travel; but the elastic limbs of the noble animal displayed no weariness, for only by a tight rein was he restrained from outstripping the pace of a beautiful jennet that cantered by his side.

Striking indeed was the contrast between the delicate limbs of the latter, and the muscular proportions of the destrier, but not greater than that presented by their respective riders ; for it was evidently a female form that the wide and hooded cloak of black serge enveloped, which, though it concealed the age, rank, and personal advantages or disadvantages of the wearer, was unable to deprive her of that gracefulness of motion and outline, which no robes can confer nor take away. Seated on a stout palfrey of less symmetrical form, another female, apparently an attendant, followed the pair; and then came two troopers, wearing plain cuirasses and steel morions, armed with ponderous swords and battle-axes, and, instead of the knightly lance, carrying stout and heavy spears. Each of them held the bridle of a laden sumpter mule, and to one was entrusted the charge of the knight's deviceless shield. About fifty yards in advance rode another individual, whose armour, greatly superior to that of the troopers, yet varying in many particulars from the knight's glittering mail, denoted the gallant and devoted squire : he was the scout of the party.

Brief conversations were sometimes indulged in by the travellers, when the state of the unbeaten path compelled them to slacken their pace; though silence for the most part accompanied a journey evidently undertaken in haste and apprehension. On one of these occasions, the knight addressing his gentle companion, said, “ I begin to think, my child, we might as well have waited for the arriero, and have taken with him the beaten track ; these repeated delays will deprive us of all the advantages we had hoped to gain by our shortened route.” But, my father, the chances of being pursued—” murmured a low and musical voice from the folds

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wonted impatience blinds me still.


l'faith, they will never dream of following the road we have chosen. But perceivest thou not, my love, that if on reaching the foot of yon sierra, we have not time to procure a guide, and ascend the mountain before the arrival of the mule-train, all our exertions may have been fruitless ?"

The lady sighed deeply, and the knight giving his steed the rein, soon overtook the man in advance. “ How long will it be, Perez,” he exclaimed, “ere we reach yon mountain range The keen dark eyes of the person addressed

cast forward with a hasty, calculating glance, and after a moment's pause he replied, “At this pace, señor, we shall scarce reach it before sunset.”

“Ah !_such are mine own fears! One clear hour in the mountains before the sun goes down, will be necessary to enable us, even with a skilful guide, to reach the convent of San Martinha ere nightfall.” The knight wheeled round his horse, and shouted to the troopers,—“ Push on



those lingering mules, their tardy pace delays

us all !”

As he gave the order, the lady, who now overtook him, marked his flushed countenance. “O, my father,” she exclaimed, “suffer me to unlace thine helmet; no sudden danger can assail us whilst we thus command so wide an extent around, and on any alarm thou wilt have ample time to resume it."

Thy counsel is good, Inez; and I confess myself effeminate enough to be thankful of the change.” The ready attendants were immediately at his side, and as the heavy helmet was committed to the care of one of the troopers, and its place supplied by a chaperon or hood of brown silk, lined and slightly trimmed with velvet, the knight observed,—“Surely it must be far more the excitement of my mind than the heat, which, though sultry, makes my brain throb thus painfully. Often have I marched at the head of my troopers beneath a far more burning sun, without heeding its consequences; and though some years have since elapsed, I feel scarcely less capable of exertion now than I did then."

The brief delay was more than atoned for by the relief it conferred on the veteran. The travellers once more resumed their journey, but though the mules were urged to their utmost speed, the horses were still compelled to tame down their haughty steps, or leave their less fleet companions far behind.

Once or twice the lady implored her father to fly to the mountains, and leave herself to follow with the attendants, but he would not listen to

proposal ; and commending themselves to heaven, they continued to advance at what speed


they might.

Another anxious hour, and they had reached the broken and hilly district which extends for some miles at the foot of the sierra; and now the scout, checking his horse, held for a few moments an earnest conference with his lord, pointing the while towards the mountain range;

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