Unknown to History: a story of the captivity of Mary of Scotland eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 496 pages of information about Unknown to History.

“I’m not going to run my head into trouble for making a coil about what may be naught.  That’s what befell honest Mark Walton.  He thought he had seized matter of State, and went up to Master Walsingham, swelling like an Indian turkey-cock, with his secret letters, and behold they turned out to be a Dutch fishwife’s charm to bring the herrings.  I can tell you he has rued the work he made about it ever since.  On the other hand, let it get abroad through yonder prating fellow, Heatherthwayte, or any other, that Master Richard Talbot had in his house a child with, I know not what Popish tokens, and a scroll in an unknown tongue, and I should be had up in gyves for suspicion of treason, or may be harbouring the Prince of Scotland himself, when it is only some poor Scottish archer’s babe.”

“You would not have me part with the poor little one?”

“Am I a Turk or a Pagan?  No.  Only hold thy peace, as I shall hold mine, until such time as I can meet some one whom I can trust to read this riddle.  Tell me—­what like is the child?  Wouldst guess it to be of gentle, or of clownish blood, if women can tell such things ?”

“Of gentle blood, assuredly,” cried the lady, so that he smiled and said, “I might have known that so thou wouldst answer.”

“Nay, but see her little hands and fingers, and the mould of her dainty limbs.  No Scottish fisher clown was her father, I dare be sworn.  Her skin is as fair and fine as my Humfrey’s, and moreover she has always been in hands that knew how a babe should be tended.  Any woman can tell you that!”

“And what like is she in your woman’s eyes?  What complexion doth she promise?”

“Her hair, what she has of it, is dark; her eyes—­bless them—­are of a deep blue, or purple, such as most babes have till they take their true tint.  There is no guessing.  Humfrey’s eyes were once like to be brown, now are they as blue as thine own.”

“I understand all that,” said Captain Talbot, smiling.  “If she have kindred, they will know her better by the sign manual on her tender flesh than by her face.”

“And who are they?”

“Who are they?” echoed the captain, rolling up the scroll in despair.  “Here, take it, Susan, and keep it safe from all eyes.  Whatever it may be, it may serve thereafter to prove her true name.  And above all, not a word or breath to Heatherthwayte, or any of thy gossips, wear they coif or bands.”

“Ah, sir! that you will mistrust the good man.”

“I said not I mistrust any one; only that I will have no word of all this go forth!  Not one!  Thou heedest me, wife?”

“Verily I do, sir; I will be mute.”

CHAPTER II.  EVIL TIDINGS.

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Unknown to History: a story of the captivity of Mary of Scotland from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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