Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

Chapter 12

Now all ye ladies of fair Scotland,
And ladies of England that happy would prove,
Marry never for houses, nor marry for land,
Nor marry for nothing but only love.
FAMILY QUARRELS.


When the Lady Eveline had retired into her own private chamber,
Rose Flammock followed her unbidden, and proffered her assistance
in removing the large veil which she had worn while she was
abroad; but the lady refused her permission, saying, "You are
forward with service, maiden, when it is not required of you."

"You are displeased with me, lady!" said Rose.

"And if I am, I have cause," replied Eveline. "You know my
difficulties--you know what my duty demands; yet, instead of
aiding me to make the sacrifice, you render it more difficult."

"Would I had influence to guide your path!" said Rose; "you should
find it a smooth one--ay, an honest and straight one, to boot."

"How mean you, maiden?" said Eveline.

"I would have you," answered Rose, "recall the encouragement--the
consent, I may almost call it, you have yielded to this proud
baron. He is too great to be loved himself--too haughty to love
you as you deserve. If you wed him, you wed gilded misery, and, it
may be, dishonour as well as discontent."

"Remember, damsel," answered Eveline Berenger, "his services
towards us."

"His services?" answered Rose. "He ventured his life for us;
indeed, but so did every soldier in his host. And am I bound to
wed any ruffling blade among them, because he fought when the
trumpet sounded? I wonder what, is the meaning of their
_devoir_, as they call it, when it shames them not to claim
the highest reward woman can bestow, merely for discharging the
duty of a gentleman, by a distressed creature. A gentleman, said
I?--The coarsest boor in Flanders would hardly expect thanks for
doing the duty of a man by women in such a case."

"But my father's wishes?" said the young lady.

"They had reference, without doubt, to the inclination of your
father's daughter," answered the attendant. "I will not do my late
noble lord--(may God assoilzie him!)--the injustice to suppose he
would have urged aught in this matter which squared not with your
free choice."

"Then my vow--my fatal vow, as I had well nigh called it?" said
Eveline. "May Heaven forgive me my ingratitude to my patroness!"

"Even this shakes me not," said Rose; "I will never believe our
Lady of Mercy would exact such a penalty for her protection, as to
desire me to wed the man I could not love. She smiled, you say,
upon your prayer. Go--lay at her feet these difficulties which
oppress you, and see if she will not smile again. Or seek a
dispensation from your vow--seek it at the expense of the half of
your estate,--seek it at the expense of your whole property. Go a
pilgrimage barefooted to Rome--do any thing but give your hand
where you cannot give your heart."

"You speak warmly, Rose," said Eveline, still sighing as she
spoke.

"Alas! my sweet lady, I have cause. Have I not seen a household
where love was not--where, although there was worth and good will,
and enough of the means of life, all was imbittered by regrets,
which were not only vain, but criminal?"

"Yet, methinks, Rose, a sense of what is due to ourselves and to
others may, if listened to, guide and comfort us under such
feelings even as thou hast described."

"It will save us from sin, lady, but not from sorrow," answered
Rose; "and wherefore should we, with our eyes open, rush into
circumstances where duty must war with inclination?" Why row
against wind and tide, when you may as easily take advantage of
the breeze?"

"Because the voyage of my life lies where winds and currents
oppose me," answered Eveline. "It is my fate, Rose."

"Not unless you make it such by choice," answered Rose. "Oh, could
you but have seen the pale cheek, sunken eye, and dejected bearing
of my poor mother!--I have said too much."

"It was then your mother," said her young lady, "of whose unhappy
wedlock you have spoken?"

"It was--it was," said Rose, bursting into tears. "I have exposed
my own shame to save you from sorrow. Unhappy she was, though most
guiltless--so unhappy, that the breach of the dike, and the
inundation in which she perished, were, but for my sake, to her
welcome as night to the weary labourer. She had a heart like
yours, formed to love and be loved; and it would be doing honour
to yonder proud Baron, to say he had such worth as my father's.--
Yet was she most unhappy. Oh! my sweet lady, be warned, and break
off this ill-omened match!"

Eveline returned the pressure with which the affectionate girl, as
she clung to her hand, enforced her well-meant advice, and then
muttered with a profound sigh,--"Rose, it is too late."

"Never--never," said Rose, looking eagerly round the room. "Where
are those writing materials?--Let me bring Father Aldrovand, and
instruct him of your pleasure--or, stay, the good father hath
himself an eye on the splendours of the world which he thinks he
has abandoned--he will be no safe secretary.--I will go myself to
the Lord Constable--_me_ his rank cannot dazzle, or his
wealth bribe, or his power overawe. I will tell him he doth no
knightly part towards you, to press his contract with your father
in such an hour of helpless sorrow--no pious part, in delaying the
execution of his vows for the purpose of marrying or giving in
marriage--no honest part, to press himself on a maiden whose heart
has not decided in his favour--no wise part, to marry one whom he
must presently abandon, either to solitude, or to the dangers of a
profligate court."

"You have not courage for such an embassy, Rose," said her
mistress, sadly smiling through her tears at her youthful
attendant's zeal.

"Not courage for it!--and wherefore not?--Try me," answered the
Flemish maiden, in return. "I am neither Saracen nor Welshman--his
lance and sword scare me not. I follow not his banner--his voice
of command concerns me not. I could, with your leave, boldly tell
him he is a selfish man, veiling with fair and honourable pretexts
his pursuit of objects which concern his own pride and
gratification, and founding high claims on having rendered the
services which common humanity demanded. And all for what?--
Forsooth the great De Lacy must have an heir to his noble house,
and his fair nephew is not good enough to be his representative,
because his mother was of Anglo-Saxon strain, and the real heir
must be pure unmixed Norman; and for this, Lady Eveline Berenger,
in the first bloom of youth, must be wedded to a man who might be
her father, and who, after leaving her unprotected for years, will
return in such guise as might beseem her grandfather!"

"Since he is thus scrupulous concerning purity of lineage," said
Eveline, "perhaps he may call to mind, what so good a herald as he
is cannot fail to know--that I am of Saxon strain by my father's
mother."

"Oh," replied Rose, "he will forgive that blot in the heiress of
the Garde Doloureuse."

"Fie, Rose," answered her mistress, "thou dost him wrong in taxing
him with avarice."

"Perhaps so," answered Rose; "but he is undeniably ambitious; and
Avarice, I have heard, is Ambition's bastard brother, though
Ambition be sometimes ashamed of the relationship."

"You speak too boldly, damsel," said Eveline; "and, while I
acknowledge your affection, it becomes me to check your mode of
expression."

"Nay, take that tone, and I have done," said Rose.--"To Eveline,
whom I love, and who loves me, I can speak freely--but to the Lady
of the Garde Doloureuse, the proud Norman damsel, (which when you
choose to be you can be,) I can curtsy as low as my station
demands, and speak as little truth as she cares to hear."

"Thou art a wild but a kind girl," said Eveline; "no one who did
not know thee would think that soft and childish exterior covered
such a soul of fire. Thy mother must indeed have been the being of
feeling and passion you paint her; for thy father--nay, nay, never
arm in his defence until he be attacked--I only meant to say, that
his solid sense and sound judgment are his most distinguished
qualities."

"And I would you would avail yourself of them, lady," said Rose.

"In fitting things I will; but he were rather an unmeet counsellor
in that which we now treat of," said Eveline.

"You mistake him," answered Rose Flammock, "and underrate his
value. Sound judgment is like to the graduated measuring-wand,
which, though usually applied only to coarser cloths, will give
with equal truth the dimensions of Indian silk, or of cloth of
gold."

"Well--well--this affair presses not instantly at least," said the
young lady. "Leave me now, Rose, and send Gillian the tirewoman
hither--I have directions to give about the packing and removal of
my wardrobe."

"That Gillian the tirewoman hath been a mighty favourite of late,"
said Rose; "time was when it was otherwise."

"I like her manners as little as thou dost," said Eveline; "but
she is old Raoul's wife--she was a sort of half favourite with my
dear father--who, like other men, was perhaps taken by that very
freedom which we think unseemly in persons of our sex; and then
there is no other woman in the Castle that hath such skill in
empacketing clothes without the risk of their being injured."

"That last reason alone," said Rose, smiling, "is, I admit, an
irresistible pretension to favour, and Dame Gillian shall
presently attend you.--But take my advice, lady--keep her to her
bales and her mails, and let her not prate to you on what concerns
her not."

So saying, Rose left the apartment, and her young lady looked
after her in silence--then murmured to herself--"Rose loves me
truly; but she would willingly be more of the mistress than the
maiden; and then she is somewhat jealous of every other person
that approaches me.--It is strange, that I have not seen Damian de
Lacy since my interview with the Constable. He anticipates, I
suppose, the chance of his finding in me a severe aunt!"

But the domestics, who crowded for orders with reference to her
removal early on the morrow, began now to divert the current of
their lady's thoughts from the consideration of her own particular
situation, which, as the prospect presented nothing pleasant, with
the elastic spirit of youth, she willingly postponed till farther
leisure.

Sir Walter Scott