On the following morning James left his capital in the opposite direction to encounter Schomberg, Schomberg had landed in Antrim. The force which he had brought with him did not exceed ten thousand men. But he expected to be joined by the armed colonists and by the regiments which were under Kirke's command.
A shallop was then sent out from the admiral's ship, carrying at her mainmast a white flag. Champlain caused a similar flag to be run up over the fort, and Kirke's emissary came ashore and presented to Champlain the following letter:
Jo glanced into them, and when she came to her own, leaned her chin on the edge, and stared absently at the chaotic collection, till a bundle of old exercise books caught her eye. She drew them out, turned them over, and relived that pleasant winter at kind Mrs. Kirke's.
On the sixteenth of May, Kirke's troops embarked: on the twenty-second they sailed: but contrary winds made the passage slow, and forced the armament to stop long at the Isle of Man. Meanwhile the Protestants of Ulster were defending themselves with stubborn courage against a great superiority of force.
He lay peacefully asleep, with a rough little toy ship hugged fast in his arms. Kirke's eyes softened as he stole on tiptoe to the child's side, and kissed him with the gentleness of a woman. "Poor little man!" said the sailor, tenderly. "He is as fond of his ship as I was at his age. I'll cut him out a better one when I come back.
Sarsfield, who commanded at Sligo, found it necessary to abandon that town, which was instantly occupied by a detachment of Kirke's troops, Dublin was in consternation. James dropped words which indicated an intention of flying to the Continent. Evil tidings indeed came fast upon him.
If once the great door were unlocked, who could tell what black arts a sorcerer might use? "Look you, Ramsay lad," says he, "I've had this brass key made against his witchcraft, and I do not trust it to the hands of the jailer." Then, I fear, I pleaded too keenly; for, suspecting collusion with M. Picot, the warden of the court-house grew frigid and bade me ask Eli Kirke's opinion on witchcraft.
And that brings me to the real reason for our plundering the linen-drapers' shops before presenting ourselves at Sir John Kirke's mansion in Drury Lane, where gentlemen with one eye cocked on the doings of the nobility in the west and the other keen for city trade were wont to live in those days.
Kirke's position was becoming untenable, but by a singular blunder instead of being defeated he was allowed to become the master. One of Emery de Caën's sailors having cried "Quartier! Quartier!" or Surrender! Kirke hurriedly answered, "Bon quartier, and I promise your life safe, and I shall treat you as I did Champlain, whom I bring with me."
Champlain relates many things that do not redound to Kirke's credit, amongst other things that Kirke blamed his brother Louis for giving the Jesuits permission to say mass, and afterwards refused the permission. Again, at the moment when the Jesuits embarked for Tadousac, Louis Kirke ordered a trunk to be opened in which the sacred vessels were contained.
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