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red lips, the tearful light of her eyes, I was moved beyond
speech, and ever she knelt there bowed and shaken in her mute

"My Lady Joan," said I at last, "for your pure self I can have
nought to forgive--I--that am all unworthy to touch the latchet
of your shoe...Rise, I pray."

"And for--my father?" she whispered, "Alas, my poor, miserable

"Speak not of him!" I cried.  "Needs must there be hate and
enmity betwixt us until the end."  So was silence awhile nor did
I look up, dreading to see her grief.

"Your face is cut, Martin!" said she at last, very softly,
"Suffer that I bathe it."  Now turning in amaze I saw her yet
upon her knees, looking up at me despite her falling tears: 
"Wilt suffer me to bathe it, Martin?" says she, her voice
unshaken by any sob.  I shook my head; but rising she crossed to
the door and came back bearing a small pannikin of water.  "I
brought this for the purpose," says she.

"Nay, indeed, I--I am well enough--"

"Then I will make you better!"

"No!" says I, angrily.

"Yes!" says she patiently, but setting dimpled chin at me.

"And wherefore, madam?"

"Because I'm so minded, sir!"  So saying she knelt close beside
me and fell a-bathing my bruised face as she would (and I
helpless to stay her) yet marvelling within me at the gentle
touch of her soft hands and the tender pity in her tear-wet eyes. 
"Martin," says she, "as I do thus cherish your hurts, you shall
one day, mayhap, cherish your enemy's--"

"Never!," says I.  "You can know me not at all to think so."

"I know you better than you guess, Martin.  You think it strange
belike and unmaidenly in me that I should seek you thus, that
your name should come so readily to my lip?  But I have
remembered the name 'Martin' for the sake of a boy, long years
since, who found a little maid (she was just ten year old) found
her lost and wandering in a wood, very woeful and frightened and
forlorn.  And this boy seemed very big and strong (he was just
eleven, he said) and was armed with a bow and arrows 'to shoot
outlaws.'  And yet he was very gentle and kindly, laying by his
weapons the better to comfort her sorrows and dry her tears.  So
he brought her to a cave he called his 'castle' and showed her a
real sword he kept hidden there (albeit a very rusty one) and
said he would be her knight, to do great things for her some day. 
Then he brought her safely home; and he told her his name was
Martin and she said hers was Damaris--"

"Damaris!" said I, starting.

"Often after this they used to meet by a corner of the old park
wall where he had made a place to go up and down by--for six
months, I think, they played together daily, and once he fought a
great, rough boy on her behalf, and when the boy had run away she
bathed her champion's hurts in a little brook--bathed them with
her scarf as thus I do yours.  At last she was sent away to a
school and the years passed, but she never forgot the name of
Martin, though he forgot her remember
now, Martin--O, you remember now?" says she with a great sob.

"Aye, I remember now!" quoth I, hoarsely.

"It is for the sake of this boy, Martin, so brave, so strong, yet
so very gentle and kindly--for him and all he might have been
that I pray you forego your vengeance--I beseech you to here
renounce it--"

"Never!" I cried, clenching my shackled hands.  "But for my enemy
this boy might now be as other men--'stead of outcast rogue and
scarred galley-slave, he might have come to love and win love--to
have known the joy of life and its fulness!  Howbeit he must go
his way, rogue and outcast to the end."

"No!" she cried, "No!  The wrong may be undone--must--shall be--
wounds will heal and even scars will fade with time."

"Scars of the body, aye--belike!" said I, "But there be scars of
the mind, wounds of the soul shall never heal--so shall my just
vengeance sleep not nor die whiles I have life!"

Here for awhile she was silent again and I saw a tear fall

"And yet," said she at last and never stirring from her humble
posture, "and yet I have faith in you still for, despite all your
cruel wrongs and grievous suffering, you are so--young,
headstrong and wilful and very desolate and forlorn.  Thus whiles
I have life my faith in you shall sleep not nor die, yet greatly
do I pity--"

"Pity?" says I fiercely, "You were wiser to hate and see me
hanged out of hand."

"Poor soul!" she sighed, and rising, laid one white hand upon my
shackled fist.  "And yet mayhap you shall one day find again your
sweet and long-lost youth--meanwhile strive to be worthy a
sorrowing maid's honest pity."

"Pity?" says I again, "'Tis akin to love--so give me hate, 'tis
thing most natural 'twixt your blood and mine."

"Poor soul!" she repeated, viewing me with her great, calm eyes
albeit their lashes were wet with tears, "How may I hate one so
wretched?"  Here, seeing mayhap how the words stung me she must
needs repeat them:  "Poor wretched soul, thou'rt far--far beneath
my hate."

"Belike you'll come to learn in time!" says I, beside myself.  At
this I saw the white hand clench itself, but her voice was tender
as ever when she answered:

"Sorrow and suffering may lift a man to greatness if he be strong
of soul or debase him to the brute if he be weak."

"Why then," says I, "begone to your gallants and leave me to the

"Nay, first will I do that which brought me!" and she showed the
key of my gyves.

"Let be!" I cried, "I seek no freedom at your hands--let be, I

"As you will!" says she, gently.  "So endeth my hope of righting
a great wrong.  I have humbled myself to you to-night, Martin
Conisby.  I have begged and prayed you to forego your vengeance,
to forgive the evil done, not so much for my father's sake as for
your own, and this because of the boy I dreamed a man ennobled by
his sufferings and one great enough to forgive past wrongs, since
by forgiveness cometh regeneration.  Here ends my dream--alas,
you are but rogue and galley-slave after all.  So shall I ever
pity you greatly and greatly despise you!"

Then she turned slowly away and went from me, closing and locking
the door, and left me once more in the black dark, but now full
of yet blacker thoughts.

To be scorned by her!  And she--a Brandon!

And now I (miserable wretch that I was) giving no thought to the
possibility of my so speedy dissolution, raged in my bonds,
wasting myself in futile imprecations against this woman who (as
it seemed to me in my blind and brutish anger) had but come to
triumph over me in my abasement.  Thus of my wounded self-love
did I make me a whip of scorpions whereby I knew an agony beyond



The Devil, ever zealous for the undoing of poor Humanity, surely
findeth no readier ally than the blind and merciless Spirit of
Mortified Pride.  Thus I, minding the Lady Joan's scornful look
and the sting of her soft-spoke words, fell to black and raging
fury, and vowed that since rogue and galley-slave she had named
me, rogue she should find me in very truth henceforward if I
might but escape my perilous situation.

And now it was that Chance or Fate or the Devil sent me a means
whereby I might put this desperate and most unworthy resolution
into practice; for scarce had I uttered this vow when a key
turned softly in the lock, the door opened and closed stealthily,
and though I could not see (it being pitch-dark) I knew that
someone stood within a yard of me, and all with scarce a sound
and never a word.  And when this silence had endured a while, I
spoke sudden and harsh:

"What now?  Is it the noose so soon, or a knife sooner?"

I heard a quick-drawn breath, a soft footfall, and a small hand,
groping in the dark, touched my cheek and crept thence to my
helpless, manacled fist.  "Who is it?" I demanded, blenching from
the touch, "Who is it?  Speak!"

"Hush!" whispered a voice in my ear, "It be only me, master. 
Jimmy--little Jim as you was good to.  Red Andy don't beat me no
more, he be afeared o' you.  Good to me you was, master, an' so's
she--took me to be her page, she 'ave--"

"Whom d'you mean, boy?"

"I mean Her!  Her wi' the beautiful, kind eyes an' little feet! 
Her as sings!  Her they calls 'my lady.'  Her!  Good t' me she
is--an' so's you, so I be come to ye, master."

"Ha--did she send you?"

"No, I just come to save you from being hung to-morrow like they
says you must."

"And how shall you do this, boy?"

"First wi' this key, master--"

"Stay!  Did she give you this key?"

"No, master--I took it!"  So, albeit 'twas very dark, the boy
very soon had freed me of my shackles; which done (and all a-
quiver with haste) he seizes my hand and tugs at it:

"Come, master!" he whispered, "This way--this way!"  So with his
little, rough hand in mine I suffered him to bring me whither he
would in the dimness, for not a lanthorn burned anywhere, until
at last he halted me at a ladder propped against a bulkhead and
mounting before, bade me follow.  Up I climbed forthwith, and so
to a narrow trap or scuttle through which I clambered with no
little to-do, and found myself in a strange place, the roof so
low I could barely sit upright and so strait that I might barely
lie out-stretched.

"Lie you here, master!" he whispers, "And for the love o' God
don't speak nor make a sound!"  Saying which, he got him back
through the scuttle, closing the trap after him, and I heard the
clatter of the ladder as he removed it.

Hereupon, lying snug in my hiding-place, I presently became aware
of a sweetness that breathed upon the air, a fragrance very faint
but vastly pleasing, and fell a-wondering what this should be. 
My speculations were banished by the opening of a door near by
and a light appeared, by which I saw myself lying in a narrow
space shut off by a valance or curtain that yet showed a strip of
carpet beyond, and all at once upon this carpet came a little,
buckled shoe.  I was yet staring on this in dumb amaze when a
voice spoke softly:

"Are you there, Martin Conisby?  Hush, speak low I do command

For answer I dragged myself into the light and stared up at the
Lady Joan Brandon.

"Where am I?" I demanded.

"In my cabin," says she, meeting my scowl with eyes serene and
all untroubled.  "I had you brought hither to save you--"

"To save me!  Ha, you--you to save me--"

"Because you are not man enough to die yet," she went on in her
calm, grave voice, "so I will save you alive that haply you may
grow more worthy."

"So 'twas by your orders?  The boy lied then!" says I choking
with my anger.  "'Twas you gave him the key!  'Twas you bade him
bring me hither--"

"Where none shall dare seek you!" says she, all unmoved by my
bitter rage, "So do I give you life, Martin Conisby, praying God
you may find your manhood one day--"

"Life!" quoth I, getting to my feet, "My life at your hands?  Now
look ye, madam, rather will I hang unjustly, rather will I endure
again the shame of the lash--aye by God's light, rather will I
rot in chains or perish of plague than take my life at your
hands.  So now, madam, I'll out of this perfumed nest and hang if
I must!" saying which I turned to the door, but she checked me
with a gesture.

"Stay!" she commanded, "Would you shame me?"  And now though she
fronted me with proud head erect, I saw her cheek flush

"Aye, verily!" quoth I, "A lady's honour is delicate ware and not
to be cheapened by such poor rogue as I!  Fear nothing, lady, I
will go as--"  I stopped all at once, as came footsteps without
and a light tapping on the door.

"Who is it?" she called, lightly enough, and shot the bolt with
nimble fingers.

"Only I, sweet coz," answered a gay voice, "And I come but to
warn you not to venture on deck to-morrow till justice hath been
done upon our prisoner."

"Shall you--hang him, Rupert?"

"Assuredly!  'Tis a black rogue and merits a worse fate."

"Is he then tried and condemned already, Rupert?"

"Nay, though 'twill be soon done.  We have come on such evidence
of his guilt as doth condemn him out of hand."

"What evidence, cousin?"

"His doublet all besmirched with his victim's blood.  The man is
a very devil and must hang at dawn.  So, Joan, stir not abroad in
the morning until I come to fetch you.  A fair, good night, sweet
coz, and sweet dreams attend thee!"  And away trips Sir Rupert
and leaves us staring on one another, she proud and gracious in
all her dainty finery and I a very hang-dog fellow, my worn
garments smirched by the grime of my many hiding-places.

"Was this indeed your doublet?" she questioned at last.

"It was."

"How came it stained with blood?"  For answer I shrugged my
shoulders and turned away.  "Have you nothing to say?"

"Nothing, madam."

"You would have me think you this murderer?"

"I would have you think of me none at all," I answered, and
smiled to see how I had stirred her anger at last.

"Nay," sighs she, "needs must I think of you as the poor, mean
thing you are and pity you accordingly!"

"Howbeit," says I, scowling blacker than ever, "I will get me out
of your sight--"

"Aye, but the ladder is gone!"

"No matter," says I, "better a broken neck to-night than a noose
to-morrow.  To-morrow, aye, the dawn is like to see an end of the
feud and the Conisbys both together--"

"And so shameful an end!" says she.  At this, I turned my back on
her, for anger was very strong in me.  So, nothing speaking, I
got to my knees that I might come at the trap beneath her berth;
but next moment I was on my feet glaring round for some weapon to
my defence, for on the air was sudden wild tumult and hubbub, a
running of feet and confused shouting that waxed ever louder. 
Then, as I listened, I knew it was not me they hunted, for now
was the shrill braying of a trumpet and the loud throbbing of a

"Martin--O Martin Conisby!"  She stood with hands clasped and
eyes wide in a dreadful expectancy, "What is it?" she panted, "O
what is it?  Hark--what do they cry!"

Rigid and motionless we stood to listen; then every other emotion
was 'whelmed and lost in sudden, paralysing fear as, above the
trampling rush of feet, above the shrill blast of tucket and
rolling of drum we caught the awful word "Fire!"

"Now God help us all!" cries she, wringing her hands; then
sinking to her knees, she leaned, half-swooning, against the
door, yet I saw her pallid lips moving in passionate

As for me (my first panic over) I sat me on her bed revolving how
I might turn the general confusion to the preservation of my
life.  In this I was suddenly aroused by my lady's hand on my
bowed shoulder.

"Hark!" cries she, "Hark where they cry for aid!"

"Why so they do," says I.  "And so they may!"

"Then come, let us out.  You are a strong man, you will help to
save the ship."

"And hang thereafter?  Not I, madam!"

"Will you do nothing?" cried she, clenching her hands.

"Verily, madam.  I shall do my earnest endeavour to preserve this
poor rogue's body o' mine from noose and flame.  But as for the

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