Page images

have led to Eveline's even yet forming some resolution | tian armament those equipped vessels which he had unfavourable to the suit of the Constable. But, still provided, and which even now awaited the einbarkmore zealous for her lady's honour than even for her ation of himself and his followers. happiness, Rose had strictly forborne every effort Yet, while making these magnificent proffers, the which could affect Eveline's purpose, when she had Constable could not help feeling they would be inadeonce expressed her approbation of De Lacy's address- quate to the expectations of the ngid prelate Baldwin, es; and whatever she thought or anticipated con- who, as he had himself reached the crusade, and cerning the proposed marriage, she seemed from that brought the Constable and many others into that moment to consider it as an event which must neces- holy engagement, must needs see with displeasure the sarily take place.

work of his eloquence endangered, by the retreat of De Lacy himself

, as he learned more intimately to so important an associate from his favourite enterprise. know the merit of the prize which he was desirous of To soften, therefore, his disappointinent as much as possessing, looked forward with different feelings to- possible, the Constable offered io the Archbishop, that, wards the union, than those with which he had first in the event of his obtaining license to remain in proposed the measure to Raymond Berenger. It was Britain, his forces should be led by his nephew, Dathen a mere match of interest and convenience, mian Lacy, already renowned for his early feats of which had occurred to the mind of a proud and politic chivalry, the present hope of his house, and, failing feudal lord, as the best mode of consolidating the heirs of his own body, its future head and support.. power and perpetuating the line of his family. "Nor The Constable took the most prudent method of did even the splendour of Eveline's beauty make that communicating this proposal to the Archbishop Bald. impression upon De Lacy, which it was calculated to win, through a mutual friend, on whose good offices do on the fiery and impassioned chivalry of the age. he could depend, and whose interest with the Pretate He was past that period of life when the wise are cap- was regarded as great. But notwithstanding the tivated by outward form, and might have said with splendour of the proposal, the Prelate heard it with truth, as well as with discretion, that he could have sullen and obstinate silence, and referred for answer wished his beautiful bride several years older, and pos- 10 a personal conference with the Constable ar an an. sessed of a more moderate portion of personal charms, pointed day, when concerns of the church would call in order to have rendered the match more fitted for his the Archbishop to the city of Gloucester. The sport own age and disposition. This stoicism, however, of the mediator was such as induced the Consial·le vanished, when, on repeated interviews with his des to expect a severe struggle with the proud and power: tined bride, he found that she was indeed inexperienced ful churchman; but, himself proud and powerful, and in life, but desirous to be guided by superior wisdom; backed by the favour of his sovereign, he did not ex. and that, although gifted with high spirit, and a disposi- pect to be foiled in the contest. tion which began to recover its natural elastic gayety, The necessity that this point should be previously she was gentle, docile, and, above all, endowed with a adjusted, as well as the recent loss of Eveline's fafirmness of principle, which seemed to give assurance ther, gave an air of privacy to De Lacy's courtship

, that she would tread uprightly, and without spot, the and prevented its being signalized by tournaments slippery, paths in which youth, rank, and beauty, are and feats of military skill, in which he would have doomed to move.

been otherwise desirous to display his address in the As feelings of a warmer and more impassioned kind eyes of his mistress. The rules of the convent pretowards Eveline began to glow in De Lacy's bosom, vented his giving entertainments of dancing, music, his engagements as a crusader became more and more or other more pacific revels; and although the Conburdensome to him. The Benedictine Abbess, the stable displayed his affection by the most splendid natural guardian of Eveline's happiness, added to gifts to his future bride and her attendants, the whole these feelings by her reasoning and remonstrances. affair, in the opinion of the experienced Dame Gillian, Although a nun and a devolee, she held in reverence proceeded more with the solemnity of a funeral, than the holy state of matrimony, and comprehended so the light pace of an appoaching bridal. much of it as to be aware, that its important purposes The bride herself felt something of this, and thought could not be accomplished while the whole continent occasionally it might have been lightened by the visis of Europe was interposed betwixt the married pair; of young Damian, in whose age, so nearly corres for as to a hint from the Constable, that his young ponding to her own, she might have expected some spouse might accompany him into the dangerous and relief from the formal courtship of his graver uncle, dissolute precints of the Crusaders' camp, the good But he came not; and from what the Constable said lady crossed herself with horror at the proposal, and concerning him, she was led to imagine that the renever permitted it to be a second time mentioned in lations had, for a time at least, exchanged occupa. her presence.

tions and character. The elder De Lacy conupued, It was not however, uncommon for kings, princes, indeed, in nominal observance of his vow to dwell and other persons of high consequence, who had in a pavilion by the gates of Gloucester ; but he sel. taken upon them the vow to rescue Jerusalem, to ob- dom donned his armour, substituted costly damask tain delays, and even a total remission of their engage- and silk for his war-worn shamoy doublet, and ar ment, by proper application to the Church of Rome. fected at his advanced time of life more gayety of The Constable was sure to possess the full advantage attire than his contemporaries remembered as disof his sovereign’s interest and countenance, in seeking tinguishing his early youth. His nephew, on the conpermission to remain in England, for he was the noble trary, resided almost constantly on the marches of to whose valour and policy Henry had chiefly in Wales, occupied in settling by prudence, or subduing trusted the defence of the disorderly Welsh marches; by main force, the various disturbances by which and it was by no means with his good-will that so these provinces were continually agitated; and Eveuseful a subject had ever assumed the cross.

line learned with surprise, that it was with difficulty It was seiiled, therefore, in private betwixt the Ab- his uncle had prevailed on him to be present at the bess and the Constable, that the latter should solicit ceremony of their being betrothed to each other, or, at Rome, and with the Pope's Legate in England, a as the Normans entitled the cerernory, their fan. remission of his vow for at least two years; a favour cailles. This engagement, which preceded the actual which it was thought could scarce be refused to one marriage for a space more or less, according to ciof his wealth and influence, backed as it was with the cumstances, was usually celebrated with a solemnity most liberal offers of assistance towards the redemp- corresponding to the rank of the contracting parties tion of the Holy Land. His offers were indeed mu- The Constable added, with expressions of regret nificent; for he proposed, if his own personal attend that Damian gave himself too little rest, considenng ance were dispensed with, to send a hundred lances at his early youth, slept too little, and indulged in too his own cost, each lance accompanied by two squires, restless a disposition

that his health was suffering three archers, and a varlet or horse-boy; being double —and that a learned Jewish leech, whose opinion had the retinue by which his own person was to have been taken, had given his advice that the warmth of a been accompanied. He offered besides to deposit the more genial climate was necessary to restore his consum of two thousand bezants to the general expenses stitution to its general and natural vigour. of the expedition, to surrender to the use of the Chris- Eveline heard this with much regret, for she re

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

of age.

membered Damian as the angel of good tidings, who him to no cost, and, in so far, I might expect some first brought her news of deliverance from the forces favour." of the Welsh; and the occasions on which they had "In that my Lord Constable,” said Eveline, "must met, though mournful, brought a sort of pleasure in judge for himself. I have-as yet, at least-no right recollection, so gentle had been the youth's deport- to interfere in his family affairs; and if I should ever ment, and so consoling his expressions of sympathy have such right, it will well become me to be cautious She wished she could see him, that she might herself how I use it. judge of the nature of his illness; for, like other dam- "It is prudently answered,” replied Randal; "but sels of that age, she was not entirely ignorant of the what I ask of you is merely, that you, in your gentleart of healing, and had been taught by Father Aldro- ness, would please to convey to my cousin a suit

, vand, himself no mean physician, how to extract which I find it hard to bring my ruder tongue to utter healing essences from plants and herbs gathered un- with sufficient submission. The usurers, whose claims der planetary hours. She thought it possible that have eaten like a canker into my means, now menace her talents in this art, slight as they were, might per- me with a dungeon; a threat which they dared not muthaps be of service to one already her friend and ter, far less attempt to execute, were it not that they see liberator, and soon about to become her very near re- me an outcast, unprotected by the natural head of my lation.

family, and regard me rather as they would some It was therefore with a sensation of pleasure, unfriended vagrant, than as a descendant of the powmingled with some confusion, (at the idea, doubtless, erful House of Lacy.!!! of assuming the part of medical adviser to so young "It is a sad necessity,” replied Eveline ;,“ but I see a patient, that one evening, while the convent was not how I can lielp you in such extremity." assembled about some business of their chapter, she "Easily," replied Randal de Lacy. "The day of heard Gillian announce that the kinsman of the your betrothal is fixed, as I hear, reported; and it is Lord Constable desired to speak with her. She your right to select what witnesses you please to the snatched up the veil, which she wore in compliance solemnity, which may the saints bless! To every with the customs of the house, and hastily descended one but myself, presence or absence on that occasion :o the parlour, commanding the attendance of Gillian, is a matter of mere ceremony-to me is alınost life who, nevertheless, did not think proper to obey the or death. So am I situated, that the marked instance signal.

of slight or contempt, implied by my exclusion from When she entered the apartment, a man whom she this meeting of our family, will be held for the signal had never seen before advanced, kneeled on one knee, of my final expulsion from the House of :he De Lacys, and taking up the hem of her veil, saluted it with an and for a thousand bloodhounds to assail me without air of the most profound respect. She stepped back, mercy or forbearance, whom, cowards as they are, surprised and alarmed, although there was nothing even the slightest show of countenance from my in the appearance of the stranger to justify her ap- powerful kinsman would compel to stand at bay. prehension. He seemed to be about thirty years of But why should I occupy your iime in talking thus ? age, tall of stature, and bearing a roble though wasted -Farewell, madam-be happy--and do not think of form, and a countenance on which disease, or per- me the more harshly, that for a few minutes I have haps youthful indulgence, had anticipated the traces broken the tenor of your happy thoughts, by forcing

His demeanour seemed courteous and re- my misfortunes on your notice. spectful, even in a degree which approached to ex- 'Stay, sir," said Eveline, affected by the tone and cess. He observed Eveline's surprise, and said, in a manner of the noble suppliant; "you shall not have tone of pride, mingled with emotion, " I fear that I it to say that you have told your distress to Eveline have been mistaken, and that my visit is regarded as Berenger, without receiving such aid as is in her an unwelcome intrusion."

power to give. I will mention your request to the Arise, sir," answered Eveline, "and let me know Constable of Chester." your naine and business. I was summoned to a kins- "You must do more, if you really mean to assist man of the Constable of Chester."

,” said Randal de Lacy, "you must make that "And you expected the stripling Damian,” an- request your own. You do not know," said he, swered the stranger. "But the match with which continuing to bend on her a fixed and expressive England rings will connect you with others of the look, “how hard it is to change the fixed purpose house besides that young person; and amongst these, of a De Lacy-a twelvemonth bence you will prowith the luckless Randal de Lacy. Perhaps," con- bably be better acquainted with the firm texture of tinued he, “ the fair Eveline Berenger may not even our resolutions. But, at present, what can withstand have heard his name breathed by his more fortunate your wish should you deign to express it ?” kinsman-more fortunate in every respect, but most "Your suit, sir, shall not be lost for want of my fortunate in his present prospects.

advancing it with my good word and good wishes," This compliment was accompanied by a deep replied Eveline; . but you must be well aware that reverence, and Eveline stood much embarrassed how its success or failure must rest with the Constable to reply to his civilities; for although she now well himself." remembered to have heard this Randal slightly men- Randal de Lacy took his leave with the same air tioned by the Constable when speaking of his family, of deep reverence which had marked his entrance; it was in terms which implied that there was no only that, as he then saluted the skirt of Eveline's good understanding betwixt them. She therefore robe, he now rendered the same homage by touching only returned his courtesy by general thanks for the her hand with his lip. She saw him depart with a honour of his visit, trusting he would then retire; mixture of emotions, in which compassion was prebut such was not his purpose.

dominant; although' in his complaints of the Con"I comprehend," he said, "from the coldness with stable's unkindness to him there was something which the Lady Eveline Berenger receives me that offensive, and his avowal of follies and excess seemed what she has heard of me from my kinsman (if in- uttered rather in the spirit of wounded pride, ihan in deed he thought me wort of being mentioned to that of contrition. her at all) has been, to say the least, unfavourable. When Eveline next saw the Constable, she told And yei my name once stood as high in fields him of the visit of Randal, and of his request; and and courts, as that of the Constable; nor is it aught strictly observing his countenance while she spoke, more disgraceful than what is indeed often esteemed she saw, that at the first mention of his kinsman's the worst of disgraces--poverty, which prevents my name, a gleam of anger shot along his features. He still aspiring to places of honour and fame. If my soon subdued it, however, and fixing his eyes on the youthful follies have been numerous, I have paid for ground, listened to Eveline's detailed account of the ihem by the loss of my fortune, and the degradation visit, and her request "that Randall might be one of of my condition; and therein my happy kinsman the inviter witnesses to their fiancailles." might, if he pleased, do me some aid-1 mean not The Constable paused for a moment, as if he were with his purse or estate; for, poor as I am, I would considering how to elude the solicitation. At length not live on alms extorted from the reluctant hand of he replied, "You do not know for whom you ask this, an estranged friend; but his countenance would put or you would perhaps have forborne your request;



neither are you apprised of its full import

, though my lowed precinct the few only who were to be present at crafty cousin well knows, that when I do him this the solemnity, with their principal attendants; and grace which he asks, I bind myself, as it were, in the while the former were ushered with all due ceremony eye of the world once more--and it will be for the into the apartments dressed out for the occasion, the third time-to interfere in his affairs, and place them attendants, although detained in the outer court, were on such a footing as may afford him the means of re- liberally supplied with refreshments of the most subestablishing his fallen consequence, and repairing his stantial kind; and had the amusement, so dear to numerous errors.'

the menial classes, of examining and criticising their "And wherefore not, my lord ?" said the generous masters and mistresses, as they passed into the inte Eveline. "If he has been ruined only through follies, rior apartments prepared for their reception. he is now of an age when these are no longer tempt- Amongst the domestics who were thus employed, ing snares; and if his heart and hand be good, he may were old Raoul the huntsman and his jolly dame;yet be an honour to the House of De Lacy."

he gay and glorious, in a new cassock of green vel The Constable shook his head. "He hath indeed,”: vet, she gracious and comely, in a kirtle of yellow he said, “a heart and hand fit for service, God silk, fringed with minivair, and that at no mean cost, knoweth, whether in good or evil. But never shall were equally busied in beholding the gay spectacle it be said that you, my fair Eveline, made request The most inveterate wars have their occasional terms of Hugh de Lacy, which he was not to his uttermost of truce; the most bitter and boisterous weatber its willing to comply with. Randall shall attend at our hours of warmth and of calmness, and so was it fiancailles ;-there is indeed the more cause for his with the matrimonial horizon of this amiable pair, attendance, as I somewhat fear we may lack that which, usually cloudy, had now for a brief space of our valued nephew Damian, whose malady rather cleared up. The splendour of their new apparel, be increases than declines, and, as I hear, with strange mirth of the spectacle around them, with the aid, symptoms of unwonted disturbance of mind and starts perhaps, of a bowl of muscadine quaffed by Raoul, of temper, to which the youth hath not hitherto been and cup of hippocras sipped by his wife, had redsubjeci."

dered them rather more agreeable in each other's eyes than was their wont; good cheer being in such

cases, as oil is to a rusty lock, the means of making CHAPTER XVII.

those valves move smoothly and glibly, which other Ring out the merry bells, the bride approaches.

wise work not together at all, or by shrieks and The blush upon her cheek has shamed the morning, groans express their reluctance to move in union. For that is dawning palely. Grant, good saints.

The pair had stack themselves into a kind of niche, These clouds betoken naught of evil omen l--Old Play.

three or four steps from the ground, which contained The day of the fiancailles, or espousals, was now a small stone bench, whence their curious eyes could approaching; and it seems that neither the profession scrutinize with advantage every guest who entered of the Abbess, nor her practice at least, were so the court. rigid as to prevent her selecting the great parlour Thus placed, and in their present state of tempoof the convent for that holy rite, although neces- rary concord, Raoul with his frosty visage formed no sarily introducing many male guests within those unapt representative of January, the bitter father of vestal precincts, and notwithstanding that the rite the year; and though Gillian was past the delicate itself was the preliminary to a state which the in- bloom of youthful May, yet the melting fire of a full mates of the cloister had renounced for ever. The black eye, and the genial glow of a ripe and crimson Abbess's Norman pride of birth, and the real interest cheek, made her a lively type of the fruitful and jovial which she took in her niece's advancement, overcame August. Dame Gillian used to make it her boast, all scruples; and the venerable mother might be seen that she could please every body with her gossip, in unwonted bustle, now giving orders to the gardener when she chose it, from Raymond Berenger down to for decking the apartment with flowers-now to her Robin the horse-boy; and like a good housewife. cellaress, her precentrix, and the lay-sisters of the who, to keep her hand in use, will sometimes evea kitchen, for preparing a splendid banquet, mingling condescend to dress a dish for her husband's sole eather commands on these worldly subjects with an ing, she now thought proper to practise her powers occasional ejaculation on their vanity and worthless- of pleasing on old Raoul, fairly conquering. m ber ness, and every now and then converting the busy successful" sallies of mirth and satire, not only bis and anxious looks which she threw upon her prepara- cynical temperament towards all human kiod, but tions into a solemn turning upward of eyes and fold- his peculiar and special disposition to be testy with ing of hands, as one who sighed over the mere earthly his spouse. Her jokes, such as they were, and the pomp which she took such trouble in superintending. coquetry with which they were enforced, had such At another time the good lady might have been seen an effect on this Timon of the woods, that he curled in close consultation with Father Aldrovand, upon the up his cynical nose, displayed his few straggling ceremonial, civil and religious, which was to accom- teeth like a cur about to bite, broke out into a barspany a solemnity of such consequence to her family. ing laugh, which was more like the cry of one of his

Mean while the reins of discipline, although re- own hounds-stopped short in the explosion, as if he laxed for a season, were not entirely thrown loose. had suddenly recollected that it was out of character; The outer court of the convent was indeed for the yet, ere he resumed his acrimonious gravity, shot time opened for the reception of the male sex; þut such a glance at Gillian as made his nut-cracker the younger sisters and novices of the house being jaws, pinched eyes, and convolved nose, bear no carefully secluded in the more inner apartments of small resemblance to one of those fantastic faces the extensive building, under the immediate eye of a which decorate the upper end of old bass viols. grim old nun, or, as the conventual rule designed her, "Is not this better than laying your dog-leash on an ancient, sad, and virtuous person, termed Mistress your loving wife, as if she were a brach of the kenof the Novices, were not permitted to pollute their nel ?" said August to January. eyes by looking on waving plumes and rustling man- "In troth is it," answered January, in a frost- bittea tes. A few sisters, indeed, of the Abbess's own stand- tone ;-"and so it is also better than doing the braching, were left at liberty, being such goods as it was tricks which bring the leash into exercise.* thought could not, in shopman's phrase, take harm "Humph!" said Gillian, in the tone of one who from the air, and which are therefore left lying loose thought her husband's proposition might bear being on the counter. These antiquated

dames went mump- disputed; but instantly changing the note to that of ing about with much affected indifference, and a great tender complaint, "Ah! Raoul," she said, "do you deal of real curiosity, endeavouring indirectly to get not remember how you once beat me because our information concerning, names, and dresses, and late lord-Our Lady assoilzie him!-took my crimson decorations, without daring to show such interest in breastknot for a peony rose ?" these vanities as actual questions on the subject might “Ay, ay," said the huntsman; "I remember our have implied.

old master would make such mistakes Our Lady A stout band of the Constable's spearmen guarded assoilzie him! as you say- The best hound will hunt the gate of the nunnery, admitting within the hal- | counter.'

[ocr errors]

"And how could you think, dearest Raoul, to let Mean while the old huntsman made his way tothe wife of thy bosom go so long without a new kir- wards the entrance, before which Dainian remained tle ?" said his helpmate.

standing, in apparent uncertainty whether he should " Why, thou hast got one from our young lady that enter or not, regardless of the crowd around, and at misht serve a countess, said Raoul, his concord the same time attracting their attention by the singujarred by her touching this chord—“how many kir-larity of his deportment. tles wouldst thou have ?!'

Raoul had a private regard for Damian; for which, "Only two, kind Raoul; just that folk may not perhaps, it was a chief reason, that of late his wife count their children's age by the date of Dame Gil- | had been in the habit of speaking of him in a tone lian's last new gown.”

more disrespectful than she usually applied to hand"Well, well-it is hard that a man cannot be in some young men. Besides, he understood the youth good humour once and away without being made to was a second Sir Tristrem in silvan sports by wood pay for it. But thou shalt have a new kirtle at Mi- and river, and there needed no more to fetter Raoul's chaelmas, when I sell the bucks' hides for the sea- soul to him with bands of steel. He saw with great son. The very antlers should bring a good penny concern his conduct attract general notice, mixed this year.”

with some ridicule. Ay, ay,” said Gillian; "I ever tell thee, husband, "He stands," said the town-jester, who had the horns would be worth the hide in a fair market." crowded into the gay throng," before the gate, like

Raoul turned briskly round as if a wasp had stung Balaam's ass in the Mystery, when the animal sees him, and there is ro guessing what his reply might so much more than can be seen by any one else." have been to this seemingly innocent observation, A cut from Raoul's ready leash rewarded the had not a gallant horseman at that instant entered | felicity of this application, and sent the fool howlthe court, and, dismounting like the others, gave his ing off to seek a more favourable audience for his horse to the charge of a squire, or equerry, whose pleasantry. At the same time Raoul pressed up attire blazed with embroidery.

to Damian, and with an earnestness very different "By Saint Hubert, a proper horseman, and a des- from his usual dry causticity of manner, begged him trier for an earl,” said Raoul ; "and my Lord Con- for God's sake not to make himself the general stable's liveries withal--yet I know not the gallant.” spectacle, by standing there as if the devil sat on

"But I do," said Gillian; "It is Randal de Lacy, the doorway, but either to enter, or, what might be the Constable's kinsman, and as good a man as ever as becoming, to retire, and make himself more fit came of the name !"

in apparel for attending on a solemnity so nearly "Oh! by Saint Hubert, I have heard of him-men concerning his house. say he is a reveller, and a jangler, and a waster of his "And what ails my apparel, old man ?" said goods."

Damian, turning sternly on the huntsman, as one "Men lie now and then,” said Gillian, drily. who has been hastily and uncivilly roused from a

"And women also," replied Raoul;-—"why, me- reverie. thinks he winked on thee just now.”

“Only, with respect to your valour," answered the "That right eye of thine saw never true since our huntsman, "men do not usually put old mantles good lord-Saint Mary rest him !-Aung a cup of over new doublets; and methinks, with submission, wine in thy face, for pressing over boldly into his that of yours neither accords with your dress nor is withdrawing room.

fitted for this noble presence. "I marvel,” said Raoul, as if he heard her not, “Thou art a fool!': answered Damian, "and as " that yonder ruffler comes hither. I have heard that green in wit as gray in years. Know you not that he is suspected to have attempted the Constable's in these days the young and old consort togetherlife, and that they have not spoken together for five contract together--wed together? and should we years.

take more care to make our apparel consistent than "He comes on my young lady's invitation, and our actions ?" that I know full well," said Dame Gillian; "and he "For God's sake, my lord," said Raoul, “forbear is less like to do the Constable wrong than to have these wild and dangerous words! they may be beard wrong at his hand, poor gentleman, as indeed he has by other ears than mine, and consirued by worse had enough of that already.”'

interpreters. There may be here those who will prea "And who told thee so ?'' said Raoul, bitterly. tend to track mischief from light words, as I would

“No matter, it was one who knew all about it find a buck from his frayings. Your cheek is pale, very well," said the dame, who began to fear that, in my lord, your eye is bloodshot; for Heaven's sake displaying her triumph of superior information, she retire !". had been rather over-communicative.

"I will not retire," said Damian, with yet more "It must have been the devil, or Randal himself," distemperature of manner, "till I have seen the Lady said Raoul, "for no other mouth is large enough for Eveline." such a lie.—But hark ye, Dame Gillian, who is he 'For the sake of all the saints,” ejaculated Raoul, that presses forward next, like a man that scarce sees "not now!-You

will do my lady incredible injury by, how he goes ?''

forcing yourself into her presence in this condition. "Even your angel of grace, my young Squire Da- "Do you think so ?” said Damian, the remark mian," said Dame Gillian.

seeming to operate as a sedative which enabled him "It is impossible !" answered Raoul-"Call me to collect his scattered thoughts-"Do you really blind if thou wilt ;-but I have never seen man so think so ?-I thought that to have looked upon her changed in a few weeks-and his attire is flung on once more-but no-you are in the right, old man." him so wildly as if he wore a horse-cloth round He turned from the door as if to withdraw, but ere him instead of a mantle-What can ail the youth ? he could accomplish his purpose, he turned yet more -he has made a dead pause at the door, as if he pale than before, staggered, and fell on the pavement saw something on the threshold that devarred his ere Raoul could afford bim his support, useless as that entrance.-Saint Hubert, but he looks as if he were might have proved. Those who raised him were elf-stricken !"

surprised to observe that his garments were soiled “You ever thought him such a treasure !" said with blood, and that the stains upon his cloak, which Gillian; "and now look at him as he stands by the had been criticised by Raoul, were of the same comside of a real gentleman, how he stares and trembles plexion. A grave-looking personage, wrapped in a as if he were distraught.”.

sad-coloured mantle, came forth from the crowd. "I will speak to him,” said Raoul, forgetting “I knew how it would be," he said ; "I made bis lameness, and springing from his elevated sta- venesection this morning, and commanded repose tion-"I will speak to him; and, if he be unwell, I and sleep according to the aphorisms of Hippocrates; have my lanceis and fleams to bleed man as well as but if young gentlemen will neglect the ordinance brute.'

of their physician, medicine will avenge herself. It "And a fit physician for such a patient," muttered is impossible that my bandage or ligalure, knit by Gillian,-"a dog-leech for a dreamy madman, that these fingers, should have started but to avenge the neither knows his own disease nor the way to cure it." | neglect of the precepts of art.'

"What means this prate ?" said the voice of the silenced by this hint, the chirurgeon betook himself
Constable, before which all others were silent. He to his proper duty, of superintending the removal of
had been summoned forth just as the rite of espousal young Damian to an apartment in the neighbouring
or betrothing was concluded, on the confusion oc- street, where the symptoms of his disorder seemed
casioned by Damian's situation, and now sternly rather to increase than diminish, and speedily re-
commanded the physician to replace the bandages quired all the skill and attention which the leech
which had slipped from his nephew's arm, himself could bestow.
assisting in the task of supporting the patient, with The subscription of the contract of marriage had,
the anxious and deeply agitated feelings of one who as already noticed, been just concluded, when the
saw a near and justly valued relative-as yet

, the company assembled on the occasion were interrupted heir of his fame and family-stretched before hím in by the news of Damian's illness. When the Cona condition so dangerous.

stable led his bride from the court-yard into the apartBut the griefs of the powerful and the fortunate are ment where the company was assembled, there was often mingled with the impatience of interrupted pros- discomposure and uneasiness on the countenance of perity. What means this ?” he demanded sternly both; and it was not a little increased by the bride of the leech. "I sent you this morning to attend my pulling her hand hastily from the hold of the bndenephew on the first tidings of his illness, and com- groom, on observing that the latter was stained with manded that he should make no attempt to be present recent blood, and had in truth left the same stamp on this day's solemnity, yet I find him in this state, upon her own. With a faint exclamation she showed and in this place.”

the marks to Rose, saying, at the same time, "What "So please your lordship,” replied the leech, with bodes this ?-Is this the revenge of the Bloody-finger a conscious self-importance, which even the presence already commencing ?" of the Constable could not subdue-"Curatio est It bodes nothing, my dearest lady,” said Rosecanonica, non coacta ; which signifieth, my lord, that "it is our own fears that are prophets, not those trifles the physician leth his cure by rules of art and which we take for augury. For God's sake, speak to science-by advice and prescription, but not by force my lord! He is surprised at your agitation.' or violence upon the patient, who cannot be at all "Let him ask me the cause himself," said Eveline; benefited unless he be voluntarily amenable to the “fitter it should be told at his bidding, than be offered orders of his medicum."

by me unasked." "Tell me not of your jargon," said De Lacy; "if The Constable, while his bride stood thus conversmy nephew was lightheaded enough to attempt to ing with her maiden, had also observed, that in his come hither in the heat of a delirious distemper, you anxiety to assist his nephew, he had transferred part should have had sense to prevent him, had it been by of his blood from his own hands to Eveline's dress actual force.”

He came forward to apologize for what at such a "It may be," said Randal de Lacy, joining the moment seemed almost ominous. "Fair lady," said crowd, who, forgetting the cause which had brought he, "the blood of a true De Lacy can never bode them together, were now assembled about Damian, aught but peace and happiness to you." " that more powerful was the magnet which drew Eveline seemed as if she would have answered, but our kinsman hither, than aught the leech could do to could not immediately find words. The faithful Rose, withhold him."

at the risk of incurring the censure of being over forThe Constable, still busied about his nephew, looked ward, hastened to reply to the compliment. “Every up as Randal spoke, and, when he was done, asked, damsel is bound to believe what you say, my noble with formal coldness of manner, "Ha, fair kinsman, lord," was her answer, “knowing how readily that of what magnet do you speak ?"

blood hath ever flowed for protecting the distressed, Surely of your nephew's love and regard to your and so lately for our own relief.", lordship," answered Randal, "which, not to mention "It is well spoken, little one,” answered the Conhis respect for the Lady Eveline, must have com- stable ; "and the Lady Eveline is happy in a maiden pelled him hither, if his limbs were able to bear him. who so well knows how to speak when it is her own --And here the bride comes I think, in charity, to pleasure to be silent.--Come, lady,” he added, "let thank him for bis zeal.”

us hope this mishap of my 'kinsman is but like a "What unhappy case is this ?", said the Lady Eve- sacrifice to fortune, which permits not the brightest line, pressing forward, much disordered with the hour to pass without some intervening shadow. Da intelligence of Damian's danger, which had been mian, I trust, will speedily recover; and be we mindsuddenly conveyed to her. Is there nothing in ful that the blood-drops which alarm you have been which my poor service may avail ?”

drawn by a friendly steel, and are symptoms rather 'Nothing, lady," said the Constable, rising from of recovery than of illness.-Come, dearest lady, your beside nis nephew, and taking her hand; your kind- silence discourages our friends,

and wakes in them ness is here mistímed. This motley assembly, this doubts whether we be sincere in the welcome due to unseeming confusion, become not your presence. them. Let me be your sewer," he said; and, taking

"Unless it could be helpful, my lord,” said Eve-l a silver ewer and napkin from the standing cupboard, line, eagerly. "It is your nephew who is in dangę. which was loaded with plate, he presented them on my deliverer-one of my deliverers, I would say, his knee to his bride.

' He is fitly attended by his chirurgeon," said the Exerting herself to shake off the alarm into which Constable, leading back his reluctant bride into the she had been thrown by some supposed coincidence convent, while the medical attendant triumphantly of the present accident with the apparition of Balexclaimed,

dringham, Eveline, entering into her betrothed hus"Well judgeth my Lord Constable, to withdraw band's humour, was about to raise him from the his noble lady from the host of petticoated empirics, ground, when he was interrupted by the arrival of a who, like so many Amazons, break in upon and hasty messenger, who, coming into the room withderange the regular course of physical practice, without ceremony, informed the Constable that his ne their petulant prognostics, their rash recipes, their phew was so extremely ill, that, if he hoped to see mithridate, their febrifuges, their amulets, and their him alive, it would be necessary he should come to charms. Well speaketh the Ethnic poet,

his lodgings instantly. Non audet, nisi quæ didicit, dare quod medicorum est ;

The Constable started up, made a brief adieu to Promittunt 'medici-tractant fabrilia fabri.'"

Eveline and to the guests, who, dismayed at this new

and disastrous intelligence, were preparing to disAs lie repeated these lines with much emphasis, the perse themselves, when, as he advanced towards the doctor

permitted his patient's arm to drop from his door, he was met by a Paritor, or Summoner of the hand, that he might aid the cadence with a flourish Ecclesiastical Court, whose official dress bad proof his own. "There,” said he to the spectators, is cured him unobstructed entrance into the precincts of what none of you understand-no, by Saint Luke, the abbey. nor the Constable himself.”

Deus robiscum," said the paritor ; "I would “But he knows how to whip in a hound that bab- know which of this fair company is the Constable of bles when he should be busy," said Raoul; and, I Chester ?

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »