"Can you get your dog away. He's very friendly but he's leaping up and down on my leg and the pain is excruciating". The man's voice was faint but authoritative and Lucy hurried to remove the offending Benjy. She could not see clearly in the darkness of the hut and groping for her dog, she stumbled against the same leg, eliciting more groans. By now, Lucy could make out a white face, a young face with a pair of fine, hazel eyes studying her. Before she could ask any questions, the young man asked her who she was.
"I'm Lucy Lutworth."
"Richard Lutworth's sister?"
"No, his cousin. My father died last March and I now live with Richard and Dorothy at Stair." He looked at her intently.
"Do you know Richard then?" asked Lucy.
"Yes. We played together as boys. We are about the same age."
Lucy was surprised. To her, he seemed younger.
"Then I suppose you must live near here?" said Lucy, wondering why he had not been to Stair since she had been there.
"I used to" he answered adding bitterly, "but my father was murdered and our estates sequestered. Now, someone else lives in our home."
"Oh, how terrible for you. Then this hut is all you have to live in?"
He could not help smiling at the naivety of Lucy's remark. Could he trust her? He had no choice now but to take her into his confidence. He had charmed young women into helping him before.
"No, I live mostly on the continent."
"The continent!" The truth was beginning to dawn."Then you must be one of the King's supporters." How exciting, she thought. More than a supporter, he must be an agent. She had heard about royalist agents from Hester.
"Are you going to betray me?"
"No, oh no" Lucy warmly reassured him. "My father fought for the King. He survived the war but we gave practically everything to the royal cause. Although it is kind of Richard and Dorothy to give me a home, I don't agree with them...no, not at all. Their father was killed fighting for parliament; I expect you know that. I'd much rather be living with a royalist family."This little burst of loyalty was very reassuring to the young man, but he needed to think through what he should say next and, genuinely tired, he closed his eyes. Lucy, now more used to the gloom, could see that although the sick or wounded man was lying on the ground, he had a pillow and was covered by a blanket. There were also signs that he had some food, too. Someone is looking after him, thought Lucy. I wonder who? There were so many questions she wanted to ask.