Through all the controversy Jock had sat silent. At first,
in the suddenness of the good fortune that had befallen him,
he had been too bewildered to risk speech, and then, as he
grasped matters more firmly, he had seen no call for wasting
words. Let the Heyrouns talk all that they would, pouring
forth unchecked their disappointment and their jealousy.
When he saw the time fit he would repeat what he had said
once before, that he stood for Althea's rights against them
all and that, with Verney Claybourne and his kindred to aid
him, with the allies that the prospect of an ample fortune
would bring him, he made no doubt but that he could enforce
But when Rafe had spoken, saying the word that Jock had
had it in mind to say, Jock maintained his silence in a different
temper. Slowly he felt grow upon him the sense of his aloof-
ness from the scene on which he gazed. Only by right of
his wife, by right of the girl, forced, unwilling, to bear his
name, did he sit there. The sole justification of his presence
would have been her need of him to champion her cause, and
that duty Rafe Heyroun, whom he trusted, and Esdras Inch-
come could discharge far better than could he. Later when
he had time for thought, he saw a reckoning with himself in
prospect. For now he waited in a silence that was half sullen.
The moment came at last when, because there was no more
to say, the company broke up. Rafe, ordering matters,
called in the steward. " See that the great chamber is made
ready," he bade, " for Mistress Hetherington. Henceforth
she is mistress here."
Rawly sensitive, Jock took note that even Rafe hesitated
at Althea's new name. Mindful at that moment only of the
THE HUMOR OF THE LIVING HETHERINGTON 315
hurt of that slight from Rafe, he stood quiet, and in that mo-
ment Mistress Henrietta had sought Althea's side. He saw
through the pitifully open purpose of the little woman, who
would make her peace at once with the heiress, and so petty
and so sorry did it seem, that he would not seek to combat
it by thrusting himself forward. If Althea called him to her,
good, but Althea, after one questioning glance in his direction,
raised her chin in her old defiant manner, and without deign-
ing to give a word to her Aunt Henrietta, bade her kinsfolk
good night in a steady voice, and went away up the stair.
Jock watched till he lost sight of Althea in the shadows of
the gallery, and he waited, standing by the door, till the two
other gentlewomen had gone their ways and Jarvis had gone
with his mother. While he waited he felt the dour anger that
he had cherished for days flare with the fresh kindling that
these new exasperations, albeit from other sources, had heaped
upon it. At least, whatever he might have to face next day,
in the new complication of the heiress wife who was not his
wife, and her pack of jealous kindred, for that night he had
before him the chestnut-haired Philip. With his habit of do-
ing the immediate thing, he set, according to a plan so long
fostered that perhaps, even if he would, he could not have
disregarded it, to scoring out his grudge against his old enemy.
In the midst of the shifting of places, the brief exchange of
words with which the men were separating for the night, Jock
went swiftly from the hall and in the kitchen that he knew of
old found him a crust of bread, which he bestowed in his
pocket. Then he sought out Verney Claybourne, forsaken all
the evening by his mates and hence disconsolate, and with
Verney in attendance he strode back to the hall. There he
found the little company of Heyrouns just dispersing. Old
Martin, indeed, had clambered halfway up the staircase, hold-
ing to Lieutenant Phil's arm, and Rafe and Inchcome stood
in speech at the stair-foot, but the chestnut-haired Philip still
316 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
sat staring before him in the place at table where he had sat
throughout the hours of his overthrow.
Straight across the hall Jock went and halted opposite the
chestnut-haired Philip. "Mr. Heyroun, I would speak a
word with you now," he said. In his voice was a note that,
albeit without design upon his part, made those that were on
the staircase pause and look toward him. "Will you fetch
your sword?" Jock went on, leaning forward a little with
both hands on the table. "Send also for your brother that
he may see fair play, and I have here an honest gentleman
that will be my second."
On the staircase Martin Heyroun spoke a word beneath his
breath to his son Phil, and Inchcome's gray face lighted with
a sudden gleam that as suddenly died. If the gentlemen had
the hope that, most opportunely for the kindred of the mar-
ried heiress, Jock might engage in a duel, as fatal to him
should he slay his adversary as it were should he himself be
slain, they found that hope defrauded, and for that disappoint-
ment they had no one to thank but the chestnut-haired Philip.
Coward at heart, and conscious of what reason the man
that confronted him had in seeking vengeance, Philip durst
not for very life accept the challenge. Without making a
movement to rise, he looked at Jock, and blinked, avoiding
the gaze of the steady gray eyes that met his. "Word o'
truth !" he said in a voice that shook. " Am I to be affronted,
even in this house, by every out-at-elbow sworder? Here is
no tavern to brawl in, sirrah !"
Jock turned then to the men, Philip's kindred, who each
and all had left the staircase and drawn near. " I pray you
all, go hence!" he said. "Though this gentleman will not
fight in honorable combat, I yet will speak for a moment
alone with him."
With a look in the eyes that Jock remembered, Rafe
Heyroun headed at once from the hall, and Inchcome, smil-
THE HUMOR OF THE LIVING HETHERINGTON 317
ing faintly, took up a candle and made as if to follow, but
Martin Heyroun, on principle, hesitated to do Jock's bid-
"Will you go?" Jock repeated. "Make me not to remind
you, sir, that under this roof you are now my guests."
They went then, Lieutenant Phil looking back as if loath to
go, and Rafe coaxing out his almost apoplectic father. Last
of all went Verney Claybourne, and on the threshold he turned
with his hand on the latch. "Good speed to you, Jock!"
said Verney. "I'll keep the door, and my life on't, none
shall come hither to disturb you."
As he spoke Verney banged to the door, and while the echo
still lingered in the vaulted roof of the hall, Jock sat himself
down on a stool opposite Philip at the table, just as he had
sat him once before, on the day that had been the day of his
marriage. That day Philip must have borne in mind, and
other days, for in the candlelight his face was thin and drawn.
"It was for the sake of three men that I came back to
Graystones," Jock explained patiently, leaning forward with
his folded arms upon the table. "For Esdras Inchcome, he
is serviceable to my friend Claybourne and thereto he is a
lawyer, such as are licensed to be greater knaves than other
men. For Lambert Wogan, he avowed his purpose to do me
hurt and did it, so far as he was able, and I will do the like by
him an I meet him, and there's an end on't. But for you,
sir, you did seek me out and profess to be my friend, even
while you meditated that which you pleasantly named an
accident, there at the ford on the way to Clegden. And I am
also, sir, your debtor for a certain dish of comfortable meat."
As he noted the spasm of twitching that racked Philip's
white face, Jock acquitted Blanche Mallory of any least part
that he might have suspected her to have had in preparing
the food that had been set before him in the cellar. Well
assured, he resumed his speech. " You will not fight me as I
318 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
prayed you, Mr. Heyroun. Still, you shall do penance foi
what you put in practice." From his pocket Jock drew the
crust of bread, and cast it on the table before Philip. " Eat
it!" he bade.
Because Philip was coward to the heart, he lost in that
moment all sense of reason and of likelihood that might have
saved him. With a womanish cry he half rose from the table,
and at that movement Jock flashed his sword clear and stood
over him. " You would not fetch your sword, though I bade
you," Jock spoke between his teeth. " Now eat that bread !"
In the end Philip ate the bread, or a portion of it, because
Jock had a sword and much strength and skill in the art of
scuffling, and thereto the best reasons in the world for not
sparing the man who now was at his mercy. Philip ate half
the bread, and then Jock left him lying by the hearth, a
mere crumpled heap of garments, and made his way across
the hall to the door. He went amid thick shadows where
the flickering glow of the fire gave the only light, for in the
struggle with Philip the table had been overthrown and
the candles had gone out, and as he went, he nursed a
bitten hand. But despite the hurt in his hand, Jock smiled
to himself, for he could hear the while Philip's voice that
whimpered in the dark.
Jock flung the door open, and stood a moment peering
upon the startled faces of the men without. Having
ears, they must have heard the sounds of the scuffle in the
hall and the bitter outcries, which had not been wrung from
him, but even had Verney not been there to block the way,
he doubted if any man of them would have come in to succor
Philip. They came in now, however, when the work was
done, and Martin Heyroun, glancing toward Philip's pros-
trate form, gave a cry. "You rogue!" he turned on Jock,
and his voice rang satisfied. " An you have slain this man, I
swear that you shall hang !"
THE HUMOR OF THE LIVING HETHERINGTON 319
"In which event, my good Martin," said Inchcome, "we all
are like to be hanged along with him as accessories."
The word "hang" seemed to have reached the conscious-
ness of the chestnut-haired Philip. He dragged himself up
on his bent elbow, turning to his kinsmen a face that showed
ghastly and disfigured in the mingled light of the fire and of
the pale candle that Inchcome held. "Ay, sirs!" he cried,
and with effort pointed to Jock, who midmost of the little
group still nursed his bitten hand. "Look well to that fel-
low ! See that he wins the gallows to reqiAte him the foul
murderer ! He forced it upon me. With my dying breath I
say it. He has poisoned me."
With a whistle of dismay Lieutenant Phil stepped back a
little from where he stood near to Jock, and Martin Heyroun,
most ostentatiously, did the same. "Well?" said Inchcome,
but Rafe Heyroun, standing in shadow, wasted no words,
while he watched Jock's face.
" And wherefore," said Jock, " should you hold that I
would poison you ? How know you that the pain that racks
you comes not from food that you ate long hours since ? How
know you that the bread I gave you was not good bread?"
At that the chestnut-haired Philip began to laugh, and bark-
ing with laughter, dropped his head on his arms and lay writh-
ing. In that moment Jock caught Rafe's eye, and after that
they two, at least, no longer played at cross purposes. Straight
to his prostrate kinsman went Rafe and touched his shoul-
der. "Give us the grounds wherefore you do suspect this
man," he said, " and you, gentlemen, be witnesses all, and you,
Hetherington, stand you forward that your accuser may look
In the half light Jock stood, ringed round by the semicircle
of doubting men, and looked upon Philip's face that was eager
with hatred of him, and beyond Philip met Rafe's eyes that
in their merriment were terrible.
320 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
"I know he sought to slay me," Philip cried exultantly,
" because he would avenge himself because aforetime I did
the trick myself because I put rosaker in meat that was
meant for him, what time he was a prisoner here in the Gray-
"You devil !" said Lieutenant Phil, and said it honestly.
"There is the reason for this that he has done," cried Philip,
unregarding. " He has slain me bear me witness, sirs !
The law will not excuse him, you know it well, Inchcome, for
that I first did strive to slay him. He is a murderer a
proven murderer. Ay, and you shall hang, you gallows'
dog ! " he shrieked at Jock. " Look to it, kinsmen ! Look
to it, I charge you!" and there the chestnut-haired Philip
collapsed, face down upon the floor, and moaned aloud for a
"How long has he to live?" said Rafe, in the perturbed
silence that was broken only by Philip's groans. "You
should know you scoundrel!" he addressed Jock, with
Jock, in kind, made answer, "Faith, a doctor will do him
no good !"
Then did the chestnut-haired Philip wail with exceeding
bitterness where he writhed upon the floor, and even as he
had done by the ford on the Clegden road, began to confess
his sins to Heaven and all hearers : " A doctor ! Rafe ! Uncle
Martin! In Heaven's mercy, fetch a doctor! I cannot die
I dare not hell gapes for me and I durst not go to
encounter my uncle that is slain."
" Your passing will be the easier if you make full confession
of that which burdens your soul," suggested Rafe. "Tell us
all that pertains to your dealings with our dead kinsman
tell it, and I swear that if you die now, I will see to it that
this man Hetherington is hanged, and so will my father and
THE HUMOR OF THE LIVING HETHERINGTON 321
They gave that promise, old Martin with notable zealous-
ness, and then the chestnut-haired Philip fixed Jock with eyes
of hatred and poured out the confession that was to buy him
"Sirs, 'tis true that I had knowledge of Captain Hethering-
ton aforetime. We had spent merry nights together. 'Twas
I that counselled him make his landing at this part of the
coast, long months since. I held that he might prove useful
unto me. He was a desperate fellow, and I was at a desperate
pass. Death o' my soul ! 'twas all fault of that dead villain,
mine uncle. Heaven guard him ! I speak no ill of him, now
that he is dead. But he had borne me in hand, letting me
think that in time all should be mine. I had borrowed in
expectation thereof "
"At fifty per cent," Rafe murmured.
"I knew that his will gave all unto me. But he did not
die he did not die ! Mayhap if Captain Hetherington
should attack the house Nay, nay, 'twas not for that I
bade the Captain hither I swear 'twas not for that," he
repeated to the incredulous faces that lowered upon him, and
then, as if acquiescent in the unspoken charge, he changed
his tone: "In any case, ere the Captain came, my uncle
made another will. I suspected that he knew of the hundred
crowns that I had borrowed from his strong box. I was
feared of that second will. So I moved the Captain to bring
from his chamber the box and the two wills that lay
"At that moment," said Inchcome, "your Uncle Philip
Heyroun lay sick of an apoplexy. You knew that a violent
burst of passion would be his death. You knew that the
seizure of that box, beneath his very eyes, would provoke
him to frenzy. 'Twas not alone to take the deal box that you
sent Captain Hetherington into that chamber. Designedly
you made him the instrument of your kinsman's death."
322 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
Under the old lawyer's eyes, Philip sank down with face
hidden. "But Hetherington played false!" he whimpered
piteously. "'Twas naught but the earlier will he gave into
my keeping. He took the other will and the box that held
it. He would not let me look thereon. He took the other
will, and he swore outright that henceforth he would have
of me such moneys as he chose to ask, else through that will
he would undo me. And then," cried Philip, with a sudden
upfling of the head, "he sent this other devil to torment me
even when he was dead he sent this other devil. Between
them they have tricked me and ruined me, but you'll pay for
it !" he raged up into Jock's stolid face. "You'll pay hell
rot your bones! You'll hang you'll hang in chains "
"Will I so?" said Jock, with the sudden hateful grin that
bared his teeth. He stooped and took from the floor the
mangled and trodden remnant of the crust of bread. "Will
you have more of it, cousin by marriage?" he said, proffer-
ing the morsel, which Philip promptly identified by clapping
his arm across his mouth. "Then," said Jock, "I'll make
shift to eat it myself. "Tis good bread, gentlemen, and harm-
less, and it came of the loaf that we ate at supper."
In a silence where comprehension deepened, Jock leisurely
ate the bread to the last crumb, and then, on the sudden,
Verney Claybourne threw back his head with a shout of
laughter, and fetched Jock a thwacking blow between the
shoulders. Instantly Lieutenant Phil, savoring the jest
at last and from the camp standpoint relishing it, joined in,
and Martin Heyroun, although loath to commend Jock, made
an unwilling third for the sake of smiting the chestnut-haired
In very truth there seemed no need to strike him lower.
Betrayed by his own coward fear, the man who was self-
confessed a thief and an assassin, had not the spirit even
to curse Jock who had undone him. White, furtive-eyed,
THE HUMOR OF THE LIVING HETHERINGTON 323
broken, he crouched against the hearth where he lay. " Get
up, sirrah!" Inchcome bade savagely. " "Tis no poison,
merely conscience that ails you. Get up ! We that stand
for your dead kinsman have now to speak with you," but
Philip bowed his head and made no movement to rise.
It had been in Jock's mind that when this, the final moment,
came, he should laugh, but he did not. In his pocket he
handled a shilling that he had borrowed of Verney, with the
express purpose of giving it to Philip then and there, even as
Philip, days earlier, had given him a shilling before his gaping
household. But as he looked at Philip, beggared of goods
and fame, beggared of what poor manhood had been his, he
felt that his purposed revenge had lost its savor. To strike
now at the chestnut-haired Philip was no more pleasurable
than to spurn a truss of mouldy straw. On sudden impulse
Jock took up his sword that had gone to ground in the scuffle
and struck it back into the sheath.
"Sirs," he said to the men who watched him, with what
for once was grudging approval, "long since you questioned
me here in this hall, touching your little deal box that was
gone astray, and now I have answered you, albe through
another mouth, and now, sirs, I am going hence to bed, for
I hold that my work is done."
BY RIGHT OF HIS WIFE
TRUE to his word, Jock went to his bed, in his old quarters
in the roof room that he himself, this time, had chosen to
occupy, but, contrary to his purpose, he did not sleep. Turn-
ing and tossing there in the dark, he reviewed the tangle of
the past months, made straight at last, the sinister old
companionship of the chestnut-haired Philip and Captain
Hetherington, the blood-stained seizure of the deal box in
which the strong ruffian had outplayed the weak trickster,
his own blind part in the story, first Philip Heyroun's pup-
pet, then, to the guilt-stricken man, a menace, and at the
last his betrayer. Part by part, he followed each actor in
the story, Philip, the Captain, Blanche Mallory, the dead
Heyroun, Esdras Inchcome.
When Jock came to Inchcome, he came near to the problem
that he would leave for the present untried the knotty
problem of his whole relation to Althea. This much, at least,
was clear: Inchcome alone had known the contents of the
last will, the one made in May, and though he knew that
Althea was prospectively an heiress, he had in due legal fash-
ion kept that knowledge from her kin. Holding the girl a
pawn in the game, to be left in the box until needed, he had
taken no thought for her comfort, even for her safety. Why
should he pain himself, he seemed to have reasoned, when
the girl was well enough where she was, and perchance, if
BY RIGHT OF HIS WIFE 325
the lost will were not found, would remain a poor relation
to the end of her days? Thus carelessly had Inchcome
guarded her, and thus, by the slippery sport of fate, the
heiress had been wed in haste to the first stray trooper that
presented himself, "an out-at-elbow sworder," as Philip had
named him. Jock laughed at the jest, and in the dark and
the silence was startled at the sound of that bitter laughter.
Yes, there was much to think upon before he could tell
how he should bear himself toward Althea and toward the
Heyrouns, but for now, in the early hours of the morning,
his head was heavy and his brain was fairly stiff with sleepi-
ness and long thinking. In the daylight when he woke clear-
headed, he would have an hour to himself, there in the bare
roof room, and then, according to his wont, he would discover
what was next to do.
In this expectation Jock fell asleep, but he found the expec-
tation vain. He did not wake of himself, alone in the roof
room, for a quiet hour of reflection. He woke because some
one was shaking him by the shoulder, and when he came
alertly from his sleep, he found that the room was clear with
daylight and over him stood Rafe Heyroun, grave-faced,
with a letter in his hand.
"What's to do?" said Jock, and sat up, screwing his
knuckles into his eyes.
"Your friends, Tevery and Framlingham, are gone," Rafe
answered. "They left the house last night."
"Truth," said Jock, "we might have known they had some-
thing in hand to busy them, else they'd have had a share in
the brangle, there in the hall."
"And," Rafe continued, "this same night Mistress Mallory
too is gone."
Jock whistled, extremely wide awake by now. " They did
not make me of then* counsels, but I suspicioned some-
thing," he said. "They left a letter?"
326 THE FAIB MAID OF GRAYSTONES
Rafe handed it to Jock. "Given in charge to one of the
serving men to give to you this morning. I sought you out
at once. In some sort the young woman was under our
Jock nodded as he opened the letter. "Tis from Dick,"
he summarized the first of the two sheets. "He says that
in my new fortunes they hold my plans are altered, so they
are embarking for the Low Countries without staying for
me. They take ship this day from Clegden. Faith, they
are embarked by now ! He adds that Will has chosen him a
sweet comrade for the journey."
"And the woman herself?" asked Rafe, still gravely.
Already Jock was deep in the second sheet that had been
enclosed within the first a fair little letter, written in a
fine, clear hand. He read, at first with a puzzled face, and
then, in slow comprehension, he smiled.
"She was fain to have it," he said at last, glancing up at
Rafe. "She writes fleeringly, sir, pluming herself on having
the last word and the last laugh of me. Truth, you folk at
Graystones must ofttimes have marred matches OH which
she had set her heart ! She holds that I was endeavoring to
do the same." He passed the letter to Rafe. " Read, an you
will. I warned her for her own sake Heaven knows where-
fore ! She thought I meant to save my friend from marrying
"Marriage?" said Rafe, with a shrug. "Why, then, we
have no concern in this."
" Ay, married yesternight at Clegden to Will Framlingham,"
said Jock. "And Will, to my sure knowledge, has one wife
in the West Country and another in the Palatinate. When
all's said, she was but a novice in the grim trade of pleasur-
ing, and Will is a gentleman of wide experience. She would
better have taken my warning and not have sported with
BY RIGHT OF HIS WIFE 327
In silence Rafe scanned the letter, the writing of the girl,
triumphant in her sense of having outwitted them, who, as
they knew, was herself most tragically outwitted. He read,
and frowning, put aside the paper. "Well," said he, "ere
this she is embarked upon the high seas, beyond our reach of
interference. And in any case, 'tis not our business. She
is woman grown, and ere she went upon this path she had
fair warning. Moreover," he added, with cynical memories
of the girl, "I'll swear she was herself one-half the wooer."
In such terms the two men spoke Blanche Mallory's fare-
well, and putting by the subject in the moment while Jock
shredded the letters to scraps, fell to speaking of other things.
"My kinsman Philip left the house at daybreak," Rafe
informed Jock. "We had some speech with him, Inchcome
and I. 'Twere better than that he should be haled into the
courts, for, after all, our blood is in his veins. He leaves the
country as soon as he can get shipping, and he will not return.
His mother and his brother Jarvis are minded to quit Gray-
stones this day, even this hour. Tis nine o'clock of the morn-