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The Tales Of The Heptameron, Vol. V. (of V.)
written by "Saintsbury, George, 1845-1933"
...was trying to excuse himself, the Duke sent for the Duchess to come to the council on some matter that concerned her, and thither with much regret she went. The gentleman never afterwards made the slightest sign of having understood a word of what she had said to him, at which she was exceedingly distressed and vexed; and she knew not to what cause to impute her failure, unless it were to the foolish fear of which she deemed the gentleman to be possessed. A few days afterwards, finding that he gave no sign of understanding what she had said, she resolved on her part to set aside all fear or shame, and to tell him of her love. She felt sure that beauty such as hers could not be otherwise than well received, although she would fain have had the honour of being wooed. However, she set her honour on one side for her pleasure's sake, and after she had several times attempted the same fashion of discourse as at first, but without receiving any reply to her liking, she one day plucked the gentleman by the sleeve, and told him that she must speak to him on certain matters of weight. The gentleman went with the humility and reverence that were her due to a deep window into which she had withdrawn; and, on perceiving that no one in the room could see her, she began in a trembling voice, that halted between desire and fear, to continue her former discourse, rebuking him for not yet having chosen some lady in the company, and promising him that, no matter who it might be, she would help him to win kindly treatment. The gentleman, who was no less vexed than astonished by her words, replied— "Madam, my heart is so tender, that, were I once refused, I should never again have joy in this world; and I know myself to be of such little worth that no lady at this Court would deign to accept my suit." The Duchess blushed, and, imagining that at last he was indeed won, vowed to him that she knew the most beautiful lady in the company wo...

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