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and falling down like a horse's tail, their faces close shaven, except two huge moustaches, and dressed in tight leather garments, with swords at their wide belts. Some slept, some feasted, some greased their long locks, some shouted out their favorite war-songs around the table, which was covered with the spoils of churches, and at their head sat the wild, long-haired chieftain, who was a few years later driven away by his own followers for his excesses, the whole scene was all that was abhorrent to a pure, devout, and faithful nature, most full of terror to a woman. Yet there, in her strength, stood the peasant maiden, her heart full of trust and pity, her looks full of the power that is given by fearlessness of them that can kill the body. What she said we do not know, we only know that the barbarous Hilperik was overawed ; he trembled before the expostulations of the brave woman, and granted all she asked, — the safety of his prisoners, and mercy to the terrified inhabitants. No wonder that the people of Paris have ever since looked back to Geneviève as their protectress, and that in after ages she has grown to be the patron saint of the city.
She lived to see the son of Hilperik, Chlodweh, or, as he was more commonly called, Clovis, marry a Christian wife, Clotilda, and after a time become a Christian. She saw the foundation of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, and of the two famous churches of St. Denys and of St. Martin of Tours, and gave her full share to the first efforts for bringing the rude and bloodthirsty conquerors to some knowledge of Christian faith, mercy, and purity. After a life of constant prayer and charity she died, three months after King Clovis, in the year 512, the 89th
of her age."
* Perhaps the exploits of the Maid of Orleans were the most like those of Geneviève, but they are not here added to our collection of “Golden Deeds,” because the Maid's belief that she was directly inspired removes them from the ordinary class. Alas! the English did not treat her as Hilperik treated Geneviève.
LEO THE SLAVE.
A. D. 533.
'HE Franks had fully gained possession of all
had made them Christians in name, but they still remained horribly savage,
and the life of the Gauls under them was wretched. The Burgundians and Visigoths who had peopled the southern and eastern provinces were far from being equally violent. They had entered on their settlements on friendly terms, and even showed considerable respect for the Roman-Gallic senators, magistrates, and higher clergy, who all remained unmolested in their
dignities and riches. Thus it was that Gregory, Bishop of Langres, was a man of high rank and consideration in the Burgundian kingdom, whence the Christian Queen Clotilda had come ; and even after the Burgundians had been subdued by the four sons of Chlodweh, he continued a rich and prosperous man.
After one of the many quarrels and reconciliations between these fierce brethren, there was an exchange of hostages for the observance of the terms of the treaty.
These were not taken from among the Franks, who were too proud to submit to captivity, but from among the Gaulish nobles, a much more convenient arrangement to the Frankish kings, who cared for the life of a “Roman” infinitely less than even for the life of a Frank. Thus many young men of senatorial families were exchanged between the domains of Theodrik to the south, and of Hildebert to the northward, and quartered among Frankish chiefs, with whom at first they had nothing more to endure than the discomfort of living as guests with such rude and coarse barbarians. But ere long fresh quarrels broke out between Theodrik and Hildebert, and the unfortunate hostages were at once turned into slaves. Some of them ran away if they were near the frontier, but Bishop Gregory was in the utmost anxiety about his young nephew Attalus, who had been last heard of as being placed under the charge of a Frank who lived between Trèves and Metz. The Bishop sent emissaries to make secret inquiries, and they brought word that the unfortunate youth had indeed been reduced to slavery, and was made to keep his master's herds of horses. Upon this the uncle again sent off his messengers with presents for the ransom of Attalus, but the Frank rejected them, saying, “ One of such high race can only be redeemed for ten pounds' weight of gold."
This was beyond the Bishop's means, and while he was considering how to raise the sum, the slaves were all lamenting for their young lord, to whom they were much attached, till one of them, named Leó, the cook to the household, came to the Bishop, saying to him, “ If thou wilt give me leave to go,
I will deliver him from captivity.” The Bishop replied that he gave free permission, and the slave set off for Trèves, and there watched anxiously for an opportunity of gaining access to Attalus ; but though the poor young man no longer daintily dressed, bathed, and perfumed, but ragged and squalid might be seen following his herds of horses, he was too well watched for any communication to be held with him. Then Leo went to a person, probably of Gallic birth, and said, “Come with me to this barba
rian's house, and there sell me for a slave. Thou shalt have the money, I only ask thee to help me thus far.”
Both repaired to the Frank's abode, the chief among a confused collection of clay and timber huts intended for shelter during eating and sleeping. The Frank looked at the slave, and asked him what he could do.
“ I can dress whatever is eaten at lordly tables,” replied Leo. “I am afraid of no rival ; I only tell thee the truth when I say that if thou wouldst give a feast to the king I could send it up in the neatest manner.”
“Ha!” said the barbarian, “the Sun's day is coming — I shall invite my kinsmen and friends. Cook me such a dinner as may amaze them, and make them say, “We saw nothing better in the king's house.
" Let me have plenty of poultry, and I will do according to my master's bidding,” returned Leo.
Accordingly, he was purchased for twelve gold pieces, and on the Sunday (as Bishop Gregory of Tours, who tells the story, explains that the barbarians called the Lord's day) he produced a banquet after the most approved Roman fashion, much to the surprise and delight of the Franks, who had never tasted such delicacies before, and complimented their host upon them all the evening. Leo gradually became a great favorite, and was placed in authority over the other slaves, to whom he their daily portions of broth and meat; but from the first he had not shown any recognition of Attalus, and had signed to him that they must be strangers to one another. A whole year had passed away in this manner, when one day Leo wandered, as if for pastime, into the plain where Attalus was watching the horses, and sitting down on the ground at some paces off, and with his back towards his young master, so that they might not be seen talking together, he said, “ This is the time for thoughts of home! When thou hast led the horses to the stable tonight, sleep not. Be ready at the first call !”
That day the Frank lord was entertaining a large number of guests, among them his daughter's husband, a jovial young man, given to jesting. On going to rest he fancied he should be thirsty at night, and called Leo to set a pitcher of hydromel by his bedside. As the slave was setting it down, the Frank looked slyly from under his eyelids, and said in joke, “ Tell me, my father-in-law's trusty man, wilt not thou some night take one of those horses, and run away to thine own home ?"
“ Please God, it is what I mean to do this very night,” answered the Gaul, so undauntedly that the Frank took it as a jest, and answered, “ I shall look out then that thou dost not carry off anything of mine,” and then Leo left him, both laughing.
All were soon asleep, and the cook crept out to the stable, where Attalus usually slept among the horses. He was broad awake now, and ready to saddle the two swiftest; but he had no weapon except a small lance, so Leo boldly went back to his master's sleeping hut, and took down his sword and shield, but not without awaking him enough to ask who was moving. “It is 1, — Leo,” was the answer, “I have been to call Attalus to take out the horses early. He sleeps as hard as a drunkard.” The Frank went to sleep again, quite satisfied, and Leo, carrying out the weapons, soon made Attalus feel like a free man and a noble once more. They passed unseen out of the enclosure, mounted their horses, and rode along the great Roman road from Trèves as far as the Meuse, but they found the bridge guarded, and were obliged to wait till night, when they cast their horses loose and swam the river, supporting themselves on boards that they