“I suppose, gentlemen, they are talking of nothing else, in London, but the rescue of a desperate Jacobite by his friends. The news only reached here yesterday.”
“It has occasioned a good deal of scare,” Mr. Jervoise replied. “I suppose there is no word of the arrest of the man, or his accomplices? We have travelled but slowly, and the news may have passed us on the way.”
“Not as yet,” the landlord replied. “They say that all the northern and eastern ports are watched, and they make sure of catching him, if he presents himself there. The general opinion is that he will, for a time, go into hiding with his friends, in the hills of Cumberland or Westmoreland, or perhaps on the Yorkshire moors; but they are sure to catch him sooner or later.”
“It is a bad business altogether,” Mr. Jervoise said, “and we can only hope that all guilty persons will in time get the punishment they so well deserve. How can trade be carried on, if the country is to be disturbed by plots, and conspiracies?”
“How, indeed?” the landlord repeated heartily. “I do not meddle in politics, being content to earn my living by my business, and to receive all who can pay their reckoning, without caring a jot whether they be Whigs or Tories.”
The next morning Mr. Jervoise and Sir Marmaduke went down to the port, leaving the lads to wander about the town at their pleasure, as two persons were likely to attract less attention than four. They found that there were two vessels in port, loading with munitions of war for Sweden, and that one of them would sail shortly. They at once went on board her, and saw the captain.
“Do you carry any passengers?”
“None have applied so far,” the captain said; “but, if they were to offer, I should not say no to them.”
“We want to take passage for Sweden,” Mr. Jervoise said. “The King of that country is, as they say, fitting out an army. Clothes are as necessary for troops as swords and guns, and we think we could obtain a contract for these goods. There is no hope of doing so, unless we ourselves go over, and, though sorely loath to do so, for neither of us have ever before set foot on board a ship, we determined on making the journey, together with our two clerks, for whom we will take passage at the same rate as for ourselves, seeing that they are both related to us.”
“Have you any goods with you?”
“We shall take over but a bale or two of cloth, as samples of the goods we can supply; but, beyond that, we have but little luggage, seeing that our stay may be a very short one.”
There was a little haggling for terms, as the two gentlemen did not wish to appear eager to go; but the matter was finally settled to the satisfaction of both parties.
On their return to the inn, Mr. Jervoise took the host aside.