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Antony Waymouth; Or, The Gentlemen Adventurers

William Henry Giles Kingston

  Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

  Antony Waymouth, by W.H.G. Kingston.


  ________________________________________________________________________ANTONY WAYMOUTH, BY W.H.G. KINGSTON.


  "What! Ned Raymond ahoy! Heave to, lad. What! dost seek to give awide berth to an old friend? That once was not your wont. Ned Raymondahoy, I say!"

  The slight dark moustache on the lip of the person addressed showed thathe had just reached the age of manhood. His raven hair hung in ringletsfrom his head. A black velvet cloak thrown over one shoulder, and atightly-fitting dress of the same material and hue, set off hiswell-made, active figure. His plumed cap and the sword by his sideshowed that he claimed to belong to the upper rank of society. Indeed,no one looking at the refined expression of his features and hisintelligent countenance could doubt that such was his right. He waswalking somewhat rapidly through the narrow and irregularly-builtstreets of the seaport town of Plymouth, at that time one of the chiefports of departure for the numerous naval expeditions which went forthto the West and to the East in search of new lands, and of regions ofgold and diamonds and other precious stones.

  It is worthy of remark that the people of Devonshire and Cornwall havefrom the earliest days shown a strong propensity for naval adventure.This arises not alone from their geographical position, but hasdescended to them from their progenitors, who were, there can be butlittle doubt, Phoenicians,--or their descendants the Carthaginians,perhaps,--sailors, merchants, and others attracted from the northernshores of Africa for the sake of the tin found in those counties. Evenat the present day many of their customs and the nautical terms theyemployed are retained. The clotted cream of Devonshire and on the coastof Barbary is the same, as is the mode in which the people manage theirfarms. Caboose was the name of the temple carried by thefire-worshipping Phoenicians on the decks of their vessels; the cook'shouse on board ship is now so called. Davit in Arabic is a crookedpiece of wood; the same term we apply to the timbers by which boats arehoisted up to the sides of ships. However, we are now talking of moremodern days, and must proceed.

  Good Queen Bess sat on the throne of England, and ruled the realm as fewsovereigns have done before or since, greatly to the furtherance ofBritain's glory and wealth, and to the firm establishment of religionand true liberty, for which let all honest Englishmen be grateful, andtalk not of her womanly weaknesses and failings.

  The young gentleman, hearing his name called, stopped and lookedearnestly at the person who had addressed him, and who was followingrapidly in his footsteps. The costume of his pursuer was far more gayand dashing than was his, being composed of bright-coloured velvet andsilks, with a golden chain round his neck, a plumed hat set jauntily onhis head, and a jewel-hilted sword by his side. He had a laughing blueeye and light curling locks, and though his countenance was wellbronzed, and his voice strong and manly, his features still bore theimpress of early youth. Indeed, his hairless lip and beardless chinshowed that he had scarcely emerged from boyhood. He ran up to theperson of whom he was in pursuit, and frankly held out his hand.

  "Really, sir, you have the advantage of me," said the elder gallant,gravely drawing himself up.

  On this the younger gave way to a merry peal of laughter, exclaiming,"If I am changed, surely you are not, good coz. I see that. What!Ned--Ned, most oblivious of mortals, don't you remember little TonyWaymouth, whom you pulled out of the water just in time to prevent himfrom becoming food for the fishes, at the risk of your far more valuablelife, and to whom you ever gave the best of advice, and set the best ofexamples, neither of which, graceless vagabond that he was, is, and Ifear ever will be, he took or followed?"

  There was no longer any hesitation on the part of the elder in seizingthe proffered hand, but he found his fingers wrung in so hearty a way,and with so vice-like a grasp, that he could scarcely refrain fromcrying out with pain.

  The lad saw by the expression of his friend's countenance that in thewarmth of his affection he had really hurt him.

  "Marry, pardon me, dear Ned, that my fingers have been thus heedless.They have been so accustomed to haul at ropes, tug at the oar, anddabble in the tar-bucket, that they have, like their owner, lost, I fearme, all civilised habits and customs," he exclaimed, exhibiting hishorny-palmed, thoroughly-bronzed hand.

  "Say not a word, Tony," answered Raymond. "Far rather would I feel thegrasp of thy honest fist than the gingerly touch of the soft-palmedcourtier. But tell me, lad, where hast thou been these long years sincewe parted at school, where I fear me, Tony, there was not much knowledgepacked away in that then small head of thine? I have heard rumours ofyour existence, and that is all."

  "Wandering over the ocean, and battling with the elements andstrong-armed men," answered young Waymouth. "But the spectacle of twosuch gay gallants as we are in this quiet street has already attractedattention. I see down there the Sign of the White Swan, a goodhostelrie, I know. Let us step in there; it is about the hour ofdinner, and I know full well that we shall find a cup of good sack towash down the viands. While discussing it I will tell you briefly of mydoings and listen gladly to yours. I long to hear of your past life andfuture prospects."

  "Agreed," said Raymond; "but before we enter let me advise you, Tony, totake but one cup; the second is apt to do harm."

  "An' it be a jolly big one, then," answered Waymouth, as they enteredthe inn. "We rovers of the sea get so much salt water down our throatsthat we require a fair portion of good liquor to correct its illeffects."

  "The same as of old," observed Raymond, as they took their seats in thepublic room and waited till dinner was placed before them, preceded bythe promised sack. "And now, Tony, that your throat is washed, tell meall that time will allow of yourself," he added, after Waymouth hadtasted and expressed his approbation of the sack.

  "With all my heart, then, that I may the sooner come at yours, Ned, I'llbegin," said Waymouth, in his light, cheery tone. "You know that Ialways had a fancy for a life at sea; not that I knew any thing aboutit, but I thought I did, which comes to the same thing. Many of myrelatives followed the sea, both on my father's and mother's side, andamong them was as brave a gentleman as ever stepped--my worthy cousin,Captain John Foster, of the good ship Primrose, belonging to the port ofLondon. I had frequently seen him and won his regards, and so at last Itold him my hopes and wishes. He promised to intercede for me, and kepthis word. My father gave his consent, and the next time he put to seahe took me with him as cabin-boy. The Primrose was bound for Bilboa, onthe north coast of Spain, with bale goods. We had a quick run acrossthe Bay of Biscay, were politely received by the Spaniards, and soonmade arrangements to dispose of our cargo. To show his regard, thechief magistrate of the district, the corregidor, sent word that hewould pay us a visit. He came off in a large boat, with a dozen or moredons, highly respectable merchants, he told us, who wished to make ouracquaintance. The captain introduced me to the corregidor as a youngrelative who had come to sea for the first time to try how he liked alife on the ocean. The magistrate made a great deal of me, and pattedme on the head, and said all sorts of complimentary things which Ididn't understand; but there was a language in his eye which I didunderstand, though, and I saw glances exchanged between him and the darkeyes of his companions which still further aroused my suspicions. Islipped out of the cabin and told the captain. `Good boy!' he remarked;`I'm on the watch.'

  "Dinner was brought in, and wine in abundance. The corregidor, aftersparingly partaking of some food and wine, departed with some
of hisfollowers, leaving, however, live in the cabin, who at once madethemselves at home, laughing, and singing, and talking at their ease,trying to make the captain and officers drink with them. I observedthat they did not swallow nearly as much as they pretended to take, andthat the flasks but slowly became empty. They kept on their cloaks, andI caught sight of the scabbards of their swords and of a long dagger inthe belt of one of them. Still we mustered twenty-seven men, stout andtrue, on board, so that we had nothing to fear from these fiveSpaniards. As to purchasing the cargo, the object for which they saidthat they had come, they were, it seemed, too much overcome with wine totalk about the matter.

  "Leaving them in the cabin, I went on deck, where I found that thecaptain had served out arms to all the men, and loaded the guns readyfor action. Some of our people were sent below, others lounged aboutthe deck with their weapons concealed under their clothes. He had goodreason for this precaution, for as I looked over the side I saw twoboats pulling off towards us, one containing twenty or thirty men, theother near a hundred, it seemed.

  "The corregidor, in the smaller boat, was the first to come alongsideand to step on board with all imaginable frankness and cordiality. Hehad brought with him some dozen or more Biscayan merchants, who weredesirous of trading with their friends the English.

  "`If these are Biscayan merchants, they have a very martial look aboutthem,' observed the captain to one of our officers. `Now, SenhorCorregidor,' he continued, `you'll understand that no more of thosegentry come up the side; they crowd our decks and incommode the men intheir duties.'

  "The corregidor with many a grin agreed to this, but still the boatsremained alongside. Our captain on this was about to order them off,when Senhor Corregidor whips out a white wand of office, and cries outin a loud voice, `Yield, for you are our prisoners,' while the seemingmerchants draw their daggers and swords and present them at thecaptain's breast.

  "`We are betrayed, lads!' he shouts, knocking up the weapons with ahandspike.

  "At the same moment a drum beats in the big boat, and the Spaniards,soldiers in disguise, begin to climb up the sides. I run aft and clapthe hatch over the cabin, so as to keep the five gentlemen there quiet,while our men, drawing out their weapons, begin to lay about them with awill which astonishes the dons. Some run to the guns and point themdown at the boats; others, with axes, force back the men who areclimbing the sides. Our decks are slippery with blood. Several of ourmen are wounded. A shot strikes a shipmate standing in front of me,and, falling dead, he knocks me over. It saves my life, for a Spaniardis making a cut at me, which misses, and our captain cuts him down.Still we fight on against fearful odds. Our enemies gain the deck, butit is only to add to the heap of the slain. At last the corregidorcries out, and begs our captain to order his men to cease fighting.

  "`Marry, very likely!' says the captain, in the sort of Spanish lingo hespoke. `Why, my fellows are such fire-eating dogs that they would killme if I was to make such a proposal. Is it the Inquisition, with a turnat the thumb-screws, the rack, and the stake, or liberty and OldEngland, you look for, my brave lads?' continues the captain, turning tothe men.

  "`Liberty and Old England!' shout all our company.

  "`Then let us trundle these treacherous scoundrels overboard, cut ourcable, and make sail,' he exclaims in return.

  "Scarce a minute passed and it was done; some were thrown into the hold,and the rest overboard, and a strong breeze coming off the land, thecable was cut, the sails filled, and away we glided out ahead of a dozenboats which came off in pursuit. We plied them well with our ordnance,till, like baffled hounds, they turned tail and went back to theirkennel.

  "Clear of the land, we turned to examine our prisoners. The five cagedin the cabin had whole skins, the rest were wounded. Among them was thesmooth-spoken corregidor, now woefully crestfallen. We dressed his andthe other people's hurts as well as we could, seeing that we had noleech aboard, and with a fair wind stood across the Bay of Biscay. Thecaptain, whose kindness seemed to touch the feelings of the don, at lastasked him what made him act so treacherous a part. On this out of hispocket he pulls a paper, which was just an order from King Philip toseize every ship of Holland, Zealand, Easterland, and England, in hisports, letting none escape, that he might increase his own fleet, bywhich he proposed to strike a blow to overwhelm Old England and allProtestant countries together.

  "`Ah! is that so, Senhor Don? Then our gracious sovereign lady shallknow all about it, an' my name be John Foster,' exclaimed the captain;and you may be sure that, favoured by fine weather, we carried all sailnight and day until we arrived safely in the Thames.

  "The captain, taking me with him, hurried up to London with ourprisoners, strongly guarded. We got audience of the queen and of thegreat Lord Burleigh; and the captain, albeit not much of a courtier, didhis devoir right courteously to her majesty, who took the paper with herown gracious hand, and ordered a gentleman standing by to read it toher. When she heard its contents her whole countenance changed.

  "`We'll be on the watch for you, cousin Philip,' she exclaimed; but Iheard no more, for her majesty turned to my Lord Burleigh and othernoblemen and gentlemen to hold secret converse with them.

  "But the captain was not the man to go away without fulfilling all hisintentions. He took me by the hand, and, presenting me to the queen,told her that I had given him the first hint of the intentions of theSpaniards, and confirmed the opinion he had formed, and he hoped thather majesty would graciously keep me in mind.

  "`Ah, ah! the little varlet, we'll not forget him,' was her majesty'sreply; nor, by my troth, did she. There's not an expedition of note,nor an adventure which has promised honour or wealth, since undertaken,in which I have not been engaged. I sailed with Admiral Sir FrancisDrake to the West Indies in the Sea Dragon, commanded by honest HarryWhite. We did the Spaniards no small damage, burning their towns andsinking their ships without number, and came back with our pockets linedwith doubloons, and six hundred thousand golden pounds, and brasscannon, and jewels, and ornaments of all sorts on board. I servedaboard the Mary Rose, under the brave Captain Fenton, when theSpaniards' Grand Armada entered the Channel; and, following them up, weat length broke through their line, led by the admiral himself. Then weengaged broadside to broadside a huge Spanish galleon, which wecompelled to strike, and carried into port. But I weary you, good coz,with my adventures; I might go on talking till midnight, and yet nottell thee half the things I have done and seen. I may well say, that,since the time I made my first voyage in the Primrose, for not onesingle month at a time has my foot rested on _terra firma_."

  "Weary me, Tony!" exclaimed Raymond, who had been listening with thedeepest attention, and an expression of wonder in his countenance, toevery word his young companion had uttered. "Indeed you do not. If Idid not know you to have been as a boy the soul of honour, and incapableof falsehood, I should only have been inclined to doubt that you hadgone through all the adventures you describe."

  "Ah, that is because all these years you have been living quietly onshore, as I suspect, where weeks and months pass by you scarcely knowhow," answered Waymouth, in a tone of compassion. "But now that I havetold you somewhat about my worthless self, let me ask you how you havepassed the last few years of your mortal existence?"

  "Briefly I will reply," said Raymond. "At school and college. Thelearned University of Oxford is my _alma mater_, and even now I amdebating to what profession to devote my energies--the law, the Church,or physic. Sometimes I fancy public life, or to seek my fortune atcourt, where I have kindred who might aid me; but yet, in truth, I amundecided."

  "Ah, that's good," exclaimed Waymouth with animation. "The law--topersuade your hearers that black is white, and to set men by the ears--let that alone an' you value your soul."

  It is not surprising that the young seaman should give expression to avulgar and ignorant prejudice against one of the most necessary ofprofessions.

  "Physic! `Throw physic to the dogs, I'll n
one on't,' as WillShakespeare has it," continued Waymouth. "No, no, Ned, learn not tomurder thy friends and those that trust thee. As to the Church, I'llsay nothing against that if thou hast a calling to the ministry. Tocare for the soul's welfare is a noble office, but if sought for thesake of filthy lucre it's a mean, despicable trade, so we hold whofollow the sea. And then thou talkest of seeking thy fortune at court.As well seek it on the slippery ice. No, no; listen to me, Ned. Seekit with us. It's a secret as yet, and I cannot tell thee particulars;but this much I may say. There is as bold an adventure even nowpreparing as ever set forth from these shores. Hark, Ned: I know thatthou art trustworthy. It is for the far-off lands of India, Cathay, theSpice Islands, and maybe the wide Pacific, where many a richly ladengalleon or Portugal ship may be fallen in with. Become an adventurerwith us. Our lists are not filled up. Think that in two or three shortyears, at most, thou wilt become for certain a man of wealth, fit to wedthe proudest lady in the land. Then the wonders of those distant lands!They make no more count of gold and silver, of diamonds and otherprecious stones, than we do of tin and iron, and of pebbles from theseaside. Come, come, Ned; say yes to my proposal."

  But Raymond did not say yes, and Waymouth continued in the same strainfor some considerable time longer. At length Raymond answered, whilethe colour mantled on his cheeks--

  "I would fain go with thee, good coz, but the truth is, there is one Ilove here in England from whom I could not bear to be parted. We trustto wed some day, and all my hopes of happiness on earth are bound up inher."

  "Ha! ha! I might have thought so," said Waymouth. "That comes ofliving on shore. Now at sea we have no time for thinking of suchmatters. I doubt not, however, that the fair one, whoever she may be,is worthy of your love. Tell me, do I know her?"

  "It is no secret--she is the Lady Beatrice Willoughby. Her grandfatherwas that noble captain who perished in the attempt to discover a passageto Cathay by the north-west. You have doubtless heard the tale--how heand all his men were found frozen to death in the icy sea, the admiralseated in his cabin, his pen in his hand, his journal before him."

  "Ay, that have I, and reverence his name," said Waymouth with feeling."But what fortune hast thou, coz, to support a wife? They say theseladies of fashion are not content unless they have their coach, theirrunning footmen, and their waiting-women, and I know not what elsebeside."

  Raymond sighed. "My fortune is to be made--I live on hope," heanswered.

  "Such often maketh the heart sick and the body lean," replied the youngsailor. "Follow my advice. Go tell the Lady Beatrice the truth. Voweternal constancy, and comfort her with all the soothing speeches thoucanst make, and I'll warrant that, in three short years at furthest,thou wilt return with wealth sufficient to support a wife as becomesyour family and hers."

  There can be no doubt that Antony Waymouth spoke what he believed to bethe truth, and gave, as he fancied, excellent advice. It may appearsurprising, however, that Raymond, a scholar and a man of good parts andjudgment, should have been so strongly influenced as he was by thearguments of a mere youth; but, as far as acquaintance with the worldwas concerned, Waymouth was the oldest of the two. He had been leftsince a child almost to work his own way in the world, helped onward bythe queen, and had mixed with every variety of men. This gave him aconfidence in himself and an independence of manner which Raymond hadhad no opportunity of gaining.

  While the young men were still eagerly talking, a clock from aneighbouring tower struck the hour of one past noon. Waymouth startedup with an exclamation of astonishment, saying--

  "The hours have sped faster than I thought. I should have been aboardby this time to see how the artificers get on with their fittings. Butcome, coz, you shall be my excuse, and I'll show thee as stout ships asever sailed the salt ocean."

  "Agreed," was the answer, and the two friends set off. All the wayAntony plied his companion with the most glowing descriptions of thewealth and fortune to be obtained in the distant East, not to speak ofthe honour, and glory, and renown. Portugal ships and Spaniards withoutnumber were sure to be taken, even should the land fail to, yield whatmight be expected. And then the wonders to be seen--the curiouspeople--the palaces of silver and precious stones--the Great Mogul onhis throne of gold, and the Emperor of Cathay, with his robes of rubiesand diamonds--not to speak of the possibility of falling in with PresterJohn, whose dominions were undoubtedly on that side of Africa; and thenthe Spice Islands, which might be discerned by their fragrance even whenmiles away!

  Enlarging, as Waymouth did, with an eloquence which perfect confidencein the truth of what he was saying gave him, and a strong desire to gainover his friend, it is not surprising that Raymond yielded to suchseductive arguments, and began to grow eager to join the expedition asan adventurer. Aboard the ships which were fitting in the harbour,Waymouth introduced him to several other adventurers, who naturallywished to obtain a gentleman of such good parts and family as a brotherin their company. Raymond had, he fancied, a small patrimony at hiscommand. Could he do better than risk it in so promising an adventure,and in three short years come back and marry his beloved Beatrice?Still he would do nothing rashly; he would make no engagement till hehad talked the matter over with her. Accordingly, leaving Waymouth onboard to attend to his nautical duties, early next morning he took horseand set off for Exeter, in the neighbourhood of which city the LadyWilloughby, with her daughter and the rest of her family, resided.

  Raymond was welcomed as he always was, but he could not bring himself atfirst to announce the object of his visit. He spoke, however, of hismeeting with Waymouth, and of his descriptions of the wonders of theEast, and the wealth to be speedily obtained in those distant seas. Hisauditors were even more interested than he expected. It was but naturalthat young Hugh Willoughby should be so, but so likewise was Hugh'suncle, Sir John Jourdan, a brother of Lady Willoughby's, and guardian toher children.

  The early dinner over, Raymond and Beatrice wandered forth into thegrounds, for they were acknowledged lovers, and enjoyed a liberty whichwould otherwise have been denied them. Raymond saw at once thatBeatrice was sad at heart. He felt tongue-tied. She spoke first.

  "I know what has been passing in your mind, dear Edward. You long tojoin these adventurers, and I know why--for the sake of the wealth youhope to obtain."

  She gazed tenderly at him, her blue eyes suffused with tears. Beatricewas fair and graceful. Raymond thought her beauty faultless: so didmany others. How could he withstand such an appeal? He acknowledgedthat she was right in her conjectures, but expressed himself ready to beguided by her decision.

  "Stay, then," she whispered. "Wealth I do not value. I would becontent to be your wife however humble your lot, but I have thatconfidence in your steadiness, and perseverance, and love for me, that,with the many honourable careers open to you at home, I feel sure thatyou will ere long secure a sufficient competency to support me in thatstation of life in which we have been born."

  Raymond thanked her over and over again for this kind and encouragingspeech. In a moment all his dreams of adventure and the wealth he wassuddenly to acquire vanished into thin air. He promised to be worthy ofthe high opinion she had formed of him, and to labour on bravely inEngland, having the enjoyment and support of her society. They wanderedon through the grounds, beneath the shade of stately elms and sturdyoaks, in the delightful feeling that they were not to be parted, andregardless of all sublunary affairs but their own. Little, therefore,were they prepared for the blow which was to fall on their heads ontheir return to the hall in the evening.

  It appeared as if both Sir John and Hugh had divined Raymond's thoughtswhen he had arrived in the morning at the hall, for they immediatelycommenced the subject of an adventure to Cathay, and inquired if he hadformed any plans for making one. Raymond did not like the tone in whichhe was addressed, and replied simply that, had such an intention crossedhis mind, he had abandoned it. On this the knight looked glum, and Hughshowed an in
clination to fume; but no further words then passed.

  It was not till the ladies had retired to their chambers that Sir Johnagain opened on the subject. He spoke very explicitly. He was theguardian of his niece Beatrice, and as such had the undoubted disposalof her hand. Love and poverty might do in theory, but wereobjectionable in practice. He had a great respect for Master Raymond,as he had for Sir Thomas his father, and for all his family, but theinterests of his ward must be his first consideration. Now he haddiscovered, _imprimis_, that Master Raymond had much less fortune thanhe had supposed; and, secondly, that his prospects of making a fortune,or of pushing his way in the world, were much smaller than desirable,and that, therefore, he was in duty bound to withhold the consentpreviously given to his marriage to Beatrice till such times as he couldshow that he possessed the means in fact, and not only in prospect, ofmaintaining her as a gentlewoman.

  Poor Raymond felt his heart sinking lower and lower while listening tothese remarks, till it seemed to have gone out of his bosom altogether.What could he say? He stammered out, at length, that his love wouldgive him strength and courage to achieve any thing mortal man could do,and that he was sure of success. But what sounded a very plausibleargument to his ears was so much prunella to those of the old knight.

  "I'll tell thee what, lad: from thine own showing this morning, there isa course open to thee by which thou mayst gain speedily both wealth andhonour, and all a gentleman of spirit can desire, and that I take theeto be. Go, think about it on thy couch, and to-morrow I'll warrant thatthou wilt agree that I have given thee sound counsel and advice."

  Edward went to his couch, but not a wink did he sleep. His heart wastorn with a variety of conflicting emotions. He could not help owningthat there was truth in what Sir John had said, and yet he felt that hehad the power to win his way to fortune by honest labour with such abeing as Beatrice Willoughby at his side. Hot and feverish, he roseearly to take a turn in the park. He had not gone far when he heardfootsteps behind him. He turned, and saw Hugh Willoughby following himat a rapid pace. There was a frown on the young man's brow, and hislips were compressed in a way which showed that he was in no goodhumour.

  "Well met, this fine morning," he exclaimed in an angry tone. "I musthave a word or two with you, Master Edward Raymond. It seems, sir, thatyou have been deceiving us--leading us to suppose that your fortune isfar greater than it turns out to be. I'll tell you, sir, that my sistershall never wed a beggar while I have a sword with which to run thatbeggar through the body who dares to wish it." Edward gasped forbreath--such bitter, taunting, cruel words, how could he abide them? Hehad a sword by his side, but nothing should make him draw it on thebrother of his Beatrice. He took two or three turns up and down on thegreensward.

  "Hugh," he exclaimed, "you wrong me cruelly. Your uncle knows more ofthe state of my affairs than I do myself. My earnest desire has been toobtain a fortune to support your sister as becomes her. But two daysago the offer was made me to undertake such an expedition as thatproposed by your uncle. Not your taunts, not your threats, not youranger, shall compel me to go; but I believe that I shall be doing rightin going. On one condition I will consent--that no force or restraintbe put on your sister's inclinations. If she cares no longer for me,let her marry whom she will; but if she remains faithful to me--as Iknow right well she will, and as I shall to her--then I have your word,that, on my return with the wealth I may have won, I may claim her as mybride."

  "Fairly and right nobly spoken," exclaimed Hugh, who, thoughhot-tempered, was of a generous disposition, and had been worked up toact as he had done by his uncle. "Agreed--agreed; I'll tell Beatricewhat you have said, and, no doubt, she will see its wisdom."

  In more friendly intercourse than from their first meeting might havebeen expected, the two young men continued their walk, and returned tosuch a breakfast as is seldom, in these degenerate days, seen on thetable.

  Sorely against her judgment and inclination, Beatrice yielded to heruncle's demands. Deep was her sorrow at parting from Edward, andreiterated were their mutual vows of constancy; not that either had theslightest doubt of each other's devoted love. It was more for the sakeof influencing others than themselves that vows were exchanged--thatthey might say, "We have vowed; we cannot break our vows."

  Edward had to return home to make his preparations. The old knight, hisfather, heard of this his sudden resolve with a sorrowing heart. Hisown health had given way sadly of late. He knew that the change whichno mortal can avoid must soon come upon him, and should his well-lovedson go away, even for a few years, he could scarcely hope that his eyeswould rest on him again on this side the grave. He was fully aware,too, of the perils, great and innumerable, to which he must inevitablybe exposed. Still, though gentle and loving, he was stout of heart;peril had never daunted him. If his son desired to go on thisadventure, he would not withhold his consent. Lady Raymond was no more;but there was another member of his family, to part from whom costEdward a severe pang--his lovely sister Constance. She was not onlylovely, graceful, and good, but full of animation and spirit, combinedwith a calm courage and determination which, when difficulties came inher way, made her take pleasure in overcoming them. Few who observedher gentle and quiet demeanour would have supposed her likely to performthe deeds of devotion and courage of which she was capable.

  "I wish that I were a man, that I, too, might take part in so gallant anenterprise, and win for myself such a bride as is your Beatrice," sheexclaimed when her brother told her of his purpose; but she added, "andyet, dear Edward, it grieves me sorely to part with you. I would gomyself, and yet I would not have you go; and yet, again, I cannot sayyou nay. Go, go! It must be so, I see, and I will join my prayers withthose I know your sweet Beatrice will offer up night and day for yoursafe return."

  "The die is cast," said Edward with a sigh, and he wrote to Waymouth tosay he would join him. In the course of four days he set forth fromExeter, with a couple of packhorses to carry his worldly goods, and aserving-man, equipped for his projected voyage to the far East.