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- No Defense, Volume 3. - 23/23 -


Calhoun was innocent of the crime of killing Erris Boyne, and he was made the object of splashing admiration, and was almost mobbed by admirers in the street. It all vexed Lord Mallow; but he steeled himself to urbanity, and he played his part well. He was clever enough to see it would pay him to be outwardly gracious to Calhoun. So it was he made a speech in the capital on the return of the general commanding and the troops from subduing the Maroons, in which he said: "No one in all the King's dominions had showed greater patriotism and military skill than their friend Mr. Dyck Calhoun, who had been harshly treated by a mistaken Government."

A few hours later, in the sweet garden of the house where Sheila and her mother lodged, Calhoun came upon the girl whose gentle dignity and beauty seemed to glow.

At first all she said to him was, "Welcome, old friend," and at last she said, "Now you can come to the United States, Dyck, and make a new life there."

Presently he said: "I ought to go where you wish me to go, for you came to me here when I was rejected of men. I owe you whatever I am that's worth while, if anything I am is worth while. Your faith kept me alive in my darkest days--even when I thought I had wronged you."

"Then you will come to Virginia with me--as my husband, Dyck?" She blushed and laughed. "You see I have to propose to you, for you've never asked me to marry you. I'm throwing myself at your head, sir, you observe!"

He gave an honest smile of adoration. "I came to-day to ask you to be my wife--for that reason only. I could not do it till the governor had declared my innocence. The earth is sweeter to-day than it has been since time began."

He held out his arms, and an instant later the flowers she carried were crushed to her breast, with her lips given to his.

A little later she drew from her pocket a letter. "You must read that," she said. "It is from the great Alexander Hamilton--yes, he will be great, he will play a wondrous part in the life of my new country. Read it Dyck."

After he had read it, he said: "He was born a British subject here in these islands, and he goes to help Americans live according to British principles. With all my sane fellow-countrymen I am glad the Americans succeeded. Do you go to your Virginia, and I will come as soon as I have put my affairs in order."

"I will not go without you--no, I will not go," she persisted.

"Then we shall be married at once," he declared. And so it was, and all the island was en fete, and when Sheila came to Dyck's plantation the very earth seemed to rejoice. The slaves went wild with joy, and ate and drank their fill, and from every field there came the song:

"Hold up yo hands, Hold up yo hands, Bress de Lord for de milk and honey! De big bees is a singin', My heart is held up and de bells is a ringin'; Hold up yo hands, Hold up yo hands!"

And sweetly solitary the two lived their lives, till one day, three months later, there came to the plantation the governor and his suite.

When they had dismounted, Lord Mallow said: "I bring you the pay of the British Government for something of what you have suffered, sir, and what will give your lady pleasure too, I hope. I come with a baronetcy given by the King. News of it came to me only this morning."

Calhoun smiled. "Your honour, I can take no title, receive no honour. I have ended my life under the British flag. I go to live under the Stars and Stripes."

The governor was astounded. "Your lady, sir, do you forget your lady?"

But Sheila answered: "The life of the new world has honours which have naught to do with titles."

"I sail for Virginia by the first ship that goes," said Calhoun. "It is good here, but I shall go to a place where things are better, and where I shall have work to do. I must decline the baronetcy, your honour. I go to a land where the field of life is larger, where Britain shall remake herself."

"It will take some time," said the governor tartly. "They'll be long apart."

"But they will come together at last--for the world's sake."

There was silence for a moment, and through it came the joy-chant from the fields:

"Hold up yo hands, Hold up yo hands, Bress de Lord for de milk and honey."

ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:

Without the money brains seldom win alone


No Defense, Volume 3. - 23/23

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