Thus adjured, Alfred repeated the whole story of his discovery of the
"You saw the leaders closely then?" said Dunstan, when he had finished;
"describe the elder one to me."
"A tall dark man, like a foreign soldier, in plain but rich apparel, a
scar on the right cheek."
"Stay, my son, I know him; his name is Redwald, and he is the captain of
the king's bodyguard. Now describe the other with whom he held converse."
"Father, I cannot."
"My son--" but Dunstan paused, for he saw that poor Alfred had covered
his face with his hands, and he at once divined the truth, with full
conviction, at the same time, of the truth and earnestness of Alfred's
"My son, God can dispose and turn the hearts of all men as seemeth best
to His wisdom; and I doubt not, in answer to our fervent prayers, He
will turn the heart of your poor brother. Meanwhile, we ourselves will
take such precautions as shall spare him the guilt of sacrilege.
"Brother Osgood, summon the prior to my presence, and cause the brethren
to assemble, one and all, in the chapter house: we have need of instant
The lay brother departed, and Dunstan, whose cheerfulness did not desert
him for one moment, chatted familiarly with Father Cuthbert, or perused
the parchment the good father had just presented through Alfred.
"It is a great and pleasing thing," he said, "to behold how our Order is
spreading through this benighted land, and how spiritual children arise
everywhere to our holy father Benedict; surely the time is near at hand
when the wilderness shall blossom as the rose.