camp followers and serving men were left with their wounded.

time:2023-12-06 12:15:48source:Song and dance networkauthor:year

So went the captains to their companies, and the Tofters and their mates crossed the river to the men of Brimside, who gave them good cheer when they came amongst them; and it was hard to order the host for a while, so did the upland folk throng about the King and the Queen; and happy were they who had a full look on Goldilind; and yet were some so lucky and so bold that they kissed a hand of her; and one there was, a very tall young man, and a goodly, who stood there and craved to kiss her cheek, and she did not gainsay him, and thereafter nought was good to him save an occasion to die for her.

camp followers and serving men were left with their wounded.

As for Christopher, he spake to many, and said to them that wheresoever his banner was, he at least should be at the forefront whenso they came upon unpeace; and so soon as they gat to the road, he went from company to company, speaking to many, and that so sweetly and friendly that all praised him, and said that here forsooth was a king who was all good and nothing bad, whereas hitherto men had deemed them lucky indeed if their king were half good and half bad.

camp followers and serving men were left with their wounded.

Merry then was the road to Broadlees, and they came there before night-fall; and it was a little cheaping town and unwalled, and if the folk had had any will to ward them, they lacked might. But when they found they were not to be robbed, and that it was but the proclaiming of King Christopher in the market-place, and finding victual and house-room for the host, and the Mayor taking a paper in payment thereof, none stirred against them, and a many joined the host to fight for the fair young King. Now nought as yet had they heard at Broadlees of any force stirring against them.

camp followers and serving men were left with their wounded.

But in the morning when they went on their ways again, and were bound for Cheaping Woodwall, which was a fenced town, they sent out well-horsed riders to espy the road, who came back on the spur two hours after noon, and did them to wit that there was a host abiding them beneath the walls of Woodwall under the banner of Walter the White, an old warrior and fell fighter; but what comfort he might have from them of Woodwall they wotted not; but they said that the tidings of their coming had gone abroad, and many folk were abiding the issue of this battle ere they joined them to either host. Now on these tidings the captains were of one mind, to wit, to fare on softly till they came to a defensible place not far from the foemen, since they could scarce come to Woodwall in good order before nightfall, and if they were unfoughten before, to push forward to battle in the morning.

Even so did they, and made a halt at sunset on a pleasant hill above a river some three miles from Woodwall, and there they passed the night unmeddled with.

When morning was, the captains came to King Christopher to council: but while they were amidst of their talk came the word that the foe was anigh and come close to the river-bank; whereat was none abashed; but to all it seemed wisdom to abide them on the vantage-ground. So then there was girding of swords and doing on of helms; as for ordering of the folk, it was already done, for all the host was ranked on the bent-side, with the banner of Oakenrealm in the midst; on its left hand the banner of the Tofts, and on the right the banner of Brimside.

Now when Christopher was come to his place, he looked down and saw how the foemen were pouring over the river, for it was nowhere deep, and there were four quite shallow fords: many more were they than his folk, but he deemed that they fared somewhat tumultuously; and when the bowmen of the Tofts began shooting, the foemen, a many of them, stayed amidst of the river to bend bow in their turn, and seemed to think that were nigh enough already; nay, some went back again to the other bank, to shoot thence the surer and the drier, and some went yet a little further back on the field. So that when their sergeants and riders were come on to the hither bank, they lacked about a fifth of all their host; and they themselves, for all they were so many, had some ado to make up their minds to go forward.

Forsooth, when they looked up to the bent and saw the three banners of Oakenrealm and the Tofts and Brimside all waving over the same ranks, they knew not what to make of it. And Christopher's host, when they saw them hang back, brake out into mocking whoops and shouts, and words were heard in them: "Come and dine at Brimside, good fellows! Come up to the Tofts for supper and bed! A Christopher! A Christopher!" and so forth. Now all King Christopher's men were afoot, saving a band of the riders of Brimside, who bestrode strong and tall horses, and bore jack and sallet and spear, but no heavy armour.

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