7Wy8QB

7Wy8QB

"Pine? Who is Pine? A Gentile I know not. Hearne he was born and Hearne he shall be to me, though the grass is now a quilt for him. Ohone! Hai mai! Ah, me! Woe! and woe, my gentleman. He was the child of my child and the love of my heart," she rocked herself to and fro sorrowfully, "like a leaf has he fallen from the tree; like the dew has he vanished into the blackness of the great shadow. Hai mai! Hai mai! the sadness of it."

"Hearne your grandson?" murmured Lambert, staring at her and scarcely able to believe her.

"True. Yes; it is true," said Gentilla, still rocking. "He left the road, and the tent, and the merry fire under a hedge for your Gentile life. But a born Romany he was and no Gorgio. Ahr-r-r!" she shook herself with disgust. "Why did he labor for gold in the Gentile manner, when he could have chored and cheated like a true-hearted black one?"

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Her allusions to money suddenly enlightened the young man. "Yours is the name mentioned in the sealed letter held by Jarwin?" he cried, with genuine amazement written largely on his face. "You inherit the millions?"

Mother Cockleshell wiped her eyes with a corner of her shawl and chuckled complacently. "It is so, young man, therefore can I take those who hold to my wisdom to the great land beyond the water. Ah, I am rich now, sir, and as a Gorgious one could I live beneath a roof-tree. But for why, I asks you, my golden rye, when I was bred to the open and the sky? In a tent I was born; in a tent I shall die. Should I go, Gentile, it's longing for the free life I'd be, since Romany I am and ever shall be. As we says in our tongue, my dear, 'It's allers the boro matcho that pet-a-lay 'dree the panni,' though true gypsy lingo you can't call it for sure."

"What does it mean?" demanded Lambert, staring at the dingy possessor of two millions sterling.

"It's allers the largest fish that falls back into the water," translated Mrs. Stanley. "I told that to Leland, the boro rye, and he goes and puts the same into a book for your readings, my dearie!" then she uttered a howl and flung up her arms. "But what matter I am rich, when my child's child's blood calls out for vengeance. I'd give all the red gold—and red money it is, my loved one," she added, fixing a bright pair of eyes on Lambert, "if I could find him as shot the darling of my heart."

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Knowing that he could trust her, and pitying her obvious sorrow, Lambert had no hesitation in revealing the truth so far as he knew it. "It wasn't a him who shot your grandson, but a her."

"Hai!" Gentilla flung up her arms again, "then I was right. My old eyes did see like a cat in the dark, though brightly shone the moon when he fell."

"What? You know?" Lambert started back again at this second surprise.

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"If it's a Gentile lady, I know. A red one large as a cow in the meadows, and fierce as an unbroken colt."

"Miss Greeby!"

"Greeby! Greeby! So your romi told me," shrieked the old woman, throwing up her hands in ecstasy. "Says I to her, 'Who's the foxy one?' and says she, smiling like, 'Greeby's her name!'"

"Why did you ask my wife that?" demanded Lambert, much astonished.

"Hai, she was no wife of yours then, sir. Why did I ask her? Because I saw the shooting—"

"Of Pine—of Hearne—of your son?"

"Of who else? of who else?" cried Mother Cockleshell, clapping her skinny hand and paddling on the floor with her feet. "Says Ishmael to me, 'Bebee,' says he, 'my romi is false and would run away with the golden rye this very night as ever was.' And says I to him, 'It's not so, son of my son, for your romi is as true as the stars and purer than gold.' But says he, 'There's a letter,' he says, and shows it to me. 'Lies, son of my son,' says I, and calls on him to play the trustful rom. But he pitches down the letter, and says he, 'I go this night to stop them from paddling the hoof,' and says I to him, 'No! No!' says I. 'She's a true one.' But he goes, when all in the camp are sleeping death-like, and I watches, and I follers, and I hides."

"Where did you hide?"