« PreviousContinue »
flowed from his wound. Anon, drawing it in a fresh agony across his brow, his face likewise was smeared over with the gore, making altogether so shocking a picture that Lodowic was ready to swoon away upon the spot.
"In the name of God," he cried, " tell me, my dearest friend, that you are not mortally hurt"—but the wounded man made answer only by a horrible roll of his eyes, and so expired.
Imagine what a dreadful sharp pang of remorse went through the bosom of Lodowic at this dreary spectacle. His heart felt cold within him, like a ball of snow, but his head was burning with a tumult of remorseful and miserable thoughts, together with some most painful misgivings, as to the disposition of his mistress, which now began to show at variance with loveliness and womanhood. But it was time to begone, the country people beginning to stir about the fields; so casting off the accursed armour, which now pained him through and through, like Nessus's poisoned shirt, he ran off, bewildered, he knew not whither.
Shortly after his departure, the hard-hearted Dorothea, with her woman, arrived at the spot —and lo! there lay the dead body of the Adjutant, with the spear still sticking upright in his bosom. I know not how such a fortitude consists with the female nature, but she looked on this dreadful object with all the serenity of a lady in old romance. Her only concern was to behold the armour of Lodowic scattered so shamefully about, for she had resolved that he should repair to her with all the chivalrous formality. Returning home, therefore, with great scorn and anger in her looks, she promised to visit the unfortunate knight with a rigorous penance; but she saw no more of Lodowic, except the following letter, which was brought to her the same evening by a peasant.
Madam :—I send you by this page your glove, stained with the blood of the traitor, formerly my friend. It grieves me that I cannot lay it with my own hands at your feet, but a vow binds me to achieve deeds more worthy of your beauty, and my devotion. To-morrow I set forth for Cyprus, and I shall not think myself entitled to your presence till I have strung the heads of a score of Turks at my saddle-bow. Till then, I remain in all loyalty, your true knight, Lodowic.
The hard-hearted one perused this letter with an equal mixture of delight and doubt, for the style of the German, hitherto, had been neither quaint nor heroical. She waited many long years, you may believe, for the heads of the Infidels. In the mean time, Lodowic had passed over into England, where he married the widow of a refiner, and soon became an opulent sugar-baker; for though he still had some German romantic flights, on an occasion, he was as steady and plodding as a blind millhorse in his business.