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- St. George and St. Michael Vol. III - 1/34 -


Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Charles Franks and the Distributed Proofreading Team

ST. GEORGE AND ST. MICHAEL

BY GEORGE MACDONALD

IN THREE VOLUMES

VOL. III.

LONDON

1876

CONTENTS OF VOL. III.

CHAPTER XXXIX. NEWBURY.

CHAPTER XL. DOROTHY AND ROWLAND.

CHAPTER XLI. GLAMORGAN.

CHAPTER XLII. A NEW SOLDIER.

CHAPTER XLIII. LADY AND BISHOP.

CHAPTER XLIV. THE KING.

CHAPTER XLV. THE SECRET INTERVIEW.

CHAPTER XLVI. GIFTS OF HEALING.

CHAPTER XLVII. THE POET-PHYSICIAN.

CHAPTER XLVIII. HONOURABLE DISGRACE.

CHAPTER XLIX. SIEGE.

CHAPTER L. A SALLY.

CHAPTER LI. UNDER THE MOAT.

CHAPTER LII. THE UNTOOTHSOME PLUM.

CHAPTER LIII. FAITHFUL FOES.

CHAPTER LIV. DOMUS DISSOLVITUR.

CHAPTER LV. R. I. P.

CHAPTER LVI. RICHARD AND CASPER.

CHAPTER LVII. THE SKELETON.

CHAPTER LVIII. LOVE AND NO LEASING.

CHAPTER LIX. AVE! VALE! SALVE!

CHAPTER XXXIX.

NEWBURY.

Early the next morning, after Richard had left the cottage for Raglan castle, mistress Rees was awaked by the sound of a heavy blow against her door. When with difficulty she had opened it, Richard or his dead body, she knew not which, fell across her threshold. Like poor Marquis, he had come to her for help and healing.

When he got out of the quarry, he made for the highroad, but missing the way the dog had brought him, had some hard work in reaching it; and long before he arrived--at the cottage, what with his wound, his loss of blood, his double wetting, his sleeplessness after mistress Watson's potion, want of food, disappointment and fatigue, he was in a high fever. The last mile or two he had walked in delirium, but happily with the one dominant idea of getting help from mother Rees. The poor woman was greatly shocked to find that the teeth of the trap had closed upon her favourite and mangled him so terribly. A drop or two of one of her restoratives, however, soon brought him round so far that he was able to crawl to the chair on which he had sat the night before, now ages agone as it seemed, where he now sat shivering and glowing alternately, until with trembling hands the good woman had prepared her own bed for him.

'Thou hast left thy doublet behind thee,' she said, 'and I warrant me the cake I gave thee in the pouch thereof! Hadst thou eaten of that, thou hadst not come to this pass.'

But Richard scarcely heard her voice. His one mental consciousness was the longing desire to lay his aching head on the pillow, and end all effort.

Finding his wound appeared very tolerably dressed, Mrs. Rees would not disturb the bandages. She gave him a cooling draught, and watched by him till he fell asleep. Then she tidied her house, dressed herself, and got everything in order for nursing him. She would have sent at once to Redware to let his father know where and in what condition he was, but not a single person came near the cottage the whole day, and she dared not leave him before the fever had subsided. He raved a good deal, generally in the delusion that he was talking to Dorothy--who sought to kill him, and to whom he kept giving directions, at one time how to guide the knife to reach his heart, at another how to mingle her poison so that it should act with speed and certainty.

At length one fine evening in early autumn, when the red sun shone level through the window of the little room where he lay, and made a red glory on the wall, he came to himself a little.

'Is it blood?' he murmured. 'Did Dorothy do it?--How foolish I am! It is but a blot the sun has left behind him!--Ah! I see! I am dead and lying on the top of my tomb. I am only marble. This is Redware church. Oh, mother Rees, is it you! I am very glad! Cover me over a little. The pall there.'

His eyes closed, and for a few hours he lay in a deep sleep, from which he awoke very weak, but clear-headed. He remembered nothing, however, since leaving the quarry, except what appeared a confused dream of wandering through an interminable night of darkness, weariness, and pain. His first words were,--

'I must get up, mother Rees: my father will be anxious about me. Besides, I promised to set out for Gloucester to-day.'

She sought to quiet him, but in vain, and was at last compelled to inform him that his father, finding he did not return, had armed himself, mounted Oliver, and himself led his little company to join the earl of Essex--who was now on his way, at the head of an army consisting chiefly of the trained bands of London, to raise the siege of Gloucester.

Richard started up, and would have leaped from the bed, but fell back helpless and unconscious. When at length his nurse had succeeded in restoring him, she had much ado to convince him that the best thing in all respects was to lie still and submit to be nursed--so to get well as soon as possible, and join his father.

'Alas, mother, I have no horse,' said Richard, and hid his face on the pillow.

'The Lord will provide what thee wants, my son,' said the old woman with emotion, neither asking nor caring whether the Lord was on the side of the king or of the parliament, but as little doubting that he must be on the side of Richard.

He soon began to eat hopefully, and after a day or two she found pretty nearly employment enough in cooking for him.

At last, weak as he still was, he would be restrained no longer. To Gloucester he must go, and relieve his father. Expostulation was unavailing: go he must, he said, or his soul would tear itself out of his body, and go without it.

'Besides, mother, I shall be getting better all the way,' he continued. '--I must go home at once and see whether there is anything left to go upon.'

He rose the same instant, and, regardless of the good woman's entreaties, crawled out to go to Redware. She followed him at a little distance, and, before he had walked a quarter of a mile, he was ready to accept her offered arm to help him back. But his recovery was now very rapid, and. after a few days he felt able for the journey.

At home he found a note from his father, telling him where to find money, and informing him that he was ready to yield him Oliver the moment he should appear to claim him. Richard put on his armour, and went to the stable. The weather had been fine, and the harvest was wearing gradually to a close; but the few horses that were left were overworked, for the necessities of the war had been severe, and that part of the country had responded liberally on both sides. Besides, Mr. Heywood had scarce left an animal judged at all fit to carry a man and keep up with the troop.


St. George and St. Michael Vol. III - 1/34

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