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.
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,