The Nest of the Sparrowhawk
XXI. In The Meanwhile
The news of the police raid on a secret gambling club in London, together with
the fracas which it entailed, had of necessity reached even as far as sea-girt
Thanet. Squire Boatfield had been the first to hear of it; he spread the news as
fast as he could, for he was overfond of gossip, and Dame Harrison over at St.
Lawrence had lent him able assistance.
Sir Marmaduke had, of course, the fullest details concerning the affair, for he
himself owned to having been present in the very house where the disturbance
had occurred. He was not averse to his neighbors knowing that he was a
frequenter of those exclusive and smart gambling clubs, which were avowedly
the resort of the most elegant cavaliers of the day, and his account of some of
the events of that memorable night had been as entertaining as it was highly-
He avowed, however, that, disgusted at Richard Lambert's shameful conduct, he
had quitted the place early, some little while before my Lord Protector's police
had made a descent upon the gamblers. As for Mistress de Chavasse, her name
was never mentioned in connection with the affair. She had been in London at
the time certainly, staying with a friend, who was helping her in the choice of a
new gown for the coming autumn.
She returned to Acol Court with her brother-in-law, apparently as horrified as he
was at the disgrace which she vowed Richard Lambert had heaped upon them
The story of the young man being caught in the very act of cheating at cards lost
nothing in the telling. He had been convicted before Judge Parry of obtaining
money by lying and other illicit means, had been condemned to fine and
imprisonment and as he refused to pay the former--most obstinately declaring
that he was penniless--he was made to stand for two hours in the pillory, and
was finally dragged through the streets in a rickety cart in full sight of a jeering
crowd, sitting with his back to the nag in company of the public hangman, and
attired in shameful and humiliating clothes.
What happened to him after undergoing this wonderfully lenient sentence--for
many there were who thought he should have been publicly whipped and
branded as a cheat--nobody knew or cared.
They kept him in prison for over ten weeks, it seems, but Sir Marmaduke did not
know what had become of him since then.
The other gentlemen got off fairly lightly with fines and brief periods of
imprisonment. Young Segrave, so 'twas said, had been shipped to New England