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EJsex Overweeneth. 177
"Fairest lady! And, .when it sorts, I would be a poor suitor to your Grace so I might visit her."
"So soon, Essex? ah!"
"At your Highness' pleasure."
"I have no pleasure in your absence, Robin."
"Gracious and dear Lady!"
Eflex kissed hands again; and, rising, withdrew backwards. Cheerful, indeed, was his spirit now! All labour, all anxiety, all danger, risk, loss, was repaid by the one smile of royalty! No longer did the step he had taken seem fraught with difficulties: no doubts, no fears, no respects harassed him. It seemed like a matter of course—all had been so fitting; and the result proved that he was wise. Elizabeth had listened to what alone had troubled him. Nay, she had seemed to justify his conduct. Beyond all this, he had once more made suggestions to her ear unfavourable to his enemies; and he well knew by experience how these would work. And thus elated he hastened to prepare himself for a second interview he had been promised.
There were at all times lodgings ready for the Lords of the Council and other officers of the Court: but the Master
VOL. III. N
of the Horse Chambers the Chamberlain had gotten ready so soon as it was known my Lord had come.
Now did the Queen question him upon several points, and with scrupulous acuteness; often making notes and answers to his statement. Yet so gentle and seemingly confiding was her Grace, that Essex became emboldened again to hint at those ill offices some whom he had left behind were capable of doing him. Her Majesty tried to reassure him, none presuming, as she said, to speak evil of one so dear to her—at least in hearing; nor did she think but that his body, distempered by that malicious Isle (as she termed a certain part of her dominions), had gotten some crude phantasies into his brain that could not but thrust their noxious fumes into his poor conceit.
. " Let him grow awhile,
His fate is not yet ripe. We mujl not pluck
Sejanus His Fall, act H. sc. n.
E ANWHILE Secretary Cecyl sat in his lodgings over against the archway of the Palace. There were before him piles of papers, rolls of red ferret, memorials, reports, estimates, accounts, petitions, complaints, informations, pleas, letters, dispatches, in many tongues and handwritings, cyphers known only to diplomatists, or unintelligible but to the writer and intended reader, all which lay about the room in most admired disorder.
Occasionally, from an inner closet, some cringing scribe would bring a paper he had indited from instruction; date, names of places and of persons, all in blank. These Master Secretary would anon most secretly fill up.
Another clerk would shew his facsimile transcript, with, however, many ingeniously added paragraphs, Ul assorting with the early spirit of the writing.
Then were there whispering and intelligencing by notable signs, mysterious looks, and quaint cant terms passing among the employed; figures, too, masked and muffled, might be seen in the dark entry, skulking; while strange un-English forms walked to and fro along the corridor.
Here Sir Robert Cecyl took council of his own spirit. None could thwart or contend with him here. Here was he absolute; and, with a staff of sworn officials, might he not be emphatically supreme?
There was more stir about the son than old Burghley had. There was not in this Secretary the gravity of Walsingham. Yet with a gay ostent of humour could he be as crafty as Sir Francis, as cautious as his volpone father.
At a desk before him stands a youth writing to his dictation—" For the time of the year is so spent, and the
Majler Secretary retired. 181
capital traitors cannot be assayled but in fastnesses and strengths, whereby the Queen's forces are daily wasted."" Hast written ?—What a coil without!"
"Sooth, your honour!"
"Write, *My Lord is now on a journey toward the Northern frontier, from which he will be returned to Dublin the 29th September; and then, for this winter only, place garrisons in the inner parts of the kingdom, so as, in my opinion, he shall be revoked.' Now conclude."
"To whom address, Sir?"
"Stay! add this: * His Lordship, praise be to God! is yet in good health; and therefore, in the winter season, it were not well to hazard him in so moist a country. Enough.'"
"Mr. Secretary, the Lord Grey de Wilton is at door, craving an instant audience; '11 knock in presently!"
"Say, I cannot attend his Lordship ; I am now engaged."
"His Lordship will not so be answered, Sir; he's peremptory; 's well nigh wrenched!"
"He must: I say I will not see him. Ho! there, Master Hush! write, * Ajax from the camp telleth how one thousand'"