Page:True stories of girl heroines.djvu/123

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Emma Fitz^Osborn 99

at the table on the raised dais, the others of lesser degree at the tables in the body of the hall. Normans and Bretons were there, together with a sprinkling of English, Earl Waltheof, who had married the Conqueror's niece, the afterwards infamous Judith, being one of them. But his wife was not with him, else perchance even the boldest had not dared to speak so openly.

It was as if (after the wine cups had gone round many times, and men's hearts were inflamed by good cheer and by the whispers that had been circulating with the cups) some sudden impulse came upon them, for a murmur arose, and the murmur waxed louder and more fierce, and suddenly a cry seemed to shake the rafters of the hall :

" Down with the Usurper ! Who is he that he should reign over us ? What is he better than others ? Down with him ! Let us divide the realm, and choose Kings of our own ! '

Then came isolated voices crying fierce ques- tions :

" Did he not poison Conon, our brave Count of Brittany ? "

" What has he done for us, who shed our blood for him?"

" Has he fulfilled the promise he made ? '

" He gave us barren lands for our wounds, and what does he do when we have made them of some

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