“You shall, my dear boy, you shall.”
There were churches at which the custom freshly begun at the Restoration was not dropped. The next was St. Matthias’s Day, and Anne and her uncle had already purposed to go to the quiet little church of St. Lawrence, at no great distance, in the very early morning. They were joined on their way down the stair into the courtyard of the inn by a gentleman in a slouched hat and large dark cloak, who drew Anne’s arm within his own.
Truly there was peace on that morning, and strength to the brave man beyond the physical courage that had often before made him bright in the face of danger, and Anne, though weeping, had a sense of respite and repose, if not of hope.
Late in the afternoon, little Philip was lifted down from riding before old Ralph into the arms of the splendid officer, whose appearance transcended all his visions. He fumbled in his small pocket, and held out a handful of something green and limp.
“Here’s my salad, papa. I brought it all the way for you to eat.”
And Colonel Archfield ate every scrap of it for supper, though it was much fitter for a rabbit, and all the evening he held on his knee the tired child, and responded to his prattle about Nana and dogs and rabbits; nay, ministered to his delight and admiration of the sheriff’s coach, javelin men, and even the judge, with a strange mixture of wonder, delight, and with melancholy only in eyes and undertones.
CHAPTER XXX: SENTENCE
“I have hope to live, and am prepared to die.”
Measure for Measure.
Ralph was bidden to be ready to take his young master home early the next morning. At eight o’clock the boy, who had slept with his father, came down the stair, clinging to his father’s hand, and Miss Woodford coming closely with him.
“Yes,” said Charles, as he held the little fair fellow in his arms, ere seating him on the horse, “he knows all, Ralph. He knows that his father did an evil thing, and that what we do in our youth finds us out later, and must be paid for. He has promised me to be a comfort to the old people, and to look on this lady as a mother. Nay, no more, Ralph; ’tis not good-bye to any of you yet. There, Phil, don’t lug my head off, nor catch my hair in your buttons. Give my dutiful love to your grandmamma and to Aunt Nutley, and be a good boy to them.”
“And when I come to see you again I’ll bring another salad,” quoth Philip, as he rode out of the court; and his father, by way of excusing a contortion of features, smoothed the entangled lock of hair, and muttered something about, “This comes of not wearing a periwig.” Then he said—
“And to think that I have wasted the company of such a boy as that, all his life except for this mere glimpse!”
“Oh! you will come back to him,” was all that could be said.
For it was time for Charles Archfield to surrender himself to take his trial.