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Inez.- The plan is not yet well digested, but 'tis here"-he said, placing his finger on his head—“'tis here, and in a few days more I'll call on thee again. My brain hath been so racked of late, that I scarce have my wits.Farewell,--and hush! no word of this !"
“Adieu, my Lord,-fear me not.”
“Eh!” he exclaimed, happening, as he turned around, to cast his eyes upon a table at which Inez had been busy when he entered, “What hast thou here?—Thou hast, it seems, been writing; well thou ever wast a clerkly scribe. With your leave, I'll look at this.”
"I pray your Lordship do, an so it pleaseth you. It is the act of homage which the King of England hath had drawn up and sent unto our King, who, saying that he wished it to be copied and that I wrote a better text hand than doth his prothonotary, left it here and bade me to transcribe it.-Look! how think you I have done my task ?”
Louis took it from her hands and began reading.
"Edouard, par la grace de Dieu, Roi d'An
gleterre, Seigneur d'Irelande, et Duc d'Aquitaine. A tous ceux à qui cés présentes lettres verront et orront, salut! Savoir faisons, que comme nous fissions à Amiens hommage à l'excellent Prince, notre très cher Seigneur et cousin Philippe, Roi de France, lors nous fut dit et requis de par lui que nous reconnussions le dit hommage etre lige. .. .. . Laquelle chose nous ne fimes pas alors pour ce que n'etions informés, et fimes au dit Roi de France hommage par paroles générales. . . . . . . Et depuis en çà nous avons été bien informés de la verité, reconnoissons par ces présentes, que le dit hommage que nous fîmes en la cité D'Amiens, est, et doit etre entendu lige, et que nous devons foi et loyauté porter comme Duc d'Aquitaine et Per de France, et Comte de Ponthieu et de Montreuil. . . . . . . Et enfin qu'au tems à venir ce ne soit jamais discord, nous promettons pour nous et nos successeurs Ducs d'Aquitaine que le dit hommage se fera en cette maniere.—Le Roi d'Angleterre et Duc d'Aquitaine tiendra ses mains es mains du Roi de France, et celui qui addressera ces paroles au Roi d'Angleterre, Duc d'Aquitaine et qui parlera pour le Roi, dira ainsi : Vous devenez homme-lige au Roi mon Seigneur, qu'ici est, comme Duc de Guienne et Per de France, et lui promettez foi et loyauté porter. Ditez, voire. Et le Roi d'Angleterre et Duc de Guienne, et aussi ses successeurs dirontvoire,—&c. &c.”
“ Well, Sire, what think you of my performance," asked Inez of the Count, who at that moment took his eyes off the parchment. -“ Is it not passably well done?”
“Such a full avowal of vassalage, at least, assures us that the Kings of England can never again put forth a claim to rule in France; but I thought when thou didst give it me it was thy copy.--I'm glad I've seen the original, but now would fain look at that which thou hast done,—there it is reach it for me."
" Pardon, Seigneur," answered Inez, smiling, “ 'tis my writing which you hold,—this is the original.”
“ How !impossible. This was never writVOL. 1.
ten by thy pen !—the form of the characters is altogether English. You mistake, surely, let me see,-hand me that thou holdest.”
“ Here it is, but 'twill methinks cause you some labor to distinguish twixt the copy and the copied.”
“ By my Halidom,” said Louis, with a most unfeigned astonishment, as he compared the two writings,“ how can this be? is it possible that two persons of different countries, most probably too of different sexes, can have written with so much similitude, that no one may decide twixt the copy and its original!”.
“ Ha, ha!” said Inez, laughing at the mistake, “ I told you you would have some labor to find a difference.”
“ Labor!" replied the Count, nearing his eye to the writings, and comparing them together with the utmost attention, “ Labor! ay by the Mass! I might labor mine eyes until they dropped from out of their sockets, ere they would discover aught of difference.- Why! there is not a single letter, point, scratch, or dot, which bears not an exact similitude to those in the original draught.-There liveth not throughout the whole extent of France, a clerk who may pretend to imitate like this.And now my pretty Ariel, tell me where it was that thou didst learn this craft.”
" It skills not now to tell the many hours, I have consumed, and the much labor it did cost me, ere I could effect that which doth work such marvel in you. But you well know that I was always something of a clerk, having ere now written documents for yourself.”
" True, true, - but never in like guise to this, nor had I ever cause to guess thou didst possess such art.”
“ 'Tis by mere accident you know it now. Being incarcerated within the gloomy walls of St. Madeliene's convent, I used myself to copy from the old musty tomes I found within the library, and it was pleasure to me to behold how exactly I could imitate the writing of the author. But when I scaped from that sad place, and mingled with the world, I found a better business for my wits than to toil and moil on such slight