At this I forgot caution, and replied hotly—“My name thou knowest, and it is not a name that a man need be ashamed of; more shalt thou fail to learn, for all thy craft.”
This I hurled madly at Le Grand Geoffroy on his throne, but he stirred not.
“Thou wilt tell us,” proceeded the black-bearded ruffian, “how many there be shut up in Vale, what thou knowest of their treasuries, what store of food they have, and the disposition of their sentinels at nightfall.”
My answer was a gaze of angry scorn.
The Grand Sarrasin bent down to the interpreter, and when he had spoken, he came forward like a herald, and spake thus—
“Thy lord, and the lord of these isles, would have thee know that he loves thy courage, Nigel de Bessin, but fears for thy folly in this matter. He would have thee answer to all questions asked thee, and so in good season enter his service as a brave man.”
I smiled defiance at the cunning monster. “Yea! yea!” I said, “thou wouldst have me add to my other woes the woe of treachery! Geoffroy, if that be thy name, know thou my friends’ matters are safe in my own keeping.”
Again the Sarrasin bent and conversed with Mahmud, and the little bag they had robbed from my neck was taken to him, the which he opened, and curiously handled the ring that lay therein, with its motto, “Loyal devoir,” and the letter “A.”
Presently the interpreter again came forth, and bade them in his lord’s name remove me to safe keeping, as other matters were at hand to occupy him. Then, with all due state, we passed out of the chamber on one side, and I was, by a straight passage, led downward to those very caverns under earth which the pirates had dug for their treasuries. Now, as we passed out, I saw others in a throng enter the Sarrasin’s presence chamber, but I could scarce see them clearly, and beside this throng of visitors leapt, I thought, that very impish ugly devil, the ape that men called the familiar of the Lord of Rouen, that he named Folly, the which I had set eyes on at the house at Blanchelande. Yea, it ran chattering with many a mow and grimace, and though I saw not those that entered, I was well assured that my Lord of Rouen had free entry to Le Grand Sarrasin, full lot in his friendship and unholy fortunes; nay, as it struck me at once, was working through this Moorish devil evil to our abbot, whom he now hated, and danger to a greater than he. Now, these thoughts ran through my mind when I saw Folly, the archbishop’s ape, so lively in the Sarrasin’s presence chamber, and I exceedingly dreaded this evil union of evil men, yet remembered I my “Quare fremuerunt,” and had good faith that One more powerful than man would save me and my good friends the Brethren from false Maugher and cruel Geoffroy.