“An exceedingly unpleasant person,” he vowed within himself, “you will have to be removed, good master, an you get too troublesome.”
But this interview with the inimical Quaker had more than strengthened Sir Marmaduke’s design to carry his bold scheme more rapidly to its successful issue.
The game which he had played with grave risks for over three months now had begun to be dangerous. The mysterious patriot from France could not afford to see prying enemies at his heels.
Anon when the graceful outline of Lady Sue’s figure emerged from out the surrounding gloom, Sir Marmaduke went forward to meet her, and clasped her to him in a passionate embrace.
“My gracious lady ... my beautiful Sue ...” he murmured whilst he covered her hands, her brow, her hair with ardent kisses, “you have come so late—and I have been so weary of waiting ... waiting for you.”
He led her through the gardens to where one gigantic elm, grander than its fellows, had thrown out huge gnarled roots which protruded from out the ground. One of these, moss-covered, green and soft, formed a perfect resting place. He drew her down, begging her to sit. She obeyed, scared somewhat as was her wont when she found him so unfettered and violent.
He stretched himself at full length at her feet, extravagant now in his acts and gestures like a man who no longer can hold turbulent passion in check. He kissed the edge of her kirtle, then her cloak and the tips of her little shoes:
“It was cruel to keep me waiting ... gracious lady—it was cruel,” he murmured in the intervals between these ardent caresses.
“I am so sorry, Amede,” she repeated, grieving to see him so sorrowful, not a little frightened at his vehemence,—trying to withdraw her hands from his grasp. “I was detained ...”
“Detained,” he rejoined harshly, “detained by someone else ... someone who had a greater claim on your time than the poor exile ...”
“Nay! ’tis unkind thus to grieve me,” she said with tender reproach as she felt the hot tears gather in her eyes. “You know—as I do—that I am not my own mistress yet.”
“Yes! yes! forgive me—my gracious, sweet, sweet lady.... I am mad when you are not nigh me.... You do not know—how could you? ... what torments I endure, when I think of you so beautiful, so exquisite, so adorable, surrounded by other men who admire you ... desire you, mayhap.... Oh! my God! ...”
“But you need have no fear,” she protested gently, “you know that I gave my whole heart willingly to you ... my prince ...”
“Nay, but you cannot know,” he persisted violently, “sweet, gentle creature that you are, you cannot guess the agonies which a strong man endures when he is gnawed by ruthless insane jealousy ...”
She gave a cry of pain.