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who explored with him the wonders and beauties of Abbotsford, listening meanwhile to his humorous stories. At such times, with his clear, wide-open blue eyes, and his pleasant smile lighting his somewhat heavy features, he would have been called a handsome man. Of all who came to the home at Abbotsford, none were more glady received than the children of the tenants who lived in the little homes on the estate. Each year, on the last morning in December, it was customary for them to pay a visit of respect to the laird, and though they may not have known it, he found more pleasure in this simple ceremony than in all the others of the Christmas season.
To these gentler qualities of his nature was joined not a little of the hardihood of the Scotch heroes whose lives he has celebrated. The same "high spirit with which, in younger days," he has written, "I used to enjoy a Tam-o'-Shanter ride through darkness, wind and rain, the boughs groaning and cracking over my head, the good horse free to the road and impatient for home, and feeling the weather as little as I did," was that which bore him bravely through misfortune and gave him the splendid courage with which in his last years he faced the ruin of his fortune. With an influence as strong and wholesome as that of his works as a writer, remains the example of his loyal, industrious life.
By Sib Walter Scott
Note.—Scott's Ivanhoe, from which this account of The Tournament is taken, belongs to the class of books known as historical novels. Such a book does not necessarily have as the center of its plot an historical incident, nor does it necessarily have an historical character as hero or heroine; it docs, however, introduce historic scenes or historic people, or both. In Ivanh-oe, the events of which take place in England in the twelfth century, during the reign of Richard I, both the king and his brother John appear, though they are by no means the chief characters. The great movements known as the Crusades, while they are frequently mentioned and give a sort of an atmosphere to the book, do not influence the plot directly.
Ivanhoe does much more, however, than introduce us casually to Richard and John ; it gives us a striking picture of customs and manners in the twelfth century. The story is not made to halt for long descriptions, but the events themselves and their settings are so brought before us that we have much clearer pictures of them than hours of reading in histories and encyclopedias could give us. This account of a tournament, for instance, while it lets us see all the gorgeousness that was a part of such pageants, docs not fail to give us also the cruel, brutal side.
HE poor as well as the rich, the vulgar
as well as the noble, in the event of a tournament, which was the grand spectacle of that age, felt as much interested as the half-starved citizen of Madrid, who has not a real left to buy provisions for his family, feels in the issue of a bull-fight. Neither duty nor infirmity could keep youth or age from such exhibitions. The passage of arms, as it was called, which was to take place at Ashby, in the county of Leicester, as champions of the first renown were to take the field in the presence of Prince John himself, who was expected to grace the lists, had attracted universal attention, and an immense confluence of persons of all ranks hastened upon the appointed morning to the place of combat.
The scene was singularly romantic. On the verge of a wood near Ashby, was an extensive meadow of the finest and most beautiful green turf, surrounded on one side by the forest, and fringed on the other by straggling oak trees, some of which had grown to an immense size. The ground, as if fashioned on purpose for the martial display which was intended, sloped gradually down on all sides to a level bottom, which was enclosed for the lists with strong palisades, forming a space of a quarter of a mile in length, and about half as broad. The form of the enclosure was an oblong square, save that the corners were considerably rounded off, in order to afford more convenience for the spectators. The openings for the entry of the combatants were at the northern and southern extremities of the lists, accessible by strong wooden gates, each wide enough to admit two horsemen riding abreast. At each of these portals were stationed two heralds, attended by six trumpets, as many pursuivants,1 and a strong body of men-at-arms, for maintaining order, and ascertaining the quality of the knights who proposed to engage in this martial game.
1. A pursuivant was an attendant on a herald.
On a platform beyond the southern entrance, formed by a natural elevation of the ground, were pitched five magnificent pavilions, adorned with pennons of russet and black, the chosen colors of the five knights challengers. The cords of the tents were of the same color. Before each pavilion was suspended the shield of the knight by whom it was occupied, and beside it stood his squire, quaintly disguised as a salvage2 or silvan man, or in some other fantastic dress, according to the taste of his master and the character he was pleased to assume during the game. The central pavilion, as the place of honor, had been assigned to Brian de Bois-Guilbert, whose renown in all games of chivalry, no less than his connection with the knights who had undertaken this passage of arms, had occasioned him to be eagerly received into the company of challengers, and even adopted as their chief and leader, though he had so recently joined them. On one side of his tent were pitched those of Reginald Front-de-Boeuf and Richard (Philip) de Malvoisin, and on the other was the pavilion of Hugh de Grantmesnil, a noble baron in the vicinity, whose ancestor had been Lord High Steward of England in the time of the Conqueror and his son William Rufus. Ralph de Vipont, a knight of Saint John of Jerusalem, who had some ancient possessions at a place called Heather, near Ashby-de-la-Zouche, occupied the fifth pavilion.
From the entrance into the lists a gently sloping passage, ten yards in breadth, led up to the platform on which the tents were pitched. It was strongly secured by a palisade on each side, as was the esplanade in front of the pavilions, and the whole was guarded by men-at-arms.
2. Salvage is an old form of the word savage.
The northern access to the lists terminated in a similar entrance of thirty feet in breadth, at the extremity of which was a large enclosed space for such knights as might be disposed to enter the lists
with the challengers, behind which were placed tents containing refreshments of every kind for their accommodation, with armorers, farriers, and other attendants, in readiness to give their services wherever they might be necessary.
The exterior of the lists was in part occupied by temporary galleries, spread with tapestries and carpets, and accommodated with cushions for the convenience of those ladies and nobles who were expect