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caught the Black in his gripe : “Mine,-mine, mine !” shouted the king.
“ God and St. Martin defend us !" exclaimed the archbishop of Prague; “ your majesty, in starting from your nap, has overset the table, and torn my ears off, as near as may be.”
“ Peace!” said the king of Bohemia, in a royal tone ;-" but what is this ?—where am I? -Oh! I have had such a dream!”-and he recounted it to the listening courtiers.
“ It is very strange!” said he, on concluding ;
it was so like reality ;-that hideous voice !my ears tingle yet.”
“ So do mine!” said the archbishop of Prague.
“ And what is worse," continued his majesty, “I feel, as I think, the effects of that cursed crupper yet.”
THE PROVENCAL TALE. THERE lived, in the province of Bretagne, a noble baron, famous for his magnificence and courtly hospitalities. His castle was graced with ladies of exquisite beauty, and thronged with illustrious knights; for the honours he paid to feats of chivalry invited the brave of distant countries to enter his lists, and his court was more splendid than those of many princes. Eight minstrels were retained in his service, who used to sing to their harps romantic fictions taken from the Arabians, or adventures of chivalry that befell knights dur
ing the crusades, or the martial deeds of the baron, their lord ;-while he, surrounded by his knights and ladies, banqueted in the great hall of his castle, where the costly tapestry that adorned the walls with pictured exploits of his ancestors, the casements of painted glass enriched with armorial bearings, the gorgeous banners that waved along the roof, the sumptuous canopies, the profusion of gold and silver that glittered on the sideboards, the pumerous dishes that covered the tables, the number and gay liveries of the attendants, with the chivalric and splendid attire of the guests, united to form a scene of magnificence, such as we may not hope to see in these degenerate days.
Of the baron the following adventure is related. One night, having retired late from the banquet to his chamber, and dismissed his attendants, he was surprised by the appearance of a stranger of a noble air, but of a sorrowful and dejected countenance. Believing that this person had been secreted in the apartment, since it appeared impossible he could have lately passed the antiroom upobserved by the pages in waiting, who would have prevented this intrusion on their lord, the baron, calling loudly for his people, drew his sword, which he had not yet taken from his side, and stood upon his defence. The stranger, slowly advancing, told him that there was nothing to fear; that he came with no hostile design, but to communicate to him a terrible secret, which it was necessary for him to know.
The baron, appeased by the courteous manners of the stranger, after surveying him for some time in silence, returned his sword into the scabbard, and desired him to explain the means by which he had obtained access to the chamber, and the purpose of this extraordinary visit.
Without answering either of these inquiries, the stranger said, that he could not then explain himself, but that, if the baron would follow him to the edge of the forest, at a short distance from the castle walls, he would there convince him that he had something of importance to disclose.
This proposal again alarmed the baron, who would scarcely believe that the stranger meant to draw him to so solitary a spot, at this hour of the night, without harbouring a design against his life; and he refused to go, observing, at the same time, that, if the stranger's purpose was an honourable one, he would not persist in refusing to reveal the occasion of his visit in the apartment where they were.
While he spoke this, he viewed the stranger still more attentively than before, but observed no change in his countenance, nor any symptom that might intimate a consciousness of evil design. He was habited like a knight, was of a tall and majestic stature, and of dignified and courteous
Still, however, he refused to communicate the subject of his errand in any place but that he bad mentioned ; and, at the same time, gave hints concerning the secret he would disclose, that awakened a degree of solemn curiosity in the baron, which at length induced him to consent to the stranger on certain conditions.
Sir knight, said he, I will attend you to the forest, and will take with me only four of my people, who shall witness our conference.
To this, however, the knight objected.
What I would disclose, said he with solemnity, is to you alone. There are only three living persons to whom the circumstance is known: it is of more consequence to you and your house than I shall now explain. In future years you will look back to this night with satisfaction or repentance, accordingly as you now determine. As you would hereafter prosper—follow me; I pledge you the honour of a knight, that no evil shall befall you. If you are contented to dare futurity-remain in your chamber, and I will depart as I came.
Sir knight, replied the baron, how is it possible that my future peace can depend upon my present determination ?
That is not now to be told, said the stranger; I have explained myself to the utmost. It is late; if you follow me, it must be quickly ;-you will do well to consider the alternative.
The baron mused, and, as he looked upon the knight, he perceived his countenance assume a singular solemnity.
The baron paced his apartment for some time in silence, impressed by the words of the stranger, whose extraordinary request he feared to grant, and feared also to refuse. At length, he said, Sir knight, you are utterly unknown to me; tell me, yourself,--is it reasonable that I should trust myself alone with a stranger, at this hour, in a solitary forest? Tell me, at least, who you are, and who assisted to secrete you in this chamber.
The knight frowned at these latter words, and was a moment silent; then, with a countenance somewhat stern, he said
I am an English knight; I am called Sir Bevys of Lancaster,--and my deeds are not unknown at the holy city, whence I was returning to my native land, when I was benighted in the neighhouring forest.
Your name is not unknown to fame, said the baron; I have heard of it. (The knight looked haughtily.) But why, since my castle is known to entertain all true knights, did not your herald announce you? Why did you not appear at the banquet where your presence would have been welcomed, instead of hiding yourself in my castle, and stealing to my chamber at midnight?
The stranger frowned, and turned away in silence; but the baron repeated the questions.
I come not, said the knight, to answer inquiries, but to reveal facts. If you would know more, follow me, and again I pledge the honour of a knight that you shall return in safety. Be quick in your determination-I must be gone.
After some farther hesitation, the baron determined to follow the stranger, and to see the result of his extraordinary request; he therefore again drew forth his sword, and, taking up a lamp, bade the knight lead on. The latter obeyed, and, opening the door of the chamber, they passed into the anti-room, where the baron, surprised to find all his pages asleep, stopped, and, with hasty violence, was going to reprimand them for their carelessness, when the knight waved his hand, and looked so expressively upon the baron, that the latter restrained his resentment, and passed
The knight, having descended a staircase,