« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
so obliterated were the characters that it would have little mattered to the writer. Whether it was from a feeling of security on this point, or because the writing was really unimportant, cannot be known, but he calmly acknowledged it to be his; and added, that it was an answer to an application for alms, which he had 'received from the friar.
" Please you, reverend Father,” said some one present, “ who might be this friar John ?”
“ He was a mendicant of St. Peter's Priory, near Cassel,” the Abbot answered; “I knew little more of him than this; we are accustomed to many such,—so many truly, that the list of their names is longer than my memory. I chance, however, to remember this poor friar's,-it was Zannecq.”
“ True !” said Robert, turning towards the questioner, and then glancing at the King with a slight smile; "and when I first did hear it mentioned, it struck upon mine ear as one not quite unknown to it; I have since learned that he was brother to one Zannecq-a woollen chapman of Mount Cassel—a rebel, who in times gone by and now-happily !-forgotten, revolted—the caitiff!—from the mild empire of his Lord.”
If—as is commonly enough the case-people are apt to forget benefits, they nevertheless can remember perfectly well the being taunted with them. Philip felt the reproach. He stooped his head for a moment, inclining it towards some papers which lay before him.
The Abbot marked “the angry spot upon his brow," and, feeling the imprudence of which his friend had just been guilty, wished to lessen the evil likely to arise from it: so took advantage of an ensuing pause to change the current of the conversation, and direct the thoughts both of the King and his council into a different channel.
"Your Grace,” he began, addressing himself to the Monarch,“ by the perusal of this letter perceiveth that a murder hath been committed -not only murder, but that sacrilege hath been done; for it was a son and servitor of the Church who fell a victim to the brutal violence of some unholy robber. I would entreat it of your
Grace,-and not I alone entreat it,—but, the holy Prior, the spiritual Father of the murdered, who, hearing of my design to journey hitherward, besought that I would lay the case before your Grace-entreateth it.—And again, not simply we, the ministers of the cross entreat, but Christ himself, and our most holy Mother Church entreat, nay do command, that you be pleased to take this felony into your serious thought, and use those means which God hath given to you, as Sovereign of his people, to bring to light this act, and unto condign punishment the actors in it.”
“ Holy Abbot,” replied the King, “ remain at peace, and rest assured no step shall be untrodden, and no path unsought, which may bring to judgment the author of this atrocious wickedness. We will not suffer the laws of our kingdom to be broken, nor ourselves thus set at nought. Had not your Reverence craved it for a boon, our conscience had nathless commanded it as a duty. We will see to itBe content."
“My Lord," the Abbot rejoined, “I hitherto VOL. I.
ness, 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 habits 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