University of Virginia Library




“All is best though oft we doubt,
What th' unsearchable dispose
Of highest wisdom brings about,
And ever best found in the close.”


“On trouve dans la chronique de Raoul, Abbé de Coggeshall, sous
cette année (1201) une histoire touchante qui montre à quel point
l'enseignement religieux pouvoit être perverti, et combien le Clergé
étoit loin d'être le gardien des mœurs publiques.”

Early in the 13th century Agnes de Meran, the
mistress-wife of Philip Augustus, held her court at the
Chateau des roses Sur-Seine, not many leagues from
Paris. The arts and luxuries of the time were lavished
on this residence of the favourite. On one side
of the Chateau, and leading out of the garden attached
to it, was a winding walk, embowered by grape vines
which, not being native in the north of France, and the
art by which the gardener now triumphs over soil and
climate being then in its infancy, were cultivated with
great pains and royal expense. The walk, after extending
some hundred yards, opened on a sloping
ground, bounded by the Seine, and tastefully planted
with shrubs and vines formed into arbours and bowers
of every imaginable shape. The whole plantation
was called Larigne. Parallel to a part of it ran the
highway, hidden by a wall, excepting where it traversed
an arched stone bridge that spanned the Seine,
and which was itself almost embowered by tall acacias,
planted at either end of it.

Late in the afternoon of a September day, when the


Page 206
warm air was perfumed with autumnal fruits, and the
sun glancing athwart the teeming vines, shot its silver
beams across the green sward, and seemed, by some
alchemy of the flowers to become molten gold as it
touched their leaves, tinted with deep autumnal dyes;
two ladies, followed by a Moorish servant girl, issued
from the walk.

The eldest was tall and thin. The soft round lines
of youth had given place to the angles of forty; but
though she had lost the beauty, she had retained the
grace (happily that charm is perennial) of youth, and
added to it the fitting quality of matronly dignity.
Born in Provence, she was an exception to the general
hue of its natives, her complexion having an extreme
fairness, and a texture as delicate as that of infancy.
She had that organ, to which the Phrenologist
is pleased to assign the religious sentiment, strikingly
developed; but a surer indication of a tendency to
spiritual abstraction, was expressed in her deep set,
intellectual, and rather melancholy eye. Her mouth,
when closed, expressed firmness and decision, but,
when in play, the gentlest and tenderest of human
affections; and the voice that proceeded from it was
the organ of her soul, and expressed its divine essence
—love. Such was the lady Clotilde — the martyr,
who would have been the canonized saint, had she died
in the bosom of the orthodox church.

The other female was a girl of sixteen, Rosalie, the
daughter of Clotilde, and resembling her in nothing
but the purity and spirituality of her expression. Her
complexion was of the tint which the vulgar call fair,
and the learned Thebans in such matters, brunette; her
eyes were the deepest blue, and her eye-lashes long and
so black, that in particular lights they imparted their
hue to her eyes. Her hair, we are told, was of the
colour that harmonized with her skin — what that hue
was we are left to imagine. Her features, neck, and
whole person (the feet and hands are dilated on with


Page 207
a lover's prolixity) the chronicle describes as cast in
beauty's mould, “so that he who once looked on this
fair ladye Rosalie saw imperfection in all other creatures.”

Rosalie led, by her hand, a little girl of four years, a
cherub in beauty.

“Why, dear mama,” said Rosalie, “are you so silent
and thoughtful? — and tell me — pray — why were
you so cold to our sweet lady queen to-day, when she
bade us prepare the fete for the king? — I would not
pry into secrets, but when she spake low to you, did
she not say something of sad looks not suiting festive

“She did, Rosalie — and yet she well knows they
are but too fitting. Let us seat ourselves here, my
child, and while Zeba looks after Marie I will entrust
you with what is better suited to your discretion than
your years.” — She beckoned to Zeba to relieve them
from the child, but little Marie, a petted favourite of
Rosalie's sprang on the bench and clung around her
neck, till she was won away by a promise of a game
of “hide and go seek,” among the vines and shrubs.

“Rosalie,” continued the mother, pointing to Marie,
“that child is not the offspring of a union which man
deems honourable, and calls marriage, and which it
pleases heaven, my child, to authorize to humanity in
some stages of its weakness and ignorance, but she is
— I hesitate to speak it to your pure ears — the fruit of
illicit love.”

“Mother! what mean you? — She is surely the
child of our good lord king and of his wife — our lady
Agnes and our queen?”

“Our lady Agnes de Meran, Rosalie, but not his
wife — nor our rightful queen.”

“You should not have told me this! — you should
not have told me this!” reiterated Rosalie, covering
her eyes from which the tears gushed, “I loved her


Page 208
so well! — and Marie! — oh you should not have told

“My dear Rosalie, I have withheld it as long as I
dared. The world to you is as a paradise, and I shrunk
from exposing to you the traces of sin and evil that are
upon it. But evil—temptation must approach you, and
how are you to resist it, if you know not its existence?
Listen patiently, my dear child. There is much in
the story of our lady to excuse her with those compromising
consciences that weigh sin against temptation;
and much to make her pitied by those who
weigh the force of temptation against the weakness of

“I am sure I shall pity her,” interrupted Rosalie.

“Beware, my child. Pity, the gentlest spirit of
heaven, sometimes loses her balance in leaning too far
on the side of humanity.”

“But pity is heaven-born, dear mother.”

Clotilde did not reply, for she had not the heart
to repress the instincts of Rosalie's affections; and
Rosalie added, “I am sure our lady Agnes has sinned

“Alas, my child! — But listen — I must make my
tale a brief one. Our royal master, who in his festive
hours appears to us so kind and gracious, is stained
with crimes, miscalled virtues by his blind guides and
false friends.”

Crimes, mother?”

“Yes, Rosalie, crimes — persecution and murder
misnamed, by his uncle of Rheims, zeal — cruelty, rapine,
excess, and what I will not name to thy maiden
ears. He was anointed king in the blood of his
subjects — for les fetes de la Toussaint, when he was
crowned, were scarcely past when, set on by the Archbishop,
he commanded his soldiers to surround the
synagogues of the Jews, on their Sabbath-day, to drag
them to prison, and rob them of their gold and silver
to replenish the coffers which his father Louis had


Page 209
emptied for offerings to the church. The Jews hoped
it was a passing storm, but the king ordered them to
sell all they possessed, and with their wives and little
ones to leave his dominions. Their property was sacrificed,
not sold, and our royal master received the
benedictions of the priests! The next objects of his
zeal were the violators of the third commandment —
the poor were drowned — the rich paid a fine into the
king's treasury, for as our chronicle of St. Denis hath
it, the king holds `en horreur et abomination ces
horribles sacremens que ces gloutons joueurs de des
font souvent en ces cours, et ces tavernes

“But, dear mother, was he not right to punish

“To fine the rich, and drown the poor, Rosalie?”
— Rosalie perceived that her shield was ineffectual,
and her mother proceeded, but not till she had cautiously
looked around her. “To fill up the measure
of his obedience to sacerdotal pride and hatred, he
published an edict renewing the persecution against
the Paterins.” —

“The Paterins, mother?”

Clotilde smiled faintly at her daughter's interrogatory.
“The name of these much abused people you
have not yet heard, for it is a perilous one to speak in
our court; but they are the followers of those pious
men who, having obeyed the commands of their Lord,
and searched the Scriptures, have changed their faith
and reformed their morals. They differ somewhat
among themselves, having entered into the glorious
liberty of the gospel, and being no longer bound to
uniformity by the bulls of the Pope or the word of
the Priest. They have all been marked by the purity
of their lives — a few by their austerity. Some among
them eat no meat, and others deem even marriage

“Mother!” exclaimed Rosalie, in a tone that indicated
a revelation had burst upon her.


Page 210

“I read your thoughts, Rosalie — yes — I am a Paterin.
Here in the very bosom of the court I cherish
the faith for which many that I loved were cast into
prison, and afterwards `made (I still quote from our
Court Chronicle) to pass through material flames to the
eternal flames which awaited them!”'

“And was it such as you, my mother,” asked
Rosalie, pressing her cheek to Clotilde's, “that thus

“Such, and far better, Rosalie; and who,” she added,
the ecstasy of faith irradiating her fine countenance,
“who would shrink from the brief material fire through
which there is a sure passage to immediate and eternal

If there are moments of presentiment when the
future dawns upon the mind with all the vividness of
actual presence, this was one to Rosalie. She threw
her arms around her mother's neck and said in a trembling
voice, “God guard my mother!”

“He has guarded me,” replied the lady Clotilde,
gently unlocking Rosalie's arms, “and will while it is
best that I continue like the prophet safe in a den of
lions. `Take no thought for the morrow,' Rosalie.
— But I have been led far away from my main purpose,
which was to give you a brief history of the lady

“Our lord the king had contracted a marriage with
Isemburg of Denmark, daughter of Waldemar le Grand.
On his progress to receive her, he visited the castle
of one of the Duke of Meranie's adherents, where a
tournament was holding. His rank was carefully concealed.
He was announced in the lists as le Chevalier
, and his motto was la bonne `esperance.'
— Our lady Agnes — then in her sixteenth
year — just your present age — presided as queen of
love and beauty. Philip was thrice victorious, and
thrice crowned by the lady Agnes. At the third time
there were vehement demands that his visor should be


Page 211
removed. He appealed to Berchtold, the father of our
lady, and prayed permission to preserve his incognito
to all but the lady Agnes, to whom, if she were attended
by only one of her ladies, he would disclose
his name and rank. Berchtold allowing that nought
should be refused to the brave and all conquering
knight, granted the private audience of his daughter,
and she selected me from among her ladies to attend
her. Philip, affianced to another, and confessing himself
bound to keep the letter of his faith, violated its
spirit. He declared himself passionately in love with
our lady, and vowed eternal faith to her. — Our poor
lady, smitten with love, received and returned his
vows. The marriage with Isemburg was celebrated
four days after.”

“Was he married to Isemburg?”

“Yes, if that may be called marriage, Rosalie, which
is a mere external rite — where there is no union of
heart — where vows are made to be broken.”

“This surely is most sinful — but not so when hearts
as well as hands are joined—think you, mother?”

The lady Clotilde proceeded without a reply to her
daughter's interrogatory. “It was told through Christendom
that the king of France, on receiving the hand
of the beautiful Isemburg, was seen to turn pale and
tremble, and shrink from her; and when her rare
beauty and her many graces were thought on, there
was much marvelling, and many there were who attributed
the strange demeanour of the king to sorcery!
The lady Agnes and I alone knew the solution of the
mystery. — Eighty days after the marriage he appealed
for a divorce to bishops and archbishops assembled at
at Compeigne—his own servile tools. The marriage
was annulled on a mere pretext, and immediately followed
by the outward forms of marriage with our fair

“I comprehend not these matters; but, mother,
were not the lawful forms observed?”


Page 212

“Rosalie! beware how in your tenderness for your
mistress you confound right and wrong. Priests may
not, at their pleasure, modify the law of God. The
rules of holy writ are few and inflexible. — Isemburg
denied the validity of the divorce, and retired to a
convent. The Pope, from worldly policy, has maintained
her part. An interdict was lain upon the kingdom.
Marriages and interments in consecrated ground
were forbidden. Weeping and mourning pervaded
Philip's dominions—all for this guilty marriage. Then
followed reconciliation with the Pope—then fresh
animosities and perjuries—and through all Philip has
adhered to our lady.”

“Faithful in that, at least, mother.”

“Yes, faithful where faith was not due. The lady
Isemburg still lives and claims her rights—every true
heart in Christendom is for her, and it is only here, in
the court of our lady, that her wrongs are unknown,
or never mentioned.”

“And why, my dear mother,” asked Rosalie, recurring
to her first feelings, “why, since you have so
long kept this sad tale from me, why did you tell it

“I kept it because that, yet a child in years, it was
not essential you should know it, and I could not bear
to throw a shade over your innocent and all-trusting
love for our lady. Now you are entering on the
scene of action yourself. Temptation will assault
you from which I cannot shield you. Even your
mother, my child, cannot keep your account with your

“Alas, no.—But what temptations have I to fear,
dear mother?”

“You are endowed with rare beauty, Rosalie, and
in this court there will be many smooth tongues to tell
you this.”

“They have already told me so,” said the ingenuous
Rosalie, slightly blushing.


Page 213

“Who?—who?” aked her mother.

“The lord Thiebant, and the young knights Arnold
and Beaumont, and the king himself; but indeed,
mother, it moved me not half so much as when my
lady Agnes commends the manner of my hair, or the
fitting of my kerchief.”

“Ah, Rosalie, these flattering words have been as
yet lightly spoken—as it were to a child, but when
they are uttered in words of fire, par amour!

“Oh, if you fear for me, mother,” said Rosalie,
dropping on her knees, and crossing her arms in her
mother's lap, “I will now vow myself to the Virgin.”

“Will you, Rosalie?”

“In sooth I will. Not to immure myself within
the walls of a convent, shut out from that communion
which the Creator holds with his creatures through his
visible works; and that still better communion vouchsafed
to us when we are fellow-workers with Him in
missions of mercy and love to His creatures.”

“You are somewhat of a Paterin too, my Rosalie,”
said her mother, rejoicing that her indirect lessons
were so definitely impressed on her daughter's mind.
“But have you comprehended the perfect spirituality
of the Christian's law? Do you know there is no virtue
in external obedience, however self-denying and
self-afflicting that obedience may be, if the affections,
the desires, the purposes, are not in perfect subjection
to the will of God? Do you know that if you now
vow yourself to a vestal's life, it would be sin should
you hereafter, even in thought, repent this vow and
sorrow for it.”

“But, dear mother, that cannot be. I can never
love another so well as I love you, and our poor lady
Agnes. Now, therefore, in this quiet Temple of God
let me make the vow.”

Clotilde's face was convulsed with thick coming
conflicting thoughts and feelings. In common with
many of her sect, she had retained that tenderest and


Page 214
most poetic feature of the Catholic religion, a tender
homage for the Virgin. She believed the holy mother
would vouchsafe supernatural aid to her vestal
followers, and this aid she thought might be essential
to one who, with unsuspecting youth, and surpassing
beauty, was beset by the dangers of a court of which
virtue was not the presiding genius. But on the other
hand, she feared to take advantage of the inexperience
of her child. Her very willingness to assume the
shackles, made her mother shrink from their imposition.
Rosalie clasped her hands and raised her eyes.
“Stay, my sweet child—not now,” said her mother,
“a vow like this demands previous meditation, and
much communing with your own spirit. I trust you
are moved by heavenly inspiration, and if so, the work
now begun will be perfected. In eight days from
this we celebrate the marriage of St. Catharine, that
marriage which typifies the sacred spiritual union of
the perfected saint with the author of her salvation.
I have twice dreamed the day had arrived, and marvellous,
and spirit-stirring fancies, if they be fancies,
have mingled with my dreams. I witnessed the holy
marriage. I gazed at the sacred pair, when suddenly,
as St. Catharine was receiving the bridal ring, it was
you, my Rosalie, and not the saint; your face was as
vivid as it is now to my actual sense, and instead of the
pale slender hand of the saint, was your's—dimpled
and rose tinted as it now is; but alas! the ring would
not go upon your finger. While I marvelled and sorrowed,
flames crackled around me; you, the celestial
bridegroom, all vanished from my eyes, clouds of
smoke rose around me, as I looked up for help, their
dense volume collected over my head parted and I
beheld a crown as bright as if it were of woven sunbeams,
a martyr's crown.”

“Dear mother! I like not this dream.”

“Be not disquieted, my child. Our dreams are
sometimes heavenly inspirations, but oftener compounded


Page 215
of previous thoughts and impressions. Martyrdom
has ere now been within the scope of my
expectations, and that your marriage may be like that
of the blessed St. Catharine, is my continual prayer.
Look not back, but forward. If it please heaven to
strengthen and confirm the good purpose now conceived,
on St. Catharine's Eve you shall make your

“So be it, mother, yet I would it were now.” The
ladies were interrupted by a page from the queen who
came to summon the lady Clotilde to his mistress'

Little Marie seeing her favourite at liberty left her
attendant and insisted, with the vehemence of a petted
princess as she was, that Rosalie should take a stroll
with her along the bank of the river. Rosalie, scarcely
past childhood herself, felt her spirits vibrate to the
touch of her little friend, and they ran on sportively
together, followed by the Moorish servant, till they
came to the shore, where beneath a clump of trees,
overgrown with flowering vines, a bench had been
placed to afford a poste restante, which a painter might
have selected, as affording, on one side a view of the
turrets of the castle, towering above the paradise in
which it was embosomed, and on the other, of the
windings of the Seine and the picturesque bridge that
crossed it. Just before Rosalie arrived at this point of
sight, a cavalcade had passed the bridge on their way
to the castle—the Archbishop of Rheims and his retinue.
One of them had lagged behind the rest, and
stopping on the bridge to survey the river, he had
caught a glimpse of what seemed to him the most
poetic personifications of youth and childhood that his
eye had ever rested on. The spectator was mounted
on a Spanish jennet, caparisoned with the rich decorations
which the knights of the time, who regarded
their steeds almost as brothers in arms, were wont to
lavish on them. The bridle was garnished with silver


Page 216
bells, so musical that they seemed to keep time to the
graceful motions of the animal. It might have puzzled
an observer to decide to which of the two great faineant
classes that then divided the Christian world,
knights, or monks, to assign the rider. Beneath a long
monastic mantlo, fastened by a jewelled clasp, a linked
mailed shirt might be perceived. The face of the
wearer had the open gay expression of a preux chevalier,
with a certain softness and tenderness that indicated
a disposition rather to a reflective, that an active
life. He had become wearied of the solemn and silent
pomp of the archbishop's retinue, and had resigned
the distinction of riding beside his highness for a gayer
companion and a freer position in the rear of the train.

“By my faith, Arnaud,” said he, “I find these
lords, bishops and archbishops very stupid, in propria

“Ah, Gervais, had you heeded me! but as the proverb
says `good counsel has no price.”'

“But my good master priest, we have yet to see
whether my hope will not give the lie to your experience.”

“Bravo!” retorted Arnaud, laughing louder than
one would have dared to laugh nearer the archbishop.
“St. Catharine's is the day you doff that mailed shirt of
yours, forever? When that day comes round again,
we shall see whether dame Experience has forfeited a
name for speaking truth, and lying Hope has gained

“Holy Mary!” exclaimed Gervais de Tilbery,
checking his horse as he entered upon the stone bridge.
“What houri is that!”

“Softly, Sir Gervais,” replied his friend, “it is
scarcely prudent to utter oaths, and gaze after houris
within a bow-shot of my lord archbishop,—within
seven days of St. Catharine's Eve! Are you spell-bound,

Gervais heeded not the prudent caution of his friend,


Page 217
but asking him to bid Hubert (his attendant) come to
him, he permitted Arnaud to proceed alone. Hubert
came. Gervais gave him the horse to lead to the

Hubert disappeared, and Gervais succeeded in scaling
the bridge and letting himself down within the
paradise that enclosed the houri, whom he approached
(unseen by her) through a walk enclosed by tall flowering
shrubs. As he issued from it, he perceived his
magnet still standing near where he had first seen her,
but now in a state of great alarm. The bench, mentioned
above, had been taken from its supporters, and
one end of it was projecting over the precipitous bank.
An eddy in the river had worn away the bank beneath,
and the water there was deep and rapid. Little Marie
with the instinct which children seem to possess to
find, or make danger, had run on to the bench, and
when Rosalie stepped on to draw her back she darted
forward to its extremity, beyond Rosalie's reach; she
perceiving that if she advanced one inch farther the
bench would lose its balance and they must both be
precipitated into the river. The child perfectly unconscious
of danger was diverted at Rosalie's terror,
and clapping her hands and jumping up and down
was screaming “Why don't you catch me, Rosalie?”
The Moorish girl threw herself on her knees and supplicated
the child to come back, in vain. Rosalie was
pale and trembling with terror, when she felt a firm
tread on the bench, behind her, and turning, saw the
stranger, who said to her “fear not, sweet lady, give
me your hand—I am twice your weight—the board
will not move—now advance a step and grasp the
little girl.” This was done in an instant, and the
mischievous little gypsey was dragged from her tormenting
position. Rosalie after she had kissed and
chidden her, bade her return with Zeba to the castle,
saying she would instantly follow, and then turned to
thank the stranger for his timely interposition. A


Page 218
bright flush succeeded her momentary paleness. It
may be that the joy of transition from apprehension to
security was enhanced by its being effected by a young
and handsome stranger-knight, for the young ladies of
the middle ages were as richly endowed with the elements
of romance as the fair readers of our circulating
libraries, who find in many a last new novel but little
besides a new compound of the songs of troubadours,
and tales of trouveurs.

The thanks given, and most graciously received,
Rosalie felt embarrassed by the stranger continuing to
attend her. “Think me not discourteous, sir knight,”
said she, “if I apprise you that you are within the private
pleasure grounds of our lady queen—sacred to
herself and the ladies of her court.” While Gervais
paused for some pretext for lingering, Rosalie kindly
added, “I know not how you came here, but I am
sure you were heaven-directed.”

“Surely then, fair lady, I should follow Heaven's
guidance, and not leave the celestial companion vouchsafed

“But,” asked Rosalie, smiling, “is not thy mission

“It would be profane in me to say so, while I am
within superhuman influence.”

“Well,” thought Rosalie, “since he persists, there
is no harm in permitting him to go as far as the grapery—there
we must separate.” Some conversation
followed, by which it appeared that the stranger was
of the Archbishop of Rheims' household, and Rosalie
asked him “if he knew aught of Gervais de Tilbery?”

“Aye, lady,” replied Gervais, “both good and

“Evil? I have heard nought but good of him.”

“What good can you have heard of one scarce
worthy to be named before you?”

“This must be sheer envy,” thought Rosalie, but
the thought was checked when, glancing her eye at


Page 219
the stranger's face she saw a sweet pleasurable smile
there. “Many,” she said, “have brought us report
of his knightly feats, and some, who note such matters,
of his deeds of mercy. Our ladies call him the handsome
knight, and the brave knight, and the kninght of
the spotless escutcheon.”

“Oh, believe them not—believe them not!” said
Gervais, laughing.

“Seeing is believing, saith the musty adage,” replied
Rosalie. “Gervais de Tilbery is coming to the
Chateau des Roses with the Archbishop.”

“And is here, most beautiful lady!” cried Gervais,
dropping on one knee, “to bless heaven for having
granted him this sweet vision—to ask thy name—and
to vow eternal fealty.”

“Oh, stop—rise, Sir,” said Rosalie, utterly disconcerted
and retreating from Gervais, “I am a stranger
to thee.”

“Nay,” said he, rising, and following her, “I care
not for thy name, nor lineage—no rank could grace
thee—do not, I beseech you, thus hasten from me—
hear my vows.”

“You are hasty, Sir,” said Rosalie, drawing up her
little person with a dignity that awed Gervais; “and
now I think of it—have I not heard that it was your
purpose to enter the church?”

Gervais became suddenly as grave as Rosalie could
have wished. “It was my purpose,” he replied, in a
voice scarcely audible.

“Then you are already bound by holy vows.”

“Not yet—the ceremony of the tonsure is appointed
for the festival of St. Catharine.”

“St. Catharine!” Rosalie's exclamation was involuntary.
Her own purposed vow recurred to her, and
she may be pardoned if she (being sixteen) deemed
the coincidence a startling one.

They proceeded together: Gervais, in spite of her
remonstrances, attending her through the grapery to


Page 220
the garden gate, where Marie stood awaiting her.
“Come in, Rose—come in,” said the impatient child,
“and you, sir stranger, go back—I hate you, and mama
will hate you for stealing away my Rose.” So
saying, she shut the gate in poor Gervais's face, before
he had time to speak, or even look a farewell to Rosalie.
He had leisure, during his long, circuitous walk to the
castle, to meditate on his adventure, to see bright visions
of the future, and to decide, if necessary to sacrifice
the course of ambition opened by the Archbishop's
patronage to the attainment of Rosalie. Gervais de
Tilbery was of noble birth; a richly endowed, gay,
light-hearted youth, who was guided by his impulses;
but, fortunately, they were the impulses of a nature
that seemed, like a fine instrument, to have been ordained
and fitted to good uses by its author. A word
in apology of his sudden passion, and its immediate
declaration: In that dark æra when woman was sought
(for the most part) only for her beauty, a single view
was enough to decide the choice; the wife was elected
as suddenly as one would now pronounce on the beauty
of a fabric or a statue. Gervais de Tilbery, for the
first time in his life, felt that woman was a compound
being, and that within the exquisite material frame,
there dwelt a spirit that consecrated the temple.

It was on the evening of the day following Rosalie's
meeting with the young knight, that Clotilde was
officiating at her daughter's toilette. She was preparing
for a masked ball, where she was to appear as a
nymph of Diana. She was dressed in a light green
china silk robe, fitted with exquisite skill to a form so
vigorous, graceful and agile, that it seemed made for
sylvan sports. Her luxuriant hair was drawn, à la
Grecque, into a knot of curls behind, and fastened by
a small silver arrow. A silver whistle, suspended by
a chain of the same material, richly wrought, hung
from her girdle. Her delicate feet were buskined,


Page 221
her arms bare. She had a silver bow in her hand,
and to her shoulder was attached a small quiver of the
finest silver net-work, filled with arrows. After her
mother had finished her office of tire-woman, which
she would permit none to share with her, and before
tying on Rosalie's mask, she gazed at her with a feeling
of pride and irrepressible triumph. A sigh followed
this natural swelling of her heart.

“Why that sigh, dear mother?” asked Rosalie.

“I sighed, my child, to think how little you appear
in this heathen decoration, like a promised votary of
the blessed Virgin.”

“Not promised,” replied Rosalie hastily, and blushing

“Not quite promised, my child, but meditated.”

“Mother,” said Rosalie and paused, for the first
time in her life hesitating to open her heart to her
parent; but the good impulse prevailed, and she proceeded.
“Mother, in truth the more I meditate on
that, the less am I inclined to it.”


“So it is, dear mother; and is it not possible that
you directed me to defer the vow in obedience to a
heavenly intimation?—I have thought it might be so.”

Clotilde fixed her penetrating eye on Rosalie's.
“There is something new in your mind, Rosalie;
keep it not back from me, my child; be it weakness or
sin, I shall sorrow with, not blame you.”

“It may be weakness, mother, but I am sure it is
not sin. I told you of my meeting with Gervais de
Tilbery, in la Vigne.”

“Yes, and of his rescuing our little Marie, but
nought else.”

“There was not much else—and yet his words and
looks, and not my vow to the Virgin, have been in my
mind ever since.” Rosalie, after a little stammering
and blushing, gave her mother a faithful relation of
every particular of the meeting, and though she most


Page 222
dreaded her mother's comments on that part of her
story, she did not disguise that Gervais was destined
for holy orders.

Her mother embraced her, and thanked her for her
confidence. “Dear child,” she said, “forewarned, I
trust you will be forearmed. This young Gervais
will see no barrier to his pursuit of you in the holy
vows he assumes. The indulgence and absolutions of
our corrupted church license all sin; but we are not
thus taught of the Scriptures, whose spiritual essence
has entered into hearts that we believe marriage, even
performed with all holy ceremony and legal rites, is
not permitted to the saint, albeit allowed to human

“I always believe what you say to me, mother;

Yet—speak freely, Rosalie.”

Yet it does seem to me incomprehensible, that the
relation should be wrong, from which proceeds the tie
that binds you to me and me to you; which opens a
fountain of love that in its course is always becoming
sweeter and deeper—hark! the bell is sounding—I
must hasten to the queen's saloon—tie on my mask,
and be assured no mask shall ever hide a thought or
feeling from you, my mother.”

“Go, my sweet child, remember pleasure enervates
the soul, and be watchful—I remain to pray for you.”

How did the aspect and the spirit of the scene
change to Rosalie, from the quiet apartment of her
saintly mother, to the queen's saloon brilliantly illuminated,
filled with the flower of French chivalry
and with the court beauties, whom the lady Agnes,
either from a real passion for what was loveliest in
nature, or to show how far her conjugal security was
above all envy, delighted to assemble about her in
great numbers. She was seated at the king's right
hand, under a canopy of crimson and gold. The king


Page 223
was in his royal robes, and both he and the lady Agnes
were without masks. She was dressed in the character
of Ceres, and her rich and ripened beauty personified
admirably the Queen of Summer. Her crown
(an insignia which, probably from her contested right
to it, she was careful never to omit,) was of diamonds
and gold, formed into wheat-heads, the diamonds representing
the berry, and the gold the stem and beard.
Her robe was of the finest Flanders cloth, glittering
with embroidery, depicting the most beautiful productions
of the earth which, as her ample train followed
her, seemed to spring up at her tread. The young
Philip sat at his father's feet on an embroidered cushion,
Marie at her mother's, both personifying Bacchantes.
The ladies of the court, in the costume of nymphs,
muses, and graces, were at the queen's right hand;
the lords and knights, in various fantastical characters,
at the king's left. It was suspected, from several persons
wearing the symbols of a holy profession, that
the Archbishop's party was present, but as he was
precise in observances, and severe in discipline to
cruelty, none ventured to assert it. Rosalie was met
at the door by one of the appointed attendants, and led
to the lady Agnes' side, a station always assigned her
as the favourite of her mistress. “Ah, my little nymph
of the chase,” said the queen, as Rosalie knelt at her
feet and lay down her bow in token of homage, “you
are a rebel to-night; what has Ceres to do with Diana's

“True,” said a young knight who had a pilgrim's
staff in his hand, “one is the bountiful mother, and the
other the nun of mythology—more unkind than the
nun, for she does not immure the charms which it is
profanity to admire.”

“Gervais de Tilbery,” thought Rosalie, instantly
recognising his voice, “your words seem to me prophetic.”

“There is no false assumption in this character of


Page 224
yours,” continued the pilgrim knight, “for the arrow
loosed from thy bow is sure to pierce thy victim's

“Hush all!” cried the queen. “Our minstrel begins,
and our ears would drink his strain, for his is the
theme welcomest and dearest.”

Philip Augustus, as in some sort the founder of the
feudal monarchy, has made an epoch in history. His
reign seemed to his subjects to revive the glorious era
of Charlemagne. It was the dawn of a brilliant day
after a sleep of four centuries. He enlarged and consolidated
his dominions. France, till his reign, had
been divided into four kingdoms, of which that governed
by the French king was the smallest. He
made a new era in the arts and sciences. He founded
colleges and erected edifices which are still the pride
of France. Notre Dame was reconstructed and enlarged
by him. He conveyed pure water by aqueducts
to the city of Paris, and in his reign that city was first
paved and redeemed from a pestilential condition.
His cruelties, his intolerance, and his infidelities were
the vices of his age. His beneficent acts were a just
theme of praise, but that which made him an inspiring
subject to his poet laureate minstrel was his passion for
chivalric institutions, his love of the romances of chivalry,
and the patronage with which he rewarded
the inventive genius of the Trouveres. “In truth,”
says his historian, “it was during his reign that this
brilliant creation of the imagination, (chivalry,) was in
some sort complete.”—The court minstrel, with such
fertile themes, sung long, and concluded amidst a burst
of applause.

The dancing began, and again and again the pilgrim
knight was seen dancing with Diana's nymph.

“Ah, Gervais!” whispered a young man to him,
“she of the silver-net quiver is I suspect your houri.
A dangerous preparation this for your canonicals.”


Page 225

“Why so, Arnaud? Do angels never minister to

“Never, my friend, in such forms,” replied Arnaud,

“Then heaven forfend that I should be a priest!”

A Dominican friar, in mask, approached Gervais, and
said in a startling voice, “Thou art rash, young man
—thou hast lain aside thy badge of sanctity,” alluding
to his pilgrim's staff.

“What signifies it, good friar,” replied Gervais, “if
I part with the sign, so long as I retain the thing signified?
I am not yet a priesl.”

“Have a care, sir,” replied the friar, in a tone that
indicated he was deeply offended by Gervais's slur
upon the priesthood, “speak not lightly of the office
that hath a divine commission!”

“And assumes divine power, good master friar!”

The friar turned away, murmuring something of
which Gervais heard only the words “edge tools.”
His mind was full of other matters, and they would
have made no impression, had not his friend Arnaud
whispered to him, as soon as the friar was again lost
in the crowd, “Are you mad, Gervais? Knew you not
the Archbishop?”

“The Archbishop!—in that humble suit, how should
I?”—“N'importe,” added the gay youth, after a moment's
panic, “the devil, as the proverb says, must
hear truth if he listens.”

“And the proverb tells us too, to `bow to the bush
we get shelter from.”'

“My thanks to you, Arnaud. I have changed my
mind, and shall not seek the bush's shelter.

“Then beware! for that which might have afforded
shelter, may distil poison.”

“Away with you and your croaking, Arnaud. This
night is dedicated to perfect happiness, and you shall
not mar it.”


Page 226

“Alas, my friend!—the brightest day is often followed
by the darkest night.”

But Gervais heard not this word of prophecy. The
dance was finished, and he was leading off his beautiful
partner. She permitted him to conduct her through
the open suite of apartments, each one less brilliantly
illuminated than the last, till they reached an apartment
with a single lamp, and one casement window
which opened upon a balcony that overlooked the
garden. The transition was a delicious one from the
heated and crowded apartments, to the stillness of
nature, and the privity of moonlight—from the stifling
atmosphere to the incense that rose from the unnumbered
flowers of the garden beneath them. Rosalie
involuntarily threw aside her mask, and disclosed a
face, lit as it was by the sweet emotions and enthusiasm
of the occasion, more beautiful than the memory
and imagination of the enraptured lover had pictured
it. It was a moment when love would brook no
counsel from prudence; and Gervais, obeying his
impulses, poured out his passion in a strain to which
Rosalie, in a few, faintly spoken words, replied. The
tone and the words sunk to the very depths of Gervais's
heart, assuring him that he was beloved.

An hour flew, while to the young lovers all the
world but themselves seemed annihilated—then followed
the recollection of certain relations and dependencies
of this mortal life. “My first care shall be,”
said Gervais, “to recede from this priesthood.”

“Thank kind heaven for that,” replied Rosalie.
“As they say in Provence, `any thing is better than a

The lovers both fancied they heard a rustling near
them. They turned their heads, and Gervais stepped
within the embrasure of the window. “It is nothing
—we are unobserved,” he said, returning to Rosalie's
side. “But tell me, my Rosalie, (my Rosalie!) where
heard you this Provence scandal?”


Page 227

“From my dear mother, who spent her youth at
the court of the good Raymond.”

“St. Denis aid us! I believed Treres, Gui, and Regnier
had plucked up heresy by the roots in Languedoc.
Heaven forbid that she be infected with heresy!”

“I know not what you call heresy, Sir Gervais de
Tilbery, but my dear mother drinks at the fountain of
truth, the Scriptures, and receives not her faith from
man, be he called bishop, archbishop, or pope.”

“By all the saints, I believe she has reason in that.
But, dear Rosalie, we will eschew heresy—it is a
thorny road to heaven, and we will keep the safe path
our fathers have trodden before us, in which there are
guides who relieve us of all the trouble of self-direction—will
we not?”

“My mother is my guide, Sir Gervais.”

“So be it, my lovely Rosalie, till her guidance is
transferred to me—and thereafter you will be faithful
to God, St. Peter, and the Romish Church? And
when shall your orthodoxy begin—on St. Catharine's

“I know not—I know not. All these matters must
be referred to my dear mother and the queen. Rise,
Sir Gervais, (her lover had knelt to urge his suit)—
we linger too long here.” Again there was a sound
near them, and Gervais sprang forward to ascertain
whence it proceeded—Rosalie followed him, and they
both perceived the figure of the friar crossing the
threshhold of the next apartment. “Could he have
been here?” exclaimed Gervais—“he might have
been hidden behind the folds of this curtain—but
would he?

Gervais paused,—“Whom do you mean?”

“The friar,” answered Gervais, warily, for he feared
to alarm Rosalie by the intimation of the possibility
that the Archbishop of Rheims had overheard their

Rosalie did not sleep that night till she had confided


Page 228
all, without the reservation of a single particular, to
her mother. The lady Clotilde grieved that she must
resign her cherished, dearest hope of seeing Rosalie
self-devoted to a vestal's life, but true to her spiritual
faith, that all virtue and all religion were in the mind,
and of the mind, she would not persuade—she would
not influence Rosalie to an external piety.

She saw much advantage would result to Rosalie
from an alliance with Gervais. It would remove her
at once and forever from the contagion of the court
atmosphere—from lady Agnes's influence, so intoxicating
to a young and confiding nature. Gervais was of
noble rank and fortune, and when that distinction was
almost singular among the young nobles of France, he
was distinguished for pure morals. “It is possible,”
thought Clotilde, as she revolved in her mind
all the good she had heard of him, “that the renovating
Spirit of Truth has already entered his heart.
It has not pleased heaven to grant my prayer, but
next best to what I vainly asked, is this union of pure
and loving hearts.” The ingenuous disclosure Rosalie
had made, awakened in her mind a vivid recollection
of a similar experience of her youth, and
produced a sympathetic feeling that perhaps, more
than her reason, governed her decision. Rosalie that
night fell asleep on her mother's bosom with the sweet
assurance that her love was authorized.

The next was a busy, an important, and a happy
day to the lovers. “Time trod on flowers.” Alas,
the periods of perfect happiness are brief, and one
might say with the fated Moor—

“If it were now to die
'Twere now to be most happy; for I fear
My soul hath her content so absolute,
That not another comfort like to this
Succeeds in unknown fate.”

Every thing seemed to go well and as it should. The
Archbishop, with a gloomy brow, but without one


Page 229
comment or hesitating word, acquiesced in Gervais's
relinquishing his purpose of entering the church. The
lady Agnes, loath to part with her favourite, yet graciously
gave her consent, and persuaded the king to
endow the young bride richly, and even the little
Marie, though she at first stoutly and with showers of
tears, refused to give up her own Rose, yet was at
last brought over to the party of the lovers, by the
promise of officiating as bridesmaid on St. Catharine's

Would that we could end our tale here; but the
tragic truth which darkens the page of history must
not be suppressed.

The Archbishop of Rheims was devoted to the aggrandizement
of his own order—to extending and securing
the dominion of the priesthood. His faith
might be called sincere, but we should hardly excuse
that man who, having been born and educated in a
dark room, should spend his whole life in counteracting
the efforts of others to communicate the light of
heaven to him, and in stopping the little crevices by
which it might enter. He was ready to grant any indulgence
to errors, or even vices, that did not interfere
with the supremacy of the church. He was the uncle
of Philip, and, contrary to his inclination, he had been
induced by that powerful monarch to countenance
him in his rejection of the queen Isemburg, and had
thereby involved himself in an unwilling contest with
Innocent III. This pontiff, whose genius, his historian
says, “embraced and governed the world,” was
equally incapable of compromise and pity. He had a
few years antecedent to the events we have related,
proclaimed the first crusade against the Albigeois, and
had invested the dignitaries of the church throughout
Christendom with the power “to burn the chiefs (of
the new opinions) to disperse their followers, and to
confiscate the property of all that did not think as he


Page 230
did. All exercise of the faculty of thinking in religious
matters was forbidden.” The Archbishop of
Rheims was eager to wipe out his offences against the
head of the church by his zealous co-operation with
him in this persecution. As has been seen, he was nettled
by Gervais's contemptuous hit at the priesthood.
It was an indication that the disease of heresy had
touched even the healthiest members of the spiritual
body, as the general prevalence of corresponding
symptoms announced the approach of a wide wasting
epidemic. He became restless and uneasy, and, in
wandering alone through the apartments of the chateau,
he had found his way to the window of the balcony
occupied by our lovers, just in time to hear poor Rosalie's
betrayal of her mother. He devoted the following
day to a secret inquisition into the life and
conversation of Clotilde. He found that she had long
ceased to be a favourite of the lady Agnes, who tolerated
her only on account of her daughter, and who
felt somewhat the same aversion to her (and for analogous
reasons) that Herodias cherished against John
the Baptist. This feeling of the lady Agnes was
rather discerned by the acute prelate than expressed
by her, for there was not a fault of which she could
accuse the pure and devout woman. Her offences
were the rigid practice of every moral virtue. Her
time and her fine faculties were all devoted to the
benefit of her fellow-creatures, so that she fell under
the common condemnation, as set forth by a contemporary
writer. “L'esprit de mensonge, par la seule
apparence d'une vie nette, et sans tache, soustrayoit
ces inprudens à la verite. Besides this, she was found
deficient in the observance of the Romish ritual, and
she ate no meat.

This last sin of omission, being in accordance with
the practice of the strictest among those early reformers,
was an almost infallible sign of heresy; and on
the day following the arrangements for Rosalie's marriage,


Page 231
the lady Clotilde was summoned before the
Archbishop and a council of priests. Her guilt was
assumed, and she was questioned upon the several
points of the prevailing heresy. We cannot go into
details. Our story has already swelled beyond due
bounds. The lady Clotilde, unsupported and alone,
answered all the questions of her inquisitors, with a
directness, simplicity, a comprehension of the subject,
and a modesty, that, as a cotemporary chronicler confesses,
astounded all who heard her. But it availed
nought. She was convicted of denying the right of
the Romish church to grant indulgences and absolution,
and, in short, of wholly rejecting its authority. The
Archbishop condemned her as deserving the penalty
of death, and the pains of everlasting fire, but he offered
her pardon upon a full recantation of her errors.

“I fear not him who only can kill the body,” she
replied, with blended firmness and gentleness, “but
Him who can destroy both soul and body, and to
Him,” she added, raising her eyes and folding her
hands, “I commend that spirit to which it hath pleased
Him to vouchsafe the glorious liberty of the gospel.”
Her celestial calmness awed her judges—even the
Archbishop hesitated for a moment to pronounce her
doom, when a noise and altercation with the guard
was heard at the door. It opened, and Rosalie rushed
in, threw herself into her mother's arms, and all natural
timidity, all fear of the tribunal before which she stood,
merged in one overwhelming apprehension, she demanded,
“what they were doing, and why her mother
was there?”

“Peace, rash child!” answered the Archbishop.
“Shame on thy intrusion—know that thy mother is a
convicted heretic.”

“What wrong has she ever done? Who has dared
to accuse my mother?” cried Rosalie, still clinging to
Clotilde, who in vain tried to hush and calm her.

“Who was her accuser?” retorted the Archbishop,


Page 232
with a cruel sneer—“dost thou remember, foolish girl,
who revealed the source of the Provence scandal?

The recollection of the sound she had heard during
her fatal conversation with Gervais in the balcony, at
once flashed upon Rosalie. She elevated her person,
and, stretching out her arm towards the Archbishop,
exclaimed, with ineffable indignation, “Thou wert the

For an instant his cheeks and lips were blanched
with shame, and then stifling this honest rebuke of
conscience, he quoted the famous axiom of Innocent
III.—“Dost thou not know, girl, that `it is to be
deficient in faith, to keep faith with those that have
no faith?
'—Stand back, and hear the doom of all
those who renounce the Romish church.”

“Pronounce the doom, then, on me too!” cried
Rosalie, kneeling and clasping her hands. “I too renounce
it—I hate it—I deny all my mother denies—
I believe all she believes.”

“Oh Rosalie!—my child!—my child!” exclaimed
her mother. “My lord Archbishop, she is wild—
she knows not what she says.”

“Mother, I do!—have you not taught me?—have
we not prayed and wept together over the holy gospels,
so corrupted and perverted by the priesthood?”

“Enough!” said the Archbishop—“be assured we
will not cut down the dry tree, and leave the green
one to flourish.”

“Thanks!—then we shall die together,” said Rosalie,
locking her arms around her mother's neck.
The delirious excitement had exhausted her—her head
fell on her mother's bosom, and she was an unconscious
burden in her arms. Clotilde laid her on a
cushion at her feet, and knelt by her while the Archbishop,
after a few words of consultation, doomed the
mother and daughter “to pass through material to immaterial
flames,” on St. Catharine's day.


Page 233

They were together conveyed to a dungeon appertaining
to the chateau.

St. Catharine's Eve arrived. The hour that had
been destined for Rosalie's bridals found her in a dungeon,
seated at her mother's feet, her head resting on
her mother's breast, and her eyes fixed on her face,
while Clotilde read by the light of their lamp the fourteenth
chapter of St. John. She closed the book.
The calmness that she had maintained till then forsook
her. She laid her face to Rosalie's, and the tears from
her cheeks dropped on her child's. “Oh!” she exclaimed,
nature subduing the firmness of the martyr,
“it is in vain! I read, and pray, and meditate, but
still my “heart is troubled”—the spirit is not willing.”

“Dear mother!” cried Rosalie, feeling as if the
columns against which she leaned were tottering.

“My child, it is not for myself I fear or feel. My
mission on earth is finished—and I have an humble,
but assured hope, that my Saviour will accept that
which I have done in his service. For me death has
no terrors. I should rejoice in the flames that would
consume this earthly tabernacle and set my spirit free;
but oh, my child!” She closed her eyes as if she
would exclude the dreadful vision, “when I think of
thy sweet body devoured by elemental fire my heart
fails. I am tempted, sorely tempted. I fear that in
that hour I shall deny the faith, and give up heaven
for your life.”

“Mother, mother, do not say so. I hoped it was
only I had sinful thoughts, and affections binding me
to earth.” The weakness of nature for a moment
triumphed over the sublime power of religion, and
the mother and child wept, and sobbed violently.

So absorbed were they in their emotions that they
did not hear the turning of the bolts of their prison,
nor were they conscious of any one's approach till


Page 234
Rosalie's name was pronounced in a low voice; when
they both started and saw, standing before them,
Gervais de Tilbery, the lady Agnes and her confessor.
Gervais threw himself on his knees before Rosalie,
took her hand and pressed it to his lips. She returned
the pressure, but spoke not.

“There is no time to be lost, my dear friends,” said
the lady Agnes. “Clotilde,” she continued, “I have
vainly begged the boon of your life—it is denied me
—but your child's—yours—my own dear Rosalie, I
can preserve. It boots not now to say by what means
I shall effect it.”

“Can she live,” cried Clotilde vehemently, “without
renouncing her faith? without denying her Lord?”

“Without any condition but that she now give her
hand to Gervais de Tilbery—the priest is ready.”

“Oh tempt me not! tempt me not,” exclaimed Rosalie,
throwing herself on her mother's bosom. “I
will not leave her. I will die with her.”

“Hear me, my child,” said her mother in a voice so
firm, sweet, and tranquillizing that it spoke peace to
the storm in Rosalie's bosom. “Hear me. I have
already told you that for myself this dispensation has
no terror, but my spirit shrinks from your enduring it
—spare me, my child. God has condescended to my
weakness and opened for you a way of escape—do you
still hesitate? On my knees, Rosalie, I beg you to live
—not for Gervais—not for yourself—for me—for your
mother—give me your hand.” Rosalie gave it. Now
God bless thee my child—shield thee from temptation
and deliver thee from evil! She put Rosalie's hand
into Gervais's, and bidding the priest do his office, she
supported her child on one side while Gervais sustained
her on the other. Rosalie looked more like a bride
for heaven than earth, her face as pale as the pure
white she wore, and her lips faintly, and inaudibly, repeating
the marriage vows.

As the ceremony proceeded, her mother whispered


Page 235
again, and again, “courage my child! courage! It is
for my sake, Rosalie.” The priest pronounced the
benediction. Rosalie had lost all consciousness. Her
mother folded her in one fond, long protracted embrace,
and then, without one word, resigned her to Gervais.

The lady Agnes signed to the priest. A female
attendant appeared. Rosalie was enveloped in a travelling
cloak and hood and conveyed out of the prison.
Clotilde remained alone. We may say, without presumption,
that angels came and ministered to her.

We have only to add the conclusion of the cotemporary
record. “One of the condemned escaped from
punishment, and it is maintained that she was carried
off by the devil; the other without shedding a tear or
uttering a complaint submitted to death with a courage
that equalled her modesty.”

Blank Page

Page Blank Page