Page:Devonshire Characters and Strange Events.djvu/344

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DEVONSHIRE CHARACTERS

Harris, who was charged with his custody, till Stukeley received orders from James. Raleigh was ill—or feigned to be ill—the former is the more probable, and he being laxly guarded formed a plan of escape to France. He commissioned Captain King, the only one of his officers who remained faithful to the last, to make arrangements for flight with the master of a French vessel then lying in the Sound. At nightfall, the two stole from Radford and got into a boat lying at the little quay below the house. They had not rowed far, however, before qualms came over Raleigh; it seemed to him unworthy of his past and of his honour to fly his native land; and he perhaps counted too securely on the generosity of the despicable James. He changed his mind, and ordered King to return to Radford. Next day he sent money to the Frenchman, and begged him to wait for him another night. Night came, but Raleigh did not stir. This singular irresolution in a man so energetic, ready, and firm, points surely to the fact that he was ill at the time, suffering from the ague which so often prostrated him. Stukeley at length received orders to take his prisoner to London, and the opportunity to escape was gone for ever. As Raleigh passed through Sherborne, he pointed out the lands that had once been his, and related how wrongfully they had been taken from him.

At Salisbury Raleigh complained of illness, and begged to be allowed to halt there for a while. It was asserted by a French quack, Mannourie, set as a spy over him, that he got the doctor to anoint him so as to produce sores wherever the ointment was applied. This was one of the charges afterwards brought against him, at the special insistence of King James, who always kept his eye on trifles. Whilst Raleigh was at Salisbury, Sir Lewis Stukeley robbed him of all his