“It ran on for weeks,” said Will Law. “We were to have been married. I had no thought of this. ’Twas I who took her to and from the prison regularly, and ’twas thus that we met. She told me she was but the messenger of the Lady Catharine.”
Sir Arthur drew a long, slow breath. “Then I may say to you,” said he, “that your brother, John Law, is a hundred times more traitor and felon than even now I thought him. Yonder he goes”—and he shook his fist into the enveloping mist which hung above the waters. “Yonder he goes, somewhere, I give you warning, where he deems no trail shall be left behind him. But I promise you, whatever be your own wish, I shall follow him into the last corner of the earth, but he shall see me and give account for this! There is none of us he has not deceived, utterly, and like a black-hearted villain. He shall account for it, though it be years from now.”
So now, inch by inch, fathom after fathom, cable length after cable length, soon knot after knot, there sped two English ships out into the open seaway. Before long they began to toss restlessly and to pull eagerly at the helm as the scent of the salt seas came in. Yet neither knew fully the destination of the other, and neither knew that upon the deck of that other there was full solution of those questions which now sat so heavily upon these human hearts. Thus, silently, slowly, steadily, the two drew outward and apart, and before that morn was done, both were tossing widely upon the swell of that sea beyond which there lay so much of fate and mystery.
THE DOOR OF THE WEST
“Nearly a league farther, Du Mesne, and the sun but an hour high. Come, let us hasten!”
“You are right, Monsieur L’as,” replied the one addressed, as the first speaker seated himself on the thwart of the boat in whose bow he had been standing. “Bend to it, mes amis!”
John Law turned about on the seat, gazing back over the length of the little ship which had brought him and his comrades thus far on the wildest journey he had ever undertaken. Six paddlers there were for this great canot du Nord, and steadily enough they sent the thin-shelled craft along over the curling blue waves of the great inland sea. And now their voices in one accord fell into the cadences of an ancient boat-song of New France:
“En roulant ma loule,
Roulant, rouler, ma boule roulant.”
The ictus of the measure marked time for the sweeping paddles, and under the added impetus the paper shell, reinforced as it was by close-laid splints of cedar, and braced by the fiber-fastened thwarts, fairly yielded to the rush of the waves as the stalwart paddlers sent it flying forward. A tiny blur of white showed about the bows, and now and again a splash of spray came inboard, as some little curling white cap was divided by the rush of the swiftly moving prow.