’Nay, I believe it; but tell me, Philip, did you not hint that you had been among former friends—at Lucon, you said, I think?’
Philip’s face changed. ’Yes; it was for that I wished to see you alone. My troop had to occupy the place. I had to visit the convent to arrange for quartering my men so as least to scandalize the sisters. The Abbess came to speak to me. I knew her only by her eyes! She is changed—aged, wan, thin with their discipline and fasts—but she once or twice smiled as she alone in old times could smile. The place rings with her devotion, her charity, her penances, and truly her face is’—he could hardly speak—’like that of a saint. She knew me at once, asked for you all, and bade me tell you that NOW she prays for you and yours continually, and blesses you for having opened to her the way of peace. Ah! Berry, I always told you she had not her equal.’
‘Think you so even now?’
’How should I not, when I have seen what repentance has made of her?’
‘So!’ said Berenger, rather sorrowfully, ’our great Protestant champion has still left his heart behind in a French convent.’
’Stay, Berenger! do you remember yonder villain conjurer’s prediction that I should wed none but a lady whose cognizance was the leopard?’
‘And you seem bent on accomplishing it,’ said Berenger.
’Nay, but in another manner—that which you devised on the spur of the moment. Berenger, I knew the sorcerer spake sooth when that little moonbeam child of yours brought me the flowers from the rampart. I had speech with her last night. She has all the fair loveliness that belongs of right to your mother’s grandchild, but her eye, blue as it is, has the Ribaumont spirit; the turn of the head and the smile are what I loved long ago in yonder lady, and, above all, she is her own sweet self. Berenger, give me your daughter Berangere, and I ask no portion with her but the silver bullet. Keep the pearls for your son’s heirloom; all I ask with Rayonette is the silver bullet.’