I used this first excerpt in THE TIME OF SINGING (FOR THE KING'S FAVOR IN THE USA)
Readers might recognise it from the novel. This is where young William Longespee, first sets eyes on his half brother Hugh Bigod.
Alison: I’m with a very still person, or very still at the moment. His energy comes from the heart and it’s raying out from there. He has a very straight back and sits regally as if on a throne, with his chin up. Very straight indeed. This gives him the appearance of looking down on people. He has dark hair which is slightly wavy and thick. It gives the appearance of being darker than it is but I think this is because he himself gives the appearance of being very vivid. Everything about him is deep and rich. He has Ida’s eyes – soft and brown.Ah, William has the advantage because he’s watching Hugh, who is playing outside. I can see him running, chasing something. It’s a ball game – rugby or football or something similar with manhandling involved. You have to grab the person with the ball to get it off him. Involves tussling and running about. Hugh is being pointed out to William and William looks. When he focuses he really focuses. You can almost see the line drawn between his eyes and the object. Oh, Hugh has lovely muscles William is watching him and seeing how good the lad is at the game and his lively tussle of hair. He’s quite different to William – unrestrained, very natural and has an easy-going mien about him. When the game’s over, he walks off the field with an easy air. William doesn’t approve of that kind of style because he’s been taught that his way is the proper one. And now he looks at his mother who his looking at Hugh with adoration in her eyes and he thinks ‘if she had brought me up, I could have ended up like that. Better the way it is.’
Hugh and Longespee had a very difficult relationship. Here is one of several incidents that caused the ongoing difficulties.
Alison: I can see a beautiful white horse and someone riding it. It’s got a cloth that goes down almost to its knees. That’s beautiful as well. It’s white with vertical stripes on. The vertical stripes accentuate the flare at the bottom and are almost like pleats. There’s gold fringing on the bottom – exquisite. I think these lines are blue - lovely. And then I saw another horse join it. It’s dark with a white flash on its nose. And Hugh seems to be standing watching. I can’t see how he’s involved with this. Just give me a few minutes to sort out what’s happened. It looks like it’s a race. Ohhh! Alison gives a sharp cry of distress. Gasps. ‘Oh God. This really gets to me because I hate it when animals are hurt. It’s really a bit worse than humans. What I saw was that the white horse was being raced against the dark horse. It was Hugh’s horse, a beautiful, beautiful horse. He lent it to
But it wasn't terrible all of the time. Now to an incident with Longespee getting on with his Bigod relations
Alison: I can see a carved pole and when I say carved I mean something like a banister post but much longer on its own, and two hands, one up here and one down there (indicates) and two flappy things that come off this carved thing. It’s a musical instrument – like a recorder. I’m just wondering what connection it is with
Hugh and Longespee together in Ireland in late spring 1210.
Alison: Poof! I got a real sort of pushing in of the stomach which pushed the air out of Hugh. I don’t know what it means. It’s a friendly greeting from
To which Hugh can just respond by patting
In this excerpt, Ralph Bigod, Hugh's younger brother, has been captured along with Longespee following the disastrous Battle of Bouvines.
Alison: There’s a lot of discomfort in the solar plexus stomach area. He’s feeling very uncomfortable and miserable. Chin jutting out, the left hand thumping his thigh. He’s keeping very alert. He feels vulnerable. He’s watching everywhere. He’s using the skills of the battlefield in the situation although he hasn’t got his weapons. He feels very vulnerable without his weapons. He’s still in a killing frame of mind and trying to work out ways to kill people. He’s expecting to be killed himself as well. Does he think being
He’s let the side down, his noble heritage. It’s terrible for a king to get captured, terrible for the country, and he’s so close to being a king (i.e. the son of one and the brother of one) that it’s not good. He will act nobly in the situation. Such as this has happened before. He will act nobly to his compatriots. He feels it’s up to him to keep up morale. He wants generous quarters and he’s expecting clean sheets on the beds. They’re saying ‘That will all be in good time, sire. Meantime you can stay here.’ So they’re left outside for a long time – in fact all night. They have to call for water for the people who are ailing – for their own wounded.
The Relationship between Longespee and William Marshal Junior in 1216
Alison. William’s got a smile on his face and he’s looking to the right towards William jnr (Will). There’s a window behind Will and
There are several more excerpts, but since they are woven strongly into the fabric of the novel and might cause big spoiles, I'll leave them in abeyance for the moment. As it is, readers will find many of the above moments woven through the storyline of TO DEFY A KING.