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A f/aiiie of fire



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1' I R E

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Tiing ih€ History of th$ Advmtur$s of Thres En^
lisbnan in Spain at the Tim$ of ttu Gr$at Armada,
IVritten by Rupert Hamstead, of Hamst$ad
Manor, situated war Barmt, in th$ County of
Hertford, and now first s$t hffore the Public





New York Chicago Toronto

Fleming H. Revell Company

London and Edinburgh

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ATH 36^7

Copyright, 1903. by


New York: 158 Rfth Avenue
Chicago : 63 Washington Street
Toronto: 27 Richmond Street, W.
London : ai Paternoster Square
Edinbuigh : 30 St. Mary Street

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I. Thb Coming OF THs CoRNisHifAN, . • • . 9

II. John Trsnowbth's Story, 17

III. How I Left Hamstkad Manor, .... 27

IV. The Significance of a Spanish Proverb, . 39

V. Why Mawgan Kilugrew and I Hasted to Leave

England, 51

VI. The First Sight of Spain, 61

VII. LosGiTANOs, 72

VIII. The Eyes of a Gipsy 84

IX. Toledo, 94

X. I Hear the Archbishop's Sermon and See Se!}or

Toledo, 105

XI. How John Trenoweth Saw His Sweetheart, . 117

XII. The Visit OF SeSor Toledo, 128

XIII. SeRor Toledo's Offer, 139

XIV. How I First Saw Father Parsons, . . .150

XV. The Argument of Father Parsons, . . .161

XVI. El Cristo de la Vega, 174

XVII. How THE Flame Began to Burn. . . . .184

XVIII. Tells of the Meeting of Those Who Spoke the

English Tongue 197

XIX. Tells of My First Command to Isabella de

Valencia, and How She Observed It. . . 207


XX. How I Commenced My Wooing, .... 219

XXI. How We Travelled towards the Palace of the

King, 230


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XXII. The Entrance into the Palace of Phiup II.,

King of Spain, 241

XXIII. In^thb Presence of the King, . . . .253

XXIV. The Love that Inspired Anger, .... 264

XXV. How We Journeyed to Seville 276

XXVI. How I Was Brought before the King a Third

Time 287

XXVII. The King's Command 298

XXVIII. The Passage from the Alcazar to the Torres

delOro 310

XXIX. A Journey from Midnight to Morning, . . 322

XXX. How THE Spanish Maid Challenged Pablo

Toledo, 334

XXXI. How We All Met Again 345

XXXII. The Love of a Gipsy Maid, 357

XXXIII. How I Saw the Great Armada in the Rivxe

Tagus 369

XXXIV. A Flame of Pule 382

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** Gag Him ! Away with Him to the Dungeons,** Title

" My Master's Words Are of No Mean Import, " . . i6

" Ws Would if Need Be Give Our Lives Rather than

Pail," 68

" Her Voice Held Us Spellbound," 78

"I Could Swear She Looked at Me out of the Cor-
ners OF Her Eyes," 106

•' You Know What Your Life Is Worth Here," . . 140

•« « For the King,' He Cried almost Breathlessly," . 278

" I Thought You Knew Me Better, Rupert, Lad," . . 380

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WHETHER I should have ever dared to record
these things but for one fact I do not know;
for, unlike my brother, I am but a poor scribe,
and have but little skill in placing my thoughts upon
paper. But lately I have been reading what my beloved
father. Sir Richard Hamstead, wrote about his life during
those dark days when Mary was Queen, and this has led
me to recall things which have happened to me.

For stirring as were the times of my father's young
manhood, dangerous as were the scenes through which he
passed in fighting Senor Toledo, thwarting Steirfien Gardi-
ner, and winning my dear mother as his wife, I think I
can say with due modesty that I have passed through
scenes not one whit less terrible, and faced difficulties
which even he would say were great enough for a hero
like Admiral Drake or Sir Richard Grenville, to say noth-
ing of a nearly beardless youth as I was in those days.

Not that I had seen no active service. I had fought in
Ireland, and I had sailed around the world with the great
adnural, during which time I had not only seen the ways
of the Spaniards, but I had learned something of their
tongue. I received a wound, too, and it was this same
wound which, I suspect, altered the whole course of my
life's history, and caused me to have those experiences
which I presently propose to relate.


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For, be it borne in mind^ I realised early in my life that
I must win my own fortune. My brother Dick, being the
eldest son, was naturally heir to my father's estates at
Hamstead Manor, while my grandfather, Lord Godfrey
Bedford, had all along willed it that my sister Faith should
inherit Barcroft Hall and its estates. That being so, I
saw that while my father might be able to give me a farm
or two, together with a stun of money, I must make my
own fortune if I did not intend to live and die a poor man.
Not that this troubled me. Dick had always been far
more fitted for a squire than I, and I did not grudge him
one acre of the estates. As for Faith, I rejoiced that my
grandfather had chosen her to inherit his possessions. It
is not given to women to go out into the world and fight
their country's battles, neither surely did God intend them
to bear hardships and dangers. Besides, I loved her so,
that I would gladly have renounced Barcroft for her sake,
even if my grandfather had left it to me. Like my father,
I had the adventurous spirit, and I loved nothing more, or
better, than to go out into the great world, and to take my
share in the struggle to uphold our Queen and country.

Thus it came about that on my return from my ad-
ventures, of which it is my purpose to say nothing here,
I fretted greatly. For although my wound healed quickly,
my comrades had, during its healing, sailed to Virginia,
and, as they did not expect to return for many months, I
saw nothing before me but a period of enforced idleness
in the quiet manor of Hamstead, which, although only
fourteen miles from London town, three from the town
of Bamet, and six from St. Albans, was but little to my
taste. Especially did I feel this when my wound was
fully healed and my health completely restored. Day fol-
lowed day with monotonous weariness, until I felt I must
go to London town and join one of the cruises which were
constantly being taken by the young hot-bloods of that

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period. I did not do this, however, for something hap-
pened which, as I thought, promised fair sport. At first
I thought there was but little in it ; but in this, as will pres-
ently be seen, I was in the wrong.

Seeing that it was the coming of the man from G)m-
wall which b^^n the business, I may as well speak of his
first appearance, and of what my father said at the time.
When he rode up to the house first of all, I was lying
under a tree, dreaming of the fine times my companions
were having in the New World, and was naturally wish-
ing myself with them.

" Craving your forgiveness," said the man, " but could
you wake up long enough to tell me if this is Hamstead
Manor, the house of Sir Richard Hamstead? "

" That depends, my man," I said, rising and walking
slowly towards him.

"Depends on what?" asked the feltow, looking
shrewdly at mc.

" Oh, your reasons for wanting to know," I replied.
For, as it must be remembered, there were so many Jesuit
spies in those days that it behoved us to be forever wary.
Especially was this true when anything concerned my
father. It is true few men underwent more danger than
he in the time of Mary, and, as he has recorded in his
memoirs, he snatched my dear mother from the stake on
the day that Queen Mary died. Nevertheless, he never
pronounced himself fully on the side of the Reformed
Faith. My grandfather had loyally supported the an-
cient faith all through the dhanging times of Henry, the
boy Edward, and Mary, and although he must, perforce,
loyally welcome our beloved Queen Elizabeth, he never
disowned the Roman Church. Moreover, my dear mother
was a Protestant from her childhood, and held that the
Pope was the Antichrist spoken of in the Scriptures.
Nevertheless, my father, while adopting liberal views con-

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cerning the Protestants, always called himself a Catholic;
and while he never hindered my dear mother from teach-
ing us according to her belief, my father was still regarded
as one of the Catholic gentlemen who stood by the old
faith. As a consequence, he had often been regarded with
suspicion. Again and again had the Jesuits claimed his
assistance, and urged upon him that his first duty was to
the Church, and to his country afterwards. But my
father would have none of this. Nothing would induce
him to be false to the land of his birth. The Pope might
excommunicate him, he said, but he would never plot
against his Queen. All the same, he was constantly
harassed, and thus we, his children, who would have noth-
ing to do with either the Pope or his pretensions, were
led to regard the visits of strangers with much suspici(Xi.

** You want to know who I am, and from whence I
came/' said the stranger.

" You have hit the nail on the head," I replied.

He looked at me steadily for some moments ; then he
said, " And who are you, young master? "

The fellow had an honest face, and spoke, as I thought,
with a true voice ; so, wondering what he wanted, I said :

" I am Rupert Hamstead, my good fellow. If you are
honest, I may help you to see Sir Richard my father; but
if you are not, I will give you a beating with your own

" God a' mercy. Master Rupert I talk not like that," said
the man, with a great laugh, '' for, if Sir Richard falls in
with the plans of my master, it may be that you and I will
be much together. Besides Master Killigrew would not
believe me if I told him that John Trenoweth allowed
himself to be horsewhipped, even by the son of Sir Richard

"Master Killigrew!" I cried; "what— Master Tom
Killigrew of Falmouth?"

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" Right the very first time/' said John Trenoweth ; " and
all the way have I come from Cornwall, that I might take
my master's letter to Sir Richard, and also, if he thinks
well of it, to talk over the same with him. Not that I will
not give you a chance to horsewhip me, if you will, Mas-
ter Rupert ; only, as your father can tell you, we Cornish-
men have a rough way with us/*

" Do you mean that 1 could not do it? " I cried, for I
loved nothing better than a trial of strength, and, when
it did not come to fighting with swords, the young braves
of our time did not deem it beneath them to try their
strength with those of a less degree.

" You will forgive me if I have my doubts," said the
Comishman, with a laugh, "and after I have seen Sir
Richard I will e'en meet you in a quiet place, where I will
first give you the chance to take the whip from me, and
afterwards we will try which is the better man."

" You mean some of your Cornish wrestling? " I said.

" That's as you please. Master Rupert. I be noan par-
ticular. But I may not wait now. I have travelled fast
from Falmouth — so fast that, much as I desired, I did not
turn aside to visit London town, because, as my master
said to me, ' Do not kill your horse, John, but at the same
time let no grass grow under his feet, for Sir Richard
ought to know without delay what is in my mind. Young
Mawgan is ready, and if so be that Master Rupert is of the
same mind, and if his father is willing, no time should be
wasted.' "

" What mean you? " I asked. " Do you mean to say
that you know your master's plans."

"Concerning that I shall tell Sir Richard," replied
John Trenoweth, " so lead me to him without delay."

I must confess that I was not pleased with the way the
fellow spoke, but his words so much stirred my curiosity
that I forgot my anger, and without more ado* led the way

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to the house, and a few minutes after John Trenoweth was
closeted with my father.

"What doth the fellow mean?" I asked myself as I
todc some of the tobacco I had brought home with me,
and, having placed some in a pipe, began to smoke.
"John Trenoweth seems somewhat of a mystery. He
speaks not as an ordinary servant, neither is he a gentle-
man. It appears he hath the confidence of Master Tom
Killigrew, who, as all the world knows, is faithful to
Queen and country, and it would seem that there is some
plan afoot in which I may have something to say. If so,
God bless the coming of John Trenoweth ! for I am right
weary of idling around Hamstead Manor."

I had not been long thinking of such things when I
heard my father's voice.

" HuUoa, Rupert I Come here, lad. Here's something

I made my way with all quickness to the room in which
John Trenoweth had gone, and saw that my father looked
much excited, while John Trenoweth sat near, his face
calm and placid, although his eyes gleamed with interest.
There was a marked contrast in the two men. My father
was tall, and of commanding stature — every inch a sol-
dier. On his face were evidences of the fact that he
had taken part in the weighty matters of our land, and he
being a member of Parliament knew the secrets of im-
portant and far-reaching movements.

John Trenoweth was entirely diflferent. He was by no
means a tall man — rather he was under than above the
ordinary stature — ^but he had enormous breadth of shoul-
ders and depth of chest. I had not noticed this so par-
ticularly when I saw him first ; but now, being divested of
his riding attire, I felt less doubtful of being able to horse-
whip him. It is true I stood at least six inches taller, for
I could give even my father an inch in the matter of height.

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while I prided myself upon my prowess. Nevertheless as
I saw his tremendous thews, and noted the depth of his
great broad chest, I knew that John Trenoweth was a
man of extraordinary strength. Moreover, he seemed
less of a serving man as he stood there ; rather he might
have good blood in his veins, and claim some sort of
equality with those who bore well-known names.

" Here, Rupert," said my father. " Master Trenoweth
tells me that you have already met, and so I need not make
you known to each other. But read this/' and he placed a
letter in my hand.

Thisis what Iread:

Arwenack, near Falmouth,

Written on the first day of September, in the year of our
Lord 1587, and the twenty-ninth year of the reign of our
most beloved Lady and Queen her gracious Majesty,

Deah Sir Richako Hamstbad,— I write you this, first to
convey to you my love, as my old friend and companion of more
than thirty years ago. Dost remember, Dick, of that meeting of
ours at the old house near Southend, and of those after days at
the Red House at Rouen? But of that I must not speak now, or
I should never get on to the matter in hand. But I hope to see
you shortly, Dick. Either you must come to me, or I will come
to thee, and together we will hold revels as we talk of the old

And second I write. Sir Richard, to ask you to pay good heed
to what John Trenoweth may say, for he is an old and tried
friend of our family. For while he calls himself our servant, he
is more friend than servant, having good blood in his veins,
knows something of letters, and carries as good a sword as can
be found this side the Tamar.

Concerning what he hath to say I will not write here. Sir
Richard, but pay good heed to what he may tell thee, for we
have talked over the matters many times; and as my son Maw-
gan and thy son Rupert be nearly the same age, and I trust thy
son Rupert is a well-grown lad as my son Mawgan is, standing,
by the grace of God, six feet two inches in his stockings, and

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can throw any man of his girth in the county. So after you and
John Trenoweth have discussed this matter fully, and if thou be
willing and thy son Rupert be willing; and of course he will be,
or he is no son of thine (even now I would know the reason why,
if Mawgan did not obey my bidding without a murmur), well,
see to it that the business be taken in hand right quickly, so that
in a few days from the time thou dost read this I shall see what
kind of a lad Rupert is, and then, by the blessing of God, see him
and Mawgan start on their holy mission.

And that is all I can write. Sir Richard. First, because
written messages are dangerous in these days ; and second, be-
cause it would be impossible for me to tell thee all that is in my
mind by means of pen and paper. Even as it is, this letter has,
owing to my being a poor penman, cost me many hours of
anxious labour.— Your obedient servant and faithful friend,

Tom Eillig&iw.

Nota Bene,^Flease convey to your dear lady, Dick, my
sincere devotion ; also that of my wife, although, as yet, they
have not seen each other.— T. K.

This letter, now couched in formal terms, and again in
those of friendship, I read carefully through, and, having
done so, turned to John Trenoweth, in order to hear what
he had to say. I saw, too, that my father was anxious to
know what was in the Cornishman's mind.

" I pray you give good heed," said Trenoweth, " for my
master's words are of no mean import/'

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BUT the man did not speak freely. He seemed to
have some difficulty in shaping his thoughts, also of
finding fit words wherewith to convey them. So
much was this the case that I presently began to get sus-
picious, but I judged afterwards that so anxious was he
to do his master's bidding well, and without mistake, that
fear got hold of him, and, as all the world knows, fear is
not helpful in matters of this kind.

" My master admires not Sir Francis Drake," he said

" Then your master must be a fool," I replied hastily,
for I could brook no word that slighted Sir Francis.
" Why, man, think of the times he hath "

" Steady, steady, young master," said John Trenoweth.
" Master Killigrew admires him greatly as a rover, as a
stout fighter, and as a prince among English sailors, but
he doth not rate him highly as a clever, far-seeing man.
He can meet blows with better blows, plans with better
plans — that is, when all is fair and above board — ^but he
knows not the mind of the Spaniard, he cannot under-
stand the underground way in which he works. In short,
Sir Francis is a great admiral, but he is not a far-seeing
man where the Spaniard is concerned."

At this I was about to break out again into a warm de-
fence of the hero of our day, but my father cut me short.

"Explain yourself more fully, Master John Tren-
oweth," he said, " and give us examples of your meaning.'*


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" This, Sir Richard," said the Cornishman. " Let him
meet the Spaniard in open sea, and the Spaniard becomes
a child to him ; but let him meet the Spaniard in counsel,
and then Sir Francis becomes the child."

" Facts have not proved it," I cried hotly.

"They have proved it again and again," said Tren-
oweth. " Sir Francis sails against the Spaniard in open
day, and fights him in open day, and when he has beaten
him he thinks that all is over; but he does not dream of
the thousand schemes in the Spaniard's mind, he cannot
tell us what the Jesuits are doing, he does not know what
underground plots are being made against our Queen and
country. In truth, when we come to think of it, we do
not know our danger; we do not know what force the
Spaniard can bring to Briti^ shores; and as a conse-
quence — God forgive her for being mistaken I but her
gracious Majesty is stingy in money, stingy in meat,
stingy in powder, stingy in men. In truth, I much doubt
if she realises that the Spaniard is serious."

At this I was silent ; for, much as I loved her Majesty,
I could not but sigh at the way she had treated some of
the bravest men which God ever gave to a monarch.

" Master Killigrew hath thought much concerning this,"
said John Trenoweth, " and he greatly desires that all the
Spaniard's plans may be discovered ; that the amount of
help he can get from Italy, Austria, and other countries be
calculated to a nicety, together with such information as,
when conveyed to her Majesty, will make her consent to
her Parliament being liberal to her servants."

" But how is this to be found out? " asked my father.

"Only by Englishmen going thither," said John

"An Englishman's life would not be worth a silver
groat in Spain," said my father. " Why, think of the men
jvho have dared to set foot there. There was Biddicombe

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