About nine in the morning, Lord Foxham was leading his ward, once more dresse_s befitted her sex, and followed by Alicia Risingham, to the church o_olywood, when Richard Crookback, his brow already heavy with cares, crosse_heir path and paused.
“Is this the maid?” he asked; and when Lord Foxham had replied in th_ffirmative, “Minion,” he added, “hold up your face until I see its favour.”
He looked upon her sourly for a little.
“Ye are fair,” he said at last, “and, as they tell me, dowered. How if _ffered you a brave marriage, as became your face and parentage?”
“My lord duke,” replied Joanna, “may it please your grace, I had rather we_ith Sir Richard.”
“How so?” he asked, harshly. “Marry but the man I name to you, and he shall b_y lord, and you my lady, before night. For Sir Richard, let me tell yo_lainly, he will die Sir Richard.”
“I ask no more of Heaven, my lord, than but to die Sir Richard’s wife,”
“Look ye at that, my lord,” said Gloucester, turning to Lord Foxham. “Here b_ pair for you. The lad, when for good services I gave him his choice of m_avour, chose but the grace of an old, drunken shipman. I did warn him freely,
but he was stout in his besottedness. ‘Here dieth your favour,’ said I; an_e, my lord, with a most assured impertinence, ‘Mine be the loss,’ quoth he.
It shall be so, by the rood!”
“Said he so?” cried Alicia. “Then well said, lion-driver!”
“Who is this?” asked the duke.
“A prisoner of Sir Richard’s,” answered Lord Foxham; “Mistress Alici_isingham.”
“See that she be married to a sure man,” said the duke.
“I had thought of my kinsman, Hamley, an it like your grace,” returned Lor_oxham. “He hath well served the cause.”
“It likes me well,” said Richard. “Let them be wedded speedily. Say, fai_aid, will you wed?”
“My lord duke,” said Alicia, “so as the man is straight” - And there, in _erfect consternation, the voice died on her tongue.
“He is straight, my mistress,” replied Richard, calmly. “I am the onl_rookback of my party; we are else passably well shapen. Ladies, and you, m_ord,” he added, with a sudden change to grave courtesy, “judge me not to_hurlish if I leave you. A captain, in the time of war, hath not the orderin_f his hours.”
And with a very handsome salutation he passed on, followed by his officers.
“Alack,” cried Alicia, “I am shent!”
“Ye know him not,” replied Lord Foxham. “It is but a trifle; he hath alread_lean forgot your words.”
“He is, then, the very flower of knighthood,” said Alicia.
“Nay, he but mindeth other things,” returned Lord Foxham. “Tarry we no more.”
In the chancel they found Dick waiting, attended by a few young men; and ther_ere he and Joan united. When they came forth again, happy and yet serious,
into the frosty air and sunlight, the long files of the army were alread_inding forward up the road; already the Duke of Gloucester’s banner wa_nfolded and began to move from before the abbey in a clump of spears; an_ehind it, girt by steel-clad knights, the bold, black-hearted, and ambitiou_unchback moved on towards his brief kingdom and his lasting infamy. But th_edding party turned upon the other side, and sat down, with sober merriment,
to breakfast. The father cellarer attended on their wants, and sat with the_t table. Hamley, all jealousy forgotten, began to ply the nowise loth Alici_ith courtship. And there, amid the sounding of tuckets and the clash o_rmoured soldiery and horses continually moving forth, Dick and Joan sat sid_y side, tenderly held hands, and looked, with ever growing affection, in eac_ther’s eyes.
Thenceforth the dust and blood of that unruly epoch passed them by. They dwel_part from alarms in the green forest where their love began.
Two old men in the meanwhile enjoyed pensions in great prosperity and peace,
and with perhaps a superfluity of ale and wine, in Tunstall hamlet. One ha_een all his life a shipman, and continued to the last to lament his man Tom.
The other, who had been a bit of everything, turned in the end towards piety,
and made a most religious death under the name of Brother Honestus in th_eighbouring abbey. So Lawless had his will, and died a friar.