Page:Idalia, by 'Ouida'.djvu/17

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9
THE BORDER EAGLE

A shadow swept over the face of the golden eagle's foe as he whistled his dogs, and led the way for his guests over the moor, talking with the Duke. Vane caught the look, and smiled to himself; he thought it was because the ruined gentleman shrank from taking them to his beggered home and his unluxurious table; he erred for once. Such a petty pride was wholly impossible to the bold Border blood of Erceldoune; he would have taken them to a garret quite as cordially as to a mansion; he would have given them, Arab-like, the half of all he had with frank hospitality if that all had been only an oaten cake, and would never have done himself such mean dishonour as to measure his worth by the weight of his plate, the number of his wines, or the costliness of his soups.

True, the world, he knew well enough, only appraised men by the wealth that was in their pockets; but the world's dictum was not his deity, and with its social heart-burnings his own wandering, athletic, adventurous, and hardy life had never had much to do. He loved the saddle better than the drawing rooms, and mountain and moorland better than the lust of fame or gold.

It was not more than half a mile to the King's Rest, as the sole relic of the feudal glories of the