“Yes, both of us alive, thanks to you, Wulf—nay, it is so, though you would never have done less. But as for Fortune’s path, it is one that has many rough turns, and perhaps before all is done she may lead us round some of them.”
“You talk like a priest, not like a squire who is to be knighted at the cost of a scar on his head. For my part I will kiss Fortune while I may, and if she jilts me afterwards—”
“Wulf,” called Rosamund from without the curtain, “cease talking of kissing at the top of your voice, I pray you, and leave Godwin to sleep, for he needs it.” And she entered the little chamber, bearing a bowl of broth in her hand.
Thereon, saying that ladies should not listen to what did not concern them, Wulf seized his crutch and hobbled from the place.
Chapter Three: The Knighting of the Brethren
Another month had gone by, and though Godwin was still somewhat weak and suffered from a headache at times, the brethren had recovered from their wounds. On the last day of November, about two o’clock in the afternoon, a great procession might have been seen wending its way from the old Hall at Steeple. In it rode many knights fully armed, before whom were borne their banners. These went first. Then came old Sir Andrew D’Arcy, also fully armed, attended by squires and retainers. He was accompanied by his lovely daughter, the lady Rosamund, clad in beautiful apparel under her cloak of fur, who rode at his right hand on that same horse which had swum Death Creek. Next appeared the brethren, modestly arrayed as simple gentlemen, followed each of them by his squire, scions of the noble houses of Salcote and of Dengie. After them rode yet more knights, squires, tenants of various degree, and servants, surrounded by a great number of peasantry and villeins, who walked and ran with their women folk and children.
Following the road through the village, the procession turned to the left at the great arch which marked the boundary of the monk’s lands, and headed for Stangate Abbey, some two miles away, by the path that ran between the arable land and the Salt marshes, which are flooded at high tide. At length they came to the stone gate of the Abbey, that gave the place its name of Stangate. Here they were met by a company of the Cluniac monks, who dwelt in this wild and lonely spot upon the water’s edge, headed by their prior, John Fitz Brien. He was a venerable, white-haired man, clad in wide-sleeved, black robes, and preceded by a priest carrying a silver cross. Now the procession separated, Godwin and Wulf, with certain of the knights and their esquires, being led to the Priory, while the main body of it entered the church, or stood about outside its door.