Sir Marmaduke still sat irresolute, and Charlie went on:
“Besides, father, Mr. Jervoise has risked his life in lingering in Lancashire to save you, and the brave fellows who aided us to rescue you have risked theirs, both in the fray and afterwards, if their share in it should ever be known; and it would not be fair to risk failure, after all they have done. I pray you, father, be guided by the opinion of your good friend, Mr. Jervoise.”
Sir Marmaduke touched his horse’s flank with his heel.
“You have prevailed, Charlie. Your last argument decided me. I have no right to risk my life, after my good friends have done so much to save me. John Dormay may enjoy his triumph for a while, but a day of reckoning will surely come.
“Now, tell me of the others, Jervoise. Have all escaped in safety?”
“All. Your boy brought me the news of your arrest, and that we were charged with plotting William’s assassination. I rode that night with the news, and next day all were on the road to the coast, and were happily on board and away before the news of their escape could be sent to the ports.”
“And now, what are your plans, Jervoise—that is, if you have any plans, beyond reaching a port and taking ship for France?”
“I am going to Sweden,” Mr. Jervoise said, and then repeated the reasons that he had given Charlie for taking this step.
“I am too old for the wars,” Sir Marmaduke said. “I was sixty last birthday, and though I am still strong and active, and could strike a shrewd blow in case of need, I am too old for the fatigues and hardships of campaigning. I could not hope, at my age, to obtain a commission in the Swedish service.”
“No, I did not think of your joining the army, Sir Marmaduke, though I warrant you would do as well as most; but I thought that you might take up your residence at Stockholm, as well as at Saint Germains. You will find many Scottish gentlemen there, and not a few Jacobites who, like yourself, have been forced to fly. Besides, both the life and air would suit you better than at Saint Germains, where, by all accounts the life is a gay one, and men come to think more of pleasure than of duty. Moreover, your money will go much further in Sweden than in France.”
Sir Marmaduke, checking the horse’s speed, said, “I have not so much as a penny in my pocket, and methinks I am like to have some trouble in getting at the hoard I have been collecting, ever since Dutch William came to the throne, for the benefit of His Majesty when he arrives.”
“You will have no trouble in getting at that, father,” Charlie said laughing, “seeing that you have nothing to do but to lean over, and put your hand into my holsters, which are so full, as you see, that I am forced to carry my pistols in my belt.”
“What mean you, lad?”
“I mean, father, that I have the whole of the hoard, that was stowed away in the priest’s hiding place;” and he then related how Banks had revealed to him the secret of the hiding place, and how he had, the night before Sir Marmaduke was removed from Lancaster Castle, visited the place and carried away the money.