“Till, in their opinion, I had purged my contempt, I believe.”
“And how long would that be?”
“I’ve no idea. It probably depends on circumstances. Do you know that, until Lady Elspeth told me, I had rib idea that you had any money. It was rather a blow to me.”
“I don’t see why.”
“But I told our old friend that if—well, if, you understand—I should insist on everything you had being settled on yourself.”
“You and Lady Elspeth seem to have discussed matters pretty freely,” she said, with a laugh.
“She’s the dearest old lady in the world, and delights in mothering me. She got me in a corner that afternoon, and taxed me with coming to her house for reasons other than simply to see herself——”
“I had to own up, of course, and then she crushed me by telling me that you were an heiress, and that Mr. Pixley probably had views of his own concerning you.”
“Which he had, but they happened not to coincide with mine, and so I came to Sark.”
“Happy day! I see you yet, standing in the hedge by the Red House, and I believing you a vision.”
“I could hardly believe my eyes either. You seemed to come jumping right out of the sky.”
“I jumped right into heaven—the highest jump that ever was made.”
“I was a bit put out at first, you know——”
“I know you were.”
“I thought you had learned we were coming, and had followed us here.”
“Whereas——” he laughed.
“But yes, I can marry you in the church,” said the Vicar, blowing out smoke, and laughing enjoyably across at Graeme, who sat in another garden chair under the big trees in front of the Vicarage.
“In spite of the fact that we are aliens?”
“Oh, it is not so bad as that. We ab-sorbed you by conquest and so you are really a part of us. We are all one family now.”
“And such a marriage would be perfectly legal and unassailable?”
“I shall marry you more firmly than if you were married in Cant-er-bury Cath-edral,” laughed the Vicar.
“That should suffice. But why more firmly? How improve on perfection?”
“I will tell you,” said the Vicar, with increased enjoyment, as he leaned forward and tapped Graeme’s knee. “It is this way.—If you are married in Cant-er-bury Cath-edral you can be divorced,—n’est-ce pas? Oui! Eh bien!—If you are married in my church of Sark you can never be divorced. C’est ca! It is the old Norman law.”
“We will be married in your church of Sark,” said Graeme, with conviction.
“That is right. I shall marry you so that you shall never be able to get away from one another.”
“Please God, we’ll never want to!”