Everything! Even the desecration of the dead!
The murderer was powerful, and there is a strength which madness gives. Heavy boulders pushed by vigorous arms had to help in the monstrous deed!
Heavy boulders thrown and rolled over the face of the dead, so as to obliterate all identity!
Nay! had a sound now disturbed the silence of this awesome night, surely it had been the laughter of demons aghast at such a deed!
The moon indeed hid her face, retreating once more behind the veils of mist. The breeze itself was lulled and the fog gathered itself together and wrapped the unavowable horrors of the night in a gray and ghoul-like shroud.
Madness lurked in the eyes of the sacrilegious murderer. Madness which helped him not only to carry his grim task to the end, but, having accomplished it, to see that it was well done.
And his hand did not tremble, as he raised the lantern and looked down on that which had once been Adam Lambert, the smith.
Nay, had those laughing demons looked on it, they would have veiled their faces in awe!
The gentle wavelets of the torpid tide were creeping round that thing in red doublet and breeches, in high top boots, lace cuffs and collar.
Sir Marmaduke looked down calmly upon his work, and did not even shudder with horror.
Madness had been upon him and had numbed his brain.
But the elemental instinct of self-preservation whispered to him that his work was well done.
When the sea gave up the dead, only the clothes, the doublet, the ribands, the lace, the black shade, mayhap, would reveal his identity, as the mysterious French prince who for a brief while had lodged in a cottage at Acol.
But the face was unrecognizable.
THE DAY AFTER
The feeling which prevailed in Thanet with regard to the murder of the mysterious foreigner on the sands of Epple Bay was chiefly one of sullen resentment.
Here was a man who had come from goodness knows where, whose strange wanderings and secret appearances in the neighborhood had oft roused the anger of the village folk, just as his fantastic clothes, his silken doublet and befrilled shirt had excited their scorn; here was a man, I say, who came from nowhere, and now he chose—the yokels of the neighborhood declared it that he chose—to make his exit from the world in as weird a manner as he had effected his entrance into this remote and law-abiding little island.
The farmhands and laborers who dwelt in the cottages dotted about around St. Nicholas-at-Wade, Epple or Acol were really angry with the stranger for allowing himself to be murdered on their shores. Thanet itself had up to now enjoyed a fair reputation for orderliness and temperance, and that one of her inhabitants should have been tempted to do away with that interloping foreigner in such a violent manner was obviously the fault of that foreigner himself.