The Black Douglas
"Clink the strokes strongly and featly, Malise, for to-morrow, when the Black Douglas rides upon Black Darnaway under the eyes of--well--of the ladies whom the ambassadors are bringing to greet me, there must be no stumbling and no mistakes. Or on the head of Malise MacKim the matter shall be, and let that wight remember that the Douglas does not keep a dule tree up there by the Gallows Slock for nothing."
The mighty smith was by this time examining the hoofs of the Earl's charger one by one with such instinctive delicacy of touch that Darnaway felt the kindly intent, and, bending his neck about, blew and snuffled into the armourer's tangled mat of crisp grey hair.
"Up there!" exclaimed MacKim, as the warm breath tickled his neck, and at the burst of sound the steed shifted and clattered upon the hard-beaten floor of the smithy, tossing his head till the bridle chains rang again.
"Eh, my Lord William," an altered voice came from t