He was a base and a cruel knight,
As ever my two eyes did see;
And all that he did, and all that he said,
It was by the might of glamourye.
But yet his gear was o' the goude
As it waved and wampished in the wind;
And the coal-black steed he rode upon,
It was fleeter than the bonny hind.
_Ballad of Sir Colin Brand._
The distance from Melrose to the castle of Aikwood being only about nine
English miles, our party came in view of it before sun-set. It was one
of those dead calm winter evenings, not uncommon at that season, when
the slightest noise is heard at a distance, and the echoes are all
As they drew near to the huge dark-looking pile, silence prevailed among
them more and more. All was so still that even that beautiful valley
seemed a waste. There was no hind whistling at the plough; no cattle
nor sheep grazing on the holms of Aikwood; no bustle of servants,
kinsmen, or their grooms, as at the castles of other knights. It seemed
as if the breath of the enchanter, or his eye, had been infectious, and
had withered all within its influence, whether of vegetable, animal, or
human life. The castle itself scarcely seemed to be the abode of man;
the massy gates were all locked; no porter was in attendance; and there
was only one small piping smoke issuing from one of the turrets.
"Gude faith! callans," said Charlie, "that's a douth and an awsome
looking bigging. I wish we were fairly in, and safely out again."
"Is that now to be my residence, Yardbire?" said the beautiful Delany.
"Will you go away, and leave Elias and me in that frightsome and
desolate looking mansion?"