Page:The King's Men (1884).djvu/41

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31
MY LADY'S CHAMBER.

sudden fancy, she paused and said, "What am I doing? These are family secrets, and meant, perhaps, only for your eyes, Lord Brompton."

"Read it, I beg," said he. She obeyed him. In a faint, feminine hand, which resembled a field of corn bowed by the wind, were written these words:

"My grandfather's sword. Marian Ripon."

"The ghost—it is the ghost's own work," they cried together.

"And this sword," said he, "belonged to my namesake, the cavalier."

"But look—look." Maggie had been staring at the opposite side of the paper.

Geoffrey took it from her hand.

"Kind hearts are more than coronets
And simple faith than Norman blood."

For a moment they looked at one another in speechless surprise.

"Kneel, Lord Brompton," she said at length. He did so, and taking a scarf from among the pile of vestments she girded the sword about him with fantastic grace. "Rise, Geoffrey Ripon, knight, and Earl of Brompton."

"You are forever my sovereign." He kissed her hand. She blushed sweetly, and turning said, "Enough of the past and its customs. We each have a present to face, and mine for the nonce is Jawkins. He must need my directions."

Thus it happened that when Lord Brompton next entered the porter's lodge in which he dwelt, he was girded with the sword of his ancestors.