2021-04-17 01:08:00

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ENGLISH

"We have had enough of kings," said Kirkby, "and lords tooI will drink to none but the true commons!""Isabella," said the baron, as she entered, "Calverley has ascertained the retreat of Stephen Holgrave." She had anticipated something of the kind; but the effect it produced was singular. An electrical thrill seemed to vibrate through her frame, and a sudden coldness chilled her brow; but ere it could have been said that her cheek was pale, the whole countenance was suffused with a deepened glow, and rallying her energies, she asked, with assumed composure, "where he was hidden?"

The monk mingled with the multitude, and saw the merry citizens escort their sovereign to Temple-bar; and then the royal train proceeded, with somewhat less applause than had as yet attended their route. Indeed, after passing the few houses in the suburbs, the solitary dwellings of the nobles stood along the Strand, few and far betweenthose on the left with their spacious gardens sloping to the river, and the three or four on the right occupying a space as extended as the wall which enclosed the capacious garden attached to the convent of the abbot of Westminster would permit. So large, indeed, was this garden, as to cover the whole space between the gardens of the Strand houses and the site of what is now Long-acre, and eastward and westward the space between Saint Martin's and Drury-lane. When they had passed the pretty village of Charing, with its cross, the procession turned to the left, leaving behind an ample extent of open country, intersected by the Oxford and Reading roads on the west, and bounded on the north by the bold and picturesque range of the Hampstead and Highgate hills."And do you not intend to give me safe conduct through the forest, Master Neville?" asked Calverley, with some alarm"this is a part of your duty. You are bound to convey this bondman to the verge of the forest, and you are also bound to prevent any inhabitant of it from abetting his cause.""Why my business in the country," said he, "fell off a little; and so I was trying to make out a living here, and Tom Merritt coming across me, it took little to persuade me to hold with the commons."

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"Not with such traitors and rebels as ye, with whomever else I may hold!" returned the man.

In the motley crowd, of nearly sixty thousand men, the most conspicuous figure was, perhaps, John Leicester himself, cased in a complete suit of steel armour, (taken as lawful spoil from some castle in the route) waving in the sun a bright Damascus scimitar, while he gave directions, in an authoritative tone, to a peasant who was unloosing the trappings of a large black horse, from which Leicester had just alighted. Standing at a short distance from him, John Oakley, otherwise Jack Straw, formed an adjunct little less important in the picturesque of the scene. Unwilling to incumber himself with armour, his portly person was defended by a leathern jack, covered over with a thick quilting of crimson silk, dagger proof; and in this guise, he contrasted well with the monk clad in dark woollen, with whom he was engaged in conversationalthough turning every now and then, his large blue eyes towards a tempting display of eatables and wine profusely spread under the shade of a tree. A cluster of formidable-looking men in tough leathern jacks, were laying aside their hand-bills and swords and dividing the contents of a large satchel. There was a group variously armed and accoutred, some wearing the shirt of mail with the yew-tree bow in their hands and quivers of arrows at their backs; and others in doublets of leather or freize, with swords, some rusty and some bright, or staves, or sharp-pointed clubs, or reaping hooks, or wood-knives.

"By my faith, it is more than provoking to see the audacity of the kerns. Think you not," added Richard, after pausing a moment, "that if that monk was brought forth, and his head laid on a block, some terms might be made with the rebels. Do you see," continued the king, as they descended to the battlements, "they are bringing huge beams towards the drawbridge.""My sister!" said the monk, bending over her, and blessing her; and after a moment, during which he calmed the agitation of his feelings, he added"How has it fared with you? Where is Stephen?"

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"And so is the cormorant," muttered Calverley, as he closed the door after him, and hastened to remount his horse."Yes, yes," he replied, grumblingly, as he pocketed the coin, "Black Jack is easily satisfied."

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Apr-17 01:08:00