Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

But the case does not rest here. I one is agreed that the trial never took There is still the sequel, and everything place. John Doughty was willing we know of it leads to the same con- enough to proceed ; so fierce indeed clusion. When Drake, to the marvel was his resentment that, despairing of of all the world, came back with his legal redress, he not long afterwards prodigious plunder, the Spanish am- undertook for a great reward offered by bassador at once demanded his con- the king of Spain to assassinate his demnation as a pirate. Burghley brother's judge. Such being John supported the demand. Fully alive to Doughty's frame of mind, it must inhis danger now that diplomatic rela- deed have been strong unanimity in tions with Spain were restored, Drake the Council which could prevent him began scattering presents right and left. from availing himself of the solemın deBesides the lord admiral, Burghley was cision in his favor. What will explain almost the only man who refused his that unanimity except a something unbribe. Yet so formidable was the op- derneath which Drake's opponents and position with which Drake was con- Mendoza's friends dared not risk to fronted that for six months the world have unearthed ? was in doubt whether his reward was if the story which Cooke's narrative to be a rope or an accolade ; and it is unmistakably suggests be true, the myscertain that if the party in the Council tery is made plain. It is a solution who were acting against him and his which may be right or may be wrong. noble shareholders could have used We may treat Doughty's admissions as Doughty's death for their purpose, I worthless, although they were against they would not have hesitated to do interest; we may call Cooke unworthy so. But it is equally certain that for of belief, although on the vital points some reason the affair was hushed up. he is corroborated by the depositions ; The evidence we know was actually but of argument against the probability laid before Dr. Lewes of the Admiralty of the story I have been unable to Court, but nothing came of it. It meet with a shred, except an outcry was not that Doughty's brother, who that to conceive Burghley capable of had come home with Drake thirsting such conduct is an insult to his memfor revenge, did not demand redress, ory. To think of the minister, whose or that the law was not on his side. name we are accustomed to associate By a curious chance we know not only with all that is great in Elizabeth's that he did take proceedings, but also reign, deliberately setting to work to that Drake's commission would not mar the success of the most famous avail to stop them. For in the great achievement of her time, is an idea debate which took place in 1628 on startling enough to throw any historian martial law, Sir Edward Coke quoted out of a judicial attitude. His mind the case as a precedent. The report revolts from even suspecting the great which Rushworth has preserved to us, lord treasurer on evidence so fragmenin that pregnant simplicity our law-tary of a disgraceful piece of policy, books kuow no more, runs thus : But to say that he set Doughty to “Drake slew Doughty beyond sea. thwart Drake's raid into the South Sea Doughty's brother desired an appeal is to lay to his charge nothing of which in the Constable's and Marshal's court; he need be ashamed. For although we resolved by Wray and the other judges who know what followed have come he may sue there." 2 It was decided to regard Drake's triumphant lawlessthat is to say, by the lord chief justice ness - as one of the brightest points in and the whole court of Queen's Bench our national reputation, Burghley with that Drake, having nothing to show the future still dark could see it against the rule, was to be tried for as nothing but a monstrous piece of murder by court-martial. And yet every piracy which, if successful, must plunge 1 S. P. Dom. Eliz. 1582, cliv. fol. 63.

his country into an unequal war. In , Rushworth, abridged edition, vol. ii., p. 4. braving his mistress's displeasure to avert the threatened disaster by means shrewduess, a sweet little mouth and which were fully recogoized in the ear, an elegant turned-up nose, and delpolitical morality of the day, he was icate small hands and feet. To trace doing an act that, so far from being the origin of these last would have disgraceful, can only add lustre to his baffled the genius of the most skilled of almost blameless career.

anthropologists, for Mercy's father JULIAN CORBETT. wore immeasurable boots, her mother

(now dead) had had limbs with appendages as large as President Lin

coln's, and her grand-parents were so From The Cornhill Magazine | plebeian that they were never menA FLORIDA GIRL.

tioned even in the Tunks' democratic CHAPTER 1.

home-circle. MR. Ezra TUNks and Miss Mercy

To tell the truth, however, though Tunks were two of the most valuable

she spoke like a British kitchenmaid, settlers in their part of Polk county,

and had manners inconvenient for poFlorida.

| live life, she was a girl to run after. At Of course they were valuable for least, that was the idea of her that soon different reasons. Ezra was reckoned / possessed Polk county. a first-rate settler because he could turn But Mercy though eighteen (in Florhis hands to many and various things.

ida a full-ripe age for matrimony), He had edited the Clearwater Chronicle

had hitherto mocked mankind. She for a fortnight, and he was great at

Haffected to be too lazy even to smile orange-growing and making wheelbar- upon her suitors, which, of course, rows. As editor, he had started in the made them yearn all the more for a above well-known journal the plan of glance, even though a contemptuous giving every female new-comer with a one, from her lovely eyes. She was mole on her right arm an acre of ex- Fonder of nothing than lolling about in cellent land over and above her family's the sunshine, with or without a ten-cent ownings or purchases. The Clearwater Chronicle was dispersed all over the gland) in her brown little hand. continent, and there was, subse

Her father adored Miss Tunks, which quently, a decided influx of settlers

was quite in the order of nature. He with and without wives and daughters

was certainly an uncouth-looking genhaving moles on their right arms. Histleman to be blessed with such an off" Aphorism” column, as he called it, spring

#spring. He was lean as a lath, and was thought a very is cute feature of much too tall to be symmetrical. A the Chronicle.Here are two speci

grey tuft of beard hung from his chin,

and gave him something to hold when mens of his aphorisms :

his hands were at a loss for occupation. The old year is rapidly drawing to a close.

He generally went about in his shirtDon't overestimate your position, young sleeves, wearing a sugarloaf-crowned man.

| straw hat immense of brim. . In addition to all this, Ezra was very “My gall” said Ezra Tunks one hospitable to new-comers, boarding sweltering August day, as he sat cocked them with his daughter Mercy at two up against the outer wall of his wooden dollars a day, just for all the world as if house on the side of Clearwater Lake, his house were au hotel. As a rule, "I guess we'll have to get a young however, he sold them land as some Englishman, like other folk. They're set-off to this generosity.

real good at hard work while they last. Mercy Tunks was a pretty girl after Them blacks is the very Satan to the the American style. That is to say, pocket at two dollars the day." she was fascinatingly self-conscious, “Wal,” exclaimed Mercy Tunks, impudent to the last degree, with grey with one eye upon her father. She lay eyes showing a desperate amount of extended in the hammock slung between two of the green posts of the and grease into his old carcase, and verandalı, and one of her fair slim then said he felt — well, emptyish !” ankles hung gracefully over the edge of “Great Scott ” exclaimed Ezra the tissue.

Tunks, paling through his mahogany" There's no objection, eh?”

colored skin.“ A meal like that three “None from me, you bet, pa ; nig. times a day! and rice six cents the gers ain't sassiety, and I'm dead weary pound in the Clearwater stores, let of Dr. Smith."

alone his two dollars a day! This “Ah, there you're kinder wrong young Britisher'll come just in time to chile. The doctor has a very pretty dig the sweet taters and cut the cane of balance of dollars in the Jacksonville the new one-acre patch. That'll do Bank, I can tell thee!”

nicely !" “ Wal, let him. He's five-and-thirty, “Do Englishmen eat much, pa ?" and full of grey hairs."

"They generally die, my chile Mr. Tunks laughed ironically. Ileastways in Florida. There's a grave

“Five-and-thirty's the prime time of yard in Portlock, by the Gulf, with manhood, and you won't find many in only fifteen heaps in it, and twelve of these parts as have got their wisdom them's over British bones. It don't without getting grey along of it !”. suit their constitution, I reckon. It's

" Wal, that may be, pa. It don't very sad for them, but we can't help make any difference to my feelings for that, can we, if they will come courting Dr. Smith. You can anyhow fix that of death as they do ?”. Englishman, and welcome. He ought "I guess you're right," murmured to be one as can pump, though !” Mercy, as she gazed dreamily across

Mr. Tunks straightway took a pencil the glittering lake at the dark green from his waistcoat-pocket and scribbled woods on the other side, canopied by off the following advertisement, which the blue heavens. “ Times are I can't duly appeared in the London Times make out why God made folks !” three weeks later :

“My chile, that ain't no business of “A Genuine Opportunity. – Wanted ours. We show our gratitude and wit a young gentleman apprentice to the sufficiently, I reckon, if we use his orange-growing. Premium, two hun- manufactures just as smartly as we dred dollars. All found, and the in- know how." dustry taught gratis ; must be strong Mercy's only comment upon this and willing to work; preferred with wicked philosophy was a sleepy “ Wal." a knowledge of pumping. Chance of It was so hot that she fell asleep the partnership afterwards, perhaps. Write next moment, in spite of the mosquitoes to Mr. Ezra Tunks, Clearwater, Polk and the noisy grunting of a mockingCounty, Florida.”

bird in imitation of an old sow. “It's a bit patchey, pa, ain't it? But il'll do," murmured Miss Mercy, as she

CHAPTER II. held the slip between her dapper finger The scene changes to an ancient, and thunb. “My goodness! I won-gabled manor-house in Buckinghamder who he'll be like to ?”

shire. An important enough house “Never you mind that, chile. It's two or three hundred years ago ; for made to catch one of the strong, soft traces of its past greatness still resort, and that's what we desiderate, I mained in the sunken moat on one guess. It's his arms and legs we pine side, now smoothed off into a paddock. for, and his bit of money too. It'll Formerly peacocks suuned themselves give us excuse to shunt that old hoss, on the green, raised bank of garden at Luke, who eats - "

the back of the building. But these “Lor, papa, if you'd have seen him fair old times were gone for Dunthis very morning at breakfast. I de- combe Manor. Sheep now nibbled the clare I thought he'd never have done. grass to the very windows of the house, He packed about three pounds of rice l'and the flower-beds nurtured many a

weed. An air of genteel neglect per- then looked up at his wife in a faintly vaded the house and grounds alike. scared way.

The same might have been said of “You don't mean that you think it Pitt Duncombe, Esq., himself, the pres-would do for either of — ent owner of the manor. He was saun-' “ For Robert, of course." tering about the dishevelled lawn in a “But the inherent vulgarity of the coat of rusty velveteen with his hands in his pockets. His countenance was “Inherent nonsense! You are really eloquent of hard times, agricultural quite a fool, Pitt. If the world is to depression, recalcitrant farmers, unlet be cut to suit your sons' tastes, well homesteads, and that sort of thing. and good ; the sooner it's done the betAnd yet there was a subdued sweetness ter for them. But you know — you've in his expression that told of the gen- said it yourself scores of times — that tlemanly heart within him. If you they've got to face a new condition of could have read his thoughts, you would things. I should say you couldn't do have found them to this effect :

better for him, and there's an end of “A man can put up with Fortune's it. He's a heavy drag on us now, anıl knocks well enough so long as they hit we can't afford it. Put it to him, anil him and no one else. But the ricochet ! you'll see.” that's where the rub comes in. How “If he were your own son, Main the world are the boys going to make ria - ". their way in life, handicapped as they "If he were my own son, I should are by their gentility ? This gentility settle the matter without all this weak seems a most unmarketable quality, preamble ; but, as he isn't, I can only Heaven help us !

give you my opinion. You will, of “There's Ralph! He's the very fel- course, disregard it; but I shall at low for a soldier, like his uncles and least have the consolation of knowing great-uncles ; but he can't get through that I tried to save one of your sons his exams, and mess expenses would from the ruin he's sure to come to if break himn altogether. Bob, too, poor he stays here doing nothing." . fellow, has nothing but his fine face Mr. Duncombe put his hands to his and strong limbs. That last report of forehead as his wife sailed back into him from Harrow was a nice thing: the house with an indignant rustle of • Shows extraordinary talent in remain- her dress. He wandered away from ing in a form among boys two or three the house, descended the worn oleh years junior to him.' And now he has steps that once connected the park been at home two years — there's no land with the manor gardens, and money for Oxford or Cambridge in his strolled idly among the old oaks of the case, even if he could qualify. Well, pasture. The leaves were changing well, thank Heaven, a hundred years color fast, and the air was crisper than hence it will be of no consequence to it ought to have been in September. any one."

Pitt Duncombe's thoughts were now Mr. Duncombe was proceeding with less pleasant than ever. This notion these unprofitable reflections, so bit- that his wife had thrust into his mind ter to the man of sixty, when a lady was of so composite a kind. It was stepped upon the lawn by the French natural that a stepmother (especially window of one of the lower rooms of when her money was the sole stay of the house.

the establishment) should make no pre" Read that," she said, somewhat tence of caring about her stepsons ; peremptorily. “It seems quite provi- but should he, his boys' father, act as dential.”

if he also were indifferent to them ? “What is it about, Maria ?”

Florida! Why, surely that meant “Read it, and you will see its appli- death to an Englishman! Fevers, cation fast enough.".

| brawls, the unaccustomed climate, Mr. Duncombe took the Times, and snakes - by one or other of these

causes it seemed to him that the emi. I don't kuow so much about pumps. I grant of gentle origin was sure to come like that chance of partnership afterto a speedy and tragic end.

wards.' Whereabouts is Florida, dad ? He sat down on the dry root of an fand how much is a dollar ? Come, oak-tree, and was endeavoring to take dear old dad, don't make so much of it. a more dispassionate view of the case What does it matter if one chick leaves when the near crack of a gun made the nest, when there are so many othhim start upon his feet.

ers ?* By Jove, dad !" cried a broad-| Bob Duncombe put his arm round shouldered young man in kuickerbock- his father's neck, and would have sacers, clapping a hand upon his thigh rificed a year's partridge-shooting to as he held his smoking guu aside, “I know what to say to chase away the nearly had you. Fancy you being sadness on the old man's face. It was there !!!

more than sadness, however ; it was “Never mind, Bob. A miss is as despair ; for Bob was his favorite son, good as a "

and therefore, as he fancied, the one "As a mile, eh? I am so fond of least in the esteem of his second wife. those old proverbs, because a fellow “ If I were free," Pitt Duncombe can remember them, somehow. I've said, somewhat brokenly, "how I potted three and a half brace - not bad should like to go with you! We'd in an hour, you know, is it? But I make a new house for the old family, say, why do you look so down, old wouldn't we?" dad ? »

"Ay, that we would. But I tell you “Do I? I didn't know. To tell what, if when we've talked it over, we you the truth, my boy, I was thinking all like the idea, I'll go out for a year about you !"

at any rate. If I don't do much by “Oh, come ! well, I am sorry the then, why I can come back, can't I, thought of me has such an effect upon like so many others ?you. Tell me, what is it? I'll do “Yes, that's true, my boy; and anything — any mortal thing that man there's no kuowing what may happen can do — to please you — you know I in a year. Suppose we get home, and will, if I can !”

have a chat about it before lunch ?. “Yes, yes, my boy. I was hoping This they did, the palaver being held something might happen. We Dun- | in an old summer-house at one corner combes are not so clever as other peo- of the lawn. ple, I suppose !"

The result was that Bob Duncombe "I know I'm a fool, father — always accepted Florida as his destiny. was, to the best of my recollection. A letter was written to Mr. Tunks Yet if I could do anything for the old (whose name, thought Mr. Duncombe, place! It makes me wild sometimes." was the most frightful feature of a bad

“ Your stepmother thinks " business), and Bob Duncombe followed “Hang it all, dad, I don't care the letter, with 1001. in his pocket, two a partridge-feather what she thinks. leathern portmanteaux, and a gun-case. What do you think?"

Though he had no knowledge of pump“It is this that has excited her to-ing, he surmised, with a shrewdness day; read it, if you like. I have noth- wonderful in such a young man, that ing to do with it, one way or the Mr. Tunks would be perfectly willing other."

to engage him as an apprentice. The young man took the paper, and Save for the separation from his faspent fully two minutes in digesting ther, he much enjoyed the idea of seeMr. Tunks's advertisement; he was so ing something of a far country. very slow and dense. "I see," he exclaimed at length, |

CHAPTER III. looking up with sparkling eyes. WHEN Bob Duncombe arrived at "Well, I'll go and gladly, though I Clearwater he was in tip-top condition.

« PoprzedniaDalej »