Wolf Wood (Part One) (Chapter 1 - Sherborne Abbey, page 2 of 2)


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Alice felt a tinge of alarm. Elizabeth had told her that Lady Margaret wanted to be with the women when they took their babies to the font. It looked as if she was determined to carry out her wish. She turned to the vicar, who was standing nearby.

'Can't you do something about it, Vicar?'

'About what, Sister?'

'The band. It's hardly appropriate for a christening.'

'The baptismal band is part of a time-honoured tradition.'

'But the drums and trumpets … they sound like an army on the march. The brothers find it offensive. There have been occasions when they have feared for their safety.'

'I'm sure there is no reason for that.'

'We are worried about what Lady Margaret might think.'

'Lady Margaret?'

'You are surely aware that she is here to make a donation for the new almshouse. What will you tell your fellow trustees if she changes her mind?'

Alice turned her attention to a group of men on the abbey green. They had musical instruments but didn't look as if they were about to take part in a religious service. None wore surplices. Some wore military uniforms.

Sherborne was an important base in the war with France and many of its men had served in the companies that crossed the Channel to fight in the king's name. The men in the band looked capable of anything. Alice wasn't surprised the monks were afraid of them.

For the moment, they seemed more interested in the abbey tower than the monks. Alice followed their gaze to a pair of boys on a narrow walkway. One was the son of Master Mason Robert Hulle. The other was not known to her. From the way he clung to a guard rail, she guessed he was unaccustomed to heights.

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