Page:A book of the Cevennes (-1907-).djvu/404

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THE CEVENNES

many a fresh-faced damsel, many a well-dressed dame, and therefore will lose your heart. You will forget me and this land where you have suffered such pains and endured hunger and thirst."


It must be known that at this time Guillaume and Gibors had been married something like five-and-twenty years. They were not a young couple just out of their honeymoon. Then he replied, kissing Gibors tenderly:—


"Gentle lady, do not concern yourself about me. Receive now my solemn vow, which I will keep faithfully. During my journey I will not change my linen or my coat. I will not taste meat or anything peppered. I will not drink wine nor water out of a goblet; only such of the latter as I can scoop up in my hand. And know further that never shall another mouth be joined to mine, which has been kissed and made spicy by your lips."

On reaching Paris, Guillaume was very badly received. The reason was that Louis the Emperor had married Blanchefleur, the sister of the Duke; that she was white only in name; was, in fact, a disreputable character; so dreading a scolding from her pious brother she had prejudiced her husband against him. When he reached the door of the palace, no squire came to his aid, no one saluted him, no groom offered to take his horse, which he accordingly tied to an olive tree. The southern poet, never having been in the north, supposed that the same trees grew there as in Provence and Languedoc. Guillaume entered the royal hall and saw the Emperor on his throne and the Empress in ermine and gold at his side, both crowned. Neither took notice of him, and all the princes and nobles turned the cold shoulder to him. And indeed he cut a