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قراءة كتاب Honey-Bee 1911

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‏اللغة: English

Honey-Bee 1911

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 4

was only beginning to dawn?

She ordered a steed to be saddled and followed by her squire, Francoeur, she rode to the castle of Clarides.

The Duchess of Clarides embraced the Countess of Blanchelande.

"Loveliest! what good fortune brings you here?"

"The fortune that brings me here is not good. Listen, my friend. We were married within a few years of each other, and similar fates have made us widows. For in these times of chivalry the best perish first, and in order to live long one must be a monk. When you became a mother I had already been one for two years. Your daughter Honey-Bee is lovely as the day, and my little George is good. I love you and you love me. Know then that I have found a white rose on the cushion of my prie-Dieu. I am about to die; I leave you my son."

The Duchess knew what the white rose meant to the ladies of Blanchelande. She began to weep and in the midst of her tears she promised to bring up Honey-Bee and George as brother and sister, and to give nothing to one which the other did not share.

Still in each other's arms the two women approached the cradle where little Honey-Bee slept under light curtains, blue as the sky, and without opening her eyes, she moved her little arms. And as she spread her fingers five little rosy rays came out of each sleeve.

"He will defend her," said the mother of George.

"And she will love him," the mother of Honey-Bee replied.

"She will love him," a clear little voice repeated, which the Duchess recognised as that of a spirit which for a long time had lived under the hearth-stone.

On her return to her manor the lady of Blanchelande divided her jewels among her women and having had herself anointed with perfumed ointments and robed in her richest raiment in order to honour the body destined to rise again at the Day of Judgment, she lay down on her bed and fell asleep never again to awaken.

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     Wherein begins the love of George of Blanchelande and Honey-
     Bee of Claride

Contrary to the common destiny which is to have more goodness than beauty, or more beauty than goodness, the Duchess of Clarides was as good as she was beautiful, and she was so beautiful that many princes, though they had only seen her portrait, demanded her hand in marriage. But to all their pleading she replied:

"I shall have but one husband as I have but one soul."

However, after five years of mourning she left off her long veil and her black robes so as not to spoil the happiness of those about her, and in order that all should smile and be free to enjoy themselves in her presence. Her duchy comprised a great extent of country; moorlands, overgrown by heather, covered the desolate expanse, lakes in which fishermen sometimes caught magic fish, and mountains which rose in fearful solitudes over subterraneous regions inhabited by dwarfs.

She governed Clarides with the help of an old monk who, having escaped from Constantinople and seen much violence and treachery, had but little faith in human goodness. He lived in a tower in the company of birds and books, and from this place he filled his position as counsellor by the aid of a number of little maxims. His rules were these: "Never revive a law once fallen into disuse; always accede to the demands of a people for fear of revolt, but accede as slowly as possible, because no sooner is one reform granted than the public demands another, and you can be turned out for acceding too quickly as well as for resisting too long."

The Duchess let him have his own way, for she understood nothing about politics. She was compassionate and, as she was