Chapter XI. Prince Rupert
 

The next day Cyril went down to breakfast in what he had often called, laughingly, his Court suit. This suit he had had made for him a short time before his father's death, to replace the one he had when he came over, that being altogether outgrown. He had done so to please Sir Aubrey, who had repeatedly expressed his anxiety that Cyril should always be prepared to take advantage of any good fortune that might befall him. This was the first time he had put it on.

"Well, truly you look a pretty fellow, Cyril," the Captain said, as he entered. "Don't you think so, Nellie?"

The girl nodded.

"I don't know that I like him better than in his black suit, father. But he looks very well."

"Hullo, lass! This is a change of opinion, truly! For myself I care not one jot for the fashion of a man's clothes, but I had thought that you always inclined to gay attire, and Cyril now would seem rather to belong to the Court than to the City."

"If it had been any other morning, father, I might have thought more of Cyril's appearance; but what you were telling us but now of the continuance of the Plague is so sad, that mourning, rather than Court attire, would seem to be the proper wear."

"Is the Plague spreading fast, then, Captain Dave?"

"No; but it is not decreasing, as we had hoped it would do. From the beginning of December the deaths rose steadily until the end of January. While our usual death-rate is under three hundred it went to four hundred and seventy-four. Then the weather setting in very severe checked it till the end of February, and we all hoped that the danger was over, and that we should be rid of the distemper before the warm weather set in; but for the last fortnight there has been a rise rather than a fall--not a large one, but sufficient to cause great alarm that it will continue until warm weather sets in, and may then grow into terrible proportions. So far, there has been no case in the City, and it is only in the West that it has any hold, the deaths being altogether in the parishes of St. Giles's, St. Andrew's, St. Bride's, and St. James's, Clerkenwell. Of course, there have been cases now and then for many years past, and nine years ago it spread to a greater extent than now, and were we at the beginning of winter instead of nearing summer there would be no occasion to think much of the matter; but, with the hot weather approaching, and the tales we hear of the badness of the Plague in foreign parts one cannot but feel anxious."

"And they say, too, that there have been prophecies of grievous evils in London," Nellie put in.

"We need not trouble about that," her father replied. "The Anabaptists prophesied all sorts of evils in Elizabeth's time, but naught came of it. There are always men and women with disordered minds, who think that they are prophets, and have power to see further into the future than other people, but no one minds them or thinks aught of their wild words save at a time like the present, when there is a danger of war or pestilence. You remember Bill Vokes, John?"

"I mind him, yer honour. A poor, half-crazed fellow he was, and yet a good seaman, who would do his duty blow high or blow low. He sailed six voyages with us, Captain."

"And never one of them without telling the crew that the ship would never return to port. He had had dreams about it, and the black cat had mewed when he left home, and he saw the three magpies in a tree hard by when he stepped from the door, and many other portents of that kind. The first time he well-nigh scared some of the crew, but after the first voyage--from which we came back safely, of course--they did but laugh at him; and as in all other respects he was a good sailor, and a willing fellow, I did not like to discharge him, for, once the men found out that his prophecies came to naught, they did no harm, and, indeed, they afforded them much amusement. Just as it is on board a ship, so it is elsewhere. If our vessel had gone down that first voyage, any man who escaped drowning would have said that Bill Vokes had not been without reason in his warnings, and that it was nothing less than flying in the face of Providence, to put to sea when the loss of the ship had been so surely foretold. So, on shore, the fools or madmen who have dreams and visions are not heeded when times are good, and men's senses sound, whereas, in troubled times, men take their ravings to heart. If all the scatterbrains had a good whipping at the pillory it would be well, both for them and for the silly people who pay attention to their ravings."

A few minutes later, Cyril took a boat to the Whitehall steps, and after some delay was shown up to Prince Rupert's room.

"None the worse for your exertions yester-even, young gentleman, I hope?" the Prince said, shaking hands with him warmly.

"None, sir. The exertion was not great, and it was but the inconvenience of the smoke that troubled me in any way."

"Have you been to inquire after the young ladies who owe their lives to you?"

"No, sir; I know neither their names nor their condition, nor, had I wished it, could I have made inquiries, for I know not whither they were taken."

"I sent round early this morning," the Prince said, "and heard that they were as well as might be expected after the adventure they went through. And now tell me about yourself, and what you have been doing. 'Tis one of the saddest things to me, since I returned to England, that so many good men who fought by my side have been made beggars in the King's service, and that I could do naught for them. 'Tis a grievous business, and yet I see not how it is to be mended. The hardest thing is, that those who did most for the King's service are those who have suffered most deeply. None of those who were driven to sell their estates at a fraction of their value, in order to raise money for the King's treasury or to put men into the field, have received any redress. It would need a vast sum to buy back all their lands, and Parliament would not vote money for that purpose; nor would it be fair to turn men out of the estates that they bought and paid for. Do you not think so?" he asked suddenly, seeing, by the lad's face, that he was not in agreement with him.

"No, sir; it does not seem to me that it would be unfair. These men bought the lands for, as you say, but a fraction of their value; they did so in the belief that Parliament would triumph, and their purchase was but a speculation grounded on that belief. They have had the enjoyment of the estates for years, and have drawn from them an income which has, by this time, brought them in a sum much exceeding that which they have adventured, and it does not seem to me that there would be any hardship whatever were they now called upon to restore them to their owners. 'Tis as when a man risks his money in a venture at sea. If all goes as he hopes he will make a great profit on his money. If the ship is cast away or taken by pirates, it is unfortunate, but he has no reason to curse his ill-luck if the ship had already made several voyages which have more than recouped the money he ventured."

"Well and stoutly argued!" the Prince said approvingly. "But you must remember, young sir, that the King, on his return, was by no means strongly seated on the throne. There was the Army most evilly affected towards him; there were the Puritans, who lamented the upset of the work they or their fathers had done. All those men who had purchased the estates of the Royalists had families and friends, and, had these estates been restored to their rightful owners, there might have been an outbreak that would have shaken the throne again. Many would have refused to give up possession, save to force; and where was the force to come from? Even had the King had troops willing to carry out such a measure, they might have been met by force, and had blood once been shed, none can say how the trouble might have spread, or what might have been the end of it. And now, lad, come to your own fortunes."

Cyril briefly related the story of his life since his return to London, stating his father's plan that he should some day take foreign service.

"You have shown that you have a stout heart, young sir, as well as a brave one, and have done well, indeed, in turning your mind to earn your living by such talents as you have, rather than in wasting your time in vain hopes and in ceaseless importunities for justice. It may be that you have acted wisely in thinking of taking service on the Continent, seeing that we have no Army; and when the time comes, I will further your wishes to the utmost of my power. But in the meantime there is opportunity for service at home, and I will gladly appoint you as a Volunteer in my own ship. There are many gentlemen going with me in that capacity, and it would be of advantage to you, if, when I write to some foreign prince on your behalf, I can say that you have fought under my eye."

"Thank you greatly, Prince. I have been wishing, above all things, that I could join the Fleet, and it would be, indeed, an honour to begin my career under the Prince of whom I heard so often from my father."

Prince Rupert looked at his watch.

"The King will be in the Mall now," he said. "I will take you across and present you to him. It is useful to have the entree at Court, though perhaps the less you avail yourself of it the better."

So saying, he rose, put on his hat, and, throwing his cloak over his shoulder, went across to the Mall, asking questions of Cyril as he went, and extracting from him a sketch of the adventure of his being kidnapped and taken to Holland.

Presently they arrived at the spot where the King, with three or four nobles and gentlemen, had been playing. Charles was in a good humour, for he had just won a match with the Earl of Rochester.

"Well, my grave cousin," he said merrily, "what brings you out of your office so early? No fresh demands for money, I hope?"

"Not at present. And indeed, it is not to you that I should come on such a quest, but to the Duke of York."

"And he would come to me," said the King; "so it is the same thing."

"I have come across to present to your Majesty a very gallant young gentleman, who yesterday evening, at the risk of his life, saved the three daughters of the Earl of Wisbech from being burned at the fire in the Savoy, where his Lordship's mansion was among those that were destroyed. I beg to present to your Majesty Sir Cyril Shenstone, the son of the late Sir Aubrey Shenstone, a most gallant gentleman, who rode under my banner in many a stern fight in the service of your royal father."

"I knew him well," the King said graciously, "but had not heard of his death. I am glad to hear that his son inherits his bravery. I have often regretted deeply that it was out of my power to requite, in any way, the services Sir Aubrey rendered, and the sacrifices he made for our House."

His brow clouded a little, and he looked appealingly at Prince Rupert.

"Sir Cyril Shenstone has no more intention of asking for favours than I have, Charles," the latter said. "He is going to accompany me as a Volunteer against the Dutch, and if the war lasts I shall ask for a better appointment for him."

"That he shall have," the King said warmly. "None have a better claim to commissions in the Navy and Army than sons of gentlemen who fought and suffered in the cause of our royal father. My Lords," he said to the little group of gentlemen, who had been standing a few paces away while this conversation had been going on, "I would have you know Sir Cyril Shenstone, the son of a faithful adherent of my father, and who, yesterday evening, saved the lives of the three daughters of My Lord of Wisbech in the fire at the Savoy. He is going as a Volunteer with my cousin Rupert when he sails against the Dutch."

The gentlemen all returned Cyril's salute courteously.

"He will be fortunate in beginning his career under the eyes of so brave a Prince," the Earl of Rochester said, bowing to Prince Rupert.

"It would be well if you all," the latter replied bluntly, "were to ship in the Fleet for a few months instead of wasting your time in empty pleasures."

The Earl smiled. Prince Rupert's extreme disapproval of the life at Court was well known.

"We cannot all be Bayards, Prince, and most of us would, methinks, be too sick at sea to be of much assistance, were we to go. But if the Dutchmen come here, which is not likely--for I doubt not, Prince, that you will soon send them flying back to their own ports--we shall all be glad to do our best to meet them when they land."

The Prince made no reply, but, turning to the King, said,--

"We will not detain you longer from your game, Cousin Charles. I have plenty to do, with all the complaints as to the state of the ships, and the lack of stores and necessaries."

"Remember, I shall be glad to see you at my levees, Sir Cyril," the King said, holding out his hand. "Do not wait for the Prince to bring you, for if you do you will wait long."

Cyril doffed his hat, raised the King's hand to his lips, then, with a deep bow and an expression of thanks, followed Prince Rupert, who was already striding away.

"You might have been better introduced," the Prince said when he overtook him. "Still it is better to be badly introduced than to have no introduction at all. I am too old for the flippancies of the Court. You had better show yourself there sometimes; you will make friends that may be useful. By the way, I have not your address, and it may be a fortnight or more before the Henrietta is ready to take her crew on board." He took out his tablet and wrote down the address. "Come and see me if there is anything you want to ask me. Do not let the clerks keep you out with the pretence that I am busy, but send up your name to me, and tell them that I have ordered it shall be taken up, however I may be engaged."

Having no occasion for haste, Cyril walked back to the City after leaving Prince Rupert. A great change had taken place in his fortunes in the last twenty-four hours. Then he had no prospects save continuing his work in the City for another two years, and even after that time he foresaw grave difficulties in the way of his obtaining a commission in a foreign army; for Sir John Parton, even if ready to carry out the promise he had formerly made him, might not have sufficient influence to do so. Now he was to embark in Prince Rupert's own ship. He would be the companion of many other gentlemen going out as Volunteers, and, at a bound, spring from the position of a writer in the City to that occupied by his father before he became involved in the trouble between King and Parliament. He was already admitted to Court, and Prince Rupert himself had promised to push his fortunes abroad.

And yet he felt less elated than he would have expected from his sudden change. The question of money was the cloud that dulled the brightness of his prospects. As a Volunteer he would receive no pay, and yet he must make a fair show among the young noblemen and gentlemen who would be his companions. Doubtless they would be victualled on board, but he would have to dress well and probably pay a share in the expenses that would be incurred for wine and other things on board. Had it not been for the future he would have been inclined to regret that he had not refused the tempting offer; but the advantages to be gained by Prince Rupert's patronage were so large that he felt no sacrifice would be too great to that end--even that of accepting the assistance that Captain Dave had more than once hinted he should give him. It was just the dinner-hour when he arrived home.

"Well, Cyril, I see by your face that the Prince has said nothing in the direction of your wishes," Captain Dave said, as he entered.

"Then my face is a false witness, Captain Dave, for Prince Rupert has appointed me a Volunteer on board his own ship."

"I am glad, indeed, lad, heartily glad, though your going will be a heavy loss to us all. But why were you looking so grave over it?"

"I have been wondering whether I have acted wisely in accepting it," Cyril said. "I am very happy here, I am earning my living, I have no cares of any sort, and I feel that it is a very serious matter to make a change. The Prince has a number of noblemen and gentlemen going with him as Volunteers, and I feel that I shall be out of my element in such company. At the same time I have every reason to be thankful, for Prince Rupert has promised that he will, after the war is over, give me introductions which will procure me a commission abroad."

"Well, then, it seems to me that things could not look better," Captain Dave said heartily. "When do you go on board?"

"The Prince says it may be another fortnight; so that I shall have time to make my preparations, and warn the citizens I work for, that I am going to leave them."

"I should say the sooner the better, lad. You will have to get your outfit and other matters seen to. Moreover, now that you have been taken under Prince Rupert's protection, and have become, as it were, an officer on his ship--for gentlemen Volunteers, although they have no duties in regard to working the ship, are yet officers--it is hardly seemly that you should be making up the accounts of bakers and butchers, ironmongers, and ship's storekeepers."

"The work is honest, and I am in no way ashamed of it," Cyril said; "but as I have many things to see about, I suppose I had better give them notice at once. Prince Rupert presented me to the King to-day, and His Majesty requested me to attend at Court, which I should be loath to do, were it not that the Prince urged upon me that it was of advantage that I should make myself known."

"One would think, Master Cyril, that this honour which has suddenly befallen you is regarded by you as a misfortune," Mrs. Dowsett said, laughing. "Most youths would be overjoyed at such a change in their fortune."

"It would be all very pleasant," Cyril said, "had I the income of my father's estate at my back; but I feel that I shall be in a false position, thus thrusting myself among men who have more guineas in their pockets than I have pennies. However, it seems that the matter has been taken out of my own hands, and that, as things have turned out, so I must travel. Who would have thought, when John Wilkes fetched me out last night to go to the fire, it would make an alteration in my whole life, and that such a little thing as climbing up a ladder and helping to get three girls out of a room full of smoke--and John Wilkes did the most difficult part of the work--was to change all my prospects?"

"There was a Providence in it, Cyril," Mrs. Dowsett said gently. "Why, else, should you have gone up that ladder, when, to all seeming, there was no one there. The maids were so frightened, John says, that they would never have said a word about there being anyone in that room, and the girls would have perished had you not gone up. Now as, owing to that, everything has turned out according to your wishes, it would be a sin not to take advantage of it, for you may be sure that, as the way has thus been suddenly opened to you, so will all other things follow in due course."

"Thank you, madam," Cyril said simply. "I had not thought of it in that light, but assuredly you are right, and I will not suffer myself to be daunted by the difficulties there may be in my way."

John Wilkes now came in and sat down to the meal. He was vastly pleased when he heard of the good fortune that had befallen Cyril.

"It seems to me," Cyril said, "that I am but an impostor, and that at least some share in the good luck ought to have fallen to you, John, seeing that you carried them all down the ladder."

"I have carried heavier bales, many a time, much longer distances than that--though I do not say that the woman was not a tidy weight, for, indeed, she was; but I would have carried down ten of them for the honour I had in being shaken by the hand by Prince Rupert, as gallant a sailor as ever sailed a ship. No, no; what I did was all in a day's work, and no more than lifting anchors and chains about in the storehouse. As for honours, I want none of them. I am moored in a snug port here, and would not leave Captain Dave if they would make a Duke of me."

Nellie had said no word of congratulation to Cyril, but as they rose from dinner, she said, in low tones,--

"You know I am pleased, and hope that you will have all the good fortune you deserve."

Cyril set out at once to make a round of the shops where he worked. The announcement that he must at once terminate his connection with them, as he was going on board the Fleet, was everywhere received with great regret.

"I would gladly pay double," one said, "rather than that you should go, for, indeed, it has taken a heavy load off my shoulders, and I know not how I shall get on in the future."

"I should think there would be no difficulty in getting some other young clerk to do the work," Cyril said.

"Not so easy," the man replied. "I had tried one or two before, and found they were more trouble than they were worth. There are not many who write as neatly as you do, and you do as much in an hour as some would take a day over. However, I wish you good luck, and if you should come back, and take up the work again, or start as a scrivener in the City, I can promise you that you shall have my books again, and that among my friends I can find you as much work as you can get through."

Something similar was said to him at each of the houses where he called, and he felt much gratified at finding that his work had given such satisfaction.

When he came in to supper, Cyril was conscious that something had occurred of an unusual nature. Nellie's eyes were swollen with crying; Mrs. Dowsett had also evidently been in tears; while Captain Dave was walking up and down the room restlessly.

The servant was placing the things upon the table, and, just as they were about to take their seats, the bell of the front door rang loudly.

"See who it is, John," Captain Dave said. "Whoever it is seems to be in a mighty hurry."

In a minute or two John returned, followed by a gentleman. The latter paused at the door, and then said, bowing courteously, as he advanced, to Mrs. Dowsett,--

"I must ask pardon for intruding on your meal, madam, but my business is urgent. I am the Earl of Wisbech, and I have called to see Sir Cyril Shenstone, to offer him my heartfelt thanks for the service he has rendered me by saving the lives of my daughters."

All had risen to their feet as he entered, and there was a slight exclamation of surprise from the Captain, his wife, and daughter, as the Earl said "Sir Cyril Shenstone."

Cyril stepped forward.

"I am Cyril Shenstone, my Lord," he said, "and had the good fortune to be able, with the assistance of my friend here, John Wilkes, to rescue your daughters, though, at the time, indeed, I was altogether ignorant of their rank. It was a fortunate occurrence, but I must disclaim any merit in the action, for it was by mere accident that, mounting to the window by a ladder, I saw them lying insensible on the ground."

"Your modesty does you credit, sir," the Earl said, shaking him warmly by the hand. "But such is not the opinion of Prince Rupert, who described it to me as a very gallant action; and, moreover, he said that it was you who first brought him the news that there were females in the house, which he and others had supposed to be empty, and that it was solely owing to you that the ladders were taken round."

"Will you allow me, my Lord, to introduce to you Captain Dowsett, his wife, and daughter, who have been to me the kindest of friends?"

"A kindness, my Lord," Captain Dave said earnestly, "that has been repaid a thousandfold by this good youth, of whose rank we were indeed ignorant until you named it. May I ask you to honour us by joining in our meal?"

"That will I right gladly, sir," the Earl said, "for, in truth, I have scarce broke my fast to-day. I was down at my place in Kent when I was awoke this morning by one of my grooms, who had ridden down with the news that my mansion in the Savoy had been burned, and that my daughters had had a most narrow escape of their lives. Of course, I mounted at once and rode to town, where I was happy in finding that they had well-nigh recovered from the effects of their fright and the smoke. Neither they nor the nurse who was with them could give me any account of what had happened, save that they had, as they supposed, become insensible from the smoke. When they recovered, they found themselves in the Earl of Surrey's house, to which it seems they had been carried. After inquiry, I learned that the Duke of Albemarle and Prince Rupert had both been on the scene directing operations. I went to the latter, with whom I have the honour of being well acquainted, and he told me the whole story, saying that had it not been for Sir Cyril Shenstone, my daughters would certainly have perished. He gave credit, too, to Sir Cyril's companion, who, he said, carried them down the ladder, and himself entered the burning room the last time, to aid in bringing out the nurse, who was too heavy for the rescuer of my daughters to lift. Save a cup of wine and a piece of bread, that I took on my first arrival, I have not broken my fast to-day."

Then he seated himself on a chair that Cyril had placed for him between Mrs. Dowsett and Nellie.

Captain Dave whispered to John Wilkes, who went out, and returned in two or three minutes with three or four flasks of rare Spanish wine which the Captain had brought back on his last voyage, and kept for drinking on special occasions. The dame always kept an excellent table, and although she made many apologies to the Earl, he assured her that none were needed, for that he could have supped no better in his own house.

"I hear," he said presently to Cyril, "that you are going out as a Volunteer in Prince Rupert's ship. My son is also going with him, and I hope, in a day or two, to introduce him to you. He is at present at Cambridge, but, having set his mind on sailing with the Prince, I have been fain to allow him to give up his studies. I heard from Prince Rupert that you had recently been kidnapped and taken to Holland. He gave me no particulars, nor did I ask them, being desirous of hurrying off at once to express my gratitude to you. How was it that such an adventure befell you--for it would hardly seem likely that you could have provoked the enmity of persons capable of such an outrage?"

"It was the result of his services to me, my Lord," Captain Dave said. "Having been a sea-captain, I am but a poor hand at accounts; but, having fallen into this business at the death of my father, it seemed simple enough for me to get on without much book-learning. I made but a bad shape at it; and when Master Shenstone, as he then called himself, offered to keep my books for me, it seemed to me an excellent mode of saving myself worry and trouble. However, when he set himself to making up the accounts of my stock, he found that I was nigh eight hundred pounds short; and, setting himself to watch, discovered that my apprentices were in alliance with a band of thieves, and were nightly robbing me. We caught them and two of the thieves in the act. One of the latter was the receiver, and on his premises the proceeds of a great number of robberies were found, and there was no doubt that he was the chief of a notorious gang, called the 'Black Gang,' which had for a long time infested the City and the surrounding country. It was to prevent Sir Cyril from giving evidence at the trial that he was kidnapped and sent away. He was placed in the house of a diamond merchant, to whom the thieves were in the habit of consigning jewels; and this might well have turned out fatal to him, for to the same house came my elder apprentice and one of the men captured with him--a notorious ruffian--who had been rescued from the constables by a gang of their fellows, in open daylight, in the City. These, doubtless, would have compassed his death had he not happily seen them enter the house, and made his escape, taking passage in a coaster bound for Dunkirk, from which place he took another ship to England. Thus you see, my Lord, that I am indebted to him for saving me from a further loss that might well have ruined me."

He paused, and glanced at Nellie, who rose at once, saying to the Earl,--

"I trust that your Lordship will excuse my mother and myself. My father has more to tell you; at least, I should wish him to do so."

Then, taking her mother's hand, she curtsied deeply, and they left the room together.

"Such, my Lord, as I have told you, is the service, so far as I knew till this afternoon, Sir Cyril Shenstone has rendered me. That was no small thing, but it is very little to what I know now that I am indebted to him. After he went out I was speaking with my wife on money matters, desiring much to be of assistance to him in the matter of the expedition on which he is going. Suddenly my daughter burst into tears and left the room. I naturally bade my wife follow her and learn what ailed her. Then, with many sobs and tears, she told her mother that we little knew how much we were indebted to him. She said she had been a wicked girl, having permitted herself to be accosted several times by a well-dressed gallant, who told her that he was the Earl of Harwich, who had professed great love for her, and urged her to marry him privately.

"He was about to speak to her one day when she was out under Master Cyril's escort. The latter interfered, and there was well-nigh a fracas between them. Being afraid that some of the lookers-on might know her, and bring the matter to our ears, she mentioned so much to us, and, in consequence, we did not allow her to go out afterwards, save in the company of her mother. Nevertheless, the man continued to meet her, and, as he was unknown to her mother, passed notes into her hand. To these she similarly replied, and at last consented to fly with him. She did so at night, and was about to enter a sedan chair in the lane near this house when they were interrupted by the arrival of Master Shenstone and my friend John Wilkes. The former, it seems, had his suspicions, and setting himself to watch, had discovered that she was corresponding with this man--whom he had found was not the personage he pretended to be, but a disreputable hanger-on of the Court, one John Harvey--and had then kept up an incessant watch, with the aid of John Wilkes, outside the house at night, until he saw her come out and join the fellow with two associates, when he followed her to the chair they had in readiness for her.

"There was, she says, a terrible scene. Swords were drawn. John Wilkes knocked down one of the men, and Master Shenstone ran John Harvey through the shoulder. Appalled now at seeing how she had been deceived, and how narrowly she had escaped destruction, she returned with her rescuers to the house, and no word was ever said on the subject until she spoke this afternoon. We had noticed that a great change had come over her, and that she seemed to have lost all her tastes for shows and finery, but little did we dream of the cause. She said that she could not have kept the secret much longer in any case, being utterly miserable at the thought of how she had degraded herself and deceived us.

"It was a sad story to have to hear, my Lord, but we have fully forgiven her, having, indeed, cause to thank God both for her preservation and for the good that this seems to have wrought in her. She had been a spoilt child, and, being well-favoured, her head had been turned by flattery, and she indulged in all sorts of foolish dreams. Now she is truly penitent for her folly. Had you not arrived, my Lord, I should, when we had finished our supper, have told Master Shenstone that I knew of this vast service he has rendered us--a service to which the other was as nothing. That touched my pocket only; this my only child's happiness. I have told you the story, my Lord, by her consent, in order that you might know what sort of a young fellow this gentleman who has rescued your daughter is. John, I thank you for your share in this matter," and, with tears in his eyes, he held out his hand to his faithful companion.

"I thank you deeply, Captain Dowsett, for having told me this story," the Earl said gravely. "It was a painful one to tell, and I feel sure that the circumstance will, as you say, be of lasting benefit to your daughter. It shows that her heart is a true and loyal one, or she would not have had so painful a story told to a stranger, simply that the true character of her preserver should be known. I need not say that it has had the effect she desired of raising Sir Cyril Shenstone highly in my esteem. Prince Rupert spoke of him very highly and told me how he had been honourably supporting himself and his father, until the death of the latter. Now I see that he possesses unusual discretion and acuteness, as well as bravery. Now I will take my leave, thanking you for the good entertainment that you have given me. I am staying at the house of the Earl of Surrey, Sir Cyril, and I hope that you will call to-morrow morning, in order that my daughters may thank you in person."

Captain Dave and Cyril escorted the Earl to the door and then returned to the chamber above.