Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Anne of Geierstein - (Volume 2 of 2)
Author: Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Anne of Geierstein - (Volume 2 of 2)" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)



Transcriber's Note:

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Inconsistent
  spelling, hyphenation, and capitalization (e.g. his grace/Grace) in
  the original document have been preserved.

  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold text by =equal
  signs=.



     WAVERLEY NOVELS

     FORTY-EIGHT VOLUMES
     VOLUME XLIV.



     BORDER EDITION

     The Introductory Essays and Notes by ANDREW LANG to this
     Edition of the Waverley Novels are Copyright

     [Illustration: KING RENÉ.
      Drawn and Etched by R. de Los Rios.]



     ANNE OF GEIERSTEIN

     BY

     SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.

     WITH INTRODUCTORY ESSAY AND NOTES
     BY ANDREW LANG

     TEN ETCHINGS

     VOLUME II.

     LONDON

     JOHN C. NIMMO

     14, KING WILLIAM STREET, STRAND

     MDCCCXCIV



     PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO.
     At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh



LIST OF ETCHINGS.

PRINTED BY F. GOULDING, LONDON.


VOLUME THE SECOND.

     KING RENÉ. Drawn and Etched by R. de Los Rios
     (p. 213)                                         Frontispiece

     THE SECRET TRIBUNAL. Drawn and Etched by R. de
     Los Rios                                      To face page 32

     ARTHUR BEFORE THE QUEEN. Drawn and Etched by
     R. de Los Rios                                            112

     THE DEFIANCE. Drawn and Etched by R. de Los
     Rios                                                      182

     THE FUNERAL OF THE QUEEN. Drawn and Etched by
     R. de Los Rios                                            288



     ANNE OF GEIERSTEIN;
     OR,
     THE MAIDEN OF THE MIST.


     What! will the aspiring blood of Lancaster
     Sink in the ground?

     SHAKSPEARE.



CHAPTER I.

     _1st Carrier._ What, ostler!--a plague on thee, hast never
     an eye in thy head? Canst thou not hear? An 'twere not as
     good a deed as drink to break the pate of thee, I am a
     very villain--Come, and be hanged--Hast thou no faith in
     thee?

     _Gadshill._ I pray thee, lend me thy lantern, to see my
     gelding in the stable.

     _2d Carrier._ Nay, soft, I pray you--I know a trick worth
     two of that.

     _Gadshill._ I prithee lend me thine.

     _3d Carrier._ Ay, when? Canst tell?--Lend thee my lantern,
     quotha? Marry, I'll see thee hanged first.
                                                   _Henry IV._


The social spirit peculiar to the French nation had already introduced
into the inns of that country the gay and cheerful character of
welcome upon which Erasmus, at a later period, dwells with strong
emphasis, as a contrast to the saturnine and sullen reception which
strangers were apt to meet with at a German caravansera. Philipson
was, therefore, in expectation of being received by the busy, civil,
and talkative host--by the hostess and her daughter, all softness,
coquetry, and glee--the smiling and supple waiter--the officious and
dimpled chambermaid. The better inns in France boast also separate
rooms, where strangers could change or put in order their dress, where
they might sleep without company in their bedroom, and where they
could deposit their baggage in privacy and safety. But all these
luxuries were as yet unknown in Germany; and in Alsace, where the
scene now lies, as well as in the other dependencies of the Empire,
they regarded as effeminacy everything beyond such provisions as were
absolutely necessary for the supply of the wants of travellers; and
even these were coarse and indifferent, and, excepting in the article
of wine, sparingly ministered.

The Englishman, finding that no one appeared at the gate, began to
make his presence known by calling aloud, and finally by alighting,
and smiting with all his might on the doors of the hostelry for a long
time, without attracting the least attention. At length the head of a
grizzled servitor was thrust out at a small window, who, in a voice
which sounded like that of one displeased at the interruption, rather
than hopeful of advantage from the arrival of a guest, demanded what
he wanted.

"Is this an inn?" replied Philipson.

"Yes," bluntly replied the domestic, and was about to withdraw from
the window, when the traveller added,--

"And if it be, can I have lodgings?"

"You may come in," was the short and dry answer.

"Send some one to take the horses," replied Philipson.

"No one is at leisure," replied this most repulsive of waiters; "you
must litter down your horses yourself, in the way that likes you
best."

"Where is the stable?" said the merchant, whose prudence and temper
were scarce proof against this Dutch phlegm.

The fellow, who seemed as sparing of his words as if, like the
Princess in the fairy tale, he had dropped ducats with each of them,
only pointed to a door in an outer building, more resembling that of a
cellar than of a stable, and, as if weary of the conference, drew in
his head, and shut the window sharply against the guest, as he would
against an importunate beggar.

Cursing the spirit of independence which left a traveller to his own
resources and exertions, Philipson, making a virtue of necessity, led
the two nags towards the door pointed out as that of the stable, and
was rejoiced at heart to see light glimmering through its chinks. He
entered with his charge into a place very like the dungeon vault of an
ancient castle, rudely fitted up with some racks and mangers. It was
of considerable extent in point of length, and at the lower end two or
three persons were engaged in tying up their horses, dressing them,
and dispensing them their provender.

This last article was delivered by the ostler, a very old lame man,
who neither put his hand to wisp or curry-comb, but sat weighing forth
hay by the pound, and counting out corn, as it seemed, by the grain,
so anxiously did he bend over his task, by the aid of a blinking light
enclosed within a horn lantern. He did not even turn his head at the
noise which the Englishman made on entering the place with two
additional horses, far less did he seem disposed to give himself the
least trouble, or the stranger the smallest assistance.

In respect of cleanliness, the stable of Augeas bore no small
resemblance to that of this Alsatian _dorf_, and it would have been an
exploit worthy of Hercules to have restored it to such a state of
cleanliness as would have made it barely decent in the eyes, and
tolerable to the nostrils, of the punctilious Englishman. But this was
a matter which disgusted Philipson himself much more than those of his
party which were principally concerned. They, _videlicet_ the two
horses, seeming perfectly to understand that the rule of the place was
"first come first served," hastened to occupy the empty stalls which
happened to be nearest to them. In this one of them at least was
disappointed, being received by a groom with a blow across the face
with a switch.

"Take that," said the fellow, "for forcing thyself into the place
taken up for the horses of the Baron of Randelsheim."

Never in the course of his life had the English merchant more pain to
retain possession of his temper than at that moment. Reflecting,
however, on the discredit of quarrelling with such a man in such a
cause, he contented himself with placing the animal, thus repulsed
from the stall he had chosen, into one next to that of his companion,
to which no one seemed to lay claim.

The merchant then proceeded, notwithstanding the fatigue of the day,
to pay all that attention to the mute companions of his journey which
they deserve from every traveller who has any share of prudence, to
say nothing of humanity. The unusual degree of trouble which Philipson
took to arrange his horses, although his dress, and much more his
demeanour, seemed to place him above this species of servile labour,
appeared to make an impression even upon the iron insensibility of the
old ostler himself. He showed some alacrity in furnishing the
traveller, who knew the business of a groom so well, with corn, straw,
and hay, though in small quantity, and at exorbitant rates, which were
instantly to be paid; nay, he even went as far as the door of the
stable, that he might point across the court to the well, from which
Philipson was obliged to fetch water with his own hands. The duties of
the stable being finished, the merchant concluded that he had gained
such an interest with the grim master of the horse, as to learn of him
whether he might leave his bales safely in the stable.

"You may leave them if you will," said the ostler; "but touching their
safety, you will do much more wisely if you take them with you, and
give no temptation to any one by suffering them to pass from under
your own eyes."

So saying, the man of oats closed his oracular jaws, nor could he be
prevailed upon to unlock them again by any inquiry which his customer
could devise.

In the course of this cold and comfortless reception, Philipson
recollected the necessity of supporting the character of a prudent and
wary trader, which he had forgotten once before in the course of the
day; and, imitating what he saw the others do, who had been, like
himself, engaged in taking charge of their horses, he took up his
baggage, and removed himself and his property to the inn. Here he was
suffered to enter, rather than admitted, into the general or public
_stube_, or room of entertainment, which, like the ark of the
patriarch, received all ranks without distinction, whether clean or
unclean.

The _stube_, or stove, of a German inn, derived its name from the
great hypocaust, which is always strongly heated to secure the warmth
of the apartment in which it is placed. There travellers of every age
and description assembled--there their upper garments were
indiscriminately hung up around the stove to dry or to air--and the
guests themselves were seen employed in various acts of ablution or
personal arrangement, which are generally, in modern times, referred
to the privacy of the dressing-room.

The more refined feelings of the Englishman were disgusted with this
scene, and he was reluctant to mingle in it. For this reason he
inquired for the private retreat of the landlord himself, trusting
that, by some of the arguments powerful among his tribe, he might
obtain separate quarters from the crowd, and a morsel of food, to be
eaten in private. A grey-haired Ganymede, to whom he put the question
where the landlord was, indicated a recess behind the huge stove,
where, veiling his glory in a very dark and extremely hot corner, it
pleased the great man to obscure himself from vulgar gaze. There was
something remarkable about this person. Short, stout, bandylegged, and
consequential, he was in these respects like many brethren of the
profession in all countries. But the countenance of the man, and still
more his manners, differed more from the merry host of France or
England than even the experienced Philipson was prepared to expect. He
knew German customs too well to expect the suppliant and serviceable
qualities of the master of a French inn, or even the more blunt and
frank manners of an English landlord. But such German innkeepers as he
had yet seen, though indeed arbitrary and peremptory in their country
fashions, yet, being humoured in these, they, like tyrants in their
hours of relaxation, dealt kindly with the guests over whom their sway
extended, and mitigated, by jest and jollity, the harshness of their
absolute power. But this man's brow was like a tragic volume, in which
you were as unlikely to find anything of jest or amusement, as in a
hermit's breviary. His answers were short, sudden, and repulsive, and
the air and manner with which they were delivered was as surly as
their tenor; which will appear from the following dialogue betwixt him
and his guest:--

"Good host," said Philipson, in the mildest tone he could assume, "I
am fatigued, and far from well--May I request to have a separate
apartment, a cup of wine, and a morsel of food, in my private
chamber?"

"You may," answered the landlord; but with a look strangely at
variance with the apparent acquiescence which his words naturally
implied.

"Let me have such accommodation, then, with your earliest
convenience."

"Soft!" replied the innkeeper. "I have said that you may request these
things, but not that I would grant them. If you would insist on being
served differently from others, it must be at another inn than mine."

"Well, then," said the traveller, "I will shift without supper for a
night--nay, more, I will be content to pay for a supper which I do
not eat, if you will cause me to be accommodated with a private
apartment."

"Seignor traveller," said the innkeeper, "every one here must be
accommodated as well as you, since all pay alike. Whoso comes to this
house of entertainment must eat as others eat, drink as others drink,
sit at table with the rest of my guests, and go to bed when the
company have done drinking."

"All this," said Philipson, humbling himself where anger would have
been ridiculous, "is highly reasonable; and I do not oppose myself to
your laws or customs. But," added he, taking his purse from his
girdle, "sickness craves some privilege; and when the patient is
willing to pay for it, methinks the rigour of your laws may admit of
some mitigation?"

"I keep an inn, Seignor, and not a hospital. If you remain here, you
shall be served with the same attention as others,--if you are not
willing to do as others do, leave my house and seek another inn."

On receiving this decisive rebuff, Philipson gave up the contest, and
retired from the _sanctum sanctorum_ of his ungracious host, to await
the arrival of supper, penned up like a bullock in a pound, amongst
the crowded inhabitants of the _stube_. Some of these, exhausted by
fatigue, snored away the interval between their own arrival and that
of the expected repast; others conversed together on the news of the
country, and others again played at dice, or such games as might serve
to consume the time. The company were of various ranks, from those who
were apparently wealthy and well appointed, to some whose garments
and manners indicated that they were but just beyond the grasp of
poverty.

A begging friar, a man apparently of a gay and pleasant temper,
approached Philipson, and engaged him in conversation. The Englishman
was well enough acquainted with the world to be aware, that whatever
of his character and purpose it was desirable to conceal would be best
hidden under a sociable and open demeanour. He, therefore, received
the friar's approaches graciously, and conversed with him upon the
state of Lorraine, and the interest which the Duke of Burgundy's
attempt to seize that fief into his own hands was likely to create
both in France and Germany. On these subjects, satisfied with hearing
his fellow-traveller's sentiments, Philipson expressed no opinion of
his own, but, after receiving such intelligence as the friar chose to
communicate, preferred rather to talk upon the geography of the
country, the facilities afforded to commerce, and the rules which
obstructed or favoured trade.

While he was thus engaged in the conversation which seemed most to
belong to his profession, the landlord suddenly entered the room, and,
mounting on the head of an old barrel, glanced his eye slowly and
steadily round the crowded apartment, and when he had completed his
survey, pronounced, in a decisive tone, the double command,--"Shut the
gates! Spread the table!"

"The Baron St. Antonio be praised!" said the friar. "Our landlord has
given up hope of any more guests to-night, until which blessed time we
might have starved for want of food before he had relieved us. Ay,
here comes the cloth. The old gates of the courtyard are now bolted
fast enough; and when Johann Mengs has once said, 'Shut the gates,'
the stranger may knock on the outside as he will, but we may rest
assured that it shall not be opened to him."

"Meinherr Mengs maintains strict discipline in his house," said the
Englishman.

"As absolute as the Duke of Burgundy," answered the friar. "After ten
o'clock, no admittance--the 'seek another inn,' which is before that a
conditional hint, becomes, after the clock has struck, and the
watchmen have begun their rounds, an absolute order of exclusion. He
that is without remains without, and he that is within must, in like
manner, continue there until the gates open at break of day. Till then
the house is almost like a beleaguered citadel, John Mengs its
seneschal"--

"And we its captives, good father," said Philipson. "Well, content am
I. A wise traveller must submit to the control of the leaders of the
people when he travels; and I hope a goodly fat potentate, like John
Mengs, will be as clement as his station and dignity admit of."

While they were talking in this manner, the aged waiter, with many a
weary sigh and many a groan, had drawn out certain boards, by which a
table that stood in the midst of the _stube_ had the capacity of being
extended, so as to contain the company present, and covered it with a
cloth, which was neither distinguished by extreme cleanliness nor
fineness of texture. On this table, when it had been accommodated to
receive the necessary number of guests, a wooden trencher and spoon,
together with a glass drinking-cup, were placed before each, he being
expected to serve himself with his own knife for the other purposes
of the table. As for forks, they were unknown until a much later
period, all the Europeans of that day making the same use of the
fingers to select their morsels and transport them to the mouth which
the Asiatics now practise.

The board was no sooner arranged than the hungry guests hastened to
occupy their seats around it; for which purpose the sleepers were
awakened, the dicers resigned their game, and the idlers and
politicians broke off their sage debates, in order to secure their
station at the supper-table, and be ready to perform their part in the
interesting solemnity which seemed about to take place. But there is
much between the cup and the lip, and not less sometimes between the
covering of a table and the placing food upon it. The guests sat in
order, each with his knife drawn, already menacing the victuals which
were still subject to the operations of the cook. They had waited,
with various degrees of patience, for full half an hour, when at
length the old attendant before mentioned entered with a pitcher of
thin Moselle wine, so light and so sharp-tasted that Philipson put
down his cup with every tooth in his head set on edge by the slender
portion which he had swallowed. The landlord, John Mengs, who had
assumed a seat somewhat elevated at the head of the table, did not
omit to observe this mark of insubordination, and to animadvert upon
it.

"The wine likes you not, I think, my master?" said he to the English
merchant.

"For wine, no," answered Philipson; "but could I see anything
requiring such sauce, I have seldom seen better vinegar."

This jest, though uttered in the most calm and composed manner, seemed
to drive the innkeeper to fury.

"Who are you," he exclaimed, "for a foreign pedlar, that ventures to
quarrel with my wine, which has been approved of by so many princes,
dukes, reigning dukes, graves, rhinegraves, counts, barons, and
knights of the Empire, whose shoes you are altogether unworthy even to
clean? Was it not of this wine that the Count Palatine of Nimmersatt
drank six quarts before he ever rose from the blessed chair in which I
now sit?"

"I doubt it not, mine host," said Philipson; "nor should I think of
scandalising the sobriety of your honourable guest, even if he had
drunken twice the quantity."

"Silence, thou malicious railer!" said the host; "and let instant
apology be made to me, and the wine which you have calumniated, or I
will instantly command the supper to be postponed till midnight."

Here there was a general alarm among the guests, all abjuring any part
in the censures of Philipson, and most of them proposing that John
Mengs should avenge himself on the actual culprit by turning him
instantly out of doors, rather than involve so many innocent and
famished persons in the consequences of his guilt. The wine they
pronounced excellent; some two or three even drank their glass out, to
make their words good; and they all offered, if not with lives and
fortunes, at least with hands and feet, to support the ban of the
house against the contumacious Englishman. While petition and
remonstrance were assailing John Mengs on every side, the friar, like
a wise counsellor and a trusty friend, endeavoured to end the feud by
advising Philipson to submit to the host's sovereignty.

"Humble thyself, my son," he said; "bend the stubbornness of thy heart
before the great lord of the spigot and butt. I speak for the sake of
others as well as my own; for Heaven alone knows how much longer they
or I can endure this extenuating fast!"

"Worthy guests," said Philipson, "I am grieved to have offended our
respected host, and am so far from objecting to the wine that I will
pay for a double flagon of it, to be served all round to this
honourable company--so, only, they do not ask me to share of it."

These last words were spoken aside; but the Englishman could not fail
to perceive, from the wry mouths of some of the party who were
possessed of a nicer palate, that they were as much afraid as himself
of a repetition of the acid potation.

The friar next addressed the company with a proposal that the foreign
merchant, instead of being amerced in a measure of the liquor which he
had scandalised, should be mulcted in an equal quantity of the more
generous wines which were usually produced after the repast had been
concluded. In this mine host, as well as the guests, found their
advantage; and, as Philipson made no objection, the proposal was
unanimously adopted, and John Mengs gave, from his seat of dignity,
the signal for supper to be served.

The long-expected meal appeared, and there was twice as much time
employed in consuming as there had been in expecting it. The articles
of which the supper consisted, as well as the mode of serving them
up, were as much calculated to try the patience of the company as the
delay which had preceded its appearance. Messes of broth and
vegetables followed in succession, with platters of meat sodden and
roasted, of which each in its turn took a formal course around the
ample table, and was specially subjected to every one in rotation.
Black-puddings, hung beef, dried fish, also made the circuit, with
various condiments, called botargo, caviare, and similar names,
composed of the roes of fish mixed with spices, and the like
preparations, calculated to awaken thirst and encourage deep drinking.
Flagons of wine accompanied these stimulating dainties. The liquor was
so superior in flavour and strength to the ordinary wine which had
awakened so much controversy, that it might be objected to on the
opposite account, being so heady, fiery, and strong, that, in spite of
the rebuffs which his criticism had already procured, Philipson
ventured to ask for some cold water to allay it.

"You are too difficult to please, sir guest," replied the landlord,
again bending upon the Englishman a stern and offended brow; "if you
find the wine too strong in my house, the secret to allay its strength
is to drink the less. It is indifferent to us whether you drink or
not, so you pay the reckoning of those good fellows who do." And he
laughed a gruff laugh.

Philipson was about to reply, but the friar, retaining his character
of mediator, plucked him by the cloak, and entreated him to forbear.
"You do not understand the ways of the place," said he; "it is not
here as in the hostelries of England and France, where each guest
calls for what he desires for his own use, and where he pays for what
he has required, and for no more. Here we proceed on a broad principle
of equality and fraternity. No one asks for anything in particular;
but such provisions as the host thinks sufficient are set down before
all indiscriminately; and as with the feast, so is it with the
reckoning. All pay their proportions alike, without reference to the
quantity of wine which one may have swallowed more than another; and
thus the sick and infirm, nay, the female and the child, pay the same
as the hungry peasant and strolling _lanzknecht_."

"It seems an unequal custom," said Philipson; "but travellers are not
to judge. So that when a reckoning is called, every one, I am to
understand, pays alike?"

"Such is the rule," said the friar,--"excepting, perhaps, some poor
brother of our own order, whom Our Lady and St. Francis send into such
a scene as this, that good Christians may bestow their alms upon him,
and so make a step on their road to Heaven."

The first words of this speech were spoken in the open and independent
tone in which the friar had begun the conversation; the last sentence
died away into the professional whine of mendicity proper to the
convent, and at once apprised Philipson at what price he was to pay
for the friar's counsel and mediation. Having thus explained the
custom of the country, good Father Gratian turned to illustrate it by
his example, and, having no objection to the new service of wine on
account of its strength, he seemed well disposed to signalise himself
amongst some stout topers, who, by drinking deeply, appeared
determined to have full pennyworths for their share of the reckoning.
The good wine gradually did its office, and even the host relaxed his
sullen and grim features, and smiled to see the kindling flame of
hilarity catch from one to another, and at length embrace almost all
the numerous guests at the table d'hôte, except a few who were too
temperate to partake deeply of the wine, or too fastidious to enter
into the discussions to which it gave rise. On these the host cast,
from time to time, a sullen and displeased eye.

Philipson, who was reserved and silent, both in consequence of his
abstinence from the wine-pot and his unwillingness to mix in
conversation with strangers, was looked upon by the landlord as a
defaulter in both particulars; and as he aroused his own sluggish
nature with the fiery wine, Mengs began to throw out obscure hints
about kill-joy, mar-company, spoil-sport, and such like epithets,
which were plainly directed against the Englishman. Philipson replied,
with the utmost equanimity, that he was perfectly sensible that his
spirits did not at this moment render him an agreeable member of a
merry company, and that with the leave of those present he would
withdraw to his sleeping-apartment, and wish them all a good evening,
and continuance to their mirth.

But this very reasonable proposal, as it might have elsewhere seemed,
contained in it treason against the laws of German compotation.

"Who are you," said John Mengs, "who presume to leave the table before
the reckoning is called and settled? Sapperment der teufel! we are
not men upon whom such an offence is to be put with impunity! You may
exhibit your polite pranks in Rams-Alley if you will, or in Eastcheap,
or in Smithfield; but it shall not be in John Mengs's Golden Fleece,
nor will I suffer one guest to go to bed to blink out of the
reckoning, and so cheat me and all the rest of my company."

Philipson looked round, to gather the sentiments of the company, but
saw no encouragement to appeal to their judgment. Indeed, many of them
had little judgment left to appeal to, and those who paid any
attention to the matter at all were some quiet old soakers, who were
already beginning to think of the reckoning, and were disposed to
agree with the host in considering the English merchant as a flincher,
who was determined to evade payment of what might be drunk after he
left the room; so that John Mengs received the applause of the whole
company, when he concluded his triumphant denunciation against
Philipson.

"Yes, sir, you may withdraw if you please; but, poz element! it shall
not be for this time to seek for another inn, but to the courtyard
shall you go, and no farther, there to make your bed upon the stable
litter; and good enough for the man that will needs be the first to
break up good company."

"It is well said, my jovial host," said a rich trader from Ratisbon;
"and here are some six of us--more or less--who will stand by you to
maintain the good old customs of Germany; and the--umph--laudable
and--and praiseworthy rules of the Golden Fleece."

"Nay, be not angry, sir," said Philipson; "yourself and your three
companions, whom the good wine has multiplied into six, shall have
your own way of ordering the matter; and since you will not permit me
to go to bed, I trust that you will take no offence if I fall asleep
in my chair."

"How say you? what think you, mine host?" said the citizen from
Ratisbon; "may the gentleman, being drunk, as you see he is, since he
cannot tell that three and one make six--I say, may he, being drunk,
sleep in the elbow-chair?"

This question introduced a contradiction on the part of the host, who
contended that three and one made four, not six; and this again
produced a retort from the Ratisbon trader. Other clamours rose at the
same time, and were at length with difficulty silenced by the stanzas
of a chorus song of mirth and good fellowship, which the friar, now
become somewhat oblivious of the rule of St. Francis, thundered forth
with better good-will than he ever sang a canticle of King David.
Under cover of this tumult, Philipson drew himself a little aside, and
though he felt it impossible to sleep, as he had proposed, was yet
enabled to escape the reproachful glances with which John Mengs
distinguished all those who did not call for wine loudly, and drink it
lustily. His thoughts roamed far from the _stube_ of the Golden
Fleece, and upon matter very different from that which was discussed
around him, when his attention was suddenly recalled by a loud and
continued knocking on the door of the hostelry.

"What have we here?" said John Mengs, his nose reddening with very
indignation; "who the foul fiend presses on the Golden Fleece at such
an hour, as if he thundered at the door of a bordel? To the turret
window some one--Geoffrey, knave ostler, or thou, old Timothy, tell
the rash man there is no admittance into the Golden Fleece save at
timeous hours."

The men went as they were directed, and might be heard in the _stube_
vying with each other in the positive denial which they gave to the
ill-fated guest who was pressing for admission. They returned,
however, to inform their master, that they were unable to overcome the
obstinacy of the stranger, who refused positively to depart until he
had an interview with Mengs himself.

Wroth was the master of the Golden Fleece at this ill-omened
pertinacity, and his indignation extended, like a fiery exhalation,
from his nose, all over the adjacent regions of his cheeks and brow.
He started from his chair, grasped in his hand a stout stick, which
seemed his ordinary sceptre or leading staff of command, and muttering
something concerning cudgels for the shoulders of fools, and pitchers
of fair or foul water for the drenching of their ears, he marched off
to the window which looked into the court, and left his guests
nodding, winking, and whispering to each other, in full expectation of
hearing the active demonstrations of his wrath. It happened otherwise,
however; for, after the exchange of a few indistinct words, they were
astonished when they heard the noise of the unbolting and unbarring of
the gates of the inn, and presently after the footsteps of men upon
the stairs; and the landlord entering, with an appearance of clumsy
courtesy, prayed those assembled to make room for an honoured guest,
who came, though late, to add to their numbers. A tall dark form
followed, muffled in a travelling-cloak; on laying aside which,
Philipson at once recognised his late fellow-traveller, the Black
Priest of St. Paul's.

There was in the circumstance itself nothing at all surprising, since
it was natural that a landlord, however coarse and insolent to
ordinary guests, might yet show deference to an ecclesiastic, whether
from his rank in the Church or from his reputation for sanctity. But
what did appear surprising to Philipson was the effect produced by the
entrance of this unexpected guest. He seated himself, without
hesitation, at the highest place of the board, from which John Mengs
had dethroned the aforesaid trader from Ratisbon, notwithstanding his
zeal for ancient German customs, his steady adherence and loyalty to
the Golden Fleece, and his propensity to brimming goblets. The priest
took instant and unscrupulous possession of his seat of honour, after
some negligent reply to the host's unwonted courtesy; when it seemed
that the effect of his long black vestments, in place of the slashed
and flounced coat of his predecessor, as well as of the cold grey eye
with which he slowly reviewed the company, in some degree resembled
that of the fabulous Gorgon, and if it did not literally convert those
who looked upon it into stone, there was yet something petrifying in
the steady unmoved glance with which he seemed to survey them, looking
as if desirous of reading their very inmost souls, and passing from
one to another, as if each upon whom he looked in succession was
unworthy of longer consideration.

Philipson felt, in his turn, that momentary examination, in which,
however, there mingled nothing that seemed to convey recognition. All
the courage and composure of the Englishman could not prevent an
unpleasant feeling while under this mysterious man's eye, so that he
felt a relief when it passed from him and rested upon another of the
company, who seemed in turn to acknowledge the chilling effects of
that freezing glance. The noise of intoxicated mirth and drunken
disputation, the clamorous argument, and the still more boisterous
laugh, which had been suspended on the priest's entering the
eating-apartment, now, after one or two vain attempts to resume them,
died away, as if the feast had been changed to a funeral, and the
jovial guests had been at once converted into the lugubrious mutes who
attend on such solemnities. One little rosy-faced man, who afterwards
proved to be a tailor from Augsburg, ambitious, perhaps, of showing a
degree of courage not usually supposed consistent with his effeminate
trade, made a bold effort; and yet it was with a timid and restrained
voice that he called on the jovial friar to renew his song. But
whether it was that he did not dare to venture on an uncanonical
pastime in presence of a brother in orders, or whether he had some
other reason for declining the invitation, the merry churchman hung
his head, and shook it with such an expressive air of melancholy, that
the tailor drew back as if he had been detected in cabbaging from a
cardinal's robes, or cribbing the lace of some cope or altar gown. In
short, the revel was hushed into deep silence, and so attentive were
the company to what should arrive next, that the bells of the village
church, striking the first hour after midnight, made the guests start
as if they heard them rung backwards, to announce an assault or
conflagration. The Black Priest, who had taken some slight and hasty
repast, which the host had made no kind of objection to supplying him
with, seemed to think the bells, which announced the service of lauds,
being the first after midnight, a proper signal for breaking up the
party.

"We have eaten," he said, "that we may support life, let us pray that
we may be fit to meet death; which waits upon life as surely as night
upon day, or the shadow upon the sunbeam, though we know not when or
from whence it is to come upon us."

The company, as if mechanically, bent their uncovered heads, while the
priest said, with his deep and solemn voice, a Latin prayer,
expressing thanks to God for protection throughout the day, and
entreating for its continuance during the witching hours which were to
pass ere the day again commenced. The hearers bowed their heads in
token of acquiescence in the holy petition; and, when they raised
them, the Black Priest of St. Paul's had followed the host out of the
apartment, probably to that which was destined for his repose. His
absence was no sooner perceived than signs, and nods, and even
whispers were exchanged between the guests; but no one spoke above his
breath, or in such connected manner, as that Philipson could
understand anything distinctly from them. He himself ventured to ask
the friar, who sat near him, observing at the same time the under-tone
which seemed to be fashionable for the moment, whether the worthy
ecclesiastic who had left them was not the Priest of St. Paul's, on
the frontier town of La Ferette.

"And if you know it is he," said the friar, with a countenance and a
tone from which all signs of intoxication were suddenly banished,
"why do you ask of me?"

"Because," said the merchant, "I would willingly learn the spell which
so suddenly converted so many merry tipplers into men of sober
manners, and a jovial company into a convent of Carthusian friars?"

"Friend," said the friar, "thy discourse savoureth mightily of asking
after what thou knowest right well. But I am no such silly duck as to
be taken by a decoy. If thou knowest the Black Priest, thou canst not
be ignorant of the terrors which attend his presence, and that it were
safer to pass a broad jest in the holy House of Loretto than where he
shows himself."

So saying, and as if desirous of avoiding further discourse, he
withdrew to a distance from Philipson.

At the same moment the landlord again appeared, and, with more of the
usual manners of a publican than he had hitherto exhibited, commanded
his waiter, Geoffrey, to hand round to the company a sleeping-drink,
or pillow-cup of distilled water, mingled with spices, which was
indeed as good as Philipson himself had ever tasted. John Mengs, in
the meanwhile, with somewhat of more deference, expressed to his
guests a hope that his entertainment had given satisfaction; but this
was in so careless a manner, and he seemed so conscious of deserving
the affirmative which was expressed on all hands, that it became
obvious there was very little humility in proposing the question. The
old man, Timothy, was in the meantime mustering the guests, and
marking with chalk on the bottom of a trencher the reckoning, the
particulars of which were indicated by certain conventional
hieroglyphics, while he showed on another the division of the sum
total among the company, and proceeded to collect an equal share of it
from each. When the fatal trencher, in which each man paid down his
money, approached the jolly friar, his countenance seemed to be
somewhat changed. He cast a piteous look towards Philipson, as the
person from whom he had the most hope of relief; and our merchant,
though displeased with the manner in which he had held back from his
confidence, yet not unwilling in a strange country to incur a little
expense, in the hope of making a useful acquaintance, discharged the
mendicant's score as well as his own. The poor friar paid his thanks
in many a blessing in good German and bad Latin, but the host cut them
short; for, approaching Philipson with a candle in his hand, he
offered his own services to show him where he might sleep, and even
had the condescension to carry his mail, or portmanteau, with his own
landlordly hands.

"You take too much trouble, mine host," said the merchant, somewhat
surprised at the change in the manner of John Mengs, who had hitherto
contradicted him at every word.

"I cannot take too much pains for a guest," was the reply, "whom my
venerable friend, the Priest of St. Paul's, hath especially
recommended to my charge."

He then opened the door of a small bedroom, prepared for the
occupation of a guest, and said to Philipson,--"Here you may rest till
to-morrow at what hour you will, and for as many days more as you
incline. The key will secure your wares against theft or pillage of
any kind. I do not this for every one; for, if my guests were every
one to have a bed to himself, the next thing they would demand might
be a separate table; and then there would be an end of the good old
German customs, and we should be as foppish and frivolous as our
neighbours."

He placed the portmanteau on the floor, and seemed about to leave the
apartment, when, turning about, he began a sort of apology for the
rudeness of his former behaviour.

"I trust there is no misunderstanding between us, my worthy guest. You
might as well expect to see one of our bears come aloft and do tricks
like a jackanapes, as one of us stubborn old Germans play the feats of
a French or an Italian host. Yet I pray you to note, that if our
behaviour is rude our charges are honest, and our articles what they
profess to be. We do not expect to make Moselle pass for Rhenish, by
dint of a bow and a grin, nor will we sauce your mess with poison,
like the wily Italian, and call you all the time Illustrissimo and
Magnifico."

He seemed in these words to have exhausted his rhetoric, for, when
they were spoken, he turned abruptly and left the apartment.

Philipson was thus deprived of another opportunity to inquire who or
what this ecclesiastic could be, that had exercised such influence on
all who approached him. He felt, indeed, no desire to prolong a
conference with John Mengs, though he had laid aside in such a
considerable degree his rude and repulsive manners; yet he longed to
know who this man could be, who had power with a word to turn aside
the daggers of Alsatian banditti, habituated as they were, like most
borderers, to robbery and pillage, and to change into civility the
proverbial rudeness of a German innkeeper. Such were the reflections
of Philipson, as he doffed his clothes to take his much-needed repose,
after a day of fatigue, danger, and difficulty, on the pallet afforded
by the hospitality of the Golden Fleece, in the Rhein-Thal.



CHAPTER II.

     _Macbeth._ How now, ye secret, black, and midnight hags,
     What is't ye do?

     _Witches._ A deed without a name.
                                                   _Macbeth._


We have said in the conclusion of the last chapter, that, after a day
of unwonted fatigue and extraordinary excitation, the merchant,
Philipson, naturally expected to forget so many agitating passages in
that deep and profound repose which is at once the consequence and the
cure of extreme exhaustion. But he was no sooner laid on his lowly
pallet than he felt that the bodily machine, over-laboured by so much
exercise, was little disposed to the charms of sleep. The mind had
been too much excited, the body was far too feverish, to suffer him to
partake of needful rest. His anxiety about the safety of his son, his
conjectures concerning the issue of his mission to the Duke of
Burgundy, and a thousand other thoughts which recalled past events, or
speculated on those which were to come, rushed upon his mind like the
waves of a perturbed sea, and prevented all tendency to repose. He had
been in bed about an hour, and sleep had not yet approached his couch,
when he felt that the pallet on which he lay was sinking below him,
and that he was in the act of descending along with it he knew not
whither. The sound of ropes and pulleys was also indistinctly heard,
though every caution had been taken to make them run smooth; and the
traveller, by feeling around him, became sensible that he and the bed
on which he lay had been spread upon a large trap-door, which was
capable of being let down into the vaults, or apartments beneath.

Philipson felt fear in circumstances so well qualified to produce it;
for how could he hope a safe termination to an adventure which had
begun so strangely? But his apprehensions were those of a brave,
ready-witted man, who, even in the extremity of danger, which appeared
to surround him, preserved his presence of mind. His descent seemed to
be cautiously managed, and he held himself in readiness to start to
his feet and defend himself, as soon as he should be once more upon
firm ground. Although somewhat advanced in years, he was a man of
great personal vigour and activity, and unless taken at advantage,
which no doubt was at present much to be apprehended, he was likely to
make a formidable defence. His plan of resistance, however, had been
anticipated. He no sooner reached the bottom of the vault, down to
which he was lowered, than two men, who had been waiting there till
the operation was completed, laid hands on him from either side, and
forcibly preventing him from starting up as he intended, cast a rope
over his arms, and made him a prisoner as effectually as when he was
in the dungeons of La Ferette. He was obliged, therefore, to remain
passive and unresisting, and await the termination of this formidable
adventure. Secured as he was, he could only turn his head from one
side to the other; and it was with joy that he at length saw lights
twinkle, but they appeared at a great distance from him.

From the irregular manner in which these scattered lights advanced,
sometimes keeping a straight line, sometimes mixing and crossing each
other, it might be inferred that the subterranean vault in which they
appeared was of very considerable extent. Their number also increased;
and as they collected more together, Philipson could perceive that the
lights proceeded from many torches, borne by men muffled in black
cloaks, like mourners at a funeral, or the Black Friars of St.
Francis's Order, wearing their cowls drawn over their heads, so as to
conceal their features. They appeared anxiously engaged in measuring
off a portion of the apartment; and, while occupied in that
employment, they sang, in the ancient German language, rhymes more
rude than Philipson could well understand, but which may be imitated
thus:--

     Measurers of good and evil,
     Bring the square, the line, the level,--
     Rear the altar, dig the trench,
     Blood both stone and ditch shall drench.
     Cubits six, from end to end,
     Must the fatal bench extend,--
     Cubits six, from side to side,
     Judge and culprit must divide.
     On the east the Court assembles,
     On the west the Accused trembles--
     Answer, brethren, all and one,
     Is the ritual rightly done?

A deep chorus seemed to reply to the question. Many voices joined in
it, as well of persons already in the subterranean vault as of others
who as yet remained without in various galleries and passages which
communicated with it, and whom Philipson now presumed to be very
numerous. The answer chanted ran as follows:--

     On life and soul, on blood and bone,
     One for all, and all for one,
     We warrant this is rightly done.

The original strain was then renewed in the same manner as before--

     How wears the night?--Doth morning shine
     In early radiance on the Rhine?
     What music floats upon his tide?
     Do birds the tardy morning chide?
     Brethren, look out from hill and height,
     And answer true, how wears the night?

The answer was returned, though less loud than at first, and it seemed
that those by whom the reply was given were at a much greater distance
than before; yet the words were distinctly heard.

     The night is old; on Rhine's broad breast
     Glance drowsy stars which long to rest.
         No beams are twinkling in the east.
     There is a voice upon the flood,
     The stern still call of blood for blood;
         'Tis time we listen the behest.

The chorus replied, with many additional voices--

     Up, then, up! When day's at rest,
     'Tis time that such as we are watchers;
     Rise to judgment, brethren, rise!
     Vengeance knows not sleepy eyes,
     He and night are matchers.

The nature of the verses soon led Philipson to comprehend that he was
in presence of the Initiated, or the Wise Men; names which were
applied to the celebrated Judges of the Secret Tribunal, which
continued at that period to subsist in Suabia, Franconia, and other
districts of the east of Germany, which was called, perhaps from the
frightful and frequent occurrence of executions by command of those
invisible judges, the Red Land. Philipson had often heard that the
seat of a Free Count, or chief of the Secret Tribunal, was secretly
instituted even on the left bank of the Rhine, and that it maintained
itself in Alsace, with the usual tenacity of those secret societies,
though Duke Charles of Burgundy had expressed a desire to discover and
discourage its influence so far as was possible, without exposing
himself to danger from the thousands of poniards which that mysterious
tribunal could put in activity against his own life;--an awful means
of defence, which for a long time rendered it extremely hazardous for
the sovereigns of Germany, and even the Emperors themselves, to put
down by authority those singular associations.

So soon as this explanation flashed on the mind of Philipson, it gave
some clue to the character and condition of the Black Priest of St.
Paul's. Supposing him to be a president, or chief official of the
secret association, there was little wonder that he should confide so
much in the inviolability of his terrible office as to propose
vindicating the execution of De Hagenbach; that his presence should
surprise Bartholomew, whom he had power to have judged and executed
upon the spot; and that his mere appearance at supper on the preceding
evening should have appalled the guests; for though everything about
the institution, its proceedings and its officers, was preserved in as
much obscurity as is now practised in free-masonry, yet the secret was
not so absolutely well kept as to prevent certain individuals from
being guessed or hinted at as men initiated and intrusted with high
authority by the Vehme-gericht, or tribunal of the bounds. When such
suspicion attached to an individual, his secret power, and supposed
acquaintance with all guilt, however secret, which was committed
within the society in which he was conversant, made him at once the
dread and hatred of every one who looked on him; and he enjoyed a high
degree of personal respect, on the same terms on which it would have
been yielded to a powerful enchanter, or a dreaded genie. In
conversing with such a person, it was especially necessary to abstain
from all questions alluding, however remotely, to the office which he
bore in the Secret Tribunal; and, indeed, to testify the least
curiosity upon a subject so solemn and mysterious was sure to occasion
some misfortune to the inquisitive person.

All these things rushed at once upon the mind of the Englishman, who
felt that he had fallen into the hands of an unsparing tribunal, whose
proceedings were so much dreaded by those who resided within the
circle of their power, that the friendless stranger must stand a poor
chance of receiving justice at their hands, whatever might be his
consciousness of innocence. While Philipson made this melancholy
reflection, he resolved, at the same time, not to forsake his own
cause, but defend himself as he best might; conscious as he was that
these terrible and irresponsible judges were nevertheless governed by
certain rules of right and wrong, which formed a check on the rigours
of their extraordinary code.

  [Illustration: THE SECRET TRIBUNAL.
   Drawn and Etched by R. de los Rios.]

He lay, therefore, devising the best means of obviating the present
danger, while the persons whom he beheld glimmered before him, less
like distinct and individual forms than like the phantoms
of a fever, or the phantasmagoria with which a disease of the optic
nerves has been known to people a sick man's chamber. At length they
assembled in the centre of the apartment where they had first
appeared, and seemed to arrange themselves into form and order. A
great number of black torches were successively lighted, and the scene
became distinctly visible. In the centre of the hall, Philipson could
now perceive one of the altars which are sometimes to be found in
ancient subterranean chapels. But we must pause, in order briefly to
describe, not the appearance only, but the nature and constitution, of
this terrible court.

Behind the altar, which seemed to be the central point, on which all
eyes were bent, there were placed in parallel lines two benches
covered with black cloth. Each was occupied by a number of persons,
who seemed assembled as judges; but those who held the foremost bench
were fewer, and appeared of a rank superior to those who crowded the
seat most remote from the altar. The first seemed to be all men of
some consequence, priests high in their order, knights, or noblemen;
and notwithstanding an appearance of equality which seemed to pervade
this singular institution, much more weight was laid upon their
opinion, or testimonies. They were called Free Knights, Counts, or
whatever title they might bear, while the inferior class of the judges
were only termed Free and worthy Burghers. For it must be observed,
that the Vehmique Institution,[1] which was the name that it commonly
bore, although its power consisted in a wide system of espionage, and
the tyrannical application of force which acted upon it, was yet (so
rude were the ideas of enforcing public law) accounted to confer a
privilege on the country in which it was received, and only freemen
were allowed to experience its influence. Serfs and peasants could not
have a place among the Free Judges, their assessors, or assistants;
for there was in this assembly even some idea of trying the culprit by
his peers.

Besides the dignitaries who occupied the benches, there were others
who stood around, and seemed to guard the various entrances to the
hall of judgment, or, standing behind the seats on which their
superiors were ranged, looked prepared to execute their commands.
These were members of the order, though not of the highest ranks.
Schöppen is the name generally assigned to them, signifying officials,
or sergeants of the Vehmique court, whose doom they stood sworn to
enforce, through good report and bad report, against their own nearest
and most beloved, as well as in cases of ordinary malefactors.

The Schöppen, or Scabini, as they were termed in Latin, had another
horrible duty to perform--that, namely, of denouncing to the tribunal
whatever came under their observation, that might be construed as an
offence falling under its cognisance; or, in their language, a crime
against the Vehme. This duty extended to the judges as well as to the
assistants, and was to be discharged without respect of persons; so
that, to know, and wilfully conceal, the guilt of a mother or brother,
inferred, on the part of the unfaithful official, the same penalty as
if he himself had committed the crime which his silence screened from
punishment. Such an institution could only prevail at a time when
ordinary means of justice were excluded by the hand of power, and
when, in order to bring the guilty to punishment, it required all the
influence and authority of such a confederacy. In no other country
than one exposed to every species of feudal tyranny, and deprived of
every ordinary mode of obtaining justice or redress, could such a
system have taken root and flourished.

We must now return to the brave Englishman, who, though feeling all
the danger he encountered from so tremendous a tribunal, maintained
nevertheless a dignified and unaltered composure.

The meeting being assembled, a coil of ropes, and a naked sword, the
well-known signals and emblems of Vehmique authority, were deposited
on the altar; where the sword, from its being usually straight, with a
cross handle, was considered as representing the blessed emblem of
Christian Redemption, and the cord as indicating the right of criminal
jurisdiction, and capital punishment. Then the President of the
meeting, who occupied the centre seat on the foremost bench, arose,
and laying his hand on the symbols, pronounced aloud the formula
expressive of the duty of the tribunal, which all the inferior judges
and assistants repeated after him, in deep and hollow murmurs.

"I swear by the Holy Trinity, to aid and co-operate, without
relaxation, in the things belonging to the Holy Vehme, to defend its
doctrines and institutions against father and mother, brother and
sister, wife and children; against fire, water, earth, and air;
against all that the sun enlightens; against all that the dew
moistens; against all created things of heaven and earth, or the
waters under the earth; and I swear to give information to this holy
judicature, of all that I know to be true, or hear repeated by
credible testimony, which, by the rules of the Holy Vehme, is
deserving of animadversion or punishment; and that I will not cloak,
cover, or conceal, such my knowledge, neither for love, friendship, or
family affection, nor for gold, silver, or precious stones; neither
will I associate with such as are under the sentence of this Sacred
Tribunal, by hinting to a culprit his danger, or advising him to
escape, or aiding and supplying him with counsel, or means to that
effect; neither will I relieve such culprit with fire, clothes, food,
or shelter, though my father should require from me a cup of water in
the heat of summer noon, or my brother should request to sit by my
fire in the bitterest cold night of winter: And further, I vow and
promise to honour this holy association, and do its behests speedily,
faithfully, and firmly, in preference to those of any other tribunal
whatsoever--so help me God, and His holy Evangelists."

When this oath of office had been taken, the President addressing the
assembly, as men who judge in secret and punish in secret, like the
Deity, desired them to say, why this "child of the cord"[2] lay before
them, bound and helpless. An individual rose from the more remote
bench, and in a voice which, though altered and agitated, Philipson
conceived that he recognised, declared himself the accuser, as bound
by his oath, of the child of the cord, or prisoner, who lay before
them.

"Bring forward the prisoner," said the President, "duly secured, as is
the order of our secret law; but not with such severity as may
interrupt his attention to the proceedings of the tribunal, or limit
his power of hearing and replying."

Six of the assistants immediately dragged forward the pallet and
platform of boards on which Philipson lay, and advanced it towards the
foot of the altar. This done, each unsheathed his dagger, while two of
them unloosed the cords by which the merchant's hands were secured,
and admonished him in a whisper, that the slightest attempt to resist
or escape would be the signal to stab him dead.

"Arise!" said the President; "listen to the charge to be preferred
against you, and believe you shall in us find judges equally just and
inflexible."

Philipson, carefully avoiding any gesture which might indicate a
desire to escape, raised his body on the lower part of the couch, and
remained seated, clothed as he was in his under-vest and _caleçons_,
or drawers, so as exactly to face the muffled President of the
terrible court. Even in these agitating circumstances, the mind of the
undaunted Englishman remained unshaken, and his eyelid did not quiver,
nor his heart beat quicker, though he seemed, according to the
expression of Scripture, to be a pilgrim in the Valley of the Shadow
of Death, beset by numerous snares, and encompassed by total
darkness, where light was most necessary for safety.

The President demanded his name, country, and occupation.

"John Philipson," was the reply; "by birth an Englishman, by
profession a merchant."

"Have you ever borne any other name and profession?" demanded the
Judge.

"I have been a soldier, and, like most others, had then a name by
which I was known in war."

"What was that name?"

"I laid it aside when I resigned my sword, and I do not desire again
to be known by it. Moreover, I never bore it where your institutions
have weight and authority," answered the Englishman.

"Know you before whom you stand?" continued the Judge.

"I may at least guess," replied the merchant.

"Tell your guess, then," continued the interrogator. "Say who we are,
and wherefore are you before us?"

"I believe that I am before the Unknown, or Secret Tribunal, which is
called Vehme-gericht."

"Then are you aware," answered the Judge, "that you would be safer if
you were suspended by the hair over the Abyss of Schaffhausen, or if
you lay below an axe, which a thread of silk alone kept back from the
fall. What have you done to deserve such a fate?"

"Let those reply by whom I am subjected to it," answered Philipson,
with the same composure as before.

"Speak, accuser!" said the President, "to the four quarters of
heaven!--To the ears of the free judges of this tribunal, and the
faithful executors of their doom!--And to the face of the child of
the cord, who denies or conceals his guilt, make good the substance of
thine accusation!"

"Most dreaded," answered the accuser, addressing the President, "this
man hath entered the Sacred Territory, which is called the Red
Land,--a stranger under a disguised name and profession. When he was
yet on the eastern side of the Alps, at Turin, in Lombardy, and
elsewhere, he at various times spoke of the Holy Tribunal in terms of
hatred and contempt, and declared that were he Duke of Burgundy he
would not permit it to extend itself from Westphalia, or Suabia, into
his dominions. Also I charge him, that, nourishing this malevolent
intention against the Holy Tribunal, he who now appears before the
bench as child of the cord has intimated his intention to wait upon
the court of the Duke of Burgundy, and use his influence with him,
which he boasts will prove effectual to stir him up to prohibit the
meetings of the Holy Vehme in his dominions, and to inflict on their
officers, and the executors of their mandates, the punishment due to
robbers and assassins."

"This is a heavy charge, brother!" said the President of the assembly,
when the accuser ceased speaking. "How do you purpose to make it
good?"

"According to the tenor of those secret statutes the perusal of which
is prohibited to all but the initiated," answered the accuser.

"It is well," said the President; "but I ask thee once more, What are
those means of proof? You speak to holy and to initiated ears."

"I will prove my charge," said the accuser, "by the confession of the
party himself, and by my own oath upon the holy emblems of the Secret
Judgment--that is, the steel and the cord."

"It is a legitimate offer of proof," said a member of the aristocratic
bench of the assembly; "and it much concerns the safety of the system
to which we are bound by such deep oaths--a system handed down to us
from the most Christian and holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, for the
conversion of the heathen Saracens, and punishing such of them as
revolted again to their Pagan practices, that such criminals should be
looked to. This Duke Charles of Burgundy hath already crowded his army
with foreigners, whom he can easily employ against this Sacred Court,
more especially with English, a fierce, insular people, wedded to
their own usages, and hating those of every other nation. It is not
unknown to us, that the Duke hath already encouraged opposition to the
officials of the Tribunal in more than one part of his German
dominions; and that in consequence, instead of submitting to their
doom with reverent resignation, children of the cord have been found
bold enough to resist the executioners of the Vehme, striking,
wounding, and even slaying those who have received commission to put
them to death. This contumacy must be put an end to; and if the
accused shall be proved to be one of those by whom such doctrines are
harboured and inculcated, I say let the steel and cord do their work
on him."

A general murmur seemed to approve what the speaker had said; for all
were conscious that the power of the Tribunal depended much more on
the opinion of its being deeply and firmly rooted in the general
system, than upon any regard or esteem for an institution of which
all felt the severity. It followed, that those of the members who
enjoyed consequence by means of their station in the ranks of the
Vehme saw the necessity of supporting its terrors by occasional
examples of severe punishment; and none could be more readily
sacrificed than an unknown and wandering foreigner. All this rushed
upon Philipson's mind, but did not prevent his making a steady reply
to the accusation.

"Gentlemen," he said, "good citizens, burgesses, or by whatever other
name you please to be addressed, know, that in my former days I have
stood in as great peril as now, and have never turned my heel to save
my life. Cords and daggers are not calculated to strike terror into
those who have seen swords and lances. My answer to the accusation is,
that I am an Englishman, one of a nation accustomed to yield and to
receive open-handed and equal justice dealt forth in the broad light
of day. I am, however, a traveller, who knows that he has no right to
oppose the rules and laws of other nations because they do not
resemble those of his own. But this caution can only be called for in
lands where the system about which we converse is in full force and
operation. If we speak of the institutions of Germany, being at the
time in France or Spain, we may, without offence to the country in
which they are current, dispute concerning them, as students debate
upon a logical thesis in a university. The accuser objects to me, that
at Turin, or elsewhere in the north of Italy, I spoke with censure of
the institution under which I am now judged. I will not deny that I
remember something of the kind; but it was in consequence of the
question being in a manner forced upon me by two guests with whom I
chanced to find myself at table. I was much and earnestly solicited
for an opinion ere I gave one."

"And was that opinion," said the presiding Judge, "favourable or
otherwise to the Holy and Secret Vehme-gericht? Let truth rule your
tongue--remember, life is short, judgment is eternal!"

"I would not save my life at the expense of a falsehood. My opinion
was unfavourable; and I expressed myself thus:--No laws or judicial
proceedings can be just or commendable which exist and operate by
means of a secret combination. I said, that justice could only live
and exist in the open air, and that when she ceased to be public she
degenerated into revenge and hatred. I said, that a system of which
your own jurists have said, _non frater a fratre, non hospes a
hospite, tutus_, was too much adverse to the laws of nature to be
connected with or regulated by those of religion."

These words were scarcely uttered, when there burst a murmur from the
Judges highly unfavourable to the prisoner,--"He blasphemes the Holy
Vehme--Let his mouth be closed for ever!"

"Hear me," said the Englishman, "as you will one day wish to be
yourselves heard! I say such were my sentiments, and so I expressed
them--I say also, I had a right to express these opinions, whether
sound or erroneous, in a neutral country, where this Tribunal neither
did, nor could, claim any jurisdiction. My sentiments are still the
same. I would avow them if that sword were at my bosom, or that cord
around my throat. But I deny that I have ever spoken against the
institutions of your Vehme, in a country where it had its course as a
national mode of justice. Far more strongly, if possible, do I
denounce the absurdity of the falsehood, which represents me, a
wandering foreigner, as commissioned to traffic with the Duke of
Burgundy about such high matters, or to form a conspiracy for the
destruction of a system to which so many seem warmly attached. I never
said such a thing, and I never thought it."

"Accuser," said the presiding Judge, "thou hast heard the
accused--What is thy reply?"

"The first part of the charge," said the accuser, "he hath confessed
in this high presence--namely, that his foul tongue hath basely
slandered our holy mysteries; for which he deserves that it should be
torn out of his throat. I myself, on my oath of office, will aver, as
use and law is, that the rest of the accusation--namely, that which
taxes him as having entered into machinations for the destruction of
the Vehmique institutions--is as true as those which he has found
himself unable to deny."

"In justice," said the Englishman, "the accusation, if not made good
by satisfactory proof, ought to be left to the oath of the party
accused, instead of permitting the accuser to establish by his own
deposition the defects in his own charge."

"Stranger," replied the presiding Judge, "we permit to thy ignorance a
longer and more full defence than consists with our usual forms. Know,
that the right of sitting among these venerable judges confers on the
person of him who enjoys it a sacredness of character which ordinary
men cannot attain to. The oath of one of the initiated must
counterbalance the most solemn asseveration of every one that is not
acquainted with our holy secrets. In the Vehmique court all must be
Vehmique. The averment of the Emperor, he being uninitiated, would not
have so much weight in our counsels as that of one of the meanest of
these officials. The affirmation of the accuser can only be rebutted
by the oath of a member of the same Tribunal, being of superior rank."

"Then, God be gracious to me, for I have no trust save in Heaven!"
said the Englishman, in solemn accents. "Yet I will not fall without
an effort. I call upon thee thyself, dark spirit, who presidest in
this most deadly assembly--I call upon thyself, to declare on thy
faith and honour, whether thou holdest me guilty of what is thus
boldly averred by this false calumniator--I call upon thee by thy
sacred character--by the name of"----

"Hold!" replied the presiding Judge. "The name by which we are known
in open air must not be pronounced in this subterranean
judgment-seat."

He then proceeded to address the prisoner and the assembly.--"I, being
called on in evidence, declare that the charge against thee is so far
true as it is acknowledged by thyself--namely, that thou hast in other
lands than the Red Soil[3] spoken lightly of this holy institution of
justice. But I believe in my soul, and will bear witness on my honour,
that the rest of the accusation is incredible and false. And this I
swear, holding my hand on the dagger and the cord.--What is your
judgment, my brethren, upon the case which you have investigated?"

A member of the first-seated and highest class amongst the judges,
muffled like the rest, but the tone of whose voice and the stoop of
whose person announced him to be more advanced in years than the other
two who had before spoken, arose with difficulty, and said with a
trembling voice,--

"The child of the cord who is before us has been convicted of folly
and rashness in slandering our holy institution. But he spoke his
folly to ears which had never heard our sacred laws--He has,
therefore, been acquitted, by irrefragable testimony, of combining for
the impotent purpose of undermining our power, or stirring up princes
against our holy association, for which death were too light a
punishment--He hath been foolish, then, but not criminal; and as the
holy laws of the Vehme bear no penalty save that of death, I propose
for judgment that the child of the cord be restored without injury to
society, and to the upper world, having been first duly admonished of
his errors."

"Child of the cord," said the presiding Judge, "thou hast heard thy
sentence of acquittal. But, as thou desirest to sleep in an unbloody
grave, let me warn thee, that the secrets of this night shall remain
with thee, as a secret not to be communicated to father nor mother, to
spouse, son, or daughter; neither to be spoken aloud nor whispered; to
be told in words or written in characters; to be carved or to be
painted, or to be otherwise communicated, either directly or by
parable and emblem. Obey this behest, and thy life is in surety. Let
thy heart then rejoice within thee, but let it rejoice with trembling.
Never more let thy vanity persuade thee that thou art secure from the
servants and Judges of the Holy Vehme. Though a thousand leagues lie
between thee and the Red Land, and thou speakest in that where our
power is not known; though thou shouldst be sheltered by thy native
island, and defended by thy kindred ocean, yet, even there, I warn
thee to cross thyself when thou dost so much as think of the Holy and
Invisible Tribunal, and to retain thy thoughts within thine own bosom;
for the Avenger may be beside thee, and thou mayst die in thy folly.
Go hence, be wise, and let the fear of the Holy Vehme never pass from
before thine eyes."

At the concluding words, all the lights were at once extinguished with
a hissing noise. Philipson felt once more the grasp of the hands of
the officials, to which he resigned himself as the safest course. He
was gently prostrated on his pallet-bed, and transported back to the
place from which he had been advanced to the foot of the altar. The
cordage was again applied to the platform, and Philipson was sensible
that his couch rose with him for a few moments, until a slight shock
apprised him that he was again brought to a level with the floor of
the chamber in which he had been lodged on the preceding night, or
rather morning. He pondered over the events that had passed, in which
he was sensible that he owed Heaven thanks for a great deliverance.
Fatigue at length prevailed over anxiety, and he fell into a deep and
profound sleep, from which he was only awakened by returning light.
He resolved on an instant departure from so dangerous a spot, and,
without seeing any one of the household but the old ostler, pursued
his journey to Strasburg, and reached that city without further
accident.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] The word Wehme, pronounced Vehme, is of uncertain derivation, but
was always used to intimate this inquisitorial and secret Court. The
members were termed Wissenden, or Initiated, answering to the modern
phrase of Illuminati. Mr. Palgrave seems inclined to derive the word
_Vehme_ from _Ehme_, _i.e._ _Law_, and he is probably right.

[2] The term _Strick-kind_, or child of the cord, was applied to the
person accused before these awful assemblies.

[3] The parts of Germany subjected to the operation of the Secret
Tribunal were called, from the blood which it spilt, or from some
other reason (Mr. Palgrave suggests the ground tincture of the ancient
banner of the district), the Red Soil. Westphalia, as the limits of
that country were understood in the Middle Ages, which are
considerably different from the present boundaries, was the principal
theatre of the Vehme.



CHAPTER III.

     Away with these!--True Wisdom's world will be
     Within its own creation, or in thine,
     Maternal Nature! for who teems like thee
     Thus on the banks of thy majestic Rhine?
     There Harold gazes on a work divine,
     A blending of all beauties, streams, and dells--
     Fruit, foliage, crag, wood, cornfield, mountain, vine,
     And chiefless castles breathing stern farewells,
     From grey but leafy walls, where ruin greenly dwells.
                   _Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Canto III._


When Arthur Philipson left his father, to go on board the bark which
was to waft him across the Rhine, he took but few precautions for his
own subsistence, during a separation of which he calculated the
duration to be very brief. Some necessary change of raiment, and a
very few pieces of gold, were all which he thought it needful to
withdraw from the general stock; the rest of the baggage and money he
left with the sumpter-horse, which he concluded his father might need,
in order to sustain his character as an English trader. Having
embarked with his horse and his slender appointments on board a
fishing-skiff, she instantly raised her temporary mast, spread a sail
across the yard, and, supported by the force of the wind against the
downward power of the current, moved across the river obliquely in the
direction of Kirch-hoff, which, as we have said, lies somewhat lower
on the river than Hans-Kapelle. Their passage was so favourable that
they reached the opposite side in a few minutes, but not until Arthur,
whose eye and thoughts were on the left bank, had seen his father
depart from the Chapel of the Ferry, accompanied by two horsemen, whom
he readily concluded to be the guide Bartholomew, and some chance
traveller who had joined him; but the second of whom was in truth the
Black Priest of St. Paul's, as has been already mentioned.

This augmentation of his father's company was, he could not but think,
likely to be attended with an increase of his safety, since it was not
probable he would suffer a companion to be forced upon him, and one of
his own choosing might be a protection, in case his guide should prove
treacherous. At any rate, he had to rejoice that he had seen his
father depart in safety from the spot where they had reason to
apprehend some danger awaited him. He resolved, therefore, to make no
stay at Kirch-hoff, but to pursue his way, as fast as possible,
towards Strasburg, and rest, when darkness compelled him to stop, in
one of the _dorfs_, or villages, which were situated on the German
side of the Rhine. At Strasburg, he trusted, with the sanguine spirit
of youth, he might again be able to rejoin his father; and if he could
not altogether subdue his anxiety on their separation, he fondly
nourished the hope that he might meet him in safety. After some short
refreshment and repose afforded to his horse, he lost no time in
proceeding on his journey down the eastern bank of the broad river.

He was now upon the most interesting side of the Rhine, walled in and
repelled as the river is on that shore by the most romantic cliffs,
now mantled with vegetation of the richest hue, tinged with all the
variegated colours of autumn; now surmounted by fortresses, over whose
gates were displayed the pennons of their proud owners; or studded
with hamlets, where the richness of the soil supplied to the poor
labourer the food of which the oppressive hand of his superior
threatened altogether to deprive him. Every stream which here
contributes its waters to the Rhine winds through its own tributary
dell, and each valley possesses a varying and separate character, some
rich with pastures, cornfields, and vineyards, some frowning with
crags and precipices, and other romantic beauties.

The principles of taste were not then explained or analysed as they
have been since, in countries where leisure has been found for this
investigation. But the feelings arising from so rich a landscape as is
displayed by the valley of the Rhine must have been the same in every
bosom, from the period when our Englishman took his solitary journey
through it, in doubt and danger, till that in which it heard the
indignant Childe Harold bid a proud farewell to his native country, in
the vain search of a land in which his heart might throb less
fiercely.

Arthur enjoyed this scene, although the fading daylight began to
remind him that, alone as he was, and travelling with a very valuable
charge, it would be matter of prudence to look out for some place of
rest during the night. Just as he had formed the resolution of
inquiring at the next habitation he should pass, which way he should
follow for this purpose, the road he pursued descended into a
beautiful amphitheatre filled with large trees, which protected from
the heats of summer the delicate and tender herbage of the pasture. A
large brook flowed through it, and joined the Rhine. At a short mile
up the brook its waters made a crescent round a steep craggy eminence,
crowned with flanking walls, and Gothic towers and turrets, enclosing
a feudal castle of the first order. A part of the savannah that has
been mentioned had been irregularly cultivated for wheat, which had
grown a plentiful crop. It was gathered in, but the patches of deep
yellow stubble contrasted with the green of the undisturbed pasture
land, and with the seared and dark-red foliage of the broad oaks which
stretched their arms athwart the level space. There a lad, in a rustic
dress, was employed in the task of netting a brood of partridges with
the assistance of a trained spaniel; while a young woman, who had the
air rather of a domestic in some family of rank than that of an
ordinary villager, sat on the stump of a decayed tree, to watch the
progress of the amusement. The spaniel, whose duty it was to drive the
partridges under the net, was perceptibly disturbed at the approach of
the traveller; his attention was divided, and he was obviously in
danger of marring the sport, by barking and putting up the covey, when
the maiden quitted her seat, and, advancing towards Philipson,
requested him, for courtesy, to pass at a greater distance, and not
interfere with their amusement.

The traveller willingly complied with her request.

"I will ride, fair damsel," he said, "at whatever distance you please.
And allow me, in guerdon, to ask, whether there is convent, castle, or
good man's house, where a stranger, who is belated and weary, might
receive a night's hospitality?"

The girl, whose face he had not yet distinctly seen, seemed to
suppress some desire to laugh, as she replied, "Hath not yon castle,
think you," pointing to the distant towers, "some corner which might
accommodate a stranger in such extremity?"

"Space enough, certainly," said Arthur; "but perhaps little
inclination to grant it."

"I myself," said the girl, "being one, and a formidable part of the
garrison, will be answerable for your reception. But as you parley
with me in such hostile fashion, it is according to martial order that
I should put down my visor."

So saying, she concealed her face under one of those riding-masks
which at that period women often wore when they went abroad, whether
for protecting their complexion or screening themselves from intrusive
observation. But ere she could accomplish this operation Arthur had
detected the merry countenance of Annette Veilchen, a girl who, though
her attendance on Anne of Geierstein was in a menial capacity, was
held in high estimation at Geierstein. She was a bold wench,
unaccustomed to the distinctions of rank, which were little regarded
in the simplicity of the Helvetian hills, and she was ready to laugh,
jest, and flirt with the young men of the Landamman's family. This
attracted no attention, the mountain manners making little distinction
between the degrees of attendant and mistress, further than that the
mistress was a young woman who required help, and the maiden one who
was in a situation to offer and afford it. This kind of familiarity
would perhaps have been dangerous in other lands, but the simplicity
of Swiss manners, and the turn of Annette's disposition, which was
resolute and sensible, though rather bold and free, when compared to
the manners of more civilised countries, kept all intercourse betwixt
her and the young men of the family in the strict path of honour and
innocence.

Arthur himself had paid considerable attention to Annette, being
naturally, from his feelings towards Anne of Geierstein, heartily
desirous to possess the good graces of her attendant; a point which
was easily gained by the attentions of a handsome young man, and the
generosity with which he heaped upon her small presents of articles of
dress or ornament, which the damsel, however faithful, could find no
heart to refuse.

The assurance that he was in Anne's neighbourhood, and that he was
likely to pass the night under the same roof, both of which
circumstances were intimated by the girl's presence and language, sent
the blood in a hastier current through Arthur's veins; for though,
since he had crossed the river, he had sometimes nourished hopes of
again seeing her who had made so strong an impression on his
imagination, yet his understanding had as often told him how slight
was the chance of their meeting, and it was even now chilled by the
reflection that it could be followed only by the pain of a sudden and
final separation. He yielded himself, however, to the prospect of
promised pleasure, without attempting to ascertain what was to be its
duration or its consequence. Desirous, in the meantime, to hear as
much of Anne's circumstances as Annette chose to tell, he resolved not
to let that merry maiden perceive that she was known by him, until
she chose of her own accord to lay aside her mystery.

While these thoughts passed rapidly through his imagination, Annette
bade the lad drop his nets, and directed him that, having taken two of
the best-fed partridges from the covey, and carried them into the
kitchen, he was to set the rest at liberty.

"I must provide supper," said she to the traveller, "since I am
bringing home unexpected company."

Arthur earnestly expressed his hope that his experiencing the
hospitality of the castle would occasion no trouble to the inmates,
and received satisfactory assurances upon the subject of his scruples.

"I would not willingly be the cause of inconvenience to your
mistress," pursued the traveller.

"Look you there," said Annette Veilchen, "I have said nothing of
master or mistress, and this poor forlorn traveller has already
concluded in his own mind that he is to be harboured in a lady's
bower!"

"Why, did you not tell me," said Arthur, somewhat confused at his
blunder, "that you were the person of second importance in the place?
A damsel, I judged, could only be an officer under a female governor."

"I do not see the justice of the conclusion," replied the maiden. "I
have known ladies bear offices of trust in lords' families; nay, and
over the lords themselves."

"Am I to understand, fair damsel, that you hold so predominant a
situation in the castle which we are now approaching, and of which I
pray you to tell me the name?"

"The name of the castle is Arnheim," said Annette.

"Your garrison must be a large one," said Arthur, looking at the
extensive building, "if you are able to man such a labyrinth of walls
and towers."

"In that point," said Annette, "I must needs own we are very
deficient. At present, we rather hide in the castle than inhabit it;
and yet it is well enough defended by the reports which frighten every
other person who might disturb its seclusion."

"And yet you yourselves dare to reside in it?" said the Englishman,
recollecting the tale which had been told by Rudolph Donnerhugel,
concerning the character of the Barons of Arnheim, and the final
catastrophe of the family.

"Perhaps," replied his guide, "we are too intimate with the cause of
such fears to feel ourselves strongly oppressed with them--perhaps we
have means of encountering the supposed terrors proper to
ourselves--perhaps, and it is not the least likely conjecture, we have
no choice of a better place of refuge. Such seems to be your own fate
at present, sir, for the tops of the distant hills are gradually
losing the lights of the evening; and if you rest not in Arnheim, well
contented or not, you are likely to find no safe lodging for many a
mile."

As she thus spoke she separated from Arthur, taking, with the fowler
who attended her, a very steep but short footpath, which ascended
straight up to the site of the castle; at the same time motioning to
the young Englishman to follow a horse-track, which, more circuitous,
led to the same point, and, though less direct, was considerably more
easy.

He soon stood before the south front of Arnheim Castle, which was a
much larger building than he had conceived, either from Rudolph's
description or from the distant view. It had been erected at many
different periods, and a considerable part of the edifice was less in
the strict Gothic than in what has been termed the Saracenic style, in
which the imagination of the architect is more florid than that which
is usually indulged in the North--rich in minarets, cupolas, and
similar approximations to Oriental structures. This singular building
bore a general appearance of desolation and desertion, but Rudolph had
been misinformed when he declared that it had become ruinous. On the
contrary, it had been maintained with considerable care; and when it
fell into the hands of the Emperor, although no garrison was
maintained within its precincts, care was taken to keep the building
in repair; and though the prejudices of the country people prevented
any one from passing the night within the fearful walls, yet it was
regularly visited from time to time by a person having commission from
the Imperial Chancery to that effect. The occupation of the domain
around the castle was a valuable compensation for this official
person's labour, and he took care not to endanger the loss of it by
neglecting his duty. Of late this officer had been withdrawn, and now
it appeared that the young Baroness of Arnheim had found refuge in the
deserted towers of her ancestors.

The Swiss damsel did not leave the youthful traveller time to study
particularly the exterior of the castle, or to construe the meaning
of emblems and mottoes, seemingly of an Oriental character, with which
the outside was inscribed, and which expressed in various modes, more
or less directly, the attachment of the builders of this extensive
pile to the learning of the Eastern sages. Ere he had time to take
more than a general survey of the place, the voice of the Swiss maiden
called him to an angle of the wall in which there was a projection,
whence a long plank extended over a dry moat, and was connected with a
window in which Annette was standing.

"You have forgotten your Swiss lessons already," said she, observing
that Arthur went rather timidly about crossing the temporary and
precarious drawbridge.

The reflection that Anne, her mistress, might make the same
observation, recalled the young traveller to the necessary degree of
composure. He passed over the plank with the same _sang froid_ with
which he had learned to brave the far more terrific bridge beneath the
ruinous castle of Geierstein. He had no sooner entered the window than
Annette, taking off her mask, bade him welcome to Germany, and to old
friends with new names.

"Anne of Geierstein," she said, "is no more; but you will presently
see the Lady Baroness of Arnheim, who is extremely like her; and I,
who was Annette Veilchen in Switzerland, the servant to a damsel who
was not esteemed much greater than myself, am now the young Baroness's
waiting-woman, and make everybody of less quality stand back."

"If, in such circumstances," said young Philipson, "you have the
influence due to your consequence, let me beseech of you to tell the
Baroness, since we must now call her so, that my present intrusion on
her is occasioned by my ignorance."

"Away, away!" said the girl, laughing. "I know better what to say in
your behalf. You are not the first poor man and pedlar that has got
the graces of a great lady; but I warrant you it was not by making
humble apologies, and talking of unintentional intrusion. I will tell
her of love, which all the Rhine cannot quench, and which has driven
you hither, leaving you no other choice than to come or to perish!"

"Nay, but Annette, Annette"----

"Fie on you for a fool,--make a shorter name of it,--cry Anne, Anne!
and there will be more prospect of your being answered."

So saying, the wild girl ran out of the room, delighted, as a
mountaineer of her description was likely to be, with the thought of
having done as she would desire to be done by, in her benevolent
exertions to bring two lovers together, when on the eve of inevitable
separation.

In this self-approving disposition, Annette sped up a narrow turnpike
stair to a closet, or dressing-room, where her young mistress was
seated, and exclaimed, with open mouth,--"Anne of Gei----, I mean my
Lady Baroness, they are come--they are come!"

"The Philipsons?" said Anne, almost breathless as she asked the
question.

"Yes--no--" answered the girl; "that is, yes,--for the best of them is
come, and that is Arthur."

"What meanest thou, girl? Is not Seignor Philipson, the father, along
with his son?"

"Not he, indeed," answered Veilchen, "nor did I ever think of asking
about him. He was no friend of mine, nor of any one else, save the old
Landamman; and well met they were for a couple of wiseacres, with
eternal proverbs in their mouths, and care upon their brows."

"Unkind, inconsiderate girl, what hast thou done?" said Anne of
Geierstein. "Did I not warn and charge thee to bring them both hither?
and you have brought the young man alone to a place where we are
nearly in solitude! What will he--what can he think of me?"

"Why, what should I have done?" said Annette, remaining firm in her
argument. "He was alone, and should I have sent him down to the _dorf_
to be murdered by the Rhinegrave's Lanzknechts? All is fish, I trow,
that comes to their net; and how is he to get through this country, so
beset with wandering soldiers, robber barons (I beg your ladyship's
pardon), and roguish Italians, flocking to the Duke of Burgundy's
standard?--Not to mention the greatest terror of all, that is never in
one shape or other absent from one's eye or thought."

"Hush, hush, girl! add not utter madness to the excess of folly; but
let us think what is to be done. For our sake, for his own, this
unfortunate young man must leave this castle instantly."

"You must take the message yourself, then, Anne--I beg pardon, most
noble Baroness;--it may be very fit for a lady of high birth to send
such a message, which, indeed, I have heard the Minne-singers tell in
their romances; but I am sure it is not a meet one for me, or any
frank-hearted Swiss girl, to carry. No more foolery; but remember, if
you were born Baroness of Arnheim, you have been bred and brought up
in the bosom of the Swiss hills, and should conduct yourself like an
honest and well-meaning damsel."

"And in what does your wisdom reprehend my folly, good Mademoiselle
Annette?" replied the Baroness.

"Ay, marry! now our noble blood stirs in our veins. But remember,
gentle my lady, that it was a bargain between us, when I left yonder
noble mountains, and the free air that blows over them, to coop myself
up in this land of prisons and slaves, that I should speak my mind to
you as freely as I did when our heads lay on the same pillow."

"Speak, then," said Anne, studiously averting her face as she prepared
to listen; "but beware that you say nothing which it is unfit for me
to hear."

"I will speak nature and common-sense; and if your noble ears are not
made fit to hear and understand these, the fault lies in them, and not
in my tongue. Look you, you have saved this youth from two great
dangers--one at the earth-shoot at Geierstein, the other this very
day, when his life was beset. A handsome young man he is, well spoken,
and well qualified to gain deservedly a lady's favour. Before you saw
him, the Swiss youth were at least not odious to you. You danced with
them,--you jested with them,--you were the general object of their
admiration,--and, as you well know, you might have had your choice
through the Canton--Why, I think it possible a little urgency might
have brought you to think of Rudolph Donnerhugel as your mate."

"Never, wench, never!" exclaimed Anne.

"Be not so very positive, my lady. Had he recommended himself to the
uncle in the first place, I think, in my poor sentiment, he might at
some lucky moment have carried the niece. But since we have known this
young Englishman, it has been little less than contemning, despising,
and something like hating, all the men whom you could endure well
enough before."

"Well, well," said Anne, "I will detest and hate thee more than any of
them, unless you bring your matters to an end."

"Softly, noble lady, fair and easy go far. All this argues you love
the young man, and let those say that you are wrong who think there is
anything wonderful in the matter. There is much to justify you, and
nothing that I know against it."

"What, foolish girl! Remember my birth forbids me to love a mean
man--my condition to love a poor man--my father's commands to love one
whose addresses are without his consent--above all, my maidenly pride
forbids me fixing my affections on one who cares not for me--nay,
perhaps, is prejudiced against me by appearances."

"Here is a fine homily!" said Annette; "but I can clear every point of
it as easily as Father Francis does his text in a holiday sermon. Your
birth is a silly dream, which you have only learned to value within
these two or three days, when, having come to German soil, some of the
old German weed, usually called family pride, has begun to germinate
in your heart. Think of such folly as you thought when you lived at
Geierstein--that is, during all the rational part of your life, and
this great terrible prejudice will sink into nothing. By condition, I
conceive you mean estate. But Philipson's father, who is the most
free-hearted of men, will surely give his son as many zechins as will
stock a mountain farm. You have firewood for the cutting, and land for
the occupying, since you are surely entitled to part of Geierstein,
and gladly will your uncle put you in possession of it. You can manage
the dairy, Arthur can shoot, hunt, fish, plough, harrow, and reap."

Anne of Geierstein shook her head, as if she greatly doubted her
lover's skill in the last of the accomplishments enumerated.

"Well, well, he can learn, then," said Annette Veilchen; "and you will
only live the harder the first year or so. Besides, Sigismund
Biederman will aid him willingly, and he is a very horse at labour;
and I know another besides, who is a friend"----

"Of thine own, I warrant," quoth the young Baroness.

"Marry, it is my poor friend Louis Sprenger; and I'll never be so
false-hearted as to deny my bachelor."

"Well, well, but what is to be the end of all this?" said the
Baroness, impatiently.

"The end of it, in my opinion," said Annette, "is very simple. Here
are priests and prayer-books within a mile--go down to the parlour,
speak your mind to your lover, or hear him speak his mind to you; join
hands, go quietly back to Geierstein in the character of man and wife,
and get everything ready to receive your uncle on his return. This is
the way that a plain Swiss wench would cut off the romance of a
German Baroness"----

"And break the heart of her father," said the young lady, with a sigh.

"It is more tough than you are aware of," replied Annette. "He hath
not lived without you so long but that he will be able to spare you
for the rest of his life, a great deal more easily than you, with all
your new-fangled ideas of quality, will be able to endure his schemes
of wealth and ambition, which will aim at making you the wife of some
illustrious Count, like De Hagenbach, whom we saw not long since make
such an edifying end, to the great example of all Robber-Chivalry upon
the Rhine."

"Thy plan is naught, wench; a childish vision of a girl who never knew
more of life than she has heard told over her milking-pail. Remember
that my uncle entertains the highest ideas of family discipline, and
that to act contrary to my father's will would destroy us in his good
opinion. Why else am I here? Wherefore has he resigned his
guardianship? And why am I obliged to change the habits that are dear
to me, and assume the manners of a people that are strange, and
therefore unpleasing to me?"

"Your uncle," said Annette firmly, "is Landamman of the Canton of
Unterwalden; respects its freedom, and is the sworn protector of its
laws, of which, when you, a denizen of the Confederacy, claim the
protection, he cannot refuse it to you."

"Even then," said the young Baroness, "I should forfeit his good
opinion, his more than paternal affection; but it is needless to dwell
upon this. Know, that although I could have loved the young man, whom
I will not deny to be as amiable as your partiality paints
him--know,"--she hesitated for a moment,--"that he has never spoken a
word to me on such a subject as you, without knowing either his
sentiments or mine, would intrude on my consideration."

"Is it possible?" answered Annette. "I thought--I believed, though I
have never pressed on your confidence--that you must--attached as you
were to each other--have spoken together, like true maid and true
bachelor, before now. I have done wrong, when I thought to do for the
best.--Is it possible!--such things have been heard of even in our
canton--is it possible he can have harboured so unutterably base
purposes, as that Martin of Brisach, who made love to Adela of the
Sundgau, enticed her to folly--the thing, though almost incredible, is
true--fled--fled from the country and boasted of his villany, till her
cousin Raymund silenced for ever his infamous triumph, by beating his
brains out with his club, even in the very street of the villain's
native town? By the Holy Mother of Einsiedlen! could I suspect this
Englishman of meditating such treason, I would saw the plank across
the moat till a fly's weight would break it, and it should be at six
fathom deep that he should abye the perfidy which dared to meditate
dishonour against an adopted daughter of Switzerland!"

As Annette Veilchen spoke, all the fire of her mountain courage
flashed from her eyes, and she listened reluctantly while Anne of
Geierstein endeavoured to obliterate the dangerous impression which
her former words had impressed on her simple but faithful attendant.

"On my word"--she said,--"on my soul--you do Arthur Philipson
injustice--foul injustice, in intimating such a suspicion;--his
conduct towards me has ever been upright and honourable--a friend to a
friend--a brother to a sister--could not, in all he has done and said,
have been more respectful, more anxiously affectionate, more
undeviatingly candid. In our frequent interviews and intercourse he
has indeed seemed very kind--very attached. But had I been
disposed--at times I may have been too much so--to listen to him with
endurance,"--the young lady here put her hand on her forehead, but the
tears streamed through her slender fingers,--"he has never spoken of
any love--any preference;--if he indeed entertains any, some obstacle,
insurmountable on his part, has interfered to prevent him."

"Obstacle?" replied the Swiss damsel. "Ay, doubtless--some childish
bashfulness--some foolish idea about your birth being so high above
his own--some dream of modesty pushed to extremity, which considers as
impenetrable the ice of a spring frost. This delusion may be broken by
a moment's encouragement, and I will take the task on myself, to spare
your blushes, my dearest Anne."

"No, no; for Heaven's sake, no, Veilchen!" answered the Baroness, to
whom Annette had so long been a companion and confidant, rather than a
domestic. "You cannot anticipate the nature of the obstacles which may
prevent his thinking on what you are so desirous to promote. Hear
me--My early education, and the instructions of my kind uncle, have
taught me to know something more of foreigners and their fashions than
I ever could have learned in our happy retirement of Geierstein; I am
well-nigh convinced that these Philipsons are of rank, as they are of
manners and bearing, far superior to the occupation which they appear
to hold. The father is a man of deep observation, of high thought and
pretension, and lavish of gifts, far beyond what consists with the
utmost liberality of a trader."

"That is true," said Annette. "I will say for myself, that the silver
chain he gave me weighs against ten silver crowns, and the cross which
Arthur added to it, the day after the long ride we had together up
towards Mount Pilatus, is worth, they tell me, as much more. There is
not the like of it in the Cantons. Well, what then? They are rich, so
are you. So much the better."

"Alas! Annette, they are not only rich, but noble. I am persuaded of
this; for I have observed often, that even the father retreated, with
an air of quiet and dignified contempt, from discussions with
Donnerhugel and others, who, in our plain way, wished to fasten a
dispute upon him. And when a rude observation or blunt pleasantry was
pointed at the son, his eye flashed, his cheek coloured, and it was
only a glance from his father which induced him to repress the retort
of no friendly character which rose to his lips."

"You have been a close observer," said Annette. "All this may be true,
but I noted it not. But what then, I say once more? If Arthur has some
fine noble name in his own country, are not you yourself Baroness of
Arnheim? And I will frankly allow it as something of worth, if it
smooths the way to a match, where I think you must look for
happiness--I hope so, else I am sure it should have no encouragement
from me."

"I do believe so, my faithful Veilchen; but, alas! how can you, in the
state of natural freedom in which you have been bred, know, or even
dream, of the various restraints which this gilded or golden chain of
rank and nobility hangs upon those whom it fetters and encumbers, I
fear, as much as it decorates? In every country, the distinction of
rank binds men to certain duties. It may carry with it restrictions,
which may prevent alliances in foreign countries--it often may prevent
them from consulting their inclinations, when they wed in their own.
It leads to alliances in which the heart is never consulted, to
treaties of marriage, which are often formed when the parties are in
the cradle, or in leading strings, but which are not the less binding
on them in honour and faith. Such may exist in the present case. These
alliances are often blended and mixed up with state policy; and if the
interest of England, or what he deems such, should have occasioned the
elder Philipson to form such an engagement, Arthur would break his own
heart--the heart of any one else--rather than make false his father's
word."

"The more shame to them that formed such an engagement!" said Annette.
"Well, they talk of England being a free country; but if they can bar
young men and women of the natural privilege to call their hands and
hearts their own, I would as soon be a German serf.--Well, lady, you
are wise, and I am ignorant. But what is to be done? I have brought
this young man here, expecting, God knows, a happier issue to your
meeting. But it is clear you cannot marry him without his asking you.
Now, although I confess that, if I could think him willing to forfeit
the hand of the fairest maid of the Cantons, either from want of manly
courage to ask it, or from regard to some ridiculous engagement,
formed betwixt his father and some other nobleman of their island of
noblemen, I would not in either case grudge him a ducking in the moat;
yet it is another question, whether we should send him down to be
murdered among those cut-throats of the Rhinegrave; and unless we do
so, I know not how to get rid of him."

"Then let the boy William give attendance on him here, and do you see
to his accommodation. It is best we do not meet."

"I will," said Annette; "yet what am I to say for you? Unhappily, I
let him know that you were here."

"Alas, imprudent girl! Yet why should I blame thee," said Anne of
Geierstein, "when the imprudence has been so great on my own side? It
is myself, who, suffering my imagination to rest too long upon this
young man and his merits, have led me into this entanglement. But I
will show thee that I can overcome this folly, and I will not seek in
my own error a cause for evading the duties of hospitality. Go,
Veilchen, get some refreshment ready. Thou shalt sup with us, and thou
must not leave us. Thou shalt see me behave as becomes both a German
lady and a Swiss maiden. Get me first a candle, however, my girl, for
I must wash these tell-tales, my eyes, and arrange my dress."

To Annette this whole explanation had been one scene of astonishment,
for, in the simple ideas of love and courtship in which she had been
brought up amid the Swiss mountains, she had expected that the two
lovers would have taken the first opportunity of the absence of their
natural guardians, and have united themselves for ever; and she had
even arranged a little secondary plot, in which she herself and Martin
Sprenger, her faithful bachelor, were to reside with the young couple
as friends and dependants. Silenced, therefore, but not satisfied, by
the objections of her young mistress, the zealous Annette retreated
murmuring to herself,--"That little hint about her dress is the only
natural and sensible word she has said in my hearing. Please God, I
will return and help her in the twinkling of an eye. That dressing my
mistress is the only part of a waiting-lady's life that I have the
least fancy for--it seems so natural for one pretty maiden to set off
another--in faith we are but learning to dress ourselves at another
time."

And with this sage remark Annette Veilchen tripped down stairs.



CHAPTER IV.

     Tell me not of it--I could ne'er abide
     The mummery of all that forced civility.
     "Pray, seat yourself, my lord." With cringing hams
     The speech is spoken, and, with bended knee,
     Heard by the smiling courtier.--"Before you, sir?
     It must be on the earth then." Hang it all!
     The pride which cloaks itself in such poor fashion
     Is scarcely fit to swell a beggar's bosom.
                                            _Old Play._


Up stairs and down stairs tripped Annette Veilchen, the soul of all
that was going on in the only habitable corner of the huge castle of
Arnheim. She was equal to every kind of service, and therefore popped
her head into the stable to be sure that William attended properly to
Arthur's horse, looked into the kitchen to see that the old cook,
Marthon, roasted the partridges in due time (an interference for which
she received little thanks), rummaged out a flask or two of Rhine wine
from the huge Dom Daniel of a cellar, and, finally, just peeped into
the parlour to see how Arthur was looking; when, having the
satisfaction to see he had in the best manner he could sedulously
arranged his person, she assured him that he should shortly see her
mistress, who was rather indisposed, yet could not refrain from coming
down to see so valued an acquaintance.

Arthur blushed when she spoke thus, and seemed so handsome in the
waiting-maid's eye, that she could not help saying to herself, as she
went to her young lady's room,--"Well, if true love cannot manage to
bring that couple together, in spite of all the obstacles that they
stand boggling at, I will never believe that there is such a thing as
true love in the world, let Martin Sprenger say what he will, and
swear to it on the Gospels."

When she reached the young Baroness's apartment, she found, to her
surprise, that, instead of having put on what finery she possessed,
that young lady's choice had preferred the same simple kirtle which
she had worn during the first day that Arthur had dined at Geierstein.
Annette looked at first puzzled and doubtful, then suddenly recognised
the good taste which had dictated the attire, and exclaimed,--"You are
right--you are right--it is best to meet him as a free-hearted Swiss
maiden."

Anne also smiled as she replied,--"But, at the same time, in the walls
of Arnheim, I must appear in some respect as the daughter of my
father.--Here, girl, aid me to put this gem upon the riband which
binds my hair."

It was an aigrette, or plume, composed of two feathers of a vulture,
fastened together by an opal, which changed to the changing light with
a variability which enchanted the Swiss damsel, who had never seen
anything resembling it in her life.

"Now, Baroness Anne," said she, "if that pretty thing be really worn
as a sign of your rank, it is the only thing belonging to your dignity
that I should ever think of coveting; for it doth shimmer and change
colour after a most wonderful fashion, even something like one's own
cheek when one is fluttered."

"Alas, Annette!" said the Baroness, passing her hand across her eyes,
"of all the gauds which the females of my house have owned, this
perhaps hath been the most fatal to its possessors."

"And why then wear it?" said Annette. "Why wear it now, of all days in
the year?"

"Because it best reminds me of my duty to my father and family. And
now, girl, look thou sit with us at table, and leave not the
apartment; and see thou fly not to and fro to help thyself or others
with anything on the board, but remain quiet and seated till William
helps you to what you have occasion for."

"Well, that is a gentle fashion, which I like well enough," said
Annette, "and William serves us so debonairly, that it is a joy to see
him; yet, ever and anon, I feel as I were not Annette Veilchen
herself, but only Annette Veilchen's picture, since I can neither
rise, sit down, run about, nor stand still, without breaking some rule
of courtly breeding. It is not so, I dare say, with you, who are
always mannerly."

"Less courtly than thou seemest to think," said the high-born maiden;
"but I feel the restraint more on the greensward, and under heaven's
free air, than when I undergo it closed within the walls of an
apartment."

"Ah, true--the dancing," said Annette; "that was something to be sorry
for indeed."

"But most am I sorry, Annette, that I cannot tell whether I act
precisely right or wrong in seeing this young man, though it must be
for the last time. Were my father to arrive?--Were Ital Schreckenwald
to return"--

"Your father is too deeply engaged on some of his dark and mystic
errands," said the flippant Swiss; "sailed to the mountains of the
Brockenberg, where witches hold their sabbath, or gone on a
hunting-party with the Wild Huntsman."

"Fie, Annette, how dare you talk thus of my father?"

"Why, I know little of him personally," said the damsel, "and you
yourself do not know much more. And how should that be false which all
men say is true?"

"Why, fool, what do they say?"

"Why, that the Count is a wizard,--that your grandmother was a
will-of-wisp, and old Ital Schreckenwald a born devil incarnate; and
there is some truth in that, whatever comes of the rest."

"Where is he?"

"Gone down to spend the night in the village, to see the Rhinegrave's
men quartered, and keep them in some order, if possible; for the
soldiers are disappointed of pay which they had been promised; and
when this happens, nothing resembles a lanzknecht except a chafed
bear."

"Go we down then, girl; it is perhaps the last night which we may
spend, for years, with a certain degree of freedom."

I will not pretend to describe the marked embarrassment with which
Arthur Philipson and Anne of Geierstein met; neither lifted their
eyes, neither spoke intelligibly, as they greeted each other, and the
maiden herself did not blush more deeply than her modest visitor;
while the good-humoured Swiss girl, whose ideas of love partook of the
freedom of a more Arcadian country and its customs, looked on with
eyebrows a little arched, much in wonder, and a little in contempt,
at a couple who, as she might think, acted with such unnatural and
constrained reserve. Deep was the reverence and the blush with which
Arthur offered his hand to the young lady, and her acceptance of the
courtesy had the same character of extreme bashfulness, agitation, and
embarrassment. In short, though little or nothing intelligible passed
between this very handsome and interesting couple, the interview
itself did not on that account lose any interest. Arthur handed the
maiden, as was the duty of a gallant of the day, into the next room,
where their repast was prepared; and Annette, who watched with
singular attention everything which occurred, felt with astonishment
that the forms and ceremonies of the higher orders of society had such
an influence, even over her free-born mind, as the rites of the Druids
over that of the Roman general, when he said,

     I scorn them, yet they awe me.

"What can have changed them?" said Annette. "When at Geierstein they
looked but like another girl and bachelor, only that Anne is so very
handsome; but now they move in time and manner as if they were leading
a stately pavin, and behave to each other with as much formal respect
as if he were Landamman of the Unterwalden, and she the first lady of
Berne. 'Tis all very fine, doubtless, but it is not the way that
Martin Sprenger makes love."

Apparently, the circumstances in which each of the young people was
placed recalled to them the habits of lofty and somewhat formal
courtesy to which they might have been accustomed in former days; and
while the Baroness felt it necessary to observe the strictest
decorum, in order to qualify the reception of Arthur into the interior
of her retreat, he, on the other hand, endeavoured to show, by the
profoundness of his respect, that he was incapable of misusing the
kindness with which he had been treated. They placed themselves at
table, scrupulously observing the distance which might become a
"virtuous gentleman and maid." The youth William did the service of
the entertainment with deftness and courtesy, as one well accustomed
to such duty; and Annette, placing herself between them, and
endeavouring, as closely as she could, to adhere to the ceremonies
which she saw them observe, made practice of the civilities which were
expected from the attendant of a baroness. Various, however, were the
errors which she committed. Her demeanour in general was that of a
greyhound in the slips, ready to start up every moment; and she was
only withheld by the recollection that she was to ask for that which
she had far more mind to help herself to.

Other points of etiquette were transgressed in their turn, after the
repast was over, and the attendant had retired. The waiting damsel
often mingled too unceremoniously in the conversation, and could not
help calling her mistress by her Christian name of Anne, and, in
defiance of all decorum, addressed her, as well as Philipson, with the
pronoun _thou_, which then, as well as now, was a dreadful solecism in
German politeness. Her blunders were so far fortunate that, by
furnishing the young lady and Arthur with a topic foreign to the
peculiarities of their own situation, they enabled them to withdraw
their attentions from its embarrassments, and to exchange smiles at
poor Annette's expense. She was not long of perceiving this, and half
nettled, half availing herself of the apology to speak her mind, said,
with considerable spirit, "You have both been very merry, forsooth, at
my expense, and all because I wished rather to rise and seek what I
wanted, than wait till the poor fellow, who was kept trotting between
the board and beauffet, found leisure to bring it to me. You laugh at
me now, because I call you by your names, as they were given to you in
the blessed church at your christening; and because I say to you
_thee_ and _thou_, addressing my Juncker and my Yungfrau as I would do
if I were on my knees praying to Heaven. But for all your new-world
fancies, I can tell you, you are but a couple of children, who do not
know your own minds, and are jesting away the only leisure given you
to provide for your own happiness. Nay, frown not, my sweet Mistress
Baroness; I have looked at Mount Pilatus too often, to fear a gloomy
brow."

"Peace, Annette," said her mistress, "or quit the room."

"Were I not more your friend than I am my own," said the headstrong
and undaunted Annette, "I would quit the room, and the castle to boot,
and leave you to hold your house here, with your amiable seneschal,
Ital Schreckenwald."

"If not for love, yet for shame, for charity, be silent, or leave the
room."

"Nay," said Annette, "my bolt is shot, and I have but hinted at what
all upon Geierstein Green said, the night when the bow of Buttisholz
was bended. You know what the old saw says"----

"Peace! peace, for Heaven's sake, or I must needs fly!" said the young
Baroness.

"Nay, then," said Annette, considerably changing her tone, as if
afraid that her mistress should actually retire, "if you must fly,
necessity must have its course. I know no one who can follow. This
mistress of mine, Seignor Arthur, would require for her attendant, not
a homely girl of flesh and blood like myself, but a waiting-woman with
substance composed of gossamer, and breath supplied by the spirit of
ether. Would you believe it--It is seriously held by many, that she
partakes of the race of spirits of the elements, which makes her so
much more bashful than maidens of this every-day world."

Anne of Geierstein seemed rather glad to lead away the conversation
from the turn which her wayward maiden had given to it, and to turn it
on more indifferent subjects, though these were still personal to
herself.

"Seignor Arthur," she said, "thinks, perhaps, he has some room to
nourish some such strange suspicion as your heedless folly expresses,
and some fools believe, both in Germany and Switzerland. Confess,
Seignor Arthur, you thought strangely of me when I passed your guard
upon the bridge of Graffs-lust, on the night last past."

The recollection of the circumstances which had so greatly surprised
him at the time so startled Arthur that it was with some difficulty he
commanded himself, so as to attempt an answer at all; and what he did
say on the occasion was broken and unconnected.

"I did hear, I own--that is, Rudolph Donnerhugel reported--But that I
believed that you, gentle lady, were other than a Christian
maiden"----

"Nay, if Rudolph were the reporter," said Annette, "you would hear
the worst of my lady and her lineage, that is certain. He is one of
those prudent personages who depreciate and find fault with the goods
he has thoughts of purchasing, in order to deter other offerers. Yes,
he told you a fine goblin story, I warrant you, of my lady's
grandmother; and truly, it so happened, that the circumstances of the
case gave, I dare say, some colour in your eyes to"----

"Not so, Annette," answered Arthur; "whatever might be said of your
lady that sounded uncouth and strange, fell to the ground as
incredible."

"Not quite so much so, I fancy," interrupted Annette, without heeding
sign or frown. "I strongly suspect I should have had much more trouble
in dragging you hither to this castle, had you known you were
approaching the haunt of the Nymph of the Fire, the Salamander, as
they call her, not to mention the shock of again seeing the descendant
of that Maiden of the Fiery Mantle."

"Peace, once more, Annette," said her mistress; "since Fate has
occasioned this meeting, let us not neglect the opportunity to
disabuse our English friend of the absurd report he has listened to,
with doubt and wonder perhaps, but not with absolute incredulity.

"Seignor Arthur Philipson," she proceeded, "it is true my grandfather,
by the mother's side, Baron Herman of Arnheim, was a man of great
knowledge in abstruse sciences. He was also a presiding judge of a
tribunal of which you must have heard, called the Holy Vehme. One
night a stranger, closely pursued by the agents of that body, which"
(crossing herself) "it is not safe even to name, arrived at the castle
and craved his protection, and the rights of hospitality. My
grandfather, finding the advance which the stranger had made to the
rank of Adept, gave him his protection, and became bail to deliver him
to answer the charge against him, for a year and a day, which delay he
was, it seems, entitled to require on his behalf. They studied
together during that term, and pushed their researches into the
mysteries of nature, as far, in all probability, as men have the power
of urging them. When the fatal day drew nigh on which the guest must
part from his host, he asked permission to bring his daughter to the
castle, that they might exchange a last farewell. She was introduced
with much secrecy, and after some days, finding that her father's fate
was so uncertain, the Baron, with the sage's consent, agreed to give
the forlorn maiden refuge in his castle, hoping to obtain from her
some additional information concerning the languages and the wisdom of
the East. Dannischemend, her father, left this castle, to go to render
himself up to the Vehme-gericht at Fulda. The result is unknown;
perhaps he was saved by Baron Arnheim's testimony, perhaps he was
given up to the steel and the cord. On such matters, who dare speak?

"The fair Persian became the wife of her guardian and protector. Amid
many excellences, she had one peculiarity allied to imprudence. She
availed herself of her foreign dress and manners, as well as of a
beauty which was said to have been marvellous, and an agility seldom
equalled, to impose upon and terrify the ignorant German ladies, who,
hearing her speak Persian and Arabic, were already disposed to
consider her as over closely connected with unlawful arts. She was of
a fanciful and imaginative disposition, and delighted to place herself
in such colours and circumstances as might confirm their most
ridiculous suspicions, which she considered only as matter of sport.
There was no end to the stories to which she gave rise. Her first
appearance in the castle was said to be highly picturesque, and to
have inferred something of the marvellous. With the levity of a child,
she had some childish passions, and while she encouraged the growth
and circulation of the most extraordinary legends amongst some of the
neighbourhood, she entered into disputes with persons of her own
quality concerning rank and precedence, on which the ladies of
Westphalia have at all times set great store. This cost her her life;
for, on the morning of the christening of my poor mother, the Baroness
of Arnheim died suddenly, even while a splendid company was assembled
in the castle chapel to witness the ceremony. It was believed that she
died of poison, administered by the Baroness Steinfeldt, with whom she
was engaged in a bitter quarrel, entered into chiefly on behalf of her
friend and companion, the Countess Waldstetten."

"And the opal gem?--and the sprinkling with water?" said Arthur
Philipson.

"Ah!" replied the young Baroness, "I see you desire to hear the real
truth of my family history, of which you have yet learned only the
romantic legend.--The sprinkling of water was necessarily had recourse
to, on my ancestress's first swoon. As for the opal, I have heard that
it did indeed grow pale, but only because it is said to be the nature
of that noble gem, on the approach of poison. Some part of the quarrel
with the Baroness Steinfeldt was about the right of the Persian
maiden to wear this stone, which an ancestor of my family won in
battle from the Soldan of Trebizond. All these things were confused in
popular tradition, and the real facts turned into a fairy tale."

"But you have said nothing," suggested Arthur Philipson, "on--on"----

"On what?" said his hostess.

"On your appearance last night."

"Is it possible," said she, "that a man of sense, and an Englishman,
cannot guess at the explanation which I have to give, though not,
perhaps, very distinctly? My father, you are aware, has been a busy
man in a disturbed country, and has incurred the hatred of many
powerful persons. He is, therefore, obliged to move in secret, and
avoid unnecessary observation. He was, besides, averse to meet his
brother, the Landamman. I was therefore told, on our entering Germany,
that I was to expect a signal where and when to join him,--the token
was to be a small crucifix of bronze, which had belonged to my poor
mother. In my apartment at Graffs-lust I found the token, with a note
from my father, making me acquainted with a secret passage proper to
such places, which, though it had the appearance of being blocked up,
was in fact very slightly barricaded. By this I was instructed to pass
to the gate, make my escape into the woods, and meet my father at a
place appointed there."

"A wild and perilous adventure," said Arthur.

"I have never been so much shocked," continued the maiden, "as at
receiving this summons, compelling me to steal away from my kind and
affectionate uncle, and go I knew not whither. Yet compliance was
absolutely necessary. The place of meeting was plainly pointed out. A
midnight walk, in the neighbourhood of protection, was to me a trifle;
but the precaution of posting sentinels at the gate might have
interfered with my purpose, had I not mentioned it to some of my elder
cousins, the Biedermans, who readily agreed to let me pass and repass
unquestioned. But you know my cousins; honest and kind-hearted, they
are of a rude way of thinking, and as incapable of feeling a generous
delicacy as--some other persons."--(Here there was a glance towards
Annette Veilchen.)--"They exacted from me, that I should conceal
myself and my purpose from Sigismund; and as they are always making
sport with the simple youth, they insisted that I should pass him in
such a manner as might induce him to believe that I was a spiritual
apparition, and out of his terrors for supernatural beings they
expected to have much amusement. I was obliged to secure their
connivance at my escape on their own terms; and, indeed, I was too
much grieved at the prospect of quitting my kind uncle to think much
of anything else. Yet my surprise was considerable, when, contrary to
expectation, I found you on the bridge as sentinel, instead of my
cousin Sigismund. Your own ideas I ask not for."

"They were those of a fool," said Arthur, "of a thrice-sodden fool.
Had I been aught else, I would have offered my escort. My sword"----

"I could not have accepted your protection," said Anne, calmly. "My
mission was in every respect a secret one. I met my father--some
intercourse had taken place betwixt him and Rudolph Donnerhugel, which
induced him to alter his purpose of carrying me away with him last
night. I joined him, however, early this morning, while Annette acted
for a time my part amongst the Swiss pilgrims. My father desired that
it should not be known when or with whom I left my uncle and his
escort. I need scarce remind you, that I saw you in the dungeon."

"You were the preserver of my life," said the youth,--"the restorer of
my liberty."

"Ask me not the reason of my silence. I was then acting under the
agency of others, not under mine own. Your escape was effected, in
order to establish a communication betwixt the Swiss without the
fortress and the soldiers within. After the alarm at La Ferette, I
learned from Sigismund Biederman that a party of banditti were
pursuing your father and you, with a view to pillage and robbery. My
father had furnished me with the means of changing Anne of Geierstein
into a German maiden of quality. I set out instantly, and glad I am to
have given you a hint which might free you from danger."

"But my father?" said Arthur.

"I have every reason to hope he is well and safe," answered the young
lady. "More than I were eager to protect both you and him--poor
Sigismund amongst the first.--And now, my friend, these mysteries
explained, it is time we part, and for ever."

"Part!--and for ever!" repeated the youth, in a voice like a dying
echo.

"It is our fate," said the maiden. "I appeal to you if it is not your
duty--I tell you it is mine. You will depart with early dawn to
Strasburg--and--and--we never meet again."

With an ardour of passion which he could not repress, Arthur Philipson
threw himself at the feet of the maiden, whose faltering tone had
clearly expressed that she felt deeply in uttering the words. She
looked round for Annette, but Annette had disappeared at this most
critical moment; and her mistress for a second or two was not perhaps
sorry for her absence.

"Rise," she said, "Arthur--rise. You must not give way to feelings
that might be fatal to yourself and me."

"Hear me, lady, before I bid you adieu, and for ever--the word of a
criminal is heard, though he plead the worst cause--I am a belted
knight, and the son and heir of an Earl, whose name has been spread
throughout England and France, and wherever valour has had fame."

"Alas!" said she, faintly, "I have but too long suspected what you now
tell me--Rise, I pray you, rise."

"Never till you hear me," said the youth, seizing one of her hands,
which trembled, but hardly could be said to struggle in his
grasp.--"Hear me," he said, with the enthusiasm of first love, when
the obstacles of bashfulness and diffidence are surmounted,--"My
father and I are--I acknowledge it--bound on a most hazardous and
doubtful expedition. You will very soon learn its issue for good or
bad. If it succeed, you shall hear of me in my own character--If I
fall, I must--I will--I do claim a tear from Anne of Geierstein. If I
escape, I have yet a horse, a lance, and a sword; and you shall hear
nobly of him whom you have thrice protected from imminent danger."

"Arise--arise," repeated the maiden, whose tears began to flow fast,
as, struggling to raise her lover, they fell thick upon his head and
face. "I have heard enough--to listen to more were indeed madness,
both for you and myself."

"Yet one single word," added the youth; "while Arthur has a heart, it
beats for you--while Arthur can wield an arm, it strikes for you, and
in your cause."

Annette now rushed into the room.

"Away, away!" she cried--"Schreckenwald has returned from the village
with some horrible tidings, and I fear me he comes this way."

Arthur had started to his feet at the first signal of alarm.

"If there is danger near your lady, Annette, there is at least one
faithful friend by her side."

Annette looked anxiously at her mistress.

"But Schreckenwald," she said--"Schreckenwald, your father's
steward--his confidant.--Oh, think better of it--I can hide Arthur
somewhere."

The noble-minded girl had already resumed her composure, and replied
with dignity,--"I have done nothing," she said, "to offend my father.
If Schreckenwald be my father's steward, he is my vassal. I hide no
guest to conciliate him. Sit down" (addressing Arthur), "and let us
receive this man.--Introduce him instantly, Annette, and let us hear
his tidings--and bid him remember, that when he speaks to me he
addresses his mistress."

Arthur resumed his seat, still more proud of his choice from the noble
and fearless spirit displayed by one who had so lately shown herself
sensible to the gentlest feelings of the female sex.

Annette, assuming courage from her mistress's dauntless demeanour,
clapped her hands together as she left the room, saying, but in a low
voice, "I see that after all it is something to be a Baroness, if one
can assert her dignity conformingly. How could I be so much frightened
for this rude man!"



CHAPTER V.

                   Affairs that walk
     (As they say spirits do) at midnight, have
     In them a wilder nature than the business
     That seeks dispatch by day.
                           _Henry VIII. Act V._


The approach of the steward was now boldly expected by the little
party. Arthur, flattered at once and elevated by the firmness which
Anne had shown when this person's arrival was announced, hastily
considered the part which he was to act in the approaching scene, and
prudently determined to avoid all active and personal interference,
till he should observe from the demeanour of Anne that such was likely
to be useful or agreeable to her. He resumed his place, therefore, at
a distant part of the board, on which their meal had been lately
spread, and remained there, determined to act in the manner Anne's
behaviour should suggest as most prudent and fitting,--veiling, at the
same time, the most acute internal anxiety, by an appearance of that
deferential composure, which one of inferior rank adopts when admitted
to the presence of a superior. Anne, on her part, seemed to prepare
herself for an interview of interest. An air of conscious dignity
succeeded the extreme agitation which she had so lately displayed,
and, busying herself with some articles of female work, she also
seemed to expect with tranquillity the visit to which her attendant
was disposed to attach so much alarm.

A step was heard upon the stair, hurried and unequal, as that of some
one in confusion as well as haste; the door flew open, and Ital
Schreckenwald entered.

This person, with whom the details given to the elder Philipson by the
Landamman Biederman have made the reader in some degree acquainted,
was a tall, well-made, soldierly looking man. His dress, like that of
persons of rank at the period in Germany, was more varied in colour,
more cut and ornamented, slashed and jagged, than the habit worn in
France and England. The never-failing hawk's feather decked his cap,
secured with a medal of gold, which served as a clasp. His doublet was
of buff, for defence, but _laid down_, as it was called in the
tailor's craft, with rich lace on each seam, and displaying on the
breast a golden chain, the emblem of his rank in the Baron's
household. He entered with rather a hasty step, and busy and offended
look, and said, somewhat rudely, "Why, how now, young lady--wherefore
this? Strangers in the castle at this period of night!"

Anne of Geierstein, though she had been long absent from her native
country, was not ignorant of its habits and customs, and knew the
haughty manner in which all who were noble exerted their authority
over their dependants.

"Are you a vassal of Arnheim, Ital Schreckenwald, and do you speak to
the Lady of Arnheim in her own castle with an elevated voice, a saucy
look, and bonneted withal? Know your place; and, when you have
demanded pardon for your insolence, and told your errand in such
terms as befit your condition and mine, I may listen to what you have
to say."

Schreckenwald's hand, in spite of him, stole to his bonnet, and
uncovered his haughty brow.

"Noble lady," he said, in a somewhat milder tone, "excuse me if my
haste be unmannerly, but the alarm is instant. The soldiery of the
Rhinegrave have mutinied, plucked down the banners of their master,
and set up an independent ensign, which they call the pennon of St.
Nicholas, under which they declare that they will maintain peace with
God, and war with all the world. This castle cannot escape them, when
they consider that the first course to maintain themselves must be to
take possession of some place of strength. You must up then, and ride
with the very peep of dawn. For the present, they are busy with the
wine-skins of the peasants, but when they wake in the morning they
will unquestionably march hither; and you may chance to fall into the
hands of those who will think of the terrors of the castle of Arnheim
as the figments of a fairy tale, and laugh at its mistress's
pretensions to honour and respect."

"Is it impossible to make resistance? The castle is strong," said the
young lady, "and I am unwilling to leave the house of my fathers
without attempting somewhat in our defence."

"Five hundred men," said Schreckenwald, "might garrison Arnheim,
battlement and tower. With a less number it were madness to attempt to
keep such an extent of walls; and how to get twenty soldiers together,
I am sure I know not.--So, having now the truth of the story, let me
beseech you to dismiss this guest,--too young, I think, to be the
inmate of a lady's bower,--and I will point to him the nighest way out
of the castle; for this is a strait in which we must all be contented
with looking to our own safety."

"And whither is it that you propose to go?" said the Baroness,
continuing to maintain, in respect to Ital Schreckenwald, the complete
and calm assertion of absolute superiority, to which the seneschal
gave way with such marks of impatience as a fiery steed exhibits under
the management of a complete cavalier.

"To Strasburg, I propose to go,--that is, if it so please you,--with
such slight escort as I can get hastily together by daybreak. I trust
we may escape being observed by the mutineers; or, if we fall in with
a party of stragglers, I apprehend but little difficulty in forcing my
way."

"And wherefore do you prefer Strasburg as a place of asylum?"

"Because I trust we shall there meet your excellency's father, the
noble Count Albert of Geierstein."

"It is well," said the young lady.--"You also, I think, Seignor
Philipson, spoke of directing your course to Strasburg. If it consist
with your convenience, you may avail yourself of the protection of my
escort as far as that city, where you expect to meet your father."

It will readily be believed that Arthur cheerfully bowed assent to a
proposal which was to prolong their remaining in society together, and
might possibly, as his romantic imagination suggested, afford him an
opportunity, on a road beset with dangers, to render some service of
importance.

Ital Schreckenwald attempted to remonstrate.

"Lady!--lady!"--he said, with some marks of impatience.

"Take breath and leisure, Schreckenwald," said Anne, "and you will be
more able to express yourself with distinctness, and with respectful
propriety."

The impatient vassal muttered an oath betwixt his teeth, and answered
with forced civility,--"Permit me to state, that our case requires we
should charge ourselves with the care of no one but you. We shall be
few enough for your defence, and I cannot permit any stranger to
travel with us."

"If," said Arthur, "I conceived that I was to be a useless incumbrance
on the retreat of this noble young lady, worlds, Sir Squire, would not
induce me to accept her offer. But I am neither child nor woman--I am
a full-grown man, and ready to show such good service as manhood may
in defence of your lady."

"If we must not challenge your valour and ability, young sir," said
Schreckenwald, "who shall answer for your fidelity?"

"To question that elsewhere," said Arthur, "might be dangerous."

But Anne interfered between them. "We must straight to rest, and
remain prompt for alarm, perhaps even before the hour of dawn.
Schreckenwald, I trust to your care for due watch and ward.--You have
men enough at least for that purpose.--And hear and mark--It is my
desire and command, that this gentleman be accommodated with lodgings
here for this night, and that he travel with us to-morrow. For this I
will be responsible to my father, and your part is only to obey my
commands. I have long had occasion to know both the young man's father
and himself, who were ancient guests of my uncle, the Landamman. On
the journey you will keep the youth beside you, and use such courtesy
to him as your rugged temper will permit."

Ital Schreckenwald intimated his acquiescence with a look of
bitterness, which it were vain to attempt to describe. It expressed
spite, mortification, humbled pride, and reluctant submission. He did
submit, however, and ushered young Philipson into a decent apartment
with a bed, which the fatigue and agitation of the preceding day
rendered very acceptable.

Notwithstanding the ardour with which Arthur expected the rise of the
next dawn, his deep repose, the fruit of fatigue, held him until the
reddening of the east, when the voice of Schreckenwald exclaimed, "Up,
Sir Englishman, if you mean to accomplish your boast of loyal service.
It is time we were in the saddle, and we shall tarry for no
sluggards."

Arthur was on the floor of the apartment, and dressed, in almost an
instant, not forgetting to put on his shirt of mail, and assume
whatever weapons seemed most fit to render him an efficient part of
the convoy. He next hastened to seek out the stable, to have his horse
in readiness; and descending for that purpose into the under story of
the lower mass of buildings, he was wandering in search of the way
which led to the offices, when the voice of Annette Veilchen softly
whispered, "This way, Seignor Philipson; I would speak with you."

The Swiss maiden, at the same time, beckoned him into a small room,
where he found her alone.

"Were you not surprised," she said, "to see my lady queen it so over
Ital Schreckenwald, who keeps every other person in awe with his stern
looks and cross words? But the air of command seems so natural to her,
that, instead of being a baroness, she might have been an empress. It
must come of birth, I think, after all, for I tried last night to take
state upon me, after the fashion of my mistress, and, would you think
it, the brute Schreckenwald threatened to throw me out of the window?
But if ever I see Martin Sprenger again, I'll know if there is
strength in a Swiss arm, and virtue in a Swiss quarter-staff.--But
here I stand prating, and my lady wishes to see you for a minute ere
we take to horse."

"Your lady?" said Arthur, starting. "Why did you lose an instant? why
not tell me before?"

"Because I was only to keep you here till she came, and--here she is."

Anne of Geierstein entered, fully attired for her journey. Annette,
always willing to do as she would wish to be done by, was about to
leave the apartment, when her mistress, who had apparently made up her
mind concerning what she had to do or say, commanded her positively to
remain.

"I am sure," she said, "Seignor Philipson will rightly understand the
feelings of hospitality--I will say of friendship--which prevented my
suffering him to be expelled from my castle last night, and which have
determined me this morning to admit of his company on the somewhat
dangerous road to Strasburg. At the gate of that town we part, I to
join my father, you to place yourself under the direction of yours.
From that moment intercourse between us ends, and our remembrance of
each other must be as the thoughts which we pay to friends deceased."

"Tender recollections," said Arthur, passionately, "more dear to our
bosoms than all we have surviving upon earth."

"Not a word in that tone," answered the maiden. "With night delusion
should end, and reason awaken with dawning. One word more--Do not
address me on the road; you may, by doing so, expose me to vexatious
and insulting suspicion, and yourself to quarrels and peril.--Farewell,
our party is ready to take horse."

She left the apartment, where Arthur remained for a moment deeply
bewildered in grief and disappointment. The patience, nay, even
favour, with which Anne of Geierstein had, on the previous night,
listened to his passion, had not prepared him for the terms of reserve
and distance which she now adopted towards him. He was ignorant that
noble maids, if feeling or passion has for a moment swayed them from
the strict path of principle and duty, endeavour to atone for it by
instantly returning, and severely adhering, to the line from which
they have made a momentary departure. He looked mournfully on Annette,
who, as she had been in the room before Anne's arrival, took the
privilege of remaining a minute after her departure; but he read no
comfort in the glances of the confidant, who seemed as much
disconcerted as himself.

"I cannot imagine what hath happened to her," said Annette; "to me she
is kind as ever, but to every other person about her she plays
countess and baroness with a witness; and now she is begun to
tyrannise over her own natural feelings--and--if this be greatness,
Annette Veilchen trusts always to remain the penniless Swiss girl; she
is mistress of her own freedom, and at liberty to speak with her
bachelor when she pleases, so as religion and maiden modesty suffer
nothing in the conversation. Oh, a single daisy twisted with content
into one's hair, is worth all the opals in India, if they bind us to
torment ourselves and other people, or hinder us from speaking our
mind, when our heart is upon our tongue. But never fear, Arthur; for
if she has the cruelty to think of forgetting you, you may rely on one
friend who, while she has a tongue, and Anne has ears, will make it
impossible for her to do so."

So saying, away tripped Annette, having first indicated to Philipson
the passage by which he would find the lower court of the castle.
There his steed stood ready, among about twenty others. Twelve of
these were accoutred with war saddles, and frontlets of proof, being
intended for the use of as many cavaliers, or troopers, retainers of
the family of Arnheim, whom the seneschal's exertions had been able to
collect on the spur of the occasion. Two palfreys, somewhat
distinguished by their trappings, were designed for Anne of Geierstein
and her favourite female attendant. The other menials, chiefly boys
and women servants, had inferior horses. At a signal made, the
troopers took their lances and stood by their steeds, till the females
and menials were mounted and in order; they then sprang into their
saddles and began to move forward, slowly and with great precaution.
Schreckenwald led the van, and kept Arthur Philipson close beside
him. Anne and her attendant were in the centre of the little body,
followed by the unwarlike train of servants, while two or three
experienced cavaliers brought up the rear, with strict orders to guard
against surprise.

On their being put into motion, the first thing which surprised Arthur
was, that the horses' hoofs no longer sent forth the sharp and ringing
sound arising from the collision of iron and flint, and as the morning
light increased he could perceive that the fetlock and hoof of every
steed, his own included, had been carefully wrapped around with a
sufficient quantity of wool, to prevent the usual noise which
accompanied their motions. It was a singular thing to behold the
passage of the little body of cavalry down the rocky road which led
from the castle, unattended with the noise which we are disposed to
consider as inseparable from the motions of horse, the absence of
which seemed to give a peculiar and almost an unearthly appearance to
the cavalcade.

They passed in this manner the winding path which led from the castle
of Arnheim to the adjacent village, which, as was the ancient feudal
custom, lay so near the fortress that its inhabitants, when summoned
by their lord, could instantly repair for its defence. But it was at
present occupied by very different inhabitants, the mutinous soldiers
of the Rhinegrave. When the party from Arnheim approached the entrance
of the village, Schreckenwald made a signal to halt, which was
instantly obeyed by his followers. He then rode forward in person to
reconnoitre, accompanied by Arthur Philipson, both moving with the
utmost steadiness and precaution. The deepest silence prevailed in
the deserted streets. Here and there a soldier was seen, seemingly
designed for a sentinel, but uniformly fast asleep.

"The swinish mutineers!" said Schreckenwald; "a fair night-watch they
keep, and a beautiful morning's rouse would I treat them with, were
not the point to protect yonder peevish wench.--Halt thou here,
stranger, while I ride back and bring them on--there is no danger."

Schreckenwald left Arthur as he spoke, who, alone in the street of a
village filled with banditti, though they were lulled into temporary
insensibility, had no reason to consider his case as very comfortable.
The chorus of a wassel song, which some reveller was trolling over in
his sleep; or, in its turn, the growling of some village cur, seemed
the signal for an hundred ruffians to start up around him. But in the
space of two or three minutes, the noiseless cavalcade, headed by Ital
Schreckenwald, again joined him, and followed their leader, observing
the utmost precaution not to give an alarm. All went well till they
reached the farther end of the village, where, although the
Baaren-hauter[4] who kept guard was as drunk as his companions on
duty, a large shaggy dog which lay beside him was more vigilant. As
the little troop approached, the animal sent forth a ferocious yell,
loud enough to have broken the rest of the Seven Sleepers, and which
effectually dispelled the slumbers of its master. The soldier snatched
up his carabine and fired, he knew not well at what, or for what
reason. The ball, however, struck Arthur's horse under him, and, as
the animal fell, the sentinel rushed forward to kill or make prisoner
the rider.

"Haste on, haste on, men of Arnheim! care for nothing but the young
lady's safety," exclaimed the leader of the band.

"Stay, I command you;--aid the stranger, on your lives!"--said Anne,
in a voice which, usually gentle and meek, she now made heard by those
around her, like the note of a silver clarion. "I will not stir till
he is rescued."

Schreckenwald had already spurred his horse for flight; but,
perceiving Anne's reluctance to follow him, he dashed back, and
seizing a horse which, bridled and saddled, stood picketed near him,
he threw the reins to Arthur Philipson; and pushing his own horse, at
the same time, betwixt the Englishman and the soldier, he forced the
latter to quit the hold he had on his person. In an instant Philipson
was again mounted, when, seizing a battle-axe which hung at the
saddle-bow of his new steed, he struck down the staggering sentinel,
who was endeavouring again to seize upon him. The whole troop then
rode off at a gallop, for the alarm began to grow general in the
village; some soldiers were seen coming out of their quarters, and
others were beginning to get upon horseback. Before Schreckenwald and
his party had ridden a mile, they heard more than once the sound of
bugles; and when they arrived upon the summit of an eminence
commanding a view of the village, their leader, who, during the
retreat, had placed himself in the rear of his company, now halted to
reconnoitre the enemy they had left behind them. There was bustle and
confusion in the street, but there did not appear to be any pursuit;
so that Schreckenwald followed his route down the river, with speed
and activity indeed, but with so much steadiness, at the same time, as
not to distress the slowest horse of his party.

When they had ridden two hours and more, the confidence of their
leader was so much augmented, that he ventured to command a halt at
the edge of a pleasant grove, which served to conceal their number,
whilst both riders and horses took some refreshment, for which purpose
forage and provisions had been borne along with them. Ital
Schreckenwald, having held some communication with the Baroness,
continued to offer their travelling companion a sort of surly
civility. He invited him to partake of his own mess, which was indeed
little different from that which was served out to the other troopers,
but was seasoned with a glass of wine from a more choice flask.

"To your health, brother," he said; "if you tell this day's story
truly, you will allow that I was a true comrade to you two hours
since, in riding through the village of Arnheim."

"I will never deny it, fair sir," said Philipson, "and I return you
thanks for your timely assistance; alike, whether it sprang from your
mistress's order, or your own good-will."

"Ho! ho! my friend," said Schreckenwald, laughing, "you are a
philosopher, and can try conclusions while your horse lies rolling
above you, and a Baaren-hauter aims his sword at your throat?--Well,
since your wit hath discovered so much, I care not if you know, that I
should not have had much scruple to sacrifice twenty such smooth-faced
gentlemen as yourself, rather than the young Baroness of Arnheim had
incurred the slightest danger."

"The propriety of the sentiment," said Philipson, "is so undoubtedly
correct, that I subscribe to it, even though it is something
discourteously expressed towards myself."

In making this reply, the young man, provoked at the insolence of
Schreckenwald's manner, raised his voice a little. The circumstance
did not escape observation, for, on the instant, Annette Veilchen
stood before them, with her mistress's commands on them both to speak
in whispers, or rather to be altogether silent.

"Say to your mistress that I am mute," said Philipson.

"Our mistress, the Baroness, says," continued Annette, with an
emphasis on the title, to which she began to ascribe some talismanic
influence,--"the Baroness, I tell you, says, that silence much
concerns our safety, for it were most hazardous to draw upon this
little fugitive party the notice of any passengers who may pass along
the road during the necessary halt; and so, sirs, it is the Baroness's
request that you will continue the exercise of your teeth as fast as
you can, and forbear that of your tongues till you are in a safer
condition."

"My lady is wise," answered Ital Schreckenwald, "and her maiden is
witty. I drink, Mrs. Annette, in a cup of Rudersheimer, to the
continuance of her sagacity, and of your amiable liveliness of
disposition. Will it please you, fair mistress, to pledge me in this
generous liquor?"

"Out, thou German wine-flask!--Out, thou eternal swill-flagon!--Heard
you ever of a modest maiden who drank wine before she had dined?"

"Remain without the generous inspiration then," said the German, "and
nourish thy satirical vein on sour cider or acid whey."

A short space having been allowed to refresh themselves, the little
party again mounted their horses, and travelled with such speed, that
long before noon they arrived at the strongly fortified town of Kehl,
opposite to Strasburg, on the eastern bank of the Rhine.

It is for local antiquaries to discover whether the travellers crossed
from Kehl to Strasburg by the celebrated bridge of boats which at
present maintains the communication across the river, or whether they
were wafted over by some other mode of transportation. It is enough
that they passed in safety, and had landed on the other side,
where--whether she dreaded that he might forget the charge she had
given him, that here they were to separate, or whether she thought
that something more might be said in the moment of parting--the young
Baroness, before remounting her horse, once more approached Arthur
Philipson, who too truly guessed the tenor of what she had to say.

"Gentle stranger," she said, "I must now bid you farewell. But first
let me ask if you know whereabouts you are to seek your father?"

"In an inn called the Flying Stag," said Arthur, dejectedly; "but
where that is situated in this large town, I know not."

"Do you know the place, Ital Schreckenwald?"

"I, young lady?--Not I--I know nothing of Strasburg and its inns. I
believe most of our party are as ignorant as I am."

"You and they speak German, I suppose," said the Baroness, drily, "and
can make inquiry more easily than a foreigner? Go, sir, and forget
not that humanity to the stranger is a religious duty."

With that shrug of the shoulders which testifies a displeased messenger,
Ital went to make some inquiry, and, in his absence, brief as it was,
Anne took an opportunity to say apart,--"Farewell!--Farewell! Accept
this token of friendship, and wear it for my sake. May you be happy!"

Her slender fingers dropped into his hand a very small parcel. He
turned to thank her, but she was already at some distance; and
Schreckenwald, who had taken his place by his side, said in his harsh
voice, "Come, Sir Squire, I have found out your place of rendezvous,
and I have but little time to play the gentleman-usher."

He then rode on; and Philipson, mounted on his military charger,
followed him in silence to the point where a large street joined, or
rather crossed, that which led from the quay on which they had landed.

"Yonder swings the Flying Stag," said Ital, pointing to an immense
sign, which, mounted on a huge wooden frame, crossed almost the whole
breadth of the street. "Your intelligence can, I think, hardly abandon
you, with such a guide-post in your eye."

So saying, he turned his horse without further farewell, and rode back
to join his mistress and her attendants.

Philipson's eyes rested on the same group for a moment, when he was
recalled to a sense of his situation by the thoughts of his father;
and, spurring his jaded horse down the cross street, he reached the
hostelry of the Flying Stag.

FOOTNOTES:

[4] _Baaren-hauter_,--he of the Bear's hide,--a nickname for a German
private soldier.



CHAPTER VI.

                       I was, I must confess,
     Great Albion's queen in former golden days;
     But now mischance hath trod my title down,
     And with dishonour laid me on the ground;
     Where I must take like seat unto my fortune,
     And to my humble seat conform myself.
                            _Henry VI. Part III._


The hostelry of the Flying Stag, in Strasburg, was, like every inn in
the empire at the period, conducted much with the same discourteous
inattention to the wants and accommodation of the guests as that of
John Mengs. But the youth and good looks of Arthur Philipson,
circumstances which seldom or never fail to produce some effect where
the fair are concerned, prevailed upon a short, plump, dimpled,
blue-eyed, fair-skinned yungfrau, the daughter of the landlord of the
Flying Stag (himself a fat old man, pinned to the oaken chair in the
_stube_), to carry herself to the young Englishman with a degree of
condescension which, in the privileged race to which she belonged, was
little short of degradation. She not only put her light buskins and
her pretty ankles in danger of being soiled by tripping across the
yard to point out an unoccupied stable, but, on Arthur's inquiry after
his father, condescended to recollect that such a guest as he
described had lodged in the house last night, and had said he expected
to meet there a young person, his fellow-traveller.

"I will send him out to you, fair sir," said the little yungfrau with
a smile, which, if things of the kind are to be valued by their rare
occurrence, must have been reckoned inestimable.

She was as good as her word. In a few instants the elder Philipson
entered the stable, and folded his son in his arms.

"My son--my dear son!" said the Englishman, his usual stoicism broken
down and melted by natural feeling and parental tenderness,--"Welcome
to me at all times--welcome, in a period of doubt and danger--and most
welcome of all, in a moment which forms the very crisis of our fate.
In a few hours I shall know what we may expect from the Duke of
Burgundy.--Hast thou the token?"

Arthur's hand first sought that which was nearest to his heart, both
in the literal and allegorical sense--the small parcel, namely, which
Anne had given him at parting. But he recollected himself in the
instant, and presented to his father the packet which had been so
strangely lost and recovered at La Ferette.

"It hath run its own risk since you saw it," he observed to his
father, "and so have I mine. I received hospitality at a castle last
night, and behold a body of lanzknechts in the neighbourhood began in
the morning to mutiny for their pay. The inhabitants fled from the
castle to escape their violence, and, as we passed their leaguer in
the grey of the morning, a drunken Baaren-hauter shot my poor horse,
and I was forced, in the way of exchange, to take up with his heavy
Flemish animal, with its steel saddle, and its clumsy chaffron."

"Our road is beset with perils," said his father. "I too have had my
share, having been in great danger [he told not its precise nature] at
an inn where I rested last night. But I left it in the morning, and
proceeded hither in safety. I have at length, however, obtained a safe
escort to conduct me to the Duke's camp near Dijon; and I trust to
have an audience of him this evening. Then, if our last hope should
fail, we will seek the seaport of Marseilles, hoist sail for Candia or
for Rhodes, and spend our lives in defence of Christendom, since we
may no longer fight for England."

Arthur heard these ominous words without reply; but they did not the
less sink upon his heart, deadly as the doom of the judge which
secludes the criminal from society and all its joys, and condemns him
to an eternal prison-house. The bells from the cathedral began to toll
at this instant, and reminded the elder Philipson of the duty of
hearing mass, which was said at all hours in some one or other of the
separate chapels which are contained in that magnificent pile. His son
followed, on an intimation of his pleasure.

In approaching the access to this superb cathedral, the travellers
found it obstructed, as is usual in Catholic countries, by the number
of mendicants of both sexes, who crowded round the entrance to give
the worshippers an opportunity of discharging the duty of alms-giving,
so positively enjoined as a chief observance of their Church. The
Englishmen extricated themselves from their importunity by bestowing,
as is usual on such occasions, a donative of small coin upon those who
appeared most needy, or most deserving of their charity. One tall
woman stood on the steps close to the door, and extended her hand to
the elder Philipson, who, struck with her appearance, exchanged for a
piece of silver the copper coins which he had been distributing
amongst others.

"A marvel!" she said, in the English language, but in a tone
calculated only to be heard by him alone, although his son also caught
the sound and sense of what she said,--"Ay, a miracle!--An Englishman
still possesses a silver piece, and can afford to bestow it on the
poor!"

Arthur was sensible that his father started somewhat at the voice or
words, which bore, even in his ear, something of deeper import than
the observation of an ordinary mendicant. But after a glance at the
female who thus addressed him, his father passed onwards into the body
of the church, and was soon engaged in attending to the solemn
ceremony of the mass, as it was performed by a priest at the altar of
a chapel divided from the main body of the splendid edifice, and
dedicated, as it appeared from the image over the altar, to St.
George; that military saint, whose real history is so obscure, though
his popular legend rendered him an object of peculiar veneration
during the feudal ages. The ceremony was begun and finished with all
customary forms. The officiating priest, with his attendants,
withdrew, and though some of the few worshippers who had assisted at
the solemnity remained telling their beads, and occupied with the
performance of their private devotions, far the greater part left the
chapel, to visit other shrines, or to return to the prosecution of
their secular affairs.

But Arthur Philipson remarked that, whilst they dropped off one after
another, the tall woman who had received his father's alms continued
to kneel near the altar; and he was yet more surprised to see that his
father himself, who, he had many reasons to know, was desirous to
spend in the church no more time than the duties of devotion
absolutely claimed, remained also on his knees, with his eyes resting
on the form of the veiled devotee (such she seemed from her dress), as
if his own motions were to be guided by hers. By no idea which
occurred to him was Arthur able to form the least conjecture as to his
father's motives--he only knew that he was engaged in a critical and
dangerous negotiation, liable to influence or interruption from
various quarters; and that political suspicion was so generally awake,
both in France, Italy, and Flanders, that the most important agents
were often obliged to assume the most impenetrable disguises, in order
to insinuate themselves without suspicion into the countries where
their services were required. Louis XI., in particular, whose singular
policy seemed in some degree to give a character to the age in which
he lived, was well known to have disguised his principal emissaries
and envoys in the fictitious garbs of mendicant monks, minstrels,
gypsies, and other privileged wanderers of the meanest description.

Arthur concluded, therefore, that it was not improbable that this
female might, like themselves, be something more than her dress
imported; and he resolved to observe his father's deportment towards
her, and regulate his own actions accordingly. A bell at last
announced that mass, upon a more splendid scale, was about to be
celebrated before the high altar of the cathedral itself, and its
sound withdrew from the sequestered chapel of St. George the few who
had remained at the shrine of the military saint, excepting the father
and son, and the female penitent who kneeled opposite to them. When
the last of the worshippers had retired, the female arose and advanced
towards the elder Philipson, who, folding his arms on his bosom, and
stooping his head, in an attitude of obeisance which his son had never
before seen him assume, appeared rather to wait what she had to say,
than to propose addressing her.

There was a pause. Four lamps, lighted before the shrine of the saint,
cast a dim radiance on his armour and steed, represented as he was in
the act of transfixing with his lance the prostrate dragon, whose
outstretched wings and writhing neck were in part touched by their
beams. The rest of the chapel was dimly illuminated by the autumnal
sun, which could scarce find its way through the stained panes of the
small lanceolated window, which was its only aperture to the open air.
The light fell doubtful and gloomy, tinged with the various hues
through which it passed, upon the stately yet somewhat broken and
dejected form of the female, and on those of the melancholy and
anxious father, and his son, who, with all the eager interest of
youth, suspected and anticipated extraordinary consequences from so
singular an interview.

At length the female approached to the same side of the shrine with
Arthur and his father, as if to be more distinctly heard, without
being obliged to raise the slow solemn voice in which she had spoken.

"Do you here worship," she said, "the St. George of Burgundy, or the
St. George of merry England, the flower of chivalry?"

"I serve," said Philipson, folding his hands humbly on his bosom, "the
saint to whom this chapel is dedicated, and the Deity with whom I hope
for his holy intercession, whether here or in my native country."

"Ay--you," said the female, "even you can forget--you, even you, who
have been numbered among the mirror of knighthood--can forget that you
have worshipped in the royal fane of Windsor--that you have there bent
a _gartered_ knee, where kings and princes kneeled around you--you can
forget this, and make your orisons at a foreign shrine, with a heart
undisturbed with the thoughts of what you have been,--praying, like
some poor peasant, for bread and life during the day that passes over
you."

"Lady," replied Philipson, "in my proudest hours, I was, before the
Being to whom I preferred my prayers, but as a worm in the dust--In
His eyes I am now neither less nor more, degraded as I may be in the
opinion of my fellow-reptiles."

"How canst thou think thus?" said the devotee; "and yet it is well
with thee that thou canst. But what have thy losses been, compared to
mine!"

She put her hand to her brow, and seemed for a moment overpowered by
agonising recollections.

Arthur pressed to his father's side, and inquired, in a tone of
interest which could not be repressed, "Father, who is this lady?--Is
it my mother?"

"No, my son," answered Philipson;--"peace, for the sake of all you
hold dear or holy!"

The singular female, however, heard both the question and answer,
though expressed in a whisper.

"Yes," she said, "young man--I am--I should say I was--your mother;
the mother, the protectress, of all that was noble in England--I am
Margaret of Anjou."

Arthur sank on his knees before the dauntless widow of Henry the
Sixth, who so long, and in such desperate circumstances, upheld, by
unyielding courage and deep policy, the sinking cause of her feeble
husband; and who, if she occasionally abused victory by cruelty and
revenge, had made some atonement by the indomitable resolution with
which she had supported the fiercest storms of adversity. Arthur had
been bred in devoted adherence to the now dethroned line of Lancaster,
of which his father was one of the most distinguished supporters; and
his earliest deeds of arms, which, though unfortunate, were neither
obscure nor ignoble, had been done in their cause. With an enthusiasm
belonging to his age and education, he in the same instant flung his
bonnet on the pavement, and knelt at the feet of his ill-fated
sovereign.

Margaret threw back the veil which concealed those noble and majestic
features, which even yet,--though rivers of tears had furrowed her
cheek,--though care, disappointment, domestic grief, and humbled pride
had quenched the fire of her eye, and wasted the smooth dignity of her
forehead,--even yet showed the remains of that beauty which once was
held unequalled in Europe. The apathy with which a succession of
misfortunes and disappointed hopes had chilled the feelings of the
unfortunate Princess was for a moment melted by the sight of the fair
youth's enthusiasm. She abandoned one hand to him, which he covered
with tears and kisses, and with the other stroked with maternal
tenderness his curled locks, as she endeavoured to raise him from the
posture he had assumed. His father, in the meanwhile, shut the door of
the chapel, and placed his back against it, withdrawing himself thus
from the group, as if for the purpose of preventing any stranger from
entering, during a scene so extraordinary.

"And thou, then," said Margaret, in a voice where female tenderness
combated strangely with her natural pride of rank, and with the calm,
stoical indifference induced by the intensity of her personal
misfortunes; "thou, fair youth, art the last scion of the noble stem,
so many fair boughs of which have fallen in our hapless cause. Alas,
alas! what can I do for thee? Margaret has not even a blessing to
bestow. So wayward is her fate, that her benedictions are curses, and
she has but to look on you and wish you well, to insure your speedy
and utter ruin. I--I have been the fatal poison-tree, whose influence
has blighted and destroyed all the fair plants that arose beside and
around me, and brought death upon every one, yet am myself unable to
find it!"

"Noble and royal mistress," said the elder Englishman, "let not your
princely courage, which has borne such extremities, be dismayed, now
that they are passed over, and that a chance at least of happier times
is approaching to you and to England."

"To England, to _me_, noble Oxford!" said the forlorn and widowed
Queen.--"If to-morrow's sun could place me once more on the throne of
England, could it give back to me what I have lost? I speak not of
wealth or power--they are as nothing in the balance--I speak not of
the hosts of noble friends who have fallen in defence of me and
mine--Somersets, Percys, Staffords, Cliffords--they have found their
place in fame, in the annals of their country--I speak not of my
husband, he has exchanged the state of a suffering saint upon earth
for that of a glorified saint in heaven--But oh, Oxford! my son--my
Edward!--Is it possible for me to look on this youth, and not remember
that thy countess and I on the same night gave birth to two fair boys?
How oft we endeavoured to prophesy their future fortunes, and to
persuade ourselves that the same constellation which shone on their
birth would influence their succeeding life, and hold a friendly and
equal bias till they reached some destined goal of happiness and
honour! Thy Arthur lives; but, alas! my Edward, born under the same
auspices, fills a bloody grave!"

She wrapped her head in her mantle, as if to stifle the complaints and
groans which maternal affection poured forth at these cruel
recollections. Philipson, or the exiled Earl of Oxford as we may now
term him, distinguished in those changeful times by the steadiness
with which he had always maintained his loyalty to the line of
Lancaster, saw the imprudence of indulging his sovereign in her
weakness.

  [Illustration: ARTHUR BEFORE THE QUEEN.
   Drawn and Etched by R. de los Rios.]

"Royal mistress," he said, "life's journey is that of a brief winter's
day, and its course will run on, whether we avail ourselves of its
progress or no. My sovereign is, I trust, too much mistress
of herself to suffer lamentation for what is passed to deprive
her of the power of using the present time. I am here in obedience to
your command; I am to see Burgundy forthwith, and if I find him pliant
to the purpose to which we would turn him, events may follow which
will change into gladness our present mourning. But we must use our
opportunity with speed as well as zeal. Let me know then, madam, for
what reason your Majesty hath come hither, disguised and in danger?
Surely it was not merely to weep over this young man that the
high-minded Queen Margaret left her father's court, disguised herself
in mean attire, and came from a place of safety to one of doubt at
least, if not of danger?"

"You mock me, Oxford," said the unfortunate Queen, "or you deceive
yourself, if you think you still serve that Margaret whose word was
never spoken without a reason, and whose slightest action was
influenced by a motive. Alas! I am no longer the same firm and
rational being. The feverish character of grief, while it makes one
place hateful to me, drives me to another in very impotence and
impatience of spirit. My father's residence, thou say'st, is safe; but
is it tolerable for such a soul as mine? Can one who has been deprived
of the noblest and richest kingdom of Europe--one who has lost hosts
of noble friends--one who is a widowed consort, a childless
mother--one upon whose head Heaven hath poured forth its last vial of
unmitigated wrath,--can she stoop to be the companion of a weak old
man, who, in sonnets and in music, in mummery and folly, in harping
and rhyming, finds a comfort for all that poverty has that is
distressing; and, what is still worse, even a solace in all that is
ridiculous and contemptible?"

"Nay, with your leave, madam," said her counsellor, "blame not the
good King René (_a_),[5] because, persecuted by fortune, he has been
able to find out for himself humbler sources of solace, which your
prouder spirit is disposed to disdain. A contention among his
minstrels has for him the animation of a knightly combat; and a crown
of flowers, twined by his troubadours and graced by their sonnets, he
accounts a valuable compensation for the diadems of Jerusalem, of
Naples, and of both Sicilies, of which he only possesses the empty
titles."

"Speak not to me of the pitiable old man," said Margaret; "sunk below
even the hatred of his worst enemies, and never thought worthy of
anything more than contempt. I tell thee, noble Oxford, I have been
driven nearly mad with my forced residence at Aix, in the paltry
circle which he calls his court. My ears, tuned as they now are only
to sounds of affliction, are not so weary of the eternal tinkling of
harps, and squeaking of rebecks, and snapping of castanets;--my eyes
are not so tired of the beggarly affectation of court ceremonial,
which is only respectable when it implies wealth and expresses
power,--as my very soul is sick of the paltry ambition which can find
pleasure in spangles, tassels, and trumpery, when the reality of all
that is great and noble hath passed away. No, Oxford. If I am doomed
to lose the last cast which fickle fortune seems to offer me, I will
retreat into the meanest convent in the Pyrenean hills, and at least
escape the insult of the idiot gaiety of my father.--Let him pass from
our memory as from the page of history, in which his name will never
be recorded. I have much of more importance both to hear and to
tell.--And now, my Oxford, what news from Italy? Will the Duke of
Milan afford us assistance with his counsels, or with his treasures?"

"With his counsels willingly, madam; but how you will relish them I
know not, since he recommends to us submission to our hapless fate,
and resignation to the will of Providence."

"The wily Italian! Will not, then, Galeasso advance any part of his
hoards, or assist a friend, to whom he hath in his time full often
sworn faith?"

"Not even the diamonds which I offered to deposit in his hands,"
answered the Earl, "could make him unlock his treasury to supply us
with ducats for our enterprise. Yet he said, if Charles of Burgundy
should think seriously of an exertion in our favour, such was his
regard for that great prince, and his deep sense of your Majesty's
misfortunes, that he would consider what the state of his exchequer,
though much exhausted, and the condition of his subjects, though
impoverished by taxes and talliages, would permit him to advance in
your behalf."

"The double-faced hypocrite!" said Margaret. "If the assistance of the
princely Burgundy lends us a chance of regaining what is our own, then
he will give us some paltry parcel of crowns, that our restored
prosperity may forget his indifference to our adversity!--But what of
Burgundy? I have ventured hither to tell you what I have learned, and
to hear report of your proceedings--a trusty watch provides for the
secrecy of our interview. My impatience to see you brought me hither
in this mean disguise. I have a small retinue at a convent a mile
beyond the town--I have had your arrival watched by the faithful
Lambert--and now I come to know your hopes or your fears, and to tell
you my own."

"Royal lady," said the Earl, "I have not seen the Duke. You know his
temper to be wilful, sudden, haughty, and unpersuadable. If he can
adopt the calm and sustained policy which the times require, I little
doubt his obtaining full amends of Louis, his sworn enemy, and even of
Edward, his ambitious brother-in-law. But if he continues to yield to
extravagant fits of passion, with or without provocation, he may hurry
into a quarrel with the poor but hardy Helvetians, and is likely to
engage in a perilous contest, in which he cannot be expected to gain
anything, while he undergoes a chance of the most serious losses."

"Surely," replied the Queen, "he will not trust the usurper Edward,
even in the very moment when he is giving the greatest proof of
treachery to his alliance?"

"In what respect, madam?" replied Oxford. "The news you allude to has
not reached me."

"How, my lord? Am I then the first to tell you that Edward of York has
crossed the sea (_b_) with such an army as scarce even the renowned
Henry V., my father-in-law, ever transported from France to Italy?"

"So much I have indeed heard was expected," said Oxford; "and I
anticipated the effect as fatal to our cause."

"Edward is arrived," said Margaret, "and the traitor and usurper hath
sent defiance to Louis of France, and demanded of him the crown of
that kingdom as his own right--that crown which was placed on the head
of my unhappy husband, when he was yet a child in the cradle."

"It is then decided--the English are in France!" answered Oxford, in a
tone expressive of the deepest anxiety.--"And whom brings Edward with
him on this expedition?"

"All--all the bitterest enemies of our house and cause--The false, the
traitorous, the dishonoured George, whom he calls Duke of Clarence--the
blood-drinker, Richard--the licentious Hastings--Howard--Stanley--in a
word, the leaders of all those traitors whom I would not name, unless
by doing so my curses could sweep them from the face of the earth."

"And--I tremble to ask," said the Earl--"Does Burgundy prepare to join
them as a brother of the war, and make common cause with this Yorkish
host against King Louis of France?"

"By my advices," replied the Queen, "and they are both private and
sure, besides that they are confirmed by the bruit of common fame--No,
my good Oxford, no!"

"For that may the Saints be praised!" answered Oxford. "Edward of
York--I will not malign even an enemy--is a bold and fearless
leader--But he is neither Edward the Third, nor the heroic Black
Prince--nor is he that fifth Henry of Lancaster, under whom I won my
spurs, and to whose lineage the thoughts of his glorious memory would
have made me faithful, had my plighted vows of allegiance ever
permitted me to entertain a thought of varying, or of defection. Let
Edward engage in war with Louis without the aid of Burgundy, on which
he has reckoned. Louis is indeed no hero, but he is a cautious and
skilful general, more to be dreaded, perhaps, in these politic days,
than if Charlemagne could again raise the Oriflamme, surrounded by
Roland and all his paladins. Louis will not hazard such fields as
those of Cressy, of Poictiers, or of Agincourt. With a thousand lances
from Hainault, and twenty thousand crowns from Burgundy, Edward shall
risk the loss of England, while he is engaged in a protracted struggle
for the recovery of Normandy and Guienne. But what are the movements
of Burgundy?"

"He has menaced Germany," said Margaret, "and his troops are now
employed in overrunning Lorraine, of which he has seized the principal
towns and castles."

"Where is Ferrand de Vaudemont--a youth, it is said, of courage and
enterprise, and claiming Lorraine in right of his mother, Yolande of
Anjou, the sister of your Grace?"

"Fled," replied the Queen, "into Germany or Helvetia."

"Let Burgundy beware of him," said the experienced Earl; "for should
the disinherited youth obtain confederates in Germany, and allies
among the hardy Swiss, Charles of Burgundy may find him a far more
formidable enemy than he expects. We are strong for the present, only
in the Duke's strength, and if it is wasted in idle and desultory
efforts, our hopes, alas! vanish with his power, even if he should be
found to have the decided will to assist us. My friends in England
are resolute not to stir without men and money from Burgundy."

"It is a fear," said Margaret, "but not our worst fear. I dread more
the policy of Louis, who, unless my espials have grossly deceived me,
has even already proposed a secret peace to Edward, offering with
large sums of money to purchase England to the Yorkists, and a truce
of seven years."

"It cannot be," said Oxford. "No Englishman, commanding such an army
as Edward must now lead, dares for very shame to retire from France
without a manly attempt to recover his lost provinces."

"Such would have been the thoughts of a rightful prince," said
Margaret, "who left behind him an obedient and faithful kingdom. Such
may not be the thoughts of this Edward, misnamed Plantagenet, base
perhaps in mind as in blood, since they say his real father was one
Blackburn, an archer of Middleham--usurper, at least, if not
bastard--such will not be his thoughts.[6] Every breeze that blows
from England will bring with it apprehensions of defection amongst
those over whom he has usurped authority. He will not sleep in peace
till he returns to England with those cut-throats, whom he relies upon
for the defence of his stolen crown. He will engage in no war with
Louis, for Louis will not hesitate to soothe his pride by
humiliation--to gorge his avarice and pamper his voluptuous
prodigality by sums of gold--and I fear much we shall soon hear of
the English army retiring from France with the idle boast, that they
have displayed their banners once more, for a week or two, in the
provinces which were formerly their own."

"It the more becomes us to be speedy in moving Burgundy to decision,"
replied Oxford; "and for that purpose I post to Dijon. Such an army as
Edward's cannot be transported over the narrow seas in several weeks.
The probability is, that they must winter in France, even if they
should have truce with King Louis. With a thousand Hainault lances
from the eastern part of Flanders, I can be soon in the North, where
we have many friends, besides the assurance of help from Scotland. The
faithful West will rise at a signal--a Clifford can be found, though
the mountain mists have hid him from Richard's researches--the Welsh
will assemble at the rallying word of Tudor--the Red Rose raises its
head once more--and so, God save King Henry!"

"Alas!" said the Queen--"But no husband--no friend of mine--the son
but of my mother-in-law by a Welsh chieftain--cold, they say, and
crafty--But be it so--let me only see Lancaster triumph, and obtain
revenge upon York, and I will die contented!"

"It is then your pleasure that I should make the proffers expressed by
your Grace's former mandates, to induce Burgundy to stir himself in
our cause? If he learns the proposal of a truce betwixt France and
England, it will sting sharper than aught I can say."

"Promise all, however," said the Queen. "I know his inmost soul--it is
set upon extending the dominions of his House in every direction. For
this he has seized Gueldres--for this he now overruns and occupies
Lorraine--for this he covets such poor remnants of Provence as my
father still calls his own. With such augmented territories, he
proposes to exchange his ducal diadem for an arched crown of
independent sovereignty. Tell the Duke, Margaret can assist his
views--tell him, that my father René shall disown the opposition made
to the Duke's seizure of Lorraine--He shall do more--he shall declare
Charles his heir in Provence, with my ample consent--tell him, the old
man shall cede his dominions to him upon the instant that his
Hainaulters embark for England, some small pension deducted to
maintain a concert of fiddlers, and a troop of morrice-dancers. These
are René's only earthly wants. Mine are still fewer--Revenge upon
York, and a speedy grave!--For the paltry gold which we may need, thou
hast jewels to pledge--For the other conditions, security if
required."

"For these, madam, I can pledge my knightly word, in addition to your
royal faith; and if more is required, my son shall be a hostage with
Burgundy."

"Oh, no--no!" exclaimed the dethroned Queen, touched by perhaps the
only tender feeling, which repeated and extraordinary misfortunes had
not chilled into insensibility,--"Hazard not the life of the noble
youth--he that is the last of the loyal and faithful House of Vere--he
that should have been the brother in arms of my beloved Edward--he
that had so nearly been his companion in a bloody and untimely grave!
Do not involve this poor child in these fatal intrigues, which have
been so baneful to his family. Let him go with me. Him at least I
will shelter from danger whilst I live, and provide for when I am no
more."

"Forgive me, madam," said Oxford, with the firmness which
distinguished him. "My son, as you deign to recollect, is a De Vere,
destined, perhaps, to be the last of his name. Fall, he may, but it
must not be without honour. To whatever dangers his duty and
allegiance call him, be it from sword or lance, axe or gibbet, to
these he must expose himself frankly, when his doing so can mark his
allegiance. His ancestors have shown him how to brave them all."

"True, true," exclaimed the unfortunate Queen, raising her arms
wildly,--"All must perish--all that have honoured Lancaster--all that
have loved Margaret, or whom she has loved! The destruction must be
universal--the young must fall with the old--not a lamb of the
scattered flock shall escape!"

"For God's sake, gracious madam," said Oxford, "compose yourself!--I
hear them knock on the chapel door."

"It is the signal of parting," said the exiled Queen, collecting
herself. "Do not fear, noble Oxford, I am not often thus; but how
seldom do I see those friends, whose faces and voices can disturb the
composure of my despair! Let me tie this relic about thy neck, good
youth, and fear not its evil influence, though you receive it from an
ill-omened hand. It was my husband's, blessed by many a prayer, and
sanctified by many a holy tear; even my unhappy hands cannot pollute
it. I should have bound it on my Edward's bosom on the dreadful
morning of Tewkesbury fight; but he armed early--went to the field
without seeing me, and all my purpose was vain."

She passed a golden chain round Arthur's neck as she spoke, which
contained a small gold crucifix of rich but barbarous manufacture. It
had belonged, said tradition, to Edward the Confessor. The knock at
the door of the chapel was repeated.

"We must not tarry," said Margaret; "let us part here--you for Dijon,
I to Aix, my abode of unrest in Provence. Farewell--we may meet in a
better hour--yet how can I hope it? Thus I said on the morning before
the fight of St. Albans--thus on the dark dawning of Towton--thus on
the yet more bloody field of Tewkesbury--and what was the event? Yet
hope is a plant which cannot be rooted out of a noble breast, till the
last heart-string crack as it is pulled away."

So saying, she passed through the chapel door, and mingled in the
miscellaneous assemblage of personages who worshipped or indulged
their curiosity, or consumed their idle hours amongst the aisles of
the cathedral.

Philipson and his son, both deeply impressed with the singular
interview which had just taken place, returned to their inn, where
they found a pursuivant, with the Duke of Burgundy's badge and livery,
who informed them, that if they were the English merchants who were
carrying wares of value to the court of the Duke, he had orders to
afford them the countenance of his escort and inviolable character.
Under his protection they set out from Strasburg; but such was the
uncertainty of the Duke of Burgundy's motions, and such the numerous
obstacles which occurred to interrupt their journey, in a country
disturbed by the constant passage of troops and preparation for war,
that it was evening on the second day ere they reached the plain near
Dijon, on which the whole, or great part of his power, lay encamped.

FOOTNOTES:

[5] See Editor's Notes at the end of the Volume. Wherever a similar
reference occurs, the reader will understand that the same direction
applies.

[6] The Lancastrian party threw the imputation of bastardy (which was
totally unfounded) upon Edward IV.



CHAPTER VII.

     Thus said the Duke--thus did the Duke infer.
                                   _Richard III._


The eyes of the elder traveller were well accustomed to sights of
martial splendour, yet even he was dazzled with the rich and glorious
display of the Burgundian camp, in which, near the walls of Dijon,
Charles, the wealthiest prince in Europe, had displayed his own
extravagance, and encouraged his followers to similar profusion. The
pavilions of the meanest officers were of silk and samite, while those
of the nobility and great leaders glittered with cloth of silver,
cloth of gold, variegated tapestry, and other precious materials,
which in no other situation would have been employed as a cover from
the weather, but would themselves have been thought worthy of the most
careful protection. The horsemen and infantry who mounted guard were
arrayed in the richest and most gorgeous armour. A beautiful and very
numerous train of artillery was drawn up near the entrance of the
camp, and in its commander Philipson (to give the Earl the travelling
name to which our readers are accustomed) recognised Henry
Colvin(_c_), an Englishman of inferior birth, but distinguished for
his skill in conducting these terrible engines, which had of late come
into general use in war. The banners and pennons which were displayed
by every knight, baron, and man of rank floated before their tents,
and the owners of these transitory dwellings sat at the door
half-armed, and enjoyed the military contests of the soldiers, in
wrestling, pitching the bar, and other athletic exercises.

Long rows of the noblest horses were seen at picket, prancing and
tossing their heads, as impatient of the inactivity to which they were
confined, or were heard neighing over the provender which was spread
plentifully before them. The soldiers formed joyous groups around the
minstrels and strolling jugglers, or were engaged in drinking-parties
at the sutlers' tents; others strolled about with folded arms, casting
their eyes now and then to the sinking sun, as if desirous that the
hour should arrive which should put an end to a day unoccupied, and
therefore tedious.

At length the travellers reached, amidst the dazzling varieties of
this military display, the pavilion of the Duke himself, before which
floated heavily in the evening breeze the broad and rich banner, in
which glowed the armorial bearings and quarterings of a prince, Duke
of six provinces, and Count of fifteen counties, who was, from his
power, his disposition, and the success which seemed to attend his
enterprises, the general dread of Europe. The pursuivant made himself
known to some of the household, and the Englishmen were immediately
received with courtesy, though not such as to draw attention upon
them, and conveyed to a neighbouring tent, the residence of a general
officer, which they were given to understand was destined for their
accommodation, and where their packages accordingly were deposited,
and refreshments offered them.

"As the camp is filled," said the domestic who waited upon them, "with
soldiers of different nations and uncertain dispositions, the Duke of
Burgundy, for the safety of your merchandise, has ordered you the
protection of a regular sentinel. In the meantime, be in readiness to
wait on his Highness, seeing you may look to be presently sent for."

Accordingly, the elder Philipson was shortly after summoned to the
Duke's presence, introduced by a back entrance into the ducal
pavilion, and into that part of it which, screened by close curtains
and wooden barricades, formed Charles's own separate apartment. The
plainness of the furniture, and the coarse apparatus of the Duke's
toilette, formed a strong contrast to the appearance of the exterior
of the pavilion; for Charles, whose character was, in that as in other
things, far from consistent, exhibited in his own person during war an
austerity, or rather coarseness of dress, and sometimes of manners
also, which was more like the rudeness of a German lanzknecht, than
the bearing of a prince of exalted rank; while, at the same time, he
encouraged and enjoined a great splendour of expense and display
amongst his vassals and courtiers, as if to be rudely attired, and to
despise every restraint, even of ordinary ceremony, were a privilege
of the sovereign alone. Yet when it pleased him to assume state in
person and manners, none knew better than Charles of Burgundy how he
ought to adorn and demean himself.

Upon his toilette appeared brushes and combs, which might have claimed
dismissal as past the term of service, over-worn hats and doublets,
dog-leashes, leather-belts, and other such paltry articles; amongst
which lay at random, as it seemed, the great diamond called
Sanci,--the three rubies termed the Three Brothers of Antwerp,--another
great diamond called the Lamp of Flanders, and other precious stones
of scarcely inferior value and rarity. This extraordinary display
somewhat resembled the character of the Duke himself, who mixed
cruelty with justice, magnanimity with meanness of spirit, economy
with extravagance, and liberality with avarice; being, in fact,
consistent in nothing excepting in his obstinate determination to
follow the opinion he had once formed, in every situation of things,
and through all variety of risks.

In the midst of the valueless and inestimable articles of his wardrobe
and toilette, the Duke of Burgundy called out to the English
traveller, "Welcome, Herr Philipson--welcome, you of a nation whose
traders are princes, and their merchants the mighty ones of the earth.
What new commodities have you brought to gull us with? You merchants,
by St. George, are a wily generation."

"Faith, no new merchandise I, my lord," answered the elder Englishman;
"I bring but the commodities which I showed your Highness the last
time I communicated with you, in the hope of a poor trader, that your
Grace may find them more acceptable upon a review, than when you first
saw them."

"It is well, Sir--Philipville, I think they call you?--you are a
simple trader, or you take me for a silly purchaser, that you think to
gull me with the same wares which I fancied not formerly. Change of
fashion, man--novelty--is the motto of commerce; your Lancaster wares
have had their day, and I have bought of them like others, and was
like enough to have paid dear for them too. York is all the vogue
now."

"It may be so among the vulgar," said the Earl of Oxford; "but for
souls like your Highness, faith, honour, and loyalty are jewels which
change of fancy, or mutability of taste, cannot put out of fashion."

"Why, it may be, noble Oxford," said the Duke, "that I preserve in my
secret mind some veneration for these old-fashioned qualities, else
why should I have such regard for your person, in which they have ever
been distinguished? But my situation is painfully urgent, and should I
make a false step at this crisis, I might break the purposes of my
whole life. Observe me, Sir Merchant. Here has come over your old
competitor, Blackburn, whom some call Edward of York and of London,
with a commodity of bows and bills such as never entered France since
King Arthur's time; and he offers to enter into joint adventure with
me, or, in plain speech, to make common cause with Burgundy, till we
smoke out of his earths the old fox Louis, and nail his hide to the
stable-door. In a word, England invites me to take part with him
against my most wily and inveterate enemy, the King of France; to rid
myself of the chain of vassalage, and to ascend into the rank of
independent princes;--how think you, noble Earl, can I forego this
seducing temptation?"

"You must ask this of some of your counsellors of Burgundy," said
Oxford; "it is a question fraught too deeply with ruin to my cause,
for me to give a fair opinion on it."

"Nevertheless," said Charles, "I ask thee, as an honourable man, what
objections you see to the course proposed to me? Speak your mind, and
speak it freely."

"My lord, I know it is in your Highness's nature to entertain no
doubts of the facility of executing anything which you have once
determined shall be done. Yet, though this prince-like disposition may
in some cases prepare for its own success, and has often done so,
there are others, in which, persisting in our purpose, merely because
we have once willed it, leads not to success, but to ruin. Look,
therefore, at this English army;--winter is approaching, where are
they to be lodged? how are they to be victualled? by whom are they to
be paid? Is your Highness to take all the expense and labour of
fitting them for the summer campaign? for, rely on it, an English army
never was, nor will be, fit for service, till they have been out of
their own island long enough to accustom them to military duty. They
are men, I grant, the fittest for soldiers in the world; but they are
not soldiers as yet, and must be trained to become such at your
Highness's expense."

"Be it so," said Charles; "I think the Low Countries can find food for
the beef-consuming knaves for a few weeks, and villages for them to
lie in, and officers to train their sturdy limbs to war, and
provost-marshals enough to reduce their refractory spirit to
discipline."

"What happens next?" said Oxford. "You march to Paris, add to Edward's
usurped power another kingdom; restore to him all the possessions
which England ever had in France, Normandy, Maine, Anjou, Gascony, and
all besides--Can you trust this Edward when you shall have thus
fostered his strength, and made him far stronger than this Louis whom
you have united to pull down?"

"By St. George, I will not dissemble with you! It is in that very
point that my doubts trouble me. Edward is indeed my brother-in-law,
but I am a man little inclined to put my head under my wife's girdle."

"And the times," said Philipson, "have too often shown the
inefficiency of family alliances, to prevent the most gross breaches
of faith."

"You say well, Earl. Clarence betrayed his father-in-law; Louis
poisoned his brother--Domestic affections, pshaw! they sit warm enough
by a private man's fireside, but they cannot come into fields of
battle, or princes' halls, where the wind blows cold. No, my alliance
with Edward by marriage were little succour to me in time of need. I
would as soon ride an unbroken horse, with no better bridle than a
lady's garter. But what then is the result? He wars on Louis;
whichever gains the better, I, who must be strengthened in their
mutual weakness, receive the advantage--The Englishmen slay the French
with their cloth-yard shafts, and the Frenchmen, by skirmishes, waste,
weaken, and destroy the English. With spring I take the field with an
army superior to both, and then, St. George for Burgundy!"

"And if, in the meanwhile, your Highness will deign to assist, even in
the most trifling degree, a cause the most honourable that ever knight
laid lance in rest for,--a moderate sum of money, and a small body of
Hainault lances, who may gain both fame and fortune by the service,
may replace the injured heir of Lancaster in the possession of his
native and rightful dominion."

"Ay, marry, Sir Earl," said the Duke, "you come roundly to the point;
but we have seen, and indeed partly assisted, at so many turns betwixt
York and Lancaster, that we have some doubt which is the side to which
Heaven has given the right, and the inclinations of the people the
effectual power; we are surprised into absolute giddiness by so many
extraordinary revolutions of fortune as England has exhibited."

"A proof, my lord, that these mutations are not yet ended, and that
your generous aid may give to the better side an effectual turn of
advantage."

"And lend my cousin, Margaret of Anjou, my arm to dethrone my wife's
brother? Perhaps he deserves small good-will at my hands, since he and
his insolent nobles have been urging me with remonstrances, and even
threats, to lay aside all my own important affairs, and join Edward,
forsooth, in his knight-errant expedition against Louis. I will march
against Louis at my own time, and not sooner; and, by St. George!
neither island king, nor island noble, shall dictate to Charles of
Burgundy. You are fine conceited companions, you English of both
sides, that think the matters of your own bedlam island are as
interesting to all the world as to yourselves. But neither York nor
Lancaster, neither brother Blackburn nor cousin Margaret of Anjou, not
with John de Vere to back her, shall gull me. Men lure no hawks with
empty hands."

Oxford, familiar with the Duke's disposition, suffered him to exhaust
himself in chafing, that any one should pretend to dictate his course
of conduct, and, when he was at length silent, replied with
calmness--"Do I live to hear the noble Duke of Burgundy, the mirror of
European chivalry, say, that no reason has been shown to him for an
adventure where a helpless queen is to be redressed--a royal house
raised from the dust? Is there not immortal _los_ and honour--the
trumpet of fame to proclaim the sovereign, who, alone in a degenerate
age, has united the duties of a generous knight with those of a
princely sovereign"----

The Duke interrupted him, striking him at the same time on the
shoulder--"And King René's five hundred fiddlers to tune their cracked
violins in my praise? and King René himself to listen to them, and
say, 'Well fought, Duke--well played, fiddler!' I tell thee, John of
Oxford, when thou and I wore maiden armour, such words as fame,
honour, _los_, knightly glory, lady's love, and so forth, were good
mottoes for our snow-white shields, and a fair enough argument for
splintering lances--Ay, and in tilt-yard, though somewhat old for
these fierce follies, I would jeopard my person in such a quarrel yet,
as becomes a knight of the order. But when we come to paying down of
crowns, and embarking of large squadrons, we must have to propose to
our subjects some substantial excuse for plunging them in war; some
proposal for the public good--or, by St. George! for our own private
advantage, which is the same thing. This is the course the world runs,
and, Oxford, to tell the plain truth, I mean to hold the same bias."

"Heaven forbid that I should expect your Highness to act otherwise
than with a view to your subjects' welfare--the increase, that is, as
your Grace happily expresses it, of your own power and dominion. The
money we require is not in benevolence, but in loan; and Margaret is
willing to deposit these jewels, of which I think your Grace knows the
value, till she shall repay the sum which your friendship may advance
in her necessity."

"Ha, ha!" said the Duke, "would our cousin make a pawnbroker of us,
and have us deal with her like a Jewish usurer with his debtor?--Yet,
in faith, Oxford, we may need the diamonds, for if this business were
otherwise feasible, it is possible that I myself must become a
borrower to aid my cousin's necessities. I have applied to the States
of the Duchy, who are now sitting, and expect, as is reasonable, a
large supply. But there are restless heads and close hands among them,
and they may be niggardly--So place the jewels on the table in the
meanwhile.--Well, say I am to be no sufferer in purse by this feat of
knight-errantry which you propose to me, still princes enter not into
war without some view of advantage?"

"Listen to me, noble sovereign. You are naturally bent to unite the
great estates of your father, and those you have acquired by your own
arms, into a compact and firm dukedom"----

"Call it kingdom," said Charles; "it is the worthier word."

"Into a kingdom, of which the crown shall sit as fair and even on your
Grace's brow as that of France on your present suzerain, Louis."

"It need not such shrewdness as yours to descry that such is my
purpose," said the Duke; "else, wherefore am I here with helm on my
head, and sword by my side? And wherefore are my troops seizing on the
strong places in Lorraine, and chasing before them the beggarly De
Vaudemont, who has the insolence to claim it as his inheritance? Yes,
my friend, the aggrandisement of Burgundy is a theme for which the
duke of that fair province is bound to fight, while he can put foot in
stirrup."

"But think you not," said the English Earl, "since you allow me to
speak freely with your Grace, on the footing of old acquaintanceship,
think you not that in this chart of your dominions, otherwise so
fairly bounded, there is something on the southern frontier which
might be arranged more advantageously for a King of Burgundy?"

"I cannot guess whither you would lead me," said the Duke, looking at
a map of the Duchy and his other possessions, to which the Englishman
had pointed his attention, and then turning his broad keen eye upon
the face of the banished Earl.

"I would say," replied the latter, "that, to so powerful a prince as
your Grace, there is no safe neighbour but the sea. Here is Provence,
which interferes betwixt you and the Mediterranean; Provence, with its
princely harbours, and fertile cornfields and vineyards. Were it not
well to include it in your map of sovereignty, and thus touch the
middle sea with one hand, while the other rested on the sea-coast of
Flanders?"

"Provence, said you?" replied the Duke, eagerly. "Why, man, my very
dreams are of Provence. I cannot smell an orange but it reminds me of
its perfumed woods and bowers, its olives, citrons, and pomegranates.
But how to frame pretensions to it? Shame it were to disturb René, the
harmless old man, nor would it become a near relation. Then he is the
uncle of Louis; and most probably, failing his daughter Margaret, or
perhaps in preference to her, he hath named the French King his heir."

"A better claim might be raised up in your Grace's own person," said
the Earl of Oxford, "if you will afford Margaret of Anjou the succour
she requires by me."

"Take the aid thou requirest," replied the Duke; "take double the
amount of it in men and money! Let me but have a claim upon Provence,
though thin as a single thread of thy Queen Margaret's hair, and let
me alone for twisting it into the tough texture of a quadruple
cable.--But I am a fool to listen to the dreams of one who, ruined
himself, can lose little by holding forth to others the most
extravagant hopes."

Charles breathed high, and changed complexion as he spoke.

"I am not such a person, my Lord Duke," said the Earl. "Listen to
me--René is broken with years, fond of repose, and too poor to
maintain his rank with the necessary dignity; too good-natured, or too
feeble-minded, to lay further imposts on his subjects; weary of
contending with bad fortune, and desirous to resign his
territories"----

"His territories!" said Charles.

"Yes, all he actually possesses; and the much more extensive dominions
which he has claim to, but which have passed from his sway."

"You take away my breath!" said the Duke. "René resign Provence! and
what says Margaret--the proud, the high-minded Margaret--will she
subscribe to so humiliating a proceeding?"

"For the chance of seeing Lancaster triumph in England, she would
resign, not only dominion, but life itself. And, in truth, the
sacrifice is less than it may seem to be. It is certain that, when
René dies, the King of France will claim the old man's county of
Provence as a male fief, and there is no one strong enough to back
Margaret's claim of inheritance, however just it may be."

"It is just," said Charles; "it is undeniable! I will not hear of its
being denied or challenged--that is, when once it is established in
our own person. It is the true principle of the war for the public
good, that none of the great fiefs be suffered to revert again to the
crown of France, least of all while it stands on a brow so astucious
and unprincipled as that of Louis. Burgundy joined to Provence--a
dominion from the German Ocean to the Mediterranean! Oxford--thou art
my better angel!"

"Your Grace must, however, reflect," said Oxford, "that honourable
provision must be made for King René."

"Certainly, man, certainly; he shall have a score of fiddlers and
jugglers to play, roar, and recite to him from morning till night. He
shall have a court of troubadours, who shall do nothing but drink,
flute, and fiddle to him, and pronounce _arrests_ of _love_, to be
confirmed or reversed by an appeal to himself, the supreme _Roi
d'Amour_. And Margaret shall also be honourably sustained, in the
manner you may point out."

"That will be easily settled," answered the English Earl. "If our
attempts on England succeed, she will need no aid from Burgundy. If
she fails, she retires into a cloister, and it will not be long that
she will need the honourable maintenance which, I am sure, your
Grace's generosity will willingly assign her."

"Unquestionably," answered Charles; "and on a scale which will become
us both;--but, by my halidome, John of Vere, the abbess into whose
cloister Margaret of Anjou shall retire will have an ungovernable
penitent under her charge. Well do I know her; and, Sir Earl, I will
not clog our discourse by expressing any doubts, that, if she pleases,
she can compel her father to resign his estates to whomsoever she
will. She is like my brache, Gorgon, who compels whatsoever hound is
coupled with her to go the way she chooses, or she strangles him if he
resists. So has Margaret acted with her simple-minded husband, and I
am aware that her father, a fool of a different cast, must of
necessity be equally tractable. I think _I_ could have matched
her,--though my very neck aches at the thought of the struggles we
should have had for mastery.--But you look grave, because I jest with
the pertinacious temper of my unhappy cousin."

"My lord," said Oxford, "whatever are or have been the defects of my
mistress, she is in distress, and almost in desolation. She is my
sovereign, and your Highness's cousin not the less."

"Enough said, Sir Earl," answered the Duke. "Let us speak seriously.
Whatever we may think of the abdication of King René, I fear we shall
find it difficult to make Louis XI. see the matter as favourably as we
do. He will hold that the county of Provence is a male fief, and that
neither the resignation of René nor the consent of his daughter can
prevent its reverting to the crown of France, as the King of Sicily,
as they call him, hath no male issue."

"That, may it please your Grace, is a question for battle to decide;
and your Highness has successfully braved Louis for a less important
stake. All I can say is, that, if your Grace's active assistance
enables the young Earl of Richmond to succeed in his enterprise, you
shall have the aid of three thousand English archers, if old John of
Oxford, for want of a better leader, were to bring them over himself."

"A noble aid," said the Duke; "graced still more by him who promises
to lead them. Thy succour, noble Oxford, were precious to me, did you
but come with your sword by your side, and a single page at your back.
I know you well, both heart and head. But let us to this gear; exiles,
even the wisest, are privileged in promises, and sometimes--excuse me,
noble Oxford--impose on themselves as well as on their friends. What
are the hopes on which you desire me again to embark on so troubled
and uncertain an ocean as these civil contests of yours?"

The Earl of Oxford produced a schedule, and explained to the Duke the
plan of his expedition, to be backed by an insurrection of the friends
of Lancaster, of which it is enough to say, that it was bold to the
verge of temerity; but yet so well compacted and put together, as to
bear, in those times of rapid revolution, and under a leader of
Oxford's approved military skill and political sagacity, a strong
appearance of probable success.

While Duke Charles mused over the particulars of an enterprise
attractive and congenial to his own disposition,--while he counted
over the affronts which he had received from his brother-in-law,
Edward IV., the present opportunity for taking a signal revenge, and
the rich acquisition which he hoped to make in Provence by the cession
in his favour of René of Anjou and his daughter, the Englishman failed
not to press on his consideration the urgent necessity of suffering no
time to escape.

"The accomplishment of this scheme," he said, "demands the utmost
promptitude. To have a chance of success, I must be in England, with
your Grace's auxiliary forces, before Edward of York can return from
France with his army."

"And having come hither," said the Duke, "our worthy brother will be
in no hurry to return again. He will meet with black-eyed French women
and ruby-coloured French wine, and brother Blackburn is no man to
leave such commodities in a hurry."

"My Lord Duke, I will speak truth of my enemy. Edward is indolent and
luxurious when things are easy around him, but let him feel the spur
of necessity, and he becomes as eager as a pampered steed. Louis, too,
who seldom fails in finding means to accomplish his ends, is bent upon
determining the English King to recross the sea--therefore, speed,
noble Prince--speed is the soul of your enterprise."

"Speed!" said the Duke of Burgundy,--"Why, I will go with you, and see
the embarkation myself; and tried, approved soldiers you shall have,
such as are nowhere to be found save in Artois and Hainault."

"But pardon yet, noble Duke, the impatience of a drowning wretch
urgently pressing for assistance.--When shall we to the coast of
Flanders, to order this important measure?"

"Why, in a fortnight, or perchance a week, or, in a word, so soon as I
shall have chastised to purpose a certain gang of thieves and robbers,
who, as the scum of the caldron will always be uppermost, have got up
into the fastnesses of the Alps, and from thence annoy our frontiers
by contraband traffic, pillage, and robbery."

"Your Highness means the Swiss confederates?"

"Ay, the peasant churls give themselves such a name. They are a sort
of manumitted slaves of Austria, and, like a ban-dog, whose chain is
broken, they avail themselves of their liberty to annoy and rend
whatever comes in their way."

"I travelled through their country from Italy," said the exiled Earl,
"and I heard it was the purpose of the Cantons to send envoys to
solicit peace of your Highness."

"Peace!" exclaimed Charles.--"A proper sort of peaceful proceedings
those of their embassy have been! Availing themselves of a mutiny of
the burghers of La Ferette, the first garrison town which they
entered, they stormed the walls, seized on Archibald de Hagenbach, who
commanded the place on my part, and put him to death in the
market-place. Such an insult must be punished, Sir John de Vere; and
if you do not see me in the storm of passion which it well deserves,
it is because I have already given orders to hang up the base
runagates who call themselves ambassadors."

"For God's sake, noble Duke," said the Englishman, throwing himself at
Charles's feet--"for your own character, for the sake of the peace of
Christendom, revoke such an order if it is really given!"

"What means this passion?" said Duke Charles.--"What are these men's
lives to thee, excepting that the consequences of a war may delay your
expedition for a few days?"

"May render it altogether abortive," said the Earl; "nay, _must_ needs
do so.--Hear me, Lord Duke. I was with these men on a part of their
journey."

"You!" said the Duke--"you a companion of the paltry Swiss peasants?
Misfortune has sunk the pride of English nobility to a low ebb, when
you selected such associates."

"I was thrown amongst them by accident," said the Earl. "Some of them
are of noble blood, and are, besides, men for whose peaceable
intentions I ventured to constitute myself their warrant."

"On my honour, my Lord of Oxford, you graced them highly, and me no
less, in interfering between the Swiss and myself! Allow me to say
that I condescend, when, in deference to past friendship, I permit you
to speak to me of your own English affairs. Methinks you might well
spare me your opinion upon topics with which you have no natural
concern."

"My Lord of Burgundy," replied Oxford, "I followed your banner to
Paris, and had the good luck to rescue you in the fight at Mont
L'Hery, when you were beset by the French men-at-arms"----

"We have not forgot it," said Duke Charles; "and it is a sign that we
keep the action in remembrance, that you have been suffered to stand
before us so long, pleading the cause of a set of rascals, whom we are
required to spare from the gallows that groans for them, because
forsooth they have been the fellow-travellers of the Earl of Oxford!"

"Not so, my lord. I ask their lives, only because they are upon a
peaceful errand, and the leaders amongst them, at least, have no
accession to the crime of which you complain."

The Duke traversed the apartment with unequal steps in much agitation,
his large eyebrows drawn down over his eyes, his hands clenched, and
his teeth set, until at length he seemed to take a resolution. He rung
a handbell of silver, which stood upon his table.

"Here, Contay," he said to the gentleman of his chamber who entered,
"are these mountain fellows yet executed?"

"No, may it please your Highness; but the executioner waits them so
soon as the priest hath confessed them."

"Let them live," said the Duke. "We will hear to-morrow in what manner
they propose to justify their proceedings towards us."

Contay bowed and left the apartment; then turning to the Englishman,
the Duke said, with an indescribable mixture of haughtiness with
familiarity and even kindness, but having his brows cleared, and his
looks composed,--"We are now clear of obligation, my Lord of
Oxford--you have obtained life for life--nay, to make up some
inequality which there may be betwixt the value of the commodities
bestowed, you have obtained six lives for one. I will, therefore, pay
no more attention to you, should you again upbraid me with the
stumbling horse at Mont L'Hery, or your own achievements on that
occasion. Most princes are contented with privately hating such men as
have rendered them extraordinary services--I feel no such
disposition--I only detest being reminded of having had occasion for
them.--Pshaw! I am half choked with the effort of foregoing my own
fixed resolution.--So ho! who waits there? Bring me to drink."

An usher entered, bearing a large silver flagon, which, instead of
wine, was filled with ptisan slightly flavoured by aromatic herbs.

"I am so hot and choleric by nature," said the Duke, "that our leeches
prohibit me from drinking wine. But you, Oxford, are bound by no such
regimen. Get thee to thy countryman, Colvin, the general of our
artillery. We commend thee to his custody and hospitality till
to-morrow, which must be a busy day, since I expect to receive the
answer of these wiseacres of the Dijon assembly of estates; and have
also to hear (thanks to your lordship's interference) these miserable
Swiss envoys, as they call themselves. Well, no more on't.--Good-night.
You may communicate freely with Colvin, who is, like yourself, an old
Lancastrian.--But hark ye, not a word respecting Provence--not even in
your sleep.--Contay, conduct this English gentleman to Colvin's tent.
He knows my pleasure respecting him."

"So please your Grace," answered Contay, "I left the English
gentleman's son with Monsieur de Colvin."

"What! thine own son, Oxford? And with thee here? Why did you not tell
me of him? Is he a true scion of the ancient tree?"

"It is my pride to believe so, my lord. He has been the faithful
companion of all my dangers and wanderings."

"Happy man!" said the Duke, with a sigh. "You, Oxford, have a son to
share your poverty and distress--I have none to be partner and
successor to my greatness."

"You have a daughter, my lord," said the noble De Vere, "and it is to
be hoped she will one day wed some powerful prince, who may be the
stay of your Highness's house."

"Never! By St. George, never!" answered the Duke, sharply and shortly.
"I will have no son-in-law, who may make the daughter's bed a
stepping-stone to reach the father's crown. Oxford, I have spoken more
freely than I am wont, perhaps more freely than I ought--but I hold
some men trustworthy, and believe you, Sir John de Vere, to be one of
them."

The English nobleman bowed, and was about to leave his presence, but
the Duke presently recalled him.

"There is one thing more, Oxford.--The cession of Provence is not
quite enough. René and Margaret must disavow this hot-brained Ferrand
de Vaudemont, who is making some foolish stir in Lorraine, in right of
his mother Yolande."

"My lord," said Oxford, "Ferrand is the grandson of King René, the
nephew of Queen Margaret; but yet"----

"But yet, by St. George, his rights, as he calls them, on Lorraine
must positively be disowned. You talk of their family feelings, while
you are urging me to make war on my own brother-in-law!"

"René's best apology for deserting his grandson," answered Oxford,
"will be his total inability to support and assist him. I will
communicate your Grace's condition, though it is a hard one."

So saying, he left the pavilion.



CHAPTER VIII.

              I humbly thank your Highness,
     And am right glad to catch this good occasion
     Most thoroughly to be winnow'd, where my chaff
     And corn shall fly asunder.
                                 _King Henry VIII._


Colvin, the English officer, to whom the Duke of Burgundy, with
splendid pay and appointments, committed the charge of his artillery,
was owner of the tent assigned for the Englishman's lodging, and
received the Earl of Oxford with the respect due to his rank, and to
the Duke's especial orders upon that subject. He had been himself a
follower of the Lancaster faction, and of course was well disposed
towards one of the very few men of distinction whom he had known
personally, and who had constantly adhered to that family through the
train of misfortunes by which they seemed to be totally overwhelmed. A
repast, of which his son had already partaken, was offered to the Earl
by Colvin, who omitted not to recommend, by precept and example, the
good wine of Burgundy, from which the sovereign of the province was
himself obliged to refrain.

"His Grace shows command of passion in that," said Colvin. "For, sooth
to speak, and only conversing betwixt friends, his temper grows too
headlong to bear the spur which a cup of cordial beverage gives to the
blood, and he, therefore, wisely restricts himself to such liquid as
may cool rather than inflame his natural fire of disposition."

"I can perceive as much," said the Lancastrian noble. "When I first
knew the noble Duke, who was then Earl of Charolois, his temper,
though always sufficiently fiery, was calmness to the impetuosity
which he now displays on the smallest contradiction. Such is the
course of an uninterrupted flow of prosperity. He has ascended, by his
own courage and the advantage of circumstances, from the doubtful
place of a feudatory and tributary prince, to rank with the most
powerful sovereigns in Europe, and to assume independent majesty. But
I trust the noble starts of generosity which atoned for his wilful and
wayward temper are not more few than formerly?"

"I have good right to say that they are not," replied the soldier of
fortune, who understood generosity in the restricted sense of
liberality. "The Duke is a noble and open-handed master."

"I trust his bounty is conferred on men who are as faithful and steady
in their service as you, Colvin, have ever been. But I see a change in
your army. I know the banners of most of the old houses in
Burgundy--How is it that I observe so few of them in the Duke's camp?
I see flags, and pennons, and pennoncelles; but even to me, who have
been so many years acquainted with the nobility both of France and
Flanders, their bearings are unknown."

"My noble Lord of Oxford," answered the officer, "it ill becomes a man
who lives on the Duke's pay to censure his conduct; but his Highness
hath of late trusted too much, as it seems to me, to the hired arms of
foreign levies, and too little to his own native subjects and
retainers. He holds it better to take into his pay large bands of
German and Italian mercenary soldiers, than to repose confidence in
the knights and squires who are bound to him by allegiance and feudal
faith. He uses the aid of his own subjects but as the means of
producing him sums of money, which he bestows on his hired troops. The
Germans are honest knaves enough while regularly paid; but Heaven
preserve me from the Duke's Italian bands, and that Campo-basso their
leader, who waits but the highest price to sell his Highness like a
sheep for the shambles!"

"Think you so ill of him?" demanded the Earl.

"So very ill indeed, that I believe," replied Colvin, "there is no
sort of treachery which the heart can devise, or the arm perpetrate,
that hath not ready reception in his breast, and prompt execution at
his hand. It is painful, my lord, for an honest Englishman like me to
serve in an army where such traitors have command. But what can I do,
unless I could once more find me a soldier's occupation in my native
country? I often hope it will please merciful Heaven again to awaken
those brave civil wars in my own dear England, where all was fair
fighting, and treason was unheard of."

Lord Oxford gave his host to understand, that there was a possibility
that his pious wish of living and dying in his own country, and in the
practice of his profession, was not to be despaired of. Meantime he
requested of him, that early on the next morning he would procure him
a pass and an escort for his son, whom he was compelled to despatch
forthwith to Nancy, the residence of King René.

"What!" said Colvin, "is my young Lord of Oxford to take a degree in
the Court of Love? for no other business is listened to at King René's
capital, save love and poetry."

"I am not ambitious of such distinction for him, my good host,"
answered Oxford; "but Queen Margaret is with her father, and it is but
fitting that the youth should kiss her hand."

"Enough spoken," said the veteran Lancastrian. "I trust, though winter
is fast approaching, the Red Rose may bloom in spring."

He then ushered the Earl of Oxford to the partition of the tent which
he was to occupy, in which there was a couch for Arthur also--their
host, as Colvin might be termed, assuring them that, with peep of day,
horses and faithful attendants should be ready to speed the youth on
his journey to Nancy.

"And now, Arthur," said his father, "we must part once more. I dare
give thee, in this land of danger, no written communication to my
mistress, Queen Margaret; but say to her, that I have found the Duke
of Burgundy wedded to his own views of interest, but not averse to
combine them with hers. Say, that I have little doubt that he will
grant us the required aid, but not without the expected resignation in
his favour by herself and King René. Say, I would never have
recommended such a sacrifice for the precarious chance of overthrowing
the House of York, but that I am satisfied that France and Burgundy
are hanging like vultures over Provence, and that the one or other, or
both princes, are ready, on her father's demise, to pounce on such
possessions as they have reluctantly spared to him during his life.
An accommodation with Burgundy may therefore, on the one hand, insure
his active co-operation in the attempt on England; and, on the other,
if our high-spirited princess complies not with the Duke's request,
the justice of her cause will give no additional security to her
hereditary claims on her father's dominions. Bid Queen Margaret,
therefore, unless she should have changed her views, obtain King
René's formal deed of cession, conveying his estates to the Duke of
Burgundy, with her Majesty's consent. The necessary provisions to the
King and to herself may be filled up at her Grace's pleasure, or they
may be left blank. I can trust to the Duke's generosity to their being
suitably arranged. All that I fear is, that Charles may embroil
himself"----

"In some silly exploit, necessary for his own honour and the safety of
his dominions," answered a voice behind the lining of the tent; "and,
by doing so, attend to his own affairs more than to ours? Ha, Sir
Earl?"

At the same time the curtain was drawn aside, and a person entered, in
whom, though clothed with the jerkin and bonnet of a private soldier
of the Walloon guard, Oxford instantly recognised the Duke of
Burgundy's harsh features and fierce eyes, as they sparkled from under
the fur and feather with which the cap was ornamented.

Arthur, who knew not the Prince's person, started at the intrusion,
and laid his hand on his dagger; but his father made a signal which
stayed his hand, and he gazed with wonder on the solemn respect with
which the Earl received the intrusive soldier. The first word informed
him of the cause.

"If this masking be done in proof of my faith, noble Duke, permit me
to say it is superfluous."

"Nay, Oxford," answered the Duke, "I was a courteous spy; for I ceased
to play the eavesdropper, at the very moment when I had reason to
expect you were about to say something to anger me."

"As I am a true Knight, my Lord Duke, if you had remained behind the
arras, you would only have heard the same truths which I am ready to
tell in your Grace's presence, though it may have chanced they might
have been more bluntly expressed."

"Well, speak them then, in whatever phrase thou wilt--they lie in
their throats that say Charles of Burgundy was ever offended by advice
from a well-meaning friend."

"I would then have said," replied the English Earl, "that all which
Margaret of Anjou had to apprehend, was that the Duke of Burgundy,
when buckling on his armour to win Provence for himself, and to afford
to her his powerful assistance to assert her rights in England, was
likely to be withdrawn from such high objects by an imprudently eager
desire to avenge himself of imaginary affronts, offered to him, as he
supposed, by certain confederacies of Alpine mountaineers, over whom
it is impossible to gain any important advantage, or acquire
reputation, while, on the contrary, there is a risk of losing both.
These men dwell amongst rocks and deserts which are almost
inaccessible, and subsist in a manner so rude, that the poorest of
your subjects would starve if subjected to such diet. They are formed
by nature to be the garrison of the mountain-fortresses in which she
has placed them;--for Heaven's sake meddle not with them, but follow
forth your own nobler and more important objects, without stirring a
nest of hornets, which, once in motion, may sting you into madness."

The Duke had promised patience, and endeavoured to keep his word; but
the swoln muscles of his face, and his flashing eyes, showed how
painful to him it was to suppress his resentment.

"You are misinformed, my lord," he said; "these men are not the
inoffensive herdsmen and peasants you are pleased to suppose them. If
they were, I might afford to despise them. But, flushed with some
victories over the sluggish Austrians, they have shaken off all
reverence for authority, assume airs of independence, form leagues,
make inroads, storm towns, doom and execute men of noble birth at
their pleasure.--Thou art dull, and look'st as if thou dost not
apprehend me. To rouse thy English blood, and make thee sympathise
with my feelings to these mountaineers, know that these Swiss are very
Scots to my dominions in their neighbourhood; poor, proud, ferocious;
easily offended, because they gain by war; ill to be appeased, because
they nourish deep revenge; ever ready to seize the moment of
advantage, and attack a neighbour when he is engaged in other affairs.
The same unquiet, perfidious, and inveterate enemies that the Scots
are to England, are the Swiss to Burgundy and to my allies. What say
you? Can I undertake anything of consequence till I have crushed the
pride of such a people? It will be but a few days' work. I will grasp
the mountain-hedgehog, prickles and all, with my steel-gauntlet."

"Your Grace will then have shorter work with them," replied the
disguised nobleman, "than our English Kings have had with Scotland.
The wars there have lasted so long, and proved so bloody, that wise
men regret we ever began them."

"Nay," said the Duke, "I will not dishonour the Scots by comparing
them in all respects to these mountain-churls of the Cantons. The
Scots have blood and gentry among them, and we have seen many examples
of both; these Swiss are a mere brood of peasants, and the few
gentlemen of birth they can boast must hide their distinction in the
dress and manners of clowns. They will, I think, scarce stand against
a charge of Hainaulters."

"Not if the Hainaulters find ground to ride upon. But"----

"Nay, to silence your scruples," said the Duke, interrupting him,
"know, that these people encourage, by their countenance and aid, the
formation of the most dangerous conspiracies in my dominions. Look
here--I told you that my officer, Sir Archibald de Hagenbach, was
murdered when the town of Brisach was treacherously taken by these
harmless Switzers of yours. And here is a scroll of parchment, which
announces that my servant was murdered by doom of the Vehme-gericht, a
band of secret assassins, whom I will not permit to meet in any part
of my dominions. Oh, could I but catch them above ground as they are
found lurking below, they should know what the life of a nobleman is
worth! Then, look at the insolence of their attestation."

The scroll bore, with the day and date adjected, that judgment had
been done on Archibald de Hagenbach, for tyranny, violence, and
oppression, by order of the Holy Vehme, and that it was executed by
their officials, who were responsible for the same to their tribunal
alone. It was countersigned in red ink, with the badges of the Secret
Society, a coil of ropes and a drawn dagger.

"This document I found stuck to my toilette with a knife," said the
Duke; "another trick by which they give mystery to their murderous
jugglery."

The thought of what he had undergone in John Mengs's house, and
reflections upon the extent and omnipresence of these Secret
Associations, struck even the brave Englishman with an involuntary
shudder.

"For the sake of every saint in heaven," he said, "forbear, my lord,
to speak of these tremendous societies, whose creatures are above,
beneath, and around us. No man is secure of his life, however guarded,
if it be sought by a man who is careless of his own. You are
surrounded by Germans, Italians, and other strangers--How many amongst
these may be bound by the secret ties which withdraw men from every
other social bond, to unite them together in one inextricable though
secret compact? Beware, noble Prince, of the situation on which your
throne is placed, though it still exhibits all the splendour of power,
and all the solidity of foundation that belongs to so august a
structure. I--the friend of thy house--were it with my dying
breath--must needs tell thee, that the Swiss hang like an avalanche
over thy head; and the Secret Associations work beneath thee like the
first throes of the coming earthquake. Provoke not the contest, and
the snow will rest undisturbed on the mountain-side--the agitation of
the subterranean vapours will be hushed to rest; but a single word of
defiance, or one flash of indignant scorn, may call their terrors into
instant action."

"You speak," said the Duke, "with more awe of a pack of naked churls,
and a band of midnight assassins, than I have seen you show for real
danger. Yet I will not scorn your counsel--I will hear the Swiss
envoys patiently, and I will not, if I can help it, show the contempt
with which I cannot but regard their pretensions to treat as
independent states. On the Secret Associations I will be silent, till
time gives me the means of acting in combination with the Emperor, the
Diet, and the Princes of the Empire, that they may be driven from all
their burrows at once.--Ha, Sir Earl, said I well?"

"It is well thought, my lord, but it may be unhappily spoken. You are
in a position where one word overheard by a traitor might produce
death and ruin."

"I keep no traitors about me," said Charles. "If I thought there were
such in my camp, I would rather die by them at once, than live in
perpetual terror and suspicion."

"Your Highness's ancient followers and servants," said the Earl,
"speak unfavourably of the Count of Campo-basso, who holds so high a
rank in your confidence."

"Ay," replied the Duke, with composure, "it is easy to decry the most
faithful servant in a court by the unanimous hatred of all the others.
I warrant me your bull-headed countryman, Colvin, has been railing
against the Count like the rest of them, for Campo-basso sees nothing
amiss in any department but he reports it to me without fear or
favour. And then his opinions are cast so much in the same mould with
my own, that I can hardly get him to enlarge upon what he best
understands, if it seems in any respect different from my sentiments.
Add to this, a noble person, grace, gaiety, skill in the exercises of
war, and in the courtly arts of peace--such is Campo-basso; and, being
such, is he not a gem for a prince's cabinet?"

"The very materials out of which a favourite is formed," answered the
Earl of Oxford, "but something less adapted for making a faithful
counsellor."

"Why, thou mistrustful fool," said the Duke, "must I tell thee the
very inmost secret respecting this man, Campo-basso, and will nothing
short of it stay these imaginary suspicions which thy new trade of an
itinerant merchant hath led thee to entertain so rashly?"

"If your Highness honours me with your confidence," said the Earl of
Oxford, "I can only say that my fidelity shall deserve it."

"Know, then, thou misbelieving mortal, that my good friend and
brother, Louis of France, sent me private information through no less
a person than his famous barber, Oliver le Diable, that Campo-basso
had for a certain sum offered to put my person into his hands, alive
or dead.--You start?"

"I do indeed--recollecting your Highness's practice of riding out
lightly armed, and with a very small attendance, to reconnoitre the
ground and visit the outposts, and therefore how easily such a
treacherous device might be carried into execution."

"Pshaw!" answered the Duke.--"Thou seest the danger as if it were
real, whereas nothing can be more certain than that, if my cousin of
France had ever received such an offer, he would have been the last
person to have put me on my guard against the attempt. No--he knows
the value I set on Campo-basso's services, and forged the accusation
to deprive me of them."

"And yet, my lord," replied the English Earl, "your Highness, by my
counsel, will not unnecessarily or impatiently fling aside your armour
of proof, or ride without the escort of some score of your trusty
Walloons."

"Tush, man, thou wouldst make a carbonado of a fever-stirred wretch
like myself, betwixt the bright iron and the burning sun. But I will
be cautious though I jest thus--and you, young man, may assure my
cousin, Margaret of Anjou, that I will consider her affairs as my own.
And remember, youth, that the secrets of princes are fatal gifts, if
he to whom they are imparted blaze them abroad; but if duly treasured
up, they enrich the bearer. And thou shalt have cause to say so, if
thou canst bring back with thee from Aix the deed of resignation of
which thy father hath spoken.--Good-night--good-night!"

He left the apartment.

"You have just seen," said the Earl of Oxford to his son, "a sketch of
this extraordinary prince, by his own pencil. It is easy to excite his
ambition or thirst of power, but well-nigh impossible to limit him to
the just measures by which it is most likely to be gratified. He is
ever like the young archer, startled from his mark by some swallow
crossing his eye, even careless as he draws the string. Now
irregularly and offensively suspicious--now unreservedly lavish of his
confidence--not long since the enemy of the line of Lancaster, and the
ally of her deadly foe--now its last and only stay and hope. God mend
all!--It is a weary thing to look on the game and see how it might be
won, while we are debarred by the caprice of others from the power of
playing it according to our own skill. How much must depend on the
decision of Duke Charles upon the morrow, and how little do I possess
the power of influencing him, either for his own safety or our
advantage! Good-night, my son, and let us trust events to Him who
alone can control them."



CHAPTER IX.

     My blood hath been too cold and temperate,
     Unapt to stir at these indignities,
     And you have found me; for, accordingly,
     You tread upon my patience.
                                  _Henry IV._


The dawn of morning roused the banished Earl of Oxford and his son,
and its lights were scarce abroad on the eastern heaven, ere their
host, Colvin, entered with an attendant, bearing some bundles, which
he placed on the floor of the tent, and instantly retired. The officer
of the Duke's ordnance then announced that he came with a message from
the Duke of Burgundy.

"His Highness," he said, "has sent four stout yeomen, with a
commission of credence to my young master of Oxford, and an ample
purse of gold, to furnish his expenses to Aix, and while his affairs
may detain him there. Also a letter of credence to King René, to
insure his reception, and two suits of honour for his use, as for an
English gentleman, desirous to witness the festive solemnities of
Provence, and in whose safety the Duke deigns to take deep interest.
His further affairs there, if he hath any, his Highness recommends to
him to manage with prudence and secrecy. His Highness hath also sent a
couple of horses for his use,--one an ambling jennet for the road, and
another a strong barbed horse of Flanders, in case he hath aught to
do. It will be fitting that my young master change his dress, and
assume attire more near his proper rank. His attendants know the road,
and have power, in case of need, to summon, in the Duke's name,
assistance from all faithful Burgundians. I have but to add, the
sooner the young gentleman sets forward, it will be the better sign of
a successful journey."

"I am ready to mount, the instant that I have changed my dress," said
Arthur.

"And I," said his father, "have no wish to detain him on the service
in which he is now employed. Neither he nor I will say more than God
be with you. How and where we are to meet again, who can tell?"

"I believe," said Colvin, "that must rest on the motions of the Duke,
which, perchance, are not yet determined upon; but his Highness
depends upon your remaining with him, my noble lord, till the affairs
of which you come to treat may be more fully decided. Something I have
for your lordship's private ear, when your son hath parted on his
journey."

While Colvin was thus talking with his father, Arthur, who was not
above half-dressed when he entered the tent, had availed himself of an
obscure corner, in which he exchanged the plain garb belonging to his
supposed condition as a merchant, for such a riding-suit as became a
young man of some quality attached to the Court of Burgundy. It was
not without a natural sensation of pleasure that the youth resumed an
apparel suitable to his birth, and which no one was personally more
fitted to become; but it was with much deeper feeling that he hastily,
and as secretly as possible, flung round his neck, and concealed
under the collar and folds of his ornamented doublet, a small thin
chain of gold, curiously linked in what was called Morisco work. This
was the contents of the parcel which Anne of Geierstein had indulged
his feelings, and perhaps her own, by putting into his hands as they
parted. The chain was secured by a slight plate of gold, on which a
bodkin, or a point of a knife, had traced on the one side, in distinct
though light characters, ADIEU FOR EVER! while, on the reverse, there
was much more obscurely traced, the word REMEMBER!--A. VON G.

All who may read this are, have been, or will be, lovers; and there is
none, therefore, who may not be able to comprehend why this token was
carefully suspended around Arthur's neck, so that the inscription
might rest on the region of his heart, without the interruption of any
substance which could prevent the pledge from being agitated by every
throb of that busy organ.

This being hastily insured, a few minutes completed the rest of his
toilette; and he kneeled before his father to ask his blessing, and
his further commands for Aix.

His father blessed him almost inarticulately, and then said, with
recovered firmness, that he was already possessed of all the knowledge
necessary for success on his mission.

"When you can bring me the deeds wanted," he whispered with more
firmness, "you will find me near the person of the Duke of Burgundy."

They went forth of the tent in silence, and found before it the four
Burgundian yeomen, tall and active-looking men, ready mounted
themselves, and holding two saddled horses--the one accoutred for
war, the other a spirited jennet, for the purposes of the journey. One
of them led a sumpter-horse, on which Colvin informed Arthur he would
find the change of habit necessary when he should arrive at Aix; and
at the same time delivered to him a heavy purse of gold.

"Thiebault," he continued, pointing out the eldest of the attendant
troopers, "may be trusted--I will be warrant for his sagacity and
fidelity. The other three are picked men, who will not fear their
skin-cutting."

Arthur vaulted into the saddle with a sensation of pleasure, which was
natural to a young cavalier who had not for many months felt a
spirited horse beneath him. The lively jennet reared with impatience.
Arthur, sitting firm on his seat, as if he had been a part of the
animal, only said, "Ere we are long acquainted, thy spirit, my fair
roan, will be something more tamed."

"One word more, my son," said his father, and whispered in Arthur's
ear, as he stooped from the saddle; "if you receive a letter from me,
do not think yourself fully acquainted with the contents till the
paper has been held opposite to a hot fire."

Arthur bowed, and motioned to the elder trooper to lead the way, when
all, giving rein to their horses, rode off through the encampment at a
round pace, the young leader signing an adieu to his father and
Colvin.

The Earl stood like a man in a dream, following his son with his eyes,
in a kind of reverie, which was only broken when Colvin said, "I
marvel not, my lord, that you are anxious about my young master; he is
a gallant youth, well worth a father's caring for, and the times we
live in are both false and bloody."

"God and St. Mary be my witness," said the Earl, "that if I grieve, it
is not for my own house only;--if I am anxious, it is not for the sake
of my own son alone;--but it is hard to risk a last stake in a cause
so perilous.--What commands brought you from the Duke?"

"His Grace," said Colvin, "will get on horseback after he has
breakfasted. He sends you some garments, which, if not fitting your
quality, are yet nearer to suitable apparel than those you now wear,
and he desires that, observing your incognito as an English merchant
of eminence, you will join him in his cavalcade to Dijon, where he is
to receive the answer of the Estates of Burgundy concerning matters
submitted to their consideration, and thereafter give public audience
to the Deputies from Switzerland. His Highness has charged me with the
care of finding you suitable accommodation during the ceremonies of
the day, which, he thinks, you will, as a stranger, be pleased to look
upon. But he probably told you all this himself, for I think you saw
him last night in disguise--Nay, look as strange as you will--the Duke
plays that trick too often to be able to do it with secrecy; the very
horse-boys know him while he traverses the tents of the common
soldiery, and sutler women give him the name of the spied spy. If it
were only honest Harry Colvin who knew this, it should not cross his
lips. But it is practised too openly, and too widely known. Come,
noble lord, though I must teach my tongue to forego that courtesy,
will you along to breakfast?"

The meal, according to the practice of the time, was a solemn and
solid one; and a favoured officer of the Great Duke of Burgundy lacked
no means, it may be believed, of rendering due hospitality to a guest
having claims of such high respect. But ere the breakfast was over a
clamorous flourish of trumpets announced that the Duke, with his
attendants and retinue, were sounding to horse. Philipson, as he was
still called, was, in the name of the Duke, presented with a stately
charger, and with his host mingled in the splendid assembly which
began to gather in front of the Duke's pavilion. In a few minutes the
Prince himself issued forth, in the superb dress of the Order of the
Golden Fleece, of which his father Philip had been the founder, and
Charles was himself the patron and sovereign. Several of his courtiers
were dressed in the same magnificent robes, and, with their followers
and attendants, displayed so much wealth and splendour of appearance
as to warrant the common saying that the Duke of Burgundy maintained
the most magnificent court in Christendom. The officers of his
household attended in their order, together with heralds and
pursuivants, the grotesque richness of whose habits had a singular
effect among those of the high clergy in their albes and dalmatiques,
and of the knights and crown vassals who were arrayed in armour. Among
these last, who were variously equipped, according to the different
character of their service, rode Oxford, but in a peaceful habit,
neither so plain as to be out of place amongst such splendour, nor so
rich as to draw on him a special or particular degree of attention. He
rode by the side of Colvin, his tall muscular figure and deep-marked
features forming a strong contrast to the rough, almost ignoble, cast
of countenance, and stout thick-set form, of the less distinguished
soldier of fortune.

Ranged into a solemn procession, the rear of which was closed by a
guard of two hundred picked arquebusiers, a description of soldiers
who were just then coming into notice, and as many mounted
men-at-arms, the Duke and his retinue, leaving the barriers of the
camp, directed their march to the town, or rather city, of Dijon, in
those days the capital of all Burgundy.

It was a town well secured with walls and ditches, which last were
filled by means of a small river, named the Ousche, which combines its
waters for that purpose with a torrent called Suzon. Four gates, with
appropriate barbicans, outworks, and drawbridges, corresponded nearly
to the cardinal points of the compass, and gave admission to the city.
The number of towers, which stood high above its walls, and defended
them at different angles, was thirty-three; and the walls themselves,
which exceeded in most places the height of thirty feet, were built of
stones hewn and squared, and were of great thickness. This stately
city was surrounded on the outside with hills covered with vineyards,
while from within its walls rose the towers of many noble buildings,
both public and private, as well as the steeples of magnificent
churches, and of well-endowed convents, attesting the wealth and
devotion of the House of Burgundy.

When the trumpets of the Duke's procession had summoned the burgher
guard at the gate of St. Nicholas, the drawbridge fell, the portcullis
rose, the people shouted joyously, the windows were hung with
tapestry, and as, in the midst of his retinue, Charles himself came
riding on a milk-white steed, attended only by six pages under
fourteen years old, with each a gilded partisan in his hand, the
acclamations with which he was received on all sides showed that, if
some instances of misrule had diminished his popularity, enough of it
remained to render his reception into his capital decorous at least,
if not enthusiastic. It is probable that the veneration attached to
his father's memory counteracted for a long time the unfavourable
effect which some of his own actions were calculated to produce on the
public mind.

The procession halted before a large Gothic building in the centre of
Dijon. This was then called Maison du Duc, as, after the union of
Burgundy with France, it was termed Maison du Roy. The Maire of Dijon
attended on the steps before this palace, accompanied by his official
brethren, and escorted by a hundred able-bodied citizens, in black
velvet cloaks, bearing half-pikes in their hands. The Maire kneeled to
kiss the stirrup of the Duke, and at the moment when Charles descended
from his horse every bell in the city commenced so thundering a peal,
that they might almost have awakened the dead who slept in the
vicinity of the steeples, which rocked with their clangour. Under the
influence of this stunning peal of welcome, the Duke entered the great
hall of the building, at the upper end of which were erected a throne
for the sovereign, seats for his more distinguished officers of state
and higher vassals, with benches behind for persons of less note. On
one of these, but in a spot from which he might possess a commanding
view of the whole assembly, as well as of the Duke himself, Colvin
placed the noble Englishman; and Charles, whose quick stern eye
glanced rapidly over the party when they were seated, seemed, by a nod
so slight as to be almost imperceptible to those around him, to give
his approbation of the arrangement adopted.

When the Duke and his assistants were seated and in order, the Maire,
again approaching, in the most humble manner, and kneeling on the
lowest step of the ducal throne, requested to know if his Highness's
leisure permitted him to hear the inhabitants of his capital express
their devoted zeal to his person, and to accept the benevolence which,
in the shape of a silver cup filled with gold pieces, he had the
distinguished honour to place before his feet, in name of the citizens
and community of Dijon.

Charles, who at no time affected much courtesy, answered briefly and
bluntly, with a voice which was naturally harsh and dissonant, "All
things in their order, good Master Maire. Let us first hear what the
Estates of Burgundy have to say to us. We will then listen to the
burghers of Dijon."

The Maire rose and retired, bearing in his hand the silver cup, and
experiencing probably some vexation, as well as surprise, that its
contents had not secured an instant and gracious acceptance.

"I expected," said Duke Charles, "to have met at this hour and place
our Estates of the duchy of Burgundy, or a deputation of them, with an
answer to our message conveyed to them three days since by our
chancellor. Is there no one here on their part?"

The Maire, as none else made any attempt to answer, said that the
members of the Estates had been in close deliberation the whole of
that morning, and doubtless would instantly wait upon his Highness
when they heard that he had honoured the town with his presence.

"Go, Toison d'Or," said the Duke to the herald of the Order of the
Golden Fleece,[7] "bear to these gentlemen the tidings that we desire
to know the end of their deliberations; and that neither in courtesy
nor in loyalty can they expect us to wait long. Be round with them,
Sir Herald, or we shall be as round with you."

While the herald was absent on his mission, we may remind our readers
that in all feudalised countries (that is to say, in almost all Europe
during the Middle Ages) an ardent spirit of liberty pervaded the
constitution; and the only fault that could be found was, that the
privileges and freedom for which the great vassals contended did not
sufficiently descend to the lower orders of society, or extend
protection to those who were most likely to need it. The two first
ranks in the estate, the nobles and clergy, enjoyed high and important
privileges, and even the third estate, or citizens, had this immunity
in peculiar, that no new duties, customs, or taxes of any kind could
be exacted from them save by their own consent.

The memory of Duke Philip, the father of Charles, was dear to the
Burgundians; for during twenty years that sage prince had maintained
his rank amongst the sovereigns of Europe with much dignity, and had
accumulated treasure without exacting or receiving any great increase
of supplies from the rich countries which he governed. But the
extravagant schemes and immoderate expense of Duke Charles had
already excited the suspicion of his Estates; and the mutual good-will
betwixt the prince and people began to be exchanged for suspicion and
distrust on the one side, and defiance on the other. The refractory
disposition of the Estates had of late increased; for they had
disapproved of various wars in which their Duke had needlessly
embarked, and from his levying such large bodies of mercenary troops,
they came to suspect he might finally employ the wealth voted to him
by his subjects for the undue extension of his royal prerogative, and
the destruction of the liberties of the people.

At the same time, the Duke's uniform success in enterprises which
appeared desperate as well as difficult, esteem for the frankness and
openness of his character, and dread of the obstinacy and headstrong
tendency of a temper which could seldom bear persuasion, and never
endured opposition, still threw awe and terror around the throne,
which was materially aided by the attachment of the common people to
the person of the present Duke and to the memory of his father. It had
been understood that upon the present occasion there was strong
opposition amongst the Estates to the system of taxation proposed on
the part of the Duke, and the issue was expected with considerable
anxiety by the Duke's counsellors, and with fretful impatience by the
sovereign himself.

After a space of about ten minutes had elapsed, the Chancellor of
Burgundy, who was Archbishop of Vienne, and a prelate of high rank,
entered the hall with his train; and passing behind the ducal throne
to occupy one of the most distinguished places in the assembly, he
stopped for a moment to urge his master to receive the answer of his
Estates in a private manner, giving him at the same time to understand
that the result of the deliberations had been by no means
satisfactory.

"By St. George of Burgundy, my Lord Archbishop," answered the Duke,
sternly and aloud, "we are not a prince of a mind so paltry that we
need to shun the moody looks of a discontented and insolent faction.
If the Estates of Burgundy send a disobedient and disloyal answer to
our paternal message, let them deliver it in open court, that the
assembled people may learn how to decide between their Duke and those
petty yet intriguing spirits, who would interfere with our authority."

The chancellor bowed gravely, and took his seat; while the English
Earl observed, that most of the members of the assembly, excepting
such as in doing so could not escape the Duke's notice, passed some
observations to their neighbours, which were received with a
half-expressed nod, shrug, or shake of the head, as men treat a
proposal upon which it is dangerous to decide. At the same time,
Toison d'Or, who acted as master of the ceremonies, introduced into
the hall a committee of the Estates, consisting of twelve members,
four from each branch of the Estates, announced as empowered to
deliver the answer of that assembly to the Duke of Burgundy.

When the deputation entered the hall, Charles arose from his throne,
according to ancient custom, and taking from his head his bonnet,
charged with a huge plume of feathers, "Health and welcome," he said,
"to my good subjects of the Estates of Burgundy!" All the numerous
train of courtiers rose and uncovered their heads with the same
ceremony. The members of the States then dropped on one knee, the four
ecclesiastics, among whom Oxford recognised the Black Priest of St.
Paul's, approaching nearest to the Duke's person, the nobles kneeling
behind them, and the burgesses in the rear of the whole.

"Noble Duke," said the Priest of St. Paul's, "will it best please you
to hear the answer of your good and loyal Estates of Burgundy by the
voice of one member speaking for the whole, or by three persons, each
delivering the sense of the body to which he belongs?"

"As you will," said the Duke of Burgundy.

"A priest, a noble, and a free burgher," said the Churchman, still on
one knee, "will address your Highness in succession. For though,
blessed be the God who leads brethren to dwell together in unity! we
are agreed in the general answer, yet each body of the Estates may
have special and separate reasons to allege for the common opinion."

"We will hear you separately," said Duke Charles, casting his hat upon
his head, and throwing himself carelessly back into his seat. At the
same time, all who were of noble blood, whether in the committee or
amongst the spectators, vouched their right to be peers of their
sovereign by assuming their bonnets; and a cloud of waving plumes at
once added grace and dignity to the assembly.

When the Duke resumed his seat, the deputation arose from their knees,
and the Black Priest of St. Paul's, again stepping forth, addressed
him in these words:--

"My Lord Duke, your loyal and faithful clergy have considered your
Highness's proposal to lay a talliage on your people, in order to
make war on the confederate Cantons in the country of the Alps. The
quarrel, my liege lord, seems to your clergy an unjust and oppressive
one on your Highness's part; nor can they hope that God will bless
those who arm in it. They are therefore compelled to reject your
Highness's proposal."

The Duke's eye lowered gloomily on the deliverer of this unpalatable
message. He shook his head with one of those stern and menacing looks
which the harsh composition of his features rendered them peculiarly
qualified to express. "You have spoken, Sir Priest," was the only
reply which he deigned to make.

One of the four nobles, the Sire de Myrebeau, then expressed himself
thus:--

"Your Highness has asked of your faithful nobles to consent to new
imposts and exactions, to be levied through Burgundy, for the raising
of additional bands of hired soldiers for the maintenance of the
quarrels of the State. My lord, the swords of the Burgundian nobles,
knights, and gentlemen have been ever at your Highness's command, as
those of our ancestors have been readily wielded for your
predecessors. In your Highness's just quarrel we will go farther, and
fight firmer, than any hired fellows who can be procured, whether from
France, or Germany, or Italy. We will not give our consent that the
people should be taxed for paying mercenaries to discharge that
military duty which it is alike our pride and our exclusive privilege
to render."

"You have spoken, Sire de Myrebeau," were again the only words of the
Duke's reply. He uttered them slowly and with deliberation, as if
afraid lest some phrase of imprudent violence should escape along with
what he purposed to say. Oxford thought he cast a glance towards him
before he spoke, as if the consciousness of his presence was some
additional restraint on his passion. "Now, Heaven grant," he said to
himself, "that this opposition may work its proper effect, and induce
the Duke to renounce an imprudent attempt, so hazardous and so
unnecessary!"

While he muttered these thoughts, the Duke made a sign to one of the
_tiers état_, or commons, to speak in his turn. The person who obeyed
the signal was Martin Block, a wealthy butcher and grazier of Dijon.
His words were these: "Noble Prince, our fathers were the dutiful
subjects of your predecessors; we are the same to you; our children
will be alike the liegemen of your successors. But, touching the
request your chancellor has made to us, it is such as our ancestors
never complied with; such as we are determined to refuse, and such as
will never be conceded by the Estates of Burgundy, to any prince
whatsoever, even to the end of time."

Charles had borne with impatient silence the speeches of the two
former orators, but this blunt and hardy reply of the third Estate
excited him beyond what his nature could endure. He gave way to the
impetuosity of his disposition, stamped on the floor till the throne
shook, and the high vault rung over their heads, and overwhelmed the
bold burgher with reproaches. "Beast of burden," he said, "am I to be
stunned with thy braying too? The nobles may claim leave to speak, for
they can fight; the clergy may use their tongues, for it is their
trade; but thou, that hast never shed blood, save that of bullocks,
more stupid than thou art thyself--must thou and thy herd come hither,
privileged, forsooth, to bellow at a prince's footstool? Know, brute
as thou art, that steers are never introduced into temples but to be
sacrificed, or butchers and mechanics brought before their sovereign,
save that they may have the honour to supply the public wants from
their own swelling hoards!"

A murmur of displeasure, which even the terror of the Duke's wrath
could not repress, ran through the audience at these words; and the
burgher of Dijon, a sturdy plebeian, replied, with little reverence:
"Our purses, my Lord Duke, are our own--we will not put the strings of
them into your Highness's hands, unless we are satisfied with the
purposes to which the money is to be applied; and we know well how to
protect our persons and our goods against foreign ruffians and
plunderers."

Charles was on the point of ordering the deputy to be arrested, when,
having cast his eye towards the Earl of Oxford, whose presence, in
despite of himself, imposed a certain degree of restraint upon him, he
exchanged that piece of imprudence for another.

"I see," he said, addressing the committee of Estates, "that you are
all leagued to disappoint my purposes, and doubtless to deprive me of
all the power of a sovereign, save that of wearing a coronet, and
being served on the knee like a second Charles the Simple, while the
Estates of my kingdom divide the power among them. But you shall know
that you have to do with Charles of Burgundy, a prince who, though he
has deigned to consult you, is fully able to fight battles without
the aid of his nobles, since they refuse him the assistance of their
swords--to defray the expense without the help of his sordid
burghers--and, it may be, to find out a path to heaven without the
assistance of an ungrateful priesthood. I will show all that are here
present how little my mind is affected, or my purpose changed, by your
seditious reply to the message with which I honoured you.--Here,
Toison d'Or, admit into our presence these men from the confederated
towns and cantons, as they call themselves, of Switzerland."

Oxford, and all who really interested themselves in the Duke's
welfare, heard, with the utmost apprehension, his resolution to give
an audience to the Swiss Envoys, prepossessed as he was against them,
and in the moment when his mood was chafed to the uttermost by the
refusal of the Estates to grant him supplies. They were aware that
obstacles opposed to the current of his passion were like rocks in the
bed of a river, whose course they cannot interrupt, while they provoke
it to rage and foam. All were sensible that the die was cast, but none
who were not endowed with more than mortal prescience could have
imagined how deep was the pledge which depended upon it. Oxford, in
particular, conceived that the execution of his plan of a descent upon
England was the principal point compromised by the Duke in his rash
obstinacy; but he suspected not--he dreamed not of supposing--that the
life of Charles himself, and the independence of Burgundy as a
separate kingdom, hung quivering in the same scales.

FOOTNOTES:

[7] The chief order of knighthood in the state of Burgundy.



CHAPTER X.

     Why, 'tis a boisterous and cruel style,
     A style for challengers. Why, she defies us,
     Like Turk to Christian.
                                _As You Like It._


The doors of the hall were now opened to the Swiss deputies, who for
the preceding hour had been kept in attendance on the outside of the
building, without receiving the slightest of those attentions which
among civilised nations are universally paid to the representatives of
a foreign State. Indeed, their very appearance, dressed in coarse grey
frocks, like mountain hunters or shepherds, in the midst of an
assembly blazing with divers-coloured garments, gold and silver lace,
embroidery, and precious stones, served to confirm the idea that they
could only have come hither in the capacity of the most humble
petitioners.

Oxford, however, who watched closely the deportment of his late
fellow-travellers, failed not to observe that they retained each in
his own person the character of firmness and indifference which
formerly distinguished them. Rudolph Donnerhugel preserved his bold
and haughty look; the Banneret, the military indifference which made
him look with apparent apathy on all around him; the burgher of
Soleure was as formal and important as ever; nor did any of the three
show themselves affected in the slightest degree by the splendour of
the scene around them, or embarrassed by the consideration of their
own comparative inferiority of appointments. But the noble Landamman,
on whom Oxford chiefly bent his attention, seemed overwhelmed with a
sense of the precarious state in which his country was placed;
fearing, from the rude and unhonoured manner in which they were
received, that war was unavoidable, while, at the same time, like a
good patriot, he mourned over the consequences of ruin to the freedom
of his country by defeat, or injury to her simplicity and virtuous
indifference of wealth, by the introduction of foreign luxuries and
the evils attending on conquest.

Well acquainted with the opinions of Arnold Biederman, Oxford could
easily explain his sadness, while his comrade Bonstetten, less capable
of comprehending his friend's feelings, looked at him with the
expression which may be seen in the countenance of a faithful dog,
when the creature indicates sympathy with his master's melancholy,
though unable to ascertain or appreciate its cause. A look of wonder
now and then glided around the splendid assembly on the part of all
the forlorn group, excepting Donnerhugel and the Landamman; for the
indomitable pride of the one, and the steady patriotism of the other,
could not for even an instant be diverted by external objects from
their own deep and stern reflections.

After a silence of nearly five minutes, the Duke spoke, with the
haughty and harsh manner which he might imagine belonged to his place,
and which certainly expressed his character.

"Men of Berne, of Schwitz, or of whatever hamlet and wilderness you
may represent, know that we had not honoured you, rebels as you are
to the dominion of your lawful superiors, with an audience in our own
presence, but for the intercession of a well-esteemed friend, who has
sojourned among your mountains, and whom you may know by the name of
Philipson, an Englishman, following the trade of a merchant, and
charged with certain valuable matters of traffic to our court. To his
intercession we have so far given way, that instead of commanding you,
according to your demerits, to the gibbet and the wheel in the Place
de Morimont, we have condescended to receive you into our own
presence, sitting in our _cour plénière_, to hear from you such
submission as you can offer for your outrageous storm of our town of
La Ferette, the slaughter of many of our liegemen, and the deliberate
murder of the noble knight, Archibald of Hagenbach, executed in your
presence, and by your countenance and device. Speak--if you can say
aught in defence of your felony and treason, either to deprecate just
punishment, or crave undeserved mercy."

The Landamman seemed about to answer; but Rudolph Donnerhugel, with
his characteristic boldness and hardihood, took the task of reply on
himself. He confronted the proud Duke with an eye unappalled, and a
countenance as stern as his own.

"We came not here," he said, "to compromise our own honour, or the
dignity of the free people whom we represent, by pleading guilty in
their name, or our own, to crimes of which we are innocent. And when
you term us rebels, you must remember, that a long train of victories,
whose history is written in the noblest blood of Austria, has
restored to the confederacy of our communities the freedom of which an
unjust tyranny in vain attempted to deprive us. While Austria was a
just and beneficent mistress, we served her with our lives;--when she
became oppressive and tyrannical, we assumed independence. If she has
aught yet to claim from us, the descendants of Tell, Faust, and
Stauffacher will be as ready to assert their liberties as their
fathers were to gain them. Your Grace--if such be your title--has no
concern with any dispute betwixt us and Austria. For your threats of
gibbet and wheel, we are here defenceless men, on whom you may work
your pleasure; but we know how to die, and our countrymen know how to
avenge us."

The fiery Duke would have replied by commanding the instant arrest,
and probably the immediate execution, of the whole deputation. But his
chancellor, availing himself of the privilege of his office, rose,
and, doffing his cap with a deep reverence to the Duke, requested
leave to reply to the misproud young man, who had, he said, so greatly
mistaken the purpose of his Highness's speech.

Charles, feeling perhaps at the moment too much irritated to form a
calm decision, threw himself back in his chair of state, and with an
impatient and angry nod gave his chancellor permission to speak.

"Young man," said that high officer, "you have mistaken the meaning of
the high and mighty sovereign in whose presence you stand. Whatever be
the lawful rights of Austria over the revolted villages which have
flung off their allegiance to their native superior, we have no call
to enter on that argument. But that for which Burgundy demands your
answer is, wherefore, coming here in the guise, and with the
character, of peaceful envoys, on affairs touching your own
communities and the rights of the Duke's subjects, you have raised war
in our peaceful dominions, stormed a fortress, massacred its garrison,
and put to death a noble knight, its commander?--all of them actions
contrary to the law of nations, and highly deserving of the punishment
with which you have been justly threatened, but with which I hope our
gracious sovereign will dispense, if you express some sufficient
reason for such outrageous insolence, with an offer of due submission
to his Highness's pleasure, and satisfactory reparation for such a
high injury."

"You are a priest, grave sir?" answered Rudolph Donnerhugel,
addressing the Chancellor of Burgundy. "If there be a soldier in this
assembly who will avouch your charge, I challenge him to the combat,
man to man. We did not storm the garrison of La Ferette--we were
admitted into the gates in a peaceful manner, and were there instantly
surrounded by the soldiers of the late Archibald de Hagenbach, with
the obvious purpose of assaulting and murdering us on our peaceful
mission. I promise you there had been news of more men dying than us.
But an uproar broke out among the inhabitants of the town, assisted, I
believe, by many neighbours, to whom the insolence and oppression of
Archibald de Hagenbach had become odious, as to all who were within
his reach. We rendered them no assistance; and, I trust, it was not
expected that we should interfere in the favour of men who had stood
prepared to do the worst against us. But not a pike or sword
belonging to us or our attendants was dipped in Burgundian blood.
Archibald de Hagenbach perished, it is true, on a scaffold, and I saw
him die with pleasure, under a sentence pronounced by a competent
court, such as is recognised in Westphalia, and its dependencies on
this side of the Rhine. I am not obliged to vindicate their
proceedings; but I aver, that the Duke has received full proof of his
regular sentence; and, in fine, that it was amply deserved by
oppression, tyranny, and foul abuse of his authority, I will uphold
against all gainsayers, with the body of a man. There lies my glove."

And, with an action suited to the language he used, the stern Swiss
flung his right-hand glove on the floor of the hall. In the spirit of
the age, with the love of distinction in arms which it nourished, and
perhaps with the desire of gaining the Duke's favour, there was a
general motion among the young Burgundians to accept the challenge,
and more than six or eight gloves were hastily doffed by the young
knights present, those who were more remote flinging them over the
heads of the nearest, and each proclaiming his name and title as he
proffered the gage of combat.

"I set at all," said the daring young Swiss, gathering the gauntlets
as they fell clashing around him. "More, gentlemen, more! a glove for
every finger! come on, one at once--fair lists, equal judges of the
field, the combat on foot, and the weapons two-handed swords, and I
will not budge for a score of you."

  [Illustration: THE DEFIANCE.
   Drawn and Etched by R. de los Rios.]

"Hold, gentlemen! on your allegiance, hold!" said the Duke, gratified
at the same time, and somewhat appeased, by the zeal which was
displayed in his cause--moved by the strain of reckless
bravery evinced by the challenger, with a hardihood akin to his
own--perhaps also not unwilling to display, in the view of his _cour
plénière_, more temperance than he had been at first capable of.
"Hold, I command you all.--Toison d'Or, gather up these gauntlets, and
return them each to his owner. God and St. George forbid that we
should hazard the life of even the least of our noble Burgundian
gentry against such a churl as this Swiss peasant, who never so much
as mounted a horse, and knows not a jot of knightly courtesy, or the
grace of chivalry.--Carry your vulgar brawls elsewhere, young man, and
know that, on the present occasion, the Place Morimont were your only
fitting lists, and the hangman your meet antagonist. And you, sirs,
his companions--whose behaviour in suffering this swaggerer to take
the lead amongst you seems to show that the laws of nature, as well as
of society, are inverted, and that youth is preferred to age, as
gentry to peasants--you white-bearded men, I say, is there none of you
who can speak your errand in such language as it becomes a sovereign
prince to listen to?"

"God forbid else," said the Landamman, stepping forward and silencing
Rudolph Donnerhugel, who was commencing an answer of defiance--"God
forbid," he said, "noble Duke, that we should not be able to speak so
as to be understood before your Highness, since, I trust, we shall
speak the language of truth, peace, and justice. Nay, should it
incline your Highness to listen to us the more favourably for our
humility, I am willing to humble myself rather than you should shun
to hear us. For my own part, I can truly say that, though I have
lived, and by free choice have resolved to die, a husbandman and a
hunter on the Alps of the Unterwald, I may claim by birth the
hereditary right to speak before Dukes and Kings, and the Emperor
himself. There is no one, my Lord Duke, in this proud assembly, who
derives his descent from a nobler source than Geierstein."

"We have heard of you," said the Duke. "Men call you the
peasant-count. Your birth is your shame; or perhaps your mother's, if
your father had happened to have a handsome ploughman, the fitting
father of one who has become a willing serf."

"No serf, my lord," answered the Landamman, "but a freeman, who will
neither oppress others nor be himself tyrannised over. My father was a
noble lord, my mother a most virtuous lady. But I will not be
provoked, by taunt or scornful jest, to refrain from stating with
calmness what my country has given me in charge to say. The
inhabitants of the bleak and inhospitable regions of the Alps desire,
mighty sir, to remain at peace with all their neighbours, and to enjoy
the government they have chosen, as best fitted to their condition and
habits, leaving all other states and countries to their free-will in
the same respects. Especially, they desire to remain at peace and in
unity with the princely House of Burgundy, whose dominions approach
their possessions on so many points. My lord, they desire it, they
entreat it, they even consent to pray for it. We have been termed
stubborn, intractable, and insolent contemners of authority, and
headers of sedition and rebellion. In evidence of the contrary, my
Lord Duke, I, who never bent a knee but to Heaven, feel no dishonour
in kneeling before your Highness, as before a sovereign prince in the
_cour plénière_ of his dominions, where he has a right to exact homage
from his subjects out of duty, and from strangers out of courtesy. No
vain pride of mine," said the noble old man, his eyes swelling with
tears, as he knelt on one knee, "shall prevent me from personal
humiliation, when peace--that blessed peace, so dear to God, so
inappreciably valuable to man--is in danger of being broken off."

The whole assembly, even the Duke himself, were affected by the noble
and stately manner in which the brave old man made a genuflection,
which was obviously dictated by neither meanness nor timidity. "Arise,
sir," said Charles; "if we have said aught which can wound your
private feelings, we retract it as publicly as the reproach was
spoken, and sit prepared to hear you, as a fair-meaning envoy."

"For that, my noble lord, thanks; and I shall hold it a blessed day,
if I can find words worthy of the cause I have to plead. My lord, a
schedule in your Highness's hands has stated the sense of many
injuries received at the hand of your Highness's officers, and those
of Romont, Count of Savoy, your strict ally and adviser, we have a
right to suppose, under your Highness's countenance. For Count
Romont--he has already felt with whom he has to contend; but we have
as yet taken no measures to avenge injuries, affronts, interruptions
to our commerce, from those who have availed themselves of your
Highness's authority to intercept our countrymen, spoil our goods,
impress their persons, and even, in some instances, take their lives.
The affray at La Ferette--I can vouch for what I saw--had no origin or
abettance from us; nevertheless, it is impossible an independent
nation can suffer the repetition of such injuries, and free and
independent we are determined to remain, or to die in defence of our
rights. What then must follow, unless your Highness listens to the
terms which I am commissioned to offer? War, a war to extermination;
for so long as one of our Confederacy can wield a halberd, so long, if
this fatal strife once commences, there will be war betwixt your
powerful realms and our poor and barren States. And what can the noble
Duke of Burgundy gain by such a strife? Is it wealth and plunder?
Alas, my lord, there is more gold and silver on the very bridle-bits
of your Highness's household troops than can be found in the public
treasures or private hoards of our whole Confederacy. Is it fame and
glory you aspire to? There is little honour to be won by a numerous
army over a few scattered bands, by men clad in mail over half-armed
husbandmen and shepherds--of such conquest small were the glory. But
if, as all Christian men believe, and as it is the constant trust of
my countrymen, from memory of the times of our fathers,--if the Lord
of Hosts should cast the balance in behalf of the fewer numbers and
worse-armed party, I leave it with your Highness to judge what would,
in that event, be the diminution of worship and fame. Is it extent of
vassalage and dominion your Highness desires, by warring with your
mountain neighbours? Know that you may, if it be God's will, gain our
barren and rugged mountains; but, like our ancestors of old, we will
seek refuge in wilder and more distant solitudes, and, when we have
resisted to the last, we will starve in the icy wastes of the
glaciers. Ay, men, women, and children, we will be frozen into
annihilation together, ere one free Switzer will acknowledge a foreign
master."

The speech of the Landamman made an obvious impression on the
assembly. The Duke observed it, and his hereditary obstinacy was
irritated by the general disposition which he saw entertained in
favour of the ambassador. This evil principle overcame some impression
which the address of the noble Biederman had not failed to make upon
him. He answered with a lowering brow, interrupting the old man as he
was about to continue his speech,--"You argue falsely, Sir Count, or
Sir Landamman, or by whatever name you call yourself, if you think we
war on you from any hope of spoil, or any desire of glory. We know as
well as you can tell us that there is neither profit nor fame to be
achieved by conquering you. But sovereigns, to whom Heaven has given
the power, must root out a band of robbers, though there is dishonour
in measuring swords with them; and we hunt to death a herd of wolves,
though their flesh is carrion, and their skins are naught."

The Landamman shook his grey head, and replied, without testifying
emotion, and even with something approaching to a smile,--"I am an
older woodsman than you, my Lord Duke--and, it may be, a more
experienced one. The boldest, the hardiest hunter, will not safely
drive the wolf to his den. I have shown your Highness the poor chance
of gain, and the great risk of loss, which even you, powerful as you
are, must incur by risking a war with determined and desperate men.
Let me now tell what we are willing to do to secure a sincere and
lasting peace with our powerful neighbour of Burgundy. Your Grace is
in the act of engrossing Lorraine, and it seems probable, under so
vigorous and enterprising a Prince, your authority may be extended to
the shores of the Mediterranean--be our noble friend and sincere ally,
and our mountains, defended by warriors familiar with victory, will be
your barriers against Germany and Italy. For your sake we will admit
the Count of Savoy to terms, and restore to him our conquests, on such
conditions as your Highness shall yourself judge reasonable. Of past
subjects of offence on the part of your lieutenants and governors upon
the frontier we will be silent, so we have assurance of no such
aggressions in future. Nay, more, and it is my last and proudest
offer, we will send three thousand of our youth to assist your
Highness in any war which you may engage in, whether against Louis of
France or the Emperor of Germany. They are a different set of
men--proudly and truly may I state it--from the scum of Germany and
Italy, who form themselves into mercenary bands of soldiers. And, if
Heaven should decide your Highness to accept our offer, there will be
one corps in your army which will leave their carcasses on the field
ere a man of them break their plighted troth."

A swarthy but tall and handsome man, wearing a corselet richly
engraved with arabesque work, started from his seat with the air of
one provoked beyond the bounds of restraint. This was the Count de
Campo-basso, commander of Charles's Italian mercenaries, who
possessed, as has been alluded to, much influence over the Duke's
mind, chiefly obtained by accommodating himself to his master's
opinions and prejudices, and placing before the Duke specious
arguments to justify him for following his own way.

"This lofty presence must excuse me," he said, "if I speak in defence
of my honour, and those of my bold lances, who have followed my
fortunes from Italy to serve the bravest Prince in Christendom. I
might, indeed, pass over without resentment the outrageous language of
this grey-haired churl, whose words cannot affect a knight and a
nobleman more than the yelling of a peasant's mastiff. But when I hear
him propose to associate his bands of mutinous misgoverned ruffians
with your Highness's troops, I must let him know that there is not a
horse-boy in my ranks who would fight in such fellowship. No, even I
myself, bound by a thousand ties of gratitude, could not submit to
strive abreast with such comrades. I would fold up my banners, and
lead five thousand men to seek,--not a nobler master, for the world
has none such,--but wars in which we might not be obliged to blush for
our assistants."

"Silence, Campo-basso!" said the Duke, "and be assured you serve a
prince who knows your worth too well to exchange it for the untried
and untrustful services of those whom we have only known as vexatious
and malignant neighbours."

Then, addressing himself to Arnold Biederman, he said coldly and
sternly, "Sir Landamman, we have heard you fairly. We have heard you,
although you come before us with hands dyed deep in the blood of our
servant, Sir Archibald de Hagenbach; for, supposing he was murdered by
a villanous association,--which, by St. George! shall never, while we
live and reign, raise its pestilential head on this side of the
Rhine,--yet it is not the less undeniable and undenied, that you stood
by in arms, and encouraged the deed the assassins performed under your
countenance. Return to your mountains, and be thankful that you return
in life. Tell those who sent you that I will be presently on their
frontiers. A deputation of your most notable persons, who meet me with
halters round their necks, torches in their left hands, in their right
their swords held by the point, may learn on what conditions we will
grant you peace."

"Then farewell peace, and welcome war," said the Landamman; "and be
its plagues and curses on the heads of those who choose blood and
strife rather than peace and union. We will meet you on our frontiers
with our naked swords, but the hilts, not their points, shall be in
our grasp. Charles of Burgundy, Flanders, and Lorraine, Duke of seven
dukedoms, Count of seventeen earldoms, I bid you defiance; and declare
war against you in the name of the confederated Cantons, and such
others as shall adhere to them. There," he said, "are my letters of
defiance."

The herald took from Arnold Biederman the fatal denunciation.

"Read it not, Toison d'Or!" said the haughty Duke. "Let the
executioner drag it through the streets at his horse's tail, and nail
it to the gibbet, to show in what account we hold the paltry scroll,
and those who sent it.--Away, sirs!" speaking to the Swiss. "Trudge
back to your wildernesses with such haste as your feet can use. When
we next meet, you shall better know whom you have offended.--Get our
horse ready--the council is broken up."

The Maire of Dijon, when all were in motion to leave the hall, again
approached the Duke, and timidly expressed some hopes that his
Highness would deign to partake of a banquet which the magistracy had
prepared, in expectation he might do them such an honour.

"No, by St. George of Burgundy, Sir Maire," said Charles, with one of
the withering glances by which he was wont to express indignation
mixed with contempt,--"you have not pleased us so well with our
breakfast as to induce us to trust our dinner to the loyalty of our
good town of Dijon."

So saying, he rudely turned off from the mortified chief magistrate,
and, mounting his horse, rode back to his camp, conversing earnestly
on the way with the Count of Campo-basso.

"I would offer you dinner, my Lord of Oxford," said Colvin to that
nobleman, when he alighted at his tent, "but I foresee, ere you could
swallow a mouthful, you will be summoned to the Duke's presence; for
it is our Charles's way, when he has fixed on a wrong course, to
wrangle with his friends and counsellors, in order to prove it is a
right one. Marry, he always makes a convert of yon supple Italian."

Colvin's augury was speedily realised; for a page almost immediately
summoned the English merchant, Philipson, to attend the Duke. Without
waiting an instant, Charles poured forth an incoherent tide of
reproaches against the Estates of his dukedom, for refusing him their
countenance in so slight a matter, and launched out in explanations of
the necessity which he alleged there was for punishing the audacity of
the Swiss. "And thou too, Oxford," he concluded, "art such an
impatient fool as to wish me to engage in a distant war with England,
and transport forces over the sea, when I have such insolent mutineers
to chastise on my own frontiers?"

When he was at length silent, the English Earl laid before him, with
respectful earnestness, the danger that appeared to be involved in
engaging with a people, poor indeed, but universally dreaded, from
their discipline and courage, and that under the eye of so dangerous a
rival as Louis of France, who was sure to support the Duke's enemies
underhand, if he did not join them openly. On this point the Duke's
resolution was immovable. "It shall never," he said, "be told of me,
that I uttered threats which I dared not execute. These boors have
declared war against me, and they shall learn whose wrath it is that
they have wantonly provoked; but I do not, therefore, renounce thy
scheme, my good Oxford. If thou canst procure me this same cession of
Provence, and induce old René to give up the cause of his grandson,
Ferrand of Vaudemont, in Lorraine, thou wilt make it well worth my
while to send thee brave aid against my brother Blackburn, who, while
he is drinking healths pottle-deep in France, may well come to lose
his lands in England. And be not impatient because I cannot at this
very instant send men across the seas. The march which I am making
towards Neufchatel, which is, I think, the nearest point where I shall
find these churls, will be but like a morning's excursion. I trust you
will go with us, old companion. I should like to see if you have
forgotten, among yonder mountains, how to back a horse and lay a lance
in rest."

"I will wait on your Highness," said the Earl, "as is my duty, for my
motions must depend on your pleasure. But I will not carry arms,
especially against those people of Helvetia, from whom I have
experienced hospitality, unless it be for my own personal defence."

"Well," replied the Duke, "e'en be it so; we shall have in you an
excellent judge, to tell us who best discharges his devoir against the
mountain clowns."

At this point in the conversation there was a knocking at the entrance
of the pavilion, and the Chancellor of Burgundy presently entered, in
great haste and anxiety. "News, my lord--news of France and England,"
said the prelate, and then, observing the presence of a stranger, he
looked at the Duke, and was silent.

"It is a faithful friend, my Lord Bishop," said the Duke; "you may
tell your news before him."

"It will soon be generally known," said the chancellor. "Louis and
Edward are fully accorded." Both the Duke and the English Earl
started.

"I expected this," said the Duke, "but not so soon."

"The Kings have met," answered his minister.

"How--in battle?" said Oxford, forgetting himself in his extreme
eagerness.

The chancellor was somewhat surprised, but as the Duke seemed to
expect him to give an answer, he replied, "No, Sir Stranger--not in
battle, but upon appointment, and in peace and amity."

"The sight must have been worth seeing," said the Duke; "when the old
fox Louis, and my brother Black--I mean my brother Edward--met. Where
held they their rendezvous?"

"On a bridge over the Seine, at Picquigny."

"I would thou hadst been there," said the Duke, looking to Oxford,
"with a good axe in thy hand, to strike one fair blow for England, and
another for Burgundy. My grandfather was treacherously slain at just
such a meeting, at the Bridge of Montereau, upon the Yonne."

"To prevent a similar chance," said the chancellor, "a strong
barricade, such as closes the cages in which men keep wild beasts, was
raised in the midst of the bridge, and prevented the possibility of
their even touching each other's hands."

"Ha, ha! By St. George, that smells of Louis's craft and caution; for
the Englishman, to give him his due, is as little acquainted with fear
as with policy. But what terms have they made? Where do the English
army winter? What towns, fortresses, and castles are surrendered to
them, in pledge, or in perpetuity?"

"None, my liege," said the chancellor. "The English army returns into
England, as fast as shipping can be procured to transport them; and
Louis will accommodate them with every sail and oar in his dominions,
rather than they should not instantly evacuate France."

"And by what concessions has Louis bought a peace so necessary to his
affairs?"

"By fair words," said the chancellor, "by liberal presents, and by
some five hundred tuns of wine."

"Wine!" exclaimed the Duke. "Heardst thou ever the like, Seignor
Philipson? Why, your countrymen are little better than Esau, who sold
his birthright for a mess of pottage. Marry, I must confess I never
saw an Englishman who loved a dry-lipped bargain."

"I can scarce believe this news," said the Earl of Oxford. "If this
Edward were content to cross the sea with fifty thousand Englishmen
merely to return again, there are in his camp both proud nobles and
haughty commons enough to resist his disgraceful purpose."

"The money of Louis," said the statesman, "has found noble hands
willing to clutch it. The wine of France has flooded every throat in
the English army--the riot and uproar was unbounded--and at one time
the town of Amiens, where Louis himself resided, was full of so many
English archers, all of them intoxicated, that the person of the King
of France was almost in their hands. Their sense of national honour
has been lost in the universal revel, and those amongst them who would
be more dignified and play the wise politicians say, that having come
to France by connivance of the Duke of Burgundy, and that prince
having failed to join them with his forces, they have done well,
wisely, and gallantly, considering the season of the year, and the
impossibility of obtaining quarters, to take tribute of France, and
return home in triumph."

"And leave Louis," said Oxford, "at undisturbed freedom to attack
Burgundy with all his forces?"

"Not so, friend Philipson," said Duke Charles; "know, that there is a
truce betwixt Burgundy and France for the space of seven years, and
had not this been granted and signed, it is probable that we might
have found some means of marring the treaty betwixt Edward and Louis,
even at the expense of affording those voracious islanders beef and
beer during the winter months.--Sir Chancellor, you may leave us, but
be within reach of a hasty summons."

When his minister left the pavilion, the Duke, who with his rude and
imperious character united much kindness, if it could not be termed
generosity of disposition, came up to the Lancastrian lord, who stood
like one at whose feet a thunderbolt has just broken, and who is still
appalled by the terrors of the shock.

"My poor Oxford," he said, "thou art stupefied by this news, which
thou canst not doubt must have a fatal effect on the plan which thy
brave bosom cherishes with such devoted fidelity. I would for thy sake
I could have detained the English a little longer in France; but had I
attempted to do so, there were an end of my truce with Louis, and of
course to my power to chastise these paltry Cantons, or send forth an
expedition to England. As matters stand, give me but a week to punish
these mountaineers, and you shall have a larger force than your
modesty has requested of me for your enterprise; and, in the
meanwhile, I will take care that Blackburn and his cousin-archers have
no assistance of shipping from Flanders. Tush, man, never fear
it--thou wilt be in England long ere they; and, once more, rely on my
assistance--always, thou knowest, the cession of Provence being
executed, as in reason. Our cousin Margaret's diamonds we must keep
for a time; and perhaps they may pass as a pledge, with some of our
own, for the godly purpose of setting at freedom the imprisoned angels
of our Flemish usurers, who will not lend even to their sovereign,
unless on good current security. To such straits has the disobedient
avarice of our Estates for the moment reduced us."

"Alas! my lord," said the dejected nobleman, "I were ungrateful to
doubt the sincerity of your good intentions. But who can presume on
the events of war, especially when time presses for instant decision?
You are pleased to trust me. Let your Highness extend your confidence
thus far: I will take my horse, and ride after the Landamman, if he
hath already set forth. I have little doubt to make such an
accommodation with him that you may be secure on all your
south-eastern frontiers. You may then with security work your will in
Lorraine and Provence."

"Do not speak of it," said the Duke, sharply; "thou forget'st thyself
and me, when thou supposest that a prince, who has pledged his word to
his people, can recall it like a merchant chaffering for his paltry
wares. Go to--we will assist you, but we will be ourselves judge of
the time and manner. Yet, having both kind will to our distressed
cousin of Anjou, and being your good friend, we will not linger in the
matter. Our host have orders to break up this evening and direct their
march against Neufchatel, where these proud Swiss shall have a taste
of the fire and sword which they have provoked."

Oxford sighed deeply, but made no further remonstrance; in which he
acted wisely, since it was likely to have exasperated the fiery temper
of the sovereign to whom it was addressed, while it was certain that
it would not in the slightest degree alter his resolution.

He took farewell of the Duke, and returned to Colvin, whom he found
immersed in the business of his department, and preparing for the
removal of the artillery--an operation which the clumsiness of the
ordnance, and the execrable state of the roads, rendered at that time
a much more troublesome operation than at present, though it is even
still one of the most laborious movements attending the march of an
army. The Master of the Ordnance welcomed Oxford with much glee, and
congratulated himself on the distinguished honour of enjoying his
company during the campaign, and acquainted him that, by the especial
command of the Duke, he had made fitting preparations for his
accommodation, suitable to the disguised character which he meant to
maintain, but in every other respect as convenient as a camp could
admit of.



CHAPTER XI.

     A mirthful man he was--the snows of age
     Fell, but they did not chill him. Gaiety,
     Even in life's closing, touch'd his teeming brain
     With such wild visions as the setting sun
     Raises in front of some hoar glacier,
     Painting the bleak ice with a thousand hues.
                                           _Old Play._


Leaving the Earl of Oxford in attendance on the stubborn Duke of
Burgundy during an expedition which the one represented as a brief
excursion, more resembling a hunting-party than a campaign, and which
the other considered in a much graver and more perilous light, we
return to Arthur de Vere, or the younger Philipson, as he continued to
be called, who was conducted by his guide with fidelity and success,
but certainly very slowly, upon his journey into Provence.

The state of Lorraine, overrun by the Duke of Burgundy's army, and
infested at the same time by different scattered bands, who took the
field, or held out the castles, as they alleged, for the interest of
Count Ferrand de Vaudemont, rendered journeying so dangerous, that it
was often necessary to leave the main road, and to take circuitous
tracks, in order to avoid such unfriendly encounters as travellers
might otherwise have met with.

Arthur, taught by sad experience to distrust strange guides, found
himself, nevertheless, in this eventful and perilous journey, disposed
to rest considerable confidence in his present conductor, Thiebault,
a Provençal by birth, intimately acquainted with the roads which they
took, and, as far as he could judge, disposed to discharge his office
with fidelity. Prudence alike, and the habits which he had acquired in
travelling, as well as the character of a merchant which he still
sustained, induced him to wave the _morgue_, or haughty superiority of
a knight and noble towards an inferior personage, especially as he
rightly conjectured that free intercourse with this man, whose
acquirements seemed of a superior cast, was likely to render him a
judge of his opinions and disposition towards him. In return for his
condescension, he obtained a good deal of information concerning the
province which he was approaching.

As they drew near the boundaries of Provence, the communications of
Thiebault became more fluent and interesting. He could not only tell
the name and history of each romantic castle which they passed, in
their devious and doubtful route, but had at his command the
chivalrous history of the noble knights and barons to whom they now
pertained, or had belonged in earlier days, and could recount their
exploits against the Saracens, by repelling their attacks upon
Christendom, or their efforts to recover the Holy Sepulchre from Pagan
hands. In the course of such narrations, Thiebault was led to speak of
the Troubadours, a race of native poets of Provençal origin, differing
widely from the minstrels of Normandy, and the adjacent provinces of
France, with whose tales of chivalry, as well as the numerous
translations of their works into Norman-French and English, Arthur,
like most of the noble youth of his country, was intimately acquainted
and deeply imbued. Thiebault boasted that his grandsire, of humble
birth indeed, but of distinguished talent, was one of this gifted
race, whose compositions produced so great an effect on the temper and
manners of their age and country. It was, however, to be regretted
that, inculcating as the prime duty of life a fantastic spirit of
gallantry, which sometimes crossed the Platonic bound prescribed to
it, the poetry of the Troubadours was too frequently used to soften
and seduce the heart, and corrupt the principles.[8]

Arthur's attention was called to this peculiarity by Thiebault
singing, which he could do with good skill, the history of a
Troubadour, named William Cabestainy, who loved, _par amours_, a noble
and beautiful lady, Margaret, the wife of a baron called Raymond de
Roussillon. The jealous husband obtained proof of his dishonour, and,
having put Cabestainy to death by assassination, he took his heart
from his bosom, and causing it to be dressed like that of an animal,
ordered it to be served up to his lady; and when she had eaten of the
horrible mess, told her of what her banquet was composed. The lady
replied, that since she had been made to partake of food so precious,
no coarser morsel should ever after cross her lips. She persisted in
her resolution, and thus starved herself to death. The Troubadour who
celebrated this tragic history had displayed in his composition a good
deal of poetic art. Glossing over the error of the lovers as the fault
of their destiny, dwelling on their tragical fate with considerable
pathos, and, finally, execrating the blind fury of the husband, with
the full fervour of poetical indignation, he recorded, with vindictive
pleasure, how every bold knight and true lover in the south of France
assembled to besiege the baron's castle, stormed it by main force,
left not one stone upon another, and put the tyrant himself to an
ignominious death. Arthur was interested in the melancholy tale, which
even beguiled him of a few tears; but as he thought further on its
purport, he dried his eyes, and said, with some sternness,--"Thiebault,
sing me no more such lays. I have heard my father say that the
readiest mode to corrupt a Christian man is to bestow upon vice the
pity and the praise which are due only to virtue. Your Baron of
Roussillon is a monster of cruelty; but your unfortunate lovers were
not the less guilty. It is by giving fair names to foul actions that
those who would start at real vice are led to practise its lessons,
under the disguise of virtue."

"I would you knew, Seignor," answered Thiebault, "that this Lay of
Cabestainy and the Lady Margaret of Roussillon is reckoned a
masterpiece of the joyous science. Fie, sir, you are too young to be
so strict a censor of morals. What will you do when your head is grey,
if you are thus severe when it is scarcely brown?"

"A head which listens to folly in youth will hardly be honourable in
old age," answered Arthur.

Thiebault had no mind to carry the dispute further.

"It is not for me to contend with your worship. I only think, with
every true son of chivalry and song, that a knight without a mistress
is like a sky without a star."

"Do I not know that?" answered Arthur; "but yet better remain in
darkness than be guided by such false lights as shower down vice and
pestilence."

"Nay, it may be your seignorie is right," answered the guide. "It is
certain that even in Provence here we have lost much of our keen
judgment on matters of love--its difficulties, its intricacies, and
its errors, since the Troubadours are no longer regarded as usual, and
since the High and Noble Parliament of Love[9] has ceased to hold its
sittings.

"But in these latter days," continued the Provençal, "kings, dukes,
and sovereigns, instead of being the foremost and most faithful
vassals of the Court of Cupid, are themselves the slaves of
selfishness and love of gain. Instead of winning hearts by breaking
lances in the lists, they are breaking the hearts of their
impoverished vassals by the most cruel exactions--instead of
attempting to deserve the smile and favours of their lady-loves, they
are meditating how to steal castles, towns, and provinces from their
neighbours. But long life to the good and venerable King René! While
he has an acre of land left, his residence will be the resort of
valiant knights, whose only aim is praise in arms, of true lovers, who
are persecuted by fortune, and of high-toned harpers, who know how to
celebrate faith and valour."

Arthur, interested in learning something more precise than common
fame had taught him on the subject of this prince, easily induced the
talkative Provençal to enlarge upon the virtues of his old sovereign's
character, as just, joyous, and debonair, a friend to the most noble
exercises of the chase and the tilt-yard, and still more so to the
joyous science of Poetry and Music; who gave away more revenue than he
received, in largesses to knights-errant and itinerant musicians, with
whom his petty court was crowded, as one of the very few in which the
ancient hospitality was still maintained.

Such was the picture which Thiebault drew of the last minstrel
monarch; and though the eulogium was exaggerated, perhaps the facts
were not overcharged.

Born of royal parentage, and with high pretensions, René had at no
period of his life been able to match his fortunes to his claims. Of
the kingdoms to which he asserted right, nothing remained in his
possession but the county of Provence itself, a fair and friendly
principality, but diminished by the many claims which France had
acquired upon portions of it by advances of money to supply the
personal expenses of its master, and by other portions, which
Burgundy, to whom René had been a prisoner, held in pledge for his
ransom. In his youth he engaged in more than one military enterprise,
in the hope of attaining some part of the territory of which he was
styled sovereign. His courage is not impeached, but fortune did not
smile on his military adventures; and he seems at last to have become
sensible that the power of admiring and celebrating warlike merit is
very different from possessing that quality. In fact, René was a
prince of very moderate parts, endowed with a love of the fine arts,
which he carried to extremity, and a degree of good-humour, which
never permitted him to repine at fortune, but rendered its possessor
happy, when a prince of keener feelings would have died of despair.
This insouciant, light-tempered, gay, and thoughtless disposition
conducted René, free from all the passions which embitter life, and
often shorten it, to a hale and mirthful old age. Even domestic
losses, which often affect those who are proof against mere reverses
of fortune, made no deep impression on the feelings of this cheerful
old monarch. Most of his children had died young; René took it not to
heart. His daughter Margaret's marriage with the powerful Henry of
England was considered a connection much above the fortunes of the
King of the Troubadours. But in the issue, instead of René deriving
any splendour from the match, he was involved in the misfortunes of
his daughter, and repeatedly obliged to impoverish himself to supply
her ransom. Perhaps in his private soul the old king did not think
these losses so mortifying as the necessity of receiving Margaret into
his court and family. On fire when reflecting on the losses she had
sustained, mourning over friends slain and kingdoms lost, the proudest
and most passionate of princesses was ill suited to dwell with the
gayest and best-humoured of sovereigns, whose pursuits she contemned,
and whose lightness of temper, for finding comfort in such trifles,
she could not forgive. The discomfort attached to her presence and
vindictive recollections embarrassed the good-humoured old monarch,
though it was unable to drive him beyond his equanimity.

Another distress pressed him more sorely.--Yolande, a daughter of his
first wife, Isabella, had succeeded to his claims upon the Duchy of
Lorraine, and transmitted them to her son, Ferrand, Count of
Vaudemont, a young man of courage and spirit, engaged at this time in
the apparently desperate undertaking of making his title good against
the Duke of Burgundy, who, with little right but great power, was
seizing upon and overrunning this rich Duchy, which he laid claim to
as a male fief. And to conclude, while the aged king on one side
beheld his dethroned daughter in hopeless despair, and on the other
his disinherited grandson in vain attempting to recover part of their
rights, he had the additional misfortune to know that his nephew,
Louis of France, and his cousin, the Duke of Burgundy, were secretly
contending which should succeed him in that portion of Provence which
he still continued to possess, and that it was only jealousy of each
other which prevented his being despoiled of this last remnant of his
territory. Yet amid all this distress René feasted and received
guests, danced, sang, composed poetry, used the pencil or brush with
no small skill, devised and conducted festivals and processions, and,
studying to promote as far as possible the immediate mirth and
good-humour of his subjects, if he could not materially enlarge their
more permanent prosperity, was never mentioned by them, excepting as
_Le bon Roi René_, a distinction conferred on him down to the present
day, and due to him certainly by the qualities of his heart, if not by
those of his head.

Whilst Arthur was receiving from his guide a full account of the
peculiarities of King René, they entered the territories of that
merry monarch. It was late in the autumn, and about the period when
the south-eastern counties of France rather show to least advantage.
The foliage of the olive-tree is then decayed and withered, and as it
predominates in the landscape, and resembles the scorched complexion
of the soil itself, an ashen and arid hue is given to the whole.
Still, however, there were scenes in the hilly and pastoral parts of
the country where the quantity of evergreens relieved the eye even in
this dead season.

The appearance of the country, in general, had much in it that was
peculiar.

The travellers perceived at every turn some marks of the King's
singular character. Provence, as the part of Gaul which first received
Roman civilisation, and as having been still longer the residence of
the Grecian colony who founded Marseilles, is more full of the
splendid relics of ancient architecture than any other country in
Europe, Italy and Greece excepted. The good taste of the King René had
dictated some attempts to clear out and to restore these memorials of
antiquity. Was there a triumphal arch or an ancient temple--huts and
hovels were cleared away from its vicinity, and means were used at
least to retard the approach of ruin. Was there a marble fountain,
which superstition had dedicated to some sequestered naiad--it was
surrounded by olives, almond and orange trees--its cistern was
repaired, and taught once more to retain its crystal treasures. The
huge amphitheatres and gigantic colonnades experienced the same
anxious care, attesting that the noblest specimens of the fine arts
found one admirer and preserver in King René, even during the course
of those which are termed the dark and barbarous ages.

A change of manners could also be observed in passing from Burgundy
and Lorraine, where society relished of German bluntness, into the
pastoral country of Provence, where the influence of a fine climate
and melodious language, joined to the pursuits of the romantic old
monarch, with the universal taste for music and poetry, had introduced
a civilisation of manners which approached to affectation. The
shepherd literally marched abroad in the morning, piping his flocks
forth to the pasture with some love-sonnet, the composition of an
amorous Troubadour; and his "fleecy care" seemed actually to be under
the influence of his music, instead of being ungraciously insensible
to its melody, as is the case in colder climates. Arthur observed,
too, that the Provençal sheep, instead of being driven before the
shepherd, regularly followed him, and did not disperse to feed until
the swain, by turning his face round to them, remaining stationary,
and, executing variations on the air which he was playing, seemed to
remind them that it was proper to do so. While in motion, his huge
dog, of a species which is trained to face the wolf, and who is
respected by the sheep as their guardian, and not feared as their
tyrant, followed his master with his ears pricked, like the chief
critic and prime judge of the performance, at some tones of which he
seldom failed to intimate disapprobation; while the flock, like the
generality of an audience, followed in unanimous though silent
applause. At the hour of noon, the shepherd had sometimes acquired an
augmentation to his audience, in some comely matron or blooming
maiden, with whom he had rendezvoused by such a fountain as we have
described, and who listened to the husband's or lover's chalumeau, or
mingled her voice with his in the duets, of which the songs of the
Troubadours have left so many examples. In the cool of the evening,
the dance on the village green, or the concert before the hamlet door;
the little repast of fruits, cheese, and bread, which the traveller
was readily invited to share, gave new charms to the illusion, and
seemed in earnest to point out Provence as the Arcadia of France.

But the greatest singularity was, in the eyes of Arthur, the total
absence of armed men and soldiers in this peaceful country. In
England, no man stirred without his long-bow, sword, and buckler. In
France, the hind wore armour even when he was betwixt the stilts of
his plough. In Germany, you could not look along a mile of highway but
the eye was encountered by clouds of dust, out of which were seen, by
fits, waving feathers and flashing armour. Even in Switzerland, the
peasant, if he had a journey to make, though but of a mile or two,
cared not to travel without his halberd and two-handed sword. But in
Provence all seemed quiet and peaceful, as if the music of the land
had lulled to sleep all its wrathful passions. Now and then a mounted
cavalier might pass them, the harp at whose saddle-bow, or carried by
one of his attendants, attested the character of a Troubadour, which
was affected by men of all ranks; and then only a short sword on his
left thigh, borne for show rather than use, was a necessary and
appropriate part of his equipment.

"Peace," said Arthur, as he looked around him, "is an inestimable
jewel; but it will be soon snatched from those who are not prepared
with heart and hand to defend it."

The sight of the ancient and interesting town of Aix, where King René
held his court, dispelled reflections of a general character, and
recalled to the young Englishman the peculiar mission on which he was
engaged.

He then required to know from the Provençal Thiebault whether his
instructions were to leave him, now that he had successfully attained
the end of his journey.

"My instructions," answered Thiebault, "are to remain in Aix while
there is any chance of your seignorie's continuing there, to be of
such use to you as you may require, either as a guide or an attendant,
and to keep these men in readiness to wait upon you when you have
occasion for messengers or guards. With your approbation, I will see
them disposed of in fitting quarters, and receive my further
instructions from your seignorie wherever you please to appoint me. I
propose this separation, because I understand it is your present
pleasure to be private."

"I must go to court," answered Arthur, "without any delay. Wait for me
in half an hour by that fountain in the street, which projects into
the air such a magnificent pillar of water, surrounded, I would almost
swear, by a vapour like steam, serving as a shroud to the jet which it
envelopes."

"The jet is so surrounded," answered the Provençal, "because it is
supplied by a hot spring rising from the bowels of the earth, and the
touch of frost on this autumn morning makes the vapour more
distinguishable than usual.--But if it is good King René whom you
seek, you will find him at this time walking in his chimney. Do not be
afraid of approaching him, for there never was a monarch so easy of
access, especially to good-looking strangers like you, seignorie."

"But his ushers," said Arthur, "will not admit me into his hall."

"His hall!" repeated Thiebault. "Whose hall?"

"Why, King René's, I apprehend. If he is walking in a chimney, it can
only be in that of his hall, and a stately one it must be to give him
room for such exercise."

"You mistake my meaning," said the guide, laughing. "What we call King
René's chimney is the narrow parapet yonder; it extends between these
two towers, has an exposure to the south, and is sheltered in every
other direction. Yonder it is his pleasure to walk and enjoy the beams
of the sun, on such cool mornings as the present. It nurses, he says,
his poetical vein. If you approach his promenade he will readily speak
to you, unless, indeed, he is in the very act of a poetical
composition."

Arthur could not forbear smiling at the thoughts of a king, eighty
years of age, broken down with misfortunes and beset with dangers, who
yet amused himself with walking in an open parapet, and composing
poetry in presence of all such of his loving subjects as chose to look
on.

"If you will walk a few steps this way," said Thiebault, "you may see
the good King, and judge whether or not you will accost him at
present. I will dispose of the people, and await your orders at the
fountain in the Corso."

Arthur saw no objection to the proposal of his guide, and was not
unwilling to have an opportunity of seeing something of the good King
René, before he was introduced to his presence.

FOOTNOTES:

[8] Note I.--The Troubadours.

[9] Note II.--Parliament of Love.



CHAPTER XII.

     Ay, this is he who wears the wreath of bays
     Wove by Apollo and the Sisters Nine,
     Which Jove's dread lightning scathes not. He hath doft
     The cumbrous helm of steel, and flung aside
     The yet more galling diadem of gold;
     While, with a leafy circlet round his brows,
     He reigns the King of Lovers and of Poets.


A cautious approach to the chimney--that is, the favourite walk of the
King, who is described by Shakspeare as bearing

           the style of King of Naples,
     Of both the Sicilies, and Jerusalem,
     Yet not so wealthy as an English yeoman,

gave Arthur the perfect survey of his Majesty in person. He saw an old
man, with locks and beard, which, in amplitude and whiteness, nearly
rivalled those of the envoy from Schwitz, but with a fresh and ruddy
colour in his cheek, and an eye of great vivacity. His dress was showy
to a degree almost inconsistent with his years; and his step, not only
firm but full of alertness and vivacity, while occupied in traversing
the short and sheltered walk, which he had chosen rather for comfort
than for privacy, showed juvenile vigour still animating an aged
frame. The old King carried his tablets and a pencil in his hand,
seeming totally abstracted in his own thoughts, and indifferent to
being observed by several persons from the public street beneath his
elevated promenade.

Of these, some, from their dress and manner, seemed themselves
Troubadours; for they held in their hands rebecks, rotes, small
portable harps, and other indications of their profession. Such
appeared to be stationary, as if engaged in observing and recording
their remarks on the meditations of their Prince. Other passengers,
bent on their own more serious affairs, looked up to the King as to
some one whom they were accustomed to see daily, but never passed
without doffing their bonnets, and expressing, by a suitable
obeisance, a respect and affection towards his person, which appeared
to make up in cordiality of feeling what it wanted in deep and solemn
deference.

René, in the meanwhile, was apparently unconscious both of the gaze of
such as stood still, or the greeting of those who passed on, his mind
seeming altogether engrossed with the apparent labour of some arduous
task in poetry or music. He walked fast or slow as best suited the
progress of composition. At times he stopped to mark hastily down on
his tablets something which seemed to occur to him as deserving of
preservation; at other times he dashed out what he had written, and
flung down the pencil as if in a sort of despair. On these occasions,
the Sibylline leaf was carefully picked up by a beautiful page, his
only attendant, who reverently observed the first suitable opportunity
of restoring it again to his royal hand. The same youth bore a viol,
on which, at a signal from his master, he occasionally struck a few
musical notes, to which the old King listened, now with a soothed and
satisfied air, now with a discontented and anxious brow. At times his
enthusiasm rose so high that he even hopped and skipped, with an
activity which his years did not promise; at other times his motions
were extremely slow, and occasionally he stood still, like one wrapped
in the deepest and most anxious meditation. When he chanced to look on
the group which seemed to watch his motions, and who ventured even to
salute him with a murmur of applause, it was only to distinguish them
with a friendly and good-humoured nod; a salutation with which,
likewise, he failed not to reply to the greeting of the occasional
passengers, when his earnest attention to his task, whatever it might
be, permitted him to observe them.

At length the royal eye lighted upon Arthur, whose attitude of silent
observation and the distinction of his figure pointed him out as a
stranger. René beckoned to his page, who, receiving his master's
commands in a whisper, descended from the royal chimney to the broader
platform beneath, which was open to general resort. The youth,
addressing Arthur with much courtesy, informed him the King desired to
speak with him. The young Englishman had no alternative but that of
approaching, though pondering much in his own mind how he ought to
comport himself towards such a singular specimen of royalty.

When he drew near, King René addressed him in a tone of courtesy not
unmingled with dignity, and Arthur's awe in his immediate presence was
greater than he himself could have anticipated from his previous
conception of the royal character.

"You are, from your appearance, fair sir," said King René, "a stranger
in this country. By what name must we call you, and to what business
are we to ascribe the happiness of seeing you at our court?"

Arthur remained a moment silent, and the good old man, imputing it to
awe and timidity, proceeded in an encouraging tone.

"Modesty in youth is ever commendable; you are doubtless an acolyte in
the noble and joyous science of Minstrelsy and Music, drawn hither by
the willing welcome which we afford to the professors of those arts,
in which--praise be to Our Lady and the saints!--we have ourself been
deemed a proficient."

"I do not aspire to the honours of a Troubadour," answered Arthur.

"I believe you," answered the King, "for your speech smacks of the
northern, or Norman-French, such as is spoken in England and other
unrefined nations. But you are a minstrel, perhaps, from these
ultramontane parts. Be assured we despise not their efforts; for we
have listened, not without pleasure and instruction, to many of their
bold and wild romaunts, which, though rude in device and language, and
therefore far inferior to the regulated poetry of our Troubadours,
have yet something in their powerful and rough measure which
occasionally rouses the heart like the sound of a trumpet."

"I have felt the truth of your Grace's observation, when I have heard
the songs of my country," said Arthur; "but I have neither skill nor
audacity to imitate what I admire--My latest residence has been in
Italy."

"You are perhaps, then, a proficient in painting," said René; "an art
which applies itself to the eye as poetry and music do to the ear,
and is scarce less in esteem with us. If you are skilful in the art,
you have come to a monarch who loves it, and the fair country in which
it is practised."

"In simple truth, Sire, I am an Englishman, and my hand has been too
much welk'd and hardened by practice of the bow, the lance, and the
sword, to touch the harp, or even the pencil."

"An Englishman!" said René, obviously relaxing in the warmth of his
welcome. "And what brings you here? England and I have long had little
friendship together."

"It is even on that account that I am here," said Arthur. "I come to
pay my homage to your Grace's daughter, the Princess Margaret of
Anjou, whom I and many true Englishmen regard still as our Queen,
though traitors have usurped her title."

"Alas, good youth," said René, "I must grieve for you, while I respect
your loyalty and faith. Had my daughter Margaret been of my mind, she
had long since abandoned pretensions which have drowned in seas of
blood the noblest and bravest of her adherents."

The King seemed about to say more, but checked himself.

"Go to my palace," he said; "inquire for the Seneschal Hugh de Saint
Cyr, he will give thee the means of seeing Margaret--that is, if it be
her will to see thee. If not, good English youth, return to my palace,
and thou shalt have hospitable entertainment; for a King who loves
minstrelsy, music, and painting is ever most sensible to the claims of
honour, virtue, and loyalty; and I read in thy looks thou art
possessed of these qualities, and willingly believe thou mayst, in
more quiet times, aspire to share the honours of the joyous science.
But if thou hast a heart to be touched by the sense of beauty and fair
proportion, it will leap within thee at the first sight of my palace,
the stately grace of which may be compared to the faultless form of
some high-bred dame, or the artful yet seemingly simple modulations of
such a tune as we have been now composing."

The King seemed disposed to take his instrument, and indulge the youth
with a rehearsal of the strain he had just arranged; but Arthur at
that moment experienced the painful internal feeling of that peculiar
species of shame which well-constructed minds feel when they see
others express a great assumption of importance, with a confidence
that they are exciting admiration, when in fact they are only exposing
themselves to ridicule. Arthur, in short, took leave, "in very shame,"
of the King of Naples, both the Sicilies, and Jerusalem, in a manner
somewhat more abrupt than ceremony demanded. The King looked after
him, with some wonder at this want of breeding, which, however, he
imputed to his visitor's insular education, and then again began to
twangle his viol.

"The old fool!" said Arthur. "His daughter is dethroned, his dominions
crumbling to pieces, his family on the eve of becoming extinct, his
grandson driven from one lurking-place to another, and expelled from
his mother's inheritance,--and he can find amusement in these
fopperies! I thought him, with his long white beard, like Nicholas
Bonstetten; but the old Swiss is a Solomon compared with him."

As these and other reflections, highly disparaging to King René,
passed through Arthur's mind, he reached the place of rendezvous, and
found Thiebault beneath the steaming fountain, forced from one of
those hot springs which had been the delight of the Romans from an
early period. Thiebault, having assured his master that his retinue,
horse and man, were so disposed as to be ready on an instant's call,
readily undertook to guide him to King René's palace, which, from its
singularity, and indeed its beauty of architecture, deserved the
eulogium which the old monarch had bestowed upon it. The front
consisted of three towers of Roman architecture, two of them being
placed on the angles of the palace, and the third, which served the
purpose of a mausoleum, forming a part of the group, though somewhat
detached from the other buildings. This last was a structure of
beautiful proportions. The lower part of the edifice was square,
serving as a sort of pedestal to the upper part, which was circular,
and surrounded by columns of massive granite. The other two towers at
the angles of the palace were round, and also ornamented with pillars,
and with a double row of windows. In front of, and connected with,
these Roman remains, to which a date has been assigned as early as the
fifth or sixth century, arose the ancient palace of the Counts of
Provence, built a century or two later, but where a rich Gothic or
Moorish front contrasted, and yet harmonised, with the more regular
and massive architecture of the lords of the world. It is not more
than thirty or forty years since this very curious remnant of antique
art was destroyed, to make room for new public buildings, which have
never yet been erected.

Arthur really experienced some sensation of the kind which the old
King had prophesied, and stood looking with wonder at the ever-open
gate of the palace, into which men of all kinds seemed to enter
freely. After looking around for a few minutes, the young Englishman
ascended the steps of a noble portico, and asked of a porter, as old
and as lazy as a great man's domestic ought to be, for the seneschal
named to him by the King. The corpulent janitor, with great
politeness, put the stranger under the charge of a page, who ushered
him to a chamber, in which he found another aged functionary of higher
rank, with a comely face, a clear composed eye, and a brow which,
having never been knit into gravity, intimated that the seneschal of
Aix was a proficient in the philosophy of his royal master. He
recognised Arthur the moment he addressed him.

"You speak northern French, fair sir; you have lighter hair and a
fairer complexion than the natives of this country--You ask after
Queen Margaret--By all these marks I read you English--Her Grace of
England is at this moment paying a vow at the monastery of Mont St.
Victoire, and if your name be Arthur Philipson, I have commission to
forward you to her presence immediately--that is, as soon as you have
tasted of the royal provision."

The young man would have remonstrated, but the seneschal left him no
leisure.

"Meat and mass," he said, "never hindered work--it is perilous to
youth to journey too far on an empty stomach--he himself would take a
mouthful with the Queen's guest, and pledge him to boot in a flask of
old Hermitage."

The board was covered with an alacrity which showed that hospitality
was familiarly exercised in King René's dominions. Pasties, dishes of
game, the gallant boar's head, and other delicacies were placed on the
table, and the seneschal played the merry host, frequently apologising
(unnecessarily) for showing an indifferent example, as it was his duty
to carve before King René, and the good King was never pleased unless
he saw him feed lustily as well as carve featly.

"But for you, Sir Guest, eat freely, since you may not see food again
till sunset; for the good Queen takes her misfortunes so to heart that
sighs are her food, and her tears a bottle of drink, as the Psalmist
hath it. But I bethink me you will need steeds for yourself and your
equipage to reach Mont St. Victoire, which is seven miles from Aix."

Arthur intimated that he had a guide and horses in attendance, and
begged permission to take his adieu. The worthy seneschal, his fair
round belly graced with a gold chain, accompanied him to the gate with
a step which a gentle fit of the gout had rendered uncertain, but
which, he assured Arthur, would vanish before three days' use of the
hot springs. Thiebault appeared before the gate, not with the tired
steeds from which they had dismounted an hour since, but with fresh
palfreys from the stable of the King.

"They are yours from the moment you have put foot in stirrup," said
the seneschal; "the good King René never received back as his property
a horse which he had lent to a guest; and that is perhaps one reason
why his Highness and we of his household must walk often a-foot."

Here the seneschal exchanged greetings with his young visitor, who
rode forth to seek Queen Margaret's place of temporary retirement at
the celebrated monastery of St. Victoire. He demanded of his guide in
which direction it lay, who pointed, with an air of triumph, to a
mountain three thousand feet and upwards in height, which arose at
five or six miles' distance from the town, and which its bold and
rocky summit rendered the most distinguished object of the landscape.
Thiebault spoke of it with unusual glee and energy, so much so as to
lead Arthur to conceive that his trusty squire had not neglected to
avail himself of the lavish hospitality of _Le bon Roy René_.
Thiebault, however, continued to expatiate on the fame of the mountain
and monastery. They derived their name, he said, from a great victory
which was gained by a Roman general, named Caio Mario, against two
large armies of Saracens with ultramontane names (the Teutones
probably and Cimbri), in gratitude to Heaven for which victory Caio
Mario vowed to build a monastery on the mountain, for the service of
the Virgin Mary, in honour of whom he had been baptised. With all the
importance of a local connoisseur, Thiebault proceeded to prove his
general assertion by specific facts.

"Yonder," he said, "was the camp of the Saracens, from which, when the
battle was apparently decided, their wives and women rushed, with
horrible screams, dishevelled hair, and the gestures of furies, and
for a time prevailed in stopping the flight of the men." He pointed
out, too, the river, for access to which, cut off by the superior
generalship of the Romans, the barbarians, whom he called Saracens,
hazarded the action, and whose streams they empurpled with their
blood. In short, he mentioned many circumstances which showed how
accurately tradition will preserve the particulars of ancient events,
even whilst forgetting, misstating, and confounding dates and persons.

Perceiving that Arthur lent him a not unwilling ear,--for it may be
supposed that the education of a youth bred up in the heat of civil
wars was not well qualified to criticise his account of the wars of a
distant period,--the Provençal, when he had exhausted this topic, drew
up close to his master's side, and asked, in a suppressed tone,
whether he knew, or was desirous of being made acquainted with, the
cause of Margaret's having left Aix, to establish herself in the
monastery of St. Victoire?

"For the accomplishment of a vow," answered Arthur; "all the world
knows it."

"All Aix knows the contrary," said Thiebault; "and I can tell you the
truth, so I were sure it would not offend your seignorie."

"The truth can offend no reasonable man, so it be expressed in the
terms of which Queen Margaret must be spoken in the presence of an
Englishman."

Thus replied Arthur, willing to receive what information he could
gather, and desirous, at the same time, to check the petulance of his
attendant.

"I have nothing," replied his follower, "to state in disparagement of
the gracious Queen, whose only misfortune is that, like her royal
father, she has more titles than towns. Besides, I know well that you
Englishmen, though you speak wildly of your sovereigns yourselves,
will not permit others to fail in respect to them."

"Say on, then," answered Arthur.

"Your seignorie must know, then," said Thiebault, "that the good King
René has been much disturbed by the deep melancholy which afflicted
Queen Margaret, and has bent himself with all his power to change it
into a gayer humour. He made entertainments in public and in private;
he assembled minstrels and Troubadours, whose music and poetry might
have drawn smiles from one on his deathbed. The whole country
resounded with mirth and glee, and the gracious Queen could not stir
abroad in the most private manner, but, before she had gone a hundred
paces, she lighted on an ambush, consisting of some pretty pageant, or
festivous mummery, composed often by the good King himself, which
interrupted her solitude, in purpose of relieving her heavy thoughts
with some pleasant pastime. But the Queen's deep melancholy rejected
all these modes of dispelling it, and at length she confined herself
to her own apartments, and absolutely refused to see even her royal
father, because he generally brought into her presence those whose
productions he thought likely to soothe her sorrow. Indeed she seemed
to hear the harpers with loathing, and, excepting one wandering
Englishman, who sung a rude and melancholy ballad, which threw her
into a flood of tears, and to whom she gave a chain of price, she
never seemed to look at, or be conscious of the presence of any one.
And at length, as I have had the honour to tell your seignorie, she
refused to see even her royal father unless he came alone; and that he
found no heart to do."

"I wonder not at it," said the young man. "By the White Swan, I am
rather surprised his mummery drove her not to frenzy."

"Something like it indeed took place," said Thiebault; "and I will
tell your seignorie how it chanced. You must know that good King René,
unwilling to abandon his daughter to the foul fiend of melancholy,
bethought him of making a grand effort. You must know, further, that
the King, powerful in all the craft of Troubadours and Jongleurs, is
held in peculiar esteem for conducting mysteries, and other of those
gamesome and delightful sports and processions, with which our Holy
Church permits her graver ceremonies to be relieved and diversified,
to the cheering of the hearts of all true children of religion. It is
admitted that no one has ever been able to approach his excellence in
the arrangement of the Fête-Dieu; and the tune to which the devils
cudgel King Herod, to the great edification of all Christian
spectators, is of our good King's royal composition. He hath danced at
Tarasconne in the ballet of St. Martha and the Dragon, and was
accounted in his own person the only actor competent to present the
Tarrasque. His Highness introduced also a new ritual into the
consecration of the Boy Bishop, and composed an entire set of
grotesque music for the Festival of Asses. In short, his Grace's
strength lies in those pleasing and becoming festivities which strew
the path of edification with flowers, and send men dancing and singing
on their way to heaven.

"Now the good King René, feeling his own genius for such recreative
compositions, resolved to exert it to the utmost, in the hope that he
might thereby relieve the melancholy in which his daughter was
plunged, and which infected all that approached her. It chanced, some
short time since, that the Queen was absent for certain days, I know
not where or on what business, but it gave the good King time to make
his preparations. So, when his daughter returned, he with much
importunity prevailed on her to make part of a religious procession to
St. Sauveur, the principal church in Aix. The Queen, innocent of what
was intended, decked herself with solemnity, to witness and partake of
what she expected would prove a work of grave piety. But no sooner had
she appeared on the esplanade in front of the palace, than more than a
hundred masks, dressed up like Turks, Jews, Saracens, Moors, and I
know not whom besides, crowded around, to offer her their homage, in
the character of the Queen of Sheba; and a grotesque piece of music
called them to arrange themselves for a ludicrous ballet, in which
they addressed the Queen in the most entertaining manner, and with the
most extravagant gestures. The Queen, stunned with the noise, and
affronted with the petulance of this unexpected onset, would have gone
back into the palace; but the doors had been shut by the King's order
so soon as she set forth, and her retreat in that direction was cut
off. Finding herself excluded from the palace, the Queen advanced to
the front of the façade, and endeavoured by signs and words to appease
the hubbub, but the maskers, who had their instructions, only answered
with songs, music, and shouts."

"I would," said Arthur, "there had been a score of English yeomen in
presence, with their quarterstaves, to teach the bawling villains
respect for one that has worn the crown of England!"

"All the noise that was made before was silence and soft music,"
continued Thiebault, "till that when the good King himself appeared,
grotesquely dressed in the character of King Solomon"----

"To whom, of all princes, he has the least resemblance," said
Arthur----

"With such capers and gesticulations of welcome to the Queen of Sheba
as, I am assured by those who saw it, would have brought a dead man
alive again, or killed a living man with laughing. Among other
properties, he had in his hand a truncheon, somewhat formed like a
fool's bauble"----

"A most fit sceptre for such a sovereign," said Arthur----

"Which was headed," continued Thiebault, "by a model of the Jewish
Temple, finely gilded and curiously cut in pasteboard. He managed this
with the utmost grace, and delighted every spectator by his gaiety and
activity, excepting the Queen, who, the more he skipped and capered,
seemed to be the more incensed, until, on his approaching her to
conduct her to the procession, she seemed roused to a sort of frenzy,
struck the truncheon out of his hand, and breaking through the crowd,
who felt as if a tigress had leapt amongst them from a showman's cart,
rushed into the royal courtyard. Ere the order of the scenic
representation, which her violence had interrupted, could be restored,
the Queen again issued forth, mounted and attended by two or three
English cavaliers of her Majesty's suite. She forced her way through
the crowd, without regarding either their safety or her own, flew like
a hail-storm along the streets, and never drew bridle till she was as
far up this same Mont St. Victoire as the road would permit. She was
then received into the convent, and has since remained there; and a
vow of penance is the pretext to cover over the quarrel betwixt her
and her father."

"How long may it be," said Arthur, "since these things chanced?"

"It is but three days since Queen Margaret left Aix in the manner I
have told you.--But we are come as far up the mountain as men usually
ride. See, yonder is the monastery rising betwixt two huge rocks,
which form the very top of Mont St. Victoire. There is no more open
ground than is afforded by the cleft, into which the convent of St.
Mary of Victory is, as it were, niched; and the access is guarded by
the most dangerous precipices. To ascend the mountain, you must keep
that narrow path, which, winding and turning among the cliffs, leads
at length to the summit of the hill, and the gate of the monastery."

"And what becomes of you and the horses?" said Arthur.

"We will rest," said Thiebault, "in the hospital maintained by the
good fathers at the bottom of the mountain, for the accommodation of
those who attend on pilgrims;--for I promise you the shrine is visited
by many who come from afar, and are attended both by man and
horse.--Care not for me,--I shall be first under cover; but there
muster yonder in the west some threatening clouds, from which your
seignorie may suffer inconvenience, unless you reach the convent in
time. I will give you an hour to do the feat, and will say you are as
active as a chamois-hunter if you reach it within the time."

Arthur looked around him, and did indeed remark a mustering of clouds
in the distant west, which threatened soon to change the character of
the day, which had hitherto been brilliantly clear, and so serene that
the falling of a leaf might have been heard. He therefore turned him
to the steep and rocky path which ascended the mountain, sometimes by
scaling almost precipitous rocks, and sometimes by reaching their tops
by a more circuitous process. It winded through thickets of wild
boxwood and other low aromatic shrubs, which afforded some pasture for
the mountain goats, but were a bitter annoyance to the traveller who
had to press through them. Such obstacles were so frequent, that the
full hour allowed by Thiebault had elapsed before he stood on the
summit of Mont St. Victoire, and in front of the singular convent of
the same name.

We have already said that the crest of the mountain, consisting
entirely of one bare and solid rock, was divided by a cleft or opening
into two heads or peaks, between which the convent was built,
occupying all the space between them. The front of the building was of
the most ancient and sombre cast of the old Gothic, or rather, as it
has been termed, the Saxon; and in that respect corresponded with the
savage exterior of the naked cliffs, of which the structure seemed to
make a part, and by which it was entirely surrounded, excepting a
small open space of more level ground, where, at the expense of much
toil, and by carrying earth up the hill, from different spots where
they could collect it in small quantities, the good fathers had been
able to arrange the accommodations of a garden.

A bell summoned a lay brother, the porter of this singularly situated
monastery, to whom Arthur announced himself as an English merchant,
Philipson by name, who came to pay his duty to Queen Margaret. The
porter, with much respect, showed the stranger into the convent, and
ushered him into a parlour, which, looking towards Aix, commanded an
extensive and splendid prospect over the southern and western parts of
Provence. This was the direction in which Arthur had approached the
mountain from Aix; but the circuitous path by which he had ascended
had completely carried him round the hill. The western side of the
monastery, to which the parlour looked, commanded the noble view we
have mentioned; and a species of balcony, which, connecting the two
twin crags, at this place not above four or five yards asunder, ran
along the front of the building, and appeared to be constructed for
the purpose of enjoying it. But on stepping from one of the windows of
the parlour upon this battlemented bartizan, Arthur became aware that
the wall on which the parapet rested stretched along the edge of a
precipice, which sank sheer down five hundred feet at least from the
foundations of the convent. Surprised and startled at finding himself
on so giddy a verge, Arthur turned his eyes from the gulf beneath him
to admire the distant landscape, partly illumined, with ominous
lustre, by the now westerly sun. The setting beams showed in dark red
splendour a vast variety of hill and dale, champaign and cultivated
ground, with towns, churches, and castles, some of which rose from
among trees, while others seemed founded on rocky eminences; others
again lurked by the side of streams or lakes, to which the heat and
drought of the climate naturally attracted them.

The rest of the landscape presented similar objects when the weather
was serene, but they were now rendered indistinct, or altogether
obliterated, by the sullen shade of the approaching clouds, which
gradually spread over great part of the horizon, and threatened
altogether to eclipse the sun, though the lord of the horizon still
struggled to maintain his influence, and, like a dying hero, seemed
most glorious even in the moment of defeat. Wild sounds, like groans
and howls, formed by the wind in the numerous caverns of the rocky
mountain, added to the terrors of the scene, and seemed to foretell
the fury of some distant storm, though the air in general was even
unnaturally calm and breathless. In gazing on this extraordinary
scene, Arthur did justice to the monks who had chosen this wild and
grotesque situation, from which they could witness Nature in her
wildest and grandest demonstrations, and compare the nothingness of
humanity with her awful convulsions.

So much was Arthur awed by the scene before him, that he had almost
forgotten, while gazing from the bartizan, the important business
which had brought him to this place, when it was suddenly recalled by
finding himself in the presence of Margaret of Anjou, who, not seeing
him in the parlour of reception, had stept upon the balcony, that she
might meet with him the sooner.

The Queen's dress was black, without any ornament except a gold
coronal of an inch in breadth, restraining her long black tresses, of
which advancing years and misfortunes had partly altered the hue.
There was placed within the circlet a black plume with a red rose, the
last of the season, which the good father who kept the garden had
presented to her that morning, as the badge of her husband's house.
Care, fatigue, and sorrow seemed to dwell on her brow and her
features. To another messenger she would in all probability have
administered a sharp rebuke, for not being alert in his duty to
receive her as she entered; but Arthur's age and appearance
corresponded with that of her loved and lost son. He was the son of a
lady whom Margaret had loved with almost sisterly affection, and the
presence of Arthur continued to excite in the dethroned Queen the same
feelings of maternal tenderness which had been awakened on their first
meeting in the Cathedral of Strasburg. She raised him as he kneeled at
her feet, spoke to him with much kindness, and encouraged him to
detail at full length his father's message, and such other news as his
brief residence at Dijon had made him acquainted with.

She demanded which way Duke Charles had moved with his army.

"As I was given to understand by the master of his artillery," said
Arthur, "towards the Lake of Neufchatel, on which side he proposes his
first attack on the Swiss."

"The headstrong fool!" said Queen Margaret. "He resembles the poor
lunatic, who went to the summit of the mountain that he might meet the
rain halfway.--Does thy father, then," continued Margaret, "advise me
to give up the last remains of the extensive territories once the
dominions of our royal house, and for some thousand crowns, and the
paltry aid of a few hundred lances, to relinquish what is left of our
patrimony to our proud and selfish kinsman of Burgundy, who extends
his claim to our all, and affords so little help, or even promise of
help, in return?"

"I should have ill discharged my father's commission," said Arthur,
"if I had left your Highness to think that he recommends so great a
sacrifice. He feels most deeply the Duke of Burgundy's grasping desire
of dominion. Nevertheless, he thinks that Provence must, on King
René's death, or sooner, fall either to the share of Duke Charles, or
to Louis of France, whatever opposition your Highness may make to such
a destination; and it may be that my father, as a knight and a
soldier, hopes much from obtaining the means to make another attempt
on Britain. But the decision must rest with your Highness."

"Young man," said the Queen, "the contemplation of a question so
doubtful almost deprives me of reason!"

As she spoke, she sank down, as one who needs rest, on a stone seat
placed on the very verge of the balcony, regardless of the storm,
which now began to rise with dreadful gusts of wind, the course of
which being intermitted and altered by the crags round which they
howled, it seemed as if in very deed Boreas, and Eurus, and Caurus,
unchaining the winds from every quarter of heaven, were contending for
mastery around the convent of Our Lady of Victory. Amid this tumult,
and amid billows of mist which concealed the bottom of the precipice,
and masses of clouds which racked fearfully over their heads, the roar
of the descending waters rather resembled the fall of cataracts than
the rushing of torrents of rain. The seat on which Margaret had placed
herself was in a considerable degree sheltered from the storm, but
its eddies, varying in every direction, often tossed aloft her
dishevelled hair; and we cannot describe the appearance of her noble
and beautiful, yet ghastly and wasted features, agitated strongly by
anxious hesitation and conflicting thoughts, unless to those of our
readers who have had the advantage of having seen our inimitable
Siddons in such a character as this. Arthur, confounded by anxiety and
terror, could only beseech her Majesty to retire before the fury of
the approaching storm into the interior of the convent.

"No," she replied with firmness; "roofs and walls have ears, and
monks, though they have forsworn the world, are not the less curious
to know what passes beyond their cells. It is in this place you must
hear what I have to say; as a soldier you should scorn a blast of wind
or a shower of rain; and to me, who have often held counsel amidst the
sound of trumpets and clash of arms, prompt for instant fight, the war
of elements is an unnoticed trifle. I tell thee, young Arthur Vere, as
I would to your father--as I would to my son--if indeed Heaven had
left such a blessing to a wretch forlorn"----

She paused, and then proceeded.

"I tell thee, as I would have told my beloved Edward, that Margaret,
whose resolutions were once firm and immovable as these rocks among
which we are placed, is now doubtful and variable as the clouds which
are drifting around us. I told your father, in the joy of meeting once
more a subject of such inappreciable loyalty, of the sacrifices I
would make to assure the assistance of Charles of Burgundy, to so
gallant an undertaking as that proposed to him by the faithful
Oxford. But since I saw him I have had cause of deep reflection. I
met my aged father only to offend and, I say it with shame, to insult
the old man in presence of his people. Our tempers are as opposed as
the sunshine, which a short space since gilded a serene and beautiful
landscape, differs from the tempests which are now wasting it. I
spurned with open scorn and contempt what he, in his mistaken
affection, had devised for means of consolation, and, disgusted with
the idle follies which he had devised for curing the melancholy of a
dethroned Queen, a widowed spouse--and, alas! a childless mother,--I
retired hither from the noisy and idle mirth, which was the bitterest
aggravation of my sorrows. Such and so gentle is René's temper, that
even my unfilial conduct will not diminish my influence over him; and
if your father had announced that the Duke of Burgundy, like a knight
and a sovereign, had cordially and nobly entered into the plan of the
faithful Oxford, I could have found it in my heart to obtain the
cession of territory his cold and ambitious policy requires, in order
to insure the assistance which he now postpones to afford till he has
gratified his own haughty humour by settling needless quarrels with
his unoffending neighbours. Since I have been here, and calmness and
solitude have given me time to reflect, I have thought on the offences
I have given the old man, and on the wrongs I was about to do him. My
father, let me do him justice, is also the father of his people. They
have dwelt under their vines and fig-trees, in ignoble ease, perhaps,
but free from oppression and exaction, and their happiness has been
that of their good King. Must I change all this?--Must I aid in
turning over these contented people to a fierce, headlong, arbitrary
prince?--May I not break even the easy and thoughtless heart of my
poor old father, should I succeed in urging him to do so?--These are
questions which I shudder even to ask myself. On the other hand, to
disappoint the toils, the venturous hopes of your father, to forego
the only opportunity which may ever again offer itself, of revenge on
the bloody traitors of York, and restoration of the House of
Lancaster!--Arthur, the scene around us is not so convulsed by the
fearful tempest and the driving clouds, as my mind is by doubt and
uncertainty."

"Alas," replied Arthur, "I am too young and inexperienced to be your
Majesty's adviser in a case so arduous. I would my father had been in
presence himself."

"I know what he would have said," replied the Queen; "but, knowing
all, I despair of aid from human counsellors--I have sought others,
but they also are deaf to my entreaties. Yes, Arthur, Margaret's
misfortunes have rendered her superstitious. Know, that beneath these
rocks, and under the foundation of this convent, there runs a cavern,
entering by a secret and defended passage a little to the westward of
the summit, and running through the mountain, having an opening to the
south, from which, as from this bartizan, you can view the landscape
so lately seen from this balcony, or the strife of winds and confusion
of clouds which we now behold. In the middle of this cavernous
thoroughfare is a natural pit, or perforation, of great but unknown
depth. A stone dropped into it is heard to dash from side to side,
until the noise of its descent, thundering from cliff to cliff, dies
away in distant and faint tinkling, less loud than that of a sheep's
bell at a mile's distance. The common people, in their jargon, call
this fearful gulf Lou Garagoule; and the traditions of the monastery
annex wild and fearful recollections to a place in itself sufficiently
terrible. Oracles, it is said, spoke from thence in pagan days, by
subterranean voices, arising from the abyss; and from these the Roman
general is said to have heard, in strange and uncouth rhymes, promises
of the victory which gives name to this mountain. These oracles, it is
averred, may be yet consulted after performance of strange rites, in
which heathen ceremonies are mixed with Christian acts of devotion.
The abbots of Mont St. Victoire have denounced the consultation of Lou
Garagoule, and the spirits who reside there, to be criminal. But as
the sin may be expiated by presents to the Church, by masses, and
penances, the door is sometimes opened by the complaisant fathers to
those whose daring curiosity leads them, at all risks, and by whatever
means, to search into futurity. Arthur, I have made the experiment,
and am even now returned from the gloomy cavern, in which, according
to the traditional ritual, I have spent six hours by the margin of the
gulf, a place so dismal, that after its horrors even this tempestuous
scene is refreshing."

The Queen stopped, and Arthur, the more struck with the wild tale that
it reminded him of his place of imprisonment at La Ferette, asked
anxiously if her inquiries had obtained any answer.

"None whatever," replied the unhappy Princess. "The demons of
Garagoule, if there be such, are deaf to the suit of an unfortunate
wretch like me, to whom neither friends nor fiends will afford counsel
or assistance. It is my father's circumstances which prevent my
instant and strong resolution. Were my own claims on this piping and
paltry nation of Troubadours alone interested, I could, for the chance
of once more setting my foot in merry England, as easily and willingly
resign them, and their paltry coronet, as I commit to the storm this
idle emblem of the royal rank which I have lost."

As Margaret spoke, she tore from her hair the sable feather and rose
which the tempest had detached from the circlet in which they were
placed, and tossed them from the battlement with a gesture of wild
energy. They were instantly whirled off in a bickering eddy of the
agitated clouds, which swept the feather far distant into empty space,
through which the eye could not pursue it. But while that of Arthur
involuntarily strove to follow its course, a contrary gust of wind
caught the red rose, and drove it back against his breast, so that it
was easy for him to catch hold of and retain it.

"Joy, joy, and good fortune, royal mistress!" he said, returning to
her the emblematic flower; "the tempest brings back the badge of
Lancaster to its proper owner."

"I accept the omen," said Margaret; "but it concerns yourself, noble
youth, and not me. The feather, which is borne away to waste and
desolation, is Margaret's emblem. My eyes will never see the
restoration of the line of Lancaster. But you will live to behold it,
and to aid to achieve it, and to dye our red rose deeper yet in the
blood of tyrants and traitors. My thoughts are so strangely poised,
that a feather or a flower may turn the scale. But my head is still
giddy, and my heart sick.--To-morrow you shall see another Margaret,
and till then adieu."

It was time to retire, for the tempest began to be mingled with
fiercer showers of rain. When they re-entered the parlour, the Queen
clapped her hands, and two female attendants entered.

"Let the Father Abbot know," she said, "that it is our desire that
this young gentleman receive for this night such hospitality as befits
an esteemed friend of ours.--Till to-morrow, young sir, farewell."

With a countenance which betrayed not the late emotion of her mind,
and with a stately courtesy that would have become her when she graced
the halls of Windsor, she extended her hand, which the youth saluted
respectfully. After her leaving the parlour, the Abbot entered, and,
in his attention to Arthur's entertainment and accommodation for the
evening, showed his anxiety to meet and obey Queen Margaret's wishes.



CHAPTER XIII.

                         Want you a man
     Experienced in the world and its affairs?
     Here he is for your purpose.--He's a monk.
     He hath forsworn the world and all its work--
     The rather that he knows it passing well,
     Special the worst of it, for he's a monk.
                                       _Old Play._


While the dawn of the morning was yet grey, Arthur was awakened by a
loud ringing at the gate of the monastery, and presently afterwards
the porter entered the cell which had been allotted to him for his
lodgings, to tell him that, if his name was Arthur Philipson, a
brother of their order had brought him despatches from his father. The
youth started up, hastily attired himself, and was introduced, in the
parlour, to a Carmelite monk, being of the same order with the
community of St. Victoire.

"I have ridden many a mile, young man, to present you with this
letter," said the monk, "having undertaken to your father that it
should be delivered without delay. I came to Aix last night during the
storm, and, learning at the palace that you had ridden hither, I
mounted as soon as the tempest abated, and here I am."

"I am beholden to you, father," said the youth, "and if I could repay
your pains with a small donative to your convent"----

"By no means," answered the good father; "I took my personal trouble
out of friendship to your father, and mine own errand led me this way.
The expenses of my long journey have been amply provided for. But open
your packet, I can answer your questions at leisure."

The young man accordingly stepped into an embrasure of the window, and
read as follows:--

     "SON ARTHUR,--Touching the state of the country, in so far
     as concerns the safety of travelling, know that the same
     is precarious. The Duke hath taken the towns of Brie and
     Granson, and put to death five hundred men, whom he made
     prisoners in garrison there. But the Confederates are
     approaching with a large force, and God will judge for the
     right. Howsoever the game may go, these are sharp wars, in
     which little quarter is spoken of on either side, and
     therefore there is no safety for men of our profession,
     till something decisive shall happen. In the meantime, you
     may assure the widowed lady, that our correspondent
     continues well disposed to purchase the property which she
     has in hand; but will scarce be able to pay the price till
     his present pressing affairs shall be settled, which I
     hope will be in time to permit us to embark the funds in
     the profitable adventure I told our friend of. I have
     employed a friar, travelling to Provence, to carry this
     letter, which I trust will come safe. The bearer may be
     trusted.

          "Your affectionate father,
               "JOHN PHILIPSON."

Arthur easily comprehended the latter part of the epistle, and
rejoiced he had received it at so critical a moment. He questioned the
Carmelite on the amount of the Duke's army, which the monk stated to
amount to sixty thousand men, while he said the Confederates, though
making every exertion, had not yet been able to assemble the third
part of that number. The young Ferrand de Vaudemont was with their
army, and had received, it was thought, some secret assistance from
France; but as he was little known in arms, and had few followers, the
empty title of General which he bore added little to the strength of
the Confederates. Upon the whole, he reported that every chance
appeared to be in favour of Charles, and Arthur, who looked upon his
success as presenting the only chance in favour of his father's
enterprise, was not a little pleased to find it insured, as far as
depended on a great superiority of force. He had no leisure to make
further inquiries, for the Queen at that moment entered the apartment,
and the Carmelite, learning her quality, withdrew from her presence in
deep reverence.

The paleness of her complexion still bespoke the fatigues of the day
preceding; but, as she graciously bestowed on Arthur the greetings of
the morning, her voice was firm, her eye clear, and her countenance
steady. "I meet you," she said, "not as I left you, but determined in
my purpose. I am satisfied that if René does not voluntarily yield up
his throne of Provence by some step like that which we propose, he
will be hurled from it by violence, in which, it may be, his life will
not be spared. We will, therefore, to work with all speed--the worst
is, that I cannot leave this convent till I have made the necessary
penances for having visited the Garagoule, without performing which I
were no Christian woman. When you return to Aix, inquire at the palace
for my secretary, with whom this line will give you credence. I have,
even before this door of hope opened to me, endeavoured to form an
estimate of King René's situation, and collected the documents for
that purpose. Tell him to send me, duly sealed, and under fitting
charge, the small cabinet hooped with silver. Hours of penance for
past errors may be employed to prevent others; and from the contents
of that cabinet I shall learn whether I am, in this weighty matter,
sacrificing my father's interests to my own half-desperate hopes. But
of this I have little or no doubt. I can cause the deeds of
resignation and transference to be drawn up here under my own
direction, and arrange the execution of them when I return to Aix,
which shall be the first moment after my penance is concluded."

"And this letter, gracious madam," said Arthur, "will inform you what
events are approaching, and of what importance it may be to take time
by the forelock. Place me but in possession of these momentous deeds,
and I will travel night and day till I reach the Duke's camp. I shall
find him most likely in the moment of victory, and with his heart too
much open to refuse a boon to the royal kinswoman who is surrendering
to him all. We will--we must--in such an hour, obtain princely
succours; and we shall soon see if the licentious Edward of York, the
savage Richard, the treacherous and perjured Clarence, are hereafter
to be lords of merry England, or whether they must give place to a
more rightful sovereign and better man. But oh! royal madam, all
depends on haste."

"True--yet a few days may--nay, must--cast the die between Charles and
his opponents; and, ere making so great a surrender, it were as well
to be assured that he whom we would propitiate is in capacity to
assist us. All the events of a tragic and varied life have led me to
see there is no such thing as an inconsiderable enemy. I will make
haste, however, trusting in the interim we may have good news from the
banks of the lake at Neufchatel."

"But who shall be employed to draw these most important deeds?" said
the young man.

Margaret mused ere she replied,--"The Father Guardian is complaisant,
and I think faithful; but I would not willingly repose confidence in
one of the Provençal monks. Stay, let me think--your father says the
Carmelite who brought the letter may be trusted--he shall do the turn.
He is a stranger, and will be silent for a piece of money. Farewell,
Arthur de Vere.--You will be treated with all hospitality by my
father. If thou dost receive further tidings, thou wilt let me know
them; or, should I have instructions to send, thou wilt hear from
me.--So, benedicite."

Arthur proceeded to wind down the mountain at a much quicker pace than
he had ascended on the day before. The weather was now gloriously
serene, and the beauties of vegetation, in a country where it never
totally slumbers, were at once delicious and refreshing. His thoughts
wandered from the crags of Mont St. Victoire to the cliff of the
canton of Unterwalden, and fancy recalled the moments when his walks
through such scenery were not solitary, but when there was a form by
his side whose simple beauty was engraved on his memory. Such thoughts
were of a preoccupying nature; and I grieve to say that they entirely
drowned the recollection of the mysterious caution given him by his
father, intimating that Arthur might not be able to comprehend such
letters as he should receive from him, till they were warmed before a
fire.

The first thing which reminded him of this singular caution was the
seeing a chafing-dish of charcoal in the kitchen of the hostelry at
the bottom of the mountain, where he found Thiebault and his horses.
This was the first fire which he had seen since receiving his father's
letter, and it reminded him not unnaturally of what the Earl had
recommended. Great was his surprise to see that, after exposing the
paper to the fire as if to dry it, a word emerged in an important
passage of the letter, and the concluding words now read,--"The bearer
may _not_ be trusted." Well-nigh choked with shame and vexation,
Arthur could think of no other remedy than instantly to return to the
convent, and acquaint the Queen with this discovery, which he hoped
still to convey to her in time to prevent any risk being incurred by
the Carmelite's treachery.

Incensed at himself, and eager to redeem his fault, he bent his manly
breast against the steep hill, which was probably never scaled in so
short time as by the young heir of De Vere; for, within forty minutes
from his commencing the ascent, he stood breathless and panting in the
presence of Queen Margaret, who was alike surprised at his appearance
and his exhausted condition.

"Trust not the Carmelite!" he exclaimed--"You are betrayed, noble
Queen, and it is by my negligence. Here is my dagger--bid me strike it
into my heart!"

Margaret demanded and obtained a more special explanation, and when it
was given she said, "It is an unhappy chance; but your father's
instructions ought to have been more distinct. I have told yonder
Carmelite the purpose of the contracts, and engaged with him to draw
them. He has but now left me to serve at the choir. There is no
withdrawing the confidence I have unhappily placed; but I can easily
prevail with the Father Guardian to prevent the monk from leaving the
convent till we are indifferent to his secrecy. It is our best chance
to secure it, and we will take care that what inconvenience he
sustains by his detention shall be well recompensed. Meanwhile, rest
thou, good Arthur, and undo the throat of thy mantle. Poor youth, thou
art well-nigh exhausted with thy haste."

Arthur obeyed, and sat down on a seat in the parlour; for the speed
which he had exerted rendered him almost incapable of standing.

"If I could but see," he said, "the false monk, I would find a way to
charm him to secrecy!"

"Better leave him to me," said the Queen; "and, in a word, I forbid
you to meddle with him. The coif can treat better with the cowl than
the casque can do. Say no more of him. I joy to see you wear around
your neck the holy relic I bestowed on you;--but what Moorish charmlet
is that you wear beside it? Alas! I need not ask. Your heightened
colour, almost as deep as when you entered a quarter of an hour hence,
confesses a true-love token. Alas! poor boy, hast thou not only such a
share of thy country's woes to bear, but also thine own load of
affliction, not the less poignant now that future time will show thee
how fantastic it is! Margaret of Anjou could once have aided wherever
thy affections were placed; but now she can only contribute to the
misery of her friends, not to their happiness. But this lady of the
charm, Arthur, is she fair--is she wise and virtuous--is she of noble
birth--and does she love?"--She perused his countenance with the
glance of an eagle, and continued, "To all, thou wouldst answer Yes,
if shamefacedness permitted thee. Love her then in turn, my gallant
boy, for love is the parent of brave actions. Go, my noble
youth--high-born and loyal, valorous and virtuous, enamoured and
youthful, to what mayst thou not rise? The chivalry of ancient Europe
only lives in a bosom like thine. Go, and let the praises of a Queen
fire thy bosom with the love of honour and achievement. In three days
we meet at Aix."

Arthur, highly gratified with the Queen's condescension, once more
left her presence.

Returning down the mountain with a speed very different from that
which he had used in the ascent, he again found his Provençal squire,
who had remained in much surprise at witnessing the confusion in which
his master had left the inn, almost immediately after he had entered
it without any apparent haste or agitation. Arthur explained his hasty
return by alleging he had forgot his purse at the convent. "Nay, in
that case," said Thiebault, "considering what you left and where you
left it, I do not wonder at your speed, though, Our Lady save me, as I
never saw living creature, save a goat with a wolf at his heels, make
his way over crag and briers with half such rapidity as you did."

They reached Aix after about an hour's riding, and Arthur lost no time
in waiting upon the good King René, who gave him a kind reception,
both in respect of the letter from the Duke of Burgundy, and in
consideration of his being an Englishman, the avowed subject of the
unfortunate Margaret. The placable monarch soon forgave his young
guest the want of complaisance with which he had eschewed to listen to
his compositions; and Arthur speedily found that to apologise for his
want of breeding in that particular was likely to lead to a great deal
more rehearsing than he could find patience to tolerate. He could only
avoid the old King's extreme desire to recite his own poems, and
perform his own music, by engaging him in speaking of his daughter
Margaret. Arthur had been sometimes induced to doubt the influence
which the Queen boasted herself to possess over her aged father; but,
on being acquainted with him personally, he became convinced that her
powerful understanding and violent passions inspired the feeble-minded
and passive King with a mixture of pride, affection, and fear, which
united to give her the most ample authority over him.

Although she had parted with him but a day or two since, and in a
manner so ungracious on her side, René was as much overjoyed at
hearing of the probability of her speedy return, as the fondest father
could have been at the prospect of being reunited to the most dutiful
child, whom he had not seen for years. The old King was impatient as a
boy for the day of her arrival, and, still strangely unenlightened on
the difference of her taste from his own, he was with difficulty
induced to lay aside a project of meeting her in the character of old
Palemon,--

     The prince of shepherds, and their pride,

at the head of an Arcadian procession of nymphs and swains, to inspire
whose choral dances and songs every pipe and tambourine in the country
was to be placed in requisition. Even the old seneschal, however,
intimated his disapprobation of this species of _joyeuse entrée_; so
that René suffered himself at length to be persuaded that the Queen
was too much occupied by the religious impressions to which she had
been of late exposed, to receive any agreeable sensation from sights
or sounds of levity. The King gave way to reasons which he could not
sympathise with; and thus Margaret escaped the shock of welcome, which
would perhaps have driven her in her impatience back to the mountain
of St. Victoire, and the sable cavern of Lou Garagoule.

During the time of her absence, the days of the court of Provence were
employed in sports and rejoicings of every description; tilting at the
barrier with blunted spears, riding at the ring, parties for
hare-hunting and falconry, frequented by the youth of both sexes, in
the company of whom the King delighted, while the evenings were
consumed in dancing and music.

Arthur could not but be sensible that not long since all this would
have made him perfectly happy; but the last months of his existence
had developed his understanding and passions. He was now initiated in
the actual business of human life, and looked on its amusements with
an air of something like contempt; so that among the young and gay
noblesse who composed this merry court he acquired the title of the
youthful philosopher, which was not bestowed upon him, it may be
supposed, as inferring anything of peculiar compliment.

On the fourth day news was received, by an express messenger, that
Queen Margaret would enter Aix before the hour of noon, to resume her
residence in her father's palace. The good King René seemed, as it
drew nigh, to fear the interview with his daughter as much as he had
previously desired it, and contrived to make all around him partake of
his fidgety anxiety. He tormented his steward and cooks to recollect
what dishes they had ever observed her to taste of with
approbation--he pressed the musicians to remember the tunes which she
approved; and when one of them boldly replied he had never known her
Majesty endure any strain with patience, the old monarch threatened to
turn him out of his service for slandering the taste of his daughter.
The banquet was ordered to be served at half past eleven, as if
accelerating it would have had the least effect upon hurrying the
arrival of the expected guests; and the old King, with his napkin over
his arm, traversed the hall from window to window, wearying every one
with questions, whether they saw anything of the Queen of England.
Exactly as the bells tolled noon, the Queen, with a very small
retinue, chiefly English, and in mourning habits like herself, rode
into the town of Aix. King René, at the head of his court, failed not
to descend from the front of his stately palace, and move along the
street to meet his daughter. Lofty, proud, and jealous of incurring
ridicule, Margaret was not pleased with this public greeting in the
market-place. But she was desirous at present to make amends for her
late petulance, and therefore she descended from her palfrey; and,
although something shocked at seeing René equipped with a napkin, she
humbled herself to bend the knee to him, asking at once his blessing
and forgiveness.

"Thou hast--thou hast my blessing, my suffering dove," said the simple
King to the proudest and most impatient princess that ever wept for a
lost crown.--"And for thy pardon, how canst thou ask it, who never
didst me an offence since God made me father to so gracious a
child?--Rise, I say rise--nay, it is for me to ask thy pardon--True, I
said in my ignorance, and thought within myself, that my heart had
indited a goodly thing--but it vexed thee. It is therefore for me to
crave pardon."--And down sank good King René upon both knees; and the
people, who are usually captivated with anything resembling the trick
of the scene, applauded with much noise, and some smothered laughter,
a situation in which the royal daughter and her parent seemed about to
rehearse the scene of the Roman Charity.

Margaret, sensitively alive to shame, and fully aware that her present
position was sufficiently ludicrous in its publicity at least, signed
sharply to Arthur, whom she saw in the King's suite, to come to her;
and, using his arm to rise, she muttered to him aside, and in
English,--"To what saint shall I vow myself, that I may preserve
patience when I so much need it!"

"For pity's sake, royal madam, recall your firmness of mind and
composure," whispered her esquire, who felt at the moment more
embarrassed than honoured by his distinguished office, for he could
feel that the Queen actually trembled with vexation and impatience.

They at length resumed their route to the palace, the father and
daughter arm in arm--a posture most agreeable to Margaret, who could
bring herself to endure her father's effusions of tenderness, and the
general tone of his conversation, so that he was not overheard by
others. In the same manner, she bore with laudable patience the
teasing attentions which he addressed to her at table, noticed some of
his particular courtiers, inquired after others, led the way to his
favourite subjects of conversation on poetry, painting, and music,
till the good King was as much delighted with the unwonted civilities
of his daughter as ever was lover with the favourable confessions of
his mistress, when, after years of warm courtship, the ice of her
bosom is at length thawed. It cost the haughty Margaret an effort to
bend herself to play this part--her pride rebuked her for stooping to
flatter her father's foibles, in order to bring him over to the
resignation of his dominions--yet having undertaken to do so, and so
much having been already hazarded upon this sole remaining chance of
success in an attack upon England, she saw, or was willing to see, no
alternative.

Betwixt the banquet and the ball by which it was to be followed, the
Queen sought an opportunity of speaking to Arthur.

"Bad news, my sage counsellor," she said. "The Carmelite never
returned to the convent after the service was over. Having learned
that you had come back in great haste, he had, I suppose, concluded he
might stand in suspicion, so he left the convent of Mont St.
Victoire."

"We must hasten the measures which your Majesty has resolved to
adopt," answered Arthur.

"I will speak with my father to-morrow. Meanwhile, you must enjoy the
pleasures of the evening, for to you they may be pleasures.--Young
lady of Boisgelin, I give you this cavalier to be your partner for the
evening."

The black-eyed and pretty Provençale curtseyed with due decorum, and
glanced at the handsome young Englishman with an eye of approbation;
but whether afraid of his character as a philosopher, or his doubtful
rank, added the saving clause,--"If my mother approves."

"Your mother, damsel, will scarce, I think, disapprove of any partner
whom you receive from the hands of Margaret of Anjou. Happy privilege
of youth," she added with a sigh, as the youthful couple went off to
take their place in the _bransle_,[10] "which can snatch a flower even
on the roughest road!"

Arthur acquitted himself so well during the evening, that perhaps the
young Countess was only sorry that so gay and handsome a gallant
limited his compliments and attentions within the cold bounds of that
courtesy enjoined by the rules of ceremony.

FOOTNOTES:

[10] Bransle, in English, brawl--a species of dance.



CHAPTER XIV.

     For I have given here my full consent
     To undeck the pompous body of a king,
     Make glory base, and sovereignty a slave,
     Proud majesty a subject, state a peasant.
                                 _Richard II._


The next day opened a grave scene. King René had not forgotten to
arrange the pleasures of the day, when, to his horror and
discomfiture, Margaret demanded an interview upon serious business. If
there was a proposition in the world which René from his soul
detested, it was any that related to the very name of business.

"What was it that his child wanted?" he said. "Was it money? He would
give her whatever ready sums he had, though he owned his exchequer was
somewhat bare; yet he had received his income for the season. It was
ten thousand crowns. How much should he desire to be paid to her?--the
half--three parts--or the whole? All was at her command."

"Alas, my dear father," said Margaret, "it is not my affairs, but your
own, on which I desire to speak with you."

"If the affairs are mine," said René, "I am surely master to put them
off to another day--to some rainy dull day, fit for no better purpose.
See, my love, the hawking-party are all on their steeds and ready--the
horses are neighing and pawing--the gallants and maidens mounted, and
ready with hawk on fist--the spaniels struggling in the leash. It were
a sin, with wind and weather to friend, to lose so lovely a morning."

"Let them ride their way," said Queen Margaret, "and find their sport;
for the matter I have to speak concerning involves honour and rank,
life and means of living."

"Nay, but I have to hear and judge between Calezon and John of Acqua
Mortis, the two most celebrated Troubadours."

"Postpone their cause till to-morrow," said Margaret, "and dedicate an
hour or two to more important affairs."

"If you are peremptory," replied King René, "you are aware, my child,
I cannot say you nay."

And with reluctance he gave orders for the hawkers to go on and follow
their sport, as he could not attend them that day.

The old King then suffered himself, like an unwilling greyhound
withheld from the chase, to be led into a separate apartment. To
insure privacy, Margaret stationed her secretary Mordaunt, with
Arthur, in an antechamber, giving them orders to prevent all
intrusion.

"Nay, for myself, Margaret," said the good-natured old man, "since it
must be, I consent to be put _au secret_; but why keep old Mordaunt
from taking a walk in this beautiful morning; and why prevent young
Arthur from going forth with the rest? I promise you, though they term
him a philosopher, yet he showed as light a pair of heels last night,
with the young Countess de Boisgelin, as any gallant in Provence."

"They are come from a country," said Margaret, "in which men are
trained from infancy to prefer their duty to their pleasure."

The poor King, led into the council-closet, saw with internal
shuddering the fatal cabinet of ebony, bound with silver, which had
never been opened but to overwhelm him with weariness, and dolefully
calculated how many yawns he must strangle ere he sustained the
consideration of its contents. They proved, however, when laid before
him, of a kind that excited even his interest, though painfully.

His daughter presented him with a short and clear view of the debts
which were secured on his dominions, and for which they were mortgaged
in various pieces and parcels. She then showed him, by another
schedule, the large claims of which payment was instantly demanded, to
discharge which no funds could be found or assigned. The King defended
himself like others in his forlorn situation. To every claim of six,
seven, or eight thousand ducats, he replied by the assertion that he
had ten thousand crowns in his chancery, and showed some reluctance to
be convinced, till repeatedly urged upon him, that the same sum could
not be adequate to the discharge of thirty times the amount.

"Then," said the King, somewhat impatiently, "why not pay off those
who are most pressing, and let the others wait till receipts come
round?"

"It is a practice which has been too often resorted to," replied the
Queen, "and it is but a part of honesty to pay creditors who have
advanced their all in your Grace's service."

"But are we not," said René, "King of both the Sicilies, Naples,
Arragon, and Jerusalem? And why is the monarch of such fair kingdoms
to be pushed to the wall, like a bankrupt yeoman, for a few bags of
paltry crowns?"

"You are indeed monarch of these kingdoms," said Margaret; "but is it
necessary to remind your Majesty that it is but as I am Queen of
England, in which I have not an acre of land, and cannot command a
penny of revenue? You have no dominions which are a source of revenue,
save those which you see in this scroll, with an exact list of the
income they afford. It is totally inadequate, you see, to maintain
your state, and to pay the large engagements incurred to former
creditors."

"It is cruel to press me to the wall thus," said the poor King. "What
can I do? If I am poor, I cannot help it. I am sure I would pay the
debts you talk of, if I knew the way."

"Royal father, I will show it you.--Resign your useless and unavailing
dignity, which, with the pretensions attending it, serves but to make
your miseries ridiculous. Resign your rights as a sovereign, and the
income which cannot be stretched out to the empty excesses of a
beggarly court will enable you to enjoy, in ease and opulence, all the
pleasures you most delight in, as a private baron."

"Margaret, you speak folly," answered René, somewhat sternly. "A king
and his people are bound by ties which neither can sever without
guilt. My subjects are my flock, I am their shepherd. They are
assigned to my governance by Heaven, and I dare not renounce the
charge of protecting them."

"Were you in condition to do so," answered the Queen, "Margaret would
bid you fight to the death. But don your harness, long disused--mount
your war-steed--cry, René for Provence! and see if a hundred men will
gather round your standard. Your fortresses are in the hands of
strangers; army you have none; your vassals may have good-will, but
they lack all military skill and soldierlike discipline. You stand but
the mere skeleton of monarchy, which France or Burgundy may prostrate
on the earth, whichever first puts forth his arm to throw it down."

The tears trickled fast down the old King's cheeks, when this
unflattering prospect was set before him, and he could not forbear
owning his total want of power to defend himself and his dominions,
and admitting that he had often thought of the necessity of
compounding for his resignation with one of his powerful neighbours.

"It was thy interest, Margaret, harsh and severe as you are, which
prevented my entering, before now, into measures most painful to my
feelings, but perhaps best calculated for my advantage. But I had
hoped it would hold on for my day; and thou, my child, with the
talents Heaven has given thee, wouldst, I thought, have found remedy
for distresses which I cannot escape, otherwise than by shunning the
thoughts of them."

"If it is in earnest you speak of my interest," said Margaret, "know,
that your resigning Provence will satisfy the nearest, and almost the
only wish that my bosom can form; but, so judge me Heaven, as it is on
your account, gracious sire, as well as mine, that I advise your
compliance."

"Say no more on't, child; give me the parchment of resignation, and I
will sign it: I see thou hast it ready drawn; let us sign it, and then
we will overtake the hawkers. We must suffer woe, but there is little
need to sit down and weep for it."

"Do you not ask," said Margaret, surprised at his apathy, "to whom you
cede your dominions?"

"What boots it," answered the King, "since they must be no more my
own? It must be either to Charles of Burgundy, or my nephew
Louis--both powerful and politic princes. God send my poor people may
have no cause to wish their old man back again, whose only pleasure
was to see them happy and mirthful."

"It is to Burgundy you resign Provence," said Margaret.

"I would have preferred him," answered René; "he is fierce, but not
malignant. One word more. Are my subjects' privileges and immunities
fully secured?"

"Amply," replied the Queen; "and your own wants of all kinds
honourably provided for. I would not leave the stipulations in your
favour in blank, though I might perhaps have trusted Charles of
Burgundy, where money alone is concerned."

"I ask not for myself--with my viol and my pencil, René the Troubadour
will be as happy as ever was René the King."

So saying, with practical philosophy he whistled the burden of his
last composed ariette, and signed away the rest of his royal
possessions without pulling off his glove, or even reading the
instrument.

"What is this?" he said, looking at another and separate parchment of
much briefer contents. "Must my kinsman Charles have both the
Sicilies, Catalonia, Naples, and Jerusalem, as well as the poor
remainder of Provence? Methinks, in decency, some greater extent of
parchment should have been allowed to so ample a cession."

"That deed," said Margaret, "only disowns and relinquishes all
countenance of Ferrand de Vaudemont's rash attempt on Lorraine, and
renounces all quarrel on that account against Charles of Burgundy."

For once Margaret miscalculated the tractability of her father's
temper. René positively started, coloured, and stammered with passion,
as he interrupted her--"_Only_ disown--_only_ relinquish--_only_
renounce the cause of my grandchild, the son of my dear Yolande--his
rightful claims on his mother's inheritance!--Margaret, I am ashamed
for thee. Thy pride is an excuse for thy evil temper but what is pride
worth which can stoop to commit an act of dishonourable meanness? To
desert, nay, disown, my own flesh and blood, because the youth is a
bold knight under shield, and disposed to battle for his right--I were
worthy that harp and horn rung out shame on me, should I listen to
thee."

Margaret was overcome in some measure by the old man's unexpected
opposition. She endeavoured, however, to show that there was no
occasion, in point of honour, why René should engage in the cause of a
wild adventurer, whose right, be it good be it bad, was only upheld by
some petty and underhand supplies of money from France, and the
countenance of a few of the restless banditti who inhabit the borders
of all nations. But ere René could answer, voices, raised to an
unusual pitch, were heard in the antechamber, the door of which was
flung open by an armed knight, covered with dust, who exhibited all
the marks of a long journey.

"Here I am," he said, "father of my mother--behold your
grandson--Ferrand de Vaudemont; the son of your lost Yolande kneels at
your feet, and implores a blessing on him and his enterprise."

"Thou hast it," replied René, "and may it prosper with thee, gallant
youth, image of thy sainted mother--my blessings, my prayers, my
hopes, go with you!"

"And you, fair aunt of England," said the young knight, addressing
Margaret, "you who are yourself dispossessed by traitors, will you not
own the cause of a kinsman who is struggling for his inheritance?"

"I wish all good to your person, fair nephew," answered the Queen of
England, "although your features are strange to me. But to advise this
old man to adopt your cause, when it is desperate in the eyes of all
wise men, were impious madness."

"Is my cause then so desperate?" said Ferrand. "Forgive me if I was
not aware of it. And does my aunt Margaret say this, whose strength of
mind supported Lancaster so long, after the spirits of her warriors
had been quelled by defeat? What--forgive me, for my cause must be
pleaded--what would you have said had my mother Yolande been capable
to advise her father to disown your own Edward, had God permitted him
to reach Provence in safety?"

"Edward," said Margaret, weeping as she spoke, "was incapable of
desiring his friends to espouse a quarrel that was irremediable. His,
too, was a cause for which mighty princes and peers laid lance in
rest."

"Yet Heaven blessed it not--" said Vaudemont.

"Thine," continued Margaret, "is but embraced by the robber nobles of
Germany, the upstart burghers of the Rhine cities, the paltry and
clownish Confederates of the Cantons."

"But Heaven _has blessed it_," replied Vaudemont. "Know, proud woman,
that I come to interrupt your treacherous intrigues; no petty
adventurer, subsisting and maintaining warfare by sleight rather than
force, but a conqueror from a bloody field of battle, in which Heaven
has tamed the pride of the tyrant of Burgundy."

"It is false!" said the Queen, starting. "I believe it not."

"It is true," said De Vaudemont, "as true as heaven is above us.--It
is four days since I left the field of Granson (_d_), heaped with
Burgundy's mercenaries--his wealth, his jewels, his plate, his
magnificent decorations, the prize of the poor Swiss, who scarce can
tell their value. Know you this, Queen Margaret?" continued the young
soldier, showing the well-known jewel which decorated the Duke's Order
of the Golden Fleece; "think you not the lion was closely hunted when
he left such trophies as these behind him?"

Margaret looked, with dazzled eyes and bewildered thoughts, upon a
token which confirmed the Duke's defeat, and the extinction of her
last hopes. Her father, on the contrary, was struck with the heroism
of the young warrior, a quality which, except as it existed in his
daughter Margaret, had, he feared, taken leave of his family. Admiring
in his heart the youth who exposed himself to danger for the meed of
praise, almost as much as he did the poets by whom the warrior's fame
is rendered immortal, he hugged his grandson to his bosom, bidding him
"gird on his sword in strength," and assuring him, if money could
advance his affairs, he, King René, could command ten thousand crowns,
any part, or the whole of which, was at Ferrand's command; thus giving
proof of what had been said of him, that his head was incapable of
containing two ideas at the same time.

We return to Arthur, who, with the Queen of England's secretary,
Mordaunt, had been not a little surprised by the entrance of the Count
de Vaudemont, calling himself Duke of Lorraine, into the anteroom, in
which they kept a kind of guard, followed by a tall strong Swiss, with
a huge halberd over his shoulder. The prince naming himself, Arthur
did not think it becoming to oppose his entrance to the presence of
his grandfather and aunt, especially as it was obvious that his
opposition must have created an affray. In the huge staring
halberdier, who had sense enough to remain in the anteroom, Arthur was
not a little surprised to recognise Sigismund Biederman, who, after
staring wildly at him for a moment, like a dog which suddenly
recognises a favourite, rushed up to the young Englishman with a wild
cry of gladness, and in hurried accents told him how happy he was to
meet with him, and that he had matters of importance to tell him. It
was at no time easy for Sigismund to arrange his ideas, and now they
were altogether confused, by the triumphant joy which he expressed for
the recent victory of his countrymen over the Duke of Burgundy; and
it was with wonder that Arthur heard his confused and rude but
faithful tale.

"Look you, King Arthur, the Duke had come up with his huge army as far
as Granson, which is near the outlet of the great lake of Neufchatel.
There were five or six hundred Confederates in the place, and they
held it till provisions failed, and then you know they were forced to
give it over. But though hunger is hard to bear, they had better have
borne it a day or two longer, for the butcher Charles hung them all up
by the neck, upon trees round the place,--and there was no swallowing
for them, you know, after such usage as that. Meanwhile all was busy
on our hills, and every man that had a sword or lance accoutred
himself with it. We met at Neufchatel, and some Germans joined us with
the noble Duke of Lorraine. Ah, King Arthur, there is a leader!--we
all think him second but to Rudolph of Donnerhugel--you saw him even
now--it was he that went into that room--and you saw him before,--it
is he that was the Blue Knight of Bâle; but we called him Laurenz
then, for Rudolph said his presence among us must not be known to our
father, and I did not know myself at that time who he really was.
Well, when we came to Neufchatel we were a goodly company; we were
fifteen thousand stout Confederates, and of others, Germans and
Lorraine men, I will warrant you five thousand more. We heard that the
Burgundian was sixty thousand in the field; but we heard, at the same
time, that Charles had hung up our brethren like dogs, and the man was
not among us--among the Confederates, I mean--who would stay to count
heads, when the question was to avenge them. I would you could have
heard the roar of fifteen thousand Swiss demanding to be led against
the butcher of their brethren! My father himself, who, you know, is
usually so eager for peace, now gave the first voice for battle; so,
in the grey of the morning, we descended the lake towards Granson,
with tears in our eyes and weapons in our hands, determined to have
death or vengeance. We came to a sort of strait, between Vauxmoreux
and the lake; there were horse on the level ground between the
mountain and the lake, and a large body of infantry on the side of the
hill. The Duke of Lorraine and his followers engaged the horse, while
we climbed the hill to dispossess the infantry. It was with us the
affair of a moment. Every man of us was at home among the crags, and
Charles's men were stuck among them as thou wert, Arthur, when thou
didst first come to Geierstein. But there were no kind maidens to lend
them their hands to help them down. No, no--There were pikes, clubs,
and halberds, many a one, to dash and thrust them from places where
they could hardly keep their feet had there been no one to disturb
them. So the horsemen, pushed by the Lorrainers, and seeing us upon
their flanks, fled as fast as their horses could carry them. Then we
drew together again on a fair field, which is _buon campagna_, as the
Italian says, where the hills retire from the lake. But lo you, we had
scarce arrayed our ranks, when we heard such a din and clash of
instruments, such a trample of their great horses, such a shouting and
crying of men, as if all the soldiers, and all the minstrels in France
and Germany, were striving which should make the loudest noise. Then
there was a huge cloud of dust approaching us, and we began to see we
must do or die, for this was Charles and his whole army come to
support his vanguard. A blast from the mountain dispersed the dust,
for they had halted to prepare for battle. Oh, good Arthur! you would
have given ten years of life but to have seen the sight. There were
thousands of horse all in complete array, glancing against the sun,
and hundreds of knights with crowns of gold and silver on their
helmets, and thick masses of spears on foot, and cannon, as they call
them. I did not know what things they were, which they drew on heavily
with bullocks and placed before their army, but I knew more of them
before the morning was over. Well, we were ordered to draw up in a
hollow square, as we are taught at exercise, and before we pushed
forwards we were commanded, as is the godly rule and guise of our
warfare, to kneel down and pray to God, Our Lady, and the blessed
saints; and we afterwards learned that Charles, in his arrogance,
thought we asked for mercy--Ha! ha! ha! a proper jest. If my father
once knelt to him, it was for the sake of Christian blood and godly
peace; but on the field of battle Arnold Biederman would not have
knelt to him and his whole chivalry, though he had stood alone with
his sons on that field. Well, but Charles, supposing we asked grace,
was determined to show us that we had asked it at a graceless face,
for he cried, 'Fire my cannon on the coward slaves; it is all the
mercy they have to expect from me!'--Bang--bang--bang--off went the
things I told you of, like thunder and lightning, and some mischief
they did, but the less that we were kneeling; and the saints
doubtless gave the huge balls a hoist over the heads of those who were
asking grace from them, but from no mortal creatures. So we had the
signal to rise and rush on, and I promise you there were no sluggards.
Every man felt ten men's strength. My halberd is no child's toy--if
you have forgotten it, there it is--and yet it trembled in my grasp as
if it had been a willow wand to drive cows with. On we went, when
suddenly the cannon were silent, and the earth shook with another and
continued growl and battering, like thunder under ground. It was the
men-at-arms rushing to charge us. But our leaders knew their trade,
and had seen such a sight before--it was, Halt, halt--kneel down in
the front--stoop in the second rank--close shoulder to shoulder like
brethren, lean all spears forward and receive them like an iron wall!
On they rushed, and there was a rending of lances that would have
served the Unterwalden old women with splinters of firewood for a
twelvemonth. Down went armed horse--down went accoutred knight--down
went banner and bannerman--down went peaked boot and crowned helmet,
and of those who fell not a man escaped with life. So they drew off in
confusion, and were getting in order to charge again, when the noble
Duke Ferrand and his horsemen dashed at them in their own way, and we
moved onward to support him. Thus on we pressed, and the foot hardly
waited for us, seeing their cavalry so handled. Then if you had seen
the dust and heard the blows! the noise of a hundred thousand
thrashers, the flight of the chaff which they drive about, would be
but a type of it. On my word, I almost thought it shame to dash about
my halberd, the rout was so helplessly piteous. Hundreds were slain
unresisting, and the whole army was in complete flight."

"My father--my father!" exclaimed Arthur. "In such a rout, what can
have become of him?"

"He escaped safely," said the Swiss; "fled with Charles."

"It must have been a bloody field ere he fled," replied the
Englishman.

"Nay," answered Sigismund, "he took no part in the fight, but merely
remained by Charles; and prisoners said it was well for us, for that
he is a man of great counsel and action in the wars. And as to flying,
a man in such a matter must go back if he cannot press forward, and
there is no shame in it, especially if you be not engaged in your own
person."

As he spoke thus, their conversation was interrupted by Mordaunt, with
"Hush, hush--the King and Queen come forth."

"What am I to do?" said Sigismund, in some alarm. "I care not for the
Duke of Lorraine; but what am I to do when kings and queens enter?"

"Do nothing but rise, unbonnet yourself, and be silent."

Sigismund did as he was directed.

King René came forth arm in arm with his grandson; and Margaret
followed, with deep disappointment and vexation on her brow. She
signed to Arthur as she passed, and said to him--"Make thyself master
of the truth of this most unexpected news, and bring the particulars
to me. Mordaunt will introduce thee."

She then cast a look on the young Swiss, and replied courteously to
his awkward salutation. The royal party then left the room, René bent
on carrying his grandson to the sporting-party, which had been
interrupted, and Margaret to seek the solitude of her private
apartment, and await the confirmation of what she regarded as evil
tidings.

They were no sooner passed than Sigismund observed,--"And so that is a
King and Queen!--Peste! the King looks somewhat like old Jacomo, the
violer, that used to scrape on the fiddle to us when he came to
Geierstein in his rounds. But the Queen is a stately creature. The
chief cow of the herd, who carries the bouquets and garlands, and
leads the rest to the chalet, has not a statelier pace. And how deftly
you approached her and spoke to her! I could not have done it with so
much grace--But it is like that you have served apprentice to the
court trade?"

"Leave that for the present, good Sigismund," answered Arthur, "and
tell me more of this battle."

"By St. Mary, but I must have some victuals and drink first," said
Sigismund, "if your credit in this fine place reaches so far."

"Doubt it not, Sigismund," said Arthur; and, by the intervention of
Mordaunt, he easily procured, in a more retired apartment, a collation
and wine, to which the young Biederman did great honour, smacking his
lips with much gusto after the delicious wines, to which, in spite of
his father's ascetic precepts, his palate was beginning to be
considerably formed and habituated. When he found himself alone with a
flask of _côté roti_ and a biscuit, and his friend Arthur, he was
easily led to continue his tale of conquest.

"Well--where was I?--Oh, where we broke their infantry--well--they
never rallied, and fell into greater confusion at every step--and we
might have slaughtered one half of them, had we not stopped to examine
Charles's camp. Mercy on us, Arthur, what a sight was there! Every
pavilion was full of rich clothes, splendid armour, and great dishes
and flagons, which some men said were of silver; but I knew there was
not so much silver in the world, and was sure they must be of pewter,
rarely burnished. Here there were hosts of laced lackeys, and grooms,
and pages, and as many attendants as there were soldiers in the army;
and thousands, for what I knew, of pretty maidens. By the same token,
both menials and maidens placed themselves at the disposal of the
victors; but I promise you that my father was right severe on any who
would abuse the rights of war. But some of our young men did not mind
him, till he taught them obedience with the staff of his halberd.
Well, Arthur, there was fine plundering, for the Germans and French
that were with us rifled everything, and some of our men followed the
example--it is very catching--So I got into Charles's own pavilion,
where Rudolph and some of his people were trying to keep out every
one, that he might have the spoiling of it himself, I think; but
neither he, nor any Bernese of them all, dared lay truncheon over my
pate; so I entered, and saw them putting piles of pewter-trenchers, so
clean as to look like silver, into chests and trunks. I pressed
through them into the inner place, and there was Charles's
pallet-bed--I will do him justice, it was the only hard one in his
camp--and there were fine sparkling stones and pebbles lying about
among gauntlets, boots, vambraces, and suchlike gear--So I thought of
your father and you, and looked for something, when what should I see
but my old friend here" (here he drew Queen Margaret's necklace from
his bosom), "which I knew, because you remember I recovered it from
the Scharfgerichter at Brisach.--'Oho! you pretty sparklers,' said I,
'you shall be Burgundian no longer, but go back to my honest English
friends,' and therefore"----

"It is of immense value," said Arthur, "and belongs not to my father
or to me, but to the Queen you saw but now."

"And she will become it rarely," answered Sigismund. "Were she but a
score, or a score and a half years younger, she were a gallant wife
for a Swiss landholder. I would warrant her to keep his household in
high order."

"She will reward thee liberally for recovering her property," said
Arthur, scarce suppressing a smile at the idea of the proud Margaret
becoming the housewife of a Swiss shepherd.

"How--reward!" said the Swiss. "Bethink thee I am Sigismund Biederman,
the son of the Landamman of Unterwalden--I am not a base lanzknecht,
to be paid for courtesy with piastres. Let her grant me a kind word of
thanks, or the matter of a kiss, and I am well contented."

"A kiss of her hand, perhaps," said Arthur, again smiling at his
friend's simplicity.

"Umph, the hand! Well, it may do for a queen of some fifty years and
odd, but would be poor homage to a Queen of May."

Arthur here brought back the youth to the subject of his battle, and
learned that the slaughter of the Duke's forces in the flight had
been in no degree equal to the importance of the action.

"Many rode off on horseback," said Sigismund; "and our German
_reiters_ flew on the spoil, when they should have followed the chase.
And besides, to speak truth, Charles's camp delayed our very selves in
the pursuit; but had we gone half a mile farther, and seen our friends
hanging on trees, not a Confederate would have stopped from the chase
while he had limbs to carry him in pursuit."

"And what has become of the Duke?"

"Charles has retreated into Burgundy, like a boar who has felt the
touch of the spear, and is more enraged than hurt; but is, they say,
sad and sulky. Others report that he has collected all his scattered
army, and immense forces besides, and has screwed his subjects to give
him money, so that we may expect another brush. But all Switzerland
will join us after such a victory."

"And my father is with him?" said Arthur.

"Truly he is, and has in a right godly manner tried to set afoot a
treaty of peace with my own father. But it will scarce succeed.
Charles is as mad as ever; and our people are right proud of our
victory, and so they well may. Nevertheless, my father forever
preaches that such victories, and such heaps of wealth, will change
our ancient manners, and that the ploughman will leave his labour to
turn soldier. He says much about it; but why money, choice meat and
wine, and fine clothing should do so much harm, I cannot bring my poor
brains to see--And many better heads than mine are as much
puzzled.--Here's to you, friend Arthur!--This is choice liquor!"

"And what brings you and your general, Prince Ferrand, post to
Nancy?" said the young Englishman.

"Faith, you are yourself the cause of our journey."

"I the cause?" said Arthur.--"Why, how could that be?"

"Why, it is said you and Queen Margaret are urging this old fiddling
King René to yield up his territories to Charles, and to disown
Ferrand in his claim upon Lorraine. And the Duke of Lorraine sent a
man that you know well--that is, you do not know _him_, but you know
some of his family, and he knows more of you than you wot--to put a
spoke in your wheel, and prevent your getting for Charles the county
of Provence, or preventing Ferrand being troubled or traversed in his
natural rights over Lorraine."

"On my word, Sigismund, I cannot comprehend you," said Arthur.

"Well," replied the Swiss, "my lot is a hard one. All our house say
that I can comprehend nothing, and I shall be next told that nobody
can comprehend me.--Well, in plain language, I mean my uncle, Count
Albert, as he calls himself, of Geierstein--my father's brother."

"Anne of Geierstein's father!" echoed Arthur.

"Ay, truly; I thought we should find some mark to make you know him
by."

"But I never saw him."

"Ay, but you have, though--An able man he is, and knows more of every
man's business than the man does himself. Oh! it was not for nothing
that he married the daughter of a Salamander!"

"Pshaw, Sigismund, how can you believe that nonsense?" answered
Arthur.

"Rudolph told me you were as much bewildered as I was that night at
Graffs-lust," answered the Swiss.

"If I were so, I was the greater ass for my pains," answered Arthur.

"Well, but this uncle of mine has got some of the old conjuring books
from the library at Arnheim, and they say he can pass from place to
place with more than mortal speed; and that he is helped in his
designs by mightier counsellors than mere men. Always, however, though
so able and highly endowed, his gifts, whether coming from a lawful or
unlawful quarter, bring him no abiding advantage. He is eternally
plunged into strife and danger."

"I know few particulars of his life," said Arthur, disguising as much
as he could his anxiety to hear more of him; "but I have heard that he
left Switzerland to join the Emperor."

"True," answered the young Swiss, "and married the young Baroness of
Arnheim,--but afterwards he incurred my namesake's imperial
displeasure, and not less that of the Duke of Austria. They say you
cannot live in Rome and strive with the Pope; so my uncle thought it
best to cross the Rhine, and betake himself to Charles's court, who
willingly received noblemen from all countries, so that they had good
sounding names, with the title of Count, Marquis, Baron, or suchlike,
to march in front of them. So my uncle was most kindly received; but
within this year or two all this friendship has been broken up. Uncle
Albert obtained a great lead in some mysterious societies, of which
Charles disapproved, and set so hard at my poor uncle, that he was
fain to take orders and shave his hair, rather than lose his head.
But though he cut off his hair, his brain remains as busy as ever; and
although the Duke suffered him to be at large, yet he found him so
often in his way, that all men believed he waited but an excuse for
seizing upon him and putting him to death. But my uncle persists that
he fears not Charles; and that, Duke as he is, Charles has more
occasion to be afraid of him.--And so you saw how boldly he played his
part at La Ferette."

"By St. George of Windsor!" exclaimed Arthur, "the Black Priest of St.
Paul's?"

"Oho! you understand me now. Well, he took it upon him that Charles
would not dare to punish him for his share in De Hagenbach's death;
and no more did he, although uncle Albert sat and voted in the Estates
of Burgundy, and stirred them up all he could to refuse giving Charles
the money he asked of them. But when the Swiss war broke out, uncle
Albert became assured his being a clergyman would be no longer his
protection, and that the Duke intended to have him accused of
corresponding with his brother and countrymen; and so he appeared
suddenly in Ferrand's camp at Neufchatel, and sent a message to
Charles that he renounced his allegiance, and bid him defiance."

"A singular story of an active and versatile man," said the young
Englishman.

"Oh, you may seek the world for a man like uncle Albert. Then he knows
everything; and he told Duke Ferrand what you were about here, and
offered to go and bring more certain information--ay, though he left
the Swiss camp but five or six days before the battle, and the
distance between Arles and Neufchatel be four hundred miles complete,
yet he met him on his return, when Duke Ferrand, with me to show him
the way, was hastening hitherward, having set off from the very field
of battle."

"Met him!" said Arthur--"Met whom?--Met the Black Priest of St.
Paul's?"

"Ay, I mean so," replied Sigismund; "but he was habited as a Carmelite
monk."

"A Carmelite!" said Arthur, a sudden light flashing on him; "and I was
so blind as to recommend his services to the Queen! I remember well
that he kept his face much concealed in his cowl--and I, foolish
beast, to fall so grossly into the snare!--And yet perhaps it is as
well the transaction was interrupted, since I fear, if carried
successfully through, all must have been disconcerted by this
astounding defeat."

Their conversation had thus far proceeded, when Mordaunt appearing,
summoned Arthur to his royal mistress's apartment. In that gay palace,
a gloomy room, whose windows looked upon some part of the ruins of the
Roman edifice, but excluded every other object, save broken walls and
tottering columns, was the retreat which Margaret had chosen for her
own. She received Albert with a kindness more touching that it was the
inmate of so proud and fiery a disposition,--of a heart assailed with
many woes, and feeling them severely.

"Alas, poor Arthur!" she said, "thy life begins where thy father's
threatens to end, in useless labour to save a sinking vessel. The
rushing leak pours in its waters faster than human force can lighten
or discharge. All--all goes wrong, when our unhappy cause becomes
connected with it--Strength becomes weakness, wisdom folly, and
valour cowardice. The Duke of Burgundy, hitherto victorious in all his
bold undertakings, has but to entertain the momentary thought of
yielding succour to Lancaster, and behold his sword is broken by a
peasant's flail; and his disciplined army, held to be the finest in
the world, flies like chaff before the wind; while their spoils are
divided by renegade German hirelings, and barbarous Alpine
shepherds!--What more hast thou learned of this strange tale?"

"Little, madam, but what you have heard. The worst additions are, that
the battle was shamefully cowardlike, and completely lost, with every
advantage to have won it--the best, that the Burgundian army has been
rather dispersed than destroyed, and that the Duke himself has
escaped, and is rallying his forces in Upper Burgundy."

"To sustain a new defeat, or engage in a protracted and doubtful
contest, fatal to his reputation as defeat itself. Where is thy
father?"

"With the Duke, madam, as I have been informed," replied Arthur.

"Hie to him, and say I charge him to look after his own safety, and
care no further for my interests. This last blow has sunk me--I am
without an ally, without a friend, without treasure"----

"Not so, madam," replied Arthur. "One piece of good fortune has
brought back to your Grace this inestimable relic of your
fortunes."--And, producing the precious necklace, he gave the history
of its recovery.

"I rejoice at the chance which has restored these diamonds," said the
Queen, "that in point of gratitude, at least, I may not be utterly
bankrupt. Carry them to your father--tell him my schemes are
over--and my heart, which so long clung to hope, is broken at
last.--Tell him the trinkets are his own, and to his own use let him
apply them. They will but poorly repay the noble earldom of Oxford,
lost in the cause of her who sends them."

"Royal madam," said the youth, "be assured my father would sooner live
by service as a _schwarzreiter_, than become a burden on your
misfortunes."

"He never yet disobeyed command of mine," said Margaret; "and this is
the last I will lay upon him. If he is too rich or too proud to
benefit by his Queen's behest, he will find enough of poor
Lancastrians who have fewer means or fewer scruples."

"There is yet a circumstance I have to communicate," said Arthur, and
recounted the history of Albert of Geierstein, and the disguise of a
Carmelite monk.

"Are you such a fool," answered the Queen, "as to suppose this man has
any supernatural powers to aid him in his ambitious projects and his
hasty journeys?"

"No, madam--but it is whispered that the Count Albert of Geierstein,
or this Black Priest of St. Paul's, is a chief amongst the Secret
Societies of Germany, which even princes dread whilst they hate them;
for the man that can command a hundred daggers must be feared even by
those who rule thousands of swords."

"Can this person," said the Queen, "being now a Churchman, retain
authority amongst those who deal in life and death? It is contrary to
the canons."

"It would seem so, royal madam; but everything in these dark
institutions differs from what is practised in the light of day.
Prelates are often heads of a Vehmique bench, and the Archbishop of
Cologne exercises the dreadful office of their chief as Duke of
Westphalia, the principal region in which these societies
flourish.[11] Such privileges attach to the secret influence of the
chiefs of this dark association, as may well seem supernatural to
those who are unapprised of circumstances of which men shun to speak
in plain terms."

"Let him be wizard or assassin," said the Queen, "I thank him for
having contributed to interrupt my plan of the old man's cession of
Provence, which, as events stand, would have stripped René of his
dominions, without furthering our plan of invading England.--Once
more, be stirring with the dawn, and bend thy way back to thy father,
and charge him to care for himself and think no more of me. Bretagne,
where the heir of Lancaster resides, will be the safest place of
refuge for its bravest followers. Along the Rhine, the Invisible
Tribunal, it would seem, haunts both shores, and to be innocent of ill
is no security; even here the proposed treaty with Burgundy may take
air, and the Provençaux carry daggers as well as crooks and pipes. But
I hear the horses fast returning from the hawking-party, and the silly
old man, forgetting all the eventful proceedings of the day,
whistling as he ascends the steps. Well, we will soon part, and my
removal will be, I think, a relief to him. Prepare for banquet and
ball, for noise and nonsense--above all, to bid adieu to Aix with
morning dawn."

Thus dismissed from the Queen's presence, Arthur's first care was to
summon Thiebault to have all things in readiness for his departure;
his next, to prepare himself for the pleasures of the evening, not
perhaps so heavily affected by the failure of his negotiation as to be
incapable of consolation in such a scene; for the truth was, that his
mind secretly revolted at the thoughts of the simple old King being
despoiled of his dominions to further an invasion of England, in
which, whatever interest he might have in his daughter's rights, there
was little chance of success.

If such feelings were censurable, they had their punishment. Although
few knew how completely the arrival of the Duke of Lorraine, and the
intelligence he brought with him, had disconcerted the plans of Queen
Margaret, it was well known there had been little love betwixt the
Queen and his mother Yolande; and the young Prince found himself at
the head of a numerous party in the court of his grandfather, who
disliked his aunt's haughty manners, and were wearied by the unceasing
melancholy of her looks and conversation, and her undisguised contempt
of the frivolities which passed around her. Ferrand, besides, was
young, handsome, a victor just arrived from a field of battle, fought
gloriously, and gained against all chances to the contrary. That he
was a general favourite, and excluded Arthur Philipson, as an
adherent of the unpopular Queen, from the notice her influence had on
a former evening procured him, was only a natural consequence of their
relative condition. But what somewhat hurt Arthur's feelings was to
see his friend Sigismund the Simple, as his brethren called him,
shining with the reflected glory of the Duke Ferrand of Lorraine, who
introduced to all the ladies present the gallant young Swiss as Count
Sigismund of Geierstein. His care had procured for his follower a
dress rather more suitable for such a scene than the country attire of
the count, otherwise Sigismund Biederman.

For a certain time, whatever of novelty is introduced into society is
pleasing, though it has nothing else to recommend it. The Swiss were
little known personally out of their own country, but they were much
talked of; it was a recommendation to be of that country. Sigismund's
manners were blunt--a mixture of awkwardness and rudeness, which was
termed frankness during the moment of his favour. He spoke bad French
and worse Italian--it gave naïveté to all he said. His limbs were too
bulky to be elegant; his dancing, for Count Sigismund failed not to
dance, was the bounding and gambolling of a young elephant; yet they
were preferred to the handsome proportions and courtly movements of
the youthful Englishman, even by the black-eyed countess in whose good
graces Arthur had made some progress on the preceding evening. Arthur,
thus thrown into the shade, felt as Mr. Pepys afterwards did when he
tore his camlet cloak--the damage was not great, but it troubled him.

Nevertheless, the passing evening brought him some revenge. There are
some works of art the defects of which are not seen till they are
injudiciously placed in too strong a light, and such was the case with
Sigismund the Simple. The quick-witted though fantastic Provençaux
soon found out the heaviness of his intellect, and the extent of his
good-nature, and amused themselves at his expense, by ironical
compliments and well-veiled raillery. It is probable they would have
been less delicate on the subject, had not the Swiss brought into the
dancing-room along with him his eternal halberd, the size and weight
and thickness of which boded little good to any one whom the owner
might detect in the act of making merry at his expense. But Sigismund
did no further mischief that night, except that, in achieving a superb
_entrechat_, he alighted with his whole weight on the miniature foot
of his pretty partner, which he well-nigh crushed to pieces.

Arthur had hitherto avoided looking towards Queen Margaret during the
course of the evening, lest he should disturb her thoughts from the
channel in which they were rolling, by seeming to lay a claim on her
protection. But there was something so whimsical in the awkward
physiognomy of the maladroit Swiss, that he could not help glancing an
eye to the alcove where the Queen's chair of state was placed, to see
if she observed him. The very first view was such as to rivet his
attention. Margaret's head was reclined on the chair, her eyes
scarcely open, her features drawn up and pinched, her hands closed
with effort. The English lady of honour who stood behind her--old,
deaf, and dim-sighted--had not discovered anything in her mistress's
position more than the abstracted and indifferent attitude with which
the Queen was wont to be present in body and absent in mind during the
festivities of the Provençal court. But when Arthur, greatly alarmed,
came behind the seat to press her attention to her mistress, she
exclaimed, after a minute's investigation, "Mother of Heaven, the
Queen is dead!" And it was so. It seemed that the last fibre of life,
in that fiery and ambitious mind, had, as she herself prophesied,
given way at the same time with the last thread of political hope.

FOOTNOTES:

[11] The Archbishop of Cologne was recognised as head of all the Free
Tribunals (_i.e._ the Vehmique benches) in Westphalia, by a writ of
privilege granted in 1335 by the Emperor Charles IV. Winceslaus
confirmed this act by a privilege dated 1382, in which the Archbishop
is termed Grand Master of the Vehme, or Grand Inquisitor. And this
prelate and other priests were encouraged to exercise such office by
Pope Boniface III., whose ecclesiastical discipline permitted them in
such cases to assume the right of judging in matters of life and
death.



CHAPTER XV.

       Toll, toll the bell!
       Greatness is o'er,
       The heart has broke,
       To ache no more;
     An unsubstantial pageant all--
     Drop o'er the scene the funeral pall.
                               _Old Poem._


The commotion and shrieks of fear and amazement which were excited
among the ladies of the court by an event so singular and shocking,
had begun to abate, and the sighs, more serious though less intrusive,
of the few English attendants of the deceased Queen began to be heard,
together with the groans of old King René, whose emotions were as
acute as they were shortlived. The leeches had held a busy but
unavailing consultation, and the body that was once a queen's was
delivered to the Priest of St. Sauveur, that beautiful church in which
the spoils of Pagan temples have contributed to fill up the
magnificence of the Christian edifice. The stately pile was duly
lighted up, and the funeral provided with such splendour as Aix could
supply. The Queen's papers being examined, it was found that Margaret,
by disposing of jewels and living at small expense, had realised the
means of making a decent provision for life for her very few English
attendants. Her diamond necklace, described in her last will as in
the hands of an English merchant named John Philipson, or his son, or
the price thereof, if by them sold or pledged, she left to the said
John Philipson and his son Arthur Philipson, with a view to the
prosecution of the design which they had been destined to advance, or,
if that should prove impossible, to their own use and profit. The
charge of her funeral rites was wholly intrusted to Arthur, called
Philipson, with a request that they should be conducted entirely after
the forms observed in England. This trust was expressed in an addition
to her will, signed the very day on which she died.

Arthur lost no time in despatching Thiebault express to his father,
with a letter explaining, in such terms as he knew would be
understood, the tenor of all that had happened since he came to Aix,
and, above all, the death of Queen Margaret.

Finally, he requested directions for his motions, since the necessary
delay occupied by the obsequies of a person of such eminent rank must
detain him at Aix till he should receive them.

The old King sustained the shock of his daughter's death so easily,
that on the second day after the event he was engaged in arranging a
pompous procession for the funeral, and composing an elegy, to be sung
to a tune also of his own composing, in honour of the deceased Queen,
who was likened to the goddesses of heathen mythology, and to Judith,
Deborah, and all the other holy women, not to mention the saints of
the Christian dispensation. It cannot be concealed that, when the
first burst of grief was over, King René could not help feeling that
Margaret's death cut a political knot which he might have otherwise
found it difficult to untie, and permitted him to take open part with
his grandson, so far indeed as to afford him a considerable share of
the contents of the Provençal treasury, which amounted to no larger
sum than ten thousand crowns. Ferrand having received the blessing of
his grandfather, in a form which his affairs rendered most important
to him, returned to the resolutes whom he commanded; and with him,
after a most loving farewell to Arthur, went the stout but
simple-minded young Swiss, Sigismund Biederman.

The little court of Aix were left to their mourning. King René, for
whom ceremonial and show, whether of a joyful or melancholy character,
was always matter of importance, would willingly have bestowed on
solemnising the obsequies of his daughter Margaret what remained of
his revenue, but was prevented from doing so, partly by remonstrances
from his ministers, partly by the obstacles opposed by the young
Englishman, who, acting upon the presumed will of the dead, interfered
to prevent any such fantastic exhibitions being produced at the
obsequies of the Queen as had disgusted her during her life.

The funeral, therefore, after many days had been spent in public
prayers and acts of devotion, was solemnised with the mournful
magnificence due to the birth of the deceased, and with which the
Church of Rome so well knows how to affect at once the eye, ear, and
feelings.

Amid the various nobles who assisted on the solemn occasion, there was
one who arrived just as the tolling of the great bells of St. Sauveur
had announced that the procession was already on its way to the
cathedral. The stranger hastily exchanged his travelling-dress for a
suit of deep mourning, which was made after the fashion proper to
England. So attired, he repaired to the cathedral, where the noble
mien of the cavalier imposed such respect on the attendants that he
was permitted to approach close to the side of the bier; and it was
across the coffin of the Queen for whom he had acted and suffered so
much that the gallant Earl of Oxford exchanged a melancholy glance
with his son. The assistants, especially the English servants of
Margaret, gazed on them both with respect and wonder, and the elder
cavalier, in particular, seemed to them no unapt representative of the
faithful subjects of England, paying their last duty at the tomb of
her who had so long swayed the sceptre, if not faultlessly, yet always
with a bold and resolved hand.

The last sound of the solemn dirge had died away, and almost all the
funeral attendants had retired, when the father and son still lingered
in mournful silence beside the remains of their sovereign. The clergy
at length approached, and intimated they were about to conclude the
last duties, by removing the body, which had been lately occupied and
animated by so haughty and restless a spirit, to the dust, darkness,
and silence of the vault where the long-descended Counts of Provence
awaited dissolution. Six priests raised the bier on their shoulders,
others bore huge waxen torches before and behind the body, as they
carried it down a private staircase which yawned in the floor to admit
their descent. The last notes of the requiem, in which the churchmen
joined, had died away along the high and fretted arches of the
cathedral, the last flash of light which arose from the mouth of the
vault had glimmered and disappeared, when the Earl of Oxford, taking
his son by the arm, led him in silence forth into a small cloistered
court behind the building, where they found themselves alone. They
were silent for a few minutes, for both, and particularly the father,
were deeply affected. At length the Earl spoke.

"And this, then, is her end," said he. "Here, royal lady, all that we
have planned and pledged life upon falls to pieces with thy
dissolution! The heart of resolution, the head of policy is gone; and
what avails it that the limbs of the enterprise still have motion and
life? Alas, Margaret of Anjou! may Heaven reward thy virtues, and
absolve thee from the consequence of thine errors! Both belonged to
thy station, and, if thou didst hoist too high a sail in prosperity,
never lived there princess who defied more proudly the storms of
adversity, or bore up against them with such dauntless nobility of
determination. With this event the drama has closed, and our parts, my
son, are ended."

"We bear arms, then, against the infidels, my lord?" said Arthur, with
a sigh that was, however, hardly audible.

"Not," answered the Earl, "until I learn that Henry of Richmond, the
undoubted heir of the House of Lancaster, has no occasion for my
services. In these jewels, of which you wrote me, so strangely lost
and recovered, I may be able to supply him with resources more needful
than either your services or mine. But I return no more to the camp of
the Duke of Burgundy; for in him there is no help."

"Can it be possible that the power of so great a
sovereign has been overthrown in one fatal battle?" said Arthur.

  [Illustration: THE FUNERAL OF THE QUEEN.
   Drawn and Etched by R. de Los Rios.]

"By no means," replied his father. "The loss at Granson was very
great; but to the strength of Burgundy it is but a scratch on the
shoulders of a giant. It is the spirit of Charles himself, his wisdom
at least, and his foresight, which have given way under the
mortification of a defeat by such as he accounted inconsiderable
enemies, and expected to have trampled down with a few squadrons of
his men-at-arms. Then his temper is become froward, peevish, and
arbitrary, devoted to those who flatter and, as there is too much
reason to believe, betray him, and suspicious of those counsellors who
give him wholesome advice. Even I have had my share of distrust. Thou
knowest I refused to bear arms against our late hosts the Swiss; and
he saw in that no reason for rejecting my attendance on his march. But
since the defeat of Granson, I have observed a strong and sudden
change, owing, perhaps, in some degree to the insinuations of
Campo-basso, and not a little to the injured pride of the Duke, who
was unwilling that an indifferent person in my situation, and thinking
as I do, should witness the disgrace of his arms. He spoke in my
hearing of lukewarm friends, cold-blooded neutrals,--of those who, not
being with him, must be against him. I tell thee, Arthur de Vere, the
Duke has said that which touched my honour so nearly, that nothing but
the commands of Queen Margaret, and the interests of the House of
Lancaster, could have made me remain in his camp. That is over--My
royal mistress has no more occasion for my poor services--the Duke can
spare no aid to our cause--and if he could, we can no longer dispose
of the only bribe which might have induced him to afford us succours.
The power of seconding his views on Provence is buried with Margaret
of Anjou."

"What, then, is your purpose?" demanded his son.

"I propose," said Oxford, "to wait at the court of King René until I
can hear from the Earl of Richmond, as we must still call him. I am
aware that banished men are rarely welcome at the court of a foreign
prince; but I have been the faithful follower of his daughter
Margaret. I only propose to reside in disguise, and desire neither
notice nor maintenance; so methinks King René will not refuse to
permit me to breathe the air of his dominions, until I learn in what
direction fortune or duty shall call me."

"Be assured he will not," answered Arthur. "René is incapable of a
base or ignoble thought; and if he could despise trifles as he detests
dishonour, he might be ranked high in the list of monarchs."

This resolution being adopted, the son presented his father at King
René's court, whom he privately made acquainted that he was a man of
quality, and a distinguished Lancastrian. The good King would in his
heart have preferred a guest of lighter accomplishments and gayer
temper to Oxford, a statesman and a soldier of melancholy and grave
habits. The Earl was conscious of this, and seldom troubled his
benevolent and light-hearted host with his presence. He had, however,
an opportunity of rendering the old King a favour of peculiar value.
This was in conducting an important treaty betwixt René and Louis XI.
of France, his nephew. Upon that crafty monarch René finally settled
his principality; for the necessity of extricating his affairs by such
a measure was now apparent even to himself, every thought of favouring
Charles of Burgundy in the arrangement having died with Queen
Margaret. The policy and wisdom of the English Earl, who was intrusted
with almost the sole charge of this secret and delicate measure, were
of the utmost advantage to good King René, who was freed from personal
and pecuniary vexations, and enabled to go piping and tabouring to his
grave. Louis did not fail to propitiate the plenipotentiary, by
throwing out distant hopes of aid to the efforts of the Lancastrian
party in England. A faint and insecure negotiation was entered into
upon the subject; and these affairs, which rendered two journeys to
Paris necessary on the part of Oxford and his son, in the spring and
summer of the year 1476, occupied them until that year was half spent.

In the meanwhile, the wars of the Duke of Burgundy with the Swiss
Cantons and Count Ferrand of Lorraine continued to rage. Before
midsummer 1476, Charles had assembled a new army of at least sixty
thousand men, supported by one hundred and fifty pieces of cannon, for
the purpose of invading Switzerland, where the warlike mountaineers
easily levied a host of thirty thousand Switzers, now accounted almost
invincible, and called upon their confederates, the Free Cities on the
Rhine, to support them with a powerful body of cavalry. The first
efforts of Charles were successful. He overran the Pays de Vaud, and
recovered most of the places which he had lost after the defeat at
Granson. But instead of attempting to secure a well-defended frontier,
or, what would have been still more politic, to achieve a peace upon
equitable terms with his redoubtable neighbours, this most obstinate
of princes resumed the purpose of penetrating into the recesses of the
Alpine mountains, and chastising the mountaineers even within their
own strongholds, though experience might have taught him the danger,
nay desperation, of the attempt. Thus the news received by Oxford and
his son, when they returned to Aix in midsummer, was, that Duke
Charles had advanced to Morat (or Murten), situated upon a lake of the
same name, at the very entrance of Switzerland. Here report said that
Adrian de Bubenburg, a veteran knight of Berne, commanded, and
maintained the most obstinate defence, in expectation of the relief
which his countrymen were hastily assembling.

"Alas, my old brother-in-arms!" said the Earl to his son, on hearing
these tidings, "this town besieged, these assaults repelled, this
vicinity of an enemy's country, this profound lake, these inaccessible
cliffs, threaten a second part of the tragedy of Granson, more
calamitous perhaps than even the former!"

On the last week of June, the capital of Provence was agitated by one
of those unauthorised yet generally received rumours which transmit
great events with incredible swiftness, as an apple flung from hand to
hand by a number of people will pass a given space infinitely faster
than if borne by the most rapid series of expresses. The report
announced a second defeat of the Burgundians, in terms so exaggerated
as induced the Earl of Oxford to consider the greater part, if not the
whole, as a fabrication.



CHAPTER XVI.

     And is the hostile troop arrived,
       And have they won the day?
     It must have been a bloody field
       Ere Darwent fled away!
              _The Ettrick Shepherd._


Sleep did not close the eyes of the Earl of Oxford or his son; for
although the success or defeat of the Duke of Burgundy could not now
be of importance to their own private or political affairs, yet the
father did not cease to interest himself in the fate of his former
companion-in-arms; and the son, with the fire of youth, always eager
after novelty,[12] expected to find something to advance or thwart his
own progress in every remarkable event which agitated the world.

Arthur had risen from his bed, and was in the act of attiring himself,
when the tread of a horse arrested his attention. He had no sooner
looked out of the window, than, exclaiming, "News, my father, news
from the army!" he rushed into the street, where a cavalier, who
appeared to have ridden very hard, was inquiring for the two
Philipsons, father and son. He had no difficulty in recognising
Colvin, the master of the Burgundian ordnance. His ghastly look
bespoke distress of mind; his disordered array and broken armour,
which seemed rusted with rain or stained with blood, gave the
intelligence of some affray in which he had probably been worsted; and
so exhausted was his gallant steed, that it was with difficulty the
animal could stand upright. The condition of the rider was not much
better. When he alighted from his horse to greet Arthur, he reeled so
much that he would have fallen without instant support. His horny eye
had lost the power of speculation; his limbs possessed imperfectly
that of motion, and it was with a half-suffocated voice that he
muttered, "Only fatigue--want of rest and of food."

Arthur assisted him into the house, and refreshments were procured;
but he refused all except a bowl of wine, after tasting which he set
it down, and, looking at the Earl of Oxford with an eye of the deepest
affliction, he ejaculated, "The Duke of Burgundy!"

"Slain?" replied the Earl. "I trust not!"

"It might have been better if he were," said the Englishman; "but
dishonour has come before death."

"Defeated, then?" said Oxford.

"So completely and fearfully defeated," answered the soldier, "that
all that I have seen of loss before was slight in comparison."

"But how, or where?" said the Earl of Oxford. "You were superior in
numbers, as we were informed."

"Two to one at least," answered Colvin; "and when I speak of our
encounter at this moment, I could rend my flesh with my teeth for
being here to tell such a tale of shame. We had sat down for about a
week before that paltry town of Murten, or Morat, or whatever it is
called. The governor, one of those stubborn mountain bears of Berne,
bade us defiance. He would not even condescend to shut his gates, but,
when we summoned the town, returned for answer, we might enter if we
pleased,--we should be suitably received. I would have tried to bring
him to reason by a salvo or two of artillery, but the Duke was too
much irritated to listen to good counsel. Stimulated by that black
traitor, Campo-basso, he deemed it better to run forward with his
whole force upon a place which, though I could soon have battered it
about their German ears, was yet too strong to be carried by swords,
lances, and hagbuts. We were beaten off with great loss, and much
discouragement to the soldiers. We then commenced more regularly, and
my batteries would have brought these mad Switzers to their senses.
Walls and ramparts went down before the lusty cannoneers of Burgundy;
we were well secured also by intrenchments against those whom we heard
of as approaching to raise the siege. But, on the evening of the
twentieth of this month, we learned that they were close at hand, and
Charles, consulting only his own bold spirit, advanced to meet them,
relinquishing the advantage of our batteries and strong position. By
his orders, though against my own judgment, I accompanied him with
twenty good pieces, and the flower of my people. We broke up on the
next morning, and had not advanced far before we saw the lances and
thick array of halberds and two-handed swords which crested the
mountain. Heaven, too, added its terrors--a thunderstorm, with all the
fury of those tempestuous climates, descended on both armies, but did
most annoyance to ours, as our troops, especially the Italians, were
more sensible to the torrents of rain which poured down, and the
rivulets which, swelled into torrents, inundated and disordered our
position. The Duke for once saw it necessary to alter his purpose of
instant battle. He rode up to me, and directed me to defend with the
cannon the retreat which he was about to commence, adding that he
himself would in person sustain me with the men-at-arms. The order was
given to retreat. But the movement gave new spirit to an enemy already
sufficiently audacious. The ranks of the Swiss instantly prostrated
themselves in prayer--a practice on the field of battle which I have
ridiculed--but I will do so no more. When, after five minutes, they
sprang again on their feet, and began to advance rapidly, sounding
their horns and crying their war-cries with all their usual
ferocity--behold, my lord, the clouds of heaven opened, shedding on
the Confederates the blessed light of the returning sun, while our
ranks were still in the gloom of the tempest. My men were discouraged.
The host behind them was retreating; the sudden light thrown on the
advancing Switzers showed along the mountains a profusion of banners,
a glancing of arms, giving to the enemy the appearance of double the
numbers that had hitherto been visible to us. I exhorted my followers
to stand fast, but in doing so I thought a thought, and spoke a word,
which was a grievous sin. 'Stand fast, my brave cannoneers!' I said.
'We will presently let them hear louder thunders, and show them more
fatal lightnings, than their prayers have put down!' My men shouted.
But it was an impious thought, a blasphemous speech, and evil came
after it. We levelled our guns on the advancing masses as fairly as
cannon were ever pointed--I can vouch it, for I laid the Grand Duchess
of Burgundy myself--Ah, poor Duchess! what rude hands manage thee
now!--The volley was fired, and, ere the smoke spread from the
muzzles, I could see many a man and many a banner go down. It was
natural to think such a discharge should have checked the attack, and
whilst the smoke hid the enemy from us I made every effort again to
load our cannon, and anxiously endeavoured to look through the mist to
discover the state of our opponents. But ere our smoke was cleared
away, or the cannon again loaded, they came headlong down on us, horse
and foot, old men and boys, men-at-arms and varlets, charging up to
the muzzle of the guns, and over them, with total disregard to their
lives. My brave fellows were cut down, pierced through, and overrun,
while they were again loading their pieces, nor do I believe that a
single cannon was fired a second time."

"And the Duke?" said the Earl of Oxford. "Did he not support you?"

"Most loyally and bravely," answered Colvin, "with his own bodyguard
of Walloons and Burgundians. But a thousand Italian mercenaries went
off, and never showed face again. The pass, too, was cumbered with the
artillery, and in itself narrow, bordering on mountains and cliffs, a
deep lake close beside. In short, it was a place totally unfit for
horsemen to act in. In spite of the Duke's utmost exertions, and those
of the gallant Flemings who fought around him, all were borne back in
complete disorder. I was on foot, fighting as I could, without hopes
of my life, or indeed thoughts of saving it, when I saw the guns taken
and my faithful cannoneers slain. But I saw Duke Charles hard pressed,
and took my horse from my page that held him--Thou, too, art lost, my
poor orphan boy!--I could only aid Monseigneur de la Croye and others
to extricate the Duke. Our retreat became a total rout, and when we
reached our rearguard, which we had left strongly encamped, the
banners of the Switzers were waving on our batteries, for a large
division had made a circuit through mountain passes known only to
themselves, and attacked our camp, vigorously seconded by that
accursed Adrian de Bubenburg, who sallied from the beleaguered town,
so that our intrenchments were stormed on both sides at once.--I have
more to say, but having ridden day and night to bring you these evil
tidings, my tongue clings to the roof of my mouth, and I feel that I
can speak no more. The rest is all flight and massacre, disgraceful to
every soldier that shared in it. For my part, I confess my
contumelious self-confidence and insolence to man, as well as
blasphemy to Heaven. If I live, it is but to hide my disgraced head in
a cowl, and expiate the numerous sins of a licentious life."

With difficulty the broken-minded soldier was prevailed upon to take
some nourishment and repose, together with an opiate, which was
prescribed by the physician of King René, who recommended it as
necessary to preserve even the reason of his patient, exhausted by the
events of the battle, and subsequent fatigue.

The Earl of Oxford, dismissing other assistance, watched alternately
with his son at Colvin's bedside. Notwithstanding the draught that
had been administered, his repose was far from sound. Sudden starts,
the perspiration which started from his brow, the distortions of his
countenance, and the manner in which he clenched his fists and flung
about his limbs, showed that in his dreams he was again encountering
the terrors of a desperate and forlorn combat. This lasted for several
hours; but about noon fatigue and medicine prevailed over nervous
excitation, and the defeated commander fell into a deep and untroubled
repose till evening. About sunset he awakened, and, after learning
with whom and where he was, he partook of refreshments, and, without
any apparent consciousness of having told them before, detailed once
more all the particulars of the battle of Murten.

"It were little wide of truth," he said, "to calculate that one half
of the Duke's army fell by the sword, or were driven into the lake.
Those who escaped are great part of them scattered, never again to
unite. Such a desperate and irretrievable rout was never witnessed. We
fled like deer, sheep, or any other timid animals, which only remain
in company because they are afraid to separate, but never think of
order or of defence."

"And the Duke?" said the Earl of Oxford.

"We hurried him with us," said the soldier, "rather from instinct than
loyalty, as men flying from a conflagration snatch up what they have
of value, without knowing what they are doing. Knight and knave,
officer and soldier, fled in the same panic, and each blast of the
horn of Uri in our rear added new wings to our flight."

"And the Duke?" repeated Oxford.

"At first he resisted our efforts, and strove to turn back on the foe;
but when the flight became general he galloped along with us, without
a word spoken or a command issued. At first we thought his silence and
passiveness, so unusual in a temper so fiery, were fortunate for
securing his personal safety. But when we rode the whole day, without
being able to obtain a word of reply to all our questions,--when he
sternly refused refreshments of every kind, though he had tasted no
food all that disastrous day,--when every variation of his moody and
uncertain temper was sunk into silent and sullen despair, we took
counsel what was to be done, and it was by the general voice that I
was despatched to entreat that you, for whose counsels alone Charles
has been known to have had some occasional deference, would come
instantly to his place of retreat, and exert all your influence to
awaken him from this lethargy, which may otherwise terminate his
existence."

"And what remedy can I interpose?" said Oxford. "You know how he
neglected my advice, when following it might have served my interest
as well as his own. You are aware that my life was not safe among the
miscreants that surrounded the Duke, and exercised influence over
him."

"Most true," answered Colvin; "but I also know he is your ancient
companion-in-arms, and it would ill become me to teach the noble Earl
of Oxford what the laws of chivalry require. For your lordship's
safety, every honest man in the army will give willing security."

"It is for that I care least," said Oxford, indifferently; "and if
indeed my presence can be of service to the Duke,--if I could believe
that he desired it"----

"He does--he does, my lord!" said the faithful soldier, with tears in
his eyes. "We heard him name your name, as if the words escaped him in
a painful dream."

"I will go to him, such being the case," said Oxford.--"I will go
instantly. Where did he purpose to establish his headquarters?"

"He had fixed nothing for himself on that or other matters; but
Monsieur de Contay named La Rivière, near Salins, in Upper Burgundy,
as the place of his retreat."

"Thither, then, will we, my son, with all haste of preparation. Thou,
Colvin, hadst better remain here, and see some holy man, to be
assoilzied for thy hasty speech on the battle-field of Morat. There
was offence in it without doubt, but it will be ill atoned for by
quitting a generous master when he hath most need of your good
service; and it is but an act of cowardice to retreat into the
cloister, till we have no longer active duties to perform in this
world."

"It is true," said Colvin, "that should I leave the Duke now, perhaps
not a man would stay behind that could stell a cannon properly. The
sight of your lordship cannot but operate favourably on my noble
master, since it has waked the old soldier in myself. If your lordship
can delay your journey till to-morrow, I will have my spiritual
affairs settled, and my bodily health sufficiently restored, to be
your guide to La Rivière; and, for the cloister, I will think of it
when I have regained the good name which I have lost at Murten. But I
will have masses said, and these right powerful, for the souls of my
poor cannoneers."

The proposal of Colvin was adopted, and Oxford, with his son, attended
by Thiebault, spent the day in preparation, excepting the time
necessary to take formal leave of King René, who seemed to part with
them with regret. In company with the ordnance officer of the
discomfited Duke, they traversed those parts of Provence, Dauphiné,
and Franche Compté which lie between Aix and the place to which the
Duke of Burgundy had retreated; but the distance and inconvenience of
so long a route consumed more than a fortnight on the road, and the
month of July 1476 was commenced when the travellers arrived in Upper
Burgundy, and at the Castle of La Rivière, about twenty miles to the
south of the town of Salins. The castle, which was but of small size,
was surrounded by very many tents, which were pitched in a crowded,
disordered, and unsoldierlike manner, very unlike the discipline
usually observed in the camp of Charles the Bold. That the Duke was
present there, however, was attested by his broad banner, which, rich
with all its quarterings, streamed from the battlements of the castle.
The guard turned out to receive the strangers, but in a manner so
disorderly that the Earl looked to Colvin for explanation. The master
of the ordnance shrugged up his shoulders, and was silent.

Colvin having sent in notice of his arrival, and that of the English
Earl, Monsieur de Contay caused them presently to be admitted, and
expressed much joy at their arrival.

"A few of us," he said, "true servants of the Duke, are holding
council here, at which your assistance, my noble Lord of Oxford, will
be of the utmost importance. Messieurs De la Croye, De Craon,
Rubempré, and others, nobles of Burgundy, are now assembled to
superintend the defence of the country at this exigence."

They all expressed delight to see the Earl of Oxford, and had only
abstained from thrusting their attentions on him the last time he was
in the Duke's camp, as they understood it was his wish to observe
incognito.

"His Grace," said De Craon, "has asked after you twice, and on both
times by your assumed name of Philipson."

"I wonder not at that, my Lord of Craon," replied the English
nobleman. "The origin of the name took its rise in former days, when I
was here during my first exile. It was then said that we poor
Lancastrian nobles must assume other names than our own, and the good
Duke Philip said, as I was brother-in-arms to his son Charles, I must
be called after himself, by the name of Philipson. In memory of the
good sovereign, I took that name when the day of need actually
arrived, and I see that the Duke thinks of our early intimacy by his
distinguishing me so.--How fares his Grace?"

The Burgundians looked at each other, and there was a pause.

"Even like a man stunned, brave Oxford," at length De Contay replied.
"Sieur d'Argentin, you can best inform the noble Earl of the condition
of our sovereign."

"He is like a man distracted," said the future historian of that busy
period. "After the battle of Granson, he was never, to my thinking, of
the same sound judgment as before. But then, he was capricious,
unreasonable, peremptory, and inconsistent, and resented every counsel
that was offered, as if it had been meant in insult; was jealous of
the least trespass in point of ceremonial, as if his subjects were
holding him in contempt. Now there is a total change, as if this
second blow had stunned him, and suppressed the violent passions which
the first called into action. He is silent as a Carthusian, solitary
as a hermit, expresses interest in nothing, least of all in the
guidance of his army. He was, you know, anxious about his dress, so
much so that there was some affectation even in the rudenesses which
he practised in that matter. But, woe's me, you will see a change now;
he will not suffer his hair or nails to be trimmed or arranged. He is
totally heedless of respect or disrespect towards him, takes little or
no nourishment, uses strong wines, which, however, do not seem to
affect his understanding; he will hear nothing of war or state
affairs, as little of hunting or of sport. Suppose an anchorite
brought from a cell to govern a kingdom, you see in him, except in
point of devotion, a picture of the fiery, active Charles of
Burgundy."

"You speak of a mind deeply wounded, Sieur d'Argentin," replied the
Englishman. "Think you it fit I should present myself before the
Duke?"

"I will inquire," said Contay; and, leaving the apartment, returned
presently, and made a sign to the Earl to follow him.

In a cabinet, or closet, the unfortunate Charles reclined in a large
arm-chair, his legs carelessly stretched on a footstool, but so
changed that the Earl of Oxford could have believed what he saw to be
the ghost of the once fiery Duke. Indeed, the shaggy length of hair
which, streaming from his head, mingled with his beard; the hollowness
of the caverns, at the bottom of which rolled his wild eyes; the
falling in of the breast, and the advance of the shoulders, gave the
ghastly appearance of one who has suffered the final agony which takes
from mortality the signs of life and energy. His very costume (a cloak
flung loosely over him) increased his resemblance to a shrouded
phantom. De Contay named the Earl of Oxford; but the Duke gazed on him
with a lustreless eye, and gave him no answer.

"Speak to him, brave Oxford," said the Burgundian in a whisper; "he is
even worse than usual, but perhaps he may know your voice."

Never, when the Duke of Burgundy was in the most palmy state of his
fortunes, did the noble Englishman kneel to kiss his hand with such
sincere reverence. He respected in him, not only the afflicted friend,
but the humbled sovereign, upon whose tower of trust the lightning had
so recently broken. It was probably the falling of a tear upon his
hand which seemed to awake the Duke's attention, for he looked towards
the Earl, and said, "Oxford--Philipson--my old--my only friend, hast
thou found me out in this retreat of shame and misery?"

"I am not your only friend, my lord," said Oxford. "Heaven has given
you many affectionate friends among your natural and loyal subjects.
But though a stranger, and saving the allegiance I owe to my lawful
sovereign, I will yield to none of them in the respect and deference
which I have paid to your Grace in prosperity, and now come to render
to you in adversity."

"Adversity indeed!" said the Duke; "irremediable, intolerable
adversity! I was lately Charles of Burgundy, called the Bold--now am I
twice beaten by a scum of German peasants; my standard taken, my
men-at-arms put to flight, my camp twice plundered, and each time of
value more than equal to the price of all Switzerland fairly lost;
myself hunted like a caitiff goat or chamois--The utmost spite of hell
could never accumulate more shame on the head of a sovereign!"

"On the contrary, my lord," said Oxford, "it is a trial of Heaven,
which calls for patience and strength of mind. The bravest and best
knight may lose the saddle; he is but a laggard who lies rolling on
the sand of the lists after the accident has chanced."

"Ha, laggard, say'st thou?" said the Duke, some part of his ancient
spirit awakened by the broad taunt. "Leave my presence, sir, and
return to it no more, till you are summoned thither"----

"Which I trust will be no later than your Grace quits your dishabille,
and disposes yourself to see your vassals and friends with such
ceremony as befits you and them," said the Earl composedly.

"How mean you by that, Sir Earl? You are unmannerly."

"If I be, my lord, I am taught my ill-breeding by circumstances. I can
mourn over fallen dignity; but I cannot honour him who dishonours
himself, by bending, like a regardless boy, beneath the scourge of
evil fortune."

"And who am I that you should term me such?" said Charles, starting up
in all his natural pride and ferocity; "or who are you but a
miserable exile, that you should break in upon my privacy with such
disrespectful upbraiding?"

"For me," replied Oxford, "I am, as you say, an unrespected exile; nor
am I ashamed of my condition, since unshaken loyalty to my King and
his successors has brought me to it. But in you, can I recognise the
Duke of Burgundy in a sullen hermit, whose guards are a disorderly
soldiery, dreadful only to their friends; whose councils are in
confusion for want of their sovereign, and who himself lurks like a
lamed wolf in its den, in an obscure castle, waiting but a blast of
the Switzer's horn to fling open its gates, which there are none to
defend; who wears not a knightly sword to protect his person, and
cannot even die like a stag at bay, but must be worried like a hunted
fox?"

"Death and hell, slanderous traitor!" thundered the Duke, glancing a
look at his side, and perceiving himself without a weapon.--"It is
well for thee I have no sword, or thou shouldst never boast of thine
insolence going unpunished.--Contay, step forth like a good knight,
and confute the calumniator. Say, are not my soldiers arrayed,
disciplined, and in order?"

"My lord," said Contay, trembling (brave as he was in battle) at the
frantic rage which Charles exhibited, "there are a numerous soldiery
yet under your command, but they are in evil order, and in worse
discipline, I think, than they were wont."

"I see it--I see it," said the Duke; "idle and evil counsellors are ye
all.--Hearken, Sir of Contay, what have you and the rest of you been
doing, holding as you do large lands and high fiefs of us, that I
cannot stretch my limbs on a sick-bed, when my heart is half broken,
but my troops must fall into such scandalous disorder as exposes me to
the scorn and reproach of each beggarly foreigner?"

"My lord," replied Contay, more firmly, "we have done what we could.
But your Grace has accustomed your mercenary generals, and leaders of
Free Companies, to take their orders only from your own mouth, or
hand. They clamour also for pay, and the treasurer refuses to issue it
without your Grace's order, as he alleges it might cost him his head;
and they will not be guided and restrained, either by us or those who
compose your council."

The Duke laughed sternly, but was evidently somewhat pleased with the
reply.

"Ha, ha!" he said, "it is only Burgundy who can ride his own wild
horses, and rule his own wild soldiery. Hark thee, Contay--To-morrow I
ride forth to review the troops--for what disorder has passed,
allowance shall be made. Pay also shall be issued--but woe to those
who shall have offended too deeply! Let my grooms of the chamber know
to provide me fitting dress and arms. I have got a lesson" (glancing a
dark look at Oxford), "and I will not again be insulted without the
means of wreaking my vengeance. Begone, both of you! And, Contay, send
the treasurer hither with his accounts, and woe to his soul if I find
aught to complain of! Begone, I say, and send him hither."

They left the apartment with suitable obeisance. As they retired, the
Duke said abruptly, "Lord of Oxford, a word with you. Where did you
study medicine? In your own famed university, I suppose. Thy physic
hath wrought a wonder. Yet, Doctor Philipson, it might have cost thee
thy life."

"I have ever thought my life cheap," said Oxford, "when the object was
to help my friend."

"Thou art indeed a friend," said Charles, "and a fearless one. But
go--I have been sore troubled, and thou hast tasked my temper closely.
To-morrow we will speak further; meantime, I forgive thee, and I
honour thee."

The Earl of Oxford retired to the council-hall, where the Burgundian
nobility, aware of what had passed, crowded around him with thanks,
compliments, and congratulations. A general bustle now ensued; orders
were hurried off in every direction. Those officers who had duties to
perform which had been neglected, hastened to conceal or to atone for
their negligence. There was a general tumult in the camp, but it was a
tumult of joy; for soldiers are always most pleased when they are best
in order for performing their military service; and licence or
inactivity, however acceptable at times, are not, when continued, so
agreeable to their nature, as strict discipline and a prospect of
employment.

The treasurer, who was, luckily for him, a man of sense and method,
having been two hours in private with the Duke, returned with looks of
wonder, and professed that never, in Charles's most prosperous days,
had he showed himself more acute in the department of finance, of
which he had but that morning seemed totally incapable; and the merit
was universally attributed to the visit of Lord Oxford, whose timely
reprimand had, like the shot of a cannon dispersing foul mists,
awakened the Duke from his black and bilious melancholy.

On the following day Charles reviewed his troops with his usual
attention, directed new levies, made various dispositions of his
forces, and corrected the faults of their discipline by severe orders,
which were enforced by some deserved punishments (of which the Italian
mercenaries of Campo-basso had a large share), and rendered palatable
by the payment of arrears, which was calculated to attach them to the
standard under which they served.

The Duke also, after consulting with his council, agreed to convoke
meetings of the States in his different territories, redress certain
popular grievances, and grant some boons which he had hitherto denied;
and thus began to open a new account of popularity with his subjects,
in place of that which his rashness had exhausted.

FOOTNOTES:

[12] Cupidus novarum rerum.



CHAPTER XVII.

                       Here's a weapon now,
     Shall shake a conquering general in his tent,
     A monarch on his throne, or reach a prelate,
           However holy be his offices,
           E'en while he serves the altar.
                                       _Old Play._


From this time all was activity in the Duke of Burgundy's court and
army. Money was collected, soldiers were levied, and certain news of
the Confederates' motions only were wanting to bring on the campaign.
But although Charles was, to all outward appearance, as active as
ever, yet those who were more immediately about his person were of
opinion that he did not display the soundness of mind or the energy of
judgment which had been admired in him before these calamities. He was
still liable to fits of moody melancholy, similar to those which
descended upon Saul, and was vehemently furious when aroused out of
them. Indeed, the Earl of Oxford himself seemed to have lost the power
which he had exercised over him at first. Nay, though in general
Charles was both grateful and affectionate towards him, he evidently
felt humbled by the recollection of his having witnessed his impotent
and disastrous condition, and was so much afraid of Lord Oxford being
supposed to lead his counsels, that he often repelled his advice,
merely, as it seemed, to show his own independence of mind.

In these froward humours the Duke was much encouraged by Campo-basso.
That wily traitor now saw his master's affairs tottering to their
fall, and he resolved to lend his lever to the work, so as to entitle
him to a share of the spoil. He regarded Oxford as one of the most
able friends and counsellors who adhered to the Duke; he thought he
saw in his looks that he fathomed his own treacherous purpose, and
therefore he hated and feared him. Besides, in order perhaps to colour
over, even to his own eyes, the abominable perfidy he meditated, he
affected to be exceedingly enraged against the Duke for the late
punishment of marauders belonging to his Italian bands. He believed
that chastisement to have been inflicted by the advice of Oxford; and
he suspected that the measure was pressed with the hope of discovering
that the Italians had not pillaged for their own emolument only, but
for that of their commander. Believing that Oxford was thus hostile to
him, Campo-basso would have speedily found means to take him out of
his path, had not the Earl himself found it prudent to observe some
precautions; and the lords of Flanders and Burgundy, who loved him for
the very reasons for which the Italian abhorred him, watched over his
safety with a vigilance of which he himself was ignorant, but which
certainly was the means of preserving his life.

It was not to be supposed that Ferrand of Lorraine should have left
his victory so long unimproved; but the Swiss Confederates, who were
the strength of his forces, insisted that the first operations should
take place in Savoy and the Pays de Vaud, where the Burgundians had
many garrisons, which, though they received no relief, yet were not
easily or speedily reduced. Besides, the Switzers being, like most of
the national soldiers of the time, a kind of militia, most of them
returned home, to get in their harvest, and to deposit their spoil in
safety. Ferrand, therefore, though bent on pursuing his success with
all the ardour of youthful chivalry, was prevented from making any
movement in advance until the month of December 1476. In the meantime,
the Duke of Burgundy's forces, to be least burdensome to the country,
were cantoned in distant places of his dominions, where every exertion
was made to perfect the discipline of the new levies. The Duke, if
left to himself, would have precipitated the struggle by again
assembling his forces, and pushing forward into the Helvetian
territories; but, though he inwardly foamed at the recollection of
Granson and Murten, the memory of these disasters was too recent to
permit such a plan of the campaign. Meantime, weeks glided past, and
the month of December was far advanced, when one morning, as the Duke
was sitting in council, Campo-basso suddenly entered, with a degree of
extravagant rapture in his countenance, singularly different from the
cold, regulated, and subtle smile which was usually his utmost advance
towards laughter. "_Guantes_,"[13] he said, "_Guantes_, for luck's
sake, if it please your Grace."

"And what of good fortune comes nigh us?" said the Duke. "Methought
she had forgot the way to our gates."

"She has returned to them, please your Highness, with her cornucopia
full of choicest gifts, ready to pour her fruit, her flowers, her
treasures, on the head of the sovereign of Europe most worthy to
receive them."

"The meaning of all this?" said Duke Charles. "Riddles are for
children."

"The harebrained young madman Ferrand, who calls himself of Lorraine,
has broken down from the mountains, at the head of a desultory army of
scapegraces like himself; and what think you--ha! ha! ha!--they are
overrunning Lorraine, and have taken Nancy--ha! ha! ha!"

"By my good faith, Sir Count," said Contay, astonished at the gay
humour with which the Italian treated a matter so serious, "I have
seldom heard a fool laugh more gaily at a more scurvy jest, than you,
a wise man, laugh at the loss of the principal town of the province we
are fighting for."

"I laugh," said Campo-basso, "among the spears, as my war-horse
does--ha! ha!--among the trumpets. I laugh also over the destruction
of the enemy, and the dividing of the spoil, as eagles scream their
joy over the division of their prey; I laugh"----

"You laugh," said the Lord of Contay, waxing impatient, "when you have
all the mirth to yourself, as you laughed after our losses at Granson
and Murten."

"Peace, sir!" said the Duke. "The Count of Campo-basso has viewed the
case as I do. This young knight-errant ventures from the protection
of his mountains; and Heaven deal with me as I keep my oath, when I
swear that the next fair field on which we meet shall see one of us
dead! It is now the last week of the old year, and before Twelfth-Day
we will see whether he or I shall find the bean in the cake.--To arms,
my lords! Let our camp instantly break up, and our troops move forward
towards Lorraine. Send off the Italian and Albanian light cavalry and
the Stradiots to scour the country in the van--Oxford, thou wilt bear
arms in this journey, wilt thou not?"

"Surely," said the Earl. "I am eating your Highness's bread; and when
enemies invade, it stands with my honour to fight for your Grace as if
I was your born subject. With your Grace's permission, I will despatch
a pursuivant, who shall carry letters to my late kind host, the
Landamman of Unterwalden, acquainting him with my purpose."

The Duke having given a ready assent, the pursuivant was dismissed
accordingly, and returned in a few hours, so near had the armies
approached to each other. He bore a letter from the Landamman, in a
tone of courtesy and even kindness, regretting that any cause should
have occurred for bearing arms against his late guest, for whom he
expressed high personal regard. The same pursuivant also brought
greetings from the family of the Biedermans to their friend Arthur,
and a separate letter, addressed to the same person, of which the
contents ran thus:--

     "Rudolph Donnerhugel is desirous to give the young
     merchant, Arthur Philipson, the opportunity of finishing
     the bargain which remained unsettled between them in the
     castle-court of Geierstein. He is the more desirous of
     this, as he is aware that the said Arthur has done him
     wrong, in seducing the affections of a certain maiden of
     rank, to whom he, Philipson, is not, and cannot be,
     anything beyond an ordinary acquaintance. Rudolph
     Donnerhugel will send Arthur Philipson word when a fair
     and equal meeting can take place on neutral ground. In the
     meantime, he will be as often as possible in the first
     rank of the skirmishers."

Young Arthur's heart leapt high as he read the defiance, the piqued
tone of which showed the state of the writer's feelings, and argued
sufficiently Rudolph's disappointment on the subject of Anne of
Geierstein, and his suspicion that she had bestowed her affections on
the youthful stranger. Arthur found means of despatching a reply to
the challenge of the Swiss, assuring him of the pleasure with which he
would attend his commands, either in front of the line or elsewhere,
as Rudolph might desire.

Meantime the armies were closely approaching to each other, and the
light troops sometimes met. The Stradiots from the Venetian territory,
a sort of cavalry resembling that of the Turks, performed much of that
service on the part of the Burgundian army, for which, indeed, if
their fidelity could have been relied on, they were admirably well
qualified. The Earl of Oxford observed that these men, who were under
the command of Campo-basso, always brought in intelligence that the
enemy were in indifferent order, and in full retreat. Besides,
information was communicated through their means that sundry
individuals, against whom the Duke of Burgundy entertained peculiar
personal dislike, and whom he specially desired to get into his
hands, had taken refuge in Nancy. This greatly increased the Duke's
ardour for retaking that place, which became perfectly ungovernable
when he learned that Ferrand and his Swiss allies had drawn off to a
neighbouring position called St. Nicholas, on the news of his arrival.
The greater part of the Burgundian counsellors, together with the Earl
of Oxford, protested against his besieging a place of some strength,
while an active enemy lay in the neighbourhood to relieve it. They
remonstrated on the smallness of his army, on the severity of the
weather, on the difficulty of obtaining provisions, and exhorted the
Duke that, having made such a movement as had forced the enemy to
retreat, he ought to suspend decisive operations till spring. Charles
at first tried to dispute and repel these arguments; but when his
counsellors reminded him that he was placing himself and his army in
the same situation as at Granson and Murten, he became furious at the
recollection, foamed at the mouth, and only answered by oaths and
imprecations, that he would be master of Nancy before Twelfth Day.

Accordingly, the army of Burgundy sat down before Nancy, in a strong
position, protected by the hollow of a watercourse, and covered with
thirty pieces of cannon, which Colvin had under his charge.

Having indulged his obstinate temper in thus arranging the campaign,
the Duke seemed to give a little more heed to the advice of his
counsellors touching the safety of his person, and permitted the Earl
of Oxford, with his son, and two or three officers of his household,
men of approved trust, to sleep within his pavilion, in addition to
the usual guard.

It wanted three days of Christmas when the Duke sat down before Nancy,
and on that very evening a tumult happened which seemed to justify the
alarm for his personal safety. It was midnight, and all in the ducal
pavilion were at rest, when a cry of treason arose. The Earl of
Oxford, drawing his sword, and snatching up a light which burned
beside him, rushed into the Duke's apartment, and found him standing
on the floor totally undressed, but with his sword in his hand, and
striking around him so furiously, that the Earl himself had difficulty
in avoiding his blows. The rest of his officers rushed in, their
weapons drawn, and their cloaks wrapped around their left arms. When
the Duke was somewhat composed, and found himself surrounded by his
friends, he informed them, with rage and agitation, that the officers
of the Secret Tribunal had, in spite of the vigilant precautions
taken, found means to gain entrance into his chamber, and charged him,
under the highest penalty, to appear before the Holy Vehme upon
Christmas night.

The bystanders heard this story with astonishment, and some of them
were uncertain whether they ought to consider it as a reality, or a
dream of the Duke's irritable fancy. But the citation was found on the
Duke's toilette, written, as was the form, upon parchment, signeted
with three crosses, and stuck to the table with a knife. A slip of
wood had been also cut from the table. Oxford read the summons with
attention. It named, as usual, a place where the Duke was cited to
come unarmed and unattended, and from which it was said he would be
guided to the seat of judgment.

Charles, after looking at the scroll for some time, gave vent to his
thoughts.

"I know from what quiver this arrow comes," he said. "It is shot by
that degenerate noble, apostate priest, and accomplice of sorcerers,
Albert of Geierstein. We have heard that he is among the motley group
of murderers and outlaws whom the old fiddler of Provence's grandson
has raked together. But, by St. George of Burgundy! neither monk's
cowl, soldier's casque, nor conjurer's cap shall save him after such
an insult as this. I will degrade him from knighthood, hang him from
the highest steeple in Nancy, and his daughter shall choose between
the meanest herd-boy in my army and the convent of _filles
repentées_!"

"Whatever are your purposes, my lord," said Contay, "it were surely
best be silent, when, from this late apparition, we may conjecture
that more than we wot of may be within hearing."

The Duke seemed struck with this hint, and was silent, or at least
only muttered oaths and threats betwixt his teeth, while the strictest
search was made for the intruder on his repose. But it was in vain.

Charles continued his researches, incensed at a flight of audacity
higher than ever had been ventured upon by these secret societies,
who, whatever might be the dread inspired by them, had not as yet
attempted to cope with sovereigns. A trusty party of Burgundians were
sent on Christmas night to watch the spot (a meeting of four cross
roads) named in the summons, and make prisoners of any whom they could
lay hands upon; but no suspicious persons appeared at or near the
place. The Duke not the less continued to impute the affront he had
received to Albert of Geierstein. There was a price set upon his head;
and Campo-basso, always willing to please his master's mood, undertook
that some of his Italians, sufficiently experienced in such feats,
should bring the obnoxious baron before him, alive or dead. Colvin,
Contay, and others laughed in secret at the Italian's promises.

"Subtle as he is," said Colvin, "he will lure the wild vulture from
the heavens before he gets Albert of Geierstein into his power."

Arthur, to whom the words of the Duke had given subject for no small
anxiety, on account of Anne of Geierstein, and of her father for her
sake, breathed more lightly on hearing his menaces held so cheaply.

It was the second day after this alarm that Oxford felt a desire to
reconnoitre the camp of Ferrand of Lorraine, having some doubts
whether the strength and position of it were accurately reported. He
obtained the Duke's consent for this purpose, who at the same time
made him and his son a present of two noble steeds of great power and
speed, which he himself highly valued.

So soon as the Duke's pleasure was communicated to the Italian count,
he expressed the utmost joy that he was to have the assistance of
Oxford's age and experience upon an exploratory party, and selected a
chosen band of an hundred Stradiots, whom he said he had sent
sometimes to skirmish up to the very beards of the Switzers. The Earl
showed himself much satisfied with the active and intelligent manner
in which these men performed their duty, and drove before them and
dispersed some parties of Ferrand's cavalry. At the entrance of a
little ascending valley, Campo-basso communicated to the English
noblemen that if they could advance to the farther extremity they
would have a full view of the enemy's position. Two or three Stradiots
then spurred on to examine this defile, and, returning back,
communicated with their leader in their own language, who, pronouncing
the passage safe, invited the Earl of Oxford to accompany him. They
proceeded through the valley without seeing an enemy, but on issuing
upon a plain at the point intimated by Campo-basso, Arthur, who was in
the van of the Stradiots, and separated from his father, did indeed
see the camp of Duke Ferrand within half a mile's distance; but a body
of cavalry had that instant issued from it, and were riding hastily
towards the gorge of the valley from which he had just emerged. He was
about to wheel his horse and ride off, but, conscious of the great
speed of the animal, he thought he might venture to stay for a
moment's more accurate survey of the camp. The Stradiots who attended
him did not wait his orders to retire, but went off, as was indeed
their duty, when attacked by a superior force.

Meantime, Arthur observed that the knight who seemed leader of the
advancing squadron, mounted on a powerful horse that shook the earth
beneath him, bore on his shield the Bear of Berne, and had otherwise
the appearance of the massive frame of Rudolph Donnerhugel. He was
satisfied of this when he beheld the cavalier halt his party and
advance towards him alone, putting his lance in rest, and moving
slowly, as if to give him time for preparation. To accept such a
challenge, in such a moment, was dangerous, but to refuse it was
disgraceful; and while Arthur's blood boiled at the idea of chastising
an insolent rival, he was not a little pleased at heart that their
meeting on horseback gave him an advantage over the Swiss, through his
perfect acquaintance with the practice of the tourney, in which
Rudolph might be supposed more ignorant.

They met, as was the phrase of the time, "manful under shield." The
lance of the Swiss glanced from the helmet of the Englishman, against
which it was addressed, while the spear of Arthur, directed right
against the centre of his adversary's body, was so justly aimed, and
so truly seconded by the full fury of the career, as to pierce, not
only the shield which hung round the ill-fated warrior's neck, but a
breast-plate and a shirt of mail which he wore beneath it. Passing
clear through the body, the steel point of the weapon was only stopped
by the back-piece of the unfortunate cavalier, who fell headlong from
his horse, as if struck by lightning, rolled twice or thrice over on
the ground, tore the earth with his hands, and then lay prostrate a
dead corpse.

There was a cry of rage and grief among those men-at-arms whose ranks
Rudolph had that instant left, and many couched their lances to avenge
him; but Ferrand of Lorraine, who was present in person, ordered them
to make prisoner, but not to harm, the successful champion. This was
accomplished, for Arthur had not time to turn his bridle for flight,
and resistance would have been madness.

When brought before Ferrand, he raised his visor, and said, "Is it
well, my lord, to make captive an adventurous knight, for doing his
devoir against a personal challenger?"

"Do not complain, Sir Arthur of Oxford," said Ferrand, "before you
experience injury. You are free, Sir Knight. Your father and you were
faithful to my royal aunt Margaret, and, although she was my enemy, I
do justice to your fidelity in her behalf; and from respect to her
memory, disinherited as she was like myself, and to please my
grandfather, who I think had some regard for you, I give you your
freedom. But I must also care for your safety during your return to
the camp of Burgundy. On this side of the hill we are loyal and
true-hearted men, on the other they are traitors and murderers. You,
Sir Count, will, I think, gladly see our captive placed in safety."

The knight to whom Ferrand addressed himself, a tall, stately man, put
himself in motion to attend on Arthur, while the former was expressing
to the young Duke of Lorraine the sense he entertained of his
chivalrous conduct. "Farewell, Sir Arthur de Vere," said Ferrand. "You
have slain a noble champion, and to me a most useful and faithful
friend. But it was done nobly and openly, with equal arms, and in the
front of the line; and evil befall him who entertains feud first!"
Arthur bowed to his saddle-bow. Ferrand returned the salutation, and
they parted.

Arthur and his new companion had ridden but a little way up the
ascent, when the stranger spoke thus:--

"We have been fellow-travellers before, young man, yet you remember me
not."

Arthur turned his eyes on the cavalier, and, observing that the crest
which adorned his helmet was fashioned like a vulture, strange
suspicions began to cross his mind, which were confirmed when the
knight, opening his helmet, showed him the dark and severe features of
the Priest of St. Paul's.

"Count Albert of Geierstein!" said Arthur.

"The same," replied the count, "though thou hast seen him in other
garb and headgear. But tyranny drives all men to arms, and I have
resumed, by the licence and command of my superiors, those which I had
laid aside. A war against cruelty and oppression is holy as that waged
in Palestine, in which priests bear armour."

"My Lord Count," said Arthur, eagerly, "I cannot too soon entreat you
to withdraw to Sir Ferrand of Lorraine's squadron. Here you are in
peril, where no strength or courage can avail you. The Duke has placed
a price on your head; and the country betwixt this and Nancy swarms
with Stradiots and Italian light horsemen."

"I laugh at them," answered the count. "I have not lived so long in a
stormy world, amid intrigues of war and policy, to fall by the mean
hand of such as they--besides, thou art with me, and I have seen but
now that thou canst bear thee nobly."

"In your defence, my lord," said Arthur, who thought of his companion
as the father of Anne of Geierstein, "I should try to do my best."

"What, youth!" replied Count Albert with a stern sneer, that was
peculiar to his countenance; "wouldst thou aid the enemy of the lord
under whose banner thou servest against his waged soldiers?"

Arthur was somewhat abashed at the turn given to his ready offer of
assistance, for which he had expected at least thanks; but he
instantly collected himself, and replied, "My Lord Count Albert, you
have been pleased to put yourself in peril to protect me from
partisans of your party--I am equally bound to defend you from those
of our side."

"It is happily answered," said the count; "yet I think there is a
little blind partisan, of whom troubadours and minstrels talk, to
whose instigation I might, in case of need, owe the great zeal of my
protector."

He did not allow Arthur, who was a good deal embarrassed, time to
reply, but proceeded: "Hear me, young man--Thy lance has this day done
an evil deed to Switzerland, to Berne, and Duke Ferrand, in slaying
their bravest champion. But to me the death of Rudolph Donnerhugel is
a welcome event. Know that he was, as his services grew more
indispensable, become importunate in requiring Duke Ferrand's interest
with me for my daughter's hand. And the Duke himself, the son of a
princess, blushed not to ask me to bestow the last of my house--for my
brother's family are degenerate mongrels--upon a presumptuous young
man, whose uncle was a domestic in the house of my wife's father,
though they boasted some relationship, I believe, through an
illegitimate channel, which yonder Rudolph was wont to make the most
of, as it favoured his suit."

"Surely," said Arthur, "a match with one so unequal in birth, and far
more in every other respect, was too monstrous to be mentioned?"

"While I lived," replied Count Albert, "never should such union have
been formed, if the death both of bride and bridegroom by my dagger
could have saved the honour of my house from violation. But when I--I
whose days, whose very hours are numbered--shall be no more, what
could prevent an undaunted suitor, fortified by Duke Ferrand's favour,
by the general applause of his country, and perhaps by the unfortunate
prepossession of my brother Arnold, from carrying his point against
the resistance and scruples of a solitary maiden?"

"Rudolph is dead," replied Arthur, "and may Heaven assoilzie him from
guilt! But were he alive, and urging his suit on Anne of Geierstein,
he would find there was a combat to be fought"----

"Which has been already decided," answered Count Albert. "Now, mark
me, Arthur de Vere! My daughter has told me of the passages betwixt
you and her. Your sentiments and conduct are worthy of the noble house
you descend from, which I well know ranks with the most illustrious in
Europe. You are indeed disinherited, but so is Anne of Geierstein,
save such pittance as her uncle may impart to her of her paternal
inheritance. If you share it together till better days (always
supposing your noble father gives his consent, for my child shall
enter no house against the will of its head), my daughter knows that
she has my willing consent, and my blessing. My brother shall also
know my pleasure. He will approve my purpose; for, though dead to
thoughts of honour and chivalry, he is alive to social feelings, loves
his niece, and has friendship for thee and for thy father. What say'st
thou, young man, to taking a beggarly countess to aid thee in the
journey of life? I believe--nay, I prophesy (for I stand so much on
the edge of the grave, that methinks I command a view beyond it), that
a lustre will one day, after I have long ended my doubtful and stormy
life, beam on the coronets of De Vere and Geierstein."

De Vere threw himself from his horse, clasped the hand of Count
Albert, and was about to exhaust himself in thanks; but the count
insisted on his silence.

"We are about to part," he said. "The time is short--the place is
dangerous. You are to me, personally speaking, less than nothing. Had
any one of the many schemes of ambition which I have pursued led me to
success, the son of a banished earl had not been the son-in-law I had
chosen. Rise and remount your horse--thanks are unpleasing when they
are not merited."

Arthur arose, and, mounting his horse, threw his raptures into a more
acceptable form, endeavouring to describe how his love for Anne, and
efforts for her happiness, should express his gratitude to her father;
and, observing that the count listened with some pleasure to the
picture he drew of their future life, he could not help
exclaiming,--"And you, my lord--you who have been the author of all
this happiness, will you not be the witness and partaker of it?
Believe me, we will strive to soften the effect of the hard blows
which fortune has dealt to you, and, should a ray of better luck shine
upon us, it will be the more welcome that you can share it."

"Forbear such folly," said the Count Albert of Geierstein. "I know my
last scene is approaching. Hear and tremble. The Duke of Burgundy is
sentenced to die, and the Secret and Invisible Judges, who doom in
secret and avenge in secret, like the Deity, have given the cord and
the dagger to my hand."

"Oh, cast from you these vile symbols!" exclaimed Arthur, with
enthusiasm; "let them find butchers and common stabbers to do such an
office, and not dishonour the noble Lord of Geierstein!"

"Peace, foolish boy!" answered the count. "The oath by which I am
sworn is higher than that clouded sky, more deeply fixed than those
distant mountains. Nor think my act is that of an assassin, though for
such I might plead the Duke's own example. I send not hirelings, like
these base Stradiots, to hunt his life, without imperilling mine own.
I give not his daughter--innocent of his offences--the choice betwixt
a disgraceful marriage and a discreditable retreat from the world. No,
Arthur de Vere, I seek Charles with the resolved mind of one who, to
take the life of an adversary, exposes himself to certain death."

"I pray you speak no further of it," said Arthur, very anxiously.
"Consider I serve for the present the prince whom you threaten"----

"And art bound," interrupted the count, "to unfold to him what I tell
you. I desire you should do so; and though he hath already neglected a
summons of the Tribunal, I am glad to have this opportunity of sending
him personal defiance. Say to Charles of Burgundy that he has wronged
Albert of Geierstein. He who is injured in his honour loses all value
for his life, and whoever does so has full command over that of
another man. Bid him keep himself well from me, since, if he see a
second sun of the approaching year rise over the distant Alps, Albert
of Geierstein is forsworn.--And now begone, for I see a party
approach under a Burgundian banner. They will insure your safety, but,
should I remain longer, would endanger mine."

So saying, the Count of Geierstein turned his horse and rode off.

FOOTNOTES:

[13] _Guantes_, used by the Spanish as the French say étrennes, or the
English handsell or luckpenny--phrases used by inferiors to their
patrons as the bringers of good news.



CHAPTER XVIII.

     Faint the din of battle bray'd
       Distant down the heavy wind;
     War and terror fled before,
       Wounds and death were left behind.
                                  MICKLE.


Arthur, left alone, and desirous perhaps to cover the retreat of Count
Albert, rode towards the approaching body of Burgundian cavalry, who
were arrayed under the Lord Contay's banner.

"Welcome, welcome," said that nobleman, advancing hastily to the young
knight. "The Duke of Burgundy is a mile hence, with a body of horse to
support the reconnoitring party. It is not half an hour since your
father galloped up, and stated that you had been led into an ambuscade
by the treachery of the Stradiots, and made prisoner. He has impeached
Campo-basso of treason, and challenged him to the combat. They have
both been sent to the camp, under charge of the Grand Marshal, to
prevent their fighting on the spot, though I think our Italian showed
little desire to come to blows. The Duke holds their gages, and they
are to fight upon Twelfth Day."

"I doubt that day will never dawn for some who look for it," said
Arthur; "but if it do, I will myself claim the combat, by my father's
permission."

He then turned with Contay, and met a still larger body of cavalry
under the Duke's broad banner. He was instantly brought before
Charles. The Duke heard, with some apparent anxiety, Arthur's support
of his father's accusations against the Italian, in whose favour he
was so deeply prejudiced. When assured that the Stradiots had been
across the hill, and communicated with their leader just before he
encouraged Arthur to advance, as it proved, into the midst of an
ambush, the Duke shook his head, lowered his shaggy brows, and
muttered to himself,--"Ill will to Oxford, perhaps--these Italians are
vindictive."--Then raising his head, he commanded Arthur to proceed.

He heard with a species of ecstasy the death of Rudolph Donnerhugel,
and, taking a ponderous gold chain from his own neck, flung it over
Arthur's.

"Why, thou hast forestalled all our honours, young Arthur--this was
the biggest bear of them all--the rest are but suckling whelps to him!
I think I have found a youthful David to match their huge thick-headed
Goliath. But the idiot, to think his peasant hand could manage a
lance! Well, my brave boy--what more? How camest thou off? By some
wily device or agile stratagem, I warrant."

"Pardon me, my lord," answered Arthur. "I was protected by their
chief, Ferrand, who considered my encounter with Rudolph Donnerhugel
as a personal duel; and desirous to use fair war, as he said,
dismissed me honourably, with my horse and arms."

"Umph!" said Charles, his bad humour returning; "your Prince
Adventurer must play the generous--Umph--well, it belongs to his
part, but shall not be a line for me to square my conduct by. Proceed
with your story, Sir Arthur de Vere."

As Arthur proceeded to tell how and under what circumstances Count
Albert of Geierstein named himself to him, the Duke fixed on him an
eager look, and trembled with impatience as he fiercely interrupted
him with the question--"And you--you struck him with your poniard
under the fifth rib, did you not?"

"I did not, my Lord Duke--we were pledged in mutual assurance to each
other."

"Yet you knew him to be my mortal enemy?" said the Duke. "Go, young
man, thy lukewarm indifference has cancelled thy merit. The escape of
Albert of Geierstein hath counterbalanced the death of Rudolph
Donnerhugel."

"Be it so, my lord," said Arthur, boldly. "I neither claim your
praises, nor deprecate your censure. I had to move me in either case
motives personal to myself--Donnerhugel was my enemy, and to Count
Albert I owe some kindness."

The Burgundian nobles who stood around were terrified for the effect
of this bold speech. But it was never possible to guess with accuracy
how such things would affect Charles. He looked around him with a
laugh--"Hear you this English cockerel, my lords--what a note will he
one day sound, that already crows so bravely in a prince's presence?"

A few horsemen now came in from different quarters, recounting that
the Duke Ferrand and his company had retired into their encampment,
and the country was clear of the enemy.

"Let us then draw back also," said Charles, "since there is no chance
of breaking spears to-day. And thou, Arthur de Vere, attend me
closely."

Arrived in the Duke's pavilion, Arthur underwent an examination, in
which he said nothing of Anne of Geierstein, or her father's designs
concerning him, with which he considered Charles as having nothing to
do; but he frankly conveyed to him the personal threats which the
count had openly used. The Duke listened with more temper, and when he
heard the expression, "That a man who is desperate of his own life
might command that of any other person," he said, "But there is a life
beyond this, in which he who is treacherously murdered, and his base
and desperate assassin, shall each meet their deserts." He then took
from his bosom a gold cross, and kissed it, with much appearance of
devotion. "In this," said he, "I will place my trust. If I fail in
this world, may I find grace in the next.--Ho, Sir Marshal!" he
exclaimed. "Let your prisoners attend us."

The Marshal of Burgundy entered with the Earl of Oxford, and stated
that his other prisoner, Campo-basso, had desired so earnestly that he
might be suffered to go and post his sentinels on that part of the
camp intrusted to the protection of his troops, that he, the Marshal,
had thought fit to comply with his request.

"It is well," said Burgundy, without further remark. "Then to you, my
Lord Oxford, I would present your son, had you not already locked him
in your arms. He has won great los and honour, and done me brave
service. This is a period of the year when good men forgive their
enemies;--I know not why,--my mind was little apt to be charged with
such matters,--but I feel an unconquerable desire to stop the
approaching combat betwixt you and Campo-basso. For my sake, consent
to be friends, and to receive back your gage of battle, and let me
conclude this year--perhaps the last I may see--with a deed of peace."

"My lord," said Oxford, "it is a small thing you ask of me, since your
request only enforces a Christian duty. I was enraged at the loss of
my son. I am grateful to Heaven and your Grace for restoring him. To
be friends with Campo-basso is to me impossible. Faith and treason,
truth and falsehood, might as soon shake hands and embrace. But the
Italian shall be to me no more than he has been before this rupture;
and that is literally nothing. I put my honour in your Grace's
hands;--if he receives back his gage, I am willing to receive mine.
John de Vere needs not be apprehensive that the world will suppose
that he fears Campo-basso."

The Duke returned sincere thanks, and detained the officers to spend
the evening in his tent. His manners seemed to Arthur to be more
placid than he had ever seen them before, while to the Earl of Oxford
they recalled the earlier days in which their intimacy commenced, ere
absolute power and unbounded success had spoiled Charles's rough but
not ungenerous disposition. The Duke ordered a distribution of
provisions and wine to the soldiers, and expressed an anxiety about
their lodgings, the cure of the wounded, and the health of the army,
to which he received only unpleasing answers. To some of his
counsellors, apart, he said, "Were it not for our vow, we would
relinquish this purpose till spring, when our poor soldiers might
take the field with less of suffering."

Nothing else remarkable appeared in the Duke's manner, save that he
inquired repeatedly after Campo-basso, and at length received accounts
that he was indisposed, and that his physician had recommended rest;
he had therefore retired to repose himself, in order that he might be
stirring on his duty at peep of day, the safety of the camp depending
much on his vigilance.

The Duke made no observation on the apology, which he considered as
indicating some lurking disinclination, on the Italian's part, to meet
Oxford. The guests at the ducal pavilion were dismissed an hour before
midnight.

When Oxford and his son were in their own tent, the Earl fell into a
deep reverie, which lasted nearly ten minutes. At length, starting
suddenly up, he said, "My son, give orders to Thiebault and thy yeomen
to have our horses before the tent by break of day, or rather before
it; and it would not be amiss if you ask our neighbour Colvin to ride
along with us. I will visit the outposts by daybreak."

"It is a sudden resolution, my lord," said Arthur.

"And yet it may be taken too late," said his father. "Had it been
moonlight, I would have made the rounds to-night."

"It is dark as a wolf's throat," said Arthur. "But wherefore, my lord,
can this night in particular excite your apprehensions?"

"Son Arthur, perhaps you will hold your father credulous. But my
nurse, Martha Nixon, was a northern woman, and full of superstitions.
In particular, she was wont to say, that any sudden and causeless
change of a man's nature, as from licence to sobriety, from temperance
to indulgence, from avarice to extravagance, from prodigality to love
of money, or the like, indicates an immediate change of his
fortunes--that some great alteration of circumstances, either for good
or evil (and for evil most likely, since we live in an evil world), is
impending over him whose disposition is so much altered. This old
woman's fancy has recurred so strongly to my mind, that I am
determined to see with mine own eyes, ere to-morrow's dawn, that all
our guards and patrols around the camp are on the alert."

Arthur made the necessary communications to Colvin and to Thiebault,
and then retired to rest.

It was ere daybreak of the first of January 1477, a period long
memorable for the events which marked it, that the Earl of Oxford,
Colvin, and the young Englishman, followed only by Thiebault and two
other servants, commenced their rounds of the Duke of Burgundy's
encampment. For the greater part of their progress they found
sentinels and guards all on the alert and at their posts. It was a
bitter morning. The ground was partly covered with snow,--that snow
had been partly melted by a thaw, which had prevailed for two days,
and partly congealed into ice by a bitter frost, which had commenced
the preceding evening, and still continued. A more dreary scene could
scarcely be witnessed.

But what were the surprise and alarm of the Earl of Oxford and his
companions, when they came to that part of the camp which had been
occupied the day before by Campo-basso and his Italians, who,
reckoning men-at-arms and Stradiots, amounted to nigh two thousand
men--not a challenge was given--not a horse neighed--no steeds were
seen at picket--no guard on the camp. They examined several of the
tents and huts--they were empty.

"Let us back to alarm the camp," said the Earl of Oxford; "here is
treachery."

"Nay, my lord," said Colvin, "let us not carry back imperfect tidings.
I have a battery an hundred yards in advance, covering the access to
this hollow way; let us see if my German cannoneers are at their post,
and I think I can swear that we shall find them so. The battery
commands a narrow pass, by which alone the camp can be approached, and
if my men are at their duty, I will pawn my life that we make the pass
good till you bring up succours from the main body."

"Forward, then, in God's name!" said the Earl of Oxford.

They galloped, at every risk, over broken ground, slippery with ice in
some places, incumbered with snow in others. They came to the cannon,
judiciously placed to sweep the pass, which rose towards the artillery
on the outward side, and then descended gently from the battery into
the lower ground. The waning winter moon, mingling with the dawning
light, showed them that the guns were in their places, but no sentinel
was visible.

"The villains cannot have deserted!" said the astonished Colvin. "But
see, there is light in their cantonment. Oh, that unhallowed
distribution of wine! Their usual sin of drunkenness has beset them. I
will soon drive them from their revelry."

He sprang from his horse, and rushed into the tent whence the light
issued. The cannoneers, or most of them, were still there, but
stretched on the ground, their cups and flagons scattered around them;
and so drenched were they in wassail, that Colvin could only, by
commands and threats, awaken two or three, who, staggering, and
obeying him rather from instinct than sense, reeled forward to man the
battery. A heavy rushing sound, like that of men marching fast, was
now heard coming up the pass.

"It is the roar of a distant avalanche," said Arthur.

"It is an avalanche of Switzers, not of snow," said Colvin. "Oh, these
drunken slaves! The cannon are deeply loaded and well pointed--this
volley must check them if they were fiends, and the report will alarm
the camp sooner than we can do. But, oh, these drunken villains!"

"Care not for their aid," said the Earl; "my son and I will each take
a linstock, and be gunners for once."

They dismounted, and bade Thiebault and the grooms look to the horses,
while the Earl of Oxford and his son took each a linstock from one of
the helpless gunners, three of whom were just sober enough to stand by
their guns.

"Bravo!" cried the bold master of ordnance, "never was a battery so
noble. Now, my mates--your pardon, my lords, for there is no time for
ceremony,--and you, ye drunken knaves, take heed not to fire till I
give the word, and, were the ribs of these tramplers as flinty as
their Alps, they shall know how old Colvin loads his guns."

They stood breathless, each by his cannon. The dreaded sound
approached nearer and more near, till the imperfect light showed a
dark and shadowy but dense column of men, armed with long spears,
pole-axes, and other weapons, amidst which banners dimly floated.
Colvin suffered them to approach to the distance of about forty yards,
and then gave the word, Fire! But his own piece alone exploded; a
slight flame flashed from the touch-hole of the others, which had been
spiked by the Italian deserters, and left in reality disabled, though
apparently fit for service. Had they been all in the same condition
with that fired by Colvin, they would probably have verified his
prophecy; for even that single discharge produced an awful effect, and
made a long lane of dead and wounded through the Swiss column, in
which the first and leading banner was struck down.

"Stand to it yet," said Colvin, "and aid me if possible to reload the
piece."

For this, however, no time was allowed. A stately form, conspicuous in
the front of the staggered column, raised up the fallen banner, and a
voice as of a giant exclaimed, "What, countrymen! have you seen Murten
and Granson, and are you daunted by a single gun?--Berne--Uri--Schwitz
--banners forward! Unterwalden, here is your standard!--Cry your
war-cries, wind your horns; Unterwalden, follow your Landamman!"

They rushed on like a raging ocean, with a roar as deafening, and a
course as impetuous. Colvin, still labouring to reload his gun, was
struck down in the act. Oxford and his son were overthrown by the
multitude, the closeness of which prevented any blows being aimed at
them. Arthur partly saved himself by getting under the gun he was
posted at; his father, less fortunate, was much trampled upon, and
must have been crushed to death but for his armour of proof. The human
inundation, consisting of at least four thousand men, rushed down into
the camp, continuing their dreadful shouts, soon mingled with shrill
shrieks, groans, and cries of alarm.

A broad red glare rising behind the assailants, and putting to shame
the pallid lights of the winter morning, first recalled Arthur to a
sense of his condition. The camp was on fire in his rear, and
resounded with all the various shouts of conquest and terror that are
heard in a town which is stormed. Starting to his feet, he looked
around him for his father. He lay near him senseless, as were the
gunners, whose condition prevented their attempting an escape. Having
opened his father's casque, he was rejoiced to see him give symptoms
of reanimation.

"The horses, the horses!" said Arthur. "Thiebault, where art thou?"

"At hand, my lord," said that trusty attendant, who had saved himself
and his charge by a prudent retreat into a small thicket, which the
assailants had avoided that they might not disorder their ranks.

"Where is the gallant Colvin?" said the Earl. "Get him a horse, I will
not leave him in jeopardy."

"His wars are ended, my lord," said Thiebault; "he will never mount
steed more."

A look and a sigh as he saw Colvin, with the ramrod in his hand,
before the muzzle of the piece, his head cleft by a Swiss battle-axe,
was all the moment permitted.

"Whither must we take our course?" said Arthur to his father.

"To join the Duke," said the Earl of Oxford. "It is not on a day like
this that I will leave him."

"So please you," said Thiebault, "I saw the Duke, followed by some
half-score of his guards, riding at full speed across this hollow
watercourse, and making for the open country to the northward. I think
I can guide you on the track."

"If that be so," replied Oxford, "we will mount and follow him. The
camp has been assailed on several places at once, and all must be over
since he has fled."

With difficulty they assisted the Earl of Oxford to his horse, and
rode, as fast as his returning strength permitted, in the direction
which the Provençal pointed out. Their other attendants were dispersed
or slain.

They looked back more than once on the camp, now one great scene of
conflagration, by whose red and glaring light they could discover on
the ground the traces of Charles's retreat. About three miles from the
scene of their defeat, the sound of which they still heard, mingled
with the bells of Nancy, which were ringing in triumph, they reached a
half-frozen swamp, round which lay several dead bodies. The most
conspicuous was that of Charles of Burgundy, once the possessor of
such unlimited power--such unbounded wealth. He was partly stripped
and plundered, as were those who lay round him. His body was pierced
with several wounds, inflicted by various weapons. His sword was still
in his hand, and the singular ferocity which was wont to animate his
features in battle still dwelt on his stiffened countenance. Close
behind him, as if they had fallen in the act of mutual fight, lay the
corpse of Count Albert of Geierstein; and that of Ital Schreckenwald,
the faithful though unscrupulous follower of the latter, lay not far
distant. Both were in the dress of the men-at-arms composing the
Duke's guard, a disguise probably assumed to execute the fatal
commission of the Secret Tribunal. It is supposed that a party of the
traitor Campo-basso's men had been engaged in the skirmish in which
the Duke fell, for six or seven of them, and about the same number of
the Duke's guards, were found near the spot.

The Earl of Oxford threw himself from his horse, and examined the body
of his deceased brother-in-arms, with all the sorrow inspired by early
remembrance of his kindness. But as he gave way to the feelings
inspired by so melancholy an example of the fall of human greatness,
Thiebault, who was looking out on the path they had just pursued,
exclaimed, "To horse, my lord! here is no time to mourn the dead, and
little to save the living--the Swiss are upon us."

"Fly thyself, good fellow," said the Earl; "and do thou, Arthur, fly
also, and save thy youth for happier days. I cannot and will not fly
farther. I will render me to the pursuers; if they take me to grace,
it is well; if not, there is one above that will receive me to His."

"I will not fly," said Arthur, "and leave you defenceless; I will stay
and share your fate."

"And I will remain also," said Thiebault; "the Switzers make fair war
when their blood has not been heated by much opposition, and they have
had little enough to-day."

The party of Swiss which came up proved to be Sigismund, with his
brother Ernest, and some of the youths of Unterwalden. Sigismund
kindly and joyfully received them to mercy; and thus, for the third
time, rendered Arthur an important service, in return for the kindness
he had expressed towards him.

"I will take you to my father," said Sigismund, "who will be right
glad to see you; only that he is ill at ease just now for the death of
brother Rudiger, who fell with the banner in his hand, by the only
cannon that was fired this morning. The rest could not bark:
Campo-basso had muzzled Colvin's mastiffs, or we should many more of
us have been served like poor Rudiger. But Colvin himself is killed."

"Campo-basso, then, was in your correspondence?" said Arthur.

"Not in ours--we scorn such companions--but some dealing there was
between the Italian and Duke Ferrand; and having disabled the cannon,
and filled the German gunners soundly drunk, he came off to our camp
with fifteen hundred horse, and offered to act with us. 'But no, no!'
said my father,--'traitors come not into our Swiss host;' and so,
though we walked in at the door which he left open, we would not have
his company. So he marched with Duke Ferrand to attack the other
extremity of the camp, where he found them entrance by announcing them
as the return of a reconnoitring party."

"Nay, then," said Arthur, "a more accomplished traitor never drew
breath, nor one who drew his net with such success."

"You say well," answered the young Swiss.

"The Duke will never, they say, be able to collect another army?"

"Never, young man," said the Earl of Oxford, "for he lies dead before
you."[14]

Sigismund started; for he had an inherent respect, and somewhat of
fear, for the lofty name of Charles the Bold, and could hardly believe
that the mangled corpse which now lay before him was once the
personage he had been taught to dread. But his surprise was mingled
with sorrow when he saw the body of his uncle, Count Albert of
Geierstein.

"Oh, my uncle!" he said--"my dear uncle Albert! has all your greatness
and your wisdom brought you to a death, at the side of a ditch, like
any crazed beggar?--Come, this sad news must be presently told to my
father, who will be concerned to hear of his brother's death, which
will add gall to bitterness, coming on the back of poor Rudiger's. It
is some comfort, however, that father and uncle never could abide each
other."

With some difficulty they once more assisted the Earl of Oxford to
horseback, and were proceeding to set forward, when the English lord
said,--"You will place a guard here, to save these bodies from further
dishonour, that they may be interred with due solemnity."

"By Our Lady of Einsiedlen! I thank you for the hint," said Sigismund.
"Yes, we should do all that the Church can for uncle Albert. It is to
be hoped he has not gambled away his soul beforehand, playing with
Satan at odds and evens. I would we had a priest to stay by his poor
body; but it matters not, since no one ever heard of a demon appearing
just before breakfast."

They proceeded to the Landamman's quarters, through sights and scenes
which Arthur, and even his father, so well accustomed to war in all
its shapes, could not look upon without shuddering. But the simple
Sigismund, as he walked by Arthur's side, contrived to hit upon a
theme so interesting as to divert his sense of the horrors around
them.

"Have you further business in Burgundy, now this Duke of yours is at
an end?"

"My father knows best," said Arthur; "but I apprehend we have none.
The Duchess of Burgundy, who must now succeed to some sort of
authority in her late husband's dominion, is sister to this Edward of
York, and a mortal enemy to the House of Lancaster, and to those who
have stood by it faithfully. It were neither prudent nor safe to tarry
where she has influence."

"In that case," said Sigismund, "my plan will fadge bravely. You shall
go back to Geierstein, and take up your dwelling with us. Your father
will be a brother to mine, and a better one than uncle Albert, whom he
seldom saw or spoke with; while with your father he will converse from
morning till night, and leave us all the work of the farm. And you,
Arthur, you shall go with us, and be a brother to us all, in place of
poor Rudiger, who was, to be sure, my real brother, which you cannot
be: nevertheless, I did not like him so well, in respect he was not so
good-natured. And then Anne--cousin Anne--is left all to my father's
charge, and is now at Geierstein--and you know, King Arthur, we used
to call her Queen Guenover."

"You spoke great folly then," said Arthur.

"But it is great truth--For, look you, I loved to tell Anne tales of
our hunting, and so forth, but she would not listen a word till I
threw in something of King Arthur, and then I warrant she would sit
still as a heath-hen when the hawk is in the heavens. And now
Donnerhugel is slain, you know you may marry my cousin when you and
she will, for nobody hath interest to prevent it."

Arthur blushed with pleasure under his helmet, and almost forgave that
new-year's morning all its complicated distresses.

"You forget," he replied to Sigismund, with as much indifference as he
could assume, "that I may be viewed in your country with prejudice on
account of Rudolph's death."

"Not a whit, not a whit; we bear no malice for what is done in fair
fight under shield. It is no more than if you had beat him in
wrestling or at quoits--only it is a game cannot be played over
again."

They now entered the town of Nancy. The windows were hung with
tapestry, and the streets crowded with tumultuous and rejoicing
multitudes, whom the success of the battle had relieved from great
alarm for the formidable vengeance of Charles of Burgundy.

The prisoners were received with the utmost kindness by the Landamman,
who assured them of his protection and friendship. He appeared to
support the death of his son Rudiger with stern resignation.

"He had rather," he said, "his son fell in battle, than that he should
live to despise the old simplicity of his country, and think the
object of combat was the gaining of spoil. The gold of the dead
Burgundy," he added, "would injure the morals of Switzerland more
irretrievably than ever his sword did their bodies."

He heard of his brother's death without surprise, but apparently with
emotion.

"It was the conclusion," he said, "of a long tissue of ambitious
enterprises, which often offered fair prospects, but uniformly ended
in disappointment."

The Landamman further intimated that his brother had apprised him that
he was engaged in an affair of so much danger that he was almost
certain to perish in it, and had bequeathed his daughter to her
uncle's care, with instructions respecting her.

Here they parted for the present, but shortly after, the Landamman
inquired earnestly of the Earl of Oxford what his motions were like to
be, and whether he could assist them.

"I think of choosing Bretagne for my place of refuge," answered the
Earl, "where my wife has dwelt since the battle of Tewkesbury expelled
us from England."

"Do not so," said the kind Landamman, "but come to Geierstein with the
countess, where, if she can, like you, endure our mountain manners and
mountain fare, you are welcome as to the house of a brother, to a soil
where neither conspiracy nor treason ever flourished. Bethink you, the
Duke of Bretagne is a weak prince, entirely governed by a wicked
favourite, Peter Landais. He is as capable--I mean the minister--of
selling brave men's blood, as a butcher of selling bullock's flesh;
and you know, there are those, both in France and Burgundy, that
thirst after yours."

The Earl of Oxford expressed his thanks for the proposal, and his
determination to profit by it, if approved of by Henry of Lancaster,
Earl of Richmond, whom he now regarded as his sovereign.

To close the tale, about three months after the battle of Nancy, the
banished Earl of Oxford resumed his name of Philipson, bringing with
his lady some remnants of their former wealth, which enabled them to
procure a commodious residence near to Geierstein; and the Landamman's
interest in the state procured for them the right of denizenship. The
high blood and the moderate fortunes of Anne of Geierstein and Arthur
de Vere, joined to their mutual inclination, made their marriage in
every respect rational; and Annette with her bachelor took up their
residence with the young people, not as servants, but mechanical aids
in the duties of the farm; for Arthur continued to prefer the chase to
the labours of husbandry, which was of little consequence, as his
separate income amounted, in that poor country, to opulence. Time
glided on, till it amounted to five years since the exiled family had
been inhabitants of Switzerland. In the year 1482, the Landamman
Biederman died the death of the righteous, lamented universally, as a
model of the true and valiant, simple-minded and sagacious chiefs who
ruled the ancient Switzers in peace, and headed them in battle. In the
same year, the Earl of Oxford lost his noble countess.

But the star of Lancaster, at that period, began again to culminate,
and called the banished lord and his son from their retirement, to mix
once more in politics. The treasured necklace of Margaret was then put
to its destined use, and the produce applied to levy those bands which
shortly after fought the celebrated battle of Bosworth, in which the
arms of Oxford and his son contributed so much to the success of Henry
VII. This changed the destinies of De Vere and his lady. Their Swiss
farm was conferred on Annette and her husband; and the manners and
beauty of Anne of Geierstein attracted as much admiration at the
English court as formerly in the Swiss chalet.

FOOTNOTES:

[14] Note III.



AUTHOR'S NOTES.


Note I. p. 201.--THE TROUBADOURS.

The smoothness of the Provençal dialect, partaking strongly of the
Latin, which had been spoken for so many ages in what was called for
distinction's sake the Roman Province of Gaul, and the richness and
fertility of a country abounding in all that could delight the senses
and soothe the imagination, naturally disposed the inhabitants to
cultivate the art of poetry, and to value and foster the genius of
those who distinguished themselves by attaining excellence in it.
Troubadours, that is, _finders_ or _inventors_, equivalent to the
northern term of _makers_, arose in every class, from the lowest to
the highest, and success in their art dignified men of the meanest
rank, and added fresh honours to those who were born in the patrician
file of society. War and love, more especially the latter, were
dictated to them by the chivalry of the times as the especial subjects
of their verse. Such, too, were the themes of our northern minstrels.
But whilst the latter confined themselves in general to those
well-known metrical histories in which scenes of strife and combat
mingled with adventures of enchantment, and fables of giants and
monsters subdued by valiant champions, such as best attracted the ears
of the somewhat duller and more barbarous warriors of northern France,
of Britain, and of Germany--the more lively Troubadours produced poems
which turned on human passion, and on love, affection, and dutiful
observance, with which the faithful knight was bound to regard the
object of his choice, and the honour and respect with which she was
bound to recompense his faithful services.

Thus far it cannot be disputed that the themes selected by the
Troubadours were those on which poetry is most naturally exerted, and
with the best chance of rising to excellence. But it usually happens,
that when any one of the fine arts is cultivated exclusively, the
taste of those who practise and admire its productions loses sight of
nature, simplicity, and true taste, and the artist endeavours to
discover, while the public learn to admire, some more complicated
system, in which pedantry supersedes the dictates of natural feeling,
and metaphysical ingenuity is used instead of the more obvious
qualifications of simplicity and good sense. Thus, with the unanimous
approbation of their hearers, the Troubadours framed for themselves a
species of poetry describing and inculcating a system of metaphysical
affection as inconsistent with nature as the minstrel's tales of
magicians and monsters; with this evil to society, that it was
calculated deeply to injure its manners and its morals. Every
Troubadour, or good Knight, who took the maxims of their poetical
school for his rule, was bound to choose a lady love, the fairest and
noblest to whom he had access, to whom he dedicated at once his lyre
and his sword, and who, married or single, was to be the object to
whom his life, words, and actions were to be devoted. On the other
hand, a lady thus honoured and distinguished was bound, by accepting
the services of such a gallant, to consider him as her lover, and on
all due occasions to grace him as such with distinguished marks of
personal favour. It is true that, according to the best authorities,
the intercourse betwixt her lover and herself was to be entirely of a
Platonic character, and the loyal swain was not to require, or the
chosen lady to grant, anything beyond the favour she might in strict
modesty bestow. Even under this restriction, the system was like to
make wild work with the domestic peace of families, since it
permitted, or rather enjoined, such familiarity betwixt the fair dame
and her poetical admirer; and very frequently human passions, placed
in such a dangerous situation, proved too strong to be confined within
the metaphysical bounds prescribed to them by so fantastic and
perilous a system. The injured husbands on many occasions avenged
themselves with severity, and even with dreadful cruelty, on the
unfaithful ladies, and the musical skill and chivalrous character of
the lover proved no protection to his person. But the real spirit of
the system was seen in this, that in the poems of the other
Troubadours, by whom such events are recorded, their pity is all
bestowed on the hapless lovers, while, without the least allowance for
just provocation, the injured husband is held up to execration.


Note II. p. 203.--HIGH AND NOBLE PARLIAMENT OF LOVE.

In Provence, during the flourishing time of the Troubadours, Love was
esteemed so grave and formal a part of the business of life, that a
Parliament or High Court of Love was appointed for deciding such
questions. This singular tribunal was, it may be supposed, conversant
with more of imaginary than of real suits; but it is astonishing with
what cold and pedantic ingenuity the Troubadours of whom it consisted
set themselves to plead and to decide, upon reasoning which was not
less singular and able than out of place, the absurd questions which
their own fantastic imaginations had previously devised. There, for
example, is a reported case of much celebrity, where a lady sitting in
company with three persons, who were her admirers, listened to one
with the most favourable smiles, while she pressed the hand of the
second, and touched with her own the foot of the third. It was a case
much agitated and keenly contested in the Parliament of Love, which of
these rivals had received the distinguishing mark of the lady's
favour. Much ingenuity was wasted on this and similar cases, of which
there is a collection, in all judicial form of legal proceedings,
under the title of _Arrêts d'Amour_ (Adjudged Cases of the Court of
Love).


Note III. p. 344.

The following very striking passage is that in which Philip de
Commines sums up the last scene of Charles the Bold, whose various
fortunes he had long watched with a dark anticipation that a character
so reckless, and capable of such excess, must sooner or later lead to
a tragical result:--

     "As soon as the Count de Campo-basso arrived in the Duke
     of Lorrain's army, word was sent him to leave the camp
     immediately, for they would not entertain, nor have any
     communication with, such traytors. Upon which message he
     retir'd with his party to a Castle and Pass not far off,
     where he fortified himself with carts and other things as
     well as he could, in hopes, that if the Duke of Burgundy
     was routed, he might have an opportunity of coming in for
     a share of the plunder, as he did afterwards. Nor was this
     practice with the Duke of Lorrain the most execrable
     action that Campo-basso was guilty of; but before he left
     the army he conspir'd with several other officers (finding
     it was impracticable to attempt anything against the Duke
     of Burgundy's person) to leave him just as they came to
     charge, for at that time he suppos'd it would put the Duke
     into the greatest terror and consternation, and if he
     fled, he was sure he could not escape alive, for he had
     order'd thirteen or fourteen sure men, some to run as soon
     as the Germans came up to charge 'em, and others to watch
     the Duke of Burgundy, and kill him in the rout, which was
     well enough contrived; I myself have seen two or three of
     those who were employed to kill the Duke. Having thus
     settled his conspiracy at home, he went over to the Duke
     of Lorrain upon the approach of the German army; but
     finding they would not entertain him, he retired to Condé.

     "The German army marched forward, and with 'em a
     considerable body of French horse, whom the King had given
     leave to be present at that action. Several parties lay in
     ambush not far off, that if the Duke of Burgundy was
     routed, they might surprise some person of quality, or
     take some considerable booty. By this every one may see
     into what a deplorable condition this poor Duke had
     brought himself, by his contempt of good counsel. Both
     armies being joyn'd, the Duke of Burgundy's forces having
     been twice beaten before, and by consequence weak and
     dispirited, and ill provided besides, were quickly broken
     and entirely defeated: Many sav'd themselves and got off;
     the rest were either taken or kill'd; and among 'em the
     Duke of Burgundy himself was killed on the spot. One
     Monsieur Claude of Bausmont, Captain of the Castle of Dier
     in Lorrain, kill'd the Duke of Burgundy. Finding his army
     routed, he mounted a swift horse, and endeavouring to swim
     a little river in order to make his escape, his horse fell
     with him, and overset him: The Duke cry'd out for quarter
     to this gentleman, who was pursuing him, but he being
     deaf, and not hearing him, immediately kill'd and stripp'd
     him, not knowing who he was, and left him naked in the
     ditch, where his body was found the next day after the
     battle; which the Duke of Lorrain (to his eternal honour)
     buried with great pomp and magnificence in St. George's
     Church, in the old town of Nancy, himself and all his
     nobility, in deep mourning, attending the corpse to the
     grave. The following epitaph was sometime afterwards
     ingrav'd on his tomb:--

     '_Carolus hoc busto Burgundæ gloria gentis
     Conditur, Europæ qui fuit ante timor._'

     I saw a seal ring of his, since his death, at Milan, with
     his arms cut curiously upon a sardonix that I have seen
     him often wear in a ribbon at his breast, which was sold
     at Milan for two ducats, and had been stolen from him by a
     rascal that waited on him in his chamber. I have often
     seen the Duke dress'd and undress'd in great state and
     formality, and attended by very great persons; but at his
     death all this pomp and magnificence ceas'd, and his
     family was involv'd in the same ruin with himself, and
     very likely as a punishment for his having deliver'd up
     the Constable not long before, out of a base and
     avaricious principle; but God forgive him. I have known
     him a powerful and honourable Prince, in as great esteem,
     and as much courted by his neighbours (when his affairs
     were in a prosperous condition), as any Prince in Europe,
     and perhaps more; and I cannot conceive what should
     provoke God Almighty's displeasure so highly against him,
     unless it was his self-love and arrogance, in
     appropriating all the success of his enterprises, and all
     the renown he ever acquir'd, to his own wisdom and
     conduct, without attributing anything to God. Yet to speak
     truth, he was master of several good qualities: No Prince
     ever had a greater ambition to entertain young noblemen
     than he, nor was more careful of their education: His
     presents and bounty were never profuse and extravagant,
     because he gave to many, and had a mind everybody should
     taste of it. No Prince was ever more easie of access to
     his servants and subjects. Whilst I was in his service he
     was never cruel, but a little before his death he took up
     that humour, which was an infallible sign of the shortness
     of his life. He was very splendid and curious in his
     dress, and in everything else, and indeed a little too
     much. He paid great honours to all ambassadors and
     foreigners, and entertain'd them nobly: His ambitious
     desire of fame was insatiable, and it was that which
     induced him to be eternally in wars, more than any other
     motive. He ambitiously desir'd to imitate the old Kings
     and Heroes of antiquity, whose actions still shine in
     History, and are so much talked of in the world, and his
     courage was equal to any Prince's of his time.

     "But all his designs and imaginations were vain and
     extravagant, and turn'd afterwards to his own dishonour
     and confusion, for 'tis the conquerors and not the
     conquer'd that purchase to themselves renown. I cannot
     easily determine towards whom God Almighty shew'd his
     anger most, whether towards him who died suddenly without
     pain or sickness in the field of battle, or towards his
     subjects who never enjoy'd peace after his death, but were
     continually involv'd in wars, against which they were not
     able to maintain themselves, upon account of the civil
     dissentions and cruel animosities that arose among 'em;
     and that which was the most insupportable, was, that the
     very people, to whom they were now oblig'd for their
     defence and preservation, were the Germans, who were
     strangers, and not long since their profess'd enemies. In
     short, after the Duke's death, there was not a
     neighbouring state that wished them to prosper, nor even
     Germany that defended 'em. And by the management of their
     affairs, their understanding seem'd to be as much
     infatuated as their master's, for they rejected all good
     counsel, and pursued such methods as directly tended to
     their destruction; and they are still in such a condition,
     that though they have at present some little ease and
     relaxation from their sorrows, yet 'tis with great danger
     of a relapse, and 'tis well if it turns not in the end to
     their utter ruin.

     "I am partly of their opinion who maintain, that God gives
     Princes, as he in his wisdom thinks fit, to punish or
     chastise the subjects; and he disposes the affection of
     subjects to their Princes, as he has determin'd to raise
     or depress 'em. Just so it has pleas'd him to deal with
     the House of Burgundy; for, after a long series of riches
     and prosperity, and six-and-twenty years' peace under
     three Illustrious Princes, predecessors to this Charles
     (all of 'em excellent persons, and of great prudence and
     discretion), it pleas'd God to send this Duke Charles, who
     involv'd them in bloody wars, as well winter as summer, to
     their great affliction and expense, in which most of their
     richest and stoutest men were either kill'd, or utterly
     undone. Their misfortunes continu'd successively to the
     very hour of his death; and after such a manner, that at
     the last, the whole strength of their country was
     destroy'd, and all kill'd or taken prisoners who had any
     zeal or affection for the House of Burgundy, and had power
     to defend the state and dignity of that family; so that in
     a manner their losses were equal to, if not over balanc'd
     their former prosperity; for as I have seen those Princes
     heretofore puissant, rich, and honourable, so it fared the
     same with their subjects; for I think, I have seen and
     known the greatest part of Europe; yet I never knew any
     province, or country, tho' perhaps of a larger extent, so
     abounding in money, so extravagantly fine in furniture for
     their horses, so sumptuous in their buildings, so profuse
     in their expenses, so luxurious in their feasts and
     entertainments, and so prodigal in all respects, as the
     subjects of these Princes, in my time: but it has pleased
     God at one blow to subvert and ruin this illustrious
     family. Such changes and revolutions in states and
     kingdoms God in his providence has wrought before we were
     born, and will do again when we are in our graves; for
     this is a certain maxim, that the prosperity or adversity
     of Princes are wholly at his disposal."

                                    COMMINES, Book V. Chap. 9.



Editor's Notes.


(_a_) p. 114. "The good King René." There is a biography of this
prince, by the Comte de Villeneuve Bargemont. René of Anjou, descended
from the second son of John of Valois, King of France, inherited the
duchy of Lorraine in right of his wife, daughter of Charles II., Duke
of Lorraine. His claim was contested by Antoine, Comte de Vaudémont,
representing a collateral male branch of the earlier line. This
claimant was backed by Philip the Good, of Burgundy. René was
defeated, in 1431, at Bulgueville, and passed some years as a captive
in Dijon. Here, like Charles d'Orleans in England, and James I. in the
same country, he amused himself with poetry and art. He succeeded to
the crown of Provence, a remnant of the Neapolitan domains of Anjou,
and his daughter, Yolande, married the son of his rival of Vaudémont.
Lorraine was entailed on them and their issue, failing male issue of
René. After an expedition to Naples he ceded Lorraine to his son, and
passed his time in a pleasing pastoral manner, in Provence. In his old
age Lorraine fell to his grandson René, and the unlucky region was
drawn into disputes of France and Burgundy, between which it lay.
Burgundy conquered Lorraine. Old René negotiated for Burgundian
protection, and for Charles's succession to Provence, which on René's
death would make Burgundy "a Middle Kingdom conterminous with Germany
and France." But the conquest of Lorraine was the last of Charles's
successes: the end of the novel before us tells the story of his fall.

(_b_) p. 116. "Edward of York has crossed the Sea." The date is 1475.
Louis and Edward met on the bridge over the Somme, at Pequigny, and
made terms. The scheme of Oxford, in the novel, for an invasion of
England during Edward's absence, was thus rendered impossible.

(_c_) p. 125. "Henry Colvin." Comines calls this soldier "Cohin," in
the oldest texts "Colpin." He commanded three hundred English, and
was killed by a cannon shot: "great loss to the Duke, for a single man
may save his master, though he be of no great lineage, so he have but
sense and virtue."

(_d_) p. 262. "Granson." The Burgundian defeat is described in
Comines, book v. ch. i. Of Charles, Comines says, "il perdit honneur
et chevance ce jour." Morat he describes in book v. ch. iii. The
narrative of Charles's despair, and the detail of his drinking
_tisane_ in place of wine, is borrowed from Comines, book v. ch. v.,
in the sixteenth chapter of the novel. The treachery of Campobasso is
recorded in Comines's sixth-ninth chapter. Mr. Kirk's version of
Charles's last fight is written with much spirit.

          ANDREW LANG.

     May 1894.



GLOSSARY.


     =Abettance=, support, encouragement.

     =Abye=, to pay the penalty of, to atone for.

     =Adjected=, appended, added.

     =Albe=, a long white linen robe worn by priests.

     =Ariette=, a little song.

     =Arquebusier=, a soldier armed with an arquebuse, an early
     form of musket.

     =Assoilzied=, pardoned.

     =Astucious=, astute, shrewd, cunning.


     =Baaren-hauter=, a nickname for a German private soldier.

     =Ban=, an imperial edict; the laws of the Empire.

     =Ban-dog=, a large fierce dog.

     =Barbed=, clad in armour.

     =Beauffet=, a sideboard.

     "=Blink out of=," to evade, to escape.

     =Bordel=, a brothel.

     =Botargo=, the roe of the mullet or tunny, salted and dried.

     =Brache=, a kind of sporting dog.

     =Bretagne=, Brittany.

     =Broad-piece=, an old English gold coin.

     =Bruit=, rumour.

     "=Buon campagna=," open country.


     =Caravansera=, an inn.

     =Carbonado=, a piece of meat or game, seasoned and broiled.

     =Caviare=, the roe of the sturgeon pickled in salt.

     =Chaffron=, =chamfron=, the armoured frontlet of a horse.

     =Chalumeau=, a reed or pipe made into an instrument of
     music.

     =Coif=, a woman's headdress.

     =Corso=, the chief street or square in an Italian town.

     "=Côte roti=," wine grown on a sunny slope.


     =Dalmatic=, =dalmatique=, a long ecclesiastical robe.

     =Debonair=, affable, courteous.

     =Dishabille=, undress, negligent dress.

     =Dorf=, a village.

     =Ducat=, an old gold coin, worth about 9_s._ 4_d._


     =Entrechat=, a caper.


     =Fadge=, to succeed, to turn out well.


     =Galilee=, a porch or chapel beside a monastery or church,
     in which the monks received visitors, where processions
     were formed, penitents stationed, and so forth.

     =Gear=, business, affair; property.

     =Geierstein=, vulture-stone.

     =Grave=, a count.

     =Gutter-blooded=, of the meanest birth.


     =Hagbut=, a musket.

     =Halidome=, on my word of honour.

     =Hypocaust=, a stove, heating apparatus.


     =Jongleur=, a minstrel-poet of Northern France.


     =Lauds=, a daily service of the Roman Catholic Church.

     =Los=, praise.


     =Morgue=, the proud, disdainful look of a superior to an
     inferior.

     =Morisco=, a Moor of Spain.


     =Pardoner=, a licensed seller of papal indulgences.

     =Pavin=, a stately Spanish dance.

     =Pennoncelle=, a little flag fixed to a lance.

     =Peste!= plague on't!

     =Piastre=, a silver coin, worth 4_s._

     =Plump=, a clump, collection.

     "=Poz element=," a German oath.


     =Questionary=, a pedlar of relics or indulgences.


     =Rebeck=, an instrument resembling the violin.

     =Reiter=, a horse-soldier.

     =Rhein-Thal=, the valley of the Rhine.

     =Ritter=, a knight.

     =Rote=, a kind of harp, played by turning a wheel.


     =Samite=, a textile made of gold cloth or satin.

     "=Sapperment der Teufel!="--a German oath.

     =Schwarz-reiter=, a German mercenary horse-soldier.

     "=Sibylline leaf=," the oracular or precious saying.

     =Stadtholder=, the emperor's deputy in ancient Westphalia.

     =Stell=, to mount or plant (a cannon).

     =Strick-kind=, the child of the cord--the prisoner on trial
     before the Vehmic Tribunal.

     =Stube=, a sitting-room, a public room.


     =Talliage=, a subsidy, a tax.

     "=Tiers état=," the third estate, or representatives of the
     people.

     =Turnpike-stair=, a spiral or winding staircase.


     =Vambrace=, the piece of armour that covered the forearm.

     =Violer=, a player on a viol, a kind of violin.

     =Visard=, a mask to cover the face.


     =Wass-ail=, ale or wine sweetened and flavoured with spices.

     =Wassel-song=, a drinking or carousing song.

     =Welked=, marked with protuberances or ridges.


     =Yungfrau=, =Jungfrau=, a young girl.

     =Yung-herren=, =Jung-herren=, =Junker=, the sons of a German
     minor noble.


     =Zechin=, a Venetian gold coin, worth from 9_s._ to 10_s._


END OF VOL. II.

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO.

Edinburgh and London





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Anne of Geierstein - (Volume 2 of 2)" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home