Page images

is the lady whom your master loveth best? My master, replied the squire, loves all in general, and none as you mean. While they thus talked Garinter came nigh, who seeing Darioleta in conference with Perion's squire, called her and asked what he had to say to her. In sooth my lord, quoth she, he tells me that his master is wont to be alone, and certainly I think he will feel himself embarrassed by your company. Garinter hearing that went to King Perion and said, my lord, I have many affairs to settle, and must rise at the hour of matins, and that you may not be disturbed, you had better be alone in your chamber. King Perion replied, do as shall seem best to your liking. Then Garinter understood that Darioleta had told him rightly of his guest's inclination, and ordered his bed to be removed from Perion's apartment. These tidings Darioleta carried to her mistress, and they waited the hour when all should retire to sleep.

CHAP. II.-How Amadis was begotten and born.

T night when all was husht, Darioleta rose, and

threw a mantle over her mistress, and they

I went into the garden. When Elisena came to the chamber door her whole body trembled, and her voice that she could not speak. King Perion had fallen asleep, he dreamt that some one, he knew not who, entered his chamber bya secret door,who thrusting a hand between his ribs, took out his heart and threw it into the river. He asked why that cruelty was committed, and was answered—It is nothing! there is another heart left there which I must take from you, though


against my will. Then the king suddenly awoke in great fear, and blessed himself. At this moment the two damsels had opened the door, and were entering ; he heard them, and being full of his dream suspected treason, when he saw a door open behind the hangings, of which he had not known, and leaping from the bed he caught up his sword and shield. What is this? cried Darioleta. The kirg then knew her, and saw Elisena his beloved ; he dropt his shield and sword, and throwing a mantle about him which was ready by the bed, he went and embraced her whom he loved. Darioleta then took up the sword in token of his promise and oath, and went into the garden, and Perion remained alone with Elisena,* in whom as he beheld her by the light of the three torches, he thought all the beauty of the world was centered.

When it was time that they should part, Darioleta returned to the chamber. I know, lady, said she, that heretofore you have been better pleased with me than you are now; but we must go, for time calleth

* Here says the Spanish author, we should learn, that when women turn aside their thoughts from worldly things, despising the great beauty with which nature has endowed them, the fresh youth which so much increases it, and the delights and pleasures which with the riches of their parents they might hope to enjoy, and chuse for the salvation of their souls to place themselves as recluses in poor habitations, and offer up with all obedience their own free will to be subject to others, and pass their time without any of the pleasures or glories of the world, though their sisters and kindred are enjoying them ; they ought with great earnestness to stop their ears, and close their eyes, and refuse to see friend or relation, but retiring altogether to devout contemplation and holy prayer, think them the true delights, as indeed they are; lest by seeing and hearing, their religious purposes be overcome, and it should be with them as it was with the Princess Elisena.

which still affinishis room, and recoll with the damsel.

us. Elisena rose. I beseech you, said Perion, do not forget the place ! and she departed with the damsel. He remained in his room, and recollecting his dream, which still affrighted him, a wish to know its signifi-. cation made him desirous to return to his own country, where were many wise men skilful in the solution of such things.

Ten days King Perion sojourned at Alima, and every night his beloved mistress visited him. Then it was necessary that he should depart, despite of his own inclination, and the tears of Elisena. He took leave of Garinter and the queen, and having armed himself, when he looked for his sword to gird it on, he missed it; though the loss grieved him, for it was a tried and goodly weapon, he durst not enquire for it, but, making his squire procure him another, he departed straight for his own kingdom. Albeit, before his departure, Darioleta came and told him of the great affliction and loneliness in which his lady was left. I commend her to you my friend, said he, as mine own proper heart; then taking from his finger a ring of two which he wore, each resembling the other, he bade her carry it to his love.

So Elisena remained, leading a solitary life, and in great grief. Darioleta comforted her the best she could, and the time past on, till she felt herself great with child, and lost the appetite for food and the pleasure of sleep, and the fresh colour of her countenance. Then was her sorrow and carefulness greater, and not without cause, for in that time was there a law, that any woman, of what quality or estate soever, offending in such sort, could not excuse herself from death. This so cruel and abominable a custom endured, till the coming of the good King Arthur, who was the

best king that ever there reigned, ini he revoked it at the time when he slew Floyon in battle, before the gates of Paris. And albeit because of the words which Perion swore upon his sword, she was without fault before God, yet was she not before the world, for they had been so secret. To let him know her condition, was what she could not think, for he was young and proud of heart, and took no delight elsewhere than where renown was to be gained, and so was for ever going an errant knight from one place to another. So she found no remedy for her life ; yet did not the loss · of life afflict her so much as that of her dear and be

loved lord. But God, by whose permission' all this had come to pass for his holy service, gave such discretion to Darioleta, that she remedied all.

In the palace of King Garinter there was an arched chamber separated from the rest, which overlooked the river; it had a little iron door through which the damsels sometime were wont to go out by the water side, but now none inhabited the apartment. This chamber, by Darioleta's advice, did Elisena request of her father, as suiting her disposition and solitary life, where she might perform her prayers undisturbed, with no companion but Darioleta, who had always served and accompanied her. This request she lightly obtained, and hereupon was the key of the iron door given to Darioleta, to open when it pleased the princess to recreate herself by the river. Here was Elisena de somewhat comforted, to find herself in a place so convenient for her purpose, and she required council of her damsel what should be done with the fruit that she travailed withal ? What? replied Darioleta, ir must suffer to save you. Holy Mary, then said Elisena shall I consent to destroy the child of him whom

love best in time vorld ? Leave alone those thoughts, the damsel answered, if they kill you they will not spare the infant: it were great folly to destroy yourself and your lover, who could not live after you, for the sake of saving the child, who, if you die, must die also.

As this damsel was of quick mind herself, and now guided by the grace of God, she determined to have the remedy ready before the need ; and it was in this guise : she took four boards and with them made an ark large enough to contain a new born child and its garments, and long enough for the sword, she fastened . them together with bitumen, in such sort as the water should have no place to enter. She hid all this under her bed till she had compleated it; and it was even and close as if a master had made it. Then she showed it to Elisena and asked for what she thought it was designed ? She answered, I know not. You shall know, said the damsel, when need is. Elisena replied, but little do I care to know what is done or what is said, for I am near to lose all my joy and comfort. Then had Darioleta great grief, and she went apart, not bearing to see her mistress weep.

It was not long before her travail came, and in those new and strange pains, in bitterness of heart, and not daring to cry out or groan, it pleased the Lord that she was safely delivered of a son. The damsel took him in her arms, and saw that the boy was a fair boy had he not been borne to hard fortune, but she delayed not to execute what of necessity had been resolved. She wrapt him in rich garments, and laying him by his mother, brought the ark. Elisena cried, what will you do? Place him here, she answered, and launch him down the stream, and belike he may

« PreviousContinue »