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we puffed up with these false attributes ! Well, in losing the monarch, I have found the man. But hark! somebody is near.
What were it best to do? Will my majesty protect me ? No! Throw majesty aside then, and let manhood do it.
Enter the Miller.
assure you. Miller. Little better, friend, I believe. Who fired that
King. Not I, indeed.
King. (Aside.) Lie, lie !- how strange it seems to me to be talked to in this style. (Aloud.) Upon my word I do not, sir.
Miller. Come, come, sirrah, confess; you have shot one of the king's deer, have n't you?
King. No, indeed; I owe the king more respect. I heard a gun ġo off, to be sure, and was afraid some robbers
Miller. I am not bound to believe this, friend. Pray who are you?—what's your name?
King. Name !
You have a name, have n't you? Where do you come from, and what business have
King. These are questions I have not been used to, honest man.
Miller. May be so; but they are questions no honest man would be afraid to answer. So, if you can give no better account of yourself, I shall make bold to take you along with
King. With you! What authority have you to
Miller. The king's, if I must give you an account. I am John Cockle, the miller of Mansfield, one of his majesty's keepers in the forest of Sherwood; and I will let no suspected person pass this way, unless he can give a better account of himself than you have done, I promise you.
King. Very well, sir ; I am glad to hear the king has so good an officer; and since I find you have his authority, I will give you a better account of myself, if you will do me the favor to hear it.
Miller. You don't deserve it, I believe; but let's hear what you can say for yourself.
King. I have the honor to belong to the king, as well as you, and perhaps should be as unwilling to see any wrong done him. I came down with him to hunt in this forest, and the chase leading us to-day a great way from home, I am benighted in this wood, and have lost my way.
Miller. This does not sound well ; if you have been hunting, pray where is your horse?
King. I have tired my horse so that he lay down under me, and I was obliged to leave him.
Miller. If I thought I might believe this now-
Miller. What ! live at court, and not lie? That's a likely story, indeed.
King. Be that as it will, I speak the truth now, I assure you ; and to convince you of it, if you will attend me to Nottingham, or give me a night's lodging in your house, here is something to pay you for your trouble, (offering money.) and if that is not sufficient, I will satisfy you in the morning to your utmost desire.
Miller. Ay, ay; now I am convinced you are a courtier. Here is a little bribe for to-day, and a large promise for tomorrow, both in one breath. Here, take it again - John Cockle is no courtier. He can do what is right without a bribe.
King. Thou art a very extraordinary man, and I should be glad, methinks, to know more of thee.
Miller. Prithee don't thee and thou me at this rate. I dare
I am as good a man as yourself, at least.
I must own,
King. Sir, I beg pardon.
Miller. Nay, I am not angry, friend ; only I don't love to be too familiar with you, while your honesty is suspected.
King. You are right; but what else can I do to convince
Miller. You may do what you please. It is twelve miles to Nottingham, and all the way through this thick wood'; but if you are resolved upon going thither to-night, I will put you in the road, and direct you as well as I can ; or
you will accept of such poor entertainment as a miller can give, you shall be welcome to stay here till morning, and then I will go with you myself.
King. And cannot you go with me to-night?
Enter a courtier in haste. Courtier. Is your majesty safe? We have hunted the forest over to find you.
Miller. How! the king !- then I am undone. (Kneels.) Your majesty will pardon the ill usage you have received. (The king draws his sword.) His majesty surely will not kill a servant for doing his duty too faithfully.
King. No, my good fellow; so far from having anything to pardon, I am much your debtor. I cannot think but so good and honest a man will make a worthy and honorable knight. Rise up, Sir John Cockle, and receive this sword as a badge of knighthood, and a pledge of my protection ; and to support your nobility, and in some measure to requite you for the pleasure you have done us, a thousand crowns a year shall be your reward.
DIALOGUE BETWEEN FERNANDO CORTEZ AND WILLIAM PENN.
Cortez. Is it possible, William Penn, that you should seriously compare your glory with mine! The planter of a small colony in North America presume to vie with the conqueror of the great Mexican empire ?
Penn. Friend, I pretend to no glory ; far be it from me to glory. But this I say, that I was instrumental in executing a more glorious work than that performed by thee; incomparably more glorious.
Cortez. Dost thou not know, William Penn, that with less than six hundred Spanish foot, eighteen horse, and a few small pieces of cannon, I fought and defeated innumerable armies of very brave men; dethroned an emperor, who excelled all his countrymen in the science of war, as much as they excelled the rest of the West India nations ? That I made him my prisoner in his own capital ; and after he had been deposed and slain by his subjects, vanquished and took Guatemozin, his successor, and accomplished my conquest of the whole Mexican empire, which I loyally annexed to the Spanish crown ? Dost thou not know that, in doing these wonderful acts, I showed as much courage as Alexander the Great, and as much prudence as Cæsar ?
Penn. I know very well that thou wast as fierce as a lion, and as subtle as a serpent. The prince of darkness may, perhaps, place thee as high upon his black list of heroes as Alexander or Cæsar. It is not my business to interfere with him in settling thy rank. But hark thee, friend Cortezwhat right hadst thou, or had the king of Spain himself, to the Mexican empire ? Answer me that, if thou canst. Cortez. The pope gave it to my
master. Penn. Suppose the high priest of Mexico had taken it into his head to give Spain to Montezuma-would his right have been good ?
Cortez. These are questions of casuistry, which it is not the business of a soldier to decide — we leave that to gowns
But pray, Mr. Penn, what right had you to the colony
you settled ?
Penn. An honest right of fair purchase. We gave the native Indians a variety of articles which they wanted ; and they, in return, gave us lands which they did not want. All was amicably agreed on, and not a drop of blood shed to stain our acquisition.
Cortez. I am afraid there was a little fraud in the purchase. Thy followers, William Penn, are said to think that cheating, in a quiet and sober way, is no mo sin.
Penn. The righteous are always calumniated by the wicked. But it was a sight which an angel might contemplate with delight, to behold the colony which I settled ! To see us living with the Indians, like innocent lambs, and taming the ferocity of their manners by the gentleness of ours ! To see the whole country, which before was uncultivated wilderness, rendered as fair and as fertile as the garden of Eden. O, Fernando Cortez! Fernando Cortez ! didst thou leave the great Mexican empire in that state ? No, thou didst turn those delightful and populous regions into a desert-a desert flooded with blood ! Dost thou not remember that most infernal scene, when the noble emperor Guatemozin was stretched out by thy soldiers upon hot burning coals, to make him discover in what part of the lake of Mexico he had thrown the royal treasures ? Are not his groans ever sounding in the ears of thy conscience? Do they not rend thy hard heart, and strike thee with more horror than the yells of the furies ?
Cortez. Alas! I was not present when that direful act was done. Had I been there, the mildness of my nature never would have suffered me to endure the sight. I certainly should have forbidden it.