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Divers Letters. 147
they changed hands, and sat down together to talk over their affairs.
The sum of William's was this:—That Sir Thomas was in health, and had much gloried in the foray of the Feathers, and would duly celebrate the young Knight's triumph when time should serve; that Dame Elizabeth sent her blessing; that a messenger from Llanfrey had brought two Welch ponies, leaving one at Chenies for little Robin, and carrying on the other to the Viscount Hereford, in London; that little Tom had stamped angrily, being stient for tilting at wicked Haman, feasting with Ahasuerus and Queen Esther, in the tapestry in the lobby; that pretty Nell had cut a tooth; that there had come from London by a carrier some learned books, and, amongst them, a most pleasaunt and excellent conceited comedie of Sir John Falstaff and the Merrie Wives of Windsor. The fond wife was particular in this, copying out the whole title, knowing how it would please her sweet William.
And now for the letters my Lord received.
From her Grace—" For the matter of Southampton, it is strange to us that his continuance or displacing should work so great an alteration, either in yourself, valueing our commandments as you ought, or in the disposition of our army, when all the commanders cannot be ignorant that we not only not allowed of your desire, but did expressly forbid it, and he being such an one whose experience can be of no great use. It is therefore strange to us, that you will dare thus to value your own pleasing in things unnecessary, thinking, by your private arguments, to carry for your own glory a matter wherein our pleasure to the contrary is made notorious."
You see her Grace had not forgiven my Lord Southampton for marrying whom he listed; and, as Mistress Vernon was Essex's kinswoman, my Lord, favouring of his friend, came in for a share of the Royal anger.
Then were there letters from the Council in the same strain with the Queen's, more covertly modest, but as peremptory every whit.
Yet Reynolds wrote that in Paris it was spoken how the Secretary Cecyl had said my Lord wrought miracles in Ireland, having settled and distributed an army of sixteen thousand foot and one thousand three hundred horse, and accommodated them with necessaries, in a country full of misery and disorder, in so short a time. For that the season,
Certain Letters. 149
not yet serving for the Ulster expedition, my Lord had, within twenty days of his landing, marched into Munster, and had returned early in July, having wholly and effectually conquered and garrisoned the whole South of the kingdom. No note of displeasure in that secret letter, as you see.
And Essex was sore vexed in spirit, and his heart revolted from this charge, wherein all that he could do still left the Queen dissatisfied, the Council captious and exceptive, and himself without the means of carrying out those plans which he well knew were for the public good. And he fretted over these things, brooding on his grief, taking thought without hope—miserably. Neither could William comfort him, nor Southampton, nor any other. And after a while he gave way to his passion in this letter to the Queen, after which he got him to horse, and, riding rapidly by the seashore day by day, regained his heart:—
"From a mind delighting in sorrow—from spirits wasted with passion—from a heart torn in pieces with care, grief, and travel—from a man that hateth himself, and all things else that keep him alive, what service can your Majesty expect, since any service past deserves no more than
banishment and proscription, to the cursedest of all Islands? It is your rebels' pride and siiccess must give me leave to ransom myself out of this hateful prison, out os my loathed body, which, if it happen so, your Majesty shall have no cause to mislike the fashion of my death, since the course of my life could never please you.
*f Happy he couldfinfh forth his fate
"Your Majesty's exiled Servant, R. Essex."
: Between the acting of a dreadful thing,
Julius Cæsar, act n., sc. i.
|LSTER is enchanted. On the frontier they cease to say, " God speed!" You are out o' the Pale—past her Grace's care. You are a fool-hardy, desperate man, passing that bourne whence there is so little chance of your return.
There the sun shines but for two or three months in the year. The grass groweth not, nor is there any spring in the ground till it is well on into June, or even into July.