"And now, gentlemen, let me give you a health which none of you, I dare say, will refuse to drink with heart and soul as well as with lips the health of one whom beauty and virtue have so ennobled that in their light the shadow of lowly birth is unseen the health of 'The Rose of Torridge, and a double health to that worthy gentleman, whosoever he may be, whom she is fated to honour with her love."
Poor Will would not be so comforted. He wrote off to Frank at Whitehall, telling him the whole truth, calling himself all fools and villains, and entreating Frank's forgiveness; to which he received an answer, in which Frank said that Will had no reason to accuse himself; that these strange attachments were due to a synastria, or sympathy of the stars, which ruled the destinies of each person, to fight against which was to fight against the heavens themselves; that he, as a brother of the Rose, was bound to believe, nay, to assert at the sword's point if need were, that the incomparable Rose of Torridge could make none but a worthy and virtuous choice; and that to the man whom she had honored by her affection was due on their part, Spaniard and Papist though he might be, all friendship, worship, and loyal faith for evermore.
And so it came to pass, that for weeks and months the merchant's house was the Don's favorite haunt, and he saw the Rose of Torridge daily, and the Rose of Torridge heard him. And as for her, poor child, she had never seen such a man.
"And oh, Frank, I could hardly think of anything but her in the church the other day, God forgive me! and it did seem so hard for her to be the only face which I did not see and have not seen her yet, either." "So I thought, dear lad," said Frank, with one of his sweetest smiles; "and tried to get her father to let her impersonate the nymph of Torridge." "Did you, you dear kind fellow?
However, on went Loyalty, very well pleased with himself, and next, amid much cheering, two great tinsel fish, a salmon and a trout, symbolical of the wealth of Torridge, waddled along, by means of two human legs and a staff apiece, which protruded from the fishes' stomachs.
They stopped opposite Amyas; and she of the myrtle wreath, rising and bowing to him and the company, began with a pretty blush to say her say: "Hither from my moorland home, Nymph of Torridge, proud I come; Leaving fen and furzy brake, Haunt of eft and spotted snake, Where to fill mine urns I use, Daily with Atlantic dews; While beside the reedy flood Wild duck leads her paddling brood.
Beneath him, on his right, the Torridge, like a land-locked lake, sleeps broad and bright between the old park of Tapeley and the charmed rock of the Hubbastone, where, seven hundred years ago, the Norse rovers landed to lay siege to Kenwith Castle, a mile away on his left hand; and not three fields away, are the old stones of "The Bloody Corner," where the retreating Danes, cut off from their ships, made their last fruitless stand against the Saxon sheriff and the valiant men of Devon.
A half-mile to the eastward of the town, two or three hundred feet up the steep mountain side, stood a large, low, white house embosomed in trees and gardens. There was no other house of similar size near; no place for one. And was not that the royal flag of Spain which flaunted before it? That must be the governor's house; that must be the abode of the Rose of Torridge!
Now cunning Master Frank, whose daily wish was to "seek peace and ensue it," told Amyas this, because he must needs speak the truth: but he was purposed at the same time to speak as little truth as he could, for fear of accidents; and, therefore, omitted to tell his brother how that he, two days before, had entreated Rose Salterne herself to appear as the nymph of Torridge; which honor she, who had no objection either to exhibit her pretty face, to recite pretty poetry, or to be trained thereto by the cynosure of North Devon, would have assented willingly, but that her father stopped the pretty project by a peremptory countermove, and packed her off, in spite of her tears, to the said uncle on the Atlantic cliffs; after which he went up to Burrough, and laughed over the whole matter with Mrs.
"I can't say that, but there's a poor, innocent young maid gone off with him, one Salterne's daughter." "Rose Salterne, the mayor's daughter, the Rose of Torridge?" "That's her. Bless your dear soul, what ails you?" Amyas had dropped back in his seat as if he had been shot; but he recovered himself, and next morning started for Bideford. The story was true.