Hearing Upstill's shot, and then Dick's hoofs on the sward, Richard
fortunately judged well and took the right direction. What was his
astonishment and delight when, passing hurriedly through the hedge
in the expectation of encountering a cavalier, he saw Dorothy
mounted on Dick! What form but hers had been filling soul and brain
when he was startled by the shot! And there she was before him! He
felt like one who knows the moon is weaving a dream in his brain.
'Dorothy,' he murmured tremblingly, and his voice sounded to him
like that of some one speaking far away. He drew nearer, as one
might approach a beloved ghost, anxious not to scare her. He laid
his hand on Dick's neck, half fearful of finding him but a shadow.
'Richard!' said Dorothy, looking down on him benignant as Diana upon
Then suddenly, at her voice and the assurance of her bodily
presence, a great wave from the ocean of duty broke thunderous on
the shore of his consciousness.
'Dorothy, I am bound to question thee,' he said: 'whence comest
thou? and whither art thou bound?'
'If I should refuse to answer thee, Richard?' returned Dorothy with
'Then must I take thee to headquarters. And bethink thee, Dorothy,
how that would cut me to the heart.'
The moon shone full upon his face, and Dorothy saw the end of a
great scar that came from under his hat down on to his forehead.
'Then will I answer thee, Richard,' she said, with a strange
trembling in her voice. '--I come from Raglan.'
'And whither art going, Dorothy?'
'On what business?'
'Were it then so wonderful, Richard, if I should desire to be at
home, seeing Wyfern is now safer than Raglan? It was for safety I
went thither, thou knowest.'
'It might not be wonderful in another, Dorothy, but in thee it were
truly wonderful; for now are they of Raglan thy friends, and thou
art a brave woman, and lovest thy friends. I would not believe it of
thee even from the mouth of thy mother. Confess--thou bearest about
thee that thou wouldst not willingly show me.'
Dorothy, as if in embarrassment, drew from her pocket her
handkerchief, and with it a comb, which fell on the ground.
'Prithee, Richard, pick me up my comb,' she said; then, answering
his question, continued, '--No, I have nothing about me I would not
show thee, Richard: wilt thou take my word for it?'
When she had spoken, she held out her hand, and receiving from him
the comb, replaced it in her pocket. But a keen pang of remorse went
through her heart.
'I am a man under authority,' said Richard, 'and my orders will not
allow me. Besides thou knowest, Dorothy, although it involves such
questions in casuistry as I cannot meet, men say thou art not bound
to tell the truth to thine enemy.'
'An' thou be mine enemy, Richard, then must thou satisfy thyself,'
said Dorothy, trying to speak in a tone of offence. But while she
sat there looking at him, it seemed as if her heart were floating on
the top of a great wave out somewhere in the moonlight. Yet the
conscience-dog was awake in his kennel.
Richard stood for a moment in silent perplexity.
'Wilt thou swear to me, Dorothy,' he said at length, 'that thou hast
no papers about thee, neither art the bearer of news or request or
sign to any of the king's party?'
'Richard,' returned Dorothy, 'thou hast thyself taken from my words
the credit: I say to thee again, satisfy thyself.'
'Dorothy, what AM I to do?' he cried.
'Thy duty, Richard,' she answered.
'My duty is to search thee,' he said.
Dorothy was silent. Her heart was beating terribly, but she would
see the end of the path she had taken ere she would think of
turning. And she WOULD trust Richard. Would she then have him fail
of his duty? Would she have the straight-going Richard swerve? Even
in the face of her maidenly fears, she would encounter anything
rather than Richard should for her sake be false. But Richard would
not turn aside. Neither would he shame her. He would find some way.
'Do then thy duty, Richard,' she said, and sliding from her saddle,
she stood before him, one hand grasping Dick's mane.
There was no defiance in her tone. She was but submitting, assured
What was Richard to do? Never man was more perplexed. He dared not
let her pass. He dared no more touch her than if she had been Luna
herself standing there. He would not had he dared, and yet he must.
She was silent, seemed to herself cruel, and began bitterly to
accuse herself. She saw his hazel eyes slowly darken, then began to
glitter--was it with gathering tears? The glitter grew and
overflowed. The man was weeping! The tenderness of their common
childhood rushed back upon her in a great wave out of the past, ran
into the rising billow of present passion, and swelled it up till it
towered and broke; she threw her arm round his neck and kissed him.
He stood in a dumb ecstasy. Then terror lest he should think she was
tempting him to brave his conscience overpowered her.
'Richard, do thy duty. Regard not me,' she cried in anguish.
Richard gave a strange laugh as he answered,
'There was a time when I had doubted the sun in heaven as soon as
thy word, Dorothy. This is surely an evil time. Tell me, yea or nay,
hast thou missives to the king or any of his people? Palter not with
But such an appeal was what Dorothy would least willingly encounter.
The necessity yet difficulty of escaping it stimulated the wits that
had been overclouded by feeling. A light appeared. She broke into a
real merry laugh.
'What a pair of fools we are, Richard!' she said. 'Is there never an
honest woman of thy persuasion near--one who would show me no
favour? Let such an one search me, and tell thee the truth.'
'Doubtless,' answered Richard, laughing very differently now at his
stupidity, yet immediately committing a blunder: 'there is mother
'What a baby thou art, Richard!' rejoined Dorothy. 'She is as good a
friend of mine as of thine, and would doubtless favour the wiles of
'True, true! Thou wast always the keener of wit, Dorothy--as
becometh a woman. What say'st thou then to dame Upstill? She is even
now at the farm there, whence she watches over her husband while he
watches over Raglan. Will she answer thy turn?'
'She will,' replied Dorothy. 'And that she may show me no favour,
here comes her husband, who shall bear a witness against me shall
rouse in her all the malice of vengeance for her injured spouse,
whom for his evil language, as thou shalt see, I have so silenced as
neither thou nor any man can restore him to speech.'
While she spoke, Upstill, who had followed his enemy as the sole
hope of deliverance, drew near, in such plight as the dignity of
narrative refuses to describe.
'Upstill,' said Richard, 'what meaneth this? Wherefore hast thou
left thy post? And above all, wherefore hast thou permitted this
lady to pass unquestioned?'
Sounds of gurgle and strangulation, with other cognate noises, was
all Upstill's response.
'Indeed, Mr. Heywood,' said Dorothy, 'he was so far from neglecting
his duty and allowing me to pass unquestioned, that he insulted me
grievously, averring that I consorted with malignant rogues and
papists, and worse--the which drove me to punish him as thou seest.'
'Cast-down Upstill, thou hast shamed thy regiment, carrying thyself
thus to a gentlewoman,' said Richard.
'Then he fired his carbine after me,' said Dorothy.
'That may have been but his duty,' returned Richard.
'And worst of all,' continued Dorothy, 'he said that had he known
what I should grow to, he would never have made shoes for me when I
was an infant. Think on that, master Heywood!'
'Ask the lady to pardon thee, Upstill. I can do nothing for thee,'
Upstill would have knelt, in lack of other mode of petition strong
enough to express the fervour of his desires for release, but
Dorothy was content to see him punished, and would not see him
'Nay, master Upstill,' she said, 'I desire not that thou shouldst
take the measure of my foot to-night. Prithee, master Heywood, wilt
thou venture thy fingers in the godly man's mouth for me? Here is
the key of the toy, a sucket which will pass neither teeth nor
throat. I warrant thee it were no evil thing for many a married
woman to possess. I will give it thee when thou marriest, master
Heywood, though, good sooth, it were hardly fair to my kind!'
So saying she took a ring from her finger, raised from it a key, and
directed Richard how to find its hole in the plum.
'There! Follow us now to the farm, and find thy wife, for we need
her aid,' said Richard as he drew by the key the little steel
instrument from Upstill's mouth, and restored him to the general
body of the articulate.
Thereupon he took Dick by the bridle, and Dorothy and he walked side
by side, as if they had been still boy and girl as of old--for of
old it already seemed.
As they went, Richard washed both plum and ring in the dewy grass,
and restored them, putting the ring upon her finger.
'With better light I will one day show thee how the thing worketh,'
she said, thanking him. 'Holding it thus by the ends, thou seest, it
will bear to be pressed; but remove thy finger and thumb, and
straight upon a touch it shooteth its stings in all directions. And
yet another day, when these troubles are over, and honest folk need
no longer fight each other, I will give it thee, Richard.'
'Would that day were here, Dorothy! But what can honest people do,
while St. George and St. Michael are themselves at odds?'
'Mayhap it but seemeth so, and they but dispute across the
Yule-log,' said Dorothy; 'and men down here, like the dogs about the
fire, take it up, and fall a-worrying each other. But the end will
'Discrown some, I fear,' said Richard to himself.
As they reached the farm-house, it was growing light. Upstill
fetched his dame from her bed in the hayloft, and Richard told her,
in formal and authoritative manner, what he required of her.
'I will search her!' answered the dame from between her closed
'Mistress Vaughan,' said Richard, 'if she offer thee evil words,
give her the same lesson thou gavest her husband. If all tales be
true, she is not beyond the need of it.--Search her well, mistress
Upstill, but show her no rudeness, for she hath the power to avenge
it in a parlous manner, having gone to school to my lord Herbert of
Raglan. Not the less must thou search her well, else will I look
upon thee as no better than one of the malignants.'
The woman cast a glance of something very like hate, but mingled
with fear, upon Dorothy.
'I like not the business, captain Heywood,' she said.
'Yet the business must be done, mistress Upstill. And hark'ee, for
every paper thou findest upon her, I will give thee its weight in
gold. I care not what it is. Bring it hither, and the dame's
'I warrant thee, captain!' she returned. '--Come with me, mistress,
and show what thou hast about thee. But, good sooth, I would the sun
She led the way to the rick-yard, and round towards the sunrise. It
was the month of August, and several new ricks already stood facing
the east, yellow, and beginning to glow like a second dawn. Between
the two, mistress Upstill began her search, which she made more
thorough than agreeable. Dorothy submitted without complaint.
At last, as she was giving up the quest in despair, her eyes or her
fingers discovered a little opening inside the prisoner bodice, and
there sure enough was a pocket, and in the pocket a slip of paper!
She drew it out in triumph.
'That is nothing,' said Dorothy: 'give it me.' And with flushed face
she made a snatch at it.
'Holy Mary!' cried dame Upstill, whose protestantism was of doubtful
date, and thrust the paper into her own bosom.
'That paper hath nothing to do with state affairs, I protest,'
expostulated Dorothy. 'I will give thee ten times its weight in gold
But mistress Upstill had other passions besides avarice, and was not
greatly tempted by the offer. She took Dorothy by the arm, and said,
'An' thou come not quickly, I will cry that all the parish shall
'I tell thee, mistress Upstill, on the oath of a Christian woman, it
is but a private letter of mine own, and beareth nothing upon
affairs. Prithee read a word or two, and satisfy thyself.'
'Nay, mistress, truly I will pry into no secrets that belong not to
me,' said the searcher, who could read no word of writing or print
either. 'This paper is no longer thine, and mine it never was. It
belongeth to the high court of parliament, and goeth straight to
captain Heywood--whom I will inform concerning the bribe wherewith
thou didst seek to corrupt the conscience of a godly woman.'
Dorothy saw there was no help, and yielded to the grasp of the dame,
who led her like a culprit, with burning cheek, back to her judge.
When Richard saw them his heart sank within him.
'What hast thou found?' he asked gruffly.
'I have found that which young mistress here would have had me cover
with a bribe of ten times that your honour promised me for it,'
answered the woman. 'She had it in her bosom, hid in a pocket little
bigger than a crown-piece, inside her bodice.'
'Ha, mistress Dorothy! is this true?' asked Richard, turning on her
a face of distress.
'It is true,' answered Dorothy, with downcast eyes--far more ashamed
however, of that which had not been discovered, and which might have
justified Richard's look, than of that which he now held in his
hand. 'Prithee,' she added, 'do not read it till I am gone.'
'That may hardly be,' returned Richard, almost sullenly. 'Upon this
paper it may depend whether thou go at all.'
'Believe me, Richard, it hath no importance,' she said, and her
blushes deepened. 'I would thou wouldst believe me.'
But as she said it, her conscience smote her.
Richard returned no answer, neither did he open the paper, but stood
with his eyes fixed on the ground.
Dorothy meantime strove to quiet her conscience, saying to herself:
'It matters not; I must marry him one day--an' he will now have me.
Hath not the woman told him where the silly paper was hid? And when
I am married to him, then will I tell him all, and doubtless he will
forgive me--Nay, nay, I must tell him first, for he might not then
wish to have me. Lord! Lord! what a time of lying it is! Sure for
myself I am no better than one of the wicked!'
But now Richard, slowly, reluctantly, with eyes averted, opened the
paper, stood for an instant motionless, then suddenly raised it, and
looked at it. His face changed at once from midnight to morning, and
the sunrise was red. He put the paper to his lips, and thrust it
inside his doublet. It was his own letter to her by Marquis! She had
not thought to remove it from the place where she had carried it
ever since receiving it.
'And now, master Heywood, I may go where I will?' said Dorothy,
venturing a half-roguish, but wholly shamefaced glance at him.
But Dame Upstill was looking on, and Richard therefore brought as
much of the midnight as would obey orders, back over his countenance
as he answered:
'Nay, mistress. An' we had found aught upon thee of greater
consequence it might have made a question. But this hardly accounts
for thy mission. Doubtless thou bearest thy message in thy mind.'
'What! thou wilt not let me go to Wyfern, to my own house, master
Heywood?' said Dorothy in a tone of disappointment, for her heart
now at length began to fail her.
'Not until Raglan is ours,' answered Richard. 'Then shalt thou go
where thou wilt. And go where thou wilt, there will I follow thee,
From the last clause of this speech he diverted mistress Upstill's
attention by throwing her a gold noble, an indignity which the woman
rightly resented--but stooped for the money!
'Go tell thy husband that I wait him here,' he said.
'Thou shalt follow me nowhither,' said Dorothy, angrily. 'Wherefore
should not I go to Wyfern and there abide? Thou canst there watch
her whom thou trustest not.'
'Who can tell what manner of person might not creep to Wyfern, to
whom there might messages be given, or whom thou mightest send,
credenced by secret word or sign?'
'Whither, then, am I to go?' asked Dorothy, with dignity.
'Alas, Dorothy!' answered Richard, 'there is no help: I must take
thee to Raglan. But comfort thyself--soon shalt thou go where thou
Dorothy marvelled at her own resignation the while she rode with
Richard back to the castle. Her scheme was a failure, but through no
fault, and she could bear anything with composure except blame.
A word from Richard to colonel Morgan was sufficient. A messenger
with a flag of truce was sent instantly to the castle, and the
firing on both sides ceased. The messenger returned, the gate was
opened, and Dorothy re-entered, defeated, but bringing her secrets
back with her.
'Tit for tat,' said the marquis when she had recounted her
adventures. 'Thou and the roundhead are well matched. There is no
avoiding of it, cousin! It is your fate, as clear as if your two
horoscopes had run into one. Mind thee, hearts are older than
crowns, and love outlives all but leasing.'
'All but leasing!' repeated Dorothy to herself, and the BUT was