There, after a weary and perilous way, diversified by the horrid shouts of plunderers of the slain, happily not near at hand, and when Lorimer, but for the ladies, would have given up the quest as useless, they were greeted by Watch’s bark, and found him lying with his fine head alert and ready over his senseless master.
There was no doubt but that the two good creatures, both powerful and formidable animals, must have saved him from the spoilers, and then been sagacious enough to let the hound go down to fetch assistance while the sheep-dog remained as his master’s faithful guardian. How honoured and caressed they were can hardly be described, but all will know.
The joy and gratitude of knowing of Anne’s devotion, and the pleasure of his good dog’s faithfulness, helped Hal through the painful process of having his hurts dealt with. Surgeons, even barbers, were fully occupied, and Lorimer did not wish to have it known that a Lancastrian was in his house. His wife and her old nurse, as well as the Prioress, had some knowledge of simple practical surgery; and Hal’s disasters proved to be a severe cut on the head, a slash on the shoulder, various bruises, and a broken rib and thigh-bone, all which were within their capabilities, with assistance from the master’s stronger hand. No one could tell whether the savage nature of the York brothers might not slake their revenge in a general massacre of their antagonists; so Lorimer caused Hal’s bed to be made in the waggon in the warehouse, where he was safe from detection until the victorious army should have quitted Barnet.
CHAPTER XXI. TEWKESBURY
The last shoot of that ancient tree
Was budding fair as fair might be;
Its buds they crop
Its branches lop
Then leave the sapless stem to die.
Harry Clifford lay fevered, and knowing little of what passed, for several days, only murmuring sometimes of his flock at home, sometimes of the royal hermit, and sometimes in distress of the men-at-arms with whom he had been thrown, and whose habits and language had plainly been a great shock to his innocent mind, trained by the company of the sheep, and the hermit. He took the Prioress’s hand for Good-wife Dolly’s, but he generally knew Anne, who could soothe him better than any other.
Master Lorimer was fully occupied by combatants who came to have their equipments renewed or repaired, and he spent the days in his shop in London, but rode home in the long evenings with his budget of news. King Henry was in the Tower again, as passive as ever, but on the very day of the battle of Barnet Queen Margaret had landed at Weymouth with her son, and the war would be renewed in Somersetshire.