Chapter 4




Thus began the friendship of the bragging Seigneur of Rozel for the three
Huguenots, all because he had seen tears in a girl's eyes and
misunderstood them, and because the same girl had kissed him. His pride
was flattered that they should receive protection from him, and the
flattery became almost a canonising when De Carteret of St. Ouen's
brought him to task for harbouring and comforting the despised Huguenots;
for when De Carteret railed he was envious. So henceforth Lempriere
played Lord Protector with still more boisterous unction. His pride knew
no bounds when, three days after the rescue, Sir Hugh Pawlett, the
Governor, answering De la Foret's letter requesting permission to visit
the Comtesse de Montgomery, sent him word to fetch De la Foret to Mont
Orgueil Castle. Clanking and blowing, he was shown into the great hall
with De la Foret, where waited Sir Hugh and the widow of the renowned
Camisard. Clanking and purring like an enormous cat, he turned his head
away to the window when De la Foret dropped on his knees and kissed the
hand of the Comtesse, whose eyes were full of tears. Clanking and
gurgling, he sat to a mighty meal of turbot, eels, lobsters, ormers,
capons, boar's head, brawn, and mustard, swan, curlew, and spiced meats.
This he washed down with bastard, malmsey, and good ale, topped with
almonds, comfits, perfumed cherries with "ipocras," then sprinkled
himself with rose-water and dabbled his face and hands in it. Filled to
the turret, he lurched to his feet, and drinking to Sir Hugh's toast,

"Her sacred Majesty!" he clanked and roared. "Elizabeth!" as though upon
the field of battle. He felt the star of De Carteret declining and
Rozel's glory ascending like a comet. Once set in a course, nothing could
change him. Other men might err, but once right, the Seigneur of Rozel
was everlasting.

Of late he had made the cause of Michel de la Foret and Angele Aubert his
own. For this he had been raked upon the coals by De Carteret of St.
Ouen's and his following, who taunted him with the saying: "Save a thief
from hanging and he'll cut your throat." Not that there was ill feeling
against De la Foret in person. He had won most hearts by a frank yet
still manner, and his story and love for Angele had touched the women
folk where their hearts were softest. But the island was not true to
itself or its history if it did not divide itself into factions, headed
by the Seigneurs, and there had been no ground for good division for five
years till De la Foret came.

Short of actual battle, this new strife was the keenest ever known, for
Sir Hugh Pawlett was ranged on the side of the Seigneur of Rozel. Kinsman
of the Comtesse de Montgomery, of Queen Elizabeth's own Protestant
religion, and admiring De la Foret, he had given every countenance to the
Camisard refugee. He had even besought the Royal Court of Jersey to grant
a pardon to Buonespoir the pirate, on condition that he should never
commit a depredation upon an inhabitant of the island--this he was to
swear to by the little finger of St. Peter. Should he break his word, he
was to be banished the island for ten years, under penalty of death if he
returned. When the hour had come for Buonespoir to take the oath, he
failed to appear; and the next morning the Seigneur of St. Ouen's
discovered that during the night his cellar had been raided of two kegs
of canary, many flagons of muscadella, pots of anchovies and boxes of
candied "eringo," kept solely for the visit which the Queen had promised
the island. There was no doubt of the misdemeanant, for Buonespoir
returned to De Carteret from St. Brieuc the gabardine of one of his
retainers, in which he had carried off the stolen delicacies.

This aggravated the feud between the partisans of St. Ouen's and Rozel,
for Lempriere of Rozel had laughed loudly when he heard of the robbery,
and said "'Tis like St. Ouen's to hoard for a Queen and glut a pirate. We
feed as we get at Rozel, and will feed the Court well too when it comes,
or I'm no butler to Elizabeth."

But trouble was at hand for Michel and for his protector. The spies of
Catherine de Medici, mother of the King of France, were everywhere. These
had sent word that De la Foret was now attached to the meagre suite of
the widow of the great Camisard Montgomery, near the Castle of Mont
Orgueil. The Medici, having treacherously slain the chief, became mad
with desire to slay the lieutenant. She was set to have the man, either
through diplomacy with England, or to end him by assassination through
her spies. Having determined upon his death, with relentless soul she
pursued the cause as closely as though this exiled soldier were a
powerful enemy at the head of an army in France.

Thus it was that she wrote to Queen Elizabeth, asking that "this arrant
foe of France, this churl, conspirator, and reviler of the Sacraments, be
rendered unto our hands for well-deserved punishment as warning to all
such evil-doers." She told Elizabeth of De la Foret's arrival in Jersey,
disguised as a priest of the Church of France, and set forth his doings
since landing with the Seigneur of Rozel. Further she went on to say to
"our sister of England" that "these dark figures of murder and revolt be
a peril to the soft peace of this good realm."

To this, Elizabeth, who had no knowledge of Michel, who desired peace
with France at this time, who had favours to ask of Catherine, and who in
her own realm had fresh reason to fear conspiracy through the Queen of
the Scots and others, replied forthwith that "If this De la Foret falleth
into our hands, and if it were found he had in truth conspired against
France its throne, had he a million lives, not one should remain." Having
despatched this letter, she straightway sent a messenger to Sir Hugh
Pawlett in Jersey, making quest of De la Foret, and commanding that he
should be sent to her in England at once.

When the Queen's messenger arrived at Orgueil Castle, Lempriere chanced
to be with Sir Hugh Pawlett, and the contents of Elizabeth's letter were
made known to him.

At the moment Monsieur of Rozel was munching macaroons and washing them
down with canary. The Governor's announcement was such a shock that he
choked and coughed, the crumbs flying in all directions; and another pint
of canary must be taken to flush his throat. Thus cleared for action, he
struck out.

"'Tis St. Ouen's work," he growled.

"'Tis the work of the Medici," said Sir Hugh. "Read," he added, holding
out the paper.

Now Lempriere of Rozel had a poor eye for reading. He had wit enough to
wind about the difficulty.

"If I see not the Queen's commands, I've no warrant but Sir Hugh
Pawlett's words, and I'll to London and ask 'fore her Majesty's face if
she wrote them, and why. I'll tell my tale and speak my mind, I pledge
you, sir."

"You'll offend her Majesty. Her commands are here." Pawlett tapped the
letter with his finger.

"I'm butler to the Queen, and she will list to me. I'll not smirk and
caper like St. Ouen's; I'll bear me like a man not speaking for himself.
I'll speak as Harry her father spoke--straight to the purpose. . . . No,
no, no, I'm not to be wheedled, even by a Pawlett, and you shall not ask
me. If you want Michel de la Foret, come and take him. He is in my house.
But ye must take him, for come he shall not!"

"You will not oppose the Queen's officers?"

"De la Foret is under my roof. He must be taken. I will give him up to no
one; and I'll tell my sovereign these things when I see her in her
palace."

"I misdoubt you'll play the bear," said Pawlett, with a dry smile.

"The Queen's tongue is none so tame. I'll travel by my star, get sweet or
sour."

"Well, well, 'give a man luck, and throw him into the sea,' is the old
proverb. I'm coming for your friend to-night."

"I'll be waiting with my fingers on the door, sir," said Rozel, with a
grim vanity and an outrageous pride in himself.




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