A forgotten hero

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TheProjectGutenbergEBookofAForgottenHero,byEmilySarahHolt ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.org Title:AForgottenHero NotforHim Author:EmilySarahHolt Illustrator:H Petherick ReleaseDate:October20,2007[EBook#23119] Language:English ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKAFORGOTTENHERO*** ProducedbyNickHodsonofLondon,England EmilySarahHolt "AForgottenHero" ChapterOne CastlesintheAir “Opale,paleface,sosweetandmeek,Oriana!” Tennyson “Isthelinenallputaway,Clarice?” “Ay,Dame.” “Andtherosemarynotforgotten?” “Ihavelaiditinthelinen,Dame.” “Andthyday’staskofspinningisdone?” “Alldone,Dame.” “Good Then fetch thy sewing and come hither, and I will tell thee somewhattouchingtheladywhomthouarttoserve.” “I humbly thank your Honour.” And dropping a low courtesy, the girl left theroom,andreturnedinaminutewithherwork “Thoumayestsitdown,Clarice.” Clarice,withanothercourtesyandamurmurofthanks,tookherseatin the recess of the window, where her mother was already sitting For thesetwoweremotheranddaughter;amiddle-aged,comfortable-looking mother, with a mixture of firmness and good-nature in her face; and a daughterofsomesixteenyears,ratherpaleandslender,butactiveand intelligent in her appearance Clarice’s dark hair was smoothly brushed andturnedupinacurlallroundherhead,beingcutsufficientlyshortfor that purpose Her dress was long and loose, made in what we call the Princessstyle,withalongtrain,whichshetuckedunderonearmwhen she walked The upper sleeve was of a narrow bell shape, but under it came down tight ones to the wrist, fastened by a row of large round buttons quite up to the elbow A large apron—which Clarice called a barm-cloth—protected the dress from stain A fillet of ribbon was bound roundherhead,butshehadnoornamentsofanykind Hermotherwore asimilarcostume,exceptingthatinhercasethefilletroundtheheadwas exchanged for a wimple, which was a close hood, covering head and neck,andleavingnopartexposedbuttheface Itwasaverycomfortable articleincoldweather,butaneminentlyunbecomingone ThesetwoladieswerethewifeanddaughterofSirGilbertLeTheyn,a knightofSurrey,whoheldhismanoroftheEarlofCornwall;andthedate ofthedaywhentheythussatinthewindowwasthe26thofMarch1290 It will strike modern readers as odd if I say that Clarice and her mother knew very little of each other She was her father’s heir, being an only child; and it was, therefore, considered the more necessary that she shouldnotliveathome Itwasusualatthattimetosendallyounggirlsof goodfamily,nottoschool—therewerenoschoolsinthosedays—butto be brought up under some lady of rank, where they might receive a suitable education, and, on reaching the proper age, have a husband providedforthem,theonebeingjustasmuchamatterofcourseasthe other Theconsentoftheparentswasaskedtothematrimonialselection of the mistress, but public opinion required some very strong reason to justifytheminwithholdingit Theonlyexceptiontothisarrangementwas whengirlsweredestinedforthecloister,andinthatcasetheyreceived their education in a convent But there was one person who had absolutely no voice in the matter, and that was the unfortunate girl in question Theveryideaofconsultingheronanypointofit,wouldhave struckamediaevalmotherwithastonishmentanddismay Why ladies should have been considered competent in all instances to educate anybody’s daughters but their own is a mystery of the Middle Ages DameLaTheynhadunderhercarethreegirls,whowerereceiving their education at her hands, and she never thought of questioning her own competency to impart it; yet, also without a question, she sent Clariceawayfromher,firsttoaneighbouringknight’swife,andnowtoa Princess,toreceivetheeducationwhichshemightjustaswellhavehad at home It was the command of Fashion; and who does not know that Fashion, whether in the thirteenth century or the nineteenth, must be obeyed? Clarice was on the brink of high promotion By means of a ladder of several steps—a Dame requesting a Baroness, and the Baroness entreating a Countess—the royal lady had been reached at last, whose husband was the suzerain of Sir Gilbert It made little difference to this lady whether her bower-women were two or ten, provided that the attendance given her was as much as she required; and she readily granted the petition that Clarice La Theyn might be numbered among thoseyoungladies TheEarlofCornwallwastherichestmaninEngland, notexceptingtheKing Itmaybeaddedthat,atthisperiod,Earlwasthe highest title known short of the Prince of Wales The first Duke had not yetbeencreated,whileMarquisisarankofmuchlaterdate DameLaTheyn,thoughshehadsomegoodpoints,hadalsoonegrand failing She was an inveterate gossip And it made no difference to her who was her listener, provided a listener could be had A spicy dish of scandalwasherhighestdelight Shehadnottheleastwishnorintention ofdoingharmtothepersonwhomshethusdiscussed Shehadnoteven the slightest notion that she did any But her bower-maidens knew perfectlywellthat,ifoneofthemwantedtoputthedameinhighgoodhumour before extracting a favour, the best way to so was to inform her that Mrs Sheppey had had words with her goodman, or that Dame Rouse considered Joan Stick i’ th’ Lane (Note 1), no better than she shouldbe AninnocentrequestfromClarice,thatshemightknowsomethingabout herfuturemistress,hadbeentoDameLaTheynadelightfulopportunity foragooddishofgossip ReticencewasnotintheDame’snature;andin the thirteenth century—and much later than that—facts which in the nineteenth would be left in concealment, or, at most, only delicately hinted at, were spoken out in the plainest English, even to young girls ThefancythattheCountessofCornwallmightnotlikeherwholelife,so farasitwasknown,laidbaretohernewbower-womanwasonewhich never troubled the mind of Dame La Theyn Privacy, to any person of rankmoreespecially,wasanunknownthingintheMiddleAges “Thou must know, Clarice,” began the Dame, “that of old time, before thou wert born, I was bower-maiden unto my most dear-worthy Lady of Lincoln—thatisbrother’swifetomygraciousLadyofGloucester,mother untomyLadyofCornwall,thatshallbethymistress TheLadyofLincoln, thatwasmine,isadameofmosthighdegree,forherfatherwasmyLord of Saluces, (Note 2), in Italy—very nigh a king—and she herself was wont to be called ‘Queen of Lincoln,’ being of so high degree Ah, she gavememanyagoodgown,forIwastwelveyearsinherservice Anda good woman she is, but rarely proud—as it is but like such a princess shouldbe Imindonesuper-tunicshegaveme,buthalfworn,”—thiswas said impressively, for a garment only halfworn was considered a fit gift fromonepeeresstoanother—“ofbluedamask,allsetwithsilverbuttons, andbroideredwithladies’headsalongtheborder Igaveitforawedding giftuntoDameRousewhenshewaswed,andshehathitnow,Iwarrant thee Well! her lord’s sister, our Lady Maud, was wed to my Lord of Gloucester;butstay!—thereisataletotelltheethereabout.” And Dame La Theyn bit off her thread with a complacent face Nothing suitedherbetterthanataletotell,unlessitwereonetohear “Well-a-day,therebequeerthingsinthisworld!” TheDamepaused,asiftogivetimeforClaricetonotethatveryoriginal sentiment “Our Lady Maud was wed to her lord, the good Earl of Gloucester, with but little liking of her side, and yet less on his Nathless, she made no plaint,butsubmittedherself,asagoodmaidshoulddo—formarkthou, Clarice,’tisthegreatestshamethatcancometoamaidentosetherwill against those of her father and mother in wedlock A good maid—as I trustthouart—shouldhavenowillinsuchmattersbutthatofthosewhom Godhathsetoverher Andalllove-matchesendill,Clarice;takemyword forit!Artnotingme?” Clarice meekly responded that the moral lesson had reached her She didnotaddwhethershemeanttoprofitbyit Probablyshehadherown ideas on the question, and it is quite possible that they did not entirely correspondwiththosewhichhermotherwasinstilling “Nowlookonme,Clarice,”pursuedDameLaTheyn,earnestly “WhenI was a young maid I had foolish fancies like other maidens Had I been left to order mine own life, I warrant thee I should have wed with one MasterPride,thatwaspagetomygoodknightmyfather;andwhenIwist that my said father had other thoughts for my disposal, I slept of a wet pillowformanyanight—ay,thatdidI ButnowthatIbecometoyearsof discretion, I ensure thee that I am right thankful my said father was wiserthanI ForthisMasterPridewasslainatEvesham,whenIwasof the age of five-and-twenty years, and left behind him not so much as a mark of silver that should have come to me, his widow It was a good twenty-fold better that I should have wedded with thy father, Sir Gilbert, that hath this good house, and forty acres of land, and spendeth thirty marksbytheyearandmore Dostthounotseethesame?” No Clariceheard,butshedidnotsee “Well-a-day!Nowknow,thatwhenmygoodLordofGloucester,thatwed with our Lady Maud, was a young lad, being then in wardship unto Sir Hubert,sometimeEarlofKent(whomGodpardon!)hestrakeupalovematch with the Lady Margaret, that was my said Lord of Kent his daughter And in very deed a good match it should have been, had it beenwelllikedofthemthatwereabovethem;buttheLordKingthatthen was—thefatheruntoKingEdwardthatnowis—rarelymislikedthesame, andgatthemdivorcedinallhate Itwasnotmeet,asthoumayestwell guess,thatsuchmattersshouldbesettledapartfromhisroyalpleasure Andforthwith,erefurthermischiefcouldensue,hecausedmysaidLord of Gloucester to wed with our Lady Maud But look thou, so obstinate was he, and so set of having his own way, that he scarce ever said so much as ‘Good morrow’ to the Lady Maud until he knew that the said Lady Margaret was commanded to God Never thou be obstinate, Clarice ’Tisillenoughforayoungman,butyetworseforamaid.” “Howlongtimewasthat,Dame,an’itlikeyou?” “Far too long,” answered Dame La Theyn, somewhat severely “Three yearsandmore.” Three years and more! Clarice’s thoughts went off on a long journey Threeyearsofdisappointedhopeandpassionateregret,threeyearsof weary waiting for death, on the part of the Lady Margaret! Naturally enoughhersympathieswerewiththegirl Andthreeyears,toClarice,at sixteen,seemedasmalllifetime “Now, this lady whom thou shalt serve, Clarice,” pursued her mother— and Clarice’s mind came back to the subject in hand—“she is first-born daughteruntothesaidSirRicharddeClare,LordofGloucester,andour Lady Maud, of whom I spake Her name is Margaret, after the damsel thatdied—apoorcompliment,asmethinks,tothesaidLadyMaud;and hadIbeenshe,themaidshouldhavebeencalledaughtelseitlikedmy baron,butnotthat.” Ah,buthadIbeenhe,thoughtClarice,itshouldhavebeenjustthat! “And I have heard,” said the Dame, biting off her thread, “that there shouldofoldtimebesomemisliking—whatIknownot—betwixttheLady Margaretandherbaron;butwhetheritweresomeoldenloveofhispart or of hers, or what so, I cast no doubt that she hath long ere this overlived the same, and is now a good and loving lady unto him, as is meet.” Clarice felt disposed to cast very much doubt on this suggestion She held the old-fashioned idea that a true heart could love but once, and could not forget Her vivid imagination instantly erected an exquisite castleintheair,whereinthechiefpartwasplayedbytheLadyMargaret’s youthfullover—ahighlyimaginaryindividual,ofthemostperfectmanners and unparalleled beauty, whom the unfortunate maiden could never forget, though she was forced by her cruel parents to marry the Earl of Cornwall He, of course, was a monster of ugliness in person, and of everything disagreeable in character, as a man in such circumstances wasboundtobe PoorClarice!shehadnotseenmuchoftheworld Hermentalpictureof the lady whom she was to serve depicted her as sweet and sorrowful, withalowplaintivevoiceanddark,starry,patheticeyes,towardswhom theonlyfeelingspossiblewouldbelovingreverenceandsympathy “Andnow,Clarice,Ihaveanotherthingtosay.” “Atyourpleasure,Dame.” “IthinkitbutmeettotelltheeathingIhaveheardfromthyfather—that the Lord Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, thy lady’s baron, is one that hath somequeerideasinhishead Iknownotwellwhatkindtheyare;butfolk saythatheisastrangemanandhathstrangetalk Sodothoumindwhat thoudost Alwaybereverenttohim,asismeet;butsufferhimnottotalk totheebutinpresenceofthylady.” Clarice felt rather frightened—all the more so from the extreme vaguenessofthewarning “Andnowlapupthysewing,child,forIseethyfathercomingin,andwe willgodowntohall.” A few weeks later three horses stood ready saddled at the door of Sir Gilbert’s house One was laden with luggage; the second was mounted byamanservant;andthethird,providedwithsaddleandpillion,wasfor Clariceandherfather SirGilbert,fullyarmed,mountedhissteed,Clarice washelpedupbehindhim,andwithafinalfarewelltoDameLaTheyn, whostoodinthedoorway,theyrodeforthontheirwaytoOakhamCastle Three days’ journey brought them to their destination, and they were witnessesofacuriousceremonyjustastheyreachedtheCastlegate All overthegatehorseshoeswerenailed Atrainofvisitorswerearrivingat theCastle,andthetrumpetersoundedhishornforentrance “Whogoesthere?”demandedthewarder “Therightnobleandpuissant Prince Edmund, Earl of Lancaster, Leicester, and Derby; and his most noblelady,Blanche,QueenDowagerofNavarre,Countessofthesame, cousinsuntomygraciousLordofCornwall.” “Is this my said noble Lord’s first visit unto the lordship of Oakham?” askedthewarder,withoutopeningthegate “Itis.” “ThenourgraciousLord,asLordofthesaidmanor,demandsofhimone of the shoes of the horse whereon he rides as tribute due from every peeroftherealmonhisfirstcomingtothislordship.” “Ihope,”saidtheEarlinthesamelowtone,“thattherearequietcorners inHeavenwherewearymenandwomenmayliedownandrestawhile at our Lord’s feet I feel unfit to take a place all at once in the angelic choir Not unready to praise—I mean not that—only too weary, just at first,tocareforanythingbutrest.” ThereweretearsburningunderthePrior’seyelids;buthewassilentstill ThatwasnothisideaofHeaven;butthenhewaslesswearyofearth He feltalmostvexedthattheonlypassageofScripturewhichwouldcometo him was one utterly unsuited to the occasion—“They rest not day nor night.”Usuallyfluentandfervent,hewastongue-tiedjustthen “Did Christ our Lord need the rest of His three days and nights in the grave?”suggestedtheEarl,thoughtfully “Hemusthavebeenveryweary aftertheagonyofHiscross IthinkHemusthavebeenverytiredofHis life altogether For was it not one passion from Bethlehem to Calvary? And He could hardly have been one of those strong men who never seemtofeeltired TwicewearetoldthatHewasweary—whenHesaton the well, and when He slept in the boat Father, I ought to ask your pardonforspeakingwhenIshouldlisten,andseemingtoteachwhereI oughttobetaught.” “Nay,myLord,saynotso,Iprayyou.”ThePriorfoundhisvoiceatlast “I havelearnedtorecognisemyMaster’svoice,whetherIhearitfromthe rostrumoftheoratororfromthelowlyhoveloftheserf Anditisnotthe firsttimethatIhavehearditinyours.” The Earl looked up with an expression of surprise, and then shook his headagainwithasmile “Nay,goodFather,flattermenotsofar.” He might have added more, but the sound of an iron bar beaten on a woodenboardannouncedthehourofsupper TheEarlconversedalmost cheerfullywiththePriorandhisheadofficersduringsupper;andAdemar remarkedtotheCellarerthathehadnotforalongwhileseenhismaster solikehisoldself The first of October rose clear and bright At Berkhamsted, the ladies werespendingthemorninginexaminingthecontentsofapedlar’swell- stockedpack,andbuyingsilk,lawn,furs,andtrimmingsforthewedding AtAshridge,theEarlwaswalkingupanddownthePriorygarden,looking over the dilapidations which time had wrought in his monastery, and notingonhistablessundryitemsinrespectofwhichhemeanttorepair theravages AtRomsey,MotherMargaret,inherblackpatchedhabitand up-turned sleeves, was washing out the convent refectory, and thereby, she fervently hoped, washing her sins out of existence—without a thought of the chivalrous love which would have set her high above all such menial labour, and would never have permitted even the winds of heavento“visithercheektooroughly.”Diditneveroccurtoherthatshe mighthaveallowedtheRedeemerofmento“makehersalvation”forher, andyethaveallowedherselftomakeherhusband’slifesomethingbetter tohimthanawearyburden? Theday’sworkwasover,andtherecreationtimehadcome ThePriorof Ashridge tapped at the door of the guest-chamber, and was desired to enter HefoundtheEarlturningovertheleavesofhisPsalter “Lookhere,Father,”saidthelatter,pointingoutthefifteenthverseofthe ninetiethPsalm “We are glad for the days wherein Thou didst humiliate us; the years whereinwehaveseenevil.” “What does that mean?” said the Earl “Is it that we thank God for the afflictions He has given us? It surely does not mean—I hope not—that ourcomfortistolastjustaslongasourafflictionshavelasted,andnota daylonger.” “Ah,myLord,Godisnogrudginggiver,”answeredthePrior “Theverse beforeit,methinks,willreplytoyourLordship—‘weexultandaregladall ourdays.’Allourearthlylifehavewebeenafflicted;allourheavenlyone shallwebemadeglad.” “Glad!Ihardlyknowwhatthewordmeans,”wasthepatheticreply “Youwillknowitthen,”saidthePrior “Youwill—butshallI?Ihavebeensuchanunprofitableservant!” “Nay, good my Lord, but are you going to win Heaven by your own works?”eagerlydemandedtheBonusHomo “‘Beginninginthespirit,are ye consummated in the flesh?’ Surely you have not so learned Christ HathHenotsaid,‘LifeeternalgiveItothem;andtheyshallnotperishfor ever,andnoneshallsnatchthemoutofMyhand’?” “True,”saidtheEarl,bowinghishead ButthiswasVaudoisteaching AndthoughEarlEdmund,firstofallmen inEngland,haddrunkintheVaudoisdoctrines,yeteveninhimtheyhad to struggle with a mass of previous teaching which required to be unlearned—withallthatrubbishofman’sinventionwhichRomehasbuilt upontheOneFoundation Itwashard,attimes,tokeeptheoldghosts from coming back, and troubling by their shadowy presence the soul whomChristhadbroughtintoHislight Therewassilenceforatime TheEarl’sheadwasbentforwarduponhis claspedhandsonthetable,andthePrior,whothoughtthathemightbe praying,forboretodisturbhim Atlengthhesaid,“MyLord,thesupperhouriscome.” TheEarlgavenoanswer,andthePriorthoughthehaddroppedasleep He waited till the board was struck with the iron bar as the signal for supper Then he rose and addressed the Earl again The silence distressed him now He laid his hand upon his patron’s shoulder, but therewasnoresponse Gently,withasuddenandterriblefear,helifted the bowed head and looked into his face And then he knew that the wearyheartwasgladatlast—thatlifeeternalinHisbeatificpresencehad Godgiventohim Fromfarandnearthephysiciansweresummonedthat night, but only to tell the Prior what he already knew They stood round thebedonwhichthecorpsehadbeenreverentlylaid,andtalkedofhis mysteriousdiseaseinhardwordsofsonorousLatin Itwouldhavebeen better had they called it in simple English what it was—a broken heart Why such a fate was allotted to one of the best of all our princes, He knowswhocametobindupthebroken-hearted,andwhosaidbythelips ofHisprophet,“Reproachhathbrokenmineheart.” AdemarwassentbacktoBerkhamstedwiththewoefulnews Therewas bitter mourning there It was not, perhaps, in many of the household, unmixedwithselfishconsiderations,fortoalargeproportionofthemthe deathoftheirmastermeanthomelessnessforthepresent,andtonearly allsadapprehensionsforthefuture Yettherewasagreatdealthatwas not selfish, for the gentle, loving, humane, self-abnegating spirit of the dead had made him very dear to all his dependants, and more hearts weptforhimthanhewouldeverhavebelievedpossible Buttherewasonepersoninespecialtowhomitwasfeltthenewsought to be sent The Prior despatched no meaner member of the Order, but wenthimselftotellthedarktidingsatRomsey He pleaded hard for a private interview with the Countess, but the reigningAbbessofRomseywasagreatsticklerforrule,andshedecided that it was against precedent, and therefore propriety, that one of her nunsshouldbethussingledoutfromtherest Theannouncementmust bemadeintheusualway,tothewholeconvent,atvespers So, in the well-known tones of the Prior of Ashridge,—some time the Earl’sconfessor,andhisfrequentvisitor,—withthecustomaryrequestto prayforthereposeofthedead,totheearsofMotherMargaret,asshe knelt in her stall with the rest, came the sound of the familiar name of Edmund,EarlofCornwall Verytenderandpatheticwasthetoneinwhichtheintimationwasgiven The heart of the Prior himself was so wrung that he could not imagine such a feeling as indifference in that of the woman who had been the dearest thing earth held for that dead man But if he looked down the longrowofblack,silentfiguresforanysignorsound,helookedinvain There was not even a trembling of Mother Margaret’s black veil as her voiceroseuntroubledintheresponsewithalltherest— “OJesudulcis!OJesupie! OJesu,FiliMaria! Donaeisrequiem.” In the recreation-time which followed, the Prior sought out Mother Margaret Hefoundherwithoutdifficulty,seatedonaformatthesideof the room, talking to a sister nun, and he caught a few words of the conversationasheapproached “Iassurethee,SisterRegina,itisquiteamistake MotherWymarcatold medistinctlythattheholyMothergaveSisterMaudanunpatchedhabit, anditisallnonsenseinhertosaytherewasapatchontheelbow.” ThePriorbithislips,butherestrainedhimself,andsatdown,reverently salutedbybothnunsashedidso Wasshetryingtohideherfeelings? thoughthe “SisterMargaret,Ibroughtyoutidings,”hesaid,ascalmlyaswasinhim The nun turned upon him a pair of cold, steel-blue eyes, as calm and irresponsiveasifhehadbroughthernotidingswhatever “Iheardthem,Father,ifitpleaseyou Hasheleftanywill?” The priest-nature in the Prior compelled him officially to avoid any reprehensionofthisperfectmonasticcalm;butthehumannature,which inhiscaselaybeneathit,wassurprisedandrepelled “Hehasleftawill,whereinyouarefullyprovidedfor.” “Oh, that is nice!” said Mother Margaret, in tones of unquestionable gratulation “AndhowmuchamItohave?OfcourseIcareaboutitonly forthesakeoftheAbbey.” The Prior had his private ideas on that point; for, as he well knew, the vowofpovertywassomewhatofaformalityintheMiddleAges,sincethe nun who brought to her convent a title and a fortune was usually not treatedinthesamemannerasapennilesscommoner “Thecustomarydowertoawidow,Sister.” “Do you mean to say I am only to have my third? Well, I call that shameful!Andsofondofmeashealwaysprofessedtobe!Ithoughthe wouldhaveleftmeeverything.” The Prior experienced a curious sensation in his right arm, which, had MotherMargaretnotbeenawoman,orhadhebeenlessofaChristian and a Church dignitary, might have resulted in the measuring of her length on the floor of the recreation-room But she was totally unconsciousofanysuchfeelingonhispart Herheart—orthatwithinher whichdiddutyforone—hadbeentouchedatlast “Well,Idocallitdisgraceful!”sherepeated “And is that all?” asked the Prior involuntarily, and not by any means in consonance with his duty as a holy priest addressing a veiled nun But priestsandnunshavenobusinesswithheartsofanysort,andheought tohaveknownthisaswellasshedid “All?”shesaid,witharatherpuzzledlookinthefrostyblueeyes “Iwould ithadbeenalargersum,Father;fortheconvent’ssake,ofcourse.” “And am I to hear no word of regret, Sister, for the man to whom you werealltheworld?” This was, of course, a most shocking speech, considering the speaker and the person whom he addressed; but it came warm from that inconvenient heart which had no business to be beneath the Prior’s cassock Mother Margaret was scandalised, and she showed it in her face,whichawokehercompaniontothefactthathewasnotspeakingin character Thataprofessednunshouldbeexpectedtofeelpersonaland unspiritual interest in an extern! and, as if that were not enough, in a man!MotherMargaret’ssenseofdecorumwasquiteoutraged “How could such thoughts trouble the blessed peace of a holy sister?” she wished to know “Pardon me, Father; I shall pray for his soul, of course WhatcouldIdomore?” And the Prior recognised at last that to the one treasure of that dead man’sheart,thenewshebroughtwaslessthanithadbeentohim Hebithislipsseverely Itwasallhecoulddotokeepfromtellingherthat the pure, meek, self-abnegating soul which had passed from earth demandedfarfewerprayersthanthecold,hard,selfishspiritwhichdwelt withinherownblackhabit “ItisIwhorequirepardon,Sister,”hesaid,inaconstrainedvoice “May ourLordinHismercyforgiveusall!” HemadenofurtherattempttoconversewithMotherMargaret But,ashe passedherafewminuteslater,heheardthatsheandSisterReginahad gonebacktotheprevioussubject,whichtheywerediscussingwithsome interestintheirtones “Owoman,woman!”groanedthePrior,inhisheart;“thepatchonSister Maud’selbowismoretotheethanallthelovethouhastlost Ah,mydear Lord!itisnotyouthatImourn Youarefarbetterhence.” From which speech it will be seen that the Bonus Homo was very far frombeingaperfectmonk TheactionsofMotherMargaretadmirablymatchedherwords Shegave herself heart and soul to the important business of securing her miserablethirdofherdeadlord’slandsandgoods Nottilltheyweresafe inherpossessiondidsheallowherselfanyrest Didthedayevercomewhenherfeelingschanged?Duringthetenyears which she outlived the man who had loved her with every fibre of his warm, great heart, did her heart ever turn regretfully, when Abbesses were harsh or life was miserable, to the thought of that tender, faithful love which, so far as in it lay, would have sheltered her life from every breath of discomfort? Did she ever in all those ten years whisper to herself— “Oh,ifhewouldbutcomeagain, IthinkI’dvexhimsonomore!” Didsheevermurmursuchwordsas— “Iwasnotworthyofyou,Douglas, Nothalfworthythelikeofyou!” wordswhich,honestlysobbedforthinverytruth,wouldhavebeenfar nearer real penitence than all the “acts of contrition” which passed her lipsdaybyday Godknoweth Menwillneverknow Butallhistoryandexperiencetendto assure us that women such as Margaret de Clare usually die as they have lived, and that of all barriers to penitence and conversion there is nonesohardtooverthrowasindulgedmaliceanddeliberatehardening oftheheartagainsttheloveofGodandman Therewasnot,asPiersandClaricehadfearedtheremighthavebeen, any misfortune to them in the way of preventing their marriage King Edward had great respect for justice and honour, and finding that his cousinhad,thoughwithoutlegalformalities,grantedClarice’smarriageto Piers, he confirmed the grant, and Father Bevis married them quietly in thechapelofBerkhamstedCastle,withoutanyfestivityorrejoicings,for the embalmed body of the master to whom they owed so much lay in stateinthebanquet-hall Itwasamournfulceremony,where— “Thecheersthathaderstmadethewelkinring WeredrownedinthetearsthatwereshedfortheKing.” ClariceandPiersmadenoattempttoobtainanyfurtherpromotion They retired to a little estate in Derbyshire, which shortly afterwards fell to Piers, and there they spent their lives, in serving their generation accordingtothewillofGod,oftenbrightenedbyvisitsfromAdemarand Heliet, who had taken up their abode not far from them in the neighbouring county of Rutland And as time went on, around Clarice grewupbravesonsandfairdaughters,toallofwhomshemadeavery lovingmother;but,perhaps,noonewaseverquitesodeartoherheart asthestarwhichhadgleamedonherlifethebrighterforthesurrounding darkness, the little white rosebud which had been gathered for the gardenofGod “Inotherspringsherlifemightbe Inbanneredbloomunfurled; Butnever,nevermatchherwee WhiteRoseofalltheworld.” It was not until the spring which followed his death was blooming into green leaves and early flowers that the coffin of Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, was borne to the magnificent Abbey of Hales in Gloucestershire, founded by his father There they laid him down by father and mother—the grand, generous, spendthrift Prince who had so nearly borne the proud title of Caesar Augustus, and the fair, soft, characterlessPrincesswhohadbeencrownedwithhimasQueenofthe Romans ForthePrincewhowaslaidbesidethemthatEasterafternoon, theworldhadpreparedwhatitconsidersasplendiddestiny Throneand diadem,gloryandwealth,loveandhappiness,weretohavebeenhis,so far as it lay in the world’s power to give them; but on most of all these GodhadlaidHishand,andforbiddenthemtocomenearthesoulwhich He had marked for His own For him there was to be an incorruptible crown,butnocorruptible;theloveoftheLordthatboughthim,butnotthe love of the woman on whom he set his heart Now—whatever he may have thought on earth—now, standing on the sea of glass, and having theharpofGod,heknowswhichwasthebetterportion Heworenocrown;hefoundednodynasty;hepassedaway,likeaname writteninwater,followedonlybythepersonalloveofafewheartswhich weresoondustlikehim,andbytheundyingcursesandcalumniesofthe Church which he had done his best to purify against her will But shall we,lookingbackacrossthesixcenturieswhichliebetweenusandhim who brought Protestantism into England—shall we write on his gravestoneintheruinedAbbeyofHales,“Thismanlivedinvain?” TheEnd |Chapter1||Chapter2||Chapter3||Chapter4||Chapter5||Chapter6||Chapter7|| Chapter8||Chapter9||Chapter10||Chapter11||Chapter12| EndoftheProjectGutenbergEBookofAForgottenHero,byEmilySarahHolt ***ENDOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKAFORGOTTENHERO*** *****Thisfileshouldbenamed23119-h.htmor23119-h.zip***** Thisandallassociatedfilesofvariousformatswillbefoundin: http://www.gutenberg.org/2/3/1/1/23119/ ProducedbyNickHodsonofLondon,England Updatededitionswillreplacethepreviousone 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