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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

Joce then quits Ludlow for a time


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is not bad; but the other, which is either true or extraordinarily well invented, is far finer, and, with some omissions, must be analysed and partly translated. Those who know the singular beauty of Ludlow Town and Castle will be able to "stage" it to advantage, but this is not absolutely necessary to its appreciation as a story.

The Peverils have died out by this time, and the honour and lands have gone by marriage to Guarin of Metz, whose son, Foulques Fitzguarin or Warin, starts the subjects of the general story. When the first Foulkes is eighteen, there is war between Sir Joce of Dinan (the name then given to Ludlow) and the Lacies. In one of their skirmishes Sir Walter de Lacy is wounded and captured, with a young knight of his party, Sir Ernault de Lyls. They have courteous treatment in Ludlow Castle, and Ernault makes love to Marion de la Briere, a most gentle damsel, who is the chief maid of the lady of the castle, and as such, of course, herself a lady. He promises her marriage, and she provides him and his chief with means of escape. Whether Lisle (as his name probably was) had at this time any treacherous intentions is not said or hinted. But Lacy, naturally enough, resents his defeat, and watches for an opportunity of _revanche_; while Sir Joce[lyn], on the other hand, takes his prisoners' escape philosophically, and does not seem to make any enquiry into its cause. At first Lacy thinks of bringing over his Irish vassals to aid him;

but his English neighbours not unnaturally regard this step with dislike, and a sort of peace is made between the enemies. A match is arranged between Sir Joce's daughter Hawyse and Foulques Fitzwarin. Joce then quits Ludlow for a time, leaving, however, a strong garrison there. Marion, who feigns illness, is also left. And now begins the tragic and striking part of the story.

The next day after Joce had gone, Marion sent a message to Sir Ernault de Lyls, begging him, for the great love that there was between them, not to forget the pledges they had exchanged, but to come quickly to speak with her at the castle of Dinan, because the lord and the lady and the bulk of the servants had gone to Hertilande--also to come to the same place by which he had left the castle. [_He replies asking her to send him the exact height of the wall (which she unsuspiciously does by the usual means of a silk thread) and also the number of the household left. Then he seeks his chief, and tells him, with a mixture of some truth, that the object of the Hertilande journey is to gather strength against Lacy, capture his castle of Ewyas, and kill himself--intelligence which he falsely attributes to Marion. He has, of course, little difficulty in persuading Lacy to take the initiative. Sir Ernault is entrusted with a considerable mixed force, and comes by night to the castle._] The night was very dark, so that no sentinel saw them. Sir Ernault took a squire to carry the ladder of hide, and they went to the window where Marion was waiting for them. And when she saw them, never was any so joyful: so she dropped a cord right down and drew up the hide ladder and fastened it to a battlement. Then Ernault lightly scaled the tower, and took his love in his arms and kissed her: and they made great joy of each other and went into another room and supped, and then went to their couch, and left the ladder hanging.

But the squire who had carried it went to the forces hidden in the garden and elsewhere, and took them to the ladder. And one hundred men, well armed, mounted by it and descended by the Pendover tower and went by the wall behind the chapel, and found the sentinel too heavy with sleep to defend himself: and the knights and the sergeants were cut to pieces crying for mercy in their beds. But Sir Ernault's companions were pitiless, and many a white sheet was dyed red with blood. And at last they tossed the watchman into the deep fosse and broke his neck.


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