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Were Richard of England himself to wound the honour of a knight as poor as I am, he could not, by the law of chivalry, deny him the combat.'' ``Methinks I should like to look upon so strange a scene,'' said the Emir, ``in which a leathern belt and a pair of spurs put the poorest on a level with the most powerful.'' ``You must add free blood and a fearless heart,'' said the Christian; ``then, perhaps, you will not have spoken untruly of the dignity of knighthood.'' ``And mix you as boldly amongst the females of your chiefs and leaders?'' asked the Saracen. ``God forbid,'' said the Knight of the Leopard, ``that the poorest Knight in Christendom should not be free, in all honourable service, to devote his hand and sword, the fame of his actions, and the fixed devotion of his heart, to the fairest princess who ever wore coronet on her brow!'' ``But a little while since,'' said the Saracen, ``and you described love as the highest treasure of the heart---thine hath undoubtedly been highly and nobly bestowed?'' ``Stranger,'' answered the Christian, blushing deeply as he spoke, ``we tell not rashly where it is we have bestowed our choicest treasures---it is enough for thee to know, that, as thou sayest, my love is highly and nobly bestowed---most highly--- most nobly; but if thou wouldst hear of love and broken lances, venture thyself, as thou sayest, to the Camp of the Crusaders, and thou wilt find exercise for thine ears, and, if thou wilt, for thy hands too.'' The Eastern warrior, raising himself in his stirrups, and shaking aloft his lance, replied, ``Hardly, I fear, shall I find one with a crossed shoulder, who will exchange with me the cast of the jerrid.'' ``I will not promise for that,'' replied the Knight, ``though there be in the camp certain Spaniards, who have right good skill in your Eastern game of hurling the javelin.'' ``Dogs and sons of dogs!'' ejaculated the Saracen; ``what have these Spaniards to do to come hither to combat the true believers, who, in their own land, are their lords and task-masters? with them I would mix in no warlike pastime.'' ``Let not the knights of Leon or Asturias hear you speak thus of them,'' said the Knight of the Leopard; ``but,'' added he, smiling at the recollection of the morning's combat, ``if, instead of a reed, you were inclined to stand the cut of a battle-axe, there are enough of western warriors who would gratify your longing.'' ``By the beard of my father, sir,'' said the Saracen, with an approach to laughter, ``the game is too rough for mere sport--- I will never shun them in battle, but my head'' (pressing his hand to his brow) ``will not, for a while, permit me to seek them in sport.'' ``I would you saw the axe of King Richard,'' answered the western warrior, ``to which that which hangs at my saddlebow weighs but as a feather.'' ``We hear much of that island sovereign,'' said the Saracen, ``art thou one of his subjects?'' ``One of his followers I am, for this expedition,'' answered the Knight, ``and honoured in the service; but not born his subject, although a native of the island in which he reigns.'' ``How mean you?'' said the Eastern soldier; ``have you then two kings in one poor island?'' ``As thou sayest,'' said the Scot, for such was Sir Kenneth by birth,---``It is even so; and yet, although the inhabitants of the two extremities of that island are engaged in frequent war, the country can, as thou seest, furnish forth such a body of men-at-arms, as may go far to shake the unholy hold which your master hath laid on the cities of Zion.'' ``By the beard of Saladin, Nazarene, but that it is a thoughtless and boyish folly, I could laugh at the simplicity of your great Sultan, who comes hither to make conquests of deserts and rocks, and dispute the possession of them with those who have tenfold numbers at command, while he leaves a part of his narrow islet, in which he was born a sovereign, to the dominion of another sceptre than his.
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