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No Defense, Volume 3_ By Gilbert Parker Characters: 36940

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:02

Two months went by. In that time Sheila and Dyck did not meet, though Dyck saw her more than once in the distance at Kingston. Yet they had never met since that wonderful day at Salem, when they had parted, as it might seem, for ever. Dyck had had news of her, however, for Darius Boland had come and gone between the two plantations, and had won Michael Clones' confidence. He knew more perhaps than he ever conveyed to Dyck, who saw him and talked with him, gave him advice as to the customs of Jamaica, and let him see the details in the management of Enniskillen.

Yet Dyck made no inquiries as to how Mrs. Llyn and Sheila were; first because he chose not to do so, and also because Darius Boland, at one time or another, would of his own accord tell what Mrs. Llyn and Sheila were doing. One day Boland brought word that the governor had, more than once, visited Salem with his suite; that he had sat in judgment on a case in Kingston concerning the estate of Salem, and had given decision in its favour; and that Mrs. Llyn and Sheila visited him at Spanish Town and were entertained at King's House at second breakfast and dinner-in short, that Lord Mallow was making hay in Salem Plantation. This was no surprise to Dyck. He had full intuition of the foray the governor would make on Sheila, her estate and wealth.

Lord Mallow had acted with discretion, and yet with sufficient passion to warrant some success. He was trying to make for himself a future which might mean the control of a greater colony even. If he had wealth, that would be almost a certainty, and he counted Sheila's gold as a guarantee of power. He knew well how great effect could be produced at Westminster and at the Royal Palace by a discreet display of wealth. He was also aware that no scandal could be made through an alliance with Sheila, for she had inherited long after the revolutionary war and with her skirts free from responsibility. England certainly would welcome wealth got through an Irish girl inheriting her American uncle's estates. So, steadily and happily, he pressed his suit. At his dinner-parties he gave her first place nearly always, and even broke the code controlling precedence when his secretary could be overruled. Thus Sheila was given honour when she did not covet it, and so it was that one day at Salem when the governor came to court her she was able to help Dyck Calhoun.

"Then you go to Enniskillen?" Lord Mallow said to Darius Boland, as he entered the plantation, being met by the astute American.

"Sometimes, your honour," was the careful reply. "I suppose you know what Mr. Calhoun's career has been, eh?"

"Oh, in a way, your honour. They tell me he is a good swordsman."

The governor flushed. "He told you that, did he?"

"No, no, your honour, never. He told me naught. He does not boast.

He's as modest as a man from Virginia. He does not brag at all."

"Who told you, then?"

"Ah, well, I heard it in the town! They speak of him there. They all know that Kingston and Spanish Town, and all the other places, would have been French by now, if it hadn't been for him. Oh, they talk a lot about him in Kingston and thereabouts!"

"What swordsmanship do they speak of that was remarkable?"

"Has your honour forgotten, then? Sure, seven years is a poor limit for a good memory." The blow was a shrewd one, for Darius Boland knew that Phoenix Park must be a galling memory to his honour. But Darius did not care. He guessed why the governor was coming to Salem, and he could not shirk having his hand in it. He had no fear of the results.

"Aye, seven years is a poor limit," he repeated.

The governor showed no feeling. He had been hit, and he took it as part of the game. "Ah, you mean the affair in Phoenix Park?" he said with no apparent feeling.

Darius tossed his head a little. "Wasn't it a clever bit of work?

Didn't he get fame there by defeating one of the best swordsmen-in


Lord Mallow nodded. "He got fame, which he lost in time," he answered.

"You mean he put the sword that had done such good work against a champion into a man's bowels, without 'by your leave,' or 'will you draw and fight'?"

"Something like that," answered the governor sagely.

"Is it true you believed he'd strike a man that wasn't armed, sir?"

The governor winced, but showed nothing. "He'd been drinking-he is a heavy drinker. Do you never drink with him?"

Darius Boland's face took on a strange look. Here was an intended insult to Dyck Calhoun. Right well the governor knew their relative social positions. Darius pulled at the hair on his chin reflectively. "Yes, I've drunk his liquor, but not as you mean, your honour. He'd drink with any man at all: he has no nasty pride. But he doesn't drink with me." "Modest enough he is to be a good republican, eh, Boland?"

"Since your honour puts it so, it must stand. I'll not dispute it, me being what I am and employed by whom I am."

Darius Boland had a gift of saying the right thing in the right way, and he had said it now. The governor was not so dense as to put this man against him, for women were curious folk. They often attach importance to the opinion of a faithful servant and let it weigh against great men. He had once lost a possible fortune by spurning a little terrier of the daughter of the Earl of Shallow, and the lesson had sunk deep into his mind. He was high-placed, but not so high as to be sure of success where a woman was concerned, and he had made up his mind to capture Sheila Llyn, if so be she could be caught flying, or settled, or sleeping.

"Ah, well, he has drunk with worse men than republicans. Boland. He was a common sailor. He drank what was given him with whom it chanced in the fo'castle."

Darius sniffed a little, and kept his head. "But he changed all that,

your honour, and gave sailormen better drink than they ever had, I hear.

In Jamaica he treats his slaves as though they were men and not


"Well, he'll have less freedom in future, Boland, for word has come from

London that he's to keep to his estate and never leave it."

Darius looked concerned, and his dry face wrinkled still more. "Ah, and when was this word come, your honour?"

"But yesterday, Boland, and he'll do well to obey, for I have no choice but to take him in hand if he goes gallivanting."

"Gallivanting-here, in Jamaica! Does your honour remember where we are?"

"Not in a bishop's close, Boland."

"No, not in a bishop's close, nor in an archdeacon's garden. For of all places on earth where they defy religion, this is the worst, your honour. There's as much religion here as you'll find in a last year's bird's- nest. Gallivanting-where should he gallivant?"

The governor waved a contemptuous hand. "It doesn't need ingenuity to find a place, for some do it on their own estate. I have seen it."

Darius spoke sharply. "Your honour, there's naught on Mr. Calhoun's

estate that's got the taint, and he's not the man to go hunting for it.

Drink-well, suppose a gentleman does take his quartern, is it a crime?

I ask your honour, is that a crime in Jamaica?"

"It's no crime, Boland; nevertheless, your Mr. Calhoun will have to take his fill on his own land from the day I send him the command of the London Government."

"And what day will that be, your honour?"

To be questioned by one who had been a revolutionary was distasteful to the governor. "That day will be when I find the occasion opportune, my brave Boland," he said sourly.

"Why 'brave,' your honour?" There was an ominous light in Darius' eye.

"Did you not fight with George Washington against the King of England- against King George? And if you did, was that not brave?"

"It was true, your honour," came the firm reply. "It was the one right good thing to do, as we proved it by the victory we had. We did what we set out to do. But see, if you will let a poor man speak his mind, if I were you I'd not impose the command on Mr. Calhoun."

"Why, Boland?"

Darius spoke courageously. "Your honour, he has many friends in Jamaica, and they won't stand it. Besides, he won't stand it. And if he contests your honour, the island will be with him."

"Is he popular here as all that?" asked the governor with a shrug of the shoulders.

"They don't give their faith and confidence to order, your honour," answered Darius with a dry inflection.

The burr in the voice did not escape the other's attentive ear. He swung a glance sharply at Darius. "What is the secret of his popularity-how has it been made?" he asked morosely.

Darius' face took on a caustic look. "He's only been in the island a short time, your honour, and I don't know that I'm a good judge, but I'll say the people here have great respect for bravery and character."

"Character! Character!" sniffed the governor. "Where did he get that?"

"Well, I don't know his age, but it's as old as he is-his character. Say, I'm afraid I'm talking too much, your honour. We speak our minds in Virginia; we never count the cost."

The governor waved a deprecating hand. "You'll find the measure of your speech in good time, Boland, I've no doubt. Meanwhile, you've got the pleasure of hunting it. Character, you say. Well, that isn't what the judge and jury said."

Darius took courage again. Couldn't Lord Mallow have any decency?

"Judge and jury be damned, your honour," he answered boldly. "It was an Irish verdict. It had no sense. It was a bit of ballyhack. He did not kill an unarmed man. It isn't his way. Why, he didn't kill you when he had you at his mercy in Phoenix Park, now, did he, governor?"

A flush stole up the governor's face from his chin. Then he turned to Boland and looked him straight in the eyes. "That's true. He had me at his mercy, and he did not take my life."

"Then, why do you head the cabal against him? Why do you take joy in commanding him to stay on his estate? Is that grateful, your honour?"

The governor winced, but he said: "It's what I am ordered to do, my man.

I'm a servant of the Crown, and the Crown has ordained it."

Again Darius grew stronger in speech. "But why do you have pleasure in it? Is nothing left to your judgment? Do you say to me that if he keeps the freedom such as he has enjoyed, you'd punish him? Must the governor be as ruthless as his master? Look, your honour, I wouldn't impose that command-not till I'd taken his advice about the Maroons anyway. There's trouble brewing, and Mr. Calhoun knows it. He has warned you through the provost-marshal. I'd heed his warning, your honour, or it may injure your reputation as a ruler. No, I'd see myself in nethermost hell before I'd meddle with Mr. Calhoun. He's a dangerous man, when he's moved."

"Boland, you'll succeed as a schoolmaster, when all else fails. You teach persistently."

"Your honour is clever enough to know what's what, but I'd like to see the Maroons dealt with. This is not my country, but I've got interests here, or my mistress has, and that's the same to me. . . . Does your honour travel often without a suite?"

The governor waved a hand behind him. "I left them at the last plantation, and rode on alone. I felt safe enough till I saw you, Boland."

He smiled grimly, and a grimmer smile stole to the lean lips of the manager of Salem. "Fear is a good thing for forward minds, your honour," he said with respect in the tone of his voice and challenge in the words.

"I'll say this, Boland, your mistress has been fortunate in her staff.

You have a ready tongue."

"Oh, I'm readier in other things, your honour, as you'd find on occasion.

But I thank you for the compliment in a land where compliments are few.

For a planter's country it has few who speak as well as they entertain.

I'll say this for the land you govern, the hospitality is rich and rare."

"In what way, Boland?"

"Why, your honour, it is the custom for a man and his whole family to go on a visit to a neighbour, perhaps twenty or forty miles away, bring their servants-maybe a dozen or more-and sit down on their neighbour's hearthstone. There they eat his food, drink his wine, exhaust his fowl- yard and debilitate his cook-till all the resources of the place are played out; then with both hands round his friend's neck the man and his people will say adieu, and go back to their own accumulated larder and await the return visit. The wonder is Jamaica is so rich, for truly the waste is harmful. We have the door open in Virginia, but not in that way. We welcome, but we don't debauch."

The governor smiled. "As you haven't old friends here, you should make your life a success-ah, there is the open door, Boland, and your mistress standing in it. But I come without my family, and with no fell purposes. I will not debilitate the cook; I will not exhaust the fowl- yard. A roasted plantain is good enough for me."

Darius' looks quickened, and he jerked his chin up. "So, your honour, so. But might I ask that you weigh carefully the warning of Mr. Calhoun. There's trouble at Trelawny. I have it from good sources, and Mr. Calhoun has made preparations against the sure risings. I'd take heed of what he says. He knows. Your honour, it is not my mistress in the doorway, it is Mrs. Llyn; she is shorter than my mistress."

The governor shaded his brow with his hands. Then he touched up his horse. "Yes, you are right, Boland. It is Mrs. Llyn. And look you, Boland, I'll think over what you've said about the Maroons and Mr. Calhoun. He's doing no harm as he is, that's sure. So why shouldn't he go on as he is? That's your argument, isn't it?"

Boland nodded. "It's part of my argument, not all of it. Of course he's doing no harm; he's doing good every day. He's got a stiff hand for the shirker and the wanton, but he's a man that knows his mind, and that's a good thing in Jamaica."

"Does he come here-ever?"

"He has been here only once since our arrival. There are reasons why he does not come, as your honour kens, knowing the history of Erris Boyne."

A quarter of an hour later Darius Boland said to Sheila: "He's got an order from England to keep Mr. Calhoun to his estate and to punish him, if he infringes the order."

Sheila started. "He will infringe the order if it's made, Boland. But the governor will be unwise to try and impose it. I will tell him so."

"But, mistress, he should not be told that this news comes from me."

"No, he should not, Boland. I can tempt him to speak of it, I think.

He hates Mr. Calhoun, and will not need much prompting."

Sheila had changed since she saw Dyck Calhoun last. Her face was thinner, but her form was even fuller than it was when she had bade him good-bye, as it seemed to him for ever, and as it at first seemed to her. Through anxious days and nights she had fought with the old passion; and at last it seemed the only way to escape from the torture was by making all thought of him impossible. How could this be done? Well, Lord Mallow would offer a way. Lord Mallow was a man of ancient Irish family, was a governor, had ability, was distinguished-looking in a curious lean way; and he had a real gift with his tongue. He stood high in the opinion of the big folk at Westminster, and had a future. He had a winning way with women-a subtle, perniciously attractive way with her sex, and to herself he had been delicately persuasive. He had the ancient gift of picturesqueness without ornamentation. He had a strong will and a healthy imagination. He was a man of mettle and decision.

Of all who had entered her field outside of Dyck Calhoun he was the most attractive; he was the nearest to the possible husband which she must one day take. And if at any day at all, why not now when she needed a man as she had never done-when she needed to forget? The sardonic critic might ask why she did not seek forgetfulness in flight; why she remained in Jamaica where was what she wished to forget. There was no valid reason, save a business one, why she should remain in Jamaica, and she was in a quandary when she put the question. There were, however, other reasons which she used when all else failed to satisfy her exigeant mind. There was the question of vessels to Virginia or New York. They were few and not good, and in any case they could have no comfortable journey to the United States for several weeks at least, for, since the revolutionary war, commerce with the United States was sparse.

Also, there was the question of Salem. She did not feel she ought to waste the property which her Uncle Bryan had nurtured with care. In justice to his memory, and in fairness to Darius Boland, she felt she ought to stay-for a time. It did not occur to her that these reasons would vanish like mist-that a wilful woman would sweep them into the basket of forgetfulness, and do what she wished in spite of reason: that all else would be sacrificed, if the spirit so possessed her. Truth was that, far back in her consciousness, there was a vision of better days and things. It was as though some angel touched the elbow of her spirit and said: "Stay on, for things will be better than they seem. You will find your destiny here. Stay on."

So she had stayed. She was deluding herself to believe that what she was doing was all for the best; that the clouds were rising; that her fate had fairer aspects than had seemed possible when Dyck Calhoun told her the terrible tale of the death of her father, Erris Boyne. Yet memory gave a touch of misery and bitterness to all she thought and did. For twenty-five years she had lived in ignorance as to her paternity. It surely was futile that her mother should have suffered all those years, with little to cheer her, while her daughter should be radiant in health and with a mind free from care or sadness. Yet the bitterest thing of all was the thought that her father was a traitor, and had died sacrificing another man. When Dyck had told her first, she had shivered with anger and shame-but anger and shame had gone. Only one thing gave her any comfort-the man who knew Erris Boyne was a traitor, and could profit by telling it, held his tongue for her own sake, kept his own counsel, and went to prison for four years as the price of his silence. He was now her neighbour and he loved her, and, if the shadow of a grave was not between them, would offer himself in marriage to her. This she knew beyond all doubt. H

e had given all a man can give-had saved her and killed her father-in ignorance had killed her father; in love had saved herself. What was to be done?

In a strange spirit Sheila entered the room where the governor sat with her mother. She had reached the limit of her powers of suffering. Soon after her mother had left the room, the governor said:

"Why do you think I have come here to-day?"

He added to the words a note of sympathy, even of passion in his voice.

"It was to visit my mother and myself, and to see how Salem looks after our stay on it, was it not?"

"Yes, to see your mother and yourself, but chiefly the latter. As for Salem, it looks as though a mastermind had been at work, I see it in everything. The slaves are singing. Listen!"

He held up a finger as though to indicate attention and direction.

"One, two, three,

All de same;

Black, white, brown,

All de same;

All de same.

One, two, three-"

They could hear the words indistinctly.

"What do the words mean?" asked Sheila. "I don't understand them."

"No more do I, but I think they refer to the march of pestilence or plague. Numbers, colour, race, nothing matters, the plague sweeps all away. Ah, then, I was right," he added. "There is the story in other words. Listen again."

To clapping of hands in unison, the following words were sung:

"New-come buckra,

He get sick,

He tak fever,

He be die;

He be die.

New-come buckra-"

"Well, it may be a chant of the plague, but it's lacking in poetry," she remarked. "Doesn't it seem so to you?"

"No, I certainly shouldn't go so far as that. Think of how much of a story is crowded into those few words. No waste, nothing thrown away. It's all epic, or that's my view, anyhow," said the governor. "If you look out on those who are singing it, you'd see they are resting from their labours; that they are fighting the ennui which most of us feel when we rest from our labours. Let us look at them."

The governor stood up and came to the open French windows that faced the fields of sugar-cane. In the near distance were clumps of fruit trees, of hedges of lime and flowering shrubs, rows of orange trees, mangoes, red and purple, forbidden-fruit and grapefruit, the large scarlet fruit of the acqui, the avocado-pear, the feathering bamboo, and the Jack-fruit tree, with its enormous fruit like pumpkins. Parrots were chattering in the acacia and in the Otaheite plum tree, with its bright pink blossoms like tassels, and flanking the negro huts by the river were bowers of grenadilla fruit. Around the negro huts were small individual plantations kept by the slaves, for which they had one day a fortnight, besides Sundays, free to work on their own account. Here and there also were patches of "ground-fruit," as the underground vegetables were called, while there passed by on their way to the open road leading to Kingston wains loaded with sugar-casks, drawn by oxen, and in two cases by sumpter mules.

"Is there anything finer than that in Virginia?" asked the governor. "I have never been in Virginia, but I take this to be in some ways like that state. Is it?"

"In some ways only. We have not the same profusion of wild fruits and trees, but we have our share-and it is not so hot as here. It is a better country, though."

"In what way is it better?" the governor asked almost acidly.

"It is better governed."

"What do you mean by that? Isn't Jamaica well governed?"

"Not so well that it couldn't be improved," was Sheila's reply.

"What improvements would you suggest?" Lord Mallow asked urbanely, for he was set to play his cards carefully to-day.

"More wisdom in the governor," was the cheerful and bright reply.

"Is he lacking in wisdom?"

"In some ways, yes."

"Will you mind specifying some of the things?"

"I think he is careless."

"Careless-as to what?"

Sheila smiled. "He is indifferent to good advice. He has been told of trouble among the Maroons, that they mean to rise; he has been advised to make preparations, and he makes none, and he is deceived by a show of loyalty on the part of the slaves. Lord Mallow, if the free Maroons rise, why should not the black slaves rise at the same time? Why do you not act?"

"Is everybody whose good opinion is worth having mad?" answered the governor. "I have sent my inspectors to Trelawney. I have had reports from them. I have used every care-what would you have me do?"

"Used every care? Why don't you ensure the Maroons peaceableness by advancing on them? Why don't you take them prisoners? They are enraged that two of their herdsmen should be whipped by a negro-slave under the order of one of your captains. They are angry and disturbed and have ambushed the roads to Trelawney, so I'm told."

"Did Mr. Calhoun tell you that when he was here?"

"It was not that which Mr. Calhoun told me the only time he came here. But who Erris Boyne was. I never knew till, in his honour, he told me, coming here for that purpose. I never knew who my father was till he told me. My mother had kept it from me all my life."

The governor looked alert. "And you have not seen him since that day?"

"I have seen him, but I have not spoken to him. It was in the distance only."

"I understand your manager, Mr. Boland, sees him."

"My manager does not share my private interests-or troubles. He is free to go where he will, to speak to whom he chooses. He visits Enniskillen, I suppose-it is a well-managed plantation on Jamaican lines, and its owner is a man of mark."

Sheila spoke without agitation of any kind; her face was firm and calm, her manner composed, her voice even. As she talked, she seemed to be probing the centre of a flower which she had caught from a basket at the window, and her whole personality was alight and vivifying, her good temper and spirit complete. As he looked at her, he had an overmastering desire to make her his own-his wife. She was worth hundreds of thousands of pounds; she had beauty, ability and authority. She was the acme of charm and good bearing. With her he could climb high on the ladder of life. He might be a really great figure in the British world- if she gave her will to help him, to hold up his hands. It had never occurred to him that Dyck Calhoun could be a rival, till he had heard of Dyck's visit to Sheila and her mother, till he had heard Sheila praise him at the first dinner he had given to the two ladies on Christmas Day.

On that day it was clear Sheila did not know who her father was; but stranger things had happened than that she should take up with, and even marry, a man imprisoned for killing another, even one who had been condemned as a mutineer, and had won freedom by saving the king's navy. But now that Sheila knew the truth there could be no danger! Dyck Calhoun would be relegated to his proper place in the scheme of things. Who was there to stand between him and his desire? What was there to stay the great event? He himself was a peer and high-placed, for it was a time when the West Indian Islands were a centre of the world's fighting, where men like Rodney had made everlasting fame; where the currents of world-controversy challenged, met and fought for control.

The West Indies was as much a cock-pit of the fighting powers as ever Belgium was; and in those islands there was wealth and the power which wealth buys; the clash of white and black and coloured peoples; the naval contests on the sea; the horrible massacres and enslavement of free white peoples, as in St. Domingo and Grenada; the dominating attacks of people fighting for control-peoples of old empires like France and Spain, and new empires like that of Britain. These were a centre of colonial life as important as had been the life in Virginia and New York and the New England States and Canada-indeed, more important than Canada in one sense, for the West Indies brought wealth to the British Isles, and had a big export trade. He lost no time in bringing matters to an issue.

He got to his feet and came near to her. His eyes were inflamed with passion, his manner was impressive. He had a distinguished face, become more distinguished since his assumption of governorship, and authority had increased his personality.

"A man of mark!" he said. "You mean a marked man. Let me tell you I have an order from the British Government to confine him to his estate; not to permit him to leave it; and, if he does, to arrest him. That is my commanded duty. You approve, do you not? Or are you like most women, soft at heart to bold criminals?"

Sheila did not reply at once. The news was no news to her, for Darius Boland had told her; but she thought it well to let the governor think he had made a new, sensational statement.

"No," she said at last, looking him calmly in the eyes. "I have no soft feelings for criminals as criminals, none at all. And there is every reason why I should be adamant to this man, Dyck Calhoun. But, Lord Mallow, I would go carefully about this, if I were you. He is a man who takes no heed of people, high or low, and has no fear of consequences. Have you thought of the consequences to yourself? Suppose he resists, what will you do?"

"If he resists I will attack him with due force."

"You mean you will send your military and police to attack him?" The gibe was covered, but it found the governor's breast. He knew what she was meaning.

"You would not expect me to do police work, would you? Is that what your president does? What your great George Washington does? Does he make the state arrests with his own hand?"

"I have no doubt he would if the circumstances were such as to warrant it. He has no small vices, and no false feelings. He has proved himself," she answered boldly.

"Well, in that case," responded Lord Mallow irritably, "the event will be as is due. The man is condemned by my masters, and he must submit to my authority. He is twice a criminal, and-"

"And yet a hero and a good swordsman, and as honest as men are made in a dishonest world. Your Admiralty and your government first pardoned the man, and then gave him freedom on the island which you tried to prevent; and now they turn round and confine him to his acres. Is that pardon in a real sense? Did you write to the government and say he ought not to be free to roam, lest he should discover more treasure-chests and buy another estate? Was it you?"

The governor shook his head. "No, not I. I told the government in careful and unrhetorical language the incident of his coming here, and what I did, and my reasons for doing it-that was all."

"And you being governor they took your advice. See, my lord, if this thing is done to him it will be to your own discomfiture. It will hurt you in the public service."

"Why, to hear you speak, mistress, it would almost seem you had a fondness for the man who killed your father, who went to jail for it, and-"

"And became a mutineer," intervened the girl flushing. "Why not say all? Why not catalogue his offences? Fondness for the man who killed my father, you say! Yes, I had a deep and sincere fondness for him ever since I met him at Playmore over seven years ago. Yes, a fondness which only his crime makes impossible. But in all that really matters I am still his friend. He did not know he was killing my father, who had no claims upon me, none at all, except that through him I have life and being; but it is enough to separate us for ever in the eyes of the world, and in my eyes. Not morally, of course, but legally and actually. He and I are as far apart as winter and summer; we are parted for ever and ever and ever."

Now at last she was inflamed. Every nerve in her was alive. All she had ever felt for Dyck Calhoun came rushing to the surface, demanding recognition, reasserting itself. As she used the words, "ever and ever and ever," it was like a Cordelia bidding farewell to Lear, her father, for ever, for there was that in her voice which said: "It is final separation, it is the judgment of Jehovah, and I must submit. It is the last word."

Lord Mallow saw his opportunity, and did not hesitate. "No, you are wrong, wholly wrong," he said. "I did not bias what I said in my report -a report I was bound to make-by any covert prejudice against Mr. Calhoun. I guarded myself especially"-there he lied, but he was an incomparable liar-"lest it should be used against him. It would appear, however, that the new admiral's report with mine were laid together, and the government came to its conclusion accordingly. So I am bound to do my duty."

"If you-oh, if you did your duty, you would not obey the command of the government. Are there not times when to obey is a crime, and is not this one of them? Lord Mallow, you would be doing as great a crime as Mr. Dyck Calhoun ever committed, or could commit, if you put this order into actual fact. You are governor here, and your judgment would be accepted -remember it is an eight weeks' journey to London at the least, and what might not happen in that time! Are you not given discretion?"

The governor nodded. "Yes, I am given discretion, but this is an order."

"An order!" she commented. "Then if it should not be fulfilled, break it and take the consequences. The principle should be-Do what is right, and have no fear."

"I will think it over," answered the governor. "What you say has immense weight with me-more even than I have words to say. Yes, I will think it over-I promise you. You are a genius-you prevail."

Her face softened, a new something came into her manner. "You do truly mean it?" she asked with lips that almost trembled.

It seemed to her that to do this thing for Dyck Calhoun was the least that was possible, and it was perhaps the last thing she might ever be able to do. She realized how terrible it would be for him to be shorn of the liberty he had always had; how dangerous it might be in many ways; and how the people of the island might become excited by it-and troublesome.

"Yes, I mean it," answered Lord Mallow. "I mean it exactly as I say it."

She smiled. "Well, that should recommend you for promotion," she said happily. "I am sure you will decide not to enforce the order, if you think about it. You shall be promoted, your honour, to a better place," she repeated, half-satirically.

"Shall I then?" he asked with a warm smile and drawing close to her. "Shall I? Then it can only be by your recommendation. Ah, my dear, my beautiful dear one," he hastened to add, "my life is possible henceforward only through you. You have taught me by your life and person, by your beauty and truth, by your nobility of mind and character how life should be lived. I have not always deserved your good opinion nor that of others. I have fought duels and killed men; I have aspired to place; I have connived at appointment; I have been vain, overbearing and insistent on my rights or privileges; I have played the dictator here in Jamaica; I have not been satisfied save to get my own way; but you have altered all that. Your coming here has given me a new outlook. Sheila, you have changed me, and you can change me infinitely more. I who have been a master wish to become your slave. I want you-beloved, I want you for my wife."

He reached out as though to take her hand, but she drew back from him. His thrilling words had touched her, as she had seldom been touched, as she had never been touched by any one save the man that must never be hers; she was submerged for the moment in the flood of his eloquence, and his yielding to her on the point of Dyck's imprisonment gave fresh accent to his words. Yet she could not, she dared not yet say yes to his demand.

"My lord," she said, "oh, you have stirred me! Yet I dare not reply to you as you wish. Life is hard as it is, and you have suddenly made it harder. What is more, I do not, I cannot, believe you. You have loved many. Your life has been a covert menace. Oh, I know what they said of you in Ireland. I know not of your life here. I suppose it is circumspect now; but in Ireland it was declared you were notorious with women."

"It is a lie," he answered. "I was not notorious. I was no better and no worse than many another man. I played, I danced attendance, I said soft nothings, but I was tied to no woman in all Ireland. I was frolicsome and adventurous, but no more. There is no woman who can say I used her ill or took from her what I did not-"

"Atone for, Lord Mallow?"

"Atone-no. What I did not give return for, was what I was going to say."

The situation was intense. She was in a place from which there was no escape except by flight or refusal. She did not really wish to refuse. Somehow, there had come upon her the desire to put all thought of Dyck Calhoun out of her mind by making it impossible for her to think of him; and marriage was the one sure and complete way-marriage with this man, was it possible? He held high position, he was her fellow countryman and an Irish peer, and she was the daughter of an evil man, who was, above all else, a traitor to his country, though Lord Mallow did not know that. The only one she knew possessed of the facts was the man she desired to save herself from in final way-Dyck Calhoun. Her heart was for the moment soft to Lord Mallow, in spite of his hatred of Dyck Calhoun. The governor was a man of charm in conversation. He was born with rare faculties. Besides, he had knowledge of humanity and of women. He knew how women could be touched. He had appealed to Sheila more by ability than by aught else. His concessions to her were discretion in a way. They opened the route to her affections, as his place and title could not do.

"No, no, no, believe me, Sheila, I was a man who had too many temptations -that was all. But I did not spoil my life by them, and I am here a trusted servant of the government. I am a better governor than your first words to me would make you seem to think."

Her eyes were shining, her face was troubled, her tongue was silent. She knew not what to say. She felt she could not say yes-yet she wanted to escape from him. Her good fortune did not desert her. Suddenly the door of the room opened and her mother entered.

"There is a member of your suite here, your honour, asking for you. It is of most grave importance. It is urgent. What shall I say?"

"Say nothing. I am coming," said the governor. "I am coming now."

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