Very shyly Dame Meregrett lifted her little mouth. She said nothing because talk was not necessary.
In consequence, after a deal of political tergiversation (Nicolas concludes), in the year of grace 1299, on the day of our Lady’s nativity, and in the twenty-seventh year of King Edward’s reign, came to the British realm, and landed at Dover, not Dame Blanch, as would have been in consonance with seasoned expectation, but Dame Meregrett, the other daughter of King Philippe the Bold; and upon the following day proceeded to Canterbury, whither on the next Thursday after came Edward, King of England, into the Church of the Trinity at Canterbury, and therein espoused the aforesaid Dame Meregrett.
THE END OF THE THIRD NOVEL
THE STORY OF THE CHOICES
“Sest fable es en aquest mon
Semblans al homes que i son;
Que el mager sen qu’om pot aver
So es amar Dieu et sa mer,
E gardar sos comendamens.”
THE FOURTH NOVEL.—YSABEAU OF FRANCE, DESIROUS
OF DISTRACTION, LOOKS FOR
RECREATION IN THE TORMENT OF A CERTAIN KNIGHT, WHOM SHE PROVES TO BE NO MORE THAN HUMAN; BUT IN THE OUTCOME OF HER HOLIDAY HE CONFOUNDS THIS QUEEN BY THE WIT OF HIS REPLY.
The Story of the Choices
In the year of grace 1327 (thus Nicolas begins) you could have found in all England no couple more ardent in affection or in despair more affluent than Rosamund Eastney and Sir Gregory Darrell. She was Lord Berners’ only daughter, a brown beauty, of extensive repute, thanks to a retinue of lovers who were practitioners of the Gay Science, and who had scattered broadcast innumerable Canzons in her honor; and Lord Berners was a man to accept the world as he found it.
“Dompnedex!” the Earl was wont to say; “in sincerity I am fond of Gregory Darrell, and if he chooses to make love to my daughter that is none of my affair. The eyes and the brain preserve a proverbial warfare, which is the source of all amenity, for without lady-service there would be no songs and tourneys, no measure and no good breeding; and a man delinquent in domnei is no more to be valued than an ear of corn without the grain. No, I am so profoundly an admirer of Love that I can never willingly behold him slain, of a surfeit, by Matrimony; besides, this rapscallion Gregory could not to advantage exchange purses with Lazarus in the parable; and, moreover, Rosamund is to marry the Earl of Sarum a little after All Saints’ day.”
“Sarum!” people echoed. “Why, the old goat has had four wives already!”
And the Earl would spread his hands. “These redundancies are permissible to one of the wealthiest persons in England,” he was used to submit.
Thus it fell out that Sir Gregory came and went at his own discretion as concerned Lord Berners’ fief of Ordish, all through those choppy times of warfare between Sire Edward and Queen Ysabeau. Lord Berners, for one, vexed himself not inordinately over the outcome, since he protested the King’s armament to consist of fools and the Queen’s of rascals; and had with entire serenity declined to back either Dick or the devil.