Malcolm did not make much reply, and James regarded him with some disappointment. The youth was certainly warmly attached to him, but these tokens of superiority to the faults of his time and country which had caused the King to seek him for a companion seemed to have vanished with his feebleness and timidity. The manhood that had been awakened was not the chivalrous, generous, and gentle strength of Henry and his brothers, but the punctilious pride and sullenness, and almost something of the license, of the Scot. The camp had not proved the school of chivalry that James, in his inexperience, had imagined it must be under Henry, and the tedium and wretchedness of the siege had greatly added to its necessary evils by promoting a reckless temper and willingness to snatch at any enjoyment without heed to consequences. Close attendance on the kings had indeed prevented either Malcolm or Percy from even having the temptation of running into any such lengths as those gentry who had plundered the shrine of St. Fiacre at Breuil, or were continually galloping off for an interval of dissipation at Paris; but they were both on the outlook for any snatch of stolen diversion, for in ceasing from monastic habits Malcolm seemed to have laid aside the scruples of a religious or conscientious youth, and specially avoided Dr. Bennet, the King’s almoner.
James feared he had been mistaken, and looked to the influence of Esclairmonde to repair the evil, if perchance she should follow the Queen to France. And this it was almost certain she must do, since she was entirely dependent upon the Countess of Hainault, and could not obtain admission to a nunnery without recovering a portion of her estates.
CHAPTER IX: THE DANCE OF DEATH
The Queen was coming! No sooner had the first note of surrender been sounded from the towers of Meaux, than Henry had sent intelligence to England that the way was open for the safe arrival of his much-loved wife; and at length, on a sunny day in May, tidings were received that she had landed in France, under the escort of the Duke of Bedford.
Vincennes, in the midst of its noble forest, was the place fixed for the meeting of the royal pair; and never did a happier or more brilliant cavalcade traverse those woodlands than that with which Henry rode to the appointed spot.
All the winter, the King had heeded appearances as little as of old when roughing it with Hotspur in Wales; but now his dress was of the most royal. On his head was a small green velvet cap, encircled by a crown in embroidery; his robe was of scarlet silk, and over it was thrown a mantle of dark green samite, thickly powdered with tiny embroidered white antelopes; the Garter was on his knee, the George on his neck. It was a kingly garb, and well became the tall slight person and fair noble features. During these tedious months he had looked wan, haggard,