knife were better than no weapon at all. He stepped to the
half-closed door of the pantry, crouched low, with the knife
in his hand, and waited.
He heard the footsteps just without in the kitchen. Through
the crack of the door he saw a faint glow of candlelight steal
along the flagstones. He heard the footsteps nearer, nearer.
Oh, a pretty trick that lying jade had played him ! With a
prayer that his would-be captor might prove to be Lambert
Wogan, he swung back the knife, ready to strike.
The door, behind which he was sheltered, was flung wide.
In the opening, candle in hand and her russet cloak draped
about her, stood Althea Lovewell, and looked with amazed
eyes at the apparition that confronted her. " Gemini ! "
said Althea Lovewell.
EACH TO HIS OWN
HAVING said, "O Gemini!" Althea, with great presence of
mind, dropped the candle.
Jock saw the broken orbit that the falling light described,
and then saw the little flame snuffed out with the wind of its
own fall. He felt the darkness, blacker for the instant of light,
close round him, and through the dark he sensed that the
girl was stealing away. For one moment he felt the savage
impulse to catch her in his arms and smother the outcries
that were sure to come, just as he had done in the case of
Blanche Mallory, but for some reason he hesitated. Perhaps
it was because he remembered Esdras Inchcome's saying, that
repetitions were wearisome and ofttimes unadvisable ; per-
haps it was because he was too tired in body and in spirit for
any sudden action; perhaps it was because he had a vague
sense that this girl was of different metal from Mistress Mal-
lory and to be differently entreated.
In any case, he stood quiet for an appreciable moment, and
with breath indrawn waited for the scream that the girl was
sure to give. He heard no sound, and then, on desperate im-
pulse, he spoke huskily, "If you cry for help, mistress, the
game is ended for me."
Out of the darkness her voice answered, low and with a
little tremor that belied the steadiness of the words : " I have
not cried out, have I ? Pray you, Mr. Hetherington, lay down
EACH TO HIS OWN 85
Jock obeyed, and more than obeyed. As if his muscles of
their own will responded to her words, he dropped the bread
knife, and in the same second, with equal lack of intent,
dropped himself to the floor of the pantry. He did not
try to explain how or why he landed on the floor, but he
felt that he had had enough, for one night, of scapes and
startling encounters. He heard, very far in the distance,
a little agitated stir of garments, a rush of swift feet, and then
he saw the flicker of the relighted candle, and shut his eyes
against the light. When he opened them again, he saw Althea
bending over him.
Guiltily Jock tried to drag himself to his knees. "I I
must have stumbled," he explained in a voice that to his
ears sounded remote.
"You're starving!" said the girl, and either his sight was
playing him tricks, or else her eyes pitied him.
"I have been less hungry," he jested brokenly, and
sank back again where he lay.
After another drowsy interval of semiconsciousness he grew
aware of the light of the candle, and he realized that the candle-
stick was set upon the kitchen hearth, easily within his range
of vision as he looked through the open door of the pantry.
He saw that the flame of the candle wavered, as if a casement
somewhere were set wide, but, save for that little movement
of the candle-flame and the corresponding movement of the
shadows on the bare walls and the flagged pavement of the
kitchen, he saw no sign of life. He judged that the girl had
gone away, to rouse the household, perhaps, but it was of no
great matter nothing mattered to him much, except that
his neck was aching, where his shoulders were propped against
To relieve the ache, he pulled himself to his knees, and
so crawled out into the kitchen. He felt the night air from
the open casement, cool and clear upon his face, heartening
86 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
and good as a draught of water. He breathed deep, reviving
with each breath, and thanks to such restorative, found
strength to stagger across the room. There he sank down
on the raised hearthstone, with his back against the side of
the great oven, and waited for what fate should send next.
He was wondering if Captain Wogan or perhaps Esdras
Inchcome would be first in the field, when Althea came softly
into the kitchen. For a moment she paused listening on the
threshold, with her face turned to the darkness of the passage,
then she closed the door noiselessly behind her and came
toward the hearth. As she drew nearer, so that Jock saw
her face in the candlelight, he felt a guilty hotness in his
cheeks. He was not proud of the suspicion that had made
him think this girl had gone to betray him.
"Was I long gone?" Althea questioned, and her voice was
gentler than he had guessed from what he had seen and heard
of her. " I durst not take the candle into the great hall lest
some one spy me. I had to grope my way. Tis wine that
they left at supper. Drink!"
She carried in one hand a flagon, he noted now, withdraw-
ing his eyes from her face, and while he drank, she steadied
"the flagon at his lips. This she did with a comradeship, and
an unconsciousness of anything but comradeship, that would
have become a fellow-soldier, and when he realized this, and,
knowing much of other manners in women, appreciated it,
he became shy and circumspect.
For it was characteristic of this man, so newly arrived at
manhood, that when he fronted conditions or folk that to
him were unfamiliar, he became a boy again. In St. Andrew's
church, facing soldiers to whom he was used, he had borne
himself with assurance, while in the hall at Graystones,
pitted against civilians whom he did not understand, he had
been bewildered and hesitant. In like fashion, where he
had borne himself as a seasoned campaigner toward Mistress
EACH TO HIS OWN 87
Mallory, whose type he knew, in the presence of this little
Althea with the honest eyes, a mere young girl, such as he had
seldom accosted, he turned boy again, gentle and respectful
to a degree that Mistress Mallory would have sworn impos-
sible in him.
In her. own good time, Althea set down the flagon on the
broad hearth. " Now," said she, with motherly eyes on Jock,
" I'll seek you out some supper. If ever again you go a-foray-
ing for food, here where my Aunt Difficult rules, waste no time
in exploring those closets that stand open. My Aunt Difficult
holds that this, mine uncle's great house of Graystones, is
to be ordered like her own starveling grange by Clegden vil-
lage. Wherefore to conclude, in the phrase of my cousin
Jarvis, the parson, the very crumbs of the table, yea, even the
bare soup-bones, languish thriftily under lock and key."
While she ran on in this strain, somewhat, it seemed, to
set Jock at ease, and somewhat to do the like kind service by
herself, Althea had mounted on a stool and with a dexterity
that suggested old experience had taken down a key from its
hiding-place upon a dark rafter. With this key she unfas-
tened the cupboard that so short a time before had baffled
Jock's efforts, and from its depths drew forth a fresh quartern
loaf, the half of a boiled mallard, and a delectable seeming
mutton pasty. These she ranged on the hearthstone, and
with a gesture bade Jock fall to.
It was to his credit perhaps that, with two days of hunger
behind him and with food in reach of his hand, he still had
the strength and the grace to hold himself in check. "As
your guest, is it?" he asked, looking up at her.
For the second time in his life, he saw the sudden flashing
smile light up Althea's face. "How else?" she questioned,
sitting down on the hearth. "I too am near starved. My
Aunt Difficult sent me supperless to bed, but as you see, I
had no thought of sleeping supperless."
88 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
With such brief ceremony the strangely sorted pair began
their meal. At first, between shyness and hunger, they inter-
changed few words. Save for the faint stir of the night wind
at the open casement and the flicker of the guttering candle,
it was very still in the dim kitchen. Once the half-open door
of the pantry creaked on its hinges, and in the silence the unex-
pected sound was startlingly loud. Althea gave a little gasp
of apprehension, and Jock, in his own despite, glanced toward
the door to the passage.
Linked in sympathy by their fear, they drew a little closer
where they sat upon the hearth, and Althea put into words
their common thought. "It was no more than the wind.
'/But if any one should come 'twould go ill with you, would
Jock shrugged his shoulders, and reached for a second piece
of bread. "What of you?" he asked.
" Why, they would rate me, my aunts and my uncle. They
do it so often that now I scarce heed them." She spoke
hardily, but her lip quivered never so little.
"I've known gentler folk than those that dwell at Gray-
stones," Jock supplemented. " So you're a niece to the whole
Althea nodded. Now that she had satisfied her hunger,
she sat back on the hearth with her cloak huddled about her,
and suddenly, as if she felt relief at unburdening herself, she
began the very story that Jock was aching to hear. "My
mother was their sister Philip's and Martin's and Benja-
min's. There have always been Heyrouns here at Herons-
wood, you must know, sir. The old manor house stands at
the other end of the village, hard by the church. They had
the house and the name of gentlefolk, but they had little else
till my Uncle Philip's day, he that died last June."
"I know," said Jock, "he that did not die An. Dom. 1605."
" No," said Althea, " that was my grandfather. My Uncle
EACH TO HIS OWN 89
Philip, he of whom I spoke, went up to London and became
a Turkey-merchant and built him a vast fortune. He made
his brother Martin the master of one of his great ships, and
his brother Benjamin was one of his factors. Indeed, he
made the fortunes of all his kindred. He was a generous
soul and kind at heart, though ofttimes violent in his speech.
He married a gentlewoman named Mallory, the aunt of Mis-
tress Blanche Mallory, but they had no children."
"Come, I begin to see daylight \" said Jock. "There was
no entail? And his estate was large?"
To both questions Althea nodded. "He bought his heirs
to forego their legal claim to Heronswood manor. There was
no entail. He could dispose of his estate as liked him best,
and 'tis a very great estate. There is the old house of Herons-
wood, and this house that my uncle bought of the Earl of
Wiltersey, and there are divers good farmsteads here in the
countryside, and houses and shops in London, and ships that
are at sea, and moneys besides, and great sums that still are
owing from brother merchants. It is a very great estate, so
you can judge how eager were my kinsmen to have the squan-
dering of it. Such protestations of love as they made to my
Uncle Philip ! Such speed did they show in doing his bid-
ding ! Such jealous hatred as they bore to each other ! Oh,
this has been a merry house to dwell in, Mr. Hetherington !"
" They are merry folk that dwell herein," said Jock, with a
ruefulness that moved them both to smile. " And your good
uncle made a will at last?"
"Oh, many wills," said Althea. "After he had quarrelled
with his nephew Rafe that had been his favorite, it became
his practice to quarrel with all his kinsfolk in turn, and he
made his will to square with the liking of the moment. There-
fore he would send for Esdras Inchcome and make his will
at least twice a year, though most times 'twas to one or the
other of his nephews Philip that he bequeathed his estate.
90 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
But to which of them he left it at the last, no one but Esdras
Inchcome, who was his lawyer and his lifelong friend, can tell,
and he will speak no word. All that he tells us is that my
Uncle Philip's last two wills were in the little deal box that
he kept in his chamber "
"And my kinsman," finished Jock, "has borne away box
" And," said Althea, " if the box and the wills are not found,
'tis an old will of mine uncle's, made five years agone when he
had quarrelled with every last man of his kindred, that will
stand in law."
Jock's expression was yearning. "Is it granted me to
know its contents?" he asked.
The girl smiled with eyes and lips. "Indeed, you have
earned the right to know the truth of the matter. By this
will, the only will that they have in hand, Mr. Inchcome, my
Uncle Martin, and my cousin Philip Heyroun, the one that is
not a lieutenant, are made executors, and they are to pay the
debts of my deceased uncle, and some legacies to his serving
folk, and pay to each of his heirs the sum of four marks, and
then the remainder of the estate "
There the smile bubbled over into a noiseless little laugh,
in which Jock speedily joined. "I can guess!" said he.
"I defy you!" said she. "He has bequeathed every
groat to make good Christians of the tawny-skinned heathen
in the New England plantations and to provide dowries for
worthy poor spinsters of London. And my kinsmen think
but upon the sufferings of my kinsmen to be thus defrauded !"
Then, partly because they were very young, and partly
because they both had little cause to love the Heyrouns,
, Jock and Althea joined in a fit of smothered laughter, and
they might have exulted indefinitely, had they not, in the
midst of their unholy glee, heard a board snap in the casing.
At that sound instinctively they caught each other's hands,
EACH TO HIS OWN 91
no better for the moment than scared children, and they said,
"Hush!" a number of times, before they realized that their
alarm was needless.
Rather sobered, Jock returned to the devastating of the
mutton pasty, while Althea deftly began to make up a parcel
of bread and cold mallard. For a moment they busied them-
selves in uneasy silence, then Jock, consumed with curiosity,
took up the interrupted story. " So 'tis for that your kins-
folk are so set to find Captain Hetherington and the deal box
and the two wills. They have a hope, then "
"Sure, no will could use them more scurvily than the one
that now stands," the girl answered. "And be sure, my
Uncle Martin and his son Philip are as confident that, under
the later wills, all is left to the said Philip, as my other cousin
Philip and his brother Jarvis are confident that all will fall
into their clutches. So they all go a-hunting the deal box,
in a happy, zealous mood all save Rafe."
At the mention of the man who, seeing his plight, had yet
most politicly refrained from helping him, Jock bit off an ill-
suppressed exclamation that rang far from complimentary.
By that word he struck fire from Althea. " "Pis the truest
heart of them all," she came hotly to the defence of the dark
Heyroun. " You have no right to scorn him for that he stood
for his mother rather than for you, a complete stranger. He
has no concern in their wretched wills. He is the only one
ever had the manhood to speak his mind to our Uncle Philip.
He had been his uncle's heir, but he married Bel Wogan, Cap-
tain Wogan's sister, to pleasure himself, against his uncle's
wishes. And 'twas no light thing for Rafe to relinquish all
hope of a great estate. He has a little farm they call it
Draycote that came to him from his godfather, and he
gains a living for his family, but he loathes the farm, as all
can see. He was patterned for larger ventures, like our Uncle
Philip that is dead. And yet hold it to his credit ! he
92 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
that so hates to live and die a mere country gentleman would
never seek to cozen Uncle Philip of his favors. He is an hon-
est man, I tell you!"
Jock's face was still doubtful, even contemptuous, and
moved by that expression the girl added, with something like
a sob, " And he is the only one of them all that has ever been
kind to me."
"Then they are not kind to you here?" Jock took her up.
He pushed aside the empty dish that had held the pasty, and
turned to his companion. " You've told me all, except about
yourself," he hinted.
Althea looked down, and began twisting the loose clasp at
the throat of her russet cloak. "There is little to tell," she
said. "My mother wedded against her brothers' will. My
father was Sam Lovewell, a Sussex gentleman of no fortune.
He was a lieutenant for the king, and died of fever in the camp,
just after Newbury fight."
"Why, then," said Jock, involuntarily, "you've had the
same history as Mistress Mallory."
Althea turned and gave him such a look that he wished he
had bit off his tongue ere it uttered the last sentence. " Pray,
when did you have speech with Mistress Mallory?" she ques-
tioned with lowered eyelids.
Under this direct attack Jock was helpless. He did not
wish to betray Blanche, who at the last had served him under
a tacit truce. He did not wish to lie to Althea who had be-
friended him, and even had he been willing to deceive her, he
could not, on the spur of the moment, devise a lie to fit the
complicated circumstance. He reddened, stammered, and
came at last to a full stop, with appealing eyes on Althea's
She laughed, a slightly cruel laugh, though he felt that the
cruelty was not aimed at him. " I might have known," she
said. "To be sure, Blanche has had speech with you, She
EACH TO HIS OWN 93
can twist Lambert Wogan round her finger, the more fool
he ! So she said her father died fighting for the king ?" Again
she laughed. "Blanche Mallory's father, Mr. Hetherington,
was a worthy brewer at Bury St. Edmund's, and he died in
his bed, sorely crippled with gout, four years before the war
began. Next time tell her that, with my service to her.
Surely, she might do better than to steal my poor, dead
"I'm sorry," Jock muttered with genuine penitence, and
with genuine fervor, in his heart he cursed Blanche Mallory
who, though absent, had thus contrived to break his talk with
There was no mistaking Althea's new attitude of suspicion.
She sat very erect upon the hearth and tugged at the clasp of
her cloak until it hung by a mere thread. When at last she
broke the discomfortable silence, her voice came, as it were,
from miles away. "It is growing late," she said pointedly.
"The candle is near burned out. And you have far to travel,
Jock rose to his feet. "I'll go the moment you bid," he
said, "but I pray you, do not send me hence in anger."
" I am not angered," Althea replied with her chin up. " I
am sorry for you, and I think you have been hardly used, and
I hope you will escape my kinsfolk, but" she added with-
eringly "I doubt if you do, if you believe every word that
everybody tells you."
This insinuation of gullibility cut Jock to the heart, but he
saw no way of exculpating himself. " I thank you for your
kind offices," he said with more dignity than he knew. " It
would have gone ill with me, were it not for you. I'm sorry
that we may not part as friends."
He turned to the door as he spoke, but before he could lay
hand on the latch, he found Althea at his side. "Wait!"
she said, and hurt dignity and eager friendliness struggled
94 THE FAIR MAID OF GRAYSTONES
together in her voice. "Here's the bread and meat. You
must take it with you."
On his next throw he staked all. " No," he said. " I can-
not take it as a charity."
"What was it at the start?" she flashed.
"You were not angered with me then."
Their eyes met, and then, with sudden wisdom, the girl
shifted her position. "You speak like a child," she said ma-
ternally, " but I cannot suffer you go hungry these next hours.
Here, stow the bread and meat in your pocket. It was not
you I was angered at, and I am not angered now."
" You broke off telling me," he muttered defeated, yet half
pleased at his defeat.
She laughed, still maternally. "There was no more story
to tell," she explained. "These last years I dwelt with my
father's mother, who was born a Holcroft, at a little village
in Sussex. Winter before last she died, and since then I've
dwelt at Graystones. My Uncle Philip maintained me of his
charity, and warned me to expect nothing further of him.
And I do not!" she added fervently.
Jock paused in his task of wedging the food into his pocket.
" Holcroft ?" said he. " Did your grandam come out of Lan-
The girl nodded, "Yes."
"My mother was a Lancashire Holcroft," Jock explained
eagerly. "Charlotte Holcroft, she was called. We two are
"Ay, verily," said Althea, "we be all cousins in Adam."
" Then you deny the kinship ? "
"It seems to me somewhat remote," she answered with a
tantalizing smile. " Now God speed you, Mr. Hethermgton !
We scarce shall meet again."
To his mind the words came as an echo of Blanche Mallory's,
"I pray Heaven I never set eyes on you again!" He hesi-
EACH TO HIS OWN 95
tated, with wistful eyes on the girl who of her charity had
brought him food and comfort and the cheer of human com-
panionship in the lonely blackness where he struggled. He
hungered for words in which to tell her, ere they parted for
all time, just what he thanked her for, but he did not find the
words, and as he hesitated, he realized that he was making
the girl as uncomfortable as he was himself. He saw that the
maternal attitude that had been her latest protection was slip-
ping from her. He noted the pathetic doubt and uncertainty
that darkened her eyes. Vaguely he grasped the idea that
the girl was afraid, knowing, through his stupidness, of his col-
loquies with Blanche Mallory, that he might confuse her with
At that realization he drew back a step from her. " I thank
you for much, Mistress Lovewell," he said. "God keep you
For the fraction of an instant he hesitated. Then it were
hard to say which came first, her slight advancing of the hand,
his slight movement forward, but in any case, her hand lay in
his, and with a gallantry that was almost foreign to him, he
bent his knee as he kissed her hand. Next moment he had
flung the door open, and without a glance behind him, had
passed forth from the house of Graystones.
INTERLUDE OF THE PARSON'S PASTY
THE household of Graystones, inured to thrifty and stirring
habits, since Mistress Difficult came from Clegden to take up
the reins of government, was afoot by six of the clock next
morning. Bent on the congenial task of rattling the sleepy
serving maids about their labor, Mistress Difficult was first
belowstairs, and scarcely five minutes later Blanche Mallory
and Althea Lovewell were speeding in her wake.
Both girls had lain sleepless for hours, both dreaded the dis-
covery that morning must bring, both doubted their own
power to maintain an innocent front, and both, fearing alike
to delay in their chambers or to advance into the open, had
at last, as the less of evils, decided to venture forth. There
the resemblance between them ceased. Blanche, with a far
greater stake in the game and a proportionate experience in
the playing of it, was pale and pensive, but otherwise of
a sweet and unruffled tranquillity, while Althea, as transparent
a soul as ever dwelt in a girl's body, was nervous of gesture
and harassed of expression.
So patent was Althea's distress that Blanche, overtaking
her on the stair at the back of the house, was moved to com-
ment. "You're white as my smock," said she. "You look
as if you scarce had slept a wink this night."
"I have not," said Althea, tartly, and paused to wrestle
with the unruly lace of her bodice. " I had a rending pain in
my head that kept me wakeful."
INTERLUDE OF THE PARSON'S PASTY 97
More she might have been tempted to add by way of ex-
planation, had she not caught at that moment the rising
sound of hubbub in the kitchen, in which her Aunt Dim-
cult's voice was plainly distinguishable. Instinctively Althea
shrank back, and as she did so, noted that Blanche, on the
same instinct, had clapped her hand to her heart.
Emboldened by the other's weakness, Althea laughed out-
right. "Come," said she, "let us go see what is amiss with
my good aunt unless you be afraid, Blanche."
"I? I have naught to fear!" Blanche cried, and thus,
with confident faces and quaking hearts, the two guilty ones
passed down the flagged passage and entered the kitchen.
There it was clear enough what had gone amiss so clear
that Althea almost wished that she had kept to the seclusion
of her chamber. The cupboard stood wide, and on the low-