"I do wonder," said Myles, quaintly, "that thou couldst ever find the courage to bespeak a young maid, Francis. Never did I do so, nor ever could. Rather would I face three strong men than one young damsel."
Whereupon Gascoyne burst out laughing. "Marry!" quoth he, "they be no such terrible things, but gentle and pleasant spoken, and soft and smooth as any cat."
"No matter for that," said Myles; "I would not face one such for worlds."
It was during the short time when, so to speak, the two owned the solitude of the Brutus Tower, that Myles told his friend of his father's outlawry and of the peril in which the family stood. And thus it was.
"I do marvel," said Gascoyne one day, as the two lay stretched in the Eyry, looking down into the castle court-yard below--"I do marvel, now that thou art 'stablished here this month and more, that my Lord doth never have thee called to service upon household duty. Canst thou riddle me why it is so, Myles?"
The subject was a very sore one with Myles. Until Sir James had told him of the matter in his office that day he had never known that his father was attainted and outlawed. He had accepted the change from their earlier state and the bald poverty of their life at Crosbey-Holt with the easy carelessness of boyhood, and Sir James's words were the first to awaken him to a realization of the misfortunes of the house of Falworth. His was a brooding nature, and in the three or four weeks that passed he had meditated so much over what had been told him, that by-and-by it almost seemed as if a shadow of shame rested upon his father's fair fame, even though the attaint set upon him was unrighteous and unjust, as Myles knew it must be. He had felt angry and resentful at the Earl's neglect, and as days passed and he was not noticed in any way, his heart was at times very bitter.
So now Gascoyne's innocent question touched a sore spot, and Myles spoke with a sharp, angry pain in his voice that made the other look quickly up. "Sooner would my Lord have yonder swineherd serve him in the household than me," said he.
"Why may that be, Myles?" said Gascoyne.
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