« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
besought him to listen, and not condemn her unheard upon false surmises.
“ Surmises !— false surmises !" — the King exclaimed indignantly,-“Was that letterthat hateful scrawl- what was that ?- was that surmise ?-Did I surmise I saw it-read it—that it contained professions of love ?Did I surmise it to be Robert's writing, writing which I know, well as I do know mine own.-Away with thee, thou art now more hateful in mine eyes than ever thou wert lovely.”.
" I say not,” replied Inez, still weeping, “I say not but that the surmises — which
-your Grace-your Grace speaketh of are just—they are just the writing is that of -of the Count of-Artois. It is also true that it is—it is addressed to me—and it containeth profess—ions-contains a profession of-of-of love,-but, my Lord, it beareth not any proof-no not a show of proof-that it-it was—that I gave the Count encouragement to write it-and-and my heart bears
witness to the anger which—1—the anger I felt when, on opening the letter, I found it contain proffers equally offensive to meequally offensive to me, as to your Grace.Yet your surmise that I knew all this—and -this-and-this-this-yes this is what is false-cruelly-cruelly false.”
“ How, Inez !" retorted the Monarch, something softened by her tears and the tribulation he saw her suffering under, “ How can this be; and wherefore, seeing the address was in Robert's handwriting, didst thou not instantly render it to him unopened ?”
“Why, an't please your Grace, how could I guess the Count of Artois—had writ to me in such bland fashion—till I opened-till I had opened the letter?- The Count-the Count might have had-for ought I-I could tellmatters of matters of import-to you-to me
-or to himself-which-which he wished to communicate'-- . . is
“Why that is true, Inez, I must own, but”
“ But your Grace,” interrupted Inez, “ your Grace hath not heard me out, I did not know it came from--from the Count—the letter was left here—I know not by whom, and none of my people can tell me how,-and I had never seen the Count's handwriting.”
“ Thou didst not then, till I told thee so, know”—the King said with marks of surprise
-" that this letter was written by the Count of Artois !-Fie, Inez, fie! I may not credit this—this is too gross and palpable."
" Not credit me?” exclaimed Inez, with the air and tone of one who was both hurt and offended, “ Not credit mine assertion ! Have I then ever shewn myself unworthy of being believed ? Hath your Grace ever yet observed in me ought which may warrant this cruel slur on my fair fame ?"
“ Why,” answered the King, lowering his voice to a tone of still greater tendernesss, “it is true indeed, Inez-I must acknowledge it-thou hast been ever open, frank, and loyal in thy communings with me. But not to know it !—this is what seems strange. Yet now I think on't, how shouldst have known it for the Count's writing ?- I know it so well myself !-and this did make me think that thou and every one else must have known it too,—that was my mistake.-Dear" -
At this word the King abruptly paused, for a thought he had not before considered came across him. He bit his lip.
“Yet-how is it, that-knowing not this letter by the writing in it, thou didst fail to recognize its composer by the gem it telleth of, and which is, I so presume, the emerald which thou thyself didst some time back-asserting it to be a common bruit-inform me that the Count had worn in honor of thyself ?-Hah! how is this,” he continued, raising again his voice, as, retreating from her grasp, he shook her from him, “ how is this, perfidious, false one? -how canst thou answer this ?”
Seeing the King, as she had never before beheld him, thus violently enraged, Inez scarce knew what course she should next pursue; but in affairs of this nature, where the questioned finds it difficult to answer, there is always a manner of rendering it seemingly impossible she should do so—at least for the moment—just till she has had time to think a bit-it is to faint, and this Inez did forthwith.
Alarmed at the state in which he beheld his mistress, the King began to accuse himself of using too great a harshness, and of having, by his violence, frightened her into such a state as disabled her from explaining a circumstance, whicl—as his heart wished, it also hoped-she might explain to his perfect satisfaction when she was recovered.
He, therefore, few to the door and summoned her attendants; who instantly betook themselves to chafing her temples with their hands, and to putting into practice all the then known means of resuscitation; whilst he himself, kneeling at her side and sprinkling more water in her face than had trickled down it in tears, considered this event-so foolish are they who love-as a proof of innocence, and he almost accused himself of harshness and brutality in thus wounding the feelings