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respects, under the command of Sir John Burgh, who is to be our vice-admiral.”
“ Ho!” cried the old lord.
“For the which we are willing to allow her one half of the profits of the expedition, arising either from the plunder of the town, or the taking of ships—which, doubtless, will amount to a sum far exceeding that which has been gained by any similar adventure."
“ Ha !” said my Lord Burghley.
Sir Walter Raleigh then, at considerable length, described the nature of the proposed undertaking, its manifest advantages, the number of ships and men to be employed—the officers engaged, and all concerning the expedition to the minutest particular; to the which the lord treasurer not only listened with his gravity undisturbed ; but drawing in his mouth tight, as if he were afraid something should drop out of it, he replied only with a “ Humph!” a “ Hol" or, a “ Ha!" as the case might be. It be out of all manner of doubt that my Lord Burghley could speak right eloquently when he chose; but he was exceeding chary of his discourse when he fancied it was not necessary for him to open his lips. Thus did he preserve the wonderful taciturnity with which he was gifted, throughout the whole of the time; and looking very grave the whilst, as if he was taken up with some deep thinking, with a slight inclination of his head, he raised himself from the chair, and leaning on his host for support, he walked to the gates, where he mounted his poney which a serving man had in waiting for him, and immediately rode off.
CHAPTER IX. .
Sir, you did take me up, when I was nothing;
BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER.
To such'a place our camp remove
As will no siege abide;
SIR JOHN SUCKLING.
MASTER FRANCIS was so well pleased with his visit to the play· house, that when he returned to St. Mary Axe, he cared not a fig's
end for the rating that the old man gave him for having tarried so long; and after he laid him down on his humble pallet of rushes, he could not sleep a wink for thinking of the gallant Sir Walter Raeigh and the noble Sh akspeare; the brave sight he had of Queen Elizabeth, and all the fine lords and ladies, knights and gentlemen; and the droll things he had seen among the players; and then he sat about building of castles in the air, whereof he pleased himself mightily; for though of a modest disposition, the which accorded well with the humbleness of his fortunes since he had recollection ; -Vet the mystery of his parentage sometimes inclining him to believe himself of notable descent, and at other times filling him with a dread that he was the deserted offspring of some wretched adventurer, made him irritable upon any slight, and more proud than seemed becoming to one of his state. His nature was very affectionate without doubt, yet was he exceeding sensitive of offence, and the excess of regard with which he looked on those who did him a kindDess, disposed him the more readily to yield himself to impressions of an opposite tendency. I say thus much here, to put the courteous reader on his guard against expecting too much of him; for I am not one of those that bring on the picture such monstrous perfect creatures as do some, the like of which hath eye never seen in this world; for I put not finer feathers on the bird than nature hath given him. If he hath faults, all the better,-for being of tender years, then is there the greater chance that he may mend. But, mayhap, this shall be seen in the upshot.
The cock had crowed more than once, yet still Master Francis continued at his airy speculations—this moment did he discover his unknown parent to be of greatestate, and publicly was acknowledged to be his only son and heir, with the great rejoicing of a fine assembly—then, all daintily attired, he was a taking his leisure in a fair pleasance, with his adored Joanna, very lovingly, having his true friend, Harry Daring, in the back ground, after he had being doing of a good office even unto his much misliked acquaintance, Ralph Goshawk-again he was with Master Shakspeare and the players, receiving their congratulations on the success of a tragedy they had brought out for him, which had taken hugely with the spectators and now he was with Sir Walter Raleigh in some place of office at court, discoursing very prettily on matters of state, and bearing it among the gallants as bravely as the best of them. Thus passed he the time till he was stirred up by the shrill voice of his uncle from below stairs, abusing him soundly for a lie-a-bed; at the which he got up and employed himself at the necessary drudgery of his miserly kinsman, till it was nigh unto the hour he was desired to go to Durham House, when, seeking occasion to be sent of an errand, in the which he succeeded so far as to be required to importune one who lacked the will or the means of paying—a thing he was ost obliged to do, yet never had any heart for—he proceeded on his way.
He had passed beyond the Temple Bar before the anxiousness which he was in allowed him to notice much what happened as he went, or the notable places in his progress: but as he now thought of the necessity of looking out for the place he was in search of, he soon found himself passing Essex House, then Arundel House-goodly mansions both; and then Somerset House ( a right handsome pile), and the palace of the Savoy; and keeping along the garden walls ata tached to Worcester House, he got to Salisbury House; and a very delicate sight it was to notice these and other fine buildings on the banks of the Thames, with famous gardens and grounds ( intersected by running streams) that went down to the water's edge; then keeping Covent Garden and the Strand Cross at his right, with the Maypole in the distance, he passed by the Ivy Bridge, and presently stood before a truly noble structure, which the passengers and wayfarers he had questioned of his way, told him was Durham House. In truth, it must needs be a notable fine building, having been an inn of the bishops of Durham; and, latterly, the residence of the once mighty John Dudley, Earl of Northumberland.
On gaining admittance at the wicket he was sharply questioned of several tall serving men, clad in gay liveries, with silver badges on their left arms, who seemed loath to let one of his humble appearance have speech with their master.
“ Ho, Roger! Timothy! Gabriel ! Thomas ! what now, I say?" called out old Stephen, as he slowly advanced towards the group, scanning them with a somewhat displeased aspect, “have ye so little respect for our master's house that ye loiter here gossiping together, whilst your duties stand unattended to? In with ye, idlers !”
“Here be a stranger, Stephen Shortcake, that seeketh our master," cried Roger.
“ And he will have it Sir Walter bade him come,” exclaimed Timothy.
" And he ventureth to say that he hath business with him," said Gabriel.
“ Worse than all, he will not budge till he hath had speech of him," added Thomas.
“ And who bade you be an hindrance to him ?” asked Stephen sharply, after he had sufficiently scrutinised the modest demeanour of Master Francis. “Have I not told ye, many a time and oft, that when a stranger presented himself seeking Sir Walter, and ye had doubts of his errand, ye were to call me? Away with ye, knaves, and attend to the wants of our master's guests.” Then, as soon as the serving men had disappeared into the house, which they did in marvellous quick time, the old man courteously addressed Master Francis thus: “I pray you, good youth, be not vexed at the churlishness of those varlets; follow me, if it please you, and I will take care that you shall have opportunity to speak with Sir Walter : but that cannot be at present, for he hath with him a power of noble commanders, sea captains, men of war, and the like, talking upon pressing matters. If your business be not too urgent, doubtless it may tarry awhile and no loss happen.”
“ I would willingly wait Sir Walter Raleigh's leisure," replied the youth.'
“ Then come you with me and welcome,” said Stephen. “ But let me tell you, without meaning offence in it, that at the present there be no vacancy for a serving man.”
“ I seek no such office," answered the youth, rather proudly; indeed so little did his ambition relish the idea of being considered
only worthy to be a serving man, that he stopped of a sudden, and seemed inclined to turn back and give over all hope of advancement from that quarter.
6. Nay, take it not ill of me, I pray you,” exclaimed the old man, who saw, by the confusion in the youth's countenance, that that which he had given utterance to had created some unpleasantness, " for all that you be not so bountifully garnished as many who come here on such a seeking, I could swear, at a glimpse, you are well worthy better hap. Come on, I entreat of you; and though I be but Stephen Shortcake, yet having served Sir Walter Raleigh a long service, and I trust, I may add a faithful, he hath of his excellent goodness thought proper to advance me to his considence, and to the office of butler; I may without presumption say I have some influence with him; and if I could do aught for you, believe me I shall be wellinclined to say a good word in your behalf.”
“I am thankful for your kind offer,” replied Master Francis; and then, with an effort to conquer the disagreeableness of his feelings, he advanced with his companion into the house. The old butler appeared to be vastly taken with the youth; but his quiet, pensive countenance and his tall and elegant figure, were enough to have made friends for him wherever he went.
“Come you with me, good sir,” continued Stephen Shortcake, “ I will see that your business be attended to at the first fitting time, and”
-- Here he brake off his speech at once, for coming to the door of the house as Sir Walter Raleigh and some friends were leaving it. he hastened to open the gates, and Master Francis drew aside to let the company pass.
“ I will see that every thing is got ready with proper speed,” said a very valiant looking gentleman, as he walked along.
" Thanks, Sir John Burgh,” replied Sir Walter, “I have set my all upon this cast, and so many brave spirits have embarked with me in the adventure, with large portions of their substance, that I am exceeding anxious nothing should be wanting to give us the end we look for.”
“ O’my life, Sir Walter, I long to have a hand in it,” said another, of the like gallant nature.
" That wish I of all things, sir Martin Frobisher,” answered Raleigh, “ for know I of an indisputable truth 'twould greatly be to our advantage could we count upon such profitable assistance.” Then with many courtesies, which none knew better how to use, he saw them leave the gates.
" See I not he of whom mine esteemed friend Master Shakspeare spoke but yesterday?” enquired Sir Walter Raleigh, stopping before the youth and regarding him somewhat kindly, as well as with atten
“ If it please you, I am,” replied Master Francis, now looking and feeling much abashed.
“ Master Shakspeare hath given me good account of you,” continued Sir Walter, “ and I am well disposed in consequence thereof to do you what good office lieth in my ability. I am in want of a se
cretary. Think you you should like to venture yourself in that capacity ?!?
*" I doubt much I am quite fit for it," answered the youth with a very sincere modesty.
“ Of your sufficiency, from what hath been said in your behalf, I can have no question,” said Raleigh, much pleased at the other's behaviour, “ therefore if it accord with your inclination, be sure of having liberal treatment. Are you content?”
66 Indeed, I am delighted to such a mea sure” —
“ Enough!” exclaimed Sir Walter, good humouredly interrupting him, as he saw from his manner there was no doubt of his satisfaction; then turning to his butler, who stood respectfully at a little distance, added, “ Stephen, see that Master Francis hath all things proper as my secretary.”
“I will lose no time upon it, an't please you, Sir Walter," replied the old man cheerfully.
“I will myself instruct you in your duties,” added his patron, “but at present you must go with Stephen, who will see you want for nothing." Having said this very encouragingly, he went into the house to join his guests.
“ I congratulate you, sweet sir,” exclaimed Stephen Shortcake, as soon as his master was gone. “ Think not ill of me for fancying you driven to such extreme shifts as what I spoke of. I did it out of no unkindness to you, or slight upon your merit, believe me. When you know me well enough, I doubt not you shall give me credit for better intentions."
“ Indeed I am in too pleasant a mood to think of it,” replied Master Francis, who was as rejoiced at this favourable turn in his fortunes as may be conceived of him. It was just that sort of employment he had most inclination for, and that seemed to give his ambitious hope the most ground to build upon.
56 I pray you, good sir, follow me," said the old butler, “I must about my master's bidding—so while he is engaged with the noble lords and the men of war, I will see that you have proper entertainment." Then entering the house (talking a fair part of the time) he led Master Francis through divers spacious rooms, furnished very costly, and along sundry passages, wherein were many serving men, dressed like those before spoken of (some of whom he reproved sharply for not seeming sufficiently attentive to their duties), till he entered a chamber of more humble appearance.
“I would sain find you more honourable lodging,” observed Stephen, “ but this being my room, and one in which you are not like to meet intruders, methought 'twould be best. I pray you put up with it for the nonce-feel as content in it as you may, and when all proper provision be made for your residence with us, then shall you be more becomingly accommodated.”
Master Francis found no dissatisfaction in the chamber, which in truth was well stored with comforts, so that when Stephen Shortcake left him with a courteous excuse for his absence, he flung himself in a convenient chair, and did make comparisons with it and the