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Baroness Emma Orczy
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 273 pages of information about The Nest of the Sparrowhawk.

The gale, in sheer wantonness, caught the midnight prowler’s hat and with a wild sound as of the detonation of a hundred guns, tossed it to the waves below.  The snow in a few moments had thrown a white pall over the watcher’s head.

He could see quite clearly the tall boulder untouched by the tide, on which he had placed the black silk shade that night, also the broad-brimmed hat, so that these things should be found high and dry and be easily recognizable.

Some twenty feet further on was the smooth stretch of sand where had lain the smith, after he had been dressed up in the fantastic clothes of the mysterious French prince.

Marmaduke de Chavasse gazed upon that spot.  The breakers licked it now and again, leaving behind them as they retreated a track of slimy foam, which showed white in this strange gray gloom, rendered alive and moving by the falling snow.

The surf covered that stretch of sand more and more frequently now, and retreated less and less far:  the slimy foam floated now over an inky pool; soon that too disappeared.  The breakers sought other boulders round which to play their titanic hide-and-seek.  The tide had completely hidden the place where Adam Lambert had lain.

Then the watcher walked on—­one step and then another—­and then the one beyond the edge as he stepped down, down into the abyss ninety feet below.

THE EPILOGUE

The chronicles of the time tell us that the mysterious disappearance of Sir Marmaduke de Chavasse was but a nine days’ wonder in that great world which lies beyond the boundaries of sea-girt Thanet.

What Thanet thought of it all, the little island kept secret, hiding its surmises in the thicket of her own archaic forests.

Squire Boatfield did his best to wrap the disappearance of his whilom friend in impenetrable veils of mystery.  He was a humane and a kindly man and feeling that the guilty had been amply punished, he set to work to cheer and to rehabilitate the innocent.

All of us who have read the memoirs of Editha de Chavasse, written when she was a woman of nearly sixty, remember that she, too, has drawn a thick curtain over the latter days of her brother-in-law’s life.  It is to her pen that we owe the record of what happened subsequently.

She tells us, for instance, how Master Skyffington, after sundry interviews with my Lord Northallerton, had the honor of bringing to his lordship’s notice the young student—­so long known as Richard Lambert—­who, of a truth, was sole heir to the earldom and to its magnificent possessions and dependencies.

From the memoirs of Editha de Chavasse we also know that Lady Sue Aldmarshe, girl-wife and widow, did, after a period of mourning, marry Michael Richard de Chavasse, sole surviving nephew and heir presumptive of his lordship the Earl of Northallerton.

But it is to the brush of Sir Peter Lely that we owe that exquisite portrait of Sue, when she was Countess of Northallerton, the friend of Queen Catherine, the acknowledged beauty at the Court of the Restoration.

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