“I pray that it may stand them again if your body be inside of it,” said Lysbeth. “Yet, son, remember always that there is One who can guard you better than any human mail however perfect,” and she left the room.
Then Foy drew on the coat over his woollen jersey, and it fitted him well, though not so well as in after years, when he had grown thicker. Indeed, when his linen shirt and his doublet were over it none could have guessed that he was clothed in armour of proof.
“It isn’t fair, Martin,” he said, “that I should be wrapped in steel and you in nothing.”
Martin smiled. “Do you take me for a fool, master,” he said, “who have seen some fighting in my day, private and public? Look here,” and, opening his leathern jerkin, he showed that he was clothed beneath in a strange garment of thick but supple hide.
“Bullskin,” said Martin, “tanned as we know how up in Friesland. Not as good as yours, but will turn most cuts or arrows. I sat up last night making one for you, it was almost finished before, but the steel is cooler and better for those who can afford it. Come, let us go and eat; we should be at the gates at eight when they open.”
MOTHER’S GIFTS ARE GOOD GIFTS
At a few minutes to eight that morning a small crowd of people had gathered in front of the Witte Poort at Leyden waiting for the gate to be opened. They were of all sorts, but country folk for the most part, returning to their villages, leading mules and donkeys slung with empty panniers, and shouting greetings through the bars of the gate to acquaintances who led in other mules laden with vegetables and provisions. Among these stood some priests, saturnine and silent, bent, doubtless, upon dark business of their own. A squad of Spanish soldiers waited also, the insolence of the master in their eyes; they were marching to some neighbouring city. There, too, appeared Foy van Goorl and Red Martin, who led a pack mule; Foy dressed in the grey jerkin of a merchant, but armed with a sword and mounted on a good mare; Martin riding a Flemish gelding that nowadays would only have been thought fit for the plough, since no lighter-boned beast could carry his weight. Among these moved a dapper little man, with sandy whiskers and sly face, asking their business and destination of the various travellers, and under pretence of guarding against the smuggling of forbidden goods, taking count upon his tablets of their merchandise and baggage.
Presently he came to Foy.
“Name?” he said, shortly, although he knew him well enough.
“Foy van Goorl and Martin, his father’s servant, travelling to The Hague with specimens of brassware, consigned to the correspondents of our firm,” answered Foy, indifferently.
“You are very glib,” sneered the sandy-whiskered man; “what is the mule laden with? It may be Bibles for all I know.”