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"Well, Phil Evans, I have made up my mind. If the "Albatross"

time: 2023-12-05 01:29:13laiyuan:toutiaovits: 763

Perhaps Myles, who lay silently listening to all that was said, was the only one who looked upon the scheme at all in the light of real utility, but I think that even with him the fun of the matter outweighed the serious part of the business.

So it was that the Sacred Order of the Twenty Knights of the Rose came to be initiated. They appointed a code of secret passwords and countersigns which were very difficult to remember, and which were only used when they might excite the curiosity of the other and uninitiated boys by their mysterious sound. They elected Myles as their Grand High Commander, and held secret meetings in the ancient tower, where many mysteries were soberly enacted.

Of course in a day or two all the body of squires knew nearly everything concerning the Knights of the Rose, and of their secret meetings in the old tower. The lucky twenty were the objects of envy of all not so fortunate as to be included in this number, and there was a marked air of secrecy about everything they did that appealed to every romantic notion of the youngsters looking on. What was the stormy outcome of it all is now presently to be told.

Thus it was that Myles, with an eye to open war with the bachelors, gathered a following to his support. It was some little while before matters were brought to a crisis--a week or ten days. Perhaps even Myles had no great desire to hasten matters. He knew that whenever war was declared, he himself would have to bear the brunt of the battle, and even the bravest man hesitates before deliberately thrusting himself into a fight.

One morning Myles and Gascoyne and Wilkes sat under the shade of two trees, between which was a board nailed to the trunks, making a rude bench--always a favorite lounging-place for the lads in idle moments. Myles was polishing his bascinet with lard and wood-ashes, rubbing the metal with a piece of leather, and wiping it clean with a fustian rag. The other two, who had just been relieved from household duty, lay at length idly looking on.

Just then one of the smaller pages, a boy of twelve or thirteen, by name Robin Ingoldsby, crossed the court. He had been crying; his face was red and blubbered, and his body was still shaken with convulsive sniffs.

Myles looked up. "Come hither, Robin," he called from where he sat. "What is to do?"

The little fellow came slowly up to where the three rested in the shade. "Mowbray beat me with a strap," said he, rubbing his sleeve across his eyes, and catching his breath at the recollection.

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