Sir Eric, meanwhile, thundered forth in his Norman patois, "I would have you to know, young Sir, Prince though you be, you are our prisoner, and shall taste of a dungeon, and bread and water, unless you behave yourself." Either Lothaire did not hear, or did not believe, and fought more furiously in Osmond's arms, but he had little chance with the stalwart young warrior, and, in spite of Richard's remonstrances, he was carried from the hall, roaring and kicking, and locked up alone in an empty room. "Let him alone for the present," said Sir Eric, putting the Duke aside, "when he knows his master, we shall have peace." Here Richard had to turn, to reassure Carloman, who had taken refuge in a dark corner, and there shook like an aspen leaf, crying bitterly, and starting with fright, when Richard touched him. "Oh, do not put me in the dungeon. I cannot bear the dark." Richard again tried to comfort him, but he did not seem to hear or heed. "Oh! they said you would beat and hurt us for what we did to you! but, indeed, it was not I that burnt your cheek!" "We would not hurt you for worlds, dear Carloman; Lothaire is not in the dungeon--he is only shut up till he is good." "It was Lothaire that did it," repeated Carloman, "and, indeed, you must not be angry with me, for my mother was so cross with me for not having stopped Osmond when I met him with the bundle of straw, that she gave me a blow, that knocked me down. And were you really there, Richard?" Richard told his story, and was glad to find Carloman could smile at it; and then Fru Astrida advised him to take his little friend to bed. Carloman would not lie down without still holding Richard's hand, and the little Duke spared no pains to set him at rest, knowing what it was to be a desolate captive far from home. "I thought you would be good to me," said Carloman. "As to Lothaire, it serves him right, that you should use him as he used you." "Oh, no, Carloman; if I had a brother I would never speak so of him." "But Lothaire is so unkind." "Ah! but we must be kind to those who are unkind to us." The child rose on his elbow, and looked into Richard's face. "No one ever told me so before." "Oh, Carloman, not Brother Hilary?" "I never heed Brother Hilary--he is so lengthy, and wearisome; besides, no one is ever kind to those that hate them." "My father was," said Richard. "And they killed him!" said Carloman. "Yes," said Richard, crossing himself, "but he is gone to be in peace." "I wonder if it is happier there, than here," said Carloman. "I am not happy. But tell me why should we be good to those that hate us?" "Because the holy Saints were--and look at the Crucifix, Carloman. That was for them that hated Him. And, don't you know what our Pater Noster says?" Poor little Carloman could only repeat the Lord's Prayer in Latin--he had not the least notion of its meaning--in which Richard had been carefully instructed by Father Lucas. He began to explain it, but before many words had passed his lips, little Carloman was asleep. The Duke crept softly away to beg to be allowed to go to Lothaire; he entered the room, already dark, with a pine torch in his hand, that so flickered in the wind, that he could at first see nothing, but presently beheld a dark lump on the floor. "Prince Lothaire," he said, "here is--" Lothaire cut him short. "Get away," he said. "If it is your turn now, it will be mine by and by. I wish my mother had kept her word, and put your eyes out." Richard's temper did not serve for such a reply. "It is a foul shame of you to speak so, when I only came out of kindness to you--so I shall leave you here all night, and not ask Sir Eric to let you out." And he swung back the heavy door with a resounding clang. But his heart smote him when he told his beads, and remembered what he had said to Carloman. He knew he could not sleep in his warm bed when Lothaire was in that cold gusty room. To be sure, Sir Eric said it would do him good, but Sir Eric little knew how tender the French Princes were. So Richard crept down in the dark, slid back the bolt, and called, "Prince, Prince, I am sorry I was angry. Come out, and let us try to be friends." "What do you mean?" said Lothaire. "Come out of the cold and dark. Here am I. I will show you the way. Where is your hand? Oh, how cold it is. Let me lead you down to the hall fire." Lothaire was subdued by fright, cold, and darkness, and quietly allowed Richard to lead him down. Round the fire, at the lower end of the hall, snored half-a-dozen men-at-arms; at the upper hearth there was only Hardigras, who raised his head as the boys came in. Richard's whisper and soft pat quieted him instantly, and the two little Princes sat on the hearth together, Lothaire surprised, but sullen. Richard stirred the embers, so as to bring out more heat, then spoke: "Prince, will you let us be friends?" "I must, if I am in your power." "I wish you would be my guest and comrade." "Well, I will; I can't help it." Richard thought his advances might have been more graciously met, and, having little encouragement to say more, took Lothaire to bed, as soon as he was warm. CHAPTER XI As the Baron had said, there was more peace now that Lothaire had learnt to know that he must submit, and that no one cared for his threats of his father's or his mother's vengeance. He was very sulky and disagreeable, and severely tried Richard's forbearance; but there were no fresh outbursts, and, on the whole, from one week to another, there might be said to be an improvement. He could not always hold aloof from one so good-natured and good-humoured as the little Duke; and the fact of being kept in order could not but have some beneficial effect on him, after such spoiling as his had been at home. Indeed, Osmond was once heard to say, it was a pity the boy was not to be a hostage for life; to which Sir Eric replied, "So long as we have not the training of him." Little Carloman, meanwhile, recovered from his fears of all the inmates of the Castle excepting Hardigras, at whose approach he always shrank and trembled. He renewed his friendship with Osmond, no longer started at the entrance of Sir Eric, laughed at Alberic's merry ways, and liked to sit on Fru Astrida's lap, and hear her sing, though he understood not one word; but his especial love was still for his first friend, Duke Richard. Hand-in-hand they went about together, Richard sometimes lifting him up the steep steps, and, out of consideration for him, refraining from rough play; and Richard led him to join with him in those lessons that Father Lucas gave the children of the Castle, every Friday and Sunday evening in the Chapel. The good Priest stood on the Altar steps, with the children in a half circle round him--the son and daughter of the armourer, the huntsman's little son, the young Baron de Montemar, the Duke of Normandy, and the Prince of France, all were equal there--and together they learnt, as he explained to them the things most needful to believe; and thus Carloman left off wondering why Richard thought it right to be good to his enemies; and though at first he had known less than even the little leather-coated huntsman, he seemed to take the holy lessons in faster than any of them--yes, and act on them, too. His feeble health seemed to make him enter into their comfort and meaning more than even Richard; and Alberic and Father Lucas soon told Fru Astrida that it was a saintly-minded child. Indeed, Carloman was more disposed to thoughtfulness, because he was incapable of joining in the sports of the other boys. A race round the court was beyond his strength, the fresh wind on the battlements made him shiver and cower, and loud shouting play was dreadful to him. In old times, he used to cry when Lothaire told him he must have his hair cut, and be a priest; now, he only said quietly, he should like it very much, if he could be good enough. Fru Astrida sighed and shook her head, and feared the poor child would never grow up to be anything on this earth. Great as had been the difference at first between him and Richard, it was now far greater. Richard was an unusually strong boy for ten years old, upright and broad-chested, and growing very fast; while Carloman seemed to dwindle, stooped forward from weakness, had thin pinched features, and sallow cheeks, looking like a plant kept in the dark. The old Baron said that hardy, healthy habits would restore the puny children; and Lothaire improved in health, and therewith in temper; but his little brother had not strength enough to bear the seasoning. He pined and drooped more each day; and as the autumn came on, and the wind was chilly, he grew worse, and was scarcely ever off the lap of the kind Lady Astrida. It was not a settled sickness, but he grew weaker, and wasted away. They made up a little couch for him by the fire, with the high settle between it and the door, to keep off the draughts; and there he used patiently to lie, hour after hour, speaking feebly, or smiling and seeming pleased, when any one of those he loved approached. He liked Father Lucas to come and say prayers with him; and he never failed to have a glad look, when his dear little Duke came to talk to him, in his cheerful voice, about his rides and his hunting and hawking adventures. Richard's sick guest took up much of his thoughts, and he never willingly spent many hours at a distance from him, softening his step and lowering his voice, as he entered the hall, lest Carloman should be asleep. "Richard, is it you?" said the little boy, as the young figure came round the settle in the darkening twilight. "Yes. How do you feel now, Carloman; are you better?" "No better, thanks, dear Richard;" and the little wasted fingers were put into his. "Has the pain come again?" "No; I have been lying still, musing; Richard, I shall never be better." "Oh, do not say so! You will, indeed you will, when spring comes."
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