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13. Robin Hood Compasses a Marriage (continued)
And now Robin counted out two hundred golden angels to Edward of Deirwold, and he, upon his part, gave his blessing, yet not, I wot, as though he meant it with overmuch good will. Then the stout yeomen crowded around and grasped Allan's palm, and he, holding Ellen's hand within his own, looked about him all dizzy with his happiness.
Then at last jolly Robin turned to the Bishop of Hereford, who had been looking on at all that passed with a grim look. "My Lord Bishop," quoth he, "thou mayst bring to thy mind that thou didst promise me that did I play in such wise as to cause this fair lass to love her husband, thou wouldst give me whatsoever I asked in reason. I have played my play, and she loveth her husband, which she would not have done but for me; so now fulfill thy promise. Thou hast upon thee that which, methinks, thou wouldst be the better without; therefore, I prythee, give me that golden chain that hangeth about thy neck as a wedding present for this fair bride."
Then the Bishop's cheeks grew red with rage and his eyes flashed. He looked at Robin with a fell look, but saw that in the yeoman's face which bade him pause. Then slowly he took the chain from about his neck and handed it to Robin, who flung it over Ellen's head so that it hung glittering about her shoulders. Then said merry Robin, "I thank thee, on the bride's part, for thy handsome gift, and truly thou thyself art more seemly without it. Now, shouldst thou ever come nigh to Sherwood I much hope that I shall give thee there such a feast as thou hast ne'er had in all thy life before."
"May Heaven forfend!" cried the Bishop earnestly; for he knew right well what manner of feast it was that Robin Hood gave his guests in Sherwood Forest.
But now Robin Hood gathered his men together, and, with Allan and his young bride in their midst, they all turned their footsteps toward the woodlands. On the way thither Friar Tuck came close to Robin and plucked him by the sleeve. "Thou dost lead a merry life, good master," quoth he, "but dost thou not think that it would be for the welfare of all your souls to have a good stout chaplain, such as I, to oversee holy matters? Truly, I do love this life mightily." At this merry Robin Hood laughed amain, and bade him stay and become one of their band if he wished.
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