance to miss the ball.  Such scheming was never
seen on a cricket-field before.  Harry had privately instructed Jemmy to
do just as he was told, and the half-witted youth at least knew how to
obey. When Harry called him he ran; when told to stand in his ground he
remained fixed like a post; and so, snatching byes, blocking, hitting
when it was safe, Harry defied all the bowling, and the score rose by
ones and twos and threes.  A change came over the attitude of the
spectators.  From dejection they passed to almost delirious joy.  Every
hit was cheered to the echo; every little manoeuvre of "young pa’son"
added to their delight. The effect on the out side was equal and
opposite. They became irritated at the altered aspect of the game.
Bowlers bowled wildly; fieldsmen fielded loosely, and got in one
another’s way; and the more agitated they became, the more coolly and
confidently did Harry ply his bat.  At last, stepping out to a full
pitch, he made a magnificent drive over the bowler’s head, and brought
the total to a hundred and two.

The cheer that rose from the crowd might have been heard a mile away.
Some of the men made a rush for Harry, and bore him shoulder-high to the
tent.  Others flew to secure their winnings, and celebrate the famous
victory in cider or home-brewed ale.  Gaffer Minshull was with
difficulty dissuaded from whirling his hat round on the top of his
stick, and nothing could check his gleeful exclamation:

"A flick to young Squire; a terrible douse, ay sure!"

"By George, a notable match!" said Godolphin.  "Your young parson is a
lad of mettle, gaffer; he’ll be a sportsman an he lives long enough.
Here, man, drink his health, and tell him from me that the Lord
Treasurer loves pretty play.  Come, Frank, we’ll drive on."

He flung a coin to the old man, remounted his carriage, and drove off.
Gaffer looked at the money, then after the calash.

"Ah, ’tis a mighty fine thing to hold the Queen’s purse, my lads, mighty
fine!  There be a power o’ these same shinen bright ones in the Queen’s
purse; eh, lads?"

A shout came from the distance, and the eyes of the small group around
old Minshull were turned towards the road.  Lord Godolphin’s carriage
had broken down. The axle had snapped in two; the horses were plunging,
and my lord and his son were clinging to the sides of the vehicle.  A
score of sturdy fellows rushed to lend a hand, and Gaffer Minshull was
left to himself.

                              *CHAPTER II*

                           *Sherebiah Shouts*

An Angling Story—Old Izaak—Landed—Breakfast—Marlborough’s Smile—The
Story of a Potticary—Dosed—On the Horizon—Highwaymen—A Man of
Peace—Behind the Scenes—Nos Duo—Promises—Black John Simmons—Sherebiah is

"’Tis here or hereabouts, baten years ha’n’t tooken my memory.  True,
feyther o’ mine calls me boy, and so I be to a old aged man like him;
but when a man’s comen on forty-four, and ha’ seen summat o’ the

    "’Man’s life is but vain, for ’tis subject to pain
      An’ sorrow, an’ short as a bubble;
    ’Tis a hodge-podge o’ business, an’ money, an’ care,
      An’ care, an’ money, an’ trouble.’

Ay, ’tis so, ’tis so!"

Sherebiah sighed, but the sigh ill became his round, jolly face; it was
merely to chime with the words of the song.  He was walking, about six
o’clock on the morning after the cricket-match, along the bank of a
little hill-stream, rod in hand, yet not expecting to halt for a while,
for he took no pains to moderate his voice.  He was not alone.  His
companion was the youth who had won the match for Winton St. Mary on the
previous day—Harry Rochester, the parson’s son.  Each carried a rod—the
huge clumsy rod of those days, nearly seventeen feet in length; each was
laden with wallet, landing-net, and other apparatus; and in fact they
had already had an hour’s sport with ground-bait, having risen from
their beds soon after three on this ideal angler’s morning.  A haze lay
over the ground, and a light rain was falling.

Sherebiah was several yards ahead, scanning the banks. His voice sank a
little as he repeated the lines:

    "’Tis a hodge-podge o’ business, an’ money, an’ care,
      An’ care, an’ money, an’ trouble."

"Cheer up!" said Harry, behind him.  "I like the second verse best,

    "’But we’ll take no care when the weather proves fair,
      Nor will we vex now though it rain—

He was interrupted by the sudden halt of Sherebiah. The man had swung
round; his lips were shot out in the motion of shooing, a warning finger
was held up.  Harry’s voice died away, and he hastened to his
companion’s side.

"Yonder’s the spot," said Sherebiah in a whisper, pointing to a large
pool, shaded with willows, some thirty yards ahead.  "Mum’s the word!
They be sharp-eared, they trouts.  ’Tis there I took ten lusty nibblers,
ten year agoo come Michaelmas.  Faith, ’twas all I could do to carry
’em; ay, and I shouldn’ ha’ got ’em home but for Tom Dorrell, t’ carrier
from Salisbury, who came trundlen along in his wagon.  He be dead an’
gone, poor soul, as must we all."

"And what did you do with them?" asked Harry with a smile.

Sherebiah was famous for his angling stories, and they had perhaps as
much foundation as most.  No one in the country-side knew the ways of
the trout as he did; but he was equally at home in trolling for jack or
pike, roving for perch, and sniggling for eels.  None could match his
knowledge of the flies in their several seasons: the hour of the day at
which each is most killing; the merits of the silver twist hackle and
the lady-fly, whether for dapping or whipping; when to use the black
gnat, when the blue; under what conditions of the evening sky the shyest
trout will rise to a red spinner.  And who could tie a fly like
Sherebiah Minshull?  Many a time Harry had examined his rich store of
materials—as varied as the contents of a witch’s cauldron: feathers of
every bird that flies, manifold silks and wires and hooks, wax and
needles, hog’s down and squirrel’s fur.  Many a time had he watched him
dress a fly and thread a bait, and admired his dexterous whipping of the

"What did I do wi’ ’em?"  Sherebiah had sat down with legs far apart,
and was carefully selecting a fly from his case.  He spoke always in a
whisper.  "Well, ’tis ten year since, and my memory bean’t what it was;
but now I mind on’t, I gi’ one to Tom carrier for his lift, and a couple
to miller up by Odbury, and one to Susan Poorgrass at Sir Godfrey’s—I
was a-courten then; her wouldn’t ha’ me, thank the Lord!—and a couple to
Ned Greenhay, Sir Godfrey’s keeper as was, for a brace o’ leverets; and
to please feyther o’ mine I took three up to the Hall.  Zooks! and small
thanks I got, for old Squire hisself come to the door, and gi’ me a
douse, he did; said if I didn’t find summat better to do than go
traipsen the country-side, poachen or wuss, he’d commit me for a rogue
and vagabond.  An’ th’ old curmudgeon kept the fish; ay, he did so!—Ah!
ha’ got it; ’tis a fly that cost me more time in the maken than a dozen
others; a beauty, to be sure; eh, Master Harry?"

He proceeded to put it on his hook.  It was an artificial oak-fly, blue,
green, brown, and orange so cunningly mingled that no trout could fail
to be deceived.

"We’ll now see some sport," continued Sherebiah, still in a whisper, as
he prepared to cast.  "I can’t abide bait-fishen; sport, i’ faith! ’tis
mere bludgeon-play.  True, it fills the pot, but there’s no pleasure in
’t.  ’Tis no pastime for a true bob."

"Why, Sherry, ’twas only yestere’en I was reading in a most excellent
book of angling by Master Izaak Walton, and he, it seems, held little to
the fly.  His discourse is in the main of bait."

"Why, there ’tis.  I met Master Walton once, a-fishen in the Itchen
above Winchester—a quaint man, with a good breast for a song, for all he
was ripe for the grave. Myself I was but twenty or so, he a man of
fourscore and upward; ay, a fine hale old man, wi’ a store o’ memories.
We fell into talk; a’ told me how a’ once rid to Lunnon wi’ a rich jewel
o’ King Charles’s in his doublet; ay, he was a royal man, wi’ a jolly
red face, but no harm in un, not a whit; and learned, too—but no angler.
No, faith, no angler, for a’ talked o’ fishen down stream, a’ did, when
ne’er a child but knows fish lie wi’ their heads up stream. Ye cotch
fish as ’ee do Frenchmen, from behind!  Now, hook’s ready.  Mum, Master
Harry, while I cast."

He dropped his fly deftly into the still pool, watching it with keen
eyes and pursed lips.  Meanwhile Harry had chosen an orle fly, and made
his cast a little lower down. The anglers were silent for some minutes.

"What’s that?" asked Harry suddenly, looking up as a distant sound of
wood-chopping reached his ears.

"Mum, boy!" whispered Sherebiah in reply.  "There, I beg pardon, Master
Harry, but you’ve scared away a samlet just as he opened his jaws.
That?  ’Tis Simon forester, belike, fellen Sir Godfrey’s timber.  Now, a
still tongue——"

He broke off, rose, and followed his line stealthily for a yard or two.
The surface of the water was disturbed, and Harry caught a glimpse of a
gleaming side.  There was a splash; the rod bent; then Sherebiah
hastened his steps as the fish went away with a rush.

"He’s a-showen fight," whispered Sherry.  "Whoa! he’s sounded, Master
Harry; a big un.  Pray the tackle may hold!  Ah! he’s clear, and off
again!  Whoa! whoa! Nay, my pretty, ’ee may fight, but I’ll land ’ee."

For ten minutes the contest continued; then the angler got in his line
slowly, and beckoned to Harry to assist him.  The fish was carefully
drawn in; Harry stooped with his net at the critical moment, and with a
sudden heave landed a fine four-pounder, which he slipped into
Sherebiah’s creel.

"That’s the way on’t, Master Harry," said Sherebiah contentedly.  "Had
no luck yourself, eh?  What be ’ee a-fishen wi’?"

"An orle."

"Ah, ’tis an hour or two too early in the day for that, mebbe.  Still,
these waters of Sir Godfrey bean’t often fished since young Master
Godfrey went to Cambridge college, and the trout mayn’t be over
squeamish.  Stick to ’t!"

An hour passed, and both anglers were well satisfied. Sherebiah’s fly
proved irresistible, either from its cunning make or the wary skill with
which he whipped the stream. Four fat trout had joined the first in his
basket; two had rewarded Harry’s persistence; then he laid down his rod
and watched with admiration the delicate casts of his companion.
Sherebiah landed his sixth.  The haze having now disappeared, and the
sun growing hot, he wound up his line and said:

"Rain afore seven, fine afore ’leven.  I be mortal peckish, Master
Harry; what may ’ee have in your basket, now?"

"Powdered beef, I think, Sherry; and Polly put in a cate or two and some
radishes, and a bottle of cider; plain fare, you see."

"Well, hunger’s the best saace, I b’lieve.  We poor folks don’t need to
perk up our appetites.  I warrant, now, that mighty lord we saw
yesterday would turn up his nose at powdered beef.  Fine kickshawses a’
had at Sir Godfrey’s, no doubt.  To think o’ such a mighty lord, the
Queen’s purse-bearer an’ all, bein’ kept in a little small village by
rust or dry-rot, just like a ordinary man!  Old Squire would ha’ liked
to gi’ him a bed, I reckon; but Sir Godfrey were aforehand, an’ there he
lies till this mornen: axle was to be mended by six, if Lumpy had to
work all night to finish the job.  Med I axe ’ee a question, Master
Harry?  Do ’ee think that shinen piece a’ flung to feyther were his own,
or out o’ Queen’s purse?"

Harry laughed.

"Lord Godolphin doesn’t go about the country with the Queen’s purse
slung at his waist, Sherry.  What he meant was that he was Lord
Treasurer, the Queen’s chief minister, the man who rules the country,
you know."

"Well, now, if I didn’t think it’d be folly to carry the Queen’s purse
loose about the country!  Then ’tis Lord Godolphin says we’re to fight
the French?"

"Yes, he and my lord Marlborough between them."

"Ah! there ’tis.  My lord Marlborough bean’t free with his money like
t’other lord.  _He_ wouldn’t ha’ given old feyther o’ mine nothen.  Why,
I was at Salisbury in ’88 when my lord—Lord Churchill he was then, to be
sure—was there to meet King Willum, and I held his horse for ’n, and he
gi’ me—what do ’ee think he gi’ me, Master Harry?"


"Nowt but a smile!  What med ’ee think o’ that for a lord?  ’Thank ’ee,
my man,’ says he, and puts his foot in the stirrup and shows his teeth
at me, and rides off! Lord!  Now t’other one, the Lord Godolphin, he is
a lord, to be sure, a fine free-handed gentleman, though he ha’n’t got
such fine teeth.  I like a lord to be a lord, I do."

"My lord Marlborough is indeed rather close-fisted, they say."

"Ay, but I ha’ knowed a wuss.  Did ever I tell ’ee of Jacob Spinney the
potticary?  I was a growen lad, and feyther o’ mine wanted to put me to
a trade.  So he bound me prentice to Jacob Spinney, that kept a
potticary’s shop by Bargate at S’thampton.  Zooks!  Jacob was a
deceiver, like his namesake in the Book.  A’ promised feyther he’d gi’
me good vittles and plenty on ’em, bein’ a growen lad; but sakes, I
never got no meat save at third boilen; ’twas like eatin’ leather.  A’
said I was growen too fast, a’ did, and he’d keep me down.  Pudden—I
never put my lips to pudden for two year, not once.  I took down
shutters at zix i’ the mornen, and put ’em up at eight o’ nights;
betwixt and between I was pounden away at drugs, and carryen parcels,
and scrubben floors and nussen mistress’ babby: ay, what med ’ee think
o’ that?  If so happened I broke a bottle, or overslept five
minutes—oons! there was master a-strappen me to a hook in the wall he
kept o’ purpose, and layen a birch over my shoulders and keepen me on
bread and water or turmuts not fit for a ox.  I dwindled crossways to a
shadder, Master Harry, I did so, and every week th’ old villain made me
write a letter to feyther, sayen as how I was fat and flourishen like a
green bay tree.  Do what a’ would, however, I growed and growed, at
fourteen a long slip of a feller all arms and legs.  Two mortal year I
put up wi’ un; then I got tired. One day, mistress was out, and I was
rollen pills in the little back shop, when master come in.  He was in a
terrible passion, goodness alone knows what about.  He pitched into me
for wasten his drugs and eatin’ up all his profits, and hit me with his
cane, and sent me spinnen agen the table, and knocked off his best
chiney mortar, and there ’twas on the floor, smashed to atomies.  Bein’
his own doen, it made his temper wuss, it did, and he caught me by the
hair and said he’d skin me.  I’ fecks, I were always a man o’ peace,
even as a boy, but I’d had long sufferen enough, and now my peaceful
blood was up. I wriggled myself free—and there he was, flat on the
floor, and me a-sitten on him.  He hollered and cussed, for all he was a
Puritan; and, haven respect unto my neighbours, I stuffed a handkercher
into his mouth.  There I sits, a-thinken what to do wi’ un.  ’Twas in
for a penny in for a pound wi’ me then; I’d have to run, ’dentures or no
’dentures, and it seemed fair to have my pen’orth afore I went.  There
was that hook I knowed so well, and that strap hangen still and loose:
’I’ll gi’ un a taste o’ the birch he be so uncommon fond on,’ thinks I.
So I hoists un up, and soon has un strapped ready; but looken at un I
thinks to myself: ’You be a poor wamblen mortal arter all, skinny for
all the pudden you eat.  I’ll ha’ mercy on your poor weak flesh.’
Besides, I had another notion.  So I casts un loose and sits un on a
chair and straps un to chair-back, hands to sides.

"You med have heard of Jacob Spinney’s famous mixture for pimples?
Well, ’twas knowed all over Hants and Wilts.  ’Twas a rare sight o’
market days to see the farmers’ wives a-troopen into the shop for
bottles o’ the mixture.  But th’ odd thing was, Spinney hisself was
owner of a fair pimpled face, yet never did I know un take a dose o’ his
own firm cure.  ’I pity ’ee,’ says I to un, as he sat strapped to the
chair; ’poor feller, wi’ all those pimples.  Shall have a dose, poor
soul.’  Many’s the bottle I’d made up: ’twas brimstone and powder o’
crab and gentian root in syrup.  Well, I mixed a dose all fresh afore
his eyes, and got a long wooden spoon, and slipped the handkercher out
o’ his mouth and the dose in. The ungrateful feller spets it out and
begins to holler again; so in goes the handkercher, and says I: ’Ye
don’t know what’s for your own good.  Bean’t it tasty enough?  Ah,
Master Spinney, often and often ’ee’ve physicked me; what’s good for me
without pudden will be better for ’ee with; you shall have a dose.’  So
I made un a dose o’ senna and jalap and ipecacuan, but I was slow with
the handkercher, and afore I could get the spoon in he had his teeth
clinched tight.  But I hadn’t nussed the babby for nothen.  I ups with
finger and thumb and pinches his nose; he opens his mouth for breath,
and in goes spoon, and sputter as he med he had to swaller, he did.

"Ah, I was wild and headstrong in they young coltish days.  I bean’t so
fond o’ pudden now.  Not but what they mixtures did Jacob Spinney a
world o’ good, for his next prentice had a easier time nor me, steppen
into his master’s business when he was laid in churchyard.  _I_ got no
good on ’em, to be sure, for I had to run away and try another line o’
life, and ha’ been a rollen-stone ever since. Ay well, ’tis all one to a
man o’ peace."

During his narrative the breakfast had been finished.

"Well, Sherry, when I’m out of sorts I’ll come to you," said Harry,
rising.  "Now, while you pack up, I’ll go a stroll up the hillside;
there’ll be a good view now the day is clearing, and maybe I’ll get a
glimpse of Salisbury spire."

He left the river-bank and strolled leisurely up a gentle ascent, which
gradually became steeper until it terminated somewhat suddenly in a
stretch of level ground.  Fifty yards from the edge rose a long grassy
mound, a well-known landmark in the neighbourhood.  It was, in fact, a
barrow, dating centuries back into the dim ages—the burial place,
perhaps, of British warriors who had fought and fallen in defence of
their country against the Roman invader.  Harry had always felt a
romantic interest in these memorials of the past, and more than once had
stood by such a barrow, alone in the moonlight of a summer night, while
his imagination called up visions of far-off forgotten things.

He sat down now with his back to the mound, and allowed his eyes to rove
over the prospect.  Tradition said that three counties were visible from
this elevated spot, and on a clear morning like this it seemed likely
enough that report said true.  Far to the left, peeping over the bare
contour of Harnham Hill, rose the graceful spire of Salisbury Cathedral,
at least fifteen miles away as the crow flies.  His eye followed the
winding course of the little stream below him, losing it here and there
behind some copse or knoll, tracing it again to its junction with a
larger stream, till this in its turn was lost to view amid the distant
elm-bordered meadows.  Nearer at hand he saw the old Roman road,
grass-grown and silent now, bounding the park of Sir Godfrey Fanshawe,
crossing the stream by an ancient bridge, and running into the London
road at some invisible point to the right.  It was a very pleasing
prospect, brilliant beneath the cloudless sky, and freshened by the
early morning showers.

As he looked along the forsaken highway, once trodden perhaps by the
legions of Constantine the Great, his glance was momentarily arrested by
a small moving speck in the distance.  "Some wagon from one of Sir
Godfrey’s home farms," he thought.  It was approaching him, for it
passed out of sight into a clump of trees, then reappeared, and was
again hidden by an intercepting ridge.  The road was downhill; in
fifteen or twenty minutes, perhaps, the wagon would pass beneath him, at
a point nearly three-quarters of a mile away, where the highway skirted
a belt of trees perched on the side of a steep declivity.  Between him
and the road lay a ditch which, as he knew, was apt in winter-time to
overflow on to the meadows and the lower parts of the track, making a
sticky swamp of the chalky soil.  But it was dry now, and the floodings
were only indicated by the more vivid green of the grass and the tall
reeds that filled the hollow on this side.  On the other side a strong
stone wall edged the road, marking the boundary of Sir Godfrey’s park;
it was overhung with elms, from which at this moment Harry saw a
congregation of rooks soar away.

Thus idly scanning the roadway, all at once his eye lit upon the figure
of a horseman half concealed by the belt of reeds in the hollow.  He was
motionless; his back was towards Harry, his horse’s head pointing
towards the road, from which he was completely screened by the reeds and
the willows.

"What is he doing there?" thought Harry.  He rose, and walked towards
the edge of the descent.  Narrowly scanning the brake, he now descried
two other horsemen within a few yards of the first, but so well
concealed that but for his quickened curiosity he would probably never
have discovered them.  For all he knew, there might be others.  "What is
their game?"  His suspicion was aroused; the vehicle he had seen
approaching was perhaps not a wagon; it might be a chaise belonging to
Sir Godfrey; it might be——  "Why, ’tis without a doubt Lord Godolphin
himself on his way to London, and coming by the shortest cut."  There
was no need for further speculation; in those days the inference was
sure: a carriage in the distance, a party of horsemen lurking in a copse
by the roadside——  "’Tis highway robbery—ah! the Queen’s purse!"

Harry unconsciously smiled at the thought.  His first impulse was to
warn the approaching travellers.  But the carriage was at present out of
sight; he could not make signals, and before he could reach the stretch
of road between the ambuscade and their prey, the travellers would
certainly be past, while he himself might be seen by the waiting
horsemen, and headed off as he crossed a tract of open country.  Moving
downwards all the time, he in a flash saw all that it was possible to
do.  The stream passed under the roadway some twenty yards beyond the
spot where the horsemen were lying in wait; the banks were reedy, and
might screen an approach to the copse beyond the wall.  There was a bare
chance, and Harry took it.

He raced downhill towards Sherebiah, who was sitting on the bank still,
placidly smoking his pipe; landscape had no charm for him.

"Sherry," said Harry in jerks, "Lord Godolphin or someone is driving
down the road; highwaymen hiding in the reeds; in five or six
minutes—come, come, we have no time to lose."

"Then we’ll go home along," said Sherry, putting his pipe in his pocket
as he rose.

"Nonsense! we can’t slink away and leave them to be robbed."  Harry took
Sherry by the arm to drag him along.

"What be the good?  Fishen-rods bean’t no match for pistols, and bein’ a
man o’ peace——"

"Come, I can’t wait.  I’ll go alone, then."

He released the man’s arm and stepped into the stream. Sherebiah
hesitated for a moment; then, seeing that Harry was in earnest, he
dropped his tackle and strode forward, saying:

"Zooks, not if I knows it!  I’m a man o’ peace, sure enough, but
fairplay’s a jewel.  Have at the villains!"

He followed Harry into the water.  Side by side they raced on, dodging
the weeds, scrambling over occasional rocks, slipping on the chalky
bottom, making at top speed for the bridge.  As they approached this
they went more slowly, to avoid being heard.  Fortunately, at the point
where the road crossed the stream there was a line of rocks, over which
the water plunged with a rustle and clatter, drowning the sound of their
footsteps.  They had to stoop low to avoid the moss-grown masonry of the
arch; as they emerged on the farther side they heard a muffled
exclamation from one of the horsemen, and climbing the steep face of the
tree-covered slope towards the wall they heard a shot, then another,
mingled with shouts and the dull thuds of horses’ hoofs on the
turf-covered road.

On the way Harry had explained his plan in panting whispers.  Running
along now under cover of the wall, they came opposite to the scene of
the ambush.

"Now, Sherry, do your best," said Harry, as he prepared to mount the

Instantly a new clamour was added to the uproar in the road.

"This way!"

"Shoot ’em!"

"Lash the noddy peaks!"

"Pinch their thropples!"

"Quoit ’em down!"

"Haick!  haick!"

By this time Harry was on the wall, by favour of Sherebiah’s strong arm.
A slug whizzed past his head and sank with a thud into the trunk of a
tree just behind; next moment the horse-pistol from which it had been
discharged followed the shot, the butt grazing Harry’s brow.  There was
no time to take in the details of the scene.  Harry made a spring for
the masked horseman who had fired at him, two yards from the wall; but
the fellow, alarmed by the various shouts and the sudden appearance of
Sherebiah at Harry’s side, dug the spurs into his steed’s flanks and
galloped off down the road, over the bridge, and out of sight.  One of
his companions lay motionless on the road; the others had ridden away at
the first alarm from the wall.

Harry mopped his brow and looked about him.  Lord Godolphin stood
upright in the carriage, his lips grimly set, a smoking pistol in his
hand.  His son was on foot with drawn sword; a postilion was crawling
out of the ditch all bemired, pale and trembling.

"Odzooks!" cried my lord, "a welcome diversion!"

[Illustration: Harry makes a Diversion]

He was perfectly cool and collected, though his hat was off and his wig
awry.  "A thousand thanks, my men. Whew! ’twas in the nick of time.
Where are the rest of you?"

"There are no more, my lord," said Harry, lifting his cap.

"No more!  But the shouts, then?—I heard a dozen shouting, at least.
Are the rest on the other side of the wall?"

"All on this side, my lord," said Harry with a smile. "Here is the mob."

He indicated Sherebiah, who touched his cap and bobbed to his lordship.

Godolphin stared, then chuckled and guffawed.

"Egad! ’tis a rare flam.  Frank, this fellow here did it all, shouted
for a dozen; by George, ’twas a mighty neat trick!  And, by George, I
know your face; I saw you yesterday, I believe!  What’s your name, man?"

"Sherebiah Stand-up-and-bless Minshull, my lord," said Sherry, "by the
water o’ baptism, your honour, for I was born while old Rowley were in
furren parts.  If a’d been born two year arter, my lord, I med ha’ been
chrisomed wi’ less piety."

"I remember you, and the old gaffer your father—a fine old fellow.
Well, my man, your name suits me better; ’tis for us to stand up and
bless, eh, Frank?  And here’s a guinea for you."

Sherebiah put his hands behind him and looked down at the coin in my
lord’s hand.

"Nay, nay, my lord," he said slowly.  "True, I did the shouten, or most
on’t, but ’twas Master Harry his notion. Pa’son’s son, you see, my lord;
know’d all the holy story o’ Gideon; says to me, ’Sherry,’ says he,
’shout high and low, bass and tribble, give it tongue,’ says he; and I
gi’d it tongue, so I did."

Both gentlemen laughed heartily.

"I recognize you now," said my lord, turning to Harry, who looked
somewhat embarrassed.  "Surely you are the hero of yesterday’s cricket
match?  You swing a straight bat, my lad, and, stap me! you’ve a quick
wit if you devised this late surprise.  How came you on the scene?"

"We’d been fishing yonder, my lord, and I chanced to spy your carriage
and the villains waiting here, almost at the same time.  It was clear
what they were about, and as there was no time to warn you we came along
the stream, and—Sherry shouted."

His smile as he said the last words met an answering smile on Lord
Godolphin’s face.

"A mighty clever trick indeed—eh, Frank?  We’re beholden to you.  ’Twas
a mere chance that I sent my mounted escort on ahead by the highway to
arrange a change of horses, never thinking to be waylaid at this time o’

"Ay, ’twas the Queen’s purse, my lord," struck in Sherebiah.  "To know
Queen’s purse-bearer were a-comen along old road like a common mortal,
’twere too much for poor weak flesh and blood."

"The ignorant bumpkins mistook your meaning," said Frank.

"So it appears.  But come, you’re the parson’s son, I believe.  I forget
your name?"

"Harry Rochester, my lord."

"Going to be a parson yourself, eh?"

"I am going up to Oxford in October, my lord; my father wishes me to
take orders."

"Ah!  And your own wish, eh?"

Harry hesitated.

"Come, out with it, my lad."

"I had thought, my lord, I should like to carry the Queen’s colours; but
’tis a vain thought; my father’s living is small, and——"

"And commissions in the Queen’s army sell high.  ’Tis so, indeed.  Well,
I heard something of your father last night at Sir Godfrey’s; you can’t
do better than follow his example.  And hark ’ee, if ever you want a
friend, when you’ve taken your degrees, you know, come and see me; I owe
you a good turn, my lad; and maybe I’ll have a country vicarage at my

"Thank you, my lord!"

"And now we must get on.  Dickory, you coward, help these two friends of
ours to remove that tree.  The villains laid their ambush well; you see
they felled this larch at an awkward part of the road."

"And I thowt ’twas Simon forester a-choppen," said Sherebiah, as he
walked towards the tree.

"What shall we do with this ruffian on the road?" said Frank Godolphin.
"He appears to be stone dead. ’Twas a good shot, sir."

"Leave the villain.  You’ll lay an information before Sir Godfrey or
another of your magistrates, young master parson.  Did you recognize any
of the gang?"

"No, my lord.  I only saw the masked man.  Perhaps Sherry was more

"Not me neither," said Sherebiah hastily.  He had gone to the fallen
man, looked in his face, and turned him over.  "’Twas all too quick and
sudden, and my eyes was nigh dazed wi’ shouten."

"Well, well, Sir Godfrey’s is near at hand; go and inform him, and he
will scour the country.  We must push on."

The tree was removed; the bedraggled and crestfallen postilions resumed
their saddles, and with a parting salutation my lord drove off.  Harry
stood looking thoughtfully after the departing carriage.

"Master Harry," said Sherebiah, coming up to him, "this be a bad
business.  The man bean’t dead."

"He’s saved for the hangman, then."

"Ay, and who med ’ee think he be?"

"You do know him, then!  What does this mean, Sherry?"

"Well, I be a man o’ peace, and there’s mischief to come o’ this day’s
piece o’ work, sure as I’m Sherebiah Stand-up-and-bless.  ’Tis black
John Simmons, Cap’n Aglionby’s man."

"A scoundrel his master may well be rid of."

"Ay, if the man were dead!  But he be alive; the lord didn’t shoot’n at
all; ’a fell off his horse and bashed his nob; an’ he’s got a tongue,
Master Harry."

"Well, what then?  If he rounds on his fellows, so much the better.
What are you afraid of, Sherry?"

"I bean’t afeard, not I; but the Cap’n——"

He paused, and Harry looked at him enquiringly. Sherebiah turned away.

"Ah! little sticks kindle fires, little sticks kindle fires, they do."

                             *CHAPTER III*

                            *Master and Man*

A Midnight Summons—A Warm Reception—Righteous Indignation—Aglionby
Retorts—The Berkeley Arms—A Village Sensation—The Constable’s
Story—Aspersions—Unimpeachable References—Waylaid—Squaring Accounts—The
Captain Rides Away

The clock of St. Mary’s church had just chimed the first quarter after
midnight, and the deep note of the lowest bell was dying away over the
tree-tops, when the sound was intercepted by the distant clink and
clatter of iron-shod hoofs on the hard road, approaching from the
direction of Salisbury.  The horse’s pace was slow, and there was
something in the fall of the hoofs that betokened a jaded steed.  It was
a clear calm night; the air carried every sound distinctly; and nothing
broke the stillness save the footfalls of the horse, an occasional
murmur from the birds in the trees, and the whirr of wings as a solitary
owl, disturbed by the nocturnal rider, left its search for food and
rustled back to its nook in the tower.

The horseman came presently to the church, wheeled round to the right,
and urged his flagging beast along the road leading to the manor house.
Arriving at the park, he flung himself from the saddle, hitched the
bridle over his left arm, and turned the handle of the massive iron
gate.  But there was no yielding to his push: the gate was locked.  The
man shook and rattled the handle impatiently, to assure himself that he
was not mistaken, then turned aside with an inarticulate rumble of
anger, and went to the lodge, a low ivy-grown cottage abutting on the
road.  He tapped on the small latticed window with the butt of his
riding-whip; there was no reply.  The horse by his side hung its head
and breathed heavily; it was jaded to the point of exhaustion.  Again he
rapped on the glass, growling between his teeth; and when his summons
still met with no response he dealt so smart a blow that one of the
thick square panes fell in with a crash.  A moment later a voice was
heard from within.

"Away wi’ ’ee!  Who be you, a-breaken an honest man’s rest at this
fearsome time o’ night?"

A night-capped head appeared at the hole, just visible in the faint
illumination of the clear summer sky.

"Open the gate, Dick," said the rider impatiently. "Ods my life, will
you keep me waiting here, will you?"

"Be it you, Cap’n?"

"Zounds, man, must I tell you my name?  Ha’ ye never seen me before!
Stir your old stumps, or by the lord Harry——"

"Squire give orders t’ gate were to be locked and kep’ locked; not a man
to come in, not a soul.  They’s my orders, ay sure, Cap’n."

"Orders! orders!" cried the other in a burst of passion. "Adslidikins,
if you’re not at the gate with the key inside of two minutes I’ll put a
slug through your jolt head, you mumper, you miching rogue you!"

And indeed Captain Aglionby displayed a monstrous blunderbuss, and
pointed it full in the face of the scared lodge-keeper.  For an instant
the man hesitated; then, muttering to himself, he disappeared from the
window, and soon afterwards emerged from the side door within the
palings, his night-gown showing beneath a heavy driving coat.  He came
towards the gate with the key—a bent old man, tottering and mumbling.

"I shall lose my place; Squire give orders, a’ did, not a soul to come
in; to drag a aged man from his nat’ral sleep an’ lose him his place an’
all; well, I was forced; no man can zay as I warn’t forced; mumper as I
be, I vallies my little bit o’ life, and——"

"Hold your tongue, you old flap-eared dotard, and make haste, or I’ll
pink your soul.  Don’t you see the jade’s dead-beat; ’tis time I stabled

The man turned the key and slowly opened the gate. With a grunt the
captain led his horse through, and, without so much as a glance at the
lodge-keeper, proceeded up the quarter-mile drive leading to the house.

"Old Nick’s not abed," he said to himself as he cast his eye over the
house front.  A light shone from a window in the turret over the porch.
"The old nightbird!  Lock me out!  Oons!"

He threw the bridle over an iron post at the side of the entrance, and
walked round a projecting wing of the building till he came to a small
door in the wall.  He turned the iron ring, pushed, rattled; the door
was fast shut.  Cursing under his breath, he was proceeding towards the
servants’ quarters when he heard the creak of a key turning, and,
wheeling round, came to the postern just as it was opened by Squire
Berkeley himself, his tall, lean, bent figure enwrapped from neck to
heel in a black cassock-like garment, a skull-cap of black velvet
covering his head.  He held a lighted candle; his piercing eyes flashed
in the darkness.

"Hey, Squire!" cried the captain in a tone of forced good-humour, "I had
much ado to rouse old Dick.  ’Tis late to be sure; but if you’ll give me
the key of the stables I’ll settle Jenny for the night and get to bed."

He made as if to enter, but Mr. Berkeley spread himself across the
narrow doorway.

"Who are you, sirrah," he said, "to break into my park against my
express orders?"

There was contempt in his cold incisive tones, and anger with difficulty

"Why now——" Aglionby began.

"Who are you, I say?  And what am I, that my orders are defied, and my
house made a common inn, a toping house for you and your toss-pot
ruffians?  Go—go, I say!"

The captain was for a moment staggered; the old man’s manner left no
room for doubt that he was in earnest. But Aglionby was too old a
campaigner to cry off so easily.  In a tone half-conciliatory,
half-aggrieved he said—

"Fair and softly, Squire!  this is but scurvy treatment of a tired man.
Look you, I’ve been in the saddle this livelong day; the mare’s
well-nigh foundered; and for myself—gads so, I could eat an ox and drink
a hogshead. To-morrow, in a few hours, I’ll bid ye good-bye—for a time,
if ye want a change; but to-night—no, Squire, ’tis not hospitable of
you, ’tis not indeed."

"You dally with me!" cried the squire, the hand that held the candle
shaking with passion.  "You set no foot within this door—now, nor ever
again.  Begone, while there is time."

"While there is time!  Look ye, Master Berkeley, I will not brook
insults from you.  Yesterday you must put an affront on me in the
presence of my lord Godolphin, shoving me out of the way as I were a
leper, and at the very moment, stap me! when I might ha’ paid court to
his lordship, and got the chance o’ my life.  Adsbud, I was not good
enough to approach my lord, to accost him, have speech with him——"

"An omission you have since repaired," interjected the old man with a
meaning look.  The captain started, and there was a perceptible interval
before he resumed, in a tone still more blusterous—

"Ods my life, what mean you now?  You took care I should not meet my
lord in your company; and, i’ faith, he showed he wanted none of that

"Hold your peace and begone!" cried the squire in a fury.  "You think I
know nothing of your villainies? How many times have I harboured you—ay,
saved you perchance from the gallows!  How many times have you eat my
food, rid my horses, browbeat my servants, roistered it in my house,
till I could bear with you no longer, and then betaken yourself to your
evil practices abroad, consorted with villains, run your neck well-nigh
into the hangman’s noose, and then come back with contrite face and vows
of amendment, to fawn and bluster and bully again?  Out upon you!  Your
rapscallion of a servant is even now laid by the heels, and to-morrow
will have to answer to the charge of waylaying the Lord Treasurer.  He’s
a white-livered oaf, and his tongue will wag, and you’ll companion him
before Fanshawe, and you’ll swing on the same gibbet."

At the mention of his man’s plight the captain’s face had fallen; but
when Mr. Berkeley’s tirade was ended he broke into a laugh.

"Ha! ha!  Squire, now I come to understand you.  ’Tis your own skin you
have a care for!  Ha! ha!  I might have known it.  I am to be haled
before Sir Godfrey, am I? and to hold my tongue, am I? and to be mum
about certain little affairs in the life of Master Nicolas Berkeley—that
paragon of virtue, that pampered, patched old interloper, am I?  By the
lord Harry, if I stand in manacles before Sir Godfrey, you shall bear me
company, you painted pasteboard of a saint!"

Berkeley’s pale face blanched with fury.  For a moment he was incapable
of speech.  Then he stepped forward a pace; the hand holding the candle
shook so, that the grease sputtered upon his gown.  His voice came in
vehement passionate whispers:

"You threaten me!  Do your worst—I defy you!—Back to your wallow,

He suddenly withdrew within the doorway, slammed the door, and bolted

"Whew!" whistled the captain, left standing outside. "’Tis the worst
passion ever I saw him in.  Defies me! Well, Master Nicolas, would I
could afford to take you at your word!  A plague on Simmons!  I thought
he was dead.  He’ll split, sure enough, and there’s an end of Ralph
Aglionby.  Jenny, my dear, you’re a sorry jade, but you’ll have to bear
my carcase till we’re out of harm’s way. We have five or six hours
before the world’s astir.  Do your best, my girl, and we’ll cheat ’em

Captain Aglionby led his tired steed down the drive to the gate, roused
Dick the lodge-keeper with scant ceremony, and in a few minutes was
riding slowly towards the village.  As he came into the principal
street, he was surprised to notice that the only inn was lit up, a most
unusual circumstance at that time of night.  The door stood open, and
there were lights in several of the rooms on the ground floor.  A
feeling of apprehension seized upon him; he could not but connect these
lively signs with the events of the morning, and especially with the
capture of his man.  Could the fellow have blabbed already?  He was just
making up his mind to spur the mare past the inn, over the bridge, on to
the London road, when two persons came to the door and caught sight of
him.  One was Mistress Joplady, the buxom hostess; the other William
Nokes, the village constable.  It was too late to evade them: indeed he
heard the hostess exclaim, "Well, I never! ’tis the Cap’n hisself,
sure."  Resolving like a wise man to make the best of it, he rode up to
the door, dismounted, and, swaggering, with his usual air of assurance

"Egad, mistress, I’m glad to find you afoot.  My mare’s dead-beat, has
carried me nigh forty miles this day; send Tom ostler to stable her,
like a good soul; and give me a bite and a bed.  I didn’t care about
disturbing the squire at this time o’ night."

The captain was no favourite with good Mistress Joplady, but she
received him now with something more than her usual urbanity.

"Come away in, Cap’n Aglionby," she said.  "Sure your name was in our
very mouths.  Strange things be doing—ay, strange things in Winton
Simmary; bean’t it so, William Nokes?  Take the cap’n into the parlour,
William; a few souls be there, Cap’n, not fit company for the likes o’
you, to be sure, but they’ll tell ’ee summat as’ll stir your blood, they
will so.  Tom’ll see to Jenny, so be easy."

Captain Aglionby followed the constable into the parlour, where a group
of the village worthies were assembled. They were neither smoking nor
drinking, a sure sign that they had something momentous to talk about.
A silence fell upon the company as the captain clanked into the room,
and one or two of the more active-minded of them threw a quick glance at
each other, which the new-comer did not fail to note.

"A fine night, men," said the captain jovially.

"Ay, ’tis so."

"And a late hour to find the Berkeley Arms open."

"Ay, ’tis latish, sure enough."

"Any news from the army in Flanders?  A post from London, eh?"

"Nay, not ’zackly that."

"Odzooks! speak up, men," cried the captain impatiently.  "Why are they
all mumble-chopped to-night, mistress?" he asked, turning to the
hostess, who had followed him with bread and cheese and beer.

"Ah, they be pondering strange things," returned Mrs. Joplady.  "Tell
the cap’n all the long story, William Nokes."

The constable, fingering the hat in his hand, looked for sympathy into
the stolid faces of his fellows, cleared his throat, and began:

"Cap’n, your sarvant.  Eight o’clock this mornin’, or mebbe nine—’twixt
eight and nine, if the truth was told—comes Long Tom from the Grange,
Sir Godfrey’s man, as ye med know, Cap’n.  Says he to me, ’Constable,’
says he, ’Sir Godfrey commands ’ee as a justice o’ the peace to bring
your staff and irons and other engines,’ says he, ’up along to Grange,
wi’out remorse or delay, and arrest a prisoner in the Queen’s name.’
You may think what a turn it gi’ me, souls, so early in the mornin’.
’Be he voilent?’ says I.  ’Can I arrest the villain all alone by
myself?’  ’Ay sure,’ says he; ’there’s no knowin’ what a tough job
’twould be an he were sound and hearty, but he’s dazed, so he be, wi’ a
crack in the nob, and won’t give no trouble to no mortal constable, not
a bit,’ says he.  ’A crack in the nob,’ says he; didn’t he, souls?"

A murmur of assent came from the group.

"So I ups and goos wi’ Long Tom hotfoot to the Grange, and Tom he tells
me by the way the longs and shorts on’t.  Seems ’twas Sherry Minshull as
cracked his nob, leastways he picked un up, he and young master pa’son
betwixt ’em, an’ hoisted him on a cart o’ Farmer Leake’s, an’ so carried
un to Grange and laid un afore Sir Godfrey.  ’Twas highway robbery,
Cap’n, a-took in the very act, a-stoppen the carriage o’ the high lard
as come this way yesterday, or day afore, as ’ee med say, seein’ ’tis
mornin’ now by the rights on’t.  And Sir Godfrey commits un, he do,
dazed as he were wi’ the crack in the nob, and hands un over to the law,
and says, ’Constable,’ says he, ’keep the knave fast in the lock-up, an’
hold un till I gets word from my Lard Godolphin in Lun’on.’  They be his
words, Cap’n."

"Well, well, cut your story short, man.  Adsheart, ye’ve more words than

"Ay, but wait to th’ end, wait to th’ end," put in a voice.

"The end of a rope ’twill be, and not for one neither," added another.

The constable looked a little uncomfortable.

"So I had un fast in the lock-up, Cap’n," he went on, "and ’twas the
talk o’ the village all day long.  Squire himself heard on’t, and down
he come, so he do, and bein’ hisself a justice o’ the peace he goos into
the lock-up and zees the man, and axes un questions, not for my ears, me
bein’ a constable; nay, I stood guard at the door; and when Squire coom
out he says to me, ’Constable,’ says he, ’keep a good guard on un; he
deserves hangen, ay, and his mates too.’  Never seed I Squire so
mad-like; ’twas ’cos it was a lard, maybe, and on his own ground, as ’ee
med say."

"Ay, and nearer nor that," said a voice.

The captain put down the tankard from which he was quaffing, and glared
round the faces.  They were blank as the wall behind them.

"And now what’ll he say?" pursued the constable.  "He were mad afore, ay
sure; now he’ll ramp and roar worse nor the lion beast at Salisbury
Fair.  Ye med not believe it, Cap’n, but ’tis true for all that; the
godless villain ha’ dared Squire an’ Sir Godfrey an’ me an’ all; ha’
broke his bonds an’ stole away, like a thief i’ the night, as the Book

"What!" cried the captain, leaning forward and thumping the table.
"Escaped, has he?"

"A’ has so, like a eel off the hook."

"Ha! ha!  Stap me! eels are slippery things.  But ’tis a rub for you,
master constable.  You’ll lose your place, i’ faith, you will."

"Why now, it be no sin o’ mine.  I left un snug in lock-up, I did, door
double-locked and bar up, an’ went to take my forty winks like a honest
poor man; an’ no sooner my back turned than out skips the pris’ner, like
Simon Peter in the story.  There be witchcraft in’t, an’ that ’ee ought
to know, Cap’n, seein’ as the villain be your own sarvant."

"Eh, fellow?"

"Sakes alive, I thowt as ’ee knowed that all the time! Sure ’twas John
Simmons, your honour’s own body-slave, so to speak.  An’ I was main glad
to see ’ee, Cap’n, ’cause now ’ee know un for what he is, ’ee’ll help me
to cotch un, in the Queen’s name."

"Knows where he be, I’ll be bound," said one of the group in a low tone.
The captain sprang from his chair, ran round the table, and, before the
speaker could defend himself, he caught him by the throat and hurled him
to the floor.

"Zounds, loon!" he cried in a passion, "what do you mean?  Will you
affront me, eh? will you mouth your cursed insults to my very face?
Odzooks, I’ll slit your weazand, hound, and any man of you that dares a
hint o’ the sort, so ’ware all!"

The men looked abashed and uncomfortable; the hostess was pale with
apprehension, and the constable edged away from the irate captain.  His
burst of passion over, he turned to Mrs. Joplady and spoke in quieter

"I brook no insolence, mistress.  I don’t answer for my servant’s deeds
behind my back.  I’ve been away all day, as poor Jenny will bear me
witness; was I to know my fool of a servant would play highwayman in my
absence?  ’Tis a useful fellow, civil, too, beyond most; I picked him up
in London; he was in truth commended to me by no less than his grace the
Duke of Ormond, who tapped me on the shoulder in the Piazza at Covent
Garden, and said, ’Aglionby, my bawcock, you want a servant; I know the
very man for you!’  Could I suspect a man after that?  How he got mixed
up in this business beats me.  And as for helping master constable to
repair his carelessness—adsbud, ’tis not likely.  The man in truth is no
longer servant of mine.  I am on my way to serve the Queen in Flanders,
and this very day arranged with my friend Sir Rupert Verney to take the
fellow off my hands.  You may hang him, for me!"

"There now, Sam," said the hostess, turning to the man who had been
felled, and was now at the door glowering; "your tongue runs away wi’
’ee.  Beg the cap’n’s pardon, and don’t go for to make a ninny o’

"Never mind, my good woman," said Aglionby loftily. "The yokel knows no
better.  Now, I’m tired out; give me a bed, good soul, for I must away
at sunrise—and egad, ’tis past one o’clock!  Good-night to ’ee, men; and
I hope Sir Godfrey will forgive you, constable."

He went from the room, and soon afterwards the hostess bade the
villagers get to their beds, and closed the inn for the short remnant of
the night.

Before seven o’clock next morning the captain was on horseback.  The
ground was wet; it had been drizzling for several hours, but a misty sun
was now struggling up the sky, and Tom ostler foretold a fine day.  The
captain rode off, answering with a bold stare the suspicious and
lowering glances of the few villagers who were on the spot.  He was in
high spirits; the anxieties of the past night were gone; and as he rode
he hummed a careless tune.  He had ridden but little more than a mile
when, from an intersecting lane, a man stepped out and gripped the
horse’s reins.

"Get off that there horse!" he said bluntly.

"Gads so, Sherry, you gave me quite a turn," said the captain with
unusual mildness.  "Don’t hinder me, man; I’m off to Flanders, and, i’
faith, that’s where you ought to be yourself, if all was known.  Come,
what’s the meaning o’t?"

"Get off that there horse!" repeated Sherebiah.  "I’m a man o’ peace, I
be, and I settles all scores prompt."

There was a look of determination in his eyes, and in his right hand he
grasped a knobby cudgel.

"Right! but we’ve no accounts to settle.—What!" he cried, as he saw
Sherebiah’s cudgel raised, "you play the bully, eh?  Gadzooks, I’ll ferk
ye if——"

He was drawing his sword, but the cudgel fell with a resounding whack
upon his knuckles, and with a cry of pain he scrambled to the ground and
stood, a picture of sullen rage, before his intercepter.

"I’ll thank ’ee for your pistols," said Sherebiah, removing them from
the holsters as he spoke.  "Nay, don’t finger your sword; I be a man o’
peace, and you know my play with the quarterstaff.  Jenny, old girl,
crop your fill by the roadside while I have a reckonen wi’ Cap’n
Aglionby."  He laid a curious stress upon the title.  "Now, Ralph, you
be comen wi’ me into wood yonder.  ’Tis there we’ll settle our score."

Seizing the captain with his left hand, he led him down the lane,
through a gap in the hedge, into a thin copse of larches, until he came
to a narrow glade.  Aglionby assumed an air of jocular resignation; but
that he was ill at ease was proved by the restless glances he gave
Sherebiah out of the corner of his eye.

"Off wi’ your coat!" said Sherebiah, having reached the centre of the
glade.  "Off wi’t!  I be gwine to pound ’ee; you can defend yourself,
but you’m gwine to be pounded whether or no."

"Confound you, man, what have I done to you?  Why the——"

"Off wi’t, off wi’t!  Least said soonest mended.  Great barkers be no
biters, so it do seem; doff your coat, Cap’n Aglionby!"

"Well, if you will!" cried the captain, with a burst of passion.  "I’ll
comb your noddle, I’ll trounce you, for an insolent canting runagate

He flung his coat on the wet grass; Sherebiah laid down the cudgel and
followed his example.

"Come on, Cap’n Aglionby!" he said.  "’Tis not, as ’ee med say, a job to
my liken, trouncen a big grown man like you; but ’t ha’ got to be done,
for your good and my own peace o’ mind.  So the sooner ’tis over the

To a casual onlooker the two would have seemed very unequally matched.
The captain stood at least a head taller than his opponent, and was
broad in proportion. But he was puffy and bloated; Sherebiah, on the
other hand, though thick-set, was hard and agile.

As if anxious to finish an uncongenial task with the least delay, he
forced matters from the start.  The captain had no lack of bull-dog
courage, and he still possessed the remnant of great physical strength.
To an ordinary opponent he would have proved even yet no mean
antagonist; and when, after a few sharp exchanges, Sherebiah’s punishing
strokes roused him to fury, he rained upon the smaller man a storm of
blows any one of which, had it got home, might have felled an ox.  But
Sherebiah parried with easy skill, and continued to use his fists with
mathematical precision.  Once or twice he allowed the captain, now
panting and puffing, to regain his wind, and when the burly warrior
showed a disposition to lengthen the interval he brought him back to the
business in hand with a cheery summons.

"Now, Cap’n Aglionby," he would say, "let’s to ’t again.  Come, man,
’twill soon be over!"

At last, beside himself with rage, the captain attempted to close with
and throw his opponent.  He could scarcely have made a more unfortunate
move.  For a few moments the two men swung and swayed; then Aglionby
described a semicircle over Sherebiah’s shoulder, and fell with a
resounding thud to the ground.  Neither combatant was aware that for
some time a spectator had been silently watching them.  Harry Rochester,
coming whistling through the trees, had halted in surprise, at the edge
of the glade, as his eyes took in the scene.

"There now, ’tis over and done," said Sherebiah, stooping to pick up his
coat.  "That score’s wiped off.  Stand on your feet, man!  And I’ll
trouble ’ee for your sword."

The captain staggered to his feet.  He was in no condition to refuse the
victor’s demand.

Sherebiah took the weapon and broke it across his knee. From his own
pocket he then took the captain’s pistols. He carefully drew their
charges, and handed them back.

"Now, hie ’ee to Flanders," he said.  "You’ve done more fighten this
mornin’ than you’ll ever do there.  You’ll find Jenny on the road."

The captain glared at him, and seemed about to reply. But he thought
better of it, and with a vindictive glare walked slowly away.

"What’s it all about, Sherry?" said Harry, stepping forward when
Aglionby had disappeared.

"Ah, that be ’ee, sir?  ’Twas only a little small matter o’ difference
’twixt Cap’n Aglionby and me.  We’re quits now."

"You’ll have to get Mistress Joplady to give you a raw steak for your

"Ay sure, Cap’n did get in a hit or two," replied Sherebiah placidly.

"I didn’t know you were such a fighter."

Sherebiah gave him a quick look out of his uninjured eye.

"Nay, I bean’t a fighter, not me," he said.  "I’m a man o’ peace; I be

                              *CHAPTER IV*

                    *Mynheer Jan Grootz and Another*

The Gaffer Chops Logic—In Print—The London Coach—Simple Annals—A Village
Hampden—Bereft—An Offer of Service—A Hearty Send-off—Outside
Passengers—Introductions—Contractor to the Forces—Followed—The Man on
the Road—Sherebiah Muses

It was a dull, damp day towards the end of November, a little more than
four months after Captain Aglionby’s unhappy departure from Winton St.
Mary.  There was again great bustle at the Berkeley Arms; Mistress
Joplady’s ample face was red with exertion, and her voice, when she gave
directions to her servants, was raised to an acrimonious pitch far from
usual with her.  The whole village appeared to be gathered either within
or without the inn.  Gaffer Minshull was there, seated with his back to
the wall and leaning on his inseparable staff.  Lumpy, Soapy Dick, Long
Robin the tanner, Old Everlasting the miller, stood in a group about the
door, talking to the ostler, who stood guard, with arms akimbo, over
four brimming pails of water ranged along the wall.

Soft Jemmy was standing a yard or two away, watching with open mouth a
man who, straddling across a step-ladder, was smearing the ancient
sign-board with daubs of black paint, obliterating every trace of the
crude heraldic design that had marked the inn’s connection with the lord
of the manor.  When the board was one unbroken black, the painter
descended the ladder with his brush and can, winked at Jemmy, and went
into the inn to "mix the flavours", as he said in passing.  The
half-witted youth contemplated his handiwork for some minutes in mild
surprise; then he walked towards old Minshull and addressed him

"Gaffer, I’m afeard my poor yead won’t stand the wonder on’t, but it med
do me good to know why John painter ha’ covered that noble pictur wi’
the colour o’ sut."

"Why, boy, black’s for sorrow, as ’ee med know wi’out tellen an ’ee
weren’t so simple, and ’tis a black day for Winton Simmary, so ’tis."

"Why be it more black to-day than ’tis a-Sunday?" asked the youth.
"’Tis Tuesday, gaffer, bean’t it? and new pa’son didn’t holler it in
church for a holy day."

"Boy, your poor yead won’t stand high things, ’tis true, but ’ee know
young pa’son be off to Lun’on town to-day, an’ that’s why all the souls
be here, to see the last on un."

Jemmy looked up again at the defaced sign-board, puzzling his poor
brains to find some connection between it and the departure of "young

"’Tis a shame, gaffer," said Honest John, "to deceive the poor lad, when
you know the sign bean’t painted out for no such thing."

"Why, there now," returned old Minshull, "bean’t it all one?  I axe ’ee
that, souls.  Young pa’son be a-gwine to Lun’on ’cause his poor
feyther’s dead an’ gone; Pa’son Rochester be dead an’ gone ’cause o’ the
fight; an I weren’t afeard on un, I’d say the fight were all along o’
Squire; and Mis’ess Joplady ha’ changed the ancient sign of th’ inn
’cause her can’t abear to think on’t.  Bean’t that gospel truth, souls

The group looked impressed with the old man’s logic. Mistress Joplady,
coming for a moment to the door, had overheard his concluding sentences.

"’Tis true," she said, wiping away a tear.  "I never liked Squire;
nobody never did as I ever heerd on; but when pa’son died I couldn’t
abear him.  One thing I’m thankful for from the bottom o’ my heart, and
that is, that my house is college property, like the church, and I can
snap my vingers at Squire, and I do."  She suited the action to the
word.  "Has been the Berkeley Arms for a hunnerd years, but ’twill be so
no longer.  When paint’s dry, up goos the yead o’ Queen Annie, bless
her! a poor soul as ha’ lost all her childer, like myself, and the
Queen’s Head it’ll be for ever more."

"Ay, things be main different in village now, sure," said Lumpy.  "To
think what mighty changes come in a little time!  Zeems only a few days
sin’ young pa’son won that noble match—you mind, souls, the day the
lord’s carriage broke under the weight of the Queen’s purse—ay, the day
afore he were stopped in old road.  I never understood the rights o’
that bit o’ work.  Gaffer, hav ’ee got that printed paper ye read, where
the Lun’on talk be given like the words of a book?"

Old Minshull slowly drew from his pocket a folded sheet, rather dirty,
worn at the edges, and falling apart at the folds.  He opened it out
with great care, and spread it on his knees.

"That’s he," said Lumpy.  "Gaffer, you be a scholard; read it out loud
to us again."

"Ay, an’ don’t need spectacles neither," said Minshull proudly; "well,
listen, souls."

Very slowly, and with as much deliberation as though he were reading it
for the first instead of the hundredth time, and moving his forefinger
along the line, the old man began to read the account of the attempted
robbery of Lord Godolphin which the _Daily Courant_ presented to the
London public a week after the event.  The names of the principal
persons concerned appeared with a dash between the initial and final
letters, and Godolphin’s was read by Minshull as "Lard G line n".  After
briefly relating the incident, the writer of the paragraph added:

"’Tis said the Prisoner that broke jail was a Servant of a Captain A——y,
a Guest at that time of Esq. N——s B——y. The gallant Captain’s Commission
(as it is credibly reported) is not under the seal of her Gracious
Majestie, or King William lately Deceas’d of Noble Memorie, but of the
Czar of Muscovy.  ’Tis vouch’d by some ’twas none other than the Great

"Ay, that’s print," said Soapy Dick at the conclusion of the reading.
"The ’Cap’n A line y’ was Cap’n Aglionby sure enough, an’ some did zay
as how ’twas he let the pris’ner out o’ lock-up, and so brought shame to
Will’m Nokes."

"Ay, an’ some did say as how the Cap’n hisself made one o’ the cut-purse
rogues as waylaid the lard," said Honest John.

"Old wives’ tales," said Minshull.  "My boy Sherry be wise for his
years, an’ he says Cap’n couldn’t ha’ let prisoner out, ’cause a’ were
miles away at the time.  And as for Cap’n bein’ on the road—why, when
Sir Godfrey coom in all the might o’ the law to ’stablish the truth,
Squire up and said as how Cap’n was abed and asleep on that early mornen
when the deed was done."

"Ay true, Squire said so; but did a’ take his dyin’ oath like a common
man?  Tell me that, souls."

At this moment the conversation was interrupted, and the villagers were
thrilled into excitement by the distant tootle of a horn.

"Here be coach at last," cried the ostler.  "Ten minutes behind time,
and no sign of young Master Rochester.  Giles coachman won’t wait, not

But as the coach came in sight at a bend of the road, two figures were
seen hastening along from the direction of the rectory.  One was a tall
youthful form clad in black from his low felt hat to his buckle shoes.
His steinkirk was black, and its fringed ends were tucked into a black
waistcoat.  Black were his plain drugget coat and breeches, black also
his woollen stockings. Nothing redeemed the sable hue of his garments
save his cambric shirt, the white front of which was much exposed, in
the fashion of the time.  Harry Rochester’s face was pale, its
expression sad.

His companion, a head shorter than himself, was Sherebiah Minshull, clad
in the sober brown of ordinary country wear, and trudging along steadily
under the weight of a fair-sized valise.  Winter or summer, his
appearance never varied: his firm round cheeks were always ruddy, his
blue eyes always bright; and his expression, now as always, was that of
placid self-content, well becoming "a man of peace".

The two drew nearer to the inn, where the group had by this time been
enlarged by the accession of the greater part of the village population,
women and children, workers and loafers, mingled in one interested
throng. As Giles Appleyard was at that moment explaining to the
passenger at his side, he had never seen such a crowd at Winton St. Mary
before, though he had driven the coach, good weather and bad, for
fifteen years come Christmas.  It reminded him of the crowd at Salisbury

"And seein’ as how I’ve been laid up wi’ a bad leg for two months," he
added, "I’m behind the times, I be; news travels slow to them as don’t
drive coaches, and, i’ feck, I know no more than the dead what this
mortal big crowd do mean, i’ feck I don’t."

But many voices were ready to tell him when, having pulled up his four
steaming horses at the inn door, he descended with grave deliberation
from his perch, saluted Mistress Joplady with the gallantry of the road,
and entered her house "to warm his nattlens", as he said, with a tankard
of her home-brewed.  Young pa’son was a-gwine to Lun’on town!  It seemed
a slight cause for such an unwonted scene; in reality it was a momentous
event in the life of Harry Rochester and in the history of his village.
Small things bulk large in the imagination of rustic folk; a journey to
London came within the experience of few of them; and the departure of
young pa’son, following so closely upon two such notable events as the
cricket match and the attack on the Lord High Treasurer, had already
furnished unfailing material for gossip, and would be the theme of
comment and speculation for a year to come.

It was all along of old Squire, they said; and the coachman, for the
first and only time in his career, delayed his departure for some
minutes after the horses had been watered, in order to listen to the
story.  A few days after Lord Godolphin’s flying visit, Squire Berkeley
had fenced in a piece of land which time out of mind had been regarded
as part of the village common.  Old Gaffer Minshull, whose memory went
back fifty years, was called up to tell how in the year ’53, just before
Christmas, the then parson had held a prayer-meeting on that very spot
to celebrate the making of Noll Crum’ell Lord Protector; he remembered
it well, for it lasted five hours, and old Jenny Bates fainted on the
ground and took to her bed from that day.

"Ay, ’twas a holy spot, an’ Squire med ha’ feared to touch un, as the
old ancient folk feared to lay hands on the Lord’s holy ark; but, bless
’ee, Squire bean’t afeard o’ nothen, nay, not o’ the still small voice
pa’son do zay be inside on us all."

When the ground was fenced in the good parson was disposed to carry the
matter to law.  But though he had already won one case (a matter of
right of way) in the courts, the only result was that the squire had
carried it to appeal, trusting in the power of the purse.  The angry
villagers therefore determined to take the law into their own hands.
Without consulting the rector, they assembled one evening towards the
end of October, and hastening in a body to the disputed space, began to
make short work of the new fencing.  But the squire had got wind of
their intention, by some witchcraft of his own, they believed: he soon
appeared on the scene at the head of a gang of his own men.  There was a
fight; heads were broken, and the squire’s party were getting badly
mauled when the rector suddenly arrived and rushed between the

"Ay, poor pa’son, I zee un now, I do," said Gaffer Minshull feelingly,
"goen headlong into the rout wi’ all his petticoats flyen!  A fine
upstanden man was pa’son, as ought to ha’ been a man o’ war.  A’ stood
in the eye of Squire, an’ Squire opened on un, gave tongue to a deal o’
hot an’ scorchen words, a’ did.  But pa’son took no heed to’n, not he:
he spoke up fair an’ softly to Squire’s men, and wi’ that way o’ his a’
made ’em feel all fashly like; a’ had a won’erful way wi’ ’n, had
pa’son; an’ they made off wi’ their broken heads, they did; an’ Squire
was left a-frothen an’ cussen as he were a heathen Frenchman or Turk.
Ah, poor pa’son!  Such a fine sperit as he had, his frame were not built
for ’t; wi’ my own aged eyes I seed un go blue at the lips, and a’ put
his hand on his bosom, a’ did, an’ seemed as if all the breath was
blowed out of his mortal body; and a’ went home-along a stricken soul,
and two days arter his weak heart busted, an’ young pa’son had no
feyther—ay, poor soul, no feyther, an’ my boy Sherebiah be nigh
varty-vour, and here I be.  ’Tis strange ways Them above has wi’ poor
weak mortals—strange ways, ay sure!"

Mr. Berkeley took advantage of the rector’s death to pay off old scores.
The legal actions which Mr. Rochester had taken, on behalf of his flock,
collapsed for want of further funds; he had already seriously
impoverished himself by his open-hearted generosity; and when the squire
came down on the dead man’s estate for the law costs, Harry found that,
after all debts were paid, he was possessed of some twenty guineas in
all wherewith to start life.

His project of going to Oxford was necessarily abandoned.  He was at a
loss to find a career.  Educated by his father with a view to entering
the Church, he was fairly well grounded in classics and mathematics, and
had in addition a good acquaintance with French, and a great stock of
English poetry; but his knowledge was not marketable.  He was too young
for a tutor’s place, and had no influence to back him; friendless and
homeless, he was at his wits’ end.

Then one day he bethought him of Lord Godolphin’s promise.  It had been
frank and apparently sincere.  My lord, it was true, had spoken of a
country benefice when Harry’s Oxford days were over; but Harry reflected
that the slight service he had rendered was not likely to appear greater
with the lapse of time, while his need was actual and urgent.  Why not
take the Lord Treasurer at his word, journey to London, and put his case
before the man who, in all the kingdom, was the most able to help him if
he would?

He mentioned the matter to Gaffer Minshull, rather expecting that the
sturdy veteran would pour cold water on his idea.  To his surprise the
old man urged him to carry it out, and overbore the objections which
every high-spirited lad, even in those days of patronage, must have had
to soliciting favours from the great.  His eagerness was partially
explained to Harry when the old fellow added a suggestion of his own.
He was seriously concerned about his boy Sherebiah.  In spite of strict
injunctions to have nothing to do with the expedition against the
squire’s fencing, Sherebiah, man of peace as he was, had been attracted
to the scene as a moth to a candle.  At first he had watched events from
a distance, among other interested spectators; but when he saw the fight
at its beginning go against the villagers, owing to the superior
training of the squire’s men, many of whom were old soldiers, he could
contain himself no longer.  At the head of the waverers he dashed into
the affray, and set such an example of valour that it would have gone
hardly with the enemy but for the opportune arrival of the rector.

From that moment Sherebiah was a marked man. Whatever reasons the father
had for fearing Mr. Berkeley were strengthened when it became evident
that the squire had marked and would resent the son’s action.  Sherebiah
had been doing no good in the village since he suddenly returned to it,
from no one knew where, a few years before.  His father was anxious that
he should go away for a time, at least until the squire’s anger had
cooled. He welcomed the opportunity afforded by the approaching
departure of Harry.

"Let un goo wi’ ’ee," he said.  "’Tis a knowen boy, handy, with a head
full o’ wise things he’s larned in the world.  He’d be proud to sarve
’ee, ay, that he would."

"But, gaffer, I can’t afford a servant.  Twenty guineas are all I have,
and I know not what may happen.  If Lord Godolphin fails me, my money
will soon be gone, and then there’ll be two poor fellows instead of

"Never fear.  I bean’t afeard for ’ee.  And what does the Book say?
Why, ’twas the holy King David as said it hisself: ’Once I were young,’
says he, ’and now I be old; but never ha’ I knowed the righteous
forsaken, nor his seed a-beggen bread neither.’  That’s what he said,
and he knowed a thing or two, so he did."

"Perhaps he didn’t know everything, gaffer.  Well, you’re set on it, I
see.  Sherry would certainly be better out of the squire’s way; so he
can come with me, and as soon as I find something to do he had better
look for employment, and London ought to be a good place for that."

Thus it happened that, on this November morning, the two passengers who
had booked places in the Salisbury coach for London were Harry Rochester
and Sherebiah Minshull.

The story took a long time in the telling in the parlour of the inn, and
Giles Appleyard was somewhat perturbed when he saw by the big clock in
the corner that his departure was overdue.  He drained his tankard,
wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and went out, calling loudly
to the passengers to take their places.  Harry shook hands all round;
every man had something to say to him that was intended to be pleasant
and encouraging, but was in many cases the reverse.  His heart was full
as he thought of leaving the good folk among whom he had lived and whose
kindly feeling for him was so evident. When, last of all, Mistress
Joplady flung her arms round his neck and hugged him to her ample bosom,
and then wiped her eyes with the corner of her apron, he felt a lump in
his throat, and was glad to escape and mount to his place on the roof of
the coach.

"All right, Bill?" shouted the coachman over his shoulder.


"Let goo, ostler."

And gathering up the reins he cracked his whip, and with a clatter and
rumble the heavy vehicle, amid a volley of cheers, lurched forward on
the way to London.

The journey of nearly seventy miles was not likely to be pleasant.  The
stage-coaches of those days were large and clumsy structures, with hard
springs.  The inside passengers were jolted and jostled; the outside
passengers had no proper seats, but found what sitting room they could
among the packages and bundles.  On this morning, there was only one
other passenger on the roof of the coach, a stout broad-faced man
dressed in brown clothes much like Sherebiah’s.  He had retained his
seat during the scene of farewell, and sat solemnly munching a thick
sausage, scanning the crowd out of shrewd little twinkling eyes that
seemed a size too small for the other features.  When his sausage was
finished, he filled a huge pipe and sat puffing in stolid silence.

For some time after the coach started, no word was spoken by the three
passengers.  Harry was wrapt in his thoughts, brooding over the past,
dreaming about the future.  Sherebiah had lit his pipe as soon as he was
settled, and smoked on contentedly, stealing a glance every now and then
at the broad figure separated from him by a large travelling trunk.  He
seemed to find some amusement in these occasional peeps at his
neighbour, who by and by returned his glance.

"Mizzly mornen," said Sherebiah, with a nod.

"Zo," grunted the other.  His eyes were resting on Sherebiah’s pipe.

"Tobacco be a great comfort," said the latter, noting the look.  "Master
Harry there, he bean’t come to ’t yet; true, ’tis not for babes an’
sucklens; but I took to ’bacca when Susan wouldn’t take me, and ’tis
better nor any wife."

"Where you get dat pipe?" asked the stranger, in a slow pleasant voice
with a foreign accent.

"This pipe!  Why, over in Amesbury; see, ’tis marked wi’ the gauntlet,
sure token of a Amesbury pipe, an’ there’s no better in the land.  Why
med ’ee axe such a feelen question, now?"

"Once I zaw a pipe like it, wid de mark on it—de gauntlet, you zay."

"Oh!  I say, master, what part o’ the land med ’ee hail from?  Your
tongue makes me think ’ee med be a Dutchman, though I wouldn’t say so to
your face."

The man looked at his interrogator without replying. He stuffed the
tobacco down into his pipe with a fat forefinger which exactly fitted
the bowl.

"You know Amsterdam, my vrient?" he said.

"Ha’ been there, mynheer; so ’tis Amsterdam you hail from!  Well, I ha’
been in wuss places.  Ay, ha’ seed summat o’ the world, I have, and I
knowed ’ee by your cut for a Dutchman."

There was silence again for a space.  Both the men sat smoking, heedless
of all things around them.  They finished their pipes at the same
moment, and, moved by a mutual impulse, each handed his pouch to the

"Virginia," said Sherebiah laconically.

"Ah!  Barbados," returned the other.  "My name, Jan Grootz."

"And it becomes ’ee," said Sherebiah.  "Now mine bean’t so good a match;
’tis over long for one o’ my inches, and over proud for a man so meek:
Sherebiah Stand-up-and-bless Minshull in the church book, but plain
Sherry to them as I takes to, like young pa’son there."

Harry was roused from his reverie at hearing himself mentioned.  He
looked for the first time at his fellow-passenger, who at that moment
lifted his podgy right hand and pointed to a windmill in full sail a
little distance from the road.

"Ay sure, minds ’ee of home; your country’s full of mills, to be sure.
Mebbe you be a miller, now?"

The Dutchman waited to blow a great cloud from his mouth before he

"A sailor," he said; "but I have mills."

"A skipper," rejoined Sherry, looking over his costume. "’Tis not for me
to say, but to mortal eye you be more like a varmer.—’Tis a skipper from
Holland," he added, including Harry in the conversation, "that has a
mill or two to his name and smokes ’bacca out o’ Barbados."

"Jan Grootz," said the Dutchman.

Harry acknowledged the introduction, and remarked on the slowness of
their progress over the rough road. On this Mynheer Grootz volunteered
the remark that, having come all the way from Bristol, he would be glad
when the journey was ended.  By degrees he became still more
communicative; and when the coach pulled up at Basingstoke for the
mid-day meal, Harry had learnt that the Dutchman had been to Bristol to
inspect a vessel of which he was part-owner, and which had come most
fortunately to port after being first knocked about by a French
privateer, then badly damaged by a storm.  It was to the storm that she
owed her escape from the Frenchman, and to her captain’s seamanship her
escape from the storm.  Grootz was particularly gratified at her safe
arrival, for she represented a large amount not only to him personally,
but to others who could ill afford to lose on a venture upon which he
had persuaded them to embark.

When the journey was resumed, the conversation became still more
friendly.  Harry liked the look of the Dutchman.  His broad face with
its wide nose and little eyes was not handsome, but its expression
inspired confidence; and the careful slowness of his speech, and his
habit of pointing with his forefinger when he wished to be emphatic,
were a little amusing.  He asked no questions, but Harry by and by found
himself explaining his own position and relating the events that had led
to it, and told him of his projected visit to Lord Godolphin.  At this
up came the forefinger.

"Ah, my young vrient, you are de son of a minister: ver’ well: you know
de good Book: ver’ well: ’Put not your drust in princes;’ de words are
drue.  I tell you dis; besides my mills and my ships, I do oder dings; I
supply food for de men and horses of de English and Dutch armies; and I
have met princes; yes—I, Jan Grootz.  I tell you dis; wid a good honest
merchant of London or of Amsterdam, I care not, man knows where he
stand; his foot is on de solid rock; but wid dukes and grand-dukes and
oder princes—ah! man tread a quicksand.  Dey promise, but do dey pay?
You are good boy, I dink; mind you, I do not say I know, for outside do
not always speak drue; de apple may be red, and all de time a maggot at
core.  I tell you dis; seven year ago I make contract over hay wid young
captain of Bavarian Elector; it was in Namur campaign; he look good, he
speak good, I am well content; but donder! my hay I lose, and 3242
thalers 3 groschen beside.  Dis den I tell you; avoid arms and de law,
drive some honest trade: zo you respect yourself, and oder people dey
respect you.  You owe noding; nobody owe you; you are a man."

Ever since the departure from Basingstoke, Sherebiah, sitting just
behind Harry, had taken no part in the conversation, but appeared to
find something curiously interesting in the road behind, for after once
or twice looking over his shoulder he at last faced round altogether,
and sat with his back to the horses.  Just as the Dutchman finished his
speech—the longest to which he had yet given utterance, and one that his
slow delivery lengthened beyond its natural extent—Sherebiah turned
round, tapped Harry on the shoulder, and in a low tone said:

"Summat’s i’ the wind."

"What do you mean, Sherry?"

"Wind yourself about and look down the road behind."

"Well, I see nothing—stay, there’s a horseman just topping the hill, a
good mile behind us: what of that?"

"Why, ’tis like this.  He always is a mile behind: that’s where ’tis.  I
seed him afore we come to Basingstoke; but he didn’t come to the inn to
eat his vittles, not he.  I seed him again when we was a mile this side
o’ Basingstoke; what had he been doen, then, while we eat and drank?  We
stop, he falls behind; when we trot, he trots; ’tis as if he were a bob
at th’ end of a line, never nearer never vurther."

"You think we are being followed?"

"That’s what I do think, sure enough."

"A highwayman?"

"Mebbe, mebbe not; most like not, for ’tis not dark enough, and he’s
always in sight."

"Perhaps he thinks he can’t be seen."

"Not reckonen on the height of the coach roof?  But I seed him, I did,
two hours an’ more agoo."

"Why should he follow the coach, I wonder?  He may belong to someone

"Mebbe, mebbe not; ’tis curious anyways."

"Well, the fellow is clearly dogging the coach; if your curiosity
troubles you, suppose you slip off a mile before we reach the next
post-house and try to get a nearer look at him as he passes?  You can
catch up the coach while they change horses."

"Ay, I will, sure.  We be nigh the river now; over the bridge and we
come to Hounslow heath, a fearsome place for highwaymen.  We change at
the Bull and Gate, then run straight into Lun’on: oh, I know the road."

It was late in the afternoon by the time the coach reached the inn where
the last change of the journey was made.  Ten minutes before, Sherebiah
nimbly slipped down, crept through a gap in the hedge, and waited for
the pursuer to appear.  Presently he heard the clatter of hoofs; the
sound grew louder, but all at once began to diminish. Scrambling back
into the road, he was just in time to see the horseman strike off at
full speed along a by-road to his left, which led, as Sherebiah knew, to
London by a course only a mile or two longer than the main highway.  The
man must evidently have changed his horse somewhere on the road, and
could only have taken the detour in a desire to arrive in London ahead
of the coach.

Sherebiah stared long and earnestly at the retreating figure.  He
frowned and looked puzzled as he set off to overtake the coach.  The
driver was mounting the box as he came up.

"Well, what do you make of it?" asked Harry.

"He be gone off by a side road," replied Sherebiah.

"So your curiosity is not to be satisfied after all?"

"Well, he rid away hard to the left, wi’ his back towards me, an’ ’tis
growen duskish, an’ nowt but a owl could see clear."

But when Sherebiah clambered to his place he wore a sober look which did
not escape the clear little eyes of Jan Grootz, who silently extended
his pouch to him. Sherebiah refilled and puffed away, every now and then
removing the pipe from his mouth and staring contemplatively at the

                              *CHAPTER V*

                      *A Message from the Squire*

The Old White Hart—A Letter for the Captain—Visions—Aglionby gives
Instructions—The Watch—Half-Truths—Ways and Means—Hard Thinking

Sherebiah sat very silent for the rest of the journey.  The coach jolted
on rapidly towards the great city: passed the market-gardens of
Hammersmith, the open fields of Kensington, along Piccadilly, where the
first street-lamps shed a dim oily light, through Holborn, at last
pulling up at the Angel and Crown in Threadneedle Street.  It was past
nine o’clock, dull and murky, and few people were about. But a small
crowd was gathered at the door of the inn to meet the coach, and
Sherebiah, as he shouldered the luggage and moved towards the door, shot
a keen but unobtrusive glance at the faces of the men.  His movements
were somewhat too slow for Harry, who, eager to ease his limbs after a
whole day’s stiffness and discomfort, entered the hostelry first.  All
at once Sherebiah quickened his step, hastened into the lobby, set the
luggage down at the foot of the stairs, and then, making a mumbled
excuse to Harry, slipped out behind one of the inn servants, and looked
narrowly at the diminishing crowd.  He was just in time to see a man,
whom he had already noticed on the outskirts of the group, saunter away
in the direction of London Bridge.  Appearances are deceptive, and
Sherebiah was not sure that he was right, but he thought the man bore a
resemblance to the rider whom he had seen following the coach, and of
whom he had caught one nearer glimpse as he turned into the by-road.  He
followed the man, stepping as quietly as his heavy shoes allowed,
accommodating his pace to that of the man in front, and taking advantage
of the shadow afforded by the penthouse fronts of the closed shops.  The
man quickened his steps as he approached the bridge.  Sherebiah pursued
him at a discreet distance over the narrow roadway, beneath the rickety
four-story houses that towered above the bridge over almost its entire
length, through Traitor’s Gate, and on into Southwark.  The man went
along one narrow street, and at last passed under a low archway.
Walking even more stealthily, Sherebiah still followed, and found
himself in the spacious yard of the Old White Hart Inn.  This famous
three-storied hostelry was built about three sides of a square.  Along
two sides of the upper story ran a balustraded gallery, with wooden
pillars supporting the sloping roof.  All was quiet.  Sherebiah, keeping
in the shadow of the arch, peeped round and saw the man he followed
standing at the door waiting for an answer to his summons at the bell,
which hung on the outer wall under a gabled cover.  After a little time
the door opened and the porter appeared.

"Be Cap’n Aglionby within?" said the man.

"Ay, and abed and asleep.  What do you want wi’ him?"

"I want to see un."

"A pretty time o’ night!  House was shut up an hour ago—no business
doin’ these hard times.  Why didn’t you come sooner?"

"A good reason, ’cause I be only just come to Lun’on. I has a message
for Cap’n Aglionby."

"Well, needs must, I s’pose," grumbled the servant. "I’ll go up and wake
the captain, and be cursed horrible for my pains.  Who shall I say wants

"Tell un a friend from the country."

The porter went into the inn, and soon reappeared in the gallery at the
top of the house, where he tapped at the door of one of the bedrooms
opening from it.  He tapped once, twice, thrice, and received no answer;
then to his fourth knock came a response the tone of which, though not
the words, could be heard in the yard below.  A colloquy ensued, of
which only the share of the inn servant was distinctly audible to

"A man from the country, Cap’n, to see you."

Mumble from within.

"So I told him, but here he bides."

More mumbling.

"Didn’t tell me his name; a man from the country was all he said, and I
knows no more."

The answering mumble was of higher and impatient mood.  Then the man
came slowly downstairs, grumbling under his breath all the way.

"You’re to go up," he said to the stranger.  "’Tis number thirty-two.
And fine tantrums he be in, waked out of sleep; as if I ain’t waked out
of sleep or kept from it day and night, and all year long."

The man entered the inn after the servant, and began to ascend.
Sherebiah meanwhile, looking around, had espied another stairway at the
opposite angle of the courtyard. Darting across on tiptoe, he mounted
quickly, quietly, and reached the gallery above in time to see the
messenger disappear into the captain’s room.  He hurried along, and,
relying on the porter’s complaint of the paucity of business, he opened
the door of the adjacent room and slipped in, leaving the door ajar.
Through the thin partition he heard the murmur of voices in the next
room, but could not catch a word distinctly.  In a few moments, however,
there was a crash as of a chair being overthrown, followed by a torrent
of execrations from the captain. Then the door of the next room opened,
and Aglionby came out on to the gallery accompanied by his visitor.

"Hang you and the squire too!" said the angry warrior. "The tinder’s
wet, and I can’t light my candle.  Give me the letter and I’ll read it
by the light of the lantern yonder, and catch my death o’ cold withal."

Shrinking back into the darkness of his room, Sherebiah caught sight of
Captain Aglionby as he passed the half-open door on his way to the
single lantern that feebly lit up the gallery.  He had pulled on his
breeches and stockings, but for the rest was in night attire.  The
lantern swung from a hook at the corner of the gallery, three rooms
beyond that into which Sherebiah had ventured.  Standing beneath it, the
captain broke the seal of the letter given him by the visitor, and read
rapidly under his breath.  The reading finished, he stuffed the paper
into his pocket and chuckled.

"Stap me, he begs and prays me now!" he exclaimed. "See, Jock, tell me
what ye know of this.  Ye ha’n’t read the letter, ha’ ye?  By the Lord
Harry, I’ll slit—"

"Nay, nay, Cap’n," interrupted the man; "I know nought o’ the letter.
I’ll tell ’ee how it all come about. I was openen the gate for Squire,

"Speak lower, man; your brazen throat’ll wake the house."

"I was openen the gate for Squire," resumed the fellow in a lower tone,
which was, however, still audible to Sherebiah’s straining ears, "when
who should come by but young master popinjay dressed all in his black.
He never bobbed to Squire, not he; never so much as cast eyes on un; but
when Squire saw the young swaggerer he stopped still as a stone, and
looked after un dazed like.  Then he put his arm on the gate, a’ did,
and leant heavy on it, thinken mortal hard; ’twas a matter o’ five
minutes afore he lifted his head again, and never seed I a stranger look
on any man’s face than I seed then on Squire’s.  A’ jumped when his eyes
fell on me; ’What be staren at, fool?’ says he, in one of his rages.
’Shall I run for doctor?’ says I; ’you do look mortal bad.’  ’Nay,’ says
he, ’’tis nothen; a little faintness; ’twill pass.’  I touched my cap,
as becomes me, and Squire went into park and shut gate behind un. But a’
hadn’t walked more nor three steps when a’ stops, swings about, and
’Jock!’ says he, ’order post-horses for Hungerford road to-morrer.  And
come up to hall inside of an hour; I shall ha’ a job for ’ee.’

"Well, I went up to hall after I’d ordered horses, and Squire give me
this letter.  ’You’ll ride to Lun’on to-morrer, and take this letter to
Cap’n Aglionby at White Hart, South’ark.  And you’ll tell the cap’n
where young Master Rochester be stayen.’  ’How’ll I know that, Squire?’
says I.  ’Pon that he burst into one of his terr’ble rages again.  ’How,
fool!’ says he; ’why, keep the coach in sight, and see that ’ee make no
mistake.’  So here I be, Cap’n, and young Master Rochester he’s at Angel
and Crown in Threadneedle Street."

"Thank ’ee, Jock; I know the house.  And is the young springald alone?"

"Not he; has Sherry Minshull with un, a-carryen his belongens."

"Zounds and thunder! did Sherry see you?"

"No, i’ feck; I kept too far from coach to be seen for sarten, and at
Angel and Crown Sherry was too heavy laden to spy me."

"Well for you, well for you!  Jock, you’ll come and take up your
quarters here; there’s plenty of room.  I’ll tell ’em to gi’ ye a bed."

"What about the horse, Cap’n?  I left un at Angel and Crown."

"Let him bide till morning; then you can bring him here too."

"But Squire, Cap’n,—won’t he expect us back, me and horse?"

"Not he; ’tis here written; I’m to keep you if there’s any work for you,
and odzooks!  I’ll ha’ some work for you, never fear.  Jock, if your
story has made you as dry as it has made me you’re main thirsty; go down
and bring up beer for two, and a lighted candle.  I’ll ring and wake
that rascal by the time you get to the foot of the stairs."

The man went down by the way he had come, and the captain returned to
his room.  As soon as the coast was clear, Sherebiah slipped out into
the gallery, carrying his shoes to avoid noise, ran down the outer
staircase, stood for a few moments at the foot to make sure that all was
safe, then darted across the yard and out at the gate.  The street was
quite deserted, and Sherebiah, secure from molestation, walked slowly
along towards London Bridge, deep in thought.  His friend Harry had been
followed to London at the orders of the squire; what was the meaning of
that?  Surely Mr. Berkeley did not intend to wreak vengeance on the son
for the baffled opposition of the father?  What had Captain Aglionby to
do with the matter?  Rumour the omniscient had informed the village that
the captain’s departure had been occasioned by a violent quarrel with
the squire; yet it was plain that the squire knew the captain’s
whereabouts and was enlisting his aid in some project.  Sherebiah wished
that he could get a sight of Mr. Berkeley’s letter; he was puzzled to
account for the old man’s shock as Harry passed the gate; but try as he
might to piece these strange circumstances together, all his cogitation
suggested no clue.

So absorbed was he, so mechanical his movements, that he started
convulsively when, just as he had passed through Traitor’s Gate, a man
stepped suddenly before him from a narrow entry and bade him stop in the
Queen’s name. Looking up, he saw that his way was barred by a corpulent
constable in cocked hat and laced coat, with a staff two feet longer
than himself, and half a dozen ancient and decrepit watchmen with
lanterns and staves.

"Stand!" cried the constable.  "Give an account of yourself."

Sherebiah took his measure.

"Not so, neither, master constable.  Out o’ my way; ’tis a late hour,
and I ought to be abed."

He made to move on, but the constable stood full in his path, and the
watchmen grouped themselves behind their superior.

"You may be a villain for aught I know," said the constable, "or even a
vagrom or thief.  Why abroad at this hour o’ night?"

"I’m as sober as a judge," replied Sherebiah, "and neither thief nor
vagrom.  Stand aside, master constable."

"Well, ’tis dry and thirsty work watching o’ nights, and there be seven
of us, and a shilling don’t go far in these war times; we’ll take a
shilling to let ye pass; eh, men?"

The watchmen mumbled assent.  Sherebiah laughed.

"A shilling?  ’Tis a free country, master constable, and a sober
countryman don’t carry shillings to buy what’s his.  And seems to me, so
it does, as ye’ve had drink enough a’ready; out o’ my way, I say!"

"Arrest him, men!" cried the constable, angry at being disappointed of
his expected tip.

The words were scarcely out of his mouth when with sudden energy
Sherebiah threw himself against him, at the same time placing a leg
behind his knee.  As the constable fell, Sherebiah dashed at the
watchmen, toppled two of them over, their fall being accompanied by the
crash of their lanterns, scattered the rest, and ran rapidly across the
bridge.  This unexpected onset from one whom they had taken for a simple
and timid country bumpkin was too much for the watch.  They made no
attempt to pursue the fugitive, but returned surly and crestfallen to
their lair.

"Where on earth have you been, Sherry?" asked Harry, as his man
re-entered the inn.

"Payen a visit to a cousin o’ mine, Master Harry. And I was nigh put in
lock-up, I was.  Was stopped by the watch, but I toppled un over, I did.
I’m a man o’ peace."

"If you are let alone," said Harry, laughing.  "I feared some harm had
happened to you.  Our Dutch friend tells me London is an ill place at
night for a stranger."

"Ay, and by day too, Master Harry," rejoined Sherebiah earnestly.  "If I
med make so bold, I’d say, get ’ee to-morrow a good cane,—none of your
little small amber-tipt fancies as fine gentlemen swing in their dainty
fingers, but a stout length of oak or birch, fit to crack a pate."

"I have a sword, Sherry, and can use it, thanks to you."

"Ay, but ’tis not always easy to draw a sword in time in a street brawl,
and there be light-fingered gentry as can coax a sword from the scabbard
and the wearer none the wiser till it be too late.  Be it your poor
feyther’s sword you ha’ brought, sir?"

"Yes, the silver-hilted one; I showed it you once, Sherry."

"Well, ’tis right for a gentleman to wear a sword, though I marvel, I
do, at a holy man o’ peace like pa’son haven such a deadly piece o’

"Ay, and I’ve often wondered how a man of peace like yourself is able to
handle a sword so well.  You made a swordsman of me, Sherry; how did you
become one yourself?"

"Ah, sir, ’tis a many things a man o’ peace has to know in the way o’
dressens.  I believe in peace with a cudgel in your hand.  Them as wants
peace be most like to get it an they be ready for war."

"You remind me of what Master Butler says:

    ’There’s but the twinkling of a star
    Betwixt the man of peace and war’.

But the hour is late, Sherry, and I must be up betimes in the morning,
for my visit to Lord Godolphin."

"You bean’t gwine to see the high lard to-morrer, sir? Better larn to
find your way about this tangle o’ busy streets first.  ’Tis as easy as
sucken eggs to lose your way."

"I have made up my mind to go to-morrow.  You see, I must lose no time.
I have only twenty guineas, as you know, and by to-morrow two of those
will be gone.  And I sha’n’t rest till I have tried my luck.
Good-night, Sherry! Wake me at seven."

Left to himself, Sherebiah ordered a pint of small beer, and sat for an
hour longer, ruminating, with knit brows and compressed lips.  More than
once he got up and walked round the deal table, stopping to take a pull
at the tankard, heaving a sigh, then going on again.  He was disquieted.
The sudden discovery that the squire’s animosity was pursuing Harry no
less perplexed than disturbed him.  Harry and Mr. Berkeley had never met
at close quarters; there had been no intercourse between hall and
parsonage.  A personal cause of offence was, as it seemed to Sherebiah,
out of the question; yet it was strange that the squire’s hatred of the
father should extend to the son.  At length, muttering "No one can tell
what’s what with the likes o’ old Squire,"  Sherebiah brought his big
fist down on to the table with a bang that made the pewter jump and
rattle, and fetched the drawer from his place in the bar.

"What d’ye lack?" said the man.

"Nothen, sonny, nothen.  ’Tis a way o’ mine to hit out when I be
a-thinken, a bold way for a man o’ peace, true. Bacon at half arter
seven, drawer,—and we be country eaters, mind ’ee.  Good-night!"

                              *CHAPTER VI*

                   *My Lord Marlborough makes a Note*

London Streets—A Chair!—A Great Man’s Portals—An Effort of
Memory—Patronage—Marlborough—A Step in the Peerage—A Memorandum—A Friend
in London—A Dinner at Locket’s—Mr. Colley Cibber—Great Expectations—A
Thick Stick—Prevarication

Harry was awake long before Sherebiah tapped at his door next morning.
His projected visit to Lord Godolphin gave him some concern.  He had no
tremors of shyness at the thought of meeting the Lord Treasurer; but,
ignorant as he was of London ways, he knew not how to time his visit,
and could hope for no counsel on that point from Sherebiah.  He was too
much excited to do justice to the crisp rashers which were placed before
him at the breakfast-table, and felt little disposed to converse with
Jan Grootz the Dutchman opposite.  Sherebiah had taken upon himself to
wait at table, but, as a privileged servitor, did not think it
unbecoming to throw in a word here and there.  He gave Grootz his views
on the price of oats and the policy of King Louis of France with equal

"Know ye where de lord live?" asked the Dutchman suddenly.

Harry had forgotten that he had mentioned his errand to his
fellow-passenger, and for the moment repented his confidence.  Before he
could reply, Grootz went on:

"He live over against the Queen’s Wood Yard, by Thames-side, leading to
Scotland Yard.  My vrient John Evelyn built de house.  I have been

"Oh!" exclaimed Harry.  "Then can you tell me the best time to visit

"Ja!  De best time, it is ten o’clock, before he go to de palace.  He
rise late; he has many visitors; I zee him myself in his dressing-gown
before his zervant have curled his wig, and I wait my turn two hours.
And when you zee him, you zall lose no time; he like man to speak out,
mark you."

The Dutchman spoke very slowly, not interrupting his meal, and wagging
his fat finger as he concluded.

"And how shall I go?  Shall I walk?"

"I’ feck, no," said Sherebiah from behind.  "The night have been rainy,
and the streets be mushed wi’ mud; you’d be spattered from head to heel,
Master Harry. Nay; you med walk as far as the Exchange and buy ’ee a
pair o’ gloves there for seemliness, and then get your shoes brushed by
one o’ the blackguards at the corner. Then you can take a chair; ’tis a
shilling a mile, and easier goen nor the hackneys, for the chairmen walk
on the pavement, and you won’t get jolted nor splashed so bad."

"Ja, and I tell you dis," added the Dutchman.  "Short poles, and short
men; zo, dey take not zo much room, and if dey upzet you, why, you do
not fall zo much."

"Ay, and don’t let ’em chouse ’ee out o’ more than their due," said
Sherebiah.  "I know they men.  If they think a man be up from country,
they look at un and then at the shilling, up and down, and miscall un
wi’ such brazen tongues that he’ll pay anything to save his ears.  A
shilling a mile, Master Harry, no more."

"Zo!  De counsel is good.  But I give you a better: go not at all.
Lords!  I tell you dis before: an honest merchant is worth two, dree, no
man zay how many lords; and de Book zay, ’Put not your drust in
princes’. Still, I wish you good luck, my young vrient, Jan Grootz; zo!"

He squeezed Harry’s hand in his own great fist, and then, having
demolished his mountain of food, filled his pipe and set forth for the
Custom House on Thames bank. Two hours later, Harry left the inn under
Sherebiah’s guidance, and for the first time in his life trod the
streets of London.  Filled though his mind was with the approaching
interview, which might mean so much to him, he was yet able to take an
interest in the strange scenes that opened before his inexperienced
eyes: the brilliant shops, each with its sign of painted copper, pewter,
or wood hanging from iron branches; the taverns and coffee-houses,
already crowded with people eager to hear and discuss the news, and
perhaps to get a peep at the morning’s _Courant_; the court and
porticoes of the Royal Exchange, to which merchants were flocking; the
crowds of money-dealers in Change Alley, looking for clients.  He went
up to the gallery on the first floor of the Exchange, and bought a pair
of gloves from a neat and pretty girl at one of the booths; then
strolled along, admiring the rich and dazzling display of silks and
jewellery which a few hours later would attract all the fine ladies in

Descending to the street again, he passed up Cheapside and through St.
Paul’s Churchyard, down Ludgate Hill and through Ludgate, where he
beheld impaled on stakes a row of hideous heads of traitors, one of
which, Sherebiah told him with indignation, was that of Noll Crum’ell.
Then skirting the Fleet Ditch, once navigable, but now a noisome slimy
sewer, he came into Fleet Street, through Temple Bar to the Strand, and
at length arrived at Charing Cross, where he was nearly overturned by a
hasty chair-man, whose "By your leave!" was not yet familiar to his
ears.  At Charing Cross stood a number of boys with boxes before them on
the pavement, and cries of "Clean your shoes!" "London fucus!" "Best
Spanish blacking!" came in eager competing tones.  Sherebiah selected
one whose stand was in front of a barber’s shop.

"Here’s the blackguard for ’ee, Master Harry," he said. "He’ll shine
your shoes while barber shaves my stubble. A penny; no more."

When the shoes were polished and the stubble mown, Sherebiah called up a
couple of chairmen who were sitting on their poles near by.

"Do ’ee know my Lord Godolphin’s noble house?" he asked.

"Ay; servant, sir."

"Well then, carry my young master to that very house, and see ’ee don’t
jolt ’n, or drop ’n, or let ’n get splashed. ’Tis under a mile, Master
Harry," he whispered at parting.

Harry would rather have walked.  The men took what care they could, but
the press of people was so great that they had to dodge at every few
steps, and their fare gripped the seat to prevent himself from being
knocked against first one side, then the other, of the conveyance. At
the corner of Whitehall, as they turned into Scotland Yard, a passing
dray splashed up a shower of liquid mud, and Harry felt a moist dab upon
his nose.  Fortunately the spot was soon removed with his handkerchief;
and when, after crossing by the Charcoal House and through the Wood
Yard, the chairmen at length set him down at the door of Godolphin’s
house, he would have felt no anxiety about his personal appearance, if
he had been sufficiently self-conscious to think about it.  He had put
on his best coat, silk stockings, and buckle shoes; at his side he wore
the sword about which he had spoken to Sherebiah.  He sprang alertly up
the steps, and looked about him with a keen quick gaze that bespoke a
definite purpose.

The great entrance-hall was thronged.  Servants, officers, government
officials, men about town, stood in groups or moved here and there in
pursuit of their several objects of business or pleasure.  No one
appeared to remark the presence of the new-comer, who walked quietly
through the throng towards the broad staircase.  At the foot a
gorgeously-dressed flunkey was standing, to whom one or two gentlemen
had already applied for information. As Harry was about to address him,
his attention was attracted by a woolly-pated wide-grinning black boy,
who at that moment ran down the stairs.  He carried a silver tray, on
which a cup and jug of fine porcelain jingled as he ran.

"Done, Sambo?" asked the tall flunkey at the stair-foot.

"Yussir!" replied the boy with a white grin.  "My lord jolly dis mornin;
oh yes; drink him chocolate without one cuss.  Gwine to begin work now;
oh yes."

"Can I see the Lord Godolphin?" asked Harry, stepping up to the servant
as Sambo disappeared.

The man gave Harry a stare, but answered respectfully: "My lord’s levee
is over, sir.  The nigger brings down the tray when the last visitor has

"I have come specially to see my lord, and——"

"Have you an appointment, sir?"

"I think if you will take my name to my lord he will see me."

Harry spoke quietly; he was determined not to be turned from his purpose
by mere formality or red tape.  The man eyeing him saw nothing but
self-possession and confidence in his air.

"My lord is now engaged with his correspondence," he said.  "He does not
brook interruption."

"My name is Harry Rochester; I will answer for it that you will do no
wrong in acquainting his lordship."

After a moment’s hesitation the man beckoned to a fellow-servant, and
gave him Harry’s message.  He went upstairs, and returning in a few
minutes said:

"What is your business with my lord, sir?  His lordship does not
remember your name."

There was the suggestion of a sneer in the man’s voice. With hardly a
perceptible pause Harry replied:

"Tell his lordship I am from Winton St. Mary, at his invitation."

A faint smile curled the lips of the two flunkeys.  The second again
mounted the stairs.  When he descended, his face wore its usual
expression of deference and respect.

"Be so good as to wait upon his lordship," he said, and led the way.

In a few minutes Harry found himself, hat in hand, making his bow to
Lord Godolphin in a large wainscoted apartment.  Four large candles
burnt upon the mantel-piece, daylight being kept out by the heavy
curtains on either side of the narrow window.  A huge log fire filled
the chimney-place; beyond it stood a broad table littered with papers,
which at that moment a young man was sorting by the light of a shaded
candle.  Lord Godolphin was in dressing-gown and slippers.

"Well, sir?" he said.

"My name is Rochester, my lord."

"I am aware of that.  I do not recall it.  Well?"

My lord’s tone was cold and uninviting.

"Your lordship will permit me to mention a little incident on the Roman
road by Sir Godfrey Fanshawe’s park, when——"

"Stay, I remember now.  You are the lad they called the young parson,
eh?  I have a poor head for names. When my man spoke of Winton St. Mary
I supposed you might be a messenger from the gentleman who entertained
us there."

Now that Harry was actually face to face with the Lord Treasurer, he
felt some diffidence in opening the subject of his visit.  My lord, in
spite of his deshabille, seemed far less approachable than he had been
on the old Roman road.  Then he was the country sportsman; now he was
the chief minister of the Queen.

"Your shouting friend with the scriptural name—how is he?" he asked in a
somewhat more cordial tone.

"He is well, my lord; he is with me in London."

"And your father: has he won his case against the squire?  I heard
something of him at Sir Godfrey Fanshawe’s, I think."

"My father is dead, my lord."

"Indeed!  Pray accept my condolences.  And now, tell me what brings you

"Your lordship may remember, after the scene with the highwaymen——"

"Yes, yes; you did me a service, you and your man; what then?"

"It was but a slight service, my lord; I do not presume on it; but you
were so good as to say that if, at some future time, I should find
myself in need of assistance, I was to come to your lordship."

"Why, I did speak of a country parsonage, I believe. But you,"—he
smiled—"why, I really may not venture to set you up in a cure of souls.
You have to take your degrees yet."

"That is impossible, my lord.  My father impoverished himself in his
feuds with Mr. Berkeley; when his affairs were settled I found myself
possessed of but a poor twenty guineas.  I have given up all thought of
going to Oxford; I must seek a livelihood."


Lord Godolphin looked him up and down, as though estimating his chances
of making his way in the world.

"You wear a sword," he said.  "Rochester—you are no connection of the
earl’s?—no, of course not, he is a Wilmot.  Where do you spring from?"

"My grandfather was a soldier, my lord; I have heard that he died young,
but my father seldom spoke of these matters; we have no relatives."

"H’m!  I bethink me now, you yourself have an itch for martial life.
All boys have, I suppose.  Young Lord Churchill was cut to the heart a
few months ago because my lady Marlborough would not permit him to
follow his father to Flanders.  Well, to be frank with you, I see no way
of helping you.  With twenty guineas you can no more buy a commission
than you can enter yourself at a college.  To enlist as a common soldier
would be a last resource to one of your breeding.  There are too many
young scions of good stocks for the lesser places at court to go round
among them.  Yet I would fain do something for you."

He began to saunter up and down the room, his hands clasped behind him,
stopping for a moment to listen as the sound of cheers came from the
street.  Suddenly the door was opened, and the voice of the servant was
heard announcing a visitor.

"My lord Marlborough."

Harry looked with eager curiosity as the great soldier entered the room.
He saw a tall, singularly handsome man, with short curved upper lip,
firm chin, long almond-shaped eyes, and a calm benignity of expression.
John Churchill, Earl of Marlborough, was at this time fifty-two years of
age.  As captain-general of the English forces, in the summer of this
year, 1702, he had opened in concert with the Dutch a campaign in
Flanders against Louis the Fourteenth of France,—a new campaign in the
great war of the Spanish Succession which the policy of William the
Third had bequeathed to his sister-in-law. Venloo and other towns had
been captured by the confederate armies, Liège had been reduced, and the
forces having gone into winter quarters, Marlborough had returned to
England to support the Occasional Conformity Bill.  He was a close
personal friend of Godolphin, and allied to him by the marriage of
Francis Godolphin to his daughter Henrietta.

"Welcome, my dear lord!" said Godolphin, starting forward to meet the
earl.  "I did not know you had arrived."

"I am but just come from waiting on the Queen," said Marlborough.  "I
arrived late last night."

"You are welcome indeed.  All men’s mouths are full of your praises."

"Ay," returned Marlborough with a smile; "your Londoners have lusty
throats.  And I have a piece of news for you."  He dropped his voice:
the secretary had vanished through a further door: Harry stood in a
quandary, the noblemen both seeming to ignore his presence. "The Queen
has been pleased to express her wish to make me a duke."

Godolphin laid his hand on his friend’s arm, and said cordially: "I
congratulate you, Jack, with all my heart. Why, this very morning I have
a letter from Churchill at Cambridge; there are shrewd wits there; he
says ’tis whispered you are to be raised in the peerage, and the boy,
young dog, begs me to tell him what his own title will be then."

"Ah! ’tis over soon to talk of it.  I must acquaint my lady first, and
methinks she will object."

"Stap me, Jack! ’tis few women would hesitate to exchange countess for
duchess.—God bless me, I’d forgotten the boy!  My lord, this is the hero
of the little adventure at Winton St. Mary I writ you of.  ’Twas he that
inspired the stout fellow to shout, and scared the highwaymen out of
their five wits."

[Illustration: My Lord Marlborough]

Marlborough looked towards Harry, who flushed and bowed.  An idea seemed
to strike Godolphin.  Linking his arm with the earl’s, he led him slowly
to the other end of the room, and stood there talking earnestly to him
in tones too low for Harry to catch a word.  Once or twice both glanced
at the tall youthful figure standing in some natural embarrassment near
the door.  Once Marlborough shook his head and frowned, upon which
Godolphin took him by a button of his laced coat and spoke more
earnestly than before.  At length Marlborough smiled, laid a hand on
Godolphin’s shoulder, and spoke a few words in his ear.  Then he turned
about, and coming slowly towards Harry, said, in his clear bell-like

"My lord Godolphin tells me you have lost your father and are all but
penniless.  ’Tis an unfortunate situation for a lad of your years.  You
would serve the Queen?"

"Ay, my lord."

"You have a quick wit, my lord says.  I may make some use of you.  Write
your name on a piece of paper, and the name of your lodging."

Godolphin motioned him to the table, where he found paper and a pencil.
He wrote his name and the name of his inn, and handed the paper to
Marlborough, who said, as he folded it and placed it in his pocket:

"I will send for you, Master Rochester, if I can serve you."

"My lord, I am much beholden to you—" began Harry.

Marlborough interrupted him.

"’Tis my lord Godolphin you should thank for his good word."

"’Faith, my lord," said Godolphin, "’tis due to Master Rochester that
the Queen is served by her present Lord Treasurer.  I am glad, my lad,
that my friend Lord Marlborough chanced to come upon us here, and I hope
you will have reason to be glad also.  Now, you will excuse us; we have
matters of state to speak of; I wish you well."

Harry murmured his thanks and bowed himself out. His nerves were
a-tingle with his unexpected good fortune. To have seen and spoken with
the greatest man in the kingdom was itself an unforeseen privilege; and
the prospect of assistance from such a powerful and august personage
filled him with elation.  The earl had shown no great cordiality, it was
true; but Harry was inclined to draw good augury from the few words he
had uttered. They were probably more sincere than a warm volubility
would have been.  He left the house with a sparkling eye and a springy
gait, and looked eagerly around to see if Sherebiah were near at hand to
hear his news.  But Sherebiah was nowhere to be seen.  Having no
particular business, now that his great errand was accomplished, Harry
walked through Whitehall into St. James’s Park, in the hope that he
might catch a glimpse of Queen Anne herself. The guard had just been
changed at St. James’s Palace, and a stream of people met him as he
strolled along the Mall.  He was interested in watching them—the fine
ladies with their hoops and patches, the beaux with their many-coloured
coats, canes dangling at their buttons, toothpicks between their teeth,
and snuff-boxes in frequent use.  So absorbed was he that he was
startled when all at once a hand struck him a hearty blow on the
shoulder, and a voice exclaimed:

"Hey, Harry, what make you, ogling the ladies?"

He turned and saw his friend Godfrey Fanshawe, the captain of the
cricket team to whose victory he had so much contributed.  The two young
fellows shook hands heartily.

"What brings you to London?" continued Fanshawe.

"I’ve come in search of fortune, like Dick Whittington. You heard of my
father’s death?"

"Ay, but nothing since.  They seldom write letters at home."

Harry then explained the course of events which had brought him to
London, concluding with his recent interview with Marlborough and

"Egad, man!" exclaimed Fanshawe, "you’re in luck’s way indeed.  Would
that I stood so well with the two greatest men in England.  My lord
Marlborough will gazette you an ensign of foot or a cornet of horse; and
my cornetcy, I may tell you, cost my father a pretty penny.  What luck,
Harry, if we make the next campaign together!  The earl will surely go
back to Flanders when the winter is over."

"I should like nothing better."

"Where are you staying?"

"At the Angel and Crown, in Threadneedle Street."

"You must leave that and come westward.  Are you alone?"

"Sherry Minshull is with me at present; but he’ll get work for himself
as soon as I am settled."

"Sherry’s a handy fellow; egad, I know no better! He’ll tie a fly with
any man, and is as good with sword or quarterstaff as he is with his
fists.  Well now, ’tis drawing towards dinner-time; come and dine with
me; the people of fashion here dine at four, but I stick to country
habits.  We’ll go to Locket’s at Charing Cross; you’re my guest to-day.
And we’ll go to the play this evening; the first time, I warrant you,
you’ve seen a play. Come!  I stand well with the people at Locket’s, and
the sharp air this morning has given me an appetite."

It was but five minutes’ walk to Locket’s tavern.  Entering, Fanshawe
bowed with elaborate courtesy to the fair dame in charge, and called for
the card.

"There’s boiled beef and carrots, I see, and a goose, and look, a calf’s
head.  I adore calf’s head.  What say you?  Yes?  Boy, bring calf’s head
for two, and quickly."

With calf’s head and cabbage and a wedge of Cheshire cheese, the two
young fellows appeased their unjaded appetites.  Fanshawe sat for some
time finishing his bottle of wine, Harry contenting himself with small
beer. Then, as there still remained a few hours to while away before
theatre time, Fanshawe proposed a row on the river.  Harry eagerly
assented; they sallied forth, took boat at Westminster stairs and rowed
up to Chelsea, returning to Westminster in time for the performance of
Mr. Colley Cibber’s new play, "She would and she would not", by Her
Majesty’s Servants at Drury Lane. Harry was delighted with his first
visit to the theatre. He was tickled at the unabashed impertinence of
Trappanti the discarded servant, played by Mr. Penkethman, one of the
best comedians in London, as Fanshawe informed him; and fell in love
with Hypolita the heroine, a part which suited Mrs. Mountford to
perfection.  But he was perhaps most interested in Mr. Colley Cibber
himself, who played the part of Don Manuel the irascible father.  His
pleasure was complete when, after the performance, Fanshawe took him to
the Bull’s Head tavern, and showed him Mr. Cibber with his paint washed
off, surrounded by a circle of actors, soldiers, lords, and even
clergymen.  He had never seen an author before.  Mr. Cibber had no
presence to boast of, with his thick legs, lean face, and sandy hair;
but the liveliness of his conversation gave him a sort of pre-eminence
among his coterie, and made a considerable impression on a youth ready
to admire and wonder at anything.

Fanshawe appeared quite at home among the company. He was indeed a
frequent visitor at the Bull’s Head after the play, where all were
welcome on condition of providing their quota towards the general
hilarity.  Fanshawe was the lucky possessor of a fine baritone voice,
and his spirited singing of west-country songs had won him instant
popularity. On this night, in response to the usual call, he began—

    "Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me thy grey mare,
      All along, down along, out along lee;
    For I want for to go to Widdicombe Fair,
      Wi’ Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney, Peter Davy,
        Dan Whiddon, Harry Hawk,
      Old uncle Tom Cobleigh, and all";

and by the time he reached the end of the third of the eight stanzas,
the whole company were ready to join him in trolling the chorus,

    "Old uncle Tom Cobleigh and all".

It was late when Harry reached the Angel and Crown. Sherebiah was
marching up and down before the tavern, blowing great clouds from his

"Hey now, Master Harry," he said, with an expression of mingled wrath
and relief; "’tis a mighty scurvy trick you have played me, i’ feck ’tis
so.  Here we are, your second day in London, and you must go off along
by your lone self on who knows what errand o’ foolery.  Ay, ’tis strong
words for me, and a man o’ peace and all, but not too strong, seee’n as
I knows the wicked ways o’ the town and you be unfledged.  Zooks, sir,
I’ve been in a terrible way, thinken all manner of awsome an’ gashly
things, as how you med ha’ been trepanned, or slit by the Scourers, or
trampled by some high lard’s horses, or rifled and beat by footpads, or
’ticed into a dicing den by sweetners always on the look-out for a
country gudgeon, or——"

"Hold, Sherry, you forget yourself," said Harry, who was, however, not
displeased to find the honest fellow so solicitous about him.  "In
truth, I forgot all about you. I can take care of myself, I think.  I
dined with Mr. Godfrey Fanshawe, whom I chanced to meet, and we went to
the play afterwards, and I never laughed so much in my life.  Mrs.
Mountford’s a beauty, Sherry, and Mr. Cibber—when he doesn’t squeak—has
the pleasantest voice ever I heard—nay, not that, after all; ’tis not so
pleasant as my lord Marlborough’s.  What d’ye think, Sherry?  I met the
earl himself at Lord Godolphin’s, and he has my name on a scrap of
paper, and to-morrow or next day I shall hold the queen’s commission,
and then off with the troops to Flanders, and I shall make my fortune,
man, and then——"

"Huh!" put in a voice from the doorway.  "Haastige spoed is zelden

Harry’s excitement was dashed by the slow drawl of Mynheer Grootz, whose
little eyes were twinkling as he puffed at his big pipe.

"Ay, a true word," said Sherebiah.  "’More haste, less speed,’ as the
Dutch words mean put into rightful language.  ’Counten chickens afore
they be hatched,’ as ye med say."

Though he was a little nettled, Harry had too much good sense not to see
that his elation had carried him too far.  He could laugh at himself—an
excellent virtue in man or boy.

"I am an ass, Mr. Grootz," he said; "but really I did not expect such
good luck.  My lord Godolphin was very kind, and so was the earl, and as
he used but few words I do think he meant what he said.  I am sorry my
absence made you uneasy, Sherry; but I don’t understand why you should
imagine all manner of harm."

"An ye knew——" began Sherebiah; but he paused, hemmed, and changed his
sentence.  "All’s well as ends well, Master Harry; I axe your pardon for
my free words; and here be a fine stout piece of ash I bought in Fleet
Street for your hand.  Feel un; ’twill crack a pate as quick as speaken,
and I’ll be more easy in mind knowen you have such a good staff in

"Thanks, Sherry!" said Harry with a laugh, weighing in his hand the
stick with which the man presented him. "But I’m a man of peace, you
know, eh?—at present. Now let’s to bed."

As they went from the room Harry remarked, "By the way, Sherry, how is
it that you know Dutch?"

"Me know Dutch?  Why, sir, what makes ye think I know that outlandish

"Why, didn’t you tell me just now the meaning of what Mynheer Grootz
said to me?"

"Ay, so I did, now.  It must ha’ been as a dog knows his master’s
speech, or just as I knowed the meanen o’ the holy things your good
feyther was used to speak in the high pulpit, for egad, word by word I
knowed no more than the dead what a’ said, not I."

The explanation struck Harry as rather lame, but he merely said, with a

"Well, you’ll make a very faithful watch-dog, Sherry. Good-night!  I
shall sleep well;—if I don’t dream too much of battle and glory."

                             *CHAPTER VII*


Hope Deferred—Motes in the Sunbeam—Mynheer makes an Offer—Sherebiah on
Guard—New Quarters—Tumblers—Solvitur Ambulando—Doubling—Sick at
Heart—Too Late—A Debit Balance—Gloom—Cold Streets—Three Sailors—Muffled

Several days passed—days of unfailing happiness for Harry.  Though he
spent hours in roaming the town, there was always something fresh to
see, something novel to capture his interest.  He saw the state entrance
of the new Venetian ambassador.  He visited the Tower, the Abbey, and
St. Paul’s, saw Winstanley’s water-works in Piccadilly near Hyde Park,
and witnessed a football match at Covent Garden.  He accompanied
Fanshawe several times to the theatre, and somewhat offended that
sparkish young gentleman by constantly refusing to join him in
card-parties and night escapades in the streets.  He saw a back-sword
match at the Bear Garden in Hockley in the Hole, and a billiard match at
the Greyhound Coffee-house near Monmouth Street. Apart from these public
sights, he found endless diversion in the ordinary street scenes: the
markets, the itinerant vendors, the acrobats, or posture-masters as they
were then called, who performed their dancing and tumbling in squares
remote from the traffic.  It amused Harry that Sherebiah never tired of
these mountebank tricks, but would stand and watch them with unflagging
interest by the hour, applauding every neatly executed feat, and
criticising with unsparing severity every instance of clumsiness or
bungling.  Soldiers, on the other hand, apparently did not interest
Sherebiah.  Harry liked to watch them drilling on the Horse Guards’
parade or in Hyde Park; but on these occasions Sherebiah always strolled
away, waiting with impatience until his young master had satisfied his

"They won’t kill you, Sherry," said Harry once, laughing as the man
sheered off.  "Their muskets are not loaded."

"True.  But ’tis no pleasure to me to see such men o’ war.  Feyther o’
mine were a trooper; he be always talken on it; I be a man o’ peace, I

Every day when he came down to breakfast, and when he returned in the
evening, Harry eagerly looked for a message from Lord Marlborough.  But
the days passed; a week flew by; and still no message came.  After the
second day he made no reference to the matter; Sherebiah and Grootz
considerately forbore to allude to it.  But they watched him with shrewd
eyes, and saw, through all the curiosity and pleasure he took in his new
life, a growing sense of disappointment and anxiety.  He had built high
hopes upon the interview at Godolphin’s; as boys will, he had allowed
his fancy to outstrip his judgment, and had added a good deal of
embroidery to the simple facts. Already in imagination he saw himself
carrying the Queen’s colours, performing heroic deeds in the field,
winning golden opinions from the general, coming home laden with honour
and substantial rewards, perhaps to gain, as the acme of bliss, an
approving smile from the Queen herself.  And he would wake from these
day-dreams to the sober reality—-that the desired message from
Marlborough had not come, and meanwhile time was fleeting by, and every
day saw his little stock of money diminished.

He had resisted Fanshawe’s recommendation to change his lodging.
Charges were higher, Sherebiah informed him, in the more fashionable
parts, and he knew that he could not afford to run risks.  At first he
had not been parsimonious; he was not extravagant by nature, but he had
not hesitated to buy a trifle that pleased him, to give largesse to the
ballad-singers and street musicians, to pay his eighteenpence for a seat
in the pit at Drury Lane or Lincoln’s Inn Fields.  But he gave all this
up, and thought twice about spending a penny.  He bought only the
strictest necessaries, and for his amusement depended on the sights of
the streets, the parks, and the river, and such entertainment as could
be had at the coffee-houses, where for a penny he could obtain a dish of
coffee, read the _Daily Courant_ with its manuscript supplement, or
Dawks’s _News Letter_, and hear all the news of the day discussed with
more heat than information by arm-chair politicians.

One day the _Courant_ announced that the Queen had been pleased to
confer the dignity of a dukedom upon the Earl of Marlborough, and that
the House of Commons would be asked to grant him an annual pension to
match his new rank.  Harry remembered what he had heard pass between
Marlborough and Godolphin, and when the coffee-house gossips
supplemented the official intimation with the rumour that the Countess
Sarah had been violently opposed to her husband’s elevation in the
peerage, he understood the meaning of the peculiar tone in which
Marlborough had spoken of acquainting her ladyship. The new duchess was
the theme of much conversation and many jests in these free-spoken
assemblies. Marlborough was a very great general; everybody was agreed
on that; but it was doubted whether he was master in his own house; some
said he was henpecked; one plain blunt fellow declared in Harry’s
hearing that the duke was as much afraid of his missis as any Thames
bargee. Harry was not interested in Marlborough’s domestic affairs, but
his heart sank when he reflected on his own insignificance beside the
great man whom the Queen was delighting to honour.  After all, how could
he expect a man of such eminence, immersed in state affairs, with all
the responsibility for conducting a great campaign, to remember a
country youth whom he had seen once, and who had made, perhaps, as deep
an impression on him as a fly might make on a lion.

That night Harry was eating his supper, somewhat moodily, when Mynheer
Grootz, sitting opposite, made him a sudden proposition.

"I tell you dis," he said.  "I go back to my country zoon.  I have
business wid de armies; I sell hay for de horses, meal for de men.  You
are quick, I see dat; you speak French, enough for my purpose; I give
you good wages if you come and help me in my business."

Harry flushed.  The Dutchman dipped a hunk of bread into his soup and
filled his mouth with it, looking down at the bare deal board the while.

"I thank you, Mynheer," said Harry with some constraint.  "I have
another purpose, as you know."

Up came the fat forefinger, moist with gravy.

"I speak plain to you.  You have pride; I alzo.  But I have mills, and
ships, and vields; dey are mine; I am rich—ja, rich; I, Jan Grootz.  My
fader, he was a poor weaver in Dort; he work hard and die poor; I work
hard, and grow rich.  I have what for to be proud.  You are a gentleman;
dat is zo; it is good to be a gentleman; it is not good to be poor.  And
more, it is not good to zee money go every day, every day, and wait for
some prince to fill de empty purse.  You have pride; for what?  For
white hands, and by and by an empty stomach.  My hands, dey are not
white, naturlik; but my stomach is full, and I stand up before any
prince; Jan Grootz; zo!"

He spread his broad hands before Harry, as though he were proud even of
their horny skin.  The action brought a smile to the lad’s gloomy face
and dulled the edge of his irritation.

"I won’t debate the matter with you," he said.  "I’m not afraid of work,
I hope, and maybe my white hands may be red enough before long.  I won’t
despair of my lord Marlborough yet; and I know your intention is
friendly, Mynheer."

The Dutchman grunted, and applied himself again to his meal.

Great as were Harry’s anxieties, Sherebiah’s were perhaps even greater.
He also was disappointed by the forgetfulness or neglect of Marlborough,
and concerned at the constant drain upon his young master’s purse; but
he had further causes of trouble of which Harry was unaware.  Ever since
their arrival in London Sherebiah had been possessed by a dread of
impending ill.  He had always in mind the interview between Captain
Aglionby and the squire’s man at the White Hart tavern, and day by day
expected it to bear fruit to Harry’s harm; but for reasons of his own he
hesitated to tell him the plain truth. He stuck like a leech to Harry
when he went walking, and many times when the lad would rather have been
alone with his dismal thoughts he found Sherebiah at his heel, like the
watch-dog to which he had compared him.  He did not know that even when
he succeeded in eluding his too solicitous henchman, it was only in
appearance; for Sherebiah, armed with a stout ash cudgel, was seldom
many yards behind.  Many a night after Harry had gone disconsolate to
his bed, the man wended his way to Southwark in the hope of making a
further discovery; but he never saw the captain or anyone whom he knew
to be connected with him, and when at last he found an opportunity of
making a discreet enquiry at the hostelry, he was more alarmed than
pleased to find that Captain Aglionby had departed some time before, and
that nothing had since been heard of him.

One morning, when they had been for about a month in London, when
Parliament had been prorogued, and a new year had opened, Sherebiah
surprised Harry by suggesting that they should remove to an inn near
Leicester fields.

"Why, you were against it when Mr. Fanshawe proposed it.  How is it that
you have changed your mind, Sherry?"

"Well, sir, ’tis this way, if I med be so bold.  Your money be gwine
fast, and ’twould never do to begin a more humble way o’ liven here.
Nay, what I say is, if you must pare and scrape, go where you bean’t so
well known, and then nobody’ll think the worse on ’ee for’t."

"Hang me, who talked of paring and scraping, Sherry?" cried Harry

"I axe your pardon, sir," said Sherebiah earnestly, "but I were not born
yesterday.  Here are we, four weeks in Lun’on, and you know yourself how
many golden guineas you brought wi’ ’ee, and how many be left.  Sure I
bean’t a great eater myself, but even my little small morsel ha’ got to
be paid for.  Master Harry, ’twill be best for ’ee to do as I say.  Ay,
an’ if I knowed ’ee wouldn’t up and rate me, I’d say another thing, I
would so."

"Well—what’s that?"

"Why, I’d say, hand over your purse to me.  Nay, sir, don’t be angry;
ye’re not wasteful, no; but if we go to another house, I can save ’ee
many a penny here and penny there in ways you wouldn’t so much as dream
on. I know Lun’on folk, you see; ay, I know ’em well."

In the upshot, Sherebiah had his way on both points. The reason for his
change of front was that on the previous afternoon he had seen the
squire’s man Jock hanging about the inn, and had found out subsequently
that Captain Aglionby had returned to his old quarters at the White
Hart.  It was just as well, he thought, to take one step further from
danger by changing their lodging.  When this was done, and Sherebiah
kept the purse, Harry was amazed to find how much further his money
went.  It would not have surprised him if the weekly bill had been
reduced by a small amount; but when he discovered that, though he fared
quite as well, the expenses were not half what they had been, he began
to think that Sherebiah possessed some talisman against the cupidity of
London innkeepers.  He found, too, that he was left much more to
himself, and wondered why, with the change of lodging, Sherebiah’s
watchfulness appeared to have diminished.

He was walking with Godfrey Fanshawe one cold January afternoon by Pye
Corner, when he was attracted by a crowd of people gazing at a street
show that, to judge by their laughter and applause, was exceedingly
entertaining.  Elbowing their way through the stragglers on the
outskirts, the two young fellows arrived at a position whence they could
see what was going on.  A group of posture-masters were performing, and
at the moment of Harry’s arrival, a short thickset man, dressed in
fantastic costume, and with painted face, was dancing on his knees with
his toes in his hands, keeping time to the music of a flute and a
violin.  The tune was a merry one, and the movements of the acrobat
irresistibly funny, so that every member of the crowd roared with

"Adzooks!" exclaimed Fanshawe, "the fellow’s face is the funniest part
of the performance.  Look’ee, Harry, ’tis as sober as a judge’s on
assize; one would think ’twere a hanging matter."

Harry had been so tickled by this odd mode of dancing that he had not
noticed the performer’s features.  He glanced at them now, started with
a sudden gasp, and cried:

"By the Lord Harry, ’tis——"

"’Tis what?" said Fanshawe, looking at him in surprise.

"Oh, nothing!"

"Come, I scent a mystery.  Unravel, sir!"

"’Tis nothing.  See, Fanshawe, the dance is over.  Let us go on."

Without waiting for his companion, he pushed his way back through the

"Faith, I don’t understand you of late, Rochester," said Fanshawe in a
half-vexed tone, when he overtook him. "You’re moody, full of whimsies,
all starts and surprises. Would to Heaven that the duke would bethink
him of that paper you gave him!  You need settling in life.  Why don’t
you go to him, or to Lord Godolphin again?  ’Tis few suitors but would
show more perseverance."

"Not I.  ’Twas against the grain to beg even one favour.  I’d rather
earn my bread by scraping a fiddle, or dancing on my knees like—like the
poor fellow there."

"Well, let me tell you, you’ll rue your independence. Adsbud, who would
get on in this world if he didn’t pay court to the great!  Your
starveling poet writes a flattering dedication to a lord—for pay!  Your
snivelling parson toadies to the lord of the manor—for a meal!  I except
your father, Harry; he was a rare one.  ’Tis the way o’ the world; we
must all do it, or pay the penalty."

"Be the penalty what it will, I’ll pay it rather than play lick-spittle
to any man."

Fanshawe shrugged.  "By the way," he said, "Mr. Berkeley is in town—to
pay his court to someone, I swear. ’Tis said he is buying a commission
for that cub his son; pray Heaven it be not in my regiment!  That’s the
way o’ the world again.  Here’s Piers Berkeley, the young popinjay, all
grins and frippery, like to carry the Queen’s colours in a fine regiment
because his father has a long purse, and you, a deal more fit for it,
kicking your heels for want of a rich father or a richer patron.  I fear
’tis all up with your chances now; but I wish you luck.  I go to
Flanders in a week; home to-morrow to say good-bye; who knows when we
may meet again!"

The two friends bade each other a cordial farewell; then Harry returned
sadly to his lodging.  Some two hours later Sherebiah came back.

"What do ’ee think, Master Harry?" he said.  "I ha’ seed old Squire."

"I knew he was in town," replied Harry.  "And what do you think I’ve
seen, Sherry?"

Detecting a something strange in his tone, Sherebiah gave him a hard

"I never was no good at guessen," he said.  "Mebbe the German giant at
Hercules’ Pillars, or the liven fairy in Bridges Street."

"No, ’twas no giant and no fairy, but a short man—about your height,
Sherry—with a round face—just as round as yours—and a solemn look—like
yours at whiles; and what think you he was doing?  He was dancing on his
knees, with a crowd of numskulls round him grinning at his capers,

"There now, ’twas sure to be found out, I knowed it. ’Twas me—I don’t
deny it, ’cos bean’t no good."

"Now I know why you wanted to keep the purse, you old dissembler.  You
eke out my little store with the pence your antics fetch.  Sherry, I
love thee; I do indeed.  But how did you learn those fantastic tricks
with your knees?"

"Oh, I ha’ done a bit o’ tumblen in my time; ay sure."

"You seem to have done a bit of everything.  But when? and why?  You
must tell me all about it."

"Some day mebbe.  Ha’ led a motley life for a man o’ peace; so ’tis.
’Twould make old feyther o’ mine drop all his old bones in a heap if so
be as he knowed all my lines o’ life.  The time’ll come to tell ’ee,
sir, but ’tis not yet, no."

That was the end of Sherebiah’s acrobatic performances. From that day he
stuck to Harry more closely than ever; and the weekly bills increased.
They had been in town now for nearly two months, and by dint of the
greatest economy Sherebiah thought that the money might last for a
fortnight longer.  Then the wolf would be at the door. Harry had not
told his man of Jan Grootz’s offer, though he surmised, from a word
Sherebiah let fall, that he knew of it.  Hoping against hope, he waited
and longed for some sign from the duke.  Every day Sherebiah went to the
Angel and Crown to see if a letter had come, and every day he came back
disappointed.  He had not given the host his new address, for reasons of
his own; and when on one of his visits he learnt that a man had enquired
for the present whereabouts of Mr. Harry Rochester, he hugged himself on
his prudence.  He would not have been so well pleased if he had known
that on the very next day, when he returned from the Angel and Crown by
a roundabout way to his inn in Leicester Fields, he was shadowed by a
man who had waited for several hours for the opportunity.  And he would
undoubtedly have counselled a second change of abode if he had known
that the spy, after assuring himself that Harry Rochester was a guest of
the inn, had gone hotfoot to Captain Aglionby.

Another week went by.  On Saturday night Sherebiah counted up the
contents of his purse, and found that by the end of the next week he
would have spent the uttermost farthing.

"I give it back to ’ee, sir," he said.  "Come Monday morn, I go to find

"Not so fast, Sherry.  We share alike; when you go to find work, I go
too.  The duke may send for me even at the eleventh hour."

"A plague on the duke!  I wish I may never hear of dukes again to th’
end o’ my mortal days.  A duke’s a bubble, and that’s the truth on’t.
Better be an honest man, as Mynheer Grootz says."

"’Tis mere forgetfulness, I am sure, Sherry.  He has mislaid the paper,
I suspect, and his mind being filled with weightier matters, has
forgotten that even so insignificant a person as myself exists."

"’Tis my belief he never did a kindness to man, woman, or child in all
his born days.  Why, all the chairmen and hackney coachmen know un; ay,
and madam his duchess too.  My lady will haggle with an oyster-wench
over a ha’penny, and the only thing my lord gives away for nowt is his
smile.  Hang dukes and duchesses, say I!"

"Well, Sherry, I can’t gainsay you, because I don’t know.  We’ll give
him three days’ grace, and then——"

He sighed.  The world looked black to him.  He knew no trade, had
practised no art, had no means to enter a profession.  He turned over in
his mind the possible openings.  He could not apprentice himself to a
merchant or handicraftsman, for that needed money.  He might perhaps get
a clerkship in a goldsmith’s or a warehouse; Sir Godfrey Fanshawe, no
doubt, would vouch for his respectability! He almost envied the footmen
of gentlemen of quality, who wore a livery, earned six pounds a year,
and a crown a week extra for gloves and powder.  He writhed on his
sleepless bed that night as he contrasted his present circumstances with
his former prospects and his recent imaginings.  A clergyman,—an officer
of the Queen’s, forsooth! he was a pauper, a beggar, with nothing but
his health and his wits.  Then he rated himself for his despondency.
"Fancy snivelling," he said to himself, "because a duke hasn’t the grace
or the time to remember a promise!  What would my father think of me?
Here have I wasted precious time waiting on a duke’s pleasure when I
might have been turning the weeks to some profit.  And I was too proud
to accept the Dutchman’s friendly offer.  Egad, I’ll go to him on Monday
and beg him to give me employment; sink my pride for good and all."

So possessed was he by his determination that Sunday passed all too
slowly.  On Monday morning he walked early to the Angel and Crown and
asked for Mynheer Grootz. The landlord replied that Mynheer Grootz had
left the inn on Friday, removing all his baggage.  He was about to sail
for Holland, and, as the wind favoured, it was probable that his ship
had already left the Thames.  This news was a terrible damper.  Harry
had built confidently on the anticipated interview.  Mingled with his
gratitude for the coming favour, he even felt a pleasant glow at his
condescension in accepting service so much beneath him. And now this new
house of cards was toppled down!  He turned gloomily away, and wandered
aimlessly through the streets, disposed, under the first sting of the
disappointment, to believe that fate had indeed a spite against him. He
was glad he had said nothing to Sherebiah of his intention, being in no
mood to endure condolences, in word or look.  "What a useless loon I
am!" he said to himself bitterly.  "Sherry can earn his living by
tumbling in the streets, and maybe in dozens of other ways; I can do
nothing.  Even Piers Berkeley has a commission in the army—that puppy!"

But Harry was never long in the dumps.  He was only a boy, and the
misfortunes that had befallen him so suddenly were sufficient excuse for
his passing fits of moodiness; but his was naturally a sanguine temper,
and by the time he reached the inn his brow had cleared and he was able
to eat his dinner with good appetite.

"The last but one, Sherry," he said with a smile.  "After to-morrow the
purse will be all but dry, and then I shall have to earn my bread.  What
do you say?  Will you teach me to stand on my head, to begin with?"

"Zooks, sir, dont’ee put it so terrible low.  Look’ee, now, I ha’ some
score o’ guineas behind my belt; ye’re welcome to the loan on ’em till
your ship do come home."

"You’re a good fellow, Sherry, but I couldn’t think of it.  Do you want
to make me still more ashamed of myself?"

"Well then, sir, why not go to my lord Marlborough’s noble house and
walk up and down outside till the duke comes out, and stand full in his
path and catch his eye—or mebbe his missis’; her med be taken wi’ ’ee
and command her good man to remember ’ee, for by all accounts she——"

"Hold your tongue, sirrah!" cried Harry with a touch of anger.  "Hang
about a great man’s door, like Lazarus waiting for the offal!  No
indeed.  Nay.  To-morrow we shall be adrift; pray God a fair breeze will
carry us into port.  Sherry, you had better go and tell the landlord we
shall leave him to-morrow.  Ask for the reckoning; we will pay the score
and begin the morning at least free men."

In half an hour Sherebiah returned with the bill.  Harry pulled a long
face as he glanced at it.  He untied the purse-strings and laid his
money out on the table.

"’Tis worse than I thought," he said ruefully.  "In some unconscionable
fashion the bill mounts higher this week; I am ten shillings short
without vails to the servants."

"Ah, I know Lun’on folk, I do.  But don’t let that trouble ’ee, sir; ten
shillens won’t make a great hole in my store."

"But I won’t have your money.  Nay, Sherry, call it a whim of mine; ’tis
our last day; the charges are mine; to-morrow we must start afresh.  I
have some trinkets in my box; their worth I know not; but you can take
one or two to a goldsmith’s and place them with him until the luck
turns.  You will do that better than I."

He left the room and came back with a miniature set in gold and a brooch
of antique make.  Sherebiah looked at them with a deliberative air.

"Baubles like these sell for next to nowt," he said. "’Tis not all gold
that glitters.  But I’ll take ’em, sir, and cheapen ’em as best I may.
Be I to pledge ’em in my name or yours?"

"It doesn’t matter—whichever you like.  I’ll sit by the fire and read
while you are gone."

"Ay, ’tis a raw and nippen afternoon, and there be true comfort in a log

He flung his cloak over his shoulders and was gone. Harry went to his
room and brought down a volume of his father’s containing Mr. John
Milton’s poem of "Samson Agonistes".  In the dark afternoon he read for
some time by the light of the fire, finding a certain melancholy
pleasure in fitting Samson’s woeful laments to his own case.

    "So much I feel my genial spirits droop,
    My hopes all flat",

he murmured, and then closed the book over his finger and gazed into the
ruddy cavern of the fire till his eyes ached.  Sherebiah seemed a long
time gone; a feeling of restlessness stole upon Harry.  He let the book
fall from his hand, rose, and paced about the room, stopping once or
twice at the narrow window to look out into the street. The air was
misty, the pavement sticky with mud; every passing horse stepped under a
blanket of vapour; the wayfarers were muffled about their necks and
walked as though bent under a load.  Harry fidgeted, wondering why
Sherebiah was so long.  His reading had not cheered him; his musing did
but increase his gloom.  At last, unable to endure inaction longer, he
put on his cloak and hat, took up the cudgel without which, in deference
to Sherebiah’s advice, he seldom went abroad, and sallied forth into the
street, to walk off his fit of the dumps, if that might be.

By the flickering light above the door he saw three sailors lurching up
the street.  He passed them, giving them but a casual glance, turned
into the Strand, and spent some time looking listlessly into the lighted
shops. At the door of a coffee-house he noticed a group gathered about a
newspaper pasted on the wall.  A manuscript supplement had just been
affixed to it.  When he could get near enough to see the writing, he
felt a momentary interest in the announcement he read.

"The Duke of Marlborough has rid post to Cambridge, call’d thither by
the desperate state of the Marquis of Blandford.  It is now ’stablish’d
beyond doubt that the young Lord is suffering from the Small-Pox."

Even the great duke had his troubles.  Lord Blandford was, as Harry
knew, Marlborough’s only son; he was the Lord Churchill who had written
to Godolphin with boyish curiosity to know what his title would be when
his father became a duke.  Harry passed on, more than ever convinced
that the great man, beset by cares public and domestic, could have no
time to think of the small concerns of a country parson’s son.

He turned into the Savoy and came by and by to the Temple Gardens,
forlorn and desolate in the chill February evening.  Not far behind him
three sailors were sauntering in the same direction, on their way
perhaps to rejoin their vessel in the Thames.  The damp cold air struck
Harry to the bone; he shivered and drew his cloak closer around him, and
was on the point of turning to retrace his steps when there suddenly
stood before him a woman, thin-clad, bare-headed, with a whining child
in her arms.

"Spare a penny, kind sir, to buy bread.  My lips have not touched food
the livelong day, and my little boy is fair starved.  Oh, sir, have pity
on a poor lone woman; spare a penny, kind sir."

Harry stopped and looked at the thin haggard cheeks, the dark-rimmed
eyes, the hair hanging in loose damp wisps over the brow.  The child’s
feeble moans stabbed him like a knife; its poor pinched wizened face was
a speaking tale of woe.  Loosening his cloak, the woman all the while
continuing her monotonous complaint, he untied his purse.  It contained
a guinea and one crown piece.  At that moment the three sailors passed
him, talking loudly, and laughing coarsely as they jostled the woman in
their path.

"The poor creature’s need is greater than mine," he thought.  "Sherry
will bring back some money.  Here you are," he said, handing her the
guinea.  "And for God’s sake take your little one out of the damp and
cold! Good-night!"

Harry moved on, impressed by the spectacle of a misery deeper than his
own, and pursued by the voluble thanks of the poor woman.  He had
forgotten his purpose to turn back; and was only recalled to it by the
sight of the three sailors rolling on ahead.  They were walking arm in
arm, and from their gait Harry concluded that the middle one of the
three was intoxicated, and needed the support of his comrades.  One of
them glanced back over his shoulder just as Harry was turning.  The next
moment there was a heavy thud; the drunken sailor was on the ground, the
others bending over him.  A hoarse cry for help caused Harry to hasten
to the group.

"What is amiss?" he asked.

"Be you a surgeon, mate?" replied the man, a thickset and powerful salt.
"Bill be taken wi’ a fit, sure enough. A’s foaming at the mouth."

"No, I’m not a surgeon.  I thought he was drunk."

"Not him.  Belay there; let the gentleman see."

Harry went to the man’s head and leant over, peering into his face.
Instantly the fallen sailor flung his arms round Harry’s legs and pulled
them violently towards him. Unable to recover himself Harry fell
backward, and before he could cry out a cloak was flung over his head
and a brawny hand had him by the throat.  Through the folds of cloth he
heard the men with many oaths congratulate themselves on the ease with
which they had accomplished their job.  For a few moments he struggled
violently, until he felt that resistance was hopeless.  Then the cloak
was tied about his neck, and he felt himself carried by two of the
three, one having him by the head, the other by the heels.  They walked
swiftly along, and, not troubling to keep step, jolted him unpleasantly.
There was a singing in his ears; he gasped for breath; and soon his
physical discomfort and his fears were alike annihilated.  He had lost

                             *CHAPTER VIII*


Under the Leads—A Thames-side Attic—A Man of Law—A Matter of Form—A
Question of Identity—A Fine Mesh—A Dash for Freedom—Help in Need—For the
Plantations—Visitors on Board—Ned Bates—In the Foc’sle—Sailor’s Knots—An
Old Coat—Odds and Ends—A Soft Answer—Overboard—A Dead Heat—A Sea
Lawyer—Grootz Protests—A Stern Chase—Sherry’s Story—To the Low Countries

When Harry recovered his senses he found himself tied hand and foot, and
with a cloth gag between his teeth.  It was pitch dark; he could hear
nothing save a faint scratching near at hand; mice were evidently at
their nocturnal work.  He lay still perforce; he found it impossible
even to wriggle over on to his side.  Here was indeed a culmination of
his misfortunes.

He tried to think, but the sudden attack and his subsequent
unconsciousness had left his brain in a whirl. Gradually the sequence of
events came back to him: his walk through the streets towards
Blackfriars, the beggar woman, the three sailors, the pretended fit.
What was the meaning of it?  Had he been marked by the press-gang, and
trepanned to serve Her Majesty on the high seas?  Had he been kidnapped,
to be robbed or held to ransom?  Hardly the former, for a knock on the
head would have served the kidnappers’ ends.  Hardly the latter, for no
one could have taken the pains to waylay for such a purpose a penniless
youth with no friends.

Suddenly he remembered the vague uneasiness shown at times by Sherebiah;
his earnest warnings; the cudgel which after all had proved useless.
Sherebiah, it seemed, had had more definite reasons for alarm than he
had avowed; why then had the silly fellow not spoken his mind freely?
Who was the enemy?  What motive could any person in the wide world have
for kidnapping one who was even yet a boy and had, so far as he knew,
done no harm to a living soul?  The more he thought, the more he was

He was in pain.  The cords cut into his flesh; his throat was parched;
he could not swallow.  How long was this torture to continue?  Where was
he?  Where were his capturers?  He longed for a light, so that he might
at least see the prison in which he was confined, and so diminish even
by one his terrible uncertainties.  But no light came, no voice or
footfall sounded gratefully upon his ear; and presently a lethargy stole
upon his mind and all things were again in oblivion.

He was roused by a light flashed in his eyes.  Dazed and still only half
conscious, he saw an unknown face bending towards him, and a hand
holding a candle.  The man grunted as though with relief to find the
captive still alive; then, setting the candle upon the floor, he removed
the gag.  Harry tried to speak, but no word issued from his lips.  The
man went from the room, leaving the candle still burning.  By its light
Harry saw that he was in a narrow attic, with rough beams supporting a
slanting roof, and whitewashed walls.  There was a sky-light above him;
he could hear the first patters of a shower of hail.

Presently the man returned bearing a can and a hunk of bread.  Lifting
Harry, he held the can to his lips.  The prisoner drank the beer

"Where am I?" he asked, recovering his voice.

"Hold your jaw!" was the surly answer.  "You are where you are."

"Why am I brought here?  What is to be done with me?"

"Hold your jaw, I say!  Ye’ll get nothing out of me. Keep a still
tongue; for if ye raise your voice someone I know will find means to
quiet ye."

"But I insist on knowing," cried Harry in indignation. "Why was I dogged
and attacked in the streets, and brought captive to——"

"Stow it!  Least said soonest mended.  Behave wi’ sense and ye’ll be
treated according; otherways—well, I won’t answer for’t."

"Loose my arms then."

"Well, I’ll do that for ’ee, and legs too; don’t think ye can run away,
’cos ye can’t.  Here’s your supper; dry, but ’tis drier where there’s
none.  I’ll leave ye to’t."

Untying the cords, the man gave the bread into Harry’s hand, took up the
candle, and went out, locking the door behind him.  Harry could not eat;
his limbs were cramped with his long immobility; when he stood his knees
hardly supported him.  But it was pleasant to be able to use arms and
legs once more, and after a time his aching pains abated.  He groped
round the room, shook the door, and found it fast.  He could just touch
the sky-light with his outstretched hand, and he felt that the glass was
loose; but he could not remove it unless he stood higher, and groping
failed to find any chair or stool.  Escape was impossible; he could but
wait for the morning.

He lay awake the greater part of the night, but was sound asleep when
the same man re-entered with his meagre breakfast.  The morning brought
no comfort.  A gray dawn struggled through the grimy sky-light,
revealing the nakedness of the room.  Cobwebs festooned the beams; the
boards of the floor were dirty and mouldered; the walls in places were
green with damp.  Harry took silently the food offered him; he was not
encouraged by the previous night’s experience to question his taciturn
jailer.  The morning passed slowly, irksomely; when the man returned
with another meal at noon, Harry ventured to address him.

"How long am I to remain caged here?"

"I can’t tell ’ee, ’cos I don’t know."

"You’re not one of the sailors who trapped me?"

"Lord, no.  I wouldn’t be a dirty swab for nothing ’cept to ’scape the

"Who employs you in this turnkey business?"

"That’s my business."

"Don’t be surly.  I’ve done nothing to you."

"Well, that’s true.  You ha’n’t done nothing to me. That’s true enough."

"Will you do something for me, then?  You’re a good fellow, I’m sure."

"Nay, nay, you don’t come over me, young master. Soft speeches ain’t no
good for a tough un like me.  When I goes out I locks ye in, and if ye
holler till ye bust, ’tis no good, not at all."

"I didn’t mean that.  ’Tis dull as death lying on these rotten boards
with nothing to do; bring me the morning’s paper and I’ll thank you."

"Well, that’s harmless enough, to be sure.  Gi’ me twopence and I’ll buy
ye a _Courant_."

"’Tis only a penny."

"True; t’other penny’s for me."

Harry smiled and felt for his purse.  It was gone.

"Plucked clean, eh?" chuckled the man.  "Trust your Wapping swab for
that.  All the same you shall have the paper."

He returned with the morning’s _Courant_, already well thumbed.  Harry
ran his eye over the meagre half-sheet; there was nothing that
interested him except the announcement of Lord Blandford’s death at

"The duke has lost his heir," he thought.  "He was a little older than
myself.  Perhaps it is my turn next."

The day wore on.  In the afternoon the door opened and a stranger
entered along with the custodian.  By his cut Harry guessed him to be a
lawyer’s clerk.  His movements were soft and insinuating; his face was
wreathed into an artificial smile.

"Good-morning, sir!" he said softly, bowing.  "I have waited upon you to
complete a little matter of business; a mere formality.  The document is
quite ready; I have here inkhorn and quill; I have only to ask you to
write your name at the foot."

He unrolled the paper he carried, and signed to his companion to bring
the writing materials.

"Ah! there is no table, I see.  You can hardly write on the floor, sir;
James, fetch a table from below.—Your furniture is scanty, sir," he
continued as the man went out; "in truth, there is nothing to recommend
your situation but its loftiness.  You are near the sky, sir, and very
fortunately so, for ’tis murky and damp in the street.—Thank you, James!
Now, sir, everything is in order; you will, if you please, sign your
name where I place my finger, there."

Harry took the pen offered him, and dipped it in the inkhorn.  He gave
no sign of his amazement.

"Yes," he said, "with pleasure—when I have read the paper."

"Surely, sir, at this stage it is unnecessary.  Why delay?  I assure you
that the document is perfectly in order, and the phraseology of us men
of law is—well, sir, you understand that a scrivener is paid so much a
folio, and he has no temptation to be unduly brief: he! he!"

"Still, if you do not object I will read the paper.  It is merely a
form, as you say."

"Very well, sir," said the man with a patient shrug.

He lifted his hand from the paper, and Harry bent over the table to read
it.  The writing was clerkly and precise; the sentences were long and
involved, with no support from punctuation; but, unfamiliar as he was
with legal diction, Harry had no difficulty in making out the gist of
the document so obligingly placed before him.  His heart was thumping
uncomfortably, for all his cool exterior; and he deliberately read down
the close lines slowly in order to gain time to collect his thoughts.
The request to sign the paper had been surprising enough, but his
bewilderment was increased tenfold when he found what it was that he was
asked to sign.

Stripped of its verbiage, the document stated that whereas Christopher
Butler, gentleman, lately residing in Jermyn Street over against the
Garter Coffee-house, had been acquitted of all his debts by the good
offices of John Feggans, merchant of the City of London, the said
Christopher Butler hereby entered into an indenture to serve the said
John Feggans in his Plantations in the island of Barbados for a period
of five years.  There were qualifications and provisos and penalties
which Harry passed over; then, having read the principal articles again,
he looked up and said:

"Why should I sign this?"

"Sir!" said the attorney in surprise.

"Why should I sign this?  What have I to do with Christopher Butler or
John Feggans?"

The lawyer looked round at the other man as though asking whether he had
heard aright.

"I am at a loss to give you better reasons than you know already.  Who
should sign it if not you?"

"I am afraid I must trouble you to explain.  See, I find that
Christopher Butler, having incurred debts to a large amount, has
assigned these debts to John Feggans, who has paid them, and that
Christopher Butler indentures himself a slave to John Feggans, to win
his release by working in the Plantations.  I ask you, what have I to do
with all this?"

"Christopher Butler asks that?"

"Who?  What did you say?"

"Christopher Butler—yourself."

Harry laughed, so great was his sense of relief.  It was all a mistake,
then; he had been seized by mistake for some poor wretched fellow who
had lost all his money and been forced to adopt this, the last resource
of impecunious spendthrifts.

"Pardon me," he said.  "There has been a mistake. My name is not
Christopher Butler."

He smiled in the attorney’s face.  The little man looked staggered.

"Not Christopher Butler?"

"Certainly not.  My name is——"

Harry stopped.  Some instinct of caution warned him not to disclose his
real name at present.

"My name is neither Butler nor Christopher," he added. "Now, pray let me

"Sir, I have my instructions.  I must make enquiries. This is unlooked
for, most perplexing.  Pray excuse me for one moment."

He hurried from the room, leaving the door open.  The surly custodian,
who had followed the colloquy with evident interest, showed that he was
not a bad fellow at bottom.

"I’m right glad, that I am," he said.  "’Twas my own thought you was too
young to be such a wild dog, or else you was a most desperate wild one."

Harry did not reply.  Through the open door he heard loud voices
proceeding from a room below.  He could not catch the words, but there
was something in the tone of the loudest voice that sounded familiar.
He had no opportunity of forming a conclusion on the matter, for the
speaker’s tone was instantly moderated, as though in response to a
warning.  Immediately afterwards the attorney returned, accompanied by a
low-browed fellow in a lackey’s livery.  The lawyer’s smile was as bland
as ever as he came into the room.

"’Tis not unusual for a man to change his mind, Mr. Butler, but in this
case I fear ’t will be a little awkward. I am instructed that you are
the Christopher Butler named in this indenture, and have to insist on
your affixing your signature to it."

"Nonsense!" said Harry impatiently.  "I tell you my name is not Butler,
and I refuse to sign the paper.  ’Tis a preposterous error.  I never was
in debt in my life; I know nothing of Feggans; indeed, know hardly a
soul in London; why, I never was in London till a month or two ago."

"My dear sir, my dear sir," said the lawyer, as though expostulating
with a hardened liar.  Turning to the lackey, he asked: "You see this
young gentleman?"

"Ay, ay, I do so."

Harry started.  The accent was pure Wiltshire, and fell on his ears like
a message from home.  He scanned the man’s features, but did not
recognize him.

"What is his name?" went on the lawyer.

"Butler; ay, ’tis Butler, sure enough."

"Where did you see him last?"

"In the Fleet prison, to be sure, ay, and on the common side, too."

"You are sure of this?"

"Ay, faith, sure enough.  I seed the gentleman often at maister’s;
many’s the time I called a hackney for’n in the darkest hour o’ night,
thinken as them as goo fast won’t goo long."

"And you were present with your master when this little matter of
business was arranged?"

"I was so, ay."

The lawyer looked with his eternal smile at Harry.

"Now, sir," he said, "you will no longer delay to put your hand to this

Harry had been thinking rapidly.  He gave up the hypothesis of error;
the lawyer’s visit was clearly part of a deliberate plot; it mattered
little whether he was privy to it, or was innocently carrying out his
instructions. No doubt there was a _Christopher Butler_ who had thus
sold himself to pay his debts, but somebody had determined to substitute
Harry for the real man.  He had noticed that the name Christopher Butler
was written in pencil every time it occurred in the document, all else
being in ink; and it suddenly flashed upon him that the object had been
to entrap him into signing his real name, which would then be
substituted for the name pencilled in. He gave the lawyer a long look,
put his hands behind his back, and said:

"It is waste of time.  I refuse."

Again the lawyer smiled and shrugged.

"’Tis immaterial, sir.  This is but a duplicate; the original was signed
three days ago in the Fleet.  I have now to——"

"Liar!" shouted Harry, springing forward, his face aflame.  The door
stood open; only the lackey was in a direct line between the prisoner
and freedom.  Before the man’s slow rustic mind had accommodated itself
to the situation, he was sent reeling against the wall by a straight
blow between the eyes.  Harry was already out of the room, at the top of
the staircase, when the little attorney seized him from behind and
shouted for help.  The taciturn jailer stood looking on.  There were
cries from below and a stampede of feet, and before Harry, with the
lawyer clinging to him, had descended more than four steps he was met by
the three sailors.  Swearing hearty oaths they threw themselves upon
him, and in five minutes he was back in the attic securely trussed up.

Even his surly jailer, bringing him food, looked at him with a touch of
sympathy.  Harry’s haggard eyes met his with a mute appeal for help.

"Odsbud!" exclaimed the man, "’tis hard on a mere stripling.  If your
name bean’t Christopher Butler, what be it?"

"My name is Harry Rochester.  ’Tis a vile plot.  You believe me?"

"Ay, I believe ye.  Tain’t in reason that a boy should ha’ got ocean
deep in debt."

"Will you help me?  You see what a snare is about me.  Will you go to
the Star and Garter in Leicester fields and ask for Sherebiah Minshull?
Tell him where I am, and what they are going to do with me."

"But what’d be the good, mister?"

"He would find a way to help me.  You would know that if you knew him."

"And how much might ye be willing to pay, now?"

"I haven’t a penny, as you know, but he had some money.  Lose no time;
pray go now, at once."

"Well, the truth on’t is I’m paid by t’other party."

"Who is it?  What is the name of the man who has hired you?"

"Faith, I don’t know, but he have a fine long purse, and ’tis a fine
swashing gentleman.  Howsomever, I’ll go to the Star and Garter as you
say, and see your man—what be his name?  Minshull; good; I’ll go soon,
and—Coming, sir, coming," he added in answer to a hail from below.
"I’ll go afore ’tis dark, ’struth, I will."

He left the room, and Harry felt a momentary glow of hope.  It was
dulled immediately.  The three sailors re-entered.  Without ado they
again bound his arms, which had been loosed to allow of his lifting his
food, and carried him downstairs.  Daylight was fading.  At the door
Harry looked eagerly around for some person whom a cry might bring to
his rescue.  Alas! the house was in a blind alley, and no one but his
captors was in sight.  He did raise his voice and give one resounding
call.  A gag was instantly slipped into his mouth, and he was hurried to
the open end of the alley, where a hackney coach stood waiting.  Into
this he was thrown; two of the sailors got in with him, the third
mounted to a place beside the driver, and the vehicle rumbled and jolted
over the rough cobbles.

Some twenty minutes later it pulled up at the Tower Wharf, where Harry
had vainly sought for Jan Grootz a few days before.  It was now night,
and as he was lifted out and borne towards the wharf side, Harry saw by
the light of naphtha torches a busy scene.  Sailors, lightermen,
stevedores were moving hither and thither; the ground was strewn with
bales and packages; the last portions of a cargo were being transferred
to the hold of a barque that lay alongside.  No one paid attention to
the not unusual spectacle of a young fellow going unwillingly to a
vessel bound for the Plantations.  Harry’s captors, joking, chewing,
spitting, shoved him with no tender hands on to the gangway.  At the
other end of it stood a dark-featured, beetle-browed old seaman, the
captain of the vessel, bawling orders to this and that member of his

"Ha!" he cried, as he saw the new-comer hauled along in the sailors’
arms; "this be the springald?  Zooks! ye are none too soon: tide turns
in half an hour."

"Here we be, sir, true; and this be Christopher Butler, mark you, for
the Plantations."

"Papers?" roared the captain, spitting into the river.

"All taut, sir," replied the man, producing the document that Harry had
refused to sign; it bore a signature now.

"Obstropolous, eh?"

"Changed his mind, sir, it seems, since signing on; ha’ give us some

"Oons!  We’ll cure that.  All aboard!  Stow the cockerel in the foc’sle;
strap un to a plank; we’ll have no ’tarnal tricks."

As Harry was lugged forward he noticed two figures standing beneath a
lamp swinging to one of the yards. He started, and involuntarily
increased his weight upon his bearers.  One of the two came forward a
step towards the captain and, tapping a snuff-box, said:

"Whom have we here, captain?"

"A young puppy as ha’ run through a duke’s fortune and goes as
redemptioner where I’ve carried many a man before him."

"Indeed!  So young!  ’Tis sad, the wastefulness of young men in this

He took a pinch of snuff and stepped back again. Harry had scanned his
features and heard what he said. His heart almost stopped beating with
surprise, for the speaker was Mr. Berkeley, the squire, and his
companion was Captain Aglionby.  "Did they not recognize me?" he
thought.  Surely if he could appeal to the squire he might even yet, at
the last moment, be saved.  He struggled with his captors, but they
tightened their hold upon him and wrenched his limbs with brutal
callousness. He was carried to the sailors’ quarters in the foc’sle.
His bonds were loosed for a moment; then he was laid on a plank and
lashed to it.  There was a sudden commotion. The captain roared an order
to his men, then went to the side to meet a custom-house officer who had
just come aboard with two men.  An observer would have noticed that Mr.
Berkeley hastily turned his back and retreated into the shadow.

"Thought you’d forgot us, sir," said the captain.

"No, no.  But we won’t keep you long; you want to catch the tide."

The rummaging crew began a perfunctory inspection of the vessel.  When
they were out of sight Mr. Berkeley came forward and spoke in a low tone
to the captain.

"Right, sir," he replied, and sent a man forward with orders to place
Harry in a bunk in the darkest part of the foc’sle and cover him up.
Consequently, when the custom-house officer reached the sailors’
quarters, where several of the crew were lolling about, Harry lay
hidden, half-stifled beneath a tarpaulin.

"What’s this?" asked the officer.

"That!" cried the ship’s mate with an oath.  "That’s Ned Bates, come
aboard mad drunk after a spree.  ’Tis the same every voyage, and the
medicine’s a dose of rope’s end to-morrow."

The officer laughed and passed on.  The inspection was soon completed;
the officer accepted a pinch of the captain’s snuff and left the vessel
with his crew, watched by Mr. Berkeley and Captain Aglionby from the
corner of a shed on the wharf.  In a few minutes the ropes were cast
off, and with creakings and heavings the ship moved into the current and
began to float down on the ebb-tide towards the sea.

The tarpaulin was pulled off Harry by a man who took the opportunity to
curse him.  The gag was removed from his mouth; then he was left to
himself.  He thought he had reached the lowest depths of misery.
Something he had learnt of the awful fate in store for him in the
Plantations.  Many such poor wretches as himself had sailed across the
seas in the hope of redeeming themselves from debt by years of
unremitting toil.  On their arrival they had become, body and soul, the
property of their masters. Treated as no better than convicts, they were
put to the most degrading labour, and their employers contrived to keep
them, even as labourers, so deeply in debt for clothes and the common
necessaries of life that the day of redemption never dawned for them,
and they lived and died in abject slavery.  This was to be his fate!
What a declension from the bright destiny that seemed to be before him
but a few months ago!

The foc’sle was dark and noisome.  The smell of bilge water and the reek
of the lamp affixed to the side nauseated Harry.  Physically and
mentally, he was desperately wretched.  And through all his misery he
was overcome by sheer puzzlement.  Hitherto he had surmised that, being
young and strong, he had been marked as an easy prey by the professional
kidnappers who prowled the streets of London, trepanning unfortunate
young men likely to fetch a good price with shipmasters or unscrupulous
colonial merchants.  But the unexpected sight of Mr. Berkeley in Captain
Aglionby’s company on deck had startled him into a new theory.  Many
things recurred to his mind.  He remembered the bitter feud that had
subsisted between his father and the squire; the disappearance of
Captain Aglionby after a quarrel, as village gossip said, with Mr.
Berkeley; the horseman riding after the coach; the strange warnings he
had received from Sherebiah.  He could not but feel that these incidents
were in some way connected; he began to be convinced that his present
situation was due ultimately to the enmity of the squire—the gaunt,
sinister old man who was indirectly responsible for his father’s death.
But though this was his conclusion, he was none the less puzzled.  Why
should the malignity of the squire pursue the son, now that the father
was removed?  What harm had _he_ ever done, or could he ever do, to the
lord of the manor?  Was the squire so unrelenting, was his malice so
remorseless, that he must bring black ruin upon a boy in vengeance for
his baulked will?  It seemed inconceivable.  Yet what other motive could
he have?  The more he thought of it, the more puzzled Harry became.

The vessel was slowly threading its way down the river among the many
vessels, large and small, that lay at their moorings.  At times it
stopped altogether, and from the deck resounded shouts and oaths at the
obstacles that checked its course.  By and by some of the sailors came
forward for a spell of sleep, and Harry, kept wide awake by his hunger
and discomfort, saw them tumble into their bunks and soon heard their

It would take several hours to reach the open sea.  Was there a chance
that, before the vessel left the Thames, he might even yet escape?  To
make the attempt was mere instinct with a high-spirited boy.  The odds
seemed all against him.  To begin with, he was bound hand and foot to a
plank, so that it was impossible even to bend his body. Suppose he rid
himself of his bonds, there would be many of the crew on deck while the
vessel threaded the crowded water-way, and he would be seen if he sprang
overboard; and how could he free himself from the ropes?  The idea had
not come to him for the first time.  When he was being trussed up he had
remembered an old trick taught him by Sherebiah, acquired during his
mountebank days, when he had mystified rustic spectators by escaping
from ropes tied by the most expert hands in the village.  He had so
stiffened his muscles that he could wriggle out of any ordinary knot.
But the situation was rendered more difficult by the plank.  He could
not lift himself, nor turn on his side.  Lying on his back, he tried to
ease the pressure of the ropes by the muscular movements he had
practised with Sherebiah in sport.  But he found, not to his surprise,
that sailors were more skilful than anyone who had previously
experimented with him.  The tension was so great that he had the barest
margin to work upon. Force was useless; it would only have the effect of
cutting into his flesh and causing his hands and wrists to swell. But
his whole mind was now bent upon one desperate venture, and, while the
men snored around him, he began to strain on the ropes.

For some time all his straining was of no avail.  At last he felt the
rope about his wrists give a little.  Taking advantage of the slackened
tension, he contrived, after what seemed an hour to him, to turn his
joined wrists outwards, and in a few more minutes they were free.  They
ached intolerably; he felt as if all power was gone from them,—as if he
could never grip anything firmly again. He waited until the numbing pain
was abated, then set to work to free his elbows.  These had been
separately tied, and after many unsuccessful efforts he almost
despaired. At length, however, he managed to shift his elbows down over
the edges of the plank, which he was then able to use as fulcrums.
Pressing as hard as possible, he forced the ropes slightly slack, then
jerked himself sideways and almost on to his face.  In doing so he more
than once interrupted the snores of the man beneath him, and once
desisted in alarm as the fellow growled out an oath.  At last his elbows
were free, and he lay panting with exertion and hope.

But now that the upper part of his body was unbound, he found himself
confronted by an unexpected difficulty. The board to which he was
strapped extended down to his heels, and the knot being tied at the far
end, he was unable to reach it.  A man is never so agile with his ankles
as with his wrists, and the plank had effectually prevented Harry from
making use of Sherebiah’s trick in regard to his feet.  It was
impossible to reach the knots with his hands, for the roof of the
foc’sle was so low that he could not rise to an upright posture in the
bunk.  He worked away at the upper part of the rope, but it was so taut
that he could not ease it appreciably.  He found himself making even
more noise than before, and dreaded lest one of the crew should awaken
too soon.  Breathless with his exertions, he lay still to think.  Was he
to be baffled after all?  Some hours must have passed since the vessel
left her moorings, and though her progress had been interrupted and was
always slow, yet she was drawing nearer and nearer to the mouth of the
river, bringing him nearer and nearer to his doom.

A dull dazed hopelessness was gaining possession of him.  He lay with
wide-open eyes, staring at nothing; then caught himself following the
slight pendulous motion of a seaman’s coat that hung from a nail in one
of the beams.  To and fro it swung, with a regularity that became at
last desperately annoying.  But all at once that rough stained garment
became to him the most interesting and important thing in the world.  It
seemed to shed a bright ray of hope.  Never a seaman but had a knife;
fervently did Harry pray that the owner of this coat had not emptied its
pockets.  Stealthily he bent over. The right-hand pocket was easily
within reach.  He put his hand in, and drew out one after another a
pipe, a pouch, a flint, a steel, a tinder-box, a string of beads, a
corner of mouldy biscuit, a horn snuff-box, a tattered letter, a plug of
black tobacco, a broken comb, a red handkerchief, and a nutmeg; but no
knife.  He could only just touch the left-hand pocket; he could not put
his hand in. He pulled at the coat, and held it with one hand, bringing
the pocket within reach; then he plunged the other hand into its depths.
He touched a metal case; it clicked against something, and he held his
breath, hoping the sound had not been heard.  No one spoke or moved.  He
felt further; his heart gave a great leap for joy, for he could not
mistake the touch of the rugged handle of a clasp-knife.  Eagerly he
drew it out; to cut the rope was the work of an instant; he was free.

But he was not yet out of danger.  His limbs were loosed, but he was
still imprisoned in an outward-bound ship.  There was only one way of
reaching safety: to gain the deck, spring overboard, and swim to land.
He knew nothing about ships; he could row and swim, but till he came to
London he had seen no vessel larger than a rowing boat.  He guessed that
while the barque was still in the Thames only a small portion of the
crew would be on duty; but he did not know at what part of the ship they
would be, nor where he would run least danger of detection.  It was
still dark; he might easily stumble as he moved about amid unfamiliar
surroundings, and there was the risk that, even if he reached the
bulwarks safely and sprang over, he might never succeed in reaching land
alive.  He did not know the width of the stream; he had been so long
without food and had expended so much energy during the last few hours
that he was in no condition to endure long fatigue.  It would perhaps be
better to rest for a little, and seize a moment as day was breaking,
when there would be light enough to guide his steps.

His body was still tingling from the strain of the ropes, but with the
passing minutes his physical ease increased, and he was able to think
more and more calmly.  He heard the clang of a bell.  Immediately
afterwards a sailor came into the foc’sle, woke the man below Harry,
and, when he had tumbled grumbling out of his berth, lay down in his
place.  It was a change of watch.

"Where are we, Bill?" asked the man who had been roused.

"Opening up Gravesend," was the reply; "and a dirty night.  Raining
hard, a following wind; we’ll make a good run out."

The man was asleep as soon as he had finished the sentence, and Harry
was reassured by his snores.  Gravesend, he supposed, was a river-side
village; if he could make his dive there he might find helping hands on
shore. He wondered what the time was; the bells that he heard at
intervals conveyed no information to him.  He raised himself on his
elbow and glanced round.  It seemed to him that, in the opening to his
left, the darkness was thinning; and the vessel was heaving to.  The
time had come for his venture.

He sat up as high as his confined quarters allowed and surveyed his
position.  There were five men within the narrow space, all asleep,
snoring in various keys.  From above came now and then the sound of a
voice and the tramp of feet; nothing else was to be heard.  Slipping his
leg over the side of the bunk, Harry paused for a moment, then slid to
the floor.  His knee knocked the edge of the bunk below; the seaman
turned over with a grunt and asked sleepily, "Be it time already?"  It
was better to answer than to remain silent, thought Harry.  Making his
voice as gruff as possible, he said quickly:

"No; keep still, you lubber."

"Lubber yourself; I’ll split your——"

His threat ended with a snore.  Harry waited a moment to assure himself
that all was quiet again; then, divesting himself of his long coat,
which he knew would be a serious encumbrance in the water, he groped
cautiously towards the opening, now showing as a gray patch in the
gloom. Rain and sleet beat in upon him as he halted for a moment and
threw a quick glance around before emerging on to the deck.  In the
waist of the vessel on the port side two men were hauling up casks,
probably belated provisions, from a river craft lashed alongside; three
or four seamen were high up in the rigging, and the mate was bellowing
to them hoarse commands in what to Harry’s landsman’s ears was a foreign
tongue.  Harry felt that it was now or never; but, even as he prepared
to spring, there was a heavy footfall above, and a man dropped from the
foc’sle deck and alighted a couple of yards away.  He swung on his heel
to enter the foc’sle, and the two stood face to face.

Harry recognized the broad coarse features of the sailor to whose
feigned fit his easy capture was due.  The man’s first impression was
evidently that Harry was one of the crew; he quickly saw his mistake,
but before his thought could translate itself into action Harry, who had
the advantage of being strung up for just such a meeting, sprang upon
him as a bolt from a bow.  Reeling under a deftly planted blow the man
slipped and fell heavily to the deck. Harry was past him in an instant,
gained the side of the vessel, and, vaulting lightly on to the bulwark,
had dived into the river before the astonished seaman could recover his
breath to shout an alarm.  In a few seconds Harry rose to the surface,
shook the water from his face, and struck out for the shore.

Behind him he heard the angry shouts of the sailors, and afterwards the
click of oars working in the row-locks.  A boat was evidently in
pursuit.  No doubt the craft alongside had been cast loose, for there
could not have been time to lower a boat.  Could he reach land in time?
His dive had been so hasty that he had not had time to look around and
select his course.  But now, through the pelting rain, he gazed ahead to
find the nearest way to safety.  Judging by the noise of the oars, the
boat was rapidly overhauling him, for although he had left his coat
behind, he made but slow progress in his water-logged clothes.  His view
of the shore was intercepted by a few small one-masted vessels lying at
anchor, and by a large brig moored about a hundred yards off the clump
of trees that formed the western boundary of Gravesend.  If he could
gain the other side of the brig he thought he might dodge his pursuers.
But he doubted whether his strength and speed could be sustained so
long.  The seamen were pulling with a will; the master himself was in
the boat urging them on with oaths and execrations.

Harry swam on gamely, changing his stroke in the effort to husband his
strength.  But he had only had a couple of minutes’ start, and looking
over his shoulder he saw that with the best will in the world he must
soon be overtaken.  Only twenty yards separated him from the boat; he
had just come opposite the poop of the stationary brig; he wondered
whether a shout would bring anyone to his assistance, when a small skiff
appeared from round the stern of the vessel, only a few feet distant
from him.  It had just put off from the brig and was swinging round
towards the shore.  Harry gave a hail; the men in the boat rested on
their oars; collecting his remaining strength in a few desperate strokes
he got alongside, and clutched the gunwale just as he felt himself at
his last gasp.  At the same moment the pursuing boat came up, and the
man at the tiller had some ado to avoid a collision.

[Illustration: At the Last Gasp]

"Back water!" roared the master.

The way on the boat was checked; it came to a stop a few yards beyond
the skiff and nearer the shore. Meanwhile Harry had been dragged on
board the skiff, and lay drenched, shivering, gasping across the

"Cotched, the villain!" cried the ship’s master exultantly.  "Pull
alongside, men."

A few strokes brought the two boats together.

"I’ll thank ye to hand un over," said the master. "Zooks! he shall pay
for this."

He received no reply, but instead a voice which Harry, half dead as he
was from cold and fatigue, recognized with a leaping heart, ordered the
crew of the skiff to pull back to the brig.

"Hi!" roared the master, as the boats parted, "are ye deaf or what?
Hand over that there runaway; ’tis a deserter.  Pull after ’em, men."

The boat started in pursuit, the master shouting with increasing anger.
The skiff came below the brig’s stern, where a rope ladder was hanging
over the side.

"Gi’ un up, d’ye hear?  Gi’ un up, or ’twill be the worse for ye."

"Gif him up!  Ja, ja; certainly, but not now, mine vrient; not now, and
not to you.  Dat is not my way. We do not dings zo in Holland."

"What in thunder are ye gibbering about?" roared the master—"you dirty
swab of a Dutchman, you!  I tell you he is a deserter.  Hand un over, or
I’ll have the law of ye."

"De law!  Zo, mine vrient.  We will talk over dis matter as good

Grootz sat down, while the men on the brig prepared to haul Harry, now
limp with utter exhaustion, on deck.

"I, Jan Grootz, find dis young man in de river; ver well.  He float in
de river; well again; he is what de law call flotsam—dat is zo.  Now,
mine vrient,"—here Grootz’s fat forefinger began to waggle—"flotsam, say
de law, belong to de sovereign, dat is, to de lady Queen Anne.  What is
for me to do in such a case—for me, Jan Grootz?  I render to Cæsar—who
is de Queen—dat which is Cæsar’s—dat which belong to de gracious majesty
Queen Anne.  Derefore I gif up dis young man to de Queen’s officer at
Gravesend—perhaps, when he is dry.  Zo!"

While this speech was being delivered in the Dutchman’s slow drawl, with
a placid persuasiveness suited to a discussion between friends who did
not see quite eye to eye, the master had been growing purple with rage.
He was about to explode into invective when he saw that Harry was being
swung up.

"Give way, men!" he shouted.  "Run her alongside."

He held himself in readiness to board the skiff as soon as he came
within leaping distance.  But Grootz, with an activity little to be
expected in so burly a frame, seized an oar that had been shipped by one
of his men now lending a hand in hoisting Harry on board, and, springing
to his feet, with a shrewd thrust sent the master spinning over the side
of his boat into the river.  He came up nearly a dozen yards away; his
crew pulled towards him, and when he was at last hauled into the boat he
was fifty yards down the river.  He had evidently shipped a good deal of
water, for Grootz’s blow must have knocked the breath out of his body;
the purple hue of his cheeks had given place to a mottled sickliness.
He gasped and puffed and swore; but Harry was by this time safe on board
the brig; to take him by main force was clearly impossible; and the
discomfited master had no alternative but to regain his own vessel.

Harry was carried to the cabin, his wet clothes were taken off, he was
wrapped in blankets and forced to swallow a good bumper of cordial
before the Dutchman would allow him to speak.

"Zo!" exclaimed Grootz when he was comfortable.

"You saved my life, sir," said Harry warmly.  "I was nearly done."


"They were taking me to the Plantations.  I never heard from Lord
Marlborough.  They trapped me.  All my money was gone.  I went to the
Angel and Crown to find you, to ask you to give me work; you had

"Zo! talk no more.  Flotsam!  Gunst!  I tell you dis, my vrient; put not
your drust in princes: every man learn dis zoon or late: better zoon.

The honest Dutchman left Harry to sleep while he resumed his interrupted
journey to the shore.  But he had barely reached the deck when he heard
himself hailed by a stentorian voice from a wherry sweeping by under
full sail and the rapid ply of oars.

"Ahoy there!  Ha’ ye seed a ship named the _Merry Maid_ a-sailen
down-along this way?"

"Ja, ja!" cried Grootz, chuckling; "what for you ask?"

But the man gave him no answer; only called to the two men rowing the
wherry to pull more lustily.

"Hi!" shouted the Dutchman in his turn; and though his voice was usually
low he could roar at need. "Hi! you be too late!"

The man did not turn his head.

"Hi! she is two mile ahead!"

Sherebiah gave no sign.  He was rapidly passing out of earshot.

"Hi!" shouted Grootz still more loudly.  "Sherebiah, stop!  Mynheer
Harry is here!"

Sherebiah jumped up so violently that, heavy as the wherry was, he
almost upset it.

"Master Harry?" he roared.

"Ja!  I tell you."

The wherry slewed round and headed toward the brig. Grootz lit his pipe
and watched, his little eyes twinkling with amusement.  Sherebiah looked
positively aggrieved when he came aboard.

"Oons! ’tis sinful to tear a poor mortal man’s heart out, ’tis so.  Here
be I, a-chasen a villanous creature, the _Merry Maid_ by name, thinken
as Master Harry were a forsaken prisoner aboard on her, and ’tis all
much ado about nothen, and he a-laughen in his sleeve along o’ your
cargo!  I wouldn’ ha’ thowt it, not I.  Where be the deceiven

"Asleep," said Grootz, with a puff of smoke.  "Flotsam!"  He chuckled
and guffawed; it was a joke that would last his lifetime.

"What your meanen may be I don’t know, Mynheer; but ’tis me as ought to
be sleepen.  No sleep ha’ I had, not a wink, since Master Harry played
this trick on me; ay, ’twas sinful.  And I’ll punch Ralph Aglionby’s
costard, I will so, first chance I gets."

"Tell me about it," said Grootz.

Sherebiah related how, on returning to his inn with the money for which
he had pledged Harry’s trinkets, he was surprised to find his young
master absent.  As time passed on, and he did not make his appearance,
Sherebiah became thoroughly alarmed.  About seven o’clock in the evening
he hurried off to Southwark, and enquired of the porter at the White
Hart whether Captain Aglionby was within.  The captain had left a week
before, said the porter, in company with a tall, bent, shabby old
gentleman. Sherebiah’s worst fears were realized.  For weeks he had
expected the stroke, and now it had fallen suddenly, and at a time when
he was not at hand to parry it.  He hastened at once to the house in
which, as he had made it his business to know, Mr. Berkeley was staying.
Neither the squire nor Captain Aglionby was at home.  Sherebiah
thereupon took his station at a convenient spot near the house whence he
could see without being seen, and some time after midnight was rewarded.
The two men he sought returned together.  Allowing a little time to
elapse, he went to the house and asked to see Captain Aglionby, giving
the servant a vague message which he believed would bring the captain to
the door. Instead of him, however, Mr. Berkeley himself appeared. To
Sherebiah’s question as to what had become of Harry, the squire replied
coldly that he knew nothing about him, and shut the door in his
questioner’s face.

"Ay, I were a fool to ask un," admitted Sherebiah ruefully.  "I had
ought to ha’ thowt o’ poor old feyther o’ mine."

Sherebiah was determined to have his question answered somehow.  He was
early at his post next morning, keeping a careful eye upon the door of
the house.  He saw the squire and Captain Aglionby issue forth together
and visit a lawyer up four flights of stairs in a house near Holborn
Bars.  He followed all three to a house in a blind alley farther east,
never suspecting that Harry was there confined.  He shadowed them when
they left, saw them enter a coffee-house, followed them when they came
out, and then lost sight of them.  Returning to his own inn to enquire
whether anything had been heard of Harry, he found that a man had called
an hour before and left a message for him, asking him to call without
delay at an address in Smithfield.  Hastening there at once, he learnt
from Harry’s late jailer how he had been kidnapped and shipped off to
the Plantations.  At full speed he rushed to the wharf, only to learn
that the _Merry Maid_, William Shovel master, had just taken the tide
and was now on her way to the sea.

"You med ha’ knocked me down wi’ a feather.  I sat me down on a box
under a gashly torch, and thinks I, ’Rafe Aglionby be too much for ’ee
this time, Sherebiah Stand-up-and-bless.’  I stood up, I did; time an’
tide waits for no man; ’twas a sudden thought; I seed a sailen wherry
alongside wharf, and two big swabs hangen round.  I showed ’em a crown
a-piece, and said there’s more to foller, and mebbe summat out o’ the
Queen’s purse too; and here I be, all my poor mortal flesh a-wamblen
like a aspen.  ’Tis tooken a year off my life, ay, ’tis so."

Jan Grootz smiled.

"Mine good vrient," he said, "I tell you dis.  You will come ashore with
me; we will go to your inn and fetch your goods.  It will delay us, but
only one day. Den my ship sails; Amsterdam; you will come?"

"Sakes!  What about Master Harry, then?"

"He alzo."

"Oons!  Be that th’ order o’ the day?  Well, ’tis a long lane has no
turnen.  Will there be time for me to go and ha’ a few words wi’ Rafe


"Well, I’ll save ’em up.  A rod bean’t none the wuss for bein’ salted.
Ay, and I were not always a man o’ peace!"

                              *CHAPTER IX*

                *Monsieur de Polignac Presses his Suit*

Scenes in Holland—Feeding an Army—A Tulip Bulb—On the Road—The Captain’s
Man—A Break-Down—Double Dutch—The Captain Again—A Diversion—An Entry—An
Exit—Hospitality—Confidences—Rejected Addresses—Palmam qui

"Hundred barrels pork, tousand quarters flour, five hunderdweight
sausages, twenty gallon schnapps, for de garrison of Breda.  Ver well,
Monsieur de Tilly, de order shall be done."

Mynheer Jan Grootz put down the paper from which he had been
translating, and pushed a pair of horn spectacles up his brow.

"Mynheer Harry," he continued, "you will see to dis. Such an order
yesterday could not have been met—no. But wid Peter Kolp’s man coming
from Helmund it is to-day anoder ding.  In Helmund, wid Peter Kolp, dere
is pork, flour—plenty; yes, my poor vrient Kolp dink dere is too much;
he alzo would supply de army. ’Grootz,’ he say, ’ask too high prices.
As for me, Kolp, I am a cheap man.  But Grootz, he is a sad rascal.’
But I tell you dis: dey say my poor vrient Kolp forget his measures and
weights, he dink fourteen ounces weigh one pound, and sometimes, dey
say, he dink ten barrel bad pork make twelve good; so my poor vrient is
not now permitted to contract no more; and he sell me his stores.
Truly, he is a cheap man!  Zo!"

There was a chuckle of satisfaction in the concluding word.

"You will start early in de morning, Mynheer Harry," he resumed, "wid
ten carts; Helmund is twenty mile beyond Tilburg, and Tilburg fifteen
beyond Breda.  You will get de stores from Kolp at Helmund and return
wid dem to Breda and hand dem over to the commissary dere.  Take wid you
your man Sherebiah, and Piet Brinker to show you de road; he will pick
drivers for de carts.  We hear noding of forayers lately; zo I hope you
have a safe journey, And, Mynheer Harry, never forget dat poor Kolp
cannot count, and do not know good pork from bad, and mistake chalk for
flour.  You will examine dese little matters wid much care; zo?"

The merchant replaced his glasses on his nose and proceeded to dictate
an invoice to one of his clerks.  He sat at a desk in a low-pitched room
next to the roof of a gabled house near the Gevangen Poort in
Bergen-op-Zoom. The lower floors were devoted to the living apartments;
the warehouse and offices were at the top, goods being raised and
lowered by means of a crane-like apparatus that projected from the wall
like a yard-arm.  It was not Mynheer Grootz’s home; that was at the
Hague; but Bergen-op-Zoom at the head of the eastern arm of the Scheldt
was for the present his business head-quarters, conveniently situated in
regard to the scattered armies whose wants he had to supply.

[Illustration: Map of Part of the LOW COUNTRIES in 1703.]

It was early in the month of June.  For more than three months Harry
Rochester had been engaged with the worthy Dutchman, who was kept busy
morning, noon, and night in provisioning the allied forces now entering
upon a new campaign.  He found his employment very much to his taste,
and his employer the best of friends.  Grootz never alluded to the time
when his offer of employment had been slighted, and Harry often smiled
as he remembered the pride with which, in the days of his high
expectations, he had refused to cast in his lot with a mere merchant.
The novelty of the scenes amid which he found himself on his arrival in
Holland had banished his ambitions for the time.  The flat country, with
its dunes and dykes, its endless canals and innumerable windmills; its
quaint towns, in which chimneys and steeples and masts seemed so
curiously jumbled; the stolid, hospitable people—the men with their big
pipes and snuff-boxes, the women with their characteristic head-dress,
the girls with the riband of maidenhood at their right brow; the strange
customs—the _spionnen_ at the windows, an arrangement of mirrors by
which from the upper rooms all that passed in the street below could be
seen within; the placard at the door when a child was born; the
incessant scrubbing that went on indoors and out; the _trekschuiten_ and
_pakschuiten_ that conveyed goods and passengers along the canals, drawn
sometimes by horses, more often by a stout mynheer and his vrouw; the
storks nesting among the chimney-pots; the stiff formal gardens with
their beds of tulips—everything interested him; his low spirits vanished
into thin air, and he enjoyed life with a zest he had never known

His duties had taken him into many parts of the country. In March he was
at the Hague when the Duke of Marlborough returned to resume command of
the forces, and he did not even feel a pang when, a humble member of the
crowd, he saw the great soldier whose forgetfulness or insincerity had
so woefully disappointed him.  He knew the potteries of Delft, and the
cheese-factories of Gouda; he had heard the great organ of Haarlem, and
the sweet carillons of Antwerp, and practised skating for the first time
on a frozen arm of the Y.  Finding it difficult to get on without a
knowledge of Dutch, the only language understood by his teamsters and
the country people, he had thrown himself energetically into the study
of the language; and he had, besides, picked up a smattering of everyday
German phrases from one of his men, a German Swiss.  After his natural
British diffidence in adventuring on a foreign tongue had worn off, he
delighted to air his new accomplishment with the comely juffrouws whom
he met in the course of his journeys.  He dropped into the routine of
the business so rapidly that Mynheer Grootz once told him he was a born
merchant—a compliment which, to his own surprise, did not give the least
shock to his dignity.

His intelligence and energy completely won the old Dutchman’s
confidence, and more than once he had been entrusted with the delivery
of supplies to the army in the field.  It was not always possible for
the military authorities to furnish convoys for these consignments, and
they were therefore usually accompanied by well-armed men to guard
against the danger of surprise by robbers and freebooters.  Many small
bands of outlaws were abroad in Holland and Germany, taking advantage of
the disturbed state of the country to prey upon the inhabitants, under
the pretence of making requisitions for one or other of the contending
forces.  These marauders terrorized the remoter districts.  Hitherto
Harry had been fortunate in avoiding any danger of this character.
Grootz was as phlegmatic and silent as ever, but he showed in his quiet
way that he was pleased with the lad’s unvarying diligence and success.

Harry woke early.  The sun was bright but the air cool, and he felt full
of vigour, eager to set off on this the longest expedition he had yet
taken.  Mynheer Grootz was a bachelor, and his breakfast-table was
served by a buxom old housekeeper who, after a brief season of jealousy,
had capitulated to Harry’s cheerfulness and courtesy.  At breakfast the
merchant in his slow, ponderous manner repeated his customary warnings
to Harry to guard against surprise, and to be punctilious about getting
a formal receipt for his supplies from the commissary of the force to
which they were to be delivered.

"Here is de paper," he said, handing it to Harry. "Make him sign it; he
may be a count or marquis or someding of de sort, and I trust none of

Harry laughed.  "Put not your trust in princes" seemed to be the prime
motto of his host’s business career.

"Very well, Mynheer," he said.

"And here is a packet I wish you to deliver.  Not for de army, dis; no;
it is for a vrient of mine dat live a few miles dis side of Helmund.  I
promised her a tulip bulb; dis is it."

He handed to Harry a small packet, on which the address was written.

"The Comtesse de Vaudrey," he read aloud.  "That is a French name?"

"Ja!  De lady is French, a widow, of a family dat had to leave France
because of the persecutions.  She is French, but a vrient alzo.  If you
need help, she will give it."

"I hope she is not a very great lady.  I have met no lady here higher in
rank than a burgomaster’s vrouw, and I thought she rather looked down on

"The comtesse is mine vrient," repeated Grootz in a tone that implied
there was no more to be said.

A few minutes afterwards they left the breakfast-room. At the outer door
ten empty wagons were already waiting with their drivers, and as Harry
prepared to mount to his place on the foremost, Sherebiah came up with
the remains of his breakfast in his hand.  Grootz repeated his warnings;
Harry smiled and waved his good-bye to Gretel the housekeeper, who stood
at the door with her hands folded in front of her ample person, and the
line of carts moved off.

The Harry Rochester in charge of the convoy was a different being from
the pale thin youth who had left England four months before.  His work
had had the effect of hardening his muscles and developing his physique;
and constant exposure to the air and sun had browned his cheeks and
brightened his eye.  But Sherebiah presented a still greater contrast.
From the moment of landing on Dutch soil he had ceased to shave, with
the result that his lips and cheeks and chin were now covered with a
thick growth of stiff brown hair.  Harry did not like the change, but
when he asked the reason of this departure from old habit Sherebiah
merely said that he had concluded shaving to be a waste of time.  The
reply was hardly satisfactory, but Sherebiah was never communicative
unless he wished to be so, and Harry let the matter drop.

The roads were heavy, and the horses were of the large-limbed variety
that spell endurance rather than pace. Empty as the wagons were, only
twenty miles were made that day, and Harry decided to stay for the night
at the Crown Inn at Breda.  The town was garrisoned by four battalions
of infantry, four regiments of cavalry, and a regiment of dragoons, and
it was for these that the supplies were required.  Harry sought out the
commissary, and promising to deliver the goods within two days, went for
a stroll through the town, leaving Sherebiah to bespeak supper at the
inn.  He roamed through the winding streets, one of which ended with a
windmill; admired the warm-toned old house-fronts; William the Third’s
chateau, encircled by the river Merk; and the fine Hervormde Kerk, with
its lofty octagon tower and bulbous spire.  On returning to the inn he
was met by Sherebiah in some excitement.

"What med ’ee think, sir?  Who’d ’ee believe I ha’ seed?"


"John Simmons, sir, large as life."

"Captain Aglionby’s man—the man who got a crack on the head on the Roman

"The very same."

"I have often wondered how he managed to escape from old Nokes the
constable.  ’Twas whispered that the captain himself had a hand in it.
I suppose he came to this country for safety."

"Ay, not for riches, so ’twould seem," replied Sherebiah rather
hurriedly.  "A’ was down at heel, more like a ragged vagrom than the
smart soul as drank his pint at the Berkeley Arms.  Mother Joplady
couldn’ abide un."

"Did he see you?"

"Not him.  Nor I don’t want to see un, the mumpen cockney.—Supper’s
ready, sir."

Next morning Harry proceeded with his convoy along the Eyndhoven road
and arrived late at his destination, Helmund.  Almost the whole of the
following day was occupied in loading his wagons and procuring extra
carts to carry the stores collected by Grootz’s client, Peter Kolp. At
his first interview with that "poor friend" of Mynheer Grootz, Harry
made it clear that, as a matter of form, the provisions would be
carefully tested in quality and quantity, with the result that they were
found to be excellent and full weight.  It was four o’clock before he
was ready to start for Breda.  He followed a different route on his
return journey.  Madame de Vaudrey’s house, Lindendaal, lay on the upper
road toward Boxtel—a safer road to travel, as a report had come in that
the French had made their appearance near Turnhout, to the south, and
were coming apparently in the direction of Eyndhoven.

Unluckily, the convoy had proceeded only a few miles on its return to
Breda when, as it was crossing the Aa river, one of the horses took
fright and toppled the cart into the water.  Fortunately the stream was
sluggish and shallow, but Harry saw that it would take some time to
extricate the wagon from the mud and collect what part of its load was
worth saving.  Leaving Piet Brinker in charge of the work, he decided to
push on himself with the remainder of the convoy, deliver the packet he
carried for Madame de Vaudrey, and wait for the rescued wagon to
overtake him.  He knew that, with the hospitality universal in Holland,
the countess would not allow him to proceed unrefreshed, and he was in
truth not a little glad of the opportunity of seeing the lady whom
Grootz had so emphatically called his friend.  He therefore drove on.
The wagon wheels ploughed deep furrows in the heavy sandy roads, and the
big Dutch horses plodded on steadily but slowly.  The road wound by and
by through avenues of elms, pruned of their branches in the Dutch way,
and looking to Harry’s English eyes very starved and ugly. At length he
came to a wall on the right that appeared to enclose a park of some
considerable size.  A peasant was passing, whom he hailed, asking in
Dutch whether this was the house of Madame de Vaudrey.  The man looked
stolidly at him without replying.  Sherebiah repeated the question,
using a different phrase.  The Hollander answered at once that this
certainly was Lindendaal, the chateau of the French lady.  Harry sprang
from his wagon, ordered the drivers to draw up by the side of the road,
which was here parallel with a narrow canal, and entered the gate
accompanied by Sherebiah.

"I’ll tell you one thing that puzzles me, Sherry," he remarked, as they
passed up an avenue bounded on both sides by a breast-high balustrade of
stone.  "You and I have been in this country the same time, and seen
each as much as the other of the people, and yet you have beat me
altogether in picking up the language, hard as I have worked at it.  I
don’t understand it."

"Ah well, Master Harry," said Sherebiah, "’tis like that sometimes, so
’tis.  You be a scholard, with book larnen and all that; I be, true, a
poor common mortal, but mebbe my ear be quicker ’n some."

"Still, the time is rather short for you to have learnt to speak the
language so well as you do.  Your knowledge has grown as quickly as your

"True now, mebbe so; Samson in the Holy Book growed amazen clever wi’
his locks; but I never thowt afore as how it med be the same in these

Harry laughed.

"It looks very English, doesn’t it?" he said, pointing to the house.  It
was square, with a veranda painted blue, under which were several
windows opening to the ground. In front was an open semicircular space,
around which were parterres of brilliant flowers; these were separated
from the park and orchard by a prolongation of the balustrades that
lined the drive.  There were dormer windows in the roof, and at one
angle rose a kind of belfry surmounted by a weathercock.

"Give me the packet, Sherry; you had better remain at the door while I
go in."

"Ay, or mebbe I med find my lone way to the kitchen?"

"No, no; remain at the door until I have seen Madame de Vaudrey.  I
can’t have you coquetting with her maids."

Harry went to the door, which stood open, the afternoon having been
warm.  A spare, anxious-looking man-servant came in answer to his ring.

"Is Madame de Vaudrey within?" he asked in Dutch.

The man’s accent when he replied in the affirmative left no doubt that
he was a Frenchman.  Harry explained his errand in French, whereupon the
man said in the same language that his mistress was for the moment
engaged, but that if Monsieur would wait no doubt she would see him
shortly.  He led Harry through the wide hall, up a handsome oak
staircase into a little ante-room, where, begging him to be seated, he
shut the door upon the visitor.

Harry was immediately aware of voices engaged in conversation on the
other side of the folding-doors that formed one wall of the room.  At
first the sounds came to him as murmurs in different tones, but after a
time they became louder, and though he could not distinguish the words
it was plain that one at least of the speakers was very angry.  At
length he heard the fierce clanging of a bell below; a few moments
after, the manservant came running into the ante-room and threw open the
folding-doors.  Harry, looking into what was evidently the drawing-room,
saw a group of four.  One was clearly the lady of the house, short,
stout, dressed in a costume little resembling the Dutch housewife’s
usual attire.  She was very angry, talking vehemently, and gesticulating
with her plump white hand.  By her side stood a younger lady, half a
head taller, slim and graceful, perfectly still and collected, though
her cheeks were flushed.  Opposite to the two ladies, their backs to the
four windows which lit the other end of the room, were two men, one very
tall and lean, with thin lips.  The other was but little shorter and a
good deal stouter.  Harry’s attention had been at first attracted to the
ladies; the burlier of the two men was the last of the four to be
noticed; and it was with a shock of amazement that he recognized in his
figure and blotched red face no other than Captain Aglionby.

"Allez-vous-en, allez-vous-en!" the elder lady was repeating.  "Quittez
ma maison, tout de suite; je vous l’ordonne, je l’exige, je le veux
absolument; retirez-vous, messieurs, d’ici, et au plus vite!"

Aglionby laughed.  None of the four had yet caught sight of Harry
standing back in the darker ante-room. The lady turned to the manservant
and ordered him to eject the unwelcome visitors.  The servant hesitated
to attempt a task clearly beyond his strength.  Aglionby put his hand on
his sword, and then laughed again brutally as he recognized that he had
nothing to fear.  All the time the taller man stood quietly watching the
scene, occasionally moistening his lips; and the girl remained in the
same tense immobility, her eyes never leaving the face of Aglionby.

Harry felt it was time to intervene.

"Perhaps I may be allowed—" he began.  At the first word the captain
swung round as if on a pivot and stared. His puffed crimson face turned
a sea-green as he saw advancing towards him, fresh, lithe, confident,
the youth whom he fondly imagined by this time leading a slave’s life in
a Barbados plantation.  The other man did not stir; but the two ladies
looked towards the speaker with a sort of startled surprise.  Stepping
towards the elder, Harry continued:

"Perhaps I may be allowed to offer my services.  If Madame will be so
good as to retire, I will—reason with these gentlemen."

Madame de Vaudrey clasped her hands and looked indecisively at the
new-comer, as though doubting the propriety of accepting the
intervention of a stranger. Harry was on the point of explaining who he
was, when the matter was settled in an unexpected way.  The girl moved
to her mother’s side and took her by the hand. Then, turning to Harry,
she said in clear, cold tones:

"If Monsieur will rid the house of these two men he will do my mother a
great service.  Come, Mamma!"  And then, without another glance at any
of the three, she led Madame de Vaudrey, still half-resisting, from the

The colour had been gradually returning to Aglionby’s face, and when the
ladies had disappeared his purple hue was deeper than ever.  But the
surprise of Harry’s presence was so great that for the moment the
doughty captain was nonplussed; his anger was at boiling-point, but he
was clearly at a loss what course to take.  His companion stood
expectant, a slight smile still on his face—a smile rendered peculiarly
disagreeable by a twitching of the mouth that drew one corner
perceptibly upwards towards the left ear.

The interval of silence seemed longer than it really was.

"I am sure, gentlemen," said Harry with great urbanity, "you will see
the propriety of at once relieving Madame de Vaudrey of your presence."

Then the storm broke.  Glaring with rage, unable to stand still,
stuttering in his speech, Aglionby roared:

"You insolent puppy, you low-born cully, you—how dare you speak to me!
What are you doing here?  Stap me, I’ll run you through the midriff and
rid the world of a bit of vermin!"

"I shall be delighted to give you an opportunity—outside," said Harry
quietly.  "Meanwhile, the door is open, and by making your exit you will
please not Madame de Vaudrey only, but me and, it appears, yourself."

"Adsbud, I’ll—I’ll——" stuttered Aglionby, half drawing his sword.  Harry
had his right hand on the hilt of his own weapon, the third man was
still watching the scene, when an unlooked-for diversion occurred.
Harry was between the two rooms, the two men opposite him with their
backs to the drawing-room windows, which were open.  It happened that a
flight of steps led up from the garden to a balcony beneath these
windows.  At this critical moment a fourth man came suddenly into the
room from the outside.  Before any of the three could perceive what was
happening, the new-comer, with a long acrobatic spring, simultaneously
imprisoned in his arms the necks of Aglionby and his companion, and
half-throttling them dragged them past Harry, through the ante-room,
into the corridor, and down the staircase.  Harry followed, himself
somewhat amazed at their helter-skelter progress—bumping down the
stairs, struggling vainly in Sherebiah’s vice-like grip, swaying against
the balusters first on one side then on the other, the wood-work
creaking and groaning under the pressure.  Half-way down the men lost
their feet altogether, and were incapable of resisting the rush with
which their captor hauled them across the vestibule and through the open
door, where he pulled up with a sudden jerk and shot them down the
flight of shallow steps on to the drive in front.  The whole proceeding
scarcely occupied more than half a minute, so sudden had been the onset,
so helpless were the two men, gasping half-strangled in Sherebiah’s
merciless hug.

Harry ran down the stairs, expecting to find his man engaged in a battle
royal before the house.  But when he reached the door he saw Aglionby
and the Frenchman already halfway down the drive towards the road.  They
had not waited, then, to demand satisfaction of him. Smiling at his
recollection of their headlong descent, he went upstairs again, and was
met by Madame de Vaudrey, who had come from another room at the sound of
scuffling. She was very pale.

"They are gone, Madame," said Harry at once, to reassure her.

"Oh, Monsieur, I thank you, I thank you with good heart!  Your help at
the precise moment was so precious. I cannot thank you too much."

"It was my servant, Madame—a very useful fellow. He did it all himself.
I am glad we happened to be at hand.  This unforeseen incident has
prevented me, Madame, from explaining my presence here.  I have called
to leave a packet entrusted to me by Mynheer Grootz, a friend of yours,
I think."

"Oh! it is my tulip bulb.  Mynheer Grootz promised to send it me.  Yes,
he is a friend of mine indeed.  But are those men really gone?  Will
they not overpower your brave servant?  They are bad men—oh, they are
bad!  I fear them."

"I saw them going down the drive.  And my man knows how to take care of
himself," said Harry.  "They will not trouble you again at present.  And
now, Madame, as I have Mynheer Grootz’s packet in the ante-room, if you
will allow me to place it in your hands I will take my leave and proceed
on my way."

"Mon Dieu, non!" cried the lady.  "You must allow me to give you some
refreshment, and your brave man too—if he is really safe!  Jean," she
called to the servant, "bring wine and cakes and fruit to the
drawing-room. But first see if this gentleman’s servant is safe."

"He is, Madame," replied the man at once.  "The men from the stables and
the garden were coming to the door: Mademoiselle had fetched them: and
they were too many for Monsieur de Polignac and the other."

"How thankful I am!  Bring the brave man up with you.  Now, Monsieur—I
do not know your name?"

"It is Harry Rochester, Madame; I am English."

"Indeed!  Come into the drawing-room and rest.  Jean will bring
something to eat and drink immediately."

She led the way into the room, gave Harry a comfortable chair, and sat
opposite to him, folding her plump hands on her lap, and heaving a sigh
of satisfaction and relief.  The servant soon reappeared with a tray,
and when Madame de Vaudrey had seen Harry supplied with drink and food
that pleased him, she dismissed her man, read the letter Mynheer Grootz
had enclosed with his gift, and began to talk.

"You are English?  That is interesting.  My dear husband’s mother was
English, so that my daughter has a little—a very little, of
course—English blood in her.  I cannot tell you how thankful I am that
you came when you did.  That is also another debt I owe to Mynheer
Grootz.  He writes very amiable things of you.  I was at my wits’ end,
Monsieur Rochestair; I will tell you about it.—Do you like that wine?"

"Thank you, it is excellent."

"I am so glad!  You speak French very well for an Englishman.  My
daughter wishes to learn English.  She takes after her father, not after
me.  I wonder where she is?"

Harry followed her glance to the door; he too had wondered what had
become of the tall girl who had shown so much decisiveness of character
at an awkward moment. But she did not appear.

"Well," continued the amiable hostess, "let me tell you all about it."

Mynheer Grootz’s recommendation was clearly a passport to her favour.
She leant back in her high chair, and in her clear, well-modulated voice
told Harry what he was, it must be confessed, curious to hear.  It was
three years since her husband, the Comte de Vaudrey, died.  He was a
student, not a man of affairs; and his fortune suffered through his lack
of business-like qualities.  The estate, a small one, purchased by his
father when as a Huguenot he fled from France at the revocation of the
Edict of Nantes, was now much encumbered.  Monsieur de Vaudrey had
bought the best perspective glasses and other expensive scientific
instruments, had spent large sums on rare books and specimens, and had
so embarrassed himself that he had to apply to the Amsterdam bankers,
who advanced him money on a mortgage of the estate.  Not long afterwards
he died.

"It is only a year ago," continued Madame de Vaudrey, "that we learnt
that we were to have a neighbour.  The estate adjoining our own had been
in the market for many years, and we heard that it had at last been
purchased by a Monsieur de Polignac, a Frenchman, and a Huguenot like
ourselves.  We were rejoiced at the news; a neighbour of our own race
and faith would be so charming, we thought.  And so indeed he was, at
first.  I thought his visits to his estate too few; he was so often at
the Hague; when he came to see us he was so debonair, so gracious, that
I liked him well.  With my daughter, quite the contrary.  It was
prejudice, I told her; but from the first she looked on him coldly.
Then all at once he became a more frequent visitor, and I saw—yes, a
mother’s eyes are keen—that he had pretensions to my daughter’s hand.  I
did not oppose him; he was rich, noble, a Huguenot; but Adèle—certes,
Monsieur Rochestair, no maiden could ever have given less encouragement.
The first time he was refused he smiled—he does not look well when he
smiles, think you?—and said that he would still hope.  But though I
thought the match a good one, I would not persuade my daughter: she is
all I have, Monsieur, and so young.  He went away; then a few days ago I
am astonished to see him reappear in company with Captain Aglionby, who
is visiting him.  Now first I begin really to dislike Monsieur de

"Did you know Captain Aglionby before, then?" asked Harry in surprise.

"Yes; that is why.  I know him, and I think no friend of his can be a
good man.  Captain Aglionby stayed for a month in this house some five
years ago.  No, he was not a welcome guest; he was brought here to
recover from a wound he had received in a skirmish near by; ah,
Monsieur, he is an odious man!  I hate his loud voice, his turbulence,
his rodomontade; imagine, three times, Monsieur, three times he
intoxicated himself in my house, and excused himself with the plea that
he had done so many times with the Czar of Muscovy.  He used to force
himself into my husband’s study, meddle with his things, spoil his
scientific experiments—my husband was discovering a plan to get gold
from sea-water, and we should have been so rich!  But the odious captain
ruined all.  I am sure he did, for the experiments came to nothing."

"Why did you put up with it?"

"Alas! what could we do?  My husband was a man of tranquil soul who had
lived so long with his books that he could not deal with men.  As for
me—you see me, a poor helpless woman! and Adèle was then only eleven!
judge then my surprise and alarm when I see Captain Aglionby in company
with Monsieur de Polignac.  Still more to-day, when Monsieur de Polignac
comes once more to urge his suit.  Adèle refuses him with scorn. And
then—oh, the villain!—he tells me he has bought from the Jews of
Amsterdam the mortgage on this estate, and if Adèle will not be his
wife, then he turns us out—think of it, Monsieur; turns two defenceless
women out. This it is that changes me, a weak woman, into a fury, as you

Harry forbore to smile at Madame de Vaudrey’s placid impersonation of a

"They are a couple of villains indeed," he said.  "It was truly
fortunate that I came with Sherebiah at the right moment."

"Yes, indeed; a thousand thanks!  And only think of it: just before you
came Captain Aglionby, odious man, had dared to hint that when we were
thrust out of our home he would do me the honour to marry me.  Truly an
honour! No, I never forget my dear husband; no, never!  Ah, this is the
dear brave man, your servant?"

The door had opened, and Sherebiah came in awkwardly, turning his hat
between his hands.  Madame de Vaudrey rose and, smiling upon him, said:

"I give you a thousand thanks.  You are a hero; how strong! how bold!"

Sherebiah bobbed.

"Madame de Vaudrey thanks you," said Harry.

"’Tis handsome of the lady, sir, and I’m obleeged, and axes you to put
my sarvices into French lingo, sir."

He bobbed again.

"What about Captain Aglionby?" asked Harry.

"Well, sir, I reckon he be madder than a March hare. Nigh to bust
hisself, and hot as pepper.  Would ha’ slashed me, man o’ peace as I be,
if ’tweren’t for half a dozen Dutch coofs wi’ pitchforks and other
articles o’ warfare drawn up below, wi’ the young lady at their head.
Ay, she be a warrior bold, sure enough: I never seed such a piece of
female manliness all my life long.  ’Twas with a flashen eye and a pink
rose on each pretty cheek her stood and ordered ’em out.  Ay, an
uncommon upstanden piece o’ womankind her be, to be sure."

Harry was glad that Madame de Vaudrey’s ignorance of English could not
fathom this plain-spoken tribute to her daughter’s charms.

"They are really gone, then?" he said.

"Why, yes, both on ’em; the long beetle chap as well. He be a next-door
neighbour, it seems, and a mighty unpleasant neighbour he must be.—Thank
’ee kindly, mum," he added, as Madame de Vaudrey offered him a glass of
wine, "but if ’ee don’t mind, I’d rather wet my whistle with a mug of
beer in the kitchen."

The lady smiled when this was interpreted.

"You English are like the Hollanders in that," she said. "Certainly.
Jean, take the brave man to the kitchen and treat him well."

Sherebiah pulled his forelock and departed with alacrity.

"We must shortly be going on our way, Madame," said Harry.  "I have a
convoy of provisions for the garrison at Breda, and my wagoners are even
now growing impatient, I doubt not."

"But, Monsieur, I cannot hear of it.  You cannot reach Breda to-night;
and suppose those odious men return? You must be tired.  Do me the
favour to stay here for the night; and we can find a bed for your man

"But the wagons?"

"Let them go on to the village; it is but half a league away.  They can
remain at the inn there.  Monsieur, I insist; and besides, I have to
write a letter of thanks to my friend Mynheer Grootz."

Harry had no reason for refusing an invitation so cordial. Madame de
Vaudrey beamed when he accepted, and, begging to be excused, went off to
make arrangements with her servants.  Left to himself, Harry looked
round the room.  It was richly furnished; the tables, cabinets, and
chairs were of French make, in highly polished rose-wood; chairs and
sofas were covered with crimson velvet, and two cabinets were filled
with beautiful porcelain and Dutch china.  The pictures upon the walls
were all French, except one—a portrait, evidently by a Dutch hand and of
a comparatively recent date.  It represented a man’s head, with dark
complexion and wistful melancholy eyes. Harry was attracted to it by a
slight resemblance to his father; not in the features, which were quite
unlike, but in the curious sadness of the expression.  His thoughts were
carried back to his old home at Winton St. Mary, and the quiet life with
his father there; a mist came before his eyes, and he fell into a
reverie, standing thus before the picture.

So rapt was he in recollection that he did not hear the door open behind
him, nor turn to see the entrance of Adèle de Vaudrey.  For a moment the
girl stood in the doorway, holding the handle.  An onlooker would have
seen a strange shifting of expression upon her face as she paused in
hesitation whether to advance or retire, to speak or to remain silent.
It was but for a moment; her lips softened, her long lashes drooped down
upon her eyes; and closing the door as noiselessly as she had opened it
she slipped away.

                              *CHAPTER X*


A Stroll—A Fair Cook—Love and Duty—An Arrival—General van
Santen—Raiders—A Dozen all Told—Rallying the Peasants—Desperate
Counsels—The Masqueraders—Strategy—A Ruse de Guerre—Stage Effects—Final
Touches—In Sight—At the Door—Ransom—A Turn of the Screw—Phantom

"Ah, my dear Monsieur Rochestair, pardon me for leaving you so long.  I
have been to prepare your room."

"Thank you indeed, Madame!"

"You were looking at the portrait?  It is my dear husband.  Is it not a
fine head?  Can you imagine, after seeing it, that I could put that
odious captain in his place? Not that I should think every man bad
unless he resembled my husband.  No, that would be unjust.  But come and
see my garden, Monsieur Rochestair.  It is beautiful outside now that
the sun is going down."

"I shall be delighted.  I have noticed how the scent of the flowers
comes to us here through the windows."

"Yes, I love flowers.  Mynheer Grootz knows that."

Madame conducted Harry through the grounds.  They were laid out with
more freedom than was usual in Holland, and reminded him at many a turn
of well-tended parks at home.  The house was surrounded by its garden;
beyond this was an expanse of lawn and thin park bounded by a wall.
Beyond this again, Madame de Vaudrey explained, lay the orchard
belonging to the far larger estate now owned by Monsieur de Polignac.
At a considerable distance from the house on the eastern side Harry
remarked a large open stretch of ground, roughly circular in shape,
covered with grass that grew wild and was left uncropt, Across the
middle of it ran a ditch, now apparently dry, passing under the garden
wall and the road, and evidently connected with the canal.  Near to the
spot where the ditch disappeared beneath the wall stood a large
dilapidated building, like the storehouse usually attached to a Dutch

"You wonder at our neglect of this part of the grounds," said the lady
with a smile.  "But that is our skating pond. In winter we open the
sluices at the canal end of the ditch; it fills, the water overflows,
and thus we flood the field. Then comes the frost, and we have, I think,
the finest skating pond in Holland, and quite safe.  We used to hold
tournaments, people came from miles around; but alas! since this
terrible war has recommenced we have almost forgotten those pleasant
sports of winter.  I do hope it will soon come to an end.  I never could
understand what men are fighting about.  My dear husband used to speak
of the balance of power; the French king wishes to rule everybody, he
told me; certainly King Louis is a bad man; he has behaved disgracefully
to us poor Huguenots; and I dare say you English are quite right in
helping the Dutch to punish him.  But war is so terrible. My dear
husband was trying to invent something that would enable one army to
make another army senseless without killing them; I know nothing about
it, but the idea was excellent; and if the truth were known I dare say
it was that odious Captain Aglionby who spoilt that too."

Thus the good lady kept chattering to Harry as she conducted him over
her little estate.  The evening was drawing rapidly in; a light mist was
rising, and Madame shivered a little as she turned back towards the
house.  A moment afterwards her daughter met her.

"Mother," she said, "you should not be out in the damp air.  You know it
is bad for you."

"Yes, my dear," replied Madame de Vaudrey, submitting to be enwrapped in
a large woollen shawl which her daughter’s fair hands wound about her
head and shoulders. "I have been showing Monsieur Rochestair our little
property—alas! soon to be ours no more.  I told Monsieur why, Adèle."

The girl’s cheeks flushed, but she said nothing.

"I did not tell you, Madame," said Harry, "that I happen to know
something of Captain Aglionby."

"Indeed! nothing but what is perfectly odious, I am sure."

"I have reason to believe that he was concerned in an attempt to ship me
to our plantations in Barbados.  My man tells me——"

"Monsieur," interrupted the girl, "my mother is subject to chills.  You
are staying with us to-night; will you hasten to the house with my
mother and tell us the story at supper?"

"With pleasure, Mademoiselle."

Harry felt a little in awe of this very decisive young lady, with her
scornful lip and clear uncompromising tones. She hurried in advance to
the house, and was waiting in the panelled dining-room when the others
appeared.  The table looked very inviting with its spotless napery,
shining plate, and vases of flowers, and Harry found the meal much to
his taste after the plain fare of Dutch hostelries. Besides such staple
viands as Westphalian ham and bag-puddings—one variety of these, filled
with raisins and spices, was excellent—there were dainty French
dishes—confections of fruit and cream which surprised even Madame la

"Ah, you rogue!" she exclaimed; "I see now where you hid yourself this

"Mademoiselle likes cooking?" Harry ventured to say.

"By no means, Monsieur, I dislike it exceedingly."


"I knew we had nothing ready, Mamma," added the girl, "and you would not
have liked Monsieur to think little of your hospitality."

During the meal Harry gave the ladies an account of himself, speaking of
his early hopes and ambitions, his disappointments, the vain waiting for
a message from Marlborough, the strange animus of the squire, the
kidnapping, the interposition of Mynheer Grootz.  His hearers were
deeply interested; even Mademoiselle, though she said little, and seemed
to curl her pretty lip when her mother’s curiosity or indignation showed
itself in little vivacious exclamations,—Mademoiselle kept her eyes
fixed on Harry as he spoke, though whenever he happened to glance
towards her she was looking away and appeared unconcerned.

"Ah, there now!" cried the comtesse, when Harry mentioned, without a
trace of bitterness, Marlborough’s failure to keep his promise; "that is
my lord duke’s character. He is mean, he is selfish, he loves no one but

"And the duchess," put in Harry.

"But that is his duty.  It is his duty to love his wife. I did not say
he was a monster."

"Did you love papa from duty?" asked Adèle simply.

"I never said that, Adèle.  Of course it is a woman’s duty to love her
husband, but your dear father was so good, so kind, so fond of me that
no one could help loving him."

"Mynheer Grootz is good and kind, but you don’t love him."

Madame de Vaudrey flushed.

"You say such odd things, Adèle.  I can’t think how it is.  I never said
such things when I was a girl.  Mynheer Grootz is good, and kind; you
are right; and if it were my duty——"

"Oh, Mamma," cried Adèle, "do forget the word duty! I am sure none of us
either loves or hates from duty.—Would Monsieur like some strawberries
and cream?"

Harry went to bed that night very well pleased with himself, his
hostess, and her daughter.  He liked the little, simple, talkative
countess; he was piqued by Adèle’s reserve, coolness, indifference—he
hardly knew what to call it; the something which seemed to indicate that
Harry Rochester was a creature far too insignificant for the notice of
Mademoiselle Adèle de Vaudrey.  "And she is clever, too," he thought.
"Faith, how she sent Aglionby to the right-about!  Polignac is a
scoundrel; what will they do if he turns them out?  And how did he come
across Aglionby?  She will not marry him, at any rate; that’s one

It is very unromantic, but the truth must be told. Thoughts of Adèle did
not keep Harry one instant from sleep.  His bed was a dark
mysterious-looking box, with brown damask curtains drawn closely round
it.  Withdrawing the curtains, he saw a magnificent quilt of crimson
satin, snowy sheets, a lace-trimmed pillow.  He scrambled up, barking
his legs against the high boards composing the sides, and the moment he
laid his head on the pillow forgot Aglionby, Marlborough, Adèle, and

When Madame de Vaudrey bade good-night to her daughter she said:

"Eh bien, fillette; je l’aime, le bel Anglais.  Il est brave,
intelligent, modeste, parfaitement aimable, n’est-ce pas?"

"Oh, petite maman, que voulez-vous?  Est-ce que je _dois_ l’aimer, moi

And kissing her mother on both cheeks Adèle ran off laughing.

Harry was awakened in the morning by the loud singing of the birds.  He
had left his window wide open, and the scent of flowers and perfume from
the fir wood at the extremity of the estate gave him fragrant greeting.
He sprang out of bed, and stood at the window inhaling the luscious
odours, listening to the song of the birds and the incessant hoarse
croak of the frogs, gazing at the grass glistening with dew.  "I should
like a week’s holiday here," he thought.  "Ay me! it is breakfast, and
then for Breda!"

But he had only just left his room when he heard below a violent
clanging of the bell, followed by a strange voice speaking in the hall,
and a hasty running to and fro. Hurrying downstairs, he met Adèle de
Vaudrey at the foot of the staircase.

"Come with me, Monsieur," she said the moment she saw him.  "Mamma is
not down yet."

She preceded him through the hall door, at which he now saw a light
calash drawn up, and behind it ten horses, nine of them sat by Dutch
dragoons, the tenth being the steed of the soldier who stood at the
door, and whose voice it was that Harry had heard.  From the horses,
clouds of vapour rose into the fresh morning air; the pace had evidently
been forced.  In the calash were two men: the elder, in the uniform of a
Dutch officer of high rank, reclined on the cushions, half-supported by
a young aide-de-camp seated at his side.  He was deathly pale; his eyes
were closed.

As Mademoiselle de Vaudrey, followed by Harry, came to the door of the
carriage, the aide-de-camp without changing his position addressed her
in Dutch.

"It is as you see, mejjuffrouw.  It is General van Santen; he is
desperately wounded.  We hoped to reach Breda, but the general swooned a
few minutes ago and I dare not drive farther."

"Bring him in at once," said Adèle.  "The soldiers can lift him.  Never
mind about explanations now.  One of the soldiers must ride on to the
village for the meester; it is only half a league.  Monsieur," she
added, addressing Harry in her quick, decisive tones, "assist; I will
warn Mamma."

She ran back into the house.  The inanimate general was carefully
carried into the hall.  He was a fine soldierly man, with a strong
rugged face of English rather than Dutch cast.  Harry remembered that
Mynheer Grootz had mentioned General van Santen as a friend of his, and
one of the ablest and most trusted of the lieutenants of William of
Orange.  Madame de Vaudrey had by this time come from above, and stood
in pale expectation.  The general was laid upon a sofa in the
reception-room, and Adèle had already provided a basin of water and a
bottle of smelling-salts with which she endeavoured to revive the
wounded officer.

"What is it?" cried Madame de Vaudrey, who had left these ministrations
to the hands of her capable daughter.

The aide-de-camp explained that General van Santen had left the Duke of
Marlborough’s camp late at night on his way to the Hague.  In the faint
dawn he had suddenly come upon a French raiding-party which had
apparently made a dash from Lierre.  It was known that Tserclaes had
advanced from the main French army in order to protect Antwerp.  The
general had dashed through with his men, but not rapidly enough to
escape a bullet which had lodged in his groin.  With great difficulty he
had kept the saddle as far as the next village; but there, exhausted by
the effort and by loss of blood, he had been placed in a hastily
prepared carriage and driven on in the hope of arriving at Breda in time
to warn the garrison.  His wound had proved even more serious than was
supposed; he had lost consciousness, and his aide-de-camp had deemed it
necessary to halt at the first house and ask for assistance.

"In what direction are the raiders coming?" asked Harry.

"In this direction, Mynheer," replied the aide-de-camp.

"And how far away were they when this happened?"

"About ten miles."

"So they may be here within an hour?"

"If they ride on at once, but they will probably stop to plunder."

"Can they be checked?"

"Alas, Mynheer! there is no force near at hand."

"Surely they will raise the country?"

"But they are mounted, and the country people cannot cope with them.
Even if the news is carried to Helmund there are none but burghers
there, and they are useless against cavalry, except behind their own

"And how many do the raiders number?"

"More than a hundred, as I judge, Mynheer."

Madame de Vaudrey stood in agitated silence while this rapid colloquy
was in progress.  Adèle was still bathing the wounded man’s temples; no
one present had sufficient knowledge to attempt more than the roughest
of means to bind the wound.  In a few minutes the general opened his

"Where am I?" he asked, feebly.

"In the house of Madame de Vaudrey," said that lady.

"How far from where I was shot?"

"Only a few miles," replied the aide-de-camp.

"Then someone must ride to Breda for help, and take my despatches.  They
must be at the Hague to-night."

"I will write a note to the commandant," said the aide-de-camp, "and
send one of the troopers."

"No, no, lieutenant, you must ride yourself.  I can’t trust the
despatches to a trooper."

"But I do not care to leave you, general."

"It is my wish.  The enemy can only capture me, but they may do
unheard-of mischief around.  Delay no longer: ride fast."

The exertion of talking was too much for him, and he swooned again.
Loth as he was to go, the aide-de-camp could not ignore the general’s
express instructions.  Before leaving he took Harry aside and asked him
to consider himself in command of the troopers.

"You’re not strong enough to beat off the enemy," he said, "but it will
be well for the men to have someone to look to in emergency.  Don’t let
the general fall into the enemy’s hands if you can help it."

Harry hesitated.  His first duty was undoubtedly to secure the safety of
the convoy, for the sake both of the Breda garrison and Mynheer Grootz.
On the other hand, he scouted the idea of deserting the ladies in their
predicament.  Further, the raiding-party were upon the road behind him;
they had clearly swept round Eyndhoven, avoiding Helmund, and in all
probability were on the heels of the general.  Even if he got his convoy
safely away from the village it could only move at a walking pace.  In
an hour or two it must be overtaken, and he would thus do no good either
for himself or the ladies by instant flight.  He therefore made up his
mind to remain at Lindendaal, and assured the aide-de-camp that he would
do his best.  But when the lieutenant had ridden off, and Harry
reflected on the position of the ladies, he thought it worth while to
suggest that they should start at once for Breda in order to be out of
harm’s way.  Adèle answered at once for her mother.

"Impossible, Monsieur!  We cannot leave the general; we will not leave
the house.  Consult your own duty."

Her tone was not to be gainsaid.  Harry went into the hall, wondering
what he could do for the best.  He met Sherebiah at the door.

"Eh, sir, ’tis a pretty pickle o’ fish."

"What are we to do, Sherry?"

"As a man o’ peace, I say cut and run."

"Can’t we defend the house?"

"Wi’ ten Dutch dragoons and a gardener and a maid or two?  And two
hundred French, so ’tis said!"

"But men will come in from the villages round."

"Ay, on foot, and with pitchforks and flails.  Not much good against
swords and carbines."

At that moment a man galloped up from a village some eight miles down
the road, with news that the French were already sacking and burning.
They had first demanded a ransom, and the sum required not being
forthcoming within the short time allowed, they had begun their ruthless
work.  A few moments afterwards one of Harry’s teamsters rode up on a
cart-horse.  He had heard the news from the aide-de-camp as he passed
through the village where the convoy had put up for the night, and come
back to ask for orders.  Harry caught at the chance of delay.  The
French, it appeared, first demanded a ransom; could they be put off and
time be gained for relief to arrive?  The question suggested a plan that
might be tried in default of a better.

"Ride back, Piet," said Harry, "and bring up the wagons as fast as you
can, and as many of the villagers as you can muster—with arms, if they
have them."

His idea was to barricade the road; every minute’s delay was a minute
gained, and as the news spread he believed that the Hollanders had
courage and spirit enough to strike a blow in defence of their homes.
In point of fact, Piet had hardly departed to fulfil his errand when
Dutchmen came up in ones and twos and threes, some on great lumbering
farm-horses, others on foot, all hastening towards Breda in the hope of
escaping the devouring French behind them.  A few had firelocks, some
had bills, others staggered along under the burden of household
valuables they hoped to save from ruin.  Harry set Sherebiah to
intercept them all as they came up and to bring them within the grounds,
and as their number swelled he reverted to his original idea of
defending the house.

It was a counsel of desperation.  The house had several entrances, each
one of which must be manned; it was too large to be held by so small a
garrison.  The outhouses would afford cover to an attacking force.
Including the ten dragoons, there were only at present fourteen
well-armed men among the ever-growing crowd; he could not improvise
arms, and little effective work was to be expected from an untrained
rabble, however courageous, pitted against regular troops.  Further, to
defend the house from within would inevitably lead to its being fired
and blown up, and Madame de Vaudrey would profit not a jot.  If the
house was to be saved it must be by preventing the enemy from reaching
it.  What chance was there of effectually barring the road against the
raiders?  He went out to investigate.

As he reached the park gate he was met by two men who had just come on
foot from the village.  One was a yeoman, the other a soldier belonging
to some infantry regiment—a man probably on furlough.  Harry was struck
by the similarity of their costumes.  Their hats were almost alike;
their doublets and knee-breeches of similar dark materials; but for the
red collar and the bands around the sleeves, there was very little at a
distance to distinguish the soldier from the civilian.  A sudden notion
flashed through Harry’s mind.  It was a chance in a thousand; the risks
were great; the odds were all against success; but on the other side
there was the imminent danger of destruction to the house, ruin to the
owners, the capture of the Dutch general, and the subsequent burning of
the village.

"We’ll try it," he said to himself.  "Sherry, send every man up to the
house, and let me know the instant our wagons appear."

"Ay, I will, sir.—’Tis a pretty ticklish time o’ day for a man o’
peace," he muttered under his breath.

Harry ran back to the house.  The doctor from the village overtook him
on horseback, and they entered together.  Mademoiselle de Vaudrey showed
some surprise when she saw Harry, but she made no comment.

"Mademoiselle," said Harry, "the general is in good hands now.  May I
ask your assistance?"

She gave him a keen glance, rose at once from her knees, and followed
him from the room.

"Mademoiselle," continued Harry eagerly, "have you any red ribbon, silk,
stuff, anything, in the house?"

"Perhaps.  Why do you ask?"

"Will you find all that you can, and with your maids sew red bands round
the collars and cuffs of the men?"

"To make them look like soldiers—is that what you mean?"

"Yes," replied Harry, delighted that she seized his meaning so quickly.

"I will do so at once.  Send the men to the hall."

Harry next called up old Jean, and bade him fetch the gardener.  When
the man appeared, Harry asked him to gather as many sticks as he could,
by preference wood with the bark on, about five feet in length, and
stack them at the back door.  A few minutes afterwards a message reached
him from Sherebiah that the wagons had arrived. He ran upstairs and,
regardless of ceremony, called out: "Mademoiselle de Vaudrey!"

Adèle came out of a room, holding a strip of red ribbon.

"Mademoiselle," said Harry, "I must go to the gate. Will you make every
unarmed man look as much like a soldier as possible, and see that each
is provided with one of the sticks that the gardener is now collecting?"

"Yes.  Is there anything else?"

"Is it possible to run up a flag on the belfry-tower?"

"If you say it is to be done, it shall be done."

"I do not want the flag hoisted at present; but if you will prepare to
do so——’

"Very well," interrupted the girl.

Harry thanked her with a look, and ran downstairs three steps at a time.
He called to one of the dragoons to accompany him, and hastened again to
the gate, meeting on the way several men whom, in obedience to his
instructions, Sherebiah had sent up from the road.

"Sherry," he said, "ask this fellow if a cavalry troop on the march is
preceded by an advance guard.  He won’t understand my Dutch."

"I can tell ’ee that," said Sherebiah instantly.  "They do so.  A patrol
goos ahead, mebbe a quarter of a mile."

"Oh!  Now, mark my plan.  Mademoiselle de Vaudrey is making some of the
Dutchmen look like soldiers; we’ve no muskets for them, but at a
distance I hope sticks may serve as well.  I am going to post these
make-believe soldiers around the wall of the estate among the trees; it
will look as if the orchard and woods are manned. They will remain
concealed until a flag appears on the tower; then their sudden
appearance will, I trust, make an impression."

"Ay, sir, ’tis famous.  But if the patrol gets much past the house,
’twill be labour lost, for they will be near enough to see ’tis all my

"Yes, that must be avoided.  What can be done?"

"I tell ’ee, sir.  Leave three o’ the wagons on the road, half a mile or
so towards the village, where the road bends; I reckon Piet and Hans and
me can keep any French patrol a-diddle-daddlen until the flag runs up.
Then—do ’ee see, sir?—dragoons slip out of copse and trounce the
Frenchmen, Piet and me and Hans draws the wagons across the road: and
there be a barricade."

"A capital notion!  I will leave that to you, then.—Ah! here is a man
from the other direction.  He may have news of the enemy."

A countryman, with his wife and family, had just driven up in a cart.
From him Harry learnt that the French were sacking isolated farms on the
road, and might be expected within the hour.  Harry at once went back to
the house, ran up the stairs, and again called for mademoiselle.

"May I go up to the roof and see if I can descry the enemy?" he asked.

"I will take you."

She led the way to the turret stair, and in a few moments Harry stood
upon the roof, whence on fine days a clear prospect for many miles could
have been obtained.  The morning was somewhat overcast, and the haze
limited his view.  But in one quarter he seemed to see a blackness that
could only arise from the smoke of burning houses. Between him and the
cloud appeared the gables of a house larger than Madame de Vaudrey’s

"That belongs to Monsieur de Polignac," said Adèle in reply to his

"The French will come to that first; that will gain a little time for

At that moment his eye caught the large barn-like building at the
extremity of the Vaudrey estate, just beyond the ditch running into the
canal.  In a flash a new idea set his pulse leaping.  Hitherto his only
aim had been to delay or daunt the enemy until help could arrive from
Breda or some nearer point.  But the recollection of what he had seen
when going round the estate on the previous evening suggested a daring
scheme which made him tingle with excitement.  Adèle looked at him in
silent curiosity as he stood for a few moments pondering the situation.
Then he turned suddenly to her.

"Mademoiselle, who opens the sluices of the ditch when you make your

"Jacques the gardener."

"Thank you!  I will go to him."

He turned at once to descend.  As he came to the head of the staircase
he noticed a mass of coloured stuff lying at the foot of the belfry.

"Ah, the flag!" he said.  "Thank you, Mademoiselle!"

A glance upward assured him that the running-line was in order; then
without another word he went down.  Finding the gardener, he hurried
with him to the park entrance. His wagons were drawn up outside.  He
ordered three of his teamsters to drive their carts into the thicket
beyond the outbuilding down the road.

"The enemy will have a rearguard," he said.  "As soon as that has well
passed, bring your wagons into the road and block it between the wall
and the canal.  I will send a dozen men and two of the dragoons to
remain in hiding with you.  Now, Jacques, go to the ditch and open the
sluices.  How long will it take to flood the field to a depth of seven
or eight inches?"

"Not more than half an hour, Monsieur."

"Very well.  Stay; have you a boat anywhere on the estate?"

"A punt, Monsieur.  I go to market in it on the canal."

"Where is it?"

"In the old barn yonder, Monsieur."

"Bring it out and float it in the ditch half-way across the field.  Moor
it so that it doesn’t drift."

The man hurried away.

"’Tis all ready, sir," said Sherebiah, coming up.  "The road is blocked
towards the bend, and the men be hidden in the wood.  Med I ask, sir, if
shouten would be any use?"

Harry smiled.

"We found it useful once, eh, Sherry?  Certainly; when you see the flag
go up, the more noise you make the better, especially if you can make a
din with garden tools, or anything of steel."

"Trust me, sir; I ha’n’t served wi’ a travellen show for nothen.  I’ll
show ’em the way, ay sure."

"Mind, not a movement till you see the flag.  Now, to your places."

He returned once more to the house.  Adèle met him at the door.

"I have done all you said.  Is there anything more that I can do?"

"Thank you, Mademoiselle! nothing, I think.  I wish to see Madame de
Vaudrey now."

They went together into the reception-room.  The general had recovered
consciousness, and lay prone on the couch.  The doctor was at the window
talking to Madame de Vaudrey, who was clearly in a state of intense

"Oh, Monsieur Rochestair," she said as Harry entered, "have they sent
help to us yet?"

"No, Madame, I fear there has scarcely been time."

"What shall we do? what shall we do?  I fear we shall all be ruined."

"Pray calm yourself, Madame," said Harry quietly. "Doctor, is it
possible to remove the general to another room?"

"I do not advise it.  He is comfortable; I hope he will sleep."

"Meester, let us take him to the dining-room," said Adèle in Dutch.

"It would be a pity, and——"

"Do you wish it, Monsieur?" she interrupted, turning to Harry.

"Yes, Mademoiselle."

"Then he shall be removed.  Meester, be so good as to have the general
removed at once.  The men can lift sofa and all."

Adèle herself called four men in from the front of the house, and the
general was quickly carried across the hall into the dining-room.  Harry
was left with the two ladies.

"Madame," he said, "will you remain here with Mademoiselle?  Be seated;
take up your needle-work; try to look as though there were nothing to

"How can I? how can I? when every moment I fear to see my house in

"Mamma," said Adèle, "it is necessary.  Monsieur is planning to save us;
we must help him.  Come, I will fetch your spinning-wheel.  Monsieur, we
will do our best, I give my promise."

"Thank you, Mademoiselle!  When the French arrive, an officer will
enter; I will bring him in here; show no concern; leave the rest to me."

He went out, sent into the woods all the men who were still about the
house save two of the dragoons, whom he placed in a cloak-room off the
hall.  Then he ran up again to the roof.

Looking eagerly down the road, he caught sight of four horsemen
approaching at a trot.  They were about a mile away.  Beyond them the
road was concealed from view by a clump of trees.  He saw at a glance
that Jacques had fulfilled his instructions to the letter.  Where half
an hour before had been a bare field there was now what appeared to be a
broad lake, with a solitary punt floating at about the middle of its
surface.  Scanning the boundaries of the estate he failed to descry a
single human figure.  He drew a long breath; all his preparations were
complete; what would be the outcome?

The four riders were drawing nearer, and behind them he now saw the
helmets and lances of the main body. They were as yet too far away for
him to estimate their number.  Taking care to keep out of sight himself,
he watched the patrol of four, and saw two of them dismount at the old
barn and enter.

"They have left Monsieur de Polignac for the present," he said to
himself.  "I wonder why."

After a few minutes the two horsemen emerged from the building,
remounted, and rode on with their companions.  Then Harry slipped down
the stairs, instructed old Jean, who was trembling in the hall, to
conduct to the reception-room any soldier who came to the door, and then
walked quietly in and rejoined the ladies.

"They are coming?" said Adèle.

"Yes.  They will be here in a minute."

Madame de Vaudrey gave a gasp and let her hands fall to her sides.
Adèle jumped up, slipped a skein of wool over her mother’s hands, sat on
a stool opposite her, and began to wind the wool into a ball.  A few
seconds later the clatter of hoofs and the clank of sabres came from
without.  Then a heavy tread was heard in the hall, and a loud voice
called for the master of the house.  There was a moment’s pause; Jean
opened the door, stood on one side, and in a quavering voice announced:

"Madame, Monsieur demande——"

His voice broke, he could say no more.  The ladies looked up, Madame de
Vaudrey with pale cheeks and twitching lips, Adèle with unmoved
countenance and stony stare.  After one glance she placidly resumed her
winding; Harry, with his hands in his pockets, strolled over from the

"Well, my man, what do you want?" he said.

The sergeant involuntarily saluted.  He looked by no means comfortable.
His eyes went from one to another of the silent group.

"Monsieur—Mesdames——" he began; then, recovering his self-possession and
putting on a swaggering air, he continued: "To resist is vain.  The
commandant will decide.  I have warned you, Mesdames—Monsieur."

"It is very good of you," said Harry blandly.  "Your boots are marking
the carpet; perhaps you will wait outside."

The man’s cheeks purpled; without another word he abruptly turned and
went out.  At the front door he stationed two of his companions, and
rode back to meet the advancing troop, the sounds of whose approach were
now echoed from the surrounding woods.  From the window Harry saw the
sergeant make his report to the officer at their head.  The commandant
smiled and rode on. Two minutes later his spurs rang on the stone steps,
and Jean showed him into the room.

"Madame, voilà encore un visiteur."

In obedience to a hint from Adèle, Madame de Vaudrey rose and made a
curtsy.  Harry smiled as he saw Adèle’s low mocking obeisance.  The
officer doffed his cocked hat, laid it with both hands upon his heart,
and bowed.

"Madame—Mademoiselle—Monsieur," he said.

He was a tall, stout, florid man of some forty years, with large nose
and bloated cheeks.  His costume was very rich, plentifully bedecked
with gold lace and decorations, spick and span in all its appointments.
"More like a courtier than a soldier," was Harry’s first impression. His
few words of salutation had been uttered in a strong German accent.

"Madame, Monsieur," he said, "I have the honour to be a colonel of
dragoons in the service of his highness the Elector of Cologne, who, as
you are doubtless aware, is in alliance with His Majesty of France.  I
regret exceedingly to have to discommode you; it is a painful duty; but
what would you?—war is war.  My duty, Madame, Monsieur, is to levy
contributions on the enemy’s country. Alas! that I am obliged to treat
you, Madame, Monsieur, Mademoiselle, as enemies, but duty is duty.  Not
for all the world would I render it more disagreeable than necessary to
such charming ladies, and to your excellent son, Madame; but I must
request you to hand over to me five thousand florins—that, I am sure,
you will regard as a most modest estimate of the value of your
delightful house.  I regret that I can allow only five minutes for the
completion of this little transaction; in five minutes, Madame,
Monsieur, with five thousand florins I pass on with my men.  It pains me
to say it, but if the money, or its equivalent—in plate or jewels,
Madame, what you please—is not forthcoming within five minutes, I must
with the very greatest regret take what I can find and burn the place.
The notice is short, it is true; but Madame will understand; we soldiers
have no time to spare, and my orders are positive; every house that is
not ransomed is to be burned.  Ah!" he ejaculated as he caught sight
through the window of smoke in the distance, "I fear my men have already
set fire to your barn. It is an excess of zeal, but, as the proverb
says, the appetite grows with eating; we have had to light many such
bonfires of late!"

This speech had been delivered with the greatest deference.  At its
conclusion the colonel lugged out a big timepiece, and held it open in
his left hand.

"From now five minutes, Madame, Monsieur."

Madame de Vaudrey had listened with terror in her eyes.  She was
beginning to speak, but Adèle called suddenly "Mamma!" in a warning
tone, and the lady sank back in her chair, looking at Harry as he
advanced a step or two towards the officer.  Harry’s throat felt
somewhat dry; his heart was thumping unpleasantly; but he was to all
appearance perfectly self-possessed as he said:

"Mademoiselle, will you see what can be done?" adding in an undertone
the two words, "the flag!"

Adèle nodded.

"Pardon, Monsieur."  She curtsied to the officer as she went past him
into the hall.

"Before discussing the amount of our contribution, Monsieur le Colonel,"
said Harry, "may I enquire by what right you make this demand?"

The officer looked him up and down.

"Certainly, you may enquire, Monsieur.  I answer: by the right of a
hundred sabres, and the practice of war. In my turn, may I beg of you to
let this explanation suffice.  Time presses.  But for the presence of
Madame"—he bowed to Madame de Vaudrey—"I should have regarded your
question as a mere impertinence, and treated it—and you—accordingly."

Madame de Vaudrey looked anxiously from one to the other, and heaved a
sigh of relief as Adèle returned and resumed her seat by her mother’s

"I marvel, Monsieur," said Harry, after a quick exchange of glances with
the younger lady, "that a soldier of your rank and experience,
acquainted with the practice of war, should, in your unfortunate
position, permit himself such language."

"Comment!  My unfortunate position!"  The big man swelled, his red
cheeks empurpled.  Turning to the ladies he said: "Is the young man

"You shall judge, Monsieur," said Harry quietly. "Do me the favour to
place yourself at the window."

He had just caught sight of one of the colonel’s dragoons galloping up
the drive towards the house.

"That is one of your hundred sabres, I presume.  He is hastening to
inform you that he has met Dutch troops belonging to General van Santen
half a mile up the road. In the other direction—this way, Monsieur—you
can just see our men barring your retreat.  You observed, no doubt, a
canal on your left as you rode along; it is twenty feet deep; and if you
will condescend to come to the back windows"—the captain followed him as
in a daze—"you will see a large Dutch force occupying yonder woods,
which, save the lake on our right, are your only line of retreat."

The colonel’s astonishment was no greater than Madame de Vaudrey’s.  She
rose from her chair and moved towards the window, but was checked by
Adèle’s restraining hand. The girl’s eyes were shining, a spot of red
burned on either cheek.  The colonel stared and stared at Harry, who
stood with a slight smile upon his lips, at the ladies, at the figures
which appeared among the trees beyond the wall—heads and shoulders, with
cocked hats and red collars, and at every shoulder a musket.

"Comment! comment!" he spluttered; then without another word he hurried
from the room, followed by Harry, just in time to meet the dragoon at
the outer door. The man saluted.

"Mon Colonel," he said in a fluster, "there is a barricade at the bend
in the road half a mile beyond us held by Dutch troops.  My comrade
Gustave was knocked off his horse by——"

"Donnerwetter!" cried the colonel, relapsing into his native language.
He sprang heavily into his saddle on the charger held in waiting by one
of his troopers.

"I suppose, Monsieur le Colonel," said Harry carelessly at his elbow,
"you are counting the cost of resistance?"

The officer was looking anxiously and indecisively about him, clearly at
a loss what course to take, but as clearly eager to make a fight of it.

"I must warn you, Monsieur," added Harry, "that the least resistance
will rob you of all chance of quarter.  The whole countryside is roused
to fury by the news of your exploits.  My general has with him not only
his own men but a large force of peasants from the villages.  If it
comes to a fight, he may not have the power, even if he had the
inclination, to protect you from their vengeance.  They are barbarous in
their methods, these peasants; but then, as you know, Monsieur, they
have been provoked."

At this moment there was a sharp report.  A cornet of the French horse,
seeing the barricade of carts suddenly run across the road by the barn,
had sent a party of his men back to investigate.  One of the troopers as
they approached was shot from behind the barricade and fell from his
horse.  The echo of the shot had hardly died away when there came two
reports from the barricade up the road, accompanied by a faint shout.
The colonel gathered up the reins; a dragoon came galloping up the drive

"Mon Colonel, we are surrounded!"

[Illustration: "Mon Colonel, we are surrounded!"]

"You see, Monsieur," continued Harry, "you are in a ring fence.  It is
for you to make your choice, and at once, between surrender

Harry had not misjudged his man.  Utterly bewildered, the colonel gazed,
like a caged animal, helplessly around him.  At the end of the drive his
men could be seen rigid and expectant.  Behind him, beyond the wall, he
saw the figures as he supposed of Dutch troops armed, and with all the
advantage of position.  The sun, breaking through the clouds, glinted
upon steel which, at the distance, he could not be expected to recognize
as bill-hooks, pruning-knives, and whatever other implements the
premises had afforded.  At a little distance down the road he saw,
through gaps between the trees that lined the wall, his patrol galloping
back to the main body. Trying to collect himself, he at length set off
at a slow trot towards the gate.  Harry at once signed to the two Dutch
soldiers hidden in the cloak-room to come out, and ordered them to stand
at attention one on either side of the door.  The leader of the French
patrol pulled his horse up on its haunches at the road end of the drive.

"The road is blocked, mon Colonel," he said, "with a barricade of carts
and beams held by a strong force of the enemy.  We cannot estimate their
numbers; they keep under cover; but one of the men is killed by their
fire, and by their shouts there must be at least a hundred."

Without a word the colonel rode across to the brink of the canal.  The
lowness of the water and the height of the bank showed at a glance that
any attempt to swim his horses across would be disastrous; they could
never scramble up the opposite side.  The men might cross and crawl up,
but a moment’s reflection showed what the fate of a small body of men
would be, retreating on foot through a hostile country.  The colonel
looked down the road; the blazing barn inspired uncomfortable thoughts.
He had seen many such conflagrations of late, and knew well that the
peasants would take a full toll of revenge if he fell into their power.
Wheeling round, he for the first time caught sight of the two Dutch
soldiers standing behind Harry on the steps of the house.  This seemed
to bring home to him the hopelessness of his position; muttering a curse
he walked his horse slowly up the avenue.  Harry came forward to meet
the scowling officer.

"It is the fortune of war, Monsieur.  I see you have chosen the wiser
course.  You surrender to superior numbers.  I am authorized by my
general to accept your surrender.  You will receive honourable
treatment; he knows how to appreciate a gallant warrior; but the

The colonel tried to smile.

"I am concerned—I say it frankly—for the safety of my men.  With your
troops,"—he shrugged—"we might take our chance; but your peasants, your
burghers—parbleu! we know them; they are savages, they are tigers. To
whom, Monsieur, have I the honour of yielding my sword?"

"Immediately, Monsieur, to me; my name is Harry Rochester, an Englishman
at present in the—in the Dutch service; ultimately to General van
Santen, to whom I shall have the honour to introduce you in a few
minutes.  Now, Monsieur le Colonel, you will direct your men to ride up
the avenue, dismount, stack their arms in front of the house, and fasten
their horses to the garden palings behind.  Sergeant," he added, turning
to one of the sentinel dragoons, "ride at once to the general and
acquaint him that Monsieur le Colonel——"

"Baron von Schummelpincken."

"That the Baron von Schummelpincken has surrendered. Send a dozen men to
take charge of the horses.  In twenty minutes we shall be in camp."

                              *CHAPTER XI*

                       *The Battle of Lindendaal*

A Hitch—A Charge in Flank—Irregular Warfare—Called Off—A
Suggestion—Compliments—Thanks—Adieux—Luck—After the Fair—A Triumph

To his credit, Colonel the Baron von Schummelpincken did his best to put
a good face on the predicament in which he found himself.  He rode back
to his men to inform them of the arrangement.  The moment he had gone,
Adèle de Vaudrey came out, her face aglow with excitement.

"Monsieur," she said, "General van Santen asks what the uproar, the
firing, means; shall I tell him?"

"As you please, Mademoiselle."

"It is as you please, Monsieur."

"The day is not ended yet, Mademoiselle."

"I will say nothing, Monsieur."  She went into the house.

The sergeant had spurred across the meadow behind, through a gate in the
wall, into the orchard and wood. In a few minutes he reappeared with his
comrades, who came at a trot towards the house.  Their pace was
leisurely, but a keener observer than the colonel, who at this moment
was half-way up the avenue at the head of his troops, might have noticed
that the horses’ flanks were heaving violently.  The men had in fact
galloped at full speed from the horns of the position in obedience to
the sergeant’s signals, and only checked the pace in response to a
suggestion of Sherebiah, who had made the best of his way after them.
Harry ordered the ten dragoons to draw up in line at right angles to the

"Sherry," he said, as the man came up puffing, "bring me one of the
dragoons’ horses."

He mounted just as the colonel emerged from the avenue.  Sherry stood by
his side at the nearer end of the line of dragoons.

The colonel, some dozen yards ahead of his men, came to Harry and handed
him his sword.  Harry politely returned it, a compliment which the
officer courteously acknowledged.

"Monsieur," said Harry, "we understand the arrangement? Your men will
pile arms in front of the house, file off to right and left, tie their
horses to the palings, then pass round on foot to the rear of the

"Certainly, Monsieur."

Harry watched eagerly as the troopers came two by two up the drive and
did his bidding with the precision of automata.  Events had crowded so
thickly that he had scarcely had time to think; but now he could hardly
sit still on his horse, so intense was his anxiety to get the whole
scene over.  Everything appeared to be answering to his wishes; his
arrangement for the French dragoons to file off in opposite directions
was a precaution to divide the force; they began to pass behind the
house one by one.  About half of the troop had thus piled their arms and
fastened their horses; the clock in the belfry-tower struck the first
note of noon, and Harry was already congratulating himself that almost
by the time the last of the leisurely Dutch chimes was ended his ruse
would have been completely successful, when a loud voice was heard from
the road.

"Mon Colonel! mon Colonel! they are only peasants and burghers.  It is a
trick, a trick!"

There was an instant halt.  Harry’s heart was in his mouth; Sherebiah
muttered, "Zooks! ’tis hot ’taties now!"  The colonel, his face aflame,
spurred his horse from the pillar at the end of the avenue, and, drawing
his sword, vociferated:

"A moi! à moi!"

For a moment Harry felt that all was lost.  But only for a moment, for
in that instant he saw that with his handful of men in line he had the
advantage of the troopers debouching two by two from the balustraded
drive. Turning to the dragoons at his side he shouted "Charge!" and
dashed straight at the enemy.  It was in the nick of time.  A few
seconds later they would have been ready; at this precise moment they
were awkwardly placed.  Half a dozen men of the nearer file were leading
their horses towards the palings; beyond them the armed and mounted men
were approaching from the drive, and eight files presented their flank
to Harry’s little force of ten.  As he charged, the dismounted men
scattered like hares before him, and the sixteen armed troopers had
barely time to wheel round to meet the onslaught before Harry and his
Dutchmen were upon them.  All the advantage of impetus and direct attack
was with the Dutch.  Harry, grasping his sword, came full tilt upon a
burly Alsatian.  Almost before he had realized it he had passed over the
dragoon and his horse, and, parrying a swinging cut from the man behind,
had shortened his arm and thrust him through the shoulder.  The man
dropped his sabre and fell from his horse, which wheeled round and
plunged madly through the dismounted men on the farther side.

In a trice Harry was through the mellay, and bringing his horse up on
its haunches, wrenched it round so that he might take stock of the new
situation.  He found that the majority of his Dutch troopers had stuck
close to him, and with the readiness of old campaigners were already
wheeling round to face the discomfited enemy.  A dozen men were on the
ground, including the portly colonel; several horses were careering
wildly through the small open space, impeding the movements of the
dismounted men who had made a dash for the piles of arms in front of the
porch.  The French troopers were still filing up the drive, but the
sudden uproar had startled the horses.  The riders were too much
occupied with their steeds and too closely packed to make effective use
of their pistols; the one or two who fired aimed erratically, and no one
was hurt. But Harry saw that the only course open to him was to charge
again and again until the peasants, summoned by the noise of the fray,
could come to his assistance.  It was fortunate that the remainder of
the enemy’s troop could only debouch two by two from the drive; the
stone balustrade on each side of it prevented them from deploying until
they entered the open space in front of the house. Two horses that had
been rolled over near the entrance to the drive were plunging and
kicking, hindering the advance of the leading troopers, who were now
being pressed by the men behind.  Once more the little band of Dutchmen
hurled themselves at the head of the enemy’s force, and with the same
result, though Harry was instinctively aware, when he again emerged from
the mellay, that his followers were fewer in number.  Among them,
however, he noticed Sherebiah, who had possessed himself of a sword and
pistol from the stand of arms and a horse from the palings, and was
comporting himself as though, so far from being a man of peace, he had
as much experience of warfare as any trooper present.  Two of Madame de
Vaudrey’s gardeners also had appropriated weapons, and were holding at
bay a group of the disarmed enemy who hovered round, trying to dash in
and recover their arms.

Harry saw little of this, however.  He wheeled his horse once more to
repeat the charge.  He was followed now by only six men; at least a
dozen fresh troopers had debouched from the drive, but, like their
comrades, they had not time to form before the dauntless seven were upon
them.  The odds were heavier now; only two succeeded in getting through;
the rest were checked.  Then ensued a series of fierce duels, the little
group of Dutch being broken up and driven back by the weight of the
files pressing through as rapidly as they might into the open space.
Harry, engaged with a stout trooper, felt with a sinking heart that the
game was up; his arm was wrung with hacking and thrusting; his opponent,
fresh to the fight, closed with him, leant over his saddle, and tried to
grip him by the throat.  At this moment there was a fierce shout,
followed by a perfect babel of cries.  The trooper fell from his horse,
transfixed in the nick of time by Sherebiah’s sword; and when Harry
after a few seconds was able once more to take in what was happening, he
saw the place thick with burghers and peasants who were falling upon the
enemy from both balustrades.  Some had leapt on to the coping and were
dealing heavy blows at the dragoons and their horses with sticks, hooks,
scythes, and all kinds of strange implements; others were jabbing
through the interstices of the balustrades; all were shouting, smiting,
felling with a fierce vehemence that brooked no resistance. A panic
seized upon the enemy; the unarmed men bolted to the stables behind the
house and barricaded themselves there; the last files of the dragoons
threw down their arms and begged for quarter; and, turning to Sherebiah,
Harry bade him cry to the peasants, with the full force of his lungs, to
hold their hands.

A lull succeeded the turmoil.  A crowd of the Dutch were hastening
towards the stables to burst open the doors and make short work of the
men sheltered there. To them Harry galloped up.

"Men," he said, "halt! in the name of General van Santen.  The victory
is ours.  We must await the general’s orders."

The mob hesitated, then, with obedience compelled by their young
leader’s mien, stood in sullen silence.  Harry rode back to the opening
of the drive, stationed two of the Dutch dragoons there, and addressed
the colonel, who, with a lacerated cheek and contused shoulder, leant
against the palings, a picture of chagrin, pain, and baffled rage.

"Monsieur, ’twas not well done.  Your parole was given. But you are
hurt; go to the house—you will find tendance there."

At this moment another horseman suddenly appeared on the scene,
galloping up from behind the house.  Wheeling his horse in some
surprise, Harry found himself face to face with Madame de Vaudrey’s
neighbour, Monsieur de Polignac.  He looked greatly perturbed; his mouth
was twitching; the air of cynical detachment he had worn in Madame de
Vaudrey’s drawing-room had quite disappeared.

"Monsieur, what is this, what is this?" he cried.

"As you see, Monsieur—a skirmish," replied Harry. "We have captured a
raiding-party—and doubtless saved your house from the flames."

"But—but—do you not see your peril?  You are not a soldier; these men
are not soldiers, the most of them; to wage war is for you quite
irregular; if caught by the French—and I hear, Monsieur, rumours of a
general advance in this direction—you will all be hanged."

"I will take my chance of that," said Harry.  "I thank you,
nevertheless, for your warning, Monsieur."

"Bah!  I counsel you to release your prisoners—without arms, it is
understood—and send them back to their lines."

"That is a matter for General van Santen, Monsieur. Would you care to
repeat your advice to him?"

Polignac gave him a savage look, opened his mouth to speak, thought
better of it, and, setting spurs to his horse, galloped away.

The scene of this tempestuous little fight differed greatly from its
appearance a short half-hour before.  Thirty men, of whom twenty-four
were French, lay killed or wounded, with a few horses.  The stone
balustrades were broken in several places; the flower-beds were
trampled; the gravel was ploughed up; shattered muskets, swords,
scabbards, pistols, hats, cloaks, strewed the ground.

"Carry the dead to the garden," said Harry.  "Take the wounded to the
outbuildings and attend to them; there is a doctor in the house.  A
dozen of you take arms from the pile there and guard the prisoners; lock
them up in the stables.  Sherebiah, I leave you in charge."

Then, hot, weary, hatless, his coat showing several rents, Harry
followed the wounded colonel into the house.

"Monsieur," said Adèle, meeting him, "the general insists on seeing you.
He was with difficulty restrained from rising and taking part in the
fray.  You are weary; a cup of wine will refresh you."

Harry gladly quaffed at the cup she presented to him. Then he followed
her into the dining-room.  The general frowned when he saw him.

"I want to see the leader," he exclaimed testily.

"This is he, Monsieur," said Ad