Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Conclusion

A sun hath set-a star hath risen,
O, Geraldine! since arms of thine
Have been the lovely lady's prison.
COLERIDGE.

Popular fame had erred in assigning to Eveline Berenger, after the
capture of her castle, any confinement more severe than that of
her aunt the Lady Abbess of the Cistertians' convent afforded. Yet
that was severe enough; for maiden aunts, whether abbesses or no,
are not tolerant of the species of errors of which Eveline was
accused; and the innocent damosel was brought in many ways to eat
her bread in shame of countenance and bitterness of heart. Every
day of her confinement was rendered less and less endurable by
taunts, in the various forms of sympathy, consolation, and
exhortation; but which, stript of their assumed forms, were
undisguised anger and insult. The company of Rose was all which
Eveline had to sustain her under these inflictions, and that was
at length withdrawn on the very morning when so many important
events took place at the Garde Doloureuse.

The unfortunate young lady inquired in vain of a grim-faced nun.
who appeared in Rose's place to assist her to dress, why her
companion and friend was debarred attendance. The nun observed on
that score an obstinate silence, but threw out many hints on the
importance attached to the vain ornaments of a frail child of
clay, and on the hardship that even a spouse of Heaven was
compelled to divert her thoughts from her higher duties, and
condescend to fasten clasps and adjust veils.

The Lady Abbess, however, told her niece after matins, that her
attendant had not been withdrawn from her for a space only, but
was likely to be shut up in a house of the severest profession,
for having afforded her mistress assistance in receiving Damian de
Lacy into her sleeping apartment at the castle of Baldringham.

A soldier of De Lacy's band, who had hitherto kept what he had
observed a secret, being off his post that night, had now in
Damian's disgrace found he might benefit himself by telling the
story. This new blow, so unexpected, so afflictive--this new
charge, which it was so difficult to explain, and so impossible
utterly to deny, seemed to Eveline to seal Damian's fate and her
own; while the thought that she had involved in ruin her single-
hearted and high-soul'd attendant, was all that had been wanting
to produce a state which approached to the apathy of despair.
"Think of me what you will," she said to her aunt, "I will no
longer defend myself--say what you will, I will no longer reply--
carry me where you will, I will no longer resist--God will, in his
good time, clear my fame--may he forgive my persecutors!"

After this, and during several hours of that unhappy day, the Lady
Eveline, pale, cold, silent, glided from chapel to refectory, from
refectory to chapel again, at the slightest beck of the Abbess or
her official sisters, and seemed to regard the various privations,
penances, admonitions, and repreaches, of which she, in the course
of that day, was subjected to an extraordinary share, no more than
a marble statue minds the inclemency of the external air, or the
rain-drops which fall upon it, though they must in time waste and
consume it.

The Abbess, who loved her niece, although her affection showed
itself often in a vexatious manner, became at length alarmed--
countermanded her orders for removing Eveline to an inferior cell--
attended herself to see her laid in bed, (in which, as in every
thing else, the young lady seemed entirely passive,) and, with
something like reviving tenderness, kissed and blessed her on
leaving the apartment. Slight as the mark of kindness was, it was
unexpected, and, like the rod of Moses, opened the hidden
fountains of waters. Eveline wept, a resource which had been that
day denied to her--she prayed--and, finally, sobbed herself to
sleep, like an infant, with a mind somewhat tranquillized by
having given way to this tide of natural emotion.

She awoke more than once in the night to recall mingled and gloomy
dreams of cells and of castles, of funerals and of bridals, of
coronets and of racks and gibbets; but towards morning she fell
into sleep more sound than she had hitherto enjoyed, and her
visions partook of its soothing character. The Lady of the Garde
Doloureuse seemed to smile on her amid her dreams, and to promise
her votaress protection. The shade of her father was there also;
and with the boldness of a dreamer, she saw the paternal
resemblance with awe, but without fear: his lips moved, and she
heard words-their import she did not fully comprehend, save that
they spoke of hope, consolation, and approaching happiness. There
also glided in, with bright blue eyes fixed upon hers, dressed in
a tunic of saffron-coloured silk, with a mantle of cerulean blue
of antique fashion, the form of a female, resplendent in that
delicate species of beauty which attends the fairest complexion.
It was, she thought, the Britoness Vanda; but her countenance was
no longer resentful--her long yellow hair flew not loose on her
shoulders, but was mysteriously braided with oak and mistletoe;
above all, her right hand was gracefully disposed of under her
mantle; and it was an unmutilated, unspotted, and beautifully
formed hand which crossed the brow of Eveline. Yet, under these
assurances of favour, a thrill of fear passed over her as the
vision seemed to repeat, or chant,

"Widow'd wife and wedded maid,
Betrothed, betrayer, and betray'd,
All is done that has been said;
Vanda's wrong has been wroken--
Take her pardon by this token."

She bent down, as if to kiss Eveline, who started at that instant,
and then awoke. Her hand was indeed gently pressed, by one as pure
and white as her own. The blue eyes and fair hair of a lovely
female face, with half-veiled bosom and dishevelled locks, flitted
through her vision, and indeed its lips approached to those of the
lovely sleeper at the moment of her awakening; but it was Rose in
whose arms her mistress found herself pressed, and who moistened
her face with tears, as in a passion of affection she covered it
with kisses.

"What means this, Rose?" said Eveline; "thank God, you are
restored to me!--But what mean these bursts of weeping?"

"Let me weep--let me weep," said Rose; "it is long since I have
wept for joy, and long, I trust, it will be ere I again weep for
sorrow. News are come on the spur from the Garde Doloureuse--
Amelot has brought them--he is at liberty--so is his master, and
in high favour with Henry. Hear yet more, but let me not tell it
too hastily--You grow pale."

"No, no," said Eveline; "go on--go on--I think I understand you--I
think I do."

"The villain Randal de Lacy, the master-mover of all our sorrows,
will plague you no more; he was slain by an honest Welshman, and
grieved am I that they have hanged the poor man for his good
service. Above all, the stout old Constable is himself returned
from Palestine, as worthy, and somewhat wiser, than he was; for it
is thought he will renounce his con-tract with your ladyship."

"Silly girl," said Eveline, crimsoning as high as she had been
before pale, "jest not amidst such a tale.--But can this be
reality?--Is Randal indeed slain?--and the Constable returned?"

These were hasty and hurried questions, answered as hastily and
confusedly, and broken with ejaculations of surprise and thanks to
Heaven, and to Our Lady, until the ecstasy of delight sobered down
into a sort of tranquil wonder.

Meanwhile Damian Lacy also had his explanations to receive, and
the mode in which they were conveyed had something remarkable.
Damian had for some time been the inhabitant of what our age would
have termed a dungeon, but which, in the ancient days, they called
a prison. We are perhaps censurable in making the dwelling and the
food of acknowledged and convicted guilt more comfortable and
palatable than what the parties could have gained by any exertions
when at large, and supporting themselves by honest labour; but
this is a venial error compared to that of our ancestors, who,
considering a charge and a conviction as synonymous, treated the
accused before sentence in a manner which would have been of
itself a severe punishment after he was found guilty. Damian,
therefore, notwithstanding his high birth and distinguished rank,
was confined after the manner of the most atrocious criminal, was
heavily fettered, fed on the coarsest food, and experienced only
this alleviation, that he was permitted to indulge his misery in a
solitary and separate cell, the wretched furniture of which was a
mean bedstead, and a broken table and chair. A coffin--and his own
arms and initials were painted upon it--stood in one corner, to
remind him of his approaching fate; and a crucifix was placed in
another, to intimate to him that there was a world beyond that
which must soon close upon him. No noise could penetrate into the
iron silence of his prison--no rumour, either touching his own
fate or that of his friends. Charged with being taken in open arms
against the King, he was subject to military law, and to be put to
death even without the formality of a hearing; and he foresaw no
milder conclusion to his imprisonment.

This melancholy dwelling had been the abode of Damian for nearly a
month, when, strange as it may seem, his health, which had
suffered much from his wounds, began gradually to improve, either
benefited by the abstemious diet to which he was reduced, or that
certainty, however melancholy, is an evil better endured by many
constitutions than the feverish contrast betwixt passion and duty.
But the term of his imprisonment seemed drawing speedily to a
close; his jailer, a sullen Saxon of the lowest order, in more
words than he had yet used to him, warned him to look to a speedy
change of dwelling; and the tone in which he spoke convinced the
prisoner there was no time to be lost. He demanded a confessor,
and the jailer, though he withdrew without reply, seemed to
intimate by his manner that the boon would be granted.

Next morning, at an unusually early hour, the chains and bolts of
the cell were heard to clash and groan, and Damian was startled
from a broken sleep, which he had not enjoyed for above two hours.
His eyes were bent on the slowly opening door, as if he had
expected the headsman and his assistants; but the jailer ushered
in a stout man in a pilgrim's habit. "Is it a priest whom you
bring me, warden?" said the unhappy prisoner.

"He can best answer the question himself," said the surly
official, and presently withdrew.

The pilgrim remained standing on the floor, with his back to the
small window, or rather loophole, by which the cell was
imperfectly lighted, and gazed intently upon. Damian, who was
seated oil the side of his bed; his pale cheek and dishevelled
hair bearing a melancholy correspondence to his heavy irons. He
returned the pilgrim's gaze, but the imperfect light only showed
him that his visiter was a stout old man, who wore the scallop-
shell on his bonnet, as a token that he had passed the sea, and
carried a palm branch in his hand, to show he had visited the Holy
Land.

"Benedictine, reverend father," said the unhappy young man; "are
you a priest come to unburden my conscience?"

"I am not a priest," replied the Palmer, "but one who brings you
news of discomfort."

"You bring them to one to whom comfort has been long a stranger,
and to a place which perchance never knew it," replied Damian.

"I may be the bolder in my communication," said the Palmer; "those
in sorrow will better hear ill news than those whom they surprise
in the possession of content and happiness."

"Yet even the situation of the wretched," said Damian, "can be
rendered more wretched by suspense. I pray you, reverend sir, to
speak the worst at once--if you come to announce the doom of this
poor frame, may God be gracious to the spirit which must be
violently dismissed from it!"

"I have no such charge," said the Palmer. "I come from the Holy
Laud, and have the more grief in finding you thus, because my
message to you was one addressed to a free man, and a wealthy
one."

"For my freedom," said Damian, "let these fetters speak, and this
apartment for my wealth.--But speak out thy news--should my uncle
--for I fear thy tale regards him--want either my arm or my
fortune, this dungeon and my degradation have farther pangs than I
had yet supposed, as they render me unable to aid him."

"Your uncle, young man," said the Palmer, "is prisoner, I should
rather say slave, to the great Soldan, taken in a battle in which
he did his duty, though unable to avert the defeat of the
Christians, with which it was concluded. He was made prisoner
while covering the retreat, but not until he had slain with his
own hand, for his misfortune as it has proved, Hassan Ali, a
favourite of the Soldan. The cruel pagan has caused the worthy
knight to be loaded with irons heavier than those you wear, and
the dungeon to which he is confined would make this seem a palace.
The infidel's first resolution was to put the valiant Constable to
the most dreadful death which his tormentors could devise. But
fame told him that Hugo de Lacy was a man of great power and
wealth; and he has demanded a ransom of ten thousand bezants of
gold. Your uncle replied that the payment would totally impoverish
him, and oblige him to dispose of his whole estates; even then he
pleaded, time must be allowed him to convert them into money. The
Soldan replied, that it imported little to him whether a hound
like the Constable were fat or lean, and that he therefore
insisted upon the full amount of the ransom. But he so far relaxed
as to make it payable in three portions, on condition that, along
with the first portion of the price, the nearest of kin and heir
of De Lacy must be placed in his hands as a hostage for what
remained due. On these conditions he consented your uncle should
be put at liberty so soon as you arrive in Palestine with the
gold."

"Now may I indeed call myself unhappy," said Damian, "that I
cannot show my love and duty to my noble uncle, who hath ever been
a father to me in my orphan state."

"It will be a heavy disappointment, doubtless, to the Constable,"
said the Palmer, "because he was eager to return to this happy
country, to fulfil a contract of marriage which he had formed with
a lady of great beauty and fortune."

Damian shrunk together in such sort that his fetters clashed, but
he made no answer.

"Were he not your uncle," continued the Pilgrim, "and well known
as a wise man, I should think he is not quite prudent in this
matter. Whatever he was before he left England, two summers spent
in the wars of Palestine, and another amid the tortures and
restraints of a heathen prison, have made him a sorry bridegroom."

"Peace, pilgrim," said De Lacy, with a commanding tone. "It is not
thy part to censure such a noble knight as my uncle, nor is it
meet that I should listen to your strictures."

"I crave your pardon, young man," said the Palmer. "I spoke not
without some view to your interest, which, methinks, does not so
well consort with thine uncle having an heir of his body."

"Peace, base man!" said Damian. "By Heaven, I think worse of my
cell than I did before, since its doors opened to such a
counsellor, and of my chains, since they restrain me from
chastising him.--Depart, I pray thee."

"Not till I have your answer for your uncle," answered the Palmer.
"My age scorns the anger of thy youth, as the rock despises the
foam of the rivulet dashed against it."

"Then, say to my uncle," answered Damian, "I am a prisoner, or I
would have come to him--I am a confiscated beggar, or I would have
sent him my all."

"Such virtuous purposes are easily and boldly announced," said the
Palmer, "when he who speaks them knows that he cannot be called
upon, to make good the boast of his tongue. But could I tell thee
of thy restoration to freedom and wealth, I trow thou wouldst
consider twice ere thy act confirmed the sacrifice thou hast in
thy present state promised so glibly."

"Leave me, I prithee, old man," said Damian; "thy thought cannot
comprehend the tenor of mine--go, and add not to my distress
insults which I have not the means to avenge."

"But what if I had it in my power to place thee in the situation
of a free and wealthy man, would it please thee then to be
reminded of thy present boast? for if not, thou may'st rely on my
discretion never to mention the difference of sentiment between
Damian bound and Damian at liberty."

"How meanest thou?-or hast thou any meaning, save to torment me?"
said the youth.

"Not so," replied the old Palmer, plucking from his bosom, a
parchment scroll to which a heavy seal was attached.--"Know that
thy cousin Randal hath been strangely slain, and his treacheries
towards the Constable and thee as strangely discovered. The King,
in requital of thy sufferings, hath sent thee this full pardon,
and endowed thee with a third part of those ample estates, which,
by his death, revert to the crown."

"And hath the King also restored my freedom and my right of
blood?" exclaimed Damian.

"From this moment, forthwith," said the Palmer--"look upon the
parchment--behold the royal hand and seal."

"I must have better proof.--Here," he exclaimed, loudly clashing
his irons at the same time, "Here, thou Dogget-warder, son of a
Saxon wolfhound!"

The Palmer, striking on the door, seconded the previous exertions
for summoning the jailer, who entered accordingly.

"Warder," said Damian de Lacy, in a stern tone, "am I yet thy
prisoner, or no?"

The sullen jailer consulted the Palmer by a look, and then
answered to Damian that he was a free man.

"Then, death of thy heart, slave," said Damian, impatiently, "why
hang these fetters on the free limbs of a Norman noble? each
moment they con-fine him are worth a lifetime of bondage to such a
serf as thou!"

"They are soon rid of, Sir Damian," said the man; "and I pray you
to take some patience, when you remember that ten minutes since
you had little right to think these bracelets would have been
removed for any other purpose than your progress to the scaffold."

"Peace, ban-dog," said Damian, "and be speedy;--And thou, who hast
brought me these good tidings, I forgive thy former bearing--thou
thoughtest, doubtless, that it was prudent to extort from me
professions during my bondage which might in honour decide my
conduct when at large. The suspicion inferred in it was somewhat
offensive, but thy motive was to ensure my uncle's liberty."

"And it is really your purpose," said the Palmer, "to employ your
newly-gained freedom in a voyage to Syria, and to exchange your
English prison for the dungeon of the Soldan?"

"If thou thyself wilt act as my guide," answered the undaunted
youth, "you shall not say I dally by the way."

"And the ransom," said the Palmer, "how is that to be provided?"

"How, but from the estates, which, nominally restored to me,
remain in truth and justice my uncle's, and must be applied to his
use in the first instance? If I mistake not greatly, there is not
a Jew or Lombard who would not advance the necessary sums on such
security.--Therefore, dog," he continued, addressing the jailer,
"hasten thy unclenching and undoing of rivets, and be not dainty
of giving me a little pain, so thou break no limb, for I cannot
afford to be stayed on my journey."

The Palmer looked on a little while, as if surprised at Damian's
determination, then exclaimed, "I can keep the old man's secret no
longer--such high-souled generosity must not be sacrificed.--Hark
thee, brave Sir Damian, I have a mighty secret still to impart,
and as this Saxon churl understands no French, this is no unfit
opportunity to communicate it. Know that thine uncle is a changed
man in mind, as he is debilitated and broken down in body.
Peevishness and jealousy have possessed themselves of a heart
which was once strong and generous; his life is now on the dregs,
and I grieve to speak it, these dregs are foul and bitter."

"Is this thy mighty secret?" said Damian. "That men grow old, I
know; and if with infirmity of body comes infirmity of temper and
mind, their case the more strongly claims the dutiful observance
of those who are bound to them in blood or affection."

"Ay," replied the Pilgrim, "but the Constable's mind has been
poisoned against thee by rumours which have reached his ear from
England, that there have been thoughts of affection betwixt thee
and his betrothed bride, Eveline Berenger.--Ha! have I touched you
now?"

"Not a whit," said Damian, putting on the strongest resolution
with which his virtue could supply him--"it was but this fellow
who struck my shin-bone somewhat sharply with his hammer. Proceed.
My uncle heard such a report, and believed it?"

"He did," said the Palmer--"I can well aver it, since he concealed
no thought from me. But he prayed me carefully to hide his
suspicions from you, 'otherwise,' said he, 'the young wolf-cub
will never thrust himself into the trap for the deliverance of the
old he-wolf. Were he once in my prison-house,' your uncle
continued to speak of you, 'he should rot and die ere I sent one
penny of ransom to set at liberty the lover of my betrothed
bride.'"

"Could this be my uncle's sincere purpose?" said Damian, all
aghast. "Could he plan so much treachery towards me as to leave me
in the captivity into which I threw myself for his redemption?--
Tush! it cannot be."

"Flatter not yourself with such a vain opinion," said the Palmer--
"if you go to Syria, you go to eternal captivity, while your uncle
returns to possession of wealth little diminished--and of Eveline
Berenger."

"Ha!" ejaculated Damian; and looking down for an instant, demanded
of the Palmer, in a subdued voice, what he would have him do in
such an extremity.

"The case is plain, according to my poor judgment," replied the
Palmer. "No one is bound to faith with those who mean to observe
none with him. Anticipate this treachery of your uncle, and let
his now short and infirm existence moulder out in the pestiferous
cell to which he would condemn your youthful strength. The royal
grant has assigned you lands enough for your honourable support;
and wherefore not unite with them those of the Garde Doloureuse?--
Eveline Berenger, if I do not greatly mistake, will scarcely say
nay. Ay, more--I vouch it on my soul that she will say yes, for I
have sure information of her mind; and for her precontract, a word
from Henry to his Holiness, now that they are in the heyday of
their reconciliation, will obliterate the name Hugh from the
parchment, and insert Damian in its stead."

"Now, by my faith," said Damian, arising and placing his foot upon
the stool, that the warder might more easily strike off the last
ring by which he was encumbered,--"I have heard of such things as
this--I have heard of beings who, with seeming gravity of word and
aspect--with subtle counsels, artfully applied to the frailties of
human nature--have haunted the cells of despairing men, and made
them many a fair promise, if they would but exchange for their
by-ways the paths of salvation. Such are the fiend's dearest agents,
and in such a guise hath the fiend himself been known to appear.
In the name of God, old man, if human thou art, begone!--I like
not thy words or thy presence--I spit at thy counsels. And mark
me," he added, with a menacing gesture, "Look to thine own safety
--I shall presently be at liberty!"

"Boy," replied the Palmer, folding his arms contemptuously in his
cloak, "I scorn thy menaces--I leave thee not till we know each
other better!"

"I too," said Damian, "would fain know whether thou be'st man or
fiend; and now for the trial!" As he spoke, the last shackle fell
from his leg, and clashed on the pavement, and at the same moment
he sprung on the Palmer, caught him by the waist, and exclaimed,
as he made three distinct and separate attempts to lift him up,
and dash him headlong to the earth, "This for maligning a
nobleman--this for doubting the honour of a knight--and this (with
a yet more violent exertion) for belying a lady!"

Each effort of Damian seemed equal to have rooted up a tree; yet
though they staggered the old man, they overthrew him not; and
while Damian panted with his last exertion, he replied, "And take
this, for so roughly entreating thy father's brother."

As he spoke, Damian de Lacy, the best youthful wrestler in
Cheshire, received no soft fall on the floor of the dungeon. He
arose slowly and astounded; but the Palmer had now thrown back
both hood and dalmatique, and the features, though bearing marks
of age and climate, were those of his uncle the Constable, who
calmly observed, "I think, Damian, thou art become stronger, or I
weaker, since my breast was last pressed against yours in our
country's celebrated sport. Thou hadst nigh had me down in that
last turn, but that I knew the old De Lacy's back-trip as well as
thou.--But wherefore kneel, man?" He raised him with much
kindness, kissed his cheek, and proceeded; "Think not, my dearest
nephew, that I meant in my late disguise to try your faith, which
I myself never doubted. But evil tongues had been busy, and it was
this which made me resolve on an experiment, the result of which
has been, as I expected, most honourable for you. And know, (for
these walls have sometimes ears, even according to the letter,)
there are ears and eyes not far distant which have heard and seen
the whole. Marry, I wish though, thy last hug had not been so
severe a one. My ribs still feel the impression of thy knuckles."

"Dearest and honoured uncle," said Damian--"excuse----"

"There is nothing to excuse," replied his uncle, interrupting him.
"Have we not wrestled a turn before now?--But there remains yet
one trial for thee to go through--Get thee out of this hole
speedily--don thy best array to accompany me to the Church at
noon; for, Damian, thou must be present at the marriage of the
Lady Eveline Berenger."

This proposal at once struck to the earth the unhappy young man.
"For mercy's sake," he exclaimed, "hold me excused in this, my
gracious uncle!--I have been of late severely wounded, and am very
weak."

"As my bones can testify," said his uncle. "Why, man, thou hast
the strength of a Norway bear."

"Passion," answered Damian, "might give me strength for a moment;
but, dearest uncle, ask any thing of me rather than this.
Methinks, if I have been faulty, some other punishment might
suffice."

"I tell thee," said the Constable, "thy presence is necessary--
indispensably necessary. Strange reports have been abroad, which
thy absence on this occasion would go far to confirm, Eveline's
character and mine own are concerned in this."

"If so," said Damian, "if it be indeed so, no task will be too
hard for me. But I trust, when the ceremony is over, you will not
refuse me your consent to take the cross, unless you should prefer
my joining the troops destined, as I heard, for the conquest of
Ireland."

"Ay, ay," said the Constable; "if Eveline grant you permission, I
will not withhold mine."

"Uncle," said Damian, somewhat sternly, "you do not know the
feelings which you jest with."

"Nay," said the Constable, "I compel nothing; for if thou goest to
the church, and likest not the match, thou may'st put a stop to it
if thou wilt--the sacrament cannot proceed without the
bridegroom's consent."

"I understand you not, uncle," said Damian; "you have already
consented."

"Yes, Damian," he said, "I have--to withdraw my claim, and to
relinquish it in thy favour; for if Eveline Berenger is wedded
to-day, thou art her bridegroom! The Church has given her sanction--
the King his approbation--the lady says not nay--and the question
only now remains, whether the bridegroom will say yes."

The nature of the answer may be easily conceived; nor is it
necessary to dwell upon the splendour of the ceremonial, which, to
atone for his late unmerited severity, Henry honoured with his own
presence. Amelot and Rose were shortly afterwards united, old
Flammock having been previously created a gentleman of coat
armour, that the gentle Norman blood might without utter
derogation, mingle with the meaner stream that coloured the cheek
with crimson, and meandered in azure over the lovely neck and
bosom of the fair Fleming. There was nothing in the manner of the
Constable towards his nephew and his bride, which could infer a
regret of the generous self-denial which he had exercised in
favour of their youthful passion. But he soon after accepted a
high command in the troops destined to invade Ireland; and his
name is found amongst the highest in the roll of the chivalrous
Normans who first united that fair island to the English crown.

Eveline, restored to her own fair castle and domains, failed not
to provide for her Confessor, as well as for her old soldiers,
servants, and retainers, forgetting their errors, and remembering
their fidelity. The Confessor was restored to the flesh-pots of
Egypt, more congenial to his habits than the meagre fare of his
convent. Even Gillian had the means of subsistence, since to
punish her would have been to distress the faithful Raoul. They
quarrelled for the future part of their lives in plenty, just as
they had formerly quarrelled in poverty; for wrangling curs will
fight over a banquet as fiercely as over a bare bone. Raoul died
first, and Gillian having lost her whetstone, found that as her
youthful looks decayed her wit turned somewhat blunt. She
therefore prudently commenced devotee, and spent hours in long
panegyrics on her departed husband.

The only serious cause of vexation which I can trace the Lady
Eveline having been tried with, arose from a visit of her Saxon
relative, made with much form, but, unfortunately, at the very
time which the Lady Abbess had selected for that same purpose. The
discord which arose between these honoured personages was of a
double character, for they were Norman and Saxon, and, moreover,
differed in opinion concerning the time of holding Easter. This,
however, was but a slight gale to disturb the general serenity of
Eveline; for with her unhoped-for union with Damian, ended the
trials and sorrows of THE BETROTHED.

END OF THE BETROTHED.


Sir Walter Scott