Imatges de pàgina


and the billmen, eagerly clearing the white as his surcoat, and bowed his passage, closed up the array, and stood glorious head to the pall on his horse's silent under their arms.

Soli Deo gloria !" said he, The music advanced slowly, till the “Soli Deo gloria! et non Nobis deep knell of an eastern march could DOMINI!” be distinguished, and the thick heavy It was long before the court passed trample of horses upon the road; down the crowded street, but at length every eye fixed upon the gate, as the the Earl entered the Grande Place, music approached, till suddenly the and as he passed under a large house clattering hoofs and rolling drums near the cross, looked suddenly up to echoed in the deep arch, and the dark the galleries. That house alone in the mailed horseinen and forest of lances square was silent and deserted, the came through into the sunshine. The silk curtains were drawn close in the long black line of men-at-arms poured windows, and the heavy galleries slowly down the street, till the bright empty and desolate. The prince turntabards of the heralds appeared at the ed suddenly, and spoke to the grand gate, followed by the great banner of almoner, and the colour came into the Toulouse, and all the peers and pala- face of the old man, but what he andins of the array:

swered could not be heard in the In the midst of his knights, mounted crowd. upon a blanche Arab, and glistening In a few moments they reached the in the white battle-habit of the cross, gate of the episcopal palace, and the the Earl rode before his banner, šur- long glittering tambroquins and tall rounded by his officers, and followed lances poured through into the court by all the chivalry of Languedoc and till the gate closed, and the black Provence. His pale noble countenance, column of men-at-arms filed past to. was clear and serene as the sun that wards the castle. But the crowd still shone upon him, and his long black remained before the palace, and in a hair fell like waves of raven silk from short time a sumptuous cavalcade of the jewelled helmet and glittering lam- the city procession came through to the broquin, which shook like a glory gate, and the stately companies of about his armed head." A rending peers, knights, and ladies, began to shout, Vive! Vive! vive le Paladin arrive for the banquet prepared to give del croix !” went up like thunder from welcome to their prince. the crowd; and the waving of bonnets, All the noon and till the sun grew scarfs, and glaives, fluttered and flash- low, the clangour of the wild eastern ed, and glistened down the street before music came from the portals, and the the banner, like the tossing and glim- gates, stairs, and galleries were crowd, mering of flowers before the breeze. ed with valets, pages, pursuivants, and

By the side of the Earl rode his men-at-arms; but as the evening came, sworn brother in arms—the beautiful and the twilight began to fall, the quiet and gallant Auguste de Valence, son of closing day succeeded to the hurry to King Remi of Provence,

called '“ La of the noon, and only a bright page, Fleur de France," " Le Bel du Mon- or an over-wassailled trooper was seen de,"* and the second knight of all the here and there fitting through the dim Christian chivalry; but the eyes of the courts, or elbowing the narrow street, people passed over him as he rode be- as if it was too narrow 'for a victorious side the young prince, who, in the opi- crusader, who had ridden upon the nion of the troubadours, came nearer plains of Zebulon and Naphthali

. the beau-ideal of chivalry,

It was near dark: the Chateau was Galahud du Sangraal,” than any dim and still, and the quiet of feudal other knight who had ever lived. All solitude had succeeded to the hurry and the way as he came, garlands, and glitter of the baronial pageant and microwns, and showering flowers rained litary parade. At times, a sudden roar upon his helmet and housings ; and the of songs and voices came from the people wept, and knelt and blessed ward rooms, but only one still watchhim, and held up their children to see light shone upon the moat, and already his face, and cry “Vive la Gloire de the pages were taking their respective France." The young prince came turnpikes,t and the seneschal was put

ting off his furred gown within his * Du monde was a superlative epithet fre- closet; for as yet the great had not fallquently bestowed upon the extraordinary de. gree of any quality, good or bad. Thus, there

en into those extravagant late hours The perilous Knight of the World,'

which made them invisible to their "The beautiful Ladye of the World," &c.

+ Old name for a winding stair.

6 Sir


66 Alas!".

poor suitors at eight o'clock before yours—Now to Him be the glory!noon.*

The battle arm that holds the thunder In the midst of this quiet, a tall and the lightning against all that, figure wrapped in a dark mantle came should do ill to my dear sister." out from the west postern, and turned Blanche burst afresh into sobs, and hastily towards the Grande Place. The would have sunk out of his arms but full moon was rising over the dim for his strong hand; but he supported houses as he entered the square; and her in silence, till at last her tears as he looked up to her bright face, it ceased, and she teaned still and breathdiscovered the pale noble countenance less, and deathly heavy on his arm.of Raymond de Toulouse. He passed Raymond looked upon her bright hastily to the house which he had no- lovely head that lay motionless upon ticed at his entry, and stopping at a his cloak, and smoothed the raven small port under the garden turret, un- locks from her pale brow. closed the door and passed into a little said he gently,

1 where is your own wilderness of cypresses and olives.- white flower that used to be so bright He walked forward through the dim in these dark waves." alleys, like one well acquainted with " La-Blanche-Rose" trembled like their windings, till he came to a vast the leaves that quivered in the moonplane tree, which overshadowed a little light, " Fallen-gone-withered in green seat beside the Garonne.

the dust!" she murmured faintly. A white female figure sat upon the The Earl's hand shook, but he did turf, her long black hair loose upon her not speak, and for a long time they neck, and her silk gown glistening on stood without a word. the grass like a continuation of the Blanche rose up from his arm, and moonlight which glimmered on the wa- swept back the hair from her pale ter, and to which she gazed with such death-face. Raymond,” said she, fixedness that the knight was at her side " I will speak to you as a knight's before she heard his step.

daughter should speak to a knight's “ Blanche Rose !” said he, in a still son.--I was-your very dear true sisgentle voice; she started and drew a ter. I am'-her voice choked and long quivering breath, but as she look- struggled—"no more your sister-no ed in his face, she sprung from the more iny father's daughter-a poorground,—" My own very dear prince lost--fallen maiden! I was the last of and brother !” she exclaimed, and fell his race that was the father of kings.upon his bosom, and wept without a I shall be the first-the mother of one word.

--who will never have a father !” She The prince held her in his arms, and sunk down upon her seat and buried bent over her till her emotion subsided her face on the grass. into the low tremulous sobs of an in Raymond stood silent and fixed, and fant's tears. Several times the Earl held her hand-but it did not move strove to speak; but his voice failed again, and lay cold and still, and heavy at that sad trembling breath that flutter- as the dead clay. “My dear sister!" ed upon his bosom.

said he at last, “what, who has done “Dear Blanche,” said he at last. you wrong?". "what is this?—they would not tell Blanche did not speak nor lift her me-but you will tell me.”

face, but drew away her hand, and imThe lady started and shuddered, and mediately it returned with something her face sunk closer on his mantle. bright to the moonshine; as Raymond

The tears came to the eyes of the stooped it flew open, and he saw the young knight -“My own dear Orphe- glorious beautiful features of Auguste line Ladye-the child of my foster-mo- de Valence. ther you do not fear to speak to me, " Le Bel du Monde.!he exclaim- to your brother ? look up on the face ed. that used to rest on the saine bosom Blanche did not move nor answer, sleep in the same cradle--and this the and his eyes rested fixed upon the hand-that was once the little helpless miniature, as it lay open in her pashand that clung to the same breast with sive hand.

" What has he done!” said the Earl, * Latimer, in one of bis sermons, complains in the deep calm terrible voice with that the dissipation and late hours of the

which he used to speak in battle. courtiers, bad advanced to such an excess, that they were unable to give audience, pero

Her voice spoke faintly from the haps, before eight o'clock in the morning.


He has shed the rose from

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my brow that shall

never bloom blank and dim upon the moonlight that again!'

floated in the water. Raymond fell on the ground, his Raymond stood and gazed upon her long hair spread in the dust, and his till his face grew white as hers; but sudbright noble terrible battle-front bowed denly the light came to his eyes, he laid like a child. The white fingers of the his hand upon the cross of his sword – maiden closed convulsively upon the “By His might and His hope, I hold the gold, and the bright robe trembled on spell of your fate!” said he ; her slender form, like the lights upon row it shall be broken !" the stream.

Raymond rose up; his lips were The gray dawn was breaking in the white as death, but his eyes calm and forest of Maris, and the dim cold light steady; and he stooped and took her began to glisten upon the pale flowers passive hand and kissed her cold lips. and the dewy leaves of the wood-sorrel * Ladye! my very dear love and sis- and colt's-foot which clustered about ter!" said he, “it is gone!-it is pass- the feet of the old oaks. No sound came ed away! to-morrow your white through the still thickets but the chime flower shall bloom on your brow, from the distant convent, and the light clear and stainless as ever it shone in trip of the buck pricking among tho the sun.

leaves ; even at that quiet hour he startBlanche started and glanced wildly ed at the mass-bell,' suddenly stopped up; but the sudden light of her eyes his cropping lips from the grass, and fell, and she clasped her hands on her bent his ear, and held up his nose in face, “He's married to another !” said the wind; but he returned to his browshe.

sing, and wavered through the wood, Raymond grasped her hands. “Look till he came to the brink of a small deep up !" said he ; “look on the fair moon; glade ; be stopped suddenly, and prick she is rising as you and I have seen ed his ear, and glanced his bright eye her rise when we were happy, care- into the hollow, and for a moment stood less infants on this bank. When she and felt the wind, but in the next his rises again, you shall look upon her, white single went over the long fern clear, and bright, and spotless as her like a flash of light, and he vanished into face that smiles upon you!


the deep thicket. For an instant his Blanche looked long, and fixed, and short bound came from the moss, but calın upon him, and dropped her eyes, nothing stirred nor appeared where he and shook her head. “ The grave -the had looked, and the light · began to fire that washes out all spot--the mercy brighten and the birds to sing, but all of God shall take away my stain, but was still and solitary. never man on earth.”

The red rose of the morning began The Earl turned away and held her to appear through the trees, and the hand, and the tears run down his while mist went slowly up from the face.' At last he loosed his surcoat, glade, and under an oak leaned a tall and undid the white cross from his dark man, his arms folded, his back to neck. “I took it at the holy shrine," the tree, and his brown cap and deep said he, "at His foot where all sins mantle, scarce distinguishable from the shall be forgiven; it has brought me knotted and fantastic shapes of the old through battle, and tempest, and the trunks that stood about bim. black death,*-by His might shall As he leaned and gazed upon the bring you through peril worse than path, a quick step rustled on the leaves, death. Take it; pray for me; and and suddenly the light noble figure of when we meet again, you shall be the Auguste de Valence came out upon the bright, beautiful, glorious lady of the glade. For a moment he stopped and world that ever you were in life !"

glanced round. The man rose from the He tied the cord on her neck, and laid iree, and dropped his cloak, and came the pearl in her hand, and long spoke to the green, Raymond de Toulouse. and strove to console her, but she could

Auguste cast his mantle, and put off not be comforted, and sat still and si- his glove, and they drew their swords lent upon the grass ; her hands drops and confronted each other without a ped in the cold dew, and her eyes fixed word. For a moment they stood upon

their guard, point to point, eye to eye, * The Plague in general, in particular a

foot to foot, and neither gave bil nor dreadful pestilence which desolated the north

but in the next Auguste made a of Europe in the 13th century.

feint and plunge that might have foiled


the best hand in France, but the blarle and let her pray for me when I am glanced like a reed from the sword of gone!" Raymond, and for several moments the Raymond cast up a sudden look — glade echoed to the quick clash and “ Holy saints ! --and no priest !-none the heavy fearful trample of the mortal to say him shrift !" assault. But it might have seemed The dying knight pressed his handonly a skilful“ passage of arms,” nei. “Hold up your cross,” said he," and ther being able to foil the hand of his let me look upon it till I pass away. If opponent, till Auguste made the foin I had but a cup of water!" that he was never known to fail, and Raymond glanced eagerly round the the sword went through the kirtle of his glade; a little blue streamlet fell through antagonist, close beneath his arm. The the grass upon a hollow of the mossy point glittered at his back, and the rock, and hastening to the spot, he filled blood gushed down his green hose, but his bonnet at the well, and hurried he did not fall nor stagger, nor drop back to the dying man. The eyes of his hand, and they closed, and clashed, Auguste had closed, but when the waand showered blows, till the blood run ter came to his lips he opened them and from every limb, and breathless and ex- looked up; a faint light came to his hausted, they dropped their points, and cheek; and he raised himself on the stood apart to breathe. For an instant arm of his once brother. they wiped their brows, and drew their “I will confess my shrift to you, my breathe, and undid their kirtles to the true brother,” said he, “and you shall wind; and Auguste sat down upon a tell the priest, and pray for me, and mole-hill, and the Earl leaned to a tree, there will be mercy." and each glanced at times to the other, The Earl bathed his face, and held till suddenly they started to the green, him in his arms, and lifted the cross beand renewed the battle with the same fore him; and ihe knight clasped his mortal determination. The sun was dying hands on his, and confessed to rising as they struck the first strokes ; him, as if he had been a monk in holy and whether it shone in the eyes of quire. His strength ebbed away with Auguste, or that the Earl had the better, his last words, and he sunk heavy and he made a sudden feint, and in the next breathless upon the breast of Raymond. moment the hilt of his sword was against The knight dipped his hand in the wathe breast of his antagonist, and the ter, and signed his brow, and put the blade a red halfell beyond his back. cross in his cold fingers-“ God be mer

De Valence sprung like a stricken ciful to you and forgive yon,” said he, hart, and fell upon the turf without a

"and speak to you that word that I dare word; the blood gushed out from his not speak, and that none is here to speak mouth and breast, and in a moment his in his name !" eyes began to change, and his lips be The hand of the dying knight closed came blue and cold. Raymond threw upon the rood ; his eyes fell, and one himself upon his knees by his side, and sharp shiver, and he stretched out, cold clasped his hand, and raised his head, and still, and gone for ever. and strove to stanch the blood, and The Earl gazed on his void face, and gazed wildly upon his closing eyes, held his hand till it grew stiff and cold, “God give mercy and grace !" cried and the eyes slowly unclosed and fixed he, “that I should do this."

in the death-glare. Raymond shudderAuguste opened his eyes and grasped ed, and clasped his hands, and laid his his hand,

Lio True and noble friend,” head upon the turf, and the cross upon said he, "you were ever kind and his breast, and spread his mantle over faithful to me in our lives, and this that him, and knelt, and wept, and prayed you have now done is the best and beside him. At last he rose, and dried truest deed of all, I thank God-I bless his sword on his sleeve, and put his you-pray for me-forgive me--but O bonnet on his head, and set his horn to she never can!"-and he turned his face his lips, and blew the mort.* In a few to the earth.

moments a little page came lightly The Earl's tears dropped fast upon through the trees with his white Arab; his cold brow, and he held his hand and, as he led up the horse, looked up. without speaking, as his breath came on the cloak, and trembled and turned in short painful sobs, and the cold death- pale. dew rose upon his forehead; he gave a “Sit beside him," said the Earl," and sudden shiver, and his hand caught upon the hand of his friend~"say a

* The death mote, or the blast that was prayer,” said he ; “bid God sain ; blown at the death of a stag.

almost gone ;

watch that no beast nor bird come to do Palayo's daughter. The sweet gentle him wrong; and I will ride to the town, maiden never spoke charge nor word and he shall be buried as men should against him, but ever she was pale, and bury a king's son."

heavy, and broken of heart, and none

knew why, till it could no longer be The sun was set, and the twilight was hid, and her shame flew fast and far as

all Toulouse was in mo ever went the renown of the “ Blanche tion; the great bell of the cathedral toll- Rose,” that had never peer of any ed its heavy knell over the town; and earthly ladye. Fearful!-fearful !-the streets were crowded with a tide of she had to dree* when the priest came people hurrying towards the main rue, to curse her, and the bishop to make All the way from the Chateau to the her speak, and the proud peers, her great church was kept by men-al-arms, kinsmen, spoke of burning her on a and a constant wavering stir went hill, like queen Guinever; yet she. among the tall lances, and an eager would never tell the name of her false murmur of voices, interrupted only by knight till this hour. But now when the fearful toll of the bell that struck the Earl came, he was all confounded its death-knell at slow intervals. in her peril; and for his great repent

“Gramercy! what is this, that the ing, he hath confessed and accused him great bell tolls!” exclaimed an old to the bishop, and now would do all the peasant to his merchant as he pushed amende that may be to the heart-broken through the crowd ; “I never heard maiden, and make her true lady and that knell but for the death of our Earl.” countess of Toulouse.

“ Then shall you well hear it to “And what is this that shall be done day," replied the citizen ; " for though fo-night?" said the peasant. he is not, as you


dead in his " The Earl goes in his penance to body, he is dead in his glory and knight's the great Church,” replied the townsfame."


and thereafter the Blanche Rose “ Saint Mary! of what speak you?" shall be your lady; and let no man por said the granger.

maiden think her slight, because the “Know you La Rose Blanche ?"ask- silk mitten was not puissant as the mail ed the merchant.

glove." " Peine de ma vie !” exclaimed the Truly I shall think her the trnest old man, "do I know the moon, and and most dolorous lady that ever was the bright star when she rises at ves- named with lips,” said the old man,

" and the devil spit in his face that “Then shall you not marvel that the shall ever say contrar!" Earl had the greatest love for her that As he spoke, a faint chorus of voices ever knight had for a lady,” said the came from the Chateau, and a great burgher.

light appeared beyond the black crowd “Nay, truly," replied the peasant ; of helmets and lances. It advanced “but I make great marvel to hear a slowly up the street, and at length the bell toll, when all the chimes in Tou- heavy tread of feet could be heard louse should be ringing merry!" through the crowd, and a choir of monks

“ You shall not make the lark sing chanting the penitential psalms. The at your holiday,” replied the merchant, solemn strain approached, and rose nor a maiden's love come for your and fell at intervals, till suddenly the harping. This, that was the brightest crowd gave back, and the white monks that ever the sun looked on, minded a and bright torches came slowly into the fair crown and broad lordship no more square. All the convents of Touthan you should value a cowslip fee in louse followed in long procession, till fairy-land; and likely for that they had a broad heaven of light shone upon the been foster-children together, she press, and discovered the dark shadows thought of Earl Raymond but as a maid- of the black penitents, preceded by en may of her true brother, and would their cross, and lighted by a thousand not be his lady though he had been torches. king of France: at the least she said so. In the midst, bare-headed and bareThe Count was near out of his mind, as footed, divested of all his fendal enall men know; but that which men signs, with a torch in his hand and a know not-alas, that it should be to chain upon his neck, Earl Raymond say-on the evening that he was to sail walked, in the white gown of penance; for the Holy Land, being alone with but his face was whiter than the cinher to take his leave, fell such unknight- don, and his eyes bent on the ground ly outrage as never prince did to a lady, unless it was Don Rodrique to Count

* Endure.

pers ?

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