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'Twas midnight. In the halls of Wyseby the
brave and the faithful were assembled ; rude men —
rude in manners — rude in speech ; but strong — true-
hearted — dauntless. The chief entered ; each war-
rior, rising, bowed to his leader. The wine-cup
circles ; anon, quaint jests — bursts of rude song —
tales of wild exploits. A light foot approaches ; all
are silent. The door of the hall opens ; serene in her
majestic beauty, Catharine enters. Gracefully she
bows to the circle of admiring warriors ; then j^asses
slowly forward to a seat by the side of her brother.
At this moment a page entered. " A minstrel,"
said he, kneeling before the chief, " for the love of
the joyous craft, craves the hospitality of your halls."
" Ever welcome to the halls of Wyseby," cried the
chief, " are the aged and the weary ; and," continued
he, addressing his retainers, " but for the voice of
song, vain were our deeds in war. Old man, thou
art right welcome," he cried, turning to the harper,
who at that moment entered the hall.
He was a strange-looking man that minstrel. In
stature beyond the common height ; erect as though
the vigour of twenty summers circled in his veins.
Long grey hair flowing on his shoulders ; beard
grey, descending to his bosom. His person enve-
loped in a coarse grey cloak, and suspended from his

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