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      Author : Walter Scott

        The course of four centuries has well-nigh elapsed since the series of events which are related in the following chapters took place on the Continent. The records which contained the out lines of the history, and might be referred to as proof of its veracity, were long preserved in the superb library of the Monastery of Saint Gall, but perished, with many of the literary treasures of that establishment, when the convent was plundered by the French Revolutionary armies. The events are fixed by historical date to the middle of the fifteenth century — that important period, when chivalry still shone with a setting ray, soon about to be totally obscured; in some countries, by the establishment of free institutions, in others, by that of arbitrary power, which alike rendered useless the interference of these self-endowed redressers of wrongs, whose only warrant of authority was the sword.

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