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squire and my chamberlain, for I am about to array In this humour the venerable lady was found by the me and go to mass."
Constable himself, when, with some embarrassment
, The religious duties of the morning, performed, he proceeded to explain to her the necessity of his preit was the Constable's intention to visit the Lady sent departure for Palestine. Abbess, and communicate, with the necessary pre- She received the communication with sullen dig. cautions and qualifications, the altered relations in nity; her ample black robe and scalpular seeming, as which he was placed towards her niece, by the re- it were, to swell out in yet prouder folds as she lis solution he had been compelled to adopt, of departing tened to the reasons and the emergencies which comfor the Crusade before accomplishing his marriage, in pelled the Constable of Chester to defer the marriage, the terms of the precontract already entered into. which he avowed was the dearest wish of his heart, He was conscious that it would be difficult to recon- until after his return from the Crusade, for which he cile the good lady to this change of mcasures, and he was about to set forth. delayed some time ere he could think of the best mode "Methinks," replied the Abbess, with much coldof communicating and softening the unpleasant in- ness, “if this communication is meant for earnesi telligence. An interval was also spent in a visit to and it were no fit business-I myself no fit personhis nephew, whose state of convalescence continued for jesting with, methinks the Constable's resolution to be as favourable, as if in truth it had been a mira- should have been proclaimed to us yesterday, before culous consequence of the Constable's having com- the francailles had united his troth with that of Eve plied with the advice of the Archbishop.
line Berenger, under expectations very different from From the lodging of Damian, the Constable pro- those which he now announces." ceeded to the convent of the Benedictine Abbess. But "On the word of a knight and a gentleman, rereshe had been already made acquainted with the cir- rend lady," said the Constable, "I had not then the cumstances which he came to communicate, by a slightest thought that I should be called upon to take still earlier visit from the Archbishop Baldwin himself. a step no less distressing to me, than, as I see with The Primate had undertaken the office of mediator on pain, it is unpleasing to you." this occasion, conscious that his success of the eve- "I can scarcely conceive," replied the Abbess, " the ning before must have placed the Constable in a cogent reasons, which, existing as they must have delicate situation with the relations of his betrothed done yesterday, have nevertheless delayed their opebride, and willing, by his countenance and authority, ration until to-day." to reconcile the disputes which might ensue. Perhaps "I own,” said De Lacy, reluctantly, " that I enterhe had better have left Hugo de Lacy to plead his tained too ready hopes of obtaining a remission from own cause; for the Abbess,
though she listened to my vow, which my Lord of Canterbury hath, in his the communication with all the respect due to the zeal for Heaven's service, deemed it necessary to highest dignitary of the English Church, drew con- refuse me.” sequences from the Constable's change of resolution "At least, then,” said the Abbess, veiling her rewhich the Primate
had not expected. She ventured sentment under the appearance of extremne coldness, to oppose no obstacle to De Lacy's accomplishment "your lordship will do us the justice to place us in the of his vows, but strongly argued that the contract same situation in which we stood yesterday mornwith her niece should be entirely set aside, and each ing; and, by joining with my niece and her friends party left at liberty to form a new choice. It was in vain that the Archbishop endeavoured to entered into with very different views from those
in desiring the abrogation of a marriage contract, dazzle the Abbess with the future honours to be won which
you now entertain, put a young person in that by the Constable in the Holy Land; the splendour of state of liberty of which she is at present deprived by which would attach not to his lady alone, but to all in her contract with you ?" the remotest degree allied to or connected with her. “Ah, madam!" said the Constable, "what do you All his eloquence was to no purpose, though upon so ask of me? and in a tone how cold and indifferent favourite a topic he exerted it to the utmost. The do you demand me to resign hopes, the dearest Abbess, it is trụe, remained silent for a moment after which my bosom ever entertained since the life-blood his arguments had been exhausted, but it was only to warmed it!" consider how she should intimate, in a suitable and "I am unacquainted with language belonging to reverent manner, that children, the usual attendants such feelings, my lord,” replied the Abbess : "bat of a happy union, and the existence of which he looked methinks the prospects which could be so easily adto for the continuation of the house of her father and journed for years, might, by a little, and a very little, brother, could
not be hoped for with any probability, further self-control, be altogether abandoned." unless the precontract was followed by marriage, and Hugo
de Lacy paced the
room in agitation, nor did the residence of the married parties in the same he answer until after a considerable pause. "If your country. She therefore insisted, that the Constable niece, madam, shares the sentiments which you have having altered his intentions in this most important expressed, I could not, indeed, with justice to her, or particular, the fiancailles should be entirely abrogated perhaps to myself
, desire to retain that interest in her and set aside; and she demanded of the Primate
, as which our solemn espousals have given me. But! an act of justice, that, as he had interfered to prevent must know my doom from her own lips; and if it is the bridegroom's execution
of his original purpose, he as severe as that which your expressions lead me to should now assist with his influence wholly to dis- fear, I will go to Palestine the better soldier of Heasolve an engagement which had been thus materially ven, that I shall have little left on earth that can inteinnovated upon.
rest me." The Primate, who was sensible he had himself oc- The Abbess, without farther answer, called on her casioned De Lacy's breach of contract, felt himself Precentrix, and desired her to command her niece's bound in honour and reputation to prevent conse- attendance immediately. The Precentrix bowed requences so disagreeable to his friend, as the dissolu- verently, and withdrew. tion of an engagement in which his interest and inclinations were alike concerned. He reproved the ther the Lady Eveline hath' been possessed of the
May I presume to inquire," said De Lacy," wheLady Abbess for the carnal and secular views which circumstances which have occasioned this unhappy she, a dignitary of the church, entertained upon the alteration in my purpose ?" subject of matrimony, and concerning the interest of "I have communicated the whole to her, froni her
house. He even upbraided her with selfishly pre- point to point," said the Abbess, "even as it was er ferring the continuation of the line of Berenger to the plained to me this morning by my Lord of Canterrecovery of the Holy Sepulchre, and denounced to her bury, (for with him I have already spoken upon the that Heaven would be avenged of the short-sighted subject,) and confirmed out now by your lordship's and merely human policy, which postponed the inte- own mouth." rests of Christendom to those of an individual family. "I am little obliged to the Archbishop," said the
After this severe homily, the Prelate took his de- Constable, "for having forestalled my excuses on parture, leaving the Abbess highly
incensed, though the quarter where it was most important for me that she prudently
forbore returning any irreverent answer they should be accurately stated, and favourably to hís paternal admonition.
"That,” said the Abbess,,"18_but an item of the all comers, with grinded sword and sharp spear, from account betwixt you and the Prelate.-it concerns sunrise to sunset, for three days' space. But what I
would retain at the price of a thousand lives, I am Dare I venture to hope," continued De Lacy, willing to renounce if it would cost you a single sigh. without taking offence at the dryness of the Abbess's If, therefore, you think you cannot remain happy as manner, that Lady Eveline has heard this most the betrothed of De Lacy, you may command my unhappy change of circumstances without emotion, assistance to have the contract annulled, and make -I would say, without displeasure ?"
some more fortunate man happy." "She is the daughter of a Berenger, my lord," an- He would have gone on, but felt the danger of being swered the Abbess, and it is our custom to punish a overpowered again by those feelings of tenderness so breach of faith, or to contemn it--never to grieve over new to his steady nature, that he blushed to give way it. What my niece may do in this case, I know not.
to them. I am a woman of religion, sequestered from the Eveline remained silent. The Abbess took the word. world, and would advise peace and Christian forgive- Kinswoman,” she said, "you hear that the generoness, with a proper sense of contempt for the unwor- sity-or the justice of the Constable of Chester, prothy treatment which she has received. She hàs poses, in consequence of his departure upon a distant followers and vassals, and friends, doubtless, and and perilous expedition, to cancel a contract entered advisers, who may not, in blinded zeal for worldly into upon the specific and precise understanding that honour, recommend to her to sit down slightly with he was to remain in England for its fulfilment. You this injury, but desire she should rather appeal to the cannot, methinks, hesitate to accept of the freedom King, or to the arms of her father's followers, unless which he offers you, with thanks for his bounty. For her liberty is restored to her by the surrender of the my part, I will reserve mine own until I shall see that contract into which she has been enticed.---But she your joint application is sufficient to win to your purcomes, to answer for herseli."
pose his Grace of Canterbury, who may again interfere Eveline entered at the moment, leaning on Rose's with the actions of his friend the Lord Constable, arm. She had laid aside mourning since the ceremony over whom he has already exerted so much influence of the fiancailles, and was dressed in a kirile of white, -for the weal, doubtless, of his spiritual concerns." with an upper robe of pale blue. Her head was co- "If it is meant by your words, venerable lady," said vered with a veil of white gauze, so thin, as to float the Constable, that I have any purpose of sheltering about her like the misty cloud usually painted around myself behind the Prelate's authority, to avoid doing the countenance of a seraph. But the face of Eveline, that which I proclaim my readiness, though not my though in beauty not unworthy one of this angelic willingness, to do, I can only say, that you are the order, was at present far from resembling that of a first who has doubted the faith of Hugh de Lacy.”. seraph in tranquillity of expression. Her limbs trem- And while the proud Baron
thus addressed a female bled, her cheeks were pale, the linge of red around the and a recluse, he could not prevent his eye from sparkeyelids expressed recent tears; yet amidst these natu- ling and his cheek from Rushing. ral signs of distress and uncertainty, there was an air "My gracious and venerable kinswoman," said of profound resignation-a resolution to discharge her Eveline, summoning together her resolution, "and duty in every emergence, reigning in the solemn ex- you, my good lord, be not offended if I pray you not to pression of her eye and eyebrow, and showing her pre- increase by groundless suspicions and hasty resentpared to govern the agitation which she could not en- ments your difficulties and mine. My lord, the
obliiirely subdue. And so well were these opposing qualities gations which I lie under to you are such as I can of timidity and
resolution mingled on her cheek, that never discharge, since they comprehend fortune, life, Eveline, in the utmost pride of her beauty, never looked and honour. Know that, in my anguish of mind, more fascinating than at that instant; and Hugo de when besieged by the Welsh in my castle of the Garde Lacy, hitherto rather an unimpassioned lover, stood in Doloureuse, I vowed to the Virgin, that (my honour her presence with feelings as if all the exaggerations of safe) I would place myself at the disposal of him romance were realized, and his mistress were a being whom our Lady should employ as her instrument to of a higher sphere, from whose doom he was to re- relieve me from yonder hour of agony. In giving me ceive happiness or misery, life or death.
a deliverer, she gave me a master; nor could I desire It was under the influence of such a feeling, that the a more noble one than Hugo de Lacy.". warrior dropped on one knee before Eveline, took the "God forbid, lady," said the Constable, speaking hand which she rather resigned than gave to him, eagerly, as if he was afraid his resolution should fail pressed it to his lips fervently, and, ere he parted with him ere he could get the renunciation uttered, "that I it, moistened it with one of the few tears which he should, by such a tie, to which you subjected yourself was ever known to shed. But, although surprised, in the extremity of your distress, bind you to any reand carried out of his character by a sudden impulse solution in my favour which can put force on your own he regained his composure on observing that the Ab- inclinations !" bess regarded his humiliation, if it can be so termed, The Abbess herself could not help expressing her with an air of triumph; and he entered on his defence applause of this sentiment, declaring it was spoken before Eveline with a manly earnestness, not devoid like a Norman gentleman; but, at the same time, of fervour, nor free from agitation, yet made in a tone her eyes, turned towards her niece, seemed to exhort of firmness and pride, which seemed assumed to meet her to beware how she declined to profit by the canand control that of the offended Abbess.
dour of De Lacy. "Lady," he said, addressing Eveline, "you have But Eveline proceeded, with her eyes fixed on the heard from the venerable Abbess in what unhappy ground, and a slight colour overspreading her face, position I have been placed since yesterday by the to state her own sentiments, without listening to rigour of the Archbishop--perhaps I should rather say the suggestions of any one. “I will own, noble sir," by his just though severe interpretation of my engage- she said, "that when your valour had rescued me ment in the Crusade. I cannot doubt that all this from approaching destruction, I could have wished, has been stated with accurate truth by the venerable honouring and respecting you, as I had done your lady; but as I must no longer call her my friend, let (late friend---my excellent father--that you could have me fear whether she has done me justice in her com- accepted a daughter's service from me. I do not prementary upon the unhappy necessity which must pre- tend entirely to have surmounted these sentiments, sently compel me to leave my country, and with my although I have combated them, as being unworthy country to forego-at best to postpone-the sairest of me, and ungrateful to you. But, from the moment hopes which man ever entertained. The venerable you were pleased to honour me by a claim on this lady bath upbraided me, that being myself the cause poor hand, I have studiously examined my sentiments that the execution of yesterday's contract is post towards you, and taught myself so far to make them poned, I would fain keep it suspended over your head coincide with my duty, that I may call myself assured for an indefi nite term of years. No one resigns wil that De Lacy would not find in Eveline Berenger an lingly such nights as yesterday gave me; and, let me indifferent, far less an unworthy bride. In this, sir, speak a boariful word, sooner than yield them up to you may boldly confide, whether the union you have man of wonian born, I would hold a fair field against I sought for takes place instantly, or is delayed till &
longer season. Still farther, I must acknowledge ( hasty insinuation, and it only went to confirm her that the postponement of these nuptials will be more purpose of rejecting all charge of her niece during agreeable to me than their immediate accomplish- his absence. She was in truth as disinterested as ment. I am at present very young, and totally inex- haughty; and her only reason for anger against her perienced. Two or three years will, I trust, render niece was, that her advice had not been adopted withme yet more worthy the regard of a man of out hesitation, although the matter regarded Eveiine's honour."
happiness exclusively. At this declaration in his favour, however cold The ill-timed reflection of the Constable confirmed and qualified, De Lacy had as much difficulty to her in the resolution which she had already, and restrain his transports as formerly to moderate his hastily adopted. "May heaven forgive you, Sir agitation.
Knight,” she replied, "your injurious thoughis of His "Angel of bounty and of kindness!" he said, kneel- servants! It is indeed time, for your soul's sake that ing once more, and again possessing himself of her you do penance in the Holy Land, having such' rash hand, * perhaps I ought in honour to resign volun- judgments to repent of.-For you, my piece, you cantarily those hopes which you decline to ravish from not want that hospitality, which, without verfying, me forcibly. But who could be capable of such unre- or seeming to verify, unjust suspicions, I cannot now lenting magnanimity ?--Let me hope that my devoted grant to you, while you have in your kinswoman of attachment-that which you shall hear of me when Baldringham, a secular relation, whose nearness of at a distance--that which you shall know of me when blood approaches mine, and who may open her gates near you--may give to your sentiments a more tender to you without incurring the unworthy censure, that warmth than they now express; and, in the mean she means to enrich herself at your cost." while, blame me not that I accept your plighted faith The
Constable saw the deadly paleness which came anew, under the conditions which you attach to it. I over Eveline's cheek at this proposal, and, without am conscious my wooing has been too late in life to knowing the cause of her repugnance, he hastened to expect the animated returns proper to youthful passion relieve her from the apprehensions which she seemed -Blaine me notif I remain satisfied with those calmer evidently to entertain. "No, reverend mother," he sentiments which make life happy, though they can said; "since you so harshly reject the care of your not make passion rapturous. Your hand remains kinswoman, she shall not be a burden to any of her in my grasp, but it acknowledges not my pressure, other relatives. While Hugo de Lacy hath six gallant Can it be that it refuses to ratify what your lips have castles, and many a manor besides, to maintain pre said ?"
upon their hearths, his betrothed bride shall burden Never, noble De Lacy!" said Eveline, with more no one with her society, who may regard it as otheranimation than she had yet expressed; and it appeared wise than a great honour; and methinks I were much that the tone was at length sufficiently encouraging, poorer than Heaven hath made me, could I not fur. since her lover was emboldened to take the lips them- nish friends and followers sufficient to serve, obey, selves for guarantee.
and protect her." It was with an air of pride, mingled with respect, No, my lord,” said Eveline, recovering from the that, after having received this pledge of fidelity dejection into which she had been thrown by the unhe turned to conciliate and to appease the offended kindness of her relative; "since some unhappy dezAbbess. “I trust, venerable mother,” he said, "that tiny separates me from the protection of my father's you will resume your former kind thoughts of me, sister, to whom I could so securely have resigned which I am aware were only interrupted by your myself, I will neither apply for shelter to any more tender anxiety for the interest of her who should be distant relation, nor accept of that which you, my dearest to us both. Let me hope that I may leave this lord, so generously offer; since my doing so might fair flower under protection of the honoured lady who excite harsh, and, I am sure, undeserved reproaches, is her next in blood, happy and secure as she must ever against her by whom I was driven to choose a less be, while listening to your counsels, and residing advisable dwelling-place. I have made my resoluwithin these sacred walls."
tion. I have, it is true, only one friend left, but she is But the Abbess was too deeply displeased to be a powerful one, and is able to protect me against the propitiated by a compliment, which perhaps it had particular evil fate which seems to follow me, as well been better policy to have delayed till a calmer season. as against the ordinary evils of human life.” "My lord,” she said, "and you, fair kinswoman, you "The Queen, I suppose ?" said the Abbess, interought needs to be aware how little my counsels-not rupting her impatiently. frequently given where they are unwillingly listened The Queen of Heaven! venerable kinswoman." to-can be of avail to those embarked in worldly answered Eveline; "our Lady of the Garde Dolouraffairs. I am a woman dedicated to religion, to solí- euee, ever gracious to our house, and so lately my tude, and seclusion-to the service, in brief, of Our especial guardian and protectress. Methinks, sunce Lady and Saint Benedict. I have been already cen- the vowed votaress of the Virgin rejects met is sured by my superior because I have, for love of you, to her holy patroness whom I oughi to apply for fair nicce, inixed more deeply in secular affairs than succour.' became the head of a convent of recluses- I will merit The venerable dame, taken somewhat at unawares no fariher blame on such an account; nor can you by this answer, pronounced the interjection “Umph!" expect it of me. My brother's daughter, unfettered in a tone better befitting a Lollard or an Iconoclast, by worldly ties, had been the welcome sharer of my than a Catholic Abbess, and a daughter of the House poor solitude. But this house is too mean for the of Berenger. Truth is, the Lady Abbess's herediresidence of the vowed bride of a mighty baron; nor tary devotion to the Lady of the Garde Doloureuse do I, in iny lowliness and inexperience, feel fitness to was much decayed since she had known the full exercise over such a one that authority, which must merits of another gifted image, the property of her belong to me over every one whom this roof protects. own convent. The grayc tenor of our devotions, and the serener Recollecting herself, however, she remained silent contemplation to which the females of this house are while the Constable alleged the vicinity of the Welsh, devoted," continued the Abbess, with increasing heat as what might possibly again render the abode of his and vehemence, shall not, for the sake of my worldly betrothed bride at the Garde Doloureuse as perilous as connexions, be disturbed by the intrusion of one whose she had on a foriner occasion found it. To this Evethoughts must needs be on the worldly toys of love line replied, by reminding him of the great strength and marriage.”
of her native fortress-ihe various sieges which it "I do indeed believe, reverend mother," said the had withstood-and the important circumstance, Constable, in his turn giving way to displeasure, " that that, upon the late occasion, it was only endangered, a richly-dowered maiden, unwedded, and unlikely to because, in compliance with a point of honour, ber wed, were a fitter and more welcome inmate to the father Raymond had sallied out with the garrison, convent, than one who cannot be separated from the and fought at disadvantage a battle under the walls. world, and whose wealth is not likely to increase the She farther suggested, that it was easy for the Conhouse's revenues.
stable to name from among his own vassals or hers The Constable did the Abbess great injury in this la seneschal of such approved prudence and valour,
as might ensure the safety of the place, and of its sovereign princes) he distributed gratuities among lady.
them, and jested and laughed in a much gayer huEre De Lacy could reply to her arguments the Ab- mour than ihey had ever before witnessed. bess rose, and, pleading her total inability to give “For thee,” he said, turning to Vidal the minstrel, counsel in secular affairs, and the rules of her order, who, sumptuously dressed, stood to pay his respects which called her, as she said, with a heightened co- among the other attendants, "I will give thee naught lour and raised voice, " to the simple and peaceful at present; but do thou remain by my bedside until I discharge of her conventual duties,” she left the be- am asleep, and I will next morning reward thy mintrothed parties in the locutory, or parlour, without strelsy as I like it." any company, save Rose, who prudently remained at "My lord,” said Vidal, “I am already rewarded, some distance.
both by the honour, and by the liveries, which better The issue of their private conference seemed agree befit a royal minstrel than one of my mean fame; able to both; and when Eveline told Rose that they but assign me a subject, and I will do my best, not were to return presently to the Garde Doloureuse, un- out of greed of future largesses, but gratitude for past der a sufficient escort, and were to remain there du- favours." ring the period of the Crusade, it was in a tone of Gramercy, good fellow," said the Constable. heartfelt satisfaction, which her follower had not "Guarine,” he added, addressing his squire, “let the heard her make use of for many days. She spoke watch be posted, and do thou remain within the tent also highly in praise of the kind acquiescence of the stretch thyself on the bear-hide, and sleep, or listen Constable in her wishes, and of his whole conduct, to the minstrelsy, as thou likest best. Thou thinkest with a warmth of gratitude approaching to a more thyself a judge, I have heard, of such gear.” tender feeling.
It was usual, in those insecure times, for some faithAnd yet, my dearest lady,” said Rose, "if you ful domestic to sleep at night within the tent of every will speak unfeignedly, you must, I am convinced, great baron, that, if danger arose, he might not be allow that you look upon this interval of years, inter- unsupported or unprotected. Guarine accordingly posed betwixt your contract and your marriage, rather drew his sword, and, taking it in his hand, stretched as a respite than in any other light.",
himself on the ground in such a manner, that, on the "I confess it,” said Éveline, "nor have I concealed slightest alarm, he could spring up sword in hand. from my future lord that such are my feelings, ungra- His broad black eyes, in which sleep contended with cious as they may seem. But it is my youth, Rose, a desire to listen to the music, were fixed on Vidal, my extreme youth, which makes me fear the duties who saw them glittering in the refiection of the silver of De Lacy's wife. Then those evil auguries hang lamp, like those of a dragon or basilisk. strangely about me. Devoted to evil by one kins- After a few preliminary touches on the chords of woman, expelled almost from the roof of another, his rote, the minstrel requested of the Constable to I seem to myself, at present, a creature who must name the subject on which he desired the exercise of carry distress with her, pass where she will. This evil his powers. hour, and, what is more, the apprehensions of it, will The truth of woman," answered Hugo de Lacy, give way to time. When I shall have attained the as he laid his head upon his pillow. age of twenty, Rose, I shall be a full-grown woman, After a short prelude, the minstrel obeyed, by singwith all the soul of a Berenger strong within me, to ing nearly as follows:overcome those doubts and tremours which agitate the girl of seventeen.”
Woman's faith, and woman's trust Ah! my sweet mistress," answered Rose, "may God and our Lady of the Garde Doloureuse guide all Stamp them on the running stream, for the best !- But I would that this contract had not Print them on the moon's pale beam, taken place, or, having taken place, that it could have
And each evanescent letter been fulfilled by your immediate union.”
Shall be clearer, firmer, better,
"I have strain'd the spider's thread
'Gainst the promise of a maid :
I have weigh'd a grain of saud
'Gainst her plight of heart and hand;
I told my true love of the token,
How her faith proved light, and her word was broken: If the Lady Eveline retired satisfied and pleased Again her word and truth she plight, from her private interview with De Lacy, the joy on
And I believed them again ere night." the part of the Constable arose to a higher pitch of "How now, sir knave," said the Constable, raising șapture than he was in the habit of feeling or express himself on his elbow, "from what drunken rhymer ing; and it was augmented by a visit of the leeches did you learn that half-witted satire ?' who attended his nephew, from whom he received a From an old, rągged, crossgrained friend of mine, minute and particular account of his present disorder, called Experience," answered Vidal. "I pray Heawith every assurance of a speedy recovery.
ven he may never take your lordship, or any other The Constable caused alms to be distributed to the worthy man, under his tụition." convents and to the poor, masses to be said, and Go to, fellow," said the Constable, in reply; tapers to be lighted. He visited the Archbishop, and “thou art one of those wiseacres, 1 warrant me, that received from him his full approbation of the course would fain be thought witty, because thou canst make which he proposed to pursue, with the promise, that a jest of those things which wiser men hold worthy out of the plenary power which he held from the Pope, of most worship--the honour of men, and the truth the Prelate was willing, in consideration of his instant of women. Dost thou call thyself a minstrel, and obedience, to limit his stay in the Holy Land to the hast no tale of female fidelity!" term of three years, to become current from his leav- “I had right many a one, noble sir, but I laid them ing Britain, and to include the space necessary for his aside when I disused my practice of the jesting part return to his native country. Indeed, having suc- of the Joyous Science. Nevertheless, if it pleases ceeded in the main point, the Archbishop judged it your nobleness to listen, I can sing you an established wise to concede every inferior consideration to a per- lay upon such a subject." son of the Constable's rank and character, whose De Lacy made a sign of acquiescence, and laid good-will to the proposed expedition was perhaps as himself as if to slumber; while Vidal began one of essential to its success as his bodily presence.
those interminable and almost innumerable advenIn short, the Constable returned to his pavilion tures concerning that paragon of true lovers, fair highly satisfied with the manner in which he had Ysolte; and of the constant and uninterrupted faith extricated himself from those difficulties which in the and affection which she displayed in numerous situamorning seemed almost insuperable; and when his tions of difficulty and peril, to her paramour, the gal, officers assembled to disrobe him (for great feudal ant Sir Tristrem, at the expense of her less favoured lords had their levees and couchees, in imitation of husband, the luckless King Mark of Cornwall; to
whom, as all the world knows, Sir Tristrem was / who fought well against the Welsh at the Garde nephew.
Doloureuse ?" This was not the lay of love and fidelity which De "I did my best, my lord, answered Wilkin-"I was Lacy would have chosen; but a feeling like shame bound to ii by my bargain; and I hope ever to act prevented his interrupting it, perhaps because he was like a man of credit.'' unwilling to yield to or acknowledge the unpleasing
Methinks," said the Constable," that you so sensations excited by the tenor of the tale. He soon stout of limb, and, as I hear, so bold in spirit, might fell asleep, or seigned to do so; and the harper, con- look a little liigher than this weaving trade of thine." tinuing for a time his monotonous chant, began at “No one is reluctant to mend his station, my lord," length himself to feel the influence of slumber; his said Wilkin; "yet am I so far from complaining of words, and the notes which he continued to touch mine, that I would willingly consent it should never upon the harp, were broken and interrupted, and be better, on condition I could be assured it were seemed to escape drowsily from his fingers and voice. never worse.' At length the sounds ceased entirely, and the min. "Nay, but, Flammock," said the Constable, "I strel seerned to have sunk into profound repose, with mean higher things for you than your modesty aphis head reclining on his breast, and one arm dropped prehends--I mean to leave thee in a charge of great down by his side, while the other rested on his harp. Jirust.' His slumber, however, was not very long, and when “Let it concern bales of drapery, my lord, and no he awoke from it, and cast his eyes around him, re- one will perform it better," said the Fleming. connoisering, by the light of the night-lamp, whatever Away! thou art too lowly minded," said the Con. was in the teni, he felt a heavy hand, which pressed stable. "What think'st thou of being dubbed knight his shoulder as if gently to solicit his attention. At as thy valour well deserves, and left as Chattelain of the same time the voice of the vigilant Philip Guarine the Garde Doloureuse ?" whispered in his ear, " Thine ffice for the night is “For the knighthood, my lord, I should crave your ended-depart to thine own quarters with all the forgiveness; for it would sit on me like a gilded bel. silence thou mayst.”
met on a hog. For any charge, whether of castle The minstrel wrapt himself in his cloak without or cottage, I trust I might discharge it as well as reply, though perhaps not without feeling some re- another." sentment at a dismissal so unceremonious.
"I fear me thy rank inust be in some way mended," said the Constable, surveying the unmilitary dress of the figure before him;, “it is at present too mtan to
befit the protector and guardian of a young lady of CHAPTER XXI.
high birth and rank." 01 then I see Queen Mab has been with you.
"I the guardian of a young lady of birth and rank" Romeo and Jultes. said Flammock, his light, large eyes turning larger,
lighter, and rounder as he spoke. The subject on which the mind has last been en- "Even thou,” said the Constable. "The Lady gaged at night is apt to occupy our thoughts even Eveline proposes to take up her residence in her castle during slumber, when Imagination, uncorrected by of the Garde Doloureuse. "I have been casting about the organs of sense, weaves her own fantastic web to whom I may intrust the keeping of her person, as out of whatever ideas rise at random in the sleeper. well as of the stronghold. Were I to choose some It is not surprising, therefore, that De Lacy in his knight of name, as I have many in my household, he dreams had some confused idea of being identified would be setting about to do deeds of vassalage upon with the unlucky Mark of Cornwall; and that he the Welsh, and engaging himself in turmoils, which awakened from such unpleasant visions with a brow would render the safety of the castle precarious ; or more clouded than when he was preparing for his he would be absent on feals of chivalry, lournaments, couch on the evening before. He was silent, and seemed and hunting parties; or he would, perchance, have lost in thought, while his squire assisted at his levee shows of that light nature under the walls or even with the respect now only paid to sovereigns. Gua- within the courts of the castle, turning the secluded rine,” at length he said, “know you the stout Flem- and quiet abode, which becomes the situation of the ing, who was said to have borne him so well at the Lady Eveline, into the misrule of a dissolute revel.siege of the Garde Doloureuse ?–a tall, big, brawny Thee I can confide in--thou wilt fight when it is re
quisite, yet wilt not provokedanger for the sake of dan"Surely, my lord,” answered his Squire; "I know ger itself-thy birth, thy habits, will lead thee to avoid Wilkin Flammock--I saw him but yesterday.” those gayeries, which, however fascinating to others,
"Indeed! replied the Constable - "Here, meanest cannot but be distasteful to thee-thy management thou ?--In this city of Gloucester ?"
will be as regular, as I will take care that it shall be Assuredly, my good lord. He came hither partly honourable; and thy relation to her favourite, Rose, about his merchandise, partly, I think, to see his will render thy guardianship more agreeable
to the daughter Rose, who is in attendance on the gracious Lady Eveline, than, perchance, one of her own rank young Lady Eveline."
-And, to speak to thee a language which thy pauon He is a stout soldier, is he not ?"
readily comprehends, the reward, Fleming, for the "Like most of his kind-a rampart to a castle, but regular discharge of this most weighty trust, shall be rubbish in the field,” said the Norman squire. beyond thy most flattering hope.".
"Faithful, also, is he not ?" continued the Consta- The Fleming had listened to the first part of this ble.
discourse with an expression of surprise which gra"Faithful as most Flemings, while you can pay for dually gave way to one of deep and anxious reflection. their faith," replied Guarine, wondering a little at the He gazed fixedly on the earth for a minute after the unusual interest taken in one whom he esteemed a be- Constable had ceased speaking, and then raising up ing of an inferior order; when, after some farther in his eyes suddenly, said, "It is needless to se for quiries, the Constable ordered the Fleming's attend roundabout excuses. This cannot be your earnest, ance to be presently commanded. Other business of the morning now occurred, (for
my how and wherefore ?" asked the Constable, with his speedy departure required many arrangements to displeased surprise. be hastily adopted,) when, as the Constable was giv- Another man might grasp at your bounty," coning audience to several officers of his troops, the tinued Wilkin, "and leave you to take chance of the bulky figure of Wilkin Flammock was seen ai the value you were to receive for it; but I am a downrighi entrance of the pavilion, in jerkin of white cloth, and dealer, I will not take payment for service I cannot having only a knife by his side.
render." "Leave i he tent, my masters," said De Lacy, "but "But I demand once more, wherefore thou canst continue in attendance in the neighbourhood; for not, or rather wilt not, accept this trust ?" said the here comes one I must speak to in private."
Constable.." Surely, if I am willing to confer such The officers withdrew, and the Constable and Flem- confidence, it is well thy part
to answer it.” ing were left alone. "You are Wilkin Flammock, "True, my lord," said the Fleming; "but methinks