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means to bring soon to subjection. Are you come from Philip to make proposals of surrender for him, eh?"
The angry glow was seen upon the stranger's cheek, whilst the man was uttering the last part of this brutal speech, in which his King and country were thus held at nought. His brow lowered, and he seemed to be upon the point of giving some further token of resentment: but either policy or contempt made him check the movement, and he calmly replied:
" I asked you one question, friend, and you have answered it by making me a score of queries, having no alliance or connection with my demand. Be brief, I pray you,-inform me at what hour I may present me to his Grace of England ?”
“Don't know, master ; don't know when you may see his Grace; mayhap to-morrow—mayhap next day—mayhap never ;-that's at his Grace's good pleasure.”
“ That's a good lenten answer, containing much truth, friend, yet still am I uninformed as to the hours in which strangers are admitted.”
“ What a geck and a cuckoo art, to call mine a lenten answer,” said the fellow, “my talk was long enough, I trow; I was nought sparing on't! Here have I stood for this last half hour, trying to persuade thee that King Edward is not like to let himself be visited with such chaps as thou, and thou'rt not take 'no' for an answer. Lenten, forsooth!”
“ I spoke not of the matter of the answer, man, but of thy manner. Thou hast flooded me with words, 'tis true, but they tell me nought. Methinks I had best inform thee something of me, and thus ensure some little courtesy from the most uncivil kern I e'er encountered. I am a chapman just arrived from the Court of Hainault, bearing commission of much import to your Lord, whom I have some time conversed with, when he was Prince of Wales, at Paris.”
“How!" replied the man, stepping back with surprise, and dropping his arms from over his breast-for he now began to fear having got into a strait, from which he should not be easily able to extricate himself. “Sir, I knew not that you were the bearer of a commission from the Court of Hainault;—I crave pardon for— ".
“ Thou hastit, fellow; answer but my question, and be assured that I shall ne'er trouble me with thy discourtesy. Say only at what hour the King giveth audience to strangers."
“My Lord,” replied the man, in a tone of voice now as remarkable for humility as it had before been for insolence" it is the fourth hour of the morning that his Grace fixes for this purpose—that is, when his Grace is at the Castle—which, at present, his Grace is not.”
“ Say you so ? where then stayeth his Grace?" “ At Windsor, my Lord.”
“ Know you when his Grace will return to the city?"
« Not rightly, Sir; but 'tis rumoured that the Court will be held at Windsor for some months.”
The stranger turned to go-when the man, stepping up to him, began to apologize for his discourtesy, and to beg it might not be named to his disadvantage.
“ Tush, man; tush, away!" replied the other, walking forward without even looking towards the applicant. “My back once turned, I shall ne'er again think upon thy rudeness or on thyself.”
The traveller's hope of seeing King Edward in London being thus frustrated, he had no choice but that of going to the Court at Windsor; and this, therefore, he resolved on doing. So hiring two mules and a conductor, he set out on the following morning, at an early hour.
But travelling was not, in those days, accomplished with quite as much facility as at present. The country between London and Windsor, now covered with corn-fields and meadows, interspersed with villas and gardens—and above all, having through it a road which may be easily trotted over in less than three hours, presents a 'far different aspect from what it did at the epoch of which we are now speaking.