Black Bartlemy’s Treasure

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Author: Jeffery Farnol

Chapter XLVI. How I Doubted Myself

Now as I stood thus, staring out to sea, the moon sank and with it my heart also, for as the dark came about me so came darkness within me and sudden sorrow with great fear of the future; wherefore, beholding the loom of the ship where lights twinkled, I would gladly have seen her a shattered wreck, and hearing the hoarse laughter and voices of these lawless fellows waking the echoes of Deliverance Beach, I hated them one and all, and to my fear and sorrow anger was added. But now cometh my dear lady to stand beside me, to steal her hand into mine, and never a word betwixt us for a while. At last:

"So endeth our solitude, Martin!"

"Aye!"

"Our deliverance is come!" says she and then, very softly, "Doth not this rejoice you?" Here answer found I none, since now at last I knew this the very thing I had come most to dread. So was silence again save for these hoarse unlovely voices where they launched and boarded the longboat. "Master Adam would have me go on board, Martin, but ’tis near dawn so will I bide with you to welcome this new day."

"I’m glad you stayed, Damaris." At this I felt her clasp tighten on my fingers, and so she brings me to a rock hard by and, sinking on the warm sand, would have me sit by her; thus, side by side, we watched the boat pull away to the ship, and presently all about us was hushed and still save for the never-ceasing murmur of the surge.

"Martin," says she in a while, "with this new day beginneth for us a new life! In a few short hours we sail for England."

"England! Aye, to be sure!" says I, mighty doleful, but, conscious of her regard, strove to look happy yet made such a botch of it that, getting to her knees, she takes my hang-dog face betwixt her two hands.

"O but you are glad?" she questions, a little breathlessly, "Glad to come with me to England—to leave this wilderness?"

"Aye!" I nodded, well-nigh choking on the word.

"Dear Martin, look at me!" she commanded, "Now speak me plain. Whence is your grief?"

"O, my lady," quoth I, "’tis the knowledge of my unworthiness, my unloveliness, my rude and graceless ways; England is no place for like of me. I am well enough here in the wild—to work for you, fight for you an’ need be, but how may I compare with your fine gallants and courtly gentlemen?"

Now at this she clasps me all sudden in her arms and setting soft cheek to mine falls a-chiding me, yet kissing me full oft, calling me "silly," "dear," "foolish," and "beloved."

"How shall you compare?" cries she, "Thus and thus, dear Martin— so infinitely above and beyond all other men that unless you wed me needs must I die a maid!"

Thus did she comfort me, soothing my fears, and thus the dawn found us.

"O ’tis day!" she sighed, "’Tis day already!" And now ’twas her voice was doleful whiles her eyes gazed regretful round about the white sands of Deliverance and the tree-clad highlands beyond. "O indeed I do love this dear island of ours, Martin!"

Sudden upon the stilly air was the beat of oars, and we beheld a boat rowed by a couple of mariners and in the stern-sheets Sir Rupert Dering and the three gentlemen, his companions. Hereupon my lady would have me go with her to meet them then and there, but I shook my head.

"Do you go, Damaris, I’ll not speak them before I must. And should you have cause to mention me I pray you will not tell my name."

"As you will, dear Martin," says she and, pressing my hand, goes her way. From the shadow of the rock I watched these gentlemen leap gaily ashore to bow before her with many and divers elegant posturings, flourishes and flauntings of hats, kissing of her hands and the like gallantries until I must needs scowl otherwhere; yet even so, was conscious of their merry laughter where they paced to and fro and the new risen sun making a glory about her. At last she curtseys, and staying them with a gesture, comes hasting back to me.

"Martin," says she, "it seems there be men wounded and dying on board ship, so must I go to them. Will you not come with me?"

"Nay," I answered, "I’ll to the caves for such things as you would bring away."

"Why then, my spoon, Martin, and three-legged stool, bring these —nay wait, ’tis there I would bid farewell to this our dear island. Wait me there, Martin."

So away she goes on her errand of mercy, leaving me to my thoughts and these all of England and my future life there. I was fain to picture myself married and happy in my lady’s love, my life thenceforth a succession of peaceful days amid the ordered quiet of that Kentish countryside I knew and loved so well. With the eye of my mind I seemed to see a road winding ’twixt bloomy hedgerows, past chattering brooks and pleasant meadows, past sleepy hamlet bowered ’mid trees and so, ’neath a leafy shade, to where rose tall gates, their pillars crowned by couchant leopards wrought in the stone, and beyond these a broad avenue, its green shadow splashed with sunlight, leading away to the house of Conisby Shene with its wide terrace where stood my lady waiting and expectant; yet nowhere could I vision myself. And now I must needs bethink me of Godby’s "long, dark road with the beckoning light and the waiting arms of love," and in my heart the old doubt waked and a fear that such peace, such tender meetings and welcomes sweet, were not for such as I, nor ever could be.

From these gloomy reflections I was roused by a giggling laugh, and glancing about, espied Sir Rupert and his three fellows, their finery somewhat the worse for their late hardship yet themselves very gay and debonair none the less as they stood viewing me and mighty interested. Presently Sir Rupert steps up to me with his haughtiest fine-gentlemanly air and no civility of bowing.

"Let me perish but here’s notable change!" says he, surveying my rich attire, so that I yearned for my rags again. "Here is strange metamorphosis! The sullen and rustic Cymon bloometh at Beauty’s mandate, Caliban is tamed!" At the which sally his companions giggled again.

"Sir," quoth I, and awkwardly enough, "I am in no mood for your pleasantries. If therefore you have aught else to say of me, pray remove out o’ my hearing." This protest Sir Rupert fanned airily aside with be-ringed hand.

"I gather," says he, "that you have been at some pains of service to my Lady Brandon in her late dolorous situation here—receive my thanks!"

"I wish none o’ your thanks, sir—"

"None the less I bestow ’em—on my Lady Brandon’s behalf. Furthermore—"

"Enough, sir, I would be alone."

"Furthermore," he continued and with another airy motion of his white fingers, "I would have you particularly remark that if my Lady Brandon, lacking better company, hath stooped to any small familiarities with you, these must be forgot and—"

"Ha!" I cried, springing to my feet, "Begone, paltry fool, lest I kick you harder than I did last time at Conisby Shene."

"Insolent gallows’-rogue!" he panted, reaching for his swordhilt, but as he freed it from scabbard I closed with him and, wrenching it from his hold, belaboured him soundly with the flat of it, and such of his companions as chanced within my reach, until hearing shouts, I espied Adam approaching with divers of his grinning fellows; whereupon I snapped the blade across my knee and hasted from the place.

I strode on haphazard in a blind fury, but reaching the woods at last and safe from all observation, I cast myself down therein, and gradually my anger grew to a great bitterness. For (thinks I) "gallows’-rogue" am I in very truth an outcast from my kind, a creature shamed by pillory and lash, a poor wretch for spiteful Fortune’s buffets. Hereupon (being a blind fool ever) I cursed the world and all men in it saving only my unworthy self. And next, bethinking me of my dear lady who of her infinite mercy had stooped to love such as I, it seemed that my shame must smirch her also, that rather than lifting me to her level I must needs drag her down to mine. She, wedding me, gave all, whiles I, taking all, had nought to offer in return save my unworthiness. Verily it seemed that my hopes of life with her in England were but empty dreams, that I had been living in the very Paradise of Fools unless—

Here I raised bowed head, and clenching my fists stared blindly before me.

How if the ship should sail without us?

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Chicago: Jeffery Farnol, "Chapter XLVI. How I Doubted Myself," Black Bartlemy’s Treasure, trans. Evans, Sebastian in Black Bartlemy’s Treasure Original Sources, accessed September 22, 2018, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DC83U8TPG9PIK74.

MLA: Farnol, Jeffery. "Chapter XLVI. How I Doubted Myself." Black Bartlemy’s Treasure, translted by Evans, Sebastian, in Black Bartlemy’s Treasure, Original Sources. 22 Sep. 2018. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DC83U8TPG9PIK74.

Harvard: Farnol, J, 'Chapter XLVI. How I Doubted Myself' in Black Bartlemy’s Treasure, trans. . cited in , Black Bartlemy’s Treasure. Original Sources, retrieved 22 September 2018, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=DC83U8TPG9PIK74.