And for a token, Eustacie looked over her jewels to find one that would serve for a token; but the only ones she knew would be recognized, were the brooch that had fastened the plume in Berenger’s bloody cap, and the chaplet of pearls. To part with the first, or to risk the second in the pirate-ship, was impossible, but Eustacie at last decided upon detaching the pear-shaped pearl which was nearest the clasp, and which was so remarkable in form and tint that there was no doubt of its being well known.
CHAPTER XXI. UNDER THE WALNUT-TREE
Mistress Jean was making the elder-flower wine—
‘And what brings the Laird at sic a like time?’
LADY NAIRN, THE LAIRD OF COCKPEN
Summer was nearly ended, and Lucy Thistlewood was presiding in the great kitchen of the Manor-house, standing under the latticed window near the large oak-table, a white apron over her dress, presiding over the collecting of elder-berries for the brew of household-wine for the winter. The maids stood round her with an array of beechen bowls or red and yellow crocks, while barefooted, bareheaded children came thronging in with rush or wicker baskets of the crimson fruit, which the maids poured in sanguine cascades into their earthenware; and Lucy requited with substantial slices of bread and cheese, and stout homely garment mostly of her own sewing.
Lucy was altogether an inmate of her father’s house. She had not even been at Hurst Walwyn for many months; for her step-mother’s reiterated hopes that Berenger would make her his consolation for all he had suffered from his French spouse rendered it impossible to her to meet him with sisterly unconsciousness; and she therefore kept out of the way, and made herself so useful at home, that Dame Annora only wondered how it had been possible to spare her so long, and always wound up her praises by saying, that Berenger would learn in time how lucky he had been to lose the French puppet, and win the good English housewife.
If only tidings would have come that the puppet was safe married. That was the crisis which all the family desired yet feared for Berenger, since nothing else they saw would so detach his thoughts from the past as the leave him free to begin life again. The relapse brought on by the cruel reply to Osbert’s message had been very formidable: he was long insensible or delirious and then came a state of annihilated thought, then of frightfully sensitive organs, when light, sound, movement, or scent were alike agony; and when he slowly revived, it was with such sunken spirits, that his silence was as much from depression as from difficulty of speech. His brain was weak, his limbs feeble, the wound in his mouth never painless; and all this necessarily added to his listless indifference and weariness, as though all youthful hope and pleasure were extinct in him. He had ceased to refer to