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demand who was at his chamber-door at that time of the night? And anon he was answered by a voice that said, “I am here."
Quoth the knight, “Who sent thee hither?”
“The clerk of Catalonia sent me hither," quoth the voice, “to whom thou dost great wrong; for thou hast taken from him the rights of his benefice. I will not leave thee in rest till thou hast made him a good accompt, so that he be pleased.”
Quoth the knight, “ What is thy name, that art so good a messenger ?” “I am called Orthon.”
“Orthon,” quoth the knight, “the service of a clerk is little profit for thee: he will put thee to much pain if thou believe him; I pray thee leave him, and come and serve me, and I shall give thee good thanks.”
The spirit was ready to answer, for it was in love with the knight, and said, “Wouldst thou fain have my service ?”
“ Yea, truly," quoth the knight, “ so thou do no hurt to any person in this house."
“No more I will do," quoth Orthon, “for I have no power to do any i other evil, but to awake thee out of thy sleep, or some other."
6 Well,” quoth the knight, “ do as I tell thee, and we shall soon agree, and leave the evil clerk; for there is no good thing in him, but to put thee to pain; therefore come and serve me.”
"Well,” quoth Orthon, “and since thou wilt have me, we are agreed."
So this spirit loved so the knight, that oftentimes it would come and visit him while he lay in his bed asleep; and either pull him by the ear, or else strike at his chamber-door or window to awake him. And when the knight awoke, then he would say, “ Orthon, let me sleep."
“Nay," quoth the spirit, “ that will I not do till I have showed thee such tidings as are fallen of late.”
The lady, the knight's wife, would be so sore afraid that her hair would stand up; and she would hide herself under the clothes. Then the knight would say, “ Why, what tidings hast thou brought me?”
Quoth Orthon, “I am come out of England, or out of Hungary, or some other place; and yesterday I came thence, and such things are fallen, or such other."
So thus the Lord of Corasse knew by Orthon every thing that was done in any part of the world. And in this case he continued a five years, and could not keep his own counsel, but at last discovered it to the Count of Foix. I shall show you how.
The first year the Lord of Corasse came on a day to Orthes to the Count of Foix, and said to him—“Sir, such things are done in England, or in Scotland, or in Germany, or in any other country.” And ever the Count of Foix found his sayings true, and had great marvel how he should know such things so shortly. And on a time the Count of Foix examined him so straitly, that the Lord of Corasse showed him alto
gether how he knew it, and how the spirit had come to him first. When the Count of Foix heard that, he was joyful, and said, “Sir of Corasse, keep the spirit well in your love. I would I had such a messenger ; it costeth you nothing, and ye know by it every thing that is done in the world.” The knight answered and said, “ Sir, that is true.” Thus the Lord of Corasse was served with Orthon a long season.
I cannot say whether this spirit had any more masters or not, but every week, twice or thrice, it would come and visit the Lord of Corasse, and would show him such tidings of anything that was fallen, from where it came. And ever the Lord of Corasse, when he knew of any thing, he wrote thereof ever to the Count of Foix, who had great joy thereof; for he was the lord in the world that most desired to hear news out of strange places. And on a time the Lord of Corasse was with the Count of Foix; and the count demanded of him, and said, “Sir of Corasse, did ye ever as yet see your messenger ?”
“Nay, surely, Sir," quoth the knight, "nor I never desired it."
"That is marvel,” quoth the count, “and if I were as well acquainted with the spirit as ye be, I would have desired to have seen it: wherefore I pray you desire of it, and then tell me what form and fashion it is of. I have heard you say how it speaketh as good Gascon as either you or I.”
"Truly, Sir," quoth the knight, “so it is. Orthon speaketh as well and as fair as any of us both do; and surely, Sir, since ye counsel me, I shall do my pain to see it, an I can.”
And so, on a night, as he lay in his bed with the lady his wife, who was só used to hear Orthon that she was no more afraid of it; then came Orthon and pulled the lord by the ear, who was fast asleep, and therewith he awoke, and asked who was there? “I am here," quoth Orthon. Then he demanded, “From whence comest thou now?”
“I come," quoth Orthon, “from Prague, in Bohemia." “How far is that hence ?” quoth the knight. "A threescore days' journey." “And art thou come thence so soon ?” “ Yea, truly," replied Orthon, “I come as fast as the wind, or faster.” “Hast thou then wings?” quoth the knighta “Nay, truly.” “How canst thou fly so fast ?” “ Ye have nothing to do to know that,” quoth Orthon.
“No,” quoth the knight, “I would gladly see thee to know what form thou art of."
Quoth Orthon, “ Ye have nothing to do to know; it sufficeth you to hear me, and I to show you tidings."
“In faith," quoth the knight, “I would love thee much better, an I might see thee once.”
“Well, Sir," quoth Orthon,“ since ye have so great a desire to see me,
the first thing that ye see to-morrow when ye rise out of your bed, the same shall be I.”
“ That is sufficient,” quoth the lord ; “go thy way. I give thee leave to depart for this night."
And the next morning the lord rose, and the lady his wife was so afraid that she durst not rise, but feigned herself sick, and said she would not rise. Her husband would have had her to have risen,—“Sir,” quoth she, “ then I shall see the spirit; and I would not see it by my good will."
66 Well," quoth the knight, “ I would gladly see it ;” and so he arose fair and early out of his bed, and sat down on his bed-side, expecting to have seen Orthon in his own proper form ; but he saw nothing whereby | he might say—“ Lo, yonder is Orthon!”
So that day passed and the next night came; and when the knight was in his bed, Orthon came and began to speak, as it was accustomed. “Go thy way," quoth the knight, “ thou art but a liar. Thou promisedst that I should have seen thee, and it was not so."
“ No?” quoth Orthon, “and I yet showed myself to thee." “ That is not so," quoth the lord.
“Why," quoth Orthon, “when you rose out of your bed, saw you nothing ?”
Then the lord studied a little, and advised himself well. “Yes, truly," saith the knight; “now I remember me, as I sat on my bed's side, thinking on thee, I saw two straws, on the pavement, tumbling one upon the other.”
" That same was I,” quoth Orthon, “ into that form did I put myself as then.”
“ That is not enough for me," quoth the lord; “I pray thee put thyself into some other form, that I may better see and know thee."
“Well,” quoth Orthon, “ye will do so much that ye will lose me, and I go from you, for you desire too much of me.”
“Nay,” quoth the knight, “thou shalt not go from me; let me see thee once, and I will desire no more."
“ Well,” quoth Orthon, “ye shall see me to-morrow; take heed the first thing that ye see after ye be out of your chamber, it shall be I.”
“Well,” quoth the knight, “I am then content; go thy way, let me sleep.”
And so Orthon departed; and the next morning the lord arose, and issued out of the chamber, and went to a window, and looked down into the court of the castle, and cast about his eyes. And the first thing he saw was a sow, the greatest that ever he saw; and she seemed to be so lean and evil-favoured that there was nothing on her but the skin and the bones, with long ears, and a long lean snout. The Lord of Corasse had marvel of that lean sow, and was weary of the sight of her, and commanded his men to fetch his hounds; and said, “Let the dogs hunt
her to death, and devour her.” His servants opened the kennels and let out his hounds, and did set them on this sow. And at the last the sow made a great cry, and looked up to the Lord of Corasse, as he looked out at a window; and so suddenly vanished away, no man wist how. Then the Lord of Corasse entered into his chamber right pensive, and then he remembered him of Orthon his messenger, and said, “I repent me that I set my hounds on the sow; it is an adventure an ever I hear any more of the spirit; for it said to me oftentimes that if I displeased it I should hear its voice no more.”
The lord said truth, for never after did it come into the castle of Corasse; and also the knight died the same year next following.
“Lo, Sir," quoth the squire, " thus I have showed you the life of the Spirit Orthon, and how a season it served the Lord of Corasse with new tidings.”
“It is true, Sir," quoth I, “but now to your first purpose. Is the Count of Foix served with such a messenger ?”
“Surely," quoth the squire, “it is the imagination of many that he hath such messengers, for there is nothing done in any place but an he set his mind thereto he will know it, and that when men think least thereof. And so did he when the good knights and squires of this country were slain in Portugal. Some say the knowledge of such things hath done him much profit, for an there be but the value of a spoon lost in his house, anon he will know where it is.”
So then I took leave of the squire, and went to other company, but I I bare well away his tale.
A BALLAD, BY JOHN LEYDEN.
[Sir Walter Scott has published this Ballad in his “Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border ;' and he suggests that the idea of Lord Soulis's familiar, who is called 'Red-cap,' is derived from the very quaint story from Froissart, which we have just given. The following remarks are from the Introduction to the ballad by Sir Walter Scott :
“ The subject of the following ballad is a popular tale of the Scottish Borders. It refers to transactions of a period so important, as to have left an indelible impression in the popular mind, and almost to have effaced the traditions of earlier times. The fame of Arthur, and the Knights of the Round Table, always more illustrious among the Scottish Borderers, from their Welsh origin, than Fin Maccoul, and Gow Macmorne, who seem not, however, to have been totally unknown, yielded gradually to the renown of Wallace, Bruce, Douglas, and the other patriots who so nobly asserted the liberty of their country. Beyond that period, numerous, but obscure and varying legends, refer to the marvellous Merlin, or Myrrdin, the Wild, and Michael Scott, both magicians of notorious fame. In this instance the enchanters have triumphed over the true man. But the charge of magic was transferred from the ancient sorcerers to the objects of popular resentment of every age; and the partisans of the Baliols, the abettors of the English faction, and the enemies of the Protestant and of the Presbyterian reformation, have been indiscriminately stigmatised as necromancers and warlocks. Thus, Lord Soulis, Arch. bishop Sharp, Grierson of Lagg, and Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, receive from tradition the same supernatural attributes. Acccording to Dalrymple, the family of Soulis seems to have been powerful during the contest between Bruce and Baliol ; for adhering to the latter of whom they incurred forfeiture.
“The hero of tradition seems to be William Lord Soulis. He appears to have possessed the whole district of Liddesdale, with Westerkirk and Kirkandrews, in Dumfries-shire, the lands of Gilmertoun near Edinburgh, and the rich baronies of Nisbet, Longnewton, Caverton, Maxtoun, and Mertoun, in Roxburghshire. He was of royal descent, being the grandson of Nicholas de Soulis, who c'aimed the crown of Scotland, in right of his grandmother, daughter to Alexander II.; and who, could her legitimacy have been ascertained, must have excluded the other competitors. The elder brother of William was John de Soulis, a gallant warrior, warmly attached to the interests of his country, who, with fifty Borderers, defeated