« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
ear, to pale his lip and make it quiver!—Thence is it, that, as an eagle from his eyrie, he looks down and awes the world!
Oh! that I now might surely know the event of this my journey; of my supplication ; the guise of its reception! Time was, when Edward
-a wanderer then, as I now am!-did court my smile, and fling his young arms around my neck, beseeching me to save him—him and his mother from his uncle's policy: this I did, and now, 'tis I who am the suppliant. Will he listen? Will he remember how I led him midst the guards, watchful to take him; and, guiding him through the gates of Paris: gave him to Hainault, and to safety ? Doth he remember this?remembering it, will he redeem the pledge he gave me? If so-look to it, Philip !—thou art on most unsteady ground. The throne doth shake beneath thee-see to thyself!"
“ Long-absent Harold reappears at last,
He of the heart which fain no more would feel,
The travellers having, at length, arrived at Windsor, the merchant ordered his attendant to put up the mules at an inn, and then himself began on foot to ascend the hill, on the summit of which the castle was situated. Chance directing him to that arched entrance which is now known by the name of Henry the Eighth's gateway, he found no impediment made to his progress. The porter, taking him, perhaps, for one of the many who were hourly passing to and fro from the castle on business, appeared not even to notice him; so walking slowly on, he soon found himself in front of Saint George's Chapel, whence turning to the right hand, and still ascending, he passed the Keep-or, as it is now called, the Round Tower; and coming just opposite to the royal apartments, was about to pass the gate-way dividing the quadrangle from the outer part of the ward, when a sentinel, stationed at the entrance, calling out, ordered him to stand back, as none but residents in the Castle were suffered to proceed further without permission.
Thus stayed in his design, the merchant enquired how he should obtain license, and being told to knock at the postern on the left, he complied; when the porter appearing, he addressed him :
“ Prithee, my good man," he said, " instruct me how a stranger and a merchant as myself, arrived in this country on business, may have access to the King of England, and in what guise I may best conduct me, to be admitted to his Grace's presence."
Whilst the stranger was thus speaking, the man appeared to regard him with a considerable degree of curiosity; and looking at him as if he had some strong recollection of having before, somewhere, seen his person, seemed raking his memory to find out on what occasion, and under what circumstances, it might have been.
“ It is no difficult matter," the man answered,
to obtain an audience from King Edward; and I doubt not, if his Grace be at leisure, that you may be even now admitted to his presence. But Sir-if I may be so bold-methinks your countenance is known to me -I have before seen you, though I know not justly where.—'Twas in some foreign land; your speech gives you for a stranger-indeed, you so avowed yourself.”
“ 'Tis not unlike you may have seen me, friend,” the merchant replied, “ sith you are in King Edward's service, and I have sometimes been near his Grace in France, of which land I am. May be—though I have no memory of it now-we may have met at Paris or
Nay Sir, 'twas not at Paris--there I never was."
“At Amiens then, belike enough. I was there some few years agone, when the young King swore fealty.”
The man smiled.
“ He demands it now, Sir. True-methinks it was at Amiens. But yet the one whose features so resemble yours, was—I now remember-high about King Philip's person, and not clad in a merchant's hose and jerkin.”
“I pray you, friend," the stranger interrupted," the day is pacing on; unless we hasten, perhaps his Grace will have no further leisure to give that audience I entreated you to gain for me."
“An't please you, Sir, what name shall I give in, for though your features be familiar to mine eyes, your appellation hath 'scaped my me
“ You may say," the stranger replied, "that a merchant, of whom his Grace knoweth something, and who-but no, stay," he continued, correcting himself, and plucking a ring from off his finger—" here, present this, and say, its owner waits to know when it will be his Grace's pleasure to receive him.”
The man disappeared, and gave the ring and message to one of the King's attendants, sta