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cannot in the course of nature have long time to speak. In preparing the present edition, I have done all that I can do to explain the nature of my materials, and the use I have made of them; nor is it probable that I shall again revise or even read these tales. I was therefore desirous rather to exceed in the
portion of new and explanatory matter which is added to this edition, than that the reader should have reason to complain that the information communicated was of a general and merely nominal character. It remains to be tried whether the public (like a child to whom a watch is shown) will, after having been satiated with looking at the outside, acquire some new interest in the object, when it is opened, and the internal machinery displayed to them.
That Waverley and its successors have had their day of favour and popularity must be admitted with sincere gratitude; and the author has studied (with the prudence of a beauty whose reign has been rather long) to supply, by the assistance of art, the charms which novelty no longer affords.
Farther explanation respecting the Edition is the business of the publishers, not of the author; and here, therefore, the latter has accomplished his task of Introduction and explanation. If, like a spoiled child, he has sometimes abused or trifled with the indulgence of the public, he feels himself entitled to full belief, when he exculpates himself from the charge of having been at any time insensible of their kindness.
FRAGMENT OF A ROMANCE WHICH WAS TO HAVE BEEN ENTITLED,
THOMAS THE RHYMER.
The sun was nearly set behind the distant mountains of Liddesdale, when a few of the scattered and terrified inhabitants of the village of Hersildoun, which had four days before been burned by a predatory band of English Borderers, were now busied in repairing their ruined dwellings. One high tower in the centre of the village alone exhibited no appearance of devastation. It was surrounded with court walls, and the outer gate was barred and bolted. The bushes and brambles which grew around, and had even insinuated their branches beneath the gate, plainly showed that it must have been many years since it had been opened. While the cottages around lay in smoking ruins, this pile, deserted and desolate as it seemed to be, had suffered nothing from the violence of the invaders; and the wretched beings, who were endeavouring to repair their miserable huts against nightfall, seemed to neglect the preferable shelter which it might have afforded them, without the necessity of labour.
Before the day had quite gone down, a knight, richly armed, and mounted upon an ambling hackney, rode slowly into the village. His attendants were-a lady, apparently young and beautiful, who rode by his side upon a dappled palfrey; his squire, who carried bis helmet and lance, and led his battlehorse, a noble steed, richly caparisoned. A page and four yeomen, bearing bows and quivers, short swords, and targets of a span breadth, completed his equipage, which, though small, denoted bim to be a man of high rank.
He stopped and addressed several of the inhabitants whom
It is not to be supposed that these fragments are given as possessing any intrinsic value of themselves; but there may be some curiosity attached to them, as to the first elchings of a plate, which are accounted interesting by those who have, in any degree, been interested in the more finished works of the artist.
curiosity had withdrawn from their labour to gaze at him ; but at the sound of his voice, and still more on perceiving the St. George's Cross in the caps of his followers, they fled, with a loud cry, that the Southrons were returned.” The knight endeavoured to expostulate with the fugitives, who were chiefly aged men, women, and children; but their dread of the English name accelerated their flight, and in a few minutes, excepting the knight and his attendants, the place was deserted by all. He paced through the village to seek a shelter for the night, and despairing to find one either in the inaccessible tower, or the plundered huts of the peasantry, he directed his course to the left hand, where he spied a small decent habitation, apparently the abode of a man considerably above the common rank. After much knocking, the proprietor at length showed himself at the window, and speaking in the English dialect, with great signs of apprehension, demanded their business. The warrior replied, that his quality was an English knight and baron, and that he was travelling to the court of the King of Scotland on affairs of consequence to both kingdoms.
“Pardon my hesitation, noble Sir Knight," said the old man as he unbolted and unbarred his doors--"Pardon my hesitation, but we are here exposed to too many intrusions, to admit of our exercising unlimited and unsuspicious hospitality. What I have is yours; and God send your mission may bring back peace and the good days of our old Queen Margaret!”
“ Amen, worthy Franklin," quoth the Knight" Did you know her?”
“I came to this country in her train," said the Franklin ; " and the care of some of her jointure lands which she devolved on me, occasioned my settling here."
“ And how do you, being an Englishman,” said the Knight,
protect your life and property here, when one of your nation cannot obtain a single night's lodging, or a draught of water, were he thirsty?"
“Marry, noble sir," answered the Franklin, “use, as they say, will make a man live in a lion's den ; and as I settled here in a quiet time, and have never given cause of offence, I am respected by my neighbours, and even, as you see, by your forayers from England.”
“ I rejoice to hear it, and accept your hospitality.-- Isabella, my love, our worthy host will provide you a bed. My daughter, good Franklin, is ill at ease. We will occupy your house till the Scottish King shall return from his northern expedition-meanwhile call me Lord Lacy of Chester."
The attendants of the Baron, assisted by the Franklin, were now busied in disposing of the horses, and arranging the table
for some refreshment for Lord Lacy and his fair companion. While they sat down to it, they were attended by their host and his daughter, whom custom did not permit to eat in their presence, and who afterwards withdrew to an outer chamber, where the squire and page (both young men of noble birth) partook of supper, and were accommodated with beds. The yeomen, after doing honour to the rustic cheer of Queen Margaret's bailiff, withdrew to the stable, and each, beside his favourite horse, snored away the fatigues of their journey.
Early on the following morning, the travellers were roused by a thundering knocking at the door of the house, accompanied with many demands for instant admission, in the roughest tone. The squire and page of Lord Lacy, after buckling on their arms, were about to sally out to chastise these intruders, when the old host, after looking out at a private casement, contrived for reconnoitring his visitors, entreated them, with great signs of terror, to be quiet, if they did not mean that all in the house should be murdered.
He then hastened to the apartment of Lord Lacy, whom he met dressed in a long furred gown and the knightly cap called a mortier, irritated at the noise, and demanding to know the cause which had disturbed the repose of the household.
“ Noble sir,” said the Franklin, one of the most formidable and bloody of the Scottish Border riders is at hand-he is never seen," added he, faltering with terror, “so far from the hills, but with some bad purpose, and the power of accomplishing it, so hold yourself to your guard, for"
A loud crash here announced that the door was broken down, and the knight just descended the stair in time to prevent bloodshed betwixt his attendants and the intruders. They were three in number—their chief was tall, bony, and athletic; his spare and muscular frame, as well as the hardness of his features, marked the course of his life to have been fatiguing and perilous. The effect of his appearance was aggravated by his dress, which consisted of a jack or jacket, composed of thick buff leather, on which small plates of iron of a lozenge form were stitched, in such a manner as to overlap each other, and form a coat of mail, which swayed with every motion of the wearer's body. This defensive armour covered a doublet of coarse grey cloth, and the Borderer had a few half-rusted plates of steel on his shoulders, a two-edged sword, with a dagger hanging beside it, in a buff belt-a helmet, with a few iron bars, to cover the face instead of a visor, and a lance of tremendous and uncommon length, completed his appointments. The looks of the man were as wild and rude as his attire-his keen black eyes never rested one moment fixed upon a single object, but constantly traversed all
around, as if they ever sought some danger to oppose, some plunder to seize, or some insult to revenge. The latter seemed to be his present object, for, regardless of the dignified presence of Lord Lacy, he uttered the most incoherent threats against the owner of the house and his guests.
“We shall see—ay, marry shall we-if an English hound is to harbour and reset the Southrons here. Thank the Abbot of Melrose, and the good Knight of Coldingnow, that have so long kept me from your skirts. But those days are gone, by St. Mary, and you shall find it !”
It is probable the enraged Borderer would not have long continued to vent his rage in empty menaces, had not the entrance of the four yeomen, with their bows bent, convinced him that the force was not at this moment on his own side.
Lord Lacy now advanced towards him. “You intrude upon my privacy, soldier; withdraw yourself and your followers — there is peace betwixtour nations, or my servants should chastise thy presumption.”
“Such peace as ye give, such shall you have," answered the moss-trooper, first pointing with his lance toward the burned village, and then almost instantly levelling it against Lord Lacy. The squire drew his sword, and severed at one blow the steel head from the truncheon of the spear.
“ Arthur Fitzherbert,” said the Baron, “that stroke has deferred thy knighthood for one year-never must that squire wear the spurs whose unbridled impetuosity can draw unbidden his sword in the presence of his master. Go hence, and think on what I have said.”
The squire left the chamber abashed.
“It were vain," continued Lord Lacy, “to expect that courtesy from a mountain churl which even my own followers can forget. Yet, before thou drawest thy brand (for the intruder laid his hand upon the hilt of his sword), thou wilt do well to reflect that I came with a safe-conduct from thy king, and have no time to waste in brawls with such as thou.”
“From my king—from my king !" re-echoed the mountaineer. "I care not that rotten truncheon (striking the shattered spear furiously on the ground) for the King of Fife and Lothian. But Habby of Cessford will be here belive; and we shall soon know if he will permit an English churl to occupy his hostelrie.”
Having uttered these words, accompanied with a lowering glance from under his shaggy black eyebrows, he turned on his heel, and left the house with his two followers;—they mounted their horses, which they had tied to an outer fence, and vanished in an instant.
" Who is this discourteous ruflian?" said Lord Lacy to the