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the matter," observed Master Shakspeare. “ Thou art like to a many more I have met with, that can speak bravely of the difficultest things, but question them close of their knowledge, and they shall be proved as ignorant as a dead horse."

“ None of thy dog's meat similes,” exclaimed Master Burbage, as if in some disdain: “I tell thee 'tis a subject that none have studied closer than have I—I have entered into it thoroughly. I have pursued my investigations (albeit though it be a matter so exceeding profound that no one ever got to the bottom on't) as deep as have any. But tell me, Will, how did it happen that, notwithstanding of thy villainy in cutting of me out, for the which I now heartily do forgive thee, thou hadst no better luck with the incomparable Joanna."

" She told me that she loved a youth for whom I entertained great friendship,” replied his companion, “and thereupon did I desist of my intentions towards her out of respect to him. She did speak to me of him with marvellous earnestness; and knowing that he had such excellence as well deserved her praise, I joined with her in such commendation. But liking not the character of her behaviour to me previous to this avowal, which was that of one who in appearance is indifferent to admiration, and yet doth encourage the admirer, I spoke to her upon the possible mischief of it to

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herself, as much as to those whose advances she allowed of; and the palpable injustice of it to my young friend, Master Francis, whom thou hast seen with me once or twice. Upon this she sought to defend herself upon the plea, that if she could without sinfulness create the happiness of others, she thought there could be no harm in so doing to ever so many

But I straightway gave her to understand that the philosophy of love be the possession of the beloved object; and assured her it was a truth beyond all dispute, that no real lover ever yet existed who did not at some time or other hope to possess his mistress.”

“ Spoke like an oracle, Will, as thou art,” said the other.

“I said also," continued Master Shakspeare, 66 that one of so much beauty of person and kindliness of heart, as she seemed to be, might, without the commission of any apparent criminality, create a present pleasure of no ordinary kind among such as may

be content with affectionate looks and sugared phrases_but no man that truly loveth will remain all his life so easily contented; and the present pleasure will in all likelihood be turned to a continual misery, when he finds, as find he must, 'tis all profitless and inconclusive."

66 That be indisputable," observed Master Burbage. 66 'Tis marvellous pleasant certainly for a pretty woman to say she loveth thee, but if that be

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the full extent of her love, then is her parrot to be as much envied as art thou. I'd be none of such parrots, I promise thee, Will. I would hop her perch in a twinkling.”

6 But more than all," continued his companion, smiling at what had dropped from the other, 6 I dwelt particularly on the impossibility of her creating such happiness with any honesty. The happi

may be created at the expense of another can never be defended. Master Francis I knew had given her his exclusive affections, and he naturally looked for, and imagined himself possessed of her's to the same extent. Any division of her love to another, I told her was not only an injustice to him, but as the knowledge of it was very like to make him uneasy, it would decidedly be at the expense of his happiness. It so happened, that in a play of some merit Master Francis shewed me on our first acquaintance, there were certain passages marvellously to the purpose on this very point, which hath since given me reason to believe he had some suspicion of her true character, and wrote it as in the natus. an expostulation, hoping she would mend. I kn, a not whether I quite succeeded in proving to her her error; but I fear much for my young friend if she alter not speedily. I know that, though of a truly modest disposition, he

may be easily moved; and as for Joanna, I think she is one of a very insatiate vanity and selfishness,

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and seeketh with great cunning to be admired of as many as she can with as little peril to her virtue as possible; or else she is one of those well meaning inconsiderate creatures who cajole themselves with the belief, that as long as they do what at the first blush appeareth no absolute harm, the greater degree of pleasure they may be able to create around them, the greater degree of good will they be enabled to produce; which, under those circumstances, is nothing better than a robbery of one to be shared among many."

“ Well, let her rob and go hang," cried Master Burbage impatiently, “ I've had enough of her: and if ever I be caught going after a mercer's daughter again-tickle me with a fish-hook. It hath cost me a world in moneys expended with her father in such braveries as methought would the sooner win me her love and his goodwill, and I have got about as much by it as I might kick my shins against without fear of a hurt. A plague on all mercers' daughters, say I ! and as for that cot-quean Joanna, I have a huge suspicion her lip is like a nutmeg in a vintner's parlour—every one may have the flavour on't when he lists. She hath gone clean out of my opinion. I'll have none of her.”

“ That's a most magnanimous resolution of thine, Dick," said Master Shakspeare laughingly, “ considering she'll have none of thee.”

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“ By this hand, she loved me as flies love sugar!" exclaimed the other.

“ As flies love pepper, thou shouldst have said, Dick,” observed his companion; " for I do assure thee she acknowledged to me that she heeded thy fine compliments as a thrifty housewife does a littér of kittens she be pitching all of a lump into the next pool."

66 Há! said she so ? the little villain !” cried Master Burbage." But it matters not. I have done with her. And now attend to me, I prythee, for I have more attractive matter in hand.”

" Another Joanna?" enquired Master Shakspeare maliciously.

“ Another polecat !" :sharply replied the other. “ I tell thee, Will, I but want thy assistance to have such sport as we have not seen together this many a day.”

Surely thou wouldst seek of me no more verses?" said his companion archly.

“ Verses ! Hang thy verses !” answered Master Burbage.

“Well, if thou wilt hang them, let it be with one of the lines 1 have been so oft obliged to borrow of thee when I came to a halt in my measure," ob served the other with exceeding seriousness.

By this light, thou art like a woman that hath left off having children-thou art past bearing,” said his associate, as if in some sort of vexation.

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