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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

And so did the disloyal lover lose his lady

the time the subject again drops.

It is, however, reopened at night, and some small pity comes on one for the recreant Gerard, inasmuch as she keeps him awake by wailing about her love. At last she "draws" the sluggard to some extent. "Has not _he_ been in love, and does not he know all about it? But he was never such a fool as Conrad, and he is sure that Conrad's lady is not such either." Another try, and she gets the acknowledgment of treason out of him. He tells her (what she knows too well) how he loved a noble damsel in Brabant and had to leave her, and it really annoyed him for a few days (it is good to imagine Katherine's face, even in the dark, at this), though of course he never lost his appetite or committed any folly of that sort. But he knew his Ovid (he tells her), and as soon as he came to Bar he made love to a pretty girl there who was quite amiable to him, and now he never thinks of the other. There is more talk, and Katherine insists that he shall introduce her to his new lady, that she may try this remedy of counter-love. He consents with perfect nonchalance, and is at last allowed to go to sleep. No details are given of the conversation with the rival,[82] except the bitterness of Katherine's heart at the fact, and at seeing the ring she had given to Gerard on his hand. This she actually has the pluck to play with, and, securing it, to slip on her own. But the man being obviously past praying or caring for, she arranges with her uncle to depart early in the morning, writes a letter telling Gerard
of the whole thing and renouncing him, passes the night silently, leaves the letter, rises quietly and early, and departs, yet "weeping tenderly," not for the man, but for her own lost love. The pair reach home safely, and says the tale-teller, with an agreeable dryness often found here,[83] "There were some who asked them the adventures of their journey, but whatever they answered they did not boast of the chief one." The conclusion is so spirited and at the very end so scenic and even modern (or, much better, universal), that it must be given in direct translation, with a few _chevilles_ (or pieces of padding) left out.

As for Gerard, when he woke and found his companion gone, he thought it must be late, jumped up in haste, and seized his jerkin: but, as he thrust his hand in one of the sleeves, there dropped out a letter which surprised him, for he certainly did not remember having put any there. He picked it up and saw it subscribed "To the disloyal Gerard." If he was startled before he was more so now: but he opened it at last, and saw the signature "Katherine, surnamed Conrad." Even yet he knew not what to think of it: but as he read the blood rose to his face and his heart fluttered, and his whole manner was changed. Still, he read it through, and learnt how his disloyalty had come to the knowledge of her who had wished him so well; and that not at second hand, but from himself to herself; what trouble she had taken to find him; and how (which stung him most) he had slept three nights in her company after all. [_After thinking some time he decides to follow her, and arrives in Brabant on the very day of her marriage: for she has, in the circumstances, kept her word to her parents._] Then he tried to go up to her and salute her, and make some wretched excuse for his fault. But he was not allowed, for she turned her shoulder on him, and he could never manage to speak to her all through the day. He even stepped forward once to lead her out to dance, but she refused him flatly before all the company, many of whom heard her. And immediately afterwards another gentleman came, who bade the minstrels strike up, and she stepped down from her dais in full view of Gerard and went to dance with him. And so did the disloyal lover lose his lady.

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