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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

That she wants to go and see Gerard en Barrois


of the house) go quietly on

little horses, and it will save time, trouble, money, and danger. This the innocent parents consider to show "great sense and good will," and the pair start in German dress--Katherine as master, the uncle as man,--comfortably, too, as one may imagine (for uncles and nieces generally get on well together, and the bend sinister need do no harm). They accomplish their pilgrimage (a touch worth noticing in Katherine's character), and then only does she reveal her plan to her companion. She tells him, not without a little bribery, that she wants to go and see Gerard _en Barrois_, and to stay there for a short time; but he is to have no doubt of her keeping her honour safe. He consents, partly with an eye to the future main chance (for she is her father's sole heir), and partly because _elle est si bonne qu'il n'y fault guere guet sur elle_. Katherine, taking the name of Conrad, finds the place, presents herself to the _maitre_ _d'ostel_, an ancient squire, as desirous of entertainment or _re_tainment, and is very handsomely received. After dinner and due service done to the master, the old squire having heard that Katherine--Conrad--is of Brabant, naturally introduces her countryman Gerard to her. He does not in the least recognise her, and what strikes her as stranger, neither during their own dinner nor after says a word about Brabant itself. Conrad is regularly admitted to Monseigneur's service, and, as a countryman, is to share Gerard's room. They are perfectly good friends, go
to see their horses together, etc., but still the formerly passionate lover says not a word of Brabant or his Brabanconian love, and poor Katherine concludes that she has been "put with forgotten sins"--not a bad phrase, though it might be misconstrued. Being, however, as has been already seen, both a plucky girl and a clever one, she determines to carry her part through. At last, when they go to their respective couches in the same chamber, she herself faces the subject, and asks him if he knows any persons in Brabant. "Oh yes." "Does he know" her own father, his former master? "Yes." "They say," said she, "that there are pretty girls there: did you not know any?" "Precious few," quoth he, "and I cared nothing about them. Do let me go to sleep! I am dead tired." "What!" said she, "can you sleep when there is talk of pretty girls? _You_ are not much of a lover." But he slept "like a pig."

Nevertheless, Katherine does not give up hope, though the next day things are much the same, Gerard talking of nothing but hounds and hawks, Conrad of pretty girls. At last the visitor declares that he [she] does not care for the Barrois, and will go back to Brabant. "Why?" says Gerard, "what better hunting, etc., can you get there than here?" "It has nothing," says Conrad, "like the women of Brabant," adding, in reply to a jest of his, an ambiguous declaration that she is actually in love. "Then why did you leave her?" says Gerard--about the first sensible word he has uttered. She makes a fiery answer as to Love sometimes banishing from his servants all sense and reason. But for


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