The Most Chivalrous Adventure of the Good Ship Rose

“He is brass within, and steel without,
With beams on his topcastle strong;
And eighteen pieces of ordinance
He carries on either side along.”
   —Sir Andrew Barton.

Let us take boat, as Amyas did, at Whitehall-stairs, and slip down ahead of him under old London Bridge, and so to Deptford Creek, where remains, as it were embalmed, the famous ship Pelican, in which Drake had sailed round the world. There she stands, drawn up high and dry upon the sedgy bank of Thames, like an old warrior resting after his toil. Nailed upon her mainmast are epigrams and verses in honor of her and of her captain, three of which, by the Winchester scholar, Camden gives in his History; and Elizabeth’s self consecrated her solemnly, and having banqueted on board, there and then honored Drake with the dignity of knighthood. “At which time a bridge of planks, by which they came on board, broke under the press of people, and fell down with a hundred men upon it, who, notwithstanding, had none of them any harm. So as that ship may seem to have been built under a lucky planet.”

There she has remained since as a show, and moreover as a sort of dining-hall for jovial parties from the city; one of which would seem to be on board this afternoon, to judge from the flags which bedizen the masts, the sounds of revelry and savory steams which issue from those windows which once were portholes, and the rushing to and fro along the river brink, and across that lucky bridge, of white-aproned waiters from the neighboring Pelican Inn. A great feast is evidently toward, for with those white-aproned waiters are gay serving men, wearing on their shoulders the city-badge. The lord mayor is giving a dinner to certain gentlemen of the Leicester house party, who are interested in foreign discoveries; and what place so fit for such a feast as the Pelican itself?

Look at the men all round; a nobler company you will seldom see. Especially too, if you be Americans, look at their faces, and reverence them; for to them and to their wisdom you owe the existence of your mighty fatherland.

At the head of the table sits the lord mayor; whom all readers will recognize at once, for he is none other than that famous Sir Edward Osborne, clothworker, and ancestor of the dukes of Leeds, whose romance now-a-days is in every one’s hands. He is aged, but not changed, since he leaped from the window upon London Bridge into the roaring tide below, to rescue the infant who is now his wife. The chivalry and promptitude of the ’prentice boy have grown and hardened into the thoughtful daring of the wealthy merchant adventurer. There he sits, a right kingly man, with my lord Earl of Cumberland on his right hand, and Walter Raleigh on his left; the three talk together in a low voice on the chance of there being vast and rich countries still undiscovered between Florida and the River of Canada. Raleigh’s half-scientific declamation and his often quotations of Doctor Dee the conjuror, have less effect on Osborne than on Cumberland (who tried many an adventure to foreign parts, and failed in all of them; apparently for the simple reason that, instead of going himself, he sent other people), and Raleigh is fain to call to his help the quiet student who sits on his left hand, Richard Hakluyt, of Oxford. But he is deep in talk with a reverend elder, whose long white beard flows almost to his waist, and whose face is furrowed by a thousand storms; Anthony Jenkinson by name, the great Asiatic traveller, who is discoursing to the Christ- church virtuoso of reindeer sledges and Siberian steppes, and of the fossil ivory, plain proof of Noah’s flood, which the Tungoos dig from the ice-cliffs of the Arctic sea. Next to him is Christopher Carlile, Walsingham’s son-in-law (as Sidney also is now), a valiant captain, afterwards general of the soldiery in Drake’s triumphant West Indian raid of 1585, with whom a certain Bishop of Carthagena will hereafter drink good wine. He is now busy talking with Alderman Hart the grocer, Sheriff Spencer the clothworker, and Charles Leigh (Amyas’s merchant-cousin), and with Aldworth the mayor of Bristol, and William Salterne, alderman thereof, and cousin of our friend at Bideford. For Carlile, and Secretary Walsingham also, have been helping them heart and soul for the last two years to collect money for Humphrey and Adrian Gilbert’s great adventures to the North-West, on one of which Carlile was indeed to have sailed himself, but did not go after all; I never could discover for what reason.

On the opposite side of the table is a group, scarcely less interesting. Martin Frobisher and John Davis, the pioneers of the North-West passage, are talking with Alderman Sanderson, the great geographer and “setter forth of globes;” with Mr. Towerson, Sir Gilbert Peckham, our old acquaintance Captain John

  By PanEris using Melati.

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