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      Naomi followed him out of the little crowd which had grouped round Harry, and they wandered into the Panorama tent to see the show. After having sat for half an hour on a crowded bench, in an atmosphere thick with foul tobacco and the smell of clothes long stored awaywatching "The Coronation of Queen Victoria" and "Scenery on the West Coast of Scotland" rumble slowly past with many creaksthey moved on to the sparring booth, where Buck Washington, now a little knotted and disabled by a bout of rheumatism, arranged scraps between the ploughboys of the neighbouring farms.

      "Aye, aye, my good 'squire," said the baron, still in a laughing tone, "your illness, I am told, gave you a most outrageous appetitedoubtless your feeble constitution needed strengthening! Come, come, man, it is but a jokenever look so blank; yet, if we laugh, there is no reason why those knaves should stand grinning there from ear to ear. Bid the senior vassal advance."

      "Why my business in the country," said he, "fell off a little; and so I was trying to make out a living here, and Tom Merritt coming across me, it took little to persuade me to hold with the commons.""Margaret!" said Holgrave fiercely, "can this be true? answer me! Has Calverley spoken of marriage to you?why do you not answer? Have I loved a false one?"

      "Be a sport," pleaded one of them, when they had come to forty, "you simply can't hand him over to the policehis father's Squire of the Manor, and it would be no end of a scandal."

      We shall leave Ring Richard with the fair Joan of Kent and the nobles, to pursue their journey to Westminster, while we give some idea of the means by which the commons, so soon after the departure of the king, became masters of the tower. The galleyman had been a resident in London for some years; and it will of course be inferred, that during this time he must have formed many acquaintances, which circumstance, indeed, had been of much avail in gaining admittance into the city, and now turned to as good account in effecting an entrance into the Tower.

      After a time they began to notice a convergence in these independent ways. It seemed as if only by running apart had they learned at last to run together. A certain friendliness and comradery began to establish itself between them. Reuben began to talk to Naomi[Pg 110] about politics and agricultural doings, and gradually her character underwent a strange blossoming. She became far more adult in her opinions; she took interest in matters outside her household and immediate surroundings. He never spoke to her of his plans for Boarzell, for that would have brought them back into the old antagonism and unrest; but when she read the papers to him he would discuss them with her, occasionally interrupt her with comments, and otherwise show that he had to do with an intelligent being. She in her turn would enquire into the progress of the hops or the oats, ask him if his new insect-killer was successful, or whether Ditch had done well with his harvest, or how much Realf's had fetched at the corn-market.

      They kissed each other again and again, eagerly like children, but with the tears of men and women in their eyes.


      Simon Sudbury, the mitred abbot, was a man of a fair and florid complexion, with large, expressive eyes, that even at the age of fifty were of a deep and clear blue. He was tall, and just sufficiently corpulent to give an air of dignity to his figure; but even had his person been insignificant, there sat on his brow, and glanced in his eye, that pride and conscious superiority which, even from an equal, would have extorted respect."Did he!" said Calverley, in a voice that made the old man start; but, before the astonished steward could reply, he burst from the room. None of the inmates of the castle saw him again during the remainder of that day.


      She smiled. "Perhaps I could. But why do you think so much of Boarzell?"It was those few steps which lost him to her, for they brought him within sight of Boarzellframed in the window, where Castweasel woods had been. It lay in a great hush, a great solitude, a quiet beast of power and mystery. It seemed to call to him through the twilight like a love forsaken. There it lay, Boarzellstrong, beautiful, desired, untamed, still his hope, still his battle. And Alice?... He gave her a look, and left her.


      "I have seen blue eyes and black eyesfair skinsand dark skins, but I never saw a she of them I cared to look upon the second time; but I couldn't have sheered off this night without a parting look at you, if the whole hue and cry of Winchcombe had stood to meet me. You've never been to sea, Lucy, and so you cannot tell how it cheers a man to think of the port his vessel is steering toto look across the heaving billows and to see, even in his fancy, the snug harbour where he is, at length, to cast his anchor. Now, maiden," continued Wells, pressing within his own hard palms the little hand he held, "now tell me, shall not the wandering seaman look across the ocean to a sure anchorage. May he not think of a haven where he may at last moor his tossed-about galley?"