“And thou,” said Tressilian, “what dost thou think to make of thyself?”
“France, Spain, either India, East or West, shall be my refuge,” said Wayland, “ere I venture my life by residing within ken of Doboobie, Demetrius, or whatever else he calls himself for the time.”
“Well,” said Tressilian, “this happens not inopportunely. I had business for you in Berkshire, but in the opposite extremity to the place where thou art known; and ere thou hadst found out this new reason for living private, I had settled to send thee thither upon a secret embassage.”
The artist expressed himself willing to receive his commands, and Tressilian, knowing he was well acquainted with the outline of his business at court, frankly explained to him the whole, mentioned the agreement which subsisted betwixt Giles Gosling and him, and told what had that day been averred in the presence-chamber by Varney, and supported by Leicester.
“Thou seest,” he added, “that, in the circumstances in which I am placed, it behoves me to keep a narrow watch on the motions of these unprincipled men, Varney and his complices, Foster and Lambourne, as well as on those of my Lord Leicester himself, who, I suspect, is partly a deceiver, and not altogether the deceived in that matter. Here is my ring, as a pledge to Giles Gosling. Here is besides gold, which shall be trebled if thou serve me faithfully. Away down to Cumnor, and see what happens there.”
“I go with double good-will,” said the artist, “first, because I serve your honour, who has been so kind to me; and then, that I may escape my old master, who, if not an absolute incarnation of the devil, has, at least, as much of the demon about him, in will, word, and action; as ever polluted humanity. And yet let him take care of me. I fly him now, as heretofore; but if, like the Scottish wild cattle, I am vexed by frequent pursuit, I may turn on him in hate and desperation. [A remnant of the wild cattle of Scotland are preserved at Chillingham Castle, near Wooler, in Northumberland, the seat of Lord Tankerville. They fly before strangers; but if disturbed and followed, they turn with fury on those who persist in annoying them.] Will your honour command my nag to be saddled? I will but give the medicine to my lord, divided in its proper proportions, with a few instructions. His safety will then depend on the care of his friends and domestics; for the past he is guarded, but let him beware of the future.”
Wayland Smith accordingly made his farewell visit to the Earl of Sussex, dictated instructions as to his regimen, and precautions concerning his diet, and left Sayes Court without waiting for morning.
The moment comes—
It is already come—when thou must write
The absolute total of thy life’s vast sum.
The constellations stand victorious o’er thee,
The planets shoot good fortune in fair junctions,
And tell thee, “Now’s the time.”
—Schiller’s Wallenstein, by Coleridge.