But though Myles's wound was not mortal, it was very serious. The fever which followed lingered longer than common--perhaps because of the hot weather--and the days stretched to weeks, and the weeks to months, and still he lay there, nursed by his mother and Gascoyne and Prior Edward, and now and again by Sir James Lee.
One day, a little before the good priest returned to Saint Mary's Priory, as he sat by Myles's bedside, his hands folded, and his sight turned inward, the young man suddenly said, "Tell me, holy father, is it always wrong for man to slay man?"
The good priest sat silent for so long a time that Myles began to think he had not heard the question. But by-and-by he answered, almost with a sigh, "It is a hard question, my son, but I must in truth say, meseems it is not always wrong."
"Sir," said Myles, "I have been in battle when men were slain, but never did I think thereon as I have upon this matter. Did I sin in so slaying my father's enemy?"
"Nay," said Prior Edward, quietly, "thou didst not sin. It was for others thou didst fight, my son, and for others it is pardonable to do battle. Had it been thine own quarrel, it might haply have been more hard to have answered thee."
Who can gainsay, even in these days of light, the truth of this that the good priest said to the sick lad so far away in the past?
One day the Earl of Mackworth came to visit Myles. At that time the young knight was mending, and was sitting propped up with pillows, and was wrapped in Sir James Lee's cloak, for the day was chilly. After a little time of talk, a pause of silence fell.
"My Lord," said Myles, suddenly, "dost thou remember one part of a matter we spoke of when I first came from France?"