"What said he to thee, Falworth?" asked he.
"He said naught," said Myles, brusquely. "He only sought to show me how to recover from the under cut."
"It is passing strange that he should take so much notice of thee as to exchange blows with thee with his own hand. Haply thou art either very quick or parlous slow at arms."
"It is quick that he is," said Gascoyne, speaking up in his friend's behalf. "For the second time that Falworth delivered the stroke, Sir James could not reach him to return; so I saw with mine own eyes."
But that very sterling independence that had brought Myles so creditably through this adventure was certain to embroil him with the rude, half-savage lads about him, some of whom, especially among the bachelors, were his superiors as well in age as in skill and training. As said before, the bachelors had enforced from the younger boys a fagging sort of attendance on their various personal needs, and it was upon this point that Myles first came to grief. As it chanced, several days passed before any demand was made upon him for service to the heads of the squirehood, but when that demand was made, the bachelors were very quick to see that the boy who was bold enough to speak up to Sir James Lee was not likely to be a willing fag for them.
"I tell thee, Francis," he said, as Gascoyne and he talked over the matter one day--"I tell thee I will never serve them. Prithee, what shame can be fouler than to do such menial service, saving for one's rightful Lord?"
"Marry!" quoth Gascoyne; "I reason not of shame at this or that. All I know is that others serve them who are haply as good and maybe better than I be, and that if I do not serve them I get knocked i' th' head therefore, which same goeth soothly against my stomach."
"I judge not for thee," said Myles. "Thou art used to these castle ways, but only I know that I will not serve them, though they be thirty against me instead of thirteen."
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