A murmur of amazement swept through the Foresters, and then a growl of rage.
cried he, "for I had started to that self-same Fair, and all the Foresters, and all the Sheriff's men in Christendom shall not stand between me and the center of their target
So Rob fell to planning how he could disguise himself to go to Nottingham town; for he knew that the Foresters had even then set a price on his head in the market-place.
But what with wrestling bouts and bouts with quarter-staves, and wandering minstrels, there came up so many other things to talk about, that the reward was forgotten for the nonce, and only the Foresters and Sheriff's men watched the gates with diligence, the Sheriff indeed spurring them to effort by offers of largess.
The winner was to receive the golden arrow, and a place with the King's Foresters.
The Sheriff arrested the Forester for treason--of which, poor man, he was as guiltless as you or I--and carried him to Nottingham jail.
Twas the man who had usurped his father's place as Head Forester, and who had roughly turned his mother out in the snow.
It shall be as you say," retorted the Forester angrily, "your head for your sauciness that you hit not my target.
I have looked upon your face once too often already, my fine Forester.
The Forester heard his parting thrust with an oath.
The Head Forester gave one cry, then fell face downward and lay still.
And the crowds thronging the streets upon that busy Fair day often paused to read the notice and talk together about the death of the Head Forester.
Both the foresters
and the laborers had risen from their bench, and Dame Eliza and the travelling doctor had flung themselves between the two parties with soft words and soothing gestures, when the door of the "Pied Merlin" was flung violently open, and the attention of the company was drawn from their own quarrel to the new-comer who had burst so unceremoniously upon them.
Early next morning the forester got up and went out hunting, and when he was gone the children were still in bed.
Then she was terribly alarmed, and she said to herself: 'What shall I say now when the forester comes home and sees that the children are gone?