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   Chapter 3 AT SALEM

No Defense, Volume 3_ By Gilbert Parker Characters: 39353

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:02

The plantation of Salem was in a region below the Pedro Plains in the parish of St. Elizabeth, where grow the aloe, and torch-thistle, and clumps of wood which alter the appearance of the plain from the South Downs of England, but where thousands of cattle and horses even in those days were maintained. The air of the district was dry and elastic, and it filtered down to the valleys near like that where Salem was with its clusters of negro huts and offices, its mills and distilleries where sugar and rum were made. Salem was situated on the Black River, accessible by boats and canoes. The huts of negro slaves were near the sugar mills, without regard to order, but in clusters of banana, avocado- pear, limes and oranges, and with the cultivated land round their huts made an effective picture.

One day every fortnight was allowed the negroes to cultivate their crops, and give them a chance to manufacture mats for beds, bark-ropes, wicker- chairs and baskets, earthen jars, pans, and that kind of thing. The huts themselves were primitive to a degree, the floor being earth, the roof, of palm-thatch or the leaves of the cocoa-nut tree, the sides hard-posts driven in the ground and interlaced with wattle and plaster, and inside scarcely high enough for its owner to walk upright. The furniture was scant-a quatre, or bed, made of a platform of boards, with a mat and a blanket, some low stools, a small table, an earthen water-jar, and some smaller ones, a pail and an iron pot, and calabashes which did duty for plates, dishes and bowls. In one of the two rooms making the hut, there were always the ashes of the night-fire, without which negroes could not sleep in comfort.

These were the huts of the lowest grade of negro-slaves of the fields. The small merchants and the domestics had larger houses with boarded floors, some even with linen sheets and mosquito nets, and shelves with plates and dishes of good ware. Every negro received a yearly allowance of Osnaburgh linen, woollen, baize and checks for clothes, and some planters also gave them hats and handkerchiefs, knives, needles and thread, and so on.

Every plantation had a surgeon who received a small sum for attendance on every slave, while special cases of midwifery, inoculation, etc., had a particular allowance. The surgeon had to attend to about four hundred to five hundred negroes, on an income of L150 per annum, and board and lodging and washing, besides what he made from his practice with the whites.

Salem was no worse than some other plantations on the island, but it was far behind such plantations as that owned by Dyck Calhoun, and had been notorious for the cruelties committed on it. To such an estate a lady like Sheila Llyn would be a boon. She was not on the place a day before she started reforms which would turn the plantation into a model scheme. Houses, food, treatment of the negroes, became at once a study to her, and her experience in Virginia was invaluable. She had learned there not to work the slaves too hard in the warm period of the day; and she showed her interest by having served at her own table the favourite olio the slaves made of plantains, bananas, yams, calalue, eddoes, cassavi, and sweet potatoes boiled with salt fish and flavoured with cayenne pepper. This, with the unripe roasted plantain as bread, was a native relish and health-giving food.

Ever since the day when she had seen Dyck Calhoun at Spanish Town she had been disturbed in mind. Dyck had shown a reserve which she felt was not wholly due to his having been imprisoned for manslaughter. In one way he looked little older. His physique was as good, or better than when she first saw him on the hills of Playmore. It was athletic, strenuous, elastic. Yet there was about it the abandonment of despair-at least of recklessness. The face was older, the head more powerful, the hair slightly touched with grey-rather there was one spot in the hair almost pure white; a strand of winter in the foliage of summer. It gave a touch of the bizarre to a distinguished head, it lent an air of the singular to a personality which had flare and force-an almost devilish force. That much was to be said for him, that he had not sought to influence her to his own advantage. She was so surrounded in America by men who knew her wealth and prized her beauty, she was so much a figure in Virginia, that any reserve with regard to herself was noticeable. She was enough feminine to have pleasure in the fact that she was thought desirable by men; yet it played an insignificant part in her life.

It did not give her conceit. It was only like a frill on the skirts of life. It did not play any part in her character. Certainly Dyck Calhoun had not flattered her. That one to whom she had written, as she had done, should remove himself so from the place of the deserving friend, one whom she had not deserted while he was in jail as a criminal -that he should treat her so, gave every nerve a thrill of protest. Sometimes she trembled in indignation, and then afterwards gave herself to the work on the estate or in the household-its reform and its rearrangement; though the house was like most in Jamaica, had adequate plate, linen, glass and furniture. At the lodgings in Spanish Town, after Dyck Calhoun had left, her mother had briefly said that she had told Dyck he could not expect the conditions of the Playmore friendship should be renewed; that, in effect, she had warned him off. To this Sheila had said that the killing of a man whose life was bad might be punishable. In any case, that was in another land, under abnormal conditions; and, with lack of logic, she saw no reason why he should be socially punished in Jamaica for what he had been legally punished for in Ireland. As for the mutiny, he had done what any honest man of spirit would do; also, he had by great bravery and skill brought victory to the king's fleet in West Indian waters.

Then it was she told her mother how she had always disobeyed her commands where Dyck was concerned, that she had written to him while he was in jail; that she had come to Jamaica more to see him than to reform Salem; that she had the old Celtic spirit of brotherhood, and she would not be driven from it. In a sudden burst of anger her mother had charged her with deceit; but the girl said she had followed her conscience, and she dismissed it all with a gesture as emphatic as her mother's anger.

That night they had dined with Lord Mallow, and she saw that his attentions had behind them the deep purpose of marriage. She had not been overcome by the splendour of his retinue and table, or by the magnificence of his guests; though the military commander-in-chief and the temporary admiral on the station did their utmost to entertain her, and some of the local big-wigs were pompous. Lord Mallow had ability and knew how to use it; and he was never so brilliant as on this afternoon, for they dined while it was still daylight and hardly evening. He told her of the customs of the country, of the people; and slyly and effectively he satirized some of his grandiloquent guests. Not unduly, for one of them, the most renowned in the island, came to him after dinner as he sat talking to Sheila, and said: "I'm very sorry, your honour, but good Almighty God, I must go home and cool coppers." Then he gave Sheila a hot yet clammy hand, and bade her welcome as a citizen to the island, "alien but respected, beautiful but capable!" Sheila had seen a few of the Creole ladies present at their best-large-eyed, simple, not to say primitive in speech, and very unaffected in manner. She had learned also that the way to the Jamaican heart was by a full table and a little flattery.

One incident at dinner had impressed her greatly. Not far away from her was a young lady, beautiful in face and person, and she had seen a scorpion suddenly shoot into her sleeve and ruthlessly strike and strike the arm of the girl, who gave one cry only and then was still. Sheila saw the man next to the girl-he was a native officer-secure the scorpion, and then whip from his pocket a little bag of indigo, dip it in water, and apply the bag to the wounded arm, immediately easing the wound. This had all been done so quickly that it was over before the table had been upset, almost.

"That is the kind of thing we have here," said Lord Mallow. "There is a lady present who has seen in one day a favourite black child bitten by a congereel, a large centipede in her nursery, a snake crawl from under her child's pillow, and her son nearly die from a bite of the black spider with the red spot on its tail. It is a life that has its trials-and its compensations."

"I saw a man's head on a pole on my way to King's House. You have to use firm methods here," Sheila said in reply. "It is not all a rose-garden. You have to apply force."

Lord Mallow smiled grimly. "C'est la force morale toujours."

"Ah, I should not have thought it was moral force always," was the ironical reply.

"We have criminals here," declared the governor with aplomb, "and they need some handling, I assure you. We have in this island one of the worst criminals in the British Empire."

"Ah, I thought he was in the United States!" answered the girl sedately.

"You mean General George Washington," remarked the governor. "No, it is one who was a friend and fellow-countryman of yours before he took to killing unarmed men."

"You refer to Mr. Dyck Calhoun, I doubt not, sir? Well, he is still a friend of mine, and I saw him today-this afternoon, before I came here. I understood that the Crown had pardoned his mutiny."

The governor started. He was plainly annoyed.

"The crime is there just the same," he replied. "He mutinied, and he stole a king's ship, and took command of it, and brought it out here."

"And saved you and your island, I understand."

"Ah, he said that, did he?"

"He said nothing at all to me about it. I have been reading the Jamaica

Cornwall Chronicle the last three years."

"He is ever a source of anxiety to me," declared the governor.

"I knew he was once in Phoenix Park years ago," was the demure yet sharp reply, "but I thought he was a good citizen here-a good and well-to-do citizen."

Lord Mallow flushed slightly. "Phoenix Park-ah, he was a capable fellow with the sword! I said so always, and I'd back him now against a champion; but many a bad man has been a good swordsman."

"So, that's what good swordsmanship does, is it? I wondered what it was that did it. I hear you fight him still-but with a bludgeon, and he dodges it."

"I do not understand," declared Lord Mallow tartly. "Ah, wasn't there some difference over his going for the treasure to Haiti? Some one told me, I think, that you were not in favour of his getting his ticket-of- leave, or whatever it is called, and that the provost-marshal gave it to him, as he had the right to do."

"You have wide sources of information in this case. I wonder-"

"No, your honour need not wonder. I was told that by a gentleman on the steamer coming here. He was a native of the island, I think-or perhaps it was the captain, or the mate, or the boatswain. I can't recall. Or maybe it came to me from my manager, Darius Boland, who hears things wherever he is, one doesn't know how; but he hears them. He is to me what your aide-de-camp is to you," she nodded towards a young man near by at the table.

"And do you dress your Darius Boland as I dress my aide in scarlet, with blue facings and golden embroidery, and put a stiff hat with a feather on his head?"

"But no, he does not need such things. I am a Republican now. I am a citizen of the United States, where men have no need of uniform to tell the world what they are. You shall see my Darius Boland-indeed, you have seen him. He was there to-day when you gave me the distinction of your presence."

"That dry, lean, cartridge of a fellow, that pair of pincers with a face!"

"And a tongue, your honour. If you did not hear it yet, you will hear it. He is to be my manager here. So he will be under your control- if I permit him."

"If you permit him, mistress?"

"If I permit him, yes. You are a power, but you are not stronger than the laws and rules you make. For instance, there was the case of Mr. Dyck Calhoun. When he came, you were for tying him up in one little corner of this island-the hottest part, I know, near to Kingston, where it averages ninety degrees in the shade at any time of the year. But the King you represent had not restricted his liberties so, and you being the King, that is, yourself, were forced to abide by your own regulations. So it may be the same with Darius Boland. He may want something, and you, high up, looking down, will say, "What devilry is here!" and decline. He will then turn to your chief-justice or provost-marshal- general, or a deputy of the provost-marshal, and they will say that Darius Boland shall have what he wants, because it is the will of the will you represent."

Almost the last words the governor used to her were these: "Those only live at peace here who are at peace with me"; and her reply had been: "But Mr. Dyck Calhoun lives at peace, does he not, your honour?"

To that he had replied: "No man is at peace while he has yet desires."

He paused a minute and then added: "That Erris Boyne killed by Dyck

Calhoun-did you ever see him that you remember?"

"Not that I remember," she replied quickly. "I never lived in Dublin."

"That may be. But did you never know his history?" She shook her head in negation. His eyes searched her face carefully, and he was astonished when he saw no sign of confusion there. "Good God, she doesn't know. She's never been told!" he said to himself. "This is too startling. I'll speak to the mother."

A little later he turned from the mother with astonishment. "It's madness," he remarked to himself. "She will find out. Some one will tell her. . . . By heaven, I'll tell her first," he hastily said. "When she knows the truth, Calhoun will have no chance on earth. Yes, I'll tell her myself. But I'll tell no one else," he added; for he felt that Sheila, once she knew the truth, would resent his having told abroad the true story of the Erris Boyne affair.

So Sheila and her mother had gone to their lodgings with depression, but each with a clear purpose in her mind. Mrs. Llyn was determined to tell her daughter what she ought to have known long before; and Sheila was firm to make the one man who had ever interested her understand that he was losing much that was worth while keeping.

Then had followed the journey to Salem. Yet all the while for Sheila one dark thought kept hovering over everything. Why should life be so complicated? Why should this one man who seemed capable and had the temperament of the Irish hills and vales be the victim of punishment and shame-why should he shame her?

Suddenly, without her mother's knowledge, she sent Darius Boland through the hills in the early morning to Enniskillen, Dyck Calhoun's place, with a letter which said only this: "Is it not time that you came to wish us well in our new home? We shall expect you to-morrow."

When Dyck read this note he thought it was written by Sheila, but inspired by the mother; and he lost no time in making his way down across the country to Salem, which he reached a few hours after sunrise. At the doorway of the house he met Mrs. Llyn.

"Have you told her?" he asked in anxiety. Astonished at his presence she could make no reply for a moment. "I have told her nothing," she answered. "I meant to do so this morning. I meant to do it-I must."

"She sent me a letter asking if it was not time I came to wish you well in your house, and you and she would expect me to-day."

"I knew naught of her writing you," was the reply-"naught at all. But now that you are here, will you not tell her all?"

Dyck smiled grimly. "Where is she?" he asked. "I will tell her."

The mother pointed down the garden. "Yonder by the clump of palms I saw her a moment ago. If you go that way you will find her."

In another moment Dyck Calhoun was on his way to the clump of palms, and before he reached it, the girl came out into the path. She was dressed in a black silk skirt with a white bodice and lace, as he had seen her on her arrival in Kingston, and at her throat was a sprig of the wild pear- tree. When she saw him, she gave a slight start, then stood still, and he came to her.

"I have your letter," he said, "and I came to say what I ought to say about your living here: you will bring blessings to the place."

She looked at him steadfastly. "Shall we talk here," she said, "or inside the house? There is a little shelter here in the trees"- pointing to the right-"a shelter built by the late manager. It has the covering of a hut, but it is open at two sides. Will you come?" As she went on ahead, he could not fail to notice how slim and trim she was, how perfectly her figure seemed to fit her gown-as though she had been poured into it; and yet the folds of her skirt waved and floated like silky clouds around her! Under cover of the shelter, she turned and smiled at him.

"You have seen my mother?"

"I have just come from her," he answered. "She bade me tell you what ought to have been told long ago, and you were not, for there seemed no reason that you should. You were young and ignorant and happy. You had no cares, no sorrows. The sorrows that had come to your mother belonged to days when you were scarce out of the cradle. But you did not know. You were not aware that your mother had divorced your father for crime against marital fidelity and great cruelty. You did not know even who that father was. Well, I must tell you. Your father was a handsome man, a friend of mine until I knew the truth about him, and then he died-I killed him, so the court said."

Her face became ghastly pale. After a moment of anguished bewilderment, she said: "You mean that Erris Boyne was my father?"

"Yes, I mean that. They say I killed him. They say that he was found with no sword drawn, but that my open sword lay on the table beside me while I was asleep, and that it had let out his life-blood."

"Why was he killed?" she asked, horror-stricken and with pale lips.

"I do not know, but if I killed him, it was because I revolted from the proposals he made to me. I-" He paused, for the look on her face was painful to see, and her body was as that of one who had been struck by lightning. It had a crumpled, stricken look, and all force seemed to be driven from it. It had the look of crushed vitality. Her face was set in paleness, her eyes were frightened, her whole person was, as it were, in ghastly captivity. His heart smote him, and he pulled himself together to tell her all.

"Go on," she said. "I want to hear. I want-to know all. I ought to have known-long ago; but that can't be helped now. Continue-please."

Her words had come slowly, in gasps almost, and her voice was so frayed he could scarcely recognize it. All the pride of her nature seemed shattered.

"If I killed him," he said presently, "it was because he tried to tempt me from my allegiance to the Crown to become a servant of France, to-"

He stopped short, for a cry came from her lips which appalled him.

"My God-my God!" she said with bloodless lips, her eyes fastened on his face, her every look and motion the inflection of despair. "Go on-tell all," she added presently with more composure.

Swiftly he described what happened in the little room at the traitor's tavern, of the momentary reconciliation and the

wine that he drank, drugged wine poured out but not drunk by Erris Boyne, and of his later unconsciousness. At last he paused.

"Why did these things not come out at the trial?" she asked in hushed tones.

He made a helpless gesture. "I did not speak of them because I thought of you. I hid it-I did not want you to know what your father was."

Something like a smile gathered at her pale lips. "You saved me for the moment, and condemned yourself for ever," she said in a voice of torture. "If you had told what he was-if you had told that, the jury would not have condemned you, they would not have sent you to prison."

"I believe I did the right thing," he said. "If I killed your father, prison was my proper punishment. But I can't remember. There was no other clue, no other guide to judgment. So the law said I killed him, and-he had evidently not drawn his sword. It was clear he was killed defenceless."

"You killed a defenceless man!" Her voice was sharp with agony. "That was mentioned at the trial-but I did not believe it then-in that long ago." She trembled to her feet from the bench where she was sitting. "And I do not believe it now-no, on my soul, I do not."

"But it makes no difference, you see. I was condemned for killing your father, and the world knows that Erris Boyne was your father, and here Lord Mallow, the governor, knows it; and there is no chance of friendship between you and me. Since the day he was found dead in the room, there was no hope for our friendship, for anything at all between us that I had wished to be there. You dare not be friends with me-"

Her face suddenly suffused and she held herself upright with an effort. She was about to say, "I dare, Dyck-I do dare!" but he stopped her with a reproving gesture.

"No, no, you dare not, and I would not let you if you would. I am an ex-convict. They say I killed your father, and the way to understanding between us is closed."

She made a protesting gesture. "Closed! Closed!-But is it closed? No, no, some one else killed him, not you. You couldn't have done it. You would have fought him-fought him as you did Lord Mallow, and in fighting you might have killed him, but your sword never let out his life when he was defenceless-never."

A look of intense relief, almost of happiness, came to Dyck's face. "That is like you, Sheila, but it does not cure the trouble. You and I are as far apart as noon and midnight. The law has said the only thing that can be said upon it."

She sank down again upon the wooden bench. "Oh, how mad you were, not to tell the whole truth long ago! You would not have been condemned, and then-"

She paused overcome, and his self-control almost deserted him. With strong feeling he burst out: "And then, we might have come together? No, your mother-your friends, myself, could not have let that be. See, Sheila, I will tell you the whole truth now-aye, the whole absolute truth. I have loved you since the first day I saw you on the hills when you and I rescued Christopher Dogan. Not a day has passed since then when you were not more to me than any other woman in all the world."

A new light came into her face, the shadows left her eyes, and the pallor fled from her lips. "You loved me?" she said in a voice grown soft- husky still, but soft as the light in a summer heaven. "You loved me -and have always loved me since we first met?"

Her look was so appealing, so passionate and so womanly, that he longed to reach out his arms to her, and say, "Come-come home, Sheila," but the situation did not permit that, and only his eyes told the story of what was in his mind.

"I have always loved you, Sheila, and shall do so while I have breath and life. I have always given you the best that is in me, tried to do what was good for us both, since my misfortune-crime, Lord Mallow calls it, as does the world. Never a sunrise that does not find you in the forefront of all the lighted world; never a flower have I seen that does not seem sweeter-it brings thoughts of you; never a crime that does not deepen its shame because you are in the world. In prison, when I used to mop my floor and clean down the walls; when I swept the dust from the corners; when I folded up my convict clothes; when I ate the prison food and sang the prison hymns; when I placed myself beside the bench in the workshop to make things that would bring cash to my fellow-prisoners in their need; when I saw a minister of religion or heard the Litany; when I counted up the days, first that I had spent in jail and then the days I had still to spend in jail; when I read the books from the prison library of the land where you had gone, and of the struggle there; when I saw you, in my mind's eye, in the cotton-fields or on the verandah of your house in Virginia-I had but one thought, and that was the look in your face at Playmore and Limerick, the sound of your voice as you came singing up the hill just before I first met you, the joyous beauty of your body."

"And at sea?" she whispered with a gesture at once beautiful and pathetic, for it had the motion of helplessness and hopelessness. What she had heard had stirred her soul, and she wanted to hear more-or was it that she wished to drain the cup now that it was held to her lips? -drain it to the last drop of feeling.

"At sea," he answered, with his eyes full of intense feeling-"at sea, I was free at last, doomed as I thought, anguished in spirit, and yet with a wild hope that out of it would come deliverance. I expected to lose my life, and I lived each day as though it would be my last. I was chief rogue in a shipful of rogues, chief sinner in a hell of sinners, and yet I had no remorse and no regret. I had done all with an honest purpose, with the good of the sailors in my mind; and so I lived in daily touch with death, honour, and dishonour. Yet I never saw a sailor in the shrouds, or heard the night watch call 'All's well!' in the midst of night and mutiny, that I did not long for a word from you that would take away the sting of death. Those days at sea for ten long weeks were never free from anxiety, not anxiety for myself, only for the men who had put me where I was, had given me captain's rank, had-"

Suddenly he stopped, and took from his pocket the letter he was writing on the very day she landed in Jamaica. He opened it and studied it for a moment with a dark look in his face.

"This I wrote even as you were landing in Jamaica, and I knew naught of your coming. It was an outbreak of my soul. It was the truth written to you and for you, and yet with the feeling that you would never see it. I was still writing it when Michael Clones came up the drive to tell me you and your mother were here. Now, I know not what Christopher Dogan would say of it, but I say it is amazing that in the hour you were first come to this land I should be moved to tell you the story of my life since I left prison; since, on receiving your letter in London, forwarded from Dublin, I joined the navy. But here it is with all the truth and terror in it.-Aye, there was terror, for it gave the soul of my life to one I never thought to see again; and, if seeing, should be compelled to do what I have done-tell her the whole truth at once and so have it over.

"But do not think that in telling it now I repent of my secrecy. I repent of nothing; I would not alter anything. What was to be is, and what is has its place in the book of destiny. No, I repent nothing, yet here now I give you this to read while still my story of the days of which you know is in your ears. Here it is. It will tell the whole story; for when you have read it and do understand, then we part to meet no more as friends. You will go back to Virginia, and I will stay here. You will forgive the unwilling wrong I have done you, but you will make your place in life without thought of me. You will marry some one-not worthy of you, for that could not be; but you will take to yourself some man from among the men of this world. You will set him apart from all other men as yours, and he will be happy, having been blessed beyond deserving. You will not regret coming here; but you will desire our friendship to cease; and what has been to be no more, while the tincture of life is in your veins. Sheila, read this thing, for it is the rest of the story until now."

He handed her the papers, and she took them with an inclination of the head which said: "Give it to me. I will read it now while my eyes can still bear to read it. I have laid on my heart the nettle of shame, and while it is still burning there I will read all that you have to teach me."

"I will go out in the garden while you read it," he said. "In a half- hour I will come back, and then we can say good-bye," he added, with pain in his voice, but firmly.

"No, do not go," she urged. "Sit here on the bench-at the end of it here," she said, motioning with her hand.

He shook his head in negation. "No, I will go and say to your mother that I have told you, and ease her mind, for I know she herself meant to tell you."

As he went he looked at her face closely. It was so young, so pathetic, so pale, yet so strangely beautiful, and her forehead was serene. That was one of her characteristics. In all her life, her forehead remained untroubled and unlined. Only at her mouth and in her eyes did misery or sorrow show. He looked into her eyes now, and he was pleased with what he saw; for they had in them the glow of understanding and the note of will which said: "You and I are parted, but I believe in you, and I will not show I am a weak woman by futile horror. We shall meet no more, but I shall remember you."

That was what he saw, and it was what he wished to see. He knew her character would stand the test of any trial, and it had done so. Horror had struck her, but had not overwhelmed her. She had cried out in her agony, but she had not been swept out into chaos. She had no weak passions and no futilities. But as he turned away now, it was with the sharp conviction that he had dealt a blow from which the girl would recover, but would never be the same again. She was rich "beyond the dreams of avarice," but that would not console her. She had resources within herself, had what would keep her steady. Her real power and force, her real hope, were in her regnant soul which was not to be cajoled by life's subterfuges. Her lips opened now, as though she would say something, but nothing came from them. She only shook her head sadly, as if to say: "You understand. Go, and when you come again, it will be for us to part in peace-at least in peace."

Out in the garden he found her mother. After the first agitated greeting-agitated on her part, he said: "The story has been told, and she is now reading-"

He told her the story of the manuscript, and added that Sheila had carried herself with courage. Presently the woman said to him: "She never believed you killed Erris Boyne. Well, it may not help the situation, but I say too, that I do not believe you did. I cannot understand why you did not deny having killed him."

"I could not deny. In any case, the law punished me for it, and the book is closed for ever."

"Have you never thought that some one-"

"Yes, I have thought, but who is there? The crowd at the Dublin hotel where the thing was done were secret, and they would lie the apron off a bishop. No, there is no light, and, to tell the truth, I care not now."

"But if you are not guilty-it is not too late; there is my girl! If the real criminal should appear-can you not see?"

The poor woman, distressedly pale, her hair still abundant, her eyes still bright, her pulses aglow, as they had ever been, made a gesture of appeal with hands that were worn and thin. She had charm still, in a way as great as her daughter's.

"I can see-but, Mrs. Llyn, I have no hope. I am a man whom some men fear-"

"Lord Mallow!" she interjected.

"He does not fear me. Why do you say that?"

"I speak with a woman's intuition. I don't know what he fears, but he does fear you. You are a son of history; you had a duel with him, and beat him; you have always beaten him, even here where he has been supreme as governor-from first to last, you have beaten him."

"I hope I shall be even with him at the last-at the very last," was Dyck Calhoun's reply. "We were made to be foes. We were from the first. I felt it when I saw him at Playmore. Nothing has changed since then. He will try to destroy me here, but I will see it through. I will try and turn his rapier-points. I will not be the target of his arrows without making some play against him. The man is a fool. I could help him here, but he will have none of it, and he is running great risks. He has been warned that the Maroons are restive, that the black slaves will rise if the Maroons have any initial success, and he will listen to no advice. He would not listen to me, but, knowing that, I got the provost-marshal to approach him, and when he knew my hand was in it, he stiffened. He would have naught to do with it, and so no preparations are made. And up there"-he turned and pointed-"up there in Trelawney the Maroons are plotting and planning, and any day an explosion may occur. If it occurs no one will be safe, especially if the blacks rise too-I mean the black slaves. There will be no safety then for any one."

"For us as well, you mean?"

"For you as well as all others, and you are nearer to Trelawney than most others. You are in their path. So be wise, Mrs. Llyn, and get back to Virginia as soon as may be. It is a better place than this."

"My daughter is mistress here," was the sorrowful reply. "She will have her own way."

"Your daughter will not care to stay here now," he answered firmly.

"She will do what she thinks her duty in spite of her own feelings, or yours, or mine. It is her way, and it has always been her way."

"I will tell her what I fear, and she may change her mind."

"But the governor may want her to stay," answered Mrs. Llyn none too sagely, but with that in her mind which seemed to justify her.

"Lord Mallow-oh, if you think there is any influence in him to keep her, that is another question," said Dyck with a grim smile. "But, nevertheless, I think you should leave here and go back to Virginia. It is no safe place for two ladies, in all senses. Whatever Lord Mallow thinks or does, this is no place for you. This place is your daughter's for her to do what she chooses with it, and I think she ought to sell it. There would be no trouble in getting a purchaser. It is a fine property."

"But the governor might not think as you do; he might not wish it sold."

Mrs. Llyn was playing a bold, indeed a reckless game. She wanted to show Dyck there were others who would interest themselves in Sheila even if he, Dyck, were blotted from the equation; that the girl could look high, if her mind turned towards marriage. Also she felt that Dyck should know the facts before any one else, so that he would not be shocked in the future, if anything happened. Yet in her deepest heart she wished him well. She liked him as she had never liked any of Sheila's admirers, and if the problem of Erris Boyne had been solved, she would gladly have seen him wedded to Sheila.

"What has the governor to do with it!" he declared. "It is your daughter's own property, and she is free to hold or to part with it. There is no Crown consent to ask, no vice-regal approval needed."

Suddenly he became angry, almost excited. His blood pounded in his veins. Was this man, Mallow, to come between his and her fate always, come into his problem at the most critical moment? "God in heaven!" he said in a burst of passion, "is this a land of the British Empire or is it not? Why should that man break in on every crisis? Why should he do this or that-say yea or nay, give or take away! He is the king's representative, but he is bound by laws as rigid as any that bind you or me. What has he to do with your daughter or what concerns her? Is there not enough trouble in the world without bringing in Lord Mallow? If he-"

He stopped short, for he saw coming from the summerhouse, Sheila with his paper in her hand. She walked slowly and with dignity. She carried her head high and firmly, and the skin of her face was shining with light as she came on. Dyck noticed how her wide skirts flicked against the flowers that bordered the path, and how her feet seemed scarcely to touch the ground as she walked-a spirit, a regnant spirit of summer she seemed. But in her face there was no summer, there was only autumn and winter, only the bright frost of purpose. As she came, her mother turned as though to leave Dyck Calhoun. She called to her to wait, and Mrs. Llyn stood still, anxious. As Sheila came near she kept her eyes fixed on Dyck. When she reached them, she held out the paper to him.

"It is wonderful," she said quietly, "that which you have written, but it does not tell all; it does not say that you did not kill my father. You are punished for the crime, and we must abide by it, even though you did not kill Erris Boyne. It is the law that has done it, and we cannot abash the law."

"We shall meet no more then!" said Dyck with decision.

Her lips tightened, her face paled. "There are some things one may not do, and one of them is to be openly your friend-at present."

He put the letter carefully away in his pocket, his hand shaking, then flicking an insect from the collar of his coat, he said gently, yet with an air of warning: "I have been telling Mrs. Llyn about the Maroons up there"-he pointed towards Trelawney-"and I have advised your going back to Virginia. The Maroons may rise at any moment, and no care is being taken by Lord Mallow to meet the danger. If they rise, you, here, would be in their way, and I could not guarantee your safety. Besides, Virginia is a better place-a safer place than this," he added with meaning.

"You wish to frighten me out of Jamaica," she replied with pain in her voice. "Well, I will not go till I have put this place in order and brought discipline and good living here. I shall stay here in Jamaica till I have done my task. There is no reason why we should meet. This place is not so large as Ireland or America, but it is large enough to give assurance we shall not meet. And if we meet, there is no reason why we should talk. As for the Maroons, when the trouble comes, I shall not be unprepared." She smiled sadly. "The governor may not take your advice, but I shall. And remember that I come from a land not without its dangers. We have Red Indians and black men there, and I can shoot."

He waved a hand abruptly and then made a gesture-such as an ascetic might make-of reflection, of submission. "I shall remember every word you have said, and every note of your voice will be with me in all the lonely years to come. Good-bye-but no, let me say this before I go: I did not know that Erris Boyne was your father until after he was dead. So, if I killed him, it was in complete ignorance. I did not know. But we have outlived our friendship, and we must put strangeness in its place. Good-bye-God protect you!" he added, looking into Sheila's eyes.

She looked at him with sorrow. Her lips opened but no words came forth. He passed on out of the garden, and presently they heard his horse's hoofs on the sand.

"He is a great gentleman," said Mrs. Llyn.

Her daughter's eyes were dry and fevered. Her lips were drawn. "We must begin the world again," she said brokenly. Then suddenly she sank upon the ground. "My God-oh, my God!" she said.

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