Not a word of this adventure ever reached Roger’s ears, and indeed Raymond thought little of it after the next few weeks had passed without farther molestation from the foe. The old woodman died. Roger, though sincerely mourning his father, was too happy in returning health and strength to be over-much cast down. His mind and body were alike growing stronger. He was never permitted to speak of the past, nor of the abominations of his prison house. Father Paul had from the first bidden the boy to forget, or at least to strive to forget, all that had passed there, and never let his thoughts or his words dwell upon it. Raymond, despite an occasional access of boyish curiosity, ever kept this warning in mind, and never sought to discover what Roger had done or had suffered beneath the roof of Basildene. And so soon as the boy had recovered some measure of health, both he and Raymond were regularly instructed by Father Paul in such branches of learning as were likely to be of most service to them in days to come.
Whether or not he hoped that they would embrace the religious life they never knew. He never dropped a hint as to his desires on that point, and they never asked him. They were happy in their quiet home. All the brothers were kind to them, and the Father was an object of loving veneration which bordered on adoration.
Two years slipped thus away so fast that it seemed scarce possible to believe how time had fled by. Save that they had grown much both in body and mind, the boys would have thought it had been months, not years, they had spent in that peaceful retreat.
The break to that quiet life came with a mission which was entrusted by His Holiness himself to Father Paul, and which involved a journey to Rome. With the thought of travel there came to Raymond’s mind a longing after his own home and the familiar faces of his childhood. The Father was going to take the route across the sea to Bordeaux, for he had a mission to fulfil there first. Why might not he go with him and see his foster-mother and Father Anselm again? He spoke his wish timidly, but it was kindly and favourably heard; and before the spring green had begun to clothe the trees, Father Paul, together with Raymond and his shadow Roger, had set foot once more upon the soil of France.
CHAPTER XII. ON THE WAR PATH
“Raymond! Is it — can it be thou?”
“Gaston! I should scarce have known thee!”
The twin brothers stood facing one another within the walls of Caen, grasping each other warmly by the hand, their eyes shining with delight as they looked each other well over from head to foot, a vivid happiness beaming over each handsome face. It was more than two years since they had parted — parted in the quiet cloister of the Cistercian Brotherhood; now they met again amid scenes of plunder and rapine: for the English King had just discovered, within the