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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

Artamene then made her two deep bows

and much joy, having already

heard, by Arbaces, the service he had done to the King, her father. Artamene then made her two deep bows, and coming closer to her, but with all the respect due to a person of her condition, he kissed [_no doubt the hem of_] her robe, and presented to her the King's letter, which she read that very instant. When she had done, he was going to begin the conversation with a compliment, after telling her what had brought him; but the Princess anticipated him in the most obliging manner. "What Divinity, generous stranger," said she, "has brought you among us to save all Cappadocia by saving its King? and to render him a service which the whole of his servants could not have rendered?" "Madam," answered Artamene, "you are right in thinking that some Divinity has led me hither; and it must have been some one of those beneficent Divinities who do only good to men, since it has procured me the honour of being known to you, and the happiness of being chosen by Fortune to render to the King a slight service, which might, no doubt, have been better done him by any other man." "Modesty," said the Princess (smiling and turning towards the ladies who were nearest her), "is a virtue which belongs so essentially to our own sex, that I do not know whether I ought to allow this generous stranger so unjustly to rob us of it, or--not content with possessing eminently that valour to which
we must make no pretension--to try to be as modest when he is spoken to of the fineness of his actions as reasonable women ought to be when they are praised for their beauty. For my part," she added, looking at Artamene, "I confess I find your proceeding a little unfair. And I do not think that I ought to allow it, or to deprive myself of the power of praising you infinitely, although you cannot endure it." "Persons like you," retorted Artamene, but with profound respect, "ought to receive praise from all the earth, and not to give it lightly. 'Tis a thing, Madam, of which it is not pleasant to have to repeat; for which reason I beg you not to expose yourself to such a danger. Wait, Madam, till I have the honour of being a little better known to you."

There are several pages more of this _carte_ and _tierce_ of compliment; but perhaps a degenerate and impatient age may desire that we should pass to the next subject. Whether it is right or not in so desiring may perhaps be discussed when the three samples have been given.

Artamene has been dismissed with every mark of favour, and lodged in a pavilion overlooking the garden. When he is alone--

[Sidenote: His soliloquy in the pavilion.]

After having passed and re-passed all these things over again in his imagination, "Ye gods!" said he, "if, when she is so lovable, it should chance that I cannot make her love me, what would become of the wretched Artamene? But," and he caught himself up suddenly, "since she seems capable of appreciating glory and services, let us continue to act as we have begun! and let us do such great deeds that, even if her inclination resisted, esteem may introduce us, against her will, into her heart! For, after all, whatever men may say, and whatever I may myself have said, one may give a little esteem to what one will never in the least love; but I do not think one can give much esteem to what will never earn a little love. Let us hope, then; let us hope! let us make ourselves worthy to be pitied if we are not worthy to be loved."

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