A FAERIE ROMANCE. 67
Then a flush, as of shame, covered all of his face that the Hfted beaver disclosed. He returned my greeting with distant courtesy, and passed on. But suddenly, he reined up, sat a moment still, and then turning his horse, rode back to where I stood looking after him.
" I am ashamed," he said, " to appear a knight, and in such a guise; but it behoves me to tell you to take warning from me, lest the same evil, in his kind, overtake the singer that has befallen the knight. Hast thou ever read the story of Sir Percival and the " (here he shuddered, that his armour rang)— " Maiden of the Alder-tree ?"
" In part, I have," said I; T for yesterday, at the entrance of this forest, I found in a cottage the volume wherein it is recorded."
" Then take heed," he rejoined; " for, see my armour;—I put it off; and as it befel to him, so has it befallen to me. I that was proud am humble now. Yet is she terribly beautiful—beware. Never," he added, raising his head, " shall this armour be furbished, but by the blows of knightly encounter, until the last speck has disappeared from every spot where the battle-axe and sword of evil-doers, or noble foes, might fall; when I shall again lift my head, and say