Page:Yule Logs.djvu/346

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330
SIR RICHARD'S SQUIRES

have left you with this Sir John, and they will be content. May-be we shall meet again shortly, and then pass me by, I pray you, for the sake of comradeship, and—of that blue favour—however hot the battle may be."

So Sir Richard jested, but we were sorry to part from Alan, and he from us, when we left him with his new friend in Lancaster. I think that his soreness on being a captive had long passed, for now he could only thank our knight for his many kindnesses.

We crossed the Border, and made for the gathering place of the Scots. And when I saw them I knew that the northern knight spoke the truth, and that the worst thing for our Queen would be that she should have the blame of bringing this wild crowd of savage Galloway Picts and Highland Gaels into England.

And our knight knew it also. He gave his message to Malcolm, as in duty bound, and then would bide with the Scots no longer. Truly there were a few good Lowland and Norman knights with the King and his son, Prince Henry, but not enough to keep that untrained force in any sort of control.

"Sir John of Swaledale is right," Sir Richard said to me as we saw the wild clansmen gathered round their fires on the open hillside. "I am going to Archbishop Thurstan that I may do what I can to help to repair the wrong to England that we have done in calling in Malcolm again. You and Alan will fight for England side by side after all."

That was most welcome news for me, and for all our western men. I do not know how Sir Richard made excuse for returning to England, but none hindered our going, and we were welcomed at Durham by the knights who were gathered there, King's men and Queen's alike having foregone their quarrel at the bidding of the wise archbishop, whose words I heard read in the open market-place.