The Tavern Knight
Towards midnight at last Sir Crispin flung down his cards and rose. It was close upon an
hour and a half since Hogan's advent. In the streets the sounds had gradually died down,
and peace seemed to reign again in Penrith. Yet was Sir Crispin cautious - for to be
cautious and mistrustful of appearances was the lesson life had taught him.
"Master Stewart," said he, "it grows late, and I doubt me you would be abed. Give you
The lad rose. A moment he paused, hesitating, then -
"To-morrow, Sir Crispin - " he began. But Crispin cut him short.
"Leave to-morrow till it dawn, my friend. Give you good night. Take one of those
noisome tapers with you, and go."
In sullen silence the boy took up one of the candle-bearing bottles and passed out through
the door leading to the stairs.
For a moment Crispin remained standing by the table, and in that moment the expression
of his face was softened. A momentary regret of his treatment of the boy stirred in him.
Master Stewart might be a milksop, but Crispin accounted him leastways honest, and had
a kindness for him in spite of all. He crossed to the window, and throwing it wide he
leaned out, as if to breathe the cool night air, what time he hummed the refrain of `Rub-a-
dub-dub' for the edification of any chance listeners.
For a half-hour he lingered there, and for all that he used the occasion to let his mind
stray over many a theme, his eyes were alert for the least movement among the shadows
of the street. Reassured at last that the house was no longer being watched, he drew back,
and closed the lattice.
Upstairs he found the Irishman seated in dejection upon his bed, awaiting him.
"Soul of my body!" cried Hogan ruefully, "I was never nearer being afraid in my life."
Crispin laughed softly for answer, and besought of him the tale of what had passed.
"Tis simple enough, faith," said Hogan coolly. "The landlord of The Angel hath a
daughter maybe 'twas after her he named his inn - who owns a pair of the most seductive
eyes that ever a man saw perdition in. She hath, moreover, a taste for dalliance, and my
brave looks and martial trappings did for her what her bold eyes had done for me. We
were becoming the sweetest friends, when, like an incarnate fiend, that loutish clown, her
lover, sweeps down upon us, and, with more jealousy than wit, struck me - struck me,
Harry Hogan! Soul of my body, think of it, Cris!" And he grew red with anger at the