The good countess, who in silent grief had beheld her son’s danger, and had even dreaded that the suspicion of his having destroyed his wife might possibly be true, finding her dear Helena, whom she loved with even a maternal affection, was still living, felt a delight she was hardly able to support; and the king, scarce believing for joy that it was Helena, said, “Is this indeed the wife of Bertram that I see?” Helena, feeling herself yet an unacknowledged wife, replied, “No, my good lord, it is but the shadow of a wife you see, the name and not the thing.” Bertram cried out, “Both, both! O pardon!” “O my lord,” said Helena, “when I personated this fair maid, I found you wondrous kind; and look, here is your letter!” reading to him in a joyful tone those words, which she had once repeated so sorrowfully, When from my finger you can get this ring—“This is done, it was to me you gave the ring. Will you be mine, now you are doubly won?” Bertram replied, “If you can make it plain that you were the lady I talked with that night, I will love you dearly, ever, ever dearly.” This was no difficult task, for the widow and Diana came with Helena purposely to prove this fact; and the king was so well pleased with Diana, for the friendly assistance she had rendered the dear lady he so truly valued for the service she had done him, that he promised her also a noble husband: Helena’s history giving him a hint that it was a suitable reward for kings to bestow upon fair ladies when they perform notable services.
Thus Helena at last found that her father’s legacy was indeed sanctified by the luckiest stars in heaven; for she was now the beloved wife of her dear Bertram, the daughter-in-law of her noble mistress, and herself the countess of Rossilion.
(By Mary Lamb)
Katherine, the shrew, was the eldest daughter of Baptista, a rich gentleman of Padua. She was a lady of such an ungovernable spirit and fiery temper, such a loud-tongued scold, that she was known in Padua by no other name than Katherine the Shrew. It seemed very unlikely, indeed impossible, that any gentleman would ever be found who would venture to marry this lady, and therefore Baptista was much blamed for deferring his consent to many excellent offers that were made to her gentle sister Bianca, putting off all Bianca’s suitors with this excuse, that when the eldest sister was fairly off his hands, they should have free leave to address young Bianca.
It happened however that a gentleman, named Petruchio, came to Padua, purposely to look out for a wife, who, nothing discouraged by these reports of Katherine’s temper, and hearing she was rich and handsome, resolved upon marrying this famous termagant, and taming her into a meek and manageable wife. And truly none was so fit to set about this herculean labour as Petruchio, whose spirit was as high as Katherine’s, and