When the Black Knight—for it becomes necessary to resume the train of hi_dventures—left the Trysting-tree of the generous Outlaw, he held his wa_traight to a neighbouring religious house, of small extent and revenue, called the Priory of Saint Botolph, to which the wounded Ivanhoe had bee_emoved when the castle was taken, under the guidance of the faithful Gurth, and the magnanimous Wamba. It is unnecessary at present to mention what too_lace in the interim betwixt Wilfred and his deliverer; suffice it to say, that after long and grave communication, messengers were dispatched by th_rior in several directions, and that on the succeeding morning the Blac_night was about to set forth on his journey, accompanied by the jester Wamba, who attended as his guide.
"We will meet," he said to Ivanhoe, "at Coningsburgh, the castle of th_eceased Athelstane, since there thy father Cedric holds the funeral feast fo_is noble relation. I would see your Saxon kindred together, Sir Wilfred, an_ecome better acquainted with them than heretofore. Thou also wilt meet me; and it shall be my task to reconcile thee to thy father."
So saying, he took an affectionate farewell of Ivanhoe, who expressed a_nxious desire to attend upon his deliverer. But the Black Knight would no_isten to the proposal.
"Rest this day; thou wilt have scarce strength enough to travel on the next. _ill have no guide with me but honest Wamba, who can play priest or fool as _hall be most in the humour."
"And I," said Wamba, "will attend you with all my heart. I would fain see th_easting at the funeral of Athelstane; for, if it be not full and frequent, h_ill rise from the dead to rebuke cook, sewer, and cupbearer; and that were _ight worth seeing. Always, Sir Knight, I will trust your valour with makin_y excuse to my master Cedric, in case mine own wit should fail."
"And how should my poor valour succeed, Sir Jester, when thy ight wi_alts?—resolve me that."
"Wit, Sir Knight," replied the Jester, "may do much. He is a quick, apprehensive knave, who sees his neighbours blind side, and knows how to kee_he lee-gage when his passions are blowing high. But valour is a sturd_ellow, that makes all split. He rows against both wind and tide, and make_ay notwithstanding; and, therefore, good Sir Knight, while I take advantag_f the fair weather in our noble master's temper, I will expect you to besti_ourself when it grows rough."
"Sir Knight of the Fetterlock, since it is your pleasure so to b_istinguished," said Ivanhoe, "I fear me you have chosen a talkative and _roublesome fool to be your guide. But he knows every path and alley in th_oods as well as e'er a hunter who frequents them; and the poor knave, as tho_ast partly seen, is as faithful as steel."
"Nay," said the Knight, "an he have the gift of showing my road, I shall no_rumble with him that he desires to make it pleasant. —Fare thee well, kin_ilfred—I charge thee not to attempt to travel till to-morrow at earliest."
So saying, he extended his hand to Ivanhoe, who pressed it to his lips, too_eave of the Prior, mounted his horse, and departed, with Wamba for hi_ompanion. Ivanhoe followed them with his eyes, until they were lost in th_hades of the surrounding forest, and then returned into the convent.
But shortly after matin-song, he requested to see the Prior. The old man cam_n haste, and enquired anxiously after the state of his health.
"It is better," he said, "than my fondest hope could have anticipated; eithe_y wound has been slighter than the effusion of blood led me to suppose, o_his balsam hath wrought a wonderful cure upon it. I feel already as if _ould bear my corslet; and so much the better, for thoughts pass in my min_hich render me unwilling to remain here longer in inactivity."
"Now, the saints forbid," said the Prior, "that the son of the Saxon Cedri_hould leave our convent ere his wounds were healed! It were shame to ou_rofession were we to suffer it."
"Nor would I desire to leave your hospitable roof, venerable father," sai_vanhoe, "did I not feel myself able to endure the journey, and compelled t_ndertake it."
"And what can have urged you to so sudden a departure?" said the Prior.
"Have you never, holy father," answered the Knight, "felt an apprehension o_pproaching evil, for which you in vain attempted to assign a cause?—Have yo_ever found your mind darkened, like the sunny landscape, by the sudden cloud, which augurs a coming tempest?—And thinkest thou not that such impulses ar_eserving of attention, as being the hints of our guardian spirits, tha_anger is impending?"
"I may not deny," said the Prior, crossing himself, "that such things hav_een, and have been of Heaven; but then such communications have had a visibl_seful scope and tendency. But thou, wounded as thou art, what avails it tho_houldst follow the steps of him whom thou couldst not aid, were he to b_ssaulted?"
"Prior," said Ivanhoe, "thou dost mistake—I am stout enough to exchang_uffets with any who will challenge me to such a traffic —But were i_therwise, may I not aid him were he in danger, by other means than by forc_f arms? It is but too well known that the Saxons love not the Norman race, and who knows what may be the issue, if he break in upon them when thei_earts are irritated by the death of Athelstane, and their heads heated by th_arousal in which they will indulge themselves? I hold his entrance among the_t such a moment most perilous, and I am resolved to share or avert th_anger; which, that I may the better do, I would crave of thee the use of som_alfrey whose pace may be softer than that of my
'destrier'."[](footnotes.xml#footnote_50) "Surely," said the worth_hurchman; "you shall have mine own ambling jennet, and I would it ambled a_asy for your sake as that of the Abbot of Saint Albans. Yet this will I sa_or Malkin, for so I call her, that unless you were to borrow a ride on th_uggler's steed that paces a hornpipe amongst the eggs, you could not go _ourney on a creature so gentle and smooth-paced. I have composed many _omily on her back, to the edification of my brethren of the convent, and man_oor Christian souls." "I pray you, reverend father," said Ivanhoe, "le_alkin be got ready instantly, and bid Gurth attend me with mine arms." "Nay, but fair sir," said the Prior, "I pray you to remember that Malkin hath a_ittle skill in arms as her master, and that I warrant not her enduring th_ight or weight of your full panoply. O, Malkin, I promise you, is a beast o_udgment, and will contend against any undue weight—I did but borrow the
'Fructus Temporum' from the priest of Saint Bees, and I promise you she woul_ot stir from the gate until I had exchanged the huge volume for my littl_reviary." "Trust me, holy father," said Ivanhoe, "I will not distress he_ith too much weight; and if she calls a combat with me, it is odds but sh_as the worst." This reply was made while Gurth was buckling on the Knight'_eels a pair of large gilded spurs, capable of convincing any restive hors_hat his best safety lay in being conformable to the will of his rider. Th_eep and sharp rowels with which Ivanhoe's heels were now armed, began to mak_he worthy Prior repent of his courtesy, and ejaculate,—"Nay, but fair sir, now I bethink me, my Malkin abideth not the spur—Better it were that you tarr_or the mare of our manciple down at the Grange, which may be had in littl_ore than an hour, and cannot but be tractable, in respect that she drawet_uch of our winter fire-wood, and eateth no corn." "I thank you, reveren_ather, but will abide by your first offer, as I see Malkin is already le_orth to the gate. Gurth shall carry mine armour; and for the rest, rely o_t, that as I will not overload Malkin's back, she shall not overcome m_atience. And now, farewell!" Ivanhoe now descended the stairs more hastil_nd easily than his wound promised, and threw himself upon the jennet, eage_o escape the importunity of the Prior, who stuck as closely to his side a_is age and fatness would permit, now singing the praises of Malkin, no_ecommending cautionto the Knight in managing her. "She is at the mos_angerous period for maidens as well as mares," said the old man, laughing a_is own jest, "being barely in her fifteenth year." Ivanhoe, who had other we_o weave than to stand canvassing a palfrey's paces with its owner, lent but _eaf ear to the Prior's grave advices and facetious jests, and having leapt o_is mare, and commanded his squire (for such Gurth now called himself) to kee_lose by his side, he followed the track of the Black Knight into the forest, while the Prior stood at the gate of the convent looking after him, an_jaculating,—"Saint Mary! how prompt and fiery be these men of war! I would _ad not trusted Malkin to his keeping, for, crippled as I am with the col_heum, I am undone if aught but good befalls her. And yet," said he, recollecting himself, "as I would not spare my own old and disabled limbs i_he good cause of Old England, so Malkin must e'en run her hazard on the sam_enture; and it may be they will think our poor house worthy of som_unificent guerdon—or, it may be, they will send the old Prior a pacing nag.
And if they do none of these, as great men will forget little men's service, truly I shall hold me well repaid in having done that which is right. And i_s now well-nigh the fitting time to summon the brethren to breakfast in th_efectory—Ah! I doubt they obey that call more cheerily than the bells fo_rimes and matins." So the Prior of Saint Botolph's hobbled back again int_he refectory, to preside over the stockfish and ale, which was just servin_ut for the friars' breakfast. Pursy and important, he sat him down at th_able, and many a dark word he threw out, of benefits to be expected to th_onvent, and high deeds of service done by himself, which, at another season, would have attracted observation. But as the stockfish was highly salted, an_he ale reasonably powerful, the jaws of the brethren were too anxiousl_mployed to admit of their making much use of their ears; nor do we read o_ny of the fraternity, who was tempted to speculate upon the mysterious hint_f their Superior, except Father Diggory, who was severely afflicted by th_oothache, so that he could only eat on one side of his jaws. In the meantime, the Black Champion and his guide were pacing at their leisure through th_ecesses of the forest; the good Knight whiles humming to himself the lay o_ome enamoured troubadour, sometimes encouraging by questions the pratin_isposition of his attendant, so that their dialogue formed a whimsica_ixture of song and jest, of which we would fain give our readers some idea.
You are then to imagine this Knight, such as we have already described him, strong of person, tall, broad-shouldered, and large of bone, mounted on hi_ighty black charger, which seemed made on purpose to bear his weight, s_asily he paced forward under it, having the visor of his helmet raised, i_rder to admit freedom of breath, yet keeping the beaver, or under part, closed, so that his features could be but imperfectly distinguished. But hi_uddy embrowned cheek-bones could be plainly seen, and the large and brigh_lue eyes, that flashed from under the dark shade of the raised visor; and th_hole gesture and look of the champion expressed careless gaiety and fearles_onfidence—a mind which was unapt to apprehend danger, and prompt to defy i_hen most imminent—yet with whom danger was a familiar thought, as with on_hose trade was war and adventure. The Jester wore his usual fantastic habit, but late accidents had led him to adopt a good cutting falchion, instead o_is wooden sword, with a targe to match it; of both which weapons he had, notwithstanding his profession, shown himself a skilful master during th_torming of Torquilstone. Indeed, the infirmity of Wamba's brain consiste_hiefly in a kind of impatient irritability, which suffered him not long t_emain quiet in any posture, or adhere to any certain train of ideas, althoug_e was for a few minutes alert enough in performing any immediate task, or i_pprehending any immediate topic. On horseback, therefore, he was perpetuall_winging himself backwards and forwards, now on the horse's ears, then anon o_he very rump of the animal, —now hanging both his legs on one side, and no_itting with his face to the tail, moping, mowing, and making a thousand apis_estures, until his palfrey took his freaks so much to heart, as fairly to la_im at his length on the green grass—an incident which greatly amused th_night, but compelled his companion to ride more steadily thereafter. At th_oint of their journey at which we take them up, this joyous pair were engage_n singing a virelai, as it was called, in which the clown bore a mello_urden, to the better instructed Knight of the Fetterlock. And thus run th_itty:— Anna-Marie, love, up is the sun, Anna-Marie, love, morn is begun, Mists are dispersing, love, birds singing free, Up in the morning, love, Anna- Marie. Anna-Marie, love, up in the morn, The hunter is winding blithe sound_n his horn, The echo rings merry from rock and from tree, 'Tis time to arous_hee, love, Anna-Marie. Wamba. O Tybalt, love, Tybalt, awake me not yet, Around my soft pillow while softer dreams flit, For what are the joys that i_aking we prove, Compared with these visions, O, Tybalt, my love? Let th_irds to the rise of the mist carol shrill, Let the hunter blow out his lou_orn on the hill, Softer sounds, softer pleasures, in slumber I prove,— Bu_hink not I dreamt of thee, Tybalt, my love. "A dainty song," said Wamba, whe_hey had finished their carol, "and I swear by my bauble, a pretty moral!—_sed to sing it with Gurth, once my playfellow, and now, by the grace of Go_nd his master, no less than a freemen; and we once came by the cudgel fo_eing so entranced by the melody, that we lay in bed two hours after sunrise, singing the ditty betwixt sleeping and waking—my bones ache at thinking of th_une ever since. Nevertheless, I have played the part of Anna-Marie, to pleas_ou, fair sir." The Jester next struck into another carol, a sort of comi_itty, to which the Knight, catching up the tune, replied in the like manner.
Knight and Wamba. There came three merry men from south, west, and north, Eve_ore sing the roundelay; To win the Widow of Wycombe forth, And where was th_idow might say them nay? The first was a knight, and from Tynedale he came, Ever more sing the roundelay; And his fathers, God save us, were men of grea_aine, And where was the widow might say him nay? Of his father the laird, o_is uncle the squire, He boasted in rhyme and in roundelay; She bade him g_ask by his sea-coal fire, For she was the widow would say him nay. Wamba. Th_ext that came forth, swore by blood and by nails, Merrily sing the roundelay; Hur's a gentleman, God wot, and hur's lineage was of Wales, And where was th_idow might say him nay? Sir David ap Morgan ap Griffith ap Hugh Ap Tudor a_hice, quoth his roundelay She said that one widow for so many was too few, And she bade the Welshman wend his way. But then next came a yeoman, a yeoma_f Kent, Jollily singing his roundelay; He spoke to the widow of living an_ent, And where was the widow could say him nay? Both. So the knight and th_quire were both left in the mire, There for to sing their roundelay; For _eoman of Kent, with his yearly rent, There never was a widow could say hi_ay. "I would, Wamba," said the knight, "that our host of the Trysting-tree, or the jolly Friar, his chaplain, heard this thy ditty in praise of our bluf_eoman." "So would not I," said Wamba—"but for the horn that hangs at you_aldric." "Ay," said the Knight,—"this is a pledge of Locksley's goodwill, though I am not like to need it. Three mots on this bugle will, I am assured, bring round, at our need, a jolly band of yonder honest yeomen." "I would say, Heaven forefend," said the Jester, "were it not that that fair gift is _ledge they would let us pass peaceably." "Why, what meanest thou?" said th_night; "thinkest thou that but for this pledge of fellowship they woul_ssault us?" "Nay, for me I say nothing," said Wamba; "for green trees hav_ars as well as stone walls. But canst thou construe me this, Sir Knight—Whe_s thy wine-pitcher and thy purse better empty than full?" "Why, never, _hink," replied the Knight. "Thou never deservest to have a full one in th_and, for so simple an answer! Thou hadst best empty thy pitcher ere thou pas_t to a Saxon, and leave thy money at home ere thou walk in the greenwood."
"You hold our friends for robbers, then?" said the Knight of the Fetterlock.
"You hear me not say so, fair sir," said Wamba; "it may relieve a man's stee_o take of his mail when he hath a long journey to make; and, certes, it ma_o good to the rider's soul to ease him of that which is the root of evil; therefore will I give no hard names to those who do such services. Only _ould wish my mail at home, and my purse in my chamber, when I meet with thes_ood fellows, because it might save them some trouble." "WE are bound to pra_or them, my friend, notwithstanding the fair character thou dost affor_hem." "Pray for them with all my heart," said Wamba; "but in the town, not i_he greenwood, like the Abbot of Saint Bees, whom they caused to say mass wit_n old hollow oak-tree for his stall." "Say as thou list, Wamba," replied th_night, "these yeomen did thy master Cedric yeomanly service at Torquilstone."
"Ay, truly," answered Wamba; "but that was in the fashion of their trade wit_eaven." "Their trade, Wamba! how mean you by that?" replied his companion.
"Marry, thus," said the Jester. "They make up a balanced account with Heaven, as our old cellarer used to call his ciphering, as fair as Isaac the Jew keep_ith his debtors, and, like him, give out a very little, and take large credi_or doing so; reckoning, doubtless, on their own behalf the seven-fold usur_hich the blessed text hath promised to charitable loans." "Give me an exampl_f your meaning, Wamba,—I know nothing of ciphers or rates of usage," answere_he Knight. "Why," said Wamba, "an your valour be so dull, you will please t_earn that those honest fellows balance a good deed with one not quite s_audable; as a crown given to a begging friar with an hundred byzants take_rom a fat abbot, or a wench kissed in the greenwood with the relief of a poo_idow." "Which of these was the good deed, which was the felony?" interrupte_he Knight. "A good gibe! a good gibe!" said Wamba; "keeping witty compan_harpeneth the apprehension. You said nothing so well, Sir Knight, I will b_worn, when you held drunken vespers with the bluff Hermit.—But to go on. Th_erry-men of the forest set off the building of a cottage with the burning o_ castle,—the thatching of a choir against the robbing of a church,—th_etting free a poor prisoner against the murder of a proud sheriff; or, t_ome nearer to our point, the deliverance of a Saxon franklin against th_urning alive of a Norman baron. Gentle thieves they are, in short, an_ourteous robbers; but it is ever the luckiest to meet with them when they ar_t the worst." "How so, Wamba?" said the Knight. "Why, then they have som_ompunction, and are for making up matters with Heaven. But when they hav_truck an even balance, Heaven help them with whom they next open the account!
The travellers who first met them after their good service at Torquilston_ould have a woful flaying.—And yet," said Wamba, coming close up to th_night's side, "there be companions who are far more dangerous for traveller_o meet than yonder outlaws." "And who may they be, for you have neither bear_or wolves, I trow?" said the Knight. "Marry, sir, but we have Malvoisin'_en-at-arms," said Wamba; "and let me tell you, that, in time of civil war, _alfscore of these is worth a band of wolves at any time. They are no_xpecting their harvest, and are reinforced with the soldiers that escape_rom Torquilstone. So that, should we meet with a band of them, we are like t_ay for our feats of arms.—Now, I pray you, Sir Knight, what would you do i_e met two of them?" "Pin the villains to the earth with my lance, Wamba, i_hey offered us any impediment." "But what if there were four of them?" "The_hould drink of the same cup," answered the Knight. "What if six," continue_amba, "and we as we now are, barely two —would you not remember Locksley'_orn?" "What! sound for aid," exclaimed the Knight, "against a score of such
'rascaille' as these, whom one good knight could drive before him, as the win_rives the withered leaves?" "Nay, then," said Wamba, "I will pray you for _lose sight of that same horn that hath so powerful a breath." The Knigh_ndid the clasp of the baldric, and indulged his fellow-traveller, wh_mmediately hung the bugle round his own neck. "Tra-lira-la," said he, whistling the notes; "nay, I know my gamut as well as another." "How mean you, knave?" said the Knight; "restore me the bugle." "Content you, Sir Knight, i_s in safe keeping. When Valour and Folly travel, Folly should bear the horn, because she can blow the best." "Nay but, rogue," said the Black Knight, "thi_xceedeth thy license—Beware ye tamper not with my patience." "Urge me no_ith violence, Sir Knight," said the Jester, keeping at a distance from th_mpatient champion, "or Folly will show a clean pair of heels, and leav_alour to find out his way through the wood as best he may." "Nay, thou has_it me there," said the Knight; "and, sooth to say, I have little time t_angle with thee. Keep the horn an thou wilt, but let us proceed on ou_ourney." "You will not harm me, then?" said Wamba. "I tell thee no, tho_nave!" "Ay, but pledge me your knightly word for it," continued Wamba, as h_pproached with great caution. "My knightly word I pledge; only come on wit_hy foolish self." "Nay, then, Valour and Folly are once more boo_ompanions," said the Jester, coming up frankly to the Knight's side; "but, i_ruth, I love not such buffets as that you bestowed on the burly Friar, whe_is holiness rolled on the green like a king of the nine-pins. And now tha_olly wears the horn, let Valour rouse himself, and shake his mane; for, if _istake not, there are company in yonder brake that are on the look-out fo_s." "What makes thee judge so?" said the Knight. "Because I have twice o_hrice noticed the glance of a motion from amongst the green leaves. Had the_een honest men, they had kept the path. But yonder thicket is a choice chape_or the Clerks of Saint Nicholas." "By my faith," said the Knight, closing hi_isor, "I think thou best in the right on't." And in good time did he clos_t, for three arrows, flew at the same instant from the suspected spot agains_is head and breast, one of which would have penetrated to the brain, had i_ot been turned aside by the steel visor. The other two were averted by th_orget, and by the shield which hung around his neck. "Thanks, trust_rmourers," said the Knight.—"Wamba, let us close with them,"—and he rod_traight to the thicket. He was met by six or seven men-at-arms, who ra_gainst him with their lances at full career. Three of the weapons struc_gainst him, and splintered with as little effect as if they had been drive_gainst a tower of steel. The Black Knight's eyes seemed to flash fire eve_hrough the aperture of his visor. He raised himself in his stirrups with a_ir of inexpressible dignity, and exclaimed, "What means this, m_asters!"—The men made no other reply than by drawing their swords an_ttacking him on every side, crying, "Die, tyrant!" "Ha! Saint Edward! Ha!
Saint George!" said the Black Knight, striking down a man at every invocation;
"have we traitors here?" His opponents, desperate as they were, bore back fro_n arm which carried death in every blow, and it seemed as if the terror o_is single strength was about to gain the battle against such odds, when _night, in blue armour, who had hitherto kept himself behind the othe_ssailants, spurred forward with his lance, and taking aim, not at the ride_ut at the steed, wounded the noble animal mortally. "That was a felo_troke!" exclaimed the Black Knight, as the steed fell to the earth, bearin_is rider along with him. And at this moment, Wamba winded the bugle, for th_hole had passed so speedily, that he had not time to do so sooner. The sudde_ound made the murderers bear back once more, and Wamba, though so imperfectl_eaponed, did not hesitate to rush in and assist the Black Knight to rise.
"Shame on ye, false cowards!" exclaimed he in the blue harness, who seemed t_ead the assailants, "do ye fly from the empty blast of a horn blown by _ester?" Animated by his words, they attacked the Black Knight anew, whos_est refuge was now to place his back against an oak, and defend himself wit_is sword. The felon knight, who had taken another spear, watching the momen_hen his formidable antagonist was most closely pressed, galloped against hi_n hopes to nail him with his lance against the tree, when his purpose wa_gain intercepted by Wamba. The Jester, making up by agility the want o_trength, and little noticed by the men-at-arms, who were busied in their mor_mportant object, hovered on the skirts of the fight, and effectually checke_he fatal career of the Blue Knight, by hamstringing his horse with a strok_f his sword. Horse and man went to the ground; yet the situation of th_night of the Fetterlock continued very precarious, as he was pressed close b_everal men completely armed, and began to be fatigued by the violen_xertions necessary to defend himself on so many points at nearly the sam_oment, when a grey-goose shaft suddenly stretched on the earth one of th_ost formidable of his assailants, and a band of yeomen broke forth from th_lade, headed by Locksley and the jovial Friar, who, taking ready an_ffectual part in the fray, soon disposed of the ruffians, all of whom lay o_he spot dead or mortally wounded. The Black Knight thanked his deliverer_ith a dignity they had not observed in his former bearing, which hitherto ha_eemed rather that of a blunt bold soldier, than of a person of exalted rank.
"It concerns me much," he said, "even before I express my full gratitude to m_eady friends, to discover, if I may, who have been my unprovoke_nemies.—Open the visor of that Blue Knight, Wamba, who seems the chief o_hese villains." The Jester instantly made up to the leader of the assassins, who, bruised by his fall, and entangled under the wounded steed, lay incapabl_ither of flight or resistance. "Come, valiant sir," said Wamba, "I must b_our armourer as well as your equerry—I have dismounted you, and now I wil_nhelm you." So saying, with no very gentle hand he undid the helmet of th_lue Knight, which, rolling to a distance on the grass, displayed to th_night of the Fetterlock grizzled locks, and a countenance he did not expec_o have seen under such circumstances. "Waldemar Fitzurse!" he said i_stonishment; "what could urge one of thy rank and seeming worth to so foul a_ndertaking? " "Richard," said the captive Knight, looking up to him, "tho_nowest little of mankind, if thou knowest not to what ambition and reveng_an lead every child of Adam." "Revenge?" answered the Black Knight; "I neve_ronged thee—On me thou hast nought to revenge." "My daughter, Richard, whos_lliance thou didst scorn—was that no injury to a Norman, whose blood is nobl_s thine own?" "Thy daughter?" replied the Black Knight; "a proper cause o_nmity, and followed up to a bloody issue!—Stand back, my masters, I woul_peak to him alone.—And now, Waldemar Fitzurse, say me the truth—confess wh_et thee on this traitorous deed." "Thy father's son," answered Waldemar,
"who, in so doing, did but avenge on thee thy disobedience to thy father."
Richard's eyes sparkled with indignation, but his better nature overcame it.
He pressed his hand against his brow, and remained an instant gazing on th_ace of the humbled baron, in whose features pride was contending with shame.
"Thou dost not ask thy life, Waldemar," said the King. "He that is in th_ion's clutch," answered Fitzurse, "knows it were needless." "Take it, then, unasked," said Richard; "the lion preys not on prostrate carcasses.—Take th_ife, but with this condition, that in three days thou shalt leave England, and go to hide thine infamy in thy Norman castle, and that thou wilt neve_ention the name of John of Anjou as connected with thy felony. If thou ar_ound on English ground after the space I have allotted thee, thou diest—or i_hou breathest aught that can attaint the honour of my house, by Saint George!
not the altar itself shall be a sanctuary. I will hang thee out to feed th_avens, from the very pinnacle of thine own castle.—Let this knight have _teed, Locksley, for I see your yeomen have caught those which were runnin_oose, and let him depart unharmed." "But that I judge I listen to a voic_hose behests must not be disputed," answered the yeoman, "I would send _haft after the skulking villain that should spare him the labour of a lon_ourney." "Thou bearest an English heart, Locksley," said the Black Knight,
"and well dost judge thou art the more bound to obey my behest —I am Richar_f England!" At these words, pronounced in a tone of majesty suited to th_igh rank, and no less distinguished character of Coeur-de-Lion, the yeomen a_nce kneeled down before him, and at the same time tendered their allegiance, and implored pardon for their offences. "Rise, my friends," said Richard, in _racious tone, looking on them with a countenance in which his habitual good- humour had already conquered the blaze of hasty resentment, and whose feature_etained no mark of the late desperate conflict, excepting the flush arisin_rom exertion,—"Arise," he said, "my friends!—Your misdemeanours, whether i_orest or field, have been atoned by the loyal services you rendered m_istressed subjects before the walls of Torquilstone, and the rescue you hav_his day afforded to your sovereign. Arise, my liegemen, and be good subject_n future.—And thou, brave Locksley—" "Call me no longer Locksley, my Liege, but know me under the name, which, I fear, fame hath blown too widely not t_ave reached even your royal ears—I am Robin Hood of Sherwoo_orest."[](footnotes.xml#footnote_51) "King of Outlaws, and Prince of goo_ellows!" said the King, "who hath not heard a name that has been borne as fa_s Palestine? But be assured, brave Outlaw, that no deed done in our absence, and in the turbulent times to which it hath given rise, shall be remembered t_hy disadvantage." "True says the proverb," said Wamba, interposing his word, but with some abatement of his usual petulance,— "'When the cat is away, Th_ice will play.'" "What, Wamba, art thou there?" said Richard; "I have been s_ong of hearing thy voice, I thought thou hadst taken flight." "I tak_light!" said Wamba; "when do you ever find Folly separated from Valour? Ther_ies the trophy of my sword, that good grey gelding, whom I heartily wish upo_is legs again, conditioning his master lay there houghed in his place. It i_rue, I gave a little ground at first, for a motley jacket does not broo_ance-heads, as a steel doublet will. But if I fought not at sword's point, you will grant me that I sounded the onset." "And to good purpose, hones_amba," replied the King. "Thy good service shall not be forgotten."
"'Confiteor! Confiteor!'"—exclaimed, in a submissive tone, a voice near th_ing's side—"my Latin will carry me no farther —but I confess my deadl_reason, and pray leave to have absolution before I am led to execution!"
Richard looked around, and beheld the jovial Friar on his knees, telling hi_osary, while his quarter-staff, which had not been idle during the skirmish, lay on the grass beside him. His countenance was gathered so as be though_ight best express the most profound contrition, his eyes being turned up, an_he corners of his mouth drawn down, as Wamba expressed it, like the tassel_t the mouth of a purse. Yet this demure affectation of extreme penitence wa_himsically belied by a ludicrous meaning which lurked in his huge features, and seemed to pronounce his fear and repentance alike hypocritical. "For wha_rt thou cast down, mad Priest?" said Richard; "art thou afraid thy diocesa_hould learn how truly thou dost serve Our Lady and Saint Dunstan?—Tush, man!
fear it not; Richard of England betrays no secrets that pass over the flagon."
"Nay, most gracious sovereign," answered the Hermit, (well known to th_urious in penny-histories of Robin Hood, by the name of Friar Tuck,) "it i_ot the crosier I fear, but the sceptre. —Alas! that my sacrilegious fis_hould ever have been applied to the ear of the Lord's anointed!" "Ha! ha!"
said Richard, "sits the wind there?—In truth I had forgotten the buffet, though mine ear sung after it for a whole day. But if the cuff was fairl_iven, I will be judged by the good men around, if it was not as wel_epaid—or, if thou thinkest I still owe thee aught, and will stand forth fo_nother counterbuff—" "By no means," replied Friar Tuck, "I had mine ow_eturned, and with usury—may your Majesty ever pay your debts as fully!" "If _ould do so with cuffs," said the King, "my creditors should have littl_eason to complain of an empty exchequer." "And yet," said the Friar, resumin_is demure hypocritical countenance, "I know not what penance I ought t_erform for that most sacrilegious blow!———" "Speak no more of it, brother,"
said the King; "after having stood so many cuffs from Paynims an_isbelievers, I were void of reason to quarrel with the buffet of a clerk s_oly as he of Copmanhurst. Yet, mine honest Friar, I think it would be bes_oth for the church and thyself, that I should procure a license to unfroc_hee, and retain thee as a yeoman of our guard, serving in care of our person, as formerly in attendance upon the altar of Saint Dunstan." "My Liege," sai_he Friar, "I humbly crave your pardon; and you would readily grant my excuse, did you but know how the sin of laziness has beset me. Saint Dunstan—may he b_racious to us! —stands quiet in his niche, though I should forget my orison_n killing a fat buck—I stay out of my cell sometimes a night, doing I wot no_hat—Saint Dunstan never complains—a quiet master he is, and a peaceful, a_ver was made of wood.—But to be a yeoman in attendance on my sovereign th_ing—the honour is great, doubtless—yet, if I were but to step aside t_omfort a widow in one corner, or to kill a deer in another, it would be,
'where is the dog Priest?' says one. 'Who has seen the accursed Tuck?' say_nother. 'The unfrocked villain destroys more venison than half the countr_esides,' says one keeper; 'And is hunting after every shy doe in th_ountry!' quoth a second. —In fine, good my Liege, I pray you to leave me a_ou found me; or, if in aught you desire to extend your benevolence to me, that I may be considered as the poor Clerk of Saint Dunstan's cell i_opmanhurst, to whom any small donation will be most thankfully acceptable."
"I understand thee," said the King, "and the Holy Clerk shall have a grant o_ert and venison in my woods of Warncliffe. Mark, however, I will but assig_hee three bucks every season; but if that do not prove an apology for th_laying thirty, I am no Christian knight nor true king." "Your Grace may b_ell assured," said the Friar, "that, with the grace of Saint Dunstan, I shal_ind the way of multiplying your most bounteous gift." "I nothing doubt it, good brother," said the King; "and as venison is but dry food, our cellare_hall have orders to deliver to thee a butt of sack, a runlet of Malvoisie, and three hogsheads of ale of the first strike, yearly—If that will not quenc_hy thirst, thou must come to court, and become acquainted with my butler."
"But for Saint Dunstan?" said the Friar— "A cope, a stole, and an altar-clot_halt thou also have," continued the King, crossing himself—"But we may no_urn our game into earnest, lest God punish us for thinking more on ou_ollies than on his honour and worship." "I will answer for my patron," sai_he Priest, joyously. "Answer for thyself, Friar," said King Richard, something sternly; but immediately stretching out his hand to the Hermit, th_atter, somewhat abashed, bent his knee, and saluted it. "Thou dost les_onour to my extended palm than to my clenched fist," said the Monarch; "tho_idst only kneel to the one, and to the other didst prostrate thyself." Bu_he Friar, afraid perhaps of again giving offence by continuing th_onversation in too jocose a style—a false step to be particularly guarde_gainst by those who converse with monarchs— bowed profoundly, and fell int_he rear. At the same time, two additional personages appeared on the scene.