“‘To New York,’ he answered with a laugh. ‘You must have had a time!’
“How much is the fare?”
“‘Young man, that need not concern you,’ said the Captain. ’Your fare has been paid in full. I saw them put a letter in your pocket. Have you read it?’”
Jack found the letter and read:
“DEAR SIR—When you see this you will be well out of danger and, it is hoped, none the worse for your dissipation. This from one who admires your skill and courage and who advises you to keep out of England for at least a year.
“A WELL WISHER.”
He looked back over the stern of the ship. The shore had fallen out of sight. The sky was clear. The sun shining. The wind was blowing from the east.
He stood for a long time looking toward the land he had left.
“Oh, ye wings of the wind! take my love to her and give her news of me and bid her to be steadfast in her faith and hope,” he whispered.
He leaned against the bulwark and tried to think.
“Sir Benjamin has seen to it,” he said to himself. “I shall have no opportunity to meet her again.”
He reviewed the events of the day and their under-current of intrigue. The King himself might have been concerned in that and Preston also. It had been on the whole a rather decent performance, he mused, and perhaps it had kept him out of worse trouble than he was now in. But what had happened to Margaret?
He reread her note.
“My father has learned of our meeting and of how it came about,” he quoted.
“More bribery,” he thought. “The intrigante naturally sold her services to the highest bidder.”
He recalled the violent haste with which the coach had rolled away from the place of meeting. Had that been due to a fear that Margaret would defeat their plans?
All these speculations and regrets were soon put away. But for a long time one cause of worry was barking at his heels. It slept beside him and often touched and awoke him at night. He had been responsible for the death of a human being. What an unlucky hour he had had at Sir John Pringle’s! Yet he found a degree of comfort in the hope that those proud men might now have a better thought of the Yankees.
THE FRIEND AND THE GIRL HE LEFT BEHIND HIM
After Jack had been whirled out of London, Franklin called at his lodgings and learned that he had not been seen for a day. The wise philosopher entertained no doubt that the young man had taken ship agreeably with the advice given him. A report had been running through the clubs of London that Lionel Clarke had succumbed. In fact he had had a bad turn but had rallied. Jack must have heard the false report and taken ship suddenly.