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´╗┐Title: The Monastery
Author: Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Monastery" ***

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[Illustration: Halbert Glendinning Invoking The White Lady]


              SIR WALTER SCOTT.

             In Twelve Volumes

       from the latest English Editions
 The Author's Last Corrections, Prefaces, and Notes.

              THE MONASTERY.


It would be difficult to assign any good reason why the author of
Ivanhoe, after using, in that work, all the art he possessed to remove
the personages, action, and manners of the tale, to a distance from
his own country, should choose for the scene of his next attempt the
celebrated ruins of Melrose, in the immediate neighbourhood of his own
residence. But the reason, or caprice, which dictated his change of
system, has entirely escaped his recollection, nor is it worth while to
attempt recalling what must be a matter of very little consequence.

The general plan of the story was, to conjoin two characters in that
bustling and contentious age, who, thrown into situations which gave
them different views on the subject of the Reformation, should, with the
same sincerity and purity of intention, dedicate themselves, the one to
the support of the sinking fabric of the Catholic Church, the other to
the establishment of the Reformed doctrines. It was supposed that some
interesting subjects for narrative might be derived from opposing two
such enthusiasts to each other in the path of life, and contrasting the
real worth of both with their passions and prejudices. The localities
of Melrose suited well the scenery of the proposed story; the ruins
themselves form a splendid theatre for any tragic incident which might
be brought forward; joined to the vicinity of the fine river, with all
its tributary streams, flowing through a country which has been the
scene of so much fierce fighting, and is rich with so many recollections
of former times, and lying almost under the immediate eye of the author,
by whom they were to be used in composition.

The situation possessed farther recommendations. On the opposite bank of
the Tweed might be seen the remains of ancient enclosures, surrounded by
sycamores and ash-trees of considerable size. These had once formed the
crofts or arable ground of a village, now reduced to a single hut, the
abode of a fisherman, who also manages a ferry. The cottages, even the
church which once existed there, have sunk into vestiges hardly to
be traced without visiting the spot, the inhabitants having gradually
withdrawn to the more prosperous town of Galashiels, which has
risen into consideration, within two miles of their neighbourhood.
Superstitious eld, however, has tenanted the deserted groves with aerial
beings, to supply the want of the mortal tenants who have deserted it.
The ruined and abandoned churchyard of Boldside has been long believed
to be haunted by the Fairies, and the deep broad current of the Tweed,
wheeling in moonlight round the foot of the steep bank, with the
number of trees originally planted for shelter round the fields of
the cottagers, but now presenting the effect of scattered and detached
groves, fill up the idea which one would form in imagination for a scene
that Oberon and Queen Mab might love to revel in. There are evenings
when the spectator might believe, with Father Chaucer, that the

  --Queen of Faery,
  With harp, and pipe, and symphony,
  Were dwelling in the place.

Another, and even a more familiar refuge of the elfin race, (if
tradition is to be trusted,) is the glen of the river, or rather brook,
named the Allen, which falls into the Tweed from the northward, about a
quarter of a mile above the present bridge. As the streamlet finds its
way behind Lord Sommerville's hunting-seat, called the Pavilion, its
valley has been popularly termed the Fairy Dean, or rather the Nameless
Dean, because of the supposed ill luck attached by the popular faith of
ancient times, to any one who might name or allude to the race, whom our
fathers distinguished as the Good Neighbours, and the Highlanders called
Daoine Shie, or Men of Peace; rather by way of compliment, than on
account of any particular idea of friendship or pacific relation which
either Highlander or Borderer entertained towards the irritable beings
whom they thus distinguished, or supposed them to bear to humanity.
[Footnote: See Rob Roy, Note, p. 202.]

In evidence of the actual operations of the fairy people even at this
time, little pieces of calcareous matter are found in the glen after a
flood, which either the labours of those tiny artists, or the eddies of
the brook among the stones, have formed into a fantastic resemblance of
cups, saucers, basins, and the like, in which children who gather them
pretend to discern fairy utensils.

Besides these circumstances of romantic locality, _mea paupera regna_
(as Captain Dalgetty denominates his territory of Drumthwacket) are
bounded by a small but deep lake, from which eyes that yet look on the
light are said to have seen the waterbull ascend, and shake the hills
with his roar.

Indeed, the country around Melrose, if possessing less of romantic
beauty than some other scenes in Scotland, is connected with so many
associations of a fanciful nature, in which the imagination takes
delight, as might well induce one even less attached to the spot than
the author, to accommodate, after a general manner, the imaginary scenes
he was framing to the localities to which he was partial. But it would
be a misapprehension to suppose, that, because Melrose may in general
pass for Kennaquhair, or because it agrees with scenes of the Monastery
in the circumstances of the drawbridge, the milldam, and other points of
resemblance, that therefore an accurate or perfect local similitude
is to be found in all the particulars of the picture. It was not the
purpose of the author to present a landscape copied from nature, but a
piece of composition, in which a real scene, with which he is familiar,
had afforded him some leading outlines. Thus the resemblance of the
imaginary Glendearg with the real vale of the Allen, is far from being
minute, nor did the author aim at identifying them. This must appear
plain to all who know the actual character of the Glen of Allen, and
have taken the trouble to read the account of the imaginary Glendearg.
The stream in the latter case is described as wandering down a romantic
little valley, shifting itself, after the fashion of such a brook,
from one side to the other, as it can most easily find its passage, and
touching nothing in its progress that gives token of cultivation. It
rises near a solitary tower, the abode of a supposed church vassal, and
the scene of several incidents in the Romance.

The real Allen, on the contrary, after traversing the romantic ravine
called the Nameless Dean, thrown off from side to side alternately, like
a billiard ball repelled by the sides of the table on which it has been
played, and in that part of its course resembling the stream which pours
down Glendearg, may be traced upwards into a more open country, where
the banks retreat farther from each other, and the vale exhibits a
good deal of dry ground, which has not been neglected by the active
cultivators of the district. It arrives, too, at a sort of termination,
striking in itself, but totally irreconcilable with the narrative of
the Romance. Instead of a single peel-house, or border tower of defence,
such as Dame Glendinning is supposed to have inhabited, the head of the
Allen, about five miles above its junction with the Tweed, shows three
ruins of Border houses, belonging to different proprietors, and each,
from the desire of mutual support so natural to troublesome times,
situated at the extremity of the property of which it is the principal
messuage. One of these is the ruinous mansion-house of Hillslap,
formerly the property of the Cairncrosses, and now of Mr. Innes of Stow;
a second the tower of Colmslie, an ancient inheritance of the Borthwick
family, as is testified by their crest, the Goat's Head, which exists on
the ruin; [Footnote: It appears that Sir Walter Scott's memory was not
quite accurate on these points. John Borthwick, Esq. in a note to the
publisher, (June 11, 1813.) says that _Colmslie_ belonged to Mr. Innes
of Stow, while _Hillslap_ forms part of the estate of Crookston. He
adds--"In proof that the tower of Hillslap, which I have taken measures
to preserve from injury, was chiefly in his head, as the tower of
_Glendearg,_ when writing the Monastery, I may mention that, on one of
the occasions when I had the honour of being a visiter at Abbotsford,
the stables then being full, I sent a pony to be put up at our tenant's
at Hillslap:--'Well.' said Sir Walter, 'if you do that, you must trust
for its not being _lifted_ before to-morrow, to the protection of
Halbert Glendinning: against Christie of the Clintshill.' At page 58,
vol. iii., the first edition, the '_winding_ stair' which the monk
ascended is described. The winding stone stair is still to be seen in
Hillslap, but not in either of the other two towers" It is however,
probable, from the Goat's-Head crest on Colmslie, that that tower also
had been of old a possession of the Borthwicks.] a third, the house of
Langshaw, also ruinous, but near which the proprietor, Mr. Baillie of
Jerviswood and Mellerstain, has built a small shooting box.

All these ruins, so strangely huddled together in a very solitary spot,
have recollections and traditions of their own, but none of them bear
the most distant resemblance to the descriptions in the Romance of
the Monastery; and as the author could hardly have erred so grossly
regarding a spot within a morning's ride of his own house, the inference
is, that no resemblance was intended. Hillslap is remembered by the
humours of the last inhabitants, two or three elderly ladies, of the
class of Miss Raynalds, in the Old Manor House, though less important by
birth and fortune. Colmslie is commemorated in song:--

  Colmslie stands on Colmslie hill.
  The water it flows round Colmslie mill;
  The mill and the kiln gang bonnily.
  And it's up with the whippers of Colmslie.

Langshaw, although larger than the other mansions assembled at the head
of the supposed Glendearg, has nothing about it more remarkable than the
inscription of the present proprietor over his shooting lodge--_Utinam
hane eliam viris impleam amicis_--a modest wish, which I know no one
more capable of attaining upon an extended scale, than the gentleman who
has expressed it upon a limited one.

Having thus shown that I could say something of these desolated towers,
which the desire of social intercourse, or the facility of mutual
defence, had drawn together at the head of this Glen, I need not add any
farther reason to show, that there is no resemblance between them
and the solitary habitation of Dame Elspeth Glendinning. Beyond these
dwellings are some remains of natural wood, and a considerable portion
of morass and bog; but I would not advise any who may be curious in
localities, to spend time in looking for the fountain and holly-tree of
the White Lady.

While I am on the subject I may add, that Captain Clutterbuck, the
imaginary editor of the Monastery, has no real prototype in the village
of Melrose or neighbourhood, that ever I saw or heard of. To give some
individuality to this personage, he is described as a character which
sometimes occurs in actual society--a person who, having spent his life
within the necessary duties of a technical profession, from which he
has been at length emancipated, finds himself without any occupation
whatever, and is apt to become the prey of ennui, until he discerns some
petty subject of investigation commensurate to his talents, the study of
which gives him employment in solitude; while the conscious possession
of information peculiar to himself, adds to his consequence in society.
I have often observed, that the lighter and trivial branches of
antiquarian study are singularly useful in relieving vacuity of such a
kind, and have known them serve many a Captain Clutterbuck to
retreat upon; I was therefore a good deal surprised, when I found the
antiquarian Captain identified with a neighbour and friend of my own,
who could never have been confounded with him by any one who had read
the book, and seen the party alluded to. This erroneous identification
occurs in a work entitled, "Illustrations of the Author of Waverley,
being Notices and Anecdotes of real Characters, Scenes, and Incidents,
supposed to be described in his works, by Robert Chambers." This work
was, of course, liable to many errors, as any one of the kind must be,
whatever may be the ingenuity of the author, which takes the task of
explaining what can be only known to another person. Mistakes of place
or inanimate things referred to, are of very little moment; but the
ingenious author ought to have been more cautious of attaching real
names to fictitious characters. I think it is in the Spectator we
read of a rustic wag, who, in a copy of "The Whole Duty of Man," wrote
opposite to every vice the name of some individual in the neighbourhood,
and thus converted that excellent work into a libel on a whole parish.

The scenery being thus ready at the author's hand, the reminiscences of
the country were equally favourable. In a land where the horses remained
almost constantly saddled, and the sword seldom quitted the warrior's
side--where war was the natural and constant state of the inhabitants,
and peace only existed in the shape of brief and feverish truces--there
could be no want of the means to complicate and extricate the incidents
of his narrative at pleasure. There was a disadvantage, notwithstanding,
in treading this Border district, for it had been already ransacked by
the author himself, as well as others; and unless presented under a
new light, was likely to afford ground to the objection of _Crambe bis

To attain the indispensable quality of novelty, something, it was
thought, might be gained by contrasting the character of the vassals of
the church with those of the dependants of the lay barons, by whom they
were surrounded. But much advantage could not be derived from this.
There were, indeed, differences betwixt the two classes, but, like
tribes in the mineral and vegetable world, which, resembling each other
to common eyes, can be sufficiently well discriminated by naturalists,
they were yet too similar, upon the whole, to be placed in marked
contrast with each other.

Machinery remained--the introduction of the supernatural and marvellous;
the resort of distressed authors since the days of Horace, but whose
privileges as a sanctuary have been disputed in the present age, and
well-nigh exploded. The popular belief no longer allows the possibility
of existence to the race of mysterious beings which hovered betwixt
this world and that which is invisible. The fairies have abandoned
their moonlight turf; the witch no longer holds her black orgies in the
hemlock dell; and

  Even the last lingering phantom of the brain,
  The churchyard ghost, is now at rest again.

From the discredit attached to the vulgar and more common modes in which
the Scottish superstition displays itself, the author was induced to
have recourse to the beautiful, though almost forgotten, theory of
astral spirits, or creatures of the elements, surpassing human beings
in knowledge and power, but inferior to them, as being subject, after
a certain space of years, to a death which is to them annihilation,
as they have no share in the promise made to the sons of Adam. These
spirits are supposed to be of four distinct kinds, as the elements from
which they have their origin, and are known, to those who have
studied the cabalistical philosophy, by the names of Sylphs, Gnomes,
Salamanders, and Naiads, as they belong to the elements of Air, Earth,
Fire, or Water. The general reader will find an entertaining account
of these elementary spirits in the French book entitled, "Entretiens de
Compte du Gabalis." The ingenious Compte de la Motte Fouqu? composed,
in German, one of the most successful productions of his fertile
brain, where a beautiful and even afflicting effect is produced by the
introduction of a water-nymph, who loses the privilege of immortality by
consenting to become accessible to human feelings, and uniting her lot
with that of a mortal, who treats her with ingratitude.

In imitation of an example so successful, the White Lady of Avenel was
introduced into the following sheets. She is represented as connected
with the family of Avenel by one of those mystic ties, which, in ancient
times, were supposed to exist, in certain circumstances, between the
creatures of the elements and the children of men. Such instances
of mysterious union are recognized in Ireland, in the real Milosian
families, who are possessed of a Banshie; and they are known among the
traditions of the Highlands, which, in many cases, attached an immortal
being or spirit to the service of particular families or tribes. These
demons, if they are to be called so, announced good or evil fortune to
the families connected with them; and though some only condescended to
meddle with matters of importance, others, like the May Mollach, or Maid
of the Hairy Arms, condescended to mingle in ordinary sports, and even
to direct the Chief how to play at draughts.

There was, therefore, no great violence in supposing such a being as
this to have existed, while the elementary spirits were believed in;
but it was more difficult to describe or imagine its attributes and
principles of action. Shakespeare, the first of authorities in such a
case, has painted Ariel, that beautiful creature of his fancy, as only
approaching so near to humanity as to know the nature of that sympathy
which the creatures of clay felt for each other, as we learn from the
expression--"Mine would, if I were human." The inferences from this
are singular, but seem capable of regular deduction. A being, however
superior to man in length of life--in power over the elements--in
certain perceptions respecting the present, the past, and the future,
yet still incapable of human passions, of sentiments of moral good and
evil, of meriting future rewards or punishments, belongs rather to
the class of animals, than of human creatures, and must therefore be
presumed to act more from temporary benevolence or caprice, than from
anything approaching to feeling or reasoning. Such a being's superiority
in power can only be compared to that of the elephant or lion, who are
greater in strength than man, though inferior in the scale of creation.
The partialities which we suppose such spirits to entertain must be like
those of the dog; their sudden starts of passion, or the indulgence of a
frolic, or mischief, may be compared to those of the numerous varieties
of the cat. All these propensities are, however, controlled by the
laws which render the elementary race subordinate to the command of
man--liable to be subjected by his science, (so the sect of Gnostics
believed, and on this turned the Rosicrucian philosophy,) or to be
overpowered by his superior courage and daring, when it set their
illusions at defiance.

It is with reference to this idea of the supposed spirits of the
elements, that the White Lady of Avenel is represented as acting a
varying, capricious, and inconsistent part in the pages assigned to her
in the narrative; manifesting interest and attachment to the family with
whom her destinies are associated, but evincing whim, and even a species
of malevolence, towards other mortals, as the Sacristan, and the
Border robber, whose incorrect life subjected them to receive petty
mortifications at her hand. The White Lady is scarcely supposed,
however, to have possessed either the power or the inclination to do
more than inflict terror or create embarrassment, and is also subjected
by those mortals, who, by virtuous resolution, and mental energy,
could assert superiority over her. In these particulars she seems to
constitute a being of a middle class, between the _esprit follet_
who places its pleasure in misleading and tormenting mortals, and the
benevolent Fairy of the East, who uniformly guides, aids, and supports

Either, however, the author executed his purpose indifferently, or the
public did not approve of it; for the White Lady of Avenel was far from
being popular. He does not now make the present statement, in the view
of arguing readers into a more favourable opinion on the subject, but
merely with the purpose of exculpating himself from the charge of having
wantonly intruded into the narrative a being of inconsistent powers and

In the delineation of another character, the author of the Monastery
failed, where he hoped for some success. As nothing is so successful a
subject for ridicule as the fashionable follies of the time, it occurred
to him that the more serious scenes of his narrative might be relieved
by the humour of a cavaliero of the age of Queen Elizabeth. In every
period, the attempt to gain and maintain the highest rank of society,
has depended on the power of assuming and supporting a certain
fashionable kind of affectation, usually connected with some vivacity of
talent and energy of character, but distinguished at the same time by
a transcendent flight, beyond sound reason and common sense; both
faculties too vulgar to be admitted into the estimate of one who claims
to be esteemed "a choice spirit of the age." These, in their different
phases, constitute the gallants of the day, whose boast it is to drive
the whims of fashion to extremity.

On all occasions, the manners of the sovereign, the court, and the time,
must give the tone to the peculiar description of qualities by which
those who would attain the height of fashion must seek to distinguish
themselves. The reign of Elizabeth, being that of a maiden queen,
was distinguished by the decorum of the courtiers, and especially
the affectation of the deepest deference to the sovereign. After the
acknowledgment of the Queen's matchless perfections, the same devotion
was extended to beauty as it existed among the lesser stars in her
court, who sparkled, as it was the mode to say, by her reflected lustre.
It is true, that gallant knights no longer vowed to Heaven, the peacock,
and the ladies, to perform some feat of extravagant chivalry, in which
they endangered the lives of others as well as their own; but although
their chivalrous displays of personal gallantry seldom went farther in
Elizabeth's days than the tilt-yard, where barricades, called barriers,
prevented the shock of the horses, and limited the display of the
cavalier's skill to the comparatively safe encounter of their lances,
the language of the lovers to their ladies was still in the exalted
terms which Amadis would have addressed to Oriana, before encountering a
dragon for her sake. This tone of romantic gallantry found a clever but
conceited author, to reduce it to a species of constitution and form,
and lay down the courtly manner of conversation, in a pedantic book,
called Euphues and his England. Of this, a brief account is given in the
text, to which it may now be proper to make some additions.

The extravagance of Euphuism, or a symbolical jargon of the same class,
predominates in the romances of Calprenade and Scuderi, which were read
for the amusement of the fair sex of France during the long reign of
Louis XIV., and were supposed to contain the only legitimate language of
love and gallantry. In this reign they encountered the satire of Moliere
and Boileau. A similar disorder, spreading into private society, formed
the ground of the affected dialogue of the _Praecieuses_, as they were
styled, who formed the coterie of the Hotel de Rambouillet, and afforded
Moliere matter for his admirable comedy, _Les Praecieuses Ridicules_. In
England, the humour does not seem to have long survived the accession of
James I.

The author had the vanity to think that a character, whose peculiarities
should turn on extravagances which were once universally fashionable,
might be read in a fictitious story with a good chance of affording
amusement to the existing generation, who, fond as they are of looking
back on the actions and manners of their ancestors, might be also
supposed to be sensible of their absurdities. He must fairly acknowledge
that he was disappointed, and that the Euphuist, far from being
accounted a well drawn and humorous character of the period, was
condemned as unnatural and absurd. It would be easy to account for this
failure, by supposing the defect to arise from the author's want of
skill, and, probably, many readers may not be inclined to look farther.
But as the author himself can scarcely be supposed willing to acquiesce
in this final cause, if any other can be alleged, he has been led to
suspect, that, contrary to what he originally supposed, his subject was
injudiciously chosen, in which, and not in his mode of treating it, lay
the source of the want of success.

The manners of a rude people are always founded on nature, and therefore
the feelings of a more polished generation immediately sympathize with
them. We need no numerous notes, no antiquarian dissertations, to
enable the most ignorant to recognize the sentiments and diction of
the characters of Homer; we have but, as Lear says, to strip off our
lendings--to set aside the factitious principles and adornments which we
have received from our comparatively artificial system of society, and
our natural feelings are in unison with those of the bard of Chios and
the heroes who live in his verses. It is the same with a great part of
the narratives of my friend Mr. Cooper. We sympathize with his Indian
chiefs and back-woodsmen, and acknowledge, in the characters which he
presents to us, the same truth of human nature by which we should feel
ourselves influenced if placed in the same condition. So much is this
the case, that, though it is difficult, or almost impossible, to reclaim
a savage, bred from his youth to war and the chase, to the restraints
and the duties of civilized life, nothing is more easy or common than
to find men who have been educated in all the habits and comforts of
improved society, willing to exchange them for the wild labours of the
hunter and the fisher. The very amusements most pursued and relished
by men of all ranks, whose constitutions permit active exercise, are
hunting, fishing, and, in some instances, war, the natural and necessary
business of the savage of Dryden, where his hero talks of being

  --"As free as nature first made man,
  When wild in woods the noble savage ran."

But although the occupations, and even the sentiments, of human beings
in a primitive state, find access and interest in the minds of the more
civilized part of the species, it does not therefore follow, that the
national tastes, opinions, and follies of one civilized period, should
afford either the same interest or the same amusement to those of
another. These generally, when driven to extravagance, are founded, not
upon any natural taste proper to the species, but upon the growth of
some peculiar cast of affectation, with which mankind in general,
and succeeding generations in particular, feel no common interest or
sympathy. The extravagances of coxcombry in manners and apparel are
indeed the legitimate and often the successful objects of satire, during
the time when they exist. In evidence of this, theatrical critics
may observe how many dramatic _jeux d'esprit_ are well received every
season, because the satirist levels at some well-known or fashionable
absurdity; or, in the dramatic phrase, "shoots folly as it flies." But
when the peculiar kind of folly keeps the wing no longer, it is reckoned
but waste of powder to pour a discharge of ridicule on what has ceased
to exist; and the pieces in which such forgotten absurdities are made
the subject of ridicule, fall quietly into oblivion with the follies
which gave them fashion, or only continue to exist on the scene, because
they contain some other more permanent interest than that which connects
them with manners and follies of a temporary character.

This, perhaps, affords a reason why the comedies of Ben Jonson, founded
upon system, or what the age termed humours,--by which was meant
factitious and affected characters, superinduced on that which was
common to the rest of their race,--in spite of acute satire, deep
scholarship, and strong sense, do not now afford general pleasure, but
are confined to the closet of the antiquary, whose studies have assured
him that the personages of the dramatist were once, though they are now
no longer, portraits of existing nature.

Let us take another example of our hypothesis from Shakspeare himself,
who, of all authors, drew his portraits for all ages. With the whole
sum of the idolatry which affects us at his name, the mass of readers
peruse, without amusement, the characters formed on the extravagances of
temporary fashion; and the Euphuist Don Armado, the pedant Holofernes,
even Nym and Pistol, are read with little pleasure by the mass of the
public, being portraits of which we cannot recognize the humour, because
the originals no longer exist. In like manner, while the distresses of
Romeo and Juliet continue to interest every bosom, Mercutio, drawn as
an accurate representation of the finished fine gentleman of the period,
and as such received by the unanimous approbation of contemporaries, has
so little to interest the present age, that, stripped of all his puns,
and quirks of verbal wit, he only retains his place in the scene, in
virtue of his fine and fanciful speech upon dreaming, which belongs
to no particular age, and because he is a personage whose presence is
indispensable to the plot.

We have already prosecuted perhaps too far an argument, the tendency of
which is to prove, that the introduction of an humorist, acting like Sir
Piercie Shafton, upon some forgotten and obsolete model of folly, once
fashionable, is rather likely to awaken the disgust of the reader,
as unnatural, than find him food for laughter. Whether owing to this
theory, or whether to the more simple and probable cause of the author's
failure in the delineation of the subject he had proposed to himself,
the formidable objection of _incredulus odi_ was applied to the
Euphuist, as well as to the White Lady of Avenel; and the one was
denounced as unnatural, while the other was rejected as impossible.

There was little in the story to atone for these failures in two
principal points. The incidents were inartificially huddled together.
There was no part of the intrigue to which deep interest was found to
apply; and the conclusion was brought about, not by incidents arising
out of the story itself, but in consequence of public transactions,
with which the narrative has little connexion, and which the reader had
little opportunity to become acquainted with.

This, if not a positive fault, was yet a great defect in the Romance.
It is true, that not only the practice of some great authors in this
department, but even the general course of human life itself, may be
quoted in favour of this more obvious and less artificial practice of
arranging a narrative. It is seldom that the same circle of personages
who have surrounded an individual at his first outset in life, continue
to have an interest in his career till his fate comes to a crisis. On
the contrary, and more especially if the events of his life be of a
varied character, and worth communicating to others, or to the world,
the hero's later connexions are usually totally separated from those
with whom he began the voyage, but whom the individual has outsailed,
or who have drifted astray, or foundered on the passage. This hackneyed
comparison holds good in another point. The numerous vessels of so many
different sorts, and destined for such different purposes, which are
launched in the same mighty ocean, although each endeavours to pursue
its own course, are in every case more influenced by the winds and
tides, which are common to the element which they all navigate, than by
their own separate exertions. And it is thus in the world, that, when
human prudence has done its best, some general, perhaps national, event,
destroys the schemes of the individual, as the casual touch of a more
powerful being sweeps away the web of the spider.

Many excellent romances have been composed in this view of human life,
where the hero is conducted through a variety of detached scenes, in
which various agents appear and disappear, without, perhaps, having any
permanent influence on the progress of the story. Such is the structure
of Gil Blas, Roderick Random, and the lives and adventures of many other
heroes, who are described as running through different stations of life,
and encountering various adventures, which are only connected with each
other by having happened to be witnessed by the same individual, whose
identity unites them together, as the string of a necklace links the
beads, which are otherwise detached.

But though such an unconnected course of adventures is what most
frequently occurs in nature, yet the province of the romance writer
being artificial, there is more required from him than a mere compliance
with the simplicity of reality,--just as we demand from the scientific
gardener, that he shall arrange, in curious knots and artificial
parterres, the flowers which "nature boon" distributes freely on hill
and dale. Fielding, accordingly, in most of his novels, but especially
in Tom Jones, his _chef-d'oeuvre_, has set the distinguished example
of a story regularly built and consistent in all its parts, in which
nothing occurs, and scarce a personage is introduced, that has not some
share in tending to advance the catastrophe.

To demand equal correctness and felicity in those who may follow in
the track of that illustrious novelist, would be to fetter too much the
power of giving pleasure, by surrounding it with penal rules; since of
this sort of light literature it may be especially said--_tout genre est
permis, hors le genre ennuyeux_. Still, however, the more closely and
happily the story is combined, and the more natural and felicitous the
catastrophe, the nearer such a composition will approach the perfection
of the novelist's art; nor can an author neglect this branch of his
profession, without incurring proportional censure.

For such censure the Monastery gave but too much occasion. The intrigue
of the Romance, neither very interesting in itself, nor very happily
detailed, is at length finally disentangled by the breaking out of
national hostilities between England and Scotland, and the as sudden
renewal of the truce. Instances of this kind, it is true, cannot in
reality have been uncommon, but the resorting to such, in order to
accomplish the catastrophe, as by a _tour de force_, was objected to as
inartificial, and not perfectly, intelligible to the general reader.

Still the Monastery, though exposed to severe and just criticism, did
not fail, judging from the extent of its circulation, to have some
interest for the public. And this, too, was according to the ordinary
course of such matters; for it very seldom happens that literary
reputation is gained by a single effort, and still more rarely is it
lost by a solitary miscarriage.

The author, therefore, had his days of grace allowed him, and time, if
he pleased, to comfort himself with the burden of the old Scots song,

  "If it isna weel bobbit.
  We'll bob it again."

ABBOTSFORD, _1st November_, 1830.

       *       *       *       *       *




Although I do not pretend to the pleasure of your personal acquaintance,
like many whom I believe to be equally strangers to you, I am
nevertheless interested in your publications, and desire their
continuance;-not that I pretend to much taste in fictitious composition,
or that I am apt to be interested in your grave scenes, or amused by
those which are meant to be lively. I will not disguise from you, that I
have yawned over the last interview of MacIvor and his sister, and fell
fairly asleep while the schoolmaster was reading the humours of Dandie
Dinmont. You see, sir, that I scorn to solicit your favour in a way
to which you are no stranger. If the papers I enclose you are worth
nothing, I will not endeavour to recommend them by personal flattery, as
a bad cook pours rancid butter upon stale fish. No, sir! what I
respect in you is the light you have occasionally thrown on national
antiquities, a study which I have commenced rather late in life, but to
which I am attached with the devotions of a first love, because it is
the only study I ever cared a farthing for.

You shall have my history, sir, (it will not reach to three volumes,)
before that of my manuscript; and as you usually throw out a few lines
of verse (by way of skirmishers, I suppose) at the head of each
division of prose, I have had the luck to light upon a stanza in the
schoolmaster's copy of Burns which describes me exactly. I love it
the better, because it was originally designed for Captain Grose, an
excellent antiquary, though, like yourself, somewhat too apt to treat
with levity his own pursuits:

  'Tis said he was a soldier bred,
  And ane wad rather fa'en than fled;
  But now he's quit the spurtle blade,
                   And dog-skin wallet,
  And ta'en the--antiquarian trade,
                I think, they call it.

I never could conceive what influenced me, when a boy, in the choice of
a profession. Military zeal and ardour it was not, which made me stand
out for a commission in the Scots Fusiliers, when my tutors and curators
wished to bind me apprentice to old David Stiles, Clerk to his Majesty's
Signet. I say, military zeal it was _not_; for I was no fighting boy in
my own person, and cared not a penny to read the history of the heroes
who turned the world upside down in former ages. As for courage, I had,
as I have since discovered, just as much of it as serve'd my turn, and
not one frain of surplus. I soon found out, indeed, that in action there
was more anger in running away than in standing fast; and besides, I
could not afford to lose my commission, which was my chief means of
support. But, as for that overboiling valour, which I have heard many of
_ours_ talk of, though I seldom observed that it influenced them in
the actual affair---that exuberant zeal, which courts Danger as a
bride,--truly my courage was of a complexion much less ecstatical.

Again, the love of a red coat, which, in default of all other aptitudes
to the profession, has made many a bad soldier and some good ones,
was an utter stranger to my disposition. I cared not a "bodle" for the
company of the misses: Nay, though there was a boarding-school in the
village, and though we used to meet with its fair inmates at Simon
Lightfoot's weekly Practising, I cannot recollect any strong emotions
being excited on these occasions, excepting the infinite regret with
which I went through the polite ceremonial of presenting my partner with
an orange, thrust into my pocket by my aunt for this special purpose,
but which, had I dared, I certainly would have secreted for my own
personal use. As for vanity, or love of finery for itself, I was such a
stranger to it, that the difficulty was great to make me brush my coat,
and appear in proper trim upon parade. I shall never forget the rebuke
of my old Colonel on a morning when the King reviewed a brigade of which
ours made part. "I am no friend to extravagance, Ensign Clutterbuck,"
said he; "but, on the day when we are to pass before the Sovereign of
the kingdom, in the name of God I would have at least shown him an inch
of clean linen."

Thus, a stranger to the ordinary motives which lead young men to make
the army their choice, and without the least desire to become either a
hero or a dandy, I really do not know what determined my thoughts that
way, unless it were the happy state of half-pay indolence enjoyed
by Captain Doolittle, who had set up his staff of rest in my native
village. Every other person had, or seemed to have, something to do,
less or more. They did not, indeed, precisely go to school and learn
tasks, that last of evils in my estimation; but it did not escape my
boyish observation, that they were all bothered with something or other
like duty or labour--all but the happy Captain Doolittle. The minister
had his parish to visit, and his preaching to prepare, though perhaps he
made more fuss than he needed about both. The laird had his farming
and improving operations to superintend; and, besides, he had to
attend trustee meetings, and lieutenancy meetings, and head-courts, and
meetings of justices, and what not--was as early up, (that I detested,)
and as much in the open air, wet and dry, as his own grieve. The
shopkeeper (the village boasted but one of eminence) stood indeed pretty
much at his ease behind his counter, for his custom was by no means
overburdensome; but still he enjoyed his _status_, as the Bailie calls
it, upon condition of tumbling all the wares in his booth over and over,
when any one chose to want a yard of muslin, a mousetrap, an ounce of
caraways, a paper of pins, the Sermons of Mr. Peden, or the Life of
Jack the Giant-Queller, (not Killer, as usually erroneously written and
pronounced.--See my essay on the true history of this worthy, where real
facts have in a peculiar degree been obscured by fable.) In short, all
in the village were under the necessity of doing something which they
would rather have left undone, excepting Captain Doolittle, who walked
every morning in the open street, which formed the high mall of our
village, in a blue coat with a red neck, and played at whist the whole
evening, when he could make up a party. This happy vacuity of all
employment appeared to me so delicious, that it became the primary
hint, which, according to the system of Helvetius, as the minister says,
determined my infant talents towards the profession I was destined to

But who, alas! can form a just estimate of their future prospects in
this deceitful world? I was not long engaged in my new profession,
before I discovered, that if the independent indolence of half-pay was
a paradise, the officer must pass through the purgatory of duty and
service in order to gain admission to it. Captain Doolittle might brush
his blue coat with the red neck, or leave it unbrushed, at his pleasure;
but Ensign Clutterbuck had no such option. Captain Doolittle might go
to bed at ten o'clock, if he had a mind; but the Ensign must make the
rounds in his turn. What was worse, the Captain might repose under the
tester of his tent-bed until noon, if he was so pleased; but the Ensign,
God help him, had to appear upon parade at peep of day. As for duty,
I made that as easy as I could, had the sergeant to whisper to me the
words of command, and bustled through as other folks did. Of service, I
saw enough for an indolent man--was buffeted up and down the world, and
visited both the East and West Indies, Egypt, and other distant places,
which my youth had scarce dreamed of. The French I saw, and felt too;
witness two fingers on my right hand, which one of their cursed hussars
took off with his sabre as neatly as an hospital surgeon. At length, the
death of an old aunt, who left me some fifteen hundred pounds, snugly
vested in the three per cents, gave me the long-wished-for opportunity
of retiring, with the prospect of enjoying a clean shirt and a guinea
four times a-week at least.

For the purpose of commencing my new way of life, I selected for
my residence the village of Kennaquhair, in the south of Scotland,
celebrated for the ruins of its magnificent Monastery, intending there
to lead my future life in the _otium cum dignitate_ of half-pay and
annuity. I was not long, however, in making the grand discovery, that in
order to enjoy leisure, it is absolutely necessary it should be preceded
by occupation. For some time, it was delightful to wake at daybreak,
dreaming of the reveill?--then to recollect my happy emancipation from
the slavery that doomed me to start at a piece of clattering parchment,
turn on my other side, damn the parade, and go to sleep again. But even
this enjoyment had its termination; and time, when it became a stock
entirely at my own disposal, began to hang heavy on my hand.

I angled for two days, during which time I lost twenty hooks, and
several scores of yards of gut and line, and caught not even a minnow.
Hunting was out of the question, for the stomach of a horse by no means
agrees with the half-pay establishment. When I shot, the shepherds, and
ploughmen, and my very dog, quizzed me every time that I missed, which
was, generally speaking, every time I fired. Besides, the country
gentlemen in this quarter like their game, and began to talk of
prosecutions and interdicts. I did not give up fighting the French to
commence a domestic war with the "pleasant men of Teviotdale," as the
song calls them; so I e'en spent three days (very agreeably) in cleaning
my gun, and disposing it upon two hooks over my chimney-piece.

The success of this accidental experiment set me on trying my skill in
the mechanical arts. Accordingly I took down and cleaned my landlady's
cuckoo-clock, and in so doing, silenced that companion of the spring for
ever and a day. I mounted a turning-lathe, and in attempting to use
it, I very nearly cribbed off, with an inch-and-half former, one of the
fingers which the hussar had left me.

Books I tried, both those of the little circulating library, and of the
more rational subscription collection maintained by this intellectual
people. But neither the light reading of the one, nor the heavy
artillery of the other, suited my purpose. I always fell asleep at
the fourth or fifth page of history or disquisition; and it took me a
month's hard reading to wade through a half-bound trashy novel, during
which I was pestered with applications to return the volumes, by every
half-bred milliner's miss about the place. In short, during the time
when all the town besides had something to do, I had nothing for it, but
to walk in the church-yard, and whistle till it was dinner-time.

During these promenades, the ruins necessarily forced themselves on my
attention, and, by degrees, I found myself engaged in studying the
more minute ornaments, and at length the general plan, of this noble
structure. The old sexton aided my labours, and gave me his portion of
traditional lore. Every day added something to my stock of knowledge
respecting the ancient state of the building; and at length I made
discoveries concerning the purpose of several detached and very ruinous
portions of it, the use of which had hitherto been either unknown
altogether or erroneously explained.

The knowledge which I thus acquired I had frequent opportunities of
retailing to those visiters whom the progress of a Scottish tour brought
to visit this celebrated spot. Without encroaching on the privilege of
my friend the sexton, I became gradually an assistant Cicerone in the
task of description and explanation, and often (seeing a fresh party of
visiters arrive) has he turned over to me those to whom he had told half
his story, with the flattering observation, "What needs I say ony mair
about it? There's the Captain kens mair anent it than I do, or any
man in the town." Then would I salute the strangers courteously, and
expatiate to their astonished minds upon crypts and chancels, and naves,
arches, Gothic and Saxon architraves, mullions and flying buttresses. It
not unfrequently happened, that an acquaintance which commenced in the
Abbey concluded in the inn, which served to relieve the solitude as
well as the monotony of my landlady's shoulder of mutton, whether roast,
cold, or hashed.

By degrees my mind became enlarged; I found a book or two which
enlightened me on the subject of Gothic architecture, and I read now
with pleasure, because I was interested in what I read about. Even my
character began to dilate and expand. I spoke with more authority at
the club, and was listened to with deference, because on one subject, at
least, I possessed more information than any of its members. Indeed,
I found that even my stories about Egypt, which, to say truth, were
somewhat threadbare, were now listened to with more respect than
formerly. "The Captain," they said, "had something in him after
a',--there were few folk kend sae muckle about the Abbey."

With this general approbation waxed my own sense of self-importance, and
my feeling of general comfort. I ate with more appetite, I digested with
more ease, I lay down at night with joy, and slept sound till morning,
when I arose with a sense of busy importance, and hied me to measure, to
examine, and to compare the various parts of this interesting structure.
I lost all sense and consciousness of certain unpleasant sensations of
a nondescript nature, about my head and stomach, to which I had been in
the habit of attending, more for the benefit of the village apothecary
than my own, for the pure want of something else to think about. I
had found out an occupation unwittingly, and was happy because I had
something to do. In a word, I had commenced local antiquary, and was not
unworthy of the name.

Whilst I was in this pleasing career of busy idleness, for so it might
at best be called, it happened that I was one night sitting in my little
parlour, adjacent to the closet which my landlady calls my bedroom, in
the act of preparing for an early retreat to the realms of Morpheus.
Dugdale's Monasticon, borrowed from the library at A------, was lying
on the table before me, flanked by some excellent Cheshire cheese,
(a present, by the way, from an honest London citizen, to whom I had
explained the difference between a Gothic and a Saxon arch,) and a glass
of Vanderhagen's best ale. Thus armed at all points against my old enemy
Time, I was leisurely and deliciously preparing for bed--now reading
a line of old Dugdale--now sipping my ale, or munching my bread and
cheese--now undoing the strings at my breeches' knees, or a button or
two of my waistcoat, until the village clock should strike ten, before
which time I make it a rule never to go to bed. A loud knocking,
however, interrupted my ordinary process on this occasion, and the voice
of my honest landlord of the George was heard vociferating, [Footnote:
The George was, and is, the principal inn in the village of Kennaquhair,
or Melrose. But the landlord of the period was not the same civil
and quiet person by whom the inn is now kept. David Kyle, a Melrose
proprietor of no little importance, a first-rate person of consequence
in whatever belonged to the business of the town, was the original owner
and landlord of the inn. Poor David, like many other busy men, took so
much care of public affairs, as in some degree to neglect his own. There
are persons still alive at Kennaquhair who can recognise him and his
peculiarities in the following sketch of mine Host of the George.]
"What the deevil, Mrs. Grimslees, the Captain is no in his bed? and
a gentleman at our house has ordered a fowl and minced collops, and a
bottle of sherry, and has sent to ask him to supper, to tell him all
about the Abbey."

"Na," answered Luckie Grimslees, in the true sleepy tone of a Scottish
matron when ten o'clock is going to strike, "he's no in his bed, but
I'se warrant him no gae out at this time o' night to keep folks sitting
up waiting for him--the Captain's a decent man."

I plainly perceived this last compliment was made for my hearing, by way
both of indicating and of recommending the course of conduct which Mrs.
Grimslees desired I should pursue. But I had not been knocked about
the world for thirty years and odd, and lived a bluff bachelor all
the while, to come home and be put under petticoat government by my
landlady. Accordingly I opened my chamber-door, and desired my old
friend David to walk up stairs.

"Captain," said he, as he entered, "I am as glad to find you up as if
I had hooked a twenty pound saumon. There's a gentleman up yonder that
will not sleep sound in his bed this blessed night unless he has the
pleasure to drink a glass of wine with you."

"You know, David," I replied, with becoming dignity, "that I cannot with
propriety go out to visit strangers at this time of night, or accept of
invitations from people of whom I know nothing."

David swore a round oath, and added, "Was ever the like heard of? He has
ordered a fowl and egg sauce, a pancake and minced collops and a bottle
of sherry--D'ye think I wad come and ask you to go to keep company with
ony bit English rider that sups on toasted cheese, and a cheerer of
rum-toddy? This is a gentleman every inch of him, and a virtuoso, a
clean virtuoso-a sad-coloured stand of claithes, and a wig like the
curled back of a mug-ewe. The very first question he speered was about
the auld drawbrig that has been at the bottom of the water these
twal score years--I have seen the fundations when we were sticking
saumon--And how the deevil suld he ken ony thing about the old drawbrig,
unless he were a virtuoso?" [Footnote: There is more to be said about
this old bridge hereafter. See Note, p. 57.]

David being a virtuoso in his own way, and moreover a landholder and
heritor, was a qualified judge of all who frequented his house, and
therefore I could not avoid again tying the strings of my knees.

"That's right, Captain," vociferated David; "you twa will be as thick
as three in a bed an ance ye forgather. I haena seen the like o' him
my very sell since I saw the great Doctor Samuel Johnson on his tower
through Scotland, whilk tower is lying in my back parlour for the
amusement of my guests, wi' the twa boards torn aff."

"Then the gentleman is a scholar, David?"

"I'se uphaud him a scholar," answered David: "he has a black coat on, or
a brown ane, at ony-rate."

"Is he a clergyman?"

"I am thinking no, for he looked after his horse's supper before he
spoke o' his ain," replied mine host.

"Has he a servant?" demanded I.

"Nae servant," answered David; "but a grand face o' his ain, that wad
gar ony body be willing to serve him that looks upon him."

"And what makes him think of disturbing me? Ah, David, this has been
some of your chattering; you are perpetually bringing your guests on my
shoulders, as if it were my business to entertain every man who comes to
the George."

"What the deil wad ye hae me do, Captain?" answered mine host; "a
gentleman lights down, and asks me in a most earnest manner, what man of
sense and learning there is about our town, that can tell him about the
antiquities of the place, and specially about the auld Abbey--ye wadna
hae me tell the gentleman a lee? and ye ken weel eneugh there is naebody
in the town can say a reasonable word about it, be it no yoursell,
except the bedral, and he is as fou as a piper by this time. So, says
I, there's Captain Clutterbuck, that's a very civil gentleman and has
little to do forby telling a' the auld cracks about the Abbey, and
dwells just hard by. Then says the gentleman to me, 'Sir,' says he,
very civilly, 'have the goodness to step to Captain Clutterbuck with my
compliments, and say I am a stranger, who have been led to these parts
chiefly by the fame of these Ruins, and that I would call upon him, but
the hour is late.' And mair he said that I have forgotten, but I weel
remember it ended,--'And, landlord, get a bottle of your best sherry,
and supper for two.'--Ye wadna have had me refuse to do the gentleman's
bidding, and me a publican?"

"Well, David," said I, "I wish your virtuoso had taken a fitter
hour--but as you say he is a gentleman--"

"I'se uphaud him that--the order speaks for itsell--a bottle of
sherry--minched collops and a fowl--that's speaking like a gentleman, I
trow?--That's right, Captain, button weel up, the night's raw--but the
water's clearing for a' that; we'll be on't neist night wi' my Lord's
boats, and we'll hae ill luck if I dinna send you a kipper to relish
your ale at e'en." [Footnote: The nobleman whose boats are mentioned
in the text, is the late kind and amiable Lord Sommerville, an intimate
friend of the author. David Kyle was a constant and privileged
attendant when Lord Sommerville had a party for spearing salmon; on such
occasions, eighty or a hundred fish were often killed between Gleamer
and Leaderfoot.]

In five minutes after this dialogue, I found myself in the parlour of
the George, and in the presence of the stranger.

He was a grave personage, about my own age, (which we shall call about
fifty,) and really had, as my friend David expressed it, something
in his face that inclined men to oblige and to serve him. Yet this
expression of authority was not at all of the cast which I have seen
in the countenance of a general of brigade, neither was the stranger's
dress at all martial. It consisted of a uniform suit of iron-gray
clothes, cut in rather an old-fashioned form. His legs were defended
with strong leathern gambadoes, which, according to an antiquarian
contrivance, opened at the sides, and were secured by steel clasps.
His countenance was worn as much by toil and sorrow as by age, for it
intimated that he had seen and endured much. His address was singularly
pleasing and gentlemanlike, and the apology which he made for disturbing
me at such an hour, and in such a manner, was so well and handsomely
expressed, that I could not reply otherwise than by declaring my
willingness to be of service to him.

"I have been a traveller to-day, sir," said he, "and I would willingly
defer the little I have to say till after supper, for which I feel
rather more appetized than usual."

We sate down to table, and notwithstanding the stranger's alleged
appetite, as well as the gentle preparation of cheese and ale which
I had already laid aboard, I really believe that I of the two did the
greater honour to my friend David's fowl and minced collops.

When the cloth was removed, and we had each made a tumbler of negus, of
that liquor which hosts call Sherry, and guests call Lisbon, I perceived
that the stranger seemed pensive, silent, and somewhat embarrassed,
as if he had something to communicate which he knew not well how to
introduce. To pave the way for him, I spoke of the ancient ruins of the
Monastery, and of their history. But, to my great surprise, I found I
had met my match with a witness. The stranger not only knew all that
I could tell him, but a great deal more; and, what was still more
mortifying, he was able, by reference to dates, charters, and other
evidence of facts, that, as Burns says, "downa be disputed," to
correct many of the vague tales which I had adopted on loose and vulgar
tradition, as well as to confute more than one of my favourite theories
on the subject of the old monks and their dwellings, which I had sported
freely in all the presumption of superior information. And here I cannot
but remark, that much of the stranger's arguments and inductions rested
upon the authority of Mr. Deputy Register of Scotland, [Footnote:
Thomas Thomson, Esq., whose well-deserved panegyric ought to be found
on another page than one written by an intimate friend of thirty
years' standing.] and his lucubrations; a gentleman whose indefatigable
research into the national records is like to destroy my trade, and that
of all local antiquaries, by substituting truth instead of legend and
romance. Alas! I would the learned gentleman did but know how difficult
it is for us dealers in petty wares of antiquity to--

  Pluck from our memories a rooted "legend,"
  Raze out the written records of our brain.
  Or cleanse our bosoms of that perilous stuff--

and so forth. It would, I am sure, move his pity to think how many old
dogs he hath set to learn new tricks, how many venerable parrots he hath
taught to sing a new song, how many gray heads he hath addled by vain
attempts to exchange their old _Mumpsimus_ for his new _Sumpsimus_.
But let it pass. _Humana perpessi sumus_--All changes round us, past,
present, and to come; that which was history yesterday becomes fable
to-day, and the truth of to-day is hatched into a lie by to-morrow.

Finding myself like to be overpowered in the Monastery, which I had
hitherto regarded as my citadel, I began, like a skilful general, to
evacuate that place of defence, and fight my way through the adjacent
country. I had recourse to my acquaintance with the families and
antiquities of the neighbourhood, ground on which I thought I might
skirmish at large without its being possible for the stranger to meet me
with advantage. But I was mistaken.

The man in the iron-gray suit showed a much more minute knowledge of
these particulars than I had the least pretension to. He could tell the
very year in which the family of De Haga first settled on their ancient

[Footnote: The family of De Haga, modernized into Haig, of Bemerside, is
of the highest antiquity, and is the subject of one of the prophecies of
Thomas the Rhymer:--

  Betide, betide, whate'er betide.
  Haig shall be Haig of Bemerside. ]

Not a Thane within reach but he knew his family and connexions, how many
of his ancestors had fallen by the sword of the English, how many
in domestic brawl, and how many by the hand of the executioner for
march-treason. Their castles he was acquainted with from turret to
foundation-stone; and as for the miscellaneous antiquities scattered
about the country, he knew every one of them, from a _cromlech_ to a
_cairn_, and could give as good an account of each as if he had lived in
the time of the Danes or Druids.

I was now in the mortifying predicament of one who suddenly finds
himself a scholar when he came to teach, and nothing was left for me but
to pick up as much of his conversation as I could, for the benefit of
the next company. I told, indeed, Allan Ramsay's story of the Monk and
Miller's Wife, in order to retreat with some honour under cover of a
parting volley. Here, however, my flank was again turned by the eternal

"You are pleased to be facetious, sir," said he; "but you cannot be
ignorant that the ludicrous incident you mentioned is the subject of a
tale much older than that of Allan Ramsay."

I nodded, unwilling to acknowledge my ignorance, though, in fact, I knew
no more what he meant than did one of my friend David's post-horses.

"I do not allude," continued my omniscient companion, "to the curious
poem published by Pinkerton from the Maitland Manuscript, called the
Fryars of Berwick, although it presents a very minute and amusing
picture of Scottish manners during the reign of James V.; but rather
to the Italian novelist, by whom, so far as I know, the story was first
printed, although unquestionably he first took his original from some
ancient _fabliau_." [Footnote: It is curious to remark at how little
expense of invention successive ages are content to receive amusement.
The same story which Ramsay and Dunbar have successively handled, forms
also the subject of the modern farce, No Song, no Supper.]

"It is not to be doubted," answered I, not very well understanding,
however, the proposition to which I gave such unqualified assent.

"Yet," continued my companion, "I question much, had you known my
situation and profession, whether you would have pitched upon this
precise anecdote for my amusement."

This observation he made in a tone of perfect good-humour. I pricked
up my ears at the hint, and answered as politely as I could, that my
ignorance of his condition and rank could be the only cause of my
having stumbled on anything disagreeable; and that I was most willing to
apologize for my unintentional offence, so soon as I should know wherein
it consisted.

"Nay, no offence, sir," he replied; "offence can only exist where it
is taken. I have been too long accustomed to more severe and cruel
misconstructions, to be offended at a popular jest, though directed at
my profession."

"Am I to understand, then," I answered, "that I am speaking with a
Catholic clergyman?"

"An unworthy monk of the order of Saint Benedict," said the stranger,
"belonging to a community of your own countrymen, long established
in France, and scattered unhappily by the events of the Revolution."
"Then," said I, "you are a native Scotchman, and from this

"Not so," answered the monk; "I am a Scotchman by extraction only, and
never was in this neighbourhood during my whole life."

"Never in this neighbourhood, and yet so minutely acquainted with its
history, its traditions, and even its external scenery! You surprise me,
sir," I replied.

"It is not surprising," he said, "that I should have that sort of local
information, when it is considered, that my uncle, an excellent man,
as well as a good Scotchman, the head also of our religious community,
employed much of his leisure in making me acquainted with these
particulars; and that I myself, disgusted with what has been passing
around me, have for many years amused myself, by digesting and arranging
the various scraps of information which I derived from my worthy
relative, and other aged brethren of our order."

"I presume, sir," said I, "though I would by no means intrude the
question, that you are now returned to Scotland with a view to settle
amongst your countrymen, since the great political catastrophe of our
time has reduced your corps?"

"No, sir," replied the Benedictine, "such is not my intention. A
European potentate, who still cherishes the Catholic faith, has offered
us a retreat within his dominions, where a few of my scattered brethren
are already assembled, to pray to God for blessings on their protector,
and pardon to their enemies. No one, I believe, will be able to object
to us under our new establishment, that the extent of our revenues will
be inconsistent with our vows of poverty and abstinence; but, let us
strive to be thankful to God, that the snare of temporal abundance is
removed from us."

"Many of your convents abroad, sir," said I, "enjoyed very handsome
incomes--and yet, allowing for times, I question if any were better
provided for than the Monastery of this village. It is said to have
possessed nearly two thousand pounds in yearly money-rent, fourteen
chalders and nine bolls of wheat, fifty-six chalders five bolls barley,
forty-four chalders and ten bolls oats, capons and poultry, butter,
salt, carriage and arriage, peats and kain, wool and ale."

"Even too much of all these temporal goods, sir," said my companion,
"which, though well intended by the pious donors, served only to make
the establishment the envy and the prey of those by whom it was finally

"In the meanwhile, however," I observed, "the monks had an easy life of
it, and, as the old song goes,

  --made gude kale
  On Fridays when they fasted."

"I understand you, sir," said the Benedictine; "it is difficult, saith
the proverb, to carry a full cup without spilling. Unquestionably
the wealth of the community, as it endangered the safety of the
establishment by exciting the cupidity of others, was also in frequent
instances a snare to the brethren themselves. And yet we have seen
the revenues of convents expended, not only in acts of beneficence
and hospitality to individuals, but in works of general and permanent
advantage to the world at large. The noble folio collection of French
historians, commenced in 1737, under the inspection and at the expense
of the community of Saint Maur, will long show that the revenues of
the Benedictines were not always spent in self-indulgence, and that the
members of that order did not uniformly slumber in sloth and indolence,
when they had discharged the formal duties of their rule."

As I knew nothing earthly at the time about the community of St. Maur,
and their learned labours, I could only return a mumbling assent to
this proposition. I have since seen this noble work in the library of a
distinguished family, and I must own I am ashamed to reflect, that, in
so wealthy a country as ours, a similar digest of our historians should
not be undertaken, under the patronage of the noble and the learned, in
rivalry of that which the Benedictines of Paris executed at the expense
of their own conventual funds.

"I perceive," said the ex-Benedictine, smiling, "that your heretical
prejudices are too strong to allow us poor brethren any merit, whether
literary or spiritual."

"Far from it, sir," said I; "I assure you I have been much obliged to
monks in my time. When I was quartered in a Monastery in Flanders, in
the campaign of 1793, I never lived more comfortably in my life. They
were jolly fellows, the Flemish Canons, and right sorry was I to leave
my good quarters, and to know that my honest hosts were to be at the
mercy of the Sans-Culottes. But _fortune de la guerre!_"

The poor Benedictine looked down and was silent. I had unwittingly
awakened a train of bitter reflections, or rather I had touched somewhat
rudely upon a chord which seldom ceased to vibrate of itself. But he
was too much accustomed to this sorrowful train of ideas to suffer it to
overcome him. On my part, I hastened to atone for my blunder. "If there
was any object of his journey to this country in which I could, with
propriety, assist him, I begged to offer him my best services." I own
I laid some little emphasis on the words "with propriety," as I felt it
would ill become me, a sound Protestant, and a servant of government so
far as my half-pay was concerned, to implicate myself in any recruiting
which my companion might have undertaken in behalf of foreign
seminaries, or in any similar design for the advancement of Popery,
which, whether the Pope be actually the old lady of Babylon or no, it
did not become me in any manner to advance or countenance.

My new friend hastened to relieve my indecision. "I was about to request
your assistance, sir," he said, "in a matter which cannot but interest
you as an antiquary, and a person of research. But I assure you it
relates entirely to events and persons removed to the distance of two
centuries and a half. I have experienced too much evil from the violent
unsettlement of the country in which I was born, to be a rash labourer
in the work of innovation in that of my ancestors."

I again assured him of my willingness to assist him in anything that was
not contrary to my allegiance or religion.

"My proposal," he replied, "affects neither.--May God bless the reigning
family in Britain! They are not, indeed, of that dynasty to restore
which my ancestors struggled and suffered in vain; but the Providence
who has conducted his present Majesty to the throne, has given him the
virtues necessary to his time--firmness and intrepidity--a true love
of his country, and an enlightened view of the dangers by which she is
surrounded.--For the religion of these realms, I am contented to hope
that the great Power, whose mysterious dispensation has rent them from
the bosom of the church, will, in his own good time and manner, restore
them to its holy pale. The efforts of an individual, obscure and
humble as myself, might well retard, but could never advance, a work so

"May I then inquire, sir," said I, "with what purpose you seek this

Ere my companion replied, he took from his pocket a clasped paper book,
about the size of a regimental orderly-book, full, as it seemed, of
memoranda; and, drawing one of the candles close to him, (for David,
as a strong proof of his respect for the stranger, had indulged us with
two,) he seemed to peruse the contents very earnestly.

"There is among the ruins of the western end of the Abbey church," said
he, looking up to me, yet keeping the memorandum-book half open, and
occasionally glancing at it, as if to refresh his memory, "a sort of
recess or chapel beneath a broken arch, and in the immediate vicinity
of one of those shattered Gothic columns which once supported the
magnificent roof, whose fall has now encumbered that part of the
building with its ruins."

"I think," said I, "that I know whereabouts you are. Is there not in the
side wall of the chapel, or recess, which you mention, a large carved
stone, bearing a coat of arms, which no one hitherto has been able to

"You are right," answered the Benedictine; and again consulting
his memoranda, he added, "the arms on the dexter side are those of
Glendinning, being a cross parted by a cross indented and countercharged
of the same; and on the sinister three spur-rowels for those of Avenel;
they are two ancient families, now almost extinct in this country--the
arms _part y per pale_."

"I think," said I, "there is no part of this ancient structure with
which you are not as well acquainted as was the mason who built it. But
if your information be correct, he who made out these bearings must have
had better eyes than mine."

"His eyes," said the Benedictine, "have long been closed in death;
probably when he inspected the monument it was in a more perfect state,
or he may have derived his information from the tradition of the place."

"I assure you," said I, "that no such tradition now exists. I have
made several reconnoissances among the old people, in hopes to learn
something of the armorial bearings, but I never heard of such a
circumstance. It seems odd that you should have acquired it in a foreign

"These trifling particulars," he replied, "were formerly looked upon
as more important, and they were sanctified to the exiles who retained
recollection of them, because they related to a place dear indeed to
memory, but which their eyes could never again behold. It is possible,
in like manner, that on the Potomac or Susquehannah, you may find
traditions current concerning places in England, which are utterly
forgotten in the neighbourhood where they originated. But to my purpose.
In this recess, marked by the armorial bearings, lies buried a treasure,
and it is in order to remove it that I have undertaken my present

"A treasure!" echoed I, in astonishment.

"Yes," replied the monk, "an inestimable treasure, for those who know
how to use it rightly."

I own my ears did tingle a little at the word treasure, and that a
handsome tilbury, with a neat groom in blue and scarlet livery, having
a smart cockade on his glazed hat, seemed as it were to glide across the
room before gay eyes, while a voice, as of a crier, pronounced my ear,
"Captain Clutterbuck's tilbury--drive up." But I resisted the devil, and
he fled from me.

"I believe," said I, "all hidden treasure belongs either to the king or
the lord of the soil; and as I have served his majesty, I cannot
concern myself in any adventure which may have an end in the Court of

"The treasure I seek," said the stranger, smiling, "will not be envied
by princes or nobles,---it is simply the heart of an upright man."

"Ah! I understand you," I answered; "some relic, forgotten in the
confusion of the Reformation. I know the value which men of your
persuasion put upon the bodies and limbs of saints. I have seen the
Three Kings of Cologne."

"The relics which I seek, however," said the Benedictine, "are not
precisely of that nature. The excellent relative whom I have already
mentioned, amused his leisure hours with putting into form the
traditions of his family, particularly some remarkable circumstances
which took place about the first breaking out of the schism of the
church in Scotland. He became so much interested in his own labours,
that at length he resolved that the heart of one individual, the hero of
his tale, should rest no longer in a land of heresy, now deserted by all
his kindred. As he knew where it was deposited, he formed the resolution
to visit his native country for the purpose of recovering this valued
relic. But age, and at length disease, interfered with his resolution,
and it was on his deathbed that he charged me to undertake the task in
his stead. The various important events which have crowded upon each
other, our ruin and our exile, have for many years obliged me to
postpone this delegated duty. Why, indeed, transfer the relics of a holy
and worthy man to a country, where religion and virtue are become
the mockery of the scorner? I have now a home, which I trust may be
permanent, if any thing in this earth can be, termed so. Thither will I
transport the heart of the good father, and beside the shrine which it
shall occupy, I will construct my own grave."

"He must, indeed, have been an excellent man," replied I, "whose memory,
at so distant a period, calls forth such strong marks of regard."

"He was, as you justly term him," said the ecclesiastic, "indeed
excellent--excellent in his life and doctrine--excellent, above all, in
his self-denied and disinterested sacrifice of all that life holds dear
to principle and to friendship. But you shall read his history. I shall
be happy at once to gratify your curiosity, and to show my sense of
your kindness, if you will have the goodness to procure me the means
of accomplishing my object." I replied to the Benedictine, that, as the
rubbish amongst which he proposed to search was no part of the ordinary
burial-ground, and as I was on the best terms with the sexton, I had
little doubt that I could procure him the means of executing his pious

With this promise we parted for the night; and on the ensuing morning
I made it my business to see the sexton, who, for a small gratuity,
readily granted permission of search, on condition, however, that he
should be present himself, to see that the stranger removed nothing of
intrinsic value.

"To banes, and skulls, and hearts, if he can find ony, he shall be
welcome," said this guardian of the ruined Monastery, "there's plenty
a' about, an he's curious of them; but if there be ony picts" (meaning
perhaps _pyx_) "or chalishes, or the like of such Popish veshells of
gold and silver, deil hae me an I conneve at their being removed."

The sexton also stipulated, that our researches should take place at
night, being unwilling to excite observation, or give rise to scandal.
My new acquaintance and I spent the day as became lovers of hoar
antiquity. We visited every corner of these magnificent ruins again
and again during the forenoon; and, having made a comfortable dinner at
David's, we walked in the afternoon to such places in the neighbourhood
as ancient tradition or modern conjecture had rendered mark worthy.
Night found us in the interior of the ruins, attended by the sexton, who
carried a dark lantern, and stumbling alternately over the graves of
the dead, and the fragments of that architecture, which they doubtless
trusted would have canopied their bones till doomsday.

I am by no means particularly superstitious, and yet there was that in
the present service which I did not very much like. There was something
awful in the resolution of disturbing, at such an hour, and in such a
place, the still and mute sanctity of the grave. My companions were free
from this impression--the stranger from his energetic desire to
execute the purpose for which he came--and the sexton from habitual
indifference. We soon stood in the aisle, which, by the account of the
Benedictine, contained the bones of the family of Glendinning, and were
busily employed in removing the rubbish from a corner which the stranger
pointed out. If a half-pay Captain could have represented an ancient
Border-knight, or an ex-Benedictine of the nineteenth century a wizard
monk of the sixteenth, we might have aptly enough personified the search
after Michael Scott's lamp and book of magic power. But the sexton
would have been _de trop_ in the group. [Footnote: This is one of those
passages which must now read awkwardly, since every one knows that the
Novelist and the author of the Lay of the Minstrel, is the same person.
But before the avowal was made, the author was forced into this
and similar offences against good taste, to meet an argument, often
repeated, that there was something very mysterious in the Author of
Waverley's reserve concerning Sir Walter Scott, an author sufficiently
voluminous at least. I had a great mind to remove the passages from this
edition, but the more candid way is to explain how they came there.]

Ere the stranger, assisted by the sexton in his task, had been long at
work, they came to some hewn stones, which seemed to have made part of a
small shrine, though now displaced and destroyed.

"Let us remove these with caution, my friend," said the stranger, "lest
we injure that which I come to seek."

"They are prime stanes," said the sexton, "picked free every ane of
them;--warse than the best wad never serve the monks, I'se warrant."

A minute after he had made this observation, he exclaimed, "I hae fund
something now that stands again' the spade, as if it were neither earth
nor stane."

The stranger stooped eagerly to assist him.

"Na, na, haill o' my ain," said the sexton; "nae halves or
quarters;"--and he lifted from amongst the ruins a small leaden box.

"You will be disappointed, my friend," said the Benedictine, "if you
expect any thing there but the mouldering dust of a human heart, closed
in an inner case of porphyry."

I interposed as a neutral party, and taking the box from the sexton,
reminded him, that if there were treasure concealed in it, still it
could not become the property of the finder. I then proposed, that as
the place was too dark to examine the contents of the leaden casket, we
should adjourn to David's, where we might have the advantage of light
and fire while carrying on our investigation. The stranger requested us
to go before, assuring us that he would follow in a few minutes.

I fancy that old Mattocks suspected these few minutes might be employed
in effecting farther discoveries amongst the tombs, for he glided back
through a side-aisle to watch the Benedictine's motions, but presently
returned, and told me in a whisper that "the gentleman was on his knees
amang the cauld stanes, praying like ony saunt."

I stole back, and beheld the old man actually employed as Mattocks had
informed me. The language seemed to be Latin; and as, the whispered, yet
solemn accent, glided away through the ruined aisles, I could not
help reflecting how long it was since they had heard the forms of that
religion, for the exercise of which they had been reared at such cost of
time, taste, labour, and expense. "Come away, come away," said I; "let
us leave him to himself, Mattocks; this is no business of ours."

"My certes, no, Captain," said Mattocks; "ne'ertheless, it winna
be amiss to keep an eye on him. My father, rest his saul, was a
horse-couper, and used to say he never was cheated in a naig in his
life, saving by a west-country whig frae Kilmarnock, that said a
grace ower a dram o' whisky. But this gentleman will be a Roman, I'se

"You are perfectly right in that, Saunders," said I.

"Ay, I have seen twa or three of their priests that were chased ower
here some score o' years syne. They just danced like mad when they
looked on the friars' heads, and the nuns' heads, in the cloister
yonder; they took to them like auld acquaintance like.--Od, he is
not stirring yet, mair than he were a through-stane! [Footnote: A
tombstone.] I never kend a Roman, to say kend him, but ane--mair by
token, he was the only ane in the town to ken--and that was auld Jock of
the Pend. It wad hae been lang ere ye fand Jock praying in the Abbey in
a thick night, wi' his knees on a cauld stane. Jock likit a kirk wi'
a chimley in't. Mony a merry ploy I hae had wi' him down at the inn
yonder; and when he died, decently I wad hae earded him; but, or I gat
his grave weel howkit, some of the quality, that were o' his ain unhappy
persuasion, had the corpse whirried away up the water, and buried him
after their ain pleasure, doubtless--they kend best. I wad hae made
nae great charge. I wadna hae excised Johnnie, dead or alive.--Stay,
see--the strange gentleman is coming."

"Hold the lantern to assist him, Mattocks," said I.--"This is rough
walking, sir."

"Yes," replied the Benedictine; "I may say with a poet, who is doubtless
familiar to you----"

I should be surprised if he were, thought I internally.

The stranger continued:

  "Saint Francis be my speed! how oft to-night
  Have my old feet stumbled at graves!"

"We are now clear of the churchyard," said I, "and have but a short walk
to David's, where I hope we shall find a cheerful fire to enliven us
after our night's work."

We entered, accordingly, the little parlour, into which Mattocks was
also about to push himself with sufficient effrontery, when David, with
a most astounding oath, expelled him by head and shoulders, d--ning his
curiosity, that would not let gentlemen be private in their own inn.
Apparently mine host considered his own presence as no intrusion, for he
crowded up to the table on which I had laid down the leaden box. It was
frail and wasted, as might be guessed, from having lain so many years
in the ground. On opening it, we found deposited within, a case made of
porphyry, as the stranger had announced to us.

"I fancy," he said, "gentlemen, your curiosity will not be
satisfied,--perhaps I should say that your suspicions will not be
removed,--unless I undo this casket; yet it only contains the mouldering
remains of a heart, once the seat of the noblest thoughts."

He undid the box with great caution; but the shrivelled substance which
it contained bore now no resemblance to what it might once have been,
the means used having been apparently unequal to preserve its shape and
colour, although they were adequate to prevent its total decay. We
were quite satisfied, notwithstanding, that it was, what the stranger
asserted, the remains of a human heart; and David readily promised his
influence in the village, which was almost co-ordinate with that of the
bailie himself, to silence all idle rumours. He was, moreover, pleased
to favour us with his company to supper; and having taken the lion's
share of two bottles of sherry, he not only sanctioned with his plenary
authority the stranger's removal of the heart, but, I believe, would
have authorized the removal of the Abbey itself, were it not that it
happens considerably to advantage the worthy publican's own custom.

The object of the Benedictine's visit to the land of his forefathers
being now accomplished, he announced his intention of leaving us early
in the ensuing day, but requested my company to breakfast with him
before his departure. I came accordingly, and when we had finished our
morning's meal, the priest took me apart, and pulling from his pocket
a large bundle of papers, he put them into my hands. "These," said he,
"Captain Clutterbuck, are genuine Memoirs of the sixteenth century, and
exhibit in a singular, and, as I think, an interesting point of
view, the manners of that period. I am induced to believe that their
publication will not be an unacceptable present to the British public;
and willingly make over to you any profit that may accrue from such a

I stared a little at this annunciation, and observed, that the hand
seemed too modern for the date he assigned to the manuscript.

"Do not mistake me, sir," said the Benedictine; "I did not mean to say
the Memoirs were written in the sixteenth century, but only, that they
were compiled from authentic materials of that period, but written in
the taste and language of the present day. My uncle commenced this book;
and I, partly to improve my habit of English composition, partly to
divert melancholy thoughts, amused my leisure hours with continuing
and concluding it. You will see the period of the story where my uncle
leaves off his narrative, and I commence mine. In fact, they relate in a
great measure to different persons, as well as to a different period."

Retaining the papers in my hand, I proceeded to state to him my doubts,
whether, as a good Protestant, I could undertake or superintend a
publication written probably in the spirit of Popery.

"You will find," he said, "no matter of controversy in these sheets, nor
any sentiments stated, with which, I trust, the good in all persuasions
will not be willing to join. I remembered I was writing for a land
unhappily divided from the Catholic faith; and I have taken care to say
nothing which, justly interpreted, could give ground for accusing me of
partiality. But if, upon collating my narrative with the proofs to which
I refer you--for you will find copies of many of the original papers
in that parcel--you are of opinion that I have been partial to my own
faith, I freely give you leave to correct my errors in that respect. I
own, however, I am not conscious of this defect, and have rather to
fear that the Catholics may be of opinion, that I have mentioned
circumstances respecting the decay of discipline which preceded, and
partly occasioned, the great schism, called by you the Reformation, over
which I ought to have drawn a veil. And indeed, this is one reason why I
choose the papers should appear in a foreign land, and pass to the press
through the hands of a stranger."

To this I had nothing to reply, unless to object my own incompetency to
the task the good father was desirous to impose upon me. On this subject
he was pleased to say more, I fear, than his knowledge of me fully
warranted--more, at any rate, than my modesty will permit me to record.
At length he ended, with advising me, if I continued to feel the
diffidence which I stated, to apply to some veteran of literature, whose
experience might supply my deficiencies. Upon these terms we parted,
with mutual expressions of regard, and I have never since heard of him.

After several attempts to peruse the quires of paper thus singularly
conferred on me, in which I was interrupted by the most inexplicable
fits of yawning, I at length, in a sort of despair, communicated them to
our village club, from whom they found a more favourable reception than
the unlucky conformation of my nerves had been able to afford them. They
unanimously pronounced the work to be exceedingly good, and assured me
I would be guilty of the greatest possible injury to our flourishing
village, if I should suppress what threw such an interesting and radiant
light upon the history of the ancient Monastery of Saint Mary.

At length, by dint of listening to their opinion, I became dubious of my
own; and, indeed, when I heard passages read forth by the sonorous voice
of our worthy pastor, I was scarce more tired than I have felt myself
at some of his own sermons. Such, and so great is the difference
betwixt reading a thing one's self, making toilsome way through all the
difficulties of manuscript, and, as the man says in the play, "having
the same read to you;"--it is positively like being wafted over a creek
in a boat, or wading through it on your feet, with the mud up to your
knees. Still, however, there remained the great difficulty of finding
some one who could act as editor, corrector at once of the press and
of the language, which, according to the schoolmaster, was absolutely

Since the trees walked forth to choose themselves a king, never was an
honour so bandied about. The parson would not leave the quiet of his
chimney-corner--the bailie pleaded the dignity of his situation, and the
approach of the great annual fair, as reasons against going to Edinburgh
to make arrangements for printing the Benedictine's manuscript. The
schoolmaster alone seemed of malleable stuff; and, desirous perhaps of
emulating the fame of Jedediah Cleishbotham, evinced a wish to undertake
this momentous commission. But a remonstrance from three opulent
farmers, whose sons he had at bed, board, and schooling, for twenty
pounds per annum a-head, came like a frost over the blossoms of his
literary ambition, and he was compelled to decline the service.

In these circumstances, sir, I apply to you, by the advice of our little
council of war, nothing doubting you will not be disinclined to take
the duty upon you, as it is much connected with that in which you have
distinguished yourself. What I request is, that you will review, or
rather revise and correct, the enclosed packet, and prepare it for the
press, by such alterations, additions, and curtailments, as you think
necessary. Forgive my hinting to you, that the deepest well may be
exhausted,--the best corps of grenadiers, as our old general of brigade
expressed himself, may be _used up_. A few hints can do you no harm;
and, for the prize-money, let the battle be first won, and it shall be
parted at the drum-head. I hope you will take nothing amiss that I have
said. I am a plain soldier, and little accustomed to compliments. I
may add, that I should be well contented to march in the front with
you--that is, to put my name with yours on the title-page. I have the
honour to be, Sir, Your unknown humble Servant, Cuthbert Clutterbuck.
Village of Kennaquhair, -- of April, 18--

_For the Author of "Waverley," &c. care of Mr. John Ballantyne, Hanover
Street, Edinburgh._

       *       *        *       *        *




Do not admire, that, notwithstanding the distance and ceremony of your
address, I return an answer in the terms of familiarity. The truth
is, your origin and native country are better known to me than even to
yourself. You derive your respectable parentage, if I am not greatly
mistaken, from a land which has afforded much pleasure, as well as
profit, to those who have traded to it successfully,--I mean that part
of the _terra incognita_ which is called the province of Utopia. Its
productions, though censured by many (and some who use tea and tobacco
without scruple) as idle and unsubstantial luxuries, have nevertheless,
like many other luxuries, a general acceptation, and are secretly
enjoyed even by those who express the greatest scorn and dislike of
them in public. The dram-drinker is often the first to be shocked at the
smell of spirits--it is not unusual to hear old maiden ladies declaim
against scandal--the private book-cases of some grave-seeming men would
not brook decent eyes--and many, I say not of the wise and learned,
but of those most anxious to seem such, when the spring-lock of their
library is drawn, their velvet cap pulled over their ears, their feet
insinuated into their turkey slippers, are to be found, were their
retreats suddenly intruded upon, busily engaged with the last new novel.

I have said, the truly wise and learned disdain these shifts, and
will open the said novel as avowedly as they would the lid of their
snuff-box. I will only quote one instance, though I know a hundred.
Did you know the celebrated Watt of Birmingham, Captain Clutterbuck? I
believe not, though, from what I am about to state, he would not have
failed to have sought an acquaintance with you. It was only once my
fortune to meet him, whether in body or in spirit it matters not.
There were assembled about half a score of our Northern Lights, who had
amongst them, Heaven knows how, a well-known character of your country,
Jedediah Cleishbotham. This worthy person, having come to Edinburgh
during the Christmas vacation, had become a sort of lion in the place,
and was lead in leash from house to house along with the guisards, the
stone-eater, and other amusements of the season, which "exhibited their
unparalleled feats to private family-parties, if required." Amidst this
company stood Mr. Watt, the man whose genius discovered the means of
multiplying our national resources to a degree perhaps even beyond
his own stupendous powers of calculation and combination; bringing the
treasures of the abyss to the summit of the earth--giving the feeble arm
of man the momentum of an Afrite--commanding manufactures to arise, as
the rod of the prophet produced water in the desert--affording the means
of dispensing with that time and tide which wait for no man, and of
sailing without that wind which defied the commands and threats of
Xerxes himself.

[Footnote: Probably the ingenious author alludes to the national adage:

  The king said sail,
  But the wind said no.

Our schoolmaster (who is also a land surveyor) thinks this whole passage
refers to Mr. Watt's improvements on the steam engine.--_Note by Captain

This potent commander of the elements--this abridger of time and
space--this magician, whose cloudy machinery has produced a change on
the world, the effects of which, extraordinary as they are, are perhaps
only now beginning to be felt--was not only the most profound man
of science, the most successful combiner of powers and calculator of
numbers as adapted to practical purposes,--was not only one of the
most generally well-informed,--but one of the best and kindest of human

There he stood, surrounded by the little band I have mentioned of
Northern literati, men not less tenacious, generally speaking, of
their own fame and their own opinions, than the national regiments are
supposed to be jealous of the high character which they have won upon
service. Methinks I yet see and hear what I shall never see or hear
again. In his eighty-fifth year, the alert, kind, benevolent old man,
had his attention alive to every one's question, his information at
every one's command.

His talents and fancy overflowed on every subject. One gentleman was a
deep philologist--he talked with him on the origin of the alphabet as if
he had been coeval with Cadmus; another a celebrated critic,--you would
have said the old man had studied political economy and belles-lettres
all his life,--of science it is unnecessary to speak, it was his own
distinguished walk. And yet, Captain Clutterbuck, when he spoke with
your countryman Jedediah Cleishbotham, you would have sworn he had been
coeval with Claver'se and Burley, with the persecutors and persecuted,
and could number every shot the dragoons had fired at the fugitive
Covenanters. In fact, we discovered that no novel of the least celebrity
escaped his perusal, and that the gifted man of science was as much
addicted to the productions of your native country, (the land of Utopia
aforesaid,) in other words, as shameless and obstinate a peruser of
novels, as if he had been a very milliner's apprentice of eighteen. I
know little apology for troubling you with these things, excepting the
desire to commemorate a delightful evening, and a wish to encourage
you to shake off that modest diffidence which makes you afraid of being
supposed connected with the fairy-land of delusive fiction. I will
requite your tag of verse, from Horace himself, with a paraphrase
for your own use, my dear Captain, and for that of your country club,
excepting in reverence the clergyman and schoolmaster:--

  _Ne sit ancillae tibi amor pudori, &c._

  Take thou no scorn.
  Of fiction born,
  Fair fiction's muse to woe;
  Old Homer's theme
  Was but a dream,
  Himself a fiction too.

Having told you your country, I must next, my dear Captain Clutterbuck,
make free to mention your own immediate descent. You are not to suppose
your land of prodigies so little known to us as the careful concealment
of your origin would seem to imply. But you have it in common with many
of your country, studiously and anxiously to hide any connexion with it.
There is this difference, indeed, betwixt your countrymen and those of
our more material world, that many of the most estimable of them, such
as an old Highland gentleman called Ossian, a monk of Bristol called
Rowley, and others, are inclined to pass themselves off as denizens of
the land of reality, whereas most of our fellow-citizens who deny their
country are such as that country would be very willing to disclaim. The
especial circumstances you mention relating to your life and services,
impose not upon us. We know the versatility of the unsubstantial species
to which you belong permits them to assume all manner of disguises; we
have seen them apparelled in the caftan of a Persian, and the silken
robe of a Chinese, [Footnote: See the Persian Letters, and the Citizen
of the World.] and are prepared to suspect their real character under
every disguise. But how can we be ignorant of your country and manners,
or deceived by the evasion of its inhabitants, when the voyages of
discovery which have been made to it rival in number those recorded by
Purchas or by Hackluyt? [Footnote: See Les Voyages Imaginaires.] And to
show the skill and perseverance of your navigators and travellers, we
have only to name Sindbad, Aboulfouaris, and Robinson Crusoe. These were
the men for discoveries. Could we have sent Captain Greenland to look
out for the north-west passage, or Peter Wilkins to examine Baffin's
Bay, what discoveries might we not have expected? But there are feats,
and these both numerous and extraordinary, performed by the inhabitants
of your country, which we read without once attempting to emulate.

I wander from my purpose, which was to assure you, that I know you as
well as the mother who _did_ not bear you, for MacDuff's peculiarity
sticks to your whole race. You are not born of woman, unless, indeed, in
that figurative sense, in which the celebrated Maria Edgeworth may, in
her state of single blessedness, be termed mother of the finest family
in England. You belong, sir, to the Editors of the land of Utopia, a
sort of persons for whom I have the highest esteem. How is it possible
it should be otherwise, when you reckon among your corporation the sage
Cid Hamet Benengeli, the short-faced president of the Spectator's Club,
poor Ben Silton, and many others, who have acted as gentlemen-ushers to
works which have cheered our heaviest, and added wings to our lightest

What I have remarked as peculiar to Editors of the class in which
I venture to enrol you, is the happy combination of fortuitous
circumstances which usually put you in possession of the works which
you have the goodness to bring into public notice. One walks on the
sea-shore, and a wave casts on land a small cylindrical trunk or casket,
containing a manuscript much damaged with sea-water, which is with
difficulty deciphered, and so forth. [Footnote: See the History of
Automathes.] Another steps into a chandler's shop, to purchase a pound
of butter, and, behold! the waste-paper on which it is laid is the
manuscript of a cabalist. [Footnote: Adventures of a Guinea.] A third
is so fortunate as to obtain from a woman who lets lodgings, the curious
contents of an antique bureau, the property of a deceased lodger.
[Footnote: Adventures of an Atom.] All these are certainly possible
occurrences; but, I know not how, they seldom occur to any Editors save
those of your country. At least I can answer for myself, that in my
solitary walks by the sea, I never saw it cast ashore any thing but
dulse and tangle, and now and then a deceased star-fish; my landlady
never presented me with any manuscript save her cursed bill; and the
most interesting of my discoveries in the way of waste-paper, was
finding a favourite passage of one of my own novels wrapt round an ounce
of snuff. No, Captain, the funds from which I have drawn my power
of amusing the public, have been bought otherwise than by fortuitous
adventure. I have buried myself in libraries to extract from the
nonsense of ancient days new nonsense of my own. I have turned over
volumes, which, from the pot-hooks I was obliged to decipher, might have
been the cabalistic manuscripts of Cornelius Agrippa, although I never
saw "the door open and the devil come in." [Footnote: See Southey's
Ballad on the Young Man who read in a Conjuror's Books.] But all the
domestic inhabitants of the libraries were disturbed by the vehemence of
my studies:--

  From my research the boldest spider fled,
  And moths, retreating, trembled as I read;

From this learned sepulchre I emerged like the Magician in the Persian
Tales, from his twelve-month's residence in the mountain, not like him
to soar over the heads of the multitude, but to mingle in the crowd, and
to elbow amongst the throng, making my way from the highest society
to the lowest, undergoing the scorn, or, what is harder to brook,
the patronizing condescension of the one, and enduring the vulgar
familiarity of the other,--and all, you will say, for what?--to collect
materials for one of those manuscripts with which mere chance so often
accommodates your country-men; in other words, to write a successful
novel.--"O Athenians, how hard we labour to deserve your praise!"

I might stop here, my dear Clutterbuck; it would have a touching effect,
and the air of proper deference to our dear Public. But I will not
be false with you,--(though falsehood is--excuse the observation--the
current coin of your country,) the truth is, I have studied and lived
for the purpose of gratifying my own curiosity, and passing my own time;
and though the result has been, that, in one shape or other, I have
been frequently before the Public, perhaps more frequently than prudence
warranted, yet I cannot claim from them the favour due to those who have
dedicated their ease and leisure to the improvement and entertainment of

Having communicated thus freely with you, my dear Captain, it follows,
of course, that I will gratefully accept of your communication, which,
as your Benedictine observed, divides itself both by subject, manner,
and age, into two parts. But I am sorry I cannot gratify your literary
ambition, by suffering your name to appear upon the title-page; and I
will candidly tell you the reason.

The Editors of your country are of such a soft and passive disposition,
that they have frequently done themselves great disgrace by giving up
the coadjutors who first brought them into public notice and public
favour, and suffering their names to be used by those quacks and
impostors who live upon the ideas of others. Thus I shame to tell how
the sage Cid Hamet Benengeli was induced by one Juan Avellaneda to play
the Turk with the ingenious Miguel Cervantes, and to publish a Second
Part of the adventures of his hero the renowned Don Quixote, without the
knowledge or co-operation of his principal aforesaid. It is true, the
Arabian sage returned to his allegiance, and thereafter composed a
genuine continuation of the Knight of La Mancha, in which the said
Avellaneda of Tordesillas is severely chastised. For in this you
pseudo-editors resemble the juggler's disciplined ape, to which a sly
old Scotsman likened James I., "if you have Jackoo in your hand, you can
make him bite me; if I have Jackoo in my hand, I can make him bite
you." Yet, notwithstanding the _amende honorable_ thus made by Cid Hamet
Benengeli, his temporary defection did not the less occasion the decease
of the ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote, if he can be said to die, whose
memory is immortal. Cervantes put him to death, lest he should again
fall into bad hands. Awful, yet just consequence of Cid Hamet's

To quote a more modern and much less important instance. I am sorry to
observe my old acquaintance Jedediah Cleishbotham has misbehaved himself
so far as to desert his original patron, and set up for himself. I am
afraid the poor pedagogue will make little by his new allies, unless
the pleasure of entertaining the public, and, for aught I know, the
gentlemen of the long robe, with disputes about his identity.

[Footnote: I am since more correctly informed, that Mr. Cleishbotham
died some months since at Gandercleuch, and that the person assuming
his name is an impostor. The real Jedediah made a most Christian
and edifying end; and, as I am credibly informed, having sent for a
Cameronian clergyman when he was _in extremis_, was so fortunate as to
convince the good man, that, after all, he had no wish to bring down on
the scattered remnant of Mountain folks, "the bonnets of Bonny Dundee."
Hard that the speculators in print and paper will not allow a good man
to rest quiet in his grave.

This note, and the passages in the text, were occasioned by a London
bookseller having printed, as a Speculation, an additional collection
of Tales of My Landlord, which was not so fortunate as to succeed in
passing on the world as genuine.]

Observe, therefore, Captain Clutterbuck, that, wise by these great
examples, I receive you as a partner, but a sleeping partner only. As
I give you no title to employ or use the firm of the copartnery we are
about to form, I will announce my property in my title-page, and put my
own mark on my own chattels, which the attorney tells me it will be a
crime to counterfeit, as much as it would to imitate the autograph of
any other empiric--a crime amounting, as advertisements upon little
vials assure to us, to nothing short of felony. If, therefore, my dear
friend, your name should hereafter appear in any title-page without
mine, readers will know what to think of you. I scorn to use either
arguments or threats; but you cannot but be sensible, that, as you owe
your literary existence to me on the one hand, so, on the other, your
very all is at my disposal. I can at pleasure cut off your annuity,
strike your name from the half-pay establishment, nay, actually put you
to death, without being answerable to any one. These are plain words to
a gentleman who has served during the whole war; but, I am aware, you
will take nothing amiss at my hands.

And now, my good sir, let us address ourselves to our task, and arrange,
as we best can, the manuscript of your Benedictine, so as to suit the
taste of this critical age. You will find I have made very liberal use
of his permission, to alter whatever seemed too favourable to the Church
of Rome, which I abominate, were it but for her fasts and penances.

Our reader is doubtless impatient, and we must own, with John Bunyan,

  We have too long detain'd him in the porch,
  And kept him from the sunshine with a torch.

Adieu, therefore, my dear Captain--remember me respectfully to the
parson, the schoolmaster, and the bailie, and all friends of the happy
club in the village of Kennaquhair. I have never seen, and never shall
see, one of their faces; and notwithstanding, I believe that as yet I am
better acquainted with them than any other man who lives.--I shall soon
introduce you to my jocund friend, Mr. John Ballantyne of Trinity Grove,
whom you will find warm from his match at single-stick with a brother
Publisher. [Footnote: In consequence of the pseudo Tales of My Landlord
printed in London, as already mentioned, the late Mr. John Ballantyne,
the author's publisher, had a controversy with the interloping
bibliopolist, each insisting that his Jedediah Cleishbotham was the real
Simon Pure.] Peace to their differences! It is a wrathful trade, and
the _irritabile genus_ comprehends the bookselling as well as the
book-writing species.--Once more adieu!


       *       *       *       *       *


Chapter the First.

  O ay! the Monks, the Monks they did the mischief!
  Theirs all the grossness, all the superstition
  Of a most gross and superstitious age--
  May He be praised that sent the healthful tempest
  And scatter'd all these pestilential vapours!
  But that we owed them _all_ to yonder Harlot
  Throned on the seven hills with her cup of gold,
  I will as soon believe, with kind Sir Roger,
  That old Moll White took wing with cat and broomstick,
  And raised the last night's thunder.
                                       OLD PLAY.

The village described in the Benedictine's manuscript by the name
of Kennaquhair, bears the same Celtic termination which occurs in
Traquhair, Caquhair, and other compounds. The learned Chalmers derives
this word Quhair, from the winding course of a stream; a definition
which coincides, in a remarkable degree, with the serpentine turns of
the river Tweed near the village of which we speak. It has been long
famous for the splendid Monastery of Saint Mary, founded by David the
First of Scotland, in whose reign were formed, in the same county, the
no less splendid establishments of Melrose, Jedburgh, and Kelso. The
donations of land with which the King endowed these wealthy fraternities
procured him from the Monkish historians the epithet of Saint, and from
one of his impoverished descendants the splenetic censure, "that he had
been a sore saint for the Crown."

It seems probable, notwithstanding, that David, who was a wise as well
as a pious monarch, was not moved solely by religious motives to those
great acts of munificence to the church, but annexed political views to
his pious generosity. His possessions in Northumberland and Cumberland
became precarious after the loss of the Battle of the Standard; and
since the comparatively fertile valley of Teviot-dale was likely to
become the frontier of his kingdom, it is probable he wished to secure
at least a part of these valuable possessions by placing them in the
hands of the monks, whose property was for a long time respected, even
amidst the rage of a frontier war. In this manner alone had the King
some chance of ensuring protection and security to the cultivators of
the soil; and, in fact, for several ages the possessions of these
Abbeys were each a sort of Goshen, enjoying the calm light of peace
and immunity, while the rest of the country, occupied by wild clans and
marauding barons, was one dark scene of confusion, blood, and unremitted

But these immunities did not continue down to the union of the crowns.
Long before that period the wars betwixt England and Scotland had lost
their original character of international hostilities, and had become
on the part of the English, a struggle for subjugation, on that of
the Scots a desperate and infuriated defence of their liberties. This
introduced on both sides a degree of fury and animosity unknown to the
earlier period of their history; and as religious scruples soon gave way
to national hatred spurred by a love of plunder, the patrimony of the
Church was no longer sacred from incursions on either side. Still,
however, the tenants and vassals of the great Abbeys had many advantages
over those of the lay barons, who were harassed by constant military
duty, until they became desperate, and lost all relish for the arts of
peace. The vassals of the church, on the other hand, were only liable
to be called to arms on general occasions, and at other times were
permitted in comparative quiet to possess their farms and feus.
[Footnote: Small possessions conferred upon vassals and their heirs,
held for a small quit-rent, or a moderate proportion of the produce.
This was a favourite manner, by which the churchmen peopled the
patrimony of their convents; and many descendants of such _feuars_, as
they are culled, are still to be found in possession of their family
inheritances in the neighbourhood of the great Monasteries of Scotland.]
They of course exhibited superior skill in every thing that related
to the cultivation of the soil, and were therefore both wealthier and
better informed than the military retainers of the restless chiefs and
nobles in their neighbourhood.

The residence of these church vassals was usually in a small village or
hamlet, where, for the sake of mutual aid and protection, some thirty
or forty families dwelt together. This was called the Town, and the land
belonging to the various families by whom the Town was inhabited, was
called the Township. They usually possessed the land in common, though
in various proportions, according to their several grants. The part of
the Township properly arable, and kept as such continually under the
plough, was called _in-field_. Here the use of quantities of manure
supplied in some degree the exhaustion of the soil, and the feuars
raised tolerable oats and bear, [Footnote: Or bigg, a kind of coarse
barley.] usually sowed on alternate ridges, on which the labour of the
whole community was bestowed without distinction, the produce being
divided after harvest, agreeably to their respective interests.

There was, besides, _out-field_ land, from which it was thought possible
to extract a crop now and then, after which it was abandoned to the
"skiey influences," until the exhausted powers of vegetation were
restored. These out-field spots were selected by any feuar at his own
choice, amongst the sheep-walks and hills which were always annexed to
the Township, to serve as pasturage to the community. The trouble of
cultivating these patches of out-field, and the precarious chance that
the crop would pay the labour, were considered as giving a right to any
feuar, who chose to undertake the adventure, to the produce which might
result from it.

There remained the pasturage of extensive moors, where the valleys often
afforded good grass, and upon which the whole cattle belonging to the
community fed indiscriminately during the summer, under the charge of
the Town-herd, who regularly drove them out to pasture in the morning,
and brought them back at night, without which precaution they would
have fallen a speedy prey to some of the Snatchers in the neighbourhood.
These are things to make modern agriculturists hold up their hands and
stare; but the same mode of cultivation is not yet entirely in desuetude
in some distant parts of North Britain, and may be witnessed in full
force and exercise in the Zetland Archipelago.

The habitations of the church-feuars were not less primitive than their
agriculture. In each village or town were several small towers, having
battlements projecting over the side walls, and usually an advanced
angle or two with shot-holes for flanking the door-way, which was always
defended by a strong door of oak, studded with nails, and often by an
exterior grated door of iron. These small peel-houses were ordinarily
inhabited by the principal feuars and their families; but, upon the
alarm of approaching danger, the whole inhabitants thronged from their
own miserable cottages, which were situated around, to garrison these
points of defence. It was then no easy matter for a hostile party to
penetrate into the village, for the men were habituated to the use of
bows and fire-arms, and the towers being generally so placed, that the
discharge from one crossed that of another, it was impossible to assault
any of them individually.

The interior of these houses was usually sufficiently wretched, for it
would have been folly to have furnished them in a manner which could
excite the avarice of their lawless neighbours. Yet the families
themselves exhibited in their appearance a degree of comfort,
information, and independence, which could hardly have been expected.
Their in-field supplied them with bread and home-brewed ale, their herds
and flocks with beef and mutton (the extravagance of killing lambs or
calves was never thought of). Each family killed a mart, or fat bullock,
in November, which was salted up for winter use, to which the good wife
could, upon great occasions, add a dish of pigeons or a fat capon,--the
ill-cultivated garden afforded "lang-cale,"--and the river gave salmon
to serve as a relish during the season of Lent.

Of fuel they had plenty, for the bogs afforded turf; and the remains
of the abused woods continued to give them logs for burning, as well as
timber for the usual domestic purposes. In addition to these comforts,
the good-man would now and then sally forth to the greenwood, and mark
down a buck of season with his gun or his cross-bow; and the Father
Confessor seldom refused him absolution for the trespass, if duly
invited to take his share of the smoking haunch. Some, still bolder,
made, either with their own domestics, or by associating themselves with
the moss-troopers, in the language of shepherds, "a start and overloup;"
and the golden ornaments and silken head-gear--worn by the females of
one or two families of note, were invidiously traced by their neighbours
to such successful excursions. This, however, was a more inexplicable
crime in the eyes of the Abbot and Community of Saint Mary's, than
the borrowing one of the "gude king's deer;" and they failed not to
discountenance and punish, by every means in their power, offences which
were sure to lead to severe retaliation upon the property of the church,
and which tended to alter the character of their peaceful vassalage.

As for the information possessed by those dependents of the Abbacies,
they might have been truly said to be better fed than taught, even
though their fare had been worse than it was. Still, however, they
enjoyed opportunities of knowledge from which others were excluded. The
monks were in general well acquainted with their vassals and tenants,
and familiar in the families of the better class among them, where they
were sure to be received with the respect due to their twofold character
of spiritual father and secular landlord. Thus it often happened, when
a boy displayed talents and inclination for study, one of the brethren,
with a view to his being bred to the church, or out of good-nature,
in order to pass away his own idle time, if he had no better motive,
initiated him into the mysteries of reading and writing, and imparted to
him such other knowledge as he himself possessed. And the heads of these
allied families, having more time for reflection, and more skill, as
well as stronger motives for improving their small properties, bore
amongst their neighbours the character of shrewd, intelligent men, who
claimed respect on account of their comparative wealth, even while they
were despised for a less warlike and enterprising turn than the other
Borderers. They lived as much as they well could amongst themselves,
avoiding the company of others, and dreading nothing more than to be
involved in the deadly feuds and ceaseless contentions of the secular

Such is a general picture of these communities. During the fatal wars in
the commencement of Queen Mary's reign, they had suffered dreadfully by
the hostile invasions. For the English, now a Protestant people, were
so far from sparing the church-lands, that they forayed them with more
unrelenting severity than even the possessions of the laity. But
the peace of 1550 had restored some degree of tranquillity to those
distracted and harassed regions, and matters began again gradually
to settle upon the former footing. The monks repaired their ravaged
shrines--the feuar again roofed his small fortalice which the enemy had
ruined--the poor labourer rebuilt his cottage--an easy task, where a few
sods, stones, and some pieces of wood from the next copse, furnished
all the materials necessary. The cattle, lastly, were driven out of the
wastes and thickets in which the remnant of them had been secreted; and
the mighty bull moved at the head of his seraglio and their followers,
to take possession of their wonted pastures. There ensued peace and
quiet, the state of the age and nation considered, to the Monastery of
Saint Mary, and its dependencies, for several tranquil years.

Chapter the Second.

  In yon lone vale his early youth was bred,
  Not solitary then--the bugle-horn
  Of fell Alecto often waked its windings,
  From where the brook joins the majestic river,
  To the wild northern bog, the curlew's haunt,
  Where oozes forth its first and feeble streamlet.
                                           OLD PLAY.

We have said, that most of the feuars dwelt in the village belonging to
their townships. This was not, however, universally the case. A lonely
tower, to which the reader must now be introduced, was at least one
exception to the general rule.

It was of small dimensions, yet larger than those which occurred in the
village, as intimating that, in case of assault, the proprietor would
have to rely upon his own unassisted strength. Two or three miserable
huts, at the foot of the fortalice, held the bondsmen and tenants of the
feuar. The site was a beautiful green knoll, which started up suddenly
in the very throat of a wild and narrow glen, and which, being
surrounded, except on one side, by the winding of a small stream,
afforded a position of considerable strength.

But the great security of Glendearg, for so the place was called, lay
in its secluded, and almost hidden situation. To reach the tower, it was
necessary to travel three miles up the glen, crossing about twenty times
the little stream, which, winding through the narrow valley, encountered
at every hundred yards the opposition of a rock or precipitous bank on
the one side, which altered its course, and caused it to shoot off in an
oblique direction to the other. The hills which ascend on each side of
this glen are very steep, and rise boldly over the stream, which is
thus imprisoned within their barriers. The sides of the glen are
impracticable for horse, and are only to be traversed by means of
the sheep-paths which lie along their sides. It would not be readily
supposed that a road so hopeless and so difficult could lead to any
habitation more important than the summer shealing of a shepherd.

Yet the glen, though lonely, nearly inaccessible, and sterile, was not
then absolutely void of beauty. The turf which covered the small portion
of level ground on the sides of the stream, was as close and verdant as
if it had occupied the scythes of a hundred gardeners once a-fortnight;
and it was garnished with an embroidery of daisies and wild flowers,
which the scythes would certainly have destroyed. The little brook, now
confined betwixt closer limits, now left at large to choose its course
through the narrow valley, danced carelessly on from stream to pool,
light and unturbid, as that better class of spirits who pass their way
through life, yielding to insurmountable obstacles, but as far from
being subdued by them as the sailor who meets by chance with an
unfavourable wind, and shapes his course so as to be driven back as
little as possible.

The mountains, as they would have been called in England, _Scottice_ the
steep _braes_, rose abruptly over the little glen, here presenting
the gray face of a rock, from which the turf had been peeled by the
torrents, and there displaying patches of wood and copse, which had
escaped the waste of the cattle and the sheep of the feuars, and which,
feathering naturally up the beds of empty torrents, or occupying the
concave recesses of the bank, gave at once beauty and variety to the
landscape. Above these scattered woods rose the hill, in barren, but
purple majesty; the dark rich hue, particularly in autumn, contrasting
beautifully with the thickets of oak and birch, the mountain ashes and
thorns, the alders and quivering aspens, which checquered and varied
the descent, and not less with the dark-green and velvet turf, which
composed the level part of the narrow glen.

Yet, though thus embellished, the scene could neither be strictly termed
sublime nor beautiful, and scarcely even picturesque or striking. But
its extreme solitude pressed on the heart; the traveller felt that
uncertainty whither he was going, or in what so wild a path was to
terminate, which, at times, strikes more on the imagination than the
grand features of a show-scene, when you know the exact distance of the
inn where your dinner is bespoke, and at the moment preparing. These
are ideas, however, of a far later age; for at the time we treat of,
the picturesque, the beautiful, the sublime, and all their intermediate
shades, were ideas absolutely unknown to the inhabitants and occasional
visitors of Glendearg.

These had, however, attached to the scene feelings fitting the time. Its
name, signifying the Red Valley, seems to have been derived, not only
from the purple colour of the heath, with which the upper part of the
rising banks was profusely clothed, but also from the dark red colour of
the rocks, and of the precipitous earthen banks, which in that country
are called _scaurs_. Another glen, about the head of Ettrick, has
acquired the same name from similar circumstances; and there are
probably more in Scotland to which it has been given.

As our Glendearg did not abound in mortal visitants, superstition, that
it might not be absolutely destitute of inhabitants, had peopled
its recesses with beings belonging to another world. The savage and
capricious Brown Man of the Moors, a being which seems the genuine
descendant of the northern dwarfs, was supposed to be seen there
frequently, especially after the autumnal equinox, when the fogs were
thick, and objects not easily distinguished. The Scottish fairies, too,
a whimsical, irritable, and mischievous tribe, who, though at times
capriciously benevolent, were more frequently adverse to mortals, were
also supposed to have formed a residence in a particularly wild
recess of the glen, of which the real name was, in allusion to that
circumstance, _Corrie nan Shian_, which, in corrupted Celtic, signifies
the Hollow of the Fairies. But the neighbours were more cautious in
speaking about this place, and avoided giving it a name, from an idea
common then throughout all the British and Celtic provinces of Scotland,
and still retained in many places, that to speak either good or ill
of this capricious race of imaginary beings, is to provoke their
resentment, and that secrecy and silence is what they chiefly desire
from those who may intrude upon their revels, or discover their haunts.

A mysterious terror was thus attached to the dale, which afforded
access from the broad valley of the Tweed, up the little glen we have
described, to the fortalice called the Tower of Glendearg. Beyond the
knoll, where, as we have said, the tower was situated, the hills grew
more steep, and narrowed on the slender brook, so as scarce to leave
a footpath; and there the glen terminated in a wild waterfall, where a
slender thread of water dashed in a precipitous line of foam over two
or three precipices. Yet farther in the same direction, and above these
successive cataracts, lay a wild and extensive morass, frequented only
by waterfowl, wide, waste, apparently almost interminable, and serving
in a great measure to separate the inhabitants of the glen from those
who lived to the northward.

To restless and indefatigable moss-troopers, indeed, these morasses were
well known, and sometimes afforded a retreat. They often rode down the
glen--called at this tower--asked and received hospitality--but still
with a sort of reserve on the part of its more peaceful inhabitants, who
entertained them as a party of North-American Indians might be received
by a new European settler, as much out of fear as hospitality, while
the uppermost wish of the landlord is the speedy departure of the savage

This had not always been the current of feeling in the little valley
and its tower. Simon Glendinning, its former inhabitant, boasted his
connexion by blood to that ancient family of Glendonwyne, on the western
border. He used to narrate, at his fireside, in the autumn evenings, the
feats of the family to which he belonged, one of whom fell by the side
of the brave Earl of Douglas at Otterbourne. On these occasions Simon
usually held upon his knee an ancient broadsword, which had belonged to
his ancestors before any of the family had consented to accept a fief
under the peaceful dominion of the monks of St. Mary's. In modern days,
Simon might have lived at ease on his own estate, and quietly murmured
against the fate that had doomed him to dwell there, and cut off his
access to martial renown. But so many opportunities, nay so many calls
there were for him, who in those days spoke big, to make good his words
by his actions, that Simon Glendinning was soon under the necessity of
marching with the men of the Halidome, as it was called, of St. Mary's,
in that disastrous campaign which was concluded by the battle of Pinkie.

The Catholic clergy were deeply interested in that national quarrel, the
principal object of which was, to prevent the union of the infant Queen
Mary, with the son of the heretical Henry VIII. The Monks had called out
their vassals, under an experienced leader. Many of themselves had taken
arms, and marched to the field, under a banner representing a female,
supposed to personify the Scottish Church, kneeling in the attitude of
prayer, with the legend, _Afflictae Sponsae ne obliviscaris_. [Footnote:
Forget not the afflicted spouse.]

The Scots, however, in all their wars, had more occasion for good
and cautious generals, than for excitation, whether political or
enthusiastic. Their headlong and impatient courage uniformly induced
them to rush into action without duly weighing either their own
situation, or that of their enemies, and the inevitable consequence was
frequent defeat. With the dolorous slaughter of Pinkie we have nothing
to do, excepting that, among ten thousand men of low and high degree,
Simon Glendinning, of the Tower of Glendearg, bit the dust, no way
disparaging in his death that ancient race from which he claimed his

When the doleful news, which spread terror and mourning through the
whole of Scotland, reached the Tower of Glendearg, the widow of
Simon, Elspeth Brydone by her family name, was alone in that desolate
habitation, excepting a hind or two, alike past martial and agricultural
labour, and the helpless widows and families of those who had fallen
with their master. The feeling of desolation was universal;--but what
availed it? The monks, their patrons and protectors, were driven from
their Abbey by the English forces, who now overran the country, and
enforced at least an appearance of submission on the part of the
inhabitants. The Protector, Somerset, formed a strong camp among the
ruins of the ancient Castle of Roxburgh, and compelled the neighbouring
country to come in, pay tribute, and take assurance from him, as the
phrase then went. Indeed, there was no power of resistance remaining;
and the few barons, whose high spirit disdained even the appearance
of surrender, could only retreat into the wildest fastnesses of the
country, leaving their houses and property to the wrath of the English,
who detached parties everywhere to distress, by military exaction, those
whose chiefs had not made their submission. The Abbot and his community
having retreated beyond the Forth, their lands were severely forayed,
as their sentiments were held peculiarly inimical to the alliance with

Amongst the troops detached on this service was a small party, commanded
by Stawarth Bolton, a captain in the English army, and full of the
blunt and unpretending gallantry and generosity which has so often
distinguished that nation. Resistance was in vain. Elspeth Brydone, when
she descried a dozen of horsemen threading their way up the glen, with
a man at their head, whose scarlet cloak, bright armour, and dancing
plume, proclaimed him a leader, saw no better protection for herself
than to issue from the iron grate, covered with a long mourning
veil, and holding one of her two sons in each hand, to meet the
Englishman--state her deserted condition--place the little tower at his
command--and beg for his mercy. She stated, in a few brief words,
her intention, and added, "I submit, because I have nae means of

"And I do not ask your submission, mistress, for the same reason,"
replied the Englishman. "To be satisfied of your peaceful intentions
is all I ask; and, from what you tell me, there is no reason to doubt

"At least, sir," said Elspeth Brydone, "take share of what our
spence and our garners afford. Your horses are tired--your folk want

"Not a whit--not a whit," answered the honest Englishman; "it shall
never be said we disturbed by carousal the widow of a brave soldier,
while she was mourning for her husband.--Comrades, face about.--Yet
stay," he added, checking his war-horse, "my parties are out in every
direction; they must have some token that your family are under my
assurance of safety.--Here, my little fellow," said he, speaking to
the eldest boy, who might be about nine or ten years old, "lend me thy

The child reddened, looked sulky, and hesitated, while the mother,
with many a _fye_ and _nay pshaw_, and such sarsenet chidings as tender
mothers give to spoiled children, at length succeeded in snatching the
bonnet from him, and handing it to the English leader.

Stawarth Bolton took his embroidered red cross from his barret-cap, and
putting it into the loop of the boy's bonnet, said to the mistress, (for
the title of lady was not given to dames of her degree,) "By this token,
which all my people will respect, you will be freed from any importunity
on the part of our forayers." [Footnote: As gallantry of all times and
nations has the same mode of thinking and acting, so it often expresses
itself by the same symbols. In the civil war 1745-6, a party of
Highlanders, under a Chieftain of rank, came to Rose Castle, the seat of
the Bishop of Carlisle, but then occupied by the family of Squire Dacre
of Cumberland. They demanded quarters, which of course were not to be
refused to armed men of a strange attire and unknown language. But the
domestic represented to the captain of the mountaineers, that the lady
of the mansion had been just delivered of a daughter, and expressed her
hope, that, under these circumstances, his party would give as little
trouble as possible. "God forbid," said the gallant chief, "that I or
mine should be the means of adding to a lady's inconvenience at such a
time. May I request to see the infant?" The child was brought, and the
Highlander, taking his cockade out of his bonnet, and pinning it on the
child's breast, "That will be a token," he said, "to any of our people
who may come hither, that Donald McDonald of Kinloch-Moidart, has taken
the family of Rose Castle under his protection." The lady who received
in infancy this gage of Highland protection, is now Mary, Lady Clerk
of Pennycuik; and on the 10th of June still wears the cockade which was
pinned on her breast, with a white rose as a kindred decoration.] He
placed it on the boy's head; but it was no sooner there, than the little
fellow, his veins swelling, and his eyes shooting fire through tears,
snatched the bonnet from his head, and, ere his mother could interfere,
skimmed it into the brook. The other boy ran instantly to fish it out
again, threw it back to his brother, first taking out the cross, which,
with great veneration, he kissed and put into his bosom. The Englishman
was half diverted, half surprised, with the scene.

"What mean ye by throwing away Saint George's red cross?" said he to the
elder boy, in a tone betwixt jest and earnest.

"Because Saint George is a southern saint," said the child, sulkily.
"Good"--said Stawarth Bolton.--"And what did you mean by taking it
out of the brook again, my little fellow?" he demanded of the younger.
"Because the priest says it is the common sign of salvation to all good

"Why, good again!" said the honest soldier. "I protest unto you,
mistress, I envy you these boys. Are they both yours?"

Stawarth Bolton had reason to put the question, for Halbert Glendinning,
the elder of the two, had hair as dark as the raven's plumage, black
eyes, large, bold, and sparkling, that glittered under eyebrows of the
same complexion; a skin deep embrowned, though it could not be termed
swarthy, and an air of activity, frankness, and determination, far
beyond his age. On the other hand, Edward, the younger brother, was
light-haired, blue-eyed, and of fairer complexion, in countenance rather
pale, and not exhibiting that rosy hue which colours the sanguine cheek
of robust health. Yet the boy had nothing sickly or ill-conditioned in
his look, but was, on the contrary, a fair and handsome child, with a
smiling face, and mild, yet cheerful eye.

The mother glanced a proud motherly glance, first at the one, and then
at the other, ere she answered the Englishman, "Surely, sir, they are
both my children."

"And by the same father, mistress?" said Stawarth; but, seeing a blush
of displeasure arise on her brow, he instantly added, "Nay, I mean no
offence; I would have asked the same question at any of my gossips in
merry Lincoln.--Well, dame, you have two fair boys; I would I could
borrow one, for Dame Bolton and I live childless in our old hall.--Come,
little fellows, which of you will go with me?"

The trembling mother, half-fearing as he spoke, drew the children
towards her, one with either hand, while they both answered the
stranger. "I will not go with you," said Halbert, boldly, "for you are
a false-hearted Southern; and the Southerns killed my father; and I will
war on you to the death, when I can draw my father's sword."

"God-a-mercy, my little levin-bolt," said Stawarth, "the goodly custom
of deadly feud will never go down in thy day, I presume.--And you, my
fine white-head, will you not go with me, to ride a cock-horse?" "No,"
said Edward, demurely, "for you are a heretic."

"Why, God-a-mercy still!" said Stawarth Bolton. "Well, dame, I see I
shall find no recruits for my troop from you; and yet I do envy you
these two little chubby knaves." He sighed a moment, as was visible,
in spite of gorget and corslet, and then added, "And yet, my dame and I
would but quarrel which of the knaves we should like best; for I
should wish for the black-eyed rogue--and she, I warrant me, for that
blue-eyed, fair-haired darling. Natheless, we must brook our solitary
wedlock, and wish joy to those that are more fortunate. Sergeant
Brittson, do thou remain here till recalled--protect this family, as
under assurance--do them no wrong, and suffer no wrong to be done to
them, as thou wilt answer it.--Dame, Brittson is a married man, old and
steady; feed him on what you will, but give him not over much liquor."

Dame Glendinning again offered refreshments, but with a faltering voice,
and an obvious desire her invitation should not be accepted. The fact
was, that, supposing her boys as precious in the eyes of the Englishman
as in her own, (the most ordinary of parental errors,) she was half
afraid, that the admiration he expressed of them in his blunt manner
might end in his actually carrying off one or other of the little
darlings whom he appeared to covet so much. She kept hold of their
hands, therefore, as if her feeble strength could have been of service,
had any violence been intended, and saw with joy she could not disguise,
the little party of horse countermarch, in order to descend the glen.
Her feelings did not escape Bolton: "I forgive you, dame," he said, "for
being suspicious that an English falcon was hovering over your Scottish
moor-brood. But fear not--those who have fewest children have fewest
cares; nor does a wise man covet those of another household. Adieu,
dame; when the black-eyed rogue is able to drive a foray from England,
teach him to spare women and children, for the sake of Stawarth Bolton."

"God be with you, gallant Southern!" said Elspeth Glendinning, but not
till he was out of hearing, spurring on his good horse to regain the
head of his party, whose plumage and armour were now glancing and
gradually disappearing in the distance, as they winded down the glen.

"Mother," said the elder boy, "I will not say amen to a prayer for a

"Mother," said the younger, more reverentially, "is it right to pray for
a heretic?"

"The God to whom I pray only knows," answered poor Elspeth; "but these
two words, Southern and heretic, have already cost Scotland ten thousand
of her best and bravest, and me a husband, and you a father; and,
whether blessing or banning, I never wish to hear them more.--Follow me
to the Place, sir," she said to Brittson, "and such as we have to offer
you shall be at your disposal."

Chapter the Third.

  They lighted down on Tweed water
    And blew their coals sae het,
  And fired the March and Teviotdale,
     All in an evening late.
                       AULD MAITLAND.

The report soon spread through the patrimony of Saint Mary's and its
vicinity, that the Mistress of Glendearg had received assurance from the
English Captain, and that her cattle were not to be driven off, or her
corn burned. Among others who heard this report, it reached the ears of
a lady, who, once much higher in rank than Elspeth Glendinning, was now
by the same calamity reduced to even greater misfortune.

She was the widow of a brave soldier, Walter Avenel, descended of a very
ancient Border family, who once possessed immense estates in Eskdale.
These had long since passed from them into other hands, but they still
enjoyed an ancient Barony of considerable extent, not very far from the
patrimony of Saint Mary's, and lying upon the same side of the river
with the narrow vale of Glendearg, at the head of which was the little
tower of the Glendinnings. Here they had lived, bearing a respectable
rank amongst the gentry of their province, though neither wealthy nor
powerful. This general regard had been much augmented by the skill,
courage, and enterprise which had been displayed by Walter Avenel, the
last Baron.

When Scotland began to recover from the dreadful shock she had sustained
after the battle of Pinkie-Cleuch, Avenel was one of the first who,
assembling a small force, set an example in those bloody and unsparing
skirmishes, which showed that a nation, though conquered and overrun by
invaders, may yet wage against them such a war of detail as shall in
the end become fatal to the foreigners. In one of these, however, Walter
Avenel fell, and the news which came to the house of his fathers was
followed by the distracting intelligence, that a party of Englishmen
were coming to plunder the mansion and lands of his widow, in order, by
this act of terror, to prevent others from following the example of the

The unfortunate lady had no better refuge than the miserable cottage
of a shepherd among the hills, to which she was hastily removed, scarce
conscious where or for what purpose her terrified attendants were
removing her and her infant daughter from her own house. Here she was
tended with all the duteous service of ancient times by the shepherd's
wife, Tibb Tacket, who in better days had been her own bowerwoman. For a
time the lady was unconscious of her misery; but when the first stunning
effect of grief was so far passed away that she could form an estimate
of her own situation, the widow of Avenel had cause to envy the lot of
her husband in his dark and silent abode. The domestics who had guided
her to her place of refuge, were presently obliged to disperse for their
own safety, or to seek for necessary subsistence; and the shepherd and
his wife, whose poor cottage she shared, were soon after deprived of the
means of affording their late mistress even that coarse sustenance
which they had gladly shared with her. Some of the English forayers
had discovered and driven off the few sheep which had escaped the first
researches of their avarice. Two cows shared the fate of the remnant of
their stock; they had afforded the family almost their sole support, and
now famine appeared to stare them in the face.

"We are broken and beggared now, out and out," said old Martin the
shepherd--and he wrung his hands in the bitterness of agony, "the
thieves, the harrying thieves I not a cloot left of the haill hirsel!"

"And to see poor Grizzle and Crumbie," said his wife, "turning back
their necks to the byre, and routing while the stony-hearted villains
were brogging them on wi' their lances!"

"There were but four of them," said Martin, "and I have seen the day
forty wad not have ventured this length. But our strength and manhood is
gane with our puir maister."

"For the sake of the holy rood, whisht, man," said the goodwife, "our
leddy is half gane already, as ye may see by that fleightering of the
ee-lid--a word mair and she's dead outright."

"I could almost wish," said Martin, "we were a' gane, for what to do
passes my puir wit. I care little for mysell, or you, Tibb,--we can make
a fend--work or want--we can do baith, but she can do neither."

They canvassed their situation thus openly before the lady, convinced by
the paleness of her look, her quivering lip, and dead-set eye, that she
neither heard nor understood what they were saying.

"There is a way," said the shepherd, "but I kenna if she could bring her
heart to it,--there's Simon Glendinning's widow of the glen yonder, has
had assurance from the Southern loons, and nae soldier to steer them
for one cause or other. Now, if the leddy could bow her mind to take
quarters with Elspeth Glendinning till better days cast up, nae doubt it
wad be doing an honour to the like of her, but----"

"An honour," answered Tibb, "ay, by my word, sic an honour as wad be
pride to her kin mony a lang year after her banes were in the mould. Oh!
gudeman, to hear ye even the Lady of Avenel to seeking quarters wi' a
Kirk-vassal's widow!"

"Loath should I be to wish her to it," said Martin; "but what may we
do?--to stay here is mere starvation; and where to go, I'm sure I ken
nae mair than ony tup I ever herded."

"Speak no more of it," said the widow of Avenel, suddenly joining in the
conversation, "I will go to the tower.--Dame Elspeth is of good folk,
a widow, and the mother of orphans,--she will give us house-room until
something be thought upon. These evil showers make the low bush better
than no bield."

"See there, see there," said Martin, "you see the leddy has twice our

"And natural it is," said Tibb, "seeing that she is convent-bred, and
can lay silk broidery, forby white-seam and shell-work."

"Do you not think," said the lady to Martin, still clasping her child to
her bosom and making it clear from what motives she desired the refuge,
"that Dame Glendinning will make us welcome?"

"Blithely welcome, blithely welcome, my leddy," answered Martin,
cheerily, "and we shall deserve a welcome at her hand. Men are scarce
now, my leddy, with these wars; and gie me a thought of time to it, I
can do as good a day's darg as ever I did in my life, and Tibb can sort
cows with ony living woman."

"And muckle mair could I do," said Tibb, "were it ony feasible house;
but there will be neither pearlins to mend, nor pinners to busk up, in
Elspeth Glendinning's."

"Whisht wi' your pride, woman," said the shepherd; "eneugh you can do,
baith outside and inside, an ye set your mind to it; and hard it is
if we twa canna work for three folk's meat, forby my dainty wee leddy
there. Come awa, come awa, nae use in staying here langer; we have five
Scots miles over moss and muir, and that is nae easy walk for a leddy
born and bred."

Household stuff there was little or none to remove or care for; an
old pony which had escaped the plunderers, owing partly to its pitiful
appearance, partly from the reluctance which it showed to be caught
by strangers, was employed to carry the few blankets and other trifles
which they possessed. When Shagram came to his master's well-known
whistle, he was surprised to find the poor thing had been wounded,
though slightly, by an arrow, which one of the forayers had shot off in
anger after he had long chased it in vain.

"Ay, Shagram," said the old man, as he applied something to the wound,
"must you rue the lang-bow as weel as all of us?"

"What corner in Scotland rues it not!" said the Lady of Avenel.

"Ay, ay, madam," said Martin, "God keep the kindly Scot from the
cloth-yard shaft, and he will keep himself from the handy stroke. But
let us go our way; the trash that is left I can come back for. There is
nae ane to stir it but the good neighbours, and they----"

"For the love of God, goodman," said his wife, in a remonstrating tone,
"haud your peace! Think what ye're saying, and we hae sae muckle wild
land to go over before we win to the girth gate."

The husband nodded acquiescence; for it was deemed highly imprudent to
speak of the fairies, either by their title of _good neighbours_ or
by any other, especially when about to pass the places which they were
supposed to haunt.

[Footnote: This superstition continues to prevail, though one would
suppose it must now be antiquated. It is only a year or two since an
itinerant puppet show-man, who, disdaining to acknowledge the profession
of Gines de Passamonte, called himself an artist from Vauxhall, brought
a complaint of a singular nature before the author, as Sheriff of
Selkirkshire. The singular dexterity with which the show-man had
exhibited the machinery of his little stage, had, upon a Selkirk
fair-day, excited the eager curiosity of some mechanics of Galashiels.
These men, from no worse motive that could be discovered than a thirst
after knowledge beyond their sphere, committed a burglary upon the barn
in which the puppets had been consigned to repose, and carried them off
in the nook of their plaids, when returning from Selkirk to their own

  "But with the morning cool reflection came."

The party found, however, they could not make Punch dance, and that
the whole troop were equally intractable; they had also, perhaps, some
apprehensions of the Rhadamanth of the district; and, willing to be quit
of their booty, they left the puppets seated in a grove by the side of
the Ettrick, where they were sure to be touched by the first beams of
the rising sun. Here a shepherd, who was on foot with sunrise to pen
his master's sheep on a field of turnips, to his utter astonishment, saw
this train, profusely gay, sitting in the little grotto. His examination
proceeded thus:--

_Sheriff_. You saw these gay-looking things? what did you think they

_Shepherd_. Ou, I am no that free to say what I might think they were.

_Sheriff_. Come, lad, I must have a direct answer--who did you think
they were?

_Shepherd_. Ou, sir, troth I am no that free to say that I mind wha I
might think they were.

_Sheriff_. Come, come sir! I ask you distinctly, did you think they were
the fairies you saw?

_Shepherd_. Indeed, sir, and I winna say but I might think it was the
Good Neighbours.

Thus unwillingly was he brought to allude to the irritable and captious
inhabitants of fairy land.]

They set forward on their pilgrimage on the last day of October. "This
is thy birthday, my sweet Mary," said the mother, as a sting of bitter
recollection crossed her mind. "Oh, who could have believed that the
head, which, a few years since, was cradled amongst so many rejoicing
friends, may perhaps this night seek a cover in vain!"

The exiled family then set forward,--Mary Avenel, a lovely girl between
five and six years old, riding gipsy fashion upon Shagram, betwixt two
bundles of bedding; the Lady of Avenel walking by the animal's side;
Tibb leading the bridle, and old Martin walking a little before, looking
anxiously around him to explore the way.

Martin's task as guide, after two or three miles' walking, became more
difficult than he himself had expected, or than he was willing to avow.
It happened that the extensive range of pasturage, with which he was
conversant, lay to the west, and to get into the little valley of
Glendearg he had to proceed easterly. In the wilder districts of
Scotland, the passage from one vale to another, otherwise than by
descending that which you leave, and reascending the other, is often
very difficult.--Heights and hollows, mosses and rocks intervene, and
all those local impediments which throw a traveller out of his course.
So that Martin, however sure of his general direction, became conscious,
and at length was forced reluctantly to admit, that he had missed the
direct road to Glendearg, though he insisted they must be very near it.
"If we can but win across this wide bog," he said, "I shall warrant ye
are on the top of the tower." But to get across the bog was a point
of no small difficulty. The farther they ventured into it, though
proceeding with all the caution which Martin's experience recommended,
the more unsound the ground became, until, after they had passed some
places of great peril, their best argument for going forward came to be,
that they had to encounter equal danger in returning. The Lady of Avenel
had been tenderly nurtured, but what will not a woman endure when her
child is in danger? Complaining less of the dangers of the road than
her attendants, who had been inured to such from their infancy, she kept
herself close by the side of the pony, watching its every footstep, and
ready, if it should flounder in the morass, to snatch her little Mary
from its back. At length they came to a place where the guide greatly
hesitated, for all around him was broken lumps of heath, divided
from each other by deep sloughs of black tenacious mire. After great
consideration, Martin, selecting what he thought the safest path, began
himself to lead forward Shagram, in order to afford greater security to
the child. But Shagram snorted, laid his ears back, stretched his two
feet forward, and drew his hind feet under him, so as to adopt the best
possible posture for obstinate resistance, and refused to move one yard
in the direction indicated. Old Martin, much puzzled, now hesitated
whether to exert his absolute authority, or to defer to the contumacious
obstinacy of Shagram, and was not greatly comforted by his wife's
observation, who, seeing Shagram stare with his eyes, distend his
nostrils, and tremble with terror, hinted that "he surely saw more than
they could see."

In this dilemma, the child suddenly exclaimed--"Bonny leddy signs to
us to come yon gate." They all looked in the direction where the child
pointed, but saw nothing, save a wreath, of rising mist, which fancy
might form into a human figure; but which afforded to Martin only the
sorrowful conviction, that the danger of their situation was about to be
increased by a heavy fog. He once more essayed to lead forward Shagram;
but the animal was inflexible in its determination not to move in the
direction Martin recommended. "Take your awn way for it, then," said
Martin, "and let us see what you can do for us."

Shagram, abandoned to the discretion of his own free-will, set off
boldly in the direction the child had pointed. There was nothing
wonderful in this, nor in its bringing them safe to the other side of
the dangerous morass; for the instinct of these animals in traversing
bogs is one of the most curious parts of their nature, and is a fact
generally established. But it was remarkable, that the child more than
once mentioned the beautiful lady and her signals, and that Shagram
seemed to be in the secret, always moving in the same direction which
she indicated. The Lady of Avenel took little notice at the time, her
mind being probably occupied by the instant danger; but her attendants
changed expressive looks with each other more than once.

"All-Hallow Eve!" said Tibb, in a whisper to Martin.

"For the mercy of Our Lady, not a word of that now!" said Martin in
reply. "Tell your beads, woman, if you cannot be silent."

When they got once more on firm ground, Martin recognized certain
land-marks, or cairns, on the tops of the neighbouring hills, by which
he was enabled to guide his course, and ere long they arrived at the
Tower of Glendearg.

It was at the sight of this little fortalice that the misery of her lot
pressed hard on the poor Lady of Avenel. When by any accident they had
met at church, market, or other place of public resort, she remembered
the distant and respectful air with which the wife of the warlike baron
was addressed by the spouse of the humble feuar. And now, so much was
her pride humbled, that she was to ask to share the precarious safety of
the same feuar's widow, and her pittance of food, which might perhaps
be yet more precarious. Martin probably guessed what was passing in her
mind, for he looked at her with a wistful glance, as if to deprecate any
change of resolution; and answering to his looks, rather than his words,
she said, while the sparkle of subdued pride once more glanced from
her eye, "If it were for myself alone, I could but die-but for this
infant--the last pledge of Avenel--"

"True, my lady," said Martin, hastily; and, as if to prevent the
possibility of her retracting, he added, "I will step on and see Dame
Elspeth--I kend her husband weel, and have bought and sold with him, for
as great a man as he was."

Martin's tale was soon told, and met all acceptance from her companion
in misfortune. The Lady of Avenel had been meek and courteous in her
prosperity; in adversity, therefore, she met with the greatest sympathy.
Besides, there was a point of pride in sheltering and supporting a woman
of such superior birth and rank; and, not to do Elspeth Glendinning
injustice, she felt sympathy for one whose fate resembled her own in so
many points, yet was so much more severe. Every species of hospitality
was gladly and respectfully extended to the distressed travellers,
and they were kindly requested to stay as long at Glendearg as their
circumstances rendered necessary, or their inclination prompted.

Chapter the Fourth.

   Ne'er be I found by thee unawed,
   On that thrice hallow'd eve abroad.
   When goblins haunt from flood and fen,
                         The steps of men.
                            COLLINS'S _Ode to Fear_.

As the country became more settled, the Lady of Avenel would have
willingly returned to her husband's mansion. But that was no longer in
her power. It was a reign of minority, when the strongest had the best
right, and when acts of usurpation were frequent amongst those who had
much power and little conscience.

Julian Avenel, the younger brother of the deceased Walter, was a person
of this description. He hesitated not to seize upon his brother's house
and lands, so soon as the retreat of the English permitted him. At
first, he occupied the property in the name of his niece; but when the
lady proposed to return with her child to the mansion of its fathers, he
gave her to understand, that Avenel, being a male fief, descended to
the brother, instead of the daughter, of the last possessor. The ancient
philosopher declined a dispute with the emperor who commanded twenty
legions, and the widow of Walter Avenel was in no condition to maintain
a contest with the leader of twenty moss-troopers. Julian was also a
man of service, who could back a friend in case of need, and was sure,
therefore, to find protectors among the ruling powers. In short, however
clear the little Mary's right to the possessions of her father, her
mother saw the necessity of giving way, at least for the time, to the
usurpation of her uncle.

Her patience and forbearance were so far attended with advantage,
that Julian, for very shame's sake, could no longer suffer her to be
absolutely dependant on the charity of Elspeth Glendinning. A drove of
cattle and a bull (which were probably missed by some English farmer)
were driven to the pastures of Glendearg; presents of raiment and
household stuff were sent liberally, and some little money, though with
a more sparing hand: for those in the situation of Julian Avenel could
come more easily by the goods, than the representing medium of value,
and made their payments chiefly in kind.

In the meantime, the widows of Walter Avenel and Simon Glendinning had
become habituated to each other's society, and were unwilling to part.
The lady could hope no more secret and secure residence than in the
Tower of Glendearg, and she was now in a condition to support her share
of the mutual housekeeping. Elspeth, on the other hand, felt pride, as
well as pleasure, in the society of a guest of such distinction, and
was at all times willing to pay much greater deference than the Lady of
Walter Avenel could be prevailed on to accept.

Martin and his wife diligently served the united family in their several
vocations, and yielded obedience to both mistresses, though always
considering themselves as the especial servants of the Lady of Avenel.
This distinction sometimes occasioned a slight degree of difference
between Dame Elspeth and Tibb; the former being jealous of her own
consequence, and the latter apt to lay too much stress upon the rank
and family of her mistress. But both were alike desirous to conceal such
petty squabbles from the lady, her hostess scarce yielding to her old
domestic in respect for her person. Neither did the difference exist in
such a degree as to interrupt the general harmony of the family, for the
one wisely gave way as she saw the other become warm; and Tibb, though
she often gave the first provocation, had generally the sense to be the
first in relinquishing the argument.

The world which lay beyond was gradually forgotten by the inhabitants
of this sequestered glen, and unless when she attended mass at the
Monastery Church upon some high holiday, Alice of Avenel almost
forgot that she once held an equal rank with the proud wives of the
neighbouring barons and nobles who on such occasions crowded to the
solemnity. The recollection gave her little pain. She loved her husband
for himself, and in his inestimable loss all lesser subjects of regret
had ceased to interest her. At times, indeed, she thought of claiming
the protection of the Queen Regent (Mary of Guise) for her little
orphan, but the fear of Julian Avenel always came between. She was
sensible that he would have neither scruple nor difficulty in spiriting
away the child, (if he did not proceed farther,) should he once consider
its existence as formidable to his interest. Besides, he led a wild and
unsettled life, mingling in all feuds and forays, wherever there was
a spear to be broken; he evinced no purpose of marrying, and the fate
which he continually was braving might at length remove him from his
usurped inheritance. Alice of Avenel, therefore, judged it wise to check
all ambitious thoughts for the present, and remain quiet in the rude,
but peaceable retreat, to which Providence had conducted her.

It was upon an All-Hallow's eve, when the family had resided together
for the space of three years, that the domestic circle was assembled
round the blazing turf-fire, in the old narrow hall of the Tower of
Glendearg. The idea of the master or mistress of the mansion feeding or
living apart from their domestics, was at this period never entertained.
The highest end of the board, the most commodious settle by the
fire,--these were the only marks of distinction; and the servants
mingled, with deference indeed, but unreproved and with freedom, in
whatever conversation was going forward. But the two or three domestics,
kept merely for agricultural purposes, had retired to their own cottages
without, and with them a couple of wenches, usually employed within
doors, the daughters of one of the hinds.

After their departure, Martin locked, first, the iron grate; and,
secondly, the inner door of the tower, when the domestic circle was thus
arranged. Dame Elspeth sate pulling the thread from her distaff; Tibb
watched the progress of scalding the whey, which hung in a large pot
upon the _crook_, a chain terminated by a hook, which was suspended
in the chimney to serve the purpose of the modern crane. Martin, while
busied in repairing some of the household articles, (for every man in
those days was his own carpenter and smith, as well as his own tailor
and shoemaker,) kept from time to time a watchful eye upon the three

They were allowed, however, to exercise their juvenile restlessness by
running up and down the hall, behind the seats of the elder members of
the family, with the privilege of occasionally making excursions into
one or two small apartments which opened from it, and gave excellent
opportunity to play at hide-and-seek. This night, however, the children
seemed not disposed to avail themselves of their privilege of visiting
these dark regions, but preferred carrying on their gambols in the
vicinity of the light.

In the meanwhile, Alice of Avenel, sitting close to an iron candlestick,
which supported a misshapen torch of domestic manufacture, read small
detached passages from a thick clasped volume, which she preserved
with the greatest care. The art of reading the lady had acquired by her
residence in a nunnery during her youth, but she seldom, of late years,
put it to any other use than perusing this little volume, which formed
her whole library. The family listened to the portions which she
selected, as to some good thing which there was a merit in hearing with
respect, whether it was fully understood or no. To her daughter, Alice
of Avenel had determined to impart their mystery more fully, but the
knowledge was at that period attended with personal danger, and was not
rashly to be trusted to a child.

The noise of the romping children interrupted, from time to time, the
voice of the lady, and drew on the noisy culprits the rebuke of Elspeth.

"Could they not go farther a-field, if they behoved to make such a din,
and disturb the lady's good words?" And this command was backed with
the threat of sending the whole party to bed if it was not attended to
punctually. Acting under the injunction, the children first played at
a greater distance from the party, and more quietly, and then began
to stray into the adjacent apartments, as they became impatient of the
restraint to which they were subjected. But, all at once, the two boys
came open-mouthed into the hall, to tell that there was an armed man in
the spence.

"It must be Christie of Clint-hill," said Martin, rising; "what can have
brought him here at this time?"

"Or how came he in?" said Elspeth.

"Alas! what can he seek?" said the Lady of Avenel, to whom this man,
a retainer of her husband's brother, and who sometimes executed his
commissions at Glendearg, was an object of secret apprehension and
suspicion. "Gracious heavens!" she added, rising up, "where is my
child?" All rushed to the spence, Halbert Glendinning first arming
himself with a rusty sword, and the younger seizing upon the lady's
book. They hastened to the spence, and were relieved of a part of their
anxiety by meeting Mary at the door of the apartment. She did not seem
in the slightest degree alarmed, or disturbed. They rushed into the
spence, (a sort of interior apartment in which the family ate their
victuals in the summer season,) but there was no one there.

"Where is Christie of Clint-hill?" said Martin.

"I do not know," said little Mary; "I never saw him."

"And what made you, ye misleard loons," said Dame Elspeth to her two
boys, "come yon gate into the ha', roaring like bullsegs, to frighten
the leddy, and her far frae strong?" The boys looked at each other in
silence and confusion, and their mother proceeded with her lecture.
"Could ye find nae night for daffin but Hallowe'en, and nae time but
when the leddy was reading to us about the holy Saints? May ne'er be in
my fingers, if I dinna sort ye baith for it!" The eldest boy bent his
eyes on the ground, the younger began to weep, but neither spoke;
and the mother would have proceeded to extremities, but for the
interposition of the little maiden.

"Dame Elspeth, it was _my_ fault--I did say to them, that I saw a man in
the spence."

"And what made you do so, child," said her mother, "to startle us all

"Because," said Mary, lowering her voice, "I could not help it."

"Not help it, Mary!--you occasioned all this idle noise, and you could
not help it? How mean you by that, minion?"

"There really was an armed man in this spence," said Mary; "and because
I was surprised to see him, I cried out to Halbert and Edward--"

"She has told it herself," said Halbert Glendinning, "or it had never
been told by me."

"Nor by me neither," said Edward, emulously.

"Mistress Mary," said Elspeth, "you never told us anything before that
was not true; tell us if this was a Hallowe'en cantrip, and make an end
of it." The Lady of Avenel looked as if she would have interfered, but
knew not how; and Elspeth, who was too eagerly curious to regard any
distant hint, persevered in her inquiries. "Was it Christie of the
Clint-hill?--I would not for a mark that he were about the house, and a
body no ken whare."

"It was not Christie," said Mary; "it was--it was a gentleman--a
gentleman with a bright breastplate, like what I hae seen langsyne, when
we dwelt at Avenel--"

"What like was he?" continued Tibb, who now took share in the

"Black-haired, black-eyed, with a peaked black beard," said the child;
"and many a fold of pearling round his neck, and hanging down his breast
ower his breastplate; and he had a beautiful hawk, with silver bells,
standing on his left hand, with a crimson silk hood upon its head--"

"Ask her no more questions, for the love of God," said the anxious
menial to Elspeth, "but look to my leddy!" But the Lady of Avenel,
taking Mary in her hand, turned hastily away, and, walking into the
hall, gave them no opportunity of remarking in what manner she received
the child's communication, which she thus cut short. What Tibb thought
of it appeared from her crossing herself repeatedly, and whispering
into Elspeth's ear, "Saint Mary preserve us!--the lassie has seen her

When they reached the hall, they found the lady holding her daughter
on her knee, and kissing her repeatedly. When they entered, she again
arose, as if to shun observation, and retired to the little apartment
where her child and she occupied the same bed.

The boys were also sent to their cabin, and no one remained by the hall
fire save the faithful Tibb and dame Elspeth, excellent persons both,
and as thorough gossips as ever wagged a tongue.

It was but natural that they should instantly resume the subject of the
supernatural appearance, for such they deemed it, which had this night
alarmed the family.

"I could hae wished it had been the deil himself--be good to and
preserve us!--rather than Christie o' the Clint-hill," said the matron
of the mansion, "for the word runs rife in the country, that he is ane
of the maist masterfu' thieves ever lap on horse."

"Hout-tout, Dame Elspeth," said Tibb, "fear ye naething frae Christie;
tods keep their ain holes clean. You kirk-folk make sic a fasherie about
men shifting a wee bit for their living! Our Border-lairds would ride
with few men at their back, if a' the light-handed lads were out o'

"Better they rade wi' nane than distress the country-side the gate they
do," said Dame Elspeth.

"But wha is to haud back the Southron, then," said Tibb, "if ye take
away the lances and broadswords? I trow we auld wives couldna do that
wi' rock and wheel, and as little the monks wi' bell and book."

"And sae weel as the lances and broadswords hae kept them back, I
trow!--I was mair beholden to ae Southron, and that was Stawarth Bolton,
than to a' the border-riders ever wore Saint Andrew's cross--I reckon
their skelping back and forward, and lifting honest men's gear, has been
a main cause of a' the breach between us and England, and I am sure that
cost me a kind goodman. They spoke about the wedding of the Prince and
our Queen, but it's as like to be the driving of the Cumberland folk's
stocking that brought them down on us like dragons." Tibb would not have
failed in other circumstances to answer what she thought reflections
disparaging to her country folk; but she recollected that Dame Elspeth
was mistress of the family, curbed her own zealous patriotism, and
hastened to change the subject.

"And is it not strange," she said, "that the heiress of Avenel should
have seen her father this blessed night?"

"And ye think it was her father, then?" said Elspeth Glendinning.

"What else can I think?" said Tibb.

"It may hae been something waur, in his likeness," said Dame

"I ken naething about that," said Tibb,--"but his likeness it was, that
I will be sworn to, just as he used to ride out a-hawking; for having
enemies in the country, he seldom laid off the breast-plate; and for my
part," added Tibb, "I dinna think a man looks like a man unless he has
steel on his breast, and by his side too."

"I have no skill of your harness on breast or side either," said Dame
Glendinning; "but I ken there is little luck in Hallowe'en sights, for I
have had ane myself."

"Indeed, Dame Elspeth?" said old Tibb, edging her stool closer to the
huge elbow-chair occupied by her friend, "I should like to hear about

"Ye maun ken, then, Tibb," said Dame Glendinning, "that when I was a
hempie of nineteen or twenty, it wasna my fault if I wasna at a' the
merry-makings time about."

"That was very natural," said Tibb; "but ye hae sobered since that, or
ye wadna haud our braw gallants sae lightly."

"I have had that wad sober me or ony ane," said the matron, "Aweel,
Tibb, a lass like me wasna to lack wooers, for I wasna sae ill-favoured
that the tikes wad bark after me."

"How should that be," said Tibb, "and you sic a weel-favoured woman to
this day?"

"Fie, fie, cummer," said the matron of Glendearg, hitching her seat of
honour, in her turn, a little nearer to the cuttle-stool on which Tibb
was seated; "weel-favoured is past my time of day; but I might pass
then, for I wasna sae tocherless but what I had a bit land at my
breast-lace. My father was portioner of Little-dearg."

"Ye hae tell'd me that before," said Tibb; "but anent the Hallowe'en?"

"Aweel, aweel, I had mair joes than ane, but I favoured nane o' them;
and sae, at Hallowe'en, Father Nicolas the cellarer--he was cellarer
before this father, Father Clement, that now is--was cracking his nuts
and drinking his brown beer with us, and as blithe as might be, and they
would have me try a cantrip to ken wha suld wed me: and the monk said
there was nae ill in it, and if there was, he would assoil me for
it. And wha but I into the barn to winnow my three weights o'
naething--sair, sair my mind misgave me for fear of wrang-doing and
wrang-suffering baith; but I had aye a bauld spirit. I had not winnowed
the last weight clean out, and the moon was shining bright upon the
floor, when in stalked the presence of my dear Simon Glendinning, that
is now happy. I never saw him plainer in my life than I did that moment;
he held up an arrow as he passed me, and I swarf'd awa wi' fright.
Muckle wark there was to bring me to mysell again, and sair they tried
to make me believe it was a trick of Father Nicolas and Simon between
them, and that the arrow was to signify Cupid's shaft, as the Father
called it; and mony a time Simon wad threep it to me after I was
married--gude man, he liked not it should be said that he was seen out
o' the body!--But mark the end o' it, Tibb; we were married, and the
gray-goose wing was the death o' him after a'!"

"As it has been of ower mony brave men," said Tibb; "I wish there wasna
sic a bird as a goose in the wide warld, forby the clecking that we hae
at the burn-side."

"But tell me, Tibb," said Dame Glendinning, "what does your leddy aye do
reading out o' that thick black book wi' the silver clasps?--there are
ower mony gude words in it to come frae ony body but a priest--An it
were about Robin Hood, or some o' David Lindsay's ballants, ane wad ken
better what to say to it. I am no misdoubting your mistress nae way,
but I wad like ill to hae a decent house haunted wi' ghaists and

"Ye hae nae reason to doubt my leddy, or ony thing she says or does,
Dame Glendinning," said the faithful Tibb, something offended; "and
touching the bairn, it's weel kend she was born on Hallowe'en, was nine
years gane, and they that are born on Hallowe'en whiles see mair than
ither folk."

"And that wad be the cause, then, that the bairn didna mak muckle din
about what it saw?--if it had been my Halbert himself, forby Edward, who
is of softer nature, he wad hae yammered the haill night of a constancy.
But it's like Mistress Mary hae sic sights mair natural to her."

"That may weel be," said Tibb; "for on Hallowe'en she was born, as I
tell ye, and our auld parish priest wad fain hae had the night ower,
and All-Hallow day begun. But for a' that, the sweet bairn is just like
ither bairns, as ye may see yourself; and except this blessed night,
and ance before when we were in that weary bog on the road here, I kenna
that it saw mair than ither folk."

"But what saw she in the bog, then," said Dame Glendinning, "forby
moor-cocks and heather-blutters?"

"The wean saw something like a white leddy that weised us the gate,"
said Tibb; "when we were like to hae perished in the moss-hags--certain
it was that Shagram reisted, and I ken Martin thinks he saw something."

"And what might the white leddy be?" said Elspeth; "have ye ony guess o'

"It's weel kend that, Dame Elspeth," said Tibb; "if ye had lived under
grit folk, as I hae dune, ye wadna be to seek in that matter."

"I hae aye keepit my ain ha' house abune my head," said Elspeth, not
without emphasis, "and if I havena lived wi' grit folk, grit folk have
lived wi' me."

"Weel, weel, dame," said Tibb, "your pardon's prayed, there was nae
offence meant. But ye maun ken the great ancient families canna be just
served wi' the ordinary saunts, (praise to them!) like Saunt Anthony,
Saunt Cuthbert, and the like, that come and gang at every sinner's
bidding, but they hae a sort of saunts or angels, or what not, to
themsells; and as for the White Maiden of Avenel, she is kend ower the
haill country. And she is aye seen to yammer and wail before ony o' that
family dies, as was weel kend by twenty folk before the death of Walter
Avenel, haly be his cast!"

"If she can do nae mair than that," said Elspeth, somewhat scornfully,
"they needna make mony vows to her, I trow. Can she make nae better fend
for them than that, and has naething better to do than wait on them?"

"Mony braw services can the White Maiden do for them to the boot of
that, and has dune in the auld histories," said Tibb, "but I mind o'
naething in my day, except it was her that the bairn saw in the bog."

"Aweel, aweel, Tibb," said Dame Glendinning, rising and lighting the
iron lamp, "these are great privileges of your grand folk. But our Lady
and Saunt Paul are good eneugh saunts for me, and I'se warrant them
never leave me in a bog that they can help me out o', seeing I send four
waxen candles to their chapels every Candlemas; and if they are not seen
to weep at my death, I'se warrant them smile at my joyful rising again,
whilk Heaven send to all of us, Amen."

"Amen," answered Tibb, devoutly; "and now it's time I should hap up the
wee bit gathering turf, as the fire is ower low."

Busily she set herself to perform this duty. The relict of Simon
Glendinning did but pause a moment to cast a heedful and cautious glance
all around the hall, to see that nothing was out of its proper place;
then, wishing Tibb good-night, she retired to repose.

"The deil's in the carline," said Tibb to herself, "because she was
the wife of a cock-laird, she thinks herself grander, I trow, than the
bower-woman of a lady of that ilk!" Having given vent to her suppressed
spleen in this little ejaculation, Tibb also betook herself to slumber.

Chapter the Fifth.

  A priest, ye cry, a priest!--lame shepherds they,
  How shall they gather in the straggling flock?
  Dumb dogs which bark not--how shall they compel
  The loitering vagrants to the Master's fold?
  Fitter to bask before the blazing fire,
  And snuff the mess neat-handed Phillis dresses,
  Than on the snow-wreath battle with the wolf.

The health of the Lady of Avenel had been gradually decaying ever since
her disaster. It seemed as if the few years which followed her husband's
death had done on her the work of half a century. She lost the fresh
elasticity of form, the colour and the mien of health, and became
wasted, wan, and feeble. She appeared to have no formed complaint;
yet it was evident to those who looked on her, that her strength waned
daily. Her lips at length became blenched and her eye dim; yet she spoke
not of any desire to see a priest, until Elspeth Glendinning in her zeal
could not refrain from touching upon a point which she deemed essential
to salvation. Alice of Avenel received her hint kindly, and thanked her
for it.

"If any good priest would take the trouble of such a journey," she said,
"he should be welcome; for the prayers and lessons of the good must be
at all times advantageous."

This quiet acquiescence was not quite what Elspeth Glendinning wished
or expected. She made up, however, by her own enthusiasm, for the lady's
want of eagerness to avail herself of ghostly counsel, and Martin was
despatched with such haste as Shagram would make, to pray one of
the religious men of Saint Mary's to come up to administer the last
consolations to the widow of Walter Avenel.

When the Sacristan had announced to the Lord Abbot, that the Lady of
the umquhile Walter de Avenel was in very weak health in the Tower of
Glendearg, and desired the assistance of a father confessor, the lordly
monk paused on the request.

"We do remember Walter de Avenel," he said; "a good knight and
a valiant: he was dispossessed of his lands, and slain by the
Southron--May not the lady come hither to the sacrament of confession?
the road is distant and painful to travel."

"The lady is unwell, holy father," answered the Sacristan, "and unable
to bear the journey."

"True--ay,--yes--then must one of our brethren go to her--Knowest thou
if she hath aught of a jointure from this Walter de Avenel?"

"Very little, holy father," said the Sacristan; "she hath resided at
Glendearg since her husband's death, well-nigh on the charity of a poor
widow, called Elspeth Glendinning."

"Why, thou knowest all the widows in the country-side!" said the Abbot.
"Ho! ho! ho!" and he shook his portly sides at his own jest.

"Ho! ho! ho!" echoed the Sacristan, in the tone and tune in which
an inferior applauds the jest of his superior.--Then added, with a
hypocritical shuffle, and a sly twinkle of his eye, "It is our duty,
most holy father, to comfort the widow--He! he! he!"

This last laugh was more moderate, until the Abbot should put his
sanction on the jest.

"Ho! ho!" said the Abbot; "then, to leave jesting, Father Philip, take
thou thy riding gear, and go to confess this Dame Avenel."

"But," said the Sacristan----

"Give me no _Buts;_ neither But nor If pass between monk and Abbot,
Father Philip; the bands of discipline must not be relaxed--heresy
gathers force like a snow-ball--the multitude expect confessions and
preachings from the Benedictine, as they would from so many beggarly
friars--and we may not desert the vineyard, though the toil be grievous
unto us."

"And with so little advantage to the holy monastery," said the

"True, Father Philip; but wot you not that what preventeth harm doth
good? This Julian de Avenel lives a light and evil life, and should we
neglect the widow of his brother, he might foray our lands, and we never
able to show who hurt us--moreover it is our duty to an ancient family,
who, in their day, have been benefactors to the Abbey. Away with thee
instantly, brother; ride night and day, an it be necessary, and let men
see how diligent Abbot Boniface and his faithful children are in the
execution of their spiritual duty--toil not deterring them, for the glen
is five miles in length--fear not withholding them, for it is said to be
haunted of spectres--nothing moving them from pursuit of their spiritual
calling; to the confusion of calumnious heretics, and the comfort and
edification of all true and faithful sons of the Catholic Church. I
wonder what our brother Eustace will say to this?"

Breathless with his own picture of the dangers and toil which he was to
encounter, and the fame which he was to acquire, (both by proxy,) the
Abbot moved slowly to finish his luncheon in the refectory, and the
Sacristan, with no very good will, accompanied old Martin in his return
to Glendearg; the greatest impediment in the journey being the trouble
of restraining his pampered mule, that she might tread in something like
an equal pace with poor jaded Shagram.

After remaining an hour in private with his penitent, the monk returned
moody and full of thought. Dame Elspeth, who had placed for the honoured
guest some refreshment in the hall, was struck with the embarrassment
which appeared in his countenance. Elspeth watched him with great
anxiety. She observed there was that on his brow which rather resembled
a person come from hearing the confession of some enormous crime, than
the look of a confessor who resigns a reconciled penitent, not to earth,
but to heaven. After long hesitating, she could not at length refrain
from hazarding a question. She was sure she said, the leddy had made an
easy shrift. Five years had they resided together, and she could safely
say, no woman lived better.

"Woman," said the Sacristan, sternly, "thou speakest thou knowest not
what--What avails clearing the outside of the platter, if the inside be
foul with heresy?"

"Our dishes and trenchers are not so clean as they could be wished,
holy father," said Elspeth, but half understanding what he said, and
beginning with her apron to wipe the dust from the plates, of which she
supposed him to complain.

"Forbear, Dame Elspeth" said the monk; "your plates are as clean as
wooden trenchers and pewter flagons can well be; the foulness of which
I speak is of that pestilential heresy which is daily becoming ingrained
in this our Holy Church of Scotland, and as a canker-worm in the
rose-garland of the Spouse."

"Holy Mother of Heaven!" said Dame Elspeth, crossing herself, "have I
kept house with a heretic?"

"No, Elspeth, no," replied the monk; "it were too strong a speech for me
to make of this unhappy lady, but I would I could say she is free
from heretical opinions. Alas! they fly about like the pestilence by
noon-day, and infect even the first and fairest of the flock! For it
is easy to see of this dame, that she hath been high in judgment as in

"And she can write and read, I had almost said, as weel as your
reverence" said Elspeth.

"Whom doth she write to, and what doth she read?" said the monk,

"Nay," replied Elspeth, "I cannot say I ever saw her write at all, but
her maiden that was--she now serves the family--says she can write--And
for reading, she has often read to us good things out of a thick black
volume with silver clasps."

"Let me see it," said the monk, hastily, "on your allegiance as a true
vassal--on your faith as a Catholic Christian--instantly--instantly let
me see it."

The good woman hesitated, alarmed at the tone in which the confessor
took up her information; and being moreover of opinion, that what so
good a woman as the Lady of Avenel studied so devoutly, could not be of
a tendency actually evil. But borne down by the clamour, exclamations,
and something like threats used by Father Philip, she at length brought
him the fatal volume. It was easy to do this without suspicion on the
part of the owner, as she lay on her bed exhausted with the fatigue of a
long conference with her confessor, and as the small _round_, or turret
closet, in which was the book and her other trifling property, was
accessible by another door. Of all her effects the book was the last she
would have thought of securing, for of what use or interest could it be
in a family who neither read themselves, nor were in the habit of
seeing any who did? so that Dame Elspeth had no difficulty in possessing
herself of the volume, although her heart all the while accused her of
an ungenerous and an inhospitable part towards her friend and inmate.
The double power of a landlord and a feudal superior was before her
eyes; and to say truth, the boldness, with which she might otherwise
have resisted this double authority, was, I grieve to say it, much
qualified by the curiosity she entertained, as a daughter of Eve, to
have some explanation respecting the mysterious volume which the lady
cherished with so much care, yet whose contents she imparted with such
caution. For never had Alice of Avenel read them any passage from the
book in question until the iron door of the tower was locked, and all
possibility of intrusion prevented. Even then she had shown, by the
selection of particular passages, that she was more anxious to impress
on their minds the principles which the volume contained, than to
introduce them to it as a new rule of faith.

When Elspeth, half curious, half remorseful, had placed the book in the
monk's hands, he exclaimed, after turning over the leaves, "Now, by mine
order, it is as I suspected!--My mule, my mule!--I will abide no longer
here--well hast thou done, dame, in placing in my hands this perilous

"Is it then witchcraft or devil's work?" said Dame Elspeth, in great

"Nay, God forbid!" said the monk, signing himself with the cross, "it
is the Holy Scripture. But it is rendered into the vulgar tongue, and
therefore, by the order of the Holy Catholic Church, unfit to be in the
hands of any lay person."

"And yet is the Holy Scripture communicated for our common salvation,"
said Elspeth. "Good Father, you must instruct mine ignorance better; but
lack of wit cannot be a deadly sin, and truly, to my poor thinking, I
should be glad to read the Holy Scripture."

"I dare say thou wouldst," said the monk; "and even thus did our mother
Eve seek to have knowledge of good and evil, and thus Sin came into the
world, and Death by Sin."

"I am sure, and it is true," said Elspeth. "Oh, if she had dealt by the
counsel of Saint Peter and Saint Paul!"

"If she had reverenced the command of Heaven," said the monk, "which,
as it gave her birth, life, and happiness, fixed upon the grant such
conditions as best corresponded with its holy pleasure. I tell thee,
Elspeth, _the Word slayeth_--that is, the text alone, read with
unskilled eye and unhallowed lips, is like those strong medicines which
sick men take by the advice of the learned. Such patients recover and
thrive; while those dealing in them at their own hand, shall perish by
their own deed."

"Nae doubt, nae doubt," said the poor woman, "your reverence knows

"Not I," said Father Philip, in a tone as deferential as he thought
could possibly become the Sacristan of Saint Mary's,--"Not I, but the
Holy Father of Christendom, and our own holy father, the Lord Abbot,
know best. I, the poor Sacristan of Saint Mary's, can but repeat what I
hear from others my superiors. Yet of this, good woman, be assured,--the
Word, the mere Word, slayetlh. But the church hath her ministers to
gloze and to expound the same unto her faithful congregation; and this
I say, not so much, my beloved brethren--I mean my beloved sister," (for
the Sacristan had got into the end of one of his old sermons,)--"This I
speak not so much of the rectors, curates, and secular clergy, so called
because they live after the fashion of the _seculum_ or age, unbound by
those ties which sequestrate us from the world; neither do I speak
this of the mendicant friars, whether black or gray, whether crossed or
uncrossed; but of the monks, and especially of the monks Benedictine,
reformed on the rule of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, thence called
Cistercian, of which monks, Christian brethren--sister, I would
say--great is the happiness and glory of the country in possessing the
holy ministers of Saint Mary's, whereof I, though an unworthy brother,
may say it hath produced more saints, more bishops, more popes--may
our patrons make us thankful!--than any holy foundation in Scotland.
Wherefore--But I see Martin hath my mule in readiness, and I will but
salute you with the kiss of sisterhood, which maketh not ashamed, and so
betake me to my toilsome return, for the glen is of bad reputation for
the evil spirits which haunt it. Moreover, I may arrive too late at the
bridge, whereby I may be obliged to take to the river, which I observed
to be somewhat waxen."

Accordingly, he took his leave of Dame Elspeth, who was confounded by
the rapidity of his utterance, and the doctrine he gave forth, and by no
means easy on the subject of the book, which her conscience told her she
should not have communicated to any one, without the knowledge of its

Notwithstanding the haste which the monk as well as the mule made to
return to better quarters than they had left at the head of Glendearg;
notwithstanding the eager desire Father Philip had to be the very first
who should acquaint the Abbot that a copy of the book they most
dreaded had been found within the Halidome, or patrimony of the Abbey;
notwithstanding, moreover, certain feelings which induced him to hurry
as fast as possible through the gloomy and evil-reputed glen, still
the difficulties of the road, and the rider's want of habitude of quick
motion, were such, that twilight came upon him ere he had nearly cleared
the narrow valley. It was indeed a gloomy ride. The two sides of the
vale were so near, that at every double of the river the shadows from
the western sky fell upon, and totally obscured, the eastern bank; the
thickets of copsewood seemed to wave with a portentous agitation of
boughs and leaves, and the very crags and scaurs seemed higher and
grimmer than they had appeared to the monk while he was travelling in
daylight, and in company. Father Philip was heartily rejoiced, when,
emerging from the narrow glen, he gained the open valley of the Tweed,
which held on its majestic course from current to pool, and from pool
stretched away to other currents, with a dignity peculiar to itself
amongst the Scottish rivers; for whatever may have been the drought
of the season, the Tweed usually fills up the space between its banks,
seldom leaving those extensive sheets of shingle which deform the
margins of many of the celebrated Scottish streams.

The monk, insensible to beauties which the age had not regarded as
deserving of notice, was, nevertheless, like a prudent general, pleased
to find himself out of the narrow glen in which the enemy might have
stolen upon him unperceived. He drew up his bridle, reduced his mule
to her natural and luxurious amble, instead of the agitating and
broken trot at which, to his no small inconvenience, she had hitherto
proceeded, and, wiping his brow, gazed forth at leisure on the broad
moon, which, now mingling with the lights of evening, was rising over
field and forest, village and fortalice, and, above all, over the
stately Monastery, seen far and dim amid the vellow light.

The worst part of the magnificent view, in the monk's apprehension, was,
that the Monastery stood on the opposite side of the river, and that of
the many fine bridges which have since been built across that classical
stream, not one then existed. There was, however, in recompense, a
bridge then standing which has since disappeared, although its ruins may
still be traced by the curious.

It was of a very peculiar form. Two strong abutments were built on
either side of the river, at a part where the stream was peculiarly
contracted. Upon a rock in the centre of the current was built a solid
piece of masonry, constructed like the pier of a bridge, and presenting,
like a pier, an angle to the current of the stream. The masonry
continued solid until the pier rose to a level with the two abutments
upon either side, and from thence the building rose in the form of a
tower. The lower story of this tower consisted only of an archway or
passage through the building, over either entrance to which hung a
drawbridge with counterpoises, either of which, when dropped, connected
the archway with the opposite abutment, where the farther end of the
drawbridge rested. When both bridges were thus lowered, the passage over
the river was complete.

The bridge-keeper, who was the dependant of a neighbouring baron,
resided with his family in the second and third stories of the tower,
which, when both drawbridges were raised, formed an insulated fortalice
in the midst of the river. He was entitled to a small toll or custom
for the passage, concerning the amount of which disputes sometimes
arose between him and the passengers. It is needless to say, that the
bridge-ward had usually the better in these questions, since he could at
pleasure detain the traveller on the opposite side; or, suffering him
to pass half way, might keep him prisoner in his tower till they were
agreed on the rate of pontage.

[Footnote: A bridge of the very peculiar construction described in the
text, actually existed at a small hamlet about a mile and a half above
Melrose, called from the circumstance Bridge-end. It is thus noticed in
Gordon's _Iter Septentrionale_:--

"In another journey through the south parts of Scotland, about a mile
and a half from Melrose, in the shire of Teviotdale, I saw the remains
of a curious bridge over the river Tweed, consisting of three octangular
pillars, or rather towers, standing within the water, without any arches
to join them. The middle one, which is the most entire, has a door
towards the north, and I suppose another opposite one toward the south,
which I could not see without crossing the water. In the middle of this
tower is a projection or cornice surrounding it: the whole is hollow
from the door upwards, and now open at the top, near which is a small
window. I was informed that not long agro a countryman and his family
lived in this tower--and got his livelihood by laying out planks from
pillar to pillar, and conveying passengers over the river. Whether this
be ancient or modern, I know not; but as it is singular in its kind I
have thought fit to exhibit it."

The vestiges of this uncommon species of bridge still exist, and the
author has often seen the foundations of the columns when drifting down
the Tweed at night for the purpose of killing salmon by torch-light.
Mr. John Mercer of Bridge-end recollects, that about fifty years ago the
pillars were visible above water; and the late Mr. David Kyle, of the
George Inn, Melrose, told the author that he saw a stone taken from the
river bearing this inscription:--

"I, Sir John Pringle of Palmer stede, Give an hundred markis of gowd sae
reid, To help to bigg my brigg ower Tweed."

Pringle of Galashiels, afterwards of Whytbank, was the Baron to whom the
bridge belonged.]

But it was most frequently with the Monks of Saint Mary's that the
warder had to dispute his perquisites. These holy men insisted for, and
at length obtained, a right of gratuitous passage to themselves, greatly
to the discontent of the bridge-keeper. But when they demanded the
same immunity for the numerous pilgrims who visited the shrine, the
bridge-keeper waxed restive, and was supported by his lord in his
resistance. The controversy grew animated on both sides; the Abbot
menaced excommunication, and the keeper of the bridge, though unable to
retaliate in kind, yet made each individual monk who had to cross and
recross the river, endure a sort of purgatory, ere he would accommodate
them with a passage. This was a great inconvenience, and would have
proved a more serious one, but that the river was fordable for man and
horse in ordinary weather.

It was a fine moonlight night, as we have already said, when Father
Philip approached this bridge, the singular construction of which gives
a curious idea of the insecurity of the times. The river was not in
flood, but it was above its ordinary level--_a heavy water_, as it
is called in that country, through which the monk had no particular
inclination to ride, if he could manage the matter better.

"Peter, my good friend," cried the Sacristan, raising his voice; "my
very excellent friend, Peter, be so kind as to lower the drawbridge.
Peter, I say, dost thou not hear?--it is thy gossip, Father Philip, who
calls thee."

Peter heard him perfectly well, and saw him into the bargain; but as he
had considered the Sacristan as peculiarly his enemy in his dispute
with the convent, he went quietly to bed, after reconnoitring the monk
through his loop-hole, observing to his wife, that "riding the water in
a moonlight night would do the Sacristan no harm, and would teach him
the value of a brig the neist time, on whilk a man might pass high and
dry, winter and summer, flood and ebb."

After exhausting his voice in entreaties and threats, which were equally
unattended to by Peter of the Brig, as he was called, Father Philip at
length moved down the river to take the ordinary ford at the head of
the next stream. Cursing the rustic obstinacy of Peter, he began,
nevertheless, to persuade himself that the passage of the river by the
ford was not only safe, but pleasant. The banks and scattered trees were
so beautifully reflected from the bosom of the dark stream, the whole
cool and delicious picture formed so pleasing a contrast to his late
agitation, to the warmth occasioned by his vain endeavours to move the
relentless porter of the bridge, that the result was rather agreeable
than otherwise.

As Father Philip came close to the water's edge, at the spot where
he was to enter it, there sat a female under a large broken scathed
oak-tree, or rather under the remains of such a tree, weeping, wringing
her hands, and looking earnestly on the current of the river. The monk
was struck with astonishment to see a female there at that time of
night. But he was, in all honest service,--and if a step farther, I put
it upon his own conscience,--a devoted squire of dames. After observing
the maiden for a moment, although she seemed to take no notice of
his presence, he was moved by her distress, and willing to offer his
assistance. "Damsel," said he, "thou seemest in no ordinary distress;
peradventure, like myself, thou hast been refused passage at the bridge
by the churlish keeper, and thy crossing may concern thee either for
performance of a vow, or some other weighty charge."

The maiden uttered some inarticulate sounds, looked at the river, and
then in the face of the Sacristan. It struck Father Philip at that
instant, that a Highland chief of distinction had been for some time
expected to pay his vows at the shrine of Saint Mary's; and that
possibly this fair maiden might be one of his family, travelling alone
for accomplishment of a vow, or left behind by some accident, to whom,
therefore, it would be but right and prudent to use every civility
in his power, especially as she seemed unacquainted with the Lowland
tongue. Such at least was the only motive the Sacristan was ever known
to assign for his courtesy; if there was any other, I once more refer it
to his own conscience.

To express himself by signs, the common language of all nations, the
cautious Sacristan first pointed to the river, then to his mule's
crupper, and then made, as gracefully as he could, a sign to induce the
fair solitary to mount behind him. She seemed to understand his meaning,
for she rose up as if to accept his offer; and while the good monk, who,
as we have hinted, was no great cavalier, laboured, with the pressure of
the right leg and the use of the left rein, to place his mule with her
side to the bank in such a position that the lady might mount with ease,
she rose from the ground with rather portentous activity, and at one
bound sate behind the monk upon the animal, much the firmer rider of the
two. The mule by no means seemed to approve of this double burden; she
bounded, bolted, and would soon have thrown Father Philip over her head,
had not the maiden with a firm hand detained him in the saddle.

At last the restive brute changed her humour; and, from refusing to
budge off the spot, suddenly stretched her nose homeward, and dashed
into the ford as fast as she could scamper. A new terror now invaded
the monk's mind--the ford seemed unusually deep, the water eddied off in
strong ripple from the counter of the mule, and began to rise upon her
side. Philip lost his presence of mind,--which was at no time his most
ready attribute, the mule yielded to the weight of the current, and as
the rider was not attentive to keep her head turned up the river, she
drifted downward, lost the ford and her footing at once, and began to
swim with her head down the stream. And what was sufficiently strange,
at the same moment, notwithstanding the extreme peril, the damsel began
to sing, thereby increasing, if anything could increase, the bodily fear
of the worthy Sacristan.


  Merrily swim we, the moon shines bright,
  Both current and ripple are dancing in light.
  We have roused the night raven, I heard him croak,
  As we plashed along beneath the oak
  That flings its broad branches so far and so wide,
  Their shadows are dancing in midst of the tide.
  "Who wakens my nestlings," the raven he said,
  "My beak shall ere morn in his blood be red.
  For a blue swoln corpse is a dainty meal.
  And I'll have my share with the pike and the eel."


  Merrily swim we, the moon shines bright,
  There's a golden gleam on the distant height;
  There's a silver shower on the alders dank.
  And the drooping willows that wave on the bank.
  I see the abbey, both turret and tower,
  It is all astir for the vesper hour;
  The monks for the chapel are leaving each cell.
  But Where's Father Philip, should toll the bell?


  Merrily swim we, the moon shines bright,
  Downward we drift through shadow and light,
  Under yon rock the eddies sleep,
  Calm and silent, dark and deep.
  The Kelpy has risen from the fathomless pool.
  He has lighted his candle of death and of dool.
  Look, Father, look, and you'll laugh to see
  How he gapes and glares with his eyes on thee.


  Good luck to your fishing, whom watch ye to-night?
  A man of mean, or a man of might?
  Is it layman or priest that must float in your cove,
  Or lover who crosses to visit his love?
  Hark! heard ye the Kelpy reply, as we pass'd,--
  "God's blessing on the warder, he lock'd the bridge fast!
  All that come to my cove are sunk,
  Priest or layman, lover or monk."

How long the damsel might have continued to sing, or where the terrified
monk's journey might have ended, is uncertain. As she sung the last
stanza, they arrived at, or rather in, a broad tranquil sheet of water,
caused by a strong wear or damhead, running across the river, which
dashed in a broad cataract over the barrier. The mule, whether from
choice, or influenced by the suction of the current, made towards the
cut intended to supply the convent mills, and entered it half swimming
half wading, and pitching the unlucky monk to and fro in the saddle at a
fearful rate.

As his person flew hither and thither, his garment became loose, and in
an effort to retain it, his hand lighted on the volume of the Lady of
Avenel which was in his bosom. No sooner had he grasped it, than his
companion pitched him out of the saddle into the stream, where, still
keeping her hand on his collar, she gave him two or three good souses in
the watery fluid, so as to ensure that every other part of him had its
share of wetting, and then quitted her hold when he was so near the
side that by a slight effort (of a great one he was incapable) he might
scramble on shore. This accordingly he accomplished, and turning his
eyes to see what had become of his extraordinary companion, she was
nowhere to be seen; but still he heard, as if from the surface of the
river, and mixing with the noise of the water breaking over the damhead,
a fragment of her wild song, which seemed to run thus:--

  Landed--landed! the black book hath won.
  Else had you seen Berwick with morning sun!
  Sain ye, and save ye, and blithe mot ye be,
  For seldom they land that go swimming with me.

The ecstasy of the monk's terror could be endured no longer; his head
grew dizzy, and, after staggering a few steps onward and running himself
against a wall, he sunk down in a state of insensibility.

Chapter the Sixth.

  Now let us sit in conclave. That these weeds
  Be rooted from the vineyard of the church.
  That these foul tares be severed from the wheat,
  We are, I trust, agreed.--Yet how to do this,
  Nor hurt the wholesome crop and tender vine-plants,
  Craves good advisement.


The vesper service in the Monastery Church of Saint Mary's was now over.
The Abbot had disrobed himself of his magnificent vestures of ceremony,
and resumed his ordinary habit, which was a black gown, worn over a
white cassock, with a narrow scapulary; a decent and venerable dress,
which was calculated to set off to advantage the portly mien of Abbot

In quiet times no one could have filled the state of a mitred Abbot, for
such was his dignity, more respectably than this worthy prelate. He had,
no doubt, many of those habits of self-indulgence which men are apt to
acquire who live for themselves alone. He was vain, moreover; and when
boldly confronted, had sometimes shown symptoms of timidity, not very
consistent with the high claims which he preferred as an eminent member
of the church, or with the punctual deference which he exacted from his
religious brethren, and all who were placed under his command. But
he was hospitable, charitable, and by no means of himself disposed to
proceed with severity against any one. In short, he would in other times
have slumbered out his term of preferment with as much credit as
any other "purple Abbot," who lived easily, but at the same time
decorously--slept soundly, and did not disquiet himself with dreams.

But the wide alarm spread through the whole Church of Rome by the
progress of the reformed doctrines, sorely disturbed the repose of Abbot
Boniface, and opened to him a wide field of duties and cares which he
had never so much as dreamed of. There were opinions to be combated
and refuted--practices to be inquired into--heretics to be detected
and punished--the fallen off to be reclaimed--the wavering to be
confirmed--scandal to be removed from the clergy, and the vigour of
discipline to be re-established. Post upon post arrived at the Monastery
of Saint Mary's--horses reeking, and riders exhausted--this from the
Privy Council, that from the Primate of Scotland, and this other again
from the Queen Mother, exhorting, approving, condemning, requesting
advice upon this subject, and requiring information upon that.

These missives Abbot Boniface received with an important air of
helplessness, or a helpless air of importance,--whichever the reader
may please to term it, evincing at once gratified vanity, and profound
trouble of mind. The sharp-witted Primate of Saint Andrews had foreseen
the deficiencies of the Abbot of St. Mary's, and endeavoured to provide
for them by getting admitted into his Monastery as Sub-Prior a brother
Cistercian, a man of parts and knowledge, devoted to the service of
the Catholic Church, and very capable not only to advise the Abbot on
occasions of difficulty, but to make him sensible of his duty in case he
should, from good-nature or timidity, be disposed to shrink from it.

Father Eustace played the same part in the Monastery as the old general
who, in foreign armies, is placed at the elbow of the Prince of the
Blood, who nominally commands in chief, on condition of attempting
nothing without the advice of his dry-nurse; and he shared the fate of
all such dry-nurses, being heartily disliked as well as feared by his
principal. Still, however, the Primate's intention was fully answered.
Father Eustace became the constant theme and often the bugbear of the
worthy Abbot, who hardly dared to turn himself in his bed without,
considering what Father Eustace would think of it. In every case of
difficulty, Father Eustace was summoned, and his opinion asked; and no
sooner was the embarrassment removed, than the Abbot's next thought was
how to get rid of his adviser. In every letter which he wrote to those
in power, he recommended Father Eustace to some high church preferment,
a bishopric or an abbey; and as they dropped one after another, and were
otherwise conferred, he began to think, as he confessed to the Sacristan
in the bitterness of his spirit, that the Monastery of St. Mary's had
got a life-rent lease of their Sub-Prior.

Yet more indignant he would have been, had he suspected that Father
Eustace's ambition was fixed upon his own mitre, which, from some
attacks of an apoplectic nature, deemed by the Abbot's friends to be
more serious than by himself, it was supposed might be shortly vacant.
But the confidence which, like other dignitaries, he reposed in his
own health, prevented Abbot Boniface from imagining that it held any
concatenation, with the motions of Father Eustace.

The necessity under which he found himself of consulting with his
grand adviser, in cases of real difficulty, rendered the worthy Abbot
particularly desirous of doing without him in all ordinary cases of
administration, though not without considering what Father Eustace would
have said of the matter. He scorned, therefore, to give a hint to the
Sub-Prior of the bold stroke by which he had dispatched Brother Philip
to Glendearg; but when the vespers came without his reappearance he
became a little uneasy, the more as other matters weighed upon his
mind. The feud with the warder or keeper of the bridge threatened to be
attended with bad consequences, as the man's quarrel was taken up by
the martial baron under whom he served; and pressing letters of an
unpleasant tendency had just arrived from the Primate. Like a gouty
man, who catches hold of his crutch while he curses the infirmity that
induces him to use if, the Abbot, however reluctant, found himself
obliged to require Eustace's presence, after the service was over, in
his house, or rather palace, which was attached to, and made part of,
the Monastery.

Abbot Boniface was seated in his high-backed chair, the grotesque carved
back of which terminated in a mitre, before a fire where two or three
large logs were reduced to one red glowing mass of charcoal. At his
elbow, on an oaken stand, stood the remains of a roasted capon, on which
his reverence had made his evening meal, flanked by a goodly stoup of
Bordeaux of excellent flavour. He was gazing indolently on the fire,
partly engaged in meditation on his past and present fortunes, partly
occupied by endeavouring to trace towers and steeples in the red embers.

"Yes," thought the Abbot to himself, "in that red perspective I could
fancy to myself the peaceful towers of Dundrennan, where I passed my
life ere I was called to pomp and to trouble. A quiet brotherhood we
were, regular in our domestic duties; and when the frailties of humanity
prevailed over us, we confessed, and were absolved by each other, and
the most formidable part of the penance was the jest of the convent on
the culprit. I can almost fancy that I see the cloister garden, and
the pear-trees which I grafted with my own hands. And for what have I
changed all this, but to be overwhelmed with business which concerns me
not, to be called My Lord Abbot, and to be tutored by Father Eustace? I
would these towers were the Abbey of Aberbrothwick, and Father Eustace
the Abbot,--or I would he were in the fire on any terms, so I were rid
of him! The Primate says our Holy Father, the Pope hath an adviser--I am
sure he could not live a week with such a one as mine. Then there is
no learning what Father Eustace thinks till you confess your own
difficulties--No hint will bring forth his opinion--he is like a miser,
who will not unbuckle his purse to bestow a farthing, until the wretch
who needs it has owned his excess of poverty, and wrung out the boon
by importunity. And thus I am dishonoured in the eyes of my religious
brethren, who behold me treated like a child which hath no sense of
its own--I will bear it no longer!--Brother Bennet,"--(a lay brother
answered to his call)--" tell Father Eustace that I need not his

"I came to say to your reverence, that the holy father is entering even
now from the cloisters."

"Be it so," said the Abbot, "he is welcome,--remove these things--or
rather, place a trencher, the holy father may be a little hungry--yet,
no--remove them, for there is no good fellowship in him--Let the stoup
of wine remain, however, and place another cup."

The lay brother obeyed these contradictory commands in the way he judged
most seemly--he removed the carcass of the half-sacked capon, and placed
two goblets beside the stoup of Bourdeaux. At the same instant entered
Father Eustace.

He was a thin, sharp-faced, slight-made little man, whose keen grey eyes
seemed almost to look through the person to whom he addressed himself.
His body was emaciated not only with the fasts which he observed with
rigid punctuality, but also by the active and unwearied exercise of his
sharp and piercing intellect;--

  A fiery soul, which working out its way,
  Fretted the puny body to decay,
  And o'er-informed the tenement of clay.

He turned with conventual reverence to the Lord Abbot; and as they stood
together, it was scarce possible to see a more complete difference of
form and expression. The good-natured rosy face and laughing eye of the
Abbot, which even his present anxiety could not greatly ruffle, was a
wonderful contrast to the thin pallid cheek and quick penetrating glance
of the monk, in which an eager and keen spirit glanced through eyes to
which it seemed to give supernatural lustre.

The Abbot opened the conversation by motioning to his monk to take a
stool, and inviting to a cup of wine. The courtesy was declined with
respect, yet not without a remark, that the vesper service was past.

"For the stomach's sake, brother," said the Abbot, colouring a
little--"You know the text."

"It is a dangerous one," answered the monk, "to handle alone, or at
late hours. Out off from human society, the juice of the grape becomes a
perilous companion of solitude, and therefore I ever shun it."

Abbot Boniface had poured himself out a goblet which might hold
about half an English pint; but, either struck with the truth of the
observation, or ashamed to act in direct opposition to it, he suffered
it to remain untasted before him, and immediately changed the subject.

"The Primate hath written to us," said he, "to make strict search within
our bounds after the heretical persons denounced in this list, who have
withdrawn themselves from the justice which their opinions deserve. It
is deemed probable that they will attempt to retire to England by our
Borders, and the Primate requireth me to watch with vigilance, and what

"Assuredly," said the monk, "the magistrate should not bear the sword in
vain--those be they that turn the world upside down--and doubtless your
reverend wisdom will with due diligence second the exertions of the
Right Reverend Father in God, being in the peremptory defence of the
Holy Church."

"Ay, but how is this to be done?" answered the Abbot; "Saint Mary aid
us! The Primate writes to me as if I were a temporal baron--a man under
command, having soldiers under him! He says, send forth--scour the
country--guard the passes--Truly these men do not travel as those who
would give their lives for nothing--the last who went south passed the
dry-march at the Riding-burn with an escort of thirty spears, as our
reverend brother the Abbot of Kelso did write unto us. How are cowls and
scapularies to stop the way?"

"Your bailiff is accounted a good man at arms, holy father," said
Eustace; "your vassals are obliged to rise for the defence of the Holy
Kirk--it is the tenure on which they hold their lands--if they will not
come forth for the Church which gives them bread, let their possessions
be given to others."

"We shall not be wanting," said the Abbot, collecting himself with
importance, "to do whatever may advantage Holy Kirk--thyself shall
hear the charge to our Bailiff and our officials--but here again is
our controversy with the warden of the bridge and the Baron of
Meigallot--Saint Mary! vexations do so multiply upon the House, and upon
the generation, that a man wots not where to turn to! Thou didst say,
Father Eustace, thou wouldst look into our evidents touching this free
passage for the pilgrims?"

"I have looked into the Chartulary of the House, holy father," said
Eustace, "and therein I find a written and formal grant of all
duties and customs payable at the drawbridge of Brigton, not only by
ecclesiastics of this foundation, but by every pilgrim truly designed to
accomplish his vows at this House, to the Abbot Allford, and the monks
of the House of Saint Mary in Kennaquhair, from that time and for ever.
The deed is dated on Saint Bridget's Even, in the year of Redemption,
1137, and bears the sign and seal of the granter, Charles of Meigallot,
great-great-grandfather of this baron, and purports to be granted for
the safety of his own soul, and for the weal of the souls of his father
and mother, and of all his predecessors and successors, being Barons of

"But he alleges," said the Abbot, "that the bridge-wards have been in
possession of these dues, and have rendered them available for more than
fifty years--and the baron threatens violence--meanwhile, the journey of
the pilgrims is interrupted, to the prejudice of their own souls and the
diminution of the revenues of Saint Mary. The Sacristan advised us to
put on a boat; but the warden, whom thou knowest to be a godless man,
has sworn the devil tear him, but that if they put on a boat on the
laird's stream, he will rive her board from board--and then some say
we should compound the claim for a small sum in silver." Here the Abbot
paused a moment for a reply, but receiving none, he added, "But what
thinkest thou, Father Eustace? why art thou silent?"

"Because I am surprised at the question which the Lord Abbot of Saint
Mary's asks at the youngest of his brethren."

"Youngest in time of your abode with us, Brother Eustace," said the
Abbot, "not youngest in years, or I think in experience. Sub-Prior also
of this convent."

"I am astonished," continued Eustace, "that the Abbot of this venerable
house should ask of any one whether he can alienate the patrimony of
our holy and divine patroness, or give up to an unconscientious, and
perhaps, a heretic baron, the rights conferred on this church by his
devout progenitor. Popes and councils alike prohibit it--the honour of
the living, and the weal of departed souls, alike forbid it--it may not
be. To force, if he dare use it, we must surrender; but never by our
consent should we see the goods of the church plundered, with as little
scruple as he would drive off a herd of English beeves. Rouse yourself,
Reverend father, and doubt nothing but that the good cause shall
prevail. Whet the spiritual sword, and direct it against the wicked
who would usurp our holy rights. Whet the temporal sword, if it be
necessary, and stir up the courage and zeal of your loyal vassals."

The Abbot sighed deeply. "All this," he said, "is soon spoken by him who
hath to act it not; but--" He was interrupted by the entrance of Bennet
rather hastily. "The mule on which the Sacristan had set out in the
morning had returned," he said, "to the convent stable all over wet, and
with the saddle turned round beneath her belly."

"Sancta Maria!" said the Abbot, "our dear brother hath perished by the

"It may not be," said Eustace, hastily--"let the bell be tolled--cause
the brethren to get torches--alarm the village--hurry down to the
river--I myself will be the foremost."

The real Abbot stood astonished and agape, when at once he beheld his
office filled, and saw all which he ought to have ordered, going forward
at the dictates of the youngest monk in the convent. But ere the
orders of Eustace, which nobody dreamed of disputing, were carried into
execution, the necessity was prevented by the sudden apparition of the
Sacristan, whose supposed danger excited all the alarm.

Chapter the Seventh.

     Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
     Cleanse the foul bosom of the perilous stuff
     That weighs upon the heart.

What betwixt cold and fright the afflicted Sacristan stood before his
Superior, propped on the friendly arm of the convent miller, drenched
with water, and scarce able to utter a syllable.

After various attempts to speak, the first words he uttered were,

  "Swim we merrily--the moon shines bright."

"Swim we merrily!" retorted the Abbot, indignantly; "a merry night have
ye chosen for swimming, and a becoming salutation to your Superior!"

"Our brother is bewildered," said Eustace;--"speak, Father Philip, how
is it with you?"

  "Good luck to your fishing,"

continued the Sacristan, making a most dolorous attempt at the tune of
his strange companion.

"Good luck to your fishing!" repeated the Abbot, still more surprised
than displeased; "by my halidome he is drunken with wine, and comes to
our presence with his jolly catches in his throat! If bread and water
can cure this folly--"

"With your pardon, venerable father," said the Sub-Prior, "of water
our brother has had enough; and methinks, the confusion of his eye, is
rather that of terror, than of aught unbecoming his profession. Where
did you find him, Hob Miller?"

"An it please your reverence, I did but go to shut the sluice of the
mill--and as I was going to shut the sluice, I heard something groan
near to me; but judging it was one of Giles Fletcher's hogs--for so
please you he never shuts his gate--I caught up my lever, and was
about--Saint Mary forgive me!--to strike where I heard the sound, when,
as the saints would have it, I heard the second groan just like that of
a living man. So I called up my knaves, and found the Father Sacristan
lying wet and senseless under the wall of our kiln. So soon as we
brought him to himself a bit, he prayed to be brought to your reverence,
but I doubt me his wits have gone a bell-wavering by the road. It was
but now that he spoke in somewhat better form."

"Well!" said Brother Eustace, "thou hast done well, Hob Miller; only
begone now, and remember a second time to pause, ere you strike in the

"Please your reverence, it shall be a lesson to me," said the miller,
"not to mistake a holy man for a hog again, so long as I live." And,
making a bow, with profound humility, the miller withdrew.

"And now that this churl is gone, Father Philip," said Eustace,
"wilt thou tell our venerable Superior what ails thee? art thou _vino
gravatus,_ man? if so we will have thee to thy cell."

"Water! water! not wine," muttered the exhausted Sacristan.

"Nay," said the monk, "if that be thy complaint, wine may perhaps cure
thee;" and he reached him a cup, which the patient drank off to his
great benefit.

"And now," said the Abbot, "let his garments be changed, or rather
let him be carried to the infirmary; for it will prejudice our health,
should we hear his narrative while he stands there, steaming like a
rising hoar-frost."

"I will hear his adventure," said Eustace, "and report it to your
reverence." And, accordingly, he attended the Sacristan to his cell. In
about half an hour he returned to the Abbot.

"How is it with Father Philip?" said the Abbot; "and through what came
he into such a state?"

"He comes from Glendearg, reverend sir," said Eustace; "and for the
rest, he telleth such a legend, as has not been heard in this Monastery
for many a long day." He then gave the Abbot the outlines of the
Sacristan's adventures in the homeward journey, and added, that for some
time he was inclined to think his brain was infirm, seeing he had sung,
laughed, and wept all in the same breath.

"A wonderful thing it is to us," said the Abbot, "that Satan has been
permitted to put forth his hand thus far on one of our sacred brethren!"

"True," said Father Eustace; "but for every text there is a paraphrase;
and I have my suspicions, that if the drenching of Father Philip cometh
of the Evil one, yet it may not have been altogether without his own
personal fault."

"How!" said the Father Abbot; "I will not believe that thou makest doubt
that Satan, in former days, hath been permitted to afflict saints and
holy men, even as he afflicted the pious Job?"

"God forbid I should make question of it," said the monk, crossing
himself; "yet, where there is an exposition of the Sacristan's tale,
which is less than miraculous, I hold it safe to consider it at least,
if not to abide by it. Now, this Hob the Miller hath a buxom daughter.
Suppose--I say only suppose--that our Sacristan met her at the ford on
her return from her uncle's on the other side, for there she hath this
evening been--suppose, that, in courtesy, and to save her stripping
hose and shoon, the Sacristan brought her across behind him-suppose he
carried his familiarities farther than the maiden was willing to admit;
and we may easily suppose, farther, that this wetting was the result of

"And this legend invented to deceive us!" said the Superior, reddening
with wrath; "but most strictly shall it be sifted and inquired into; it
is not upon us that Father Philip must hope to pass the result of his
own evil practices for doings of Satan. To-morrow cite the wench to
appear before us--we will examine, and we will punish."

"Under your reverence's favour," said Eustace, "that were but poor
policy. As things now stand with us, the heretics catch hold of each
flying report which tends to the scandal of our clergy. We must abate
the evil, not only by strengthening discipline, but also by suppressing
and stifling the voice of scandal. If my conjectures are true, the
miller's daughter will be silent for her own sake; and your reverence's
authority may also impose silence on her father, and on the Sacristan.
If he is again found to afford room for throwing dishonour on his order,
he can be punished with severity, but at the same time with secrecy. For
what say the Decretals! Facinora ostendi dum punientur, flagitia autem
abscondi debent."

A sentence of Latin, as Eustace had before observed, had often much
influence on the Abbot, because he understood it not fluently, and was
ashamed to acknowledge his ignorance. On these terms they parted for the

The next day, Abbot Boniface strictly interrogated Philip on the real
cause of his disaster of the previous night. But the Sacristan stood
firm to his story; nor was he found to vary from any point of it,
although the answers he returned were in some degree incoherent, owing
to his intermingling with them ever and anon snatches of the strange
damsel's song, which had made such deep impression on his imagination,
that he could not prevent himself from imitating it repeatedly in the
course of his examination. The Abbot had compassion with the Sacristan's
involuntary frailty, to which something supernatural seemed annexed,
and finally became of opinion, that Father Eustace's more natural
explanation was rather plausible than just. And, indeed, although
we have recorded the adventure as we find it written down, we cannot
forbear to add that there was a schism on the subject in the convent,
and that several of the brethren pretended to have good reason for
thinking that the miller's black-eyed daughter was at the bottom of the
affair after all. Whichever way it might be interpreted, all agreed
that it had too ludicrous a sound to be permitted to get abroad, and
therefore the Sacristan was charged, on his vow of obedience, to say no
more of his ducking; an injunction which, having once eased his mind by
telling his story, it may be well conjectured that he joyfully obeyed.

The attention of Father Eustace was much less forcibly arrested by the
marvellous tale of the Sacristan's danger, and his escape, than by the
mention of the volume which he had brought with him from the Tower of
Glendearg. A copy of the Scriptures, translated into the vulgar tongue,
had found its way even into the proper territory of the church, and had
been discovered in one of the most hidden and sequestered recesses of
the Halidome of Saint Mary's.

He anxiously requested to see the volume. In this the Sacristan was
unable to gratify him, for he had lost it, as far as he recollected,
when the supernatural being, as he conceived her to be, took her
departure from him. Father Eustace went down to the spot in person, and
searched all around it, in hopes of recovering the volume in question;
but his labour was in vain. He returned to the Abbot, and reported
that it must have fallen into the river or the mill-stream; "for I will
hardly believe," he said, "that Father Philip's musical friend would fly
off with a copy of the Holy Scriptures."

"Being," said the Abbot, "as it is, an heretical translation, it may be
thought that Satan may have power over it."

"Ay!" said Father Eustace, "it is indeed his chiefest magazine of
artillery, when he inspireth presumptuous and daring men to set forth
their own opinions and expositions of Holy Writ. But though thus abused,
the Scriptures are the source of our salvation, and are no more to
be reckoned unholy, because of these rash men's proceedings, than a
powerful medicine is to be contemned, or held poisonous, because bold
and evil leeches have employed it to the prejudice of their patients.
With the permission of your reverence, I would that this matter were
looked into more closely. I will myself visit the Tower of Glendearg ere
I am many hours older, and we shall see if any spectre or white woman
of the wild will venture to interrupt my journey or return. Have I your
reverend permission and your blessing?" he added, but in a tone that
appeared to set no great store by either.

"Thou hast both, my brother," said the Abbot; but no sooner had Eustace
left the apartment, than Boniface could not help breaking on the willing
ear of the Sacristan his sincere wish, that any spirit, black, white,
or gray, would read the adviser such a lesson, as to cure him of his
presumption in esteeming himself wiser than the whole community.

"I wish him no worse lesson," said the Sacristan, "than to go swimming
merrily down the river with a ghost behind, and Kelpies, night-crows,
and mud-eels, all waiting to have a snatch at him.

  Merrily swim we, the moon shines bright!
  Good luck to your fishing, whom watch you to-night?"

"Brother Philip," said the Abbot, "we exhort thee to say thy prayers,
compose thyself, and banish that foolish chant from thy mind;--it is but
a deception of the devil's."

"I will essay, reverend Father," said the Sacristan, "but the tune
hangs by my memory like a bur in a beggar's rags; it mingles with the
psalter--the very bells of the convent seem to repeat the words, and
jingle to the tune; and were you to put me to death at this very moment,
it is my belief I should die singing it--'Now swim we merrily'--it is as
it were a spell upon me."

He then again began to warble

  "Good luck to your fishing."

And checking himself in the strain with difficulty, he exclaimed, "It is
too certain--I am but a lost priest! Swim we merrily--I shall sing it at
the very mass--Wo is me! I shall sing all the remainder of my life, and
yet never be able to change the tune!"

The honest Abbot replied, "he knew many a good fellow in the same
condition;" and concluded the remark with "ho! ho! ho!" for his
reverence, as the reader may partly have observed, was one of those dull
folks who love a quiet joke.

The Sacristan, well acquainted with his Superior's humour, endeavoured
to join in the laugh, but his unfortunate canticle came again across his
imagination, and interrupted the hilarity of his customary echo.

"By the rood, Brother Philip," said the Abbot, much moved, "you become
altogether intolerable! and I am convinced that such a spell could not
subsist over a person of religion, and in a religious house, unless
he were under mortal sin. Wherefore, say the seven penitentiary
psalms--make diligent use of thy scourge and hair-cloth--refrain for
three days from all food, save bread and water--I myself will shrive
thee, and we will see if this singing devil may be driven out of
thee; at least I think Father Eustace himself could devise no better

The Sacristan sighed deeply, but knew remonstrance was vain. He retired
therefore to his cell, to try how far psalmody might be able to drive
off the sounds of the syren tune which haunted his memory.

Meanwhile, Father Eustace proceeded to the drawbridge, in his way to the
lonely valley of Glendearg. In a brief conversation with the churlish
warder, he had the address to render him more tractable in the
controversy betwixt him and the convent. He reminded him that his father
had been a vassal under the community; that his brother was childless;
and that their possession would revert to the church on his death,
and might be either granted to himself the warder, or to some greater
favourite of the Abbot, as matters chanced to stand betwixt them at the
time. The Sub-Prior suggested to him also, the necessary connexion of
interests betwixt the Monastery and the office which this man enjoyed.
He listened with temper to his rude and churlish answers; and by keeping
his own interest firm pitched in his view, he had the satisfaction to
find that Peter gradually softened his tone, and consented to let every
pilgrim who travelled upon foot pass free of exaction until Pentocost
next; they who travelled on horseback or otherwise, contenting to pay
the ordinary custom. Having thus accommodated a matter in which the weal
of the convent was so deeply interested, Father Eustace proceeded on his

Chapter the Eighth.

  Nay, dally not with time, the wise man's treasure,
  Though fools are lavish on't--the fatal Fisher
  Hooks souls, while we waste moments.
                                      OLD PLAY.

A November mist overspread the little valley, up which slowly but
steadily rode the Monk Eustace. He was not insensible to the feeling of
melancholy inspired by the scene and by the season. The stream seemed to
murmur with a deep and oppressed note, as if bewailing the departure
of autumn. Among the scattered copses which here and there fringed its
banks, the oak-trees only retained that pallid green that precedes their
russet hue. The leaves of the willows were most of them stripped from
the branches, lay rustling at each breath, and disturbed by every step
of the mule; while the foliage of other trees, totally withered, kept
still precarious possession of the boughs, waiting the first wind to
scatter them.

The monk dropped into the natural train of pensive thought which these
autumnal emblems of mortal hopes are peculiarly calculated to inspire.
"There," he said, looking at the leaves which lay strewed around, "lie
the hopes of early youth, first formed that they may soonest wither, and
loveliest in spring to become most contemptible in winter; but you,
ye lingerers," he added, looking to a knot of beeches which still bore
their withered leaves, "you are the proud plans of adventurous manhood,
formed later, and still clinging to the mind of age, although it
acknowledges their inanity! None lasts--none endures, save the foliage
of the hardy oak, which only begins to show itself when that of the rest
of the forest has enjoyed half its existence. A pale and decayed hue is
all it possesses, but still it retains that symptom of vitality to the
last.--So be it with Father Eustace! The fairy hopes of my youth I have
trodden under foot like those neglected rustlers--to the prouder dreams
of my manhood I look back as to lofty chimeras, of which the pith and
essence have long since faded; but my religious vows, the faithful
profession which I have made in my maturer age, shall retain life while
aught of Eustace lives. Dangerous it may be--feeble it must be--yet live
it shall, the proud determination to serve the Church of which I am
a member, and to combat the heresies by which she is assailed." Thus
spoke, at least thus thought, a man zealous according to his imperfect
knowledge, confounding the vital interests of Christianity with the
extravagant and usurped claims of the Church of Rome, and defending his
cause with an ardour worthy of a better.

While moving onward in this contemplative mood, he could not help
thinking more than once, that he saw in his path the form of a female
dressed in white, who appeared in the attitude of lamentation. But the
impression was only momentary, and whenever he looked steadily to the
point where he conceived the figure appeared, it always proved that
he had mistaken some natural object, a white crag, or the trunk of a
decayed birch-tree with its silver bark, for the appearance in question.

Father Eustace had dwelt too long in Rome to partake the superstitious
feelings of the more ignorant Scottish clergy; yet he certainly thought
it extraordinary, that so strong an impression should have been made
on his mind by the legend of the Sacristan. "It is strange," he said to
himself, "that this story, which doubtless was the invention of Brother
Philip to cover his own impropriety of conduct, should run so much in my
head, and disturb my more serious thoughts--I am wont, I think, to have
more command over my senses. I will repeat my prayers, and banish such
folly from my recollection."

The monk accordingly began with devotion to tell his beads, in pursuance
of the prescribed rule of his order, and was not again disturbed by any
wanderings of the imagination, until he found himself beneath the little
fortalice of Glendearg.

Dame Glendinning, who stood at the gate, set up a shout of surprise and
joy at seeing the good father. "Martin," she said, "Jasper, where be a'
the folk?--help the right reverend Sub-Prior to dismount, and take his
mule from him.--O father! God has sent you in our need--I was just going
to send man and horse to the convent, though I ought to be ashamed to
give so much trouble to your reverences."

"Our trouble matters not, good dame," said Father Eustace; "in what can
I pleasure you? I came hither to visit the Lady of Avenel."

"Well-a-day!" said Dame Alice, "and it was on her part that I had the
boldness to think of summoning you, for the good lady will never be able
to wear over the day!--Would it please you to go to her chamber?"

"Hath she not been shriven by Father Philip?" said the monk.

"Shriven she was," said the Dame of Glendearg, "and by Father Philip,
as your reverence truly says--but--I wish it may have been a clean
shrift--Methought Father Philip looked but moody upon it--and there was
a book which he took away with him, that--" She paused as if unwilling
to proceed.

"Speak out, Dame Glendinning," said the Father; "with us it is your duty
to have no secrets."

"Nay, if it please your reverence, it is not that I would keep anything
from your reverence's knowledge, but I fear I should prejudice the lady
in your opinion; for she is an excellent lady--months and years has she
dwelt in this tower, and none more exemplary than she; but this matter,
doubtless, she will explain it herself to your reverence."

"I desire first to know it from you, Dame Glendinning," said the monk;
"and I again repeat, it is your duty to tell it to me."

"This book, if it please your reverence, which Father Philip removed
from Glendearg, was this morning returned to us in a strange manner,"
said the good widow.

"Returned!" said the monk; "how mean you?"

"I mean," answered Dame Glendinning, "that it was brought back to the
tower of Glendearg, the saints best know how--that same book which
Father Philip carried with him but yesterday. Old Martin, that is
my tasker and the lady's servant, was driving out the cows to the
pasture--for we have three good milk-cows, reverend father, blessed be
Saint Waldave, and thanks to the holy Monastery--"

The monk groaned with impatience; but he remembered that a woman of
the good dame's condition was like a top, which, if you let it spin on
untouched, must at last come to a pause; but, if you interrupt it by
flogging, there is no end to its gyrations. "But, to speak no more of
the cows, your reverence, though they are likely cattle as ever were
tied to a stake, the tasker was driving them out, and the lads, that
is my Halbert and my Edward, that your reverence has seen at church on
holidays, and especially Halbert,--for you patted him on the head and
gave him a brooch of Saint Cuthbert, which he wears in his bonnet,--and
little Mary Avenel, that is the lady's daughter, they ran all after the
cattle, and began to play up and down the pasture as young folk will,
your reverence. And at length they lost sight of Martin and the
cows; and they began to run up a little cleugh which we call
_Corri-nan-Shian_, where there is a wee bit stripe of a burn, and
they saw there--Good guide us!--a White Woman sitting on the burnside
wringing her hands--so the bairns were frighted to see a strange woman
sitting there, all but Halbert, who will be sixteen come Whitsuntide;
and, besides, he never feared ony thing--and when they went up to
her--behold she was passed away!"

"For shame, good woman!" said Father Eustace; "a woman of your sense to
listen to a tale so idle!--the young folk told you a lie, and that was

"Nay, sir, it was more than that," said the old dame; "for, besides that
they never told me a lie in their lives, I must warn you that on the
very ground where the White Woman was sitting, they found the Lady of
Avenel's book, and brought it with them to the tower."

"That is worthy of mark at least," said the monk. "Know you no other
copy of this volume within these bounds?"

"None, your reverence," returned Elspeth; "why should there?--no one
could read it were there twenty."

"Then you are sure it is the very same volume which you gave to Father
Philip?" said the monk.

"As sure as that I now speak with your reverence."

"It is most singular!" said the monk; and he walked across the room in a
musing posture.

"I have been upon nettles to hear what your reverence would say,"
continued Dame Glendinning, "respecting this matter--There is nothing
I would not do for the Lady of Avenel and her family, and that has been
proved, and for her servants to boot, both Martin and Tibb, although
Tibb is not so civil sometimes as altogether I have a right to expect;
but I cannot think it beseeming to have angels, or ghosts, or fairies,
or the like, waiting upon a leddy when she is in another woman's house,
in respect it is no ways creditable. Ony thing she had to do was always
done to her hand, without costing her either pains or pence, as a
country body says; and besides the discredit, I cannot but think that
there is no safety in having such unchancy creatures about ane. But I
have tied red thread round the bairns's throats," (so her fondness still
called them,) "and given ilka ane of them a riding-wand of rowan-tree,
forby sewing up a slip of witch-elm into their doublets; and I wish to
know of your reverence if there be ony thing mair that a lone woman can
do in the matter of ghosts and fairies?--Be here! that I should have
named their unlucky names twice ower!"

"Dame Glendinning," answered the monk, somewhat abruptly, when the good
woman had finished her narrative, "I pray you, do you know the miller's

"Did I know Kate Happer?" replied the widow; "as well as the beggar
knows his dish--a canty quean was Kate, and a special cummer of my ain
maybe twenty years syne."

"She cannot be the wench I mean," said Father Eustace; "she after whom
I inquire is scarce fifteen, a black-eyed girl--you may have seen her at
the kirk."

"Your reverence must be in the right; and she is my cummer's nie'ce,
doubtless, that you are pleased to speak of: but I thank God I have
always been too duteous in attention to the mass, to know whether young
wenches have black eyes or green ones."

The good father had so much of the world about him, that he was unable
to avoid smiling, when the dame boasted her absolute resistance to a
temptation, which was not quite so liable to beset her as those of the
other sex.

"Perhaps, then," he said, "you know her usual dress, Dame Glendinning?"

"Ay, ay, father," answered the dame readily enough, "a white kirtle the
wench wears, to hide the dust of the mill, no doubt--and a blue hood,
that might weel be spared, for pridefulness."

"Then, may it not be she," said the father, "who has brought back this
book, and stepped out of the way when the children came near her?"

The dame paused--was unwilling to combat the solution suggested by the
monk--but was at a loss to conceive why the lass of the mill should come
so far from home into so wild a corner merely to leave an old book with
three children, from whose observation she wished to conceal herself.

Above all, she could not understand why, since she had acquaintances in
the family, and since the Dame Glendinning had always paid her multure
and knaveship duly, the said lass of the mill had not come in to rest
herself and eat a morsel, and tell her the current news of the water.

These very objections satisfied the monk that his conjectures were
right. "Dame," he said, "you must be cautious in what you say. This is
an instance--I would it were the sole one--of the power of the Enemy
in these days. The matter must be sifted--with a curious and a careful

"Indeed," said Elspeth, trying to catch and chime in with the ideas
of the Sub-Prior, "I have often thought the miller's folk at the
Monastery-mill were far over careless in sifting our melder, and in
bolting it too--some folk say they will not stick at whiles to put in a
handful of ashes amongst Christian folk's corn-meal."

"That shall be looked after also, dame," said the Sub-Prior, not
displeased to see that the good old woman went off on a false scent;
"and now, by your leave, I will see this lady--do you go before, and
prepare her to see me."

Dame Glendinning left the lower apartment accordingly, which the monk
paced in anxious reflection, considering how he might best discharge,
with humanity as well as with effect, the important duty imposed on him.
He resolved to approach the bedside of the sick person with reprimands,
mitigated only by a feeling for her weak condition--he determined, in
case of her reply, to which late examples of hardened heretics might
encourage her, to be prepared with answers to the customary scruples.
High fraught, also, with zeal against her unauthorized intrusion into
the priestly function, by study of the Sacred Scriptures, he imagined
to himself the answers which one of the modern school of heresy might
return to him--the victorious refutation which should lay the disputant
prostrate at the Confessor's mercy--and the healing, yet awful
exhortation, which, under pain of refusing the last consolations of
religion, he designed to make to the penitent, conjuring her, as she
loved her own soul's welfare, to disclose to him what she knew of the
dark mystery of iniquity, by which heresies were introduced into the
most secluded spots of the very patrimony of the Church herself--what
agents they had who could thus glide, as it were unseen, from place to
place, bring back the volume which the Church had interdicted to the
spots from which it had been removed under her express auspices; and,
who, by encouraging the daring and profane thirst after knowledge
forbidden and useless to the laity, had encouraged the fisher of souls
to use with effect his old bait of ambition and vain-glory.

Much of this premeditated disputation escaped the good father, when
Elspeth returned, her tears flowing faster than her apron could dry
them, and made him a signal to follow her. "How," said the monk, "is she
then so near her end?--nay, the Church must not break or bruise,
when comfort is yet possible;" and forgetting his polemics, the good
Sub-Prior hastened to the little apartment, where, on the wretched bed
which she had occupied since her misfortunes had driven her to the Tower
of Glendearg, the widow of Walter Avenel had rendered up her spirit
to her Creator. "My God!" said the Sub-Prior, "and has my unfortunate
dallying suffered her to depart without the Church's consolation! Look
to her, dame," he exclaimed, with eager impatience; "is there not yet a
sparkle of the life left?--may she not be recalled--recalled but for
a moment?--Oh! would that she could express, but by the most imperfect
word--but by the most feeble motion, her acquiescence in the needful
task of penitential prayer!--Does she not breathe?--Art thou sure she
doth not?"

"She will never breathe more," said the matron. "Oh! the poor fatherless
girl--now motherless also--Oh, the kind companion I have had these many
years, whom I shall never see again! But she is in heaven for certain,
if ever woman went there; for a woman of better life----"

"Wo to me," said the good monk, "if indeed she went not hence in good
assurance--wo to the reckless shepherd, who suffered the wolf to carry
a choice one from the flock, while he busied himself with trimming
his sling and his staff to give the monster battle! Oh! if in the long
Hereafter, aught but weal should that poor spirit share, what has my
delay cost?--the value of an immortal soul!"

He then approached the body, full of the deep remorse natural to a
good man of his persuasion, who devoutly believed the doctrines of the
Catholic Church. "Ay," said he, gazing on the pallid corpse, from which
the spirit had parted so placidly as to leave a smile upon the thin blue
lips, which had been so long wasted by decay that they had parted
with the last breath of animation without the slightest convulsive
tremor--"Ay," said Father Eustace, "there lies the faded tree, and, as
it fell, so it lies--awful thought for me, should my neglect have left
it to descend in an evil direction!" He then again and again conjured
Dame Glendinning to tell him what she knew of the demeanour and ordinary
walk of the deceased.

All tended to the high honour of the deceased lady; for her companion,
who admired her sufficiently while alive, notwithstanding some trifling
points of jealousy, now idolized her after her death, and could think of
no attribute of praise with which she did not adorn her memory.

Indeed, the Lady of Avenel, however she might privately doubt some of
the doctrines announced by the Church of Rome, and although she had
probably tacitly appealed from that corrupted system of Christianity
to the volume on which Christianity itself is founded, had nevertheless
been regular in her attendance on the worship of the Church, not,
perhaps, extending her scruples so far as to break off communion. Such
indeed was the first sentiment of the earlier reformers, who seemed to
have studied, for a time at least, to avoid a schism, until the violence
of the Pope rendered it inevitable.

Father Eustace, on the present occasion, listened with eagerness to
everything which could lead to assure him of the lady's orthodoxy in the
main points of belief; for his conscience reproached him sorely, that,
instead of protracting conversation with the Dame of Glendearg, he had
not instantly hastened where his presence was so necessary. "If," he
said, addressing the dead body, "thou art yet free from the utmost
penalty due to the followers of false doctrine--if thou dost but suffer
for a time, to expiate faults done in the body, but partaking of mortal
frailty more than of deadly sin, fear not that thy abode shall be long
in the penal regions to which thou mayest be doomed--if vigils--if
masses--if penance--if maceration of my body, till it resembles
that extenuated form which the soul hath abandoned, may assure thy
deliverance. The Holy Church--the godly foundation--our blessed
Patroness herself, shall intercede for one whose errors were
counter-balanced by so many virtues.--Leave me, dame--here, and by her
bed-side, will I perform those duties--which this piteous case demands!"

Elspeth left the monk, who employed himself in fervent and sincere,
though erroneous prayers, for the weal of the departed spirit. For an
hour he remained in the apartment of death, and then returned to the
hall, where he found the still weeping friend of the deceased.

But it would be injustice to Mrs. Glendinning's hospitality, if we
suppose her to have been weeping during this long interval, or rather if
we suppose her so entirely absorbed by the tribute of sorrow which she
paid frankly and plentifully to her deceased friend, as to be incapable
of attending to the rights of hospitality due to the holy visitor--who
was confessor at once, and Sub-Prior--mighty in all religious and
secular considerations, so far as the vassals of the Monastery were

Her barley-bread had been toasted--her choicest cask of home-brewed ale
had been broached--her best butter had been placed on the hall-table,
along with her most savoury ham, and her choicest cheese, ere she
abandoned herself to the extremity of sorrow; and it was not till she
had arranged her little repast neatly on the board, that she sat down in
the chimney corner, threw her checked apron over her head, and gave
way to the current of tears and sobs. In this there was no grimace
or affectation. The good dame held the honours of her house to be as
essential a duty, especially when a monk was her visitant, as any
other pressing call upon her conscience; nor until these were suitably
attended to did she find herself at liberty to indulge her sorrow for
her departed friend.

When she was conscious of the Sub-Prior's presence, she rose with the
same attention to his reception; but he declined all the offers of
hospitality with which she endeavoured to tempt him. Not her butter,
as yellow as gold, and the best, she assured him, that was made in the
patrimony of St. Mary--not the barley scones, which "the departed saint,
God sain her! used to say were so good"--not the ale, nor any other
cates which poor Elspeth's stores afforded, could prevail on the
Sub-Prior to break his fast. "This day," he said, "I must not taste
food until the sun go down, happy if, in so doing, I can expiate my own
negligence--happier still, if my sufferings of this trifling nature,
undertaken in pure faith and singleness of heart, may benefit the soul
of the deceased. Yet, dame," he added, "I may not so far forget the
living in my cares for the dead, as to leave behind me that book, which
is to the ignorant what, to our first parents, the tree of Knowledge
of Good and Evil unhappily proved-excellent indeed in itself, but fatal
because used by those to whom it is prohibited."

"Oh, blithely, reverend father," said the widow of Simon Glendinning,
"will I give you the book, if so be I can while it from the bairns; and
indeed, poor things, as the case stands with them even now, you might
take the heart out of their bodies, and they never find it out, they are
sae begrutten." [Footnote: _Begrutten_--over-weeped]

"Give them this missal instead, good dame," said the father, drawing
from his pocket one which was curiously illuminated with paintings, "and
I will come myself, or send one at a fitting time, and teach them the
meaning of these pictures."

"The bonny images!" said Dame Glendinning, forgetting for an instant
her grief in her admiration, "and weel I wot," added she, "it is another
sort of a book than the poor Lady of Avenel's; and blessed might we have
been this day, if your reverence had found the way up the glen, instead
of Father Philip, though the Sacristan is a powerful man too, and speaks
as if he would ger the house fly abroad, save that the walls are gey
thick. Simon's forebears (may he and they be blessed!) took care of

The monk ordered his mule, and was about to take his leave; and the good
dame was still delaying him with questions about the funeral, when a
horseman, armed and accoutred, rode into the little court-yard which
surrounded the Keep.

Chapter the Ninth.

  For since they rode among our doors
  With splent on spauld and rusty spurs,
  There grows no fruit into our furs;
    Thus said John Up-on-land.
                       DANNATYNE MS.

The Scottish laws, which were as wisely and judiciously made as they
were carelessly and ineffectually executed, had in vain endeavoured
to restrain the damage done to agriculture, by the chiefs and landed
proprietors retaining in their service what were called jack-men, from
the _jack_, or doublet, quilted with iron which they wore as defensive
armour. These military retainers conducted themselves with great
insolence towards the industrious part of the community--lived in a
great measure by plunder, and were ready to execute any commands of
their master, however unlawful. In adopting this mode of life, men
resigned the quiet hopes and regular labours of industry, for an
unsettled, precarious, and dangerous trade, which yet had such charms
for those once accustomed to it, that they became incapable of following
any other. Hence the complaint of John Upland, a fictitious character,
representing a countryman, into whose mouth the poets of the day put
their general satires upon men and manners.

  They ride about in such a rage,
  By forest, frith, and field,
    With buckler, bow, and brand.
  Lo! where they ride out through the rye!
  The Devil mot save the company,
    Quoth John Up-on-land.

Christie of the Clinthill, the horseman who now arrived at the little
Tower of Glendearg, was one of the hopeful company of whom the poet
complains, as was indicated by his "splent on spauld," (iron-plates on
his shoulder,) his rusted spurs, and his long lance. An iron skull-cap,
none of the brightest, bore for distinction a sprig of the holly, which
was Avenel's badge. A long two-edged straight sword, having a handle
made of polished oak, hung down by his side. The meagre condition of
his horse, and the wild and emaciated look of the rider, showed their
occupation could not be accounted an easy or a thriving one. He saluted
Dame Glendinning with little courtesy, and the monk with less; for the
growing, disrespect to the religious orders had not failed to extend
itself among a class of men of such disorderly habits, although it may
be supposed they were tolerably indifferent alike to the new or the
ancient doctrines.

"So, our lady is dead, Dame Glendinning?" said the jack-man; "my master
has sent you even now a fat bullock for her mart--it may serve for
her funeral. I have left him in the upper cleugh, as he is somewhat
kenspeckle, [Footnote: _Kenspeckle_--that which is easily recognized
by the eye.] and is marked both with cut and birn--the sooner the
skin is off, and he is in saultfat, the less like you are to have
trouble--you understand me? Let me have a peck of corn for my horse, and
beef and beer for myself, for I must go on to the Monastery--though I
think this monk hero might do mine errand."

"Thine errand, rude man!" said the Sub-Prior, knitting his brows--

"For God's sake" cried poor Dame Glendinning, terrified at the idea of
a quarrel between them,--"O Christie!---it is the Sub-Prior--O reverend
sir, it is Christie of the Clinthill, the laird's chief jack-man; ye
know that little havings can be expected from the like o' them."

"Are you a retainer of the Laird of Avenel?" said the monk, addressing
himself to the horseman, "and do you speak thus rudely to a Brother of
Saint Mary's, to whom thy master is so much beholden?"

"He means to be yet more beholden to your house, Sir Monk," answered the
fellow; "for hearing his sister-in-law, the widow of Walter of Avenel,
was on her death-bed, he sent me to say to the Father Abbot and the
brethren, that he will hold the funeral-feast at their convent, and
invites himself thereto, with a score of horse and some friends, and
to abide there for three days and three nights,--having horse-meat and
men's-meat at the charge of the community; of which his intention he
sends due notice, that fitting preparation may be timeously made."

"Friend," said the Sub-Prior, "believe not that I will do to the Father
Abbot the indignity of delivering such an errand.--Think'st thou the
goods of the church were bestowed upon her by holy princes and pious
nobles, now dead and gone, to be consumed in revelry by every profligate
layman who numbers in his train more followers than he can support
by honest means, or by his own incomings? Tell thy master, from the
Sub-Prior of Saint Mary's, that the Primate hath issued his commands to
us that we submit no longer to this compulsory exaction of hospitality
on slight or false pretences. Our lands and goods were given to relieve
pilgrims and pious persons, not to feast bands of rude soldiers."

"This to me!" said the angry spearman, "this to me and to my
master--Look to yourself then, Sir Priest, and try if _Ave_ and _Credo_
will keep bullocks from wandering, and hay-stacks from burning."

"Dost thou menace the Holy Church's patrimony with waste and
fire-raising," said the Sub-Prior, "and that in the face of the sun? I
call on all who hear me to bear witness to the words this ruffian has
spoken. Remember how the Lord James drowned such as you by scores in the
black pool at Jeddart.-To him and to the Primate will I complain." The
soldier shifted the position of his lance, and brought it down to a
level with the monk's body.

Dame Glendinning began to shriek for assistance. "Tibb Tacket! Martin!
where be ye all?--Christie, for the love of God, consider he is a man of
Holy Kirk!"

"I care not for his spear," said the Sub-Prior; "if I am slain in
defending the rights and privileges of my community, the Primate will
know how to take vengeance."

"Let him look to himself," said Christie, but at the same time
depositing his lance against the wall of the tower; "if the Fife men
spoke true who came hither with the Governor in the last raid, Norman
Leslie has him at feud, and is like to set him hard. We know Norman a
true bloodhound, who will never quit the slot. But I had no design to
offend the holy father," he added, thinking perhaps he had gone a little
too far; "I am a rude man, bred to lance and stirrup, and not used to
deal with book-learned men and priests; and I am willing to ask his
forgiveness--and his blessing, if I have said aught amiss."

"For God's sake! your reverence," said the widow of Glendearg apart to
the Sub-Prior, "bestow on him your forgiveness--how shall we poor folk
sleep in security in the dark nights, if the convent is at feud with
such men as he is?"

"You are right, dame," said the Sub-Prior, "your safety should, and must
be, in the first instance consulted.--Soldier, I forgive thee, and may
God bless thee and send thee honesty."

Christie of the Clinthill made an unwilling inclination with his
head, and muttered apart, "that is as much as to say, God send thee
starvation, But now to my master's demand, Sir Priest? What answer am I
to return?"

"That the body of the widow of Walter of Avenel," answered the Father,
"shall be interred as becomes her rank, and in the tomb of her valiant
husband. For your master's proffered visit of three days, with such
a company and retinue, I have no authority to reply to it; you must
intimate your Chief's purpose to the Reverend Lord Abbot."

"That will cost me a farther ride," said the man, "but it is all in the
day's work.--How now, my lad," said he to Halbert, who was handling
the long lance which he had laid aside; "how do you like such a
plaything?--will you go with me and be a moss-trooper?"

"The Saints in their mercy forbid!" said the poor mother; and then,
afraid of having displeased Christie by the vivacity of her exclamation,
she followed it up by explaining, that since Simon's death she could
not look on a spear or a bow, or any implement of destruction without

"Pshaw!" answered Christie, "thou shouldst take another husband, dame,
and drive such follies out of thy thoughts--what sayst thou to such a
strapping lad as I? Why, this old tower of thine is fensible enough, and
there is no want of clenchs, and crags, and bogs, and thickets, if one
was set hard; a man might bide here and keep his half-score of lads, and
as many geldings, and live on what he could lay his hand on, and be kind
to thee, old wench."

"Alas! Master Christie," said the matron, "that you should talk to a
lone woman in such a fashion, and death in the house besides!"

"Lone woman!--why, that is the very reason thou shouldst take a mate.
Thy old friend is dead, why, good--choose thou another of somewhat
tougher frame, and that will not die of the pip like a young
chicken.--Better still--Come, dame, let me have something to eat, and we
will talk more of this."

Dame Elspeth, though she well knew the character of the man, whom in
fact she both disliked and feared, could not help simpering at the
personal address which he thought proper to make to her. She whispered
to the Sub-Prior, "ony thing just to keep him quiet," and went into the
tower to set before the soldier the food he desired, trusting betwixt
good cheer and the power of her own charms, to keep Christie of the
Clinthill so well amused, that the altercation betwixt him and the holy
father should not be renewed.

The Sub-Prior was equally unwilling to hazard any unnecessary rupture
between the community and such a person as Julian of Avenel. He was
sensible that moderation, as well as firmness, was necessary to support
the tottering cause of the Church of Rome; and that, contrary to former
times, the quarrels betwixt the clergy and laity had, in the present,
usually terminated to the advantage of the latter. He resolved,
therefore, to avoid farther strife by withdrawing, but failed not, in
the first place, to possess himself of the volume which the Sacristan
carried off the evening before, and which had been returned to the glen
in such a marvellous manner.

Edward, the younger of Dame Elspeth's boys, made great objections to the
book's being removed, in which Mary would probably have joined, but that
she was now in her little sleeping-chamber with Tibb, who was exerting
her simple skill to console the young lady for her mother's death. But
the younger Glendinning stood up in defence of her property, and, with a
positiveness which had hitherto made no part of his character, declared,
that now the kind lady was dead, the book was Mary's, and no one but
Mary should have it.

"But if it is not a fit book for Mary to read, my dear boy," said the
father, gently, "you would not wish it to remain with her?"

"The lady read it," answered the young champion of property; "and so it
could not be wrong--it shall not be taken away.--I wonder where Halbert
is?--listening to the bravading tales of gay Christie, I reckon,--he is
always wishing for fighting, and now he is out of the way."

"Why, Edward, you would not fight with me, who am both a priest and old

"If you were as good a priest as the Pope," said the boy, "and as old
as the hills to boot, you shall not carry away Mary's book without her
leave. I will do battle for it."

"But see you, my love," said the monk, amused with the resolute
friendship manifested by the boy, "I do not take it; I only borrow it;
and I leave in its place my own gay missal, as a pledge I will bring it

Edward opened the missal with eager curiosity, and glanced at
the pictures with which it was illustrated. "Saint George and the
dragon--Halbert will like that; and Saint Michael brandishing his sword
over the head of the Wicked One--and that will do for Halbert too. And
see the Saint John leading his lamb in the wilderness, with his
little cross made of reeds, and his scrip and staff--that shall be
my favourite; and where shall we find one for poor Mary?--here is a
beautiful woman weeping and lamenting herself."

"This is Saint Mary Magdalen repenting of her sins, my dear boy," said
the father.

"That will not suit _our_ Mary; for she commits no faults, and is never
angry with us, but when we do something wrong."

"Then," said the father, "I will show you a Mary, who will protect her
and you, and all good children. See how fairly she is represented, with
her gown covered with golden stars."

The boy was lost in wonder at the portrait of the Virgin, which the
Sub-Prior turned up to him.

"This," he said, "is really like our sweet Mary; and I think I will let
you take away the black book, that has no such goodly shows in it, and
leave this for Mary instead. But you must promise to bring back the
book, good father--for now I think upon it, Mary may like that best
which was her mother's."

"I will certainly return," said the monk, evading his answer, "and
perhaps I may teach you to write and read such beautiful letters as you
see there written, and to paint them blue, green, and yellow, and to
blazon them with gold."

"Ay, and to make such figures as these blessed Saints, and especially
these two Marys?" said the boy.

"With their blessing," said the Sub-Prior, "I can teach you that art
too, so far as I am myself capable of showing, and you of learning it."
"Then," said Edward, "will I paint Mary's picture--and remember you are
to bring back the black book; that you must promise me."

The Sub-Prior, anxious to get rid of the boy's pertinacity, and to
set forward on his return to the convent, without having any further
interview with Christie the galloper, answered by giving the promise
Edward required, mounted his mule, and set forth on his return homeward.

The November day was well spent ere the Sub-Prior resumed his journey;
for the difficulty of the road, and the various delays which he had met
with at the tower, had detained him longer than he proposed. A chill
easterly wind was sighing among the withered leaves, and stripping them
from the hold they had yet retained on the parent trees.

"Even so," said the monk, "our prospects in this vale of time grow more
disconsolate as the stream of years passes on. Little have I gained by
my journey, saving the certainty that heresy is busy among us with more
than his usual activity, and that the spirit of insulting religious
orders, and plundering the Church's property, so general in the eastern
districts of Scotland, has now come nearer home."

The tread of a horse which came up behind him, interrupted his reverie,
and he soon saw he was mounted by the same wild rider whom he had left
at the tower.

"Good even, my son, and benedicite," said the Sub-Prior as he passed;
but the rude soldier scarce acknowledged the greeting, by bending his
head; and dashing the spurs into his horse, went on at a pace which soon
left the monk and his mule far behind. And there, thought the Sub-Prior,
goes another plague of the times--a fellow whose birth designed him
to cultivate the earth, but who is perverted by the unhallowed and
unchristian divisions of the country, into a daring and dissolute
robber. The barons of Scotland are now turned masterful thieves and
ruffians, oppressing the poor by violence, and wasting the Church, by
extorting free-quarters from abbeys and priories, without either shame
or reason. I fear me I shall be too late to counsel the Abbot to make a
stand against these daring _sorners_ [Footnote: To _sorne_, in Scotland,
is to exact free quarters against the will of the landlord. It is
declared equivalent to theft, by a statute passed in the year 1445. The
great chieftains oppressed the monasteries very much by exactions of
this nature. The community of Aberbrothwick complained of an Earl of
Angus, I think, who was in the regular habit of visiting them once
a year, with a train of a thousand horse, and abiding till the whole
winter provisions of the convent were exhausted.]--"I must make haste."
He struck his mule with his riding wand accordingly; but, instead of
mending her pace, the animal suddenly started from the path, and the
rider's utmost efforts could not force her forward.

"Art thou, too, infected with the spirit of the times?" said the
Sub-Prior; "thou wert wont to be ready and serviceable, and art now as
restive as any wild jack-man or stubborn heretic of them all."

While he was contending with the startled animal, a voice, like that of
a female, chanted in his ear, or at least very close to it,

 "Good evening-. Sir Priest, and so late as you ride,
  With your mule so fair, and your mantle so wide;
  But ride you through valley, or ride you o'er hill.
  There is one that has warrant to wait on you still.
               Back, back,
               The volume black!
  I have a warrant to carry it back."

The Sub-Prior looked around, but neither bush nor brake was near which
could conceal an ambushed songstress. "May Our Lady have mercy on me!"
he said; "I trust my senses have not forsaken me--yet how my thoughts
should arrange themselves into rhymes which I despise, and music which
I care not for, or why there should be the sound of a female voice
in ears, in which its melody has been so long indifferent, baffles my
comprehension, and almost realizes the vision of Philip the Sacristan.
Come, good mule, betake thee to the path, and let us hence while our
judgment serves us."

But the mule stood as if it had been rooted to the spot, backed from the
point to which it was pressed by its rider, and by her ears laid
close into her neck, and her eyes almost starting from their sockets,
testified that she was under great terror.

While the Sub-Prior, by alternate threats and soothing, endeavoured to
reclaim the wayward animal to her duty, the wild musical voice was again
heard close beside him.

  "What, ho! Sub-Prior, and came you but here
  To conjure a book from a dead woman's bier?
  Sain you, and save you, be wary and wise,
  Ride back with the book, or you'll pay for your prize.
               Back, back.
               There's death in the track!
  In the name of my master I bid thee bear back."

"In the name of MY Master," said the astonished monk, "that name before
which all things created tremble, I conjure thee to say what thou art
that hauntest me thus?"

The same voice replied,

  "That which is neither ill nor well.
  That which belongs not to Heaven nor to hell,
  A wreath of the mist, a bubble of the stream,
  'Twixt a waking thought and a sleeping dream;
               A form that men spy
               With the half-shut eye.
  In the beams of the setting sun, am I."

"This is more than simple fantasy," said the Sub-Prior, rousing himself;
though, notwithstanding the natural hardihood of his temper, the
sensible presence of a supernatural being so near him, failed not to
make his blood run cold, and his hair bristle. "I charge thee," he said
aloud, "be thine errand what it will, to depart and trouble me no
more! False spirit, thou canst not appal any save those who do the work
negligently." The voice immediately answered:

  "Vainly, Sir Prior, wouldst thou bar me my right!
  Like the star when it shoots, I can dart through the night;
  I can dance on the torrent and ride on the air,
  And travel the world with the bonny night-mare.
                 Again, again,
                At the crook of the glen,
  Where bickers the burnie, I'll meet thee again."

The road was now apparently left open; for the mule collected herself,
and changed from her posture of terror to one which promised advance,
although a profuse perspiration, and general trembling of the joints,
indicated the bodily terror she had undergone.

"I used to doubt the existence of Cabalists and Rosicrucians," thought
the Sub-Prior, "but, by my Holy Order, I know no longer what to say!--My
pulse beats temperately--my hand is cool--I am fasting from everything
but sin, and possessed of my ordinary faculties--Either some fiend is
permitted to bewilder me, or the tales of Cornelius Agrippa,
Paracelsus, and others who treat of occult philosophy, are not without
foundation.--At the crook of the glen? I could have desired to avoid a
second meeting, but I am on the service of the Church, and the gates of
hell shall not prevail against me."

He moved around accordingly, but with precaution, and not without fear;
for he neither knew the manner in which, or the place where his journey
might be next interrupted by his invisible attendant. He descended the
glen without interruption for about a mile farther, when, just at the
spot where the brook approached the steep hill, with a winding so
abrupt as to leave scarcely room for a horse to pass, the mule was again
visited with the same symptoms of terror which had before interrupted
her course. Better acquainted than before with the cause of her
restiveness, the Priest employed no effort to make her proceed, but
addressed himself to the object, which he doubted not was the same that
had formerly interrupted him, in the words of solemn exorcism prescribed
by the Church of Rome on such occasions.

In reply to his demand, the voice again sung;--

  "Men of good are bold as sackless,[Footnote: Sackless--Innocent.]
  Men of rude are wild and reckless,
      Lie thou still
      In the nook of the hill.
  For those be before thee that wish thee ill."

While the Sub-Prior listened, with his head turned in the direction from
which the sounds seemed to come, he felt as if something rushed against
him; and ere he could discover the cause, he was pushed from his saddle
with gentle but irresistible force. Before he reached the ground his
senses were gone, and he lay long in a state of insensibility; for
the sunset had not ceased to gild the top of the distant hill when he
fell,--and when he again became conscious of existence, the pale moon
was gleaming on the landscape. He awakened in a state of terror, from
which, for a few minutes, he found it difficult to shake himself free.
At length he sate upon the grass, and became sensible, by repeated
exertion, that the only personal injury which he had sustained was the
numbness arising from extreme cold. The motion of something near him
made the blood again run to his heart, and by a sudden effort he started
up, and, looking around, saw to his relief that the noise was occasioned
by the footsteps of his own mule. The peaceable animal had remained
quietly beside her master during his trance, browsing on the grass which
grew plentifully in that sequestered nook.

With some exertion he collected himself, remounted the animal, and
meditating upon his wild adventure, descended the glen till its junction
with the broader valley through which the Tweed winds. The drawbridge
was readily dropped at his first summons; and so much had he won upon
the heart of the churlish warden, that Peter appeared himself with a
lantern to show the Sub-Prior his way over the perilous pass.

"By my sooth, sir," he said, holding the light up to Father Eustace's
face, "you look sorely travelled and deadly pale--but a little matter
serves to weary out you men of the cell. I now who speak to you--I have
ridden--before I was perched up here on this pillar betwixt wind and
water--it may be thirty Scots miles before I broke my fast, and have had
the red of a bramble rose in my cheek all the while--But will you taste
some food, or a cup of distilled waters?"

"I may not," said Father Eustace, "being under a vow; but I thank you
for your kindness, and pray you to give what I may not accept to the
next poor pilgrim who comes hither pale and fainting, for so it shall be
the better both with him here, and with you hereafter."

"By my faith, and I will do so," said Peter Bridge-Ward, "even for thy
sake--It is strange now, how this Sub-Prior gets round one's heart more
than the rest of these cowled gentry, that think of nothing but quaffing
and stuffing!--Wife, I say--wife, we will give a cup of distilled waters
and a crust of bread unto the next pilgrim that comes over; and ye may
keep for [Footnote: An old-fashioned name for an earthen jar for
holding spirits.] the purpose the grunds of the last greybeard, and the
ill-baked bannock which the bairns couldna eat."

While Peter issued these charitable, and, at the same time, prudent
injunctions, the Sub-Prior, whose mild interference had awakened the
Bridge-Ward to such an act of unwonted generosity, was pacing onward
to the Monastery. In the way, he had to commune with and subdue his own
rebellious heart, an enemy, he was sensible, more formidable than any
which the external powers of Satan could place in his way.

Father Eustace had indeed strong temptation to suppress the
extraordinary incident which had befallen him, which he was the more
reluctant to confess, because he had passed so severe a judgment upon
Father Philip, who, as he was not unwilling to allow, had, on his return
from Glendearg, encountered obstacles somewhat similar to his own. Of
this the Sub-Prior was the more convinced, when, feeling in his bosom
for the Book which he had brought off from the Tower of Glendearg, he
found it was amissing, which he could only account for by supposing it
had been stolen from him during his trance.

"If I confess this strange visitation," thought the Sub-Prior, "I become
the ridicule of all my brethren--I whom the Primate sent hither to be a
watch, as it were, and a check upon their follies. I give the Abbot an
advantage over me which I shall never again recover, and Heaven only
knows how he may abuse it, in his foolish simplicity, to the dishonour
and loss of Holy Kirk.--But then, if I make not true confession of
my shame, with what face can I again presume to admonish or restrain
others?--Avow, proud heart," continued he, addressing himself, "that the
weal of Holy Church interests thee less in this matter than thine own
humiliation--Yes, Heaven has punished thee even in that point in which
thou didst deem thyself most strong, in thy spiritual pride and thy
carnal wisdom. Thou hast laughed at and derided the inexperience of thy
brethren--stoop thyself in turn to their derision--tell what they
may not believe--affirm that which they will ascribe to idle fear, or
perhaps to idle falsehood--sustain the disgrace of a silly visionary,
or a wilful deceiver.--Be it so, I will do my duty, and make ample
confession to my Superior. If the discharge of this duty destroys my
usefulness in this house, God and Our Lady will send me where I can
better serve them."

There was no little merit in the resolution thus piously and generously
formed by Father Eustace. To men of any rank the esteem of their order
is naturally most dear; but in the monastic establishment, cut off, as
the brethren are, from other objects of ambition, as well as from all
exterior friendship and relationship, the place which they hold in the
opinion of each other is all in all.

But the consciousness how much he should rejoice the Abbot and most of
the other monks of Saint Mary's, who were impatient of the unauthorized,
yet irresistible control, which he was wont to exercise in the affairs
of the convent, by a confession which would put him in a ludicrous, or
perhaps even in a criminal point of view, could not weigh with Father
Eustace in comparison with the task which his belief enjoined.

As, strong in his feelings of duty, he approached the exterior gate
of the Monastery, he was surprised to see torches gleaming, and men
assembled around it, some on horseback, some on foot, while several of
the monks, distinguished through the night by their white scapularies,
were making themselves busy among the crowd. The Sub-Prior was received
with a unanimous shout of joy, which at once made him sensible that he
had himself been the object of their anxiety.

"There he is! there he is! God be thanked--there he is, hale and
fear!" exclaimed the vassals; while the monks exclaimed, "_Te Deum
laudamus_--the blood of thy servants is precious in thy sight!"

"What is the matter, children? what is the matter, my brethren?" said
Father Eustace, dismounting at the gate.

"Nay, brother, if thou know'st not, we will not tell thee till thou art
in the refectory," answered the monks; "suffice it that the Lord Abbot
had ordered these, our zealous and faithful vassals, instantly to set
forth to guard thee from imminent peril--Ye may ungirth your horses,
children, and dismiss; and to-morrow, each who was at this rendezvous
may send to the convent kitchen for a quarter of a yard of roast beef,
and a black-jack full of double ale." [Footnote: It was one of the few
reminiscences of Old Parr, or Henry Jenkins, I forget which, that, at
some convent in the veteran's neighbourhood, the community, before the
dissolution, used to dole out roast-beef in the measure of feet and

The vassals dispersed with joyful acclamation, and the monks, with equal
jubilee, conducted the Sub-Prior into the refectory.

Chapter the Tenth.

  Here we stand--
  Woundless and well, may Heaven's high name be bless'd for't!
  As erst, ere treason couch'd a lance against us.

No sooner was the Sub-Prior hurried into the refectory by his rejoicing
companions, than the first person on whom he fixed his eye proved to be
Christie of the Clinthill. He was seated in the chimney-corner, fettered
and guarded, his features drawn into that air of sulky and turbid
resolution with which those hardened in guilt are accustomed to view the
approach of punishment. But as the Sub-Prior drew near to him, his face
assumed a more wild and startled expression, while he exclaimed--"The
devil! the devil himself, brings the dead back upon the living."

"Nay," said a monk to him, "say rather that Our Lady foils the attempts
of the wicked on her faithful servants--our dear brother lives and

"Lives and moves!" said the ruffian, rising and shuffling towards the
Sub-Prior as well as his chains would permit; "nay, then, I will never
trust ashen shaft and steel point more--It is even so," he added, as he
gazed on the Sub-Prior with astonishment; "neither wem nor wound--not as
much as a rent in his frock!"

"And whence should my wound have come?" said Father Eustace.

"From the good lance that never failed me before," replied Christie of
the Clinthill.

"Heaven absolve thee for thy purpose!" said the Sub-Prior; "wouldst thou
have slain a servant of the altar?"

"To choose!" answered Christie; "the Fifemen say, an the whole pack of
ye were slain, there were more lost at Flodden."

"Villain! art thou heretic as well as murderer?"

"Not I, by Saint Giles," replied the rider; "I listened blithely enough
to the Laird of Monance, when he told me ye were all cheats and knaves;
but when he would have had me go hear one Wiseheart, a gospeller as they
call him, he might as well have persuaded the wild colt that had flung
one rider to kneel down and help another into the saddle."

"There is some goodness about him yet," said the Sacristan to the Abbot,
who at that moment entered--"He refused to hear a heretic preacher."

"The better for him in the next world," answered the Abbot. "Prepare for
death, my son,--we deliver thee over to the secular arm of our bailie,
for execution on the Gallow-hill by peep of light."

"Amen!" said the ruffian; "'tis the end I must have come by sooner or
later--and what care I whether I feed the crows at Saint Mary's or at

"Let me implore your reverend patience for an instant," said the
Sub-Prior; "until I shall inquire--"

"What!" exclaimed the Abbot, observing him for the first time--"Our dear
brother restored to us when his life was unhoped for!--nay, kneel not
to a sinner like me--stand up--thou hast my blessing. When this villain
came to the gate, accused by his own evil conscience, and crying out
he had murdered thee, I thought that the pillar of our main aisle had
fallen--no more shall a life so precious be exposed to such risks as
occur in this border country; no longer shall one beloved and rescued
of Heaven hold so low a station in the church as that of a poor
Sub-Prior--I will write by express to the Primate for thy speedy removal
and advancement."

"Nay, but let me understand," said the Sub-Prior; "did this soldier say
he had slain me?"

"That he had transfixed you," answered the Abbot, "in full career with
his lance--but it seems he had taken an indifferent aim. But no sooner
didst thou fall to the ground mortally gored, as he deemed, with his
weapon, than our blessed Patroness appeared to him, as he averred--"

"I averred no such thing," said the prisoner; "I said a woman in white
interrupted me, as I was about to examine the priest's cassock, for they
are usually well lined--she had a bulrush in her hand, with one touch
of which she struck me from my horse, as I might strike down a child of
four years old with an iron mace--and then, like a singing fiend as she
was, she sung to me.

  'Thank the holly-bush
    That nods on thy brow;
  Or with this slender rush
    I had strangled thee now.'

I gathered myself up with fear and difficulty, threw myself on my horse,
and came hither like a fool to get myself hanged for a rogue."

"Thou seest, honoured brother," said the Abbot to the Sub-Prior, "in
what favour thou art with our blessed Patroness, that she herself
becomes the guardian of thy paths--Not since the days of our blessed
founder hath she shown such grace to any one. All unworthy were we to
hold spiritual superiority over thee, and we pray thee to prepare for
thy speedy removal to Aberbrothwick."

"Alas! my lord and father," said the Sub-Prior, "your words pierce my
very soul. Under the seal of confession will I presently tell thee why
I conceive myself rather the baffled sport of a spirit of another sort,
than the protected favourite of the heavenly powers. But first let me
ask this unhappy man a question or two."

"Do as ye list," replied the Abbot--"but you shall not convince me that
it is fitting you remain in this inferior office in the convent of Saint

"I would ask of this poor man," said Father Eustace, "for what purpose
he nourished the thought of putting to death one who never did him

"Ay! but thou didst menace me with evil," said the ruffian, "and no
one but a fool is menaced twice. Dost thou not remember what you said
touching the Primate and Lord James, and the black pool of Jedwood?
Didst thou think me fool enough to wait till thou hadst betrayed me to
the sack and the fork! There were small wisdom in that, methinks--as
little as in coming hither to tell my own misdeeds--I think the devil
was in me when I took this road--I might have remembered the proverb,
'Never Friar forgot feud.'"

"And it was solely for that--for that only hasty word of mine, uttered
in a moment of impatience, and forgotten ere it was well spoken?" said
Father Eustace.

"Ay! for that, and--for the love of thy gold crucifix," said Christie of
the Clinthill.

"Gracious Heaven! and could the yellow metal--the glittering earth--so
far overcome every sense of what is thereby represented?--Father Abbot,
I pray, as a dear boon, you will deliver this guilty person to my

"Nay, brother," interposed the Sacristan, "to your doom, if you will,
not to your mercy--Remember, we are not all equally favoured by our
blessed Lady, nor is it likely that every frock in the Convent will
serve as a coat of proof when a lance is couched against it."

"For that very reason," said the Sub-Prior, "I would not that for my
worthless self the community were to fall at feud with Julian of Avenel,
this man's master."

"Our Lady forbid!" said the Sacristan, "he is a second Julian the

"With our reverend father the Abbot's permission, then," said Father
Eustace, "I desire this man be freed from his chains, and suffered to
depart uninjured;--and here, friend," he added, giving him the golden
crucifix, "is the image for which thou wert willing to stain thy hands
with murder. View it well, and may it inspire thee with other and better
thoughts than those which referred to it as a piece of bullion! Part
with it, nevertheless, if thy necessities require, and get thee one
of such coarse substance that Mammon shall have no share in any of the
reflections to which it gives rise. It was the bequest of a dear friend
to me; but dearer service can it never do than that of winning a soul to

The Borderer, now freed from his chains, stood gazing alternately on
the Sub-Prior, and on the golden crucifix. "By Saint Giles," said he,
"I understand ye not!--An ye give me gold for couching my lance at thee,
what would you give me to level it at a heretic?"

"The Church," said the Sub-Prior, "will try the effect of her spiritual
censures to bring these stray sheep into the fold, ere she employ the
edge of the sword of Saint Peter."

"Ay, but," said the ruffian, "they say the Primate recommends a little
strangling and burning in aid of both censure and of sword. But fare ye
weel, I owe you a life, and it may be I will not forget my debt."

The bailie now came bustling in, dressed in his blue coat and
bandaliers, and attended by two or three halberdiers. "I have been a
thought too late in waiting upon your reverend lordship. I am grown
somewhat fatter since the field of Pinkie, and my leathern coat slips
not on so soon as it was wont; but the dungeon is ready, and though, as
I said, I have been somewhat late--"

Here his intended prisoner walked gravely up to the officer's nose, to
his great amazement.

"You have been indeed somewhat late, bailie," said he, "and I am greatly
obligated to your buff-coat, and to the time you took to put it on. If
the secular arm had arrived some quarter of an hour sooner, I had been
out of the reach of spiritual grace; but as it is, I wish you good even,
and a safe riddance out of your garment of durance, in which you have
much the air of a hog in armour."

Wroth was the bailie at this comparison, and exclaimed in ire--"An it
were not for the presence of the venerable Lord Abbot, thou knave--"

"Nay, an thou wouldst try conclusions," said Christie of the Clinthill,
"I will meet thee at day-break by Saint Mary's Well."

"Hardened wretch!" said Father Eustace, "art thou but this instant
delivered from death, and dost thou so soon morse thoughts of

"I will meet with thee ere it be long, thou knave," said the bailie,
"and teach thee thine Oremus."

"I will meet thy cattle in a moonlight night before that day," said he
of the Clinthill.

"I will have thee by the neck one misty morning, thou strong thief,"
answered the secular officer of the Church.

"Thou art thyself as strong a thief as ever rode," retorted Christie;
"and if the worms were once feasting on that fat carcass of thine I
might well hope to have thine office, by favour of these reverend men."

"A cast of their office, and a cast of mine," answered the bailie; "a
cord and a confessor, that is all thou wilt have from us."

"Sirs," said the Sub-Prior, observing that his brethren began to take
more interest than was exactly decorous in this wrangling betwixt
justice and iniquity, "I pray you both to depart--Master Bailie,
retire with your halberdiers, and trouble not the man whom we have
dismissed.--And thou, Christie, or whatever be thy name, take thy
departure, and remember thou owest thy life to the Lord Abbot's

"Nay, as to that," answered Christie, "I judge that I owe it to your
own; but impute it to whom ye list, I owe a life among ye, and there is
an end." And whistling as he went, he left the apartment, seeming as if
he held the life which he had forfeited not worthy further thanks.

"Obstinate even to brutality!" said Father Eustace; "and yet who knows
but some better ore may lie under so rude an exterior?"

"Save a thief from the gallows," said the Sacristan--"you know the rest
of the proverb; and admitting, as may Heaven grant, that our lives and
limbs are safe from this outrageous knave, who shall insure our meal and
our malt, our herds and our flocks?"

"Marry, that will I, my brethren," said an aged monk. "Ah, brethren, you
little know what may be made of a repentant robber. In Abbot Ingilram's
days--ay, and I remember them as it were yesterday--the freebooters were
the best welcome men that came to Saint Mary's. Ay, they paid tithe of
every drove that they brought over from the South, and because they
were something lightly come by, I have known them make the tithe a
seventh--that is, if their confessor knew his business--ay, when we saw
from the tower a score of fat bullocks, or a drove of sheep, coming down
the valley, with two or three stout men-at-arms behind them with their
glittering steel caps, and their black-jacks, and their long lances, the
good Lord Abbot Ingilram was wont to say--he was a merry man--there come
the tithes of the spoilers of the Egyptians! Ay, and I have seen the
famous John the Armstrang--a fair man he was and a goodly, the more
pity that hemp was ever heckled for him--I have seen him come into the
Abbey-church with nine tassels of gold in his bonnet, and every tassel
made of nine English nobles, and he would go from chapel to chapel, and
from image to image, and from altar to altar, on his knees--and leave
here a tassel, and there a noble, till there was as little gold on his
bonnet as on my hood--you will find no such Border thieves now!"

"No, truly, Brother Nicolas," answered the Abbot; "they are more apt to
take any gold the Church has left, than to bequeath or bestow any--and
for cattle, beshrew me if I think they care whether beeves have fed on
the meadows of Lanercost Abbey or of Saint Mary's!"

"There is no good thing left in them," said Father Nicolas; "they are
clean naught--Ah, the thieves that I have seen!--such proper men! and as
pitiful as proper, and as pious as pitiful!"

"It skills not talking of it, Brother Nicolas," said the Abbot; "and I
will now dismiss you, my brethren, holding your meeting upon this our
inquisition concerning the danger of our reverend Sub-Prior, instead of
the attendance on the lauds this evening--Yet let the bells be duly rung
for the edification of the laymen without, and also that the novices may
give due reverence.--And now, benedicite, brethren! The cellarer will
bestow on each a grace-cup and a morsel as ye pass the buttery, for ye
have been turmoiled and anxious, and dangerous it is to fall asleep in
such case with empty stomach."

"_Gratias agimus quam maximas, Domine reverendissime_," replied the
brethren, departing in their due order.

But the Sub-Prior remained behind, and falling on his knees before the
Abbot, as he was about to withdraw, craved him to hear under the seal
of confession the adventures of the day. The reverend Lord Abbot yawned,
and would have alleged fatigue; but to Father Eustace, of all men,
he was ashamed to show indifference in his religious duties. The
confession, therefore, proceeded, in which Father Eustace told all the
extraordinary circumstances which had befallen him during the journey.
And being questioned by the Abbot, whether he was not conscious of any
secret sin, through which he might have been subjected for a time to the
delusions of evil spirits, the Sub-Prior admitted, with frank avowal,
that he thought he might have deserved such penance for having judged
with unfraternal rigour of the report of Father Philip the Sacristan.

"Heaven," said the penitent, "may have been willing to convince me, not
only that he can at pleasure open a communication betwixt us and beings
of a different, and, as we word it, supernatural class, but also to
punish our pride of superior wisdom, or superior courage, or superior

It is well said that virtue is its own reward; and I question if duty
was ever more completely recompensed, than by the audience which
the reverend Abbot so unwillingly yielded to the confession of the
Sub-Prior. To find the object of his fear shall we say, or of his envy,
or of both, accusing himself of the very error with which he had so
tacitly charged him, was a corroboration of the Abbot's judgment,
a soothing of his pride, and an allaying of his fears. The sense
of triumph, however, rather increased than diminished his natural
good-humour; and so far was Abbot Boniface from being disposed to
tyrannize over his Sub-Prior in consequence of this discovery, that
in his exhortation he hovered somewhat ludicrously betwixt the natural
expression of his own gratified vanity, and his timid reluctance to hurt
the feelings of Father Eustace.

"My brother," said he, _ex cathedra_, "it cannot have escaped your
judicious observation, that we have often declined our own judgment
in favour of your opinion, even about those matters which most nearly
concerned the community. Nevertheless, grieved would we be, could you
think that we did this, either because we deemed our own opinion less
pregnant, or our wit more shallow, than that of our brethren. For it
was done exclusively to give our younger brethren, such as your much
esteemed self, my dearest brother, that courage which is necessary to a
free deliverance of your opinion,--we ofttimes setting apart our proper
judgment, that our inferiors, and especially our dear brother the
Sub-Prior, may be comforted and encouraged in proposing valiantly his
own thoughts. Which our deference and humility may, in some sort, have
produced in your mind, most reverend brother, that self-opinion of parts
and knowledge, which hath led unfortunately to your over-estimating your
own faculties, and thereby subjecting yourself, as is but too visible,
to the japes and mockeries of evil spirits. For it is assured that
Heaven always holdeth us in the least esteem when we deem of ourselves
most highly, and also, on the other hand, it may be that we have
somewhat departed from what became our high seat in this Abbey, in
suffering ourselves to be too much guided, and even, as it were,
controlled, by the voice of our inferior. Wherefore," continued the
Lord Abbot, "in both of us such faults shall and must be amended--you
hereafter presuming less upon your gifts and carnal wisdom, and I taking
heed not so easily to relinquish mine own opinion for that of one
lower in place and in office. Nevertheless, we would not that we should
thereby lose the high advantage which we have derived, and may yet
derive, from your wise counsels, which hath been so often recommended to
us by our most reverend Primate. Wherefore, on affairs of high moment,
we will call you to our presence in private, and listen to your opinion,
which, if it shall agree with our own, we will deliver to the Chapter
as emanating directly from ourselves; thus sparing you, dearest brother,
that seeming victory which is so apt to engender spiritual pride, and
avoiding ourselves the temptation of falling into that modest facility
of opinion, whereby our office is lessened and our person (were that of
consequence) rendered less important in the eyes of the community over
which we preside."

Notwithstanding the high notions which, as a rigid Catholic, Father
Eustace entertained of the sacrament of confession, as his Church calls
it, there was some danger that a sense of the ridiculous might have
stolen on him, when he heard his Superior, with such simple cunning,
lay out a little plan for availing himself of the Sub-Prior's wisdom and
experience, while he should take the whole credit to himself. Yet his
conscience immediately told him he was right.

"I should have thought more," he reflected, "of the spiritual Superior,
and less of the individual. I should have spread my mantle over the
frailties of my spiritual father, and done what I might to support his
character, and, of course, to extend his utility among the brethren, as
well as with others. The Abbot cannot be humbled, but what the community
must be humbled in his person. Her boast is, that over all her children,
especially over those called to places of distinction, she can diffuse
those gifts which are necessary to render them illustrious."

Actuated by these sentiments, Father Eustace frankly assented to the
charge which his Superior, even in that moment of authority, had rather
intimated than made, and signified his humble acquiescence in any mode
of communicating his counsel which might be most agreeable to the Lord
Abbot, and might best remove from himself all temptation to glory in
his own wisdom. He then prayed the reverend Father to assign him such
penance as might best suit his offence, intimating, at the same time,
that he had already fasted the whole day.

"And it is that I complain of," answered the Abbot, instead of giving
him credit for his abstinence; "it is these very penances, fasts, and
vigils, of which we complain; as tending only to generate airs and fumes
of vanity, which, ascending from the stomach into the head, do but puff
us up with vain-glory and self-opinion. It is meet and beseeming
that novices should undergo fasts and vigils; for some part of every
community must fast, and young stomachs may best endure it. Besides, in
them it abates wicked thoughts, and the desire of worldly delights. But,
reverend brother, for those to fast who are dead and mortified to the
world, as I and thou, is work of supererogation, and is but the matter
of spiritual pride. Wherefore, I enjoin thee, most reverend brother, go
to the buttery and drink two cups at least of good wine, eating withal a
comfortable morsel, such as may best suit thy taste and stomach. And
in respect that thine opinion of thy own wisdom hath at times made thee
less conformable to, and companionable with, the weaker and less learned
brethren, I enjoin thee, during the said repast, to choose for thy
companion, our reverend brother Nicolas, and without interruption or
impatience, to listen for a stricken hour to his narration, concerning
those things which befel in the times of our venerable predecessor,
Abbot Ingilram, on whose soul may Heaven have mercy! And for such holy
exercises as may farther advantage your soul, and expiate the faults
whereof you have contritely and humbly avowed yourself guilty, we
will ponder upon that matter, and announce our will unto you the next

It was remarkable, that after this memorable evening, the feelings of
the worthy Abbot towards his adviser were much more kindly and friendly
than when he deemed the Sub-Prior the impeccable and infallible person,
in whose garment of virtue and wisdom no flaw was to be discerned. It
seemed as if this avowal of his own imperfections had recommended Father
Eustace to the friendship of the Superior, although at the same time
this increase of benevolence was attended with some circumstances,
which, to a man of the Sub-Prior's natural elevation of mind and temper,
were more grievous than even undergoing the legends of the dull and
verbose Father Nicolas. For instance, the Abbot seldom mentioned him to
the other monks, without designing him our beloved Brother Eustace, poor
man!--and now and then he used to warn the younger brethren against the
snares of vainglory and spiritual pride, which Satan sets for the more
rigidly righteous, with such looks and demonstrations as did all but
expressly designate the Sub-Prior as one who had fallen at one time
under such delusions. Upon these occasions, it required all the votive
obedience of a monk, all the philosophical discipline of the schools,
and all the patience of a Christian, to enable Father Eustace to
endure the pompous and patronizing parade of his honest, but somewhat
thick-headed Superior. He began himself to be desirous of leaving the
Monastery, or at least he manifestly declined to interfere with its
affairs, in that marked and authoritative manner, which he had at first

       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter the Eleventh.

    You call this education, do you not?
    Why 'tis the forced march of a herd of bullocks
    Before a shouting drover. The glad van
    Move on at ease, and pause a while to snatch
    A passing morsel from the dewy greensward,
    While all the blows, the oaths, the indignation,
    Fall on the croupe of the ill-fated laggard
    That cripples in the rear.
                                          OLD PLAY.

Two or three years glided on, during which the storm of the approaching
alteration in church government became each day louder and more
perilous. Owing to the circumstances which we have intimated in the
end of the last chapter, the Sub-Prior Eustace appeared to have altered
considerably his habits of life. He afforded, on all extraordinary
occasions, to the Abbot, whether privately, or in the assembled Chapter,
the support of his wisdom and experience; but in his ordinary habits he
seemed now to live more for himself, and less for the community, than
had been his former practice.

He often absented himself for whole days from the convent; and as the
adventure of Glendearg dwelt deeply on his memory, he was repeatedly
induced to visit that lonely tower, and to take an interest in the
orphans who had their shelter under its roof. Besides, he felt a deep
anxiety to know whether the volume which he had lost, when so strangely
preserved from the lance of the murderer, had again found its way
back to the Tower of Glendearg. "It was strange," he thought, "that a
spirit," for such he could not help judging the being whose voice he had
heard, "should, on the one side, seek the advancement of heresy, and, on
the other, interpose to save the life of a zealous Catholic priest."

But from no inquiry which he made of the various inhabitants of the
Tower of Glendearg could he learn that the copy of the translated
Scriptures, for which he made such diligent inquiry, had again been seen
by any of them.

In the meanwhile, the good father's occasional visits were of no
small consequence to Edward Glendinning and to Mary Avenel. The former
displayed a power of apprehending and retaining whatever was taught him,
which tilled Father Eustace with admiration. He was at once acute and
industrious, alert and accurate; one of those rare combinations of
talent and industry, which are seldom united.

It was the earnest desire of Father Eustace that the excellent qualities
thus early displayed by Edward should be dedicated to the service of
the Church, to which he thought the youth's own consent might be easily
obtained, as he was of a calm, contemplative, retired habit, and seemed
to consider knowledge as the principal object, and its enlargement as
the greatest pleasure, in life. As to the mother, the Sub-Prior had
little doubt that, trained as she was to view the monks of Saint
Mary's with such profound reverence, she would be but too happy in an
opportunity of enrolling one of her sons in its honoured community. But
the good Father proved to be mistaken in both these particulars.

When he spoke to Elspeth Glendinning of that which a mother best loves
to hear--the proficiency and abilities of her son--she listened with a
delighted ear. But when Father Eustace hinted at the duty of dedicating
to the service of the Church, talents which seemed fitted to defend and
adorn it, the dame endeavoured always to shift the subject; and when
pressed farther, enlarged on her own incapacity, as a lone woman, to
manage the feu; on the advantage which her neighbours of the township
were often taking of her unprotected state, and on the wish she had that
Edward might fill his father's place, remain in the tower, and close her

On such occasions the Sub-Prior would answer, that even in a worldly
point of view the welfare of the family would be best consulted by one
of the sons entering into the community of Saint Mary's, as it was not
to be supposed that he would fail to afford his family the important
protection which he could then easily extend towards them. What could
be a more pleasing prospect than to see him high in honour? or what more
sweet than to have the last duties rendered to her by a son, reverend
for his holiness of life and exemplary manners? Besides, he endeavoured
to impress upon the dame, that her eldest son, Halbert, whose bold
temper and headstrong indulgence of a wandering humour, rendered him
incapable of learning, was, for that reason, as well as that he was her
eldest born, fittest to bustle through the affairs of the world, and
manage the little fief.

Elspeth durst not directly dissent from what was proposed, for fear of
giving displeasure, and yet she always had something to say against it.
Halbert, she said, was not like any of the neighbour boys--he was taller
by the head, and stronger by the half, than any boy of his years within
the Halidome. But he was fit for no peaceful work that could be devised.
If he liked a book ill, he liked a plough or a pattle worse. He had
scoured his father's old broadsword--suspended it by a belt round his
waist, and seldom stirred without it. He was a sweet boy and a gentle
if spoken fair, but cross him and he was a born devil. "In a word," she
said, bursting into tears, "deprive me of Edward, good father, and ye
bereave my house of prop and pillar; for my heart tells me that Halbert
will take to his father's gates, and die his father's death."

When the conversation came to this crisis, the good-humoured monk
was always content to drop the discussion for the time, trusting some
opportunity would occur of removing her prejudices, for such he thought
them, against Edward's proposed destination.

When, leaving the mother, the Sub-Prior addressed himself to the son,
animating his zeal for knowledge, and pointing out how amply it might
be gratified should he agree to take holy orders, he found the same
repugnance which Dame Elspeth had exhibited. Edward pleaded a want of
sufficient vocation to so serious a profession--his reluctance to
leave his mother, and other objections, which the Sub-Prior treated as

"I plainly perceive," he said one day, in answer to them, "that the
devil has his factors as well as Heaven, and that they are equally, or,
alas! the former are perhaps more active, in bespeaking for their master
the first of the market. I trust, young man, that neither idleness, nor
licentious pleasure, nor the love of worldly gain and worldly grandeur,
the chief baits with which the great Fisher of souls conceals his hook,
are the causes of your declining the career to which I would incite you.
But above all I trust--above all I hope--that the vanity of superior
knowledge--a sin with which those who have made proficiency in learning
are most frequently beset--has not led you into the awful hazard of
listening to the dangerous doctrines which are now afloat concerning
religion. Better for you that you were as grossly ignorant as the beasts
which perish, that that the pride of knowledge should induce you to lend
an ear to the voice of heretics." Edward Glendinning listened to the
rebuke with a downcast look, and failed not, when it was concluded,
earnestly to vindicate himself from the charge of having pushed his
studies into any subjects which the Church inhibited; and so the monk
was left to form vain conjectures respecting the cause of his reluctance
to embrace the monastic state.

It is an old proverb, used by Chaucer, and quoted by Elizabeth, that
"the greatest clerks are not the wisest men;" and it is as true as if
the poet had not rhymed, or the queen reasoned on it. If Father Eustace
had not had his thoughts turned so much to the progress of heresy, and
so little to what was passing in the tower, he might have read, in the
speaking eyes of Mary Avenel, now a girl of fourteen or fifteen, reasons
which might disincline her youthful companion towards the monastic vows.
I have said, that she also was a promising pupil of the good father,
upon whom her innocent and infantine beauty had an effect of which he
was himself, perhaps, unconscious. Her rank and expectations entitled
her to be taught the arts of reading and writing;--and each lesson which
the monk assigned her was conned over in company with Edward, and by
him explained and re-explained, and again illustrated, until she became
perfectly mistress of it.

In the beginning of their studies, Halbert had been their school
companion. But the boldness and impatience of his disposition soon
quarrelled with an occupation in which, without assiduity and unremitted
attention, no progress was to be expected. The Sub-Prior's visits were
at regular intervals, and often weeks would intervene between them, in
which case Halbert was sure to forget all that had been prescribed
for him to learn, and much which he had partly acquired before. His
deficiencies on these occasions gave him pain, but it was not of that
sort which produces amendment.

For a time, like all who are fond of idleness, he endeavoured to detach
the attention of his brother and Mary Avenel from their task, rather
than to learn his own, and such dialogues as the following would ensue:

"Take your bonnet, Edward, and make haste--the Laird of Colmslie is at
the head of the glen with his hounds."

"I care not, Halbert," answered the younger brother; "two brace of dogs
may kill a deer without my being there to see them, and I must help Mary
Avenel with her lesson."

"Ay! you will labour at the monk's lessons till you turn monk yourself,"
answered Halbert.--"Mary, will you go with me, and I will show you the
cushat's nest I told you of?"

"I cannot go with you, Halbert," answered Mary, "because I must study
this lesson--it will take me long to learn it--I am sorry I am so dull,
for if I could get my task as fast as Edward, I should like to go with

"Should you indeed?" said Halbert; "then I will wait for you--and, what
is more, I will try to get my lesson also."

With a smile and a sigh he took up the primer, and began heavily to
con over the task which had been assigned him. As if banished from the
society of the two others, he sat sad and solitary in one of the deep
window-recesses, and after in vain struggling with the difficulties
of his task, and his disinclination to learn it, he found himself
involuntarily engaged in watching the movements of the other two
students, instead of toiling any longer.

The picture which Halbert looked upon was delightful in itself, but
somehow or other it afforded very little pleasure to him. The
beautiful girl, with looks of simple, yet earnest anxiety, was bent
on disentangling those intricacies which obstructed her progress to
knowledge, and looking ever and anon to Edward for assistance, while,
seated close by her side, and watchful to remove every obstacle from her
way, he seemed at once to be proud of the progress which his pupil made,
and of the assistance which he was able to render her. There was a bond
betwixt them, a strong and interesting tie, the desire of obtaining
knowledge, the pride of surmounting difficulties.

Feeling most acutely, yet ignorant of the nature and source of his own
emotions, Halbert could no longer endure to look upon this quiet scene,
but, starting up, dashed his book from him, and exclaimed aloud, "To the
fiend I bequeath all books, and the dreamers that make them!--I would
a score of Southrons would come up the glen, and we should learn how
little all this muttering and scribbling is worth."

Mary Avenol and his brother started, and looked at Halbert with
surprise, while he went on with great animation, his features swelling,
and the tears starting into his eyes as he spoke.--"Yes, Mary--I wish
a score of Southrons came up the glen this very day; and you should see
one good hand, and one good sword, do more to protect you, than all
the books that were ever opened, and all the pens that ever grew on a
goose's wing."

Mary looked a little surprised and a little frightened at his vehemence,
but instantly replied affectionately, "You are vexed, Halbert, because
you do not get your lesson so fast as Edward can; and so am I, for I am
as stupid as you--But come, and Edward shall sit betwixt us and teach

"He shall not teach _me_," said Halbert, in the same angry mood; "I
never can teach _him_ to do any thing that is honourable and manly, and
he shall not teach _me_ any of his monkish tricks.--I hate the monks,
with their drawling nasal tone like so many frogs, and their long
black petticoats like so many women, and their reverences, and their
lordships, and their lazy vassals that do nothing but peddle in the mire
with plough and harrow from Yule to Michaelmas. I will call none lord,
but him who wears a sword to make his title good; and I will call none
man, but he that can bear himself manlike and masterful."

"For Heaven's sake, peace, brother!" said Edward; "if such words were
taken up and reported out of the house, they would be our mother's

"Report them yourself, then, and they will be _your_ making, and
nobody's marring save mine own. Say that Halbert Glendinning will never
be vassal to an old man with a cowl and shaven crown, while there are
twenty barons who wear casque and plume that lack bold followers. Let
them grant you these wretched acres, and much meal may they bear you to
make your _brachan_." He left the room hastily, but instantly returned,
and continued to speak with the same tone of quick and irritated
feeling. "And you need not think so much, neither of you, and especially
you, Edward, need not think so much of your parchment book there, and
your cunning in reading it. By my faith, I will soon learn to read as
well as you; and--for I know a better teacher than your grim old
monk, and a better book than his printed breviary; and since you like
scholarcraft so well, Mary Avenel, you shall see whether Edward or I
have most of it." He left the apartment, and came not again.

"What can be the matter with him?" said Mary, following Halbert with her
eyes from the window, as with hasty and unequal steps he ran up the
wild glen--"Where can your brother be going, Edward?--what book?--what
teacher does he talk of?"

"It avails not guessing," said Edward. "Halbert is angry, he knows not
why, and speaks of he knows not what; let us go again to our lessons,
and he will come home when he has tired himself with scrambling among
the crags as usual."

But Mary's anxiety on account of Halbert seemed more deeply rooted.
She declined prosecuting the task in which they had been so pleasingly
engaged, under the excuse of a headache; nor could Edward prevail upon
her to resume it again that morning.

Meanwhile Halbert, his head unbonneted, his features swelled with
jealous anger, and the tear still in his eye, sped up the wild and upper
extremity of the little valley of Glendearg with the speed of a roebuck,
choosing, as if in desperate defiance of the difficulties of the way,
the wildest and most dangerous paths, and voluntarily exposing himself a
hundred times to dangers which he might have escaped by turning a little
aside from them. It seemed as if he wished his course to be as straight
as that of the arrow to its mark.

He arrived at length in a narrow and secluded _cleuch_, or deep ravine,
which ran down into the valley, and contributed a scanty rivulet to the
supply of the brook with which Glendearg is watered. Up this he sped
with the same precipitate haste which had marked his departure from
the tower, nor did he pause and look around until he had reached the
fountain from which the rivulet had its rise.

Here Halbert stopt short, and cast a gloomy, and almost a frightened
glance around him. A huge rock rose in front, from a cleft of which grew
a wild holly-tree, whose dark green branches rustled over the spring
which arose beneath. The banks on either hand rose so high, and
approached each other so closely, that it was only when the sun was at
its meridian height, and during the summer solstice, that its rays could
reach the bottom of the chasm in which he stood. But it was now summer,
and the hour was noon, so that the unwonted reflection of the sun was
dancing in the pellucid fountain.

"It is the season and the hour," said Halbert to himself; "and now I--I
might soon become wiser than Edward with all his pains! Mary should see
whether he alone is fit to be consulted, and to sit by her side, and
hang over her as she reads, and point out every word and every letter.
And she loves me better than him--I am sure she does--for she comes of
noble blood, and scorns sloth and cowardice.--And do I myself not stand
here slothful and cowardly as any priest of them all?--Why should I fear
to call upon this form--this shape?--Already have I endured the vision,
and why not again? What can it do to me, who am a man of lith and limb,
and have by my side my father's sword? Does my heart beat--do my hairs
bristle, at the thought of calling up a painted shadow, and how should
I face a band of Southrons in flesh and blood? By the soul of the first
Glendinning, I will make proof of the charm!"

He cast the leathern brogue or buskin from his right foot, planted
himself in a firm posture, unsheathed his sword, and first looking
around to collect his resolution, he bowed three times deliberately
towards the holly-tree, and as often to the little fountain, repeating
at the same time, with a determined voice, the following rhyme:

  "Thrice to the holly brake--
  Thrice to the well:--
  I bid thee awake,
  White Maid of Avenel!

  "Noon gleams on the Lake--
  Noon glows on the Fell--
  Wake thee, O wake,
  White Maid of Avenel!"

These lines were hardly uttered, when there stood the figure of a female
clothed in white, within three steps of Halbert Glendinning.

  "I guess'twas frightful there to see
  A lady richly clad as she--
  Beautiful exceedingly." [Footnote: Coleridge's Christabelle.]

       *       *       *       *      *

Chapter the Twelfth.

  There's something in that ancient superstition,
  Which, erring as it is, our fancy loves.
  The spring that, with its thousand crystal bubbles,
  Bursts from the bosom of some desert rock
  In secret solitude, may well be deem'd
  The haunt of something purer, more refined,
  And mightier than ourselves.
              OLD PLAY.

Young Halbert Glendinning had scarcely pronounced the mystical rhymes,
than, as we have mentioned in the conclusion of the last chapter, an
appearance, as of a beautiful female, dressed in white, stood within two
yards of him. His terror for the moment overcame his natural courage, as
well as the strong resolution which he had formed, that the figure which
he had now twice seen should not a third time daunt him. But it would
seem there is something thrilling and abhorrent to flesh and blood, in
the consciousness that we stand in presence of a being in form like to
ourselves, but so different in faculties and nature, that we can neither
understand its purposes, nor calculate its means of pursuing them.

Halbert stood silent and gasped for breath, his hairs erecting
themselves on his head---his mouth open--his eyes fixed, and, as the
sole remaining sign of his late determined purpose, his sword pointed
towards the apparition. At length with a voice of ineffable sweetness,
the White Lady, for by that name we shall distinguish this being, sung,
or rather chanted, the following lines:--

  "Youth of the dark eye, wherefore didst thou call me?
  Wherefore art thou here, if terrors can appal thee?
  He that seeks to deal with us must know no fear nor failing!
  To coward and churl our speech is dark, our gifts are unavailing.
  The breeze that brought me hither now, must sweep Egyptian ground,
  The fleecy cloud on which I ride for Araby is bound;
  The fleecy cloud is drifting by, the breeze sighs for my stay,
  For I must sail a thousand miles before the close of day."

The astonishment of Halbert began once more to give way to his
resolution, and he gained voice enough to say, though with a faltering
accent, "In the name of God, what art thou?" The answer was in melody of
a different tone and measure:--

  "What I am I must not show--
  What I am thou couldst not know--
  Something betwixt heaven and hell--
  Something that neither stood nor fell--
  Something that through thy wit or will
  May work thee good--may work thee ill.
  Neither substance quite nor shadow,
  Haunting lonely moor and meadow,
  Dancing; by the haunted spring,
  Riding on the whirlwind's wing;
  Aping in fantastic fashion
  Every change of human passion,

  While o'er our frozen minds they pass,
  Like shadows from the mirror'd glass.
  Wayward, fickle is our mood,
  Hovering betwixt bad and good,
  Happier than brief-dated man,
  Living twenty times his span;
  Far less happy, for we have
  Help nor hope beyond the grave!
  Man awakes to joy or sorrow;
  Ours the sleep that knows no morrow.
  This is all that I can show--
  This is all that thou mayest know."

The White Lady paused, and appeared to await an answer; but, as Halbert
hesitated how to frame his speech, the vision seemed gradually to fade,
and became more and more incorporeal. Justly guessing this to be a
symptom of her disappearance, Halbert compelled himself to say,--"Lady,
when I saw you in the glen, and when you brought back the black book of
Mary Avenel, thou didst say I should one day learn to read it."

The White Lady replied,

  "Ay! and I taught thee the word and the spell,
  To waken me here by the Fairies' Well,
  But thou hast loved the heron and hawk,
  More than to seek my haunted walk;
  And thou hast loved the lance and the sword,
  More than good text and holy word;
  And thou hast loved the deer to track,
  More than the lines and the letters black;
  And thou art a ranger of moss and of wood,
  And scornest the nurture of gentle blood."

"I will do so no longer, fair maiden," said Halbert; "I desire to learn;
and thou didst promise me, that when I did so desire, thou wouldst be
my helper; I am no longer afraid of thy presence, and I am no longer
regardless of instruction." As he uttered these words, the figure of
the White Maiden grew gradually as distinct as it had been at first;
and what had well-nigh faded into an ill-defined and colourless shadow,
again assumed an appearance at least of corporeal consistency, although
the hues were less vivid, and the outline of the figure less distinct
and defined--so at least it seemed to Halbert--than those of an ordinary
inhabitant of earth. "Wilt thou grant my request," he said, "fair Lady,
and give to my keeping the holy book which Mary of Avenel has so often
wept for?"

The White Lady replied:

  "Thy craven fear my truth accused,
  Thine idlehood my trust abused;
  He that draws to harbour late,
  Must sleep without, or burst the gate.

  There is a star for thee which burn'd.
  Its influence wanes, its course is turn'd;
  Valour and constancy alone
  Can bring thee back the chance that's flown."

"If I have been a loiterer, Lady," answered young Glendinning, "thou
shalt now find me willing to press forward with double speed. Other
thoughts have filled my mind, other thoughts have engaged my heart,
within a brief period--and by Heaven, other occupations shall
henceforward fill up my time. I have lived in this day the space of
years--I came hither a boy--I will return a man--a man, such as may
converse not only with his own kind, but with whatever God permits to be
visible to him. I will learn the contents of that mysterious volume--I
will learn why the Lady of Avenel loved it--why the priests feared,
and would have stolen it--why thou didst twice recover it from their
hands.--What mystery is wrapt in it?--Speak, I conjure thee!" The lady
assumed an air peculiarly sad and solemn, as drooping her head, and
folding her arms on her bosom, she replied:

  "Within that awful volume lies
  The mystery of mysteries!
  Happiest they of human race,
  To whom God has granted grace

  To read, to fear, to hope, to pray,
  To lift the latch, and force the way;
  And better had they ne'er been born,
  Who read, to doubt, or read to scorn."

"Give me the volume, Lady," said young Glendinning. "They call me
idle--they call me dull--in this pursuit my industry shall not fail,
nor, with God's blessing, shall my understanding. Give me the volume."
The apparition again replied:

  "Many a fathom dark and deep
  I have laid the book to sleep;
  Ethereal fires around it glowing--
  Ethereal music ever flowing--
    The sacred pledge of Heav'n
      All things revere.
      Each in his sphere,
    Save man for whom 'twas giv'n:
  Lend thy hand, and thou shalt spy
  Things ne'er seen by mortal eye."

Halbert Glendinning boldly reached his hand to the White Lady.

"Fearest thou to go with me?" she said, as his hand trembled at the soft
and cold touch of her own--

  "Fearest thou to go with me?
  Still it is free to thee
    A peasant to dwell:
  Thou mayst drive the dull steer,
  And chase the king's deer,
  But never more come near
  This haunted well."

"If what thou sayest be true," said the undaunted boy, "my destinies are
higher than thine own. There shall be neither well nor wood which I dare
not visit. No fear of aught, natural or supernatural, shall bar my path
through my native valley."

He had scarce uttered the words, when they both descended through the
earth with a rapidity which took away Halbert's breath and every other
sensation, saving that of being hurried on with the utmost velocity. At
length they stopped with a shock so sudden, that the mortal journeyer
through this unknown space must have been thrown down with violence, had
he not been upheld by his supernatural companion.

It was more than a minute, ere, looking around him, he beheld a grotto,
or natural cavern, composed of the most splendid spars and crystals,
which returned in a thousand prismatic hues the light of a brilliant
flame that glowed on an altar of alabaster. This altar, with its fire,
formed the central point of the grotto, which was of a round form,
and very high in the roof, resembling in some respects the dome of a
cathedral. Corresponding to the four points of the compass, there went
off four long galleries, or arcades, constructed of the same brilliant
materials with the dome itself, and the termination of which was lost in

No human imagination can conceive, or words suffice to describe, the
glorious radiance which, shot fiercely forth by the flame, was returned
from so many hundred thousand points of reflection, afforded by the
sparry pillars and their numerous angular crystals. The fire itself did
not remain steady and unmoved, but rose and fell, sometimes ascending
in a brilliant pyramid of condensed flame half way up the lofty expanse,
and again fading into a softer and more rosy hue, and hovering, as it
were, on the surface of the altar to collect its strength for another
powerful exertion. There was no visible fuel by which it was fed, nor
did it emit either smoke or vapour of any kind.

What was of all the most remarkable, the black volume so often mentioned
lay not only unconsumed, but untouched in the slightest degree, amid
this intensity of fire, which, while it seemed to be of force sufficient
to melt adamant, had no effect whatever on the sacred book thus
subjected to its utmost influence.

The White Lady, having paused long enough to let young Glendinning take
a complete survey of what was around him, now said in her usual chant,

  "Here lies the volume thou boldly hast sought;
  Touch it, and take it,--'twill dearly be bought!"

Familiarized in some degree with marvels, and desperately desirous of
showing the courage he had boasted, Halbert plunged his hand, without
hesitation, into the flame, trusting to the rapidity of the motion, to
snatch out the volume before the fire could greatly affect him. But he
was much disappointed. The flame instantly caught upon his sleeve, and
though he withdrew his hand immediately, yet his arm was so dreadfully
scorched, that he had well-nigh screamed with pain. He suppressed the
natural expression of anguish, however, and only intimated the agony
which he felt by a contortion and a muttered groan. The White Lady
passed her cold hand over his arm, and, ere she had finished the
following metrical chant, his pain had entirely gone, and no mark of the
scorching was visible:

          "Rash thy deed,
          Mortal weed
    To immortal flames applying;
          Rasher trust
          Has thing of dust,
    On his own weak worth relying:
  Strip thee of such fences vain,
  Strip, and prove thy luck, again."

Obedient to what he understood to be the meaning of his conductress,
Halbert bared his arm to the shoulder, throwing down the remains of
his sleeve, which no sooner touched the floor on which he stood than
it collected itself together, shrivelled itself up, and was without
any visible fire reduced to light tinder, which a sudden breath of wind
dispersed into empty space. The White Lady, observing the surprise of
the youth, immediately repeated--

  "Mortal warp and mortal woof.
  Cannot brook this charmed roof;
  All that mortal art hath wrought,
  In our cell returns to nought.
  The molten gold returns to clay,
  The polish'd diamond melts away.
  All is alter'd, all is flown,
  Nought stands fast but truth alone.
  Not for that thy quest give o'er:
  Courage! prove thy chance once more."

Imboldened by her words, Halbert Glendinning made a second effort, and,
plunging his bare arm into the flame, took out the sacred volume without
feeling either heat or inconvenience of any kind. Astonished, and almost
terrified at his own success, he beheld the flame collect itself, and
shoot up into one long and final stream, which seemed as if it would
ascend to the very roof of the cavern, and then, sinking as suddenly,
became totally extinguished. The deepest darkness ensued; but Halbert
had no time to consider his situation, for the White Lady had already
caught his hand, and they ascended to upper air with the same velocity
with which they had sunk into the earth.

They stood by the fountain in the Corri-nan-shian when they emerged from
the bowels of the earth; but on casting a bewildered glance around him,
the youth was surprised to observe, that the shadows had fallen far
to the east, and that the day was well-nigh spent. He gazed on his
conductress for explanation, but her figure began to fade before his
eyes--her cheeks grew paler, her features less distinct, her form became
shadowy, and blended itself with the mist which was ascending the hollow
ravine. What had late the symmetry of form, and the delicate, yet clear
hues of feminine beauty, now resembled the flitting and pale ghost of
some maiden who has died for love, as it is seen indistinctly and by
moonlight, by her perjured lover.

"Stay, spirit!" said the youth, imboldened by his success in the
subterranean dome, "thy kindness must not leave me, as one encumbered
with a weapon he knows not how to wield. Thou must teach me the art
to read, and to understand this volume; else what avails it me that I
possess it?"

But the figure of the White Lady still waned before his eye, until it
became an outline as pale and indistinct as that of the moon, when the
winter morning is far advanced, and ere she had ended the following
chant, she was entirely invisible:--

  "Alas! alas!
  Not ours the grace
  These holy characters to trace:
      Idle forms of painted air,
      Not to us is given to share
  The boon bestow'd on Adam's race!
      With patience bide.
      Heaven will provide
  The fitting time, the fitting guide."

The form was already gone, and now the voice itself had melted away in
melancholy cadence, softening, as if the Being who spoke had been slowly
wafted from the spot where she had commenced her melody.

It was at this moment that Halbert felt the extremity of the terror
which he had hitherto so manfully suppressed. The very necessity of
exertion had given him spirit to make it, and the presence of the
mysterious Being, while it was a subject of fear in itself, had
nevertheless given him the sense of protection being near to him. It
was when he could reflect with composure on what had passed, that a cold
tremor shot across his limbs, his hair bristled, and he was afraid to
look around lest he should find at his elbow something more frightful
than the first vision. A breeze arising suddenly, realized the beautiful
and wild idea of the most imaginative of our modern bards [Footnote:

  It fann'd his cheek, it raised his hair,
    Like a meadow pale in spring;
  It mingled strangely with his fears,
    Yet it fell like a welcoming.

The youth stood silent and astonished for a few minutes. It seemed to
him that the extraordinary Being he had seen, half his terror, half his
protectress, was still hovering on the gale which swept past him, and
that she might again make herself sensible to his organs of sight.
"Speak!" he said, wildly tossing his arms, "speak yet again--be once
more present, lovely vision!--thrice have I now seen thee, yet the
idea of thy invisible presence around or beside me, makes my heart beat
faster than if the earth yawned and gave up a demon."

But neither sound nor appearance indicated the presence of the White
Lady, and nothing preternatural beyond what he had already witnessed,
was again audible or visible. Halbert, in the meanwhile, by the very
exertion of again inviting the presence of this mysterious Being, had
recovered his natural audacity. He looked around once more, and resumed
his solitary path down the valley into whose recesses he had penetrated.

Nothing could be more strongly contrasted than the storm of passion with
which he had bounded over stock and crag, in order to plunge himself
into the Corri-nan-shian, and the sobered mood in which he now returned
homeward, industriously seeking out the most practicable path, not from
a wish to avoid danger, but that he might not by personal toil distract
his attention, deeply fixed on the extraordinary scene which he had
witnessed. In the former case, he had sought by hazard and bodily
exertion to indulge at once the fiery excitation of passion, and to
banish the cause of the excitement from his recollection; while now he
studiously avoided all interruption to his contemplative walk, lest the
difficulty of the way should interfere with, or disturb, his own deep
reflections. Thus slowly pacing forth his course, with the air of a
pilgrim rather than of a deer-hunter, Halbert about the close of the
evening regained his paternal tower.

Chapter the Thirteenth.

  The Miller was of manly make,
    To meet him was na mows;
  There durst na ten come him to take,
    Sae noited he their pows.

It was after sunset, as we have already stated, when Halbert Glendinning
returned to the abode of his father. The hour of dinner was at noon, and
that of supper about an hour after sunset at this period of the year.
The former had passed without Halbert's appearing; but this was no
uncommon circumstance, for the chase, or any other pastime which
occurred, made Halbert a frequent neglecter of hours; and his mother,
though angry and disappointed when she saw him not at table, was so much
accustomed to his occasional absence, and knew so little how to teach
him more regularity, that a testy observation was almost all the censure
with which such omissions were visited.

On the present occasion, however, the wrath of good Dame Elspeth soared
higher than usual. It was not merely on account of the special tup's
head and trotters, the haggis and the side of mutton, with which her
table was set forth, but also because of the arrival of no less a person
than Hob Miller, as he was universally termed, though the man's name was

The object of the Miller's visit to the Tower of Glendearg was like the
purpose of those embassies which potentates send to each other's courts,
partly ostensible, partly politic. In outward show, Hob came to visit
his friends of the Halidome, and share the festivity common among
country folk, after the barn-yard has been filled, and to renew old
intimacies by new conviviality. But in very truth he also came to have
an eye upon the contents of each stack, and to obtain such information
respecting the extent of the crop reaped and gathered in by each feuar,
as might prevent the possibility of _abstracted multures_.

All the world knows that the cultivators of each barony or regality,
temporal or spiritual, in Scotland, are obliged to bring their corn
to be grinded at the mill of the territory, for which they pay a heavy
charge, called the _intown multures_. I could speak to the thirlage
of _invecta et illata_ too, but let that pass. I have said enough
to intimate that I talk not without book. Those of the _Sucken_, or
enthralled ground, were liable in penalties, if, deviating from this
thirlage, (or thraldom,) they carried their grain to another mill. Now
such another mill, erected on the lands of a lay-baron, lay within a
tempting and convenient distance of Glendearg; and the Miller was so
obliging, and his charges so moderate, that it required Hob Miller's
utmost vigilance to prevent evasions of his right of monopoly.

The most effectual means he could devise was this show of good
fellowship and neighbourly friendship,--under colour of which he made
his annual cruise through the barony--numbered every corn-stack, and
computed its contents by the boll, so that he could give a shrewd hint
afterwards whether or not the grist came to the right mill.

Dame Elspeth, like her compeers, was obliged to take these domiciliary
visits in the sense of politeness; but in her case they had not occurred
since her husband's death, probably because the Tower of Glendearg was
distant, and there was but a trifling quantity of arable or _infield_
land attached to it. This year there had been, upon some speculation of
old Martin's, several bolls sown in the exit-field, which, the season
being fine, had ripened remarkably well. Perhaps this circumstance
occasioned the honest Miller's including Glendearg, on this occasion, in
his annual round Dame Glendinning received with pleasure a visit which
she used formerly only to endure with patience; and she had changed her
view of the matter chiefly, if not entirely, because Hob had brought
with him his daughter Mysie, of whose features she could give so slight
an account, but whose dress she had described so accurately to the

Hitherto this girl had been an object of very trifling consideration in
the eyes of the good widow; but the Sub-Prior's particular and somewhat
mysterious inquiries had set her brains to work on the subject of Mysie
of the Mill; and she had here asked a broad question, and there she had
thrown out an innuendo, and there again she had gradually led on to a
conversation on the subject of poor Mysie. And from all inquiries
and investigations she had collected, that Mysie was a dark-eyed,
laughter-loving wench, with cherry-cheeks, and a skin as white as her
father's finest bolted flour, out of which was made the Abbot's own
wastel-bread. For her temper, she sung and laughed from morning to
night; and for her fortune, a material article, besides that which the
Miller might have amassed by means of his proverbial golden thumb, Mysie
was to inherit a good handsome lump of land, with a prospect of the mill
and mill-acres descending to her husband on an easy lease, if a fair
word were spoken in season to the Abbot, and to the Prior, and to the
Sub-Prior, and to the Sacristan, and so forth.

By turning and again turning these advantages over in her own mind,
Elspeth at length came to be of opinion, that the only way to save her
son Halbert from a life of "spur, spear, and snaffle," as they called
that of the border-riders, from the dint of a cloth-yard shaft, or the
loop of an inch-cord, was, that he should marry and settle, and that
Mysie Happer should be his destined bride.

As if to her wish, Hob Miller arrived on his strong-built mare, bearing
on a pillion behind him the lovely Mysie, with cheeks like a peony-rose,
(if Dame Glendinning had ever seen one,) spirits all afloat with rustic
coquetry, and a profusion of hair as black as ebony. The _beau-ideal_
which Dame Glendinning had been bodying forth in her imagination, became
unexpectedly realized in the buxom form of Mysie Happer, whom, in the
course of half an hour, she settled upon as the maiden who was to fix
the restless and untutored Halbert. True, Mysie, as the dame soon saw,
was like to love dancing round a May-pole as well as managing a domestic
establishment, and Halbert was like to break more heads than he would
grind stacks of corn. But then a miller should always be of manly
make, and has been described so since the days of Chaucer and James I.
[Footnote: The verse we have chosen for a motto, is from a poem imputed
to James I. of Scotland. As for the Miller who figures among the
Canterbury pilgrims, besides his sword and buckler, he boasted other
attributes, all of which, but especially the last, show that he relied
more on the strength of the outside than that of the inside of his

  The miller was a stout carl for the nones,
  Full big he was of brawn, and eke of bones;
  That proved well, for wheresoe'r he cam,
  At wrestling he wold bear away the ram;
  He was short shoulder'd, broad, a thick gnar;
  There n'as no door that he n'old heave of bar,
  Or break it at a running with his head, &c. ]

Indeed, to be able to outdo and bully the whole _Sucken_, (once more we
use this barbarous phrase,) in all athletic exercises, was one way to
render easy the collection of dues which men would have disputed with a
less formidable champion. Then, as to the deficiencies of the miller's
wife, the dame was of opinion that they might be supplied by the
activity of the miller's mother. "I will keep house for the young folk
myself, for the tower is grown very lonely," thought Dame Glendinning,
"and to live near the kirk will be mair comfortable in my auld age--and
then Edward may agree with his brother about the feu, more especially as
he is a favourite with the Sub-Prior, and then he may live in the auld
tower like his worthy father before him--and wha kens but Mary Avenel,
high-blood as she is, may e'en draw in her stool to the chimney-nook,
and sit down here for good and a'?--It's true she has no tocher, but the
like of her for beauty and sense ne'er crossed my een; and I have kend
every wench in the Halidome of St. Mary's--ay, and their mothers that
bore them--ay, she is a sweet and a lovely creature as ever tied snood
over brown hair--ay, and then, though her uncle keeps her out of her ain
for the present time, yet it is to be thought the gray-goose shaft will
find a hole in his coat of proof, as, God help us! it has done in many a
better man's--And, moreover, if they should stand on their pedigree and
gentle race, Edward might say to them, that is, to her gentle kith and
kin, 'whilk o' ye was her best friend, when she came down the glen to
Glendearg in a misty evening, on a beast mair like a cuddie than aught
else?'--And if they tax him with churl's blood, Edward might say, that,
forby the old proverb, how

  Gentle deed
  Makes gentle bleid;

yet, moreover, there comes no churl's blood from Glendinning or Brydone;
for, says Edward--"

The hoarse voice of the Miller at this moment recalled the dame from her
reverie, and compelled her to remember that if she meant to realize her
airy castle, she must begin by laying the foundation in civility to
her guest and his daughter, whom she was at that moment most strangely
neglecting, though her whole plan turned on conciliating their favour
and good opinion, and that, in fact, while arranging matters for
so intimate a union with her company, she was suffering them to sit
unnoticed, and in their riding gear, as if about to resume their
journey. "And so I say, dame," concluded the Miller, (for she had not
marked the beginning of his speech,) "an ye be so busied with your
housekep, or ought else, why, Mysie and I will trot our way down the
glen again to Johnnie Broxmouth's, who pressed us right kindly to bide
with him."

Starting at once from her dream of marriages and intermarriages, mills,
mill-lands, and baronies, Dame Elspeth felt for a moment like the
milk-maid in the fable, when she overset the pitcher, on the contents
of which so many golden dreams were founded. But the foundation of Dame
Glendinning's hopes was only tottering, not overthrown, and she hastened
to restore its equilibrium. Instead of attempting to account for her
absence of mind and want of attention to her guests, which she might
have found something difficult, she assumed the offensive, like an able
general when he finds it necessary, by a bold attack, to disguise his

A loud exclamation she made, and a passionate complaint she set up
against the unkindness of her old friend, who could for an instant doubt
the heartiness of her welcome to him and to his hopeful daughter; and
then to think of his going back to Johnny Broxmouth's, when the auld
tower stood where it did, and had room in it for a friend or two in the
worst of times--and he too a neighbour that his umquhile gossip Simon,
blessed be his cast, used to think the best friend he had in
the Halidome! And on she went, urging her complaint with so much
seriousness, that she had well-nigh imposed on herself as well as upon
Hob Miller, who had no mind to take any thing in dudgeon; and as it
suited his plans to pass the night at Glendearg, would have been
equally contented to do so even had his reception been less vehemently

To all Elspeth's expostulations on the unkindness of his proposal to
leave her dwelling, he answered composedly, "Nay, dame, what could I
tell? ye might have had other grist to grind, for ye looked as if ye
scarce saw us--or what know I? ye might bear in mind the words Martin
and I had about the last barley ye sawed--for I ken dry multures
[Footnote: Dry multures were a fine, or compensation in money, for not
grinding at the mill of the thirl. It was, and is, accounted a vexatious
exaction.] will sometimes stick in the throat. A man seeks but his awn,
and yet folk shall hold him for both miller and miller's man, that is
millar and knave, [Footnote: The under miller is, in the language of
thirlage, called the knave, which, indeed, signified originally his lad.
(_Knabe_--German,) but by degrees came to be taken in a worse sense. In
the old translation of the Bible, Paul is made to term himself the knave
of our Saviour. The allowance of meal taken by the miller's servant was
called knave-ship.] all the country over."

"Alas, that you will say so, neighbour Hob," said Dame Elspeth, "or that
Martin should have had any words with you about the mill-dues! I will
chide him roundly for it, I promise you, on the faith of a true widow.
You know full well that a lone woman is sore put upon by her servants."

"Nay, dame," said the miller, unbuckling the broad belt which made
fast his cloak, and served, at the same time, to suspend by his side a
swinging Andrea Ferrara, "bear no grudge at Martin, for I bear none--I
take it on me as a thing of mine office, to maintain my right of
multure, lock, and gowpen. [Note: The multure was the regular exaction
for grinding the meal. The _lock_, signifying a small quantity, and the
_gowpen_, a handful, were additional perquisites demanded by the
miller, and submitted to or resisted by the _Suckener_ as circumstances
permitted. These and other petty dues were called in general the
_Sequels_.] And reason good, for as the old song says,

  I live by my mill. God bless her,
   She's parent, child, and wife.

The poor old slut, I am beholden to her for my living, and bound to
stand by her, as I say to my mill knaves, in right and in wrong. And so
should every honest fellow stand by his bread-winner.--And so, Mysie,
ye may doff your cloak since our neighbour is so kindly glad to see
us--why, I think, we are as blithe to see her--not one in the Halidome
pays their multures more duly, sequels, arriage, and carriage, and
mill-services, used and wont."

With that the Miller hung his ample cloak without farther ceremony upon
a huge pair of stag's antlers, which adorned at once the naked walls of
the tower, and served for what we vulgarly call cloak-pins.

In the meantime Dame Elspeth assisted to disembarrass the damsel whom
she destined for her future daughter-in-law, of her hood, mantle, and
the rest of her riding gear, giving her to appear as beseemed the buxom
daughter of the wealthy Miller, gay and goodly, in a white kirtle,
the seams of which were embroidered with green silken lace or fringe,
entwined with some silver thread. An anxious glance did Elspoth cast
upon the good-humoured face, which was now more fully shown to her, and
was only obscured by a quantity of raven black hair, which the maid
of the mill had restrained by a snood of green silk, embroidered with
silver, corresponding to the trimmings of her kirtle. The countenance
itself was exceedingly comely--the eyes black, large, and roguishly
good-humoured--the mouth was small--the lips well formed, though
somewhat full--the teeth were pearly white--and the chin had a very
seducing dimple in it. The form belonging to this joyous face was full
and round, and firm and fair. It might become coarse and masculine
some years hence, which is the common fault of Scottish beauty; but in
Mysie's sixteenth year she had the shape of a Hebe. The anxious Elspeth,
with all her maternal partiality, could not help admitting within
herself, that a better man than Halbert might go farther and fare worse.
She looked a little giddy, and Halbert was not nineteen; still it was
time he should be settled, for to that point the dame always returned;
and here was an excellent opportunity.

The simple cunning of Dame Elspeth now exhausted itself in commendations
of her fair guest, from the snood, as they say, to the single-soled
shoe. Mysie listened and blushed with pleasure for the first five
minutes; but ere ten had elapsed, she began to view the old lady's
compliments rather as subjects of mirth than of vanity, and was much
more disposed to laugh at than to be flattered with them, for Nature had
mingled the good-humour with which she had endowed the damsel with no
small portion of shrewdness. Even Hob himself began to tire of hearing
his daughter's praises, and broke in with, "Ay, ay, she is a clever
quean enough; and, were she five years older, she shall lay a loaded
sack on an _aver_ [Note: _Aver_--properly a horse of labour.] with e'er
a lass in the Halidome. But I have been looking for your two sons, dame.
Men say downby that Halbert's turned a wild springald, and that we may
have word of him from Westmoreland one moonlight night or another."

"God forbid, my good neighbour; God, in his mercy, forbid!" said Dame
Glendinning, earnestly; for it was touching the very key-note of her
apprehensions, to hint any probability that Halbert might become one of
the marauders so common in the age and country. But, fearful of having
betrayed too much alarm on this subject, she immediately added, "That
though, since the last rout at Pinkiecleuch, she had been all of a
tremble when a gun or a spear was named, or when men spoke of fighting;
yet, thanks to God and our Lady, her sons were like to live and die
honest and peaceful tenants to the Abbey, as their father might have
done, but for that awful hosting which he went forth to with mony a
brave man that never returned."

"Ye need not tell me of it, dame," said the Miller, "since I was there
myself, and made two pair of legs (and these were not mine, but my
mare's,) worth one pair of hands. I judged how it would be, when I
saw our host break ranks, with rushing on through that broken ploughed
field, and so as they had made a pricker of me, I e'en pricked off with
myself while the play was good."

"Ay, ay, neighbour," said the dame, "ye were aye a wise and a wary man;
if my Simon had had your wit, he might have been here to speak about
it this day; but he was aye cracking of his good blood and his high
kindred, and less would not serve him than to bide the bang to the last,
with the earls, and knights, and squires, that had no wives to greet for
them, or else had wives that cared not how soon they were widows; but
that is not for the like of us. But touching my son Halbert, there is no
fear of him; for if it should be his misfortune to be in the like case,
he has the best pair of heels in Halidome, and could run almost as fast
as your mare herself."

"Is this he, neighbour?" quoth the Miller.

"No," replied the mother; "that is my youngest son, Edward, who can read
and write like the Lord Abbot himself, if it were not a sin to say so."

"Ay," said the Miller; "and is that the young clerk the Sub-Prior thinks
so much of? they say he will come far ben that lad; wha kens but he may
come to be Sub-Prior himself?--as broken a ship has come to land."

"To be a Prior, neighbour Miller," said Edward, "a man must first be a
priest, and for that I judge I have little vocation."

"He will take to the pleugh-pettle, neighbour," said the good dame; "and
so will Halbert too, I trust. I wish you saw Halbert.--Edward, where is
your brother?"

"Hunting, I think," replied Edward; "at least he left us this morning to
join the Laird of Colmslie and his hounds. I have heard them baying in
the glen all day."

"And if I had heard that music," said the Miller, "it would have done my
heart good, ay, and may be taken me two or three miles out of my road.
When I was the Miller of Morebattle's knave, I have followed the hounds
from Eckford to the foot of Hounam-law--followed them on foot, Dame
Glendinning, ay, and led the chase when the Laird of Cessford and his
gay riders were all thrown out by the mosses and gills. I brought the
stag on my back to Hounam Cross, when the dogs had pulled him down. I
think I see the old gray knight, as he sate so upright on his strong
war-horse, all white with foam; and 'Miller,' said he to me, 'an thou
wilt turn thy back on the mill, and wend with me, I will make a man of
thee.' But I chose rather to abide by clap and happer, and the better
luck was mine; for the proud Percy caused hang five of the Laird's
henchmen at Alnwick for burning a rickle of houses some gate beyond
Fowberry, and it might have been my luck as well as another man's."

"Ah, neighbour, neighbour," said Dame Glendinning, "you were aye wise
and wary; but if you like hunting, I must say Halbert's the lad to
please you. He hath all those fair holiday terms of hawk and hound as
ready in his mouth as Tom with the tod's tail, that is the Lord Abbot's

"Ranges he not homeward at dinner-time, dame," demanded the Miller; "for
we call noon the dinner-hour at Kennaquhair?"

The widow was forced to admit that, even at this important period of the
day, Halbert was frequently absent; at which the Miller shook his
head, intimating, at the same time, some allusion to the proverb of
MacFarlane's geese, which "liked their play better than their meat."
[Footnote: A brood of wild-geese, which long frequented one of the
uppermost islands in Loch-Lomond, called Inch-Tavoe, were supposed to
have some mysterious connexion with the ancient family of MacFarlane of
that ilk, and it is said were never seen after the ruin and extinction
of that house. The MacFarlanes had a house and garden upon that same
island of Inch-Tavoe. Here James VI. was, on one occasion, regaled by
the chieftain. His Majesty had been previously much amused by the geese
pursuing each other on the Loch. But, when one which was brought
to table, was found to be tough and ill fed, James observed--"that
MacFarlane's geese liked their play better than their meat," a proverb
which has been current ever since.]

That the delay of dinner might not increase the Miller's disposition to
prejudge Halbert, Dame Glendinning called hastily on Mary Avenel to take
her task of entertaining Mysie Happer, while she herself rushed to
the kitchen, and, entering at once into the province of Tibb Tacket,
rummaged among trenchers and dishes, snatched pots from the fire, and
placed pans and gridirons on it, accompanying her own feats of personal
activity with such a continued list of injunctions to Tibb, that Tibb at
length lost patience, and said, "Here was as muckle wark about meating
an auld miller, as if they had been to banquet the blood of Bruce." But
this, as it was supposed to be spoken aside, Dame Glendinning did not
think it convenient to hear.

       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter the Fourteenth.

  Nay, let me have the friends who eat my victuals,
  As various as my dishes.--The feast's naught,
  Where one huge plate predominates. John Plaintext,
  He shall be mighty beef, our English staple;
  The worthy Alderman, a butter'd dumpling;
  Yon pair of whisker'd Cornets, ruffs and rees:
  Their friend the Dandy, a green goose in sippets.
  And so the hoard is spread at once and fill'd
  On the same principle--Variety.
                           NEW PLAY.

"And what brave lass is this?" said Hob Miller, as Mary Avenel entered
the apartment to supply the absence of Dame Elspeth Glendinning.

"The young Lady of Avenel, father," said the Maid of the Mill, dropping
as low a curtsy as her rustic manners enabled her to make. The Miller,
her father, doffed his bonnet, and made his reverence, not altogether so
low perhaps as if the young lady had appeared in the pride of rank and
riches, yet so as to give high birth the due homage which the Scotch for
a length of time scrupulously rendered to it.

Indeed, from having had her mother's example before her for so many
years, and from a native sense of propriety and even of dignity,
Mary Avenel had acquired a demeanour, which marked her title to
consideration, and effectually checked any attempt at familiarity on the
part of those who might be her associates in her present situation, but
could not be well termed her equals. She was by nature mild, pensive,
and contemplative, gentle in disposition, and most placable when
accidentally offended; but still she was of a retired and reserved
habit, and shunned to mix in ordinary sports, even--when the rare
occurrence of a fair or wake gave her an opportunity of mingling
with companions of her own age. If at such scenes she was seen for an
instant, she appeared to behold them with the composed indifference of
one to whom their gaiety was a matter of no interest, and who seemed
only desirous to glide away from the scene as soon as she possibly

Something also had transpired concerning her being born on All-hallow
Eve, and the powers with which that circumstance was supposed to invest
her over the invisible world. And from all-these particulars combined,
the young men and women of the Halidome used to distinguish Mary among
themselves by the name of the Spirit of Avenel, as if the fair but
fragile form, the beautiful but rather colourless cheek, the dark blue
eye, and the shady hair, had belonged rather to the immaterial than
the substantial world. The general tradition of the White Lady, who was
supposed to wait on the fortunes of the family of Avenel, gave a sort of
zest to this piece of rural wit. It gave great offence, however, to
the two sons of Simon Glendinning; and when the expression was in
their presence applied to the young lady, Edward was wont to check the
petulance of those who used it by strength of argument, and Halbert by
strength of arm. In such cases Halbert had this advantage, that although
ho could render no aid to his brother's argument, yet when circumstances
required it, he was sure to have that of Edward, who never indeed
himself commenced a fray, but, on the other hand, did not testify any
reluctance to enter into combat in Halbert's behalf or in his rescue.

But the zealous attachment of the two youths, being themselves, from
the retired situation in which they dwelt, comparative strangers in
the Halidome, did not serve in any degree to alter the feelings of the
inhabitants towards the young lady, who seemed to have dropped amongst
them from another sphere of life. Still, however, she was regarded with
respect, if not with fondness; and the attention of the Sub-Prior to the
family, not to mention the formidable name of Julian Avenel, which every
new incident of those tumultuous times tended to render more famous,
attached to his niece a certain importance. Thus some aspired to her
acquaintance out of pride while the more timid of the feuars were
anxious to inculcate upon their children the necessity of being
respectful to the noble orphan. So that Mary Avenel, little loved
because little known, was regarded with a mysterious awe, partly derived
from fear of her uncle's moss-troopers, and partly from her own retired
and distant habits, enhanced by the superstitious opinions of the time
and country.

It was not without some portion of this awe, that Mysie felt herself
left alone in company with a young person so distant in rank, and so
different in bearing, from herself; for her worthy father had taken
the first opportunity to step out unobserved, in order to mark how the
barnyard was filled, and what prospect it afforded of grist to the mill.
In youth, however, there is a sort of free-masonry, which, without much
conversation, teaches young persons to estimate each other's character,
and places them at ease on the shortest acquaintance. It is only when
taught deceit by the commerce of the world, that we learn to shroud our
character from observation, and to disguise our real sentiments from
those with whom we are placed in communion.

Accordingly, the two young women were soon engaged in such objects of
interest as best became their age. They visited Mary Avenel's pigeons,
which she nursed with the tenderness of a mother; they turned over her
slender stores of finery, which yet contained some articles that excited
the respect of her companion, though Mysie was too good-humoured
to nourish envy. A golden rosary, and some female ornaments marking
superior rank, had been rescued in the moment of their utmost adversity,
more by Tibb Tacket's presence of mind, than by the care of their
owner,--who was at that sad period too much sunk in grief to pay
any attention to such circumstances. They struck Mysie with a deep
impression of veneration; for, excepting what the Lord Abbot and the
convent might possess, she did not believe there was so much real gold
in the world as was exhibited in these few trinkets, and Mary, however
sage and serious, was not above being pleased with the admiration of her
rustic companion.

Nothing, indeed, could exhibit a stronger contrast than the appearance
of the two girls;--the good-humoured laughter-loving countenance of
the Maid of the Mill, who stood gazing with unrepressed astonishment
on whatever was in her inexperienced eye rare and costly, and with an
humble, and at the same time cheerful acquiescence in her inferiority,
asking all the little queries about the use and value of the ornaments,
while Mary Avenel, with her quiet composed dignity and placidity
of manner, produced them one after another for the amusement of her

As they became gradually more familiar, Mysie of the Mill was just
venturing to ask, why Mary Avenel never appeared at the May-pole, and to
express her wonder when the young lady said she disliked dancing, when
a trampling of horses at the gate of the tower interrupted their

Mysie flew to the shot-window in the full ardour of unrestrained female
curiosity. "Saint Mary! sweet lady! here come two well-mounted gallants;
will you step this way to look at them ?"

"No," said Mary Avenel, "you shall tell me who they are."

"Well, if you like it better," said Mysie--"but how shall I know
them?---Stay, I do know one of them, and so do you, lady; he is a blithe
man, somewhat light of hand, they say, but the gallants of these days
think no great harm of that. He is your uncle's henchman, that they call
Christie of the Clinthill; and he has not his old green jerkin and the
rusty blackjack over it, but a scarlet cloak, laid down with silver lace
three inches broad, and a breast-plate you might see to dress your hair
in, as well as in that keeking-glass in the ivory frame that you showed
me even now. Come, dear lady, come to the shot-window and see him."

"If it be the man you mean, Mysie," replied the orphan of Avenel, "I
shall see him soon enough, considering either the pleasure or comfort
the sight will give me."

"Nay, but if you will not come to see gay Christie," replied the Maid of
the Mill, her face flushed with eager curiosity, "come and tell me who
the gallant is that is with him, the handsomest, the very lovesomest
young man I ever saw with sight."

"It is my foster-brother, Halbert Glendinning," said Mary, with,
apparent indifference; for she had been accustomed to call the sons of
Elspeth her foster-brethren, and to live with them as if they had been
brothers in earnest.

"Nay, by Our Lady, that it is not," said Mysie; "I know the favour
of both the Glendinnings well, and I think this rider be not of our
country. He has a crimson velvet bonnet, and long brown hair falling
down under it, and a beard on his upper lip, and his chin clean and
close shaved, save a small patch on the point of the chin, and a
sky-blue jerkin slashed and lined with white satin, and trunk-hose to
suit, and no weapon but a rapier and dagger--Well, if I was a man, I
would never wear weapon but the rapier! it is so slender and becoming,
instead of having a cartload of iron at my back, like my father's
broad-sword with its great rusty basket-hilt. Do you not delight in the
rapier and poniard, lady?"

"The best sword," answered Mary, "if I must needs answer a question of
the sort, is that which is drawn in the best cause, and which is best
used when it is out of the scabbard."

"But can you not guess who this stranger should be?" said Mysie.

"Indeed, I cannot even attempt it; but to judge by his companion, it is
no matter how little he is known," replied Mary.

"My benison on his bonny face," said Mysie, "if he is not going to
alight here! Now, I am as much pleased as if my father had given me the
silver earrings he has promised me so often;--nay, you had as well come
to the window, for you must see him by and by whether you will or not."
I do not know how much sooner Mary Avenel might have sought the point
of observation, if she had not been scared from it by the unrestrained
curiosity expressed by her buxom friend; but at length the same feeling
prevailed over her sense of dignity, and satisfied with having displayed
all the indifference that was necessary in point of decorum, she no
longer thought herself bound to restrain her curiosity.

From the outshot or projecting window, she could perceive that Christie
of the Clinthill was attended on the present occasion by a very gay and
gallant cavalier, who, from the nobleness of his countenance and manner,
his rich and handsome dress, and the showy appearance of his horse and
furniture, must, she agreed with her new friend, be a person of some

Christie also seemed conscious of something, which made him call out
with more than his usual insolence of manner, "What, ho! so ho!
the house! Churl peasants, will no one answer when I call?--Ho!
Martin,--Tibb,--Dame Glendinning--a murrain on you, must we stand
keeping our horses in the cold here, and they steaming with heat, when
we have ridden so sharply?"

At length he was obeyed, and old Martin made his appearance. "Ha!" said
Christie, "art thou there, old Truepenny? here, stable me these steeds,
and see them well bedded, and stretch thine old limbs by rubbing them
down; and see thou quit not the stable till there is not a turned hair
on either of them."

Martin took the horses to the stable as commanded, but suppressed not
his indignation a moment after he could vent it with safety. "Would not
any one think," he said to Jasper, an old ploughman, who, in coming to
his assistance, had heard Christie's imperious injunctions, "that this
loon, this Christie of the Clinthill, was laird or lord at least of him?
No such thing, man! I remember him a little dirty turnspit boy in the
house of Avenel, that every body in a frosty morning like this warmed
his fingers by kicking or cuffing! and now he is a gentleman, and
swears, d--n him and renounce him, as if the gentlemen could not so
much as keep their own wickedness to themselves, without the like of
him going to hell in their very company, and by the same road. I have as
much a mind as ever I had to my dinner, to go back and tell him to sort
his horse himself, since he is as able as I am."

"Hout tout, man!" answered Jasper, "keep a calm sough; better to fleech
a fool than fight with him."

Martin acknowledged the truth of the proverb, and, much comforted
therewith, betook himself to cleaning the stranger's horse with great
assiduity, remarking, it was a pleasure to handle a handsome nag,
and turned over the other to the charge of Jasper. Nor was it until
Christie's commands were literally complied with that he deemed it
proper, after fitting ablutions, to join the party in the spence; not
for the purpose of waiting upon them, as a mere modern reader might
possibly expect, but that he might have his share of dinner in their

In the meanwhile, Christie had presented his companion to Dame
Glendinning as Sir Piercie Shafton, a friend of his and of his master,
come to spend three or four days with little din in the tower. The good
dame could not conceive how she was entitled to such an honour, and
would fain have pleaded her want of every sort of convenience to
entertain a guest of that quality. But, indeed, the visiter, when
he cast his eyes round the bare walls, eyed the huge black chimney,
scrutinized the meagre and broken furniture of the apartment, and
beheld the embarrassment of the mistress of the family, intimated great
reluctance to intrude upon Dame Glendinning a visit, which could scarce,
from all appearances, prove otherwise than an inconvenience to her, and
a penance to himself.

But the reluctant hostess and her guest had to do with an inexorable
man, who silenced all expostulations with, "such was his master's
pleasure. And, moreover," he continued, "though the Baron of Avenel's
will must, and ought to prove law to all within ten miles around him,
yet here, dame," he said, "is a letter from your petticoated baron, the
lord-priest yonder, who enjoins you, as you regard his pleasure, that
you afford to this good knight such decent accommodation as is in your
power, suffering him to live as privately as he shall desire.--And
for you, Sir Piercie Shafton," continued Christie, "you will judge for
yourself, whether secrecy and safety is not more your object even now,
than soft beds and high cheer. And do not judge of the dame's goods
by the semblance of her cottage; for you will see by the dinner she is
about to spread for us, that the vassal of the kirk is seldom found with
her basket bare." To Mary Avenel, Christie presented the stranger, after
the best fashion he could, as to the niece of his master the baron.

While he thus laboured to reconcile Sir Piercie Shafton to his fate, the
widow, having consulted her son Edward on the real import of the Lord
Abbot's injunction, and having found that Christie had given a true
exposition, saw nothing else left for her but to make that fate as easy
as she could to the stranger. He himself also seemed reconciled to his
lot by some feeling probably of strong necessity, and accepted with
a good grace the hospitality which the dame offered with a very
indifferent one.

In fact, the dinner, which soon smoked before the assembled guests,
was of that substantial kind which warrants plenty and comfort. Dame
Glendinning had cooked it after her best manner; and, delighted with the
handsome appearance which her good cheer made when placed on the table,
forgot both her plans and the vexations which interrupted them, in the
hospitable duty of pressing her assembled visiters to eat and drink,
watching every trencher as it waxed empty, and loading it with fresh
supplies ere the guest could utter a negative.

In the meanwhile, the company attentively regarded each other's motions,
and seemed endeavouring to form a judgment of each other's character.
Sir Piercie Shafton condescended to speak to no one but to Mary Avenel,
and on her he conferred exactly the same familiar and compassionate,
though somewhat scornful sort of attention, which a pretty fellow of
these days will sometimes condescend to bestow on a country miss, when
there is no prettier or more fashionable woman present. The manner
indeed was different, for the etiquette of those times did not permit
Sir Piercie Shafton to pick his teeth, or to yawn, or to gabble like the
beggar whose tongue (as he says) was cut out by the Turks, or to affect
deafness or blindness, or any other infirmity of the organs. But though
the embroidery of his conversation was different, the groundwork was the
same, and the high-flown and ornate compliments with which the gallant
knight of the sixteenth century inter-larded his conversation, were as
much the offspring of egotism and self-conceit, as the jargon of the
coxcombs of our own days.

The English knight was, however, something daunted at finding that Mary
Avenel listened with an air of indifference, and answered with wonderful
brevity, to all the fine things which ought, as he conceived, to have
dazzled her with their brilliancy, and puzzled her by their obscurity.
But if he was disappointed in making the desired, or rather the expected
impression, upon her whom he addressed, Sir Piercie Shafton's discourse
was marvellous in the ears of Mysie the Miller's daughter, and not the
less so that she did not comprehend the meaning of a single word which
he uttered. Indeed, the gallant knight's language was far too courtly to
be understood by persons of much greater acuteness than Mysie's.

It was about this period, that the "only rare poet of his time, the
witty, comical, facetiously-quick, and quickly-facetious, John Lylly--he
that sate at Apollo's table, and to whom Phoebus gave a wreath of his
own bays without snatching" [Footnote: Such, and yet more extravagant,
are the compliments paid to this author by his editor, Blount.
Notwithstanding all exaggeration, Lylly was really a man of wit and
imagination, though both were deformed by the most unnatural affectation
that ever disgraced a printed page.]--he, in short, who wrote that
singularly coxcomical work, called _Euphues and his England_, was in the
very zenith of his absurdity and his reputation. The quaint, forced,
and unnatural style which he introduced by his "Anatomy of Wit," had
a fashion as rapid as it was momentary--all the court ladies were his
scholars, and to _parler Euphuisme_, was as necessary a qualification to
a courtly gallant, as those of understanding how to use his rapier, or
to dance a measure.

It was no wonder that the Maid of the Mill was soon as effectually
blinded by the intricacies of this erudite and courtly style of
conversation, as she had ever been by the dust of her father's own
meal-sacks. But there she sate with her mouth and eyes as open as the
mill-door and the two windows, showing teeth as white as her father's
bolted flour, and endeavouring to secure a word or two for her own
future use out of the pearls of rhetoric which Sir Piercie Shafton
scattered around him with such bounteous profusion.

For the male part of the company, Edward felt ashamed of his own manner
and slowness of speech, when he observed the handsome young courtier,
with an ease and volubility of which he had no conception, run over
all the commonplace topics of high-flown gallantry. It is true the good
sense and natural taste of young Glendinning soon informed him that the
gallant cavalier was speaking nonsense. But, alas! where is the man of
modest merit, and real talent, who has not suffered from being outshone
in conversation and outstripped in the race of life, by men of less
reserve, and of qualities more showy, though less substantial? and well
constituted must the mind be, that can yield up the prize without envy
to competitors more worthy than himself.

Edward Glendinning had no such philosophy. While he despised the jargon
of the gay cavalier, he envied the facility with which he could run on,
as well as the courtly tone and expression, and the perfect ease and
elegance with which he offered all the little acts of politeness to
which the duties of the table gave opportunity. And if I am to speak
truth, I must own that he envied those qualities the more as they
were all exercised in Mary Avenel's service, and, although only so
far accepted as they could not be refused, intimated a wish on the
stranger's part to place himself in her good graces, as the only person
in the room to whom he thought it worth while to recommend himself. His
title, rank, and very handsome figure, together with some sparks of wit
and spirit which flashed across the cloud of nonsense which he uttered,
rendered him, as the words of the old song say, "a lad for a lady's
viewing;" so that poor Edward, with all his real worth and acquired
knowledge, in his home-spun doublet, blue cap, and deerskin trowsers,
looked like a clown beside the courtier, and, feeling the full
inferiority, nourished no good-will to him by whom he was eclipsed.

Christie, on the other hand, as soon as he had satisfied to the full a
commodious appetite, by means of which persons of his profession could,
like the wolf and eagle, gorge themselves with as much food at one meal
as might serve them for several days, began also to feel himself more in
the back-ground than he liked to be. This worthy had, amongst his other
good qualities, an excellent opinion of himself; and, being of a bold
and forward disposition, had no mind to be thrown into the shade by
any one. With an impudent familiarity which such persons mistake for
graceful ease, he broke in upon the knight's finest speeches with as
little remorse as he would have driven the point of his lance through a
laced doublet. Sir Piercie Shafton, a man of rank and high birth, by no
means encouraged or endured this familiarity, and requited the intruder
either with total neglect, or such laconic replies as intimated a
sovereign contempt for the rude spearman, who affected to converse with
him upon terms of equality.

The Miller held his peace; for, as his usual conversation turned chiefly
on his clapper and toll-dish, he had no mind to brag of his wealth in
presence of Christie of the Clinthill, or to intrude his discourse on
the English cavalier.

A little specimen of the conversation may not be out of place, were it
but to show young ladies what fine things they have lost by living when
Euphuism is out of fashion.

"Credit me, fairest lady," said the knight, "that such is the cunning
of our English courtiers, of the hodiernal strain, that, as they
have infinitely refined upon the plain and rusticial discourse of
our fathers, which, as I may say, more beseemed the mouths of country
roisterers in a May-game than that of courtly gallants in a galliard,
so I hold it ineffably and unutterably impossible, that those who may
succeed us in that garden of wit and courtesy shall alter or amend it.
Venus delighted but in the language of Mercury, Bucephalus will stoop to
no one but Alexander, none can sound Apollo's pipe but Orpheus."

"Valiant sir," said Mary, who could scarcely help laughing, "we have
but to rejoice in the chance which hath honoured this solitude with a
glimpse of the sun of courtesy, though it rather blinds than enlightens

"Pretty and quaint, fairest lady," answered the Euphuist. "Ah, that I
had with me my Anatomy of Wit--that all-to-be-unparalleled volume--that
quintessence of human wit--that treasury of quaint
invention--that exquisitively-pleasant-to-read, and
inevitably-necessary-to-be-remembered manual, of all that is worthy
to be known--which indoctrines the rude in civility, the dull in
intellectuality, the heavy in jocosity, the blunt in gentility, the
vulgar in nobility, and all of them in that unutterable perfection, of
human utterance, that eloquence which no other eloquence is sufficient
to praise, that art which, when we call it by its own name of Euphuism,
we bestow on it its richest panegyric."

"By Saint Mary," said Christie of the Clinthill, "if your worship
had told me that you had left such stores of wealth as you talk of at
Prudhoe Castle, Long Dickie and I would have had them off with us if man
and horse could have carried them; but you told us of no treasure I wot
of, save the silver tongs for turning up your mustachoes."

The knight treated this intruder's mistake--for certainly Christie had
no idea that all these epithets which sounded so rich and splendid,
were lavished upon a small quarto volume--with a stare, and then turning
again to Mary Avenel, the only person whom he thought worthy to address,
he proceeded in his strain of high-flown oratory, "Even thus," said he,
"do hogs contemn the splendour of Oriental pearls; even thus are the
delicacies of a choice repast in vain offered to the long-eared grazer
of the common, who turneth from them to devour a thistle. Surely as
idle is it to pour forth the treasures of oratory before the eyes of the
ignorant, and to spread the dainties of the intellectual banquet before
those who are, morally and metaphysically speaking, no better than

"Sir Knight, since that is your quality," said Edward, "we cannot strive
with you in loftiness of language; but I pray you in fair courtesy,
while you honour my father's house with your presence, to spare us such
vile comparisons."

"Peace, good villagio," said the knight, gracefully waving his hand, "I
prithee peace, kind rustic; and you, my guide, whom I may scarce call
honest, let me prevail upon you to imitate the laudable taciturnity of
that honest yeoman, who sits as mute as a mill-post, and of that
comely damsel, who seems as with her ears she drank in what she did not
altogether comprehend, even as a palfrey listening to a lute, whereof,
howsoever, he knoweth not the gamut."

"Marvellous fine words," at length said Dame Glendinning, who began to
be tired of sitting so long silent, "marvellous fine words, neighbour
Happer, are they not?"

"Brave words--very brave words--very exceeding pyet words," answered the
Miller; "nevertheless, to speak my mind, a lippy of bran were worth a
bushel of them."

"I think so too, under his worship's favour," answered Christie of the
Clinthill. "I well remember that at the race of Morham, as we call
it, near Berwick, I took a young Southern fellow out of saddle with my
lance, and cast him, it might be, a gad's length from his nag; and so,
as he had some gold on his laced doublet, I deemed he might ha' the like
on it in his pocket too, though that is a rule that does not aye hold
good--So I was speaking to him of ransom, and out he comes with a
handful of such terms as his honour there hath gleaned up, and craved me
for mercy, as I was a true son of Mars, and such like."

"And obtained no mercy at thy hand, I dare be sworn," said the knight,
who deigned not to speak Euphuism excepting to the fair sex.

"By my troggs," replied Christie, "I would have thrust my lance down his
throat, but just then they flung open that accursed postern-gate, and
forth pricked old Hunsdon, and Henry Carey, and as many fellows at their
heels as turned the chase northward again. So I e'en pricked Bayard with
the spur, and went off with the rest; for a man should ride when he may
not wrestle, as they say in Tynedale."

"Trust me," said the knight, again turning to Mary Avenel, "if I do
not pity you, lady, who, being of noble blood, are thus in a manner
compelled to abide in the cottage of the ignorant, like the precious
stone in the head of the toad, or like a precious garland on the brow of
an ass.--But soft, what gallant have we here, whose garb savoureth more
of the rustic than doth his demeanour, and whose looks seem more lofty
than his habit; even as--"

"I pray you, Sir Knight," said Mary, "to spare your courtly similitudes
for refined ears, and give me leave to name unto you my foster-brother,
Halbert Glendinning."

"The son of the good dame of the cottage, as I opine," answered the
English knight; "for by some such name did my guide discriminate
the mistress of this mansion, which you, madam, enrich with your
presence.--And yet, touching this juvenal, he hath that about him which
belongeth to higher birth, for all are not black who dig coals--"

"Nor all white who are millers," said honest Happer, glad to get in a
word, as they say, edgeways.

Halbert, who had sustained the glance of the Englishman with some
impatience, and knew not what to make of his manner and language,
replied with some asperity, "Sir Knight, we have in this land of
Scotland an ancient saying, 'Scorn not the bush that bields you'--you
are a guest of my father's house to shelter you from danger, if I am
rightly informed by the domestics. Scoff not its homeliness, nor that of
its inmates--ye might long have abidden at the court of England, ere
we had sought your favour, or cumbered you with our society. Since your
fate has sent you hither amongst us, be contented with such fare and
such converse as we can afford you, and scorn us not for our kindness;
for the Scots wear short patience and long daggers."

All eyes were turned on Halbert while he was thus speaking, and
there was a general feeling that his countenance had an expression of
intelligence, and his person an air of dignity, which they had never
before observed. Whether it were that the wonderful Being with whom
he had so lately held communication, had bestowed on him a grace and
dignity of look and bearing which he had not before, or whether the
being conversant in high matters, and called to a destiny beyond that
of other men, had a natural effect in giving becoming confidence to his
language and manner, we pretend not to determine. But it was evident
to all, that, from this day, young Halbert was an altered man; that
he acted with the steadiness, promptitude, and determination,
which belonged to riper years, and bore himself with a manner which
appertained to higher rank.

The knight took the rebuke with good humour. "By my mine honour," he
said, "thou hast reason on thy side, good juvenal--nevertheless, I spoke
not as in ridicule of the roof which relieves me, but rather in your own
praise, to whom, if this roof be native, thou mayst nevertheless rise
from its lowliness; even as the lark, which maketh its humble nest
in the furrow, ascendeth towards the sun, as well as the eagle which
buildeth her eyry in the cliff."

This high-flown discourse was interrupted by Dame Glendinning, who, with
all the busy anxiety of a mother, was loading her son's trencher with
food, and dinning in his ear her reproaches on account of his prolonged
absence. "And see," she said, "that you do not one day get such a sight
while you are walking about among the haunts of them that are not of our
flesh and bone, as befell Mungo Murray when he slept on the greensward
ring of the Auld Kirkhill at sunset, and wakened at daybreak in the wild
hills of Breadalbane. And see that, when you are looking for deer, the
red stag does not gall you as he did Diccon Thorburn, who never
overcast the wound that he took from a buck's horn. And see, when you go
swaggering about with a long broadsword by your side, whilk it
becomes no peaceful man to do, that you dinna meet with them that have
broadsword and lance both--there are enow of rank riders in this land,
that neither fear God nor regard man."

Here her eye "in a fine frenzy rolling," fell full upon that of Christie
of the Clinthill, and at once her fears for having given offence
interrupted the current of maternal rebuke, which, like rebuke
matrimonial, may be often better meant than timed. There was something
of sly and watchful significance in Christie's eye, an eye gray, keen,
fierce, yet wily, formed to express at once cunning, and malice, which
made the dame instantly conjecture she had said too much, while she
saw in imagination her twelve goodly cows go lowing down the glen in a
moonlight night, with half a score of Border spearsmen at their heels.

Her voice, therefore, sunk from the elevated tone of maternal authority
into a whimpering apologetic sort of strain, and she proceeded to say,
"It is no that I have ony ill thoughts of the Border riders, for Tibb
Tacket there has often heard me say that I thought spear and bridle as
natural to a Borderman as a pen to a priest, or a feather-fan to a lady;
and--have you not heard me say it, Tibb?"

Tibb showed something less than her expected alacrity in attesting her
mistress's deep respect for the freebooters of the southland hills; but,
thus conjured, did at length reply, "Hout ay, mistress, I'se warrant I
have heard you say something like that."

"Mother!" said Halbert, in a firm and commanding tone of voice, "what
or whom is it that you fear under my father's roof?--I well hope that
it harbours not a guest in whose presence you are afraid to say your
pleasure to me or my brother? I am sorry I have been detained so late,
being ignorant of the fair company which I should encounter on my
return.--I pray you let this excuse suffice: and what satisfies you,
will, I trust, be nothing less than acceptable to your guests."

An answer calculated so jistly betwixt the submission due to his parent,
and the natural feeling of dignity in one who was by birth master of
the mansion, excited universal satisfaction. And as Elspeth herself
confessed to Tibb on the same evening, "She did not think it had been in
the callant. Till that night, he took pets and passions if he was spoke
to, and lap through the house like a four-year-auld at the least word of
advice that was minted at him, but now he spoke as grave and as douce as
the Lord Abbot himself. She kendna," she said, "what might be the upshot
of it, but it was like he was a wonderfu' callant even now."

The party then separated, the young men retiring to their apartments,
the elder to their household cares. While Christie went to see his horse
properly accommodated, Edward betook himself to his book, and Halbert,
who was as ingenious in employing his hands as he had hitherto appeared
imperfect in mental exertion, applied himself to constructing a place
of concealment in the floor of his apartment by raising a plank, beneath
which he resolved to deposit that copy of the Holy Scriptures which had
been so strangely regained from the possession of men and spirits.

In the meanwhile Sir Piercie Shafton sate still as a stone, in the chair
in which he had deposited himself, his hands folded on his breast, his
legs stretched straight out before him and resting upon the heels, his
eyes cast up to the ceiling as if he had meant to count every mesh of
every cobweb with which the arched roof was canopied, wearing at the
same time a face of as solemn and imperturbable gravity, as if his
existence had depended on the accuracy of his calculation.

He could scarce be roused from his listless state of contemplative
absorption so as to take some supper, a meal at which the younger
females appeared not. Sir Piercie stared around twice or thrice as if he
missed something; but he asked not for them, and only evinced his sense
of a proper audience being wanting, by his abstraction and absence of
mind, seldom speaking until he was twice addressed, and then replying,
without trope or figure, in that plain English which nobody could speak
better when he had a mind.

Christie, finding himself in undisturbed possession of the conversation,
indulged all who chose to listen with details of his own wild and
inglorious warfare, while Dame Elspeth's curch bristled with horror,
and Tibb Tacket, rejoiced to find herself once more in the company of
a jackman, listened to his tales, like Desdemona to Othello's, with
undisguised delight. Meantime the two young Glendinnings were each
wrapped up in his own reflections, and only interrupted in them by the
signal to move bedward.

        *        *         *        *         *

Chapter the Fifteenth.

  He strikes no coin,'tis true, but coins new phrases,
  And vends them forth as knaves vend gilded counters,
  Which wise men scorn, and fools accept in payment.
                             OLD PLAY.

In the morning Christie of the Clinthill was nowhere to be seen. As this
worthy personage did seldom pique himself on sounding a trumpet before
his movements, no one was surprised at his moonlight departure, though
some alarm was excited lest he had not made it empty-handed. So, in the
language of the national ballad,

  Some ran to cupboard, and some to kist,
  But nought was away that could be mist.

All was in order, the key of the stable left above the door, and that of
the iron-grate in the inside of the lock. In short, the retreat had been
made with scrupulous attention to the security of the garrison, and so
far Christie left them nothing to complain of.

The safety of the premises was ascertained by Halbert, who instead of
catching up a gun or cross-bow, and sallying out for the day as had been
his frequent custom, now, with a gravity beyond his years, took a survey
of all around the tower, and then returned to the spence, or public
apartment, in which, at the early hour of seven, the morning meal was

There he found the Euphuist in the same elegant posture of abstruse
calculation which he had exhibited on the preceding evening, his arms
folded in the same angle, his eyes turned up to the same cobwebs, and
his heels resting on the ground as before. Tired of this affectation of
indolent importance, and not much flattered with his guest's persevering
in it to the last, Halbert resolved at once to break the ice, being
determined to know what circumstance had brought to the tower of
Glendinning a guest at once so supercilious and so silent.

"Sir Knight," he said with some firmness, "I have twice given you good
morning, to which the absence of your mind hath, I presume, prevented
you from yielding attention, or from making return. This exchange of
courtesy is at your pleasure to give or withhold--But, as what I have
further to say concerns your comfort and your motions in an especial
manner, I will entreat you to give me some signs of attention, that I
may be sure I am not wasting my words on a monumental image."

At this unexpected address, Sir Piercie Shafton opened his eyes, and
afforded the speaker a broad stare; but as Halbert returned the glance
without either confusion or dismay, the knight thought proper to
change his posture, draw in his legs, raise his eyes, fix them on young
Glendinning, and assume the appearance of one who listens to what is
said to him. Nay, to make his purpose more evident, he gave voice to his
resolution in these words, "Speak! we do hear."

"Sir Knight," said the youth, "it is the custom of this Halidome, or
patrimony of St. Mary's, to trouble with inquiries no guests who receive
our hospitality, providing they tarry in our house only for a single
revolution of the sun. We know that both criminals and debtors come
hither for sanctuary, and we scorn to extort from the pilgrim, whom
chance may make our guest, an avowal of the cause of his pilgrimage and
penance. But when one so high above our rank as yourself, Sir Knight,
and especially one to whom the possession of such pre-eminence is not
indifferent, shows his determination to be our guest for a longer time,
it is our usage to inquire of him whence he comes, and what is the cause
of his journey?"

The English knight gaped twice or thrice before he answered, and then
replied in a bantering tone, "Truly, good villagio, your question hath
in it somewhat of embarrassment, for you ask me of things concerning
which I am not as yet altogether determined what answer I may find it
convenient to make. Let it suffice thee, kind juvenal, that thou hast
the Lord Abbot's authority for treating me to the best of that power
of thine, which, indeed, may not always so well suffice for my
accommodation as either of us would desire."

"I must have a more precise answer than this, Sir Knight," said the
young Glendinning.

"Friend," said the knight, "be not outrageous. It may suit your northern
manners thus to press harshly upon the secrets of thy betters; but
believe me, that even as the lute, struck by an unskilful hand, doth
produce discords, so----" At this moment the door of the apartment
opened, and Mary Avenel presented herself--"But who can talk of
discords," said the knight, assuming his complimentary vein and humour,
"when the soul of harmony descends upon us in the presence of surpassing
beauty! For even as foxes, wolves, and other animals void of sense and
reason, do fly from the presence of the resplendent sun of heaven when
he arises in his glory, so do strife, wrath, and all ireful passions
retreat, and, as it were, scud away, from the face which now beams upon
us, with power to compose our angry passions, illuminate our errors and
difficulties, soothe our wounded minds, and lull to rest our disorderly
apprehensions; for as the heat and warmth of the eye of day is to the
material and physical world, so is the eye which I now bow down before
to that of the intellectual microcosm."

He concluded with a profound bow; and Mary Avenel, gazing from one to
the other, and plainly seeing that something was amiss, could only say,
"For heaven's sake, what is the meaning of this?"

The newly-acquired tact and intelligence of her foster-brother was as
yet insufficient to enable him to give an answer. He was quite uncertain
how he ought to deal with a guest, who preserving a singularly high tone
of assumed superiority and importance, seemed nevertheless so little
serious in what he said, that it was quite impossible to discern with
accuracy whether he was in jest or earnest.

Forming, however, the internal resolution to bring Sir Piercie Shafton
to a reckoning at a more fit place and season, he resolved to prosecute
the matter no farther at present; and the entrance of his mother with
the damsel of the Mill, and the return of the honest Miller from the
stack-yard, where he had been numbering and calculating the probable
amount of the season's grist, rendered farther discussion impossible for
the moment.

In the course of the calculation it could not but strike the man of meal
and grindstones, that after the church's dues were paid, and after all
which he himself could by any means deduct from the crop, still the
residue which must revert to Dame Glendinning could not be less than
considerable. I wot not if this led the honest Miller to nourish any
plans similar to those adopted by Elspeth; but it is certain that he
accepted with grateful alacrity an invitation which the dame gave to his
daughter, to remain a week or two as her guest at Glendearg.

The principal persons being thus in high good humour with each other,
all business gave place to the hilarity of the morning repast; and so
much did Sir Piercie appear gratified by the attention which was paid to
every word that he uttered by the nut-brown Mysie, that, notwithstanding
his high birth and distinguished quality, he bestowed on her some of the
more ordinary and second-rate tropes of his elocution.

Mary Avenel, when relieved from the awkwardness of feeling the full
weight of his conversation addressed to herself, enjoyed it much
more; and the good knight, encouraged by those conciliating marks of
approbation from the sex, for whose sake he cultivated his oratorical
talents, made speedy intimation of his purpose to be more communicative
than he had shown himself in his conversation with Halbert Glendinning,
and gave them to understand, that it was in consequence of some pressing
danger that he was at present their involuntary guest.

The conclusion of the breakfast was a signal for the separation of the
company. The Miller went to prepare for his departure; his daughter
to arrange matters for her unexpected stay; Edward was summoned to
consultation by Martin concerning some agricultural matter, in which
Halbert could not be brought to interest himself; the dame left the room
upon her household concerns, and Mary was in the act of following her,
when she suddenly recollected, that if she did so, the strange knight
and Halbert must be left alone together, at the risk of another quarrel.

The maiden no sooner observed this circumstance, than she instantly
returned from the door of the apartment, and, seating herself in a small
stone window-seat, resolved to maintain that curb which she was sensible
her presence imposed on Halbert Glendinning, of whose quick temper she
had some apprehensions.

The stranger marked her motions, and, either interpreting them as
inviting his society, or obedient to those laws of gallantry which
permitted him not to leave a lady in silence and solitude, he instantly
placed himself near to her side and opened the conversation as

"Credit me, fair lady" he said, addressing Mary Avenel, "it much
rejoiceth me, being, as I am, a banished man from the delights of mine
own country, that I shall find here in this obscure and silvan cottage
of the north, a fair form and a candid soul, with whom I may explain my
mutual sentiments. And let me pray you in particular, lovely lady, that,
according to the universal custom now predominant in our court, the
garden of superior wits, you will exchange with me some epithet whereby
you may mark my devotion to your service. Be henceforward named, for
example, my Protection, and let me be your Affability."

"Our northern and country manners, Sir Knight, do not permit us to
exchange epithets with those to whom we are strangers," replied Mary

"Nay, but see now," said the knight, "how you are startled! even as the
unbroken steed, which swerves aside from the shaking of a handkerchief,
though he must in time encounter the waving of a pennon. This courtly
exchange of epithets of honour, is no more than the compliments which
pass between valour and beauty, wherever they meet, and under whatever
circumstances. Elizabeth of England herself calls Philip Sydney
her Courage, and he in return calls that princess his Inspiration.
Wherefore, my fair Protection, for by such epithet it shall be mine to
denominate you--"

"Not without the young lady's consent, sir!" interrupted Halbert; "most
truly do I hope your courtly and quaint breeding will not so far prevail
over the more ordinary rules of civil behaviour."

"Fair tenant of an indifferent copyhold," replied the knight, with the
same coolness and civility of mien, but in a tone somewhat more lofty
than he used to the young lady, "we do not in the southern parts, much
intermingle discourse, save with those with whom we may stand on some
footing of equality; and I must, in all discretion, remind you, that the
necessity which makes us inhabitants of the same cabin, doth not place
us otherwise on a level with each other."

"By Saint Mary," replied young Glendinning, "it is my thought that it
does; for plain men hold, that he who asks the shelter is indebted to
him who gives it; and so far, therefore, is our rank equalized while
this roof covers us both."

"Thou art altogether deceived," answered Sir Piercie; "and that thou
mayst fully adapt thyself to our relative condition, know that I account
not myself thy guest, but that of thy master, the Lord Abbot of Saint
Mary's, who, for reasons best known to himself and me, chooseth to
administer his hospitality to me through the means of thee, his servant
and vassal, who art, therefore, in good truth, as passive an instrument
of my accommodation as this ill-made and rugged joint-stool on which
I sit, or as the wooden trencher from which I eat my coarse commons.
Wherefore," he added, turning to Mary, "fairest mistress, or rather,
as I said before, most lovely Protection--" [Footnote: There are many
instances to be met with in the ancient dramas of this whimsical and
conceited custom of persons who formed an intimacy, distinguishing:
each, other by some quaint epithet. In _Every Man out of his Humour_,
there is a humorous debate upon names most fit to bind the relation
betwixt Sogliardo and Cavaliero Shift, which ends by adopting those of
Countenance and Resolution. What is more to the point is in the speech
of Hedon, a voluptuary and a courtier in _Cynthia's Revels_. "you
know that I call Madam Plilantia my _Honour,_ and she calls me her
_Ambition._ Now, when I meet her in the presence, anon, I will come to
her and say, 'Sweet Honour, I have hitherto contented my sense with the
lilies of your hand, and now I will taste the roses of your lip.' To
which she cannot but blushing answer, 'Nay, now you are too ambitious;'
and then do I reply, 'I cannot be too ambitious of Honour, sweet lady.
Wilt not be good?'"--I think there is some remnant of this foppery
preserved in masonic lodges, where each brother is distinguished by a
name in the Lodge, signifying some abstract quality as Discretion, or
the like. See the poems of Gavin Wilson.]

Mary Avenel was about to reply to him, when the stern, fierce, and
resentful expression of voice and countenance with which Halbert
exclaimed, "not from the King of Scotland, did he live, would I brook
such terms!" induced her to throw herself between him and the stranger,
exclaiming, "for God's sake, Halbert, beware what you do!"

"Fear not, fairest Protection," replied Sir Piercie, with the utmost
serenity, "that I can be provoked by this rustical and mistaught juvenal
to do aught misbecoming your presence or mine own dignity; for as soon
shall the gunner's linstock give fire unto the icicle, as the spark of
passion inflame my blood, tempered as it is to serenity by the respect
due to the presence of my gracious Protection."

"You may well call her your protection, Sir Knight" said Halbert; "by
Saint Andrew, it is the only sensible word I have heard you speak! But
we may meet where her protection shall no longer afford you shelter."

"Fairest Protection," continued the courtier, not even honouring with a
look, far less with a direct reply, the threat of the incensed Halbert,
"doubt not that thy faithful Affability will be more commoved by the
speech of this rudesby, than the bright and serene moon is perturbed by
the baying of the cottage-cur, proud of the height of his own dunghill,
which, in his conceit, lifteth him nearer unto the majestic luminary."

To what lengths so unsavoury a simile might have driven Halbert's
indignation, is left uncertain; for at that moment Edward rushed into
the apartment with the intelligence that two most important officers
of the Convent, the Kitchener and Refectioner, were just arrived with
a sumpter-mule, loaded with provisions, announcing that the Lord
Abbot, the Sub-Prior, and the Sacristan, were on their way thither. A
circumstance so very extraordinary had never been recorded in the annals
of Saint Mary's, or in the traditions of Glendearg, though there was a
faint legendary report that a certain Abbot had dined there in old days,
after having been bewildered in a hunting expedition amongst the wilds
which lie to the northward. But that the present Lord Abbot should
have taken a voluntary journey to so wild and dreary a spot, the very
Kamtschatka of the Halidome, was a thing never dreamt of; and the news
excited the greatest surprise in all the members of the family saving
Halbert alone.

This fiery youth was too full of the insult he had received to think of
anything as unconnected with it. "I am glad of it," he exclaimed; "I
am glad the Abbot comes hither. I will know of him by what right this
stranger is sent hither to domineer over us under our father's roof, as
if we were slaves and not freemen. I will tell the proud priest to his

"Alas! alas! my brother," said Edward, "think what these words may cost

"And what will, or what can they cost me," said Halbert, "that I should
sacrifice my human feelings and my justifiable resentment to the fear of
what the Abbot can do?"

"Our mother--our mother!" exclaimed Edward; "think, if she is deprived
of her home, expelled from her property, how can you amend what your
rashness may ruin?"

"It is too true, by Heaven!" said Halbert, striking his forehead. Then,
stamping his foot against the floor to express the full energy of the
passion to which he dared no longer give vent, he turned round and left
the apartment.

Mary Avenel looked at the stranger knight, while she was endeavouring to
frame a request that he would not report the intemperate violence of her
foster-brother to the prejudice of his family, in the mind of the Abbot.
But Sir Piercie, the very pink of courtesy, conjectured her meaning from
her embarrassment, and waited not to be entreated.

"Credit me, fairest Protection," said he, "your Affability is less than
capable of seeing or hearing, far less of reciting or reiterating, aught
of an unseemly nature which may have chanced while I enjoyed the Elysium
of your presence. The winds of idle passion may indeed rudely agitate
the bosom of the rude; but the heart of the courtier is polished to
resist them. As the frozen lake receives not the influence of the
breeze, even so--"

The voice of Dame Glendinning, in shrill summons, here demanded Mary
Avenel's attendance, who instantly obeyed, not a little glad to escape
from the compliments and similes of this courtlike gallant. Nor was it
apparently less a relief on his part; for no sooner was she past
the threshold of the room, than he exchanged the look of formal and
elaborate politeness which had accompanied each word he had uttered
hitherto, for an expression of the utmost lassitude and ennui; and after
indulging in one or two portentous yawns, broke forth into a soliloquy.

"What the foul fiend sent this wench hither? As if it were not
sufficient plague to be harboured in a hovel that would hardly serve for
a dog's kennel in England, baited by a rude peasant-boy, and dependent
on the faith of a mercenary ruffian, but I cannot even have time to
muse over my own mishap, but must come aloft, frisk, fidget, and make
speeches, to please this pale hectic phantom, because she has gentle
blood in her veins? By mine honour, setting prejudice aside, the
mill-wench is the more attractive of the two--But patienza, Piercie
Shafton; thou must not lose thy well-earned claim to be accounted
a devout servant of the fair sex, a witty-brained, prompt, and
accomplished courtier. Rather thank heaven, Piercie Shafton, which hath
sent thee a subject, wherein, without derogating from thy rank, (since
the honours of the Avenel family are beyond dispute,) thou mayest find
a whetstone for thy witty compliments, a strop whereon to sharpen thine
acute engine, a butt whereat to shoot the arrows of thy gallantry. For
even as a Bilboa blade, the more it is rubbed, the brighter and the
sharper will it prove, so--But what need I waste my stock of similitudes
in holding converse with myself?--Yonder comes the monkish retinue, like
some half score of crows winging their way slowly up the valley--I hope,
a'gad, they have not forgotten my trunk-mails of apparel amid the ample
provision they have made for their own belly-timber--Mercy, a'gad, I
were finely helped up if the vesture has miscarried among the thievish

Stung by this reflection, he ran hastily down stairs, and caused his
horse to be saddled, that he might, as soon as possible, ascertain this
important point, by meeting the Lord Abbot and his retinue as they came
up the glen. He had not ridden a mile before he met them advancing
with the slowness and decorum which became persons of their dignity and
profession. The knight failed not to greet the Lord Abbot with all
the formal compliments with which men of rank at that period exchanged
courtesies. He had the good fortune to find that his mails were numbered
among the train of baggage which attended upon the party; and, satisfied
in that particular, he turned his horse's head, and accompanied the
Abbot to the Tower of Glendearg.

Great, in the meanwhile, had been the turmoil of the good Dame Elspeth
and her coadjutors, to prepare for the fitting reception of the Father
Lord Abbot and his retinue. The monks had indeed taken care not to trust
too much to the state of her pantry; but she was not the less anxious
to make such additions as might enable her to claim the thanks of her
feudal lord and spiritual father. Meeting Halbert, as, with his blood on
fire, he returned from his altercation with her guest, she commanded him
instantly to go forth to the hill, and not to return without venison;
reminding him that he was apt enough to go thither for his own pleasure,
and must now do so for the credit of the house.

The Miller, who was now hastening his journey homewards, promised to
send up some salmon by his own servant. Dame Elspeth, who by this time
thought she had guests enough, had begun to repent of her invitation
to poor Mysie, and was just considering by what means, short of giving
offence, she could send off the Maid of the Mill behind her father, and
adjourn all her own aerial architecture till some future opportunity,
when this unexpected generosity on the part of the sire rendered
any present attempt to return his daughter on his hands too highly
ungracious to be farther thought on. So the Miller departed alone on his
homeward journey.

Dame Elspeth's sense of hospitality proved in this instance its own
reward; for Mysie had dwelt too near the Convent to be altogether
ignorant of the noble art of cookery, which her father patronized to the
extent of consuming on festival days such dainties as his daughter could
prepare in emulation of the luxuries of the Abbot's kitchen. Laying
aside, therefore, her holiday kirtle, and adopting a dress more suitable
to the occasion, the good-humored maiden bared her snowy arms above the
elbows; and, as Elspeth acknowledged, in the language of the time and
country, took "entire and aefauld part with her" in the labours of the
day; showing unparalleled talent, and indefatigable industry, in
the preparation of _mortreux_, _blanc-manger_, and heaven knows what
delicacies besides, which Dame Glendinning, unassisted by her skill,
dared not even have dreamt of presenting. Leaving this able substitute
in the kitchen, and regretting that Mary Avenel was so brought up, that
she could intrust nothing to her care, unless it might be seeing the
great chamber strewed with rushes, and ornamented with such flowers and
branches as the season afforded, Dame Elspeth hastily donned her best
attire, and with a beating heart presented herself at the door of her
little tower, to make her obeisance to the Lord Abbot as he crossed
her humble threshold. Edward stood by his mother, and felt the same
palpitation, which his philosophy was at a loss to account for. He was
yet to learn how long it is ere our reason is enabled to triumph over
the force of external circumstances, and how much our feelings are
affected by novelty, and blunted by use and habit.

On the present occasion, he witnessed with wonder and awe the approach
of some half-score of riders, sober men upon sober palfreys, muffled in
their long black garments, and only relieved by their white scapularies,
showing more like a funeral procession than aught else, and not
quickening their pace beyond that which permitted easy conversation and
easy digestion. The sobriety of the scene was indeed somewhat enlivened
by the presence of Sir Piercie Shafton, who, to show that his skill
in the manege was not inferior to his other accomplishments, kept
alternately pressing and checking his gay courser, forcing him to
piaffe, to caracole, to passage, and to do all the other feats of the
school, to the great annoyance of the Lord Abbot, the wonted sobriety
of whose palfrey became at length discomposed by the vivacity of its
companion, while the dignitary kept crying out in bodily alarm, "I do
pray you--Sir Knight--good now, Sir Piercie--Be quiet, Benedict, there
is a good steed--soh, poor fellow" and uttering all the other precatory
and soothing exclamations by which a timid horseman usually bespeaks the
favour of a frisky companion, or of his own unquiet nag, and concluding
the bead-roll with a sincere _Deo gratias_ so soon as he alighted in the
court-yard of the Tower of Glendearg.

The inhabitants unanimously knelt down to kiss the hand of the Lord
Abbot, a ceremony which even the monks were often condemned to. Good
Abbot Boniface was too much fluttered by the incidents of the latter
part of his journey, to go through this ceremony with much solemnity,
or indeed with much patience. He kept wiping his brow with a snow-white
handkerchief with one hand, while another was abandoned to the homage of
his vassals; and then signing the cross with his outstretched arm,
and exclaiming, "Bless ye--bless ye, my children" he hastened into the
house, and murmured not a little at the darkness and steepness of the
rugged winding stair, whereby he at length scaled the spence destined
for his entertainment, and, overcome with fatigue, threw himself, I do
not say into an easy chair, but into the easiest the apartment afforded.

Chapter the Sixteenth.

     A courtier extraordinary, who by diet
     Of meats and drinks, his temperate exercise,
     Choice music, frequent bath, his horary shifts
     Of shirts and waistcoats, means to immortalize
     Mortality itself, and makes the essence
     Of his whole happiness the trim of court.
                                         MAGNETIC LADY.

When the Lord Abbot had suddenly and superciliously vanished from
the eyes of his expectant vassals, the Sub-Prior made amends for the
negligence of his principal, by the kind and affectionate greeting
which he gave to all the members of the family, but especially to Dame
Elspeth, her foster-daughter, and her son Edward. "Where," he even
condescended to inquire, "is that naughty Nimrod, Halbert?--He hath
not yet, I trust, turned, like his great prototype, his hunting-spear
against man!"

"O no, an it please your reverence," said Dame Glendinning, "Halbert
is up at the glen to get some venison, or surely he would not have been
absent when such a day of honour dawned upon me and mine."

"Oh, to get savoury meat, such as our soul loveth," muttered the
Sub-Prior; "it has been at times an acceptable gift.--I bid you good
morrow, my good dame, as I must attend upon his lordship the Father

"And O, reverend sir," said the good widow, detaining him, "if it might
be your pleasure to take part with us if there is any thing wrong; and
if there is any thing wanted, to say that it is just coming, or to make
some excuses your learning best knows how. Every bit of vassail and
silver work have we been spoiled of since Pinkie Cleuch, when I lost
poor Simon Glendinning, that was the warst of a'."

"Never mind--never fear," said the Sub-Prior, gently extricating his
garment from the anxious grasp of Dame Elspeth, "the Refectioner has
with him the Abbot's plate and drinking cups; and I pray you to believe
that whatever is short in your entertainment will be deemed amply made
up in your good-will."

So saying, he escaped from her and went into the spence, where such
preparations as haste permitted were making for the noon collation of
the Abbot and the English knight. Here he found the Lord Abbot, for whom
a cushion, composed of all the plaids in the house, had been unable to
render Simon's huge elbow-chair a soft or comfortable place of rest.

"Benedicite!" said Abbot Boniface, "now marry fie upon these hard
benches with all my heart--they are as uneasy as the _scabella_ of our
novices. Saint Jude be with us, Sir Knight, how have you contrived to
pass over the night in this dungeon? An your bed was no softer than your
seat, you might as well have slept on the stone couch of Saint Pacomius.
After trotting a full ten miles, a man needs a softer seat than has
fallen to my hard lot."

With sympathizing faces, the Sacristan and the Refectioner ran to raise
the Lord Abbot, and to adjust his seat to his mind, which was at length
accomplished in some sort, although he continued alternately to bewail
his fatigue, and to exult in the conscious sense of having discharged
an arduous duty. "You errant cavaliers," said he, addressing the knight,
"may now perceive that others have their travail and their toils to
undergo as well as your honoured faculty. And this I will say for myself
and the soldiers of Saint Mary, among whom I may be termed captain,
that it is not our wont to flinch from the heat of the service, or to
withdraw from the good fight. No, by Saint Mary!--no sooner did I
learn that you were here, and dared not for certain reasons come to the
Monastery, where, with as good will, and with more convenience, we might
have given you a better reception, than, striking the table with
my hammer, I called a brother--Timothy, said I, let them saddle
Benedict--let them saddle my black palfrey, and bid the Sub-Prior and
some half-score of attendants be in readiness tomorrow after matins--we
would ride to Glendearg.--Brother Timothy stared, thinking, I imagine,
that his ears had scarce done him justice--but I repeated my commands,
and said, Let the Kitchener and Refectioner go before to aid the poor
vassals to whom the place belongs in making a suitable collation. So
that you will consider, good Sir Piercie, our mutual in commodities, and
forgive whatever you may find amiss."

"By my faith," said Sir Piercie Shafton, "there is nothing to
forgive--If you spiritual warriors have to submit to the grievous
incommodities which your lordship narrates, it would ill become me,
a sinful and secular man, to complain of a bed as hard as a board, of
broth which relished as if made of burnt wool, of flesh, which, in
its sable and singed shape, seemed to put me on a level with Richard
Coeur-de-Lion,--when he ate up the head of a Moor carbonadoed, and of
other viands savouring rather of the rusticity of this northern region."

"By the good Saints, sir," said the Abbot, somewhat touched in point of
his character for hospitality, of which he was in truth a most faithful
and zealous professor, "it grieves me to the heart that you have found
our vassals no better provided for your reception--Yet I crave leave
to observe, that if Sir Piercie Shafton's affairs had permitted him to
honour with his company our poor house of Saint Mary's, he might have
had less to complain of in respect of easements."

"To give your lordship the reasons," said Sir Piercie Shafton, "why I
could not at this present time approach your dwelling, or avail myself
of its well-known and undoubted hospitality, craves either some delay,
or," looking around him, "a limited audience."

The Lord Abbot immediately issued his mandate to the Refectioner: "Hie
thee to the kitchen, Brother Hilarius, and there make inquiry of our
brother the Kitchener, within what time he opines that our collation may
be prepared, since sin and sorrow it were, considering the hardships of
this noble and gallant knight, no whit mentioning or--weighing those we
ourselves have endured, if we were now either to advance or retard the
hour of refection beyond the time when the viands are fit to be set
before us."

Brother Hilarius parted with an eager alertness to execute the will of
his Superior, and returned with the assurance, that punctually at one
afternoon would the collation be ready.

"Before that time," said the accurate Refectioner, "the wafers, flamms,
and pastry-meat, will scarce have had the just degree of fire which
learned pottingers prescribe as fittest for the body; and if it should
be past one o'clock, were it but ten minutes, our brother the Kitchener
opines, that the haunch of venison would suffer in spite of the skill of
the little turn-broche whom he has recommended to your holiness by his

"How!" said the Abbot, "a haunch of venison!--from whence comes that
dainty? I remember not thou didst intimate its presence in thy hamper of

"So please your holiness and lordship," said the Refectioner, "he is a
son of the woman of the house who has shot it and sent it in--killed
but now; yet, as the animal heat hath not left the body, the Kitchener
undertakes it shall eat as tender as a young chicken--and this youth
hath a special gift in shooting deer, and never misses the heart or the
brain; so that the blood is not driven through the flesh, as happens
too often with us. It is a hart of grease--your holiness has seldom seen
such a haunch."

"Silence, Brother Hilarius," said the Abbot, wiping his mouth; "it is
not beseeming our order to talk of food so earnestly, especially as we
must oft have our animal powers exhausted by fasting, and be accessible
(as being ever mere mortals) to those signs of longing" (he again
wiped his mouth) "which arise on the mention of victuals to an hungry
man.--Minute down, however, the name of that youth--it is fitting merit
should be rewarded, and he shall hereafter be a _frater ad succurrendum_
in the kitchen and buttery."

"Alas! reverend Father and my good lord," replied the Refectioner,
"I did inquire after the youth, and I learn he is one who prefers the
casque to the cowl, and the sword of the flesh to the weapons of the

"And if it be so," said the Abbot, "see that thou retain him as
a deputy-keeper and man-at-arms, and not as a lay brother of the
Monastery--for old Tallboy, our forester, waxes dim-eyed, and hath twice
spoiled a noble buck, by hitting him unwarily on the haunch. Ah! 'tis a
foul fault, the abusing by evil-killing, evil-dressing, evil-appetite,
or otherwise, the good creatures indulged to us for our use. Wherefore,
secure us the service of this youth, Brother Hilarius, in the way that
may best suit him.--And now, Sir Piercie Shafton, since the fates have
assigned us a space of well-nigh an hour, ere we dare hope to enjoy
more than the vapour or savour of our repast, may I pray you, of your
courtesy, to tell me the cause of this visit; and, above all, to inform
us, why you will not approach our more pleasant and better furnished

"Reverend Father, and my very good lord," said Sir Piercie Shafton,
"it is well known to your wisdom, that there are stone walls which have
ears, and that secrecy is to be looked to in matters which concern
a man's head." The Abbot signed to his attendants, excepting the
Sub-Prior, to leave the room, and then said, "Your valour, Sir Piercie,
may freely unburden yourself before our faithful friend and counsellor
Father Eustace, the benefits of whose advice we may too soon lose,
inasmuch as his merits will speedily recommend him to an higher station,
in which we trust he may find the blessing of a friend and adviser as
valuable as himself, since I may say of him, as our claustral rhyme
goeth,[Footnote: The rest of this doggerel rhyme may be found in
Fosbrooke's Learned work on British Monachism.]

  'Dixit Abbas ad Prioris,
  Tu es homo boni moris,
  Quia semper sanioris
  Mihi das concilia.'

Indeed," he added, "the office of Sub-Prior is altogether beneath our
dear brother; nor can we elevate him unto that of Prior, which, for
certain reasons, is at present kept vacant amongst us. Howbeit, Father
Eustace is fully possessed of my confidence, and worthy of yours, and
well may it be said of him, _Intravit in secretis nostris_."

Sir Piercie Shafton bowed to the reverend brethren, and, heaving a sigh,
as if he would burst his steel cuirass, he thus commenced his speech:--

"Certes, reverend sirs, I may well heave such a suspiration, who have,
as it were, exchanged heaven for purgatory, leaving the lightsome sphere
of the royal court of England for a remote nook in this inaccessible
desert--quitting the tilt-yard, where I was ever ready among my compeers
to splinter a lance, either for the love of honour, or for the honour
of love, in order to couch my knightly spear against base and pilfering
besognios and marauders--exchanging the lighted halls, wherein I used
nimbly to pace the swift coranto, or to move with a loftier grace in the
stately galliard, for this rugged and decayed dungeon of rusty-coloured
stone--quitting the gay theatre, for the solitary chimney-nook of a
Scottish dog-house--bartering the sounds of the soul-ravishing lute, and
the love-awaking viol-de-gamba, for the discordant squeak of a northern
bagpipe--above all, exchanging the smiles of those beauties, who form
a gay galaxy around the throne of England, for the cold courtesy of an
untaught damsel, and the bewildered stare of a miller's maiden. More
might I say of the exchange of the conversation of gallant knights and
gay courtiers of mine own order and capacity, whose conceits are bright
and vivid as the lightning, for that of monks and churchmen--but it were
discourteous to urge that topic."

The Abbot listened to this list of complaints with great round eyes,
which evinced no exact intelligence of the orator's meaning; and
when the knight paused to take breath, he looked with a doubtful and
inquiring eye at the Sub-Prior, not well knowing in what tone he should
reply to an exordium so extraordinary. The Sub-Prior accordingly stepped
in to the relief of his principal.

"We deeply sympathize with you, Sir Knight, in the several
mortifications and hardships to which fate has subjected you,
particularly in that which has thrown you into the society of those,
who, as they were conscious they deserved not such an honour, so neither
did they at all desire it. But all this goes little way to expound the
cause of this train of disasters, or, in plainer words, the reason which
has compelled you into a situation having so few charms for you."

"Gentle and reverend sir," replied the knight, "forgive an unhappy
person, who, in giving a history of his miseries, dilateth upon them
extremely, even as he who, having fallen from a precipice, looketh
upward to measure the height from which he hath been precipitated."

"Yea, but," said Father Eustace, "methinks it were wiser in him to tell
those who come to lift him up, which of his bones have been broken."

"You, reverend sir," said the knight, "have, in the encounter of our
wits, made a fair attaint; whereas I may be in some sort said to have
broken my staff across. [Footnote: _Attaint_ was a term of tilting
used to express the champion's having _attained_ his mark, or, in other
words, struck his lance straight and fair against the helmet or breast
of his adversary. Whereas to break the lance across, intimated a total
failure in directing the point of the weapon on the object of his aim.]
Pardon me, grave sir, that I speak in the language of the tilt-yard,
which is doubtless strange to your reverend years.--Ah! brave resort
of the noble, the fair and the gay!--Ah! throne of love, and citadel
of honour!--Ah! celestial beauties, by whose bright eyes it is graced!
Never more shall Piercie Shafton advance, as the centre of your radiant
glances, couch his lance, and spur his horse at the sound of the
spirit-stirring trumpets, nobly called the voice of war--never more
shall he baffle his adversary's encounter boldly, break his spear
dexterously, and ambling around the lovely circle, receive the rewards
with which beauty honours chivalry!"

Here he paused, wrung his hands, looked upwards, and seemed lost in
contemplation of his own fallen fortunes.

"Mad, very mad," whispered the Abbot to the Sub-Prior; "I would we were
fairly rid of him; for, of a truth, I expect he will proceed from raving
to mischief--Were it not better to call up the rest of the brethren?"

But the Sub-Prior knew better than his Superior how to distinguish the
jargon of affectation from the ravings of insanity, and although the
extremity of the knight's passion seemed altogether fantastic, yet
he was not ignorant to what extravagancies the fashion of the day can
conduct its votaries.

Allowing, therefore, two minutes' space to permit the knight's
enthusiastic feelings to exhaust themselves, he again gravely reminded
him that the Lord Abbot had taken a journey, unwonted to his age and
habits, solely to learn in what he could serve Sir Piercie Shafton--that
it was altogether impossible he could do so without his receiving
distinct information of the situation in which he had now sought refuge
in Scotland.--"The day wore on," he observed, looking at the window;
"and if the Abbot should be obliged to return to the Monastery without
obtaining the necessary intelligence, the regret might be mutual, but
the inconvenience was like to be all on Sir Piercie's own side."

The hint was not thrown away.

"O, goddess of courtesy!" said the knight, "can I so far have forgotten
thy behests as to make this good prelate's ease and time a sacrifice to
my vain complaints! Know, then, most worthy, and not less worshipful,
that I, your poor visitor and guest, am by birth nearly bound to the
Piercie of Northumberland, whose fame is so widely blown through all
parts of the world where English worth hath been known. Now, this
present Earl of Northumberland, of whom I propose to give you the brief

"It is altogether unnecessary," said the Abbot; "we know him to be a
good and true nobleman, and a sworn upholder of our Catholic faith,
in the spite of the heretical woman who now sits upon the throne of
England. And it is specially as his kinsman, and as knowing that ye
partake with him in such devout and faithful belief and adherence to our
holy Mother Church, that we say to you, Sir Piercie Shafton, that ye be
heartily welcome to us, and that, and we wist how, we would labour to do
you good service in your extremity."

"For such kind offer I rest your most humble debtor," said Sir Piercie,
"nor need I at this moment say more than that my Right Honourable Cousin
of Northumberland, having devised with me and some others, the choice
and picked spirits of the age, how and by what means the worship of God,
according to the Catholic Church, might be again introduced into this
distracted kingdom of England, (even as one deviseth, by the assistance
of his friend, to catch and bridle a runaway steed,) it pleased him so
deeply to intrust me in those communications, that my personal safety
becomes, as it were, entwined or complicated therewith. Natheless, as
we have had sudden reason to believe, this Princess Elizabeth, who
maintaineth around her a sort of counsellors skilful in tracking
whatever schemes may be pursued for bringing her title into challenge,
or for erecting again the discipline of the Catholic Church, has
obtained certain knowledge of the trains which we had laid before we
could give fire unto them. Wherefore, my Right Honourable Cousin of
Northumberland, thinking it best belike that one man should take
both blame and shame for the whole, did lay the burden of all this
trafficking upon my back; which load I am the rather content to bear,
in that he hath always shown himself my kind and honourable kinsman,
as well as that my estate, I wot not how, hath of late been somewhat
insufficient to maintain the expense of those braveries, wherewith it
is incumbent on us, who are chosen and selected spirits, to distinguish
ourselves from the vulgar."

"So that possibly," said the Sub-Prior, "your private affairs rendered a
foreign journey less incommodious to you than it might have been to the
noble earl, your right worthy cousin?"

"You are right, reverend sir," answered the courtier; "_rem acu_--you
have touched the point with a needle--My cost and expenses had been
indeed somewhat lavish at the late triumphs and tourneys, and the
flat-capp'd citizens had shown themselves unwilling to furnish my pocket
for new gallantries for the honour of the nation, as well as for mine
own peculiar glory--and, to speak truth, it was in some part the hope
of seeing these matters amended that led me to desire a new world in

"So that the miscarriage of your public enterprise, with the derangement
of your own private affairs," said the Sub-Prior, "have induced you to
seek Scotland as a place of refuge?"

"_Rem acu_, once again," said Sir Piercie; "and not without good cause,
since my neck, if I remained, might have been brought within the
circumstances of a halter--and so speedy was my journey northward, that
I had but time to exchange my peach-coloured doublet of Genoa velvet,
thickly laid over with goldsmith's work, for this cuirass, which was
made by Bonamico of Milan, and travelled northward with all speed,
judging that I might do well to visit my Right Honourable Cousin of
Northumberland, at one of his numerous castles. But as I posted towards
Alnwick, even with the speed of a star, which, darting from its native
sphere, shoots wildly downwards, I was met at Northallerton by one Henry
Vaughan, a servant of my right honourable kinsman, who showed me, that
as then I might not with safety come to his presence, seeing that, in
obedience to orders from his court, he was obliged to issue out letters
for my incarceration."

"This," said the Abbot, "seems but hard measure on the part of your
honourable kinsman."

"It might be so judged, my lord," replied Sir Piercie; "nevertheless, I
will stand to the death for the honour of my Right Honourable Cousin of
Northumberland. Also, Henry Vaughan gave me, from my said cousin, a
good horse, and a purse of gold, with two Border-prickers, as they are
called, for my guides, who conducted me, by such roads and by-paths as
have never been seen since the days of Sir Lancelot and Sir Tristrem,
into this kingdom of Scotland, and to the house of a certain baron, or
one who holds the style of such, called Julian Avenel, with whom I found
such reception as the place and party could afford."

"And that," said the Abbot, "must have been right wretched; for to
judge from the appetite which Julian showeth when abroad, he hath not, I
judge, over-abundant provision at home."

"You are right, sir--your reverence is in the right," continued Sir
Piercie; "we had but lenten fare, and, what was worse, a score to
clear at the departure; for though this Julian Avenel called us to
no reckoning, yet he did so extravagantly admire the fashion of my
poniard--the _poignet_ being of silver exquisitely hatched, and indeed
the weapon being altogether a piece of exceeding rare device and
beauty--that in faith I could not for very shame's sake but pray his
acceptance of it; words which he gave me not the trouble of repeating
twice, before he had stuck it into his greasy buff-belt, where,
credit me, reverend sir, it showed more like a butcher's knife than a
gentleman's dagger."

"So goodly a gift might at least have purchased you a few days'
hospitality," said Father Eustace.

"Reverend sir," said Sir Piercie, "had I abidden with him, I should have
been complimented out of every remnant of my wardrobe--actually flayed,
by the hospitable gods I swear it! Sir, he secured my spare doublet, and
had a pluck at my galligaskins--I was enforced to beat a retreat before
I was altogether unrigged. That Border knave, his serving man, had
a pluck at me too, and usurped a scarlet cassock and steel cuirass
belonging to the page of my body, whom I was fain to leave behind me. In
good time I received a letter from my Right Honourable Cousin, showing
me that he had written to you in my behalf, and sent to your charge two
mails filled with wearing apparel--namely, my rich crimson silk doublet,
slashed out and lined with cloth of gold, which I wore at the last
revels, with baldric and trimmings to correspond--also two pair
black silk slops, with hanging garters of carnation silk--also the
flesh-coloured silken doublet, with the trimmings of fur, in which I
danced the salvage man at the Gray's-Inn mummery--also----"

"Sir Knight," said the Sub-Prior, "I pray you to spare the farther
inventory of your wardrobe. The monks of Saint Mary's are no
free-booting barons, and whatever part of your vestments arrived at
our house, have been this day faithfully brought hither, with the mails
which contained them. I may presume from what has been said, as we have
indeed been, given to understand by the Earl of Northumberland, that
your desire is to remain for the present as unknown and as unnoticed, as
may be consistent with your high worth and distinction?"

"Alas, reverend father!" replied the courtier, "a blade when it is in
the scabbard cannot give lustre, a diamond when it is in the casket
cannot give light, and worth, when it is compelled by circumstances to
obscure itself, cannot draw observation--my retreat can only attract
the admiration of those few to whom circumstances permit its displaying

"I conceive now, my venerable father and lord," said the Sub-Prior,
"that your wisdom will assign such a course of conduct to this noble
knight, as may be alike consistent with his safety, and with the weal of
the community. For you wot well, that perilous strides have been made
in these audacious days, to the destruction of all ecclesiastical
foundations, and that our holy community has been repeatedly menaced.
Hitherto they have found no flaw in our raiment; but a party, friendly
as well to the Queen of England, as to the heretical doctrines of
the schismatical church, or even to worse and wilder forms of heresy,
prevails now at the court of our sovereign, who dare not yield to her
suffering clergy the protection she would gladly extend to them."

"My lord, and reverend sir," said the knight, "I will gladly relieve
you of my presence, while ye canvass this matter at your freedom; and
to speak truly, I am desirous to see in what case the chamberlain of my
noble kinsman hath found my wardrobe, and how he hath packed the same,
and whether it has suffered from the journey--there are four suits of
as pure and elegant device as ever the fancy of a fair lady doated upon,
every one having a treble, and appropriate change of ribbons, trimmings,
and fringes, which, in case of need, may as it were renew each of
them, and multiply the four into twelve.--There is also my sad-coloured
riding-suit, and three cut-work shirts with falling bands--I pray you,
pardon me--I must needs see how matters stand with them without farther

Thus speaking, he left the room; and the Sub-Prior, looking after him
significantly, added, "Where the treasure is will the heart be also."

"Saint Mary preserve our wits!" said the Abbot, stunned with the
knight's abundance of words; "were man's brains ever so stuffed with
silk and broadcloth, cut-work, and I wot not what besides! And
what could move the Earl of Northumberland to assume for his bosom
counsellor, in matters of death and danger, such a feather-brained
coxcomb as this?"

"Had he been other than what he is, venerable father," said the
Sub-Prior, "he had been less fitted for the part of scape-goat, to
which his Right Honourable Cousin had probably destined him from the
commencement, in case of their plot failing. I know something of this
Piercie Shafton. The legitimacy of his mother's descent from the Piercie
family, the point on which he is most jealous, hath been called in
question. If hairbrained courage, and an outrageous spirit of gallantry,
can make good his pretensions to the high lineage he claims, these
qualities have never been denied him. For the rest, he is one of the
ruffling gallants of the time, like Howland Yorke, Stukely,

[Footnote: "Yorke," says Camden, "was a Londoner, a man of loose and
dissolute behaviour, and desperately audacious--famous in his time
amongst the common bullies and swaggerers, as being the first that, to
the great admiration of many at his boldness, brought into England the
bold and dangerous way of fencing with the rapier in duelling. Whereas,
till that time, the English used to fight with long swords and bucklers,
striking with the edge, and thought it no part of man either to push or
strike beneath the girdle.

Having a command in the Low Countries, Yorke revolted to the Spaniards,
and died miserably, poisoned, as was supposed, by his new allies. Three
years afterwards, his bones were dug up and gibbeted by the command of
the States of Holland.

Thomas Stukely, another distinguished gallant of the time, was bred a
merchant, being the son of a rich clothier in the west. He wedded the
daughter and heiress of a wealthy alderman of London, named Curtis,
after whose death he squandered the riches he thus acquired in all
manner of extravagance. His wife, whose fortune supplied his waste,
represented to him that he ought to make more of her. Stukely replied,
"I will make as much of thee, believe me, as it is possible for any to
do;" and he kept his word in one sense, having stripped her even of her
wearing apparel, before he finally ran away from her.

Having fled to Italy, he contrived to impose upon the Pope, with a
plan of invading Ireland, for which he levied soldiers, and made some
preparations, but ended by engaging himself and his troops in the
service of King Sebastian of Portugal. He sailed with that prince on his
fatal voyage to Barbary, and fell with him at the battle of Alcazar.

Stukely, as one of the first gallants of the time, has had the honour
to be chronicled in song, in Evans' Old Ballads, vol. iii, edition 1810.
His fate is also introduced in a tragedy, by George Peel, as has been
supposed, called the Battle of Alcazar, from which play Dryden is
alleged to have taken the idea of Don Sebastian; if so, it is surprising
he omitted a character so congenial to King Charles the Second's time as
the witty, brave, and profligate Thomas Stukely.]

and others, who wear out their fortunes, and endanger their lives,
in idle braveries, in order that they may be esteemed the only choice
gallants of the time; and afterwards endeavour to repair their estate,
by engaging in the desperate plots and conspiracies which wiser
heads have devised. To use one of his own conceited similitudes, such
courageous fools resemble hawks, which the wiser conspirator keeps
hooded and blinded on his wrist until the quarry is on the wing, and who
are then flown at them."

"Saint Mary," said the Abbot, "he were an evil guest to introduce into
our quiet household. Our young monks make bustle enough, and more than
is beseeming God's servants, about their outward attire already--this
knight were enough to turn their brains, from the _Vestiarius_ down to
the very scullion boy."

"A worse evil might follow," said the Sub-Prior: "in these bad days, the
patrimony of the church is bought and sold, forfeited and distrained,
as if it were the unhallowed soil appertaining to a secular baron. Think
what penalty awaits us, were we convicted of harbouring a rebel to her
whom they call the Queen of England! There would neither be wanting
Scottish parasites to beg the lands of the foundation, nor an army from
England to burn and harry the Halidome. The men of Scotland were once
Scotsmen, firm and united in the love of their country, and throwing
every other consideration aside when the frontier was menaced--now
they are--what shall I call them--the one part French, the other
part English, considering their dear native country merely as a
prize-fighting stage, upon which foreigners are welcome to decide their

"Benedictine!" replied the Abbot, "they are indeed slippery and evil

"And therefore," said Father Eustace, "we must walk warily--we must not,
for example, bring this man--this Sir Piercie Shafton, to our house of
Saint Mary's."

"But how then shall we dispose of him?" replied the Abbot; "bethink thee
that he is a sufferer for holy Church's sake--that his patron, the Earl
of Northumberland, hath been our friend, and that, lying so near us, he
may work us weal or wo according as we deal with his kinsman."

"And, accordingly," said the Sub-Prior, "for these reasons, as well as
for discharge of the great duty of Christian charity, I would protect
and relieve this man. Let him not go back to Julian Avenel--that
unconscientious baron would not stick to plunder the exiled
stranger--Let him remain here--the spot is secluded, and if the
accommodation be beneath his quality, discovery will become the less
likely. We will make such means for his convenience as we can devise."

"Will he be persuaded, thinkest thou?" said the Abbot; "I will leave my
own travelling bed for his repose, and send up a suitable easy-chair."

"With such easements," said the Sub-Prior, "he must not complain; and
then, if threatened by any sudden danger, he can soon come down to
the sanctuary, where we will harbour him in secret until means can be
devised of dismissing him in safety."

"Were we not better," said the Abbot, "send him on to the court, and get
rid of him at once?"

"Ay, but at the expense of our friends--this butterfly may fold his
wings, and lie under cover in the cold air of Glendearg; but were he
at Holyrood, he would, did his life depend on it, expand his spangled
drapery in the eyes of the queen and court--Rather than fail of
distinction, he would sue for love to our gracious sovereign--the eyes
of all men would be upon him in the course of three short days, and
the international peace of the two ends of the island endangered for a
creature, who, like a silly moth, cannot abstain from fluttering round a

"Thou hast prevailed with me, Father Eustace," said the Abbot, "and it
will go hard but I improve on thy plan--I will send up in secret, not
only household stuff, but wine and wassell-bread. There is a young
swankie here who shoots venison well. I will give him directions to see
that the knight lacks none."

"Whatever accommodation he can have, which infers not a risk of
discovery," said the Sub-Prior, "it is our duty to afford him."

"Nay," said the Abbot, "we will do more, and will instantly despatch a
servant express to the keeper of our revestiary to send us such things
as he may want, even this night. See it done, good father."

"I will," answered Father Eustace; "but I hear the gull clamorous for
some one to truss his points.[Footnote: The points were the strings of
cord or ribbon, (so called, because _pointed_ with metal like the laces
of women's stays,) which attached the doublet to the hose. They were
very numerous, and required assistance to tie them properly, which was
called _trussing_.] He will be fortunate if he lights on any one here
who can do him the office of groom of the chamber."

"I would he would appear," said the Abbot, "for here comes the
Refectioner with the collation--By my faith, the ride hath given me a
sharp appetite!"

       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter the Seventeenth.

  I'll seek for other aid--Spirits, they say,
  Flit round invisible, as thick as motes
  Dance in the sunbeam. If that spell
  Or necromancer's sigil can compel them,
  They shall hold council with me.
                JAMES DUFF.

The reader's attention must be recalled to Halbert Glendinning, who had
left the Tower of Glendearg immediately after his quarrel with its new
guest, Sir Piercie Shafton. As he walked with a rapid pace up the glen,
Old Martin followed him, beseeching him to be less hasty.

"Halbert," said the old man, "you will never live to have white hair, if
you take fire thus at every spark of provocation."

"And why should I wish it, old man," said Halbert, "if I am to be the
butt that every fool may aim a shaft of scorn against?--What avails it,
old man, that you yourself move, sleep, and wake, eat thy niggard meal,
and repose on thy hard pallet?--Why art thou so well pleased that the
morning should call thee up to daily toil, and the evening again lay
thee down a wearied-out wretch? Were it not better sleep and wake no
more, than to undergo this dull exchange of labour for insensibility and
of insensibility for labour?"

"God help me," answered Martin, "there may be truth in what thou
sayest--but walk slower, for my old limbs cannot keep pace with your
young legs--walk slower, and I will tell you why age, though unlovely,
is yet endurable."

"Speak on then," said Halbert, slackening his pace, "but remember we
must seek venison to refresh the fatigues of these holy men, who will
this morning have achieved a journey of ten miles; and if we reach not
the Brocksburn head we are scarce like to see an antler."

"Then know, my good Halbert," said Martin, "whom I love as my own son,
that I am satisfied to live till death calls me, because my Maker wills
it. Ay, and although I spend what men call a hard life, pinched with
cold in winter, and burnt with heat in summer, though I feed hard and
sleep hard, and am held mean and despised, yet I bethink me, that were I
of no use on the face of this fair creation, God would withdraw me from

"Thou poor old man," said Halbert, "and can such a vain conceit as this
of thy fancied use, reconcile thee to a world where thou playest so poor
a part?"

"My part was nearly as poor," said Martin, "my person nearly as much
despised, the day that I saved my mistress and her child from perishing
in the wilderness."

"Right, Martin," answered Halbert; "there, indeed, thou didst what might
be a sufficient apology for a whole life of insignificance."

"And do you account it for nothing, Halbert, that I should have
the power of giving you a lesson of patience, and submission to the
destinies of Providence? Methinks there is use for the grey hairs on
the old scalp, were it but to instruct the green head by precept and by

Halbert held down his face, and remained silent for a minute or two, and
then resumed his discourse: "Martin, seest thou aught changed in me of

"Surely," said Martin. "I have always known you hasty, wild, and
inconsiderate, rude, and prompt to speak at the volley and without
reflection; but now, methinks, your bearing, without losing its natural
fire, has something in it of force and dignity which it had not before.
It seems as if you had fallen asleep a carle, and awakened a gentleman."

"Thou canst judge, then, of noble bearing?" said Halbert.

"Surely," answered Martin, "in some sort I can; for I have travelled
through court, and camp, and city, with my master, Walter Avenel,
although he could do nothing for me in the long run, but give me room
for two score of sheep on the hill--and surely even now, while I speak
with you, I feel sensible that my language is more refined than it is my
wont to use, and that--though I know not the reason--the rude northern
dialect, so familiar to my tongue, has given place to a more town-bred

"And this change in thyself and me, thou canst by no means account for?"
said young Glendinning.

"Change!" replied Martin, "by our Lady it is not so much a change which
I feel, as a recalling and renewing sentiments and expressions which I
had some thirty years since, ere Tibb and I set up our humble household.
It is singular, that your society should have this sort of influence
over me, Halbert, and that I should never have experienced it ere now."

"Thinkest thou," said Halbert, "thou seest in me aught that can raise
me from this base, low, despised state, into one where I may rank with
those proud men, who now despise my clownish poverty?"

Martin paused an instant, and then answered, "Doubtless you may,
Halbert; as broken a ship has come to land. Heard ye never of Hughie
Dun, who left this Halidome some thirty-five years gone by? A deliverly
fellow was Hughie--could read and write like a priest, and could wield
brand and buckler with the best of the riders. I mind him--the like of
him was never seen in the Halidome of Saint Mary's, and so was seen of
the preferment that God sent him."

"And what was that?" said Halbert, his eyes sparkling with eagerness.

"Nothing less," answered Martin, "than body-servant to the Archbishop of
Saint Andrews!"

Halbert's countenance fell.--"A servant--and to a priest? Was this all
that knowledge and activity could raise him to?"

Martin, in his turn, looked with wistful surprise in the face of his
young friend. "And to what could fortune lead him farther?" answered
he. "The son of a kirk-feuar is not the stuff that lords and knights
are made of. Courage and school craft cannot change churl's blood into
gentle blood, I trow. I have heard, forby, that Hughie Dun left a good
five hundred punds of Scots money to his only daughter, and that she
married the Bailie of Pittenweem."

At this moment, and while Halbert was embarrassed with devising a
suitable answer, a deer bounded across their path. In an instant the
crossbow was at the youth's shoulder, the bolt whistled, and the deer,
after giving one bound upright, dropt dead on the green sward.

"There lies the venison our dame wanted," said Martin; "who would
have thought of an out-lying stag being so low down the glen at this
season?--And it is a hart of grease too, in full season, and three
inches of fat on the brisket. Now this is all your luck, Halbert, that
follows you, go where you like. Were you to put in for it, I would
warrant you were made one of the Abbot's yeoman-prickers, and ride about
in a purple doublet as bold as the best."

"Tush, man," answered Halbert, "I will serve the Queen or no one. Take
thou care to have down the venison to the Tower, since they expect it. I
will on to the moss. I have two or three bird-bolts at my girdle, and it
may be I shall find wild-fowl."

He hastened his pace, and was soon out of sight. Martin paused for a
moment, and looked after him. "There goes the making of a right gallant
stripling, an ambition have not the spoiling of him--Serve the Queen!
said he. By my faith, and she hath worse servants, from all that I e'er
heard of him. And wherefore should he not keep a high head? They that
ettle to the top of the ladder will at least get up some rounds. They
that mint [Footnote: _Mint_--aim at.] at a gown of gold, will always get
a sleeve of it. But come, sir, (addressing the stag,) you shall go to
Glendearg on my two legs somewhat more slowly than you were frisking it
even now on your own four nimble shanks. Nay, by my faith, if you be so
heavy, I will content me with the best of you, and that's the haunch and
the nombles, and e'en heave up the rest on the old oak-tree yonder, and
come back for it with one of the yauds." [Footnote: _Yauds_--horses;
more particularly horses of labour.]

While Martin returned to Glendearg with the venison, Halbert prosecuted
his walk, breathing more easily since he was free of his companion. "The
domestic of a proud and lazy priest--body-squire to the Archbishop of
Saint Andrews," he repeated to himself; "and this, with the privilege of
allying his blood with the Bailie of Pittenween, is thought a preferment
worth a brave man's struggling for;--nay more, a preferment which, if
allowed, should crown the hopes, past, present, and to come, of the
son of a Kirk-vassal! By Heaven, but that I find in me a reluctance to
practise their acts of nocturnal rapine, I would rather take the jack
and lance, and join with the Border-riders.--Something I will do. Here,
degraded and dishonoured, I will not live the scorn of each whiffling
stranger from the South, because, forsooth, he wears tinkling spurs on a
tawney boot. This thing--this phantom, be it what it will, I will see
it once more. Since I spoke with her, and touched her hand, thoughts
and feelings have dawned on me, of which my former life had not even
dreamed; but shall I, who feel my father's glen too narrow for my
expanding spirit, brook to be bearded in it by this vain gewgaw of a
courtier, and in the sight too of Mary Avenel? I will not stoop to it,
by Heaven!"

As he spoke thus, he arrived in the sequestered glen of Corri-nan-shian,
as it verged upon the hour of noon. A few moments he remained looking
upon the fountain, and doubting in his own mind with what countenance
the White Lady might receive him. She had not indeed expressly
forbidden his again evoking her; but yet there was something like such
a prohibition implied in the farewell, which recommended him to wait for
another guide.

Halbert Glendinning did not long, however, allow himself to pause.
Hardihood was the natural characteristic of his mind; and under the
expansion and modification which his feelings had lately undergone, it
had been augmented rather than diminished. He drew his sword, undid the
buskin from his foot, bowed three times with deliberation towards the
fountain, and as often towards the tree, and repeated the same rhyme as

  "Thrice to the holy brake--
    Thrice to the well:--
  I bid thee awake,
    White Maid of Avenel!

  Noon gleams on the lake--
    Noon glows on the fell--
  Wake thee, O wake,
    White Maid of Avenel!"

His eye was on the holly bush as he spoke the last line; and it was not
without an involuntary shuddering that he saw the air betwixt his eye
and that object become more dim, and condense, as it were, into
the faint appearance of a form, through which, however, so thin and
transparent was the first appearance of the phantom, he could discern
the outline of the bush, as through a veil of fine crape. But,
gradually, it darkened into a more substantial appearance, and the White
Lady stood before him with displeasure on her brow. She spoke, and her
speech was still song, or rather measured chant; but, as if now more
familiar, it flowed occasionally in modulated blank-verse, and at other
times in the lyrical measure which she had used at their former meeting.

  "This is the day when the fairy kind
    Sits weeping alone for their hopeless lot,
  And the wood-maiden sighs to the sighing wind,
    And the mer-maiden weeps in her crystal grot:
  For this is the day that a deed was wrought,
    In which we have neither part nor share.
  For the children of clay was salvation bought,
    But not for the forms of sea or air!
  And ever the mortal is most forlorn.
    Who meeteth our race on the Friday morn."

"Spirit," said Halbert Glendinning, boldly, "it is bootless to threaten.
one who holds his life at no rate. Thine anger can but slay; nor do I
think thy power extendeth, or thy will stretcheth, so far. The terrors
which your race produce upon others, are vain against me. My heart is
hardened against fear, as by a sense of despair. If I am, as thy words
infer, of a race more peculiarly the care of Heaven than thine, it is
mine to call, it must be thine to answer. I am the nobler being."

As he spoke, the figure looked upon him with a fierce and ireful
countenance, which, without losing the similitude of that which it
usually exhibited, had a wilder and more exaggerated cast of features.
The eyes seemed to contract and become more fiery, and slight
convulsions passed over the face, as if it was about to be transformed
into something hideous. The whole appearance resembled those faces which
the imagination summons up when it is disturbed by laudanum, but which
do not remain under the visionary's command, and, beautiful in their
first appearance, become wild and grotesque ere we can arrest them.

But when Halbert had concluded his bold speech, the White Lady stood
before him with the same pale, fixed, and melancholy aspect, which she
usually bore. He had expected the agitation which she exhibited would
conclude in some frightful metamorphosis. Folding her arms on her bosom,
the phantom replied,--

  "Daring youth! for thee it is well,
  Here calling me in haunted dell,
  That thy heart has not quail'd,
       Nor thy courage fail'd,
       And that thou couldst brook
  The angry look
       Of Her of Avenel.

  Did one limb shiver,
       Or an eyelid quiver,
  Thou wert lost for ever.
  Though I am form'd from the ether blue,
  And my blood is of the unfallen dew.
       And thou art framed of mud and dust,
  'Tis thine to speak, reply I must."

"I demand of thee, then," said the youth, "by what charm it is that I
am thus altered in mind and in wishes--that I think no longer of deer
or dog, of bow or bolt--that my soul spurns the bounds of this obscure
glen--that my blood boils at an insult from one by whose stirrup I
would some days since have run for a whole summer's morn, contented and
honoured by the notice of a single word? Why do I now seek to mate
me with princes, and knights, and nobles?--Am I the same, who but
yesterday, as it were, slumbered in contented obscurity, but who am
to-day awakened to glory and ambition?--Speak--tell me, if thou canst,
the meaning of this change?--Am I spell-bound?--or have I till now been
under the influence of a spell, that I feel as another being, yet
am conscious of remaining the same? Speak and tell me, is it to thy
influence that the change is owing?"

The White Lady replied,--

  "A mightier wizard far than I
    Wields o'er the universe his power;
  Him owns the eagle in the sky,
    The turtle in the bower.
  Chanceful in shape, yet mightiest still,
  He wields the heart of man at will,
  From ill to good, from good, to ill,
  In cot and castle-tower."

"Speak not thus darkly," said the youth, colouring so deeply, that
face, neck, and hands were in a sanguine glow; "make me sensible of thy

The spirit answered,--

  "Ask thy heart,--whose secret cell
  Is fill'd with Marv Avenel!
  Ask thy pride,--why scornful look
  In Mary's view it will not brook?
  Ask it, why thou seek'st to rise
  Among the mighty and the wise?--
  Why thou spurn'st thy lowly lot?--
  Why thy pastimes are forgot?
  Why thou wouldst in bloody strife
  Mend thy luck or lose thy life?
  Ask thy heart, and it shall tell,
  Sighing from its secret cell,
  'Tis for Mary Avenel."

"Tell me, then," said Halbert, his cheek still deeply crimsoned, "thou
who hast said to me that which I dared not say to myself, by what means
shall I urge my passion--by what means make it known?"

The White Lady replied,--

  "Do not ask me;
  On doubts like these thou canst not task me.
  We only see the passing show
  Of human passions' ebb and flow;
  And view the pageant's idle glance
  As mortals eye the northern dance,
  When thousand streamers, flashing bright,
  Career it o'er the brow of night.
  And gazers mark their changeful gleams,
  But feel no influence from their beams."

"Yet thine own fate," replied Halbert, "unless men greatly err, is
linked with that of mortals?"

The phantom answered,

  "By ties mysterious link'd, our fated race
  Holds strange connexion with the sons of men.
  The star that rose upon the House of Avenel,
  When Norman Ulric first assumed the name,
  That star, when culminating in its orbit,
  Shot from its sphere a drop of diamond dew,
  And this bright font received it--and a Spirit
  Rose from the fountain, and her date of life
  Hath co-existence with the House of Avenel,
  And with the star that rules it."

"Speak yet more plainly," answered young Glendinning; "of this I
can understand nothing. Say, what hath forged thy wierded [Footnote:
_Wierded_--fated.] link of destiny with the House of Avenel? Say,
especially, what fate now overhangs that house?"

The White Lady replied,--

  "Look on my girdle--on this thread of gold--
  'Tis fine as web of lightest gossamer.
  And, but there is a spell on't, would not bind,
  Light as they are, the folds of my thin robe.
  But when 'twas donn'd, it was a massive chain,
  Such as might bind the champion of the Jews,

  Even when his looks were longest--it hath dwindled,
  Hath minish'd in its substance and its strength,
  As sunk the greatness of the House of Avenel.
  When this frail thread gives way. I to the elements
  Resign the principles of life they lent me.
  Ask me no more of this!--the stars forbid it."

"Then canst thou read the stars," answered the youth; "and mayest tell
me the fate of my passion, if thou canst not aid it?"

The White Lady again replied,--

  "Dim burns the once bright star of Avenel,
  Dim as the beacon when the morn is nigh,
  And the o'er-wearied warder leaves the light-house;
  There is an influence sorrowful and fearful.
  That dogs its downward course. Disastrous passion,
  Fierce hate and rivalry, are in the aspect
  That lowers upon its fortunes."

"And rivalry?" repeated Glendinning; "it is, then, as I feared!--But
shall that English silkworm presume to beard me in my father's house,
and in the presence of Mary Avenel?--Give me to meet him, spirit--give
me to do away the vain distinction of rank on which he refuses me the
combat. Place us on equal terms, and gleam the stars with what aspect
they will, the sword of my father shall control their influences."

She answered as promptly as before,--

  "Complain not of me, child of clay,
  If to thy harm I yield the way.
  We, who soar thy sphere above,
  Know not aught of hate or love;
  As will or wisdom rules thy mood,
  My gifts to evil turn, or good."

"Give me to redeem my honour," said Halbert Glendinning--"give me to
retort on my proud rival the insults he has thrown on me, and let the
rest fare as it will. If I cannot revenge my wrong, I shall sleep quiet,
and know nought of my disgrace."

The phantom failed not to reply,--

  "When Piercie Shafton boasteth high,
  Let this token meet his eye.
  The sun is westering from the dell,
  Thy wish is granted--fare thee well!"

As the White Lady spoke or chanted these last words, she undid from her
locks a silver bodkin around which they were twisted, and gave it to
Halbert Glendinning; then shaking her dishevelled hair till it fell like
a veil around her, the outlines of her form gradually became as diffuse
as her flowing tresses, her countenance grew pale as the moon in her
first quarter, her features became indistinguishable, and she melted
into the air.

Habit inures us to wonders; but the youth did not find himself alone
by the fountain without experiencing, though in a much less degree,
the revulsion of spirits which he had felt upon the phantom's former
disappearance. A doubt strongly pressed upon his mind, whether it
were safe to avail himself of the gifts of a spirit which did not even
pretend to belong to the class of angels, and might, for aught he knew,
have a much worse lineage than that which she was pleased to avow. "I
will speak of it," he said, "to Edward, who is clerkly learned, and will
tell me what I should do. And yet, no--Edward is scrupulous and wary.--I
will prove the effect of her gift on Sir Piercie Shafton, if he again
braves me, and by the issue, I will be myself a sufficient judge whether
there is danger in resorting to her counsel. Home, then, home--and we
shall soon learn whether that home shall longer hold me; for not again
will I brook insult, with my father's sword by my side, and Mary for the
spectator of my disgrace."

Chapter the Eighteenth.

  I give thee eighteenpence a-day,
    And my bow shall thou bear,
  And over all the north country,
    I make thee the chief rydere.
  And I thirteenpence a-day, quoth the queen,
    By God and by my faye,
  Come fetch thy payment when thou wilt,
    No man shall say thee nay.

The manners of the age did not permit the inhabitants of Glendearg to
partake of the collation which was placed in the spence of that ancient
tower, before the Lord Abbot and his attendants, and Sir Piercie
Shafton. Dame Glendinning was excluded, both by inferiority of rank and
by sex, for (though it was a rule often neglected) the Superior of Saint
Mary's was debarred from taking his meals in female society. To Mary
Avenel the latter, and to Edward Glendinning the former, incapacity
attached; but it pleased his lordship to require their presence in
the apartment, and to say sundry kind words to them upon the ready and
hospitable reception which they had afforded him.

The smoking haunch now stood upon the table; a napkin, white as snow,
was, with due reverence, tucked under the chin of the Abbot by the
Refectioner; and nought was wanting to commence the repast, save the
presence of Sir Piercie Shafton, who at length appeared, glittering
like the sun, in a carnation-velvet doublet, slashed and puffed out with
cloth of silver, his hat of the newest block, surrounded by a hatband
of goldsmith's work, while around his neck he wore a collar of gold, set
with rubies and topazes so rich, that it vindicated his anxiety for the
safety of his baggage from being founded upon his love of mere finery.
This gorgeous collar or chain, resembling those worn by the knights of
the highest orders of chivalry, fell down on his breast, and terminated
in a medallion.

"We waited for Sir Piercie Shafton," said the Abbot, hastily assuming
his place in the great chair which the Kitchener advanced to the table
with ready hand.

"I pray your pardon, reverend father, and my good lord," replied that
pink of courtesy; "I did but wait to cast my riding slough, and
to transmew myself into some civil form meeter for this worshipful

"I cannot but praise your gallantry, Sir Knight," said the Abbot,
"and your prudence, also, for choosing the fitting time to appear thus
adorned. Certes, had that goodly chain been visible in some part of your
late progress, there was risk that the lawful owner might have parted
company therewith."

"This chain, said your reverence?" answered Sir Piercie; "surely it is
but a toy, a trifle, a slight thing which shows but poorly with this
doublet--marry, when I wear that of the murrey-coloured double-piled
Genoa velvet, puffed out with ciprus, the gems, being relieved and set
off by the darker and more grave ground of the stuff, show like stars
giving a lustre through dark clouds."

"I nothing doubt it," said the Abbot, "but I pray you to sit down at the

But Sir Piercie had now got into his element, and was not easily
interrupted--"I own," he continued, "that slight as the toy is, it might
perchance have had some captivation for Julian--Santa Maria!" said
he, interrupting himself; "what was I about to say, and my fair and
beauteous Protection, or shall I rather term her my Discretion, here
in presence!--Indiscreet hath it been in your Affability, O most lovely
Discretion, to suffer a stray word to have broke out of the penfold of
his mouth, that might overleap the fence of civility, and trespass on
the manor of decorum."

"Marry!" said the Abbot, somewhat impatiently, "the greatest discretion
that I can see in the matter is, to eat our victuals being hot--Father
Eustace, say the Benedicite, and cut up the haunch."

The Sub-Prior readily obeyed the first part of the Abbot's injunction,
but paused upon the second--"It is Friday, most reverend," he said in
Latin, desirous that the hint should escape, if possible, the ears of
the stranger.

"We are travellers," said the Abbot, in reply, "and _viatoribus licitum
est_--You know the canon--a traveller must eat what food his hard fate
sets before him. I grant you all a dispensation to eat flesh this day,
conditionally that you, brethren, say the Confiteor at curfew time, that
the knight give alms to his ability, and that all and each of you
fast from flesh on such day within the next month that shall seem
most convenient;--wherefore fall to and eat your food with cheerful
countenances, and you, Father Refectioner, _da mixtus_."

While the Abbot was thus stating the conditions on which his indulgence
was granted, he had already half finished a slice of the noble haunch,
and now washed it down with a flagon of Rhenish, modestly tempered with

"Well is it said," he observed, as he required from the Refectioner
another slice, "that virtue is its own reward; for though this is but
humble fare, and hastily prepared, and eaten in a poor chamber, I do not
remember me of having had such an appetite since I was a simple brother
in the Abbey of Dundrennan, and was wont to labour in the garden from
morning until nones, when our Abbot struck the _Cymbalum_. Then would I
enter keen with hunger, parched with thirst, (_da mihi vinum quaeso, et
merum sit_,) and partake with appetite of whatever was set before us,
according to our rule; feast or fast day, _caritas_ or _penitentia_, was
the same to me. I had no stomach complaints then, which now crave both
the aid of wine and choice cookery, to render my food acceptable to my
palate, and easy of digestion."

"It may be, holy father," said the Sub-Prior, "an occasional ride to the
extremity of Saint Mary's patrimony, may have the same happy effect on
your health as the air of the garden at Dundrennan."

"Perchance, with our patroness's blessing, such progresses may advantage
us," said the Abbot; "having an especial eye that our venison is
carefully killed by some woodsman that is master of his craft."

"If the Lord Abbot will permit me," said the Kitchener, "I think the
best way to assure his lordship on that important point, would be to
retain as a yeoman-pricker, or deputy-ranger, the eldest son of this
good woman, Dame Glendinning, who is here to wait upon us. I should
know by mine office what belongs to killing of game, and I can safely
pronounce, that never saw I, or any other _coquinarius_, a bolt so
justly shot. It has cloven the very heart of the buck."

"What speak you to us of one good shot, father?" said Sir Piercie;
"I would advise you that such no more maketh a shooter, than doth one
swallow make a summer--I have seen this springald of whom you speak, and
if his hand can send forth his shafts as boldly as his tongue doth utter
presumptuous speeches, I will own him as good an archer as Robin Hood."

"Marry," said the Abbot, "and it is fitting we know the truth of this
matter from the dame herself; for ill advised were we to give way to
any rashness in this matter, whereby the bounties which Heaven and our
patroness provide might be unskilfully mangled, and rendered unfit for
worthy men's use.--Stand forth, therefore, dame Glendinning, and tell to
us, as thy liege lord and spiritual Superior, using plainness and truth,
without either fear or favour, as being a matter wherein we are deeply
interested, Doth this son of thine use his bow as well as the Father
Kitchener avers to us?"

"So please your noble fatherhood," answered Dame Glendinning with a
deep curtsy, "I should know somewhat of archery to my cost, seeing my
husband--God assoilzie him!--was slain in the field of Pinkie with an
arrow-shot, while he was fighting under the Kirk's banner, as became
a liege vassal of the Halidome. He was a valiant man, please your
reverence, and an honest; and saving that he loved a bit of venison, and
shifted for his living at a time as Border-men will sometimes do, I wot
not of sin that he did. And yet, though I have paid for mass after mass
to the matter of a forty shilling, besides a quarter of wheat and four
firlocks of rye, I can have no assurance yet that he has been delivered
from purgatory."

"Dame," said the Lord Abbot, "this shall be looked into heedfully; and
since thy husband fell, as thou sayest, in the Kirk's quarrel, and
under her banner, rely upon it that we will have him out of purgatory
forthwith--that is, always provided he be there.--But it is not of
thy husband whom we now devise to speak, but of thy son; not of a shot
Scotsman, but of a shot deer--Wherefore, I say, answer me to the point,
is thy son a practised archer, ay or no?"

"Alack! my reverend lord," replied the widow, "and my croft would
be better tilled, if I could answer your reverence that he is
not.--Practised archer!--marry, holy sir, I would he would practise
something else--cross-bow and long-bow, hand-gun and hack-but, falconet
and saker, he can shoot with them all. And if it would please this right
honourable gentleman, our guest, to hold out his hat at the distance of
a hundred yards, our Halbert shall send shaft, bolt, or bullet through
it, (so that right honourable gentleman swerve not, but hold out
steady,) and I will forfeit a quarter of barley if he touch but a knot
of his ribands. I have seen our old Martin do as much, and so has our
right reverend the Sub-Prior, if he be pleased to remember it."

"I am not like to forget it, dame," said Father Eustace; "for I knew
not which most to admire, the composure of the young marksman, or the
steadiness of the old mark. Yet I presume not to advise Sir Piercie
Shafton to subject his valuable beaver, and yet more valuable person, to
such a risk, unless it should be his own special pleasure."

"Be assured it is not," said Sir Piercie Shafton, something hastily;
"be well assured, holy father, that it is not. I dispute not the lad's
qualities, for which your reverence vouches. But bows are but wood,
strings are but flax, or the silk-worm excrement at best; archers are
but men, fingers may slip, eyes may dazzle, the blindest may hit the
butt, the best marker may shoot a bow's length beside. Therefore will we
try no perilous experiments."

"Be that as you will, Sir Piercie," said the Abbot; "meantime we will
name this youth bow-bearer in the forest granted to us by good King
David, that the chase might recreate our wearied spirits, the flesh of
the dear improve our poor commons, and the hides cover the books of our
library; thus tending at once to the sustenance of body and soul."

"Kneel down, woman, kneel down," said the Refectioner and the Kitchener,
with one voice, to Dame Glendinning, "and kiss his lordship's hand, for
the grace which he has granted to thy son."

They then, as if they had been chanting the service and the responses,
set off in a sort of duetto, enumerating the advantages of the

"A green gown and a pair of leathern galligaskins every Pentecost," said
the Kitchener.

"Four marks by the year at Candlemas," answered the Refectioner.

"A hogshead of ale at Martlemas, of the double strike, and single ale at
pleasure, as he shall agree with the Cellarer--"

"Who is a reasonable man," said the Abbot, "and will encourage an active
servant of the convent."

"A mess of broth and a dole of mutton or beef, at the Kitchener's, on
each high holiday," resumed the Kitchener.

"The gang of two cows and a palfrey on our Lady's meadow." answered his
brother officer.

"An ox-hide to make buskins of yearly, because of the brambles," echoed
the Kitchener.

"And various other perquisites, _quae nunc praescribere longum_," said
the Abbot, summing, with his own lordly voice, the advantages attached
to the office of conventional bow-bearer.

Dame Glendinning was all this while on her knees, her head mechanically
turning from the one church officer to the other, which, as they stood
one on each side of her, had much the appearance of a figure moved by
clock-work, and so soon as they were silent, most devotedly did she
kiss the munificent hand of the Abbot. Conscious, however, of Halbert's
intractability in some points, she could not help qualifying her
grateful and reiterated thanks for the Abbot's bountiful proffer, with a
hope that Halbert would see his wisdom, and accept of it.

"How," said the Abbot, bending his brows, "accept of it?--Woman, is thy
son in his right wits?"

Elspeth, stunned by the tone in which this question was asked, was
altogether unable to reply to it. Indeed, any answer she might have made
could hardly have been heard, as it pleased the two office-bearers of
the Abbot's table again to recommence their alternate dialogue.

"Refuse!" said the Kitchener.

"Refuse!" answered the Refectioner, echoing the other's word in a tone
of still louder astonishment.

"Refuse four marks by the year!" said the one.

"Ale and beer--broth and mutton--cow's grass and palfrey's!" shouted the

"Gown and galligaskins!" responded the Refectioner.

"A moment's patience, my brethren," answered the Sub-Prior, "and let us
not be thus astonished before cause is afforded of our amazement. This
good dame best knoweth the temper and spirit of her son--this much I can
say, that it lieth not towards letters or learning, of which I have in
vain endeavoured to instil into him some tincture. Nevertheless, he is
a youth of no common spirit, but much like those (in my weak judgment)
whom God raises up among a people when he meaneth that their deliverance
shall be wrought out with strength of hand and valour of heart. Such
men we have seen marked with a waywardness, and even an obstinacy of
character, which hath appeared intractability and stupidity to those
among whom they walked and were conversant, until the very opportunity
hath arrived in, which it was the will of Providence that they should be
the fitting instrument of great things."

"Now, in good time hast thou spoken, Father Eustace," said the Abbot;
"and we will see this swankie before we decide upon the means of
employing him.--How say you, Sir Piercie Shafton, is it not the court
fashion to suit the man to the office, and not the office to the man?"

"So please your reverence and lordship," answered the Northumbrian
knight, "I do partly, that is, in some sort, subscribe to what your
wisdom hath delivered--Nevertheless, under reverence of the Sub-Prior,
we do not look for gallant leaders and national deliverers in the hovels
of the mean common people. Credit me, that if there be some flashes of
martial spirit about this young person, which I am not called upon to
dispute, (though I have seldom seen that presumption and arrogance were
made good upon the upshot by deed and action,) yet still these will
prove insufficient to distinguish him, save in his own limited and lowly
sphere--even as the glowworm, which makes a goodly show among the grass
of the field, would be of little avail if deposited in a beacon-grate."

"Now, in good time," said the Sub-Prior, "and here comes the young
huntsman to speak for himself;" for, being placed opposite to the
window, he could observe Halbert as he ascended the little mound on
which the tower was situated.

"Summon him to our presence," said the Lord Abbot; and with an obedient
start the two attendant monks went off with emulous alertness. Dame
Glendinning sprung away at the same moment, partly to gain an instant to
recommend obedience to her son, partly to prevail with him to change his
apparel before coming in presence of the Abbot. But the Kitchener and
Refectioner, both speaking at once, had already seized each an arm, and
were leading Halbert in triumph into the apartment, so that she could
only ejaculate, "His will be done; but an he had but had on him his
Sunday's hose!"

Limited and humble as this desire was, the fates did not grant it, for
Halbert Glendinning was hurried into the presence of the Lord Abbot and
his party, without a word of explanation, and without a moment's time
being allowed to assume his holiday hose, which, in the language of the
time, implied both breeches and stockings.

Yet, though thus suddenly presented amid the centre of all eyes, there
was something in Halbert's appearance which commanded a certain degree
of respect from the company into which he was so unceremoniously
intruded, and the greater part of whom were disposed to consider him
with hauteur if not with absolute contempt. But his appearance and
reception we must devote to another chapter.

       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter the Nineteenth.

  Now choose thee, gallant, betwixt wealth and honour;
  There lies the pelf, in sum to bear thee through
  The dance of youth, and the turmoil of manhood,
  Yet leave enough for age's chimney-corner;
  But an thou grasp to it, farewell ambition,
  Farewell each hope of bettering thy condition,
  And raising thy low rank above the churls
  That till the earth for bread.
                                 OLD PLAY.

It is necessary to dwell for some brief space on the appearance and
demeanour of young Glendinning, ere we proceed to describe his interview
with the Abbot of St. Mary's, at this momentous crisis of his life.

Halbert was now about nineteen years old, tall and active rather than
strong, yet of that hardy conformation of limb and sinew, which promises
great strength when the growth shall be complete, and the system
confirmed. He was perfectly well made, and, like most men who have that
advantage, possessed a grace and natural ease of manner and carriage,
which prevented his height from being the distinguished part of his
external appearance. It was not until you had compared his stature with
that of those amongst or near to whom he stood, that you became
sensible that the young Glendinning was upwards of six feet high. In the
combination of unusual height with perfect symmetry, ease, and grace of
carriage, the young heir of Glendearg, notwithstanding his rustic birth
and education, had greatly the advantage even of Sir Piercie Shafton
himself, whose stature was lower, and his limbs, though there was
no particular point to object to, were on the whole less exactly
proportioned. On the other hand, Sir Piercie's very handsome countenance
afforded him as decided an advantage over the Scotsman, as regularity of
features and brilliance of complexion could give over traits which were
rather strongly marked than beautiful, and upon whose complexion the
"skyey influences," to which he was constantly exposed, had blended
the red and white into the purely nut-brown hue, which coloured alike
cheeks, neck, and forehead, and blushed only in a darker glow upon the
former.--Halbert's eyes supplied a marked and distinguished part of
his physiognomy. They were large and of a hazel colour, and sparkled in
moments of animation with such uncommon brilliancy, that it seemed as
if they actually emitted light. Nature had closely curled the locks of
dark-brown hair, which relieved and set off the features, such as we
have described them, displaying a bold and animated disposition, much
more than might have been expected from his situation, or from his
previous manners, which hitherto had seemed bashful, homely, and

Halbert's dress was certainly not of that description which sets off to
the best advantage a presence of itself prepossessing. His jerkin and
hose were of coarse rustic cloth, and his cap of the same. A belt
round his waist served at once to sustain the broad-sword which we have
already mentioned, and to hold five or six arrows and bird-bolts, which
were stuck into it on the right side, along with a large knife hilted
with buck-horn, or, as it was then called, a dudgeon-dagger. To complete
his dress, we must notice his loose buskins of deer's hide, formed so as
to draw up on the leg as high as the knee, or at pleasure to be thrust
down lower than the calves. These were generally used at the period by
such as either had their principal occupation, or their chief pleasure,
in silvan sports, as they served to protect the legs against the rough
and tangled thickets into which the pursuit of game frequently led
them.--And these trifling particulars complete his external appearance.

It is not easy to do justice to the manner in which young Glendinning's
soul spoke through his eyes when ushered so suddenly into the company of
those whom his earliest education had taught him to treat with awe and
reverence. The degree of embarrassment, which his demeanor evinced, had
nothing in it either meanly servile, or utterly disconcerted. It was no
more than became a generous and ingenuous youth of a bold spirit, but
totally inexperienced, who should for the first time be called upon to
think and act for himself in such society and under such disadvantageous
circumstances. There was not in his carriage a grain either of
forwardness or of timidity, which a friend could have wished away.

He kneeled and kissed the Abbot's hand, then rose, and retiring two
paces, bowed respectfully to the circle around, smiling gently as he
received an encouraging nod from the Sub-Prior, to whom alone he was
personally known, and blushing as he encountered the anxious look of
Mary Avenel, who beheld with painful interest the sort of ordeal to
which her foster-brother was about to be subjected. Recovering from the
transient flurry of spirits into which the encounter of her glance had
thrown him, he stood composedly awaiting till the Abbot should express
his pleasure.

The ingenuous expression of countenance, noble form, and graceful
attitude of the young man, failed not to prepossess in his favor the
churchmen in whose presence he stood. The Abbot looked round, and
exchanged a gracious and approving glance with his counsellor Father
Eustace, although probably the appointment of a ranger, or bow-bearer,
was one in which he might have been disposed to proceed without the
Sub-Prior's advice, were it but to show his own free agency. But the
good mien of the young man now in nomination was such, that he rather
hastened to exchange congratulation on meeting with so proper a subject
of promotion, than to indulge any other feeling. Father Eustace enjoyed
the pleasure which a well-constituted mind derives from seeing a benefit
light on a deserving object; for as he had not seen Halbert since
circumstances had made so material a change in his manner and feelings,
he scarce doubted that the proffered appointment would, notwithstanding
his mother's uncertainty, suit the disposition of a youth who had
appeared devoted to woodland sports, and a foe alike to sedentary or
settled occupation of any kind. The Refectioner and Kitchener were so
well pleased with Halbert's prepossessing appearance, that they seemed
to think that the salary, emoluments, and perquisites, the dole, the
grazing, the gown, and the galligaskins, could scarce be better bestowed
than on the active and graceful figure before them.

Sir Piercie Shafton, whether from being more deeply engaged in his own
cogitations, or that the subject was unworthy of his notice, did not
seem to partake of the general feeling of approbation excited by the
young man's presence. He sate with his eyes half shut, and his arms
folded, appearing to be wrapped in contemplations of a nature deeper
than those arising out of the scene before him. But, notwithstanding his
seeming abstraction and absence of mind, there was a flutter of vanity
in Sir Piercie's very handsome countenance, an occasional change of
posture from one striking attitude (or what he conceived to be such)
to another, and an occasional stolen glance at the female part of the
company, to spy how far he succeeded in riveting their attention, which
gave a marked advantage, in comparison, to the less regular and more
harsh features of Halbert Glendinning, with their composed, manly, and
deliberate expression of mental fortitude.

Of the females belonging to the family of Glendearg, the Miller's
daughter alone had her mind sufficiently at leisure to admire, from time
to time, the graceful attitudes of Sir Piercie Shafton; for both Mary
Avenel and Dame Glendinning were waiting in anxiety and apprehension
the answer which Halbert was to return to the Abbot's proposal, and
fearfully anticipating the consequences of his probable refusal.
The conduct of his brother Edward, for a lad constitutionally shy,
respectful, and even timid, was at once affectionate and noble. This
younger son of Dame Elspeth had stood unnoticed in a corner, after
the Abbot, at the request of the Sub-Prior, had honoured him with some
passing notice, and asked him a few common-place questions about his
progress in Donatus, and in the _Promptuarium Parvulorum_, without
waiting for the answers. From his corner he now glided round to his
brother's side, and keeping a little behind him, slid his right hand
into the huntsman's left, and by a gentle pressure, which Halbert
instantly and ardently returned, expressed at once his interest in his
situation, and his resolution to share his fate.

The group was thus arranged, when, after the pause of two or three
minutes, which he employed in slowly sipping his cup of wine, in order
that he might enter on his proposal with due and deliberate dignity, the
Abbot at length expressed himself thus:--

"My son--we your lawful Superior, and the Abbot, under God's favour,
of the community of Saint Mary's, have heard of your manifold good
gifts--a-hem--especially touching wood-craft--and the huntsman-like
fashion in which you strike your game, truly and as a yeoman should, not
abusing Heaven's good benefits by spoiling the flesh, as is too often
seen in careless rangers--a-hem." He made here a pause, but observing
that Glendinning only replied to his compliment by a bow, he
proceeded,--"My son, we commend your modesty; nevertheless, we will
that thou shouldst speak freely to us touching that which we have
premeditated for thine advancement, meaning to confer on thee the office
of bow-bearer and ranger, as well over the chases and forests wherein
our house hath privilege by the gifts of pious kings and nobles, whose
souls now enjoy the fruits of their bounties to the Church as to those
which belong to us in exclusive right of property and perpetuity. Thy
knee, my son--that we may, with our own hand, and without loss of time,
induct thee into office."

"Kneel down," said the Kitchener on the one side; and "Kneel down," said
the Refectioner on the other.

But Halbert Glendinning remained standing.

"Were it to show gratitude and good-will for your reverend lordship's
noble offer, I could not," he said, "kneel low enough, or remain long
enough kneeling. But I may not kneel to take investure of your
noble gift, my Lord Abbot, being a man determined to seek my fortune

"How is that, sir?" said the Abbot, knitting his brows; "do I hear you
speak aright? and do you, a born vassal of the Halidome, at the moment
when I am destining to you such a noble expression of my good-will,
propose exchanging my service for that of any other?"

"My lord," said Halbert Glendinning, "it grieves me to think you hold
me capable of undervaluing your gracious offer, or of exchanging
your service for another. But your noble proffer doth but hasten the
execution of a determination which I have long since formed."

"Ay, my son," said the Abbot, "is it indeed so?--right early have
you learned to form resolutions without consulting those on whom you
naturally depend. But what may it be, this sagacious resolution, if I
may so far pray you?"

"To yield up to my brother and mother," answered Halbert, "mine
interest in the fief of Glendearg, lately possessed by my father, Simon
Glendinning: and having prayed your lordship to be the same kind and
generous master to them, that your predecessors, the venerable Abbots
of Saint Mary's, have been to my fathers in times past; for myself, I am
determined to seek my fortune where I may best find it."

Dame Glendinning here ventured, emboldened by maternal anxiety, to
break silence with an exclamation of "O my son!" Edward clinging to his
brother's side, half spoke, half whispered, a similar ejaculation, of
"Brother! brother!"

The Sub-Prior took up the matter in a tone of grave reprehension, which,
as he conceived, the interest he had always taken in the family at
Glendearg required at his hand.

"Wilful young man," he said, "what folly can urge thee to push back the
hand that is stretched out to aid thee? What visionary aim hast
thou before thee, that can compensate for the decent and sufficient
independence which thou art now rejecting with scorn?"

"Four marks by the year, duly and truly," said the Kitchener.

"Cow's-grass, doublet, and galligaskins," responded the Refectioner.

"Peace, my brethren," said the Sub-Prior; "and may it please your
lordship, venerable father, upon my petition, to allow this headstrong
youth a day for consideration, and it shall be my part so to
indoctrinate him, as to convince him what is due on this occasion to
your lordship, and to his family, and to himself."

"Your kindness, reverend father," said the youth, "craves my dearest
thanks--it is the continuance of a long train of benevolence towards me,
for which I give you my gratitude, for I have nothing else to offer. It
is my mishap, not your fault, that your intentions have been frustrated.
But my present resolution is fixed and unalterable. I cannot accept the
generous offer of the Lord Abbot; my fate calls me elsewhere, to scenes
where I shall end it or mend it."

"By our Lady," said the Abbot, "I think the youth be mad indeed--or that
you, Sir Piercie, judged of him most truly, when you prophesied that he
would prove unfit for the promotion we designed him--it may be you knew
something of this wayward humour before?"

"By the mass, not I," answered Sir Piercie Shafton, with his usual
indifference. "I but judged of him by his birth and breeding; for seldom
doth a good hawk come out of a kite's egg."

"Thou art thyself a kite, and kestrel to boot," replied Halbert
Glendinning, without a moment's hesitation.

"This in our presence, and to a man of worship?" said the Abbot, the
blood rushing to his face.

"Yes, my lord," answered the youth; "even in your presence I return to
this gay man's face, the causeless dishonour--which he has flung on my
name. My brave father, who fell in the cause of his country, demands
that justice at the hands of his son!"

"Unmannered boy!" said the Abbot.

"Nay, my good lord," said the knight, "praying pardon for the
coarse interruption, let me entreat you not to be wroth with this
rustical--Credit me, the north wind shall as soon puff one of your rocks
from its basis, as aught which I hold so slight and inconsiderate as the
churlish speech of an untaught churl, shall move the spleen of Piercie

"Proud as you are, Sir Knight," said Halbert, "in your imagined
superiority, be not too confident that you cannot be moved."

"Faith, by nothing that thou canst urge," said Sir Piercie.

"Knowest thou, then, this token?" said young Glendinning, offering to
him the silver bodkin he had received from the White Lady.

Never was such an instant change, from the most contemptuous serenity,
to the most furious state of passion, as that which Sir Piercie Shafton
exhibited. It was the difference between a cannon lying quiet in its
embrasure, and the same gun when touched by the linstock. He started
up, every limb quivering with rage, and his features so inflamed and
agitated by passion, that he more resembled a demoniac, than a man under
the regulation of reason. He clenched both his fists, and thrusting them
forward, offered them furiously at the face of Glendinning, who was even
himself startled at the frantic state of excitation which his action
had occasioned. The next moment he withdrew them, struck his open palm
against his own forehead, and rushed out of the room in a state of
indescribable agitation. The whole matter had been so sudden, that no
person present had time to interfere.

When Sir Piercie Shafton had left the apartment, there was a moment's
pause of astonishment; and then a general demand that Halbert
Glendinning should instantly explain by what means he had produced such
a violent change in the deportment of the English cavalier.

"I did nought to him," answered Halbert Glendinning, "but what you all
saw--am I to answer for his fantastic freaks of humour?"

"Boy," said the Abbot, in his most authoritative manner, "these
subterfuges shall not avail thee. This is not a man to be driven from
his temperament without some sufficient cause. That cause was given by
thee, and must have been known to thee. I command thee, as thou wilt
save thyself from worse measure, to explain to me by what means thou
hast moved our friend thus--We choose not that our vassals shall drive
our guests mad in our very presence, and we remain ignorant of the means
whereby that purpose is effected."

"So may it please your reverence, I did but show him this token," said
Halbert Glendinning, delivering it at the same time to the Abbot, who
looked at it with much attention, and then, shaking his head, gravely
delivered it to the Sub-Prior, without speaking a word.

Father Eustace looked at the mysterious token with some attention; and
then addressing Halbert in a stern and severe voice, said, "Young man,
if thou wouldst not have us suspect thee of some strange double-dealing
in this matter, let us instantly know whence thou hadst this token, and
how it possesses an influence on Sir Piercie Shafton?"--It would have
been extremely difficult for Halbert, thus hard pressed, to have either
evaded or answered so puzzling a question. To have avowed the truth
might, in those times, have occasioned his being burnt at a stake,
although, in ours, his confession would have only gained for him the
credit of a liar beyond all rational credibility. He was fortunately
relieved by the return of Sir Piercie Shafton himself, whose ear caught,
as he entered, the sound of the Sub-Prior's question.

Without waiting until Halbert Glendinning replied, he came forward,
whispering to him as he passed, "Be secret--thou shalt have the
satisfaction thou hast dared to seek for."

When he returned to his place, there were still marks of discomposure on
his brow; but, becoming apparently collected and calm, he looked around
him, and apologized for the indecorum of which he had been guilty, which
he ascribed to sudden and severe indisposition. All were silent, and
looked on each other with some surprise.

The Lord Abbot gave orders for all to retire from the apartment, save
himself, Sir Piercie Shafton, and the Sub-Prior. "And have an eye," he
added, "on that bold youth, that he escape not; for if he hath practised
by charm, or otherwise, on the health of our worshipful guest, I swear
by the alb and mitre which I wear, that his punishment shall be most

"My lord and venerable father," said Halbert, bowing respectfully, "fear
not but that I will abide my doom. I think you will best learn from the
worshipful knight himself, what is the cause of his distemperature, and
how slight my share in it has been."

"Be assured," said the knight, without looking up, however, while he
spoke, "I will satisfy the Lord Abbot."

With these words the company retired, and with them young Glendinning.
When the Abbot, the Sub-Prior, and the English knight were left alone,
Father Eustace, contrary to his custom, could not help speaking the
first. "Expound unto us, noble sir," he said, "by what mysterious means
the production of this simple toy could so far move your spirit, and
overcome your patience, after you had shown yourself proof to all the
provocation offered by this self-sufficient and singular youth?"

The knight took the silver bodkin from the good father's hand, looked at
it with great composure, and, having examined it all over, returned it
to the Sub-Prior, saying at the same time, "In truth, venerable father,
I cannot but marvel, that the wisdom implied alike in your silver hairs,
and in your eminent rank, should, like a babbling hound, (excuse the
similitude,) open thus loudly on a false scent. I were, indeed, more
slight to be moved than the leaves of the aspen-tree, which wag at the
least breath of heaven, could I be touched by such a trifle as this,
which in no way concerns me more than if the same quantity of silver
were stricken into so many groats. Truth is, that from my youth upward,
I have been subjected to such a malady as you saw me visited with even
now--a cruel and searching pain, which goeth through nerve and bone,
even as a good brand in the hands of a brave soldier sheers through limb
and sinew--but it passes away speedily, as you yourselves may judge."

"Still," said the Sub-Prior, "this will not account for the youth
offering to you this piece of silver, as a token by which you were
to understand something, and, as we must needs conjecture, something

"Your reverence is to conjecture what you will," said Sir Piercie; "but
I cannot pretend to lay your judgment on the right scent when I see it
at fault. I hope I am not liable to be called upon to account for the
foolish actions of a malapert boy?"

"Assuredly," said the Sub-Prior, "we shall prosecute no inquiry which
is disagreeable to our guest. Nevertheless," said he, looking to his
Superior, "this chance may, in some sort, alter the plan your lordship
had formed for your worshipful guest's residence for a brief term in
this tower, as a place alike of secrecy and of security; both of which,
in the terms which we now stand on with England, are circumstances to be

"In truth," said the Abbot, "and the doubt is well thought on, were it
as well removed; for I scarce know in the Halidome so fitting a place
of refuge, yet see I not how to recommend it to our worshipful guest,
considering the unrestrained petulance of this headstrong youth."

"Tush! reverend sirs--what would you make of me?" said Sir Piercie
Shafton. "I protest, by mine honour, I would abide in this house were I
to choose. What! I take no exceptions at the youth for showing a flash
of spirit, though the spark may light on mine own head. I honour the
lad for it. I protest I will abide here, and he shall aid me in striking
down a deer. I must needs be friends with him, and he be such a shot:
and we will speedily send down to my lord Abbot a buck of the first
head, killed so artificially as shall satisfy even the reverend

This was said with such apparent ease and good-humour, that the Abbot
made no farther observation on what had passed, but proceeded to
acquaint his guest with the details of furniture, hangings, provisions,
and so forth, which he proposed to send up to the Tower of Glendearg for
his accommodation. This discourse, seasoned with a cup or two of
wine, served to prolong the time until the reverend Abbot ordered his
cavalcade to prepare for their return to the Monastery.

"As we have," he said, "in the course of this our toilsome journey,
lost our meridian, [Footnote: The hour of repose at noon, which, in the
middle ages, was employed in slumber, and which the monastic rules of
nocturnal vigils rendered necessary.] indulgence shall be given to those
of our attendants who shall, from very weariness, be unable to attend
the duty at prime, [Footnote: _Prime_ was the midnight service of the
monks.] and this by way of misericord or _indulgentia._" [Footnote:
_Misericord,_ according to the learned work of Fosbrooke on British
Monachism, meant not only an indulgence, or exoneration from particular
duties, but also a particular apartment in a convent, where the monks
assembled to enjoy such indulgences or allowances as were granted beyond
the rule.]

Having benevolently intimated a boon to his faithful followers, which he
probably judged would be far from unacceptable, the good Abbot, seeing
all ready for his journey, bestowed his blessing on the assembled
household--gave his hand to be kissed by Dame Glendinning--himself
kissed the cheek of Mary Avenel, and even of the Miller's maiden, when
they approached to render him the same homage--commanded Halbert to rule
his temper, and to be aiding and obedient in all things to the
English Knight--admonished Edward to be _discipulus impiger atque
strenuus_--then took a courteous farewell of Sir Piercie Shafton,
advising him to lie close, for fear of the English borderers, who might
be employed to kidnap him; and having discharged these various offices
of courtesy, moved forth to the courtyard, followed by the whole
establishment. Here, with a heavy sigh, approaching to a groan, the
venerable father heaved himself upon his palfrey, whose dark purple
housings swept the ground; and, greatly comforted that the discretion of
the animal's pace would be no longer disturbed by the gambadoes of Sir
Piercie and his prancing war-horse, he set forth at a sober and steady
trot upon his return to the Monastery.

When the Sub-Prior had mounted to accompany his principal, his eye
sought out Halbert, who, partly hidden by a projection of the outward
wall of the court, stood apart from, and gazing upon the departing
cavalcade, and the group which assembled around them. Unsatisfied with
the explanation he had received concerning the mysterious transaction
of the silver bodkin, yet interesting himself in the youth, of whose
character he had formed a favourable idea, the worthy monk resolved
to take an early opportunity of investigating that matter. In the
meanwhile, he looked upon Halbert with a serious and warning aspect, and
held up his finger to him as he signed farewell. He then joined the rest
of the churchmen, and followed his Superior down the valley.

Chapter the Twentieth.

  I hope you'll give me cause to think you noble.
  And do me right with your sword, sir, as becomes
  One gentleman of honour to another;

  All this is fair, sir--let us make no days on't,
  I'll lead your way.


The look and sign of warning which the Sub-Prior gave to Halbert
Glendinning as they parted, went to his heart; for although he had
profited much less than Edward by the good man's instructions, he had
a sincere reverence for his person; and even the short time he had for
deliberation tended to show him he was embarked in a perilous adventure.
The nature of the provocation which he had given to Sir Piercie Shafton
he could not even conjecture; but he saw that it was of a mortal
quality, and he was now to abide the consequences.

That he might not force these consequences forward by any premature
renewal of their quarrel, he resolved to walk apart for an hour, and
consider on what terms he was to meet this haughty foreigner. The time
seemed propitious for his doing so without having the appearance
of wilfully shunning the stranger, as all the members of the little
household were dispersing either to perform such tasks as had been
interrupted by the arrival of the dignitaries, or to put in order what
had been deranged by their visit.

Leaving the tower, therefore, and descending, unobserved as he thought,
the knoll on which it stood, Halbert gained the little piece of level
ground which extended betwixt the descent of the hill, and the first
sweep made by the brook after washing the foot of the eminence on which
the tower was situated, where a few straggling birch and oak-trees
served to secure him from observation. But scarcely had he reached the
spot, when he was surprised to feel a smart tap upon the shoulder, and,
turning around, he perceived he had been closely followed by Sir
Piercie Shafton. When, whether from our state of animal spirits, want
of confidence in the justice of our cause, or any other motive, our own
courage happens to be in a wavering condition, nothing tends so much
altogether to disconcert us, as a great appearance of promptitude on
the part of our antagonist. Halbert Glendinning, both morally and
constitutionally intrepid, was nevertheless somewhat troubled at seeing
the stranger, whose resentment he had provoked, appear at once before
him, and with an aspect which boded hostility. But though his heart
might beat somewhat thicker, he was too high-spirited to exhibit any
external signs of emotion.--"What is your pleasure, Sir Piercie?" he
said to the English knight, enduring without apparent discomposure all
the terrors which his antagonist had summoned into his aspect.

"What is my pleasure!" answered Sir Piercie; "a goodly question
after the part you have acted towards me!--Young man, I know not
what infatuation has led thee to place thyself in direct and insolent
opposition to one who is a guest of thy liege-lord the Abbot, and who,
even from the courtesy due to thy mother's roof, had a right to remain
there without meeting insult. Neither do I ask, or care, by what means
thou hast become possessed of the fatal secret by which thou hast dared
to offer me open shame. But I must now tell thee, that the possession of
it has cost thee thy life."

"Not, I trust, if my hand and sword can defend it," replied Halbert,

"True," said the Englishman, "I mean not to deprive thee of thy fair
chance of self-defence. I am only sorry to think, that, young and
country-bred as thou art, it can but little avail thee. But thou must be
well aware, that in this quarrel I shall use no terms of quarter."

"Rely on it, proud man," answered the youth, "that I shall ask none; and
although thou speakest as if I lay already at thy feet, trust me,
that as I am determined never to ask thy mercy, so I am not fearful of
needing it."

"Thou wilt, then," said the knight, "do nothing to avert the certain
fate which thou hast provoked with such wantonness?"

"And how were that to be purchased?" replied Halbert Glendinning, more
with the wish of obtaining some farther insight into the terms on which
he stood with this stranger, than to make him the submission which he
might require.

"Explain to me instantly," said Sir Piercie, "without equivocation or
delay, by what means thou wert enabled to wound my honour so deeply--and
shouldst thou point out to me by so doing an enemy more worthy of my
resentment, I will permit thine own obscure insignificance to draw a
veil over thine insolence."

"This is too high a flight," said Glendinning, fiercely, "for thine own
presumption to soar without being checked. Thou hast come to my father's
house, as well as I can guess, a fugitive and an exile, and thy first
greeting to its inhabitants has been that of contempt and injury. By
what means I have been able to retort that contempt, let thine own
conscience tell thee. Enough for me that I stand on the privilege of
a free Scotchman, and will brook no insult unreturned, and no injury

"It is well, then," said Sir Piercie Shafton; "we will dispute this
matter to-morrow morning with our swords. Let the time be daybreak, and
do thou assign the place. We will go forth as if to strike a deer."

"Content," replied Halbert Glendinning: "I will guide thee to a
spot where an hundred men might fight and fall without any chance of

"It is well," answered Sir Piercie Shafton. "Here then we part.--Many
will say, that in thus indulging the right of a gentleman to the son of
a clod-breaking peasant, I derogate from my sphere, even as the blessed
sun would derogate should he condescend to compare and match his golden
beams with the twinkle of a pale, blinking, expiring, gross-fed taper.
But no consideration of rank shall prevent my avenging the insult thou
hast offered me. We bear a smooth face, observe me, Sir Villagio, before
the worshipful inmates of yonder cabin, and to-morrow we try conclusions
with our swords." So saying, he turned away towards the tower.

It may not be unworthy of notice, that in the last speech only, had Sir
Piercie used some of those flowers of rhetoric which characterized the
usual style of his conversation. Apparently, a sense of wounded honour,
and the deep desire of vindicating his injured feelings, had proved too
strong for the fantastic affectation of his acquired habits. Indeed,
such is usually the influence of energy of mind, when called forth and
exerted, that Sir Piercie Shafton had never appeared in the eyes of his
youthful antagonist half so much deserving of esteem and respect as
in this brief dialogue, by which they exchanged mutual defiance. As he
followed him slowly to the tower, he could not help thinking to himself,
that, had the English knight always displayed this superior tone of
bearing and feeling, he would not probably have felt so earnestly
disposed to take offence at his hand. Mortal offence, however, had been
exchanged, and the matter was to be put to mortal arbitrement.

The family met at the evening meal, when Sir Piercie Shafton extended
the benignity of his countenance and the graces of his conversation far
more generally over the party than he had hitherto condescended to do.
The greater part of his attention was, of course, still engrossed by
his divine inimitable Discretion, as he chose to term Mary Avenel; but,
nevertheless there were interjectional flourishes to the Maid of the
Mill, under the title of Comely Damsel, and to the Dame, under that of
Worthy Matron. Nay, lest he should fail to excite their admiration by
the graces of his rhetoric, he generously, and without solicitation,
added those of his voice; and after regretting bitterly the absence of
his viol-de-gamba, he regaled them with a song, "which," said he, "the
inimitable Astrophel, whom mortals call Philip Sidney, composed in the
nonage of his muse, to show the world what they are to expect from
his riper years, and which will one day see the light in that
not-to-be-paralleled perfection of human wit, which he has addressed
to his sister, the matchless Parthenope, whom men call Countess of
Pembroke; a work," he continued, "whereof his friendship hath permitted
me, though unworthy, to be an occasional partaker, and whereof I may
well say, that the deep afflictive tale which awakeneth our sorrows, is
so relieved with brilliant similitudes, dulcet descriptions, pleasant
poems, and engaging interludes, that they seem as the stars of the
firmament, beautifying the dusky robe of night. And though I wot well
how much the lovely and quaint language will suffer by my widowed voice,
widowed in that it is no longer matched by my beloved viol-de-gamba, I
will essay to give you a taste of the ravishing sweetness of the poesy
of the un-to-be-imitated Astrophel."

So saying, he sung without mercy or remorse about five hundred verses,
of which the two first and the four last may suffice for a specimen--

  "What tongue can her perfections tell,
  On whose each part all pens may dwell.

  Of whose high praise arid praiseful bliss,
  Goodness the pen. Heaven paper is;
  The ink immortal fame doth send,
  As I began so I must end."

As Sir Piercie Shafton always sung with his eyes half shut, it was not
until, agreeably to the promise of poetry, he had fairly made an end,
that looking round, he discovered that the greater part of his audience
had, in the meanwhile, yielded to the charms of repose. Mary Avenel,
indeed, from a natural sense of politeness, had contrived to keep awake
through all the perplexities of the divine Astrophel; but Mysie was
transported in dreams back to the dusty atmosphere of her father's mill.
Edward himself, who had given his attention for some time, had at length
fallen fast asleep; and the good dame's nose, could its tones have
been put in regulation, might have supplied the bass of the lamented
viol-de-gamba. Halbert, however, who had no temptation to give way
to the charms of slumber, remained awake with his eyes fixed on the
songster; not that he was better entertained with the words, or more
ravished with the execution, than the rest of the company, but rather
because he admired, or perhaps envied, the composure, which could thus
spend the evening in interminable madrigals, when the next morning was
to be devoted to deadly combat. Yet it struck his natural acuteness
of observation, that the eye of the gallant cavalier did now and
then, furtively as it were, seek a glance of his countenance, as if to
discover how he was taking the exhibition of his antagonist's composure
and serenity of mind.

He shall read nothing in my countenance, thought Halbert, proudly, that
can make him think my indifference less than his own.

And taking from the shelf a bag full of miscellaneous matters collected
for the purpose, he began with great industry to dress hooks, and had
finished half-a-dozen of flies (we are enabled, for the benefit of those
who admire the antiquities of the gentle art of angling, to state that
they were brown hackles) by the time that Sir Piercie had arrived at the
conclusion of his long-winded strophes of the divine Astrophel. So that
he also testified a magnanimous contempt of that which to-morrow should
bring forth.

As it now waxed late, the family of Glendearg separated for the evening;
Sir Piercie first saying to the dame, that "her son Albert--"

"Halbert," said Elspeth, with emphasis, "Halbert, after his goodsire,
Halbert Brydone."

"Well, then, I have prayed your son, Halbert, that we may strive
tomorrow, with the sun's earliness, to wake a stag from his lair, that I
may see whether he be as prompt at that sport as fame bespeaks him."

"Alas! sir," answered Dame Elspeth, "he is but too prompt, an you
talk of promptitude, at any thing that has steel at one end of it, and
mischief at the other. But he is at your honourable disposal, and I
trust you will teach him how obedience is due to our venerable father
and lord, the Abbot, and prevail with him to take the bow-bearer's place
in fee; for, as the two worthy monks said, it will be a great help to a

"Trust me, good dame," replied Sir Piercie, "it is my purpose so to
indoctrinate him touching his conduct and bearing towards his betters,
that he shall not lightly depart from the reverence due to them.--We
meet, then, beneath the birch-trees in the plain," he said, looking
to Halbert, "so soon as the eye of day hath opened its lids."--Halbert
answered with a sign of acquiescence, and the knight proceeded, "And
now, having wished to my fairest Discretion those pleasant dreams which
wave their pinions around the couch of sleeping beauty, and to this
comely damsel the bounties of Morpheus, and to all others the common
good-night, I will crave you leave to depart to my place of rest, though
I may say with the poet,

  'Ah rest!--no rest but change of place and posture:
  Ah sleep!--no sleep but worn-out Nature's swooning;
  Ah bed!--no bed but cushion fill'd with stones:
  Rest, sleep, nor bed, await not on an exile.'"

With a delicate obeisance he left the room, evading Dame Glendinning,
who hastened to assure him he would find his accommodations for repose
much more agreeable than they had been the night before, there having
been store of warm coverlets, and a soft feather-bed, sent up from the
Abbey. But the good knight probably thought that the grace and effect
of his exit would be diminished, if he were recalled from his heroics to
discuss such sublunary and domestic topics, and therefore hastened away
without waiting to hear her out.

"A pleasant gentleman," said Dame Glendinning; "but I will warrant
him an humorous [Footnote: _Humorous_--full of whims--thus Shakspeare,
"Humorous as winter."--The vulgar word humorsome comes nearest to
the meaning.]--And sings a sweet song, though it is somewhat of the
longest.--Well, I make mine avow he is goodly company--I wonder when he
will go away."

Having thus expressed her respect for her guest, not without intimation
that she was heartily tired of his company, the good dame gave the
signal for the family to disperse, and laid her injunctions on Halbert
to attend Sir Piercie Shafton at daybreak, as he required.

When stretched on his pallet by his brother's side, Halbert had no small
cause to envy the sound sleep which instantly settled on the eyes of
Edward, but refused him any share of its influence. He saw now too well
what the spirit had darkly indicated, that, in granting the boon which
he had asked so unadvisedly, she had contributed more to his harm than
his good. He was now sensible, too late, of the various dangers and
inconveniences with which his dearest friends were threatened, alike by
his discomfiture or his success in the approaching duel. If he fell, he
might say personally, "good-night all." But it was not the less certain
that he should leave a dreadful legacy of distress and embarrassment
to his mother and family,--an anticipation which by no means tended to
render the front of death, in itself a grisly object, more agreeable to
his imagination. The vengeance of the Abbot, his conscience told him,
was sure to descend on his mother and brother, or could only be averted
by the generosity of the victor--And Mary Avenel--he should have shown
himself, if he succumbed in the present combat, as inefficient in
protecting her, as he had been unnecessarily active in bringing disaster
on her, and on the house in which she had been protected from infancy.
And to this view of the case were to be added all those imbittered and
anxious feelings with which the bravest men, even in a better or less
doubtful quarrel, regard the issue of a dubious conflict, the first time
when it has been their fate to engage in an affair of that nature.

But however disconsolate the prospect seemed in the event of his being
conquered, Halbert could expect from victory little more than the safety
of his own life, and the gratification of his wounded pride. To his
friends--to his mother and brother--especially to Mary Avenel--the
consequences of his triumph would be more certain destruction than the
contingency of his defeat and death. If the English knight survived, he
might in courtesy extend his protection to them; but if he fell, nothing
was likely to screen them from the vindictive measures which the Abbot
and convent would surely adopt against the violation of the peace of
the Halidome, and the slaughter of a protected guest by one of their
own vassals, within whose house they had lodged him for shelter. These
thoughts, in which neither view of the case augured aught short of ruin
to his family, and that ruin entirely brought on by his own rashness,
were thorns in Halbert Glendinning's pillow, and deprived his soul of
peace and his eyes of slumber.

There appeared no middle course, saving one which was marked by
degradation, and which, even if he stooped to it, was by no means free
of danger. He might indeed confess to the English knight the strange
circumstances which led to his presenting him with that token which the
White Lady (in her displeasure as it now seemed) had given him, that
he might offer it to Sir Piercie Shafton. But to this avowal his pride
could not stoop, and reason, who is wonderfully ready to be of counsel
with pride on such occasions, offered many arguments to show it would be
useless as well as mean so far to degrade himself. "If I tell a tale so
wonderful," thought he, "shall I not either be stigmatized as a liar,
or punished as a wizard?--Were Sir Piercie Shafton generous, noble, and
benevolent, as the champions of whom we hear in romance, I might indeed
gain his ear, and, without demeaning myself, escape from the
situation in which I am placed. But as he is, or at least seems to be,
self-conceited, arrogant, vain, and presumptuous--I should but humble
myself in vain--and I will not humble myself!" he said, starting out
of bed, grasping his broadsword, and brandishing it in the light of
the moon, which streamed through the deep niche that served them as a
window; when, to his extreme surprise and terror, an airy form stood in
the moonlight, but intercepted not the reflection on the floor. Dimly as
it was expressed, the sound of the voice soon made him sensible he saw
the White Lady.

At no time had her presence seemed so terrific to him; for when he had
invoked her, it was with the expectation of the apparition, and the
determination to abide the issue. But now she had come uncalled, and her
presence impressed him with a sense of approaching misfortune, and with
the hideous apprehension that he had associated himself with a demon,
over whose motions he had no control, and of whose powers and quality he
had no certain knowledge. He remained, therefore, in mere terror, gazing
on the apparition, which chanted or recited in cadence the following

  "He whose heart for vengeance sued,
  Must not shrink from shedding blood
  The knot that thou hast tied with word,
  Thou must loose by edge of sword."

"Avaunt thee, false Spirit!" said Halbert Glendinning; "I have bought
thy advice too dearly already--Begone in the name of God!"

The Spirit laughed; and the cold unnatural sound of her laughter had
something in it more fearful than the usually melancholy tones of her
voice. She then replied,--

  "You have summon'd me once--you have summoned me twice,
  And without e'er a summons I come to you thrice;
  Unask'd for, unsued for, you came to my glen;
  Unsued and unask'd I am with you again."

Halbert Glendinning gave way for a moment to terror, and called on his
brother, "Edward! waken, waken, for Our Lady's sake!"

Edward awaked accordingly, and asked what he wanted.

"Look out," said Halbert, "look up! seest thou no one in the room?"

"No, upon my good word," said Edward, looking out.

"What! seest thou nothing in the moonshine upon the floor there?"

"No, nothing," answered Edward, "save thyself resting on thy naked
sword. I tell thee, Halbert, thou shouldst trust more to thy spiritual
arms, and less to those of steel and iron. For this many a night hast
thou started and moaned, and cried out of fighting, and of spectres, and
of goblins--thy sleep hath not refreshed thee--thy waking hath been a
dream.--Credit me, dear Halbert, say the _Pater_ and _Credo_, resign
thyself to the protection of God, and thou wilt sleep sound and wake in

"It may be," said Halbert slowly, and having his eye still bent on the
female form which to him seemed distinctly visible,--"it may be. But
tell me, dear Edward, seest thou no one on the chamber floor but me?"

"No one," answered Edward, raising himself on his elbow; "dear brother,
lay aside thy weapon, say thy prayers, and lay thee down to rest."

While he thus spoke, the Spirit smiled at Halbert as if in scorn; her
wan cheek faded in the wan moonlight even before the smile had passed
away, and Halbert himself no longer beheld the vision to which he had so
anxiously solicited his brother's attention. "May God preserve my wits!"
he said, as, laying aside his weapon, he again threw himself on his bed.

"Amen! my dearest brother," answered Edward; "but we must not provoke
that Heaven in our wantonness which we invoke in our misery.--Be not
angry with me, my dear brother--I know not why you have totally of late
estranged yourself from me--It is true, I am neither so athletic in
body, nor so alert in courage, as you have been from your infancy; yet,
till lately, you have not absolutely cast off my society--Believe me, I
have wept in secret, though I forbore to intrude myself on your privacy.
The time has been--when you held me not so cheap; and--when, if I could
not follow the game so closely, or mark it so truly as you, I could
fill up our intervals of pastime with pleasant tales of the olden times,
which I had read or heard, and which excited even your attention as
we sate and ate our provision by some pleasant spring--but now I have,
though I know not why, lost thy regard and affection.--Nay, toss not
thy arms about thee thus wildly," said the younger brother; "from thy
strange dreams, I fear some touch of fever hath affected thy blood--let
me draw closer around thee thy mantle."

"Forbear," said Halbert--"your care is needless--your complaints are
without reason--your fears on my account are in vain."

"Nay, but hear me, brother," said Edward. "Your speech in sleep, and now
even your waking dreams, are of beings which belong not to this world,
or to our race--Our good Father Eustace says, that howbeit we may not
do well to receive all idle tales of goblins and spectres, yet there is
warrant from holy Scripture to believe, that the fiends haunt waste and
solitary places; and that those who frequent such wildernesses alone,
are the prey, or the sport, of these wandering demons. And therefore,
I pray thee, brother, let me go with you when you go next up the glen,
where, as you well know, there be places of evil reputation--Thou
carest not for my escort; but, Halbert, such dangers are more safely
encountered by the wise in judgment, than by the bold in bosom; and
though I have small cause to boast of my own wisdom, yet I have that
which ariseth from the written knowledge of elder times."

There was a moment during this discourse, when Halbert had well-nigh
come to the resolution of disburdening his own breast, by intrusting
Edward with all that weighed upon it. But when his brother reminded him
that this was the morning of a high holiday, and that, setting aside all
other business or pleasure, he ought to go to the Monastery and
shrive himself before Father Eustace, who would that day occupy the
confessional, pride stepped in and confirmed his wavering resolution.
"I will not avow," he thought, "a tale so extraordinary, that I may be
considered as an impostor or something worse--I will not fly from this
Englishman, whose arm and sword may be no better than my own. My fathers
have faced his betters, were he as much distinguished in battle as he is
by his quaint discourse."

Pride, which has been said to save man, and woman too, from falling,
has yet a stronger influence on the mind when it embraces the cause of
passion, and seldom fails to render it victorious over conscience and
reason. Halbert, once determined, though not to the better course, at
length slept soundly, and was only awakened by the dawn of day.

       *       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter the Twenty-First.

  Indifferent, but indifferent--pshaw, he doth it not
  Like one who is his craft's master--ne'er the less
  I have seen a clown confer a bloody coxcomb
  On one who was a master of defence.
                                      OLD PLAY.

With the first gray peep of dawn, Halbert Glendinning arose and hastened
to dress himself, girded on his weapon, and took a cross-bow in his
hand, as if his usual sport had been his sole object. He groped his way
down the dark and winding staircase, and undid, with as little noise
as possible, the fastenings of the inner door, and of the exterior iron
grate. At length he stood free in the court-yard, and looking up to the
tower, saw a signal made with a handkerchief from the window. Nothing
doubting that it was his antagonist, he paused, expecting him. But it
was Mary Avenel, who glided like a spirit from under the low and rugged

Halbert was much surprised, and felt, he knew not why, like one caught
in the act of a meditated trespass. The presence of Mary Avenel had till
that moment never given him pain. She spoke, too, in a tone where sorrow
seemed to mingle with reproach, while she asked him with emphasis, "What
he was about to do?"

He showed his cross-bow, and was about to express the pretext he had
meditated, when Mary interrupted him.

"Not so, Halbert--that evasion were unworthy of one whose word has
hitherto been truth. You meditate not the destruction of the deer--your
hand and your heart are aimed at other game--you seek to do battle with
this stranger."

"And wherefore should I quarrel with our guest?" answered Halbert,
blushing deeply.

"There are, indeed, many reasons why you should not," replied
the maiden, "nor is there one of avail wherefore you should--yet
nevertheless, such a quarrel you are now searching after."

"Why should you suppose so, Mary?" said Halbert, endeavouring to hide
his conscious purpose--"he is my mother's guest--he is protected by
the Abbot and the community, who are our masters--he is of high degree
also,--and wherefore should you think that I can, or dare, resent a
hasty word, which he has perchance thrown out against me more from the
wantonness of his wit, than the purpose of his heart?"

"Alas!" answered the maiden, "the very asking that question puts your
resolution beyond a doubt. Since your childhood you were ever daring,
seeking danger rather than avoiding it--delighting in whatever had the
air of adventure and of courage: and it is not from fear that you will
now blench from your purpose--Oh, let it then be from pity!--from pity,
Halbert, to your aged mother, whom your death or victory will alike
deprive of the comfort and stay of her age."

"She has my brother Edward," said Halbert, turning suddenly from her.

"She has indeed," said Mary Avenel, "the calm, the noble-minded, the
considerate Edward, who has thy courage, Halbert, without thy fiery
rashness,--thy generous spirit, with more of reason to guide it. He
would not have heard his mother, would not have heard his adopted
sister, beseech him in vain not to ruin himself, and tear up their
future hopes of happiness and protection."

Halbert's heart swelled as he replied to this reproach. "Well--what
avails it speaking?--you have him that is better than me--wiser,
more considerate--braver, for aught I know--you are provided with a
protector, and need care no more for me."

Again he turned to depart, but Mary Avenel laid her hand on his arm so
gently that he scarce felt her hold, yet felt that it was impossible
for him to strike it off. There he stood, one foot advanced to leave the
court-yard, but so little determined on departure, that he resembled a
traveller arrested by the spell of a magician, and unable either to quit
the attitude of motion, or to proceed on his course.

Mary Avenel availed herself of his state of suspense. "Hear me," she
said, "hear me, Halbert!--I am an orphan, and even Heaven hears the
orphan--I have been the companion of your infancy, and if _you_ will not
hear me for an instant, from whom may Mary Avenel claim so poor a boon?"

"I hear you," said Halbert Glendinning, "but be brief, dear Mary--you
mistake the nature of my business--it is but a morning of summer sport
which we propose."

"Say not thus," said the maiden, interrupting him, "say not thus to
me--others thou mayst deceive, but me thou canst not--There has been
that in me from the earliest youth, which fraud flies from, and which
imposture cannot deceive. For what fate has given me such a power I know
not; but bred an ignorant maiden, in this sequestered valley, mine eyes
can too often see what man would most willingly hide--I can judge of the
dark purpose, though it is hid under the smiling brow, and a glance of
the eye says more to me than oaths and protestations do to others."

"Then," said Halbert, "if thou canst so read the human heart,--say,
dear Mary--what dost thou see in mine?--tell me that--say that what thou
seest--what thou readest in this bosom, does not offend thee--say but
_that_, and thou shalt be the guide of my actions, and mould me now and
henceforward to honour or to dishonour at thy own free will!"

Mary Avenel became first red, and then deadly pale, as Halbert
Glendinning spoke. But when, turning round at the close of his address,
he took her hand, she gently withdrew it, and replied, "I cannot read
the heart, Halbert, and I would not of my will know aught of yours, save
what beseems us both--I only can judge of signs, words, and actions of
little outward import, more truly than those around me, as my eyes, thou
knowest, have seen objects not presented to those of others."

"Let them gaze then on one whom they shall never see more," said
Halbert, once more turning from her, and rushing out of the court-yard
without again looking back.

Mary Avenel gave a faint scream, and clasped both her hands firmly on
her forehead and eyes. She had been a minute in this attitude, when
she was thus greeted by a voice from behind: "Generously done, my most
clement Discretion, to hide those brilliant eyes from the far inferior
beams which even now begin to gild the eastern horizon--Certes,
peril there were that Phoebus, outshone in splendour, might in very
shamefacedness turn back his ear, and rather leave the world in
darkness, than incur the disgrace of such an encounter--Credit me,
lovely Discretion--"

But as Sir Piercie Shafton (the reader will readily set down these
flowers of eloquence to the proper owner) attempted to take Mary
Avenel's hand, in order to proceed in his speech, she shook him abruptly
off, and regarding him with an eye which evinced terror and agitation,
rushed past him into the tower.

The knight stood looking after her with a countenance in which contempt
was strongly mingled with mortification. "By my knighthood!" he
ejaculated, "I have thrown away upon this rude rustic Phidel? a speech,
which the proudest beauty at the court of Felicia (so let me call the
Elysium from which I am banished!) might have termed the very matins of
Cupid. Hard and inexorable was the fate that sent thee thither, Piercie
Shafton, to waste thy wit upon country wenches, and thy valour upon
hob-nailed clowns! But that insult--that affront--had it been offered
to me by the lowest plebeian, he must have died for it by my hand, in
respect the enormity of the offence doth countervail the inequality of
him by whom it is given. I trust I shall find this clownish roisterer
not less willing to deal in blows than in taunts."

While he held this conversation with himself, Sir Piercie Shafton was
hastening to the little tuft of birch-trees which had been assigned
as the place of meeting. He greeted his antagonist with a courtly
salutation, followed by this commentary: "I pray you to observe, that
I doff my hat to you, though so much my inferior in rank, without
derogation on my part, inasmuch as my having so far honoured you in
receiving and admitting your defiance, doth, in the judgment of the best
martialists, in some sort and for the time, raise you to a level with
me--an honour which you may and ought to account cheaply purchased, even
with the loss of your life, if such should chance to be the issue of
this duello."

"For which condescension," said Halbert, "I have to thank the token
which I presented to you."

The knight changed colour, and grinded his teeth with rage--"Draw your
weapon!" said he to Glendinning.

"Not in this spot," answered the youth; "we should be liable to
interruption--Follow me, and I will bring you to a place where we shall
encounter no such risk."

He proceeded to walk up the glen, resolving that their place of combat
should be in the entrance of the Corri-nan-shian; both because the spot,
lying under the reputation of being haunted, was very little frequented,
and also because he regarded it as a place which to him might be termed
fated, and which he therefore resolved should witness his death
or victory. They walked up the glen for some time in silence, like
honourable enemies who did not wish to contend with words, and who had
nothing friendly to exchange with each other. Silence, however, was
always an irksome state with Sir Piercie and, moreover, his anger was
usually a hasty and short-lived passion. As, therefore, he went forth,
in his own idea, in all love and honour towards his antagonist, he saw
not any cause for submitting longer to the painful restraint of positive
silence. He began by complimenting Halbert on the alert activity with
which he surmounted the obstacles and impediments of the way.

"Trust me," said he, "worthy rustic, we have not a lighter or a firmer
step in our courtlike revels, and if duly set forth by a silk hose, and
trained unto that stately exercise, your leg would make an indifferent
good show in a pavin or a galliard. And I doubt nothing," he added,
"that you have availed yourself of some opportunity to improve yourself
in the art of fence, which is more akin than dancing to our present

"I know nothing more of fencing," said Halbert, "than hath been taught
me by an old shepherd of ours, called Martin, and at whiles a lesson
from Christie of the Clinthill--for the rest, I must trust to good
sword, strong arm, and sound heart."

"Marry and I am glad of it, young Audacity, (I will call you my
Audacity, and you will call me your Condescension, while we are on these
terms of unnatural equality,) I am glad of your ignorance with all my
heart. For we martialists proportion the punishments which we inflict
upon our opposites, to the length and hazard of the efforts wherewith
they oppose themselves to us. And I see not why you, being but a tyro,
may not be held sufficiently punished for your outrecuidance, and
orgillous presumption, by the loss of an ear, an eye, or even a finger,
accompanied by some flesh-wound of depth and severity, suited to your
error--whereas, had you been able to stand more effectually on
your defence, I see not how less than your life could have atoned
sufficiently for your presumption."

"Now, by God and Our Lady," said Halbert, unable any longer to restrain
himself, "thou art thyself over-presumptuous, who speakest thus daringly
of the issue of a combat which is not yet even begun--Are you a god,
that you already dispose of my life and limbs? or are you a judge in
the justice-air, telling at your ease and without risk, how the head and
quarters of a condemned criminal are to be disposed of?"

"Not so, O thou,--whom I have well permitted to call thyself my
Audacity. I, thy Condescension, am neither a god to judge the issue of
the combat before it is fought, nor a judge to dispose at my ease and
in safety of the limbs and head of a condemned criminal; but I am an
indifferent good master of fence, being the first pupil of the first
master of the first school of fence that our royal England affords, the
said master being no other than the truly noble, and all-unutterably
skilful Vincentio Saviola, from whom I learned the firm step, quick eye,
and nimble hand--of which qualities thou, O my most rustical Audacity,
art full like to reap the fruits so soon as we shall find a piece of
ground fitting for such experiments."

They had now reached the gorge of the ravine, where Halbert had at
first intended to stop; but when he observed the narrowness of the level
ground, he began to consider that it was only by superior agility that
he could expect to make up his deficiency in the science, as it was
called, of defence. He found no spot which afforded sufficient room to
traverse for this purpose, until he gained the well-known fountain, by
whose margin, and in front of the huge rock from which it sprung, was
an amphitheatre of level turf, of small space indeed, compared with the
great height of the cliffs with which it was surrounded on every point
save that from which the rivulet issued forth, yet large enough for
their present purpose.

When they had reached this spot of ground, fitted well by its gloom
and sequestered situation to be a scene of mortal strife, both were
surprised to observe that a grave was dug close by the foot of the rock
with great neatness and regularity, the green turf being laid down
upon the one side, and the earth thrown out in a heap upon the other. A
mattock and shovel lay by the verge of the grave.

Sir Piercie Shafton bent his eye with unusual seriousness upon Halbert
Glendinning, as he asked him sternly, "Does this bode treason, young
man? And have you purpose to set upon me here as in an emboscata or
place of vantage?"

"Not on my part, by Heaven!" answered the youth: "I told no one of our
purpose, nor would I for the throne of Scotland take odds against a
single arm."

"I believe thou wouldst not, mine Audacity," said the knight,
resuming the affected manner which was become a second nature to him;
"nevertheless this fosse is curiously well shaped, and might be
the masterpiece of Nature's last bed-maker, I would say the
sexton--Wherefore, let us be thankful to chance or some unknown friend,
who hath thus provided for one of us the decencies of sepulture, and let
us proceed to determine which shall have the advantage of enjoying this
place of undisturbed slumber."

So saying, he stripped off his doublet and cloak, which he folded
up with great care, and deposited upon a large stone, while Halbert
Glendinning, not without some emotion, followed his example. Their
vicinity to the favourite haunt of the White Lady led him to form
conjectures concerning the incident of the grave--"It must have been her
work!" he thought: "the Spirit foresaw and has provided for the fatal
event of the combat--I must return from this place a homicide, or I must
remain here for ever!"

The bridge seemed now broken down behind him, and the chance of coming
off honourably without killing or being killed, (the hope of which issue
has cheered the sinking heart of many a duellist,) seemed now altogether
to be removed. Yet the very desperation of his situation gave him, on
an instant's reflection, both firmness and courage, and presented to him
one sole alternative, conquest, namely, or death.

"As we are here," said Sir Piercie Shafton, "unaccompanied by any
patrons or seconds, it were well you should pass your hands over my
sides, as I shall over yours; not that I suspect you to use any quaint
device of privy armour, but in order to comply with the ancient and
laudable custom practised on all such occasions."

While complying with his antagonist's humour, Halbert Glendinning went
through this ceremony, Sir Piercie Shafton did not fail to solicit his
attention to the quality and fineness of his wrought and embroidered
shirt--"In this very shirt," said he, "O mine Audacity!--I say in
this very garment, in which I am now to combat a Scottish rustic
like thyself, it was my envied lot to lead the winning party at that
wonderous match at ballon, made betwixt the divine Astrophel, (our
matchless Sidney,) and the right honourable my very good lord of Oxford.
All the beauties of Felicia (by which name I distinguish our beloved
England) stood in the gallery, waving their kerchiefs at each turn of
the game, and cheering the winners by their plaudits. After which noble
sport we were refreshed by a suitable banquet, whereat it pleased the
noble Urania (being the unmatched Countess of Pembroke) to accommodate
me with her fan for the cooling my somewhat too much inflamed visage, to
requite which courtesy, I said, casting my features into a smiling,
yet melancholy fashion, O divinest Urania! receive again that too fatal
gift, which not like the Zephyr cooleth, but like the hot breath of the
Sirocco, heateth yet more that which is already inflamed. Whereupon,
looking upon me somewhat scornfully, yet not so but what the experienced
courtier might perceive a certain cast of approbative affection----"

Here the knight was interrupted by Halbert, who had waited with
courteous patience for some little time, till he found, that far from
drawing to a close, Sir Piercie seemed rather inclined to wax prolix in
his reminiscences.

"Sir Knight," said the youth, "if this matter be not very much to the
purpose, we will, if you object not, proceed to that which we have in
hand. You should have abidden in England had you desired to waste time
in words, for here we spend it in blows."

"I crave your pardon, most rusticated Audacity," answered Sir Piercie;
"truly I become oblivious of every thing beside, when the recollections
of the divine court of Felicia press upon my wakened memory, even as
a saint is dazzled when he bethinks him of the beatific vision. Ah,
felicitous Feliciana! delicate nurse of the fair, chosen abode of the
wise, the birth-place and cradle of nobility, the temple of courtesy,
the fane of sprightly chivalry--Ah, heavenly court, or rather courtly
heaven! cheered with dances, lulled asleep with harmony, wakened
with sprightly sports and tourneys, decored with silks and tissues,
glittering with diamonds and jewels, standing on end with double-piled
velvets, satins, and satinettas!"

"The token, Sir Knight, the token!" exclaimed Halbert Glendinning, who,
impatient of Sir Piercie's interminable oratory, reminded him of the
ground of their quarrel, as the best way to compel him to the purpose of
their meeting.

And he judged right; for Sir Piercie Shafton no sooner heard him speak,
than he exclaimed, "Thy death-hour has struck--betake thee to thy

Both swords were unsheathed, and the combatants commenced their
engagement. Halbert became immediately aware, that, as he had expected,
he was far inferior to his adversary in the use of his weapon. Sir
Piercie Shafton had taken no more than his own share of real merit, when
he termed himself an absolutely good fencer; and Glendinning soon found
that he should have great difficulty in escaping with life and honour
from such a master of the sword. The English knight was master of all
the mystery of the _stoccata, imbrocata, punto-reverso, incartata_, and
so forth, which the Italian masters of defence had lately introduced
into general practice. But Glendinning, on his part, was no novice in
the principles of the art, according to the old Scottish fashion, and
possessed the first of all qualities, a steady and collected mind. At
first, being desirous to try the skill, and become acquainted with the
play of his enemy, he stood on his defence, keeping his foot, hand, eye,
and body, in perfect unison, and holding his sword short, and with the
point towards his antagonist's face, so that Sir Piercie, in order
to assail him, was obliged to make actual passes, and could not avail
himself of his skill in making feints; while, on the other hand, Halbert
was prompt to parry these attacks, either by shifting his ground or with
the sword. The consequence was, that after two or three sharp attempts
on the part of Sir Piercie, which were evaded or disconcerted by the
address of his opponent, he began to assume the defensive in his turn,
fearful of giving some advantage by being repeatedly the assailant. But
Halbert was too cautious to press on a swordsman whose dexterity had
already more than once placed him within a hair's breadth of death,
which he had only escaped by uncommon watchfulness and agility.

When each had made a feint or two, there was a pause in the conflict,
both as if by one assent dropping their swords' point, and looking on
each other for a moment without speaking. At length Halbert Glendinning,
who felt perhaps more uneasy on account of his family than he had done
before he had displayed his own courage, and proved the strength of his
antagonist, could not help saying, "Is the subject of our quarrel, Sir
Knight, so mortal, that one of our two bodies must needs fill up that
grave? or may we with honour, having proved ourselves against each
other, sheathe our swords and depart friends?"

"Valiant and most rustical Audacity," said the Southron knight, "to no
man on earth could you have put a question on the code of honour, who
was more capable of rendering you a reason. Let us pause for the space
of one venue, until I give you my opinion on this dependence, [Footnote:
_Dependence_--A phrase among the brethren of the sword for an existing
quarrel.] for certain it is, that brave men should not run upon their
fate like brute and furious wild beasts, but should slay each other
deliberately, decently, and with reason. Therefore, if we coolly examine
the state of our dependence, we may the better apprehend whether
the sisters three have doomed one of us to expiate the same with his
blood--Dost thou understand me?"

"I have heard Father Eustace," said Halbert, after a moment's
recollection, "speak of the three furies, with their thread and their

"Enough--enough,"--interrupted Sir Piercie Shafton, crimsoning with a
new fit of rage, "the thread of thy life is spun!"

And with these words he attacked with the utmost ferocity the Scottish
youth, who had but just time to throw himself into a posture of defence.
But the rash fury of the assailant, as frequently happens, disappointed
its own purpose; for, as he made a desperate thrust, Halbert Glendinning
avoided it, and ere the knight could recover his weapon, requited him
(to use his own language) with a resolute stoccata, which passed through
his body, and Sir Piercie Shafton fell to the ground.

        *       *       *      *       *

Chapter the Twenty-Second.

  Yes, life hath left him--every busy thought,
  Each fiery passion, every strong affection,
  All sense of outward ill and inward sorrow,
  Are fled at once from the pale trunk before me;
  And I have given that which spoke and moved,
  Thought, acted, suffer'd as a living man,
  To be a ghastly form of bloody clay,
  Soon the foul food for reptiles.
                                        OLD PLAY.

I believe few successful duellists (if the word successful can be
applied to a superiority so fatal) have beheld their dead antagonist
stretched on the earth at their feet, without wishing they could redeem
with their own blood that which it has been their fate to spill. Least
of all could such indifference be the lot of so young a man as Halbert
Glendinning, who, unused to the sight of human blood, was not only
struck with sorrow, but with terror, when he beheld Sir Piercie Shafton
lie stretched on the green-sward before him, vomiting gore as if
impelled by the strokes of a pump. He threw his bloody sword on the
ground, and hastened to kneel and support him, vainly striving, at the
same time, to stanch his wound, which seemed rather to bleed inwardly
than externally.

The unfortunate knight spoke at intervals, when the syncope would permit
him, and his words, so far as intelligible, partook of his affected and
conceited, yet not ungenerous character.

"Most rustical youth," he said, "thy fortune hath prevailed over
knightly skill--and Audacity hath overcome Condescension, even as the
kite hath sometimes hawked at and struck down the falcon-gentle.--Fly
and save thyself!--Take my purse--it is in the nether pocket of my
carnation-coloured hose--and is worth a clown's acceptance. See that
my mails, with my vestments, be sent to the Monastery of Saint
Mary's"--(here his voice grew weak, and his mind and recollection
seemed to waver)--"I bestow the cut velvet jerkin, with close breeches
conforming--for--oh!--the good of my soul."

"Be of good comfort, sir," said Halbert, half distracted with his agony
of pity and remorse. "I trust you shall yet do well--Oh for a leech!"

"Were there twenty physicians, O most generous Audacity, and that were
a grave spectacle--I might not survive, my life is ebbing
fast.--Commend me to the rustical nymph whom I called my Discretion--O
Claridiana!--true empress of this bleeding heart--which now bleedeth in
sad earnest!--Place me on the ground at my length, most rustical victor,
born to quench the pride of the burning light of the most felicitous
court of Feliciana--O saints and angels---knights and ladies--masques
and theatres--quaint devices--chain-work and broidery--love, honour, and

While muttering these last words, which slid from him, as it were
unawares, while doubtless he was calling to mind the glories of the
English court, the gallant Sir Piercie Shafton stretched out his
limbs--groaned deeply, shut his eyes, and became motionless.

The victor tore his hair for very sorrow, as he looked on the pale
countenance of his victim. Life, he thought, had not utterly fled, but
without better aid than his own, he saw not how it could be preserved.

"Why," he exclaimed in vain penitence, "why did I provoke him to an
issue so fatal! Would to God I had submitted to the worst insult man
could receive from man, rather than be the bloody instrument of this
bloody deed--and doubly cursed be this evil-boding spot, which, haunted
as I knew it to be by a witch or a devil, I yet chose for the place of
combat! In any other place, save this, there had been help to be gotten
by speed of foot, or by uplifting of voice--but here there is no one to
be found by search, no one to hear my shouts, save the evil spirit who
has counselled this mischief. It is not her hour--I will essay the spell
howsoever; and if she can give me aid, she _shall_ do it, or know of
what a madman is capable even against those of another world!"

He spurned his bloody shoe from his foot, and repeated the spell with
which the reader is well acquainted; but there was neither voice,
apparition, nor signal of answer. The youth, in the impatience of his
despair, and with the rash hardihood which formed the basis of his
character, shouted aloud, "Witch--Sorceress--Fiend!--art thou deaf to
my cries of help, and so ready to appear and answer those of vengeance?
Arise and speak to me, or I will choke up thy fountain, tear down thy
hollybush, and leave thy haunt as waste and bare as thy fatal assistance
has made me waste of comfort and bare of counsel!"--This furious
and raving invocation was suddenly interrupted by a distant sound,
resembling a hollo, from the gorge of the ravine. "Now may Saint Mary
be praised," said the youth, hastily fastening his sandal, "I hear
the voice of some living man, who may give me counsel and help in this
fearful extremity."

Having donned his sandal, Halbert Glendinning, hallooing at intervals,
in answer to the sound which he had heard, ran with the speed of a
hunted buck down the rugged defile, as if paradise had been before him,
hell and all her furies behind, and his eternal happiness or misery had
depended upon the speed which he exerted. In a space incredibly short
for any one but a Scottish mountaineer having his nerves strung by the
deepest and most passionate interest, the youth reached the entrance
of the ravine, through which the rill that flows down Corri-nan-shian
discharges itself, and unites with the brook that waters the little
valley of Glendearg.

Here he paused, and looked around him upwards and downwards through the
glen, without perceiving a human form. His heart sank within him. But
the windings of the glen intercepted his prospect, and the person, whose
voice he had heard, might therefore, be at no great distance, though not
obvious to his sight. The branches of an oak-tree, which shot straight
out from the face of a tall cliff, proffered to his bold spirit,
steady head, and active limbs, the means of ascending it as a place of
out-look, although the enterprise was what most men would have shrunk
from. But by one bound from the earth, the active youth caught hold of
the lower branch, and swung himself up into the tree, and in a minute
more gained the top of the cliff, from which he could easily descry a
human figure descending the valley. It was not that of a shepherd, or
of a hunter, and scarcely any others used to traverse this deserted
solitude, especially coming from the north, since the reader may
remember that the brook took its rise from an extensive and dangerous
morass which lay in that direction.

But Halbert Glendinning did not pause to consider who the traveller
might be, or what might be the purpose of his journey. To know that he
saw a human being, and might receive, in the extremity of his distress,
the countenance and advice of a fellow-creature, was enough for him at
the moment. He threw himself from the pinnacle of the cliff once more
into the arms of the projecting oak-tree, whose boughs waved in middle
air, anchored by the roots in a huge rift or chasm of the rock. Catching
at the branch which was nearest to him, he dropped himself from that
height upon the ground; and such was the athletic springiness of his
youthful sinews, that he pitched there as lightly, and with as little
injury, as the falcon stooping from her wheel.

To resume his race at full speed up the glen, was the work of an
instant; and as he turned angle after angle of the indented banks of the
valley, without meeting that which he sought, he became half afraid that
the form which he had seen at such a distance had already melted into
thin air, and was either a deception of his own imagination, or of the
elementary spirits by which the valley was supposed to be haunted.

But to his inexpressible joy, as he turned round the base of a huge
and distinguished crag, he saw, straight before and very near to him,
a person, whose dress, as he viewed it hastily, resembled that of a

He was a man of advanced life, and wearing a long beard, having on his
head a large slouched hat, without either band or brooch. His dress was
a tunic of black serge, which, like those commonly called hussar-cloaks,
had an upper part, which covered the arms and fell down on the lower;
a small scrip and bottle, which hung at his back, with a stout staff in
his hand, completed his equipage. His step was feeble, like that of one
exhausted by a toilsome journey.

"Save ye, good father!" said the youth. "God and Our Lady have sent you
to my assistance."

"And in what, my son, can so frail a creature as I am, be of service to
you?" said the old man, not a little surprised at being thus accosted
by so handsome a youth, his features discomposed by anxiety, his face
flushed with exertion, his hands and much of his dress stained with
blood. "A man bleeds to death in the valley here, hard by. Come with
me--come with me! You are aged--you have experience--you have at least
your senses--and mine have well nigh left me."

"A man--and bleeding to death--and here in this desolate spot!" said the

"Stay not to question it, father," said the youth, "but come instantly
to his rescue. Follow me,--follow me, without an instant's delay."

"Nay, but, my son," said the old man, "we do not lightly follow the
guides who present themselves thus suddenly in the bosom of a howling
wilderness. Ere I follow thee, thou must expound to me thy name, thy
purpose, and thy cause."

"There is no time to expound any thing," said Halbert; "I tell thee a
man's life is at stake, and thou must come to aid him, or I will carry
thee thither by force!"

"Nay, thou shalt not need," said the traveller; "if it indeed be as thou
sayest, I will follow thee of free-will--the rather that I am not wholly
unskilled in leech-craft, and have in my scrip that which may do thy
friend a service--Yet walk more slowly, I pray thee, for I am already
well-nigh forespent with travel."

With the indignant impatience of the fiery steed when compelled by
his rider to keep pace with some slow drudge upon the highway, Halbert
accompanied the wayfarer, burning with anxiety which he endeavoured to
subdue, that he might not alarm his companion, who was obviously afraid
to trust him. When they reached the place where they were to turn off
the wider glen into the Corri, the traveller made a doubtful pause, as
if unwilling to leave the broader path--"Young man," he said, "if thou
meanest aught but good to these gray hairs, thou wilt gain little by thy
cruelty--I have no earthly treasure to tempt either robber or murderer."

"And I," said the youth, "am neither--and yet--God of Heaven!--I _may_
be a murderer, unless your aid comes in time to this wounded wretch!"

"Is it even so," said the traveller; "and do human passions disturb the
breast of nature, even in her deepest solitude?--Yet why should I marvel
that where darkness abides the works of darkness should abound?--By its
fruits is the tree known--Lead on, unhappy youth--I follow thee!"

And with better will to the journey than he had evinced hitherto, the
stranger exerted himself to the uttermost, and seemed to forget his own
fatigue in his efforts to keep pace with his impatient guide.

What was the surprise of Halbert Glendinning, when, upon arriving at the
fatal spot, he saw no appearance of the body of Sir Piercie Shafton!
The traces of the fray were otherwise sufficiently visible. The knight's
cloak had indeed vanished as well as his body, but his doublet remained
where he had laid it down, and the turf on which he had been stretched
was stained with blood in many a dark crimson spot.

As he gazed round him in terror and astonishment, Halbert's eyes fell
upon the place of sepulture which had so lately appeared to gape for a
victim. It was no longer open, and it seemed that earth had received the
expected tenant; for the usual narrow hillock was piled over what had
lately been an open grave, and the green sod was adjusted over all with
the accuracy of an experienced sexton. Halbert stood aghast. The idea
rushed on his mind irresistibly, that the earth-heap before him enclosed
what had lately been a living, moving, and sentient fellow-creature,
whom, on little provocation, his fell act had reduced to a clod of the
valley, as senseless and as cold as the turf under which he rested. The
hand that scooped the grave had completed its word; and whose hand could
it be save that of the mysterious being of doubtful quality, whom his
rashness had invoked, and whom he had suffered to intermingle in his

As he stood with clasped hands and uplifted eyes, bitterly ruing his
rashness, he was roused by the voice of the stranger, whose suspicions
of his guide had again been awakened by finding the scene so different
from what Halbert had led him to expect.--"Young man," he said, "hast
thou baited thy tongue with falsehood to cut perhaps only a few days
from the life of one whom Nature will soon call home, without guilt on
thy part to hasten his journey?"

"By the blessed Heaven!--by our dear Lady!" ejaculated Halbert--

"Swear not at all!" said the stranger, interrupting him, "neither
by Heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by earth, for it is his
footstool--nor by the creatures whom he hath made, for they are but
earth and clay as we are. Let thy yea be yea, and thy nay, nay. Tell me
in a word, why and for what purpose thou hast feigned a tale, to lead a
bewildered traveller yet farther astray?"

"As I am a Christian man," said Glendinning, "I left him here bleeding
to death--and now I nowhere spy him, and much I doubt that the tomb that
thou seest has closed on his mortal remains."

"And who is he for whose fate thou art so anxious?" said the stranger;
"or how is it possible that this wounded man could have been either
removed from, or interred in, a place so solitary?"

"His name," said Halbert, after a moment's pause, "is Piercie
Shafton--there, on that very spot I left him bleeding; and what power
has conveyed him hence, I know no more than thou dost."

"Piercie Shafton?" said the stranger; "Sir Piercie Shafton of Wilverton,
a kinsman, as it is said, of the great Piercie of Northumberland? If
thou hast slain him, to return to the territories of the proud Abbot is
to give thy neck to the gallows. He is well known, that Piercie Shafton;
the meddling tool of wiser plotters--a harebrained trafficker in
treason--a champion of the Pope, employed as a forlorn hope by those
more politic heads, who have more will to work mischief, than valour to
encounter danger.--Come with me, youth, and save thyself from the evil
consequences of this deed--Guide me to the Castle of Avenel, and thy
reward shall be protection and safety."

Again Halbert paused, and summoned his mind to a hasty council. The
vengeance with which the Abbot was likely to visit the slaughter of
Shafton, his friend, and in some measure his guest, was likely to
be severe; yet, in the various contingencies which he had considered
previous to their duel, he had unaccountably omitted to reflect what was
to be his line of conduct in case of Sir Piercie falling by his hand.
If he returned to Glendearg, he was sure to draw on his whole family,
including Mary Avenel, the resentment of the Abbot and community,
whereas it was possible that flight might make him be regarded as the
sole author of the deed, and might avert the indignation of the
monks from the rest of the inhabitants of his paternal tower. Halbert
recollected also the favour expressed for the household, and especially
for Edward, by the Sub-Prior; and he conceived that he could, by
communicating his own guilt to that worthy ecclesiastic, when at a
distance from Glendearg, secure his powerful interposition in favour
of his family. These thoughts rapidly passed through his mind, and he
determined on flight. The stranger's company and his promised protection
came in aid of that resolution; but he was unable to reconcile the
invitation which the old man gave him to accompany him for safety to the
Castle of Avenel, with the connexions of Julian, the present usurper of
that inheritance.

"Good father," he said, "I fear that you mistake the man with whom you
wish me to harbour. Avenel guided Piercie Shafton into Scotland, and his
henchman, Christie of the Clinthill, brought the Southron hither."

"Of that," said the old man, "I am well aware. Yet if thou wilt trust
to me, as I have shown no reluctance to confide in thee, thou shalt find
with Julian Avenel welcome, or at least safety."

"Father," replied Halbert, "though I can ill reconcile what thou sayest
with what Julian Avenel hath done, yet caring little about the safety of
a creature so lost as myself, and as thy words seem those of truth and
honesty, and finally, as thou didst render thyself frankly up to my
conduct, I will return the confidence thou hast shown, and accompany
thee to the Castle of Avenel by a road which thou thyself couldst never
have discovered." He led the way, and the old man followed for some time
in silence.

       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter the Twenty-Third.

  'Tis when the wound is stiffening with the cold.
  The warrior first feels pain--'tis when the heat
  And fiery fever of his soul is pass'd,
  The sinner feels remorse.
                               OLD PLAY.

The feelings of compunction with which Halbert Glendinning was visited
upon this painful occasion, were deeper than belonged to an age and
country in which human life was held so cheap. They fell far short
certainly of those which might have afflicted a mind regulated by better
religious precepts, and more strictly trained under social laws; but
still they were deep and severely felt, and divided in Halbert's heart
even the regret with which he parted from Mary Avenel and the tower of
his fathers.

The old traveller walked silently by his side for some time, and then
addressed him.--"My son, it has been said that sorrow must speak or
die--Why art thou so much cast down?--Tell me thy unhappy tale, and
it may be that my gray head may devise counsel and aid for your young

"Alas!" said Halbert Glendinning, "can you wonder why I am cast
down?--I am at this instant a fugitive from my father's house, from my
mother, and from my friends, and I bear on my head the blood of a man
who injured me but in idle words, which I have thus bloodily requited.
My heart now tells me I have done evil--it were harder than these rocks
if it could bear unmoved the thought, that I have sent this man to a
long account, unhousled and unshrieved."

"Pause there, my son," said the traveller. "That thou hast defaced God's
image in thy neighbour's person--that thou hast sent dust to dust in
idle wrath or idler pride, is indeed a sin of the deepest dye--that
thou hast cut short the space which Heaven might have allowed him for
repentance, makes it yet more deadly--but for all this there is balm in

"I understand you not, father," said Halbert, struck by the solemn tone
which was assumed by his companion.

The old man proceeded. "Thou hast slain thine enemy--it was a cruel
deed: thou hast cut him off perchance in his sins--it is a fearful
aggravation. Do yet by my counsel, and in lieu of him whom thou hast
perchance consigned to the kingdom of Satan, let thine efforts wrest
another subject from the reign of the Evil One."

"I understand you, father," said Halbert; "thou wouldst have me atone
for my rashness by doing service to the soul of my adversary--But how
may this be? I have no money to purchase masses, and gladly would I
go barefoot to the Holy Land to free his spirit from purgatory, only

"My son," said the old man, interrupting him, "the sinner for whose
redemption I entreat you to labour, is not the dead but the living. It
is not for the soul of thine enemy I would exhort thee to pray--that has
already had its final doom from a Judge as merciful as he is just; nor,
wert thou to coin that rock into ducats, and obtain a mass for each one,
would it avail the departed spirit. Where the tree hath fallen, it must
lie. But the sapling, which hath in it yet the vigour and juice of life,
may be bended to the point to which it ought to incline."

"Art thou a priest, father?" said the young man, "or by what commission
dost thou talk of such high matters?"

"By that of my Almighty Master," said the traveller, "under whose banner
I am an enlisted soldier."

Halbert's acquaintance with religious matters was no deeper than could
be derived from the Archbishop of Saint Andrew's Catechism, and the
pamphlet called the Twapennie Faith, both which were industriously
circulated and recommended by the monks of Saint Mary's. Yet, however
indifferent and superficial a theologian, he began to suspect that he
was now in company with one of the gospellers, or heretics, before
whose influence the ancient system of religion now tottered to the very
foundation. Bred up, as may well be presumed, in a holy horror against
these formidable sectaries, the youth's first feelings were those of a
loyal and devoted church vassal. "Old man," he said, "wert thou able to
make good with thy hand the words that thy tongue hath spoken against
our Holy Mother Church, we should have tried upon this moor which of our
creeds hath the better champion."

"Nay," said the stranger, "if thou art a true soldier of Rome, thou wilt
not pause from thy purpose because thou hast the odds of years and of
strength on thy side. Hearken to me, my son. I have showed thee how to
make thy peace with Heaven, and thou hast rejected my proffer. I will
now show thee how thou shalt make thy reconciliation with the powers of
this world. Take this gray head from the frail body which supports it,
and carry it to the chair of proud Abbot Boniface; and when thou tellest
him thou hast slain Piercie Shafton, and his ire rises at the deed, lay
the head of Henry Warden at his foot, and thou shalt have praise instead
of censure."

Halbert Glendinning stepped back in surprise. "What! are you that Henry
Warden so famous among the heretics, that even Knox's name is scarce
more frequently in their mouths? Art thou he, and darest thou to
approach the Halidome of Saint Mary's?"

"I am Henry Warden, of a surety," said the old man, "far unworthy to
be named in the same breath with Knox, but yet willing to venture on
whatever dangers my master's service may call me to."

"Hearken to me, then," said Halbert; "to slay thee, I have no heart--to
make thee prisoner, were equally to bring thy blood on my head--to leave
thee in this wild without a guide, were little better. I will conduct
thee, as I promised, in safety to the Castle of Avenel; but breathe not,
while we are on the journey, a word against the doctrines of the holy
church of which I am an unworthy--but though an ignorant, a zealous
member.--When thou art there arrived, beware of thyself--there is a
high price upon thy head, and Julian Avenel loves the glance of gold
bonnet-pieces." [Footnote: A gold coin of James V., the most beautiful
of the Scottish series; so called because the effigy of the sovereignty
is represented wearing a bonnet.]

"Yet thou sayest not," answered the Protestant preacher, for such he
was, "that for lucre he would sell the blood of his guest?"

"Not if thou comest an invited stranger, relying on his faith," said
the youth; "evil as Julian may be, he dare not break the rites of
hospitality; for, loose as we on these marches may be in all other
ties, these are respected amongst us even to idolatry, and his
nearest relations would think it incumbent on them to spill his blood
themselves, to efface the disgrace such treason would bring upon their
name and lineage. But if thou goest self-invited, and without assurance
of safety, I promise thee thy risk is great."

"I am in God's hand," answered the preacher; "it is on His errand that I
traverse these wilds amidst dangers of every kind; while I am useful for
my master's service, they shall not prevail against me, and when, like
the barren fig-tree, I can no longer produce fruit, what imports it when
or by whom the axe is laid to the root?"

"Your courage and devotion," said Glendinning, "are worthy of a better

"That," said Warden, "cannot be--mine is the very best."

They continued their journey in silence, Halbert Glendinning tracing
with the utmost accuracy the mazes of the dangerous and intricate
morasses and hills which divided the Halidome from the barony of
Avenel. From time to time he was obliged to stop, in order to assist
his companion to cross the black intervals of quaking bog, called in the
Scottish dialect _hags_, by which the firmer parts of the morass were

"Courage, old man," said Halbert, as he saw his companion almost
exhausted with fatigue, "we shall soon be upon hard ground. And yet soft
as this moss is, I have seen the merry falconers go through it as light
as deer when the quarry was upon the flight."

"True, my son," answered Warden, "for so I will still call you, though
you term me no longer father; and even so doth headlong youth pursue its
pleasures, without regard to the mire and the peril of the paths through
which they are hurried."

"I have already told thee," answered Halbert Glendinning, sternly, "that
I will hear nothing from thee that savours of doctrine."

"Nay, but, my son," answered Warden, "thy spiritual father himself
would surely not dispute the truth of what I have now spoken for your

Glendinning stoutly replied, "I know not how that may be--but I wot
well it is the fashion of your brotherhood to bait your hook with fair
discourse, and to hold yourselves up as angels of light, that you may
the better extend the kingdom of darkness."

"May God," replied the preacher, "pardon those who have thus reported
of his servants! I will not offend thee, my son, by being instant out of
season--thou speakest but as thou art taught--yet sure I trust that so
goodly a youth will be still rescued, like a brand from the burning."

While he thus spoke, the verge of the morass was attained, and their
path lay on the declivity. Green-sward it was, and, viewed from a
distance, chequered with its narrow and verdant line the dark-brown
heath which it traversed, though the distinction was not so easily
traced when they were walking on it. [Footnote: This sort of path,
visible when looked at from a distance, but not to be seen when you
are upon it, is called on the Border by the significant name of a
Blind-road.] The old man pursued his journey with comparative ease; and,
unwilling again to awaken the jealous zeal of his young companion
for the Roman faith, he discoursed on other matters. The tone of his
conversation was still grave, moral, and instructive. He had travelled
much, and knew both the language and manners of other countries,
concerning which Halbert Glendinning, already anticipating the
possibility of being obliged to leave Scotland for the deed he had done,
was naturally and anxiously desirous of information. By degrees he
was more attracted by the charms of the stranger's conversation than
repelled by the dread of his dangerous character as a heretic, and
Halbert had called him father more than once, ere the turrets of Avenel
Castle came in view.

The situation of this ancient fortress was remarkable. It occupied a
small rocky islet in a mountain lake, or _tarn,_ as such a piece of
water is called in Westmoreland. The lake might be about a mile in
circumference, surrounded by hills of considerable height, which, except
where old trees and brushwood occupied the ravines that divided them
from each other, were bare and heathy. The surprise of the spectator was
chiefly excited by finding a piece of water situated in that high and
mountainous region, and the landscape around had features which might
rather be termed wild, than either romantic or sublime; yet the scene
was not without its charms. Under the burning sun of summer, the clear
azure of the deep unruffled lake refreshed the eye, and impressed the
mind with a pleasing feeling of deep solitude. In winter, when the snow
lay on the mountains around, these dazzling masses appeared to ascend
far beyond their wonted and natural height, while the lake, which
stretched beneath, and filled their bosom with all its frozen waves, lay
like the surface of a darkened and broken mirror around the black and
rocky islet, and the walls of the gray castle with which it was crowned.

As the castle occupied, either with its principal buildings, or with its
flanking and outward walls, every projecting point of rock, which served
as its site, it seemed as completely surrounded by water as the nest of
a wild swan, save where a narrow causeway extended betwixt the islet and
the shore. But the fortress was larger in appearance than in reality;
and of the buildings which it actually contained, many had become
ruinous and uninhabitable. In the times of the grandeur of the Avenel
family, these had been occupied by a considerable garrison of followers
and retainers, but they were now in a great measure deserted; and Julian
Avenel would probably have fixed his habitation in a residence better
suited to his diminished fortunes, had it not been for the great
security which the situation of the old castle afforded to a man of his
precarious and perilous mode of life. Indeed, in this respect, the spot
could scarce have been more happily chosen, for it could be rendered
almost completely inaccessible at the pleasure of the inhabitant. The
distance betwixt the nearest shore and the islet was not indeed above an
hundred yards; but then the causeway which connected them was extremely
narrow, and completely divided by two cuts, one in the mid-way between
the islet and shore, and another close under the outward gate of
the castle. These formed a formidable, and almost insurmountable
interruption to any hostile approach. Each was defended by a drawbridge,
one of which, being that nearest to the castle, was regularly raised at
all times during the day, and both were lifted at night. [Footnote:
It is in vain to search near Melrose for any such castle as is here
described. The lakes at the head of the Yarrow, and those at the rise of
the water of Ale, present no object of the kind. But in Vetholm Loch, (a
romantic sheet of water, in the dry march, as it is called,) there
are the remains of a fortress called Lochside Tower, which, like the
supposed Castle of Avenel, is built upon an island, and connected with
the land by a causeway. It is much smaller than the Castle of Avenel is
described, consisting only of a single tower.]

The situation of Julian Avenel, engaged in a variety of feuds, and a
party to almost every dark and mysterious transaction which was on foot
in that wild and military frontier, required all these precautions
for his security. His own ambiguous and doubtful course of policy had
increased these dangers; for as he made professions to both parties in
the state, and occasionally united more actively with either the one or
the other, as chanced best to serve his immediate purpose, he could
not be said to have either firm allies and protectors, or determined
enemies. His life was a life of expedients and of peril; and while,
in pursuit of his interest, he made all the doubles which he thought
necessary to attain his object, he often overran his prey, and missed
that which he might have gained by observing a straighter course.

       *      *       *       *       *

Chapter the Twenty-Fourth.

  I'll walk on tiptoe; arm my eye with caution,
  My heart with courage, and my hand with weapon,
  Like him who ventures on a lion's den.
                             OLD PLAY.

When, issuing from the gorge of a pass which terminated upon the lake,
the travellers came in sight of the ancient castle of Avenel, the old
man looked with earnest attention upon the scene before him. The castle
was, as we have said, in many places ruinous, as was evident, even at
this distance, by the broken, rugged, and irregular outline of the walls
and of the towers. In others it seemed more entire, and a pillar of dark
smoke, which ascended from the chimneys of the donjon, and spread
its long dusky pennon through the clear ether, indicated that it was
inhabited. But no corn-fields or enclosed pasture-grounds on the side
of the lake showed that provident attention to comfort and subsistence
which usually appeared near the houses of the greater, and even of the
lesser barons. There were no cottages with their patches of infield, and
their crofts and gardens, surrounded by rows of massive sycamores; no
church with its simple tower in the valley; no herds of sheep among
the hills; no cattle on the lower ground; nothing which intimated the
occasional prosecution of the arts of peace and of industry. It was
plain that the inhabitants, whether few or numerous, must be considered
as the garrison of the castle, living within its defended precincts, and
subsisting by means which were other than peaceful.

Probably it was with this conviction that the old man, gazing on the
castle, muttered to himself, "_Lapis offensionis et petra scandali!_"
and then, turning to Halbert Glendinning, he added, "We may say of
yonder fort as King James did of another fastness in this province,
that he who built it was a thief in his heart." [Footnote: It was of
Lochwood, the hereditary fortress of the Johnstones of Aunandale, a
strong castle situated in the centre of a quaking bog, that James VI.
made this remark.]

"But it was not so," answered Glendinning; "yonder castle was built
by the old lords of Avenel, men as much beloved in peace as they
were respected in war. They were the bulwark of the frontiers against
foreigners, and the protectors of the natives from domestic oppression.
The present usurper of their inheritance no more resembles them, than
the night-prowling owl resembles a falcon, because she builds on the
same rock."

"This Julian Avenel, then, holds no high place in the love and regard of
his neighbours?" said Warden.

"So little," answered Halbert, "that besides the jack-men and riders
with whom he has associated himself, and of whom he has many at his
disposal, I know of few who voluntarily associate with him. He has been
more than once outlawed both by England and Scotland, his lands declared
forfeited, and his head set at a price. But in these unquiet times, a
man so daring as Julian Avenel has ever found some friends willing to
protect him against the penalties of the law, on condition of his secret

"You describe a dangerous man," replied Warden.

"You may have experience of that," replied the youth, "if you deal
not the more warily;--though it may be that he also has forsaken the
community of the church, and gone astray in the path of heresy."

"What your blindness terms the path of heresy," answered the reformer,
"is indeed the straight and narrow way, wherein he who walks turns not
aside, whether for worldly wealth or for worldly passions. Would to
God this man were moved by no other and no worse spirit than that which
prompts my poor endeavours to extend the kingdom of Heaven! This Baron
of Avenel is personally unknown to me, is not of our congregation or of
our counsel; yet I bear to him charges touching my safety, from those
whom he must fear if he does not respect them, and upon that assurance I
will venture upon his hold--I am now sufficiently refreshed by these few
minutes of repose."

"Take then this advice for your safety," said Halbert, "and believe that
it is founded upon the usage of this country and its inhabitants. If you
can better shift for yourself, go not to the Castle of Avenel--if you do
risk going thither, obtain from him, if possible, his safe conduct, and
beware that he swears it by the Black Rood--And lastly, observe whether
he eats with you at the board, or pledges you in the cup; for if he
gives you not these signs of welcome, his thoughts are evil towards

"Alas!" said the preacher, "I have no better earthly refuge for the
present than these frowning towers, but I go thither trusting to aid
which is not of this earth--But thou, good youth, needest thou trust
thyself in this dangerous den?"

"I," answered Halbert, "am in no danger. I am well known to Christie of
the Clinthill, the henchman of this Julian Avenel; and, what is a yet
better protection, I have nothing either to provoke malice or to tempt

The tramp of a steed, which clattered along the shingly banks of the
loch, was now heard behind them; and, when they looked back, a rider was
visible, his steel cap and the point of his long lance glancing in the
setting sun, as he rode rapidly towards them.

Halbert Glendinning soon recognized Christie of the Clinthill, and made
his companion aware that the henchman of Julian Avenel was approaching.

"Ha, youngling!" said Christie to Halbert, as he came up to them, "thou
hast made good my word at last, and come to take service with my noble
master, hast thou not? Thou shalt find a good friend and a true; and
ere Saint Barnaby come round again, thou shalt know every pass betwixt
Millburn Plain and Netherby, as if thou hadst been born with a jack
on thy back, and a lance in thy hand.--What old carle hast thou with
thee?--He is not of the brotherhood of Saint Mary's--at least he has
not the buist [Footnote: _Buist_--The brand, or mark, set upon sheep or
cattle, by their owners.] of these black cattle."

"He is a wayfaring man," said Halbert, "who has concerns with Julian of
Avenel. For myself, I intend to go to Edinburgh to see the court and the
Queen, and when I return hither we will talk of your proffer. Meantime,
as thou hast often invited me to the castle, I crave hospitality there
to-night for myself and my companion."

"For thyself and welcome, young comrade," replied Christie; "but we
harbour no pilgrims, nor aught that looks like a pilgrim."

"So please you," said Warden, "I have letters of commendation to thy
master from a sure friend, whom he will right willingly oblige in higher
matters than in affording me a brief protection.--And I am no pilgrim,
but renounce the same, with all its superstitious observances." He
offered his letters to the horseman, who shook his head.

"These," he said, "are matters for my master, and it will be well if he
can read them himself; for me, sword and lance are my book and psalter,
and have been since I was twelve years old. But I will guide you to the
castle, and the Baron of Avenel will himself judge of your errand."

By this time the party had reached the causeway, along which Christie
advanced at a trot, intimating his presence to the warders within the
castle by a shrill and peculiar whistle. At this signal the farther
drawbridge was lowered. The horseman passed it, and disappeared under
the gloomy portal which was beyond it.

Glendinning and his companion advancing more leisurely along the rugged
causeway, stood at length under the same gateway, over which frowned,
in dark red freestone, the ancient armorial bearings of the house of
Avenel, which represented a female figure shrouded and muffled, which
occupied the whole field. The cause of their assuming so singular a
device was uncertain, but the figure was generally supposed to represent
the mysterious being called the White Lady of Avenel. [Footnote: There
is an ancient English family, I believe, which bears, or did bear, a
ghost or spirit passant sable in a field argent. This seems to have been
a device of a punning or _canting_ herald.] The sight of this mouldering
shield awakened in the mind of Halbert the strange circumstances which
had connected his fate with that of Mary Avenel, and with the doings of
the spiritual being who was attached to her house, and whom he saw
here, represented in stone, as he had before seen her effigy upon
the seal-ring of Walter Avenel, which, with other trinkets formerly
mentioned, had been saved from pillage, and brought to Glendearg, when
Mary's mother was driven from her habitation.

"You sigh, my son," said the old man, observing the impression made on
his youthful companion's countenance, but mistaking the cause; "if you
fear to enter, we may yet return."

"That can ye not," said Christie of the Clinthill, who emerged at that
instant from the side-door under the archway. "Look yonder, and choose
whether you will return skimming the water like a wild-duck, or winging
the air like a plover."

They looked, and saw that the drawbridge which they had just crossed was
again raised, and now interposed its planks betwixt the setting sun and
the portal of the castle, deepening the gloom of the arch under which
they stood. Christie laughed and bid them follow him, saying, by way of
encouragement, in Halbert's ear, "Answer boldly and readily to whatever
the Baron asks you. Never stop to pick your words, and above all show no
fear of him--the devil is not so black as he is painted."

As he spoke thus, he introduced them into the large stone hall, at the
upper end of which blazed a huge fire of wood. The long oaken table,
which, as usual, occupied the midst of the apartment, was covered
with rude preparations for the evening meal of the Baron and his chief
domestics, five or six of whom, strong, athletic, savage-looking men,
paced up and down the lower end of the hall, which rang to the jarring
clang of their long swords that clashed as they moved, and to the heavy
tramp of their high-heeled jack-boots. Iron jacks, or coats of buff,
formed the principal part of their dress, and steel-bonnets, or large
slouched hats with Spanish plumes drooping backwards, were their head

The Baron of Avenel was one of those tall, muscular, martial figures,
which are the favourite subjects of Salvator Rosa. He wore a cloak
which had been once gaily trimmed, but which, by long wear and
frequent exposure to the weather, was now faded in its colours. Thrown
negligently about his tall person, it partly hid, and partly showed, a
short doublet of buff, under which was in some places visible that light
shirt of mail which was called a _secret_, because worn instead of more
ostensible armour to protect against private assassination. A leathern
belt sustained a large and heavy sword on one side, and on the other
that gay poniard which had once called Sir Piercie Shafton master, of
which the hatchments and gildings were already much defaced, either by
rough usage or neglect.

Notwithstanding the rudeness of his apparel, Julian Avenel's manner
and countenance had far more elevation than those of the attendants
who surrounded him. He might be fifty or upwards, for his dark hair was
mingled with gray, but age had neither tamed the fire of his eye nor the
enterprise of his disposition. His countenance had been handsome, for
beauty was an attribute of the family; but the lines were roughened by
fatigue and exposure to the weather, and rendered coarse by the habitual
indulgence of violent passions.

He seemed in deep and moody reflection, and was pacing at a distance
from his dependents along the upper end of the hall, sometimes stopping
from time to time to caress and feed a gos-hawk, which sat upon his
wrist, with its jesses (_i. e._ the leathern straps fixed to its legs)
wrapt around his hand. The bird, which seemed not insensible to its
master's attention, answered his caresses by ruffling forward its
feathers, and pecking playfully at his finger. At such intervals
the Baron smiled, but instantly resumed the darksome air of sullen
meditation. He did not even deign to look upon an object, which few
could have passed and repassed so often without bestowing on it a
transient glance.

This was a woman of exceeding beauty, rather gaily than richly attired,
who sat on a low seat close by the huge hall chimney. The gold chains
round her neck and arms,--the gay gown of green which swept the
floor,--the silver embroidered girdle, with its bunch of keys, depending
in house-wifely pride by a silver chain,--the yellow silken _couvrechef_
(Scottice, _curch_) which was disposed around her head, and partly
concealed her dark profusion of hair,--above all, the circumstance so
delicately touched in the old ballad, that "the girdle was too short,"
the "gown of green all too strait," for the wearer's present shape,
would have intimated the Baron's lady. But then the lowly seat,--the
expression of deep melancholy, which was changed into a timid smile
whenever she saw the least chance of catching the eye of Julian
Avenel,--the subdued look of grief, and the starting tear for which
that constrained smile was again exchanged when she saw herself entirely
disregarded,--these were not the attributes of a wife, or they were
those of a dejected and afflicted female, who had yielded her love on
less than legitimate terms.

Julian Avenel, as we have said, continued to pace the hall without
paying any of that mute attention which is rendered to almost every
female either by affection or courtesy. He seemed totally unconscious of
her presence, or of that of his attendants, and was only roused from
his own dark reflections by the notice he paid to the falcon, to which,
however, the lady seemed to attend, as if studying to find either
an opportunity of speaking to the Baron, or of finding something
enigmatical in the expressions which he used to the bird. All this the
strangers had time enough to remark; for no sooner had they entered the
apartment than their usher, Christie of the Clinthill, after exchanging
a significant glance with the menials or troopers at the lower end of
the apartment, signed to Halbert Glendinning and to his companion to
stand still near the door, while he himself, advancing nearer the table,
placed himself in such a situation as to catch the Baron's observation
when he should be disposed to look around, but without presuming to
intrude himself on his master's notice. Indeed, the look of this man,
naturally bold, hardy, and audacious, seemed totally changed when he
was in presence of his master, and resembled the dejected and cowering
manner of a quarrelsome dog when rebuked by his owner, or when he finds
himself obliged to deprecate the violence of a superior adversary of his
own species.

In spite of the novelty of his own situation, and every painful feeling
connected with it, Halbert felt his curiosity interested in the female,
who sate by the chimney unnoticed and unregarded. He marked with what
keen and trembling solicitude she watched the broken words of Julian,
and how her glance stole towards him, ready to be averted upon the
slightest chance of his perceiving himself to be watched.

Meantime he went on with his dalliance with his feathered favourite, now
giving, now withholding, the morsel with which he was about to feed the
bird, and so exciting its appetite and gratifying it by turns. "What!
more yet?--thou foul kite, thou wouldst never have done--give thee part
thou wilt have all--Ay, prune thy feathers, and prink thyself gay--much
thou wilt make of it now--dost think I know thee not?--dost think I see
not that all that ruffling and pluming of wing and feathers is not
for thy master, but to try what thou canst make of him, thou greedy
gled?--well--there--take it then, and rejoice thyself--little boon goes
far with thee, and with all thy sex--and so it should."

He ceased to look on the bird, and again traversed the apartment. Then
taking another small piece of raw meat from the trencher, on which it
was placed ready cut for his use, he began once again to tempt and tease
the bird, by offering and withdrawing it, until he awakened its wild and
bold disposition. "What! struggling, fluttering, aiming at me with beak
and single? [Footnote: In the _kindly_ language of hawking, as Lady
Juliana Berners terms it, hawks' talons are called their _singles_]
So la! So la! wouldst mount? wouldst fly? the jesses are round thy
clutches, fool--thou canst neither stir nor soar but by my will--Beware
thou come to reclaim, wench, else I will wring thy head off one of these
days--Well, have it then, and well fare thou with it.--So ho, Jenkin!"
One of the attendants stepped forward--"Take the foul gled hence to
the mew--or, stay; leave her, but look well to her casting and to her
bathing--we will see her fly to-morrow.--How now, Christie, so soon

Christie advanced to his master, and gave an account of himself and his
journey, in the way in which a police-officer holds communication with
his magistrate, that is, as much by signs as by words.

"Noble sir," said that worthy satellite, "the Laird of--," he named no
place, but pointed with his finger in a south-western direction,--
"may not ride with you the day he purposed, because the Lord Warden has
threatened that he will--"

Here another blank, intelligibly enough made up by the speaker touching
his own neck with his left fore-finger, and leaning his head a little to
one side.

"Cowardly caitiff!" said Julian; "by Heaven! the whole world turns sheer
naught--it is not worth a brave man's living in--ye may ride a day and
night, and never see a feather wave or hear a horse prance--the spirit
of our fathers is dead amongst us--the very brutes are degenerated--the
cattle we bring at our life's risk are mere carrion--our hawks are
riflers [Footnote: So called when they only caught their prey by the
feathers.]--our hounds are turnspits and trindle-tails--our men are
women--and our women are--"

He looked at the female for the first time, and stopped short in
the midst of what he was about to say, though there was something so
contemptuous in the glance, that the blank might have been thus filled
up--"Our women are such as she is."

He said it not, however, and as if desirous of attracting his attention
at all risks, and in whatever manner, she rose and came forward to him,
but with a timorousness ill-disguised by affected gaiety.--"Our women,
Julian--what would you say of the women?"

"Nothing," answered Julian Avenel, "at least nothing but that they are
kind-hearted wenches like thyself, Kate." The female coloured deeply,
and returned to her seat.--"And what strangers hast thou brought with
thee, Christie, that stand yonder like two stone statues?" said the

"The taller," answered Christie, "is, so please you, a young fellow
called Halbert Glendinning, the eldest son of the old widow at

"What brings him here?" said the Baron; "hath he any message from Mary

"Not as I think," said Christie; "the youth is roving the country--he
was always a wild slip, for I have known him since he was the height of
my sword."

"What qualities hath he?" said the Baron.

"All manner of qualities," answered his follower--"he can strike a buck,
track a deer, fly a hawk, halloo to a hound--he shoots in the long
and crossbow to a hair's breadth--wields a lance or sword like myself
nearly--backs a horse manfully and fairly--I wot not what more a man
need to do to make him a gallant companion."

"And who," said the Baron, "is the old miser [Footnote: Miser, used in
the sense in which it often occurs in Spenser, and which is indeed its
literal import--"wretched old man."] who stands beside him?"

"Some cast of a priest as I fancy--he says he is charged with letters to

"Bid them come forward," said the Baron; and no sooner had they
approached him more nearly, than, struck by the fine form and strength
displayed by Halbert Glendinning, he addressed him thus: "I am told,
young Swankie, that you are roaming the world to seek your fortune,--if
you will serve Julian Avenel, you may find it without going farther."

"So please you," answered Glendinning, "something has chanced to me that
makes it better I should leave this land, and I am bound for Edinburgh."

"What!--thou hast stricken some of the king's deer, I warrant,--or
lightened the meadows of Saint Mary's of some of their beeves--or thou
hast taken a moonlight leap over the border?"

"No, sir," said Halbert, "my case is entirely different."

"Then I warrant thee," said the Baron, "thou hast stabbed some brother
churl in a fray about a wench--thou art a likely lad to wrangle in such
a cause."

Ineffably disgusted at his tone and manner, Halbert Glendinning remained
silent, while the thought darted across his mind, what would Julian
Avenel have said, had he known the quarrel of which he spoke so lightly,
had arisen on account of his own brother's daughter! "But be thy cause
of flight what it will," said Julian, in continuation, "dost thou think
the law or its emissaries can follow thee into this island, or arrest
thee under the standard of Avenel?--Look at the depth of the lake, the
strength of the walls, the length of the causeway--look at my men,
and think if they are likely to see a comrade injured, or if I, their
master, am a man to desert a faithful follower, in good or evil. I tell
thee it shall be an eternal day of truce betwixt thee and justice,
as they call it, from the instant thou hast put my colours into thy
cap--thou shalt ride by the Warden's nose as thou wouldst pass an old
market-woman, and ne'er a cur which follows him shall dare to bay at

"I thank you for your offers, noble sir," replied Halbert, "but I must
answer in brief, that I cannot profit by them--my fortunes lead me

"Thou art a self-willed fool for thy pains," said Julian, turning from
him; and signing Christie to approach, he whispered in his ear, "there
is promise in that young fellow's looks, Christie, and we want men of
limbs and sinews so compacted--those thou hast brought to me of late are
the mere refuse of mankind, wretches scarce worth the arrow that ends
them: this youngster is limbed like Saint George. Ply him with wine and
wassail--let the wenches weave their meshes about him like spiders--thou
understandest?" Christie gave a sagacious nod of intelligence, and fell
back to a respectful distance from his master.--"And thou, old man,"
said the Baron, turning to the elder traveller, "hast thou been roaming
the world after fortune too?--it seems not she has fallen into thy way."

"So please you," replied Warden, "I were perhaps more to be pitied than
I am now, had I indeed met with that fortune, which, like others, I have
sought in my greener days."

"Nay, understand me, friend," said the Baron; "if thou art satisfied
with thy buckram gown and long staff, I also am well content thou
shouldst be as poor and contemptible as is good for the health of thy
body and soul--All I care to know of thee is, the cause which hath
brought thee to my castle, where few crows of thy kind care to settle.
Thou art, I warrant thee, some ejected monk of a suppressed convent,
paying in his old days the price of the luxurious idleness in which he
spent his youth.--Ay, or it may be some pilgrim with a budget of lies
from Saint James of Compostella, or Our Lady of Loretto; or thou mayest
be some pardoner with his budget of relics from Rome, forgiving sins at
a penny a-dozen, and one to the tale.--Ay, I guess why I find thee in
this boy's company, and doubtless thou wouldst have such a strapping lad
as he to carry thy wallet, and relieve thy lazy shoulders; but by the
mass I will cross thy cunning. I make my vow to sun and moon, I will
not see a proper lad so misleard as to run the country with an old knave
like Simmie and his brother. [Footnote: Two _quaestionarii_, or begging
friars, whose accoutrements and roguery make the subject of an old
Scottish satirical poem] Away with thee!" he added, rising in wrath,
and speaking so fast as to give no opportunity of answer, being probably
determined to terrify the elder guest into an abrupt flight--"Away with
thee, with thy clouted coat, scrip, and scallop-shell, or, by the name
of Avenel, I will have them loose the hounds on thee."

Warden waited with the greatest patience until Julian Avenel, astonished
that the threats and violence of his language made no impression on him,
paused in a sort of wonder, and said in a less imperious tone, "Why the
fiend dost thou not answer me?"

"When you have done speaking," said Warden, in the same composed manner,
"it will be full time to reply."

"Say on man, in the devil's name--but take heed--beg not here--were it
but for the rinds of cheese, the refuse of the rats, or a morsel that my
dogs would turn from--neither a grain of meal, nor the nineteenth part
of a gray groat, will I give to any feigned limmer of thy coat."

"It may be," answered Warden, "that you would have less quarrel with my
coat if you knew what it covers, I am neither a friar nor mendicant, and
would be right glad to hear thy testimony against these foul deceivers
of God's church, and usurpers of his rights over the Christian flock,
were it given in Christian charity."

"And who or what art thou, then," said Avenel, "that thou comest to this
Border land, and art neither monk, nor soldier, nor broken man?"

"I am an humble teacher of the holy word," answered Warden. "This letter
from a most noble person will speak why I am here at this present time."

He delivered the letter to the Baron, who regarded the seal with some
surprise, and then looked on the letter itself, which seemed to excite
still more. He then fixed his eyes on the stranger, and said, in a
menacing tone, "I think thou darest not betray me or deceive me?"

"I am not the man to attempt either," was the concise reply.

Julian Avenel carried the letter to the window, where he perused, or
at least attempted to peruse it more than once, often looking from the
paper and gazing on the stranger who had delivered it, as if he meant to
read the purport of the missive in the face of the messenger. Julian
at length called to the female,--"Catherine, bestir thee, and fetch
me presently that letter which I bade thee keep ready at hand in thy
casket, having no sure lockfast place of my own."

Catherine went with the readiness of one willing to be employed; and
as she walked, the situation which requires a wider gown and a longer
girdle, and in which woman claims from man a double portion of the most
anxious care, was still more visible than before. She soon returned with
the paper, and was rewarded with a cold--"I thank thee, wench; thou art
a careful secretary."

This second paper he also perused and reperused more than once, and
still, as he read it, bent from time to time a wary and observant eye
upon Henry Warden. This examination and re-examination, though both the
man and the place were dangerous, the preacher endured with the most
composed and steady countenance, seeming, under the eagle, or rather the
vulture eye of the baron, as unmoved as under the gaze of an ordinary
and peaceful peasant. At length Julian Avenel folded both papers, and
having put them into the pocket of his cloak, cleared his brow, and,
coming forward, addressed his female companion. "Catherine," said he,
"I have done this good man injustice, when I mistook him for one of the
drones of Rome. He is a preacher, Catherine--a preacher of the--the new
doctrine of the Lords of the Congregation."

"The doctrine of the blessed Scriptures," said the preacher, "purified
from the devices of men."

"Sayest thou?" said Julian Avenel--"Well, thou mayest call it what thou
lists; but to me it is recommended, because it flings off all those
sottish dreams about saints and angels and devils, and unhorses lazy
monks that have ridden us so long, and spur-galled us so hard. No
more masses and corpse-gifts--no more tithes and offerings to make men
poor--no more prayers or psalms to make men cowards-no more christenings
and penances, and confessions and marriages."

"So please you," said Henry Warden, "it is against the corruptions, not
against the fundamental doctrines, of the church, which we desire to
renovate, and not to abolish."

"Prithee, peace, man," said the Baron; "we of the laity care not what
you set up, so you pull merrily down what stands in our way. Specially
it suits well with us of the Southland fells; for it is our profession
to turn the world upside down, and we live ever the blithest life when
the downer side is uppermost."

Warden would have replied; but the Baron allowed him not time, striking
the table with the hilt of his dagger, and crying out,--"Ha! you
loitering knaves, bring our supper-meal quickly. See you not this holy
man is exhausted for lack of food? heard ye ever of priest or preacher
that devoured not his five meals a-day?"

The attendants bustled to and fro, and speedily brought in several large
smoking platters filled with huge pieces of beef, boiled and roasted,
but without any variety whatsoever; without vegetables, and almost
without bread, though there was at the upper end a few oat-cakes in a
basket. Julian Avenel made a sort of apology to Warden.

"You have been commended to our care, Sir Preacher, since that is your
style, by a person whom we highly honour."

"I am assured," said Warden, "that the most noble Lord--"

"Prithee, peace, man," said Avenel; "what need of naming names, so we
understand each other? I meant but to speak in reference to your safety
and comfort, of which he desires us to be chary. Now, for your safety,
look at my walls and water. But touching your comfort, we have no
corn of our own, and the meal-girnels of the south are less easily
transported than their beeves, seeing they have no legs to walk upon.
But what though? a stoup of wine thou shalt have, and of the best--thou
shalt sit betwixt Catherine and me at the board-end.--And, Christie, do
thou look to the young springald, and call to the cellarer for a flagon
of the best."

The Baron took his wonted place at the upper end of the board; his
Catherine sate down, and courteously pointed to a seat betwixt them for
their reverend guest. But notwithstanding the influence both of hunger
and fatigue, Henry Warden retained his standing posture.

Chapter the Twenty-Fifth.

  When lovely woman stoops to folly,
  And finds too late that men betray--

Julian Avenel saw with surprise the demeanour of the reverend stranger.
"Beshrew me," he said, "these new-fashioned religioners have fast-days,
I warrant me--the old ones used to confer these blessings chiefly on the

"We acknowledge no such rule," said the preacher--"We hold that our
faith consists not in using or abstaining from special meats on special
days; and in fasting we rend our hearts, and not our garments."

"The better--the better for yourselves, and the worse for Tom Tailor,"
said the Baron; "but come, sit down, or, if thou needs must e'en give us
a cast of thy office, mutter thy charm."

"Sir Baron," said the preacher, "I am in a strange land, where neither
mine office nor my doctrine are known, and where, it would seem, both
are greatly misunderstood. It is my duty so to bear me, that in my
person, however unworthy, my Master's dignity may be respected, and that
sin may take not confidence from relaxation of the bonds of discipline."

"Ho la! halt there," said the Baron; "thou wert sent hither for thy
safety, but not, I think, to preach to me, or control me. What is it
thou wouldst have, Sir Preacher? Remember thou speakest to one somewhat
short of patience, who loves a short health and a long draught."

"In a word, then," said Henry Warden, "that lady--"

"How?" said the Baron, starting--"what of her?--what hast thou to say of
that dame?"

"Is she thy house-dame?" said the preacher, after a moment's pause, in
which, he seemed to seek for the best mode of expressing what he had to
say--"Is she, in brief, thy wife?"

The unfortunate young woman pressed both her hands on her face, as if
to hide it, but the deep blush which crimsoned her brow and neck, showed
that her cheeks were also glowing; and the bursting tears, which found
their way betwixt her slender fingers, bore witness to her sorrow, as
well as to her shame.

"Now, by my father's ashes!" said the Baron, rising and spurning from
him his footstool with such violence, that it hit the wall on the
opposite side of the apartment--then instantly constraining himself,
he muttered, "What need to run myself into trouble for a fool's
word?"--then resuming his seat, he answered coldly and scornfully--"No,
Sir Priest or Sir Preacher, Catherine is not my wife--Cease thy
whimpering, thou foolish wench--she is not my wife, but she is
handfasted with me, and that makes her as honest a woman."

"Handfasted?"--repeated Warden.

"Knowest thou not that rite, holy man?" said Avenel, in the same tone of
derision; "then I will tell thee. We Border-men are more wary than
your inland clowns of Fife and Lothian--no jump in the dark for us--no
clenching the fetters around our wrists till we know how they will wear
with us--we take our wives, like our horses, upon trial. When we are
handfasted, as we term it, we are man and wife for a year and day--that
space gone by, each may choose another mate, or, at their pleasure, may
call the priest to marry them for life--and this we call handfasting."
[Footnote: This custom of handfasting actually prevailed in the upland
days. It arose partly from the want of priests. While the convents
subsisted, monks were detached on regular circuits through the wilder
districts, to marry those who had lived in this species of connexion. A
practice of the same kind existed in the Isle of Portland.]

"Then," said the preacher, "I tell thee, noble Baron, in brotherly love
to thy soul, it is a custom licentious, gross, and corrupted, and, if
persisted in, dangerous, yea, damnable. It binds thee to the frailer
being while she is the object of desire--it relieves thee when she is
most the subject of pity--it gives all to brutal sense, and nothing to
generous and gentle affection. I say to thee, that he who can meditate
the breach of such an engagement, abandoning the deluded woman and the
helpless offspring, is worse than the birds of prey; for of them the
males remain with their mates until the nestlings can take wing. Above
all, I say it is contrary to the pure Christian doctrine, which assigns
woman to man as the partner of his labour, the soother of his evil,
his helpmate in peril, his friend in affliction; not as the toy of his
looser hours, or as a flower, which, once cropped, he may throw aside at

"Now, by the Saints, a most virtuous homily!" said the Baron; "quaintly
conceived and curiously pronounced, and to a well-chosen congregation.
Hark ye, Sir Gospeller! trow ye to have a fool in hand? Know I not that
your sect rose by bluff Harry Tudor, merely because ye aided him to
change _his_ Kate; and wherefore should I not use the same Christian
liberty with _mine?_ Tush, man! bless the good food, and meddle not with
what concerns thee not--thou hast no gull in Julian Avenel."

"He hath gulled and cheated himself," said the preacher, "should he
even incline to do that poor sharer of his domestic cares the imperfect
justice that remains to him. Can he now raise her to the rank of a pure
and uncontaminated matron?--Can he deprive his child of the misery of
owing birth to a mother who has erred? He can indeed give them both
the rank, the state of married wife and of lawful son; but, in public
opinion, their names will be smirched and sullied with a stain which his
tardy efforts cannot entirely efface. Yet render it to them, Baron of
Avenel, render to them this late and imperfect justice. Bid me bind
you together for ever, and celebrate the day of your bridal, not with
feasting or wassail, but with sorrow for past sin, and the resolution
to commence a better life. Happy then will have the chance been that has
drawn me to this castle, though I come driven by calamity, and unknowing
where my course is bound, like a leaf travelling on the north wind."

The plain, and even coarse features, of the zealous speaker, were warmed
at once and ennobled by the dignity of his enthusiasm; and the wild
Baron, lawless as he was, and accustomed to spurn at the control whether
of religious or moral law, felt, for the first time perhaps in his life,
that he was under subjection to a mind superior to his own. He sat mute
and suspended in his deliberations, hesitating betwixt anger and shame,
yet borne down by the weight of the just rebuke thus boldly fulminated
against him.

The unfortunate young woman, conceiving hopes from her tyrant's silence
and apparent indecision, forgot both her fear and shame in her timid
expectation that Avenel would relent; and fixing upon him her anxious
and beseeching eyes, gradually drew near and nearer to his seat, till at
length, laying a trembling hand on his cloak, she ventured to utter, "O
noble Julian, listen to the good man!"

The speech and the motion were ill-timed, and wrought on that proud and
wayward spirit the reverse of her wishes.

The fierce Baron started up in a fury, exclaiming, "What! thou foolish
callet, art thou confederate with this strolling vagabond, whom thou
hast seen beard me in my own hall! Hence with thee, and think that I ana
proof both to male and female hypocrisy!"

The poor girl started back, astounded at his voice of thunder and looks
of fury, and, turning pale as death, endeavoured to obey his orders, and
tottered towards the door. Her limbs failed in the attempt, and she fell
on the stone floor in a manner which her situation might have rendered
fatal--The blood gushed from her face.--Halbert Glendinning brooked not
a sight so brutal, but, uttering a deep imprecation, started from
his seat, and laid his hand on his sword, under the strong impulse of
passing it through the body of the cruel and hard-hearted ruffian. But
Christie of the Clinthill, guessing his intention, threw his arms around
him, and prevented him from stirring to execute his purpose.

The impulse to such an act of violence was indeed but momentary, as it
instantly appeared that Avenel himself, shocked at the effects of his
violence, was lifting up and endeavouring to soothe in his own way the
terrified Catherine.

"Peace," he said, "prithee, peace, thou silly minion--why, Kate, though
I listen not to this tramping preacher, I said not what might happen
an thou dost bear me a stout boy. There--there--dry thy tears--Call thy
women.--So ho!--where be these queans?--Christie--Rowley--Hutcheon--drag
them hither by the hair of the head!"

A half dozen of startled wild-looking females rushed into the room,
and bore out her who might be either termed their mistress or their
companion. She showed little sign of life, except by groaning faintly
and keeping her hand on her side.

No sooner had this luckless female been conveyed from the apartment,
than the Baron, advancing to the table, filled and drank a deep goblet
of wine; then, putting an obvious restraint on his passions, turned to
the preacher, who stood horror-struck at the scene he had witnessed, and
said, "You have borne too hard on us, Sir Preacher--but coming with the
commendations which you have brought me, I doubt not but your meaning
was good. But we are a wilder folk than you inland men of Fife and
Lothian. Be advised, therefore, by me--Spur not an unbroken horse--put
not your ploughshare too deep into new land--Preach to us spiritual
liberty, and we will hearken to you.--But we will give no way to
spiritual bondage.--Sit, therefore, down, and pledge me in old sack, and
we will talk over these matters."

"It is _from_ spiritual bondage," said the preacher, in the same tone
of admonitory reproof, "that I came to deliver you--it is from a bondage
more fearful than than that of the heaviest earthly gyves--it is from
your own evil passions."

"Sit down," said Avenel, fiercely; "sit down while the play is
good--else by my father's crest and my mother's honour!----"

"Now," whispered Christie of the Clinthill to Halbert, "if he refuse to
sit down, I would not give a gray groat for his head."

"Lord Baron," said Warden, "thou hast placed me in extremity. But if the
question be, whether I am to hide the light which I am commanded to show
forth, or to lose the light of this world, my choice is made. I say to
thee, like the Holy Baptist to Herod, it is not lawful for thee to have
this woman; and I say it though bonds and death be the consequence,
counting my life as nothing in comparison of the ministry to which I am

Julian Avenel, enraged at the firmness of this reply, flung from his
right hand the cup in which he was about to drink to his guest, and from
the other cast off the hawk, which flew wildly through the apartment.
His first motion was to lay hand upon his dagger. But, changing
his resolution, he exclaimed, "To the dungeon with this insolent
stroller!--I will hear no man speak a word for him----Look to the
falcon, Christie, thou fool--an she escape, I will despatch you after
her every man--Away with that hypocritical dreamer--drag him hence if he

He was obeyed in both points. Christie of the Clinthill arrested the
hawk's flight, by putting his foot on her jesses, and so holding her
fast, while Henry Warden was led off, without having shown the slightest
symptoms of terror, by two of the Baron's satellites. Julian Avenel
walked the apartment for a short time in sullen silence, and despatching
one of his attendants with a whispered message, which probably related
to the health of the unfortunate Catherine, he said aloud, "These rash
and meddling priests--By Heaven! they make us worse than we would be
without them."

[Footnote: If it were necessary to name a prototype for this brutal,
licentious and cruel Border chief, in an age which showed but too many
such, the Laird of Black Ormiston might be selected for that purpose. He
was a friend and confidant of Bothwell, and an agent in Henry Darnley's
murder. At his last stage, he was, like other great offenders, a seeming
penitent; and, as his confession bears, divers gentlemen and servants
being in the chamber, he said, "For God's sake, sit down and pray for
me, for I have been a great sinner otherwise," (that is, besides his
share in Darnley's death,) "for the which God is this day punishing me;
for of all men on the earth, I have been one of the proudest, and most
high-minded, and most unclean of my body. But specially I have shed the
innocent blood of one Michael Hunter with my own hands. Alas, therefore!
because the said Michael, having me lying on my back, having a fork in
his hand, might have slain me if he had pleased, and did it not, which
of all things grieves me most in conscience. Also, in a rage, I hanged a
poor man for a horse;--with many other wicked deeds, for whilk I ask my
God mercy. It is not marvel I have been wicked, considering the wicked
company that ever I have been in, but specially within the seven years
by-past, in which I never saw two good men or one good deed, but all
kind of wickedness, and yet God would not suffer me to be lost."--See
the whole confession in the State Trials.

Another worthy of the Borders, called Geordy Bourne, of somewhat
subordinate rank, was a similar picture of profligacy. He had fallen
into the hands of Sir Robert Carey, then Warden of the English East
Marches, who gives the following account of his prisoner's confession:--

"When all things were quiet, and the watch set at night, after supper,
about ten of the clock, I took one of my men's liveries, and put it
about me, and took two other of my servants with me in their liveries;
and we three, as the Warden's men, came to the Provost Marshal's where
Bourne was, and were let into his chamber. We sate down by him, and told
him that we were desirous to see him, because we heard he was stout and
valiant, and true to his friend, and that we were sorry our master could
not be moved to save his life. He voluntarily of himself said, that he
had lived long enough to do so many villanies as he had done; and withal
told us, that he had lain with above forty men's wives, what in England
what in Scotland; and that he had killed seven Englishmen with his own
hands, cruelly murdering them; and that he had spent his whole time
in whoring, drinking, stealing, and taking deep revenge for slight
offences. He seemed to be very penitent, and much desired a minister
for the comfort of his soul. We promised him to let our master know his
desire, who, we knew would promptly grant it. We took leave of him; and
presently I took order that Mr Selby, a very honest preacher, should go
to him, and not stir from him till his execution the next morning;
for after I had heard his own confession, I was resolved no conditions
should save his life, and so took order, that at the gates opening the
next morning, he should be carried to execution, which accordingly was
performed."--_Memoirs of Sir Robert Carey, Earl of Monmouth._]

The answer which he presently received seemed somewhat to pacify his
angry mood, and he took his place at the board, commanding his retinue
to the like. All sat down in silence, and began the repast.

During the meal Christie in vain attempted to engage his youthful
companion in carousal, or, at least, in conversation. Halbert
Glendinning pleaded fatigue, and expressed himself unwilling to take any
liquor stronger than the heather ale, which was at that time frequently
used at meals. Thus every effort at jovialty died away, until the
Baron, striking his hand against the table, as if impatient of the
long unbroken silence, cried out aloud, "What, ho! my masters--are ye
Border-riders, and sit as mute over your meal as a mess of monks and
friars?--Some one sing, if no one list to speak. Much eaten without
either mirth or music is ill of digestion.--Louis," he added, speaking
to one of the youngest of his followers, "thou art ready enough to sing
when no one bids thee."

The young man looked first at his master, then up to the arched roof of
the hall, then drank off the horn of ale, or wine, which stood beside
him, and with a rough, yet not unmelodious voice, sung the following
ditty to the ancient air of "Blue bonnets over the Border."


  March, march, Ettrick and Teviotdale,
    Why the deil dinna ye march forward in order?
  March, march, Eskdale and Liddesdale,
    All the Blue Bonnets are bound for the Border
        Many a banner spread,
        Flutters above your head,
    Many a crest that is famous in story;
        Mount and make ready then,
        Sons of the mountain glen,
    Fight for the Queen and the old Scottish glory!


  Come from the hills where the hirsels are grazing,
    Come from the glen of the buck and the roe;
  Come to the crag where the beacon is blazing,
    Come with the buckler, the lance, and the bow.
        Trumpets are sounding,
        War-steeds are bounding,
    Stand to your arms then, and march in good order;
        England shall many a day
        Tell of the bloody fray,
    When the Blue Bonnets came over the Border!

The song, rude as it was, had in it that warlike character which at any
other time would have roused Halbert's spirit; but at present the charm
of minstrelsy had no effect upon him. He made it his request to Christie
to suffer him to retire to rest, a request with which that worthy
person, seeing no chance of making a favourable impression on his
intended proselyte in his present humour, was at length pleased to
comply. But no Sergeant Kite, who ever practised the profession of
recruiting, was more attentive that his object should not escape
him, than was Christie of the Clinthill. He indeed conducted Halbert
Glendinning to a small apartment overlooking the lake, which was
accommodated with a truckle bed. But before quitting him, Christie took
special care to give a look to the bars which crossed the outside of the
window, and when he left the apartment, he failed not to give the key a
double turn; circumstances which convinced young Glendinning that there
was no intention of suffering him to depart from the Castle of Avenel
at his own time and pleasure. He judged it, however, most prudent to let
these alarming symptoms pass without observation.

No sooner did he find himself in undisturbed solitude, than he ran
rapidly over the events of the day in his recollection, and to his
surprise found that his own precarious fate, and even the death of
Piercie Shafton, made less impression on him than the singularly bold
and determined conduct of his companion, Henry Warden. Providence, which
suits its instruments to the end they are to achieve, had awakened in
the cause of Reformation in Scotland, a body of preachers of more energy
than refinement, bold in spirit, and strong in faith, contemners of
whatever stood betwixt them and their principal object, and seeking the
advancement of the great cause in which they laboured by the roughest
road, provided it were the shortest. The soft breeze may wave the
willow, but it requires the voice of the tempest to agitate the boughs
of the oak; and, accordingly, to milder hearers, and in a less rude
age, their manners would have been ill-adapted, but they were singularly
successful in their mission to the rude people to whom it was addressed.

Owing to these reasons, Halbert Glendinning, who had resisted and
repelled the arguments of the preacher, was forcibly struck by the
firmness of his demeanour in the dispute with Julian Avenel. It might
be discourteous, and most certainly it was incautious, to choose such
a place and such an audience, for upbraiding with his transgressions
a baron, whom both manners and situation placed in full possession of
independent power. But the conduct of the preacher was uncompromising,
firm, manly, and obviously grounded upon the deepest conviction which
duty and principle could afford; and Glendinning, who had viewed the
conduct of Avenel with the deepest abhorrence, was proportionally
interested in the brave old man, who had ventured life rather than
withhold the censure due to guilt. This pitch of virtue seemed to him to
be in religion what was demanded by chivalry of her votaries in war; an
absolute surrender of all selfish feelings, and a combination of every
energy proper to the human mind, to discharge the task which duty

Halbert was at the period when youth was most open to generous emotions,
and knows best how to appreciate them in others, and he felt, although
he hardly knew why, that, whether catholic or heretic, the safety of
this man deeply interested him. Curiosity mingled with the feeling, and
led him to wonder what the nature of those doctrines could be, which
stole their votary so completely from himself, and devoted him to chains
or to death as their sworn champion. He had indeed been told of saints
and martyrs of former days, who had braved for their religious faith
the extremity of death and torture. But their spirit of enthusiastic
devotion had long slept in the ease and indolent habits of their
successors, and their adventures, like those of knights-errant, were
rather read for amusement than for edification. A new impulse had been
necessary to rekindle the energies of religious zeal, and that impulse
was now operating in favour of a purer religion, with one of whose
steadiest votaries the youth had now met for the first time.

The sense that he himself was a prisoner, under the power of this savage
chieftain, by no means diminished Halbert's interest in the fate of his
fellow sufferer, while he determined at the same time so far to emulate
his fortitude, that neither threats nor suffering should compel him to
enter into the service of such a master. The possibility of escape next
occurred to him, and though with little hope of effecting it in that
way, Glendinning proceeded to examine more particularly the window of
the apartment. The apartment was situated in the first story of the
castle; and was not so far from the rock, on which it was founded, but
that an active and bold man might with little assistance descend to a
shelf of rock which was immediately below the window, and from thence
either leap or drop himself down into the lake which lay before his eye,
clear and blue in the placid light of a full summer's moon.--"Were I
once placed on that ledge," thought Glendinning, "Julian Avenel and
Christie had seen the last of me." The size of the window favoured
such an attempt, but the stanchions or iron bars seemed to form an
insurmountable obstacle.

While Halbert Glendinning gazed from the window with that eagerness
of hope which was prompted by the energy of his character and his
determination not to yield to circumstances, his ear caught some sounds
from below, and listening with more attention, he could distinguish
the voice of the preacher engaged in his solitary devotions. To open a
correspondence with him became immediately his object, and failing to
do so by less marked sounds, he at length ventured to speak, and was
answered from beneath--"Is it thou, my son?" The voice of the prisoner
now sounded more distinctly than when it was first heard, for Warden had
approached the small aperture, which, serving his prison for a window,
opened just betwixt the wall and the rock, and admitted a scanty portion
of light through a wall of immense thickness. This _soupirait_ being
placed exactly under Halbert's window, the contiguity permitted the
prisoners to converse in a low tone, when Halbert declared his intention
to escape, and the possibility he saw of achieving his purpose, but for
the iron stanchions of the window--"Prove thy strength, my son, in the
name of God" said the preacher. Halbert obeyed him more in despair than
hope, but to his great astonishment, and somewhat to his terror, the bar
parted asunder near the bottom, and the longer part being easily bent
outwards, and not secured with lead in the upper socket, dropt out into
Halbert's hand. He immediately whispered, but as energetically as a
whisper could be expressed--"By Heaven, the bar has given way in my

"Thank Heaven, my son, instead of swearing by it," answered Warden from
his dungeon.

With little effort Halbert Glendinning forced himself through the
opening thus wonderfully effected, and using his leathern sword-belt as
a rope to assist him, let himself safely drop on the shelf of rock upon
which the preacher's window opened. But through this no passage could
be effected, being scarce larger than a loop-hole for musketry, and
apparently constructed for that purpose.

"Are there no means by which I can assist your escape, my father?" said

"There are none, my son," answered the preacher; "but if thou wilt
ensure my safety, that may be in thy power."

"I will labour earnestly for it," said the youth.

"Take then a letter which I will presently write, for I have the means
of light and writing materials in my scrip--Hasten towards Edinburgh,
and on the way thou wilt meet a body of horse marching southwards--Give
this to their leader, and acquaint him of the state in which thou hast
left me. It may hap that thy doing so will advantage thyself."

In a minute or two the light of a taper gleamed through the shot-hole,
and very shortly after, the preacher, with the assistance of his staff,
pushed a billet to Glendinning through the window.

"God bless thee, my son," said the old man, "and complete the marvellous
work which he has begun."

"Amen!" answered Halbert, with solemnity, and proceeded on his

He hesitated a moment whether he should attempt to descend to the edge
of the water; but the steepness of the rock, and darkness of the night,
rendered the enterprise too dangerous. He clasped his hands above his
head and boldly sprung from the precipice, shooting himself forward into
the air as far as he could for fear of sunken rocks, and alighted on the
lake, head foremost, with such force as sunk him for a minute below the
surface. But strong, long-breathed, and accustomed to such exercise,
Halbert, even though encumbered with his sword, dived and rose like a
seafowl, and swam across the lake in the northern direction. When he
landed and looked back on the castle, he could observe that the alarm
had been given, for lights glanced from window to window, and he heard
the drawbridge lowered, and the tread of horses' feet upon the causeway.
But, little alarmed for the consequence of a pursuit during the
darkness, he wrung the water from his dress, and, plunging into the
moors, directed his course to the north-east by the assistance of the
polar star.

       *       *        *       *        *

Chapter the Twenty-Sixth.

  Why, what an intricate impeach is this!
  I think you all have drank of Circe's cup.
  If here you housed him, here he would have been;
  If he were mad, he would not plead so coldly.
                                  COMEDY OF ERRORS.

The course of our story, leaving for the present Halbert Glendinning
to the guidance of his courage and his fortune, returns to the Tower
of Glendearg, where matters in the meanwhile fell out, with which it is
most fitting that the reader should be acquainted.

The meal was prepared at noontide with all the care which Elspeth and
Tibb, assisted by the various accommodations which had been supplied
from the Monastery, could bestow on it. Their dialogue ran on as
usual in the intervals of their labour, partly as between mistress and
servant, partly as maintained by gossips of nearly equal quality.

"Look to the minced meat, Tibb," said Elspeth; "and turn the broach
even, thou good-for-nothing Simmie,--thy wits are harrying birds' nests,
child.--Weel, Tibb, this is a fasheous job, this Sir Piercie lying
leaguer with us up here, and wha kens for how lang?"

"A fasheous job indeed," answered her faithful attendant, "and little
good did the name ever bring to fair Scotland. Ye may have your hands
fuller of them than they are yet. Mony a sair heart have the Piercies
given to Scots wife and bairns with their pricking on the Borders.
There was Hotspur and many more of that bloody kindred, have sate in our
skirts since Malcolm's time, as Martin says!"

"Martin should keep a well-scrapit tongue in his head," said Elspeth,
"and not slander the kin of any body that quarters at Glendearg; forby,
that Sir Piercie Shafton is much respected with the holy fathers of the
community, and they will make up to us ony fasherie that we may have
with him, either by good word or good deed, I'se warrant them. He is a
considerate lord the Lord Abbot."

"And weel he likes a saft seat to his hinder end," said Tibb; "I have
seen a belted baron sit on a bare bench, and find nae fault. But an ye
are pleased, mistress, I am pleased."

"Now, in good time, here comes Mysie of the Mill.--And where hae ye
been, lass for a's gane wrang without you?" said Elspeth.

"I just gaed a blink up the burn," said Mysie, "for the young lady has
been down on her bed, and is no just that weel--So I gaed a gliff up the

"To see the young lads come hame frae the sport, I will warrant you,"
said Elspeth. "Ay, ay, Tibb, that's the way the young folk guide us,
Tibbie--leave us to do the wark, and out to the play themsells."

"Ne'er a bit of that, mistress," said the Maid of the Mill, stripping
her round pretty arms, and looking actively and good-humouredly round
for some duty that she could discharge, "but just--I thought ye might
like to ken if they were coming back, just to get the dinner forward."

"And saw ye ought of them then?" demanded Elspeth.

"Not the least tokening," said Mysie, "though I got to the head of a
knowe, and though the English knight's beautiful white feather could
have been seen over all the bushes in the Shaw."

"The knight's white feather!" said Dame Glendinning; "ye are a silly
hempie--my Halbert's high head will be seen farther than his feather,
let it be as white as it like, I trow."

Mysie made no answer, but began to knead dough for wastel-cake with all
despatch, observing that Sir Piercie had partaken of that dainty, and
commended it upon the preceding day. And presently, in order to place
on the fire the _girdle_, or iron plate on which these cates were to be
baked, she displaced a stew-pan in which one of Tibb's delicacies were
submitted to the action of the kitchen fire. Tibb muttered betwixt her
teeth--"And it is the broth for my sick bairn, that maun make room
for the dainty Southron's wastel-bread. It was a blithe time in Wight
Wallace's day, or good King Robert's, when the pock-puddings gat
naething here but hard straiks and bloody crowns. But we will see how it
will a' end."

Elspeth did not think it proper to notice these discontented expressions
of Tibbie, but they sunk into her mind; for she was apt to consider
her as a sort of authority in matters of war and policy, with which
her former experience as bower-woman at Avenel Castle made her better
acquainted than were the peaceful inhabitants of Halidome. She only
spoke, however, to express her surprise that the hunters did not return.

"An they come not back the sooner," said Tibb, "they will fare the waur,
for the meat will be roasted to a cinder--and there is poor Simmie that
can turn the spit nae langer: the bairn is melting like an icicle in
warm water--Gang awa, bairn, and take a mouthful of the caller air, and
I will turn the broach till ye come back."

"Rin up to the bartizan at the tower-head, callant," said Dame
Glendinning, "the air will be callerer there than ony gate else, and
bring us word if our Halbert and the gentleman are coming down the

The boy lingered long enough to allow his substitute, Tibb Tacket,
heartily to tire of her own generosity, and of his cricket-stool by the
side of a huge fire. He at length returned with the news that he
had seen nobody. The matter was not so remarkable as far as Halbert
Glendinning was concerned, for, patient alike of want and of fatigue, it
was no uncommon circumstance for him to remain in the wilds till curfew
time. But nobody had given Sir Piercie Shafton credit for being so keen
a sportsman, and the idea of an Englishman preferring the chase to his
dinner was altogether inconsistent with their preconceptions of the
national character. Amidst wondering and conjecturing, the usual
dinner-hour passed long away; and the inmates of the tower, taking a
hasty meal themselves, adjourned their more solemn preparations until
the hunters' return at night, since it seemed now certain that their
sport had either carried them to a greater distance, or engaged them for
a longer time than had been expected.

About four hours after noon, arrived, not the expected sportsmen, but
an unlooked for visitant, the Sub-Prior from the Monastery. The scene
of the preceding day had dwelt on the mind of Father Eustace, who was
of that keen and penetrating cast of mind which loves not to leave
unascertained whatever of mysterious is subjected to its inquiry. His
kindness was interested in the family of Glendearg, which he had now
known for a long time; and besides, the community was interested in the
preservation of the peace betwixt Sir Piercie Shafton and his youthful
host, since whatever might draw public attention on the former,
could not fail to be prejudicial to the Monastery, which was already
threatened by the hand of power. He found the family assembled, all but
Mary Avenel, and was informed that Halbert Glendinning had accompanied
the stranger on a day's sport. So far was well. They had not returned;
but when did youth and sport conceive themselves bound by set hours? and
the circumstance excited no alarm in his mind.

While he was conversing with Edward Glendinning touching his progress
in the studies he had pointed out to him, they were startled by a shriek
from Mary Avenel's apartment, which drew the whole family thither in
headlong haste. They found her in a swoon in the arms of old Martin, who
was bitterly accusing himself of having killed her; so indeed it seemed,
for her pale features and closed eyes argued rather a dead corpse than a
living person. The whole family were instantly in tumult. Snatching her
from Martin's arms with the eagerness of affectionate terror, Edward
bore her to the casement, that she might receive the influence of the
open air; the Sub-Prior, who, like many of his profession, had some
knowledge of medicine, hastened to prescribe the readiest remedies which
occurred to him, and the terrified females contended with, and impeded
each other, in their rival efforts to be useful.

"It has been ane of her weary ghaists," said Dame Glendinning.

"It's just a trembling on her spirits, as her blessed mother used to
have," said Tibb.

"It's some ill news has come ower her," said the miller's maiden;
while burnt feathers, cold water, and all the usual means of restoring
suspended animation, were employed alternately, and with little effect.

At length a new assistant, who had joined the group unobserved, tendered
his aid in the following terms:--"How is this, my most fair Discretion?
What cause hath moved the ruby current of life to rush back to the
citadel of the heart, leaving pale those features in which it
should have delighted to meander for ever?--Let me approach her," he
said,"--with this sovereign essence, distilled by the fair hands of the
divine Urania, and powerful to recall fugitive life, even if it were
trembling on the verge of departure."

Thus speaking, Sir Piercie Shafton knelt down, and most gracefully
presented to the nostrils of Mary Avenel a silver pouncet-box,
exquisitely chased, containing a sponge dipt in the essence which he
recommmended so highly. Yes, gentle reader, it was Sir Piercie Shafton
himself who thus unexpectedly proffered his good offices! his cheeks,
indeed, very pale, and some part of his dress stained with blood, but
not otherwise appearing different from what he was on the preceding
evening. But no sooner had Mary Avenel opened her eyes, and fixed them
on the figure of the officious courtier, than she screamed faintly, and
exclaimed,--"Secure the murderer!"

Those present stood aghast with astonishment, and none more so than the
Euphuist, who found himself so suddenly and so strangely accused by
the patient whom he was endeavouring to succour, and who repelled his
attempts to yield her assistance with all the energy of abhorrence.
"Take him away!" she exclaimed--"take away the murderer!"

"Now, by my knighthood," answered Sir Piercie, "your lovely faculties
either of mind or body are, O my most fair Discretion, obnubilated by
some strange hallucination. For either your eyes do not discern that it
is Piercie Shafton, your most devoted Affability, who now stands
before you, or else, your eyes discerning truly, your mind hath most
erroneously concluded that he hath been guilty of some delict or
violence to which his hand is a stranger. No murder, O most scornful
Discretion, hath been this day done, saving but that which your angry
glances are now performing on your most devoted captive."

He was here interrupted by the Sub-Prior, who had, in the meantime, been
speaking with Martin apart, and had received from him an account of the
circumstances, which, suddenly communicated to Mary Avenel, had thrown
her into this state. "Sir Knight," said the Sub-Prior, in a very solemn
tone, yet with some hesitation, "circumstances have been communicated
to us of a nature so extraordinary, that, reluctant as I am to exercise
such authority over a guest of our venerable community, I am constrained
to request from you an explanation of them. You left this tower early in
the morning, accompanied by a youth, Halbert Glendinning, the eldest son
of this good dame, and you return hither without him. Where, and at what
hour, did you part company from him?"

The English knight paused for a moment, and then replied,--"I marvel
that your reverence employs so grave a tone to enforce so light a
question. I parted with the villagio whom you call Halbert Glendinning
some hour or twain after sunrise."

"And at what place, I pray you?" said the monk.

"In a deep ravine, where a fountain rises at the base of a huge rock; an
earth-born Titan, which heaveth up its gray head, even as--"

"Spare us farther description," said the Sub-Prior; "we know the spot.
But that youth hath not since been heard of, and it will fall on you to
account for him."

"My bairn! my bairn!" exclaimed Dame Glendinning. "Yes, holy father,
make the villain account for my bairn!"

"I swear, good woman, by bread and by water,--which are the props of our

"Swear by wine and wastel-bread, for these are the props of _thy_ life,
thou greedy Southron!" said Dame Glendinning;--"a base belly-god, to
come here to eat the best, and practise on our lives that give it to

"I tell thee, woman," said Sir Piercie Shafton, "I did but go with thy
son to the hunting."

"A black hunting it has been to him, poor bairn," replied Tibb; "and sae
I said it wad prove since I first saw the false Southron snout of thee.
Little good comes of a Piercie's hunting, from Chevy Chase till now."

"Be silent, woman," said the Sub-Prior, "and rail not upon the English
knight; we do not yet know of any thing beyond suspicion."

"We will have his heart's blood!" said Dame Glendinning; and, seconded
by the faithful Tibbie, she made such a sudden onslaught on the unlucky
Euphuist, as must have terminated in something serious, had not the
monk, aided by Mysie Happer, interposed to protect him from their fury.
Edward had left the apartment the instant the disturbance broke out,
and now entered, sword in hand, followed by Martin and Jasper, the one
having a hunting spear in his hand, the other a cross-bow.

"Keep the door," he said to his two attendants; "shoot him or stab him
without mercy, should he attempt to break forth; if he offers an escape,
by Heaven he shall die!"

"How now, Edward," said the Sub-Prior; "how is this that you so far
forget yourself? meditating violence to a guest, and in my presence, who
represent your liege lord?"

Edward stepped forward with his drawn sword in his hand. "Pardon me,
reverend father," he said, "but in this matter the voice of nature
speaks louder and stronger than yours. I turn my sword's point against
this proud man, and I demand of him the blood of my brother--the blood
of my father's son--of the heir of our name! If he denies to give me a
true account of him, he shall not deny me vengeance."

Embarrassed as he was, Sir Piercie Shafton showed no personal fear. "Put
up thy sword," he said, "young man; not in the same day does Piercie
Shafton contend with two peasants."

"Hear him! he confesses the deed, holy father," said Edward.

"Be patient, my son," said the Sub-Prior, endeavouring to soothe the
feelings which he could not otherwise control, "be patient--thou wilt
attain the ends of justice better through my means than thine own
violence--And you, women, be silent--Tibb, remove your mistress and Mary

While Tibb, with the assistance of the other females of the household,
bore the poor mother and Mary Avenel into separate apartments, and while
Edward, still keeping his sword in his hand, hastily traversed the room,
as if to prevent the possibility of Sir Piercie Shafton's escape,
the Sub-Prior insisted upon knowing from the perplexed knight the
particulars which he knew respecting Halbert Glendinning. His situation
became extremely embarrassing, for what he might with safety have told
of the issue of their combat was so revolting to his pride, that he
could not bring himself to enter into the detail; and of Halbert's
actual fate he knew, as the reader is well aware, absolutely nothing.

The father in the meanwhile pressed him with remonstrances, and prayed
him to observe, he would greatly prejudice himself by declining to give
a full account of the transactions of the day. "You cannot deny," he
said, "that yesterday you seemed to take the most violent offence at
this unfortunate youth; and that you suppressed your resentment so
suddenly as to impress us all with surprise. Last night you proposed to
him this day's hunting party, and you set out together by break of day.
You parted, you said, at the fountain near the rock, about an hour or
twain after sunrise, and it appears that before you parted you had been
at strife together."

"I said not so," replied the knight. "Here is a coil indeed about the
absence of a rustical bondsman, who, I dare say, hath gone off (if he be
gone) to join the next rascally band of freebooters! Ye ask me, a knight
of the Piercie's lineage, to account for such an insignificant fugitive,
and I answer,--let me know the price of his head, and I will pay it to
your convent treasurer."

"You admit, then, that you have slain my brother?" said Edward,
interfering once more; "I will presently show you at what price we Scots
rate the lives of our friends."

"Peace, Edward, peace--I entreat--I command thee," said the Sub-Prior.
"And you, Sir Knight, think better of us than to suppose you may spend
Scottish blood, and reckon for it as for wine spilt in a drunken revel.
This youth was no bondsman--thou well knowest, that in thine own land
thou hadst not dared to lift thy sword against the meanest subject of
England, but her laws would have called thee to answer for the deed. Do
not hope it will be otherwise here, for you will but deceive yourself."

"You drive me beyond my patience," said the Euphuist, "even as the
over-driven ox is urged into madness!--What can I tell you of a young
fellow whom I have not seen since the second hour after sunrise?"

"But can you explain in what circumstances you parted with him?" said
the monk.

"What _are_ the circumstances, in the devil's name, which you desire
should be explained?--for although I protest against this constraint as
alike unworthy and inhospitable, yet would I willingly end this fray,
provided that by words it may be ended," said the knight.

"If these end it not," said Edward, "blows shall, and that full

"Peace, impatient boy!" said the Sub-Prior; "and do you, Sir Piercie
Shafton, acquaint me why the ground is bloody by the verge of the
fountain in Corri-nan-shian, where, as you say yourself, you parted from
Halbert Glendinning?"

Resolute not to avow his defeat if possibly he could avoid it, the
knight answered in a haughty tone, that he supposed it was no unusual
thing to find the turf bloody where hunters had slain a deer.

"And did you bury your game as well as kill it?" said the monk. "We must
know from you who is the tenant of that grave, that newly-made grave,
beside the very fountain whose margin is so deeply crimsoned with
blood?--thou seest thou canst not evade me; therefore be ingenuous, and
tell us the fate of this unhappy youth, whose body is doubtless lying
under that bloody turf."

"If it be," said Sir Piercie, "they must have buried him alive; for I
swear to thee, reverend father, that this rustic juvenal parted from me
in perfect health. Let the grave be searched, and if his body be found,
then deal with me as ye list."

"It is not my sphere to determine thy fate, Sir Knight, but that of the
Lord Abbot, and the right reverend Chapter. It is but my duty to collect
such information as may best possess their wisdom with the matters which
have chanced."

"Might I presume so far, reverend father," said the knight, "I should
wish to know the author and evidence of all these suspicions, so
unfoundedly urged against me?"

"It is soon told," said the Sub-Prior; "nor do I wish to disguise it, if
it can avail you in your defence. This maiden, Mary Avenel, apprehending
that you nourished malice against her foster-brother under a friendly
brow, did advisedly send up the old man, Martin Tacket, to follow your
footsteps and to prevent mischief. But it seems that your evil passions
had outrun precaution: for when he came to the spot, guided by your
footsteps upon the dew, he found but the bloody turf and the new covered
grave; and after long and vain search through the wilds after Halbert
and yourself, he brought back the sorrowful news to her who had sent

"Saw he not my doublet, I pray you?" said Sir Piercie; "for when I came
to myself, I found that I was wrapped in my cloak, but without my under
garment as your reverence may observe."

So saying, he opened his cloak, forgetting, with his characteristical
inconsistency, that he showed his shirt stained with blood.

"How! cruel man," said the monk, when he observed this confirmation of
his suspicions; "wilt thou deny the guilt, even while thou bearest on
thy person the blood thou hast shed?--Wilt thou longer deny that thy
rash hand has robbed a mother of a son, our community of a vassal, the
Queen of Scotland of a liege subject? and what canst thou expect, but
that, at the least, we deliver thee up to England, as undeserving our
farther protection?"

"By the Saints!" said the knight, now driven to extremity, "if this
blood be the witness against me, it is but rebel blood, since this
morning at sunrise it flowed within my own veins."

"How were that possible, Sir Piercie Shafton," said the monk, "since I
see no wound from whence it can have flowed?"

"That," said the knight, "is the most mysterious part of the
transaction--See here!"

So saying, he undid his shirt collar, and, opening his bosom, showed the
spot through--which Halbert's sword had passed, but already cicatrized,
and bearing the appearance of a wound lately healed.

"This exhausts my patience, Sir Knight," said the Sub-Prior, "and is
adding insult to violence and injury. Do you hold me for a child or an
idiot, that you pretend to make me believe that the fresh blood with
which your shirt is stained, flowed from a wound which has been healed
for weeks or months? Unhappy mocker, thinkest thou thus to blind us? Too
well do we know that it is the blood of your victim, wrestling with you
in the desperate and mortal struggle, which has thus dyed your apparel."

The knight, after a moment's recollection, said in reply, "I will be
open with you, my father--bid these men stand out of ear-shot, and I
will tell you all I know of this mysterious business; and muse not, good
father, though it may pass thy wit to expound it, for I avouch to you it
is too dark for mine own."

The monk commanded Edward and the two men to withdraw, assuring the
former that his conference with the prisoner should be brief, and giving
him permission to keep watch at the door of the apartment; without which
allowance he might, perhaps, have had some difficulty in procuring
his absence. Edward had no sooner left the chamber, than he despatched
messengers to one or two families of the Halidome, with whose sons
his brother and he sometimes associated, to tell them that Halbert
Glendinning had been murdered by an Englishman, and to require them to
repair to the Tower of Glendearg without delay. The duty of revenge in
such cases was held so sacred, that he had no reason to doubt they would
instantly come with such assistance as would ensure the detention of the
prisoner. He then locked the doors of the tower, both inner and outer,
and also the gate of the court-yard. Having taken these precautions, he
made a hasty visit to the females of the family, exhausting himself
in efforts to console them, and in protestations that he would have
vengeance for his murdered brother.

Chapter the Twenty-Seventh.

  Now, by Our Lady, Sheriff,'tis hard reckoning,
  That I, with every odds of birth and barony
  Should be detain'd here for the casual death
  Of a wild forester, whose utmost having
  Is but the brazen buckle of the belt
  In which he sticks his hedge-knife.
                                        OLD PLAY.

While Edward was making preparations for securing and punishing the
supposed murderer of his brother, with an intense thirst for vengeance,
which had not hitherto shown itself as part of his character, Sir
Piercie Shafton made such communications as it pleased him to the
Sub-Prior, who listened with great attention, though the knight's
narrative was none of the clearest, especially as his self-conceit led
him to conceal or abridge the details which were necessary to render it

"You are to know," he said, "reverend father, that this rustical juvenal
having chosen to offer me, in the presence of your venerable Superior,
yourself, and other excellent and worthy persons, besides the damsel,
Mary Avenel, whom I term my Discretion in all honour and kindness, a
gross insult, rendered yet more intolerable by the time and place,
my just resentment did so gain the mastery over my discretion, that I
resolved to allow him the privileges of an equal, and to indulge him
with the combat."

"But, Sir Knight," said the Sub-Prior, "you still leave two matters
very obscure. First, why the token he presented to you gave you so much
offence, as I with others witnessed; and then again, how the youth, whom
you then met for the first, or, at least, the second time, knew so much
of your history as enabled him so greatly to move you."

The knight coloured very deeply.

"For your first query," he said, "most reverend father, we will, if you
please, pretermit it as nothing essential to the matter in hand; and
for the second--I protest to you that I know as little of his means of
knowledge as you do, and that I am well-nigh persuaded he deals with
Sathanas, of which more anon.--Well, sir--In the evening, I failed not
to veil my purpose with a pleasant brow, as is the custom amongst us
martialists, who never display the bloody colours of defiance in our
countenance until our hand is armed to fight under them. I amused the
fair Discretion with some canzonettes, and other toys, which could not
but be ravishing to her inexperienced ears. I arose in the morning, and
met my antagonist, who, to say truth, for an inexperienced villagio,
comported himself as stoutly as I could have desired.--So, coming to the
encounter, reverend sir, I did try his mettle with some half-a-dozen of
downright passes, with any one of which I could have been through his
body, only that I was loth to take so fatal an advantage, but rather,
mixing mercy with my just indignation, studied to inflict upon him
some flesh-wound of no very fatal quality. But, sir, in the midst of my
clemency, he, being instigated, I think, by the devil, did follow up
his first offence with some insult of the same nature. Whereupon, being
eager to punish him, I made an estramazone, and my foot slipping at the
same time,--not from any fault of fence on my part, or any advantage of
skill on his, but the devil having, as I said, taken up the matter
in hand, and the grass being slippery,--ere I recovered my position I
encountered his sword, which he had advanced, with my undefended
person, so that, as I think, I was in some sort run through the body.
My juvenal, being beyond measure appalled at his own unexpected and
unmerited success in this strange encounter, takes the flight and leaves
me there, and I fall into a dead swoon for the lack of the blood I
had lost so foolishly--and when I awake, as from a sound sleep, I find
myself lying, an it like you, wrapt up in my cloak at the foot of one
of the birch-trees which stand together in a clump near to this place.
I feel my limbs, and experience little pain, but much weakness--I put
my hand to the wound--it was whole and skinned over as you now see it--I
rise and come hither; and in these words you have my whole day's story."

"I can only reply to so strange a tale," answered the monk, "that it
is scarce possible that Sir Piercie Shafton can expect me to credit it.
Here is a quarrel, the cause of which you conceal--a wound received in
the morning, of which there is no recent appearance at sunset,--a grave
filled up, in which no body is deposited--the vanquished found alive
and well--the victor departed no man knows whither. These things,
Sir Knight, hang not so well together, that I should receive them as

"Reverend father," answered Sir Piercie Shafton, "I pray you in the
first place to observe, that if I offer peaceful and civil justification
of that which I have already averred to be true, I do so only in devout
deference to your dress and to your order, protesting, that to any other
opposite, saving a man of religion, a lady or my liege prince, I would
not deign to support that which I had once attested, otherwise than with
the point of my good sword. And so much being premised, I have to add,
that I can but gage my honour as a gentleman, and my faith as a Catholic
Christian, that the things which I have described to you have happened
to me as I have described them, and not otherwise."

"It is a deep assertion, Sir Knight," answered the Sub-Prior; "yet,
bethink you, it is only an assertion, and that no reason can be alleged
why things should be believed which are so contrary to reason. Let me
pray you to say whether the grave, which has been seen at your place of
combat, was open or closed when your encounter took place?"

"Reverend father," said the knight, "I will veil from you nothing, but
show you each secret of my bosom; even as the pure fountain revealeth
the smallest pebble which graces the sand at the bottom of its crystal
mirror, and as--"

"Speak in plain terms, for the love of heaven!" said the monk; "these
holiday phrases belong not to solemn affairs--Was the grave open when
the conflict began?"

"It was," answered the knight, "I acknowledge it; even as he that

"Nay, I pray you, fair son, forbear these similitudes, and observe me.
On yesterday at even no grave was found in that place, for old Martin
chanced, contrary to his wont, to go thither in quest of a strayed
sheep. At break of day, by your own confession, a grave was opened in
that spot, and there a combat was fought--only one of the combatants
appears, and he is covered with blood, and to all appearance
woundless."--Here the knight made a gesture of impatience.--"Nay, fair
son, hear me but one moment--the grave is closed and covered by the
sod--what can we believe, but that it conceals the bloody corpse of the
fallen duellist?"

"By Heaven, it cannot!" said the knight, "unless the juvenal hath slain
himself and buried himself, in order to place me in the predicament of
his murderer."

"The grave shall doubtless be explored, and that by to-morrow's dawn,"
said the monk, "I will see it done with mine own eyes."

"But," said the prisoner, "I protest against all evidence which may
arise from its contents, and do insist beforehand, that whatever may be
found in that grave shall not prejudice me in my defence. I have been so
haunted by diabolical deceptions in this matter, that what do I know but
that the devil may assume the form of this rustical juvenal, in order
to procure me farther vexation?--I protest to you, holy father, it is
my very thought that there is witchcraft in all that hath befallen me.
Since I entered into this northern land, in which men say that sorceries
do abound, I, who am held in awe and regard even by the prime gallants
in the court of Feliciana, have been here bearded and taunted by a
clod-treading clown. I, whom Vincentio Saviola termed his nimblest and
most agile disciple, was, to speak briefly, foiled by a cow-boy, who
knew no more of fence than is used at every country wake. I am run, as
it seemed to me, through the body, with a very sufficient stoccata, and
faint on the spot; and yet, when I recover, I find myself without
either wem or wound, and, lacking nothing of my apparel, saving my
murrey-coloured doublet, slashed with satin, which I will pray may be
inquired after, lest the devil, who transported me, should have dropped
it in his passage among some of the trees or bushes--it being a choice
and most fanciful piece of raiment, which I wore for the first time at
the Queen's pageant in Southwark."

"Sir Knight," said the monk, "you do again go astray from this matter.
I inquire of you respecting that which concerns the life of another man,
and it may be, touches your own also, and you answer me with the tale of
an old doublet!"

"Old!" exclaimed the knight; "now, by the gods and saints, if there be
a gallant at the British Court more fancifully considerate, and more
considerately fanciful, but quaintly curious, and more curiously quaint,
in frequent changes of all rich articles of vesture, becoming one who
may be accounted point-de-vice a courtier, I will give you leave to term
me a slave and a liar."

The monk thought, but did not say, that he had already acquired right
to doubt the veracity of the Euphuist, considering the marvellous tale
which he had told. Yet his own strange adventure, and that of Father
Philip, rushed on his mind, and forbade his coming to any conclusion. He
contented himself, therefore, with observing, that these were certainly
strange incidents, and requested to know if Sir Piercie Shafton had any
other reason for suspecting himself to be in a manner so particularly
selected for the sport of sorcery and witchcraft.

"Sir Sub-Prior," said the Euphuist, "the most extraordinary circumstance
remains behind, which alone, had I neither been bearded in dispute, nor
foiled in combat, nor wounded and cured in the space of a few hours,
would nevertheless of itself, and without any other corroborative,
have compelled me to believe myself the subject of some malevolent
fascination. Reverend sir, it is not to your ears that men should tell
tales of love and gallantry, nor is Sir Piercie Shafton one who, to any
ears whatsoever, is wont to boast of his fair acceptance with the choice
and prime beauties of the court; insomuch that a lady, none of the least
resplendent constellations which revolve in that hemisphere of honour,
pleasure, and beauty, but whose name I here pretermit, was wont to call
me her Taciturnity. Nevertheless truth must be spoken; and I cannot but
allow, as the general report of the court, allowed in camps, and echoed
back by city and country, that in the alacrity of the accost, the tender
delicacy of the regard, the facetiousness of the address, the adopting
and pursuing of the fancy, the solemn close and the graceful fall-off,
Piercie Shafton was accounted the only gallant of the time, and so
well accepted among the choicer beauties of the age, that no silk-hosed
reveller of the presence-chamber, or plumed jouster of the tilt-yard,
approached him by a bow's length in the ladies' regard, being the
mark at which every well-born and generous juvenal aimeth his shaft.
Nevertheless, reverend sir, having found in this rude place something
which by blood and birth might be termed a lady, and being desirous to
keep my gallant humour in exercise, as well as to show my sworn devotion
to the sex in general, I did shoot off some arrows of compliment at
this Mary Avenel, terming her my Discretion, with other quaint and
well-imagined courtesies, rather bestowed out of my bounty than
warranted by her merit, or perchance like unto the boyish fowler, who,
rather than not exercise his bird-piece, will shoot at crows or magpies
for lack of better game----"

"Mary Avenel is much obliged by your notice," answered the monk; "but to
what does all this detail of past and present gallantry conduct us?"

"Marry, to this conclusion," answered the knight; "that either this my
Discretion, or I myself, am little less than bewitched; for, instead of
receiving my accost with a gratifying bow, answering my regard with a
suppressed smile, accompanying my falling off or departure with a
slight sigh--honours with which I protest to you the noblest dancers and
proudest beauties in Feliciana have graced my poor services--she hath
paid me as little and as cold regard as if I had been some hob-nailed
clown of these bleak mountains! Nay, this very day, while I was in the
act of kneeling at her feet to render her the succours of this pungent
quintessence, of purest spirit distilled by the fairest hands of the
court of Feliciana, she pushed me from her with looks which savoured of
repugnance, and, as I think, thrust at me with her foot as if to spurn
me from her presence. These things, reverend father, are strange,
portentous, unnatural, and befall not in the current of mortal affairs,
but are symptomatic of sorcery and fascination. So that, having given to
your reverence a perfect, simple, and plain account of all that I know
concerning this matter, I leave it to your wisdom to solve what may be
found soluble in the same, it being my purpose to-morrow, with the peep
of dawn, to set forward towards Edinburgh."

"I grieve to be an interruption to your designs, Sir Knight," said the
monk, "but that purpose of thine may hardly be fulfilled."

"How, reverend father!" said the knight, with an air of the utmost
surprise; "if what you say respects my departure, understand that it
_must_ be, for I have so resolved it."

"Sir Knight," reiterated the Sub-Prior, "I must once more repeat, this
_cannot_ be, until the Abbot's pleasure be known in the matter."

"Reverend sir," said the knight, drawing himself up with great dignity,
"I desire my hearty and thankful commendations to the Abbot; but in this
matter I have nothing to do with his reverend pleasure, designing only
to consult my own."

"Pardon me," said the Sub-Prior; "the Lord Abbot hath in this matter a
voice potential."

Sir Piercie Shafton's colour began to rise--"I marvel," he said, "to
hear your reverence talk thus--What! will you, for the imagined death
of a rude, low-born frampler and wrangler, venture to impinge upon the
liberty of the kinsman of the house of Piercie?"

"Sir Knight," returned the Sub-Prior, civilly, "your high lineage and
your kindling anger will avail you nothing in this matter--You shall
not come here to seek a shelter, and then spill our blood as if it were

"I tell you," said the knight, "once more, as I have told you already,
that there was no blood spilled but mine own!"

"That remains to be proved," replied the Sub-Prior; "we of the community
of Saint Mary's of Kennaquhair, use not to take fairy tales in exchange
for the lives of our liege vassals."

"We of the house of Piercie," answered Shafton, "brook neither threats
nor restraint--I say I will travel to-morrow, happen what may!"

"And I," answered the Sub-Prior, in the same tone of determination, "say
that I will break your journey, come what may!"

"Who shall gainsay me," said the knight, "if I make my way by force?"

"You will judge wisely to think ere you make such an attempt," answered
the monk, with composure; "there are men enough in the Halidome to
vindicate its rights over those who dare infringe them."

"My cousin of Northumberland will know how to revenge this usage to a
beloved kinsman so near to his blood," said the Englishman.

"The Lord Abbot will know how to protect the rights of his territory,
both with, the temporal and spiritual sword," said the monk. "Besides,
consider, were we to send you to your kinsman at Alnwick or Warkworth
to-morrow, he dare do nothing but transmit you in fetters to the Queen
of England. Bethink, Sir Knight, that you stand on slippery ground, and
will act most wisely in reconciling yourself to be a prisoner in this
place until the Abbot shall decide the matter. There are armed men enow
to countervail all your efforts at escape. Let patience and resignation,
therefore, arm you to a necessary submission."

So saying, he clapped his hands, and called aloud. Edward entered,
accompanied by two young men who had already joined him, and were well

"Edward," said the Sub-Prior, "you will supply the English Knight here
in this spence with suitable food and accommodation for the night,
treating him with as much kindness as if nothing had happened between
you. But you will place a sufficient guard, and look carefully that he
make not his escape. Should he attempt to break forth, resist him to
the death; but in no other case harm a hair of his head, as you shall be

Edward Glendinning replied,--"That I may obey your commands, reverend
sir, I will not again offer myself to this person's presence; for shame
it were to me to break the peace of the Halidome, but not less shame to
leave my brother's death unavenged."

As he spoke, his lips grew livid, the blood forsook his cheek, and he
was about to leave the apartment, when the Sub-Prior recalled him and
said in a solemn tone,--"Edward, I have known you from infancy--I have
done what lay within my reach to be of use to you--I say nothing of what
you owe to me as the representative of your spiritual Superior--I say
nothing of the duty from the vassal to the Sub-Prior--But Father Eustace
expects from the pupil whom he has nurtured--he expects from Edward
Glendinning, that he will not by any deed of sudden violence, however
justified in his own mind by the provocation, break through the respect
due to public justice, or that which he has an especial right to claim
from him."

"Fear nothing, my reverend father, for so in an hundred senses may I
well term you," said the young man; "fear not, I would say, that I will
in any thing diminish the respect I owe to the venerable community by
whom we have so long been protected, far less that I will do aught
which can be personally less than respectful to you. But the blood of
my brother must not cry for vengeance in vain--your reverence knows our
Border creed."

"'Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord, and I will requite it,'" answered
the monk. "The heathenish custom of deadly feud which prevails in this
land, through which each man seeks vengeance at his own hand when the
death of a friend or kinsman has chanced, hath already deluged our vales
with the blood of Scottish men, spilled by the hands of countrymen and
kindred. It were endless to count up the fatal results. On the Eastern
Border, the Homes are at feud with the Swintons and Cockburns; in our
Middle Marches, the Scotts and Kerrs have spilled as much brave blood
in domestic feud as might have fought a pitched field in England, could
they have but forgiven and forgotten a casual rencounter that placed
their names in opposition to each other. On the west frontier, the
Johnstones are at war with the Maxwells, the Jardines with the Bells,
drawing with them the flower of the country, which should place their
breasts as a bulwark against England, into private and bloody warfare,
of which it is the only end to waste and impair the forces of the
country, already divided in itself. Do not, my dear son Edward, permit
this bloody prejudice to master your mind. I cannot ask you to think
of the crime supposed as if the blood spilled had been less dear
to you--Alas! I know that is impossible. But I do require you, in
proportion to your interest in the supposed sufferer, (for as yet the
whole is matter of supposition,) to bear on your mind the evidence on
which the guilt of the accused person must be tried. He hath spoken
with me, and I confess his tale is so extraordinary, that I should have,
without a moment's hesitation, rejected it as incredible, but that an
affair which chanced to myself in this very glen--More of that another
time--Suffice it for the present to say, that from what I have myself
experienced, I deem it possible, that, extraordinary as Sir Piercie
Shafton's story may seem, I hold it not utterly impossible."

"Father," said Edward Glendinning, when he saw that his preceptor
paused, unwilling farther to explain upon what grounds he was inclined
to give a certain degree of credit to Sir Piercie Shafton's story,
while he admitted it as improbable--"Father to me you have been in every
sense. You know that my hand grasped more readily to the book than to
the sword; and that I lacked utterly the ready and bold spirit which
distinguished----" Here his voice faltered, and he paused for a moment,
and then went on with resolution and rapidity--"I would say, that I was
unequal to Halbert in promptitude of heart and of hand; but Halbert
is gone, and I stand his representative, and that of my father--his
successor in all his rights," (while he said this his eyes shot fire,)
"and bound to assert and maintain them as he would have done--therefore
I am a changed man, increased in courage as in my rights and
pretensions. And, reverend father, respectfully, but plainly and
firmly do I say, his blood, if it has been shed by this man, shall be
atoned--Halbert shall not sleep neglected in his lonely grave, as if
with him the spirit of my father had ceased forever. His blood flows
in my veins, and while his has been poured forth unrequited, mine will
permit me no rest. My poverty and meanness of rank shall not avail the
lordly murderer. My calm nature and peaceful studies shall not be his
protection. Even the obligations, holy father, which I acknowledge to
you, shall not be his protection. I wait with patience the judgment of
the Abbot and Chapter, for the slaughter of one of their most anciently
descended vassals. If they do right to my brother's memory, it is well.
But mark me, father, if they shall fail in rendering me that justice, I
bear a heart and a hand which, though I love not such extremities,
are capable of remedying such an error. He who takes up my brother's
succession must avenge his death."

The monk perceived with surprise, that Edward, with his extreme
diffidence, humility, and obedient assiduity, for such were his general
characteristics, had still boiling in his veins the wild principles of
those from whom he was descended, and by whom he was surrounded. His
eyes sparkled, his frame was agitated, and the extremity of his desire
for vengeance seemed to give a vehemence to his manner resembling the
restlessness of joy.

"May God help us," said Father Eustace, "for, frail wretches as we are,
we cannot help ourselves under sudden and strong temptation.--Edward, I
will rely on your word that you do nothing rashly."

"That will I not," said Edward,--"that, my better than father, I
surely will not. But the blood of my brother,--the tears of my
mother--and--and--and of Mary Avenel, shall not be shed in vain. I will
not deceive you, father--if this Piercie Shafton hath slain my brother,
he dies, if the whole blood of the whole house of Piercie were in his

There was a deep and solemn determination in the utterance of Edward
Glendinning expressive of a rooted resolution. The Sub-Prior sighed
deeply, and for the moment yielded to circumstances, and urged the
acquiescence of his pupil no farther. He commanded lights to be placed
in the lower chamber, which for a time he paced in silence.

A thousand ideas, and even differing principles, debated with each other
in his bosom. He greatly doubted the English knight's account of
the duel, and of what had followed it. Yet the extraordinary and
supernatural circumstances which had befallen the Sacristan and himself
in that very glen, prevented him from being absolutely incredulous on
the score of the wonderful wound and recovery of Sir Piercie Shafton,
and prevented him from at once condemning as impossible that which
was altogether improbable. Then he was at a loss how to control the
fraternal affections of Edward, with respect to whom he felt something
like the keeper of a wild animal, a lion's whelp or tiger's cub, which
he has held under his command from infancy, but which, when grown to
maturity, on some sudden provocation displays his fangs and talons,
erects his crest, resumes his savage nature, and bids defiance at once
to his keeper and to all mankind.

How to restrain and mitigate an ire which the universal example of the
times rendered deadly and inveterate, was sufficient cause of anxiety
to Father Eustace. But he had also to consider the situation of
his community, dishonoured and degraded by submitting to suffer the
slaughter of a vassal to pass unavenged; a circumstance which of itself
might in those times have afforded pretext for a revolt among their
wavering adherents, or, on the other hand, exposed the community to
imminent danger, should they proceed against a subject of England of
high degree, connected with the house of Northumberland, and other
northern families of high rank, who, as they possessed the means, could
not be supposed to lack inclination, to wreak upon the patrimony of
Saint Mary of Kennaquhair, any violence which might be offered to their

In either case, the Sub-Prior well knew that the ostensible cause of
feud, insurrection, or incursion, being once afforded, the case would
not be ruled either by reason or by evidence, and he groaned in spirit
when, upon counting up the chances which arose in this ambiguous
dilemma, he found he had only a choice of difficulties. He was a monk,
but he felt also as a man, indignant at the supposed slaughter of young
Glendinning by one skilful in all the practice of arms, in which the
vassal of the Monastery was most likely to be deficient; and to aid the
resentment which he felt for the loss of a youth whom he had known
from infancy, came in full force the sense of dishonour arising to his
community from passing over so gross an insult unavenged. Then the light
in which it might be viewed by those who at present presided in the
stormy Court of Scotland, attached as they were to the Reformation, and
allied by common faith and common interest with Queen Elizabeth, was
a formidable subject of apprehension. The Sub-Prior well knew how they
lusted after the revenues of the Church, (to express it in the ordinary
phrase of the religious of the time,) and how readily they would grasp
at such a pretext for encroaching on those of Saint Mary's, as would
be afforded by the suffering to pass unpunished the death of a native
Scottishman by a Catholic Englishman, a rebel to Queen Elizabeth.

On the other hand, to deliver up to England, or, which was nearly the
same thing, the Scottish administration, an English knight leagued with
the Piercie by kindred and political intrigue, a faithful follower of
the Catholic Church, who had fled to the Halidome for protection, was,
in the estimation of the Sub-Prior, an act most unworthy in itself, and
meriting the malediction of Heaven, besides being, moreover, fraught
with great temporal risk. If the government of Scotland was now almost
entirely in the hands of the Protestant party, the Queen was still a
Catholic, and there was no knowing when, amid the sudden changes which
agitated that tumultuous country, she might find herself at the head of
her own affairs, and able to protect those of her own faith. Then,
if the Court of England and its Queen were zealously Protestant, the
northern counties, whose friendship or enmity were of most consequence
in the first instance to the community of Saint Mary's, contained many
Catholics, the heads of whom were able, and must be supposed willing, to
avenge any injury suffered by Sir Piercie Shafton.

On either side, the Sub-Prior, thinking, according to his sense of duty,
most anxiously for the safety and welfare of his Monastery, saw the
greatest risk of damage, blame, inroad, and confiscation. The only
course on which he could determine, was to stand by the helm like a
resolute pilot, watch every contingence, do his best to weather each
reef and shoal, and commit the rest to heaven and his patroness.

As he left the apartment, the knight called after him, beseeching he
would order his trunk-mails to be sent into his apartment, understanding
he was to be guarded there for the night, as he wished to make some
alteration in his apparel.

[Footnote: Sir Piercie Shafton's extreme love of dress was an attribute
of the coxcombs of this period. The display made by their forefathers
was in the numbers of their retinue; but as the actual influence of
the nobility began to be restrained both in France and England by the
increasing power of the crown, the indulgence of vanity in personal
display became more inordinate. There are many allusions to this change
of custom in Shakspeare and other dramatic writers, where the reader may
find mention made of

  "Bonds enter'd into
  For gay apparel against the triumph day."

Jonson informs us, that for the first entrance of a gallant, "'twere
good you turned four or five hundred acres of your best land into two or
three trunks of apparel."--_Every Man out of his Humour._

In the Memorie of the Somerville family, a curious instance occurs of
this fashionable species of extravagance. In the year 1537, when James
V. brought over his shortlived bride from France, the Lord Somerville
of the day was so profuse in the expense of his apparel, that the money
which he borrowed on the occasion was compensated by a perpetual annuity
of threescore pounds Scottish, payable out of the barony of Carnwarth
till doomsday, which was assigned by the creditor to Saint Magdalen's
Chapel. By this deep expense the Lord Somerville had rendered himself so
glorious in apparel, that the King, who saw so brave a gallant enter the
gate of Holyrood, followed, by only two pages, called upon several of
the courtiers to ascertain who it could be who was so richly dressed
and so slightly attended, and he was not recognised until he entered the
presence-chamber. "You are very brave, my lord," said the King, as he
received his homage; "but where are all your men and attendants?" The
Lord Somerville readily answered, "If it please your Majesty, here they
are," pointing to the lace that was on his own and his pages' clothes:
whereat the King laughed heartily, and having surveyed the finery more
nearly, bade him have away with it all, and let him have his stout band
of spears again.

There is a scene in Jonson's "Every Man out of his Humour," (Act IV.
Scene 6.) in which a Euphuist of the time gives an account of the
effects of a duel on the clothes of himself and his opponent, and never
departs a syllable from the catalogue of his wardrobe. We shall insert
it in evidence that the foppery of our ancestors was not inferior to
that of our own time.

"_Fastidius_. Good faith, Signior, now you speak of a quarrel, I'll
acquaint you with a difference that happened between a gallant and
myself, Sir Puntarvolo. You know him if I should name him--Signor

"_Punt_. Luculento! What inauspicious chance interposed itself to your
two lives?

"_Fast_. Faith, sir, the same that sundered Agamemnon, and great Thetis'
son; but let the cause escape, sir. He sent me a challenge, mixt with
some few braves, which I restored; and, in fine, we met. Now indeed,
sir, I must tell you, he did offer at first very desperately, but
without judgment; for look you, sir, I cast myself into this figure;
now he came violently on, and withal advancing his rapier to strike, I
thought to have took his arm, for he had left his body to my election,
and I was sure he could not recover his guard. Sir, I mist my purpose in
his arm, rashed his doublet sleeves, ran him close by the left cheek
and through his hair. He, again, light me here--I had on a gold cable
hat-band, then new come up, about a murrey French hat I had; cuts my
hat-band, and yet it was massy goldsmith's work, cuts my brim, which,
by good fortune, being thick embroidered with gold twist and spangles,
disappointed the force of the blow; nevertheless it grazed on my
shoulder, takes me away six purls of an Italian cut-work band I wore,
cost me three pounds in the Exchange but three days before.

"_Punt_. This was a strange encounter.

"_Fast_. Nay, you shall hear, sir. With this, we both fell out and
breathed. Now, upon the second sign of his assault, I betook me to my
former manner of defence; he, on the other side, abandoned his body to
the same danger as before, and follows me still with blows; but I, being
loath to take the deadly advantage that lay before me of his left side,
made a kind of stramazoun, ran him up to the hilt through the doublet,
through the shirt, and yet missed the skin. He, making a reverse blow,
falls upon my embossed girdle,--I had thrown off the hangers a little
before,--strikes off a skirt of a thick-laced satin doublet I had, lined
with four taffetas, cuts off two panes embroidered with pearl, rends
through the drawings-out of tissue, enters the linings, and spiks the

"_Car_. I wonder he speaks not of his wrought shirt.

"_Fast_. Here, in the opinion of mutual damage, we paused. But, ere
I proceed, I must tell you, signior, that in the last encounter, not
having leisure to put off my silver spurs, one of the rowels catched
hold of the ruffles of my boot, and, being Spanish leather and subject
to tear, overthrows me, rends me two pair of silk stockings that I put
on, being somewhat of a raw morning, a peach colour and another, and
strikes me some half-inch deep into the side of the calf: He, seeing the
blood come, presently takes horse and away; I having bound up my wound
with a piece of my wrought shirt--

"_Car_. O, comes it in there.

"_Fast_. Ride after him, and, lighting at the court gate both together,
embraced, and marched hand in hand up into the presence. Was not this
business well carried?

"_Maci_. Well! yes; and by this we can guess what apparel the gentleman

"_Punt_. 'Fore valour! it was a designment begun with much resolution,
maintained with as much prowess, and ended with more humanity."]

"Ay, ay," said the monk, muttering as he went up the winding stair,
"carry him his trumpery with all despatch. Alas! that man, with so many
noble objects of pursuit, will amuse himself like a jackanape, with a
laced jerkin and a cap and bells!--I must now to the melancholy work of
consoling that which is well-nigh inconsolable, a mother weeping for her

Advancing, after a gentle knock, into the apartment of the women, he
found that Mary Avenel had retired to bed, extremely indisposed, and
that Dame Glendinning and Tibb were indulging their sorrows by the side
of a decaying fire, and by the light of a small iron lamp, or cruize,
as it was termed. Poor Elspeth's apron was thrown over her head, and
bitterly did she sob and weep for "her beautiful, her brave,--the very
image of her dear Simon Glendinning, the stay of her widowhood and the
support of her old age."

The faithful Tibb echoed her complaints, and, more violently clamorous,
made deep promises of revenge on Sir Piercie Shafton, "if there were a
man left in the south who could draw a whinger, or a woman that could
thraw a rape." The presence of the Sub-Prior imposed silence on these
clamours. He sate down by the unfortunate mother, and essayed, by such
topics as his religion and reason suggested, to interrupt the current of
Dame Glendinning's feelings; but the attempt was in vain. She listened,
indeed, with some little interest, while he pledged his word and
his influence with the Abbot, that the family which had lost their
eldest-born by means of a guest received at his command, should
experience particular protection at the hands of the community; and
that the fief which belonged to Simon Glendinning should, with extended
bounds and added privileges, be conferred on Edward.

But it was only for a very brief space that the mother's sobs were
apparently softer, and her grief more mild. She soon blamed herself
for casting a moment's thought upon world's gear while poor Halbert
was lying stretched in his bloody shirt. The Sub-Prior was not more
fortunate, when he promised that Halbert's body "should be removed to
hallowed ground, and his soul secured by the prayers of the Church in
his behalf." Grief would have its natural course, and the voice of the
comforter was wasted in vain.

Chapter the Twenty-Eighth.

  He is at liberty, I have ventured for him!
  -----------------------------if the law
  Find and condemn me for't, some living wenches,
  Some honest-hearted maids will sing my dirge,
  And tell to memory my death was noble,
  Dying almost a martyr.
                            THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN.

The Sub-Prior of Saint Mary's, in taking his departure from the spence
which Sir Piercie Shafton was confined, and in which some preparations
were made for his passing the night as the room which might be most
conveniently guarded, left more than one perplexed person behind him.
There was connected with this chamber, and opening into it, a small
_outshot_, or projecting part of the building, occupied by a sleeping
apartment, which upon ordinary occasions, was that of Mary Avenel, and
which, in the unusual number of guests who had come to the tower on
the former evening, had also accommodated Mysie Happer, the Miller's
daughter; for anciently, as well as in the present day, a Scottish house
was always rather too narrow and limited for the extent of the owner's
hospitality, and some shift and contrivance was necessary, upon any
unusual occasion, to ensure the accommodation of all the guests.

The fatal news of Halbert Glendinning's death had thrown all former
arrangements into confusion. Mary Avenel, whose case required immediate
attention, had been transported into the apartment hitherto occupied by
Halbert and his brother, as the latter proposed to watch all night,
in order to prevent the escape of the prisoner. Poor Mysie had been
altogether overlooked, and had naturally enough betaken herself to the
little apartment which she had hitherto occupied, ignorant that the
spence, through which lay the only access to it, was to be the sleeping
chamber of Sir Piercie Shafton. The measures taken for securing him
there had been so sudden, that she was not aware of it, until she
found that the other females had been removed from the spence by
the Sub-Prior's direction, and having once missed the opportunity of
retreating along with them, bashfulness, and the high respect which she
was taught to bear to the monks, prevented her venturing forth alone,
and intruding herself on the presence of Father Eustace, while in secret
conference with the Southron. There appeared no remedy but to wait till
their interview was over; and, as the door was thin, and did not shut
very closely, she could hear every word that passed betwixt them.

It thus happened, that without any intended intrusion on her part, she
became privy to the whole conversation of the Sub-Prior and the English
knight, and could also observe from the window of her little retreat,
that more than one of the young men summoned by Edward arrived
successively at the tower. These circumstances led her to entertain most
serious apprehension that the life of Sir Piercie Shafton was in great
and instant peril.

Woman is naturally compassionate, and not less willingly so when youth
and fair features are on the side of him who claims her sympathy. The
handsome presence, elaborate dress and address, of Sir Piercie Shafton,
which had failed to make any favorable impression on the grave and lofty
character of Mary Avenel, had completely dazzled and bewildered the poor
Maid of the Mill. The knight had perceived this result, and, flattered
by seeing that his merit was not universally underrated, he had bestowed
on Mysie a good deal more of his courtesy than in his opinion her rank
warranted. It was not cast away, but received with a devout sense of his
condescension, and with gratitude for his personal notice, which,
joined to her fears for his safety, and the natural tenderness of her
disposition, began to make wild work in her heart.

"To be sure it was very wrong in him to slay Halbert Glendinning," (it
was thus she argued the case with herself,) "but then he was a gentleman
born, and a soldier, and so gentle and courteous withal, that she was
sure the quarrel had been all of young Glendinning's own seeking; for
it was well known that both these lads were so taken up with that Mary
Avenel, that they never looked at another lass in the Halidome, more
than if they were of a different degree. And then Halbert's dress was
as clownish as his manners were haughty; and this poor young gentleman,
(who was habited like any prince,) banished from his own land, was first
drawn into a quarrel by a rude brangler, and then persecuted and like to
be put to death by his kin and allies."

Mysie wept bitterly at the thought, and then her heart rising against
such cruelty and oppression to a defenceless stranger, who dressed
with so much skill, and spoke with so much grace, she began to consider
whether she could not render him some assistance in this extremity.

Her mind was now entirely altered from its original purpose. At first
her only anxiety had been to find the means of escaping from the
interior apartment, without being noticed by any one; but now she began
to think that Heaven had placed her there for the safety and protection
of the persecuted stranger. She was of a simple and affectionate, but at
the same time an alert and enterprising character, possessing more
than female strength of body, and more than female courage, though with
feelings as capable of being bewildered with gallantry of dress and
language, as a fine gentleman of any generation would have desired to
exercise his talents upon. "I will save him," she thought, "that is the
first thing to be resolved--and then I wonder what he will say to the
poor Miller's maiden, that has done for him what all the dainty dames in
London or Holyrood would have been afraid to venture upon."

Prudence began to pull her sleeve as she indulged speculations so
hazardous, and hinted to her that the warmer Sir Piercie Shafton's
gratitude might prove, it was the more likely to be fraught with danger
to his benefactress. Alas! poor Prudence, thou mayest say with our moral

  "I preach for ever, but I preach in vain."

The Miller's maiden, while you pour your warning into her unwilling
bosom, has glanced her eye on the small mirror by which she has placed
her little lamp, and it returns to her a countenance and eyes, pretty
and sparkling at all times, but ennobled at present with the energy of
expression proper to those who have dared to form, and stand prepared
to execute, deeds of generous audacity. "Will these features--will
these eyes, joined to the benefit I am about to confer upon Sir Piercie
Shafton, do nothing towards removing the distance of rank between us?"

Such was the question which female vanity asked of fancy; and though
even fancy dared not answer in a ready affirmative, a middle conclusion
was adopted--"Let me first succour the gallant youth, and trust to
fortune for the rest."

Banishing, therefore, from her mind every thing that was personal to
herself, the rash but generous girl turned her whole thoughts to the
means of executing this enterprise.

The difficulties which interposed were of no ordinary nature. The
vengeance of the men of that country, in cases of deadly feud, that
is, in cases of a quarrel excited by the slaughter of any of their
relations, was one of their most marked characteristics; and Edward,
however gentle in other respects, was so fond of his brother, that
there could be no doubt that he would be as signal in his revenge as
the customs of the country authorized. There were to be passed the inner
door of the apartment, the two gates of the tower itself, and the gate
of the court-yard, ere the prisoner was at liberty; and then a guide
and means of flight were to be provided, otherwise ultimate escape
was impossible. But where the will of woman is strongly bent on
the accomplishment of such a purpose, her wit is seldom baffled by
difficulties, however embarrassing.

The Sub-Prior had not long left the apartment, ere Mysie had devised a
scheme for Sir Piercie Shafton's freedom, daring, indeed, but likely to
be successful, if dexterously conducted. It was necessary, however, that
she should remain where she was till so late an hour, that all in the
tower should have betaken themselves to repose, excepting those whose
duty made them watchers. The interval she employed in observing
the movements of the person in whose service she was thus boldly a

She could hear Sir Piercie Shafton pace the floor to and fro, in
reflection doubtless on his own untoward fate and precarious situation.
By and by she heard him making a rustling among his trunks, which,
agreeable to the order of the Sub-Prior, had been placed in the
apartment to which he was confined, and which he was probably amusing
more melancholy thoughts by examining and arranging. Then she could hear
him resume his walk through the room, and, as if his spirits had been
somewhat relieved and elevated by the survey of his wardrobe, she could
distinguish that at one turn he half recited a sonnet, at another half
whistled a galliard, and at the third hummed a saraband. At length she
could understand that he extended himself on the temporary couch which
had been allotted to him, after muttering his prayers hastily, and in a
short time she concluded he must be fast asleep.

She employed the moment which intervened in considering her enterprise
under every different aspect; and dangerous as it was, the steady review
which she took of the various perils accompanying her purpose, furnished
her with plausible devices for obviating them. Love and generous
compassion, which give singly such powerful impulse to the female heart,
were in this case united, and championed her to the last extremity of

It was an hour past midnight. All in the tower slept sound but those who
had undertaken to guard the English prisoner; or if sorrow and suffering
drove sleep from the bed of Dame Glendinning and her foster-daughter,
they were too much wrapt in their own griefs to attend to external
sounds. The means of striking light were at hand in the small apartment,
and thus the Miller's maiden was enabled to light and trim a small lamp.
With a trembling step and throbbing heart, she undid the door which
separated her from the apartment in which the Southron knight was
confined, and almost flinched from her fixed purpose, when she found
herself in the same room with the sleeping prisoner. She scarcely
trusted herself to look upon him, as he lay wrapped in his cloak, and
fast asleep upon the pallet bed, but turned her eyes away while she
gently pulled his mantle with no more force than was just equal to
awaken him. He moved not until she had twitched his cloak a second and
a third time, and then at length looking up, was about to make an
exclamation in the suddenness of his surprise.

Mysie's bashfulness was conquered by her fear. She placed her fingers
on her lips, in token that he must observe the most strict silence, and
then pointed to the door to intimate that it was watched.

Sir Piercie Shafton now collected himself and sat upright on his couch.
He gazed with surprise on the graceful figure of the young woman who
stood before him; her well-formed person, her flowing hair, and the
outline of her features, showed dimly, and yet to advantage, by the
partial and feeble light which she held in her hand. The romantic
imagination of the gallant would soon have coined some compliment proper
for the occasion, but Mysie left him not time.

"I come," she said, "to save your life, which is else in great peril--if
you answer me, speak as low as you can, for they have sentinelled your
door with armed men."

"Comeliest of miller's daughters," answered Sir Piercie, who by this
time was sitting upright on his couch, "dread nothing for my safety.
Credit me, that, as in very truth, I have not spilled the red puddle
(which these villagios call the blood) of their most uncivil relation,
so I am under no apprehension whatever for the issue of this restraint,
seeing that it cannot but be harmless to me. Natheless, to thee, O most
Molendinar beauty, I return the thanks which thy courtesy may justly

"Nay, but, Sir Knight," answered the maiden, in a whisper as low as it
was tremulous, "I deserve no thanks unless you will act by my counsel.
Edward Glendinning hath sent for Dan of the Howlet-hirst, and young Adie
of Aikenshaw, and they are come with three men more, and with bow, and
jack, and spear, and I heard them say to each other, and to Edward, as
they alighted in the court, that they would have amends for the death of
their kinsman, if the monk's cowl should smoke for it--And the vassals
are so wilful now, that the Abbot himself dare not control them, for
fear they turn heretics, and refuse to pay their feu-duties."

"In faith," said Sir Piercie Shafton, "it may be a shrewd temptation,
and perchance the monks may rid themselves of trouble and cumber,
by handing me over the march to Sir John Foster or Lord Hundson, the
English wardens, and so make peace with their vassals and with England
at once. Fairest Molinara, I will for once walk by thy rede, and if thou
dost contrive to extricate me from this vile kennel, I will so celebrate
thy wit and beauty, that the Baker's nymph of Raphael d'Urbino shall
seem but a gipsey in comparison of my Molinara."

"I pray you, then, be silent," said the Miller's daughter; "for if your
speech betrays that you are awake, my scheme fails utterly, and it is
Heaven's mercy and Our Lady's that we are not already overheard and

"I am silent," replied the Southron, "even as the starless night--but
yet--if this contrivance of thine should endanger thy safety, fair and
no less kind than fair damsel, it were utterly unworthy of me to accept
it at thy hand."

"Do not think of me," said Mysie, hastily; "I am safe--I will take
thought for myself, if I once saw you out of this dangerous dwelling--if
you would provide yourself with any part of your apparel or goods, lose
no time."

The knight _did_, however, lose some time, ere he could settle in his
own mind what to take and what to abandon of his wardrobe, each article
of which seemed endeared to him by recollection of the feasts and revels
at which it had been exhibited. For some little while Mysie left him
to make his selections at leisure, for she herself had also some
preparations to make for flight. But when, returning from the chamber
into which she had retired, with a small bundle in her hand, she found
him still indecisive, she insisted in plain terms, that he should either
make up his baggage for the enterprise, or give it up entirely. Thus
urged, the disconsolate knight hastily made up a few clothes into a
bundle, regarded his trunk-mails with a mute expression of parting
sorrow, and intimated his readiness to wait upon his kind guide.

She led the way to the door of the apartment, having first carefully
extinguished her lamp, and motioning to the knight to stand close behind
her, tapped once or twice at the door. She was at length answered by
Edward Glendinning, who demanded to know who knocked within, and what
was desired.

"Speak low," said Mysie Happer, "or you will awaken the English knight.
It is I, Mysie Happer, who knock--I wish to get out--you have locked me
up--and I was obliged to wait till the Southron slept."

"Locked you up!" replied Edward, in surprise.

"Yes," answered the Miller's daughter, "you have locked me up into this
room--I was in Mary Avenel's sleeping apartment."

"And can you not remain there till morning," replied Edward, "since it
has so chanced?"

"What!" said the Miller's daughter, in a tone of offended delicacy, "I
remain here a moment longer than I can get out without discovery!--I
would not, for all the Halidome of St. Mary's, remain a minute longer in
the neighbourhood of a man's apartment than I can help it--For whom,
or for what do you hold me? I promise you my father's daughter has been
better brought up than to put in peril her good name."

"Come forth then, and get to thy chamber in silence," said Edward. So
saying, he undid the bolt. The staircase without was in utter darkness,
as Mysie had before ascertained. So soon as she stept out, she took hold
of Edward as if to support herself, thus interposing her person betwixt
him and Sir Piercie Shaffcon, by whom she was closely followed. Thus
screened from observation, the Englishman slipped past on tiptoe, unshod
and in silence, while the damsel complained to Edward that she wanted a

"I cannot get you a light," said he, "for I cannot leave this post; but
there is a fire below."

"I will sit below till morning," said the Maid of the Mill; and,
tripping down stairs, heard Edward bolt and bar the door of the now
tenantless apartment with vain caution.

At the foot of the stair which she descended, she found the object of
her care waiting her farther directions. She recommended to him the most
absolute silence, which, for once in his life, he seemed not unwilling
to observe, conducted him, with as much caution as if he were walking on
cracked ice, to a dark recess, used for depositing wood, and instructed
him to ensconce himself behind the fagots. She herself lighted her lamp
once more at the kitchen fire, and took her distaff and spindle, that
she might not seem to be unemployed, in case any one came into the

From time to time, however, she stole towards the window on tiptoe, to
catch the first glance of the dawn, for the farther prosecution of her
adventurous project. At length she saw, to her great joy, the first peep
of the morning brighten upon the gray clouds of the east, and, clasping
her hands together, thanked Our Lady for the sight, and implored
protection during the remainder of her enterprise. Ere she had finished
her prayer, she started at feeling a man's arm across her shoulder,
while a rough voice spoke in her ear--"What! menseful Mysie of the Mill
so soon at her prayers?--now, benison on the bonny eyes that open so
early!--I'll have a kiss for good morrow's sake."

Dan of the Howlet-hirst, for he was the gallant who paid Mysie this
compliment, suited the action with the word, and the action, as is usual
in such cases of rustic gallantry, was rewarded with a cuff, which
Dan received as a fine gentleman receives a tap with a fan, but which,
delivered by the energetic arm of the Miller's maiden, would have
certainly astonished a less robust gallant.

"How now, Sir Coxcomb!" said she, "and must you be away from your guard
over the English knight, to plague quiet folks with your horse-tricks!"

"Truly you are mistaken, pretty Mysie," said the clown, "for I have not
yet relieved Edward at his post; and were it not a shame to let him stay
any longer, by my faith, I could find it in my heart not to quit you
these two hours."

"Oh, you have hours and hours enough to see any one," said Mysie; "but
you must think of the distress of the household even now, and get Edward
to sleep for a while, for he has kept watch this whole night."

"I will have another kiss first," answered Dan of the Howlet-hirst.

But Mysie was now on her guard, and, conscious of the vicinity of the
wood-hole, offered such strenuous resistance, that the swain cursed the
nymph's bad humour with very unpastoral phrase and emphasis, and ran up
stairs to relieve the guard of his comrade. Stealing to the door, she
heard the new sentinel hold a brief conversation with Edward, after
which the latter withdrew, and the former entered upon the duties of his

Mysie suffered him to walk there a little while undisturbed, until the
dawning became more general, by which time she supposed he might have
digested her coyness, and then presenting herself before the watchful
sentinel, demanded of him "the keys of the outer tower, and of the
courtyard gate."

"And for what purpose?" answered the warder.

"To milk the cows, and drive them out to their pasture," said Mysie;
"you would not have the poor beasts kept in the byre a' morning, and the
family in such distress, that there is na ane fit to do a turn but the
byre-woman and myself?"

"And where is the byre-woman?" said Dan.

"Sitting with me in the kitchen, in case these distressed folks want any

"There are the keys, then, Mysie Dorts," said the sentinel.

"Many thanks, Dan Ne'er-do-weel," answered the Maid of the Mill, and
escaped down stairs in a moment.

To hasten to the wood-hole, and there to robe the English knight in a
short gown and petticoat, which she had provided for the purpose, was
the work of another moment. She then undid the gates of the tower, and
made towards the byre, or cow-house, which stood in one corner of the
courtyard. Sir Piercie Shafton remonstrated against the delay which this
would occasion.

"Fair and generous Molinara," he said, "had we not better undo the
outward gate, and make the best of our way hence, even like a pair of
sea-mews who make towards shelter of the rocks as the storm waxes high?"

"We must drive out the cows first," said Mysie, "for a sin it were to
spoil the poor widow's cattle, both for her sake and the poor beasts'
own; and I have no mind any one shall leave the tower in a hurry to
follow us. Besides, you must have your horse, for you will need a fleet
one ere all be done."

So saying, she locked and double-locked both the inward and outward door
of the tower, proceeded to the cow-house, turned out the cattle, and,
giving the knight his own horse to lead, drove them before her out at
the court-yard gate, intending to return for her own palfrey. But the
noise attending the first operation caught the wakeful attention of
Edward, who, starting to the bartizan, called to know what the matter

Mysie answered with great readiness, that "she was driving out the cows,
for that they would be spoiled for want of looking to."

"I thank thee, kind maiden," said Edward--"and yet," he added, after a
moment's pause, "what damsel is that thou hast with thee?"

Mysie was about to answer, when Sir Piercie Shafton, who apparently
did not desire that the great work of his liberation should be executed
without the interposition of his own ingenuity, exclaimed from beneath,
"I am she, O most bucolical juvenal, under whose charge are placed the
milky mothers of the herd."

"Hell and darkness!" exclaimed Edward, in a transport of fury
and astonishment, "it is Piercie Shafton--What! treason!
treason!--ho!--Dan--Jasper--Martin--the villain escapes!"

"To horse! to horse!" cried Mysie, and in an instant mounted behind the
knight, who was already in the saddle.

Edward caught up a cross-bow, and let fly a bolt, which whistled so
near Mysie's ear, that she called to her companion,--"Spur--spur, Sir
Knight!--the next will not miss us.--Had it been Halbert instead of
Edward who bent that bow, we had been dead."

The knight pressed his horse, which dashed past the cows, and down the
knoll on which the tower was situated. Then taking the road down the
valley, the gallant animal, reckless of its double burden, soon conveyed
them out of hearing of the tumult and alarm with which their departure
filled the Tower of Glendearg.

Thus it strangely happened, that two men were flying in different
directions at the same time, each accused of being the other's murderer.

Chapter the Twenty-Ninth.

  -------------Sure he cannot
  Be so unmanly as to leave me here;
  If he do, maids will not so easily
  Trust men again.
                  THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN.

The knight continued to keep the good horse at a pace as quick as the
road permitted, until they had cleared the valley of Glendearg, and
entered upon the broad dale of the Tweed, which now rolled before
them in crystal beauty, displaying on its opposite bank the huge gray
Monastery of St. Mary's, whose towers and pinnacles were scarce yet
touched by the newly-risen sun, so deeply the edifice lies shrouded
under the mountains which rise to the southward.

Turning to the left, the knight continued his road down to the northern
bank of the river, until they arrived nearly opposite to the weir,
or dam-dike, where Father Philip concluded his extraordinary aquatic

Sir Piercie Shafton, whose brain seldom admitted more than one idea at
a time, had hitherto pushed forward without very distinctly considering
where he was going. But the sight of the Monastery so near to him,
reminded, him that he was still on dangerous ground, and that he must
necessarily provide for his safety by choosing some settled plan of
escape. The situation of his guide and deliverer also occurred to him,
for he was far from being either selfish or ungrateful. He listened, and
discovered that the Miller's daughter was sobbing and weeping bitterly
as she rested her head on his shoulder.

"What ails thee," he said, "my generous Molinara?--is there aught that
Piercie Shafton can do which may show his gratitude to his deliverer?"
Mysie pointed with her finger across the river, but ventured not to
turn her eyes in that direction. "Nay, but speak plain, most generous
damsel," said the knight, who, for once, was puzzled as much as his own
elegance of speech was wont to puzzle others, "for I swear to you that I
comprehend nought by the extension of thy fair digit."

"Yonder is my father's house," said Mysie, in a voice interrupted by the
increased burst of her sorrow.

"And I was carrying thee discourteously to a distance from thy
habitation?" said Shafton, imagining he had found out the source of her
grief. "Wo worth the hour that Piercie Shafton, in attention to his own
safety, neglected the accommodation of any female, far less of his most
beneficent liberatrice! Dismount, then, O lovely Molinara, unless thou
wouldst rather that I should transport thee on horseback to the house of
thy molendinary father, which, if thou sayest the word, I am prompt to
do, defying all dangers which may arise to me personally, whether by
monk or miller."

Mysie suppressed her sobs, and with considerable difficulty muttered her
desire to alight, and take her fortune by herself. Sir Piercie Shafton,
too devoted a squire of dames to consider the most lowly as exempted
from a respectful attention, independent of the claims which the
Miller's maiden possessed over him, dismounted instantly from his horse,
and received in his arms the poor girl, who still wept bitterly, and,
when placed on the ground, seemed scarce able to support herself, or at
least still clung, though, as it appeared, unconsciously, to the support
he had afforded. He carried her to a weeping birch tree, which grew on
the green-sward bank around which the road winded, and, placing her on
the ground beneath it, exhorted her to compose herself. A strong touch
of natural feeling struggled with, and half overcame, his acquired
affectation, while he said, "Credit me, most generous damsel, the
service you have done to Piercie Shafton he would have deemed too dearly
bought, had he foreseen it was to cost you these tears and singults.
Show me the cause of your grief, and if I can do aught to remove
it, believe that the rights you have acquired over me will make your
commands sacred as those of an empress. Speak, then, fair Molinara,
and command him whom fortune hath rendered at once your debtor and your
champion. What are your orders?"

"Only that you will fly and save yourself," said Mysie, mustering up her
utmost efforts to utter these few words.

"Yet," said the knight, "let me not leave you without some token of
remembrance." Mysie would have said there needed none, and most truly
would she have spoken, could she have spoken for weeping. "Piercie
Shafton is poor," he continued, "but let this chain testify he is not
ungrateful to his deliverer."

He took from his neck the rich chain and medallion we have formerly
mentioned, and put it into the powerless hand of the poor maiden,
who neither received nor rejected it, but, occupied with more intense
feelings, seemed scarce aware of what he was doing.

"We shall meet again," said Sir Piercie Shafton, "at least I trust so;
meanwhile, weep no more, fair Molinara, an thou lovest me."

The phrase of conjuration was but used as an ordinary commonplace
expression of the time, but bore a deeper sense to poor Mysie's ear.
She dried her tears; and when the knight, in all kind and chivalrous
courtesy, stooped to embrace her at their parting, she rose humbly up to
receive the proffered honour in a posture of more deference, and meekly
and gratefully accepted the offered salute. Sir Piercie Shafton mounted
his horse, and began to ride off, but curiosity, or perhaps a stronger
feeling, soon induced him to look back, when he beheld the Miller's
daughter standing still motionless on the spot where they had parted,
her eyes turned after him, and the unheeded chain hanging from her hand.

It was at this moment that a glimpse of the real state of Mysie's
affections, and of the motive from which she had acted in the whole
matter, glanced on Sir Piercie Shafton's mind. The gallants of that age,
disinterested, aspiring, and lofty-minded, even in their coxcombry, were
strangers to those degrading and mischievous pursuits which are usually
termed low amours. They did not "chase the humble maidens of the plain,"
or degrade their own rank, to deprive rural innocence of peace and
virtue. It followed, of course, that as conquests in this class were no
part of their ambition, they were in most cases totally overlooked and
unsuspected, left unimproved, as a modern would call it, where, as
on the present occasion, they were casually made. The companion of
Astrophel, and flower of the tilt-yard of Feliciana, had no more idea
that his graces and good parts could attach the love of Mysie Happer,
than a first-rate beauty in the boxes dreams of the fatal wound which
her charms may inflict on some attorney's romantic apprentice in the
pit. I suppose, in any ordinary case, the pride of rank and distinction
would have pronounced on the humble admirer the doom which Beau Fielding
denounced against the whole female world, "Let them look and die;" but
the obligations under which he lay to the enamoured maiden, miller's
daughter as she was, precluded the possibility of Sir Piercie's treating
the matter _en cavalier_, and, much embarrassed, yet a little flattered
at the same time, he rode back to try what could be done for the
damsel's relief.

The innate modesty of poor Mysie could not prevent her showing too
obvious signs of joy at Sir Piercie Shafton's return. She was betrayed
by the sparkle of the rekindling eye, and a caress which, however
timidly bestowed, she could not help giving to the neck of the horse
which brought back the beloved rider.

"What farther can I do for you, kind Molinara?" said Sir Piercie
Shafton, himself hesitating and blushing; for, to the grace of Queen
Bess's age be it spoken, her courtiers wore more iron on their breasts
than brass on their foreheads, and even amid their vanities preserved
still the decaying spirit of chivalry, which inspired of yore the very
gentle Knight of Chaucer,

     Who in his port was modest as a maid.

Mysie blushed deeply, with her eyes fixed on the ground, and Sir Piercie
proceeded in the same tone of embarrassed kindness. "Are you afraid to
return home alone, my kind Molinara?--would you that I should accompany

"Alas!" said Mysie, looking up, and her cheek changing from scarlet to
pale, "I have no home left."

"How! no home!" said Shafton; "says my generous Molinara she hath no
home, when yonder stands the house of her father, and but a crystal
stream between?"

"Alas!" answered the Miller's maiden, "I have no longer either home or
father. He is a devoted servant to the Abbey--I have offended the Abbot,
and if I return home my father will kill me."

"He dare not injure thee, by Heaven!" said Sir Piercie; "I swear to
thee, by my honour and knighthood, that the forces of my cousin of
Northumberland shall lay the Monastery so flat, that a horse shall not
stumble as he rides over it, if they should dare to injure a hair of
your head! Therefore be hopeful and content, kind Mysinda, and know you
have obliged one who can and will avenge the slightest wrong offered to

He sprung from his horse as he spoke, and, in the animation of his
argument, grasped the willing hand of Mysie, (or Mysinda as he had now
christened her.) He gazed too upon full black eyes, fixed upon his own
with an expression which, however subdued by maidenly shame, it was
impossible to mistake, on cheeks where something like hope began to
restore the natural colour, and on two lips which, like double rosebuds,
were kept a little apart by expectation, and showed within a line of
teeth as white as pearl. All this was dangerous to look upon, and Sir.
Piercie Shafton, after repeating with less and less force his request
that the fair Mysinda would allow him to carry her to her father's,
ended by asking the fair Mysinda to go along with him--"At least," he
added, "until I shall be able to conduct you to a place of safety."

Mysie Happer made no answer; but blushing scarlet betwixt joy and shame,
mutely expressed her willingness to accompany the Southron Knight,
by knitting her bundle closer, and preparing to resume her seat _en
croupe_. "And what is your pleasure that I should do with this?" she
said, holding up the chain as if she had been for the first time aware
that it was in her hand.

"Keep it, fairest Mysinda, for my sake," said the Knight.

"Not so, sir," answered Mysie, gravely; "the maidens of my country take
no such gifts from their superiors, and I need no token to remind me of
this morning."

Most earnestly and courteously did the Knight urge her acceptance of
the proposed guerdon, but on this point Mysie was resolute; feeling,
perhaps, that to accept of any thing bearing the appearance of reward,
would be to place the service she had rendered him on a mercenary
footing. In short, she would only agree to conceal the chain, lest it
might prove the means of detecting the owner, until Sir Piercie should
be placed in perfect safety.

They mounted and resumed their journey, of which Mysie, as bold and
sharp-witted in some points as she was simple and susceptible in others,
now took in some degree the direction, having only inquired its general
destination, and learned that Sir Piercie Shafton desired to go to
Edinburgh, where he hoped to find friends and protection. Possessed of
this information, Mysie availed herself of her local knowledge to get as
soon as possible out of the bounds of the Halidome, and into those of a
temporal baron, supposed to be addicted to the reformed doctrines,
and upon whose limits, at least, she thought their pursuers would not
attempt to hazard any violence. She was not indeed very apprehensive of
a pursuit, reckoning with some confidence that the inhabitants of the
Tower of Glendearg would find it a matter of difficulty to surmount
the obstacles arising from their own bolts and bars, with which she had
carefully secured them before setting forth on the retreat.

They journeyed on, therefore, in tolerable security, and Sir Piercie
Shafton found leisure to amuse the time in high-flown speeches and long
anecdotes of the court of Feliciana, to which Mysie bent an ear not a
whit less attentive, that she did not understand one word out of three
which was uttered by her fellow-traveller. She listened, however, and
admired upon trust, as many a wise man has been contented to treat the
conversation of a handsome but silly mistress. As for Sir Piercie,
he was in his element; and, well assured of the interest and full
approbation of his auditor, he went on spouting Euphuism of more than
usual obscurity, and at more than usual length. Thus passed the morning,
and noon brought them within sight of a winding stream, on the side of
which arose an ancient baronial castle, surrounded by some large trees.
At a small distance from the gate of the mansion, extended, as in those
days was usual, a straggling hamlet, having a church in the centre.

"There are two hostelries in this Kirk-town," said Mysie, "but the worst
is best for our purpose; for it stands apart from the other houses, and
I ken the man weel, for he has dealt with my father for malt."

This _causa scientiae_, to use a lawyer's phrase, was ill chosen
for Mysie's purpose; for Sir Piercie Shafton had, by dint of his own
loquacity, been talking himself all this while into a high esteem for
his fellow-traveller, and, pleased with the gracious reception which she
afforded to his powers of conversation, had well-nigh forgotten that
she was not herself one of those high-born beauties of whom he was
recounting so many stories, when this unlucky speech at once placed
the most disadvantageous circumstances attending her lineage under his
immediate recollection. He said nothing, however. What indeed could
he say? Nothing was so natural as that a miller's daughter should be
acquainted with publicans who dealt with her father for malt, and all
that was to be wondered at was the concurrence of events which had
rendered such a female the companion and guide of Sir Piercie Shafton of
Wilverton, kinsman of the great Earl of Northumberland, whom princes
and sovereigns themselves termed cousin, because of the Piercie blood.
[Footnote: Froissart tells us somewhere, (the readers of romances are
indifferent to accurate reference,) that the King of France called one
of the Piercies cousin, because of the blood of Northumberland.] He felt
the disgrace of strolling through the country with a miller's maiden
on the crupper behind him, and was even ungrateful enough to feel some
emotions of shame, when he halted his horse at the door of the little

But the alert intelligence of Mysie Happer spared him farther sense of
derogation, by instantly springing from his horse, and cramming the ears
of mine host, who came out with his mouth agape to receive a guest of
the knight's appearance, with an imagined tale, in which circumstance on
circumstance were huddled so fast, as to astonish Sir Piercie Shafton,
whose own invention was none of the most brilliant. She explained to
the publican that this was a great English knight travelling from the
Monastery to the court of Scotland, after having paid his vows to Saint
Mary, and that she had been directed to conduct him so far on the road;
and that Ball, her palfrey, had fallen by the way, because he had been
over-wrought with carrying home the last melder of meal to the portioner
of Langhope; and that she had turned in Ball to graze in the Tasker's
park, near Cripplecross, for he had stood as still as Lot's wife with
very weariness; and that the knight had courteously insisted she should
ride behind him, and that she had brought him to her kend friend's
hostelry rather than to proud Peter Peddie's, who got his malt at
the Mellerstane mills; and that he must get the best that the house
afforded, and that he must get it ready in a moment of time, and that
she was ready to help in the kitchen.

All this ran glibly off the tongue without pause on the part of
Mysie Happer, or doubt on that of the landlord. The guest's horse was
conducted to the stable, and he himself installed in the cleanest
corner and best seat which the place afforded. Mysie, ever active and
officious, was at once engaged in preparing food, in spreading the
table, and in making all the better arrangements which her experience
could suggest, for the honour and comfort of her companion. He would
fain have resisted this; for while it was impossible not to be gratified
with the eager and alert kindness which was so active in his service,
he felt an undefinable pain in seeing Mysinda engaged in these menial
services, and discharging them, moreover, as one to whom they were
but too familiar. Yet this jarring feeling was mixed with, and perhaps
balanced by, the extreme grace with which the neat-handed maiden
executed these tasks, however mean in themselves, and gave to the
wretched corner of a miserable inn of the period, the air of a bower,
in which an enamoured fairy, or at least a shepherdess of Arcadia, was
displaying, with unavailing solicitude, her designs on the heart of
some knight, destined by fortune to higher thoughts, and a more splendid

The lightness and grace with which Mysie covered the little round table
with a snow-white cloth, and arranged upon it the hastily-roasted capon,
with its accompanying stoup of Bourdeaux, were but plebeian graces in
themselves; but yet there were very flattering ideas excited by each
glance. She was so very well made, agile at once and graceful, with her
hand and arm as white as snow, and her face in which a smile contended
with a blush, and her eyes which looked ever at Shafton when he looked
elsewhere, and were dropped at once when they encountered his, that
she was irresistible! In fine, the affectionate delicacy of her whole
demeanour, joined to the promptitude and boldness she had so lately
evinced, tended to ennoble the services she had rendered, as if some

  -----sweet engaging Grace
  Put on some clothes to come abroad,
    And took a waiter's place.

But, on the other hand, came the damning reflection, that these duties
were not taught her by Love, to serve the beloved only, but arose from
the ordinary and natural habits of a miller's daughter, accustomed,
doubtless, to render the same service to every wealthier churl who
frequented her father's mill. This stopped the mouth of vanity, and of
the love which vanity had been hatching, as effectually as a peck of
literal flour would have done.

Amidst this variety of emotions, Sir Piercie Shafton forgot not to ask
the object of them to sit down and partake the good cheer which she had
been so anxious to provide and to place in order. He expected that
this invitation would have been bashfully, perhaps, but certainly most
thankfully, accepted; but he was partly flattered, and partly piqued,
by the mixture of deference and resolution with which Mysie declined his
invitation. Immediately after, she vanished from the apartment, leaving
the Euphuist to consider whether he was most gratified or displeased by
her disappearance.

In fact, this was a point on which he would have found it difficult
to make up his mind, had there been any necessity for it. As there was
none, he drank a few cups of claret, and sang (to himself) a strophe
or two of the canzonettes of the divine Astrophel. But in spite both of
wine and of Sir Philip Sidney, the connexion in which he now stood,
and that which he was in future to hold, with the lovely Molinara, or
Mysinda, as he had been pleased to denominate Mysie Happer, recurred
to his mind. The fashion of the times (as we have already noticed)
fortunately coincided with his own natural generosity of disposition,
which indeed amounted almost to extravagance, in prohibiting, as
a deadly sin, alike against gallantry, chivalry, and morality, his
rewarding the good offices he had received from this poor maiden, by
abusing any of the advantages which her confidence in his honour had
afforded. To do Sir Piercie justice, it was an idea which never entered
into his head; and he would probably have dealt the most scientific
_imbroccata, stoccata_, or _punto reverso_, which the school of Vincent
Saviola had taught him, to any man who had dared to suggest to him such
selfish and ungrateful meanness. On the other hand, he was a man, and
foresaw various circumstances which might render their journey together
in this intimate fashion a scandal and a snare. Moreover, he was a
coxcomb and a courtier, and felt there was something ridiculous in
travelling the land with a miller's daughter behind his saddle, giving
rise to suspicions not very creditable to either, and to ludicrous
constructions, so far as he himself was concerned.

"I would," he said half aloud, "that if such might be done without harm
or discredit to the too-ambitious, yet too-well-distinguishing Molinara,
she and I were fairly severed, and bound on our different courses; even
as we see the goodly vessel bound for the distant seas hoist sails and
bear away into the deep, while the humble fly-boat carries to shore
those friends, who, with wounded hearts and watery eyes, have committed
to their higher destinies the more daring adventurers by whom the fair
frigate is manned."

He had scarce uttered the wish when it was gratified; for the host
entered to say that his worshipful knighthood's horse was ready to
be brought forth as he had desired; and on his inquiry for "the--the
damsel--that is--the young woman--"

"Mysie Happer," said the landlord, "has returned to her father's; but
she bade me say, you could not miss the road for Edinburgh, in respect
it was neither far way nor foul gate."

It is seldom we are exactly blessed with the precise fulfilment of our
wishes at the moment when we utter them; perhaps, because Heaven wisely
withholds what, if granted, would be often received with ingratitude.
So at least it chanced in the present instance; for when mine host said
that Mysie was returned homeward, the knight was tempted to reply, with
an ejaculation of surprise and vexation, and a hasty demand, whither and
when she had departed? The first emotions his prudence suppressed, the
second found utterance.

"Where is she gane?" said the host, gazing on him, and repeating his
question--"She is gane hame to her father's, it is like--and she gaed
just when she gave orders about your worship's horse, and saw it well
fed, (she might have trusted me, but millers and millers' kin think a'
body as thief-like as themselves,) an' she's three miles on the gate by
this time."

"Is she gone then?" muttered Sir Piercie, making two or three hasty
strides through the narrow apartment--"Is she gone?--Well, then, let
her go. She could have had but disgrace by abiding by me, and I little
credit by her society. That I should have thought there was such
difficulty in shaking her off! I warrant she is by this time laughing
with some clown she has encountered; and my rich chain will prove a good
dowry.--And ought it not to prove so? and has she not deserved it, were
it ten times more valuable?--Piercie Shafton! Piercie Shafton! dost thou
grudge thy deliverer the guerdon she hath so dearly won? The selfish air
of this northern land hath infected thee, Piercie Shafton! and blighted
the blossoms of thy generosity, even as it is said to shrivel the
flowers of the mulberry.--Yet I thought," he added, after a moment's
pause, "that she would not so easily and voluntarily have parted from
me. But it skills not thinking of it.--Cast my reckoning, mine host, and
let your groom lead forth my nag."

The good host seemed also to have some mental point to discuss, for he
answered not instantly, debating perhaps whether his conscience would
bear a double charge for the same guests. Apparently his conscience
replied in the negative, though not without hesitation, for he at length
replied--"It's daffing to lee; it winna deny that the lawing is clean
paid. Ne'ertheless, if your worshipful knighthood pleases to give aught
for increase of trouble--"

"How!" said the knight; "the reckoning paid? and by whom, I pray you?"

"E'en by Mysie Happer, if truth maun be spoken, as I said before,"
answered the honest landlord, with as many compunctious visitings for
telling the verity as another might have felt for making a lie in the
circumstances--"And out of the moneys supplied for your honour's journey
by the Abbot, as she tauld to me. And laith were I to surcharge any
gentleman that darkens my doors." He added in the confidence of honesty
which his frank avowal entitled him to entertain, "Nevertheless, as I
said before, if it pleases your knighthood of free good-will to consider
extraordinary trouble--"

The knight cut short his argument, by throwing the landlord a
rose-noble, which probably doubled the value of a Scottish reckoning,
though it would have defrayed but a half one at the Three Cranes or the
Vintry. The bounty so much delighted mine host, that he ran to fill the
stirrup-cup (for which no charge was ever made) from a butt yet charier
than that which he had pierced for the former stoup. The knight paced
slowly to horse, partook of his courtesy, and thanked him with the stiff
condescension of the court of Elizabeth; then mounted and followed the
northern path, which was pointed out as the nearest to Edinburgh, and
which, though very unlike a modern highway, bore yet so distinct
a resemblance to a public and frequented road as not to be easily

"I shall not need her guidance it seems," said he to himself, as he
rode slowly onward; "and I suppose that was one reason of her abrupt
departure, so different from what one might have expected.--Well, I am
well rid of her. Do we not pray to be liberated from temptation? Yet
that she should have erred so much in estimation of her own situation
and mine, as to think of defraying the reckoning! I would I saw her once
more, but to explain to her the solecism of which her inexperience hath
rendered her guilty. And I fear," he added, as he emerged from some
straggling trees, and looked out upon a wild moorish country, composed
of a succession of swelling lumpish hills, "I fear I shall soon want the
aid of this Ariadne, who might afford me a clew through the recesses of
yonder mountainous labyrinth."

As the Knight thus communed with himself, his attention was caught by
the sound of a horse's footsteps; and a lad, mounted on a little gray
Scottish nag, about fourteen hands high, coming along a path which
led from behind the trees, joined him on the high-road, if it could be
termed such. The dress of the lad was completely in village fashion, yet
neat and handsome in appearance. He had a jerkin of gray cloth slashed
and trimmed, with black hose of the same, with deer-skin rullions or
sandals, and handsome silver spurs. A cloak of a dark mulberry colour
was closely drawn round the upper part of his person, and the cape in
part muffled his face, which was also obscured by his bonnet of black
velvet cloth, and its little plume of feathers.

Sir Piercie Shafton, fond of society, desirous also to have a guide,
and, moreover, prepossessed in favour of so handsome a youth, failed not
to ask him whence he came, and whither he was going. The youth looked
another way, as he answered, that he was going to Edinburgh, "to seek
service in some nobleman's family."

"I fear me you have run away from your last master," said Sir Piercie,
"since you dare not look me in the face while you answer my question."

"Indeed, sir, I have not," answered the lad, bashfully, while, as if
with reluctance, he turned round his face, and instantly withdrew it. It
was a glance, but the discovery was complete. There was no mistaking
the dark full eye, the cheek in which much embarrassment could not
altogether disguise an expression of comic humour, and the whole figure
at once betrayed, under her metamorphosis, the Maid of the Mill. The
recognition was joyful, and Sir Piercie Shafton was too much pleased to
have regained his companion to remember the very good reasons which had
consoled him for losing her.

To his questions respecting her dress, she answered that she had
obtained it in the Kirktown from a friend; it was the holiday suit of a
son of hers, who had taken the field with his liege-lord, the baron of
the land. She had borrowed the suit under pretence she meant to play
in some mumming or rural masquerade. She had left, she said, her own
apparel in exchange, which was better worth ten crowns than this was
worth four.

"And the nag, my ingenious Molinara," said Sir Piercie, "whence comes
the nag?"

"I borrowed him from our host at the Gled's-Nest," she replied; and
added, half stifling a laugh, "he has sent to get, instead of it, our
Ball, which I left in the Tasker's Park at Cripplecross. He will be
lucky if he find it there."

"But then the poor man will lose his horse, most argute Mysinda," said
Sir Piercie Shafton, whose English notions of property were a little
startled at a mode of acquisition more congenial to the ideas of a
miller's daughter (and he a Border miller to boot) than with those of an
English person of quality.

"And if he does lose his horse," said Mysie, laughing, "surely he is not
the first man on the marches who has had such a mischance. But he will
be no loser, for I warrant he will stop the value out of moneys which he
has owed my father this many a day."

"But then your father will be the loser," objected yet again the
pertinacious uprightness of Sir Piercie Shafton.

"What signifies it now to talk of my father?" said the damsel,
pettishly; then instantly changing to a tone of deep feeling, she added,
"my father has this day lost that which will make him hold light the
loss of all the gear he has left."

Struck with the accents of remorseful sorrow in which his companion
uttered these few words, the English knight felt himself bound both in
honour and conscience to expostulate with her as strongly as he could,
on the risk of the step which she had now taken, and on the propriety of
her returning to her father's house. The matter of his discourse, though
adorned with many unnecessary flourishes, was honourable both to his
head and heart.

The Maid of the Mill listened to his flowing periods with her head sunk
on her bosom as she rode, like one in deep thought or deeper sorrow.
When he had finished, she raised up her countenance, looked full on
the knight, and replied with great firmness--"If you are weary of my
company, Sir Piercie Shafton, you have but to say so, and the Miller's
daughter will be no farther cumber to you. And do not think I will be a
burden to you, if we travel together to Edinburgh; I have wit enough and
pride enough to be a willing burden to no man. But if you reject not my
company at present, and fear not it will be burdensome to you hereafter,
speak no more to me of returning back. All that you can say to me I have
said to myself; and that I am now here, is a sign that I have said it to
no purpose. Let this subject, therefore, be forever ended betwixt us.
I have already, in some small fashion, been useful to you, and the time
may come I may be more so; for this is not your land of England, where
men say justice is done with little fear or favour to great and to
small; but it is a land where men do by the strong hand, and defend by
the ready wit, and I know better than you the perils you are exposed

Sir Piercie Shafton was somewhat mortified to find that the damsel
conceived her presence useful to him as a protectress as well as guide,
and said something of seeking protection of nought save his own arm and
his good sword. Mysie answered very quietly, that she nothing doubted
his bravery; but it was that very quality of bravery which was most
likely to involve him in danger. Sir Piercie Shafton, whose head never
kept very long in any continued train of thinking, acquiesced without
much reply, resolving in his own mind that the maiden only used this
apology to disguise her real motive, of affection to his person.
The romance of the situation flattered his vanity and elevated his
imagination, as placing him in the situation of one of those romantic
heroes of whom he had read the histories, where similar transformations
made a distinguished figure.

He took many a sidelong glance at his page, whose habits of country
sport and country exercise had rendered her quite adequate to sustain
the character she had assumed. She managed the little nag with
dexterity, and even with grace; nor did any thing appear that could
have betrayed her disguise, except when a bashful consciousness of her
companion's eye being fixed on her, gave her an appearance of temporary
embarrassment, which greatly added to her beauty.

The couple rode forward as in the morning, pleased with themselves and
with each other, until they arrived at the village where they were to
repose for the night, and where all the inhabitants of the little inn,
both male and female, joined in extolling the good grace and handsome
countenance of the English knight, and the uncommon beauty of his
youthful attendant.

It was here that Mysie Happer first made Sir Piercie Shafton sensible
of the reserved manner in which she proposed to live with him. She
announced him as her master, and, waiting upon him with the reverent
demeanour of an actual domestic, permitted not the least approach to
familiarity, not even such as the knight might with the utmost innocence
have ventured upon. For example, Sir Piercie, who, as we know, was a
great connoisseur in dress, was detailing to her the advantageous change
which he proposed to make in her attire as soon as they should reach
Edinburgh, by arraying her in his own colours of pink and carnation.
Mysie Happer listened with great complacency to the unction with which
he dilated upon welts, laces, slashes, and trimmings, until, carried
away by the enthusiasm with which he was asserting the superiority of
the falling band over the Spanish ruff, he approached his hand, in
the way of illustration, towards the collar of his page's doublet. She
instantly stepped back and gravely reminded him that she was alone and
under his protection.

"You cannot but remember the cause which has brought me here," she
continued; "make the least approach to any familiarity which you would
not offer to a princess surrounded by her court, and you have seen the
last of the Miller's daughter--She will vanish as the chaff disappears
from the shieling-hill [Footnote: The place where corn was winnowed,
while that operation was performed by the hand, was called in Scotland
the Shieling-hill.] when the west wind blows."

"I do protest, fair Molinara," said Sir Piercie Shafton--but the fair
Molinara had disappeared before his protest could be uttered. "A most
singular wench," said he to himself; "and by this hand, as discreet
as she is fair-featured--Certes, shame it were to offer her scathe
or dishonour! She makes similes too, though somewhat savouring of her
condition. Had she but read Euphues, and forgotten that accursed mill
and shieling-hill, it is my thought that her converse would be broidered
with as many and as choice pearls of compliment, as that of the most
rhetorical lady in the court of Feliciana. I trust she means to return
to bear me company."

But that was no part of Mysie's prudential scheme. It was then drawing
to dusk, and he saw her not again until the next morning, when the
horses were brought to the door that they might prosecute their journey.

But our story here necessarily leaves the English knight and his page,
to return to the Tower of Glendearg.

Chapter the Thirtieth.

  You call it an ill angel it may be so,
  But sure I am, among the ranks which fell,
  'Tis the first fiend e'er counsell'd man to rise,
  And win the bliss the sprite himself had forfeited.
                             OLD PLAY.

We must resume our narrative at the period when Mary Avenel was
conveyed to the apartment which had been formerly occupied by the two
Glendinnings, and when her faithful attendant, Tibbie, had exhausted
herself in useless attempts to compose and to comfort her. Father
Eustace also dealt forth with well-meant kindness those apophthegms and
dogmata of consolation, which friendship almost always offers to grief,
though they are uniformly offered in vain. She was at length left to
indulge in the desolation of her own sorrowful feelings. She felt as
those who, loving for the first time, have lost what they loved, before
time and repeated calamity have taught them that every loss is to a
certain extent reparable or endurable.

Such grief may be conceived better than it can be described, as is well
known to those who have experienced it. But Mary Avenel had been taught
by the peculiarity of her situation, to regard herself as the Child of
Destiny; and the melancholy and reflecting turn of her disposition
gave to her sorrows a depth and breadth peculiar to her character. The
grave--and it was a bloody grave--had closed, as she believed, over the
youth to whom she was secretly, but most warmly attached; the force and
ardour of Halbert's character bearing a singular correspondence to the
energy of which her own was capable. Her sorrow did not exhaust
itself in sighs and tears, but when the first shock had passed away,
concentrated itself with deep and steady meditation, to collect and
calculate, like a bankrupt debtor, the full amount of her loss. It
seemed as if all that connected her with earth, had vanished with this
broken tie. She had never dared to anticipate the probability of an
ultimate union with Halbert, yet now his supposed fall seemed that of
the only tree which was to shelter her from the storm. She respected
the more gentle character, and more peaceful attainments, of the younger
Glendinning; but it had not escaped her (what never indeed escaped
woman in such circumstances) that he was disposed to place himself in
competition with what she, the daughter of a proud and warlike race,
deemed the more manly qualities of his elder brother; and there is no
time when a woman does so little justice to the character of a surviving
lover, as when comparing him with the preferred rival of whom she has
been recently deprived.

The motherly, but coarse kindness of Dame Glendinning, and the doating
fondness of her old domestic, seemed now the only kind feeling of which
she formed the object; and she could not but reflect how little these
were to be compared with the devoted attachment of a high-souled youth,
whom the least glance of her eye could command, as the high-mettled
steed is governed by the bridle of the rider. It was when plunged among
these desolating reflections, that Mary Avenel felt the void of mind,
arising from the narrow and bigoted ignorance in which Rome then
educated the children of her church. Their whole religion was a ritual,
and their prayers were the formal iteration of unknown words, which, in
the hour of affliction, could yield but little consolation to those who
from habit resorted to them. Unused to the practice of mental devotion,
and of personal approach to the Divine Presence by prayer, she could not
help exclaiming in her distress, "There is no aid for me on earth, and I
know not how to ask it from Heaven!"

As she spoke thus in an agony of sorrow, she cast her eyes into the
apartment, and saw the mysterious Spirit, which waited upon the fortunes
of her house, standing in the moonlight in the midst of the room. The
same form, as the reader knows, had more than once offered itself to
her sight; and either her native boldness of mind, or some peculiarity
attached to her from her birth, made her now look upon it without
shrinking. But the White Lady of Avenel was now more distinctly visible,
and more closely present, than she had ever before seemed to be, and
Mary was appalled by her presence. She would, however, have spoken; but
there ran a tradition, that though others who had seen the White Lady
had asked questions and received answers, yet those of the house of
Avenel who had ventured to speak to her, had never long survived the
colloquy. The figure, besides, as sitting up in her bed, Mary Avenel
gazed on it intently, seemed by its gestures to caution her to keep
silence, and at the same time to bespeak attention.

The White Lady then seemed to press one of the planks of the floor with
her foot, while, in her usual low, melancholy, and musical chant, she
repeated the following verses:

  "Maiden, whose sorrows wail the Living Dead,
    Whose eyes shall commune with the Dead Alive,
  Maiden, attend! Beneath my foot lies hid
    The Word, the Law, the Path, which thou dost strive
  To find and canst not find.--Could spirits shed
    Tears for their lot, it were my lot to weep,
  Showing the road which I shall never tread,
    Though my foot points it.--Sleep, eternal sleep,
  Dark, long, and cold forgetfulness my lot!--
    But do not thou at human ills repine,
  Secure there lies full guerdon in this spot
    For all the woes that wait frail Adam's line--
  Stoop, then, and make it yours--I may not make it mine!"

The phantom stooped towards the floor as she concluded, as if with the
intention of laying her hand on the board on which she stood. But
ere she had completed that gesture, her form became indistinct, was
presently only like the shade of a fleecy cloud, which passed betwixt
earth and the moon, and was soon altogether invisible.

A strong impression of fear, the first which she had experienced in her
life to any agitating extent, seized upon the mind of Mary Avenel, and
for a minute she felt a disposition to faint. She repelled it, however,
mustered her courage, and addressed herself to saints and angels, as
her church recommended. Broken slumbers at length stole on her exhausted
mind and frame, and she slept until the dawn was about to rise, when
she was awakened by the cry of "Treason! treason! follow, follow!" which
arose in the tower, when it was found that Piercie Shafton had made his

Apprehensive of some new misfortune, Mary Avenel hastily arranged the
dress which she had not laid aside, and, venturing to quit her chamber,
learned from Tibb, who, with her gray hairs dishevelled like those of
a sibyl, was flying from room to room, that the bloody Southron villain
had made his escape, and that Halbert Glendinning, poor bairn,
would sleep unrevenged and unquiet in his bloody grave. In the lower
apartments, the young men were roaring like thunder, and venting
in oaths and exclamations against the fugitives the rage which they
experienced in finding themselves locked up within the tower, and
debarred from their vindictive pursuit by the wily precautions of Mysie
Happer. The authoritative voice of the Sub-Prior commanding silence was
next heard; upon which Mary Avenel, whose tone of feeling did not lead
her to enter into counsel or society with the rest of the party, again
retired to her solitary chamber.

The rest of the family held counsel in the spence, Edward almost beside
himself with rage, and the Sub-Prior in no small degree offended at the
effrontery of Mysie Happer in attempting such a scheme, as well as at
the mingled boldness and dexterity with which it had been executed. But
neither surprise nor anger availed aught. The windows, well secured
with iron bars for keeping assailants out, proved now as effectual for
detaining the inhabitants within. The battlements were open, indeed; but
without ladder or ropes to act as a substitute for wings, there was no
possibility of descending from them. They easily succeeded in alarming
the inhabitants of the cottages beyond the precincts of the court; but
the men had been called in to strengthen the guard for the night, and
only women and children remained who could contribute nothing in the
emergency, except their useless exclamations of surprise, and there were
no neighbours for miles around. Dame Elspeth, however, though drowned in
tears, was not so unmindful of external affairs, but that she could find
voice enough to tell the women and children without, to "leave their
skirling, and look after the cows that she couldna get minded, what
wi' the awfu' distraction of her mind, what wi' that fause slut having
locked them up in their ain tower as fast as if they had been in the
Jeddart tolbooth."

Meanwhile, the men finding other modes of exit impossible, unanimously
concluded to force the doors with such tools as the house afforded
for the purpose. These were not very proper for the occasion, and
the strength of the doors was great. The interior one, formed of oak,
occupied them for three mortal hours, and there was little prospect of
the iron door being forced in double the time.

While they were engaged in this ungrateful toil, Mary Avenel had
with much less labour acquired exact knowledge of what the Spirit had
intimated in her mystic rhyme. On examining the spot which the phantom
had indicated by her gestures, it was not difficult to discover that a
board had been loosened, which might be raised at pleasure. On removing
this piece of plank, Mary Avenel was astonished to find the Black Book,
well remembered by her as her mother's favourite study, of which she
immediately took possession, with as much joy as her present situation
rendered her capable of feeling.

Ignorant in a great measure of its contents, Mary Avenel had been
taught from her infancy to hold this volume in sacred veneration. It
is probable that the deceased Lady of Walter Avenel only postponed
initiating her daughter into the mysteries of the Divine Word, until she
should be better able to comprehend both the lessons which it taught,
and the risk at which, in those times, they were studied. Death
interposed, and removed her before the times became favourable to the
reformers, and before her daughter was so far advanced in age as to
be fit to receive religious instruction of this deep import. But the
affectionate mother had made preparations for the earthly work which she
had most at heart. There were slips of paper inserted in the volume, in
which, by an appeal to, and a comparison of, various passages in holy
writ, the errors and human inventions with which the Church of Rome had
defaced the simple edifice of Christianity, as erected by its divine
architect, were pointed out. These controversial topics were treated
with a spirit of calmness and Christian charity, which might have been
an example to the theologians of the period; but they were clearly,
fairly, and plainly argued, and supported by the necessary proofs and
references. Other papers there were which had no reference whatever to
polemics, but were the simple effusions of a devout mind communing with
itself. Among these was one frequently used, as it seemed from the
state of the manuscript, on which the mother of Mary had transcribed and
placed together those affecting texts to which the heart has recourse,
in affliction, and which assures us at once of the sympathy and
protection afforded to the children of the promise. In Mary Avenel's
state of mind, these attracted her above all the other lessons, which,
coming from a hand so dear, had reached her at a time so critical, and
in a manner so touching. She read the affecting promise, "I will never
leave thee nor forsake thee," and the consoling exhortation, "Call upon
me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee." She read them, and
her heart acquiesced in the conclusion. Surely this is the word of God!

There are those to whom a sense of religion has come in storm and
tempest; there are those whom it has summoned amid scenes of revelry
and idle vanity; there are those, too, who have heard its "still small
voice" amid rural leisure and placid contentment. But perhaps the
knowledge which causeth not to err, is most frequently impressed upon
the mind during seasons of affliction; and tears are the softened
showers which cause the seed of Heaven to spring and take root in the
human breast. At least it was thus with Mary Avenel. She was insensible
to the discordant noise which rang below, the clang of bars and the
jarring symphony of the levers which they used to force them, the
measured shouts of the labouring inmates as they combined their strength
for each heave, and gave time with their voices to the exertion of their
arms, and their deeply muttered vows of revenge on the fugitives who had
bequeathed them at their departure a task so toilsome and difficult. Not
all this din, combined in hideous concert, and expressive of aught but
peace, love, and forgiveness, could divert Mary Avenel from the new
course of study on which she had so singularly entered. "The serenity
of Heaven," she said, "is above me; the sounds which are around are but
those of earth and earthly passion."

Meanwhile the noon was passed, and little impression was made on the
iron grate, when they who laboured at it received a sudden reinforcement
by the unexpected arrival of Christie of the Clinthill. He came at the
head of a small party, consisting of four horsemen, who bore in their
caps the sprig of holly, which was the badge of Avenel.

"What, ho!--my masters," he said, "I bring you a prisoner."

"You had better have brought us liberty," said Dan of the Howlet-hirst.

Christie looked at the state of affairs with great surprise. "An I were
to be hanged for it," he said, "as I may for as little a matter, I could
not forbear laughing at seeing men peeping through their own bars like
so many rats in a rat-trap, and he with the beard behind, like the
oldest rat in the cellar."

"Hush, thou unmannered knave," said Edward, "it is the Sub-Prior; and
this is neither time, place, nor company, for your ruffian jests."

"What, ho! is my young master malapert?" said Christie; "why, man, were
he my own carnal father, instead of being father to half the world,
I would have my laugh out. And now it is over, I must assist you, I
reckon, for you are setting very greenly about this gear--put the pinch
nearer the staple, man, and hand me an iron crow through the grate, for
that's the fowl to fly away with a wicket on its shoulders. I have broke
into as many grates as you have teeth in your young head--ay, and broke
out of them too, as the captain of the Castle of Lochmaben knows full

Christie did not boast more skill than he really possessed; for,
applying their combined strength, under the direction of that
experienced engineer, bolt and staple gave way before them, and in less
than half an hour, the grate, which had so long repelled their force,
stood open before them.

"And now," said Edward, "to horse, my mates, and pursue the villain

"Halt, there," said Christie of the Clinthill; "pursue your guest, my
master's friend and my own?--there go two words to that bargain. What
the foul fiend would you pursue him for?"

"Let me pass," said Edward, vehemently, "I will be staid by no man--the
villain has murdered my brother!"

"What says he?" said Christie, turning to the others; "murdered? who is
murdered, and by whom?"

"The Englishman, Sir Piercie Shafton," said Dan of the Howlet-hirst,
"has murdered young Halbert Glendinning yesterday morning, and we have
all risen to the fray."

"It is a bedlam business, I think," said Christie. "First I find you all
locked up in your own tower, and next I am come to prevent you revenging
a murder that was never committed!"

"I tell you," said Edward, "that my brother was slain and buried
yesterday morning by this false Englishman."

"And I tell you," answered Christie, "that I saw him alive and well last
night. I would I knew his trick of getting out of the grave; most men
find it more hard to break through a green sod than a grated door."

Every body now paused, and looked on Christie in astonishment, until the
Sub-Prior, who had hitherto avoided communication with him, came up and
required earnestly to know, whether he meant really to maintain that
Halbert Glendinning lived.

"Father," he said, with, more respect than he usually showed to any
one save his master, "I confess I may sometimes jest with those of your
coat, but not with you; because, as you may partly recollect, I owe you
a life. It is certain as the sun is in heaven, that Halbert Glendinning
supped at the house of my master the Baron of Avenel last night, and
that he came thither in company with an old man, of whom more anon."

"And where is he now?"

"The devil only can answer that question," replied Christie, "for the
devil has possessed the whole family, I think. He took fright, the
foolish lad, at something or other which our Baron did in his moody
humour, and so he jumped into the lake and swam ashore like a wild-duck.
Robin of Redcastle spoiled a good gelding in chasing him this morning."

"And why did he chase the youth?" said the Sub-Prior; "what harm had he

"None that I know of," said Christie; "but such was the Baron's order,
being in his mood, and all the world having gone mad, as I have said

"Whither away so fast, Edward?" said the monk.

"To Corri-nan-shian, Father," answered the youth.--"Martin and Dan, take
pickaxe and mattock, and follow me if you be men!"

"Right," said the monk, "and fail not to give us instant notice what you

"If you find aught there like Halbert Glendinning," said Christie,
hallooing after Edward, "I will be bound to eat him unsalted.--'T is
a sight to see how that fellow takes the bent!--It is in the time of
action men see what lads are made of. Halbert was aye skipping up and
down like a roo, and his brother used to sit in the chimney nook with
his book and sic-like trash--But the lad was like a loaded hackbut,
which will stand in the corner as quiet as an old crutch until ye draw
the trigger, and then there is nothing but flash and smoke.--But here
comes my prisoner; and, setting other matters aside, I must pray a word
with you, Sir Sub-Prior, respecting him. I came on before to treat about
him, but I was interrupted with this fasherie."

As he spoke, two more of Avenel's troopers rode into the court-yard,
leading betwixt them a horse, on which, with his hands bound to his
side, sate the reformed preacher, Henry Warden.

Chapter the Thirty-First.

  At school I knew him--a sharp-witted youth,
  Grave, thoughtful, and reserved among his mates,
  Turning the hours of sport and food to labour,
  Starving his body to inform his mind.
                                           OLD PLAY.

The Sub-Prior, at the Borderer's request, had not failed to return to
the tower, into which he was followed by Christie of the Clinthill, who,
shutting the door of the apartment, drew near, and began his discourse
with great confidence and familiarity.

"My master," he said, "sends me with his commendations to you, Sir
Sub-Prior, above all the community of Saint Mary's, and more specially
than even to the Abbot himself; for though he be termed my lord, and so
forth, all the world knows that you are the tongue of the trump."

"If you have aught to say to me concerning the community," said the
Sub-Prior, "it were well you proceeded in it without farther delay. Time
presses, and the fate of young Glendinnning dwells on my mind."

"I will be caution for him, body for body," said Christie. "I do protest
to you, as sure as I am a living man, so surely is he one."

"Should I not tell his unhappy mother the joyful tidings?" said Father
Eustace,--"and yet better wait till they return from searching the
grave. Well, Sir Jackman, your message to me from your master?"

"My lord and master," said Christie, "hath good reason to believe that,
from the information of certain back friends, whom he will reward at
more leisure, your reverend community hath been led to deem him ill
attached to Holy Church, allied with heretics and those who favour
heresy, and a hungerer after the spoils of your Abbey."

"Be brief, good henchman," said the Sub-Prior, "for the devil is ever
most to be feared when he preacheth."

"Briefly, then--my master desires your friendship; and to excuse himself
from the maligner's calumnies, he sends to your Abbot that Henry Warden,
whose sermons have turned the world upside down, to be dealt with as
Holy Church directs, and as the Abbot's pleasure may determine."

The Sub-Prior's eyes sparkled at the intelligence; for it had been
accounted a matter of great importance that this man should be arrested,
possessed, as he was known to be, of so much zeal and popularity, that
scarcely the preaching of Knox himself had been more awakening to the
people, and more formidable to the Church of Rome.

In fact, that ancient system, which so well accommodated its doctrines
to the wants and wishes of a barbarous age, had, since the art of
printing, and the gradual diffusion of knowledge, lain floating like
some huge Leviathan, into which ten thousand reforming fishers were
darting their harpoons. The Roman Church of Scotland, in particular,
was at her last gasp, actually blowing blood and water, yet still with
unremitted, though animal exertions, maintaining the conflict with the
assailants, who on every side were plunging their weapons into her bulky
body. In many large towns, the monasteries had been suppressed by
the fury of the populace; in other places, their possessions had been
usurped by the power of the reformed nobles; but still the hierarchy
made a part of the common law of the realm, and might claim both its
property and its privileges wherever it had the means of asserting them.
The community of Saint Mary's of Kennaquhair was considered as being
particularly in this situation. They had retained, undiminished,
their territorial power and influence; and the great barons in the
neighbourhood, partly from their attachment to the party in the state
who still upheld the old system of religion, partly because each grudged
the share of the prey which the others must necessarily claim, had
as yet abstained from despoiling the Halidome. The Community was also
understood to be protected by the powerful Earls of Northumberland and
Westmoreland, whose zealous attachment to the Catholic faith caused at a
later period the great rebellion of the tenth of Elizabeth.

Thus happily placed, it was supposed by the friends of the decaying
cause of the Roman Catholic faith, that some determined example of
courage and resolution, exercised where the franchises of the church
were yet entire, and her jurisdiction undisputed, might awe the progress
of the new opinions into activity; and, protected by the laws which
still existed, and by the favour of the sovereign, might be the means of
securing the territory which Rome yet preserved in Scotland, and perhaps
of recovering that which she had lost.

The matter had been considered more than once by the northern Catholics
of Scotland, and they had held communication with those of the south.
Father Eustace, devoted by his public and private vows, had caught the
flame, and had eagerly advised that they should execute the doom of
heresy on the first reformed preacher, or, according to his sense, on
the first heretic of eminence, who should venture within the precincts
of the Halidome. A heart, naturally kind and noble, was, in this
instance, as it has been in many more, deceived by its own generosity.
Father Eustace would have been a bad administrator of the inquisitorial
power of Spain, where that power was omnipotent, and where judgment was
exercised without danger to those who inflicted it. In such a situation
his rigour might have relented in favour of the criminal, whom it was
at his pleasure to crush or to place at freedom. But in Scotland, during
this crisis, the case was entirely different. The question was, whether
one of the spirituality dared, at the hazard of his own life, to step
forward to assert and exercise the rights of the church. Was there any
who would venture to wield the thunder in her cause, or must it remain
like that in the hand of a painted Jupiter, the object of derision
instead of terror? The crisis was calculated to awake the soul of
Eustace; for it comprised the question, whether he dared, at all hazards
to himself, to execute with stoical severity a measure which, according
to the general opinion, was to be advantageous to the church, and,
according to ancient law, and to his firm belief, was not only
justifiable but meritorious.

While such resolutions were agitated amongst the Catholics, chance
placed a victim within their grasp. Henry Warden had, with the animation
proper to the enthusiastic reformers of the age, transgressed, in the
vehemence of his zeal, the bounds of the discretional liberty allowed
to his sect so far, that it was thought the Queen's personal dignity
was concerned in bringing him to justice. He fled from Edinburgh,
with recommendations, however, from Lord James Stewart, afterwards the
celebrated Earl of Murray, to some of the Border chieftains of inferior
rank, who were privately conjured to procure him safe passage into
England. One of the principal persons to whom such recommendation was
addressed, was Julian Avenel; for as yet, and for a considerable time
afterwards, the correspondence and interest of Lord James lay rather
with the subordinate leaders than with the chiefs of great power,
and men of distinguished influence upon the Border. Julian Avenel had
intrigued without scruple with both parties--yet bad as he was, he
certainly would not have practised aught against the guest whom Lord
James had recommended to his hospitality, had it not been for what he
termed the preacher's officious inter-meddling in his family affairs.
But when he had determined to make Warden rue the lecture he had read
him, and the scene of public scandal which he had caused in his hall,
Julian resolved, with the constitutional shrewdness of his disposition,
to combine his vengeance with his interest. And therefore, instead of
doing violence on the person of Henry Warden within his own castle, he
determined to deliver him up to the Community of Saint Mary's, and at
once make them the instruments of his own revenge, and found a claim of
personal recompense, either in money, or in a grant of Abbey lands at a
low quit-rent, which last began now to be the established form in which
the temporal nobles plundered the spirituality.

The Sub-Prior, therefore, of Saint Mary's, unexpectedly saw the
steadfast, active, and inflexible enemy of the church delivered into
his hand, and felt himself called upon to make good his promises to the
friends of the Catholic faith, by quenching heresy in the blood of one
of its most zealous professors.

To the honour more of Father Eustace's heart than of his consistency,
the communication that Henry Warden was placed within his power, struck
him with more sorrow than triumph; but his next feelings were those of
exultation. "It is sad," he said to himself, "to cause human suffering;
it is awful to cause human blood to be spilled; but the judge to
whom the sword of Saint Paul, as well as the keys of Saint Peter, are
confided, must not flinch from his task. Our weapon returns into our
own bosom, if not wielded with a steady and unrelenting hand against the
irreconcilable enemies of the Holy Church. _Pereat iste!_ It is the doom
he has incurred, and were all the heretics in Scotland armed and at his
back, they should not prevent its being pronounced, and, if possible,
enforced.--Bring the heretic before me," he said, issuing his commands
aloud, and in a tone of authority.

Henry Warden was led in, his hands still bound, but his feet at liberty.

"Clear the apartment," said the Sub-Prior, "of all but the necessary
guard on the prisoner."

All retired except Christie of the Clinthill, who, having dismissed the
inferior troopers whom he commanded, unsheathed his sword, and placed
himself beside the door, as if taking upon him the character of

The judge and the accused met face to face, and in that of both was
enthroned the noble confidence of rectitude. The monk was about, at
the utmost risk to himself and his community, to exercise what in his
ignorance he conceived to be his duty. The preacher, actuated by a
better-informed, yet not a more ardent zeal, was prompt to submit to
execution for God's sake, and to seal, were it necessary, his mission
with his blood. Placed at such a distance of time as better enables us
to appreciate the tendency of the principles on which they severally
acted, we cannot doubt to which the palm ought to be awarded. But the
zeal of Father Eustace was as free from passion and personal views as if
it had been exerted in a better cause.

They approached each other, armed each and prepared for intellectual
conflict, and each intently regarding his opponent, as if either hoped
to spy out some defect, some chasm in the armour of his antagonist.--As
they gazed on each other, old recollections began to awake in either
bosom, at the sight of features long unseen and much altered, but not
forgotten. The brow of the Sub-Prior dismissed by degrees its frown of
command, the look of calm yet stern defiance gradually vanished from
that of Warden, and both lost for an instant that of gloomy solemnity.
They had been ancient and intimate friends in youth at a foreign
university, but had been long separated from each other; and the change
of name, which the preacher had adopted from motives of safety, and
the monk from the common custom of the convent, had prevented the
possibility of their hitherto recognizing each other in the opposite
parts which they had been playing in the great polemical and political
drama. But now the Sub-Prior exclaimed, "Henry Wellwood!" and the
preacher replied, "William Allan!"--and, stirred by the old familiar
names, and never-to-be-forgotten recollections of college studies and
college intimacy, their hands were for a moment locked in each other.

"Remove his bonds," said the Sub-Prior, and assisted Christie in
performing that office with his own hands, although the prisoner
scarcely would consent to be unbound, repeating with emphasis, that he
rejoiced in the cause for which he suffered shame. When his hands
were at liberty, however, he showed his sense of the kindness by again
exchanging a grasp and a look of affection with the Sub-Prior.

The salute was frank and generous on either side, yet it was but the
friendly recognition and greeting which are wont to take place betwixt
adverse champions, who do nothing in hate but all in honour. As each
felt the pressure of the situation in which they stood, he quitted the
grasp of the other's hand, and fell back, confronting each other with
looks more calm and sorrowful than expressive of any other passion. The
Sub-Prior was the first to speak.

"And is this, then, the end of that restless activity of mind, that bold
and indefatigable love of truth that urged investigation to its
utmost limits, and seemed to take heaven itself by storm--is this the
termination of Wellwood's career?--And having known and loved him during
the best years of our youth, do we meet in our old age as judge and

"Not as judge and criminal," said Henry Warden,--for to avoid confusion
we describe him by his later and best known name--"Not as judge and
criminal do we meet, but as a misguided oppressor and his ready and
devoted victim. I, too, may ask, are these the harvest of the rich hopes
excited by the classical learning, acute logical powers, and varied
knowledge of William Allan, that he should sink to be the solitary
drone of a cell, graced only above the swarm with the high commission of
executing Roman malice on all who oppose Roman imposture?"

"Not to thee," answered the Sub-Prior, "be assured--not unto thee, nor
unto mortal man, will I render an account of the power with which the
church may have invested me. It was granted but as a deposit for her
welfare--for her welfare it shall at every risk be exercised, without
fear and without favour."

"I expected no less from your misguided zeal," answered the preacher;
"and in me have you met one on whom you may fearlessly exercise your
authority, secure that his mind at least will defy your influence, as
the snows of that Mont Blanc which we saw together, shrink not under the
heat of the hottest summer sun."

"I do believe thee," said the Sub-Prior, "I do believe that thine is
indeed metal unmalleable by force. Let it yield then to persuasion. Let
us debate these matters of faith, as we once were wont to conduct our
scholastic disputes, when hours, nay, days, glided past in the mutual
exercise of our intellectual powers. It may be thou mayest yet hear the
voice of the shepherd, and return to the universal fold."

"No, Allan," replied the prisoner, "this is no vain question, devised by
dreaming scholiasts, on which they may whet their intellectual faculties
until the very metal be wasted away. The errors which I combat are like
those fiends which are only cast out by fasting and prayer. Alas! not
many wise, not many learned are chosen; the cottage and the hamlet shall
in our days bear witness against the schools and their disciples. Thy
very wisdom, which is foolishness, hath made thee, as the Greeks of old,
hold as foolishness that which is the only true wisdom."

"This," said the Sub-Prior, sternly, "is the mere cant of ignorant
enthusiasm, which appealeth from learning and from authority, from the
sure guidance of that lamp which God hath afforded us in the Councils
and in the Fathers of the Church, to a rash, self-willed, and arbitrary
interpretation of the Scriptures, wrested according to the private
opinion of each speculating heretic."

"I disdain to reply to the charge," replied Warden. "The question at
issue between your Church and mine, is, whether we will be judged by the
Holy Scriptures, or by the devices and decisions of men not less subject
to error than ourselves, and who have defaced our holy religion with
vain devices, reared up idols of stone and wood, in form of those, who,
when they lived, were but sinful creatures, to share the worship due
only to the Creator--established a toll-house betwixt heaven and hell,
that profitable purgatory of which the Pope keeps the keys, like an
iniquitous judge commutes punishment for bribes, and----"

"Silence, blasphemer," said the Sub-Prior, sternly, "or I will have thy
blatant obloquy stopped with a gag!"

"Ay," replied Warden, "such is the freedom of the Christian conference
to which Rome's priests so kindly invite us!--the gag--the rack--the
axe--is the _ratio ultima Romae_. But know thou, mine ancient friend,
that the character of thy former companion is not so changed by age, but
that he still dares to endure for the cause of truth all that thy proud
hierarchy shall dare to inflict."

"Of that," said the monk, "I nothing doubt--Thou wert ever a lion to
turn against the spear of the hunter, not a stag to be dismayed at the
sound of his bugle."--He walked through the room in silence. "Wellwood,"
he said at length, "we can no longer be friends. Our faith, our hope,
our anchor on futurity, is no longer the same."

"Deep is my sorrow that thou speakest truth. May God so judge me," said
the Reformer, "as I would buy the conversion of a soul like thine with
my dearest heart's blood."

"To thee, and with better reason, do I return the wish," replied the
Sub-Prior; "it is such an arm as thine that should defend the bulwarks
of the Church, and it is now directing the battering-ram against them,
and rendering practicable the breach through which all that is greedy,
and all that is base, and all that is mutable and hot-headed in this
innovating age, already hope to advance to destruction and to spoil.
But since such is our fate, that we can no longer fight side by side
as friends, let us at least act as generous enemies. You cannot have

  'O gran bonta dei caralieri antiqui!
  Erano nemici, eran' de fede diversa'--

Although, perhaps," he added, stopping short in his quotation, "your new
faith forbids you to reserve a place in your memory, even for what high
poets have recorded of loyal faith and generous sentiment."

"The faith of Buchanan," replied the preacher, "the faith of Buchanan
and of Beza, cannot be unfriendly to literature. But the poet you have
quoted affords strains fitter for a dissolute court than for a convent."

"I might retort on your Theodore Beza," said the Sub-Prior, smiling;
"but I hate the judgment that, like the flesh-fly, skims over whatever
is sound, to detect and settle upon some spot which is tainted. But to
the purpose. If I conduct thee or send thee a prisoner to St. Mary's,
thou art to-night a tenant of the dungeon, to-morrow a burden to the
gibbet-tree. If I were to let thee go hence at large, I were thereby
wronging the Holy Church, and breaking mine own solemn vow. Other
resolutions may be adopted in the capital, or better times may speedily
ensue. Wilt thou remain a true prisoner upon thy parole, rescue or no
rescue, as is the phrase amongst the warriors of this country? Wilt
thou solemnly promise that thou wilt do so, and at my summons thou wilt
present thyself before the Abbot and Chapter at Saint Mary's, and that
thou wilt not stir from this house above a quarter of a mile in any
direction? Wilt thou, I say, engage me thy word for this? and such is
the sure trust which I repose in thy good faith, that thou shalt remain
here unharmed and unsecured, a prisoner at large, subject only to appear
before our court when called upon."

The preacher paused--"I am unwilling," he said, "to fetter my native
liberty by any self-adopted engagement. But I am already in your power,
and you may bind me to my answer. By such promise, to abide within
a certain limit, and to appear when called upon, I renounce not any
liberty which I at present possess, and am free to exercise; but, on the
contrary, being in bonds, and at your mercy, I acquire thereby a liberty
which I at present possess not. I will therefore accept of thy proffer,
as what is courteously offered on thy part, and may be honourably
accepted on mine."

"Stay yet," said the Sub-Prior; "one important part of thy engagement is
forgotten--thou art farther to promise, that while thus left at liberty,
thou wilt not preach or teach, directly or indirectly, any of those
pestilent heresies by which so many souls have been in this our day won
over from the kingdom of light to the kingdom of darkness."

"There we break off our treaty," said Warden, firmly--"Wo unto me if I
preach not the Gospel!"

The Sub-Prior's countenance became clouded, and he again paced the
apartment, and muttered, "A plague upon the self-willed fool!" then
stopped short in his walk, and proceeded in his argument.--"Why, by
thine own reasoning, Henry, thy refusal here is but peevish obstinacy.
It is in my power to place you where your preaching can reach no human
ear; in promising therefore to abstain from it, you grant nothing which
you have it in your power to refuse."

"I know not that," replied Henry Warden; "thou mayest indeed cast me
into a dungeon, but can I foretell that my Master hath not task-work for
me to perform even in that dreary mansion? The chains of saints have,
ere now, been the means of breaking the bonds of Satan. In a prison,
holy Paul found the jailor whom he brought to believe the word of
salvation, he and all his house."

"Nay," said the Sub-Prior, in a tone betwixt anger and scorn, "if
you match yourself with the blessed Apostle, it were time we had
done--prepare to endure what thy folly, as well as thy heresy,
deserves.--Bind him, soldier."

With proud submission to his fate, and regarding the Sub-Prior with
something which almost amounted to a smile of superiority, the preacher
placed his arms so that the bonds could be again fastened round him.

"Spare me not," he said to Christie; for even that ruffian hesitated to
draw the cord straitly.

The Sub-Prior, meanwhile, looked at him from under his cowl, which he
had drawn over his head, and partly over his face, as if he wished to
shade his own emotions. They were those of a huntsman within point-blank
shot of a noble stag, who is yet too much struck with his majesty of
front and of antler to take aim at him. They were those of a fowler,
who, levelling his gun at a magnificent eagle, is yet reluctant to use
his advantage when he sees the noble sovereign of the birds pruning
himself in proud defiance of whatever may be attempted against him. The
heart of the Sub-Prior (bigoted as he was) relented, and he doubted
if he ought to purchase, by a rigorous discharge of what he deemed his
duty, the remorse he might afterwards feel for the death of one so nobly
independent in thought and character, the friend, besides, of his own
happiest years, during which they had, side by side, striven in the
noble race of knowledge, and indulged their intervals of repose in the
lighter studies of classical and general letters.

The Sub-Prior's hand pressed his half-o'ershadowed cheek, and his eye,
more completely obscured, was bent on the ground, as if to hide the
workings of his relenting nature.

"Were but Edward safe from the infection," he thought to
himself--"Edward, whose eager and enthusiastic mind presses forward in
the chase of all that hath even the shadow of knowledge, I might trust
this enthusiast with the women, after due caution to them that they
cannot, without guilt, attend to his reveries."

As the Sub-Prior revolved these thoughts, and delayed the definitive
order which was to determine the fate of the prisoner, a sudden noise
at the entrance of the tower diverted his attention for an instant, and,
his cheek and brow inflamed with all the glow of heat and determination,
Edward Glendinning rushed into the room.

       *       *       *       *       *

Chapter the Thirty-Second.

  Then in my gown of sober gray
    Along the mountain path I'll wander,
  And wind my solitary way
    To the sad shrine that courts me yonder.

  There, in the calm monastic shade,
    All injuries may be forgiven;
  And there for thee, obdurate maid,
    My orisons shall rise to heaven.

The first words which Edward uttered were,--"My brother is safe,
reverend father--he is safe, thank God, and lives!--There is not in
Corri-nan-shian a grave, nor a vestige of a grave. The turf around the
fountain has neither been disturbed by pick-axe, spade, nor mattock,
since the deer's-hair first sprang there. He lives as surely as I live!"

The earnestness of the youth--the vivacity with which he looked and
moved--the springy step, outstretched hand, and ardent eye, reminded
Henry Warden of Halbert, so lately his guide. The brothers had indeed
a strong family resemblance, though Halbert was far more athletic and
active in his person, taller and better knit in the limbs, and though
Edward had, on ordinary occasions, a look of more habitual acuteness
and more profound reflection. The preacher was interested as well as the

"Of whom do you speak, my son?" he said, in a tone as unconcerned as if
his own fate had not been at the same instant trembling in the balance,
and as if a dungeon and death did not appear to be his instant doom--"Of
whom, I say, speak you? If of a youth somewhat older than you seem to
be--brown-haired, open-featured, taller and stronger than you appear,
yet having much of the same air and of the same tone of voice--if such a
one is the brother whom you seek, it may be I can tell you news of him."

"Speak, then, for Heaven's sake," said Edward--"life or death lies on
thy tongue!"

The Sub-Prior joined eagerly in the same request, and, without waiting
to be urged, the preacher gave so minute an account of the circumstances
under which he met the elder Glendinning, with so exact a description
of his person, that there remained no doubt as to his identity. When he
mentioned that Halbert Glendinning had conducted him to a dell in which
they found the grass bloody, and a grave newly closed, and told how
the youth accused himself of the slaughter of Sir Piercie Shafton, the
Sub-Prior looked on Edward with astonishment.

"Didst thou not say, even now," he said, "that there was no vestige of a
grave in that spot?"

"No more vestige of the earth having been removed than if the turf had
grown there since the days of Adam," replied Edward Glendinning. "It is
true," he added, "that the adjacent grass was trampled and bloody."

"These are delusions of the Enemy," said the Sub-Prior, crossing
himself.--"Christian men may no longer doubt of it."

"But an it be so," said Warden, "Christian men might better guard
themselves by the sword of prayer than by the idle form of a
cabalistical spell."

"The badge of our salvation," said the Sub-Prior, "cannot be so
termed--the sign of the cross disarmeth all evil spirits."

"Ay," answered Henry Warden, apt and armed for controversy, "but it
should be borne in the heart, not scored with the fingers in the air.
That very impassive air, through which your hand passes, shall as soon
bear the imprint of your action, as the external action shall avail the
fond bigot who substitutes vain motions of the body, idle genuflections,
and signs of the cross, for the living and heart-born duties of faith
and good works."

"I pity thee," said the Sub-Prior, as actively ready for polemics as
himself,--"I pity thee, Henry, and reply not to thee. Thou mayest as
well winnow forth and measure the ocean with a sieve, as mete out the
power of holy words, deeds, and signs, by the erring gauge of thine own

"Not by mine own reason would I mete them," said Warden; "but by His
holy Word, that unfading and unerring lamp of our paths, compared to
which human reason is but as a glimmering and fading taper, and your
boasted tradition only a misleading wildfire. Show me your Scripture
warrant for ascribing virtue to such vain signs and motions!"

"I offered thee a fair field of debate," said the Sub-Prior, "which thou
didst refuse. I will not at present resume the controversy."

"Were these my last accents," said the reformer, "and were they uttered
at the stake, half-choked with smoke, and as the fagots kindled into a
blaze around me, with that last utterance I would testify against the
superstitious devices of Rome."

The Sub-Prior suppressed with pain the controversial answer which arose
to his lips, and, turning to Edward Glendinning, he said, "there could
be now no doubt that his mother ought presently to be informed that her
son lived."

"I told you that two hours since," said Christie of the Clinthill, "an
you would have believed me. But it seems you are more willing to take
the word of an old gray sorner, whose life has been spent in pattering
heresy, than mine, though I never rode a foray in my life without duly
saying my paternoster."

"Go then," said Father Eustace to Edward; "let thy sorrowing mother know
that her son is restored to her from the grave, like the child of the
widow of Zarephath; at the intercession," he added, looking at Henry
Warden, "of the blessed Saint whom I invoked in his behalf."

"Deceived thyself," said Warden, instantly, "thou art a deceiver of
others. It was no dead man, no creature of clay, whom the blessed
Tishbite invoked, when, stung by the reproach of the Shunamite woman, he
prayed that her son's soul might come into him again."

"It was by his intercession, however," repeated the Sub-Prior; "for
what says the Vulgate? Thus it is written: '_Et exaudivit Dominus vocem
Helie; et reversa est anima pueri intra cum, et revixit_;'--and thinkest
thou the intercession of a glorified saint is more feeble than when he
walks on earth, shrouded in a tabernacle of clay, and seeing but with
the eye of flesh?"

During this controversy Edward Glendinning appeared restless and
impatient, agitated by some internal feeling, but whether of joy, grief,
or expectation, his countenance did not expressly declare. He took now
the unusual freedom to break in upon the discourse of the Sub-Prior,
who, notwithstanding his resolution to the contrary, was obviously
kindling in the spirit of controversy, which Edward diverted by
conjuring his reverence to allow him to speak a few words with him in

"Remove the prisoner," said the Sub-Prior to Christie; "look to him
carefully that he escape not; but for thy life do him no injury."

His commands being obeyed, Edward and the monk were left alone, when the
Sub-Prior thus addressed him:

"What hath come over thee, Edward, that thy eye kindles so wildly, and
thy cheek is thus changing from scarlet to pale? Why didst thou break
in so hastily and unadvisedly upon the argument with which I was
prostrating yonder heretic? And wherefore dost thou not tell thy mother
that her son is restored to her by the intercession, as Holy Church well
warrants us to believe, of Blessed Saint Benedict, the patron of our
Order? For if ever my prayers were put forth to him with zeal, it hath
been in behalf of this house, and thine eyes have seen the result--go
tell it to thy mother."

"I must tell her then," said Edward, "that if she has regained one son,
another is lost to her."

"What meanest thou, Edward? what language is this?" said the Sub-Prior.

"Father," said the youth, kneeling down to him, "my sin and my shame
shall be told thee, and thou shalt witness my penance with thine own

"I comprehend thee not," said the Sub-Prior. "What canst thou have done
to deserve such self-accusation?--Hast thou too listened," he added,
knitting his brows, "to the demon of heresy, ever most effectual tempter
of those, who, like yonder unhappy man, are distinguished by their love
of knowledge?"

"I am guiltless in that matter," answered Glendinning, "nor have
presumed to think otherwise than thou, my kind father, hast taught me,
and than the Church allows."

"And what is it then, my son," said the Sub-Prior, kindly, "which thus
afflicts thy conscience? speak it to me, that I may answer thee in the
words of comfort; for the Church's mercy is great to those obedient
children who doubt not her power."

"My confession will require her mercy," replied Edward. "My brother
Halbert--so kind, so brave, so gentle, who spoke not, thought not, acted
not, but in love to me, whose hand had aided me in every difficulty,
whose eye watched over me like the eagle's over her nestlings, when they
prove their first flight from the eyry--this brother, so kind, so gently
affectionate--I heard of his sudden, his bloody, his violent death, and
I rejoiced--I heard of his unexpected restoration, and I sorrowed!"

"Edward," said the father, "thou art beside thyself--what could urge
thee to such odious ingratitude?--In your hurry of spirits you have
mistaken the confused tenor of your feelings--Go, my son, pray and
compose thy mind--we will speak of this another time."

"No, father, no," said Edward, vehemently, "now or never!--I will find
the means to tame this rebellious heart of mine, or I will tear it
out of my bosom--Mistake its passions?--No, father, grief can ill be
mistaken for joy--All wept, all shrieked around me--my mother--the
menials--she too, the cause of my crime--all wept--and I--I could
hardly disguise my brutal and insane joy under the appearance of
revenge--Brother, I said, I cannot give thee tears, but I will give thee
blood--Yes, father, as I counted hour after hour, while I kept watch
upon the English prisoner, and said, I am an hour nearer to hope and to

"I understand thee not, Edward," said the monk, "nor can I conceive in
what way thy brother's supposed murder should have affected thee with
such unnatural joy--Surely the sordid desire to succeed him in his small

"Perish the paltry trash!" said Edward, with the same emotion. "No,
father, it was rivalry--it was jealous rage--it was the love of Mary
Avenel, that rendered me the unnatural wretch I confess myself!"

"Of Mary Avenel!" said the Priest--"of a lady so high above either of
you in name and in rank? How dared Halbert--how dared you, to presume to
lift your eye to her but in honour and respect, as a superior of another
degree from yours?"

"When did love wait for the sanction of heraldry?" replied Edward; "and
in what but a line of dead ancestors was Mary, our mother's guest and
foster-child, different from us, with whom she was brought up?--Enough,
we loved--we both loved her! But the passion of Halbert was requited. He
knew it not, he saw it not--but I was sharper-eyed. I saw that even when
I was more approved, Halbert was more beloved. With me she would sit for
hours at our common task with the cold simplicity and indifference of
a sister, but with Halbert she trusted not herself. She changed colour,
she was fluttered when he approached her; and when he left her, she was
sad, pensive, and solitary. I bore all this--I saw my rival's advancing
progress in her affections--I bore it, father, and yet I hated him
not--I could not hate him!"

"And well for thee that thou didst not," said the father; "wild and
headstrong as thou art, wouldst thou hate thy brother for partaking in
thine own folly?"

"Father," replied Edward, "the world esteems thee wise, and holds thy
knowledge of mankind high; but thy question shows that thou hast never
loved. It was by an effort that I saved myself from hating my kind
and affectionate brother, who, all unsuspicious of my rivalry, was
perpetually loading me with kindness. Nay, there were moods of my
mind, in which I could return that kindness for a time with energetic
enthusiasm. Never did I feel this so strongly as on the night which
parted us. But I could not help rejoicing when he was swept from my
path--could not help sorrowing when he was again restored to be a
stumbling-block in my paths."

"May God be gracious to thee, my son!" said the monk; "this is an awful
state of mind. Even in such evil mood did the first murderer rise up
against his brother, because Abel's was the more acceptable sacrifice."

"I will wrestle with the demon which has haunted me, father," replied
the youth, firmly--"I will wrestle with him, and I will subdue him. But
first I must remove from the scenes which are to follow here. I cannot
endure that I should see Mary Avenel's eyes again flash with joy at the
restoration of her lover. It were a sight to make indeed a second Cain
of me! My fierce, turbid, and transitory joy discharged itself in a
thirst to commit homicide, and how can I estimate the frenzy of my

"Madman!" said the Sub-Prior, "at what dreadful crime does thy fury

"My lot is determined, father," said Edward, in a resolute tone; "I will
embrace the spiritual state which you have so oft recommended. It is my
purpose to return with you to Saint Mary's, and, with the permission
of the Holy Virgin and of Saint Benedict, to offer my profession to the

"Not now, my son," said the Sub-Prior, "not in this distemperature
of mind. The wise and good accept not gifts which are made in heat
of blood, and which may be after repented of; and shall we make
our offerings to wisdom and to goodness itself with less of solemn
resolution and deep devotion of mind, than is necessary to make them
acceptable to our own frail companions in this valley of darkness? This
I say to thee, my son, not as meaning to deter thee from the good path
thou art now inclined to prefer, but that thou mayst make thy vocation
and thine election sure."

"There are actions, father," returned Edward, "which brook no delay, and
this is one. It must be done this very _now_; or it may never be done.
Let me go with you; let me not behold the return of Halbert into this
house. Shame, and the sense of the injustice I have already done him,
will join with these dreadful passions which urge me to do him yet
farther wrong. Let me then go with you."

"With me, my son," said the Sub-Prior, "thou shalt surely go; but our
rule, as well as reason and good order, require that you should dwell a
space with us as a probationer, or novice, before taking upon thee those
final vows, which, sequestering thee for ever from the world, dedicate
thee to the service of Heaven."

"And when shall we set forth, father?" said the youth, as eagerly as
if the journey which he was now undertaking led to the pleasures of a
summer holiday.

"Even now, if thou wilt," said the Sub-Prior, yielding to his
impetuosity--"go, then, and command them to prepare for our
departure.--Yet stay," he said, as Edward, with all the awakened
enthusiasm of his character, hastened from his presence, "come hither,
my son, and kneel down."

Edward obeyed, and kneeled down before him. Notwithstanding his slight
figure and thin features, the Sub-Prior could, from the energy of his
tone, and the earnestness of his devotional manner, impress his pupils
and his penitents with no ordinary feelings of personal reverence. His
heart always was, as well as seemed to be, in the duty which he was
immediately performing; and the spiritual guide who thus shows a deep
conviction of the importance of his office, seldom fails to impress a
similar feeling upon his hearers. Upon such occasions as the present,
his puny body seemed to assume more majestic stature--his spare and
emaciated countenance bore a bolder, loftier, and more commanding
port--his voice, always beautiful, trembled as labouring under the
immediate impulse of the Divinity--and his whole demeanour seemed to
bespeak, not the mere ordinary man, but the organ of the Church in which
she had vested her high power for delivering sinners from their load of

"Hast thou, my fair son," said he, "faithfully recounted the
circumstances which have thus suddenly determined thee to a religious

"The sins I have confessed, my father," answered Edward, "but I have
not yet told of a strange appearance, which, acting in my mind, hath, I
think, aided to determine my resolution."

"Tell it, then, now," returned the Sub-Prior; "it is thy duty to
leave me uninstructed in nought, so that thereby I may understand the
temptation that besets thee."

"I tell it with unwillingness," said Edward; "for although, God wot, I
speak but the mere truth, yet even while my tongue speaks it as truth,
my own ears receive it as fable."

"Yet say the whole," said Father Eustace; "neither fear rebuke from me,
seeing I may know reasons for receiving as true that which others might
regard as fabulous."

"Know, then, father," replied Edward, "that betwixt hope and
despair--and, heavens! what a hope!--the hope to find the corpse mangled
and crushed hastily in amongst the bloody clay which the foot of the
scornful victor had trod down upon my good, my gentle, my courageous
brother,--I sped to the glen called Corri-nan-shian; but, as your
reverence has been already informed, neither the grave, which my
unhallowed wishes had in spite of my better self longed to see, nor any
appearance of the earth having been opened, was visible in the solitary
spot where Martin had, at morning yesterday, seen the fatal hillock.
You know your dalesmen, father. The place hath an evil name, and this
deception of the sight inclined them to leave it. My companions became
affrighted, and hastened down the glen as men caught in trespass. My
hopes were too much blighted, my mind too much agitated, to fear either
the living or the dead. I descended the glen more slowly than they,
often looking back, and not ill pleased with the poltroonery of my
companions, which left me to my own perplexed and moody humour, and
induced them to hasten into the broader dale. They were already out of
sight, and lost amongst the windings of the glen, when, looking back, I
saw a female form standing beside the fountain----"

"How, my fair son?" said the Sub-Prior, "beware you jest not with your
present situation!"

"I jest not, father," answered the youth; "it may be I shall never jest
again--surely not for many a day. I saw, I say, the form of a female
clad in white, such as the Spirit which haunts the house of Avenel is
supposed to be. Believe me, my father, for, by heaven and earth, I say
nought but what I saw with these eyes!"

"I believe thee, my son," said the monk; "proceed in thy strange story."

"The apparition," said Edward Glendinning, "sung, and thus ran her lay;
for, strange as it may seem to you, her words abide by my remembrance as
if they had been sung to me from infancy upward:--

  'Thou who seek'st my fountain lone,
  With thoughts and hopes thou dar'st not own;
  Whose heart within leap'd wildly glad
  When most his brow seem'd dark and sad;
  Hie thee back, thou find'st not here
  Corpse or coffin, grave or bier;
  The Dead Alive is gone and fled--
  Go thou, and join the Living Dead!

  'The Living Dead, whose sober brow
  Oft shrouds such thoughts as thou hast now,
  Whose hearts within are seldom cured
  Of passions by their vows abjured;
  Where, under sad and solemn show,
  Vain hopes are nursed, wild wishes glow.
  Seek the convent's vaulted room,
  Prayer and vigil be thy doom;
  Doff the green, and don the gray,
  To the cloister hence away!'"

"'Tis a wild lay," said the Sub-Prior, "and chanted, I fear me, with
no good end. But we have power to turn the machinations of Satan to his
shame. Edward, thou shalt go with me as thou desirest; thou shalt prove
the life for which I have long thought thee best fitted--thou shalt aid,
my son, this trembling hand of mine to sustain the Holy Ark, which bold
unhallowed men press rashly forward to touch and to profane.--Wilt thou
not first see thy mother?"

"I will see no one," said Edward, hastily; "I will risk nothing that
may shake the purpose of my heart. From Saint Mary's they shall learn
my destination--all of them shall learn it. My mother--Mary Avenel--my
restored and happy brother--they shall all know that Edward lives no
longer to the world to be a clog on their happiness. Mary shall no
longer need to constrain her looks and expressions to coldness because I
am nigh. She shall no longer----"

"My son," said the Sub-Prior, interrupting him, "it is not by looking
back on the vanities and vexations of this world, that we fit ourselves
for the discharge of duties which are not of it. Go, get our horses
ready, and, as we descend the glen together, I will teach thee the
truths through which the fathers and wise men of old had that precious
alchemy, which can convert suffering into happiness."

Chapter the Thirty-Third.

  Now, on my faith, this gear is all entangled,
  Like to the yarn-clew of the drowsy knitter,
  Dragg'd by the frolic kitten through the cabin,
  While the good dame sits nodding o'er the fire!
  Masters, attend; 'twill crave some skill to clear it.
                                       OLD PLAY.

Edward, with the speed of one who doubts the steadiness of his own
resolution, hastened to prepare the horses for their departure, and at
the same time thanked and dismissed the neighbours who had come to his
assistance, and who were not a little surprised both at the suddenness
of his proposed departure, and at the turn affairs had taken.

"Here's cold hospitality," quoth Dan of the Howlet-hirst to his
comrades; "I trow the Glendinnings may die and come alive right oft, ere
I put foot in stirrup again for the matter."

Martin soothed them by placing food and liquor before them. They ate
sullenly, however, and departed in bad humour.

The joyful news that Halbert Glendinning lived, was quickly communicated
through the sorrowing family. The mother wept and thanked Heaven
alternately; until her habits of domestic economy awakening as her
feelings became calmer, she observed, "It would be an unco task to
mend the yetts, and what were they to do while they were broken in that
fashion? At open doors dogs come in."

Tibb remarked, "She aye thought Halbert was ower gleg at his weapon to
be killed sae easily by ony Sir Piercie of them a'. They might say of
these Southrons as they liked; but they had not the pith and wind of a
canny Scot, when it came to close grips."

On Mary Avenel the impression was inconceivably deeper. She had but
newly learned to pray, and it seemed to her that her prayers had been
instantly answered--that the compassion of Heaven, which she had learned
to implore in the words of Scripture, had descended upon her after a
manner almost miraculous, and recalled the dead from the grave at the
sound of her lamentations. There was a dangerous degree of enthusiasm in
this strain of feeling, but it originated in the purest devotion.

A silken and embroidered muffler, one of the few articles of more costly
attire which she possessed, was devoted to the purpose of wrapping up
and concealing the sacred volume, which henceforth she was to regard
as her chiefest treasure, lamenting only that, for want of a fitting
interpreter, much must remain to her a book closed and a fountain
sealed. She was unaware of the yet greater danger she incurred, of
putting an imperfect or even false sense upon some of the doctrines
which appeared most comprehensible. But Heaven had provided against both
these hazards.

While Edward was preparing the horses, Christie of the Clinthill again
solicited his orders respecting the reformed preacher, Henry Warden,
and again the worthy monk laboured to reconcile in his own mind the
compassion and esteem which, almost in spite of him, he could not help
feeling for his former companion, with the duty which he owed to the
Church. The unexpected resolution of Edward had removed, he thought, the
chief objection to his being left at Glendearg.

"If I carry this Well-wood, or Warden, to the Monastery." he thought,
"he must die--die in his heresy--perish body and soul. And though such a
measure was once thought advisable, to strike terror into the heretics,
yet such is now their daily increasing strength, that it may rather
rouse them to fury and to revenge. True, he refuses to pledge himself
to abstain from sowing his tares among the wheat; but the ground here
is too barren to receive them. I fear not his making impression on these
poor women, the vassals of the Church, and bred up in due obedience to
her behests. The keen, searching, inquiring, and bold disposition of
Edward, might have afforded fuel to the fire; but that is removed, and
there is nothing left which the flame may catch to.--Thus shall he have
no power to spread his evil doctrines abroad, and yet his life shall be
preserved, and it may be his soul rescued as a prey from the fowler's
net. I will myself contend with him in argument; for when we studied in
common, I yielded not to him, and surely the cause for which I struggle
will support me, were I yet more weak than I deem myself. Were this man
reclaimed from his errors, an hundred-fold more advantage would arise
to the Church from his spiritual regeneration, than from his temporal

Having finished these meditations, in which there was at once goodness
of disposition and narrowness of principle, a considerable portion
of self-opinion, and no small degree of self-delusion, the Sub-Prior
commanded the prisoner to be brought into his presence.

"Henry," he said, "whatever a rigid sense of duty may demand of me,
ancient friendship and Christian compassion forbid me to lead thee to
assured death. Thou wert wont to be generous, though stern and stubborn
in thy resolves; let not thy sense of what thine own thoughts term duty,
draw thee farther than mine have done. Remember, that every sheep whom
thou shalt here lead astray from the fold, will be demanded in time and
through eternity of him who hath left thee the liberty of doing such
evil. I ask no engagement of thee, save that thou remain a prisoner on
thy word at this tower, and wilt appear when summoned."

"Thou hast found an invention to bind my hands," replied the preacher,
"more sure than would have been the heaviest shackles in the prison
of thy convent. I will not rashly do what may endanger thee with thy
unhappy superiors, and I will be the more cautious, because, if we had
farther opportunity of conference, I trust thine own soul may yet be
rescued as a brand from the burning, and that, casting from thee the
livery of Anti-Christ, that trader in human sins and human souls, I may
yet assist thee to lay hold on the Rock of Ages."

The Sub-Prior heard the sentiment, so similar to that which had occurred
to himself, with the same kindly feelings with which the game-cock hears
and replies to the challenge of his rival.

"I bless God and Our Lady," said he, drawing himself up, "that my
faith is already anchored on that Rock on which Saint Peter founded his

"It is a perversion of the text," said the eager Henry Warden, "grounded
on a vain play upon words--a most idle paronomasia."

The controversy would have been rekindled, and in all probability--for
what can insure the good temper and moderation of polemics?--might have
ended in the preacher's being transported a captive to the Monastery,
had not Christie of the Clinthill observed that it was growing late, and
that he, having to descend the glen, which had no good reputation, cared
not greatly for travelling there after sunset. The Sub-Prior, therefore,
stifled his desire of argument, and again telling the preacher, that he
trusted to his gratitude and generosity, he bade him farewell.

"Be assured, my old friend," replied Warden, "that no willing act of
mine shall be to thy prejudice. But if my Master shall place work before
me, I must obey God rather than man."

These two men, both excellent from natural disposition and acquired
knowledge, had more points of similarity than they themselves would have
admitted. In truth, the chief distinction betwixt them was, that the
Catholic, defending a religion which afforded little interest to the
feelings, had, in his devotion to the cause he espoused, more of the
head than of the heart, and was politic, cautious, and artful; while
the Protestant, acting under the strong impulse of more lately-adopted
conviction, and feeling, as he justly might, a more animated confidence
in his cause, was enthusiastic, eager, and precipitate in his desire to
advance it. The priest would have been contented to defend, the preacher
aspired to conquer; and, of course, the impulse by which the latter was
governed, was more active and more decisive. They could not part from
each other without a second pressure of hands, and each looked in the
face of his old companion, as he bade him adieu, with a countenance
strongly expressive of sorrow, affection, and pity.

Father Eustace then explained briefly to Dame Glendinning, that this
person was to be her guest for some days, forbidding her and her whole
household, under high spiritual censures, to hold any conversation with
him on religious subjects, but commanding her to attend to his wants in
all other particulars.

"May Our Lady forgive me, reverend father," said Dame Glendinning,
somewhat dismayed at this intelligence, "but I must needs say, that ower
mony guests have been the ruin of mony a house, and I trow they will
bring down Glendearg. First came the Lady of Avenel--(her soul be at
rest--she meant nae ill)--but she brought with her as mony bogles and
fairies, as hae kept the house in care ever since, sae that we have been
living as it were in a dream. And then came that English knight, if it
please you, and if he hasna killed my son outright, he has chased him
aff the gate, and it may be lang eneugh ere I see him again--forby the
damage done to outer door and inner door. And now your reverence has
given me the charge of a heretic, who, it is like, may bring the great
horned devil himself down upon us all; and they say that it is neither
door nor window will serve him, but he will take away the side of the
auld tower along with him. Nevertheless, reverend father, your pleasure
is doubtless to be done to our power."

"Go to, woman," said the Sub-Prior; "send for workmen from the clachan,
and let them charge the expense of their repairs to the Community, and I
will give the treasurer warrant to allow them. Moreover, in settling the
rental mails, and feu-duties, thou shalt have allowance for the trouble
and charges to which thou art now put, and I will cause strict search to
be made after thy son."

The dame curtsied deep and low at each favourable expression; and when
the Sub-Prior had done speaking, she added her farther hope that
the Sub-Prior would hold some communing with her gossip the Miller,
concerning the fate of his daughter, and expound to him that the chance
had by no means happened through any negligence on her part.

"I sair doubt me, father," she said, "whether Mysie finds her way back
to the Mill in a hurry; but it was all her father's own fault that let
her run lamping about the country, riding on bare-backed naigs, and
never settling to do a turn of wark within doors, unless it were to
dress dainties at dinner-time for his ain kyte."

"You remind me, dame, of another matter of urgency," said Father
Eustace; "and, God knows, too many of them press on me at this moment.
This English knight must be sought out, and explanation given to him of
these most strange chances. The giddy girl must also be recovered. If
she hath suffered in reputation by this unhappy mistake, I will not hold
myself innocent of the disgrace. Yet how to find them out I know not."

"So please you," said Christie of the Clinthill, "I am willing to take
the chase, and bring them back by fair means or foul; for though
you have always looked as black as night at me, whenever we have
forgathered, yet I have not forgotten that had it not been for you,
my neck would have kend the weight of my four quarters. If any man
can track the tread of them, I will say in the face of both Merse and
Teviotdale, and take the Forest to boot, I am that man. But first I have
matters to treat of on my master's score, if you will permit me to ride
down the glen with you."

"Nay, but my friend," said the Sub-Prior, "thou shouldst remember I
have but slender cause to trust thee for a companion through a place so

"Tush! tush!" said the Jackman, "fear me not; I had the worst too surely
to begin that sport again. Besides, have I not said a dozen of times,
I owe you a life? and when I owe a man either a good turn or a bad, I
never fail to pay it sooner or later. Moreover, beshrew me if I care to
go alone down the glen, or even with my troopers, who are, every loon
of them, as much devil's bairns as myself; whereas, if your reverence,
since that is the word, take beads and psalter, and I come along with
jack and spear, you will make the devils take the air, and I will make
all human enemies take the earth."

Edward here entered, and told his reverence that his horse was prepared.
At this instant his eye caught his mother's, and the resolution which he
had so strongly formed was staggered when he recollected the necessity
of bidding her farewell. The Sub-Prior saw his embarrassment, and came
to his relief.

"Dame," said he, "I forgot to mention that your son Edward goes with me
to Saint Mary's, and will not return for two or three days."

"You'll be wishing to help him to recover his brother? May the saints
reward your kindness!"

The Sub-Prior returned the benediction which, in this instance, he had
not very well deserved, and he and Edward set forth on their route. They
were presently followed by Christie, who came up with his followers at
such a speedy pace, as intimated sufficiently that his wish to obtain
spiritual convoy through the glen, was extremely sincere. He had,
however, other matters to stimulate his speed, for he was desirous to
communicate to the Sub-Prior a message from his master Julian, connected
with the delivery of the prisoner Warden; and having requested the
Sub-Prior to ride with him a few yards before Edward, and the troopers
of his own party, he thus addressed him, sometimes interrupting his
discourse in a manner testifying that his fear of supernatural beings
was not altogether lulled to rest by his confidence in the sanctity of
his fellow-traveller.

"My master," said the rider, "deemed he had sent you an acceptable gift
in that old heretic preacher; but it seems, from the slight care you
have taken of him, that you make small account of the boon."

"Nay," said the Sub-Prior, "do not thus judge of it. The Community
must account highly of the service, and will reward it to thy master in
goodly fashion. But this man and I are old friends, and I trust to bring
him back from the paths of perdition."

"Nay," said the moss-trooper, "when I saw you shake hands at the
beginning I counted that you would fight it all out in love and honour,
and that there would be no extreme dealings betwixt ye--however it is
all one to my master--Saint Mary! what call you yon, Sir Monk?"

"The branch of a willow streaming across the path betwixt us and the

"Beshrew me," said Christie, "if it looked not like a man's hand holding
a sword.--But touching my master, he, like a prudent man, hath kept
himself aloof in these broken times, until he could see with precision
what footing he was to stand upon. Right tempting offers he hath had
from the Lords of Congregation, whom you call heretics; and at one time
he was minded, to be plain with you, to have taken their way--for he was
assured that the Lord James [Footnote: Lord James Stewart, afterwards
the Regent Murray.] was coming this road at the head of a round body of
cavalry. And accordingly Lord James did so far reckon upon him, that
he sent this man Warden, or whatsoever be his name, to my master's
protection, as an assured friend; and, moreover, with tidings that he
himself was marching hitherward at the head of a strong body of horse."

"Now, Our Lady forfend!" said the Sub-Prior.

"Amen!" answered Christie, in some trepidation, "did your reverence see

"Nothing whatever," replied the monk; "it was thy tale which wrested
from me that exclamation."

"And it was some cause," replied he of the Clinthill, "for if Lord James
should come hither, your Halidome would smoke for it. But be of good
cheer--that expedition is ended before it was begun. The Baron of Avenel
had sure news that Lord James has been fain to march westward with his
merry-men, to protect Lord Semple against Cassilis and the Kennedies.
By my faith, it will cost him a brush; for wot ye what they say of that

  "Twixt Wigton and the town of Ayr,
    Portpatrick and the cruives of Cree,
  No man need think for to bide there,
    Unless he court Saint Kennedie.'"

"Then," said the Sub-Prior, "the Lord James's purpose of coming
southwards being broken, cost this person, Henry Warden, a cold
reception at Avenel Castle."

"It would not have been altogether so rough a one," said the
mosstrooper; "for my master was in heavy thought what to do in these
unsettled times, and would scarce have hazarded misusing a man sent to
him by so terrible a leader as the Lord James. But, to speak the truth,
some busy devil tempted the old man to meddle with my master's Christian
liberty of hand-fasting with Catherine of Newport. So that broke the
wand of peace between them, and now ye may have my master, and all the
force he can make, at your devotion, for Lord James never forgave wrong
done to him; and if he come by the upper hand, he will have Julian's
head if there were never another of the name, as it is like there is
not, excepting the bit slip of a lassie yonder. And now I have told you
more of my master's affairs than he would thank me for; but you have
done me a frank turn once, and I may need one at your hands again."

"Thy frankness," said the Sub-Prior, "shall surely advantage thee; for
much it concerns the Church in these broken times to know the purposes
and motives of those around us. But what is it that thy master expects
from us in reward of good service? for I esteem him one of those who are
not willing to work without their hire."

"Nay, that I can tell you flatly; for Lord James had promised him, in
case he would be of his faction in these parts, an easy tack of the
teindsheaves of his own Barony of Avenel, together with the lands of
Cranberry-moor, which lie intersected with his own. And he will look for
no less at your hand."

"But there is old Gilbert of Cranberry-moor," said the Sub-Prior; "what
are we to make of him? The heretic Lord James may take on him to dispone
upon the goods and lands of the Halidome at his pleasure, because,
doubtless, but for the protection of God, and the baronage which yet
remain faithful to their creed, he may despoil us of them by force; but
while they are the property of the Community, we may not take steadings
from ancient and faithful vassals, to gratify the covetousness of those
who serve God only from the lucre of gain."

"By the mass," said Christie, "it is well talking, Sir Priest; but when
ye consider that Gilbert has but two half-starved cowardly peasants to
follow him, and only an auld jaded aver to ride upon, fitter for the
plough than for manly service; and that the Baron of Avenel never rides
with fewer than ten jackmen at his back, and oftener with fifty, bodin
in all that effeirs to war as if they were to do battle for a kingdom,
and mounted on nags that nicker at the clash of the sword as if it were
the clank of the lid of a corn-chest--I say, when ye have computed all
this, ye may guess what course will best serve your Monastery."

"Friend," said the monk, "I would willingly purchase thy master's
assistance on his own terms, since times leave us no better means of
defence against sacrilegious spoliation of heresy; but to take from a
poor man his patrimony--"

"For that matter," said the rider, "his seat would scarce be a soft one,
if my master thought that Gilbert's interest stood betwixt him and what
he wishes. The Halidome has land enough, and Gilbert may be quartered

"We will consider the possibility of so disposing the matter," said
the monk, "and will expect in consequence your master's most active
assistance, with all the followers he can make, to join in the defence
of the Halidome, against any force by which it may be threatened."

"A man's hand and a mailed glove on that," said the jackman. "They

[Footnote: As some atonement for their laxity of morals on most
occasions, the Borderers were severe observers of the faith which they
had pledged, even to an enemy. If any person broke his word so plighted,
the individual to whom faith had not been observed, used to bring to the
next Border-meeting a glove hung on the point of a spear, and proclaim
to Scots and English the name of the defaulter. This was accounted
so great a disgrace to all connected with him, that his own clansmen
sometimes destroyed him, to escape the infamy he had brought on them.

Constable, a spy engaged by Sir Ralph Sadler, talks of two Border
thieves, whom he used as his guides:--"That they would not care to
steal, and yet that they would not betray any man that trusts in them,
for all the gold in Scotland or in France. They are my guides and
outlaws. If they would betray me they might get their pardons, and cause
me to be hanged; but I have tried them ere this."--_Sadler's letters
during the Northern Insurrection._]

call us marauders, thieves, and what not; but the side we take we hold
by.--And I will be blithe when my Baron comes to a point which side he
will take, for the castle is a kind of hell, (Our Lady forgive me for
naming such a word in this place!) while he is in his mood, studying how
he may best advantage himself. And now, Heaven be praised, we are in
the open valley, and I may swear a round oath, should aught happen to
provoke it."

"My friend," said the Sub-Prior, "thou hast little merit in abstaining
from oaths or blasphemy, if it be only out of fear of evil spirits."

"Nay, I am not quite a Church vassal yet," said the jackman, "and if
you link the curb too tight on a young horse, I promise you he will
rear--Why, it is much for me to forbear old customs on any account

The night being fine, they forded the river at the spot where the
Sacristan met with his unhappy encounter with the spirit. As soon as
they arrived at the gate of the Monastery, the porter in waiting eagerly
exclaimed, "Reverend father, the Lord Abbot is most anxious for your

"Let these strangers be carried to the great hall," said the Sub-Prior,
"and be treated with the best by the cellarer; reminding them, however,
of that modesty and decency of conduct which becometh guests in a house
like this."

"But the Lord Abbot demands you instantly, my venerable brother,"
said Father Philip, arriving in great haste. "I have not seen him more
discouraged or desolate of counsel since the field of Pinkie-cleugh was

"I come, my good brother, I come," said Father Eustace. "I pray thee,
good brother, let this youth, Edward Glendinning, be conveyed to the
Chamber of the Novices, and placed under their instructor. God hath
touched his heart, and he proposeth laying aside the vanities of the
world, to become a brother of our holy order; which, if his good parts
be matched with fitting docility and humility, he may one day live to

"My very venerable brother," exclaimed old Father Nicholas, who came
hobbling with a third summons to the Sub-Prior, "I pray thee to hasten
to our worshipful Lord Abbot. The holy patroness be with us! never saw
I Abbot of the House of St. Mary's in such consternation; and yet I
remember me well when Father Ingelram had the news of Flodden-field."

"I come, I come, venerable brother," said Father Eustace--And having
repeatedly ejaculated "I come!" he at last went to the Abbot in good

Chapter the Thirty-Fourth.

  It is not texts will do it--Church artillery
  Are silenced soon by real ordnance,
  And canons are but vain opposed to cannon.
  Go, coin your crosier, melt your church plate down
  Bid the starved soldier banquet in your halls,
  And quaff your long-saved hogsheads--Turn them out
  Thus primed with your good cheer, to guard your wall,
  And they will venture for't.--
                                 OLD PLAY.

The Abbot received his counsellor with a tremulous eagerness of welcome,
which announced to the Sub-Prior an extreme agitation of spirits,
and the utmost need of good counsel. There was neither mazer-dish nor
standing-cup upon the little table, at the elbow of his huge chair
of state; his beads alone lay there, and it seemed as if he had been
telling them in his extremity of distress. Beside the beads was placed
the mitre of the Abbot, of an antique form, and blazing with precious
stones, and the rich and highly-embossed crosier rested against the same

The Sacristan and old Father Nicholas had followed the Sub-Prior into
the Abbot's apartment, perhaps with the hope of learning something
of the important matter which seemed to be in hand.--They were not
mistaken; for, after having ushered in the Sub-Prior, and being
themselves in the act of retiring, the Abbot made them a signal to

"My brethren," he said, "it is well known to you with what painful zeal
we have overseen the weighty affairs of this house committed to our
unworthy hand--your bread hath been given to you, and your water
hath been sure--I have not wasted the revenues of the Convent on vain
pleasures, as hunting or hawking, or in change of rich cope or alb, or
in feasting idle bards and jesters, saving those who, according to old
wont, were received in time of Christmas and Easter. Neither have I
enriched either mine own relations nor strange women, at the expense of
the Patrimony."

"There hath not been such a Lord Abbot," said Father Nicholas, "to my
knowledge, since the days of Abbot Ingelram, who----"

At that portentous word, which always preluded a long story, the Abbot
broke in.

"May God have mercy on his soul!--we talk not of him now.--What I would
know of ye, my brethren, is, whether I have, in your mind, faithfully
discharged the duties of mine office?"

"There has never been subject of complaint," answered the Sub-Prior.

The Sacristan, more diffuse, enumerated the various acts of indulgence
and kindness which the mild government of Abbot Boniface had
conferred on the brotherhood of Saint Mary's--the _indulgentiae_--the
_gratias_--the _biberes_-the weekly mess of boiled almonds--the
enlarged accommodation of the refectory--the better arrangement of
the cellarage--the improvement of the revenue of the Monastery--the
diminution of the privations of the brethren.

"You might have added, my brother," said the Abbot, listening with
melancholy acquiescence to the detail of his own merits, "that I caused
to be built that curious screen, which secureth the cloisters from the
north-east wind.--But all these things avail nothing--As we read in holy
Maccabee, _Capta est civitas per voluntatem Dei_. It hath cost me no
little thought, no common toil, to keep these weighty matters in such
order as you have seen them--there was both barn and binn to be kept
full--Infirmary, dormitory, guest-hall, and refectory, to be looked
to--processions to be made, confessions to be heard, strangers to be
entertained, _veniae_ to be granted or refused; and I warrant me, when
every one of you was asleep in your cell, the Abbot hath lain awake for
a full hour by the bell, thinking how these matters might be ordered
seemly and suitably."

"May we ask, reverend my lord," said the Sub-Prior, "what additional
care has now been thrown upon you, since your discourse seems to point
that way?"

"Marry, this it is," said the Abbot. "The talk is not now of _biberes_,

[Footnote: The _biberes, caritas_, and boiled almonds, of which Abbot
Boniface speaks, were special occasions for enjoying luxuries, afforded
to the monks by grants from different sovereigns, or from other
benefactors to the convent. There is one of these charters called _De
Pitancia Centum Librarum_ By this charter, which is very curious, our
Robert Bruce, on the 10th January, and in the twelfth year of his reign,
assigns, out of the customs of Berwick, and failing them, out of the
customs of Edinburgh or Haddington, the sum of one hundred pounds, at
the half-yearly terms of Pentecost and Saint Martin's in winter, to the
abbot and community of the monks of Melrose. The precise purpose of this
annuity is to furnish to each of the monks of the said monastery, while
placed at food in the refectory, an extra mess of rice boiled with
milk, or of almonds, or peas, or other pulse of that kind which could
be procured in the country. This addition to their commons is to be
entitled the King's Mess. And it is declared, that although any monk
should, from some honest apology, want appetite or inclination to eat of
the king's mess, his share should, nevertheless, be placed on the table
with those of his brethren, and afterwards carried to the gate and
given to the poor. "Neither is it our pleasure," continues the bountiful
sovereign, "that the dinner, which is or ought to be served up to the
said monks according to their ancient rule, should be diminished in
quantity, or rendered inferior in quality, on account of this our mess,
so furnished as aforesaid." It is, moreover, provided, that the abbot,
with the consent of the most sage of his brethren, shall name a prudent
and decent monk for receiving, directing, and expending, all matters
concerning this annuity for the benefit of the community, agreeably to
the royal desire and intention, rendering a faithful account thereof
to the abbot and superiors of the same convent. And the same charter
declares the king's farther pleasure, that the said men of religion
should be bound yearly and for ever, in acknowledgment of the above
donation, to clothe fifteen poor men at the feast of Saint Martin in
winter, and to feed them on the same day, delivering to each of them
four ells of large or broad, or six ells of narrow cloth, and to each
also a new pair of shoes or sandals, according to their order; and if
the said monks shall fail in their engagements or any of them, it is the
king's will that the fault shall be redeemed by a double performance of
what has been omitted, to be executed at the sight of the chief forester
of Ettrick for the time being, and before the return of Saint Martin's
day succeeding that on which the omission has taken place.

Of this charter, respecting the pittance of 100_l_ assigned to furnish
the monks of Melrose with a daily mess of boiled rice, almonds, or other
pulse, to mend their commons, the antiquarian reader will be pleased,
doubtless, to see the original.


_Carta de Pitancia Centum Librarum._

Robertus Dei gracia Rex Scottorum omnibus probis hominibus tocius terre
sue Salutem. Sciatis nos pro salute anime nostre et pro salute animarum
antecessorum et suocessorum nostrorum Regum Scocie Dedisse Concessisse
et hac presenti Carta nostra confirmasse Deo et Beate Marie virgini et
Religiosis viris Abbati et Conventui de Melross et eorum successoribus
in perpetuum Centum Libras Sterlingorum Annui Redditus singulis annis
percipiendas de firmis nostris Burgi Berwici super. Twedam ad terminos
Pentecostis et Sancti Martini in hyeme pro equali portione vel de nova
Custuma nostra Burgi predicti si firme nostre predicte ad dictam summam
pecunie sufficere non poterunt vel de nova Custuma nostra Burgorum
nostrorum de Edenburg et de Hadington Si firme nostre et Custuma nostra
ville Berwici aliquo casu contingente ad hoc forte non sufficiant. Ita
quod dicta summa pecunie Centum Librarum eis annuatim integre et
absque contradictione aliqua plenarie persolvatur pre cunctis aliis
quibuscunque assignacionibus per nos factis seu faciendis ad inveniendum
in perpetunm singulis diebus cuilibet monacho monasterii predicti
comedenti in Refectorio unum sufficiens ferculum risarum factarum
cum lacte, amigdalarum vel pisarum sive aliorum ciborum consimilis
condicionis inventornm in patria et illud ferculum ferculum Regis
vocabitur in eternum. Et si aliquis monachus ex aliqua causa honesta de
dicto ferculo comedere noluerit vel refici non poterit non minus
attamen sibi de dicto ferculo ministretur et ad portam pro pauperibus
deportetur. Nec volumus quod occasione ferculi nostri predicti prandium
dicti Conventus de quo antiquitus communiter eis deserviri sive
ministrari solebat in aliquo pejoretur seu diminuatur. Volum us insuper
et ordinamus quod Abbas ejusdem monasterii qui pro tempore fuerit de
cousensu saniorum de Conventu specialiter constituat unum monachum
providum et discretum ad recipiendum ordinandum et expendendum totam
summam pecunie memorate pro utilitate conventus secundum votum et
intencionem mentis nostre superius annotatum et ad reddendum fidele
compotum coram Abbate et Maioribus de Conventu singulis annis de pecunia
sic recepta. Et volumus quod dicti religiosi teneantur annuatim in
perpetuum pro predicta donacione nostra ad perpetuam nostri memoriam
vestire quindecim pauperes ad festum Sancti Martini in hieme et eosdem
cibare eodem die liberando eorum cuilibet quatuor ulnas panni grossi
et lati vel sex ulnas panni stricti et eorum cuilibet unum novum par
sotularium de ordine suo. Et si dicti religiosi in premissis vel
aliquo premissorum aliquo anno defecerint volumus quod illud quod
minus perimpletum fuerit dupplicetur diebus magis necessariis per visum
capitalis forestarii nostri de Selkirk, qui pro tempore fuerit. Et quod
dicta dupplicatio fiat ante natale domini proximo sequens festum Sancti
Martini predictum. In cujus rei testimonium presenti Carte nostre
sigillum nostrum precipimus apponi. Testibus venerabilibus in Christo
patribus Willielmo, Johanne, Willielmo et David Sancti Andree,
Glasguensis, Dunkeldensis et Moraviensis ecclesiarum dei gracia
episcopis Bernardo Abbate de Abirbrothock Cancellario, Duncano, Malisio,
et Hugone de Fyf de Strathin et de Ross, Comitibus Waltero Senescallo
Scocie, Jacobo domini de Duglas et Alexandro Fraser Camerario nostro
Socie militibus. Apud Abirbrothock, decimo die Januarij. Anno Regni
nostri vicesimo.]

or of _caritas_, or of boiled almonds, but of an English band coming
against us from Hexham, commanded by Sir John Foster; nor is it of the
screening us from the east wind, but how to escape Lord James Stewart,
who cometh to lay waste and destroy with his heretic soldiers."

"I thought that purpose had been broken by the feud between Semple and
the Kennedies," said the Sub-Prior, hastily.

"They have accorded that matter at the expense of the church as usual,"
said the Abbot; "the Earl of Cassilis is to have the teind-sheaves of
his lands, which were given to the house of Crossraguel, and he has
stricken hands with Stewart, who is now called Murray.--_Principes
convenerunt unum adversus Dominum._--There are the letters."

The Sub-Prior took the letters, which had come by an express messenger
from the Primate of Scotland, who still laboured to uphold the tottering
fabric of the system under which he was at length buried, and,
stepping towards the lamp, read them with an air of deep and settled
attention--the Sacristan and Father Nicholas looked as helplessly at
each other, as the denizens of the poultry-yard when the hawk soars
over it. The Abbot seemed bowed down with the extremity of sorrowful
apprehension, but kept his eye timorously fixed on the Sub-Prior, as if
striving to catch some comfort from the expression of his countenance.
When at length he beheld that, after a second intent perusal of the
letters, he remained still silent and full of thought, he asked him in
an anxious tone, "What is to be done?"

"Our duty must be done," answered the Sub-Prior, "and the rest is in the
hands of God."

"Our duty--our duty?" answered the Abbot, impatiently; "doubtless we are
to do our duty; but what is that duty? or how will it serve us?--Will
bell, book, and candle, drive back the English heretics? or will Murray
care for psalms and antiphonars? or can I fight for the Halidome, like
Judas Maccabeus, against those profane Nicanors? or send the Sacristan
against this new Holofernes, to bring back his head in a basket?"

"True, my Lord Abbot," said the Sub-Prior, "we cannot fight with carnal
weapons, it is alike contrary to our habit and vow; but we can die for
our Convent and for our Order. Besides, we can arm those who will and
can fight. The English are but few in number, trusting, as it would
seem, that they will be joined by Murray, whose march has been
interrupted. If Foster, with his Cumberland and Hexham bandits, ventures
to march into Scotland, to pillage and despoil our House, we will levy
our vassals, and, I trust, shall be found strong enough to give him

"In the blessed name of Our Lady," said the Abbot, "think you that I am
Petrus Eremita, to go forth the leader of an host?"

"Nay," said the Sub-Prior, "let some man skilled in war lead our
people--there is Julian Avenel, an approved soldier."

"But a scoffer, a debauched person, and, in brief, a man of Belial,"
quoth the Abbot.

"Still," said the monk, "we must use his ministry in that to which he
has been brought up. We can guerdon him richly, and indeed I already
know the price of his service. The English, it is expected, will
presently set forth, hoping here to seize upon Piercie Shafton, whose
refuge being taken with us, they make the pretext of this unheard-of

"Is it even so?" said the Abbot; "I never judged that his body of satin
and his brain of feathers boded us much good."

"Yet we must have his assistance, if possible," said the Sub-Prior; "he
may interest in our behalf the great Piercie, of whose friendship he
boasts, and that good and faithful Lord may break Foster's purpose. I
will despatch the jackman after him with all speed.--Chiefly, however, I
trust to the military spirit of the land, which will not suffer peace to
be easily broken on the frontier. Credit me, my lord, it will bring
to our side the hands of many, whose hearts may have gone astray after
strange doctrines. The great chiefs and barons will be ashamed to let
the vassals of peaceful monks fight unaided against the old enemies of

"It may be," said the Abbot, "that Foster will wait for Murray, whose
purpose hitherward is but delayed for a short space."

"By the rood, he will not," said the Sub-Prior; "we know this Sir John
Foster--a pestilent heretic, he will long to destroy the church--born a
Borderer, he will thirst to plunder her of her wealth--a Border-warden,
he will be eager to ride in Scotland. There are too many causes to urge
him on. If he joins with Murray, he will have at best but an auxiliary's
share of the spoil--if he comes hither before him, he will reckon on the
whole harvest of depredation as his own. Julian Avenel also has, as I
have heard, some spite against Sir John Foster; they will fight,
when they meet, with double determination.--Sacristan, send for our
bailiff.--Where is the roll of fencible men liable to do suit and
service to the Halidome?--Send off to the Baron of Meigallot; he
can raise threescore horse and better--Say to him the Monastery will
compound with him for the customs of his bridge, which have been in
controversy, if he will show himself a friend at such a point.--And now,
my lord, let us compute our possible numbers, and those of the enemy,
that human blood be not spilled in vain--Let us therefore calculate----"

"My brain is dizzied with the emergency," said the poor Abbot--"I am
not, I think, more a coward than others, so far as my own person is
concerned; but speak to me of marching and collecting soldiers, and
calculating forces, and you may as well tell of it to the youngest
novice of a nunnery. But my resolution is taken.--Brethren," he said,
rising up, and coming forward with that dignity which his comely person
enabled him to assume, "hear for the last time the voice of your Abbot
Boniface. I have done for you the best that I could; in quieter times
I had perhaps done better, for it was for quiet that I sought the
cloister, which has been to me a place of turmoil, as much as if I had
sate in the receipt of custom, or ridden forth as leader of an armed
host. But now matters turn worse and worse, and I, as I grow old, am
less able to struggle with them. Also, it becomes me not to hold a
place, whereof the duties, through my default or misfortune, may be but
imperfectly filled by me. Wherefore I have resolved to demit this mine
high office, so that the order of these matters may presently devolve
upon Father Eustatius here present, our well-beloved Sub-Prior; and
I now rejoice that he hath not been provided according to his merits
elsewhere, seeing that I well hope he will succeed to the mitre and
staff which it is my present purpose to lay down."

"In the name of Our Lady, do nothing hastily, my lord!" said Father
Nicholas--"I do remember that when the worthy Abbot Ingelram, being in
his ninetieth year--for I warrant you he could remember when Benedict
the Thirteenth was deposed--and being ill at ease and bed-rid, the
brethren rounded in his ear that he were better resign his office. And
what said he, being a pleasant man? marry, that while he could crook his
little finger he would keep hold of the crosier with it."

The Sacristan also strongly remonstrated against the resolution of
his Superior, and set down the insufficiency he pleaded to the native
modesty of his disposition. The Abbot listened in downcast silence; even
flattery could not win his ear.

Father Eustace took a nobler tone with his disconcerted and dejected
Superior. "My Lord Abbot," he said, "if I have been silent concerning
the virtues with which you have governed this house, do not think that I
am unaware of them. I know that no man ever brought to your high office
a more sincere wish to do well to all mankind; and if your rule has
not been marked with the bold lines which sometimes distinguished your
spiritual predecessors, their faults have equally been strangers to your

"I did not believe," said the Abbot, turning his looks to Father Eustace
with some surprise, "that you, father, of all men, would have done me
this justice."

"In your absence," said the Sub-Prior, "I have even done it more
fully. Do not lose the good opinion which all men entertain of you, by
renouncing your office when your care is most needed."

"But, my brother," said the Abbot, "I leave a more able in my place."

"That you do not," said Eustace; "because it is not necessary you should
resign, in order to possess the use of whatever experience or talent I
may be accounted master of. I have been long enough in this profession
to know that the individual qualities which any of us may have, are not
his own, but the property of the Community, and only so far useful when
they promote the general advantage. If you care not in person, my lord,
to deal with this troublesome matter, let me implore you to go instantly
to Edinburgh, and make what friends you can in our behalf, while I in
your absence will, as Sub-Prior, do my duty in defence of the Halidome.
If I succeed, may the honour and praise be yours, and if I fail, let the
disgrace and shame be mine own."

The Abbot mused for a space, and then replied,--"No, Father Eustatius,
you shall not conquer me by your generosity. In times like these, this
house must have a stronger pilotage than my weak hands afford; and he
who steers the vessel must be chief of the crew. Shame were it to accept
the praise of other men's labours; and, in my poor mind, all the praise
which can be bestowed on him who undertakes a task so perilous and
perplexing, is a meed beneath his merits. Misfortune to him would
deprive him of an iota of it! Assume, therefore, your authority
to-night, and proceed in the preparations you judge necessary. Let the
Chapter be summoned to-morrow after we have heard mass, and all shall be
ordered as I have told you. Benedicite, my brethren!--peace be with you!
May the new Abbot-expectant sleep as sound as he who is about to resign
his mitre."

They retired, affected even to tears. The good Abbot had shown a point
of his character to which they were strangers. Even Father Eustace
had held his spiritual Superior hitherto as a good-humoured, indolent,
self-indulgent man, whose chief merit was the absence of gross faults;
so that this sacrifice of power to a sense of duty, even if a little
alloyed by the meaner motives of fear and apprehended difficulties,
raised him considerably in the Sub-Prior's estimation. He even felt an
aversion to profit by the resignation of the Abbot Boniface, and in a
manner to rise on his ruins; but this sentiment did not long contend
with those which led him to recollect higher considerations. It could
not be denied that Boniface was entirely unfit for his situation in the
present crisis; and the Sub-Prior felt that he himself, acting merely
as a delegate, could not well take the decisive measures which the time
required; the weal of the Community therefore demanded his elevation.
If, besides, there crept in a feeling of a high dignity obtained, and
the native exultation of a haughty spirit called to contend with
the imminent dangers attached to a post of such distinction, these
sentiments were so cunningly blended and amalgamated with others of
a more disinterested nature, that, as the Sub-Prior himself was
unconscious of their agency, we, who have a regard for him, are not
solicitous to detect it.

The Abbot elect carried himself with more dignity than formerly, when
giving such directions as the pressing circumstances of the times
required; and those who approached him could perceive an unusual
kindling of his falcon eye, and an unusual flush upon his pale and
faded cheek. With briefness and precision he wrote and dictated various
letters to different barons, acquainting them with the meditated
invasion of the Halidome by the English, and conjuring them to lend aid
and assistance as in a common cause. The temptation of advantage was
held out to those whom he judged less sensible of the cause of honour,
and all were urged by the motives of patriotism and ancient animosity to
the English. The time had been when no such exhortations would have been
necessary. But so essential was Elizabeth's aid to the reformed party
in Scotland, and so strong was that party almost every where, that
there was reason to believe a great many would observe neutrality on the
present occasion, even if they did not go the length of uniting with the
English against the Catholics.

When Father Eustace considered the number of the immediate vassals of
the church whose aid he might legally command, his heart sunk at the
thoughts of ranking them under the banner of the fierce and profligate
Julian Avenel.

"Were the young enthusiast Halbert Glendinning to be found," thought
Father Eustace in his anxiety, "I would have risked the battle under his
leading, young as he is, and with better hope of God's blessing. But the
bailiff is now too infirm, nor know I a chief of name whom I might trust
in this important matter better than this Avenel."--He touched a bell
which stood on the table, and commanded Christie of the Clinthill to be
brought before him.--"Thou owest me a life," said he to that person on
his entrance, "and I may do thee another good turn if thou be'st sincere
with me."

Christie had already drained two standing-cups of wine, which would, on
another occasion, have added to the insolence of his familiarity. But at
present there was something in the augmented dignity of manner of Father
Eustace, which imposed a restraint on him. Yet his answers partook of
his usual character of undaunted assurance. He professed himself willing
to return a true answer to all inquiries.

"Has the Baron (so styled) of Avenel any friendship with Sir John
Foster, Warden of the West Marches of England?"

"Such friendship as is between the wild-cat and the terrier," replied
the rider.

"Will he do battle with him should they meet?"

"As surely," answered Christie, "as ever cock fought on

"And would he fight with Foster in the Church's quarrel?"

"On any quarrel, or upon no quarrel whatever," replied the jackman.

"We will then write to him, letting him know, that if upon occasion of
an apprehended incursion by Sir John Foster, he will join his force with
ours, he shall lead our men, and be gratified for doing so to the extent
of his wish.--Yet one word more--Thou didst say thou couldst find out
where the English knight Piercie Shafton has this day fled to?"

"That I can, and bring him back too, by fair means or force, as best
likes your reverence."

"No force must be used upon him. Within what time wilt thou find him

"Within thirty hours, so he have not crossed the Lothian firth--If it
is to do you a pleasure, I will set off directly, and wind him as a
sleuth-dog tracks the moss-trooper," answered Christie.

"Bring him hither then, and thou wilt deserve good at our hands, which I
may soon have free means of bestowing on thee."

"Thanks to your reverence, I put myself in your reverence's hands. We of
the spear and snaffle walk something recklessly through life; but if a
man were worse than he is, your reverence knows he must live, and that's
not to be done without shifting, I trow."

"Peace, sir, and begone on thine errand--thou shalt have a letter from
us to Sir Piercie."

Christie made two steps towards the door; then turning back and
hesitating, like one who would make an impertinent pleasantry if he
dared, he asked what he was to do with the wench Mysie Happer whom the
Southron knight had carried off with him.

"Am I to bring her hither, please your reverence?"

"Hither, you malapert knave?" said the churchman; "remember you to whom
you speak?"

"No offence meant," replied Christie; "but if such is not your will, I
would carry her to Avenel Castle, where a well-favoured wench was never

"Bring the unfortunate girl to her father's and break no scurril jests
here," said the Sub-Prior--"See that thou guide her in all safety and

"In safety, surely," said the rider, "and in such honour as her outbreak
has left her.--I bid your reverence farewell, I must be on horse before

"What, in the dark!--how knowest thou which way to go?"

"I tracked the knight's horse-tread as far as near to the ford, as we
rode along together," said Christie, "and I observed the track turn
to the north-ward. He is for Edinburgh, I will warrant you--so soon
as daylight comes I will be on the road again. It is a kenspeckle
hoof-mark, for the shoe was made by old Eckie of Cannobie--I would swear
to the curve of the caulker." So saying, he departed.

"Hateful necessity," said Father Eustace, looking after him, "that
obliges us to use such implements as these! But assailed as we are
on all sides, and by all conditions of men, what alternative is left
us?--But now let me to my most needful task."

The Abbot elect accordingly sate down to write letters, arrange orders,
and take upon him the whole charge of an institution which tottered to
its fall, with the same spirit of proud and devoted fortitude wherewith
the commander of a fortress, reduced nearly to the last extremity,
calculates what means remain to him to protract the fatal hour of
successful storm. In the meanwhile Abbot Boniface, having given a few
natural sighs to the downfall of the pre-eminence he had so long enjoyed
amongst his brethren, fell fast asleep, leaving the whole cares and
toils of office to his assistant and [Chapter ending is missing in the

Chapter the Thirty-Fifth.

  And when he came to broken briggs,
    He slacked his bow and swam;
  And when he came to grass growing,
    Set down his feet and ran.
                         GIL MORRICE.

We return to Halbert Glendinning, who, as our readers may remember, took
the high road to Edinburgh. His intercourse with the preacher, Henry
Warden, from whom he received a letter at the moment of his deliverance,
had been so brief, that he had not even learned the name of the nobleman
to whose care he was recommended. Something like a name had been spoken
indeed, but he had only comprehended that he was to meet the chief
advancing towards the south, at the head of a party of horse. When day
dawned on his journey he was in the same uncertainty. A better scholar
would have been informed by the address of the letter, but Halbert
had not so far profited by Father Eustace's lessons as to be able
to decipher it. His mother-wit taught him that he must not, in such
uncertain times, be too hasty in asking information of any one; and
when, after a long day's journey, night surprised him near a little
village, he began to be dubious and anxious concerning the issue of his

In a poor country, hospitality is generally exercised freely, and
Halbert, when he requested a night's quarters, did nothing either
degrading or extraordinary. The old woman, to whom he made this request,
granted it the more readily, that she thought she saw some resemblance
between Halbert and her son Saunders, who had been killed in one of
the frays so common in the time. It is true, Saunders was a short
square-made fellow, with red hair and a freckled face, and somewhat
bandy-legged, whereas the stranger was of a brown complexion, tall,
and remarkably well-made. Nevertheless, the widow was clear that there
existed a general resemblance betwixt her guest and Saunders, and kindly
pressed him to share of her evening cheer. A pedlar, a man of about
forty years old, was also her guest, who talked with great feeling of
the misery of pursuing such a profession as his in the time of war and

"We think much of knights and soldiers," said he; "but the pedder-coffe
who travels the land has need of more courage than them all. I am sure
he maun face mair risk, God help him. Here have I come this length,
trusting the godly Earl of Murray would be on his march to the Borders,
for he was to have guestened with the Baron of Avenel; and instead of
that comes news that he has gone westlandways about some tuilzie in
Ayrshire. And what to do I wot not; for if I go to the south without a
safeguard, the next bonny rider I meet might ease me of sack and pack,
and maybe of my life to boot; and then, if I try to strike across the
moors, I may be as ill off before I can join myself to that good Lord's

No one was quicker at catching a hint than Halbert Glendinning. He said
he himself had a desire to go westward. The pedlar looked at him with
a very doubtful air, when the old dame, who perhaps thought her young
guest resembled the umquhile Saunders, not only in his looks, but in a
certain pretty turn to sleight-of-hand, which the defunct was supposed
to have possessed, tipped him the wink, and assured the pedlar he need
have no doubt that her young cousin was a true man.

"Cousin!" said the pedlar, "I thought you said this youth had been a

"Ill hearing makes ill rehearsing," said the landlady; "he is a stranger
to me by eye-sight, but that does not make him a stranger to me by
blood, more especially seeing his likeness to my son Saunders, poor

The pedlar's scruples and jealousies being thus removed, or at least
silenced, the travellers agreed that they would proceed in company
together the next morning by daybreak, the pedlar acting as a guide to
Glendinning, and the youth as a guard to the pedlar, until they should
fall in with Murray's detachment of horse. It would appear that the
lady never doubted what was to be the event of this compact, for, taking
Glendinning aside, she charged him, "to be moderate with the puir body,
but at all events, not to forget to take a piece of black say, to make
the auld wife a new rokelay." Halbert laughed and took his leave.

It did not a little appal the pedlar, when, in the midst of a black
heath, the young man told him the nature of the commission with which
their hostess had charged him. He took heart, however, upon seeing
the open, frank, and friendly demeanor of the youth, and vented his
exclamations on the ungrateful old traitress. "I gave her," he said,
"yesterday-e'en nae farther gane, a yard of that very black say, to make
her a couvre-chef; but I see it is ill done to teach the cat the way to
the kirn."

Thus set at ease on the intentions of his companion (for in those happy
days the worst was always to be expected from a stranger), the pedlar
acted as Halbert's guide over moss and moor, over hill and many a
dale, in such a direction as might best lead them towards the route of
Murray's party. At length they arrived upon the side of an eminence,
which commanded a distant prospect over a tract of savage and desolate
moorland, marshy and waste--an alternate change of shingly hill and
level morass, only varied by blue stagnant pools of water. A road
scarcely marked winded like a serpent through the wilderness, and the
pedlar, pointing to it, said--"The road from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Here
we must wait, and if Murray and his train be not already passed by, we
shall soon see trace of them, unless some new purpose shall have altered
their resolution; for in these blessed days no man, were he the nearest
the throne, as the Earl of Murray may be, knows when he lays his head on
his pillow at night where it is to lie upon the following even."

They paused accordingly and sat down, the pedlar cautiously using for a
seat the box which contained his treasures, and not concealing from his
companion that he wore under his cloak a pistolet hanging at his belt in
case of need. He was courteous, however, and offered Halbert a share of
the provisions which he carried about him for refreshment. They were of
the coarsest kind--oat-bread baked in cakes, oatmeal slaked with cold
water, an onion or two, and a morsel of smoked ham completed the feast.
But such as it was, no Scotsman of the time, had his rank been much
higher than that of Glendinning, would have refused to share in it,
especially as the pedlar produced, with a mysterious air, a tup's horn,
which he carried slung from his shoulders, and which, when its contents
were examined, produced to each party a clam-shell-full of excellent
usquebaugh--a liquor strange to Halbert, for the strong waters known in
the south of Scotland came from France, and in fact such were but rarely
used. The pedlar recommended it as excellent, said he had procured it in
his last visit to the braes of Doune, where he had securely traded under
the safe-conduct of the Laird of Buchanan. He also set an example
to Halbert, by devoutly emptying the cup "to the speedy downfall of

Their conviviality was scarce ended, ere a rising dust was seen on the
road of which they commanded the prospect, and half a score of horsemen
were dimly descried advancing at considerable speed, their casques
glancing, and the points of their spears twinkling as they caught a
glimpse of the sun.

"These," said the pedlar, "must be the out-scourers of Murray's party;
let us lie down in the peat-hag, and keep ourselves out of sight."

"And why so?" said Halbert; "let us rather go down and make a signal to

"God forbid!" replied the pedlar; "do you ken so ill the customs of our
Scottish nation? That plump of spears that are spurring on so fast are
doubtless commanded by some wild kinsman of Morton, or some such daring
fear-nothing as neither regards God nor man. It is their business, if
they meet with any enemies, to pick quarrels and clear the way of them;
and the chief knows nothing of what happens, coming up with his more
discreet and moderate friends, it may be a full mile in the rear. Were
we to go near these lads of the laird's belt, your letter would do you
little good, and my pack would do me muckle black ill; they would tirl
every steek of claithes from our back, fling us into a moss-hag with a
stone at our heels, naked as the hour that brought us into this cumbered
and sinful world, and neither Murray nor any other man ever the wiser.
But if he did come to ken of it, what might he help it?--it would be
accounted a mere mistake, and there were all the moan made. O credit
me, youth, that when men draw cold steel on each other in their native
country, they neither can nor may dwell deeply on the offences of those
whose swords are useful to them."

They suffered, therefore, the vanguard, as it might be termed, of the
Earl of Murray's host to pass forward; and it was not long until a
denser cloud of dust began to arise to the northward.

"Now," said the pedlar, "let us hurry down the hill; for to tell the
truth," said he, dragging Halbert along earnestly, "a Scottish noble's
march is like a serpent--the head is furnished with fangs, and the tail
hath its sting; the only harmless point of access is the main body."

"I will hasten as fast as you," said the youth; "but tell me why the
rearward of such an army should be as dangerous as the van?"

"Because, as the vanguard consists of their picked wild desperates,
resolute for mischief, such as neither fear God nor regard their
fellow-creatures, but understand themselves bound to hurry from the road
whatever is displeasing to themselves, so the rear-guard consists of
misproud serving-men, who, being in charge of the baggage, take care to
amend by their exactions upon travelling-merchants and others, their own
thefts on their master's property. You will hear the advanced _enfans
perdus_, as the French call them, and so they are indeed, namely,
children of the fall, singing unclean and fulsome ballads of sin and
harlotrie. And then will come on the middle-ward, when you will hear the
canticles and psalms sung by the reforming nobles, and the gentry, and
honest and pious clergy, by whom they are accompanied. And last of all,
you will find in the rear a legend of godless lackies, palfreniers, and
horse-boys, talking of nothing but dicing, drinking, and drabbing."

As the pedlar spoke, they had reached the side of the high-road, and
Murray's main body was in sight, consisting of about three hundred
horse, marching with great regularity, and in a closely compacted body.
Some of the troopers wore the liveries of their masters, but this
was not common. Most of them were dressed in such colours as chance
dictated. But the majority, being clad in blue cloth, and the whole
armed with cuirass and back-plate, with sleeves of mail, gauntlets,
and poldroons, and either mailed hose or strong jack-boots, they had
something of a uniform appearance.

Many of the leaders were clad in complete armour, and all in a certain
half-military dress, which no man of quality in those disturbed times
ever felt himself sufficiently safe to abandon.

The foremost of this party immediately rode up to the pedlar and to
Halbert Glendinning, and demanded of them who they were. The pedlar told
his story, the young Glendinning exhibited his letter, which a gentleman
carried to Murray. In an instant after, the word "Halt!" was given
through the squadron, and at once the onward heavy tramp, which seemed
the most distinctive attribute of the body, ceased, and was heard no
more. The command was announced that the troop should halt here for an
hour to refresh themselves and their horses. The pedlar was assured of
safe protection, and accommodated with the use of a baggage horse.
But at the same time he was ordered into the rear; a command which he
reluctantly obeyed, and not without wringing pathetically the hand of
Halbert as he separated from him.

The young heir of Glendearg was in the meanwhile conducted to a plot of
ground more raised, and therefore drier than the rest of the moor. Here
a carpet was flung on the ground by way of table-cloth, and around it
sat the leaders of the party, partaking of an entertainment as coarse,
with relation to their rank, as that which Glendinning had so lately
shared. Murray himself rose as he came forward, and advanced a step to
meet him.

This celebrated person had in his appearance, as well as in his mind,
much of the admirable qualities of James V. his father. Had not the
stain of illegitimacy rested upon his birth, he would have filled the
Scottish throne with as much honour as any of the Stewart race. But
History, while she acknowledges his high talents, and much that was
princely, nay, royal, in his conduct, cannot forget that ambition led
him farther than honour or loyalty warranted. Brave amongst the bravest,
fair in presence and in favour, skilful to manage the most intricate
affairs, to attach to himself those who were doubtful, to stun and
overwhelm, by the suddenness and intrepidity of his enterprises, those
who were resolute in resistance, he attained, and as to personal merit
certainly deserved, the highest place in the kingdom. But he abused,
under the influence of strong temptation, the opportunities which his
sister Mary's misfortunes and imprudence threw in his way; he supplanted
his sovereign and benefactress in her power, and his history affords
us one of those mixed characters, in which principle was so often
sacrificed to policy, that we must condemn the statesman while we pity
and regret the individual. Many events in his life gave likelihood to
the charge that he himself aimed at the crown; and it is too true, that
he countenanced the fatal expedient of establishing an English, that is
a foreign and a hostile interest, in the councils of Scotland. But his
death may be received as an atonement for his offences, and may serve
to show how much more safe is the person of a real patriot, than that of
the mere head of a faction, who is accounted answerable for the offences
of his meanest attendants.

When Murray approached, the young rustic was naturally abashed at the
dignity of his presence. The commanding form and the countenance to
which high and important thoughts were familiar, the features which bore
the resemblance of Scotland's long line of kings, were well calculated
to impress awe and reverence. His dress had little to distinguish
him from the high-born nobles and barons by whom he was attended. A
buff-coat, richly embroidered with silken lace, supplied the place of
armour; and a massive gold chain, with its medal, hung round his neck.
His black velvet bonnet was decorated with a string of large and fair
pearls, and with a small tufted feather; a long heavy sword was girt to
his side, as the familiar companion of his hand. He wore gilded spurs on
his boots, and these completed his equipment.

"This letter," he said, "is from the godly preacher of the word, Henry
Warden, young man? is it not so?" Halbert answered in the affirmative.
"And he writes to us, it would seem, in some strait, and refers us to
you for the circumstances. Let us know, I pray you, how things stand
with him."

In some perturbation Halbert Glendinning gave an account of the
circumstances which had accompanied the preacher's imprisonment. When
he came to the discussion of the _handfasting_ engagement, he was struck
with the ominous and displeased expression of Murray's brows, and,
contrary to all prudential and politic rule, seeing something was wrong,
yet not well aware what that something was, had almost stopped short in
his narrative.

"What ails the fool?" said the Earl, drawing his dark-red eyebrows
together, while the same dusky glow kindled on his brow--"Hast thou not
learned to tell a true tale without stammering?"

"So please you," answered Halbert, with considerable address, "I have
never before spoken in such a presence."

"He seems a modest youth," said Murray, turning to his next attendant,
"and yet one who in a good cause will neither fear friend nor
foe.--Speak on, friend, and speak freely."

Halbert then gave an account of the quarrel betwixt Julian Avenel
and the preacher, which the Earl, biting his lip the while, compelled
himself to listen to as a thing of indifference. At first he appeared
even to take the part of the Baron.

"Henry Warden," he said, "is too hot in his zeal. The law both of God
and man maketh allowance for certain alliances, though not strictly
formal, and the issue of such may succeed."

This general declaration he expressed, accompanying it with a glance
around upon the few followers who were present at this interview. The
most of them answered--"There is no contravening that;" but one or
two looked on the ground, and were silent. Murray then turned again to
Glendinning, commanding him to say what next chanced, and not to omit
any particular. When he mentioned the manner in which Julian had cast
from him his concubine, Murray drew a deep breath, set his teeth hard,
and laid his hand on the hilt of his dagger. Casting his eyes once more
around the circle, which was now augmented by one or two of the reformed
preachers, he seemed to devour his rage in silence, and again commanded
Halbert to proceed. When he came to describe how Warden had been dragged
to a dungeon, the Earl seemed to have found the point at which he might
give vent to his own resentment, secure of the sympathy and approbation
of all who were present. "Judge you," he said, looking to those around
him, "judge you, my peers, and noble gentlemen of Scotland, betwixt me
and this Julian Avenel--he hath broken his own word, and hath violated
my safe-conduct--and judge you also, my reverend brethren, he hath put
his hand forth upon a preacher of the gospel, and perchance may sell his
blood to the worshippers of Anti-Christ!"

"Let him die the death of a traitor," said the secular chiefs, "and let
his tongue be struck through with the hangman's fiery iron to avenge his

"Let him go down to his place with Baal's priests," said the preachers,
"and be his ashes cast into Tophet!"

Murray heard them with the smile of expected revenge; yet it is probable
that the brutal treatment of the female, whose circumstances somewhat
resembled those of the Earl's own mother, had its share in the grim
smile which curled his sun-burnt cheek and its haughty lip. To Halbert
Glendinning, when his narrative was finished, he spoke with great

"He is a bold and gallant youth," said he to those around, "and formed
of the stuff which becomes a bustling time. There are periods when men's
spirits shine bravely through them. I will know something more of him."

He questioned him more particularly concerning the Baron of Avenel's
probable forces--the strength of his castle--the dispositions of his
next heir, and this brought necessarily forward the sad history of his
brother's daughter, Mary Avenel, which was told with an embarrassment
that did not escape Murray.

"Ha! Julian Avenel," he said, "and do you provoke my resentment, when
you have so much more reason to deprecate my justice! I knew Walter
Avenel, a true Scotsman and a good soldier. Our sister, the Queen, must
right his daughter; and were her land restored, she would be a fitting
bride to some brave man who may better merit our favour than the traitor
Julian."--Then looking at Halbert, he said, "Art thou of gentle blood,
young man?"

Halbert, with a faltering and uncertain voice, began to speak of his
distant pretensions to claim a descent from the ancient Glendonwynes of
Galloway, when Murray interrupted him with a smile.

"Nay--nay--leave pedigrees to bards and heralds. In our days, each,
man is the son of his own deeds. The glorious light of reformation hath
shone alike on prince and peasant; and peasant as well as prince may be
illustrated by fighting in its defence. It is a stirring world, where
all may advance themselves who have stout hearts and strong arms. Tell
me frankly why thou hast left thy father's house."

Halbert Glendinning made a frank confession of his duel with Piercie
Shafton, and mentioned his supposed death.

"By my hand," said Murray, "thou art a bold sparrow-hawk, to match thee
so early with such a kite as Piercie Shafton. Queen Elizabeth would give
her glove filled with gold crowns to know that meddling coxcomb to be
under the sod.--Would she not, Morton?"

"Ay, by my word, and esteem her glove a better gift than the crowns,"
replied Morton, "which few Border lads like this fellow will esteem just

"But what shall we do with this young homicide?" said Murray; "what will
our preachers say?"

"Tell them of Moses and of Benaiah," said Morton; "it is but the smiting
of an Egyptian when all is said out."

"Let it be so," said Murray, laughing; "but we will bury the tale,
as the prophet did the body, in the sand. I will take care of this
swankie.--Be near to us, Glendinning, since that is thy name. We retain
thee as a squire of our household. The master of our horse will see thee
fully equipped and armed."

During the expedition which he was now engaged in, Murray found several
opportunities of putting Glendinning's courage and presence of mind to
the test, and he began to rise so rapidly in his esteem, that those who
knew the Earl considered the youth's fortune as certain. One step only
was wanting to raise him to a still higher degree of confidence and
favour--it was the abjuration of the Popish religion. The ministers who
attended upon Murray and formed his chief support amongst the people,
found an easy convert in Halbert Glendinning, who, from his earliest
days, had never felt much devotion towards the Catholic faith, and who
listened eagerly to more reasonable views of religion. By thus
adopting the faith of his master, he rose higher in his favour, and was
constantly about his person during his prolonged stay in the west of
Scotland, which the intractability of those whom the Earl had to deal
with, protracted from day to day, and week to week.

Chapter the Thirty-Sixth.

  Faint the din of battle bray'd
    Distant down the hollow wind;
  War and terror fled before,
    Wounds and death were left behind.

The autumn of the year was well advanced, when the Earl of Morton, one
morning, rather unexpectedly, entered the antechamber of Murray, in
which Halbert Glendinning was in waiting.

"Call your master, Halbert," said the Earl; "I have news for him from
Teviotdale; and for you too, Glendinning.--News! news! my Lord of
Murray!" he exclaimed at the door of the Earl's bedroom; "come forth
instantly." The Earl appeared, and greeted his ally, demanding eagerly
his tidings.

"I have had a sure friend with me from the south," said Morton; "he has
been at Saint Mary's Monastery, and brings important tidings." "Of
what complexion?" said Murray, "and can you trust the bearer?" "He is
faithful, on my life," said Morton; "I wish all around your Lordship may
prove equally so."

"At what, and whom, do you point?" demanded Murray.

"Here is the Egyptian of trusty Halbert Glendinning, our Southland
Moses, come alive again, and flourishing, gay and bright as ever, in
that Teviotdale Goshen, the Halidome of Kennaquhair."

"What mean you, my lord?" said Murray.

"Only that your new henchman has put a false tale upon you. Piercie
Shafton is alive and well; by the same token that the gull is thought to
be detained there by love to a miller's daughter, who roamed the country
with him in disguise."

"Glendinning," said Murray, bending his brow into his darkest frown,
"thou hast not, I trust, dared to bring me a lie in thy mouth, in order
to win my confidence?"

"My lord," said Halbert, "I am incapable of a lie. I should choke on one
were my life to require that I pronounced it. I say, that this sword of
my father was through the body--the point came out behind his back--the
hilt pressed upon his breast-bone. And I will plunge it as deep in the
body of any one who shall dare to charge me with falsehood."

"How, fellow!" said Morton, "wouldst thou beard a nobleman?"

"Be silent, Halbert," said Murray, "and you, my Lord of Morton, forbear
him. I see truth written on his brow."

"I wish the inside of the manuscript may correspond with the
superscription," replied his more suspicious ally. "Look to it, my lord,
you will one day lose your life by too much confidence."

"And you will lose your friends by being too readily suspicious,"
answered Murray. "Enough of this--let me hear thy tidings."

"Sir John Foster," said Morton, "is about to send a party into Scotland
to waste the Halidome."

"How! without waiting my presence and permission?" said Murray--"he is
mad--will he come as an enemy into the Queen's country?"

"He has Elizabeth's express orders," answered Morton, "and they are not
to be trifled with. Indeed, his march has been more than once projected
and laid aside during the time we have been here, and has caused much
alarm at Kennaquhair. Boniface, the old Abbot, has resigned, and whom
think you they have chosen in his place?"

"No one surely," said Murray; "they would presume to hold no election
until the Queen's pleasure and mine were known?"

Morton shrugged his shoulders--"They have chosen the pupil of
old Cardinal Beatoun, that wily determined champion of Rome, the
bosom-friend of our busy Primate of Saint Andrews. Eustace, late the
Sub-Prior of Kennaquhair, is now its Abbot, and, like a second Pope
Julius, is levying men and making musters to fight with Foster if he
comes forward."

"We must prevent that meeting," said Murray, hastily; "whichever party
wins the day, it were a fatal encounter for us--Who commands the troop
of the Abbot?"

"Our faithful old friend, Julian Avenel, nothing less," answered Morton.

"Glendinning," said Murray, "sound trumpets to horse directly, and let
all who love us get on horseback without delay--Yes, my lord, this were
indeed a fatal dilemma. If we take part with our English friends, the
country will cry shame on us--the very old wives will attack us with
their rocks and spindles--the very stones of the street will rise up
against us--we cannot set our face to such a deed of infamy. And my
sister, whose confidence I already have such difficulty in preserving,
will altogether withdraw it from me. Then, were we to oppose the English
Warden, Elizabeth would call it a protecting of her enemies and what
not, and we should lose her."

"The she-dragon," said Morton, "is the best card in our pack; and yet
I would not willingly stand still and see English blades carve Scots
flesh--What say you to loitering by the way, marching far and easy for
fear of spoiling our horses? They might then fight dog fight bull, fight
Abbot fight archer, and no one could blame us for what chanced when we
were not present."

"All would blame us, James Douglas," replied Murray; "we should lose
both sides--we had better advance with the utmost celerity, and do what
we can to keep the peace betwixt them.--I would the nag that brought
Piercie Shafton hither had broken his neck over the highest heuch in
Northumberland!--He is a proper coxcomb to make all this bustle about,
and to occasion perhaps a national war!"

"Had we known in time," said Douglas, "we might have had him privily
waited upon as he entered the Borders; there are strapping lads enough
would have rid us of him for the lucre of his spur-whang. [Footnote:
_Spur-whang_--Spur-leather.] But to the saddle, James Stewart, since so
the phrase goes. I hear your trumpets. Bound to horse and away--we shall
soon see which nag is best breathed."

Followed by a train of about three hundred well-mounted men-at-arms,
these two powerful barons directed their course to Dumfries, and from
thence eastward to Teviotdale, marching at a rate which, as Morton had
foretold, soon disabled a good many of their horses, so that when
they approached the scene of expected action, there were not above
two hundred of their train remaining in a body, and of these most were
mounted on steeds which had been sorely jaded.

They had hitherto been amused and agitated by various reports concerning
the advance of the English soldiers, and the degree of resistance which
the Abbot was able to oppose to them. But when they were six or seven
miles from Saint Mary's of Kennaquhair, a gentleman of the country, whom
Murray had summoned to attend him, and on whose intelligence he knew he
could rely, arrived at the head of two or three servants, "bloody with
spurring, fiery red with haste." According to his report, Sir John
Foster, after several times announcing, and as often delaying, his
intended incursion, had at last been so stung with the news that Piercie
Shafton was openly residing within the Halidome, that he determined to
execute the commands of his mistress, which directed him, at every risk,
to make himself master of the Euphuist's person. The Abbot's unceasing
exertions had collected a body of men almost equal in number to those of
the English Warden, but less practised in arms. They were united under
the command of Julian Avenel, and it was apprehended they would join
battle upon the banks of a small stream which forms the verge of the

"Who knows the place?" said Murray.

"I do, my lord," answered Glendinning.

"'Tis well," said the Earl; "take a score of the best-mounted
horse--make what haste thou canst, and announce to them that I am coming
up instantly with a strong power, and will cut to pieces, without mercy,
whichever party strikes the first blow.--Davidson," said he to the
gentleman who brought the intelligence, "thou shalt be my guide.--Hie
thee on, Glendinning--Say to Foster, I conjure him, as he respects his
mistress's service, that he will leave the matter in my hands. Say to
the Abbot, I will burn the Monastery over his head, if he strikes a
stroke till I come--Tell the dog, Julian Avenel, that he hath already
one deep score to settle with me--I will set his head on the top of the
highest pinnacle of Saint Mary's, if he presume to open another. Make
haste, and spare not the spur for fear of spoiling horse-flesh."

"Your bidding shall be obeyed, my lord," said Glendinning; and choosing
those whose horses were in best plight to be his attendants, he went off
as fast as the jaded state of their cavalry permitted. Hill and hollow
vanished from under the feet of the chargers.

They had not ridden half the way, when they met stragglers coming off
from the field, whose appearance announced that the conflict was begun.
Two supported in their arms a third, their elder brother, who was
pierced with an arrow through the body. Halbert, who knew them to belong
to the Halidome, called them by their names, and questioned them of the
state of the affray; but just then, in spite of their efforts to retain
him in the saddle, their brother dropped from the horse, and they
dismounted in haste to receive his last breath. From men thus engaged,
no information was to be obtained. Glendinning, therefore, pushed
on with his little troop, the more anxiously, as he perceived other
stragglers, bearing Saint Andrew's cross upon their caps and corslets,
flying apparently from the field of battle. Most of these, when they
were aware of a body of horsemen approaching on the road, held to the
one hand or the other, at such a distance as precluded coming to speech
of them. Others, whose fear was more intense, kept the onward road,
galloping wildly as fast as their horses could carry them, and when
questioned, only glared without reply on those who spoke to them, and
rode on without drawing bridle. Several of these were also known to
Halbert, who had therefore no doubt, from the circumstances in which
he met them, that the men of the Halidome were defeated. He became now
unspeakably anxious concerning the fate of his brother, who, he could
not doubt, must have been engaged in the affray. He therefore increased
the speed of his horse, so that not above five or six of his followers
could keep up with him. At length he reached a little hill, at the
descent of which, surrounded by a semi-circular sweep of a small stream,
lay the plain which had been the scene of the skirmish.

It was a melancholy spectacle. War and terror, to use the expression
of the poet, had rushed on to the field, and left only wounds and death
behind them. The battle had been stoutly contested, as was almost always
the case with these Border skirmishes, where ancient hatred, and mutual
injuries, made men stubborn in maintaining the cause of their conflict.
Towards the middle of the plain, there lay the bodies of several men who
had fallen in the very act of grappling with the enemy; and there
were seen countenances which still bore the stern expression of
unextinguishable hate and defiance, hands which clasped the hilt of the
broken falchion, or strove in vain to pluck the deadly arrow from the
wound. Some were wounded, and, cowed of the courage they had lately
shown, were begging aid, and craving water, in a tone of melancholy
depression, while others tried to teach the faltering tongue to
pronounce some half-forgotten prayer, which, even when first learned,
they had but half understood. Halbert, uncertain what course he was next
to pursue, rode through the plain to see if, among the dead or wounded,
he could discover any traces of his brother Edward. He experienced no
interruption from the English. A distant cloud of dust announced that
they were still pursuing the scattered fugitives, and he guessed, that
to approach them with his followers, until they were again under some
command, would be to throw away his own life, and that of his men, whom
the victors would instantly confound with the Scots, against whom they
had been successful. He resolved, therefore, to pause until Murray came
up with his forces, to which he was the more readily moved, as he heard
the trumpets of the English Warden sounding the retreat, and recalling
from the pursuit. He drew his men together, and made a stand in an
advantageous spot of ground, which had been occupied by the Scots in the
beginning of the action, and most fiercely disputed while the skirmish

While he stood here, Halbert's ear was assailed by the feeble moan of
a woman, which he had not expected to hear amid that scene, until
the retreat of the foes had permitted the relations of the slain to
approach, for the purpose of paying them the last duties. He looked with
anxiety, and at length observed, that by the body of a knignt in bright
armour, whose crest, though soiled and broken, still showed the marks
of rank and birth, there sat a female wrapped in a horseman's cloak, and
holding something pressed against her bosom, which he soon discovered to
be a child. He glanced towards the English. They advanced not, and the
continued and prolonged sound of their trumpets, with the shouts of
the leaders, announced that their powers would not be instantly
re-assembled. He had, therefore, a moment to look after this unfortunate
woman. He gave his horse to a spearman as he dismounted, and,
approaching the unhappy female, asked her, in the most soothing tone he
could assume, whether he could assist her in her distress. The mourner
made him no direct answer; but endeavouring, with a trembling and
unskilful hand, to undo the springs of the visor and gorget, said, in
a tone of impatient grief, "Oh, he would recover instantly could I but
give him air--land and living, life and honour, would I give for the
power of undoing these cruel iron platings that suffocate him!" He that
would soothe sorrow must not argue on the vanity of the most deceitful
hopes. The body lay as that of one whose last draught of vital air had
been drawn, and who must never more have concern with the nether sky.
But Halbert Glendinning failed not to raise the visor and cast loose
the gorget, when, to his great surprise, he recognized the pale face of
Julian Avenel. His last fight was over, the fierce and turbid spirit had
departed in the strife in which it had so long delighted.

"Alas! he is gone," said Halbert, speaking to the young woman, in whom
he had now no difficulty of knowing the unhappy Catherine.

"Oh, no, no, no!" she reiterated, "do not say so--he is not dead--he is
but in a swoon. I have lain as long in one myself--and then his voice
would arouse me, when he spoke kindly, and said, Catherine, look up
for my sake--And look up, Julian, for mine!" she said, addressing the
senseless corpse; "I know you do but counterfeit to frighten me, but I
am not frightened," she added, with an hysterical attempt to laugh; and
then instantly changing her tone, entreated him to "speak, were it but
to curse my folly. Oh, the rudest word you ever said to me would now
sound like the dearest you wasted on me before I gave you all. Lift him
up," she said, "lift him up, for God's sake!--have you no compassion? He
promised to wed me if I bore him a boy, and this child is so like to
its father!--How shall he keep his word, if you do not help me to awaken
him?--Christie of the Clinthill, Rowley, Hutcheon! ye were constant at
his feast, but ye fled from him at the fray, false villains as ye are!"

"Not I, by Heaven!" said a dying man, who made some shift to raise
himself on his elbow, and discovered to Halbert the well-known features
of Christie; "I fled not a foot, and a man can but fight while his
breath lasts--mine is going fast.--So, youngster," said he, looking at
Glendinning, and seeing his military dress, "thou hast ta'en the basnet
at last? it is a better cap to live in than die in. I would chance had
sent thy brother here instead--there was good in him--but thou art as
wild, and wilt soon be as wicked as myself."

"God forbid!" said Halbert, hastily.

"Marry, and amen, with all my heart," said the wounded man, "there will
be company enow without thee where I am going. But God be praised I had
no hand in that wickedness," said he, looking to poor Catherine; and
with some exclamation in his mouth, that sounded betwixt a prayer and
a curse, the soul of Christie of the Clinthill took wing to the last

Deeply wrapt in the painful interest which these shocking events had
excited, Glendinning forgot for a moment his own situation and duties,
and was first recalled to them by a trampling of horse, and the cry of
Saint George for England, which the English soldiers still continued
to use. His handful of men, for most of the stragglers had waited for
Murray's coming up, remained on horseback, holding their lances upright,
having no command either to submit or resist.

"There stands our Captain," said one of them, as a strong party of
English came up, the vanguard of Foster's troop.

"Your Captain! with his sword sheathed, and on foot in the presence of
his enemy? a raw soldier, I warrant him," said the English leader. "So!
ho! young man, is your dream out, and will you now answer me if you will
fight or fly?"

"Neither," answered Halbert Glendinning, with great tranquillity.

"Then throw down thy sword and yield thee," answered the Englishman.

"Not till I can help myself no otherwise," said Halbert, with the same
moderation of tone and manner.

"Art thou for thine own hand, friend, or to whom dost thou owe service?"
demanded the English Captain.

"To the noble Earl of Murray."

"Then thou servest," said the Southron, "the most disloyal nobleman who
breathes--false both to England and Scotland."

"Thou liest," said Glendinning, regardless of all consequences.

"Ha! art thou so hot how, and wert so cold but a minute since? I lie, do
I? Wilt thou do battle with me on that quarrel?"

"With one to one--one to two--or two to five, as you list," said Halbert
Glendinning; "grant me but a fair field."

"That thou shalt have.--Stand back, my mates," said the brave
Englishman. "If I fall, give him fair play, and let him go off free with
his people."

"Long life to the noble Captain!" cried the soldiers, as impatient to
see the duel, as if it had been a bull-baiting.

"He will have a short life of it, though," said the sergeant, "if he,
an old man of sixty, is to fight, for any reason, or for no reason, with
every man he meets, and especially the young fellows he might be father
to.--And here comes the Warden besides to see the sword-play."

In fact, Sir John Foster came up with a considerable body of his
horsemen, just as his Captain, whose age rendered him unequal to the
combat with so strong and active a youth as Glendinning, was deprived of
his sword.

"Take it up for shame, old Stawarth Bolton," said the English Warden;
"and thou, young man, tell me who and what thou art?"

"A follower of the Earl of Murray, who bore his will to your honour,"
answered Glendinning,--"but here he comes to say it himself; I see the
van of his horsemen come over the hills."

"Get into order, my masters," said Sir John Foster to his followers;
"you that have broken your spears, draw your swords. We are something
unprovided for a second field, but if yonder dark cloud on the hill edge
bring us foul weather, we must bear as bravely as our broken cloaks
will bide it. Meanwhile, Stawarth, we have got the deer we have hunted
for--here is Piercie Shafton hard and fast betwixt two troopers."

"Who, that lad?" said Bolton; "he is no more Piercie Shafton than I am.
He hath his gay cloak indeed--but Piercie Shafton is a round dozen of
years older than that slip of roguery. I have known him since he was
thus high. Did you never see him in the tilt-yard or in the presence?"

"To the devil with such vanities!" said Sir John Foster; "when had I
leisure for them or any thing else? During my whole life has she kept me
to this hangman's office, chasing thieves one day and traitors another,
in daily fear of my life; the lance never hung up in the hall, the foot
never out of the stirrup, the saddles never off my nags' backs; and
now, because I have been mistaken in the person of a man I never saw,
I warrant me, the next letters from the Privy Council will rate me as I
were a dog--a man were better dead than thus slaved and harassed."

A trumpet interrupted Foster's complaints, and a Scottish pursuivant who
attended, declared "that the noble Earl of Murray desired, in all honour
and safety, a personal conference with Sir John Foster, midway between
their parties, with six of company in each, and ten free minutes to come
and go."

"And now," said the Englishman, "comes another plague. I must go speak
with yonder false Scot, and he knows how to frame his devices, to cast
dust in the eyes of a plain man, as well as ever a knave in the north.
I am no match for him in words, and for hard blows we are but too ill
provided.--Pursuivant, we grant the conference--and you, Sir Swordsman,"
(speaking to young Glendinning,) "draw off with your troopers to your
own party--march--attend your Earl's trumpet.--Stawarth Bolton, put
our troop in order, and be ready to move forward at the wagging of a
finger.--Get you gone to your own friends, I tell you, Sir Squire, and
loiter not here."

Notwithstanding this peremptory order, Halbert Glendinning could not
help stopping to cast a look upon the unfortunate Catherine, who lay
insensible of the danger and of the trampling of so many horses around
her, insensible, as the second glance assured him, of all and forever.
Glendinning almost rejoiced when he saw that the last misery of life
was over, and that the hoofs of the war-horses, amongst which he was
compelled to leave her, could only injure and deface a senseless
corpse. He caught the infant from her arms, half ashamed of the shout
of laughter which rose on all sides, at seeing an armed man in such a
situation assume such an unwonted and inconvenient burden.

"Shoulder your infant!" cried a harquebusier.

"Port your infant!" said a pikeman.

"Peace, ye brutes," said Stawarth Bolton, "and respect humanity in
others if you have none yourselves. I pardon the lad having done some
discredit to my gray hairs, when I see him take care of that helpless
creature, which ye would have trampled upon as if ye had been littered
of bitch-wolves, not born of women."

While this passed, the leaders on either side met in the neutral space
betwixt the forces of either, and the Earl accosted the English Warden:

"Is this fair or honest usage, Sir John, or for whom do you hold the
Earl of Morton and myself, that you ride in Scotland with arrayed
banner, fight, slay, and make prisoners at your own pleasure? Is it well
done, think you, to spoil our land and shed our blood, after the many
proofs we have given to your mistress of our devotion due to her will,
saving always the allegiance due to our own sovereign?"

"My Lord of Murray," answered Foster, "all the world knows you to be a
man of quick ingine and deep wisdom, and these several weeks you have
held me in hand with promising to arrest my sovereign mistress's rebel,
this Piercie Shafton of Wilverton, and you have never kept your word,
alleging turmoils in the west, and I wot not what other causes of
hinderance. Now, since he has had the insolence to return hither, and
live openly within ten miles of England, I could no longer, in plain
duty to my mistress and queen, tarry upon your successive delays, and
therefore I have used her force to take her rebel, by the strong hand,
wherever I can find him."

"And is Piercie Shafton in your hands, then?" said the Earl of Murray.
"Be aware that I may not, without my own great shame, suffer you to
remove him hence without doing battle."

"Will you, Lord Earl, after all the advantages you have received at the
hands of the Queen of England, do battle in the cause of her rebel?"
said Sir John Foster.

"Not so, Sir John," answered the Earl, "but I will fight to the death in
defence of the liberties of our free kingdom of Scotland."

"By my faith," said Sir John Foster, "I am well content--my sword is not
blunted with all it has done yet this day."

"By my honour, Sir John," said Sir George Heron of Chipchase, "there is
but little reason we should fight these Scottish Lords e'en now, for I
hold opinion with old Stawarth Bolton, and believe yonder prisoner to be
no more Piercie Shafton than he is the Earl of Northumberland; and you
were but ill advised to break the peace betwixt the countries for a
prisoner of less consequence than that gay mischief-maker."

"Sir George," replied Foster, "I have often heard you herons are afraid
of hawks--Nay, lay not hand on sword, man--I did but jest; and for this
prisoner, let him be brought up hither, that we may see who or what
he is--always under assurance, my Lords," he continued, addressing the

"Upon our word and honour," said Morton, "we will offer no violence."

The laugh turned against Sir John Foster considerably, when the
prisoner, being brought up, proved not only a different person from Sir
Piercie Shafton, but a female in man's attire.

"Pluck the mantle from the quean's face, and cast her to the
horse-boys," said Foster; "she has kept such company ere now, I

Even Murray was moved to laughter, no common thing with him, at the
disappointment of the English Warden; but he would not permit any
violence to be offered to the fair Molinara, who had thus a second time
rescued Sir Piercie Shafton at her own personal risk.

"You have already done more mischief than you can well answer," said the
Earl to the English Warden, "and it were dishonour to me should I permit
you to harm a hair of this young woman's head."

"My lord," said Morton, "if Sir John will ride apart with me but for
one moment, I will show him such reasons as shall make him content to
depart, and to refer this unhappy day's work to the judgment of the
Commissioners nominated to try offences on the Border."

He then led Sir John Foster aside, and spoke to him in this
manner:--"Sir John Foster, I much marvel that a man who knows your Queen
Elizabeth as you do, should not know that, if you hope any thing from
her, it must be for doing her useful service, not for involving her in
quarrels with her neighbours without any advantage. Sir Knight, I will
speak frankly what I know to be true. Had you seized the true Piercie
Shafton by this ill-advised inroad; and had your deed threatened, as
most likely it might, a breach betwixt the countries, your politic
princess and her politic council would rather have disgraced Sir John
Foster than entered into war in his behalf. But now that you have
stricken short of your aim, you may rely on it you will have little
thanks for carrying the matter farther. I will work thus far on the Earl
of Murray, that he will undertake to dismiss Sir Piercie Shafton from
the realm of Scotland.--Be well advised, and let the matter now pass
off--you will gain nothing by farther violence, for if we fight, you as
the fewer and the weaker through your former action, will needs have the

Sir John Foster listened with his head declining on his breast-plate.

"It is a cursed chance," he said, "and I shall have little thanks for my
day's work."

He then rode up to Murray, and said, that, in deference to his
Lordship's presence and that of my Lord of Morton, he had come to the
resolution of withdrawing himself, with his power, without farther

"Stop there, Sir John Foster," said Murray; "I cannot permit you
to retire in safety, unless you leave some one who may be surety to
Scotland, that the injuries you have at present done us may be fully
accounted for--you will reflect, that by permitting your retreat, I
become accountable to my Sovereign, who will demand a reckoning of me
for the blood of her subjects, if I suffer those who shed it to depart
so easily."

"It shall never be told in England," said the Warden, "that John Foster
gave pledges like a subdued man, and that on the very field on which he
stands victorious.--But," he added, after a moment's pause, "if Stawarth
Bolton wills to abide with you on his own free choice, I will say
nothing against it; and, as I bethink me, it were better he should stay
to see the dismissal of this same Piercie Shafton."

"I receive him as your hostage, nevertheless, and shall treat him as
such," said the Earl of Murray. But Foster, turning away as if to give
directions to Bolton and his men, affected not to hear this observation.

"There rides a faithful servant of his most beautiful and Sovereign
Lady," said Murray aside to Morton. "Happy man! he knows not whether the
execution of her commands may not cost him his head; and yet he is most
certain that to leave them unexecuted will bring disgrace and death
without reprieve. Happy are they who are not only subjected to the
caprices of Dame Fortune, but held bound to account and be responsible
for them, and that to a sovereign as moody and fickle as her humorous
ladyship herself!"

"We also have a female Sovereign, my lord," said Morton.

"We have so, Douglas," said the Earl,--with a suppressed sigh; "but it
remains to be seen how long a female hand can hold the reins of power
in a realm so wild as ours. We will now go on to Saint Mary's, and see
ourselves after the state of that House.--Glendinning, look to that
woman, and protect her.--What the fiend, man, hast thou got in thine
arms?--an infant as I live!--where couldst thou find such a charge, at
such a place and moment?"

Halbert Glendinning briefly told the story. The Earl rode forward to the
place where the body of Julian Avenel lay, with his unhappy companion's
arms wrapped around him like the trunk of an uprooted oak borne down by
the tempest with all its ivy garlands. Both were cold dead. Murray was
touched in an unwonted degree, remembering, perhaps, his own birth.
"What have they to answer for, Douglas," he said, "who thus abuse the
sweetest gifts of affection?"

The Earl of Morton, unhappy in his marriage, was a libertine in his

"You must ask that question of Henry Warden, my lord, or of John Knox--I
am but a wild counsellor in women's matters."

"Forward to Saint Mary's," said the Earl; "pass the word
on--Glendinning, give the infant to this same female cavalier, and let
it be taken charge of. Let no dishonour be done to the dead bodies,
and call on the country to bury or remove them.--Forward, I say, my

Chapter the Thirty-Seventh.

  Gone to be married?--Gone to swear a peace!


The news of the lost battle, so quickly carried by the fugitives to
the village and convent, had spread the greatest alarm among the
inhabitants. The Sacristan and other monks counselled flight; the
Treasurer recommended that the church plate should be offered as a
tribute to bribe the English officer; the Abbot alone was unmoved and

"My brethren," he said, "since God has not given our people victory
in the combat, it must be because he requires of us, his spiritual
soldiers, to fight the good fight of martyrdom, a conflict in which
nothing but our own faint-hearted cowardice can make us fail of
victory. Let us assume, then, the armour of faith, and prepare, if it
be necessary, to die under the ruin of these shrines, to the service
of which we have devoted ourselves. Highly honoured are we all in this
distinguished summons, from our dear brother Nicholas, whose gray hairs
have been preserved until they should be surrounded by the crown of
martyrdom, down to my beloved son Edward, who, arriving at the vineyard
at the latest hour of the day, is yet permitted to share its toils
with those who have laboured from the morning. Be of good courage, my
children. I dare not, like my sainted predecessors, promise to you that
you shall be preserved by miracle--I and you are alike unworthy of that
especial interposition, which, in earlier times, turned the sword of
sacrilege against the bosom of tyrants by whom it was wielded, daunted
the hardened hearts of heretics with prodigies, and called down hosts of
angels to defend the shrine of God and of the Virgin. Yet, by heavenly
aid, you shall this day see that your Father and Abbot will not disgrace
the mitre which sits upon his brow. Go to your cells, my children, and
exercise your private devotions. Array yourselves also in alb and cope,
as for our most solemn festivals, and be ready, when the tolling of the
largest bell announces the approach of the enemy, to march forth to
meet them in solemn procession. Let the church be opened to afford such
refuge as may be to those of our vassals, who, from their exertion in
this day's unhappy battle, or the cause, are particularly apprehensive
of the rage of the enemy. Tell Sir Piercie Shafton, if he has escaped
the fight--"

"I am here, most venerable Abbot," replied Sir Piercie; "and if it so
seemeth meet to you, I will presently assemble such of the men as have
escaped this escaramouche, and will renew the resistance, even unto
the death. Certes, you will learn from all, that I did my part in this
unhappy matter. Had it pleased Julian Avenel to have attended to my
counsel, specially in somewhat withdrawing of his main battle, even as
you may have marked the heron eschew the stoop of the falcon, receiving
him rather upon his beak than upon his wing, affairs, as I do conceive,
might have had a different face, and we might then, in a more bellacose
manner, have maintained that affray. Nevertheless, I would not be
understood to speak any thing in disregard of Julian Avenel, whom I saw
fall fighting manfully with his face to his enemy, which hath banished
from my memory the unseemly term of 'meddling coxcomb,' with which it
pleased him something rashly to qualify my advice, and for which, had
it pleased Heaven and the saints to have prolonged the life of that
excellent person, I had it bound upon my soul to have put him to death
with my own hand."

"Sir Piercie," said the Abbot, at length interrupting him, "our time
allows brief leisure to speak what might have been."

"You are right, most venerable Lord and Father," replied the
incorrigible Euphuist; "the preterite, as grammarians have it, concerns
frail mortality less than the future mood, and indeed our cogitations
respect chiefly the present. In a word, I am willing to head all who
will follow me, and offer such opposition as manhood and mortality may
permit, to the advance of the English, though they be my own countrymen;
and be assured, Piercie Shafton will measure his length, being five feet
ten inches, on the ground as he stands, rather than give two yards in
retreat, according to the usual motion in which we retrograde."

"I thank you, Sir Knight," said the Abbot, "and I doubt not that you
would make your words good; but it is not the will of Heaven that carnal
weapons should rescue us. We are called to endure, not to resist, and
may not waste the blood of our innocent commons in vain--Fruitless
opposition becomes not men of our profession; they have my commands to
resign the sword and the spear,--God and Our Lady have not blessed our

"Bethink you, reverend lord," said Piercie Shafton, very eagerly, "ere
you resign the defence that is in your power--there are many posts near
the entry of this village, where brave men might live or die to the
advantage; and I have this additional motive to make defence,--the
safety, namely, of a fair friend, who, I hope, hath escaped the hands of
the heretics."

"I understand you, Sir Piercie," said the Abbot--"you mean the daughter
of our Convent's miller?"

"Reverend my lord," said Sir Piercie, not without hesitation, "the fair
Mysinda is, as may be in some sort alleged, the daughter of one who
mechanically prepareth corn to be manipulated into bread, without which
we could not exist, and which is therefore an employment in itself
honourable, nay necessary. Nevertheless, if the purest sentiments of a
generous mind, streaming forth like the rays of the sun reflected by
a diamond, may ennoble one, who is in some sort the daughter of a
molendinary mechanic----"

"I have no time for all this, Sir Knight," said the Abbot; "be it enough
to answer, that with our will we war no longer with carnal weapons. We
of the spirituality will teach you of the temporality how to die in cold
blood, our hands not clenched for resistance, but folded for prayer--our
minds not filled with jealous hatred, but with Christian meekness and
forgiveness--our ears not deafened, nor our senses confused, by the
sound of clamorous instruments of war; but, on the contrary, our voices
composed to Halleluiah, Kyrie-Eleison, and Salve Regina, and our blood
temperate and cold, as those who think upon reconciling themselves with
God, not of avenging themselves of their fellow-mortals."

"Lord Abbot," said Sir Piercie, "this is nothing to the fate of my
Molinara, whom I beseech you to observe, I will not abandon, while
golden hilt and steel blade bide together on my falchion. I commanded
her not to follow us to the field, and yet methought I saw her in her
page's attire amongst the rear of the combatants."

"You must seek elsewhere for the person in whose fate you are so
deeply interested," said the Abbot; "and at present I will pray of your
knighthood to inquire concerning her at the church, in which all our
more defenceless vassals have taken refuge. It is my advice to you, that
you also abide by the horns of the altar; and, Sir Piercie Shafton,"
he added, "be of one thing secure, that if you come to harm, it will
involve the whole of this brotherhood; for never, I trust, will the
meanest of us buy safety at the expense of surrendering a friend or a
guest. Leave us, my son, and may God be your aid!"

When Sir Piercie Shafton had departed, and the Abbot was about to betake
himself to his own cell, he was surprised by an unknown person anxiously
requiring a conference, who, being admitted, proved to be no other
than Henry Warden. The Abbot started as he entered, and exclaimed,
angrily,--"Ha! are the few hours that fate allows him who may last wear
the mitre of this house, not to be excused from the intrusion of heresy?
Dost thou come," he said, "to enjoy the hopes which fete holds out to
thy demented and accursed sect, to see the bosom of destruction sweep
away the pride of old religion--to deface our shrines,--to mutilate and
lay waste the bodies of our benefactors, as well as their sepulchres--to
destroy the pinnacles and carved work of God's house, and Our Lady's?"

"Peace, William Allan!" said the Protestant preacher, with dignified
composure; "for none of these purposes do I come. I would have these
stately shrines deprived of the idols which, no longer simply regarded
as the effigies of the good and of the wise, have become the objects of
foul idolatry. I would otherwise have its ornaments subsist, unless as
they are, or may be, a snare to the souls of men; and especially do
I condemn those ravages which have been made by the heady fury of the
people, stung into zeal against will-worship by bloody persecution.
Against such wanton devastations I lift my testimony."

"Idle distinguisher that thou art!" said the Abbot Eustace, interrupting
him; "what signifies the pretext under which thou dost despoil the house
of God? and why at this present emergence will thou insult the master of
it by thy ill-omened presence?"

"Thou art unjust, William Allan," said Warden; "but I am not the less
settled in my resolution. Thou hast protected me some time since at the
hazard of thy rank, and what I know thou holdest still dearer, at the
risk of thy reputation with thine own sect. Our party is now uppermost,
and, believe me, I have come down the valley, in which thou didst
quarter me for sequestration's sake, simply with the wish to keep my
engagements to thee."

"Ay," answered the Abbot, "and it may be, that my listening to that
worldly and infirm compassion which pleaded with me for thy life, is now
avenged by this impending judgment. Heaven hath smitten, it may be, the
erring shepherd, and scattered the flock."

"Think better of the Divine judgments," said Warden. "Not for thy sins,
which are those of thy blended education and circumstances; not
for thine own sins, William Allan, art thou stricken, but for the
accumulated guilt which thy mis-named Church hath accumulated on her
head, and those of her votaries, by the errors and corruption of ages."

"Now, by my sure belief in the Rock of Peter," said the Abbot, "thou
dost rekindle the last spark of human indignation for which my bosom
has fuel--I thought I might not again have felt the impulse of earthly
passion, and it is thy voice which once more calls me to the expression
of human anger! yes, it is thy voice that comest to insult me in my hour
of sorrow, with these blasphemous accusations of that church which hath
kept the light of Christianity alive from the times of the Apostles till

"From the times of the Apostles?" said the preacher, eagerly. "_Negatur,
Gulielme Allan_--the primitive church differed as much from that of
Rome, as did light from darkness, which, did time permit, I should
speedily prove. And worse dost thou judge, in saying, I come to insult
thee in thy hour of affliction, being here, God wot, with the Christian
wish of fulfilling an engagement I had made to my host, and of rendering
myself to thy will while it had yet power to exercise aught upon me,
and if it might so be, to mitigate in thy behalf the rage of the victors
whom God hath sent as a scourge to thy obstinacy."

"I will none of thy intercession," said the Abbot, sternly; "the dignity
to which the church has exalted me, never should have swelled my bosom
more proudly in the time of the highest prosperity, than it doth at this
crisis--I ask nothing of thee, but the assurance that my lenity to thee
hath been the means of perverting no soul to Satan, that I have not
given to the wolf any of the stray lambs whom the Great Shepherd of
souls had intrusted to my charge."

"William Allan," answered the Protestant, "I will be sincere with thee.
What I promised I have kept--I have withheld my voice from speaking even
good things. But it has pleased Heaven to call the maiden Mary Avenel
to a better sense of faith than thou and all the disciples of Rome can
teach. Her I have aided with my humble power--I have extricated her from
the machinations of evil spirits to which she and her house were exposed
during the blindness of their Romish superstition, and, praise be to
my Master, I have not reason to fear she will again be caught in thy

"Wretched man!" said the Abbot, unable to suppress his rising
indignation, "is it to the Abbot of St. Mary's that you boast having
misled the soul of a dweller in Our Lady's Halidome into the paths of
foul error and damning heresy?--Thou dost urge me, Wellwood, beyond what
it becomes me to bear, and movest me to employ the few moments of power
I may yet possess, in removing from the face of the earth one whose
qualities, given by God, have been so utterly perverted as thine to the
service of Satan."

"Do thy pleasure," said the preacher; "thy vain wrath shall not prevent
my doing my duty to advantage thee, where it may be done without
neglecting my higher call. I go to the Earl of Murray."

Their conference, which was advancing fast into bitter disputation, was
here interrupted by the deep and sullen toll of the largest and heaviest
bell of the Convent, a sound famous in the chronicles of the Community,
for dispelling of tempests, and putting to flight demons, but which now
only announced danger, without affording any means of warding against
it. Hastily repeating his orders, that all the brethren should attend
in the choir, arrayed for solemn procession, the Abbot ascended to the
battlements of the lofty Monastery, by his own private staircase,
and there met the Sacristan, who had been in the act of directing the
tolling of the huge bell, which fell under his charge.

"It is the last time I shall discharge mine office, most venerable
Father and Lord," said he to the Abbot, "for yonder come the
Philistines; but I would not that the large bell of Saint Mary's should
sound for the last time, otherwise than in true and full tone--I have
been a sinful man for one of our holy profession," added he, looking
upward, "yet may I presume to say, not a bell hath sounded out of tune
from the tower of the house, while Father Philip had the superintendence
of the chime and the belfry."

The Abbot, without reply, cast his eyes towards the path, which, winding
around the mountain, descends upon Kennaquhair, from the south-east.
He beheld at a distance a cloud of dust, and heard the neighing of many
horses, while the occasional sparkle of the long line of spears, as they
came downwards into the valley, announced that the band came thither in

"Shame on my weakness!" said Abbot Eustace, dashing the tears from his
eyes; "my sight is too much dimmed to observe their motions--look, my
son Edward," for his favourite novice had again joined him, "and tell me
what ensigns they bear."

"They are Scottish men, when all is done!" exclaimed Edward--"I see the
white crosses--it may be the Western Borderers, or Fernieherst and his

"Look at the banner," said the Abbot; "tell me, what are the

"The arms of Scotland," said Edward, "the lion and its tressure,
quartered, as I think, with three cushions--Can it be the royal

"Alas! no," said the Abbot, "it is that of the Earl of Murray. He hath
assumed with his new conquest the badge of the valiant Randolph, and
hath dropt from his hereditary coat the bend which indicates his own
base birth--would to God he may not have blotted it also from his
memory, and aim as well at possessing the name, as the power, of a

"At least, my father," said Edward, "he will secure us from the violence
of the Southron."

"Ay, my son, as the shepherd secures a silly lamb from the wolf, which
he destines in due time to his own banquet. Oh my son, evil days are on
us! A breach has been made in the walls of our sanctuary--thy
brother hath fallen from the faith. Such news brought my last secret
intelligence--Murray hath already spoken of rewarding his services with
the hand of Mary Avenel."

"Of Mary Avenel!" said the novice, tottering towards and grasping hold
of one of the carved pinnacles which adorned the proud battlement.

"Ay, of Mary Avenel, my son, who has also abjured the faith of her
fathers. Weep not, my Edward, weep not, my beloved son! or weep for
their apostasy, and not for their union--Bless God, who hath called thee
to himself, out of the tents of wickedness; but for the grace of Our
Lady and Saint Benedict, thou also hadst been a castaway."

"I endeavour, my father," said Edward, "I endeavour to forget; but what
I would now blot from my memory has been the thought of all my former
life--Murray dare not forward a match so unequal in birth."

"He dares do what suits his purpose--The Castle of Avenel is strong, and
needs a good castellan, devoted to his service; as for the difference
of their birth, he will mind it no more than he would mind defacing the
natural regularity of the ground, were it necessary he should erect upon
it military lines and intrenchments. But do not droop for that--awaken
thy soul within thee, my son. Think you part with a vain vision, an idle
dream, nursed in solitude and inaction.--I weep not, yet what am I
now like to lose?--Look at these towers, where saints dwelt, and where
heroes have been buried--Think that I, so briefly called to preside
over the pious flock, which has dwelt here since the first light of
Christianity, may be this day written down the last father of this holy
community--Come, let us descend, and meet our fate. I see them approach
near to the village."

The Abbot descended, the novice cast a glance around him; yet the sense
of the danger impending over the stately structure, with which he was
now united, was unable to banish the recollection of Mary Ayenel.--"His
brother's bride!" he pulled the cowl over his face, and followed his

The whole bells of the Abbey now added their peal to the death-toll of
the largest which had so long sounded. The monks wept and prayed as they
got themselves into the order of their procession for the last time, as
seemed but too probable.

"It is well our Father Boniface hath retired to the inland," said Father
Philip; "he could never have put over this day--it would have broken his

"God be with the soul of Abbot Ingelram!" said old Father Nicholas,
"there were no such doings in his days.--They say we are to be put forth
of the cloisters; and how I am to live any where else than where I have
lived for these seventy years, I wot not--the best is, that I have not
long to live any where."

A few moments after this the great gate of the Abbey was flung open,
and the procession moved slowly forward from beneath its huge and
richly-adorned gateway. Cross and banner, pix and chalice, shrines
containing relics, and censers steaming with incense, preceded and were
intermingled with the long and solemn array of the brotherhood, in their
long black gowns and cowls, with their white scapularies hanging over
them, the various officers of the convent each displaying his proper
badge of office. In the centre of the procession came the Abbot,
surrounded and supported by his chief assistants. He was dressed in his
habit of high solemnity, and appeared as much unconcerned as if he had
been taking his usual part in some ordinary ceremony. After him came
the inferior persons of the convent; the novices in their albs or white
dresses, and the lay brethren distinguished by their beards, which were
seldom worn by the Fathers. Women and children, mixed with a few men,
came in the rear, bewailing the apprehended desolation of their ancient
sanctuary. They moved, however, in order, and restrained the marks of
their sorrow to a low wailing sound, which rather mingled with than
interrupted the measured chant of the monks.

In this order the procession entered the market-place of the village of
Kennaquhair, which was then, as now, distinguished by an ancient cross
of curious workmanship, the gift of some former monarch of Scotland.
Close by the cross, of much greater antiquity, and scarcely less
honoured, was an immensely large oak-tree, which perhaps had witnessed
the worship of the Druids, ere the stately Monastery to which it
adjoined had raised its spires in honour of the Christian faith. Like
the Bentang-tree of the African villages, or the Plaistow-oak mentioned
in White's Natural History of Selborne, this tree was the rendezvous of
the villagers, and regarded with peculiar veneration; a feeling common
to most nations, and which perhaps may be traced up to the remote period
when the patriarch feasted the angels under the oak at Mamre. [Footnote:
It is scarcely necessary to say, that in Melrose, the prototype of
Kennaquhair, no such oak ever existed.]

The monks formed themselves each in their due place around the cross,
while under the ruins of the aged tree crowded the old and the feeble,
with others who felt the common alarm. When they had thus arranged
themselves, there was a deep and solemn pause. The monks stilled their
chant, the lay populace hushed their lamentations, and all awaited in
terror and silence the arrival of those heretical forces, whom they had
been so long taught to regard with fear and trembling.

A distant trampling was at length heard, and the glance of spears was
seen to shine through the trees above the village. The sounds increased,
and became more thick, one close continuous rushing sound, in which the
tread of hoofs was mingled with the ringing of armour. The horsemen soon
appeared at the principal entrance which leads into the irregular square
or market-place which forms the centre of the village. They entered two
by two, slowly, and in the greatest order. The van continued to move on,
riding round the open spaoe, until they had attained the utmost point,
and then turning their horses' heads to the street, stood fast; their
companions followed in the same order, until the whole market-place was
closely surrounded with soldiers; and the files who followed, making the
same manoeuvre, formed an inner line within those who had first arrived,
until the place was begirt with a quadruple file of horsemen closely
drawn up. There was now a pause, of which the Abbot availed himself,
by commanding the brotherhood to raise the solemn chant _De profundis
clamavi_. He looked around the armed ranks, to see what impression the
solemn sounds made on them. All were silent, but the brows of some
had an expression of contempt, and almost all the rest bore a look of
indifference; their course had been too long decided to permit past
feelings of enthusiasm to be anew awakened by a procession or by a hymn.

"Their hearts are hardened," said the Abbot to himself in dejection, but
not in despair; "it remains to see whether those of their leaders are
equally obdurate."

The leaders, in the meanwhile, were advancing slowly, and Murray, with
Morton, rode in deep conversation before a chosen band of their most
distinguished followers, amongst whom came Halbert Glendinning. But the
preacher Henry Warden, who, upon leaving the Monastery, had instantly
joined them, was the only person admitted to their conference.

"You are determined, then," said Morton to Murray, "to give the heiress
of Avenel, with all her pretensions, to this nameless and obscure young

"Hath not Warden told you," said Murray, "that they have been bred
together, and are lovers from their youth upward?"

"And that they are both," said Warden, "by means which may be almost
termed miraculous, rescued from the delusions of Rome, and brought
within the pale of the true church. My residence at Glendearg hath made
me well acquainted with these things. Ill would it beseem my habit and
my calling, to thrust myself into match-making and giving in marriage,
but worse were it in me to see your lordships do needless wrong to
the feelings which are proper to our nature, and which, being indulged
honestly and under the restraints of religion, become a pledge of
domestic quiet here, and future happiness in a better world. I say, that
you will do ill to rend those ties asunder, and to give this maiden to
the kinsman of Lord Morton, though Lord Morton's kinsman he be."

"These are fair reasons, my Lord of Murray," said Morton, "why you
should refuse me so simple a boon as to bestow this silly damsel upon
young Bennygask. Speak out plainly, my lord; say you would rather see
the Castle of Avenel in the hands of one who owes his name and existence
solely to your favour, than in the power of a Douglas, and of my

"My Lord of Morton," said Murray, "I have done nothing in this matter
which should aggrieve you. This young man Glendinning has done me good
service, and may do me more. My promise was in some degree passed to
him, and that while Julian Avenel was alive, when aught beside the
maiden's lily hand would have been hard to come by; whereas, you never
thought of such an alliance for your kinsman, till you saw Julian lie
dead yonder on the field, and knew his land to be a waif free to the
first who could seize it. Come, come, my lord, you do less than justice
to your gallant kinsman, in wishing him a bride bred up under the
milk-pail; for this girl is a peasant wench in all but the accident
of birth. I thought you had more deep respect for the honour of the

"The honour of the Douglasses is safe in my keeping," answered Morton,
haughtily; "that of other ancient families may suffer as well as the
name of Avenel, if rustics are to be matched with the blood of our
ancient barons."

"This is but idle talking," answered Lord Murray; "in times like these,
we must look to men and not to pedigrees. Hay was but a rustic before
the battle of Loncarty--the bloody yoke actually dragged the plough ere
it was emblazoned on a crest by the herald. Times of action make princes
into peasants, and boors into barons. All families have sprung from one
mean man; and it is well if they have never degenerated from his virtue
who raised them first from obscurity."

"My Lord of Murray will please to except the house of Douglas," said
Morton, haughtily; "men have seen it in the tree, but never in the
sapling--have seen it in the stream, but never in the fountain.

[Footnote: The late excellent and laborious antiquary, Mr. George
Chalmers, has rebuked the vaunt of the House of Douglas, or rather
of Hume of Godscroft, their historian, but with less than his wonted
accuracy. In the first volume of his Caledonia, he quotes the passage in
Godscroft for the purpose of confuting it.

The historian (of the Douglasses) cries out, "We do not know them in the
fountain, but in the stream; not in the root, but in the stem; for we
know not which is the mean man that did rise above the vulgar." This
assumption Mr. Chalmers conceives ill-timed, and alleges, that if the
historian had attended more to research than to declamation, he might
easily have seen the first mean man of this renowned family. This
he alleges to have been one Theobaldus Flammaticus, or Theobald the
Fleming, to whom Arnold, Abbot of Kelso, between the year 1147 and 1160,
granted certain lands on Douglas water, by a deed which Mr. Chalmers
conceives to be the first link of the chain of title-deeds to
Douglasdale. Hence, he says, the family must renounce their family
domain, or acknowledge this obscure Fleming as their ancestor. Theobald
the Fleming, it is acknowledged, did not himself assume the name of
Douglas; "but," says the antiquary, "his son William, who inherited
his estate, called himself, and was named by others, De Duglas;" and
he refers to the deeds in which he is so designed. Mr. Chalmers' full
argument may be found in the first volume of his Caledonia, p. 579.

This proposition is one which a Scotsman will admit unwillingly, and
only upon undeniable testimony: and as it is liable to strong grounds
of challenge, the present author, with all the respect to Mr. Chalmers
which his zealous and effectual researches merit, is not unwilling to
take this opportunity to state some plausible grounds for doubting that
Theobaldus Flammaticus was either the father of the first William de
Douglas, or in the slightest degree connected with the Douglas family.

It must first be observed, that there is no reason whatever for
concluding Theobaldus Flammaticus to be the father of William de
Douglas, except that they both held lands upon the small river of
Douglas; and that there are two strong presumptions to the contrary.
For, first, the father being named Fleming, there seems no good reason
why the son should have assumed a different designation: secondly, there
does not occur a single instance of the name of Theobald during the long
line of the Douglas pedigree, an omission very unlikely to take place
had the original father of the race been so called. These are secondary
considerations indeed; but they are important, in so far as they exclude
any support of Mr. Chalmers' system, except from the point which he has
rather assumed than proved, namely, that the lands granted to Theobald
the Fleming were the same which were granted to William de Douglas, and
which constituted the original domain of which we find this powerful
family lords.

Now, it happens, singularly enough, that the lands granted by the Abbot
of Kelso to Theobaldus Flammaticus are not the same of which William
de Douglas was in possession. Nay, it would appear, from comparing the
charter granted to Theobaldus Flammaticus, that, though situated on the
water of Douglas, they never made a part of the barony of that name, and
therefore cannot be the same with those held by William de Douglas in
the succeeding generation. But if William de Douglas did not succeed
Theobaldus Flammaticus, there is no more reason for holding these
two persons to be father and son than if they had lived in different
provinces; and we are still as far from having discovered the first mean
man of the Douglas family as Hume of Godscroft was in the 16th century.
We leave the question to antiquaries and genealogists.]

In the earliest of our Scottish annals, the Black Douglas was powerful
and distinguished as now."

"I bend to the honours of the house of Douglas," said Murray, somewhat
ironically; "I am conscious we of the Royal House have little right
to compete with them in dignity--What though we have worn crowns and
carried sceptres for a few generations, if our genealogy moves no
farther back than to the humble _Alanus Dapifer!"_

[Footnote: To atone to the memory of the learned and indefatigable
Chalmers for having ventured to impeach his genealogical proposition
concerning the descent of the Douglasses, we are bound to render him our
grateful thanks for the felicitous light which he has thrown on that of
the House of Stewart, still more important to Scottish history.

The acute pen of Lord Hailes, which, like the spear of Ithuriel,
conjured so many shadows from Scottish history, had dismissed among the
rest those of Banquo and Fleance, the rejection of which fables left the
illustrious family of Stewart without an ancestor beyond Walter the
son of Allan, who is alluded to in the text. The researches of our late
learned antiquary detected in this Walter, the descendant of Allan, the
son of Flaald, who obtained from William the Conqueror the Castle of
Oswestry in Shropshire, and was the father of an illustrious line
of English nobles, by his first son, William, and by his second son,
Walter, the progenitor of the royal family of Stewart.]

Morton's cheek reddened as he was about to reply; but Henry Warden
availed himself of the liberty which the Protestant clergy long
possessed, and exerted it to interrupt a discussion which was becoming
too eager and personal to be friendly.

"My lords," he said, "I must be bold in discharging the duty of my
Master. It is a shame and scandal to hear two nobles, whose hands have
been so forward in the work of reformation, fall into discord about such
vain follies as now occupy your thoughts. Bethink you how long you have
thought with one mind, seen with one eye, heard with one ear, confirmed
by your union the congregation of the Church, appalled by your joint
authority the congregation of Anti-Christ; and will you now fall into
discord, about an old decayed castle and a few barren hills, about the
loves and likings of an humble spearman, and a damsel bred in the same
obscurity, or about the still vainer questions of idle genealogy?"

"The good man hath spoken right, noble Douglas," said Murray, reaching
him his hand, "our union is too essential to the good cause to be
broken off upon such idle terms of dissension. I am fixed to gratify
Glendinning in this matter--my promise is passed. The wars, in which I
have had my share, have made many a family miserable; I will at least
try if I may not make one happy. There are maids and manors enow in
Scotland.--I promise you, my noble ally, that young Bennygask shall be
richly wived."

"My lord," said Warden, "you speak nobly, and like a Christian. Alas!
this is a land of hatred and bloodshed--let us not chase from thence
the few traces that remain of gentle and domestic love.--And be not
too eager for wealth to thy noble kinsman, my Lord of Morton, seeing
contentment in the marriage state no way depends on it."

"If you allude to my family misfortune," said Morton, whose Countess,
wedded by him for her estate and honours, was insane in her mind, "the
habit you wear, and the liberty, or rather license, of your profession,
protect you from my resentment."

"Alas! my lord," replied Warden, "how quick and sensitive is our
self-love! When pressing forward in our high calling, we point out the
errors of the Sovereign, who praises our boldness more than the noble
Morton? But touch we upon his own sore, which most needs lancing, and he
shrinks from the faithful chirurgeon in fear and impatient anger!"

"Enough of this, good and reverend sir," said Murray; "you transgress
the prudence yourself recommended even now.--We are now close upon the
village, and the proud Abbot is come forth at the head of his hive. Thou
hast pleaded well for him, Warden, otherwise I had taken this occasion
to pull down the nest, and chase away the rooks."

"Nay, but do not so," said Warden; "this William Allan, whom they call
the Abbot Eustatius, is a man whose misfortunes would more prejudice our
cause than his prosperity. You cannot inflict more than he will endure;
and the more that he is made to bear, the higher will be the influence
of his talents and his courage. In his conventual throne he will be but
coldly looked on--disliked, it may be, and envied. But turn his crucifix
of gold into a crucifix of wood--let him travel through the land, an
oppressed and impoverished man, and his patience, his eloquence, and
learning, will win more hearts from the good cause, than all the mitred
abbots of Scotland have been able to make prey of during the last
hundred years."

"Tush! tush! man," said Morton, "the revenues of the Halidome will
bring more men, spears, and horses, into the field in one day, than
his preaching in a whole lifetime. These are not the days of Peter the
Hermit, when monks could march armies from England to Jerusalem; but
gold and good deeds will still do as much or more than ever. Had Julian
Avenel had but a score or two more men this morning, Sir John Foster had
not missed a worse welcome. I say, confiscating the monk's revenues is
drawing his fang-teeth."

"We will surely lay him under contribution," said Murray; "and,
moreover, if he desires to remain in his Abbey, he will do well to
produce Piercie Shafton."

As he thus spoke, they entered the market-place, distinguished by their
complete armour and their lofty plumes, as well as by the number of
followers bearing their colours and badges. Both these powerful nobles,
but more especially Murray, so nearly allied to the crown, had at that
time a retinue and household not much inferior to that of Scottish
royalty. As they advanced into the market-place, a pursuivant, pressing
forward from their train, addressed the monks in these words:--"The
Abbot of Saint Mary's is commanded to appear before the Earl of Murray."

"The Abbot of Saint Mary's," said Eustace, "is, in the patrimony of his
Convent, superior to every temporal lord. Let the Earl of Murray, if he
seeks him, come himself to his presence."

On receiving this answer, Murray smiled scornfully, and, dismounting
from his lofty saddle, he advanced, accompanied by Morton, and followed
by others, to the body of monks assembled around the cross. There was an
appearance of shrinking among them at the approach of the heretic lord,
so dreaded and so powerful. But the Abbot, casting on them a glance
of rebuke and encouragement, stepped forth from their ranks like
a courageous leader, when he sees that his personal valour must be
displayed to revive the drooping courage of his followers. "Lord
James Stewart," he said, "or Earl of Murray, if that be thy title, I,
Eustatius, Abbot of Saint Mary's, demand by what right you have filled
our peaceful village, and surrounded our brethren, with these bands
of armed men? If hospitality is sought, we have never refused it to
courteous asking--if violence be meant against peaceful churchmen, let
us know at once the pretext and the object?"

"Sir Abbot," said Murray, "your language would better have become
another age, and a presence inferior to ours. We come not here to reply
to your interrogations, but to demand of you why you have broken the
peace, collecting your vassals in arms, and convocating the Queen's
lieges, whereby many men have been slain, and much trouble, perchance
breach of amity with England, is likely to arise?"

"_Lupus in fabula_," answered the Abbot, scornfully. "The wolf accused
the sheep of muddying the stream when he drank in it above her--but it
served as a pretext for devouring her. Convocate the Queen's lieges! I
did so to defend the Queen's land against foreigners. I did but my duty;
and I regret I had not the means to do it more effectually."

"And was it also a part of your duty to receive and harbour the Queen
of England's rebel and traitor; and to inflame a war betwixt England and
Scotland?" said Murray.

"In my younger days, my lord," answered the Abbot, with the same
intrepidity, "a war with England was no such dreaded matter; and not
merely a mitred abbot, bound by his rule to show hospitality and afford
sanctuary to all, but the poorest Scottish peasant, would have been
ashamed to have pleaded fear of England as the reason for shutting his
door against a persecuted exile. But in those olden days, the English
seldom saw the face of a Scottish nobleman, save through the bars of his

"Monk!" said the Earl of Morton, sternly, "this insolence will little
avail thee; the days are gone by when Rome's priests were permitted to
brave noblemen with impunity. Give us up this Piercie Shafton, or by my
father's crest I will set thy Abbey in a bright flame!"

"And if thou dost, Lord of Morton, its ruins will tumble above the tombs
of thine own ancestors. Be the issue as God wills, the Abbot of Saint
Mary's gives up no one whom he hath promised to protect."

"Abbot!" said Murray, "bethink thee ere we are driven to deal
roughly--the hands of these men," he said, pointing to the soldiers,
"will make wild work among shrines and cells, if we are compelled to
undertake a search for this Englishman."

"Ye shall not need," said a voice from the crowd; and, advancing
gracefully before the Earls, the Euphuist flung from him the mantle in
which he was muffled. "Via the cloud that shadowed Shafton!" said he;
"behold, my lords, the Knight of Wilverton, who spares you the guilt of
violence and sacrilege."

"I protest before God and man against any infraction of the privileges
of this house," said the Abbot, "by an attempt to impose violent hands
upon the person of this noble knight. If there be yet spirit in a
Scottish Parliament, we will make you hear of this elsewhere, my lords!"

"Spare your threats," said Murray; "it may be, my purpose with
Sir Piercie Shafton is not such as thou dost suppose--Attach him,
pursuivant, as our prisoner, rescue or no rescue."

"I yield myself," said the Euphuist, "reserving my right to defy my Lord
of Murray and my Lord of Morton to single duel, even as one gentleman
may demand satisfaction of another."

"You shall not want those who will answer your challenge, Sir Knight,"
replied Morton, "without aspiring to men above thine own degree."

"And where am I to find these superlative champions," said the English
knight, "whose blood runs more pure than that of Piercie Shafton?"

"Here is a flight for you, my lord!" said Murray.

"As ever was flown by a wild-goose," said Stawarth Bolton, who had now
approached to the front of the party.

"Who dared to say that word?" said the Euphuist, his face crimson with

"Tut! man," said Bolton, "make the best of it, thy mother's father was
but a tailor, old Overstitch of Holderness--Why, what! because thou art
a misproud bird, and despiseth thine own natural lineage, and rufflest
in unpaid silks and velvets, and keepest company with gallants and
cutters, must we lose our memory for that? Thy mother, Moll Overstitch,
was the prettiest wench in those parts--she was wedded by wild Shafton
of Wilverton, who men say, was akin to the Piercie on the wrong side of
the blanket."

"Help the knight to some strong waters," said Morton; "he hath fallen
from such a height, that he is stunned with the tumble."

In fact, Sir Piercie Shafton looked like a man stricken by a
thunderbolt, while, notwithstanding the seriousness of the scene
hitherto, no one of those present, not even the Abbot himself, could
refrain from laughing at the rueful and mortified expression of his

"Laugh on," he said at length, "laugh on, my masters," shrugging his
shoulders; "it is not for me to be offended--yet would I know full fain
from that squire who is laughing with the loudest, how he had discovered
this unhappy blot in an otherwise spotless lineage, and for what purpose
he hath made it known?"

"_I_ make it known?" said Halbert Glendinning, in astonishment,--for to
him this pathetic appeal was made,--"I never heard the thing till this

[Footnote: The contrivance of provoking the irritable vanity of Sir
Piercie Shafton, by presenting him with a bodkin, indicative of his
descent from a tailor, is borrowed from a German romance, by the
celebrated Tieck, called Das Peter Manchem, _i. e._ The Dwarf Peter. The
being who gives name to the tale, is the Burg-geist, or castle spectre,
of a German family, whom he aids with his counsel, as he defends their
castle by his supernatural power. But the Dwarf Peter is so unfortunate
an adviser, that all his counsels, though producing success in the
immediate results, are in the issue attended with mishap and with guilt.
The youthful baron, the owner of the haunted castle, falls in love with
a maiden, the daughter of a neighbouring count, a man of great pride,
who refuses him the hand of the young lady, on account of his own
superiority of descent. The lover, repulsed and affronted, returns to
take counsel with the Dwarf Peter, how he may silence the count, and
obtain the victory in the argument, the next time they enter on the
topic of pedigree. The dwarf gives his patron or pupil a horse-shoe,
instructing him to give it to the count when he is next giving
himself superior airs on the subject of his family. It has the effect
accordingly. The count, understanding it as an allusion to a misalliance
of one of his ancestors with the daughter of a blacksmith, is thrown
into a dreadful passion with the young lover, the consequences of which
are the seduction of the young lady, and the slaughter of her father.

If we suppose the dwarf to represent the corrupt part of human
nature,--that "law in our members which wars against the law of our
minds,"--the work forms an ingenious allegory.]

"Why, did not that old rude soldier learn it from thee?" said the
knight, in increasing amazement.

"Not I, by Heaven!" said Bolton; "I never saw the youth in my life

"But you _have_ seen him ere now, my worthy master," said Dame
Glendinning, bursting in her turn from the crowd. "My son, this is
Stawarth Bolton, he to whom we owe life, and the means of preserving
it--if he be a prisoner, as seems most likely, use thine interest with
these noble lords to be kind to the widow's friend."

"What, my Dame of the Glen!" said Bolton, "thy brow is more withered, as
well as mine, since we met last, but thy tongue holds the touch better
than my arm. This boy of thine gave me the foil sorely this morning. The
Brown Varlet has turned as stout a trooper as I prophesied; and where is
White Head?"

"Alas!" said the mother, looking down, "Edward has taken orders, and
become a monk of this Abbey."

"A monk and a soldier!--Evil trades both, my good dame. Better have
made one a good master fashioner, like old Overstitch, of Holderness. I
sighed when I envied you the two bonny children, but I sigh not now to
call either the monk or the soldier mine own. The soldier dies in the
field, the monk scarce lives in the cloister."

"My dearest mother," said Halbert, "where is Edward--can I not speak
with him?"

"He has just left us for the present," said Father Philip, "upon a
message from the Lord Abbot."

"And Mary, my dearest mother?" said Halbert.--Mary Avenel was not far
distant, and the three were soon withdrawn from the crowd, to hear and
relate their various chances of fortune.

While the subordinate personages thus disposed of themselves, the Abbot
held serious discussion with the two Earls, and, partly yielding to
their demands, partly defending himself with skill and eloquence,
was enabled to make a composition for his Convent, which left it
provisionally in no worse situation than before. The Earls were the more
reluctant to drive matters to extremity, since he protested, that if
urged beyond what his conscience would comply with, he would throw the
whole lands of the Monastery into the Queen of Scotland's hands, to be
disposed of at her pleasure. This would not have answered the views of
the Earls, who were contented, for the time, with a moderate sacrifice
of money and lands. Matters being so far settled, the Abbot became
anxious for the fate of Sir Piercie Shafton, and implored mercy in his

"He is a coxcomb," he said, "my lords, but he is a generous, though a
vain fool; and it is my firm belief you have this day done him more pain
than if you had run a poniard into him."

"Run a needle into him you mean, Abbot," said the Earl of Morton; "by
mine honour, I thought this grandson of a fashioner of doublets was
descended from a crowned head at least!"

"I hold with the Abbot," said Murray; "there were little honour in
surrendering him to Elizabeth, but he shall be sent where he can do her
no injury. Our pursuivant and Bolton shall escort him to Dunbar, and
ship him off for Flanders.--But soft, here he comes, and leading a
female, as I think."

"Lords and others," said the English knight with great solemnity, "make
way for the Lady of Piercie Shafton--a secret which I listed not to make
known, till fate, which hath betrayed what I vainly strove to conceal,
makes me less desirous to hide that which I now announce to you."

"It is Mysie Happer, the Miller's daughter, on my life!" said Tibb
Tacket. "I thought the pride of these Piercies would have a fa'."

"It is indeed the lovely Mysinda," said the knight, "whose merits
towards her devoted servant deserved higher rank than he had to bestow."

"I suspect, though," said Murray, "that we should not have heard of the
Miller's daughter being made a lady, had not the knight proved to be the
grandson of a tailor."

"My lord," said Piercie Shafton, "it is poor valour to strike him
that cannot smite again; and I hope you will consider what is due to
a prisoner by the law of arms, and say nothing more on this odious
subject. When I am once more mine own man, I will find a new road to

"_Shape_ one, I presume," said the Earl of Morton.

"Nay, Douglas, you will drive him mad,"--said Murray; "besides, we
have other matter in hand--I must see Warden wed Glendinning with Mary
Avenel, and put him in possession of his wife's castle without delay. It
will be best done ere our forces leave these parts."

"And I," said the Miller, "have the like grist to grind; for I hope some
one of the good fathers will wed my wench with her gay bridegroom."

"It needs not," said Shafton; "the ceremonial hath been solemnly

"It will not be the worse of another bolting," said the Miller; "it is
always best to be sure, as I say when I chance to take multure twice
from the same meal-sack."

"Stave the miller off him," said Murray, "or he will worry him dead.
The Abbot, my lord, offers us the hospitality of the Convent; I move we
should repair hither, Sir Piercie and all of us. I must learn to know
the Maid of Avenel--to-morrow I must act as her father--All Scotland
shall see how Murray can reward a faithful servant."

Mary Avenel and her lover avoided meeting the Abbot, and took up their
temporary abode in a house of the village, where next day their hands
were united by the Protestant preacher in presence of the two Earls.
On the same day Piercie Shafton and his bride departed, under an escort
which was to conduct him to the sea-side, and see him embark for the Low
Countries. Early on the following morning the bands of the Earls were
under march to the Castle of Avenel, to invest the young bridegroom
with the property of his wife, which was surrendered to them without

But not without those omens which seemed to mark every remarkable event
which befell the fated family, did Mary take possession of the ancient
castle of her forefathers. The same warlike form which had appeared more
than once at Glendearg, was seen by Tibb Tacket and Martin, who returned
with their young mistress to partake her altered fortunes. It glided
before the cavalcade as they advanced upon the long causeway, paused
at each drawbridge, and flourished its hand, as in triumph, as it
disappeared under the gloomy archway, which was surmounted by the
insignia of the house of Avenel. The two trusty servants made their
vision only known to Dame Glendinning, who, with much pride of heart,
had accompanied her son to see him take his rank among the barons of the
land. "Oh, my dear bairn!" she exclaimed, when she heard the tale, "the
castle is a grand place to be sure, but I wish ye dinna a' desire to be
back in the quiet braes of Glendearg before the play be played out."
But this natural reflection, springing from maternal anxiety, was soon
forgotten amid the busy and pleasing task of examining and admiring the
new habitation of her son.

While these affairs were passing, Edward had hidden himself and his
sorrows in the paternal Tower of Glendearg, where every object was full
of matter for bitter reflection. The Abbot's kindness had despatched him
thither upon pretence of placing some papers belonging to the Abbey in
safety and secrecy; but in reality to prevent his witnessing the triumph
of his brother. Through the deserted apartments, the scene of so many
bitter reflections, the unhappy youth stalked like a discontented ghost,
conjuring up around him at every step new subjects for sorrow and for
self-torment. Impatient, at length, of the state of irritation and
agonized recollection in which he found himself, he rushed out and
walked hastily up the glen, as if to shake off the load which hung
upon his mind. The sun was setting when he reached the entrance of
Corri-nan-shian, and the recollection of what he had seen when he last
visited that haunted ravine, burst on his mind. He was in a humour,
however, rather to seek out danger than to avoid it.

"I will face this mystic being," he said; "she foretold the fate which
has wrapt me in this dress,--I will know whether she has aught else to
tell me of a life which cannot but be miserable."

He failed not to see the White Spirit seated by her accustomed haunt,
and singing in her usual low and sweet tone. While she sung, she seemed
to look with sorrow on her golden zone, which was now diminished to the
fineness of a silken thread.

  "Fare thee well, thou Holly green,
  Thou shall seldom now be seen,
  With all thy glittering garlands bending,
  As to greet my slow descending,
  Startling the bewilder'd hind.
  Who sees thee wave without a wind.

  "Farewell, Fountain! now not long
  Shalt thou murmur to my song,
  While thy crystal bubbles glancing,
  Keep the time in mystic dancing,
  Rise and swell, are burst and lost,
  Like mortal schemes by fortune crost.

  "The knot of fate at length is tied,
  The Churl is Lord, the Maid is bride.
  Vainly did my magic sleight
  Send the lover from her sight;
  Wither bush, and perish well,
  Fall'n is lofty Avenel!"

The vision seemed to weep while she sung; and the words impressed on
Edward a melancholy belief, that the alliance of Mary with his brother
might be fatal to them both.

       *       *       *       *       *

Here terminates the First Part of the Benedictine's Manuscript. I have
in vain endeavoured to ascertain the precise period of the story, as
the dates cannot be exactly reconciled with those of the most accredited
histories. But it is astonishing how careless the writers of Utopia are
upon these important subjects. I observe that the learned Mr. Laurence
Templeton, in his late publication entitled IVANHOE, has not only
blessed the bed of Edward the Confessor with an offspring unknown to
history, with sundry other solecisms of the same kind, but has inverted
the order of nature, and feasted his swine with acorns in the midst of
summer. All that can be alleged by the warmest admirer of this author
amounts to this,--that the circumstances objected to are just as true
as the rest of the story; which appears to me (more especially in the
matter of the acorns) to be a very imperfect defence, and that the
author will do well to profit by Captain Absolute's advice to his
servant, and never tell him more lies than are indispensably necessary.

                End of THE MONASTERY.

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