Now Jack of the Tofts said a word to one of his men, and he rode straightway up into the field under the wood, and spake to three of the captains of the folk, and they ranked a hundred of the men, of those who were best dight, and upraised amongst them the banner of Oakenrealm, and led all them down to the river bank; and with these must needs go Goldilind; and when they came down thither, Christopher and Jack were there on the bank to hail them, and they raised a great shout when they saw their King and their Earl standing there, and the shout was given back from the wood-side; and then the men of Brimside took it up, for they had heard the bidding of their Lord, and he was now in a pavilion which they had raised for him on the mead, and the leeches were looking to his hurts; and they feared him, but rather loved than hated him, and he was more to them than the King in Oakenrealm and they were all ready to do his will.
But as to Goldilind, her mind it had been, as she was going down the meadow, that she would throw herself upon Christopher’s bosom and love him with glad tears of love; but as she came and stood over against him, she was abashed, and stood still looking on him, and spake no word; and he also was ashamed before all that folk to say the words whereof his heart was full, and longed for the night, that they might be alone together.
But at last he said: “Lady and Queen, thou seest that we be well-beloved that they rejoice so much in a little deed of mine.” And still she spake nought, and held hand in hand.
But Jack of the Tofts spake and said: “By St. Hubert! the deed may be little, though there be men who would think no little of overcoming the biggest man and the fellest fighter of Oakenrealm, but at least great things shall come thereof. King, thy strokes of this day have won thee Oakenrealm, or no man I know in field, and many a mother’s son have they saved from death. For look thou yonder over the river, Goldilind, my Lady, and tell me what thou seest.” She turned to him and said: “Lord Earl, I see warriors a many.”
“Yea,” said Jack, “and stout fellows be they for the more part; and hard had been the hand-play had we met, ere they had turned their backs; but now, see thou, we shall wend side by side toward Oakenrealm, for our Lord there hath won them to his friends; and doubt thou not that when they see him and thee anigh, they shall be friends indeed. What! dost thou weep for this? Or is it because he hath done the deed and not thou? or rather, because thine heart is full for the love of him?”
She smiled kindly on Jack, but even therewith she felt two hands laid on her shoulders, and Christopher kissed her without any word.
Last updated Monday, December 22, 2014 at 10:53