How the Golden Hind Came Home Again

“The spirits of your fathers
   Shall start from every wave;
For the deck it was their field of fame,
   And ocean was their grave.”

So you see, my dear Mrs. Hawkins, having the silver, as your own eyes show you, beside the ores of lead, manganese, and copper, and above all this gossan (as the Cornish call it), which I suspect to be not merely the matrix of the ore, but also the very crude form and materia prima of all metals—you mark me?—If my recipes, which I had from Doctor Dee, succeed only half so well as I expect, then I refine out the luna, the silver, lay it by, and transmute the remaining ores into sol, gold. Whereupon Peru and Mexico become superfluities, and England the mistress of the globe. Strange, no doubt; distant, no doubt: but possible, my dear madam, possible!”

“And what good to you if it be, Mr. Gilbert? If you could find a philosopher’s stone to turn sinners into saints, now—but naught save God’s grace can do that; and that last seems ofttimes over long in coming.” And Mrs. Hawkins sighed.

“But indeed, my dear madam, conceive now.—The Comb Martin mine thus becomes a gold mine, perhaps inexhaustible; yields me wherewithal to carry out my North-West patent; meanwhile my brother Humphrey holds Newfoundland, and builds me fresh ships year by year (for the forests of pine are boundless) for my China voyage.”

“Sir Humphrey has better thoughts in his dear heart than gold, Mr. Adrian; a very close and gracious walker he has been this seven year. I wish my Captain John were so too.”

“And how do you know I have naught better in my mind’s eye than gold? Or, indeed, what better could I have? Is not gold the Spaniard’s strength—the very mainspring of Antichrist? By gold only, therefore, can we out-wrestle him. You shake your head, but say, dear madam (for gold England must have), which is better, to make gold bloodlessly at home, or take it bloodily abroad?”

“Oh, Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Gilbert! is it not written, that those who make haste to be rich, pierce themselves through with many sorrows? Oh, Mr. Gilbert! God’s blessing is not on it all.”

“Not on you, madam? Be sure that brave Captain John Hawkins’s star told me a different tale, when I cast his nativity for him.—Born under stormy planets, truly, but under right royal and fortunate ones.”

“Ah, Mr. Adrian! I am a simple body, and you a great philosopher, but I hold there is no star for the seaman like the Star of Bethlehem; and that goes with ‘peace on earth and good will to men,’ and not with such arms as that, Mr. Adrian. I can’t abide to look upon them.”

And she pointed up to one of the bosses of the ribbed oak-roof, on which was emblazoned the fatal crest which Clarencieux Hervey had granted years before to her husband, the “Demi-Moor proper, bound.”

“Ah, Mr. Gilbert! since first he went to Guinea after those poor negroes, little lightness has my heart known; and the very day that that crest was put up in our grand new house, as the parson read the first lesson, there was this text in it, Mr. Gilbert, ‘Woe to him that buildeth his house by iniquity, and his chambers by wrong. Shalt thou live because thou closest thyself in cedar?’ And it went into my ears like fire, Mr. Gilbert, and into my heart like lead; and when the parson went on, ‘Did not thy father eat and drink, and do judgment and justice? Then it was well with him,’ I thought of good old Captain Will; and—I tell you, Mr. Gilbert, those negroes are on my soul from morning until night! We are all mighty grand now, and money comes in fast, but the Lord will require the blood of them at our hands yet, He will!”

“My dearest madam, who can prosper more than you? If your husband copied the Dons too closely once or twice in the matter of those negroes (which I do not deny,) was he not punished at once when he lost ships, men, all but life, at St. Juan d’Ulloa?”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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