Gascoyne and Wilkes exchanged looks, and then the former blew a long whistle.
So that afternoon a gloomy set of young faces were gathered together in the Eyry--fifteen of the Knights of the Rose--and all knew why they were assembled. The talk which followed was conducted mostly by Myles. He addressed the others with a straightforward vim and earnestness, but the response was only half-hearted, and when at last, having heated himself up with his own fire, he sat down, puffing out his red cheeks and glaring round, a space of silence followed, the lads looked doubtfully at one another. Myles felt the chill of their silence strike coldly on his enthusiasm, and it vexed him.
"What wouldst thou do, Falworth?" said one of the knights, at last. "Wouldst have us open a quarrel with the bachelors?"
"Nay," said Myles, gruffly. "I had thought that ye would all lend me a hand in a pitched battle but now I see that ye ha' no stomach for that. Ne'theless, I tell ye plainly I will not submit longer to the bachelors. So now I will ask ye not to take any venture upon yourselves, but only this: that ye will stand by me when I do my fighting, and not let five or seven of them fall upon me at once.
"There is Walter Blunt; he is parlous strong, said one of the others, after a time of silence. "Methinks he could conquer any two of us."
"Nay," said Myles; "ye do fear him too greatly. I tell ye I fear not to stand up to try battle with him and will do so, too, if the need arise. Only say ye that ye will stand by my back."
"Marry," said Gascoyne, quaintly, "an thou wilt dare take the heavy end upon thee, I for one am willing to stand by and see that thou have thy fill of fighting."
"I too will stand thee by, Myles," said Edmund Wilkes.
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