“Not that. She can see like a cat. I believe we got over the twelve miles in less than an hour. Sharp work, considering the hills. You don’t inquire for the news.”
“What’s the news to me?”
“Well, there was a quarrel at the palace yesterday afternoon. The Prince told Louis he was a double-faced traitor, and Louis told the Prince he was a suspicious fool. It nearly came to blows, and Louis is banished.”
“For the fiftieth time.”
“This time it is more serious.”
“Don’t believe it. He will be sent for again this morning; cannot you see why?”
“If the Prince is really suspicious, he will never send his brother into the country, where he might be resorted to by discontented people. He will keep him close at hand.”
“I wish the quarrelling would cease; it spoils half the fun; one’s obliged to creep about the court and speak in whispers, and you can’t tell whom you are talking to; they may turn on you if you say too much. There is no dancing either. I hate this moody state. I wish they would either dance or fight.”
“Anybody. There’s some more news, but you don’t care.”
“No. I do not.”
“Why don’t you go and live in the woods all by yourself?” said Oliver, in some heat.
“Tell me your news. I am listening.”
“The Irish landed at Blacklands the day before yesterday, and burnt Robert’s place; they tried Letburn, but the people there had been warned, and were ready. And there’s an envoy from Sypolis arrived; some think the Assembly has broken up; they were all at daggers drawn. So much for the Holy League.”
“So much for the Holy League,” repeated Felix.
“What are you going to do to-day?” asked Oliver, after awhile.
“I am going down to my canoe,” said Felix.
“I will go with you; the trout are rising. Have you got any hooks?”
“There’s some in the box there, I think; take the tools out.”
Oliver searched among the tools in the open box, all rusty and covered with dust, while Felix finished dressing, put away his parchment, and knotted the thong round his chest. He found some hooks at the bottom, and after breakfast they walked out together, Oliver carrying his rod, and a boar-spear, and Felix a boar-spear also, in addition to a small flag basket with some chisels and gouges.
When Oliver and Felix started, they left Philip, the third and youngest of the three brothers, still at breakfast. They turned to the left, on getting out of doors, and again to the left, through the covered passage between the steward’s store and the kitchen. Then crossing the waggon yard, they paused a moment to glance in at the forge, where two men were repairing part of a plough.