“You may ask yourself,” said Leonard, sullenly; “it is plain enough, methinks.”
“Have a care, Leonard. Remember that my brother’s authority is given to me.”
“Much good may it do you,” said Leonard; “but that is nothing to me. I am no vassal of yours, to come at your call. I have my own friends, and am not going to stay in this infected part of the camp with men who keep a fever among them. Give me but my sword and mantle from the tent, and I will trouble you no more.”
“Wait, Leonard, I will take all measures for your safety; but remember that I am answerable to the Prince for my brother’s followers.”
“Answer for your own serfs,” retorted Leonard, who had nearly succeeded in working himself into a passion. “My father might be willing to grace Sir Reginald by letting me follow him, but by his death I am my own man, and not to move at your beck and call, because the Prince laid his sword on your shoulder. Knave Jasper,” he called to one of the men-at-arms, “bring my sword and cloak from the tent; I enter it no more.”
“I know not how far you may be bound to me,” said Eustace, “and must inquire from some elder Knight, but I fear that your breaking from me may be attended with evil effects to your name and fame.”
Leonard had put on his dogged expression, and would not listen. He had already set his mind on joining le Borgne Basque, and leaving the service which his own envious service rendered galling; and the panic excited in his mind by Gaston’s illness determined him to depart without loss of time, or listening to the representations which he could not answer. He turned his back on Eustace, and busied himself with the fastenings of his sword, which had by this time been brought to him. Even yet Eustace was not rebuffed. “One more hint, Leonard. From what I am told, there is more peril to thy health in revelry than in the neighbourhood of poor Gaston. If you will quit one who wishes you well, take heed to your ways.”
Still the discourteous Squire made no reply, and walked off in all the dignity of ill-humour. The young Knight, who really had a warm feeling of affection for him, stood looking after him with a sigh, and then returned to his patient, whom he found in an uneasy sleep. After a few moments’ consideration, he summoned old Guy to take the part of nurse, and walked to the tent of Sir Richard Ferrars, to ask his counsel.
The old Knight, who was standing at the door of his tent, examining into some hurt which his steed had received the day before, kindly and cordially greeted Eustace on his approach. “I am glad you are not above taking advice,” he said, “as many a youth might be after such fresh honours.”
“I feel but too glad to find some one who will bestow advice on me,” said Eustace; and he proceeded to explain his difficulties with regard to Leonard Ashton.
“Let him go! and a good riddance,” said Sir Richard; “half your cares go with him.”