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have craved your gracious aid in this, because as holding no small rank amid the children of the Church, as also in the realm, I deemed it meet to use that influence which my years and station give me with your Grace, to bring unto due punishment all faytors who have so offended.
“But please you, my most gracious Lord, there is another point-and one more relative unto the matter which doth now hold these Lords assembled-in which I wish your Grace might view this murder.—My Liege, not only was the assassination atrocious, cruel and sacrilegious, but it was also strange. My Sovereign Liege- I do implore your ear!
"A casket, -- the contents of which — so said the donor — were such as, seen, would justify your Grace in ousting Otho from the lands demised to him, and in investing Robert, Count of Artois, with them,-is, with much secresy and caution, placed in the keeping of the latter by a monk, professing him of my community.
“ The Count of Artois comes before your Grace, - lays forth the documents for inspection, and claims his right. The Lord of Flanders discovers in them, that which he thinks sufficient to justify an enquiry into their authenticity, ere the Sire D'Artois' prayer be granted. Wherefore did he thus? -Wherefore was he, amongst so many, the only one who doubted ?—Was it an act of love to doubt ?-If not so, was it hate which whetted his suspicion ?- If not these, was it a desire of justice which caused him be thus curious ?-I know not this.
“Howbeit the Seigneur of Artois announceth a design of travelling to St. Omer, and of seeking out the one who seized him of this heben arke in question. The sickness of the Lady Countess, his espoused, detaineth himI do implore your Grace's strict attention !The sickness of the Lady Countess, his espoused, detaineth him in Paris for a space of fifteen days.—At last he arriveth at St. Omer, and -as to the one most fit to aid him in the quest-presenteth him to me.
“ The long delay necessitated by that sickness, had been more infortunate and luckless even than the sickness was; for in the interval, betwixt the time in which he quitted last this chamber and that of his arrival at St. Bertin's Abbey, had departed from this world the only persons in it who
- as I believe — might have afforded any sure instruction of the heben chest and its contents.
“ I have not lightly spoken this, my Liege, endeavouring to assot your Grace with idle notions. On our journey hither, I did much commune with Lord Robert, of this manthis friar John. His answers to my queries greatly gave me to believe that it was he, who guided him unto the cell, though how he came acquainted with the secret cavity-to me unknown--within it, am I unable to inform your Grace; yet may I say that friar John, having been in babits of strict fellowship with my late chaplain, may - I speak it but as probable — may from him have heard of it; nor do I deem it idle to suppose that he, my chaplain, may-without an ill intention--have
given to friar John facility to lead the Count of Artois to that chamber.
“Now, my good Lord, it was some eight or ten days previous to the Count's arrival, that this my chaplain died : and it hath since been found that 'twas but shortly after this, that friar John was murdered.—This it is, my Liege, which striketh me as strange in the affair.”
Whatever might have been Louis' sensations during the time of the last address, he had acquired as sufficient a command over his countenance as enabled him to disguise them. -He betrayed not the slightest emotion; and when the Abbot had ended, he replied, in a tone of voice which savoured much of mockery :
“ His Reverence then doth deem it strange that these two persons should at the same, or nearly the same point of time be called from life! I know not wherefore-seeing that matters of more wonderment do fortune dailyhe should so muse at this. Yet, grant that it be strange, what proveth it?-Doth it testify “ Behold!" the Abbot replied, holding it out to him. Robert delivered the writing to Marigni, who after having glanced over it“ There is nought to be deciphered here,” he said, returning it.
“ Thus did I too say and think,” replied Robert, “ when I first saw and would have rent it as a useless scrawl. It was the reverend Abbot who bade me keep it, saying it might chance to render me good service. Since then I have, methinks, deciphered something. If I mistake not, this is the signature of the Lord of Flanders. I knew not,” he continued, turning towards Louis with an ironical smile, “ I knew not, Seigneur, till this scroll did so instruct me, you were on such strict terms of friendship with poor monks who tramp the country round in quest of food, or wherewithal to purchase it. Chance is I did mistake,- Own you this for your writing, Sire ?"
Louis seemed to start at these words; however he took the paper and looked at it. Had it originally contained treason or blasphemy,