Arter having «nce accepted Master Gottfried, Ebbo iroze towards him and Dame Johanna no more, save that a naturally imperious temper now and then led to fitful stiffmesses and mo- mentary haughtinesses, which were easily excused in one so new to the world and afraid of compromising his rank. In general he could afford to enjoy himself with a zest as hearty as that of the simpler-minded Friedel.

They were early afoot, but not before the heads of the household were pouring forth for the morning devotions at the cathedral ; and the streets were stirring into activity, and becoming so peopled that the boys supposed that it was a great fair day. They had never seen so many people together except at the Friedmund-wake, and it was several days before they ceased to exclaim at every passenger as a new curiosity.

The Dome Kirk” awed and hushed them. They had looked to it so long that perhaps no sublunary thing could have realized their expectations, and Friedel avowed that he did not know what he thought of it. It was not such as he had dreamt, and, like a German as he was, he added that he could not think, he could only feel, that there was something ineffable in it; yet he was

No, 71.—vo., xi,

almost disappointed to find his visions unfulfilled, and the hues of the painted glass less pure and translucent than those of the ice crystals on the moun- tains. However, after his eye had become trained, the deep influence of its dim solemn majesty, and of the echoes of its organ tones and chants of high praise or earnest prayer, began to enchain his spirit ; and, if ever he were missing, he was sure to be found among the mys- teries of the cathedral aisles, generally with Ebbo, who felt the spell of the same grave fascination, since whatever was true of the one brother was gene- rally true of the other. They were essentially alike, though some phases of character and taste were more developed in the one or the other.

Master Gottfried was much edified by their perfect knowledge of the names and numbers of his books. They in- stantly, almost resentfully, missed the Cicero’s Offices that he had parted with, and joyfully hailed his new acquisitions, often sitting with heads together oyer the same book, reading like active-minded youths who were used to out-of-door life and exercise in superabundant measure, and to study as a valued recreation, with only food enough for the intellect to awaken instead of satisfying it.

They were delighted to obtain instruc- tion from a travelling student, then attending the schools of Ulm—a meek timid lad who, for love of learning and



desire of the priesthood, had endured frightful tyranny from the Bacchanten or elder scholars, and, having at length attained that rank, had so little heart to retaliate on the juniors that his contem- poraries despised him, and led him a cruel life, until he obtained food and shelter from Master Gottfried at the pleasant cost of lessons to the young barons. Poor Bastien! this land of quiet, civility and books was a foretaste of Paradise to him after the hard living, barbarity, and coarse vices of his com- trades, of whom he now and then dis- closed traits that made his present pupils long to give battle to the big shaggy youths who used to send out the lesser lads to beg and steal for them, and cru- elly maltreated such as failed in the quest.

Lessons in music and singing were gladly accepted by both lads, and from their uncle’s carving they could not keep their hands. Ebbo had begun by enjoining Friedel to remember that the work that had been sport in the moun- tains would be basely mechanical in the city, and Friedel as usual yielded his private tastes; but on the second day Ebbo himself was discovered in the workshop, watching the magic touch of the deft workman, and he was soon so enticed by the perfect appliances as to take tool in hand and prove himself not unadroit in the craft. Friedel, however, excelled in delicacy of touch and grace and originality of conception, and pro- duced such workmanship that Master Gottfried could not help stroking his hair and telling him it was a pity he was not born to belong to the guild.

“‘T cannot spare him, sir,” cried Ebbo ; priest, scholar, minstrel, artist —all want him.”

What, Hans of all streets, Ebbo?” interrupted Friedel.

Andguildmaster of none,” said Ebbo, save asa warrior ; the rest only enough for a gentleman! For what I am thou must be !”

Yet Ebbo did not find fault with the skill Friedel was bestowing on his work —a carving in wood of a dove brooding over two young eagles—the device that

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest.

both were resolved to assume. When their mother asked what their lady-loves would say to this, Ebbo looked up and with the fullest conviction in his lus- trous eyes declared that no love should ever rival his motherling in his heart. For truly her tender sweetness had given her sons’ affection a touch of romance, for which Master Gottfried liked them the better, though his wife thought their familiarity with her hardly accordant with the patriarchal disci- pline of the citizens.

The youths held aloof from these burghers, for Master Gottfried wisely desired to give them time to be tamed before running risk of offence, either to or by their wild shy pride ; and their mother contrived to time their meetings with her old companions when her sons were otherwise occupied. Master Gott- fried made it known that the marriage portion he had designed for his niece had been entrusted to a merchant trading in peltry to Muscovy, and the sum thus realized was larger than any bride had yet brought to Adlerstein. Master Gottfried would have liked to continue the same profitable speculations with it ; but this would have been beyond the young baron’s endurance, and his eyes sparkled when his mother spoke of repairing the castle, refitting the chapel, having a resident chaplain, cultivating more land, increasing the scanty stock of cattle, and attempting the improve- ments hitherto prevented by lack of means. He fervently declared that the motherling was more than equal to the wise spinning Queen Bertha of legend and lay ; and the first pleasant sense of wealth came in the acquisition of horses, weapons, and braveries. In his original mood, Ebbo would rather have stood before the Diet in his home-spun blue than have figured in cloth of gold ata burgher’s expense ; but he had learned to love his uncle, he regarded the mar- riage portion as family property, and moreover, he sorely longed to feel him- self and his brother well mounted, and scarcely less to see his mother in a velvet gown.

Here was his chief point of sympathy

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest.

with the housemother, who, herself pre- cluded from wearing miniver, velvet, or pearls, longed to deck her niece there- with, in time to receive Sir Kasimir of Adlerstein Wildschloss, who had pro- mised to meet his godsons at Ulm. The knight’s marriage had lasted only a few years, and had left him no surviving children except one little daughter, whom he had placed in a nunnery at Ulm, under the care of her mother’s sister. His lands lay higher up the Danube, and he was expected at Ulm shortly before the Emperor’s arrival. He had been chiefly in Flanders with the King of the Romans, and had only returned to Germany when the Nether- landers had refused the regency of Maximilian, and driven him out of their country, depriving him of the custody of his children.

Pfingsttag, or Pentecost day, was the occasion of Christina’s first full toilette, and never was bride more solicitously or exultingly arrayed than she, while one boy held the mirror and the other criticised and admired as the aunt adjusted the pearl-bordered coif and leng white veil floating over the long- desired black velvet dress. How the two lads admired and gazed, caring far less for their own new and noble attire ! Friedel was indeed somewhat concerned that the sword by his side was so much handsomer than that which Ebbo wore, and which, for all its dinted scabbard and battered hilt, he was resolved never to discard.

It was a festival of brilliant joy. Wreaths of flowers hung from the win- dows ; rich tapestries decked the Dome Kirk, and the relics were displayed in shrines of wonderful costliness of mate- rial and beauty of workmanship ; little birds, with thin cakes fastened to their feet, were let loose to fly about the church, in strange allusion to the event of the day; the clergy wore their most gorgeous robes ; and the exulting music of the mass echoed from the vaults of the long-drawn aisles, and brought a rapt look of deep calm ecstasy over Friedel’s sensitive features. The beggars evidently considered a festival as a harvest-day, and crowded round the doors of the


cathedral. As the Lady of Adlerstein came out leaning on Ebbo’s arm, with Friedel on her other side, they evidently attracted the notice of a woman whose thin brown face looked the darker for the striped red and yellow silk kerchief that bound the dark locks round her brow, as, holding’ out a beringed hand, she fastened her glittering jet black eyes on them, and exclaimed, Alms! if the fair dame and knightly Junkern would hear what fate has in store for them.”

““We meddle not with the future, I thank thee,” said Christina, seeing that her sons, to whom gipsies were an amazing novelty, were in extreme sur- prise at the fortune-telling proposal.

“Yet could I tell much, lady,” said the woman, still standing in the way. “What would some here present give to know that the locks that were shrouded by the widow’s veil ere ever they wore the matron’s coif shall yet return to the coif once more ?”

Ebbo gave a sudden start of dismay and passion ; his mother held him fast. “Push on, Ebbo mine ; heed her not ; she is a mere Bohemian.”

“But how knew she your history, mother ?” asked Friedel, eagerly.

“That might be easily learnt at our wake,” began Christina; but her steps were checked by a call from Master Gottfried just behind, “Frau Frei- herrinn, Junkern, not so fast. Here is your noble kinsman.”

A tall, fine-looking person, in the long rich robe worn on peaceful occasions, stood forth, doffing his eagle-plumed bonnet, and, as the lady turned and courtesied low, he put his knee to the ground and kissed her hand, saying, Well met, noble dame ; I felt certain that I knew you when I beheld you in the Dom.”

He was gazing at her all the time,” whispered Ebbo to his brother ; while their mother, blushing, replied, “You do me too much honour, Herr Freiherr.”

“Once seen, never to be forgotten,” was the courteous answer; “and truly, but for the stately height of these my godsons, I would not believe how long since our meeting was.”



Thereupon, in true German fashion, Sir Kasimir embraced each youth in the open street, and then, removing his long embroidered Spanish glove, he offered his hand, or rather the tips of his fingers, to lead the Frau Christina home.

Master Sorel had invited him to be- come his guest at a very elaborate orna- mental festival meal in honour of the great holiday, at which were to be pre- sent several wealthy citizens with their wives and families, old connexions of the Sorel family. Ebbo had resolved upon treating them with courteous re- serve and distance ; but he was surprised to find his cousin of Wildschloss com- porting himself among the burgomasters and their dames as freely as though they had been his equals, and to see that they took such demeanour as perfectly natural. Quick to perceive, the boy gathered that the gulf between noble and burgher was so great that no intimacy could bridge it over, no reserve widen it, and that his own bashful hauteur was almost a sign that he knew that the gulf had been passed by his own parents ; but shame and consciousness did not enable him to alter his manner, but rather added to its stiffness.

“The Junker is like an Englishman,” said Sir Kasimir, who had met many of the exiles of the Roses at the court of Mary of Burgundy ; and then he turned to discuss with the gnildmasters the interruption to trade caused by Flemish jealousies,

After the lengthy meal, the tables were removed, the long gallery was occupied by musicians, and Master Gott- fried crossed the hall to tell his eldest grandnephew that to him he should depute the opening of the dance with the handsome bride of the Rathsherr, Ulrich Biirger. Ebbo blushed up to the eyes, and muttered that he prayed his uncle to excuse him.

“So!” said the old citizen, really dis- pleased; “thy kinsman might have proved to thee that it is no derogation of thy lordly dignity. I have been patient with thee, but thy pride passes *

“Sir,” interposed Friedel hastily, taising his sweet candid face with a

The Dove in the Eagle’s Nest.

look between shame and merriment, “it is not that, but you forget what poor mountaineers we are. Never did we tread a measure save now and then with our mother on a winter evening, and we know no more than a chamois of your intricate measures.”

Master Gottfried looked perplexed, for these dances were matters of great punctilio. It was but seven years since the Lord of Praunstein had defied the whole city of Frankfort because a damsel of that place had refused to dance with one of his cousins ; and, though Fist- right” and letters of challenge had been made illegal, yet the whole city of Ulm would have resented the affront put on it by the young lord of <Adlerstein. Happily the Freiherr of Adlerstein Wildschloss was at hand. Herr Bur- gomaster,” he said, “let me commence the dance with your fair lady niece. By your testimony,” he added, smiling to the youths, “she can tread a measure. And, after marking us,” he added, smil- ing to the boys, “you may try your success with the Rathsherrinn.”

Christina would gladly have trans- ferred her noble partner to the Raths- herrinn, but she feared to mortify her good uncle and aunt further, and con- sented to figure alone with Sir Kasimir in one of the majestic graceful dances performed by a single couple before a gazing assembly. So she let him lead her to her place, and they bowed and bent, swept past one another, and moved in interlacing lines and curves, with a grand slow movement that displayed her quiet grace, and his stately port and courtly air.

“Ts it not beautiful to see the mother- ling ?” said Friedel to his brother ; “she sails like a white cloud in a soft wind. And he stands grand as a stag at gaze.”

“Like a malapert peacock, say I,” returned Ebbo; “didst not see, Friedel, how he kept his eyes on her in church? My uncle says the Bohemians are mere deceivers. Depend on it the woman had spied his insolent looks when she made her ribald prediction.”

“See,” said Friedel, who had been watching the steps rather than attend-

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest,

ing, “it will be easy to dance it now. It is a figure my mother once tried to teach us, I remember it now.”

‘Then go and do it, since better may not be.”

Nay, but it should be thou.”

“Who will know which of us it is? I hated his presumption too much to mark his antics.”

Friedel came forward, and the sub- stitution was undetected by all save their mother and uncle; by the latter only because, addressing Ebbo, he re- ceived a reply in a tone such as Friedel never used,

Natural grace, quickness of ear and eye, and a skilful partner, rendered Friedel’s so fair a performance that he ventured on sending his brother to attend the councilloress with wine and comfits; while he in his own person performed another dance with the city dame next in pretension, and their mother was amused by Sir Kasimir’s remark, that her second son danced better than the elder, but both must learn.

The remark displeased Ebbo. In his isolated castle he knew no superior, and his nature might yield willingly, but rebelled at being put down. His brother was his perfect equal in all mental and bodily attributes, but it was the absence of all self-assertion that made Ebbo so often give him the preference ; it was his mother’s tender meekness in which lay her power with him ; and, if he yielded to Gottfried Sorel’s wisdom and expe- rience, it was with the inward consci- ousness of voluntary deference to one of lower rank. But here was Wildschloss, of the same noble blood with himself, his elder, his sponsor, his protector, with every right to direct him, so that there was no choice between grateful docility and headstrong folly. If the fellow had been old, weak, or in any way inferior, it would have been more bearable ; but he was a tried warrior, a sage counsellor, in the prime vigour of manhood, and with a kindly reasonable authority to which only a fool could fail to attend, and which for that very reason chafed Ebbo excessively.


Moreover, there was the gipsy pro- phecy ever rankling in the lad’s heart, and embittering to him the sight of every civility from his kinsman to his mother. Sir Kasimir lodged at a neigh- bouring hostel; but he spent much time with his cousins, and tried to make them friends with his squire, Count Rudiger. A great offence to Ebbo was, however, the criticisms of both knight and squire on the bearing of the young barons in military exercises. Truly, with no in- structor but the rough Lanzknecht Heinz, they must, as Friedel said, have been born paladins to have equalled youths whose life had been spent in chivalrous training.

“See us in a downright fight,” said Ebbo ; ‘‘ we could strike as hard as any courtly minion.”

As hard, but scarce as dextrously,” said Friedel, “and be called for our pains the wild mountaineers. I heard the men-at-arms saying I sat my horse as though it were always going up or down a precipice ; and Master Schmidt went into his shop the other day shrug- ging his shoulders, and saying we hailed one another across the city as if we thought Ulm was a mountain full of gemsbocks,”

“Thou heardst! and didst not cast his insolence in his teeth?” cried Ebbo.

“How could I,” laughed Friedel, “when the echo was casting back in my teeth my own shout to thee across the market-place? I could only laugh with Rudiger.”

“The chief delight I could have, next to getting home, would be to lay that fellow Rudiger on his back in the tilt yard,” said Ebbo.,

But, as Rudiger was by four years his senior, and very expert, the upshot of these encounters was quite otherwise, and the young gentlemen were disabused of the notion that fighting came by nature, and found that, if they desired success in a serious conflict, they must practise diligently in the city tilt yard, where young men were trained to arms, The crossbow was the only weapon with which they excelled ; and, as shooting was a favorite exercise with the burghers,


their proficiency was not as exclusive as had seemed to Ebbo a baronial pri- vilege. Harquebuses were novelties to them, and they despised them as burgher weapons, in spite of Sir Kasimir’s as- surance that firearms were a great subject of study and interest to the King of the Romans. The name of this personage was, it may be feared, highly distasteful to the Freiherr von Adlerstein, both as Wildschloss’s model of knightly per- fection, and as one who claimed sub- mission from his haughty spirit. When Sir Kasimir spoke to him on the subject of giving his allegiance, he stiffly replied, “Sir, that is a question for ripe consi- deration.”

Tt is the question,” said Wildschloss, rather more lightly than agreed with the baron’s dignity, “whether you like to have your castle pulled down about your ears,”

“That has never happened yet to Adlerstein !” said Ebbo, proudly.

“No, because since the days of the Hohenstaufen there has been neither rule nor union in the empire. But times are changing fast, my Junker, and within the last ten years forty castles such as yours have been consumed by the Swabian League, as though they were so many walnuts.”

“The shell of Adlerstein was too hard for them, though. They never tried.”

“And wherefore, friend Eberhard ? It was because I represented to the Kaisar and the Graf von Wurtemberg that little profit and no glory would accrue from attacking a crag full of women and babes, and that I, having the honour to be your next heir, should prefer having the castle untouched, and under the peace of the empire, so long as that peace was kept. When you should come to years of discretion, then it would be for you to carry out the intention wherewith your father and grandfather left home.”

“Then we have been protected by the peace of the empire all this time?” said Friedel, while Ebbo looked as if the notion were hard of digestion.

“Even so; and, had you not freely

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest.

and nobly released your Genoese mer- chant, it had gone hard with Adlerstein.”

“Could Adlerstein be taken?” de- manded Ebbo triumphantly.

‘Your grandmother thought not,” said Sir Kasimir, with a shade of irony in his tone. “It would be a troublesome siege ; but the League numbers 1,500 horse, and 9,000 foot, and, with Schlan- genwald’s concurrence, you would be assuredly starved out.”

Ebbo was so much the more stimulated to take his chance, and do nothing on compulsion ; but Friedel put in the ques- tion to what the oaths would bind him.

Only to aid the Emperor with sword and counsel in field or Diet, and thereby win fame and honour such as can scarce be gained by carrying prey to yon eagle roost.”

“One may preserve one’s indepen- dence without robbery,” said Ebbo, coldly.

“Nay, lad; did you ever hear of a wolf that could live without marauding ? or if he tried, would he get credit for so doing ?”

After all,” said Friedel, “does not the present agreement hold till we are of age? I suppose the Swabian League would attempt nothing against minors, unless we break the peace ?”

“Probably not ; I will do my utmost to give the Freiherr there time to grow beyond his grandmother’s maxims,” said Wildschloss. “If Schlangenwald do not meddle in the matter, he may have the next five years to decide whether Adlerstein can hold out against all Germany.”

“Freiherr Kasimir von Adlerstein Wildschloss,” said Eberhard, turning solemnly on him, “I do you to wit once for all that threats will not serve with me. If I submit, it will be because I am convinced it is right. Otherwise we had rather both be buried in the ruins of our castle, as its last free lords.”

“So!” said the provoking kinsman ; “such burials look grim when the time comes, but happily it is not coming yet!”

Meantime, as Ebbo said to Friedel, how much might happen—a disruption

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest.

of the empire, a crusade against the Turks, a war in Italy, some grand means of making the Diet value the sword of a free baron, without chaining him down to gratify the greed of hungry Austria. If only Wildschloss could be shaken off ! But he only became constantly more friendly and intrusive, almost paternal. No wonder, when the mother and her uncle made him so welcome, and were so intolerably grateful for his imper- tinent interference, while even Friedel confessed the reasonableness of his coun- sels, as if that were not the very sting of them.

He even asked leave to bring his little daughter Thekla from her convent to see the lady of Adlerstein. She was a pretty, flaxen-haired maiden of five years old, in a round cap, and long narrow frock, with a little cross at the neck. She had never seen any one beyond the walls of the nunnery ; and, when her father took her from the lay sister’s arms, and carried her to the gallery, where sat Hausfrau Johanna, in dark green, slashed with cherry _ colour, Master Gottfried, in sober crimson, with gold medal and chain, Freiherrin Chris- tina, in silver-broidered black, and the two Junkern stood near in the shining mail in which they were going to the tilt yard, she turned her head in terror, struggled with her scarce known father, and shrieked for Sister Grethel.

‘Tt was all too sheen,” she sobbed, in the lay sister’s arms ; “she did not want to be in Paradise yet, among the saints! O! take her back! The two bright, holy Michaels would let her go, for indeed she had made but one mistake in her Ave.”

Vain was the attempt to make her lift her face from the black serge shoulder where she had hidden it. Sister Grethel coaxed and scolded, Sir Kasimir reproved, the housemother offered comfits, and Christina’s soft voice was worst of all, for the child, probably taking her for Our Lady herself, began to gasp forth a general confession. “I never will do so again! Yes, it was a fib, but Mother Hildegarde gave me a bit of marchpane not to tell Here the lay sister took strong measures for


closing the little mouth, and Christina drew back, recommending that the child should be left gradually to discover their terrestrial nature. Ebbo had looked on with extreme disgust, trying to hurry Friedel, who had deiayed to trace some lines for his mother on her broidery pattern. In passing the step where Grethel sat with Thekla on her lap, the clank of their armour caused the up- lifting of the little flaxen head, and two wide blue eyes looked over Grethel’s shoulder, and met Friedel’s sunny glance. He smiled ; she laughed back again. He held out his arms, and, though his hands were gauntleted, she let him lift her up, and curiously smoothed and patted his cheek, as if he had been a strange animal.

“You have no wings,” she said. Are you St. George, or St. Michael #”

“Neither the one nor the other, pretty one. Only your poor cousin Friedel von Adlerstein, and here is Ebbo, my brother.”

It was not in Ebbo’s nature not to smile encouragement at the fair little face, with its wistful look. He drew off his glove to caress her silken hair, and for a few minutes she was played with by the two brothers like a newly-invented toy, receiving their attentions with pretty half-frightened graciousness, until Count Rudiger hastened in to summon them, and Friedel placed her on his mother’s knee, where she speedily became per- fectly happy, and at ease.

Her extreme delight, when towards evening the Junkern returned, was flattering even to Ebbo; and, when it was time for her to be taken home, she made strong resistance, clinging fast to Christina, with screams and struggles. To the lady’s promise of coming to see her she replied, “Friedel and Ebbo, too,” and, receiving no response to this request, she burst out, “Then I won't come! I am the Freiherrinn Thekla, the heiress of Adlerstein Wildschloss and Felsenbach. I won't bea nun. I'll be married! You shall be my hus- band,” and she made a dart at the nearest youth, who happened to be Ebbo.

Ay, ay, you shall have him. He

376 The Dove in the Eagle's Nest.

will come for you, sweetest Fraulein,” said the perplexed Grethel, “so only you will come home! Nobody will come for you if you are naughty.”

Will you come if I am good ?” said the spoilt cloister pet, clinging tight to Ebbo.

“Yes,” said her father, as she still resisted, “come back, my child, and one day shall you see Ebbo, and have him for a brother.”

Thereat Ebbo shook off the little grasping fingers, almost as if they had belonged to a noxious insect.

“The matron’s coif should succeed the widow’s veil.” He might talk with scholarly contempt of the new race of Bohemian impostors ; but there was no forgetting that sentence. And in like manner, though his grandmother’s alle- gation that his mother had been bent on captivating Sir Kasimir in that single interview at Adlerstein, had always seemed to him the most preposterous of all Kunigunde’s forms of outrage, the recollection would recur to him; and he could have found it in his heart to wish that his mother had never heard of the old lady’s designs as to the oubliette. He did most sincerely wish Master Gottfried had never let Wild- schloss know of the mode in which his life had been saved. Yet, while it would have seemed to him profane to breathe even to Friedel the true secret of his repugnance to this meddlesome kinsman, it was absolutely impossible to avoid his most distasteful authority and pa- tronage. ;

And the mother herself was gently, thankfully happy and unsuspicious, basking in the tender home affection of which she had so long been deprived, proud of her sons, and, though anxious as to Ebbo’s decision, with a quiet trust in his foundation of principle, and above all trusting to prayer.


ONE summer evening, when shooting at a bird on a pole was in full exercise in the tilt yard, the sports were interrupted

by a message from the Provost that a harbinger had brought tidings that the Imperial court was within a day’s jour- ney.

Kn was preparation. Fresh sand had to be strewn on the arena. New tapestry hangings were to deck the galleries, the houses and balconies to be brave with drapery, the fountain in the market-place was to play Rhine wine, all Ulm was astir to do honour to itself and to the Kaisar, and Ebbo stood amid all the bustle, drawing lines in the sand with the stock of his arblast, subject to all that oppressive self-magnification so frequent in early youth, and which made it seem to him as if the Kaisar andthe King of the Romans were coming to Ulm with the mere purpose of de- stroying his independence, and as if the eyes of all Germany were watching for his humiliation.

“See! see!” suddenly exclaimed Friedel ; “Look! there is something among the tracery of the Dome Kirk Tower. Is it man or bird?”

“Bird, folly! Thou couldst see no bird less than an eagle from hence,” said Ebbo. No doubt they are about to hoist a banner.”

“That is not their wont,” returned Sir Kasimir.

“T see him,” interrupted Ebbo. “Nay, but he is a bold climber! We went up to that stage, close to the balcony, but there’s no footing beyond but crockets and canopies.”

“And a bit of rotten scaffold,” ad- ded Friedel. Perhaps he is a builder going to examine it! Up higher, higher !

“A builder!” said Ebbo; “a man with a head and foot like that should be a chamois hunter! Shouldst thou deem it worse than the Red Eyrie, Friedel ?”

Yea, truly! The depth beneath is plainer! There would be no climbing there without——”

“Without what, cousin?” asked Wildschloss.

“Without great cause,” said Friedel. “Ttis fearful! He is like a fly against sky.”

cf Beaten again!” muttered Ebbo ; “I did think that none of these town-bred

a ew ee ts Ot OO OO

The Dove in the Eagle’s Nest.

fellows could surpass us when it came to a giddy height! Who can he be ?”

“Look! look!” burst out Friedel, The saints protect him! He is on that narrowest topmost ledge—measuring ; his heel is over the parapet—half his foot!”

“Holding on by the rotten scaffold pole! St. Barbara be his speed; but he is a brave man!” shouted Ebbo; “Oh! the pole has broken.”

“Heaven forefend!” cried Wild- schloss, with despair on his face unseen by the boys, for Friedel had hidden his eyes, and Ebbo was straining his with the intense gaze of horror. He had carried his glance downwards, following the 380 feet fall that must be the lot of the adventurer. Then looking up again he shouted, “I see him! I see him! Praise to St. Barbara! He is safe! He has caught by the upright stone work.”

Where ? where? Show me!” cried Wildschloss, grasping Ebbo’s arm.

“There ! clinging to that upright bit of tracery, stretching his foot out to yonder crocket.”

“T cannot see. Mine eyes swim and dazzle,” said Wildschloss. Merciful heavens! is this another tempting of Providence? How is it with him new, Ebbo ?”

Swarming down another slender bit of the stone network. It must be easy now to one who could keep head and hand steady in such a shock.”

“There!” added Friedel, after .a breathless space, “he is on the lower parapet, whence begins the stair. Do you know him, sir? Who is he ?”

“Either a Venetian mountebank,” said Wildschloss, “or else there is only one man I know of either so foolhardy or so steady of head.”

‘* Be he who he may,” said Ebbo, “he is the bravest man that ever I beheld. Who is he, Sir Kasimir ?”

An eagle of higher flight than ours, no doubt,” said Wildschloss. But come ; we shall reach the Dome Kirk by the time the climber has wound his way down the turret stairs, and we shall see what like he is.”

Their coming was well timed, for a


small door at the foot of the tower was just opening to give exit to a very tall knight, in one of those short Spanish cloaks the collar of which could be raised so as to conceal the face. He looked to the right and left, and had had one hand raised to put up the collar when he recognised Sir Kasimir, and, holding out both hands, exclaimed, ‘“* Ha, Adlerstein ! well met! I looked to see thee here. No unbonneting ; I am not come yet. Iam at Strasburg, with the Kaisar, and the Archduke, and am not here till we ride in, in purple and in pall by the time the good folk have hung out their arras, and donned their gold chains, and conned their speeches, and mounted their mules.”

“Well that their speeches are not over the lykewake of his kingly kaisarly highness,” gravely returned Sir Kasimir.

“Ha! Thou sawest? I came out here to avoid the gaping throng, who don’t know what a hunter can do. I have been in worse case in the Tyrol. Snowdrifts are worse footing than stone vine leaves,”

“Where abides your highness?” asked Wildschloss,

“T ride back again to the halting- place for the night, and meet my father in time to do my part in the pageant. I was sick of the addresses, and, more- over, the purse-proud Flemings have made such a stiff little fop of my poor boy that I am ashamed to look at him, or hear his French accent. So I rode off to get a view of this notable Dom in peace, ere it be hedizened im holiday garb ; and one can’t stir without all the Chapter waddling after one.”

“Your highness has found means of distancing them.”

Why, truly, the Prior would scarce delight in the view from yonder para- pet,” laughed his highness. “Ha! Adlerstein, where didst get such a per- fect pair of pages? I would I could match my hounds as well.”

“They are no pages of mine, so please you,” said the knight ; “rather this is the head of my name. Let me present to your kingly highness the Freiherr von Adlerstein.”

“Thou dost not thyself distinguish

37 The Dove in the Eagle’s Nest.

between them!” said Maximilian, as Friedmund stepped back, putting for- ward Eberhard, whose bright, lively smile of interest and admiration had been the cause of his cousin’s mistake. They would have doffed their caps and bent the knee, but were hastily checked by Maximilian. “No, no, Junkern, I shall owe you no thanks for bringing all the street on me !—that’s enough. Reserve the rest for Kaisar Fritz.” Then, fami- liarly taking Sir Kasimir’s arm, he walked on, saying, “I remember now. Thou wentest after an inheritance from the old Mouser of the Debateable Ford, and wert ousted by a couple of lusty boys sprung of a peasant wedlock.”

Nay, my lord, of a burgher lady, fair as she is wise and virtuous ; who, spite of all hindrances, has bred up these youths in all good and noble nurture.”

“Ts this so?” said the king, turning sharp round on the twins. “Are ye minded to quit freebooting, and come a crusading against the Turks with me ?”

“Everywhere with such a leader!” enthusiastically exclaimed Ebbo.

What? up there?” said Maximilian, smiling. “Thou hast the tread of a chamois-hunter.”

Friedel has been on the Red Eyrie,” exclaimed Ebbo ; then, thinking he had spoken foolishly, he coloured.

“Which is the Red Eyrie?” good- humouredly asked the king.

“It is the crag above our castle,” said Friedel, modestly.

* None other has been there,” added Ebbo, perceiving his auditor’s interest ; “but he saw the eagle flying away with a poor widow’s kid, and the sight must have given him wings, for we never could find the same path ; but here is one of the feathers he brought down” —taking off his cap so as to show a feather rather the worse for wear, and sheltered behind a fresher one.

Nay,” said Friedel, “‘thou shouldst say that I came to a ledge where I had like to have stayed all night, but that ye all came out with men and Tropes.”

“We know what such a case is!” said the king. ‘It has chanced to us to hang between heaven and earth; I’ve

even had the Holy Sacrament held up for my last pious gaze by those who gave me up for lost on the mountain side. Adlerstein? The peak above the Braunwasser? Some day shall ye show me this eyrie of yours, and we will see whether we can amaze our cousins the eagles. We see you at our father’s court to-morrow ?” he graciously added, and Ebbo gave a ready bow of acquiescence.

There,” said the king, as after their dismissal he walked on with Sir Kasi- mir, “never blame me for rashness and imprudence. Here has this height of the steeple proved the height of policy. It has made a loyal subject of a Mouser on the spot.”

“Pray Heaven it may have won a heart, true, though proud !” said Wild- schloss ; “but mousing was cured before by the wise training of the mother. Your highness will have taken out the sting of submission, and you will scarce find more faithful subjects.”

** How old are the Junkern ?”

“Some sixteen years, your highness,”

“That is what living among moun- tains does for a lad. Why could not those thrice-accursed Flemish towns let me breed up my boy to be good for something in the mountains, instead of getting duck-footed and muddy-witted in the fens?”

In the meantime Ebbo and Friedel were returning home in that sort of passion of enthusiasm that ingenuous boyhood feels when first brought into contact with greatness or brilliant qualities.

And brilliance was the striking point in Maximilian. The Last of the Knights, in spite of his many defects, was, by personal qualities, and the hereditary influence of long-descended rank, verily a king of men in aspect and demeanor, even when most careless and simple. He was at this time! a year or two past thirty, unusually tall, and with a form at once majestic and full of vigour and activity ; a noble, fair, though sunburnt countenance; eyes of dark grey, almost

1 By an oversight Maximilian is spoken of in the first chapter as already grown up and king of the Romans. His election took place in 1482,

The Dove in the Eagle's Nest.

black; long fair hair, a keen aquiline nose, a lip only beginning