“What is that to you, silly boy? Will you play the lover with an old mother? Go and take your walk, and think of younger ladies, if you can find any worthy of you.”

And so the son went forth, and the mother returned to her prayers.

He walked down to the pebble ridge, where the surges of the bay have defeated their own fury, by rolling up in the course of ages a rampart of gray boulder-stones, some two miles long, as cunningly curved, and smoothed, and fitted, as if the work had been done by human hands, which protects from the high tides of spring and autumn a fertile sheet of smooth, alluvial turf. Sniffing the keen salt air like a young sea-dog, he stripped and plunged into the breakers, and dived, and rolled, and tossed about the foam with stalwart arms, till he heard himself hailed from off the shore, and looking up, saw standing on the top of the rampart the tall figure of his cousin Eustace.

Amyas was half-disappointed at his coming; for, love-lorn rascal, he had been dreaming all the way thither of Rose Salterne, and had no wish for a companion who would prevent his dreaming of her all the way back. Nevertheless, not having seen Eustace for three years, it was but civil to scramble out and dress, while his cousin walked up and down upon the turf inside.

Eustace Leigh was the son of a younger brother of Leigh of Burrough, who had more or less cut himself off from his family, and indeed from his countrymen, by remaining a Papist. True, though born a Papist, he had not always been one; for, like many of the gentry, he had become a Protestant under Edward the Sixth, and then a Papist again under Mary. But, to his honor be it said, at that point he had stopped, having too much honesty to turn Protestant a second time, as hundreds did, at Elizabeth’s accession. So a Papist he remained, living out of the way of the world in a great, rambling, dark house, still called “Chapel,” on the Atlantic cliffs, in Moorwinstow parish, not far from Sir Richard Grenville’s house of Stow. The penal laws never troubled him; for, in the first place, they never troubled any one who did not make conspiracy and rebellion an integral doctrine of his religious creed; and next, they seldom troubled even them, unless, fired with the glory of martyrdom, they bullied the long-suffering of Elizabeth and her council into giving them their deserts, and, like poor Father Southwell in after years, insisted on being hanged, whether Burleigh liked or not. Moreover, in such a no-man’s-land and end-of-all-the-earth was that old house at Moorwinstow, that a dozen conspiracies might have been hatched there without any one hearing of it; and Jesuits and seminary priests skulked in and out all the year round, unquestioned though unblest; and found a sort of piquant pleasure, like naughty boys who have crept into the store-closet, in living in mysterious little dens in a lonely turret, and going up through a trap-door to celebrate mass in a secret chamber in the roof, where they were allowed by the powers that were to play as much as they chose at persecuted saints, and preach about hiding in dens and caves of the earth. For once, when the zealous parson of Moorwinstow, having discovered (what everybody knew already) the existence of “mass priests and their idolatry” at Chapel House, made formal complaint thereof to Sir Richard, and called on him, as the nearest justice of the peace, to put in force the act of the fourteenth of Elizabeth, that worthy knight only rated him soundly for a fantastical Puritan, and bade him mind his own business, if he wished not to make the place too hot for him; whereon (for the temporal authorities, happily for the peace of England, kept in those days a somewhat tight hand upon the spiritual ones) the worthy parson subsided,—for, after all, Mr. Thomas Leigh paid his tithes regularly enough,—and was content, as he expressed it, to bow his head in the house of Rimmon like Naaman of old, by eating Mr. Leigh’s dinners as often as he was invited, and ignoring the vocation of old Father Francis, who sat opposite to him, dressed as a layman, and calling himself the young gentleman’s pedagogue.

But the said birds of ill-omen had a very considerable lien on the conscience of poor Mr. Thomas Leigh, the father of Eustace, in the form of certain lands once belonging to the Abbey of Hartland. He more than half believed that he should be lost for holding those lands; but he did not believe it wholly, and, therefore, he did not give them up; which was the case, as poor Mary Tudor found to her sorrow, with most of her “Catholic” subjects, whose consciences, while they compelled them to return to the only safe fold of Mother Church (extrà quam nulla salus), by no means compelled them to disgorge the wealth of which they had plundered that only hope of their salvation. Most of them, however, like poor Tom Leigh,

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