"She is not mine to sell," the captain replied. "Lady Clare belongs to my son."
"Well, what will you take for her, then?" Garvestad repeated, swaggeringly, turning to Erik.
"Not all the gold in the world could buy her," retorted Erik, warmly.
Valders-Roan, unable to resist the charms of Lady Clare, had in the meanwhile been making some cautious overtures toward an acquaintance. He arched his mighty neck, rose on his hind legs, while his tremendous forehoofs were beating the air, and cut up generally--all for Lady Clare's benefit.
She, however, having regarded his performances for awhile with a mild and somewhat condescending interest, grew a little tired of them and looked out over the fiord, as a belle might do, with a suppressed yawn, when her cavalier fails to entertain her. Valders-Roan, perceiving the slight, now concluded to make more decided advances. So he put forward his nose until it nearly touched Lady Clare's, as if he meant to kiss her. But that was more than her ladyship was prepared to put up with. Quick as a flash she flung herself back on her haunches, down went her ears, and hers was the angriest horse's head that ever had been seen in that parish. With an indignant snort she wheeled around, kicking up a cloud of dust by the suddenness of the manoeuvre. A less skilled rider than Erik would inevitably have been thrown by two such unforeseen jerks; and the fact was he had all he could do to keep his seat.
"Oho!" shouted Garvestad, "your mare shies; she'll break your neck some day, as likely as not. You had better sell her before she gets you into trouble."
"But I shouldn't like to have your broken neck on my conscience," Erik replied; "if necks are to be broken by Lady Clare I should prefer to have it be my own."
The peasant was not clever enough to make out whether this was jest or earnest. With a puzzled frown he stared at the youth and finally broke out: