Part 6 out of 6
"Ye don't believe me?" she asked, looking from one face to the other,
"ye don't believe me, yet I tell ye all that Adam is innocent ... and
that the Lord will not allow the innocent to be unjustly condemned....
Aye! He will e'en let the dead arise, I say, and proclaim the innocence
of my lad!"
Her eyes--with dilated pupils and pale opaque rims--had the look of the
seer in them now; she gazed straight out before her into the rain-laden
air, and it seemed almost as if in it she could perceive visions of
avenging swords, of defending angels and accusing ghouls, that she could
hear whisperings of muffled voices and feel beckoning hands guiding her
to a world peopled by specters and evil beings that prey upon the dead.
"Let me pass!" she said with amazing vigor, as Squire Boatfield, with
kindly concern, tried to bar her exit through the door, "let me pass I
say! the dead and I have questions to ask of one another."
"This is madness!" broke in Marmaduke de Chavasse with an effort; "that
body is not a fit sight for a woman to look upon."
He would have seized the Quakeress by the arm in order to force her
back, but Richard Lambert already stood between her and him.
"Let no one dare to lay a hand on her," he said quietly.
And the old woman escaping from all those who would have restrained her,
walked rapidly through the doorway and down the flagged path rendered
slippery with the sleet. The gale caught the white wings of her coif,
causing them to flutter about her ears, and freezing strands of her gray
locks which stood out now all round her head like a grizzled halo.
She could scarcely advance, for the wind drove her kirtle about her lean
thighs, and her feet with the heavy tan shoes sank ankle deep in the
puddles formed by the water in the interstices of the flagstones. The
rain beat against her face, mingling with the tears which now flowed
freely down her cheeks. But she did not heed the discomfort nor yet the
cold, and she would not be restrained.
The next moment she stood beside the rough wooden coffin and with a
steady hand had lifted the wet sheet, which continued to flap with dull,
mournful sound round the feet of the dead.
The Quakeress looked down upon the figure stretched out here in
death--neither majestic nor peaceful, but horrible and weirdly
mysterious. She did not flinch at the sight. Resentment against the
foreigner dimmed her sense of horror.
"So my fine prince," she said, whilst awed at the spectacle of this old
woman parleying with the dead, carriers and mourners had instinctively
moved a few steps away from her, "so thou wouldst harm my boy! ... Thou
always didst hate him ... thou with thy grand airs, and thy rough
ways.... Had the Lord allowed it, this hand of thine would ere now have
been raised against him ... as it oft was raised against the old woman
... whose infirmities should have rendered her sacred in thy sight."
She stooped, and deliberately raised the murdered man's hand in hers,
and for one moment fixed her gaze upon it. For that one moment she was
silent, looking down at the rough fingers, the coarse nails, the
Then still holding the hand in hers, she looked up, then round at every
face which was turned fixedly upon her. Thus she encountered the eyes of
the men and women, present here only to witness an unwonted spectacle,
then those of the kindly squire, of Lady Sue, of Mistress de Chavasse,
and of her other lad--Richard--all of whom had instinctively followed
her down the short flagged path in the wake of her strange and prophetic
Lastly her eyes met those of Marmaduke de Chavasse. Then she spoke
slowly in a low muffled voice, which gradually grew more loud and more
full of passionate strength.
"Aye! the Lord is just," she said, "the Lord is great! It is the dead
which shall rise again and proclaim the innocence of the just, and the
guilt of the wicked."
She paused a while, and stooped to kiss the marble-like hand which she
held tightly grasped in hers.
"Adam!" she murmured, "Adam, my boy! ... my lad! ..."
The men and women looked on, stupidly staring, not understanding yet,
what new tragedy had suddenly taken the place of the old.
"Aunt, aunt dear," whispered Lambert, who had pushed his way forward,
and now put his arm round the old woman, for she had begun to sway,
"what is the matter, dear?" he repeated anxiously, "what does it mean?"
And conquering his own sense of horror and repulsion, he tried to
disengage the cold and rigid hand of the dead from the trembling grasp
of the Quakeress. But she would not relinquish her hold, only she turned
and looked steadily at the young lad, whilst her voice rose firm and
harsh above the loud patter of the rain and the moaning of the wind
through the distant; trees.
"It means, my lad," she said, "it means all of you ... that what I said
was true ... that Adam is innocent of crime ... for he lies here dead
... and the Lord will see that his death shall not remain unavenged."
Once more she kissed the rough hand, beautiful now with that cold beauty
which the rigidity of death imparts; then she replaced it reverently,
silently, and fell upon her knees in the wet mud, beside the coffin.
THE HOME-COMING OF ADAM LAMBERT
All heads were bent; none of the ignorant folk who stood around would
have dared even to look at the old woman kneeling beside that rough deal
box which contained the body of her lad. A reverent feeling had killed
all curiosity: bewilderment at the extraordinary and wholly unexpected
turn of events had been merged in a sense of respectful awe, which
rendered every mouth silent, and lowered every lid.
Squire Boatfield, almost paralyzed with astonishment, had murmured half
"Adam Lambert ... dead? ... I do not understand."
He turned to Marmaduke de Chavasse as if vaguely, instinctively
expecting an answer to the terrible puzzle from him.
De Chavasse's feet, over which he himself seemed to have no control, had
of a truth led him forward, so that he, too, stood not far from the old
woman now. He had watched her--silent and rigid,--conscious only of one
thing--a trivial matter certes--of Editha's inquiring eyes fixed
steadily upon him.
Everything else had been merged in a kind of a dream. But the mute
question in those eyes was what concerned him. It seemed to represent
the satisfaction of that morbid curiosity which had been such a terrible
obsession during these past nerve-racking days.
Editha, realizing the identity of the dead man, would there and then
know the entire truth. But Editha's fate was too closely linked to his
own to render her knowledge of that truth dangerous to de Chavasse:
therefore, with him it was merely a sense of profound satisfaction that
someone would henceforth share his secret with him.
It is quite impossible to analyze the thoughts of the man who thus stood
by--a silent and almost impassive spectator--of a scene, wherein his
fate, his life, an awful retribution and deadly justice, were all
hanging in the balance. He was not mad, nor did he act with either
irrelevance or rashness. The sense of self-protection was still keen in
him ... violently keen ... although undoubtedly he, and he alone, was
responsible for the events which culminated in the present crisis.
The whole aspect of affairs had changed from the moment that the real
identity of the dead had been established. Everyone here present would
regard this new mystery in an altogether different light to that by
which they had viewed the former weird problem; but still there need be
no danger to the murderer.
Editha would know, of course, but no one else, and it would be vastly
curious anon to see what lady Sue would do.
Therefore, Sir Marmaduke was chiefly conscious of Editha's presence,
and then only of Sue.
"Some old woman's folly," he now said roughly, in response to Squire
Boatfield's mute inquiry, "awhile ago she identified the clothes as
having belonged to the foreign prince."
"Aye, the clothes, de Chavasse," murmured the squire meditatively, "the
clothes, but not the man ... and 'twas you yourself who just now...."
"Master Lambert should know his own brother," here came in a suppressed
murmur from one or two of the men, who respectful before the quality,
had now become too excited to keep altogether silent.
"Of course I know my brother," retorted Richard Lambert boldly, "and can
but curse mine own cowardice in not defending him ere this."
"What more lies are we to hear?" sneered de Chavasse, "surely,
Boatfield, this stupid scene hath lasted long enough."
"Put my knowledge to the test, sir," rejoined Lambert. "My brother's arm
was scarred by a deep cut from shoulder to elbow, caused by the fall of
a sharp-bladed ax--'twas the right arm ... will you see, Sir Marmaduke,
or will you allow me to lay bare the right arm of this man ... to see if
I had lied? ..."
Squire Boatfield, conquering his reluctance, had approached nearer to
the coffin; he, too, lifted the dead man's arm, as the old woman had
done just now, and he gazed down meditatively at the hand, which though
shapely, was obviously rough and toil-worn. Then, with a firm and
deliberate gesture, he undid the sleeve of the doublet and pushed it
back, baring the arm up to the shoulder.
He looked at the lifeless flesh for a moment, there where a deep and
long scar stood out plainly between the elbow and shoulder like the
veining in a block of marble. Then he pulled the sleeve down again.
"Neither you, nor Mistress Lambert have lied, master," he said simply.
"'Tis Adam Lambert who lies here ... murdered ... and if that be so," he
continued firmly, "then the man who put these clothes upon the body of
the smith is his murderer ... the foreigner who called himself Prince
"The husband of Lady Sue Aldmarshe," quoth Sir Marmaduke, breaking into
a loud laugh.
The rain had momentarily ceased, although the gale, promising further
havoc, still continued that mournful swaying of the dead branches of the
trees. But a gentle drip-drip had replaced that incessant patter. The
humid atmosphere had long ago penetrated through rough shirts and
worsted breeches, causing the spectators of this weird tragedy to shiver
with the cold.
The shades of evening had begun to gather in. It were useless now to
attempt to reach Minster before nightfall: nor presumably would the old
Quakeress thus have parted from the dead body of her lad.
Richard Lambert had begged that the coffin might be taken into the
cottage. The old woman's co-religionists would help her to obtain for
Adam fitting and Christian burial.
After Sir Marmaduke's sneering taunt no one had spoken. For these yokels
and their womenfolk the matter had passed altogether beyond their ken.
Bewildered, not understanding, above all more than half fearful, they
consulted one another vaguely and mutely with eyes and quaint expressive
gestures, wondering what had best be done.
'Twas fortunate that the rain had ceased. One by one the women, still
holding their kirtles tightly round their shoulders, began to move away.
The deal box seemed to have reached a degree of mystery from which 'twas
best to keep at a distance. The men, too--those who had come as
spectators--were gradually edging away; some walked off with their
womenfolk, others hung back in groups of three or four discussing the
most hospitable place to which 'twere best to adjourn.
All wore a strangely shamed expression of timidity--almost of
self-deprecation, as if apologetic for their presence here when the
quality had matters of such grave import to discuss. No one had really
understood Sir Marmaduke's sneering taunt, only they felt instinctively
that there were some secrets which it had been disrespectful even to
attempt to guess.
Those who had been prepared to carry the coffin to Minster were the last
to hang back. Squire Boatfield was obviously giving some directions to
their foreman, Mat, who tugged at his forelock at intervals, indicating
that he was prepared to obey. The others stood aside waiting for
Thus the deal box remained on the ground, exactly opposite the tiny
wooden gate, strangely isolated and neglected-looking after the
dispersal of the interested crowd which had surrounded it awhile ago. It
seemed as if with the establishment of the real identity of the dead the
intensity of the excitement had vanished. The mysterious foreigner had a
small court round him; Adam Lambert, only his brother and the old
They remained beside the coffin, she kneeling with her head buried in
her wrinkled hands, he standing silent and passionately wrathful both
against one man and against destiny. He had almost screamed with horror
when de Chavasse thus brutally uttered Lady Sue's name: he had seen the
young girl almost sway on her feet, as she smothered the cry of agony
and horror which at her guardian's callous taunt had risen to her lips.
He had seen and in his heart worshiped her for the heroic effort which
she made to remain outwardly calm, not to betray before a crowd the
agonizing horror, the awful fear and the burning shame which of a truth
would have crushed most women of her tender years. And because he saw
that she did not wish to betray one single thought or emotion, he did
not approach, nor attempt to show the overwhelming sympathy which he
He knew that any word from him to her would only call forth more
malicious sneers from that strange man, who seemed to be pursuing Lady
Sue and also himself--Lambert--with a tenacious and incomprehensible
Richard remained, therefore, beside his dead brother's coffin,
supporting and anon gently raising the old woman from the ground.
Mat--the foreman--had joined his comrades and after a word of
explanation, they once more gathered round the wooden box. Stooping to
their task, their sinews cracking under the effort, the perspiration
streaming from their foreheads, they raised the mortal remains of Adam
Lambert from the ground and hoisted the burden upon their shoulders.
Then they turned into the tiny gate and slowly walked with it along the
little flagged path to the cottage. The men had to stoop as they crossed
the threshold, and the heavy box swayed above their powerful shoulders.
The Quakeress and Richard followed, going within in the wake of the six
men. The parlor was then empty, and thus it was that Adam Lambert
finally came home.
The others--Squire Boatfield and Mistress de Chavasse, Lady Sue and Sir
Marmaduke--had stood aside in the small fore-court, to enable the small
cortege to pass. Directly Richard Lambert and the old woman disappeared
within the gloom of the cottage interior, these four people--each
individually the prey of harrowing thoughts--once more turned their
steps towards the open road.
There was nothing more to be done here at this cottage, where the veil
of mystery which had fallen over the gruesome murder had been so
unexpectedly lifted by a septuagenarian's hand.
Squire Boatfield was vastly perturbed. Never had his position as
magistrate seemed so onerous to him, nor his duties as major-general
quite so arduous. A vague and haunting fear had seized him, a fear
that--if he did do his duty, if he did continue his investigations of
the mysterious crime--he would learn something vastly horrible and
awesome, something he had best never know.
He tried to take indifferent leave of the ladies, yet he quite dreaded
to meet Lady Sue's eyes. If all the misery, the terror which she must
feel, were expressed in them, then indeed, would her young face be a
heart-breaking sight for any man to see.
He kissed the hand of Editha de Chavasse, and bowed in mute and
deferential sympathy to the young girl-wife, who of a truth had this day
quaffed at one draught the brimful cup of sorrow and of shame.
An inexplicable instinct restrained him from taking de Chavasse's hand;
he was quite glad indeed that the latter seemingly absorbed in thoughts
was not heeding his going.
The squire in his turn now passed out of the little gate. The evening
was drawing in over-rapidly now, and it would be a long and dismal ride
from here to Sarre.
Fortunately he had two serving-men with him, each with a lantern. They
were now standing beside their master's cob, some few yards down the
road, which from this point leads in a straight course down to Sarre.
Not far from the entrance to the forge, Boatfield saw petty-constable
Pyot in close converse with Master Hymn-of-Praise Busy, butler to Sir
Marmaduke. The man was talking with great volubility, and obvious
excitement, and Pyot was apparently torn between his scorn for the
narrator's garrulousness, and his fear of losing something of what the
talker had to say.
At sight of Boatfield, Pyot unceremoniously left Master Busy standing,
open-mouthed, in the very midst of a voluble sentence, and approached
the squire, doffing his cap respectfully as he did so.
"Will your Honor sign a warrant?" he asked.
"A warrant? What warrant?" queried the worthy squire, who of a truth,
was falling from puzzlement to such absolute bewilderment that he felt
literally as if his head would burst with the weight of so much mystery
and with the knowledge of such dire infamy.
"I think that the scoundrel is cleverer than we thought, your Honor,"
continued the petty constable, "we must not allow him to escape."
"I am quite bewildered," murmured the squire. "What is the warrant for?"
"For the apprehension of the man whom the folk about here called the
Prince of Orleans. I can set the watches on the go this very night, nay!
they shall scour the countryside to some purpose--the murderer cannot be
very far, we know that he is dressed in the smith's clothes, we'll get
him soon enough, but he may have friends...."
"He may have been a real prince, your Honor," said Pyot with a laugh,
which contradicted his own suggestion.
"Aye! aye! ... Mayhap!"
"He may have powerful friends ... or such as would resist the watches
... resist us, mayhap ... a warrant would be useful...."
"Aye! aye! you are right, constable," said Boatfield, still a little
bewildered, "do you come along to Sarre with me, I'll give you a warrant
this very night. Have you a horse here?"
"Nay, your Honor," rejoined the man, "an it please you, my going to
Sarre would delay matters and the watches could not start their search
"Then what am I to do?" exclaimed the squire, somewhat impatient of the
whole thing now, longing to get away, and to forget, beside his own
comfortable fireside, all the harrowing excitement of this unforgettable
"Young Lambert is a bookworm, your Honor," suggested Pyot, who was keen
on the business, seeing that his zeal, if accompanied by success, would
surely mean promotion; "there'll be ink and paper in the cottage.... An
your Honor would but write a few words and sign them, something I could
show to a commanding officer, if perchance I needed the help of
soldiery, or to the chief constable resident at Dover, for methinks some
of us must push on that way ... your Honor must forgive ... we should be
blamed--punished, mayhap--if we allowed such a scoundrel to remain
"As you will, man, as you will," sighed the worthy squire impatiently,
"but wait!" he added, as Pyot, overjoyed, had already turned towards the
cottage, "wait until Sir Marmaduke de Chavasse and the ladies have
He called his serving-men to him and ordered them to start on their way
towards home, but to wait for him, with his cob, at the bend of the
road, just in the rear of the little church.
Some instinct, for which he could not rightly have accounted, roused in
him the desire to keep his return to the cottage a secret from Sir
Marmaduke. Attended by Pyot, he followed his men down the road, and the
angle of the cottage soon hid him from view.
De Chavasse in the meanwhile had ordered his own men to escort the
ladies home. Busy and Toogood lighted their lanterns, whilst Sue and
Editha, wrapping their cloaks and hoods closely round their heads and
shoulders, prepared to follow them.
Anon the little procession began slowly to wind its way back towards
Sir Marmaduke lingered behind for a while, of set purpose: he had no
wish to walk beside either Editha or Lady Sue, so he took some time in
mounting his nag, which had been tethered in the rear of the forge. His
intention was to keep the men with the lanterns in sight, for--though
there were no dangerous footpads in Thanet--yet Sir Marmaduke's mood was
not one that courted isolation on a dark and lonely road.
Therefore, just before he saw the dim lights of the lanterns
disappearing down the road, which at this point makes a sharp dip before
rising abruptly once more on the outskirts of the wood, Sir Marmaduke
finally put his foot in the stirrup and started to follow.
The mare had scarce gone a few paces before he saw the figure of a woman
detaching itself from the little group on ahead, and then turning and
walking rapidly back towards the village. He could not immediately
distinguish which of the two ladies it was, for the figure was totally
hidden beneath the ample folds of cloak and hood, but soon as it
approached, he perceived that it was Editha.
He would have stopped her by barring the way, he even thought of
dismounting, thinking mayhap that she had left something behind at the
cottage, and cursing his men for allowing her to return alone, but quick
as a flash of lightning she ran past him, dragging her hood closer over
her face as she ran.
He hesitated for a few seconds, wondering what it all meant: he even
turned the mare's head round to see whither Editha was going. She had
already reached the railing and gate in front of the cottage; the next
moment she had lifted the latch, and Sir Marmaduke could see her blurred
outline, through the rising mist, walking quickly along the flagged
path, and then he heard her peremptory knock at the cottage door.
He waited a while, musing, checking the mare, who longed to be getting
home. He fully expected to see Editha return within the next minute or
so, for--vaguely through the fast-gathering gloom--he had perceived that
someone had opened the door from within, a thin ray of yellowish light
falling on Editha's cloaked figure. Then she disappeared into the
On ahead the swaying lights of the lanterns were rapidly becoming more
and more indistinguishable in the distance. Apparently Editha's
departure from out the little group had not been noticed by the others.
The men were ahead, and Sue, mayhap, was too deeply absorbed in thought
to pay much heed as to what was going on round her.
Sir Marmaduke still hesitated. Editha was not returning, and the cottage
door was once more closed. Courtesy demanded that he should wait so as
to escort her home.
But the fact that she had gone back to the cottage, at risk of having to
walk back all alone and along a dark and dreary road, bore a weird
significance to this man's tortuous mind. Editha, troubled with a mass
of vague fears and horrible conjectures, had, mayhap, desired to have
them set at rest, or else to hear their final and terrible confirmation.
In either case Marmaduke de Chavasse had no wish now for a slow amble
homewards in company with the one being in the world who knew him for
what he was.
That thought and also the mad desire to get away at last, to cease with
this fateful procrastination and to fly from this country with the
golden booty, which he had gained at such awful risks, these caused him
finally to turn the mare's head towards home, leaving Editha to follow
as best she might, in the company of one of the serving-men whom he
would send back to meet her.
The mare was ready to go. He spurred her to a sharp trot. Then having
joined the little group on ahead, he sent Master Courage Toogood back
with his lantern, with orders to inquire at the cottage for Mistress de
Chavasse and there to await her pleasure.
He asked Lady Sue to mount behind him, but this she refused to do. So he
put his nag back to foot space, and thus the much-diminished little
party slowly walked back to Acol Court.
What had prompted Editha de Chavasse to return thus alone to the
Quakeress's cottage, she herself could not exactly have told.
It must have been a passionate and irresistible desire to heap certainty
upon a tangle of horrible surmises.
With Adam Lambert lying dead--obviously murdered--and in the clothes
affected by de Chavasse when masquerading as the French hero, there
could be only one conclusion. But this to Editha--who throughout had
given a helping hand in the management of the monstrous comedy--was so
awful a solution of the puzzle that she could not but recoil from it,
and strive to deny it while she had one sane thought left in her madly
But though she fought against the conclusion with all her might, she did
not succeed in driving it from her thoughts: and through it all there
was a vein of uncertainty, that slender thread of hope that after all
she might be the prey of some awful delusion, which a word from someone
who really knew would anon easily dissipate.
Someone who really knew? Nay! that someone could only be Marmaduke, and
of him she dared not ask questions.
Mayhap that on the other hand the old woman and Richard Lambert knew
more than they had cared to say. Sue was indeed deeply absorbed in
thoughts, walking with head bent and eyes fixed on the ground like a
somnambulist. Editha, moved by unreasoning instinct, determined to see
the Quakeress again, also the man who now lay dead, hoping that from him
mayhap she might glean the real solution of that mystery which sooner or
later would undoubtedly drive her mad.
Running rapidly past horse and rider, for she would not speak to
Marmaduke, she reached the cottage soon enough.
In response to her knock, Master Lambert opened the door to her.
The dim light of a couple of tallow candles flickered weirdly in the
draught. Editha looked around her in amazement, astonished that--like
herself--Squire Boatfield had also evidently retraced his steps and was
sitting now in one of the high-backed chairs beside the hearth, whilst
the old Quakeress stood not far from him, her attitude indicative of
obstinacy, even of defiance, in the face of a duty with which apparently
the squire had been charging her.
At sight of Mistress de Chavasse, Boatfield rose. A look of annoyance
crossed his face, at thought that Editha's arrival had, mayhap,
endangered the success of his present purpose. Ink and paper were on the
table close to his elbow, and it was obvious that he had been
questioning the old woman very closely on a subject which she
apparently desired to keep secret from him.
Mistress Lambert's attitude had also changed at sight of Editha, who
stood for a moment undecided on the threshold ere she ventured within.
The look of obstinacy died out of the wrinkled face; the eyes took on a
strange expression of sullen wrath.
"Enter, my fine lady, I pray thee, enter," said the Quakeress; "art also
a party to these cross-questionings? ... art anxious to probe the
secrets which the old woman hath kept hidden within the walls of this
She laughed, a low, chuckling laugh, mirthless and almost cruel, as she
surveyed Editha's cloaked figure and then the lady's scared and anxious
"Nay, I crave your pardon, mistress," said Editha, feeling oddly timid
before the strange personality of the Quakeress. "I would of a truth
desire to ask your help in ... in ... I would not intrude ... and I ..."
"Nay! nay! prithee enter, fair mistress," rejoined Mistress Lambert
dryly. "Strange, that I should hear thy words so plainly.... Thy words
seem to find echo in my brain ... raising memories which thou hast
buried long ago.... Enter, I prithee, and sit thee down," she added,
shuffling towards the chair; "shut the door, Dick lad ... and ask this
fair mistress to sit.... The squire is asking many questions ... mayhap
that I'll answer them, now that she is here...."
In obedience to the quaint peremptoriness of her manner, Richard had
closed the outer door, and drawn the chair forward, asking Mistress de
Chavasse to sit. Squire Boatfield, who was visibly embarrassed, was
still standing and tried to murmur some excuse, being obviously anxious
to curtail this interview and to postpone his further questionings.
"I'll come some other time, mistress," he said with obvious nervousness.
"Mistress de Chavasse desires to speak with you, and I'll return later
on in the evening ... when you are alone...."
"Nay! nay, man! ..." rejoined the Quakeress, "prithee, sit again ... the
evening is young yet ... and what I may tell thee now has something to
do with this fine lady here. Wilt question me again? I would mayhap
She stood close to the table, one wrinkled hand resting upon it; the
guttering candles cast strange, fantastic lights on her old face,
surmounted with the winged coif, and weird shadows down one side of her
face. Editha, awed and subdued, gazed on her with a kind of fear, even
In a dark corner of the little room the straight outline of the long
deal box could only faintly be perceived in the gloom. Richard Lambert,
silent and oppressed, stood close beside it, his face in shadow, his
eyes fixed with a sense of inexplicable premonition on the face of
Editha de Chavasse.
"Now, wilt question me again, man?" asked the old Quakeress, turning to
the squire, "the Lord hath willed that my ears be clear to-day. Wilt
question me? ... I'll hear thee ... and I'll give answer to thy
"Nay, mistress," replied the squire, pointing to the ink and the paper
on the table, "methought you would wish to see the murderer of your ...
your nephew ... swing on the gallows for his crime.... I would sign this
paper here ordering the murderer of the smith of Acol to be apprehended
as soon as found ... and to be brought forthwith before the magistrate
... there to give an account of his doings.... I asked you then to give
me the full Christian and surname of the man whom the neighborhood and I
myself thought was your nephew ... and to my surprise, you seemed to
hesitate and ..."
"And I'll hesitate no longer," she interposed firmly. "Let the lad there
ask me his dead brother's name and I'll tell him.... I'll tell him ...
if he asks ..."
"Justice must be done against Adam's murderer, dear mistress," said
Richard gently, for the old woman had paused and turned to him,
evidently waiting for him to speak. "My brother's real name, his
parentage, might explain the motive which led an evildoer to commit such
an appalling crime. Therefore, dear mistress, do I ask thee to tell us
my brother's name, and mine own."
"'Tis well done, lad ... 'tis well done," she rejoined when Richard had
ceased speaking, and silence had fallen for awhile on that tiny cottage
parlor, "'tis well done," she reiterated. "The secret hath weighed
heavily upon my old shoulders these past few years, since thou and Adam
were no longer children.... But I swore to thy grandmother who died in
the Lord, that thou and Adam should never hear of thy mother's
wantonness and shame.... I swore it on her death-bed and I have kept my
oath ... but I am old now.... After this trouble, mine hour will surely
come.... I am prepared but I will not take thy secret, lad, with me into
She shuffled across to the old oak dresser which occupied one wall of
the little room. Two pairs of glowing eyes followed her every movement;
those of Richard Lambert, who seemed to see a vision of his destiny
faintly outlined--still blurred--but slowly unfolding itself in the
tangled web of fate; and then those of Editha, who even as the old woman
spoke had felt a tidal wave of long-forgotten memories sweeping right
over her senses. The look in the Quakeress's eyes, the words she
uttered--though still obscure and enigmatical--had already told her the
whole truth. As in a flash she saw before her, her youth and all its
follies, the gay life of thoughtlessness and pleasures, the cradles of
her children, the tiny boys who to the woman of fashion were but a
hindrance and a burden.
She saw her own mother, rigid and dour, the counterpart of this same old
Puritan who had not hesitated to part two children from their mother for
over a score of years, any more than she hesitated now to fling insult
upon insult on the wretched woman who had more than paid her debt to
her own careless frivolity of long ago.
"Thy brother's name was Henry Adam de Chavasse, and thine Michael
Richard de Chavasse, sons of Rowland de Chavasse, and of the wanton who
was his wife."
The old woman had taken a packet of papers, yellow with age and stained
with many tears, from out a secret drawer of the old oak dresser.
Her voice was no longer tremulous as it was wont to be, but firm and
dull, monotonous in tone like that of one who speaks whilst in a trance.
Squire Boatfield had uttered an exclamation of boundless astonishment.
Mechanically he took the packet of papers from the Quakeress's hand and
after an instant's hesitation, and in response to an appealing look from
Richard, he broke the string which held the documents together and
perused them one by one.
But Editha, even as the last of the old woman's words ceased to echo in
the narrow room, had risen to her feet. Her heavy cloak glided off her
shoulders down upon the ground; her eyes, preternaturally large, glowing
and full of awe, were now fixed upon the young man--her son.
"De Chavasse," she murmured, her brain whirling, her heart filled not
only with an awful terror, but also with a great and overwhelming joy.
"My sons ... then I am ..."
But with a peremptory gesture the Quakeress had stopped the word in her
"Nay!" she said loudly, "do not pollute that sacred name by letting it
pass through thy lips. Women such as thou were not made for
motherhood.... Thy own mother knew that, when she took thy children from
thee and cursed thee on her death-bed for thy sins and for thy shame!
Thy sons were honest, God-fearing men, but 'tis no thanks to thee. Thou
alone hast heaped shame upon their dead father's name and hast contrived
to wreak ruin on the sons who knew thee not."
The Quakeress paused a moment, her pale opaque eyes lighted with an
inward glow of wrath and of satisfied vengeance. She and her dead friend
and all their co-religionists had hated the woman, who, in defiance of
her own Puritanic upbringing, had cast aside her friends and her home in
order to throw herself in that vortex of pleasure, which her mother
considered evil and infamous.
Together they had all rejoiced over this woman's subsequent humiliation,
her sorrow and longing for her children, the ceaseless search, the
ever-recurrent disappointments. Now the Quakeress's hour had come, hers
and that of the whole of the dour sect who had taken it upon itself to
punish and to avenge.
Editha, shamed and miserable, not even daring now to approach her own
son and to beg for affection with a look, stood quite rigid and pale,
allowing the torrent of the old woman's pent-up hatred to fall upon her
and to crush her with its rough cruelty.
Squire Boatfield would have interposed. He had glanced at the various
documents--the proofs of what the old woman had asserted--and was
satisfied that the horrible tale of what seemed to him unparalleled
cruelty was indeed true, and that the narrow bigotry of a community had
succeeded in performing that monstrous crime of parting this wretched
woman for twenty years from her sons.
Vaguely in his mind, the kindly squire hoped that he--as
magistrate--could fitly punish this crime of child-stealing, and the
expression with which he now regarded the old Quakeress was certainly
not one of good-will.
Mistress Lambert had, in the meanwhile, approached Editha. She now took
the younger woman's hand in hers and dragged her towards the coffin.
"There lies one of thy sons," she said with the same relentless energy,
"the eldest, who should have been thy pride, murdered in a dark spot by
some skulking criminal.... Curse thee! ... curse thee, I say ... as thy
mother cursed thee on her death-bed ... curse thee now that retribution
has come at last!"
Her words died away, as some mournful echo against these whitewashed
For a moment she stood wrathful and defiant, upright and stern like a
justiciary between the dead son and the miserable woman, who of a truth
was suffering almost unendurable agony of mind and of heart.
Then in the midst of the awesome silence that followed on that loudly
spoken curse, there was the sound of a firm footstep on the rough deal
floor, and the next moment Michael Richard de Chavasse was kneeling
beside his mother, and covering her icy cold hand with kisses.
A heart-broken moan escaped her throat. She stooped and with trembling
lips gently touched the young head bent in simple love and uninquiring
reverence before her.
Then without a word, without a look cast either at her cruel enemy, or
at the silent spectator of this terrible drama, she turned and ran
rapidly out of the room, out into the dark and dismal night.
With a deep sigh of content, Mistress Lambert fell on her knees and
thence upon the floor.
The old heart which had contained so much love and so much hatred, such
stern self-sacrifice and such deadly revenge, had ceased to beat, now
the worker's work was done.
Master Courage Toogood had long ago given up all thought of waiting for
the mistress. He had knocked repeatedly at the door of the cottage, from
behind the thick panels of which he had heard loud and--he
thought--angry voices, speaking words which he could not, however, quite
No answer had come to his knocking and tired with the excitement of the
day, fearful, too, at the thought of the lonely walk which now awaited
him, he chose to believe that mayhap he had either misunderstood his
master's orders, or that Sir Marmaduke himself had been mistaken when he
thought the mistress back at the cottage.
These surmises were vastly to Master Courage Toogood's liking, whose
name somewhat belied his timid personality. Swinging his lantern and
striving to keep up his spirits by the aid of a lusty song, he
resolutely turned his steps towards home.
The whole landscape seemed filled with eeriness: the events of the day
had left their impress on this dark November night, causing the sighs of
the gale to seem more spectral and weird than usual, and the dim outline
of the trees with their branches turned away from the coastline, to
seem like unhappy spirits with thin, gaunt arms stretched dejectedly out
toward the unresponsive distance.
Master Toogood tried not to think of ghosts, nor of the many stories of
pixies and goblins which are said to take a malicious pleasure in the
timorousness of mankind, but of a truth he nearly uttered a cry of
terror, and would have fallen on his knees in the mud, when a dark
object quite undistinguishable in the gloom suddenly loomed before him.
Yet this was only the portly figure of Master Pyot, the petty constable,
who seemed to be mounting guard just outside the cottage, and who was
vastly amused at Toogood's pusillanimity. He entered into converse with
the young man--no doubt he, too, had been feeling somewhat lonely in the
midst of this darkness, which was peopled with unseen shadows. Master
Courage was ready enough to talk. He had acquired some of Master Busy's
eloquence on the subject of secret investigations, and the mystery which
had gained an intensity this afternoon, through the revelations of the
old Quakeress, was an all-engrossing one to all.
The attention which Pyot vouchsafed to his narration greatly enhanced
Master Toogood's own delight therein, more especially as the petty
constable had, as if instinctively, measured his steps with those of the
younger man and was accompanying him on his way towards the Court.
Courage told his attentive listener all about Master Busy's surmises and
his determination to probe the secrets of the mysterious crime,
which--to be quite truthful--the worthy butler with the hard toes had
scented long ere it was committed, seeing that he used to spend long
hours in vast discomfort in the forked branches of the old elms which
surrounded the pavilion at the boundary of the park.
Toogood had no notion if Master Busy had ever discovered anything of
interest in the neighborhood of that pavilion, and he was quite, quite
sure that the saintly man had never dared to venture inside that archaic
building, which had the reputation of being haunted; still, he was
over-gratified to perceive that the petty constable was vastly
interested in his tale--in spite of these obvious defects in its
completeness--and that, moreover, Master Pyot showed no signs of turning
on his heel, but continued to trudge along the gloomy road in company
with Sir Marmaduke's youngest serving-man.
Thus Editha, when she ran out of Mistress Lambert's cottage, her ears
ringing with the fanatic's curses, her heart breaking with the joy of
that reverent filial kiss imprinted upon her hands, found the road and
the precincts of the cottage entirely deserted.
The night was pitch dark after the rain. Great heavy clouds still hung
above, and an icy blast caught her skirts as she lifted the latch of the
gate and turned into the open.
But she cared little about the inclemency of the weather. She knew her
way about well enough and her mind was too full of terrible thoughts of
what was real, to yield to the subtle and feeble fears engendered by
imaginings of the supernatural.
Nay! she would, mayhap, have welcomed the pixies and goblins who by
mischievous pranks had claimed her attention. They would, of a truth,
have diverted her mind from the contemplation of that awful and
monstrous deed accomplished by the man whom she would meet anon.
If he whom the villagers had called Adam Lambert was her son, Henry Adam
de Chavasse, then Sir Marmaduke was the murderer of her child. All the
curses which the old Quakeress had so vengefully poured upon her were as
nothing compared with that awful, that terrible fact.
Her son had been murdered ... her eldest son whom she had never known,
and she--involuntarily mayhap, compulsorily certes--had in a measure
helped to bring about those events which had culminated in that
She had known of Marmaduke's monstrous fraud on the confiding girl whom
he now so callously abandoned to her fate. She had known of it and
helped him towards its success by luring her other son Richard to that
vile gambling den where he had all but lost his honor, or else his
This knowledge and the help she had given was the real curse upon her
now: a curse far more horrible and deadly than that which had driven
Cain forth into the wilderness. This knowledge and the help she had
given had stained her hands with the blood of her own child.
No wonder that she sighed for ghouls and for shadowy monsters,
well-nigh longing for a sight of distorted faces, of ugly deformed
bodies, and loathsome shapes far less hideous than that specter of an
inhuman homicide which followed her along this dark road as she ran--ran
on--ran towards the home where dwelt the living monster of evil, the man
who had done the deed, which she had helped to accomplish.
Complete darkness reigned all around her, she could not see a yard of
the road in front of her, but she went on blindly, guided by instinct,
led by that unseen shadow which was driving her on. All round her the
gale was moaning in the creaking branches of the trees, branches which
were like arms stretched forth in appeal towards the unattainable.
Her progress was slow for she was walking in the very teeth of the
hurricane, and her shoes ever and anon remained glued to the slimy mud.
But the road was straight enough, she knew it well, and she felt neither
fatigue nor discomfort.
Of Sue she did not think. The wrongs done to the defenseless girl were
as nothing to her compared with the irreparable--the wrongs done to her
sons, the living and the dead: for the one the foul dagger of an inhuman
assassin, for the other shame and disgrace.
Sue was young. Sue would soon forget. The girl-wife would soon regain
her freedom.... But what of the mother who had on her soul the taint of
the murder of her child?
The gate leading to the Court from the road was wide open: it had been
left so for her, no doubt, when Sir Marmaduke returned. The house itself
was dark, no light save one pierced the interstices of the ill-fitting
shutters. Editha paused a moment at the gate, looking at the house--a
great black mass, blacker than the surrounding gloom. That had been her
home for many years now, ever since her youth and sprightliness had
vanished, and she had had nowhere to go for shelter. It had been her
home ever since Richard, her youngest boy, had entered it, too, as a
Oh! what an immeasurable fool she had been, how she had been tricked and
fooled all these years by the man who two days ago had put a crown upon
his own infamy. He knew where the boys were, he helped to keep them away
from their mother, so as to filch from them their present, and above
all, future inheritance. How she loathed him now, and loathed herself
for having allowed him to drag her down. Aye! of a truth he had wronged
her worse even than he had wronged his brother's sons!
She fixed her eyes steadily on the one light which alone pierced the
inky blackness of the solid mass of the house. It came from the little
withdrawing-room, which was on the left of this entrance to the hall;
but the place itself--beyond just that one tiny light--appeared quite
silent and deserted. Even from the stableyard on her right and from the
serving-men's quarters not a sound came to mingle with the weird
whisperings of the wind.
Editha approached and stooping to the ground, she groped in the mud
until her hands encountered two or three pebbles.
She picked them up, then going close to the house, she threw these
pebbles one by one against the half-closed shutter of the
The next moment, she heard the latch of the casement window being lifted
from within, and anon the rickety shutter flew back with a thin creaking
sound like that of an animal in pain.
The upper part of Sir Marmaduke's figure appeared in the window
embrasure, like a dark and massive silhouette against the yellowish
light from within. He stooped forward, seeming to peer into the
"Is that you, Editha?" he queried presently.
"Yes," she replied. "Open!"
She then wailed a moment or two, whilst he closed both the shutter and
the window, she standing the while on the stone step before the portico.
In the stillness she could hear him open the drawing-room door, then
cross the hall and finally unbolt the heavy outer door.
She pushed past him over the threshold and went into the gloomy hall,
pitch dark save for the flickering light of the candle which he held.
She waited until he had re-closed the door, then she stood quite still,
confronting him, allowing him to look into her face, to read the
expression of her eyes.
In order to do this he had raised the candle, his hand trembling
perceptibly, and the feeble light quivered in his grasp, illumining her
face at fitful intervals, creeping down her rigid shoulders and arms, as
far as her hands, which were tightly clenched. It danced upon his face
too, lighting it with weird gleams and fitful sparks, showing the wild
look in his eyes, the glitter almost of madness in the dilated pupils,
the dark iris sharply outlined against the glassy orbs. It licked the
trembling lips and distorted mouth, the drawn nostrils and dank hair,
almost alive with that nameless fear.
"You would denounce me?" he murmured, and the cry--choked and
toneless--could scarce rise from the dry parched throat.
"Yes!" she said.
He uttered a violent curse.
"You devil ... you ..."
"You have time to go," she said calmly, "'tis a long while 'twixt now
He understood. She only would denounce him if he stayed. She wished him
no evil, only desired him out of her sight. He tried to say something
flippant, something cruel and sneering, but she stopped him with a
"Go!" she said, "or I might forget everything save that you killed my
For a moment she thought that her life was in danger at his hands, so
awful in its baffled rage was the expression of his face when he
understood that indeed she knew everything. She even at that moment
longed that his cruel instincts should prompt him to kill her. He could
never succeed in hiding that crime and retributive justice would of a
surety overtake him then, without any help from her.
No doubt he, too, thought of this as the weird flicker of the
candle-light showed him her unflinching face, for the next moment, with
another muttered curse, and a careless shrug of the shoulders, he turned
on his heel, and slowly went upstairs, candle in hand.
Editha watched him until his massive figure was merged in the gloom of
the heavy oak stairway. Then she went into the withdrawing-room and
THE SANDS OF EPPLE
Five minutes later Sir Marmaduke de Chavasse, clad in thick dark doublet
and breeches and wearing a heavy cloak, once more descended the stairs
of Acol Court. He saw the light in the withdrawing-room and knew that
Editha was there, mutely watching his departure.
But he did not care to speak to her again. His mind had been quickly
made up, nay! his actions in the immediate future should of a truth have
been accomplished two days ago, ere the meddlesomeness of women had
well-nigh jeopardized his own safety.
All that he meant to do now was to go quickly to the pavilion, find the
leather wallet then return to his own stableyard, saddle one of his nags
and start forthwith for Dover. Eighteen miles would soon be covered, and
though the night was dark, the road was straight and broad. De Chavasse
knew it well, and had little fear of losing his way.
With plenty of money in his purse, he would have no difficulty in
chartering a boat which, with a favorable tide on the morrow, should
soon take him over to France.
All that he ought to have done two days ago! Of a truth, he had been a
He did not cross the hall this time but went out through the
dining-room by the garden entrance. Not a glimmer of light came from
above, but as he descended the few stone steps he felt that a few soft
flakes of snow tossed by the hurricane were beginning to fall. Of course
he knew every inch of his own garden and park and had oft wandered about
on the further side of the ha-ha whilst indulging in lengthy
sweetly-spoken farewells with his love-sick Sue.
Absorbed in the thoughts of his immediate future plans, he nevertheless
walked along cautiously, for the paths had become slippery with the
snow, which froze quickly even as it fell.
He did not pause, however, for he wished to lose no time. If he was to
ride to Dover this night, he would have to go at foot-pace, for the road
would be like glass if this snow and ice continued. Moreover, he was
burning to feel that wallet once more between his fingers and to hear
the welcome sound of the crushing of crisp papers.
He had plunged resolutely into the thickness of the wood. Here he could
have gone blindfolded, so oft had he trodden this path which leads under
the overhanging elms straight to the pavilion, walking with Sue's little
hand held tightly clasped in his own.
The spiritual presence of the young girl seemed even now to pervade the
thicket, her sweet fragrance to fill the frost-laden air.
Bah! he was not the man to indulge in retrospective fancy. The girl was
naught to him, and there was no sense of remorse in his soul for the
terrible wrongs which he had inflicted on her. All that he thought of
now was the wallet which contained the fortune. That which would forever
compensate him for the agony, the madness of the past two days.
The bend behind that last group of elms should now reveal the outline of
the pavilion. Sir Marmaduke advanced more cautiously, for the trees here
were very close together.
The next moment he had paused, crouching suddenly like a carnivorous
beast, balked of its prey. There of a truth was the pavilion, but on the
steps three men were standing, talking volubly and in whispers. Two of
these men carried stable lanterns, and were obviously guiding their
companion up to the door of the pavilion.
The light of the lanterns illumined one face after another. De Chavasse
recognized his two serving-men, Busy and Toogood; the man who was with
them was petty-constable Pyot. Marmaduke with both hands clutching the
ivy which clung round the gnarled stem of an old elm, watched from out
the darkness what these three men were doing here, beside this pavilion,
which had always been so lonely and deserted.
He could not distinguish what they said for they spoke in whispers and
the creaking branches groaning beneath the wind drowned every sound
which came from the direction of the pavilion and the listener on the
watch, straining his every sense in order to hear, dared not creep any
closer lest he be perceived.
Anon, the three men examined the door of the pavilion, and shaking the
rusty bolts, found that they would not yield. But evidently they were of
set purpose, for the next moment all three put their shoulder to the
worm-eaten woodwork, and after the third vigorous effort the door
yielded to their assault.
Men and lanterns disappeared within the pavilion. Sir Marmaduke heard an
ejaculation of surprise, then one of profound satisfaction.
For the space of a few seconds he remained rooted to the spot. It almost
seemed to him as if with the knowledge that the wallet and the discarded
clothes of the smith had been found, with the certitude that this
discovery meant his own undoing probably, and in any case the final loss
of the fortune for which he had plotted and planned, lied and
masqueraded, killed a man and cheated a girl, that with the knowledge of
all this, death descended upon him: so cold did he feel, so unable was
he to make the slightest movement.
But this numbness only lasted a few seconds. Obviously the three men
would return in a minute or so; equally obviously his own presence
here--if discovered--would mean certain ruin to him. Even while he was
making the effort to collect his scattered senses and to move from this
fateful and dangerous spot, he saw the three men reappear in the
doorway of the pavilion.
The breeches and rough shirt of the smith hung over the arm of
Hymn-of-Praise Busy; the dark stain on the shirt was plainly visible by
the light of one of the lanterns.
Petty constable Pyot had the leather wallet in his hand, and was peeping
down with grave curiosity at the bundle of papers which it contained.
Then with infinite caution, Marmaduke de Chavasse worked his way between
the trees towards the old wall which encircled his park. The three men
obviously would be going back either to Acol Court, or mayhap, straight
to the village.
Sir Marmaduke knew of a gap in the wall which it was quite easy to
climb, even in the dark; a path through the thicket at that point led
straight out towards the coast.
He had struck that path from the road on the night when he met the smith
on the cliffs.
The snow only penetrated in sparse flakes to the thicket here. Although
the branches of the trees were dead, they interlaced so closely overhead
that they formed ample protection against the wet.
But the fury of the gale seemed terrific amongst these trees and the
groaning of the branches seemed like weird cries proceeding from hell.
Anon, the midnight walker reached the open. Here a carpet of coarse
grass peeping through the thin layer of snow gave insecure foothold. He
stumbled as he pursued his way. He was walking in the teeth of the
northwesterly blast now and he could scarcely breathe, for the great
gusts caught his throat, causing him to choke.
Still he walked resolutely on. Icy moisture clung to his hair, and to
his lips, and soon he could taste the brine in the air. The sound of the
breakers some ninety feet below mingled weirdly with the groans of the
He knew the path well. Had he not trodden it three nights ago, on his
way to meet the smith? Already in the gloom he could distinguish the
broken line of the cliffs sharply defined against the gray density of
As he drew nearer the roar of the breakers became almost deafening. A
heavy sea was rolling in on the breast of the tide.
Still he walked along, towards the brow of the cliffs. Soon he could
distinguish the irregular heap of chalk against which Adam had stood,
whilst he had held the lantern in one hand and gripped the knife in the
The hurricane nearly swept him off his feet. He had much ado to steady
himself against that heap of chalk. The snow had covered his cloak and
his hat, and he liked to think that he, too, now--snow-covered--must
look like a monstrous chalk boulder, weird and motionless outlined
against the leaden grayness of the ocean beyond.
The smith was not by his side now. There was no lantern, no paper, no
double-edged dagger. Down nearly a hundred feet below the smith had lain
until the turn of the tide. The man's eyes, becoming accustomed to the
gloom, could distinguish the points of the great boulders springing
boldly from out the sand. The surf as it broke all round and over them
was tipped with a phosphorescent light.
The gale, in sheer wantonness, caught the midnight prowler's hat and
with a wild sound as of the detonation of a hundred guns, tossed it to
the waves below. The snow in a few moments had thrown a white pall over
the watcher's head.
He could see quite clearly the tall boulder untouched by the tide, on
which he had placed the black silk shade that night, also the
broad-brimmed hat, so that these things should be found high and dry and
be easily recognizable.
Some twenty feet further on was the smooth stretch of sand where had
lain the smith, after he had been dressed up in the fantastic clothes of
the mysterious French prince.
Marmaduke de Chavasse gazed upon that spot. The breakers licked it now
and again, leaving behind them as they retreated a track of slimy foam,
which showed white in this strange gray gloom, rendered alive and moving
by the falling snow.
The surf covered that stretch of sand more and more frequently now, and
retreated less and less far: the slimy foam floated now over an inky
pool; soon that too disappeared. The breakers sought other boulders
round which to play their titanic hide-and-seek. The tide had
completely hidden the place where Adam Lambert had lain.
Then the watcher walked on--one step and then another--and then the one
beyond the edge as he stepped down, down into the abyss ninety feet
The chronicles of the time tell us that the mysterious disappearance of
Sir Marmaduke de Chavasse was but a nine days' wonder in that great
world which lies beyond the boundaries of sea-girt Thanet.
What Thanet thought of it all, the little island kept secret, hiding its
surmises in the thicket of her own archaic forests.
Squire Boatfield did his best to wrap the disappearance of his whilom
friend in impenetrable veils of mystery. He was a humane and a kindly
man and feeling that the guilty had been amply punished, he set to work
to cheer and to rehabilitate the innocent.
All of us who have read the memoirs of Editha de Chavasse, written when
she was a woman of nearly sixty, remember that she, too, has drawn a
thick curtain over the latter days of her brother-in-law's life. It is
to her pen that we owe the record of what happened subsequently.
She tells us, for instance, how Master Skyffington, after sundry
interviews with my Lord Northallerton, had the honor of bringing to his
lordship's notice the young student--so long known as Richard
Lambert--who, of a truth, was sole heir to the earldom and to its
magnificent possessions and dependencies.
From the memoirs of Editha de Chavasse we also know that Lady Sue
Aldmarshe, girl-wife and widow, did, after a period of mourning, marry
Michael Richard de Chavasse, sole surviving nephew and heir presumptive
of his lordship the Earl of Northallerton.
But it is to the brush of Sir Peter Lely that we owe that exquisite
portrait of Sue, when she was Countess of Northallerton, the friend of
Queen Catherine, the acknowledged beauty at the Court of the
It is a sweet face, whereon the half-obliterated lines of sorrow vie
with that look of supreme happiness which first crept into her eyes when
she realized that the dear and constant friend who had loved her so
dearly, was as true to her in his joy as he had been in those dark days
when a terrible crisis had well-nigh wrecked her life.
Lord and Lady Northallerton did not often stay in London. The brilliance
of the Court had few attractions for them. Happiness came to them after
terrible sorrows. They liked to hide it and their great love in the calm
and mystery of forest-covered Thanet.