Page:Court Royal.djvu/13

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COURT ROYAL.


A STORY OF CROSS CURRENTS.




CHAPTER I.
A LITTLE DEVIL.

At the top or at the bottom? At which shall we begin?Sediment to-day is scum to-morrow. That which is on the surface sinks. Therefore, does it matter? The universe is in revolution, so is the social order. We will begin at the bottom, as most philosophical. Only the builders of Lagado began their edifices at the apex. The Barbican is the oldest portion of ancient Plymouth. It consists of a collection of crazy houses built along the quay of Sutton Pool, which was the ancient port of Plymouth. The houses are tall, with slated fronts and bow windows, much out of the perpendicular, of various dates. In these houses dwelt the old merchants of Plymouth, who equipped vessels against the Spaniards and carried Tavistock friezes to all the ports of Europe. From Sutton Pool Drake sailed against the Armada. The grand merchant-houses have become the habitations of dealers in marine stores, drinking-shops, and eating-houses.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

The houses on the Barbican are so crowded that they are devoid of back yards, and when the inhabitants have a washing they thrust their garments from their windows on poles to dry in the sea-breeze and the sun. Some ingenious dwellers in these old houses contrive a system of rigging between their poles whereby a much larger wash can be exposed. On every day that lends itself to drying, the Barbican flutters its flags