"A Conyers playmate to your father's son? What do you mean, boy?"
Michael drew himself up stiffly and told the tale in brief. He had played with little Gabrielle Conyers--and fought for her. He did not say how he was for ever and ever her true knight.
Yet when he had finished, the old man opposite was sneering.
"It was well for you her father knew nought of such play," said he sourly, "or I might have had to look farther for an heir."
Michael's eyes blazed.
"May I speak, sir?" he asked huskily, and never waited even for the curt nod of acquiescence.
"I would know about my father," he said slowly and very steadily. "My mother wept when I spoke of him, but she would say no word save that I should know well enough one day. Neither would she tell me whether he were alive or dead. But I am a child no longer, and will be at the mercy of no man who dares call my father foul names, whilst I have no knowledge to enable me to slit their t