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   Chapter 67 No.67

Come Rack! Come Rope! By Robert Hugh Benson Characters: 2381

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05

After the Frenchman's departure, and an hour's sleep in that profundity of unconsciousness that follows prolonged effort, Robin put on his sword and hat and cloak, having dressed himself with care, and went slowly out of the inn to inspect the battlefield. He carried himself deliberately, with a kind of assured insolence, as if he had supreme rights in this place, and were one of that crowd of persons-great lords, lawyers, agents of the court-to whom for the last few months Fotheringay had become accustomed. He turned first to the right towards the castle, and presently was passing down its long length.

It looked, indeed, a royal prison. A low wall on his right protected the road from the huge outer moat that ran, in the shape of a fetterlock, completely round all the buildings; and beyond it, springing immediately from the edge of the water, rose the massive outer wall, pierced here and there with windows. He thought that he could make out the tops of the hall windows in one place, beyond the skirting wall, the pinnacles of the chapel in another, and a row of further windows that might be lodgings in a third; but from without here nothing was certain, except the gigan

tic keep, that stood high to the west, and the strong towers that guarded the drawbridge; this, as he went by, was lowered to its place, and he could look across it into the archway, where four men stood on guard with their pikes. The inner doors, however, were closed beyond them, and he could see nothing of the inner moat that surrounded the court, nor the yard itself. Neither did he think it prudent to ask any questions, though he looked freely about him; since the part he must play for the present plainly was that of one who had a right here and knew what he did.

He came back to the inn an hour later, after a walk through the village and round the locked church: this was a splendid building, with flying buttresses and a high tower, with exterior carvings of saints and evangelists all in place. But it looked desolate to him, and he was the more dejected, as he seemed no nearer to the Queen than before, and with little chance of getting there. Meanwhile, there was but one thing to be done, and that the hardest of all-to wait. Perhaps in a few days he might get speech with Mr. Bourgoign; yet for the present that, too, as the priest had told him, was out of the question.

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