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Full of his deceptive mission, De Lyon one evening took his thoughtful yet solitary way along the gloomy corridors of the Castle, and having reached the Armoury Tower, the favourite resort of the Lindsay, he gently knocked for admission. The ponderous door was instantly opened by Sir James who courteously greeted his unexpected visitor.

"Thou oughtst to have been an Abbot, Sir James," said Lyon, playfully, "delighting thus in monkish solitude. The gloomy cloisters of a monastery would be a more appropriate residence for thee than the stately halls of a royal palace. Is not the bracing mountain air more lusciously sweet than the tainted atmosphere of courtly boudoirs, where royal dames, held captive, can only sigh, and mourn, and weep, protesting by their tears against such monastic surveillance?"

"What means this jesting, John de Lyon? Knowest thou not the difference in rank there is between us? While thou art but an obscure scion of an obscure house, the blue blood of royalty flows in my veins. The King is my kinsman, and as yestreen I mingled in the gay and brilliant assembly in the banquet hall, I knew the Princesses were my near relations-my cousins, if thou wouldst have the truth told thee again to remind thee of thy inferior rank."

The proud, disdainful manner of Lindsay, and the haughty, scornful tone in which these words were uttered, brought the blood to Lyon's cheek, and sunk deep into his heart-the first feeling called up in his soul being that of resentment for the undeserved, contemptuous insult. This feeling, however, speedily vanished when he remembered Ladye Jean; and, earnestly intent on his unsuspected mission, he broke the ominous silence thus

""Tis of the Princesses I would speak with thee. Nay, brave Lindsay, be not uncourteous even to thy inferior in rank, and listen calmly to what I have to reveal."

"Reveal? Then at thy peril keep nothing back. Thou to have anything to reveal in regard to the Princesses is, indeed,

to me a mystery. Proceed, Lyon; I am all impatient to hear thy pretended revelation."

"Yes, Sir James, it is of thy royal cousins I would speak," De Lyon boldly replied. "The surveillance which the Queen. so strictly exercises over the Princesses must have been noticed and deplored by one so deeply interested in their welfare and happiness as the brave Lindsay, from whose society they are even debarred, as well as from that of all frequenters of the Court. So strict, you must be aware, is their captive seclusion, that not the smallest courtesy can be paid to them by any about the Court."

"What purpose, Lyon, hast thou in view?" emphatically interrupted the Lindsay.

"That the royal dames should have more liberty, and not thus pine in solitary seclusion, like sisters of mercy in a sainted nunnery," Lyon quickly replied. "The Princesses are young, and should not youthful hearts be gay? Instead of this forced seclusion from the outer world, why should not they be free as the mountain winds to roam, wherever they may list, in all the joyous ecstacy of the hey-day of their existence? Thou art their kinsman; to the King make this petition :-"The Princesses are unhappy, sire, in the strict seclusion in which they are kept in their palace home—their wish is to have more freedom of access to the world without. Grant them graciously, my King, their heart's desire, to roam at will among these royal halls, and over the sunny slopes and breezy hills of this fair region of romance and song, and thus bring health, and strength, and gladness to their grateful, loving hearts."

De Lyon had struck a kindred chord in the unsuspecting heart of his unknown rival, who, throwing off his partly assumed haughtiness of manner, very courteously and kindly replied

"What assurance hast thou, Lyon, that Ladye Jean-I the princesses, my cousins, themselves desire this


liberty? Art thou their trusty confidant in such matters?— did they express their wishes secretly to thee?"

Without noticing the deep searching glance of Lindsay's eye as he eagerly made the important inquiry, and pursuing the advantage he had gained, the page, half-confusedly, halfblushingly, replied

"I am not the confidant of the Princesses, brave Lindsay, in this or in any other matter; but I can truthfully penetrate their thoughts, and, without any communication with them personally, can prophetically express their wishes. To the King, Lindsay-his Majesty will doubtless most willingly listen to thy plaint, and graciously grant the prayer of thy petition."

"I faithfully promise, De Lyon," warmly replied Sir James, whose lynx eyes failed to detect aught of deceit or treachery, "and I feel that His Majesty's love for the happiness of his children will constrain him to grant the coveted boon."

The page, overjoyed and proud he had played his first desperate card in the game so well, with ill-suppressed gaiety most obsequiously proffered his respectful thanks for the courtesy extended to him by the now mollified and gracious Lindsay.

They parted--both firmly resolved to push unremittingly their suit with Ladye Jean!

His heart and interest being in the matter, Sir James most faithfully, and with a right good will, kept his promise to Lyon, and embraced the first opportunity to lay his petition before the King; and so well and powerfully did he plead their cause, that His Majesty, to the great joy of his kinsman, most graciously agreed that the Princesses should be at once freed from their bondage, and allowed to roam wherever they listed, taking blame at the sametime to himself for having so long allowed the Queen to keep his daughters in the durance vile of a convent cell.

This was just what Lyon in his inmost heart desired, and as his duties as domestic page brought him oftener into the

presence of the royal dames than Lindsay, he had determined. within himself that he would take advantage of every opportunity to prosecute his suit with Ladye Jean. In the fond dreamings of youthful passion there is infinitely more conveyed by the glance of the eye or the pressure of the hand than in all the formal declarations of mutual feeling, however impassioned or sincere; or in all the heaven-registered vows of unalterable affection and undying love in which the doubtful and mistrustful so fatally indulge. Lyon therefore knew, before any formal declaration of his love had been made to Ladye Jean, that his passion was reciprocated by the Princess, but he still anxiously waited for a fitting opportunity to receive her willing assent to his suit.

Ladye Jean was alone one evening in her favourite boudoir, to which De Lyon stealthily repaired, and on bended knee made the customary obeisance. He slowly raised his eyes to those of the Princess, and felt that his passionate love was read and returned. One moment more and they were fervently locked in each other's embrace, avowing their mutual love, and declaring unalterable constancy and fidelity in whatever circumstances might intervene before the full fruition of their hopes.

Strange as it may seem, however, no sooner was the conquest gained than dark foreboding fears usurped the cruel mastery in De Lyon's mind; for how could he, an obscure page, successfully aspire to the hand of a Princess, and willingly be allowed to wed the favourite child of a proud and royal race? True, inter-marriages had frequently taken place between sons and daughters of Scottish Kings and the representatives of ancient and powerful families, but John De Lyon had neither houses nor lands, not even a rood of ground he could call his own.

The arrival at this juncture, however, of a polished stranger from the Court of France gave a new and darker current to the thoughts of the sorrowful page. This courtier was none other than the brave Sir Maurice De Charollés, famous as well

for his conquests amongst the fair as for his prodigies of valour in the field of battle. His stately person, courtly mien, and high intellectual attainments made him a general favourite with all, but especially so with the Princesses and ladyes of the Court. At the stirring chase, as well as in the banquet hall, he was equally successful by his refined and captivating manner in winning the good graces of the fair. Then, at evening's witching hour, when the ladyes assembled in their tapestry-adorned boudoirs, would the practised and polished Frenchman sing to the accompaniment of the harp the stirring songs of love and chivalry

While bosoms heaved the stifled sigh,

And ladyes drooped the languid eye.

And none seemed so charmed with his presence and courtly demeanour, and to none, apparently, did he devote so much of his fascinating attentions as-Ladye Jean!

All the movements of the gallant cavalier had been closely watched by Lyon, as well as those of his ladye-love, but just as his feelings of jealousy had assumed the determination to seek an interview with Ladye Jean on the subject, the announcement was made in the palace that previous to the departure of the French knight he had desired to paint not only the portraits of all the Princesses, but to take them with him to the French Court. This openly avowed intention of De Charollés confirmed the page's suspicions, and intensified his fears lest, under this device, he might the more securely carry out his covert design to spirit off the Ladye Jean herself to France.

Exasperated by the apparent artful stratagems of the gallant knight, and writhing under the pangs of almost hopeless despair, he sought in haste his ladye-love, and-in wild and passionate language poured into her ear his tale of jealous rivalry and gloomy, dark forebodings as to their future destiny. The Princess-ignorant of any intrigue or deceit on her part-in wild amazement confidingly exclaimed

"Is there no hope, De Lyon-no hope?"

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