She lay awake most of the night, telling herself how much she loved her prince; she spent half a day in the perusal of a strange book called The Tragedie of Romeo and Juliet by one William Shakespeare who had lived not so long ago: and found herself pondering as to whether her own sentiments with regard to her prince were akin to those so exquisitely expressed by those two young people who had died because they loved one another so dearly.
Then she heard that towards the end of the week Sir Marmaduke and Mistress de Chavasse would be journeying together to Canterbury in order to confer with Master Skyffington the lawyer, anent her own fortune, which was to be handed to her in its entirety in less than three months, when she would be of age.
BREAKING THE NEWS
Sir Marmaduke talked openly of this plan of going to Canterbury with Editha de Chavasse, mentioning the following Friday as the most likely date for his voyage.
Full of joy she brought the welcome news to her lover that same evening; nor had she cause to regret then her ready acquiescence to his wishes. He was full of tenderness then, of gentle discretion in his caresses, showing the utmost respect to his future princess. He talked less of his passion and more of his plans, in which now she would have her full share. He confided some of his schemes to her: they were somewhat vague and not easy to understand, but the manner in which he put them before her, made them seem wonderfully noble and selfless.
In a measure this evening—so calm and peaceful in contrast to the turbulence of the other night—marked one of the great crises in the history of her love. Even when she heard that Fate itself was conspiring to help on the clandestine marriage by causing Sir Marmaduke and Mistress de Chavasse to absent themselves at a most opportune moment, she had resolved to break the news to her lover of her own immense wealth.
Of this he was still in total ignorance. One or two innocent remarks which he had let fall at different times convinced her of that. Nor was this ignorance of his to be wondered at: he saw no one in or about the village except the old Quakeress and Adam Lambert with whom he lodged. The woman was deaf and uncommunicative, whilst there seemed to be some sort of tacit enmity against the foreigner, latent in the mind of the blacksmith. It was, therefore, quite natural that he should suppose her no whit less poor than Sir Marmaduke de Chavasse or the other neighboring Kentish squires whose impecuniousness was too blatant a fact to be unknown even to a stranger in the land.
Sue, therefore, was eagerly looking forward to the happy moment when she would explain to her prince that her share in the wonderful enterprise which he always vaguely spoke of as his “great work” would not merely be one of impassiveness. Where he could give the benefit of his personality, his eloquence, his knowledge of men and things, she could add the weight of her wealth.