The Sea-Hawk HTML version

The Intervener
The parson had notions of riding after Sir Oliver, and begged Master Baine to join him.
But the Justice looked down his long nose and opined that no good purpose was to be
served; that Tressilians were ever wild and bloody men; and that an angry Tressilian was
a thing to be avoided. Sir Andrew, who was far from valorous, thought there might be
wisdom in the Justice's words, and remembered that he had troubles enough of his own
with a froward wife without taking up the burdens of others. Master Godolphin and Sir
Oliver between them, quoth the justice, had got up this storm of theirs. A God's name let
them settle it, and if in the settling they should cut each other's throats haply the
countryside would be well rid of a brace of turbulent fellows. The pedlar deemed them a
couple of madmen, whose ways were beyond the understanding of a sober citizen. The
others--the fishermen and the rustics--had not the means to follow even had they had the
They dispersed to put abroad the news of that short furious quarrel and to prophesy that
blood would be let in the adjusting of it. This prognostication the they based entirely
upon their knowledge of the short Tressilian way. But it was a matter in which they were
entirely wrong. It is true that Sir Oliver went galloping along that road that follows the
Penryn river and that he pounded over the bridge in the town of Penryn in Master
Godolphin's wake with murder in his heart. Men who saw him riding wildly thus with the
red wheal across his white furious face said that he looked a very devil.
He crossed the bridge at Penryn a half-hour after sunset, as dusk was closing into night,
and it may be that the sharp, frosty air had a hand in the cooling of his blood. For as he
reached the river's eastern bank he slackened his breakneck pace, even as he slackened
the angry galloping of his thoughts. The memory of that oath he had sworn three months
ago to Rosamund smote him like a physical blow. It checked his purpose, and, reflecting
this, his pace fell to an amble. He shivered to think how near he had gone to wrecking all
the happiness that lay ahead of him. What was a boy's whiplash, that his resentment of it;
should set all his future life in jeopardy? Even though men should call him a coward for
submitting to it and leaving the insult unavenged, what should that matter? Moreover,
upon the body of him who did so proclaim him he could brand the lie of a charge so
foolish. Sir Oliver raised his eyes to the deep sapphire dome of heaven where an odd star
was glittering frostily, and thanked God from a swelling heart that he had not overtaken
Peter Godolphin whilst his madness was upon him.
A mile or so below Penryn, he turned up the road that ran down to the ferry there, and
took his way home over the shoulder of the hill with a slack rein. It was not his usual
way. He was wont ever to go round by Trefusis Point that he might take a glimpse at the
walls of the house that harboured Rosamund and a glance at the window of her bower.
But to-night he thought the shorter road over the hill would be the safer way. If he went
by Godolphin Court he might chance to meet Peter again, and his past anger warned him