Master Bernard departed for Windsor with the rising of the moon; and Gaston passed a restless night and day wondering what was passing at Windsor, and feeling, when he retired to rest upon the second night, as though his excitement of mind must drive slumber from his eyes. Nor did sleep visit him till the tardy dawn stole in at the window, and when he did sleep he slept long and soundly.
He was aroused by the sound of a great trampling in the courtyard below; and springing quickly from his couch, he saw the place full of men-at-arms, all wearing either the badge of the De Brocas or else that of the Prince of Wales.
Throwing on his clothes in great haste, and scarce tarrying to buckle on his sword, Gaston strode from his chamber and hastened down the great staircase. At the foot of this stood one whom well he knew, and with an inarticulate exclamation of delight he threw himself upon one knee before the young Prince, and pressed his lips to the hand graciously extended to him.
“Nay, Gaston; thy friend and comrade, not thy sovereign!” cried the handsome youth gaily, as he raised Gaston and looked smilingly into his face, his own countenance alight with satisfaction and excitement. “Ah, thou knowest not how glad I am to welcome thee once more! For the days be coming soon when I must needs rally all my brave knights about me, and go forth to France for a new career of glory there. But today another task is ours, and not as thy Prince, but thy good comrade, have I come. I will forth with thee to the den of this foul Sanghurst, and together will we search his house for the lady men say he has so cunningly spirited away; and if she be found indeed languishing in captivity there, then in very truth shall the Sanghurst feel the wrath of the royal Edward. He shall live to feel the iron hand of the King he has outraged and defied! But he shall pay the forfeit of his life. England shall be rid of one of her greatest villains when Peter Sanghurst feels the halter about his neck!”
CHAPTER XXIX. THE FALL OF THE SANGHURST.
“Is that the only answer you have for me, sweet lady?”
“The only one, Sir; and you will never have another. Strive as you will, keep me imprisoned as long as you will, I will never yield. I will never be yours; I belong to another —”
A fierce gleam was in Sanghurst’s eyes, though he retained the suave softness of speech that he had assumed all along.