Berenger wished to send the corpse to rest in the family vault at Bellaise, where the Chevalier had so lately been laid; and the priest undertook to send persons with a flag of truce to provide for the transport, as well as to announce the death to the sister and the aunt. Wearied as he was, he would not accept Berenger’s earnest invitation to come and take rest and refreshment in the prior’s rooms, but took leave of him at the further side of the fortress, with almost reverent blessings, as to one not far from the kingdom of heaven; and Berenger, with infinite peacefulness in his heart, went home in the silence of the Sunday morning, and lay sleeping away his long fatigue through the chief part of the day, while Pastor Merlin was preaching and eloquent sermon upon his good brother Isaac Gardon, and Eustacie shed filial tears, more of tenderness than sorrow.
CHAPTER XLIV. THE GALIMAFRE
Speats and raxes, speats and raxes, speat and raxes Lord Somerville’s billet
Never wont to let the grass grow under his feet, Henry of Navarre was impatient of awaiting his troops at Pont de Dronne, and proposed to hasten on to Quinet, as a convenient centre for collecting the neighbouring gentry for conference. Thus, early on Monday, a party of about thirty set forth on horseback, including the Ribaumonts, Rayonette being perched by turns in front of her father or mother, and the Duke de Quinet declaring that he should do his best to divide the journey into stages not too long for Philip, since he was anxious to give his mother plenty of time to make preparations for her royal guest.
He had, however, little reckoned on the young King’s promptitude. The first courier he had dispatched was overtaken at a cabaret only five leagues from Pont de Dronne, baiting his horse, as he said; the second was found on the road with a lame horse; and the halt a day’s journey remained beyond it. The last stage had been ridden, much to the Duke’s discontent, for it brought them to a mere village inn, with scarcely any accommodation. The only tolerable bed was resigned by the King to the use of Philip, whose looks spoke the exhaustion of which his tongue scorned to complain. So painful and feverish a night ensued that Eustacie was anxious that he should not move until the Duke should, as he promised, send a mule litter back for him; but this proposal he resented; and in the height of his constitutional obstinacy, appeared booted and spurred at the first signal to mount.
Nor could Eustacie, as she soon perceived, annoy him more than by showing her solicitude for him, or attracting to him the notice of the other cavaliers. As the only lady of the party, she received a great deal of attention, with some of which she would gladly have dispensed. Whether it were the King’s habit of calling her ’la Belle Eurydice_,’ or because, as she said, he was ‘si laid’