The next day a young man hailed the watch upon the walls of the castle of Richard de Tany telling him to bear word to Joan de Tany that Roger de Conde, a friend of her guest Lady Mary de Stutevill, was without.
He was escorted to an apartment where Mary de Stutevill and Joan de Tany were waiting to receive him.
"Are all your old friends and neighbors come after you to Essex," cried Joan de Tany, laughingly, addressing Mary.
Joan came in, but she was careful to show, by standing upright with one hand upon the mantelpiece, that she was only there for a definite purpose, which discharged, she would go.
It was plain to Joan that she had struck one of her brother's perverse moods, and he was going to oppose whatever his mother said.
"I don't think that for a moment," Joan replied quickly, repenting of her annoyance.
Joan took hold of the household with no uncertain grip, revolutionizing things till Sheldon hardly recognized the place.
The chickens, which had always gone into the bush and hidden their eggs, were given laying-bins, and Joan went out herself to shoot wild duck and wild pigeons for the table.
And to please her parent the girl put herself quite in Joan's hands, saying serenely--"Do what you like with me, mother."
However, as the moment for the girl's setting out drew nigh, when the first excitement of the dressing had passed off, a slight misgiving found place in Joan Durbeyfield's mind.
How far Joan, her sister and partner, shared this slightly prosaic idealism no one could be very sure.
The first was Joan Stacey, the sister of the dead woman--evidently she had been upstairs in the temporary temple of Apollo; the second was the priest of Apollo himself, his litany finished, sweeping down the empty stairs in utter magnificence--something in his white robes, beard and parted hair had the look of Dore's Christ leaving the Pretorium; the third was Flambeau, black browed and somewhat bewildered.