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A fortnight later, of a Sunday morning, the Lord Chamberlain of England
was disturbed out of his usual equanimity. As he was treading the rushes
in the presence-chamber of the Royal Palace at Greenwich, his eye busy in
inspection--for the Queen would soon pass on her way to chapel--his head
nodding right and left to archbishop, bishop, councillors of state,
courtiers, and officers of the crown, he heard a rude noise at the door
leading into the ante-chapel, where the Queen received petitions from the
people. Hurrying thither in shocked anxiety, he found a curled gentleman
of the guard, resplendent in red velvet and gold chains, in peevish
argument with a boisterous Seigneur of a bronzed good-humoured face, who
urged his entrance to the presence-chamber.
The Lord Chamberlain swept down upon the pair like a flamingo with wings
outspread. "God's death, what means this turmoil? Her Majesty comes
hither!" he cried, and scowled upon the intruder, who now stepped back a
little, treading on the toes of a huge sailor with a small head and bushy
red hair and beard.
"Because her Majesty comes I come also," the Seigneur interposed grandly.
"What is your name and quality?"
"Yours first, and I shall know how to answer."
"I am the Lord Chamberlain of England."
"And I, my lord, am Lempriere, Seigneur of Rozel--and butler to the
"Where is Rozel?" asked my Lord Chamberlain.
The face of the Seigneur suddenly flushed, his mouth swelled, and then
"Where is Rozel!" he cried in a voice of rage. "Where is Rozel! Have you
heard of Hugh Pawlett," he asked, with a huge contempt--"of Governor
Hugh Pawlett?" The Lord Chamberlain nodded. "Then ask his Excellency when
next you see him, Where is Rozel? But take good counsel and keep your
ignorance from the Queen," he added. "She has no love for stupids."
"You say you are butler to the Queen? Whence came your commission?" said
the Lord Chamberlain, smiling now; for Lempriere's words and ways were
of some simple world where odd folk lived, and his boyish vanity
"By royal warrant and heritage. And of all of the Jersey Isle, I only may
have dove-totes, which is the everlasting thorn in the side of De
Carteret of St. Ouen's. Now will you let me in, my lord?" he said, all in
At a stir behind him the Lord Chamberlain turned, and with a horrified
exclamation hurried away, for the procession from the Queen's apartments
had already entered the presence-chamber: gentlemen, barons, earls,
knights of the garter, in brave attire, with bare heads and sumptuous
calves. The Lord Chamberlain had scarce got to his place when the
Chancellor, bearing the seals in a red silk purse, entered, flanked by
two gorgeous folk with the royal sceptre and the sword of state in a red
scabbard, all flourished with fleur-de-lis. Moving in and out among them
all was the Queen's fool, who jested and shook his bells under the noses
of the highest.
It was an event of which the Seigneur of Rozel told to his dying day:
that he entered the presence-chamber of the Royal Palace of Greenwich at
the same instant as the Queen--"Rozel at one end, Elizabeth at the other,
and all the world at gaze," he was wont to say with loud guffaws. But
what he spoke of afterwards with preposterous ease and pride was neither
pride nor ease at the moment; for the Queen's eyes fell on him as he
shoved past the gentlemen who kept the door. For an instant she stood
still, regarding him intently, then turned quickly to the Lord
Chamberlain in inquiry, and with sharp reproof too in her look. The Lord
Chamberlain fell on his knee and with low uncertain voice explained the
Elizabeth again cast her eyes towards Lempriere, and the Court, following
her example, scrutinised the Seigneur in varied styles of insolence or
curiosity. Lempriere drew himself up with a slashing attempt at
composure, but ended by flaming from head to foot, his face shining like
a cock's comb, the perspiration standing out like beads upon his
forehead, his eyes gone blind with confusion. That was but for a moment,
however, and then, Elizabeth's look being slowly withdrawn from him, a
curious smile came to her lips, and she said to the Lord Chamberlain:
"Let the gentleman remain."
The Queen's fool tripped forward and tapped the Lord Chamberlain on the
shoulder. "Let the gentleman remain, gossip, and see you that remaining
he goeth not like a fly with his feet in the porridge." With a flippant
step before the Seigneur, he shook his bells at him. "Thou shalt stay,
Nuncio, and staying speak the truth. So doing you shall be as noted as a
comet with three tails. You shall prove that man was made in God's image.
So lift thy head and sneeze--sneezing is the fashion here; but see that
thou sneeze not thy head off as they do in Tartary. 'Tis worth
Rozel's self-importance and pride had returned. The blood came back to
his heart, and he threw out his chest grandly; he even turned to
Buonespoir, whose great figure might be seen beyond the door, and winked
at him. For a moment he had time to note the doings of the Queen and her
courtiers with wide-eyed curiosity. He saw the Earl of Leicester,
exquisite, haughty, gallant, fall upon his knee, and Elizabeth slowly
pull off her glove and with a none too gracious look give him her hand to
kiss, the only favour of the kind granted that day. He saw Cecil, her
Minister, introduce a foreign noble, who presented his letters. He heard
the Queen speak in a half-dozen different languages, to people of various
lands, and he was smitten with amazement.
But as Elizabeth came slowly down the hall, her white silk gown fronted
with great pearls flashing back the light, a marchioness bearing the
train, the crown on her head glittering as she turned from right to left,
her wonderful collar of jewels sparkling on her uncovered bosom, suddenly
the mantle of black, silver-shotted silk upon her shoulders became to
Lempriere's heated senses a judge's robe, and Elizabeth the august judge
of the world. His eyes blinded again, for it was as if she was bearing
down upon him. Certainly she was looking at him now, scarce heeding the
courtiers who fell to their knees on either side as she came on. The red
doublets of the fifty Gentlemen Pensioners--all men of noble families
proud to do this humble yet distinguished service--with battle-axes, on
either side of her, seemed to Lempriere on the instant like an army with
banners threatening him. From the ante-chapel behind him came the cry of
the faithful subjects who, as the gentleman-at-arms fell back from the
doorway, had but just caught a glimpse of her Majesty--"Long live
It seemed to Lempriere that the Gentlemen Pensioners must beat him down
as they passed, yet he stood riveted to the spot; and indeed it was true
that he was almost in the path of her Majesty. He was aware that two
gentlemen touched him on the shoulder and bade him retire; but the Queen
motioned to them to desist. So, with the eyes of the whole court on him
again, and Elizabeth's calm curious gaze fixed, as it were, on his
forehead, he stood still till the flaming Gentlemen Pensioners were
within a few feet of him, and the battle-axes were almost over his head.
The great braggart was no better now than a wisp of grass in the wind,
and it was more than homage that bent him to his knees as the Queen
looked him full in the eyes. There was a moment's absolute silence, and
then she said, with cold condescension:
"By what privilege do you seek our presence?"
"I am Raoul Lempriere, Seigneur of Rozel, your high Majesty," said the
choking voice of the Jerseyman. The Queen raised her eyebrows. "The man
seems French. You come from France?"
Lempriere flushed to his hair--the Queen did not know him, then! "From
Jersey Isle, your sacred Majesty."
"Jersey Isle is dear to us. And what is your warrant here?"
"I am butler to your Majesty, by your gracious Majesty's patent, and I
alone may have dove-cotes in the isle; and I only may have the
perquage-on your Majesty's patent. It is not even held by De Carteret of
The Queen smiled as she had not smiled since she entered the
presence-chamber. "God preserve us," she said--"that I should not have
recognised you! It is, of course, our faithful Lempriere of Rozel."
The blood came back to the Seigneur's heart, but he did not dare look up
yet, and he did not see that Elizabeth was in rare mirth at his words;
and though she had no ken or memory of him, she read his nature and was
mindful to humour him. Beckoning Leicester to her side, she said a few
words in an undertone, to which he replied with a smile more sour than
"Rise, Monsieur of Rozel," she said.
The Seigneur stood up, and met her gaze faintly. "And so, proud Seigneur,
you must needs flout e'en our Lord Chamberlain, in the name of our butler
with three dove-cotes and the perquage. In sooth thy office must not be
set at naught lightly--not when it is flanked by the perquage. By my
father's doublet, but that frieze jerkin is well cut; it suits thy figure
well--I would that my Lord Leicester here had such a tailor. But this
perquage--I doubt not there are those here at Court who are most ignorant
of its force and moment. My Lord Chamberlain, my Lord Leicester, Cecil
here--confusion sits in their faces. The perquage, which my father's
patent approved, has served us well, I doubt not, is a comfort to our
realm and a dignity befitting the wearer of that frieze jerkin. Speak to
their better understanding, Monsieur of Rozel."
"Speak, Nuncio, and you shall have comforts, and be given in marriage,
multiple or singular, even as I," said the fool, and touched him on the
breast with his bells.
Lempriere had recovered his heart, and now was set full sail in the
course he had charted for himself in Jersey. In large words and larger
manner he explained most innocently the sacred privilege of perquage.
"And how often have you used the right, friend?" asked Elizabeth.
"But once in ten years, your noble Majesty."
"But yesterday a week, your universal Majesty." Elizabeth raised her
eyebrows. "Who was the criminal, what the occasion?"
"The criminal was one Buonespoir, the occasion our coming hither to wait
upon the Queen of England and our Lady of Normandy, for such is your
well-born Majesty to your loyal Jersiais." And thereupon he plunged into
an impeachment of De Carteret of St. Ouen's, and stumbled through a blunt
broken story of the wrongs and the sorrows of Michel and Angele and the
doings of Buonespoir in their behalf.
Elizabeth frowned and interrupted him. "I have heard of this Buonespoir,
Monsieur, through others than the Seigneur of St. Ouen's. He is an
unlikely squire of dames. There's a hill in my kingdom has long bided his
coming. Where waits the rascal now?"
"In the ante-chapel, your Majesty."
"By the rood!" said Elizabeth in sudden amazement. "In my ante-chapel,
She looked beyond the doorway and saw the great red-topped figure of
Buonespoir, his good-natured, fearless fare, his shock of hair, his clear
blue eye--he was not thirty feet away.
"He comes to crave pardon for his rank offences, your benignant Majesty,"
The humour of the thing rushed upon the Queen. Never before were two such
naive folk at court. There was not a hair of duplicity in the heads of
the two, and she judged them well in her mind.
"I will see you stand together--you and your henchman," she said to
Rozel, and moved on to the antechapel, the Court following. Standing
still just inside the doorway, she motioned Buonespoir to come near. The
pirate, unconfused, undismayed, with his wide blue asking eyes, came
forward and dropped upon his knees. Elizabeth motioned Lempriere to stand
a little apart.
Thereupon she set a few questions to Buonespoir, whose replies,
truthfully given, showed that he had no real estimate of his crimes, and
was indifferent to what might be their penalties. He had no moral sense
on the one hand, on the other, no fear.
Suddenly she turned to Lempriere again. "You came, then, to speak for
this Michel de la Foret, the exile--?"
"And for the demoiselle Angele Aubert, who loves him, your Majesty."
"I sent for this gentleman exile a fortnight ago--" She turned towards
"I have the papers here, your Majesty," said Leicester, and gave a packet
"And where have you De la Foret?" said Elizabeth. "In durance, your
"When came he hither?"
"Three days gone," answered Leicester, a little gloomily, for there was
acerbity in Elizabeth's voice. Elizabeth seemed about to speak, then
dropped her eyes upon the papers, and glanced hastily at their contents.
"You will have this Michel de la Foret brought to my presence as fast as
horse can bring him, my Lord," she said to Leicester. "This rascal of the
sea--Buonespoir--you will have safe bestowed till I recall his existence
again," she said to a captain of men-at-arms; "and you, Monsieur of
Rozel, since you are my butler, will get you to my dining-room, and do
your duty--the office is not all perquisites," she added smoothly. She
was about to move on, when a thought seemed to strike her, and she added,
"This Mademoiselle and her father whom you brought hither-where are
"They are even within the palace grounds, your imperial Majesty,"
"You will summon them when I bid you," she said to the Seigneur; "and you
shall see that they have comforts and housing as befits their station,"
she added to the Lord Chamberlain.
So did Elizabeth, out of a whimsical humour, set the highest in the land
to attend upon unknown, unconsidered exiles.
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