The Herd Boy and His Hermit eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 138 pages of information about The Herd Boy and His Hermit.

The very certainty that the meek and patient King would bear all with rejoicing in the shame and reproach that led him in the steps of his Master, only added to the misery of Hal as he heard the tale; and he lay on the ground before his hut, grinding his teeth with rage and longing to take revenge on Warwick, Edward, Talbot—­he knew not whom—­ and grasping at the rocks as if they were the stones of the Tower which he longed to tear down and liberate his beloved saint.

Nor, from that time, was there any slackness in acquiring or practising all skill in chivalrous exercises.

CHAPTER XI.  THE RED ROSE

That Edward is escaped from your brother
And fled, as he hears since, to Burgundy.—­Shakespeare.

Years passed on, and still Henry Clifford continued to be the shepherd.  Matters were still too unsettled, and there were too many Yorkists in the north, keeping up the deadly hatred of the family against that of Clifford, for it to be safe for him to show himself openly.  He was a tall, well-made, strong youth, and his stepfather spoke of his going to learn war in Burgundy; but not only was his mother afraid to venture him there, but he could not bear to leave England while there was a hope of working in the cause of the captive King, though the Red Rose hung withered on the branches.

Reports of misunderstandings between King Edward and the Earl of Warwick came from time to time, and that Queen Margaret and her son were busy beyond seas, which kept up hope; and in the meantime Hal grew in the knowledge of all country lore, of herd and wood, and added to it all his own earnest love of the out-of-door world, of sun, moon, and stars, sea and hills, beast and bird.  The hermit King, who had been a well-educated, well-read man in his earlier days, had given him the framework of such natural science as had come down to the fifteenth century, backed by the deepest faith in scriptural descriptions; and these inferences and this philosophy were enough to lead a far acuter and more able intellect, with greater opportunities of observation, much further into the fields of the mystery of nature than ever the King had gone.

He said nothing, for never had he met one who understood a word he said apart from fortune telling, excepting the royal teacher after whom he longed; but he watched, he observed, and he dreamt, and came to conclusions that his King’s namesake cousin, Enrique of Portugal, the discoverer, in his observatory at St. Vincent, might have profited by.  Brother Brian, a friar, for whose fidelity Simon Bunce’s outlaw could absolutely answer, and who was no Friar Tuck, in spite of his rough life, gave Dolly much comfort religiously, carried on some of the education for which Hal longed, and tried to teach him astrology.  Some of the yearnings of his young soul were thus gratified, but they were the more extended as he grew nearer manhood, and many a day he stood with eyes stretched over the sea to the dim line of the horizon, with arms spread for a moment as if he would join the flight of the sea-gulls floating far, far away, then clasped over his breast in a sort of despair at being bound to one spot, then pressed the tighter in the strong purpose of fighting for his imprisoned King when the time should come.

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The Herd Boy and His Hermit from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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