1006 POULTRY MEG'S FAMILY
looked a little abashed, but then she said, shortly and sulkily, ' My father lets me do it!'
' Afar ! afar ! ' screamed the great blackbirds, and flew off, but they came again next day, for their home was here.
But the quiet, gentle lady did not stay long at home here; our Lord called her to Himself, with Him she was more at home than in the mansion, and the church bells tolled solemnly when her body was carried to the church. Poor men's eyes were wet, for she had been good to them. When she was gone, no one cared for her plants, and the garden ran to waste.
Sir Grubbe was a hard man, they said, but his daughter, although she was so young, could manage him ; he had to laugh, and she got her way. She was now twelve years old, and strongly built; she looked through and through people, with her big black eyes, rode her horse like a man, and shot her gun like a practised hunter.
One day there came great visitors to the neighbourhood, the very greatest, the young king and his half-brother and comrade Lord Ulrik Frederick Gyldenlowe ; they wanted to hunt the wild boar there, and would stay some days at Sir Grubbe's castle.
Gyldenlowe sat next Marie at table; he took her round the neck and gave her a kiss, as if they had been relations, but she gave him a slap on the mouth and said that she could not bear him. At that there was great laughter, as if it was an amusing thing.
And it may have been amusing too, for five years after, when Marie had completed her seventeenth year, a messenger came with a letter; Lord Gyldenlowe proposed for the hand of the noble lady ; that was something !
* He is the grandest and most gallant gentleman in the kingdom ! ' said Sir Grubbe. ' That is not to be despised.'
' I don't care much about him ! ' said Marie Grubbe, but she did not reject the grandest man in the country, who sat by the king's side.
Silver plate, woollen and linen went with a ship to Copenhagen ; she travelled overland in ten days. The outfit had contrary winds, or no wind at all; four months passed before it arrived, and when it did come Lady Gyldenlowe had departed.