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knit one within the other behind his back.“ Knowest thou this man ?”
“ Sire,” replied Devion fearfully, “I have known him.—I did once know some little of him.
-He is one with whom I had a slight acquaintance at my arrival in Paris, about fourteen months agone—but I have seen little of him
“ Knowest thou also the cause of thy being now here, and wherefore thou'st been sent for?”
“ No, Sire, I guess not for what purpose your Grace needeth me.”
“ 'Tis strange that thou should'st be thus ignorant, woman! seeing that yon fellow-as he tells us—lately had some talk with thee, which should, methinks, have led thee to a shrewd guess of that I ask.”
The King spoke these words in so sharp a tone of voice, that Devion, who had all along shown signs of great timidity, now became more confused, and could only reply by repeating her former assertion—that she knew not, nor could guess, the King's object in sending for her.
“ I hear thou hast been well instructed, and dost possess the art—one not common with thy sex-of not only writing a most fair and legible text hand, but also the most dangerous one of imitating that of others. Is this true ?"
“ It is true, Sire; I never can deny it. I was early taught to write—it is by these means I gain my livelihood."
« Well, but this is not all; tell me also if thou canst imitate the writing of others.”
Here, Devion, glancing her eyes towards Martin, with a look of hate and fear, repliedin a manner which showed the question came not quite unexpectedly:" No, my Lord, I do not possess that art."
“ How then came that man there, (Martin, I think, is his name) to accuse thee of it as he hath done?—What motive can he have had for thus saying ?”
“I know not, my Lord ;-once, when we were far more intimate than of late, I used oft to hold converse with him ; but whether he hath mistaken some word I may have used, or hath asserted it of pure villany, I know not.”
" Woman! thou didst commence thy story with an assertion that thou didst once know some little of yonder man, but didst deny a much acquaintance with him; now hast thou unawares let slip that thou wert formerly intimate with him.-Thou hast contradicted thyself !”.
Devion blushed deeply—perhaps from the consciousness of having been discovered in tergiversation-perhaps from some other cause unknown — but it was imputed to the former. However, she replied:
“ If, Sire, my words are at variance with themselves, it is because I felt ashamed of owning me to have been intimate with the man."
“ Wherefore wert thou 'shamed of knowing him?"
" Because," answered Devion, with more animation and spirit than she had before exerted, or, indeed, seemed capable of exerting,—“ Because I have good reasons for knowing him to be the wretchedest losel that e'er trod on earth.”
“ This woman repels accusation, by accusing the accuser,” said Louis, addressing his words to the King; and then, with a sneer, added“ Doubtless hath she learned this art from her Lord, the noble Count of Artois.”
“ Peace, Flanders,” exclaimed the King angrily, “is this an hour in which to exercise thy wit, and break jests ?”
“ I humbly bow to the reproof your Grace is pleased to lay on me, and stand convicted," replied Louis,“ but will my Sovereign suffer me to say, that should the law permit th'accused to turn accuser, and to send back the shafts which have been pointed at himself, on him who pointeth them, the Law would die, and Justice ne'er attain her end."
“I said not, Sire, that I should pass unheeded by this woman's words, nor that I should not note them at fit season,” replied Philip, “ but at present, it is my will that none break in upon my thoughts while I am querying her. So now," he continued, again turning towards Devion, and addressing her, “ speak truth, and tell me if Lord Robert ever bid thee to forge signatures to certain papers relative unto the land of Artois. -Speak!"
“ No, Sire, the Count of Artois did not this," was replied in a firm tone of voice, evidencing, however, it was thought, that the question came not unawares upon her.
“ Have a care, woman !—take heed to what thou sayest; we have been well instructed in the truth.—Did ye not collude together, to defraud Count Otho, and to thrust him from his land ?"
“ No, my Lord, never! never! never!"
“ Again, have a care, woman !—Lie not! Wilt thou swear this within our chapel here; the sacred rood being placed afore thee, and thy hand hovering o'er the relics of our holy patroness St. Genivieve? Wilt thou do this ?"
Devion started and changed colour as the proposition was made-then replied:
“Oh! Sire, thus to appear as 'twere before the throne of the Almighty, and in his very presence, would make my blood run cold with fear. I will not-can not, I must not do't!"
“ Or thou must do this, or own the part which thou hast acted for the Count of Artois or else be placed upon the wheel till it hath overcome thine obstinacy, and made thee speak the truth. - Choose!"
“ I cannot—I did speak the truth-torture will but make me lie,” replied the poor woman, sobbing forth her words.