son, who never could put three sentences together, save when he waxed eloquent, crucifix in hand, amid some group of Indians or negroes. He was accustomed to such rebuffs as the bishops; he took them for what they were worth, and sipped his wine in silence; while the talk went on.
They say, observed the commandant, that a very small Plate-fleet will go to Spain this year.
What else? says the intendant. What have we to send, in the name of all saints, since these accursed English Lutherans have swept us out clean?
And if we had anything to send, says the sea-captain, what have we to send it in? That fiend incarnate, Drake
Ah! said his holiness; spare my ears! Don Pedro, you will oblige my weakness by not mentioning that man;his name is Tartarean, unfit for polite lips. Dracoa dragonserpentthe emblem of Diabolus himselfah! And the guardian of the golden apples of the West, who would fain devour our new Hercules, his most Catholic majesty. Deceived Eve, too, with one of those same applesa very evil name, señorsa Tartarean name,Tita!
Fill my glass.
Nay, cried the colonel, with a great oath, this English fellow is of another breed of serpent from that, I warrant.
Your reason, señor; your reason?
Because this one would have seen Eve at the bottom of the sea, before he let her, or any one but himself, taste aught which looked like gold.
Ah, ah!very good! Butwe laugh, valiant señors, while the Church weeps. Alas for my sheep!
And alas for their sheepfold! It will be four years before we can get Cartagena rebuilt again. And as for the blockhouse, when we shall get that rebuilt, Heaven only knows, while his majesty goes on draining the Indies for his English Armada. The town is as naked now as an Indians back.
Baptista Antonio, the surveyor, has sent home by me a relation to the king, setting forth our defenceless state. But to read a relation and to act on it are two cocks of very different hackles, bishop, as all statesmen know. Heaven grant we may have orders by the next fleet to fortify, or we shall be at the mercy of every English pirate!
Ah, that blockhouse! sighed the bishop. That was indeed a villainous trick. A hundred and ten thousand ducats for the ransom of the town! After having burned and plundered the one-halfand having made me dine with them too, ah! and sit between thethe serpent, and his lieutenant-generaland drunk my health in my own private winewine that I had from Xeres nine years ago, señors and offered, the shameless heretics, to take me to England, if I would turn Lutheran, and find me a wife, and make an honest man of me ah! and then to demand fresh ransom for the priory and the fort perfidious!
Well, said the colonel, they had the law of us, the cunning rascals, for we forgot to mention anything but the town, in the agreement. Who would have dreamed of such a fetch as that?
So I told my good friend the prior, when he came to me to borrow the thousand crowns. It was Heavens will. Unexpected like the thunderbolt, and to be borne as such. Every man must bear his own burden. How could I lend him aught?
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