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Burlington weekly free press. [volume] (Burlington, Vt.) 1866-1928, December 14, 1899, Image 9

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THE HOUSE. 0E ISSTENS.
'A
Py Sir rTArlarjan listen, Cadi t of a Great 17onsc, Knight of tlx
lioyat Order of Wasxmark and Cfnc, Time Ilmhnstiudor
to the Court of Uliurhs I of England.
MADE INTO A ROMANCE BY TIIEODORE ROBEHTS.
Copyright, 1000, by American Press Association.
nl(W.n.I.fn.n0D000000000!!-000OVO0OX-000:lid
o
p0PiOOOOOO'St-0OtOSOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOie
Tin? tai.i. noimrut at tssrrwi.
For a ti v bi'condri I wns totally nt n
loss 1 1 know why I was i 1 1 i in tho
diti.li with turn garments nnd bloody
lnindn, Thmi I remembered the skir
mish with the robbers, the lint chaso
mid tho stumble. That lmd till hujijioned
bv starlight. It was bright morning
tl. w
Tho ditch in which I found myself
was ono my father's men had finished
di ln ' a few days before lei drain off
t (,'rtnt flwniiip of Isstens. There wan
i ii . h water in the bottom of it to
li'ii;- tin s. at of my riding breeches
tJciidedlv damp and to cnmpli'tely cool
n. spin n. 1 crawled stiffly out into
Hi. "rass, nnd there to my vnst satis
faction found my sword. I took it up,
wiped the iniiocput moisture of dew
fn n tho blade and turned to my left
teward the creat house, of Isstens.
It was b '1' in tho mine house and
t rtsthet irv ancestors hnd lived since
tin rv 1 ginning of tho kingdom of
Was l virk.
All the land, meadow and swamp,
if It nnd for. st, to the amount of ten
in i ir. l.jihs. had been given to one
l uo t . I--t. in by the(ir.-t king of the
h ni.try The word Isstens, a learned
Kict.'r once told mo, st',od in somooraBV
0 i f rtt"ii language for sworder or
i v , i in
( Inn th.i Isiitens, with rock from his
iwn ( larrios. built tho hoilfcp, and from
1 t day to this whereon 1 writo bin
1 'cendnnts have lived in it.
I brok'1 tlirnuili a shnggy hodgo of fir
n.i went up the wide nvenjuo of beeches.
3.s-mg it great gate, all ribbed with
Ir n and piorci d with musket holes, I
in p 1 th" courtyard. The main door
)f thi house st oil before mo ten paces
jrith three shields above it.
Thee lib st and least skillfully oxe
mtt 1 i f tin io shields bore a long 1111
M. 1.11,, sword and undernenth strange
yttteiHanl marks partly obliterated by
tain nn 1 mm. The ne.it, which was
itscr than either of tho others and only
hrn centuries old, boro a coat of eight
jnurterings with tho old two handed
)v ird for crest set np on my parents'
V 1 lin- day. Its gold was hardly tar
Si b-'d, and its gules and azure Hazed
bravely It 1 .ro the arms of my moth
r s family, tho great D'Artagans of
Ki ruiandy.
Can you wonder that Harry, my eld
?r briber, and I wero as proud as tho
dry d. vl
lli ,t Ibavogivcn thoslip to my story,
tr -iu'i all the arms and family history
with trio much of my native pride. Par
ill n ; 1 am not yet old enough to be
jioilest. - I
Upon entering tho dining hull I ,
oui;l Harry, Visconnt Isstens, in my 1
latlier'B great chair with bis head
iwathcd in bandages. I
"Hello, Dart!" ho cried, speaking as 1
w 11 as hi conld through the rags.
"Half tho household is out hunting for
ym."
I embrace d him and sat down ton
tin it pio that invited mo from tho
la 1 .
"Whcro havo yon been, old hot- j
V (d 1" asked Hurry. !
"I spent tho night in tho ditch and
put out of it about 12 minutp.s ago," I
unsworn!, hunting about for a decanter.
He laughed as loudly as ho could
cciisideriuc; hie hfrcdgear.
"You made a longer run than I did, ,
nnd it is a pity yon did not catch your
D ill. Tact is" hn sighed and rubbed
fais bead "ono of tho rascals clubbed
ni in tho avenue."
I miii n it a nian to talk much when I
ir i lnuigry. but I pan.sed with the wine
jlaus half way to my lips and asked
yJiatth'iclnbhingnmnnnted to. "Noth
tig but a Hwolleu bead and a lsoso
jol li. ' h ' answered.
Tli ro was silence after that until I
joshed my plato away and Hhoved back
lij rbair.
"Wo will po out and see tho prisoner
now, he is down in tho cellar," said
aiy brother. I noticed my sword, and
a I always like to havo it in my room
t put it uudcr my arm, so that I might
lake it up with nie alter inspecting the
capture 1 robber. An wn went along
ll'irry tnll'ea aliout tho fight. Ho told
b iw ear father had run eino of them
Ihrom h behind the stables; how old
fMerrn had shot another; hn wounded
brio, and Paul and Hed Harding caught
Hieir Under.
"And tho threo yon went after got
away, " be said. I 'grinned soberly at
this. "T1 o of them aro bagged sum
hiourIi, my Lord Harry," I answered.
"Tho first is in tho end of the great
ilitrh, with a sword cut to sleep with,
imd the second got in tho way of a
pistol ball at tho end of the patch they
aro plowing up in the swamp."
Harry clapped 1110 on my mud stained
back. "Yon old firo eating cadet I" bo
cried, hia gray eyes dancing. Wo felt
very will satisfied with ourselves, for
Iheeo lobbeiB were 0110 of tho crudest
and boldtnt bands in tho nqrthern
mountains, but when wo arrived at
that part of tho cellar in which tho
prisoner bad been bound onr joy turned
to chagrin. Tho man had gono clean
Bs u gray wolf out of a pit.
"Dart, this is a frightful mess we
nro in," muttered the viscount, "for
es snro as death ho will have bis whole
tribe on us hot foot."
"Perhaps ho is still nenr," I ven
tured. "Let us hunt for him. I will
ftay hero whilu yon get your swerd
und pistols,"
Ho was U'.ed to being treated in this
manner, nnd with a grnnt sped off to
arm himself. Ho had hardly loft the
cellar when the tallest man I ever saw
leaped at nie over a bundle of fagots.
I gnvo way sharply, for a boy of 20
yoars is not as cool as a soldier of 20
lights. He cut at me with a club marlo
from ono of our own fagots. I ducked
iny head, slipped and sprawled forward
between his legs, at tho same tinio
dropping my rapier. Tho robber tried
to spring away toward tho pasr.go lead
lngjo the courtyard, but I caught his
0O-O-O0T
o-;roo ' j
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OMj
ma
o
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-ro
I nnkle ami lipid mi. Down ho enmc on
top of 1110 with all his weight.
Things looked very had. for tho
sprightly D'Artagan of Isstens. Hut as
he stared at me as if not knowing what
to do, Harry returned and pmoto him
across the poll with the butt of a pistol,
(living vent fo a bull-like roar, the tnll
iiinn arose, knocked Harry spinning
with his fist and escaped into tho
courtyard.
CHAPTER II.
Till! NK1UT ATTACK.
What a rumims there was when
Baron Is?ton, the baroness nnd tho
servants returned and found us shaken
and bloody and the prisoner escaped I
Our mother bad hystprics before sho
had done with kiring me, but our fa
ther swore a big oath and rushed out,
to order "boot and saddle." The gaping
niensnrvants followed him, and Harry
Btarted np.
"My boy, you cannot go!" cried our
beautiful mother, her face stained with
blood from bis bruised lips.
"1 havo to go, lady mother. Iain not
hurt," ho answered over his shoulder
as he ran from the room.
1 buckled on my sword belt and
clashed homo my good blade. "You
ton?" she moaned. IJut thcrp was 11
flnb of piide in her eyes that we wero
both true sons.
"1 must, mother, to look after our
gentlemen of title, to sen tint they
come to no harm," 1 laughingly re
plied. Then I bent (I went a little over
sis feet even at that ago) and kissed
tho pale upturned face. In nnother
minute 1 was climbing into the s-iddlo
and straightening my pistol holders.
.Six of us clattered out and down tho
long avenue. The afternoon was well
bogun and the air was warm. Wo saw
two of our men carrying a body out of
tho ditch. It was the robber 1 bad run
thiongh 011 the previous night. Wo
could see a gleam of rod sash and metal
belt where nnother lay on the fre-di
turned furrows. Spreading out into tho
fields that bordered the road we beat
every cover, but no giant mountaineer
could we find.
Harry, because of the beat, had
polled the bandages from bis face, leav
ing the blue lump 011 his forehead and
the swollen jaw exposed to view.
When tho dusk of evening and tho
chill mist from the swamp bad over
taken 11s and not until then did my fa
ther order a return wo wheeled silent
ly on the wide road and cantered back
toward tho honso of Isstens.
"We will break np their nest, Dart,
boy, as soon as tho crop- aro in," said
my. father, laving his hand on my knee
as wo swung nlong.
I "I only want tho chanco to charge
1 into them," I answered, "Imt tbepeas- I
ants say that they aro many and well
armed." j
! "Yes, and every man of them has
innocent blood on his hands and is an
outlaw from his country, whatever land
that may be, for they come from every
where, but we are true subjects of our
king and noblemen of Wayjimark. I
think if wn call in tho foresters wo will
, break tlm."
j He put ont his other band and pressed
' Hurry's shoulder.
Little things liko this meant much
from the Ilaroii Isstens.
When we gained tho courtyard, they
were awaiting us anxiously with Inn
terns and candles. In tho ball our
' mother unbuckled our sword belts.
First her husband's, then Harry's, then
mine. It was queer to see her pull loose
tho great buckles and drag tho clanging
scabbards aside, him was smiling all
tho while with tho joy of our return,
nnd the father stood with a broad grin
on his shaven lips, and his eyes follow
ing every move she made.
That night we had supper in the lit
tle tapestried parlor oft the dining hall.
There were six of us around the table.
My mother sat at the tea urn (rather
an uncommon pieco of table plato in
those days) and my father at the round
of beef at the other end. Mistress Sarah
Lyons, the widow of an English officer
who bad been slain in Wassmark, and
my mother's right hand in all house
keeping matters, snt beside Hurry, nnd
opposite them senrred old Lieutenant
Red Harding and your bumble cadet.
Hud Harding was 11 peasant by birth,
but had done sneh good service as a
soldier to tho hoiiso of Isstens that ho
had long ago been dnbbed gentleman
nnd treated as one.
Thongh n raid from tho tnountnin
outlaws hung over us, we formed a ,
t merry pnrty, tho baron drawing out
Red Hnrding to tell stories of tho woods
nnd peoplo, nnd thu baroness saying all !
manner of witty things. Mistress '
Lyons told 11s tales of England, from
which we gathered that the peoplo
there nro very strong and brave, eat as
muua .if is good for them, dnviK nun
Gennnns nnd go to church regularly.
Wo could hear now and then a shout
of laughter or a burst of song from tho
men in tho outer hall. Foresters nnd
keepern, shepherds and plowmen had
been called in to form a garrison.
We uid not tarry over the firo after
supper, but retired to our chambers.
Harry and I slopt in a turret room that
overlooked tho rear walls and n wide
field lying ready for the sowing of thu
grain. Hare and chill it looked under
tho white stars.
Wo were tired nnd soro, but nftrr
throwing- off our stiff skirted coats, in
which it was our habit to sup, nnd
putting asidn our lacu collars, wo
sprawled in tho window seat and gazed
out.
Here and thero glimmered tho light
of n cottage window. .Unlike some land
holders, the Ibstens gave their peoplo
lottijges instead of huts and kind words
instead of kicks. This was much to onr
ndvantago, as you will presently see.
Wo had no light in tho room, mid
Hurry, who wns three years my senior
and had been several times at Ilia ten
burg, tho king's city, began talking
softly of a court lady ho had danced
wit 11. I thought this mighty line, and
littuiod with all my ears. He cawo to
1 very touching part. Ho was siiyitit;,
"Sho gnvo nie a little strand of lur
hair lenniiii! from the conch window,
and I kissed lur bund throe times nnd
sworn" unci nt that moment wo heard
a noiso that would make the starkest
lover swear "blue devils." It was the
loud roaring of pistols and muskets and
the fierce shouts of men. 1
Wo took our swords from their scab
bards mid a pistol in each left baud and
lied down the stairs. Tho men were
nrinlng and mulling forth to support '
the guards, nnd my father wns tearing
about in search of his new horse pistols.
Upon entering the courtyard wp found
Red Hnrding and n handful of men at
the great gate and a few stout forester'
with boar spears, thrusting tho enemy
back from the top of tho wall where it
is lowest.
"At them I" I shouted, and just then
the Inn on passed me with his dags and
two handed sword. Wo three opened
firo on the black heads bobbing over the
wall, and then turned to see how things
wero shaping. The noiso of bellowing
men and clashing guns wns fearful.
"I am glad wo have a garrison,"
said Harry, "and lots of half pikes and
boar spears for the plowmen. "
I iKd not ntiswer, for at that moment
tbj grfit gate was smashed in nnd a
bo'i of burly ruffians plunged through.
Without turning to look at them, Red
Harding and his men cut and thrust at
the oips trying to follow, so wrathfnlly
that they gave way, nnd up wi'nt the
nnk ngain with a mighty grindstone
nnd a keg of iron bolts to hold it. Eight
fellows hml entered, however, and these
fought with a dash nnd fierceness liko
mountain wolves at bay with a very
good chance for life, too, for our gar
rison could not sparo its numbers from
the gates and walls.
Harry raised the family warcry
"The Long sword I The long sword!"
and followed by mo and a half dozpn
old retainers ru-hed at them. Them was
no loading of pieces in that tussle. It
was cut and tlnkist, dodvie and strike,
n'ivo and take, with hissiii'.' bruit h and
muffled curses. I have never I "en 111010
proud of my brother than I was then
Though palo of face, liko a bookman,
and more given to writing ballads than
bouts with single sticks, he played his
lithe rapier blade against their swords
and pikes like white lightning For
awhile we stood abreast with our men
on either side. Tho invaders niaiked
our line linen shirts and powdered hair
and yelled; "Down with the fine gen
tlemen! Down with the fat landhold
ers!" Uy this hoping to win our peas
ants. "And, thank God, they held tho
land!" cried an old herdi r.
1 got my point into a fellow, drop
ping him so that tho next could get nt
me. Uy tho saints, the man who tool:
his place was th" giant of tho cellar.
Ho carried n rapier, and with it in his
grip woie tho air of a man of breeding.
Wo worked back from tho others, wo
, two. Ho fenced like a master, but hap
pily for 1110 he had been pricked slightly
I in the right shoulder.
j "I havo the honor of crossing swords
with D'Artagan. cadet of listens?" bo
asked.
"The same," I grunted, parrying a
thrust in quarto.
I backed slowly. He was certainly
my master in skill.
Presently 1 gained a little. "Tho
chief of robbers, I believe?" 1 queried
with fine scorn.
"Sir Cadet, yon aro very young and
very proud," ho said quietly. "I was
onco a very devil at counting quarter
inga and riding to hounds myself."
I was filled with surprise at the tone
of bis voice more than nt what he snid,
for any base born fool can lie about his
brccdic
We Kfirnulrd In the ufndoie sent.
yiy wrfsi, was tiring when saw
with relief that the members of the at
tacking party inside the walls wero nil
killed or captured.
"Pray surrender, sir; your men aro
down," I jianted.
Hi! lowered thu point of his sword.
"I suriender to as bravo a gentleman,
sir, as ever chipped hand to hilt," and
bowing like a dancing master ho pre
bcntcd his rapier. Harry and bis men
came running toward us.
"This is my nrisoner. " I cried
through the clatter and din, "and tho
man that harms him answers thu
sword of thu cadet."
Tho men turned off to help at tho
gates, and Harry said. "Well done,
! brother," and followed them.
"Where can I leave you? I must back
j to tho light," 1 said hurriedly,
"Though I am a man of honor, I beg
you to turn a key on me, for form j
sake," he replied.
lie seemed to tnko his capture cheer
fully. Wu entered the house and I in
troduced him to one of the larders aim
bolted the door on tho outside.
Half an hour later thu enemy with'
drew, leaving thu courtyard a ghastly
placo of hlexid, silent bodies und broken
bill, and tho soft dawn showing under
tho stars, Tho baron, covered with
blood from wounds on his cheek and
shoulder, camo into the great hall,
where our wounded lay moaning and
tho others rested. He dolfed his hat and
in his clear voice cried: "Men, I must
thank yon from my heart. You havo
stood tonight where tho best trained
troops in Europe would falter. May
Uod give to all the king's peers as hravo
a following as ho has to me and my
house."
He went through tho door to tho in
ner rooms amid the loyal cheers of tho
garrison, and Harry and I turned to
1 follow him.
I "Uod keep tho viscount," cried a big
j plowmaut
v it i
" Phe
! jigs?
k .wi, . tit!, oi 'VI v aj;""'. t
"Ard tho cadet," sounded a mullled
voice from tho birder.
CHAPTER III.
Tin: K011111-.il c aptun'h UAunttTr.it.
In a few days things had talo n on
very much their old faces. Five pris
oners, being robbers and murderers,
were hung, but out of sight of the
house. My prisoner, whom wo called
"the captain," was kept for ransom.
So I told the men, but I doubt, if I
would have let him hang under any
circumstniices, for he fnseiiiated 1110
strangely. Ho was prisoned in my
chamber and fed from our own table.
We took him all manner of books,
which ho read with pleasure. Harry,
who was a wonderful scholar, far be
yond anything I could hope for, used to
argue with him over Homer and (Jiosar,
and sometimes they wrote songs to-'
gether. Then they would have me in
to hear tho songs, which, I must say,
wero very learned and not u littlu un
common. Tho crops worn put in and lifo went
on ill the cottages and fields, as well aa
in tho house, very much as it had be
fore the great robber raid.
One morning I was seated on,a stono
bench half way down tho avenue of
beeches, dreaming of things which the
captain's scngs had started in my
brain, when on raising my head I saw
a lass tripping toward me np 1'"-' rind.
She was robed in all manner of fine
silks, like my mother 011 occasions, and
hail wbito gloves on her whiter arms.
Merry golden curls fell down from un
der the great feathered hat.
"Hy the long sword, here conies that
court lady after Hairy," I muttered
to myself, and straightway rose and
bowed, hand on heart in the latest mode.
She answered with a lino courtey.
"Ale yon the lmd cadet of Isstens,
sir?" she aked, gazing sweetly.
I con VI sen now that her face was
wan and her eyes red from weeping.
"1 am the cadet of tho house, ma
dame, but without u title. Perhaps it is
my brother, the visenini.t, you would
see?" I bowed low ufter each word.
"Nny, sir. it is the brnve cadet. I
hear he captured my lather with his
singlo sword, and took him into tho
house kindly, as became a gentleman,"
tho said very softly, looking at mu with
wonderful eyes all tho while.
"What!" I cried. "Are yon tho rob
ber captain'r daughter, lnadnmo?" And
I fell to staring at b r like a great frog.
Shu flushed haughtily nt that, i
"1 am Captain Caitletrio's daughter
yes. Does it olfund your eurs, my
lord ?"
I wns confused woefully. "Do you
wnnt to take him away, inadame? Ho
is very quiet and is helping my brother
write verses," I gasped.
The lady laughed merrily at my
speech and face.
"I would like to havo him, Sir Cadet,
but I do not want to mr broth
er's rhymes. "
I recovered from my confusi i.
"Let 11s talk it over. Yon Know ho
is a prihoner of war," I said, bowing
She einsiri t1 7(i 11 fine cnurteay.
her to thu seat. 1 thought to impress
Her with the greatness of the favor she
asked, so continued, "Tho four other
laptivos were hung."
She Hashed her eye at me.
Because they were common scuni,"
cried, "do you think they had no
souls?"
) don't tliinls they had. madame, foi
wcTft rue foulest rogues and mur
derers under heaven. The captain is a
man of breeding and may not bo u ras
cal, after all. At any rat" I havo kept
him safe, and we me fund of him now."
Her eyes filled with tears.
"Oh, forgive me." she cried. "I havo
sinned in .speaking so to von. May Uod
I ble-s you for your spai'ing hand."
The tears sprung to my own eyes nt
the words of her forgivenesi'.
"It was very little tc do. It was n
pleasure," I stammered. Then, "May I
tnko you to your father, Mistress Gas
tletreeY" She accepted my proffered hand, and
together wir went up thu avenue and
through thu great gnto of tho houso of
Isstens.
CHAPTER IV.
"nOVOUI-OVK HKlt, VlSTOT'NT?"
Can you imagine tho stir all through
the house when I ushered in thu cap
tain's daughter, splendid in her silks
and sunny smiles? Out came my father
and bowed like a gallant of 'JO. Out
camo my mother and swept the floor
witli a grand courtesy, Mistress Lyons
cried, "llless her dear Engli-h face!"
and kissed her.
Ah, thought I, Castletree is an Eng
lish name, is it, nnd 1 gracefully pre
sented Harry, who could not have coino
faster to meet tho court lady whoso
hand ho had kissed.
I ran and released my prisoner, who
camo down and received that littlo
form silks and curls, great hat and all
into his arms with u cry of joy. Ho
told her how kind we had all been to
him a foreign outlaw, a lender of rob
bersand wu blushed and withed wo
had been 'JO times kinder.
Then tho maiden was taken oif under
my mother's wing, and we men held
counsel in tho littlo dining parlor.
"I am clear of tho robbers," said tho
big captain, "and I swear" ho did in
English "that I would plow liko a
peasant sooner than return to them."
"You are a worthy gentleman, sir,"
said the baron, "and hww you came to
mix and fight witli such dogs I cannot
see. ' '
"That my reason for it is a closed
jingo of my life, " answered tho Eng
lishman. "Enough, my lord, that I
was once hnjijiy in my own cnstlu in
Devon, with u sweet wife, honor and
wealth, and now" And ho burst into
tears.
Tho sight of n strong man in the
agony of weeping is over 11 pain to 1110.
When ho recovered himself, my
father olfcred him a jiositioii in tho
In nsehold, to iii'iko him imd Ml tress
Cn th treu of tho family. My heart rose
at Unit.
, Tho captain looked up proudly. "Can
learn our bread, my lord 7 Is there
Wurk for 1110 to do?"
Tim baron, who was slightly tho
elder of the two, took his hand.
"There is work, my friend, for n trno
gentlpinaii with a trno sword in tho
ho.ise of Isstens. Will you swear to ho
loyal to this family until this family
or siinio member of it is disloyal to
you?"
"I swear it on my honor," said tho
captain.
I flipped out nud getting his surren
dered sword from my room returned
mid placed it in bis hands.
"Not this sword," be said. "I will
purchase) a new 0110 from tho house of
Isstens." And ho broko tho lithu blade
across his -kneo and. handed 1110 back
the two piece.!.
"It was not the sword I used in tho
service of my old king. Neither will I
use it in tho service of my new lord,
tho llnron IssteiiH," ho said, mailing
sadly.
And tlina tho house of Isstens was
iticn r;ied, and life seemed to bo mer
rier and mote worth tho trouble inside
tho gray old walls.
Tho captain know 11 great deal about
farming and even morn about weapons
and tho drilling of men. Soon all tho
peoplo 011 the estate, including old Red
Harding, looked up to him with lovo
and respect, and some of them whis
peied that ho bud been a prince ill his
own country.
Blithely, liko red petnls blowing from
a bush, went the days through May
and June. Tho brigands lay close in
their mountain fastnesses, evidently
crushed by our bravo defense, tho 1
slaughter nt the gates and tho hanging
of tho captives.
The peasants, returned to their work,
tho foiesters and keepers to thu woods,
the plowmen and sowers to tho fields,
and the young grain was green over
the uplands. Captain Castletree was
eveiy while. For three days bo tramped
about in tho forests with a squad of
nxmcn marking thu lumber to be cut
for building and where tho underbrush
was to bo cleared out for firewood. 1
wondered if ho ever thought of tho
Isstens fagot bo had tried so heartily
to use over my head.
Tlure was a second ditch to bo run
through the swamp, and the captain
marked the best course for it, and own
helped at tho blasting out of rocks witli
his own hands And yet a finer and
prouder gentleman could not bo found
,11 Wassninrk, where it is said tho no
bility cannot bend to pick up their
gloves should they happen to fall.
It did not take mo many weeks to
discover that I was deeply in love with
Mistress Castletree. Her other iianio
was Marion, which both Hany and I
thought very pretty. My brother mada
verses about it and read them to us 011
the south terrace. Sometimes my heart
iiclud that I, too, could not writo danc
ing rhymes to bring smiles to her lips.
I looked at Harry through a green light
and said all manner of unpleasant things
to hint, and for answer lie would only
eye me and .smile.
One day 1 caught him by tho shoul
der wu wero alone and cried, "Do
you love her, viscount?"
At first I thought he was about to
say "No!" but his face changed and
ho cried: "Fie, fie, my dear cadet I
And what if I do?"
"Yes, poor cadet," I hissed. "Oh,
but the cadet has a sword, a:td by all
the eivils tt is not an easy oue to get
beyond!" With horror at my words Ii
turned away. Cjnicl: as a flash ho was
at my shoulder. 1
"Don't worry, old fire eater," ho
said, laughing; "there is some ono in I
Dlatenbnrg, you know." And then he!
broke off and began to sing. I rushed j
after him and craved pardon humbly 1
for my hasty word". Wo went out to-,
gether and found Marion on the south1
terrace looking out acroi.s tho valley j
with dreamful eyes. '
Harry had a slip of paper in his
hand.
"Listen to Dart's first poem," he
said, tho while 1 stared at him speech
less. Ho road:
"Sweet or the trolden linll
Jlero to your fm-t I lirtnu
Sword ami heart ami hanil.
Truer thun heart at king.
"Know Hint the sword Is lent
iron till, this life la (lone
Know that my heert Is thine,
Sweetest M11I1I Marlon."
Hero thu viscount turned and fled,
leaving mo gazing at Mistress Castle
tree and she at thu sky. Her face was
crimson, mid I think mine was too.
"liy all thu littlu blue dev" I re
membered myself and fled away also.
CHAPTER V.
thi: Kixn's summons.
When I found Harry, ho was con
vulsed with laughter, lying on tho
conch in onr chamber. I could not chal
lenge him to light, so I sprang upon him
with my knees and said that I would
both writo and read my own jioems
in tho future.
When next I met Marion, she Unshed
her eyes at 1110 in a hniighly way that
raised both terror and admiration in
my heart. She did not go down to her
seat on the south terrace for tbiee days
after tho jester jilny of Harry's. How
to mend mutters I did not know,
though I jiondered over it continually
nnd forgot my sword exerciso nnd nil
interest in quarter stall'. Hut ono night
a jilan dawned ujion me, and I begged
Harry to givo 1110 the versos. Ilo did so
without questioning, and going uji to
my room I scrawled beneath thenr
"This is all true; I swear it, though
Harry wrote the rhymes. D'Artagan."
Then I nut tho minor into her silver
cup down in tho dining bull and went
nn to bed. Scarcely lmd l got clear ot
my beiuts wnen in camo i-iieiuouani
Red Harding.
"Up, sir, and into saddlo for Blaten
burg, at the king's command," and oil
ngain to tind Harry, who was some
where reading Ciesar. I nulled 011 my
riding boots, changed my silk coat for
a leather jerkin with steel breastplate,
buckled on my sword belt, nnd, lint in
hand, clattered down stairs.
Harry, Red Harding mid I, with 12 1
horsemen, were to answer tho king's
buminous, leaving my father and thu !
caitain with tho rest of tho men to
guard tho house.
Tho mother camo out to bid us god
sjieed, but no Marion; so away wo
started on tho !K milorond to the king'ti
city. Hairy jested so that the men
shook till I thought they would roll
from tledr saddles. I did not feel un
usually gay. which I think was qtiito
natural. While Harry and Rjd Hard-
inri chntt d merrily I renin at Ihn non
tenant's h ft, sih lit n t i 'bla b f. r
live hours on the road, whlili was 111. id
to tho fetlock most of tho way, tho
dawn broke in front of us. We dis ,
mounted at n littlu hostel and drained ,
a cup, while the fellows fed our hirses
a bito mid rubbed them dry with hiind
fills of straw. I washed Hagart's
mouth ont myself, for he is a fine liorso
and too good (o bo trusted to every
waysldo stable buy
Ueforo the sun had rispn n palo width
nhove thn fir trees we wero mounted
again. Half an hour later we rode into
RlntPiiburg, tho king'ti city, nnd by the
light on thu viscount's fuco ono might
hnvo thought it wns his.
Tho streets wero alive, early thongh
tho hour was, and armorers had their
forges going and the smiths, too for
many of tho incoming horses had cast
their shoes. Tho great houses, the hur
rying people and the bright faces made
what seemed to 1110 a wondrous bravo
sight. Our lender, Ilnrry, took 11s far
inlo tho city, mid there ordered us to
dismount nt a big inn not far from thu
royal palace. Out of tho saddles wu
climbi'd, glad enough to be rid of them.
Our horses wero led away, and wu
went insido to breakfast. 'Iho landlord
took us to the highest table, while a
drawer hustled our men in to a spread
of limn and beer.
"Have you beard anything of tho Ho
hemiuns?" asked Harry.
"Huron Vossgofl defented them Inst
night 1H miles to the north, my lord,"
answered the fellow, with a broad smile.
"Thank Uod!" wo ciied, and drained
to the health of Huron YossgolT,
Harry, as our captain and represent
ative of the house of Isstens, must go
P nml report to thu king, but Red
Harding and I, belted and spurred, sal
lied out arm in arm to view Iho city.
I think wo were a fierce looking jinir
by the way the other soldiers turned
to stare at us. I wore gold across my
breast and the mark of the cadet, to
gether with thu Isstens' crest 011 my
nHi, and Red Harding was bravely 1
trigged out with lace and gold, polished
brass and scarlet. Though ladies waved
tlnir scarfs to us from the windows and
balconies of thu tall houses and ni"u
saluted 11s in tho streets, my heart
would not away from the gray house of
Isstens.
When wo returned to the tavern,
Hairy was awaiting us. Ilo was most
beautifully dressed in satin and luce.
Wise viscount to bring his court suit
along witli him I
It was evening and ho bore news of
a great feto in tho jialace and jialacu
gurdins, to which all true officers and
gentlemen were invited. At this Red
Hnrding, who was something of a blado
at heart, jiulled a long face.
"Uy the devils, viscount, can I go in
tliPsn boots?" be gnsiied.
The troopers at the doer fell to laugh-,
ing at this. Tho lieutenant froze them
with a stare, and then he went in to
sujiper. lint as feasting would be going
on at the palace we did not siiend much
time over the tavern beef.
I had two men in to rub us up
boots, hreastjilates and spurs and Red
Harding groaned, "If we can't go look
ing liko tho viscount, we will go look
ing very much liko the devil."
On our way np the hill, which wns
jiaved with marble for foot passengers,
Harry took an arm of i nch mid snid,
"The king hns ordered me to stay with
him and use my poor brains in his
counsel while the trouble lasts and yon
to take thp men and out and ue your
good swords against thi; Bohemians. "
We saluted. Then Red Harding said,
"It is good news, viscount, but it will
bo strange without you riding and cut
ting between us. "
"True!" I cried; then. "Thank God,
I hnvo more blado than brains!"
When wo reached tho gardens, my
rustic eyes were near to jiojijiing oct at
tight of all the lights and gay costumes.
We passed iuto a magnificent ball, and
while 1 was staring about Harry
plucked nie by thu sleevo. Thero was a
tnll, ruddy man at bis elbow, smiling
broadly.
"Tho king!" whispered Harry.
I dropped on ono knee, flapping lint
in hand.
"Arise, sir," be said, and, when I
wns up, "I hnvo heard much of you
from thu viscount hero."
Then he said some kind words to Red
Hnrding and let us go. We followed
Ilnrry through the brilliant throng liko
hound pup attur their dam in a new
cover.
After parading up threo great rooms
Hurry halted us in front of a young
woman in figuro much liko Marion, but
with brown hair and tho most roguish
green eyes 1 had over seen. Shu was
talking with n tnll cavalier in red and
gray, but looked up with a faint run of
color over her' brow on onr approach.
I nudged Harry, who nodded.
"Ho, hoi" thought I. "So this is onr
lady of tho coach window our future
baroness,
Harry presented us and then excused
himself, and, with tho grizzled lieuten
ant 011 his arm, left me alternately
grinning at tho lady and glaring at thu
cavalier, who almost immediately
bowed and went also. Then tho Lndy
St. Arniind moved over nnd bndo mo
rest on tho snmo seat.
In sjiite of my sword play, my pride
nnd my great talk of thu rights of tho
cadet (which same, in truth, are no
rights at all), 1 wns littlo more than
an unpolished rustic, and this honor
nearly threw 1110 into a fit. Marion had
never asked 1110 to sit beside her 011 tho
south terrace. But the lady was so kind
and fascinating, liko a rare, bright
jewel, that I soon found myself at ease.
Now 1 will get even with Harry nnd
burn his ships behind him, 1 thought
so 1 told her of his littlo story, which
bad been interrupted by tho raid of tbo
lull men
"So tho viscount kises nud tellsl'
sho snid, rni.sing her eyebrows.
"Not always," I answered. "I onco
saw him kiss my mother's maid, but
he didn't tell us about it afterward."
Sho le.jked at me gayly. 1 could sco
at onco Unit sho was jiainfully
harp of
wit
"Yon shock mo, SirCndot
sho cried
in a feigned voice.
"It shocked me, too, nt tho time, or
tho same maid would never let mo kiss
her," I said.
Sho looked demurely at her pointed
shoes.
"What n strango choice," sho mur
mured, "to let thu Viscount Isstens kiss
her when the cadet of thu sanio name
was within calling I"
I know that sho was playing with
her meaning hero and that sho intended
I should know it So I smiled simply
and iLintirked that she would mako
' V '1 Hep: .Wii-,
dropped on one hnre, flopping hnt In
hand.
Isstens a very merry old placo. At this
sho blushed, stared haughtily and
waved nie off, anil upon seeing Harry
coming toward us I backed away.
Later, when Red Harding and I were
stamping about tho guldens, Harry
caino out. nnd pressed my hnnds. j
"Thanks, biother, " ho whispered.
"1 think wo aro quits now." Then ho
laughed merrily, as if his heart had
nothing more to say, nnd left us.
Tho old lieutcnmit scratched his
icnrred cheek. "Alack I" hu cried.
"The viscount and the cadet hnvo ogled
the Indies and been ogled most lovingly
in return, and the Cavalier Red Hard
ing has not won so much as a smile."
"It is safer so. comrade," I replied,
"for a youth is in danger of losing his
head before the smiles of women."
Shortly after midnight wo left the
gay throng, for wo looked to bo well on
the road with our men beforo sunrise
of thu morrow
CHAPTER VI.
Tin: captukk ov tick stkanoi: lady.
The horses wero saddled by lantern
light, and wo wero all mounted before
the dawn At the city gates we joined
threo other gentlemen, each leading
ten horsemen. So together wo made n
stont little squad of VI men and five of
ficers. Our orders wero to ride until
we met Baron Vos.sgotT, who was ex
jiecting at nny hour an attack from the
second Bohemian army. Tho roads were
better than tho ones wo had traveled
before; so wo pounded along right mer
rily. A few miles out we imssed a regi
ment of jiikemen with their officers
mounted on shaggy jinnies. They
cheered ns wo rode by in tho ditch. Be
fore noon we enmo ujion the army,
which lay along tho crest of three low
tills, awaiting tho Bohemians.
After rejiorting to the baron wo sta
tioned our men in a goat jiastnro and
ordered the jireparation of dinner. The
three officers of the private comjianies
wu hart ridden along with came to our
lire. Two of them belonged to great
houses in the went and tho third was a
lowly born, well tehted soldier liko Red
Harding. Whilu we devoured our Spar
tan fare and told of past adventures wo
watched company after company of
borso, foot and artillery creeji along
the road and tako np position to right
nnd left. We were dowu a little from
the main body of the army, with a
thicket of birches in front of us, but
jiresently camo noise of a disturbance
and rumor that onr scouts and out
pickets were riding in, many of them
wounded. Then tho bugles began all
along tho line, fiercest on the hill to
our left, whero most of tho cannon wero
limited.
Red Harding filled n flagon with wine
1 to tho brim and got to his feet.
"My lords, as the olde-t officer in our
circle, with most scars on my body, I
jiledgo the war cup. To onr country
and our king! To tho glory of the
houses we servo and to ourselves!" he
shouted, and, tipping tho cup, drained
it.
1 Nothing about "To tho glory of God
I nnd tho saints." which is but a juior
excusu for blowing out men's brains
and cutting oil' their heads: but wo
lifted ourswerds and sworo to tight liko
loyal men, and thu troopers cheered.
No sooner wero wo in onr saddles
than tho guns of the enemy began to
jiop and our cannon and culverins to
answer. A richly accontered cavalier
rode uji and saluted us. Wo sainted in
I return with drawn swords.
"The general's compliments, nnd bo
begs you to fall in behind Do Audrey's
lancors on tho left of tho princo's
dragoons. "
j Hero was honor, for these wero the
picked horsemen of tho kingdom. Wo
saluted again, and ho rode 011.
I "Though wo aro free companies, nn
! der none but Uod and the king," cried
I, standing in my stirrups, "let us
, mako Viscount Von Brum our colonel
i till tho fight bo over, that wo may
, wheel and chargo with one mind
Tho others agreed, mid on Brum
thanked us and rode to the head of tho
squad.
Wo found Do Audrey's lancers nnd
took np our position without delay.
Thero were so many broad backs and
big spears in front that I could see no
more of tho enemy than if I had been
home at Isr-tens, but hearing them was
nnother matter.
Our 10 fellows wero nrnied with
swords nnd jiistols and a few with car
bines. I had tho baron's horse pistols in
my holsters and my raider in jdaco of
a saber. Red Harding wore his broad
sword nnd cairied a blunderbuss across
his saddle. Ho told mo it was loaded
with !)0 leaden slugs and grinned jdeas
antly "It will kick very hnrd," said I.
"Yes, unless it has changed mightily
in its habits ; but 1 am used to it nnd
will braco my horse beforo I let fly,"
ho answered. Our now commander
looked over his shoslder at tho piece in
bomo concern.
"You will plenso refrain from lotting
it fly into my back, lieutenant, tain j
bo. !
Red Harding chuckled and answered 1
him that it was safe not to go off be
fore tho fourth drop of tho hammer.
1 am nnablu to do justice to a battle,
so 1 will let this one imss witli only a
littlo ink spilling.
Wo charged over the hill, keeping
together as well as wo conld. Tho lan
cers drove nt tho horsemen in front of
them, und it was a long time beforo
wo could get into tho light. When wo
did, Red Harding tiled his old gnu and
blew himself almost over his horse's
tail, lie si rambled forward into his
saddle again, however, and charm d
with tho rest of us. Thero was a great
deal tf sini ke nnd 1 . rr n A 1 .
i 11 rem u .1 i v ' in it 1
down and lenpi 1 1, itov.r tin I
nnd so fmmd th" inein . t ti.
, e
n v
1' 1
of footmen "A had a warm nud in.
time in there, I can tell y.,u A I
captain on a whP'i Urr v njamiM
against me. Hi -v . r 11 r. (i. n
and shortened )o- m .1 t run 1
through, 'in', be did n- t i i-e all .
nnco for my wi :isf j Pit., ol .not. 1.
fioiu the bmi..!I. wiiii nil 1 1 o
llefoie evening toe iihem m-
i
1
broken nttc-iy and running ft ititr .
for the woods. Not many r.
te in
w.
!.
i
hi
litis .
MC S'
Ill- V
nil.
away, for our lii;)it Morse foil
cut them down .-. ni. v fled, el
if it Were as nun Ii sp, . t as th
fox hunting. Win 11 R I Hind
rotinted our men, v f .1
of the 12 who r.le nt 1 1
all tlmm, like out Iv. s, ..in,
wounds. It had . 1 1 . i '
our peasnnt soldier- l t td.
lend on and the ImMi r He
tie thu happier for tle ni 1
t 1
I I
1
1 '
1
the sweat fiom their facts 1 -"Tho
king, the king, nnd
ewoid of I-steus!"
Wo built our fires on the
nnd lay down to rest p, i ,
yawn twice along cune a . r
Hilly attn. 1 and said tl. it
imiy Wmil I pblV the ,e 1 1
I sli'itr
tho J.
Itfl. fn
her -pti i
: It r. i
with tun
villages f.iither on if ? .Id not inter
fere. "I will see to it," I s.
vonred our frugal meal In
then got about 11. id II, r
homes llaart was witl..
I'l We
d-
u. 1
; onr tr
d
'it U SCI Htrh,
tell frr-h
i 1 IT' 1 I
.i road H t
but some of the men In ! t
mounts A- we went , ,
tramp!, d 1, idh tnw.i'.l t I .
Hari'.to,' L't i inhl.'d a -.v.n una
tacbe hi .. n stilkv It iiitnl
"By all the l.eer inn of
what ail- von '" I :i;.. I
r his ni'ii
Germany,
"I h.ie lost iny gan. ..! 1 1 w in thi
name .f heaven arc . t to gi .rl
thc-p .h.'PJj of vill.lgi'I H W .it.it ' ha
muttered.
This ;,fter tho licit f tic fch -all
laughing till the (. .,r- tt 1 , n
na
wn
mid wt.-iied wbito streaks m '.he b. t
and du-t.
Until,,' sir wly nlcn:; t'
' r Men r
under th"
to tb" Li.
I'iv t.tth. 1
I shut
lief, ire ni",
the tll-t
II. 1111c. s.
said vheii
mist my lho.i.;i r- " eet I- 1
-,lish Marion in tl. Ik.
f
lay eys, nnd tli
lovely as 1 had
r" she w 1
- en In r ' m
il.vr, all 1 It
I wond r. I
sho found
d
in -llks uni
1 ir her b" n t
v rses wrh
r 1 up H v
1. H.11 rv u u
And IUmj,
iny p. -t- 11 pt in
her
benutif i! -he
rending those sun
tic
the learned rogue, what Lav. c h rrnit
be making in the hearts of the 1...:
ladies, I thought.
I wns ronsed from my reveries t
lied HardiiiR, who tapped my thth
"What are the lights ahead ' h
nsked.
"I was just wondering," I answer 1
(a l'vm 1,111st lie sometiruc'V "Let 1 3
hpur on and find out
We put our horses to thn sill -r..
whirled down upon a htti w ivsi it.ti
n crowd of soldiers, a 10 .1, servr.n'i
and lanterns.
A young wotr..m was speaking
haughtily from the c.-.i. h window, and
a crowd of rasx'uls were haming to b r
horses' bridles. A tall n 1:1 in cljals
and hat answered her from ho road
"What tho devil doss mean . ' I
asked, riding up to the r, h.
"It means," said the i.idy, "tbnt
these rogues the canntllo of Bohen.11
will not let mo pass. They hnve tali, u
my money, killed my servants, and non
they waut my horses."
I looked at tho men. Thoy were fel
lows from my father's farms an 1
stnblea. I looked at tho man in ti a
cloak. It was Captain Castletree
"I think yon are mietaken. rna
dame," I said, bowing to har. "Txies
are peasants from Isstens, and this ge:.
tlenimi is an English captain."
But in spite of my cool voire I wns
sorely puzzled, having loft them ail
safe nt home.
The lady bit her lijis and withdrew
her bend from the window
"Takeout tho horses. " commanded
the captain, "and set a guard on
coach, hnt no rudeness, men, ir yi
walk up to the hilt i t this sword
Then he nncovif. I t. n e and wiIn
his rare sniila as'.. .1 ire ? 1 , uie n.
It was a .strange tale ts.e cHpt r.n hd
to null Id, of a ines-ai;e li t from to
jien of a fnendlv li rnnn e. tint, stn 1
that a lady of ilejnc v as P' -n 1
through tno country w.tn i 1. tttr ; r
tho king of B'.n-:nr. f".l . t Ins, t . - t
him nt our throats, if a wild cm-.'
and at last this capture within s. iv 1
of tho great ha'tle
"This is the letter," b" said in r, n
elusion, handing nn- a seal, d . r
I lutnrned it to him ' We will t,m
it to tho king, mv dear eaitaio, m I 1
think it is ns sale 111 y.uir I;. . inn.- 1
in mine " Wb-re'it he jmt it 1 .u k
his nreast uad 1 sU his win.
"Wo will t.l.' tMi'idv too,
in h
crash am; vir," 1 add. d
iilaeo tho men n -
"It y.
1 Vi
I
will ride inside witn her nut snip at. 1
see that sho plas no trn .-
"All right, comrade, bo said, and
wo went out to our men
Walking up to thee 1. h, I op -t 1
the door. The lady was s. ited 111 U.e
conn r with her fnco 111 b. r hands.
"Madame,'.' 1 stnni' ' -1, ".win.; ti
circumstances it is my b,ty to i..a
inside and rido with n to Ulatm
burg. "
1 stepped in and closed tho door I
conld hear tho lady b,.ubiug and
through thu window Castletr. e 11 ml
Red HaidiilT snapping out cm it mn.R
PrioeiiUv tho cu.un j lutd, tia ulivrr
A
A plhetnan rem 'i ? m ' ''1 but I ' t
I if 111 e (

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