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have food and shelter : we are gentle-born, and have kin who would reward you.
At least give us some water, for love of the Lord's pilgrims.'
He pointed as he spoke to the Cross on his shoulder, scarlet once, but now faded into a hue scarcely distinguishable from the rest of his doublet ; and the merchant grew still more kindly in manner: . Be not distressed, my child, we will find thy companion. Lead me to him.'
'Pray Heaven your charity come not too late!' murmured Raoul, as the merchant followed him to where Aloys lay.
'Pray Heaven indeed,' said the new-comer, as he bent over the unconscious boy. “But we will do all we can, with God's blessing.'
And calling to his servants, he had Aloys lifted on to a mule, and bade Raoul mount another, saying he would hear his tale as they travelled towards Marseilles.
THE LOST FOUND.
GREAT sorrowing had there been over Aloys at Château Cervoles, and great execration of Raoul, for no one thought of giving him the credit, such as it was, of being follower rather than leader. 'He has been the death of poor little Loy,' said the Demoiselle de Cervoles, fairly weeping, to the Dame de Saint-André, whose heart was bursting with grief for the loss of her wayward son. Saint-André himself, with many oaths, declared Raoul was sure to be found some time or other, made divers rough apologies to his Lord de Cervoles for the boy's misconduct, vowed he would punish him well when he caught him, and in short, disguised his sorrow under more than usual savagery of demeanour.
The search was given up at last.
The horse Aloys had ridden on that fatal hunting morning was found running wild, with bridle broken and saddle turned round; and, as the crafty Raoul foresaw when he abandoned the animal, this was considered as fair presumption of the rider's death. There were masses said for Loy; and then Château Cervoles occupied itself with the wedding festivities of the fair Blanche, whose hand had been sued for and obtained by our old friend Guillaume de Nogent.
And all this time Aloys lay dangerously ill at the house of the good merchant of Marseilles. Maître Olivier Sabin, as he was called, brought the two wanderers to his home, and intrusted them to the care of his comely Italian wife, whose kind heart was melted at once by the sight of the suffering child, even to the extent of tolerating the enforced presence of Raoul, whom she left to be entertained by Françoise, her pretty little daugliter.
Raoul was no pleasant guest just at present. If in his natural state he was too wild, now he was depressed till he almost seemed sullen. Aloys might be dying, and he simply could not leave him; but there was the vow of pilgrimage binding his soul, and the town was filled with the surviving Crusaders and their Prophet, waiting to embark; and when he learnt that the vessels were absolutely ready, thanks to the charity of two Marseilles merchants, Hugues Ferreus and Guillaume Porcus, who had engaged to transport the host free of charge, he grew nearly frantic with uncertainty as to whether he should go or not.
Maître Olivier shook his head. “I would not say evil of any man, and it may be that they mean well and honestly, but I much misdoubt this sudden generosity of Ferreus and Porcus. Rumour accuses them of selling Christian slaves to the Saracen; and men who will do that, are like to play these children some knave's trick.'
It boots not talking on't,' said Raoul wearily; 'I must stay by my comrade-that is, if you do not turn me into the streets, good Maître Olivier. I fear I must seem discourteous, for I cannot thank you enough for all you have done; and we must be a sore trouble to you.'
. See here,' said the merchant, laying his hand on the boy's shoulder; 'you will be a sore trouble to yourself with all your doubts. Your friend is sick nigh unto death; you say yourself, and I think the same, that it behoves you to tarry beside him; well then, if the way to Palestine is thus closed against you, why should you be for ever wavering, intending one thing yesterday and another to-day ?'
• Then my chance is lost for ever; and I must go back, as some did ere half our march was over, saying that they knew not wherefore they had set out.'
With a long whistle, Raoul turned away; but though he uttered not another word on the subject, he was wretched till the Child-Crusaders had fairly set sail from Marseilles, and it was too late to change his mind. Then he devoted himself to watching and attending on his companion with all a brother's tenderness; and words cannot describe his relief when the leech pronounced the worst over, and Aloys out of danger. Under his terrible anxiety, the bold strong-limbed boy had grown thin and pale; and when the good wife Lucia, telling him he would make himself ill too, fairly ordered him out of the sick-room to escort Françoise to the market, Raoul was so silent and dreary at first; that the little maiden thought him the most stupid boy she had ever met. She was very sorry for Aloys, too, in her way, and picked out the finest grapes and the ripest figs in Marseilles for him, when he was well enough to eat them; but after all, he was a stranger to her, and she could not be expected to be very unhappy about him.
Raoul's cup of bitterness was perhaps filled to overflowing, when Maître Olivier announced to him that, having occasion to send certain goods into that part of France, he would despatch a letter to the Sire de Cervoles, to tell him of the whereabouts of his runaway wards, and that he thought Raoul had better write also.
“But never a line can I write,' said Raoul, with a young noble's pride in his ignorance, and moreover, very glad of the excuse.
Père Antoine often comes here,' answered the merchant, and he can write for you. Indeed, young Sir, it is only fitting courtesy to your lord.
Raoul made a face expressive of disgust, but he did not refuse; and so Père Antoine was asked to the house.
Once the boy thought of writing to his mother instead. She would receive him back, he felt sure, without a word of reproach, and joyfully kill the fatted calf for him. But then it would be said that he wanted his mother to beg him off; and his pride revolted at that. Better tell De Cervoles at once.
That he would be forgiven, he was pretty confident—that is, he would not be dismissed to his father's in disgrace; but Raoul's heart sank at the thought of the fasting and stripes and imprisonment which would in all likelihood be his portion. He had borne them all unflinchingly, when he knew that his fellow pages were admiring his audacity and success in evil-doing; but to come back to them after such utter failure—it was hard !
A very short and blunt letter it was that Raoul dictated to the priest, telling facts in the driest way, expressing no penitence, making no excuse; but the good Father had his own ideas of an epistle.
Read it to me,' said Raoul, when it was finished; and clasping his hands tightly behind him, he listened in silence. It was self-abasement itself when it came out of the priest's hands : Raoul's defiant tone had been changed to the humblest submission in dust and ashes, and deprecation of the anger he merited.
• Must I say this ? ' asked poor Raoul. * Truly, my son,' quoth the priest, I see not how else it can be said.'
'I can't_I won't—' stormed Raoul ; ““ entreat him to deal leniently with me,” forsooth! I had liever say, “Here I am-flay me alive if you list!
'My child, my child,' said the priest, amazed at this violence; 'why shouldest thou wish to add one offence to another ?'
Raoul stood undecided. Henry shivering in the snow at the Pope's gate, John surrendering his crown to the Legate, conld hardly have suffered worse agony of shame than the wild wayward boy at this moment.
"Well, if you think I must, Father,' he said at last, forcing a laugh. “But after sending this, there will be nothing left for me but to enter the Sire's presence on hands and knees, with a saddle on my back, like Foulques Nerra's son. However,
And champing his teeth as if an actual steel bit was galling his mouth, Raoul seized on the pen, and with a savage splutter of ink, wbich sadly spoilt the appearance of the priest's beautiful writing, made a very crooked cross at the foot of the letter as his mark.
However, having despatched his submission, Raoul's heart was lightened ; and he set off in more cheerful mood with Françoise to the harbour next day, feeling that he would enjoy himself while he could.
A vessel had just come in, and was unloading her cargo-a sight which always afforded interest to the inland-bred boy, whose utter ignorance of all nautical or commercial matters amused Françoise greatly. It was something delightful to him to watch the red-capped sailors, jabbering in every language under the sun, and running about like monkeys; to see the bales of goods brought on shore, or the passengers, when such there were-mostly pilgrims or merchants-landed.
The vessel in question belonged to the port of Marseilles, but her master was a Genoese, a fierce, dark, piratical-looking fellow, who had evidently been put out of temper by some hitch in the arrangements about unloading, and was abusing the harbour regulations and his crew in a mixture of Italian and French, occasionally spurring up some laggard among the sailors to his work by a sharp prick with the dagger he carried. “Here, fellow!'he exclaimed to one, in his most surly tone, lend a hand, canst not thou? When we took thee on board out of charity, thou mightest do somewhat to pay thy passage, thou idle dog!'
“Put thy dagger up,' said the defaulter quietly; "I can work without a goad.'
The answer was given in such pure French, and the voice and manner were so unusually gentle and dignified, that Raoul turned at once to look for the speaker, and soon made him out, helping to lift a heavy sack of corn on to the back of a sailor. He was a tall, slightly-made man, in a ragged semi-Turkish dress, with the worn, harassed expression of countenance and the bent shoulders that tell of labour and trouble, though handsome withal; and as Raoul watched him, a strange feeling came across him that somewhere before he had seen those wistful brown eyes, and that pale thoughtful face.
“Knowest thou yon man, Françoise ?' he asked.
• How should I know all the mariners who land at Marseilles ?' said Françoise, laughing. “Not that yon tall thin spectre you gaze at is a mariner; at least, he is not like any sailor that ever I saw.
Now, my young Lord Saint-André, will you come away? I am so tired of standing here, getting pushed about, and ropes caught under my feet; and I want to go and buy some grapes.'
• Beshrew thee and thy grapes!' said Raoul, impatiently. 'I can get grapes at Cervoles. There, Françoise, don't pout; I did not mean to vex thee; but thou seest I cannot have the harbour at home.'
* Aloys likes grapes,' said Françoise; and this settled the matter. It is true that it was a work of time to drag Raoul away from the delights of the port; but at last it was done, and he loitered about in the fruit-market while Françoise did the bargaining and beating down, at which she was already very expert.
Then the boy and girl sauntered lazily through the narrow paved
streets, Raoul carrying Françoise's basket, where the choicest clusters were set apart for Loy; while the rest of the fruit began rapidly to disappear.
“You will be sorry to leave Marseilles, Maître Saint-André,' said the little maid, as she picked the grapes from her bunch, and to go back to one of those gloomy towers where you knights and nobles live.'
"Why-yes,' answered Raoul, doubtfully. 'I could almost wish myself aboard one of your trading-vessels, free as the wind, and with all the world before me. But I know not, I should be willing enough to return to Château Cervoles, were it not for thoughts of the reception I am like to meet with.'
“Will they throw you into a dungeon ?' asked Françoise, with wide frightened eyes; for it was by no means a very uncommon thing for a rich merchant to be seized by a robber-noble, and fettered and tortured in the depths of some lonely fortress ; and tales of such deeds had naturally given the burgher-maiden a fearful idea of a noble's castle.
Raoul laughed; but his mirth was rather forced, and he turned the conversation by asking Françoise if she had ever seen a tournament. On being answered in the negative, he launched forth into a vivid description of one which had taken place at Château Cervoles about two years previously, which his hearer eagerly drank in.
· And so then, Françoise,' he said, after describing the lists and all the preparations for the jousts, when everything is ready, then the knights ride in on their destriers, with foot-cloths of crimson and purple and blue and every colour, sweeping the ground, and bells jingling on their bridles, and snowy plumes in their helms, and shields set with jewels, and
But Raoul's harangue was suddenly cut short by a strong hand being laid on his collar; and as he looked up in anger and amazement, he found himself in the grasp of the man whom of all others he least wished to see -the Sire de Cervoles.
Now, wretched boy, what hast thou done with Aloys?'
Raoul's wits were so hopelessly confused by this sudden rencounter, that he could not find words to answer; and when the fiery old Sire gave him a rough shake, which made him feel perfectly powerless in his captor's hold, his ideas were not the clearer for that.
'For Heaven's sake,' said another voice in an agonized tone, tell me if Aloys de la Ferté be dead or alive!'
The second speaker was none other than the tall man Raoul had watched a few hours ago helping to unload the vessel, though now his Turkish dress was concealed by a long cloak; and the boy saw at once who it was the stranger resembled. These soft dark eyes were like Aloys, and no one else.
Françoise, less thunderstruck than her companion, came to his assistance by saying, “The young Lord Aloys lies sick at my father's house, Messires; but he is better than he was.'