The Sea-Hawk HTML version

The Advocate
Chairs were set at the long brown table of massive oak, and the officers sat down, facing
the open door and the blaze of sunshine on the poop-deck, their backs to the other door
and the horn windows which opened upon the stern-gallery. The middle place was
assumed by Lord Henry Goade by virtue of his office of Queen's Lieutenant, and the
reason for his chain of office became now apparent. He was to preside over this summary
court. On his right sat Sir John Killigrew, and beyond him an officer named Youldon.
The other two, whose names have not survived, occupied his lordship's left.
A chair had been set for Rosamund at the table's extreme right and across the head of it,
so as to detach her from the judicial bench. She sat there now, her elbows on the polished
board, her face resting in her half-clenched hands, her eyes scrutinizing the five
gentlemen who formed this court.
Steps rang on the companion, and a shadow fell athwart the sunlight beyond the open
door. From the vessel's waist came a murmur of voices and a laugh. Then Sir Oliver
appeared in the doorway guarded by two fighting seamen in corselet and morion with
drawn swords.
He paused an instant in the doorway, and his eyelids flickered as if he had received a
shock when his glance alighted upon Rosamund. Then under the suasion of his guards he
entered, and stood forward, his wrists still pinioned behind him, slightly in advance of the
two soldiers.
He nodded perfunctorily to the court, his face entirely calm.
"A fine morning, sirs," said he.
The five considered him in silence, but Lord Henry's glance, as it rested upon the corsair's
Muslim garb, was eloquent of the scorn which he tells us filled his heart.
"You are no doubt aware, sir," said Sir John after a long pause, "of the purpose for which
you have been brought hither."
"Scarcely," said the prisoner. "But I have no doubt whatever of the purpose for which I
shall presently be taken hence. "However," he continued, cool and critical, "I can guess
from your judicial attitudes the superfluous mockery that you intend. If it will afford you
entertainment, faith, I do not grudge indulging you. I would observe only that it might be
considerate in you to spare Mistress Rosamund the pain and weariness of the business
that is before you.
"Mistress Rosamund herself desired to be present," said Sir John, scowling.
"Perhaps," said Sir Oliver, "she does not realize...."