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

‘Any day or any night,’ said James.  ’Since he went I have striven, in vain, to devise some escape for your sister; but Heaven has surely sent you to hinder so foul a wrong!  Yet, if you went to Glenuskie and raised your vassals—­’

‘It would be loss of time,’ said Malcolm; ’and this matter may not be put to the doubtful issue of a fray between my men and his villains.  Out of this place must she go at once.  But, alas! how win to the speech of her?’

‘That can I do,’ said Kennedy.  ’For a few brief moments, each day, have I spoken to her in the chapel.  Nay, I had left this place before now, had she not prayed me to remain as her only friend.’

‘Heaven must requite you, Cousin James,’ said Malcolm, warmly.  ’I deserved not this of you.’

‘All that I desire,’ said Kennedy, ’is to see this land of ours cease to be full of darkness and cruel habitations.  Malcolm, you know the King better than I; may we not trust that he will come as a redresser of wrongs?’

’Know you not his pledge to himself?—­“I will make the key keep the castle, and the bracken bush keep the cow, though I live the life of a dog to bring it about!"’

‘God strengthen his hand,’ said Kennedy, with tears in his eyes; ’and bring better days to our poor land.  Cousin, has not your heart burnt within you, to be doing somewhat to bring these countrymen of ours to better mind?’

‘I have grieved,’ said Malcolm.  ’The sight has been the woe and horror of my whole life; and either it is worse now than when I went away, or I see it clearer.’

‘It is both,’ said Kennedy; ’and, Malcolm, it is borne in on me that we, who have seen better things, have a heavy charge!  The King may punish marauders, and enforce peace; but it will be but the rule of the strong hand, unless men’s hearts be moved!  Our clergy—­they bear the office of priests—­but their fierceness and their ignorance would scarce be believed in France or England; and how should it be otherwise, with no schools at home save the abbeys—­and the abbeys almost all fortresses held by fierce noblemen’s sons?’

Malcolm would much rather have discussed the means of rescuing his sister, but James Kennedy’s heart was full of a youth’s ardent plans for the re-awakening of religion in his country, chiefly through the improved education of the clergy, and it was not easy to bring his discourse to a close.

‘You—­you were to wed a great Flemish heiress?’ he said.  ’You will do your part, Cousin, in the founding of a University—­such as has changed ourselves so greatly.’

Malcolm smiled.  ‘My only bride is learning,’ he said; ’my other betrothal is but in name, for the safety of the lady.’

‘Then,’ cried Kennedy joyfully, ’you will give yourself.  Learning and culture turned to God’s service, for this poor country’s sake, in one of birth like you, may change her indeed.’

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