In the middle of September, 1625, the great expedition by which Charles the First and Buckingham meant to revenge themselves upon the Spaniards for the ignominious failure of their escapade to Madrid was still choking Plymouth harbour with disorder and confusion. Impatient to renew the glories of Drake and Raleigh and Essex, the young King went down in person to hasten its departure. Great receptions were prepared for him at the principal points of his route, and bitter was the disappointment at Exeter that he was not to visit the city. For the plague was raging within its walls, and while holiday was kept everywhere else, the shadow of death was upon the ancient capital of the west.
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