In which is related much appertaining to the “pomp and glorious circumstance” of war.
The arrival of Ramsay and his party was so unexpected, that, at first, Lady Barclay imagined they had been betrayed, and that the boat was filled with armed men from the king’s cutter, who had come on shore with a view of forcing an entrance into the cave. In a minute every preparation was made for defence; for it had long been arranged, that, in case of an unexpected attack, the women should make all the resistance in their power, and which the nature of the place enabled them to do.
But, as many observed, the party, although coming from the cutter, and not badly armed, did not appear to advance in a hostile manner. After waiting some time near the boat, they advanced, each with a box on his shoulder; but what those boxes might be was a puzzle; they might be hand-grenades for throwing into the cave. However, they were soon down to the rock at which the ladder was let down, and then Smallbones stood up with a musket in his hands, with his straddling legs and short petticoat, and bawled out, “Who comes there?”
Ramsay, who was assisting Wilhelmina, looked up surprised at this singular addition to the occupants of the cave. And Wilhelmina also looked at him, and said, “Can that be a woman, Ramsay?”
“At all events, I’ve not the honour of her acquaintance. But she is pointing her musket,—we are friends,” cried Ramsay. “Tell Mistress Alice it is Ramsay.”
Smallbones turned round and reported the answer; and then, in obedience to his orders from Mistress Alice, he cried out, in imitation of the sentinels, “Pass, Ramsay, and all’s well!” presented his arms, and made a flying leap off the rock where he stood, down on the platform, that he might lower the ladder as soon as Ramsay was up, who desired everybody might be sent down to secure the boxes of specie as fast as they could, lest the cutter’s people, releasing themselves, should attempt an attack. Now, there was no more concealment necessary, and the women as well as the men went down the precipitous path and brought up the treasure, while Ramsay introduced Wilhelmina to Lady Barclay, and, in a brief, but clear narrative, told her all that had passed, and what they had now to expect. There was not a moment for delay; the cutter’s people might send the despatches over land if they thought of it, and be there as soon, if not sooner than themselves. Nancy Corbett was summoned immediately, and her instructions given. The whole of the confederates at Portsmouth were to come over to the cave with what they could collect and carry about their persons; and, in case of the cutter sending over land, with the precaution of being in disguise. Of arms and ammunition there was sufficient in the cave, which Ramsay now felt was to be defended to the last, until they could make a retreat over to the other side of the channel. In half