my ladys garter

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My Ladys Garter THE LAST NOVEL By JACQUES FUTRELLE I WIT H FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS - ONCE upon a time, nearly six hundred years ago-about the year 1344 to be mere explicit-His Gracious Majesty, King Edward 111, guest of honor at the grand annual ball of the Larry L. Plantagenet Association, paused while dancing with the beautiful Countess of Salisbury, and, stoop- ing, picked up from the floor-a ladys garter It was a ribbon of dark blue, edged with yellow-a slender, shapely thing with buckle and pendant cunningly wrought of gold. The countess gasped, blushed, grabbed hysterically at her left knee, then giggled Even beautiful women giggle A smile ran around the ballroom the smile became a titter. Honi soit pui mal y pense His Majesty reproved sharply. Now one may translate that a dozen ways Evil to him who evil thinks, or Shame be upon him who thinks ill of it. Anyway, those gay young blades who had been boning their French with the idea of assisting Ed- ward I11 to the throne of France, discovered suddenly that there was nothing amusing in the incident and ribald laughter died on their lips. For, be it understood, in those days it wasnt healthy to laugh unless the king laughed first. Bending gravely, His Majesty placed the garter around his own leg, the left, just below the knee, and the dance went on to the .end. Then My-my garter, please stammered the countess in charming confusion. I shall return a pair of them, my dear Countess-a pair done in gold, His Majesty told her gallantly. Perchance there may be a jewel or so in the royal strong box with which to adorn them. You will honor me by accepting them. The Countess curtseyed to the floor. So, romantically enough, was born Brit- ains highest order of chivalry, the Order of the Garter. Its insignia is a slender ribbon of dark blue, edged with yellow, and overlaid with shields of gold, upon each of which is the motto Honi soit pi mat y enselH Its pendant represents St. George, armored, - . MY LADYS GARTER I I on a white horse, poking a large spear down the vermilion throat of a green dragon with a barbed tail. Ten thousand men have died for it. Just what Queen Philippa, Edwards con- sort, had to say about it when her husband appeared before her wearing another womans garter, or how the Countess of Salisbury managed for the remainder of the evening, doesnt appear. These, together with other interesting details, are lost in the mists of antiquity. For many years a ladys garter lay among the precious relics tucked away in an obscure corner of the British Museum. It differed from the widely known insignia of the Order of the Garter only in its apparent extreme age,-and in the fact that diamonds and rubies were set alternately in the six shields of gold overlaying the ribbon. This was one of the two original garters given to the Coun- tess of Salisbury by His Majesty, Edward 111. Something like a year since the garter vanished. Obviously, it had been stolen. PART I1 THE ADVENTURES OF THE HAWK CHAPTER I L OVE is the one immutable quality we poor humans possess. It is unchanging as the whiteness of snow, or the redness of roses, or the blush of the desert dawn. Its object may alter-alas, how often it doesbut love itself is an essential. That was as true ten thousand zons ago as it is now, and as it will be ten thousand zons hence. So, perforce, the delver into emotions must be trite in his expositions. Twas only a whim of the somber goddess who spins the threads of our lives that saved from triteness the affair I am about to recount... --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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