Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Classical Novels > Men of Iron > CHAPTER 19
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 As was said, perhaps a month passed; then Myles's visits came to an abrupt termination, and with it ended, in a certain sense, a chapter of his life.  
One Saturday afternoon he climbed the garden wall, and skirting behind a long row of rosebushes that screened him from the Countess's terrace, came to a little summer-house where the two young ladies had appointed to meet him that day.
A pleasant half-hour or so was passed, and then it was time for Myles to go. He lingered for a while before he took his final leave, leaning against the door-post, and laughingly telling how he and some of his brother squires had made a figure of straw dressed in men's clothes, and had played a trick with it one night upon a watchman against whom they bore a grudge.
The young ladies were listening with laughing faces, when suddenly, as Myles looked, he saw the smile vanish from Lady Alice's eyes and a wide terror take its place. She gave a half-articulate cry, and rose abruptly from the bench upon which she was sitting.
Myles turned sharply, and then his very heart seemed to stand still within him; for there, standing in the broad sunlight without, and glaring in upon the party with baleful eyes, was the Earl of Mackworth himself.
How long was the breathless silence that followed, Myles could never tell. He knew that the Lady Anne had also risen, and that she and her cousin were standing as still as statues. Presently the Earl pointed to the house with his staff, and Myles noted stupidly how it trembled in his hand.
“Ye wenches,” said he at last, in a hard, harsh voice—“ye wenches, what meaneth this? Would ye deceive me so, and hold parlance thus secretly with this fellow? I will settle with him anon. Meantime get ye straightway to the house and to your rooms, and there abide until I give ye leave to come forth again. Go, I say!”
“Father,” said Lady Anne, in a breathless voice—she was as white as death, and moistened her lips with her tongue before she spoke—“father, thou wilt not do harm to this young man. Spare him, I do beseech thee, for truly it was I who bade him come hither. I know that he would not have come but at our bidding.”
The Earl stamped his foot upon the gravel. “Did ye not hear me?” said he, still pointing towards the house with his trembling staff. “I bade ye go to your rooms. I will settle with this fellow, I say, as I deem fitting.”
“Father,” began Lady Anne again; but the Earl made such a savage gesture that poor Lady Alice uttered a faint shriek, and Lady Anne stopped abruptly, trembling. Then she turned and passed out the farther door of the summerhouse, poor little Lady Alice following, holding her tight by the skirts, and trembling and shuddering as though with a fit of the ague.
The Earl stood looking grimly after them from under his shaggy eyebrows, until they passed away behind the yew-trees, appeared again upon the terrace behind, entered the open doors of the women's house, and were gone. Myles heard their footsteps growing fainter and fainter, but he never raised his eyes. Upon the ground at his feet were four pebbles, and he noticed how they almost made a square, and would do so if he pushed one of them with his toe, and then it seemed strange to him that he should think of such a little foolish thing at that dreadful time.
He knew that the Earl was looking gloomily at him, and that his face must be very pale. Suddenly Lord Mackworth spoke. “What hast thou to say?” said he, harshly.
Then Myles raised his eyes, and the Earl smiled grimly as he looked his victim over. “I have naught to say,” said the lad, huskily.
“Didst thou not hear what my daughter spake but now?” said the Earl. “She said that thou came not of thy own free-will; what sayst thou to that, sirrah—is it true?”
Myles hesitated for a moment or two; his throat was tight and dry. “Nay,” said he at last, “she belieth herself. It was I who first came into the garden. I fell by chance from the tree yonder—I was seeking a ball—then I asked those two if I might not come hither again, and so have done some several times in all. But as for her—nay; it was not at her bidding that I came, but through mine own asking.”
The Earl gave a little grunt in his throat. “And how often hast thou been here?” said he, presently.
Myles thought a moment or two. “This maketh the seventh time,” said he.
Another pause of silence followed, and Myles began to pluck up some heart that maybe all would yet be well. The Earl's next speech dashed that hope into a thousand fragments. “Well thou knowest,” said he, “that it is forbid for any to come here. Well thou knowest that twice have men been punished for this thing that thou hast done, and yet thou camest ............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved