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Title: The Battle of the Strong: A Romance of Two Kingdoms — Volume 5
Author: Parker, Gilbert
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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THE BATTLE OF THE STRONG

[A ROMANCE OF TWO KINGDOMS]

By Gilbert Parker


Volume 5.



CHAPTER XXXI

When Ranulph returned to his little house at St. Aubin's Bay night had
fallen.  Approaching he saw there was no light in the windows.  The
blinds were not drawn, and no glimmer of fire came from the chimney.  He
hesitated at the door, for he instinctively felt that something must have
happened to his father.  He was just about to enter, however, when some
one came hurriedly round the corner of the house.

"Whist, boy," said a voice; "I've news for you."  Ranulph recognised the
voice as that of Dormy Jamais.  Dormy plucked at his sleeve.  "Come with
me, boy," said he.

"Come inside if you want to tell me something," answered Ranulph.

"Ah bah, not for me!  Stone walls have ears.  I'll tell only you and the
wind that hears and runs away."

"I must speak to my father first," answered Ranulph.

"Come with me, I've got him safe," Dormy chuckled to himself.

Ranulph's heavy hand dropped on his shoulder.  "What's that you're
saying--my father with you!  What's the matter?"

As though oblivious of Ranulph's hand Dormy went on chuckling.

"Whoever burns me for a fool 'll lose their ashes.  Des monz a fous--I
have a head!  Come with me."  Ranulph saw that he must humour the shrewd
natural, so he said:

"Et ben, put your four shirts in five bundles and come along."  He was a
true Jerseyman at heart, and speaking to such as Dormy Jamais he used the
homely patois phrases.  He knew there was no use hurrying the little man,
he would take his own time.

"There's been the devil to pay," said Dormy as he ran towards the shore,
his sabots going clac--clac, clac--clac.  "There's been the devil to pay
in St. Heliers, boy."  He spoke scarcely above a whisper.

"Tcheche--what's that?" said Ranulph.  But Dormy was not to uncover his
pot of roses till his own time.  "That connetable's got no more wit than
a square bladed knife," he rattled on.  "But gache-a-penn, I'm hungry!"
And as he ran he began munching a lump of bread he took from his pocket.

For the next five minutes they went on in silence.  It was quite dark,
and as they passed up Market Hill--called Ghost Lane because of the Good
Little People who made it their highway--Dormy caught hold of Ranulph's
coat and trotted along beside him.  As they went, tokens of the life
within came out to them through doorway and window.  Now it was the voice
of a laughing young mother:

                        "Si tu as faim
                         Manges ta main
                         Et gardes l'autre pour demain;
                         Et ta tete
                         Pour le jour de fete;
                         Et ton gros ortee
                         Pour le Jour Saint Norbe"

And again:

                   "Let us pluck the bill of the lark,
                    The lark from head to tail--"

He knew the voice.  It was that of a young wife of the parish of St.
Saviour: married happily, living simply, given a frugal board, after the
manner of her kind, and a comradeship for life.  For the moment he felt
little but sorrow for himself.  The world seemed to be conspiring against
him: the chorus of Fate was singing behind the scenes, singing of the
happiness of others in sardonic comment on his own final unhappiness.
Yet despite the pain of finality there was on him something of the apathy
of despair.

From another doorway came fragments of a song sung at a veille.  The door
was open, and he could see within the happy gathering of lads and lassies
in the light of the crasset.  There was the spacious kitchen, its beams
and rafters dark with age, adorned with flitches of bacon, huge loaves
resting in the racllyi beneath the centre beam, the broad open hearth,
the flaming fire of logs, and the great brass pan shining like fresh-
coined gold, on its iron tripod over the logs.  Lassies in their short
woollen petticoats, and bedgones of blue and lilac, with boisterous lads,
were stirring the contents of the vast bashin--many cabots of apples,
together with sugar, lemon-peel, and cider; the old ladies in mob-caps
tied under the chin, measuring out the nutmeg and cinnamon to complete
the making of the black butter: a jocund recreation for all, and at all
times.

In one corner was a fiddler, and on the veille, flourished for the
occasion with satinettes and fern, sat two centeniers and the prevot,
singing an old song in the patois of three parishes.

Ranulph looked at the scene lingeringly.  Here he was, with mystery and
peril to hasten his steps, loitering at the spot where the light of home
streamed out upon the roadway.  But though he lingered, somehow he seemed
withdrawn from all these things; they were to him now as pictures of a
distant past.

Dormy plucked at his coat.  "Come, come, lift your feet, lift your feet,"
said he; "it's no time to walk in slippers.  The old man will be getting
scared, oui-gia!"  Ranulph roused himself.  Yes, yes, he must hurry on.
He had not forgotten his father, but something held him here; as though
Fate were whispering in his ear.  What does it matter now?  While yet you
may, feed on the sight of happiness.  So the prisoner going to execution
seizes one of the few moments left to him for prayer, to look lingeringly
upon what he leaves, as though to carry into the dark a clear remembrance
of it all.

Moving on quietly in a kind of dream, Ranulph was roused again by Dormy's
voice: "On Sunday I saw three magpies, and there was a wedding that day.
Tuesday I saw two--that's for joy--and fifty Jersey prisoners of the
French comes back on Jersey that day.  This morning one I saw.  One
magpie is for trouble, and trouble's here.  One doesn't have eyes for
naught--no, bidemme!"

Ranulph's patience was exhausted.

"Bachouar," he exclaimed roughly, "you make elephants out of fleas!
You've got no more news than a conch-shell has music.  A minute and
you'll have a back-hander that'll put you to sleep, Maitre Dormy."

If he had been asked his news politely Dormy would have been still more
cunningly reticent.  To abuse him in his own argot was to make him loose
his bag of mice in a flash.

"Bachouar yourself, Maitre Ranulph!  You'll find out soon.  No news--no
trouble--eh!  Par made, Mattingley's gone to the Vier Prison--he!  The
baker's come back, and the Connetable's after Olivier Delagarde.  No
trouble, pardingue, if no trouble, Dormy Jamais's a batd'lagoule and no
need for father of you to hide in a place that only Dormy knows--my
good!"

So at last the blow had fallen; after all these years of silence,
sacrifice, and misery.  The futility of all that he had done and suffered
for his father's sake came home to Ranulph.  Yet his brain was instantly
alive.  He questioned Dormy rapidly and adroitly, and got the story from
him in patches.

The baker Carcaud, who, with Olivier Delagarde, betrayed the country into
the hands of Rullecour years ago, had, with a French confederate of
Mattingley's, been captured in attempting to steal Jean Touzel's boat,
the Hardi Biaou.  At the capture the confederate had been shot.  Before
dying he implicated Mattingley in several robberies, and a notorious case
of piracy of three months before, committed within gunshot of the men-of-
war lying in the tide-way.  Carcaud, seriously wounded, to save his life
turned King's evidence, and disclosed to the Royal Court in private his
own guilt and Olivier Delagarde's treason.

Hidden behind the great chair of the Bailly himself, Dormy Jamais had
heard the whole business.  This had brought him hot-foot to St. Aubin's
Bay, whence he had hurried Olivier Delagarde to a hiding-place in the
hills above the bay of St. Brelade.  The fool had travelled more swiftly
than Jersey justice, whose feet are heavy.  Elie Mattingley was now in
the Vier Prison.  There was the whole story.

The mask had fallen, the game was up.  Well, at least there would be no
more lying, no more brutalising inward shame.  All at once it appeared to
Ranulph madness that he had not taken his father away from Jersey long
ago.  Yet too he knew that as things had been with Guida he could never
have stayed away.

Nothing was left but action.  He must get his father clear of the island
and that soon.  But how?  and where should they go?  He had a boat in St.
Aubin's Bay: getting there under cover of darkness he might embark with
his father and set sail--whither?  To Sark--there was no safety there.
To Guernsey--that was no better.  To France--yes, that was it, to the war
of the Vendee, to join Detricand.  No need to find the scrap of paper
once given him in the Vier Marchi.  Wherever Detricand might be, his fame
was the highway to him.  All France knew of the companion of de la
Rochejaquelein, the fearless Comte de Tournay.  Ranulph made his
decision.  Shamed and dishonoured in Jersey, in that holy war of the
Vendee he would find something to kill memory, to take him out of life
without disgrace.  His father must go with him to France, and bide his
fate there also.

By the time his mind was thus made up, they had reached the lonely
headland dividing Portelet Bay from St. Brelade's.  Dark things were said
of this spot, and the country folk of the island were wont to avoid it.
Beneath the cliffs in the sea was a rocky islet called Janvrin's Tomb.
One Janvrin, ill of a fell disease, and with his fellows forbidden by the
Royal Court to land, had taken refuge here, and died wholly neglected and
without burial.  Afterwards his body lay exposed till the ravens and
vultures devoured it, and at last a great storm swept his bones off into
the sea.  Strange lights were to be seen about this rock, and though wise
men guessed them mortal glimmerings, easily explained, they sufficed to
give the headland immunity from invasion.

To a cave at this point Dormy Jamais had brought the trembling Olivier
Delagarde, unrepenting and peevish, but with a craven fear of the Royal
Court and a furious populace quickening his footsteps.  This hiding-place
was entered at low tide by a passage from a larger cave.  It was like a
little vaulted chapel floored with sand and shingle.  A crevice through
rock and earth to the world above let in the light and out the smoke.

Here Olivier Delagarde sat crouched over a tiny fire, with some bread and
a jar of water at his hand, gesticulating and talking to himself.  The
long white hair and beard, with the benevolent forehead, gave him the
look of some latter-day St. Helier, grieving for the sins and praying for
the sorrows of mankind; but from the hateful mouth came profanity fit
only for the dreadful communion of a Witches' Sabbath.

Hearing the footsteps of Ranulph and Dormy, he crouched and shivered in
terror, but Ranulph, who knew too well his revolting cowardice, called to
him reassuringly.  On their approach he stretched out his talon-like
fingers in a gesture of entreaty.

"You'll not let them hang me, Ranulph--you'll save me," he whimpered.

"Don't be afraid, they shall not hang you," Ranulph replied quietly, and
began warming his hands at the fire.  "You'll swear it, Ranulph--on the
Bible?"

"I've told you they shall not hang you.  You ought to know by now whether
I mean what I say," his son answered more sharply.

Assuredly Ranulph meant that his father should not be hanged.  Whatever
the law was, whatever wrong the old man had done, it had been atoned for;
the price had been paid by both.  He himself had drunk the cup of shame
to the dregs, but now he would not swallow the dregs.  An iron
determination entered into him.  He had endured all that he would endure
from man.  He had set out to defend Olivier Delagarde from the worst that
might happen, and he was ready to do so to the bitter end.  His scheme of
justice might not be that of the Royal Court, but he would defend it with
his life.  He had suddenly grown hard--and dangerous.



CHAPTER XXXII

The Royal Court was sitting late.  Candles had been brought to light
the long desk or dais where sat the Bailly in his great chair, and the
twelve scarlet-robed jurats.  The Attorney-General stood at his desk,
mechanically scanning the indictment read against prisoners charged with
capital crimes.  His work was over, and according to his lights he had
done it well.  Not even the Undertaker's Apprentice could have been less
sensitive to the struggles of humanity under the heel of fate and death.
A plaintive complacency, a little righteous austerity, and an agreeable
expression of hunger made the Attorney-General a figure in godly contrast
to the prisoner awaiting his doom in the iron cage opposite.

There was a singular stillness in this sombre Royal Court, where only a
tallow candle or two and a dim lanthorn near the door filled the room
with flickering shadows-great heads upon the wall drawing close together,
and vast lips murmuring awful secrets.  Low whisperings came through the
dusk like mournful nightwinds carrying tales of awe through a heavy
forest.  Once in the long silence a figure rose up silently, and stealing
across the room to a door near the jury box, tapped upon it with a
pencil.  A moment's pause, the door opened slightly, and another shadowy
figure appeared, whispered, and vanished.  Then the first figure closed
the door again silently, and came and spoke softly up to the Bailly, who
yawned in his hand, sat back in his chair, and drummed his fingers upon
the arm.  Thereupon the other--the greffier of the court--settled down at
his desk beneath the jurats, and peered into an open book before him, his
eyes close to the page, reading silently by the meagre light of a candle
from the great desk behind him.

Now a fat and ponderous avocat rose up and was about to speak, but the
Bailly, with a peevish gesture, waved him down, and he settled heavily
into place again.

At last the door at which the greffier had tapped opened, and a gaunt
figure in a red robe came out.  Standing in the middle of the room he
motioned towards the great pew opposite the Attorney-General.  Slowly the
twenty-four men of the grand jury following him filed into place and sat
themselves down in the shadows.  Then the gaunt figure--the Vicomte or
high sheriff--bowing to the Bailly and the jurats, went over and took his
seat beside the Attorney-General.  Whereupon the Bailly leaned forward
and droned a question to the Grand Enquete in the shadow.  One rose up
from among the twenty-four, and out of the dusk there came in reply to
the Judge a squeaking voice:

"We find the Prisoner at the Bar more Guilty than Innocent."

A shudder ran through the court.  But some one not in the room shuddered
still more violently.  From the gable window of a house in the Rue des
Tres Pigeons, a girl had sat the livelong day, looking, looking into the
court-room.  She had watched the day decline, the evening come, and the
lighting of the crassets and the candles, and had waited to hear the
words that meant more to her than her own life.  At last the great moment
came, and she could hear the foreman's voice whining the fateful words,
"More Guilty than Innocent."

It was Carterette Mattingley, and the prisoner at the bar was her father.



CHAPTER XXXIII

Mattingley's dungeon was infested with rats and other vermin, he had only
straw for his bed, and his food and drink were bread and water.  The
walls were damp with moisture from the Fauxbie running beneath, and a
mere glimmer of light came through a small barred window.  Superstition
had surrounded the Vier Prison with horrors.  As carts passed under the
great archway, its depth multiplied the sounds so powerfully, the echoes
were so fantastic, that folk believed them the roarings of fiendish
spirits.  If a mounted guard hurried through, the reverberation of the
drum-beats and the clatter of hoofs were so uncouth that children stopped
their ears and fled in terror.  To the ignorant populace the Vier Prison
was the home of noisome serpents and the rendezvous of the devil and his
witches of Rocbert.

When therefore the seafaring merchant of the Vier Marchi, whose massive,
brass-studded bahue had been as a gay bazaar where the gentry of Jersey
refreshed their wardrobes, with one eye closed--when he was transferred
to the Vier Prison, little wonder he should become a dreadful being round
whom played the lightnings of dark fancy.  Elie Mattingley the popular
sinner, with insolent gold rings in his ears, unchallenged as to how he
came by his merchandise, was one person; Elie Mattingley, a torch for the
burning, and housed amid the terrors of the Vier Prison, was another.

Few people in Jersey slept the night before his execution.  Here and
there kind-hearted women or unimportant men lay awake through pity, and a
few through a vague sense of loss; for, henceforth, the Vier Marchi would
lack a familiar interest; but mostly the people of Mattingley's world
were wakeful through curiosity.  Morbid expectation of the hanging had
for them a gruesome diversion.  The thing itself would break the daily
monotony of life and provide hushed gossip for vraic gatherings and
veilles for a long time to come.  Thus Elie Mattingley would not die in
vain!

Here was one sensation, but there was still another.  Olivier Delagarde
had been unmasked, and the whole island had gone tracking him down.  No
aged toothless tiger was ever sported through the jungle by an army of
shikarris with hungrier malice than was this broken traitor by the people
he had betrayed.  Ensued, therefore, a commingling of patriotism with
lust of man-hunting and eager expectation of to-morrow's sacrifice.

Nothing of this excitement disturbed Mattingley.  He did not sleep, but
that was because he was still watching for a means of escape.  He felt
his chances diminish, however, when about midnight an extra guard was put
round the prison.  Something had gone amiss in the matter of his rescue.

Three things had been planned.

Firstly, he was to try escape by the small window of the dungeon.

Secondly, Carterette was to bring Sebastian Alixandre to the prison
disguised as a sorrowing aunt of the condemned.  Alixandre was suddenly
to overpower the jailer, Mattingley was to make a rush for freedom, and a
few bold spirits without would second his efforts and smuggle him to the
sea.  The directing mind and hand in the business were Ranulph
Delagarde's.  He was to have his boat waiting to respond to a signal from
the shore, and to make sail for France, where he and his father were to
be landed.  There he was to give Mattingley, Alixandre, and Carterette
his craft to fare across the seas to the great fishing-ground of Gaspe in
Canada.

Lastly, if these plans failed, the executioner was to be drugged with
liquor, his besetting weakness, on the eve of the hanging.

The first plan had been found impossible, the window being too small for
even Mattingley's head to get through.  The second had failed because the
righteous Royal Court forbade Carterette the prison, intent that she
should no longer be contaminated by so vile a wretch as her father.  For
years this same Christian solicitude had looked down from the windows of
the Cohue Royale upon this same criminal in the Vier Marchi, with one
blind eye for himself the sinner and an open one for his merchandise.

Mattingley could hear the hollow sound of the sentinels' steps under the
archway of the Vier Prison.  He was quite stoical.  If he had to die,
then he had to die.  Death could only be a little minute of agony; and
for what came after--well, he had not thought fearfully of that, and he
had no wish to think of it at all.  The visiting chaplain had talked, and
he had not listened.  He had his own ideas about life, and death, and the
beyond, and they were not ungenerous.  The chaplain had found him patient
but impossible, kindly but unresponsive, sometimes even curious, but
without remorse.

"You should repent with sorrow and a contrite heart," said the clergyman.
"You have done many evil things in your life, Mattingley."

Mattingley had replied: "Ma fuifre, I can't remember them!  I know I
never done them, for I never done anything but good all my life--so much
for so much."  He had argued it out with himself and he believed he was a
good man.  He had been open-handed, had stood by his friends, and, up to
a few days ago, was counted a good citizen; for many had come to profit
through him.  His trade--a little smuggling, a little piracy?  Was not
the former hallowed by distinguished patronage, and had it not existed
from immemorial time?  It was fair fight for gain, an eye for an eye and
a tooth for a tooth.  If he hadn't robbed others on the high seas, they
would probably have robbed him--and sometimes they did.  His spirit was
that of the Elizabethan admirals; he belonged to a century not his own.
As for the crime for which he was to suffer, it had been the work of
another hand, and very bad work it was, to try and steal Jean Touzel's
Hardi Biaou, and then bungle it.  He had had nothing to do with it, for
he and Jean Touzel were the best of friends, as was proved by the fact
that while he lay in his dungeon, Jean wandered the shore sorrowing for
his fate.

Thinking now of the whole business and of his past life, Mattingley
suddenly had a pang.  Yes, remorse smote him at last.  There was one
thing on his conscience--only one.  He had respect for the feelings of
others, and where the Church was concerned this was mingled with a droll
sort of pity, as of the greater for the lesser, the wise for the
helpless.  For clergymen he had a half-affectionate contempt.
He remembered now that when, five years ago, his confederate who had
turned out so badly--he had trusted him, too! had robbed the church of
St. Michael's, carrying off the great chest of communion plate,
offertories, and rents, he had piously left behind in Mattingley's house
the vestry-books and parish-register; a nice definition in rogues'
ethics.  Awaiting his end now, it smote Mattingley's soul that these
stolen records had not been returned to St. Michael's.  Next morning he
must send word to Carterette to restore the books.  Then his conscience
would be clear once more.  With this resolve quieting his mind, he turned
over on his straw and went peacefully to sleep.

Hours afterwards he waked with a yawn.  There was no start, no terror,
but the appearance of the jailer with the chaplain roused in him disgust
for the coming function at the Mont es Pendus.  Disgust was his chief
feeling.  This was no way for a man to die!  With a choice of evils he
should have preferred walking the plank, or even dying quietly in his
bed, to being stifled by a rope.  To dangle from a cross-tree like a
half-filled bag offended all instincts of picturesqueness, and first and
last he had been picturesque.

He asked at once for pencil and paper.  His wishes were obeyed with
deference.  On the whole he realised by the attentions paid him--the
brandy and the food offered by the jailer, the fluttering kindness of
the chaplain--that in the life of a criminal there is one moment when
he commands the situation.  He refused the brandy, for he was strongly
against spirits in the early morning, but asked for coffee.  Eating
seemed superfluous--and a man might die more gaily on an empty stomach.
He assured the chaplain that he had come to terms with his conscience and
was now about to perform the last act of a well-intentioned life.

There and then he wrote to Carterette, telling her about the vestry-books
of St. Michael's, and begging that she should restore them secretly.
There were no affecting messages; they understood each other.  He knew
that when it was possible she would never fail to come to the mark where
he was concerned, and she had equal faith in him.  So the letter was
sealed, addressed with flourishes, he was proud of his handwriting, and
handed to the chaplain for Carterette.

He had scarcely drunk his coffee when there was a roll of drums outside.
Mattingley knew that his hour was come, and yet to his own surprise he
had no violent sensations.  He had a shock presently, however, for on the
jailer announcing the executioner, who should be there before him but the
Undertaker's Apprentice!  In politeness to the chaplain Mattingley
forbore profanity.  This was the one Jerseyman for whom he had a profound
hatred, this youth with the slow, cold, watery blue eye, a face that
never wrinkled either with mirth or misery, the square-set teeth always
showing a little--an involuntary grimace of cruelty.  Here was insult.

"Devil below us, so you're going to do it--you!" broke out Mattingley.

"The other man was drunk," said the Undertaker's Apprentice.  "He's been
full as a jug three days.  He got drunk too soon."  The grimace seemed to
widen.  "O my good!" said Mattingley, and he would say no more.  To him
words were like nails--of no use unless they were to be driven home by
acts.

To Mattingley the procession of death was stupidly slow.  As it issued
from the archway of the Vier Prison between mounted guards, and passed
through a long lane of moving spectators, he looked round coolly.  One
or two bold spirits cried out: "Head up to the wind, Maitre Elie!"

"Oui-gia," he replied; "devil a top-sail in!" and turned a look of
contempt on those who hooted him.  He realised now that there was no
chance of rescue.  The militia and the town guard were in ominous force,
and although his respect for the island military was not devout, a bullet
from the musket of a fool might be as effective as one from Bonapend's--
as Napoleon Bonaparte was disdainfully called in Jersey.  Yet he could
not but wonder why all the plans of Alixandre, Carterette, and Ranulph
had gone for nothing; even the hangman had been got drunk too soon!  He
had a high opinion of Ranulph, and that he should fail him was a blow to
his judgment of humanity.

He was thoroughly disgusted.  Also they had compelled him to put on a
white shirt, he who had never worn linen in his life.  He was ill at ease
in it.  It made him conspicuous; it looked as though he were aping the
gentleman at the last.  He tried to resign himself, but resignation was
hard to learn so late in life.  Somehow he could not feel that this was
really the day of his death.  Yet how could it be otherwise?  There was
the Vicomte in his red robe, there was the sinister Undertaker's
Apprentice, ready to do his hangman's duty.  There, as they crossed the
mielles, while the sea droned its sing-song on his left, was the parson
droning his sing-song on the right "In the midst of life we are in
death," etc.  There were the grumbling drums, and the crowd morbidly
enjoying their Roman holiday; and there, looming up before him, were the
four stone pillars on the Mont es Pendus from which he was to swing.  His
disgust deepened.  He was not dying like a seafarer who had fairly earned
his reputation.

His feelings found vent even as he came to the foot of the platform where
he was to make his last stand, and the guards formed a square about the
great pillars, glooming like Druidic altars.  He burst forth in one
phrase expressive of his feelings.

"Sacre matin--so damned paltry!" he said, in equal tribute to two races.

The Undertaker's Apprentice, thinking this a reflection upon his
arrangements, said, with a wave of the hand to the rope:

"Nannin, ch'est tres ship-shape, Maitre!"

The Undertaker's Apprentice was wrong.  He had made everything ship-
shape, as he thought, but a gin had been set for him.  The rope to be
used at the hanging had been measured and approved by the Vicomte, and
the Undertaker's Apprentice had carried it to his room at the top of the
Cohue Royale.  In the dead of night, however, Dormy Jamais drew it from
under the mattress whereon the deathman slept, and substituted one a foot
longer.  This had been Ranulph's idea as a last resort, for he had a grim
wish to foil the law even at the twelfth hour.

The great moment had come.  The shouts and hootings ceased.  Out of the
silence there arose only the champing of a horse's bit or the hysterical
giggle of a woman.  The high painful drone of the chaplain's voice was
heard.

Then came the fatal "Maintenant!" from the Vicomte, the platform fell,
and Elie Mattingley dropped the length of the rope.

What was the consternation of the Vicomte and the hangman, and the horror
of the crowd, to see that Mattingley's toes just touched the ground!  The
body shook and twisted.  The man was being slowly strangled, not hanged.

The Undertaker's Apprentice was the only person who kept a cool head.
The solution of the problem of the rope for afterwards, but he had been
sent there to hang a man, and a man he would hang somehow.  Without more
ado he jumped upon Mattingley's shoulders and began to drag him down.

That instant Ranulph Delagarde burst through the mounted guard and the
militia.  Rushing to the Vicomte, he exclaimed:

"Shame!  The man was to be hung, not strangled.  This is murder.  Stop
it, or I'll cut the rope."  He looked round on the crowd.  "Cowards--
cowards," he cried, "will you see him murdered?"

He started forward to drag away the deathmann, but the Vicomte,
thoroughly terrified at Ranulph's onset, himself seized the Undertaker's
Apprentice, who, drawing off with unruffled malice, watched what followed
with steely eyes.

Dragged down by the weight of the Apprentice, Mattingley's feet were now
firmly on the ground.  While the excited crowd tried to break through the
cordon of mounted guards, Mattingley, by a twist and a jerk, freed his
corded hands.  Loosing the rope at his neck he opened his eyes and looked
around him, dazed and dumb.

The Apprentice came forward.  "I'll shorten the rope oui-gia!  Then you
shall see him swing," he grumbled viciously to the Vicomte.

The gaunt Vicomte was trembling with excitement.  He looked helplessly
around him.

The Apprentice caught hold of the rope to tie knots in it and so shorten
it, but Ranulph again appealed to the Vicomte.

"You've hung the man," said he; "you've strangled him and you didn't kill
him.  You've got no right to put that rope round his neck again."

Two jurats who had waited on the outskirts of the crowd, furtively
watching the effect of their sentence, burst in, as distracted as the
Vicomte.

"Hang the man again and the whole world will laugh at you," Ranulph said.
"If you're not worse than fools or Turks you'll let him go.  He has had
death already.  Take him back to the prison then, if you're afraid to
free him."  He turned on the crowd fiercely.  "Have you nothing to say to
this butchery?" he cried.  "For the love of God, haven't you anything to
say?"

Half the crowd shouted "Let him go free!" and the other half,
disappointed in the working out of the gruesome melodrama, groaned and
hooted.

Meanwhile Mattingley stood as still as ever he had stood by his bahue in
the Vier Marchi, watching--waiting.

The Vicomte conferred nervously with the jurats for a moment, and then
turned to the guard.

"Take the prisoner to the Vier Prison," he said.  Mattingley had been
slowly solving the problem of his salvation.  His eye, like a gimlet, had
screwed its way through Ranulph's words into what lay behind, and at last
he understood the whole beautiful scheme.  It pleased him: Carterette had
been worthy of herself, and of him.  Ranulph had played his game well
too.  He only failed to do justice to the poor beganne, Dormy Jamais.
But then the virtue of fools is its own reward.  As the procession
started back with the Undertaker's Apprentice now following after
Mattingley, not going before, Mattingley turned to him, and with a smile
of malice said:

"Ch'est tres ship-shape, Maitre-eh!" and he jerked his head back towards
the inadequate rope.

He was not greatly troubled about the rest of this grisly farce.  He was
now ready for breakfast, and his appetite grew as he heard how the crowd
hooted and snarled yah! at the Undertaker's Apprentice.  He was quite
easy about the future.  What had been so well done thus far could not
fail in the end.



CHAPTER XXXIV

Events proved Mattingley right.  Three days after, it was announced that
he had broken prison.  It is probable that the fury of the Royal Court at
the news was not quite sincere, for it was notable that the night of his
evasion, suave and uncrestfallen, they dined in state at the Tres
Pigeons.  The escape gave them happy issue from a quandary.

The Vicomte officially explained that Mattingley had got out by the
dungeon window.  People came to see the window, and there, ba su, the
bars were gone!  But that did not prove the case, and the mystery was
deepened by the fact that Jean Touzel, whose head was too small for
Elie's hat, could not get that same head through the dungeon window.
Having proved so much, Jean left the mystery there, and returned to his
Hardi Biaou.

This happened on the morning after the dark night when Mattingley,
Carterette, and Alixandre hurried from the Vier Prison, through the Rue
des Sablons to the sea, and there boarded Ranulph's boat, wherein was
Olivier Delagarde the traitor.

Accompanying Carterette to the shore was a little figure that moved along
beside them like a shadow, a little grey figure that carried a gold-
headed cane.  At the shore this same little grey figure bade Mattingley
good-bye with a quavering voice.  Whereupon Carterette, her face all wet
with tears, kissed him upon both cheeks, and sobbed so that she could
scarcely speak.  For now when it was all done--all the horrible ordeal
over--the woman in her broke down before the little old gentleman, who
had been like a benediction in the house where the ten commandments were
imperfectly upheld.  But she choked down her sobs, and thinking of
another more than of herself, she said:

"Dear Chevalier, do not forget the book--that register--I gave you
to-night.  Read it--read the last writing in it, and then you will know--
ah, bidemme--but you will know that her we love--ah, but you must read it
and tell nobody till--till the right time comes!  She hasn't held her
tongue for naught, and it's only fair to do as she's done all along, and
hold ours.  Pardingue, but my heart hurts me!" she added suddenly, and
catching the hand that held the little gold cane she kissed it with
impulsive ardour.  "You have been so good to me--oui-gia!" she said with
a gulp, and then she dropped the hand and turned and fled to the boat
rocking in the surf.

The little Chevalier watched the boat glide out into the gloom of night,
and waited till he knew that they must all be aboard Ranulph's schooner
and making for the sea.  Then he turned and went back to the empty house
in the Rue d'Egypte.

Opening the book Carterette had placed in his hands before they left the
house, he turned up and scanned closely the last written page.  A moment
after, he started violently, his eyes dilating, first with wonder, then
with a bewildered joy; and then, Protestant though he was, with the
instinct of long-gone forefathers, he made the sacred gesture, and said:

"Now I have not lived and loved in vain, thanks be to God!"

Even as joy opened wide the eyes of the Chevalier, who had been sorely
smitten through the friends of his heart, out at sea Night and Death were
closing the eyes of another wan old man who had been a traitor to his
country.

For the boat of the fugitives had scarcely cleared reefs and rocks, and
reached the open Channel, when Olivier Delagarde, uttering the same cry
as when Ranulph and the soldiers had found him wounded in the Grouville
road sixteen years before, suddenly started up from where he had lain
mumbling, and whispering incoherently, "Ranulph--they've killed me!"
fell back dead.

True to the instinct which had kept him faithful to one idea for sixteen
years, and in spite of the protests of Mattingley and Carterette--of the
despairing Carterette who felt the last thread of her hopes snap with his
going--Ranulph made ready to leave them.  Bidding them good-bye, he
placed his father's body in the rowboat, and pulling back to the shore of
St. Aubin's Bay with his pale freight, carried it on his shoulders up to
the little house where he had lived so many years.  There he kept the
death-watch alone.



CHAPTER XXXV

Guida knew nothing of the arrest and trial of Mattingley until he had
been condemned to death.  Nor until then did she know anything of what
had happened to Olivier Delagarde; for soon after her interview with
Ranulph she had gone a-marketing to the Island of Sark, with the results
of half a year's knitting.  Her return had been delayed by ugly gales
from the south east.  Several times a year she made this journey, landing
at the Eperquerie Rocks as she had done one day long ago, and selling her
beautiful wool caps and jackets to the farmers and fisher-folk, getting
in kind for what she gave.

When she made these excursions to Sark, Dormy Jamais had always remained
at the little house, milking her cow, feeding her fowls, and keeping all
in order--as perfect a sentinel as old Biribi, and as faithful.  For the
first time in his life, however, Dormy Jamais was unfaithful.  On the day
that Carcaud the baker and Mattingley were arrested, he deserted the hut
at Plemont to exploit, with Ranulph, the adventure which was at last to
save Olivier Delagarde and Mattingley from death.  But he had been
unfaithful only in the letter of his bond.  He had gone to the house of
Jean Touzel, through whose Hardi Biaou the disaster had come, and had
told Mattresse Aimable that she must go to Plemont in his stead--for a
fool must keep his faith whate'er the worldly wise may do.  So the fat
Femme de Ballast, puffing with every step, trudged across the island to
Plemont, and installed herself as keeper of the house.

One day Mattresse Aimable's quiet was invaded by two signalmen who kept
watch, not far from Guida's home, for all sail, friend or foe, bearing in
sight.  They were now awaiting the new Admiral of the Jersey station and
his fleet.  With churlish insolence they entered Guida's hut before
Maitresse Aimable could prevent it.  Looking round, they laughed
meaningly, and then told her that the commander coming presently to lie
with his fleet in Grouville Bay was none other than the sometime Jersey
midshipman, now Admiral Prince Philip d'Avranche, Duc de Bercy.
Understanding then the meaning of their laughter, and the implied insult
to Guida, Maitresse Aimable's voice came ravaging out of the silence
where it lay hid so often and so long, and the signalmen went their ways
shamefacedly.

She could not make head or tail of her thoughts now, nor see an inch
before her nose; all she could feel was an aching heart for Guida.  She
had heard strange tales of how Philip had become Prince Philip
d'Avranche, and husband of the Comtesse Chantavoine, and afterwards Duc
de Bercy.  Also she had heard how Philip, just before he became the Duc
de Bercy, had fought his ship against a French vessel off Ushant, and,
though she had heavier armament than his own, had destroyed her.  For
this he had been made an admiral.  Only the other day her Jean had
brought the Gazette de Jersey in which all these things were related,
and had spelled them out for her.  And now this same Philip d'Avranche
with his new name and fame was on his way to defend the Isle of Jersey.

Mattresse Aimable's muddled mind could not get hold of this new Philip.
For years she had thought him a monster, and here he was, a great and
valiant gentleman to the world.  He had done a thing that Jean would
rather have cut off his hand--both hands--than do, and yet here he was,
an admiral, a prince, and a sovereign duke, and men like Jean were as
dust beneath his feet.  The real Philip she knew: he was the man who had
spoiled the life of a woman; this other Philip--she could read about him,
she could think about him, just as she could think about William and his
horse' in Boulay Bay, or the Little Bad Folk of Rocbert; but she could
not realise him as a thing of flesh and blood and actual being.  The more
she tried to realise him the more mixed she became.

As in her mental maze she sat panting her way to enlightenment, she saw
Guida's boat entering the little harbour.  Now the truth must be told--
but how?

After her first exclamation of welcome to mother and child, Maitresse
Aimable struggled painfully for her voice.  She tried to find words in
which to tell Guida the truth, but, stopping in despair, she suddenly
began rocking the child back and forth, saying only: "Prince Admiral he
--and now to come!  O my good--O my good!"  Guida's sharp intuition found
the truth.

"Philip d'Avranche!" she said to herself.  Then aloud, in a shaking
voice--"Philip d'Avranche!"

She could not think clearly for a moment.  It was as if her brain had
received a blow, and in her head was a singing numbness, obscuring
eyesight, hearing, speech.

When she had recovered a little she took the child from Maitresse
Aimable, and pressing him to her bosom placed him in the Sieur de
Mauprat's great arm-chair.  This action, ordinary as it seemed, was
significant of what was in her mind.  The child himself realised
something unusual, and he sat perfectly still, two small hands spread
out on the big arms.

"You always believed in me, 'tresse Aimable," Guida said at last in a low
voice.

"Oui-gia, what else?" was the instant reply.  The quick responsiveness
of her own voice seemed to confound the Femme de Ballast, and her face
suffused.

Guida stooped quickly and kissed her on the cheek.  "You'll never regret
that.  And you will have to go on believing still, but you'll not be
sorry in the end, 'tresse Aimable," she said, and turned away to the
fireplace.  An hour afterwards Mattresse Aimable was upon her way to St.
Heliers, but now she carried her weight more easily and panted less.
Twice within the last month Jean had given her ear a friendly pinch, and
now Guida had kissed her--surely she had reason to carry her weight more
lightly.

That afternoon and evening Guida struggled with herself: the woman in her
shrinking from the ordeal at hand.  But the mother in her pleaded,
commanded, ruled confused emotions to quiet.  Finality of purpose once
determined, a kind of peace came over her sick spirit, for with finality
there is quiescence if not peace.

When she looked at the little Guilbert, refined and strong, curiously
observant, and sensitive in temperament like herself, her courage
suddenly leaped to a higher point than it had ever known.  This innocent
had suffered enough.  What belonged to him he had not had.  He had been
wronged in much by his father, and maybe--and this was the cruel part of
it--had been unwittingly wronged, alas! how unwilling, by her!  If she
gave her own life many times, it still could be no more than was the
child's due.

A sudden impulse seized her, and with a quick explosion of feeling she
dropped on her knees, and looking into his eyes, as though hungering for
the words she so often yearned to hear, she said:

"You love your mother, Guilbert?  You love her, little son?"

With a pretty smile and eyes brimming with affectionate fun, but without
a word, the child put out a tiny hand and drew the fingers softly down
his mother's face.

"Speak, little son, tell your mother that you love her."  The tiny hand
pressed itself over her eyes, and a gay little laugh came from the
sensitive lips, then both arms ran round her neck.  The child drew her
head to him impulsively, and kissing her, a little upon the hair and a
little upon the forehead, so indefinite was the embrace, he said:

"Si, maman, I loves you best of all," then added: "Maman, can't I have
the sword now?"

"You shall have the sword too some day," she answered, her eyes flashing.

"But, maman, can't I touch it now?"

Without a word she took down the sheathed goldhandled sword and laid it
across the chair-arms.

"I can't take the sword out, can I, maman?" he asked.

She could not help smiling.  "Not yet, my son, not yet."

"I has to be growed up so the blade doesn't hurt me, hasn't I, maman?"

She nodded and smiled again, and went about her work.

He nodded sagely.  "Maman--" he said.  She turned to him; the little
figure was erect with a sweet importance.  "Maman, what am I now--with
the sword?" he asked, with wide-open, amazed eyes.

A strange look passed across her face.  Stooping, she kissed his curly
hair.

"You are my prince," she said.

A little later the two were standing on that point of land called
Grosnez--the brow of the Jersey tiger.  Not far from them was a signal-
staff which telegraphed to another signal-staff inland.  Upon the staff
now was hoisted a red flag.  Guida knew the signals well.  The red flag
meant warships in sight.  Then bags were hoisted that told of the number
of vessels: one, two, three, four, five, six, then one next the upright,
meaning seven.  Last of all came the signal that a flag-ship was among
them.

This was a fleet in command of an admiral.  There, not far out, between
Guernsey and Jersey, was the squadron itself.  Guida watched it for a
long while, her heart hardening; but seeing that the men by the signal-
staff were watching her, she took the child and went to a spot where they
were shielded from any eyes.  Here she watched the fleet draw nearer and
nearer.

The vessels passed almost within a stone's throw of her.  She could see
the St. George's Cross flying at the fore of the largest ship.  That was
the admiral's flag--that was the flag of Admiral Prince Philip
d'Avranche, Duc de Bercy.

She felt her heart stand still suddenly, and with a tremor, as of fear,
she gathered her child close to her.  "What is all those ships, maman?"
asked the child.  "They are ships to defend Jersey," she said, watching
the Imperturbable and its flotilla range on.

"Will they affend us, maman?"

"Perhaps-at the last," she said.



CHAPTER XXXVI

Off Grouville Bay lay the squadron of the Jersey station.  The St.
George's Cross was flying at the fore of the Imperturbable, and on every
ship of the fleet the white ensign flapped in the morning wind.  The
wooden-walled three-decked flag-ship, with her 32-pounders, and six
hundred men, was not less picturesque and was more important than the
Castle of Mont Orgueil near by, standing over two hundred feet above the
level of the sea: the home of Philip d'Avranche, Duc de Bercy, and the
Comtesse Chantavoine, now known to the world as the Duchesse de Bercy.

The Comtesse had arrived in the island almost simultaneously with Philip,
although he had urged her to remain at the ducal palace of Bercy.  But
the duchy of Bercy was in hard case.  When the imbecile Duke Leopold John
died and Philip succeeded, the neutrality of Bercy had been proclaimed,
but this neutrality had since been violated, and there was danger at once
from the incursions of the Austrians and the ravages of the French
troops.  In Philip's absence the valiant governor-general of the duchy,
aided by the influence and courage of the Comtesse Chantavoine, had thus
far saved it from dismemberment, in spite of attempted betrayals by
Damour the Intendant, who still remained Philip's enemy.

But when the Marquis Grandjon-Larisse, the uncle of the Comtesse, died,
her cousin, General Grandjon-Larisse of the Republican army--whose word
with Dalbarade had secured Philip's release years before for her own
safety, first urged and then commanded her temporary absence from the
duchy.  So far he had been able to protect it from the fury of the
Republicans and the secret treachery of the Jacobins.  But a time of
great peril was now at hand.  Under these anxieties and the lack of other
inspiration than duty, her health had failed, and at last she obeyed her
cousin, joining Philip at the Castle of Mont Orgueil.

More than a year had passed since she had seen him, but there was no
emotion, no ardour in their present greeting.  From the first there had
been nothing to link them together.  She had married, hoping that she
might love thereafter; he in choler and bitterness, and in the stress of
a desperate ambition.  He had avoided the marriage so long as he might,
in hope of preventing it until the Duke should die, but with the irony of
fate the expected death had come two hours after the ceremony.  Then,
shortly afterwards, came the death of the imbecile Leopold John; and
Philip found himself the Duc de Bercy, and within a year, by reason of a
splendid victory for the Imperturbable, an admiral.

Truth to tell, in this battle he had fought for victory for his ship and
a fall for himself: for the fruit he had plucked was turning to dust and
ashes.  He was haunted by the memory of a wronged woman, as she herself
had foretold.  Death, with the burial of private dishonour under the
roses of public victory--that had come to be his desire.  But he had
found that Death is wilful and chooseth her own time; that she may be
lured, but she will not come with shouting.  So he had stoically accepted
his fate, and could even smile with a bitter cynicism when ordered to
proceed to the coast of Jersey, where collision with a French squadron
was deemed certain.

Now, he was again brought face to face with his past; with the imminent
memory of Guida Landresse de Landresse.  Where was Guida now?  What had
happened to her?  He dared not ask, and none told him.  Whichever way he
turned--night or day--her face haunted him.  Looking out from the windows
of Mont Orgueil Castle, or from the deck of the Imperturbable, he could
see--and he could scarce choose but see--the lonely Ecrehos.  There, with
a wild eloquence, he had made a girl believe he loved her, and had taken
the first step in the path which should have led to true happiness and
honour.  From this good path he had violently swerved--and now?

From all that could be seen, however, the world went very well with him.
He was the centre of authority.  Almost any morning one might have seen a
boat shoot out from below the Castle wall, carrying a flag with the blue
ball of a Vice-Admiral of the White in the canton, and as the Admiral
himself stepped upon the deck of the Imperturbable between saluting
guards, across the water came a gay march played in his honour.

Jersey herself was elate, eager to welcome one of her own sons risen to
such high estate.  When, the very day after his arrival, he passed
through the Vier Marchi on his way to visit the Lieutenant-Governor, the
redrobed jurats impulsively turned out to greet him.  They were ready to
prove that memory is a matter of will and cultivation.  There is no
curtain so opaque as that which drops between the mind of man and the
thing it is advantageous to forget.  But how closely does the ear of
self-service listen for the footfall of a most distant memory, when to do
so is to share even a reflected glory!

A week had gone since Philip had landed on the island.  Memories pursued
him.  If he came by the shore of St. Clement's Bay, he saw the spot where
he had stood with her the evening he married her, and she said to him:
"Philip, I wonder what we will think of this day a year from now!......
To-day is everything to you, but to-morrow is very much to me."  He
remembered Shoreham sitting upon the cromlech above singing the legend of
the gui-l'annee--and Shoreham was lying now a hundred fathoms deep.

As he walked through the Vier Marchi with his officers, there flashed
before his eyes the scene of sixteen years ago, when, through the grime
and havoc of battle, he had run to save Guida from the scimitar of the
garish Turk.  Walking through the Place du Vier Prison, he recalled the
morning when he had rescued Ranulph from the hands of the mob.  Where was
Ranulph now?

If he had but known it, that very morning as he passed Mattingley's house
Ranulph had looked down at him with infinite scorn and loathing--but with
triumph too, for the Chevalier had just shown him a certain page in a
certain parish-register long lost, left with him by Carterette
Mattingley.  Philip knew naught of Ranulph save the story babbled by
the islanders.  He cared to hear of no one but Guida, and who was now to
mention her name to him?  It was long--so long since he had seen her
face.  How many years ago was it?  Only five, and yet it seemed twenty.

He was a boy then; now his hair was streaked with grey.  He was light-
hearted then, and he was still buoyant with his fellows, still alert and
vigorous, quick of speech and keen of humour--but only before the world.
In his own home he was fitful of mood, impatient of the grave, meditative
look of his wife, of her resolute tenacity of thought and purpose, of her
unvarying evenness of mood, through which no warmth played.  It seemed
to him that if she had defied him--given him petulance for petulance,
impatience for impatience, it would have been easier to bear.  If--if he
could only read behind those passionless eyes, that clear, unwrinkled
forehead!  But he knew her no better now than he did the day he married
her.  Unwittingly she chilled him, and he felt he had no right to
complain, for he had done her the greatest wrong which can be done a
woman.  Whatever chanced, Guida was still his wife; and there was in him
yet the strain of Calvinistic morality of the island race that bred him.
He had shrunk from coming here, but it had been far worse than he had
looked for.

One day, in a nervous, bitter moment, after an impatient hour with the
Comtesse, he had said: "Can you--can you not speak?  Can you not tell me
what you think?" She had answered quietly:

"It would do no good.  You would not understand.  I know you in some ways
better than you know yourself.  I cannot tell what it is, but there is
something wrong in your nature, something that poisons your life.  And
not myself only has felt that.  I never told you--but you remember the
day the old Duke died, the day we were married?  You had gone from the
room a moment.  The Duke beckoned me to him, and whispered 'Don't be
afraid--don't be afraid--' and then he died.  That meant that he was
afraid, that death had cleared his sight as to you in some way.  He was
afraid--of what?  And I have been afraid--of what?  I do not know.
Things have not gone well somehow.  You are strong, you are brave,
and I come of a family that have been strong and brave.  We ought to be
near: yet, yet we are lonely and far apart, and we shall never be nearer
or less lonely.  That I know."

To this he had made no reply and this anger vanished.  Something in her
words had ruled him to her own calmness, and at that moment he had the
first flash of understanding of her nature and its true relation to his
own.

Passing through the Rue d'Egypte this day he met Dormy Jamais.  Forgetful
of everything save that this quaint foolish figure had interested him
when a boy, he called him by name; but Dormy Jamais swerved away, eyeing
him askance.

At that instant he saw Jean Touzel standing in the doorway of his house.
A wave of remorseful feeling rushed over him.  He could wait no longer:
he would ask Jean Touzel and his wife about Guida.  He instantly
bethought him of an excuse for the visit.  His squadron needed another
pilot; he would approach Jean in the matter.

Bidding his flag-lieutenant go on to Elizabeth Castle whither they were
bound, and await him there, he crossed over to Jean.  By the time he
reached the doorway, however, Jean had retreated to the veille by the
chimney behind Maitresse Aimable, who sat in a great stave-chair mending
a net.

Philip knocked and stepped inside.  When Mattresse Aimable saw who it was
she was so startled that she dropped her work, and made vague clutches to
recover it.  Stooping, however, was a great effort for her.  Philip
instantly stepped forward and picked up the net.  Politely handing it to
her, he said:

"Ah, Maitresse Aimable, it is as if you had never stirred all these
years!"  Then turning to her husband "I have come looking for a good
pilot, Jean."  Mattresse Aimable had at first flushed to a purple, had
afterwards gone pale, then recovered herself, and now returned Philip's
look with a downright steadiness.  Like Jean, she knew well enough he
had not come for a pilot--that was not the business of a Prince Admiral.

She did not even rise.  Philip might be whatever the world chose to call
him, but her house was her own, and he had come uninvited, and he was
unwelcome.

She kept her seat, but her fat head inclined once in greeting, and she
waited for him to speak again.  She knew why he had come; and somehow the
steady look in these slow, brown eyes, and the blinking glance behind
Jean's brass-rimmed spectacles, disconcerted Philip.  Here were people
who knew the truth about him, knew the sort of man he really was.  These
poor folk who had had nothing of the world but what they earned, they
would never hang on any prince's favours.

He read the situation rightly.  The penalties of his life were teaching
him a discernment which could never have come to him through good fortune
alone.  Having at last discovered his real self a little, he was in the
way of knowing others.

"May I shut the door?" he asked quietly.  Jean nodded.  Closing it he
turned to them again.  "Since my return I have heard naught concerning
Mademoiselle Landresse," he said.  "I want to ask you about her now.
Does she still live in the Place du Vier Prison?"

Both Jean and Aimable shook their heads.  They had spoken no word since
his entrance.

"She--she is not dead?" he asked.  They shook their heads again.

"Her grandfather"--he paused--"is he living?" Once more they shook their
heads in negation.  "Where is mademoiselle?" he asked, sick at heart.

Jean looked at his wife; neither moved nor answered.  "Where does she
live?" urged Philip.  Still there was no motion, no reply.  "You might
as well tell me."  His tone was half pleading, half angry--little like a
sovereign duke, very like a man in trouble.  "You must know I shall find
out from some one else, then," he continued.  "But it is better for you
to tell me.  I mean her no harm, and I would rather know about her from
her friends."

He took off his hat now.  Something in the dignity of these two honest
folk rebuked the pride of place and spirit in him.  As plainly as though
heralds had proclaimed it, he understood that these two knew the
abatements on the shield of his honour-argent, a plain point tenne, due
to him "that tells lyes to his Prince or General," and argent, a gore
sinister tenne, due for flying from his colours.

Maitresse Aimable turned and looked towards Jean, but Jean turned away
his head.  Then she did not hesitate.  The voice so oft eluding her will
responded readily now.  Anger--plain primitive rage-possessed her.  She
had had no child, but as the years had passed all the love that might
have been given to her own was bestowed upon Guida, and in that mind she
spoke.

"O my grief, to think you have come here-you!" she burst forth.  "You
steal the best heart in the world--there is none like her, nannin-gia.
You promise her, you break her life, you spoil her, and then you fly away
--ah coward you!  Man pethe benin, was there ever such a man like you!
If my Jean there had done a thing as that I would sink him in the sea--
he would sink himself, je me crais!  But you come back here, O my Mother
of God, you come back here with your sword, with your crown-ugh, it is
like a black cat in heaven--you!"

She got to her feet more nimbly than she had ever done in her life, and
the floor seemed to heave as she came towards Philip.  "You speak to me
with soft words," she said harshly--"but you shall have the good hard
truth from me.  You want to know now where she is--I ask where you have
been these five years?  Your voice it tremble when you speak of her now.
Oh ho! it has been nice and quiet these five years.  The grand pethe of
her drop dead in his chair when he know.  The world turn against her,
make light of her, when they know.  All alone--she is all alone, but for
one fat old fool like me.  She bear all the shame, all the pain, for
the crime of you.  All alone she take her child and go on to the rock of
Plemont to live these five years.  But you, you go and get a crown and be
Amiral and marry a grande comtesse--marry, oh, je crais ben!  This is no
world for such men like you.  You come to my house, to the house of Jean
Touzel, to ask this and that--well, you have the truth of God, ba su!
No good will come to you in the end, nannin-gia!  When you go to die,
you will think and think and think of that beautiful Guida Landresse;
you will think and think of the heart you kill, and you will call,
and she will not come.  You will call till your throat rattle, but she
will not come, and the child of sorrow you give her will not come--no,
bidemme!  E'fin, the door you shut you can open now, and you can go from
the house of Jean Touzel.  It belong to the wife of an honest man--
maint'nant!"

In the moment's silence that ensued, Jean took a step forward.
"Ma femme, ma bonne femme!" he said with a shaking voice.  Then he
pointed to the door.  Humiliated, overwhelmed by the words of the woman,
Philip turned mechanically towards the door without a word, and his
fingers fumbled for the latch, for a mist was before his eyes.  With a
great effort he recovered himself, and passed slowly out into the Rue
d'Egypte.

"A child--a child!" he said brokenly.  "Guida's child--my God!  And I
--have never--known.  Plemont--Plemont, she is at Plemont!"  He
shuddered.  "Guida's child--and mine," he kept saying to himself, as in a
painful dream he passed on to the shore.

In the little fisherman's cottage he had left, a fat old woman sat
sobbing in the great chair made of barrel-staves, and a man, stooping,
kissed her twice on the cheek--the first time in fifteen years.
And then she both laughed and cried.



CHAPTER XXXVII

Guida sat by the fire sewing, Biribi the dog at her feet.  A little
distance away, to the right of the chimney, lay Guilbert asleep.  Twice
she lowered the work to her lap to look at the child, the reflected light
of the fire playing on his face.  Stretching out her hand, she touched
him, and then she smiled.  Hers was an all-devouring love; the child was
her whole life; her own present or future was as nothing; she was but
fuel for the fire of his existence.

A storm was raging outside.  The sea roared in upon Plemont and Grosnez,
battering the rocks in futile agony.  A hoarse nor'-easter ranged across
the tiger's head in helpless fury: a night of awe to inland folk, and of
danger to seafarers.  To Guida, who was both of the sea and of the land,
fearless as to either, it was neither terrible nor desolate to be alone
with the storm.  Storm was but power unshackled, and power she loved and
understood.  She had lived so long in close commerce with storm and sea
that something of their keen force had entered into her, and she was kin
with them.  Each wind to her was intimate as a friend, each rock and cave
familiar as her hearthstone; and the ungoverned ocean spoke in terms
intelligible.  So heavy was the surf that now and then the spray of some
foiled wave broke on the roof, but she only nodded at that, as though the
sea were calling her to come forth, tapping on her rooftree in joyous
greeting.

But suddenly she started and bent her head.  It seemed as if her whole
body were hearkening.  Now she rose quickly to her feet, dropped her work
upon the table near by, and rested herself against it, still listening.
She was sure she heard a horse's hoofs.  Turning swiftly, she drew the
curtain of the bed before her sleeping child, and then stood quiet
waiting--waiting.  Her hand went to her heart once as though its fierce
throbbing hurt her.  Plainly as though she could look through these stone
walls into clear sunlight, she saw some one dismount, and she heard a
voice.

The door of the but was unlocked and unbarred.  If she feared, it was
easy to shoot the bolt and lock the door, to drop the bar across the
little window, and be safe and secure.  But no bodily fear possessed her-
-only that terror of the spirit when its great trial comes suddenly and
it shrinks back, though the mind be of faultless courage.

She waited.  There came a knocking at the door.  She did not move from
where she stood.

"Come in," she said.  She was composed and resolute now.

The latch clicked, the door opened, and a cloaked figure entered, the
shriek of the storm behind.  The door closed again.  The intruder took a
step forward, his hat came off, the cloak was loosed and dropped upon the
floor.  Guida's premonition had been right: It was Philip.

She did not speak.  A stone could have been no colder as she stood in the
light of the fire, her face still and strong, the eyes darkling,
luminous.  There was on her the dignity of the fearless, the pure in
heart.

"Guida!" Philip said, and took a step nearer, and paused.

He was haggard, he had the look of one who had come upon a desperate
errand.  When she did not answer he said pleadingly:

"Guida, won't you speak to me?"

"The Duc de Bercy chooses a strange hour for his visit," she said
quietly.

"But see," he answered hurriedly; "what I have to say to you--"
he paused, as though to choose the thing he should say first.

"You can say nothing I need hear," she answered, looking him steadily in
the eyes.

"Ah, Guida," he cried, disconcerted by her cold composure, "for God's
sake listen to me!  To-night we have to face our fate.  To-night you have
to say--"

"Fate was faced long ago.  I have nothing to say."

"Guida, I have repented of all.  I have come now only to speak honestly
of the wrong I did you.  I have come to--"

Scorn sharpened her words, though she spoke calmly: "You have forced
yourself upon a woman's presence--and at this hour!"

"I chose the only hour possible," he answered quickly.  "Guida, the past
cannot be changed, but we have the present and the future still.  I have
not come to justify myself, but to find a way to atone."

"No atonement is possible."

"You cannot deny me the right to confess to you that--"

"To you denial should not seem hard usage," she answered slowly, "and
confession should have witnesses--"

She paused suggestively.  The imputation that he of all men had the least
right to resent denial; that, dishonest still, he was willing to justify
her privately though not publicly; that repentance should have been open
to the world--it all stung him.

He threw out his hands in a gesture of protest.  "As many witnesses as
you will, but not now, not this hour, after all these years.  Will you
not at least listen to me, and then judge and act?  Will you not hear me,
Guida?"

She had not yet even stirred.  Now that it had come, this scene was all
so different from what she might have imagined.  But she spoke out of a
merciless understanding, an unchangeable honesty.  Her words came clear
and pitiless:

"If you will speak to the point and without a useless emotion, I will try
to listen.  Common kindness should have prevented this intrusion--
by you!"

Every word she said was like a whip-lash across his face.  A devilish
light leapt into his eye, but it faded as quickly as it came.

"After to-night, to the public what you will," he repeated with dogged
persistence, "but it was right we should speak alone to each other at
least this once before the open end.  I did you wrong, yet I did not mean
to ruin your life, and you should know that.  I ought not to have married
you secretly; I acknowledge that.  But I loved you--"

She shook her head, and with a smile of pitying disdain--he could so
little see the real truth, his real misdemeanour--she said: "Oh no,
never--never!  You were not capable of love; you never knew what it
means.  From the first you were too untrue ever to love a woman.  There
was a great fire of emotion, you saw shadows on the wall, and you fell in
love with them.  That was all."

"I tell you that I loved you," he answered with passionate energy.  "But
as you will.  Let it be that it was not real love: at least it was all
there was in me to give.  I never meant to desert you.  I never meant to
disavow our marriage.  I denied you, you will say.  I did.  In the light
of what came after, it was dishonourable--I grant that; but I did it at a
crisis and for the fulfilment of a great ambition--and as much for you as
for me."

"That was the least of your evil work.  But how little you know what true
people think or feel!" she answered with a kind of pain in her voice,
for she felt that such a nature could never even realise its own
enormities.  Well, since it had gone so far she would speak openly,
though it hurt her sense of self-respect.

"For that matter, do you think that I or any good woman would have had
place or power, been princess or duchess, at the price?  What sort of
mind have you?" She looked him straight in the eyes.  "Put it in the
clear light of right and wrong, it was knavery.  You--you talk of not
meaning to do me harm.  You were never capable of doing me good.  It was
not in you.  From first to last you are untrue.  Were it otherwise, were
you not from first to last unworthy, would you have--but no, your worst
crime need not be judged here.  Yet had you one spark of worthiness would
you have made a mock marriage--it is no more--with the Comtesse
Chantavoine?  No matter what I said or what I did in anger, or contempt
of you, had you been an honest man you would not have so ruined another
life.  Marriage, alas!  You have wronged the Comtesse worse than you have
wronged me.  One day I shall be righted, but what can you say or do to
right her wrongs?"

Her voice had now a piercing indignation and force.  "Yes, Philip
d'Avranche, it is as I say, justice will come to me.  The world turned
against me because of you; I have been shamed and disgraced.  For years
I have suffered in silence.  But I have waited without fear for the end.
God is with me.  He is stronger than fortune or fate.  He has brought you
to Jersey once more, to right my wrongs, mine and my child's."

She saw his eyes flash to the little curtained bed.  They both stood
silent and still.  He could hear the child breathing.  His blood
quickened.  An impulse seized him.  He took a step towards the bed, as
though to draw the curtain, but she quickly moved between.

"Never," she said in a low stern tone; "no touch of yours for my
Guilbert--for my son!  Every minute of his life has been mine.  He is
mine--all mine--and so he shall remain.  You who gambled with the name,
the fame, the very soul of your wife, you shall not have one breath of
her child's life."

It was as if the outward action of life was suspended in them for a
moment, and then came the battle of two strong spirits: the struggle of
fretful and indulged egotism, the impulse of a vigorous temperament,
against a deep moral force, a high purity of mind and conscience, and the
invincible love of the mother for the child.  Time, bitterness, and power
had hardened Philip's mind, and his long-restrained emotions, breaking
loose now, made him a passionate and wilful figure.  His force lay in the
very unruliness of his spirit, hers in the perfect command of her moods
and emotions.  Well equipped by the thoughts and sufferings of five long
years, her spirit was trained to meet this onset with fiery wisdom.  They
were like two armies watching each other across a narrow stream, between
one conflict and another.

For a minute they stood at gaze.  The only sounds in the room were the
whirring of the fire in the chimney and the child's breathing.  At last
Philip's intemperate self-will gave way.  There was no withstanding that
cold, still face, that unwavering eye.  Only brutality could go further.
The nobility of her nature, her inflexible straight-forwardness came upon
him with overwhelming force.  Dressed in molleton, with no adornment save
the glow of a perfect health, she seemed at this moment, as on the
Ecrehos, the one being on earth worth living and caring for.  What had he
got for all the wrong he had done her?  Nothing.  Come what might, there
was one thing that he could yet do, and even as the thought possessed him
he spoke.

"Guida," he said with rushing emotion, "it is not too late.  Forgive the
past-the wrong of it, the shame of it.  You are my wife; nothing can undo
that.  The other woman--she is nothing to me.  If we part and never meet
again she will suffer no more than she suffers to go on with me.  She has
never loved me, nor I her.  Ambition did it all, and of ambition God
knows I have had enough!  Let me proclaim our marriage, let me come back
to you.  Then, happen what will, for the rest of our lives I will try to
atone for the wrong I did you.  I want you, I want our child.  I want to
win your love again.  I can't wipe out what I have done, but I can put
you right before the world, I can prove to you that I set you above place
and ambition.  If you shrink from doing it for me, do it"--he glanced
towards the bed--"do it for our child.  To-morrow--to-morrow it shall be,
if you will forgive.  To-morrow let us start again--Guida--Guida!"

She did not answer at once; but at last she said "Giving up place and
ambition would prove nothing now.  It is easy to repent when our
pleasures have palled.  I told you in a letter four years ago that your
protests came too late.  They are always too late.  With a nature like
yours nothing is sure or lasting.  Everything changes with the mood.
It is different with me: I speak only what I truly mean.  Believe me,
for I tell you the truth, you are a man that a woman could forget but
could never forgive.  As a prince you are much better than as a plain
man, for princes may do what other men may not.  It is their way to take
all and give nothing.  You should have been born a prince, then all your
actions would have seemed natural.  Yet now you must remain a prince, for
what you got at such a price to others you must pay for.  You say you
would come down from your high place, you would give up your worldly
honours, for me.  What madness!  You are not the kind of man with whom a
woman could trust herself in the troubles and changes of life.  Laying
all else aside, if I would have had naught of your honours and your duchy
long ago, do you think I would now share a disgrace from which you could
never rise?  For in my heart I feel that this remorse is but caprice.
It is to-day; it may not--will not--be tomorrow."

"You are wrong, you are wrong.  I am honest with you now," he broke in.

"No," she answered coldly, "it is not in you to be honest.  Your words
have no ring of truth in my ears, for the note is the same as I heard
once upon the Ecrehos.  I was a young girl then and I believed; I am a
woman now, and I should still disbelieve though all the world were on
your side to declare me wrong.  I tell you"--her voice rose again, it
seemed to catch the note of freedom and strength of the storm without--
"I tell you, I will still live as my heart and conscience prompt me.
The course I have set for myself I will follow; the life I entered upon
when my child was born I will not leave.  No word you have said has made
my heart beat faster.  You and I can never have anything to say to each
other in this life, beyond"--her voice changed, she paused--"beyond one
thing--"

Going to the bed where the child lay, she drew the curtain softly, and
pointing, she said:

"There is my child.  I have set my life to the one task, to keep him to
myself, and yet to win for him the heritage of the dukedom of Bercy.
You shall yet pay to him the price of your wrong-doing."

She drew back slightly so that he could see the child lying with its rosy
face half buried in its pillow, the little hand lying like a flower upon
the coverlet.

Once more with a passionate exclamation he moved nearer to the child.

"No farther!" she said, stepping before him.

When she saw the wild impulse in his face to thrust her aside, she added:
"It is only the shameless coward that strikes the dead.  You had a wife--
Guida d'Avranche, but Guida d'Avranche is dead.  There only lives the
mother of this child, Guida Landresse de Landresse."

She looked at him with scorn, almost with hatred.  Had he touched her--
but she would rather pity than loathe!

Her words roused all the devilry in him.  The face of the child had sent
him mad.

"By Heaven, I will have the child--I will have the child!" he broke out
harshly.  "You shall not treat me like a dog.  You know well I would have
kept you as my wife, but your narrow pride, your unjust anger threw me
over.  You have wronged me.  I tell you you have wronged me, for you held
the secret of the child from me all these years."

"The whole world knew!" she exclaimed indignantly.  "I will break your
pride," he said, incensed and unable to command himself.  "Mark you, I
will break your pride.  And I will have my child too!"

"Establish to the world your right to him," she answered keenly.  "You
have the right to acknowledge him, but the possession shall be mine."

He was the picture of impotent anger and despair.  It was the irony of
penalty that the one person in the world who could really sting him was
this unacknowledged, almost unknown woman.  She was the only human being
that had power to shatter his egotism and resolve him into the common
elements of a base manhood.  Of little avail his eloquence now!  He had
cajoled a sovereign dukedom out of an aged and fatuous prince; he had
cajoled a wife, who yet was no wife, from among the highest of a royal
court; he had cajoled success from Fate by a valour informed with vanity
and ambition; years ago, with eloquent arts he had cajoled a young girl
into a secret marriage--but he could no longer cajole the woman who was
his one true wife.  She knew him through and through.

He was so wild with rage he could almost have killed her as she stood
there, one hand stretched out to protect the child, the other pointing to
the door.

He seized his hat and cloak and laid his hand upon the latch, then
suddenly turned to her.  A dark project came to him.  He himself could
not prevail with her; but he would reach her yet, through the child.  If
the child were in his hands, she would come to him.

"Remember, I will have the child," he said, his face black with evil
purpose.

She did not deign reply, but stood fearless and still, as, throwing open
the door, he rushed out into the night.  She listened until she heard his
horse's hoofs upon the rocky upland.  Then she went to the door, locked
it, and barred it.  Turning, she ran with a cry as of hungry love to the
little bed.  Crushing the child to her bosom, she buried her face in his
brown curls.

"My son, my own, own son!" she said.



CHAPTER XXXVIII

If at times it would seem that Nature's disposition of the events of a
life or a series of lives is illogical, at others she would seem to play
them with an irresistible logic--loosing them, as it were, in a trackless
forest of experience, and in some dramatic hour, by an inevitable
attraction, drawing them back again to a destiny fulfilled.  In this
latter way did she seem to lay her hand upon the lives of Philip
d'Avranche and Guida Landresse.

At the time that Elie Mattingley, in Jersey, was awaiting hanging on
the Mont es Pendus, and writing his letter to Carterette concerning the
stolen book of church records, in a town of Brittany the Reverend Lorenzo
Dow lay dying.  The army of the Vendee, under Detricand Comte de Tournay,
had made a last dash at a small town held by a section of the Republican
army, and captured it.  On the prisons being opened, Detricand had
discovered in a vile dungeon the sometime curate of St. Michael's Church
in Jersey.  When they entered on him, wasted and ragged he lay asleep on
his bed of rotten straw, his fingers between the leaves of a book of
meditations.  Captured five years before and forgotten alike by the
English and French Governments, he had apathetically pined and starved to
these last days of his life.

Recognising him, Detricand carried him in his strong arms to his own
tent.  For many hours the helpless man lay insensible, but at last the
flickering spirit struggled back to light for a little space.  When first
conscious of his surroundings, the poor captive felt tremblingly in the
pocket of his tattered vest.  Not finding what he searched for, he half
started up.  Detricand hastened forward with a black leather-covered book
in his hand.  Mr. Dow's thin trembling fingers clutched eagerly--it was
his only passion--at this journal of his life.  As his grasp closed on
it, he recognised Detricand, and at the same time he saw the cross and
heart of the Vendee on his coat.

A victorious little laugh struggled in his throat.  "The Lord hath
triumphed gloriously--I could drink some wine, monsieur," he added in the
same quaint clerical monotone.

Having drunk the wine he lay back murmuring thanks and satisfaction, his
eyes closed.  Presently they opened.  He nodded at Detricand.

"I have not tasted wine these five years," he said; then added, "You--you
took too much wine in Jersey, did you not, monsieur?  I used to say an
office for you every Litany day, which was of a Friday."

His eyes again caught the cross and heart on Detricand's coat, and they
lighted up a little.  "The Lord hath triumphed gloriously," he repeated,
and added irrelevantly, "I suppose you are almost a captain now?"

"A general--almost," said Detricand with gentle humour.

At that moment an orderly appeared at the tent-door, bearing a letter for
Detricand.

"From General Grandjon-Larisse of the Republican army, your highness,"
said the orderly, handing the letter.  "The messenger awaits an answer."

As Detricand hastily read, a look of astonishment crossed over his face,
and his brows gathered in perplexity.  After a minute's silence he said
to the orderly:

"I will send a reply to-morrow."

"Yes, your highness."  The orderly saluted and retired.

Mr. Dow half raised himself on his couch, and the fevered eyes swallowed
Detricand.

"You--you are a prince, monsieur?" he said.  Detricand glanced up from
the letter he was reading again, a grave and troubled look on his face.

"Prince of Vaufontaine they call me, but, as you know, I am only a
vagabond turned soldier," he said.  The dying man smiled to himself,--
a smile of the sweetest vanity this side of death,--for it seemed to him
that the Lord had granted him this brand from the burning, and in supreme
satisfaction, he whispered: "I used to say an office for you every
Litany--which was a Friday, and twice, I remember, on two Saints' days."

Suddenly another thought came to him, and his lips moved--he was
murmuring to himself.  He would leave a goodly legacy to the captive of
his prayers.

Taking the leather-covered journal of his life in both hands, he held it
out.

"Highness, highness--" said he.  Death was breaking the voice in his
throat.

Detricand stooped and ran an arm round his shoulder, but raising himself
up Mr. Dow gently pushed him back.  The strength of his supreme hour was
on him.

"Highness," said he, "I give you the book of five years of my life--not
of its every day, but of its moments, its great days.  Read it," he
added, "read it wisely.  Your own name is in it--with the first time I
said an office for you."  His breath failed him, he fell back, and lay
quiet for several minutes.

"You used to take too much wine," he said half wildly, starting up again.
"Permit me your hand, highness."

Detricand dropped on his knee and took the wasted hand.  Mr. Dow's eyes
were glazing fast.  With a last effort he spoke--his voice like a
squeaking wind in a pipe:

"The Lord hath triumphed gloriously--" and he leaned forward to kiss
Detricand's hand.

But Death intervened, and his lips fell instead upon the red cross on
Detricand's breast, as he sank forward lifeless.

That night, after Lorenzo Dow was laid in his grave, Detricand read the
little black leather-covered journal bequeathed to him.  Of the years of
his captivity the records were few; the book was chiefly concerned with
his career in Jersey.  Detricand read page after page, more often with a
smile than not; yet it was the smile of one who knew life and would
scarce misunderstand the eccentric and honest soul of the Reverend
Lorenzo Dow.

Suddenly, however, he started, for he came upon these lines:

     I have, in great privacy and with halting of spirit, married, this
     twenty-third of January, Mr. Philip d'Avranche of His Majesty's ship
     "Narcissus," and Mistress Guida Landresse de Landresse, both of this
     Island of Jersey; by special license of the Bishop of Winchester.

To this was added in comment:

     Unchurchmanlike, and most irregular.  But the young gentleman's
     tongue is gifted, and he pressed his cause heartily.  Also Mr.
     Shoreham of the Narcissus--"Mad Shoreham of Galway" his father was
     called--I knew him--added his voice to the request also.  Troubled
     in conscience thereby, yet I did marry the twain gladly, for I think
     a worthier maid never lived than this same Mistress Guida Landresse
     de Landresse, of the ancient family of the de Mauprats.  Yet I like
     not secrecy, though it be but for a month or two months--on my vow,
     I like it not for one hour.

     Note: At leisure read of the family history of the de Mauprats and
     the d'Avranches.

     N.: No more secret marriages nor special licenses--most uncanonical
     privileges!

     N.: For ease of conscience write to His Grace at Lambeth upon the
     point.

Detricand sprang to his feet.  So this was the truth about Philip
d'Avranche, about Guida, alas!

He paced the tent, his brain in a whirl.  Stopping at last, he took from
his pocket the letter received that afternoon from General Grandjon-
Larisse, and read it through again hurriedly.  It proposed a truce, and a
meeting with himself at a village near, for conference upon the surrender
of Detricand's small army.

"A bitter end to all our fighting," said Detricand aloud at last.  "But
he is right.  It is now a mere waste of life.  I know my course.  .  .  .
Even to-night," he added, "it shall be to-night."

Two hours later Detricand, Prince of Vaufontaine, was closeted with
General Grandjon-Larisse at a village half-way between the Republican
army and the broken bands of the Vendee.

As lads Detricand and Grandjon-Larisse had known each other well.  But
since the war began Grandjon-Larisse had gone one way, and he had gone
the other, bitter enemies in principle but friendly enough at heart.

They had not seen each other since the year before Rullecour's invasion
of Jersey.

"I had hoped to see you by sunset, monseigneur," said Grandjon-Larisse
after they had exchanged greetings.

"It is through a melancholy chance you see me at all," replied Detricand
heavily.

"To what piteous accident am I indebted?" Grandjon-Larisse replied in an
acid tone, for war had given his temper an edge.  "Were not my reasons
for surrender sound?  I eschewed eloquence--I gave you facts."

Detricand shook his head, but did not reply at once.  His brow was
clouded.

"Let me speak fully and bluntly now," Grandjon-Larisse went on.  "You
will not shrink from plain truths, I know.  We were friends ere you went
adventuring with Rullecour.  We are soldiers too; and you will understand
I meant no bragging in my letter."

He raised his brows inquiringly, and Detricand inclined his head in
assent.

Without more ado, Grandjon-Larisse laid a map on the table.  "This will
help us," he said briefly, then added: "Look you, Prince, when war began
the game was all with you.  At Thouars here"--his words followed his
finger--"at Fontenay, at Saumur, at Torfou, at Coron, at Chateau-
Gonthier, at Pontorson, at Dol, at Antrain, you had us by the heels.
Victory was ours once to your thrice.  Your blood was up.  You had great
men--great men," he repeated politely.

Detricand bowed.  "But see how all is changed," continued the other.
"See: by this forest of Vesins de la Rochejaquelein fell.  At Chollet"--
his finger touched another point--"Bonchamp died, and here d'Elbee and
Lescure were mortally wounded.  At Angers Stofflet was sent to his
account, and Charette paid the price at Nantes."  He held up his fingers.
"One--two--three--four--five--six great men gone!"

He paused, took a step away from the table, and came back again.

Once more he dropped his finger on the map.  "Tinteniac is gone, and at
Quiberon Peninsula your friend Sombreuil was slain.  And look you here,"
he added in a lower voice, "at Laval my old friend the Prince of Talmont
was executed at his own chateau, where I had spent many an hour with
him."

Detricand's eyes flashed fire.  "Why then permit the murder, monsieur le
general?"

Grandjon-Larisse started, his voice became hard at once.  "It is not a
question of Talmont, or of you, or of me, monseigneur.  It is not a
question of friendship, not even of father, or brother, or son--but of
France."

"And of God and the King," said Detricand quickly.

Grandjon-Larisse shrugged his shoulders.  "We see with different eyes.
We think with different minds," and he stooped over the map again.

"We feel with different hearts," said Detricand.  "There is the
difference between us--between your cause and mine.  You are all for
logic and perfection in government, and to get it you go mad, and France
is made a shambles--"

"War is cruelty, and none can make it gentle," interrupted Grandjon-
Larisse.  He turned to the map once more.  "And see, monseigneur, here at
La Vie your uncle the Prince of Vaufontaine died, leaving you his
name and a burden of hopeless war.  Now count them all over--de la
Rochejaquelein, Bonchamp, d'Elbee, Lescure, Stofflet, Charette, Talmont,
Tinteniac, Sombreuil, Vaufontaine--they are all gone, your great men.
And who of chieftains and armies are left?  Detricand of Vaufontaine and
a few brave men--no more.  Believe me, monseigneur, your game is
hopeless--by your grace, one moment still," he added, as Detricand made
an impatient gesture.  "Hoche destroyed your army and subdued the country
two years ago.  You broke out again, and Hoche and I have beaten you
again.  Fight on, with your doomed followers--brave men I admit--and
Hoche will have no mercy.  I can save your peasants if you will yield
now.

"We have had enough of blood.  Let us have peace.  To proceed is certain
death to all, and your cause worse lost.  On my honour, monseigneur, I do
this at some risk, in memory of old days.  I have lost too many friends,"
he added in a lower voice.

Detricand was moved.  "I thank you for this honest courtesy.  I had
almost misread your letter," he answered.  "Now I will speak freely.
I had hoped to leave my bones in Brittany.  It was my will to fight to
the last, with my doomed followers as you call them--comrades and lovers
of France I say.  And it was their wish to die with me.  Till this
afternoon I had no other purpose.  Willing deaths ours, for I am
persuaded, for every one of us that dies, a hundred men will rise up
again and take revenge upon this red debauch of government!"

"Have a care," said Grandjon-Larisse with sudden anger, his hand dropping
upon the handle of his sword.

"I ask leave for plain beliefs as you asked leave for plain words.  I
must speak my mind, and I will say now that it has changed in this matter
of fighting and surrender.  I will tell you what has changed it," and
Detricand drew from his pocket Lorenzo Dow's journal.  "It concerns both
you and me."

Grandjon-Larisse flashed a look of inquiry at him.  "It concerns your
cousin the Comtesse Chantavoine and Philip d'Avranche, who calls himself
her husband and Duc de Bercy."

He opened the journal, and handed it to Grandjon-Larisse.  "Read," he
said.

As Grandjon-Larisse read, an oath broke from him.  "Is this authentic,
monseigneur?" he said in blank astonishment "and the woman still lives?"

Detricand told him all he knew, and added:

"A plain duty awaits us both, monsieur le general.  You are concerned for
the Comtesse Chantavoine; I am concerned for the Duchy of Bercy and for
this poor lady--this poor lady in Jersey," he added.

Grandjon-Larisse was white with rage.  "The upstart!  The English
brigand!" he said between his teeth.

"You see now," said Detricand, "that though it was my will to die
fighting your army in the last trench--"

"Alone, I fear," interjected Grandjon-Larisse with curt admiration.

"My duty and my purpose go elsewhere," continued Detricand.  "They take
me to Jersey.  And yours, monsieur?"

Grandjon-Larisse beat his foot impatiently on the floor.  "For the moment
I cannot stir in this, though I would give my life to do so," he answered
bitterly.  "I am but now recalled to Paris by the Directory."

He stopped short in his restless pacing and held out his hand.

"We are at one," he said--"friends in this at least.  Command me when and
how you will.  Whatever I can I will do, even at risk and peril.  The
English brigand!" he added bitterly.  "But for this insult to my blood,
to the noble Chantavoine, he shall pay the price to me--yes, by the heel
of God!"

"I hope to be in Jersey three days hence," said Detricand.



ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

It is easy to repent when our pleasures have palled
Kissed her twice on the cheek--the first time in fifteen years
No news--no trouble
War is cruelty, and none can make it gentle





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