"You brought it upon yourself, John Tranter," said the tall squire, who had been addressed as Roger Harcomb.
"Nay; Tranter first laid hand upon his head," said Harcomb.
"My name is known in these parts," said Tranter, proudly, "I can let pass what might leave a stain upon another.
"En avant, then!" cried Tranter shortly, and the whole assembly flocked out into the open air, save only those whom the special orders of their masters held to their posts.
In such combats, as well as in the more formal sports of the tilting-yard, Tranter had won a name for strength and dexterity which had caused Norbury to utter his well-meant warning.
Tranter's great sword was indeed a mighty vantage in his favor.
Tranter well knew his advantage and lost no time in putting it to use.
"For my part, I have no wish to slay this young man," said Tranter, wiping his heated brow.
"Then stand on your guard, sir!" With a clatter and dash the two blades met once more, Alleyne pressing in so as to keep within the full sweep of the heavy blade, while Tranter as continually sprang back to have space for one of his fatal cuts.
"Your life is in my hands!" cried Tranter, with a bitter smile.
Once there was an old aged man over at Mellstock--William Dewy by name--one of the family that used to do a good deal of business as tranters
over there, Jonathan, do ye mind?--I knowed the man by sight as well as I know my own brother, in a manner of speaking.