As Lucas and
Blaise were walking over the fields, thinking of the felicity which awaited them
at the end of the year, they met Bleuette and Coquelicot, who were weeping
The shepherds began to weep also, without well
knowing why. Lucas first saw the propriety of asking for an explanation.
“That prettiest of sheep – Robin – is he sick,
my dear shepherdess?” asked he, in a voice soft as the hue of his tunic.
“Has my Coquelicot lost the turtle-dove which I
gave her last spring?” said Blaise.
“Robin is very well,” replied Bleuette; “but I
have seen the Judge, who said to me – ‘Pretty one, I mean to marry thee.’”
“And I,” said Coquelicot, “have seen the squire,
who said to me – ‘Lass, thou shalt be my wife.’”
The two shepherds immediately made lamentable
moans. Blaise swore that he would throw himself down a precipice. Lucas wished
to hang himself with the string of his shepherd’s scrip – a string which
Bleuette had given him.
Here was a scene to soften Hyrcanian tigers.
“And, worst of all,” added the two
shepherdesses, “the squire and the judge are coming for us this evening and if
we refuse to go, they will send the soldiers, and compel us to accompany them.”
The shepherds declared that they would die
sooner than lose the objects of their love, -- and all four then set out for the
The cottage of Bleuette and Coquelicot was
already beset by the soldiers. The squire and the judge came towards their
betrothed. When these were about to resist, the archers at once surrounded them.
Too sensitive to endure so cruel a sight, Blaise and Lucas fainted away.
“Alas!” exclaimed Bleuette and Coquelicot, as
they were hurried off, “we were too much elated with our felicity. It were
better to have remained humble flowers, lost in the furrows. We had not then
been compelled to marry a squire who has the gout, or a humpbacked judge.
Farewell, Lucas! Farewell, Blaise! Farewell forever! We have none to protect us
– none to rescue us.”
As they were indulging in these lamentations, a
throng of villagers came in sight upon the road. These good people had their
hands full of green branches, and were singing in chorus –
blissful day! – of hope the spring!
Our queen returns; --
sing, peasants, sing; --
Her welcome shout!”
The rest of the chorus, which was full of
poetry, and well adapted to the place, was drowned in loud and oft-repeated
cries of “Long live the Flower de Luce!” – “Long live the Queen of France!” The
queen had just arrived.
The squire, taken by surprise, was unable to
present to her, on a plate of gold, the keys of his chateau – and this annoyed
him beyond description. The judge, equally unprepared, found it out of his power
to make an address to the queen – a disappointment which might have made him
sick, had it not been the day appointed for his marriage.
Section 7 of 10: