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“ Indeed, my Lord, I wish–I do not myself justly know what her age may be,” replied Gaultier, with some embarrassment.
“ Truly then," answered Robert, laughing, “ I cannot but marvel you should be ignorant of that which doth usually so much interest lovers --the age of your mistress."
There is a natural reluctance in some men to speak of their feelings in love; and to have them generally known and commended by others, seems to them as a sort of sacrilege against the sanctity of the object. Yet there, at the same time, exists in these very persons a strong desire of meeting sympathy; so that to find one who can think and feel as they themselves think and feel, is the greatest happiness which they are capable of enjoying. Thus, de Mauny perceiving that Robert was disposed to listen to him, got by degrees less reluctant to speak of the station which Emily had filled in de Bavay's family, and of the quarrel he had had with his father on her account; so after some more conversation had passed, he informed him that Emily, though nurtured in the Baron's house, and brought up
by him and his dame with as much care and tenderness as if she had been their own child, was nevertheless in nowise related to them--that, in truth, her parentage was unknown, she having been found by the Baron.
De Mauny was thus continuing to disclose all that he had ever heard respecting the infancy of his mistress, and that too with such earnestness, as to prevent him from seeing the changes which came over his companion's countenance at certain parts of the detail: when their attention was suddenly called off by hearing several loud shouts above deck, and then a rushing of persons through the hatches, calling to arms, for that the Spanish fleet had just appeared ahead, and was bearing down upon them.
It is now time to return to Britany, and speak of what has passed there since Jeanne de Montfort dispatched her envoy to the English Court. De Clisson's misfortune, in having been forced into Careg-Crowse instead of landing at Portsmouth, had told heavily for his mistress's affairs; as the delay arising from it, enabled the enemy to collect their forces, and bring them to operate on one point.
Inspirited by their success against Rennes, the Court party resolved to push on the victory with the utmost vigour; knowing, that should they get the Countess into their power, the war would be at once finished, and the English, on
their arrival, find there was nothing more to do than to return whence they came.
In pursuance of this design, they had laid siege to Rennes, shortly after the Countess left it; and succeeded in forcing de Cadoudal, the Castellan, to surrender. This, however, he had not consented to do, but on condition of being permitted to join his mistress at Hennebon.
The Court party divided its forces into two bodies: one of these was commanded by the Duke of Normandy and Charles de Blois,—the first of whom afterwards mounted the throne, under the name of Jean the second.
The other division of the army,, led on by Prince Louis d'Espagne, was besieging a castle situated on the coast, at about five or six leagues from Hennebon, named Le Cônquet, which Jeanne had lately garrisoned, and placed under the command of de Cadoudal, whom she sent to supersede the former governor.
The new Castellan was accompanied, not only by troops, but by a certain number of females, over whom Emily was placed as chief: who were to perform the office of nurses to the wounded-an occupation which was in those days peculiar to women, and exercised both by maids and matrons of the highest station.
In thus separating herself from her young companion, the Countess did great violence to her inclinations. She would much more gladly have retained her about her person; but since leaving Rennes, Emily had shown herself under a different aspect from any in which she had before appeared.
Always kind, gentle, and affectionate: with that willing obedience to the wishes of her protectress, which almost gave to her submission the semblance of piety, the Countess had hitherto affectioned her as a friend, to whom she might fearlessly unbosom those thoughts which she found it grievous to brood upon in secret, and yet, chose not to communicate to her other attendants. But, during her march through the divisions of the province, she saw that Emily not only cheerfully underwent the fatigues of the journey, and the privations to which she was subject on it; but that her natural good sense often suggested counsel, which it was thought