ing by this time, Yorkshire. You'd best be stirring, for you'll
find enough to busy you."
It was the only word of Rafe's that could be construed into
an admission that Jock's standing in the house had altered
in the last hours, and even that word was carefully non-
committal. Jock reflected upon this after Rafe had gone
and he was dressing. Plainly Rafe meant to observe a strict
neutrality in the impending conflict.
With a growing desire to fight, Jock took his way down the
stair, and in the lobby below met with one of the serving men.
At another time he might have been amused by the evident
perplexity of the fellow who, sharing the embarrassment of
his betters, scarcely knew how to treat the new master of
Graystones. At the moment, however, he felt no amusement,
only rising anger.
328 THE FAIR MAID OF GBAYSTONES
"If it like you, sir," the fellow hesitated, "Mr. Martin
Heyroun would speak with ye at once, and I am sent to
" Tell Mr. Heyroun," Jock answered promptly, " that I am
his servant to speak with him for an hour, at two of the
clock this afternoon hi the hall. For now I am otherwise
He left the man staring and strode upon his way. He had
spoken, as he thought, without premeditation, but he realized
now that the speech was the logical outcome of the specula-
tions, the planning, the arguing, that, almost without his con-
trol, had gone on in his brain ever since he had listened to the
will that made his wife an heiress. Born in a country that
was the mother of shrewd men and hard-headed, he knew
that he was not by nature one to give up a fair estate for any
mere scruple, and moreover, in the sequel of Martin Hey-
roun's message, as curt a message as would have been sent
him, had he been still a paroled prisoner in that house, he felt
his blood tingle with the lust of combat. Obstinate by habit,
even as in the old days he had broken out of Graystones
because the Heyrouns were set to hold him prisoner, he was
determined now to stay at Graystones because the Heyrouns
would have him gone.
He descended to the hall, and with a feeling that he choked
for fresh air, passed out into the garden. He was minded to
go still farther, into the fields, but as he turned toward the
garden gate he heard a light step behind him, and when he
faced about, he fronted Althea. She had come quickly, so
that her hood had slipped back, and her hair was disordered
about her forehead, and her cheeks were flushed, and her eyes
shone. So she had looked there on the islet, on the highway,
when she was his, all his. Gazing upon her now, Jock fairly
cursed the fortune that barred the way between them the
way that otherwise, somehow, he might have bridged.
BY EIGHT OF HIS WIFE 329
For the fortune's sake, he spoke almost as if she were an
enemy, "Well, mistress?"
"I've labored cruel hard," she said, and smiled to win his
smile. "My Aunt Henrietta sticks to me closer than any
brother. Such a wearisome woman!"
"Ay, mistress," he answered, full of his own thought, "but
you are now a jewel worth the guarding."
She sighed, and her eyes grew wistful. "Such a deal of
"Ay, a deal !" he said shortly.
"I am glad that you are here," she began, and faltered
under his sullen look, and changed her sentence, "glad that
you are here to help me look to it."
He laughed. "In that Rafe Heyroun or Inchcome have
far more skill to serve you than have I. In all my life, mis-
tress, I never handled the worth of fifty crowns at one time."
In his bitterness he spoke more savagely than he had meant
to speak, and he saw, spite of the proud set of the girl's lips,
the hurt look that sprang to her eyes. He had the impulse
to try to comfort her, and checked it, full of shame that in
his very declaration of poverty, in her recent acknowledgment
of wealth, he had been about to woo her.
In that moment of hesitation came Lieutenant Phil, swag-
gering down the path, with a new outspoken friendliness for
Althea and his old contemptuous coolness even heightened
for Jock. "Well, cousin," he cried, "give me good speed!
My leave is at an end, and I ride this day to Hertford."
She said as, mistress of the house, she was bound to say:
"I am sorry for your going. You will come unto us again,
"Ay, surely," answered Phil, "an you bid me do so!"
Jock turned on his heel and walked away. Since he was
her husband by no wish of hers, he might order her fortune,
but he would not order her friends. He left her with Lieu-
330 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
tenant Phil and went away to the stables, where he sought
to cheer himself with the sight of the horses, a dearer sight
than ever now that he could tell himself that every beast
of them was his. A man were a fool indeed to let slip his
hold on such a stable.
Then, in the midst of this, the one mood approaching cheer-
fulness that he had known that day, he fell to other thoughts
and reddened with shame. Steadied again to the likeness of
himself, he saw that Althea had come to speak with him in
decent civility, as a wife should, that she had been courteous
to her kinsman as was the duty of a hostess, and he had re-
plied with loss of temper and gone to seek him comfort among
the horses. He was a stableboy, he reflected, with all his
savagery turned now upon himself, and she was a gentle-
woman, and he was not fit to live beneath the same roof with
On that day Jock might well have prayed to be delivered
from his friends, for just as he was softening to a mood in
which he was almost ready to find Althea and strive to have
a clear understanding with her, Verney Claybourne sought
him. "For now, Jock," said Verney, "you can bid me fare-
well. I am posting back to Claybourne to carry my mother
the good tidings of you and of Mistress Hetherington."
They were alone in the corner of the stable where they
stood, near the horse-stalls, and at that moment, inspired of
the devil, Verney caught Jock by the shoulders and pinned
him against the wall, in such wise that he could neither fight
nor flee nor mask his face from the other's scrutiny. " Look
you, Jock," said Verney, "what's amiss between you and
your wife ? "
" Naught," said Jock, and swore. " Take your hands from
Jock struggled as he spoke, but Verney was the bigger and
the stronger, and, more to the point, knew of old his favorite
BY EIGHT OF HIS WIFE 331
tricks of attack. He held Jock in the same position in which
he first had pinned him. "What a plague !" said he, "you're
no child. You should know how to deal with a woman."
"I do," Jock answered. "But wives are different. I
never had one ere now."
"Pshaw!" said Verney. "Wives are women. Go kiss
her and make up your difference."
Said Jock, in extremity, " Let me go, else I'll kick the heart
out of you!"
As this was in the nature of a challenge, Verney held firm
and, anticipating Jock's movement, won him to quiet with a
crafty kick on the ankle. "I'll let you free in a moment,"
he said, " but first I'll give you a piece of good counsel, though
I know you will despise it. You've much at stake here in
this game, and you're a fool to risk all, because of a silly lovers'
quarrel. Your little wife's kinsfolk are buzzing about her
while you're sulking in corners. Do you go speak a word or
two in her ear to make things even. Man, she's your wife !"
"Are you done?" said Jock, in a dangerous voice.
"I am," said Verney, and released him. "Now I'll leave
Graystones ere you set the dogs upon me."
Verney went his way, and try as he would, Jock could give
him only a half-civil farewell. For Verney, with his calm
assumption of understanding, had touched the sorest spot in
Jock's heart and set it aching. If it had been a lovers' quarrel,
as Verney took for granted, if they had been lovers, all would
have been easy.
Dinner at Graystones that day was in the nature of an or-
deal for all concerned, but it ended at last, and then, quite
as Jock had expected, Mistress Henrietta, all unmindful of
his existence until that hour, prayed him attend her into the
parlor. He could not well deny her as he had denied her
husband earlier in the day, so in the parlor he spent a half
hour, discomfortable to them both. He heard in silence,
332 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
while he studied the woman's face with eyes that disconcerted
her, all that a gentleman in his place should do, all that was
to say of the girl's youth and inexperience and the cruelty of
her position, forced into a hateful marriage, all that could be
hinted as to her heart's being engaged elsewhere, the whole
discourse seasoned with tears and womanly pleas and spiced
by times with sharp side-comments on himself. He heard her
to the end, and then he rose and courteously held open the
door for her to pass.
" Mistress," said he, " I have small love to those that would
come provoking dissension between man and wife. Your
coach will be in readiness at three of the clock, and I wish you
a pleasant journey into Essex."
He handed her to the staircase, he gave the needful direc-
tions about the coach, and then he lit him a pipe and stood
smoking before the fire in the hall, while he waited for two
o'clock and his interview with Martin Heyroun. Lashed by
the events of the last hours, he waited in as stubborn a fight-
ing mood as ever he had known.
At two of the clock, the hour of his naming, they came to
the hall, the three men who alone were left to represent the
Heyrouns, old Martin, stumping on his wooden leg and eying
Jock beneath beetle brows, Rafe, dark, taciturn, and for once
not all at ease, and Inchcome, dry, inscrutable, with his formal
face of legal business. They set themselves at the great table,
while Jock still kept his stand by the hearth. Even though
it was the moment before battle, he gave a flitting backward
thought to his first hour in that place, when under far different
conditions he had fronted those same men, and he found that
he was to fight, not merely for his present possession, but to
avenge all that he had suffered in the past.
"Well, Mr. Hetherington," said Inchcome, smiling almost
as if he had read Jock's thought, " you surely have the whip-
hand of us now."
BY RIGHT OF HIS WIPE 333
"Come to the point!" growled Martin.
"But at least/' Inchcome pursued his tranquil way, "we
can discuss the matter with due calmness, eh?"
Jock nodded, not taking the pipe from his mouth, and his
eyes burned into the faces before him. Rafe, at least, looked
at him curiously, in some doubt of his promise to be calm.
After all, as the black Heyroun realized, Jock was little more
than a boy, and that day he was battling in deep waters.
"You may remember," Inchcome continued, "that I spoke
once unto you of the wide resources of the law. 'Tis a hard
thing, sir, for two people to be tied together for life against
"So I've heard," said Jock, and flicked the ash from his
"Come, come!" cried Martin Heyroun. "Enough of this!
He knows, and we know, whereof we speak. In plain terms,
sirrah, what is your price to consent to a divorce between
yourself and the poor young lass who was forced to marry
Rafe frowned, tapping his finger-tips upon the table top,
and Inchcome held his breath, while they waited for an
Jock puffed his pipe in silence for a moment. " Does Mis-
tress Hetherington ask for a divorce ?" he questioned. " Rafe
Heyroun, you were wont to be a true man. Answer me that
"She has said no word of the matter," Rafe answered, in a
voice that hinted that he would fain be clear of the business.
"She is very young and overmodest to hint of such a
thing," Martin Heyroun spoke by rote what his wife had
surely taught him.
Jock laughed, "If she's modest in her askings, faith, she
does not take after her mother's kin !"
"This is profitless wrangling," Inchcome broke in. "Let
334 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
us be frank with each other. We that are the gentlewoman's
kinsmen and friends would gladly see that most unfortunate
marriage set aside. With your consent it may well be done."
"Ay," Martin Heyroun interrupted, "and we'll give
you a thousand pounds for your consent. Think well upon
it ! A brisk young fellow like you can do much with a thou-
" A brisk young fellow like me," said Jock, unmoved, " can
do more with five thousand a year."
"Then you purpose " said Inchcome.
"I purpose," said Jock, "to keep on "standing right here!"
He stamped his foot on the hearth as he spoke.
In the red instant that followed, Martin Heyroun rose from
his seat. "You dare defy us?" he cried. "You that are
Rafe caught his father's arm, but ere he could silence the
old man, Jock lifted his voice. "You forget yourself, sir,"
he spoke, high and sharp. "I am no man's prisoner. My
ransom is paid. My parole is given. Moreover, I thank
Mr. Inchcome," he bowed quickly, mockingly, "I have
in my pocket the writing of one of the Quorum that certifies
me as free as any man that stands here."
Even in the stress of controversy Inchcome smiled, in wintry
fashion, at this counters troke, but old Martin Heyroun, rag-
ing beyond Rafe's control, did not smile. He raised his voice
to a shout. " You beggarly horse-boy ! We'll see if there be
law in the land!"
Jock wheeled upon him. "There is law in the land," he
said crisply. "By that law the girl that you all neglected
and despised when she was penniless was made my wife.
By that law she is still my wife, now that she is an heiress
now that she has house and lands and moneys a brave dowry
for your son Philip to marry, eh, sir ? " he flung the words into
the face of the half-choked Martin Heyroun. " By that law
BY RIGHT OF HIS WIFE 335
for which you clamor I am master here in right of my wife.
By law I hold the inheritance and I hold the girl, and by
the splendor of God ! I still will hold them both in spite of
you ! "
He stopped, and for a moment there was tense silence.
Martin Heyroun breathed loud and audibly, and Inchcome
gazed at Jock with something like approval, and Rafe Heyroun
eyed the polished top of the table.
" Well/' said Jock, in his more wonted tone, " you have my
answer now. For the present, gentlemen, I give you good
day. A pleasant journey to you, Mr. Heyroun ! 'Tis hard on
three o'clock. Mr. Inchcome, there will be legal matters
wherein I shall need your good offices, but not to-day. Rafe
Heyroun, will you give me one moment now?"
The two older men took their dismissal, Martin Heyroun
with an aggressive effort to bear himself as a conqueror,
Inchcome with the cool resignation of a legal instrument that
accepted an inevitable, and not wholly displeasing, change
of masters. They left the hall, and the moment they were
gone, Jock sent his pipe crashing to the hearth, and coming
to the table, flung himself into the nearest chair. There he
sat with his forehead resting on his hand and his face half
"Rafe Heyroun," said he, "you have done me hitherto
much kindness. I had not looked to see you make one with
"I had not done so, be sure," Rafe answered, "had your
wife been your wife other than in name."
Jock flung back his head and showed a stricken face that
startled Rafe. " You had no right !" he said, breathing heav-
ily. " If we are to part as friends, sir and Heaven knows
that such is my wish ! we were best part now for a little
So Rafe shook Jock's hand in that he would not be
336 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
denied and went his way, and Jock was left, victor, alone
in the house where he was master, alone with his wife. He
was eager to speak with Althea, to what purpose he scarcely
knew, but he was reluctant to seek her without her bidding.
Instead he summoned the old steward, and in the little
study that had been the dead Philip Heyroun's, spent the
afternoon in learning the extent of his immediate possessions
what store was in barns and garners, what servants
called him master, what order it would be his part to
keep in the house of Graystones. At first, in the tingling
sense of triumph that was on him, he felt little more
than the joy of ownership, but as the afternoon waned he
felt more and more insistently the hope that somehow, by
some happy chance, he might receive a word that would call
him to Althea's side.
It was not till supper-time that Jock saw Althea, and then
he saw her to little comfort. Alone at the table which they
had hitherto seen thronged, they ate their meal in what was
for both of them a very agony of troubled silence.
" It seems strange to eat here, our two selves alone," Althea
broke out in desperation.
He reddened as at a reproach. "Are you sorry for that
your aunt is gone?" he asked.
" Nay, she was a tiresome woman and sought to cozen me.
As if I could forget how spitefully of old she treated me!"
Althea spoke from her heart, but Jock, in the weariness
of reaction, saw everything awry. Gloomily he wondered
if the girl spoke the truth or spoke to please the husband
forced upon her. Was there ground, perhaps, for some of
the passionate pleadings that Mistress Henrietta had uttered
in her niece's behalf?
So tired, so disheartened Jock felt, that he let his mood
show in his face, and noting this, when they rose from their
disconsolate meal, Althea, in her pity and anxiety, took cour-
BY EIGHT OF HIS WIFE 337
age. She went to him where he stood on the hearth, almost
as she would have sought him in the days when they trudged
"You are weary, Jock," she said. "You must cease to
be troubled, now that we are in haven."
He gave her a look that she did not fathom. As in the days
at Claybourne, when he had found her sisterly kindness tor-
ture, he winced at the sisterly solicitude in her voice. He
wanted to kiss her. He wanted, with latent savagery, to
strike her that she came to him in no other wise, and then
inwardly he cursed himself and pitied her. Poor little girl,
who dutifully strove to make the best of a bad matter ! He
took her hand and kissed it.
" A little more, and I shall indeed cease to take thought for
us both," he said. " But for now will you leave me, dear ?
I must be alone."
He watched till her candle twinkled out of sight in the
gloom of the gallery, and then he sat down in the great chair,
the master's chair, at the table, with his face to the fire that
burned upon the hearth that now was his. The wordy war-
fare of that afternoon seemed in that hour as far behind him
as the earlier scenes of violence and hate and wrong in which,
in that same spot, he had borne a part. A little wearied, but
quiet again and steady with his old sense of planning for the
next thing, he sat and thought.
Almost at the outset, with his former clearness of vision,
he realized what he had taken time to realize, that here
were none concerned save Althea and himself. The Hey-
rouns who had stirred him to conflict with their insults, on
whom he had avenged himself, holding to what he had won,
he put out of the question. Between Althea and himself,
he sought to find and do the thing that was right.
Moments of wavering resolution, of battling desires, he
lived through in that hour. It were a fine thing, the prac-
338 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
tical part in him cried out, to be master of that great estate,
to be the husband, even as in his boyish dreams he had
planned, of a rich heiress. He could do much with that
fortune, in the shire, in the country itself, perhaps. He
tingled with the sense of endless power. At one and twenty,
penniless and unfriended, he had yet contrived to accomplish
something. He knew himself master of his soldier's craft,
and master of the knowledge of himself. Ten years hence,
with that fortune, with the friends and alliances that he
might win, whither might he not have attained? Pinnacle
by pinnacle he reared his air castles of ambition for himself,
for the sons of his blood that should succeed him, and he
dashed all to earth with a bitter cry.
"God ! If I did not love her I"
If it were any other girl cast thus into his arms, with such
a fortune, he knew that his way were easy. After all, he would
be as good a husband, as faithful, as indulgent, as courteous
as the run of men. But this girl, of all the world, was the
girl he loved. It were torture to live beside her day by
day, yet barred from her love, to watch her patient effort to
give from duty what she, in her perfect honesty, could give
only of free will. With change of mood, he cursed the for-
tune. If only it were between them as it had been at Clay-
bourne ! If she were still the little penniless lass without a
friend save him, somehow, with God's help, he would have
won her to love him.
But now well, he must face the hard facts. There was
the fortune, which he would not possess without the girl's
love. There was the girl, whose love he could not win while
she held that fortune. He laughed, albeit sadly, at the per-
verseness of his dilemma. Softened by his laughter, he began
to think only of the girl, and on the sudden he saw aright.
Poor little lass ! The one course for the man that loved her
truly was to leave her free. That by so doing he would please
BY RIGHT OF HIS WIFE 339
the Heyrouns, made no difference. It was her happiness
for which he planned. The matter of divorce was hateful,
but it might be so handled as to do her little scath. In a
year or two she would have forgotten, and she was so young,
and so dear, no doubt the right man would come to wed her.
"But Heaven forbid that ever I meet with him!" Jock
Now that he knew what was to do, he went about it swiftly.
He called for ink and pen and paper, and taking in this a hint
from Tevery, set himself to write a letter which should be
given to Althea after he was gone. For both their sakes,
he would not venture a spoken farewell. Two letters he
wrote slowly, with much nibbling of the pen, and tore to frag-
ments. Then he bethought himself, and driving his pen
swiftly, wrote a few lines.
" On the morrow," he bade the steward, who came in answer
to his summons, "send this letter to Mr. Heyroun at Dray-
cote. And tell your mistress, an she ask of me, that I am
called hence in haste on a matter that concerns us both."
When he had dismissed the steward, he took his cloak and
his sword, his whole fortune now, he realized, and went from
the house that had been his for one little day. In the stable
he roused up a groom and bade saddle one of the hackneys,
and when the task was done, he mounted and through the
postern gate rode slowly forth into the lane that led to Herons-
wood. Just beyond the paddock the lane breasted a bit of
steeper ground, and across the roofs of the outbuildings he
could see, when he turned in his saddle, the bulk of Gray-
stones tower against the starset sky. In one window he
saw that a dim candle burned, and he knew it for the window
of the great chamber where his wife lay.
So far upon his road he had still a moment to battle with
himself. " But I love her !" he repeated, as if the words were
a charm, the while he struggled with his own passions that he
340 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
boasted to have mastered. "For love's sake, I must leave
her to the love that will one day come."
Steadied once more, he looked to the dim light in the distant
window. "God keep you, dear heart!" he muttered, and
with such farewell turned his back, for the last tune, upon the
house of Graystones.
THE LAST RETURNING
ON so small a trifle as a netted purse of the value of six-
pence, did Jock Hetherington's fortunes at this, the greatest
crisis of his life, depend. The purse lay on the table in the
chamber that Rafe Heyroun had occupied at Graystones, and
Rafe never missed it till he had escorted his raging father and
his tearful mother some miles upon their journey into Essex.
Then, when they stopped for supper, he discovered his loss
and was troubled. Valueless though it might be in another's
sight, he valued the purse because it had been painfully netted
for him by his small daughter Eleanor, and he was loath to
lose it. On the instant he changed his plan. He would
leave his parents to finish their journey alone, and would him-
self return to Graystones, get his purse, and push on that
same evening to Draycote.
Accordingly, not five minutes after Jock had left Gray-
stones by the postern gate, riding north, Rafe came trotting
up the lane from the south, and passing through the gate-
house, drew rein in the stable-court. As it was past ten of
the clock, he wondered a little to find the grooms astir, but he