Master Heatherthwayte consoled the constable further by saying he would return in his boat, and speak for him if there were any inquiry after the other passenger.
“I must speak my farewells here,” he said, “and trust we shall have no coil to meet you on your return, Master Richard.”
“But for her,” said Humfrey, “I could not let my father face it alone. When she is in safety”—
“Tush, lad,” said his father, “such plotters as yonder poor wretch had become are not such choice prizes as to be inquired for. Men are only too glad to be rid of them when their foul work is done.”
“So farewell, good Master Heatherthwayte,” added Humfrey, “with thanks for this day’s work. I have read of good and evil geniuses or angels, be they which they may, haunting us for life, and striving for the mastery. Methinks my Cis hath found both on the same Humber which brought her to us.”
“Nay, go not forth with Pagan nor Popish follies on thy tongue, young man,” said Heatherthwayte, “but rather pray that the blessing of the Holy One, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of thy father, may be with thee and thine in this strange land, and bring thee safely back in His own time. And surely He will bless the faithful.”
And Richard Talbot said Amen.
It was ten years later in the reign of Elizabeth, when James VI. was under one of his many eclipses of favour, and when the united English and Dutch fleets had been performing gallant exploits at Cadiz and Tercera, that license for a few weeks’ absence was requested for one of the lieutenants in her Majesty’s guard, Master Richard Talbot.
“And wherefore?” demanded the royal lady of Sir Walter Raleigh, the captain of her guard, who made the request.
“To go to the Hague to look after his brother’s widow and estate, so please your Majesty; more’s the pity,” said Raleigh.
“His brother’s widow?” repeated the Queen.
“Yea, madam. For it may be feared that young Humfrey Talbot—I know not whether your Majesty ever saw him—but he was my brave brother Humfrey Gilbert’s godson, and sailed with us to the West some sixteen years back. He was as gallant a sailor as ever trod a deck, and I never could see why he thought fit to take service with the States. But he did good work in the time of the Armada, and I saw him one of the foremost in the attack on Cadiz. Nay, he was one of those knighted by my Lord of Essex in the market-place. Then he sailed with my Lord of Cumberland for the Azores, now six months since, and hath not since been heard of, as his brother tells me, and therefore doth Talbot request this favour of your Majesty.”
“Send the young man to me,” returned the Queen.