The Lances of Lynwood eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 213 pages of information about The Lances of Lynwood.
dens that served them as sleeping rooms, where many a curse was uttered on the watchfulness of the wizard Knight.  At the turn of midnight, Le Borgne Basque crept forth, in some hope that there might be an opportunity of fulfilling his designs, and earning the reward promised him both by Clarenham and the French.  But he had not descended far before a red gleam of torchlight was seen on the dark stairs, and, ere he could retreat, the black head and dark eyes of Gaston appeared, glancing with mischievous amusement, as he said, in his gay voice, “You are on the alert, my old comrade.  You have not forgotten your former habits when in command here.  But Sir Eustace intrusts the care of changing the guard to none but me; so I will not trouble you to disturb yourself another night.”  And the baffled miscreant retreated.

In this manner passed day after day, in a tacit yet perpetual war between the Knight and the garrison.  Not a step could be taken, scarce a word spoken, without some instant reminder that either Sir Eustace or Gaston was on the watch.  On the borders of the enemy’s country, there was so much reason for vigilance, that the garrison could not reasonably complain of the services required of them; the perpetual watch, and numerous guards; the occupations which Knight and Squire seemed never weary of devising for the purpose of keeping them separate, and their instant prohibition of any attempt at the riotous festivity which was their only consolation for the want of active exercises.  They grew heartily weary, and fiercely impatient of restraint, and though the firm, calm, steady strictness of the Knight was far preferable to the rude familiarity and furious passions of many a Castellane, there were many of the men-at-arms who, though not actually engaged in the conspiracy, were impatient of what they called his haughtiness and rigidity.  These men were mercenaries from different parts of France, accustomed to a lawless life, and caring little or nothing whatever whether it were beneath the standard of King Charles or King Edward that they acquired pay and plunder.  The Englishmen were, of course, devoted to their King and Prince, and though at times unruly, were completely to be depended upon.  Yet, while owning Sir Eustace to be a brave, gallant, and kind-hearted Knight, there were times when even they felt a shudder of dread and almost of hatred pass over them, when tales were told of the supernatural powers he was supposed to possess; when Leonard Ashton’s adventure with the cats was narrated, or the story of his sudden arrival at Lynwood Keep on the night before the lady’s funeral.  His own immediate attendants might repel the charge with honest indignation, but many a stout warrior slunk off in terror to bed from the sight of Sir Eustace, turning the pages of one of his heavy books by the light of the hall fire, and saw in each poor bat that flitted about within the damp depths of the vaulted chambers the familiar spirit which brought him exact intelligence of all that passed at Bordeaux, at Paris, or in London.  Nay, if he only turned his eyes on the ground, he was thought to be looking for the twisting straws.

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The Lances of Lynwood from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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