We shall leave Ring Richard with the fair Joan of Kent and the nobles, to pursue their journey to Westminster, while we give some idea of the means by which the commons, so soon after the departure of the king, became masters of the tower. The galleyman had been a resident in London for some years; and it will of course be inferred, that during this time he must have formed many acquaintances, which circumstance, indeed, had been of much avail in gaining admittance into the city, and now turned to as good account in effecting an entrance into the Tower.
"Why, do you not know that that is Jack Straw, the Essex captain?""Know you any retainer of yours who could have written this?""Prepare yourself then, lady," said Sir Robert, and he resumed his seat.
There might be one reason found for the more merciful feelings De Boteler evinced on this occasion, when it is said that he was on the eve of departing for London to join the Duke of Gloucester, who was preparing to make an incursion into France. The idea, no doubt, of again treading the French soil, recalled to his mind the service which the fugitive Holgrave, had performed. The baroness, however, did not appear to heed the decisive tone of her lord; for, with the wilfulness of her sex, she determined that his departure should be the signal for commencing operations."And is this the apparel and the bravery of merchants?" said the wandering monk within himself, as the splendid cavalcade passed by; "surely the pomp of royalty cannot surpass this." And John Ball did not draw a wrong conclusionfor when, in about half an hour, the citizens repassed, escorting their youthful sovereign, although there certainly was more cost and elegance, there was less of gorgeous display in the royal than in the civic train."Write to Simon Sudbury!"
"Calverley, the fiend!" interrupted the smith, fiercely. "If I could only give that beggar's vagabond a sample of what this hand could do, I think I should take a good night's restand that's what I have not done since the night they gave me a lodging in the castle dungeon; and you say that Calverley has put him in prison? Now, I tell you what, Tom Merritt," continued Turner, "if there be a drop of man's blood in your body, they shan't keep him there.""Enough! Tom Merritt, this is no place for an honest man. I was to have gone in a few days, but when this night's job is done, I shall just pack up all I can get together into a cart, and let the black fiend, or his imp, Calverley, take the rest. Aye! with my wife, the boy, and Will, I shall be out of Gloucester before sun-riseand the sooner the better. But now let us talk of the rescue. How many honest hands can you get among the town's folk?""Mary Byles," he began, "I have one more question to ask you. How many drops of that fatal potion was it that Edith Holgrave told you to give my lord's infant?"
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These things, however, gave little concern to the worthy who commanded the Kentish division. Tyler, though an excellent blacksmith, possessed few of the qualities requisite for forming a good general. Provided there was no very sensible diminution in the number of his followers, he cared not a straw for the score or two who, after quarrelling, or perhaps fighting, withdrew in such disgust that they vowed rather to pay the full tax for ever than submit to the insolence of the rebels. One man could fight as well as another, reasoned he; and, provided he was obeyed, what mattered it by whom. Dick went and Tom cameit was sure to be all one in the end."You are changed, Lucy;" said the galleyman, in a meditative tone, "and so am I; but a quiet home has reared you into loveliness; while cold, heat, and storms, have made me what I am. It was that ivy wreath of yours that made me a wandererI spent a couple of hours gathering and making it, and they promised me a flogging for idling, and so, after putting the crown on your head I set off, and here I am again after ten years, looking old enough to be your fatherbut, hark you, maidensailors are thirsty souls, and here have I been laid up these two days, without tasting a drop of any thing stronger thanha! ha!milk! Your father has plenty of stout ale, and I'm sure such a little angel as you will have the charity to bring a flagon to a poor seaman adrift."
"Lady," said the monk in a stern voice, "think you so meanly of John Ball that he would do for a bribe what he would not do for justice sake? The time was when ye might have known, but ye took not counsel""Nothing has been done to him but what he merited," answered Calverley, haughtily, surprised at her firmness, and by a singular feeling annoyed that solicitude for her husband should have called forth such an unusual demonstration.
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