“Not with you, Uncle Eustace! I shall sit by you, and tend you, and read to you. It is so long since I have been with you! Oh, send me not away! I care for no playmate—for nothing in the wide world, as for you!”
“Well, let him e’en stay,” said Sir John; “it will be a better training for him than among the gilded little varlets who are cockered up among Princess Joan’s ladies.”
The two Knights had next to arrange some matters respecting the garrison; Sir John leaving a sufficient number of men to secure the castle in case of a second attack. He was somewhat inclined to leave Master Henry Neville to command them; but consideration for Eustace and Gaston induced him to spare the young gentleman a sojourn which he would have regarded as so far from enviable. Nor was the leech more desirous of a lengthened stay with a patient whom he suspected to be unable to requite him for the discomfort which he might endure in his service. He therefore pronounced Sir Eustace to stand in no further need of his attentions; and recommending rest, and providing him with good store of remedies, he saddled his mule to accompany Sir John Chandos.
The old Commander took his leave, with many kind wishes for Sir Eustace’s speedy recovery, and promises that he should ere long hear from Bordeaux. In ten minutes more Arthur, standing at the window, announced that the troop was riding off, with Clisson’s pennon borne among them in triumph, and Sanchez and his accomplices, with their hands tied, and their feet fastened together beneath the bodies of their horses.
Four or five weeks had passed away since Sir John Chandos had quitted the Chateau Norbelle.
The Knight had nearly recovered his full strength, but still wore his broken arm in a scarf, when, one evening, as he was sitting on the battlements, delighting the ears of Arthur and of Gaston with an interminable romance of chivalry, three or four horseman, bearing the colours and badges of the Black Prince, were descried riding towards the Castle. Knight, Squire, and Page instantly descended to the courtyard, which, in short space, was entered by the messengers, the principal of whom, an elderly man-at-arms, respectfully saluted the Knight, and delivered to him a parchment scroll, tied with silk of scarlet and blue, supporting the heavy seal of the Prince of Wales and Duke of Aquitaine, and addressed to the hands of the honourable Knight Banneret Sir Eustace Lynwood, Castellane of the Chateau Norbelle. This document bore the signature of Edward himself, and contained his mandate to Eustace, to come immediately to his court at Bordeaux, leaving the command of the Chateau Norbelle to the bearer.
The old man-at-arms was closely questioned all the evening respecting the state of the court, but he could give little information. Sir John Chandos was at Bordeaux, and had daily attended the council, to which the Prince was devoting more attention than usual; a vessel had also arrived bearing letters from England to the Prince; this was all the information that could be obtained.