“Here, you two! What are ye doin’ here on deck? Git, now! Git, quick!”
The speaker was a big, loose-jointed man, ill-favoured and palpably ill-humoured. I was pleased to note that the middle two of his obtrusive front teeth were wanting, and that his nose was so misshapen as to suggest some past calamitous experience. As I learned afterwards, this was our ship’s first mate. I was too dull of mood—too sick, in fact—to be instantly wroth at his insolence. I looked curiously at him; but Marc answered in a quiet voice:
“Merely waiting here, sir, on parole and by direction, till the proper authorities are ready to take us below!” And he thrust out his manacled hands to show how we were conditioned.
“Well, here’s proper authority, ye’ll find out. Git, er I’ll jog ye!” And he made a motion to take me by the collar.
I stepped aside and faced him. I looked him in the eyes with a sudden rage so deadly that he must have felt it, for he hesitated. I cared nothing then what befell me, and would have smashed him with my iron-locked wrist had he touched me, or else so tripped him and fallen with him that we should have gone overboard together. But he was a brute of some perception, and his hesitancy 215most likely saved us both. It gave Marc time to shout—“Guards! Guards! Here! Prisoner escaping!”
Instantly along the red-lit deck came soldiers running—three of them. The mate had grabbed a belaying-pin, but stood fingering it, uncertain of his status in relation to the soldiers.
“Corporal,” said Marc ceremoniously to one of them, discerning his rank by the stripes on his sleeve, “pardon the false alarm. There was no prisoner escaping. We were here on parole, by the favour of Lieutenant Waldron—as you yourself know, indeed, for we helped you this afternoon in getting scattered families together. But this man—we don’t know who he is—was brutal, and threatening violence in spite of our defenceless state. Please take us in charge!”
“Certainly, Captain de Mer,” said the man promptly. “I was just about coming for you!”
Then he turned to the mate with an air of triumphant aversion, in which lurked, perhaps, a consciousness of conflicting and ill-defined authorities.
“No belaying-pins for the prisoners!” he growled. “Keep them for yer poor swabs o’ sailor lads.”
As we marched down the deck under guard the sails overhead were all aglow, the masts and spars gleamed ruddily. The menacing radiance 216was by this time filling the whole heaven, and the small, quick-running surges flashed under it with a sinister sheen. As we reached the open hatch I turned for a last look at Grand Pré.
The whole valley was now as it were one seething lake of smoke and flame, the high, half-shrouded spire of the chapel rising impregnable on the further brink. The conflagration was fiercest now along the eastern half of the main street, toward the water side. Even at this distance we heard the great-lunged roar of it. High over the chaos, like a vaulted roof upheld by the Gaspereau Ridge, arched an almost stationary covering of smoke-cloud, impenetrable, and red as blood along its under side. The smoke of the burning was carried off toward the Habitants and Canard—where there was nothing left to burn. Between the red stillness above and the red turbulence below, apart and safe on their high slope, gleamed the cottages of the Colony of Compromise. With what eyes, I wondered, does my beloved look out upon this horror? Do they strain sadly after the departing ships—or does the Englishman stand by and comfort her?
As I got clumsily down the ladder the last thing I saw—and the picture bit its lines in strange fashion on my memory—was the other ship, a league behind us, black-winged against the flame.
Then the hatch closed down. By the glimmer of a swinging lanthorn we groped our way to a 217space where we two could lie down side by side. Marc wanted to talk, but I could not. There was a throbbing in my head, a great numbness on my heart. In my ears the voice of the Minas waves assailing the ship’s timbers seemed to whisper of the end of things. Grand Pré was gone. I was being carried, sick and in chains, to some far-off
land of strangers. My beloved was cared for by another.
“No!” said I in my heart (I thought at first I had spoken it aloud, but Marc did not stir), “when my foot touches land my face shall turn back to seek her face again, though it be from the ends of earth. It is vain, but I will not give her up. I am not dead yet—though hope is!”
As I thought the words there came humming through my brain that foolish saying of Mother Pêche’s. Again I saw her on that spring evening bending over my palm and murmuring—“Your heart’s desire is near your death of hope!”
“Here is my death of hope, mother,” said I to myself. “But where is my heart’s desire?”
And with that I laughed harshly—aloud.
It was an ill sound in that place of bitterness, and heads were raised to look at me. Marc asked, with a trace of apprehension in his voice:
“What’s the matter, Paul? Anything to laugh at?”
“Myself!” I muttered.
“The humour of the subject is not obvious,” said he curtly.
Chapter XXX A Woman’s Privilege
I did not sleep that night—not one eye-wink—in the hold of the New England ship. Neither could I think, nor even greatly suffer. Rather I lay as it were numbly weltering in my despair. What if I had known all that was going on meanwhile in that other ship, a league behind us, sailing under the lurid sky!
The events which I am now about to set down were not, as will be seen, matter of my own experience. I tell what I have inferred and what has been told me—but told me from such lips and in such fashion that I may indeed be said to have lived it all myself. It is more real to me than if my own eyes had followed it. It is sometimes true that we may see with the eyes of others—of one other—more vividly than with our own.
In the biggest house of that “Colony of Compromise” on the hill—the house nearest the chapel prison—a girl stood at a south window watching the flames in the village below. The 219flames, at least, she seemed to be watching. What she saw was the last little column of prisoners marching away from the chapel; and her teeth were set hard upon her under lip.
She was not thinking; she was simply clarifying a confused resolve.
White and thin, and with deep purple hollows under her great eyes, she was nevertheless not less beautiful than when, a few months before, joyous mirth had flashed from her every look and gesture, as colored lights from a fire-opal. She still wore on her small feet moccasins of Indian work; but now, in winter, they were of heavy, soft, white caribou-skin, laced high 佛山夜生活哪里有好玩 upon the ankles, and ornamented with quaint pattern of red and green porcupine quills. Her skirt and bodice were of creamy woollen cloth; and over her shoulders, crossed upon her breast and caught in her girdle, was spread a scarf of dark-yellow silk. The little black lace shawl was flung back from her head, and her hands, twisted tightly in the ends of it, were for a wonder quite still—tensely still, with an air of final decision. Close beside her, flung upon the back of a high wooden settee, lay a long, heavy, hooded cloak of grey homespun, such as the peasant women of Acadie were wont to wear in winter as an over-garment.
A door behind her opened, but Yvonne did not turn her head. George Anderson came in. He 220came to the window, and tried to look into her eyes. His face was grave with anxiety, but touched, too, with a 佛山桑拿按摩酒店 curious mixture of impatience and relief. He spoke at once, in a voice both tender and tolerant.
“There go the last of them, poor chaps!” he said. “Captain Grande went some hours ago—quite early. I pray, dear, that now he is gone—to exile indeed, but in safety—you will recover your peace of mind, and throw off this morbid mood, and be just a little bit kinder to—some people!” And he tried, with an awkward timidity, to take her hand.
She turned upon him a sombre, compassionate gaze, but far-off, almost as if she saw him in a dream.
“Don’t touch me—just now,” she said gently, removing her hand. “I must go out into the pastures for air, I think. All this stifles me! No, alone, alone!” she added more quickly, in answer to an entreaty in his eyes. “But, oh, I am sorry, so sorry beyond words, that I cannot seem kind to—some people! 佛山夜生活约炮 Good-by.”
She left the room, and closed the door behind her. The door shut smartly. It sounded like a proclamation of her resolve. So—that was settled! In an instant her whole demeanour changed. A fire came back into her eyes, and she stepped with her old, soft-swaying lightness. In the room 221which she now entered sat her father and mother. The withered little reminiscence of Versailles watched at a window-side, her black eyes bright with interest, her thin lips slightly curved with an acerb and cynical compassion. But Giles de Lamourie sat with his back to the window, his face heavy and grey.
“This is too awful!” he said, as Yvonne came up to him, and, bending over, kissed him on the forehead and the lips.
“It is like a nightmare!” she answered. “But, would you believe it, papa, the very shock is doing me good? The suspense—that 佛山桑拿会所酒店 kills! But I feel more like myself than I have for weeks. I must go out, breathe, and walk hard in the open.”
De Lamourie’s face lightened.
“Thou art better, little one,” said he. “But why go alone at such a time? Where’s George?”
But Yvonne was already at her mother’s side, kissing her, and did not answer her father’s question; which, indeed, needed no answer, as he had himself seen Anderson go into the inner room and not return.
“But where will you go, child?” queried her mother. “There are no longer any left of your sick and your poor and your husbandless to visit.”
“But I will be my own sick, little mamma,” she cried nervously, “and my own poor—and my own husbandless. I will visit myself. Don’t 222be troubled for me, dearies!” she added, in a tender voice. “I am so much better already.”
The next moment she was 佛山夜生活论坛 gone. The door shut loudly after her.