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Swagger, as he made haste to pick up his sword and hat. “ He hath used me villainously. He hath hurt my back, my ribs, and my toes, beyond all endurance, by poking me with that heathenish weapon of his. Indeed, he be the horriblest young wretch, and the absolutest little villain—"
• Ha! dost call names, Brazen-nose?” shouted the apprentice, lifting up his pole as if to renew the combat; but no sooner had the captain caught sight of his intention, than, with a look of the most exceeding horror and alarm, he made two or three tremendous strides to the door, and was out of the house without another word.
Oh, Master Francis, I have had such exquisite fine fun!” said the boy, after a long fit of laughing, upon seeing of Captain Swagger take himself off in so evident a fright; and then he told the other the whole account of his attempts at chirurgery-at the which, though his companion seemed in a monstrous melancholy humour, he could not help smiling more than once. “Indeed, Master Francis," added he at the last, 6 if thou hadst heard me speaking of my fine Latin, and the infinite gravity of my behaviour, thou wouldst never have forgotten it. But the rage of the old witch--that was the fun! Nay, I do think that the sight of Brazen-nose skipping away from the pole like a roast chesnut bouncing from the fire, was the exquisitest fun of the two. But what aileth thee?
for in honest truth thou lookest marvellously disturbed,"
66 'Tis nothing-Harry!—’tis nothing," replied Master Francis.
“ At least I rejoice exceedingly to see thee so famously attired,” continued his companion, looking with admiring eyes upon his handsome dress, “and to wear a sword too! Well, he that says thou art not worthy of it lies in his throat; and I would like to cudgel him within an inch of his life. For in truth, in my estimation, thou art good enough for anything. Dost remember when we too were at old Tickletoby's, and thou wert a reading to me the romance of King Arthur and other famous histories? Thou didst then say, if so be thou shouldst ever have the good hap to become a knight, which I always thought would be the case, then should I be thy faithful esquire. Prythee tell me if it be possible to be where thou art--if so, I will straight shew my indentures a fair pair of heels; for though I may have sport enough sometimes, in honest truth I would rather wear a sword as thou dost; and should think nothing so pleasant as to be alongside of thee fighting of the paynims and such like caitiffs. Indeed, there be none I think so true a friend as art thou, when I remember the many times thou hast saved me the birch by helping of . me in my tasks." “ Hast forgot, dear Harry, how many uncivil
boys thou hast beat who did call me names ?” enquired Master Francis kindly. “ Some nearly twice thy size too."
“Ah, thou wert then exceeding delicate," replied Harry Daring, “ and unfit to cope with such. Yes, I remember me what a bout I had of it with big Jack o' the Turnstile, for calling of thee · Mollycoddle'-a murrain on him! He got two famous black eyes, and had his villainous nose pummelled for him till it was as red and as big as a carrot. By Gog and Magog, that was exquisite fine fun!” And then the boy chafed his hands as if with wonderful delight. “But I should like to fight for thee all my life long if there be need of it; and be thy faithful friend and follower wherever thou goest."
“ If I can get thee to be where I am, Harry, it shall be done,” replied Master Francis.
66 That be brave news indeed !" cried the barber's apprentice very joyfully—“ then a fig's end for old Lather-and Esculapius, and Aristotle, and all the whole tribe of such pestilent knaves and thorough going villains as they are, that can do nothing but give the horridest crack-jaw Latin names to things, that ever puzzled an innocent poor boy's brains to remember, may go hang !”
Harry Daring now went and restored the pole to its proper place.
“ Seeing Geoffrey Sarsnet, the jolly mercer, at his door," said the boy, as he returned to his com
panion, “ it hath put me in mind of a something methinks 'tis my duty to tell thee.” Observing that his friend looked at him very earnestly, he continued—“ Believe me, I like not the part of a talebearer, or to be a meddling with what concerneth me not: but noticing how hugely thou dost affect that Joanna"
66 Ha! what of her?” exclaimed Master Francis hurriedly. “Go on, Harry, I can bear anything now.”
“ Look not so pale then, I prythee !” observed the other with great concern, as he noticed the effect that had been produced by the mentioning of her name.
“ Mind me not at all, I prythee, but tell what thou hast to say," said the youth with some eagerness.
“ Well, I will,” added the apprentice.“ Then I take it to be the part of a true friend (the which I ever wish to prove myself to thee, Master Francis) that if one friend setteth his heart upon a pretty wench, the other, if he believeth that she playeth him false, should tell him of it as speedy as may be. And as it be my custom to go in the early morning to bathe in the river with Jack o' the Turnstile, long-legged Tom, the tailor's son round the corner, and Peter Perriwinkle, our neighbour the chandler's apprentice, I did notice sundry times, a man closely muffled up in a huge cloak and slouched hat, leaving of Geoffrey Sarsnet's house at daybreak.
There was something marvellous suspicious about him else had I noticed him not; and the extreme cautiousness with which the door was opened and closed, as if to make no noise, did still the more attract my attention. Knowing that the old man was one not likely to have any such mysterious visitors, methought 'twas passing strange: and never seeing who it was that let him out, because of the person keeping so close behind the door all the while, I knew not what to make of it. However, as it so happened, one morn when the door opened as usual, the wind blowing pretty high at the time, I had the good hap to see part of a kirtle, that I recognised on the instant, and"-
6 Who's was it ?” enquired Master Francis, who had listened with too much anxiety to hear the narration to the end.
« Joanna's,” replied the boy.
* And, like enough !” added the other with some sort of bitterness.
“ But let it not move thee so, I prythee !” cried Harry Daring, noticing in great trouble the painful expression of his friend's countenance.
56 And yet she hath done me great kindnesses !” exclaimed the youth, as if to himself.
“ Though it look not well, mayhap, there shall be no harm in it," observed the other, as if with a view of affording some consolation,