A blowtube was fastened to three pegs, so that it might not warp, a hunter’s horn hung from another, and on the floor were a number of arrows in various stages of manufacture, some tied to the straightening rod, some with the feathers already attached, and some hardly shaped from the elder or aspen log. A heap of skins filled the third corner, and beside them were numerous stag’s horns, and two of the white cow, but none yet of the much dreaded and much desired white bull. A few peacock’s feathers were there also, rare and difficult to get, and intended for Aurora. Round one footpost of the bed was a long coil of thin hide, a lasso, and on another was suspended an iron cap, or visorless helmet.
There was no sword or lance. Indeed, of all these weapons and implements, none seemed in use, to judge by the dust that had gathered upon them, and the rusted edges, except the bow and crossbow and one of the boar spears. The bed itself was very low, framed of wood, thick and solid; the clothes were of the coarsest linen and wool; there were furs for warmth in winter, but these were not required in May. There was no carpet, nor any substitute for it; the walls were whitewashed, ceiling there was none, the worm-eaten rafters were visible, and the roof tree. But on the table was a large earthenware bowl, full of meadow orchids, blue-bells, and a bunch of may in flower.
His hat, wide in the brim, lay on the floor; his doublet was on the wooden block or seat, with the long tight-fitting trousers, which showed every muscle of the limb, and by them high shoes of tanned but unblacked leather. His short cloak hung on a wooden peg against the door, which was fastened with a broad bolt of oak. The parchment in the recess of the window at which he had been working just before retiring was covered with rough sketches, evidently sections of a design for a ship or galley propelled by oars.
The square spot of light upon the wall slowly moved as the sun rose higher, till the ivory cross was left in shadow, but still the slumberer slept on, heedless, too, of the twittering of the swallows under the eaves, and the call of the cuckoo not far distant.
THE HOUSE OF AQUILA
Presently there came the sound of a creaking axle, which grew louder and louder as the waggon drew nearer, till it approached a shriek. The sleeper moved uneasily, but recognising the noise even in his dreams, did not wake. The horrible sounds stopped; there was the sound of voices, as if two persons, one without and one within the wall, were hailing each other; a gate swung open, and the waggon came past under the very window of the bedroom. Even habit could not enable Felix to entirely withstand so piercing a noise when almost in his ears. He sat up a minute, and glanced at the square of light on the wall to guess the time by its position.