spurs jingling, horns braying, falcons at their wrists. Sometimes brawny followers of the visiting chiefs swaggered past in groups, and the boy could hear their shouting and laughter as they held drinking-bouts in the hostelry near by. Occasionally their rough voices would grow rougher, and an arrow would fly past the door; or there would be a clash of weapons, followed by a groan.
One day, as Alwin sat looking out, his chin resting in his hand, his elbow on his knee, his attention was caught by two riders winding swiftly down a hill-path on the right. At first, one was only a blur of gray and the other a flame of scarlet; they disappeared behind a grove of aspens, then reappeared nearer, and he could make out a white beard on the gray figure and a veil of golden hair above the scarlet kirtle. What hair for a boy, even the noblest born! It was the custom of all free men to wear their locks uncut; but this golden mantle! Yet could it be a girl? Did a girl ever wear a helmet like a silver bowl, and a kir