he had put Lady Grenville out of his mind; and so left room to take Rose Salterne into it, not with any distinct purpose of wronging her: but, as I said before, half to amuse himself, and half, too, because he could not help it. For there was an innocent freshness about the Rose of Torridge, fond as she was of being admired, which was new to him and most attractive. “The train of the peacock,” as he said to himself, “and yet the heart of the dove,” made so charming a combination, that if he could have persuaded her to love no one but him, perhaps he might become fool enough to love no one but her. And at that thought he was seized with a very panic of prudence, and resolved to keep out of her way; and yet the days ran slowly, and Lady Grenville when at home was stupid enough to talk and think about nothing but her husband; and when she went to Stow, and left the Don alone in one corner of the great house at Bideford, what could he do but lounge down to the butt-gardens to show off his fine black cloak and fine black feather, see the shooting, have a game or two of rackets with the youngsters, a game or two of bowls with the elders, and get himself invited home to supper by Mr. Salterne?

And there, of course, he had it all his own way, and ruled the roast (which he was fond enough of doing) right royally, not only on account of his rank, but because he had something to say worth hearing, as a travelled man. For those times were the day-dawn of English commerce; and not a merchant in Bideford, or in all England, but had his imagination all on fire with projects of discoveries, companies, privileges, patents, and settlements; with gallant rivalry of the brave adventures of Sir Edward Osborne and his new London Company of Turkey Merchants; with the privileges just granted by the Sultan Murad Khan to the English; with the worthy Levant voyages of Roger Bodenham in the great bark Aucher, and of John Fox, and Lawrence Aldersey, and John Rule; and with hopes from the vast door for Mediterranean trade, which the crushing of the Venetian power at Famagusta in Cyprus, and the alliance made between Elizabeth and the Grand Turk, had just thrown open. So not a word could fall from the Spaniard about the Mediterranean but took root at once in right fertile soil. Besides, Master Edmund Hogan had been on a successful embassy to the Emperor of Morocco; John Hawkins and George Fenner had been to Guinea (and with the latter Mr. Walter Wren, a Bideford man), and had traded there for musk and civet, gold and grain; and African news was becoming almost as valuable as West Indian. Moreover, but two months before had gone from London Captain Hare in the bark Minion, for Brazil, and a company of adventurers with him, with Sheffield hardware, and “Devonshire and Northern kersies,” hollands and “Manchester cottons,” for there was a great opening for English goods by the help of one John Whithall, who had married a Spanish heiress, and had an ingenio and slaves in Santos. (Don’t smile, reader, or despise the day of small things, and those who sowed the seed whereof you reap the mighty harvest.) In the meanwhile, Drake had proved not merely the possibility of plundering the American coasts, but of establishing an East Indian trade; Frobisher and Davis, worthy forefathers of our Parrys and Franklins, had begun to bore their way upward through the Northern ice, in search of a passage to China which should avoid the dangers of the Spanish seas; and Anthony Jenkinson, not the least of English travellers, had, in six-and- twenty years of travel in behalf of the Muscovite Company, penetrated into not merely Russia and the Levant, but Persia and Armenia, Bokhara, Tartary, Siberia, and those waste Arctic shores where, thirty years before, the brave Sir Hugh Willoughby,

   “In Arzina caught,
Perished with all his crew.”

Everywhere English commerce, under the genial sunshine of Elizabeth’s wise rule, was spreading and taking root; and as Don Guzman talked with his new friends, he soon saw (for he was shrewd enough) that they belonged to a race which must be exterminated if Spain intended to become (as she did intend) the mistress of the world; and that it was not enough for Spain to have seized in the Pope’s name the whole new world, and claimed the exclusive right to sail the seas of America; not enough to have crushed the Hollanders; not enough to have degraded the Venetians into her bankers, and the Genoese into her mercenaries; not enough to have incorporated into herself, with the kingdom of Portugal, the whole East Indian trade of Portugal, while these fierce islanders remained to assert, with cunning policy and texts of Scripture, and, if they failed, with sharp shot and cold steel, free seas and free trade for all the nations upon earth. He saw it, and his countrymen saw it too: and therefore the Spanish Armada came: but of that hereafter. And Don Guzman knew also, by hard experience, that these same islanders, who sat in Salterne’s parlor, talking broad Devon through their noses, were no mere counters of money and hucksters

  By PanEris using Melati.

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