The Tavern Knight HTML version

The Converted Hogan
Night black and impenetrable had set in ere Kenneth and his escort clattered over the
greasy stones of Waltham's High Street, and drew up in front of the Crusader Inn.
The door stood wide and hospitable, and a warm shaft of light fell from it and set a glitter
upon the wet street. Avoiding the common-room, the sergeant led Kenneth through the
inn-yard, and into the hostelry by a side entrance. He urged the youth along a dimly-
lighted passage. On a door at the end of this he knocked, then, lifting the latch, he
ushered Kenneth into a roomy, oak-panelled chamber.
At the far end a huge fire burnt cheerfully, and with his back to it, his feet planted wide
apart upon the hearth, stood a powerfully built man of medium height, whose youthful
face and uprightness of carriage assorted ill with the grey of his hair, pronouncing that
greyness premature. He seemed all clad in leather, for where his jerkin stopped his boots
began. A cuirass and feathered headpiece lay in a corner, whilst on the table Kenneth
espied a broad-brimmed hat, a huge sword, and a brace of pistols.
As the boy's eyes came back to the burly figure on the hearth, he was puzzled by a
familiar, intangible something in the fellow's face.
He was racking his mind to recall where last he had seen it, when with slightly elevated
eyebrows and a look of recognition in his somewhat prominent blue eyes
"Soul of my body," exclaimed the man in surprise, "Master Stewart, as I live."
"Stuart!" cried both sergeant and trooper in a gasp, starting forward to scan their
prisoner's face.
At that the burly captain broke into a laugh.
"Not the young man Charles Stuart," said he; "no, no. Your captive is none so precious. It
is only Master Kenneth Stewart, of Bailienochy."
"Then it is not even our man," grumbled the soldier.
"But Stewart is not the name he gave," cried the sergeant. "Jasper Blount he told me he
was called. It seems that after all we have captured a malignant, and that I was well
advised to bring him to you."
The captain made a gesture of disdain. In that moment Kenneth recognized him. He was
Harry Hogan - the man whose life Galliard had saved in Penrith.
"Bah, a worthless capture, Beddoes," he said.