her father’s nerves the effect of an iteration not
characterized by tact.
The doctor answered, however, quietly
enough, “Of course you can wait till i die, if
“i would rather not marry, if that were
true,” she said.
“Give me a proof of it, then, for it is beyond
a question that by engaging yourself to Morris
townsend you simply wait for my death.”
“do you mean that for an impertinence?”
he inquired; an inquiry of which, as he made it,
he quite perceived the grossness.
“an impertinence? Oh Father, what ter-
rible things you say!”
“if you don’t wait for my death, you might
as well marry immediately; there is nothing
else to wait for.”
although the noble lady lilia did not herself go into battle, she is no less deserving of
praise for her courage in persuading her son
Theodoric, a very valiant knight, to return to
combat, as you shall now hear. in his time,
this Theodoric was one of the most powerful
princes at the court of the emperor of constantinople. Moreover, thanks to the fine upbringing and moral precepts which he had
received from his mother, he was both upright
and exemplary in his behavior.
it so happened that a prince called Odoacer once attacked the romans in the hope
of destroying both them and the whole land
of italy, if he could. in response to a request
for help from the romans, the emperor of
constantinople sent Theodoric, whom he
considered to be the finest of his knights,
together with a great army. in the course of
the battle against Odoacer, the tide of fortune
turned against Theodoric who, out of fear for
his life, had to flee the scene of battle and make
for the city of ravenna. When his brave, wise
mother, who had been watching the conflict
closely, saw her son turn tail, her sorrow knew
no bounds, since she would have preferred to
see her son die a valiant death than cover himself in such shame. she ran directly to him and
implored him not to dishonor himself in this
way but instead to rally his troops once more
and return to the battlefield. however, as her
words appeared to be having no effect on him,
she fell into a great rage and lifted up her skirts,
saying, “My dear son, there is no place left for
you to hide except my womb, so you should
climb back up inside immediately!” Theodoric
was so shamefaced that he turned on his heel,
gathered his troops together, and went back to
fight. his mother’s words had inflamed him
with such shame that he put all his efforts into
defeating his enemies and killing Odoacer. The
whole of italy, which had been facing destruction, was now saved by this lady’s good sense.
in my view, it is to the mother rather than to the
son that the honor of this victory should go.
Christine de Pisan, from The city of ladies.
Born in 1364, Christine was the daughter of the
astrologer to Charles V of France. After her husband
died when she was twenty-five years old, she began
writing to support her family. Her numerous ballads
and rondeaux earned the patronage of Queen Isabella
of Bavaria and the Fourth Earl of Salisbury in
England. Christine also wrote a biography of Charles,
offering firsthand details of life at his court.