During Holy Week a strange multitude thronged the hilly streets of Le Puy, pedlars from Languedoc and Provence and Catalonia, leading their mules laded with leather goods, oil, wool, webs of cloth, or wines of Spain in goat-skins; lords a-horseback and ladies in wains, artisans and traders pacing on their mules, with wife or daughter perched behind, Then came the poor pilgrim folk, limping along, halting and hobbling, stick in hand and bag on back, panting up the stiff climb.
"So please you," answered the Fleming, "we were compelled to tarry, that we might load our wains with our bales of cloth and other property." "Ha! wains? how many wains have you brought with you?" "Six, noble sir," replied Wilkin. "And how many men?" demanded Raymond Berenger. "Twelve, valiant sir," answered Flammock. "Only two men to each baggage-wain?
But suddenly the stately thoroughfare had given place to a meaner street, its princely shops had degenerated into blank walls or grimy yards, on either hand rose tall chimney stacks belching smoke; instead of dashing motor cars, heavy wains and cumbrous wagons jogged by; in place of the well-dressed throng were figures rough-clad and grimy that hurried along the narrow sidewalks but these rough-clad people walked fast and purposefully.
The page darted an ireful glance at the facetious physician; but presently recollecting that the name Kate, which had provoked his displeasure, was probably but introduced for the sake of alliteration, he suppressed his wrath, and only asked if the wains had been heard of?
The huge wains groaned under the weight of vessels of gold and silver, of ivory, and of the most precious woods of India. The jewelled wine cups, vases, and golden sculpture of Demetrius attracted the gaze and excited the admiration of every beholder.
"Ah! you two are scarred about your 'coy and your rabbud-warren," cried Hickathrift good-humouredly. "I wish they'd dree-ern the whole place and have roads all over it, so as to want carts and wains." "Nay, they nivver will," said Dave sourly. "Tek to makkin' boats and punts, mun. Them's best." "Hullo, Dave!" cried Dick; "how about the ruffs and reeves? You said you'd take me to the netting."
Countrymen, with their wains, were met or overtaken; bodies of cavalry, in their stable dresses, were exercising their horses on the level; here and there an officer in uniform rode past us; and carriages, in which sat some of Bohemia's fairest and noblest daughters, swept by.
The page hardly heard the end of the learned adage, or the charge which the Chamberlain gave him to be within reach, in case of the wains arriving suddenly, and sooner than expected so eager he was at once to shake himself free of his learned associate, and to satisfy his curiosity regarding the unknown damsel.
Carter steamed slowly into the great station at Hull it was morning, and the sun was shining, and the birds singing, and in the fields about the smoky town there were herds of sweet-breathing cattle sniffing the fresh spring air, and labourers plodding to their work, and loaded wains of odorous hay and dewy garden-stuff were lumbering along the quiet country roads, and the new-born day had altogether the innocent look appropriate to its tender youth, when the detective stepped out on the platform, calm, self-contained, and resolute, as brisk and business-like in his manner as any traveller in that train, and with no distinctive stamp upon him, however slight, that marked him as the hunter of a murderer.
Her breath was blown away again before the sentence was finished, if it was meant to be finished, and Master Lorimer came to insist on the ladies taking shelter in his covered waggon, where the Prioress was already installed. Through rain and sleet they reached Chipping Barnet in due time on the third day's journey, and here they were to part from the merchant's wains.