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Chapter 21
Alas, how many hours and years have past,
Since human forms have round this table sate,
Or lamp, or taper, on its surface gleam'd!
Methinks, I hear the sound of time long pass'd
Still murmuring o'er us, in the lofty void
Of these dark arches, like the ling'ring voices
Of those who long within their graves have slept.
Orra, a Tragedy
While these measures were taking in behalf of Cedric and his companions, the armed
men by whom the latter had been seized, hurried their captives along towards the place
of security, where they intended to imprison them. But darkness came on fast, and the
paths of the wood seemed but imperfectly known to the marauders. They were
compelled to make several long halts, and once or twice to return on their road to
resume the direction which they wished to pursue. The summer morn had dawned upon
them ere they could travel in full assurance that they held the right path. But confidence
returned with light, and the cavalcade now moved rapidly forward. Meanwhile, the
following dialogue took place between the two leaders of the banditti.
"It is time thou shouldst leave us, Sir Maurice," said the Templar to De Bracy, "in order
to prepare the second part of thy mystery. Thou art next, thou knowest, to act the Knight
"I have thought better of it," said De Bracy; "I will not leave thee till the prize is fairly
deposited in Front-de-Boeuf's castle. There will I appear before the Lady Rowena in
mine own shape, and trust that she will set down to the vehemence of my passion the
violence of which I have been guilty."
"And what has made thee change thy plan, De Bracy?" replied the Knight Templar.
"That concerns thee nothing," answered his companion.
"I would hope, however, Sir Knight," said the Templar, "that this alteration of measures
arises from no suspicion of my honourable meaning, such as Fitzurse endeavoured to
instil into thee?"
"My thoughts are my own," answered De Bracy; "the fiend laughs, they say, when one
thief robs another; and we know, that were he to spit fire and brimstone instead, it would
never prevent a Templar from following his bent."
"Or the leader of a Free Company," answered the Templar, "from dreading at the hands
of a comrade and friend, the injustice he does to all mankind."