• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Advertising
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The king's deer
 The men of the woods
 The earl and the esquire
 The king's messenger
 The ending of the peace
 The sea fight
 The great plan of the king
 The castle of Bruyerre
 King Edward at Paris
 The great day of Crécy
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: With the Black Prince
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087091/00001
 Material Information
Title: With the Black Prince
Physical Description: v, 240 p., 6 leaves of plates : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Stoddard, William Osborn, 1835-1925
D. Appleton and Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: D. Appleton and Company
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1898
 Subjects
Subject: Youth -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Knights and knighthood -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Chivalry -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Kings and rulers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Crécy, Battle of, Crécy-en-Ponthieu, France, 1346 -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Poachers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Archers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
War -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
History -- Juvenile fiction -- Great Britain -- Edward III, 1327-1377   ( lcsh )
Publishers' advertisements -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Publishers' advertisements   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by William O. Stoddard.
General Note: Publisher's advertisements precede text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087091
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002393400
notis - ALZ8302
oclc - 259990310

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Half Title
    Advertising
        Advertising
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    List of Illustrations
        List of Illustrations
    The king's deer
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
    The men of the woods
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    The earl and the esquire
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
    The king's messenger
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
    The ending of the peace
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 102a
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
    The sea fight
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 132a
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
    The great plan of the king
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
    The castle of Bruyerre
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 176a
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
    King Edward at Paris
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
    The great day of Crécy
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 224a
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 230a
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
    Back Matter
        Back Matter
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text
















































































The Baldwin Library
University
of
Florida




















WITH THE BLACK PRINCE











BOOKS BY WILLIAM 0. STODDARD.

Uniform edition. Each, 12mo, cloth, $.o50.

The Red Patriot.
A Story of the American Revolution. Illustrated by B. WEST
CLINEDINST.
Mr. Stoddard is at his best in this stirring story, which among other themes
pictures incidents of'Washington's campaigning n New Jersey. In this vivid
account of a boy's part in great historical events there is a leading actor, the
last of the Susquehannocks," whose share in the hero's adventures has given
the title to the book.
The Windfall; or, After the Flood.
Illustrated by B. WEST CLINEDINST.
SFull of adventures and incident so well conceived and described as to
keep the reader in a continued state of absorbed attention. It is the kind of
book that one wants to sit up nights to finish. One can not lay it aside com-
fortably until the final outcome is known."-SHringfield Union.
Little Smoke.
A Story of the Sioux Indians. With 12 full-page Illustrations
by F. S. DELLENBAUGH, portraits of Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and
other chiefs, and 72 head and tail pieces representing the various
implements and surroundings of Indian life.
"It is not only astoiy of adventure, but the volume abounds in information
concerning this most powerful of remaining Indian tribes. The work of the
author has been well supplemented by the artist. "-Boston Traveler.
Crowded Out o' Crofield.
The Story of a Country Boy who fought his way to success in
the great metropolis. With 23 Illustrations by C. T. HILL.
"This excellent story is interesting, thoroughly wholesome, and teaches
boys to be men, not prigs or Indian hunters."-Detroit Free Press.
The Battle of New York.
A Narrative of the Civil War. With ii full-page Illustrations
and colored Frontispiece.
"The description of these terrible days and more awful nights is very
animated."-New York Evening Post.
On the Old Frontier; or, The Last Raid of the
Iroquois.
With o1 full-page Illustrations by H. D. MURPHY.
Mr. Stoddard's stories of adventure are always of the thrilling sort which
boys like most to read. This tale, which relates to the last raids of the Iro-
quois, is as stirring as the best of those which have come from his pen."--
hiiladelfphia Evening Bulletin.
Chris, the lIodel=-laker.
A Story of New York. With Illustrations by B. WEST CLINE-
DINST.
The metropolis is always an attractive scene fora story, and doubly so for
a story like this, which tells how two boys and a girl made their way by their
own pluck and ability.

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK.



























































Firm as a rock stood the young warrior.


(See page 18.)










WITH THE BLACK PRINCE






BY

WILLIAM O. STODDARD
AUTHOR OF
CROWDED OUT 0' CROFIELD, THE RED PATRIOT,
SUCCESS AGAINST ODDS, ETC.





ILLUSTRA TED



















NEW YORK
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
1898




































COPYRIGHT, 1808,
BY D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.























CONTENTS.



CHAPTER PAGE
I.-THE KING'S DEER 1
II.-THE MEN OF THE WOODS 25
III.-THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE 49
IV.-THE KING'S MESSENGER 70
V.-THE ENDING OF THE PEACE. .96
VI.-THE SEA FIGHT 119
VII.-THE GREAT PLAN OF THE KING 143

VIII.-THE CASTLE OF BRUYERRE 166
IX.-KING EDWARD AT PARIS 188
X.-THE GREAT DAY OF CRBCY 212
v






















LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.


FACING
PAGE
Firm as a rock stood the young warrior Frontispiece

Loudly twanged the bow 102

"Yield thee, De Renly!" he shouted 132

Up went the ladder, and on it the English climbed fast 177

Soon the air was full of the roaring 224

"Arise, Sir Richard of Wartmont!" 230













WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


CHAPTER I.

THE KING'S DEER.

THERE came a sudden sound, breaking the
shadowy silence of Longwood forest.
Crash followed crash, at short intervals, with
the snapping of dry twigs and bush branches, and
then came ringing, clear and sweet, three notes of
a hunting horn.
Out into an open glade, where the sunlight fell
upon the long, green grass of midsummer, there
bounded a splendid stag-a stag royal, a stag of
ten-fit to be the antlered monarch of the king's
deer in Longwood.
Three leaps, and then the beautiful animal
stood still; but as he turned, panting, and low-
ered his horns, it could be seen that he was
wounded. The feather of an arrow in his flank
told how deeply the shaft was driven.
He was at bay now, and splendid was his cour-
age as he stood to battle with his pursuers.







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


Again, and nearer, nearer, sounded the horn;
for the hunters were coming.
Out through the leafy barrier of the bushes at
the edge of the glade bounded three eager deer-
hounds, one after another. Large dogs they were,
brown-haired, lop-eared. Their baying had chimed
in with the music of the horn. Better for them it
were if one of the huntsmen had been there to
hold them from their haste; for there is danger
for any who rush rashly in upon a stag at bay.
Loud voices and the thud of galloping hoofs
told that the hunters were close at hand; but they
were too late in arriving. The foremost hound
dashed fiercely on, his white teeth showing, and
his eyes flashing with green light; but the ten-
tined antlers passed under him and were lifted
swiftly.
Away the hound was hurled, pierced fatally,
and then a sudden side stroke disabled the second
of the four-footed assailants. The third paused,
lifting a forefoot doubtfully as he glanced from
one to the other of his unlucky companions. A
whizzing shaft passed over his head, and a cloth-
yard arrow sped to its mark, inside the shoulder of
the deer. The spreading antlers plowed the sod
for a moment, and then all was over. A tall, pow-
erful-looking man, who came riding up, sprang
from his horse, and stood by the wounded dogs,
exclaiming:







THE KING'S DEER..


"These short-legged galloways have cost us.
two hounds! We had better stalk a deer than
run him, unless we have swifter steeds."
"Stalking must serve our turn, now the dogs
are gone," growled a shorter man who had come
up and now stood beside him. "I would the legs
of our nags had been longer "
They were rough-looking men, and they spoke
in the burred Saxon-English of Warwickshire five
hundred years ago. It was another tongue from
any now spoken in England.
The galloways, of whose legs they had com-
plained, were the undersized and shaggy-maned
horses they had ridden in that hunt. Such were
plentiful then, but none other could be had save
by those who could pay large prices.
Fools are we," remarked another man. And
mayhap the horn blast has gone to the wrong ears
with token of our doings. That was thy blowing,
Guy the Bow."
"And what care we?" responded the tall
hunter. "'Tis long since there hath been a royal
keeper in any wood of Arden Forest. Earl War-
wick himself never hunteth as far to the north as
this. There's no harm in a horn, and I like well
the sound, and the baying o' the dogs. We'll not
again hear either very soon."
Others had now come up, but they said little.
They lifted their game to the back of one of the







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


galloways. The arrows were carefully extracted,
cleaned, and restored to the quivers of their own-
ers. The men were all stalwart fellows, and the
bows they carried were tremendous weapons.
When unstrung, such a bow would rest upon a
man's foot and touch his nose, and only a strong
and practiced arm could bend one. Besides the
bows, they carried short, two-edged swords hang-
ing at their belts, in which were also stuck broad-
bladed, knives or daggers. They wore no armor
except light headpieces of steel, and their garments
appeared to be made of leather. The body coats
were like leather blouses, soiled and worn. They
wore leggings of deerskin, but several were bare-
footed.
A brave-looking dozen were these hunters of
Longwood. Their faces were not evil, and their
talk was that of kindly men fond of adventure
and of sport, but caring little whose deer they were
taking.
The carcass of the stag had been bound to one
of the horses, and the hunters were mounting,
when a loud shout came from under the nearest
oaks:
"Ho, there! Halt! What do ye, killing the
king's deer ?"
"Stand for your lives, men!" exclaimed Guy
the Bow. "I'll not be taken!"
"Nor I!" roared a burly hunter at his side;







THE KING'S DEER.


"but-it's young Neville of Wartmont. I could
not strike him."
Only five men came riding out from under the
trees, but they were all well mounted, and were
better armed than were the hunters. Every man
of them wore linked mail, with shield and lance
and sword, while at every saddlebow hung a mace
or battleaxe. Their helmets were open in front,
and the face of the foremost rider was that of a
beardless boy. It was a very resolute face, how-
ever, and he raised his hand as he again demanded:
"In the king's name, what do ye ? "
"We be free men," said Guy sturdily. "Lit-
tle reason hath thy father's son to question our
acts."
"Why not ? came back. "Yonder stag is a
death-warrant for every man of you!"
"Not so," exclaimed the burly hunter. "I am
Ben o' Coventry, and we all stand by Guy the
Bow. Will thy mail shirt keep out a cloth-yard
shaft, Richard Neville of Wartmont "
An arrow was on every bowstring at that mo-
ment; but Guy the Bow spoke again.
"Thou art a boy, Richard Neville," he said.
"I will tell thee somewhat thou shouldst know.
Thou hast only the ruins of thy tower to dwell
in; but when Earl Mortimer claimed thy father's
barony, and sent his men to put his seneschal in
holding, the yeomen of Wartmont and Longwood,







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


and more from further on in Arden, stood by the
Neville. The Mortimer raided our holdings, burn-
ing house .and barn. He lost his head years on,
and thy uncle is Earl of Warwick; but the bow-
men of these parts had become used to taking Earl
Mortimer's .deer."
They are the king's deer now," said Richard.
' Ye know that welL"
"They bear no mark," grumbled Ben, lowering
his bow. We'll call that stag for Mortimer, this
day, in spite .of the Neville. Take us not. Go
back to your tower."
"My young lord," was spoken in a low voice
from among the men in mail behind him, let them
alone. They are thine own men. It's only a deer
more or less. There are foes enough. Hark to
Ben once more."
"I heard thee, sir," ,said Ben gratefully. "He
might do well to heed thy saying; but let him
now hear what Guy may tell him."
"My young Lord of Wartmont," said Guy, "I
had verily thought to go and see thee this day.
Knowest thou not that Clod of Lee, the Club of
Devon, hath been heard from this side the Avon?
He was one of Mortimer's men, and he hateth thee
and thine. He is a wolf's head, by all law. He
and his outlaws would find at Wartmont much that
such as they would seek. Go in haste and hold
thy tower against them, if thou cast, and bother







THE KING'S DEER.


not thyself with a free hunt and a nag-load of
venison."
"Thou art no king's forester," added Ben of
Coventry. These are times when a man may let
well enough alone."
"He speaketh truly," whispered Richard's
mailed adviser. Ride we to the castle as fast as
we may. Thy mother- "
"Not a dozen swordsmen are at the Mount!"
exclaimed Richard. "My mother is unprotected!
Guy the Bow, I thank thee for thy warning.
What care I for a few deer? Only, watch thou
and thy men; for the earl sendeth soon to put this
part of the shire under close forest law. None
may escape if work like this go on then."
"Thou art right, my young lord," responded
Guy; "but the yeomen of Longwood have no fel-
lowship with the wolves of Devon and Cornwall.
It is said, too, that there be savage Welsh among
these outlaws that spare neither woman nor child.
Ride thou with speed, and God be with thee!
Well for thee that they are not bowmen, like thy
neighbors."
"Haste, my lord!" cried another of Richard's
men. There are many women and there are chil-
dren at the tower."
On! on !" shouted Richard; but his face
was white, as he wheeled his horse southward.
Very terrible was the name which had been







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


won by some of the robber bands of England.
They had been more numerous during the reign of
Edward the Second. His son, Edward the Third,
was only fourteen years of age when he was
crowned, and it was several years more before he
really became king. Ever since then he had
striven with only moderate success to restore order
throughout his realm. Several notable bodies of
savage marauders were still to be heard from only
too frequently, while in many districts the yeomen
paid as little attention to the forest laws as if they
had been Robin Hood's merry men of Sherwood.
This was not the case upon the lands of the great
barons, but only where there was no armed force at
hand to protect the game. The poachers were all
the safer everywhere because of the strong popu-
lar feeling in their favor, and because any informer
who should give the life of a man for that of a
deer might thenceforth be careful how he ventured
far into the woods. He was a mark for an arrow
from a bush, and not many cared to risk the ven-
geance of the woodsmen.
On rode the young Neville and his four men-at-
arms; but hardly had they disappeared among the
forest glades before Ben of Coventry turned upon
his galloway to ask:
"Guy the Bow, what thinkest thou? The
Wartmont boy spoke not unkindly. There be
kith and kin of the forest men at the tower.







THE KING'S DEER.


What if the Club of Lee should reach the moat
and find the gate open ? 'Tis a careless time."
"Hang up the stag and follow!" at once
commanded Guy, captain of the hunt. "We
have taken three the day. There will be veni-
son at every hearth. If only for his father's
sake-"
"We are not robbers, Guy the Bow," inter-
rupted another of his followers. "We are true
men. 'Twill be a wolf hunt instead of a deer
hunt. I like it well."
i They strung up the stag to a bough of a tree,
and then wheeled with a shout and galloped away
as merrily as if they had started another hart
royal.
Three long miles away, easterly from the glade
where the stag had fallen, the forest ended; and
beyond the scattered dignities of its mighty oaks
lay a wide reach of farm land. The fields were
small, except some that seemed set aside for pas-
tures and meadows. There were well-grown but
not very well-kept hedges. There were a few
farmhouses, with barns and ricks. Nearly in the
center rose a craggy hill, and at the foot of this
clustered a small hamlet. It was a sign of the
troubles that Edward the Third had striven to
quell that all along the outer border of the hamlet
ran the tattered remnants of what once had been a
strong line of palisades and a deep ditch.
2







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


The hill was the Wart Mount, and on its crest
were massive walls with a high, square tower at
one corner. Viewed from a distance, they seemed
to be a baronial stronghold. On a nearer approach,
however, it could be seen that the beauty and
strength of Wartmont had been marred by fire,
and that much of it needed rebuilding. Some re-
pairs had been made on the tower itself. Its gate-
way, with moat and bridge, was in fair condition
for defense. More than one road led across the
open country toward the castle; but the highway
was from the east, and travelers thereon were hid-
den from sight by the hill.
There was a great stir in the village, for a man
came riding at full speed from one of the farm.
houses, shouting loudly as he passed the old pali-
sades:
"To the hill! To the castle The wolves of
Devon are nigh They have wasted Black Tom's
place, and have slain every soul !"
The warning had already traveled fast and far,
and from each of the farmhouses loaded wains,
droves of cattle, horses, sheep, were hurrying
toward the hill. Women, with their children,
came first, weeping and praying.
Far away, on the southerly horizon, arose a
black cloud of smoke to tell of the end of Black
Tom's wheatstacks and haystacks.
"Aye aye !" mourned an old woman. It's







THE KING'S DEER.


gone wi' fire! Alas! And the good king is in
Flanders the day, and his people are harried as if
they had no king."
"It's like the old time," said another, "when
all the land was wasted. I mind the telling o'
what the Scots did for the north counties till the
king drave them across the border."
Well kept were the legends that were told
from one generation to another in the days when
there were no books or newspapers; and they were
now rehearsed rapidly, while the affrighted farm
people fled from their threatened homes, as their
ancestors had many a time been compelled to do.
Still they all seemed to have great faith in the
castle, and to believe that when once there they
would be safe.
The rider who brought the news did not pause
in the village, but rode on, and dismounted at the
bridge over the moat. Not stopping to hitch his
panting horse, he strode into the open portal, send-
ing his loud message of evil omen through the cor-
ridor beyond. Voice after voice took up the cry
and carried it up through the tower and out into
the castle yard, till it seemed to find wveird echoes
among the half-ruined walls. At no place were
these altogether broken down. There was no
breach in them. Large parts of the old structures
were still roofed over, and along the battlements
there quickly appeared the forms of old and young,







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


peering out eagerly to see whatever there might be
to see upon the lowland.
There were very few men, apparently; but in
the lower rooms of the tower there were quickly
clanking sounds, as shields and weapons and ar-
mor were taken down from their places.
A large open area was included within the
outer walls, and there was room for quadrupeds
as well as for human beings. Still there was a
promise of close crowding, if all the fugitives on
the roads were to be provided for.
Gathered now in the village street was a mot-
ley crowd of men. They were by no means badly
armed, but they seemed to have no commander,
and their hurried councils were of all sorts. Most
seemed to favor a general retreat to the castle, but
against this course was urged the fact that the
marauders had not yet arrived, nor had all the
people from the farms.
"Men!" exclaimed a portly woman with a
scythe in her strong hands, "could ye not meet
them at the palisades ? Bar the gap with a wain.
There are bows and crossbows among ye. Fight
them there!"
"We could never hold them back," came
doubtfully from one of the men. "They'd find
gaps enough. It's only a stone wall can stop
them."
"They'll plunder the village," the woman said.







THE KING'S DEER.


Better that than the blood of us all," respond-
ed the man. "We are few. Would the young
lord were here with his men-at-arms !"
"He rode to the north the morn," she was told.
"Only four were with him. The rest are far away
with the earl. A summons came, telling that the
Scots were over the border."
Could not the north counties care for them-
selves, without calling on the midlands?" grum-
bled the woman.
At that moment there came a terrified shriek
from the road-gap in the palisades. The last of
several wains was passing in, and all the street was
thronged with cattle.
They come! They come !" screamed the
women by that wain. Oh, that they gat so nigh,
and none to see It's over with us the day Yon
is the Club, and his men are many !"
Partly mounted, but some of them on foot, a
wild-looking throng of men came pouring across a
stubble-field from the southward. It seemed as if
they might be over a hundred strong. No march-
ing order was observed. There was no uniformity
in their arms. At the head of them strode a huge,
black-haired, shaggy-bearded brute who bore a tre-
mendous club of oak, bound at its heavier end with
a thick ring of iron. He laughed and shouted as
he came, as if with a savage pleasure over the wild
deeds he had done and the prospect before him.






WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


Short work he roared to those behind him.
"Burn all ye can not take. And then for the hills
o' Wales! But we'll harry as we go !"
Other things he said that sounded as if he had
an especial grudge against the king and against all
who, like the Nevilles, had been his strong personal
adherents.
The castle gateway was thronged, so that get-
ting in was slow, but the yard was already filling
fast. So were the rooms of the tower, and such as
remained of the ruined buildings. Everywhere
were distress and terror, except upon one face just
inside the portal.
Tall and stately was Maud Neville, the wid.
owed lady of Wartmont Castle. Her hair was
white, but she was as erect as a pine, and all who
looked into her resolute face might well have taken
courage. Some seemed to do so, and around her
gathered a score of stalwart retainers, with shields,
axes, and swords. Some who had bows were bid-
den to man the loopholes on the second floor, and
bide their time. Here, at least, if not in the vil-
lage, there was a captain, and she was obeyed.
Men," she said, "you know well what wolves
these are. If they force their way into the keep,
not one of us will be left to tell the tale."
A chorus of loyal voices answered her, and the
men gripped their weapons.
So was it on that side of the hill; but on the







THE KING'S DEER.


other, toward the east, the highway presented
another picture. Whether they were friends or
foemen, there was none to tell; but they were a
warlike band of horsemen. They were not
mounted upon low-built galloways, but upon steeds
of size and strength. The horsemen themselves
wore mail and carried lances, and several of them
had vizored helmets. They were ten in number,
riding two abreast, and one of the foremost pair
carried a kind of standard-a flag upon a long,
slender staff. It was a broad, square piece of blue
silk bunting, embroidered with heraldic devices
that required a skilled reader to interpret them.
Strangely enough, according to the ideas and
customs of the times, the rabble that followed
Clod the Club had also a banner. It was a some-
what tattered affair; but it must once have been
handsome. Its field was broad and white, and
any eyes could see that its dimmed, worn blazon
had been intended for three dragons. Perhaps the
robber chief had reasons of his own for marching
with a flag which must have been found in Wales.
It may have aided him in keeping at his command
some men who retained the old fierce hatred of
the Welsh for the kings of England.
He and his savages had now reached the pal-
isades. The village men retreated slowly up the
street, while the remainder of those who could not
fight passed across the drawbridge and entered the






WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


castle gate. More than one sturdy woman, how-
ever, had picked up a pike or an axe or a fork, and
stood among her kindred and her neighbors.
Not all the cattle nor all the wains could be
cared for; and a shout from the portal summoned
the villagers to make more haste, that the gate
might be closed behind them. Part of them had
been too brave and part too irresolute, and there
was no soldiership in their manner of obeying.
They were, indeed, almost afraid to turn their
backs, for arrows were flying now.
Well it was for them that there seemed to be
so few good archers among the outlaws; for down
went man after man, in spite of shields or of such
armor as they had. Better shooting was done by
the men of Wartmont themselves, and the archers
in the tower were also plying their bows. It was
this that made the Club of Devon shout to his
wolves to charge, for the shafts were doing deadly
work.
With loud yells, on they rushed; and further
retreat was impossible. The foremost fighters on
each side closed in a desperate strife, and the
Wartmont farmers showed both skill and strength.
Half of them carried battle-axes or poleaxes, and
they plied them for their lives. Had it not been
for Clod himself, the rush might even have been
checked; but nothing could stand before him.
He fought like a wild beast, striking down foemen







THE KING'S DEER.


right and left, and making a pathway for his fol-
lowers.
Victory for the outlaws would have been
shortly gained but for the help that came to the
villagers.
"Onward, my men!" shouted Lady Maud, as
.she sprang across the narrow bridge. "Follow
me Save your kith and kin !"
We will die with you! cried out her retainers
as they pushed forward, while the archers in the
tower hurried down to join them.
Still they were too few; and the white head of
the brave woman was quickly the center of a surg-
ing mass, her entire force being almost surrounded
by the horde of robbers.
No shout came up the road. There was no
sound but the rapid thud of horses' feet; but sud-
denly five good lances charged furiously in among
the wolves. The foremost horseman went clean
through them, but his horse sank, groaning, as a
Welsh pike stabbed him, and his rider barely
gained his feet as the horse went down. Sword
in hand, then, he turned to face his foes, but he
spoke not to them.
"Mother !" he shouted, "I am here "
"Thank God for thee, my son!" responded
the brave woman. "Thou art but just in time !"
Dire had been her peril, at that moment, but
Richard's presence gave courage to the defenders,







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


while his charge had staggered the outlaws. He
was more than a match, with three of his dis-
mounted men-at-arms at his side, for the foes im-
mediately in front of them. His fourth follower
lay several yards away, with his steel cap beaten
in by a blow of the terrible club.
"Hah hah hah !" yelled Clod as he turned
from that victim to press his way toward young
Neville. "Down with him! Out of my path!
Give the youngster to me "
Face him, my son said Lady Maud, and
Heaven's aid be with thee! Oh, for some o' the
good king's men!"
"I have thee roared Clod, swinging high his
club and preparing for a deadly blow.
Firm as a rock stood the young warrior, raising
his shield to parry.
Down came the club, but forward flashed the
sword with an under-thrust.
O my son !" burst from the lips of the Lady
of Wartmont. "My son hath fallen Stand firm,
men! "
Fallen, indeed, but so had Clod the Club,
pierced through by the sword-thrust; and a fierce
yell burst from his followers as they sprang forward
to avenge him. They had been faring badly, but
they were many and they were desperate. They
might even yet have broken through the men of
the tower who had stepped in front of Richard







THE KING'S DEER.


while his mother knelt to lift him, but for another
turn in the strange fortunes of the day.
There was no warning, and all were too intent
on the fray to note the arrival of newcomers;
but now there came a sudden dropping of the
outer men of the throng of robbers. Shaft after
shaft, unerring, strongly driven, pierced them from
back to breast.
"Shoot close!" shouted a voice. "Miss not.
Steady, men! 0 Richard Neville of Wartmont,
we are the killers of the king's deer!"
"Aye !" added Ben of Coventry. "We are
with Guy the Bow, and 'tis a wolf-hunt!"
They were not many, but their archery was
terrible. Fast twanged the bows, and fast the out-
laws fell.
"Closer, men! Spare not any !" commanded
Guy the Bow, and the line of galloways wheeled
nearer.
It was too much. The remaining robbers
would have fled if they could, but they were be-
tween two fires.
O Richard murmured Lady Maud. "Thou
art not dead ? "
His fine dark eyes opened, just then, and
a smile came faintly upon his lips as he re-
plied :
"Only stunned, mother. The caitiff's club
banged my shield down upon my head, but my







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


steel cap bore it well, else my neck were broken.
Did he go down ? "
He lieth among the ruck," she said. But oh,
thank God! The archers of Longwood have come !
The fight is won "
It was won, indeed; for neither the archers nor
the Wartmont men were showing any mercy to the
staggering, bewildered remnants of the outlaw
band which had been such a terror to the Welsh
border, and was to other counties almost as far
inland as was Warwick itself. Never' more would
any peaceful hamlet or lonely tower be left in
ruins to tell of the ruthless barbarity of the wolves
of Devon.
Why they were so called, none knew; but it
might be because that fair county had at one time
suffered most from their marauding, or because
fierce Clod the Club and some of his wild follow-
ers came from Lee on the Devon shore.
"Bloody work, my young Lord of Wartmont!
Bloody work, my lady !"
"Thank God for thee, Guy the Bow she re-
sponded. Alas, my neighbors But who cometh
there ? My son, yonder is the flag of Cornwall,
and none may carry it but the prince himself. All
ye stand fast, but those who care for the hurt
ones."
These, indeed, were many, for the women and
children were pouring down from the castle.






THE KING'S DEER.


With weeping and with wailing they were search-
ing for their own among the dead and the wounded.
But even the mourners stood almost still for a
moment, as a knightly cavalcade came thundering
up the street.
The foremost horseman drew rein in front of
Lady Maud and her son, and the taller of them
demanded:
"0 Lady Neville of Wartmont, what is this ?
The prince rideth toward Warwick. I am Walter
de Maunay."
His highness is most welcome," she said, with
calm dignity. So art thou, Sir Walter. Around
thee are the dead wolves of Devon. Some of our
own people have fallen. Would thou wert here
an hour the sooner. God save the king!"
Rapid were the questions and the answers, but
the Black Prince himself, as he was called, left all
the talking to Sir Walter, while he dismounted to
study the meaning of the fray.
He had singularly keen, dark eyes, and they
flashed swiftly hither and thither, as if they were
seeking to know exactly how this small battle
had been fought and won.
"And this is the famous Clod the Club ?" he
said. By whose hand was this thrust ? "
"'Twas young Lord Richard," answered Guy
the Bow. "Both went down, but the Neville was
little hurt. 'Twas bravely done "






WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


Richard Neville," exclaimed the prince, thou
hast won honor in this I would that I had slain
him. Thou art a good sword. The king hath
need of thee."
"He shall go with me," added Sir Walter ad-
miringly, as he gazed down upon the massive form
of the slain robber. "Madame, give the king thy
son."
Yea, and amen," she said. He is the king's
man. I would have him go. And I will bide at
Warwick Castle until he cometh again. Speak
thou, Richard!"
"I am the king's man," replied Richard, his
face flushing. "0 my mother, bid me go with
the prince. I would be a knight, as was my father,
and win my spurs before the king; but I fain would
ask one favor of his grace."
"Ask on," said the prince. "'Twere hard to
refuse thee after this gallant deed of arms."
"This work is less mine," said Richard, "than
of Guy the Bow and my good forestmen. But I
trow that some of them have found unlawful marks
for other of their arrows. I ask for them the grace
and pardon of the king."
"They have sinned against the king's deer,"
loudly laughed Sir Walter de Maunay. There
needeth no promise. Thou hast not heard of his
royal proclamation. Free pardon hath he pro-
claimed to all such men as thine, if they will







THE KING'S DEER.


march with him against the King of France.
'Tis fair pay to every man, and the fortune of
war beyond sea."
No voice responded for a moment as the arch-
ers studied one another's faces.
Richard," said his mother, "speak thou to
them. They wait for thee."
"O Guy the Bow," said Richard, "wilt thou
come with me-thou and thy men ? "
There was speech from man to man be-
hind Guy; but it was Ben of Coventry who
said:
Tell thy prince, Guy the Bow, that two score
and more of bows like thine will follow Richard
Neville to fight for our good king."
To address the prince directly was more than
Guy could do; but he spoke out right sturdily:
"My master of Wartmont, thou hearest the
speech of Ben. 'Tis mine also. We take the
pardon, and we will take the pay; and we will
go as one band, with thee for our captain."
"Aye," said another archer, "with the young
Neville and Guy the Bow."
"Ye shall be the Neville's own company," re-
sponded the prince. I like it well. So will they
do best service."
"Aye, 'tis the king's way also," added Sir
Walter de Maunay; and then the Lady of Wart-
mont led the way into the castle.







24 WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.
Richard went not forthwith, but conferred with
his archers. He had care also for the injured and
the dead, and to learn the harm done in the village
and among the farms.
In a few minutes more, however, the banner of
the prince was floating gayly from a corner of the
tower, to tell to all who saw that the heir of the
throne of England was under the Wartmont roof.














CHAPTER II.


THE MEN OF THE WOODS.

LACKING in many things, but not in stately hos.
pitality or in honest loyalty, was the welcome given
that night at Wartmont Castle to the heir of the
English throne and to his company.
Truth to tell, the fortunes of this branch of the
great house of Neville were not at their best. The
brave Sir Edward Neville had fallen in Flanders
fighting for the king. His widow and her only
son had found themselves possessed of much land,
but of little else. Too many acres of the domain
were either forest or hill, that paid neither tithe nor
rental. Not even Lady Maud's near kinship to the
Earl of Warwick was as yet of any avail, for these
were troublous times. Many a baron of high name
was finding it more and more difficult to comply
with the exactions of Edward the Third, and the
king himself could hardly name a day when his
very crown and jewels had not been in pawn with
the money lenders.
The less of discomfort, therefore, was felt by
3 25







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


Lady Maud; but she was grateful that the prince
and the famous captain, Sir Walter, so frankly
laughed away her apologies at their parting the
next morn.
"I am but an esquire," said the prince. My
royal father biddeth me to wear plain armor and
seek hard fare until I win my spurs. Thou hast
given me better service than he alloweth me."
"Most noble lady," added Sir Walter, I am
proud to have been the guest of the widow of my
old companion in arms- "
"Be thou, then, a friend to his son," she broke
in earnestly.
"That will I," responded De Maunay, "but
we may not serve together speedily. I go to
confer with the Earl of Warwick. Then I am
bidden to join Derby's forces in Guienne and
Gascony. Hard goeth the war there. As for
thy son, he, too, should come to Warwick with
his first levies. The king hath ordered the
power of the realm to gather at Portsmouth by
the ninth day of next October."
"I must be there, mother," said Richard.
Bring thy archers with thee, if thou canst,"
replied Sir Walter. "It is the king's thought that
his next great field is to be won with the arrow,
rather than the sword or the lance. But he will
have only good bows, and them he will train under
his own eye. It is time, now, for our going."


26 -







THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


The young prince, like the knight, gave the
respectful ceremony of departure to the Lady of
Wartmont, but much of youthful frankness min-
gled with his words and manner to Richard.
"I envy thee, indeed," he said to him, "thy
close with the Club of Devon. I have never yet
had such a fortune befall me. I have seen fights
by sea and land, but ever some other hand than
mine struck the best blow."
"Thou wilt strike blows enough before thou
art done, thou lion's cub of England," said Sir
Walter admiringly, for he loved the boy. That
was good reason, too, why he was with him on this
journey with so small a company.
"Few, are they?" had Richard responded to
a word from his mother concerning peril to the
prince. "I have marked them, man by man. I
think they have been picked from the best of the
king's men-at-arms. A hundred thieves would go
down before them like brambles before a scythe.
And the prince told me he thought it scorn to need
other guards than his own people-- "
And his own sword," she said, "and the lances
of De Maunay and his men. But the roads are not
safe."
Thou wilt be securely conveyed to Warwick,
0 my mother," he said lovingly. I will not leave
thee until thou art within the earl's own walls."
This had been spoken early in the day after







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


the conflict with the outlaws, and now the horse-
men were in their saddles, beyond the bridge of
the moat, waiting for the prince and the knight.
Their waiting ended, and it was fair to see how
lightly the great captain and his young friend, in
spite of their heavy armor, did spring to horseback.
Gracious and low was their last salute to the
bare, white head of Lady Maud at the portal, and
then away they rode right merrily.
0 my son! exclaimed she, turning to Richard
at her side, "I can wish no better fortune for thee
than to be the companion of thy prince. I tell
thee, thou hast won much by this thy defense of
thy mother and thy people."
"Aye," said Richard, laughing, "but thou wast
the captain. I found thee leading thy array, and I
did but help at my best. I would Sir Walter were
to be with us, and not with the Earl of Derby."
"There be men-at-arms as good as he," she said.
"Thou wilt have brave leaders to learn war under.
And, above all, thou wilt be with thy king. Men
say there hath not been one like him to lead men
since William the Norman conquered this fair land.
Thou, too, art a Neville and a Norman, but forget
thou not one thing."
"And what may that be, my mother?" asked
Richard, wondering somewhat.
Knowest thou not thy hold upon the people,
nor why the bowmen of Arden forest come to thee







THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


rather than to another ? Neville and Beauchamp,
thou art a Saxon more than a Norman. Thy father
could talk to the men of the woods in their old
tongue. It dieth away slowly, but they keep many
things in mind from father to son. Every man of
them is a Saxon of unmixed blood, and to that de-
gree that thou art Saxon thou art their kinsman.
So hated they Earl Mortimer and would have none
of him, and so he harried them, as thou hast heard.
They will stand by thee as their own."
So will I bide by them !" exclaimed Richard
stoutly. And now there is one yonder that I must
have speech with. I pray thee, go in, my mother."
That will I not," she said. It behooveth me
to pass through the hamlet, house by house, till I
know how they fare the day. There are hurts
among both men and women, and I am a leech.
Are they not my own ?"
"And well they love thee," said her son, and
they walked on down the slope side by side.
That they did so love her was well made
manifest when men, women, and children crowded
around her. Every voice had its tale of things
done, or seen, or heard, and there was wailing
also, for the few who had escaped from near
Black Tom's place were here, and others from
farther on. Dark and dire had been the deeds
of the robber crew from the Welsh border to the
heart of Warwickshire, and great was the praise







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


that would everywhere be given to the young lord
of Wartmont manor and his brave men. The Club
of Devon and his outlaws would be heard of or
feared no more. 'Twas a deed to be remembered
and told of, in after time, among the fireside talks
of the midland counties.
The madame now had household visits to make
not a few, and Richard listened long to the talk of
the farmers and the village men. He seemed to
have grown older in a day, but his mother said, in
her heart:
"I can see that the folk are gladdened to find
that he is so like to the brave knight, his father.
God keep him, among the spears and the battle-
axes of the French men-at-arms I fear he is over
young to ride with such as serve with the prince."
She could not think to hold him back, but he
was her only son, and she was a widow.
Patiently, all the while, a little apart from the
rest, had waited the burly shape of Guy the Bow,
and with him was no other forester, but beside him
stood his shaggy-maned galloway.
"Thou art come ?" said Richard. "Brave thanks
to thee and thine. What errand hast thou, if so be
thou hast any for me ?"
I bided out of seeing till the prince and Lord
de Maunay rode on," replied Guy. Even now I
would no other ears than thine were too near us."
This way, then," said Richard, turning to walk






THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


toward the moat. I have somewhat to say to thee
as we go."
None joined them, and as they walked the
archer was informed concerning the mandates of
the king and the mustering by land and sea at
Portsmouth.
I have been there," said Guy, in my youth.
'Tis not so far to go. 'Tis well in behind the Isle
of Wight. I have been told by seafaring men that
the French have never taken it, though they tried.
A safe haven. But there are others as safe on the
land. Part of my coming to thee is to ask that
thou wilt venture to look in on one."
"I may not venture foolishly or without a
cause," said Richard. Thee I may trust, but all
are not as thou art."
"All thou wilt see are keepers of good faith
when they give troth," laughed Guy pleasantly,
"or else more in Wartmont would know what to
this day they know not. My Lord of Wartmont,
plain speech is best. The men who are to go with
thee are under the king's ban, as thou knowest.
They will not put themselves within the reach of
the sheriff of Warwickshire till they are sure of
safety. They will hear the king's proclamation
from thine own lips, for thou hast it from the
prince himself. A man's neck is a thing he is
prone to guard right well."
"Go and have speech with them? That will







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


I!" exclaimed Richard promptly. "Nor is there
time to lose. I will bid them bring my horse- "
Not as thou now art," responded Guy. Don
thou thy mail. Be thou well armed. But men of
thine from the castle may not ride with us. I have
that to show thee which they may not see. Wilt
thou trust me?"
That will I," said Richard.
"And thine own sword is a good one," added
the archer, with soldierly admiration in his face.
"I have seen thy father in tourney. Thou wilt
have good stature and strong thews, as had he in
his day. They say 'twas a great battle when he
fell among the press, and that many good spears
went down."
"Aye. Go !" said Richard thoughtfully. "I
will explain this thing to my mother. She needeth
but to know that I go to meet a muster of the
men."
Nay," said Guy. Fear thou not to tell my
lady all. In her girlhood she was kept, a day and
a night, where none could do her harm, for the
Welsh were over the border, under Lewellyn the
Cruel, and the castle of her father was not safe.
She was not a Neville then, and the Beauchamps
fled for their lives."
"What was the quarrel ?" asked Richard.
"Little know I," replied the archer. "What
have plain woodsmen to do with the feuds of






THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


the great? Some trouble, mayhap, between King
Edward the Second and his earls. We aye heard
of fights and ravages in those days, but there came
none to harry us in Arden."
So they talked but little more, and Richard
passed on into the castle followed by Guy the
Bow.
Their first errand was to the hall of arms in the
lower story, and the eyes of the forester glittered
with delight as they entered.
"Thou couldst arm a troop!" he exclaimed.
"What goodly weapons are these !"
"Wartmont hath held a garrison more than
once," said Richard. "Pray God that our good
king may keep the land in peace. But it needeth
that his hand be strong."
Strong is it," said Guy, and the young prince
biddeth fair. I like him well. But, my Lord of
Wartmont, the noon draweth nigher and we have
far to ride."
"Aye," said Richard; but he was taking down
from the wall piece after piece and weapon after
weapon, eying them as if he loved them well but
was in doubt.
"No plate armor, my lord," said Guy. "It
were too heavy if thou went on foot. Let it be
good chain mail; but take thee a visored headpiece.
With thy visor down strange eyes would not know
thee too well. Leg mail, not greaves, and a good,







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


light target rather than a horseman's shield. This
is a rare good lance."
That will I take," said Richard, as he tested
a sword blade by springing it on the stone pave-
ment of the hall. "I will hang a mace at my
pommel."
Thou art a bowman," said Guy. Thy bow
and quiver also can hang at thy saddle. Nay, not
that heavy bit of yew. Thy arms are too young
to bend it well. Choose thee a lighter bow."
I will string it, then, and show thee," replied
Richard, a little haughtily. Yon is a target at the
head of the hall. Wait, now."
The bow was strung with an ease and celerity
which seemed to surprise the brawny forester. He
took it and tried its toughness and handed it back,
for Richard had taken an arrow from a sheaf be-
neath a window.
"Good arm, thine !" shouted Guy, for the shaft
was drawn to the head and landed in the very center
of the bull's eye of the wooden tablet at the hall
end. "Thou art a Saxon in thy elbows. Canst
thou swing an axe like this ?"
He held out a double-headed battle-axe that
seemed not large. It was not too long in the
handle, but its blades were thick as well as sharp
edged. It was no weapon for one at all weak-
handed.
Clogs of wood lay near, with many cuts already






THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


upon them, as if there had been chopping done.
Richard took the axe and went toward a clog of
hard oak.
Click, click, click, in swift succession, rang his
blows, and the chips flew merrily.
"Done !" shouted Guy. "Take that, then, in-
stead of thy foolish mace. It will but bruise, while
thine axe will cleave through mail or buff coat.
Ofttimes a cut is better than a bruise, if it be well
given. I would I had a good axe."
"Take what thou wilt," said Richard. "Put
thee on a better headpiece, and change thy sword.
If thou seest spears to thy liking, they are thine; gr
daggers, or aught else. We owe thee good arming."
Speak I also for Ben o' Coventry," responded
Guy. He needeth a headpiece, for his own is but
cracked across the crown, and his sword is not of
the best."
Choose as thou wilt for Ben," said Richard,
"or for any other as good as he. Neodeth he
mail ?"
"His buff coat is more to his liking," said Guy,
and men say that the king will not have his bow-
men overweighted for fast walking. The weary
man draweth never a good bow, nor sendeth his
arrow home."
"Right is the king," replied Richard. "I am
but a youth, but I can see that a foe might get
away from heavy armor."







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


Guy was busy among the weapons and he
made no answer. At that moment, however, there
was a footfall behind him, and he sprang to his feet
to make a low obeisance.
"Mother !" exclaimed Richard, "I was coming
to tell thee."
But not to him was her speech, nor in Norman
French, nor in the English dialect of the Warwick-
shire farmers. She questioned Guy in old Saxon,
such as was not often heard since the edicts of the
Norman kings had discouraged its use. Richard
could speak it well, however, and he knew that
Guy was explaining somewhat the errand before
him.
"It is well," she said. "I will trust him with
thee. The castle is safe. But hold him not too
long, for I make myself ready to pass on to War.
wick, to abide with the earl for a season."
"Right soon will he return," said Guy the Bow,
"and good bows with him. The king shall be
pleased with the company from Arden and Wart-
mont."
Small wonder was it, after all, that while all
Welshmen retained their ancient tongue, and many
Cornishmen, and the Manxmen all, and the Gaels
of Scotland and the wild Erse of Ireland, so also
many thousands-no one knew how many-in the
rural districts of England, still preserved but little
changed the language with which their fathers






THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


had answered to Harold, the last of the Saxon
kings. Hundreds of years later the traces of it
lingered in Warwickshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire,
Lancashire, and elsewhere, in a manner to confuse
the ears of modernized men from the towns and
from the coasts, as well as all outland men who
might believe that they understood English.
Well did Guy obey the commands of both
Richard and his mother; for when, after a hearty
breaking of his fast, he stood by the side of his
galloway, that good beast had cause to whinny as
he did, as if to inquire of his master what need
there might be that he should so be packed with
weapons and with steel caps for the heads of men.
The gallant animal that was to carry Richard, on
the other hand, was fitted out and laden as if at
any moment his rider might be changed from a
lance-bearing man-at-arms to a bowman on foot.
Other baggage there was none, and Lady Maud,
from her crenelated peephole in the Wartmont
keep, saw her son and his companion ride slowly
away through the village.
"Heaven guard him!" she murmured. "But
he can not gain too well the hearts of the old race.
They be hard-headed men and slow to choose a
leader, but they are strong in a fray. I would the
tallest of the forest deerslayers should go shoulder
to shoulder with my son into the king's battles."
So she gazed until the pair of horsemen disap-







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


peared along the road; then she descended a
flight of stairs and walked to the end of a corri-
dor. Here was a door that opened into a high
vaulted chamber, at the far end of which were can-
dles burning before an altar and a crucifix. This
was the chapel of the castle, and Lady Maud's feet
bore her on, more and more slowly, until she
sank upon her knees at the altar rail and sobbed
aloud.
Well away now, up the valley, northward,
rode Richard Neville and Guy the Bow, but they
were no longer in any road marked by wheels of
wains. They had left the highway for a narrow
bridle path that was leading them into the forest.
"My Lord of Wartmont," said the archer, "I
pray thee mark well the way as thou goest.
Chance might be that thou shouldst one day travel
it alone. Put thou thine axe to the bark of a tree,
now and then, and let it be a mark of thine own,
not like that of another. I think no man of
knightly race now liveth who could guide thee,
going or coming."
In an instant Richard's battle-axe was in his
hand, and a great oak had received a mark of a
double cross.
"There hangeth a shield in the gallery of the
armory," he said, "that is blazoned in this wise.
It is said that a good knight brought it home from
Spain, in the old wars. Well is it dinted, too, in






THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


proof that it fended the blows of strong fighters.
It is thrust through and it is cloven."
"Mayhap in frays with the heathen," said Guy.
"A sailor, once, at Portsmouth, one of our own kin,
told me rare tales of the Moors that he had seen in
the Spanish seas. He told me of men that were
black as a sloe; but it is hard to believe, for what
should blacken any man ? He had seen a whale,
too, and a shark three fathoms long. There be
wonders beyond seas."
"And beyond them all is the end of the world,"
said Richard, "but the ships do not venture that
far to their ruin."
So more and more companionlike and brotherly
grew the young lord and the forester, as they rode
on together, and it seemed to please Guy well
both to loosen his own tongue and to ask many
questions concerning matters of which little telling
had ever yet come in among the forests of Arden.
The day waned and the path wound much, and
there was increasing gloom among the trees and
thickets, when Guy turned suddenly to Richard.
"Put down thy visor," he said sharply, "and
draw thy sword. We are beset! Sling thy lance
behind thee, and get thee down upon thy feet.
This is no place to sit upon a horse and be made a
mark of."
The actions of both were suited to the word
on the instant, but hardly was Richard's helmet







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


closed before an arrow struck him on the crest.
But that he had been forewarned, it had smitten
him through the face.
"Outlaws !" said Guy. "Robbers-not our
own men. How they came here I know not.
Down, quickly!"
Even as he spoke, however, his bow twanged
loudly, and a cry went up from a dense copse
beyond them.
"One !" he shouted, and he and Richard
sprang lightly to the earth.
"Well my sword was out!" said the latter as
he gained his feet, for bounding toward him were
half a dozen wild shapes carrying blade and buckler.
"Down with them!" roared the foremost of
the assailants; but Guy the Bow was in front of
him, and in his hand was a poleaxe from Wartmont
armory.
It was a fearful weapon in the hands of such
a man as he, to whom its weight was as a splinter.
It flashed and fell, and the lifted buckler before it
might as well have been an eggshell for all the
protection it gave to the bare head of the robber.
He should have worn a helmet, but he would never
more need cap of any kind. Useless, too, was the
light blade that glinted next upon the shield of
Richard, for it made no mark, while its giver went
down with a thigh wound, struck below his
buckler.






THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


On swept the terrible blows of the poleaxe, and
Guy had no man to meet but was nearly a head
shorter than himself.
"They are all down! he shouted. Mount,
my Lord of Wartmont; they in the copse have fled,
but there may be more at hand. We will ride hard
now. These are thieves from Lancashire, and they
have not been heard of in these parts for many a
day. I think they have been harried out of their
own nests. They are but wolves."
"What kin are they? asked Richard, as he
regained his saddle.
"That I know not, nor do I know their speech,"
replied Guy. "But among them are no tall men
nor many good bows. Ben o' Coventry hath been
told by a monk from those parts that they are a
kind of old Welsh that were left when the first
King Edward smote their tribe to death. They
will live in no town, nor will they obey any law,
nor keep troth with any. But the monk told Ben
that they were not heathen, and among them were
men who could talk Latin like a priest. How that
could be I know not."
Nor I," said Richard; "but I tell thee, Guy
the Bow, I like this war of the king's with France.
We shall cross the sea, and we shall look upon
strange lands and towns. I would not bide aye at
Wartmont. I would see the world."
"That would not I," laughed Guy, "but if the
4







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


king winneth battles and taketh towns there will be
spoils to bring home. I will come back to own
land and cattle, and thou canst build again thy castle
walls and maintain thy state. I saw a piece of gold
once."
There is little enough of gold in England," said
Richard; but the path was narrowing and they
could no longer gallop abreast.
Not far had they pushed on, however, before
Guy drew his rein and turned upon his galloway
to say, in a hushed voice:
My Lord of Wartmont, I dare not sound a horn.
I pray thee dismount and come after me through
the hazels. I know not of peril, but we need to
go lightly."
"Aye," returned Richard, as he dropped from
the saddle nimbly enough considering his arms.
"I am with thee."
Path there seemed to be none in that dim
light, but ere long, as he followed his guide, the
hazel bushes on either side opened widely and
before him spread a grassy level Only that the
grass was too luxuriant and that here and there
were rushes, it might have seemed a pleasant
glade.
"'Tis the southerly arm," said Guy, "of the
great moss of Arden. There is little more of it till
you get leagues north of this. Oh, but it's deep and
fateful. He who steppeth into it cometh not up."






THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


What do we, then ? asked Richard.
"That which few may dare," replied Guy with
one of his brave laughs. But a piece onward and
I will show thee. Here might be barred an army."
"That might they," said Richard, staring across
the treacherous green level, below which, Guy told
him, there was no bottom.
Beyond were shadowy lines that told of forest
growths, and these were nearer as they led their
horses onward.
"A bridge exclaimed Richard, as he caught
a glimpse of a mass of logs and planks. "Is there
crossing ? "
"None but what the men of the woods can take
away before dawn," said Guy. "It is a bridge
that some have crossed who came not back again.
I pray thee, speak not save in old Saxon. 'Tis the
only tongue that may be heard inside o' the moss
of Arden."
Richard spoke not aloud, but he was saying
much in his thoughts.
"This, then, is the reason why the sheriff of
Warwickshire had missed finding many that were
traced to the forest. The takers of the king's deer
know where to hide their venison. But even on
this bridge a few axemen could hold back a troop.
Yonder bushes could hide archery. He would be
a bold captain, or crack-brained, who would lead
men upon this narrow way."







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


The woodwork trembled somewhat with the
weight of the two horses and the men, but it
bore them well enough.
"Hail, thou!" came hoarsely from among the
shadows as they reached the farther bank.
"Come well. .Thou hast him with thee."
Greet them in Saxon," whispered Guy, and he
also responded loudly:
"Hail, men, all! Is Ben o' Coventry with
ye ? This is Richard of Wartmont, with the
king's word in his mouth. I gave him safe con-
duct, and his mother sendeth ye good greet-
ing."
Something like a cheer arose from several voices,
but the speakers were unseen until Guy and Rich-
ard had passed on many paces into the forest.
Even then only dark and silent forms walked with
them, and there were gleams of bright spearheads
before them and behind.
"Every man hath his bow and his buckler,"
thought Richard, "and most of them are sturdy
fellows. The king hath need of such. It is
said that the outland men are smaller in the
bones."
It was the prevailing opinion among the Eng-
lish of that day that one of their own was equiva.
lent to four Frenchmen, and they counted as
French nearly all of the dwellers beyond the
Channel, except the Hollanders and the Danes, or







THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


Norsemen. The Norway folk were also, by the
greater part, counted as Danes, and were believed
to be hard fighters. So, among the country folk,
still lingered the traditions of the ancient days,
when Knut and his vikings had swept the coast
and conquered the island.
It was a walk of a league, and there was some
talking by the way, but the men all seemed in
haste and they strode rapidly.
Then they were greeted by loud shouting,
and Richard saw a red light grow beyond the
trees.
"Here is cleared land," was his next thought,
" and yonder is a balefire. Ho In the king's name,
what is this ? Are there strongholds hidden among
the woods "
Before him, as he went forward, was an open
area which may have contained hundreds of acres.
He could see broad reaches of it by the glaring
light of a huge heap of burning wood, a few score
yards from the edge of the forest. Beyond the
fire, as much farther, he could discern the outlines
of a large building, and, even more distinctly, a
long line of palisades in front of it.
"My lord," said Guy, "yonder is the hidden
ward in Arden. If any that are great of thy kins-
men ever heard of it, they told thee not. There
was thy mother fended, and there thy father lay
long days, when Earl Mortimer's men were seeking







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


his head. Thou art welcome, only let thy lips be
as our own concerning our hold. It will be kept
well should strangers come."
Richard glanced at the rugged forms around
him, and at many more that were walking hither
and thither in the firelight. All were armed, and
he could well believe that they would make Guy's
word good for him. They crowded around as he
drew near, and there was an increasing heartiness
in their manner and words as he continually re-
plied to them in the forgotten tongue. He knew
not of gypsies, or the thought might have come to
him that these half-outlaws, every man a deerslayer,
under the ban of the stern forest laws, had need, as
had the Romany or "Bohemians" as they were
called, to possess a speech of their own. It was a
protection, inasmuch as it aided them in detect-
ing intruders and in secretly communicating with
each other.
There seemed to be no chief man, no cap-
tain, but all stood on a kind of rude equality,
save that much deference was paid to Guy the
Bow.
"Right on to the house, if it please thee, my
lord," he said. "It is late, and there is roast veni-
son waiting. Thou mayest well be hungered. Is
all ready, Ben o' Coventry ? "
"All that's to be eaten," responded Ben, "but
the talking with the men must be done on the mor-







THE MEN OF THE WOODS.


row. They from the upper woods are not in. It
was well to slay the Lancashire thieves. Some
have gone out after what thou and he did leave.
They may not tell tales of aught they have seen in
Arden."
A few words more of explanation informed
Richard that he was there sooner than had been
expected, and he was quite willing to let his wild
entertainers have their own way.
"I would see all," he said, "and talk to all at
once."
"There might be jealousies," whispered Guy.
"Thou doest wisely. Here is the gate."
A vast oaken portal heavily strengthened with
iron swung open in the line of the bristling pali-
sades while he was speaking. There was a moat, of
course, with a bridge of planks to the gate, over
which Richard and those who were with him went
in. The inclosure beyond was large, and in it was
blazing more than one log heap, the better to light
up the buildings.
Some would have called it a grange, if there
had not been so much of it, for there were more
houses than one, all grouped, attached or built on
to a central structure. There was no masonry, but
the woodwork was exceedingly heavy and strong.
If there were more than one story to the grange, it
must have been hidden under the high-pitched
roofs, for there were no upper windows. Such of







48 WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.

these as could be seen below were all closed with
heavy swing shutters, nor was there any chimney
on any roof.
This was the manner in which the West Saxons
of Harold's time builded the palaces of their chiefs
and earls.















CHAPTER III.


THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.

WHEN Lady Maud Neville arose from her
knees at the altar rail there was a beautiful light
upon her noble face. Her long, white hair had
fallen around her shoulders, but for some reason
she seemed to have grown younger.
"I will give him to the king !" she loudly ex-
claimed. "I have prayed that my son may be as
was his father, a knight without a stain. But here
I may not tarry. It were better I made ready for
a journey even ere I sleep, for when Richard re-
turneth there will be haste. There is much that I
would not leave behind. I will load no wain with
goods, but the pack beasts will bear full panniers."
She walked out of the chapel and her serving
men and maidens met her, eager to do her bidding.
After that there were chambers and storerooms to
visit and coffers to open and packs to bind, for she
was not ill supplied with the garments that were
suited to her rank, and above all there were small
caskets of dark wood that were not opened. It
49







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


was said that there were gems and jewels in Wart-
mont, and the saying may have reached the ears of
such as Clod the Club to bring him thither. If
so, well was it that he and his would never come
again.
Ever and anon, however, as the good lady
passed a window, she would pause and look out
toward the forest, as if in that direction there
might be some one that she longed to see.
Day waned and the night came on, and all
preparations appeared to be completed, for again
she visited the chapel before retiring to her cham-
ber. Long since had the great gate been closed,
and the portcullis lowered and the bridge over
the moat drawn in. Now, at last, the curfew bell
sounded from the tower and the lights in castle
and village went out, save one bronze lamp that
still burned in that corner of the keep to which
the lady herself had retreated.
It was a large room and lofty, with twain of
narrow windows that were as if for archers to ply
their arrows through them rather than for lighting
the space within. The floor was strewn with dry
rushes for luxury, and the garnishing was such as
became the mistress of Wartmont. Heavily carved,
of oak, were the tables and the high-backed chairs
and the settles. The mirror over the chest of draw-
ers must have come from Venice itself. There were
curtains at the windows and around the high-post







THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.


bedstead which might have been woven in Flanders
or Normandy, for none such could be made in Eng-
land. The walls were wainscoted to the height of
a man's shoulder, but there were no tapestries to
tell of great wealth. It was as if in this place of
retirement had been preserved all that remained of
the broken prosperity of this branch of the great
house of Neville.
The lady slept not, nor even looked at the bed,
but sank into a great cushioned chair and seemed
to be lost in thought.
No words escaped her lips although much time
went by. There was no hand to turn the hour-
glass on the bureau near her, nor could she have
known at what hour she was startled to her feet.
Loud rang the summoning sound of a clarion at
the great gate, and louder was the sudden answer
of the alarum bell in the tower. She was at a
window ere she knew, and she heard a shouting:
"Open, O ye of Wartmont! In the king's name !
It is John Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick. Is our
lord the prince within ? "
Open will we right gladly," sent back the
warder at the gate. "But the prince and my
Lord of Maunay rode on to Warwick in the morn."
Saints preserve them uttered another voice.
" But we must needs come in. Bid the Lady Maud
rest. I will trouble her not until day."
"My noble kinsman!" she exclaimed, turning







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


quickly from her window. I will make haste to
greet him. Well is it that I am robed. I will meet
him speedily in the hall."
Even so she did, and the minutes were few
before she stood face to face with a tall man of
noble presence, in full armor save the helmet he
had doffed on entering. He seemed in full vigor
of life, but gray-headed, as became a statesman
upon whom the king might lean.
Questions and answers followed fast, and all
the while the Wartmont retainers were busily pro-
viding for the hundred horsemen who had ridden
in the train of the earl. Of them were knights
and nobles also, and some of these now stood near
the lady and the earl. Strong was their speech, as
was his, concerning the rashness which the prince
had shown in riding across England with so small
a company.
"Knoweth he not," said one, "that there is
treason in the land ?"
Silence on that head, Geoffrey of Harcourt,"
responded the earl. But we may trust he is safe
in Warwick. Had we taken another highway we
might have met him. But, madame, this is fine
news of my young kinsman. Well for him that
he hath won the favor of the prince and of that rare
good lance, De Maunay. More than well is it also
that he hath sallied forth promptly to gather his
archery. It will please the king. Better bowmen






THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.


are not than he will bring from Arden. Now,
Lady Maud, hie thee to thy rest, and so will we
all, for we are weary."
The remaining words were few, and once more
the castle grew still, save for the stamping of rest-
less horses in the courtyard and the busy chatter
of the warders of Wartmont with the guard set by
the earl.
Now there was another place in which all was
quiet, only that on a heap of rushes and a spread
garment lay a youth who slept not, but turned at
times uneasily.
I fear no treachery," he muttered, but not in
Saxon. I think these be true men. Yet I will
leave my'sword bare and my axe by it lest peril
come. Who would have looked for a hold like
this among these woods ?"
Then his thoughts went back to that which he
had seen on coming in. He had passed the moat
and the portal with Guy the Bow, and through a
short passage. Then he had entered a vast hall,
in the middle of which blazed a fire, the smoke
whereof escaped at a hole in the peak of the roof.
At one end of this hall was a broad dais, two steps
higher than the floor of beaten earth, and here had
been spread a table for his refection. Kindly, in-
deed, and full of reverence for his rank and name,
had been the words and manners of all who served,
for none presumed to eat with him. No other man






WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


was there of gentle blood, and even Guy the Bow
would have been angered had any trespassed upon
his young captain. That was Richard, now, by
the command of the prince himself, and the forest-
men all honored the king, Saxons though they
were. None were permitted to question, overmuch,
although Guy himself went out to dispense what-
ever news was in his own keeping.
Refreshed, even with a tankard of ale that was
brought him, Richard arose at last, and followed
Ben of Coventry to the sleeping place allotted him.
None better was in the grange. If at any past day
there had been more costly furniture, some hand
had taken it away, and naught was left now but
safe quarters for such men as Richard had seen.
It was but day dawning when a hunter's horn
sounded a clear note at the door of the rude
chamber.
"Hail, my Lord of Wartmont!" spoke Guy
the Bow. "I pray thee hasten. Thy men will be
ready for thee within the hour. They all have
come, and they are eager to hear thee."
"On the moment! shouted Richard. "I am
ready. Tell them I come."
"God speed thee this day," said Guy. "Full
many a good fellow is ready to free himself from
peril of the sheriff of Warwickshire. Aye, and to
draw the king's good pay and have chance for pil-
laging French towns. They like it well."






THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.


Great indeed was the astonishment of Richard
when, after hurriedly breaking his fast in the great
hall, he walked out with Guy and others like him
to view the gathering in the open space beyond
the palisades.
Women and children, score on score, kept at a
little distance, but not beyond hearing. In the
middle, however, were clustered fully a hundred
brawny men, eager to hear the king's proclama-
tion of free pardon and enlistment for the war in
France. They all knew what it was to be from
other tongues, but to them the young lord of
Wartmont was the king's messenger, and there
was no certainty in their minds until he had spoken.
Without too many words, but plainly and well,
did he announce his message, and they answered
him with loud shouting. To some of them it was
as a promise of life from certain death, for the law
was in search of them, and the judges of that day
were pitiless concerning forestry and the protec-
tion of the king's deer and the earl's.
Short ceremony was needed, for man after man
came forward to kneel and put his hands between
those of Richard, in the old Saxon custom of
swearing to be his men in camp and field, in fight
and foray, in the inland and the outland, until the
king's will should give them grace to come home
again.
Born warriors were they all, and they laughed







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


with glee in the hope of fighting the French under
so good a leader as was Edward of England. Good
captain, good success, they knew; and as for Rich-
ard, had they not known the knight, his father,
and had not he himself slain the Club of Devon in
single-handed combat ? They were proud to serve
under a Neville, and a man of their Saxon blood,
who could order them in their own tongue.
"One hundred and one!" shouted Guy at last.
"May I not bid them to horse, Lord Richard ?
Every man can have his own galloway, or another,
that the road to the camp at Warwick may be
shortened."
"Mount !" shouted Richard. His own gallant
steed had been led to his side and in a moment
more he was in the saddle.
John, Earl of Warwick, was also early upon his
feet, for he was a man whose life had been spent
much in camps, and he was wont to be out and
using his eyes as a captain before breaking his fast.
From the men of Wartmont he speedily learned all
relating to the raid of the Club of Devon and the
brave fight made in front of the castle. Of this
also he noted the defects, and he roundly declared
that he would soon give command and provide
means for its repair.
We may need it again some day," he said to
himself. "There may be stormy times to come.
May God prevent strife at home, but there be over-







THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.


proud hearts and over-cunning heads in this good
land of ours. I will see to it that Wartmont shall
be made stronger than ever. Glad am I that Sir
Edward Neville hath left so brave a son to stand
for our house."
Many and bitter were the jealousies of the high-
hearted barons of England, and none could tell the
days to come. Who should prophesy how long
the reigning house might keep the throne, or be-
tween what claimants of the crown might be the
next struggle, if, for example, King Edward or his
son, or both of them, and their next of kin, should
go down in battle or should die suddenly in their
beds, as others of royal blood had died? The
head of a great baronial house might well bethink
himself of every advantage or possible peril.
"But for the poverty the war bringeth," he
said, "I would have builders here within the week.
As it is, I will have a garrison, and the good dame
herself must bide at Warwick while her son is
with the army in France. 'Twere shame to leave
her here alone."
So said he to Lady Maud when they met in
the castle, and she told him then how well pre-
pared she was for a departure. Already was she
aware of his reason for coming so far to meet the
prince; but his anxiety was at an end, and he was
willing to linger and make full his soldierly inspec-
tion of the castle.
5







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


"Good fort," he said, "and well was it held
against Earl Mortimer. Glad am I that thy son
hath so good control of the forest men. They are
as clannish as are the Scotch, and they will come
to their own chief when they will bide no other."
He understood them, but he was yet taken by
surprise before the noon.
"Horsemen!" he exclaimed, standing in the
gateway. Rightly did I say there was impru-
dence in the small company of the prince. Yonder
is a troop-yea, twain of them."
No lances were visible, but at the head of the
foremost troop rode one who carried on a high staff
a blue banneret, and the earl knew not as yet what
its blazonry might be.
-Truth to tell, it was nothing but an old flag of
Sir Edward Neville's which had been stowed away
in the crypts of the grange. Not all of these had
been inspected by Richard, but he had seen a good
smithy wherein galloways were shod, and spear-
heads and arrowheads and knife blades were ham-
mered and tempered. Not only arrowsmiths were
there among the forest men, but good bowyers, that
they might not depend for their weapons upon any
but themselves. Weaving, too, was done among
the women and by skilled websters of the men;
but shoemakers or cordwainers they had none, and
but rough potters and smelters. So dwelt they as
best they might, with cattle and sheep and swine,







THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.


and the black cattle of the woods and the king's
deer for their maintenance. They were not at any
time in peril of starvation, for excellent also were
the fishes in the pools and streams, and there was
no end of skilled brewing of ale.
Four and four abreast rode on the mounted
archers who had sworn to come to the king with
Richard of Wartmont, and they came on right
orderly. Well looked he also, in full armor, at
their head.
'Tis Richard, my lord the earl!" called out
to him Lady Maud as they rode nearer. "'Tis my
brave son and his men Believes thou now that
he can call the men of the woods ? My boy God
bless him !"
That say I !" loudly responded the earl, Atrid-
ing across the moat-bridge. "Ho, all! Get ready
for the way. My lady, I pray thee to go in and
lade thy pack beasts. We will even march for
Warwick ere the day is an hour older."
Loud and hearty was his cousinly greeting to
his young kinsman. Strong was his approval of
the force he had enlisted, but he added:
"What shall we do with all these beasts ? The
king will have his archers on their own feet."
"That is provided for," replied Richard. "I
pray thee trust me that the whole drove can go
back to Arden, under good driving, as soon as
there is no more need for them. I deemed it







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


well to come quickly. Such was the word given
me by Sir Walter de Maunay."
Thou didst well to heed him," said the earl;
but then he talked little more with Richard.
He bade the men dismount and get their noon-
day meal in the village and in the castle; but he
had speech with many of them, for he was well
pleased that such a company should come to the
royal standard from among his own retaining.
Lady Maud had waited, but not all patiently,
for her own greeting to her son. It was a joy to
both of them that they were to go on to Warwick
together, but most of all that a better day seemed
to be dawning for them, and that the ruin wrought
by the bad Earl Mortimer might be amended.
Not many men had been left behind in the
hidden hold amid the forest, and such as had not
marched with Richard had long since dispersed.
Some had ridden gayly away on their stout ponies;
others had gone to the fields. Some were in the
smithy, the tannery, and the other workshops, and
a few had restlessly snatched bows and arrows to
hurry out into the woods as hunters.
No guards were set, except that a pair of bow-
men lingered on the farther side of the causeway
over the morass. There was little peril of intru-
sion now that the Lancashire Welsh thieves had
been sorely smitten. Whatever might remain of
them would not return to be shot down.







THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.


As for the secret character of the grange itself,
there was small wonder that a few hundred acres,
if so much there might be, of patches of farm land
should be sheltered among those woods from any
but such men as had been Sir Edward Neville. It
might all be within the somewhat doubtful borders
of his own manorial grant, given to his ancestors by
the earlier kings and confirmed by Edward the First,
to be lost under his son, the second Edward, and Earl
Mortimer, and to be regained under Edward the
Third and the house of Beauchamp.
It was said, indeed, that there were regions
tenfold as wide, in some of the remoter baronies,
whereof men knew but little, especially among the
Scottish border counties and among the hills. Be-
sides these were the unsearched fen districts on the
coasts, the wild mountain parts of Wales, and worst
of all were the highlands of Scotland and the sea-
girt isles of the Scottish coasts. As for Ireland,
even the greater part of it was almost an unknown
land to Englishmen, for nothing less than an army
might venture inland too far with any hope of ever
coming back again.
In the several parts of the grange itself, as in
the cottages scattered beyond it, the women plied
their tasks. Some of them spun with distaffs, and
Stwo or three looms were busy; more might have
been but for the lack of wool. There was much
raising of sheep in the more thickly settled parts






WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


of England in those days, but there was small room
for them in Arden. Moreover, they, more than
cattle or horses or swine, were sorely thinned by
the wolves. It was a hundred and fifty years later
that these fierce beasts disappeared from England,
and the last of them in Scotland was slain yet a
century later. So was it that so little cloth, even
of homespun, was worn by the bowmen who rode
behind Richard of Wartmont, in the gloom of that
evening when he followed the Earl and his men-
at-arms through the gate of Warwick town.
Long had been the journey, hard pushed and
weary were beasts and men. There was small
ceremony of arrival or reception for the greater
part of the cavalcade, but the Lady Maud was
conducted at once to the care of the Countess
Eleanor of Warwick, her younger sister, the wife
of the earl.
As for Richard, his men were cared for well,
under direction of Sir Geoffrey de Harcourt,
while their young captain was bidden to hasten
with his great kinsman to meet once more the
Prince of Wales and Sir Walter de Maunay.
This greeting, too, was brief, for the hour was
late; but the prince said graciously:
thou of Wartmont, I will make thee my
comrade in arms! In the morn I would fain see
thy men. My father himself bade me gather as
many deer stealers as I might, for, quoth he, the






THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.


hand that can send a gray goose shaft to strike
a stag at a hundred yards may fairly bring down
a Frenchman at half that distance. Give me bow-
men enough of the right sort, and I will train
them to face anything that Philip of France can
muster."
"0 my Lord the Prince," replied Richard, "I
have a hundred with me, of whom any man can
send an arrow through a coat of mail at fifty
yards. I like the king's notion right well."
Go, now," said the prince; "go with thy
kinsman, the earl. On the morrow I will tell
thee what to do with thy men."
But these, for their part, were all of a merry
heart that night. Not often had any of them visit-
ed Warwick, at least in later years, for therein
was a jail, and they liked not so much as to look
thereon, being in danger of being put within it.
They had good quarters and good fare, with much
ale, and they knew they were to see brave sights
next day, and to have a word from even the Black
Prince himself. Was not that enough of cheer for
men of the woods who had seldom been out beyond
the shadows of the oaks of Arden?
The stout earl and his nephew walked together
from the presence of the prince toward the chamber
allotted to Richard.
Thou shalt be to me as a son'! exclaimed the
earl, in the dim corridor through which they were






WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


pacing. "Thou hast won the prince. Now, if thou
wilt go and win thy spurs with him, thy fortune is
made. Thou wilt have broader lands than Wart-
mont, but wert thou even to win much gold, I bid
thee bide by thine own keep and hold to thee thy
Saxon men. If thou wilt do so, I can foresee the
day when thou canst bring five hundred bowmen
to the standard of thy house."
"I can bring but four more men-at-arms now,"
said Richard ruefully.
"And thy archers ?" laughed the earl. "Didst
thou not hear Geoffrey Harcourt say to Northamp-
ton, that if all the great barons of England would
do as well as thou hast done, the array of the king
would be gathered right speedily ? Too many are
afraid to leave their own domains lightly guarded,
and, truth to tell, not a few are carrying slender
purses. The drainings of these long wars have
made us poor. I am myself in the hands of the
Jews and the London Lombards for more debts
than I can see how to pay. So is the king, and
he is troubled in mind as to how he shall feed and
pay his armies. Go to thy couch and arise right
early. Beware that thou never keep the prince
waiting. He is like his royal father, and he who
would fail of meeting the king hath gone near to
making him a sworn enemy. His temper is dan-
gerous. See that thou arouse him not at any time.
His hand is hard upon men, and so will any troops







THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.


of his be disciplined as were never English troops
since William won the island."
If that were to prove true, it might be one of
the reasons why the king so firmly believed that
he could bring the men so disciplined face to face
with greater numbers of the disorderly levies of
his rival, the King of France.
The stern counsel of the wise earl was hardly
needed, so far as Richard's early rising was con-
cerned, but he was up not any too soon in the
morn. Nor was he any too mindful of his duty
as a soldier of the king. He arose and put on
his armor and walked out of his chamber, and be-
fore him stood an archer.
"The commands of the earl," he said bluntly.
"Eat not, but hasten to thy men. They break
their fast even now. Have thou them in line right
speedily. I will be thy guide to their quarters."
"I obey the earl," said Richard, following.
It was not far to go, beyond the castle gate,
and Richard turned for a moment to gaze back
upon towers and battlemented walls which had re-
sisted so many a stout assailing.
They are held for the king now," he thought,
"but they once were held against him, and oft
against other kings. In yonder dungeon keep hath
more than one proud earl been brought to the
block, and men say that in it, even now, are prison-
ers of note that may never again see the day."






WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


Dark and high and threatening was the aspect
of the great keep of Warwick Castle, and there
might be terrible secrets of state in its under-
ground chambers.
He turned again to follow the archer, but when
he came to the quarters of his troop, he found
that the commands of the earl were there before
him. The forest men were used to be up with the
dawn, and it had been no surprise to them to find
their tables ready spread. Also, they liked the
fare, and they were in good heart when they came
out to greet their young captain. They cheered
him loudly; but a new thought flashed into his
mind.
Soldiers ? Drilled ? he said to himself. I
see what the earl means. They all can shoot well,
but they can neither form line nor move together,
nor do they know the words of command. The
prince-is he here thus early ?"
Here he came, the heir of the crown of Eng-
land and of the English claim to the crown of
France. He was in his plain black armor, with
his visor raised, but on his face was no smile of
youthful familiarity-rather, something of the
hard look that distinguished his father and that
made men fear him; and the hardness was in his
voice as well, when he shouted swift orders to
Richard.
Low had been his obeisance, but he had a bit-







THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.


ter feeling in his heart, for he knew not how to
form his men. All he could do was to turn to
them and shout:
"Follow !"
"By fours! Spears in line!" added Guy the
Bow, and more words in Saxon bade them hold
their shields in front and step together.
Less shame felt Richard when he saw how well
they came on, and the lips of the prince relaxed
somewhat.
"Not a rabble," he muttered. "They will
train well. I never saw new men move thus.
The Neville doeth better than I thought. I will
speak to the earl."
Other knights were with him, gallantly mount-
ed all, and behind him they rode out to the
broad common of Warwick, for there was to be a
morning review of the earl's retainers and of lev-
ies which had arrived.
Never before had Richard seen together three
thousand armed men, horse and foot, and greatly
delighted by so rare a show were his woodsmen.
In large part these forces had already been well
trained by the officers of Earl Warwick, and the
prince himself ordered them through many move-
ments, such as might be needed upon a field of battle.
A rare man was Guy the Bow, for he and Ben
of Coventry had been trained in their time, and
they had instructed their comrades at the grange







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


in days gone by, and the rest on the way as they
came. So was it that when Richard of Wartmont
led his two fifties hither and thither, he and they
were a further surprise to the prince and to his
captains and noble knights. They fell not into
any confusion at any point, and again it was said of
them, No rabble," and The Wartmont doeth well
for a beginner."
After that, archery butts were set up and
squads from several companies were picked, by lot
only, and ordered to show their skill.
Right good was the shooting, as might have
been expected, for there were prizes as well as
praises to be won; but at the noon, when all was
over, it was found that every best shot, save one,
on all the butts had been made by the slayers of
the king's deer in Arden.
"0 thou of Wartmont," laughed Sir Walter
de Maunay, "I think thou wert wise in asking
so many pardons! Thy merry men are in good
practice."
So laughed the prince, but there had been coun-
seling that day and he now summoned Richard to
himself. With him were the Earl of Warwick and
four other earls, and Richard felt sorely abashed
before he was spoken to.
"What sayest thou, John Beauchamp of War-
wick?" he heard the prince demand. "What
wouldst thou with the levies ?"







THE EARL AND THE ESQUIRE.


"My Lord the Prince," responded the earl,
"even as seems to me to have been said by the
king. We must hear from Scotland. The king
crosseth not the channel before winter. Neither
will he keep too many thousands, at great cost and
loss, in the Portsmouth camp."
"What then ?" asked the prince.
"As for my nephew's men," said the earl,
" they are too few-gathered in a day. Instead of
one hundred, he will bring twain or more. Keep
these for a week, and send them to recruit their
fellows. Thou knowest the power of the Neville
name among them. Send Richard to York."
Good counsel exclaimed the prince. Rich-
ard of Wartmont, select thee a dozen of thy trusti-
est men on thy best galloways. Be thou with
them two hours hence, at the castle gate. Thou
shalt be the king's post bearer to his Grace the
Archbishop of York, and to the barons of the
north counties."
Richard bowed low, flushing with pride and joy,
for the spirit of travel and of adventure swelled
high within him.
"Thanks to thee, 0 my Prince!" was all that
he could say, and he went back among his men.














CHAPTER IV.


THE KING'S MESSENGER.

THE prince was but a youth, although of good
stature and strongly made. From his cradle up
he had been trained under the care of the stout
king, his father, and of knights who were chosen
from the best swords and bravest hearts in Eng-
land. Assured was he that only a hardy soldier
and a good general might safely keep the crown.
The barons of the realm-half kings in their own
domains-had proved the ruin of the second Ed-
ward, and only by deep cunning and ruthless force
had the third of the name broken loose from a
like thraldom. Much blood had been shed before
the scepter was firmly in his grasp; and a fiercely
royal self-will had been instilled into the Prince of
Wales as one of the safeguards of his kingship.
Therefore, when sent to Warwick to confer con-
cerning the mustering of the forces, he had come
there to command as well as to take counsel.
"My Lord of Harcourt," he said with much
dignity to that noble warrior, "I have listened
70






THE KING'S MESSENGER.


well to all that hath been said. Plain is it that the
earl is right. There will be no crossing to France
with King David of Scotland threatening the bor-
der counties. We must hear from the Archbishop
of York. I will send the Wartmont. He will go
and come right speedily."
There was he now in front of the castle gate,
with Guy the Bow and ten more of the archers
of Arden. To Richard himself had been given a
fresh horse and good, with two pack beasts well
laden, for the king's especial post might make a
good show at any castle or town he should come to
on his way. So was it with his merry men all, for
their buff coats were new and they covered each a
doublet of green cloth. All their galloways were
saddled and bridled, with fair housings, and one of
them carried a lance and a pennon, whereon were
blazoned a white star and cross, and over them a
gilded crown, in token of their errand. Woe to
any who should dare to hinder a messenger of the
king, or fail to speed him on the king's errand!
Not that Richard himself knew the meaning of
the letters that were in his pouch, nor that matters
of state were in his head. But a proud band and
merry were the bowmen who rode behind him out
of the town gate and up the highway to the north-
ward.
"0 my Lord of Wartmont!" said Guy the
Bow. "This is better than I had hoped. I had







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


not so much cared to see the outland folk, but I
had hungered for a look at more of England."
"Thou art out of the woods now," replied
Richard, and so am I, but there is little more for
us than riding from sleep to sleep, and caring well
for our beasts. We may not pause under any roof
longer than to break our fast and let the galloways
rest."
"We can see as we go," said Ben of Coventry.
"A man learneth much by what he seeth. But
half the archers of Arden would come at the
king's call, if they knew how well they would be
taken in hand."
That truly was the wisdom of the prudent
Earl of Warwick, and it suited the humor of the
prince, for from all the land the levies had been
slow in gathering. As for himself, his stay in
Warwick was to be of the briefest, for he had
learned many things to carry to the ears of his
royal sire at London.
Well went it with the Lady Maud after she
had spoken a short farewell to her son that day,
for she was now housed with kindred and with
many noble ladies, and was hearing tidings of the
world that could not have reached her at Wart-
mont. Moreover, there were new fashions of dress
and equipage that all women love to learn, and the
stately dame herself had brought with her goodly
fabrics ready for shaping by the skilled needle-






THE KING'S MESSENGER.


women of her sister, the countess. It was better
than being cooped almost alone in the gloomy old
keep at Wartmont.
A day and a night, and a day and then another
night, lingered the prince. His main business
seemed to be with the levies, and he said to him-
self:
"I will know them man by man, and so will
the king, my father. I will measure with care the
force wherewith we are to meet Philip of France.
The king is most of all wary concerning his bow-
men. I like well the Wartmont's tall deer stealers.
They are worth a pardon. We must have more of
them. I, too, must be seen in Wales. Would that
I could drain out of it the most unruly spirits and
the fiercest outlaws. So is the king's command
concerning Ireland. If any rogue there is worse
than another, let him be brought in and put in
training."
Deep was the craft of the king, therefore, and
of the prince, for if any wild man came at their
call, and they liked not the promise of his thews
and sinews, him they took not, after testing him,
for he might be no better than one of the peasants
of the King of France, fitter to dig than to carry
sword and buckler.
The summer days went by, even as Richard
had told his men. Steadily, even hastily, they
pressed their northward way, and tower and town
6







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


gave them hearty welcome. There were those who
unduly asked what their errand might be, but to
noble or simple there was but one reply:
Ask thou the king, if thou wilt meddle with
his business."
There were earls and barons, of course, to
whom was due great courtesy of speech, and, in-
deed, to all ears there was much free news to tell.
Ever, as they went farther on, they heard more
rumors of the doubtful state of things upon the
Scottish border.
There was never peace there," said the Earl
of Arundel, at the gate of a castle where Richard
met with him and other noble lords. "King
David will be in England within a week from the
sailing of the English fleet. Young sir, tell thou
this from me to the good archbishop. Bid him send
few levies to the king from the north counties, but
hold a force in waiting that shall be as good as any
the king may convey to France. Else we shall see
the thistles of Scotland halfway to London town
before he can meet the lilies of France in any field
beyond the sea."
Richard bowed low, for he was abashed before
so grand a company; but he had not ridden far be-
fore he heard Ben of Coventry assuring Guy the
Bow, with his usual freedom:
"Right wise was yonder earl, thou fat-head.
But doth he deem that the king hath forgotten







THE KING'S MESSENGER.


Scotland ? Trust thou him for that. Ah me,
that we must go and come and never kill a
Scot!"
"Or be killed by them," said Guy. "Keep
thy head for the French to hack at. Thou wilt
get knocks enough."
Mayhap," said Ben; "but I say one thing:
Never did twelve men from Arden fare so well
for no harder work than riding. It payeth me to
serve the king. We have been feasted all the
way."
"Wert thou in Scotland," laughed Guy, "it
were otherwise. They eat but oatmeal cakes, and
they know not of ale. I wonder much if they have
deer in such a land where all is fog and mist, and
where the days are short at both ends. But the
Scotch fight hard, and sorely would they harry
England were a chance given them."
They seemed to be at peace at that time, but
King Edward and his advisers had rightly read the
state of affairs in the kingdom over which David
the Bruce was but half a king. No check had as
yet been given to the power of the great Scottish
baronial houses. They were beyond the control of
any man, and David had inherited his father's valor
without either the generalship or the prudence of
the great Robert the Bruce.
It was at last in the morning of a fair, warm
day that Richard and his archers rode out from







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


under a dense wood to shout together as one man
for what they saw.
"Aye, here we are!" said Richard, "and yonder
is the spire of York Cathedral. One hour more and
we are at our journey's end."
Never before had any man among them jour-
neyed so far, but they showed small signs of wear
or weariness. Nevertheless, at Richard's command
they gave goodly attention to their apparel and their
weapons, and to the coats of their beasts, before pre-
senting themselves at the gate of the ancient cathe-
dral city.
I have heard tell," said Richard to Guy, "that
here was a town in the old days of the Romans.
There hath been many a battle and leaguer before
these walls."
"The Romans,?" replied Guy. "I was told of
them by a Cornish man. There were giants in
Cornwall in those days. God grant they are all
gone their way; but the Cornish men say they
at times find the long bones and the big, hollow
skulls."
"The gates are well guarded," was the next
thought of Richard. "Can there be bad news
from the north ? "
Guards there were, and none went out or in
without notice to discern well whom they might
,:. as if, perchance, there were spies in the land.
In the king's name !" shouted Richard, at the







THE KING'S MESSENGER.


gate, "Richard of Wartmont. From Earl War-
wick and the king's duty to his Grace the Arch-
bishop."
In the king's name, enter as loudly respond-
ed a crested knight who had advanced before the
sentries. Follow thou me to the archbishop. The
warders will care for thy men. I am Robert John-
stone of the Hill. Art thou not a Neville, and my
kinsman? "
That am I," said Richard. My father was
Sir Edward Neville."
"Good knight and true," responded Sir Robert.
"I have fought at his side. There must needs be
a rare message when thy uncle the earl chose thee
for his postboy."
Words must be few," said Richard, but now
I know who thou art, I will tell- "
"Tell not!" interrupted the knight. "Do I
not discern thy pennon ? Name not any who were
with the earl until thou hast emptied thy postbag.
Thou art but young, and these be treacherous times.
A brave band are thy men- "
"Archers of my own company," said Richard,
a little proudly. Every man from the forests of
Arden."
"And every man a born retainer of Sir Edward
Neville's house," laughed Johnstone. Do I not
know thee and thine? We will have speech to-
gether soon, where there may be no other ears.







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


The Johnstones are as thou art, the chiefs of old
clans that the new men can do naught with."
Great then was the surprise of the young mes-
senger when his sudden acquaintance talked to him
in Saxon, bidding him also not to use that speech
except among his own, and telling him that the
north counties contained more than did the mid-
lands of such men as had preserved jealously the
memories of the days of Harold the Saxon.
"'Tis a tough race," said the knight. "It is a
good foundation for thy house to rest upon. Aye,
or for the king's throne. Now, if thou wilt dis-
mount, yonder esquire will care for thy horse."
Sir Robert appeared to be acting as captain of
warders, and none questioned or hindered him as
he and Richard walked on, side by side, toward the
castlelike palace which served as the residence of
the archbishop. The town was the largest, and its
buildings were the best that Richard yet had seen.
He knew, moreover, that the learned prince of the
Church before whom he was about to stand was also
accounted second to none among the statesmen of
England, with rare capacity for affairs of war as
well as of peace. He was a man, therefore, to
whom might be intrusted the safety of a realm
in the absence of its king, and in him had Edward
the Third unshaken confidence as being loyal and
true.
Word of their coming had gone on before them







THE KING'S MESSENGER.


swift-footed, and they were ushered with all haste
into the great hall where his Grace was already
present, for the reception of they knew not what
or whom.
At the upper end of the hall, upon a raised dais
of three steps, was a throne chair, carved richly with
emblems of the Church, and surmounted by a high
cross that seemed of silver. In front of this, clad
gorgeously in flowing robes, stood the archbishop,
and before him knelt a knight in splendid armor,
but bareheaded, just on the point of rising. The
quick eyes of the prelate flashed keenly, and he
turned to an attendant monk.
"Anselmus," he said in Latin, "bring hither
yonder messenger. I must read his letters before
I have further speech with Douglas."
"He hath summoned thee," whispered Sir
Robert to Richard. Speak not at all to him,
lest thou err greatly. Yon is the knight of Liddes-
dale, the prowest spear of Scotland. His presence
bodeth no good to England, I fear."
The monk came and touched Richard's arm and
led him forward. Glad was he of his injunction
not to speak, for he was greatly awed to be in that
presence. He walked onward with bowed head,
and on the dais he knelt before the archbishop.
Thy letters, my son," said the prelate.
Not a word spoke Richard, but he silently pre-
sented three sealed missives. One he knew was







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


from the prince, one from the Earl of Warwick,
and the third was to him a secret. Nevertheless
he heard the archbishop mutter:
The king's own hand ?"
Then he said aloud:
"Wait thou here, my son. Rise; I will return
presently. My Lord Douglas, come thou with me
into my cabinet."
Richard arose and stood in his place, but it
seemed not long before the archbishop strode back
again, and with him came the knight of Liddes-
dale.
"Your Grace," said the latter, "I ride within
the hour."
"Peace go with thee," responded the arch-
bishop. "Peace be with thee and thine; with thy
king and my king; with Scotland and with Eng-
land! Amen!"
Then from all who were present came a respon-
sive Amen, as the knight knelt for a parting bless-
ing and rose to depart.
Come thou, my son Richard," said the arch-
bishop. "I would hear thee."
It was strange fortune for a youth so inexpe-
rienced to find himself mingling in affairs so tre-
mendous, and Richard hardly breathed until he
was alone with the great man in a kind of oratory
wherein was an altar.
"Speak !" said the archbishop. "Tell all."







THE KING'S MESSENGER.


First, then, Richard told of the prince and
De Maunay at Wartmont, and the archbishop
answered not save to mutter:
"So! thou hast slain that wolf, the Club of
Devon. Thou art like thy father."
Then told Richard not of the grange in the
woods, but of his going to Warwick with his arch-
ers, and again he heard the prelate mutter, but in
Saxon:
"Saxons, all! How we of the old blood do
cling together He doeth well."
All the words of the prince and of those with
him were repeated, but no comment was made.
After that told Richard the saying of the Earl of
Arundel, and he had finished.
"Well for thee, my son," said the archbishop.
"Thou hast seen Lord Douglas. He is for peace.
Mark me, I will write letters. Thou wilt bear
them. Wait in York till they are given thee.
Come not to me unless I summon thee. I note
that thou rememberest clearly, and canst carry that
which may not be written. This, then, say to the
king or to the prince, but not to another save John
Beauchamp the earl, lest thou die. Bid the king
from me that Douglas and his friends will fail in
their counsels for peace. David of Scotland is for
war, and waiteth but opportunity. He must now
have one. Edward the King will not but seem to
drain of force these northern counties, that the Scot-







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


tish lords may deem them unguarded. He will
gather an army for his war in France. Such an-
other will we prepare to meet the Scottish inva-
sion. Let the king be sure that when he saileth
for France the Scottish host will march for the
English border. Edward will prove too much for
so rash a man, with all his cunning, as is Philip of
France. In like manner we will prove too much
for David of Scotland, who despiseth the warnings
of men like Douglas of Liddesdale. We will crush
the Scottish invasion, taking the unwise in a snare.
Go!"
Deep was the reverence with which Richard
turned to depart. More words were given him,
however, and much was his wonder at a man who
seemed to know the thoughts of the hearts of other
men, and to read the forces of the kingdoms as if he
were counting pennies.
A good monk led the young messenger out of
the hall and gave him into the care of Sir Robert
Johnstone.
"Say not too much to me," said the knight.
"I talked with Liddesdale, and heavy of heart is
he. A wise man as well as a good captain; but
the Scots must learn a lesson. How long tarriest
thou in York? "
"For letters only," said Richard.
"Then bide with me, and let thy men rest and
their beasts. I will show thee the town and the







THE KING'S MESSENGER.


castle and the cathedral. 'Tis a grand old town.
I like it well."
"I shall like well to see," said Richard. "But
how great is the archbishop Never before have I
looked into the face of such a man."
"Wait, then, until thou hast seen the king," re-
plied Sir Robert. "Try if thou canst read him.
Thou wilt be with the prince."
Out they went, and Richard's eyes were so busy
that he found small use for his tongue. Nor was
there great need, save for a question here and
there, for the knight had taken a liking to him and
was willing to instruct him.
"Some day," he said, "thou mayest lead thy
archery hitherward. Spare not to learn aught
that might serve thee if thou wert a captain, in
whatever land thou shalt at any time visit."
At the close of the day, when the vespers were
ringing sweetly in the cathedral tower, Richard
was with his men, and they gathered around him
gladly, telling how well they had fared.
"Guy the Bow," laughed Richard, "tell me
truly, now, of those who have been with thee.
Hast thou broken thy jaws with French or north
English, or hast thou chattered in Saxon ?"
The laugh was echoed from man to man, and
Guy the Bow responded:
Now, my lord, knowest thou this already?
There be more of the old sort here than in War-







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


wickshire. They tell that there be many Nevilles
hereaway, and it seemed right to them that one of
thy house should be our captain. But I hear that
the bowmen of these parts are to be kept at home."
"Say not too much of that to any man," said
Richard, for at once he remembered the words of
the archbishop.
"The king," he thought, "will deal with the
Scots as with the French. They must get their
teaching from the longbow and the cloth-yard
arrow."
Rest came well that night after so long a
journey. The next day, and the next, were but
spent in seeing sights and in waiting for orders.
On the third day, however, before the sun was
a half hour high, came Sir Robert Johnstone to
greet his young friend.
Up, Richard of Wartmont! he gayly shouted.
"Take .thou this pouch and keep it with thy life
until thou shalt deliver it to the king's hand.
Thine uncle the earl, or the prince, shall be to thee
as the king, but on thy life and on thy head give
it to no other."
The parcel was small and it was tightly bound
in dressed deerskin. It could be hidden under a
coat of mail, and there did Richard at once con-
ceal it.
"I will but break my fast," he said. "Then
we will mount and ride."






THE KING'S MESSENGER.


"Beware of overhaste," said the knight.
"Safety is more than speed in such a case as this.
A day more or less will not matter. Thou wilt
know enough not to talk loosely by the way, but
it is from his Grace himself that thou shalt speak
only of peace with Scotland. Baron or earl or
common, all must rest assured that the Scots are
weary of war. Well they might be, were there
wisdom in them. I would their king were older.
We shall beat them the more easily because he
putteth aside such captains as the Knight of
Liddesdale, and listeneth to hot-headed young
chiefs that never yet saw a thousand spears in
line."
"Thou wilt be here?" said Richard.
"That will I," replied the Johnstone. "The
king will hear a good report of his north country
bowmen. If thou speakest of it to the prince, say
this from me, that in his own camp there shall be
no better discipline nor closer archery."
Rapid was their talking, but when they sum-
moned Richard's men there was a shout. They had
seen enough of York already, and they were eager
for the road. To them all it was more like a long
junketing than aught else.
"All Arden would list," said Ben of Coventry,
"for this sort of war service. But I had hoped
somewhat for a brush with the Scots. Not an
arrow hath sped since we set forth from Warwick."






WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


"Thou wilt have archery enough before thou
art done with the king's war," replied Richard.
"Mind thou thy galloway, Ben," interrupted
Guy the Bow. "What knowest thou of the
Scots ? They are many a league away."
"Aye, man," said Ben, "and all the Yorkshire
men know that Douglas of Liddesdale was here.
All Scotland may march behind him some day."
"Then I may say to thee," said Richard, "and
to every man of this company, speak not upon
the way one word of the Knight of Liddesdale.
Closed lips, safe head. We are on the king's er-
rand."
Even so! exclaimed Ben. "I was right. I
deemed the Scottish captain a bird of ill omen.
Thou mayest trust thy men, Lord Richard of Wart-
mont. We of the greenwood are well used to
keeping a silent tongue. Else were our necks
worth but little."
Richard said no more; but it was well that he
had with him none but trusty companions, for all
their journey homeward would be beset by shrewd
questioners eager to get the latest tidings from the
north.
"I will take another road," he thought, "than
that by which I came. There are roads plenty.
The Earl of Arundel will be at Warwick when I
get there, or at London."
Hearty was the farewell of Sir Robert John-






THE KING'S MESSENGER.


stone at the city gate, and gay was the setting
forth of Richard and his men. But it was even
according to the saying of wise Ben of Coventry,
that an esquire and eleven archers were riding a
holiday with nothing to do but to ride and to be
hailed at every gateside to tell what news.
Even the second day passed in like manner,
and it was far on in the third when the first hap-
pening came.
Not in any town or by any castle, but in the
broad highway, there rode to meet them a glitter-
ing array of men-at-arms.
"Halt!" shouted Richard. "Form line at the
roadside, till we know what this may mean. Yon-
der is a banner with the arms of Surrey. Why
should such a flag be here ? I know not the earl,
nor is he a friend of the Warwick, Beauchamp or
Neville."
So many, in those troubled days, were the
feuds and heartburnings among the stout barons
of England!
On came the lances, fully a score, with mounted
esquires and serving men as many, and Richard sat
alone upon his horse in the roadway, with Guy the
Bow at his side bearing the prince's pennon.
Sharply the men-at-arms drew rein, and only
one knight spurred forward.
"Richard of Wartmont "he exclaimed. "Glad
am I thou camest this way. They who wait thee






WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


on the other road must not know thy errand. Sur-
rey is not here, but the Earl of Northampton."
"My Lord of Harcourt," responded Richard
firmly, "I may not answer even thee, nor give my
errand save to our liege the king, or to the prince."
Thou wouldst deserve to lose thy head if thou
didst," replied Sir Geoffrey of Harcourt. "Do
thou, however, as if the prince bade thee. Go not
to Warwick, but send thy archery there. Turn
thou with me and ride for thy life until thou art
out of reach of the king's enemies."
Guy the Bow," said Richard, turning to him,
"hast thou heard ?"
If it be also thy command," said Guy, fear
not for us. Little do we need of highways or of
any man's permission. Let me have speech with
the men."
"Bid them to reach Warwick town as best
they may," said Richard.
To the roadside and to his company went Guy,
and in a few moments more he raised a hand, and
the few words he spoke were in Saxon.
Up again went the hand of Richard, with a
loud "Ha! Ride!"
Now at that place was a great forest, with a
deep ditch along the roadside.
As Richard lowered his hand, over the ditch
went the line of galloways, and it was but a twink-
ling before all had vanished among the trees.






THE KING'S MESSENGER.


Wartmont," exclaimed the knight, "thou hast
thy men well in hand! I will tell the prince of
this. Thou canst call them and thou canst send
them."
"How is this ?" loudly demanded a not un-
kindly voice, as another rider in splendid armor
rode near them.
My Lord of Northampton," said Sir Geoffrey,
smiling, "Richard hath sent home his galloways,
and they took their riders with them. He must
not pause--"
"A few words only," said the earl; "I shall
not hinder the king's service. Arundel gave thee
a message. Was it delivered "
"It was, my lord the earl," said Richard. I
may say to thee it was timely."
"Knowing from him what it was," said the
earl, I need ask no more on that head "; but
he went on with what seemed to be only general
inquiries as to the health of the archbishop and
the gatherings of levies at York and elsewhere.
Haste muttered Harcourt.
"On, then!" almost shouted the earl. "Ride
well, thou of Wartmont, lest the foes of the Neville
as well as the traitors to the king shall bar thy
way. But I am glad that they lied who said that
the good archbishop is failing. On !"
Silent and motionless upon their horses sat the
men-at-arms as Harcourt and Richard galloped by.
7







WITH THE BLACK PRINCE.


Miles away, upon another road, a somewhat
like band of warlike men were halted as if wait-
ing, and to him who seemed their leader it was
said, by a small, gray-headed man at his side:
"Could we but know the mind of the arch-
bishop we might be able to tell the king why we
pay not his contributions, and why thy retainers
are not on the march for Portsmouth."
We shall have his Grace's letters before the
sun is down," hoarsely responded the knight ad-
dressed. "I would there might be somewhat in
Wartmont's doublet to imperil the proud head of
his uncle Warwick."
"Aye, my Lord of Surrey," said the gray-
headed man, "it were overcunning of John Beau-
champ to have the young Neville so near the
prince. That house towereth too high. We will
tumble it somewhat."
Small was the knowledge of Richard concern-
ing the plots and perils through which he and his
had ridden, but in a small, elegantly furnished
room, at many a long mile's distance, there sat at
that hour twain who spoke of him.
My son," remarked one of them, I will not
say that thou and Warwick were overconfident to
send a boy. The time for his return draweth
near."
'Tis far to ride," replied the younger of the
pair, and he was very much the younger. I sent







THE KING'S MESSENGER. 91

Sir Geoffrey Harcourt to watch for him, else he
might not come. My royal sire, Richard Neville
and his archers might come and go where a knight
and a score of men-at-arms would fail."
"Or turn traitor, as some have done," slowly
responded the king. "The land reeks with trea-
son, but half of it would have us go to France and
be beaten, while the other half would have us stay
at home and lose all to Philip of Valois."
So communed King Edward and the Black
Prince, telling of the dangers which may beset a
crown. Much had they to say concerning the
power of the barons, but more of the building up
of their strength among the people.
"Mark thou this, my son," said the king at
last, "make thou the commons to be strong, and
the crown is safe against the barons. When I can
show thee bowmen defeating knights and men-at-
arms, thou wilt see a new day for England. After
that it shall not be long until a successful merchant
shall be greater than an earl. Am not I also a
merchant ? Learn thou the art of the trader, for it
is part of the wisdom of kings in the time that is
coming."
All through his reign had commerce grown, and
manufactures been encouraged by the king, while
more and more with a strong hand he strove to re-
strain the barons. Not till a later day, however,
were they to be broken; but, even -as he now said,




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