Two immense oaken doors at the south side of the hall were flung open, and through them was discerned the large space forming the palace yard, prepared as a tilting-ground, where the new-made knights were to prove their skill.
My column in the paper was often a tilting-ground, and whether or no I inflicted wounds that amounted to much, I received some that long rankled. A home such as yonder woman might make would be a better solace than newspaper files. Such lips as these might easily draw the poison from any wound the world could make.
They hastened to do her bidding, and when the place was competed to her liking, she went down into it and they pitched her there a great pavilion, wherein the chairs of the Amirs were set in their order. Then she bade spread in the tilting-ground tables with all manner rich meats and ordered the grandees to eat.
They did as she bade them, and when came the first day of the next month, Zumurrud went down into the tilting-ground and the crier proclaimed aloud, saying, 'Ho, all ye people, great and small, whoso openeth shop or house or magazine shall straightway be hanged over his own door; for it behoves you all to come and eat of the king's banquet. Then they laid the tables and the people came in troops; so she bade them sit down at the tables and eat their fill of all the dishes.
It broke at length and he died, bequeathing his old 'prentice his trade and all his wealth, and solemnly charging him with his last breath to revenge his child if ever he who had worked her misery crossed his path in life again. From the time of Alice's flight, the tilting-ground, the fields, the fencing-school, the summer-evening sports, knew Hugh no more. His spirit was dead within him.
Who cannot recall the sweet illusions of those tripping youthful years, when, for the first time, Sir William Wallace strode so gallantly with waving plume and glittering falchion down the pages of Miss Porter, when sweet Helen Mar wasted herself in love for the hero, when the sun-browned Ivanhoe dashed so grandly into that famous tilting-ground near to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, and brought the wicked Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert to a reckoning, when we wished the disinherited knight better things than the cold love of the passionless Rowena, and sighed over the fate of poor Fergus MacIvor?
'Tis a knightly weapon, and a knight should at least know how to use it well. There is a piece of ground but a quarter of a mile away that I have been looking at, and find that it will make a good tilting-ground, and I will teach you all that I know in the matter."
Then she made him drink wine and eat fowls, and thus she did with him for a whole month, till he regained strength and setting out, journeyed without ceasing till he arrived at Zumurrud's city, when he went to the tilting-ground and sitting down before the dish of sweet rice, put out his hand to eat of it.
On the tilting-ground of the castle the fishermen had gathered, sixteen hundred strong. There were trawlers among them, Manx, Irish, and English, prowling through the crowd, and scooping up the odds and ends of gossip as their boats on the bottom scraped up the little fish. Occasionally they were observed by the herring-fishers, and then there were high words and free fights.
The Bordeaux lists were, as has already been explained, situated upon the plain near the river upon those great occasions when the tilting-ground in front of the Abbey of St. Andrew's was deemed to be too small to contain the crowd. On the eastern side of this plain the country-side sloped upwards, thick with vines in summer, but now ridged with the brown bare enclosures.