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Armorel of Lyonesse By Walter Besant Characters: 31942

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02

The morning was bright, the sky blue, the breeze fresh-so fresh that even in the Road the sea broke over the bows and the boat ran almost gunwale under. This time the two lands-men were not unprotected: they were in charge of two boatmen. Humiliating, perhaps; but your true courage consisteth not in vain boasting and arrogant pretence, and he is safest who doth not ignorantly presume to manage a boat. Therefore, boatmen twain now guided the light bark and held the ropes.

'Dick,' said Roland, presently, looking ahead, 'I see her. There she is-upon the hillside among the brown fern. I can see her, with her blue dress.'

Dick looked, and shook his short-sighted head.

'I only see Samson,' he said. 'He groweth bigger as we approach. That is not uncommon with islands. I perceive that he hath two hills, one on the north and the other on the south; he showeth-perhaps with pride-a narrow plain in the middle. The hills appear to be strewn with boulders, and there are carns, and perhaps Logan stones. There is always a Logan stone, but you can never find it. There are also, I perceive, ruins. Samson looks quite a large island when you come near to it. Life on Samson must be curiously peaceful. No post-office, no telegrams, no telephones, no tennis, no shops, no papers, no people-good heavens! For a whole month one would enjoy Samson.'

'Don't you see her?' repeated Roland. 'She is coming down the hillside.'

'I dare say I do see her if I knew it; but I cannot at this distance, even with assisted eyes--'

'Oh! a blue dress-blue-against the brown and yellow of the fern. Can you not--?'

Dick gazed with the slow, uncertain eyes of short sight, and adjusted his glasses.

'My pal,' he said, 'to please you I would pretend to see anything. In fact, I always do: it saves trouble. I see her plainly-blue dress, you say-certainly-sitting on a rock--'

'Nonsense! She is walking down the hill. You don't see her at all.'

'Quite so. Coming down the hill,' Dick replied, unmoved.

'She has been in my mind all night. I have been thinking all kinds of things-impossible things-about this nymph. She is not in the least common, to begin with. She is--'

'She is only a child, Roland. Don't--'

'A child? Why shouldn't she be a child? I suppose I may admire a beautiful child? Do you insinuate that I am going to make love to her?'

'Well, old man, you mostly do.'

'It was not so dark last night but one could see that she is a very beautiful girl. She looks eighteen, but our friend last night assured us that she is not yet sixteen. A very beautiful girl she is: features regular, and a head that ought to be modelled. She is dark, like a Spaniard.'

'Gipsy, probably. Name of Stanley or Smith-Pharaoh Stanley was, most likely, her papa.'

'Gipsy yourself! Who ever heard of a gipsy on Scilly? You might as well look for an organ-grinder! Spanish blood, I swear! Castilian of the deepest blue. Then her eyes! You didn't observe her eyes?'

'I was too hungry. Besides, as usual, I was doing all the work.'

'They are black eyes--'

'The Romany have black eyes-roving eyes-hard, bold, bad, black eyes.'

'Soft black-not hard black. The dark velvet eyes which hold the light. Dick, I should like to paint those eyes. She is now looking at our boat. I can see her lifting her hand to shade her eyes. I should like to paint those eyes just at the moment when she gives away her heart.'

'You cannot, Childe Roland, because there could only be one other person present on that interesting occasion. And that person must not be you.'

'Dick, too often you are little better than an ass.'

'If you painted those eyes when she was giving away her heart it might lead to another and a later picture when she was giving away her temper. Eyes which hold the light also hold the fire. You might be killed with lightning, or, at least, blinded with excess of light. Take care!'

'Better be blinded with excess of light than pass by insensible. Some men are worse than the fellow with the muck-rake. He was only insensible to a golden crown; they are insensible to Venus. Without loveliness, where is love? Without love, what is life?'

'Yet,' said Dick, drily, 'most of us have got to shape our lives for ourselves before we can afford to think of Venus.'

It will be understood that these two young men represented two large classes of humanity. One would not go so far as to say that mankind may be divided into those two classes only: but, undoubtedly, they are always with us. First, the young man who walketh humbly, doing his appointed task with honesty, and taking with gratitude any good thing that is bestowed upon him by Fate. Next, the young man who believes that the whole round world and all that therein is are created for his own special pleasure and enjoyment; that for him the lovely girls attire themselves, and for his pleasure go forth to dance and ball; for him the actress plays her best; for him the feasts are spread, the corks are popped, the fruits are ripened, the suns shine. To the former class belonged Dick Stephenson: to the latter, Roland Lee. Indeed, the artistic temperament not uncommonly enlists a young man in the latter class.

'Look!' cried the artist. 'She sees us. She is coming down the hill. Even you can see her now. Oh! the light, elastic step! Nothing in the world more beautiful than the light, elastic step of a girl. Somehow, I don't remember it in pictures. Perhaps-some day-I may--' He began to talk in unconnected jerks. 'As for the Greek maiden by the sea-shore playing at ball and showing bony shoulders, and all that-I don't like it. Only very young girls should play at ball and jump about-not women grown and formed. They may walk or spring as much as they like, but they must not jump, and they must not run. They must not laugh loud. Violent emotions are masculine. Figure and dress alike make violence ungraceful: that is why I don't like to see women jump about. If they knew how it uglifies most of them! Armorel is only a child-yes-but how graceful, how complete she is in her movements!'

She was now visible, even to a short-sighted man, tripping lightly through the fern on the slope of the hill. As she ran, she tossed her arms to balance herself from boulder to boulder. She was singing, too, but those in the boat could not hear her; and before the keel touched the sand she was silent.

She stood waiting for them on the beach, her old dog Jack beside her, a smile of welcome in her eyes, and the sunlight on her cheeks. Hebe herself-who remained always fifteen from prehistoric times until the melancholy catastrophe of the fourth century, when, with the other Olympians, she was snuffed out-was not sweeter, more dainty, or stronger, or more vigorous of aspect.

'I thought you would come across this morning,' she said. 'I went to the top of the hill and looked out, and presently I saw your boat. You have not ventured out alone again, I see. Good-morning, Roland Lee! Good-morning, Dick Stephenson!'

She called them thus by their Christian names, not with familiarity, but quite naturally, and because when she went into the world-that is to say, to Bryher Church-on Sunday afternoon, each called unto each by his Christian name. And to each she gave her hand with a smile of welcome. But it seemed to Dick, who was observant rather than jealous, that his companion appropriated to himself and absorbed both smiles.

'Shall I show you Samson? Have you seen the islands yet?'

No; they had only arrived two days before, and were going back the next day.

'Many do that,' said the girl. 'They stay here a day or two: they go across to Tresco and see the gardens: then perhaps they walk over Sallakey Down, and they see Peninnis and Porthellick and the old church, and they think they have seen the islands. You will know nothing whatever about Scilly if you go to-morrow.'

'Why should we go to-morrow?' asked the artist. 'Tell me, that, Dick.'

'I, because my time is up, and Somerset House once more expects me. You, my friend,' Dick replied, with meaning, 'because you have got your work to do and you must not fool around any longer.'

Roland Lee laughed. 'We came first of all,' he said, turning to Armorel, 'in order to thank you for--'

'Oh! you thanked me last night. Besides it was Peter--'

'No, no. I refuse to believe in Peter.'

'Well, do not let us say any more about it. Come with me.'

The landing-place of Samson is a flat beach, covered with a fine white sand and strewn with little shells-yellow and grey, green and blue. Behind the beach is a low bank on which grow the sea-holly, the sea-lavender, the horned poppy, and the spurge, and behind the bank stretches a small plain, low and sandy, raised above the high tide by no more than a foot or two. Armorel led the way across this plain to the foot of the northern hill. It is a rough and rugged hill, wild and uncultivated. The slope facing the south is covered with gorse and fern, the latter brown and yellow in September. Among the fern at this season stood the tall dead stalks of foxglove. Here and there were patches of short turf set about with the withered flowers of the sea-pink, and the long branches of the bramble lay trailing over the ground. The hand of some prehistoric giant has sprinkled the slopes of this hill with boulders of granite: they are piled above each other so as to make carns, headlands, and capes with strange resemblances and odd surprises. Upon the top they found a small plateau sloping gently to the north.

'See!' said Armorel. 'This is the finest thing we have to show on Samson, or on any of the islands. This is the burial-place of the kings. Here are their tombs.'

'What kings?' asked Dick, looking about him. 'Where are the tombs?'

'The kings,' Roland repeated; 'there can be no other kings. These are their tombs. Do not interrupt.'

'The ancient kings,' Armorel replied, with historic precision. 'These mounds are their tombs. See-one-two-half a dozen of them are here. Only kings had barrows raised over them. Did you expect graves and headstones, Dick Stephenson?'

'Oh, these are barrows, are they?' he replied, in some confusion. A man of the world does not expect to be caught in ignorance by the solitary inhabitant of a desert island.

'A long time ago,' Armorel went on, 'these islands formed part of the mainland. Bryher and Tresco, St. Helen's, Tean, St. Martin's and St. Mary's, were all joined together, and the road was only a creek of the sea. Then the sea washed away all the land between Scilly and the Land's End. They used to call the place Lyonesse. The kings of Lyonesse were buried on Samson. Their kingdom is gone, but their graves remain. It is said that their ghosts have been seen. Dorcas saw them once.'

'I should like to see them very much,' said Roland.

'If you were here at night, we could go out and look for them. I have been here often after dark looking for them.'

'What did you see?'

She answered like unto the bold Sir Bedivere-who, perhaps, was standing on that occasion not far from this hill-top.

'I saw the moonlight on the rocks, and I heard the beating of the waves.'

Quoth Dick: 'The spook of a king of Lyonesse would be indeed worth coming out to see.'

Armorel led the way to a barrow, the top of which showed signs of the spade.

'See!' she said. 'Here is one that has been opened. It was a long time ago.'

There were the four slabs of stone still in position which formed the sides of the grave, and the slab which had been its cover lying close beside.

Armorel looked into the grave. 'They found,' she whispered, 'the bones of the king lying on the stone. But when someone touched them they turned to dust. There is the dust at your feet in the grave. The wind cannot bear it away. It may blow the sand and earth into it, but the dust remains. The rain can turn it into mud, but it cannot melt it. This is the dust of a king.'

The young men stood beside her silent, awed a little, partly by the serious look in the girl's face, and partly because, though it now lay open to the wind and rain, it was really a grave. One must not laugh beside the grave of a man. The wind lifted Armorel's long locks and blew them off her white forehead: her eyes were sad and even solemn. Even the short-sighted Dick saw that his friend was right: they were soft black eyes, not of the gipsy kind; and he repented him of a hasty inference. To the artist it seemed as if here was a princess of Lyonesse mourning over the grave of her buried king and-what?-father-brother-cousin-lover? Everything, in his imagination, vanished-except that one figure: even her clothes were changed for the raiment-say the court mourning-of that vanished realm. And also, like Sir Bedivere, he heard nothing but the wild water lapping on the crag.

And here followed a thing so strange that the historian hesitates about putting it down.

Let us remember that it is thirty years, or thereabouts, since this barrow was laid open; that we may suppose those who opened it to have had eyes in their heads; that it has been lying open ever since; and that every visitor-to be sure there are not many-who lands on Samson is bound to climb this hill and visit this open barrow with its perfect kistvaen. These things borne in mind, it will seem indeed wonderful that anything in the grave should have escaped discovery.

Roland Lee, leaning over, began idly to poke about the mould and dust of the grave with his stick. He was thinking of the girl and of the romance with which his imagination had already clothed this lonely spot; he was also thinking of a picture which might be made of her; he was wondering what excuse he could make for staying another week at Tregarthen's-when he was startled by striking his stick against metal. He knelt down and felt about with his hands. Then he found something and drew it out, and arose with the triumph that belongs to an arch?ologist who picks up an ancient thing-say, a rose noble in a newly ploughed field. The thing which he found was a hoop or ring. It was covered and encrusted with mould; he rubbed this off with his fingers. Lo! it was of gold: a hoop of gold as thick as a lady's little finger, twisted spirally, bent into the form of a circle, the two ends not joined, but turned back. Pure gold: yellow, soft gold.

'I believe,' he said, gasping, 'that this must be-it is-a torque. I think I have seen something like it in museums. And I've read of them. It was your king's necklace: it was buried with him: it lay around the skeleton neck all these thousand years. Take it, Miss Armorel. It is yours.'

'No! no! Let me look at it. Let me have it in my hands. It is yours'-in ignorance of ancient law and the rights of the lord proprietor-'it is yours because you found it.'

'Then I will give it to you, because you are the Princess of the Island.'

She took it with a blush and placed it round her own neck, bending open the ends and closing them again. It lay there-the red, red gold-as if it belonged to her and had been made for her.

'The buried king is your ancestor,' said Roland. 'It is his legacy to his descendant. Wear the king's necklace.'

'My luck, as usual,' grumbled Dick, aside. 'Why couldn't I find a torque and say pretty things?'

'Come,' said Armorel, 'we have seen the barrows. There are others scattered about-but this is the best place for them. Now I will show you the island.'

The hill slopes gently northward till it reaches a headland or carn of granite boldly projecting. Here it breaks away sharply to the sea. Armorel climbed lightly up the carn and stood upon the highest boulder, a pretty figure against the sky. The young men followed and stood below her.

Armorel climbed lightly up the carn.

At their feet the waves broke in white foam (in the calmest weather the Atlantic surge rolling over the rocks is broken into foam), a bro

ad sound or channel lay between Samson and the adjacent island: in the channel half a dozen rocks and islets showed black and threatening.

'The island across the channel,' said Armorel, 'is Bryher. This is Bryher Hill, because it faces Bryher Island. Yonder, on Bryher is Samson Hill, because it faces Samson Island. Bryher is a large place. There are houses and farms on Bryher, and a church where they have service every Sunday afternoon. If you were here on Sunday, you could go in our boat with Peter, Chessun, and me. Justinian and Dorcas mostly stay at home now, because they are old.'

'Can anybody stay on the island, then?' asked Roland, quickly.

'Once the doctor came for Justinian's rheumatism, and bad weather began and he had to stay a week.'

'His other patients meanly took advantage and got well, I suppose,' said Dick.

'I hope so,' Armorel replied simply.

She turned and looked to the north-east, where lie the eastern islands, the group between St. Martin's and St. Mary's, a miniature in little of the greater group. From this point they looked to the eye of ignorance like one island. Armorel distinguished them. There were Great and Little Arthur; Ganilly, with his two hills, like Samson; the Ganninicks and Meneweather, Ragged Island, and Inisvouls.

'They are not inhabited,' said the girl, pointing to them one by one; 'but it is pleasant to row about among them in fine weather. In the old time, when they made kelp, people would go and live there for weeks together. But they are not cultivated.'

Then she turned northwards, and showed them the long island of St. Martin's, with its white houses, its church, its gentle hills, and its white and red daymark on the highest point. Half of St. Martin's was hidden by Tresco, and more than half of Tresco by Bryher. Over the downs of Tresco rose the dome of Round Island, crowned with its white lighthouse. And over Bryher, out at sea, showed the rent and jagged crest of the great rock Menovawr.

'You should land on Tresco,' said Armorel. 'There is the church to see. Oh! it is a most beautiful church. They say that in Cornwall itself there is hardly any church so fine as Tresco Church. And then there are the gardens and the lake. Everybody goes to see the gardens, but they do not walk over the down to Cromwell's Castle. Yet there is nothing in the islands like Cromwell's Castle, standing on the Sound, with Shipman's Head beyond. And you must go out beyond Tresco, to the islands which we cannot see here-Tean and St. Helen's, and the rest.'

Then she turned westward. Lying scattered among the bright waters, whitened by the breeze, there lay before their eyes-dots and specks upon the biggest maps, but here great massive rocks and rugged islets piled with granite, surrounded by ledges and reefs, cut and carved by winds and flying foam into ragged edges, bold peaks, and defiant cliffs-places where all the year round the seals play and the sea-gulls scream, and, in spring, the puffins lay their eggs, with the oyster-catchers and the sherewaters, the shags and the hern. Over all shone the golden sun of September, and round them all the water leaped and sparkled in the light.

'Those are the Outer Islands.' The girl pointed them out, her eyes brightening. 'It is among the Outer Islands that I like best to sail. Look! that great rock with the ledge at foot is Castle Bryher; that noble rock beyond is Maiden Bower; the rock farthest out is Scilly. If you were going to stay, we would sail round Scilly and watch the waves always tearing at his sides. You cannot see from here, but he is divided by a narrow channel; the water always rushes through this channel roaring and tearing. But once we found it calm-and we got through; only Peter would never try again. If you were going to stay-sometimes in September it is very still--'

'I did not know,' said Roland, 'that there was anything near England so wonderful and so lovely.'

'You cannot see the islands in one morning. You cannot see half of them from this hill. You like them more and more as you stay longer, and see them every day with a different light and a different sea.'

'You know them all, I suppose?' Roland asked.

'Oh! every one. If you had sailed among them so often, you would know them too. There are hundreds, and every one has got its name. I think I have stood on all, though there are some on which no one can land, even at low tide and in the calmest weather. And no one knows what beautiful bays and beaches and headlands there are hidden away and never seen by anyone. If you could stay, I would show them to you. But since you cannot--' She sighed. 'Well, you have not even seen the whole of Samson yet-and that is only one of all the rest.'

She leaped lightly from the rocks, and led them southward.

'See!' she said. 'On this hill there are ten great barrows at least, every one the tomb of a king-a king of Lyonesse. And on the sides of the hill-they kept the top for the kings-there are smaller barrows, I suppose of the princes and princesses. I told you that the island was a royal burying-ground. At the foot of the hill-you can see them-are some walls which they say are the ruins of a church; but I suppose that in those days they had no church.'

They left these venerable tombs behind them and descended the hill. At its foot, between the two hills, there lies a pretty little bay, circular and fringed with a beach of white sand. If one wanted a port for Samson, here is the spot, looking straight across the Atlantic, with Mincarlo lying like a lion couchant on the water a mile out.

'This is Porth Bay,' said their guide. 'Out there at the end is Shark Point. There are sharks sometimes, I believe: but I have never seen them. Now we are going up the southern hill.'

It began with a gentle ascent. There were signs of former cultivation; stone walls remained, enclosing spaces which once were fields-nothing in them now but fern and gorse and bramble and wild flowers. Half-way up there stood a ruined cottage. The walls were standing, but the roof was gone and all the woodwork. The garden-wall remained, but the little garden was overrun with fern.

'This was my great-great-grandmother's cottage,' said Armorel. 'It was built by her husband. They lived in it for twelve months after they were married. Then he was drowned, and she came to live at the farm. See!'-she showed them in a corner of the garden a little wizened apple-tree, crouching under the stone wall out of the reach of the north wind-'she planted this tree on her wedding-day. It is too old now to bear fruit; but she is still living, and her husband has been dead for seventy-five years. I often come to look at the place, and to wonder how it looked when it was first inhabited. There were flowers, I suppose, in the garden, when she was young and happy.'

'There are more ruins,' said Roland.

'Yes, there are other ruins. When all the people except ourselves went away, these cottages were deserted, and so they fell into decay. They used to live by smuggling and wrecking, you see, and when they could no longer do either, they had to go away or starve.'

They stood upon the highest point of Holy Hill, some twenty feet above the summit of the northern hill, and looked out upon the Southern Islands.

'There!' said Armorel, with a flush of pride, because the view here is so different and yet so lovely.

'Here you can see the South Islands. Look! there is Minalto, which you drifted past yesterday: those are the ledges of White Island, where you were nearly cast away and lost: there is Annet, where the sea-birds lay their eggs-oh! thousands and thousands of puffins, though now there are not any: you should see them in the spring. That is St. Agnes-a beautiful island. I should like to show you Camberdizl and St. Warna's Cove. And there are the Dogs of Scilly beyond-they look to be black spots from here. You should see them close: then you would understand how big they are and how terrible. There are Gorregan and Daisy, Rosevean and Rosevear, Crebawethan and Pednathias; and there-where you see a little circle of white-that is Retarrier Ledge. Not long ago there was a great ship coming slowly up the Channel in bad weather: she was filled with Germans from New York going home to spend the money they had saved in America: most of them had their money with them tied up in bags. Suddenly, the ship struck on Retarrier. It was ten o'clock in the evening and a great sea running. For two hours the ship kept bumping on the rocks: then she began to break up, and they were all drowned-all the women and all the children, and most of the men. Some of them had life-belts on, but they did not know how to tie them, and so the things only slipped down over their legs and helped to drown them. The money was found on them. In the old days the people of the islands would have had it all; but the coastguard took care of it. There, on the right of Retarrier, is the Bishop's Rock and lighthouse. In storms, the lighthouse rocks like a tree in the wind. You ought to sail over to those rocks, if it was only to see the surf dashing up their sides. But, since you cannot stay--' Again she sighed.

'These are very interesting islands,' said Dick. 'Especially is it interesting to consider the consequences of being a native.'

'I should like to stay and sail among them,' said Roland.

'For instance'-Dick pursued his line of thought-'in the study of geography. We who are from the inland parts of Great Britain must begin by learning the elements, the definitions, the terminology. Now to a Scilly boy--'

'A Scillonian,' the girl corrected him. 'We never speak of Scilly folk.'

'Naturally. To a Scillonian no explanation is needed. He knows, without being told, the meaning of peninsula, island, bay, shore, archipelago, current, tide, cape, headland, ocean, lake, road, harbour, reef, lighthouse, beacon, buoy, sounding-everything. He must know also what is meant by a gale of wind, a stiff breeze, a dead calm. He recognises, by the look of it, a lively sea, a chopping sea, a heavy sea, a roaring sea, a sulky sea. He knows everything except a river. That, I suppose, requires very careful explanation. It was a Scilly youth-I mean a Scillonian-who sat down on the river bank to wait for the water to go by. The history seems to prove the commercial intercourse which in remote antiquity took place between Ph?nicia and the Cassiterides or Scilly Islands.'

Armorel looked puzzled. 'I did not know that story of a Scillonian and a river,' she said, coldly.

'Never mind his stories,' said Roland. 'This place is a story in itself: you are a story: we are all in fairyland.'

'No'-she shook her head. 'Bryher is the only island in all Scilly which has any fairies. They call them pixies there. I do not think that fairies would ever like to come and live on Samson: because of the graves, you know.'

She led them down the hill along a path worn by her own feet alone, and brought them out to the level space occupied by the farm-buildings.

'This is where we live,' she said. 'If you could stay here, Roland Lee, we could give you a room. We have many empty rooms'-she sighed-'since my father and mother and my brothers were all drowned. Will you come in?'

She took them into the 'best parlour,' a room which struck a sudden chill to anyone who entered therein. It was the room reserved for days of ceremony-for a wedding, a christening, or a funeral. Between these events the room was never used. The furniture presented the aspect common to 'best parlours,' being formal and awkward. In one corner stood a bookcase with glass doors, filled with books. Armorel showed them into this apartment, drew up the blind, opened the window-there was certainly a stuffiness in the air-and looked about the room with evident pride. Few best parlours, she thought, in the adjacent islands of St. Mary's, Bryher, Tresco, or even Great Britain itself, could beat this.

She left them for a few minutes, and came back bearing a tray on which were a plate of apples, another of biscuits, and a decanter full of a very black liquid. Hospitality has its rules even on Samson, whither come so few visitors.

'Will you taste our Scilly apples?' she said. 'These are from our own orchard, behind the house. You will find them very sweet.'

Roland took one-as a general rule, this young man would rather take a dose of medicine than an apple-and munched it with avidity. 'A delicious fruit!' he cried. But his friend refused the proffered gift.

'Then you will take a biscuit, Dick Stephenson? Nothing? At least, a glass of wine?'

'Never in the morning, thank you.'

'You will, Roland Lee?' She turned, with a look of disappointment, to the other man, who was so easily pleased and who said such beautiful things. 'It is my own wine-I made it myself last year, of ripe blackberries.'

'Indeed I will! Your own wine? Your own making, Miss Armorel? Wine of Samson-the glorious vintage of the blackberry! In pies and in jam-pots I know the blackberry, but not, as yet, in decanters. Thank you, thank you!'

He smiled heroically while he held the glass to the light, smelt it, rolled it gently round. Then he tasted it. 'Sweet,' he said, critically. 'And strong. Clings to the palate. A liqueur wine-a curious wine.' He drank it up, and smiled again. 'Your own making! It is wonderful! No-not another drop, thank you!'

'Shall I show you?'-the girl asked, timidly-'would you like to see my great-great-grandmother? She is so very old that the people come all the way from St. Agnes only just to look at her. Sometimes she answers questions for them, and they think it is telling their fortunes. She is asleep. But you may talk aloud. You will not awaken her. She is so very, very old, you know. Consider: she has been a widow nearly eighty years.'

She led them into the other room, where, in effect, the ancient dame sat in her hooded chair fast asleep, in cap and bonnet, her hands, in black mittens, crossed.

'Heavens!' Roland murmured. 'What a face! I must draw that face! And'-he looked at the girl bending over the chair placing a pillow in position-'and that other. It is wonderful!' he said aloud. 'This is, indeed, the face of one who has lived a hundred years. Does she sometimes wake up and talk?'

'In the evening she recovers her memory for awhile and talks-sometimes quite nicely, sometimes she rambles.'

'And you have a spinning-wheel in the corner.'

'She likes someone to work at the spinning-wheel while she talks. Then she thinks it is the old time back again.'

'And there is a violin.'

'I play it in the evening. It keeps her awake, and helps her to remember. Justinian taught me. He used to play very well indeed until his fingers grew stiff. I can play a great many tunes, but it is difficult to learn any new ones. Last summer there were some ladies at Tregarthen's-one of them had a most beautiful voice, and she used to sing in the evening with the window open. I used to sail across on purpose to land and listen outside. And I learned a very pretty tune. I would play it to you in the evening if you were not going away.'

'I am not obliged to go away,' the young man said, with strangely flushing cheeks.

'Roland!' That was Dick's voice-but it was unheeded.

'Will you stay here, then?' the girl asked.

'Here in this house? In your house?'

'You can have my brother Emanuel's room. I shall be very glad if you will stay. And I will show you everything.' She did not invite the young man called Dick, but this other, the young man who drank her wine and ate her apple.

'If your-your-your guardian-or your great-great-grandmother approves.'

'Oh! she will approve. Stay, Roland Lee. We will make you very happy here. And you don't know what a lot there is to see.'

'Roland!' Again Dick's warning voice.

'A thousand thanks!' he said. 'I will stay.'

* * *

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