2021-04-18 10:26:04

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ENGLISH "And if my eyes do not mislead me," said De Boteler, looking searchingly on Tyler, "I know the graceless kerne.""Indeed!" said Lancaster; "next then, I suppose, we shall have the villeins of the soil dictating to their lords, when they hear that a base-born priest has had the audacity to enter the royal presence! Ho! attendants! Away with this serf-sprung shaveling! who holds that all should be free!"The signs of strong excitement became every day more general and more evident, especially in the counties of Kent, Essex, Hertford, and Norfolk. The furbishing of weapons; the whetting and sharpening of hand-bills, wood-knives, and other offensive implements of husbandry; and the general relaxation, and in many places total suspension of labour, were like the heavings and the tremblings which betokened an approaching shock. Indeed, in many places partial risings had already commenced; but these had originated rather with the free than the bond: rather in resisting the obnoxious tax than in asserting a right to freedom; and the more timid and least influential of the gentry, unable to control the popular movement, had already shut themselves up in their mansions or castles, leaving to the government the task of stemming the storm. Even Richard and his council became alarmed; and after issuing a few proclamations, and a commission of trail baron to try the rioters, awaited the event, trusting to the want of organization among the people for a successful termination of the outbreak.

"No, not of theirs," eagerly interrupted Margaret, drawing a bottle from beneath her cloak, and pouring into a wooden cup, which she took from her pocket, some diluted wine; "but drink this, Stephen: do drink itit will cool your mouth."There was much discontent among the bondmen as they withdrew from the castle, conversing on the arbitrary decision just pronounced, and on the probability that, before the expiration of three months, that decision would be enforced in consequence of Holgrave's flight; for they could not conceive the idea of the self-sacrifice of a generous spirit, which would rather endure, than that the oppressed should suffer further oppression. Certainly, according to the letter of the law of villeinage, the bondmen of Sudley had no just cause for discontent; but then, because it was unusual, at least on that manor, to exercise the prerogative to its fullest extent, they almost forgot that this threatened appropriation of their effects was nothing more than the assertion of a right. But there was one novel feature in the announcement of which they had some colour for complaining;their being considered responsible for one of their own class. However, as in all similar cases where power gives the law to weakness, though there might be a little useless murmuring, there was no alternative but to submit.

"The royal Richard," returned father John, exultingly, "is but king of the commons; but the royal Richard is well served," he added, sarcastically, "by Simon Sudbury and the nobles, who leave their prince, in his peril, to hide them in holes and sanctuaries!"

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"Aye, aye, truebut didn't you hear of father John?"

Little more remains to be said. De Boteler, upon discovering that Byles held Holgrave's land by virtue of the mortgage transferred by the usurer to Calverley, pronounced, in the most summary way, the whole thing illegal. Byles was dispossessed, and the farm, now the largest in the manor, returned to Holgrave, who thus, like old Job, became the possessor of greater wealth after his misfortunes than he had enjoyed before.

According to custom, Mr Keeling, with his two sons, went for a brisk walk, whatever the weather, before lunch, while Alice and her mother, one of whose habits was to set as few feet to the ground as was humanly possible without incurring the danger of striking root, got into the victoria that waited for them at the church-door, on which the fat horse was roused from his reverie and began heavily lolloping homewards. It was not usual in Bracebridge to have a carriage out on Sunday, and Mrs Keeling, surveying less fortunate pedestrians through her tortoise-shell-handled glass, was Sunday by Sunday a little Lucretian on the subject. The matter of the carriage also was a monument to her own immovableness, for her husband, years ago, had done his utmost to induce her to traverse the half mile on her own feet.

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Father John's situation from this period became every day more irksome. He was forbidden to approach the sacraments, and strictly interdicted from administering them. His brethren passed without noticing him, and he was not permitted to eat at the board common to all. A small table was set apart on which his bowl and platter stood, and hints were given that if his obstinacy continued, he would, ere long, be confined to his cell."No," replied Margaret: "he would have found some means of getting to the forest; but they hold the villeins bound for himif he flies, all they possess of crops or cattle will be seized. But here is Stephen. I was just going over the hill to meet him, when I saw you."

"Friends," said Allan Theoder, speaking for the first time, "I do not hear you say any thing about this tax."Words of courteous gratulation were uttered by De Boteler, as he led his visitor to a splendid chair which had been prepared for him, and presented, on his knee, a cup of spiced wine. During this, Isabella and Lady Ann Knowles had entered the hall, and, after being presented to the king, Lady Ann whispered to Sir Robert, who requested that Holgrave, who was about to depart, although no longer a prisoner, should remain in the castle, at least for that day. Holgrave promised acquiescence, and the hall being cleared of the tenantry, Richard and the attendant lords, whom he and his favourite had by half an hour outstripped, presently sat down to a splendid banquet.

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Apr-18 10:26:04