The Last Lords of Gardonal
Nothing could exceed the rage of the baron when he heard the farmer's message.
"You cowardly villain!" he said to Ludovico, "did you allow the wretch to live who could send such a message to your master?"
"So please you," said Ludovico. "What could I do?"
"You could have struck him to the heart with your dagger, could you not?" said the baron. "I have known you do such a thing to an old woman for half the provocation. Had it been Biffi's wife instead you might have shown more courage."
"Had I followed my own inclination," said Ludovico, "I would have killed the fellow on the spot; but then I could not have brought away the young lady with me, for there were too many persons about the house and in the field