The Outlaw of Torn

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 122

in direct contrast to the methods of the baronial troops,
had spent the preceding night in drunken revelry, so that they were
quite taken by surprise.

It is true that Henry had stationed an outpost upon the summit of the
hill in advance of Lewes, but so lax was discipline in his army that
the soldiers, growing tired of the duty, had abandoned the post toward
morning, and returned to town, leaving but a single man on watch. He,
left alone, had promptly fallen asleep, and thus De Montfort's men found
and captured him within sight of the bell-tower of the Priory of Lewes,
where the King and his royal allies lay peacefully asleep, after their
night of wine and dancing and song.

Had it not been for an incident which now befell, the baronial army
would doubtless have reached the city without being detected, but it
happened that, the evening before, Henry had ordered a foraging party to
ride forth at daybreak, as provisions for both men and beasts were low.

This party had scarcely left the city behind them ere they fell into the
hands of the baronial troops. Though some few were killed or captured,
those who escaped were sufficient to arouse the sleeping army of the
royalists to the close proximity and gravity of their danger.

By this time, the four divisions of De Montfort's army were in full view
of the town. On the left were the Londoners under Nicholas de Segrave;
in the center rode De Clare, with John Fitz-John and William de
Monchensy, at the head of a large division which occupied that branch of
the hill which descended a gentle, unbroken slope to the town. The right
wing was commanded by Henry de Montfort, the oldest son of Simon de
Montfort, and with him was the third son, Guy, as well as John de
Burgh and Humphrey de Bohun. The reserves were under Simon de Montfort

Thus was the flower of English chivalry pitted against the King and his
party, which included many nobles whose kinsmen were with De Montfort;
so that brother faced brother, and father fought against son, on that
bloody Wednesday, before the old town of Lewes.

Prince Edward was the first of the royal party to take the field and, as
he issued from the castle with his gallant company, banners and
pennons streaming in the breeze and burnished armor and flashing blade
scintillating in the morning sunlight, he made a gorgeous and impressive
spectacle as he hurled himself upon the Londoners, whom he had selected
for attack because of the affront they had

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