Chapter VIII. A Combat in the Tower
 

"I see that you are safe against fire, sir," Edgar said, when the stone slab had descended and they had closed the door behind it; "but were the walls of the house to fall in you might be buried here, as I hear many drunken wretches were yesterday in the cellars of the Savoy."

"I have means of escape," the merchant said, going to the other side of the apartment, where there was a massive iron door, which they had not before noticed. "Here," he said, "is a passage leading under the street; at the end it ascends, and is closed at the top by a massive panel in the hall of the house opposite. When I took this house a compatriot lived there, and it was with his consent that I made the passage, which might be useful in case of need, to him as well as to me. He returned to Flanders three years since, and the house has been occupied by an English trader, who knows naught of the passage, so that, at will, I can sally out by that way."

"And how is your dame, sir?" Albert asked. "I trust that she is none the worse for her transport here."

"I trust not, young sir; she swooned as I brought her down, but I at once poured some cordial between her lips, and when she opened her eyes, just before you came down, I assured her that we were all safe, and that there was no cause for the least fear; thereupon she closed her eyes again, and is, methinks, asleep. When she wakes I shall give her the medicine that my daughter brought. I trust that she will erelong recover. Her attack was doubtless brought on by the news that we received yesterday of the murder of so many of our countrymen. We had already talked of taking refuge here, but deemed not that there was any pressing need of haste, for the front door is a very strong one, and could have resisted any attacks long enough to give us ample time to retire here."

"How do you manage to breathe here, sir, now that the stone slab is down and the door closed? I see not how you obtain air."

"For that I made provision at the time it was built. Here are two shafts, six inches square; this one runs up into the chimney of the kitchen and draws up the air from here; the other goes up to a grating in the outer wall of the house in the yard behind. It looks as if made for giving ventilation under the floors or to the cellar, and through this the air comes down to take the place of that drawn upwards by the heat of the chimney."

"And now, Mynheer Van Voorden," for such they had learned was the Fleming's name, "as there is a way of escape, we shall be glad to use it."

"I pray you do not think of doing so at present," the Fleming said. "We know not yet whether the evil-doers have cleared off, and methinks it is not likely that they will have gone yet. First they will search high and low for us, then they will demolish the furniture, and take all they deem worth carrying; then, doubtless, they will quench their thirst in the cellar above, and lastly they will fire the house, thinking that although they cannot find us, they will burn us with it. They will wait some time outside to see if we appear at one of the windows, and not until the roof has fallen in will they be sure that we have perished. Moreover, you cannot well appear in the streets for the present in that attire, for you might well be recognized and denounced. First of all, let me persuade you to take such poor refreshments as I can offer you."

"Thanks, sir; of that we shall be glad, for 'tis now past noon, and we have had but a loaf we bought at a baker's as we entered the city."

The Fleming gave orders to the servant, and they speedily had a snow-white cloth of the finest damask on the table, and placed on it a service of silver dishes.

"'Tis well that I had my plate brought down here yesterday," the merchant said, smiling, "though it hardly consorts well with the fare that I have to offer you. To-morrow, should you pay us a visit, you will find us better prepared, for, as you see, we have a fireplace at the bottom of the flue opening into the kitchen chimney. This was done, not only that we might have warmth, and be able, if need be, to cook here, but to increase the draught upwards, and so bring down more air from the other flue."

The lads, however, found that there was no need for apology, for there were upon the dishes two chickens, a raised pasty large enough for a dozen people, and a variety of sweets and conserves. The wine, too, was superb. They made a hearty meal. When they had finished, the Fleming said: "Now we will go upstairs; there is a peephole in the carving of the panel, and we can see how matters stand."

Opening the door, they pushed up the massive stone. As they ascended the stairs they smelt smoke, which grew thicker at each step.

"We need go no further, sirs; the house is clearly on fire, and smoke has made its way through the peephole that I spoke of."

They waited for another half hour, and then they heard a heavy crash on the other side of the stone barrier.

"The roof has doubtless fallen in or one of the walls," Van Voorden said. "There is, be sure, a mob gathered to watch the flames, but in another half hour it will have gone elsewhere; still, I should advise you to wait until nightfall."

They saw that this would be prudent, for their attire would certainly render them obnoxious to the rioters. They were, however, impatient to be off and see what was being done. The Fleming's wife was still sleeping soundly, and her husband said that he was convinced that the crisis was passed, and that she would now recover. The Fleming asked them many questions about themselves, and where they could be found. They told them where they were at present lodging, but said they thought that as soon as the present troubles were over they should return to their home in the country.

"I myself shall be returning to Flanders, sirs. I have talked of it many times these last five years, and after this outburst it will be long before any of my people will be able to feel that they are safe in London. Had it not been that the populace are as much masters in Bruges as they are here, I should have gone long ago.

"There is, indeed, no change for the better there, but I shall settle in Brussels or Louvain, where I can live in peace and quiet."

At the end of half an hour Edgar said: "I think that they must have cleared off by this time. When we sally out, do you, Albert, go one way, and I will go another. There is naught in our dress to distinguish us from other citizens, and methinks that most of those who would have known us again are lying under the ruins above."

They had, on first arriving below, washed the blood from their faces, and bathed their wounds, which were by no means of a serious character. The Fleming agreed with them that, if they separated, there would be no great danger of their being recognized. After taking farewell of the girl, who had all this time been sitting silently by her mother's bedside, they passed through the iron door, preceded by the Fleming carrying a lamp. After passing through the passage they went up a long flight of narrow steps until their course was arrested by a wooden panel. The Fleming applied first his eye and then his ear to a tiny peephole.

"Everything is quiet," he said; then touched a spring, pushed the panel open a short distance, and looked out.

"All is clear; you have but to open the door and go out."

He pushed the panel farther back, pressed the lads' hands as they went out, and then closed the entrance behind them. There was but a single bolt to undraw; then they opened the door and stepped into the street, Edgar waiting for half a minute to let Albert get well away before he went out.

The front wall of the opposite house, having fallen inward, quickly smothered the fire, and although a light smoke, mingled with tongues of flame, rose from the ruin, the place had ceased to have any attraction for the mob, who had wandered away to look for more exciting amusement elsewhere.

Scenes of this kind were being enacted throughout the city. Already the restriction against plundering was disregarded, and although the men from the counties still abstained from robbery, the released prisoners from the jail and the denizens of the slums of the city had no such scruples, and the houses of the Flemings were everywhere sacked and plundered. The two friends met again at Aldgate. When they reached Tower Hill, it was, they found, occupied by a dense throng of people, who beleaguered the Tower and refused to allow any provisions to be taken in, or any person to issue out.

"What had best be done, Edgar? So menacing is the appearance of the rabble that methinks this attire would be as much out of place among them as would our own."

"I agree with you there, Albert, and yet I know not what we are to do. What we need is either a craftsman's dress or that of a countryman, but I see not how the one or the other is to be obtained. Assuredly nothing is to be bought, save perhaps bread, for the rioters have ordered that all bakers' shops are to stand open."

He stood for a minute thinking. "I tell you what we might do," he went on. "Let us go back into Aldgate, and then down on to the wharf. There are many country boats there, and we might buy what we need from the sailors."

"That is a good idea indeed, Edgar."

In a quarter of an hour they were on the wharf. Many of the craft there had no one on board, the men having gone either to join the rioters or to look on at what had been done. The skipper of a large fishing-boat was sitting on the wharf looking moodily down into his vessel.

"Are you the captain of that craft?" Edgar asked him.

"I used to think so," he said; "but just at present no one obeys orders, as every Jack thinks that he is as good as his master. I ought to have gone out with the morning's tide, but my men would not have it so, and just at present they are the masters, not I. A murrain on such doings, say I. I was with them when it was but a talk of rights and privileges, but when it comes to burning houses and slaying peaceable men, I, for one, will have naught to do with it."

"Captain," Edgar said, "I see that you are an honest man, and maybe you will aid us. We find that there is peril in going about attired as we are, for we aided a short time since in saving a Flemish family from massacre by these fellows, and we need disguises. We want two countrymen's suits-- it matters not whether they be new or old. We are ready to pay for them, but every shop is closed, and we have come down to the wharves to find someone who will sell."

"There is no difficulty about that," the skipper said, rising from his seat. "My own clothes would scarce fit you, but two of my crew are somewhat of your size. Step on board, and I will overhaul their lockers, and doubt not that I shall find something to serve your purpose. They will not mind if they find that there is money sufficient to buy them new ones. Indeed, there is no need for that, for if you leave behind you the clothes you wear they will sell at Colchester for enough to buy them two or three suits such as those you take."

There was in those days no distinctive dress worn by sailors. The captain went down into the little cabin forward and opened two lockers.

"There," he said, "suit yourselves out of these. They are their best, for they thought that aught would do for mixing up with the mob in the city."

So saying he went on deck again. The citizen's clothes were soon stripped off, and the lads dressed in those they took from the lockers, and in a few minutes they rejoined the skipper, looking like two young countrymen.

"That will do well," he said, with a laugh. "Hob and Bill would scarce know their clothes again if they saw them on you. No, no," he added, as Albert put his hand into his pouch, "there is no need for money, lads; they will be mightily content with the clothes you have left. Well, yes; I don't care if I do take a stoup of liquor. There is a tavern over there where they keep as good ale as you can find anywhere about here."

After drinking a pint of beer with the honest skipper, they again went off to the Tower, and mingled in the crowd. It was easy to see that it was composed of two different sections--the one quiet and orderly, the men looking grave and somewhat anxious, as if feeling that it was a perilous enterprise upon which they were embarked, although still bent upon carrying it out; the other noisy and savage--the men from the jails, the scum of Canterbury and Rochester, and the mob of the city. Between these classes there was no sympathy, the one was bent only upon achieving their deliverance from serfdom, the other was solely influenced by a desire for plunder, and a thirst for the blood of those obnoxious to them. Presently there was a loud shout from the crowd as the drawbridge was lowered.

"Perhaps they are going to make a sally, Albert. If so, we had best make off to our lodgings, throw off these garments, and appear in our own."

"'Tis the king!" Albert exclaimed; "and see, there is De Vere, the Earl of Kent, and other nobles riding behind him."

"Yes; and there is your father. The king and those with him are without armour or arms; if they had seen as much as we have seen the last two days, they would scarce trust themselves in such a garb."

A great shout arose as the boy king rode across the drawbridge. The lads noticed that the shout proceeded from the men who had hitherto been silent, and that the noisy portion of the crowd now held their peace. The king held up his hand for silence.

"My friends," he said, in a loud, clear voice, "there is no room here for conference. Follow me to Mile End Fields, and I will then hear what you wish to say to me, and will do what I can to give you satisfaction."

A great shout arose, and as the king rode off, most of the country people followed him. A great mob, however, still remained. These consisted principally of Wat the Tyler's following, who had ever been in the front in the doings that had taken place, together with the released malefactors and the town rabble. A few minutes after the king and his followers had left, there was a movement forward, and a moment later, with loud shouts, they began to pour across the drawbridge.

"What madness is this?" Edgar exclaimed. "There are twelve hundred men there, and yet no bow is bent. It must be treachery!"

"It may be that, Edgar; but more like, orders have been issued that none should shoot at the rioters or do them any harm, for were there any killed here it might cost the king his life."

"That may be it," Edgar muttered; "but come on, there is no saying what may happen."

They were now near the drawbridge, for when a part of the gathering had left to follow the king, they had taken advantage of it to press forward towards the gates, and in a few minutes were inside the Tower. All was in confusion. The men-at-arms and archers remained immovable on the walls, while a crowd of well-nigh twenty thousand men poured into the Tower with shouts of "Death to the archbishop! Death to the treasurer!" Knowing their way better than others, Edgar and Albert ran at full speed towards the royal apartments. Finding themselves in a deserted passage they threw off their upper garments.

"Throw them in here," Edgar said, opening a door; "they may be useful to us yet."

Finding the king's chamber empty, they ran into the princess's apartment. The princess was sitting pale and trembling, surrounded by a group of ladies, among whom was Dame Agatha. A few gentlemen were gathered round. Just as the lads entered, Sir Robert Hales, the treasurer, ran in.

"Madam," he said, "I beseech you order these gentlemen to sheathe their swords. Resistance is impossible. There are thousands upon thousands of these knaves, and were a sword drawn it would cost your life and that of all within the Tower. They have no ill-will against you, as they showed when you passed through them at Blackheath. I implore you, order all to remain quiet whatever happens, and it were best that all save your personal attendants dispersed to their apartments. Even the semblance of resistance might excite these people to madness, and serve as an excuse for the most atrocious deeds."

"Disperse, I pray you, knights and ladies," the princess said. "I order-- nay, I implore you, lose not a moment."

"Come," Dame Agatha said, firmly, taking hold of Aline's hand; "and do you follow, my son, with Edgar."

They hurried along the passages, one of which was that by which the lads had entered.

"Go on with them," Edgar said to his friend; "I will follow in a moment. This is the room where we left our disguises."

Running in he gathered the clothes, made them into a rough bundle, and then followed. He overtook his friends as they were mounting a staircase which led to a room in one of the turrets. As they reached the chamber, and the door closed behind them, Dame Agatha burst into tears.

"I have been in such anxiety about you both!" she exclaimed.

"We have fared well, mother," Albert said; "but do you lose no moment of time. We have disguises here. I pray you put on the commonest garment that you have, you and Aline. If you can pass as servants of the palace, we can conduct you safely out of the crowd."

Edgar ran up a narrow flight of stone stairs, at the top of which was a trap-door. He forced back the bolts and lifted it.

"Bring up the clothes, Albert," he called down. "We will put them on while the ladies are changing, and we can watch from this platform what is doing without."

They soon slipped on the countrymen's clothes over their own, and then looked out at the scene below. Every space between the buildings was crowded by the mob shouting and yelling. The garrison still stood immovable on the outer walls.

"You must be right, Albert. Even if there be some traitors among them there must also be some true men, and never would they stand thus impassive had not the strictest orders been laid upon them before the king's departure."

In a minute or two they saw a number of men pour out, hauling along the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sir Robert Hales, the king's confessor, and four other gentlemen. Then with exulting shouts they dragged their prisoners to Tower Hill, and then forced them to kneel.

"They cannot be going to murder them!" Albert exclaimed with horror.

"That is surely their intent," Edgar said, sternly. "Would that we were there with but a hundred men-at-arms. Assuredly there would be a stout fight before they had their way."

"I cannot look on!" Albert exclaimed, hurrying to the other side of the platform as a man armed with a heavy sword faced the prisoners.

Edgar did not move, but stood gazing with scowling brow and clenched hand. Presently he turned.

"There is naught more to see, Albert. All are murdered! God assoil their souls."

At this moment Dame Agatha called out from below that they were ready, and they ran down at once into the chamber. Dame Agatha and her daughter were both dressed in rough garments with hoods pulled over their faces, and might well have passed unnoticed as being the wife and daughter of some small trader, or superior domestics of the palace. Just as they were about to start they heard an uproar on the stairs below. The door had been already fastened.

"Best to open it," Edgar said; "they would but break it in."

Seven rough fellows, whose flushed faces showed that they had already been drinking, rushed into the room.

"Who have we here?" one shouted roughly. "Two wenches and two country lads. But what are all these fine clothes lying about; they must be nobles in disguise. We must take them down to Tyler and hear what he has to say to them. But, first of all, let us have a kiss or two. I will begin with this young woman," and he rudely caught hold of Aline.

Edgar's sword flashed out, and with the hilt he struck the ruffian so terrible a blow on the top of his head that he fell dead. An instant later he ran another through the body, shouting to the ladies: "Quick! to the platform above! Albert, guard the stairs after they pass. I will hold this door. None of these fellows must go out alive."

Taken by surprise for a moment, the men made a rush at him. The nearest was cut down with a sweeping blow that caught him on the neck, and almost severed the head from his body. Albert had drawn his sword as soon as he saw Edgar strike the first blow, and ran one of the men through the body, then engaged another, who made at him fiercely, while Dame Agatha and Aline sped up the steps. There were now but three foes left. While one engaged with Albert and pressed him hotly, the other two attacked Edgar, who was standing with his back to the door; but they were no match for the young swordsman, who parried their blows without difficulty, and brought them one after the other to the ground just as Albert rid himself of his opponent.

"Bring the ladies down, Albert, quickly. We must be out of this before anyone else comes."

Albert ran up. The two ladies were on their knees. "Quick, mother! There is not a moment to be lost. It is all over, and you have to go down as speedily as possible."

Dame Agatha passed through the scene of carnage without a shudder, for she had more than once accompanied Sir Ralph abroad, and had witnessed several battles and sieges, but Aline clung to Albert's arm, shuddering and sobbing. Edgar stood at the door until they had passed out. He closed it behind him, locked it on the outside, and threw the key through a loophole on the stair. They met with no one until they reached the lower part of the Tower, which the rioters were now leaving, satisfied with the vengeance that they had taken upon the archbishop and treasurer, whom they regarded as the authors of the obnoxious poll-tax. The party were unquestioned as they issued out into the yard and mingled with the mob. Here they gathered that the princess, having been roughly kissed by some of those who first entered her apartment, had swooned with terror, and that her attendants had been permitted to carry her down and place her in a boat, and that she had been taken across the river.

The rioters poured out across the drawbridge with almost as much haste as they had pressed over to enter the Tower, anxious to be away before the king's return, when he might turn against them the whole of the garrison. Many had intoxicated themselves by the wine in the royal cellars, and beyond a few rough jests nothing was said to the ladies, who were supposed to be some of the royal servants now being escorted to their country homes by their friends. As soon as possible Edgar and Albert edged their way out of the crowd and soon reached the door of their lodging. As soon as the garden gate closed behind them Aline fainted. Edgar, who was walking beside her, caught her as she fell, and carried her into the house, where he left her for a while in the care of her mother.

The latter said before she closed the door: "Edgar, I charge you to go back to the Tower and speak to my lord as he enters with the king. He will be well-nigh distraught should he find that we are missing, and go up to our chamber to look for us. Albert, do you remain here with us."

A quarter of an hour later she came down to her son.

"Aline has recovered her senses," she said, "but will have to lie quiet for a time. Now tell me what has happened. Have any of the Court been killed?"

Albert told her of the murder of the archbishop, the treasurer, and their five companions.

"'Tis terrible!" she said, "and I can well understand that Edgar was so maddened at the sight that when one of those half-drunken wretches insulted Aline he could contain himself no longer. But it was a rash act thus to engage seven men."

"Well, mother, if he had not smitten that man down I should have run him through. My sword was half out when he did so. You would not have had me stand by quietly and see you and Aline insulted by those wretches. But, indeed, the odds were not so great, seeing that they were but rabble of the town, and already half-drunk. Besides the man that he smote down, Edgar killed four of them, while I had but two to encounter, which was a fair division considering his strength and skill compared with mine. No half measures would have been of any use after that first blow was struck. It is certain that we should all have been killed had one of them escaped to give the alarm."

"I am far from blaming you, Albert. My own blood boiled at the indignity, and had I carried a dagger I believe that I should have stabbed that fellow myself, though I had been slain a moment afterwards."

Looking out from the gate Edgar saw that the mob had now melted away. Throwing off his disguise, he proceeded to the Tower. Half an hour later the king rode up at a furious pace, followed by all who had ridden out with him save the king's half-brothers, the Earl of Kent and Sir John Holland, who, knowing their own unpopularity, and alarmed for their safety, put spurs to their horses and rode away. The king threw himself from his horse at the entrance, at which Edgar was standing.

"Is the news that has reached me true," he asked him, "that the princess, my mother, has been grossly insulted by this foul rabble, and that the archbishop, treasurer, and others have been murdered?"

"It is quite true, your Majesty; the princess has been carried across the river in a swoon; the bodies of the gentlemen murdered still lie on the hill."

With an exclamation of grief and indignation the king ascended the steps.

"What of my dame and daughter, Edgar?" the knight asked, as the king turned away.

"They are both safe, and at their former lodging, Sir Ralph. Dame Agatha sent me here to acquaint you where they were to be found; she knew that you would be very anxious as to their safety."

"I thank her for the thought," the knight said, turning his horse's head to go there. "Where have you and Albert been for the last two days?"

"We have slept at the lodgings, Sir Ralph, and during the day have traversed the city in sober clothes watching what has been done."

"Then you have seen scenes which must have made you almost ashamed of being an Englishman," Sir Ralph said, angrily. "This has been a disgraceful business. It was bad enough to destroy John of Gaunt's palace; for, although I love not Lancaster greatly, it was an ornament to London and full of costly treasures. For this, however, there was some sort of excuse, but not so for the burning of the Temple, still less for the destruction of the great house of the Knights of St. John, and also the manor-house of the prior of the order. I hear to-day that great numbers of Flemings have been slain, their houses pillaged, and in some cases burnt. Now comes the crowning disgrace. That the Tower of London, garrisoned by 1,200 men, and which ought to have defied for weeks the whole rabbledom of England, should have opened its gates without a blow being struck, and the garrison remained inert on the walls while the king's mother was being grossly insulted, and the two highest dignitaries of the state with others massacred is enough, by my faith, to make one forswear arms, put on a hermit's dress and take to the woods. Here we are!"

The knight's two retainers ran up to take his horse as he entered the gateway; and, vaulting off, he hurried into the house.

"Why, Agatha, you are strangely pale! What has happened? I have not had time yet to question Edgar, and, indeed, have been talking so fast myself that he has had no chance of explaining how you and Aline managed to get here. You came by water, I suppose, and so escaped that crowd of knaves round the Tower?"

"No, Sir Ralph, we escaped under the protection of your son and this brave youth. Had it not been for them we should surely have suffered indignity and perhaps death."

"What! were they in the Tower? How got they there, wife?"

"I have had no time to ask questions yet, husband, having been attending Aline, who fainted after bearing up bravely until we got here. She has but a few minutes since come out of her swoon, and I have stayed with her."

"Tell me what has happened, Albert," the knight said.

"We slept here last night, sir; and upon sallying out found the rioters assembled round the Tower. We were clad in traders' dresses Master Gaiton had given us; and seeing that there was no chance of entering the Tower, while it would not have been safe to have mingled with the mob in such an attire, we knew not what to do until Edgar suggested that we might, if we went down to the wharf, obtain disguises from one of the vessels lying there. We were fortunate, and exchanged our citizen clothes for those of two sailor-men. Then we came back and mingled in the crowd. We saw the drawbridge lowered, and the king ride off with his company, followed by the more orderly portion of the rioters. In a few minutes, headed by Wat the Tyler, those who remained poured across the drawbridge and were masters of the place, not a blow being struck in its defence.

"We made our way, by back passages known to us, to the princess's apartments, where she, with several knights and ladies, among them my mother and sister, were waiting to see what might come. Sir Robert Hales rushed in and prayed that no resistance be offered, as this would inflame the passions of the mob, and cost the lives of all within the Tower. So the princess gave orders for all to leave her save her maids, and to scatter to their own apartments, and remain quiet there. As soon as we reached my mother's room we besought her to put on that sombre dress, and prayed her similarly to attire Aline, so that they might pass with us unnoticed through the crowd. While they were doing this we went up to the platform above, and there witnessed the murder of the archbishop, treasurer, and priest--at least, Edgar did so, for I could not bring myself to witness so horrible a sight.

"In a short time my mother called that she and Aline were ready. We were about to leave the room and hurry away, when suddenly seven rough knaves, inflamed by wine, rushed in. The leader of them said that they saw we were people of quality, and that he would take us down before Wat the Tyler, who would know how to deal with us; but before doing so he and his crew would give the ladies some kisses, and thereupon he seized Aline roughly. I was in the act of drawing my sword, when Edgar dealt him so terrible a blow with the hilt of his that the man fell dead. Then there was a general fight. Edgar shouted to my mother and Aline to run up the steps to the platform above, and to me to hold the stairs, while he placed his back to the door.

"The combat lasted but a short time, for the fellows possessed no kind of skill. In addition to the man that Edgar had first killed he slew four others, while I killed the other two. Then mother and Aline came down from the platform, descended the stairs, and mingled with the mob; they were pouring out exulting in the mischief they had done, but plainly anxious as to the consequences to themselves. We had no difficulty in coming hither. By the remarks we heard, it is clear that they took the ladies for two of the princess's tirewomen, and we their friends who were going to escort them to their homes."

"Of a truth 'tis a brave tale, Albert!" the knight exclaimed, bringing his hand down on the lad's shoulder with hearty approbation. "By my faith, no knights in the realm could have managed the matter more shrewdly and bravely. Well done, Albert; I am indeed proud of my son. As for you, Edgar, you have added a fresh obligation to those I already owe you. 'Tis a feat, indeed, for one of your age to slay five men single-handed, even though they were inflamed by liquor. Now, wife, what about Aline?"

"She is here to answer for herself," the girl said, as she entered the room. "I am better, but still feel strangely weak. I could not lie still when I knew that you were in the house. I take great shame to myself, father. I thought I could be brave, in case of peril, as your daughter should be, but instead of that I swooned like a village maiden."

"You are not to be blamed. So long as there was danger you kept up, and, in truth, it was danger that might well drive the blood from the face of the bravest woman; for the sight of that chamber, after the fight was over, must, in itself, have filled a maid of your age with horror. Why, the princess herself swooned on vastly less occasion. No, no, girl, I am well pleased with you; as for your mother, she had seen such sights before, but it was a rough beginning for you, and I think that you acted bravely and well."