THE PRINCE'S STORY BOOK
"THY BROTHER'S CORPSE IS BORNE YONDER."
PRINCE'S STORY BOOK
BEING HISTORICAL STORIES COLLECTED OUT OF ENG-
LISH ROMANTIC LITERATURE IN ILLUSTRATION
OF THE REIGNS OF ENGLISH MONARCHS
FROM THE CONQUEST TO VICTORIA
WITH AN INTRODUCTION
GEORGE LAURENCE GOMME
H. S. BANKS
ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND Co.
2 WHITEHALL GARDENS
A THIRD collection of these stories is here presented to
those readers, old and young, who delight in something pic-
turesque for Christmas reading, which should be at the same
time serviceable and sound literature. The previous vol-
umes, the King's Story Book and the Queen's Story Book,
were so successful that this new collection was attempted,
and it appears to me that it compares in interest with its
fellows. The quest for stories has been more keen, the
difficulties of selection greater now that many favourites
have already been printed in this manner, but the mine
still yields rich ore.
I am told that these books have been appreciated in
schools and among people who desire that the literature
of the young should be useful and real, and it is with this
conception of their office that I send yet another volume
to the same, and I hope many more, readers.
Introduction . . . xII
HAROLD: The War Princes of the North. Lord Lytton. i
WILLIAM I: The Red Prince as Tyrant. J. F. Smith. 12
WILLIAM II: How the King played with the Peasant.
HENRY I: The Oath to Matilda.
William of Malmesbury. 29
HENRY II: By Order of the King.
Thomas Love Peacock. 32
RICHARD I: How Prince John wooed and lost.
Thomas Love Peacock. 44
JOHN: How King John was wooed and won.
L. S. Stanhope. 51
EDWARD I: How Wallace met King Edward.
Jane Porter. 58
EDWARD III: Queen Philippa and the men of Calais.
RICHARD II: Hotspur and Douglas. Anonymous. 76
HENRY V: Agincourt. G. P. R. James. 84
HENRY VI: How Prince Edward helped his cause.
Lord Lytton. 99
EDWARD IV: The Last Hope of the Red Rose.
Sir Walter Scott. 129
HENRY VIII: The Death of Anne Boleyn.
Harrison Ainsworth. 147
EDWARD VI: How the Princess Elizabeth won her
first case. J. F. Smith. 167
MARY: How the Lady Jane Grey died.
Harrison Ainsworth. 183
ELIZABETH: How Sir Walter Raleigh used his cloak.
Sir Walter Scott. 202
JAMES I: At the Court of the King. Sir Walter Scott. 236
CHARLES I: A Royal Warrant. Sir Walter Scott. 256
COMMONWEALTH: When the Prince was Prince indeed.
Sir Walter Scott. 265
CHARLES II: When the Prince was King.
Sir Walter Scott. 292
JAMES II: How the King left his Kingdom. Mrs. Hall. 302
WILLIAM AND MARY: Showing that Monarchs are
human. Mrs. Hall. 308
ANNE: How some of the Battles of England were
fought. W. M. Thackeray. 315
GEORGE II: Bonnie Prince Charlie. Sir Walter Scott. 337
GEORGE III: At the ends of the Empire.
Fenimore Cooper. 349
VICTORIA: The new Leaders. Lord Beaconsfield. 383
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"Thy brother's corpse is borne yonder" Frontispiece.
"Spanish yew and the Norman bow-hand
for ever"...... .... To face. 20
"Why, do you not know, sir, that to-morrow
is Gamwell feast?" .. .... ,, ,, ,, 34
"The rebel lies before ye". ... .. ,, 54
"Arise, glory of Albin, from thy cloud, and
shine upon thy own". . .,, ,, 64
"I humbly require you-that ye will take
mercy of these six burgesses" ,,,, ,, 75
"Esperance Esperance!" ..... ,,, o 8
"They gave one loud universal cheer" ., ,,,, 94
"What, peradventure, grieves my father,
hath but joy for thee" ... . ,, o5
"Let me tie this relic about thy neck, good
youth" .......... .,, ,, ,, 145
"No union of his shall be happy, and other
blood than mine shall flow" ,, ,, ,, 6o
"Wouldst like to see the interior of the ant-
hill? demanded Patch" . .. ,, ,7
"She remained, while light lasted, upon her
knees"........-.... ,, ,, ,, 85
"The Queen hastily passed on" ,,,, 218
"They landed at Whitehall stairs" ,, ,, ,, 237
"I have not troubled Israel, but thou and
thy father's house".. .. ... ..,, ,, 260
"A message I have to you". .....,, ,, 266
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"The old cavalier stooped his head, but
raised it not again" . .
"'Tis hel 'Tis he". . .
"And on yonder lawn-she had played,
many and many a time" . .
"Two lines-and no more, for the taking
of Lille". . .....
"And trust our cause to battle and to the
God of Battles". . .
"Moving slowly across the plain" .
"And the people, have they not shed their
blood in battle?" . .
To face p. 296
,, ,, 307
, ,, 311
,, ,, ,, 328
,, ,, ,,346
,, ,, ,, 377
,, ,, ,, 390
THE romance of English history grows upon the student
as he penetrates more into the subject. This is pleasing
to those who have marvelled, not without regret, that the
stirring events happening in early England have not centred
together in the national character as the corresponding
events in Scotland have centred. It may be because Eng-
land has not produced a Scott. On the other hand it may
be that a Scott cannot be produced because there is not
the historical life in the background. Against this latter
theory the collections I have now gathered out of English
romance must be evidence. Every reign has been re-
presented and all except one or two of the unimportant
reigns have been represented in each of the three col-
lections which, with this volume, have now been published.
The present volume opens with that stirring event, the
battle of Stanfordbridge, in September, io66. Two great
war princes met to fight out their quarrel-Harold of Nor-
way and Harold of England. Conqueror everywhere else
Harold of Norway met his own conqueror on English soil.
It was a great and eventful fight and shows forth the character
and genius of the great English King in a remarkable
manner. Tostig, Harold's brother, fought on the side of
England's foe, fought of course well and bravely as all the
house of Godwin knew how to fight, fought and died for
his cause and his ally. Bad as Tostig comes out in Eng-
lish history, his conduct in this last day was worthy of
himself and the great family from whom he sprang. The
traditional account of Harold's interview with him is no
doubt founded on fact, and it tells well for this wayward
tyrannical freebooting sort of chief, that he preferred fight-
ing to the desertion of his ally, and death to the shame-
fulness of defeat and disgrace. The story as told by Lord
Lytton in his great romance is true, in most of its details,
to the early chronical narratives and we have in this opening
example a very perfect specimen of the story-teller's art.
For the reign of William I the reader is introduced, not
to the great King himself, but to his turbulent and tyrannic
son. whom, however, he named as his successor. The
story is not of course a true one and must therefore only
be considered as indicative of the truth. This may be
safely done. William Rufus was all that this story relates
of him-tyrant as prince and tyrant afterwards as King.
The story chosen to represent his reign depicts a part of
his character, perhaps, not altogether unamiable in its
origin; and that the English people were not entirely un-
friendly to him, is perhaps, owing to his characteristic love
of enjoyment among the peasants' games and sports.
The famous account of the oath to Matilda fittingly re-
presents the reign of Henry I, and it is taken from the
chronicle of William of Malmesbury.
Stephen is not represented. For Henry II a charming
story by Thomas Love Peacock, referring to the famous
Earl of Huntingdon, has been chosen, and though entirely
fiction, it illustrates extremely well the political condition
of Henry Il's reign.
Richard I is not personally represented, but the action
of his infamous brother, Prince John, during the King's
absence in the Crusade is represented by a story taken out
of the same romance by Thomas Love Peacock and which
is of course fiction only. The reign of John is represented
by a spirited attempt by Miss Stanhope to illustrate the
influence of the Queen before she had left the home of
the King. The story serves its purpose here, perhaps, well
enough, though the event is trifling and not historical.
Henry III is not represented. The great Edward I is
represented by a fragment from Miss Porter's well-known
romance. The King is not at his best where Wallace is
concerned, and although the whole story is altogether
mythical in character, it not unfitly helps us to realize
somewhat of the period.
Edward II is not represented, while for his great son
Edward III, the famous story of Queen Phillippa saving
the men of Calais from the King's wrath is chosen. It is
taken from that incomparable narrative, the translation of
Froissart's Chronicle by Lord Berners.
The story of Hotspur and Douglas well known to English
-romance, introduces us to the reign of Richard II. The
battle of Otterbourne took place on the 31st July, 1388, and
this story relates the events in a sufficiently descriptive
fashion. Passing over the reign of Henry IV, the battle
of Agincourt, as described by G. P. R. James, tells us of
that great hero of English romance, Henry V. With the
reign of Henry VI we come again to a story taken from
one of Lord Lytton's novels. It is very striking, and records
an historical event from the imaginative standpoint in a
manner in which Lytton was a master.
With Edward IV we come to a story taken from Sir
Walter Scott. It portrays events which were going on among
the English nobility on the continent after the victory of
Edward IV at Barnet had secured him the throne, and we
cannot but have sympathy with the fallen Queen. Edward
the V, the boy-King, and Richard III, the last of the
Plantagenet kings, are not represented.
When we come to the next story we have passed over the
reign of Henry VII unrepresented and reached Henry VIII.
Readers will note how the narratives now change, how the
events are more modern in tone, how much nearer the
present age seems to be, how the Plantagenets have been
left a long way behind as if belonging to another era.
This characteristic of the stories here collected is true to
history. The Tudors belong to quite a new order of his-
torical life, and mediaevalism with its glories and its ble-
mishes was a thing of the past. The glories and blemishes
of the new order are now to be told of, and they will be
found none the less real if they are of a different character.
Henry VIII, that matchless tyrant and most able man,
is represented by a story, taken from Harrison Ainsworth,
of the execution of Anne Boleyn. Whether Anne was
guilty as here portrayed can probably never be known,
but on the whole it is probable she was not. The matter
is so doubtful, however, that the romancist is perfectly jus-
tified in taking the view he has.
The reign of Edward VI is represented by a story taken
from a once well-known romance. It shows up the char-
acter of the young King and of the Princess Elizabeth
very well, and is altogether a very good representation of
this generally uneventful reign. The death of Lady Jane
Grey under the reign of Mary is an event which is widely
known to English romance, and Ainsworth's treatment of
it in the story taken from one of his novels is not at all
bad. The local colouring is very good, and Jane is not
Elizabeth's great reign is open to us in the pages of Sir
Walter Scott, and the well-known tradition of the manner
in which Raleigh used his cloak is chosen to represent this
reign. The whole story is wonderfully told and wonder-
fully true of the times, while the character of Raleigh, if
a little too butterfly-like to please those who admire his
great genius, is perhaps not altogether out of keeping with
his early character.
Of course we turn to Scott for a story of James I. What
prince has ever had such a chronicle! For whatever
there is to admire in the character of this somewhat
dubious monarch comes to us from Scott's estimate. His
learning, his weakness, his charm, are all here. We seem
to see the whole thing entire before our eyes so real is
the romancist's narrative, and this gem, known to everyone
of course, is worth a separate setting.
Scott too does duty for Charles I, an episode in Montrose's
picturesque and remarkable career being chosen. For the
period of the Commonwealth we have another story from
Scott and one which shows Prince Charles in a most
favourable light, not too favourable I think, for it is pretty
certain that as prince, like all the Stuarts, Charles II was
princely in all things. "Pshaw! that cannot be now-Colonel
Everard, I am Charles Stuart"-the words are very noble
and very simple and Scott has only equalled himself in
penning them. The episode which deals with Charles II
as King is also told by Scott and is somewhat less known
perhaps than other stories. How true it is of this period
and of this King, and how Ormonde and Buckingham
stand out in the narrative! The introduction of that great
scoundrel, Colonel Blood, helps us to realize the period,
but is not, it appears to me, quite happy.
For James II a slight story by Mrs. Hall is introduced.
It relates to the throwing of the Great Seal into the Thames
and the attack upon Jeffries-both of them historical events.
William and Mary are represented in their domestic char-
acters, and this story is also taken from Mrs. Hall's novel.
Thackeray is called upon for Queen Anne's reign, and
we have a powerful indictment against that infamous but
able general the Duke of Marlborough. The whole story
is one of singular power and concentration, singularly
true to history and yet beautifully told as a piece of
romance. It is taken from that masterpiece of English
George the First is not represented, but for George II
Scott is once more appealed to, to give us a picture of
" bonnie Prince Charlie "-Holyrood for the scene, the
prince's court of rebels for the characters, and of course
the story is a good one.
In the reign of George III we are taken to the end of
the empire and to a writer not yet used for this purpose,
Fenimore Cooper. His description of the fate of Fort
Henry, of Montcalm's action in the matter, of the ferocious
butchery by the Indians, introduces us to the first glimpse of
the "white man's burden as it appears in English history;
and it must be admitted that the picture is complete.
Finally, leaving out George IV and William IV, I have
turned to the pages of Lord Beaconsfield to illustrate the
*changed character of the times of our own great Queen.
Nothing could be finer than this little glimpse into modern
times in contrast to everything that has gone before-a
contrast so powerful, so true, and so instructive that it
easily tells its own results.
The history contained in, or represented by, these collections
from English romance is therefore very full in its range
and very expressive in its character. The stories are also
representations of English literature, cameos from writers of
acknowledged preeminence whom it is well to understand
in the light thrown by these examples of their work. Chosen
not for their literary merit, but for their historical suita-
bility to the plan upon which the book is arranged, these
stories are unprejudiced evidence of the literary style of
each author. The authors include Sir Walter Scott, who
is utilized so frequently, and W. M. Thackeray among the
great masters; Lord Lytton, Thomas Love Peacock,
Harrison Ainsworth, Fenimore Cooper, and Lord Beacons-
field among the masters not so great, together with G. P. R.
James, Miss Porter, Mrs. Hall, J. F. Smith and Miss L. S.
Stanhope who are called upon to help the cause. If the
lesser authors do not shine very brightly by the side of
Scott and Thackeray it does not, I think, detract from the
book as a whole, while it affords an excellent opportunity
Each story is unaltered just as it appears in the novel
from which it is extracted, and care has been taken to
preserve intact the original text. Occasionally at the be-
ginning a sentence has had to be shortened or slightly
varied, in order to make the story complete in itself and
avoid reference to past events; in one or two cases a sen-
tence is inserted to introduce a character, and dates
have always been put in when the events related allow of
it. The end of the story is sometimes shortened by omit-
ting complete passages, and in such a case as "Nigel" the
title of Lord Glenvarloch is substituted for the hero name
of Nigel. With these exceptions, and they are extremely
few, the stories are taken bodily from the volumes in
which they appear, and they represent in every way their
24, DORSET SQUARE, N.W.
THE WAR PRINCES OF THE NORTH
WHILE war hungered for England at the mouth of the
Somme, the last and most renowned of the sea-kings,
Harold Hardrada, entered his galley, the tallest and strongest
of a fleet of three hundred sail, that peopled the seas
round Solundir. And a man named Gyrdir, on board the
King's ship dreamed a dream. He saw a great witch-wife
standing on an isle of the Sulen, with a fork in one hand
and a trough in the other. He saw her pass over the whole
fleet;-by each of the three hundred ships he saw her; and
a fowl sat on the stern of each ship, and that fowl was a
raven; and he heard the witch-wife sing this song:-
"From the East I allure him,
At the West I secure him;
In the feast I foresee
Rare the relics for me;
Red the drink, white the bones.
"The ravens sit greeding,
And watching, and heeding;
Thoro' wind, over water,
Comes scent of the slaughter,
And ravens sit greeding
Their share of the bones.
"Thoro' wind, thoro' weather,
We're sailing together;
I sail with the ravens;
I watch with the ravens;
I snatch from the ravens,
My share of the bones."
But Harold Hardrada scorned witch-wife and dream; and
his fleets sailed on. In September, o166, Earl Tostig joined
him off the Orkney Isles, and this great armament soon came
in sight of the shores of England. They landed at Cleveland,
and at the dread of the terrible Norsemen, the coastmen fled
or submitted. With booty and plunder they sailed on to
Scarborough, but there the townsfolk were brave, and the
walls were strong. The Norsemen ascended a hill above the
town, lit a huge pile of wood, and tossed the burning piles
down on the roofs. House after house caught the flame, and
through the glare and the crash rushed the men of Hardrada.
Great was the slaughter, and ample the plunder; and the
town, awed and depeopled, submitted to flame and to sword.
Then the fleet sailed up the Humber and Ouse, and
landed at Richall, not far from York; but Morcar, the Earl
of Northumbria, came out with all his forces-all the stout
men and tall of the great race of the Anglo-Dane.
Then Hardrada advanced his flag, called Land-Eyda, the
"Ravager of the World," and, chanting a war-stave-led
his men to the onslaught.
The battle was fierce, but short. The English troops
were defeated, they fled into York; and the Ravager of the
World was borne in triumph to the gates of the town. An
exiled chief, however tyrannous and hateful, hath ever some
friends among the desperate and lawless; and success ever
finds allies among the weak and the craven-so many
Northumbrians now came to the side ofTostig. Dissension and
mutiny broke out amidst the garrison within; Morcar, unable
to control the townsfolk, was driven forth with those still true
to their country and King, and York on Sunday, 24 September
o166, agreed to open its gates to the conquering invader.
At the news of this foe on the north side of the land, King
Harold was compelled to withdraw all the forces at watch
in the south against the tardy invasion of William.
THE WAR PRINCES OF THE NORTH
York having thus capitulated, all the land round was
humbled and awed; and Hardrada and Tostig were blithe
and gay; and many days, thought they, must pass ere Harold
the King can come from the south to the north.
The camp of the Norsemen was at Stanford Bridge, and
on the Tuesday following it was settled that they should
formally enter York. Their ships lay in the river beyond;
a large portion of the armament was with the ships. The
day was warm, and the men with Hardrada had laid aside
their heavy mail and were 'making merry,' talking of the
plunder of York, jeering at Saxon valour, and gloating over
thoughts of the Saxon maids, whom Saxon men had failed
to protect-when suddenly between them and the town rose
and rolled a great cloud of dust. High it rose, and fast
it rolled, and from the heart of the cloud shone the spear
and the shield.
"What army comes yonder?" said Harold Hardrada.
"Surely," answered Tostig, "it comes from the town that
we are to enter as conquerors, and can be but the friendly
Northumbrians who have deserted Morcar for me."
Nearer and nearer came the force, and the shine of the
arms was like the glancing of ice.
"Advance the World-Ravager!" cried Harold Hardrada,
"draw up, and to arms!"
Then, picking out three of his briskest youths, he de-
spatched them to the force on the river with orders to come
up quick to the aid. For already, through the cloud and
amidst the spears, was seen the flag of the English King.
On the previous night King Harold had entered York,
unknown to the invaders-appeased the mutiny-cheered
the townsfolks; and now came like a thunderbolt borne
by the winds, to clear the air of England from the clouds
of the North.
Both armaments drew up in haste, and Hardrada formed
his array in the form of a circle-the line long, but not deep,
the wings curving round till they met, shield to shield.
Those who stood in the first rank set their spear shafts on
the ground, the points level with the breast of a horseman;
those in the second, with spears yet lower, level with the
breast of a horse; thus forming a double palisade against
the charge of cavalry. In the centre of this circle was
placed the Ravager of the World, and round it a rampart of
shields. Behind that rampart was the accustomed post at
the onset of battle for the King and his body-guard. But
Tostig was in front, with his own Northumbrian lion banner,
and his chosen men.
While this army was thus being formed, the English
King was marshalling his force in the far more formidable
tactics, which his military science had perfected from the
warfare of the Danes. That form of battalion, invincible
hitherto under his leadership, was in the manner of a wedge
or triangle, thus A. So that, in attack, the men marched
on the foe presenting the smallest possible surface to the
missives, and, in defence, all three lines faced the assailants.
King Harold cast his eye over the closing lines, and then,
turning to Gurth, who rode by his side, said-
"Take one man from yon hostile army, and with what
joy should we charge on the Northmen!"
"I conceive thee," answered Gurth, mournfully, "and
the same thought of that one man makes my arm feel
The King mused, and drew down the nasal bar of his
"Thegns," said he suddenly, to the score of riders who
grouped round him, "follow." And shaking the rein of his
horse, King Harold rode straight to that part of the hostile
front from which rose, above the spears, the Northumbrian
banner of Tostig. Wondering, but mute, the twenty thegns
THE WAR PRINCES OF THE NORTH
followed him. Before the grim array, and hard by Tostig's
banner, the King checked his steed and cried-
"Is Tostig, the son of Godwin and Githa, by the flag of
the Northumbrian earldom?"
With his helmet raised, and his Norwegian mantle flow-
ing over his mail, Earl Tostig rode forth at that voice, and
came up to the speaker.
"What wouldst thou with me, daring foe?"
The Saxon horseman paused, and his deep voice trembled
tenderly, as he answered slowly-
"Thy brother, King Harold, sends to salute thee. Let
not the sons from the same womb wage unnatural war in
the soil of their fathers."
"What will Harold the King give to his brother ?" answered
Tostig. "Northumbria already he hath bestowed on the son
of his house's foe."
The Saxon hesitated, and a rider by his side took up
"If the Northumbrians will receive thee again, Northum-
bria shalt thou have, and the King will bestow his late
earldom of Wessex on Morcar; if the Northumbrians reject
thee, thou shalt have all the lordships which King Harold
hath promised to Gurth."
"This is well," answered Tostig; and he seemed to pause
as in doubt; when, made aware of this parley, King Harold
Hardrada, on his coal-black steed, with his helm all shining
with gold, rode from the lines, and came into hearing.
"Hal" said Tostig, then turning round, as the giant form
of the Norse King threw its vast shadow over the ground.
"And if I take the offer, what will Harold son of Godwin
give to my friend and ally, Hardrada of Norway?"
The Saxon rider reared his head at these words, and
gazed on the large front of Hardrada, as he answered, loud
Seven feet of land for a grave, or, seeing that he is taller
than other men, as much more as his corse may demand l"
"Then go back, and tell Harold my brother to get ready
for battle; for never shall the Scalds and the warriors of
Norway say that Tostig lured their king in his cause, to
betray him to his foe. Here did he come, and here came I,
to win as the brave win, or die as the brave die!"
A rider of younger and slighter form than the rest here
whispered the Saxon King-
"Delay no more, or thy men's hearts will fear treason."
"The tie is rent from my heart, 0 Haco," answered the
King, "and the heart flies back to our England."
He waved his hand, turned his steed, and rode off. The
eye ofHardrada followed the horseman.
"And who," he asked calmly, "is that man who spoke so
"King Harold!" answered Tostig, briefly.
"Howl" cried the Norseman, reddening, "how was not
that made known to me before? Never should he have
gone back-never told hereafter the doom of this day!"
With all his ferocity, his envy, his grudge to Harold,
and his treason to England, some rude notions of honour
still lay confused in the breast of the Saxon; and he an-
"Imprudent was Harold's coming, and great his danger;
but he came to offer me peace and dominion. Had I
betrayed him, I had not been his foe, but his murderer!"
The Norse King smiled approvingly, and, turning to his
chiefs, said, drily-
"That man was shorter than some of us, but he rode firm
in his stirrups."
Meanwhile the Saxon phalanx came on, slow and firm,
and in a few minutes the battle began. It commenced first
with the charge of the English cavalry (never numerous),
THE WAR PRINCES OF THE NORTH
led by Leofwine and Haco, but the double palisade of the
Norseman spears formed an impassable barrier; and the
horsemen, recoiling from the frieze, rode round the iron
circle without other damage than the spear and javelin could
effect. Meanwhile, King Harold, who had dismounted,
marched, as was his wont, with the body of footmen. He
kept his post in the hollow 6f the triangular wedge, whence
he could best issue his orders. Avoiding the side over which
Tostig presided, he halted his array in full centre of the
enemy, where the Ravager of the World, streaming high
above the inner rampart of shields, showed the presence
of the giant Hardrada.
The air was now literally darkened with the flights of
arrows and spears; and in a war of missives, the Saxons
were less skilled than the Norsemen. Still King Harold
restrained the ardour of his men, who, sore harassed by the
darts, yearned to close on the foe. He himself, standing on
a little eminence, more exposed than his meanest soldier,
deliberately eyed the sallies of the horse, and watched the
moment he foresaw, when, encouraged by his own suspense,
and the feeble attacks of the cavalry, the Norsemen would
lift their spears from the ground, and advance themselves
to the assault. That moment came; unable to withhold
their own fiery zeal, stimulated by the tromp and the clash,
and the war-hymns of their King, and his choral Scalds, the
Norsemen broke ground and came on.
"To your axes, and charge I" cried Harold; and passing
at once from the centre to the front, he led on the array.
The impetus of that artful phalanx was tremendous; it
pierced through the ring of the Norwegians: it clove into
the rampart of shields; and King Harold's battle-axe was
the first that shivered that wall of steel; his step the first
that strode into the innermost circle that guarded the
Ravager of the World.
Then forth, from under the shade of that great flag,
came, himself also on foot, Harold Hardrada: shouting and
chanting, he leapt with long strides into the thick of the
onslaught. He had flung away his shield, and swaying with
both hands his enormous sword, he hewed down man after
man till space grew clear before him; and the English
recoiling in awe before an image of height and strength
that seemed superhuman, left but one form standing firm,
and in front, to oppose his way.
At that moment the whole strife seemed not to belong
to an age comparatively modern, it took a character of
remotest eld; and Thor and Odin seemed to have returned
to the earth. Behind this towering and Titan warrior,
their wild hair streaming long under their helms, came his
Scalds, all singing their hymns, drunk with the madness of
battle. And the Ravager of the World tossed and flapped
as it followed, so that the vast raven depicted on its folds
seemed horrid with life. And calm and alone, his eye
watchful, his axe lifted, his foot ready for rush or for spring
-but firm as an oak against flight-stood the Last of the
Down bounded Hardrada, and down shore his sword;
King Harold's shield was cloven in two, and the force of
the blow brought himself to his knee. But, as swift as
the flash of that sword, he sprang to his feet; and while
Hardrada still bowed his head, not recovered from the force
of his blow, the axe of the Saxon came so full on his helmet,
that the giant reeled, dropped his sword, and staggered
back; his Scalds and his Chiefs rushed around him. That
gallant stand of King Harold saved his English from flight;
and now, as they saw him almost lost in the throng, yet
still cleaving his way-on, on-to the raven standard, they
rallied with one heart, and shouting forth, "Out, outl
Holy crosse!" forced their way to his side, and the fight
THE WAR PRINCES OF THE NORTH
now waged hot and equal, hand to hand. Meanwhile
Hardrada, borne a little apart, and relieved from his
dinted helmet, recovered the shock of the weightiest blow
that had ever dimmed his eye and numbed his hand.
Tossing the helmet on the ground, his bright locks glitter-
ing like sunbeams, he rushed back to the mille. Again
helm and mail went down before him; again through the
crowd he saw the arm that had smitten him; again he
sprang forwards to finish the war with a blow-when a shaft
from some distant bow pierced the throat which the casque
now left bare; a sound like the wail of a death-song
murmured brokenly from his lips, which then gushed out
with blood, and tossing up his arms wildly, he fell to the
ground, a corpse. At that sight, a yell of such terror and
woe, and wrath all commingled, broke from the Norsemen,
that it hushed the very war for the moment!
"On!" cried the Saxon King; "let our earth take its
spoiler! On to the standard, and the day is our own!"
"On to the standard!" cried Haco, who, his horse slain
under him, all bloody with wounds not his own, now came
to the King's side. Grim and tall rose the standard, and
the streamer shrieked and flapped in the wind as if the
raven had voice, when, right before Harold, right between
him and the banner, stood Tostig his brother, known by
the splendour of his mail, the gold-work on his mantle-
known by the fierce laugh, and the defying voice.
"What matters cried Haco; "strike, 0 King, for thy
Harold's hand griped Haco's arm convulsively; he lowered
his axe, turned round, and passed shudderingly away.
Both armies now paused from the attack; for both were
thrown into great disorder, and each gladly gave respite to
the other, to re-form its own shattered array.
The Norsemen were not the soldiers to yield because their
leader was slain-rather the more resolute to fight, since
revenge was now added to valour; yet, but for the daring
and promptness with which Tostig had cut his way to the
standard, the day had been already decided.
During the pause, Harold summoning Gurth, said to
him in great emotion, "For the sake of Nature, for the
love of God, go, 0 Gurth-go to Tostig; urge him, now
Hardrada is dead, urge him to peace. All that we can
proffer with honour, proffer-quarter and free retreat to every
Norseman. Oh, save me, save us, from brother's blood!"
Gurth lifted his helmet, and kissed the mailed hand that
grasped his own.
"I go," said he. And so, bareheaded, and with a single
trumpeter, he went to the hostile lines.
Harold awaited him in great agitation, nor could any
man have guessed what bitter and awful thoughts lay in that
heart, from which, in the way to power, tie after tie had
been wrenched away. He did not wait long; and even
before Gurth rejoined him, he knew by an unanimous shout
of fury, to which the clash of countless shields chimed in,
that the mission had been in vain.
Tostig had refused to hear Gurth, save in presence of
the Norwegian chiefs; and when the message had been
delivered, they all cried, "We would rather fall one across
the corpse of the other, than leave a field in which our
King was slain."
"Ye hear them," said Tostig; "as they speak, speak I."
"Not mine this guilt, too, O Godl" said Harold, solemnly
lifting his hand on high. "Now, then, to duty."
By this time the Norwegian reinforcements had arrived
from the ships, and this for a short time rendered the con-
flict, that immediately ensued, uncertain and critical. But
Harold's generalship was now as consummate as his valour
had been daring. He kept his men true to their irrefragable
THE WAR PRINCES OF THE NORTH
line. Even if fragments splintered off, each fragment
threw itself into the form of the resistless wedge. One
Norwegian, standing on the bridge of Stanford, long guarded
that pass; and no less than forty Saxons are said to have
perished by his arm. To him the English King sent a
generous pledge, not only of safety for the life, but honour
for the valour. The viking refused to surrender, and fell
at last by a javelin from the hand of Haco. As if in him
had been embodied the unyielding war-god of the Norseman,
in that death died the last hope of the vikings. They fell
literally where they stood; many, from sheer exhaustion
and the weight of their mail, died without a blow. And in
the shades of nightfall, Harold stood amidst the shattered
rampart of shields, his foot on the corpse of the standard-
bearer, his hand on the Ravager of the World.
"Thy brother's corpse is borne yonder," said Haco in the
ear of the King, as, wiping the blood from his sword, he
plunged it back into the sheath.
LORD LYTTON, Harold.
THE RED PRINCE AS TYRANT
THE banquet after the fashion of the times, waxed rough
and boisterous in the hall of the old castle at Norwich. Never
had the fickle Prince William seemed in a more gracious
mood; twice had he pledged the company, calling on Saxon
and Norman hearts to join him in the toast. All were fascinated
with his open manner and seeming sincerity; and all, save
one, deceived by them. Herbert de Lozinga had watched
his impassioned glances when he beheld the Lady Matilda
in the hall-the look which followed her retiring footsteps;
and, although he anticipated no attempt at outrage, he
determined to have an eye upon the prince.
As the banquet proceeded, his suspicions were still further
strengthened by the looks of triumph which flashed from
his fierce eye whenever the maiden's name became the
theme of conversation.
Amongst the minstrels who occupied the gallery opposite
the dais was Hella, the Saxon-admitted by all who loved
the joyous science to be the chief of the all but extinct
Bardic tribe. Many doubted, indeed, if he were even
Christian, so devoted did he appear to the old superstitions
and traditions of his race. It was not till after he had
been repeatedly called for that he descended into the
hall with his magic harp to sing before the assembly. So
great was his renown, so intense the expectation of the
Normans, few of whom had ever heard his song, that
even the voices of the noisiest were hushed ere the gifted
strain broke forth:
THE RED PRINCE AS TYRANT
"But when drawn for broken laws,
In nature's right he sternly draws,
When liberty expiring cries,
And wrongs from hill and valley rise,
The blood by tyrants rudely shed,
A nation's tears for freedom fled,
These, these the holy spell afford
To consecrate the warrior's sword."
The few Saxons who were present hung their heads in
shame; to them it was like the song of their captivity. The
Normans heard the strain in gloomy silence; it sounded
like a reproach upon their tyranny and misrule.
"Thou hast chosen a strange theme for our banquet,
friend," exclaimed the prince; "but though our ears are
nice, thy skill must not go unrewarded."
He took from his neck a chain of gold, of no great valeu,
and sent it by his page to the aged bard, who received it
with a courtly reverence, although he answered with a
"The praise of princes is our noblest guerdon. Gentle
page, it must not be said that Hella was ungrateful to the
bearer of so precious a gift; wear this," he added, taking
from his own neck a chain whose value more than doubled
the Norman's, and which he hung carelessly round the neck
of the youth; "and sometimes think upon the poor bard's
gift." So saying, he directed his harp-bearer to take up
the instrument, and with a stately step left the hall.
At a signal from the bishop, the Norman minstrels sang
the praise of Rollo, and the glories of his race; the nobles
listened to the exciting strain, and, in their enthusiasm,
forgot the aged Saxon and his song.
For the third time, with a flushed brow, William arose
from his elevated seat to give forth the hollow pledge of
amity and peace; when an alarm was heard without, and
the seneschal, bleeding and unhelmed, rushed into the
midst of the assembly. All started at the sight, and the
hand of many a knight was laid upon his sword.
"Speak," demanded the bishop; "what hath befallen?"
"To arms, nobles and knights," exclaimed the faithful
officer. "Returning from the cathedral, the noble ladies
Isabel and Matilda have been carried off, their escort was
too feeble to protect them."
The prelate's searching glance was fixed upon the prince, who
quailed beneath it. "Doubtless by Saxons," he stammered.
"By Normans, noble prince-by Normansl I knew too
well the taste of Norman steel to be deceived, despite their
Saxon dress. I'll swear their brands were Norman."
William scowled upon the officer with a look of hate.
The sturdy soldier, conscious of his integrity, met his gaze
unmoved. While the nobles were busy in consultation,
the Bishop drew the commander of his troops, George of
Erpingham, aside, and whispered something in his ear.
Whatever was the nature of the communication, it evidently
surprised the stalwart knight, for he hesitated to obey.
The rapid conversation which followed removed, however,
his objections; for, touching his sword in sign of fidelity, he
withdrew. The bishop, instead of following his example,
concealed himself behind the floating arras with which the
walls of the banquet-hall were hung. At the same moment
Hella, the bard, entered the assembly, and approaching
Ulrick, the Saxon, with a stately step, exclaimed:
"Thy sword! thy sword! the wolf is in thy fold! the
vulture bears the trembling dove to its dark nest! Last
of a race I love! why stands thou idle here?-to horse!
let manly deeds answer unmanly outrage strike for thy
country's wrongs, thy outraged love, or see thy bride be-
come the Norman's scorn!"
All the nobles present, Saxons as well as Normans, deeply
THE RED PRINCE AS TYRANT
felt the outrage, and rushed from the chamber, calling to
arms as they did so; the alarm-bell sent forth its deep loud
note, and added to the horror of the scene. The treach-
erous prince, the contriver of the cruel scheme, paced the
rush-strewn floor, triumphant in his villainy until his medita-
tions were interrupted by a knight, Robert of Artois.
"Thou art a bold falconer," whispered the prince, "thou
hast struck the quarry fairly. Hadst thou silenced yon prating
seneschal, all had been unsuspected. Despite your followers'
disguise, he swears that they are Normans."
"Let him swear; oaths cannot harm us, prince. I must
away to join the pursuit, lest I should be suspected. In the
morning take your departure as if for London. Once beyond
the city, dismiss your train, and turn your horse's head to
Filby, where thou wilt find the sweetest bird that ever pined
within its iron cage. Thou knowest the way to tame her."
With these words the ready panderer bowed and with-
drew. William was about to follow his example, when the
prelate, quitting his concealment, boldly confronted him.
The tyrant saw in an instant that he was discovered. For
a few moments they stood gazing on each other-the coun-
tenance of the prince pale with fear and confusion. That
of the bishop full of contempt.
"So," exclaimed the latter, "this is the way the royal
word is kept! Thou hast broken thine oath, outraged the
roof which shelters thee, risked plunging the land in civil
war, to gratify thy passions. What prevents that I proclaim
thy treason, and yield thee to the Saxons l"
Thine own ambition, priest," doggedly answered William.
"My ambition "
"Once King, thou knowest this hand can raise thee to a
height but second to my own-the primate's envied throne !"
"Vain man!" replied Herbert, "the hermit's cell would
please me better than the mitred stall. Power is worthless
when the heart is ashes. I come not to implore, but to
command thee. Resign thy victims, and I may consent
once more to spare thee the brand of public scorn-to
shield thee from the avenging swords of those whose honour
thou wouldst stain. Decide "
"Never!" exclaimed the prince, foaming with rage. "I
love the fair Matilda, and rather would forego the crown
itself than yield her beauties. Thou hast heard my answer."
"But mine is yet unspoken," as proudly replied the bishop.
"For thy brave father's sake I would have spared thee,
but now the will of heaven and justice must be done."
He advanced towards the door which opened from the
banquet hall, as if to quit the apartment or to summon aid.
The baffled tyrant, perceiving his design, threw himself
between, and drawing his sword, held it levelled at the
prelate's breast, to impede his departure. For a moment
they stood like the stag and hound at bay, gazing on each
other in silence-the churchman calm and stern, the prince
trembling with passion and excitement. "You pass not
on your life," he cried.
"Advance one step," said Herbert, drawing up his person
to its stately height, "lay but a finger on my sacred robe,
and I will bind thee in a spell that shall paralyse thy soul
Not to thy honour or thy sense of justice do I now appeal.
Though lost to every tie of honour and humanity, thy
terrors are my safety. The brand of Europe, and the
Church's curse, thou darest not meet. Fool-coward-
villain!" he added, as the sword of William gradually
inclined towards the ground, "I scorn, deride thy vain
attempt! Back, ruffian, back-I pass thee or perish!"
With his eye sternly fixed upon the prince, the prelate
moved towards the door. Thrice the weapon was raised,
but its point was as often turned aside when the glance
of Herbert de Lozinga encountered that of the prince.
THE RED PRINCE AS TYRANT
With frantic rage he dashed it to the ground, muttering as
he did so:
"'Tis true: I dare not take thy life."
Advancing to the door, the bishop merely waved his
hand, when George of Erpingham and a body of about
sixty men, all completely armed, and wearing their visors
down, entered the banquet hall. William trembled at the
sight, and involuntarily looked around to find his sword.
"Wouldst murder me?" he cried, glaring on the prelate.
The bishop deigned not to reply, but addressing him-
self to George of Erpingham, who awaited his orders, said:
"Danger and treason are abroad. His Highness goes to
my poor palace; escort him thither with all due honour;
let none approach him, or exchange a single word. I rely
on thy fidelity and knightly faith in this."
"Traitors I" exclaimed William, "know ye not who I am?
Dearly shall ye rue this outrage on your prince! rather
arrest yon plotting priest! Obey my orders. And I swear,
e'en by my honour, that riches, favours beyond ambitious
dreams, shall recompense the deed!"
"Honour!" interrupted the bishop, contemptuously;
"does not the word blister thy tongue, palsy thy craven
heart? The violator of innocence, the perjurer, and the
robber dares talk of honour! Prince, spare thy eloquence;
thou canst not corrupt thy guard; they speak no Norman
tongue. Away with him l"
"Should he resist?" demanded Erpingham, through his
"Force must be employed."
"Should he escape?"
The bishop fixed his glance upon the prisoner, and paused
ere he replied, wishing the import of his speech to be
"Level thine arquebus, and strike him dead."
18 WILLIAM I
With these last words he quitted the apartment; and
William, seeing that resistance was in vain, resigned him-
self to his fate. His guards closed around him and con-
ducted him to the bottom of the staircase, where a close
litter was in waiting. For an instant he hesitated, and looked
around, as if to summon assistance. None appeared; and
the few torches held by the soldiers showed him the
arquebus held in the hands of the knight. Inwardly
cursing his fate, and the being who had crossed it, he
entered the litter, and in less than an hour found him-
self a close prisoner in the loftiest tower of the bishop's
J. F. SMITH, Stansfield Hall.
HOW THE KING PLAYED WITH THE PEASANT
WINCHESTER presented a hilarious and jocund aspect.
There had been a considerable influx of all the higher
elements of pageantry, civil, military and ecclesiastical, to
say nothing of inferior ingredients-mimes, jestours, glee-
men, outlaws, and so forth. The day, too, had been one
of that lovely and unclouded order which tempts all ranks
and ages "to glitter in the beam," and, in consequence,
every street of the White City, but, more especially "the
High," was thronged to excess. Two of the throng turned
towards the south gate, and passing through it to the extre-
mity of a long and populous suburb, paused upon an open
space of grassy verdure, a little off the main road, and in
the centre of which a considerable crowd had collected.
They were King William Rufus and his minister Flambard,
both in disguise. The natural esplanade of smooth turf which
they occupied, was the scene of athletic and military sport-
of wrestling, archery, quarterstaff, and running at the Quin-
tain. These laborious games were relieved at intervals by
convivial indulgence, for which the appliances were heaped
upon a huge table, or substitute for that luxury; while forms,
or settles, of equally primitive construction, flanked it on
every side, like the bounding walls of a rude fortalice.
The carousers were men of all ages and professions, lay
and cleric. There were soldiers, pilgrims, and pardoners-
burgesses and franklins-rustics and mechanics. But all
these distinctions, perhaps, merged in the paramount ones
of Norman and Saxon; castes separated by such waters of
bitterness as effectually cut off all perfectly social commu-
nion. It was obvious that these great national opposites
had their representatives in the present assemblage, and
that, if the Norman portion comprised the more influential
by rank and station, the Saxon had the advantage in point
Presently a loud shout proclaimed the triumph of a
Norman archer, who, for the third time, had sent a shaft
from a considerable distance into the clout or exact centre
of a target fixed at one extremity of the ground. This
feat, which filled his party with clamorous exultation, seemed
to close the trials of archer-craft for a while; the whole
body moving towards the festive board, escorting the victor
triumphally, and formally installing him in the seat of
honour at the head of the banqueting table.
"Spanish yew and the Norman bow-hand for ever"
shouted a ruby-visaged lover of venery and woodcraft-
"Saw ever mortal man fairer archery than that"
"Fairer?" iterated another and more grim-looking enco-
miast-"He that boasts him to have seen fairer, if he be
a Norman, let him thank God for a goodly sight-if a
Saxon-by St. Anthony's sow, he is a bacon-fed braggart,
and a lying churl; and we will scourge the vaunting humour
out of him with a swine's tail .
"Hal ha! ha roared the Norman party, in obstreperous
triumph at this threatening witticism of their champion.
"Ha ha! ha!" laughed another voice, as if in bitter
mockery, and only making itself audible when the mirth
of others was silent.
The grim speaker thus defied-for a defiance the scorn-
ful laugh seemed intended to convey turned fiercely in
that direction, and glared with fiery eyes upon one whose
countenance left no doubt that he was the author of the
insult. This individual, whose dress was that of an ordinary
"SPANISH YEW AND THE NORMAN BOW-HAND FOR EVER'"
Fce P. 2:
-: SPNS `IEV ,,HENRI,,BWHN FREE!
HOW THE KING PLAYED WITH THE PEASANT 21
churl, or villein, had yet nothing of the debased and down-
looking aspect of the oppressed serfs of the period. He
sat erect and fearless, confronting his challenger with a
half-stern, half-contemptuous indifference, which, borne out
as it was by a great appearance of muscular strength, a broad
full chest, sinewy arms and hands, and other indications
both of the power and the will to resist, bespoke him plainly
"no babe to struggle with."
"Ho-ho-ho!" iterated the Norman, in ireful mimicry,
"canst thou not laugh in fairer fashion than that, Lob-lie-
"Not when I laugh at thee," replied the Saxon.
"Sayest thou me so exclaimed the other, starting up;
"by St. Winifred, but thou shalt though I Shew me thy
ragged jaw-teeth again in such grinning wise, and I will
dash them down thy villainous throat with my dagger-haft "
"Work thy pleasure with the haft," replied the descendant
of Hengist, with a calm bitterness, "and I will find thee a
new sheath for the blade; thou shalt wear it nearer thy heart
than thy girdle."
Trebly enraged and no whit intimidated by this counter-
threat, the Norman bounded across the festive board, flung
himself upon the object of his passion, and would, no doubt,
have "tickled him other gates," had not that individual, still
keeping his sitting posture in the most provoking calmness,
extricated himself with a giant's wrench, and hurled the
aggressor from him as if never again to rise. The deadly
emphasis of the fall, however, was broken by those around.
After again regaining the firm foot, he stood for an instant
as if bewildered with surprise and rage; then, drawing a
two-edged knife of formidable length and keenness, sprang
once more upon the Saxon with equal fierceness and agility.
Far from limiting himself to the original terms of his threat,
he now put the dagger-haft to its legitimate use, and would,
perhaps, have given the sharp blade a gory sheath, had not
the blow been arrested by an onlooker dressed in the garb
of a minstrel.
Abandoning his instrument to a dwarf attendant, the
minstrel sprang betwixt the Norman and his victim, exclaiming
as he withheld the struggling hand:
"Ho! gently, for our Lady's sake! have we murder here
over the ale-cup?"
"What is that to thee, Sir Twang-the-gittern?" exclaimed
the Hero of the Target, taking up the quarrel of his angry
encomiast, as a matter rightly pertaining to himself, "hold
off thy jack-an-ape fingers, or, by St. Hubertl we will drug
thee with a like posset."
"Physic the sick!" exclaimed the pertinacious Minstrel;
"I am hale of body, and will neither swallow such drugs
myself, nor see them thrust, wold he, n'old he, down the
maw of another, if I can help it."
"Help it, then, at thy peril, or if thou canst," replied the
archer; and seizing the lover of sweet song by the arm
(aided at the same time by the ready hands of others), he
dragged him with equal suddenness and fury apart. This
was scarcely accomplished before the liberated assailant
again rushed upon the object of his resentment, and again,
to the astonishment of the beholders, was thrown, or rather,
hurled off by the stern, vigorous, unwounded Saxon-much
as a boy of ten might be repelled by the manly arm of
thirty. He now sprang, in turn, upon his reeling aggressor,
wrenched the dagger from his hand, and would certainly
have cured him for ever of brawling and stabbing, had not
the minstrel, however ill-relished by those around, arrested
his uplifted arm.
This was followed by a simultaneous rushing together of
the two parties, Norman and Saxon, which speedily con-
verted the individual scuffle into a general melle. The
HOW THE KING PLAYED WITH THE PEASANT 23
minstrel, on the one side, and, on the other, he who had
been the first to meddle with cold iron, were instantly
rescued by their respective partisans. Weapons of various
kinds were drawn and flourished, and blows and thrusts
exchanged with great heartiness. Fortunately, however, all
this was without any serious bone-disturbing, and before
matters had time to assume a worse aspect, the disguised
King and his Justiciary thought proper to interfere. They
came to this resolution hastily, but not cordially. Flam-
bard, the advocate of placability when nothing was to
be gained by quarrelling, urged immediate prevention; but
the amused King, wishing to enjoy all the immunities of
his incognito, breathed the less Christian spirit of "Fight
dog-fight bear," and laughed hoarsely and heartily at the
"Nay, but this cutting and thrusting passes- a jest," said
"Tush," replied Rufus, "let the pudding-headed villains
brawl themselves sober. By the beard of Benedict, I would
jeopardy a moiety of Jodesac's shekels (Heaven make them
ours!) to see yonder prating minstrel put to his fence
against De Mowbray's varlet."
"A minstrel's fence!" said Ranulph, "as well talk of a
monk's modesty! Who ever heard, saving amongst the wild
Welsh, of a minstrel fighting? at least since the days of
Taillefer, at Hastings' field; and he was rapped on the head
incontinently for his pains. Why-look ye 'tis even so-the
ballad-monger will none on't-he holds offhand from sharpen-
ed iron- he will break no hedges, lest a serpent bite him."
"Oh Ranulph Ranulph!" cried the Monarch, "art thou
too amongst the buzzards? Yonder ballad-monger, as thou
hast termed him--but let thine own eyes do their own
work-and, if it must be so, play we the peace-makers-
ho! peace, ye knaves!"
And he thrust himself between the belligerents as if
with ribs of iron, shouting "Peace ho!" in a voice that
rang like the peal of a trumpet, and induced a dead sus-
pension of hostilities.
"My masters!" exclaimed Flambard, the instant fair
hearing could be obtained, "are ye mad? or drunk with
double ale of the devil's brewing ? Why, what black sanctus
is this for Christian men with souls to be saved, if they
have grace or luck? Heard ye never that a live dog is
better than a dead lion? Clap me every man his Tran-
chero into the scabbard, and that goodly part of his body
which I name not, for reverence, once more upon his seat;
and we that be men of peace and substance will thereupon
play the magnificos, and be at cost to brim your flagons
again with the mightiest ale that Winchester hath in butt.
Shall it be even so, brother mine?"
"Aye, but methinks," said Rufus, "they thirst for a
purple rather than a brown beverage, as if there were no
holiday-keeping without throat-cutting. What knowest
thou of archery, that art so fain to thrust and stab for
the glory thereof? thou with the iron pot upon thy brainless
He of the iron pot however,-the angry assailant of the
Saxon, had, by this time, caught a glance which at once
drew the angel of consideration to whip the offending
Adam out of him. He fell back amongst the crowd with
very much the air of one who had no desire to be further
Meanwhile the work of recognition was going on with
a like stultifying effect upon others, for not only did the
gentle minstrel, after a steady gaze at the disguised king,
evince a desire to depart suddenly, but the mysterious
Saxon also put himself modestly upon the retrogade,
"staying no further question."
HOW THE KING PLAYED WITH THE PEASANT 25
William the Red, however, was not disposed to part
"Tarry!" he exclaimed to both, with the accents of com-
mand few could listen to rebelliously. "A word of each
in turn, I pray you; be it but in honour of our proffered
Command thy mules, Sir Merchant, and feast thy slaves I"
said the Saxon--"I tarry not, although the flagons were
brimmed with costly wine rather than sorry ale."
Wine, saidst thou?" exclaimed Rufus, "Forsooth, a dainty
churl but, it may be, this villainous garb belies thy fairer
condition. Methinks, Gaffer, I have had traffic with thee
ere now; and this is not the first matter of archery in which
I have seen thee an angry man, ha?"
"Ye talk of archery, Sir Merchantl" said a stout fellow
in gambeson and steel cap, little wotting whom he thus
boldly interrupted, "I will tell ye a fair feat therein that
mine own eyes beheld upon the Welsh Marches. Wet,
and weary, and famished, we were stumbling, like over-
driven oxen, through a villainous mountain pass; and the
Welsh wolves had beset the inner end thereof, and the
hollows and the clefts and the crag-tops; whereby, my
masters, or whereupon, whichsoeverr be most clerkly,)
before we could couch a lance, or wield a mallet, there
came a whistling hurricane of cloth-yard shafts, (ye know
the length of a cloth-yard, Sir Merchants, I warrant ye) and
they tickled our foremost gallants through mail and plastron,
to the very heart and midriff! I promise ye it was bow-
craft to make a man grin on the wrong side of his mazzard.
But of all rarities with bended yew, by Butts and Rovers
these eyes of mine-(a fiend pick them out if I lie ) these
eyes, I say, beheld a Norman knight, hot Ralph de Limesi,
pinned to his red-roan with a shaft from thigh to thigh I
through man's flesh and horse-flesh-I say, through left
thigh and right thigh, and the steed's belly to boot! Aha!
Sir Merchants, and good fellows all, that was proper archery,
and a fair sight to look and laugh at, had there been time
While the military ear of Rufus was thus occupied, the
more politic Justiciary listened to the stern Saxon, as the
latter replied to his admonitory hints of departure.
"Wert thou in cowl and cassock, good friend," said
Ranulph, "I would say, 'keep not thy place when the spirit
of the Ruler is against thee,' hast thou clerkly knowledge of
such a rede, ha?"
"Aye," replied the Saxon, "the rede of him who said
also, 'I have seen Princes walking like servants upon the
"Go to, then," answered Flambard, convinced by this
that their incognito had been penetrated; "thou knowest
whose favour is as the morning dew, and whose wrath as
the roaring of the lion."
The Saxon glanced around him, and gave a mute
signal to one who stood near, holding by the rein a coal-
"Dog of a Saxon!" cried the King at last, and with little
heed to the character he assumed, "Thou wilt not tarry
the grace-cup, ha? get thee to kennel, then but I swear to
thee, before long thou shalt pledge me in other wise; I
will have thee a dweller in strange chambers!"
"A dweller in the free forest, with mine own free
thoughts!" said the threatened one, his eye kindling, and
his cheek taking a more pallid hue.
"Aye, and a shooter of free shafts at other men's deer,
I warrant thee!" rejoined the Monarch.
"Nay, but, brother mine," interrupted Flambard, "'non
est inquirendum' thou knowest, undere venit venison.'"
"At least," said the insulted Saxon, confronting the Sove-
HOW THE KING PLAYED WITH THE PEASANT 27
reign with unabashed brow, "I have seen deadly shooting
upon thy warrenry, Sir Merchant; and all for the love of
woodcraft, not venery. Let others of the proud herd that
even now are tossing their frontlets to the scorned heavens,
and rioting in the pastures of the robbed Saxon-let them,
I say, beware of a like deadly shaft! from a thousand and
a thousand quivers the hand of vengeance shall speed it
The first impulse of the monarch, perhaps, was to rush
upon the insolent Saxon, but that personage did not stand
either to be slain or threatened: as the last words foamed
upon his lip, he bounded to the side of his ready courser,
sprang with fierce haste into the saddle, and almost before
a replying tone could reach him, was in headlong gallop from
the spot. In vain did Rufus shout "To horse andchase!"
"Tut," said Flambard, "let him pass-the poor groom is
lunatic. Which of ye know aught concerning him? thou,
belike," turning to the minstrel, "that wert so fain to cham-
pion him; madman and minstrel are of likely kin."
"My kin, Sir Merchant," replied the child of song, "are
of other strain and in other lands. I knew him not; neither
did I care to see human flesh and blood thrust through
like carrion, because, forsooth, he laughed not to other
"Carrionl" exclaimed the Monarch, "I would thou hadst
been cut into gobbets for the kennel thyself, before thy
busy hand thrust betwixt him and fate! I tell thee, thou
jingling gull! thy beastly pitifulness hath robbed this youth,
and others, of the just payment of a debt of blood. Thou
hast made thyself surety for him-how answerest, ha? Canst
brandish weapon thyself?"
"I brandish weapon!" responded the Minstrel in alarm,
real or feigned, "a man of peaceful song! Let me hence,
I pray you-sharp steel ices my blood."
"Pahl" exclaimed the disgusted Rufus, "get thee from
under my nostrils. The rank stench of such another coward
would breed the falling-sickness amongst us. Hast thou the
limbs and thews of a man, and scarcely the heart of a pigeon ?"
"God hath made me of tender clay," answered the Minstrel,
whose noble form and admirable features presented the
strongest possible contrast to his pusillanimous words-" Let
me hence," he added, "a stranger I, and a peaceful-'tis
time, by'r Lady-
The owl from his tod-
And the bat from his shed-
The lark to her sod-
And the Minstrel to bed!"
Even the provoked King lent his hoarse burden to the
general chorus; and Flambard, well pleased to see the
current of the royal temper take a gentle turn, exclaimed
"By the charmed blade of King Pellenorel Sit to thy
harp, good fellow, and let us hear thee blazon the deeds
of some doughty warrior, until they that bring the mighty
ale arrive with their blessed burden."
The minstrel obeyed, and as the deep and mellow tones
of the singer died away, a profound stillness sank upon
the mixed auditory, and held place alike of song and
speech-of laugh and threat. Such, in fact, was the im-
pression conveyed by the rude ballad, that the performer
departed, with his attendant, even without the farewell
greeting of a jest, and the monarch and his favourite effected
their retreat under cover of the beverage tor which they
had pledged themselves to the wassailers.
THE OATH TO MATILDA
IN the twenty-seventh year of his reign, in the month of
September, King Henry came to England, bringing his
daughter with him. But, at the ensuing Christmas, con-
vening a great number of the clergy and nobility at London,
he gave the county of Salop to his wife, the daughter of the
Earl of Louvain, whom he had married after the death of
Matilda. Distressed that this lady had no issue, and fearing
lest she should be perpetually childless, with well-founded
anxiety, he turned his thoughts on a successor to the king-
dom. On which subject, having held much previous and
long-continued deliberation, he now at this council compelled
all the nobility of England, as well as the bishops and abbats,
to make oath, that, if he should die without male issue, they
would, without delay or hesitation, accept his daughter Ma-
tilda, the late empress, as their sovereign: observing, how
prejudicially to the country fate had snatched away his son
William, to whom the kingdom by right had pertained: and,
that his daughter still survived, to whom alone the legitimate
succession belonged, from her grandfather, uncle, and father,
who were kings; as well as from her maternal descent for
many ages back: inasmuch as from Egbert, king of the West
Saxons, who first subdued or expelled the other kings of the
island, in the year of the incarnation 800, through a line of
fourteen kings, down to A.D. 1043, in which King Edward,
who lies at Westminster, was elevated to the throne, the line
of royal blood did never fail, nor falter in the succession.
Moreover, Edward, the last, and at the same time the most
noble, of that stock, had united Margaret, his grand-niece
by his brother Edmund Ironside, to Malcolm, king of Scot-
land, whose daughter Matilda, as was well known, was the
empress's mother. All therefore, in this council, who were
considered as persons of any note, took the oath: and first
of all William, archbishop of Canterbury; next the other
bishops, and the abbats in like manner. The first of the
laity, who swore, was David, king of Scotland, uncle of the
empress; then Stephen, earl of Moreton and Boulogne,
nephew of King Henry by his sister Adala; then Robert,
the king's son, who was born to him before he came to
the throne, and whom he had created earl of Gloucester,
bestowing on him in marriage Mabil, a noble and excellent
woman; a lady devoted to her husband, and blessed in a
numerous and beautiful offspring. There was a singular
dispute, as they relate, between Robert and Stephen, con-
tending with rival virtue, which of them should take the
oath first; one alleging the privilege of a son, the other
the dignity of a nephew. Thus all being bound by fealty
and by oath, they, at that time, departed to their homes;
but after Pentecost, the king sent his daughter into
Normandy, ordering her to be betrothed, by the archbishop
of Rouen, to the son of Fulco, a youth of high nobility and
noted courage. Nor did he himself delay setting sail for
Normandy, for the purpose of uniting them in wedlock.
Which being completed, all declared prophetically, as it
were, that, after his death, they would break their plighted
oath. I have frequently heard Roger, bishop of Salisbury,
say, that he was freed from the oath he had taken to the
empress: for that he had sworn conditionally, that the king
should not marry his daughter to any one out of the king-
dom without his consent, or that of the rest of the nobility:
that none of them advised the match, or indeed knew of
it, except Robert, earl of Gloucester, and Brian Fitzcount,
THE OATH TO MATILDA 31
and the bishop of Louviers. Nor do I relate this merely
because I believe the assertion of a man who knew how
to accommodate himself to every varying time, as fortune
ordered it; but, as an historian of veracity, I write the
general belief of the people.
WILLIAM OF MALMESBURY.
BY ORDER OF THE KING
KING Henry, was very wroth and swore by St. Thomas-a-
Becket (whom he had himself translated into a saint by
having him knocked on the head), that he would give the
castle and lands of Locksley to the man who should bring
in the Earl of Huntingdon. Hereupon ensued a process of
thought in the mind of a certain knight, Sir Ralph Mont-
faucon. The eyes of the fair huntress of Arlingford had
left a wound in his heart which only she who gave
could heal. He had seen that the baron Fitzwater, her
father, was no longer very partial to the outlawed earl,
but that he still retained his old affection for the lands
and castle of Locksley. Now, the lands and castles were
very fair things in themselves, and would be pretty ap-
purtenances to an adventurous knight; but they would be
doubly valuable as certain passports to the father's favour,
which was one step towards that of the daughter, or at
least towards obtaining possession of her either quietly or
perforce; for the knight was not so nice in his love as to
consider the lady's free grace a sine qua non; and to think
of being, by any means whatever, the lord of Locksley and
Arlingford, and the husband of the bewitching Matilda,
was to cut in the shades of futurity a vista very tempting
to a soldier of fortune. He set out in high spirits with a
chosen band of followers, and beat up all the country far
and wide around both the Ouse and the Trent; but fortune
did not seem disposed to second his diligence, for no
vestige whatever could he trace of the earl. His followers,
BY ORDER OF THE KING
who were only paid with the wages of hope, began to
murmur and fall off; for, as those unenlightened days were
ignorant of the happy invention of paper machinery, by
which one promise to pay is satisfactorily paid with another
promise to pay, and that again with another in infinite
series, they would not, as their wiser posterity has done,
take those tenders for true pay which were not sterling;
so that, one fine morning, the knight found himself sitting
on a pleasant bank of the Trent, with only a solitary squire,
who still clung to the shadow of preferment, because he
did not see at the moment any better chance of substance.
The knight did not despair because of the desertion of
his followers: he was well aware that he could easily raise
recruits if he could once find trace of his game; he, there-
fore, rode about indefatigably over hill and dale, to the
great sharpening of his own appetite and that of his squire,
living gallantly from inn to inn when his purse was full,
and quartering himself in the king's name on the nearest
ghostly brotherhood when it happened to be empty. An
autumn and a winter had passed away, when the course
of his perlustrations brought him one evening into a beau-
tiful sylvan valley, where he found a number of young
women weaving garlands of-flowers, and singing over their
pleasant occupation. He approached them, and courte-
ously inquired the way to the nearest town.
"There is no town within several miles," was the answer.
"A village, then, if it be but large enough to furnish
"There is Gamwell just by, but there is no inn nearer
than the nearest town."
"An abbey, than?"
"There is no abbey nearer than the nearest inn?"
"A house then, or a cottage, where I may obtain hospi-
tality for the night?"
"HospitalityI" said one of the young women; "you have
not far to seek for that. Do you not know that you are
in the neighbourhood of Gamwell-Hall?"
"So far from it," said the knight, "that I never heard
the name of Gamwell-Hall before."
"Never heard of Gamwell-Hall I" exclaimed all the young
women together, who could as soon have dreamed of his
never having heard of the sky.
"Indeed, no," said Sir Ralph; "but I shall be very happy
to get rid of my ignorance."
"And so shall I," said his squire; "for it seems that in
this case knowledge will for once be a cure for hunger,
wherewith I am grievously afflicted."
"And why are you so busy, my pretty damsels, weaving
these garlands?" said the knight.
"Why, do you not know, sir," said one of the young
women, "that to-morrow is Gamwell feast?"
The knight was again obliged, with all humility, to con-
fess his ignorance.
"Oh, sir," said his informant, "then you will have some-
thing to see, that I can tell you: for we shall choose a
Queen of the May, and we shall crown her with flowers,
and place her in a chariot of flowers, and draw it with
lines of flowers, and we shall hang all the trees with flowers,
and we shall strew all the ground with flowers, and we
shall dance with flowers, and in flowers, and on flowers,
and we shall be all flowers."
"That you will," said the knight; "and the sweetest and
brightest of all the flowers of the May, my pretty damsels."
On which all the pretty damsels smiled at him and each
"And there will be all sorts of May-games, and there
will be prizes for archery, and there will be the knight's
ale, and the foresters' venison, and there will be Kit Scrape-
I Mr v
: WHY, DO YOU NOT KNOW, SIR, THAT TO-MORROW IS GAMWEEL
BY ORDER OF THE KING
squeak with his fiddle, and little Tom Whistlerap with
his fife and tabor, and Sam Trumtwang, with his harp, and
Peter Muggledrone with his bagpipe, and how I shall dance
with Will Whitethorn 1" added the girl, clapping her hands
as she spoke, and bounding from the ground with the
pleasure of the anticipation.
A tall athletic young man approached, to whom the rustic
maiden courtesied with great respect; and one of them
informed Sir Ralph that it was young Master William
Gamwell. The young gentleman invited and conducted
the knight to the hall, where he introduced him to the old
lady his mother, and to the young lady his sister, and to
a number of bold yeomen, who were laying siege to beef,
brawn, and plum pie, around a ponderous table, and
taking copious draughts of old October. A motto was
inscribed over the interior door,-
EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY:
an injunction which Sir Ralph and his squire showed
remarkable alacrity in obeying. Old Sir Guy of Gamwell
gave Sir Ralph a very cordial welcome, and entertained
him during supper with several of his best stories, enforced
with an occasional slap on the back, and pointed with a
peg in the ribs; a species of vivacious eloquence in which
the old gentleman excelled, and which is supposed by
many of that pleasant variety of the human species, known
by the name of choice fellows and comical dogs, to be
the genuine tangible shape of the cream of a good joke.
Old Sir Guy of Gamwell, and young William Gamwell,
and fair Alice Gamwell, and Sir Ralph Montfaucon and
his squire, rode together the next morning to the scene of
the feast. They arrived on a village-green, surrounded with
cottages peeping from among the trees by which the green
was completely encircled. The whole circle was hung round
with one continuous garland of flowers, depending in irre-
gular festoons from the branches. In the centre of the
green was a May-pole hidden in boughs and garlands; and
a multitude of round-faced bumpkins and cherry-cheeked
lasses were dancing around it, to the quadruple melody of
Scrapesqueak, Whistlerap, Trumtwang, and Muggledrone;
harmony we must not call it; for, though they had agreed
to a partnership in point of tune, each, like a true pain-
staking man, seemed determined to have his time to him-
self; Muggledrone played allegretto, Trumtwang allegro,
Whistlerap presto, and Scrapesqueak prestissimo. There
was a kind of mathematical proportion in their discrepancy;
while Muggledrone played the tune four times, Trumtwang
played it five, Whistlerap six, and Scrapesqueak eight; for
the latter completely distanced all his competitors, and
indeed worked his elbow so nimbly that its outline was
scarcely distinguishable through the mistiness of its rapid
While the knight was delighting his eyes and ears with
these pleasant sights and sounds, all eyes were turned in
one direction; and Sir Ralph, looking round, saw a fair
lady in green and gold come riding through the trees
accompanied by a portly friar in grey, and several fair
damsels and gallant grooms. On their nearer approach,
he recognized the Lady Matilda and her ghostly adviser,
brother Michael. A party of foresters arrived from another
direction, and then ensued cordial interchanges of greeting,
and collisions of hands and lips, among the Gamwells and
the newcomers,-"How does my fair coz, Mawd?" and
"How does my sweet coz, Mawd?" and "How does my
wild coz, Mawd?" And "Eh! jolly friar, your hand, old
boy;" and "Here, honest friar;" and "To me, merry friar,"
and "By your favour, mistress Alice;" and "Hey! cousin
Robin;" and "Hey! cousin Will;" and "Od's life! merry
BY ORDER OF THE KING
Sir Guy, you grow younger every year,"--as the old knight
shook them all in turn with one hand, and slapped them
on the back with the other, in token of his affection. A
number of young men and women advanced, some drawing,
and others dancing round, a floral car; and having placed
a crown of flowers on Matilda's head, they saluted her
Queen of the May, and drew her to the place appointed
for the rural sports.
A hogshead of ale was abroach under an oak, and a fire
was blazing in an open space before the trees to roast the
fat deer which the foresters brought. The sports com-
menced; and, after an agreeable series of bowling, citing,
pitching, hurling, racing, leaping, grinning, wrestling or
friendly dislocation of joints, and cudgel-playing or ami-
cable cracking of skulls, the trial of archery ensued. The
conqueror was to be rewarded with a golden arrow from
the hand of the Queen of the May, who was to be his
partner in the dance till the close of the feast. This stimu-
lated the knight's emulation: young Gamwell supplied him
with a bow and arrow, and he took his station among the
foresters, but had the mortification to be outshot by them
all, and to see one of them lodge the point of his arrow
in the golden ring of the centre, and receive the prize
from the hand of the beautiful Matilda, who smiled on
him with particular grace. The jealous knight scrutinised
the successful champion with great attention, and surely
thought he had seen that face before. In the meantime
the forester led the lady to the station. The luckless Sir
Ralph drank deep draughts of love from the matchless
grace of her attitudes, as, taking the bow in her left hand,
and adjusting the arrow with her right, advancing her left
foot, and gently curving her beautiful figure with a slight
motion of her head, that waved her black feathers and her
ringleted hair, she drew the arrow to its head, and loosed
it from her open fingers. The arrow struck within the ring
of gold, so close to that of the victorious forester that the
points were in contact, and the feathers were intermingled.
Great acclamations succeeded, and the forester led Matilda
to the dance. Sir Ralph gazed on her fascinating motions
till the torments of baffled love and jealous rage became
unendurable; and, approaching young Gamwell, he asked
him if he knew the name of that forester who was leading
the dance with the Queen of the May.
"Robin, I believe," said young Gamwell, carelessly; "I
think they call him Robin."
"Is that all you know of him?" said Sir Ralph.
"What more should I know of him ?" said young Gamwell.
"Then I can tell you," said Sir Ralph; "he is the out-
lawed Earl of Huntingdon, on whose head is set so large
"Ay, is he?" said young Gamwell, in the same careless
"He were a prize worth the taking," said Sir Ralph.
"No doubt," said young Gamwell.
"How think you?" said Sir Ralph; "are the foresters
"I cannot say," said young Gamwell.
"Is your peasantry loyal and well-disposed?" said Sir Ralph.
"Passing loyal," said young Gamwell.
"If I should call on them in the king's name," said Sir
Ralph, "think you they would aid and assist?"
"Most likely they would," said young Gamwell; "one
side or the other."
"Ay, but which side?" said the knight.
"That remains to be tried," said young Gamwell.
"I have King Henry's commission," said the knight, "to
apprehend this earl that was. How would you advise me
to act, being, as you see, without attendant force?"
BY ORDER OF THE KING
"I would advise you," said young Gamwell, "to take
yourself off without delay, unless you would relish the taste
of a volley of arrows, a shower of stones, and a hailstorm
of cudgel-blows, which would not be turned aside by a
God save King Henry."
Sir Ralph's squire no sooner heard this, and saw by the
looks of the speaker that he was not likely to prove a false
prophet, than he clapped spurs to his horse and galloped
off with might and main. This gave the knight a good
excuse to pursue him, which he did with great celerity,
calling, "Stop, you rascal." When the squire fancied him-
self safe out of the reach of pursuit, he checked his speed,
and allowed the knight to come up with him. They rode
on several miles in silence, till they discovered the towers
and spires of Nottingham, where the knight introduced
himself to the sheriff, and demanded an armed force to
assist in the apprehension of the outlawed Earl of Hunt-
ingdon. The sheriff, who was willing to have his share
of the prize, determined to accompany the knight in person,
and regaled him and his man with good store of the best;
after which, they, with a stout retinue of fifty men took the
way to Gamwell feast.
"God's my life," said the sheriff, as they rode along, "I
had as lief you would tell me of a service of plate. I much
doubt if this outlawed earl, this forester Robin, be not the
man they call Robin Hood, who has quartered himself in
Sherwood Forest, and whom in endeavouring to apprehend
I have fallen divers times into disasters. He has gotten
together a band of disinherited prodigals, outlawed debtors,
excommunicated heretics, elder sons that have spent all
they had, and younger sons that never had anything to
spend; and with these he kills the king's deer, and plun-
ders wealthy travellers of five-sixths of their money; but if
they be abbots or bishops, them he despoils utterly."
The sheriff then proceeded to relate to his companion the
adventure of the Abbot of Doubleflask (which some grave
historians have related of the Abbot of Saint Mary's, and
others of the Bishop of Hereford): how the abbot, return-
ing to his abbey in company with his high selerer, who
carried in his portmanteau the rents of the abbey-lands, and
with a numerous train of attendants, came upon four seeming
peasants, who were roasting the king's venison by the king's
highway: how, in just indignation at this flagrant infringe-
ment of the forest laws, he asked them what they meant,
and they answered that they meant to dine: how he ordered
them to be seized and bound, and led captive to Notting-
ham, that they might know wild flesh to have been destined
by Providence for licensed and privileged appetites, and
not for the base hunger of unqualified knaves: how they
prayed for mercy, and how the abbot swore by Saint Charity
that he would show them none: how one of them thereupon
drew a bugle-horn from under his smock-frock and blew
three blasts, on which the abbot and his train were instantly
surrounded by sixty bowmen in green: how they tied him
to a tree, and made him say mass for their sins: how they
unbound him, and sate him down with them to dinner,
and gave him venison and wild-fowl and wine, and made
him pay for his fare all the money in his high selerer's
portmanteau, and enforced him to sleep all night under a
tree in his cloak, and to leave the cloak behind him in the
morning: how the abbot, light in pocket and heavy in
heart, raised the country upon Robin Hood, for so he had
heard the chief forester called by his men, and hunted
him into an old woman's cottage: how Robin changed
dresses with the old woman, and how the abbot rode in
great triumph into Nottingham, having in custody an old
woman in a green doublet and breeches: how the old
woman discovered herself: how the merrymen of Notting-
BY ORDER OF THE KING
ham laughed at the abbot: how the abbot railed at the old
woman, and how the old woman out-railed the abbot, telling
him that Robin had given her food and fire through the
winter, which no abbot would ever do, but would rather
take it from her for what he called the good of the Church,
by which he meant his own laziness and gluttony; and
that she knew a true man from a false thief, and a free
forester from a greedy abbot.
"Thus, you see," added the sheriff, "how this villain
perverts the deluded people by making them believe that
those who tithe and toll upon them for their spiritual and
temporal benefit are not their best friends and fatherly
guardians; for he holds that in giving to boors and old
women what he takes from priests and peers, he does but
restore to the former what the latter had taken from them;
and this the impudent varlet calls distributive justice.
Judge now if any loyal subject can be safe in such neigh-
While the sheriff was thus enlightening his companion
concerning the offenders, and whetting his own indignation
against them, the sun was fast sinking to the west. They
rode on till they came in view of a bridge, which they
saw a party approaching from the opposite side, and the
knight presently discovered that the party consisted of the
Lady Matilda and Friar Michael, young Gamwell, cousin
Robin, and half-a-dozen foresters. The knight pointed out
the earl to the sheriff, who exclaimed, "Here, then, we
have him an easy prey;" and they rode on manfully
towards the bridge, on which the other party made halt.
"Who be these," said the friar, "that come riding so fast
this way? Now, as God shall judge me, it is that false
knight Sir Ralph Montfaucon, and the sheriff of Notting-
ham, with a posse of men. We must make good our post,
and let them dislodge us if they may."
The two parties were now near enough to parley; and
the sheriff and the knight, advancing in the front of the
cavalcade, called on the lady, the friar, young Gamwell,
and the foresters, to deliver up that false traitor, Robert,
formerly Earl of Huntingdon. Robert himself made an-
swer by letting fly an arrow that struck the ground between
the forefeet of the sheriff's horse. The horse reared up
from the whizzing, and lodged the sheriff in the dust; and,
at the same time, the fair Matilda favoured the knight
with an arrow in his right arm, that compelled him to
withdraw from the affray. His men lifted the sheriff care-
fully up, and replaced him on his horse, whom he imme-
diately with great rage and zeal urged on to the assault
with his fifty men at his heels, some of whom were inter-
cepted in their advance by the arrows of the foresters and
Matilda; while the friar, with an eight-foot staff, dislodged
the sheriff a second time, and laid on him with all the
vigour of the church militant on earth, in spite of his ejacu-
lations of "Hey, friar Michael! What means this, honest
friar? Hold, ghostly friar! Hold, holy friar I "-till Matilda
interposed, and delivered the battered sheriff to the care
of the foresters. The friar continued flourishing his staff
among the sheriff's men, knocking down one, breaking the
ribs of another, dislocating the shoulder of a third, flatten-
ing the nose of a fourth, cracking the skull of a fifth, and
pitching a sixth into the river, till the few who were lucky
enough to escape with whole bones, clapped spurs to their
horses and fled for their lives under a farewell volley of
Sir Ralph's squire, meanwhile, was glad of the excuse of
attending his master's wound to absent himself from the
battle; and put the poor knight to a great deal of unne-
cessary pain by making as long a business as possible of
extracting the arrow, which he had not accomplished when
BY ORDER OF THE KING
Matilda, approaching, extracted it with great facility, and
bound up the wound with her scarf, saying, "I reclaim my
arrow, Sir Knight, which struck where I aimed it, to admo-
nish you to desist from your enterprise. I could as easily
have lodged it in your heart."
"It did not need," said the knight, with rueful gallantry;
"you have lodged one there already."
"If you mean to say that you love me," said Matilda,
"it is more than I ever shall you; but if you will show your
love by no further interfering with mine, you will at least
merit my gratitude."
The knight made a wry face under the double pain of
heart and body caused at the same moment by the material
or martial, and the metaphorical or erotic arrow, of which
the latter was thus barbed by a declaration more candid
than flattering; but he did not choose to put in any such
claim to the lady's gratitude as would bar all hopes of her
love: he therefore remained silent; and the lady and her
escort, leaving him and the sheriff to the care of the squire,
rode on till they came in sight of Arlingford Castle, where
they parted in several directions.
THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK, Maid Mfarian.
HOW PRINCE JOHN WOOED AND LOST
RICHARD Coeur de Lion made all England resound with
preparations for the Crusade, to the great delight of many
zealous adventurers, who eagerly flocked under his banner,
in the hope of enriching themselves with Saracen spoil,
which they called fighting the battles of God. Richard,
who was not remarkably scrupulous in his financial opera-
tions, was not likely to overlook the lands and castle of
Locksley, which he appropriated immediately to his own
purposes, and sold to the highest bidder. Now, as the
repeal of the outlawry would involve the restitution of the
estates to the rightful owner, it was obvious that it could
never be expected from that most legitimate and most
Christian king, Richard the First of England, the arch-
crusader and anti-jacobin by excellence-the very type,
flower, cream, pink, symbol, and mirror of all the Holy
Alliances that have ever existed on earth, excepting that
he seasoned his superstition and love of conquest with a
certain condiment of romantic generosity and chivalrous
self-devotion, with which his imitators in all other points
have found it convenient to dispense. To give freely to
one man what he had taken forcibly from another was
generosity of which he was very capable; but to restore
what he had taken to the man from whom we had taken
it, was something that wore too much of the cool physiog-
nomy of justice to be easily reconcileable to his kingly
feelings. He had, besides, not only sent all King Henry's
saints about their business, or rather about their no-business-
HOW PRINCE JOHN WOOED AND LOST 45
their faintantise--but he had laid them under rigorous con-
tribution for the purposes of his holy war; and having made
them refund to the piety of the successor what they had
extracted from the piety of the precursor, he compelled
them, in addition, to give him their blessing for nothing.
The departure of King Richard from England was suc-
ceeded by the episcopal regency of the bishops of Ely and
Durham. Longchamp, bishop of Ely, proceeded to show
his sense of Christian fellowship by arresting his brother
bishop, and despoiling him of his share in the government;
and to set forth his humility and loving-kindness in a
retinue of nobles and knights who consumed in one night's
entertainment some five years' revenue of their entertainer,
and in a guard of fifteen hundred foreign soldiers, whom
he considered indispensable to the exercise of a vigour
beyond the law in maintaining wholesome discipline over
the refractory English. The ignorant impatience of the
swinish multitude with these fruits of good living, brought
forth by one of the meek who had inherited the earth,
displayed itself in a general ferment, of which Prince John
took advantage to make the experiment of getting possession
of his brother's crown in his absence. He began by calling
at Reading a council of barons, whose aspect induced the
holy bishop to disguise himself (some say as an old woman,
which, in the twelfth century, perhaps might have been a
disguise for a bishop), and make his escape beyond sea.
Prince John followed up his advantage by obtaining pos-
session of several strong posts, and, among others, of the
castle of Nottingham.
While John was conducting his operations at Nottingham,
he rode at times past the castle of Arlingford. He stopped
on one occasion to claim Lord Fitzwater's hospitality, and
made most princely havoc among his venison and brawn.
Now, it is a matter of record among divers great historians
and learned clerks that he was then and there grievously
smitten by the charms of the lovely Lady Matilda, and
that a few days after he despatched his travelling minstrel,
or laureate, Harpiton (whom he retained at moderate wages,
to keep a journal of his proceedings, and prove them all
just and legitimate), to the castle of Arlingford, to make
proposals to the lady. This Harpiton was a very useful
person. He was always ready, not only to maintain the
cause of his master with his pen, and to sing his eulogies
to his harp, but to undertake at a moment's notice any
kind of courtly employment, called dirty work by the
profane, which the blessings of civil government, namely,
his master's pleasure, and the interests of social order,
namely, his own emolument, might require.
Prince John was of opinion that the love of a prince
actual and king expectant, was in itself a sufficient honour
to the daughter of a simple baron, and that the right divine
of royalty would make it sufficiently holy without the rite
divine of the Church. He was, therefore, graciously pleased
to fall into an exceeding passion, when his confidential
messenger returned from his embassy in piteous plight,
having been, by the baron's order, first tossed in a blanket
and set in the stocks to cool, and afterwards ducked in the
moat and set again in the stocks to dry. John swore to
revenge horribly this flagrant outrage on royal prerogative,
and to obtain possession of the lady by force of arms;
and accordingly collected a body of troops, and marched
upon Arlingford Castle. A letter, conveyed on the point
of a blunt arrow, announced his approach to Matilda: and
Lord Fitzwater had just time to assemble his retainers,
collect a hasty supply of provision, raise the drawbridge,
and drop the portcullis, when the castle was surrounded
by the enemy.
Prince John sat down impatiently before Arlingford Castle
HOW PRINCE JOHN WOOED AND LOST
in the hope of starving out the besieged; but finding the
duration of their supplies extend itself in an equal ratio
with the prolongation of his hope, he made vigorous pre-
parations for carrying the place by storm. He constructed
an immense machine on wheels, which, being advanced
to the edge of the moat, would lower a temporary bridge,
of which one end would rest on the bank and the other
on the battlements, and which, being well furnished with
stepping boards, would enable his men to ascend the inclined
plane with speed and facility. Matilda received intimation
of this design by the usual friendly channel of a blunt arrow,
which must either have been sent from some secret friend
in the prince's camp, or from some vigorous archer beyond
it; the latter will not appear improbable, when we consider
that Robin Hood and Little John could shoot two English
miles and an inch point-blank.
The machine was completed, and the ensuing morning
fixed for the assault. Six men, relieved at intervals, kept
watch over it during the night. Prince John retired to sleep,
congratulating himself in the expectation that another day
would place the fair culprit at his princely mercy. His
anticipations mingled with the visions of his slumber, and
he dreamed of wounds and drums, and sacking and firing
the castle, and bearing off in his arms the beautiful prize
through the midst of fire and smoke. In the height of this
imaginary turmoil, he awoke, and conceived for a few
moments that certain sounds which rang in his ears, were
the continuation of those of his dream, in that sort of
half-consciousness between sleeping and waking, when reality
and phantasy meet and mingle in dim and confused resem-
blance. He was, however, very soon fully awake to the
fact of his guards calling on him to arm, which he did in
haste, and beheld the machine in flames, and a furious
conflict raging around it. He hurried to the spot, and found
that his camp had been suddenly assailed from one side
by a party of foresters, and that the baron's people had
made a sortie on the other, and that they had killed the
guards, and set fire to the machine, before the rest of the
camp could come to the assistance of their fellows.
The night was in itself intensely dark, and the fire-light
shed around it a vivid and unnatural radiance. On one
side, the crimson light quivered by its own agitation on
the waveless moat, and on the bastions and buttresses of
the castle, and their shadows lay in massy blackness on
the illuminated walls: on the other, it shone upon the woods,
streaming far within among the open trunks, or resting on
the closer foliage. The circumference of darkness bounded
the scene on all sides; and in the centre raged the war;
shields, helmets, and bucklers gleaming and glittering as
they rang and clashed against each other; plumes confu-
sedly tossing in the crimson light, and the massy light and
shade that fell on the faces of the combatants, giving addi-
tional energy to their ferocious expression.
John, drawing nearer to the scene of action, observed
two young warriors fighting side by side, one of whom
wore the habit of a forester, the other that of a retainer
of Arlingford. He looked intently on them both; their
position towards the fire favoured the scrunity; and the
hawk's eye of love very speedily discovered that the latter
was the fair Matilda. The forester he did not know; but
he had sufficient tact to discern that his success would be
very much facilitated by separating her from this companion,
above all others. He therefore formed a party of men into
a wedge, only taking especial care not to be the point of
it himself, and drove it between them with so much pre-
cision, that they were in a moment far asunder.
"Lady Matilda," said John, "yield yourself my prisoner."
"If you would wear me, Prince," said Matilda, "you must
HOW PRINCE JOHN WOOED AND LOST 49
win me:" and without giving him time to deliberate on
the courtesy of fighting with the lady of his love, she raised
her sword in the air, and lowered it on his head with an
impetus that would have gone nigh to fathom even that
extraordinary depth of brain which always by divine grace
furnishes the interior of a head-royal, if he had not very
dexterously parried the blow. Prince John wished to dis-
arm and take captive, not in any way to wound or injure,
least of all to kill, his fair opponent. Matilda was only
intent to get rid of her antagonist at any rate: the edge of
her weapon painted his complexion with streaks of very
unloverlike crimson, and she would probably have marred
John's hand for ever signing Magna Charta, but that he
was backed by the advantage of numbers, and that her
sword broke short on the boss of his buckler. John was
following up his advantage to make a captive of the lady,
when he was suddenly felled to the earth by an unseen
antagonist. Some of his men picked him carefully up, and
conveyed him to his tent, stunned and stupefied.
When he recovered, he found Harpiton diligently assist-
ing in his recovery, more in the fear of losing his place
than in that of losing his master; the prince's first inquiry
was for the prisoner he had been on the point of taking at
the moment when his habeas corpus was so unseasonable
suspended. He was told that his people had been on the
point of securing the said prisoner, when the devil suddenly
appeared among them in the likeness of a tall friar, having
his grey frock cinctured with a sword-belt, and his crown,
which whether it were shaven or no they could not see,
surmounted with a helmet, and flourishing an eight-foot
staff, with which he laid about him to the right and to the
left, knocking down the prince and his men as if they had
been so many nine-pins: in fine, he had rescued the pri-
soner and made a clear passage through friend and foe,
and in conjunction with a chosen party of archers, had
covered the retreat of the baron's men and the foresters,
who had all gone off in a body towards Sherwood forest.
Harpiton suggested that it would be desirable to sack the
castle, and volunteered to lead the van on the occasion, as
the defenders were withdrawn, and the exploit seemed to
promise much profit and little danger: John considered
that the castle would in itself be a great acquisition to him
as a stronghold in furtherance of his design on his brother's
throne; and was determining to take possession with the
first light of morning, when he had the mortification to see
the castle burst into flames in several places at once.
An arrow, with a letter attached to it, was shot into the
camp, and carried to the prince. The contents were these:-
"PRINCE JOHN,-I do not consider myself to have resisted
lawful authority in defending my castle against you, seeing
that you are at present in a state of active rebellion against
your liege sovereign Richard: and if my provisions had
not failed me, I would have maintained it till doomsday.
As it is, I have so well disposed my combustibles that it
shall not serve you as a stronghold in your rebellion. If
you hunt in the chases of Nottinghamshire, you may catch
other game than my daughter. Both she and I are content
to be houseless for a time, in the reflection that we have
deserved your enmity, and the friendship of Cceur-de-Lion.
THOMAS LOVE PEACOCK, Maid Marian.
HOW KING JOHN WAS WOOED AND WON
QUEEN ISABEL sat in her chamber at the palace of West-
minster, listening to a suppliant for her help. On a sudden
the door flew open, and unannounced, the King strode into
the apartment. His step was perturbed, his visage inflamed,
and there was thunder on his brow. The queen uttered a
terrified cry. "Alas! what ails my lord?"
"Treason -treachery in the state I" exclaimed the enraged
John. "Le Brun, my hated, my detested foe, has escaped
my vengeance: e'en when the block was chiselled, and the
axe sharpened, he is gone-he is fled "
"Fled echoed the queen, and her look betokened aught
"Fled from Corfe Castle," pursued the King-"fled from
that hold of strength-fled away from my power But woe
betide the governor! woe betide the garrison and his look
"What means my lord and husband?" asked the queen,
quailing in very terror.
"Mean," thundered the King-"by heaven-by hell, I
mean to raise such a pile to vengeance, as shall make
Corfe Castle dreadful to look upon! I mean to impale
the governor, to impale the whole garrison-to immolate a
thousand lives in the stead of Hugh le Brun."
"Mighty GodI" ejaculated the Queen, and her lips trem-
bled, and her cheeks faded to marble.
"I mean," continued the incensed John, heedless of her
agony, "to hold up a terror to the world-to shew, that it
were safer to bay the galled lion, than to trifle with
The Queen sprang forward-she cast herself at his feet-
she wildly clasped his knees.-" Forbear-forbear, my hon-
oured lord," she implored. "Let mercy savour justice.
Build up a monument, to honour, not to execrate."
"Isabell" exclaimed the King, "why do I see you thus?
Rise; I command you, rise."
"Not until thou art quite thyself again," quickly rejoined
the Queen, striving to lure him into gentleness. "Good,
my liege, but thou hast well-nigh scared me out of dear life."
"Rise, my Isabel." And in spite of every discordant
feeling, he stooped to caress her.
"No-no; not until thou grantest grace to the poor worms
thou threatenest to annihilate; not until thou hast beamed
forth the sunshine of thy favour upon the governor and
the garrison of Corfe Castle. Promise me, my most dear
"Neverl" interrupting, and scowling on her a glance of
suspicion and alarm. On thy soul, be wary, if thou wishest
well to thyself. Stir not the hell within me," and he gnawed
his lip, and stood sullenly silent.
"How, my lord, wouldst thou shed a sea of blood for
the trespass of a single one? The innocent for the guilty-
the unoffending for the daring?" and she looked imploringly
in his face.
"Ay, by God's head!" (the king's usual oath) "a charnel-
house would I make of all England."
"What if thou couldst pounce upon the aggressor,"
eagerly questioned the shuddering Isabel, wouldstt thou
redeem a host?"
"Body-o'-me, but thou art strangely urgent said the King,
steadfastly regarding her; then, with a sarcastic sneer.-
"Bear to me the rebel, and the thousand lives be thine."
HOW KING JOHN WAS WOOED AND WON 53
"Swear it to me," exclaimed the queen; and enthusiasm
kindled such a fire in her eyes, and shed such a vivid
bloom o'er her features, that she looked more spiritual than
"I swear it by thy own heavenly beauty-by the love I
bear theel" pronounced the royal John, charmed even in
a moment like the present, and forcibly lifting her to his
"Nay, dear, my lord, this posture best becomes me," and
struggling for freedom, the Queen slid back upon her knees,
and again cast around him her white and polished arms.
"Promise me-swear to me, that all, that every one shall
escape; and I-even I, will yield up the culprit."
The King looked incredulous. "Pshaw, Isabell thou
knowest thy power, or thou wouldst not thus trifle with my
patience. I'the name of thrift be brief, for I like not such
"On my hopes of heaven," said the Queen, solemnly,
"I guarantee nought save what I can fulfil."
The King started back.-" Speak-I command you, speak."
"First the pledge-the royal gage of indemnity to the
governor and the garrison of Corfe Castle," urged the Queen.
"Then-then, my lord," and she bowed her beautiful head,
"may God help the aggressor!"
"Name him-yield him to my vengeance," vociferated
the enraged John, "that I may mount him high as was the
gallows of Haman I Ay, though he be my own blood;" and
his thoughts glanced on his half-brother, William, Earl of
"First, the indemnity," demanded the Queen. "Swear
pardon, full and entire pardon, to the governor and to the
garrison of Corfe Castle; swear too, my most dread lord,
never, in aftertime, to visit them with your wrath."
"I do-I do," impatiently pronounced King John. "By
our halidom-by the blood of all the martyrs, I swear to
spare all other-to glut all my vengeance upon the one
daring rebel Name him-name him "
The Queen spoke not, but from her knees she cast her-
self prostrate at his feet; her lovely face was deluged in
tears; and she lay, low, and still, and humble.
"Name him I name him I urged the King, regardless of
her emotion, and thirsting for revenge.
"The rebel lies before ye," faltered out Isabel; then, half
raising her face, and glancing through her dark locks.-
"'Twas I who filed the chains-'twas I who opened the
prison doors-'twas I who gave life and freedom to Hugh
Deep as is the still calm which succeeds the roar of the
tempest, was the pause which ensued; yet it was the pause
of a moment.-" Traitress, thou liest!" thundered the King.
-"How, here at Westminster, could thy power reach Corfe
Castle? Think not to stay my fury: tenfold shall it fall,
e'en to the annihilation of a kingdom."
Roused by an accusation so opprobrious, the Queen looked
boldly up, her beauty heightening in the fire which sparkled
in her eyes.-" Beware, my lord," she adjured, "how you
punish faithful subjects, for an act I alone have committed.
Behold in me the rebel to your will. Enabled by the royal
signet, 'twas I who gave liberty to Hugh le Brun;-for even
in your grace's arms the blood of Hugh le Brun had been
as an accusing phantom, rising to the judgment-seat. I
laboured for his rescue-I removed him from the vengeance
-not in defiance to your high authority, but to spare my-
self the hereafter pang of conscience."
"False 1 false as hell muttered the King. Conscience
be the ready cloak to muffle love;" and his cheek grew
ghastly pale, and his limbs shook with rage and inward
"THE REBEL LIES BEFORE YE.*
HOW KING JOHN WAS WOOED AND WON 55
"Oh, say not so! say not so, good, my lord!" implored
the politic Isabel, striving to regain that ascendency her
matchless beauty had acquired. "What can the chosen hus-
band fear in the rejected lover Think of my father's court
-think of the past-think of the bright days which gave
me to your notice! No-no I had I loved this Hugh le Brun,
never had I been the happy mother of our darling Harry!-
had I loved this Hugh le Brun," and she raised her melting
eyes in soft appeal, "who had snapped the rivet forged in
infancy? God-wot! I love the father of my boy! woe is
me! I love one who loved me once; now-now-" She
bent her face upon her bosom, and tears chased slowly
down her glowing cheeks.
The King gazed upon her until every discordant feeling
softened within him, until his heart yearned to give her
solace, to kiss away those tears, to lure her to its shelter:
for cold as he was, and dead as he was to generous feeling,
he loved her with a fervour worthy a nobler mind; loved
her as needful to his own happiness, prized her as a dearer
part of himself. Scarce conscious of the action, he stretched
forth his arms-"Woman-woman!" he murmured, "thou
most seductive poison; sweet and baleful from the first!"
The Queen felt her power; now was the moment to essay
all her witchery, for she read almost idolatry in the glance
of her yielding lord.-" And wilt thou quite forgive me, love?
and wilt thou never more scare me with such horrible
words?" And she looked, and she spoke, with almost in-
"Forgive thee! enchantress! angel I" and again he snatched
her to his breast.
"But the treason," urged the beautiful Isabel, returning
his caresses, and fondling him into smiles-"wilt thou for-
give the treason?-and wilt thou, my most dear lord, grant
grace to the poor traitor?"
"Ay, to the one half of my kingdom," answered the king.
"No, no, nought of the kingdom," quickly rejoined Isabel:
"my guerdon be thy whole and undivided heart."
"'Tis thy lawful heritage," replied the king; then stroking
back her dark ringlets, and fondly perusing her wary brow,
"God's truth thou wert a bold traitor, dear onel In any
other form the trespass had been death."
"Marry!" said the Queen, gaily, "I did but rend away
the only ill which could reach me in thy arms. I scorned,
forsooth, that the prattling world should bandy thy great
name; that it should dare say in cold blood thou didst
murder: and so-and so-" and steadfastly she watched
him as she spoke-"I grew bold in thy love, and I stole
away thy royal signet, and peradventure, now does the
prisoner believe he owes life to thy generous forbearance."
"And thy emissary?" questioned John, willing to sift all
of the adventure.
The queen raised her dewy eyes to his face.-"Sure
thou wilt not play me false," she said.
"No, on my soul!" exclaimed the king. "Come, unravel
the mystery to the end."
Isabel mused for a moment, then, with trusting confidence:
-"Call to mind, my liege," she resumed, "the pretty boy
who used to bear love-tokens from thy dear hand; he, who
speeding on Cupid's errantry, beguiled absence with rare
and cunning devices; he, who-"
"What, Julian? thy pretty page Julian, my own Isabel?"
"The same, good my lord! the little Julian, who bore us
fellowship to England."
"And didst thou corrupt his fealty? and didst thou teach
him to play with fire, heedless of the tax?" and the King
tried to look reproach-" didst thou-"
Isabel placed her soft white hand upon his lips.-" Tarry,"
she implored, "and thou shalt hear how I cheated him
HOW KING JOHN WAS WOOED AND WON 57
too into service. On my life, Julian believed himself thy
"How! hast thou made me the hero of all thy strange
"The hero to the furtherance of thy own renown and
honour!" replied the Queen. "Presuming on thy especial
love and favour," and sweetly she smiled as she spoke, "on
the wing of the wind, I despatched Julian into Dorsetshire.
Once within the walls of Corfe Castle, thy purloined signet
hushed to sleep the suspicion of the governor-it opened
the door of the keep; and when yesternight, with spirit-
like swiftness, Julian again appeared before me, I felt grateful
and thankful; for in the known safety of the Earl de la
Marche, no hereafter remorse could cloud my happy pro-
"Remorse!" echoed the King: "how, in the fall of a
rebellious foe, could remorse attaint thy innocence?"
"I feared it-I felt it," sighed Isabel. "Belike I am very
weak, but well I knew myself the cause of mutual enmity.
Alack his death, at thy hands, my most dear lord, had
been my scourge for life: nought had chased the ap-
palling fear of his accusing spirit; no, no, not even thy
caresses had stayed the canker within. I had drooped
away-I had died away: like the rose in autumn, I had
withered even in thy dear arms."
The King shuddered. "Now," continued the Queen,
deciphering all which passed within, and rallying the light
smile of playful mirth;.-now, come what may, I care not.
In God's good time-on land-or sea-let him die l My
conscience is light, and my heart happy "
L, S. STANHOPE, Riunnemede.
HOW WALLACE MET KING EDWARD
WALLACE determined to set off for Durham, where, he
was informed, King Edward was, and, joined by his young
queen, meant to sojourn till his wounds were healed. Believ-
ing that his presence in Scotland could be no longer ser-
viceable, and would engender continual intestine divisions,
Wallace did not hesitate in fixing his course.
As the chief meant to assume a border minstrel's garb,
that he might travel the country unrecognised as its once
adored Regent, he took his way towards a large hollow
oak in Tor Wood, where he had deposited his means of
disguise. When arrived there, he disarmed himself of all
but his sword, dirk, and breastplate; he covered his tartan
gambeson with a minstrel's cassock; and staining his bright
complexion with the juice of a nut, concealed his brighter
locks beneath a close bonnet. Being thus equipped, and
throwing his harp over his shoulder, he went forth, and
pursued his way along the broom-clad hills of Muiravenside.
In this manner, sitting at the board of the lowly, and
sleeping beneath the thatched roof, did Wallace pursue his
way through Tweeddale and Ettrick Forest till he reached
Having descended into Northumberland, his well-reple-
nished scrip was his provider; and when it was exhausted
he purchased food from the peasantry; he would not accept
the hospitality of a country he had so lately trodden as an
enemy. Here he heard his name mentioned with terror as
well as admiration. While many related circumstances of
HOW WALLACE MET KING EDWARD
misery to which the ravaging of their lands had reduced
them, all concurred in praising the moderation with which
the Scottish leader treated his conquests.
Late in the evening, he arrived on the banks of the river
that surrounds the episcopal city of Durham. His minstrel
garb prevented his being stopped by the guard at the gate;
but as he entered its porch, a horse that was going through
started at his abrupt appearance. Its rider suddenly ex-
claimed, "Fool, thou dost not see Sir William Wallace!"
Then, turning to the disguised knight, "Harper," cried he,
"you frighten my steed; draw back till I pass."
Wallace stood out of the way, and saw the speaker to
be a young Southron knight, who with difficulty kept his
seat on the restive horse. Rearing and plunging, it would
have thrown its rider, had not Wallace put forth his hand
and seized the bridle. By his assistance the animal was
soothed; and the young lord, thanking him for his service,
told him that, as a reward, he would introduce him to play
before the queen, who that day held a feast at the bishop's
palace. Wallace thought it probable he might find access
to Bruce, and he gladly accepted the offer. The knight,
who was Sir Piers Gaveston, ordered him to follow, turned
his horse towards the city, and conducted Wallace through
the gates of the citadel to the palace within its walls.
On entering the banqueting-hall, he was placed by the
knight in the musicians' gallery, there to await the summons
to her majesty. The entertainment being spread, and the
room full of guests, the queen was led in by the haughty
bishop of the see, the king being too ill of his wounds to
allow his joining so large a company. The beauty of the
lovely sister of Philip le Bel seemed to fill the gaze and
hearts of all the bystanders, and none appeared to remember
that Edward was absent.
Immediately on the royal band ceasing to play, Gaveston
pressed towards the queen, and told her he had presumed
to introduce a travelling minstrel into the gallery; hoping
that she would order him to perform for her amusement,
as he could sing legends, from the descent of the Romans
to the victories of her royal Edward. With all her age's
eagerness in quest of novelties, she commanded him to be
brought to her.
Gaveston having presented him, Wallace bowed with the
respect due to her sex and dignity, and to the esteem in
which he held the character of her royal brother. Margaret
desired him to place his harp before her, and begin to
sing. As he knelt on one knee, and struck its sounding
chords, she stopped him by the inquiry of whence he came.
"From the north country," was his reply.
"Were you ever in Scotland?" asked she.
"Then tell me," cried she, "for you wandering minstrels
see all great people, good or bad, else how could you make
songs about them?-did you ever see Sir William Wallace
in your travels?"
"Pray tell me what he is like! you probably will be un-
prejudiced, and that is what I can hardly expect in this
case from any of these brave lords."
Wishing to avoid further questioning on this subject.
Wallace replied, "I have never seen him so distinctly as
to be enabled to prove any right to your highness's opinion
of my judgment."
"Minstrel," she said, "we French ladies are very fond
of a good mien; and I shall be a little reconciled to your
northern realms if you tell me this Sir William Wallace is
anything like as handsome as some of the gay knights by
whom you see me surrounded."
Wallace smiled, and replied, "The comeliness of Sir
HOW WALLACE MET KING EDWARD
William Wallace lies in a strong arm and a feeling heart;
and if these be charms in the eyes of female goodness,
he may hope to be not quite an object of abhorrence to
the sister of Philip le Bel!"
The minstrel bowed as he spoke, and the young queen,
laughing again, said, "I wish not to come within the influence
of either. But sing me some Scottish legend and I will
promise wherever I see the knight to treat him with all
the courtesy due to valour."
Wallace again struck the chords of his harp; and with
a voice whose full and melodious tones rolled round the
vast dome of the hall, he sang the triumphs of Reuther.
The queen fixed her eyes upon him; and when he ended,
she turned and whispered Gaveston-" If the voice of this
man had been Wallace's trumpet, I should not now wonder
at the discomfiture of England. He almost tempted me
from my allegiance, as the warlike animation of his notes
seemed to charge the flying Southrons." Speaking, she
rose; and, presenting a jewelled ring to the minstrel, left
The lords crowded out after her, and the musicians,
coming down from the gallery, seated themselves with
much rude jollity to regale on the remnants of the feast.
Wallace, who had discovered the senachie of Bruce by the
escutcheon of Annandale suspended at his neck, gladly
saw him approach. He came to invite the stranger minstrel
to partake of their fare. Wallace did not appear to decline
it; and as the court bard seemed rather devoted to the
pleasures of wine, he found it not difficult to draw from
him what he wanted to know. He learnt that young Bruce
was still in the castle under arrest; "and," added the sen-
achie, "I shall feel no little mortification in being obliged,
in the course of half-an-hour, to relinquish these festivities
for the gloomy duties of his apartment."
This was precisely the point to which Wallace had wished
to lead him; and pleading disrelish of wine, he offered to
supply his place in the earl's chamber. The half-intoxicated
bard accepted the proposition with eagerness, and as the
shades of night had long closed in, he conducted his illus-
trious substitute to the large round tower of the castle,
informing him as they went along, that he must continue
playing in a recess adjoining to Bruce's room, till the last
vesper-bell from the abbey in the neighbourhood should
give the signal for his laying aside the harp. By that time
the earl would be fallen asleep, and he might then lie down
on a pallet he would find in the recess.
At this Wallace promised punctually to obey; and being
conducted by the senachie up a spiral staircase, was left
in the little anteroom. The chief drew the cowl of his
minstrel cloak over his face and set his harp before him
in order to play. He could see through its strings that a
group of knights were in earnest conversation at the further
end of the apartment; but they spoke so low he could not
distinguish what was said. One of the party turned round,
and the light of a suspended lamp discovered him to be
the brave Earl of Gloucester, whom Wallace had taken and
released at Berwick. The same ray showed another to be
Percy, Earl of Northumberland. Their figures concealed
that of Bruce, but at last, when all rose together, he heard
Gloucester say, in rather an elevated voice, "Keep up your
spirits. This envy of your base countrymen must recoil
upon themselves. It cannot be long before King Edward
discovers the motives of their accusations, and his noble
nature will acquit you accordingly."
"My acquittal," replied Bruce, in a firm tone, "cannot
restore what Edward's injustice has rifled from me. I abide
by the test of my own actions, and by it will open the door
of my freedom. Your king may depend on it," added he,
HOW WALLACE MET KING EDWARD
with a sarcastic smile, "that I am not a man to be influen-
ced against the right. Where I owe duty I will pay it to
the uttermost farthing."
Not apprehending the true meaning of this speech, Percy
immediately answered, "I believe you, and so must all the
world; for did you not give brave proofs of it that fearful
night on the Carron, in bearing arms against the triumphant
"I did indeed give proofs of it," returned Bruce, "which
I hope the world will one day know, by bearing arms
against the usurper of my country's rights; and in defiance
of injustice and of treason, before men and angels I swear,"
cried he, "to perform my duty to the end-to retrieve to
honour the insulted, the degraded name of Bruce!"
Gloucester, as little as Northumberland comprehending
Bruce's ambiguous declaration, replied, "Let not your heart,
my brave friend, burn too hotly against the king for this
arrest. He will be the more urgent to obliterate by kind-
ness this injustice, when he understands the aims of the
Cummins. I have myself felt his misplaced wrath; and
who now is more favoured by Edward than Ralph de
Monthermer? My case will be yours. Good-night, Bruce.
May propitious dreams repeat the augury of your true
Percy shook hands with the young earl, and the two
English lords left the room.
Wallace could now take a more leisurely survey of Bruce.
He wore a tunic of black velvet, and all the rest of his
garments accorded with the same mourning hue. Soon
after the lords had quitted him, the buoyant elasticity of
his figure gave way to melancholy retrospections, and he
threw himself into a chair with his hands clasped upon his
knee and his eyes fixed in musing gaze upon the floor. It
was now that Wallace touched the strings of his harp. "The
Death of Cathullin" wailed from the sounding notes, but
Bruce heard as though he heard them not; they soothed
his mood without his perceiving what it was that calmed,
yet deepened the saddening thoughts which possessed him.
His posture remained the same; and sigh after sigh gave
the only response to the strains of the bard.
Wallace grew impatient for the chimes of that vesper-
bell which, by assuring Bruce's attendants that he was gone
to rest, would secure from interruption the conference he
meditated. Two servants entered. Bruce, scarcely looking
up, bade them withdraw, he should not need their atten-
dance. He did not know when he should go to bed; and
he desired to be no further disturbed. The men obeyed;
and Wallace, changing the melancholy strain of his harp,
struck the chords to the proud triumph he had played in
the hall. Not one note of either ballad had he yet sung
to Bruce; but when he came to the passage in the latter
appropriated to these lines-
"Arise, glory of Albin, from thy cloud
And shine upon thy own!"
he could not forbear giving the words voice. Bruce started
from his seat.
He looked towards the minstrel-he walked the room in
great disorder. The pealing sounds of the harp and his
own mental confusion prevented his distinguishing that it
was not the voice of his senachie. The words alone he
heard, and they seemed a call which his heart panted to
obey. The hand of Wallace paused upon the instrument.
He looked round to see that observation was indeed at a
distance; and then, as the young earl sat in a paroxysm of
racking reflections (for they brought self-blame, or rather a
blame on his father, which pierced him to the heart), he
' ARISE, GLORY OF ALBIN, FROM THY CLOUD AND SHINE UPON
Face p. 64
HOW WALLACE MET KING EDWARD
slowly advanced from the recess. The agitated Bruce, ac-
cidentally raising his head, beheld a man in a minstrel's
garb, much too tall to be his senachie, approaching him
with a caution which he thought portended treachery. He
sprang on his feet and caught his sword from the table;
but in that moment Wallace threw off his cowl. Bruce
stood gazing on him, stiffened with astonishment. Wallace,
in a low voice, exclaimed, My prince, do you not know me? "
Bruce, without speaking, threw his arms about his neck.
He was silent as he hung on him, but his tears flowed; he
had much to say, but excess of emotion rendered it unut-
terable. As Wallace returned the fond embrace of friend-
ship, he gently said, "How is it that I not only see you a
close prisoner, but in these weeds?"
Bruce at last forced himself to articulate, "I have known
misery in all its forms since we parted; but I have not
power to name even my grief of griefs while trembling at
the peril to which you have exposed yourself by seeking
mel The vanquisher of Edward, the man who snatched
Scotland from his grasp, were he known to be within these
walls, would be a prize for which the boiling revenge of
the tyrant would give half his kingdom Think, then, my
friend, how I shudder at this daring. I am surrounded by
spies, and should you be discovered, Robert Bruce will
then have the curse of his country added to the judgments
which already have fallen on his head."
Bruce then added, that in his more rational meditations,
he had resolved to attempt an escape in the course of a
few days. He understood that a deputation of English
barons, seeking a ratification of their charter, were soon
to arrive in Durham; the bustle attendant on their business
would, he hoped, draw attention from him, and afford him
the opportunity he sought. "In that case," continued he,
"I should have made directly to Stirling, and had not
Providence conducted you to me, I might have unconsciously
thrown myself into the midst of enemies. James Cummin is
too ambitious to have allowed my life to pass unattempted."
Whilst he was yet speaking, the door of the chamber
burst open, and Bruce's two attendants rushed into the
room with looks aghast. Bruce and Wallace started on
their feet and laid their hands on their swords. But instead
of anything hostile appearing behind the servants, the
inebriated figure of the senachie staggered forward. The
men, hardly awake, stood staring and trembling, and looking
from the senachie to Wallace; at last one, extricating his
terror-struck tongue, and falling on his knees, exclaimed,
"Blessed St. Andrew! here is the senachie and his wraith."
Bruce perceived the mistake of his servants, and explaining
to them that a travelling minstrel had obliged the senachie
by performing his duty, he bade them retire to rest, and
think no more of their alarm.
The intoxicated bard threw himself without ceremony on
his pallet in the recess, and the servants, though convinced,
still shaking with superstitious fright, entreated permission
to bring their heather beds into their lord's chamber. To
deny them was impossible, and all further converse with
Wallace that night being put an end to, a couch was laid
for him in an interior apartment, and with a grateful pres-
sure of the hands, in which their hearts silently embraced,
the chiefs separated to repose.
The second matin-bell sounded from the abbey before
the eyes of Wallace opened from the deep sleep which
had sealed them. A bath refreshed him from every toil,
then renewing the stain on his face and hands with the
juice of a nut which he carried about him, and once more
covering his martial figure and golden hair with the min-
strel's cassock and cowl, he rejoined his friend.
Bruce had previously affected to consider the senachie
HOW WALLACE MET KING EDWARD
as still disordered by his last night's excess, and ordering
him from his presence for at least a day, commanded that
the travelling minstrel should be summoned to supply his
The table was spread when Wallace entered, and several
servants were in attendance. To prevent suspicion in the
attendants, during the repast he discoursed with Wallace
on subjects relative to northern literature, repeating indeed
many passages opposite to his own heroic sentiments from
Ossian and other Scottish bards.
The meal finished, and Wallace, to maintain his assumed
character while the servants were removing the table, was
tuning his harp when the Earl of Gloucester entered the
room. The earl told Bruce the king had required the
attendance of the border minstrel, and that after searching
over the castle, the royal seneschal had at last discovered
he was in the keep with him. On this being intimated to
Gloucester, he chose rather to come himself to demand
the harper from his friend, than to subject him to the
insolence of the royal servants. The king desired to hear
"The Triumph," with which the minstrel had so much
pleased the queen. Bruce turned pale at this message, and
was opening his mouth to utter a denial, when Wallace,
who read in his countenance what he was going to say,
and aware of the consequences, immediately spoke: "If
my Lord Bruce will grant permission, I should wish to
comply with the King of England's request."
"Minstrell" replied Bruce, casting on him a powerful
expression of what was passing in his mind, "you know
not, perhaps, that the King of England is at enmity with
me, and cannot mean well to any one who has been my
guest or servant The Earl of Gloucester will excuse your
attendance in the presence."
"Not for my life or the minstrel's replied the earl;
"the king would suspect some mystery, and this innocent
man might fall into peril. But as it is, his majesty merely
wishes to hear him play and sing, and I pledge myself he
shall return in safety."
Further opposition would only have courted danger, and
with as good a grace as he could assume, Bruce gave his
consent, and Wallace accompanied Gloucester out of the
The earl moved swiftly forward, and leading him through
a double line of guards, the folding-doors of the royal,
apartment were thrown open by two knights in waiting,
and Wallace found himself in the presence. Disabled with
the wounds which the chief's own hand had given him,
the king lay upon a couch overhung with a crimson-velvet
canopy, and his queen, the blooming Margaret of France,
sat full of smiles at his feet. The young Countess of
Gloucester occupied a seat by her side.
The countess observed the manner of his obeisance to
the king and queen and herself, and the queen, whispering
her with a smile, said, while he was taking his station at
the harp, "Have your British troubadours usually such an
air as that? Am I right or am I wrong?"
"Quite right," replied the countess in as low a voice.
"I suppose he has sung of kings and heroes till he cannot
help assuming their step and demeanour."
"But how did he come by those eyes?" answered the
queen. "If singing of Reuther's 'beaming gaze' have so
richly endowed his own, by getting him to teach me his
art, I may warble myself into a complexion as fair as any
northern beauty I"
"But then his must not be the subject of your song,"
whispered the countess, with a laugh, "for methinks it is
rather of the Ethiop hue!"
During this short dialogue, which was heard by none
HOW WALLACE MET KING EDWARD
but the two ladies, Edward was speaking with Gloucester,
and Wallace leaned upon his harp.
"That is enough," said the king to his son-in-law; "now
let me hear him play."
The earl gave the word, and Wallace, striking the
chords with the master hand of genius, called forth
such strains and uttered such tones from his full and
richly modulated voice, that the king listened with wonder,
and the queen and countess scarcely allowed themselves
to breathe. When he was done, the queen, approaching
him, laid her hand upon the harp, and touching the strings
with a light finger, with a sweet smile, "You must remain
with the king's musicians, and teach me how to charm as
Wallace replied to this innocent speech with a smile
sweet as her own, and bowed.
Edward desired Gloucester to bring the minstrel closer
to him. Wallace approached the royal couch. Edward
looked at him from head to foot before he spoke.
"Who are you?" at length demanded Edward, who,
surprised at the noble mien and unabashed carriage of the
minstrel, conceived some suspicions of his quality.
Wallace saw what was passing in the king's mind, and
determining by a frank reply to uproot his doubts, mildly
but fearlessly answered, "A Scot."
"Indeed!" said the king, satisfied that no incendiary
would dare thus to proclaim himself. "And how durst you,
being of that outlawed nation, venture into my court?
Feared you not to fall a sacrifice to my indignation against
the mad leader of your rebellious countrymen?"
"I fear nothing on earth," replied Wallace. "This garb
is privileged; none who respect that sacred law dare
commit violence on a minstrel, and against them who regard
no law but that of their own wills, I have this weapon to
70 EDWARD I
defend me." As Wallace spoke, he pointed to a dirk which
stuck in his girdle.
"You are a bold man and an honest man, I believe,"
replied the king; "and as my queen desires it, I order your
enrolment in my travelling train of musicians. You may
leave the presence."
"Then follow me to my apartment," cried the queen;
"Countess, you will accompany me to see me take my first
A page took up the harp, and Wallace, bowing his head
to the king, was conducted by Gloucester to the ante-room
of the queen's apartments.
Miss PORTER, Scottish Chiefs.
QUEEN PHILLIPPA AND THE MEN OF CALAIS
AFTER that the French king was departed from San-
gatte, they within Calais saw well how their succour failed
them, for the which they were in great sorrow. Then
they desired so much their captain, Sir John of Vienne,
that he went to the walls of the town, and made a sign to
speak with some person of the host. When the king heard
thereof, he sent thither Sir Walter of Manny and Sir
Basset: then Sir John of Vienne said to them, "Sirs, ye
be right valiant knights in deeds of arms, and ye know
well how the king my master hath sent me and others to
this town, and commanded us to keep it to his behoof, in
such wise that we take no blame, nor to him no damage;
and we have done all that lieth in our power. Now our
succours hath failed us, and we be so sore strained that
we have not to live withal, but that we must all die, or else
enrage for famine, without the noble and gentle king of
yours will take mercy on us: the which to do we require
you to desire him to have pity on us, and to let us go and
depart as we be, and let him take the town and castle and
all the goods that be therein, the which is great abundance."
Then Sir Walter of Manny said, "Sir, we know some-
what of the intention of the king our master, for he hath
shewed it unto us; surely know for truth it is not his mind
that ye nor they within the town should depart so, for it is
his will that ye all should put yourselves into his pure will
to ransom all such as pleaseth him, and to put to death
such as he list: for they of Calais hath done him such con-
traries and despite, and hath caused him to dispend so
much good, and lost many of his men, that he is sore
grieved against them."
Then the captain said, "Sir, this is too hard a matter to
us; we are here within, a small sort of knights and squires,
who hath truly served the king our master, as well as ye
serve yours. In like case and we have endured much pain
and unease; but we shall yet endure as much pain as ever
knights did rather than to consent that the worst lad in the
town should have any more evil than the greatest of us all:
therefore, sir, we pray you that of your humility, yet that
ye will go and speak to the king of England, and desire
him to have pity of us, for we trust in him so much gen-
tleness, that by the grace of God his purpose shall change."
Sir Walter of Manny and Sir Basset returned to the king,
and declared to him all that had been said. The king said
he would none otherwise, but that they should yield them
up simply to his pleasure. Then Sir Walter said, "Sir, saving
your displeasure in this, ye may be in the wrong, for ye
shall give by this an evil ensample: if ye send any of us
your servants into any fortress, we will not be very glad
to go if ye put any of them in the town to death after they
be yielded, for in likewise they will deal with us if the case
fell like:" the which words divers other lords that were
there present sustained and maintained.
Then the king said, "Sirs, I will not be alone against
you all; therefore Sir Walter of Manny ye shall go and say
to the captain, that all the grace that he shall find now in
me is, that they let six of the chief burgesses of the town
come out bare-headed, bare-footed, and bare-legged, and in
their shirts, with halters about their necks, with the keys of
the town and castle in their hands, and let them six yield
themselves purely to my will, and the residue I will take
QUEEN PHILLIPPA AND THE MEN OF CALAIS 73
Then Sir Walter returned, and found Sir John of Vienne
still on the wall, abiding for an answer: then Sir Walter
shewed him all the grace that he could get of the king.
"Well," quoth Sir John, "Sir, I require you tarry here
a certain space till I go into the town and shew this to
the commons of the town, who sent me hither."
Then Sir John went into the market-place, and sounded
the common bell; then incontinent men and women assembled
there; then the captain made report of all that he had
done, and said, "Sirs, it will be none otherwise; therefore
now take advice and make a short answer." Then all the
people began to weep and to make such sorrow, that there
was not so hard a heart if they had seen them but that
would have had great pity of them; the captain himself
At last the most rich burgess of all the town, called
Eustace de St. Pierre, rose up and said openly, "Sirs, great
and small, great mischief it should be to suffer to die such
people as be in this town, other by famine or otherwise,
when there is a mean to save them: I think he or they
should have great merit of our Lord God that might keep
them from such mischief: as for my part, I have so good
trust in our Lord God, that if I die in the quarrel to
save the residue, that God would pardon me; wherefore,
to save them, I will be the first to put my life in jeopardy."
When he had thus said, every man worshipped him,
and divers kneeled down at his feet with sore weeping
and sore sight.
Then another honest burgess rose and said, "I will keep
company with my gossip Eustace;" he was called John
Dayre. Then up rose Jacques of Wyssant, who was rich in
goods and heritage; he said also that he would hold com-
pany with his two cousins in likewise: so did Peter of
Wyssant, his brother: and then rose two other they said
they would do the same. Then they went and apparelled
them as the king desired.
Then the captain went with them to the gate: there was
great lamentation made of men, women, and children at
their departing: then the gate was opened, and he issued
out with the six burgesses and closed the gate again, so
that they were between the gate and the barriers. Then
he said to Sir Walter of Manny, "Sir, I deliver here to you
as captain of Calais, by the whole consent of all the people
of the town, these six burgesses; and I swear to you truly,
that they be and were to-day most honourable, rich, and
most notable burgesses of all the town of Calais; wherefore,
gentle knight, I require you, pray the king to have mercy
on them, that they die not." Quoth Sir Walter, "I cannot
say what the king will do, but I shall do for them best I
can." Then the barriers were opened, the six burgesses
went towards the king, and the captain entered again into
When Sir Walter presented these burgesses to the king,
they kneeled down, and held up their hands and said,
"Gentle king, behold here we six, who were burgesses of
Calais and great merchants: we have brought to you the
keys of the town and of the castle, and we submit our-
selves clearly into your will and pleasure, to save the resi-
due of the people of Calais, who have suffered great pain.
Sir, we beseech your grace to have mercy and pity on us
through your high noblesse." Then all the earls and barons,
and other that were there, wept for pity. The king looked
felly on them, for greatly he hated the people of Calais,
for the great damages and displeasures they had done him
on the sea before. Then he commanded their heads to
be stricken off: then every man required the king for
mercy, but he would hear no men in that behalf: then Sir
Walter of Manny said, "Ah, noble king for God's sake,
"I HUMBLY REQUIRE YOU THAT YE WILL TAKE MERCY ON THESE
Fa:e r. 75
QUEEN PHILLIPPA AND THE MEN OF CALAIS 75
refrain your courage; ye have the name of sovereign no-
blesse, therefore now do not a thing that should blemish
your renown, nor to give cause to some to speak of you
villainy; every man will say it is a great cruelty to put to
death such honest persons, who by their own wills put
themselves into your grace to save their company."
Then the king urged away from him, and commanded to
send for the hangman, and said, "They of Calais have
caused many of my men to be slain, wherefore these shall
die in likewise." Then the queen kneeled down, and sore
weeping, said, "Ah, gentle sir, since I passed the sea in
great peril, I have desired nothing of you; therefore now I
humbly require you, in the honour of the Son of the Virgin
Mary, and for the love of me, that ye will take mercy of
these six burgesses." The king beheld the queen, and
stood still in a study a space, and then said, "Ah, damel
I would ye had been as now in some other place, ye make
such request to me that I cannot deny you; wherefore I
give them to you, to do your pleasure with them." Then
the queen caused them to be brought into her chamber,
and made the halters to be taken from their necks, and
caused them to be new clothed, and gave them their dinner
and their leisure; and then she gave each of them six nobles,
and made them to be brought out of the host in safeguard,
and set at their liberty.
LORD BERNERS, Froissart's Chronicle.
HOTSPUR AND DOUGLAS
A DUSKY twilight, as yet indifferently assisted by the beams
of the just rising moon, wrapped the brown moors of
Redesdale in partial obscurity, when, on the 31st July,
1388, the English, from a patch of elevated ground, became
able to discern the encampment of the Douglas's army.
They perceived at once, what was the fact, namely, that
the Scots had sat down before a little fortalice, called the
castle of Otterbourne, standing near the Rede; to which
mountain stream the Otter is an insignificant tributary; but
whether it had surrendered to them, or still held out, could
not be ascertained. At any rate there was the enemy, and
the ardent desire for combat was no longer likely to be
Redoubling the celerity of their advance, the English,
filing along the margin of the Rede, arrived so near the
Scottish tents as almost to give them a hope of making
infall before their occupants were in fit state to receive
them; an event scarcely conceivable, as they could not be
supposed ignorant of the dangerous proximity of the En-
"Does the Douglas mean to brave us by this shew of
seeming carelessness?" observed Hotspur to some around
him; "or is it that the drowsy herd he rules having been
overdriven, lies snoring on the turf, watchers and all?"
"By my fayl I can hardly guess, Percy," replied De
Grey; "but this I trow, 'twere no more than policy to give
our own wearied followers leave to stretch themselves in