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things, you have been pretty well paid for such acts, Master Dalton ; I have never taken any man's labour for nothing."
« “ Labour !” again echoed the sailor ; “ labour may be paid for, but what can stand in lieu of innocence, purity of heart, and rectitude of conduct?”
«« Gold—which you have had, in all its gorgeous and glowing abundance.”
'Twon't do," retorted the other, in a painfully subdued tone; “ there is much it cannot purchase. Am I not at this moment a banned and a blighted man-scouted alike from the board of the profligate Cavalier, and the psalm-singing Puritan of this most change-loving country? And one day or another, I may be hung up at the yardarm of a Commonwealth_Heaven bless the mark !-a Commonwealth cruiser !--or scare crows from a gibbet off Sheerness or Queenborough; or be made an example of for some act of piracy committed on the high seas !”
«« But why commit such acts? You have wherewithal to live respectably-quietly."
1“ Quietly” repeated the Skipper ; " look ye, Master-I crave your pardon—Sir Robert Cecil ; as soon could one of Mother Carey's chickens mount a hen-roost, or bring up a brood of lubberly turkeys, as I, Hugh Dalton, master and owner of the good brigantine, that sits the waters like a swan, and cuts them like an arrow_live quietly, quietly on shore! Santa Maria ! have I not panted under the hot sun of the Caribbees ? Have I not closed my ears to the cry of mercy ? Have I not sacked, and sunk, and burnt without acknowledging claim or country? Has not the mother clasped her child more closely to her bosom at the mention of my name? In one word, for
have I not been a BUCCANEER? And yet you talk to me of quietness ! Sir, Sir, the soul so steeped in sin has but two resources—madness, or the grave: the last even I shrink from; so give me war, war, and its insanity."
““ Cannot you learn to fear the Lord, and trade as an honest man?"
• Dalton cast a look of such mingled scorn and contempt on his companion, that a deep red colour mounted to his cheek as he repeated, “Yes! I ask, cannot you trade as an honest man?” • “No! d—n trade : and I'm not honest,” he replied fiercely.
May I beg you briefly to explain the object of your visit ? ” said the Baronet at last, after a perplexing pause, during which the arms of the Buccaneer were folded on his breast, and his restless and vigilant eyes wandered round the apartment, flashing with an indefinable expression when they encountered the blue retreating orbs of Sir Ro. bert.
« “ This, then: I require a free pardon from Old Noll, not only for myself, but for my crew. The brave who would have died, shall live with me.
As a return for his Highness's civility, I will give up all free trade, and take the command of a frigate, if it so please him."
«« One word more. The Protector's plans render it impracticable for me to continue as I have done on the seas. I know that I am a
marked man, and unless something be determined on, and speedily, I shall be exposed to that ignominy which, for my child's sake, I would avoid. Don't talk to me of impossibilities : you can obtain the pardon I desire ; and, in one word, Sir Robert Cecil, you must !”
Sir Robert shook his head. ““ At your pleasure, then, at your pleasure ; but at your peril also. Mark me! am not one to be thrown overboard and make no struggle. I am not a baby to be strangled without crying, If I perish, facts shall arise from my grave, –ay, if I were sunk a thousand fathoms in my own blue sea,-facts that would You
may well tremble and turn pale! The secret is still in our keeping. 'Only remember, I fall not singly."'-Vol. I. pp. 22—29.
The next chapter introduces us to a death-bed scene, which is touchingly described. Before she expires, Lady Cecil extorts from Sir Robert a promise, that he will not compel their daughter Constance, the heroine of the tale, to wed Sir Willmott Burrell, to whom she has been in early life contracted. Cecil Place, the scene of these transactions, is picturesquely described.
• It was situated on the slope of the hill, leading to the old monastery of Minster. Although nothing now exists except the church, a few broken walls, and a modernized house, formed out of one of the principal entrances to what was once an extensive range of monastic buildings; yet, at the time of which we treat, the ruins of the nunnery, founded by Sexburga, the widow of Ercombert, king of Kent, extended down the rising ground, presenting many picturesque points of view from the small but highly-cultivated pleasure-grounds of Cecil Place. Nothing could be more beautiful than the prospect from a rude terrace which had been the favourite walk of Lady Cecil. The small luxuriant hills, folding one over the other, and terminating in the most exquisite valleys and bosky glades that the imagination can conceive—the rich mixture of pasture and meadow land—the Downs, stretching to King's Ferry, whitened by thousands of sheep, whose bleating and whose bells made the isle musical,--while beyond, the narrow Swale, widening into the open sea, shone like a silver girdle in the rays of the glorious sun,-were objects indeed delightful to gaze upon.
• Although, during the Protectorate, some pains had been taken to render Sheerness, then a very inconsiderable village, a place of strength and safety, and the ancient castle of Queenborough had been pulled down by the Parliamentarians, as deficient in strength and utility, no one visiting only the southern and western parts of the island could for a moment imagine that the interior contained spots of such positive and cultivated beauty.
• It was yet early, when Constantia Cecil, accompanied by a female friend, entered her favourite flower-garden by a private door, and strolled towards a small Gothic temple overshadowed by wide-spreading oaks, which, sheltered by the surrounding hills, had numbered more than a century of unscathed and undiminished beauty, and had as yet escaped the rude pruning of the woodman's axe.
The morning habit of the noble Constance fitted tightly to the throat, where it was
terminated by a full ruff of starched muslin ; and the waist was encircled by a wide band of black crape, from which the drapery descended in massive folds to her feet. She pressed the soft green turf with a more measured step than was her wont, as if the body shared the mind's sad heaviness. Her head was uncovered, save that, as she passed into the garden, she had carelessly thrown on a veil of black muslin, through which her bright hair shone with the lustre and richness of the finest satin : her throat and forehead appeared most dazzlingly white in contrast with her sable dress.
The lady by whom she was accompanied, was not so tall, and of a much slighter form ; her limbs delicately moulded, and her features more attractive than beautiful. There was that about her whole demeanour which is expressively termed coquetry, not the coquetry of action, but of feeling: her eyes were dark and brilliant, her mouth full and pouting; and the nose was only saved from vulgarity by that turn, to describe which we are compelled to use a foreign term-it was un peu retroussé : her complexion was of a clear olive, through which the blood glowed warmly whenever called to her cheek by any particular emotion. The dress she wore, without being gay, was costly: the full skirt of crimson grogram descended not so low as to prevent her small and beautifully turned ancles from being distinctly seen, and the cardinal of wrought purple velvet, which had been hastily flung over her shoulders, was fined and bordered with the finest ermine. Nor did the contrast between the ladies end here : the full and richtoned voice of Constance Cecil was the perfection of harmony, while the light and gay speech of her companion might be called melody, the sweet playful melody of an untaught bird. — Vol. I. pp. 77–80.
This last personage is Lady Frances Cromwell, the Protector's youngest daughter, afterwards Lady Rich, to whom Prince Charles (afterwards Charles II.) is reported to have offered his royal hand. Her character, warm, impetuous, gay, and affectionate, is well conceived, and serves as a side light to the sombre parts of the story. The Sir Willmott Burrell to whom Constance has been contracted, is a villain of the deepest grain and of ruined fortune, who, to escape from his embarrassments, is anxious to press his marriage with the heiress of the house of Cecil. Having got possession of Sir Robert's secret, his guilty implication in the murder of his elder brother, the crafty villain first makes use of it to work upon the father's fears, and then, by disclosing the horrible fact to Constance, wrings from her eventually a promise to become his bride within a week, as the only security of her father's honour. The interview between Sir Robert and his daughter, in which the latter obtains the dreadful confirmation of the charge, is very touchingly—we cannot say whether it is naturally described. At this juncture, the friend and companion of her youth, after a long and mysterious absence from his native country, reappears under a disguised name ;-becomes a visiter at Cecil Place;-is recognized by Constance, though by her alone ;-and receives at the same time the assurance of her regard, and the in
timation of her approaching miserable nuptials. By the time we reach the end of the first volume, the plot becomes too thickly interwoven for us to be able, without entering too much into de tails, to give an outline of the story. A certain ambiguous Major Wellmore becomes a very prominent actor in the ensuing scenes ; and his ubiquitous movements, mysterious influence, and imposing air keep wonder and curiosity alive, till the reader begins to suspect his real station. Actuated by the warm interest he takes in the welfare of Constance, and suspecting foul play in the conduct of Burrell, he takes effectual measures to defeat his plans. Burrell, however, has succeeded in dragging his intended bride to the altar, in spite of the strong indications of incipient insanity in poor Sir Robert, the effects of too powerful and maddening excitement; and Constance is ready, but habited in deep mourning; -notwithstanding which, the ceremony has commenced, when some interruption is occasioned by Sir Robert's insisting that Constance's maid Barbara, who is dressed in white, must be the lady bride; and amid the confusion, a pistol is fired by an intruder, intended for the real bride, but which Barbara receives. The assassin is a beautiful Jewess, whom Burrell has married while abroad, and deserted, and who thus seeks to revenge herself upon her innocent rival. At this moment, a detachment of horse arrive, with orders to conduct Sir Willmott a prisoner to Hampton Court. Barbara, though supposed to be mortally wounded, is carried off by her father, the Buccaneer, who has been on the watch. In the mean time, the father of the Jewess, a learned Rabbi favoured by Cromwell, has followed his daughter to England, supposing her to have fled with her seducer; and having discovered Burrell's treachery, he applies for redress to the Protector. Mrs. Hall has bestowed great care and skill upon the portrait of that extraordinary man. The Robin referred to in the following peep into the Presence-chamber, has attended Manasseh Ben Israel as his servant. He is, in fact, one of the Buccaneer's party, and plays an important part in the story.
• It was impossible to look upon him without feeling that he was a man born to command and to overthrow. His countenance, though swollen and reddish, was marked and powerful, and his presence as lofty and majestic as if he had of right inherited the throne of England. However his enemies might have jested upon his personal appearance, and mocked the ruddiness of his countenance, and the unseemly wart that disfigured his broad, lofty, and projecting brow, they must have all trembled under the thunder of his frown: it was ters rific, dark, and scowling, lighted up occasionally by the flashing of his fierce grey eye, but only
so as to show its power still the more. His dress consisted of a doublet and vest of black velvet, carefully put on, and of a handsome fashion ; a deep collar of the finest linen, embroidered and edged with lace, turned over his vest, and displayed to great advantage his firm and remarkably muscular throat. His
hair, which seemed by that light as dark and luxuriant as it had been in his younger age, fell at either side, but was completely combed or pushed off his massive forehead. He looked, in very truth, a most strong man-strong in mind, strong in body, strong in battle, strong in council. There was no weakness about him, except that engendered by a warm imagination acting in concert with the deepest veneration, and which rendered him ever and unhappily prone to superstitious dreamings.
· When Robin entered, there was no one in the room but the Lord Broghill, Manasseh Ben Israel, and a little girl. My Lord Broghill, who
was one of the Protector's cabinet counsellors, had been sent for from Ireland to go to Scotland, and be President of the Council there; but soon wearying of the place, had just returned to London, and posted down immediately to Hampton Court :-he was bidding the Protector good night, and that with much servility. The presence of Robin was yet unnoticed, save by the Jew. Before his Lordship had left the chamber, even as his foot was on the threshold, Cromwell called him back.
"“ My Lord Broghill.” • The cabinet counsellor bowed and returned. ““ I forgot to mention, there is a great friend of yours in London.” •“ Indeed! Please your Highness, who is it?”
"“ My Lord of Ormond,” replied the Protector. “ He came to town on Wednesday last, about three of the clock, upon a small grey mule, and wearing a brown but ill-made and shabby doublet. He lodges at White Friars, number-something or other ; but you, my Lord,” he added, pointedly, “will have no difficulty in finding him out.”
«« I call the Lord to witness,” said Broghill, casting up his eyes after the most approved Puritan fashion, “I call the Lord to witness, I know nothing of it !”
• Cromwell gathered his eyebrows, and looked upon him for a moment with a look which made the proud Lord tremble ; then sending forth a species of hissing noise from between his teeth, sounding like a prolonged hish-h-h-h. “ Nevertheless, I think you may as well tell him that I know it. Good night, my Lord, good night!
Vol. II. pp. 256-258. In a subsequent chapter, the fair Novelist ventures upon an historical essay on the Protector's character, in which is shewn a great deal of candid discrimination.
• His Court was a rare example of irreproachable conduct, from which all debauchery and immorality were banished; while, such was his deep and intimate, though mysterious acquaintance with every occurrence throughout the Commonwealth, its subjects had the certainty of knowing that, sooner or later, whatever crimes they committed would of a surety reach the ear of the Protector. His natural abilities must always have been of the highest order, though in the early part of his career he discovered none of those extraordinary talents that afterwards gained him so much applause, and worked so upon the