this I could not tell, but so it was. At last, after shifting from one foot to the other uneasily, he ceased his pretence at anger, and said—
"I am asking much, Sir Richard. But may it be so?"
"Come north at least, and we will see about the rest. If you fight for Stephen, however, you and I may be running tilt against one another unawares in some melée."
"You have unhorsed me once, Sir Richard," said Alan, in high glee, "and out of your way would I keep. Now, I do not know how to thank you."
"Why," said Sir Richard, "I am wont to need two squires, and have but one. If you are not too proud, journey as my second, and if aught is wanting in your gear I will supply it."
"It is honour for any squire to serve the De Courci," said Alan. "Your squire I will be in all good faith, until I must needs ask you to let me have one fight for whom I will."
I was glad enough that Alan was to go with us, as may be supposed, and gaily went to work to set my lord's armour in order, while Jehan of Stowey saw to mine. And presently, while I sat alone in the armoury singing as I polished the heavy, flat-topped, war helm, the Lady Sybilla came in, and sitting in the window-seat, began to talk with me about our journey.
By-and-by I told her that Alan de Govet was to go with us at his own request, and that because of her words this afternoon. She seemed to care little, for she looked out of the window and spoke of somewhat that she saw thence in the meadows by the stream.
Yet presently she said—
"So this Alan must needs blame me for making him eager to run into danger?"
"Your words, he says, are weighty, as being those of a lady. But I do not think that he blames you at all, Lady Sybilla."