Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/45

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35
THE COUNT OF PARIS.

the negro endeavoured by all manner of devices to attract her notice, and draw her into conversation; he made beautiful nosegays, which he presented to her with much courtly grace, and by all manner of attentions insinuated himself into her good graces. The princess was captivated by his charming manner, and before long fell in love with him, to which sentiment the negro eagerly responded; and as she dared not tell the king the state of affairs, they agreed to elope, and get away from the palace as secretly as possible.

There is no record left of how they travelled—whether in a royal carriage or on horseback; the latter supposition is the most likely. However, after travelling day and night on a solitary road, the princess, fatigued and feeling the pangs of hunger, asked the negro where they could get something to eat; to which he replied that as there were no houses near, or any means of getting food, she had better go and beg a spare crust of bread of the pilgrim, whom he pointed out to her trudging along the road. She did so, and having obtained a piece of dry coarse bread from the good pilgrim, she ate it, and then cried in a troubled voice, "Oh, Count of Paris, your prophetic words are indeed fulfilled!"

The negro, hearing her words, said to her, "Why would you not love him, then, and have him for your husband?"