Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Caged Lion by Charlotte M. Yonge

Part 6 out of 6

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.


'The poor scholar,' now only existing in Ireland and Brittany--nay,
we believe extinct there since the schoolmaster has become not
abroad, but at home, in Government colleges--was to be found
throughout the commonwealth of Europe in the Middle Ages. Young
lads, in whom convent schools had developed a thirst for learning,
could only gratify it by making their way to some university, where
between begging, singing, teaching, receiving doles, earning rewards
in encounters of wit and learning, doing menial services and using
all manner of shifts, they contrived to live a hard life, half savage
on the one side, highly intellectual upon the other. They would suck
the marrow of one university, and then migrate to another; and the
rank they had gained in the first was available in the second, so
that it was no means uncommon for them to bring away degrees from
half the universities in Europe, all of which formed one general
system--all were like islands of one country, whose common language
was queer Latin, and whose terms, manners, and customs were alike in
all main points.

Scotland contributed many of her sons to this curious race of
vagabond students, when she herself was without any university to
satisfy the cravings of her thoughtful and intellectual people. 'No
country without a Scot or a flea' was an uncomplimentary proverb due
to the numerous young clerks, equally fierce for frays and for
lectures, who flocked to the seats of learning on the Continent, and
sometimes became naturalized there, sometimes came home again, to
fight their way to the higher benefices of the Church, or to become
councillors of state.

It was true that Malcolm was an Oxford scholar, or rather bachelor,
and that Oxford and Cambridge were almost the only universities where
Scots were not--their place being taken by multitudinous Irish; yet
not only were all universities alike in essentials, but he had seen
and heard enough of that at Paris to be able to personate a clerk
from thence.

It was no small plunge for one hitherto watched, tended, and guarded
as Malcolm had been, to set forth entirely alone; but as he had
approached manhood, and strengthened in body, his spirit had gained
much in courage, and the anxiety about his sister swallowed up all
other considerations. Even while he entreated the prayers of the
Abbess, he felt quite sure that he had those of Esclairmonde; and
when he had hunted out of his mails the plain bachelor's rabbit-skin
hood and black gown--which, perhaps, was a little too fine in texture
for the poor wanderer--and fastened on his back, with a leathern
thong, a package containing a few books and a change of linen, his
pale and intellectual face made him look so entirely the young clerk,
that Patrick hardly believed it was Malcolm.

And when the roads parted, and Drummond and his escort had to turn
towards Berwick, while Malcolm took the path to the monastery, it was
the younger who was the stronger and more resolute of the two; for
Patrick could neither reconcile himself to peril the boy, who had
always been his anxious trust, nor to return to the King without him;
and yet no one who loved Lilias could withhold him from his quest.

Malcolm did not immediately speed to the monastery on taking leave of
Patrick. He stood first to watch the armour flashes gradually die
away, and the little troop grow smaller to his eye, across the brown
moor, till they were entirely out of sight, and he himself left
alone. Then he knelt by a bush of gorse, told his beads, and
earnestly entreated direction and aid for himself, and protection for
his sister; and when the sun grew so low as to make it time for a
wanderer to seek harbour, he stained and daggled his gown in the mire
and water of a peat-moss, so as to destroy its Oxford gloss, took a
book in his hand, and walked towards the monastery, reciting Latin
verses in the sing-song tone then universally followed.

As he came among the fields, he saw that the peasants, and lay
brethren who had been working among them, were returning, some from
sowing, others from herding the cattle, which they drove before them
to the byre within the protecting wall of the monastery.

A monk--with a weather-beaten face and athletic figure, much like a
farmer's of the present day--overtook him, and hailed him with
'Benedicite, you there and welcome to your clerkship! Are you coming
for supper and bed in the convent?'

Malcolm knew good-natured Brother Nicolas, and kept his hood well
over his face after the first salutation; though he felt confident
that Lord Malcolm could hardly be recognized in the begging scholar,
as he made reply, 'Salve, reverende frater. Venio de Lutetia
Parisiorum.' {1}

'Whisht with your Latin, laddie,' said the brother. 'Speak out, if
you've a Scots tongue in your head, and have not left it in foreign

'For bed and board, holy father, I shall be most thankful,' replied

'That's more like it,' said the brother, who acted as a kind of
farming steward, and was a hearty, good-natured gossip. 'An' what's
the name of ye?'

He gave his real Christian name; and added that he came from
Glenuskie, where the good Tutor of Glenuskie had been kind enough to
notice him.

'Ay,' said Brother Nicolas, 'he was a guid man to all towardly
youths. He died in this house, more's the pity.'

'Yea, Sir--so I heard say,' returned Malcolm. 'He was a good friend
to me!' he added, to cover his heavy sigh. 'And, Sir, how went it
with the young laird and leddy?'

'For the young laird--a feckless, ugsome, sickly wean he was, puir
laddie--a knight cam by, an' behoved to take him to the King. Nay,
but if you've been at Parish--if that's what ye mean with your
Lutetia--ye'll have seen him an' the King.'

'I saw the King,' answered Malcolm; 'but among the Englishry.'

'A sorry sight enow!' said the monk; 'but he'll soon find his Scots
heart again; and here we've got rid of the English leaven from the
house, and be all sound and leal Scots here.'

'And the lady?' Malcolm ventured to ask. 'She had a winsome face.'

'Ho! ho! what have young clerks to do wi' winsome faces?' laughed the

'She was good to me,' Malcolm could truly say.

'They had her in St. Abbs yonder,' said the monk.

'Is she there?' asked Malcolm. 'I would pay my duty and thanks to

'Now--there I cannot say,' replied Brother Nicolas. 'My good Mother
Abbess and our Prior are not the friends they were in Prior
Akefield's time; and there's less coming and going between the
houses. There was a noise that Lord Malcolm had been slain, and I
did hear that, thereupon, she had been claimed as a ward of the
Crown. But I cannot say. If ye gang to St. Abbs the morn, ye may
hear if she be there--and at any rate get the dole.'

It was clear that the good brother knew no more, and Malcolm could
only thank him for his condescension, and follow among the herdsmen
into the well-known monastery court.

Here he availed himself of his avowed connection with Glenuskie, to
beg to be shown good old Sir David Drummond's grave. A flat gray
stone in the porch was pointed out to him; and beside this he knelt,
until the monks flocked in for prayers--which were but carelessly and
hurriedly sung; and then followed supper. It was all so natural to
him, that it was with an effort that he recalled that his place was
not at the high table, as Lord Malcolm Stewart, but that Malcolm, the
nameless begging scholar, must be trencher-fellow with the servants
and lay brethren. He was the less concerned, that here there was
less danger of recognition, and more freedom of conversation.

Things were evidently much altered. A novice was indeed, as usual,
placed aloft in the refectory pulpit, to read aloud to the brethren
during their repast, but no one seemed to think it needful to
preserve the decorous silence that had been rigidly exacted during
Prior Akefield's time, and there was a continual buzz of
conversation. Lent though it was, the fish was of the most esteemed
kinds, and it was evident that, like the monks of Melrose, they 'made
gude kale.' Few of the kindly old faces that Malcolm remembered were
to be seen under their cowls. Prior Drax himself had much more the
countenance of a moss-trooper than of a monk--mayhap he was then
meditating that which he afterwards carried out successfully, i.e.
the capture and appropriation of a whole instalment of King James's
ransom, on its way across the Border; and there was a rude
recklessness and self-indulgence about the looks, voices, and manners
of the brethren he had brought with him, such as made Malcolm feel
that if he had had his wish, and remained at Coldingham, he should
soon have found it no haven of peace.

The lay-brothers and old servants were fixtures, but the old faithful
and devout ones looked forlorn and unhappy and there had been a great
importation of the ruffianly men-at-arms, whom the more pugnacious
ecclesiastics, as well as nobles, of Scotland, were apt to maintain.
Guards there had been in old times, but kept under strict discipline;
whereas, in the rude conduct of these men, there was no sign that
they knew themselves to be in a religious house. Malcolm, keeping
aloof from these as much as might be, gave such an account of himself
as was most consistent with truth, since it was necessary to account
for his returning so young from his studies. He had, he said, been
told that there was an inheritance fallen due to him, and that the
kinsman, in whose charge his sister had been left, was dead; and he
had come home to seek her out, and inquire into the matter of his

Rude jokes, from some of the new denizens of the monastery, were
spent on the improbability of his finding sister or lands; if it were
in the Barony of Glenuskie, the House of Albany had taken the
administration of that into their own hands.

'Nay--but,' said Malcolm, 'could I but see my young Lady Lilias, she
might make suit for me.'

The gray-headed lay-brother, to whom he addressed himself, replied
that it was little the Lady Lilias could do, but directed him to St.
Abbs to find her; whereat one of the men-at-arms burst out laughing,
and crying, 'That's a' that ye ken, auld Davie! As though the Master
of Albany would let a bonnie lassie ware hersel' and her tocher on
stone walls and dour old nuns.'

'Has she wedded the Master of Albany, then?' asked Malcolm,
concealing his anxiety as best he might.

'That's as he pleases; and by my troth he took pains enow to get

'What pains?'

'Why, once she slipped out of his very fingers; that time that he had
laid hands on her, and the hirpling doited brother of hers cam down
with a strange knight, put her into St. Abbs, and made off for
England--so they said. Some of the rogues would have it 'twas St.
Andrew in bodily shape, and that he tirled the young laird, as was
only fit for a saint, aff to heaven wi' him; for he was no more seen
in these parts.'

'Nay, that couldna be,' put in another soldier. 'Sandy M'Kay took
his aith that he was in the English camp--more shame till him--an'
was stickit dead for meddling between King Harry's brother and his
luve. It sorted him weel, I say.'

'Aweel!' continued the first; 'gane is he, and sma' loss wi' him!
An' yon old beldame over at St. Abbs, she kens weel how to keep a
lass wi' a tocher--so what does the Master but sends a letter ower to
our Prior, bidding him send two trusty brethren, as though from the
King, to conduct her to Whitby?'

'Ha!' said Malcolm; 'but that's ower the Border.'

'Even so; but the Glenuskies are all English at heart, and it sicker
trained away the silly lassie.'

'And then?'--the other man-at-arms laughed.

'Why, at the first hostelry, ye can guess what sort of nuns were
ready to meet her! I promise ye she skirled, and ca'ed Heaven and
earth to help; but Brother Simon and Brother Ringan gave their word
they'd see nae ill dune to her, and she rade with them on each side
of her, and us tall fellows behind and before, till we cam to Doune.'

'And what became of her, the poor lassie, then?' inquired Malcolm,
steadying his voice with much effort.

'Ye maun ask the Master that,' said the soldier. 'I ken nae mair; I
was sent on anither little errand of the Earl of Fife into the
Highlands, and only cam back hither a week syne, to watch the

'Had it been St. Andrew that saved her before, he wad hae come
again,' pondered the lay-brother. 'He'd hardly hae given her up.'

'Weel, I heard the lassie cry on the Master to mind the aith he had
made the former time; an' though he tried to laugh her to scorn, his
eyes grew wild, and there were some that tell'd me they lookit to see
that glittering awsome knight among them again! My certie, they maun
hae been feared enow the time he did come.'

Malcolm had now had his fears and suspicions so far confirmed, that
he perceived what his course should next be. Strange to say, in
spite of the horror of knowing his sister to have been a whole year
in Walter Stewart's power, he was neither hopeless nor disheartened.
Lilias seemed to have kept her persecutor at bay once, and she might
have done so again--if only by the appeal to the mysterious relic, on
which his oath to abstain from violence had been sworn. And
confidence in Esclairmonde's prayers continued to buoy him up, as he
recited his own, and formed his designs for ascertaining whether she
were to be found at Doune--either as wife, or as captive, to Walter,
Earl of Fife and heir of Albany.

So soon as the doors of Coldingham Priory were opened, he was on his
way northward. It was a sore and trying journey, in the bitter March
weather, for one so little used to hardship. He did not fail in
obtaining shelter or food; his garb was everywhere a passport; but he
grew weary and footsore, and his anxiety greatly increased when he
found that fatigue was bringing back the lameness, which greatly
enhanced the likelihood of his being recognized. Kind monks, and
friendly gude-wives, hospitably persuaded the worn student to remain
and rest, till his blistered feet were whole; but he pressed on
whenever he found it possible to travel, and after the first week
found his progress less tardy and painful.

Resting at Edinburgh for Passion-tide and Easter Day, he found that
the Regent Albany himself, with all his family, were at Doune, and he
accordingly made his way thither; rejoicing that he had had some
little time to perfect himself in his part, before rehearsing it to
the persons most likely to detect his disguise.

Along the banks and braes of bonny Doune he slowly moved, with weary
limbs; looking up to the huge pile of the majestic castle in
sickening of heart at the doubt that was about to become a certainty,
and that involved the happiness or the absolute misery of his
sister's life. Nay, he would almost have preferred to find that she
had perished in her resistance, rather than have become wife to such
a man as Walter Stewart.

The Duke of Albany, as representing majesty, kept up all the state
that Scottish majesty was capable of, in its impoverished irregular
state. Hosts of rough lawless warriors, men-at-arms, squires and
knights, lived at free quarters, in a sort of rude plenty, in and
about the Castle; eating and drinking at the Regent's expense,
sleeping where they could, in hall or stable, and for clothing and
armour trusting to 'spulzie'; always ready for violence, without much
caring on whom exercised--otherwise hunting, or lounging, or swelling
their master's disorderly train.

This retinue was almost at its largest at this time, being swelled by
the following of the two younger sons of Murdoch, Robert and
Alexander; and the courts of the Castle were filled with rude,
savage-looking men, some few grooming horses, others with nothing to
do but to shout forth their jeers at the pale, black-gowned student,
who timidly limped into their lair.

Timidly--yes; for the awful chances heavily oppressed him; and the
horrible scurrility and savagery that greeted him on all sides made
his heart faint at the thought of his Lily in this cage of foul
animals. He did not fear for himself, and never paused until a
shouting circle of idle ruffians set themselves full in his way, to
badger and bait the poor scholar with taunts and insults--hemming him
in, bawling out ribald mirth, as a pack of hounds fall on some stray
dog, or, as Malcolm thought, in a moment half of sick horror, half of
resolute resignation, like wild cattle--fat bulls of Bashan closing
in on every side. So horrible a moment of distress he had never
known; but suddenly, as he stood summoning all his strength, panting
with dismay, inwardly praying, and trying to close his ears and
commend himself to One who knew what mockery is, there was an opening
of the crowd, a youth darted down among them, with a loud cry of
'Shame! Out on you! A poor scholar!' and taking Malcolm's hand, led
him forward; while a laugh of mockery rose in the distance--'Like to

'Ay, my friend and brother, I am Baccalaureus, even as you are,'
eagerly said the young gentleman, in whom Malcolm, somewhat to his
alarm, recognized his cousin, James Kennedy, the King's nephew, a
real Parisian 'bejanus,' or bec jaune, {2} when they last had met in
the Hotel de St. Pol; and thus not only qualified to confute and
expose him, should he show any ignorance of details, but also much
more likely to know him than those who had not seen him for many
months before he had left Scotland.

But James Kennedy asked no questions, only said kindly, in the Latin
that was always spoken in the University, 'Pray pardon us! Mores
Hyperboreis desunt. {3} The Regent would be grieved, if he knew how
these scelerati {4} have sorted you. Come, rest and wash--it will
soon be supper-time.'

He took Malcolm to an inner court, filled for him a cup of ale, for
his immediate refreshment, and led him to a spout of clear water, in
the side of the rock on which the Castle stood; where a stone basin
afforded the only facilities for washing that the greater part of the
inhabitants of the Castle expected, and, in effect, more than they
commonly used. Malcolm, however, was heartily glad of the
refreshment of removing the dust from his weary face and feet--and
heartily thanked his protector, in the same dog-Latin. Kennedy
waited for him, and as a great bell began to ring, said 'Pro caena,'
{5} and conducted him towards the great hall while Malcolm felt much
impelled to make himself known, but was conscious that he had not so
comported himself towards his cousin at Paris as to deserve much
favour from him.

A high table was spread in the hall, with the usual appliances
befitting princes and nobles. The other tables, below the dais, were
of the rudest description, and stained with accumulations of grease
and ale; and no wonder, since trenchers were not, and each man hacked
a gobbet for himself from the huge pieces of beef carried round on
spits--nor would the guests have had any objection, during a
campaign, to cook the meat in the fashion described by Froissart,
between themselves and the saddle. These were the squirearchy;
Malcolm's late persecutors did not aspire to the benches around these
boards, or only at second hand, and for the most part had no seat but
the unclean straw and rushes that strewed the floor.

As James Kennedy entered the hall with Malcolm, there came from
another door, marshalled by the seneschal in full feudal state, the
Regent Duke of Albany himself, his wife, a daughter or two, two sons-
-and Malcolm saw, with beating heart, Lilias herself, pale worn,
sorrowful-looking, grievously altered, but still his own Lily.
Others followed, chiefly knights and attendants, but Malcolm saw no
one but Lily. She took her place dejectedly, and never raised her
eyes towards him, even when, on the Regent's question, 'What have ye
there, Jamie?' Kennedy stood forth and answered that it was a
scholar, a student, for whom he asked the hospitality of his kinsman.

'He is welcome,' said the Regent, a man of easy good-nature, whose
chief misfortune was, that being of weak nature, he came between a
wicked father and wickeder sons. He was a handsome man, with much of
the stately appearance of King James himself, and the same
complexion; but it was that sort of likeness which was almost
provoking, by seeming to detract from the majesty of the lineaments
themselves, as seen in him who alone knew how to make them a mask for
a great soul. His two sons, Robert and Alexander, laughed as they
saw Kennedy's companion, and called out, 'So that's the brotherhood
of learning, is it, Jamie?--forgathering with any beggar in the

'Yea,' said Kennedy, nothing daunted, 'and finding him much better
mannered than you!'

'Ay!' sighed Murdoch, feebly; 'when I grew up, it was at the Castles
of Perth and Doune that we looked for the best manners. Now--'

'We leave them to the lick-platters that have to live by them,' said
Alexander, rudely.

Kennedy, meanwhile, gave the young scholar in charge to a gray-headed
retainer, who seemed one of the few who had any remains of good-
breeding; and then offered to say Grace--he being the nearest
approach to an ecclesiastic present--as the chaplain was gone to an
Easter festivity at his Abbey. Malcolm thus obtained a seat at the
second table, and a tolerable share of supper; but he could hardly
eat, from intense anxiety, and scarcely knew whether to be glad or
sorry that he was out of sight of Lily.

By and by, a moment's lull of the universal din enabled Malcolm to
hear the Regent saying, 'Verily, there is a look of gentle nurture
about the lad. Look you, James, when the tables are drawn, you shall
hold a disputation with him. It will be sport to hear how you chop
logic at your Universities yonder.'

Malcolm's spirit sank. Such disputations were perfectly ordinary
work at both Oxford and Paris, and, usually, he was quite capable of
sustaining his part in them; but his heart was so full, his mind so
anxious, his condition so dangerous, that he felt as if he could by
no means rally that alertness of argument, and readiness of
quotation, that were requisite even in the merest tyro. However, he
made a great effort. He secretly invoked the Light of Wisdom; tried
to think himself back into the aisles of St. Mary's Church, and to
call up the key-notes of some of the stock arguments; hoping that, if
the selection of the subject were left to Kennedy, he would hit on
one of those most familiar at Oxford.

The supper was ended, the tables were removed, and the challenge took
place. Duke Murdoch, leaning back in his high chair by the peat-
fire, while the ladies sat round at their spinning, called for the
two young clerks to begin their tourney of words. They stood
opposite one another, on the step of the dais; and Kennedy, as host
and challenger, assigned to his opponent the choice of a subject,
when Malcolm, brightening, proposed one that he had so often heard
and practised on, as to have the arguments at his fingers' ends;
namely, that the real consists only in that which is substantial to
the senses, and which we see, hear, taste, smell, or touch.

Kennedy's shrewd gray eye glanced at him in a manner that startled
him, as he made reply, 'Fellow-alumnus, you speak as Oxford scholars
speak; but I rede ye well that the real is not that which is grossly
tangible to the corporeal sense, but the idea that is conceived
within the immortal intelligence.'

The argument was carried on in the vernacular, but there was an
unlimited license of quotation from authors of all kinds, classics,
Fathers, and schoolmen. It was like a game at chess, in which the
first moves were always so much alike, that they might have been made
by automatons; and Malcolm was repeating reply and counter-reply,
almost by rote, when a citation brought in by Kennedy again startled

'Outward things,' said James, 'are the mere mark; for have we not
heard how

"Telephus et Peleus, quum pauper et exsul uterque,
Projicit ampullas et sesquipedalia verba"?' {6}

Was this to prove that he recognized a wandering prince in his
opponent? thought Malcolm; but, much on his guard, he made answer, as
usual, in his native tongue. 'That which is not touched and held is
but a vain and fleeting shadow--"solvitur in nube." {7}

'Negatur, it is denied!' said Kennedy, fixing his eyes full upon him.
'The Speculum of the Soul, which is immortal, retains the image even
while the bodily presence is far away. Wherefore else was it that
Ulysses sat as a beggar by his paternal hearth, or that Cadmus
wandered to seek his sister?'

This was anything but the regular illustration--the argument was far
too directly ad hominem--and Malcolm hesitated for a moment, ere
framing his reply. 'If the image had satisfied the craving of their
hearts, they had never wandered, nor endangered themselves.'

'Nor,' said Kennedy, 'endeared themselves to all who love the leal
and the brave, and count these indeed as verities for which to live.'

From the manner in which these words were spoken, Malcolm had no
further doubt either that Kennedy knew him, or that he meant to
assist him; and the discussion thenceforth proceeded without further
departures from the regular style, and was sustained with
considerable spirit, till the Regent grew weary of it, and bed-time
approached, when Kennedy announced his intention of taking his
fellow-student to share his chamber; and, as this did not appear at
all an unnatural proposal, in the crowded Castle, Malcolm followed
him up various winding stairs into a small circular chamber, with a
loop-hole window, within one of the flanking towers.

Carefully closing the heavy door, Kennedy held out his hands. 'Fair
cousin,' he said, 'this is bravely done of you.'

'Will it save my sister?' asked Malcolm, anxiously.

'It should,' said his kinsman; 'but how can it be? Whatever is done,
must be ere Walter Stewart returns.'

'Tell me all! I know nothing--save that she was cruelly lured from
St. Abbs.'

'I know little more,' said Kennedy. 'It was on a false report of
your death, and Walter had well-nigh obtained a forcible marriage;
when her resistance and cries to Heaven daunted the monk who was to
have performed the rite, so that he, in a sort, became her protector.
When she was brought here, Walter swore he would bend her to his
will; shut her up in the old keep, and kept her there, scantily fed,
and a close prisoner, while he went forth on one of his forays. The
Regent coming here meantime, found the poor maiden in her captivity,
and freed her so far that she lives, to all appearance, as becomes
his kinswoman; but the Duchess is cruelly strict with her, being
resolved, as she says, to take down her pride.'

'They must know that I live,' said Malcolm.

'They do; but Walter is none the less resolved not to be balked.
Things came to a wild pass a few weeks syne. The Regent had never
dared tell him how far matters had gone for bringing back the King,
when one day Walter came in, clad for hawking; and, in his rudest
manner, demanded the falcon that was wont to sit on his father's
wrist, and that had never been taken out by any other. The Regent
refused to part with the bird, as he had oft done before; whereupon
his son, in his fury, snatched her from his wrist, and wrung her head
off before all our eyes; then turning fiercely on your poor sister,
told her that "yon gled should be a token to her, of how they fared
who withheld themselves from him." Then rose the Duke, trembling
within rage; "Ay, Wat," said he, "ye hae been owermuch for me. We
will soon have ane at home that will ken how to guide ye." Walter
looked at him insolently, and muttered, "I've heard of this before!
They that wad have a master, may live under a master--but I'm not ane
of them;" and then, turning upon Lady Lilias, he pointed to the dead
hawk, and told her that, unless she yielded to him with a good grace,
that bird showed her what she might expect, long ere the King or her
brother were across the border.'

'And where is he now?'

'In Fife, striving to get a force together to hinder the King's
return. He'll not do that; men are too weary of misrule to join him
against King James; but he is like, any day, to come back with
reivers enough to terrify his father, and get your sister into his
hands--indeed, his mother is ready to give her up to him whenever he
asks. He has sworn to have her now, were it merely to vex the King
and you, and show that he is to be daunted neither by man, heaven,
nor hell.'

'And he may come?'

'Any day or any night,' said James. 'Since he went I have striven,
in vain, to devise some escape for your sister; but Heaven has surely
sent you to hinder so foul a wrong! Yet, if you went to Glenuskie
and raised your vassals--'

'It would be loss of time,' said Malcolm; 'and this matter may not be
put to the doubtful issue of a fray between my men and his villains.
Out of this place must she go at once. But, alas! how win to the
speech of her?'

'That can I do,' said Kennedy. 'For a few brief moments, each day,
have I spoken to her in the chapel. Nay, I had left this place
before now, had she not prayed me to remain as her only friend.'

'Heaven must requite you, Cousin James,' said Malcolm, warmly. 'I
deserved not this of you.'

'All that I desire,' said Kennedy, 'is to see this land of ours cease
to be full of darkness and cruel habitations. Malcolm, you know the
King better than I; may we not trust that he will come as a redresser
of wrongs?'

'Know you not his pledge to himself?--"I will make the key keep the
castle, and the bracken bush keep the cow, though I live the life of
a dog to bring it about!"'

'God strengthen his hand,' said Kennedy, with tears in his eyes; 'and
bring better days to our poor land. Cousin, has not your heart burnt
within you, to be doing somewhat to bring these countrymen of ours to
better mind?'

'I have grieved,' said Malcolm. 'The sight has been the woe and
horror of my whole life; and either it is worse now than when I went
away, or I see it clearer.'

'It is both,' said Kennedy; 'and, Malcolm, it is borne in on me that
we, who have seen better things, have a heavy charge! The King may
punish marauders, and enforce peace; but it will be but the rule of
the strong hand, unless men's hearts be moved! Our clergy--they bear
the office of priests--but their fierceness and their ignorance would
scarce be believed in France or England; and how should it be
otherwise, with no schools at home save the abbeys--and the abbeys
almost all fortresses held by fierce noblemen's sons?'

Malcolm would much rather have discussed the means of rescuing his
sister, but James Kennedy's heart was full of a youth's ardent plans
for the re-awakening of religion in his country, chiefly through the
improved education of the clergy, and it was not easy to bring his
discourse to a close.

'You--you were to wed a great Flemish heiress?' he said. 'You will
do your part, Cousin, in the founding of a University--such as has
changed ourselves so greatly.'

Malcolm smiled. 'My only bride is learning,' he said; 'my other
betrothal is but in name, for the safety of the lady.'

'Then,' cried Kennedy joyfully, 'you will give yourself. Learning
and culture turned to God's service, for this poor country's sake, in
one of birth like you, may change her indeed.'

Was this the reading of Esclairmonde's riddle? suddenly thought
Malcolm. Was the true search for heavenly Light, then, to consist in
holding up to his countrymen the lamp he was kindling for himself?
Must true wisdom consist in treasuring knowledge, not for his own
honour among learned men, or the delectation of his own mind, but to
scatter it among these rude northern souls? Must the vision of
learned research and scholarly calm vanish, as cloistral peace, and
chivalrous love and glory, had vanished before? and was the lot of a
hard-working secular priest that which called him?


For Malcolm to speak with his sister was well-nigh an impossibility.
Had he been detected, he would have been immediately treated as a
spy, and the suspicion thus excited would have been a dangerous
preparation for the King as well as for himself; nor was there any
pretext for giving the wandering scholar an interview with her.

But harsh and strict as was the Duchess of Albany--a tall, raw-boned,
red-haired woman, daughter of the fierce old Earl of Lennox--and
resolved as she was to bend Lilias by persecution to accept her son,
she could not debar a young gentleman of the royal kindred, like
James Kennedy, from entering the apartment where the ladies of the
family sat with their needles; and the Regent, half from pity, half
from shame, had refused to permit Lilias Stewart's being treated as a
mere captive.

Thus Malcolm remained in Kennedy's room in much anxiety, while his
cousin went forth to do his best in his cause, and after some hours
returned to him with the tidings that he had succeeded in letting
Lily know that he was in the Castle. Standing over her while she
bent over her embroidery, and thus concealing her trembling
agitation, he had found it possible to whisper in her ears the
tidings of her brother having come to save her, and of hearing her
insist that Malcolm, 'wee Malcolm, must run no peril, but that she
would do and dare everything--nay, would prefer death itself to
Walter Stewart.'

'Have you any device in this matter?' demanded James Kennedy, when he
had thus spoken.

'Have you your college gown here?' inquired Malcolm.

'I have, in yon kist,' said Kennedy. 'Would you disguise her
therein? You and she are nearly of a height.'

'Ay,' said Malcolm. 'The plot I thought on is this--the worst is
that the risk rests with you.'

'That is naught, less than naught,' said Kennedy. 'I had risked
myself ten times over had I seen any hope for her in so doing.'

Malcolm then explained his plan, namely, that if Lilias could have
Kennedy's gown conveyed to her, she should array herself therein, and
be conducted out of the castle by her cousin by one gate, he himself
in secular garb going by another, and joining at some place of
meeting, whence, as a pair of brothers, Malcolm and she might gain
the English border.

James Kennedy considered, and then added that he could improve on the
plan. He had long intended leaving Doune for his brother's castle,
but only tarried in case he could do anything for Lilias. He would
at supper publicly announce to the Regent his departure for the next
day, and also say that he had detained his fellow-scholar to go
within him. Then arranging for Malcolm's exit in a secular dress
among his escort, as one of the many unobserved loungers, Lilias
should go with him in very early morning in the bachelor's gown,
which he would place in a corner of a dark passage, where she could
find it. Then if Malcolm and she turned aside from his escort, as
the pursuit as soon as her evasion was discovered would be
immediately directed on himself, they would have the more time for

It was a complicated plan, but there was this recommendation, that
Malcolm need not lose sight of his sister. Clerk as he was, young
Kennedy could not ride without an escort, and among his followers he
could place Malcolm. Accordingly at supper he announced his desire
to leave Doune at dawn next morning, and was, as a matter of course,
courteously pressed to remain. Malcolm in the meantime eluded
observation as much as possible while watching his sister, who, in
spite of all her efforts, was pale and red by turns, never durst
glance towards him, and trembled whenever any one went near him.

The ladies at length swept out of the hall, and Robert and Alexander
called for more wine for a rere-supper to drink to James's good
journey; but Kennedy tore himself from their hospitable violence, and
again he and Malcolm were alone, spending a night of anxiety and

Morning came; Malcolm arrayed himself in a somewhat worn dress of
Kennedy's, with the belt and dirk he had carried under his scholar's
garb now without, and a steel cap that his cousin had procured for
him on his head. With a parcel in his arms of Kennedy's gear, he
might pass for a servant sent from home to meet him; and so soon as
this disguise was complete, Kennedy opened the door. On the turret
stair stood a hooded black figure, that started as the door opened.

Malcolm's heart might well seem to leap to his lips, but both brother
and sister felt the tension of nerve that caution required too much
to give way for a moment.

Kennedy whispered, 'Your license, fair Cousin,' and passed on with
the free step of lordly birth, while a few paces behind the seeming
scholar humbly followed, and Malcolm, putting on his soldier's tread
and the careless free-and-easy bearing he had affected before Meaux,
brought up the rear with Master Kennedy's mails.

As they anticipated, the household was not troubling itself to rise
to see the priest off. Not that this made the coast clear, for the
floor of the hall was cumbered with snoring sleepers in all sorts of
attitudes--nay, at the upper table, the flushed, debauched, though
young and handsome, faces of Robert and Alexander Stewart might have
been detected among those who lay snoring among the relics of their
last night's revel.

The old steward was, however, up and alert, ready to offer the
stirrup-cup, and the horses were waiting in the court; but what they
had by no means expected or desired was that Duke Murdoch himself, in
his long furred gown, came slowly across the hall to bid his young
kinsman Kennedy farewell.

'Speed you well, my lad,' he said kindly. 'I ask ye not to tarry in
what ye must deem a graceless household;' and he looked sadly across
at his two sons, boys in age, but seniors in excess. 'I would we had
mair lads like you. I fear me a heavy reckoning is coming.'

'You have ever been good lord to all, Sir,' said Kennedy,
affectionately, for he really loved and pitied the soft-hearted Duke.

'Too good, maybe,' said Murdoch. 'What! the scholar goes with you?'
and he fixed a look on Lily's face that brought the colour deep into
it under her hood.

'Yes, Sir,' answered Kennedy, respectfully. 'Here, you Tam,'
indicating Malcolm, 'take him behind you on the sumpter-horse.'

'Fare ye weel, gentle scholar,' said Murdoch, taking the hand that
Lily was far from offering. 'May ye win to your journey's end safe
and sound; and remember,' he added, holding the fingers tight, and
speaking under the hood, 'if ye have been hardly served, 'twas to
make ye the second lady in Scotland. Take care of her--him, young
laddie,' he added, turning on Malcolm: ''tis best so; and mind' (he
spoke in the same wheedling tone of self-excuse), 'if ye tell the
tale down south, nae ill hath been dune till her, and where could she
have been mair fitly than beneath her kinsman's roof? I'd not let
her go, but that young blude is hot and ill to guide.'

An answer would have been hard to find; and it was well that he did
not look for any. Indeed, Malcolm could not have spoken without
being heard by the seneschal, and therefore could only bow, take his
seat on the baggage-horse, and then feel his sister mounting behind
him in an attitude less unfamiliar on occasion even to the high-born
ladies of the fifteenth century than to those of our day. Four years
it was since he had felt her touch, four years since she had sat
behind him as they followed the King to Coldingham! His heart
swelled with thankfulness as he passed under the gateway, and the
arms that clung round his waist clasped him fervently; but neither
ventured on a word, amid Kennedy's escort, and they rode on a couple
of miles in the same silence. Then Kennedy, pausing, said, 'There
lies your way, Brother. Tam, you may show the scholar the way to the
Gray Friars' Grange, bear them greetings frae me, and halt till ye
hear from me. Fare ye well.'

Lilias trusted her voice to say, 'Blessings on ye, Sir, for all ye
have done for me,' but Malcolm thought it wiser in his character of
retainer to respond only by a bow.

Of course they understood that the direction Kennedy gave was the
very one they were not to take, but they followed it till a tall bush
of gorse hid them from the escort; and then Malcolm, grasping his
sister's hand, plunged down among the rowans, ferns, and hazels, that
covered the steep bank of the river, and so soon as a footing was
gained under shelter of a tall rock, threw his arms round her, almost
sobbing in an under-tone, 'My Lily, my tittie!--safe at last! Oh,
God be thanked! I knew her prayers would be heard! Oh, would that
Patrick were here!' Then, as her face changed and quivered ready to
weep, he cried, 'Eh, what! art still deeming him dead?'

'How!' she cried wildly. 'He fell into the hands of your English,

'He fell into the hands of your King and mine,' said Malcolm. 'Yes,
King James dragged him out of the burning house, and wrung his pardon
out of King Harry. He came with me to St. Abbs to fetch you, Lily,
and only went back because his knighthood would not serve in this
quest like my clerkship.'

'Patrick living, Patrick safe! Oh!' she fell on her knees among the
ferns, hid her face in her hands, and drew a long breath. 'Malcolm,
this is joy overmuch. The desolation of yesterday, the joy to-day!'

Malcolm, seeing her like one stifled by emotion, fell on his knees
beside her, and whispered forth a thanksgiving. She rested with her
head on his shoulder in content till he started up, saying in a
lively manner, 'Come, Lily, we must be on our way. A very bonnie
young clerk you are, with your berry-brown locks cut so short round
your face.'

Lilias blushed up to the short dark curls she had left herself. 'Had
I thought he lived, I could scarce have done it.'

'What, not to get to him, silly maid? Here,' as he shook out and
donned the gown he had brought rolled up, 'now am I a scholar too.
Stay, you must take off this badge of the bachelor; you have only
been in a monastery school, you know; you are my young brother--what
shall we call you?'

'Davie,' softly suggested Lilias.

'Ay, Davie then, that I've come home to fetch to share my Paris lear.
You can be very shy and bashful, you know, and leave all the knapping
of Latin and logic to me.'

'If it is such as you did with Jamie Kennedy,' said Lilias, 'it will
indeed be well. Oh, Malcolm, I sat and marvelled at ye--so gleg ye
took him up. How could ye learn it? And ye are a brave warrior too
in battles,' she added, looking him over with a sister's fond pride.

'We have had no battle, no pitched field,' said Malcolm 'but I have
seen war.'

'So that ugly words can never be flung in your face again!' cried
Lilias. 'Are you knighted, brother?'

'No, but they say I have won my spurs. I'll tell you all, Lily, as
we walk. Only let me bestow this iron cap where some mavis may
nestle in it. Ay, and the boots too, which scarce befit a clerk.
There, your hand, Clerk Davie; we must make westward to-day, lest
poor Duke Murdoch be forced to send to chase us. After that, for the
Border and Patie.'

So brother and sister set forth on their wandering--and truly it was
a happy journey. The weather favoured them, and their hearts were
light. Lilias, delivered from terrible, hopeless captivity, her
brother beside her, and now not a brother to be pitied and protected,
but to protect her and be exulted in, trod the heather with an
exquisite sense of joy and freedom that buoyed her up against all
hardships; and Malcolm was at peace, as he had seldom been. His
happiness was not exactly like his sister's in her renewed liberty
and restoration to love and joy, for he had known a wider range of
life, and though really younger than Lily, his more complicated
history could not but make him older in thought and mind. Another
self-abnegation was beginning to rise upon him, as he travelled
slowly southwards by stages suited to his sister's powers, and by
another track than that by which he had gone. On the moor, or by the
burn side, there was peace and brightness; but wherever he met with
man he found something to sadden him. Did they rest in a monastery,
there was often irregularity, seldom devotion, always crass
ignorance. The manse was often a scene of such dissolute life that
Malcolm shunned to bring his sister into the sight of it; the peel
tower was the dwelling of savagery; the farm homestead either rude
and lawless or in constant terror; the black spaces on many a brae
side showed where dwellings had been burned; more than once they
passed skeletons depending from the trees or lying rotting by the
way-side. And it was frightful to Malcolm, after his four years'
absence, to find how little Lilias shared his horror, taking quite
naturally what to Alice Montagu would have seemed beyond the bounds
of possibility, and would have set Esclairmonde's soul on fire, while
Lilias seemed to think it her brother's amiable peculiarity to be
shocked, or to long to set such things straight.

He felt the truth of James Kennedy's words--that reformation could
not be the sole work of the King, but that his hands must be
strengthened by all the few who knew that a different state of things
was possible, and that, above all, the clergy needed to be awakened
into vigour and intelligence. Formerly, the miserable aspect of the
country had merely terrified him, and driven him to strive to hide
his head in a convent; but the strength and the sense of duty he had
acquired had brought his heart to respond to Kennedy's call to work.

Esclairmonde's words wrought within him beyond her own ken or purpose
in speaking them. He began to understand that to bury himself in an
Italian university and dive into Aristotle's sayings, to heap up his
own memory with the stores of thought he loved, or to plunge into the
mazes of mathematics, philosophy, and music, while his brethren in
his own country were tearing one another to pieces for lack of any
good influence to teach or show them better things, would be a
storing of treasure for himself on earth, a pursuit of the light of
knowledge indeed, but not a wooing of the light of Wisdom, the true
Light of the World, as seen in Him who went about doing good. To
complete his present course was, he knew, necessary. He had seen
enough of really learned scholars to know the depths of his own
ignorance, and to be aware that certain books must be read under
guidance, and certain studies gone through, before his cultivation
would be on a level with the standard of the best working clergy of
the English Church--such as Chicheley, Waynflete, or the like. He
would therefore remain at Oxford, he thought, long enough to take his
Master of Arts degree, and then, though to his own perceptions only
the one-eyed among the blind, he would make the real sacrifice of
himself in the rude and cruel world of Scotland.

He knew that his king was well satisfied with Patrick, and also that
a man of sound heart and prompt, hard hand was far fitter to rule as
a secular lord than his own more fine-drawn mature could ever be; but
as a priest, with the influence that his birth and the King's
friendship would give him, he already saw chances of raising the tone
of the clergy, and thus improving the wild and lawless people.

A deep purpose of self-devotion was growing up in his soul, but
without saddening him, only rendering him more energetic and cheerful
than his sister had ever known him.

As they walked together over the long stretches of moor, many were
Lily's questions; and Malcolm beguiled the way with many a story of
camp and court, told both for his own satisfaction in her sympathy,
and with the desire to make the Scottish lassie see what was the life
and what the thoughts of ladies of her own degree in other lands, so
that the Lady of Glenuskie might be awake to somewhat of the high
purpose of virtuous home government to which Alice of Salisbury had
been trained.

As to the Flemish heiress, no representation would induce Lilias to
love her. Reject Malcolm for a convent's sake! It was unpardonable;
and as to a bedeswoman, working uncloistered in the streets, Lily
viewed that as neither the one thing nor the other, neither religious
nor secular; and she was persuaded that a little exertion on the part
of the brother, whom she viewed as a paladin, would overcome all
coyness on the lady's part.

Malcolm found it vain to try to show his sister his sense of his own
deserts, and equally so to declare that if the maiden should so
yield, she would indeed be the Demoiselle de Luxemburg to whom he was
pledged, but not the Esclairmonde whom his better part adored. So he
let the matter pass by, and both enjoyed their masquing in one
another's company as a holiday such as they could never have again.

They had no serious alarms; the pursuit must have been disconcerted,
and the two young scholars were not worth the attention of
freebooters. Their winsomeness of manner won them kindness wherever
they harboured; and thus, after many days, without molestation they
came to the walls of Berwick. And now, while Malcolm thought his
difficulties at an end, a horror of bashfulness fell upon Lilias.
She had been Clerk Davie merrily enough while there was no one to
suspect her, but the transmutation into her proper self filled her
with shame.

She hung back, and could be hardly dragged forward to the embattled
gateway of the bridge by her brother--who, as the guards, jealously
cautious even in this time of peace, called out to him to stand,
showed his ring bearing the royal arms, and desired to speak within
the captain of the garrison, who was commanding in the name of the
Earl of Northumberland, Governor of Berwick and Warden of the
Marches, and who had entertained him on his way north, and would have
been warned by Patrick of his probable return in this guise.

Instead of the stalwart form of the veteran sub-governor, however, a
quick step came hurrying to the gateway, and the light figure of a
young knight stood before him, with outstretched hands, crying:
'Welcome to the good town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, dear comrade!' And
he added in a lower tone: 'So you have succeeded in your quest--if,
as I trow, this fairest of clerks be your lady sister. May I--'

'Hold!' softly said Malcolm. 'She is so shamefast that she cannot
brook a word;' and in fact Lilias had pulled her hood over her face,
and shrunk behind him, at the first approach of the young gentleman.

'We will to my mother,' said Ralf, aloud. 'She has always a soft
corner in her heart for a young clerk or a wanderer.'

And so saying, without even looking at the disguised figure, he gave
the pass-word, and holding Malcolm by the arm, led him, followed by
Lilias, through the defences and into the court of the castle, then
to a side-door, where, bounding up several steps at once of a stone
stair, he opened a sort of anteroom door, and bade the two strangers
wait there while he fetched his mother.

'That is well! Who would have looked to see him here!' cried
Malcolm, joyously. 'What, you knew him not? It was Ralf Percy, my
dear old companion!'

'Ralf Percy! he that was so bold and daring?' cried Lilias. 'Nay,
but how can it be, he was as meek and shamefast--'

'As yourself,' smiled Malcolm. 'Ah, sister, you have much to learn
of the ways of an English gentleman among ladies.'

Before many further words could be exchanged, there entered a fair
and matronly dame in the widow's veil she had worn ever since the
fatal day of Shrewsbury--that eager, loving, yet almost childish
woman whom we know so well as Hotspur's gentle Kate (only that
unfortunately her name was Elizabeth); fondling, teasing, being
fondled and teased in return, and then with all her pretty
puerilities scorched away when she upbraids Northumberland with his
fatal delay. Could Malcolm and Lilias have known her as we do in
Shakespeare, they would have been the more gratified by her welcome,
whereas they only saw her kind face and the courtly sweep of her
curtsey, as, going straight up to the disguised girl, blushing and
trembling now more than ever, she said: 'Poor child, come with me,
and we will soon have you yourself again, ere any other eye see you;'
and then moved away again, holding Lily by the hand, while Ralf, who
had followed close behind her, again grasped Malcolm's hand.

'Well done, Glenuskie; you have all the adventures! They seek you, I
believe! So you have borne off your damosel errant, and are just in
time to receive your king.'

'Is he wedded then?'

'Ay, and you find us all here in full state, prepared to banquet him
and lodge him and his bride for a night, and then I fancy my brother
is to go through some ceremony, ere giving him up to his own
subjects. We are watching for him every day. Come to my chamber,
and I'll apparel you.'

'Nay, but what brings you here, Ralf?--you, whom I thought in

''Twas a Scottish bill that brought me,' answered Ralf. 'What, are
you too lost in parchment at Oxford to hear of us poor soldiers, or
knew you not how we fought at Crevant?'

'I heard of the battle, and that you were hurt, but that was months
ago, and I deemed you long since in the field again. Was it so sore
a matter?'

'Chiefly sore for that it hindered me from taking the old rogue
Douglas, and meriting my spurs as befitted a Percy. I was knighted
while the trumpet was sounding, and I did think that I was on the way
to prowess, for fully in the melee I saw a fellow with the Douglas
banner. I made at it, thinking of my father's and of Otterburn; and,
Malcolm, this very hand was on the staff, when what must a big Scot
do but chop at me with his bill like a butcher's axe. Had it fallen
on mine arm it would have been lopped off like a bough of a tree,
but, by St. George's grace, it lit here, between my neck and
shoulder, and stuck fast as I went down, and the fellow was swept
away from me. 'Twas so fixed in the very bone, that they had much
ado to wrench it out, when there was time after the fight to look
after us who had come by the worse. And what d'ye think they found,
Malcolm? Why, those honest Yorkshiremen, Trenton and Kitson, stark
dead, both of them. Trenton must have gone down first, with a lance-
thrust in the throat; and there was Kitson over him, his shield over
his head, and his own cleft open with an axe! They laid them side by
side--so I was told--in their grave; and sure 'twas as strange and as
true a brotherhood as ever was between two brave men.'

'The good fellows!' cried Malcolm. 'Nay, after what I saw I can
hardly grieve. I went to Kitson's home, where they knew as little as
I did of his death, and verily his place had closed up behind him, so
that I scarce think his mother even cared to see him more, and the
whole of them seemed more concerned at his amity with Trenton than
proud of his feats of arms. I was marvelling if their friendship
would be allowed to subsist at home, even when they, poor fellows,
were lying side by side in their French grave.'

'We warriors should never come home,' said Percy; 'we are spoilt for
aught but our French camp. I am wearying to get back once more, but
so long as I cannot swing my sword-arm I must play the idler here.'

'It must have been a fearsome wound,' said Malcolm. 'The marvel is
your overgetting it.'

'So say they all; and truly it has lasted no small time. They
shipped me off home so soon as I could leave my bed, and bade me
rest. Nay, and my mother herself came even to London, when my
brother was summoned to Parliament,--she who had never been there
since the first year after she was wedded!'

'You can scarce complain of such kin as that,' said Malcolm.

''Tis not the kin, but this petty Border life, that frets me. Here
we move from castle to castle, and now and then come tidings of a
cattle lifting, and Harry dons his helm and rides forth, but nine
times out of ten 'tis a false alarm, or if it be true, the thieves
have made off, and being time of peace, he, as Warden, cannot make a
raid in return. I'm sick of the life, after the only warfare fit for
a knight, with French nobles instead of Border thieves; and back I
will. If my right arm will not serve me, the left shall. I can use
a lance indifferent well already.'

As Sir Ralf Percy spoke, a bugle-call rang through the castle. He
started. 'Hark! that's the warder's horn,' and flying to the door,
he soon returned crying--'Your king is in sight, Malcolm!'

'How soon will he be here?'

'In less than half an hour. There's time to array yourself. I'll
take you to my chamber.'

'Thanks,' said Malcolm; 'but this gown is no disguise to me. I had
rather meet the King thus, for it is my fitting garb. Only I would
remove the soil of the journey, and then take my sister by the hand.'

For this there was ample time, and Malcolm had arranged his hair, and
brushed away the dust from his gown, washed his face and hands, and
made himself look more like an Oxford bachelor, and less like a
begging clerk, than he had of late judged it prudent to appear, ere
Ralf took him to the great hall, where he found Lord Northumberland
and the chief gentlemen of his household, with his mother, Lady
Percy, and his young wife, together with their ladies, assembling for
the reception of their royal guests.

Malcolm was presented to, and kindly greeted by, each of the
principal personages, and then the Earl, Sir Ralf, and their officers
went forth to meet the King at the gateway. Malcolm, however, at his
sister's entreaty, remained with her, for in the doubt whether
Patrick were really at hand, and a fond unreasonable vexation that he
had had no part in her liberation, her colour was coming and going,
and she looked as if she might almost faint in her intense

But when, marshalled by the two Percies, King James and Queen Joan
had entered the hall, and the blare of trumpets without and
rejoicings within, and had been welcomed with deep reverences by the
two ladies, Ralf said: 'Sir, methinks you have here what you may be
glad to see.'

And standing aside, he made way for the two figures to stand forth,
one in the plain black gown and hood, the other in the rich robes of
a high-born maiden, her dark eyes on the ground, her fair face
quivering within emotion, as both she and her brother bent the knee
before their royal master.

'Ha!' cried James, 'this is well indeed. Thou hast her, then, lad?
See, Patrick! Where is he? Nay, but, fair wife, I must present thee
the first kinswoman of mine thou hast seen. How didst bring her off,
Malcolm?' And he embraced Malcolm with the ardour of a happy man, as
he added, 'This is all that was wanting.'

Truly James looked as if nothing were wanting to his joy, as there he
stood after his years of waiting, a bridegroom, free, and on the
borders of his native land. His eyes shone with joy, and there was a
bright energy and alacrity in his bearing that, when Malcolm
bethought him of those former grave movements, and the quiet
demeanour as though only interested by an effort, marked the change
from the captive to the free man. And beautiful Joan, lovelier than
ever, took on her her queenly dignity with all her wonted grace and

She warmly embraced Lilias, hailing her as cousin, and auguring
joyously of the future from the sight of this first Stewart maiden
whom she had seen; and the next moment Patrick Drummond, hurrying
forward, fell on his knee before his lady, grasped, kissed, fondled
her hand, and struggled and stammered between his rejoicing over her
liberation and despair that he had no part in it.

'Yea,' said the King 'it was well-nigh a madman whom you sent home to
me, Malcolm. He was neither to have nor to hold; and what he would
have had me do, or have let him do, I'll not say, nor doth he know
either. I must hear your story ere I sleep, Malcolm.'

The King did not ask for it then: he would not brook the exposure of
the disunion and violence of Scotland to the English, especially the
Percies; and it was not till he could see Malcolm alone that he
listened to his history.

'Cousin,' he said, 'you have done both bravely and discreetly.
Methinks you have redeemed my pledge to your good guardian that in
the south you should be trained to true manhood; though I am free to
own that 'twas not under my charge that you had the best training.
How is it to be, Malcolm? Patrick tells me you saw the Lady of

'Ay, Sir, but neither her purpose nor mine is shaken. My lord, I
believe I see how best to serve God and yourself. If you will
consent, I will finish my first course at Oxford, and then offer
myself for the priesthood.'

'Not hide thyself in cloister or school--that is well!' exclaimed the

'No, Sir. Methinks I could serve yonder rude people best if I were
among them as a priest.'

James considered, then said: 'I pledged myself not to withstand your
conscience, Malcolm; and though I grieve that the lady should be
lost, she has never wavered, and cannot be balked of her will. Godly
and learned priests will indeed be needed; and between you and James
Kennedy, when both are come to elder years, we may perchance lift our
poor Scottish Church to some clearer sense of what a church should
be. Meanwhile--' The King stopped and considered. 'Study in
England! Ay! You see, Malcolm, I must take my seat, and have the
reins of my unruly steed firm in my hand, ere I take cognizance of
these offences. The caitiff Walter--mansworn that he is--he shall
abye it; but that can scarce be as yet, and methinks it were not well
that I entered Scotland with you and your sister at my side, for then
must I seem to have overlooked an offence that, by this holy relic, I
will never pardon. So, Malcolm, instead of entering Scotland with
me--bonnie land, how sweet its air blows from the north!--ye must
e'en turn south! But how to dispose of your sister? Some nunnery--'

'Poor Lily, she is weary of convents,' said Malcolm 'but if Lady
Montagu would let her be with her and the Lady Esclairmonde, then
would she learn somewhat of the ways of a well-ordered English noble
house. And I could well provide for her being there as befits her

'Well thought of! The gentle Lady Alice will no doubt welcome her,'
said the King; 'and Patrick must endure.'

Thus then was it fixed. The King and Queen, stately and beautiful,
royally robed, and mounted on splendid steeds, were escorted the next
morning to the Scottish gate of Berwick by Lord Northumberland and
his retinue, and they were met by an imposing band of Scottish
nobles, with the white-haired Earl of Lennox at their head. To these
the captive was formally surrendered by Northumberland; and James,
flinging himself from his horse, kissed his native soil, and gave
thanks aloud to God, ere he stood up and received the homage of his
subjects, to most of whom he was a total stranger.

Malcolm and Lilias on the walls could see all, but could not hear,
and finally beheld the glittering troop wind their way over the hills
to make ready for the coronation of James and Joan as king and queen
of Scotland.


It was the 24th of May, 1425, when in the vaulted hall of the Castle
of Stirling the nobles of Scotland were convened to try, as the peers
of the realm, men of rank--no less than Murdoch, Duke of Albany, his
sons Walter and Alexander, the Earl of Lennox, and twenty-two other
nobles, most of whom had been arraigned in the Parliament of Perth
two months previously, and had been shut up in different castles.
Robert Stewart had escaped to the Highlands; and Walter--who had
neither been at the Coronation of Scone, nor at the Parliament of
Perth, nor indeed had ever bowed his pride so as to present himself
to the King at all--had been separately arrested, and shut up for two
months in the strong castle on the Bass Rock.

The charge was termed treason and violence; and assuredly there had
been perpetual acts of spoil and barbarous infractions of the law by
men who deemed themselves above all law. The only curiosity was, for
which of these acts they were to be tried, and this affected many of
their judges likewise; for there was hardly a man in that court who
was not conscious of some deed that would not exactly bear to be set
beside the code of Scotland, and who had not been in the habit of
regarding those laws as all very well for burghers, but not meant for

There, on seats behind the throne, sat the twenty-one jurors, Earl
Douglas among them--a new earl, for the grim old Archibald had died
in the battle of Verneuil some months before. Angus, March, and Mar,
and all the most powerful names in Scotland, were there; and upon his
throne, in regal robes of crimson and ermine, the crown upon his
brow, the sceptre in his hand, the sword of state held before him,
sat King James, the most magnificent-looking king then reigning in
Europe, but with the sternest, saddest, most resolute of
countenances, as one unalterably fixed upon the terrible duty of not
bearing the sword in vain. Something of Henry's avenging-angel look
seemed to have passed into his face, but with far more of melancholy

Walter Stewart was led into the court. He too was a man of lofty
stature and princely bearing, and his grand Stewart features were set
in an expression of easy nonchalance and scorn; aware as he was that
of whatever he might be accused, there were few of his judges that
did not share the guilt, and moreover persuaded that this was a mere
ceremony, and that the King would never dare to go beyond this futile
attempt to overawe him. He stood alone--his father and the others
were reserved for another trial; and as, richly arrayed, he stood
opposite to the jury, gazing fixedly first at one, then at the other,
as though challenging their right to sit in judgment on him, one eye
after another fell beneath his gaze.

'Walter Stewart of Albany, Earl of Fife,' proclaimed the crier's
voice. 'You stand here arraigned of murder and of robbery.'

'At whose suit?' demanded Walter, undaunted.

'At the suit of Malcolm and Lilias Stewart of Glenuskie; and of
Patrick Drummond of the Braes,' returned the crier, an ecclesiastic,
as were all lawyers; and at the same moment three figures came
forward, namely, a tall knightly gentleman with gold chain and spurs,
a lady whose veil disclosed a blushing dark-eyed face, and a slender
youth of deep and earnest countenance. 'At the suit of these here
present you stand arraigned, Sir Walter Stewart of Albany, for having
feloniously, and of malice aforethought, on the Eve of the
Annunciation of our Lady, of the year of grace 1421, set upon the
said Malcolm and Lilias Stewart, Sir David Drummond of the Braes,
Tutor of Glenuskie, and divers other persons, on the muir of
Hetherfield; and having there cruelly and maliciously wounded the
said David of the Braes to the death; and of having forcibly stolen
and abducted the person of the said Lilias Stewart--'

The crier was not permitted to proceed, for Walter Stewart broke
forth, passionately addressing the jurors. 'So this is all that can
be found to be laid against me. This is the way that matters of five
years back are raked up to vex the princes and nobles of Scotland. I
am sorry for you, lords and gentlemen, if this is the way that
vexatious are to be stirred up against those who have defended their
country so long.'

'This is no answer to the accusation, Sir Walter,' said the Earl of

'Accusation, forsooth!' said Walter Stewart scornfully. 'Who dares
to bear witness, if I DID maintain my father's lawful authority over
peevish runaway wards of the Crown?'

'Sir Walter,' said the King, 'you would have done better to have
waited and heard the whole indictment ere answering one charge. But
since you demand who will dare to bear witness in this matter of the
murder of Sir David Drummond of the Braes, and of the seizure of the
Lady Lilias, here is one.'

So saying, and rising as he spoke, he held forth the reliquary that
hung from a chain round his neck, keeping his gleaming tawny eyes
fixed steadily straight upon Walter Stewart's face.

That face, as he first had stood up, expressed the utmost amazement,
and this gradually, under the lion glance, became more and more of
dismay, quailing, collapsing visibly under the passionless gravity of
that look. Even the tall form seemed to shrink, the eyes dilated,
the brows drew closer together, and the chest seemed to pant, as the
relic was held forth. There was a dead silence throughout the court
as the King ceased to speak; only he continued to bend that searching
gaze upon his prisoner.

'Was it you?--was it your own self, my lord?' he stammered forth at
last, in the tone of one stricken.

'Yea, Walter Stewart. To me it was, and on this holy relic, that you
made oath to abstain from all further spoil and violence until the
King should come again in peace. How that oath has been kept the
further indictments will show.'

'I deemed it was St. Andrew,' faltered the prisoner.

'And therefore that the oath to a heavenly saint would better bear
breaking than one to an earthly sinner,' replied James gravely.
'Read on, Clerk of the Court.'

The roll continued--a long and terrible record of violence and
cruelty; the private warfare of the lawless young prince, the crimes
of reckless barbarity and of savage passion--a deadly roll, in which
indeed even the second abduction of Lilias was one of the least acts
laid to his charge.

No lack of witnesses were there to prove deeds that had been done in
the open face of day, in utter fearlessness of earthly justice, and
defiance of Heaven. The defence that the prisoner seemed to have
been prepared to us?--that those who sat to judge him had shared in
his offences, and his daring power of brow-beating them, as he had so
often done before, as son of the man who sat in the King's seat--had
utterly failed him now. He was mute; and the forms of the trial were
gone through as of one whose doom was already sealed, but who must
receive his sentence according to the strictest form of law, lest the
just reward of his deeds should partake of their own violence. By
the end of the day the jurors had found Walter Stewart guilty; and
the doomster, a black-robed clerk, rising up, pronounced the sentence
that condemned Walter Stewart of Albany to suffer death by beheading.

Even then no one believed that the doom would be inflicted. Royal
blood had never flowed beneath the headsman's axe; and it would have
been infinitely more congenial to Scottish feelings if the King had
sent a party of men-at-arms to fall on the Master in the high road,
and cut him off, or had burnt him alive in his castle. The verdict
'served him right' would have been universally returned, and rejoiced
in; but a regular trial of a man of such birth was unheard of, and
shocking to the feelings even of those whom that irresistible force
of the King's had compelled to sit in judgment upon him. No one
could avow it face to face with the King; but every one felt it an
outrage to find that no rank was exempt from law.

Duke Murdoch, his son Alexander, and his father-in-law Lennox, were
tried the next day, and many a deed of dark treason was laid to their
charge. The Earl of Lennox had been the scourge of Scotland for more
than half the eighty years of his life, but his extreme age might
have excited some pity; Murdoch had erred rather negatively than
positively; and Alexander, ruffian as he was, had been bred to
nothing better. Each had deserved the utmost penalty of the law
again and again, and yet there did seem more scope for mercy in their
case than in that of Walter.

But the King was inexorable. He set Malcolm aside as he had set

'I know what you would say, lad. Lennox is old, and Alexander is
young, and Albany is a fool; and Walter has injured you, so you are
bound to speak for him. Take it all as said. But these are the men
who have been foremost in making our country a desert! Did I pardon
them, with what face could I ever make any man suffer for crime?
And, in the state of this land, ruth to the guilty high would be
treason to the sackless low.'

So Stirling saw the unprecedented sight of three generations
suffering for their crimes upon the same scaffold--the white-haired
Lennox, the Duke of Albany in the prime of life, Walter in the flush
and strength of early manhood, Alexander in the bloom of youth. They
all met their fate undauntedly; for if Murdoch's heart in any measure
failed him, he was afraid to give way in presence of the proud bold
Walter, who maintained an iron rigidity of demeanour with the wild
fortitude of a Red Indian at the stake, and in like manner could by
no means comprehend that King James acted from any motive save
malice, for having been so long kept out of his kingdom. 'It was his
turn now,' said poor Murdoch, even when most desirous of bringing
himself to die in a state of Christian forgiveness; nor could any
power on earth show any of the criminals that the King acted in the
eternal interests of right and justice.

Thus it was with the whole country; and when the four majestic-
looking men stood bare-headed on the scaffold, in view even of their
own fair towers of Doune, and one by one bowed their heads on the
block, perverse Scottish nature broke out into pity for their fate,
and wrath against the King, who could thus turn against his own
blood, and disgrace the royal lineage.

On that same day Malcolm received Esclairmonde's token, there being
at present full peace with England, and set forth on her summons. He
met her at Pontefract, where she was residing with the Dowager Queen
Joan of Navarre, Alice of Salisbury having been summoned to return to
her husband in France.

There then it was that Malcolm and Esclairmonde, in presence of the
chaplain, gave each other back the rings, and therewith their troth
to wed none other, and were once more declared free.

Esclairmonde held out her hand to Malcolm, saying, 'The thanks I owe
you, Sir, are beyond what tongue can tell. May He to Whom my first
vows were due requite it to you.'

And Malcolm, with his knee to the ground, pressing for the last time
that fair hand, said, 'The thanks, lady, are mine. Had you been one
whit lower in aims or in constancy, what had I been? You were my
light of the world, but to light me to seek that higher Light that
shone forth in you, and which may I show truly to the darkened
spirits of my countrymen! Lady, you will permit me to take to myself
the ring you have worn so long. It will be my token of my betrothal
to that true Light.'

Such was their parting, when the one went forth to her tasks of
charity among the poor in London, the other to divest himself of land
and lordship on behalf of his sister and her husband, and then to
begin his task in the priesthood, of trying to hold up the true Light
to hearts darkened by many an age of crime and ignorance.

Lived very happy ever after! Yes, we would fain always leave the
creatures with whom our thoughts have been busy in such felicity; but
when we have linked them with real events, the sense of the veritable
course of history reminds us that we cannot even suppose beings
possible in real life without endowing them with the common lot of
humanity; and the personages of our tale lived in a time of more than
ordinary reverse and trouble.

Yet Sir Patrick Drummond and Lilias his wife, the Lord and Lady of
Glenuskie, nearly did fulfil these conditions. They had not feelings
beyond their age, but they were good specimens of that age, and they
did their duty in it; he as a trustworthy noble, ready to aid in
council or war, and she as the beneficent dame, bringing piety and
charity to heal the sufferings of her vassals and serfs. His hand
was strong enough to repel the attacks of his foes; her intelligence,
backed by Malcolm's counsel, introduced improvements; and the little
ravine of Glenuskie was a happy valley of peace and prosperity for
many years among the convulsions of Scotland.

Nor was Esclairmonde de Luxemburg's life in the Hospital of St.
Katharine otherwise than the holy and beneficent career that she had
always longed for--worshipping in the fair church, and going forth
from thence 'into the streets and lanes of the city,' to fulfil Queen
Philippa's pious behest, to seek out the suffering and the ignorant,
and to tend and instruct them. The tall form and beautiful
countenance of Sister Clare were loved and reverenced as those of an
angel messenger among the high houses and courts that closed in on
the banks of the Thames; and while Luxemburgs in France and Flanders
intrigued and fought, plotted and fell, their kinswoman's days passed
by in busy alms-deeds and ever loftier devotion, till those who
watched her steps felt that she was verily a light of the world,
manifesting forth the true Light in many a dark place.

And her light of sympathy shone upon many an old friend both in joy
and in grief. When the dissensions of Gloucester and Beaufort had
summoned Bedford to England to endeavour to appease their strife, his
Burgundian Duchess sought out her early friend, and Esclairmonde saw
her gentle companion, the Lady Anne, fulfilling her daily task of
mediation, and living a life, not indeed very sunshiny, but full of
all that esteem and respect could give her, and of calm gratitude and
affection, although Anne, like all others, believed that John of
Bedford's heart had been buried in his brother's grave, and that of
youthful love he had none to give. His whole soul was absorbed in
his care for the welfare of the pale, gentle, dreamy, inanimate boy,
who, from his very meekness and docility, gave so little promise of
representing the father whose name he bore.

The loving Alice of Montagu, though the mother of many a bold boy and
girl, and busy with all the cares of the great Nevil household,
regarded as the chief delight in a journey to court the sight of her
dear Sister Clare. It was to Sister Clare that Alice turned for
comfort when her brave old father died at the siege of Orleans; and
it was while daily soothing and ministering to her sorrow that
Esclairmonde heard the strange wild tales of the terrible witch
maiden who had appeared on behalf of the French, and turned whole
English armies to flight, by power that the French declared to come
from the saints, but which the English never doubted to be infernal.
Maimed and wounded soldiers, whom Esclairmonde relieved and tended as
they returned from lost battles, gave her fearful accounts of the
panic that La Pucelle inspired. Even the hardy veteran, Sir John
Fastolfe, had not been able to withstand her spells, but had fled
from the field of Jergeau, where gallant Sir Ralf Percy had died, in
a vain attempt to gather the men to resist the irresistible maiden.
His groom, who had succumbed for a time to wounds and weakness on his
way home to Alnwick, was touched by the warmth and emotion with which
the kind bedeswoman listened to his lamentation over the good and
loyal knight, whom she pictured to herself resisting the
enchantress's dread power as dauntlessly as he had defied the
phantoms of the Dance of Death.

No whisper ever reached Esclairmonde that the terrible Pucelle was a
maiden as pure and high-souled as herself. All that she heard more
was that this terror of the English and Burgundians was taken,
imprisoned for a time by her own Luxemburg kindred, and then carried
to Rouen, where the kind Duchess Anne of Bedford did her best to
persuade her to overcome the superstition that kept her in male
garments, thus greatly tending to increase the belief in her
connection with the powers of evil. French and Burgundian bishops,
and even the University of Paris, were the judges of the maiden; and
the dastard prince she had crowned never stirred a finger nor uttered
a protest in her behalf. Bedford, always disposed to belief in
witchcraft, acquiesced in the decision of Churchmen, which was
therefore called the judgment of the Church; but when he removed
himself and his duchess from Rouen, and left the conduct of the
matter to the sterner and harder Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, it was
with little thought that after-generations would load his memory with
the fate of Jeanne d'Arc, as though her sufferings had proceeded from
his individual malice.

Esclairmonde never saw Bedford again, and only heard through Alice,
now Countess of Salisbury, how when good Duchess Anne was dead, and
her gentle influence removed, Burgundy's disinclination to the
English cause was no longer balanced; and how Bedford, perplexed,
disheartened, broken in health, but still earnest to propitiate
friends for his helpless nephew, had listened to the wily whisper of
the Bishop of Therouenne, that his niece, Jaquette, would secure the
devotion of the Count de St. Pol, and that she was moreover like unto
another Demoiselle de Luxemburg.

How like, Esclairmonde could judge, when her kinswoman, widowed in
her eighteenth year, at six months' end, came to London to claim her
dower. Never, since her days of wandering and anxiety, had
Esclairmonde felt such pain as when she perceived how little store
the thoughtless girl had set by the great and noble spirit that had
been quenched under the load of toil and care with which it had
battled for thirteen long years. Faithful, great-hearted Bedford,
striving to uphold a losing cause, to reconcile selfish contentions,
to retain conquests that, though unjustly made, he had no power to
relinquish; and all without one trustworthy relation, with friends
and fellow-warriors dying, disputing, betraying, or deserting, his
was as self-devoted and as mournful a career as ever was run by any
prince at any age of the world; and while he slept in his grave at
Rouen, that grave which even Louis XI. respected, Esclairmonde, as,
like a true bedeswoman of St. Katharine, she joined in the orisons
for the repose of the souls of the royal kindred, never heard the
name of the Lord John without a throb of prayer, and a throb too that
warmed her heart with tenderness.

It was some four years later, and the even tenor of Sister Clare's
course had only been interrupted by her kinswoman, Jaquette, making
her way to her to confess her marriage with Richard Wydville, and to
entreat her intercession with the Luxemburg family; when one summer
night she was called on to attend a pilgrim priest from the Holy
Land, who had been landed from a Flemish vessel, and lay dangerously
sick at the 'God's house,' or hospital, by the river side. He was
thought by his accent to be foreign, and Sister Clare was always
called on to wait upon the stranger.

As she stood by his bedside, she beheld a man of middle age, but
wasted with sickness, and with a certain strange look of horror so
imprinted on his brow, that even as he lay asleep, though his mouth
was grave and peaceful, the lines were still there, and the locks
that hung from around his tonsure were of a whiteness that scarce
accorded with the features. It was a face that Esclairmonde could
not look at without waking strange memories; but it was not till the
sleeper awakened, opened two dark eyes, gazed on her with dreamy
doubtful wonder, and then clasped his hands with the murmured
thanksgiving, 'My God, hast Thou granted me this? Light of my life!'
that she was assured to whom she was speaking.

Malcolm Stewart it verily was. Canon Malcolm Stewart of Dunkeld was
his proper title, for he had, as she knew, long ceased to be Lord of
Glenuskie. It was not at first that she knew how he had been brought
where she now saw him; but after some few days of her tender care and
skilful leechcraft, he somewhat rallied, and she gathered his history
from his conversation when he was able to speak.

He had had a time of happy labour in Scotland, fully carrying out the
designs with which he and his cousin James Kennedy had taken upon
them the ministry. Their own birth, and the appointments their King
gave them, so soon as their age permitted, made them able to exert an
influence that told upon the rude and unenlightened clergy around.
It had been almost a mission of conversion, to awaken a spirit of
Christianity in the country, that had so long been a prey to anarchy.
The King's declaration, 'I will make the key keep the castle, and the
bracken-bush keep the cow, though I live the life of a dog to bring
it about,' had been the moving spring of their lives. James had
fought hour by hour with the foul habits of lawlessness, savagery,
and violence, that had hitherto been absolutely unchecked; and while
he strove with the sword of justice, the two young priests worked
within the Word of truth, to implant some sense of conscience in the
neglected people.

It had been a life of constant exertion, but full of hope and
cheerfulness. Amid that rude country, James's own home was always a
bright spot of peace, sunshine, and refinement. With his beloved
queen, and their fair little brood of children, the King cast aside
his cares, and was all, and more than all, he had been as the
ornament of Henry's Court. There all that was sweet, innocent, and
beautiful was to be found; and there Malcolm, his royal kinsman's
confidant, counsellor, and chaplain, was always welcome as one of the
home circle and family, till he broke away from such delights to
labour in his task of reviving religion in the land. A little band
of men were gathering round, clergy awakening from their sloth or
worldliness, young nobles who began to see what chivalry meant,
burghers who rejoiced in order; and hope and encouragement
strengthened the hands of the three kinsmen.

But, alas! there were those who deemed James's justice on the savage
prince and noble mere sacrilege on high blood, and who absolutely
hated and loathed peace and order. Those thirteen years of cheerful
progress ended in that murder so unspeakably horrible in all its
circumstances, which almost merits the name of a martyrdom to right
and justice. Malcolm so shuddered when he did but touch on it, and
was so rent with agitation, that Esclairmonde perceived that when his
beloved King had perished, he had indeed received the death-wound to
his own fragile nature.

He had been actually in the Abbey of Perth; and had been one of those
who lifted the mangled corpse from the vault, and sought in vain for
a remnant of life, if but to grant the absolution, for which the
victim had so piteously besought his murderers. No wonder that
Fastern's E'en had whitened Malcolm's hair!

But when the assassins were captured, and Joan of Beaufort was
resolved that their death should be as atrocious as their crime, it
was Malcolm who strove to bend her to forgiveness. He bade her
recollect King Henry, and how, when dealing with that cruel monster,
the Castellane of Meaux, he had merely required death, without
enhancing the agony; but Joan, in her rage and misery, had left the
Englishwoman behind her, and was implacable. All that human cruelty
could invent was to be the lot of Robert Graham and his associates;
and whereas they had granted no priest to their victim, none should
be granted to them.

And then it was that all Malcolm had learnt of the true spirit of the
Christian triumphed--not only over the dark Keltic spirit of revenge,
but over the shuddering of a tender and pitiful nature. Where no
other priest durst venture, he went. Through all the frightful and
protracted sufferings of Athol, Graham, Hall, and the rest, it was
Malcolm Stewart who, never flinching, prayed with and for them;
gathered their agonized sobs of confession, or strove to soften their
hardness; spoke the words of absolution, and commended their
departing souls.

When he awoke from the long unconsciousness and delirium that ensued
upon the force he had put on himself, he found himself tended by his
sister at Glenuskie. Patrick Drummond had transported him thither;
finding that the angry Queen, in the madness of her vindictiveness,
was well-nigh disposed to connect him with the treasonable designs of
Athol and Graham. He slowly and partially recovered, but his
influence was gone; the Queen would not brook the sound of his name,
the little king was beyond his reach, James Kennedy was biding his
time, and the country was returned to its state of misrule and
violence, wherein an individual priest could do little: yet Malcolm
would have held by his post, had not his health been so utterly
shattered that he was incapable of the work he had hitherto done, as
a confessor and a preacher. And therefore, as the state of his
beloved King, 'sent to his account unhouselled, disappointed,
unannealed,' hung heavy on his mind, he determined, so soon as he was
in any degree convalescent, to set forth on pilgrimage to Jerusalem,
the object of so many dreams of King Henry; there to offer masses and
prayers for the welfare of his departed prince, as well as of the
unhappy murderers, and for the country in its distracted condition.

And there, at the Holy Sepulchre, had Malcolm, in the fervour of his
heart, offered the greatest treasure he possessed--nay, the only one
that he still really cared for--namely his betrothal ring, which
Esclairmonde had worn for so long and had returned to him. As a
priest, he had deemed that it was not unlawful for him to retain the
memorial of the link that had bound him to her who had been the light
that led him to the true Light beyond; but as youth passed away, as
devotion burned brighter, as the experiences of those years became
more dream-like, and the horror, grief, and misery of his King's
death had been assuaged only by the steadier contemplation of the
Light of Eternity, he had felt that this last pledge of his once
lower aims and hopes ought to be resigned; and that if it cost him a
pang, it was well that it should be so, to render the offering a
sacrifice. So the ring that had once been Esclairmonde's protection
was laid on the altar of the Holy Tomb.

There Malcolm had well-nigh died, under the influences of agitation,
fatigue, and climate; but he had revived enough to set out on his
return from his pilgrimage, and had made his way tardily and wearily,
losing his attendants through death and desertion on the road; and
passing from one religious house to another, as his strength and
nearly exhausted means served him. Unable to find any vessel bound
for Leith, he had taken ship for London; concealing his quality,
lest, in the always probable contingency of a war, it might lead to
his being made prisoner; and thus he had arrived, sick indeed unto
death, but peaceful, rejoicing, and hopeful.

'Sister,' he said, 'the morn that I had offered my ring, I was feeble
and faint; and when I knelt on before the altar in continued prayer--
I know not whether I slept or whether it were a vision, but it was to
me as though I were again on the river, and again the hymn of Bernard
of Morlaix was sung around and above me, by the voice I never thought
to hear again. I looked up, and behold it was I that was in the
boat--my King was there no more. Nay, he stood on the shore, and his
eyes beamed on me; while the ghastly wounds that I once strove in
anguish to staunch shone out like a ruby cross on his breast--the
hands, that were so sorely gashed, were to me as though marked by the
impress of the Sacred Wounds. He spake not; but by his side stood
King Henry, beautiful and spirit-like, and smiled on me, and seemed
as though he pointed to the wounds, as he said, "Blessed is the king
who died by his people's hand, for withstanding his people's sin!
Blessed is every faint image of the true King!"

'Then methought they held out their arms to me; and I would have come
to them on their shore of rest, but the river bore me away--and I
looked up, to find I was as yet only in the earthly Jerusalem; but I
watch for them every hour, to call me once and for ever.'


{1} 'Hail, reverend brother. I come from Paris.'

{2} Student of the first year.

{3} Manners are lacking to the Northerners.

{4} Wretches.

{5} For supper.

{6} Telephus and Peleus, when both are poor and exiled, dismiss
boasting and six-foot words.

{7} It is dispersed in a cloud.

Book of the day: