Page:Female Prose Writers of America.djvu/352

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314
MARY E. HEWITT.

upon the moonlit scene, and thinking with a dread foreboding of the morrow, which might separate her for ever from the one she loved, and consign her to a hateful existence with Conrigh.

The walls of the apartment were hung with tapestry representing the landing of Heremon and Heber, and the contests of the Danonians with their Milesian invaders. The floor was strewn with fresh rushes, and the few articles of furniture scattered throughout the room, were as rude in design and workmanship as the age to which they belonged. An embroidery frame was placed in one corner, and near it a small harp, such as was used by ladies of the time, rested against a low table.

Without the tower lay the moonlit sward, the glittering river winding away among the woody hills, the rude castle of the chieftain, and the mud hovel of the peasant, where from the windows of each gleamed out the festal torch and the fire light.

But the sound of mirth had ceased in the palace of Tara, and the lights had gone out one by one from the distant dwellings, and still Brehilda sat at the narrow window, communing with her own sad heart. She was very beautiful as she sat there in her grief, with her fair hair, that had escaped from its fillet, falling in ripples of gold over her green, embroidered kirtle almost to the border of the white garment beneath it. Her small hands clasped, rested upon her lap, and her full blue eyes were turned tearfully upward, as if she were invoking the One great Principle of the universe, whose worship the Druids taught, to strengthen the arm of her lover and save her from the fate she would rather die than meet. The moon was now slowly descending behind the distant hills, and all nature reposed in silence, when the strings of a harp lightly touched, sounded from a grove not far off, and a full, manly voice sang the following words:


Doubt not my steed—he hath breasted the water,
    When the torrent came down from the hills in its might;
And with white, flowing mane, deeply reddened in slaughter,
    He hath borne me in battle, nor shrank from the fight.
Doubt not my lance—a young mountain scion,
    It grew ’mid the storm, rooted fast to the rock;