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XII

Spoken: Story and Dialogue

Aucassin had been put in prison, as you have heard, and, likewise, Nicolette was in her room.

It was summer, in the month of May, when the days are warm, long and luminous, the nights calm and serene.

One night when Nicolette was resting in bed, she saw the moon's lively brightness through the window and heard a nightingale singing in the garden: so she remembered Aucassin her friend who she loved so much. She started to think of Count Garin de Beaucaire who harbored a mortal hatred toward him; so she decided to no longer stay in that place, because, if she were denounced and the count believed it, he would make her perish in shame.

Realizing that her old companion was sleeping, she got up and put on a rich silk gown; then she gathered drapes and napkins, tied them together, and made a rope as long as possible, which she attached to the window. She climbed down to the garden where, taking her clothes in front in one hand and in back with the other, hitched up her skirts because of the thick dew she saw on the grass, and she headed towards the back of the garden.

She had blond and curly hair, lively, laughing eyes, a long face, a regular, noble nose, fine lips that were redder than a cherry or a summer rose, even white teeth; her two small breasts lifted her dress, firm and resembling two large walnuts; her waist was so slim that you could have encircled it with two hands; the daisies that she crushed as she walked and that fell under her feet became completely black, compared to her feet and legs, because the young lady had such a whiteness it was like snow.

She reached the postern which she opened and went out onto the streets of Beaucaire, hiding in the shadows, because the moon shone brightly. By walking, she came to the tower where her friend could be found. This tower was cracked in places. Nicolette hid herself against a pillar, wrapped herself in her mantle and slid her head into a crevasse in the tower that was very old: she heard Aucassin, who, inside, cried and abandoned himself to despair and recalled his sweet friend who he loved so much. After listening for a moment or two, she began to speak.

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