“Good people all, and seamen, among whom I was bred, and to whom I come home blind this day, to dwell with you till death—Here lieth the flower and pattern of all bold mariners; the truest of friends, and the most terrible of foes; unchangeable of purpose, crafty of council, and swift of execution; in triumph most sober, in failure (as God knows I have found full many a day) of endurance beyond mortal man. Who first of all Britons helped to humble the pride of the Spaniard at Rio de la Hacha and Nombre, and first of all sailed upon those South Seas, which shall be hereafter, by God’s grace, as free to English keels as is the bay outside. Who having afterwards been purged from his youthful sins by strange afflictions and torments unspeakable, suffered at the hands of the Popish enemy, learned therefrom, my masters, to fear God, and to fear naught else; and having acquitted himself worthily in his place and calling as a righteous scourge of the Spaniard, and a faithful soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ, is now exalted to his reward, as Elijah was of old, in a chariot of fire unto heaven: letting fall, I trust and pray, upon you who are left behind the mantle of his valor and his godliness, that so these shores may never be without brave and pious mariners, who will count their lives as worthless in the cause of their Country, their Bible, and their Queen. Amen.”

And feeling for his companions’ hands he walked slowly from the churchyard, and across the village street, and up the lane to Burrough gates; while the crowd made way for him in solemn silence, as for an awful being, shut up alone with all his strength, valor, and fame, in the dark prison-house of his mysterious doom.

He seemed to know perfectly when they had reached the gates, opened the lock with his own hands, and went boldly forward along the gravel path, while Cary and Brimblecombe followed him trembling; for they expected some violent burst of emotion, either from him or his mother, and the two good fellows’ tender hearts were fluttering like a girl’s. Up to the door he went, as if he had seen it; felt for the entrance, stood therein, and called quietly, “Mother!”

In a moment his mother was on his bosom.

Neither spoke for awhile. She sobbing inwardly, with tearless eyes, he standing firm and cheerful, with his great arms clasped around her.

“Mother!” he said at last, “I am come home, you see, because I needs must come. Will you take me in, and look after this useless carcase? I shall not be so very troublesome, mother,—shall I?” and he looked down, and smiled upon her, and kissed her brow.

She answered not a word, but passed her arm gently round his waist, and led him in.

“Take care of your head, dear child, the doors are low.” And they went in together.

“Will! Jack!” called Amyas, turning round: but the two good fellows had walked briskly off.

“I’m glad we are away,” said Cary; “I should have made a baby of myself in another minute, watching that angel of a woman. How her face worked and how she kept it in!”

“Ah, well!” said Jack, “there goes a brave servant of the queen’s cut off before his work was a quarter done. Heigho! I must home now, and see my old father, and then—”

“And then home with me,” said Cary. “You and I never part again! We have pulled in the same boat too long, Jack; and you must not go spending your prize-money in riotous living. I must see after you, old Jack ashore, or we shall have you treating half the town in taverns for a week to come.”

“Oh, Mr. Cary!” said Jack, scandalized.

“Come home with me, and we’ll poison the parson, and my father shall give you the rectory.”

“Oh, Mr. Cary!” said Jack.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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