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CHAPTER I. THE TWIN EAGLETS. Autumn was upon the world -- the warm and gorgeous autumn of the south -- autumn that turned the leaves upon the trees to every hue of russet, scarlet, and gold, that transformed the dark solemn aisles of the trackless forests of Gascony into what might well have been palaces of fairy beauty, and covered the ground with a thick and soundless carpet of almost every hue of the rainbow. The sun still retained much of... more...

CHAPTER I. AN ONLY SON. Good Squire Tufton of Gablehurst lay dying. He had been ailing for many months, knowing his end to be near; and yet, as is so often the case in lingering declines, death was long in coming, so that those about him had grown used to the sight of the strong figure wasted to a shadow, and the face shadowed by the wings of the hovering messenger. Some members of the household, indeed, had begun to cherish the hope that the... more...

CHAPTER I. A WARNING WHISPER. "I don't believe a word of it!" cried the Master Builder, with some heat of manner. "It is just an old scare, the like of which I have heard a hundred times ere now. Some poor wretch dies of the sweating sickness, or, at worst, of the spotted fever, and in a moment all men's mouths are full of the plague! I don't believe a word of it!" "Heaven send you may be right, good friend," quoth Rachel Harmer, as she sat... more...

Chapter I: A Mysterious Visitor. The great house at Chad was wrapped in sleep. The brilliant beams of a June moon illuminated the fine pile of gray masonry with a strong white light. Every castellated turret and twisted chimney stood out in bold relief from the heavy background of the pine wood behind, and the great courtyard lay white and still, lined by a dark rim of ebon shadow. Chad, without being exactly a baronial hall of the first... more...

Chapter 1: The Inmates Of The Old Gate House. "Dost defy me to my face, sirrah?" "I have no desire to defy you, father, but--" "But me no 'buts,' and father me no 'fathers,'" stormed the angry old man, probably quite unconscious of the Shakespearian smack of his phrase; "I am no father to heretic spawn--a plague and a curse be on all such! Go to, thou wicked and deceitful boy; thou wilt one day bitterly rue thy evil practices. Thinkest thou... more...


CHAPTER I. DYNEVOR CASTLE. "La-ha-hoo! la-ha-hoo!" Far down the widening valley, and up the wild, picturesque ravine, rang the strange but not unmusical call. It awoke the slumbering echoes of the still place, and a hundred voices seemed to take up the cry, and pass it on as from mouth to mouth. But the boy's quick ears were not to be deceived by the mocking voices of the spirits of solitude, and presently the call rang out again with greater... more...

Chapter 1: A Brush With The Robbers. "Help--help--help!" This cry, growing feebler at each repetition, was borne by the evening breeze to the ears of a traveller who was picking his way along the dark mazes of Epping Forest one cool, fresh October day. Instinctively he drew rein and listened, laying his band unconsciously upon the hilt of his poniard. "A woman's voice," he said half aloud, as he spurred more rapidly onward in the direction... more...

Chapter 1: A Western Settler. Humphrey Angell came swinging along through the silent aisles of the vast primeval forest, his gun in the hollow of his arm, a heavy bag of venison meat hanging from his shoulders. A strange, wild figure, in the midst of a strange, wild scene: his clothes, originally of some homespun cloth, now patched so freely with dressed deerskin as to leave little of the original material; moccasins on his feet, a beaver cap... more...

Chapter I: The House by the Bridge. "Holy Church has never forbidden it," said John Clarke, with a very intent look upon his thoughtful, scholar's face. A young man who stood with his elbow on the mantelshelf, his eye fixed eagerly on the speaker's face, here broke in with a quick impetuosity of manner, which seemed in keeping with his restless, mobile features, his flashing dark eyes, and the nervous motion of his hands, which were never still... more...

CHAPTER I. HOW I FIRST HEARD OF THE MAID. "The age of Chivalry--alas!--is dead. The days of miracles are past and gone! What future is there for hapless France? She lies in the dust. How can she hope to rise?" Sir Guy de Laval looked full in our faces as he spoke these words, and what could one reply? Ah me!--those were sad and sorrowful days for France--and for those who thought upon the bygone glories of the past, when she was mistress of... more...