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he as brave as Hercules or as wise as Solomon, he is soon forgotten. It is not ten years since my father fell, with many other knights around him, in a very fierce encounter,

and I do not think that any one of them, nor so much as 5 the name of the fight, is now remembered. No, no,

madam, the nearer you come to it, you see that death is a dark and dusty corner, where a man gets into his tomb and has the door shut after him till the judgment day. I have

few friends just now, and once I am dead I shall have 10 none."

“Ah, Monsieur de Beaulieu!” she exclaimed, “you forget Blanche de Malétroit."

“You have a sweet nature, madam, and you are pleased to estimate a little service far beyond its worth." 15 “ It is not that,” she answered. “You mistake me if you

think I am easily touched by my own concerns. I say so, because you are the noblest man I have ever met; because I recognize in you a spirit that would have made even a common person famous in the land.”

“And yet here I die in a mousetrap—with no more noise about it than my own squeaking,” answered he.

A look of pain crossed her face, and she was silent for a little while. Then a light came into her eyes, and with a smile she spoke again.

“I cannot have my champion think meanly of himself. Anyone who gives his life for another will be met in Paradise by all the heralds and angels of the Lord God. And

you have no such cause to hang your head. For . Pray, do you think me beautiful?

me beautiful ? ” she asked, with a 30 deep flush.

"Indeed, madam, I do," he said.

“I am glad of that,” she answered heartily. “Do you think there are many men in France who have been asked in marriage by a beautiful maiden—with her own




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lips—and who have refused her to her face? I know you men would half despise such a triumph; but believe me, we women know more of what is precious in love. There is nothing that should set a person higher in his own esteem; and we women would prize nothing more dearly.” 5

You are very good,” he said; “but you cannot make me forget that I was asked in pity and not for love."

"I am not so sure of that,” she replied, holding down her head. “ Hear me to an end, Monsieur de Beaulieu. I know how you must despise me; I feel you are right 10 to do so; I am too poor a creature to occupy one thought of your mind, although, alas! you must die for me this morning. But when I asked you to marry me, indeed, and indeed, it was because I respected and admired you, and loved you with my whole soul, from the very moment 15 that you took my part against my uncle. If you had seen yourself, and how noble you looked, you would pity rather than despise me. And now,” she went on, hurriedly checking him with her hand, " although I have laid aside all reserve and told you so much, remember 20 that I know your sentiments towards me already. I would not, believe me, being nobly born, weary you with importunities into consent. I too have a pride of my own: and I declare before the holy mother of God, if you should now go back from your word already given, I 25 would no more marry you than I would marry my uncle's groom.”

Denis smiled a little bitterly.

“It is a small love," he said, " that shies at a little pride."

30 She made no answer, although she probably had her own thoughts.

"Come hither to the window," he said with a sigh. Here is the dawn."

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And indeed the dawn was already beginning. The hollow of the sky was full of essential daylight, colorless and clean; and the valley underneath was fooded

with a gray reflection. A few thin vapors clung in the 5 coves of the forest or lay along the wi ding course of

the river. The scene disengaged a surprising effect of stillness, which was hardly interrupted when the cocks began once more to crow among the steadings. Per

haps the same fellow who had made so horrid a clangor 10 in the darkness not half an hour before, now sent up the

merriest cheer to greet the coming day. A little wind went bustling and eddying among the tree-tops underneath the windows. And still the daylight kept flood

ing insensibly out of the east, which was soon to grow 15 incandescent and cast up that red-hot cannon-ball, the rising sun.

Denis looked out over all this with a bit of a shiver. He had taken her hand, and retained it in his almost unconsciously.

“Has the day begun already ? ” she said; and then, illogically enough: “the night has been so long! Alas! what shall

say to my uncle when he returns?”

“What you will,” said Denis, and he pressed her 25 fingers in his.

She was silent.

“Blanche," he said, with a swift, uncertain, passionate utterance, you have seen whether I fear death. You

must know well enough that I would as gladly leap out 30 of that window into the empty air as to lay a finger on you without your free and full consent.

But if you care for me at all do not let me lose my life in a misapprehension; for I love you better than the whole world; and though I will die for you blithely, it would be like



all the joys of Paradise to live on and spend my life in

your service.”

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As he stopped speaking, a bell began to ring loudly in the interior of the house; and a clatter of armor in the corridor showed that the retainers were returning to their 5 post, and the two hours were at an end.

"After all that you have heard?” she whispered, leaning towards him with her lips and eyes. "I have heard nothing," he replied.

The captain's name was Floririúnd de Champdivers," 10 she said in his ear.

“I did not hear it,” he answered, taking her supple body in his arms, and covered her wet face with kisses.

A melodious chirping was audible behind, followed by a beautiful chuckle, and the voice of Messire de Malé- 15 troit wished his new nephew a good-morning.



OHÉ, Ahmed din! Shafiz Ullah ahoo! Bahadur Khan, where are you? Come out of the tents, as I have done, and fight against the English. Don't kill your own kin! Come out to me!” 5 The deserter from a native corps was crawling round

the outskirts of the camp, firing at intervals, and shouting invitations to his old comrades. Misled by the rain and the darkness, he came to the English wing of the camp,

and with his yelping and rifle practice disturbed the 10 men. They had been making roads all day, and were tired.

Ortheris was sleeping at Learoyd's feet. "Wot's all that?” he said, thickly. Learoyd snored, and a Snider

bullet ripped its way through the tent wall. The men 15 swore. It's that bloomin' deserter from the Aurang

abadis,” said Ortheris. “Git up, some one, an' tell 'im 'e's come to the wrong shop.”

"Go to sleep, little man," said Mulvaney, who was steaming nearest the door. "I can't rise an' expaytiate 20 with him. 'Tis rainin' intrenchin' tools outside."

“ 'Tain't because you bloomin' can't. It's 'cause you


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* RUDYARD KIPLING (1865–), an Anglo-Indian, first made his reputation by Indian stories, and by local-color narratives, of which this tale is an example. He is now a resident of England. This story was first published in Macmillan's Magazine, September, 1890. See also pp. 67-74, 76.

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