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Quentin Durward by Sir Walter Scott

Quentin Durward (1823)

by Sir Walter Scott, Walter Scott

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  ariesblue | Mar 31, 2013 |
You might think a 19th century novel about a 15th century historical event would be dull, but Scott is known for his adventures, and this historical novel is no exception. It actually reminded me quite a bit of Game of Thrones, with much much much less sex. There is humor, love, fun, fighting, and some rather hateful stereotypes of gypsies. Something for everyone!

[full review here: http://spacebeer.blogspot.com/2012/02/quentin-durward-by-sir-walter-scott.html ] ( )
  kristykay22 | Feb 21, 2012 |
Jolly, unexacting tale.
- from a 25 January 1926 letter to his father, in The collected letters of C.S. Lewis, volume I

What an excellent thing to have read nearly all the Waverley novels. At your age I had read only the medieval ones (Ivanhoe, Q. Durward, The talisman etc) and didn't discover the more modern ones (Waverley, G. Mannering, Antiquary etc.) till I was at Oxford. I now like those in the second list better than those in the first, but I think both lots very good and never get tired of them. What I like is that Scott doesn't skimp things, but tells you how everyone was dressed and what they ate and drank and what sort of houses they lived in, and the weather - which is what I always want to know though some people find it boring.
- from a 29 December 1948 letter to 15-year-old Laurence Harwood, The collected letters of C.S. Lewis, volume II ( )
2 vote C.S._Lewis | Mar 29, 2009 |
I recall reading this with my mother many years ago. The superstitious but cunning Louis XI and the proud and foolish bishop (of Beauvais) stay in my mind more than Quentin himself. ( )
  antiquary | Dec 19, 2008 |
The following excerpts come from Sir Walter Scott's historical novel "Quentin Durward". These excerpts partly trace the theme of the "bohemian" as portrayed by Scott. Particularly interesting here is how the bohemian makes his heir out of the
non-bohemian protagonist. Here the bohemian is only touched lightly with Jewish allusion by Scott. Although it is off-hand here, any reference to Jews by Scott should be read in light of the importance of the Jewish allusion in well-known references to Jews explicitly in other works by Sir Walter Scott.

Scott's positioning of his protaganist as heir to the executed refugee here may be compared elsewhere to the protaganist who married the executed refugee's daughter, as in Robert Loius Stevensons's "Pavilion on the Links."
Sae rantingly, sae wantingly,
Sae dantingly gaed he,
He play'd a spring and danced a round
Beneath the gallows tree!

[The Bohemians: In . . . Guy Mannering the reader will find some remarks on the gipsies as they are found in Scotland. Their first appearance in Europe took place in the beginning of the fifteenth century. The account given by these singular people was, that it was appointed to them, as a penance, to travel for a certain number of years. Their appearance, however, and manners, strongly contradicted the allegation that they travelled from any religious motive. Their dress and accoutrements were at once showy and squalid; those who acted as captains and leaders of any horde, . . . were arrayed in dresses of the most showy colours, such as scarlet or light green; were well mounted; assumed the title of dukes and counts, and affected considerable consequence. The rest of the tribe were most miserable in their diet and apparel, fed without hesitation on animals which had died of disease, and were clad in filthy and scanty rags. . . . Their complexion was positively Eastern, approaching to that of the Hindoos. Their manners were as depraved as their appearance was poor and beggarly. The men were in general thieves, and the women of the most abandoned character. The few arts which they studied with success were of a slight and idle, though ingenious description. They practised working in iron, but never upon any great scale. Many were good sportsmen, good musicians. . . . But their ingenuity never ascended into industry. . . . Their pretensions to read fortunes, by palmistry and by astrology, acquired them sometimes respect, but oftener drew them under suspicion as sorcerers; the universal accusation that they augmented their horde by stealing children, subjected them to doubt and execration. . . . The pretension set up by these wanderers, of being pilgrims in the act of penance, although it . . . in many instances obtained them protection from the governments of the countries through which they travelled, was afterwards totally disbelieved, and they were considered as incorrigible rogues and vagrants. . . . A curious and accurate account of their arrival in France is quoted by Pasquier "On August 27th, 1427, came to Paris twelve penitents, . . . viz. a duke, an earl, and ten men, all on horseback, and calling themselves good Christians. They were of Lower Egypt, and gave out that, not long before, the Christians had subdued their country, and obliged them to embrace Christianity on pain of being put to death. Those who were baptized were great lords in their own country, and had a king and queen there. Soon after their conversion, the Saracens overran the country, and obliged them to renounce Christianity. When the Emperor of Germany, the King of Poland, and other Christian princes heard of this, they fell upon them, and obliged the whole of them, both great and small, to quit the country, and go to the Pope at Rome, who enjoined them seven years' penance to wander over the world, without lying in a bed. They had been wandering five years when they came to Paris first. . . . Nearly all of them had their ears bored, and wore two silver rings in each. . . . The men were black, their hair curled; the women remarkably black, their only clothes a large old duffle garment, tied over the shoulders with a cloth or cord, and under it a miserable rocket; . . . notwithstanding their poverty, there were among them women who, by looking into people's hands, told their fortunes, and what was worse, they picked people's pockets of their money, and got it into their own, by telling these things through airy magic, et cetera." Pasquier remarks upon this singular journal that however the story of a penance savours of a trick, these people wandered up and down France, under the eye, and with the knowledge, of the magistrates, for more than a hundred years; and it was not till 1561, that a sentence of banishment was passed against them in that kingdom. .... .... .... ....

Although he himself saw nothing in his narrative save what was affecting, he found it was received with much laughter by his escort.
"And yet it is no good jest either," said his uncle, "for what, in the devil's name, could lead the senseless boy to meddle with the body of a cursed misbelieving Jewish Moorish pagan?"
"Had he quarrelled with the Marshals men about a pretty wench, as Michael of Moffat did, there had been more sense in it," said Cunningham.
"But I think it touches our honour that Tristan and his people pretend to confound our Scottish bonnets with these pilfering vagabonds -- torques and turbands, as they call them," said Lindesay. "If they have not eyes to see the difference they must be taught by rule of hand. But it 's my belief, Tristan but pretends to mistake, that he may snap up the kindly Scots that come over to see their kinsfolks."
"May I ask, kinsman," said Quentin, "what sort of people these are of whom you speak?"
"In troth you may ask," said his uncle, "but I know not, fair nephew, who is able to answer you. Not I, I am sure, although I know, it may be, as much as other people; but they appeared in this land within a year or two, just as a flight of locusts might do."
"Ay," said Lindesay, "and Jacques Bonhomme (that is our name for the peasant, young man -- you will learn our way of talk in time) -- honest Jacques, I say, cares little what wind either brings them or the locusts, so he but knows any gale that would carry them away again."
"Do they do so much evil?" asked the young man.
"Evil? why, boy, they are heathens, or Jews, or Mahommedans at the least, and neither worship Our Lady, nor the Saints" (crossing himself) "and steal what they can lay hands on, and sing, and tell fortunes," added Cunningham.
"And they say there are some goodly wenches amongst these," said Guthrie; "but Cunningham knows that best."
"How, brother!" said Cunningham. "I trust ye mean me no reproach?"
"I am sure I said ye none," answered Guthrie.
"I will be judged by the company," said Cunningham. "Ye said as much as that I, a Scottish gentleman, and living within pale of holy church, had a fair friend among these off scourings of Heathenesse."
"Nay, nay," said Balafre, "he did but jest. We will have no quarrels among comrades."
"We must have no such jesting then," said Cunningham, murmuring, as if he had been speaking to his own beard.
"Be there such vagabonds in other lands than France?" said Lindesay.
"Ay, in good sooth, are there -- tribes of them have appeared in Germany, and in Spain, and in England," answered Balafre. "By the blessing of good Saint Andrew, Scotland is free of them yet."
"Scotland," said Cunningham, "is too cold, a country for locusts, and too poor a country for thieves."
.... .... ....
I am as free as Nature first made man,
Ere the base laws of servitude began
When wild in woods the noble savage ran.

While Quentin held the brief communication with the ladies necessary to assure them that this extraordinary addition to their party was the guide whom they were to expect on the King's part, he noticed (for he was as alert in observing the motions of the stranger, as the Bohemian could be on his part) that the man not only turned his head as far back as he could to peer at them, but that, with a singular sort of agility, more resembling that of a monkey than of a man, he had screwed his whole person around on the saddle so as to sit almost sidelong upon the horse, for the convenience, as it seemed, of watching them more attentively.
Not greatly pleased with this manoeuvre, Quentin rode up to the Bohemian and said to him, as he suddenly assumed his proper position on the horse, "Methinks, friend, you will prove but a blind guide, if you look at the tail of your horse rather than his ears."
"And if I were actually blind," answered the Bohemian, "I could not the less guide you through any county in this realm of France, or in those adjoining to it."
"Yet you are no Frenchman," said the Scot.
"I am not," answered the guide.
"What countryman, then, are you," demanded Quentin.
"I am of no country," answered the guide.
"How! of no country?" repeated the Scot.
"No," answered the Bohemian, "of none. I am a Zingaro, a Bohemian, an Egyptian, or whatever the Europeans, in their different languages, may choose to call our people, but I have no country."
"Are you a Christian?" asked the Scotchman.
The Bohemian shook his head.
"Dog," said Quentin (for there was little toleration in the spirit of Catholicism in those days), "dost thou worship Mahoun?"
[Mahoun: Mohammed. It was a remarkable feature of the character of these wanderers that they did not, like the Jews whom they otherwise resembled in some particulars, possess or profess any particular religion, whether in form or principle. They readily conformed, as far as might be required, with the religion of any country in which they happened to sojourn, but they did not practise it more than was demanded of them. . . . S.]
"No," was the indifferent and concise answer of the guide, who neither seemed offended nor surprised at the young man's violence of manner.
"Are you a Pagan, then, or what are you?"
"I have no religion," answered the Bohemian.
Durward started back, for though he had heard of Saracens and Idolaters, it had never entered into his ideas or belief that any body of men could exist who practised no mode of worship whatever. He recovered from his astonishment to ask his guide where he usually dwelt.
"Wherever I chance to be for the time," replied the Bohemian. "I have no home."
"How do you guard your property?"
"Excepting the clothes which I wear, and the horse I ride on, I have no property."
"Yet you dress gaily, and ride gallantly," said Durward. "What are your means of subsistence?"
"I eat when I am hungry, drink when I am thirsty, and have no other means of subsistence than chance throws in my Way," replied the vagabond.
"Under whose laws do you live?"
"I acknowledge obedience to none, but an it suits my pleasure or my necessities," said the Bohemian.
"Who is your leader, and commands you?"
"The father of our tribe -- if I choose to obey him," said the guide, "otherwise I have no commander."
"You are, then," said the wondering querist, "destitute of all that other men are combined by -- you have no law, no leader, no settled means of subsistence, no house or home. You have, may Heaven compassionate you, no country -- and, may Heaven enlighten and forgive you, you have no God! What is it that remains to you, deprived of government, domestic happiness, and religion?"
"I have liberty," said the Bohemian "I crouch to no one, obey no one -- respect no one -- I go where I will -- live as I can -- and die when my day comes."
"But you are subject to instant execution, at the pleasure of the Judge?"
"Be it so," returned the Bohemian, "I can but die so much the sooner."
"And to imprisonment also," said the Scot, "and where, then, is your boasted freedom?"
"In my thoughts," said the Bohemian, "which no chains can bind, while yours, even when your limbs are free, remain fettered by your laws and your superstitions, your dreams of local attachment, and your fantastic visions of civil policy. Such as I are free in spirit when our limbs are chained. -- You are imprisoned in mind even when your limbs are most at freedom."
"Yet the freedom of your thoughts," said the Scot, "relieves not the pressure of the gyves on your limbs."
"For a brief time that may be endured," answered the vagrant, "and if within that period I cannot extricate myself, and fail of relief from my comrades, I can always die, and death is the most perfect freedom of all."
There was a deep pause of some duration, which Quentin at length broke by resuming his queries.
"Yours is a wandering race, unknown to the nations of Europe. -- Whence do they derive their origin?"
"I may not tell you," answered the Bohemian.
"When will they relieve this kingdom from their presence, and return to the land from whence they came?" said the Scot.
"When the day of their pilgrimage shall be accomplished," replied his vagrant guide.
"Are you not sprung from those tribes of Israel which were carried into captivity beyond the great river Euphrates?" said Quentin, who had not forgotten the lore which had been taught him at Aberbrothick.
"Had we been so," answered the Bohemian, "we had followed their faith and practised their rites."
"What is thine own name?" said Durward.
"My proper name is only known to my brethren. The men beyond our tents call me Hayraddin Maugrabin -- that is, Hayraddin the African Moor."
"Thou speakest too well for one who hath lived always in thy filthy horde," said the Scot.
"I have learned some of the knowledge of this land," said Hayraddin. "When I was a little boy, our tribe was chased by the hunters after human flesh. An arrow went through my mother's head, and she died. I was entangled in the blanket on her shoulders, and was taken by the pursuers. A priest begged me from the Provost's archers, and trained me up in Frankish learning for two or three years."
"How came you to part with him?" demanded Durward.
"I stole money from him -- even the God which he worshipped," answered Hayraddin, with perfect composure, "he detected me, and beat me -- I stabbed him with my knife, fled to the woods, and was again united to my people."
"Wretch!" said Durward, "did you murder your benefactor?"
"What had he to do to burden me with his benefits? -- The Zingaro boy was no house bred cur, to dog the heels of his master, and crouch beneath his blows, for scraps of food: -- He was the imprisoned wolf whelp, which at the first opportunity broke his chain, rended his master, and returned to his wilderness."
There was another pause, when the young Scot, with a view of still farther investigating the character and purpose of this suspicious guide, asked Hayraddin whether it was not true that his people, amid their ignorance, pretended to a knowledge of futurity which was not given to the sages, philosophers, and divines of more polished society.
"We pretend to it," said Hayraddin, "and it is with justice."
"How can it be that so high a gift is bestowed on so abject a race?" said Quentin.
"Can I tell you?" answered Hayraddin. -- "Yes, I may indeed, but it is when you shall explain to me why the dog can trace the footsteps of a man, while man, the nobler animal, hath not power to trace those of the dog. These powers, which seem to you so wonderful, are instinctive in our race. From the lines on the face and on the hand, we can tell the future fate of those who consult us, even as surely as you know from the blossom of the tree in spring what fruit it will bear in the harvest."
"I doubt of your knowledge, and defy you to the proof."
"Defy me not, Sir Squire," said Hayraddin Maugrabin. "I can tell you that, say what you will of your religion, the Goddess whom you worship rides in this company."
"Peace!" said Quentin, in astonishment, "on thy life, not a word farther, but in answer to what I ask thee. -- Canst thou be faithful?"
"I can -- all men can," said the Bohemian.
"But wilt thou be faithful?"
"Wouldst thou believe me the more should I swear it?" answered Maugrabin, with a sneer.
"Thy life is in my hand," said the young Scot.
"Strike, and see whether I fear to die," answered the Bohemian.
"Will money render thee a trusty guide?" demanded Durward.
"If I be not such without it, no," replied the heathen.
"Then what will bind thee?" asked the Scot.
"Kindness," replied the Bohemian.
"Shall I swear to show thee such, if thou art true guide to us on this pilgrimage?"
"No," replied Hayraddin, "it were extravagant waste of a commodity so rare. To thee I am bound already."
"How?" exclaimed Durward, more surprised than ever.
"Remember the chestnut trees on the banks of the Cher! The victim whose body thou didst cut down was my brother, Zamet the Maugrabin."
"And yet," said Quentin, "I find you in correspondence with those very officers by whom your brother was done to death, for it was one of them who directed me where to meet with you -- the same, doubtless, who procured yonder ladies your services as a guide."
"What can we do?" answered Hayraddin, gloomily. "These men deal with us as the sheepdogs do with the flock, they protect us for a while, drive us hither and thither at their pleasure, and always end by guiding us to the shambles."
Quentin had afterwards occasion to learn that the Bohemian spoke truth in this particular, and that the Provost guard, employed to suppress the vagabond bands by which the kingdom was infested, entertained correspondence among them, and forbore, for a certain time, the exercise of their duty, which always at last ended in conducting their allies to the gallows. This is a sort of political relation between thief and officer, for the profitable exercise of their mutual professions, which has subsisted in all countries, and is by no means unknown to our own.
Durward, parting from the guide, fell back to the rest of the retinue, very little satisfied with the character of Hayraddin, and entertaining little confidence in the professions of gratitude which he had personally made to him.
.... .... ....
Finding the Father a man of intelligence, Quentin did not neglect the opportunity of making himself acquainted with the state of affairs in the country of Liege, of which, during the last two days of their journey, he had heard such reports as made him very apprehensive for the security of his charge during the remainder of their route, nay, even of the Bishop's power to protect them, when they should be safely conducted to his residence. The replies of the Prior were not very consolatory.
He said that the people of Liege were wealthy burghers, who, like Jeshurun [a designation for Israel] of old, had waxed fat and kicked -- that they were uplifted in heart because of their wealth and their privileges --
.... .... ....
"The people of Liege," he said, "are privily instigated to their frequent mutinies by men of Belial [in the Bible this term is used as an appellative of Satan],
.... .... ....
At this crisis their conversation was interrupted by the Sacristan, who, in a voice almost inarticulate with anger, accused the Bohemian of having practised the most abominable arts of delusion among the younger brethren. He had added to their nightly meal cups of a heady and intoxicating cordial, of ten times the strength of the most powerful wine, under which several of the fraternity had succumbed, and indeed, although the Sacristan had been strong to resist its influence, they might yet see, from his inflamed countenance and thick speech, that even he, the accuser himself, was in some degree affected by this unhallowed potation. Moreover, the Bohemian had sung songs of worldly vanity and impure pleasures, he had derided the cord of Saint Francis, made jest of his miracles, and termed his votaries fools and lazy knaves. Lastly, he had practised palmistry, and foretold to the young Father Cherubin that he was helped by a beautiful lady, who should make him father to a thriving boy.
The Father Prior listened to these complaints for some time in silence, as struck with mute horror by their enormous atrocity. When the Sacristan had concluded, he rose up, descended to the court of the convent, and ordered the lay brethren, on pain of the worst consequences of spiritual disobedience, to beat Hayraddin out of the sacred precincts with their broom staves and cart whips.
This sentence was executed accordingly, in the presence of Quentin Durward, who, however vexed at the occurrence, easily saw that his interference would be of no avail.
The discipline inflicted upon the delinquent, notwithstanding the exhortations of the Superior, was more ludicrous than formidable. The Bohemian ran hither and thither through the court, amongst the clamour of voices, and noise of blows, some of which reached him not because purposely misaimed, others, sincerely designed for his person, were eluded by his activity, and the few that fell upon his back and shoulders he took without either complaint or reply. The noise and riot was the greater, that the inexperienced cudgel players, among whom Hayraddin ran the gauntlet, hit each other more frequently than they did him, till at length, desirous of ending a scene which was more scandalous than edifying, the Prior commanded the wicket to be flung open, and the Bohemian, darting through it with the speed of lightning, fled forth into the moonlight. During this scene, a suspicion which Durward had formerly entertained, recurred with additional strength. Hayraddin had, that very morning, promised to him more modest and discreet behaviour than he was wont to exhibit, when they rested in a convent on their journey, yet he had broken his engagement, and had been even more offensively obstreperous than usual. Something probably lurked under this, for whatever were the Bohemian's deficiencies, he lacked neither sense, nor, when he pleased, self command, and might it not be probable that he wished to hold some communication, either with, his own horde or some one else, from which he was debarred in the course of the day by the vigilance with which he was watched by Quentin, and had recourse to this stratagem in order to get himself turned out of the convent?
No sooner did this suspicion dart once more through Quentin's mind, than, alert as he always was in his motions, he resolved to follow his cudgelled guide, and observe (secretly if possible) how he disposed of himself. Accordingly, when the Bohemian fled, as already mentioned, out at the gate of the convent, Quentin, hastily explaining to the Prior the necessity of keeping sight of his guide, followed in pursuit of him.


What, the rude ranger? and spied spy? -- hands off --
You are for no such rustics.

When Quentin sallied from the convent, he could mark the precipitate retreat of the Bohemian, whose dark figure was seen in the far moonlight flying with the speed of a flogged hound quite through the street of the little village, and across the level meadow that lay beyond.... ... ... ....
"This is a rendezvous," thought Quentin, "but how shall I come near enough to overhear the import of what passes? The sound of my steps, and the rustling of the boughs through which I must force my passage, will betray me, unless I am cautious -- I will stalk them, by Saint Andrew, as if they were Glen Isla deer -- they shall learn that I have not conned woodcraft for naught. Yonder they meet, the two shadows -- ... ... ... ...... -- God and Saint Andrew to friend, they will find me both stout and wary."
Thus resolving, and with a degree of caution taught him by his silvan habits, our friend descended into the channel of the little stream, which varied in depth, sometimes scarce covering his shoes, sometimes coming up to his knees, and so crept along, his form concealed by the boughs overhanging the bank, and his steps unheard amid the ripple of the water. (We have ourselves, in the days of yore, thus approached the nest of the wakeful raven.) In this manner the Scot drew near unperceived, until he distinctly heard the voices of those who were the subject of his observation, though he could not distinguish the words. Being at this time under the drooping branches of a magnificent weeping willow, which almost swept the surface of the water, he caught hold of one of its boughs, by the assistance of which, exerting at once much agility, dexterity, and strength, he raised himself up into the body of the tree, and sat, secure from discovery, among the central branches.
From this situation he could discover that the person with whom Hayraddin was now conversing was one of his own tribe, and at the same time he perceived, to his great disappointment, that no approximation could enable him to comprehend their language, which was totally unknown to him. They laughed much, and as Hayraddin made a sign of skipping about, and ended by rubbing his shoulder with his hand, Durward had no doubt that he was relating the story of the bastinading which he had sustained previous to his escape from the convent.
On a sudden, a whistle was again heard in the distance, which was once more answered by a low tone or two of Hayraddin's horn. Presently afterwards, a tall, stout, soldierly looking man, a strong contrast in point of thews and sinews to the small and slender limbed Bohemians, made his appearance. He had a broad baldric over his shoulder, which sustained a sword that hung almost across his person, his hose were much slashed, through which slashes was drawn silk, or tiffany, of various colours, they were tied by at least five hundred points or strings, made of ribbon, to the tight buff jacket which he wore, the right sleeve of which displayed a silver boar's head, the crest of his Captain. A very small hat sat jauntily on one side of his head, from which descended a quantity of curled hair, which fell on each side of a broad face, and mingled with as broad a beard, about four inches long. He held a long lance in his hand, and his whole equipment was that of one of the German adventurers, who were known by the name of lanzknechts, in English, spearmen, who constituted a formidable part of the infantry of the period. These mercenaries were, of course, a fierce and rapacious soldiery, and having an idle tale current among themselves, that a lanzknecht was refused admittance into heaven on account of his vices, and into hell on the score of his tumultuous, mutinous, and insubordinate disposition, they manfully acted as if they neither sought the one nor eschewed the other.
"Donner and blitz! [thunder and lightning!]" was his first salutation, in a sort of German French, which we can only imperfectly imitate, "Why have you kept me dancing in attendance dis dree nights?"
"I could not see you sooner, Meinherr," said Hayraddin, very submissively, "there is a young Scot, with as quick an eye as the wildcat, who watches my least motions. He suspects me.... ... ... ... ... .....
"Ay, but I promised this piece of necessary villainy only on one condition," said Hayraddin. -- "I will not have a hair of the young man's head touched. If you swear this to me, by your Three Dead Men of Cologne, I will swear to you, by the Seven Night Walkers, that I will serve you truly as to the rest. And if you break your oath, the Night Walkers shall wake you seven nights from your sleep, between night and morning, and, on the eighth, they shall strangle and devour you."
"But donner and bagel, what need you be so curious about the life of this boy, who is neither your bloot nor kin?" said the German.
"No matter for that, honest Heinrick, some men have pleasure in cutting throats, some in keeping them whole. -- So swear to me, that you will spare him life and limb, or by the bright star Aldebaran, this matter shall go no farther. -- Swear, and by the Three Kings, as you call them, of Cologne -- I know you care for no other oath."
"Du bist ein comische man [thou art a droll fellow]," said the lanzknecht, "I swear."
"Not yet," said the Bohemian. "Face about, brave lanzknecht, and look to the east, else the Kings may not hear you."
The soldier took the oath in the manner prescribed
.... .... ... ....
"Take a draught of comfort first," said the lanzknecht, tendering him a flask -- "but I forget, thou art beast enough to drink nothing but water, like a vile vassal of Mahound and Termagund [the name of the god of the Saracens in medieaval romances where he is linked with Mahound]."
"Thou art thyself a vassal of the wine measure and the flagon," said the Bohemian. "I marvel not that thou art only trusted with the bloodthirsty and violent part of executing what better heads have devised. -- He must drink no wine who would know the thoughts of others, or hide his own. But why preach to thee, who hast a thirst as eternal as a sand bank in Arabia?
"Fare thee well. Take my comrade Tuisco with thee -- his appearance about the monastery may breed suspicion."
The two worthies parted, after each had again pledged himself to keep the rendezvous at the Cross of the Three Kings. Quentin Durward watched until they were out of sight, and then descended from his place of concealment, his heart throbbing at the narrow escape which he and his fair charge had made -- if, indeed, it could yet be achieved -- from a deep laid plan of villainy. Afraid, on his return to the monastery, of stumbling upon Hayraddin, he made a long detour, at the expense of traversing some very rough ground, and was thus enabled to return to his asylum on a different point from that by which he left it.
On the route, he communed earnestly with himself concerning the safest plan to be pursued. He had formed the resolution, when he first heard Hayraddin avow his treachery, to put him to death so soon as the conference broke up, and his companions were at a sufficient distance, but when he heard the Bohemian express so much interest in saving his own life, he felt it would be ungrateful to execute upon him, in its rigour, the punishment his treachery had deserved. He therefore resolved to spare his life, and even, if possible, still to use his services as a guide, under such precautions as should ensure the security of the precious charge, to the preservation of which his own life was internally devoted.
.... ... ... ..
"Where hast thou found night quarter, thou profane knave?" said the Scot.
"Your wisdom may guess, by looking on my gaberdine," answered the Bohemian, pointing to his dress, which was covered with seeds of hay.
"A good haystack," said Quentin, "is a convenient bed for an astrologer, and a much better than a heathen scoffer at our blessed religion and its ministers, ever deserves."
"It suited my Klepper better than me, though," said Hayraddin, patting his horse on the neck, "for he had food and shelter at the same time. The old bald fools turned him loose, as if a wise man's horse could have infected with wit or sagacity a whole convent of asses. Lucky that Klepper knows my whistle, and follows me as truly as a hound, or we had never met again, and you in your turn might have whistled for a guide."
"I have told thee more than once," said Durward, sternly, "to restrain thy ribaldry when thou chancest to be in worthy men's company, a thing, which, I believe, hath rarely happened to thee in thy life before now, and I promise thee, that did I hold thee as faithless a guide as I esteem thee a blasphemous and worthless caitiff, my Scottish dirk and thy heathenish heart had ere now been acquainted, although the doing such a deed were as ignoble as the sticking of swine."
"A wild boar is near akin to a sow," said the Bohemian, without flinching from the sharp look with which Quentin regarded him, or altering, in the slightest degree, the caustic indifference which he affected in his language, "and many men," he subjoined, "find both pride, pleasure, and profit, in sticking them."
Astonished at the man's ready confidence, and uncertain whether he did not know more of his own history and feelings than was pleasant for him to converse upon, Quentin broke off a conversation in which he had gained no advantage over Maugrabin, and fell back to his accustomed post beside the ladies.
... .. .. .....
The herald, who was now introduced into the presence of the monarchs, was dressed in a tabard, or coat, embroidered with the arms of his master, in which the Boar's Head made a distinguished appearance, in blazonry, which in the opinion of the skilful was more showy than accurate. The rest of his dress -- a dress always sufficiently tawdry -- was overcharged with lace, embroidery, and ornament of every kind, and the plume of feathers which he wore was so high, as if intended to sweep the roof of the hall. In short, the usual gaudy splendour of the heraldic attire was caricatured and overdone. The Boar's Head was not only repeated on every part of his dress, but even his bonnet was formed into that shape, and it was represented with gory tongue and bloody tusks, or in proper language, langed and dentated gules, and there was something in the man's appearance which seemed to imply a mixture of boldness and apprehension, like one who has undertaken a dangerous commission, and is sensible that audacity alone can carry him through it with safety. Something of the same mixture of fear and effrontery was visible in the manner in which he paid his respects, and he showed also a grotesque awkwardness, not usual amongst those who were accustomed to be received in the presence of princes.
"Who art thou, in the devil's name?" was the greeting with which Charles the Bold received this singular envoy.
"I am Rouge Sanglier," answered the herald,
.... .... .... ....
Never herald went from the Court of Burgundy without having cause to cry, Largesse! -- Let him be scourged till the bones are laid bare."
"Nay, but if it please your Grace," said Crevecoeur and D'Hymbercourt together, "he is a herald, and so far privileged."
"It is you, Messires," replied the Duke, "who are such owls as to think that the tabard makes the herald. I see by that fellow's blazoning he is a mere impostor. Let Toison d'Or step forward, and question him in your presence."
In spite of his natural effrontery, the envoy of the Wild Boar of Ardennes now became pale; and that notwithstanding some touches of paint with which he had adorned his countenance. Toison d'Or, the chief herald, as we have elsewhere said, of the Duke, and King at arms within his dominions, stepped forward with the solemnity of one who knew what was due to his office, and asked his supposed brother in what college he had studied the science which he professed.
"I was bred a pursuivant at the Heraldic College of Ratisbon," answered Rouge Sanglier, "and received the diploma of Ehrenhold [a herald] from that same learned fraternity."
"You could not derive it from a source more worthy," answered Toison d'Or, bowing still lower than he had done before; "and if I presume to confer with you on the mysteries of our sublime science, in obedience to the orders of the most gracious Duke, it is not in hopes of giving, but of receiving knowledge."
"Go to," said the Duke impatiently. "Leave off ceremony, and ask him some question that may try his skill."
"It were injustice to ask a disciple of the worthy College of Arms at Ratisbon if he comprehendeth the common terms of blazonry," said Toison d'Or, "but I may, without offence, crave of Rouge Sanglier to say if he is instructed in the more mysterious and secret terms of the science, by which the more learned do emblematically, and as it were parabolically, express to each other what is conveyed to others in the ordinary language, taught in the very accidence as it were of Heraldry."
"I understand one sort of blazonry as well as another," answered Rouge Sanglier boldly, "but it may be we have not the same terms in Germany which you have here in Flanders."
"Alas, that you will say so!" replied Toison d'Or. "our noble science, which is indeed the very banner of nobleness and glory of generosity, being the same in all Christian countries, nay, known and acknowledged even by the Saracens and Moors. I would, therefore, pray of you to describe what coat you will after the celestial fashion, that is, by the planets."
"Blazon it yourself as you will," said Rouge Sanglier; "I will do no such apish tricks upon commandment, as an ape is made to come aloft."
"Show him a coat and let him blazon it his own way," said the Duke; "and if he fails, I promise him that his back shall be gules, azure, and sable."
"Here," said the herald of Burgundy, taking from his pouch a piece of parchment, "is a scroll in which certain considerations led me to prick down, after my own poor fashion, an ancient coat. I will pray my brother, if indeed he belong to the honourable College of Arms at Ratisbon, to decipher it in fitting language."
Le Glorieux, who seemed to take great pleasure in this discussion, had by this time bustled himself close up to the two heralds. "I will help thee, good fellow," said he to Rouge Sanglier, as he looked hopelessly upon the scroll. "This, my lords and masters, represents the cat looking out at the dairy window." ... .... .... ...
"Silence, Le Glorieux," said the Duke; "and you, Toison d'Or, who are too learned to be intelligible, stand back -- and bring that rascal forward, some of you. -- Hark ye, villain," he said in his harshest tone, "do you know the difference between argent and or, except in the shape of coined money?"
"For pity's sake, your Grace, be good unto me! -- Noble King Louis, speak for me!"
"Speak for thyself," said the Duke. "In a word, art thou herald or not?"
"Only for this occasion!" acknowledged the detected official.
.... .... .... ....
-- Here! -- drag him to the market place! -- slash him with bridle reins and dog whips until the tabard hang about him in tatters! -- Upon the Rouge Sanglier! -- ca, ca! -- Haloo, haloo!"
Four or five large hounds, such as are painted in the hunting pieces upon which Rubens and Schneiders laboured in conjunction, caught the well known notes with which the Duke concluded, and began to yell and bay as if the boar were just roused from his lair.
.... .... ..... .....
"By the rood!" said King Louis, observant to catch the vein of his dangerous cousin, "since the ass has put on the boar's hide, I would set the dogs on him to bait him out of it!"
"Right! right!" exclaimed Duke Charles, the fancy exactly chiming in with his humour at the moment -- "it shall be done! -- Uncouple the hounds! -- Hyke a Talbot! [a hunter's cry to his dog. See Dame Berner's Boke of Hawking and Hunting.] hyke a Beaumont! -- We will course him from the door of the Castle to the east gate!"
"I trust your Grace will treat me as a beast of chase," said the fellow, putting the best face he could upon the matter, "and allow me fair law?"
"Thou art but vermin," said the Duke, "and entitled to no law, by the letter of the book of hunting; nevertheless, thou shalt have sixty yards in advance, were it but for the sake of thy unparalleled impudence. -- Away, away, sirs! -- we will see this sport."
And the council breaking up tumultuously, all hurried, none faster than the two Princes, to enjoy the humane pastime which King Louis had suggested.
The Rouge Sanglier showed excellent sport; for, winged with terror, and having half a score of fierce boar hounds hard at his haunches, encouraged by the blowing of horns and the woodland cheer of the hunters, he flew like the very wind, and had he not been encumbered with his herald's coat (the worst possible habit for a runner), he might fairly have escaped dog free; he also doubled once or twice, in a manner much approved of by the spectators. None of these, nay, not even Charles himself, was so delighted with the sport as King Louis, who, partly from political considerations, and partly as being naturally pleased with the sight of human suffering when ludicrously exhibited, laughed till the tears ran from his eyes, and in his ecstasies of rapture caught hold of the Duke's ermine cloak, as if to support himself; whilst the Duke, no less delighted, flung his arm around the King's shoulder, making thus an exhibition of confidential sympathy and familiarity, very much at variance with the terms on which they had so lately stood together. At length the speed of the pseudo herald could save him no longer from the fangs of his pursuers; they seized him, pulled him down, and would probably soon have throttled him, had not the Duke called out, "Stave and tail! -- stave and tail! [to strike the bear with a staff, and pull off the dogs by the tail, to separate them.] -- Take them off him! -- He hath shown so good a course, that, though he has made no sport at bay, we will not have him dispatched."
Several officers accordingly busied themselves in taking off the dogs; and they were soon seen coupling some up, and pursuing others which ran through the streets, shaking in sport and triumph the tattered fragments of painted cloth and embroidery rent from the tabard, which the unfortunate wearer had put on in an unlucky hour.
At this moment, and while the Duke was too much engaged with what passed before him to mind what was said behind him, Oliver le Dain, gliding behind King Louis, whispered into his ear, "It is the Bohemian, Hayraddin Maugrabin. -- It were not well he should come to speech of the Duke."
"He must die," answered Louis in the same tone, "dead men tell no tales."
One instant afterwards, Tristan l'Hermite, to whom Oliver had given the hint, stepped forward before the King and the Duke, and said, in his blunt manner, "So please your Majesty and your Grace, this piece of game is mine, and I claim him -- he is marked with my stamp -- the fleur de lis is branded on his shoulder, as all men may see. -- He is a known villain, and hath slain the King's subjects, robbed churches, deflowered virgins, slain deer in the royal parks --"
"Enough, enough," said Duke Charles, "he is my royal cousin's property by many a good title. What will your Majesty do with him?"
"If he is left to my disposal," said the King, "I will at least give him one lesson in the science of heraldry, in which he is so ignorant -- only explain to him practically the meaning of a cross potence, with a noose dangling proper."
"Not as to be by him borne, but as to bear him. -- Let him take the degrees under your gossip Tristan -- he is a deep professor in such mysteries."
Thus answered the Duke, with a burst of discordant laughter at his own wit
.... .... .... ....
"May Heaven be praised!" said Louis, "who, holding in his hand the hearts of princes, doth mercifully incline them to peace and clemency, and prevent the effusion of human blood.
"Oliver," he added apart to that favourite, who ever waited around him like the familiar beside a sorcerer, "hark thee -- tell Tristan to be speedy in dealing with yonder runagate Bohemian."
I'll take thee to the good green wood,
And make thine own hand choose the tree.

"Now God be praised, that gave us the power of laughing, and making others laugh, and shame to the dull cur who scorns the office of a jester! Here is a joke, and that none of the brightest (though it might pass, since it has amused two Princes), which hath gone farther than a thousand reasons of state to prevent a war between France and Burgundy."
.... ... .... ....
Meanwhile, as frequently happens in such cases, whilst the principal parties concerned had so far made up their differences, one of the subaltern agents concerned in their intrigues was bitterly experiencing the truth of the political maxim that if the great have frequent need of base tools, they make amends to society by abandoning them to their fate, so soon as they find them no longer useful.
Thus was Hayraddin Maugrabin, who, surrendered by the Duke's officers to the King's Provost Marshal, was by him placed in the hands of his two trusty aides de camp, Trois Eschelles and Petit Andre, to be dispatched without loss of time. One on either side of him, and followed by a few guards and a multitude of rabble -- this playing the Allegro, that the Penseroso, [the mirthful and the serious. Cf. Milton's poems by these names.] -- he was marched off (to use a modern comparison, like Garrick between Tragedy and Comedy) to the neighbouring forest; where, to save all farther trouble and ceremonial of a gibbet, and so forth, the disposers of his fate proposed to knit him up to the first sufficient tree.
They were not long in finding an oak, as Petit Andre facetiously expressed it, fit to bear such an acorn; and placing the wretched criminal on a bank, under a sufficient guard, they began their extemporaneous preparations for the final catastrophe. At that moment, Hayraddin, gazing on the crowd, encountered the eyes of Quentin Durward, who, thinking he recognized the countenance of his faithless guide in that of the detected impostor, had followed with the crowd to witness the execution, and assure himself of the identity.
When the executioners informed him that all was ready, Hayraddin, with much calmness, asked a single boon at their hands.
"Anything, my son, consistent with our office," said Trois Eschelles.
"That is," said Hayraddin, "anything but my life."
"Even so," said Trois Eschelles, "and something more, for you seem resolved to do credit to our mystery, and die like a man, without making wry mouths -- why, though our orders are to be prompt, I care not if I indulge you ten minutes longer."
"You are even too generous," said Hayraddin.
"Truly we may be blamed for it," said Petit Andre, "but what of that? -- I could consent almost to give my life for such a jerry come tumble, such a smart, tight, firm lad, who proposes to come from aloft with a grace, as an honest fellow should."
"So that if you want a confessor --" said Trois Eschelles.
"Or a lire of wine --" said his facetious companion.
"Or a psalm --" said Tragedy.
"Or a song --" said Comedy.
"Neither, my good, kind, and most expeditious friends," said the Bohemian. "I only pray to speak a few minutes with yonder Archer of the Scottish Guard."
The executioners hesitated a moment; but Trois Eschelles, recollecting that Quentin Durward was believed, from various circumstances, to stand high in the favour of their master, King Louis, they resolved to permit the interview.
When Quentin, at their summons, approached the condemned criminal, he could not but be shocked at his appearance, however justly his doom might have been deserved. The remnants of his heraldic finery, rent to tatters by the fangs of the dogs, and the clutches of the bipeds who had rescued him from their fury to lead him to the gallows, gave him at once a ludicrous and a wretched appearance. His face was discoloured with paint and with some remnants of a fictitious beard, assumed for the purpose of disguise, and there was the paleness of death upon his cheek and upon his lip; yet, strong in passive courage, like most of his tribe, his eye, while it glistened and wandered, as well as the contorted smile of his mouth, seemed to bid defiance to the death he was about to die.
Quentin was struck, partly with horror, partly with compassion, as he approached the miserable man; and these feelings probably betrayed themselves in his manner, for Petit Andre called out, "Trip it more smartly, jolly Archer. -- This gentleman's leisure cannot wait for you, if you walk as if the pebbles were eggs, and you afraid of breaking them."
"I must speak with him in privacy," said the criminal, despair seeming to croak in his accent as he uttered the words.
"That may hardly consist with our office, my merry Leap the ladder," said Petit Andre, "we know you for a slippery eel of old."
"I am tied with your horse girths, hand and foot," said the criminal. "You may keep guard around me, though out of earshot -- the Archer is your own King's servant. And if I give you ten guilders --"
"Laid out in masses, the sum may profit his poor soul," said Trois Eschelles.
"Laid out in wine or brantwein, it will comfort my poor body," responded Petit Andre. "So let them be forthcoming, my little crack rope."
"Pay the bloodhounds their fee," said Hayraddin to Durward, "I was plundered of every stiver when they took me -- it shall avail thee much."
Quentin paid the executioners their guerdon, and, like men of promise, they retreated out of hearing -- keeping, however, a careful eye on the criminal's motions. After waiting an instant till the unhappy man should speak, as he still remained silent, Quentin at length addressed him, "And to this conclusion thou hast at length arrived?"
"Ay," answered Hayraddin, "it required neither astrologer, or physiognomist, nor chiromantist to foretell that I should follow the destiny of my family."
"Brought to this early end by thy long course of crime and treachery?" said the Scot.
"No, by the bright Aldebaran and all his brother twinklers!" answered the Bohemian. "I am brought hither by my folly in believing that the bloodthirsty cruelty of a Frank could be restrained even by what they themselves profess to hold most sacred. A priest's vestment would have been no safer garb for me than a herald's tabard, however sanctimonious are your professions of devotion and chivalry."
"A detected impostor has no right to claim the immunities of the disguise he had usurped," said Durward.
"Detected!" said the Bohemian. "My jargon was as good as yonder old fool of a herald's, but let it pass. As well now as hereafter."
"You abuse time," said Quentin. "If you have aught to tell me, say it quickly, and then take some care of your soul."
"Of my soul?" said the Bohemian, with a hideous laugh. "Think ye a leprosy of twenty years can be cured in an instant? -- If I have a soul, it hath been in such a course since I was ten years old and more, that it would take me one month to recall all my crimes, and another to tell them to the priest! -- and were such space granted me, it is five to one I would employ it otherwise."
"Hardened wretch, blaspheme not! Tell me what thou hast to say, and I leave thee to thy fate," said Durward, with mingled pity and horror.
"I have a boon to ask," said Hayraddin; "but first I will buy it of you; for your tribe, with all their professions of charity, give naught for naught."
"I could well nigh say, thy gifts perish with thee," answered Quentin, "but that thou art on the very verge of eternity. -- Ask thy boon -- reserve thy bounty -- it can do me no good -- I remember enough of your good offices of old."
"Why, I loved you," said Hayraddin, "for the matter that chanced on the banks of the Cher; and I would have helped you to a wealthy dame.
.... .... .... ....," said Quentin; "yonder officers become impatient."
"Give them ten guilders for ten minutes more," said the culprit, who, like most in his situation, mixed with his hardihood a desire of procrastinating his fate, "I tell thee it shall avail thee much."
"Use then well the minutes so purchased," said Durward, and easily made a new bargain with the Marshals men.
.... .... .... ....
"You are right," said Hayraddin, after a moment's pause; "what cannot be postponed must be faced! -- Well, know then, I came hither in this accursed disguise,
.... .... .... .... to tell the King an important secret."
"It was a fearful risk," said Durward.
"It was paid for as such, and such it hath proved," answered the Bohemian.
.... .... .... ....
"Tell me thy request," said Quentin. "I will grant it if it be in my power."
"Nay, it is no mighty demand -- it is only in behalf of poor Klepper, my palfrey, the only living thing that may miss me. -- A due mile south, you will find him feeding by a deserted collier's hut; whistle to him thus" (he whistled a peculiar note), "and call him by his name, Klepper, he will come to you; here is his bridle under my gaberdine -- it is lucky the hounds got it not, for he obeys no other. Take him, and make much of him -- I do not say for his master's sake, -- but because I have placed at your disposal the event of a mighty war. He will never fail you at need -- night and day, rough and smooth, fair and foul, warm stables and the winter sky, are the same to Klepper; had I cleared the gates of Peronne, and got so far as where I left him, I had not been in this case. -- Will you be kind to Klepper?"
"I swear to you that I will," answered Quentin, affected by what seemed a trait of tenderness in a character so hardened.
"Then fare thee well!" said the criminal. "Yet stay -- stay -- I would not willingly die in discourtesy, forgetting a lady's commission. -- This billet is from the very gracious and extremely silly Lady of the Wild Boar of Ardennes, to her black eyed niece -- I see by your look I have chosen a willing messenger. -- And one word more -- I forgot to say, that in the stuffing of my saddle you will find a rich purse of gold pieces, for the sake of which I put my life on the venture which has cost me so dear. Take them, and replace a hundred fold the guilders you have bestowed on these bloody slaves -- I make you mine heir."
"I will bestow them in good works and masses for the benefit of thy soul," said Quentin.
"Name not that word again," said Hayraddin, his countenance assuming a dreadful expression; "there is -- there can be, there shall be -- no such thing! -- it is a dream of priestcraft."
"Unhappy, most unhappy being! Think better! let me speed for a priest -- these men will delay yet a little longer. I will bribe them to it," said Quentin. "What canst thou expect, dying in such opinions, and impenitent?"
"To be resolved into the elements," said the hardened atheist, pressing his fettered arms against his bosom; "my hope, trust, and expectation is that the mysterious frame of humanity shall melt into the general mass of nature, to be recompounded in the other forms with which she daily supplies those which daily disappear, and return under different forms -- the watery particles to streams and showers, the earthy parts to enrich their mother earth, the airy portions to wanton in the breeze, and those of fire to supply the blaze of Aldebaran and his brethren. -- In this faith have I lived, and I will die in it! -- Hence! begone! -- disturb me no farther! -- I have spoken the last word that mortal ears shall listen to."
Deeply impressed with the horrors of his condition, Quentin Durward yet saw that it was vain to hope to awaken him to a sense of his fearful state. He bade him, therefore, farewell, to which the criminal only replied by a short and sullen nod, as one who, plunged in reverie, bids adieu to company which distracts his thoughts. He bent his course towards the forest, and easily found where Klepper was feeding. The creature came at his call, but was for some time unwilling to be caught, snuffing and starting when the stranger approached him. At length, however, Quentin's general acquaintance with the habits of the animal, and perhaps some particular knowledge of those of Klepper, which he had often admired while Hayraddin and he travelled together, enabled him to take possession of the Bohemian's dying bequest. Long ere he returned to Peronne, the Bohemian had gone where the vanity of his dreadful creed was to be put to the final issue -- a fearful experience for one who had neither expressed remorse for the past, nor apprehension for the future!

Now compare the demise of the remorseful character in Stevenson's "Pavilion on the Links."
  AndAllThat | Oct 10, 2008 |
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Scott, Sir WalterAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Scott, Waltermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bennet, C. L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
OelkersTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The latter part of the fifteenth century prepared a train of future events that ended by raising France to that state of formidable power which has ever since been, from time to time, the principal object of jealousy to the other European nations.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0192826581, Paperback)

Quentin Durward (1823), Scott's first "European" novel, was an experiment in transferring the historical romance to foreign soil. Fifteenth-century France, the French Revolution, and contemporary Britain all come together in this sharp-eyed novel of political expediency and intrigue. The young Scottish adventurer Quentin Durward embarks upon a dangerous journey through the forest of the Ardennes seeking a name, a partner, and a position in the world. Meanwhile, the machiavellian King Louis XI of France, maneuvers his realm out of the hands of feudal barons and into centralized control--which Scott believed to characterize the modern state. This, the only edition of Quentin Durward available, includes a map of Quentin Durward's journey, an introduction, and comprehensive explanatory notes.

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