What was the result of these feelings will be seen in the ensuing chapter.
In which Mr Vanslyperken sees a ghost.
Before we acquaint the reader with the movements of Mr Vanslyperken, we must again revert to the history of the period in which we are writing. The Jacobite faction had assumed a formidable consistency, and every exertion was being made by them for an invasion of England. They knew that their friends were numerous, and that many who held office under the ruling government were attached to their cause, and only required such a demonstration to fly to arms with their numerous partisans.
Up to the present, all the machinations of the Jacobites had been carried on with secrecy and dexterity, but now was the time for action and decision. To aid the cause, it was considered expedient that some one of known fidelity should be sent to Amsterdam, where the projects of William might be discovered more easily than in England: for, as he communicated with the States General, and the States General were composed of many, secrets would come out, for that which is known to many soon becomes no longer a secret.
To effect this, letters of recommendation to one or two of those high in office in Holland, and who were supposed to be able to give information, and inclined to be confiding and garrulous, had been procured from the firm allies of King William, by those who pretended to be so only, for the agent who was about to be sent over, and this agent was the young cavalier who had treated Vanslyperken in so uncourteous a manner. He has already been mentioned to the reader by the name of Ramsay, and second in authority among the smugglers. He was a young man of high family, and a brother to Lady Alice, of course trusted by Sir Robert and his second in command. He had been attainted for non-appearance, and condemned for high treason at the same time as had been his brother-in-law, Sir Robert Barclay, and had ever since been with him doing his duty in the boat and in command of the men, when Sir Robert’s services or attendance were required at St Germains.
No one could be better adapted for the service he was to be employed upon. He was brave, cool, intelligent, and prepossessing. Of course, by his letters of introduction, he was represented as a firm ally of King William, and strongly recommended as such. The letters which Vanslyperken had neglected to deliver were of the utmost importance, and the character of the lieutenant being well known to Ramsay, through the medium of Nancy Corbett and others, he had treated him in the way which he considered as most likely to enforce a rigid compliance with their wishes.
Ramsay was right; for Vanslyperken was too much of a coward to venture upon resistance, although he might threaten it. It was the intention of Ramsay, moreover, to take a passage over with him in the Yungfrau, as his arrival in a king’s vessel would add still more to the success of the enterprise which he had in contemplation.