Page:Yule Logs.djvu/356

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340
SIR RICHARD'S SQUIRES


"Follow if you can sit a horse," Sir Richard said to me kindly.

And it is not to be supposed, that with Jehan's help in getting into the saddle, I would be anything but able to do so. One is not so dependent on stirrups as one is apt to think sometimes.

Now so many have written about the Battle of the Standard that I will not tell it again. It was all confused to me, and I could see but little of all that went on from where I was, just behind our knight, in the close ranks of the horsemen who were massed before the standard itself, where Bishop Ralph and his clergy remained unmoved, though the arrows rattled round them at times. It had been wonderful to see the whole army kneel as the good bishop blessed and shrived us all, and wonderful, also, to hear the "Amen" that rolled like low thunder down our ranks.

After that we bore for two long hours the shock of the wild clansmen, whose chief had sworn to go as far through our ranks that day as any of the mailed Lowland knights who despised his tartan. I think he kept his oath, for our footmen were borne back at first, and for a while things looked black for us.

Then the bowmen of the north shook themselves free from the confusion, and got to work, and the terrible rain of the long arrows drove back the Scots, whose rallying cry of "Albyn—Albyn!" failed them at last, and then our charge broke them and ended the day.

As we swept forward I saw a group of mail-clad knights round one whose helm was circled with gold, and I knew from the heather-topped spear that was his standard, that Prince Henry was before us. And I saw him turn to fly.

Presently, as we rode back, the Earl beckoned to Sir Richard.

"I would fain knight that brave squire of yours, De Courci, but——" he said, and stopped short.