The Heart's Highway eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 222 pages of information about The Heart's Highway.

I raised myself with such energy at that that she was startled, and the gentleman at the window half turned.

“What have they done with her?” I cried.  “If they dare—­”

“Hush,” said Catherine.  “Our grandmother hath but locked her in her chamber, since she hath discovered her love for thee, and frowns upon it, not since thou art a convict, but since thou hast turned against the King.  She says that no granddaughter of hers shall wed a rebel, be he convict or prince.  But she is safe, Harry, and there will no harm come to her, and indeed I think that if they in authority have heard aught of what she hath done, they are minded to keep it quiet, and—­and—­”

Then to my exceeding bewilderment down on her knees beside me went that proud maid and begged my pardon for her scorn of me, saying that she knew me guiltless, and knew for what reason I had taken such obloquy upon myself.

Then the gentleman at the window turned when she appealed to him, and came near, and I saw who he was—­my half-brother, John Chelmsford.

XX

It was six years and more since I had seen my half-brother, and I should scarcely have known him, for time had worked great changes in both his face and form.  He was much stouter than I remembered him, and wore a ruddy point of beard at his chin, and a great wig, whereas I recalled him as smooth of face, with his own hair.

But he was a handsome man, as I saw even then, lying in so much pain and weakness, and he came and stood over me, and looked at me more kindly than I should have expected, and I could see something of our common mother in his blue eyes.  He reached down his hand and shook the one of mine which I could muster strength to raise, and called me brother, and hoped that I found myself better, and gave me very many tender messages of our mother, and of his father likewise, which puzzled me exceedingly, until matters were explained.  Colonel Chelmsford had parted with me when I left England with but scant courtesy, and as for my poor mother, I had not seen her at all, she being confined to her chamber with grief over my disgrace, and not one word had I received from them since that time.  So when John Chelmsford said that our mother sent her dear love to her son Harry, and that nothing save her delicate health had prevented her from sailing to Virginia in the same ship to see the son from whom she had been so long parted, I gasped, and felt my head reel, and I called up my mother’s face, and verily I felt the tears start in my eyes, but I was very weak.

Then forth from her pocket Catherine drew a ring, and it flashed green with a great emerald, and particoloured with brilliants, before my eyes, and I was well-nigh overcome by the sight of that and everything turned black before me, for it was my Lord Robert Ealing’s great ring of exceeding value, for the theft of which I had been transported.

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The Heart's Highway from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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