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LORD MALLOW INTERVENES
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
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 Ireland?"
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
"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
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
"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."
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
"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
"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,
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. He 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--"
"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:
He get sick,
He tak fever,
He be die;
He be die.
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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 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
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
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
"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
"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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