The Scotland Yard of Myles Falworth's day was one of the more pretentious and commodious of the palaces of the Strand. It took its name from having been from ancient times the London inn which the tributary Kings of Scotland occupied when on their periodical visits of homage to England. Now, during this time of Scotland's independence, the Prince of Wales had taken up his lodging in the old palace, and made it noisy with the mad, boisterous mirth of his court.
As the watermen drew the barge close to the landing-place of the stairs, the Earl stepped ashore, and followed by Myles and Gascoyne, ascended to the broad gate-way of the river wall of the garden. Three men-at-arms who lounged upon a bench under the shade of the little pent roof of a guard-house beside the wall, arose and saluted as the well-known figure of the Earl mounted the steps. The Earl nodded a cool answer, and passing unchallenged through the gate, led the way up a pleached walk, beyond which, as Myles could see, there stretched a little grassy lawn and a stone-paved terrace. As the Earl and the two young men approached the end of the walk, they were met by the sound of voices and laughter, the clinking of glasses and the rattle of dishes. Turning a corner, they came suddenly upon a party of young gentlemen, who sat at a late breakfast under the shade of a wide-spreading lime-tree. They had evidently just left the tilt-yard, for two of the guests--sturdy, thick-set young knights--yet wore a part of their tilting armor.
Behind the merry scene stood the gray, hoary old palace, a steep flight of stone steps, and a long, open, stone-arched gallery, which evidently led to the kitchen beyond, for along it hurried serving- men, running up and down the tall flight of steps, and bearing trays and dishes and cups and flagons. It was a merry sight and a pleasant one. The day was warm and balmy, and the yellow sunlight fell in waving uncertain patches of light, dappling the table-cloth, and twinkling and sparkling upon the dishes, cups, and flagons.
At the head of the table sat a young man some three or four years older than Myles, dressed in a full suit of rich blue brocaded velvet, embroidered with gold-thread and trimmed with black fur. His face, which was turned towards them as they mounted from the lawn to the little stone-flagged terrace, was frank and open; the cheeks smooth and fair; the eyes dark and blue. He was tall and rather slight, and wore his thick yellow hair hanging to his shoulders, where it was cut square across, after the manner of the times. Myles did not need to be told that it was the Prince of Wales.
"Ho, Gaffer Fox!" he cried, as soon as he caught sight of the Earl of Mackworth, "what wind blows thee hither among us wild mallard drakes? I warrant it is not for love of us, but only to fill thine own larder after the manner of Sir Fox among the drakes. Whom hast thou with thee? Some gosling thou art about to pluck?"
A sudden hush fell upon the company, and all faces were turned towards the visitors.
The Earl bowed with a soft smile. "Your Highness," said he, smoothly, "is pleased to be pleasant. Sir, I bring you the young knight of whom I spoke to you some time since--Sir Myles Falworth. You may be pleased to bring to mind that you so condescended as to promise to take him into your train until the fitting time arrived for that certain matter of which we spoke."
"Sir Myles," said the Prince of Wales, with a frank, pleasant smile, "I have heard great reports of thy skill and prowess in France, both from Mackworth and from others. It will pleasure me greatly to have thee in my household; more especially," he added, "as it will get thee, callow as thou art, out of my Lord Fox's clutches. Our faction cannot do without the Earl of Mackworth's cunning wits, Sir Myles; ne'theless I would not like to put all my fate and fortune into his hands without bond. I hope that thou dost not rest thy fortunes entirely upon his aid and countenance."
indigo came next in value; then capsicum, old clothes,
twelve miles from land, was no less remarkable for its
to suggest that the lighting of that island should be taken
and promising him the support of the community. He consented
rising, was gradually flooding the cave of the dragon.
having concurred with Stevenson as to the practicability