The Fall of the Grand Sarrasin eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 101 pages of information about The Fall of the Grand Sarrasin.
two men walking to and fro in earnest conversation, and from where I lay—­for nearer I durst not approach—­I could hear nothing of their talk.  They were men of light and supple build, bearded, and of dark swarthy skin, as of those who know no shelter but the decking of a ship, and their hands were seldom absent, as they paced it side by side, from the hilts of the brace of daggers swinging from their waists.  I guessed that they were pirates, and my heart fell as I remembered what manner of men they were—­haters of all—­their God, their king, their fellow-men—­and how, in consequence, the hand of man was against their hand, as their hand was against man’s.  Where were the other men I had seen?  In a moment I guessed the truth, for I caught the dull sound of digging and delving in the earth below—­thud, thud, thud—­as of many spades and picks, and beyond the angle of the wall I saw the earthwork piled with new earth in many places.  So my young eyes peered curiously and cautiously out through the leaves, and a flood of feelings struggled in my heart, and the digging went on—­thud, thud, thud—­beneath my very feet, and the two strange men trod ever up and down, staying at times upon their way to point to this side or that, to tap the wall, or draw figures with their swords amid the fallen leafage.

I stood a long time fixed to the ground, and then with a great effort I stole noiselessly away, and, once on the beaten track, I hasted on to the moat-house.

With a heart that I could hear beating, I turned my back on the bay, and, crossing the little drawbridge, craved of a warder at the gate—­half fisher, half ecclesiastic, in a frayed frock and seamen’s shoes—­an audience of my Lord the Archbishop for the delivery of a missive from the Abbot of the Vale, that must be delivered into his hand alone.

CHAPTER III.

Of my Lord Maugher and his Familiar Demon.  How he received the abbot’s letter, and how I was courteously entertained at his house of Blanchelande.

And my lord was not difficult of access.  He sat in a deep chair in the hall, and round him were all manner of strange things whose shape and name I knew not, but little was there save old rolls of parchment to betoken a Churchman’s dwelling.  A great table held bottles of many shapes of glass and earthenware, and optic glasses and tools lay intermingled.  I caught the gleam of much bright steel on settle and shelf—­chain-mail, targe, dagger, helmet, and sword.  A great warrior’s complete equipment, tunic and hose of mail, shield, and helm, hung before me as I entered.  Three huge hounds, with heavy chaps hanging loose from their jaws, lay about the hearth, but only noted my entrance with a drowsy gaze, then dropped back upon their paws; but a strange ugly creature, like an ill-shaped child, that was so vile to look on that I thought him the very Devil himself, crouching on the table by the archbishop’s side,

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The Fall of the Grand Sarrasin from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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