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sure, I am emboldened to say, that according to the amount of the service rendered shall your majesty partake of the treasures gained.”
“ How many ships dost require ?” asked the queen.
“ As many as your majesty can generously assist us with,” replied Sir Walter.
66 If we allow thee half a dozen, properly equipped and provided for with all the munitions of war, we shall expect to share one half of the spoil.”
“ Your majesty's generosity exceeds my expectations," exclaimed Raleigh; though, if the truth may be told, he did feel a little put out at the unfairness of the bargain.
“Then if those conditions be accepted, we do appoint thee admiral of the fleet,” continued the queen, " and will see that thou hast
warrant for it, with power to officer thine own ships as it pleaseth thee-reserving to ourself the right of appointing a vice-admiral, to officer our ships as we think proper."
66 Never had servant so bounteous a mistress !" cried Sir Walter, as he knelt at the feet of the queen, seemingly in a transport of gratitude. « In truth, if I am not allowed to pour out the overflowings of my most grateful spirit, I must be dumb ever after. Oh, where shall the most passionate lover that ever sought to do noble deeds in honour
of her whom he served, find such absolute cause for the impelling of his valour as that which moveth me? Had Arthur and all his right famous Knights of the Round Table lived in these more fortunate days, to have beheld the peerless Elizabeth, what chivalrous doings would have been enacted, that are lost to the world ! But then how much have I reason to congratulate myself that I, who am nothing except in the eyes of the divine Parthenia, whom it is my happiness to serve—the very sovereign of beauty and queen of my heart's best affections, should not only live in the time which her existence hath made glorious, but should be allowed to breathe in her presence and bask in the imperial sunshine of her eyes—nay, honour never to be too highly prized,” continued he with more vehemence, taking her hand, as he observed that the stateliness of the queen was sinking before the vanity of the woman, “ that out of her exceeding condescension and wonderful goodness, she sometimes enricheth my soul with her most moving smiles, and vouchsafest me the supreme happiness of pressing my lips upon her ivory hand.”
Nay, Sir Walter, thou wilt devour it sure !” exclaimed the queen, coyly attempting to withdraw her hand, which he then impressed with a hundred eager caresses ; but she was too well pleased with the action, and too much delighted in seeing so
noble a gentleman at her feet, to use any great degree of force, and the hand continued to be caressed as passionately as at first.
“Oh, might I but be allowed to ask one favour -one sweet-one precious favour !” said Raleigh, gazing in her face with as much apparent rapture as if she had been a young and blooming Hebe, instead of much nearer resembling a superannuated Diana of some sixty years or so.
The queen kept her peace, looking very bashful, not knowing but something might be required of her it would be scarcely proper for her virgin modesty to grant; when Sir Walter continued—“ When I am doing furious battle with the enemy, I know of nothing which would so much strengthen my resolution, and afford me consolation in all the delays I may meet with during my scarcely endurable absence from my absolute and incomparable Angelica, as a lock of that golden hair, which to me seemeth brighter than are the beams of Phoebus topping the eastern hills: deign then to satisfy your majesty's humble and truly devoted slave, and pardon the deep yet most respectful adoration that doth seek so invaluable a gift."
“ In very truth, Sir Walter, if thou seekest only so simple a thing of us, we see no harm in its disposal,” replied her majesty very graciously. 66 Therefore set thy mind at ease. Thou shalt
have it by a trusty messenger before thou leavest our shores.”
6 Ah !” exclaimed he with a passionate look, as he pressed the hand he held to his heart. 66 Your majesty's unexampled goodness hath already made my poor heart bankrupt in thanks."
“ Hush !” cried the queen, suddenly snatching away her hand and putting her finger to her lip. 66 Who are these that dare to intrude upon our privacy ?"
Just at that moment footsteps were heard approaching along the walk on the other side of the fence, and voices of two persons in conversation were distinguished. They spoke low, but the words “ Raleigh”—“ Elizabeth,” and “ intrigue,” were distinctly audible.
“ Now, by God's wounds, we'll not suffer this !” exclaimed the queen, starting up with a face crimsoned with rage.
“ Arrest them, Sir Walter Raleigh, whoever they be.”
“ Let me entreat of your Majesty" —
6 What, are we not obeyed ?” cried the queen, quickly, interrupting him, and casting on him a look of terrible menace when she observed that he hesitated to obey her command.
“ On the knees of my heart, let a faithful servant”.
“ Away, traitor !” fiercely exclaimed her ma
jesty to her kneeling favourite, as she brushed by him; and with haughty steps strode towards the turning in the walk which would give her a view of the spot whence the sounds had proceeded: but behold ! when she had there arrived, no one person was visible--at which she marvelled greatly.
She looked among the trees, but could see nothing; and much chafed thereat, returned to where she had left Sir Walter, as it may be said with considerable shew of truth, trembling in his shoes at the imminent peril of his situation : but he knew the character of his mistress thoroughly, and his alarm soon giving way, set him upon putting forward a stroke of policy which should re-awaken all the influence he had lost; so that when her majesty came back to the place she had left, sweeping along, frowning majestically, and with a mind filled with thoughts of inflicting the most complete disgrace upon her captain of the guard, she beheld a sight so piteous, that all the dread sovereign did give place to the sympathising woman—for there knelt Sir Walter Raleigh exactly where he had before kneeled, as if he was chained unto the spot, gazing upon vacancy with a look so despairing and woe-begone, that it would have melted a heart of adamant. To her exceeding astonishment, he noticed not her appearance before him—albeit he saw her well enough—but continued with a fixed and glassy