Then the princess turned to me with a quiet smile that had some mischief in it.
“This last is more than I had thought to hear, Thane,” she said; “you told us nought of yourself and the lady Elfrida when we rode from the hermit’s.”
And so she must ask me many questions, under cover of some chant which the old bard began, and she drew my tale from me easily enough, and maybe learnt more than I thought I told her, for before long she said:
“Then it seems that, after all, you are not so sure that the lady is pleased with you for your vow?”
And in all honesty I was forced to own that I was not. I suppose I showed pretty plainly that I thought myself aggrieved in the matter, for the princess smiled at me.
“Wait till you see how she meets you when you return, Thane. No need to despair till then.”
It came into my mind to say that I did not much care how I was met, but I forbore. Maybe it was not true. And then the princess and the three or four other ladies who were present rose and left the table, and thereafter we spoke of nought but sport and war, and I need not tell of all that. But when I went to my chamber presently, and the two pages were about to leave me to myself some three hours or so after the princess left the board, one of them lingered for a moment behind the other, and so handed me a folded and sealed paper.
“I pray you read this, Thane,” he said, and was gone.
It was written in a fair hand, that did not seem as that of any inky-fingered lay brother, but as I read the few words that were written I knew whose it was, for none but Nona would have written it.
“Have a care, Thane. I have spoken with Mara, and I fear trouble. Dunwal her father is, with Tregoz his brother, at the right hand of the men who follow Morgan. Morfed the priest is a hater of all that may make for peace with the Saxon. He is well-nigh distraught with hatred of your kin.”
Then there were a few words crossed out, and that was all. And to tell the truth, it was quite enough. But as I came to think over the matter, it seemed to me that until Dunwal knew that it was his brother who had tried to get rid of me I need not fear him. As for the priest, his hatred would hardly lead him to harm the son of Owen.
So I slept none the less easily, but from my heart I thanked the princess for the warning. It should not be my fault if Dunwal had much power for harm when once I met Gerent.
CHAPTER IX. WHY IT WAS NOT GOOD FOR OWEN TO SLEEP IN THE MOONLIGHT.
It needs not that I should tell of the farewell of the next day. I went from Pembroke with many messages for Owen, and a promise that if I might ever come over with him I would do so. The princess was busy with the lady who was to cross with Thorgils, and I did not find one chance of telling her that I thanked her for her warning, but I found the page who gave me the letter, and bade him tell his mistress when we had gone that she had taught me to look in the face of a fellow passenger, which would be token enough that I understood.