|The Little Duke|
|by Charlotte M. Yonge|
|An inspiring story of Richard the Fearless (943-996) who became Duke of Normandy at the age of 8. Relates the perils of his childhood, both at home in Normandy and during his captivity at the court of France, and how at long last he came to embrace the values his father espoused. Ages 9-12 |
DANGER IN THE CASTLE
 DUKE RICHARD of Normandy slept in the room which had been his
father's; Alberic de Montemar, as his page, slept at his feet, and
Osmond de Centeville had a bed on the floor, across the door, where
he lay with his sword close at hand, as his young Lord's guard and
All had been asleep for some little time, when Osmond was startled by
a slight movement of the door, which could not be pushed open without
awakening him. In an instant he had grasped his sword, while he
pressed his shoulder to the door to keep it closed; but it was his
father's voice that answered him with a few whispered words in the
Norse tongue, "It is I, open." He made way instantly, and old Sir
Eric entered, treading cautiously with bare feet, and sat down on the
bed motioning him to do the same, so that they
 might be able to speak
lower. "Right, Osmond," he said. "It is well to be on the alert,
for peril enough is around him—The Frank means mischief! I know
from a sure hand that Arnulf of Flanders was in council with him just
before he came hither, with his false tongue, wiling and coaxing the
"Ungrateful traitor!" murmured Osmond. "Do you guess his purpose?"
"Yes, surely, to carry the boy off with him, and so he trusts
doubtless to cut off all the race of Rollo! I know his purpose is to
bear off the Duke, as a ward of the Crown forsooth. Did you not hear
him luring the child with his promises of friendship with the
Princes? I could not understand all his French words, but I saw it
"You will never allow it?"
"If he does, it must be across our dead bodies; but taken as we are
by surprise, our resistance will little avail. The Castle is full of
French, the hall and court swarm with them. Even if we could draw
our Normans together, we should not be more than a dozen men, and
what could we do
 but die? That we are ready for, if it may not be
otherwise, rather than let our charge be thus borne off without a
pledge for his safety, and without the knowledge of the states."
"The king could not have come at a worse time," said Osmond.
"No, just when Bernard the Dane is absent. If he only knew what has
befallen, he could raise the country, and come to the rescue."
"Could we not send some one to bear the tidings to-night?"
"I know not," said Sir Eric, musingly. "The French have taken the
keeping of the doors; indeed they are so thick through the Castle
that I can hardly reach one of our men, nor could I spare one hand
that may avail to guard the boy to-morrow."
"Sir Eric;" a bare little foot was heard on the floor, and Alberic de
Montemar stood before him. "I did not mean to listen, but I could
not help hearing you. I cannot fight for the Duke yet, but I could
carry a message."
"How would that be?" said Osmond, eagerly. "Once out of the Castle,
and in Rouen, he could
 easily find means of sending to the Count. He
might go either to the Convent of St. Ouen, or, which would be
better, to the trusty armourer, Thibault, who would soon find man and
horse to send after the Count."
"Ha! let me see," said Sir Eric. "It might be. But how is he to get
"I know a way," said Alberic. "I scrambled down that wide buttress
by the east wall last week, when our ball was caught in a branch of
the ivy, and the drawbridge is down."
"If Bernard knew, it would be off my mind, at least!" said Sir Eric.
"Well, my young Frenchman, you may do good service."
"Osmond," whispered Alberic, as he began hastily to dress himself,
"only ask one thing of Sir Eric—never to call me young Frenchman
Sir Eric smiled, saying, "Prove yourself Norman, my boy."
"Then," added Osmond, "if it were possible to get the Duke himself
out of the castle to-morrow morning. If I could take him forth by
the postern, and once bring him into the town, he would be
 safe. It
would be only to raise the burghers, or else to take refuge in the
Church of Our Lady till the Count came up, and then Louis would find
his prey out of his hands when he awoke and sought him."
"That might be," replied Sir Eric; "but I doubt your success. The
French are too eager to hold him fast, to let him slip out of their
hands. You will find every door guarded."
"Yes, but all the French have not seen the Duke, and the sight of a
squire and a little page going forth, will scarcely excite their
"Ay, if the Duke would bear himself like a little page; but that you
need not hope for. Besides, he is so taken with this King's
flatteries, that I doubt whether he would consent to leave him for
the sake of Count Bernard. Poor child, he is like to be soon taught
to know his true friends."
"I am ready," said Alberic, coming forward.
The Baron de Centeville repeated his instructions, and then undertook
to guard the door, while his son saw Alberic set off on his
expedition. Osmond went with him softly down the stairs, then
avoid-  ing the hall, which was filled with French, they crept silently
to a narrow window, guarded by iron bars, placed at such short
intervals apart that only so small and slim a form as Alberic's could
have squeezed out between them. The distance to the ground was not
much more than twice his own height, and the wall was so covered with
ivy, that it was not a very dangerous feat for an active boy, so that
Alberic was soon safe on the ground, then looking up to wave his cap,
he ran on along the side of the moat, and was soon lost to Osmond's
sight in the darkness.
Osmond returned to the Duke's chamber, and relieved his father's
guard, while Richard slept soundly on, little guessing at the plots
of his enemies, or at the schemes of his faithful subjects for his
Osmond thought this all the better, for he had small trust in
Richard's patience and self-command, and thought there was much more
chance of getting him unnoticed out of the Castle, if he did not know
how much depended on it, and how dangerous his situation was.
When Richard awoke, he was much surprised
 at missing Alberic, but
Osmond said he was gone into the town to Thibault the armourer, and
this was a message on which he was so likely to be employed that
Richard's suspicion was not excited. All the time he was dressing he
talked about the King, and everything he meant to show him that day;
then, when he was ready, the first thing was as usual to go to attend
"Not by that way, to-day, my Lord," said Osmond, as Richard was about
to enter the great hall. "It is crowded with the French who have
been sleeping there all night; come to the postern."
Osmond turned, as he spoke, along the passage, walking fast, and not
sorry that Richard was lingering a little, as it was safer for him to
be first. The postern was, as he expected, guarded by two tall
steel-cased figures, who immediately held their lances across the
door-way, saying, "None passes without warrant."
"You will surely let us of the Castle attend to our daily business,"
said Osmond. "You will hardly break your fast this morning if you
stop all communication with the town."
 "You must bring warrant," repeated one of the men-at-arms. Osmond
was beginning to say that he was the son of the Seneschal of the
Castle, when Richard came hastily up. "What? Do these men want to
stop us?" he exclaimed in the imperious manner he had begun to take
up since his accession. "Let us go on, sirs."
The men-at-arms looked at each other, and guarded the door more
closely. Osmond saw it was hopeless, and only wanted to draw his
young charge back without being recognised, but Richard exclaimed
loudly, "What means this?"
"The King has given orders that none should pass without warrant,"
was Osmond's answer. "We must wait."
"I will pass!" said Richard, impatient at opposition, to which he was
little accustomed. "What mean you, Osmond? This is my Castle, and
no one has a right to stop me. Do you hear, grooms? let me go. I am
The sentinels bowed, but all they said was, "Our orders are express."
"I tell you I am Duke of Normandy, and I will go where I please in my
own city!" exclaimed
 Richard, passionately pressing against the
crossed staves of the weapons, to force his way between them, but he
was caught and held fast in the powerful gauntlet of one of the men-
at-arms. "Let me go, villain!" cried he, struggling with all his
might. "Osmond, Osmond, help!"
Even as he spoke Osmond had disengaged him from the grasp of the
Frenchman, and putting his hand on his arm, said, "Nay, my Lord, it
is not for you to strive with such as these."
"I will strive!" cried the boy. "I will not have my way barred in my
own Castle. I will tell the King how these rogues of his use me. I
will have them in the dungeon. Sir Eric! where is Sir Eric?"
Away he rushed to the stairs, Osmond hurrying after him, lest he
should throw himself into some fresh danger, or by his loud calls
attract the French, who might then easily make him prisoner.
However, on the very first step of the stairs stood Sir Eric, who was
too anxious for the success of the attempt to escape, to be very far
off. Richard, too angry to heed where he was going, dashed up
against him without seeing him, and as the old
 Baron took hold of
him, began, "Sir Eric, Sir Eric, those French are villains! they will
not let me pass—"
"Hush, hush! my Lord," said Sir Eric. "Silence! come here."
However imperious with others, Richard from force of habit always
obeyed Sir Eric, and now allowed himself to be dragged hastily and
silently by him, Osmond following closely, up the stairs, up a second
and a third winding flight, still narrower, and with broken steps, to
a small round, thick-walled turret chamber, with an extremely small
door, and loop-holes of windows high up in the tower. Here, to his
great surprise, he found Dame Astrida, kneeling and telling her
beads, two or three of her maidens, and about four of the Norman
Squires and men-at-arms.
"So you have failed, Osmond?" said the Baron.
"But what is all this? How did Fru Astrida come up here? May I not
go to the King and have those insolent Franks punished?"
"Listen to me, Lord Richard," said Sir Eric: "that smooth-spoken
King whose words so charmed you last night is an ungrateful deceiver.
 The Franks have always hated and feared the Normans, and not being
able to conquer us fairly, they now take to foul means. Louis came
hither from Flanders, he has brought this great troop of French to
surprise us, claim you as a ward of the crown, and carry you away
with him to some prison of his own."
"You will not let me go?" said Richard.
"Not while I live," said Sir Eric. "Alberic is gone to warn the
Count of Harcourt, to call the Normans together, and here we are
ready to defend this chamber to our last breath, but we are few, the
French are many, and succour may be far off."
"Then you meant to have taken me out of their reach this morning,
"Yes, my Lord."
"And if I had not flown into a passion and told who I was, I might
have been safe! O Sir Eric! Sir Eric! you will not let me be
carried off to a French prison!"
"Here, my child," said Dame Astrida, holding out her arms, "Sir Eric
will do all he can for you, but we are in God's hands!"
 Richard came and leant against her. "I wish I had not been in a
passion!" said he, sadly, after a silence; then looking at her in
wonder—"But how came you up all this way?"
"It is a long way for my old limbs," said Fru Astrida, smiling, "but
my son helped me, and he deems it the only safe place in the Castle."
"The safest," said Sir Eric, "and that is not saying much for it."
"Hark!" said Osmond, "what a tramping the Franks are making. They
are beginning to wonder where the Duke is."
"To the stairs, Osmond," said Sir Eric. "On that narrow step one man
may keep them at bay a long time. You can speak their jargon too,
and hold parley with them."
"Perhaps they will think I am gone," whispered Richard, "if they
cannot find me, and go away."
Osmond and two of the Normans were, as he spoke, taking their stand
on the narrow spiral stair, where there was just room for one man on
the step. Osmond was the lowest, the other two above him, and it
would have been very hard for an enemy to force his way past them.
 Osmond could plainly hear the sounds of the steps and voices of the
French as they consulted together, and sought for the Duke. A man at
length was heard clanking up these very stairs, till winding round,
he suddenly found himself close upon young de Centeville.
"Ha! Norman!" he cried, starting back in amazement, "what are you
"My duty," answered Osmond, shortly. "I am here to guard this
stair;" and his drawn sword expressed the same intention.
The Frenchman drew back, and presently a whispering below was heard,
and soon after a voice came up the stairs, saying, "Norman—good
"What would you say?" replied Osmond, and the head of another Frank
appeared. "What means all this, my friend?" was the address. "Our
King comes as a guest to you, and you received him last evening as
loyal vassals. Wherefore have you now drawn out of the way, and
striven to bear off your young Duke into secret places? Truly it
looks not well that you should thus strive to keep him apart, and
therefore the King requires to see him instantly."
 "Sir Frenchman," replied Osmond, "your King claims the Duke as his
ward. How that may be my father knows not, but as he was committed
to his charge by the states of Normandy, he holds himself bound to
keep him in his own hands until further orders from them."
"That means, insolent Norman, that you intend to shut the boy up and
keep him in your own rebel hands. You had best yield—it will be the
better for you and for him. The child is the King's ward, and he
shall not be left to be nurtured in rebellion by northern pirates."
At this moment a cry from without arose, so loud as almost to drown
the voices of the speakers on the turret stair, a cry welcome to the
ears of Osmond, repeated by a multitude of voices, "Haro! Haro! our
It was well known as a Norman shout. So just and so ready to redress
all grievances had the old Duke Rollo been, that his very name was an
appeal against injustice, and whenever wrong was done, the Norman
outcry against the injury was always "Ha Rollo!" or as it had become
shortened, "Haro." And now Osmond knew that those
 whose affection
had been won by the uprightness of Rollo, were gathering to protect
his helpless grandchild.
The cry was likewise heard by the little garrison in the turret
chamber, bringing hope and joy. Richard thought himself already
rescued, and springing from Fru Astrida, danced about in ecstasy,
only longing to see the faithful Normans, whose voices he heard
ringing out again and again, in calls for their little Duke, and
outcries against the Franks. The windows were, however, so high,
that nothing could be seen from them but the sky; and, like Richard,
the old Baron de Centeville was almost beside himself with anxiety to
know what force was gathered together, and what measures were being
taken. He opened the door, called to his son, and asked if he could
tell what was passing, but Osmond knew as little—he could see
nothing but the black, cobwebbed, dusty steps winding above his head,
while the clamours outside, waxing fiercer and louder, drowned all
the sounds which might otherwise have come up to him from the French
within the Castle. At last, however, Osmond called out to his
father, in Norse,
 "There is a Frank Baron come to entreat, and this
time very humbly, that the Duke may come to the King."
"Tell him," replied Sir Eric, "that save with consent of the council
of Normandy, the child leaves not my hands."
"He says," called back Osmond, after a moment, "that you shall guard
him yourself, with as many as you choose to bring with you. He
declares on the faith of a free Baron, that the King has no thought
of ill—he wants to show him to the Rouennais without, who are
calling for him, and threaten to tear down the tower rather than not
see their little Duke. Shall I bid him send a hostage?"
"Answer him," returned the Baron, "that the Duke leaves not this
chamber unless a pledge is put into our hands for his safety. There
was an oily-tongued Count, who sat next the King at supper—let him
come hither, and then perchance I may trust the Duke among them."
Osmond gave the desired reply, which was carried to the King.
Meantime the uproar outside grew louder than ever, and there were new
 sounds, a horn was winded, and there was a shout of "Dieu aide!" the
Norman war-cry, joined with "Notre Dame de Harcourt!"
"There, there!" cried Sir Eric, with a long breath, as if relieved of
half his anxieties, "the boy has sped well. Bernard is here at last!
Now his head and hand are there, I doubt no longer."
"Here comes the Count," said Osmond, opening the door, and admitting
a stout, burly man, who seemed sorely out of breath with the ascent
of the steep, broken stair, and very little pleased to find himself
in such a situation. The Baron de Centeville augured well from the
speed with which he had been sent, thinking it proved great
perplexity and distress on the part of Louis. Without waiting to
hear his hostage speak, he pointed to a chest on which he had been
sitting, and bade two of his men-at-arms stand on each side of the
Count, saying at the same time to Fru Astrida, "Now, mother, if aught
of evil befalls the child, you know your part. Come, Lord Richard."
Richard moved forward. Sir Eric held his hand. Osmond kept close
behind him, and with as many of the men-at-arms as could be
from guarding Fru Astrida and her hostage, he descended the stairs,
not by any means sorry to go, for he was weary of being besieged in
that turret chamber, whence he could see nothing, and with those
friendly cries in his ears, he could not be afraid.
He was conducted to the large council-room which was above the hall.
There, the King was walking up and down anxiously, looking paler than
his wont, and no wonder, for the uproar sounded tremendous there—and
now and then a stone dashed against the sides of the deep window.
Nearly at the same moment as Richard entered by one door, Count
Bernard de Harcourt came in from the other, and there was a slight
lull in the tumult.
"What means this, my Lords?" exclaimed the King. "Here am I come in
all good will, in memory of my warm friendship with Duke William, to
take on me the care of his orphan, and hold council with you for
avenging his death, and is this the greeting you afford me? You
steal away the child, and stir up the rascaille
 of Rouen against me.
Is this the reception for your King?"
"Sir King," replied Bernard, "what your intentions may be, I know
not. All I do know is, that the burghers of Rouen are fiercely
incensed against you—so much so, that they were almost ready to tear
me to pieces for being absent at this juncture. They say that you
are keeping the child prisoner in his own Castle and that they will
have him restored if they tear it down to the foundations."
"You are a true man, a loyal man—you understand my good intentions,"
said Louis, trembling, for the Normans were extremely dreaded. "You
would not bring the shame of rebellion on your town and people.
Advise me—I will do just as you counsel me—how shall I appease
"Take the child, lead him to the window, swear that you mean him no
evil, that you will not take him from us," said Bernard. "Swear it
on the faith of a King."
"As a King—as a Christian, it is true!" said Louis. "Here, my boy!
Wherefore shrink from
 me? What have I done, that you should fear me?
You have been listening to evil tales of me, my child. Come hither."
At a sign from the Count de Harcourt, Sir Eric led Richard forward,
and put his hand into the King's. Louis took him to the window,
lifted him upon the sill, and stood there with his arm round him,
upon which the shout, "Long live Richard, our little Duke!" arose
again. Meantime, the two Centevilles looked in wonder at the old
Harcourt, who shook his head and muttered in his own tongue, "I will
do all I may, but our force is small, and the King has the best of
it. We must not yet bring a war on ourselves."
"Hark! he is going to speak," said Osmond.
"Fair Sirs!—excellent burgesses!" began the King, as the cries
lulled a little.
"I rejoice to see the love ye bear to our
young Prince! I would all my subjects were equally loyal! But
wherefore dread me, as if I were come to injure him? I, who came but
to take counsel how to avenge the death of his father, who brought me
back from England when I was a friendless exile. Know ye not how
deep is the debt of gratitude I
 owe to Duke William? He it was who
made me King—it was he who gained me the love of the King of
Germany; he stood godfather for my son—to him I owe all my wealth
and state, and all my care is to render guerdon for it to his child,
since, alas! I may not to himself. Duke William rests in his bloody
grave! It is for me to call his murderers to account, and to cherish
his son, even as mine own!"
So saying, Louis tenderly embraced the little boy, and the Rouennais
below broke out into another cry, in which "Long live King Louis,"
was joined with "Long live Richard!"
"You will not let the child go?" said Eric, meanwhile, to Harcourt.
"Not without provision for his safety, but we are not fit for war as
yet, and to let him go is the only means of warding it off."
Eric groaned and shook his head; but the Count de Harcourt's judgment
was of such weight with him, that he never dreamt of disputing it.
"Bring me here," said the King, "all that you deem most holy, and you
shall see me pledge myself to be your Duke's most faithful friend."
 There was some delay, during which the Norman Nobles had time for
further counsel together, and Richard looked wistfully at them,
wondering what was to happen to him, and wishing he could venture to
ask for Alberic.
Several of the Clergy of the Cathedral presently appeared in
procession, bringing with them the book of the Gospels on which
Richard had taken his installation oath, with others of the sacred
treasures of the Church, preserved in gold cases. The Priests were
followed by a few of the Norman Knights and Nobles, some of the
burgesses of Rouen, and, to Richard's great joy, by Alberic de
Montemar himself. The two boys stood looking eagerly at each other,
while preparation was made for the ceremony of the King's oath.
The stone table in the middle of the room was cleared, and arranged
so as in some degree to resemble the Altar in the Cathedral; then the
Count de Harcourt, standing before it, and holding the King's hand,
demanded of him whether he would undertake to be the friend,
protector, and good Lord of Richard, Duke of Normandy, guarding him
from all his enemies, and ever seeking his
 welfare. Louis, with his
hand on the Gospels, "swore that so he would."
"Amen!" returned Bernard the Dane, solemnly, "and as thou keepest
that oath to the fatherless child, so may the Lord do unto thine
Then followed the ceremony, which had been interrupted the night
before, of the homage and oath of allegiance which Richard owed to
the King, and, on the other hand, the King's formal reception of him
as a vassal, holding, under him, the two dukedoms of Normandy and
Brittany. "And," said the King, raising him in his arms and kissing
him, "no dearer vassal do I hold in all my realm than this fair
child, son of my murdered friend and benefactor—precious to me as my
own children, as soon my Queen and I hope to testify."
Richard did not much like all this embracing; but he was sure the
King really meant him no ill, and he wondered at all the distrust the
Centevilles had shown.
"Now, brave Normans," said the King, "be ye ready speedily, for an
onset on the traitor Fleming. The cause of my ward is my own cause.
 shall the trumpet be sounded, the ban and arriere ban of the
realm be called forth, and Arnulf, in the flames of his cities, and
the blood of his vassals, shall learn to rue the day when his foot
trod the Isle of Pecquigny! How many Normans can you bring to the
muster, Sir Count?"
"I cannot say, within a few hundreds of lances," replied the old
Dane, cautiously; "it depends on the numbers that may be engaged in
the Italian war with the Saracens, but of this be sure, Sir King,
that every man in Normandy and Brittany who can draw a sword or bend
a bow, will stand forth in the cause of our little Duke; ay, and that
his blessed father's memory is held so dear in our northern home,
that it needs but a message to King Harold Blue-tooth to bring a
fleet of long keels into the Seine, with stout Danes enough to carry
fire and sword, not merely through Flanders, but through all France.
We of the North are not apt to forget old friendships and favours,
"Yes, yes, I know the Norman faith of old," returned Louis, uneasily,
"but we should scarcely need such wild allies as you propose; the
 of Paris, and Hubert of Senlis may be reckoned on, I suppose."
"No truer friend to Normandy than gallant and wise old Hugh the
White!" said Bernard, "and as to Senlis, he is uncle to the boy, and
doubly bound to us."
"I rejoice to see your confidence," said Louis. "You shall soon hear
from me. In the meantime I must return to gather my force together,
and summon my great vassals, and I will, with your leave, brave
Normans, take with me my dear young ward. His presence will plead
better in his cause than the finest words; moreover, he will grow up
in love and friendship with my two boys, and shall be nurtured with
them in all good learning and chivalry, nor shall he ever be reminded
that he is an orphan while under the care of Queen Gerberge and
"Let the child come to me, so please you, my Lord the King," answered
Harcourt, bluntly. "I must hold some converse with him, ere I can
"Go then, Richard," said Louis, "go to your trusty vassal—happy are
you in possessing such a friend; I hope you know his value."
 "Here then, young Sir," said the Count, in his native tongue, when
Richard had crossed from the King's side, and stood beside him, "what
say you to this proposal?"
"The King is very kind," said Richard. "I am sure he is kind; but I
do not like to go from Rouen, or from Dame Astrida."
"Listen, my Lord," said the Dane, stooping down and speaking low.
"The King is resolved to have you away; he has with him the best of
his Franks, and has so taken us at unawares, that though I might yet
rescue you from his hands, it would not be without a fierce struggle,
wherein you might be harmed, and this castle and town certainly
burnt, and wrested from us. A few weeks or months, and we shall have
time to draw our force together, so that Normandy need fear no man,
and for that time you must tarry with him."
"Must I—and all alone?"
"No, not alone, not without the most trusty guardian that can be
found for you. Friend Eric, what say you?" and he laid his hand on
the old Baron's shoulder. "Yet, I know not; true thou
 art, as a
Norwegian mountain, but I doubt me if thy brains are not too dull to
see through the French wiles and disguises, sharp as thou didst show
thyself last night."
"That was Osmond, not I," said Sir Eric. "He knows their mincing
tongue better than I. He were the best to go with the poor child, if
go he must."
"Bethink you, Eric," said the Count, in an undertone, "Osmond is the
only hope of your good old house—if there is foul play, the guardian
will be the first to suffer."
"Since you think fit to peril the only hope of all Normandy, I am not
the man to hold back my son where he may aid him," said old Eric,
sadly. "The poor child will be lonely and uncared-for there, and it
were hard he should not have one faithful comrade and friend with
"It is well," said Bernard: "young as he is, I had rather trust
Osmond with the child than any one else, for he is ready of counsel,
and quick of hand."
"Ay, and a pretty pass it is come to," muttered old Centeville, "that
we, whose business it is to
 guard the boy, should send him where you
scarcely like to trust my son."
Bernard paid no further attention to him, but, coming forward,
required another oath from the King, that Richard should be as safe
and free at his court as at Rouen, and that on no pretence whatsoever
should he be taken from under the immediate care of his Esquire,
Osmond Fitz Eric, heir of Centeville.
After this, the King was impatient to depart, and all was
preparation. Bernard called Osmond aside to give full instructions
on his conduct, and the means of communicating with Normandy, and
Richard was taking leave of Fru Astrida, who had now descended from
her turret, bringing her hostage with her. She wept much over her
little Duke, praying that he might safely be restored to Normandy,
even though she might not live to see it; she exhorted him not to
forget the good and holy learning in which he had been brought up, to
rule his temper, and, above all, to say his prayers constantly, never
leaving out one, as the beads of his rosary reminded him of their
order. As to her own grandson, anxiety for him seemed almost
 lost in
her fears for Richard, and the chief things she said to him, when he
came to take leave of her, were directions as to the care he was to
take of the child, telling him the honour he now received was one
which would make his name forever esteemed if he did but fulfil his
trust, the most precious that Norman had ever yet received.
"I will, grandmother, to the very best of my power," said Osmond; "I
may die in his cause, but never will I be faithless!"
"Alberic!" said Richard, "are you glad to be going back to Montemar?"
"Yes, my Lord," answered Alberic, sturdily, "as glad as you will be
to come back to Rouen."
"Then I shall send for you directly, Alberic, for I shall never love
the Princes Carloman and Lothaire half as well as you!"
"My Lord the King is waiting for the Duke," said a Frenchman, coming
"Farewell then, Fru Astrida. Do not weep. I shall soon come back.
Farewell, Alberic. Take the bar-tailed falcon back to Montemar, and
keep him for my sake. Farewell, Sir Eric—
 Farewell, Count Bernard.
When the Normans come to conquer Arnulf you will lead them. O dear,
dear Fru Astrida, farewell again."
"Farewell, my own darling. The blessing of Heaven go with you, and
bring you safe home! Farewell, Osmond. Heaven guard you and
strengthen you to be his shield and his defence!"
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