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and honoured parents,” he continued, addressing them both, “here, on my knees, let me beseech you to relent,- let me have Emily for my wife, then shall both love and hope nerve my arm, and enable me to drive de Laval from our gates."
“Oh! silly, silly, boy, should I grant thine idle prayer, thou wouldst thyself be the first to blame me for it.”—The good old cant, how well do I rememberit!—“Twelve months would scarce pass o'er our heads, ere thou wouldst reproach me for compliance, and name it weakness.—Emily is no mate for thee ;-look the land o'er, from Anvers to the Alps, from the Alps to the Pyrenees, and choose,-scarce is there a damoyselle inhabiting it, who would not gladly wed her to our house,-e'en shouldst thou fix thy mind upon the daughter of our Sovereign; our Sovereign scarce would spurn thee.—Leave, then, such low grovelling thoughts, and esteem thyself as doth become thee.”
“ Ah! my dearest father," said Gaultier, in reply, “it is in vain you strive to quench love by exciting my ambition : were the Sovereign of France to offer me his daughter, I should think
of Emily and refuse the boon.-Relent, most dearly beloved parent, relent-suffer me to be happy-blest, oh! blest beyond expression.Give your word that I shall wed Emily, and—"
“Perdition seize thee, coward—traitor!" said de Mauny, now losing all patience at his son's constantly reverting to the same point—“I'll not believe but thou dost seek to hide a lack of courage 'neath a feigned passion for this Emily, and dost ask that which thou forehand know'st I will not grant, in order so to keep thy cowardice a secret.-Shame on thee!-Hence-go. Let de Laval enter, sack the town, and destroy thine heritage. It is not worth preserving for such as thou,-but never will I disgrace my lips by giving such a promise as thou askest.”
“ One word more," replied Gaultier, rising from the kneeling position in which he had placed himself during the latter part of the conversation,-"you will not suffer me to marry Emily.—Will you then but let me behold her once again, if only to assure me that she is well, and to tell her I still love, and shall for ever love her?”
De Mauny hesitated a moment, as if doubting with himself whether he should grant or refuse this latter supplication. At last, either the pride of holding to his first resolve,-most men have this very amiable pride, or a fear that by according his son's request he might bring about an evil he so much wished to avoid, seemed to gain the ascendancy in his mind, and he replied firmly and distinctly, that he was resolved rather to see the citadel in the hands of his enemies, than to suffer him to behold Emily again.
“ Is this the last and gentlest answer I may hope from a parent I have greatly loved and honoured?” asked Gaultier, turning round to go, and yet lingering for a reply.
“Ay! I have none other for thee.”
Gaultier strode away with less of mournfulness than resentment in his countenance, but had scarcely reached the door, when he heard a loud crash close behind him, as if the rafters of the chamber were broken in, and the whole building was giving way. Startled at the noise he looked round, and perceived that it proceeded from a large beam of wood, which, projected by the besiegers, and entering at the lattice, had fallen upon the floor, not two yards from the very spot on which his parents were sitting, and with so much weight, as almost to break in the planks beneath.
Struck with alarm and astonishment, both de Mauny and his dame started on their feet, and looked up on the missile, unknowing what course to take, and fearing it might be succeeded by another, which would most probably complete that destruction, which the first had threatened.
However great our anger may be against a parent, and whatever resolutions one may have made not to remit it, but on certain conditions ; it is very difficult to act up to them, when those parents really stand in need of aid. Though fiery, headstrong, and impetuous in temper, Gaultier affectionately loved both of his; and though he openly and loudly accused them, particularly his father, of obstinacy, and tyranny in refusing him that boon, on which, according to his young notions, the happiness of his existence depended,- he could not bear to see them in distress without endeavouring to extricate them from it. He sprang forward, and took his father by the hand.
“ Though,” he said, “ I have vowed never to put lance in rest, or do ought towards the defence of our citadel, unless you first should promise me Emily for my bride ; yet may I, methinks, without offence to Heaven, relax somewhat of the rigour of my words. Grant •me that only which you but just now refused. Let me but behold Emily once again, let me but hear her say that she is well and happy. that she still loves me, and I will bid her adieu, and never again see her, save with your consent. Haste, father! release me from my vow,-promise this, and promise quickly; for hark! the rams are still thundering beneath—a few hours more, and it may be too late.”
Gaultier paused-pride still seemed to be struggling with terror in his father's bosom. In such cases it is always convenient to have some third person near, to whose intercession seeming to accede through mere complaisance, we shove off from ourselves the disgrace of not having held