“She did, sir, and no harm meant; but just doing it gay, as a man will.”
“But when you explained this, she wouldn’t take no for an answer?”
“She would not, sir. She seemed not to understand. Then I looked at her bonnet and, a thought striking me, I tried `nay’ instead. But that didn’t work no better than the other. If you could hide me for tonight, Sir John—”
“You had best sleep on the Gauntlet to-night,” said my father. “If the woman calls, I will have a talk with her. What is her name, by the way?”
“But I mean her full name.”
“I didn’t get so far as to inquire, Sir John. But the point is, she knows mine.”
OF THE DISCOURSE HELD ON BOARD THE “GAUNTLET.”
“The Pilot assured us that, considering the Gentleness of the
Winds and their pleasant Contentions, as also the Clearness of
the Atmosphere and the Calm of the Current, we stood neither in
Hope of much Good nor in Fear of much Harm . . . and advised us
to let the Ship drive, nor busy ourselves with anything but
making good Cheer.”
—The Fifth Book of the Good Pantagruel.
It appeared that, unknown to me, my father had already made his arrangements with Captain Pomery, and we were to sail with the morning’s tide. During supper—which Billy Priske had no sooner laid than he withdrew to collect his kit and carry it down to the ship, taking old Worthyvale for company—our good Vicar arrived, as well to bid us good-bye as in some curiosity to learn what recruits we had picked up in Falmouth. I think the sight of them impressed him; but at the tale of our day’s adventures, and especially when he heard of our championing the Methodists, his hands went up in horror.
“The Methodists!” For two years past the Vicar had occupied a part of his leisure in writing a pamphlet against them: and by “leisure” I mean all such days as were either too inclement for fishing, or thunderous so that the trout would not rise.
“My dear friend, while you have been sharpening the sword of Saint Athanasius against ’em, the rabble has been beforehand with you and given ’em bloody noses. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of heresy—if you call the Wesleyans heretics—as well as of the Church.”
The Vicar sighed. “I have been slack of pace and feeble of will. Yes, yes, I deserve the reproach.”
My father laid a hand on his shoulder. “Tut, tut! Cannot you see that I was not reproaching, but rather daring to commend you for an exemplar? There is a slackness which comes of weak will; but there is another and a very noble slackness which proceeds from the two strongest things on earth, confidence and charity; charity, which naturally inclines to be long-suffering, and confidence which, having assurance