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CHAPTER VII.

Whene'er the skilful youth discoursed or writ,

Still did the notions throng

About his eloquent tongue,
Nor could his ink flow faster than his wit.

Cowley.

Now, by the gods, I pity his misfortune,
And will awake him from his melancholy.

SHAKSPEARE.

I would leave kingdoms, were I queen of some,
To dwell with thy good father; for, the son
Bewitching me so deeply with his presence,
He that begot him must do't ten times more.

MASSINGER.

SIR WALTER RALEigh sailed from Plymouth in the Lion's Whelp, accompanied only by a small bark, because of the other ships and pinnaces not being ready at the appointed time, and he stretched out to Teneriffe, giving orders they were to overtake him there. Among others who had come on board of Sir Walter's vessel was Simon Mainsail, as chief gunner, and between him and Harry Daring there was presently a huge liking, because of the boy's apparent great courage, and his eagerness to be taught of all matters relating to maritime affairs,

SHAKSPEARE AND HIS FRIENDS.

183

and of the old man's wonderful experience in such things. The former seemed of a sudden to lose his relish for mischief in the strictness of his attention to the gaining of this knowledge, and he would go over every part of the ship to know its use, and be familiar with it; then he would handle the ropes and the sails, till he was as well acquainted with their application as was any; and as for climbing, he had scarce been at sea a week before he would ascend to the topmast yards with such nimbleness and fearlessness that none would follow him, and all were in dread of his falling. He seemed to like nothing so much as to hear the old mariner tell of the dangers he had passed; of the terrible storms he had seen; and of the fearful fights he had been in; and it appeared as if Simon Mainsail liked nothing so much as to talk of them. Often and often would they two get togett:" mayhap sitting on the breech of a gun, as the go. Wy ship was a ploughing the waves in right admirable fashion, and whilst the boy, wrapt up in the very earnestness of his attention, gazed upon the veteran's honest weatherbeaten face, the latter would discourse in his homely yet stirring manner upon the great store of riches the Spaniards had acquired in the New World, and how many brave spirits had enriched themselves by plundering of their ships and sacking of their towns, till the boy, entering into the excitement of his companion, would cry out in the midst of the

narration," By Gog and Magog, what exquisite fine fun!”

“ You see, Harry,” continued the chief gunner, “ these same villain Spaniards are the most treacherous craft as you shall find anywhere--they be the savagest, rascalliest, falsest set of caitiffs that ever warped out of this world into t'other, and it be but the doing of God's good work to sink the whole crew, if peradventure they could be met with in one. ship. There be no telling of what horrid cruelties they have practised upon the poor Indians when they came aboard of them in their own country, from the which, being but simple, and not having so much as an harquebus among the whole lot, much less any piece of ordnance, the poor Indians were soon driven out, and rifled of all their gold and of every one thing they possessed. Well, in the wake of this the Spaniards built themselves fine towns along the coast of the Spanish main, which, what with the plunder they had of the natives, and what they got out of the mines—for I have heard it said that in those parts the earth be solid gold—they soon became so monstrous rich that they sent fleets of huge ships every year to Spain laden with bars of gold and silver."

" It would serve them but right, methinks, could any of our ships meet with such, and spoil them as they had done the Indians," observed llarry Daring.

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6. It hath been done scores of times," replied Simon Mainsail. “ Nay, I have more than once given a helping hand in the business. Many of their tall masts have I sent by the board, and I have made such havoc upon their decks as would have been pitiful to look upon, had they been any thing but the monstrous villains they be. Then comes the boarding; and I promise you I never lagged astern at that. I tell you, Harry, 'tis a wonderful fine thing to have sight of these galleons of theirs, every one with their three decks, sailing along as proudly as if they were the castles of some prince or another, that would not consort with vessels of meaner quality; but presently we in our craft, that seemed unto them like cockleshells to a Gallego boat, gave chace, and accosted them more familiarly than pleased their mighti

At them we went with every gun as could be brought to bear, sweeping them into the sea after such a sort as they knew not what to make of; and then, if perchance they allowed us to get upon their decks before they struck, up we came clambering like so many cats, caring no more for their fire than if they had nought but popguns; and then there was such cutting and slashing and pistolling; driving of them here and slaughtering of them there; now on the upper

deck and now on the lower; pinning them to the bulwarks with our pikes, or sending of them headlong down the hatch

nesses.

way with our pieces, till we had got the ship in our possession, and the captain had sung out for quarter."

“ What would I have given to have had a share in such glorious doings !” exclaimed Ilarry in huge delight. “ Indeed, methinks there can be nothing like the killing of Spaniards. By Gog and Magog ! I am in a monstrous impatience to be at them; and if I kill not a score or two at least before any long time is past, I shall grow exceeding dull at heart.”

“ But you have not heard all, messmate," said the old mariner, looking well pleased at the boy's eagerness. Having secured our prisoners, we had next to look after the cargo; and there we would find such a prize! The commonest things were solid cakes of silver piled in heaps, and ingots of the most precious, gold in the like abundancy; and, in overhauling of them, mayhap we would light upon bags of costly pearls, and all manner of rare stones, each one a fortune of itself. And then every man of us was so wealthy when we returned to port, that it was the difficultest thing as could be to find out what course to go upon so that we might spend it all.”

66 l’faith! if I were so rich I'd soon get me a ship of my own,” observed his young companion. “O’my life, Simon ! there be nothing I have so much desire of as to be the captain of a goodly ship

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