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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 170 pages of information about The Lances of Lynwood.

“I was not so badly wounded but that I could soon rise to my feet —­but where should I go?  I turned towards the Castle, but the Bearnese had been there before me, and I saw flames bursting from every window.  I was weak and wounded, and sank down, bleeding and bewailing, till my senses left me; and I should have died, but for two Benedictines journeying for the service of their Convent.  The good brethren were in fear for their bags in going through the Black Wolf’s country, but they had pity on me; they brought me to myself, and when they had heard my tale, they turned aside to give Christian burial to my father and brothers.  They were holy men, those monks, and, for their sakes, I have spared the cowl ever since.  They tended me nearly as well as you have done, and brought me to their Convent, where they would fain have made a monk of me, but the wolf was too strong in me, and, ere a month was passed, I had been so refractory a pupil, that they were right glad to open the Convent gates.  I walked forth to seek my fortune, without a denier, with nothing but the sword I had taken from my father’s hand, and borne with me, much against the good men’s will.  I meant to seek service with any one who would avenge me on the Count de Bearn.  One night I slept on the hill-side, one day I fasted, the next I fell in with Sir Perduccas d’Albret’s troop.  I had seen him in my father’s company.  He heard my tale, saw me a strong, spirited lad, and knew a d’Aubricour would be no discredit to his free lances.  So he took me as his page, and thence—­but the tale would be long—­I became what you see me.”

“And you have never seen your own Castle again?”

“But once.  D’Albret laughed when I called on him to revenge me on the Count de Bearn, and bade me bide my time till I met him in battle.  As to my heritage, there was no hope for that.  Once, when I had just broken with Sir Nele Loring, and left his troop, and times were hard with me, I took my horse and rode to Albricorte, but there was nought but the bare mountain, and the walls black with fire.  There was, indeed, a wretched shepherd and his wife, who trembled and looked dismayed when they found that one of the Albricortes still lived; but I could get nothing from them, unless I had taken a sheep before me on the saddle; so I rode off again to seek some fresh service, and, by good hap, lit on Sir Reginald just as old Harwood was dead.  All I have from my father is my name, my shield, and an arm that I trust has disgraced neither.”

“No, indeed.  Yours is a strange history, Gaston; such as we dream not of in our peaceful land.  Homeless, friendless, I know not how you can be thus gay spirited?”

“A light heart finds its way through the world the easiest,” said Gaston, smiling.  “I have nothing to lose, and no sorrows to waste time on.  But are you not going forth this cool evening, Sir Eustace? you spoke of seeking fresh tidings of the Prince.”

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