A Prince of Cornwall eBook

Charles Whistler
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 410 pages of information about A Prince of Cornwall.

Now Evan and two others dressed themselves afresh, and washed in the brook.  One would have taken them for decent traders when that was done, for they were soberly clad in good blue cloth jerkins, with clean white hose, and red garterings not too new.  Good cloaks they had also, and short seaxes in their belts.  Only Evan had a short Welsh sword, and the peace strings of that were tied round the hilt.  I wondered where the bodies of the honest men they had taken these things from were hidden in the wild hills.

Half a dozen of the best clad of the other men took boar spears, and so they were ready for a start, for all the world like the chapmen they pretended to be.  They put me into the litter they had ready then, and four of the men were told off to bear me, grumbling.  It was only a length of sacking made fast to two stout poles, and when they had hoisted me to their shoulders a blanket was thrown over me, and a roll of cloth from one of the bales set under my head, so that I might seem to be in comfort at least.

Then the band set out, and we went across the hills seaward and to the west until we saw Watchet below us.  There was a road somewhere close at hand, as I gathered, for we stopped, and some of the rabble crept onward to the crest of the hill and spied to see if it was clear.  It was so, and here all the band left us, and only Evan and the other two seeming merchants went on with their followers, who bore me and led the laden ponies.  The road had no travellers on it, as far as I could see, nor did we meet with a soul until we were close into the little town that the Norsemen had made for themselves at the mouth of a small river that runs between hills to the sea.

Maybe there were two score houses in the place, wooden like ours, but with strange carvings on the gable ends.  And for fear, no doubt, of the British, they had set a strong stockade all round the place in a half circle from the stream to the harbour.  There were several long sheds for their ships at the edge of the water, and a row of boats were lying on a sort of green round which the houses stood with their ends and backs and fronts giving on it, as each man had chosen to set his place.


I thought that Evan had forgotten to gag me, but before we went to the gate of the stockade he came and did it well.  I could not see a soul near but my captors, and it would have been little or no good to shout.  So I bore it as well as I might, being helpless.  Then, within arrow shot of the gate, one of the men blew a harsh horn, and we waited for a moment until a man, armed with an axe and sword, lounged through the stockade and looked at us, and so made a gesture that bid us enter, and went his way within.  I hope that I may never feel so helpless again as I did at the time when I passed this man, who stared at me in silence, unable to call to him for help.

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A Prince of Cornwall from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.