The Black Arrow: A Tale of Two Roses

By Robert Louis

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...Transcribed from the 1899 Charles Scribner's Sons edition by David Price,
email ccx074@pglaf.org





THE BLACK ARROW--A TALE...

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...green valley ascending
from the river. At the foot, the road crossed a bridge, and...

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...And now I must side with Brackley! It was the law that did
it; call...

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...leisurely over the
bridge, Bennet and young Shelton rode up the road together, through the
village and...

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...horse or hold a bill; and as for
archery--St. Michael! if old Harry the Fift were...

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...I stood fair for him--as, by Saint
George, we stand!--which, think ye, would he choose?"

"You, for...

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...good pull upon
the arrow. He would fain pass, the poor sinner."

Dick laid down his...

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...and defensive armour. Hatch began to look about him curiously.

"Nick had money," he said....

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...much
question it. The Walsinghams? Nay, they are not yet so broken; they
still think...

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...but, Bennet, things are changed," returned the parson. "There is
now no Appleyard--rest his soul!--to...

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...Shelton. Instead of starting in a vain
pursuit, he had whipped his crossbow from his...

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... "I had four blak arrows under my belt,
Four...

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...again in error, as there
still live credible witnesses to show."

"It boots not, sir parson," said...

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... And keep ever forward,
Master Shelton; turn me not back again, an ye love your...

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...seize the disputed manor by force of arms, and rely on his
influence and Sir Oliver's...

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... "Ye deal in
treason, rogue; ye trudge the country leasing; y' are heavily suspicioned
of the...

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...a look of hate out of his
dark eyes. Now that he was on his...

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...Richard,
presenting the priest's letter. "And please you farther, ye were best
make all speed to...

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...father's name," continued the knight; "and our poor shrew
of a parson is, by some mad...

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...caught a glimpse of the young lad called Master John
stealthily creeping from the room.

"Why," thought...

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... "Nay, sir, I saw no girl."

"Boy, then, dotard!" cried the knight. "Could ye...

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...besides, was more than usually
long; it was a place where any stranger might come readily...

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...have none
the least intention to offend. Rather I would in every way beseech your
gentleness...

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...Matcham.

"Never a girl for me," returned Dick. "I do abjure the crew of them!"

"Ye...

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...she? fair or
foul? And is she shrewish or pleasant?"

"Nay, what matters it?" said Matcham....

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...of fens,
and in this part of its course it strained among some score of
willow-covered, marshy...

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...enclosed with islands. Clay banks
were falling in, willows nodding, reeds waving, martens dipping and
piping....

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...and sounds followed as of a strong
man breasting roughly through the wood.

"A murrain!" cried Hugh....

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...the
willows, and in marshy places leaping from tussock to tussock. He had no
time to...

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...hand.
We shall go softly, never fear. I owe you a life; I am a...

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...to the eye; but for all that Dick
went cautiously, slipping from one big trunk to...

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...of a thicket
that he turned and begged him to explain.

For all reply, Dick pointed with...

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...sooth, 'twas pity, for it
was a fair house."

Down in the hollow, where no wind blew,...

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...of a deer's carcase, hung upon
a flowering hawthorn.

Presently the fellow relaxed from his attitude of...

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...in their belts, a
horn upon a baldrick, and a sword and dagger at their sides....

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...when he hath got to earth with such ragged handful as
escapeth us--all his great friends...

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...that he used to bend it. Otherwise they had not dared to
stir; and this...

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...would leave me, would ye?" Matcham asked.

"Ay, by my sooth!" returned Dick. "An I...

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...to be base."

"But your father, Dick?" said Matcham, somewhat wavering. "Your father?
and your oath...

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...your
foes; as fast as foot can carry me, go I thither."

"I care not, Dick," replied...

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...and steep; Dick had
already a long start, and had, at any rate, the lighter heels,...

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...this,
when an arrow shone flying. One of the men threw up his arms, his...

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...for the cover. A third shaft leaped out right in his face, and
fell short...

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...Selden in the shoulder, between the
plates of his brigandine, and, piercing through his jack, brought...

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...overhead, the tall trees made a continuous roof of
foliage. It was a pillared grove,...

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...battle.

The noise of their passage had scarce begun to die away towards Shoreby,
before fresh hoofs...

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...your dagger! And wherefore did ye slay him, the
poor soul? He drew his...

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...have eaten; y' 'ave called me a
man o' wood, a coward, and a bully. ...

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...neither the strength to
bend nor yet the skill to aim with it. It were...

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...as they thus lay, the clang of a bell fell suddenly upon
their ears.

"A bell!" said...

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...as death.

"A leper!" said Dick, hoarsely.

"His touch is death," said Matcham. "Let us run."

"Not...

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...may this betoken? Let us go, by the mass!"

"He hath gone east," added Matcham....

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...fight, but not with ghosts and lepers. Which this is, I
wot not. One...

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...respect, I had as lief 'a' met
the devil in person; and to speak truth, I...

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... But I be
not yet shent. Some of my lads will pick me their...

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...to descend upon the other side, and already, among the
tree-tops, saw before them the red...

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...busy with preparations
for defence, and gloomily discussing the chances of a siege. Some were
making...

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...of anxiety; and
when he had taken Dick aside and learned the fate of Selden, he...

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...a good friend that rideth next the duke, the Lord of
Wensleydale. Well, I have...

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...is a danger, 'a saith, and here difficulty;
and jesteth in the very saying. Nay,...

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...one. But I begin to learn upon many sides that this great
duty lieth on...

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...that taught me in piety! Nay, then, what a
world is this, if all that...

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...have questioned me; y'
have baited Carter; y' have frighted the Jack-priest with hints. Bear...

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...It hath
come to mine ears that he was foully done by. It hath come...

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...staggered Dick; and yet he could not but observe that
he had got no answer.

"I desire...

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...dashed into the court and up the nearest
corkscrew stair to the battlements. The sentries...

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...him. If that ye stammer or blench, or anyways boggle at the
swearing, he will...

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...I am clean innocent alike of
violence or treachery. Content ye, good lad. Farewell!"

And...

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...haunted."

"Haunted?" repeated Dick, with a chill. "I have not heard of it. Nay,
then,...

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...was strong and the bolt solid; then he set down his lamp
upon a bracket, and...

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...at length.

When it was done, Matcham arose and began, in turn, to examine the
apartment.

"No," he...

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...to the disturbance which had interrupted the attack,
and which was now rather increasing than diminishing....

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...on't. But now that I
think, how found ye my chamber?"

"I asked it of Dame...

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...lighted a lamp, and they went together into the corner of the room.
The open chink...

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...it became plain that, as long as the
soldiers occupied the hall, escape was impossible upon...

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...it. So here was I, poor babe, with two great and rich men fighting
which...

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...fled in armies.

Dick reconnoitred his position. The sudden turn gave him a post of
vantage....

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...deep cavity in the wall. Pushing
his arm into the aperture, Dick found an iron...

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...The first he poinarded at a blow, and the others falling back
for a second in...

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...a
bonfire--and then, in a good hour for Dick, slipped off, plumped into the
moat, and was...

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...him, only
half awake, he became aware of something dark that swung to and fro among
the...

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...forest jerkin, each
with long-bow and quiver and short sword.

"Why, Lawless," said the younger of the...

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...do I carry
him."

"Pass, Lawless," said the sentry.

"And where is John?" asked the Grey Friar.

"He holdeth...

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...handily for you--those have made him safe. Nay,
Dick, to the contrary, thou and I...

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... ...

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...said, "Sir Daniel goeth forth with a pair of links
and four archers."

Dick (for this was...

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...knight gave proof I am that man,"
replied the leader of the second troop; "for who...

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...salutation,
separated and turned severally homeward, each with his own following of
men and lights.

As soon as...

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...a tall and beautiful and grave young lady, in a long, embroidered
dress--could that be Joanna...

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...aid you to despatch. And now, Greensheve,"
he continued, as soon as Capper had departed,...

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...Lord of Shoreby," Dick replied. "When came they?"

"They began to come, Master Dick," said...

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...prospect of a sharp encounter and possible
spoils restored them to good humour, and they joyfully...

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...bill were
quite defenceless; and had the other continued to join vigorously in the
attack, the lad...

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...over the hoarse roar of the breakers steel clanged upon steel, and
cries of pain and...

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...name, let us encounter and agree."

"Y' are too trustful, boy," said the other; "but this...

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...in very rich and bright
armour, and wearing over that a surcoat of the rarest furs,...

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...terms. I pray you, my lord, of your goodwill and charity,
yield me the hand...

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...be what they will, they can fight," returned Lord Foxham.
"Help me, then; and if between...

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...the high seas into the shelter of the port; and the
great trooping of black clouds,...

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...among ten thousand!--a sweet shear, a sweet boat! But
marry come up, my gossip, will...

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...be with the choice of all good company, two
tough old shipmen; and till that ye...

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...him to be rich and careful.

A dog, who was the sole occupant of the vessel,...

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...not be reached from the land side without alarum; and Sir Daniel once
advertised of our...

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...Tom, similarly secured,
was tossed beside him, and the pair were left to their uncouth
reflections for...

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...the house with a
strong party, burst in the door and carry off the captive. ...

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...guidance. That was perhaps the
chief cause of the disaster which made haste to follow.

At...

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...their weapons and
been hauled, feet foremost, into the Good Hope, began to cry out upon
their...

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...bidden. The terrible result of his
fling of just resentment sobered him completely. He...

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...of string."

"Ye speak with a good courage," returned Dick. "Ye are not then
appalled?"

"Why, master,"...

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...am sore hurt," said he. "Come near to my side, young Shelton; let
there be...

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...came hither but to watch these lords at
Shoreby, while mine excellent young lord, Richard of...

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...meet a sea, and the water
weltered so loudly in her hold, that Dick involuntarily seized...

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...which appeared dimly
before them through a veil of driving snow.

Upon a hillock on one side...

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...of the great abbey; and Dick, as
he saw them wind away and disappear in the...

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...outlaw, pulling aside some
bushy underwood, bodily disappeared into the earth.

The beech had, in some violent...

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...but a little digging, he produced a big leathern
bottle of about a gallon, nearly three-parts...

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...lack, I have a long tongue and a voice like the monastery bell--I
do ask, my...

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...the body of the messenger.

Then, treading down the embers of the fire, Dick left the...

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...to shower upon the people of the house, proved that
they owed their entertainment rather to...

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...players of chess, the
sellers of relics, medicines, perfumes, and enchantments, and along with
these every sort...

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...the stairway of polished oak, under no
better escort than that of the two waiting-women. ...

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...thus sacrilegiously tricked out? Come ye in
peace or war? And why spy ye...

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...the next room
he heard a stir, as of a person moving; then followed a sigh,...

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...did
I not follow--did I not rouse good men--did I not stake my life upon the
quarrel?...

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...me behind the arras, shut me in a chest,
or what ye will, so that I...

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...Hey! sots, what make ye here?" it added,
with a rattle of drunken laughter; and then,...

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...the lower storeys of the house, the old outlaw was still
wavering on his legs like...

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...than
wit in him--in two words, and, a-Mary's name, begone out of this house,
where, if ye...

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...in my poor mansion? But he will smell no
more."

"An't please you, Sir Daniel," said...

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...the
morning, after all!"

"What!" cried her friend. "And here is our paladin that driveth lions
like...

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...run no more peril, whether ye go or
stay. Go; ye take my heart with...

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...repeated and repeated them along the aisles.

"A monk!" returned Sir Oliver (for he it was),...

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...lay, meanwhile, as they had
arranged him, his dead hands crossed upon his bosom, his dead...

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...cleansed from off the tiles, that
no such ill-omened spectacle should disgrace the marriage of Lord
Shoreby....

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...very marriage that he purposeth to mar. I had a fair
choice, by the rood!...

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...Lord Shoreby's men now cleared a passage down the middle aisle,
forcing the people back with...

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...them, the authors of this tragic
interruption had clattered down a turnpike stair and decamped by...

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...he wore a sacrilegious disguise; and in the midst of
the babel, Sir Oliver indicated Lawless,...

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...somewhat tell against yourself."

And here the bride, who had come to herself some minutes past...

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...them, and, closing their files about the
prisoners, marched forth again and disappeared.

As they were passing,...

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...a man of honour, and this
inclineth me to be the more lenient; but I may...

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...to the earl
Sir Daniel's letter to Lord Wensleydale.

The effect upon the earl's countenance was instant;...

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...open ground, they spied a windmill standing;
and hard by that, a very large granary with...

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...smote him at what he heard. Until that moment he had not
perhaps thought twice...

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...heels among the lumber.

The affair passed in a second. Before Dick could run at...

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...respite; ere they began
again to torture him, he might have found some method to escape...

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...pay," said the other--"I will pay. I would fain see this matter
out; I do...

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...gossip Arblaster; but what then?
Make it up to him--show him but this chance to become...

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...the captain's wallet."

"A spell!" said Arblaster, half awakening, and squinting upon Dick with
one eye. ...

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...itself, it was impotent, for he made sure no seaman in the
port could run him...

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...it will be
remembered, he had left Lord Foxham's papers; and to get these and be
back...

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...upon one knee, with a brain whirling like a windmill sail.

Meanwhile the man whom he...

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...more essential--are ye Lancaster
or York?"

"My lord, I make no secret; I am clear for York,"...

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...and he hastened to comply.

"And now, my lord duke," he said, when he had regained...

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...spurs. A swift man to Holywood,
carrying Lord Foxham's signet; another along the road to...

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...was astonished at so great a hunger after fame, expressed with so
great vehemence of voice...

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...a single rider, his whole command turned after
him, and, still at the full gallop of...

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...yet no sign of any foeman ready to attack, and Dick judged he had
some time...

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...at his feet.

Meantime the whole body of the enemy had been steadily drawing nearer
across the...

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...at the sight of this movement, the flight of arrows redoubled
from the casements of the...

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...hour of glory
worth a life. Howbeit, if ye will, let us ride on and...

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... That he should have entrusted such a
post to one he knew not is a...

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...whole command out of the houses, and facing them
both ways, and encouraging their valour both...

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...turned tail, like a dog that has
been whistled home, and fled like the wind. ...

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...captain
to protect the citizens from his infuriated soldiery; and even if he had
the will, it...

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...let be, or I strike."

"Hark ye," returned Richard, "two can play at that. Stand...

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...follow mine affairs." And thrusting on one side the
priest, who seemed stupefied at the...

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...him with a
sufficiency of men. The fighting in the main town was now practically...

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...war with peacock's feathers, but
steel shafts. Those that are mine enemies I slay, and...

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...my man Tom, a knave fellow in russet shot him down.
'Murrain!' quoth he, and spake...

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...to house, pillaging and stabbing, and sometimes singing together as
they went.

From different quarters, as he...

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...the occasion; for thus shall I
repay some portion of our debt."

For a little while she...

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...ye
would suffer me to lead you, ye would choose the first."

The men answered, almost with...

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...was nothing for it but to camp and wait.

Sentries were posted; a spot of ground...

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...Old Arblaster returned upon
his mind, and he groaned aloud.

"Do ye hold me so guilty?" he...

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... And all this
upon the very day that I have won my spurs, and thought...

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...ye slew my kinsman,
and left me without stay, ye owe me, in honour, every reparation;...

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...he
himself, remembering, somewhat late, true woodland caution, chose a tall
oak and nimbly clambered to the...

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...declared.

"It may be what it will," returned Dick; "and it must be as heaven
please. ...

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...do my
duty. The saints help you!" And therewith he raised a little tucket...

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...little honour."

And thereupon, still holding Joanna, he began to run.

The silence of the night was...

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...it," cried Joanna. "Dick!"

"Dick!" mimicked Alicia. "Dick, indeed! Ay, fair sir, and...

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...bereavements heartily forgotten, followed a pace or
two behind, now rallying them upon their silence, and...

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...leaning upon one hand his white and terrifying
countenance; Lord Foxham, half recovered from his wound,...

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...the sun, and having dressed
himself to the best advantage with the aid of the Lord...

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...neither judge nor hangman.
An ye were the devil, I would not lay a hand on...

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...whom he still suspected.

There was upon one side of where he went a thicket, strongly...

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...live shall come to their quiet and ripe end, in Heaven's good time,
for me; and...

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...churlish if I leave you. A captain, in the time of war, hath
not the...