Thus came the Queen's Page, young Richard Partington, from famous London Town down into Nottinghamshire, upon Her Majesty's bidding, to seek Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest.
The road was hot and dusty and his journey had been long, for that day he had come all the way from Leicester Town, a good twenty miles and more; wherefore young Partington was right glad when he saw before him a sweet little inn, all shady and cool beneath the trees, in front of the door of which a sign hung pendant, bearing the picture of a blue boar.
Young Partington poured forth the bright yellow wine and holding the glass aloft, cried, "Here is to the health and long happiness of my royal mistress, the noble Queen Eleanor; and may my journey and her desirings soon have end, and I find a certain stout yeoman men call Robin Hood."
Then one of the two, whom Partington thought to be the tallest and stoutest fellow he had ever beheld, spoke up and said, "What seekest thou of Robin Hood, Sir Page?
"An thou knowest aught of him, good fellow," said young Partington, "thou wilt do great service to him and great pleasure to our royal Queen by aiding me to find him."
"Set thy mind at ease; I bring nought of ill with me," quoth Richard Partington. "I bring a kind message to him from our Queen, therefore an ye know where he is to be found, I pray you to guide me thither."
Then Partington paid his score, and the yeomen coming forward, they all straightway departed upon their way.
All listened in silence, for young Allan's singing was one of the greatest joys in all the world to them; but as they so listened there came of a sudden the sound of a horse's feet, and presently Little John and Will Stutely came forth from the forest path into the open glade, young Richard Partington riding between them upon his milk-white horse.
"I am Richard Partington, page to Her Majesty, Queen Eleanor," answered the lad with dignity; and again the sound of his voice troubled Robin sorely.
"Why come you to the greenwood alone, Master Partington?"
"And I am but a sorry page," replied Marian; "for I had clean forgot that I was Richard Partington, and really did bring you a message from Queen Eleanor!"
"How now!" said the Queen smiling; "is this my lady Marian, or the page, Richard Partington?"
Of the fish patrolmen under whom we served at various times, Charley Le Grant and I were agreed, I think, that Neil Partington was the best.
Not only did Neil Partington interpose no obstacle to our adventure, but he proved to be of the greatest assistance.
While Neil Partington, who was a patrolman proper, received a regular salary, Charley and I, being merely deputies, received only what we earned--that is to say, a certain percentage of the fines imposed on convicted violators of the fish laws.