Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Classical Novels > Men of Iron > CHAPTER 26
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
And now, at last, had come the day of days for Myles Falworth; the day when he was to put to the test all that he had acquired in the three years of his training, the day that was to disclose what promise of future greatness there was in his strong young body. And it was a noble day; one of those of late September, when the air seems sweeter and fresher than at other times; the sun bright and as yellow as gold, the wind lusty and strong, before which the great white clouds go sailing majestically across the bright blueness of the sky above, while their dusky shadows skim across the brown face of the rusty earth beneath.
As was said before, the lists had been set up in the great quadrangle of the castle, than which, level and smooth as a floor, no more fitting place could be chosen. The course was of the usual size—sixty paces long—and separated along its whole length by a barrier about five feet high. Upon the west side of the course and about twenty paces distant from it, a scaffolding had been built facing towards the east so as to avoid the glare of the afternoon sun. In the centre was a raised dais, hung round with cloth of blue embroidered with lions rampant. Upon the dais stood a cushioned throne for the King, and upon the steps below, ranged in the order of their dignity, were seats for the Earl, his guests, the family, the ladies, knights, and gentlemen of the castle. In front, the scaffolding was covered with the gayest tapestries and brightest-colored hangings that the castle could afford. And above, parti-colored pennants and streamers, surmounted by the royal ensign of England, waved and fluttered in the brisk wind.
At either end of the lists stood the pavilions of the knights. That of Myles was at the southern extremity and was hung, by the Earl's desire, with cloth of the Beaumont colors (black and yellow), while a wooden shield bearing three goshawks spread (the crest of the house) was nailed to the roof, and a long streamer of black and yellow trailed out in the wind from the staff above. Myles, partly armed, stood at the door-way of the pavilion, watching the folk gathering at the scaffolding. The ladies of the house were already seated, and the ushers were bustling hither and thither, assigning the others their places. A considerable crowd of common folk and burghers from the town had already gathered at the barriers opposite, and as he looked at the restless and growing multitude he felt his heart beat quickly and his flesh grow cold with a nervous trepidation—just such as the lad of to-day feels when he sees the auditorium filling with friends and strangers who are to listen by-and-by to the reading of his prize poem.
Suddenly there came a loud blast of trumpets. A great gate at the farther extremity of the lists was thrown open, and the King appeared, riding upon a white horse, preceded by the King-at-arms and the heralds, attended by the Earl and the Comte de Vermoise, and followed by a crowd of attendants. Just then Gascoyne, who, with Wilkes, was busied lacing some of the armor plates with new thongs, called Myles, and he turned and entered the pavilion.
As the two squires were adjusting these last pieces, strapping them in place and tying the thongs, Lord George and Sir James Lee entered the pavilion. Lord George took the young man by the hand, and with a pleasant smile wished him success in the coming encounter.
Sir James seemed anxious and disturbed. He said nothing, and after Gascoyne had placed the open bascinet that supports the tilting helm in its place, he came forward and examined the armor piece by piece, carefully and critically, testing the various straps and leather points and thongs to make sure of their strength.
“Sir,” said Gascoyne, who stood by watching him anxiously, “I do trust that I have done all meetly and well.”
“I see nothing amiss, sirrah,” said the old knight, half grudgingly. “So far as I may know, he is ready to mount.”
Just then a messenger entered, saying that the King was seated, and Lord George bade Myles make haste to meet the challenger.
“Francis,” said Myles, “prithee give me my pouch yonder.”
Gascoyne handed him the velvet bag, and he opened it, and took out the necklace that the Lady Alice had given him the day before.
“Tie me this around my arm,” said he. He looked down, keeping his eyes studiously fixed on Gascoyne's fingers, as they twined the thin golden chain around the iron plates of his right arm, knowing that Lord George's eyes were upon him, and blushing fiery red at the knowledge.
Sir James was at that moment examining the great tilting helm, and Lord George watched him, smiling amusedly. “And hast thou then already chosen thee a lady?” he said, presently.
“Aye, my Lord,” answered Myles, simply.
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved