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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
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, a 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 ou 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-i
-if an English hound is to harbour and reset the Southrons here. Thank the Abbot of Melrose, and the good Knight of Coldingknow, 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
Lord Lacy now advanced towards him. « You intrude upon my privacy, soldier; withdraw yourself and your
followers—there is peace betwixt our 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 towards 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 mounçaineer : « 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 eye-brows, 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 ruffian ?» said Lord Lacy to the Franklin, who had stood in the most violent agitation during this whole.scene.
« His name, noble lord, is Adam Kerr of the Moat-but he is commonly called by his companions the Black Rider of Cheviot. I fear, I fear, he comes hither for no goodbut if the Lord of Cessford be near, he will not dare offer any unprovoked outrage.»
« I have heard of that chief,» said the Baronknow when he approaches ; and do thou, Rudolph (to the eldest yeoman), keep a strict watch. Adelbert (to the page), attend to arm me. -The page bowed, and the Baron withdrew to the chamber of the Lady Isabella, to explain the cause of the disturbance.
No more of the proposed tale was ever written ; but the author's purpose was, that it should turn upon a fine legend of superstition, which is current in the part of the Borders where he had his residence; where, in the reign of Alexander III of Scotland, that renowned person Thomas of Hersildoune, called the Rhymer, actually flourished. This personage, the Merlin of Scotland, and to whom some of the adventures which the British bards assigned to Merlin Caledonius, or the Wild, have been transferred by tradition, was, as is well known, a magician, as well as a poet and prophet. He is alleged still to live in the land of Faery, and is expected to return at some great convulsion of society, in which he is to act a distinguished part: a tradition common to all nations, — as the belief of the Mahomedans respecting their twelfth Imaum demon
Now, it chanced many years since, that there lived on the Borders a jolly, rattling horse-cowper, who was remarkable for a reckless and fearless temper, which made him much admired, and a little dreaded, amongst his neighbours. One moonlight night, as he rode over Bowden Moor, on the west side of the Eildon Hills, the scene of Thomas the Rhymer's prophecies, and often mentioned in his story, having a brace of horses along with him which he had not been able to dispose of, he met a man of venerable appearance, and singularly antique dress, who, to his great surprise, asked the price of his horses, and began to chaffer with him on the subject. To Canobie Dick, for so shall we call our Border dealer, a chap was a chap, and he would have sold a horse to the devil himself, without minding his cloven hoof, and would have probably cheated Old Nick into the bargain. The stranger paid the price they agreed on, and all that puzzled Dick in the transaction was, that the gold which he received was in nnicorns, bonnet-pieces, and other ancient coins, which would have been invaluable to collectors, but were rather troublesome in modern currency. It was gold, however,
ger ; « but if
courage at what
and therefore Dick contrived to get better value for the
you see there, you will rue it all
life.. Dicken, however, laughed the warning to scorn, and having alighted to secure his horse, he followed the stranger up a narrow foot-path, which led them
the hills to the singular eminence stuck betwixt the most southern and the centre peaks, and called from its resemblance to such an animal in its form, the Lucken Hare. At the foot of this eminence, which is almost as famous for witch-meetings as the neighbouring windmill of Kippilaw, Dick was somewhat startled to observe that his conductor entered the lill-side by a passage or cavern, of which he himself, though well acquainted with the spot, had never seen or heard.
« You may still return,» said his guide, looking ominously back upon
but Dick scorned to show the white feather, and on they went. They entered a very long range of stables : in every stall stood a coal-black horse; by every horse lay a knight in coal-black armour, with a drawn sword in his hand, - but all were as silent, hoof and liinb, as if they had been cut out of marble. A great number of torches lent a gloomy lustre to the hall, which, like those of the Caliph Vathek, was of large dimensions. At the upper end, however, they at length arrived, where a sword and horn lay on an antique table.