For the Love of Lady Margaret_ A Romance of the Lost Colony
Obvious typographic errors have been corrected.
FOR THE LOVE OF LADY MARGARET
Lady Margaret Carroll
FOR THE LOVE OF
A Romance of
the Lost Colony
WILLIAM THOMAS WILSON
CHARLOTTE, N. C.
STONE & BARRINGER COMPANY
By STONE & BARRINGER COMPANY
THE QUINN & BODEN CO. PRESS
RAHWAY, N. J.
|I.||The End or the Beginning||7|
|II.||I Have an Offer||16|
|III.||We Take the Merchant||28|
|IV.||The Island Eldorado||39|
|VI.||The Plot Thickens||71|
|VIII.||I Dice for a Life||91|
|IX.||The Last Revel||105|
|X.||The Black Flag Goes Under||120|
|XI.||The Great Armada||137|
|XIII.||I Sail for Virginia||185|
|XV.||The Search for the Lost Colony||221|
|XVI.||A Wild Diana||239|
|XVII.||The Death of DeNortier||258|
|XVIII.||My Lord Takes His Departure||278|
|XIX.||The Journey's End||295|
FOR THE LOVE OF LADY MARGARET
CHAPTER I THE END OR THE BEGINNING
And so this was the end? Well, no matter—I had lived my littleday—had played my part. The bell had tapped; the curtain had fallen;and so the scene must end. How many of those who had seen the littlegame played out, and had applauded the actor, would remember after thelights were out and the house was dark? I had passed from Heaven toHell in four short hours—four hours!
My new white trunks, with the gray doublet, were on the bed, where Ihad laid them out. I had planned to wear them to Lady Wiltshire's ballto-night.
The guests were just beginning to arrive—Raleigh, with the gallant airand courtly mien; Lord North, with his stupid and insufferable egotism;Francis Bacon, the austere and brilliant, and the Viscount James HenryHampden, who would, in my absence, promptly take possession of LadyMargaret Carroll.
Ah, my lady! wouldst thou give one thought to me when I had passed outof thy life forever? Wouldst thou, like the rest, move on without onesigh, thine eyes fixed upon the moving figures about thee, forgetfulthat there was wont to be another by thy side, who was now gone foraye? Would one tear fall from those beautiful eyes which I had lookedinto so often within the last two years?—years that seemed so shortto me to-night, as I looked back over them, and thought of the goldenhours, which had once gleamed so bright and happy before me, but nowlay so far behind, lost in the moldering ashes of the forgotten past.
It seemed like long years since I had received that short note from myfather, with its few curt lines, saying that our paths must separate;that I had disgraced the family; that he had borne with me till fleshand blood could stand no more, and henceforth I would be as a strangerto him.
Life indeed seemed black to me! Past my first youth (I was thirty-two),brought up to do nothing except to enjoy myself, with an ample income,which my father, Lord Richmond, had always supplied—what wonder that Ifelt as if the anchor had indeed slipped, and that I was adrift at themercy of the wind and tide.
I might, it was true, drift on for a few weeks on credit, and borrowfrom my friends, but I had no mind to do that. Whatever my faults, andthey were many and grievous, I had at least lived like a gentleman, andhad nothing on that score to reproach myself with.
I did not wish to run deep into debt, and cause honest tradesmen tolose their just dues because they had trusted to my honor. No; whatevercame, I would not do that. I would face the situation fairly andsquarely—would work out as best I could my own salvation, without fearor favor from any man.
The old lord, my father, had always disliked me; I remember as a boyhow he never had a kind word for me. My older brother, Richard, was hisfavorite, and Richard had never lost an opportunity to prejudice himagainst me.
My brother, as a little boy, had always treasured up all my mistakesand punishments at school, and when he returned home, would recountthem to my father with a grave face, so that he would have the pleasureof hearing him reprove me, which I believe that Richard delighted in.
What wonder was it, when I finished school, that I chose, after a yearor two in the Irish campaign, to return and remain in London, ratherthan journey down to the grim old castle, built by the third LordRichmond during the reign of Stephen, and live there with my father andRichard.
My mother had been dead for years. From out of the dim memories of mychildhood I see her arise—a gentle, sweet-faced woman, who loved herfamily and her home more than all else. She died when I was young, andthere remained of the family only my father, Richard, and myself.
This sudden fury of my father's was Richard's work, I had no doubt. Hehad played on my father's old hatred for me, and had fanned it by hishints of my extravagance and wildness, until it had burned into a flameready to sweep all before it. Well, they could go their own way now,and I would go mine. Henceforth they should not be troubled with me.
I walked over to my window, and looked down upon the crowd, as itsurged to and fro along Cheapside. Many parties of richly clad gallantshurried along, bound for the playhouse and the rout.
On the opposite side of the street, amidst the throng, I descriedBobby Vane, in his new plum-colored cloak, as he hastened to my LadyWiltshire's ball. I followed him with my eyes, until the torch of hislinkboy was lost in the crowd.
The night was hot and sultry, and to me, exhausted by my painfulthoughts, the room seemed insufferably close and stifling. Hardlyknowing what I did, I picked up my coat and hat, and passed out intothe street.
How long I walked, or where, I know not. The faces about me on thestreet I saw dimly, as though in some dream—indistinct, faint, whichon the morn comes to the mind in broken fragments. Thou knowest thatsuch thoughts, such faces, have passed before thine eyes, but when andwhere thou canst not tell.
I strode on rapidly, looking neither to right nor left, not knowingor caring whither I went; glad that I was occupied, and not sittingidle, tortured with painful thoughts of the morrow. Many I passed thus,some of whom stopped to look back at me as I left them behind in myrapid walk. Some sound of their conversation came to my ears as theywhispered after me.
I was coming now into the less frequented part of London, where I didnot remember to have ever been before. The crowd upon the streetswas smaller here, and was of the poorer class, mostly laborers andtradesmen, and the sight of a well-dressed stranger must have createdsome sensation in their minds. They said naught to me, however, and Ipassed on.
I had halted at a corner to let a cart pass by, and moved by someimpulse of the moment, I now looked back. A man[Pg 10] stood by a house afew feet away, and as he caught my look he shrank against the wall,as though to conceal himself from my sight. I had seen him before—ashort, squat man, with a dark bronzed face, and thick black hairsprinkled with gray. He was dressed in the garb of a well-to-dotradesman, but there was an indescribable something in his appearanceor manner, I know not exactly what, that suggested the sea to me. Itmay have been his walk, rolling and clumsy, or the slits in his ears,which showed where once there had been ear-rings, that made me think ofa seaman.
I had seen him several times within the last few days, hanging aroundthe corners near my apartments, as though watching for someone. Onceon coming down my steps, I ran full into his arms as he stood on thelanding, and as I disengaged myself, he glanced keenly into my face asthough to fix it in his mind, and with a word of apology passed on. Itseemed as though he followed my footsteps, for half an hour later, onpassing a fruit stand near the Thames, I had seen him gazing intentlyat me through the lattice.
And now the same man was just behind me, and when I glanced at him,innocently enough, he shrank back as though to avoid my look. Could itbe that he dogged my steps, and for some purpose of his own wished tokeep me in sight? I knew not why he should do so. I had no enemy in thecity, who would go to so much trouble on my account. But it was worthlooking into, and so I turned into an alley, and stepping quickly intoa dark doorway, I waited.
A few moments, and footsteps sounded on the pavement, and the figureof my pursuer, for pursuer he undoubtedly was, came in sight. Pausingat the entrance of the lane, he looked cautiously into it, no doubtpondering where I could have disappeared so suddenly. The moonlightshone full in his face as he stood there, and from my hiding place Icould see every sinister feature, as like a baffled hound he sought torediscover the lost scent. An instant thus he stood, as if undecided;then silently he stole into the dark alley, and passing the doorwaywhere I stood melted away in the gloom.
Waiting a few minutes where I was, I stepped down, and turning strodeout of the lane and back to the corner whence[Pg 11] I had come only a momentago. Congratulating myself on the fact that I had shaken this spy, Iresumed my walk. Through strange twisted streets, overhung with gabled,many-windowed houses; by