Philip started indignantly.
‘Does your brother still nurture any vain hope?’ said the Chevalier.
‘Not vain, I trust,’ said Philip.
’Indeed! Who can foolishly have so inspired him with a hope that merely wears out his youth, and leads him into danger?’
Philip held his tongue, resolved to be impenetrable; and he was so far successful, that the Chevalier merely became convinced that the brothers were not simply riding to La Rochelle to embark for England, but had some hope and purpose in view; though as to what that might be, Philip’s bluff replies and stubborn silence were baffling.
After the meal, the Chevalier insisted on coming to see how his guest fared; and Philip could not prevent him. They found Berenger sitting on the side of his bed, having evidently just started up on hearing their approach. Otherwise he did not seem to have moved since Philip left him; he had not attempted to undress; and Humfrey told Philip that not a word had been extracted from him, but commands to let him alone.
However, he had rallied his forces to meet the Chevalier, and answered manfully to his excuses for the broiling ride to which he had been exposed, that it mattered not, the effect would pass, it was a mere chance; and refused all offers of medicaments, potions, and TISANES, till his host at length left the room with a most correct exchange of good nights.
‘Berry, Berry, what a brute I have been!’ cried Philip.
‘Foolish lad!’ and Berenger half smiled. ’Now help me to bed, for the room turns round!’
CHAPTER XXX. CAGED IN THE BLACKBIRD’S NEST
Let him shun castles;
Safer shall he be on the sandy plain
Than where castles mounted stand.—KING HENRY VI.
While Berenger slept a heavy morning’s sleep after a resless night, Philip explored the narrow domain above and below. The keep and its little court had evidently been the original castle, built when the oddly-nicknamed Fulkes and Geoffreys of Anjou had been at daggers drawn with the Dukes of Normandy and Brittany, but it had since, like most other such ancient feudal fortresses, become the nucleus of walls and buildings for use, defence, or ornament, that lay beneath him like a spider’s web, when he had gained the roof of the keep, garnished with pepper-box turrets at each of the four angles. Beyond lay the green copses and orchards of the Bocage, for it was true, as he had at first suspected, that this was the chateau de Nid de Merle, and that Berenger was a captive in his wife’s own castle.