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Chivalry eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 174 pages of information about Chivalry.

  “At Heaven’s Gate was Heaven’s Queen,
  ‘And have ye sinned?’ quo’ She,—­
  ’And would I hold him worth a bean
  That durst not seek, because unclean,
  My cleansing charity?—­
  Speak thou that wast the Magdalene,
  Quia amavisti!’”

“It may be that in some sort the jingle answers me!” then said Jehane; and she began with an odd breathlessness, “Friend, when King Henry dies—­and even now he dies—­shall I not as Regent possess such power as no woman has ever wielded in Europe? can aught prevent this?”

“It is true,” he answered.  “You leave this prison to rule over England again, and over conquered France as well, and naught can prevent it.”

“Unless, friend, I were wedded to a Frenchman.  Then would the stern English lords never permit that I have any finger in the government.”  She came to him with conspicuous deliberation and rested her hands upon his breast.  “Friend, I am weary of these tinsel splendors.  What are this England and this France to me, who crave the real kingdom?”

Her mouth was tremulous and lax, and her gray eyes were more brilliant than the star yonder.  The man’s arms were about her, and of the man’s face I cannot tell you.  “King’s daughter! mistress of half Europe!  I am a beggar, an outcast, as a leper among honorable persons.”

But it was as though he had not spoken.  “Friend, it was for this I have outlived these garish, fevered years, it was this which made me glad when I was a child and laughed without knowing why.  That I might to-day give up this so-great power for love of you, my all-incapable and soiled Antoine, was, as I now know, the end to which the Eternal Father created me.  For, look you,” she pleaded, “to surrender absolute dominion over half Europe is a sacrifice.  Assure me that it is a sacrifice, Antoine!  O glorious fool, delude me into the belief that I surrender much in choosing you!  Nay, I know it is as nothing beside what you have given up for me, but it is all I have—­it is all I have, Antoine!”

He drew a deep and big-lunged breath that seemed to inform his being with an indomitable vigor; and grief and doubtfulness went quite away from him.  “Love leads us,” he said, “and through the sunlight of the world Love leads us, and through the filth of it Love leads us, but always in the end, if we but follow without swerving, Love leads upward.  Yet, O God upon the Cross!  Thou that in the article of death didst pardon Dysmas! as what maimed warriors of life, as what bemired travellers in muddied byways, must we presently come to Thee!”

“Ah, but we will come hand in hand,” she answered; “and He will comprehend.”

THE END OF THE NINTH NOVEL

X

THE STORY OF THE FOX-BRUSH

  “Dame serez de mon cueur, sans debat,
  Entierement, jusques mort me consume. 
  Laurier souef qui pour mon droit combat,
  Olivier franc, m’ostant toute amertume.”

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