And so, as Joan de Tany was a spoiled child, they set out upon the road to London; the two girls with a dozen servants and knights; and Roger de Conde was of the party.
At the same time a grim, gray, old man dispatched a messenger from the outlaw's camp; a swarthy fellow, disguised as a priest, whose orders were to proceed to London, and when he saw the party of Joan de Tany, with Roger de Conde, enter the city he was to deliver the letter he bore to the captain of the gate.
All went well and Joan was laughing merrily at the fears of those who had attempted to dissuade her when, at a cross road, they discovered two parties of armed men approaching from opposite directions.
The two girls sat rigid in their saddles watching the encounter, the eyes of Joan de Tany alight with the fire of battle as she followed every move of the wondrous sword play of Roger de Conde.
And as Joan de Tany watched she saw the smile suddenly freeze to a cold, hard line, and the eyes of the man narrow to mere slits, and her woman's intuition read the death warrant of the King's officer ere the sword of the outlaw buried itself in his heart.
Nearly all of the Baron's men were down, when one, an old servitor, spurred to the side of Joan de Tany and Mary de Stutevill.
Take the Lady Mary, John," cried Joan, "I brought Roger de Conde to this pass against the advice of all and I remain with him to the end.
After her, John," commanded Joan peremptorily, and see that you turn not back until she be safe within the castle walls; then you may bring aid.
The old fellow had been wont to obey the imperious little Lady Joan from her earliest childhood, and the habit was so strong upon him that he wheeled his horse and galloped after the flying palfrey of the Lady Mary de Stutevill.
As Joan de Tany turned again to the encounter before her, she saw fully twenty men surrounding Roger de Conde, and while he was taking heavy toll of those before him he could not cope with the men who attacked him from behind; and even as she looked she saw a battle axe fall full upon his helm, and his sword drop from his nerveless fingers as his lifeless body rolled from the back of Sir Mortimer to the battletramped clay of the highroad.
Miss Joan Stacey very coolly tidied up the papers on her desk.
Miss Joan Stacey, having collected and put away her papers, proceeded to lock up her drawer.
Miss Joan Stacey skewered her business-like black hat on to her head with a business-like black frown before a little mirror, and, as the conversation proceeded, took her handbag and umbrella in an unhurried style, and left the room.
Joan had signed first, saying Pauline could finish it later, with a typical feminine contempt for legal forms.
No; I had to follow rather close to find out about Miss Joan and the fountain pen.