"I have looked upon your face once too often already, my fine Forester. 'Tis you who wear my father's shoes."
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.
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?
Then all the foresters were filled with rage, and he who had spoken the first and had lost the wager was more angry than all.
Never a word said Robin Hood, but he looked at the foresters with a grim face; then, turning on his heel, strode away from them down the forest glade.
Some had shot deer in hungry wintertime, when they could get no other food, and had been seen in the act by the foresters, but had escaped, thus saving their ears; some had been turned out of their inheritance, that their farms might be added to the King's lands in Sherwood Forest; some had been despoiled by a great baron or a rich abbot or a powerful esquire-- all, for one cause or another, had come to Sherwood to escape wrong and oppression.
"It would take a clever man to live upon thy labor, Hugh," remarked one of the foresters, "seeing that the half of thy time is spent in swilling mead at the `Pied Merlin.'"
"If it come to that." said one of the foresters, "the tough meat of them will wear folks teeth out, and there is a trade for the man who can draw them."
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.
``Clerk me no Clerks,'' replied the transformed priest; ``by Saint George and the Dragon, I am no longer a shaveling than while my frock is on my back When I am cased in my green cassock, I will drink, swear, and woo a lass, with any blithe forester
in the West Riding.''