"Like a dog you would send me away," shrieked Mother Cockleshell, glancing round and seeing that Chaldea's supporters outnumbered her own. "But I'm dangerous, and go I shall as a queen should, at my own free will. I cast a shoe amongst you,"—she flung one of her own, hastily snatched off her foot—"and curses gather round it. Under its heels shall you lie, ye Romans, till time again and time once more be accomplished. I go on my own," she turned and walked to the door of her tent. "Alone I go to cheat the Gentiles and win my food. Take your new queen, and with her sorrow and starvation, prison, and the kicks of the Gorgios. So it is, as I have said, and so it shall be."

She vanished into the tent, and the older members of the tribe, shaking their heads over the ill-omen of her concluding words, withdrew sorrowfully to their various habitations, in order to discuss the situation. But the young men and women bowed down before Chaldea and forthwith elected her their ruler, fawning on her, kissing her hands and invoking blessings on her pretty face, that face which they hoped and believed would bring prosperity to them. And there was no doubt that of late, under Mother Cockleshell's leadership, the tribe had been unfortunate in many ways. It was for this reason that Chaldea had raised the standard of rebellion, and for this reason also she gained her triumph. To celebrate her coronation she gave Kara, who hovered constantly at her elbow, a couple of sovereigns, and told him to buy food and drink. In a high state of enjoyment the gypsies dispersed in order to prepare for the forthcoming festivity, and Chaldea, weary but victorious, stood alone by the steps of the caravan, which was her perambulating home. Seizing her opportunity, Miss Greeby approached.

"My congratulations to your majesty," she said ironically. "I'm sorry not to be able to stay for your coronation, which I presume takes place to-night. But I have to go back to London to see a friend of yours."

"I have no friends, my Gentile lady," retorted Chaldea, with a fiery spark in each eye. "And what do you here amongst the gentle Romany?"

"Gentle," Miss Greeby chuckled, "that's a new word for the row that's been going on, my girl. Do you know me?"

"As I know the road and the tent and the art of dukkerhin. You stay at the big house, and you love the rye who lived in the wood."

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"Very clever of you to guess that," said Miss Greeby coolly, "but as it happens, you are wrong. The rye is not for me and not for you. He marries the lady he worships on his knees. Forgive me for speaking in this high-flowing manner," ended Miss Greeby apologetically, "but in romantic situations one must speak romantic words."

Chaldea did not pay attention to the greater part of this speech, as only one statement appealed to her. "The rye shall not marry the Gentile lady," she said between her white teeth.

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"Oh, I think so, Chaldea. Your plotting has all been in vain."

"My plotting. What do you know of that?"

"A certain portion, my girl, and I'm going to know more when I see Silver."

Chaldea frowned darkly. "I know nothing of him."

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"I think you do, since you gave him a certain letter."