Page:In the Roar of the Sea.djvu/338

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330
IN THE ROAR OF THE SEA.

could muster. She had already passed through several stormy scenes with him, and knew that her only security lay in self-restraint. "There was naught in it that you might not read. What did I say? That my condition was fixed—that none could alter it; that is true. That my great care and sorrow of heart is for Jamie; that is true. That Oliver Menaida has been threatened; that also is true. I have heard you speak words against him of no good."

"I will make good my words."

"I wrote, and hoped to save him from a danger, and you from a crime."

Coppinger laughed. "I have sent on the letter. Let him take what precautions he will. I will chastise him. No man ever crossed me yet but was brought to bite the dust."

"He has not harmed you, Captain Coppinger."

"He! Can I endure that you should call him by his Christian name, while I am but Captain Coppinger? That you should seek him out, laugh, and talk, and flirt with him——"

"Captain Coppinger!"

"Yes," raged he, "always Captain Coppinger, or Captain Cruel, and he is dear Oliver! sweet Oliver!" He well-nigh suffocated in his fury.

Judith drew herself up and folded her arms. She had in one hand a sprig of lavender from which she had been shaking the over-ripe grains. She turned deadly white.

"Give me up his letter. Your's was an answer!"

"I will give it to you," answered Judith, and she went to her workbox, raised the lid, then the little tray containing reels, and from beneath it extracted a crumpled scrap of paper. She handed it calmly, haughtily to Coppinger, then folded her arms again, one hand still holding the bunch of lavender.

The letter was short. Coppinger's hand shook with passion so that he could hardly hold it with sufficient steadiness to read it. It ran as follows:

"I must know your wishes, dear Judith. Do you intend to remain in that den of wreckers and cut-throats? or do you desire that your friends should bestir themselves to obtain your release? Tell us, in one word, what to do, or rather what are your wishes, and we will do what we can."