Sir Oliver's wisdom in being the first to bear Rosamund the story of that day's happenings
was established anon when Master Godolphin returned home. He went straight in quest
of his sister; and in a frame of mind oppressed by fear and sorrow, for Sir John, by his
general sense of discomfiture at the hands of Sir Oliver and by the anger begotten of all
this he was harsh in manner and disposed to hector.
"Madam," he announced abruptly, "Sir John is like to die."
The astounding answer she returned him--that is, astounding to him--did not tend to
soothe his sorely ruffled spirit.
"I know," she said. "And I believe him to deserve no less. Who deals in calumny should
be prepared for the wages of it."
He stared at her in a long, furious silence, then exploded into oaths, and finally inveighed
against her unnaturalness and pronounced her bewitched by that foul dog Tressilian.
"It is fortunate for me," she answered him composedly, "that he was here before you to
give me the truth of this affair." Then her assumed calm and the anger with which she
had met his own all fell away from her. "Oh, Peter, Peter," she cried in anguish, "I hope
that Sir John will recover. I am distraught by this event. But be just, I implore you. Sir
Oliver has told me how hard-driven he had been."
"He shall be driven harder yet, as God's my life! If you think this deed shall go
She flung herself upon his breast and implored him to carry this quarrel no further. She
spoke of her love for Sir Oliver and announced her firm resolve to marry him in despite
of all opposition that could be made, all of which did not tend to soften her brother's
humour. Yet because of the love that ever had held these two in closest bonds he went so
far in the end as to say that should Sir John recover he would not himself pursue the
matter further. But if Sir John should die--as was very likely--honour compelled him to
seek vengeance of a deed to which he had himself so very largely contributed.
"I read that man as if he were an open book," the boy announced, with callow
boastfulness. "He has the subtlety of Satan, yet he does not delude me. It was at me he
struck through Killigrew. Because he desires you, Rosamund, he could not--as he bluntly
told me--deal with me however I provoked him, not even though I went the length of
striking him. He might have killed me for't; but he knew that to do so would place a
barrier 'twixt him and you. Oh! he is calculating as all the fiends of Hell. So, to wipe out
the dishonour which I did him, he shifts the blame of it upon Killigrew and goes out to
kill him, which he further thinks may act as a warning to me. But if Killigrew dies...."
And thus he rambled on, filling her gentle heart with anguish to see this feud increasing