"So I do," said Gascoyne, hastily, "and do love thee more than any one in all the world, Myles; but I had thought that it would make thee feel more easy, to think that the Earl was not against thee. And, indeed, from all thou has told me, I do soothly think that he and Sir James mean to befriend thee and hold thee privily in kind regard."
"Then why doth he not stand forth like a man and befriend me and my father openly, even if it be to his own peril?" said Myles, reverting stubbornly to what he had first spoken.
Gascoyne did not answer, but lay for a long while in silence. "Knowest thou," he suddenly asked, after a while, "who is this great enemy of whom Sir James speaketh, and who seeketh so to drive thy father to ruin?"
"Nay," said Myles, "I know not, for my father hath never spoken of these things, and Sir James would not tell me. But this I know," said he, suddenly, grinding his teeth together, "an I do not hunt him out some day and slay him like a dog--" He stopped abruptly, and Gascoyne, looking askance at him, saw that his eyes were full of tears, whereupon he turned his looks away again quickly, and fell to shooting pebbles out through the open window with his finger and thumb.
"Thou wilt tell no one of these things that I have said?" said Myles, after a while.
"Not I," said Gascoyne. "Thinkest thou I could do such a thing?"
Perhaps this talk more than anything else that had ever passed between them knit the two friends the closer together, for, as I have said, Myles felt easier now that he had poured out his bitter thoughts and words; and as for Gascoyne, I think that there is nothing so flattering to one's soul as to be made the confidant of a stronger nature.
But the old tower served another purpose than that of a spot in which to pass away a few idle hours, or in which to indulge the confidences of friendship, for it was there that Myles gathered a backing of strength for resistance against the tyranny of the bachelors, and it is for that more than for any other reason that it has been told how they found the place and of what they did there, feeling secure against interruption.
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