The Tory Lover -- Contents

The Tory Lover by Sarah Orne Jewett
.Chapter XXXVI

"Thus says my King: Say thou to Harry of England, though we seemed dead, we did but sleep."

     "What man?" asked Mr. Fairfax and Mr. Davis, with eager curiosity, seeing such astonishment upon his face; but Lord Newburgh made them no answer until he had read the letter and carefully folded it again. They saw his hands tremble. He stood looking blankly at the two men and Miss Hamilton, as if he were in doubt what to say.

     "'T is like one risen from the dead," he told them presently, "but what is written here is proof enough for me. There are some things which cannot be spoken of even after all these years, but I can say this: 't was a friend of my poor father, Charles Radcliffe, and of his brother, Darwentwater, - one of their unlucky company sixty years ago. There are high reasons, and of State too, why, beyond this, I must still keep silence. Great heavens, what a page of history is here!" and he opened the letter to look at it once more.

     "Mount Edgecumbe will not believe me," he said, as if to himself. "Well, at least he knows something of those old days, too; he will be ready to do what he can for such a petitioner as this, but we must be careful. I should like to speak with Miss Hamilton alone, if you will leave us here together, gentlemen," said Lord Newburgh, with quiet authority; and Mr. Fairfax and the alderman, disappointed, but with ready courtesy, left them alone in the room.

     "Do you know the writer of this letter, madam?" demanded Lord Newburgh; and he was so well aware of the girl's beauty that, while he spoke, his eyes scarcely left her face. "'T is true he speaks your name here and with affection, but I cannot think his history is known."

     Mary smiled then, and answered gently to her life-long acquaintance with the master and her deep love for him, but that his early life was a matter of conjecture to those who had longest been his neighbors. Lord Newburgh saw with approval that she knew more than she was ready to confess.

     "He has followed the great Example, - he has given his life for his friend," said Lord Newburgh, who showed himself much moved, when she had finished speaking. "They should know of this among our friends in France; by God's truth, the King himself should know but for his present advisers! I must say no more; you can see how this strange news has shaken me. He asks a thing difficult enough; he has broken his long silence for no light reason. But Mount Edgecumbe will feel as I do, - whatever he asks should be promised him; and Mount Edgecumbe has power in Plymouth; even with Barrington reigning in the War Office he is not likely to be refused, though Barrington is a narrow soul, and we can give no reasons such as make our own way plain. Your man shan't stay in the Mill Prison, I can promise you that, Ranger or no Ranger!"

     Lord Newburgh smiled now at Miss Hamilton, as if to bring a look of pleasure to so sweet a face, and she could not but smile back at him.

     "I shall do my part of this business at once," he said, rising. "I passed Mount Edgecumbe on my way here; he'll swear roundly at such a request. He fears again that his great oaks must go down, and his temper is none of the best. The Earl is an old sailor, my dear Miss Hamilton, and has a sailor's good heart, but this will stagger him well. You say that Madam Wallingford, the young man's mother, is now in Bristol?" and again he looked at the letter. "Stay; before I speak with the Earl I should like to hear more of these interesting circumstances. I must say that my own sympathies are mainly with your party in the colonies. I believe that the King has been made a tool of by some of his ministers. But I should not say this if you are one of the Loyalist refugees. Why, no, my dear!" He checked himself, laughing. "'T is a strange confusion. I cannot think you are for both hound and hare!"

     It was near an hour later when Mr. Fairfax fumbled at the latch to see if he might be of service, and was politely though not too warmly requested to enter. Mr. John Davis had grown fretful at their long delay, but Miss Hamilton and Lord Newburgh were still deep in their conversation. The young lady herself had been close to her brother's confidence, and was not ignorant of causes in this matter of the war. Lord Newburgh struck his fist to the table with emphatic approval, as he rose, and told the two gentlemen who entered that he had learned at last what all England ought to know, - the true state of affairs in America.

     The Virginia Loyalist looked disturbed, and showed some indifference to this bold announcement.

     "Come, Fairfax," cried the guest gayly, "I shall have arguments enough for ye now! I can take the Patriot side with intelligence, instead of what you have persisted in calling my ignorant prejudice."

     "'T is your new teacher, then, and not your reasoning powers," retorted Fairfax; and they both fell to laughing, while Mary fell to blushing and looking more charming than before.

     "Well, Miss Hamilton, and is your business forwarded? Then we must be off; the day is well squandered already," said John Davis.

     "I shall first take Miss Hamilton to our good housekeeper for a dish of tea before she rides home," protested the host kindly. "I am grieved that my lady is not here; but our housekeeper, Mrs. Mullet, can offer the dish of tea, if so stern a Boston Patriot does not forbid. You will try the Jamaica spirits again yourself, sir? A second glass may be better than the first, Mr. Alderman!"

    "I shall speak with my friends as to these Plymouth affairs, and do my best for you," Lord Newburgh kindly assured Miss Hamilton, as they parted. "You shall see me in Bristol to-morrow. Ah, this letter!" and he spoke in a low voice. "It has touched my heart to think that you know so well our sad inheritance. My poor father and poor Darwentwater! Every one here knows their melancholy fate, their 'sad honors of the axe and block;' but there were things covered in those days that are secrets still in England. He speaks of the Newgate supper to me! . . . 'T was he himself who saved . . . and only a lad" . . . But Mary could not hear the rest.

     "I must see you again," he continued, aloud. "I shall have a thousand questions to put to you, and many messages for your old Master Sullivan (God bless him!) when you return. I offer you my friendship for his sake," and Lord Newburgh stood with bared head beside the horse when Miss Hamilton had mounted. "We have pleasant Dilston Hall to our home no more these many years; we Radcliffes are all done, but at Slindon you shall be very welcome. I shall wait upon Madam Wallingford to-morrow, and bring her what good comfort I can."

     The alderman was warmed by Mr. Fairfax's hospitalities, and rode beside his young guest as proudly as if he were the lord mayor on high holiday. The streets of Bath were crowded with idle gentlefolk; it was a lovely day, and many people of fashion were taking the air as well as the famous waters. This was a fine sight for a New England girl, and Mary herself was beheld with an admiration that was by no means silent. Their horses' feet clacked sharply on the cobblestones, as if eager to shorten the homeward road, and the young rider sat as light as her heart was, now the errand was done. It was a pretty thing, her unconsciousness of all admiration; she might have been flitting along a shady road under the pines at home, startling the brown rabbits, and keeping a steady hand on the black Duke's rein to be ready for sudden freaks. She did not see that all along by the pump room they were watching her as she passed. She was taking good news to Bristol; Lord Newburgh had given his word of honor that Roger Wallingford should be pardoned and set free. Was not his mother a great lady, and heartily loyal to the Crown? Was there not talk of his having been suspected of the same principles on board the American privateer? It must be confessed that Lord Newburgh's face had taken on a look of amused assurance when these facts were somewhat unwillingly disclosed; they were the last points in the lieutenant's history which Mary herself would have willingly consented to use, even as a means of deliverance from captivity, but, unknown to her, they had won an easy promise of freedom.

     "She's a rebel indeed, but God bless me, I don't blame her!" laughed the noble lord, as he reflected upon their conversation. It was not in his loyal heart to forget his heritage. Whatever might fall out in the matter of those distressed seamen who now suffered in the Mill Prison, no man could fail of pleasure in doing service for such sweet eyes as Miss Mary Hamilton's. There were some private reasons why he could go boldly to ask this great favor, and Lord Mount Edgecumbe was as good as master of the town of Plymouth, both by land and sea, and responsible for her concerns. "I'll make him ride with me to Bristol to-morrow to see these ladies," said Lord Newburgh from a generous heart. "'T will be a sweet reward, he may take my word for it!"


Thus says my King: Say thou to Harry of England, though we seemed dead, we did but sleep: from William Shakespeare, The Life of King Henry the Fifth, Act 3, Scene 6. when Montjoy reads a letter from his king to King Henry V.
     (Research: Gabe Heller)
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There are some things which cannot be spoken: It seems likely Lord Newburgh refers to Master John Sullivan's involvement in Jacobite activities. The "sad honors of block and axe" refer to the executions in 1716 of James Radcliffe, Earl of Derwentwater, and in 1745 of his brother, Newburgh's father, Charles Radcliffe. See entries on these men on the People list.
     Whether Jewett had documentary evidence of Sullivan's direct participation in Jacobite activities has not been established.
     In the 1745 uprising, Charles Edward and his Irish friend, John William O'Sullivan, attempted and failed to restore the Old Pretender to the throne. O'Sullivan is a cousin of Master John Sullivan. In The Life of James Sullivan, Thomas C. Amory reports and discounts the following explanation of Master Sullivan's emigration to the American colonies: "The sister of Mrs. Sullivan [Master Sullivan's mother] had married Dermod, eldest son of Daniel O'Sullivan More, Lord of Dunkerran. The son of this marriage [John William], educated also on the continent, continued loyal to the Stuarts, and is believed to have been the companion of Charles Edward, in 1745, at Culloden, and in his subsequent wanderings. A tradition exists among the descendants of [Master] John of Berwick, that, while a young man residing at home with his mother, he was the friend and correspondent of this cousin; and that an interview between the relatives, on board a French vessel of war off the Irish coast, exciting the suspicion of the English authorities, John was obliged to leave Ireland."
     In 1715, Master Sullivan turned 23; Charles Radcliffe was a year younger, James Radcliffe a few years older. In her reconstruction of the events in the Radcliffe family during 1715-16 in Devil Water (1962), Anya Seton indicates that there were many Jacobite agents traveling between France and England with messages related to plans for the 1715 rebellion. In Chapter 30 of The Tory Lover, Sullivan says that as a lad, he traveled from France to London as an agent, with a message for Charles Radcliffe.
     Jewett, therefore, could have found hints in her reading that Sullivan participated in direct but secret ways in the 1715 uprising. However, Newburgh further suggests in this chapter that Master Sullivan gave his life for a friend and acted heroically "while only a lad" and implies that this act was connected with Charles Radcliffe's escape from Newgate in 1716. Anya Seton's reconstruction of the escape does not include anyone like Master Sullivan; it would appear that Jewett has "fictionalized" at this point, but this remains uncertain. Assistance is welcome.
     Graham Frater points out that Newgate was a prison in London, (now demolished) from which felons were taken for execution at Tyburn, (now Hyde Park Corner).
     Jewett also has Newburgh say that his own sympathies were with the colonial rebels, as might be expected from the son of a Jacobite rebel, but whether this was in fact the case has not been determined.
     For details about Master John Sullivan and the rest of the historical characters mentioned in this chapter, see the individual entries in People in the Novel.
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the great Example: See John 15:13.
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The Tory Lover -- Contents