With the Duke’s blessing, Bertram enters battle on behalf of the city state of Florence: “A lover of thy [Mars, god of War] drum, hater of love.” In Rousillon, the Countess learns that Helena has left France, where she was a religious pilgrim; thus, she sends a letter via her steward to lure Bertram back:
Write, write, Rinaldo, to this unworthy husband of his wife;
Let every word lay heavy of her worth that he does weigh too light.
My greatest grief, though little he do feel it, set down sharply.
Dispatch the most convenient messenger.
When haply he shall hear that she is gone,
He will return. (29-34)
Helena’s dismay and Bertram’s eagerness to be an honorable soldier contrast sharply in these short scenes. Note that as the play moves along, more and more people are becoming embroiled in deceptive schemes. Now the Countess hopes to lure her son back with the news that Helena is out of the country. She is sure that Helena will then come back, “led hither by pure love.”