"No," she answered; "Ellen is afraid to mount the ladder.
Ellen brought him one of her dust-caps, and went into contortions of mirth, which she found it impossible to control, when she saw him put it on before the mirror as grotesquely as he could.
"Ellen can manage the rest." She kept the young woman occupied in the drawing-room, unwilling to be left alone with Arobin.
So he told them how he had come from York to the sweet vale of Rother, traveling the country through as a minstrel, stopping now at castle, now at hall, and now at farmhouse; how he had spent one sweet evening in a certain broad, low farmhouse, where he sang before a stout franklin and a maiden as pure and lovely as the first snowdrop of spring; how he had played and sung to her, and how sweet Ellen o' the Dale had listened to him and had loved him.
Next he told how her father had discovered what was a-doing, and had taken her away from him so that he never saw her again, and his heart was sometimes like to break; how this morn, only one short month and a half from the time that he had seen her last, he had heard and knew it to be so, that she was to marry old Sir Stephen of Trent, two days hence, for Ellen's father thought it would be a grand thing to have his daughter marry so high, albeit she wished it not; nor was it wonder that a knight should wish to marry his own sweet love, who was the most beautiful maiden in all the world.
"Then give me thy hand, Allan," cried Robin, "and let me tell thee, I swear by the bright hair of Saint AElfrida that this time two days hence Ellen a Dale shall be thy wife.
"I'm generally so tied down; but I met the Countess Ellen in Madison Square, and she was good enough to let me walk home with her."
"Ah--I hope the house will be gayer, now that Ellen's here!" cried Mrs.
'Ellen, how long will it be before I can walk to the top of those hills?
'Aha, Ellen!' she cried, gaily, jumping up and running to my side.
He sprang eagerly forward, and at the next instant stood at the side of Ellen Wade.
I wish it was hot noon, now, grand'ther; and that there was an acre or two of your white swans or of black feathered ducks going south, over our heads; you or Ellen, here, might set your heart on the finest in the flock, and my character against a horn of powder, that the bird would be hanging head downwards, in five minutes, and that too, with a single ball.