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Page 41


“I could find in my heart to disgrace my man's apparel,
and to cry like a woman.”

As you like it.

Sir Philip Gardiner, by the kind offices of
Governor Winthrop, had obtained lodgings at
one Daniel Maud's, the `first recorded school-master'
in Boston. Thither he went, followed by
his moody page, after receiving his cloak from our
thankless heroine.

Not one word passed between him and his attendant;
and after they reached their apartment,
the boy, instead of performing the customary servile
duties of his station, threw himself on a
cushion, and covering his face with his hands, he
seemed lost in his own sorrowful meditations.

There had been a little fire kindled on the
hearth, on account of the inclemency of the night.
Sir Philip laid the fallen brands together, lighted
the candles, arranged his writing materials on the
table, and without permitting himself to be interrupted,
or in the least affected by the sobs that,
at intervals, proceeded from his companion, he
indited the following epistle.


Page 42

“To my good and trusty Wilton,

“`In the name of Heaven, what sends you to
New-England?' were your last words to me. I
had not time to answer your question then, and
perhaps, when I have finished, you will say I have
not ability now; but who can explain the motives
of his conduct? Who can always say, after an
action is done, that he had sufficient motive? Not
one of us, Wilton, sons of whim and folly that
we are! But my motives, such as they were, are
at your service—so here you have them.

“I was tired of playing a losing game; even
rats, you know, have an instinct by which they
flee a falling house. I had some compunctious
visitings at leaving my king when he hath such
cruel need of loyal servants—jeer not, Wilton,—
I had my scruples. It was a saying of Father
Baretti, that when Lucifer fell, conscience, that
once guided, remained to torment him. My assertion
thus modestly illustrated, have I not a right
to say, I had scruples? I was wearied with a series
of ill-luck, and as other men are as good to
fill a ditch, I have retired till dame fortune shall
see fit to give her wheel a turn in my royalmaster's
favour. Butwhy come hither?—to submit to `King
Winthrop and all his inventions—his Amsterdam
fantastical ordinances—his preachings, marryings,
and other abusive ceremonies?'—Patience, my
good gossip, and I will tell thee.

“You have heard of my old friend and patron,


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Thomas Morton of Furnival's Inn; and you know
he was once master of a fine domain here, at
Mount Wollaston, for which his revels obtained
the name of the `Merry Mount.' The ruling
saintships of this “New-English Canaan” were so
scandalized, because forsooth, he avowed and followed
the free tastes of a gentleman, that they
ejected him from his own territory.

“He once well-nigh obtained redress from the
king, and a decree in his favour passed the privy-seal,
but the influence of his enemies finally prevailed.
He has had the consolation of sundry
retaliations on his opponents; now, as he said,
`uncasing Medusa's head, and raising the old ghost
of Sir F. George's patent,' and then thrusting home
the keen point of his satiric verse. However,
though this was a bitter draught to his adversaries,
it was but lean satisfaction to him; and having
become old, and poor, and lost his spirit, he
came hither once more, last winter, in the hope
of obtaining an act of oblivion of all past grievances,
and a restitution of his rights.

“Immediately after his arrival, he wrote to me
that `Joshua had promised to restore to him, and
to his tribe, their lot in the inheritance of the
faithful—that he was again to be king of the revels
on the `merry mount,' where he invited me
to live with him, his prime minister, and heir apparent.'
The letter came to hand at a moment
when I was wearied with a bootless service, and
willing to grasp any novelty; and accordingly I


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closed with the offer, but lo! on my arrival, I
found that Morton, instead of being reinstated at
Mount Wollaston, is in jail, and in honest opinion,
is reputed crazy—as, doubtless, he is! Laugh at
me, Wilton, even as the foul fiends laugh when
their master is entangled in his own meshes—I
defy your laugh; for though a dupe, I am not a
victim; and Cæsar and his fortunes shall yet survive
the storm.

“I have done with Morton; no one here knows
or suspects our former alliance. My name is not
like to reach his ear, and if it should, who would
take the word of a ruined man, against an approved
candidate for membership with the congregation,
for such even, am I—a `brother,' in
this community of saints.

“Luckily, Morton, with that cunning incident
to madness, cautioned me against appearing
in this camp without the uniform of the church-militant,
alleging, that we must play the part of
pilgrims, till we were quite independent of the favour
of the saints. Accordingly, I assumed the
puritan habit, bearing, and language that so much
amused you at our last meeting. But why, you
will ask, prolong this dull masquerade? For an
object, my good Wilton, that would make you
or me, saint or devil, or any thing else whereby
we might secure it—the most provoking, bewitching,
and soul-moving creature that ever appeared
in the form of woman, is my tempter.
She is the daughter and sole heir of Sir Walter


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Leslie, who you may remember was noted for his
gallantry in that mad expedition of Buckingham
to the Isle of Rhée.

“Is it not a shame that youth and beauty should
be thrown away upon these drivelling, canting,
preaching, praying, liberty-loving, lecture-going,
pilgrims! Would it not be a worthy act to tear
this scion of a loyal stock from these crabs of the
wilderness, and set her in our garden of England?
And would it not be a knightly feat to win the
prize against a young gallant, a pink of courtesy,
while the unfledged boy is dreaming of love's

“Marvel as you please, Wilton, goodly prospects
are dawning on me—fortune smiles, as if inclined
to pay the good turn she has so long owed me.
I am in prime credit with guardians and governors—the
beau-ideal of duenna-aunts and serving
maids. Time and chance favour me—but—
but there is always some devilish cross upon my
line of luck.

“Rosa came with me to this barbarous land—
a fit Houri, you will say, for a Mahometan saint,
but an odd appendage to a canting roundhead—
even so she is, but what was to be done! She
had no shelter but my protection. I had still
some lingering of love for her, and pity (don't
scoff!); and besides, Morton's representations had
led me to believe that she would not be an inconvenient
member of the household at Merry Mount,
so I permitted her to disguise herself, and come


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over the rough seas with me. She is a fantastical
wayward child, and a true woman withal.
She loves me to distraction, and would sacrifice
any to me but the ruling passion of her sex, her
vanity; but in spite of my entreaties and commands,
she persists in wearing a velvet Spanish
hat, with a buckle and feathers, most audaciously
cocked on one side; and indeed her whole apparel
would better suit a Queen's page, than the
humble serving-boy of a self-denying puritan.

“Luckily she is sad and dumpish, and does not
incline to go abroad, but whenever she does appear
I perceive, she is eyed with curiosity and suspicion;
and suspicion once thoroughly awakened,
discovery is inevitable, for you know her face gives
the lie to her doublet and hose.

Diana's lip is not more smooth and rubious,
Her small pipe is as the maiden's organ, sound and shrill;
And all is semblative a woman's part.

“If we should be detected, I know not what
punishment may be inflicted by the Draco-laws
of these saints—a public whipping of poor
Rosa—cropping of my ears—imprisonment—per
haps death, if peradventure some authority therefor
should be found in the statutes of the land—
that is to say, in the old Jewish records.

“But why expose myself to such peril? Ah!
Wilton, you would not ask why if you could see
my enchantress—but without seeing her, no man
knows better than you, that


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“Love is a sweet intice,
'Gainst whom the wisest wits as yet
Have never found devise.”

“If I could but persuade Rosa to be prudent
till we may both cast off these odious disguises;
but she disdains all caution, and fears nothing but
being supplanted in my favour.”

“She is still in the fever of love—all eye and
ear—irritable, jealous, watchful, and suspicious.
One moment passionate, and the next dissolved
in tears. So intense a flame must purify or consume
the sentiment her beauty inspired—it cannot
be purified and—the alternative—it is consumed.

“I cannot rid myself of her—I cannot control
her, and in this jeopardy I stand; but I abandon
all to my destiny. Even Jupiter, you know, was
ruled by fate. It is folly to attempt to shape the
events of life; as easily might we direct the
course of the stars—those very stars, perhaps,
govern the accidents of our being. The stars—
destiny—Providence, what are they all but various
terms for the same invisible, irresistible
agency! But Heaven forbid I should lose myself
in the bewildering mazes of these high speculations!
It is a enough for me that I am a knight
of the holy sepulchre, that I wear my crucifix,
pray to all the saints and eat no flesh on Fridays.
By the way, on the very first day of my arrival
here, I came nigh to winning the crown of martyrdom
by my saintly obedience to the canons of


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holy church. The Leslie, in simplicity or mischief,
remarked on my confining myself to fish on
Friday—rebel conscience, in spite of me tinged
my cheeks, but thanks to my garb of hypocrisy,
panoply of steel never did better service,—the
light thrust glanced off and left me unharmed.

“You and I, Wilton, are too old to make, like
dreaming boys, an Eldorado of our future, and you
will ask me what are my rational chances of success
in my present enterprise. I will not remind
you of success on former similar occasions, for
my vanity has been abated of its presumption
this very evening by the indifference, real or affected,
of this little sprite.

“Ladies must have lovers—idols must have
worshippers, or they are no longer idols. I have
but one rival here, and he, I think, is appointed by
his wise guardians to another destiny; and being
a right dutiful youth, he, no doubt, with management,
and good fortune on my part, may be made
to surrender his preference, (which by the way is
quite obvious) and pass under the yoke of authority.
Besides, the helpmate selected by these
Judges in Israel, for the good youth might be, if
she were a little less saint and more woman, a
queen of love and beauty. But she is not to my
taste. I covet not smiles cold as a sun-beam on
arctic snows. Nothing in life is duller than mathematical
virtue—nothing more paralyzing to
the imagination than unaffected prudery. I detest
a woman like a walled city, that can never


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be approached without your being reminded that
it is inaccessible—a woman whose measured
premeditated words sound always like the sentinel-cry,
`all is well!'

“Now the Leslie has a generous rashness, a
thoughtless impetuosity, a fearlessness of the sanctimonious
dictators that surround her, and a noble
contempt of danger that stimulates me at least,
to love and enterprise.

“My hope is bold, Wilton—my ambition is to
win her heart—my determination to possess her
hand; by fair means, if I can, but if fortune is adverse,
if, as I sometimes fear, when I shrink from
the falcon glance of her bright eye, as if the
spear of Ithuriel touched me, if she has already
penetrated my disguise, and persists in disregarding
my suit, why then, Necessity! parent of all
witty inventions, come thou to my aid.

“Our old acquaintance Chaddock is riding in
the harbour here, owner and commander of a
good pinnace. I have heard him spoken of in
the godly companies I frequent, as a `notorious
contemner of ordinances,' from which I infer he
is the same bold desperado we knew him. My
word for it, it does not require more courage to
march up to the cannon's mouth, than to claim the
independence of a gentleman in this pharasaic
land. Now I think if I should have occasion to
smuggle any precious freight, and convey it over
the deep waters, convenient opportunity and fit
agents will not be wanting. Time will ripen or


Page 50
blast my budding hopes; if ripen, why then I will
cast my slough here, and present my beautiful
bride to my royal master, or if, perchance, royalty
should be in eclipse in England, there are, thank
heaven, other asylums for beauty and fortune.

“Farewell, Wilton, yours in good faith,

As Sir Philip signed his name to this epistle,
he felt Rosa's head drop upon his shoulder, an
action that indicated, too truly, that she had been
looking over the last paragraphs, at least, of his

Fury flashed from his eyes, and he raised his
hand to strike her, but before he had executed
the unmanly act, she burst into a wild hysteric
laugh, that changed his resentment to fear.
“Rosa—Rosa,” he said, in a soothing tone, “for
Heaven's sake be quiet—you will be overheard—
you will betray all.”

She seemed not to hear him, but wringing her
hands, she repeated again and again, “I wish I
were dead! I wish I were dead!”

“Hush! foolish, mad child, or you will be discovered,
and may indeed bring death upon yourself.”

“Death! I care not; death would be heaven's
mercy to what I suffer; what is death to shame!—
to guilt! to the bitterness of disappointment!—to
the rage of jealousy!—why should not I die!” she


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continued, overpowering Sir Philip's vain attempts
to calm her; “why should not I die?—
there is nobody to care for me if I live—and
there is nobody to weep for me if I die.”

“Patience—patience, Rosa.”

“Patience! my patience is worn out; I am
tired of this dreary world. Oh, that Lady Lunford
had left me in my convent—I should have been
happy there. She did not love me. Nobody has
loved me since I left the good nuns—nobody but
my poor little Canary bird, Mignonne; and she
always loved me, and would always sing to me,
and sing sweetest when my lady was cruellest.
Cruel as my lady was, her cruelty was kindness to
thine, Sir Philip. Oh, that you had left me with

“You came to me with your own good-will,

“Ay, Sir Philip—and will not the innocent
babe stretch its arms to the assassin if he does
but smile on it? You told me you loved me, and
I believed you. You promised always to love me,
and I believed that too; and there was nobody
else that loved me, but Mignonne; and now I am
all alone in the wide world, I do wish I were
dead.” She sunk down at Sir Philip's feet, laid
her head on his knee, and sobbed as if her heart
were breaking. “Oh, what shall I do,” she said,
“where shall I go! if I go to the good, they will
frown on me, and despise me; and I cannot go to
the wicked,—they have no pity.”


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Sir Philip's heart, depraved as it was, felt some
motions of compassion as he looked on this
young and beautiful creature, bowed to the earth
with remediless anguish; some touches of remorse
and pity, such as Milton's fallen angel felt, when
he contemplated those “millions of spirits, for his
fault amerc'd of Heav'n.” “Poor child!” he
said, laying his hand on her smooth brow, “would
to God you had never left your convent!”

Rosa felt the blistering tears that flowed from
the relicts of his better nature, drop on her cheek.
She raised her heavy lids, and a ray of pleasure
shot from her kindling eye. Then you do love
me,” she said, “you would not weep only for pity
—you do love me still?”

Sir Philip perceived the eagerness with which
she caught at the first glimmering of returning
tenderness, and well knew how to draw his advantage
from it. He soothed her with caresses
and professions, and when he had restored her to
composure, he endeavoured to impress her with
the necessity, for both their sakes, of more prudent
conduct. He convinced her that their happiness,
their safety, and perhaps their lives, depended
on their escaping detection; and after
explaining the defeat of his hopes in relation to
Morton, he averred that the part of his letter relating
to Miss Leslie, was mere badinage, written
for his friend's amusement; and he concluded
with reiterated promises, that he would return
with her in the first ship bound to England.


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Rosa was credulous—at least, she wished to
believe—she was grateful for restored tenderness;
and without daring to confess how nearly she
had already betrayed him to Miss Leslie, she promised
all the circumspection that Sir Philip required.