Isen. The first of his peevish fancies was, that she should eat nothing which was not honestly and peaceably come by.
Wal. Why, I heard that you too had joined that sect.
Isen. And more fool I. But ladies are bound to set an example— while they are not bound to ask where everything comes from: with her, poor child, scruples and starvation were her daily diet; meal after meal she rose from table empty, unless the Landgrave nodded and winked her to some lawful eatable; till she that used to take her food like an angel, without knowing it, was thinking from morning to night whether she might eat this, that, or the other.
Wal. Poor Eves! if the world leaves you innocent, the Church will not. Between the devil and the director, you are sure to get your share of the apples of knowledge.
Isen. True enough. She complained to Conrad of her scruples, and he told her, that by the law was the knowledge of sin.
Wal. But what said Lewis?
Isen. As much bewitched as she, sir. He has told her, and more than her, that were it not for the laughter and ill-will of his barons, he would join her in the same abstinence. But all this is child’s play to the friar’s last outbreak.
Wal. Ah! the sermon which you all forgot, when the Marchioness of Misnia came suddenly? I heard that war had been proclaimed on that score; but what terms of peace were concluded?
Isen. Terms of peace! Do you call it peace to be delivered over to his nuns’ tender mercies, myself and Guta, as well as our lady,—as if we had been bond-slaves and blackamoors?
Wal. You need not have submitted.
Isen. What! could I bear to see my poor child wandering up and down, wringing her hands like a mad woman—I who have lived for no one else this sixteen years? Guta talked sentiment—called it a glorious cross, and so forth.—I took it as it came.
Wal. And got no quarter, I’ll warrant.
Isen. Don’t talk of it—my poor back tingles at the thought.
Wal. The sweet Saints think every woman of the world no better than she should be; and without meaning to be envious, owe you all a grudge for past flirtations. As I am a knight, now it’s over, I like you all the better for it.
Wal. When I see a woman who will stand by her word, and two who will stand by their mistress. And the monk, too—there’s mettle in him. I took him for a canting carpet-haunter; but be sure, the man who will bully his own patrons has an honest purpose in him, though it bears strange fruit on this wicked hither-side of the grave. Now, my fair nymph of the birchen-tree, use your interest to find me supper and lodging; for your elegant squires of the trencher look surly on me here: I am the prophet who has no honour in his own country. [Exeunt.]