To that cabin below the whole company repaired in all speed in the surgeon's wake, Sir
Oliver coming last between his guards. They assembled about the couch where Lionel
lay, leaden-hued of face, his breathing laboured, his eyes dull and glazing.
Sir John ran to him, went down upon one knee to put loving arms about that chilling clay,
and very gently raised him in them, and held him so resting against his breast.
"Lionel!" he cried in stricken accents. And then as if thoughts of vengeance were to
soothe and comfort his sinking friend's last moments, he added: "We have the villain
Very slowly and with obvious effort Lionel turned his head to the right, and his dull eyes
went beyond Sir John and made quest in the ranks of those that stood about him.
"Oliver?" he said in a hoarse whisper. "Where is Oliver?"
"There is not the need to distress you...." Sir John was beginning, when Lionel
"Wait!" he commanded in a louder tone. "Is Oliver safe?"
"I am here," said Sir Oliver's deep voice, and those who stood between him and his
brother drew aside that they might cease from screening him.
Lionel looked at him for a long moment in silence, sitting up a little. Then he sank back
again slowly against Sir John's breast.
"God has been merciful to me a sinner," he said, since He accords me the means to make
amends, tardily though it be."
Then he struggled up again, and held out his arms to Sir Oliver, and his voice came in a
great pleading cry. "Noll! My brother! Forgive!"
Oliver advanced, none hindering until, with his hands still pinioned behind him he stood
towering there above his brother, so tall that his turban brushed the low ceiling of the
cabin. His countenance was stern and grim.
"What is it that you ask me to forgive?" he asked. Lionel struggled to answer, and sank
back again into Sir John's arms, fighting for breath; there was a trace of blood-stained
foam about his lips.
"Speak! Oh, speak, in God's name!" Rosamund exhorted him from the other side, and her
voice was wrung with agony.