Page:Yule Logs.djvu/326

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JUST one month after I became squire to Sir Richard de Courci, then of the Castle of Stoke Courci, that lies between Quantock Hills and the sea in our fair Somerset, I met Alan de Govet, about whom my story mostly is.

We had been to Taunton, and were riding homewards across the hills, and valley and river lay straight before us as fair a view as any in all England is that rich country between Mendips and Quantocks—yet I suppose that Sir Richard thought of it hardly at all, for he, as Queen Matilda's steward, was deep in all the new plans that were to set our exiled queen on her father's throne, and he rode thoughtfully after meeting De Mohun of Dunster that day.

But when we saw a gay little party of men in hunting dress, with hawks and hounds, come up the deep narrow lane to meet us, he roused, and turning to the twenty well-armed men behind us, asked who these were who came now.

None of them knew: but as they came nearer, I saw that the handsome young leader of the party wore the badge of the De Govets—a family from Yeovil, and well-known and loyal followers of King Stephen.

"Why, then," said my knight, "if this is young De Govet, I must have a word or two with him. Bar the road while we speak."

The men grinned, and closed up so that the lane was