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God Wills It! by William Stearns Davis

Repeated Richard to the jongleur


"May all the saints blast them!" and here the veteran doomed all his assailants to pitiless and eternal torment. "To be brief, good lord, this man is by name Theroulde, a right good fellow; as you see by his viol, a _jongleur_. Before your father fled England, I knew him well, when we both were younger. I found him as I rode by the quay, landed from a Pisan merchantman, and seeking to escape the men-at-arms of Louis de Valmont, who, seeing him a stranger and likely to prove a merry fellow, wished to carry him to the castle, willy-nilly, to give them sport over their cups; and this sailor gang fell in with them. Then when I saw that he did not like their greeting, and that he recognized me as an old comrade, I took him up behind me, and rode away; but this pack," with a contemptuous snap of the finger, "travelled behind us like the curs they are; and I think they would have learned how my sword could bite, had you not come up."

"Theroulde? Theroulde?" repeated Richard to the _jongleur_, who had leaped to the ground and stood bowing and scraping, but still hugging his beloved viol; "are you not son of that Taillefer, the brave minstrel to whom Duke William granted that he should ride first at Senlac, singing of Roland and Roncesvalles, and who died a cavalier's death that day?"

"I am his son, gracious lord," said the man, with another bow and wide grimace. "I am Theroulde of Mount St. Michael, and well I loved and served your father in the brave days of the English war."

"By the peacock," cried Longsword, "and what lucky saint sends you to Sicily, to enter my father's service once more, if you will?"

"Ah! lord," was the doleful answer, "glad I am to see Sicily; but no merry thing brings me hither. I was in the service of my dear Lord Henry, son of William the Bastard, and dwelt in his court at Mount St. Michael, with a warm nook by the fire and a flagon of good drink always mine for the wishing. But three years since I was driven out an exile, when William, the wicked 'Red King,' and Duke Robert besieged Henry their brother, and took the stronghold. So ever since I have wandered over Champagne and Burgundy and the Ile de France; and then I went down to Aquitaine and thence to Dauphiny. But I did not learn to love the chattering Provencals, who think songs of mawkish love better than our northern _chansons_ of valorous knights. Then I heard that your noble father had been blessed with a fair barony here in Sicily; and hither I came to seek his bounty, though I did not expect to find in his son so grand a cavalier."

Richard laughed a little sourly. Now he had a new grudge against Louis de Valmont; to the sins of the master had been added those of the men. A knight did not always as yet keep squires of as gentle blood as himself. De Valmont's crew of attendants were but little better than "villains." The insults to Herbert and Rollo were not to be forgiven in a moment. And in this new fury Richard rode into the courtyard; while Theroulde, delighted to be under friendly patronage, rattled on, rehearsing his wares.


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