If she could have found any reproach in his eyes during the ensuing silence, she could have borne it; but there was only love. And with all that, he smiled like one who knew the upshot of this matter.
A man-at-arms came into the room. “Germain—” said Katharine, and then again, “Germain—” She gave a swallowing motion and was silent. When she spoke it was with crisp distinctness. “Germain, fetch a harp. Messire Alain here is about to play for me.”
At the man’s departure she said: “I am very pitiably weak. Need you have dragged my soul, too, in the dust? God heard my prayer, and you have forced me to deny His favor, as Peter denied Christ. My dear, be very kind to me, for I come to you naked of honor.” She fell at the King’s feet, embracing his knees. “My master, be very kind to me, for there remains only your love.”
He raised her to his breast. “Love is enough,” he said.
She was conscious, as he held her thus, of the chain mail under his jerkin. He had come armed; he had his soldiers no doubt in the corridor; he had tricked her, it might be from the first. But that did not matter now.
“Love is enough,” she told her master docilely.
Next day the English entered Troyes and in the cathedral church these two were betrothed. Henry was there magnificent in a curious suit of burnished armor; in place of his helmet-plume he wore a fox-brush ornamented with jewels, which unusual ornament afforded great matter of remark among the busybodies of both armies.
THE END OF THE TENTH NOVEL
“Et je fais scavoir a tous lecteurs
de ce Livret que les choses que
je dis avoir vues et sues sont enregistres icy, afin que vous pouviez
les regarder selon vostre bon sens, s’il vous plaist.”
HERE IS APPENDED THE EPILOGUE THAT MESSIRE NICOLAS DE CAEN AFFIXED TO THE BOOK WHICH HE HAD MADE ACCORDING TO THE BEST OF HIS ABILITY; AND WHICH (IN CONSEQUENCE) HE DARED NOT APPRAISE.
A Son Livret
Intrepidly depart, my little book, into the presence of that most illustrious lady who bade me compile you. Bow down before her judgment. And if her sentence be that of a fiery death, I counsel you not to grieve at what cannot be avoided.
But, if by any miracle that glorious, strong fortress of the weak consider it advisable that you remain unburned, pass thence, my little book, to every man who may desire to purchase you, and live out your little hour among these very credulous persons; and at your appointed season perish and be forgotten. Thus may you share your betters’ fate, and be at one with those famed comedies of Greek Menander and all the poignant songs of Sappho. Et quid Pandoniae—thus, little book, I charge you to poultice your more-merited oblivion—quid Pandoniae restat nisi nomen Athenae?