Chapter 6




Michel de la Foret was gone, a prisoner. From the dusk of the trees by
the little chapel of Rozel, Angele had watched his exit in charge of the
Governor's men. She had not sought to show her presence: she had seen
him--that was comfort to her heart; and she would not mar the memory of
that last night's farewell by another before these strangers. She saw
with what quiet Michel bore his arrest, and she said to herself, as the
last halberdier vanished:

"If the Queen do but speak with him, if she but look upon his face and
hear his voice, she must needs deal kindly by him. My Michel--ah, it is a
face for all men to trust and all women--"

But she sighed and averted her head as though before prying eyes.

The bell of Rozel Chapel broke gently on the evening air; the sound,
softened by the leaves and mellowed by the wood of the great elm-trees,
billowed away till it was lost in faint reverberation in the sea beneath
the cliffs of the Couperon, where a little craft was coming to anchor in
the dead water.

At first the sound of the bell soothed her, softening the thought of the
danger to Michel. She moved with it towards the sea, the tones of her
grief chiming with it. Presently, as she went, a priest in cassock and
robes and stole crossed the path in front of her, an acolyte before him
swinging a censer, his voice chanting Latin verses from the service for
the sick, in his hands the sacred elements of the sacrament for the
dying. The priest was fat and heavy, his voice was lazy, his eyes
expressionless, and his robes were dirty. The plaintive, peaceful sense
which the sound of the vesper bell had thrown over Angele's sad
reflections passed away, and the thought smote her that, were it not for
such as this black-toothed priest, Michel would not now be on his way to
England, a prisoner. To her this vesper bell was the symbol of tyranny
and hate. It was fighting, it was martyrdom, it was exile, it was the
Medici. All that she had borne, all that her father had borne, the
thought of the home lost, the mother dead before her time, the name
ruined, the heritage dispossessed, the red war of the Camisards, the
rivulets of blood in the streets of Paris and of her loved Rouen, smote
upon her mind, and drove her to her knees in the forest glade, her hands
upon her ears to shut out the sound of the bell. It came upon her that
the bell had said "Peace! Peace!" to her mind when there should be no
peace; that it had said "Be patient!" when she should be up and doing;
that it had whispered "Stay!" when she should tread the path her lover
trod, her feet following in his footsteps as his feet had trod in hers.

She pressed her hands tight upon her ears and prayed with a passion and a
fervour she had never known before. A revelation seemed to come upon her,
and, for the first time, she was a Huguenot to the core. Hitherto she had
suffered for her religion because it was her mother's broken life, her
father's faith, and because they had suffered, and her lover had
suffered. Her mind had been convinced, her loyalty had been unwavering,
her words for the great cause had measured well with her deeds. But new
senses were suddenly born in her, new eyes were given to her mind, new
powers for endurance to her soul. She saw now as the martyrs of Meaux had
seen; a passionate faith descended on her as it had descended on them; no
longer only patient, she was fain for action. Tears rained from her eyes.
Her heart burst itself in entreaty and confession.

"Thy light shall be my light, and Thy will my will, O Lord," she cried at
the last. "Teach me Thy way, create a right spirit within me. Give me
boldness without rashness, and hope without vain thinking. Bear up my
arms, O Lord, and save me when falling. A poor Samaritan am I. Give me
the water that shall be a well of water springing up to everlasting life,
that I thirst not in the fever of doing. Give me the manna of life to eat
that I faint not nor cry out in plague, pestilence, or famine. Give me
Thy grace, O God, as Thou hast given it to Michel de la Foret, and guide
my feet as I follow him in life and in death, for Christ's sake. Amen."

As she rose from her knees she heard the evening gun from the castle of
Mont Orgueil, whither Michel was being borne by the Queen's men. The
vesper bell had stopped. Through the wood came the salt savour of the sea
on the cool sunset air. She threw back her head and walked swiftly
towards it, her heart beating hard, her eyes shining with the light of
purpose, her step elastic with the vigour of youth and health. A
quarter-hour's walking brought her to the cliff of the Couperon.

As she gazed out over the sea, however, a voice in the bay below caught
her ear. She looked down. On the deck of the little craft which had
entered the harbour when the vesper bell was ringing stood a man who
waved a hand up towards her, then gave a peculiar call. She stared with
amazement: it was Buonespoir the pirate. What did this mean? Had God sent
this man to her, by his presence to suggest what she should do in this
crisis in her life? For even as she ran down the shore towards him, it
came to her mind that Buonespoir should take her in his craft to England.

What to do in England? Who could tell? She only knew that a voice called
her to England, to follow the footsteps of Michel de la Foret, who even
this night would be setting forth in the Governor's brigantine for
London.

Buonespoir met her upon the shore, grinning like a boy.

"God save you, lady!" he said.

"What brings you hither, friend?" she asked.

If he had said that a voice had called him hither as one called her to
England, it had not sounded strange; for she was not thinking that this
was one who superstitiously swore by the little finger of St. Peter, but
only that he was the man who had brought her Michel from France, who had
been a faithful friend to her and to her father.

"What brings me hither?" Buonespoir laughed low in his chest. "Even to
fetch to the Seigneur of Rozel, a friend of mine by every token of
remembrance, a dozen flagons of golden muscadella."

To Angele no suggestion flashed that these flagons of muscadella had come
from the cellar of the Seigneur of St. Ouen's, where they had been
reserved for a certain royal visit. Nothing was in her mind save the one
thought-that she must follow Michel.

"Will you take me to England?" she asked, putting a hand quickly on his
arm.

He had been laughing hard, picturing to himself what Lempriere of Rozel
would say when he sniffed the flagon of St. Ouen's best wine, and for an
instant he did not take in the question; but he stared at her now as the
laugh slowly subsided through notes of abstraction and her words worked
their way into his brain.

"Will you take me, Buonespoir?" she urged. "Take you--?" he questioned.

"To England."

"And myself to Tyburn?"

"Nay, to the Queen."

"'Tis the same thing. Head of Abel! Elizabeth hath heard of me. The
Seigneur of St. Ouen's and others have writ me down a pirate to her. She
would not pardon the muscadella," he added, with another laugh, looking
down where the flagons lay.

"She must pardon more than that," exclaimed Angele, and hastily she told
him of what had happened to Michel de la Foret, and why she would go.

"Thy father, then?" he asked, scowling hard in his attempt to think it
out.

"He must go with me--I will seek him now."

"It must be at once, i' faith, for how long, think you, can I stay here
unharmed? I was sighted off St. Ouen's shore a few hours agone."

"To-night?" she asked.

"By twelve, when we shall have the moon and the tide," he answered. "But
hold!" he hastily added. "What, think you, could you and your father do
alone in England? And with me it were worse than alone. These be dark
times, when strangers have spies at their heels, and all travellers are
suspect."

"We will trust in God," she answered.

"Have you money?" he questioned--"for London, not for me," he added
hastily.

"Enough," she replied.

"The trust with the money is a weighty matter," he added; "but they
suffice not. You must have 'fending."

"There is no one," she answered sadly, "no one save--"

"Save the Seigneur of Rozel!" Buonespoir finished the sentence. "Good.
You to your father, and I to the Seigneur. If you can fetch your father
by your pot-of-honey tongue, I'll fetch the great Lempriere with
muscadella. Is't a bargain?"

"In which I gain all," she answered, and again touched his arm with her
finger-tips.

"You shall be aboard here at ten, and I will join you on the stroke of
twelve," he said, and gave a low whistle.

At the signal three men sprang up like magic out of the bowels of the
boat beneath them, and scurried over the side; three as ripe knaves as
ever cheated stocks and gallows, but simple knaves, unlike their master.
Two of them had served with Francis Drake in that good ship of his lying
even now not far from Elizabeth's palace at Greenwich. The third was a
rogue who had been banished from Jersey for a habitual drunkenness which
only attacked him on land--at sea he was sacredly sober. His name was
Jean Nicolle. The names of the other two were Herve Robin and Rouge le
Riche, but their master called them by other names.

"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego," said Buonespoir in ceremony, and waved
a hand of homage between them and Angele. "Kiss dirt, and know where duty
lies. The lady's word on my ship is law till we anchor at the Queen's
Stairs at Greenwich. So, Heaven help you, Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego!" said Buonespoir.

A wave of humour passed over Angele's grave face, for a stranger quartet
never sailed high seas together: one blind of an eye, one game of a leg,
one bald as a bottle and bereft of two front teeth; but Buonespoir was
sound of wind and limb, his small face with the big eyes lost in the
masses of his red hair, and a body like Hercules. It flashed through
Angele's mind even as she answered the gurgling salutations of the
triumvirate that they had been got together for no gentle summer sailing
in the Channel. Her conscience smote her that she should use such churls;
but she gave it comfort by the thought that while serving her they could
do naught worse; and her cause was good. Yet they presented so bizarre an
aspect, their ugliness was so varied and particular, that she almost
laughed. Buonespoir understood her thoughts, for with a look of mocking
innocence in his great blue eyes he waved a hand again towards the
graceless trio, and said, "For deep-sea fishing." Then he solemnly winked
at the three.

A moment later Angele was speeding along the shore towards her home on
the farther hillside up the little glen; and within an hour Buonespoir
rolled from the dusk of the trees by the manor-house of Rozel and knocked
at the door. He carried on his head, as a fishwife carries a tray of
ormers, a basket full of flagons of muscadella; and he did not lower the
basket when he was shown into the room where the Seigneur of Rozel was
sitting before a trencher of spiced veal and a great pot of ale.
Lempriere roared a hearty greeting to the pirate, for he was in a sour
humour because of the taking off of Michel de la Foret; and of all men
this pirate-fellow, who had quips and cranks, and had played tricks on
his cousin of St. Ouen's, was most welcome.

"What's that on your teacup of a head?" he roared again as Buonespoir
grinned pleasure at the greeting. "Muscadella," said Buonespoir, and
lowered the basket to the table.

Lempriere seized a flagon, drew it forth, looked closely at it, then
burst into laughter, and spluttered: "St. Ouen's muscadella, by the hand
of Rufus!"

Seizing Buonespoir by the shoulders, he forced him down upon a bench at
the table, and pushed the trencher of spiced meat against his chest.
"Eat, my noble lord of the sea and master of the cellar," he gurgled out,
and, tipping the flagon of muscadella, took a long draught.
"God-a-mercy--but it has saved my life," he gasped in satisfaction as he
lay back in his great chair, and put his feet on the bench whereon
Buonespoir sat.

They raised their flagons and toasted each other, and Lempriere burst
forth into song, in the refrain of which Buonespoir joined boisterously:


"King Rufus he did hunt the deer,
With a hey ho, come and kiss me, Dolly!
It was the spring-time of the year,
Hey ho, Dolly shut her eyes!
King Rufus was a bully boy,
He hunted all the day for joy,
Sweet Dolly she was ever coy:
And who would e'er be wise
That looked in Dolly's eyes?

"King Rufus he did have his day,
With a hey ho, come and kiss me, Dolly!
So get ye forth where dun deer play--
Hey ho, Dolly comes again!
The greenwood is the place for me,
For that is where the dun deer be,
'Tis where my Dolly comes to me:
And who would stay at home,
That might with Dolly roam?
Sing hey ho, come and kiss me, Dolly!"


Lempriere, perspiring with the exertion, mopped his forehead, then lapsed
into a plaintive mood.

"I've had naught but trouble of late," he wheezed. "Trouble, trouble,
trouble, like gnats on a filly's flank!" and in spluttering words, twice
bracketed in muscadella, he told of Michel de la Foret's arrest, and of
his purpose to go to England if he could get a boat to take him.

"'Tis that same business brings me here," said Buonespoir, and forthwith
told of his meeting with Angele and what was then agreed upon.

"You to go to England!" cried Lempriere amazed. "They want you for Tyburn
there."

"They want me for the gallows here," said Buonespoir. Rolling a piece of
spiced meat in his hand, he stuffed it into his mouth and chewed till the
grease came out of his eyes, and took eagerly from a servant a flagon of
malmsey and a dish of ormers.

"Hush, chew thy tongue a minute!" said the Seigneur, suddenly starting
and laying a finger beside his nose. "Hush!" he said again, and looked
into the flicker of the candle by him with half-shut eyes.

"May I have no rushes for a bed, and die like a rat in a moat, if I don't
get thy pardon too of the Queen, and bring thee back to Jersey, a thorn
in the side of De Carteret for ever! He'll look upon thee assoilzied by
the Queen, spitting fire in his rage, and no canary or muscadella in his
cellar."

It came not to the mind of either that this expedition would be made at
cost to themselves. They had not heard of Don Quixote, and their gifts
were not imitative. They were of a day when men held their lives as
lightly as many men hold their honour now; when championship was as the
breath of life to men's nostrils, and to adventure for what was worth
having or doing in life the only road of reputation.

Buonespoir was as much a champion in his way as Lempriere of Rozel. They
were of like kidney, though so far apart in rank. Had Lempriere been born
as low and as poor as Buonespoir, he would have been a pirate too, no
doubt; and had Buonespoir been born as high as the Seigneur, he would
have carried himself with the same rough sense of honour, with as ripe a
vanity; have been as naive, as sincere, as true to the real heart of man
untaught in the dissimulation of modesty or reserve. When they shook
hands across the trencher of spiced veal, it was as man shakes hand with
man, not man with master.

They were about to start upon their journey when there came a knocking at
the door. On its being opened the bald and toothless Abednego stumbled in
with the word that immediately after Angele and her father came aboard
the Honeyflower some fifty halberdiers suddenly appeared upon the
Couperon. They had at once set sail, and got away even before the sailors
had reached the shore. As they had rounded the point, where they were hid
from view, Abednego dropped overboard and swam ashore on the rising tide,
making his way to the manor to warn Buonespoir. On his way hither,
stealing through the trees, he had passed a half-score of halberdiers
making for the manor, and he had seen others going towards the shore.

Buonespoir looked to the priming of his pistols, and buckling his belt
tightly about him, turned to the Seigneur and said: "I will take my
chances with Abednego. Where does she lie--the Honeyflower, Abednego?"

"Off the point called Verclut," answered the little man, who had
travelled with Francis Drake.

"Good; we will make a run for it, flying dot-and-carry-one as we go."

While they had been speaking the Seigneur had been thinking; and now,
even as several figures appeared at a little distance in the trees,
making towards the manor, he said, with a loud laugh:

"No. 'Tis the way of a fool to put his head between the door and the
jamb. 'Tis but a hundred yards to safety. Follow me--to the sea--Abednego
last. This way, bullies!"

Without a word all three left the house and walked on in the order
indicated, as De Carteret's halberdiers ran forward threatening.

"Stand!" shouted the sergeant of the halberdiers. "Stand, or we fire!"

But the three walked straight on unheeding. When the sergeant of the
men-at-arms recognised the Seigneur, he ordered down the blunderbusses.

"We come for Buonespoir the pirate," said the sergeant.

"Whose warrant?" said the Seigneur, fronting the halberdiers, Buonespoir
and Abednego behind him. "The Seigneur of St. Ouen's," was the reply.

"My compliments to the Seigneur of St. Ouen's, and tell him that
Buonespoir is my guest," he bellowed, and strode on, the halberdiers
following. Suddenly the Seigneur swerved towards the chapel and quickened
his footsteps, the others but a step behind. The sergeant of the
halberdiers was in a quandary. He longed to shoot, but dared not, and
while he was making up his mind what to do, the Seigneur had reached the
chapel door. Opening it, he quickly pushed Buonespoir and Abednego
inside, whispering to them, then slammed the door and put his back
against it.

There was another moment's hesitation on the sergeant's part, then a door
at the other end of the chapel was heard to open and shut, and the
Seigneur laughed loudly. The halberdiers ran round the chapel. There
stood Buonespoir and Abednego in a narrow roadway, motionless and
unconcerned. The halberdiers rushed forward.

"Perquage! Perquage! Perquage!" shouted Buonespoir, and the bright
moonlight showed him grinning. For an instant there was deadly stillness,
in which the approaching footsteps of the Seigneur sounded loud.

"Perquage!" Buonespoir repeated.

"Perquage! Fall back!" said the Seigneur, and waved off the pikes of the
halberdiers. "He has sanctuary to the sea."

This narrow road in which the pirates stood was the last of three in the
Isle of Jersey running from churches to the sea, in which a criminal was
safe from arrest by virtue of an old statute. The other perquages had
been taken away; but this one of Rozel remained, a concession made by
Henry VIII to the father of this Raoul Lempriere. The privilege had been
used but once in the present Seigneur's day, because the criminal must be
put upon the road from the chapel by the Seigneur himself, and he had
used his privilege modestly.

No man in Jersey but knew the sacredness of this perquage, though it was
ten years since it had been used; and no man, not even the Governor
himself, dare lift his hand to one upon that road.

So it was that Buonespoir and Abednego, two fugitives from justice,
walked quietly to the sea down the perquage, halberdiers, balked of their
prey, prowling on their steps and cursing the Seigneur of Rozel for his
gift of sanctuary: for the Seigneur of St. Ouen's and the Royal Court had
promised each halberdier three shillings and all the ale he could drink
at a sitting, if Buonespoir was brought in alive or dead.

In peace and safety the three boarded the Honeyflower off the point
called Verclut, and set sail for England, just seven hours after Michel
de la Foret had gone his way upon the Channel, a prisoner.




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