The Nest of the Sparrowhawk HTML version
prince were akin to those so exquisitely expressed by those two young people
who had died because they loved one another so dearly.
Then she heard that towards the end of the week Sir Marmaduke and Mistress
de Chavasse would be journeying together to Canterbury in order to confer with
Master Skyffington the lawyer, anent her own fortune, which was to be handed to
her in its entirety in less than three months, when she would be of age.
XXII. Breaking The News
Sir Marmaduke talked openly of this plan of going to Canterbury with Editha de
Chavasse, mentioning the following Friday as the most likely date for his voyage.
Full of joy she brought the welcome news to her lover that same evening; nor
had she cause to regret then her ready acquiescence to his wishes. He was full
of tenderness then, of gentle discretion in his caresses, showing the utmost
respect to his future princess. He talked less of his passion and more of his
plans, in which now she would have her full share. He confided some of his
schemes to her: they were somewhat vague and not easy to understand, but the
manner in which he put them before her, made them seem wonderfully noble and
In a measure this evening--so calm and peaceful in contrast to the turbulence of
the other night--marked one of the great crises in the history of her love. Even
when she heard that Fate itself was conspiring to help on the clandestine
marriage by causing Sir Marmaduke and Mistress de Chavasse to absent
themselves at a most opportune moment, she had resolved to break the news to
her lover of her own immense wealth.
Of this he was still in total ignorance. One or two innocent remarks which he had
let fall at different times convinced her of that. Nor was this ignorance of his to be
wondered at: he saw no one in or about the village except the old Quakeress and
Adam Lambert with whom he lodged. The woman was deaf and
uncommunicative, whilst there seemed to be some sort of tacit enmity against
the foreigner, latent in the mind of the blacksmith. It was, therefore, quite natural
that he should suppose her no whit less poor than Sir Marmaduke de Chavasse
or the other neighboring Kentish squires whose impecuniousness was too blatant
a fact to be unknown even to a stranger in the land.
Sue, therefore, was eagerly looking forward to the happy moment when she
would explain to her prince that her share in the wonderful enterprise which he
always vaguely spoke of as his "great work" would not merely be one of
impassiveness. Where he could give the benefit of his personality, his eloquence,
his knowledge of men and things, she could add the weight of her wealth.
Of course she was very, very young, but already from him she had realized that it
is impossible even to regenerate mankind and give it political and religious
freedom without the help of money.