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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" —
“ Who's was it?” enquired Master Francis, who had listened with too much anxiety to hear the narration to the end.
6 Joanna's,” replied the boy.
5 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.
“ 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,
66 But I have known that of her that hath harm in it !” exclaimed Master Francis, more disturbed than ever.
66 That had it not come of mine own knowledge, would I not have believed-and now it be easy enough to credit almost any treachery. No! I will never allow myself to be bribed into a toleration of such villainous deceits !”
“ Well—if she do play her jade's tricks, let her go hang !” said the young chirurgeon indignantly. “ I tell thee, Master Francis, if that be it, she be not worth the caring for. Thou art as sweet a young gentleman as eye would wish to look on; therefore shalt thou easily meet with her betters at any time. I say again, let her go hang !"
“ She hath done me many great kindnesses- the which I now wish she had never done, or that she had left unthought of that which I now know of her," observed the youth in extreme thoughtfulness; then starting up suddenly, cried out, “but who was he she let out."
“ That know I not,” replied the boy. “ For, as I told thee, he was so muffled up, there was no getting a glimpse of his countenance, or in fact, of anything to know him by. Methinks, however, he was much about the size of that spouting piece of fustian, Ralph Goshawk, whom I have noticed to visit there very frequently of late.”
“ Dost think 'twas he?” enquired Master Francis, with much earnestness.
“ I would not affirm it, of an absolute truth," answered Harry Daring.
Although I mislike the fellow hugely, and would as soon give him a bloody coxcomb as look at him; for, indeed, I take him to be the impudentest jackanapes, and the shallowest poor fellow I ever came a nigh. I cannot abide his tragedy airs. But whether he be or be not the villain, I should take it kindly if thou wouldst let me break his fool's head for him.”
6 Why, he be twice as big as thee, Harry," said his companion. 6 What care I for his bigness ?” replied the
apprentice. “ In truth, the bigger he may be, seemeth all the more favourable, for then shall he afford space for a greater cudgelling. The varlet; , for all the greatness of his humours, be nothing better than a very paltry swaggerer; and I should take it exceeding kind of thee, if thou wouldst let me give him a bloody coxcomb."
“ No, no, that must not be," observed Master Francis. 66 If he is to blame in this affair, his punishment must be at my hands. But I must make enquiries into this. As for her, I will see her, and have done with her." So saying, he bid a hurried “good bye” to his companion, and immediately crossed the way to the mercer's.
Sooner hard steel will melt with southern wind,
Oh, what a sight, it was worthy of view,
How she came stealing to the wayward boy
How white and red did each other destroy,
“ HA, Master Francis !” exclaimed the jolly mercer, looking up from measuring of some silk, as the youth entered his shop. “ I am rejoiced to see thee-more especially, as thou comest in such famous fashion as this. I heard of thy good fortune, and was desperate glad on't: for I have liked thee well all along. And dost wear a sword, too? Well- see that thou be not too ready to draw upon a man; and, as for a woman, thou wilt do none such any harm, I warrant.” And then the old fellow burst out in his customary short loud laugh.