Then the Scots began to come on very swiftly, and at last we fell back from Durham to the place where our chiefs, the Earl of Albemarle, and Walter de Espee, chose to check their advance, at Northallerton in Yorkshire, where they had made some weak entrenchments on a gentle hillside that commanded the road from the north.
There was Alan, and one need not say how he rejoiced to see us, and take his place as Sir Richard's squire again.
"After all," our knight said, "I and my two squires will fight on the same side for one cause. And I think that Sybilla will be pleased to hear from us how her champion bore himself."
"I said nought of pleasing the Lady Sybilla," said Alan gruffly.
"Why—no more you did! Yet I thought that something of the kind brought you north," laughed our knight.
Then Alan tried to excuse his little discourtesy, and the more he did so the more we laughed, until he must laugh with us.
Now the reports of the vast numbers of the Scots would have left little heart in our men, if it had not been for the wise words and devices of Bishop Ralph of the Isles, who was here in the sick archbishop's place. He had a great mast stayed up in a waggon that stood in the midst of camp, the top of which was surmounted by a flashing silver pyx that held the consecrated wafer, and under that floated the banners of the patron saints of York and Beverley, Durham and Ripon, that this northern host might see the tokens of all they held holiest and dearest, and fight manfully to uphold them. Then he was wont to stand in the waggon and speak to us, promising help spiritual to those who fought for their land and homes, and bidding us have no fear of a host whose