“And what is that to me, Catherine?” she cried out. “Sure it is but to thy shame if thou hast loved unsought and confessed unasked. And if I had ten thousand sisters, and they all in love with him, as well they might be, for there is no one like him in the whole world, over all their hearts would I go, rather than he should miss me for but a second, if he loved me. Think you that aught like that can make a difference? Think you that one heart can outweigh two, and the misery of one be of any account before that of three?”
Then suddenly she looked sharply at her sister and cried out angrily:
“Catherine Cavendish, I know what this means. ’Tis but another device to part us. You love him not. You have hated him from the first. You have hated him, and he is no more guilty than you be. ’Tis but a trick to turn me from him. Fie, think you that will avail? Think you that a sister’s heart counts with a maid before her lover’s? Little you know of love and lovers to think that.”
Then to my great astonishment, since I had never seen such weakness in her before, Catherine flung up her hands before her face and burst into such a storm of wild weeping as never was, and fled into the house, and Mary and I stood alone together, but only for a second, for Mary, also casting a glance at me, then about her at the utter loneliness and silence of the world, fled in her turn. Then I went to my room, but not to sleep nor to think altogether of love, for my Lord Culpeper was to sail that day, and the next night was appointed for the beginning of the plant cutting.
I know not if my Lord Culpeper had any inkling of what was about to happen. Some were there who always considered him to be one who feathered his own nest with as little risk as might be, regardless of those over and under him, and one who saw when it behooved him to do so, and was blind when it served his own ends, even with the glare of a happening in his eyes. And many considered that he was in England when it seemed for his own best good without regard to the king or the colony, but that matters not, at this date. In truth his was a ticklish position, between two fires. If he remained in Virginia it was at great danger to himself, if he sided not with the insurgents; and on the other hand there was the certainty of his losing his governorship and his lands, and perhaps his head, if he went to tobacco-cutting with the rest of us. He was without doubt better off on the high sea, which is a sort of neutral place of nature, beyond the reach for the time, of mobs or sceptres, unless one falls in with a black flag. At all events, off sailed my Lord Culpeper, leaving Sir Henry Chichely as Lieutenant-Governor, and verily he might as well have left a weather-cock as that well-intentioned but pliable gentleman. Give him but a head wind over him and he would wax fierce to order, and well he served the government in the Bacon uprising, but leave him to his own will and back and forth he swung with great bluster but no stability. None of the colony, least of all the militia, stood in awe of Sir Henry Chichely, nor regarded him as more than a figure-head of authority when my Lord Culpeper had set sail.