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jesty, I do conceive that he hath more wit than to attempt such a mad scheme as the driving you away from the court, that he might supply your place; nevertheless, speaking from the love I bear you, I do advise that you keep with the queen as much as may be possible; thereby shall you hinder all foolish speculations of the kind, that may be built upon your absence, and notice for yourself whether this Sir Walter Raleigh be inclined to push himself forward at your expense, as some say; though for mine own part, I do not think of his disposition so badly, having, in all my intercourse with him, found him to be a gentleman of very excellent integrity. Allow me also to hope, that what
hath emboldened me to say, you will not take in ill part, assuring you that, of all men living, is there not one I hold in so much respect as yourself.”
“I am greatly beholden to you, and will think of your advice," replied my Lord Essex, rising, with considerable assumption of dignity, from his chair, as he began putting on his embroidered gloves; “but where is my Lord Burghley ?”
My father hath not long returned from the council,” said his companion ; “he is greatly fatigued, and hath gone to rest, desiring not to be disturbed. I pray you, my good lord, excuse seeing him to-day.”
“ In truth I have no particular business with him," said his lordship, carelessly, as he arranged a costly silk cloak he wore upon his shoulder; “ commend me to him, Sir Robert, and, if it be not displeasing to you, I will see you again on this matter at a fitting hour."
“I shall feel proud of the honour you will do me, my good lord,” replied Cecil, as with much shew of respect he followed his visitor out of the door, when he had put on his hat, which was of a high crown, with a precious jewel in the front; and made the serving men, some of whom were straggling about the hall, hasten to open the gates, where he kept bowing to my Lord Essex very courteously, who received his salutations with a haughty inclination of the head, before he moved away from Exeter House, to cross to the river where he had left his barge; and then the other came back, seemingly in a very thoughtful mood, to the armoury, and fastened himself in.
He had sat himself down therein scarcely a minute, when he was aware of a gentle tapping at the wainscot; which, as soon as he heard, a smile of peculiar meaning passed over his grave features, and going directly to a place where hung a suit of Saracen mail, he did presently open a concealed door, and there entered thereat Lord Henry Howard.
“ Hast any news?” asked Sir Robert, eagerly.
“ From the Scottish king, eh, my good lord?” said the other, in a whisper.
“ No, i'faith—it hath not travelled so far: 'tis English news ;-news of our incomparable captain of the guard.”
“ Ha! what doth he seem inclined to take the bait, and quarrel with Essex?” enquired the other,
“ I doubt it much," responded his companion; “ I moved him a little, but not sufficient to ground any such hopes upon.",
“ Tis enough,” exclaimed Cecil, “ each is jealous of the other, and very small things will suffice to increase their mutual ill will. I have had Essex here, and have just succeeded in stirring up his ancient animosity against Raleigh; and I will take good heed it shall not go out for want of fuel. See you my object ?”
6. To ruin both in good time, I hope," said Lord Howard.
66 True ;—but more immediately to play one against the other, that we may take advantage of their disunion; for were they strict friends, they would be too strong for us; or were either to be
allowed to proceed in his course without molestation of a rival, he would soon have too firm a seat for us to shake him out. We will set them by the ears, and I doubt not we shall find our profit in it. But what news have you of Raleigh ?”
“ What think you of a dainty intrigue now with one of the maids of honour?”
- No !” cried the other, incredulously.
“: Just ripe for a discovery-a private marriage about to take place, to hide the unwelcome conse
“ To whom-where is she-what is her name?” hastily enquired Cecil, shewing by the earnest expression of his countenance, the interest he took in the intelligence.
“ She is no other than the right modest daughter of old Sir Nicholas Throckmorton.”
“ The fool's ruined,” exclaimed Sir Robert; 5 but how know you this ? how can it be proved ?"
“I was informed of it by my Lady Howard of Walden,” said the other. “Her ladyship, as it seemeth to me, having been slighted by this Raleigh,—I know not why, for truly she is rather a dainty piece of goods to look upon ;-and suspecting from certain observations she had made, that he was the welcome lover of the virtuous Elizabeth, impelled by jealousy, did conceal herself in Mistress Throckmorton's chamber, and heard the whole of the
precious secret—and now her indignant ladyship is burning to tell it to the queen.”
“ She must be stopped awhile—she will spoil all else,” cried his companion, eagerly. “This is a delicate affair, my good lord, and requireth very careful handling, or else mischief will come of it.”
“ I thought it of consequence, and bade her stay the discovery till I had seen you on the subject, which she hath promised me. But the best of the jest is, whilst we were in earnest conversation on this very matter, along one of the walks in the park, the queen, who was on the other side of the fence near which we stood, without our knowledge of it, overheard us, as I suppose; for we presently recognised her voice very loud, calling upon Sir Walter Raleigh to arrest us; the which put us both in such a fright, that each of us did suddenly run for it as if our lives depended on our speed of foot. Never ran I half so fast in all my days; and as for my fair cousin-by this light, there never was such a racer. It would have done your heart good to have seen us, like two Spanish galeasses, cutting before the wind with all sail, to get out of the reach of an English frigate. Thanks to the fleetness of our heels, we escaped; but my Lady Howard hath got such a fright that she will scarce dare to open her mouth before the queen for some time to come.”