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oust Count Otho from my lands and grant me an investiture of them, unless I prove, beyond all question, that this deed is valid ; and as you see I fail in every step :-I know not how to enforce my right-except, indeed, by might. My name's revered in Artois,—were I to raise my standard here!”—
“Oh! my son, twice have you already tried those sad and sinful means-twice have you failed in them, and would you now again bring fire and sword amongst us, and drench in blood the land which gave you birth? Fie, fie-think not of it!"
"I cannot,” said Robert, without seeming to have heard the Abbot's last words, " but think it fortuned strangely. Firstly, that this poor mendicant, who you suppose conducted me through the Abbey, should have been in correspondence with Louis of Flanders. Secondly, that he who-if he really were my guide is the only one capable of giving me information respecting the casket, should have been murdered so shortly after an investigation regarding that casket, before the
King's council. Thirdly, that one of your flock, with whom this friar, Brother John, is said to have been on such strict terms of fellowship, should die, at, or about the same time, suddenly, and without having previously complained of illness.—These be strange coincidences, and excite thought.”
“ They have excited mine, my son: I have well noted them in my mind, and for this reason is it, that laying aside mine age and infirmities for the present, and reserving them for some future occasion, when they will be inconvenient to myself alone, I have resolved on accompanying you to Paris, where it may be in my power to serve your cause. I have a smooth and easy paced jade of a palfrey, in the stable yonder: and so you will promise not to jolt my old bones quite out of their sockets, by too quick a journey,—we will set off to-morrow.”
“Amen! my holy Father,—should we all comport us after this fashion, the world would speed the better for't. — I've-oh! how I've wished, and how I wish for it!-For peace and
quiet happiness within the bosom of my family. -But they will not, I perceive-yea, I do clearly see, I shall have wrong put on me, and that the demon passions of my nature will be waked, and push me on to-to-I know not unto what, or to how great a crime.-The attrociousness of mankind doth so irritate and madden me!”
“ Ere you do resolve, my son, by means unjust to punish the injustice of your foes, call you again on me.-1 doubt not, in brief space of time, to manifest to one of your so high intelligence, how far more noble 'tis to pardon, than to revenge an injury," was the Abbot's calm reply.
“ Hei mihi quam facile est, quamvis hic contigit omnes,
Alterius luctu fortia verba loqui,”
said Robert. “ 'Tis not, my good Lord Abbot, 'tis not one who is unscathed that feeleth anger; but is it marvellous, that he who bleeds, should groan and grow impatient ?”
“I said not, son, it was not natural unto human frailty to be angry: nor think I that we should not, by all fit and lawful means, seek out a remedy for wrongs done to us.—I spake not against anger, but revenge, and said, it was more generous and noble to pardon injury, than to punish it.-A viper, my Lord, a wasp, the meanest worm, or fly, which crawls upon, or buzzes o'er the earth, can sting!- It is only the noble animals of the creation which have power to benefit mankind.—The headsman punishes, -Heaven's attribute is mercy."
The argument was good,-incontrovertible indeed ;-but, like most others given on such occasions, ran much risk of being thrown away.
The reader may think it strange, that the Count of Artois should be so instructed as to be able to cite the Latin poets; but he had, in youth, accompanied Charles de Valois, to Florence, when he was sent to appease the factions then raging in that city.
Here it was that he made acquaintance with the poet Dante, and it is to this circumstance that may be attributed the early taste which he evinced for literature: a taste, which he ever after cultivated with as much assiduity, as the necessary occupations of his station would permit.