Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/47

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37
THE COUNT OF PARIS.

clean straw. The princess asked how she was to take it to her mouth, as she had no spoon; but the negro harshly replied, "Help yourself to it with your hands if you like." The wretched and truly humbled lady being half-famished—for she had not tasted a morsel of food that day—meekly, and without another word, took the food that was set before her as best she could. "What a change," thought she, "this is from my usual life in my father's palace!" And then she remembered the Count's threat, and how everything was turning out as he in his rage and mortification had said it would, and how different her position would now be if she had not behaved towards him as she had done for so slight a fault. She felt that all that was befalling her was through her own fault. There in the loft, left alone to herself all night—for the negro did not return—she had ample time to reflect upon her foolish acts, and to repent of them. What worlds she would give to be the Count's wife then!

Next morning the negro came to her and said that, as she must do something for her living, she could go and help to knead the bread; but he told her to be sure and steal some of the flour, as the food they would give her would not be half enough to satisfy her. The princess went as she was bid, and helped to knead the bread, and very reluctantly stole some flour, which she hid in the ample folds of her