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CHAPTER VIII.

Millions of yeares this old drivell Cupid lives ;
While still more wretch, more wicked he doth prove ;
Till now at length that Jove an office gives,
(At Juno's suite who much did Argus love)

In this our world a hangman for to be
Of all those fooles that will have all they see.

SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.

There are a sort of men, whose visages
Do cream and mantle like a standing pond,
And do a wilful stillness entertain
With purpose to be dressed in an opinion
Of wisdom, gravity, profound conceit;
As who should say, I am Sir Oracle,
And when I ope my lips let no dog bark.

SHAKSPEARE.

66

“ Come, coz! coz! Prythee have done with this sighing and trembling,” exclaimed Mistress Alice to her fair cousin, as they were together in their tiring room, seemingly getting themselves ready to go upon a journey. Why, thou makest as much fuss at being married as might I, for whom the idea of it hath but sorry recommendation indeed. Well, Heaven help them that cannot help themselves, say I-and of all that need help, none are like your would-be wife; for of a truth, she.

must be in monstrous hard case, that desireth so ridiculous a thing as a husband."

“ He cannot help being ruined,” observed Mistress Throckmorton sorrowfully, and quite inattentive to the remarks of her merry kinswoman.

“ Well, blame him not for it,” said the other, in her pretty droll way. 6 For, if he cannot help it, he should escape censure.

But methinks there be no great cause for such apprehension, for when I shewed thy father's letter to the queen requesting thy presence at Aldgate, on the pretence of his declining health; she had come from the play in so fine a humour, that it seemed as if she could have granted anything: therefore art thou to go, and I with thee; and if thy man-animal fail thee not, thou wilt be made his yoke-fellow straight. Now have I very palpably in my mind's eye, the appearance of thyself and thy precious helpmate some two or three score of years hence. Thou wilt sit on one side of the chimney corner, and he on the other, like Darby and Joan ; with, mayhap, the cat at thy feet, and the dog at his, and his worship lifting up his woollen nightcap to scratch his bald pate the whilst, shall say, in a monstrous thin voice, like a sucking beetle,” here did she imitate an old man's querulous speech to the life—666 Dame ! it be woundy cold o’nights—hast never another pair o'hose to cover up my legs ?' And then thou

shalt look at his shrunk shanks very pitifully over thy spectacles, and dividing thy nose and chin, which shall then be nigh unto kissing each other, shalt answer, Forsooth, my old man, 'tis but proper thou shouldst have another pair; for I know by the absolute shooting o' my corns, we shall have foul weather soon."

“ Fie on thee, Alice !” exclaimed Mistress Elizabeth, yet scarcely able to refrain from joining in her companion's merriment—for the little creature screwed her pretty face into so odd an expression and made her voice sound so tremulous and droll, in accordance with the laughable scene she was describing, that it was impossible for any one to have looked on unmoved.

“ And then being mightily skilful in the preparation of simples," continued Alice very archly. “ After having put him to bed and tucked him up, that the cold shall not visit his old bones too roughly—for 1 prythee remember, there shall be nothing of him but skin and bone--thou shalt make him a famous posset, with spice in it, to comfort his poor bowels-- whereof, when he hath swallowed a sufficiency, thou shalt take the rest; then to bed with him and a few minutes after which, thou shalt be heard snoring a fine treble as an accompaniment to his worship's excellent bass.”

“ Nay, I am ashamed of thee !” cried the other, although she could in no way help laughing at the conceit, in spite of the trouble she seemed to be in. “ But haste thee, Alice, with our things, or my father will have to wait- which thou knowest he likes not. Ah, me I would it were all over !66 Ah, me

-I would it were well over, or under either, so that it had a good ending,” said Alice, briskly. “ By my troth, there must needs be something in this taking of a husband, by the to do which is made of it; though, methinks, it would require as great a conjuror as Dr. Dee, to find out where lieth the wonder. For mine own part, I cannot but help believing, that these man animals are hugely flattered—seeing that we are inclined to make so great a fuss out of so small a matter.”

6. He will be undone !” exclaimed Mistress Elizabeth sighing, and wringing her hands.

“ A pudding undone !" cried Alice, her sparkling eyes flashing very merrily. Why should he be undone, I prythee ?-unless he undo himself; and then mayhap he shall get himself in a tanglement, like the fag-end of a ball of worsted in the paws of a kitten. I tell thee, Bess, he shall never be undone. There is that in him which will put up with no undoing. Think not of it. It cannot be. Thou shalt find him like a very pretty skein of silk, as he is; and shalt wind him off clear to the end."

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66

66 It was noble of him to offer to marry me,” said Mistress Throckmorton-somewhat as it were to herself.

Nay, I cannot see it be so very noble either,” replied her laughing cousin ; “truly thou art worthy to mate with as good as he—or better, if it come to that."

“ No, no, no !” cried Mistress Elizabeth, shaking her head in very woeful fashion. .

“ But I say yes, yes, yes !” quickly exclaimed the other. “ In all respects he hath got an excellent bargain, and the varlet knoweth it, or I be much deceived. Thou shouldst not hold thyself too cheap, Bess; a woman gets nothing by that, depend on't. As for me, if there be any that would have me at mine own valuation, then shall they coin all the man's flesh that may be met with above ground into rose nobles; and lack the greatest portion of what I would go for after all."

“ In truth, then, thou wouldst go at a price indeed,” remarked her cousin.

“ Price, quotha ! why should I not go at a price ?" replied the merry Alice, tossing her little head very prettily. “ Dost think I am but a pennyworth ?of so little account, that he that gets me might run a withy through my gills, and carry me home like a cheap mackarel ?"

“Nay, I meant not that,” said Mistress Eliza

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