THE TALE OF THE LOST LAND
CHAPTER 30: THE TRAGEDY OF THE MANOR-HOUSE
He looked pleased; pleased, and touched with apprehension at the
same time. He looked up and down the road to see that no one
was coming, and then said in a cautious voice:
"From what land come you, brother, that you speak such perilous
words, and seem not to be afraid?"
"They are not perilous words when spoken to one of my own caste,
I take it. You would not tell anybody I said them?"
"I? I would be drawn asunder by wild horses first."
"Well, then, let me say my say. I have no fears of your repeating
it. I think devil's work has been done last night upon those
innocent poor people. That old baron got only what he deserved.
If I had my way, all his kind should have the same luck."
Fear and depression vanished from the man's manner, and gratefulness
and a brave animation took their place:
"Even though you be a spy, and your words a trap for my undoing,
yet are they such refreshment that to hear them again and others
like to them, I would go to the gallows happy, as having had one
good feast at least in a starved life. And I will say my say now,
and ye may report it if ye be so minded. I helped to hang my
neighbors for that it were peril to my own life to show lack of
zeal in the master's cause; the others helped for none other reason.
All rejoice to-day that he is dead, but all do go about seemingly
sorrowing, and shedding the hypocrite's tear, for in that lies
safety. I have said the words, I have said the words! the only
ones that have ever tasted good in my mouth, and the reward of
that taste is sufficient. Lead on, an ye will, be it even to the
scaffold, for I am ready."