<T Castle Dangerous>
<P 183>
(November 1831)
<C I   Chapter first>
(Hosts have been known at that dread sound to yield,
and, Douglas dead, his name hath won the field.
John Home.)
It was at the close of an early spring day, when nature, in a
cold province of Scotland, was reviving from her winter's sleep,
and the air at least, though not the vegetation, gave promise of
an abatement of the rigour of the season, that two travellers,
whose appearance at that early period sufficiently announced
their wandering character, which, in general, secured a free
passage even through a dangerous country, were seen coming
from the south-westward, within a few miles of the Castle of
Douglas, and seemed to be holding their course in the direction
of the river of that name, whose dale afforded a species of
approach to that memorable feudal fortress. The stream, small
in comparison to the extent of its fame, served as a kind of drain
to the country in its neighbourhood, and at the same time
afforded the means of a rough road to the castle and village.
The high lords to whom the castle had for ages belonged, might,
had they chosen, have made this access a great deal smoother
and more convenient; but there had been as yet little or no
exercise for those geniuses, who have taught all the world that
it is better to take the more circuitous road round the base of a
hill, than the direct course of ascending it on the one side, and
descending it directly on the other, without yielding a single step
to render the passage more easy to the traveller; still less were
those mysteries dreamed of, which Macadam has of late days
<P 184>
expounded. But, indeed, to what purpose should the ancient
Douglasses have employed his principles, even if they had known
them in ever so much perfection? Wheel-carriages, except of
the most clumsy description, and for the most simple operations
of agriculture, were totally unknown. Even the most delicate
female had no resource save a horse, or, in case of sore infirmity,
a litter. The men used their own sturdy limbs, or hardy horses,
to transport themselves from place to place; and travellers,
females in particular, experienced no small inconvenience from
the rugged nature of the country. A swollen torrent some-
times crossed their path, and compelled them to wait until the
waters had abated their frenzy. The bank of a small river was
occasionally torn away by the effects of a thunder-storm, a re-
cent inundation, or the like convulsions of nature; and the way-
farer relied upon his knowledge of the district, or obtained the
best local information in his power, how to direct his path so as
to surmount such untoward obstacles.
The Douglas issues from an amphitheatre of mountains
which bounds the valley to the south-west, from whose contri-
butions, and the aid of sudden storms, it receives its scanty
supplies. The general aspect of the country is that of the
pastoral hills of the south of Scotland, forming, as is usual,
bleak and wild farms, many of which had, at no great length
of time from the date of the story, been covered with trees; as
some of them still attest by bearing the name of shaw, that is,
wild natural wood. The neighbourhood of the Douglas water
itself was flat land, capable of bearing strong crops of oats and
rye, supplying the inhabitants with what they required of these
productions. At no great distance from the edge of the river,
a few special spots excepted, the soil capable of agriculture was
more and more mixed with the pastoral and woodland country,
till both terminated in desolate and partly inaccessible moorlands.
Above all, it was war-time, and of necessity all circumstances
of mere convenience were obliged to give way to a paramount
sense of danger; the inhabitants, therefore, instead of trying to
amend the paths which connected them with other districts,
were thankful that the natural difficulties which surrounded
them rendered it unnecessary to break up or to fortify the
<P 185>
access from more open countries. Their wants, with a very
few exceptions, were completely supplied, as we have already
said, by the rude and scanty produce of their own mountains
and holms, the last of which served for the exercise of their
limited agriculture, while the better part of the mountains and
forest glens produced pasture for their herds and flocks. The
recesses of the unexplored depths of these silvan retreats being
seldom disturbed, especially since the lords of the district had
laid aside, during this time of strife, their constant occupation
of hunting, the various kinds of game had increased of late very
considerably; so that not only in crossing the rougher parts of
the hilly and desolate country we are describing, different varieties
of deer were occasionally seen, but even the wild cattle peculiar
to Scotland sometimes showed themselves, and other animals,
which indicated the irregular and disordered state of the period.
The wild-cat was frequently surprised in the dark ravines or the
swampy thickets; and the wolf, already a stranger to the more
populous districts of the Lothians, here maintained his ground
against the encroachments of man, and was still himself a terror
to those by whom he was finally to be extirpated. In winter
especially, and winter was hardly yet past, these savage animals
were wont to be driven to extremity for lack of food, and used
to frequent, in dangerous numbers, the battle-field, the deserted
churchyard - nay, sometimes the abodes of living men, there to
watch for children, their defenceless prey, with as much famili-
arity as the fox now-a-days will venture to prowl near the mis-
tress's poultry-yard.
From what we have said, our readers, if they have made -
as who in these days has not? - The Scottish tour, will be able
to form a tolerably just idea of the wilder and upper part of
Douglas dale, during the earlier period of the fourteenth cen-
tury. The setting sun cast his gleams along a moorland
country, which to the westward broke into larger swells, ter-
minating in the mountains called the larger and lesser Cairn-
table. The first of these is, as it were, the father of the hills
in the neighbourhood, the source of a hundred streams, and
by far the largest of the ridge, still holding in his dark bosom,
<P 186>
and in the ravines with which his sides are ploughed, consider-
able remnants of those ancient forests with which all the high
grounds of that quarter were once covered, and particularly the
hills, in which the rivers - both those which run to the east,
and those which seek the west to discharge themselves into the
Solway - hide, like so many hermits, their original and scanty
The landscape was still illuminated by the reflection of the
evening sun, sometimes thrown back from pool or stream; some-
times resting on grey rocks, huge cumberers of the soil, which
labour and agriculture have since removed, and sometimes con-
tenting itself with gilding the banks of the streams, tinged alter-
nately grey, green, or ruddy, as the ground itself consisted of
rock, or grassy turf, or bare earthen mound, or looked at a dis-
tance like a rampart of dark red porphyry. Occasionally, too,
the eye rested on the steep brown extent of moorland, as the
sunbeam glanced back from the little tarn or mountain pool,
whose lustre, like that of the eye in the human countenance,
gives a life and vivacity to every feature around.
The elder and stouter of the two travellers whom we have
mentioned, was a person well, and even showily dressed, accord-
ing to the finery of the times, and bore at his back, as wandering
minstrels were wont, a case, containing a small harp, rot, or viol,
or some such species of musical instrument for accompanying
the voice. The leathern case announced so much, although it
proclaimed not the exact nature of the instrument. The colour of
the traveller's doublet was blue, and that of his hose violet, with
slashes which showed a lining of the same colour with the jerkin.
A mantle ought, according to ordinary custom, to have covered
this dress; but the heat of the sun, though the season was so
early, had induced the wearer to fold up his cloak in small com-
pass, and form it into a bundle, attached to the shoulders like
the military greatcoat of the infantry soldier of the present day.
The neatness with which it was made up argued the precision
of a practised traveller, who had been long accustomed to every
resource which change of weather required. A great profusion
of narrow ribands or points, constituting the loops with which
our ancestors connected their doublet and hose, formed a kind
of cordon, composed of knots of blue or violet, which surrounded
the traveller's person, and thus assimilated in colour with the
two garments which it was the office of these strings to combine.
<P 187>
The bonnet usually worn with this showy dress was of that kind
with which Henry the Eighth, and his son, Edward the Sixth,
are usually represented. It was more fitted, from the gay stuff
of which it was composed, to appear in a public place, than to
encounter a storm of rain. It was parti-coloured, being made
of different stripes of blue and violet; and the wearer arrogated
a certain degree of gentility to himself, by wearing a plume of
considerable dimensions of the same favourite colours. The
features over which this feather drooped were in no degree
remarkable for peculiarity of expression. Yet in so desolate a
country as the west of Scotland, it would not have been easy to
pass the man without more minute attention than he would have
met with where there was more in the character of the scenery
to arrest the gaze of the passengers.
A quick eye, a sociable look, seeming to say, "ay, look at me,
I am a man worth noticing and not unworthy your attention,"
carried with it, nevertheless, an interpretation which might be
thought favourable or otherwise, according to the character of
the person whom the traveller met. A knight or soldier would
merely have thought that he had met a merry fellow, who could
sing a wild song, or tell a wild tale, and help to empty a flagon,
with all the accomplishments necessary for a boon companion at
an hostelry, except perhaps an alacrity at defraying his share of
the reckoning. A churchman, on the other hand, might have
thought he of the blue and violet was of too loose habits, and
accustomed too little to limit himself within the boundaries of
beseeming mirth, to be fit society for one of his sacred calling.
Yet the man of song had a certain steadiness of countenance,
which seemed fitted to hold place in scenes of serious business as
well as of gaiety. A wayfaring passenger of wealth (not at that
time a numerous class) might have feared in him a professional
robber, or one whom opportunity was very likely to convert into
such; a female might have been apprehensive of uncivil treat-
ment; and a youth, or timid person, might have thought of
murder, or such direful doings. Unless privately armed, how-
ever, the minstrel was ill-accoutred for any dangerous occupation.
His only visible weapon was a small crooked sword, like what
we now call a hanger; and the state of the times would have
justified any man, however peaceful his intentions, in being so
far armed against the perils of the road.
If a glance at this man had in any respect prejudiced him in
<P 188>
the opinion of thise whom he met on his journey, a look at his
companion would, so far as his character could be guessed at -
for he was closely muffled up - have passed for an apology and
warrant for his associate. The younger traveller was appa-
rently in early youth, a soft and gentle boy, whose sclavonic
gown, the appropriate dress of the pilgrim, he wore more closely
drawn about him than the coldness of the weather seemed to
authorise or recommend. His features, imperfectly seen under
the hood of his pilgrim's dress, were prepossessing in a high de-
gree; and though he wore a walking sword, it seemed rather to
be in compliance with general fashion than from any violent
purpose he did so. There were traces of sadness upon his brow,
and of tears upon his cheeks; and his weariness was such, as
even his rougher companion seemed to sympathise with, while
he privately participated also in the sorrow which left its marks
upon a countenance so lovely. They spoke together, and the
elder of the two, while he asssumed the deferential air proper to
a man of inferior rank addressing a superior, showed, in tone
and gesture, something that amounted to interest and affection.
"Bertram, my friend," said the younger of the two, "how
far are we still from Douglas Castle? We have already come
farther than the twenty miles, which thou didst say was the
distance from cammock - or how didst thou call the last hos-
telry which we left by daybreak?"
"Cumnock, my dearest lady - I beg ten thousand excuses -
my gracious young lord."
"Call me Augustine," replied his comrade, "if you mean to
speak as is fittest for the time."
"Nay, as for that," said Bertram, "if your ladyship can con-
descend to lay aside your quality my own good breeding is not
so firmly sewed to me that I can doff it, and resume it again
without its losing a stitch; and since your ladyship, to whom
I am sworn in obedience, is pleased to command that I should
treat you as my own son, shame it were to me if I were not to
show you the affection of a father, more especially as I may
well swear my great oath, that I owe you the duty of such,
though well I wot it has, in our case, been the lot of the parent
to be maintained by the kindness and liberality of the child; for
when was it that I hungered or thirsted, and the black stock of
Berkley did not relieve my wants?"
<P 189>
"I would have it so," answered the young pilgrim; "I would
have it so. What use of the mountains of beef, and the oceans
of beer, which they say our domains produce, if there is a hungry
heart among our vassalage, or especially if thou, Bertram, who
hast served as the minstrel of our house for more than twenty
years, shouldst experience such a feeling?"
"Certes, lady," answered Bertram, "it would be like the
catastrophe which is told of the Baron of Fastenough, when his
last mouse was starved to death in the very pantry; and if I
escape this journey without such a calamity, I shall think my-
self out of reach of thirst or famine for the whole of my life."
"Thou hast suffered already once or twice by these attacks,
my poor friend," said the lady.
"It is little," answered Bertram, "anything that I have
suffered; and I were ungrateful to give the inconvenience of
missing a breakfast, or making an untimely dinner, so serious
a name. But then I hardly see how your ladyship can endure
this gear much longer. You must yourself feel, that the plod-
ding along these high lands, of which the Scots give us such good
measure in their miles, is no jesting matter; and as for Douglas
Castle, why it is still three good miles off."
"The question then is," quoth the lady, heaving a sigh,
"what we are to do when we have so far to travel, and when
the castle gates must be locked long before we arrive there?"
"For that I will pledge my word," answered Bertram.
"The gates of Douglas, under the keeping of Sir John de
Walton, do not open so easily as those of the buttery hatch at
our own castle, when it is well oiled; and if your ladyship take
my advice, you will turn southward ho] And in two days at
farthest, we shall be in a land where men's wants are provided
for, as the inns proclaim it, with the least possible delay, and
the secret of this little journey shall never be known to living
mortal but ourselves, as sure as I am sworn minstrel, and man
of faith."
"I thank thee for thy advice, mine honest Bertram," said
the lady, "but I cannot profit by it. Should thy knowledge
of these parts possess thee with an acquaintance with any
decent house, whether it belong to rich or poor, I would will-
ingly take quarters there, if I could obtain them, from this time
until to-morrow morning. The gates of Douglas Castle will
then be open to guests of so peaceful an appearance as we
<P 190>
carry with us, and - and - it will out - we might have time to
make such applications to our toilet as might insure us a good
reception, by drawing a comb through our locks, or such like
"Ah, madam]" said Bertram, "were not Sir John de Wal-
ton in question, methinks I should venture to reply, that an
unwashed brow, an unkempt head of hair, and a look far more
saucy than your ladyship ever wears, or can wear, were the
proper disguise to trick that minstrel's boy, whom you wish to
represent in the present pageant."
"Do you suffer your youthful pupils to be indeed so slovenly
and so saucy, Bertram?" answered the lady. "I for one will
not imitate them in that particular; and whether Sir John be
now in the Castle of Douglas or not, I will treat the soldiers
who hold so honourable a charge with a washed brow, and
a head of hair somewhat ordered. As for going back without
seeing a castle which has mingled even with my very dreams -
at a word, Bertram, thou mayest go that way, but I will not."
"And if I part with your ladyship on such terms," responded
the minstrel, "now your frolic is so nearly accomplished, it shall
be the foul fiend himself, and nothing more comely or less dan-
gerous, that shall tear me from your side; and for lodging, there
is not far from hence the house of one Tom Dickson of Hazel-
side, one of the most honest fellows of the dale, and who,
although a labouring man, ranked as high as a warrior, when I
was in this country, as any noble gentleman that rode in the
band of the Douglas."
"He is then a soldier?" said the lady.
"When his country or his lord need his sword," replied
Bertram - "and, to say the truth, they are seldom at peace;
but otherwise, he is no enemy, save to the wolf which plunders
his herds."
"But forget not, my trusty guide," replied the lady, "that
the blood in our veins is English, and consequently, that we
are in danger from all who call themselves foes to the ruddy
"Do not fear this man's face," answered Bertram. "You
may trust to him as to the best knight or gentleman of the
land. We may make good our lodging by a tune or a song;
and it may remember you that I undertook (provided it pleased
your ladyship) to temporise a little with the Scots, who, poor
<P 191>
souls, love minstrelsy, and when they have but a silver penny,
will willingly bestow it to encourage the gay science - I promised
you, I say, that we should be as welcome to them as if we had
been born amidst their own wild hills; and for the best that
such a house as Dickson's affords, the glee-man's son, fair lady,
shall not breathe a wish in vain. And now, will you speak
your mind to your devoted friend and adopted father, or rather
your sworn servant and guide, Bertram the minstrel, what it
is your pleasure to do in this matter?"
"O, we will certainly accept of the Scot's hospitality," said
the lady, "your minstrel word being plighted that he is a true
man. - Tom Dickson, call you him?"
"Yes," replied Bertram, " such is his name; and by looking
on these sheep, I am asssured that we are now upon his land."
"Indeed]" said the lady, with some surprise; "and how is
your wisdom aware of that?"
"I see the first letter of his name marked upon this flock,"
answered the guide. "Ah, learning is what carries a man
through the world, as well as if he had the ring by virtue of
which old minstrels tell that Adam understood the language of
the beasts in paradise. Ah, madam, there is more wit taught
in the shepherd's shieling than the lady thinks of, who sews
her painted seam in her summer bower."
"Be it so, good Bertram. And although not so deeply
skilled in the knowledge of written language as you are, it is
impossible for me to esteem its value more than I actually do;
so hold we on the nearest road to this Tom Dickson's, whose
very sheep tell of his whereabout. I trust we have not very
far to go, although the knowledge that our journey is shortened
by a few miles has so much recovered my fatigue, that methinks
I could dance all the rest of the way."
<T Castle Dangerous>
<C Chapter II>
(Rosalind.  Well, this is the forest of Arden.
Touchstone.  Ay, now am I in Arden; the more fool I.  When I
was at home I was in a better place.  But travellers must be content.
Ros.  Ay, be so, good Touchstone. - Look you, who comes here; a
young man and an old, in solemn talk.
                          As You Like It, Act 11., Scene IV.)

As the travellers spoke together, they reached a turn of the
path which presented a more extensive prospect than the
broken face of the country had yet shown them.  A valley,
through which flowed a small tributary stream, exhibited the
wild but not unpleasant features of "a lone vale of green
bracken," here and there besprinkled with groups of alder
trees, of hazels, and of copse oak-wood, which had maintained
their stations in the recesses of the valley, although they had
vanished from the loftier and more exposed sides of the hills.
The farm-house, or mansion-house (for, from its size and
appearance, it might have been the one or the other), was a
large but low building, and the walls of the outhouses were
sufficiently strong to resist any band of casual depredators.
There was nothing, however, which could withstand a more
powerful force; for in a country laid waste by war the
farmer was then, as now, obliged to take his chance of the
great evils attendant upon that state of things; and his con-
dition, never a very eligible one, was rendered considerably
worse by the insecurity attending it.  About half a mile
farther was seen a Gothic building of very small extent,
having a half-dismantled chapel, which the minstrel pro-
nounced to be the Abbey of Saint Bride.  "The place,"
he said, "I understand, is allowed to subsist, as two or
three old monks and as many nuns whom it contains are
permitted by the English to serve God there, and sometimes
to give relief to Scottish travellers; and who have accord-
ingly taken assurance with Sir John de Walton, and accepted
as their superior a churchman on whom he thinks he can
depend.  But if these guests happen to reveal any secrets,
they are, by some means or other, believed to fly towards
the English governor; and therefore, unless your ladyship's
commands be positive, I think we had best not trust our-
selves to their hospitality."
   "Of a surety no," said the lady, "if thou canst provide
me with lodgings where we shall have more prudent hosts."
   At this moment two human forms were seen to approach
the farm-house in a different direction from the travellers,
and speaking so high, in a tone apparently of dispute, that
the minstrel and his companion could distinguish their voices
though the distance was considerable.  Having screened his
eyes with his hand for some minutes, Bertram at length ex-
claimed, "By our Lady, it is my old friend Tom Dickson,
sure enough]  What can make him in such bad humour
with the lad, who, I think, may be the little wild boy, his
son Charles, who used to run about and plait rushes some
twenty years ago?  It is lucky, however, we have found our
friends astir; for I warrant Tom hath a hearty piece of beef
in the pot ere he goes to bed, and he must have changed his
wont if an old friend hath not his share; and who knows,
had we come later, at what hour they may now find it con-
venient to drop latch and draw bolt so near a hostile garri-
son - for if we call things by their right names, such is the
proper term for an English garrison in the castle of a Scottish
   "Foolish man," answered the lady, "thou judgest of Sir
John de Walton as thou wouldst of some rude boor, to
whom the opportunity of doing what he wills is a tempta-
tion and license to exercise cruelty and oppression.  Now,
I could plight you my word that, setting apart the quarrel
of the kingdoms, which, of course, will be fought out in fair
battles on both sides, you will find that English and Scottish,
within this domain, and within the reach of Sir John de
Walton's influence, live together as that same flock of sheep
and goats do with the shepherd's dog - a foe from whom
they fly upon certain occasions, but around whom they
nevertheless eagerly gather for protection should a wolf
happen to show himself."
   "It is not to your ladyship," answered Bertram, "that I
should venture to state my opinion of such matters; but the
young knight, when he is sheathed in armour, is a different
being from him who feasts in halls among press of ladies;
and he that feeds by another man's fireside, and when his
landlord, of all men in the world, chances to be the Black
Douglas, has reason to keep his eyes about him as he makes
his meal.  But it were better I looked after our own evening
refreshment than that I stood here gapping and talking about
other folk's matters."  So saying, he called out in a thunder-
ing tone of voice, "Dickson] what ho, Thomas Dickson]
will you not acknowledge an old friend, who is much
disposed to trust his supper and night's lodging to your
   The Scotchman, attracted by the call, looked first along
the banks of the river, then upwards to the bare side of the
hill, and at length cast his eyes upon the two figures who
were descending from it.
   As if he felt the night colder while he advanced from the
more sheltered part of the valley to meet them, the Douglas
Dale farmer wrapped closer around him the gray plaid, which
from an early period has been used by the shepherds of the
south of Scotland, and the appearance of which gives a
romantic air to the peasantry and middle classes; and which,
although less brilliant and gaudy in its colours, is as pictur-
esque in its arrangement as the more military tartan mantle
of the Highlands.  When they approached near to each
other, the lady might observe that this friend of her guide
was a stout, athletic man, somewhat past the middle of life,
and already showing marks of the approach but none of
the infirmities of age upon a countenance which had been
exposed to many a storm.  Sharp, eyes, too, and a quick
observation exhibited signs of vigilance, acquired by one
who had lived long in a country where he had constant
occasion for looking around him with caution.  His features
were still swollen with displeasure; and the handsome young
man who attended him seemed to be discontented, like one
who had undergone no gentle marks of his father's indigna-
tion, and who, from the sullen expression which mingled
with an appearance of shame on his countenance, seemed
at once affected by anger and remorse.
   "Do you not remember me, old friend?"  said Bertram,
as they approached within a distance for communing; "or
have the twenty years which have marched over us since we
met carried along with them all remebrance of Bertram,
the English minstrel?"
   "In troth," answered the Scot, "it is not for want of
plenty of your countryman to keep you in my remebrance,
and I have hardly heard one of them so much as whistle,

                 'Hey, now the day dawns,'

but it has recalled some note of your blithe rebeck; and yet
such animals are we that I had forgot the mien of my old
friend, and scarcely knew him at a distance.  But we have
had trouble lately: there are a thousand of your countrymen
that keep garrison in the Perilous Castle of Douglas yonder,
as well as in other places through the vale, and that is but a
woeful sight for a true Scotchman.  Even my own poor house
has not escaped the dignity of a garrison of a man-at-arms,
besides two or three archer knaves, and one or two slips of
mischievous boys called pages, and so forth, who will not let
a man say, "This is my own," by his own fireside.  Do not,
therefore, think hardly of me, old comrade, if I show you a
welcome something colder than you might expect from a
friend of other days; for, by Saint Bride of Douglas, I have
scarcely anything left to which I can say welcome."
   "Small welcome will serve," said Bertram.  "My son,
make thy reverence to thy father's old friend.  Augustine
is learning my joyous trade, but he will need some practice
ere he can endure its fatigues.  If you could give him some
little matter of food, and a quiet bed for the night, there's
no fear but that we shall both do well enough; for I dare say,
when you travel with my friend Charles there - if that tall
youth chance to be my old acquaintance Charles - you will
find yourself accommodated when his wants are once well
provided for."
   "Nay, the foul fiend tak me if I do," answered the
Scottish husbandman.  "I know not what the lads of this
day are made of.  Not of the same clay as their fathers, to
be sure; not sprung from the heather, which fears neither
wind nor rain, but from some delicate plant of a foreign
country, which will not thrive unless it be nourished under
glass, with a murrain to it.  The good Lord of Douglas - I
have been his henchman, and can vouch for it - did not in
his pagehood desire such food and lodging as, in the present
day, will hardly satisfy such a lad as your friend Charles."
   "Nay," said Bertram, "it is not that my Augustine is over
nice; but, for other reasons, I must request of you a bed to
himself.  He hath of late been unwell."
   "Ay, I understand," said Dickson, "your son hath had a
touch of that illness which terminates so frequently in the
'black death' you English folk die of.  We hear much of
the havoc it has made to the southward.  Comes it hither-
   Bertram nodded.
   "Well, my father's house," continued the farmer, "hath
more rooms than one, and your son shall have one well aired
and comfortable; and for supper you shall have a part of
what is prepared for your countryman - though I would
rather have their room than their company.  Since I am
bound to feed a score of them, they will not dispute the
claim of such a skilful minstrel as thou art to a night's
hospitality.  I am ashamed to say that I must do their
bidding even in my own house.  Welladay, is my good
lord were in possession of his own, I have heart and hand
enough to turn the whole of them out of my house like -
like - "
   "To speak plainly," said Bertram, "like a Southron stroll-
ing gang from Redesdale, whom I have seen you fling out
of your house like a litter of blind puppies, when not one
of them looked behind to see who had done him the
courtesy until he was half-way to Cairntable."
   "Ay," answered the Scotchman, drawing himself up at
least six inches taller than before; "then I had a house of
my own, and a cause and an arm to keep it.  Now I am -
what signifies it what I am? the noblest lord in Scotland
is little better."
   "Truly, friend," said Bertram, "now you view this matter
in a rational light.  I do not say that the wisest, the richest,
or the strongest man in this world has any right to tyrannize
over his neighbour because he is the more weak, ignorant,
and the poorer; but yet if he does enter into such a contro-
versy, he must submit to the course of nature, and that will
always give the advantage in the tide of battle to wealth,
strength, and health."
   "With permission, however," answered Dickson, "the
weaker party, if he uses his faculties to the utmost, may in
the long run obtain revenge upon the author of his suffer-
ings, which would be at least compensation for his temporary
submission; and he acts simply as a man, and most foolishly
as a Scotchman, whether he sustain these wrongs with the
insensibility of an idiot, or whether he endeavour to revenge
them before Heaven's appointed time has arrived.  But if I
talk thus, I shall scare you, as I have scared some of your
countrymen, from accepting a meal of meat and a night's
lodging in a house where you might be called with the
morning to a bloody settlement of a national quarrel."
   "Never mind," said Bertram.  "We have been known to
each other of old, and I am no more afraid of meeting un-
kindness in your house than you expect me to come here for
the purpose of adding to the injuries of which you complain."
   "So be it," said Dickson.  "And you, my old friend, are
as welcome to my abode as when it never held any guest
save of my own inviting - And you, my young friend, Master
Augustine, shall be looked after as well as if you came with
a gay brow and a light cheek such as best becomes the gay
   "But wherefore, may I ask," said Bertram, "so much dis-
pleased but now at my young friend Charles?"
   The youth answered before his father had time to speak.
"My father, good sir, may put what show upon it he will,
but shrewd and wise men wax weak in the brain in these
troublous times.  He saw two or three wolves seize upon
three of our choicest wethers; and because I shouted to
give the alarm to the English garrison, he was angry as if he
could have murdered me - just for saving the sheep from the
jaws that would have devoured them."
   "This is a strange account of thee, old friend," said
Bertram.  "Dost thou connive with the wolves in robbing
thine own fold?"
   "Why, let it pass, if thou lovest me," answered the country-
man.  "Charles could tell thee something nearer the truth
if he had a mind; but for the present let it pass."
   The minstrel, perceiving that the Scotchman was fretted
and embarrassed with the subject, pressed it no further.
   At this moment, in crossing the threshold of Thomas
Dickson's house, they were greeted with sounds from two
English soldiers within.  "Quiet, Anthony]"  said one voice;
"quiet, man] - for the sake of common sense, if not com-
mon manners.  Robin Hood himself never sat down to his
board ere the roast was ready."
   "Really]" quoth another rough voice - "it is roasting to
rags; and small had been the knave Dickson's share, even
of these rags, had it not been the express orders of the
worshipful Sir John de Walton that the soldiers who lie at
outposts should afford to the inmates such provision as are
not necessary for their own subsistence."
   "Hush, Anthony] hush, for shame]" replied his fellow-
soldier.  "If ever I heard our host's step, I heard it this
instant.  So give over thy grumbling, since our captain, as
we all know, hath prohibited, under strict penalties, all quar-
rels between his followers and the people of the country."
   "I am sure," replied Anthony, "that I have ministered
occasion to none; but I would I were equally certain of the
good meaning of this sullen-browed Thomas Dickson towards
the English soldiers, for I seldom go to bed in this dungeon
of a house but I expect my throat will gape as wide as a
thirsty oyster before I awaken.  Here he comes, however,"
added Anthony, sinking his sharp tones as he spoke; "and
I hope to be excommunicated if he has not brought with
him that mad animal his son Charles, and two other
strangers - hungry enough, I'll be sworn, to eat up the whole
supper, if they do us no other injury."
   "Shame of thyself, Anthony]"  repeated his comrade; "a
good archer thou as ever wore Kendal green, and yet affect
to be frightened for two tried travellers, and alarmed for the
inroad their hunger may make on the night's meal.  There
are four or five of us here; we have our bows and our
bills within reach, and scorn to be chased from our supper,
or cheated out of our share of it, by a dozen Scotchmen,
whether stationary or strollers. - How say'st thou?"  he
added, turning to Dickson - "how say ye, quartermaster?  It
is no secret that, by the directions given to our post, we
must inquire into the occupations of such guests as you
may receive besides ourselves, your willing inmates.  You
are as ready for supper, I warrant, as supper is for you, and
I will only delay you and my friend Anthony, who becomes
dreadfully impatient, until you answer two or three questions
which you wot of."
   "Bend-the-Bow," answered Dickson, "thou art a civil
fellow, and although it is something hard to be constrained
to give an account of one's friends, because they chance to
quarter in one's own house for a night or two, yet I must
submit to the times, and make no vain opposition.  You
may mark down in your breviary there that, upon the four-
teenth say before Palm Sunday, Thomas Dickson brought
to his house of Hazelside, in which you hold garrison, by
orders from the English governor, Sir John de Walton, two
strangers, to whom the said Thomas Dickson had promised
refreshment and a bed for the evening, if it be lawful at this
time and place."
   "But what are they these strangers?"  said Anthony,
somewhat sharply.
   "A fine world the while," murmured Thomas Dickson,
"That an honest man should be forced to answer the
questions of every paltry companion]"  But he mitigated
his voice and proceeded.  "The eldest of my guests is
Bertram, an ancient English minstrel, who is bound on his
own errand to the Castle of Douglas, and will communicate
what he has to say of news to Sir John de Walton himself.
I have known him for twenty years, and never heard any-
thing of him save that he was good man and true.  The
younger stranger is his son, a lad recovering from the
English disorder, which has been raging far and wide in
Westmoreland and Cumberland."
   "Tell me," said Bend-the-Bow, "this same Bertram, was
he not about a year since in the service of some noble lady
in our own country?"
   "I have heard so," answered Dickson.
   "We shall, in that case, I think, incur little danger,"
replied Bend-the-Bow, "by allowing this old man and his
son to proceed on their journey to the castle."
   "You are my elder and my better," answered Anthony;
"but I may remind you that it is not so clearly our duty to
give free passage into a garrison of a thousand men of all
ranks to a youth who has been so lately attacked by a con-
tagious disorder, and I question if our commander would not
rather hear that the Black Douglas, with a hundred devils
as black as himself, since such is his colour, had taken pos-
session of the outpost of Hazelside with sword and battle-axe,
than that one person suffering under this fell sickness had
entered peaceably, and by the opened wicket of the castle."
   "There is something in what thou sayest, Anthony,"
replied his comrade; "and considering that our governor,
since he has undertaken the troublesome job of keeping a
castle which is esteemed so much more dangerous than any
other within Scotland, has become one of the most cautious
and jealous men in the world, we had better, I think, inform
him of the circumstance, and take his commands how the
stripling is to be dealt with."
   "Content am I," said the archer; "and first, methinks I
would just, in order to show that we know what belongs to
such a case, ask the stripling a few questions, as how long he
has been ill, by what physicians he has been attended, when
he was cured, and how his cure is certified, etc."
   "True, brother," said Bend-the-Bow. - "Thou hearest,
minstrel, we would ask thy son some questions.  What has
become of him? he was in this apartment but now."
   "So please you," answered Bertram, "he did but pass
through the apartment.  Master Thomas Dickson, at my
entreaty, as well as in respectful reverence to your honour's
health, carried him through the room without tarriance,
judging his own bedchamber the fittest place for a young
man recovering from a severe illness, and after a day of no
small fatigue."
   "Well," answered the elder archer, "though it is un-
common for men who, like us, live by bowstring and quiver
to meddle with interrogations and examinations, yet, as the
case stands, we must make some inquiries to your son ere
we permit him to set forth to the Castle of Douglas, where
you say his errand leads him."
   "Rather my errand, noble sir," said the minstrel, "than
that of the young man himself."
   "If such be the case," answered Bend-the-Bow, "we may
sufficiently do our duty by sending yourself, with the first
gray light of dawn, to the castle, and letting your son remain
in bed, which I warrant is the fittest place for him, until we
shall receive Sir John de Walton's commands whether he is
to be brought onward or not."
   "And we may as well," said Anthony, "since we are to
have this man's company at supper, make him acquainted
with the rules of the out-garrison stationed here for the
time."  So saying, he pulled a scroll from his leathern
pouch, and said, "Minstrel, canst thou read?"
   "It becomes my calling," said minstrel.
   "It has nothing to do with mine, though," answered the
archer, "and therefore do thou read these regulation aloud;
for since I do not comprehend these characters by sight, I
lose no chance of having them read over to me as often as
I can, that I may fix their sense in my memory.  So beware
that thou readest the words letter for letter as they are set
down; for thou dost so at thy peril, Sir Minstrel, if thou
readest not like a true man."
   "On my minstrel word," said Bertram, and began to read
excessively slow; for he wished to gain a little time for con-
sideration, which he foresaw would be necessary to prevent
his being separated from his minstrels, which was likely to
occasion her much anxiety and distress.  He therefore be-
gan thus: " 'Outpost at Hazelside, the steading of Good-
man Thomas Dickson.'  Ay, Thomas, and is thy house so
   "It is the ancient name of the steading," said the Scot,
"being surrounded by a hazel shaw or thicket."
   "Hold your chattering tongue, minstrel," said Anthony,
"and proceed, as you value that or your ears, which you
seem disposed to make less use of."
   " ' His garrison,' " proceeded the minstrel, reading, " 'con-
sists of a lance with its furniture.'  What, then, a lance - in
other words a belted knight - commands this party?"
   "Tis no concern of thine," said the archer.
   "But it is," answered the minstrel: "we have a right to
be examined by the highest person in presence."
   "I will show thee, thou rascal," said the archer, starting
up, "that I am lance enough for thee to reply to, and I will
break thy head if thou say'st a word more."
   "Take care, brother Anthony," said his comrade; "we are
to use travellers courteously - and, with your leave, those
travellers best who come from our native land."
   "It is even so stated here," said the minstrel, and he pro-
ceeded to read: " 'The watch at this outpost of Hazelside
shall stop and examine all travellers passing by the said
station, suffering such to pass onwards to the town of
Douglas, or to Douglas Castle, always interrogating them
with civility, and detaining and turning them back if there
arise matter of suspicion; but conducting themselves in all
matters civilly and courteously to the people of the country,
and to those who travel in it.'  You see, most excellent
and valiant archer," added the commentator Bertram, "that
courtesy and civility are, above all, recommended to your
worship in your conduct towards the inhabitants, and those
passengers who, like us, may chance to fall under your rules
in such matters."
   "I am not to be told at this time of day," said the archer,
"how to conduct myself in the discharge of my duties.  Let
me advise you, Sir Minstrel, to be frank and open in your
answers to our inquiries, and you shall have no reason to
   "I hope, at all events," said the minstrel, "to have your
favour for my son, who is a delicate stripling, and not ac-
customed to play his part among the crew which inhabit
this wild world."
   "Well," continued the elder and more civil of the two
archers, "if thy son be a novice in this terrestrial navigation,
I warrant that thou, my friend, from thy look and manner of
speech, hast enough of skill to use thy compass.  To com-
fort thee - although thou must thyself answer the questions of
our governor of deputy-governor, in order that he may see
there is no offence in thee - I think there may be permission
granted for thy son's residing here in the convent hard by
(where the nuns, by the way, are as old as the monks, and
have nearly as long beards, so thou mayst be easy about thy
son's morals), until thou hast done thy business at Douglas
Castle, and art ready to resume thy journey."
   "If such permission," said the minstrel, "can be obtained,
I should be better pleased to leave him at the abbey, and go
myself, in the first place, to take the directions of your com-
manding officer."
   "Certainly," answered the archer, "that will be the safest
and best way; and with a piece or two of money thou mayst
secure the protection of the abbot."
   "Thou say'st well," answered the minstrel.  "I have
known life - I have known every stile, gap, pathway, and
pass of this wilderness of ours for some thirty years; and
he that cannot steer his course fairly through it like an able
seaman, after having served such an apprenticeship, can
hardly ever be taught, were a century to be given him to
learn it in."
   "Since thou art so expert a mariner," answered the archer
Anthony, "thou hast, I warrant me, met in thy wanderings
a potation called a morning's draught, which they who are
conducted by others, where they themselves lack experience,
are used to bestow upon those who undertake the task of
guide upon such an occasion?"
   "I understood you, sir," quoth the minstrel; "and al-
though money, or drink-geld as the Fleming calls it, is
rather a scarce commodity in the purse of one of my calling,
yet, according to my feeble ability thou shalt have no cause
to complain that thine eyes or those of thy comrades have
been damaged by a Scotch mist, while we can find an
English coin to pay for the good liquor which would wash
them clear."
   "Content," said the archer - "we now understand each
other; and if difficulties arise on the road, thou shalt not
want the countenance of Anthony to sail triumphantly
through them.  But thou hadst better let thy son know
soon of the early visit to the abbot to-morrow, for thou
mayst guess that we cannot and dare not delay our depar-
ture for the convent a minute after the eastern sky is ruddy;
and, with other infirmities, young men often are prone to
laziness and a love of ease."
   "Thou shalt have no reason to think so," answered the
minstrel; "not the lark himself, when waked by the first ray
peeping over the black cloud, springs more lightly to the
sky than will my Augustine answer the same brilliant sum-
mons.  And now we understand each other, I would only
further pray you to forbear light talk while my son is in
your company - a boy of innocent life, and timid in con-
   "Nay, jolly minstrel," said the elder archer, "thou givest
us here too gross an example of Satan reproving sin.  If
thou hast followed thy craft for twenty years, as thou pre-
tendest, thy son, having kept thee company since childhood,
must by this time be fit to open a school to teach even
devils the practice of the seven deadly sins, of which none
know the theory if those of the gay science are lacking."
   "Truly, comrade, thou speakest well," answered Bertram,
"and I acknowledge that we minstrels are too much to
blame in this matter.  Nevertheless, in good sooth, the
fault is not one of which I myself am particularly guilty;
on the contrary, I think that he who would wish to have his
own hair honoured when time has strewed it with silver,
should so rein his mirth when in the presence of the young
as may show in what respect he holds innocence.  I will,
therefore, with your permission, speak a word to Augustine,
that to-morrow we must be on foot early."
   "Do so, my friend," said the English soldier; "and do the
same the more speedily that our poor supper is still awaiting
until thou art ready to partake of it."
   "To which, I promise thee," said Bertram, "I am dis-
posed to entertain no delay."
   "Follow me, then," said Dickson, "and I will show thee
where this young bird of thine has his nest."
   Their host accordingly tripped up the wooden stair, and
tapped at a door, which he thus indicated was that of his
younger guest.
   "Your father," continued he as the door opened, "would
speak with you, Master Augustine."
   "Excuse me, my host," answered Augustine; "the truth
is, that this room being directly above your eating-chamber,
and the flooring not in the best possible repair, I have been
compelled to the unhandsome practice of eavesdropping, and
not a word has escaped me that passed concerning my pro-
posed residence at the abbey, our journey to-morrow, and
the somewhat early hour at which I must shake off sloth,
and, according to thy expression, fly down from the roost."
   "And how dost thou relish," said Dickson, "being left
with the abbot of Saint Bride's little flock here?"
   "Why, well," said the youth, "if the abbot is a man of
respectability becoming his vocation, and not one of those
swaggering churchmen who stretch out the sword and bear
themselves like rank soldiers in these troublous times."
   "For that, young master," said Dickson, "if you let him
put his hand deep enough into your purse, he will hardly
quarrel with anything."
   "Then I will leave him to my father," replied Augustine,
"who will not grudge him anything he asks in reason."
   "In that case," replied the Scotchman, "you may trust to
our abbot for good accommodation; and so both sides are
   "It is well, my son," said Bertram, who now joined in the
conversation; "and that thou mayst be ready for thy early
travelling, I shall presently get our host to send thee some
food, after partaking of which thou shouldst go to bed and
sleep off the fatigue of to-day, since to-morrow will bring
work for itself."
   "And as for thy engagement to these honest archers,"
answered Augustine, "I hope you will be able to do what
will give pleasure to our guides, if they are disposed to be
civil and true men."
   "God bless thee, my child]" answered Bertram; "thou
knowest already what would drag after thy beck all the
English archers that were ever on this side of the Solway.
There is no fear of a gray goose shaft if you sing a reveillez
like to that which chimed even now from that silken nest of
dainty young goldfinches."
   "Hold me as in readiness, then," said the seeming youth,
"when you depart to-morrow morning.  I am within hearing,
I suppose, of the bells of Saint Bride's chapel, and have no
fear, through my sloth, of keeping you or your company
   "Good-night and God bless thee, my child]" again said
the minstrel.  "Remember that your father sleeps not far
distant, and on the slightest alarm will not fail to be with
you.  I need scarce bid thee recommend thyself, meantime,
to the great Being who is the friend and father of us all."
   The pilgrim thanked his supposed father for his evening
blessing and the visitors withdrew without further speech at
the time, leaving the young lady to those engrossing fears
which, the novelty of her situation and the native delicacy of
her sex being considered, naturally thronged upon her.
   The tramp of a horse's foot was not long after heard at
the house of Hazelside, and the rider was welcomed by its
garrison with marks of respect.  Bertram understood so
much as to discover from the conversation of the warders
that this late arrival was Aymer de Valence, the knight who
commanded the little party, and to the furniture of whose
lance, as it was technically called, belonged the archers with
whom we have already been acquainted, a man-at-arms or
two, a certain proportion of pages or grooms, and, in short,
the command and guidance of the garrison at Thomas
Dickson's, while in rank he was deputy-governor of Douglas
   To prevent all suspicion respecting himself and his com-
panion, as well as the risk of the latter being disturbed, the
minstrel thought it proper to present himself to the inspec-
tion of this knight, the great authority of the little place.
He found him, with as little scruple as the archers hereto-
fore, making a supper of the relics of the roast beef.
   Before this young knight Bertram underwent an examina-
tion, while and old soldier took down in writing such items of
information as the examinate thought proper to express in
his replies, both with regard to the minutiae of his present
journey, his business at Castle Douglas, and his route when
that business should be accomplished; a much more minute
examination, in a word, than he had hitherto undergone by
the archers, or perhaps than was quite agreeable to him,
being encumbered with at least the knowledge of one secret,
whatever more.  Not that this new examinator had anything
stern or severe in his looks of his questions.  As to the first,
he was mild, gentle, and 'meek as a maid,' and possessed
exactly of the courteous manners ascribed by our father
Chaucer to the pattern of chivalry whom he describes upon
his pilgrimage to Canterbury.  But with all his gentleness,
De Valence showed a great degree of acuteness and accuracy
in his queries; and well pleased was Bertram that the young
knight did not insist upon seeing his supposed son, although
even in that case his ready wit had resolved, like a seaman
in a tempest, to sacrifice one part to preserve the rest.  He
was not, however, driven to this extremity, being treated by
Sir Aymer with that degree of courtesy which in that age
men of song were in general thought entitled to.  The
knight kindly and liberally consented to the lad's remaining
in the convent, as a fit and quiet residence for a stripling
and an invalid, until Sir John de Walton should express his
pleasure on the subject; and Sir Aymer consented to this
arrangement the more willingly, as it averted all possible
danger of bringing disease into the English garrison.
   By the young knight's order, all in Dickson's house were
dispatched earlier to rest than usual - the matin bell of the
neighbouring chapel being the signal for their assembly by
daybreak.  They rendezvoused accordingly, and proceeded
to Saint Bride's, where they heard mass, after which an
interview took place between the Abbot Jerome and the
minstrel, in which the former undertook, with the permis-
sion of De Valence, to receive Augustine into his abbey as
a guest for a few days, less or more, and for which Bertram
promised an acknowledgement, in name of alms, which was
amply satisfactory.
   "So be it," said Bertram, taking leave of his supposed
son; "rely on it I will not tarry a day longer at Douglas
Castle than shall suffice for transacting my business there
which is to look after the old books you wot of, and I will
speedily return for thee to the Abbey of Saint Bride, to re-
sume in company our journey homeward."
   "O father," replied the youth, with a smile, "I fear, if
you get among romances and chronicles, you will be so ear-
nest in your researches that you will forget poor Augustine
and his concerns."
   "Never fear me, Augustine," said the old man, making
the motion of throwing a kiss towards the boy; "thou art
good and virtuous, and Heaven will not neglect thee were
thy father unnatural enough to do so.  Believe me, all the
old songs since Merlin's day shall not make me forget thee."
   Thus they separated - the minstrel, with the English knight
and his retinue, to move towards the castle; and the youth
in dutiful attendance on the venerable abbot, who was de-
lighted to find that his guest's thoughts turned rather upon
spiritual things than on the morning repast, of the approach
of which he could not help being himself sensible.

<Chapter III>
( This night, methinks, is but the daylight sick -
It looks a little paler; 'tis a day
Such as the day is when the sun is hid.
                             Merchant of Venice.)
To facilitate the progress of the party on its way to Douglas
Castle, the Knight of Valence offered the minstrel the con-
venience of a horse, which the fatigues of yesterday made
him gladly accept.  Any one acquainted with equestrian exer-
cise is aware that no means of refreshment carries away the
sense of fatigue from over-walking so easily as the exchange
to riding, which calls into play another set of muscles, and
leaves those which have been over-exerted an opportunity
of resting, through change of motion, more completely than
they could in absolute repose.  Sir Aymer de Valence was
sheathed in armour and mounted on his charger; two of
the archers, a groom of mean rank, and a squire, who
looked in his day for the honour of knighthood, completed
the detachment, which seemed so disposed as to secure the
minstrel from escape and to protect him against violence.
"Not," said the young knight, addressing himself to Ber-
tram, "that there is usually danger in travelling in this
country any more than in the most quiet districts of Eng-
land; but some disturbances as you may have learnt, have
broken out here within this last year, and have caused the
garrison of Castle Douglas to maintain a stricter watch.
But let us move on, for the complexion of the day is con-
genial with the original derivation of the name of the
country, and the description of the chiefs to whom it be-
longed - Sholto Dhu Glass (see yon dark gray man) - and
dark gray will our route prove this morning, though by good
luck it is not long."
   The morning was indeed what the original Gaelic words
implied - a drizzly, dark, moist day; the mist had settled
upon the hills, and unrolled itself upon brook, galde, and
tarn, and the spring breeze was not powerful enough to raise
the veil, though from the wild sounds which were heard
occasionally on the ridges and through the glens, it might
be supposed to wail at a sense of its own inability.  The
route of the travellers was directed by the course which the
river had ploughed for itself down the valley, the banks of
which bore in general that dark gray livery which Sir Aymer
de Valence had intimated to be the prevalent tint of the
country.  Some ineffectual struggles of the sun shot a
ray here and there to salute the peaks of the hills; yet these
were unable to surmount the dullness of a March morning,
and at so early an hour produced a variety of shades rather
than a gleam of brightness upon the eastern horizon.  The
view was monotonous and depressing and apparently the
good knight Aymer sought some amusement in occasional
talk with Bertram, who, as was usual with his craft, pos-
sessed a fund of knowledge and a power of conversation
well suited to pass away a dull morning.  The minstrel, well
pleased to pick up such information as he might be able
concerning the present state of the country, embraced every
opportunity of sustaining the dialogue.
   "I would speak with you, Sir Minstrel," said the young
knight.  "If thou dost not find the air of this morning too
harsh for thine organs, heartily do I wish thou wouldst fairly
tell me what can have induced thee, being, as thou seemest,
a man of sense, to thrust thyself into a wild country like
this, at such a time. - And you, my masters," addressing the
archers and the rest of the party, "methinks it would be as
fitting and seeming if you reined back your steeds for a
horse's length or so, since I apprehend you can travel on
your way without the pastime of minstrelsy."  The bowmen
took the hint, and fell back, but, as was expressed by their
grumbling observations, by no means pleased that there
seemed little chance of their overhearing what conversation
should pass between the young knight and the minstrel,
which proceeded as follows:-
   "I am, then, to understand, good minstrel," said the
knight, "that you, who have in your time borne arms, and
even followed Saint George's red-cross banner to the Holy
Sepulchre, are so little tired of the danger attending our
profession that you feel yourself attracted unnecessarily to
regions where the sword, for ever loose in its scabbard, is
ready to start on the slightest provocation?"
   "It would be hard," replied the minstrel bluntly, "to
answer such a question in the affirmative; and yet, when
you consider how nearly allied is his profession who cele-
brates deeds of arms with that of the knight who performs
them, your honour, I think, will hold it advisable that a
minstrel desirous of doing his devoir should, like a young
knight, seek the truth of adventures where it is to be
found, and rather visit countries where the knowledge is pre-
served of high and noble deeds than those lazy and quiet
realms in which men live indolently and die ignobly in
peace or by sentence of law.  You yourself, sir, and those
like you, who hold life cheap in respect of glory, guide your
course through this world on the very same principle which
brings your poor rhyming servant Bertram from a far prov-
ince of merry England to this dark country of rugged Scot-
land called Douglas Dale.  You long to see adventures
worthy of notice, and I (under favour for naming us two in
the same breath) seek a scanty and precarious but not a
dishonourable living by preparing for immortality, as well as
I can, the particulars of such exploits, especially the names
of those who were the heroes of these actions.  Each,
therefore, labours in his vocation; nor can the one be
justly wondered at more than the other, seeing that if there
be any difference in the degrees of danger to which both the
hero and the poet are exposed, the courage, strength, arms,
and address of the valiant knight render it safer for him to
venture into scenes of peril than for the poor man of rhyme."
   "You say well," answered the warrior; "and although it
is something of novelty to me to hear your craft represented
as upon a level with my own mode of life, yet shame were it
to say that the minstrel who toils so much to keep in memory
the feats of gallant knights should not himself prefer fame to
existence, and a single achievement of valour  to a whole age
without a name, or to affirm that he follows a mean and
unworthy profession."
   "Your worship will then acknowledge," said the minstrel,
"that it is a legitimate object in such as myself, who, simple
as I am, have taken my regular degrees among the professors
of the gay science at the capital town of Aigues-Mortes, to
struggle forward into this northern district, where I am well
assured many things have happened which have been adapted
to the harp by minstrels of great fame in ancient days, and
have become the subject of lays which lie deposited in the
library of Castle Douglas, where, unless copied over by some
one who understands the old British characters and language,
they must, with whatever they may contain, whether of enter-
tainment or edification, be speedily lost to posterity.  If
these hidden treasures were preserved and recorded by the
minstrel art of my poor self and others, it might be held well
to compensate for the risk of a chance blow of a broadsword,
or the sweep of a brown bill, received while I am engaged in
collecting them; and I were unworthy of the name of a man,
much more of an inventor or finder, should I weigh the loss
of life, a commodity always so uncertain, against the chance
of that immortality which will survive in my lay after my
broken voice and shivered harp shall no longer be able
either to express tune or accompany tale."
   "Certainly," said Sir Aymer, "having a heart to feel such
a motive, you have an undoubted right to express it; nor
should I have been in any degree disposed to question it had
I found many minstrels prepared, like yourself, to prefer
renown even to life itself, which most men think of greatly
more consequence."
   "There are, indeed, noble sir," replied Bertram, "min-
strels, and, with your reverence, even belted knights them-
selves, who do not sufficiently value that renown which is
acquired at the risk of life.  To such ignoble men we must
leave their own reward; let us abandon to them earth, and
the things of earth, since they cannot aspire to that glory
which is the best reward of others."
   The minstrel uttered these last words with such enthusiasm
that the knight drew his bridle, and stood fronting Bertram,
with his countenance kindling at the same theme, on which,
after a short silence, he expressed himself with a like
   "Well fare thy heart, gay companion]  I am happy to see
there is still so much enthusiasm surviving in the world.
Thou hast fairly won the minstrel groat; and if I do not pay
it in conformity to my sense of thy merit, it shall be the fault
of Dame Fortune, who has graced my labours in these Scot-
tish wars with the niggard pay of Scottish money.  A gold
piece or two there must be remaining of the ransom of one
French knight, whom chance threw into my hands, and that,
my friend, shall surely be thine own; and hark thee, I,
Aymer de Valence, who now speak to thee, am born of the
noble House of Pembroke, and though now landless, shall,
by the grace of Our Lady, have in time a fitting establish-
ment, wherein I will find room for a minstrel like thee, if thy
talents have not by that time found thee a better patron."
   "Thank thee, noble knight," said the minstrel, "as well
for thy present intentions as I hope I shall for thy future
performance; but I may say with truth that I have not the
sordid inclination of many of my brethren."
   "He who partakes the true thirst of noble fame," said the
young knight, "can have little room in his heart for the love
of gold.  But thou hast not yet told me, friend minstrel,
what are the motives in particular which have attracted thy
wandering steps to this wild country?"
   "Were I to do so," replied Bertram, rather desirous to
avoid the question, as in some respects too nearly bordering
on the secret purpose of his journey, "it might sound like a
studied panegyric on thine own bold deeds, Sir Knight, and
those of your companions in arms; and such adulation,
minstrel as I am, I hate like an empty cup at a companion's
lips.  But let me say in few words that Douglas Castle
and the deeds of valour which it has witnessed have sounded
wide through England; nor is there a gallant knight or
trusty minstrel whose heart does not throb at the name of
the stronghold which, in former days, the foot of an English-
man never entered except in hospitality.  There is a magic
in the very names of Sir John de Walton and Sir Aymer de
Valence, the gallant defenders of a place so often won back
by its ancient lords, and with such circumstances of valour
and cruelty that it bears, in England, the name of the Dan-
gerous Castle."
   "Yet I would fain hear," answered the knight, "your own
minstrel account of those legends which have induced you,
for the amusement of future times, to visit a country which,
at this period, is so distracted and perilous."
   "If you can endure the length of a minstrel tale," said
Bertram, "I for one am always amused by the exercise of
my vocation, and have no objection to tell my story, provided
you do not prove an impatient listener."
   "Nay, for that matter," said the young knight, "a fair
listener thou shalt have of me; and if my reward be not
great, my attention at least shall be remarkable."
   "And he," said the minstrel, "must be a poor gleeman
who does not hold himself better paid with that than with
gold or silver, were the pieces English rose-nobles.  On this
condition then I begin a long story, which may, in one or
other of its details find subject for better minstrels than
myself, and be listened to by such warriors as you hundreds
of years hence."

<Chapter IV>
( While many a merry lay and many a song
Cheered the rough road, we wished the rough road long;
The rough road then returning in a round,
Marked their impatient steps, for all was fairly ground.
                                           Dr Johnson.)
"It was about the year of redemption one thousand two
hundred and eighty-five years," began the minstrel, "when
King Alexander the Third of Scotland lost his daughter
Margaret, whose only child, of the same name, called the
Maiden of Norway (as her father was king of that country),
became the heiress of this kingdom of Scotland, as well as
of her father's crown.  An unhappy death was this for
Alexander, who had no nearer heirs left of his own body
than this grandchild.  She indeed might claim his kingdom
by birthright; but the difficulty of establishing such a claim
of inheritance must have been anticipated by all who be-
stowed a thought upon the subject.  The Scottish king,
therefore, endeavoured to make up for his loss by replacing
his late Queen, who was an English princess, sister of our
Edward the First, with Juletta, daughter of the Count de
Dreux.  The solemnities at the nuptial ceremony, which
took place in the town of Jedburgh, were very great and
remarkable, and particularly when, amidst the display of a
pageant which was exhibited on the occasion, a ghastly
spectre made its appearance in the form of a skeleton, as
the King of Terrors is said to be represented.  Your worship
is free to laugh at this if you think it a proper subject for
mirth; but men are alive who viewed it with their own eyes,
and the event showed too well of what misfortunes this
apparition was the singular prognostication."
   "I have heard the story," said the knight; "but the monk
who told it me suggested that the figure, though unhappily
chosen, was perhaps purposely introduced as a part of the
   "I know not that," said the minstrel dryly; "but there is
no doubt that shortly after this apparition King Alexander
died, to the great sorrow of his people.  The Maid Of Nor-
way, his heiress, speedily followed her grandfather to the
grave; and our English king, Sir Knight, raked up a claim
of dependency and homage, due, he said, by Scotland
which neither the lawyers, nobles, priests, nor the very
minstrels of Scotland, had ever before heard of."
   "Now, beshrew me," interrupted Sir Aymer de Valence,
"This is beyond bargain.  I agreed to hear your tale with
patience, but I did not pledge myself that it should contain
matter to the reproach of Edward the First of blessed
memory; nor will I permit his name to be mentioned in
my hearing without the respect due to his high rank and
noble qualities."
   "Nay," said the minstrel, "I am no Highland bagpiper or
genealogist, to carry respect for my art so far as to quarrel
with a man of worship who stops me at the beginning of a
pibroch.  I am an Englishman, and wish dearly well to my
country; and, above all, I must speak the truth.  But I will
avoid disputable topics.  Your age, sir, though none of the
ripest, authorizes me to suppose you may have seen the
battle of Falkirk and other onslaughts in which the com-
petition of Bruce and Baliol has been fiercely agitated; and
you will permit me to say that if the Scottish have not had
the right upon their side, they have at least defended the
wrong with the efforts of brave men and true."
   "Of brave men, I grant you," said the knight, "for I have
seen no cowards amongst them; but as for truth, they can
best judge of it who know how often they have sworn faith
to England, and how repeatedly they have broken their vow."
   "I shall not stir the question," said the minstrel, "leaving
it to your worship to determine which has most falsehood -
he who compels a weaker person to take an unjust oath, or
he who, compelled by necessity, takes the imposed oath
without the intention of keeping his word."
   "Nay, nay," said De Valence, "let us keep our opinions,
for we are not likely to force each other from the faith we
have adopted on this subject.  But take my advice, and
whilst thou travellest under an English pennon, take heed
that thou keepest off this conversation in the hall and
kitchen, where perhaps the soldier may be less tolerant than
the officer; and now, in a word, what is thy legend of this
Dangerous Castle?"
   "For that," replied Bertram, "methinks your worship is
most likely to have a better edition than I, who have not
been in this country for many years; but it is not for me to
bandy opinions with your knightship.  I will even proceed
with the tale as I have heard it.  I need not, I presume,
inform your worship that the Lords of Douglas, who founded
this castle, are second to no lineage in Scotland in the
antiquity of their descent.  Nay, they have themselves
boasted that their family is not to be seen or distinguished,
like other great houses, until it is found at once in a certain
degree of eminence.  'You may see us in the tree,' they say -
'you cannot discover us in the twig; you may see us in the
stream - you cannot trace us to the fountain.'  In a word,
they deny that historians or genealogists can point out the
first mean man named Douglas who originally elevated the
family; and true it is, that so far back as we have known
this race, they have always been renowned for valour and
enterprise, accompanied with the power which made that
enterprise effectual."
   "Enough," said the knight; "I have heard of the pride
and power of that great family, nor does it interest me in the
least to deny or detract from their bold claims to considera-
tion in this respect."
   "Without doubt you must also have heard, noble sir,"
replied the minstrel, "many things of James, the present
heir of the house of Douglas?"
   "More than enough," answered the English knight.  "He
is known to have been a stout supporter of that outlawed
traitor, William Wallace; and again, upon the first raising
of the banner by this Robert Bruce, who pretends to be
King of Scotland, this young springald, James Douglas,
must needs start into rebellion anew.  He plunders his
uncle, the Archbishop of Saint Andrews, of a considerable
sum of money, to fill the Scottish usurper's not over-
burdened treasury, debauches the servants of his relation,
takes arms, and though repeatedly chastised in the field, still
keeps his vaunt, and threatens mischief to those who, in the
name of his rightful sovereign, defend the Castle of Douglas
   "It is your pleasure to say so, Sir Knight," replied Ber-
tram; "yet I am sure, were you a Scot, you would with
patience hear me tell over what has been said of this young
man by those who have known him, and whose account of
his adventures shows how differently the same tale may be
told.  These men talk of the present heir of this ancient
family as fully adequate to maintain and augment its reputa-
tion; ready, indeed, to undergo every peril in the cause of
Robert the Bruce, because the Bruce is esteemed by him
his lawful king; and sworn and devoted, with such small
strength as he can muster, to revenge himself on those
Southrons who have, for several years, as he thinks, unjustly
possessed themselves of his father's abode."
   "Oh," replied Sir Aymer de Valence, "we have heard
much of his achievements in this respect, and of his threats
against our governor and ourselves; yet we think it scarce
likely that Sir John de Walton will move from Douglas Dale
without the King's order, although this James Douglas, a
mere chicken, take upon himself to crack his voice by crow-
ing like a cock of the game."
   "Sir," answered Bertram, "our acquaintance is but brief,
and yet I feel it has been so beneficial to me that I trust
there is no harm in hoping that James Douglas and you
may never meet in bodily presence till the state of the two
countries shall admit of peace being between you."
   "Thou art obliging, friend," answered Sir Aymer, "and, I
doubt not, sincere; and truly thou seemst to have a whole-
some sense of the respect due to this young knight, when
men talk of him in his native valley of Douglas.  For me, I
am only poor Aymer of Valence, without an acre of land, or
much hope of acquiring any, unless I cut something huge
with my broadsword out of the middle of these hills.  Only
this, good minstrel - if thou livest to tell my story, may I pray
thee to use thy scrupulous custom of searching out the verity;
and whether I live or die thou shalt not, I think, discover
that thy late acquaintance of a spring morning hath added
more to the laurels of James of Douglas than any man's
death must give to him by whose stronger arm or more
lucky chance it is his lot to fall."
   "I nothing fear you, Sir Knight," said the minstrel, "for
yours is that happy brain which, bold in youth as beseems
a young knight, is in more advanced life the happy source of
prudent counsel, of which I would not, by an early death,
wish thy country to be deprived."
   "Thou art so candid then as to wish Old England the
benefit of good advice," said Sir Aymer, "though thou
leanest to the side of Scotland in the controversy?"
   "Assuredly, Sir Knight," said the minstrel, "since in
wishing that Scotland and England each knew their own
true interest, I am bound to wish them both alike well; and
they should, I think desire to live in friendship together.
Occupying each their own portion of the same island, and
living under the same laws, and being at peace with each
other, they might, without fear, face the enmity of the whole
   "If thy faith be so liberal," answered the knight, "as
becomes a good man, thou must certainly pray, Sir Minstrel,
for the success of England in the war, by which alone these
murderous hostilities of the northern nation can end in a
solid peace.  The rebellions of this obstinate country are
but the struggles of the stag when he is mortally wounded:
the animal grows weaker and weaker with every struggle, till
his resistance is effectually tamed by the hand of death."
   "Not so, Sir Knight," said the minstrel; "if my creed is
well taught me, we ought not so to pray.  We may, without
offence, intimate in our prayers the end we wish to obtain;
but it is not for us poor mortals to point out to an all-seeing
Providence the precise manner in which our petitions are to
be accomplished, or to wish the downfall of a country to end
its commotions, as the death-stab terminates the agonies of
the wounded stag.  Whether I appeal to my heart or to my
understanding, the dictate would be to petition Heaven for
what is just and equal in the case; and if I should fear for
thee, Sir Knight, in an encounter with James of Douglas, it
is only because he upholds, as I conceive, the better side of
the debate, and powers more than earthly have presaged to
him success."
   "Do you tell me so, Sir Minstrel," said De Valence in a
threatening tone, "knowing me and my office?"
   "Your personal dignity and authority," said Bertram,
"cannot change the right into wrong, or avert what Provi-
dence has decreed to take place.  You know, I must pre-
sume, that the Douglas hath, by various devices, already
contrived to make himself master of this castle of Douglas
three several times, and that Sir John de Walton, the present
governor, holds it with a garrison trebled in force, and under
the assurance that if, without surprise, he should keep it
from the Scottish power for a year and a day, he shall obtain
the barony of Douglas, with its extensive appendages, in free
property for his reward; while, on the other hand, if he shall
suffer the fortress during this space to be taken, either by
guile or by open force, as has happened successively to the
holders of the Dangerous Castle, he will become liable to
dishonour as a knight, and to attainder as a subject; and
the chiefs who take share with him and serve under him will
participate also in his guilt and his punishment?"
   "All this I know well," said Sir Aymer; "and I only
wonder that, having become public, the conditions have,
nevertheless, been told with so much accuracy; but what
has this to do with the issue of the combat, if the Douglas
and I should chance to meet?  I will not surely be disposed
to fight with less animation because I wear my fortune upon
my sword, or become coward because I fight for a portion
of the Douglas's estate, as well as for fame and for father-
land?  And after all - "
   "Hear me," said the minstrel; "an ancient gleeman has
said that in a false quarrel there is no true valour, and
the los or praise won therein is, when balanced against
honest fame, as valueless as a wreath formed out of copper,
compared to a chaplet of pure gold; but I bid you not
take me for thy warrant in this important question.  Thou
well knowest how James of Thirlwall, the last English
commander before Sir John de Walton, was surprised,
and the castle sacked with circumstances of great in-
   "Truly," said Sir Aymer, "I think that Scotland and
England both have heard of that onslaught, and of the
disgusting proceedings of the Scottish chieftain, when he
caused transport into the wild forest gold, silver, ammuni-
tion, and armour, and all things that could be easily
removed, and destroyed a large quantity of provisions, in
a manner equally savage and unheard-of."
   "Perhaps, Sir Knight," said Bertram, "you were yourself
an eye-witness of the transaction, which has been spoken of
far and wide, and is called the Douglas Larder?"
   "I saw not the actual accomplishment of the deed," said
De Valence - "that is, I witnessed it not a-doing, but I
beheld enough of the sad relics to make the Douglas Larder
never by me to be forgotten as a record of horror and
abomination.  I would speak it truly, by the hand of my
father and by my honour as a knight; and I will leave it
to thee to judge whether it was a deed calculated to secure
the smiles of Heaven in favour of the actors.  This is my
edition of the story:-
   "A large quantity of provisions had during two years or
thereabouts been collected from different points, and the
Castle of Douglas, newly repaired, and, as was thought,
carefully guarded, was appointed as the place where the
said provisions were to be put in store for the service of
the King of England, or of the Lord Clifford, whichever
should first enter the Western Marches with an English
army, and stand in need of such a supply.  This army
was also  to relieve our wants - I mean those of my uncle
the Earl of Pembroke, who for some time before had lain
with a considerable force in the town called Ayr, near the
old Caledonian Forest, and where we had hot wars with the
insurgent Scots.  Well, sir, it happened, as in similar cases,
that Thirlwall, though a bold and active soldier, was surprised
in the Castle of Douglas, about Hallowmass, by this same
worthy, young James Douglas.  In no very good humour
was he, as you may suppose; for his father, called William
the Hardy, or William Longlegs, having refused, on any
terms, to become Anglicized, was made a lawful prisoner,
and died as such, closely confined in Berwick, or, as some
say, in Newcastle.  The news of his father's death had put
young Douglas into no small rage, and tended, I think, to
suggest what he did in his resentment.  Embarrassed by the
quantity of provisions which he found in the castle, which,
the English being superior in the country, he had neither
the means to remove nor the leisure to stay and consume,
the fiend, as I think, inspired him with a contrivance to
render them unfit for human use.  You shall judge yourself
whether it was likely to be suggested by a good or an evil
   "According to this device, the gold, silver, and other
transportable commodities being carried to secret places
of safety, Douglas caused the meat, the malt, and other
corn or grain to be brought down into the castle cellar,
where he emptied the contents of the sacks into one
loathsome heap, striking out the heads of the barrels and
puncheons, so as to let the mingled drink run through the
heap of meal, grain, and so forth.  The bullocks provided
for slaughter were in like manner knocked on the head, and
their blood suffered to drain into the mass of edible sub-
stances; and lastly, the flesh of these oxen was buried in
the same mass, in which were also included the dead bodies
of those in the castle, who, receiving no quarter from the
Douglas, paid dear enough for having kept no better watch.
This base and unworthy abuse of provisions intended for the
use of man, together with throwing into the well of the castle
carcasses of men and horses, and other filth for polluting
the same, has since that time been called the DOUGLAS
   "I pretend not, good Sir Aymer," said minstrel, "to
vindicate what you justly reprove, nor can I conceive any
mode of rendering provisions arranged after the form of the
Douglas Larder proper for the use of any Christian; yet
this young gentleman might perhaps act under the sting of
natural resentment, rendering his singular exploit more ex-
cusable than it may seem at first.  Think, if your own noble
father had just died in a lingering captivity, his inheritance
seized upon and occupied as a garrison by a foreign enemy,
would not these things stir you to a mode of resentment which,
in cold blood, and judging of it as the action of an enemy,
your honour might hold in natural and laudable abhorrence?
Would you pay respect to dead and senseless objects, which
no one could blame your appropriating to your own use, or
even scruple the refusal of quarter to prisoners, which is so
often practised even in wars which are otherwise termed fair
and humane?"
   "You press me close, minstrel," said Aymer de Valence.
"I at least have no great interest to excuse the Douglas in
this matter, since its consequences were that I myself, and
the rest of my uncle's host, laboured with Clifford and his
army to rebuild this same Dangerous Castle; and feeling
no stomach for the cheer that the Douglas had left us, we
suffered hard commons, though I acknowledge we did not
hesitate to adopt for our own use such sheep and oxen as
the miserable Scots had still left around their farmhouses;
and I jest not, Sir Minstrel, when I acknowledge in sad
earnest that we martial men ought to make our petitions
with peculiar penitence to Heaven for mercy, when we
reflect on the various miseries which the nature of our
profession compels us to inflict on each other."
   "It seems to me," answered the minstrel, "that those who
feel the stings of their own conscience should be more lenient
when they speak of the offences of others; nor do I greatly
rely on a sort of prophecy which was delivered, as the men
of this hill district say, to the young Douglas, by a man who
in the course of nature should have been long since dead,
promising him a course of success against the English for
having sacrificed his own castle to prevent their making it a
   "We have time enough for the story," said Sir Aymer,
"and methinks it would suit a knight and a minstrel better
than the grave converse we have hitherto held, which would
have beseemed - so God save me - the mouths of two travel-
ling friars."
   "So be it," said the minstrel; "the rote or the viol easily
changes its time and varies its note."

<Chapter V>
( A tale of sorrow, for your eyes may weep;
A tale of horror, for your flesh may tingle;
A tale of wonder, for the eyebrows arch,
And the flesh curdles, if you read it rightly.
                                      Old Play.)
"Your honour must be informed, gentle Sir Aymer de
Valence, that I have heard this story told at a great distance
from the land in which it happened, by a sworn minstrel,
the ancient friend and servant of the House of Douglas,
one of the best, it is said, who ever belonged to that noble
family, this minstrel, Hugo Hugonet by name, attended
his young master when on this fierce exploit, as was his
   "The castle was in total tumult: in one corner the war-
men were busy breaking up and destroying provisions; in
another they were slaying men, horses, and cattle; and these
actions were accompanied with appropriate sounds.  The
cattle, particularly, had become sensible of their impending
fate, reluctance with which these poor creatures look in-
stinctively on the shambles.  The groans and screams of
men undergoing, or about to undergo, the stroke of death,
and the screeches of the poor horses which were in mortal
agony, formed a fearful chorus.  Hugonet was desirous to
remove himself from such unpleasant sights and sounds;
but his master, the Douglas, had been a man of some
reading, and his old servant was anxious to secure a book
of poetry, to which he had been attached of old.  This
contained the lays of an ancient Scottish bard, who, if an
ordinary human creature while he was in this life, cannot
now perhaps be exactly termed such.
   "He was, in short, that Thomas distinguished by the
name of the Rhymer, and whose intimacy, it is said, became
so great with the gifted people, called the Faery folk, that he
could, like them, foretell the future deed before it came to
pass, and united in his own person the quality of bard and
of soothsayer.  But of late years he had vanished almost
entirely from this mortal scene; and although the time and
manner of his death were never publicly known, yet the
general belief was that he was not severed from the land
of the living, but removed to the land of Faery, from
whence he sometimes made excursions, and concerned
himself only about matters which were to come hereafter.
Hugonet was the more earnest to prevent the loss of the
works of this ancient bard, as many of his poems and
predictions were said to be preserved in the castle, and
were supposed to contain much especially connected with
the old House of Douglas, as well as other families of
ancient descent, who had been subjects of this old man's
prophecy; and accordingly he determined to save this
volume from destruction in the general conflagration to
which the building was about to be consigned by the heir
of its proprietors.  With this view he hurried up
into the little old vaulted room called 'the Douglas's study',
in which there might be some dozen old books written by
the ancient chaplains, in what the minstrels call the letter
black.  He immediately discovered the celebrated lay called
Sir Tristem, which has been so often altered and abridged
as to bear little resemblance to the original.  Hugonet, who
well knew the value in which this poem was held by the
ancient lords of the castle, took the parchment volume from
the shelves of the library, and laid it upon a small desk
adjacent to the Baron's chair.  Having made such prepara-
tions for putting it in safety, he fell into a brief reverie, in
which the decay of light, and the preparations for the Douglas
Larder, but especially the last sight of objects which had
been familiar to his eyes, now on the eve of destruction,
engaged him at that moment.
   "The bard, therefore, was thinking within himself upon
the uncommon mixture of the mystical scholar and warrior
in his old master, when, as he bent his eyes upon the book
of the ancient Rhymer, he was astonished to observe it
slowly removed from the desk on which it lay by an invisible
hand.  The old man looked with horror at the spontaneous
motion of the book, for the safety of which he was interested,
and had the courage to approach a little nearer the table, in
order to discover by what means it had been withdrawn.
   "I have said the room was already becoming dark, so as
to render it difficult to distinguish any person in the chair,
though it now appeared, on closer examination, that a kind
of shadowy outline of a human form was seated in it, but
neither precise enough to convey its exact figure to the
mind, nor so detailed as to intimate distinctly its mode of
action.  The Bard of Douglas, therefore, gazed upon the
object of his fear as if he had looked upon something not
mortal; nevertheless, as he gazed more intently, he became
more capable of discovering the object which offered itself
to his eyes, and they grew by degrees more keen to pene-
trate what they witnessed.  A tall, thin form, attired in, or
rather shaded with, a long, flowing dusky robe, having a
face and physiognomy so wild and overgrown with hair as
to be hardly human, were the only marked outlines of the
phantom; and looking more attentively, Hugonet was still
sensible of two other forms, the outlines, it seemed, of a
hart and a hind, which appeared half to shelter themselves
behind the person and under the robe of this supernatural
   "A probable tale," said the knight, "for you, Sir Minstrel,
a man of sense as you seem to be, to recite so gravely]
From what wise authority have you have this tale, which
though it might pass well enough amid clanging beakers,
must be held quite apocryphal in the sober hours of the
   "By my minstrel word, Sir Knight," answered Bertram,
"I am no propagator of the fable, if it be one; Hugonet,
the violer, when he had retired into a cloister near the
Lake of Pembelmere in Wales, communicated the story to
me as I now tell it.  Therefore, as it was upon the authority
of an eye-witness, I apologize not for relating it to you, since
I could hardly discover a more direct source of knowledge."
   "Be it so, Sir Minstrel," said the knight; "tell on thy
tale, and may thy legend escape criticism from others as
well as from me."
   "Hugonet, Sir Knight," answered Bertram, "was a holy
man, and maintained a fair character during his whole life,
notwithstanding his trade may be esteemed a light one.
The vision spoke to him in an antique language, like that
formerly used in the kingdom of Strathclyde, being a species
of Scots or Gaelic, which few would have comprehended.
   " 'You are a learned man,' said the apparition, 'and not
unacquainted with the dialects used in your country formerly,
although they are now out of date, and you are obliged to
translate them into the vulgar Saxon of Deira or Northum-
berland; but highly must an ancient British bard prize one
in this "remote term of time," who sets upon the poetry of
his native country a value which invites him to think of its
preservation at a moment of such terror as influences the
present evening.'
   " 'It is, indeed,' said Hugonet, 'a night of terror that
calls even the dead from the grave, and makes them the
ghastly and fearful companions of the living.  Who or what
art thou, in God's name, who breakest the bounds which
divide them, and revisitest thus strangely the state thou hast
so long bid adieu to?'
   " 'I am,' replied the vision, 'that celebrated Thomas the
Rhymer, by some called Thomas of Ercildoun, or Thomas
the True Speaker.  Like other sages, I am permitted at
times to revisit the scenes of my former life, nor am I in-
capable of removing the shadowy clouds and darkness which
overhang futurity; and know, thou afflicted man, that what
thou now seest in this woeful country is not a general
emblem of what shall therein befall hereafter, but in pro-
portion as the Douglases are now suffering the loss and
destruction of their home for their loyalty to the rightful
heir of the Scottish kingdom, so hath Heaven appointed
for them a just reward; and as they have not spared to
burn and destroy their own house and that of their fathers
in the Bruce's cause, so is it the doom of Heaven that as
often as the walls of Douglas Castle shall be burnt to the
ground, they shall be again rebuilt still more stately and
more magnificent than before.'
   "A cry was now heard like that of a multitude in the
courtyard joining in a fierce shout of exultation; at the
same time a broad and ruddy glow seemed to burst from
the beams and rafters, and sparks flew from them as from
the smith's stithy while the element caught to its fuel, and the
conflagration broke its way through every aperture.
   " 'See ye that?' said the vision, casting his eye towards
the windows, and disappearing.  'Begone] The fated hour
of removing this book is not yet come, nor are thine the
destined hands.  But it will be safe where I have placed it,
and the time of its removal shall come.'  The voice was
heard after the form had vanished, and the brain of Hugonet
almost turned round at the wild scene which he beheld; his
utmost exertion was scarcely sufficient to withdraw him from
the terrible spot, and Douglas Castle that night sank into
ashes and smoke, to arise, in no great length of time, in a
form stronger than ever."
   The minstrel stopped, and his hearer, the English knight,
remained silent for some minutes ere at length he replied.
   "It is true, minstrel," answered Sir Aymer, "that your
tale is so far undeniable that this castle - three times burned
down by the heir of the house and of the barony - has
hitherto been as often reared again by Henry Lord Clifford
and other generals of the English, who endeavoured on every
occasion to build it up more artificially and more strongly
than it had formerly existed, since it occupies a position too
important to the safety of our Scottish Border to permit our
yielding it up.  This I myself have partly witnessed.  But I
cannot think that, because the castle has been so destroyed,
it is therefore decreed so to be repaired in future, con-
sidering that such cruelties as surely cannot meet the appro-
bation of Heaven have attended the feats of the Douglases.
But I see thou art determined to keep thine own faith; nor
can I blame thee, since the wonderful turns of fate which
have attended this fortress are sufficient to warrant any one
to watch for what seem the peculiar indications of the will
of Heaven.  But thou mayst believe, good minstrel, that the
fault shall not be mine if the young Douglas shall have
opportunity to exercise his cookery upon a second edition
of his family larder, or to profit by the predictions of Thomas
the Rhymer."
   "I do not doubt due circumspection upon your own part
and Sir John de Walton's," said Bertram; "but there is no
crime in my saying that Heaven can accomplish its own
purposes.  I look upon Douglas Castle as in some degree
a fated place, and I long to see what changes time may have
made in it during the currency of twenty years.  Above all,
I desire to secure, if possible, the volume of this Thomas of
Ercildoun, having in it such a fund of forgotten minstrelsy,
and of prophecies respecting the future fates of the British
kingdom, both northern and southern."
   The knight made no answer, but rode a little space for-
ward, keeping the upper part of the ridge of the water, by
which the road down the vale seemed to be rather sharply
conducted.  It at length attained the summit of an acclivity
of considerable length.  From this point, and behind a con-
spicuous rock, which appeared to have been pushed aside,
as it were, like the scene of a theatre, to admit a view of
the under part of the valley, the travellers beheld the ex-
tensive vale, parts of which have been already shown in
detail, but which, as the river became narrower, was now
entirely laid bare in its height and depth as far as it ex-
tended, and displayed in its precincts, at a little distance
from the course of the stream, the towering and lordly
castle to which it gave the name.  The mist which con-
tinued to encumber the valley with its fleecy clouds showed
imperfectly the rude fortifications which served to defend
the small town of Douglas, which was strong enough to
repel a desultory attack, but not to withstand what was
called in those days a formal siege.  The most striking
feature was its church, an ancient Gothic pile raised on
an eminence in the centre of the town, and even then
extremely ruinous.  To the left, and lying in the distance,
might be seen other towers and battlements; and divided
from the town by a piece of artificial water, which extended
almost around it, arose the Dangerous Castle of Douglas.
   Sternly was it fortified, after the fashion of the Middle
Ages, with donjon and battlements; displaying, above others,
the tall tower which bore the name of Lord Henry's or the
Clifford's Tower.
   "Yonder is the castle," said Aymer de Valence, extending
his arm, with a smile of triumph upon his brow; "thou
mayst judge thyself whether the defences added to it under
the Clifford are likely to render its next capture a more easy
deed than the last."
   The minstrel barely shook his head, and quoted from the
Psalmist, "Nisi Dominus custodiet."  Nor did he prosecute
the discourse, though De Valence answered eagerly, "My
own edition of the text is not very different from thine; but
methinks thou art more spiritually-minded than can always
be predicted of a wandering minstrel."
   "God knows," said Bertram, "that if I, or such as I, are
forgetful of the finger of Providence in accomplishing its pur-
poses in this lower world, we have heavier blame than that
of other people, since we are perpetually called upon, in the
exercise of our fanciful profession, to admire the turns of
fate which bring good out of evil, and which render those
who think only of their own passions and purposes the
executors of the will of Heaven."
   "I do submit to what you say, Sir Minstrel," answered
the knight, "and it would be unlawful to express any doubt
of the truths which you speak so solemnly any more than of
your own belief in them.  Let me add, sir, that I think I
have power enough in this garrison to bid you welcome, and
Sir John de Walton, I hope, will not refuse access to hall,
castle, or knight's bower, to a person of your profession, and
by whose conversation we shall perhaps profit somewhat.
I cannot, however, lead you to expect such indulgence for
your son, considering the present state of his health; but
if I procure him the privilege to remain at the convent
of Saint Bride, he will be there unmolested and in safety,
until you have renewed your acquaintance with Douglas
Dale and its history, and are disposed to set forward on
your journey."
   "I embrace your honour's proposal the more willingly,"
said the minstrel, "that I can recompense the Father
   "A main point with holy men or women," replied De
Valence, "who in time of warfare subsist by affording the
visitors of their shrine the means of maintenance in their
cloisters for a passing season."
   The party now approached the sentinels on guard at the
castle, who were closely and thickly stationed, and who re-
spectfully admitted Sir Aymer de Valence as next in com-
mand under Sir John de Walton.  Fabian - for so was the
young squire named who attended on De Valence - men-
tioned it as his master's pleasure that the minstrel should
also be admitted.
   An old archer, however, looked hard at the minstrel as he
followed Sir Aymer.  "It is for us," said he, "or any of
our degree, to oppose the pleasure of Sir Aymer de Valence,
nephew to the Earl of Pembroke, in such a matter; and for
us, Master Fabian, welcome are you to make the gleeman
your companion both at bed and board, as well as your
visitant, a week or two at the Castle of Douglas.  But your
worship is well aware of the strict order of watch laid upon
us; and if Solomon, King of Israel, were to come here as a
travelling minstrel, by my faith I durst not give him entrance
unless I had positive authority from Sir John de Walton."
   "Do you doubt, sirrah," said Sir Aymer de Valence, who
returned on hearing an altercation betwixt Fabian and the
archer - "do you doubt that I have good authority to enter-
tain a guest, or do you presume to contest it?"
   "Heaven forbid," said the old man, "that I should
presume to place my own desire in opposition to your
worship, who has so lately and so honourably acquired your
spurs; but in this matter I must think what will be the
wish of Sir John de Walton, who is your governor, Sir
Knight, as well as mine; and so far I hold it worth while
to detain your guest until Sir John return from a ride to
the outposts of the castle; and this, I conceive, being my
duty, will be no matter of offence to your worship."
   "Methinks," said that knight, "it is saucy in thee to
suppose that my commands can have anything in them
improper or contradictory to those of Sir John de Walton;
thou mayst trust to me at least that thou shalt come to no
harm.  Keep this man in the guard-room; let him not want
good cheer; and when Sir John de Walton returns, report
him as a person admitted by my invitation; and if anything
more be wanted to make out your excuse, I shall not be
reluctant in stating it to the governor."
   The archer made a signal of obedience with the pike
which he held in his hand, and resumed the grave and
solemn manner of a sentinel upon his post.  He first, how-
ever, ushered in the minstrel and furnished him with food
and liquor, speaking at the same time to Fabian, who re-
mained behind.  The smart young stripling had become
very proud of late, in consequence of obtaining the name
of Sir Aymer's squire and advancing a step in chivalry, as
Sir Aymer himself had, somewhat earlier than the usual
period, been advanced from squire to knight.
   "I tell thee, Fabian," said the old archer (whose gravity,
sagacity and skill in his vocation, while they gained him
the confidence of all in the castle, subjected him, as he him-
self said, occasionally to the ridicule of the young coxcombs,
and at the same time, we may add, rendered him somewhat
pragmatic and punctilious towards those who stood higher
than himself in birth and rank) - "I tell thee, Fabian, thou
wilt do thy master Sir Aymer good service if thou wilt give
him a hint to suffer an old archer, man-at-arms, or such like,
to give him a fair and civil answer respecting that which he
commands; for undoubtedly it is not in the first score of a
man's years that he learns the various proper forms of mili-
tary service; and Sir John de Walton, a most excellent
commander, no doubt, is one earnestly bent on pursuing
the strict line of his duty, and will be rigorously severe, as
well, believe me, with thy master as with a lesser person.
Nay, he also possesses that zeal for his duty which induces
him to throw blame, if there be the slightest ground for it,
upon Aymer de Valence himself, although his uncle, the Earl
of Pembroke, was Sir John de Walton's steady patron, and
laid the beginning of his good fortune; for all which, by
training up his nephew in the true discipline of the French
wars, Sir John has taken the best way of showing himself
grateful to the old Earl."
   "Be it as you will, old Gilbert Greenleaf," answered
Fabian: "thou knowest I never quarrel with thy sermonizing;
and therefore give me credit for submitting to many a lecture
from Sir John de Walton and thyself.  But thou drivest this
a little too far if thou canst not let a day pass without giving
me a flogging.  Credit me, Sir John de Walton will not
thank thee if thou term him one too old to remember that
he himself once had some green sap in his veins.  Ay,
thus it is: the old man will not forget that he has once
been young, nor the young that he must some day be old;
and so the one changes his manners into the lingering
formality of advanced age, and the other remains like a
midsummer torrent swollen with rain, every drop of water
in it noise, froth, and overflow.  There is a maxim for thee,
Gilbert]  Heardest thou ever better?  Hang it up amidst
thy axioms of wisdom, and see if it will not pass among
them like fifteen to the dozen.  It will serve to bring thee
off, man, when the wine-pot (thine only fault, good Gilbert)
hath brought thee on occasion into something of a scrape."
   "Best keep it for thyself, good Sir Squire," said the old
man; "methinks it is more like to stand thyself one day in
good stead.  Who ever heard of a knight, or of the wood of
which a knight is made, and that is a squire, being pun-
ished corporally like a poor old archer or horseboy?  Your
worst fault will be mended by some of these witty sayings,
and your best service will scarce be rewarded more thank-
fully than by giving thee the name of Fabian the Fabler, or
some such witty title."
   Having unloosed his repartee to this extent, old Greenleaf
resumed a certain acidity of countenance which may be said
to characterize those whose preferment hath become frozen
under the influence of the slowness of its progress, and who
display a general spleen against such as have obtained the
advancement for which all are struggling, earlier, and, as they
suppose, with less merit than their own.  From time to time
the eye of the old sentinel stole from the top of his pike and
with an air of triumph rested upon the young man Fabian,
as if to see how deeply the wound had galled him, while at
the same time he held himself on the alert, to perform what-
ever mechanical duty his post might require.  Both Fabian
and his master were at the happy period of life when such
discontent as that of the grave archer affected them lightly,
and, at the very worst, was considered as the jest of an old
man and a good sailor - the more especially as he was always
willing to do the duty of his companions, and was much
trusted by Sir John de Walton, who, though very much
younger, had been bred up, like Greenleaf, in the wars of
Edward the First, and was tenacious in upholding strict
discipline, which, since the death of that great monarch, had
been considerably neglected by the young and warm-blooded
valour of England.
   Meantime it occurred to Sir Aymer de Valence that
though, in displaying the usual degree of hospitality shown
to such a man as Bertram, he had merely done what was
becoming his won rank, as one possessed of the highest
honours of chivalry, the self-styled minstrel might not in
reality be a man of that worth which he assumed.  There
was certainly something in his conversation at least more
grave, it not more austere, than was common to those of his
calling; and when he recollected many points of Sir John
de Walton's minuteness, a doubt arose in his mind that the
governor might not approve of his having introduced into
the castle a person of Bertram's character, who was capable
of making observations from which the garrison might after-
wards feel much danger and inconvenience.  Secretly, there-
fore, he regretted that he had not fairly intimated to the
wandering minstrel that his reception, or that of any stranger,
within the Dangerous Castle, was not at present permitted
by the circumstances of the times.  In this case the express
line of his duty would have been his vindication, and instead,
perhaps, of discountenance and blame, he would have had
praise and honour from his superior.
   With these thoughts passing through his mind, some tacit
apprehension arose of a rebuke on the part of his command-
ing officer; for this officer, notwithstanding his strictness,
Sir Aymer loved as well as feared.  He went, therefore,
towards the guard-room of the castle, under the pretence of
seeing that the rites of hospitality had been duly observed
towards his late travelling companion.  The minstrel arose
respectfully, and from the manner in which he paid his
compliments, seemed, if he had not expected this call of
inquiry, at least to be in no degree surprised at it.  Sir
Aymer, on the other hand, assumed an air something more
distant than he had yet used towards Bertram, and in revert-
ing to his former invitation, he now so far qualified it as to say
that the minstrel knew that he was only second in command,
and the effectual permission to enter the castle ought to be
sanctioned by Sir John de Walton.
   There is a civil way of seeming to believe any apology
which people are disposed to receive in payment, without
alleging suspicion of its currency.  The minstrel, therefore,
tendered his thanks for the civility which had so far been
shown to him.  "It was a mere wish of passing curiosity,"
he said, "which, if not granted, could be attended with no
consequences either inconvenient or disagreeable to him.
Thomas of Ercildoun was, according to the Welsh triads,
one of the three bards of Britain who never stained a spear
with blood, or was guilty either of taking or retaking castles
and fortresses, and this far not a person likely, after death,
to be suspected of such warlike feats.  But I can easily con-
ceive why Sir John de Walton should have allowed the usual
rites of hospitality to fall into disuse, and why a man of
public character like myself ought not to desire food or
lodging where it is accounted so dangerous; and it can
surprise no one why the governor did not even invest his
worthy young lieutenant with the power of dispensing with
so strict and unusual a rule."
   These words, very coolly spoken, had something of the
effect of affronting the young knight, as insinuating that he
was not held sufficiently trustworthy by Sir John de Walton,
with whom he had lived on terms of affection and familiarity,
though the governor had attained his thirtieth year and up-
wards, and his lieutenant did not yet write himself one-and-
twenty, the full age of chivalry having been in his case
particularly dispensed with, owing to a feat of early man-
hood.  Ere he had fully composed the angry thoughts which
were chafing in his mind, the sound of a hunting-bugle was
heard at the gate, and from the sort of general stir which it
spread through the garrison, it was plain that the governor
had returned from his ride.  Every sentinel, seemingly ani-
mated by his presence, shouldered his pike more uprightly,
gave the word of the post more sharply, and seemed more
fully awake and conscious of his duty.  Sir John de Walton,
having alighted from his horse, asked Greenleaf what had
passed during his absence.  The old archer thought it his
duty to say that a minstrel, who seemed like a Scotchman or
wandering Borderer, had been admitted into the castle, while
his son, a lad sick of the pestilence so much talked of, had
been left for a time at the Abbey of Saint Bride.  This he
said on Fabian's information.  The archer added that the
father was a man of tale and song, who could keep the
whole garrison amused, without giving them leave to attend
to their own business.
   "We want no such devices to pass the time," answered
the governor, "and would have been better satisfied if
our lieutenant had been pleased to find us other guests, and
fitter for a direct and frank communication than one who,
by his profession, is a detractor of God and a deceiver of
   "Yet," said the old soldier, who could hardly listen even
to his commander without indulging the humour of contra-
diction, "I have heard your honour intimate that the trade
of a minstrel, when it is justly acted up to, is as worthy as
even the degree of knighthood itself."
   "Such it may have been in former days," answered the
knight, "but in modern minstrelsy the duty of rendering the
art an incentive to virtue is forgotten, and it is well if the
poetry which fired our fathers to noble deeds does not now
push on their children to such as are base and unworthy.
But I will speak upon this to my friend Aymer, than whom
I do not know a more excellent or a more high-spirited
young man."
   While discoursing with the archer in this manner, Sir
John de Walton, of a tall and handsome figure, advanced
and stood within the ample arch of the guard-room chimney,
and was listened to in reverential silence by trusty Gilbert,
who filled up with nods and signs, as an attentive auditor,
the pauses in the conversation.  The conduct of another
hearer of what passed was not equally respectful, but from
his position he escaped observation.
   The third person was no other than the squire Fabian,
who was concealed from observation by his position behind
the hob, or projecting portion of the old-fashioned fireplace,
and hid himself yet more carefully when he heard the con-
versation between the governor and the archer turn to the
prejudice, as he thought, of his master.  The squire's em-
ployment at this time was the servile task of cleaning Sir
Aymer's arms, which was conveniently performed by heating,
upon the projection already specified, the pieces of steel
armour for the usual thin coating of varnish.  He could not,
therefore, if he should be discovered, be considered as guilty
of anything insolent or disrespectful.  He was better screened
from view, as a thick smoke arose from a quantity of oak
panelling, carved in many cases with the crest and achieve-
ments of the Douglas family; which, being the fuel nearest
at hand, lay smouldering in the chimney, and gathering to a
   The governor, unconscious of this addition to his audience,
pursued his conversation with Gilbert Greenleaf.  "I need
not tell you," he said, "that I am interested in the speedy
termination of this siege or blockade with which Douglas
continues to threaten us; my own honour and affections are
engaged in keeping this Dangerous Castle safe in England's
behalf.  But I am troubled at the admission of this stranger;
and young De Valence would have acted more strictly in the
line of his duty if he had refused to this wanderer any com-
munication with this garrison without my permission."
   "Pity it is," replied old Greenleaf, shaking his head, "that
this good-natured and gallant young knight is somewhat
drawn aside by the rash advices of his squire, the boy Fabian,
who has bravery, but as little steadiness in him as a bottle of
fermented small beer."
   "Now hang thee," thought Fabian to himself, "for an old
relic of the wars, stuffed full of conceit and warlike terms,
like the soldier who, to keep himself from the cold, has
lapped himself so close in a tattered ensign for a shelter,
that his very outside may show nothing but rags and
   "I would not think twice of the matter were the party less
dear to me," said Sir John de Walton.  "But I would fain
be of use to this young man, even although I should pur-
chase his improvements in military knowledge at the expense
of giving him a little pain.  Experience should, as it were, be
burnt in upon the mind of a young man, and not merely im-
pressed by marking the lines of his chart out for him with
chalk.  I will remember the hint you, Greenleaf, have given,
and take an opportunity of severing these two young men;
and though I most dearly love the one, and am far from
wishing ill to the other, yet at present, as you well hint, the
blind is leading the blind, and the young knight has for his
assistant and counsellor too young a squire, and that must be
   "Marry] out upon thee, old palmer-worm]"  said the page
within himself; "have I found thee in the very fact of
maligning myself and my master, as it is thy nature to do
towards all the hopeful young buds of chivalry?  If it were
not to dirty the arms of an eleve of chivalry, by measuring
them with one of thy rank, I might honour thee with a
knightly invitation to the field, while the scandal which thou
hast spoken is still foul upon thy tongue; as it is, thou shalt
not carry one kind of language publicly in the castle, and
another before the governor, upon the footing of having
served with him under the banner of Longshanks.  I will
carry to my master this tale of thine evil intentions; and
when we have concerted together, it shall appear whether the
youthful spirits of the garrison or the gray beards are most
likely to be the hope and protection of this same Castle of
   It is enough to say that Fabian pursued his purpose, in
carrying to his master, and in no very good humour, the
report of what had passed between Sir John de Walton and
the old soldier.  He succeeded in representing the whole as
a formal offence intended to Sir Aymer de Valence; while
all that the governor did to remove the suspicions entertained
by the young knight could not in any respect bring him to
take a kindly view of the feelings of his commander towards
him.  He retained the impression which he had formed from
Fabian's recital of what he had heard, and did not think he
was doing Sir John de Walton any injustice in supposing
him desirous to engross the greatest share of the fame ac-
quired in the defence of the castle, and thrusting back his
companions, who might reasonably pretend to a fair portion
of it.
   The mother of mischief, says a Scottish proverb, is no
bigger than a midge's wing.  In this matter of quarrel,
neither the young man nor the older knight had afforded
each other any just cause of offence.  De Walton was a strict
observer of military discipline, in which he had been educated
from his extreme youth, and by which he was almost as com-
pletely ruled as by his natural disposition; and his present
situation added force to his original education.
   Common report had even exaggerated the military skill,
the love of adventure, and the great variety of enterprise
ascribed to James, the young Lord of Douglas.  He had, in
the eyes of this Southron garrison, the faculties of a fiend
rather than those of a mere mortal; for if the English soldiers
cursed the tedium of the perpetual watch and ward upon the
Dangerous Castle, which admitted of no relaxation from the
severity of extreme duty, they agreed that a tall form was
sure to appear to them with a battle-axe in his hand, and
entering into conversation in the most insinuating manner,
never failed, with an ingenuity and eloquence equal to that
of a fallen spirit, to recommend to the discontented sentinel
some mode in which, by giving his assistance to betray the
English, he might set himself at liberty.  The variety of these
devices, and the frequency of their recurrence, kept Sir John
de Walton's anxiety so perpetually upon the stretch that he
at no time thought himself exactly out of the Black Douglas's
reach, any more than the good Christian supposes himself
out of reach of the wiles of the devil; while every new
temptation, instead of confirming his hope, seems to announce
that the immediate retreat of the Evil One will be followed by
some new attack yet more cunningly devised.  Under this
general state of anxiety and apprehension, the temper of the
governor changed somewhat for the worse, and they who
loved him best regretted most that he became addicted to
complain of the want of diligence on the part of those who,
neither invested with responsibility like his, nor animated by
the hope of such splendid rewards, did not entertain the
same degree of watchful and incessant suspicion as himself.
The soldiers muttered that the vigilance of their governor
was marked with severity; the officers and men of rank - of
whom there were several, as the castle was a renowned school
of arms, and there was a certain merit attained even by
serving within its walls - complained, at the same time, that
Sir John de Walton no longer made parties for hunting, for
hawking, or for any purpose which might soften the rigours
of warfare, and suffered nothing to go forward but the pre-
cise discipline of the castle.  On the other hand, it may be
usually granted that the castle is well kept where the governor
is a disciplinarian; and where feuds and personal quarrels
are found in the garrison, the young men are usually more in
fault than those whose greater experience has convinced them
of the necessity of using the strictest precautions.
   A generous mind - and such was Sir John de Walton's -
is often in this way changed and corrupted by the habit
of over-vigilance, and pushed beyond its natural limits of
candour.  Neither was Sir Aymer de Valence free from a
similar change: suspicion, though from a different cause,
seemed also to threaten to bias has open and noble disposi-
tion in those qualities which had hitherto been proper to
him.  It was in vain that Sir John de Walton studiously
sought opportunities to give his younger friend indulgences,
which at times were as far extended as the duty of the garri-
son permitted.  The blow was struck; the alarm had been
given to a proud and fiery temper on both sides; and while
De Valence entertained an opinion that he was unjustly sus-
pected by a friend, who was in several respects bound to him,
De Walton, on the other hand, was led to conceive that a
young man of whom he took a charge as affectionate as if he
had been a son of his own, and who owed to his lessons what
he knew of warfare, and what success he had obtained in life,
had taken offence at trifles, and considered himself ill treated,
on very inadequate grounds.  The seeds of disagreement,
thus sown between them, failed not, like the tares sown by
the Enemy among the wheat, to pass from one class of the
garrison to another: the soldiers, though without any better
reason than merely to pass the time, took different sides
between their governor and his young lieutenant; and so the
ball of contention being once thrown up between them, never
lacked some arm or other to keep it in motion.

<Chapter VI>
( Alas] they had been friends in youth;
But whispering tongues can poison truth;
And constancy lives in realms above;
And life is thorny, and youth is vain;
And to be wroth with one we love,
Doth work like madness in the brain.
        .   .   .   .   .
Each spoke words of high disdain,
And insult to his heart's dear brother,
But never either found another
To free the hollow heart from paining;
They stood aloof, the scars remaining,
Like cliffs which had been rent asunder.
A dreary sea now flows between,
But neither heat, nor frost, nor thunder
Shall wholly do away, I ween,
The marks of that which once hath been.
                        Christabel of COLERIDGE.)
In prosecution of the intention which, when his blood was
cool, seemed to him wisest, Sir John de Walton resolved that
he would go to the verge of indulgence with his lieutenant
and his young officers, furnish them with every species of
amusement which the place rendered possible, and make
them ashamed of their discontent by overloading them with
courtesy.  The first time, therefore, that he saw Aymer de
Valence after his return to the castle, he addressed him in
high spirits, whether real or assumed.
   "What thinkest thou, my young friend," said De Walton,
"if we try some of the woodland sports proper, they say, to
this country?  There are still in our neighbourhood some
herds of the Caledonian breed of wild cattle, which are no-
where to be found except among the moorlands - the black
and rugged frontier of what was anciently called the Kingdom
of Strathclyde.  There are some hunters, too, who have
been accustomed to the sport, and who vouch that these
animals are by far the most bold and fierce subjects of chase
in the island of Britain."
   "You will do as you please," replied Sir Aymer coldly;
"but it is not I, Sir John, who would recommend, for the
sake of a hunting-match, that you should involve the whole
garrison in danger.  You know best the responsibilities in-
curred by your office here, and no doubt must have heed-
fully attended to them before making a proposal of such a
   "I do indeed know my own duty," replied De Walton,
offended in turn, "and might be allowed to think of yours
also, without assuming more than my own share of respon-
sibility; but it seems to me as if the commander of this
Dangerous Castle, among other inabilities, were, as old
people in this country say, subjected to a spell, and one
which renders it impossible for him to guide his conduct so
as to afford pleasure to those whom he is most desirous to
oblige.  Not a great many weeks since, whose eyes would
have sparkled like those of Sir Aymer de Valence at the pro-
posal of a general hunting-match after a new object of game?
and now what is his bearing when such sport is proposed -
merely, I think, to disappoint my purpose of obliging him?
A cold acquiescence drops half frozen from his lips, and he
proposes to go to rouse the wild cattle with an air of gravity,
as if he were undertaking a pilgrimage to the tomb of a
   "Not so, Sir John," answered the young knight.  "In our
present situation we stand conjoined in more charges than
one, and although the greater and controlling trust is no
doubt laid upon you as the elder and abler knight, yet still
I feel that I myself have my own share of a serious responsi-
bility.  I trust, therefore, you will indulgently hear my opinion,
and bear with it, even though it should appear to have rela-
tion to that part of our common charge which is more
especially intrusted to your keeping.  The dignity of knight-
hood which I have the honour to share with you, the accolade
laid on my shoulder by the royal Plantagenet, entitles me,
methinks, to so much grace."
   "I cry you mercy," said the elder cavalier; "I forgot how
important a person I had before me, dubbed by King Edward
himself, who was moved no doubt by special reasons to con-
fer such as early honour; and I certainly feel that I overstep
my duty when I propose anything that savours like idle sport
to a person of such grave pretensions."
   "Sir John de Walton," retorted De Valence, "we have
had something too much of this; let it stop here.  All that
I mean to say is, that in this wardship of Douglas Castle it
will not be by my consent if any amusement which distinctly
infers a relaxation of discipline be unnecessarily engaged in,
and especially such a compels us to summon to our assist-
ance a number of the Scots, whose evil disposition towards
us we well know; nor will I, though my years have rendered
me liable to such suspicion, suffer anything of this kind to be
imputed to me; and if unfortunately - though I am sure I
know not why - we are in future to lay aside those bonds
of familiar friendship which formerly linked us to each other,
yet I see no reason why we should not bear ourselves in our
necessary communications like knights and gentlemen, and
put the best construction on each other's motives, since
there can be no reason for imputing the worst to anything
that comes from either of us."
   "You may be right, Sir Aymer de Valence," said the
governor, bending stiffly; "and since you say we are no
longer bound to each other as friends, you may be certain,
nevertheless, that I will never permit a hostile feeling of
which you are the object to occupy my bosom.  You have
been long, and I hope not uselessly, my pupil in the duties
of chivalry; you are the near relation of the Earl of Pem-
broke, my kind and constant patron; and if these circum-
stances are well weighted, they form a connection which it
would be difficult, at least for me, to break through.  If
you feel yourself, as you seem to intimate, less strictly tied
by former obligations, you must take your own choice in
fixing our relations towards each other."
   "I can only say," replied De Valence, "that my conduct
will naturally be regulated by your own; and you, Sir John,
cannot hope more devoutly than I do that our military duties
may be fairly discharged, without interfering with our friendly
   The knights here parted, after a conference which once
or twice had very nearly terminated in a full and cordial
explanation; but still there was wanting one kind, heartfelt
word from either, to break, as it were, the ice which was
fast freezing upon their intercourse, and neither chose to be
the first in making the necessary advances with sufficient
cordiality, though each would have gladly done so had the
other appeared desirous of meeting it with the same ardour;
but their pride was too high, and prevented either from saying
what might at once have put them upon an open and manly
footing.  They parted, therefore, without again returning to
the subject of the proposed diversion; until it was afterwards
resumed in a formal note, praying Sir Aymer de Valence to
accompany the commandant of Douglas Castle upon a solemn
hunting-match, which had for its object the wild cattle of the
neighbouring dale.
   The time of meeting was appointed at six in the morning,
beyond the gate of the outer barricade; and the chase was
declared to be ended in the afternoon, when the recheat
should be blown beneath the great oak, known by the name
of Sholto's Club, which stood, a remarkable object, where
Douglas Dale was bounded by several scattered trees, the
outskirts of the forest and hill country.  The usual warning
was sent out to the common people, or vassals of the district,
which they, notwithstanding their feeling of antipathy, re-
ceived in general with delight, upon the great Epicurean
principle of carpe diem - that is to say, in whatever circum-
stances it happens to present itself, be sure you lose no
recreation which life affords.  A hunting-match has still its
attractions, even though an English knight take his pleasure
in the woods of the Douglas.
   It was no doubt afflicting to these faithful vassals to ac-
knowledge another lord than the redoubted Douglas, and to
wait by wood and river at the command of English officers,
and in the company of their archers, whom they accounted
their natural enemies.  Still it was the only species of amuse-
ment which had been permitted them for a long time, and
they were not disposed to omit the rare opportunity of join-
ing in it.  The chase of the wolf, the wild boar, or even the
timid stag, required silvan arms; the wild cattle still more
demanded this equipment of war-bows and shafts, boar-
spears and sharp swords, and other tools of the chase similar
to those used in actual war.  Considering this, the Scottish
inhabitants were seldom allowed to join in the chase, except
under regulations as to number and arms, and especially in
preserving a balance of force on the side of the English
soldiers, which was very offensive to them.  The greater
part of the garrison was upon such occasions kept on foot
and several detachments, formed according to the governor's
direction, were stationed in different positions, in case any
quarrel should suddenly break out.

<P 73>
( The drivers through the wood went,
For to raise the deer;
Bowmen bickered upon the bent,
With their broad arrows clear.

The wylde through the woods went,
One every side shear;
Greyhounds through the groves glent,
For to kill their deer.
 Ballad of Chevy Chase, Old Edit.)

The appointed morning came in cold and raw, after the
manner of the Scottish March weather. Dogs yelped,
yawned, and shivered; and the huntsmen, though hardy
and cheerful in expectation of the day's sport, twitched
their mauds, or Lowland plaids, close to their throats, and
looked with some dismay at the mists which floated about
the horizon, now threatening to sink down on the peaks and
ridges of prominent mountains, and now to shift their posi-
tion under the influence of some of the uncertain gales, which
rose and fell alternately as they swept along the valley.
 Nevertheless the appearance of the whole formed, as is
usual in almost all departments of the chase, a gay and a
jovial spectacle. A brief truce seemed to have taken place
between the nations, and the Scottish people appeared for
the time rather as exhibiting the sports of their mountains
in a friendly manner to the accomplished knights and bonny
archers of Old England, than as performing a feudal serv-
ice, neither easy nor dignified in itself, at the instigation of
usurping neighbours. The figures of the cavaliers, now
half seen, now exhibited fully, and at the height of strenuous
exertion, according to the character of the dangerous and
broken ground, particularly attracted the attention of the
pedestrians, who, leading the dogs or beating the thickets,
<P 74>
dislodged such objects of chase as they found in the dingles,
and kept their eyes fixed upon their companions, rendered
more remarkable from being mounted, and the speed at
which they urged their horses; the disregard of all acci-
dents being as perfect as Melton Mowbray itself, or any other
noted field of hunters of the present day, can exhibit.
 The principles on which modern and ancient hunting were
conducted are, however, as different as possible. A fox, or
even a hare, is in our own day considered as a sufficient
apology for a day's exercise to forty or fifty dogs, and nearly
as many men and horses; but the ancient chase, even though
not terminating, as it often did in battle, carried with it
objects more important, and an interest immeasurably more
stirring. If needed one species of exercise can be pointed
out as more universally exhilarating and engrossing than
others, it is certainly that of the chase. The poor, over-
laboured drudge, who has served out his day of life, and
wearied all his energies in the service of his fellow-mortals -
he who has been for many years the slave of agriculture or
(still worse) of manufactures, engaged in raising a single
peck of corn from year to year, or in the monotonous labours
of the desk - can hardly remain dead to the general happi-
ness when the chase sweeps past him with hound and horn,
and for a moment feels all the exultation of the proudest
cavalier who partakes the amusement. Let any one who
has witnessed the sight recall to his imagination the vigour
and lively interest he has seen inspired into a village,
including the oldest and feeblest if its inhabitants. In the
words of Wordsworth it is, on such occasions,
"Up, Timothy, up with your staff and away,
Not a soul will remain in the village to-day;
The hare has just started from Hamilton's grounds,
And Skiddaw is glad with the cry of the hounds."
But compare these inspiring sounds to the burst of a whole
<P 75>
feudal population enjoying the sport, whose lives, instead of
being spent in the monotonous toil of modern avocations,
have been agitated by the hazards of war and of the chase,
its near resemblance, and you must necessarily suppose that
the excitation in extended, like a fire which catches to dry
heath. To use the common expression, borrowed from
another amusement, all is fish that comes in the net on
such occasions. An ancient hunting-match (the nature of
the carnage excepted) was almost equal to a modern battle,
when the strife took place on the surface of a varied and
unequal country. A whole district poured forth its inhabit-
ants, who formed a ring of great extent, called technically a
tinchel, and advancing and narrowing their circle by degrees,
drove before them the alarmed animals of every kind, all
and each of which, as they burst from the thicket or the
moorland, were objects of the bow, the javelin, or whatever
missile weapons the hunters possessed; while others were
run down and worried by large greyhounds, or more fre-
quently brought to bay, when the more important persons
present claimed for themselves the pleasure of putting them
to death with their chivalrous hands, incurring individually
such danger as is inferred from a mortal contest even with
the timid buck when he is brought to the death-struggle,
and has no choice but yielding his life or putting himself
upon the defensive, by the aid of his splendid antlers, and
with all the courage of despair.
 The quantity of game found in Douglas Dale on this
occasion was very considerable, for, as already noticed, it
was a long time since a hunting upon a great scale had
been attempted under the Douglases themselves, whose
misfortunes had commenced, several years before, with those
of their country. The English garrison, too, had not sooner
judged themselves strong or numerous enough to exercise
these valued feudal privileges. In the meantime the game
<P 76>
increased considerably. The deer, the wild cattle, and the
wild boars lay near the foot of the mountains, and made
frequent irruptions into the lower part of the valley, which
in Douglas Dale bears no small resemblance to an oasis,
surrounded by tangled woods and broken moors, occasion-
ally rocky, and showing large tracts of that bleak dominion
to which wild creatures gladly escape when pressed by the
neighbourhood of man.
 As the hunters traversed the spots which separated the
field from the wood, there was always a stimulating uncer-
tainty what sort of game was to be found; and the marks-
man, with his bow ready bent, or his javelin poised, and his
good and well-bitted horse thrown upon its haunches, ready
for a sudden start, observed watchfully what should rush
from the covert, so that were it dear, boar, wolf, wild cattle,
or any other species of game, he might be in readiness.
 The wolf, which on account of its ravages was the most
obnoxious of the beasts of prey, did not, however, supply
the degree of diversion which his name promised; he usually
fled far - in some instances many miles - before he took cour-
age to turn to bay, and though formidable at such moments,
destroying both dogs and men by his terrible bite, yet at
other times was rather despised for his cowardice. The
boar, on the other hand, was a much more irascible and
courageous animal.
 The wild cattle, the most formidable of all the tenants of
the ancient Caledonian forest, were, however, to the English
cavaliers, by far the most interesting objects of pursuit.
Altogether, the ringing of bugles, the clattering of horses'
hoofs, the lowing and bellowing of the enraged mountain
cattle, the sobs of deer mangled by throttling dogs, the wild
shouts of exultation of the men, made a chorus which ex-
tended far through the scene in which it arose, and seemed
<P 77>
to threaten the inhabitants of the valley even in its inmost
 During the course of the hunting, when a stag or a boar
was expected, one of the wild cattle often came rushing
forward, bearing down the young trees, crashing the branches
in its progress, and in general dispersing whatever opposition
was presented to it by the hunters. Sir John de Walton
was the only one of the chivalry of the party who individually
succeeded in mastering one of those powerful animals. Like
a Spanish tauridor, he bore down and killed with his lance
a ferocious bull; two well-grown calves and three kine were
also slain, being unable to carry off the quantity of arrows,
javelins, and other missiles directed against them by the
archers and drivers; but many others, in spite of every en-
deavour to intercept them, escaped to their gloomy haunts
in the remote skirts of the mountain called Cairntable, with
their hides well feathered with those marks of human enmity.
 A large portion of the morning was spent in this way, until
a particular blast from the master of the hunt announced
that he had not forgot the discreet custom of the repast,
which, on such occasions, was provided for upon a scale pro-
portioned to the multitude who had been convened to attend
the sport.
 The blast peculiar to the time assembled the whole party
in an open space in a wood, where their numbers had room
and accommodation to sit down upon the green turf, the
slain game affording a plentiful supply of roasting or broil-
ing, an employment in which the lower class were all im-
mediately engaged; while puncheons and pipes, placed in
readiness and scientifically opened, supplied Gascoigne wine
and mighty ale, at the pleasure of those who chose to appeal
to them.
 The knights, whose rank did not admit of interference,
were seated by themselves, and ministered to by their squires
<P 78>
and pages, to whom such menial services were not accounted
disgraceful, but, on the contrary, a proper step of their edu-
cation. The number of those distinguished persons seated
upon the present occasion at the table of dais, as it was
called (in virtue of a canopy of green boughs with which
it was overshadowed), comprehended Sir John de Walton,
Sir Aymer de Valence, and some reverend brethren dedi-
cated to the service of Saint Bride, who, though Scottish
ecclesiastics, were treated with becoming respect by the
English soldiers. One or two Scottish retainers or vavasours,
maintaining, perhaps in prudence, a suitable deference to
the English knights, sat at the bottom of the table; and as
many English archers, peculiarly respected by their superiors,
were invited, according to the modern phrase, to the honours
of the sitting.
 Sir John de Walton sat at the head of the table; his eye,
though it seemed to have no certain object, yet never for a
moment remained stationary, but glanced from one counte-
nance to another of the ring formed by his guests - for such
they all were, no doubt, though he himself could hardly
have told upon what principle he had issued the invitations,
and even apparently was at a loss to think what, in one or
two cases, had procured him the honour of their presence.
 One person in particular caught De Walton's eye, as
having the air of a redoubted man-at-arms, although it
seemed as if fortune had not of late smiled upon his enter-
prises. He was a tall, raw-boned man, of an extremely
rugged countenance; and his skin, which showed itself
through many a loophole in his dress, exhibited a com-
plexion which must have endured all the varieties of an
outlawed life, and akin to one who had, according to the
customary phrase, "ta'en the bent with Robin Bruce" - in
other words, occupied the moors with him as an insurgent.
Some such idea certainly crossed De Walton's mind. Yet
the apparent coolness and absence of alarm with which the
stranger sat at the board of an English officer, at the same
time being wholly in his power, had much in it which was
irreconcilable with any such suggestion. De Walton, and
several of those about him, had in the course of the day ob-
served that this tattered cavalier, the most remarkable parts
of whose garb and equipments consisted of an old coat-of-
mail and a rusted yet massive partisan about eight feet long,
was possessed of superior skill in the art of hunting to any
individual of their numerous party. The governor having
looked at this suspicious figure until he had rendered the
stranger aware of the special interest which he attracted, at
length filled a goblet of choice wine, and requested him,
as one of the best pupils of Sir Tristrem who had attended
upon the day's chase, to pledge him in a vintage superior to
that supplied to the general company.
 "I suppose, however, sir" said De Walton, "you will have
no objections to put off my challenge of a brimmer until
you can answer my pledge in Gascoigne wine, which grew
in the king's own demesne, was pressed for his own lip, and
is therefore fittest to be emptied to his Majesty's health and
 "One half of the island of Britain," said the woodsman,
with great composure, "will be of your honour's opinion;
but as I belong to the other half, even the choicest liquor in
Gascony cannot render that health acceptable to me."
 A murmur of disappprobation ran through the warriors
present; the priests hung their heads, looked deadly grave,
and muttered their paternosters.
 "You see, stranger," said De Walton sternly, "that your
speech discomposes the company."
 "It may be so," replied the man, in the same blunt tone;
"and it may happen that there is no harm in the speech not-
<P 80>
 "Do you consider that it is made in my presence?" an-
swered De Walton.
 "Yes, Sir Governor."
 "And have you thought what must be the necessary in-
ference?" continued De Walton.
 "I may form a round guess," answered the stranger,
"What I might have to fear if your safe-conduct and word
of honour, when inviting me to this hunting, were less trust-
worthy than I know full well it really is. But I am your
guest - your meat is even now passing my throat; your cup,
filled with right good wine, I have just now quaffed off - and
I would not fear the rankest Paynim infidel if we stood in
such relation together, much less an English knight. I tell
you, besides, Sir Knight, you undervalue the wine we have
quaffed. The high flavour and contents of your cup, grow
where it will, give me spirit to tell you one or two circum-
stances which cold, cautious sobriety would in a moment
like this have left unsaid. You wish, I doubt not, to know
who I am? My Christian name is Michael; my surname is
that of Turnbull - a redoubted clan, to whose honours, even
in the field of hunting or of battle, I have added something.
My abode is beneath the mountain of Ruberslaw, by the fair
streams of Teviot. You are surprised that I know how to
hunt the wild cattle - I, who have made them my sport
from infancy in the lonely forests of Jed and Southdean,
and have killed more of them than you or any Englishman
in your host ever saw, even if you include the doughty deeds
of this day."
 The bold Borderer made this declaration with the same
provoking degree of coolness which predominated in his
whole demeanour, and was indeed his principal attribute.
His effrontery did not fail to produce its effect upon Sir
John de Walton, who instantly called out, "To arms] to
arms] Secure the spy and traitor] Ho] pages and yeomen
<P 81>
 - William, Anthony, Bend-the-Bow, and Greenleaf - seize
the traitor, and bind him with your bowstrings and dog-
leashes; bind him, I say, until the blood start from beneath
his nails]"
 "Here is a goodly summons]" said Turnbull, with a sort
of horse-laugh. "Were I as sure of being answered by twenty
men I could name, there would be small doubt of the upshot
of this day."
 The archers thickened around that hunter, yet laid no hold
on him, none of them being willing to be the first who broke
the peace proper to the occasion.
 "Tell me," said De Walton, "thou traitor, for what waitest
thou here?"
 "Simply and solely," said the Jed forester, "that I may
deliver up to the Douglas the castle of his ancestors, and that
I may ensure thee, Sir Englishman, the payment of thy
deserts, by cutting that very throat which thou makest such
a bawling use of."
 At the same time, perceiving that the yeoman were crowd-
ing behind him to carry their lord's commands into execution
so soon as they should be reiterated, the huntsman turned
himself short round upon those who appeared about to sur-
prise him, and having, by the suddenness of the action, in-
duced them to step back a pace, he proceeded, "Yes, John
de Walton, my purpose was ere now to have put thee to
death, as one whom I find in possession of that castle and
territory which belong to my master, a knight much more
worthy than thyself. But I know not why I have paused:
thou hast given me food when I have hungered for twenty-
four hours; I have not, therefore, had the heart to pay thee
at advantage as thou hast deserved. Begone from this place
and country, and take the fair warning of a foe; thou hast
constituted thyself the mortal enemy of this people, and there
are those among them who have seldom been injured or
<P 82>
defied with impunity. Take no care in searching after me
 - it will be in vain - until I meet thee at a time which will
come at my pleasure, not thine. Push not your inquisition
into cruelty, to discover by what means I have deceived you,
for it is impossible for you to learn; and with this friendly
advice look at me and take your leave, for although we shall
one day meet, it may be long ere I see you again."
 De Walton remained silent, hoping that his prisoner (for
he saw no chance of his escaping) might, in his communi-
cative humour, drop some more information, and was not
desirous to precipitate a fray with which the scene was likely
to conclude, unconscious, at the same time, of the advantage
which he thereby gave the daring hunter.
 As Turnbull concluded his sentence, he made a sudden
spring backwards, which carried him out of the circle formed
around him, and before they were aware of his intentions,
at once disappeared among the underwood.
 "Seize him] seize him]" repeated De Walton; "let us
have him at least at our discretion, unless the earth has
actually swallowed him."
 This indeed appeared not unlikely, for near the place
where Turnbull had made the spring there yawned a steep
ravine, into which he plunged, and descended by the assist-
ance of branches, bushes, and copsewood, until he reached
the bottom, where he found some road to the outskirts of
the forest, through which he made his escape, leaving the
most expert woodsmen among the pursuers totally at fault,
and unable to trace his footsteps.

<P 82>
This interlude carried some confusion into the proceedings
of the hunt, this suddenly surprised by the apparition of
<P 83>
Michael Turnbull, an armed and avowed follower of the House
of Douglas, a sight so little to be expected in the territory
where his master was held a rebel and a bandit, and where
he himself must have been well known to most of the peas-
antry present. The circumstance made an obvious impres-
sion on the English chivalry. Sir John de Walton looked
grave and thoughtful, ordered the hunters to be assembled
on the spot, and directed his soldiers to commence a strict
search among the persons who had attended the chase, so
as to discover whether Turnbull had any companions among
them. But it was too late to make that inquiry in the strict
fashion which De Walton directed.
 The Scottish attendants on the chase, when they beheld
that the hunting, under pretence of which they were called
together, was interrupted for the purpose of laying hands
upon their persons, and subjecting them to examination,
took care to suit their answers to the questions put to them;
in a word, they kept their own secret, if they had any.
Many of them, conscious of being the weaker party, be-
came afraid of foul play, slipped away from the places to
which they had been appointed, and left the hunting match
like men who conceived they had been invited with no
friendly intent. Sir John de Walton became aware of the
decreasing numbers of the Scottish - their gradual disappear-
ance awakening in the English knight that degree of sus-
picion which had of late become his peculiar characteristic.
 "Take, I pray thee," said he to Sir Aymer de Valence,
"as many men-at-arms as thou canst get together in five
minutes' space, and at least a hundred of the mounted
archers, and ride as fast as thou canst, without permitting
them to straggle from thy standard to reinforce the garri-
son of Douglas; for I have my own thoughts what may
have been attempted on the castle, when we observe with
our own eyes such a nest of traitors here assembled."
<P 84>
 "With reverence, Sir John," replied Aymer, "you shoot
in this matter rather beyond the mark. That the Scottish
peasants have had bad thoughts against us, I will be the last
to deny; but, long debarred from any silvan sport, you can-
not wonder at their crowding to any diversion by wood or
river, and still less at their being easily alarmed as to the
certainty of the safe footing on which they stand with us.
The least rough usage is likely to strike them with fear, and
with the desire of escape, and so - "
 "And so," said Sir John de Walton, who had listened
with a degree of impatience scarce consistent with the grave
and formal politeness which one knight was accustomed to
bestow upon another, "and so I would rather see Sir Aymer
de Valence busy his horse's heels to execute my orders, than
give his tongue the trouble of impugning them."
 At this sharp reprimand all present looked at each other
with indications of marked displeasure. Sir Aymer was highly
offended, but saw it was no time to indulge in reprisal. He
bowed until the feather which was in his barret-cap mingled
with his horse's mane, and without reply - for he did not
even choose to trust his voice in reply at the moment -
headed a considerable body of cavalry by the straightest
road back to the Castle of Douglas.
 When he came to one of those eminences from which he
could observe the massive and complicated towers and walls
of the old fortress, with the glitter of the broad lake which
surrounded it on three sides, he felt much pleasure at the
sight of the great banner of England which streamed from
the highest part of the building. "I knew it," he internally
said; "I was certain that Sir John de Walton had become
a very woman in the indulgence of his fears and suspicions,.
Alas that a situation of responsibility should so much have
altered a disposition which I have known so noble and so
knightly] By this good day, I scarce know in what manner
<P 85>
I should demean me when thus publicly rebuked before
the garrison. Certainly he deserves that I should, at some
time or other, let him understand that however he may
triumph in the exercise of his short-lived command, yet
when man is to meet with man, it will puzzle Sir John de
Walton to show himself the superior of Aymer de Valence,
or perhaps to establish himself as his equal. But if, on the
contrary, his fears, however fantastic, are sincere at the
moment he expresses them, it becomes me to obey punc-
tually commands which, however absurd, are imposed in
consequence of the governor's belief that they are rendered
necessary by the times, and not inventions designed to vex
and domineer over his officers in the indulgence of his
official powers. I would I knew which is the true state-
ment of the case, and whether the once famed De Walton
is become afraid of his enemies more than fits a knight, or
makes imaginary doubts the pretext of tyrannizing over his
friend. I cannot say it would make much difference to me,
but I would rather have it that the man I once loved had
turned a petty tyrant than a weak-spirited coward; and I
would be content that he should study to vex me, rather
than be afraid of his own shadow."
 With these ideas passing in his mind, the young knight
crossed the causeway which traversed the piece of water that
fed the moat, and passing under the strongly-fortified gate-
way, gave strict orders for letting down the portcullis, and
elevating the drawbridge, even at the appearance of De
Walton's own standard before it.
 A slow and guarded movement from the hunting ground
to the Castle of Douglas gave the governor ample time to
recover his temper, and to forget that his young friend had
shown less alacrity than usual in obeying his commands.
He was even disposed to treat as a jest the length of time
and extreme degree of ceremony with which every point of
<P 86>
martial discipline was observed on his own readmission to
the castle, though the raw air of a wet spring evening
whistled around his own unsheltered person and those of
his followers, as they waited before the castle gate for the
exchange of passwords, the delivery of keys, and all the
slow minutiae attendant upon the movements of a garrison
in a well-guarded fortress.
 "Come," said he to an old knight, who was peevishly
blaming the lieutenant-governor, "it was my own fault; I
spoke but now to Aymer de Valence with more authoritative
emphasis than his newly-dubbed dignity was pleased with,
and this precise style of obedience is a piece of not un-
natural and very pardonable revenge. Well, we will owe
him a return, Sir Philip - shall we not? This is not a
night to keep a man at the gate."
 This dialogue, overheard by some of the squires and
pages, was bandied about from one to another, until it
entirely lost the tone of good humour in which it was
spoken, and the offence was one for which Sir John de
Walton and old Sir Philip were to meditate revenge, and
was said to have been represented by the governor as a
piece of mortal and intentional offence on the part of his
subordinate officer.
 Thus an increasing feud went on from day to day between
two warriors, who, with no just cause of quarrel, had at heart
every reason to esteem and love each other. It became
visible in the fortress even to those of the lower rank, who
hoped to gain some consequence by intermingling in the
species of emulation produced by the jealousy of the com-
manding officers - an emulation which may take place, indeed,
in the present day, but can hardly have the same sense of
wounded pride and jealous dignity attached to it which
existed in times when the personal honour of knighthood
rendered those who possessed it jealous of every punctilio.
<P 87>
 So many little debates took place between the two knights
that Sir Aymer de Valence thought himself under the neces-
sity of writing to his uncle and namesake, the Earl of Pem-
broke, stating that his officer, Sir John de Walton, had
unfortunately of late taken some degree of prejudice against
him, and that, after having borne with many provoking
instances of his displeasure, he was now compelled to
request that his place of service should be changed from
the Castle of Douglas to whereever honour could be
acquired, and time might be given to put and end to his
present cause of complaint against his commanding officer.
Through the whole letter young Sir Aymer was particularly
cautious how he expressed his sense of Sir John de Walton's
jealously or severe usage; but such sentiments are not easily
concealed, and in spite of him an air of displeasure glanced
out from several passages, and indicated his discontent with
his uncle's old friend and companion in arms, and with the
sphere of military duty which his uncle had himself assigned
 An accidental movement among the English troops brought
Sir Aymer an answer to his letter sooner than he could have
hoped for at that time of day, in the ordinary course of
correspondence, which was then extremely slow and inter-
 Pembroke, a rigid old warrior, entertained the most partial
opinion of Sir John de Walton, who was a work, as it were, of
his own hands, and was indignant to find that his nephew,
whom he considered as a mere boy, elated by having had
the dignity of knighthood conferred upon him at an age
unusually early, did not absolutely coincide with him in
this opinion. He replied to him, accordingly, in a tone of
high displeasure, and expressed himself as a person of rank
would write to a young and dependent kinsman upon the
duties of his profession; and as he gathered his nephew's
<P 88>
cause of complaint from his own letter, he conceived that
he did him no injustice in making it slighter than it really
was. He reminded the young man that the study of chivalry
consisted in the faithful and patient discharge of military
service, whether of high or low degree, according to the
circumstances in which war placed the champion. That
above all, the post of danger, which Douglas Castle had
been termed by common consent, was also the post of
honour; and that a young man should be cautious how
he incurred the supposition of being desirous of quitting
his present honourable command because he was tired of
the discipline of a military director so renowned as Sir
John de Walton. Much also there was, as was natural in
a letter of that time, concerning the duty of young men,
whether in council or in arms, to be guided implicitly by
their elders; and it was observed, with justice, that the
commanding officer, who had put himself into the situation
of being responsible with his honour, if not his life, for the
event of the siege of blockade, might justly, and in a degree
more than common, claim the implicit direction of the whole
defence. Lastly, Pembroke reminded his nephew that he
was in a great measure dependent upon the report of Sir
John de Walton for the character which he was to sustain
in after-life, and reminded him that a few actions of head-
long and inconsiderate valour would not so firmly found his
military reputation as months and years spent in regular,
humble, and steady obedience to the commands which the
governor of Douglas Castle might think necessary in so
dangerous a conjuncture.
 This missive arrived within so short a time after the
dispatch of the letter to which it was a reply that Sir
Aymer was almost tempted to suppose that his uncle had
some mode of corresponding with De Walton unknown to
the young knight himself and to the rest of the garrison.
<P 89>
And as the earl alluded to some particular displeasure
which had been exhibited by De Valence on a late trivial
occasion, his uncle's knowledge of this, the other minutiae,
seemed to confirm his idea that his own conduct was
watched in a manner which he did not feel honourable to
himself or dignified on the part of his relative; in a word,
he conceived himself exposed to that sort of surveillance of
which in all ages the young have accused the old. It hardly
needs to say that the admonition of the Earl of Pembroke
greatly chafed the fiery spirit of his nephew; insomuch that
if the earl had wished to write a letter purposely to increase
the prejudices which he desired to put an end to, he could
not have made use of the terms better calculated for that effect.
 The truth was that the old archer, Gilbert Greenleaf, had,
without the knowledge of the young knight, gone to Pem-
broke's camp in Ayrshire, and was recommended by Sir
John de Walton to the earl as a person who could give
such minute information respecting Aymer de Valence as
he might desire to receive. The old archer was, as we
have seen, a formalist, and when pressed on some points
of Sir Aymer de Valence's discipline, he did not hesitate
to throw out hints which, connected with those in the
knight's letter to his uncle, made the severe old earl
adopt too implicitly the idea that his nephew was in-
dulging a spirit of insubordination, and a sense of im-
patience under authority, most dangerous to the character
of a young soldier. A little explanation might have pro-
duced a complete agreement in the sentiments of both;
but for this fate allowed neither time nor opportunity;
and the old earl was unfortunately induced to become a
party, instead of a negotiator, in the quarrel,
 "And by decision more embroiled the fray."
Sir John de Walton soon perceived that the receipt of
<P 90>
Pembroke's letter did not in any respect alter the cold,
ceremonious conduct of his lieutenant towards him, which
limited their intercourse to what their situation rendered
indispensible, and exhibited no advances to any more
frank or intimate connection. Thus, as may sometimes
be the case between officers in their relative situations
even at the present day, they remained in that cold, stiff
degree of official communication in which their intercourse
was limited to as few expressions as the respective duties of
their situation absolutely demanded. Such a state of mis-
understanding is, in fact, worse than a downright quarrel.
The latter may be explained or apologized for, or become
the subject of mediation; but in such a case as the former
an eclaircissement is as unlikely to take place as a general
engagement between two armies which have taken up strong
defensive positions on both sides. Duty, however, obliged
the two principal persons in the garrison of Douglas Castle
to be often together, when they were so far from seeking an
opportunity of making up matters that they usually revived
ancient subjects of debate.
 It was upon such an occasion that De Walton, in a very
formal manner, asked De Valence in what capacity, and for
how long time, it was his pleasure that the minstrel, called
Bertram, should remain at the castle.
 "A week," said the governor, "is certainly long enough,
in this time and place, to express the hospitality due to a
 "Certainly," replied the young man; "I have not interest
enough in the subject to form a single wish upon it."
 "In that case," resumed De Walton, "I shall request of
this person to cut short his visit at the Castle of Douglas."
 "I know no particular interest," replied Aymer de Valence,
"Which I can possibly have in this man's motions. He is here
under pretence of making some researches after the writings
<P 91>
of Thomas of Ercildoun, called the Rhymer, which he says
are infinitely curious, and of which there is a volume in the
old Baron's study, saved somehow from the flames at the last
conflagration. This told, you know as much of his errand
as I do; and if you hold the presence of a wandering old
man, and the neighbourhood of a boy, dangerous to the
castle under your charge, you will no doubt do well to
dismiss them. It will cost but a word of your mouth."
 "Pardon me," said De Walton; "the minstrel came here
as one of your retinue, and I could not, in fitting courtesy,
send him away without your leave."
 "I am sorry, then," answered Sir Aymer, "in my turn,
that you did not mention your purpose sooner. I never
entertained a dependent vassal or servant whose residence
in the castle I would wish to have prolonged a moment
beyond your honourable pleasure."
 "I am sorry," said Sir John de Walton, "that we two
have of late grown so extremely courteous that it is diffi-
cult for us to understand each other. This minstrel and
his son come from we know not where, and are bound we
know not whither. There is a report among some of your
escort that this fellow Bertram upon the way had the audacity
to impugn, even to your face, the King of England's right to
the crown of Scotland, and that he debated the point with
you, while your other attendants were desired by you to keep
behind and out of hearing."
 "Hah]" said Sir Aymer, "do you mean to found on that
circumstance any charge against my loyalty? I pray you
to observe that such an averment would touch mine honour,
which I am ready and willing to defend to the last gasp."
 "No doubt of it, Sir Knight," answered the governor;
"but it is the strolling minstrel, and not the high-born
English knight, against whom the charge is brought. Well,
the minstrel comes to this castle, and he intimates a wish
<P 92>
that his son should be allowed to take up his quarters at
the little old convent of Saint Bride, where two or three
Scottish nuns and friars are still permitted to reside, most
of them rather out of respect to their order than for any
good will which they are supposed to bear the English or
their sovereign. It may also be noticed that this leave was
purchased by a larger sum of money, if my information be
correct, than is usually to be found in the purses of travelling
minstrels - a class of wanders alike remarkable for their
poverty and for their genius. What do you think of all
 "I?" replied De Valence; "I am happy that my situation
as a soldier under command altogether dispenses with my
thinking of it at all. My post, as lieutenant of your castle,
is such that, if I can manage matters so as to call my
honour and my soul my own, I must think that quite
enough of free will is left at my command; and I promise
you shall not have again to reprove or send a bad report
of me to my uncle, on that account."
 "This is beyond sufferance]" said Sir John de Walton,
half aside, and then proceeded aloud, "Do not, for Heaven's
sake, do yourself and me the injustice of supposing that
I am endeavouring to gain an advantage over you by these
questions. Recollect, young knight, that when you evade
giving your commanding officer your advice when required,
you fail as much in point of duty as if you declined affording
him the assistance of your sword and lance."
 "Such being the case," answered De Valence, "let me
know plainly on what matter it is that you require my
opinion. I will deliver it plainly, and stand by the result,
even if I should have the misfortune (a crime unpardonable
in so young a man and so inferior an officer) to differ from
that of Sir John de Walton."
 "I would ask you, then, Sir Knight of Valence," answered
<P 93>
the governor, "what is your opinion with respect to this
minstrel Bertram, and whether the suspicions respecting
him and his son are not such as to call upon me, in per-
formance of my duty, to put them to a close examination,
with the question ordinary and extraordinary, as is usual
is such cases, and to expel them not only from the castle,
but from the whole territory of Douglas Dale, under pain
of scourging, if they be again found wandering in these
 "You ask me my opinion," said De Valence, " and you
shall have it, Sir Knight of Walton, as freely and fairly as
if matters stood betwixt us on a footing as friendly as they
ever did. I agree with you that most of those who in these
days profess the science of minstrelsy are altogether un-
qualified to support the higher pretensions of that noble
order. Minstrels by right are men who have dedicated
themselves to the noble occupation of celebrating knightly
deeds and generous principles. It is in their verse that the
valiant knight is handed down to fame, and the poet has
a right - nay, is bound - to emulate the virtues which he
praises. The looseness of the times has diminished the
consequence and impaired the morality of this class of
wanderers; their satire and their praise are now too often
distributed on no other principle than love of gain; yet let
us hope that there are still among them some who know,
and also willingly perform, their duty. My own opinion is
that this Bertram holds himself as one who has not shared
in the degradation of his brethren, nor bent the knee to the
mammon of the times. It must remain with you, sir, to
judge whether such a person, honourably and morally dis-
posed, can cause any danger to the Castle of Douglas. But
believing, from the sentiments he has manifested to me, that
he is incapable of playing the part of a traitor, I must
strongly remonstrate against his being punished as one, or
<P 94>
subjected to the torture within the walls of an English
garrison. I should blush for my country if it required of
us to inflict such wanton misery upon wanderers whose
sole fault is poverty; and your own knightly sentiments
will suggest more than would become me to state to Sir
John de Walton, unless in so far as is necessary to apologize
for retaining my own opinion."
 Sir John de Walton's dark brow was stricken with red
when he heard an opinion delivered in opposition to his
own, which plainly went to stigmatize his advice as un-
generous, unfeeling, and unknightly. He made an effort
to preserve his temper, while he thus replied with a degree
of calmness. "You have given your opinion, Sir Aymer
de Valence; and that you have given it openly and boldly,
without regard to my own, I thank you. It is not quite
so clear that I am obliged to defer my own sentiments to
yours, in case the rules on which I hold my office - the
commands of the king - and the observations which I may
personally have made, shall recommend to me a different
line of conduct from that which you think it right to sug-
 De Walton bowed, in conclusion, with great gravity; and
the young knight, returning the reverence with exactly the
same degree of stiff formality, asked whether there were
any particular orders respecting his duty in the castle; and
having received an answer in the negative, took his de-
 Sir John de Walton, after an expression of impatience,
as if disappointed at finding that the advance which he had
made towards an explanation with his young friend had
proved unexpectedly abortive, composed his brow as if to
deep thought, and walked several times to and fro in the
apartment, considering what course he was to take in these
circumstances. "It is hard to censure him severely," he
<P 95>
said, "when I recollect that on first entering upon life my
own thoughts and feelings would have been the same with
those of this giddy and hot-headed but generous boy. Now
prudence teaches me to suspect mankind in a thousand
instances, where perhaps there is not sufficient ground. If
I am disposed to venture my own honour and fortune,
rather than an idle travelling minstrel should suffer a little
pain, which, at all events, I might make up to him by
money, still, have I a right to run the risk of a conspiracy
against the king, and thus advance the treasonable surrender
of the Castle of Douglas, for which I know so many schemes
are formed, for which, too, none can be imagined so des-
perate but agents will be found bold enough to undertake
the execution? A man who holds my situation, although
the slave of conscience, ought to learn to set aside those
false scruples which assume the appearance of flowing from
our own moral feeling, whereas they are in fact instilled by
the suggestion of affected delicacy. I will not, I swear by
Heaven, be infected by the follies of a boy such as Aymer;
I will not, that I may defer to his caprices, lose all that
love, honour, and ambition can propose for the reward of
twelve months' service of a nature the most watchful and
unpleasant. I will go straight to my point, and use the
ordinary precautions in Scotland which I should employ
in Normandy or Gascoigny. - What ho] page] who waits
 One of his attendants replied to his summons. "Seek
me out Gilbert Greenleaf the archer, and tell him I would
speak with him touching the two bows and the sheaf of
arrows concerning which I gave him a commission to Ayr."
 A few minutes intervened after the order was given, when
the archer entered, holding in his hand two bow-staves, not
yet fashioned, and a number of arrows secured together
with a thong. He bore the mysterious looks of one whose
<P 96>
apparent business is not of very great consequence, but is
meant as a passport for other affairs which are in themselves
of a secret nature. Accordingly, as the knight was silent
and afforded no other opening for Greenleaf, that judicious
negotiator proceeded to enter upon such as was open to
 "Here are the bow-staves, noble sir, which you desired
me to obtain while I was at Ayr with the Earl of Pembroke's
army. They are not so good as I could have wished, yet
are perhaps of better quality than could have been procured
by any other than a fair judge of the weapon. The Earl
of Pembroke's whole camp are frantic mad in order to
procure real Spanish staves from the Groyne, and other parts
in Spain; but though two vessels laden with such came into
the port of Ayr, said to be for the King's army, yet I believe
never one half of them have come into English hands.
These two grew in Sherwood, which, having been seasoned
since the time of Robin Hood, are not likely to fail either
in strength or in aim in so strong a hand, and with so just
an eye, as those of the men who wait on your worship."
 "And who has got the rest, since two ships' cargoes of
new bow-staves are arrived at Ayr, and thou with difficulty
hast only procured me two old ones?" said the governor.
 "Faith, I pretend not skill enough to know," answered
Greenleaf, shrugging his shoulders. "Talk there is of plots
in that country as well as here. It is said that their Bruce,
and the rest of his kinsmen, intend a new May-game, and
that the outlawed king proposes to land near to Turnberry,
early in summer, with a number of stout kernes from Ire-
land; and no doubt the men of his mock earldom of Car-
rick are getting them ready with bow and spear for so hopeful
an undertaking. I reckon that it will not cost us the expense
of more than a few score of sheaves of arrows to put all that
matter to rights."
<P 97>
 "Do you talk, then, of conspiracies in this part of the
country, Greenleaf?" said De Walton. "I know you are
a sagacious fellow, well bred for many a day to the use of
the bent stick and string, and will not allow such a practice
to go on under thy nose without taking notice of it."
 "I am old enough, Heaven knows," said Greenleaf, "and
have had good experience of these Scottish wars, and know
well whether these native scots are a people to be trusted
to by knight or yeoman. Say they are a false generation,
and say a good archer told you so, who, with a fair aim,
seldom missed a handsbreadth of the white. Ah] sir, your
honour knows how to deal with them. Ride them strongly,
and rein them hard. You are not like those simple novices
who imagine that all is to be done by gentleness, and wish
to parade themselves as courteous and generous to those
faithless mountaineers, who never, in the course of their
lives, knew any tincture either of courteousness or generosity."
 "Thou alludest to some one," said the governor, "and
I charge thee, Gilbert to be plain and sincere with me.
Thou knowest methinks, that in trusting me thou wilt come
to no harm?"
 "It is true, it is true, sir," said the old remnant of the
wars, carrying his hand to his brow; "but it were imprudent
to communicate all the remarks which float through an old
man's brain in the idle moments of such a garrison as this.
One stumbles unawares on fantasies as well as realities, and
thus one gets, not altogether undeservedly, the character of
a talebearer and mischief-maker among his comrades, and
methinks I would not willingly fall under that accusation."
 "Speak frankly to me," answered De Walton, "and have
no fear of being misconstrued, whosoever the conversation
may concern."
 "Nay, in plain truth," answered Gilbert, "I fear not the
greatness of this young knight, being, as I am, the oldest
<P 98>
soldier in the garrison, and having drawn a bow-string long
and many a day ere he was weaned from his nurse's breast."
 "It is, then," said De Walton, "my lieutenant and friend,
Aymer de Valence, at whom your suspicions point?"
 "At nothing," replied the archer, "touching the honour
of the young knight himself, who is as brave as the sword
he wears, and, his youth considered, stands high in the roll
of English chivalry; but he is young, as your worship knows,
and I own that in the choice of his company he disturbs and
alarms me."
 "Why, you know, Greenleaf," answered the governor,
"That in the leisure of a garrison a knight cannot always
confine his sports and pleasures among those of his own
rank, who are not numerous, and may not be so gamesome
or fond of frolic as he would desire them to be."
 "I know that well," answered the archer, "nor would I
say a word concerning your honour's lieutenant for joining
any honest fellows, however inferior their rank, in the wrest-
ling ring or at a bout of quarterstaff. But if Sir Aymer de
Valence had a fondness for martial tales of former days, me-
thinks he had better learn them from the ancient soldiers
who have followed Edward the First, whom God assoilize,
and who have known before his time the Baron's Wars and
other onslaughts, in which the knights and archers of merry
England transmitted so many gallant actions to be recorded
by fame; this truly, I say, were more beseeming in Earl of
Pembroke's nephew, than to see him closet himself day after
day with a strolling minstrel, who gains his livelihood by
reciting nonsense and lies to such young men as are fond
enough to believe him, of whom hardly any one knows
whether he be English or Scottish in his opinions, and still
less can any one pretend to say whether he is of English or
Scottish birth, or with what purpose he lies lounging about
this castle, and is left free to communicate everything which
<P 99>
passes within it to those old mutterers of matins at Saint
Bride's, who say with their tongues, God save King Edward,
but pray in their hearts, God save King Robert the Bruce.
Such a communication he can easily carry on by means of
his son, who lies at Saint Bride's cell, as your worship knows,
under pretence of illness."
 "How do you say," exclaimed the governor, "under pre-
tence? Is he not, then, really indisposed?"
 "Nay, he may be sick to the death for aught I know,"
said the archer; "but if so, were it not then more natural
that the father should attend his son's sickbed, than that he
should be ranging about this castle, where one eternally
meets him in the old Baron's study, or in some corner where
you least expect to find him?"
 "If he has no lawful object," replied the knight, "it might
be as you say; but he is said to be in quest of ancient poems
or prophecies of Merlin, of the Rhymer, or some other old
bard; and in truth it is natural for him to wish to enlarge
his stock of knowledge and power of giving amusement, and
where should he find the means save in a study filled with
ancient books?"
 "No doubt," replied the archer, with a sort of dry, civil
sneer of incredulity; "I have seldom known an insurrection
in Scotland but that it was prophesied by some old forgotten
rhyme, conjured out of dust and cobwebs, for the sake of
giving courage to those North Country rebels who durst not
otherwise have abidden the whistling of the gray-goose shaft;
but curled heads are hasty, and, with license, even your own
train, Sir Knight, retains too much of the fire of youth for
such uncertain times as the present."
 "Thou hast convinced me, Gilbert Greenleaf, and I will
look into this man's business and occupation more closely
than hitherto. This is no time to peril the safety of a royal
castle for the sake of affecting generosity towards a man
<P 100>
of whom we know so little, and to whom, till we receive a
very full explanation, we may, without doing him injustice,
attach grave suspicions. Is he now in the apartment called
'the Baron's study'?"
 "Your worship will be certain to find him there," replied
 "Then follow me, with two or three of thy comrades, and
keep out of sight, but within hearing; it may be necessary
to arrest this man."
 "My assistance," said the old archer, "shall be at hand
when you call, but - - "
 "But what?" said the knight; "I hope I am not to find
doubts and disobedience on all hands?"
 "Certainly not on mine," replied Greenleaf; "I would
only remind your worship that what I have said was a sin-
cere opinion expressed in answer to your worship's question;
and that, as Sir Aymer de Valence has avowed himself the
patron of this man, I would not willingly be left to the hazard
of his revenge."
 "Pshaw]" answered De Walton; "is Aymer de Valence
governor of this castle, or am I? Or to whom do you imagine
you are responsible for answering such questions as I may
put to you?"
 "Nay," replied the archer, secretly not displeased at seeing
De Walton show some little jealousy of his own authority,
"believe me, Sir Knight, that I know my own station and
your worship's, and that I am not now to be told to whom I
owe obedience."
 "To the study, then, and let us find the man," said the
 "A fine matter indeed," subjoined Greenleaf, following
him, "that your worship should have to go in person to look
after the arrest of so mean an individual. But your honour
is right. These minstrels are often jugglers, and possess the
<P 101>
power of making their escape by means which borrel folk
like myself are disposed to attribute to necromancy."
 Without attending to these last words, Sir John de Walton
set forth towards the study, walking at a quick pace, as if
this conversation had augmented his desire to find himself
in possession of the person of the suspected minstrel.
 Traversing the ancient passages of the castle, the governor
had no difficulty in reaching the study, which was strongly
vaulted with stone, and furnished with a sort of iron cabinet,
intended for the preservation of articles and papers of value
in case of fire. Here he found the minstrel seated at a small
table, sustaining before him a manuscript, apparently of great
antiquity, from which he seemed engaged in making extracts.
The windows of the room were very small, and still showed
some traces that they had originally been glazed with a painted
history of Saint Bride - another mark of the devotion of the
great family of Douglas to their tutelar saint.
 The minstrel, who had seemed deeply wrapped in the con-
templation of his task, on being disturbed by the unlooked-
for entrance of Sir John de Walton, rose with every mark of
respect and humility, and remaining standing in the governor's
presence, appeared to wait for his interrogations, as if he had
anticipated that the visit concerned himself particularly.
 "I am to suppose, Sir Minstrel," said Sir John de Walton,
"that you have been successful in your search, and have found
the roll of poetry or prophecies that you proposed to seek
after amongst these broken shelves and tattered volumes?"
 "More successful than I could have expected," replied
the minstrel, "considering the effects of the conflagration.
This, Sir Knight is apparently the fatal volume for which
I sought; and strange it is, considering the heavy chance
of other books contained in this library, that I have been
able to find a few though imperfect fragments of it."
<P 102>
 "Since, therefore, you have been permitted to indulge
your curiosity," said the governor, "I trust, minstrel, you
will have no objection to satisfy mine?"
 The minstrel replied with the same humility, "that if
there was anything within the poor compass of his skill which
could gratify Sir John de Walton in any degree, he would but
reach his lute, and presently obey his commands."
 "You mistake, sir," said Sir John, somewhat harshly. "I
am none of those who have hours to spend in listening to
tales or music of former days; my life has hardly given me
time enough for learning the duties of my profession, far less
has it allowed me leisure for such twangling follies. I care
not who knows it, but my ear is so incapable of judging of
your art, which you doubtless think a noble one, that I can
scarcely tell the modulation of one tune from another."
 "In that case," replied the minstrel composedly, "I can
hardly promise myself the pleasure of affording your worship
the amusement which I might otherwise have done."
 "Nor do I look for any at your hand," said the governor,
advancing a step nearer to him, and speaking in a sterner
tone. "I want information, sir, which I am assured you can
give me if you incline; and it is my duty to tell you that if
you show unwillingness to speak the truth, I know means by
which it will become my painful duty to extort it in a more
disagreeable manner than I would wish."
 "If your questions, Sir Knight," answered Bertram, "be
such as I can or ought to answer, there shall be no occasion
to put them more than once. If they are such as I cannot
or ought not to reply to, believe me that no threats of
violence will extort an answer from me."
 "You speak boldly," said Sir John de Walton; "but take
my word for it that your courage will be put to the test. I
am as little fond of proceeding to such extremities as you
can be of undergoing them, but such will be the natural con-
<P 103>
sequence of your own obstinacy. I therefore ask you whether
Bertram be your real name; whether you have any other
profession than that of a travelling minstrel; and, lastly,
whether you have any acquaintance or connection with any
Englishman or Scottishman beyond the walls of this Castle
of Douglas."
 "To these questions," replied the minstrel, "I have already
answered the worshipful knight, Sir Aymer de Valence; and
having fully satisfied him, it is not, I conceive, necessary
that I should undergo a second examination; nor is it con-
sistent either with your worship's honour or that of the
lieutenant-governor that such a re-examination should take
 "You are very considerate," replied the governor, "of my
honour and of that of Sir Aymer de Valence. Take my
word for it, they are both in perfect safety in our own keep-
ing, and may dispense with your attention. I ask you, will
you answer the inquiries which it is my duty to make, or am
I to enforce obedience by putting you under the penalties
of the question? I have already, it is my duty to say, seen
the answers you have returned to my lieutenant, and they do
not satisfy me."
 He at the same time clapped his hands, and two or three
archers showed themselves, stripped of their tunics, and only
attired in their shirts and hose.
 "I understand," said the minstrel, "that you intend to
inflict upon me a punishment which is foreign to the genius
of the English laws, in that no proof is adduced of my guilt.
I have already told that I am by birth an Englishman, by
profession a minstrel, and that I am totally unconnected
with any person likely to nourish any design against this
Castle of Douglas, Sir John de Walton, or his garrison.
What answers you may extort from me by bodily agony, I
cannot, to speak as a plain-dealing Christian, hold myself
<P 104>
responsible for. I think that I can endure as much pain as
any one. I am sure that I never yet felt a degree of agony
that I would not willingly prefer to breaking my plighted
word, or becoming a false informer against innocent persons.
But I own I do not know the extent to which the art of tor-
ture may be carried; and though I do not fear you, Sir John
de Walton, yet I must acknowledge that I fear myself, since
I know not to what extremity your cruelty may be capable
of subjecting me, or how far I may be enabled to bear it.
I, therefore in the first place, protest that I shall in no
manner be liable for any words which I may utter in the
course of any examination enforced from me by torture;
and you must therefore, under such circumstances, proceed
to the execution of an office which, permit me to say, is
hardly that which I expected to have found this adminis-
tered by an accomplished knight like yourself."
 "Hark you, sir," replied the governor, "you and I are at
issue, and in doing my duty I ought instantly to proceed to
the extremities I have threatened; but perhaps you yourself
feel less reluctance to undergo the examination as proposed
than I shall do in commanding it. I will therefore consign
you for the present to a place of confinement suitable to one
who is suspected of being a spy upon this fortress. Until
you are pleased to remove such suspicions, your lodgings
and nourishment are those of a prisoner. In the meantime,
before subjecting you to the question, take notice I will
myself ride to the Abbey of Saint Bride, and satisfy myself
whether the young person whom you would pass as your son
is possessed of the same determination as that which you
yourself seem to assert. It may so happen that his examina-
tion and yours may throw such light upon each other as will
decidedly prove either your guilt of innocence, without its
being confirmed by the use of the extraordinary question.
If it be otherwise, tremble for your son's sake, if not for your
<P 105>
own. Have I shaken you, sir, or do you fear for your boy's
young sinews and joints the engines which, in your own
case, you seem willing to defy?"
 "Sir," answered the minstrel, recovering from the mo-
mentary emotion he had shown, "I leave it to yourself, as
a man of honour and candour, whether you ought, in com-
mon fairness, to form a worse opinion of any man because
he is not unwilling to incur in his own person severities
which he would not desire to be inflicted upon his child, a
sickly youth, just recovering from a dangerous disease."
 "It is my duty," answered De Walton, after a short pause,
"to leave no stone unturned by which this business may be
traced to the source; and if thou desirest mercy for thy son,
thou wilt thyself most easily attain it by setting him the
example of honesty and plain dealing."
 The minstrel threw himself back on the seat, as if fully
resolved to bear every extremity that could be inflicted,
rather than make any further answer than he had already
offered. Sir John de Walton himself seemed in some degree
uncertain what might be his best course. He felt an
invincible repugnance to proceed, without due consideration,
in what most people would have deemed the direct line of
his duty, by inflicting the torture both upon father and son;
but deep as was his sense of devotion towards the King, and
numerous as were the hopes and expectations he had formed
upon the strict discharge of his present high trust, he could
not resolve upon having recourse at one to this cruel method
of cutting the knot. Bertram's appearance was venerable,
and his power of words not unworthy of his aspect and bear-
ing. The governor remembered that Aymer de Valence,
whose judgement in general it was impossible to deny, had
described him as one of those rare individuals who vindi-
cated the honour of a corrupted profession by their personal
good behaviour; and he acknowledged to himself that there
<P 106>
was gross cruelty and injustice in refusing to admit the
prisoner to the credit of being a true and honest man, until,
by way of proving his rectitude, he had strained every sinew
and crushed every joint in his body, as well as those of his
son. "I have no touchstone," he said internally, "which
can distinguish truth from falsehood. The Bruce and his
followers are on the alert; he has certainly equipped the
galleys which lay at Rachrin during winter. This story, too,
of Greenleaf, about arms being procured for a new insurrec-
tion, tallies strangely with the appearance of that savage-
looking forester at the hunt; and all tends to show that
something is upon the anvil which it is my duty to provide
against. I will therefore pass over no circumstance by
which I can affect the mind through hope or fear; but,
please God to give me light from any other source, I will
not think it lawful to torment these unfortunate and, it may
yet be, honest men." He accordingly took his departure
from the library, whispering a word to Greenleaf respecting
the prisoner.
 He had reached the outward door of the study, and his
satellites had already taken the minstrel into their grasp,
when the voice of the old man was heard calling upon De
Walton to return for a single moment.
 "What hast thou to say, sir?" said the governor. "Be
speedy, for I have already lost more time in listening to thee
than I am answerable for, and so I advise thee for thine own
sake - "
 "I advise thee," said the minstrel, "for thine own sake,
Sir John de Walton, to beware how thou dost insist on thy
present purpose, by which thou thyself alone, of all men
living, will most severely suffer. If thou harmest a hair of
that young man's head - nay, if thou permittest him to under-
go any privation which it is in thy power to prevent - thou
wilt, in doing so, prepare for thine own suffering a degree of
<P 107>
agony more acute than anything else in this mortal world
could cause thee. I swear by the most blessed objects of
our holy religion - I call to witness that holy sepulchre, of
which I have been an unworthy visitor - that I speak nothing
but the truth, and that thou wilt one day testify thy gratitude
for the part I am now acting. It is my interest, as well as
yours, to secure you in the safe possession of this castle,
although assuredly I know some things respecting it, and
respecting your worship, which I am not at liberty to tell
without the consent of that youth. Bring me but a note
under his hand, consenting to my taking you into our mys-
tery, and, believe me, you will soon see those clouds charmed
away, since there was never a doleful uncertainty which
more speedily changed to joy, or a thunder-cloud of adversity
which more instantly gave way to sunshine, than would then
the suspicions which appear now so formidable."
 He spoke with so much earnestness as to make some
impression upon Sir John de Walton, who was once more
wholly at a loss to know what line his duty called upon him
to pursue.
 "I would most gladly," said the governor, "follow out my
purpose by the gentlest means in my power; and I shall
bring no further distress upon this poor lad than thine own
obstinacy and his shall appear to deserve. In the meantime
think, Sir Minstrel, that my duty has limits; and if I slack it
for a day it will become thee to exert every effort in thy
power to meet my condescension. I will give thee leave to
address thy son by a line under thy hand, and I will await
his answer before I proceed further in this matter, which
seems to be very mysterious. Meantime, as thou hast a soul
to be saved, I conjure thee to speak the truth, and tell me
whether the secrets, of which thou seemest to be a too faith-
ful treasurer, have regard to the practices of Douglas, of Bruce,
or of any in their names, against this Castle of Douglas."
<P 108>
 The prisoner thought a moment, and then replied, "I
am aware, Sir Knight, of the severe charge under which this
command is intrusted to your hands; and were it in my
power to assist you, as a faithful minstrel and loyal subject,
either with hand or tongue, I should feel myself called upon
so to do. But so far am I from being the character your
suspicions have apprehended, that I should have held it for
certain that the Bruce and Douglas had assembled their
followers, for the purpose of renouncing their rebellious
attempts, and taking their departure for the Holy Land, but
for the apparition of the forester, who, I hear, bearded you
at the hunting; which impresses upon me the belief that,
when so resolute a follower and henchman of the Douglas
was sitting fearless among you, his master and comrades
could be at no great distance. How far his intentions could
be friendly to you I must leave it to yourself to judge; only
believe me this far, that the rack, pulley, or pincers would
not have compelled me to act the informer, or advisor, in a
quarrel wherein I have little or no share, if I had not been
desirous of fixing the belief upon you that you are dealing
with a true man, and one who has your welfare at heart.
Meanwhile permit me to have writing materials, or let my
own be restored, for I possess in some degree the higher
arts of my calling; nor do I fear but that I can procure for
you an explanation of these marvels, without much more loss
of time."
 "God grant it prove so," said the governor, "though I
see not well how I can hope for so favourable a termina-
tion, and I may sustain great harm by trusting too much
on the present occasion. My duty, however, requires
that, in the meantime, you be removed into strict confine-
 He handed to the prisoner as he spoke the writing mate-
rials, which had been seized upon by the archers on their
<P 109>
first entrance, and then commanded those satellites to un-
hand the minstrel.
 "I must, then," said Bertram, "remain subjected to all
the severities of a strict captivity? But I deprecate no hard-
ship whatever in my own person, so I may secure you from
acting with a degree of rashness of which you will all your
life repent without the means of atoning."
 "No more words, minstrel," said the governor; "but
since I have made my choice perhaps a very dangerous
one for myself, let us carry this spell into execution which
thou sayest is to serve me, as mariners say that oil spread
upon the raging billows will assuage their fury."

<C IX>
<P 109>
( Beware] beware of the Black Friar]
He still retains his sway,
For he is yet the church's heir by right,
Whoever may be the lay.
Amundeville is lord by day,
But the monk is lord by night;
Nor wine nor wassel could raise a vassal
To question that friar's right.
 Don Juan, Canto xvii.)
The minstrel made no vain boast of the skill which he
possessed in the use of pen and ink. In fact, no priest of
the time could have produced his little scroll more speedily,
more neatly composed, or more fairly written, than were the
lines addressed "To the youth called Augustine, son of
Bertram the Minstrel."
 "I have not folded this letter," said he, "nor tied it with
silk, for it is not expressed so as to explain the mystery to
you; nor, to speak frankly, do I think that it can convey to
you any intelligence; but it may be satisfactory to show you
<P 110>
what the letter does not contain, and that it is written from
and to a person who both mean kindly towards you and your
 "That," said the governor, "is a deception which is easily
practised; it tends, however, to show, though not with cer-
tainty, that you are disposed to act upon good faith; and
until the contrary appear, I shall consider it a point of duty
to treat you with a much gentleness as the matter admits of.
Meantime I will myself ride to the Abbey of Saint Bride,
and in person examine the young prisoner; and as you say
he has the power, so I pray to Heaven he may have the will,
to read this riddle, which seems to throw us all into confu-
sion." So saying, he ordered his horse; and while it was
getting ready he perused with great composure the min-
strel's letter. Its contents ran thus:-
 "Dear Augustine,
 "Sir John de Walton, the governor of this castle, has con-
ceived those suspicions which I pointed out as likely to be
the consequence of our coming to this country without an
avowed errand. I at least am seized, and threatened with ex-
amination under torture, to force me to tell the purpose of our
journey; but they shall tear my flesh from my bones ere they
force me to break the oath which I have taken. And the pur-
port of this letter is to apprise you of the danger in which
you stand of being placed in similar circumstances, unless
you are disposed to authorize me to make the discovery to
this knight. But on this subject you have only to express
your own wishes, being assured that they shall be in every
respect attended to by your devoted BERTRAM."
 This letter did not throw the smallest light upon the mys-
tery of the writer. The governor read it more than once,
and turned it repeatedly in his hand, as if he had hoped by
<P 111>
that mechanical process to draw something from the missive,
which at a first view the words did not express; but as no
result of this sort appeared, De Walton retired to the hall,
where he informed Sir Aymer de Valence that he was going
abroad as far as the Abbey of Saint Bride, and that he would
be obliged by his taking upon him the duties of governor
during his absence. Sir Aymer, of course, intimated his ac-
quiescence in the charge; and the state of disunion in which
they stood to each other permitted no further explanation.
 Upon the arrival of Sir John de Walton at the dilapidated
shrine, the abbot, with trembling haste, made it his business
immediately to attend the commander of the English garri-
son, upon whom, for the present, their house depended for
every indulgence then experienced, as well as for the subsist-
ence and protection necessary to them in so perilous a period.
Having interrogated this old man respecting the youth resid-
ing in the abbey, De Walton was informed that he had been
indisposed since left there by his father Bertram, a minstrel.
It appeared to the abbot that his indisposition might be of
that contagious kind which at that period ravaged the Eng-
lish borders, and made some incursions into Scotland, where
it afterwards worked a fearful progress. After some further
conversation, Sir John de Walton put into the abbot's hand
the letter to the young person under his roof, on delivering
which to Augustine the reverend father was charged with a
message to the English governor so bold that he was afraid
to be the bearer of it. It signified that the youth could not
and would not at that moment receive the English knight,
but that if he came back on the morrow after mass it was
probable he might learn something of what was requested.
 "This is not an answer," said Sir John de Walton, "to be
sent by a boy like this to a person in my charge; and me-
thinks, Father Abbot, you consult your own safety but slen-
derly in delivering such an insolent message."
<P 112>
 The abbot trembled under the folds of his large coarse
habit; and De Walton, imagining that his discomposure was
the consequence of guilty fear, called upon him to remember
the duties which he owed to England, the benefits which he
had received from himself, and the probable consequence of
taking part in a pert boy's insolent defiance of the power of
the governor of the province.
 The abbot vindicated himself from these charges with the
utmost anxiety. He pledged his sacred word that the incon-
siderate character of the boy's message was owing to the
waywardness arising from indisposition. He reminded the
governor that, as a Christian and an Englishman, he had
duties to observe towards the community of Saint Bride,
which had never given the English government the least
subject of complaint. As he spoke, the churchman seemed
to gather courage from the immunities of his order. He
said he could not permit a sick boy, who had taken refuge
within the sanctuary of the church, to be seized or subjected
to any species of force, unless he was accused of a specific
crime, capable of being immediately proved. The Doug-
lases, a headstrong race, had in former days uniformly
respected the sanctuary of Saint Bride, and it was not to be
supposed that the King of England, the dutiful and obedient
child of the Church of Rome, would act with less veneration
for her rights than the followers of a usurper, homicide, and
excommunicated person like Robert Bruce.
 Walton was considerably shaken with this remonstrance.
He knew that, in the circumstances of the times, the Pope
had great power in every controversy in which it was his
pleasure to interfere. He knew that even in the dispute
respecting the supremacy of Scotland his Holiness had set
up a claim to the kingdom, which, in the temper of the times,
might perhaps have been deemed superior both to that of
Robert Bruce and that of Edward of England, and he con-
<P 113>
ceived his monarch would give him little thanks for any
fresh embroilment which might take place with the church.
Moreover, it was easy to place a watch, so as to prevent
Augustine from escaping during the night; and on the fol-
lowing morning he would still as effectually in the power
of the English governor as if he were seized on by open force
at the present moment. Sir John de Walton, however, so
far exerted his authority over the abbot that he engaged, in
consideration of the sanctuary being respected for this space
of time, that when it expired he would be aiding and assist-
ing with his spiritual authority to surrender the youth, should
he not allege a sufficient reason to the contrary. This ar-
rangement, which appeared still to flatter the governor with
the prospect of an easy termination of this troublesome dis-
pute, induced him to grant the delay which Augustine rather
demanded than petitioned for.
 "At your request, Father Abbot, whom I have hitherto
found a true man, I will indulge this youth with the grace
he asks, before taking him into custody, understanding that
he shall not be permitted to leave this place; and thou art
to be responsible to this effect, giving thee, as is reasonable,
power to command our little garrison at Hazelside, to which
I will send a reinforcement on my return to the castle, in
case it should be necessary to use the strong hand, or cir-
cumstances impose upon me other measures."
 "Worthy Sir Knight," replied the abbot, "I have no idea
that the frowardness of this youth will render any course
necessary, saving that of persuasion; and I venture to say
that you yourself will in the highest degree approve of the
method in which I shall acquit myself of my present trust."
 The abbot went through the duties of hospitality, enumer-
ating what simple cheer the cloister of the convent permitted
him to offer to the English knight. Sir John de Walton
declined the offer of refreshment, however, took a courteous
<P 114>
leave of the churchman, and did not spare his horse until the
noble animal had brought him again before the Castle of
Douglas. Sir Aymer de Valence met him on the drawbridge,
and reported the state of the garrison to be the same in
which he had left it, excepting that intimation had been
received that twelve or fifteen men were expected on their
way to the town of Lanark, and being on march from the
neighbourhood of Ayr, would that night take up their quar-
ters at the outpost of Hazelside.
 "I am glad of it," replied the governor; "I was about to
strengthen that detachment. This stripling, the son of Ber-
tram the minstrel, or whoever he is, has engaged to deliver
himself up for examination in the morning. As this party of
soldiers are followers of your uncle, Lord Pembroke, may I
request you will ride to meet them, and command them to
remain at Hazelside until you make further inquiries about
this youth, who has still to clear up the mystery which hangs
about him, and reply to a letter which I delivered with my
own hand to the Abbot of Saint Bride. I have shown too
much forbearance in this matter, and I trust to your looking
to the security of this young man, and convey him hither
with all due care and attention as being a prisoner of some
 "Certainly, Sir John," answered Sir Aymer; "your orders
shall be obeyed, since you have none of greater importance
for one who hath the honour to be second only to yourself
in this place."
 "I crave your mercy, Sir Aymer," returned the governor
"if the commission be in any degree beneath your dignity
but it is our misfortune to misunderstand each other when
we endeavour to be most intelligible."
 "But what am I to do," said Sir Aymer - "no way dis-
puting your command, but only asking for information - what
am I to do if the Abbot of Saint Bride offers opposition?"
<P 115>
 "How]" answered Sir John de Walton; "with the rein-
forcement from my Lord of Pembroke, you will command at
least twenty war-men, with bow and spear, against five or six
timid old monks, with only gown and hood."
 "True," said Sir Aymer, "but ban and excommunication
are sometimes in the present day too hard for the mail coat,
and I would not willingly be thrown out of the pale of the
Christian church."
 "Well, then, thou very suspicious and scrupulous young
man," replied De Walton, "know that if this youth does not
deliver himself up to thee of his own accord, the abbot has
promised to put him into thy hands."
 There was no further answer to be made, and De Valence,
though still thinking himself unnecessarily harassed with the
charge of a petty commission, took the sort of half arms
which were always used when the knights stirred beyond the
walls of the garrison, and proceeded to execute the com-
mands of De Walton. A horseman or two, together with
his squire Fabian, accompanied him.
 The evening closed in with one of those Scottish mists
which are commonly said to be equal to the showers of hap-
pier climates; the path became more and more dark, the
hills more wreathed in vapours, and more difficult to traverse;
and all the little petty inconveniences which rendered travel-
ling through the district slow and uncertain were augmented
by the density of the fog which overhung everything.
 Sir Aymer, therefore, occasionally mended his pace, and
often incurred the fate of one who is over-late, delaying him-
self by his efforts to make greater expedition. The knight
bethought himself that he would get into a straight road by
passing through the almost deserted town of Douglas, the
inhabitants of which had been treated so severely by the
English in the course of those fierce troubles that most of
them who were capable of bearing arms had left it, and with-
<P 116>
drawn themselves to different parts of the country. This
almost deserted place was defended by a rude palisade and
a ruder drawbridge, which gave entrance into streets so nar-
row as to admit with difficulty three horses abreast, and
evincing with what strictness the ancient lords of the village
adhered to their prejudice against fortifications, and their
opinion in favour of keeping the field, so quaintly expressed
in the well-known proverb of the family - "It is better to
hear the lark sing than the mouse cheep." The streets, or
rather the lanes, were dark, but for a shifting gleam of moon-
light, which, as the planet began to rise, was now and then
visible upon some steep and narrow gable. No sound of
domestic industry or domestic festivity was heard, and no
ray of candle or firelight glanced from the windows of the
houses; the ancient ordinance called the curfew, which the
Conqueror had introduced into England, was at this time in
full force in such parts of Scotland as were thought doubt-
ful and likely to rebel; under which description, it need
not be said, the ancient possessions of the Douglas were most
especially regarded. The church, whose Gothic monuments
were of a magnificent character, had been, as far as possible
destroyed by fire; but ruins, held together by the weight of
the massive stones of which they were composed, still suf-
ficiently evinced the greatness of the family at whose cost it
had been raised, and whose bones, from immemorial time,
had been entombed in its crypts.
 Paying little attention to these relics of departed splendour,
Sir Aymer de Valence advanced with his small detachments,
and had passed the scattered fragments of the cemetery of
the Douglases, when, to his surprise, the noise of his horse's
feet was seemingly replied to by sounds which rang like those
of another knightly steed advancing heavily up the street, as
if it were to meet him. Valence was unable to conjecture
what might be the cause of these warlike sounds; the ring
<P 117>
and the clang of armour were distinct, and the heavy tramp
of a war-horse was not to be mistaken by the ear of a warrior.
The difficulty of keeping soldiers from straying out of quarters
by night would have sufficiently accounted for the appearance
of a straggling foot-soldier; but it was more difficult to ac-
count for a mounted horseman in full armour, and such was
the apparition which a peculiarly bright glimpse of moonlight
now showed at the bottom of the causewayed hill. Perhaps
the unknown warrior obtained at the same time a glance of
Aymer de Valence and his armed followers; at least each of
them shouted, "Who goes there?" - the alarm of the times;
and on the instant the deep answers of "Saint George]" on
the one side, and "The Douglas]" on the other, awakened
the still echoes of the small and ruinous street and the silent
arches of the dilapidated church. Astonished at a war-cry
with which so many recollections were connected, the English
knight spurred his horse at full gallop down the steep and
broken descent leading out at the south or south-east gate of
the town; and it was the work of an instant to call out, "Ho]
Saint George] upon the insolent villain, all of you] - To the
gate, Fabian, and but him off from flight] - Saint George, I
say, for England] Bows and bills] - bows and bills]" At
the same time Aymer de Valence laid in rest his own long
lance, which he snatched from the squire by whom it was
carried. But the light was seen and gone in an instant, and
though De Valence concluded that the hostile warrior had
hardly room to avoid his career, yet he could take no aim for
the encounter, unless by mere guess, and continued to plunge
down the dark declivity, among shattered stones and other
encumbrances, without groping out with his lance the object
of his pursuit. He rode, in short, at a broken gallop, a
descent of about fifty or sixty yards, without having any
reason to suppose that he had met the figure which had
appeared to him, although the narrowness of the street
<P 118>
scarcely admitted his having passed him, unless both horse
and horseman could have melted at the moment of encounter
like an air-bubble. The riders of his suite, meanwhile, were
struck with a feeling like supernatural terror, which a number
of singular adventures had caused the most of them to attach
to the name of Douglas; and when he reached the gate by
which the broken street was terminated, there was none close
behind him but Fabian, in whose head no suggestions of a
timorous nature could outlive the sound of his dear master's
 Here there was a post of English archers, who were turn-
ing out in considerable alarm, when De Valence and his
page rode in amongst them. "Villains]" shouted De
Valence, "Why were you not upon your duty? Who was it
passed through your post even now, with the traitorous cry
of Douglas?"
 "We know of no such," said the captain of the watch.
 "That is to say, you besotted villains," answered the young
knight, "you have been drinking, and have slept?"
 The men protested the contrary, but in a confused manner,
which was far from overcoming De Valence's suspicions. He
called loudly to bring cressets, torches, and candles; and a
few remaining inhabitants began to make their unwilling
appearance, with such various means of giving light as they
chanced to possess. They heard the story of the young
English knight with wonder; nor, although it was confirmed
by all his retinue, did they give credit to the recital, more
than that the Englishman wished somehow or other to pick
a quarrel with the people of the place, under the pretence of
their having admitted a retainer of their ancient lord by
night into the town, they protested, therefore, their inno-
cence of the cause of tumult, and endeavoured to seem active
in hastening from house to house, and corner to corner, with
their torches, in order to discover the invisible cavalier. The
<P 119>
English suspected them no less of treachery than the Scot-
tish imagined the whole matter a pretext for bringing an
accusation on the part of the young knight against the citi-
zens. The women, however, who now began to issue from
the houses, had a key for the solution of the apparition,
which at that time was believed of efficacy sufficient to solve
any mystery. "The devil," they said, "must have appeared
visibly amongst them," and explanation which had already
occurred to the followers of the young knight; for that a
living man and horse, both, as it seemed, of a gigantic size,
could be conjured in the twinkling of an eye, and appear in
a street secured at one end by the best of the archers, and
at the other by the horsemen under Valence himself, was
altogether, it seemed, a thing impossible. The inhabitants
did not venture to put their thoughts on the subject into
language, for fear of giving offence, and only indicated by a
passing word to each other the secret degree of pleasure
which they felt in the confusion and embarrassment of the
English garrison. Still, however, they continued to affect a
great deal of interest in the alarm which De Valence had
received, and the anxiety which he expressed to discover the
 At length a female voice spoke above the babel of con-
fused sounds, saying, "Where is the Southern knight? I
am sure that I can tell him where he can find the only per-
son who can help him out of his present difficulty."
 "And who is that, good women?" said Aymer de Valence,
who was growing every moment more impatient at the loss
of time, which was flying fast, in an investigation which had
something vexatious in it, and even ridiculous. At the same
time, the sight of an armed partisan of the Douglases in
their own native town seemed to bode too serious conse-
quences if it should be suffered to pass without being probed
to the bottom.
<P 120>
 "Come hither to me," said the female voice, "and I will
name to you the only person who can explain all matters of
this kind that chance in this country." On this the knight
snatched a torch from some of those who were present, and
holding it up, described the person who spoke - a tall woman,
who evidently endeavoured to render herself remarkable.
When he approached her, she communicated her intelli-
gence in a grave and sententious tone of voice.
 "We had once wise men, that could have answered any
parables which might have been put to them for explanation
in his countryside. Whether you yourselves, gentlemen,
have not had some hand in weeding them out, good troth,
it is not for the like of me to say; at any rate, good counsel
is not so easy come by as it was in this Douglas country, nor,
maybe, is it a safe thing to pretend to the power of giving it."
 "Good woman," said De Valence, "if you will give me
an explanation of this mystery, I will owe you a kirtle of the
best raploch gray."
 "It is not I," said the old woman, "that pretend to pos-
sess the knowledge which may assist you; but I would fain
know that the man whom I shall name to you shall be skaith-
less and harmless. Upon your knighthood and your honour,
will you promise to me so much?"
 "Assuredly," said De Valence, "such a person shall even
have thanks and reward if he is a faithful informer - ay, and
pardon, moreover, although he may have listened to any
dangerous practices, or been concerned in any plots."
 "Oh] not he," replied the female; "it is old Goodman
Powheid, who has the charge of the muniments" (meaning,
probably, monuments) - "that is, such part of them as you
English have left standing. I mean the old sexton of the
kirk of Douglas, who can tell more stories of these old folk,
whom your honour is not very fond of hearing named, than
would last us from this day to Yule."
<P 121>
 "Does anybody," said the knight, "know whom it is that
this old woman means?"
 "I conjecture," replied Fabian, "that she speaks of an old
dotard, who is, I think, the general referee concerning the
history and antiquities of this old town, and of the savage
family that lived here, perhaps before the flood."
 "And who, I dare say," said the knight, "knows as much
about the matter as she herself does. But where is this man?
 - a sexton, is he? He may be acquainted with places of
concealment, which are often fabricated in Gothic build-
ings, and known to those whose business calls them to fre-
quent them. Come, my good old dame, bring this man to
me; or, what may be better, I will go to him, for we have
already spent too much time."
 "Time]" replied the old woman; "is time an object with
your honour? I am sure I can hardly get so much for mine
as will hold soul and body together. You are not far from
the old man's house."
 She led the way accordingly, blundering over heaps of
rubbish, and encountering all the embarrassments of a ruin-
ous street, in lighting the way to Sir Aymer, who, giving his
horse to one of his attendants, and desiring Fabian to be
ready at a call, scrambled after as well as the slowness of his
guide would permit.
 Both were soon involved in the remains of the old church,
much dilapidated as it had been by wanton damage done to
it by the soldiery, and so much impeded by rubbish that the
knight marvelled how the old woman could find the way.
She kept talking all the while as she stumbled onward.
Sometimes she called out in a screeching tone, "Powheid]
Lazarus Powheid]" and then muttered, "Ay, ay, the old
man will be busy with some of his duties, as he calls them.
I wonder he fashes wi' them in these times. But never mind:
I warrant they will last for his day and for mine; and the
<P 122>
times, Lord help us] for all that I can see, are well enough
for those that are to live in them."
 "Are you sure, good woman," replied the knight, "that
there is any inhabitant in these ruins? For my part, I should
rather suppose that you are taking me to the charnel-house
of the dead."
 "Maybe you are right," said the old woman, with a ghastly
laugh; "carles and carlines agree weel with funeral vaults
and charnel-houses, and when an auld bedral dwells near the
dead, he is living, ye ken, among his customers. - Halloo]
Powheid] Lazarus Powheid] there is a gentleman would
speak with you;" and she added, with some sort of empha-
sis, "An English noble gentleman - one of the honourable
 An old man's step was now heard advancing, so slowly
that the glimmering light which he held in his hand was
visible on the ruined walls of the vault some time before it
showed the person who bore it.
 The shadow of the old man was also projected upon the
illuminated wall ere his person came in view; his dress was
in considerable confusion, owing to his having been roused
from his bed; and since artificial light was forbidden by the
regulations of the garrison, the natives of Douglas Dale spent
in sleep the time that they could not very well get rid of by
any other means. The sexton was a tall, thin man, emaciated
by years and by privations; his body was bent habitually by
his occupation of grave-digging, and his eye naturally inclined
downward to the scene of his labours. His hand sustained
the cruise or little lamp, which he held so as to throw light
upon his visitant; at the same time it displayed to the young
knight the features of the person with whom he was now
confronted, which, though neither handsome nor pleasing,
were strongly marked, sagacious, and venerable, indicating
at the same time a certain air of dignity which age - even
<P 123>
mere poverty - may be found occasionally to bestow, as con-
ferring that last melancholy species of independence proper
to those whose situation can hardly, by any imaginable means,
be rendered much worse than years and fortune have already
made it. The habit of a lay brother added somewhat of
religious importance to his appearance.
 "What would you with me, young man?" said the sexton.
"Your youthful features and your gay dress bespeak one who
stands in need of my ministry neither for himself nor for
 "I am, indeed," replied the knight, "a living man, and
therefore need not either shovel or pickaxe for my own be-
hoof. I am not, as you see, attired in mourning, and there-
fore need not your offices in behalf of any friend; I would
only ask you a few questions."
 "What you would have done must needs be done, you
being at present one of our rulers, and, as I think, a man
of authority," replied the sexton. "Follow me this way into
my poor habitation. I have had a better in my day; and
yet, Heaven knows, it is good enough for me, when many
men of much greater consequence must perforce content
themselves with worse."
 He opened a lowly door, which was fitted, though irregu-
larly, to serve as the entrance of a vaulted apartment, where
it appeared that the old man held, apart from the living
world, his wretched and solitary dwelling. The floor, com-
posed of paving stones, laid together with some accuracy,
and here and there inscribed with letters and hieroglyphics,
as if they had once upon a time served to distinguish sepul-
<P 124>
chres, was indifferently well swept, and a fire at the upper
end directed its smoke into a hole which served for a chim-
ney. The spade and pickaxe (with other tools), which the
chamberlain of mortailty makes use of, lay scattered about
the apartment, and, with a rude stool or two and a table,
where some inexperienced hand had unquestionably supplied
the labours of the joiner, were nearly the only furniture, if we
included the old man's bed of straw, lying in a corner, and
discomposed, as if he had been just raised from it. At the
lower end of the apartment the wall was almost entirely
covered by a large escutcheon, such as is usually hung over
the graves of men of very high rank, having the appropriate
quarters, to the number of sixteen, each properly blazoned
and distinct, placed as ornaments around the principal ar-
morial coat itself.
 "Let us sit," said the old man; "the posture will better
enable my failing ears to apprehend your meaning, and the
asthma will deal with me more mercifully in permitting me
to make you understand mine."
 A peal of short, asthmatic coughs attested the violence of
the disorder which he had last named, and the young knight
followed his host's example, in sitting down on one of the
rickety stools by the side of the fire. The old man brought
from one corner of the apartment an apron, which he occa-
sionally wore, full of broken boards in irregular pieces, some
of which were covered with black cloth, or driven full of
nails, black, as it might happen, or gilded.
 "You will find this fresh fuel necessary," said the old man,
"To keep some degree of heat within this waste apartment;
nor are the vapours of mortality, with which this vault is apt
to be filled if the fire is permitted to become extinct, in-
different to the lungs of the dainty and the healthy, like your
worship, though to me they are become habitual. The wood
will catch fire, although it is some time ere the damps of the
<P 125>
grave are overcome by the drier air and the warmth of the
 Accordingly, the relics of mortality with which the old
man had heaped his fireplace began by degrees to send forth
a thick, unctuous vapour, which at length leaped to light,
and blazing up the aperture, gave a degree of liveliness to
the gloomy scene. The blazonry of the huge escutcheon
met and returned the rays with as brilliant a reflection as
that lugubrious object was capable of, and the whole apart-
ment looked with a fantastic gaiety, strangely mingled with
the gloomy ideas which its ornaments were calculated to
impress upon the imagination.
 "You are astonished," said the old man, "and perhaps,
Sir Knight, you have never before seen these relics of the
dead applied to the purpose of rendering the living in some
degree more comfortable than their condition would other-
wise admit of."
 "Comfortable]" returned the Knight of Valence, shrug-
ging his shoulders; "I should be sorry, old man, to know
that I had a dog that was as indifferently quartered as thou
art, whose gray hairs have certainly seen better days."
 "It may be," answered the sexton, "and it may be other-
wise; but it was not, I presume, concerning my own history
that your worship seemed disposed to ask me some questions;
and I would venture to inquire, therefore, to whom they have
 "I will speak plainly to you," replied Sir Aymer, "and
you will at once acknowledge the necessity of giving a short
and distinct reply. I have even now met in the streets of
this village a person only shown to me by a single flash of
light, who had the audacity to display the armorial insignia
and utter the war-cry of the Douglases; nay, if I could trust
a transient glance, this daring cavalier had the features and
the dark complexion proper to the Douglas. I am referred
<P 126>
to thee as to one who possesses means of explaining this
extraordinary circumstance, which, as an English knight
and one holding a charge under King Edward, I am par-
ticularly called upon to make inquiry into."
 "Let me make a distinction," said the old man. "The
Douglases of former generations are my near neighbours,
and, according to my superstitious townsmen, my aquaint-
ances and visitors. I can take it upon my conscience to be
answerable for their good behaviour, and to become bound
that none of the old barons to whom the roots of that mighty
tree may, it is said, be traced will again disturb with their
war-cry the towns or villages of their native country; not one
will parade in moonshine the black armour which has long
rusted upon their tombs.
'The knights are dust,
And their good swords are rust;
Their souls are with the saints, we trust.'
Look around, Sir Knight; you have above and around you
the men of whom we speak. Beneath us, in a little aisle
(which hath not been opened since these thin gray locks
were thick and brown), there lies the first man whom I can
name as memorable among those of this mighty line. It is
he whom the Thane of Athol pointed out to the King of
Scotland as Sholto Dhuglass, or the dark, iron-coloured man,
whose exertions had gained the battle for his native prince,
and who, according to this legend, bequeathed his name to
our dale and town, though others say that the race assumed
the name of Douglas from the stream so called in unrecorded
times, before they had their fastness on its banks. Others
his descendants, called Eachain, or Hector the first, and
Orodh, or Hugh, William, the first of that name, and Gil-
mour, the theme of many a minstrel song commemorating
<P 127>
achievements done under the oriflamme of Charles the
Great, Emperor of France, have all consigned themselves
to their last sleep, nor has their memory been sufficiently
preserved from the waste of time. Something we know con-
cerning their great deeds, their great power, and, alas] their
great crimes. Something we also know of a Lord of Douglas
who sat in a parliament at Forfar, held by King Malcolm the
First, and we are aware that from his attachment to hunting
the wild hart he built himself a tower called Blackhouse, in
the forest of Ettrick, which perhaps still exists."
 "I crave your forgiveness, old man," said the knight, "but
I have no time at present to bestow upon the recitation of
the pedigree of the House of Douglas. A less matter would
hold a well-breathed minstrel in subject for recitation for a
calendar month, Sundays and holidays included."
 "What other information can you expect from me," said
the sexton, "than that respecting those heroes some of whom
it has been my lot to consign to that eternal rest which will
for ever divide the dead from the duties of this world? I
have told you where the race sleep, down to the reign of the
royal Malcolm. I can tell you also of another vault, in
which lie Sir John of Douglas-burn, with his son Lord
Archibald, and a third William, known by an indenture
with Lord Abernethy. Lastly, I can tell you of him to
whom that escutcheon, with its appurtenances of splendour
and dignity, justly belong. Do you envy that nobleman,
whom, if death were in the sound, I would not hesitate to
term my honourable patron? and have you any design of
dishonouring his remains? It will be a poor victory. Nor
does it become a knight and nobleman to come in person
to enjoy such a triumph over the dead, against whom, when
he lived, there were few knights dared spur their horses. He
fought in defence of his country, but he had not the good
fortune of most of his ancestors to die on the field of battle.
<P 128>
Captivity, sickness, and regret for the misfortunes of his
native land brought his head to the grave in his prison-house
in the land of the stranger."
 The old man's voice here became interrupted by emotion,
and the English knight found it difficult to continue his ex-
amination in the stern fashion which his duty required.
 "Old man," he said, "I do not require from thee this
detail, which must be useless to me, as well as painful to
thyself. Thou dost but thy duty in rendering justice to
thy ancient lord; but thou hast not yet explained to me
why I have met in this town, this very night, and not half
an hour since, a person in the arms, and bearing the com-
plexion, of one of the Black Douglases, who cried his war-
cry as if in contempt of his conquerors."
 "Surely," replied the sexton, "it is not my business to
explain such a fancy, otherwise than by supposing that the
natural fears of the Southron will raise the spectre of a
Douglas at any time when he is within sight of their sepul-
chre. Methinks, in such a night as this, the fairest cavalier
would wear the complexion of this swarthy race; nor can I
hold it wonderful that the war-cry which was once in the
throats of so many thousands in this country should issue
upon occasion from the mouth of a single champion."
 "You are bold, old man," returned the English knight.
"Do you consider that your life is in my power, and that it
may, in certain cases, be my duty to inflict death with that
degree of pain at which humanity shudders?"
 The old man rose up slowly in the light of the blazing fire,
displaying his emaciated features, which resembled those
ascribed by artists to Saint Anthony of the desert; and point-
ing to the feeble lamp which he placed upon the coarse table,
thus addressed his interrogator, with an appearance of perfect
firmness, and something even resembling dignity, -
 "Young knight of England, you see that utensil constructed
<P 129>
for the purpose of dispensing light amidst these fatal vaults:
it is as frail as anything can well be whose flame is supplied
by living element, contained in a frame composed of iron.
It is doubtless in your power entirely to end its service by
destroying the flame or extinguishing the light. Threaten it
with such annihilation, Sir Knight, and see whether your
menace will impress any sense of fear either on the element
or the iron. Know that you have no more power over the
frail mortal whom you threaten with similar annihilation.
You may tear from my body the skin in which it is now
swathed, but although my nerves might glow with agony
during the inhuman operation, it would produce no more
impression on me than flaying on the stagg which an arrow
has previously pierced through the heart. My age sets me
beyond your cruelty. If you think otherwise, call your
agents, and commence your operations: neither threats
nor inflictions will enable you to extort from me anything
that I am not ready to tell you of my own accord."
 "You trifle with me, old man," said De Valence; "you
talk as if you possessed some secret respecting the motions
of these Douglases, who are to you as gods, yet you com-
municate no intelligence to me whatever."
 "You may soon know," replied the old man, "all that a
poor sexton has to communicate; and it will not increase
your knowledge respecting the living, though it may throw
some light upon my proper domains, which are those of the
dead. The spirits of the deceased Douglases do not rest
in their graves during the dishonour of their monuments and
the downfall of their house. That upon death the greater
part of any line are consigned to the regions of eternal bliss
or of never-ending misery, religion will not suffer us to be-
lieve, and amidst a race who had so great a share of worldly
triumph and prosperity we must suppose there have existed
many who have been justly subjected to the doom of an
<P 130>
intermediate space of punishment. You have destroyed
the temples which were built by their posterity to propitiate
Heaven for the welfare of their souls; you have silenced
the prayers and stopped the choirs, by the mediation of
which the piety of children had sought to appease the wrath
of Heaven in behalf of their ancestors subjected to expiatory
fires. Can you wonder that the tormented spirits, thus de-
prived of the relief which had been proposed to them, should
not, according to the common phrase, rest in their graves?
Can you wonder they should show themselves like discon-
tented loiterers near to the places which, but for the manner
in which you have prosecuted your remorseless warfare,
might have ere now afforded them rest? Or do you marvel
that these fleshless warriors should interrupt your marches
and do what else their airy nature may permit to disturb
your councils, and meet as far as they may the hostilities
which you make it your boast to carry on as well against
those who are deceased as against any who may yet survive
your cruelty?"
 "Old man," replied Aymer de Valence, "you cannot
expect that I am to take for answer a story like this, being
a fiction too gross to charm to sleep a schoolboy tormented
with the toothache; nevertheless, I thank God that thy doom
does not remain in my hands. My squire and two archers
shall carry thee captive to the worshipful Sir John de Walton,
Governor of the Castle and Valley, that he may deal with
thee as seems meet; nor is he a person to believe in your
apparitions and ghosts from purgatory. - What ho] Fabian]
Come hither, and bring with thee two archers of the guard."
 Fabian accordingly, who had waited at the entrance of the
ruined building, now found his way, by the light of the old
sexton's lamp and the sound of his master's voice, into the
singular apartment of the old man, the strange decoration of
which struck the youth with great surprise and some horror.
<P 131>
 "Take the two archers with thee, Fabian," said the Knight
of Valence, "and, with their assistance, convey this old man,
on horseback or in a litter, to the presence of the worshipful
Sir John de Walton. Tell him what we have seen, which
thou didst witness as well as I; and tell him that this old
sexton, whom I sent to be examined by his superior wisdom,
seems to know more than he is willing to disclose respecting
our ghostly cavalier, though he will give us no account of
him, except intimating that he is a spirit of the old Douglases
from purgatory, to which Sir John de Walton will give what
faith he pleases. You may say that, for my part, my belief is,
either that the sexton is crazed by age, want, and enthusiasm,
or that he is connected with some plot which the country
people are hatching. You may also say that I shall not use
much ceremony with the youth under the care of the Abbot
of Saint Bride; there is something suspicious in all the
occurrences that are now passing around us."
 Fabian promised obedience; and the knight, pulling him
aside, gave him an additional caution to behave with atten-
tion in this business, seeing he must recollect that neither the
judgement of himself nor that of his master was apparently
held in very much esteem by the governor; and that it would
ill become them to make any mistake in a matter where the
safety of the castle was perhaps concerned.
 "Fear me not, worshipful sir," replied the youth; "I am
returning to pure air in the first place, and a good fire in the
second, both acceptable exchanges for this dungeon of suf-
focating vapours and execrable smells. You may trust to
my making no delay; a very short time will carry me back
to Castle Douglas, even moving with suitable attention to
this old man's bones."
 "Use him humanely," answered the knight. - "And thou,
old man, if thou art insensible to threats of personal danger
in this matter, remember that if thou art found paltering with
<P 132>
us, thy punishment will perhaps be more severe than any we
can inflict upon thy person."
 "Can you administer the torture to the soul?" said the
 "As to thee," answered the knight, "we have that power;
we will dissolve every monastery or religious establishment
held for the souls of these Douglases, and will only allow
the religious people to hold their residence there upon
condition of their praying for the soul of King Edward the
First of glorious memory, the malleus Scotorum; and if the
Douglases are deprived of the ghostly benefit of the prayers
and services of such shrines, they may term thy obstinacy
the cause."
 "Such a species of vengeance," answered the old man, in
the same bold, unsubdued tone which he had hitherto used,
"were more worthy of the infernal fiends than of Christian
 The squire raised his hand. The knight interposed.
"Forbear him," he said, "Fabian; he is very old, and perhaps
insane. - And you, sexton, remember that the vengeance
threatened is lawfully directed towards a family which have
been the obstinate supporters of the excommunicated rebel
who murdered the Red Comyn at the High Church in
 So saying, Aymer strode out of the ruins, picking his way
with much difficulty - took his horse, which he found at the
entrance - repeated a caution to Fabian to conduct himself
with prudence - and passing on to the south-western gate,
gave the strongest injunctions concerning the necessity of
keeping a vigilant watch, both by patrols and by sentinels,
intimating at the same time that it must have been neglected
during the preceding part of the evening. The men murmured
an apology, the confusion of which seemed to express that
there had existed some occasion for the reprimand.
<P 133>
 Sir Aymer then proceeded on his journey to Hazelside,
his train diminished by the absence of Fabian and his assist-
ants. After a hasty but not a short journey, the knight
alighted at Thomas Dickson's, where he found the detach-
ment from Ayr had arrived before him, and were snugly
housed for the night. He sent one of the archers to announce
his approach to the Abbot of Saint Bride and his young
guest, intimating at the same time that the archer must keep
sight of the latter until he himself arrived at the chapel, which
would be instantly.
<C X>
<P 133>
( When the nightengale singes the wodes waxen grene;
Lef, and gras, and blosme, springeth in April I wene;
And love is to myne herte gone with one speare so kene.
Night and day my blood hyt drynkes, mine herte deth me tene.
 MSS.Hail. Quoted by Warton.)
Sir Aymer De Valence had no sooner followed his archer
to the convent of Saint Bride than he summoned the abbot
to his presence, who came with the air of a man who loves
his ease, and who is suddenly called from the couch, where
he has consigned himself to a comfortable repose, at the
summons of one whom he does not think it safe to disobey,
and to whom he would not disguise his sense of peevishness,
if he durst.
 "It is a late ride," he said "which has brought your
worthy honour hither from the castle. May I be informed
of the castle, after the arrangement so recently gone into with
the governor?"
 "It is my hope," replied the knight, "that you, Father
Abbot, are not already conscious of it. Suspicions are afloat,
and I myself have this night seen something to confirm them,
that some of the obstinate rebels of this country are again
<P 134>
setting afoot dangerous practices, to the peril of the garrison;
and I come, father, to see whether, in requital of many
favours received from the English monarch, you will not
merit his bounty and protection by contributing to the dis-
covery of the designs of his enemies."
 "Assuredly so," answered Father Jerome, in an agitated
voice. "Most unquestionably my information should stand
at your command - that is, if I knew anything the com-
munication of which could be of advantage to you."
 "Father Abbot," replied the English knight, "although it
is rash to make myself responsible for a North Country man
in these times, yet I own I do consider you as one who has
ever been faithfully subject to the King of England, and I
willingly hope that you will still continue so."
 "And a fine encouragement I have]" said the abbot-
"to be called out of my bed at midnight in this raw weather,
to undergo the examination of a knight, who is the youngest,
perhaps, of his own honourable rank, and who will not tell
me the subject of the interrogatories, but detains me on this
cold pavement, till, according to the opinion of Celsus, the
podagra which lurks in my feet may be driven into my
stomach, and then good-night to abbacy and examinations
from henceforward."
 "Good father," said the young man, "the spirit of the
times must teach the patience. Recollect that I can feel no
pleasure in this duty, and that if an insurrection should take
place, the rebels, who are sufficiently displeased with thee for
acknowledging the English monarch, would hang thee from
thine own steeple to feed the crows; or that, if thou hast
secured thy peace by some private compact with the in-
surgents, the English governor, who will sooner or later gain
the advantage, will not fail to treat thee as a rebel to his
 "It may appear to you, my noble son," answered the
<P 135>
abbot, obviously discomposed, "that I am hung up in this
case on the horns of the dilemma which you have stated;
nevertheless, I protest to you that, if any one accuses me
of conspiring with the rebels against the King of England,
I am ready, provided you give my time to swallow a potion
recommended by Celsus in my perilous case, to answer with
the most perfect sincerity every question which you can put
to me upon that subject." Sosaying, he called upon a
monk who had attended at his levee, and giving him a large
key, whispered something in his ear. The cup which the
monk brought was of such capacity as proved Celsus's draught
required to be administered in considerable quantity, and a
strong smell which it spread through the apartment accredited
the knight's suspicion that the medicine chiefly consisted of
what were then termed distilled waters, a preparation known
i the monasteries for some time before that comfortable
secret had reached the laity in general. The abbot, neither
overawed by the strength nor by the quantity of the potion,
took it off with what he himself would have called a feeling
of solace and pleasance, and his voice became much more
composed; he signified himself as comforted extraordinarily
by the medicine, and willing to proceed to answer any ques-
tions which could be put to him by his gallant young friend.
 "At present," said the knight, "you are aware, father, that
strangers travelling through this country must be the first
objects of our suspicions and inquiries. What is, for ex-
ample, your own opinion of the youth termed Augustine, the
son, or calling himself so, of a person called Bertram the
minstrel, who has resided for some days in your convent?"
 The abbot heard the question with eyes expressive of sur-
prise at the quarter from which it came.
 "Assuredly," said he, "I think of him as a youth who,
from anything I have seen, is of that excellent disposition,
both with respect to loyalty and religion, which I should have
<P 136>
expected, were I to judge from the estimable person who
committed him to my care."
 With this the abbot bowed to the knight, as if he had
conceived that this repartee gave him a silencing advantage
in any question which could follow upon that subject; and
he was probably, therefore, surprised when Sir Aymer replied
as follows,-
 "It is very true, Father Abbot, that I myself did recom-
mend this stripling to you as a youth of a harmless disposi-
tion, and with respect to whom it would be unnecessary to
exercise the strict vigilance extended to others in similar cir-
cumstances; but the evidence which seemed to me to vouch
for this young man's innocence has not appeared so satisfac-
tory to my superior and commander; and it is by his orders
that I now make further inquiries of you. You must think
they are of consequence, since we again trouble you, and at
so unwonted an hour."
 "I can only protest by my order, and by the veil of Saint
Bride," replied the abbot, the spirit of Celsus appearing to
fail his pupil, "that whatever evil may be in this matter is
totally unknown to me, nor could it be extorted from me by
racks of implements of torture. Whatever signs of disloyalty
may have been evinced by this young man, I have witnessed
none of them, although I have been strictly attentive to his
 "In what respect?" said the knight, "and what is the
result of your observation?"
 "My answer," said the abbot of Saint Bride, "shall be
sincere and downright. The youth condescended upon pay-
ment of a certain number of gold crowns, not by any means
to repay the hospitality of the church of Saint Bride, but
merely - "
 "Nay, father," interrupted the knight, "you may cut that
short, since the governor and I well understand the terms
<P 137>
upon which the monks of Saint Bride excercise their hospi-
tality. In what manner, it is more necessary to ask, was it
received by this boy?"
 "With the utmost gentleness and moderation, noble
sir," answered the abbot; "indeed, it appeared to me
at first that he might be a troublesome guest, since the
amount of his benevolence to the convent was such as to
encourage, and in some degree to authorize, his demand-
ing accommodation of a find superior to what we had to
 "In which case," said Sir Aymer, " you would have had
the discomfort of returning some part of the money you had
 "That," replied the abbot, "would have been a mode of
settlement contrary to our vows. What is paid to the treasury
of Saint Bridget cannot, agreeably to our rule, be on any
account restored. But, noble knight, there was no occasion
for this; a crust of white bread and a draught of milk were
diet sufficient to nourish this poor youth for a day, and it was
my own anxiety for his health that dictated the furnishing of
his cell with a softer bed and coverlet than are quite con-
sistent with the rules of our order."
 "Now hearken to what I say, Sir Abbot, and answer me
truly," said the Knight of Valence. "What communication
has this youth held with the inmates of your convent, or with
those beyond your house? Search your memory concerning
this, and let me have a distinct answer, for your guest's safety
and your own depend upon it."
 "As I am a Christian man," said the abbot, "I have ob-
served nothing which could give ground for your worship's
suspicions. The boy Augustine, unlike those whom I have
observes who have been educated in the world, showed a
marked preference to the company of such sisters as the
house of Saint Bride contains, rather than for that of the
<P 138>
monks, my brethren, although there are among them pleasant
and conversible men."
 "Scandal," said the young knight, "might find a reason
for that preference."
 "Not in the case of the sisters of Saint Bridget," said the
abbot, "most of whom have been either sorely misused by
time, or their comeliness destroyed by some mishap previ-
ously to their being received into the seclusion of the house."
 This observation the good father made with some internal
movement of mirth, which was apparently excited at the idea
of the sisterhood of Saint Bridget becoming attractive to any
one by dint of their personal beauty, in which, as it happened,
they were all notably and almost ludicrously deficient. The
English knight, to whom the sisterhood were well known, felt
also inclined to smile at this conversation.
 "I acquit," he said, "the pious sisterhood of charming,
otherwise than by their kind wishes and attention to the
wants of the suffering stranger."
 "Sister Beatrice," continued the father, resuming his
gravity, "is indeed blessed with a winning gift of making
comfits and syllabubs; but on minute inquiry I do not find
that the youth has tasted any of them. Neither is Sister
Ursula so hard-favoured by nature as from the effects of an
accident; but your honour knows that when a woman is ugly
the men do not trouble themselves about the cause of her
hard favour. I will go, with your leave, and see in what state
the youth now is, and summon him before you."
 "I request you to do so, father, for the affair is instant;
and I earnestly advise you to watch, in the closest manner,
this Augustine's behaviour. You cannot be too particular. I
will wait your return, and either carry the boy to the castle,
or leave him here, as circumstances may seem to require."
 The abbot bowed, promised his utmost exertions, and
hobbled out of the room to wait on the youth Augustine in
<P 139>
his cell, anxious to favour, if possible, the wishes of De
Valence, whom he looked upon a rendered by circumstances
his military patron.
 He remained long absent, and Sir Aymer began to be of
opinion that the delay was suspicious, when the abbot re-
turned with perplexity and discomposure on his countenance.
 "I crave your pardon for keeping your worship waiting,"
said Jerome, with much anxiety; "but I have myself been
detained and vexed by unnecessary formalities and scruples
on the par of this peevish boy. In the first place, hearing
my foot approaching his bedroom, my youth, instead of un-
doing the door, which would have been but proper respect to
my place, on the contrary draws a strong bolt on the inside;
and this fastening, forsooth, has been placed on his chamber
by Ursula's command, that his slumbers might be suitably
respected. I intimated to him as I best could that he must
attend you without delay, and prepare to accompany you to
the Castle of Douglas; but he would not answer a single word,
save recommending to me patience, to which I was fain to
have recourse, as well as your archer, whom I found standing
sentinel before the door of the cell, and contenting himself
with the assurance of the sisters that ther was no other pas-
sage by which Augustine could make his escape. At length
the door opens, and my young master presents himself fully
arrayed for his journey. The truth is, I think some fresh
attack of his malady has affected the youth; he may perhaps
be disturbed with some touch of hypochondria, or black
choler, a species of dotage of the mind which is sometimes
found concomitant with and symptomatic of this disorder;
but he is at present composed, and if your worship chooses
to see him, he is at your command."
 "Call him hither," said the knight. And a considerable
space of time again elapsed ere the eloquence of the abbot,
half chiding and half soothing, prevailed on the lady, in her
<P 140>
adopted character, to approach the parlour, in which at last
she made her appearance, with a countenance on which the
marks of tears might still be discovered, and a pettish sullen-
ness, like that of a boy, or, with reverence, that of a girl who
is determined upon taking her own way in any matter, and
equally resolved to give no reason for her doing so. Her
hurried levee had not prevented her attending closely to all
the muffings and disguisings by which her pilgrim's dress
was arranged, so as to alter her appearance, and effectually
disguise her sex. But as civility prevented her wearing her
large slouched hat, she necessarily exposed her countenance
more than in the open air; and though the knight beheld a
most lovely set of features, yet they were not such as were
inconsistent with the character she had adopted, and which
she had resolved upon maintaining to the last. She had,
accordingly, mustered up a degree of courage which was not
natural to her, and which she perhaps supported by hopes
which her situation hardly admitted. So soon as she found
herself in the same apartment with De Valence, she assumed
a style of manners bolder and more determined than she had
hitherto displayed.
 "Your worship," she said, addressing him even before he
spoke, "is a knight of England, and possessed, doubtless, of
the virtues which become that noble station. I am an un-
fortunate lad, obliged, by reasons which I am under the
necessity of keeping secret, to travel in a dangerous country,
where I am suspected, without any just cause, of becoming
accessory to plots and conspiracies which are contrary to my
own interest, and which my very soul abhors, and which I
might safely adjure by imprecating myself all the curses
of our religion and renouncing all its promises, if I were ac-
cessory to such designs in thought, word, or deed. Never-
theless, you, who will not believe my solemn protestations,
are about to proceed against me as a guilty person; and in so
<P 141>
doing I must warn you, Sir Knight, that you will commit a
great and cruel injustice."
 "I shall endeavour to avoid that," said the knight, "by
referring the duty to Sir John de Walton, the governor, who
will decide what is to be done. In this case, my only duty
will be to place you in his hands at Douglas Castle."
 "Must you do this?" said Augustine.
 "Certainly," replied the knight, "or be answerable for
neglecting my duty."
 "But if I become bound to answer your loss with a large
sum of money, a large tract of land - "
 "No treasure, no land, supposing such at your disposal,"
answered the knight, "can atone for disgrace; and besides,
boy, how should I trust to your warrant, were my avarice
such as would induce me to listen to such proposals?"
 "I must, then, prepare to attend you instantly to the Castle
of Douglas and the presence of Sir John de Walton?" replied
 "Young man," answered De Valence, "there is no remedy,
since, if you delay me longer, I must carry you thither by
 "What will be the consequence to my father?" said the
 "That," replied the knight, "will depend exactly on the
nature of your confession and his. Something you both have
to say, as is evident from the terms of the letter Sir John de
Walton conveyed to you; and I assure you you were better
to speak it out at once then to risk the consequences of more
delay. I can admit of no more trifling; and believe me
that your fate will be entirely ruled by your own frankness
and candour."
 "I must prepare, then, to travel at your command,"' said
the youth. "But this cruel disease still hands around me;
and Abbot Jerome, whose leechcraft is famous, will himself
<P 142>
assure you that I cannot travel without danger of my life,
and the while I was residing in this convent I declined
every opportunity of excercise which was offered me by the
kindness of the garrison at Hazelside, lest I might by mishap
bring the contagion among your men."
 "The youth says right," said the abbot; "that archers and
men-at-arms have more than once sent to invite this lad to
join in some of their military games, or to amuse them,
perhaps, with some of his minstrelsy; but he has uniformly
declined doing so: and, according to my belief, it is the
effects of this disorder which have prevented his accepting
an indulgence so natural to his age, and in so dull a place
as the convent of Saint Bride must needs seem to a youth
bred up in the world."
 "Do you then hold, reverend father," said Sir Aymer,
"that there is real danger in carrying this youth to the castle
to-night, as I proposed?"
 "I conceive such danger," replied the abbot, "to exist,
not only as it may occasion the relapse of the poor youth
himself, but as particularly likely, no preparations having been
made, to introduce the infection among your honourable
garrison; for it is in these relapses, more than in the first
violence of the malady, that it has been found most con-
 "Then," said the knight, "you must be content, my friend,
to give a share of your room to an archer, by way of sentinel."
 "I cannot object," said Augustine, "provided my unfor-
tunate vicinity does not endanger the health of the poor
 "He will be as ready to do his duty," said the abbot,
"without the door of the apartment as within it; and if the
youth should sleep soundly, which the presence of a guard in
his chamber might prevent, he is the more likely to answer
your purpose on the morrow."
<P 143>
 "Let it be so," said Sir Aymer, "so you are sure that you
do not minister nay facility of escape."
 "The oartment," said the monk, "hath no other entrance
than that which is guarded by the archer; but to content you,
I shall secure the door in your presence."
 "So be it, then," said the Knight of Valence; "this done,
I myself will lie down without doffing my mail-shirt, and
snatch a sleep till the ruddy dawn calls me again to duty,
when you, Augustine, will hold yourself ready to attend me
to our Castle of Douglas."
 The bells of the convent summoned the inhabitants and
inmates of Saint Bride to morning prayers at the first peep of
day. When this duty was over, the knight demanded his
prisoner. The abbot marshalled him to the door of Augus-
tine's chamber. The sentinel who was stationed ther, armed
with a brown-bill, or species of partisan, reported that he had
heard no motion in the apartment during the whole night.
The abbot tapped at the door, but received no answer. He
knocked again louder, but the silence was unbroken from
 "What means this?" said the reverend ruler of the convent
of Saint Bride; "my young patient has certainly fallen into a
syncope or swoon]"
 "I wish, Father Abbot," said the knight, "that he may
not have made his escape instead, an accident which both
you and I may be required to answer, since, according to our
strict duty, we ought to have sight of him, and detained
him in close custody until daybreak."
 "I trust your worship," said the abbot, "only anticipates a
misfortune which I cannot think possible."
 "We shall speedily see," said the knight; and raising his
voice, he called aloud, so as to be heard within, "Bring
crowbars and levers, and burst me that door into splinters
without an instant's delay]"
<P 144>
 The loudness of his voice, and the stern tone in which he
spoke, soon brought around him the brethren of the house,
and two or three soldiers of his own party, who were already
busy in caparisoning their horses. The displeasure of the
young knight was manifested by his flushed features and
the abrupt manner in which he again repeated his commands
for breaking open the door. This was speedily performed,
though it required the application of considerable strength;
and as the shattered remains fell crashing into the apartment
De Valence sprang and the abbot hobbled into the cell of
the prisoner, which, to the fulfilment of their worst suspicions,
they found empty.
<C XI>
<P 144>
( Where is he? Has the deep earth swallowed him?
Or hath he melted like some airy phantom
That shuns the approach of morn and the young sun?
Or hath he wrapt him in Cimmerian darkness,
And passed beyond the circuit of the sight
With things of the night's shadows?
The disappearance of the youth, whose disguise and whose
fate have, we hope, inclined our readers to take some interest
in him, will require some explanation ere we proceed with
the other personages of the story, and we shall set about
giving it accordingly.
 When Augustine was consigned to his cell for the second
time on the preceding evening, both the monk and the young
Knight of Valence had seen the key turned upon him, and
had heard him secure the door in the inside with the bolt
which had been put on at his request by Sister Ursula, in
whose affections the youth of Augustine, his extreme hand-
someness, and, above all, his indisposition of body and his
melancholy of mind, had gained him considerable interest.
<P 145>
 So soon, accordingly, as Augustine re-entered his apart-
ment, he was greeted in a whisper by the sister, who,
during the interval of his absence, had contrived to slip
into the cell, and having tappiced herself behind the little
bed, came out, with great appearance of joy, to greet the
return of the youth. The number of little attentions, the
disposal of holly boughs and such other evergreens as the
season permitted, showed the anxiety of the holy sisters
to decorate the chamber of their guest, and the greetings
of Sister Ursula expressed the same friendly interest, at the
same time intimating that she was already in some degree
in possession of the stranger's mystery.
 As Augustine and the holy sister were busied in exchange
of confidence, the extraordinary difference between their
countenances and their persons must have struck any one
who might have been accidentally a witness of their inter-
view. The dark pilgrim's robe of the disguised female was
not a stronger contrast to the white woollen garment worn
by the votaress of Saint Bride, than the visage of the nun,
seamed with many a ghastly scar, and the light of one of her
eyes extinguished for ever, causing it to roll a sightless
luminary in her head, was to the beautiful countenance of
Augustine, now bent with a confidential and even affection-
ate look upon the extraordinary features of her companion.
 "You know," said the supposed Augustine, "the principal
part of my story; can you, or will you, lend me your assist-
ance? If not, my dearest sister, you must consent to witness
my death rather than my shame. Yes, Sister Ursula, I will
not be pointed at by the finger of scorn as the thoughtless
maiden who sacrificed so much for a young man, of whose
attachment she was not so well assured as she ought to have
been. I will not be dragged before De Walton for the pur-
pose of being compelled, by threats of torture, to declare
myself the female in honour of whom he holds the Dangerous
<P 146>
Castle. No doubt he might be glad to give his hand in
wedlock to a damsel whose dowry is so ample; but who
can tell whether he will regard me with that respect which
every woman would wish to command, or pardon that bold-
ness of which I have been guilty, even though its conse-
quences have been in his own favour?"
 "Nay, my darling daughter," answered the nun, "comfort
yourself; for in all I can aid you, be assured I will. My
means are somewhat more than my present situation may
express, and be assured they shall be tried to the uttermost.
Methinks I still hear that lay which you sung to the other
sisters and myself, although I alone, touched by feelings
kindered to yours, had the address to comprehend that it
told your own tale."
 "I am yet surprised," said Augustine, speaking beneath
her breath, "how I had the boldness to sing in your ears the
lay, which, in fact, was the history of my disgrace."
 "Alas that you will say so," returned the nun; "there
was not a word but what resembled those tales of love and
of high-spirited daring which the best minstrels love to
celebrate, and the noblest knights and maidens weep at
once and smile to hear. The Lady Augusta of Berkely,
a great heiress, according to the world, both in land and
movable goods, becomes the king's ward by the death of
her parents, and thus is on the point of being given away
in marriage to a minion of the King of England, whom in
these Scottish valleys we scruple not to call a peremptory
 "I must not say so, my sister," said the pilgrim; "and
yet true it is that the cousin of the obscure parasite
Gaviston, on whom the king wished to confer my poor
hand, was neither by birth, merit, nor circumstance worthy
of such an alliance. Meantime I heard of the fame of Sir
John de Walton; and I heard of it not with the less interest
<P 147>
that his feats of chivalry were said to adorn a knight who,
rich in everything else, was poor in worldly goods and in
the smiles of fortune. I saw this Sir John de Walton, and
I acknowledge that a thought, which had already intruded
itself on my imagination became, after this interview, by
frequent recurrence, more familiar and more welcome to
me. Methought that the daughter of a powerful English
family, if she could give away her hand such wealth as
the world spoke of, would more justly and honourably be-
stow it in remedying the errors of fortune in regard to a
gallant knight like De Walton, than in patching the revenues
of a beggarly Frenchman, whose only merit was in being
the kinsman of a man who was very generally detested by
the whole kingdom of England, excepting the infatuated
monarch himself."
 "Nobly designed, my daughter," said the nun; "what
more worthy of a noble heart, possessing riches, beauty,
birth, and rank, than to confer them all upon indigent and
chivalrous merit?"
 "Such, dearest sister, was my intention," replied Augustine;
"but I have, perhaps scarce sufficiently explained the manner
in which I meant to proceed. By the advice of a minstrel of
our house, the same who is now prisoner at Douglas, I caused
exhibit a large feast upon Christmas Eve, and sent invitations
abroad to the young knights of noble name who were known
to spend their leisure in quest of arms and adventures. When
the tables were drawn and the feast concluded, Bertram, as
had been before devised, was called upon to take his harp.
He sung, receiving from all who were present the attention
due to a minstrel of so much fame. The theme which he
chose was the frequent capture of this Douglas Castle, or,
as the poet termed it, Castle Dangerous. 'Where are the
champions of the renowned Edward the First,' said the
minstrel, 'when the realm of England cannot furnish a
<P 148>
man brave enough, or sufficiently expert in the wars, to
defend a miserable hamlet of the north against the Scot-
tish rebels, who have vowed to retake it over our soldiers'
heads ere the year rolls to an end? Where are the noble
ladies whose smiles used to give countenance to the Knights
of Saint George's Cross? Alas] the spirit of love and of
chivalry is alike dead amongst us; our knights are limited
to petty enterprises, and our noblest heiresses are given
as prizes to strangers, as if their own country had no one
to deserve them.' Here stopped the harp; and I shame
to say that I myself, as if moved to enthusiasm by the
song of the minstrel, arose, and taking from my neck the
chain of gold which supported a crucifix of special sanctity,
I made my vow, always under the king's permission, that I
would give my hand and the inheritance of my fathers to
the good knight, being of noble birth and lineage, who
should keep the Castle of Douglas in the King of England's
name for a year and a day. I sat down, my dearest sister,
deafened with the jubilee in which my guests expressed their
applause of my supposed patriotism. Yet some degree of
pause took place amidst the young knights, who might
reasonably have been supposed ready to embrace this offer,
although at the risk of being encumbered with Augusta of
 "Shame on the man," said Sister Ursula, "who should
think so] Put your beauty alone, my dearest, into con-
sideration, and a true knight ought to have embraced the
dangers of twenty Castles of Douglas rather than let such
an invaluable opportunity of gaining your favour be lost."
 "It may be that some in reality thought so," said the
pilgrim; "but it was supposed that the king's favour might
be lost by those who seemed too anxious to thwart his royal
purpose upon his ward's hand. At any rate, greatly to my
joy, the only person who availed himself of the offer I had
<P 149>
made was Sir John de Walton; and as his acceptance of
it was guarded by a clause saving and reserving the king's
approbation, I hope he has not suffered any diminution of
Edward's favour."
 "Assure yourself, noble and high-spirited young lady,"
replied the nun, "that there is no fear of thy generous
devotion hurting thy lover with the King of England.
Something we hear concerning worldly passages even in
this remote nook of Saint Bride's cloister; and the report
goes among the English soldiers that their king was indeed
offended at your putting your will in opposition to his
own; yet, on the other hand, this preferred lover, Sir John
de Walton, was a man of such extensive fame, and your
offer was so much in the character of better but not for-
gotten times, that even a king could not at the beginning
of a long and stubborn war deprive an errant cavalier of his
bride, if she should be duly won by his sword and lance."
 "Ah, dearest Sister Ursula]" sighed the disguised pil-
grim, "but, on the other hand, how much time must pass
by in the siege, by defeating which that suit must needs
be advanced? While I sat in my lonely castle, tidings
after tidings came to astound me with the numerous or
rather the constant dangers with which my lover was sur-
rounded, until at length, in a moment, I think, of madness,
I resolved to set out in this masculine disguise; and having
myself with my own eyes seen in what situation I had
placed my knight, I determined to take such measures in
respect to shortening the term of his trial, or otherwise, as
a sight of Douglas Castle and - why should I deny it? -
of Sir John de Walton might suggest. Perhaps you, my
dearest sister, may not so well understand my being tempted
into flinching from the resolution which I had laid down
for my own honour and that of my lover; but consider
that my resolution was the consequence of a moment of
<P 150>
excitation, and that the course which I adopted was the
conclusion of a long, wasting, sickening state of uncertainty,
the effect of which was to weaken the nerves which were
once highly strung with love of my country, as I thought,
but in reality, alas] with fond and anxious feelings of a more
selfish description."
 "Alas]" said Sister Ursula, evincing the strongest symp-
toms of interest and compassion, "am I the person, dearest
child, whom you suspect of insensibility to the distresses
which are the fruit of true love? Do you suppose that the
air which is breathed within these walls has the property
upon the female heart of such marvellous fountains as they
say change into stone the substances which are immersed
into their waters? Hear my tale, and judge if it can be
thus with one who possesses my causes of grief. And do
not fear for loss of time: we must let our neighbours at
Hazelside be settled for the evening ere I furnish you with
the means of escape; and you must have a trusty guide,
for whose fidelity I will be responsible, to direct your path
through these woods, and protect you in case of any danger,
too likely to occur in these troublesome times. It will thus
be nigh an hour ere you depart; and sure I am that in
no manner can you spend the time better than in listening
to distresses too similar to your own, and flowing from the
source of disappointed affection which you must needs sym-
pathize with."
 The distresses of the Lady Augusta did not prevent her
being in some degree affected almost ludicrously with the
singular contrast between the hideous countenance of this
victim of the tender passion and the cause to which she
imputed her sorrows; but it was not a moment for giving
way to a sense of the ridiculous, which would have been
in the highest degree offensive to the sister of Saint Bride,
whose good will she had so many reasons to conciliate.
<P 151>
She readily, therefore, succeeded in preparing herself to listen
to the votary with an appearance of sympathy, which might
reward that which she had herself experienced at the hands
of Sister Ursula; while the unfortunate recluse, with an
agitation which made her ugliness still more conspicuous,
narrated, nearly in a whisper, the following circumstances:-
 "My misfortunes commenced long before I was called
Sister Ursula, or secluded as a votaress within these walls.
My father was a noble Norman, who, like many of his
countrymen, sought and found fortune at the court of the
King of Scotland. He was endowed with the sheriffdom of
this country, and Maurice de Hattely, or Hautlieu, was num-
bered among the wealthy and powerful barons of Scotland.
Wherefore should I deny it that the daughter of this baron,
then called Margaret de Hautlieu, was also distinguished
among the great and fair of the land? It can be no cen-
surable vanity which provokes me to speak the truth; and
unless I tell it myself, you could hardly suspect what a re-
semblance I once bore even to the lovely Lady Augusta
of Berkely. About this time broke out those unfortunate
feuds of Bruce and Baliol, which have been so long the
curse of this country. My father, determined in his choice
of party by the arguments of his wealthy kinsmen at the
court of Edward, embraced with passion the faction of the
English interest, and became one of the keenest partisans, at
first of John Baliol, and afterwards of the English monarch.
None among the Anglocized Scottish, as his party was called,
were so zealous as he for the Red Cross, and no one was
more detested by his countrymen who followed the national
standard of Saint Andrew and the patriot Wallace. Among
those soldiers of the soil, Malcolm Fleming of Biggar was
one of the most distinguished by his noble birth, his high
acquirements, and his fame in chivalry. I saw him; and
the ghastly spectre who now addresses you must not be
<P 152>
ashamed to say that she loved, and was beloved by, one of
the handsomest youths in Scotland. Our attachment was
discovered to my father almost ere we had owned it to each
other, and he was furious both against my lover and myself.
He placed me under the charge of a religious woman of this
rule, and I was immured within the house of Saint Bride,
where my father shamed not to announce he would cause
me to take the veil by force, unless I agreed to wed a youth
bred at the English court - his nephew, and, as Heaven had
granted him no son, the heir, as he had resolved, of the
House of Hautlieu. I was not long in making my election.
I protested that death should be in my choice rather than any
other husband excepting Malcolm Fleming. Neither was
my lover less faithful; he found means to communicate to
me a particular night on which he proposed to attempt to
storm the nunnery of Saint Bride, and carry me from hence
to freedom and the greenwood, of which Wallace was gener-
ally called the king. In an evil hour - an hour, I think, of
infatuation and witchery - I suffered the abbess to wheedle
the secret out of me, which I might have been sensible
would appear more horribly flagitious to her than to any
other woman that breathed; but I had not taken the vows,
and I thought Wallace and Fleming had the same charms
for everybody as for me, and the artful woman gave me
reason to believe that her loyalty to Bruce was without a
flaw of suspicion, and she took part in a plot of which my
freedom was the object. The abbess engaged to have the
English guards removed to a distance, and in appearance
the troops were withdrawn. Accordingly, in the middle of
the night appointed, the window of my cell, which was two
stories from the ground, was opened without noise; and
never were my eyes more gladdened than, as ready disguised
and arrayed for flight, even in a horseman's dress like your-
self, fairest Lady Augusta, I saw Malcolm Fleming spring
<P 153>
into the apartment. He rushed towards me; but at the
same time my father, with ten of his strongest men, filled
the room, and cried their war-cry of Baliol. Blows were
instantly dealt on every side. A form like a giant, however,
appeared in the midst of the tumult, and distinguished him-
self, even to my half-giddy eye, by the ease with which he
bore down and dispersed those who fought against our free-
dom. My father alone offered an opposition which threat-
ened to prove fatal to him; for Wallace, it was said, could
foil any two martial champions that ever drew sword.
Brushing from him the armed men as a lady would drive
away with her fan a swarm of troublesome flies, he secured
me in one arm, used his other for our mutual protection,
and I found myself in the act of being borne in safety down
the ladder by which my deliverers had ascended from with-
out. But an evil fate awaited this attempt.
 "My father, whom the Champion of Scotland had spared
for my sake, or rather for Fleming's, gained by his victor's
compassion and lenity a fearful advantage, and made a re-
morseless use of it. Having only his left hand to oppose
to the maniac attempts of my father, even the strength of
Wallace could not prevent the assailant, with all the energy
of desperation, from throwing down the ladder, on which his
daughter was perched like a dove in the grasp of an eagle.
The champion saw our danger, and exerting his inimitable
strength and agility, cleared himself and me from the ladder,
and leaped free of the moat of the convent, into which we
must otherwise have been precipitated. The Champion of
Scotland was saved in the desperate attempt; but I, who
fell among a heap of stones and rubbish - I, the disobedient
daughter, well-nigh the apostate vestal - waked only from a
long bed of sickness, to find myself the disfigured wretch
which you now see me. I then learned that Malcolm had
escaped from the fray, and shortly after I heard, with feelings
<P 154>
less keen perhaps than they ought to have been, that my
father was slain in one of the endless battles which took
place between the contending factions. If he had lived, I
might have submitted to the completion of my fate; but
since he was no more, I felt that it would be a preferable lot
to be a beggar in the streets of a Scottish village than an
abbess in this miserable house of Saint Bride. Nor was even
that poor object of ambition, on which my father used to
expatiate when desirous of persuading me to enter the mo-
nastic state by milder means than throwing me off the battle-
ments, long open to me. The old abbess died of a cold
caught the evening of the fray; and the place, which might
have been kept open until I was capable of filling it, was
disposed of otherwise, when the English thought fit to re-
form, as they termed it, the discipline of the house; and
instead of electing a new abbess, sent hither two or three
friendly monks, who have now the absolute government of
the community, and wield it entirely according to the pleas-
ure of the English. But I, for one, who have had the
honour to be supported by the arms of the champion of my
country, will not remain here to be commanded by this
Abbot Jerome. I will go forth; nor do I fear to find rela-
tions and friends who will provide a more fitting place of
refuge for Margaret de Hautlieu than the convent of Saint
Bride. You too, dearest lady, shall obtain your freedom,
and it will be well to leave such information as will make
Sir John de Walton aware of the devotion with which his
happy fate has inspired you."
 "It is not, then, your own intention," said the Lady
Augusta, "to return into the world again, and you are about
to renounce the lover in a union with whom you and he
once saw your joint happiness?"
 "It is a question, my dearest child," said Sister Ursula,
"which I dare not ask myself, and to which I am absolutely
<P 155>
uncertain what answer I should return. I have not taken
the final and irrevocable vows; I have done nothing to alter
my situation with regard to Malcolm Fleming. He also, by
the vows plighted in the chancery of Heaven, is my affianced
bridegroom, nor am I conscious that I less deserve his faith
in any respect now than at the moment when it was pledged
to me; but I confess, dearest lady, that rumours have
reached me which sting me to the quick. The reports of
my wounds and scars are said to have estranged the knight
of my choice. I am now indeed poor," she added, with a
sigh, "and I am no longer possessed of those personal
charms which they say attract the love and fix the fidelity
of the other sex. I teach myself, therefore, to think, in my
moments of settled resolution, that all betwixt me and Mal-
colm Fleming is at an end, saving good wishes on the part
of both towards the other. And yet there is a sensation in
my bosom which whispers, in spite of my reason, that if I
absolutely believed that which I now say, there would be no
object on earth worthy my living for in order to attain it.
This insinuating prepossession whispers to my secret soul,
and in very opposition to my reason and understanding, that
Malcolm Fleming, who could pledge his all upon the service
of his country, is incapable of nourishing the versatile affec-
tion of an ordinary, a coarse, or a venal character. Me-
thinks, were the difference upon his part instead of mine,
he would not lose his interest in my eyes because he was
seamed with honourable scars, obtained in asserting the
freedom of his choice, but that such wounds would, in my
opinion, add to his merit, whatever they took away from
his personal comeliness. Ideas rise on my soul as if
Malcolm and Margaret might yet be to each other all that
their affections once anticipated with so much security, and
that a change which took nothing from the honour and
virtue of the beloved person must rather add to than
<P 156>
diminish the charms of the union. Look at me, dearest
Lady Augusta - look me, if you have the courage, full in the
face - and tell me whether I do not rave when my fancy is
thus converting mere possibilities into that which is natural
and probable."
 The Lady of Berkely, conscious of the necessity, raised
her eyes on the unfortunate nun, afraid of losing her own
chance of deliverance by the mode in which she should
conduct herself in this crisis, yet not willing, at the same
time, to flatter the unfortunate Ursula with suggesting ideas
for which her own sense told her she could hardly find any
rational grounds. But her imagination, stored with the
minstrelsy of the time, brought back to her recollection the
Loathly Lady in "The Marriage of Sir Gawain," and she
conducted her reply in the following manner:-
 "You ask me, my dear Lady Margaret, a trying question,
which it would be unfriendly to answer otherwise than sin-
cerely, and most cruel to answer with too much rashness.
It is true that what is called beauty is the first quality on
which we of the weaker sex learn to set a value; we are
flattered by the imputation of personal charms, whether we
actually possess them or not; and no doubt we learn to
place upon them a great deal more consequence than in
reality is found to belong to them. Women, however - even
such as are held by their own sex, and perhaps in secret by
themselves, as devoid of all pretensions to beauty - have
been known to become, from their understanding, their
talents, or their accomplishments, the undoubted objects of
the warmest attachment. Wherefore, then, should you, in
the mere rashness of your apprehension, deem it impossible
that your Malcolm Fleming should be made of the porce-
lain clay of the earth which despises the passing captiva-
tions of outward form, in comparison to the charms of true
affection and the excellence of talents and virtue?"
<P 157>
 The nun pressed her companion's hand to her bosom, and
answered her with a deep sigh.
 "I fear," she said, "you flatter me; and yet, in a crisis
like this, it does one good to be flattered, even as cordials,
otherwise dangerous to the constitution, are wisely given to
support a patient through a paroxysm of agony, and enable
him to endure at least what they cannot cure. Answer only
one question, and it will be time we drop this conversation.
Could you, sweet lady - you upon whom fortune has bestowed
so many charms - could any argument make you patient
under the irretrievable loss of your personal advantages, with
the concomitant loss, as in my case is most probable, of that
lover for whom you have already done so much?"
 The English lady cast her eyes again on her friend, and
could not help shuddering a little at the thought of her own
beautiful countenance being exchanged for the seamed and
scarred features of the Lady of Hautlieu, irregularly lighted
by the beams of a single eye.
 "Believe me," she said, looking solemnly upwards, "that
even in the case which you suppose, I would not sorrow so
much for myself as I would for the poor-spirited thoughts of
the lover who could leave me because those transitory charms
(which must in any case ere long take their departure) had
fled ere yet the bridal day. It is, however, concealed by the
decrees of Providence in what manner, or to what extent,
other persons, with whose disposition we are not fully ac-
quainted, may be affected by such changes. I can only
assure you that my hopes go with yours, and that there is
no difficulty which shall remain in your path in future if it
is in my power to remove it. - Hark] - "
 "It is the signal of our freedom," replied Ursula, giving
attention to something resembling the whoop of the night
owl. "We must prepare to leave the convent in a few min-
utes. Have you anything to take with you?"
<P 158>
 "Nothing," answered the Lady of Berkely, "except the
few valuables, which I scarce know why I brought with me
on my flight hither. This scroll, which I shall leave behind
gives my faithful minstrel permission to save himself, by con-
fessing to Sir John de Walton who the person really is whom
he has had within his reach."
 "It is strange," said the novice of Saint Bride, "through
what extraordinary labyrinths this Love, this Will-of-the-Wisp,
guides his votaries. Take heed as you descend; this trap-
door, carefully concealed, curiously jointed and oiled, leads
to a secret postern, where I conceive the horses already wait
which will enable us speedily to bid adieu to Saint Bride's
 - Heaven's blessing on her and on her convent] We can
have no advantage from any light until we are in the open
 During this time Sister Ursula - to give her for the last time
her conventual name - exchanged her stole or loose upper
garment for the more succinct cloak and hood of a horseman.
She led the way through divers passages, studiously compli-
cated, until the Lady of Berkely, with throbbing heart, stood
in the pale and doubtful moonlight, which was shining with
gray uncertainty upon the walls of the ancient building. The
imitation of an owlet's cry directed them to a neighbouring
large elm, and on approaching it they were aware of three
horses, held by one concerning whom they could only see
that he was tall, strong, and accounted in the dress of a man-
 "The sooner," he said, "we are gone from this place, Lady
Margaret, it is so much the better. You have only to direct
the course which we shall hold."
 Lady Margaret's answer was given beneath her breath,
and replied to with a caution from the guide to ride slowly
and silently for the first quarter of an hour, by which time
inhabited places would be left at a distance.

<P 159>
Great was the astonishment of the young Knight of Valence
and the reverend Father Jerome, when, upon breaking into
the cell, they discovered the youthful pilgrim's absence, and,
from the garments which were left, saw every reason to think
that the one-eyed novice, Sister Ursula, had accompanied him
in his escape from custody. A thousand thoughts thronged
upon Sir Aymer how shamefully he had suffered himself to
be outwitted by the artifices of a boy and of a novice. His
reverend companion in error felt no less contrition for having
recommended to the knight a mild exercise of his authority.
Father Jerome had obtained his preferment as abbot upon
the faith of his zeal for the cause of the English monarch,
with the affected interest in which he was at a loss to recon-
cile his proceedings of the last night. A hurried inquiry
took place, from which little could be learned save that the
young pilgrim had most certainly gone off with the Lady
Margaret de Hautlieu - an incident at which the females of
the convent expressed surprise, mingled with a great deal of
horror; while that of the males, whom the news soon reached,
was qualified with a degree of wonder, which seemed to be
founded upon the very different personal appearance of the
two fugitives.
 "Sacred Virgin," said a nun, "who could have conceived
the hopeful votaress Sister Ursula, so lately drowned in tears
for her father's untimely fate, capable of eloping with a boy
scarce fourteen years old]"
 "And, holy Saint Bride," said the Abbot Jerome, "what
could have made so handsome a young man lend his arm to
assist such a nightmare as Sister Ursula in the commission of
so great an enormity? Certainly he can neither plead tempta-
tion nor seduction, but must have gone, as the worldly phrase
is, to the devil with a dishclout."
<P 160>
 "I must disperse the soldiers to pursue the fugitives," said
De Valence, "unless this letter, which the pilgrim must have
left behind him, shall contain some explanations respecting
our mysterious prisoner."
 After viewing the contents with some surprise, he read
aloud: "The undersigned, late residing in the house of
Saint Bride, do you, Father Jerome, the abbot of said house,
to know that, finding you were disposed to treat me as a
prisoner and a spy in the sanctuary to which you had re-
ceived me as a distressed person, I have resolved to use my
natural liberty, with which you have no right to interfere,
and therefore have withdrawn myself from your abbacy.
Moreover, finding that the novice called in your convent
Sister Ursula (who hath, by monastic rule and discipline, a
fair title to return to the world, unless she is pleased, after
a year's novitiate, to profess herself sister of your order) is
determined to use such privilege, I joyfully take the oppor-
tunity of her company in this her lawful resolution, as being
what is in conformity to the law of God and the precepts of
Saint Bride, which gave you no authority to detain any per-
son in your convent by force who hath not taken upon her
irrevocably the vows of the order.
 "To you, Sir John de Walton and Sir Aymer de Valence,
knights of England, commanding the garrison of Douglas
Dale, I have only to say that you have acted and are acting
against me under a mystery, the solution of which is com-
prehended in a secret known only to my faithful minstrel,
Bertram of the many Lays, as whose son I have found it
convenient to pass myself. But as I cannot at this time
prevail upon myself personally to discover a secret which
cannot well be unfolded without feelings of shame, I not
only give permission to the said Bertram the minstrel, but
I charge and command him that he tell to you the pur-
pose with which I came originally to the Castle of Douglas.
<P 161>
When this is discovered, it will only remain to express my
feelings towards the two knights, in return for the pain and
agony of mind which their violence and threats of further
severities have occasioned me.
 "And first, respecting Sir Aymer de Valence, I freely and
willingly forgive him for having been involved in a mistake
to which I myself led the way, and I shall at all times be
happy to meet with him as an acquaintance, and never to
think further of his part in these few days' history, saving as
matter of mirth and ridicule.
 "But respecting Sir John de Walton, I must request of
him to consider whether his conduct towards me, standing as
we at present do towards each other, is such as he himself
ought to forget or I ought to forgive; and I trust he will
understand me when I tell him that all former connections
must henceforth be at an end between him and the supposed
 "This is madness," said the abbot, when he had read the
letter, "very midsummer madness - not unfrequently an ac-
companiment of this pestilential disease - and I should do
well in requiring of those soldiers who shall first apprehend
this youth Augustine that they reduce his victuals imme-
diately to water and bread, taking care that the diet do not
exceed in measure what is necessary to sustain nature; nay,
I should be warranted by the learned did I recommend
a sufficient intermixture of flagellation with belts, stirrup-
leathers, or surcingles, and failing those, with riding-whips,
switches, and the like."
 "Hush] my reverend father," said De Valence, "a light
begins to break in upon me. John de Walton, if my sus-
picion be true, would sooner expose his own flesh to be
hewn from his bones than have this Augustine's finger stung
by a gnat. Instead of treating this youth as a madman, I,
<P 162>
for my own part, will be contented to avow that I myself
have been bewitched and fascinated; and by my honour, if
I send out my attendants in quest of the fugitives, it shall be
with the strict charge that, when apprehended, they treat
them with all respect, and protect them, if they object to
return to this house, to any honourable place of refuge which
they may desire."
 "I hope," said the abbot, looking strangely confused,
"I shall be first heard in behalf of the church concerning
this affair of an abducted nun? You see yourself, Sir
Knight, that this scapegrace of a minstrel avouches neither
repentance nor contrition at his share in a matter so flagi-
 "You shall be secured an opportunity of being fully
heard," replied the knight, "if you shall find at last that you
really desire one. Meantime I must back, without a mo-
ment's delay, to inform Sir John de Walton of the turn which
affairs have taken. Farewell, reverend father. By my
honour, we may wish each other joy that we have escaped
from a troublesome charge, which brought as much terror
with it as the phantoms of a fearful dream, and is yet found
capable of being dispelled by a cure as simple as that of
awakening the sleeper. But, by Saint Bride] both church-
men and laymen are bound to sympathize with the unfor-
tunate Sir John de Walton. I tell thee, father, that if this
letter" - touching the missive with his finger - "is to be con-
strued literally, as far as respects him, he is the man most to
be pitied betwixt the brink of Solway and the place where
we now stand. Suspend thy curiosity, most worthy church-
man, lest there should be more in this matter than I myself
see; so that, while thinking that I have lighted on the true
explanation, I may not have to acknowledge that I have
been again leading you into error. - Sound to horse there -
ho]" he called out from the window of the apartment;
<P 163>
"and let the party I brought hither prepare to scour the
woods on their return."
 "By my faith," said Father Jerome, "I am right glad
that this young nutcracker is going to leave me to my own
meditation. I hate when a young person pretends to under-
stand whatever passes, while his betters are obliged to con-
fess that it is all a mystery to them. Such an assumption
is like that of the conceited fool Sister Ursula, who pretended
to read with a single eye a manuscript which I myself could
not find intelligible with the assistance of my spectacles."
 This might not have quite pleased the young knight, nor
was it one of those truths which the abbot would have
chosen to deliver in his hearing. But the knight had shaken
him by the hand, said adieu, and was already at Hazelside,
issuing particular orders to little troops of the archers and
others, and occasionally chiding Thomas Dickson, who,
with a degree of curiosity which the English knight was
not very willing to excuse, had been endeavouring to get
some account of the occurrences of the night.
 "Peace, fellow]" he said, "and mind thine own business,
being well assured that the hour will come in which it will
require all the attention thou canst give, leaving others to
take care of their own affairs."
 "If I am suspected of anything," answered Dickson, in
a tone rather dogged and surly than otherwise, "methinks
it were but fair to let me know what accusation is brought
against me. I need not tell you that chivalry prescribes that
a knight should not attack an enemy undefied."
 "When you are a knight," answered Sir Aymer de Valence,
"it will be time enough for me to reckon with you upon the
points of form due to you by the laws of chivalry. Mean-
while you had best let me know what share you have had
in playing off the martial phantom which sounded the re-
bellious slogan of Douglas in the town of that name."
<P 164>
 "I know nothing of what you speak," answered the good-
man of Hazelside.
 "See, then," said the knight, "that you do not engage
yourself in the affairs of other people, even if your conscience
warrants that you are in no danger from your own."
 So saying he rode off, not waiting any answer. The ideas
which filled his head were to the following purpose:-
 "I know not how it is, but one mist seems no sooner to
clear away than we find ourselves engaged in another. I
take it for granted that the disguised damsel is no other than
the goddess of Walton's private idolatry, who has cost him
and me so much trouble, and some certain degree of mis-
understanding during these last weeks. By my honour,
this fair lady is right lavish in the pardon which she has so
frankly bestowed upon me; and if she is willing to be less
complaisant to Sir John de Walton, why then - and what
then? - it surely does not infer that she would receive me
into that place in her affections from which she has just
expelled De Walton? Nor, if she did, could I avail myself
of a change in favour of myself at the expense of my friend
and companion in arms. It were a folly even to dream of
a thing so improbable. But with respect to the other busi-
ness, it is worth serious consideration. Yon sexton seems
to have kept company with dead bodies until he is unfit for
the society of the living; and as to that Dickson of Hazel-
side, as they call him, there is no attempt against the English
during these endless wars in which that man has not been
concerned. Had my life depended upon it, I could not have
prevented myself from intimating my suspicions of him, let
him take it as he lists."
 So saying the knight spurred his horse, and arriving at
Douglas Castle without further adventure, demanded, in a
tone of greater cordiality than he had of late used, whether
he could be admitted to Sir John de Walton, having some-
<P 165>
thing of consequence to report to him. He was immediately
ushered into an apartment in which the governor was seated
at his solitary breakfast. Considering the terms upon which
they had lately stood, the governor of Douglas Dale was
somewhat surprised at the easy familiarity with which De
Valence now approached him.
 "Some uncommon news," said Sir John, rather gravely,
"have brought me the honour of Sir Aymer de Valence's
 "It is," answered Sir Aymer, "what seems of high im-
portance to your interest, Sir John de Walton, and therefore
I were to blame if I lost a moment in communicating it."
 "I shall be proud to profit by your intelligence," said Sir
John de Walton.
 "And I too," said the young knight, "am loath to lose
the credit of having penetrated a mystery which blinded
Sir John de Walton. At the same time, I do not wish to
be thought capable of jesting with you, which might be the
case were I, from misapprehension, to give a false key to this
matter. With your permission, then, we will proceed thus:
we go together to the place of Bertram the minstrel's con-
finement. I have in my possession a scroll from the young
person who was intrusted to the care of the Abbot Jerome;
it is written in a delicate female hand, and gives authority to
the minstrel to declare the purpose which brought them to
this vale of Douglas."
 "It must be as you say," said Sir John de Walton, "al-
though I can scarce see occasion for adding so much form
to a mystery which can be expressed in such small compass."
 Accordingly the two knights, a warder leading the way,
proceeded to the dungeon to which the minstrel had been

<P 166>
 The doors of the stronghold being undone, displayed a
dungeon such as in those days held victims hopeless of
escape, but in which the ingenious knave of modern times
would scarcely have deigned to remain many hours. The
huge rings by which the fetters were soldered together and
attached to the human body were, when examined minutely,
found to be clinched together by riveting so very thin that,
when rubbed with corrosive acid, or patiently ground with
a bit of sandstone, the hold of the fetters upon each other
might easily be forced asunder, and the purpose of them
entirely frustrated. The locks also, large, and apparently
very strong, were so coarsely made that an artist of small
ingenuity could easily contrive to get the better of their
fastenings upon the same principle. The daylight found
its way to the subterranean dungeon only at noon, and
through a passage which was purposely made tortuous, so
as to exclude the rays of the sun, while it presented no
obstacle to wind or rain. The doctrine that a prisoner was
to be esteemed innocent until he should be found guilty by
his peers was not understood in those days of brute force,
and he was only accommodated with a lamp or other allevia-
tion of his misery if his demeanour was quiet, and he ap-
peared disposed to give his jailer no trouble by attempting
to make his escape. Such a cell of confinement was that
of Bertram, whose moderation of temper and patience had
nevertheless procured for him such mitigations of his fate as
the warder could grant. He was permitted to carry into his
cell the old book, in the perusal of which he found an amuse-
ment of his solitude, together with writing materials, and
such other helps towards spending his time as were con-
sistent with his abode in the bosom of the rock, and the
<P 167>
degree of information with which his minstrel craft had pos-
sessed him. He raised his head from the table as the knights
entered, while the governor observed to the young knight, -
 "As you seem to think yourself possessed of the secret
of this prisoner, I leave it to you, Sir Aymer de Valence, to
bring it to light in the manner which you shall judge most
expedient. If the man or his son have suffered unnecessary
hardship, it shall be my duty to make amends, which, I
suppose, can be no very important matter."
 Bertram looked up, and fixed his eyes full upon the gov-
ernor, but read nothing in his looks which indicated his being
better acquainted than before with the secret of his imprison-
ment. Yet, upon turning his eye towards Sir Aymer, his
countenance evidently lighted up, and the glance which
passed between them was one of intelligence.
 "You have my secret then," said he, "and you know who
it is that passes under the name of Augustine?"
 Sir Aymer exchanged with him a look of acquiescence;
while the eyes of the governor glancing wildly from the
prisoner to the Knight of Valence, he exclaimed, -
 "Sir Aymer de Valence, as you are belted knight and
Christian man, as you have honour to preserve on earth,
and a soul to rescue after death, I charge you to tell me the
meaning of this mystery] It may be that you conceive,
with truth, that you have subject of complaint against me;
if so, I will satisfy you as a knight may."
 The minstrel spoke at the same moment.
 "I charge this knight," he said, "by his vow of chivalry,
that he do not divulge any secret belonging to a person of
honour and of character, unless he has positive assurance
that it is done entirely by that person's own consent."
 "Let this note remove your scruples," said Sir Aymer,
putting the scroll into the hands of the minstrel. - and for
you, Sir John de Walton, far from retaining the least feeling
<P 168>
of any misunderstanding which may have existed between
us, I am disposed entirely to bury it in forgetfulness, as
having arisen out of a series of mistakes which no mortal
could have comprehended. And do not be offended, my
dear Sir John, when I protest, on my knightly faith, that
I pity the pain which I think this scroll is likely to give you,
and that if my utmost efforts can be of the least service to
you in unravelling this tangled skein, I will contribute them
with as much earnestness as ever I did aught in my life.
This faithful minstrel will now see that he can have no diffi-
culty in yielding up a secret which, I doubt not, but for the
writing I have just put into his hands, he would have con-
tinued to keep with unshaken fidelity."
 Sir Aymer now placed in De Walton's hand a note, in
which he had, ere he left Saint Bride's convent, signified his
own interpretation of the mystery; and the governor had
scarcely read the name it contained, before the same name
was pronounced aloud by Bertram, who at the same moment
handed to the governor the scroll which he had received
from the Knight of Valence.
 The white plume which floated over the knight's cap of
maintenance, which was worn as a headpiece within doors,
was not more pale in complexion than was the knight him-
self at the unexpected and surprising information that the
lady who was, in chivalrous phrase, empress of his thoughts
and commander of his actions, and to whom, even in less
fantastics times, he must have owed the deepest gratitude for
the generous election which she had made in his favour, was
the same person whom he had threatened with personal
violence, and subjected to hardships and affronts which he
would not willingly have bestowed even upon the meanest
of her sex.
 Yet Sir John de Walton seemed at first scarcely to com-
prehend the numerous ill consequence which might probably
<P 169>
follow this unhappy complication of mistakes. He took the
paper from the minstrel's hand, and while his eye, assisted
by the lamp, wandered over the characters without apparently
their conveying any distinct impression to his understanding,
De Valence even became alarmed that he was about to lose
his faculties.
 "For Heaven's sake, sir," he said, "be a man, and sup-
port with manly steadiness these unexpected occurrences -
I would fain think they will reach to nothing else - which
the wit of man could not have prevented. This fair lady,
I would fain hope, cannot be much hurt or deeply offended
by a train of circumstances the natural consequence of your
anxiety to discharge perfectly a duty upon which must de-
pend the accomplishment of all the hopes she had permitted
you to entertain. In God's name, rouse up, sir; let it not
be said that an apprehended frown of a fair lady hath damped
to such a degree the courage of the boldest knight in Eng-
land; be what men have called you - 'Walton the Unwaver-
ing;' in Heaven's name, let is at least see that the lady is
indeed offended, before we conclude that she is irreconcil-
ably so. To whose fault are we to ascribe the source of all
these errors? Surely, with all due respect, to the caprice of
the lady herself, which has engendered such a nest of mis-
takes. Think of it as a man and as a soldier. Suppose that
you yourself, or I, desirous of proving the fidelity of our sen-
tinels, or for any other reason, good or bad, attempted to
enter this Dangerous Castle of Douglas without giving the
password to the warders, would we be entitled to blame
those upon duty, if, not knowing our persons, they manfully
refused us entrance, made us prisoners, and mishandled us
while resisting our attempt, in terms of the orders which we
ourselves had imposed upon them? What is there that
makes a difference between such a sentinel and yourself,
John de Walton, in this curious affair, which, by Heaven,
<P 170>
would rather form a gay subject for the minstrelsy of this
excellent bard than the theme of a tragic lay? Come] look
not thus, Sir John de Walton; be angry, if you will, with
the lady who has committed such a piece of folly, or with
me, who have rode up and down nearly all night on a fool's
errand, and spoiled my best horse, in absolute uncertainty
how I shall get another till my uncle of Pembroke and I
shall be reconciled; or, lastly, if you desire to be totally
absurd in your wrath, direct it against this worthy minstrel,
on account of his rare fidelity, and punish him for that for
which he better deserves a chain of gold. Let passion out,
if you will, but chase this desponding gloom from the brow
of a man and a belted knight."
 Sir John de Walton made an effort to speak, and succeeded
with some difficulty.
 "Aymer de Valence," he said, "in irritating a madman you
do but sport with you own life;" and then remained silent.
 "I am glad you can say so much," replied his friend;
"for I was not jesting when I said I would rather that you
were at variance with me, than that you laid the whole blame
on yourself. It would be courteous, I think, to set this min-
strel instantly at liberty. Meantime, for his lady's sake, I will
entreat him, in all honour, to be our guest till the Lady Augusta
de Berkely shall do us the same honour, and to assist us in
our search after her place of retirement. - Good minstrel,"
he continued, "you hear what I say, and you will not, I
suppose, be surprised that, in all honour and kind usage,
you find yourself detained for a short space in this Castle of
 "You seem, Sir Knight," replied the minstrel, "not so
much to keep your eye upon the right of doing what you
should, as to possess the might of doing what you would
I must necessarily be guided by your advice, since you have
the power to make it a command."
<P 171>
 "And I trust," continued De Valence, "that when your
mistress and you again meet, we shall have the benefit of
your intercession for anything which we may have done to
displeasure her, considering that the purpose of our action
was exactly the reverse."
 "Let me," said Sir John de Walton, "say a single word.
I will offer thee a chain of gold, heavy enough to bear down
the weight of these shackles, as a sign of regret for having
condemned thee to suffer so many indignities."
 "Enough said, Sir John," said De Valence; "let us
promise no more till this good minstrel shall see some
sign of performance. Follow me this way, and I will tell
thee in private of other tidings, which it is important that
you should know."
 So saying, he withdrew De Walton from the dungeon, and
sending for the old knight, Sir Philip de Montenay, already
mentioned, who acted as seneschal of the castle, he com-
manded that the minstrel should be enlarged from the dun-
geon, well looked to in other aspects, yet prohibited, though
with every mark of civility, from leaving the castle without
a trusty attendant.
 "And now, Sir John de Walton," he said, "methinks you
are a little churlish in not ordering me some breakfast, after
I have been all night engaged in your affairs; and a cup of
muscadel would, I think, be no bad induction to a full con-
sideration of this perplexed matter."
 "Thou knowest," answered De Walton, "that thou mayst
call for what thou wilt, provided always thou tellest me, with-
out loss of time, what else thou knowest respecting the will
of the lady against whom we have all sinned so grievously -
and I, alas, beyond hope of forgiveness]"
 "Trust me, I hope," said the Knight of Valence, "the
good lady bears me no malice, as indeed she has expressly
renounced any ill-will against me. The words, you see, are
<P 172>
as plain as you yourself may read - 'The lady pardons poor
Aymer de Valence, and willingly, for having been involved
in a mistake to which she herself led the way; she herself
will at all times be happy to meet with him as an acquaint-
ance, and never to think further of these few days' history,
except as matter of mirth and ridicule.' So it is expressly
written and set down."
 "Yes," replied Sir John de Walton, "but see you not that
her offending lover is expressly excluded from the amnesty
granted to the lesser offender? Mark you not the conclud-
ing paragraph?" He took the scroll with a trembling hand,
and read with a discomposed voice its closing words. "It
is even so: 'All former connection must henceforth be at an
end between him and the supposed Augustine.' Explain to
me how the reading of these words is reconcilable to any-
thing but their plain sense of condemnation and forfeiture
of contract, implying destruction of the hopes of Sir John de
 "You are somewhat an older man than I, Sir Knight,"
answered De Valence, "and I will grant by far the wiser
and more experienced; yet I will uphold that there is no
adopting the interpretation which you seem to have affixed
in your mind to this letter, without supposing the prelimi-
nary that the fair writer was distracted in her understanding.
Nay, never start, look wildly, or lay your hand on your
sword; I do not affirm this is the case. I say again, that
no woman in her senses would have pardoned a common
acquaintance for his behaving to her with unintentional dis-
respect and unkindness, during the currency of a certain
masquerade, and, at the same time, sternly and irrevocably
broke off with the lover to whom her troth was plighted,
although his error in joining in the offence was neither grosser
nor more protracted than that of the person indifferent to her
<P 173>
 "Do not blaspheme," said Sir John de Walton; "and for-
give me, if, in justice to truth and to the angel whom I fear
I have forfeited for ever, I point out to you the difference
which a maiden of dignity and of feeding must make between
and offence towards her committed by an ordinary acquaint-
ance, and one of precisely the same kind offered by a person
who is bound by the most undeserved preference, by the
most generous benefits, and by everything which can bind
human feeling, to think and reflect ere he becomes an actor
in any case in which it is possible for her to be concerned."
 "Now, by mine honour," said Aymer de Valence, "I am
glad to hear thee make some attempt at reason, although it
is but an unreasonable kind of reason too, since its object
is to destroy thine own hopes, and argue away thine own
chance of happiness; but if I have, in the progress of this
affair, borne me sometimes towards thee as to give not only
the governor, but even the friend, some cause of displeasure,
I will make it up to thee now, John de Walton, by trying
to convince thee in spite of thine own perverse logic. But
here comes the muscadel and the breakfast. Wilt thou take
some refreshment? or shall we go on without the spirit of
 "For Heaven's sake," replied De Walton, "do as thou
wilt, so thou make me clear of thy well-intended babble."
 "Nay, thou shalt not brawl me out of my powers of argu-
ment," said De Valence, laughing, and helping himself to a
brimming cup of wine; "if thou acknowledgest thyself con-
quered, I am contented to give the victory to the inspiring
strength of the jovial liquor."
 "Do as thou listest," said De Walton, "but make an end
of an argument which thou canst not comprehend."
 "I deny the charge," answered the younger knight, wiping
his lips after having finished his draught; "and listen, Walton
the Warlike, to a chapter in the history of women, in which
<P 174>
thou art more unskilled than I would wish thee to be. Thou
canst not deny that, be it right or wrong, the Lady Augusta
hath ventured more forward with you than is usual upon the
sea of affection: she boldly made thee her choice, while thou
wert as yet known to her only as a flower of English chivalry
 - faith, and I respect her for her frankness; but it was a
choice which the more cold of her own sex might perhaps
claim occasion to term rash and precipitate. Nay, be not,
I pray thee, offended - I am far from thinking or saying so;
on the contrary, I will uphold with my lance her selection
of John de Walton, against the minions of a court, to be a
wise and generous choice, and her own behaviour as alike
candid and noble. But she herself is not unlikely to dread
unjust misconstruction - a fear of which may not improbably
induce her, upon any occasion, to seize some opportunity of
showing an unwonted and unusual rigour towards her lover,
in order to balance her having extended towards him, in the
beginning of their intercourse, somewhat of an unusual degree
of frank encouragement. Nay, it might be easy for her lover
so far to take part against himself, by arguing as thou dost
when out of thy senses, as to make it difficult for her to
withdraw from an argument which he himself was foolish
enough to strengthen; and thus, like a maiden too soon
taken at her first nay-say, she shall perhaps be allowed no
opportunity of bearing herself according to her real feelings,
or retracting a sentence issued with the consent of the party
whose hopes it destroys."
 "I have heard thee, De Valence," answered the governor
of Douglas Dale; "nor is it difficult for me to admit that
these thy lessons may serve as a chart to many a female
heart, but not to that of Augusta de Berkely. By my life,
I say I would much sooner be deprived of the merit of those
few deeds of chivalry which thou sayest have procured for
me such enviable distinction, than I would act upon them
<P 175>
with the insolence, as if I said that my place in the lady's
bosom was too firmly fixed to be shaken even by the success
of a worthier man, or by my own gross failure, in respect to
the object of my attachment. No, herself alone shall have
power to persuade me that even goodness equal to that of
an interceding saint will restore me to the place in her affec-
tions which I have most unworthily forfeited by a stupidity
only to be compared to that of brutes."
 "If you are so minded," said Aymer de Valence, "I have
only one word more - forgive me if I speak it peremptorily.
The lady, as you say, and say truly, must be the final arbitress
in this question. My arguments do not extend to insisting
that you should claim her hand, whether she herself will or
no; but to learn her determination, it is necessary that you
should find out where she is, of which I am unfortunately
not able to inform you."
 "How] what mean you?" exclaimed the governor, who
now only began to comprehend the extent of his misfortune;
"whither hath she fled? or with whom?"
 "She is fled, for what I know," said De Valence, "in
search of a more enterprising lover than one who is so
willing to interpret every air of frost as a killing blight to
his hopes. Perhaps she seeks the Black Douglas, or some
such hero of the Thistle, to reward with her hands, her lord-
ships, and beauty those virtues of enterprise and courage of
which John de Walton was at one time thought possessed.
But, seriously, events are passing around us of strange
import. I saw enough last night, on my way to Saint
Bride's to make me suspicious of every one. I sent to
you as a prisoner the old sexton of the church of Douglas.
I found him contumacious as to some inquiries which I
thought it proper to prosecute; but of this more at another
time. The escape of this lady adds greatly to the difficulties
which encircle this devoted castle."
<P 176>
 "Aymer de Valence," replied De Walton in a solemn and
animated tone, "Douglas Castle shall be defended, as we
have hitherto been able, with the aid of Heaven, to spread
from its battlements the broad banner of Saint George. Come
of me what list during my life, I will die the faithful lover of
Augusta de Berkely, even although I no longer live as her
chosen knight. There are cloisters and hermitages - "
 "Ay, marry are there," replied Sir Aymer, "and girdles
of hemp, moreover, and beads of oak; but all these we omit
in our reckonings till we discover where the Lady Augusta
is, and what she purposes to do in this matter."
 "You say well," replied De Walton. "Let us hold coun-
sel together by what means we shall, if possible, discover the
lady's too hasty retreat, by which she has done me great
wrong - I mean if she supposed her commands would not
have been fully obeyed, had she honoured with them the
governor of Douglas Dale, or any who are under his com-
 "Now," replied De Valence," you again speak like a true
son of chivalry. With your permission, I would summon
this minstrel to our presence. His fidelity to his mistress
has been remarkable; and, as matters stand now, we must
take instant measures for tracing the place of her retreat."

<P 176>
( The way is long, my children - long and rough,
The moors are dreary and the woods are dark;
But he that creeps from cradle on to grave,
Unskilled save in the velvet course of fortune,
Hath missed the discipline of noble hearts.
 Old Play.)
It was yet early in the day when, after the governor and
De Valence had again summoned Bertram to their counsels,
<P 177>
the garrison of Douglas was mustered, and a number of
small parties, in addition to those already dispatched by De
Valence from Hazelside, were sent out to scour the woods in
pursuit of the fugitives, with strict injunctions to treat them,
if overtaken, with the utmost respect, and to obey their
commands, keeping an eye, however, on the place where
they might take refuge. To facilitate this result, some who
were men of discretion were entrusted with the secret who
the supposed pilgrim and the fugitive nun really were. The
whole ground, whether forest of moorland, within many
miles of Douglas Castle, was covered and traversed by
parties whose anxiety to detect the fugitives was equal to the
reward for their safe recovery, liberally offered by De Walton
and De Valence. They spared not, meantime, to make
such inquiries in all directions as might bring to light any
machinations of the Scottish insurgents which might be on
foot in those wild districts of which, as we have said before,
De Valence in particular entertained strong suspicions. Their
instructions were, in case of finding such, to proceed against
the persons engaged, by arrest and otherwise, in the most
rigorous manner, such as had been commanded by De
Walton himself at the time when the Black Douglas and
his accomplices had been the principal objects of his wakeful
suspicions. These various detachments had greatly reduced
the strength of the garrison; yet, although numerous, alert,
and dispatched in every direction, they had not the fortune
either to fall on the trace of the Lady of Berkely or to en-
counter any party whatever of the insurgent Scottish.
 Meanwhile our fugitives had, as we have seen, set out
from the Convent of Saint Bride under the guidance of a
cavalier, of whom the Lady Augusta knew nothing save that
he was to guide their steps in a direction where they would
not be exposed to the risk of being overtaken. At length
Margaret de Hautlieu herself spoke upon the subject.
<P 178>
 "You have made no inquiry," she said, "Lady Augusta,
whither you are travelling, or under whose charge, although
methinks it should much concern you to know."
 "Is it not enough for me to be aware," answered Lady
Augusta, "that I am travelling, kind sister, under the pro-
tection of one to whom you yourself trust as to a friend; and
why need I be anxious for any further assurance of my
 "Simply," said Margaret de Hautlieu, "because the persons
with whom, from national as well as personal circumstances,
I stand connected are perhaps not exactly the protectors to
whom you, lady, can with such perfect safety intrust your-
 "In what sense," said the Lady Augusta, "do you use
these words?"
 "Because," replied Margaret de Hautlieu, "the Bruce,
the Douglas, Malcolm Fleming, and others of that party,
although they are incapable of abusing such an advantage
to any dishonourable purpose, might nevertheless, under a
strong temptation, consider you as a hostage thrown into
their hands by Providence, through whom they might medi-
tate the possibility of gaining some benefit of their dispersed
and dispirited party."
 "They might make me," answered the Lady Augusta,
"The subject of such a treaty when I was dead, but, believe
me, never while I drew vital breath. Believe me also that,
with whatever pain, shame, or agony, I would again deliver
myself up to the power of De Walton - yes, I would rather
put myself into his hands - What do I say? His] I would
rather surrender myself to the meanest archer of my native
country than combine with its foes to work mischief to
merry England - my own England - that country which is
the envy of every other country, and the pride of all who
can term themselves her natives]"
<P 179>
 "I thought that your choice might prove so," said Lady
Margaret; "and since you have honoured me with your
confidence, gladly would I provide for your liberty by plac-
ing you as nearly in the situation which you yourself desire
as my poor means have the power of accomplishing. In
half an hour we shall be in danger of being taken by the
English parties which will be instantly dispersed in every
direction in quest of us. Now take notice, lady: I know
a place in which I can take refuge with my friends and
countrymen, those gallant Scots who have never even in
this dishonoured age bent the knee to Baal. For their
honour, their nicety of honour, I could in other days have
answered with my own; but of late, I am bound to tell
you, they have been put to those trials by which the most
generous affections may be soured, and driven to a species
of frenzy the more wild that it is founded originally on
the noblest feelings. A person who feels himself deprived
of his natural birthright, denounced, exposed to confiscation
and death because he avouches the rights of his king, the
cause of his country, ceases on his part to be nice or precise
in estimating the degree of retaliation which it is lawful for
him to exercise in the requital of such injuries; and, believe
me, bitterly should I lament having guided you into a situa-
tion which you might consider afflicting or degrading."
 "In a word, then," said the English lady, "what is it you
apprehend I am like to suffer at the hands of your friends,
whom I must be excused for terming rebels?"
 "If," said the Sister Ursula, "your friends, whom I should
term oppressors and tyrants, take our land and our lives, seize
our castles and confiscate our property, you must confess
that the rough laws of war indulge mine with the privilege
of retaliation. There can be no fear that such men, under
any circumstances, would ever exercise cruelty or insult upon
a lady of your rank; but it is another thing to calculate that
<P 180>
they will abstain from such means of extorting advantage
from your captivity as are common in warfare. You would
not, I think, wish to be delivered up to the English on con-
sideration of Sir John de Walton surrendering the Castle of
Douglas to its natural lord; yet were you in the hands of
the Bruce or Douglas, although I can answer for your being
treated with all the respect which they have the means of
showing, yet I own their putting you at such a ransom might
be by no means unlikely."
 "I would sooner die," said the Lady Berkely, "than have
my name mixed up in a treaty so disgraceful; and De
Walton's reply to it would, I am certain, be to strike the
head from the messenger and throw it from the highest
tower of Douglas Castle."
 "Where, then, lady, would you now go," said Sister
Ursula, "were the choice in your power?"
 "To my own castle," answered Lady Augusta, "where, if
necessary, I could be defended even against the king him-
self, until I could place at least my person under the protec-
tion of the church."
 "In that case," replied Margaret de Hautlieu, "my power of
rendering you assistance is only precarious, yet it compre-
hends a choice which I will willingly submit to your decision,
notwithstanding I thereby subject the secrets of my friends
to some risk of being discovered and frustrated. But the
confidence which you have placed in me imposes on me the
necessity of committing to you a like trust. It rests with
you whether you will proceed with me to the secret rendez-
vous of the Douglas and his friends, which I may be blamed
for making known, and there take your chance of the recep-
tion which you may encounter, since I cannot warrant you
of anything save honourable treatment so far as your person
is concerned; or, if you should think this too hazardous,
make the best of your way at once for the Border; in which
<P 181>
last case I will proceed as far as I can with you towards the
English line, and then leave you to pursue your journey, and
to obtain a guard and a conductor among your own country-
men. Meantime it will be well for me if I escape being
taken, since the abbot would not shrink at inflicting upon
me the death due to an apostate nun."
 "Such cruelty, my sister, could hardly be inflicted upon
one who had never taken the religious vows, and who still,
according to the laws of the church, had a right to make a
choice between the world and the veil."
 "Such choice as they gave their gallant victims," said
Lady Margaret, "who have fallen into English hands during
these merciless wars - such choice as they gave to Wallace,
the Champion of Scotland; such as they gave to Hay, the
gentle and the free; to Sommerville, the flower of chivalry;
and to Athol, the blood relation of King Edward himself; -
all of whom were as much traitors, under which name they
were executed, as Margaret de Hautlieu is an apostate nun
and subject to the rule of the cloister."
 She spoke with some eagerness, for she felt as if the
English lady imputed to her more coldness than she
was, in such doubtful circumstances, conscious of mani-
 "And after all," she proceeded, "you, Lady Augusta de
Berkely, what do you venture if you run the risk of falling
into the hands of your lover? What dreadful risk do you
incur? You need not, methinks, fear being immured be-
tween four walls, with a basket of bread and a cruise of water
which, were I seized, would be the only support allowed to
me for the short space that my life would be prolonged.
Nay, even were you to be betrayed to the rebel Scots, as
you call them, a captivity among the hills, sweetened by
the hope of deliverence, and rendered tolerable by all the
alleviations which the circumstances of your captors allowed
<P 182>
them the means of supplying, were not, I think, a lot so very
hard to endure."
 "Nevertheless," answered the Lady of Berkely, "frightful
enough it must have appeared to me, since to fly from such
I threw myself upon your guidance."
 "And whatever you think or suspect," answered the novice,
"I am as true to you as ever was one maiden to another;
and as sure as ever Sister Ursula was true to her vows, al-
though they were never completed, so will I be faithful to
your secret, even at the risk of betraying my own."
 "Hearken, lady]" she said, suddenly pausing, "do you
hear that?"
 The sound to which she alluded was the same imitation of
the cry of an owlet which the lady had before heard under
the walls of the convent.
 "These sounds," said Margaret de Hautlieu, "announce
that one is near more able than I am to direct us in this
matter. I must go forward and speak with him; and this
man, our guide, will remain by you for a little space; nor
when he quits your bridle need you wait for any other signal,
but ride forward on the woodland path, and obey the advice
and directions which will be given you."
 "Stay, stay, Sister Ursula]" cried the Lady de Berkely;
"abandon me not in this moment of uncertainty and dis-
 "It must be for the sake of both," returned Margaret de
Hautlieu. "I also am in uncertainty - I also am in distress
 - and patience and obedience are the only virtues which can
save us both."
 So saying, she struck her horse with the riding-rod, and
moving briskly forward, disappeared among the boughs of a
tangled thicket. The Lady of Berkely would have followed
her companion, but the cavalier who attended them laid a
strong hand upon the bridle of her palfrey, with a look which
<P 183>
implied that he would not permit her to proceed in that
direction. Terrified, therefore, though she could not exactly
state a reason why, the Lady of Berkely remained with her
eyes fixed upon the thicket, instinctively, as it were, expecting
to see a band of English archers or rugged Scottish insur-
gents issue from its tangled skirts, and doubtful which she
should have most considered as the objects of her terror.
In the distress of her uncertainty she again attempted to
move forward, but the stern check which her attendant again
bestowed upon her bridle proved sufficiently that in restrain-
ing her wishes the stranger was not likely to spare the
strength which he certainly possessed. At length, after some
ten minutes had elapsed, the cavalier withdrew his hand from
her bridle, and pointing with his lance towards the thicket,
through which there winded a narrow, scarce visible path,
seemed to imitate to the lady that her road lay in that direc-
tion, and that he would no longer prevent her following it.
 "Do you not go with me?" said the lady, who, having
been accustomed to this man's company since they left the
convent, had by degrees come to look upon him as a sort of
protector. He, however, gravely shook his head, as if to
excuse complying with a request which it was not in his
power to grant; and turning his steed in a different direc-
tion, retired at a pace which soon carried him from her sight.
She had then no alternative but to take the path of the
thicket, which had been followed by Margaret de Hautlieu;
nor did she pursue it long before coming in sight of a sin-
gular spectacle.
 The trees grew wider as the lady advanced, and when she
entered the thicket she perceived that though hedged in as
it were be an enclosure of copsewood, it was in the interior
altogether occupied by a few of the magnificent trees, such
as seemed to have been the ancestors of the forest, and
which, though few in number, were sufficient to overshade all
<P 184>
the unoccupied ground, by the great extent of their compli-
cated branches. Beneath one of these lay stretched some-
thing of a gray colour, which, as it drew itself together,
exhibited the figure of a man sheathed in armour, but
strangely accoutred, and in a manner so bizarre as to indi-
cate some of the wild fancies peculiar to the knights of that
period. His armour was ingeniously painted, so as to repre-
sent a skeleton - the ribs being constituted by the corselet
and its back-piece. The shield represented an owl with its
wings spread - a device which was repeated upon the helmet,
which appeared to be completely covered by an image of
the same bird of ill omen. But that which was particularly
calculated to excite surprise in the spectator was the great
height and thinness of the figure, which, as it arose from the
ground and placed itself in an erect posture, seemed rather
to resemble an apparition in the act of extricating itself from
the grave than that of an ordinary man rising upon his feet.
The horse, too, upon which the lady rode, started back and
snorted, either at the sudden change of posture of this ghastly
specimen of chivalry, or disagreeably affected by some odour
which accompanied his presence. The lady herself mani-
fested some alarm, for although she did not utterly believe
she was in the presence of a supernatural being, yet, among
all the strange, half-frantic disguises of chivalry, this was
assuredly the most uncouth which she had ever seen; and
considering how often the knights of the period pushed their
dreamy fancies to the borders of insanity, it seemed at best
no very safe adventure to meet one accounted in the emblems
of the King of Terrors himself, alone, and in the midst of a
wild forest. Be the knight's character and purposes what
they might, she resolved, however, to accost him in the lan-
guage and manner observed in romances upon such occa-
sions, in the hope even that if he were a madman, he might
prove a peaceable one, and accessible to civility.
<P 185>
 "Sir Knight," she said, in as firm a tone as she could as-
sume, "right sorry am I if by my hasty approach I have
disturbed your solitary meditations. My horse, sensible, I
think, of the presence of yours, brought me hither, without
my being aware whom or what I was to encounter."
 "I am one," answered the stranger in a solemn tone,
"whom few men seek to meet, till the time comes that they
can avoid me no longer."
 "You speak, Sir Knight," replied the Lady de Berkely,
"according to the dismal character of which it has pleased
you to assume the distinction. May I appeal to one whose
exterior is so formidable for the purpose of requesting some
directions to guide me through this wild wood - as, for in-
stance, what is the name of the nearest castle, town, or hos-
telry, and by what course am I best likely to reach such?"
 "It is a singular audacity," answered the Knight of the
Tomb, "that would enter into conversation with him who is
termed the Inexorable, the Unsparing, and the Pitiless, whom
even the most miserable forbears to call to his assistance,
lest his prayers should be too soon answered."
 "Sir Knight," replied the Lady Augusta, "the character
which you have assumed, unquestionably for good reasons,
dictates to you a peculiar course of speech; but although
your part is a sad one, it does not, I should suppose, render
it necessary for you to refuse those acts of civility to which
you must have bound yourself in taking the high vows of
 "If you will trust to my guidance," replied the ghastly
figure, "there is only one condition upon which I can grant
you the information which you require; and that is, that you
follow my footsteps without any questions asked as to the
tendency of our journey."
 "I suppose I must submit to your conditions," she an-
swered, "if you are indeed pleased to take upon yourself the
<P 186>
task of being my guide. In my heart, I conceive you to be
one of the unhappy gentlemen of Scotland who are now in
arms, as they say, for the defence of their liberties. A rash
undertaking has brought me within the sphere of your influ-
ence, and now the only favour I have to request of you,
against whom I never did nor planned any evil, is the guid-
ance which your knowledge of the country permits you easily
to afford me in my way to the frontiers of England. Believe
that what I may see of your haunts or of your practices shall
be to me things invisible, as if they were actually concealed
by the sepulchre itself of the king of which it has pleased
you to assume the attributes; and if a sum of money, enough
to be the ransom of a wealthy earl, will purchase such a
favour at need, such a ransom will be frankly paid, and with
as much fidelity as ever it was rendered by a prisoner to the
knight by whom he was taken. Do not reject me, princely
Bruce - noble Douglas - if indeed it is to either of these that
I address myself in this my last extremity: men speak of
both as fearful enemies, but generous knights and faithful
friends. Let me entreat you to remember how much you
would wish your own friends and connections to meet with
compassion under similar circumstances at the hands of the
knights of England."
 "And have they done so?" replied the knight, in a voice
more gloomy than before; "or do you act wisely, while im-
ploring the protection of one whom you believe to be a true
Scottish knight, for no other reason than the extreme and
extravagant misery of his appearance - is it, I say, well or
wise to remind him of the mode in which the lords of Eng-
land have treated the lovely maidens and the high-born
dames of Scotland? Have not their prison cages been sus-
pended from the battlements of castles, that their captivity
might be kept in view of every base burgher who should
desire to look upon the miseries of the noblest peeresses,
<P 187>
yea, even the Queen of Scotland? Is this a recollection
which can inspire a Scottish knight with compassion towards
an English lady? or is it a thought which can do aught but
swell the deeply-sworn hatred of Edward Plantagenet, the
author of these evils, that boils in every drop of Scottish
blood which still feels the throb of life? No; it is all you
can expect if, cold and pitiless as the sepulchre I represent,
I leave you unassisted in the helpless condition in which you
describe yourself to be."
 "You will not be so inhuman," replied the lady; "in
doing so, you must surrender every right to honest fame
which you have won either by sword or lance. You must
surrender every pretence to that justice which affects the
merit of supporting the weak against the strong. You must
make it your principle to avenge the wrongs and tyranny of
Edward Plantagenet upon the dames and damosels of Eng-
land, who have neither access to his councils, nor perhaps
give him their approbation in his wars against Scotland."
 "It would not then," said the Knight of the Sepulchre,
"induce you to depart from your request should I tell you
the evils to which you would subject yourself should we fall
into the hands of the English troops, and should they find
you under such ill-omened protection as my own?"
 "Be assured," said the lady, "the consideration of such
an event does not in the least shake my resolution or desire
of confiding in your protection. You may probably know
who I am, and may judge how far even Edward would hold
himself entitled to extend punishment towards me."
 "How am I to know you," replied the ghastly cavalier,
"or your circumstances? They must be extraordinary in-
deed if they could form a check, either of justice or human-
<P 188>
ity, upon the revengeful feelings of Edward. All who know
him are well assured that it is no ordinary motive that will
induce him to depart from the indulgence of his evil temper.
But be it as it may, lady, if a lady you be, throw your-
self as a burden upon me, and I must discharge myself of
my trust as I best may; for this purpose you must be guided
implicitly by my directions, which will be given after the
fashion of those of the spiritual world, being intimations,
rather than detailed instructions, for your conduct, and ex-
pressed rather by commands than by any reason or argu-
ment. In this way it is possible that I may be of service to
you; in any other case, it is most likely that I may fail you
at need, and melt from your side like a phantom which
dreads the approach of day."
 "You cannot be so cruel," answered the lady. "A gentle-
man, a knight, and a nobleman - and I persuade myself I
speak to all - hath duties which he cannot abandon."
 "He has, I grant it, and they are most sacred to me,"
answered the Spectral Knight; "but I have also duties
whose obligations are doubly binding, and to which I must
sacrifice those which would otherwise lead me to devote
myself to your rescue. The only question is, whether you
feel inclined to accept my protection on the limited terms
on which alone I can extend it, or whether you deem it
better that each go their own way, and limit themselves to
their own resources, and trust the rest to Providence."
 "Alas]" replied the lady, "beset and hard pressed as I
am, to ask me to form a resolution for myself is like calling
on the wretch, in the act of falling from a precipice, to form
a calm judgment by what twig he may best gain the chance
of breaking his fall. His answer must necessarily be, that he
will cling to that which he can easiest lay hold of, and trust
the rest to Providence. I accept, therefore, your offer of pro-
tection, in the modified way you are pleased to limit it, and
<P 189>
I put my faith in Heaven and in you. To aid me effectually,
however, you must know my name and my circumstances."
 "All these," answered the Knight of the Sepulchre, "have
already been told me by your late companion; for deem
not, young lady, that either beauty, rank, extended domains,
unlimited wealth, or the highest accomplishments, can weigh
anything in the consideration of him who wears the trappings
of the tomb, and whose affections and desires are long buried
in the charnel-house."
 "May your faith," said the Lady Augusta de Berkely, "be
as steady as your words appear severe, and I submit to your
guidance, without the least doubt or fear that it will prove
otherwise than as I venture to hope."

<C XV>
<P 189>
Like the dog following its master, when engaged in training
him to the sport in which he desires he should excel, the
Lady Augusta felt herself occasionally treated with a severity
calculated to impress upon her the most implicit obedience
and attention to the Knight of the Tomb, in whom she had
speedily persuaded herself she saw a principal man among
the retainers of Douglas, if not James of Douglas himself.
Still, however, the ideas which the lady had formed of the
redoubted Douglas were those of a knight highly accom-
plished in the duties of chivalry, devoted in particular to the
service of the fair sex, and altogether unlike the personage
with whom she found herself so strangely united, or rather
for the present enthralled to. Nevertheless, when, as if to
abridge further communication, he turned short into one of
the mazes of the wood, and seemed to adopt a pace which,
from the nature of the ground, the horse on which the Lady
Augusta was mounted had difficulty to keep up with, she
<P 190>
followed him with the alarm and speed of the young spaniel
which, from fear rather than fondness, endeavours to keep
up with the track of its severe master. The simile, it is
true, is not a very polite one, nor entirely becoming an age
when women were worshipped with a certain degree of
devotion; but such circumstances as the present were also
rare, and the Lady Augusta de Berkely could not but per-
suade herself that the terrible champion, whose name had
been so long the theme of her anxiety and the terror indeed
of the whole country, might be able, some way or other, to
accomplish her deliverance. She therefore exerted herself
to the utmost, so as to keep pace with the phantom-like
apparition, and followed the knight as the evening shadow
keeps watch upon the belated rustic.
 As the lady obviously suffered under the degree of exertion
necessary to keep her palfrey from stumbling in these steep
and broken paths, the Knight of the Tomb slackened his
pace, looked anxiously around him, and muttered, apparently
to himself, though probably intended for his companion's
ear, "There is no occasion for so much haste."
 He proceeded at a slower rate until they seemed to be on
the brink of a ravine, being one of many irregularities on the
surface of the ground effected by the sudden torrents peculiar
to that country, and which, winding among the trees and
copsewood, formed, as it were, a net of places of conceal-
ment, opening into each other, so that there was perhaps no
place in the world so fit for the purpose of ambuscade. The
spot where the Borderer Turnbull had made his escape at
the hunting-match was one specimen of this broken country,
and perhaps connected itself with the various thickets and
passes through which the knight and pilgrim occasionally
seemed to take their way, though that ravine was at a
considerable distance from their present route.
 Meanwhile the knight led the way, as if rather with the
<P 191>
purpose of bewildering the Lady Augusta amidst these in-
terminable woods, than following any exact or fixed path.
Here they ascended, and anon appeared to descend in the
same direction, finding only boundless wildernesses, and
varied combinations of tangled woodland scenery. Such
part of the country as seemed arable the knight appeared
carefully to avoid; yet he could not direct his course with
so much certainty but that he occasionally crossed the path
of inhabitants and cultivators, who showed a consciousness
of so singular a presence, but never, as the lady observed,
evinced any symptoms of recognition. The inference was
obvious, that the Spectre Knight was known in the country,
and that he possessed adherents or accomplices there, who
were at least so far his friends as to avoid giving any alarm,
which might be the means of his discovery. The well-
imitated cry of the night-owl, too frequent a guest in the
wilderness that its call should be a subject of surprise,
seemed to be a signal generally understood among them,
for it was heard in different parts of the wood; and the
Lady Augusta, experienced in such journeys by her former
travels under the guidance of the minstrel Bertram, was led
to observe that on hearing such wild notes her guide
changed the direction of his course, and betook himself to
paths which led through deeper wilds and more impenetrable
thickets. This happened so often that a new alarm came
upon the unfortunate pilgrim, which suggested other motives
of terror. Was she not the confidante and almost the tool
of some artful design, laid with a view to an extensive opera-
tion, which was destined to terminate, as the efforts of
Douglas had before done, in the surprise of his hereditary
castle, the massacre of the English garrison, and finally in
the dishonour and death of that Sir John de Walton upon
whose fate she had long believed, or taught herself to believe
that her own was dependent?
<P 192>
 It no sooner flashed across the mind of the Lady Augusta
that she was engaged in some such conspiracy with a Scot-
tish insurgent, than she shuddered at the consequences of
the dark transactions in which she had now become in-
volved, and which appeared to have a tendency so very
different from what she had at first apprehended.
 The hours of the morning of this remarkable day - being
that of Palm Sunday - were thus drawn out in wandering
from place to place; while the Lady de Berkely occasionally
interposed by petitions for liberty, which she endeavoured to
express in the most moving and pathetic manner, and by
offers of wealth and treasures, to which no answer whatever
was returned by her strange guide.
 At length, as if worn out by his captive's importunity, the
knight, coming close up to the bridle rein of the Lady
Augusta, said in a solemn tone, -
 "I am, as you may well believe, none of those knights
who roam through wood and wild seeking adventures by
which I may obtain grace in the eyes of a fair lady. Yet
will I to a certain degree grant the request which thou dost
solicit so anxiously, and the arbitration of thy fate shall
depend upon the pleasure of him to whose will thou hast
expressed thyself ready to submit thin own. I will, on our
arrival at the place of our destination, which is now at hand,
write to Sir John de Walton, and send my letter, together
with thy fair self, by a special messenger. He will, no doubt,
speedily attend our summons, and thou shalt thyself by satis-
fied that even he who has as yet appeared deaf to entreaty,
and insensible to earthy affections, has still some sympathy
for beauty and for virtue. I will put the choice of safety,
and thy future happiness, into thine own hands and those
of the man whom thou hast chosen, and thou mayst select
which thou wilt betwixt those and misery."
 While he thus spoke, one of those ravines or clefts in the
<P 193>
earth seemed to yawn before them, and entering it at the
upper end, the Spectre Knight, with an attention which he
had not yet shown, guided the lady's courser by the rein
down the broken and steep path by which alone the bottom
of the tangled dingle was accessible.
 When placed on firm ground, after the dangers of a
descent in which her palfrey seemed to be sustained by the
personal strength and address of the singular being who had
hold of the bridle, the lady looked with some astonishment
at a place so well adapted for concealment as that which she
had now reached. It appeared evident that it was used for
this purpose, for more than one stifled answer was given to
a very low bugle note emitted by the Knight of the Tomb;
and when the same note was repeated, about half a score of
armed men, some wearing the dress of soldiers, others those
of shepherds and agriculturists, showed themselves imper-
fectly, as if acknowledging the summons.

<P 193>
"Hail to you, my gallant friends]" said the Knight of the
Tomb to his companions, who seemed to welcome him with
the eagerness of men engaged in the same perilous under-
taking. "The winter has passed over, the festival of Palm
Sunday is come, and as surely as the ice and snow of this
season shall not remain to chill the earth through the en-
suing summer, so surely we, in a few hours, keep our word
to those Southron braggarts, who think their language of
boasting and malice has as much force over our Scottish
bosoms as the blast possesses over the autumn fruits; but
it is not so. While we choose to remain concealed, they
may as vainly seek to descry us as a housewife would search
for the needle she has dropped among the withered foliage
<P 194>
of yon gigantic oak. Yet a few hours, and the lost needle
shall become the exterminating sword of the Genius of Scot-
land, avenging ten thousand injuries, and especially the life
of the gallant Lord Douglas, cruelly done to death as an
exile from his native country."
 An exclamation between a yell and a groan burst from the
assembled retainers of Douglas, upon being reminded of the
recent death of their chieftain; while they seemed at the
same time sensible of the necessity of making little noise,
lest they should give the alarm to some of the numerous
English parties which were then traversing different parts
of the forest. The acclamation, so cautiously uttered, had
scarce died away in silence, when the Knight of the Tomb,
or, to call him by his proper name, Sir James Douglas, again
addressed his handful of faithful followers.
 "One effort, my friends, may yet be made to end our
strife with the Southron without bloodshed. Fate has within
a few hours thrown into my power the young heiress of
Berkely, for whose sake it is said Sir John de Walton keeps
with such obstinacy the castle which is mine by inheritance.
Is there one among you who dare go, as the honourable
escort of Augusta de Berkely, bearing a letter, explaining
the terms on which I am willing to restore her to her lover,
to freedom, and to her English lordships?"
 "If there is none other," said a tall man, dressed in the
tattered attire of a woodsman, and being, in fact, no other
than the very Michael Turnbull who had already given so
extraordinary a proof of his undaunted manhood, "I will
gladly be the person who will be the lady's henchman on
this expedition."
 "Thou art never wanting," said the Douglas, "where a
manly deed is to be done; but remember, this lady must
pledge to us her word and oath that she will hold herself
our faithful prisoner, rescue or no rescue; that she will con-
<P 195>
sider herself as pledged for the life, freedom, and fair usage
of Michael Turnbull; and that if Sir John de Walton refuse
my terms, she must hold herself obliged to return with Turn-
bull to our presence, in order to be disposed of at our
 There was much in these conditions which struck the
Lady Augusta with natural doubt and horror; nevertheless,
strange as it may seem, the declaration of the Douglas gave
a species of decision to her situation which might have other-
wise been unattainable; and from the high opinion which
she entertained of the Douglas's chivalry she could not bring
herself to think that any part which he might play in the
approaching drama would be other than that which a per-
fect good knight would, under all circumstances, maintain
towards his enemy. Even with respect to De Walton, she
felt herself relieved of a painful difficulty. The idea of her
being discovered by the knight himself, in a male disguise,
had preyed upon her spirits; and she felt as if guilty of a
departure from the laws of womanhood, in having extended
her favour towards him beyond maidenly limits - a step, too,
which might tend to lessen her in the eyes of the lover for
whom she had hazarded so much.
"The heart, she said, is lightly prized
That is but lightly won;
And long shall mourn the heartless man
That leaves his love too soon."
On the other hand, to be brought before him as a prisoner
was indeed a circumstance equally perplexing and unpleas-
ing, but it was one which was beyond her control; and the
Douglas, into whose hands she had fallen, appeared to her
to represent the deity in the play, whose entrance was almost
sufficient to bring its perplexities to a conclusion. She
therefore not unwillingly submitted to take what oaths and
promises were required by the party in whose hands she found
<P 196>
herself, and accordingly engaged to be a true prisoner, what-
ever might occur. Meantime she strictly obeyed the directions
of those who had her motions at command, devoutly praying
that circumstances, in themselves so adverse, might neverthe-
less work together for the safety of her lover and her own
 A pause ensued, during which a slight repast was placed
before the Lady Augusta, who was well-nigh exhausted with
the fatigues of her journey.
 Douglas and his partisans, meanwhile, whispered together,
as if unwilling she should hear their conference; while, to
purchase their good will, if possible, she studiously avoided
every appearance of listening.
 After some conversation, Turnbull, who appeared to con-
sider the lady as peculiarly his charge, said to her in a harsh
voice, "Do not fear, lady; no wrong shall be done you;
nevertheless, you must be content for a space to be blind-
 She submitted to this in silent terror; and the trooper,
wrapping part of a mantle round her head, did not assist
her to remount her palfrey, but lent her his arm to support
her in this blinded state.

<P 196>
The ground which they traversed was, as Lady Augusta
could feel, very broken and uneven, and sometimes, as she
thought, encumbered with ruins, which were difficult to sur-
mount. The strength of her comrade assisted her forward
on such occasions; but his help was so roughly administered
that the lady once or twice, in fear or suffering, was com-
pelled to groan or sigh heavily, whatever was her desire to
suppress such evidence of the apprehension which she
<P 197>
underwent, or the pain which she endured. Presently,
upon an occasion of this kind, she was distinctly sensible
that the rough woodsman was removed from her side, and
another of the party substituted in his stead, whose voice,
more gentle than that of his companions, she thought she
had lately heard.
 "Noble lady," were the words, "fear not the slightest
injury at our hands, and accept of my ministry instead of
that of my henchman, who has gone forward with our letter;
do not think me presuming on my situation if I bear you in
my arms through ruins where you could not easily move
alone and blindfold."
 At the same time the Lady Augusta Berkely felt herself
raised from the earth in the strong arms of a man, and borne
onward with the utmost gentleness, without the necessity of
making those painful exertions which had been formerly
required. She was ashamed of her situation; but, however
delicate, it was no time to give vent to complaints, which
might have given offence to persons whom it was her interest
to conciliate. She therefore, submitted to necessity, and
heard the following words whispered in her ear.
 "Fear nothing; there is no evil intended you, nor shall
Sir John de Walton, if he loves you as you deserve at his
hand, receive any harm on our part. We call on him but
to do justice to ourselves and to you; and be assured you
will best accomplish your own happiness by aiding our views,
which are equally in favour of our wishes and your freedom."
 The Lady Augusta would have made some answer to this,
but her breath, betwixt fear and the speed with which she
was transported, refused to permit her to use intelligible
accents. Meantime she began to be sensible that she was
enclosed within some building, and probably a ruinous one;
for although the mode of her transportation no longer per-
mitted her to ascertain the nature of her path in any respect
<P 198>
distinctly, yet the absence of the external air - which was,
however, sometimes excluded, and sometimes admitted in
furious gusts - intimated that she was conducted through
buildings partly entire, and in other places admitting the
wind through wide rents and gaps. In one place it seemed
to the lady as if she passed through a considerable body of
people, all of whom observed silence, although there was
sometimes heard among them a murmur, to which every
one present in some degree contributed, although the general
sound did not exceed a whisper. Her situation made her
attend to every circumstance, and she did not fail to observe
that these persons made way for him who bore her, until at
length she became sensible that he descended by the regular
steps of a stair, and that she was now alone, excepting his
company. Arrived, as it appeared to the lady, one more
level ground, they proceeded on their singular road by a
course which appeared neither direct nor easy, and through
an atmosphere which was close to a smothering degree, and
felt at the same time damp and disagreeable, as if from the
vapours of a new-made grave. Her guide again spoke.
 "Bear up, Lady Augusta, for a little longer, and continue
to endure that atmosphere which must be one day common
to us all. By the necessity of my situation, I must resign
my present office to your original guide, and can only give
you my assurance that neither he nor any one else shall
offer you the least incivility or insult; and on this you may
rely, on the faith of a man of honour."
 He placed her, as he said these words, upon the soft turf,
and, to her infinite refreshment, made her sensible that she
was once more in the open air, and free from the smothering
atmosphere which had before oppressed her like that of a
charnel-house. At the same time, she breathed in a whisper
an anxious wish that she might be permitted to disencumber
herself from the folds of the mantle, which excluded almost
<P 199>
the power of breathing, though intended only to prevent
her seeing by what road she travelled. She immediately
found it unfolded, agreeably to her request, and hastened,
with uncovered eyes, to take note of the scene around her.
 It was overshadowed by thick oak-trees, among which
stood some remnants of buildings, or what might have
seemed such, being perhaps the same in which she had
been lately wandering. A clear fountain of living water
bubbled forth from under the twisted roots of one of those
trees, and offered the lady the opportunity of a draught of
the pure element, and in which she also bathed her face,
which had received more than one scratch in the course of
her journey, in spite of the care and almost the tenderness
with which she had latterly been borne along. The cool
water speedily stopped the bleeding of those trifling injuries,
and the application served at the same time to recall the
scattered senses of the damsel herself. Her first idea was,
whether an attempt to escape, if such should appear possible,
was not advisable. A moment's reflection, however, satisfied
her that such a scheme was not to be thought of; and such
second thoughts were confirmed by the approach of the
gigantic form of the huntsman Turnbull, the rough tones
of whose voice were heard before his figure was obvious to
her eye.
 "Were you impatient for my return, fair lady? Such as
I," he continued in an ironical tone of voice, "who are fore-
most in the chase of wild stags and silvan cattle, are not in
use to lag behind, when fair ladies, like you, are the objects
of pursuit; and if I am not so constant in my attendance as
you might expect, believe me, it is because I was engaged in
another matter, to which I must sacrifice for a little even the
duty of attending on you."
 "I offer no resistance," said the lady; "forbear, however,
in discharging thy duty, to augment my uneasiness by thy
<P 200>
conversation, for thy master hath pledged me his word that
he will not suffer me to be alarmed or ill-treated."
 "Nay, fair one," replied the huntsman, "I ever thought it
was fit to make interest by soft words with fair ladies; but if
you like it not, I have no such pleasure in hunting for fine
holiday terms, but that I can with equal ease hold myself
silent. Come, then, since we must wait upon this lover of
yours ere morning closes, and learn his last resolution touch-
ing a matter which is become so strangely complicated, I
will hold no more intercourse with you as a female, but talk
to you as a person of sense, although an Englishwoman."
 "You will," replied the lady, "best fulfil the intentions of
those by whose orders you act by holding no society with
me whatever, otherwise than in necessary in the character of
 The man lowered his brows, yet seemed to assent to what
the Lady of Berkely proposed, and remained silent as they
for some time pursued their course, each pondering over
their own share of meditation, which probably turned upon
matters essentially different. At length the loud blast of a
bugle was heard at no great distance from the unsocial
fellow-travellers. "That is the person we seek," said Turn-
bull; "I know his blast from any other who frequents this
forest, and my orders are to bring you to speech of him."
 The blood darted rapidly through the lady's veins at the
thought of being thus unceremoniously presented to the
knight in whose favour she had confessed a rash preference
more agreeable to the manners of those times, when exagger-
ated sentiments often inspired actions of extravagant gener-
osity, than in our days, when everything is accounted absurd
which does not turn upon a motive connected with the
immediate selfish interests of the actor himself. When
Turnbull, therefore, winded his horn, as if in answer to the
blast which they had heard, the lady was disposed to fly at
<P 201>
the first impulse of shame and of fear. Turnbull perceived
her intention, and caught hold of her with no very gentle
grasp, saying, "Nay, lady; it is to be understood that you
play your own part in the drama, which, unless you continue
on the stage, will conclude unsatisfactorily to us all, in a
combat at outrance between your lover and me, when it will
appear which of us is most worthy of your favour."
 "I will be patient," said the lady, bethinking her that even
this strange man's presence, and the compulsion which he
appeared to use towards her, were a sort of excuse to her
female scruples for coming into the presence of her lover, at
least at her first appearance before him, in a disguise which
her feelings confessed was not extremely decorous or recon-
cilable to the dignity of her sex.
 The moment after these thoughts had passed through her
mind; the tramp of a horse was heard approaching; and Sir
John de Walton, pressing through the trees, became aware
of the presence of his lady, captive, as it seemed, in the
grasp of a Scottish outlaw, who was only known to him by
his former audacity at the hunting match.
 His surprise and joy only supplied the knight with those
hasty expressions: "Caitiff, let go thy hold, or die in thy
profane attempt to control the motions of one whom the
very sun in heaven should be proud to obey." At the same
time, apprehensive that the huntsman might hurry the lady
from his sight by means of some entangled path - such as
upon a former occasion had served him for escape - Sir John
de Walton dropped his cumbrous lance, of which the trees
did not permit him the prefect use, and springing from his
horse, approached Turnbull with his drawn sword.
 The Scotchman, keeping his left hand still upon the lady's
mantle, uplifted with his right his battleaxe, or Jedwood staff,
for the purpose of parrying and returning the blow of his
antagonist; but the lady spoke.
<P 202>
 "Sir John de Walton," she said, "for Heaven's sake, forbear
all violence, till you hear upon what pacific object I am
brought hither, and by what peaceful means these wars may
be put an end to. This man, though an enemy of yours,
has been to me a civil and respectful guardian; and I entreat
you to forbear him while he speaks the purpose for which he
has brought me hither."
 "To speak of compulsion and the Lady de Berkely in the
same breath would itself be cause enough for instant death,"
said the governor of Douglas Castle; "but you command,
lady, and I spare his insignificant life, although I have causes
of complaint against him, the least of which were good
warrant, had he a thousand lives, for the forfeiture of them
 "John de Walton," replied Turnbull, "this lady well knows
that no fear of thee operates in my mind to render this a
peaceful meeting; and were I not withheld by other circum-
stances of great consideration to the Douglas as well as thy-
self, I should have no more fear in facing the utmost thou
couldst do, than I have now in levelling that sapling to the
earth it grows upon."
 So saying, Michael Turnbull raised his battleaxe, and
struck from a neighbouring oak-tree a branch, well,nigh as
thick as a man's arm, which (with all its twigs and leaves)
rushed to the ground between De Walton and the Scotch-
man, giving a singular instance of the keenness of his weapon
and the strength and dexterity with which he used it.
 "Let there be truce, then, between us, good fellow," said
Sir John de Walton, "since it is the lady's pleasure that such
should be the case, and let me know what thou hast to say
to me respecting her."
 "On that subject," said Turnbull, "my words are few, but
mark them, Sir Englishman. The Lady Augusta Berkely,
wandering in this country, has become a prisoner of the
<P 203>
noble Lord Douglas, the rightful inheritor of the castle and
lordship, and he finds himself obliged to attach to the liberty
of this lady the following conditions, being in all respects
such as good and lawful warfare entitles a knight to exact.
That is to say, in all honour and safety the Lady Augusta
shall be delivered to Sir John de Walton, or those whom he
shall name for the purpose of receiving her. On the other
hand, the Castle of Douglas itself, together with all outposts
or garrisons thereunto belonging shall be made over and
surrendered by Sir John de Walton, in the same situation,
and containing the same provisions and artillery, as are now
within their walls; and the space of a month of truce shall
be permitted to Sir James Douglas and Sir John de Walton
further to regulate the terms of surrender on both parts,
having first plighted their knightly word and oath that in
the exchange of the honourable lady for the foresaid castle
lies the full import of the present agreement, and that every
other subject of dispute shall, at the pleasure of the noble
knights foresaid, be honourably compounded and agreed
betwixt them, or, at their pleasure, settled knightly by single
combat, according to usage, and in a fair field, before any
honourable person that may possess power enough to pre-
 It is not easy to conceive the astonishment of Sir John de
Walton at hearing the contents of this extraordinary cartel.
He looked towards the Lady of Berkely with that aspect of
despair with which a criminal may be supposed to see his
guardian angel prepare for departure. Through her mind
also similar ideas flowed, as if they contained a concession of
what she had considered as the summit of her wishes, but
under conditions disgraceful to her lover, like the cherub's
fiery sword of yore, which was a barrier between our first
parents and the blessings of Paradise. Sir John de Walton,
after a moment's hesitation, broke silence in these words:-
<P 204>
 "Noble lady, you may be surprised if a condition be
imposed upon me having for its object your freedom, and
if Sir John de Walton, already standing under those obliga-
tions to you, which he is proud of acknowledging, should yet
hesitate on accepting, with the utmost eagerness, what must
ensure your restoration to freedom and independence; but
so it is, that the words now spoken have thrilled in mine ear
without reaching to my understanding, and I must pray the
Lady of Berkely for pardon if I take time to reconsider them
for a short space."
 "And I," replied Turnbull, "have only power to allow you
half an hour for the consideration of an offer, in accepting
which, methinks, you should jump shoulder-height, instead of
asking any time for reflection. What does this cartel exact,
save what your duty as a knight implicitly obliges you to?
You have engaged yourself to become the agent of the tyrant
Edward, in holding Douglas Castle, as his commander, to
the prejudice of the Scottish nation, and of the Knight of
Douglas Dale, who never, as a community or as an individual,
were guilty of the least injury towards you. You are therefore
prosecuting a false path, unworthy of a good knight. On the
other hand, the freedom and safety of your lady are now pro-
posed to be pledged to you, with a full assurance of her
liberty and honour, on consideration of your withdrawing
from the unjust line of conduct in which you have suffered
yourself to be imprudently engaged. If you persevere in it
you place your own honour and the lady's happiness in the
hands of men whom you have done everything in your
power to render desperate, and whom, thus irritated, it is
most probable you may find such."
 "It is not from thee at least," said the knight, "that I
shall learn to estimate the manner in which Douglas will
explain the laws of war, or De Walton receive them at his
<P 205>
 "I am not, then," said Turnbull, "received as a friendly
messenger? Farewell, and think of this lady as being in any
hands but those which are safe, while you make up at leisure
your mind upon the message I have brought you. Come,
madam; we must be gone."
 So saying, he seized upon the lady's hand, and pulled her,
as if to force her to withdraw. The lady had stood motion-
less, and almost senseless, while these speeches were ex-
changed between the warriors; but when she felt the grasp
of Michael Turnbull, she exclaimed, like one almost beside
herself with fear, "Help me, De Walton]"
 The knight, stung to instant rage, assaulted the forester
with the utmost fury, and dealt him with his long sword,
almost at unawares, two or three heavy blows, by which he
was so wounded that he sunk backwards in the thicket, and
De Walton was about to dispatch him, when he was pre-
vented by the anxious cry of the lady - "Alas] De Walton,
what have you done? This man was only an ambassador,
and should have passed free from injury while he confined
himself to the delivery of what he was charged with; and if
thou hast slain him, who knows how frightful may prove the
vengeance exacted]"
 The voice of the lady seemed to recover the huntsman
from the effects of the blows he had received; he sprang on
his feet, saying, "Never mind me, or think of my becoming
the means of making mischief. The knight, in his haste,
spoke without giving me warning and defiance, which gave
him an advantage which, I think, he would otherwise have
scorned to have taken in such a case. I will renew the
combat on fairer terms, or call another champion, as the
knight pleases." With these words he disappeared.
 "Fear not, empress of De Walton's thoughts," answered
the knight, "but believe that if we regain together the
shelter of Douglas Castle, and the safeguard of Saint George's
<P 206>
Cross, thou mayst laugh at all. And if you can but pardon -
what I shall never be able to forgive myself - the mole-like
blindness which did not recognize the sun while under a
temporary eclipse, the task cannot be named too hard for
mortal valour to achieve which I shall not willingly under-
take to wipe out the memory of my grievous fault."
 "Mention it no more," said the lady; "it is not at such a
time as this, when our lives are for the moment at stake,
that quarrels upon slighter topics are to be recurred to. I
can tell you, if you do not yet know, that the Scots are in
arms in this vicinity, and that even the earth has yawned to
conceal them from the sight of your garrison."
 "Let it yawn, then," said Sir John de Walton, "and suffer
 every fiend in the infernal abyss to escape from his prison-
house and reinforce our enemies; still, fairest, having received
in thee a pearl of matchless price, my spurs shall be hacked
from my heels by the basest scullion, if I turn my horse's
head to the rear before the utmost force these ruffians can
assemble, either upon earth or from underneath it. In thy
name I defy them all to instant combat."
 As Sir John de Walton pronounced these last words, in
something of an exalted tone, a tall cavalier, arrayed in black
armour of the simplest form, stepped forth from that part of
the thicket where Turnbull had disappeared. "I am," he
said, "James of Douglas, and your challenge is accepted. I,
the challenged, name the arms our knightly weapons as we
now wear them, and our place of combat this field or dingle
called the Bloody Sykes, the time being instant, and the
combatants, like true knights, foregoing each advantage on
either side."
<P 207>
 "So be it, in God's name," said the English knight, who,
though surprised at being called upon to so sudden an en-
counter with so formidable a warrior as young Douglas, was
too proud to dream of avoiding the combat. Making a
sign to the lady to retire behind him, that he might not lose
the advantage which he had gained by setting her at liberty
from the forester, he drew his sword, and with a deliberate
and prepared attitude of offence moved slowly to the en-
counter. It was a dreadful one, for the courage and skill
both of the native Lord of Douglas Dale and of De Walton
were among the most renowned of the times, and perhaps
the world of chivalry could hardly have produced two knights
more famous. Their blows fell as if urged by some mighty
engine, where they were met and parried with equal strength
and dexterity; nor seemed it likely, in the course of ten
minutes' encounter, that an advantage would be gained by
either combatant over the other. An instant they stopped
by mutally implied assent, as it seemed, for the purpose of
taking breath, during which Douglas said, "I beg that this
noble lady may understand that her own freedom is no way
concerned in the present contest, which entirely regards the
injustice done by this Sir John de Walton, and by his nation
of England, to the memory of my father, and to my own
natural rights."
 "You are generous, Sir Knight," replied the lady; "but
in what circumstances do you place me, if you deprive me
of my protector by death or captivity, and leave me alone in
a foreign land?"
 "If such should be the event of the combat," replied Sir
James, "the Douglas himself, lady, will safely restore thee
to thy native land; for never did his sword do an injury for
which he was not willing to make amends with the same
<P 208>
weapon; and if Sir John de Walton will make the slightest
admission that he renounces maintaining the present strife,
were it only by yielding up a feather from the plume of his
helmet, Douglas will renounce every purpose on his part
which can touch the lady's honour or safety, and the combat
may be suspended until the national quarrel again brings us
 Sir John de Walton pondered a moment, and the lady,
although she did not speak, looked at him with eyes which
plainly expressed how much she wished that he would choose
the less hazardous alternative. But the knight's own scruples
prevented his bringing the case to so favourable an arbitra-
 "Never shall it be said of Sir John de Walton," he replied,
"that he compromised, in the slightest degree, his own
honour or that of his country. This battle may end in
my defeat, or rather death, and in that case my earthly
prospects are closed, and I resign to Douglas, with my last
breath, the charge of the Lady Augusta, trusting that he
will defend her with his life, and find the means of replacing
her with safety in the halls of her fathers. But while I sur-
vive, she may have a better, but will not need another pro-
tector than he who is honoured by being her own choice
nor will I yield up, were it a plume from my helmet, imply-
ing that I have maintained an unjust quarrel, either in the
cause of England, or of the fairest of her daughters. Thus far
alone I will concede to Douglas - an instant truce, provided
the lady shall not be interrupted in her retreat to England,
and the combat be fought out upon another day. The
castle and territory of Douglas are the property of Edward
of England, the governor in his name is the rightful gover-
nor, and on this point I will fight while my eyelids are un-
 "Time flies," said Douglas, "without waiting for our
<P 209>
resolves; nor is there any part of his motions of such
value as that which is passing with every breath of vital
air which we presently draw. Why should we adjourn
till to-morrow that which can be as well finished to-day?
Will our swords be sharper or our arms stronger to wield
them than they are at this moment? Douglas will do
all which knight can do to succour a lady in distress;
but he will not grant to her knight the slightest mark of
deference, which Sir John de Walton vainly supposes him-
self able to extort by force of arms."
 With these words, the knights engaged once more in
mortal combat, and the lady felt uncertain whether she
should attempt her escape through the devious paths of
the wood, or abide the issue of this obstinate fight. It
was rather her desire to see the fate of Sir John de Walton
than any other consideration which induced her to remain,
as if fascinated upon the spot, where one of the fiercest
quarrels ever fought was disputed by two of the bravest
champions that ever drew sword. At last the lady attempted
to put a stop to the combat, by appealing to the bells which
began to ring for the service of the day, which was Palm
 "For Heaven's sake," she said, "for your own sakes,
and for that of lady's love and the duties of chivalry, hold
your hands only for an hour, and take chance that where
strength is so equal means will be found of converting the
truce into a solid peace. Think this is Palm Sunday; and will
you defile with blood such a peculiar festival of Christianity?
Intermit your feud at least so far as to pass to the nearest
church, bearing with you branches, not in the ostentatious
mode of earthly conquerors, but as rendering due homage
to the rules of the blessed church, and the institutions of
our holy religion."
 "I was on my road, fair lady, for that purpose, to the
<P 210>
holy church of Douglas," said the Englishman, "when I
was so fortunate as to meet you at this place; nor do I
object to proceed thither even now, holding truce for an
hour, and I fear not to find there friends to whom I can
commit you with assurance of safety, in case I am unfor-
tunate in the combat which is now broken off, to be resumed
after the service of the day."
 "I also assent," said the Douglas, "to a truce for such
short space; nor do I fear that there may be good Christians
enough at the church, who will not see their master over-
powered by odds. Let us go thither, and each take the
chance of what Heaven shall please to send us."
 From these words, Sir John de Walton little doubted that
Douglas had assured himself of a party among those who
should there assemble; but he doubted not of so many of
the garrison being present as would bridle every attempt at
rising; and the risk, he thought, was worth incurring since
he should thereby secure an opportunity to place Lady
Augusta de Berkely in safety - at least so far as to make
her liberty depend on the event of a general conflict, in-
stead of the precarious issue of a combat between himself
and Douglas.
 Both these distinguished knights were inwardly of opinion
that the proposal of the lady, though it relieved them of
their present conflict, by no means bound them to abstain
from the consequences which an accession of force might
add to their general strength; and each relied upon his
superiority, in some degree provided for by their previous
proceedings. Sir John de Walton made almost certain of
meeting with several of his bands of soldiers, who were
scouring the country and traversing the woods by his direc-
tion; and Douglas, it may be supposed, had not ventured
himself in person where a price was set upon his head, with-
out being attended by a sufficient number of approved ad-
<P 211>
herents, placed in more or less connection with each other,
and stationed for mutual support. Each, therefore, enter-
tained well-grounded hopes that, by adopting the truce
proposed, he would ensure himself an advantage over his
antagonist, although neither exactly knew in what manner
or to what extent this success was to be obtained.

<P 211>
( His talk was of another world - his bodements
Strange, doubtful, and mysterious; those who heard him
Listened as to a man in feverish dreams,
Who speaks of other objects than the present,
And mutters like to him who sees a vision.
 Old Play.)
On the same Palm Sunday when De Walton and Douglas
measured together their mighty swords, the minstrel Bertram
was busied with the ancient Book of Prophecies, which we
have already mentioned as the supposed composition of
Thomas the Rhymer, but not without many anxieties as
to the fate of his lady, and the events which were passing
around him. As a minstrel, he was desirous of an auditor
to enter into the discoveries which he should make in that
mystic volume, as well as to assist in passing away the time.
Sir John de Walton had furnished him, in Gilbert Greenleaf
the archer, with one who was well contented to play the
listener "from morn to dewy eve," provided a flask of
Gascon wine or a stoup of good English ale remained
on the board. It may be remembered that De Walton,
when he dismissed the minstrel from the dungeon, was
sensible that he owed him some compensation for the
causeless suspicion which had dictated his imprisonment,
more particularly as he was a valued servant, and had shown
himself the faithful confidant of the Lady Augusta de Berkely,
<P 212>
and the person who was, moreover, likely to know all the
motives and circumstances of her Scottish journey. To
secure his good wishes was, therefore, politic; and De
Walton had intimated to his faithful archer that he was
to lay aside all suspicion of Bertram, but at the same time
keep him in sight, and, if possible, in good humour with
the governor of the castle and his adherents. Greenleaf
accordingly had no doubt in his own mind that the only
way to please a minstrel was to listen with patience and
commendation to the lays which he liked best to sing, or
the tales which he most loved to tell; and in order to en-
sure the execution of his master's commands, he judged it
necessary to demand of the butler such store of good liquor
as could not fail to enhance the pleasure of his society.
 Having thus fortified himself with the means of bearing a
long interview with the minstrel, Gilbert Greenleaf proposed
to confer upon him the bounty of an early breakfast, which
if it pleased him, they might wash down with a cup of sack,
and, having his master's commands to show the minstrel
anything about the castle which he might wish to see, re-
fresh their overwearied spirits by attending a part of the
garrison of Douglas to the service of the day, which, as we
have already seen, was of peculiar sanctity. Against such
a proposal the minstrel, a good Christian by profession, and,
by his connection with the joyous science, a good fellow,
having no objections to offer, the two comrades, who had
formerly little good will towards each other, commenced their
morning's repast on the fated Palm Sunday, with all manner
of cordiality and good-fellowship.
 "Do not believe, worthy minstrel," said the archer, "that
my master in any respect disparages your worth or rank in
referring you for company or conversation to so poor a man
as myself. It is true I am no officer of this garrison; yet
for an old archer, who for these thirty years has lived by
<P 213>
bow and bowstring, I do not (Our Lady make me thankful])
hold less share in the grace of Sir John de Walton, the Earl
of Pembroke, and other approved good soldiers than many
of those giddy young men on whom commissions are con-
ferred, and to whom confidences are intrusted, not on ac-
count of what they have done, but what their ancestors have
done before them. I pray you to notice among them one
youth placed at our head in De Walton's absence, and who
bears the honoured name of Aymer de Valence, being the
same with that of the Earl of Pembroke, of whom I have
spoken; this knight has also a brisk young page, whom men
call Fabian Harbothel."
 "Is it to these gentlemen that your censure applies?"
answered the minstrel. "I should have judged differently,
having never, in the course of my experience, seen a young
man more courteous and amiable than the young knight you
 "I nothing dispute that it may be so," said the archer,
hastening to amend the false step which he had made; "but
in order that it should be so, it will be necessary that he
conform to the usages of his uncle, taking the advice of
experienced old soldiers in the emergencies which may pre-
sent themselves, and not believing that the knowledge
which it takes many years of observation to acquire can be
at once conferred by the slap of the flat of a sword, and the
magic words, 'Rise up, Sir Arthur' - or however the case
may be."
 "Doubt not, Sir Archer," replied Bertram, "that I am
fully aware of the advantage to be derived from conversing
with men of experience like you; it benefiteth men of every
persuasion, and I myself am oft reduced to lament my want
of sufficient knowledge of armorial bearings, signs, and cog-
nizances, and would right fain have thy assistance, where
I am a stranger alike to the names of places, of persons, and
<P 214>
description of banners and emblems by which great families
are distinguished from each other, so absolutely necessary
to the accomplishment of my present task."
 "Pennons and banners," answered the archer, "I have
seen right many, and can assign, as is a soldier's wont, the
name of the leader to the emblem under which he musters
his followers; nevertheless, worthy minstrel, I cannot pre-
sume to understand what you call prophecies, with or under
warranted authority of old painted books, expositions of
dreams, oracles, revelations, invocations of damned spirits,
judicials, astrologicals, and other gross and palpable offences,
whereby men, pretending to have the assistance of the devil,
do impose upon the common people, in spite of the warn-
ings of the Privy Council. Not, however, that I suspect you,
worthy minstrel, of busying yourself with these attempts to
explain futurity, which are dangerous attempts, and may be
truly said to be penal, and part of treason."
 "There is something in what you say," replied the min-
strel; "yet it applieth not to books and manuscripts such as
I have been consulting. Part of which things therein written
having already come to pass, authorize us surely to expect
the completion of the rest. Nor would I have much difficulty
in showing you from this volume that enough has been
already proved true to entitle us to look with certainty to
the accomplishment of that which remains."
 "I should be glad to hear that," answered the archer,
who entertained little more than a soldier's belief respecting
prophecies and auguries, but yet cared not bluntly to contra-
dict the minstrel upon such subjects, as he had been in-
structed by Sir John de Walton to comply with his humour.
Accordingly the minstrel began to recite verses which in
our time the ablest interpreter could not make sense out of.
<P 215>
When the raven and the rook have rounded together,
And the kid in his cliff shall accord to the same,
Then shall they be bold, and soon to battle thereafter.
Then the birds of the raven rugs and reives,
And the leal men of Lothian are louping on their horse;
Then shall the poor people be spoiled full near,
And the abbeys be burnt truly that stand upon Tweed;
They shall burn and slay, and great reif make;
There shall no poor man who say whose man he is:
Then shall the land be lawless, for love there is none.
Then falset shall have foot fully five years;
Then truth surely shall be tint, and none shall lippen to other;
The one cousing shall not trust the other,
Not the son the father, nor the father the son;
For to have his goods he would have him hanged."
 &c &c &c.
 The archer listened to these mystic prognostications,
which were not the less wearisome that they were, in a
considerable degree, unintelligible; at the same time subdu-
ing his Hotspur-like disposition to tire of the recitation, yet
at brief intervals comforting himself with an application to
the wine flagon, and enduring as he might what he neither
understood nor took interest in. Meanwhile the minstrel
proceeded with his explanation of the dubious and imperfect
vaticinations of which we have given a sufficient specimen.
 "Could you wish," said he to Greenleaf, "a more exact
description of the miseries which have passed over Scotland
in these latter days? Have not these the raven and rook,
the fox and the fulmart, explained - either because the nature
of the birds or beasts bears and individual resemblence to
those of the knights who display them on their banners, or
otherwise are bodied forth by actual blazonry on their
shields, and come openly into the field to ravage and
destroy? Is not the total disunion of the lad plainly
indicated by these words, that connections of blood shall
be broken asunder, that kinsmen shall not trust each other,
and that the father and son, instead of putting faith in their
<P 216>
natural connection, shall seek each other's life, in order to
enjoy his inheritance? The leal men of Lothian are dis-
tinctly mentioned as taking arms, and there is plainly allu-
sion to the other events of these late Scottish troubles. The
death of this last William is obscurely intimated under the
type of a hound, which was that good lord's occasional
'The hound that was harmed then muzzled shall be,
Who loved him worst shall weep for his wreck;
Yet shall a whelp rise of the same race
That rudely shall roar, and rule the whole north,
And quit the whole quarrel of old deeds done,
Though he from his hold be kept back a while.
True Thomas told me this in a troublesome time,
In a harvest morning at Eldoun hills.'
 "This hath a meaning, Sir Archer," continued the min-
strel, "and which flies as directly to its mark as one of your
own arrows, although there may be some want of wisdom in
making the direct explication. Being, however, upon assur-
ance with you, I do not hesitate to tell you that in my
opinion this lion's whelp that waits its time means this
same celebrated Scottish prince Robert the Bruce, who,
though repeatedly defeated, has still, while hunted with
bloodhounds, and surrounded by enemies of every sort,
maintained his pretensions to the crown of Scotland, in
despite of King Edward, now reigning."
 "Minstrel," answered the soldier, "you are my guest, and
we have sat down together as friends to this simple meal in
good comradeship. I must tell thee, however, though I am
loath to disturb our harmony, that thou art the first who hast
adventured to speak a word before Gilbert Green leaf in
favour of that outlawed traitor Robert Bruce, who has by
his seditions so long disturbed the peace of this realm.
Take my advice, and be silent on this topic; for, believe
<P 217>
me, the sword of a true English archer will spring from its
scabbard without consent of its master, should it hear aught
said to the disparagement of bonny Saint George and his
ruddy cross; nor shall the authority of Thomas the Rhymer,
or any other prophet in Scotland, England, or Wales, be con-
sidered as an apology for such unbecoming predictions."
 "I were loath to give offence at any time," said the min-
strel, "much more to provoke you to anger, when I am in
the very act of experiencing your hospitality. I trust, how-
ever, you will remember that I do not come your uninvited
guest, and that if I speak to you of future events, I do so
without having the least intention to add my endeavour to
bring them to pass; for, God knows, it is many years since
my sincere prayer has been for peace and happiness to all
men, and particularly honour and happiness to the land of
Bowmen, in which I was born, and which I am bound to
remember in my prayers beyond all other nations in the
 "It is well that you do so," said the archer; "for so you
shall best maintain your bounden duty to the fair land of
your birth, which is the richest that the sum shines upon.
Something, however, I would know, if it suits with your
pleasure to tell me, and that is, whether you find anything
in these rude rhymes appearing to affect the safety of the
Castle of Douglas, where we now are; for, mark me, Sir
Minstrel, I have observed that these mouldering parchments,
when or by whomsoever composed, have so far a certain
coincidence with the truth, that when such predictions which
they contain are spread abroad in the country, and create
rumours of plots, conspiracies, and bloody wars, they are
very apt to cause the very mischances which they would be
thought only to predict."
 "It were not very cautious in me," said the minstrel, "to
choose a prophecy for my theme which had reference to
<P 218>
any attack on this garrison; for in such case I should,
according to your ideas, lay myself under suspicion of en-
deavouring to forward what no person could more heartily
regret than myself."
 "Take my word for it, good friend," said the archer,
"that it shall not be thus with thee; for I neither will my-
self conceive ill of thee, nor report thee to Sir John de
Walton as meditating harm against him or his garrison -
nor, to speak truth, would Sir John de Walton be willing to
believe any one who did. He thinks highly, and no doubt
deservedly, of thy good faith towards thy lady, and would
conceive it unjust to suspect the fidelity of one who has
given evidence of his willingness to meet death rather than
betray the least secret of his mistress."
 "In preserving her secret," said Bertram, "I only dis-
charged the duty of a faithful servant, leaving it to her to
judge how long such a secret ought to be preserved; for a
faithful servant ought to think as little of the issue towards
himself of the commission which he bears, as the band of
flock silk concerns itself with the secret of the letter which it
secures. And touching your question, I have no objec-
tions, although merely to satisfy your curiosity, to unfold to
you that these old prophecies do contain some intimations
of wars befalling in Douglas Dale, between an haggard, or
wild hawk, which I take to be the cognizance of Sir John de
Walton, and the three stars, or martlets, which is the cogni-
zance of the Douglas; and more particulars I could tell of
these onslaughts did I know whereabouts is a place in these
woods termed Bloody Sykes, the scene also, as I compre-
hend, of slaughter and death, between the followers of the
three stars and those who hold the part of the Saxon, or
King of England."
 "Such a place," replied Gilbert Greenleaf, "I have heard
often mentioned by that name among the natives of these
<P 219>
parts; nevertheless it is in vain to seek to discover the pre-
cise spot, as these wily Scots conceal from us with care every-
thing respecting the geography of their country, as it is called
by learned men; but we may here mention the Bloody
Sykes, Bottomless Myre, and other places, as portentous
names, to which their traditions attach some signification
of war and slaughter. If it suits your wish, however, we
can, on our way to the church, try to find this place called
Bloody Sykes, which I doubt not we shall trace out long
before the traitors who meditate an attack upon us will find
a power sufficient for the attempt."
 Accordingly, the minstrel and archer - the latter of whom
was by this time reasonably well refreshed with wine -
marched out of the Castle of Douglas without waiting for
others of the garrison, resolving to seek the dingle bearing
the ominous name of Bloody Sykes, concerning which the
archer only knew that by mere accident he had heard of
a place bearing such a name at the hunting match made
under the auspices of Sir John de Walton, and knew that
it lay in the woods somewhere near the town of Douglas,
and in the vicinage of the castle.

<P 219>
( Hotspur. I cannot choose; sometimes he angers me
With telling me of the moldwarp and the ant,
Of the dreamer Merlin and his prophecies,
And of a dragon and a finless fish,
A clipt-winged griffin and a moulten raven,
A couching lion, and a ramping cat,
And such a deal of skimble-skamble stuff
as puts me from my faith.
 King Henry IV.)
The conversation between the minstrel and the ancient
archer naturally pursued a train somewhat resembling that
<P 220>
of Hotspur and Glendower, in which Gilbert Greenleaf by
degrees took a larger share than was apparently consistent
with his habits and education; but the truth was that, as
he exerted himself to recall the recognizances of military
chieftains, their war-cries, emblems, and other types by
which they distinguished themselves in battle, and might
undoubtedly be indicated in prophetic rhymes, he began
to experience the pleasure which most men entertain when
they find themselves unexpectedly possessed of a faculty
which the moment calls upon them to employ, and renders
them important in the possession of. The minstrel's sound
good sense was certainly somewhat surprised at the incon-
sistencies sometimes displayed by his companion, as he was
carried off by the willingness to make show of his newly-
discovered faculty on the one hand, and, on the other,
to call to mind the prejudices which he had nourished
during his whole life against minstrels, who, with the train
of legends and fables, were the more likely to be false, as
being generally derived from the "North Countrie."
 As they strolled from one glade of the forest to another,
the minstrel began to be surprised at the number of Scottish
votaries whom they met, and who seemed to be hastening
to the church, and, as it appeared by the boughs which
they carried, to assist in the ceremony of the day. To
each of these the archer put a question respecting the
existence of a place called Bloody Sykes, and where it
was to be found; but all seemed either to be ignorant
on the subject, or desirous of evading it, for which they
found some pretext in the jolly archer's manner of inter-
rogation, which savoured a good deal of the genial break-
fast. The general answer was that they knew no such
place, or had other matters to attend to upon the morn
of a holy-tide than answering frivolous questions. At last,
when in one or two instances the answer of the Scottish
<P 221>
almost approached to sullenness, the minstrel remarked it,
observing that there was ever some mischief on foot when
the people of this country could not find a civil answer
to their betters, which is usually so ready among them,
and that they appeared to be making a strong muster for
the service of Palm Sunday.
 "You will doubtless, Sir Archer," continued the minstrel,
"make your report to your knight accordingly; for I promise
you that if you do not, I myself, whose lady's freedom is
also concerned, will feel it my duty to place before Sir John
de Walton the circumstances which make me entertain sus-
picion of this extraordinary confluence of Scottish men, and
the surliness which has replaced their wonted courtesy of
 "Tush, Sir Minstrel," replied the archer, displeased at
Bertram's interference; "believe me that armies have ere
now depended on my report to the general, which has
always been perspicuous and clear, according to the duties
of war. Your walk, my worthy friend, has been in a
separate department, such as affairs of peace, old songs,
prophecies, and the like, in which it is far from my thoughts
to contend with you; but credit me, it will be most for
the reputation of both that we do not attempt to interfere
with what concerns each other."
 "It is far from my wish to do so," replied the minstrel;
"but I would wish that a speedy return should be made
to the castle, in order to ask Sir John de Walton's opinion
of that which we have but just seen."
 "To this," replied Greenleaf, "there can be no objection;
but, would you seek the governor at the hour which now is,
you will find him most readily by going to the church of
Douglas, to which he regularly wends on occasions such as
the present, with the principal part of his officers, to ensure,
by his presence, that no tumult arise (of which there is no
<P 222>
little dread) between the English and the Scottish. Let us
therefore hold to our original intention of attending the
service of the day, and we shall rid ourselves of these en-
tangled woods, and gain the shortest road to the church
of Douglas."
 "Let us go, then, with all dispatch," said the minstrel;
"and with the greater haste, that it appears to me that
something has passed on this very spot this morning which
argues that the Christian peace due to the day has not been
inviolably observed. What mean these drops of blood?"
alluding to those which had flowed from the wounds of
Turnbull; "wherefore is the earth impressed with these
deep dints - the footsteps of armed men advancing and
retreating, doubtless, according to the chances of a fierce
and heady conflict?"
 "By Our Lady," returned Greenleaf, "I must own that
thou seest clear. What were my eyes made of when they
permitted thee to be the first discoverer of these signs of
conflict? Here are feathers of a blue plume which I ought
to remember, seeing my knight assumed it, or at least
permitted me to place it in his helmet this morning, in
sign of returning hope, from the liveliness of its colour.
But here it lies, shorn from his head, and, if I may guess,
by no friendly hand. Come, friend, to the church - to the
church - and thou shalt have my example of the manner in
which De Walton ought to be supported when in danger."
 He led the way through the town of Douglas, entering
at the southern gate, and up the very street in which Sir
Aymer de Valence had charged the Phantom Knight.
 We can now say more fully that the church of Douglas
had originally been a stately Gothic building, whose towers,
arising high above the walls of the town, bore witness to the
grandeur of its original construction. It was now partly
ruinous, and the small portion of open space which was
<P 223>
retained for public worship was fitted up in the family aisle,
where its deceased lords rested from worldly labours and the
strife of war. From the open ground in the front of the build-
ing their eye could pursue a considerable part of the course
of the river Douglas, which approached the town from the
south-west, bordered by a line of hills fantastically diversified
in their appearance, and in many places covered with copse-
wood, which descended towards the valley, and formed a
part of the tangled and intricate woodland by which the
town was surrounded. The river itself, sweeping round
the west side of the town, and from thence northward,
supplied that large inundation or artificial piece of water
which we have already mentioned. Several of the Scot-
tish people, bearing willow branches, or those of yew, to
represent the palms which were the symbol of the day,
seemed wandering in the churchyard as if to attend the
approach of some person of peculiar sanctity, or procession
of monks and friars come to render the homage due to
the solemnity. At the moment almost that Bertram and
his companion entered the churchyard, the Lady of Berkely,
who was in the act of following Sir John de Walton into
the church after having witnessed his conflict with the
young knight of Douglas, caught a glimpse of her faithful
minstrel, and instantly determined to regain the company
of that old servant of her house and confidant of her for-
tunes, and trust to the chance afterwards of being rejoined
by Sir John de Walton, with a sufficient party to provide
for her safety, which she in no respect doubted it would
be his care to collect. She darted away accordingly from
the path in which she was advancing, and reached the
place where Bertram, with his new acquaintance Greenleaf,
was making some inquiries of the soldiers of the English
garrison, whom the service of the day had brought there.
 Lady Augusta Berkely, in the meantime, had an oppor-
<P 224>
tunity to say privately to her faithful attendant and guide,
"Take no notice of me, friend Bertram, but take heed, if
possible, that we be not again separated from each other."
Having given him this hint, she observed that it was adopted
by the minstrel, and that he presently afterwards looked
round and set his eye upon her, as, muffled in her pilgrim's
cloak, she slowly withdrew to another part of the cemetery,
and seemed to halt until, detaching himself from Greenleaf,
he should find an opportunity of joining her.
 Nothing, in truth, could have more sensibly affected the
faithful minstrel than the singular mode of communication
which acquainted him that his mistress was safe and at
liberty to choose her own motions, and, as he might hope,
disposed to extricate herself from the dangers which sur-
rounded her in Scotland, by an immediate retreat to her
own country and domain. He would gladly have ap-
proached and joined her, but she took an opportunity by
a sign to caution him against doing so; while at the same
time he remained somewhat apprehensive of the conse-
quences of bringing her under the notice of his new friend
Greenleaf, who might, perhaps, think it proper to busy him-
self so as to gain favour with the knight who was at
the head of the garrison. Meantime, the old archer con-
tinued his conversation with Bertram, while the minstrel,
like many other men similarly situated, heartily wished that
his well-meaning companion had been a hundred fathoms
under ground, so his evanishment had given him license
to join his mistress; but all he had in his power was to
approach her as near as he could without creating any
 "I would pray you, worthy minstrel," said Greenleaf, after
looking carefully round, "that we may prosecute together
the theme which we were agitating before we came hither.
Is it not your opinion that the Scottish natives have fixed
<P 225>
this very morning for some of those dangerous attempts
which they have repeatedly made, and which are so care-
fully guarded against by the governors placed in this district
of Douglas by our good King Edward, our rightful sov-
 "I cannot see," replied the minstrel, "on what grounds
you found such an apprehension, or what you see here in
the churchyard different from that you talked of as we
approached it, when you held me rather in scorn for giving
way to some suspicions of the same kind."
 "Do you not see," added the archer, "the numbers of
men, with strange faces, and in various disguisements, who
are thronging about these ancient ruins, which are usually
so solitary? Yonder, for example, sits a boy, who seems to
shun observation, and whose dress, I will be sworn, has never
been shaped in Scotland."
 "And if he is an English pilgrim," replied the minstrel,
observing that the archer pointed towards the Lady of
Berkely, "he surely affords less matter of suspicion."
 "I know not that," said old Greenleaf, "but I think it
will be my duty to inform Sir John de Walton, if I can
reach him, that there are many persons here who in outward
appearance neither belong to the garrison nor to this part of
the country."
 "Consider," said Bertram, "before you harass with accusa-
tion a poor young man, and subject him to the consequences
which must necessarily attend upon suspicions of this nature,
how many circumstances call forth men peculiarly to devotion
at this period. Not only is this the time of the triumphal
entrance of the founder of the Christian religion into Jerusa-
lem, but the day itself is called Dominica Confitentium, or
the Sunday of Confessors, and the palm-tree, or the box and
yew, which are used as its substitutes, and which are dis-
tributed to the priests, are burnt solemnly to ashes, and
<P 226>
those ashes distributed among the pious by the priests
upon the Ash Wednesday of the succeeding year - all which
rites and ceremonies in our country are observed by order
of the Christian church; nor ought you, gentle archer, nor
can you without a crime, persecute those as guilty of designs
upon your garrison who can ascribe their presence here to
their desire to discharge the duties of the day. And look ye
at yon numerous procession approaching with banner and
cross, and, as it appears, consisting of some churchman of
rank and his attendants. Let us first inquire who he is, and
it is probable we shall find in his name and rank sufficient
security for the peaceable and orderly behaviour of those
whom piety has this day assembled at the church of
 Greenleaf accordingly made the investigation recommended
by his companion, and received information that the holy
man who headed the procession was no other than the
diocesan of the district, the Bishop of Glasgow, who had
come to give his countenance to the rites with which the
day was to be sanctified.
 The prelate accordingly entered the walls of the dilapidated
churchyard, preceded by his cross-bearers, and attended by
numbers, with bows of yew and other evergreens used on
the festivity instead of palms. Among them the holy father
showered his blessing, accompanied by signs of the cross,
which were met with devout exclamations by such of the
worshippers as crowded around him: "To thee, reverend
father, we apply for pardon for our offences, which we
humbly desire to confess to thee, in order that we may
obtain pardon from Heaven."
 In this manner the congregation and the dignified clergy-
man met together, exchanging pious greeting, and seemingly
intent upon nothing but the rites of the day. The acclama-
tions of the congregation mingled with the deep voice of the
<P 227>
officiating priest despensing the sacred ritual, the whole
forming a scene which, conducted with the Catholic skill
and ceremonial, was at once imposing and affecting.
 The archer, on seeing the zeal with which the people in
the churchyard, as well as a number who issued from the
church, hastened proudly to salute the bishop of the diocese,
was rather ashamed of the suspicions which he had enter-
tained of the sincerity of the good man's purpose in coming
hither. Taking advantage of a fit of devotion, not perhaps
very common with old Greenleaf, who at this moment thrust
himself forward to share in those spiritual advantages which
the prelate was dispensing, Bertram slipped clear of his
English friend, and, gliding to the side of the Lady Augusta,
exchanged, by the pressure of the hand, a mutual congratula-
tion upon having rejoined company. On a sign by the
minstrel, they withdrew to the inside of the church, so as
to remain unobserved amidst the crowd, in which they
were favoured by the dark shadows of some parts of the
 The body of the church, broken as it was, and hung round
with the armorial trophies of the last Lords of Douglas, fur-
nished rather the appearance of a sacrilegiously desecrated
ruin than the inside of a holy place; yet some care appeared
to have been taken to prepare it for the service of the day.
At the lower end hung the great escutcheon of William Lord
of Douglas, who had lately died a prisoner in England;
around that escutcheon were placed the smaller shields of
his sixteen ancestors, and a deep shadow was diffused
by the whole mass, unless where relieved by the glance of the
coronets, or the glimmer of bearings particularly gay in em-
blazonry. I need not say that in other respects the interior
of the church was much dismantled, it being the very same
place in which Sir Aymer de Valence held an interview with
the old sexton; and how now, drawing into a separate corner
<P 228>
some of the straggling parties whom he had collected and
brought to the church, kept on the alert, and appeared ready
for an attack as well at midday as at the witching hour of
midnight. This was the more necessary, as the eye of Sir
John de Walton seemed busied in searching from one place
to another, as if unable to find the object he was in quest
of, which the reader will easily understand to be the Lady
Augusta de Berkely, of whom he had lost sight in the
pressure of the multitude. At the eastern part of the
church was fitted up a temporary altar, by the side of
which, arrayed in his robes, the Bishop of Glasgow had
taken his place, with such priests and attendants as com-
posed his episcopal retinue. His suite was neither
numerous nor richly attired, nor did his own appearance
present a splendid specimen of the wealth and dignity of
the episcopal order. When he laid down, however, his
golden cross, at the stern command of the King of England,
that of simple wood, which he assumed instead thereof, did
not possess less authority, nor command less awe among the
clergy and people of the diocese.
 The various persons, natives of Scotland, now gathered
around seemed to watch his motions, as those of a
descended saint, and the English waited in mute astonish-
ment, apprehensive that at some unexpected signal an
attack would be made upon them, either by the powers
of earth or heaven, or perhaps by both in combination.
The truth is, that so great was the devotion of the Scot-
tish clergy of the higher ranks to the interests of the
party of Bruce, that the English had become jealous of
permitting them to interfere even with those ceremonies of
the church which were placed under their proper manage-
ment, and thence the presence of the Bishop of Glasgow,
officiating at a high festival in the church of Douglas, was
a circumstance of rare occurrence, and not unattended
<P 229>
both with wonder and suspicion. A council of the church,
however, had lately called the distinguished prelates of Scot-
land to the discharge of their duty on the festivity of Palm
Sunday, and neither English nor Scottish saw the ceremony
with indifference. An unwonted silence which prevailed in
the church, filled, as it appeared, with persons of different
views, hopes, wishes, and expectations, resembled one of
those solemn pauses which often take place before a strife
of the elements, and are well understood to be the fore-
runners of some dreadful concussion of nature. All animals,
according to their various nature, express their sense of the
approaching tempest; the cattle, the deer, and other inhab-
itants of the walks of the forest, withdraw to the inmost
recesses of their pastures; the sheep crowd into their fold;
and the dull stupor of universal nature, whether animate or
inanimate, presages its speedily awaking into general con-
vulsion and disturbance, when the lurid lightning shall hiss
at command of the diapason of the thunder.
 It was this that, in deep suspense, those who had come
to the church in arms at the summons of Douglas awaited
and expected every moment a signal to attack; while the
soldiers of the English garrison, aware of the evil dis-
position of the natives towards them, were reckoning
every moment when the well-known shout of "Bows and
bills]" should give signal for a general conflict; and both
parties, gazing fiercely upon each other, seemed to expect
the fatal onset.
 Notwithstanding the tempest, which appeared every moment
ready to burst, the Bishop of Glasgow proceeded with the
utmost solemnity to perform the ceremonies proper to the day;
he paused from time to time to survey the throng, as if to
calculate whether the turbulent passions of those around him
would be so long kept under as to admit to his duties being
brought to a close in a manner becoming the time and place.
<P 230>
 The prelate had just concluded the service, when a person
advanced towards him with a solemn and mournful aspect,
and asked if the reverend father could devote a few moments
to administer comfort to a dying man who was lying wounded
close by.
 The churchman signified a ready acquiescence, amidst a
stillness which, when he surveyed the lowering brows of one
party at least of those who were in the church, boded no
peaceable termination to this fated day. The father motioned
to the messenger to show him the way, and proceeded on
his mission, attended by some of those who were understood
to be followers of the Douglas.
 There was something peculiarly striking, if not suspicious,
in the interview which followed. In a subterranean vault
was deposited the person of a large, tall man, whose blood
flowed copiously through two or three ghastly wounds, and
streamed amongst the trusses of straw on which he lay, while
his features exhibited a mixture of sternness and ferocity,
which seemed prompt to kindle into a still more savage
 The reader will probably conjecture that the person in
question was no other than Michael Turnbull, who, wounded
in the rencounter of the morning, had been left by some of
his friends upon the straw, which was arranged for him by
way of couch, to live or die as he best could. The prelate,
on entering the vault, lost no time in calling the attention of
the wounded man to the state of his spiritual affairs, and
assisting him to such comfort as the doctrine of the church
directed should be administered to departing sinners. The
words exchanged between them were of that grave and severe
character which passes between the ghostly father and his
pupil when one world is rolling away from the view of the
sinner, and another is displaying itself in all its terrors, and
thundering in the ear of the penitent that retribution which
<P 231>
the deeds done in the flesh must needs prepare him to expect.
This is one of the most solemn meetings which can take
place between earthly beings; and the courageous character
of the Jedwood forester, as well as the benevolent and pious
expression of the old churchman, considerably enhanced the
pathos of the scene.
 "Turnbull," said the churchman, "I trust you will believe
me when I say that it grieves my heart to see thee brought
to this situation by wounds which, it is my duty to tell you,
you must consider mortal."
 "Is the chase ended then?" said the Jedwood man, with
a sigh. "I care not, good father, for I think I have borne
me as becomes a gallant quarry, and that the old forest has
lost no credit by me, whether in pursuit or in bringing to
bay; and even in this last matter, methinks this gay English
knight would not have come off with such advantage had the
ground on which we stood been alike indifferent to both, or
had I been aware of his onset; but it will be seen, by any
one who takes the trouble to examine, that poor Michael
Turnbull's foot slipped twice in the melee, otherwise it had
not been his fate to be lying here in the dead-thraw; while
yonder Southron would probably have died like a dog, upon
this bloody straw, in his place."
 The bishop replied, advising his penitent to turn from
vindictive thoughts respecting the death of others, and
endeavour to fix his attention upon his own departure from
existence, which seemed shortly about to take place.
 "Nay," replied the wounded man; "you, father, un-
doubtedly know best what is fit for me to do; yet methinks
it would not be very well with me if I had prolonged to this
time of day the task of revising my life, and I am not the
man to deny that mine has been a bloody and a desperate
one. But you will grant me I never bore malice to a brave
<P 232>
enemy for having done me an injury; and show me the man,
being a Scotchman born, and having a natural love for his
own country, who hath not, in these times, rather preferred
a steel cap to a hat and feather, or who hath not been more
conversant with drawn blades than with prayer-book. And
you yourself know, father, whether, in our proceedings against
the English interest, we have not uniformly had the coun-
tenance of the sincere fathers of the Scottish Church, and
whether we have not been exhorted to take arms and make
use of them for the honour of the King of Scotland and the
defence of our own rights."
 "Undoubtedly," said the prelate, "such have been our
exhortions towards our oppressed countrymen, nor do I
now teach you a different doctrine; nevertheless, having now
blood around me, and a dying man before me, I have need
to pray that I have not been misled from the true path, and
thus become the means of misdirecting others. May Heaven
forgive me if I have done so, since I have only to plead my
sincere and honest intention in excuse for the erroneous
counsel which I may have given to you and others touching
these wars. I am conscious that, encouraging you so to stain
your swords in blood, I have departed in some degree from
the character of my profession, which enjoins that we neither
shed blood, nor are the occasion of its being shed. May
Heaven enable us to obey our duties, and to repent of our
errors, especially such as have occasioned the death or dis-
tress of our fellow-creatures] And, above all, may this dying
Christian become aware of his errors, and repent with sin-
cerity of having done to others that which he would not
willingly have suffered at their hand]"
 "For that matter," answered Turnbull, "the time has
never been when I would not exchange a blow with the best
man who ever lived; and if I was not in constant practice
of the sword, it was because I have been brought up to the
<P 233>
use of the Jedwood-axe, which the English call a partisan,
and which makes little difference, I understand, from the
sword and poniard."
 "The distinction is not great," said the bishop; "but I
fear, my friend, that life taken with what you call a Jedwood-
axe gives you no privilege over him who commits the same
deed and inflicts the same injury with any other weapon."
 "Nay, worthy father," said the penitent, "I must own that
the effect of the weapons is the same, as far as concerns the
man who suffers; but I would pray of you information why
a Jedwood man ought not to use, as is the custom of his
country, a Jedwood-axe, being, as is implied in the name, the
offensive weapon proper to his country."
 "The crime of murder," said the bishop, "consists not in
the weapon with which the crime is inflicted, but in the pain
which the murderer inflicts upon his fellow-creatures, and the
breach of good order which he introduces into Heaven's
lovely and peaceable creation; and it is by turning your
repentance upon this crime that you may fairly expect to
propitiate Heaven for your offences, and at the same time to
escape the consequences which are denounced in Holy Writ
against those by whom man's blood shall be shed."
 "But, good father," said the wounded man, "you know as
well as any one that in this company, and in this very church,
there are upon the watch scores of both Scotchmen and
Englishmen, who come here not so much to discharge the
religious duties of the day, as literally to bereave each other
of their lives, and give a new example of the horror of those
feuds which the two extremities of Britain nourish against
each other. What conduct, then, is a poor man like me to
hold? Am I not to raise this hand against the English,
which methinks I still can make a tolerably efficient one? or
am I, for the first time in my life, to hear the war-cry when
it is raised, and hold back my sword from the slaughter?
<P 234>
Methinks it will be difficult, perhaps altogether impossible,
for me to do so; but if such is the pleasure of Heaven, and
your advice, most reverend father, unquestionably I must do
my best to be governed by your directions, as of one who
has a right and title to direct us in every dilemma, or case,
as they term it, of troubled conscience."
 "Unquestionably," said the bishop, "it is my duty, as I
have already said, to give no occasion this day for the shed-
ding of blood, or the breach of peace; and I must charge
you, as my penitent, that upon your soul's safety you do not
minister any occasion to affray or bloodshed, either by main-
taining such in your own person, or inciting others to the
same; for by following a different course of advice, I am
certain that you, as well as myself, would act sinfully and out
of character."
 "So I will endeavour to think, reverend father," answered
the huntsman; "nevertheless, I hope it will be remembered
in my favour that I am the first person bearing the surname
of Turnbull, together with the proper name of the prince of
archangels himself, who has at any time been able to sustain
the affront occasioned by the presence of a Southron with a
drawn sword, and was not thereby provoked to pluck forth
his own weapon, and to lay about him."
 "Take care, my son," returned the Prelate of Glasgow,
"and observe that even now thou art departing from those
resolutions which but a few minutes since thou didst adopt
upon serious and just consideration; wherefore do not be,
O my son] like the sow that has wallowed in the mire, and,
having been washed, repeats its act of pollution, and becomes
again yet fouler than it was before."
 "Well, reverend father," replied the wounded man, "al-
though it seems almost unnatural for Scottish men and
English to meet and part without a buffet, yet I will endeavour
most faithfully not to minister any occasion of strife, nor, if
<P 235>
possible, to snatch at any such occasion as shall be ministered
to me."
 "In doing so," returned the bishop, "thou wilt best atone
for the injury which thou hast done to the law of Heaven
upon former occasions, and thou shalt prevent the causes
for strife betwixt thee and they brethren of the southren land,
and shalt eschew the temptation towards that blood-guiltiness
which is so rife in this our day and generation. And do not
think that I am imposing upon thee, by these admonitions,
a duty more difficult than it is in thy convenant to bear, as a
man and as a Christian. I myself am a man and a Scotch-
man, and, as such, I feel offended at the unjust conduct of
the English towards our country and sovereign; and think-
ing as you do yourself, I know what you must suffer when
you are obliged to submit to national insults, unretaliated
and unrevenged. But let us not conceive ourselves the
agents of that retributive vengeance which Heaven has, in a
peculiar degree, declared to be its own attribute. Let us,
while we see and feel the injuries inflicted on our own
country, not forget that our own raids, ambuscades, and
surprises have been at least equally fatal to the English as
their attacks and forays have been to us; and, in short, let
the mutual injuries of the crosses of Saint Andrew and of
Saint George be no longer considered as hostile to the in-
habitants of the opposite district - at least during the festivals
of religion; but as they are mutually signs of redemption,
let them be, in like manner, intimations of forbearance and
peace on both sides."
 "I am contented," answered Turnbull, "to abstain from
all offences towards others, and shall even endeavour to keep
myself from resenting those of others towards me, in the
hope of bringing to pass such a quiet and godly state of
things as your words, reverend father, induce me to expect."
Turning his face to the wall, the Borderer lay in stern ex-
<P 236>
pectation of approaching death, which the bishop left him to
 The peaceful disposition which the prelate had inspired
into Michael Turnbull had in some degree diffused itself
among those present, who heard with awe the spiritual ad-
monition to suspend the national antipathy, and remain in
truce and amity with each other. Heaven had, however,
decreed that the national quarrel, in which so much blood
had been sacrificed, should that day again be the occasion
of deadly strife.
 A loud flourish of trumpets, seeming to proceed from
beneath the earth, now rang through the church, and roused
the attention of the soldiers and worshippers then assembled.
Most of those who heard these warlike sounds betook them-
selves to their weapons, as if they considered it useless to
wait any longer for the signal of conflict. Hoarse voices,
rude exclamations, the rattle of swords against their sheaths,
or their clashing against other pieces of armour, gave an
awful presage of an onset which, however, was for a time
averted by the exhortions of the bishop. A second flourish
of trumpets having taken place, the voice of a herald made
proclamation to the following purpose:-
 "That whereas there were many noble pursuivants of
chivalry presently assembled in the Kirk of Douglas, and
whereas there existed among them the usual causes of
quarrel and points of debate for their advancement in
chivalry, therefore the Scottish knights were ready to fight
any number of the English who might be agreed, either
upon the superior beauty of their ladies, or upon the national
quarrel in any of its branches, or upon whatever point
might be at issue between them which should be deemed
satisfactory ground of quarrel by both; and the knights who
should chance to be worsted in such dispute should renounce
the prosecution thereof, or the bearing arms therein there-
<P 237>
after, with such other conditions to ensue upon their defeat
as might be agreed upon by a council of the knights present
at the Kirk of Douglas aforesaid. But foremost of all, any
number of Scottish knights, from one to twenty, will defend
the quarrel which has already drawn blood, touching the
freedom of Lady Augusta be Berkely, and the rendition of
Douglas Castle to the owner here present. Wherefore it is
required that the English knights do intimate their consent
that such trial of valour take place, which, according to the
rules of chivalry, they cannot refuse without losing utterly
the reputation of valour, and incurring the diminution of
such other degree of estimation as a courageous pursuivant
of arms would willingly be held in, both by the good knights
of his own country and those of others."
 This unexpected gage of battle realized the worst fears of
those who had looked with suspicion on the extraordinary
assemblage this day of the dependants of the House of
Douglas. After a short pause, the trumpets again flourished
lustily, when the reply of the English knights was made in
the following terms:-
 "That God forbid the rights and privileges of England's
knights, and the beauty of her damsels, should not be
asserted by her children, or that such English knights as
were here assembled should show the least backwardness
to accept the combat offered, whether grounded upon the
superior beauty of their ladies, or whether upon the causes
of dispute between the countries, for either or all of which
the knights of England here present were willing to do battle
in the terms of the indenture aforesaid, while sword and
lance shall endure. Saving and excepting the surrender of
the Castle of Douglas, which can be rendered to no one but
England's king, or those acting under his orders."

<C XX>
<P 238>
( Cry the wild war-note, let the champions pass,
Do bravely each, and God defend the right;
Upon Saint Andrew thrice can they thus cry,
And thrice they shout on height,
And then marked them on the Englishmen,
As I have told you right.
Saint George the bright, our ladies' knight,
To name they were full fain;
Our Englishmen they cried on height,
And thrice they shout again.
 Old Ballad.)
The extraordinary crisis mentioned in the preceding chapter
was the cause, as may be supposed, of the leaders on both
sides now throwing aside all concealment, and displaying
their utmost strength, by marshalling their respective adher-
ents; the renowned Knight of Douglas, with Sir Malcolm
Fleming and other distinguished cavaliers, was seen in close
 Sir John de Walton, startled by the first flourish of
trumpets, while anxiously endeavouring to secure a retreat
for the Lady Augusta, was in a moment seen collecting his
followers, in which he was assisted by the active friendship
of the Knight of Valence.
 The Lady of Berkely showed no craven spirit at these war-
like preparations; she advanced, closely followed by the
faithful Bertram and a female in a riding-hood, whose face,
though carefully concealed, was no other than that of the
unfortunate Margaret de Hautlieu, whose worst fears had
been realized as to the faithlessness of her betrothed knight.
 A pause ensued, which for some time no one present
thought himself of authority sufficient to break.
 At last the Knight of Douglas stepped forward and said
loudly, "I wait to know whether Sir John de Walton requests
<P 239>
leave of James of Douglas to evacuate his castle without
further wasting that daylight which might show us to judge
a fair field, and whether he craves Douglas's protection in
doing so?"
 The Knight of Walton drew his sword. "I hold the
Castle of Douglas," he said, "in spite of all deadly - and
never will I ask the protection from any one which my own
sword is competent to afford me]"
 "I stand by you, Sir John," said Aymer de Valence, "as
your true comrade, against whatever odds may oppose them-
selves to us."
 "Courage, noble English," said the voice of Greenleaf;
"take your weapons, in God's name. Bows and bills] bows
and bills] A messenger brings us notice that Pembroke
is in full march hither from the borders of Ayrshire, and
will be with us in half an hour. Fight on, gallant English]
Valence to the rescue] the long life to the gallant Earl of
 Those English within and around the church no longer
delayed to take arms, and De Walton, crying out at the
height of his voice, "I implore the Douglas to look nearly to
the safety of the ladies," fought his way to the church door,
the Scottish finding themselves unable to resist the impres-
sion of terror which affected them at the sight of this renowned
knight, seconded by his brother-in-arms, both of whom had
been so long the terror of the district. In the meantime it
is possible that De Walton might altogether have forced his
way out of the church, had he not been met boldly by the
young son of Thomas Dickson of Hazelside, while his father
was receiving from Douglas the charge of preserving the
stranger ladies from all harm from the fight, which, so long
suspended, was now on the point of taking place.
 De Walton cast his eye upon the Lady Augusta, with a
desire of rushing to the rescue; but was forced to conclude
<P 240>
that he provided best for her safety be leaving her under the
protection of Douglas's honour.
 Young Dickson, in the meantime, heaped blow on blow,
seconding with all his juvenile courage every effort he could
make, in order to attain the prize due to the conqueror of the
renowned De Walton.
 "Silly boy," at length said Sir John, who had for some
time forborne the stripling, "take, then, thy death from a
noble hand, since thou preferrest that to peace and length
of days."
 "I care not," said the Scottish youth, with his dying
breath; "I have lived long enough, since I have kept you
so long in the place where you now stand."
 And the youth said truly, for as he fell, never again to rise,
the Douglas stood in his place, and without a word spoken,
again engaged with De Walton in the same formidable single
combat by which they had already been distinguished, but
with even additional fury. Aymer De Valence drew up to
his friend De Walton's left hand, and seemed but to desire
the apology of one of Douglas's people attempting to second
him, to join in the fray; but as he saw no person who seemed
disposed to give him such opportunity, he repressed the in-
clination, and remained an unwilling spectator. At length it
seemed as if Fleming, who stood foremost among the Scot-
tish knights, was desirous to measure his sword with De
Valence. Aymer himself, burning with the desire of combat,
at last called out, "Faithless Knight of Boghall] step forth
and defend yourself against the imputation of having deserted
your lady love, and of being a mansworn disgrace to the rolls
of chivalry]"
 "My answer," said Fleming, "even to a less gross taunt,
hangs by my side." In an instant his sword was in his hand,
and even the practised warriors who looked on felt difficulty
in discovering the progress of the strife, which rather re-
<P 241>
sembled a thunderstorm in a mountainous country than the
stroke and parry of two swords, offending on the one side
and keeping the defensive on the other.
 Their blows were exchanged with surprising rapidity; and
although the two combatants did not equal Douglas and De
Walton in maintaining a certain degree of reserve, founded
upon a respect which these knights mutually entertained for
each other, yet the want of art was supplied by a degree of
fury which gave chance at least an equal share in the issue.
 Seeing their superiors thus desperately engaged, the par-
tisans, as they were accustomed, stood still on either side,
and looked on with the reverence which they instinctively
paid to their commanders and leaders in arms. One or two
of the women were in the meanwhile attracted, according to
the nature of the sex, by compassion for those who had
already experienced the casualties of war. Young Dickson,
breathing his last among the feet of the combatants,
was in some sort rescued from the tumult by the Lady of
Berkely, in whom the action seemed less strange, owing to
the pilgrim's dress which she still retained, and who in vain
<P 242>
endeavoured to solicit the attention of the boy's father to the
task in which she was engaged.
 "Cumber yourself not, lady, about that which is bootless,"
said old Dickson, "and distract not your own attention and
mine from preserving you, whom it is the Douglas's wish to
rescue, and whom, so please God and Saint Bride, I consider
as placed by my chieftain under my charge. Believe me,
this youth's death is no way forgotten, though this be not
the time to remember it. A time will come for recollection,
and an hour for revenge."
 So said the stern old man, reverting his eyes from the
bloody corpse which lay at his feet, a model of beauty and
strength. Having taken one more anxious look, he turned
round and placed himself where he could best protect the
Lady of Berkely, not again turning his eyes on his son's
 In the interim the combat continued without the least ces-
sation on either side, and without a decided advantage. At
length, however, fate seemed disposed to interfere. The
Knight of Fleming pushing fiercely forward, and brought by
chance almost close to the person of the Lady Margaret de
Hautlieu, missed his blow, and his foot sliding in the blood
of the young victim, Dickson, he fell before his antagonist,
and was in imminent danger of being at his mercy, when
Margaret de Hautlieu, who inherited the soul of a warrior,
and besides was a very strong as well as an undaunted
person, seeing a mace of no great weight lying on the floor,
where it had been dropped by the fallen Dickson, it at the
same instant caught her eye, armed her hand, and intercepted
or struck down the sword of Sir Aymer de Valence, who
would otherwise have remained the master of the day at that
interesting moment. Fleming had more to do to avail him-
self of an unexpected chance of recovery than to make a
commentary upon the manner in which it had been so singu-
<P 243>
larly brought about. He instantly recovered the advantage
he had lost, and was able in the ensuing close to trip up the
voice of his conqueror, if he could properly be termed such,
resounded through the church with the fatal words, "Yield
thee, Aymer de Valence - rescue or no rescue] Yield thee,
yield thee]" he added, as he placed his sword to the throat
of the fallen knight, "not to me, but to this noble lady -
rescue or no rescue."
 With a heavy heart the English knight perceived that he
had fairly lost so favourable an opportunity of acquiring fame,
and was obliged to submit to his destiny or be slain upon
the spot. There was only one consolation - that no battle
was ever more honourably sustained, being gained as much
by accident as by valour.
 The fate of the protracted and desperate combat between
Douglas and De Walton did not much longer remain in sus-
pense; indeed, the number of conquests in single combat
achieved by the Douglas in these wars was so great as to
make it doubtful whether he was not, in personal strength
and skill, even a superior knight to Bruce himself, and he
was at least acknowledged nearly his equal in the art of war.
 So, however, it was that when three-quarters of an hour
had passed in hard contest, Douglas and De Walton, whose
nerves were not actually of iron, began to show some signs
that their human bodies were feeling the effect of the dreadful
exertion. Their blows began to be drawn more slowly, and
were parried with less celerity. Douglas, seeing that the
combat must soon come to an end, generously made a signal
intimating to his antagonist to hold his hand for an instant.
 "Brave De Walton," he said, "there is no mortal quarrel
between us, and you must be sensible that, in this passage of
arms, Douglas, though he is only worth his sword and his
cloak, has abstained from taking a decisive advantage when
<P 244>
the chance of arms has more than once offered it. My
father's house, the broad domains around it, the dwelling,
and the graves of my ancestors, form a reasonable reward for
a knight to fight for, and call upon me in an imperative voice
to prosecute the strife which has such an object; while you
are as welcome to the noble lady, in all honour and safety, as
if you had received her from the hands of King Edward him-
self. And I give you my word that the utmost honours which
can attend a prisoner, and a careful absence of everything
like injury or insult, shall attend De Walton when he yields
up the castle, as well as his sword, to James of Douglas."
 "It is the fate to which I am perhaps doomed," replied
Sir John de Walton; "but never will I voluntarily embrace
it, and never shall it be said that my own tongue, saving in
the last extremity, pronounced upon me the fatal sentence
to sink the point of my own sword. Pembroke is upon the
march with his whole army, to rescue the garrison of Douglas.
I hear the tramp of his horse's feet even now, and I will
maintain my ground while I am within reach of support;
nor do I fear that the breath which now begins to fail will
not last long enough to uphold the struggle till the arrival
of the expected succour. Come on, then, and treat me not
as a child, but as one who, whether I stand or fall, fears not
to encounter the utmost force of my knightly antagonist."
 "So be it then," said Douglas, a darksome hue, like the
lurid colour of the thunder-cloud, changing his brow as he
spoke, intimating that he meditated a speedy end to the
contest, when, just as the noise of horses' feet drew nigh,
a Welsh knight, known as such by the diminutive size of his
steed, his naked limbs, and his bloody spear, called out
loudly to the combatants to hold their hands.
 "Is Pembroke near?" said De Walton.
 "No nearer than Loudon Hill," said the prestantin; "but
I bring his commands to John de Walton."
<P 245>
 "I stand ready to obey them through every danger," an-
swered the knight.
 "Woe is me," said the Welshman, "that my mouth should
bring to the ears of so brave a man tidings so unwelcome]
The Earl of Pembroke yesterday received information that
the Castle of Douglas was attacked by the son of the deceased
Earl and the whole inhabitants of the district. Pembroke,
on hearing this, resolved to march to your support, noble
knight, with all the forces he had at his disposal. He did
so, and accordingly entertained every assurance of relieving
the castle, when unexpectedly he met, on Loudon Hill, a
body of men of no very inferior force to his own, and having
at their head that famous Bruce whom the Scottish rebels
acknowledge as their king. He marched instantly to the
attack, swearing he would not even draw a comb through
his gray beard until he had rid England of this recurring
plague. But the fate of war was against us."
 He stopped here for lack of breath.
 "I thought so]" exclaimed Douglas. "Robert Bruce
will now sleep at night, since he had paid home Pembroke
for the slaughter of his friends and the dispersion of his
army at Methven Wood. His men are, indeed, accustomed
to meet with dangers, and to conquer them: those who fol-
low him have been trained under Wallace, besides being
partakers of the perils of Bruce himself. It was thought
that the waves had swallowed them when they shipped them-
selves from the west; but know that the Bruce was deter-
mined with the present reviving spring to awaken his
pretensions, and that he retires not from Scotland again
while he lives, and while a single lord remains to set his foot
by his sovereign, in spite of all the power which has been so
feloniously employed against him."
 "It is even too true," said the Welshman Meredith,
"although it is said by a proud Scotchman, The Earl of
<P 246>
Pembroke, completely defeated, is unable to stir from Ayr,
towards which he had retreated with great loss; and he sends
his instructions to Sir John de Walton to make the best
terms he can for the surrender of the Castle of Douglas, and
trust nothing to his support."
 The Scottish, who heard this unexpected news, joined in
a shout so loud and energetic that the ruins of the ancient
church seemed actually to rock, and threaten to fall on the
heads of those who were crowded within it.
 The brow of De Walton was overclouded at the news of
Pembroke's defeat, although in some respects it placed him
at liberty to take measures for the safety of the Lady of
Berkely. He could not, however, claim the same honour-
able terms which had been offered to him by Douglas before
the news of the battle of Loudon Hill had arrived.
 "Noble knight," he said, "it is entirely at your pleasure
to dictate the terms of surrender of your paternal castle;
nor have I a right to claim from you those conditions which,
a little while since, your generosity put in my offer. But
I submit to my fate; and upon whatever terms you think fit
to grant me, I must be content to offer to surrender to you
the weapon of which I now put the point in the earth, in
evidence that I will never more direct it against you until a
fair ransom shall place it once more at my own disposal."
 "God forbid," answered the noble James of Douglas,
"that I should take such advantage of the bravest knight
out of not a few who have found me work in battle] I will
take example from the Knight of Fleming, who has gallantly
bestowed his captive in guerdon upon a noble damsel here
present; and in like manner I transfer my claim upon the
person of the redoubted Knight of Walton to the high and
noble Lady Augusta Berkely, who, I hope, will not scorn
to accept from the Douglas a gift which the chance of war
has thrown into his hands."
<P 247>
 Sir John de Walton, on hearing this unexpected decision,
looked up like the traveller who discovers the beams of the
sun breaking through and dispersing the tempest which has
accompanied him for a whole morning. The Lady of
Berkely recollected what became her rank, and showed
her sense of the Douglas's chivalry. Hastily wiping off the
tears which had unwillingly flowed to her eyes, while her
lover's safety and her own were resting on the precarious
issue of a desperate combat, she assumed the look proper
to a heroine of that age, who did not feel averse to accept
the importance which was conceded to her by the general
voice of the chivalry of the period. Stepping forward, bear-
ing her person gracefully yet modestly, in the attitude of
a lady accustomed to be looked to in difficulties like the
present, she addressed the audience in a tone which might
not have misbecome the Goddess of Battle dispensing her
influence at the close of a field covered with the dead and
the dying.
 "The noble Douglas," she said, "shall not pass without
a prize from the field which he has so nobly won. This
rich string of brilliants, which my ancestor won from the
Sultan of Trebizond, itself a prize of battle, will be honoured
by sustaining under the Douglas's armour a lock of hair
of the fortunate lady whom the victorious lord has adopted
for his guide in chivalry; and if the Douglas, till he shall
adorn it with that lock, will permit the honoured lock of
hair which it now bears to retain its station, she on whose
head it grew will hold it as a signal that poor Augusta de
Berkely is pardoned for having gaged any mortal man in
strife with the Knight of Douglas."
 "Woman's love," replied the Douglas, "shall not divorce
this locket from my bosom, which I will keep to the last day
of my life, as emblematic of female worth and female virtue.
And not to encroach upon the valued and honoured province
<P 248>
of Sir John de Walton, be it known to all men, that whoever
shall say that the Lady Augusta of Berkely has, in this en-
tangled matter, acted otherwise than becomes the noblest
of her sex, he will do well to be ready to maintain such a
proposition with his lance against James of Douglas in a
fair field."
 This speech was heard with approbation on all sides; and
the news brought by Meredith of the defeat of the Earl of
Pembroke, and his subsequent retreat, reconciled the fiercest
of the English soldiers to the surrender of Douglas Castle.
The necessary conditions were speedily agreed on, which
put the Scottish in possession of this stronghold, together
with the stores, both of arms and ammunition, of every kind,
which it contained. The garrison had it to boast that they
obtained a free passage, with their horses and arms, to return
by the shortest and safest route to the marches of England,
without either suffering or inflicting damage.
 Margaret of Hautlieu was not behind in acting a generous
part: the gallant Knight of Valence was allowed to accom-
pany his friend De Walton and the Lady Augusta to England,
and without ransom.
 The venerable prelate of Glasgow, seeing what appeared
at one time likely to end in a general conflict terminate so
auspiciously for his country, contented himself with bestow-
ing his blessing on the assembled multitude, and retiring
with those who came to assist in the service of the day.
 This surrender of Douglas Castle upon the Palm Sunday
of 19th March, 1306-7, was the beginning of a career of con-
quest which was uninterrupted, in which the greater part of
the strengths and fortresses of Scotland were yielded to those
who asserted the liberty of their country, until the crowning
mercy was gained in the celebrated field of Bannockburn,
where the English sustained a defeat more disastrous than
is mentioned upon any other occasion in their annals.
<P 249>
 Little need by said of the fate of the persons of this story.
King Edward was greatly enraged at Sir John de Walton
for having surrendered the Castle of Douglas, securing at the
same time his own object - the envied hand of the heiress of
Berkely. The knights to whom he referred the matter as a
subject of inquiry gave it nevertheless as their opinion that
De Walton was void of all censure, having discharged his
duty in its fullest extent, till the commands of his superior
officer obliged him to surrender the Dangerous Castle.
 A singular renewal of intercourse took place, many months
afterwards, between Margaret of Hautlieu and her lover, Sir
Malcolm Fleming. The use which the lady made of her
freedom, and of the doom of the Scottish Parliament, which
put her in possession of her father's inheritance, was to follow
her adventurous spirit through dangers not usually encoun-
tered by those of her sex; and the Lady of Hautlieu was
not only a daring follower of the chase, but it was said that
she was even not daunted in the battlefield. She remained
faithful to the political principles which she had adopted at
an early period; and it seemed as if she had formed the
gallant resolution of shaking the god Cupid from her horse's
mane, if not treading him beneath her horse's feet.
 The Fleming, although he had vanished from the neigh-
bourhood of the counties of Lanark and Ayr, made an
attempt to state his apology to the Lady de Hautlieu herself,
who returned his letter unopened, and remained to all appear-
ance resolved never again to enter upon the topic of their
original engagement. It chanced, however, at a later period
of the war with England, while Fleming was one night trav-
elling upon the Border, after the ordinary fashion of one
who sought adventures, a waiting-maid, equipped in a fan-
tastic habit, asked the protection of his arm in the name of
her lady, who late in the evening had been made captive,
she said, by certain ill-disposed caitiffs, who were carrying
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her by force through the forest. The Fleming's lance was,
of course, in its rest, and woe betide the faitour whose lot
it was to encounter its thrust; the first fell, incapable of
further combat, and another of the felons encountered the
same fate with little more resistance. The lady, released
from the discourteous cord which restrained her liberty, did
not hesitate to join company with the brave knight by whom
she had been rescued; and although the darkness did not
permit her to recognize her old lover in her liberator, yet
she could not but lend a willing ear to the conversation with
which he entertained her as they proceeded on the way. He
spoke of the fallen caitiffs as being Englishmen, who found
a pleasure in exercising oppression and barbarities upon the
wandering damsels of Scotland, and whose cause, therefore,
the champions of that country were bound to avenge while
the blood throbbed in their veins. He spoke of the injustice
of the national quarrel, which had afforded a pretence for
such deliberate oppression; and the lady, who herself had
suffered so much by the interference of the English in the
affairs of Scotland, readily acquiesced in the sentiments
which he expressed on a subject which she had so much
reason for regarding as an afflicting one. Her answer was
given in the spirit of a person who would not hesitate, if the
times should call for such an example, to defend even with
her hand the rights which she asserted with her tongue.
 Pleased with the sentiments which she expressed, and
recognizing in her voice that secret charm which, once
impressed upon the human heart, is rarely wrought out of
the remembrance by a long train of subsequent events, he
almost persuaded himself that the tones were familiar to
him, and had at one time formed the key to his innermost
affections. In proceeding on their journey, the knight's
troubled state of mind was augmented instead of being
diminished. The scenes of his earliest youth were recalled
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by circumstances so slight as would in ordinary cases have
produced no effect whatsoever; the sentiments appeared
similar to those which his life had been devoted to enforce,
and he half persuaded himself that the dawn of day was to
be to him the beginning of a fortune equally singular and
 In the midst of this anxiety Sir Malcolm Fleming had no
anticipation that the lady whom he had heretofore rejected
was again thrown into his path after years of absence; still
less, when daylight gave him a partial view of his fair com-
panion's countenance, was he prepared to believe that he was
once again to term himself the champion of Margaret de
Hautlieu, but it was so. The lady on that direful morn-
ing when she retired from the church of Douglas had not
resolved (indeed what lady ever did?) to renounce, without
some struggle, the beauties which she had once possessed.
A long process of time employed under skilful hands had
succeeded in obliterating the scars which remained as the
marks of her fall. These were now considerably effaced,
and the lost organ of sight no longer appeared so great a
blemish, concealed, as it was, by a black ribbon and the arts
of the tirewoman, who made it her business to shadow it
over by a lock of hair. In a word, he saw the same
Margaret de Hautlieu with no very different style of ex-
pression from that which her face, partaking of the high and
passionate character of her soul, had always presented. It
seemed to both, therefore, that their fate, by bringing them
together after a separation which appeared so decisive, had
intimated its fiat that their fortunes were inseparable from
each other. By the time that the summer sun had climbed
high in the heavens the two travellers rode apart from their
retinue, conversing together with an eagerness which marked
the important matters in discussion between them; and in a
short time it was made generally known through Scotland
<P 252>
that Sir Malcolm Fleming and the Lady Margaret de
Hautlieu were to be united at the court of the good King
Robert, and the husband invested with the honours of
Biggar and Cumbernauld, an earldom so long known in the
family of Fleming.

The gentle reader is acquainted that these are, in all proba-
bility, the last tales which it will be the lot of the Author
to submit to the public. He is now on the eve of visiting
foreign parts; a ship of war is commissioned by its Royal
Master to carry the Author of Waverley to climates in which
he may possibly obtain such a restoration of health as may
serve him to spin his thread to an end in his own country.
Had he continued to prosecute his usual literary labours, it
seems indeed probable that at the term of years he has
already attained, the bowl, to use the pathetic language of
Scripture, would have been broken at the fountain; and
little can one who has enjoyed on the whole an uncommon
share of the most inestimable of worldly blessings be en-
titled to complain that life, advancing to its period, should
be attended with its usual proportions of shadows and
storms. They have affected him at least in no more painful
manner than is inseparable from the discharge of this part of
the debt of humanity. Of those whose relation to him in
the ranks of life might have ensured him their sympathy
under indisposition, many are now no more; and those who
may yet follow in his wake are entitled to expect, in bearing
inevitable evils, an example of firmness and patience, more
especially on the part of one who had enjoyed no small good
fortune during the course of his pilgrimage.
 The public have claims on his gratitude, for which the
Author of Waverley has no adequate means of expression;
but he may be permitted to hope that the powers of his
<P 253>
mind, such as they are, may not have a different fate from
those of his body; and that he may again meet his patroniz-
ing friends, if not exactly in his old fashion of literature, at
least in some branch which may not call forth the remark
that -
"Superflous lags the veteran on the stage."
ABBOTSFORD, Sept. 1831.