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The hints of this had already reached her; and when, with the acclamations of all the females, Aniaud placed her on his mule, while two men-at-arms of Count Raymond rode beside her, and Amand purposely entangled his hand in her rein that he might be near her, she shrunk from their hold, and whispered her wish to Arnaud.

"It shall not be so," said Arnaud, in answer, "why art thou disquieted, damsel? Behold the women shall go before thee with songs and with dances, and they shall praise thee with the praise of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because thou hast smitten the enemy by the hand of a woman ; also the old man thy father, behold he is yet alive, and he shall bless thee with many blessings, because thou hast been strong and very courageous for the truth, passing the strength of woman."

"Then I shall be blessed," said Genevieve; "for I say to thee, reverend Arnaud, that one blessing from lips that tremble with affection—from lips that perchance may be closed ere they utter another, were to me worth the shout of the congregation, even of a very great multitude."

Amand, who had not spoken till then, but walked patiently beside her rein, said eagerly but whisperingly to her, "Haste then, if thou wouldst have his blessing."—" What meanest thou?" said Genevieve.—" Nothing: I mean nothing— I am nothing, nothing in thy eyes; but, reverend Arnaud, art thou sure that the damsel will, indeed, be greeted with a blessing, even the blessing of Pierre the pastor?"

He spoke in a tone that made Genevieve tremble and Arnaud regard him with a look of consternation. "If it be so," he added, gnashing his teeth, "may I be accursed—but that I am already! Go, go," he continued flinging back the rein, "go and see what blessing awaits thee: go and see if even Pierre will bless thee."

CHAPTER XVII.

A sentence; come, prepare!

Merchant of Venice.

They journeyed all that day in safety; and about its close, their way, winding round a rock, suddenly disclosed to Genevieve and her companions a view of the valley where the Albigeois had assembled on what they termed their holy convocation, and which the preachers named the Valley of Jehoshaphat. It was now evening, and the shadows of the mountains had struck far into the valley, shedding the gloom of twilight over the dark and mingled groups who were assembled under its shadows. The solemn exercise, which had commenced with daylight, was still carried on: those who had breath and perse. verance for the task were still pursuing it, and those who had not could yet add their gasping Hallelujah, or their faint So be it, to the petition which they could no longer hear. The valley where the Albigeois were assembled was one intersected by a narrow stream, increased by many rills from the surrounding mountains. Some spots in the valley were clothed with rich verdure and vegetation even in Autumn; many more were desolate and bare: the stony and broken path that wandered through the valley was sometimes obstructed by water, sometimes by broken branches of trees, and oftener by fragments of rocks that had fallen from the hills above;—but wherever a spot was to be found where two or three might gather together, there were the pastors, or Barbes, exhorting and praying; the congregation bearing audible response, and frequently leading the devotions they should have followed. The teachers were as diversified as their respective groups of listeners: the veterans of Count Raymond's army, who were of the newly-adopted creed, enforcing it on their hearers with all the authority of established preachers, yet sometimes finding that authority shaken or questioned by some young champion in the lists of theology. Thus amid the centre of one group was to be seen a mailed warrior, his helm and visor doffed, his grey beard floating over his armed chest, his hand on a parchment scroll containing the New Testament, explaining it to a group of hearers; while all his allusions and analogies, according to his own construction, were drawn from the Jewish Scriptures;—while a beardless youth, cased in arms, would hold deep controversy with him, till the distracted audience knew not how to decide between the young Daniel come to judgment, and the masters in Israel, who were charged with not knowing these things. In another group the Barbes were seen with their woollen garments, their hoods resembling those of monks and their long beards: these were more dogmatical and imperative than their lay coadjutors. They hushed every murmur, permit

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