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Gilbert, W. B / Margaret Tudor A Romance of Old St. Augustine
THE STORY OF MARGARET TUDOR




[Illustration: MARGARET TUDOR.]




MARGARET TUDOR

_A Romance of Old St. Augustine_

By ANNIE T. COLCOCK


_Illustrated by_
W. B. GILBERT


[Illustration]


NEW YORK · FREDERICK A.
STOKES COMPANY · PUBLISHERS




COPYRIGHT, 1901,
BY FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY

_All rights reserved_


Transcriber's Note:

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note. The oe
ligature is shown as [oe].




"That thee is sent receive in buxomnesse,
The wrastling of this world asketh a fall,
Here is no home, here is but wildernesse,
. . . . .
Looke up on high, and thanké God of all!"
CHAUCER.




NOTE.


The names of Mr. John Rivers,--kinsman and agent of Lord Ashley,--Dr.
Wm. Scrivener and Margaret Tudor appear in the passenger list of the
_Carolina_, as given in the Shaftesbury Papers (Collections of the South
Carolina Historical Society, Vol. V, page 135). In the same (page 169)
may be found a brief account of the capture, at Santa Catalina, of Mr.
Rivers, Capt. Baulk, some seamen, _a woman, and a girl_; also (page 175)
mention of the unsuccessful embassy of Mr. Collins; and (page 204) the
Memorial to the Spanish Ambassador touching the delivery of the
prisoners, one of whom is alluded to as _Margaret_, presumably Margaret
Tudor.

The names of the two Spaniards, Seņor de Colis and Don Pedro Melinza,
each appear once in the Shaftesbury Papers (pages 25 and 443): the
latter individual was evidently a person of some consequence in San
Augustin; the former, in the year 1663, was "Governour and
Captain-General, Cavallier, and Knight of the Order of St. James."

ANNIE T. COLCOCK.




THE STORY OF MARGARET TUDOR




CHAPTER I.


San Augustin, this 29th of June, Anno Domini 1670.

It is now more than a month since our captivity began, and there seems
scant likelihood that it will come to a speedy close,--altho', being in
good health myself, and of an age when hope dies slowly, I despair not
of recovering both liberty and friends. Yet, in the event of our further
detention, of sickness or any other evil that may befall me--and there
is one threatening--I write these pages of true history, praying that
they may some time reach the hand of my guardian and uncle, Dr. William
Scrivener, if he be still alive and dwelling in these parts. Should they
chance, instead, to meet the eyes of some friendly-disposed person of
English blood and Protestant faith, to whom the name of William
Scrivener is unknown, I beseech him to deliver them to any person
sailing with the sloop _Three Brothers_, which did set out from the
Island of Barbadoes on the 2nd of November last,--being in the hire of
Sir Thomas Colleton, and bearing freight and passengers for these
shores.

If the sloop has suffered some misadventure (as I fear is not
unlikely,--either at the hands of the Spaniards, or else of the Indians
of these parts, who do show themselves most unfriendly to all
Englishmen, being set on to mischief by the Spanish friars), then I pray
that word may be forwarded to his Lordship, the Duke of Albemarle, and
others of the Lords Proprietors who did commission and furnish a fleet
of three vessels, to wit: the _Carolina_, the _Port Royal_, and the
_Albemarle_, which did weigh anchor at the Downs in August of last year,
and set forth to plant an English colony at Port Royal.

In particular would I implore that word might reach Lord Ashley, seeing
that his kinsman, Mr. John Rivers, is here detained a prisoner in sorry
state, laden with chains in the dungeon of the Castle--for which may God
forgive me, I being in some degree to blame; and yet, since it hath
pleased Heaven to grant me the fair face that wrought the mischief, I
hold myself the less guilty and grieve the more bitterly, inasmuch as I
love him with a maid's true love and would willingly give my life to
spare him hurt.

If it were so that I might give the true narrative of our present
plight, and how it fell about, without cumbering the tale with mention
of my own name, it would please me best; but as those who read it may be
strangers, I would better tell my story from the start.

Of myself it is enough to say that my name is Margaret Tudor, and saving
my uncle, Dr. Scrivener, I am alone in the world and well-nigh
portionless--my father having spent his all, and life and liberty to
boot, in the service of King Charles, being one of those unfortunate
royalists who plotted for His Majesty's return in the year '55. For, as
Cromwell did discover their designs ere they were fully ripe, many were
taken prisoners, of whom some suffered death and others banishment. Of
these last was my father, who was torn from the arms of his young wife
and babe and sent in slavery to Barbadoes. We could learn nothing of his
after fate, though many inquiries were made in his behalf.

And so it fell about that,--my mother having gone to her rest,--I did
take passage with my uncle, Dr. William Scrivener, on board the
_Carolina_, with intent to stop at Barbadoes and make some search for my
poor father in the hope that he yet lived.

Among the passengers of the _Carolina_ was Lord Ashley's kinsman and
agent, Mr. John Rivers, of whom I can find naught to say that seems
fitting; for although it may hap that in this great world there are
other men of a countenance as fine, a mien as noble, and a heart as
brave and tender, it has not been my lot as yet to encounter them.

Together we did sail for three months on the great deep, in danger of
pirates, in peril of tempests, and in long hours of golden calm when the
waters burned blue around us and the wide heaven shone pale and clear
over our heads. And in all that time we came to know one another passing
well; and Mr. Rivers heard my father's story and promised to aid us in
our search.

It was October when we reached Barbadoes and landed. Of the news that we
obtained, and the strange chance that brought it to our ears, it is
needless here to speak. Let it suffice that my dear father did not
suffer long, as death soon freed him from his bondage.

We had no further cause to detain us in Barbadoes, so we yielded to the
persuasions of Mr. Rivers that we should continue with the expedition to
Port Royal; and, in November, we set sail once more in the _Three
Brothers_, a sloop hired to replace the _Albemarle_, which, in
consequence of a broken cable, had been driven ashore in a gale and lost
upon the rocks.

From now on, for the truth's sake, I must needs tell somewhat of my
intercourse with Mr. Rivers. It may seem I am lacking in a proper
modesty if I declare that, even then, there was more than friendship
betwixt us. But surely there were reasons enough and to spare. That I
should love him was no mystery--he being the gallant gentleman he is;
and, since there chanced to be no other maid upon the vessel of proper
age and gentle condition, I suppose it was in nature that he should make
the best of the little society he had. But nay, I would be false to my
own faith if I doubted that it was foreordained of Heaven that we should
come together and love one another.

It is true that I did not make confession of this belief until I had
tormented my would-be lord with every teasing device that entered into
my brain. But though he was often cast down for hours together, he gave
me to understand that he could read my heart in my blue eyes.

"An you were to swear upon your soul you hated me, dear lady, I'd not
believe it," he once said. "Mistress Margaret is too unversed in city
ways and shallow coquetries to play a part--and 'tis for that I love her
so." And though it angered me to have him praise my innocence and
country airs, I knew he spoke the truth, and that a time would come when
I would own my love for him. And so it did.

A terrible storm had raged for eight-and-forty hours. There had been
wild, black, awful nights, and sullen days when the gray curtains of the
sky were torn asunder and whirled over us in inky folds, their tattered
fringes lashing up the seas, and whipping our frail bark till it skulked
and cowered, like a beaten cur that looks in vain for mercy. We had
drifted northward far from our course, our two consorts had disappeared,
and we had well-nigh given up hope, when with the dawning of the third
day the wind lulled, and through the ragged clouds we saw the blue arch
of heaven high above us.

I had climbed out upon the deck alone; and from a sheltered corner I saw
the sun rise and gild a far-off strip of shore that lay to west of us.
It seemed a vision of a new heaven and a new earth, and I gave God
thanks. Then a hand touched mine, and a voice whispered my name--and
other words that need not be recorded here; and I could answer nothing
in denial, for the reason that my heart was too full.




CHAPTER II.


The land to west of us was Virginia, and we sought harbour at Nancemund,
and lay there some weeks for needful repairs on the sloop, which was
also provisioned afresh for her further voyage.

It was then the month of February; we had been six months a-journeying,
and still the promised land was far away.

This tale of mine, however, bids fair to spin itself at too great
length, so I must hasten on to the story of our captivity.

In spite of fairly good weather on our way southward we somehow over
passed the latitude of Port Royal harbour; and of a Saturday in May--the
fifteenth day of the month--we did cast anchor at a little isle upon the
coast, in order to obtain wood and water for the sloop's needs.

This island is within the territory of the Spaniards, who have named it
Santa Catalina. It lies some days' journey north of San Augustin,--the
exact latitude I know not, although I have heard it more times than
one; but there are some things that abide never in a woman's brain.

Here appeared many Indians, who seemed at first not unfriendly, and
spoke words of welcome to us in the Spanish tongue.

Much trading was done aboard the sloop, and the barbarians appeared
strangely content with strings of paltry beads and the cast-off garments
of the crew, giving in their stead good provender, and skins of the wild
deer dressed soft and fine.

The second day of our stay, Mr. Rivers, with the ship's master and three
seamen, went ashore with such stuff as the Indians desire, to trade for
pork and other provisions; and it being a Monday morn, Dame Barbara did
crave leave to take her washing and go with them, in the hope of finding
a softer water to cleanse the linen.

It was early morning; the breeze from the land blew sweet and fragrant,
and the woods beyond the sandy beach bourgeoned in new leafage, green
and tender. I longed for the scent of the warm earth, and the tuneful
courting of bird-lovers in the thicket; so I prayed my uncle to let me
go ashore with the dame. He acceded willingly enough; but Mr. Rivers,
who is always over-anxious where my safety is concerned, counselled me
earnestly not to leave the ship.

I was ever a headstrong maid, and the sunshine and the scent of far-off
flowers had set me nearly wild with longing; so I chid him roundly for
his caution and merrily warned him to beware how he sought to clip the
wings of a free bird. Go I did, therefore, though he smiled and shook
his head at me; and when we all parted company at the watering-place he
seemed uneasy still, and, looking backward over his shoulder as I waved
farewell, entreated me to wander no farther from the shore.

The little spring where they had left us welled up, cold and clear, at
the foot of a tall cypress-tree, and trickled thence in a tiny stream, a
mere thread of crystal, that tangled itself in the low bush and wound
its way helplessly through the level wooded country, as though seeking
for some gentle slope that would lead it to the sea.

The dame rinsed her linen till it fairly shone, and spread it out to dry
in a sunny nook; while I lay prone on the warm earth and stirred up the
damp brown leaves that had drifted into a tiny hollow, and found beneath
them a wee green vine with little white star-flowers that blinked up at
the sun and me. And I dreamed of the new home we would make for
ourselves in this far country, and of the very good and docile wife I
would be to my dear love. Then at last,--because I grew aweary at the
prospect of my very great obedience in the future, and because, too, I
thought it was high time my gallant gentleman came back to ask me how I
did,--up from the ground I started, rousing the dame from a sweet nap.

"Look, Barbara! the linen is dry; the sun is on its westering way, and
the shadows grow longer and longer.--'Tis very strange that Mr. Rivers
and the master have not returned!"

"Mayhap they have clean forgot us and gone back to the ship alone,"
moaned the old woman, rubbing her sleepy eyes and beginning at once to
croak misfortune, after the manner of her class.

Such an idea was past belief and set me smiling. I laid my hollowed
palms behind my ears and listened.

Master Wind, passing through the tree-tops, had set every leaf
a-whispering and nid-nodding to its gossips,--just as the peddler on his
way through the village at home stirs all the women-folk to chattering
about the latest news from the whole countryside. In the thicket beside
us a chorus of feathered singers were all a-twitter, each trying to
outdo his neighbour; but one saucy fellow piped the merriest tune of
all, mingling in a delicious medley the sweetest notes of all the rest.
Of a sudden, as I listened, there was a soft rustle in the undergrowth,
and out from a clump of myrtles bounced a little brown rabbit, who
cocked an astonished eye at me and disappeared again with a series of
soundless leaps and a terrified whisk of his little white tail. Upon
that the laugh in my throat bubbled over; I dropped my hands and turned
to the dame.

"Gather up your linen, good Barbara, and let us explore the trail
ourselves. They are doubtless picnicking somewhere in the woods beyond,
and 'tis very discourteous not to bid us to the entertainment."

She would have demurred at first: the linen was not to be left, and yet
was too weighty to carry; her back was aweary and she was fain to rest
in peace. But Mistress Margaret was minded to have her own way, and,
dividing the bundle in two, started on ahead with the larger share of
it; so that, will she, nill she, the dame must follow.

I knew, of course, that I was disobeying Mr. Rivers's last injunction,
and 'twas that thought quite as much as the sweet woodland airs that
lured me on: I desired, above all things, to behold the countenance of
my gallant gentleman when he discovered my wilfulness. So I hastened
forward, pausing now and again to encourage the good dame and entice her
still farther with glowing descriptions of new beauties just coming into
view.

It fell about, therefore, that I was some forty paces in advance of her
when I suddenly came upon the Indian settlement and saw there a sight
that made my heart stand still.

I drew back hastily behind the trunk of a wide-branched oak, whence I
could look--unseen, I thought--upon the town.

A great concourse of barbarians was assembled in the open space before
the chief building, which was of considerable size, built round after
the manner of a dove-house, and completely thatched with palmetto
leaves. Many smaller buildings surrounded it: one, in especial, I would
have done well to take note of; for it was doubtless a kind of sentinel
or watch-tower, being set on tall, upright timbers which gave it an
elevation much greater than any part of the surrounding country.

I had eyes for naught, however, but one figure, that stood, with hands
and feet bound, at the foot of a great wooden cross planted opposite the
entrance of the chief building. It was my dear love--I knew him on the
instant by the proud poise of his head and shoulders. He was speaking in
his usual calm and courtly tones to the circle of half-naked savages,
who seemed to hear him with respectful consideration, though they made
no motion to loose his bonds.

On the ground beside him lay the ship's master, old Captain Baulk, and
the three seamen, their arms securely pinioned. Near them was the bale
of goods which had been brought from the ship: it lay wide open, and was
being most unscrupulously rifled of its contents.

For the moment I thought it was the sight of the gewgaws this bale
contained that had roused the cupidity of the barbarians; but now I
believe otherwise. The savages would have paid for them willingly, in
skins and such like, and then suffered our men to depart in peace, had
not that smooth-tongued hypocrite, Ignacio, been behind. But this, of
course, was unknown to me at the time.

The idea came over me, like a flash, that we should go for help to the
ship; and I turned quickly and signalled the dame to be silent. It was
too late, however, for she had caught sight of the savages and of our
men bound in the midst of them; and turning to the right about with a
shrill scream, she cast away the bundle of linen and started back the
way we had come at a speed which 'tis likely she had never equalled in
her life before. After her I hastened, and implored her to be still,
lest the barbarians should hear and overtake us. My one thought was to
summon aid; for, though there seemed to be over two hundred of the
Indians, I believed that our handful of men, armed with muskets, swords,
and pikes, would be sufficient to strike terror into them at once.

We had scarce run an hundred yards down the trail when four savages
stepped from a thicket and laid hands upon us. They had lain in wait,
there is no doubt, so 'twas evident we had been seen some while before.

Barbara resisted them with much wild shrieking, but I submitted in
silence. 'Twas not that I was any braver than she, but simply that I
could not believe that they meant to do us any real harm; and all the
while I was possessed with the thought that there was some one stationed
in the thicket who was directing the actions of the savages. It appeared
to me that, as they fastened our arms behind us, their eyeballs rolled
ever toward a certain myrtle-bush, as if they were waiting for a cue.

We were led back at once to the town, and I shall never forget the look
upon my dear love's face as he caught sight of me.

"Margaret--you also! I had hoped you and the dame were safe!" he cried
out, as our captors led us to his side.

"'Twas all my wilfulness--I came hither seeking you," I answered, and
hung my head.

He looked at me dumbly, and then turned his face away; and I saw his
arms writhing in their bonds. A strange feeling came upon me, part shame
and sorrow that I should have grieved him so, and part exultation
that--whatever our fate--at least we would meet it side by side. Fear
had the least place in my thoughts as I waited, breathless, for the
outcome of this strange situation. My eyes wandered round the circle of
barbarians, and I noted with some wonderment that numbers of the men
wore their crowns shaven, after the manner of a priest's tonsure.

One among them, who seemed of greater consequence than the rest, began
to speak; but I could make nothing of his discourse, although he used
many words that I thought had somewhat of a Spanish ring.

Yet his meaning was fathomed by Mr. Rivers, who gave him the reply on
the instant, couched in the Spanish, and delivered with some heat and
indignation.

There was a stir among the barbarians, and presently there appeared a
new figure on the scene. The shaven crown, the bare feet, the coarse
woollen robe fastened by a knotted cord about the waist, all denoted a
friar of the Franciscan order.

"So," muttered Mr. Rivers, under his breath, "now we have the real chief
to deal with."

Scarcely less swarthy than the Indians themselves was the dark face of
the Spanish friar. As he came forward into the open space, he raised his
eyes to the great cross at the foot of which we were standing, and
straightway bent the knee and crossed himself.



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