|Chapter 10||CHAPTER XI||Chapter 12|
APPEARANCE OF THE DUKE OF LOGREUS
0 Jurgen brushed from the table the chessmen that were set there in readiness for a game, and he emptied the silver flagons upon the ground. His reasons for not meddling with the horn he explained to the Princess: she shivered, and said that, such being the case, he was certainly very sensible. Then they mounted, and departed from the black and silver pavilion. They came thus without further adventure to Gogyrvan Gawr's city of Cameliard.
Now there was shouting and the bells all rang when the people knew their Princess was returned to them: the houses were hung with painted cloths and banners, and trumpets sounded, as Guenevere and Jurgen came to the King in his Hall of judgment. And this Gogyrvan, that was King of Glathion and Lord of Enisgarth and Camwy and Sargyll, came down from his wide throne, and he embraced first Guenevere, then Jurgen.
"And demand of me what you will, Duke of Logreus," said Gogyrvan, when he had heard the champion's name, "and it is yours for the asking. For you have restored to me the best loved daughter that ever was the pride of a high king."
"Sir," replied Jurgen, reasonably,"a service rendered so gladly should be its own reward. So I am asking that you do in turn restore to me the Princess Guenevere, in honourable marriage, do you understand? because I am a poor lorn widower, I am tolerably certain; but I am quite certain I love your daughter with my whole heart."
Thus Jurgen, whose periods were confused by emotion.
"I do not see what the condition of your heart has to do with any such unreasonable request. And you have no good sense to be asking this thing of me when here are the servants of Arthur, that is now King of the Britons, come to ask for my daughter as his wife. That you are Duke of Logreus you tell me, and I concede a duke is all very well : but I expect you in return to concede a king takes precedence, with any man whose daughter is marriageable. But to-morrow, or the next day it may be, you and I will talk over your reward more privately. Meanwhile it is very queer and very frightened you are looking, to be the champion who conquered Thragnar."
For Jurgen was staring at the great mirror behind the King's throne. In this mirror Jurgen saw the back of Gogyrvan's crowned head, and beyond this, Jurgen saw a queer and frightened-looking young fellow, with sleek black hair, and an impudent nose, and wide-open bright brown eyes which were staring hard at Jurgen : and the lad's very red and very heavy lips were parted, so that you saw what fine strong teeth he had : and he wore a glittering shirt with curious figures on it.
"I was thinking," says Jurgen, and he saw the lad in the mirror was speaking too, "I was thinking that is a remarkable mirror you have there."
"It is like any other mirror," replies the King, "in that it shows things as they are. But if you fancy it as your reward, why, take it and welcome."
"And are you still talking of rewards!" cries Jurgen.
"Why, if that mirror shows things as they are, I have come out of my borrowed Wednesday still twenty-one. Oh, but it was the clever fellow I was, to flatter Mother Sereda so cunningly, and to fool her into such generosity! And I wonder that you who are only a king, with bleared eyes under your crown, and with a drooping belly under all your royal robes, should be talking of rewarding a fine young fellow of twenty-one, for there is nothing you have which I need be wanting now."
"Then you will not be plaguing me any more with your nonsense about my daughter: and that is excellent news."
"But I have no requirement to be asking your good graces now," said Jurgen, "nor the good-will of any man alive that has a handsome daughter or a handsome wife. For now I have the aid of a lad that was very recently made Duke of Logreus: and with his countenance I can look out for myself, and I can get justice done me everywhere, in all the bedchambers of the world."
And Jurgen snapped his fingers, and was about to turn away from the King. There was much sunlight in the hall, so that Jurgen in this half-turn confronted his shadow as it lay plain upon the flagstones. And Jurgen looked at it very intently.
"Of course," said Jurgen presently, "I only meant in a manner of speaking, sir : and was paraphrasing the splendid if hackneyed passage from Sornatius, with which you are doubtless familiar, in which he goes on to say, so much more beautifully than I could possibly express without quoting him word for word, that all this was spoken jestingly, and without the least intention of offending anybody, oh, anybody whatever, I can assure you, sir."
"Very well," said Gogyrvan Gawr: and he smiled, for no reason that was apparent to Jurgen, who was still watching his shadow sidewise. "To-morrow, I repeat, I must talk with you more privately. To-day I am giving a banquet such as was never known in these parts, because my daughter is restored to me, and because my daughter is going to be queen over all the Britons."
So said Gogyrvan, that was King of Glathion and Lord of Enisgarth and Camwy and Sargyll: and this was done.
And everywhere at the banquet Jurgen heard talk of this King Arthur who was to marry Dame Guenevere, and of the prophecy which Merlin Ambrosius had made as to the young monarch. For Merlin had predicted:
"He shall afford succour, and shall tread upon the necks of his enemies: the isles of the ocean shall be subdued by him, and he shall possess the forests of Gaul: the house of Romulus shall fear his rage, and his acts shall be food for the narrators."
"Why, then," says Jurgen, to himself, "this monarch reminds me in all things of David of Israel, who was so splendid and famous, and so greedy, in the ancient ages. For to these forests and islands and necks and other possessions, this Arthur Pendragon must be adding my one ewe lamb; and I lack a Nathan to convert him to repentance. Now, but this, to be sure, is a very unfair thing."
Then Jurgen looked again into a mirror: and presently the eyes of the lad he found therein began to twinkle.
"Have at you, David!" said Jurgen, valorously; "since, after all, I see no reason to despair."