For the moment he held the riverlands, but his kingdom

time:2023-12-06 12:04:30source:Song and dance networkauthor:nature

He laughed. "Sweetling," he said, "meseemeth now all day long I have been fighting against raiment rather than men; no man withstood me in the battle, for that they feared the crown on my helm and the banner over my head; and when those good men of the town brought me the keys, how should I have known them from borrel folk but for their scarlet gowns and fur hoods? And meseemed that when they knelt to me, it was the scarlet gowns kneeling to the kingly armour. Therefore, sweetheart, if thou fearest that the King should punish thee for so wounding the poor Christopher of those few days ago, as belike thou deservest it, bid the King do off his raiment, and do thou in likewise, and then there shall be no King to punish, and no King's scather to thole the punishment, but only Christopher and Goldilind, even as they met erewhile on the dewy grass of Littledale."

For the moment he held the riverlands, but his kingdom

She blushed blood-red; but ere his words were done, her hands were busy with girdle and clasp, and her raiment fell from her to the earth, and his kingly raiment was cast from him, and he took her by the hand and led her to the bed of honour, that their love might have increase that night also.

For the moment he held the riverlands, but his kingdom


For the moment he held the riverlands, but his kingdom

When morning was, and it was yet early, the town was all astir and the gates were thrown open, and weaponed men thronged into it crying out for Christopher the King. Then the King came forth, and Jack o' the Tofts and his sons, and Oliver Marson, and the captains of Brimside; and the host was blown together to the market-place, and there was a new tale of them taken, and they were now hard on seventy hundreds of men. So then were new captains appointed, and thereafter they tarried not save to eat a morsel, but went out a-gates faring after the banners to Oakenrealm, all folk blessing them as they went.

Nought befell them of evil that day, but ever fresh companies joined them on the road; and they gat harbour in another walled town, hight Sevenham, and rested there in peace that night, and were now grown to eighty hundreds.

Again on the morrow they were on the road betimes, and again much folk joined them, and they heard no tidings of any foeman faring against them; whereat Jack o' the Tofts marvelled, for he and others had deemed that now at last would Rolf the traitor come out against them. Forsooth, when they had gone all day and night was at hand, it seemed most like to the captains that he would fall upon them that night, whereas they were now in a somewhat perilous pass; for they must needs rest at a little thorpe amidst of great and thick woods, which lay all round about the frank of Oakenham as a garland about a head. So there they kept watch and ward more heedfully than their wont was; and King Christopher lodged with Goldilind at the house of a good man of the thorpe.

Now when it lacked but half an hour of midnight, and Jack o' the Tofts and Oliver Marson and the Captain of Woodwall had just left him, after they had settled the order of the next day's journey, and Goldilind lay abed in the inner chamber, there entered one of the men of the watch and said: "Lord King, here is a man hereby who would see thee; he is weaponed, and he saith that he hath a gift for thee: what shall we do with him?"

Said Christopher: "Bring him in hither, good fellow." And the man went back, and came in again leading a tall man, armed, but with a hood done over his steel hat, so that his face was hidden, and he had a bag in his hand with something therein.

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