"'Tis Mistress Clorinda, Sir Jeoffry," she stammered--"my lady's last infant--the one of whom she died in childbed."
His big laugh broke in two, as one might say. He looked down at the young fury and stared. She was out of breath with beating him, and had ceased and fallen back apace, and was staring up at him also, breathing defiance and hatred. Her big black eyes were flames, her head was thrown up and back, her cheeks were blood scarlet, and her great crop of crow-black hair stood out about her beauteous, wicked little virago face, as if it might change into Medusa's snakes.
"Damn thee!" she shrieked at him again. "I'll kill thee, devil!"
Sir Jeoffry broke into his big laugh afresh.
"Clorinda do they call thee, wench?" he said. "Jeoffry thou shouldst have been but for thy mother's folly. A fiercer little devil for thy size I never saw--nor a handsomer one."
And he seized her from where she stood, and held her at his big arms' length, gazing at her uncanny beauty with looks that took her in from head to foot.
CHAPTER III--Wherein Sir Jeoffry's boon companions drink a toast
Her beauty of face, her fine body, her strength of limb, and great growth for her age, would have pleased him if she had possessed no other attraction, but the daring of her fury and her stable-boy breeding so amused him and suited his roystering tastes that he took to her as the finest plaything in the world.