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hand, placed it in rest with its point half elevated, gathered up the reins in the left, waked his horse's mettle with the spur, and prepared to encounter the stranger with the calm self-confidence belonging to the victor in many contests.
The Saracen came on at the speedy gallop of an Arab horseman, managing his steed more by his limbs, and the inflection of his body, than by any use of the reins, which hung loose in his left hand ; so that he was enabled to wield the light round buckler of the skin of the rhinoceros, ornamented with silver loops, which he wore on his arm, swinging it as if he meant to oppose its slender circle to the formidable thrust of the western lance. His own long spear was not couched or levelled like that of his antagonist, but grasped by the middle with his right hand, and brandished at arm's length above his head. As the cavalier approached his enemy at full career, he seemed to expect that the Knight of the Leopard would put his horse to the gallop to encounter him.
But the Christian knight, well acquainted with the customs of Eastern warriors, did not mean to exhaust his good horse by any unnecessary exertion; and, on the contrary, made a dead halt, confident that if the enemy advanced to the actual shock, his own weight, and that of his powerful charger, would give him sufficient advantage, without the additional momentum of rapid motion. Equally sensible and apprehensive of such a probable result, the Saracen cavalier, when he had approached towards the Christian within twice the length of his lance, wheeled his steed to the left with inimitable dexterity, and rode twice around his antagonist, who, turning without quitting his ground, and presenting his front constantly to his enemy, frustrated his attempts to attack him on an unguarded point; so that the Saracen, wheeling his horse, was fain to retreat to the distance of a hundred yards.
A second time, like a hawk attacking a heron, the heathen renewed the charge, and a second time was fain to retreat without coming to a close struggle. A third time he approached in the same manner, when the Christian knight, desirous to terminate this illusory warfare, in which he might at length have been worn out by the activity of his foeman, suddenly seized the mace which hung at his saddle bow, and, with a strong hand and unerring aim, hurled it against the head of the emir; for such, and not less, his enemy appeared. The Saracen was just aware of the formidable missile in time to interpose his light buckler betwixt the mace and his head ; but the violence of the blow forced the buckler down on his turban, and though that defence also contributed to deaden its viclence, the Saracen was beaten from his horse. Ere the Christian could avail himself of this mishap, his nimble foeman sprang from the ground, and, calling on his steed, which instantly returned to his side, he leaped into his seat without touching the stirrup, and regained all the advantage of which the Knight of the Leopard hoped to deprive him.
But the latter had in the mean while recovered his mace, and the Eastern cavalier, who remembered the strength and dexterity with which his antagonist had aimed it, seemed to keep cautiously out of reach of that weapon, of which he had 80 lately felt the force; while he showed his purpose of waging a distant warfare with missile weapons of his own. Planting his long spear in the sand at a distance from the scene of combat, he strung with great address a short bow, which he carried at his back, and putting his horse to the gallop, once more described two or three circles of a wider extent than formerly, in the course of which he discharged six arrows at the Christian with such unerring skill, that the goodness of his harness alone saved him from being wounded in as many places. The seventh shaft apparently found a less perfect part of the armor, and the Christian dropped heavily from his horse.
But what was the surprise of the Saracen, when, dismounting to examine the condition of his prostrate enemy, he found himself suddenly within the grasp of the European, who had had recourse to this artifice to bring his enemy within his reach. Even in this deadly grapple, the Saracen was saved by his agility and presence of mind. He unloosed the sword belt, ard;
in which the Knight of the Leopard had fixed his hold, cm thus eluding his fatal grasp, mounted his horse, which seemed to watch his motions with the intelligence of a human being, and again rode off. But in the last encounter the Saracen had lost his sword and his quiver of arrows, both of which were attached to the girdle, which he was obliged to abandon. He had also lost his turban in the struggle. These disadvantages seemed to incline the Moslem to a truce: he approached the Christian with his right hand extended, but no longer in a menacing attitude.
“ There is truce betwixt our nations,” he said, in the lingua franca commonly used for the purpose
of communication with the crusaders ; “wherefore should there be war betwixt thee and me? Let there be peace betwixt us.” “ I am well contented,” answered he of the Couchant Leop
“ but what security dost thou offer that thou wilt observe the truce ?”
« The word of a follower of the Prophet was never broken,” answered the emir. “ It is thou, brave Nazarine, from whom I should demand security, did I not know that treason seldom dwells with courage.”
The crusader felt that the confidence of the Moslem made him ashamed of his own doubts.
By the cross of my sword,” he said, laying his hand on the weapon as he spoke, “I will be true companion to thee, Saracen, while our fortune wills that we remain in company together.”
“ By Mohammed, Prophet of God, and by Allah, God of the Prophet,” replied his late foeman, “there is not treachery in my heart towards thee. And now wend we to yonder fountain, for the hour of rest is at hand, and the stream had hardly touched my lip when I was called to battle by thy approach."
The Knight of the Couchant Leopard yielded a ready and courteous assent; and the late foes, without an angry look or gesture of doubt, rode side by side to the little cluster of palm trees.
XXXIX. — THE LAST DAYS OF SIR WALTER SCOTT.
[The Life of Scott by his son-in-law, John Gibson LOCKHART, is one of the most de lightful books in the language; in all parts full of interest, which becomes of a molancholy cast towards the close. Lockhart was a man of brilliant literary powers. Ho wrote Valerius, Matthew Wald, Adam Blair, and Reginald Dalton, all novels; Peter's Letters, a series of sketches of Scotch society and of eminent men in Scotland; and a volume of translations from the Spanish ballads. He was also a frequent contributor to the earlier numbers of Blackwood's Magazine. He died in 1854. He had been for many years editor of the Quarterly Review.
In consequence of Sir Walter Scott's declining health, he had passed the winter of 1831-2 in Italy; but with very little benefit. In June, 1832, while on his way home, he had an attack of apoplectic paralysis, from which he nover rallied. On the 9th of July he reached Edinburgh, in a state of almost entire insensibility. The extract begins with his removal to his own house at Abbotsford. Abbotsford is about forty miles southeast of Edinburgh, on the Tweed. The Gala flows into the Tweed near by.]
At a very early hour on the morning of Wednesday, the 11th, we again placed him in his carriage, and he lay in the same torpid state during the first two stages on the road to Tweedside. But as we ascended the vale of the Gala he began to gaze about him, and by degrees it was obvious that he was recognizing the features of that familiar landscape. Presently he murmured a name or two—“Gala Water, surely
- Buckholm - Torwoodlee.” * As we rounded the hill at Ladhope, and the outlines of the Eildons burst on him, he became greatly excited; and when, turning himself on the couch, his eye caught at length his own towers, at the distance of a mile, he sprang up with a cry of delight. The river being in a flood, we had to go round a few miles by Melrose bridge ; and during the time this occupied, his woods and house being within prospect, it required oocasionally both Dr. Watson's strength and mine, in addition to Nicolson's, t to keep him in the carriage. After passing the bridge, the road for a couple of miles loses sight of Abbotsford, and he relapsed into his
• Torwoodlee is a country seat near Abbotsford. Buckholm is an old tower.
+ Nicolson was Sir Walter Scott's servant.
stupor; but on gaining the bank immediatcly above it, his excitement became ungovernable.
Mr. Laidlaw * was waiting at the porch, and assisted us in lifting him into the dining room, where his bed had been prepared. He sat bewildered for a few moments, and then resting his eye on Laidlaw, said, “Ha, Willie Laidlaw! O man, how often have I thought of you!” By this time his dogs had assembled about his chair; they began to fawn upon him and lick his hands, and he alternately sobbed and smiled over them, until sleep oppressed him.
Dr. Watson, having consulted on all things with Mr. Clarkson † and his father, resigned the patient to them, and returned to London. None of them could have any hope, but that of soothing irritation. Recovery was no longer to be thought of. And yet something like a ray of hope did break in upon us next morning. Sir Walter awoke perfectly conscious where he was, and expressed an ardent wish to be carried out into his garden. We procured a Bath chair from Huntly Burn, # and Laidlaw and I wheeled him out before his door, and up and down for some time on the turf, and among the rose beds, then in full bloom. The grandchildren admired the new vehicle, and would be helping in their way to push it about. He sat in silence, smiling placidly on them and the dogs their companions, and now and then admiring the house, the screen of the garden, and the flowers and trees. By and by he conversed a little, very composedly, with us; said he was happy to be at home; that he felt better than he had ever done since he left it, and would perhaps disappoint the doctors, after all.
He then desired to be wheeled through his rooms, and we moved him leisurely for an hour or more up and down the hall and the great library. “I have seen much,” he kept saying,
* Mr. Laidlaw, a worthy and intelligent man, to whom Scott was much attached, was the manager of his estate.
+ Mr. Clarkson was a surgeon.
| Huntly Burn is a cottage on the estate of Abbotsford, then occupied by Sir Adam Ferguson, a friend of Scott's.