His hand fell upon her shoulder and he turned her round. She was still shaking with sobs—or something.
“I will—I will, I will drown myself!” she cried, her kerchief closer to her eyes.
“I will marry you—I will do anything. I love you, Maud!”
“You do not—you cannot!” she cried, pushing him fiercely away, “you said you would not! That I was not fit to marry.”
“I did not mean it—I lied! I did not know what I said! I will do whatever you bid me!” Sholto was grovelling now.
“Then you will marry me—if I do not drown myself?”
She spoke with a sort of relenting, delicious and tentative.
“Yes—yes! When you will—to-morrow—now!”
She dropped the kerchief and the laughing eyes of naughty Maud Lindesay looked suddenly out upon Sholto like sunshine in a dark place. They were dry and full of merriment. Not a trace of tears was to be discerned in either of them.
Then she gave another little skip, and, catching him by the arm, forced him to walk with her toward Castle Thrieve.
“Of course you will marry me, silly! You could not help yourself, Sholto—and it shall be when I like too. But now that you have been so stern and crusty with me, I am not sure that I will not take Landless Jock after all!”
* * * * *
This is the end, and yet not the end. For still, say the country folk, when the leaves are greenest by the lakeside, when the white thorn is whitest and the sun drops most gloriously behind the purpling hills of the west, when the children sing like mavises on the clachan greens, you may chance to spy under the Three Thorns of Carlinwark a lady fairer than mortal eye hath seen. She will be sitting gracefully on a white palfrey and hearkening to the bairns singing by the watersides. And the tears fall down her cheeks as she listens, in the place where in the spring-time of the year young William Douglas first met the Lady Sybilla.