It came early next morning in the person of Martin himself, who, running into our sitting-room like a breath of wind from the sea, said his fellow officers were separating that day, each going to his own home, and their commander had invited me to lunch with them on their ship, which was lying off Tilbury.
“That’s the diligence just arrived from Calais; it has been two days en route, the passengers sleeping as best they could, side by side, and escaping from their confinement only when horses were changed or while stopping for meals. That high two-wheeled trap with the little ‘tiger’ standing up behind is a tilbury. We used to see the Count d’Orsay driving one like that almost every day.
Evidently an accident had occurred, but no one was near at the time, as it took place some little distance from Tilbury and in a lonely part. But it was conjectured that the two occupants had proceeded on foot to Tilbury. A boatman was found who related that he had taken a lady and gentleman across to Gravesend, and that the gentleman walked a trifle lame.
Their first act was to declare that the fleet should not leave port until the men's demands were satisfied. The King, Prime Minister, and government had received a shock greater than that which had come with the announcement of American independence. The government had armed the forts at Sheerness, had sent troops and guns to Gravesend and Tilbury, and had declared war upon the rebellious fleet.
I wondered whether the note meant that the preparations which were being made for me at Tilbury were finally completed. McMurtrie had promised me a week in Town, and so far I had only had two days; still I was hardly in a position to kick if he asked me to go down earlier. Anyhow I should know the next day, so there seemed no use in worrying myself about it unnecessarily.
Rogers, and again flicked up the mare. Two minutes later he pulled the left rein and we swung through an open gateway and were rolling over soft gravel. Tall bushes of laurel on either hand glinted back the lights of the tilbury, and presently around a sweep of the drive I saw a window shining. Mr. Rogers pulled up once more. "Jump out and take the path to the left.
The man bent down once more, was silent for a moment, with his eyes fixed on the wheel; then he rose erect and said: "Because, though this wheel has travelled five leagues, it certainly will not travel another quarter of a league." He sprang out of the tilbury. "What is that you say, my friend?"
Tisher at the same time grouped herself behind her chief, as representing Queen Elizabeth's first historical female friend at Tilbury fort. 'who drew The celebrated Jew, as painted full of tongues.
We ran through the house together, and reached the front door in time to witness a most extraordinary scene. Mr. Jack Rogers's tilbury had run past the house and come to a halt a short gunshot beyond, where it stood driverless for Mr. Jack Rogers had dismounted, and was gesticulating with both arms to stop a man racing down the road to meet him.
As I turned the things over, without even a guess of what they could mean, for I was scarcely well awake, I perceived a small slip of paper fastened to the coat sleeve, upon which, in Waller's hand-writing, the following few words were written: "The livery I hope will fit you, as I am rather particular about how you'll look; get quietly down to the stable-yard and drive the tilbury into Cheltenham, where wait for further orders from your kind master,
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