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Chapter 13

Too much rest is rust,
There's ever cheer in changing;
We tyne by too much trust,
So we'll be up and ranging.
OLD SONG.


Early on the subsequent morning, a gallant company, saddened
indeed by the deep mourning which their principals wore, left the
well-defended Castle of the Garde Doloureuse, which had been so
lately the scene of such remarkable events.

The sun was just beginning to exhale the heavy dews which had
fallen during the night, and to disperse the thin gray mist which
eddied around towers and battlements, when Wilkin Flammock, with
six crossbowmen on horseback, and as many spearmen on foot,
sallied forth from under the Gothic gate-way, and crossed the
sounding drawbridge. After this advanced guard, came four
household servants well mounted, and after them, as many inferior
female attendants, all in mourning. Then rode forth the young Lady
Eveline herself, occupying the centre of the little procession,
and her long black robes formed a striking contrast to the colour
of her milk-white palfrey. Beside her, on a Spanish jennet, the
gift of her affectionate father,--who had procured it at a high
rate, and who would have given half his substance to gratify his
daughter,--sat the girlish form of Rose Flammock, who had so much
of juvenile shyness in her manner, so much of feeling and of
judgment in her thoughts and actions. Dame Margery followed, mixed
in the party escorted by Father Aldrovand, whose company she
chiefly frequented; for Margery affected a little the character of
the devotee, and her influence in the family, as having been
Eveline's nurse, was so great as to render her no improper
companion for the chaplain, when her lady did not require her
attendance on her own person. Then came old Raoul the huntsman,
his wife, and two or three other officers of Raymond Berenger's
household; the steward, with his golden chain, velvet cassock, and
white wand, bringing up the rear, which was closed by a small band
of archers, and four men-at-arms. The guards, and indeed the
greater part of the attendants, were only designed to give the
necessary degree of honour to the young lady's movements, by
accompanying her a short space from the castle, where they were
met by the Constable of Chester, who, with a retinue of thirty
lances, proposed himself to escort Eveline as far as Gloucester,
the place of her destination. Under his protection no danger was
to be apprehended, even if the severe defeat so lately sustained
by the Welsh had not of itself been likely to prevent any attempt,
on the part of those hostile mountaineers, to disturb the safety
of the marches for some time to come. In pursuance of this
arrangement, which permitted the armed part of Eveline's retinue
to return for the protection of the castle, and the restoration of
order in the district around, the Constable awaited her at the
fatal bridge, at the head of the gallant band of selected horsemen
whom he had ordered to attend upon him. The parties halted, as if
to salute each other; but the Constable, observing that Eveline
drew her veil more closely around her, and recollecting the loss
she had so lately sustained on that luckless spot, had the
judgment to confine his greeting to a mute reverence, so low that
the lofty plume which he wore, (for he was now in complete
armour,) mingled with the flowing mane of his gallant horse.
Wilkin Flammock next halted, to ask the lady if she had any
farther commands.

"None, good Wilkin," said Eveline; "but to be, as ever, true and
watchful."

"The properties of a good mastiff," said Flammock. "Some rude
sagacity, and a stout hand instead of a sharp case of teeth, are
all that I can claim to be added to them--I will do my best.--Fare
thee well, Roschen! Thou art going among strangers--forget not the
qualities which made thee loved at home. The saints bless thee--
farewell!"

The steward next approached to take his leave, but in doing so,
had nearly met with a fatal accident. It had been the pleasure of
Raoul, who was in his own disposition cross-grained, and in person
rheumatic, to accommodate himself with an old Arab horse, which
had been kept for the sake of the breed, as lean, and almost as
lame as himself, and with a temper as vicious as that of a fiend.
Betwixt the rider and the horse was a constant misunderstanding,
testified on Raoul's part by oaths, rough checks with the curb,
and severe digging with the spurs, which Mahound (so paganishly
was the horse named) answered by plunging, bounding, and
endeavouring by all expedients to unseat his rider, as well as
striking and lashing out furiously at whatever else approached
him. It was thought by many of the household, that Raoul preferred
this vicious cross-tempered animal upon all occasions when he
travelled in company with his wife, in order to take advantage by
the chance, that amongst the various kicks, plunges, gambades,
lashings out, and other eccentricities of Mahound, his heels might
come in contact with Dame Gillian's ribs. And now, when as the
important steward spurred up his palfrey to kiss his young lady's
hand, and to take his leave, it seemed to the bystanders as if
Raoul so managed his bridle and spur, that Mahound jerked out his
hoofs at the same moment, one of which coming in contact with the
steward's thigh, would have splintered it like a rotten reed, had
the parties been a couple of inches nearer to each other. As it
was, the steward sustained considerable damage; and they that
observed the grin upon Raoul's vinegar countenance entertained
little doubt, that Mahound's heels then and there avenged certain
nods, and winks, and wreathed smiles, which had passed betwixt the
gold-chained functionary and the coquettish tirewoman, since the
party left the castle.

This incident abridged the painful solemnity of parting betwixt
the Lady Eveline and her dependents, and lessened, at the same
time, the formality of her meeting with the Constable, and, as it
were, resigning herself to his protection.

Hugo de Lacy, having commanded six of his men-at-arms to proceed
as an advanced-guard, remained himself to see the steward properly
deposited on a litter, and then, with the rest of his followers,
marched in military fashion about one hundred yards in the rear of
Lady Eveline and her retinue, judiciously forbearing to present
himself to her society while she was engaged in the orisons which
the place where they met naturally suggested, and waiting
patiently until the elasticity of youthful temper should require
some diversion of the gloomy thoughts which the scene inspired.

Guided by this policy, the Constable did not approach the ladies
until the advance of the morning rendered it politeness to remind
them, that a pleasant spot for breaking their fast occurred in the
neighbourhood, where he had ventured to make some preparations for
rest and refreshment. Immediately after the Lady Eveline had
intimated her acceptance of this courtesy, they came in sight of
the spot he alluded to, marked by an ancient oak, which, spreading
its broad branches far and wide, reminded the traveller of that of
Mamre, under which celestial beings accepted the hospitality of
the patriarch. Across two of these huge projecting arms was flung
a piece of rose-coloured sarsanet, as a canopy to keep off the
morning beams, which were already rising high. Cushions of silk,
interchanged with others covered with the furs of animals of the
chase, were arranged round a repast, which a Norman cook had done
his utmost to distinguish, by the superior delicacy of his art,
from the gross meals of the Saxons, and the penurious simplicity
of the Welsh tables. A fountain, which bubbled from under a large
mossy stone at some distance, refreshed the air with its sound,
and the taste with its liquid crystal; while, at the same time, it
formed a cistern for cooling two or three flasks of Gascon wine
and hippocras, which were at that time the necessary
accompaniments of the morning meal.

When Eveline, with Rose, the Confessor, and at some farther
distance her faithful nurse, was seated at this silvan banquet,
the leaves rustling to a gentle breeze, the water bubbling in the
background, the birds twittering around, while the half-heard
sounds of conversation and laughter at a distance announced that
their guard was in the vicinity, she could not avoid making the
Constable some natural compliment on his happy selection of a
place of repose.

"You do me more than justice," replied the Baron; "the spot was
selected by my nephew, who hath a fancy like a minstrel. Myself am
but slow in imagining such devices."

Rose looked full at her mistress, as if she endeavoured to look
into her very inmost soul; but Eveline answered with the utmost
simplicity,--"And wherefore hath not the noble Damian waited to
join us at the entertainment which he hath directed?"

"He prefers riding onward," said the Baron, "with some light-
horsemen; for, notwithstanding there are now no Welsh knaves
stirring, yet the marches are never free from robbers and outlaws;
and though there is nothing to fear for a band like ours, yet you
should not be alarmed even by the approach of danger."

"I have indeed seen but too much of it lately," said Eveline; and
relapsed into the melancholy mood from which the novelty of the
scene had for a moment awakened her.

Meanwhile, the Constable, removing, with the assistance of his
squire, his mailed hood and its steel crest, as well as his
gauntlets, remained in his flexible coat of mail, composed
entirely of rings of steel curiously interwoven, his hands bare,
and his brows covered with a velvet bonnet of a peculiar fashion,
appropriated to the use of knights, and called a _mortier_,
which permitted him both to converse and to eat more easily than
when he wore the full defensive armour. His discourse was plain,
sensible, and manly; and, turning upon the state of the country,
and the precautions to be observed for governing and defending so
disorderly a frontier, it became gradually interesting to Eveline,
one of whose warmest wishes was to be the protectress of her
father's vassals. De Lacy, on his part, seemed much pleased; for,
young as Eveline was, her questions showed intelligence, and her
mode of answering, both apprehension and docility. In short,
familiarity was so far established betwixt them, that in the nest
stage of their journey, the Constable seemed to think his
appropriate place was at the Lady Eveline's bridle-rein; and
although she certainly did not countenance his attendance, yet
neither did she seem willing to discourage it. Himself no ardent
lover, although captivated both by the beauty and the amiable
qualities of the fair orphan, De Lacy was satisfied with being
endured as a companion, and made no efforts to improve the
opportunity which this familiarity afforded him, by recurring to
any of the topics of the preceding day.

A halt was made at noon in a small village, where the same
purveyor had made preparations for their accommodation, and
particularly for that of the Lady Eveline; but, something to her
surprise, he himself remained invisible. The conversation of the
Constable of Chester was, doubtless, in the highest degree
instructive; but at Eveline's years, a maiden might be excused for
wishing some addition to the society in the person of a younger
and less serious attendant; and when she recollected the
regularity with which Damian Lacy had hitherto made his respects
to her, she rather wondered at his continued absence. But her
reflection went no deeper than the passing thought of one who was
not quite so much delighted with her present company, as not to
believe it capable of an agreeable addition. She was lending a
patient ear to the account which the Constable gave her of the
descent and pedigree of a gallant knight of the distinguished
family of Herbert, at whose castle he proposed to repose during
the night, when one of the retinue announced a messenger from the
Lady of Baldringham.

"My honoured father's aunt," said Eveline, arising to testify that
respect for age and relationship which the manners of the time
required.

"I knew not," said the Constable, "that my gallant friend had such
a relative."

"She was my grandmother's sister," answered Eveline, "a noble
Saxon lady; but she disliked the match formed with a Norman house,
and never saw her sister after the period of her marriage."

She broke off, as the messenger, who had the appearance of the
steward of a person of consequence, entered the presence, and,
bending his knee reverently, delivered a letter, which, being
examined by Father Aldrovand, was found to contain the following
invitation, expressed, not in French, then the general language of
communication amongst the gentry, but in the old Saxon language,
modified as it now was by some intermixture of French.

"If the grand-daughter of Aelfried of Baldringham hath so much of
the old Saxon strain as to desire to see an ancient relation, who
still dwells in the house of her forefathers, and lives after
their manner, she is thus invited to repose for the night in the
dwelling of Ermengarde of Baldringham."

"Your pleasure will be, doubtless, to decline the present
hospitality?" said the Constable De Lacy; "the noble Herbert
expects us, and has made great preparation."

"Your presence, my lord," said Eveline, "will more than console
him for my absence. It is fitting and proper that I should meet my
aunt's advances to reconciliation, since she has condescended to
make them."

De Lacy's brow was slightly clouded, for seldom had he met with
anything approaching to contradiction of his pleasure. "I pray you
to reflect, Lady Eveline," he said, "that your aunt's house is
probably defenceless, or at least very imperfectly guarded.--Would
it not be your pleasure that I should continue my dutiful
attendance?"

"Of that, my lord, mine aunt can, in her own house, be the sole
judge; and methinks, as she has not deemed it necessary to request
the honour of your lordship's company, it were unbecoming in me to
permit you to take the trouble of attendance;--you have already
had but too much on my account."

"But for the sake of your own safety, madam," said De Lacy,
unwilling to leave his charge.

"My safety, my lord, cannot be endangered in the house of so near
a relative; whatever precautions she may take on her own behalf,
will doubtless be amply sufficient for mine."

"I hope it will be found so," said De Lacy; "and I will at least
add to them the security of a patrol around the castle during your
abode in it." He stopped, and then proceeded with some hesitation
to express his hope, that Eveline, now about to visit a kinswoman
whose prejudices against the Norman race were generally known,
would be on her guard against what she might hear upon that
subject.

Eveline answered with dignity, that the daughter of Raymond
Berenger was unlikely to listen to any opinions which would affect
the dignity of that good knight's nation and descent; and with
this assurance, the Constable, finding it impossible to obtain any
which had more special reference to himself and his suit, was
compelled to remain satisfied. He recollected also that the castle
of Herbert was within two miles of the habitation of the Lady of
Baldringham, and that his separation from Eveline was but for one
night; yet a sense of the difference betwixt their years, and
perhaps of his own deficiency in those lighter qualifications by
which the female heart is supposed to be most frequently won,
rendered even this temporary absence matter of anxious thought and
apprehension; so that, during their afternoon journey, he rode in
silence by Eveline's side, rather meditating what might chance to-
morrow, than endeavouring to avail himself of present opportunity.
In this unsocial manner they travelled on until the point was
reached where they were to separate for the evening.

This was an elevated spot, from which they could see, on the right
hand, the castle of Amelot Herbert, rising high upon an eminence,
with all its Gothic pinnacles and turrets; and on the left, low-
embowered amongst oaken woods, the rude and lonely dwelling in
which the Lady of Baldringham still maintained the customs of the
Anglo-Saxons, and looked with contempt and hatred on all
innovations that had been introduced since the battle of Hastings.

Here the Constable De Lacy, having charged a part of his men to
attend the Lady Eveline to the house of her relation, and to keep
watch around it with the utmost vigilance, but at such a distance
as might not give offence or inconvenience to the family, kissed
her hand, and took a reluctant leave. Eveline proceeded onwards by
a path so little trodden, as to show the solitary condition of the
mansion to which it led. Large kine, of an uncommon and valuable
breed, were feeding in the rich pastures around; and now and then
fallow deer, which appeared to have lost the shyness of their
nature, tripped across the glades of the woodland, or stood and
lay in small groups under some great oak. The transient pleasure
which such a scene of rural quiet was calculated to afford,
changed to more serious feelings, when a sudden turn brought her
at once in front of the mansion-house, of which she had seen
nothing since she first beheld it from the point where she parted
with the Constable, and which she had more than one reason for
regarding with some apprehension.

The house, for it could not be termed a castle, was only two
stories high, low and massively built, with doors and windows
forming the heavy round arch which is usually called Saxon;--the
walls were mantled with various creeping plants, which had crept
along them undisturbed--grass grew up to the very threshold, at
which hung a buffalo's horn, suspended by a brass chain. A massive
door of black oak closed a gate, which much resembled the ancient
entrance to a ruined sepulchre, and not a soul appeared to
acknowledge or greet their arrival.

"Were I you, my Lady Eveline," said the officious dame Gillian, "I
would turn bridle yet; for this old dungeon seems little likely to
afford food or shelter to Christian folk."

Eveline imposed silence on her indiscreet attendant, though
herself exchanging a look with Rose which confessed something like
timidity, as she commanded Raoul to blow the horn at the gate. "I
have heard," she said, "that my aunt loves the ancient customs so
well, that she is loath to admit into her halls any thing younger
than the time of Edward the Confessor."

Raoul, in the meantime, cursing the rude instrument which baffled
his skill in sounding a regular call, and gave voice only to a
tremulous and discordant roar, which seemed to shake the old
walls, thick as they were, repeated his summons three times before
they obtained admittance. On the third sounding, the gate opened,
and a numerous retinue of servants of both sexes appeared in the
dark and narrow hall, at the upper end of which a great fire of
wood was sending its furnace-blast up an antique chimney, whose
front, as extensive as that of a modern kitchen, was carved over
with ornaments of massive stone, and garnished on the top with a
long range of niches, from each of which frowned the image of some
Saxon Saint, whose barbarous name was scarce to be found in the
Romish calendar.

The same officer who had brought the invitation from his lady to
Eveline, now stepped forward, as she supposed, to assist her from
her palfrey; but it was in reality to lead it by the bridle-rein
into the paved hall itself, and up to a raised platform, or dais,
at the upper end of which she was at length permitted to dismount.
Two matrons of advanced years, and four young women of gentle
birth, educated by the bounty of Ermengarde, attended with
reverence the arrival of her kinswoman. Eveline would have
inquired of them for her grand-aunt, but the matrons with much
respect laid their fingers on their mouths, as if to enjoin her
silence; a gesture which, united to the singularity of her
reception in other respects, still farther excited her curiosity
to see her venerable relative.

It was soon gratified; for, through a pair of folding doors, which
opened not far from the platform on which she stood, she was
ushered into a large low apartment hung with arras; at the upper
end of which, under a species of canopy, was seated the ancient
Lady of Baldringham. Fourscore years had not quenched the
brightness of her eyes, or bent an inch of her stately height; her
gray hair was still so profuse as to form a tier, combined as it
was with a chaplet of ivy leaves; her long dark-coloured gown fell
in ample folds, and the broidered girdle, which gathered it around
her, was fastened by a buckle of gold, studded with precious
stones, which were worth an Earl's ransom; her features, which had
once been beautiful, or rather majestic, bore still, though faded
and wrinkled, an air of melancholy and stern grandeur, that
assorted well with her garb and deportment. She had a staff of
ebony in her hand; at her feet rested a large aged wolf-dog, who
pricked his ears and bristled up his neck, as the step of a
stranger, a sound so seldom heard in those halls, approached the
chair in which his aged mistress sat motionless.

"Peace, Thryme," said the venerable dame; "and thou, daughter of
the house of Baldringham, approach, and fear not their ancient
servant."

The hound sunk down to his couchant posture when she spoke, and,
excepting the red glare of his eyes, might have seemed a
hieroglyphical emblem, lying at the feet of some ancient priestess
of Woden or Freya; so strongly did the appearance of Ermengarde,
with her rod and her chaplet, correspond with the ideas of the
days of Paganism. Yet he who had thus deemed of her would have
done therein much injustice to a venerable Christian matron, who
had given many a hide of land to holy church, in honour of God and
Saint Dunstan.

Ermengarde's reception of Eveline was of the same antiquated and
formal cast with her mansion and her exterior. She did not at
first arise from her seat when the noble maiden approached her,
nor did she even admit her to the salute which she advanced to
offer; but, laying her hand on Eveline's arm, stopped her as she
advanced, and perused her countenance with an earnest and
unsparing eye of minute observation.

"Berwine," she said to the most favoured of the two attendants,
"our niece hath the skin and eyes of the Saxon hue; but the hue of
her eye-brows and hair is from the foreigner and alien.--Thou art,
nevertheless,--welcome to my house, maiden," she added, addressing
Eveline, "especially if thou canst bear to hear that thou art not
absolutely a perfect creature, as doubtless these flatterers
around thee have taught thee to believe."

So saying, she at length arose, and saluted her niece with a kiss
on the forehead. She released her not, however, from her grasp,
but proceeded to give the attention to her garments which she had
hitherto bestowed upon her features.

"Saint Dunstan keep us from vanity!" she said; "and so this is the
new guise--and modest maidens wear such tunics as these, showing
the shape of their persons as plain as if (Saint Mary defend us!)
they were altogether without garments? And see, Berwine, these
gauds on the neck, and that neck itself uncovered as low as the
shoulder--these be the guises which strangers have brought into
merry England! and this pouch, like a player's placket, hath but
little to do with housewifery, I wot; and that dagger, too, like a
glee-man's wife, that rides a mumming in masculine apparel--dost
thou ever go to the wars, maiden, that thou wearest steel at thy
girdle?"

Eveline, equally surprised and disobliged by the depreciating
catalogue of her apparel, replied to the last question with some
spirit,--"The mode may have altered, madam; but I only wear such
garments as are now worn by those of my age and condition. For the
poniard, may it please you, it is not many days since I regarded
it as the last resource betwixt me and dishonour."

"The maiden speaks well and boldly, Berwine," said Dame
Ermengarde; "and, in truth, pass we but over some of these vain
fripperies, is attired in a comely fashion. Thy father, I hear,
fell knight-like in the field of battle."

"He did so," answered Eveline, her eyes filling with tears at the
recollection of her recent loss.

"I never saw him," continued Dame Ermengarde; "he carried the old
Norman scorn towards the Saxon stock, whom they wed but for what
they can make by them, as the bramble clings to the elm;--nay,
never seek to vindicate him," she continued, observing that
Eveline was about to speak, "I have known the Norman spirit for
many a year ere thou wert born."

At this moment the steward appeared in the chamber, and, after a
long genuflection, asked his lady's pleasure concerning the guard
of Norman soldiers who remained without the mansion.

"Norman soldiers so near the house of Baldringham!" said the old
lady, fiercely; "who brings them hither, and for what purpose?"

"They came, as I think," said the sewer, "to wait on and guard
this gracious young lady."

"What, my daughter," said Ermengarde, in a tone of melancholy
reproach, "darest thou not trust thyself unguarded for one night
in the castle of thy forefathers?"

"God forbid else!" said Eveline. "But these men are not mine, nor
under my authority. They are part of the train of the Constable de
Lacy, who left them to watch around the castle, thinking there
might be danger from robbers."

"Robbers," said Ermengarde, "have never harmed the house of
Baldringham, since a Norman robber stole from it its best treasure
in the person of thy grandmother--And so, poor bird, thou art
already captive--unhappy flutterer! But it is thy lot, and
wherefore should I wonder or repine? When was there fair maiden,
with a wealthy dower, but she was ere maturity destined to be the
slave of some of those petty kings, who allow us to call nothing
ours that their passions can covet? Well--I cannot aid thee--I am
but a poor and neglected woman, feeble both from sex and age.--And
to which of these De Lacys art thou the destined household
drudge?"

A question so asked, and by one whose prejudices were of such a
determined character, was not likely to draw from Eveline any
confession of the real circumstances in which she was placed,
since it was but too plain her Saxon relation could have afforded
her neither sound counsel nor useful assistance. She replied
therefore briefly, that as the Lacys, and the Normans in general,
were unwelcome to her kinswoman, she would entreat of the
commander of the patrol to withdraw it from the neighbourhood of
Baldringham.

"Not so, my niece," said the old lady; "as we cannot escape the
Norman neighbourhood, or get beyond the sound of their curfew, it
signifies not whether they be near our walls or more far off, so
that they enter them, not. And, Berwine, bid Hundwolf drench the
Normans with liquor, and gorge them with food--the food of the
best, and liquor of the strongest. Let them not say the old Saxon
hag is churlish of her hospitality. Broach a piece of wine, for I
warrant their gentle stomachs brook no ale."

Berwine, her huge bunch of keys jangling at her girdle, withdrew
to give the necessary directions, and presently returned.
Meanwhile Ermengarde proceeded to question her niece more closely.
"Is it that thou wilt not, or canst not, tell me to which of the
De Lacys thou art to be bondswoman?--to the overweening Constable,
who, sheathed in impenetrable armour, and mounted on a swift and
strong horse as invulnerable as himself, takes pride that he rides
down and stabs at his ease, and with perfect safety, the naked
Welshmen?--or is it to his nephew, the beardless Damian?--or must
thy possessions go to mend a breach in the fortunes of that other
cousin, Randal Lacy, the decayed reveller, who, they say, can no
longer ruffle it among the debauched crusaders for want of means?"

"My honoured aunt," replied Eveline, naturally displeased with
this discourse, "to none of the Lacy's, and I trust to none other,
Saxon or Norman, will your kinswoman become a household drudge.

"There was, before the death of my honoured father, some treaty
betwixt him and the Constable, on which account I cannot at
present decline his attendance; but what may be the issue of it,
fate must determine."

"But I can show thee, niece, how the balance of fate inclines,"
said Ermengarde, in a low and mysterious voice. "Those united with
us by blood have, in some sort, the privilege of looking forward
beyond the points of present time, and seeing in their very bud
the thorns or flowers which are one day to encircle their head."

"For my own sake, noble kinswoman," answered Eveline, "I would
decline such foreknowledge, even were it possible to acquire it
without transgressing the rules of the Church. Could I have
foreseen what has befallen me within these last unhappy days, I
had lost the enjoyment of every happy moment before that time."

"Nevertheless, daughter," said the Lady of Baldringham, "thou,
like others of thy race, must within this house conform to the
rule, of passing one night within the chamber of the Red-Finger.--
Berwine, see that it be prepared for my niece's reception."

"I--I--have heard speak of that chamber, gracious aunt," said
Eveline, timidly, "and if it may consist with your good pleasure,
I would not now choose to pass the night there. My health has
suffered by my late perils and fatigues, and with your good-will I
will delay to another time the usage, which I have heard is
peculiar to the daughters of the house of Baldringham."

"And which, notwithstanding, you would willingly avoid," said the
old Saxon lady, bending her brows angrily. "Has not such
disobedience cost your house enough already?"

"Indeed, honoured and gracious lady," said Berwine, unable to
forbear interference, though well knowing the obstinacy of her
patroness, "that chamber is in disrepair, and cannot easily on a
sudden be made fit for the Lady Eveline; and the noble damsel
looks so pale, and hath lately suffered so much, that, might I
have the permission to advise, this were better delayed."

"Thou art a fool, Berwine," said the old lady, sternly; "thinkest
thou I will bring anger and misfortune on my house, by suffering
this girl to leave it without rendering the usual homage to the
Red-Finger? Go to--let the room be made ready--small preparation
may serve, if she cherish not the Norman nicety about bed and
lodging. Do not reply; but do as I command thee.--And you,
Eveline--are you so far degenerated from the brave spirit of your
ancestry, that you dare not pass a few hours in an ancient
apartment?"

"You are my hostess, gracious madam," said Eveline, "and must
assign my apartment where you judge proper--my courage is such as
innocence and some pride of blood and birth have given me. It has
been, of late, severely tried; but, since such is your pleasure,
and the custom of your house, my heart is yet strong enough to
encounter what you propose to subject me to."

She paused here in displeasure; for she resented, in some measure,
her aunt's conduct, as unkind and inhospitable. And yet when she
reflected upon the foundation of the legend of the chamber to
which she was consigned, she could not but regard the Lady of
Baldringham as having considerable reason for her conduct,
according to the traditions of the family, and the belief of the
times, in which Eveline herself was devout.

Sir Walter Scott