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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 316 pages of information about The Caged Lion.

’Hoot, my lord! would I let you gang, when the Tutor spak to me as plain as I hear you now?  “Take off Lord Malcolm,” says he; “save him, and you save the rest.  See him safe to the Earl of Mar.”  Those were his words, my lord; and if you wilna heed them, I will.’

’What, and leave my sister to the reivers?  Oh, what may not they be doing to her?  Let us go back and fall on them, Halbert; better die saving her than know her in Walter Stewart’s hands.  Then were I the wretched craven he calls me.’

‘Look you, Lord Malcolm,’ said Halbert, laying his finger on his nose, with a knowing expression, ’my young lady is safe from harm so long as you are out of the Master of Albany’s reach.  Had you come by a canny thrust in the fray, as no doubt was his purpose, or were you in his hands to be mewed in a convent, then were your sister worth the wedding; but the Master will never wed her while you live and have friends to back you, and his father, the Regent, will see she has no ill-usage.  You’ll do best for yourself and her too, as well as Sir David, if you make for Dunbar, and call ben your uncles of Athole and Strathern.—­How now, Rab? are the loons making this way?’

‘Na, na!’ said Rab, descending; ’’tis from the other gate; ’tis a knight in blue damasked steel:  he, methinks, that harboured in our castle some weeks syne.’

‘Hm!’ said Halbert, considering; ’he looked like a trusty cheild:  maybe he’d guide my lord here to a wiser wit, and a good lance on the way to Dunbar is not to be scorned.’

In fact, there would have been no time for one party to conceal themselves from the other; for, hidden by the copsewood, and unheeded by the watchers who were gazing in the opposite direction, Sir James Stewart and his two attendants suddenly came round the foot of Jill’s Knowe upon the fugitives, who were profiting by the interval to loosen the girths of their horses, and water them at the pool under the thicket, whilst Halbert in vain tried to pacify and reason with the young master, who had thrown himself on the grass in an agony of grief and despair.  Sir James, after the first momentary start, recognized the party in an instant, and at once leapt from his horse, exclaiming—­

’How now, my bonnie man—­my kind host—­what is it? what makes this grief?’

‘Do not speak to me, Sir,’ muttered the unhappy boy.  ’They have been reft—­reft from me, and I have done nothing for them.  Walter of Albany has them, and I am here.’

And he gave way to another paroxysm of grief, while Halbert explained to Sir James Stewart that when Sir Patrick Drummond had gone to embark for France, with the army led to the aid of Charles VI. by the Earl of Buchan, his father and cousins, with a large escort, had accompanied him to Eyemouth; whence, after taking leave of him, they had set out to spend Passion-tide and Easter at Coldingham Abbey, after the frequent fashion of the devoutly inclined among the Scottish

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