List Of Contents | Contents of The Little Duke by Charlotte M. Yonge
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of the castle, received the blessing of Father Lucas, and mounting
his pony, rode off between Sir Eric and Count Bernard.  Richard was
but a little boy, and he did not think so much of his loss, as he
rode along in the free morning air, feeling himself a Prince at the
head of his vassals, his banner displayed before him, and the people
coming out wherever he passed to gaze on him, and call for blessings
on his name.  Rainulf de Ferrieres carried a large heavy purse filled
with silver and gold, and whenever they came to these gazing crowds,
Richard was well pleased to thrust his hands deep into it, and
scatter handfuls of coins among the gazers, especially where he saw
little children.

They stopped to dine and rest in the middle of the day, at the castle
of a Baron, who, as soon as the meal was over, mounted his horse, and
joined them in their ride to Rouen.  So far it had not been very
different from Richard's last journey, when he went to keep Christmas
there with his father; but now they were beginning to come nearer the
town, he knew the broad river Seine again, and saw the square tower
of the Cathedral, and he remembered how at that very place his father
had met him, and how he had ridden by his side into the town, and had
been led by his hand up to the hall.

His heart was very heavy, as he recollected there was no one now to
meet and welcome him; scarcely any one to whom he could even tell his
thoughts, for those tall grave Barons had nothing to say to such a
little boy, and the very respect and formality with which they
treated him, made him shrink from them still more, especially from
the grim-faced Bernard; and Osmond, his own friend and playfellow,
was obliged to ride far behind, as inferior in rank.

They entered the town just as it was growing dark.  Count Bernard
looked back and arrayed the procession; Eric de Centeville bade
Richard sit upright and not look weary, and then all the Knights held
back while the little Duke rode alone a little in advance of them
through the gateway.  There was a loud shout of "Long live the little
Duke!" and crowds of people were standing round to gaze upon his
entry, so many that the bag of coins was soon emptied by his
largesses.  The whole city was like one great castle, shut in by a
wall and moat, and with Rollo's Tower rising at one end like the keep
of a castle, and it was thither that Richard was turning his horse,
when the Count of Harcourt said, "Nay, my Lord, to the Church of our
Lady." {7}

It was then considered a duty to be paid to the deceased, that their
relatives and friends should visit them as they lay in state, and
sprinkle them with drops of holy water, and Richard was now to pay
this token of respect.  He trembled a little, and yet it did not seem
quite so dreary, since he should once more look on his father's face,
and he accordingly rode towards the Cathedral.  It was then very
unlike what it is now; the walls were very thick, the windows small
and almost buried in heavy carved arches, the columns within were
low, clumsy, and circular, and it was usually so dark that the
vaulting of the roof could scarcely be seen.

Now, however, a whole flood of light poured forth from every window,
and when Richard came to the door, he saw not only the two tall thick
candles that always burnt on each side of the Altar, but in the
Chancel stood a double row ranged in a square, shedding a pure, quiet
brilliancy throughout the building, and chiefly on the silver and
gold ornaments of the Altar.  Outside these lights knelt a row of
priests in dark garments, their heads bowed over their clasped hands,
and their chanted psalms sounding sweet, and full of soothing music.
Within that guarded space was a bier, and a form lay on it.

Richard trembled still more with awe, and would have paused, but he
was obliged to proceed.  He dipped his hand in the water of the font,
crossed his brow, and came slowly on, sprinkled the remaining drops
on the lifeless figure, and then stood still.  There was an
oppression on his breast as if he could neither breathe nor move.

There lay William of the Long Sword, like a good and true Christian
warrior, arrayed in his shining armour, his sword by his side, his
shield on his arm, and a cross between his hands, clasped upon his
breast.  His ducal mantle of crimson velvet, lined with ermine, was
round his shoulders, and, instead of a helmet, his coronet was on his
head; but, in contrast with this rich array, over the collar of the
hauberk, was folded the edge of a rough hair shirt, which the Duke
had worn beneath his robes, unknown to all, until his corpse was
disrobed of his blood-stained garments.  His face looked full of
calm, solemn peace, as if he had gently fallen asleep, and was only
awaiting the great call to awaken.  There was not a single token of
violence visible about him, save that one side of his forehead bore a
deep purple mark, where he had first been struck by the blow of the
oar which had deprived him of sense.

"See you that, my Lord?" said Count Bernard, first breaking the
silence, in a low, deep, stern voice.

Richard had heard little for many hours past save counsels against
the Flemings, and plans of bitter enmity against them; and the sight
of his murdered father, with that look and tone of the old Dane,
fired his spirit, and breaking from his trance of silent awe and
grief, he exclaimed, "I see it, and dearly shall the traitor Fleming
abye it!"  Then, encouraged by the applauding looks of the nobles, he
proceeded, feeling like one of the young champions of Fru Astrida's
songs.  His cheek was coloured, his eye lighted up, and he lifted his
head, so that the hair fell back from his forehead; he laid his hand
on the hilt of his father's sword, and spoke on in words, perhaps,
suggested by some sage.  "Yes, Arnulf of Flanders, know that Duke
William of Normandy shall not rest unavenged!  On this good sword I
vow, that, as soon as my arm shall have strength--"

The rest was left unspoken, for a hand was laid on his arm.  A
priest, who had hitherto been kneeling near the head of the corpse,
had risen, and stood tall and dark over him, and, looking up, he
recognized the pale, grave countenance of Martin, Abbot of Jumieges,
his father's chief friend and councillor.

"Richard of Normandy, what sayest thou?" said he, sternly.  "Yes,
hang thy head, and reply not, rather than repeat those words.  Dost
thou come here to disturb the peace of the dead with clamours for
vengeance?  Dost thou vow strife and anger on that sword which was
never drawn, save in the cause of the poor and distressed?  Wouldst
thou rob Him, to whose service thy life has been pledged, and devote
thyself to that of His foe?  Is this what thou hast learnt from thy
blessed father?"

Richard made no answer, but he covered his face with his hands, to
hide the tears which were fast streaming.

"Lord Abbot, Lord Abbot, this passes!" exclaimed Bernard the Dane.
"Our young Lord is no monk, and we will not see each spark of noble
and knightly spirit quenched as soon as it shows itself."

"Count of Harcourt," said Abbot Martin, "are these the words of a
savage Pagan, or of one who has been washed in yonder blessed font?
Never, while I have power, shalt thou darken the child's soul with
thy foul thirst of revenge, insult the presence of thy master with
the crime he so abhorred, nor the temple of Him who came to pardon,
with thy hatred.  Well do I know, ye Barons of Normandy, that each
drop of your blood would willingly be given, could it bring back our
departed Duke, or guard his orphan child; but, if ye have loved the
father, do his bidding--lay aside that accursed spirit of hatred and
vengeance; if ye love the child, seek not to injure his soul more
deeply than even his bitterest foe, were it Arnulf himself, hath
power to hurt him."

The Barons were silenced, whatever their thoughts might be, and Abbot
Martin turned to Richard, whose tears were still dropping fast
through his fingers, as the thought of those last words of his father
returned more clearly upon him.  The Abbot laid his hand on his head,
and spoke gently to him.  "These are tears of a softened heart, I
trust," said he.  "I well believe that thou didst scarce know what
thou wert saying."

"Forgive me!" said Richard, as well as he could speak.

"See there," said the priest, pointing to the large Cross over the
Altar, "thou knowest the meaning of that sacred sign?"

Richard bowed his head in assent and reverence.

"It speaks of forgiveness," continued the Abbot.  "And knowest thou
who gave that pardon?  The Son forgave His murderers; the Father them
who slew His Son.  And shalt thou call for vengeance?"

"But oh!" said Richard, looking up, "must that cruel, murderous
traitor glory unpunished in his crime, while there lies--" and again
his voice was cut off by tears.

"Vengeance shall surely overtake the sinner," said Martin, "the
vengeance of the Lord, and in His own good time, but it must not be
of thy seeking.  Nay, Richard, thou art of all men the most bound to
show love and mercy to Arnulf of Flanders.  Yes, when the hand of the
Lord hath touched him, and bowed him down in punishment for his
crime, it is then, that thou, whom he hath most deeply injured,
shouldst stretch out thine hand to aid him, and receive him with
pardon and peace.  If thou dost vow aught on the sword of thy blessed
father, in the sanctuary of thy Redeemer, let it be a Christian vow."

Richard wept too bitterly to speak, and Bernard de Harcourt, taking
his hand, led him away from the Church.


Duke William of the Long Sword was buried the next morning in high
pomp and state, with many a prayer and psalm chanted over his grave.

When this was over, little Richard, who had all the time stood or
knelt nearest the corpse, in one dull heavy dream of wonder and
sorrow, was led back to the palace, and there his long, heavy, black
garments were taken off, and he was dressed in his short scarlet
tunic, his hair was carefully arranged, and then he came down again
into the hall, where there was a great assembly of Barons, some in

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