‘Whither, then, am I to go?’ asked Dorothy, with dignity.
‘Alas, Dorothy!’ answered Richard, ’there is no help: I must take thee to Raglan. But comfort thyself—soon shalt thou go where thou wilt.’
Dorothy marvelled at her own resignation the while she rode with Richard back to the castle. Her scheme was a failure, but through no fault, and she could bear anything with composure except blame.
A word from Richard to colonel Morgan was sufficient. A messenger with a flag of truce was sent instantly to the castle, and the firing on both sides ceased. The messenger returned, the gate was opened, and Dorothy re-entered, defeated, but bringing her secrets back with her.
‘Tit for tat,’ said the marquis when she had recounted her adventures. ’Thou and the roundhead are well matched. There is no avoiding of it, cousin! It is your fate, as clear as if your two horoscopes had run into one. Mind thee, hearts are older than crowns, and love outlives all but leasing.’
‘All but leasing!’ repeated Dorothy to herself, and the but was bitter.
Scudamore was now much better, partly from the influence of reviving hopes with regard to Dorothy, for his disposition was such that he deceived himself in the direction of what he counted advantage; not like Heywood, who was ever ready to believe what in matters personal told against him. Tom Fool had just been boasting of his exploit in escaping from Raglan, and expressing his conviction that Dorothy, whom he had valiantly protected, was safe at Wyfern, and Rowland was in consequence dressing as fast as he could to pay her a visit, when Tom caught sight of Richard riding towards the cottage, and jumping up, ran into the chimney corner beyond his mother, who was busy with Scudamore’s breakfast. She looked from the window, and spied the cause of his terror.
‘Silly Tom!’ she said, for she still treated him like a child, notwithstanding her boastful belief in his high position and merits, ‘he will not harm thee. There never was hurt in a Heywood.’
‘Treason, flat treason, witch!’ cried the voice of Scudamore from the closet.
‘Thee of all men, sir Rowland, has no cause to say so,’ returned mistress Rees. ’But come and break thy fast while he talks to thee, and save the precious time which runneth so fast away.’
‘I might as well be in my grave for any value it hath to me!’ said Rowland, who was for the moment in a bad mood. His hope and his faith were ever ready to fall out, and a twinge in his shoulder was enough to set them jarring.
‘Here comes master Hey wood, anyhow,’ said the old woman, as Richard, leaving Lady at the gate, came striding up the walk in his great brown boots; ’and I pray you, sir Rowland, to let by-gones be by-gones, for my sake if not for your own, lest thou bring the vengeance of general Fairfax upon my poor house.’