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of blue hose ; for having no worsted of that colour, I was obliged to go out as far as Jonathan Bodkin's, at the next corner, to get me a halfpenny ball. But you must needs know I be obliged to mend all master's hose, for she cousidereth herself too fine a lady to touch them ;-and a famous labour be they, I do assure you, Master Francis, for master hath got a villainous fashion of wearing monstrous great holes in the heel, as big as a crown piece. Well, I was a putting in my stitches as closely as I might, when up comes this scurvy mealymouthed varlet, who had been sitting some two hours or more in the kitchen, talking the horriblest fustian to Joanna, about a certain Zenocrate (who was no better than she should be, I'll lay a wager, or she never could have tolerated such a paltry fellow as he is); and he says to me, in his thundering fine swaggering air,
. And if thou pitiest Tamburlane the Great,
Tell us, old woman, what o'clock it be.'
Oh! the fustian rapscallion !" continued she, seemingly in as great a rage as she could well be in, “to call me an old woman !me that am not fifty yet. He Tamburlane the Great! A poor paltry twopenny-halfpenny haberdasher !-a swaggering rogue !-a very trumpery fellow, that hath no more respect for virtue than he hath for a rotten apple. Oh! I be out of all patience with his shameless impudency !”
“ But what have you seen in his behaviour to Joanna not proper in her to allow?" asked the youth, getting in some degree tired with the old woman's garrulousness.
“Seen!” exclaimed Margery, throwing up her hands and eyes, in amazement; “what is it I have not seen ?” Then she came nearer to him, wearing a face of exceeding mysteriousness, and dropping her voice a little, added, " I have seen him paddle with the palm of her hand in a way that was awful for to see. The paltry fellow ! I have seen him give her the shockingest looks that eye ever lighted on. The scurvy villain ! I have seen him so horribly familiar with her, that the like was never known in an honest house. The fustian rogue as he is, to call me an old woman! And as for her, instead of giving him such a setting down as might have put him to the blush for the villainousness of his conduct, as would I in such a case, she would sit smiling at him most abominably by the hour together;--nay, she hath actually got up to dance with him a gullard, and behaved with so thorough a wantonness, that I have oft been obliged to take myself off to bed, my virtue could no longer abide such infamous doings.
66 But worse than that, Master Francis," continued the old woman, with increasing indignation, whilst the countenance of the youth exhibited considerable uneasiness; and coming closer, with a
look of greater mystery she added in a deep low voice;—“ I have seen that which would make your hair stand on end to hear of;" then observing that his cheek became still paler, and his look more disturbed, she proceeded, first giving a cautious glance at the door :—5 listen to me, and you shall hear all. Coming down stairs in the early morning to do the household work, I oft noticed, during this last winter, when I went to light the fire in this chamber, that there were live embers in the grate; which I knew could not have been unless a fire had been kept burning till within an hour or so of my coming down. From this I gathered that she set up o’nights. My chamber being nigh unto her's, put me upon keeping awake, to know for a certainty if such was the case. I listened and watched all the next night, and sure enough I heard my dainty madam creeping to her chamber, nigh unto six o'clock in the morning. The next thing was to discover what she set up for; for I hugely suspected she was not likely to sit up for nothing. But this was a hard matter to know, she being as close as a fox; so that there be no getting at what she be about. Yet had I known such things of her with that fustian rapscallion Ralph Goshawk, and others, that I was as good as certain she was after what she should not. Well, I kept a planning and scheming, in hopes of finding it all out, for I knew there was something villainous at
the bottom of it; when one morning, an hour or two before my usual hour of rising, up gets 1; and after creeping as softly as a mouse down stairs, 1 saw by the light under this door that madam was there. I stood still and listened a bit; and as certain as I stand here, I heard a whispering. “Ahum !' said I to myself, “you be at your tricks sure enough;' then I just stooped down and took a peep through the keyhole, and there I saw,"— said the old woman, very slowly, and with great emphasis.
“ Saw what?” quickly enquired Master Francis, trembling so he could scarce stand.
6. I saw Joanna and—” 66 And who ?”
6 And a man!” cried Margery, starting back ; her skinny lips puckered up, and her little sharp eyes fixed on him, with a stare of horror ;-“but, hush !” she suddenly exclaimed, her wrinkled and yellow physiognomy changing its expression, from intense indignation to extreme caution; "that be her foot on the stair: say not a word, I pray you, else shall I be ruined.” No sooner, however, had Joanna entered at the door, which she then did, looking more beautiful than ever, dressed as if from a walk, than, with a smile, the old woman hastened up to her.
“ It be you beyond all doubt,” said she, as if overjoyed to see her, “ as I was just a saying to this good youth. Indeed, and you have the sweet
est bloom on your delicate cheek I have seen you wear a long time. I warrant me now, you have had a right pleasant walk."
“ Take these things and put them in my chamber," said the mercer's daughter to her, as she took off, and gave into her hands, her hat, muffler, and cloak.
“Ah, that will I upon the instant,” replied Margery, cheerfully; and then, as soon as Joanna's back was turned from her, she gave a look full of meaning to Master Francis, put her finger to her lip, and hastened away.
During these few seconds the youth had been in a very agony of conflicting emotions. He seemed making up of his mind what to do; and yet there was such a tumult in him, of rage, and jealousy, and indignation, that he looked as if he knew not what he was about.
“I can scarce think that the voyage hath done you good, Francis,” observed Joanna, as she approached him, “ for in truth you look not so well as you used.”
“ Like enough,” replied he bitterly—“aye, it be exceeding like indeed.”
"What aileth you?” she enquired, with much tenderness.
6 Sick at heart !-07 at heart !” quickly answered Master Francis; sick of the villainous deceits that have been played upon me. Like