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“ Humph !” exclaimed the lord treasurer.
“ And, next," continued his host, “ I must make my excuses for keeping you waiting - but I made not the stop any longer than I could help for mine own sake, believe me; for know I well, that every minute that keepeth me from such excellent good society, depriveth me of more true wisdom than a week's hard study could make up."
“ Ho !” ejaculated the other.
“ The queen, out of her own bountiful humour, hath given me expectation of your coming,” added Sir Walter, 6 desiring me to put you in possession of certain matters touching my expedition to Panama, in the which I intend doing the villainous Spaniards great hurt, and coming back, fear not that I shall fail in despoiling them of the Plate fleet-to the exceeding enrichment of her majesty's exchequer."
“ Ha !” cried Lord Burghley.
66 The matter stands thus—the gentlemen adventurers who with me have subscribed the necessary monies for this golden undertaking, with her majesty's high sanction, have promoted me to be their admiral: and I, desirous that its good effects should not fail for want of a sufficiency of means, did seek of her majesty, on profitable conditions, such assistance in men, ships, and warlike stores, as seemed unto me to be necessary."
“ Humph !” exclaimed the lord treasurer.
“ And her majesty, with exceeding liberality, as I take it, hath condescended to promise me six of her ships, well appointed in all respects, under the command of Sir John Burgh, who is to be our vice-admiral.”
66 Ho !” cried the old lord.
6 For the which we are willing to allow her onehalf 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 “Ho !” 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
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 playhouse, 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 Raleigh and the noble Shakspeare; the brave sight he had 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 ; — yet 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 kindness, 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.