List Of Contents | Contents of The Little Duke by Charlotte M. Yonge
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terms with Carlo-man, a gentle, timid, weakly child.  Richard looked
down upon him; but he was kind, as a generous-tempered boy could not
fail to be, to one younger and weaker than himself.  He was so much
kinder than Lothaire, that Carloman was fast growing very fond of
him, and looked up to his strength and courage as something noble and

It was very different with Lothaire, the person from whom, above all
others, Richard would have most expected to meet with affection, as
his father's god-son, a relationship which in those times was thought
almost as near as kindred by blood.  Lothaire had been brought up by
an indulgent mother, and by courtiers who never ceased flattering
him, as the heir to the crown, and he had learnt to think that to
give way to his naturally imperious and violent disposition was the
way to prove his power and assert his rank.  He had always had his
own way, and nothing had ever been done to check his faults; somewhat
weakly health had made him fretful and timid; and a latent
consciousness of this fearfulness made him all the more cruel,
sometimes because he was frightened, sometimes because he fancied it

He treated his little brother in a way which in these times boys
would call bullying; and, as no one ever dared to oppose the King's
eldest son, it was pretty much the same with every one else, except
now and then some dumb creature, and then all Lothaire's cruelty was
shown.  When his horse kicked, and ended by throwing him, he stood
by, and caused it to be beaten till the poor creature's back streamed
with blood; when his dog bit his hand in trying to seize the meat
with which he was teazing it, he insisted on having it killed, and it
was worse still when a falcon pecked one of his fingers.  It really
hurt him a good deal, and, in a furious rage, he caused two nails to
be heated red hot in the fire, intending to have them thrust into the
poor bird's eyes.

"I will not have it done!" exclaimed Richard, expecting to be obeyed
as he was at home; but Lothaire only laughed scornfully, saying, "Do
you think you are master here, Sir pirate?"

"I will not have it done!" repeated Richard.  "Shame on you, shame on
you, for thinking of such an unkingly deed."

"Shame on me! Do you know to whom you speak, master savage?" cried
Lothaire, red with passion.

"I know who is the savage now!" said Richard.  "Hold!" to the servant
who was bringing the red-hot irons in a pair of tongs.

"Hold?" exclaimed Lothaire.  "No one commands here but I and my
father.  Go on Charlot--where is the bird?  Keep her fast, Giles."

"Osmond.  You I can command--"

"Come away, my Lord," said Osmond, interrupting Richard's order,
before it was issued. "We have no right to interfere here, and cannot
hinder it.  Come away from such a foul sight."

"Shame on you too, Osmond, to let such a deed be done without
hindering it!" exclaimed Richard, breaking from him, and rushing on
the man who carried the hot irons.  The French servants were not very
willing to exert their strength against the Duke of Normandy, and
Richard's onset, taking the man by surprise, made him drop the tongs.
Lothaire, both afraid and enraged, caught them up as a weapon of
defence, and, hardly knowing what he did, struck full at Richard's
face with the hot iron.  Happily it missed his eye, and the heat had
a little abated; but, as it touched his cheek, it burnt him
sufficiently to cause considerable pain.  With a cry of passion, he
flew at Lothaire, shook him with all his might, and ended by throwing
him at his length on the pavement.  But this was the last of
Richard's exploits, for he was at the same moment captured by his
Squire, and borne off, struggling and kicking as if Osmond had been
his greatest foe; but the young Norman's arms were like iron round
him; and he gave over his resistance sooner, because at that moment a
whirring flapping sound was heard, and the poor hawk rose high,
higher, over their heads in ever lessening circles, far away from her
enemies.  The servant who held her, had relaxed his grasp in the
consternation caused by Lothaire's fall, and she was mounting up and
up, spying, it might be, her way to her native rocks in Iceland, with
the yellow eyes which Richard had saved.

"Safe! safe!" cried Richard, joyfully, ceasing his struggles.  "Oh,
how glad I am!  That young villain should never have hurt her.  Put
me down, Osmond, what are you doing with me?"

"Saving you from your--no, I cannot call it folly,--I would hardly
have had you stand still to see such--but let me see your face."

"It is nothing.  I don't care now the hawk is safe," said Richard,
though he could hardly keep his lips in order, and was obliged to
wink very hard with his eyes to keep the tears out, now that he had
leisure to feel the smarting; but it would have been far beneath a
Northman to complain, and he stood bearing it gallantly, and pinching
his fingers tightly together, while Osmond knelt down to examine the
hurt.  "'Tis not much," said he, talking to himself, "half bruise,
half burn--I wish my grandmother was here--however, it can't last
long!  'Tis right, you bear it like a little Berserkar, and it is no
bad thing that you should have a scar to show, that they may not be
able to say you did ALL the damage."

"Will it always leave a mark?" said Richard.  "I am afraid they will
call me Richard of the scarred cheek, when we get back to Normandy."

"Never mind, if they do--it will not be a mark to be ashamed of, even
if it does last, which I do not believe it will."

"Oh, no, I am so glad the gallant falcon is out of his reach!"
replied Richard, in a somewhat quivering voice.

"Does it smart much?  Well, come and bathe it with cold water--or
shall I take you to one of the Queen's women?"

"No--the water," said Richard, and to the fountain in the court they
went; but Osmond had only just begun to splash the cheek with the
half-frozen water, with a sort of rough kindness, afraid at once of
teaching the Duke to be effeminate, and of not being as tender to him
as Dame Astrida would have wished, when a messenger came in haste
from the King, commanding the presence of the Duke of Normandy and
his Squire.

Lothaire was standing between his father and mother on their throne-
like seat, leaning against the Queen, who had her arm round him; his
face was red and glazed with tears, and he still shook with subsiding
sobs.  It was evident he was just recovering from a passionate crying

"How is this?" began the King, as Richard entered.  "What means this
conduct, my Lord of Normandy?  Know you what you have done in
striking the heir of France?  I might imprison you this instant in a
dungeon where you would never see the light of day."

"Then Bernard de Harcourt would come and set me free," fearlessly
answered Richard.

"Do you bandy words with me, child? Ask Prince Lothaire's pardon
instantly, or you shall rue it."

"I have done nothing to ask his pardon for.  It would have been cruel
and cowardly in me to let him put out the poor hawk's eyes," said
Richard, with a Northman's stern contempt for pain, disdaining to
mention his own burnt cheek, which indeed the King might have seen
plainly enough.

"Hawk's eyes!" repeated the King.  "Speak the truth, Sir Duke; do not
add slander to your other faults."

"I have spoken the truth--I always speak it!" cried Richard.
"Whoever says otherwise lies in his throat."

Osmond here hastily interfered, and desired permission to tell the
whole story.  The hawk was a valuable bird, and Louis's face darkened
when he heard what Lothaire had purposed, for the Prince had, in
telling his own story, made it appear that Richard had been the
aggressor by insisting on letting the falcon fly.  Osmond finished by
pointing to the mark on Richard's cheek, so evidently a burn, as to
be proof that hot iron had played a part in the matter.  The King
looked at one of his own Squires and asked his account, and he with
some hesitation could not but reply that it was as the young Sieur de
Centeville had said.  Thereupon Louis angrily reproved his own people
for having assisted the Prince in trying to injure the hawk, called
for the chief falconer, rated him for not better attending to his
birds, and went forth with him to see if the hawk could yet be
recaptured, leaving the two boys neither punished nor pardoned.

"So you have escaped for this once," said Gerberge, coldly, to
Richard; "you had better beware another time.  Come with me, my poor
darling Lothaire."  She led her son away to her own apartments, and
the French Squires began to grumble to each other complaints of the
impossibility of pleasing their Lords, since, if they contradicted
Prince Lothaire, he was so spiteful that he was sure to set the Queen
against them, and that was far worse in the end than the King's
displeasure.  Osmond, in the meantime, took Richard to re-commence
bathing his face, and presently Carloman ran out to pity him, wonder
at him for not crying, and say he was glad the poor hawk had escaped.

The cheek continued inflamed and painful for some time, and there was
a deep scar long after the pain had ceased, but Richard thought
little of it after the first, and would have scorned to bear ill-will
to Lothaire for the injury.

Lothaire left off taunting Richard with his Norman accent, and
calling him a young Sea-king.  He had felt his strength, and was
afraid of him; but he did not like him the better--he never played
with him willingly--scowled, and looked dark and jealous, if his
father, or if any of the great nobles took the least notice of the
little Duke, and whenever he was out of hearing, talked against him
with all his natural spitefulness.

Richard liked Lothaire quite as little, contemning almost equally his
cowardly ways and his imperious disposition.  Since he had been Duke,
Richard had been somewhat inclined to grow imperious himself, though
always kept under restraint by Fru Astrida's good training, and Count
Bernard's authority, and his whole generous nature would have
revolted against treating Alberic, or indeed his meanest vassal, as

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