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venture, with large portions of their substance, that I am exceeding anxious nothing should be wanting to give us the end we look for.”
“ O’my life, Sir Walter, I long to have a hand in it,” said another, of the like gallant nature.
66 That wish I of all things, Sir Martin Frobisher,” answered Raleigh, “ for know I of an indisputable truth'twould greatly be to our advantage could we count upon such profitable assistance.” Then with many courtesies, which none knew better how to use, he saw them leave the gates.
" See I not he of whom mine esteemed friend Master Shakspeare spoke but yesterday?” enquired Sir Walter Raleigh, stopping before the youth and regarding him somewhat kindly, as well as with attention.
“ If it please you, I am,” replied Master Francis, now looking and feeling much abashed.
“ Master Shakspeare hath given me good account of you," continued Sir Walter, “and I am well disposed in consequence thereof to do you what good office lieth in my ability. I am in want of a secretary. Think you you should like to venture yourself in that capacity?”
“ I doubt much I am quite fit for it," answered the youth with a very sincere modesty.
“ Of your sufficiency, from what hath been said in your behalf, I can have no question,” said Ra
leigh, much pleased at the other's behaviour, “ therefore if it accord with your inclination, be sure of having liberal treatment. Are you content?"
“ Indeed, I am delighted to such a measure”
“ Enough!” exclaimed Sir Walter, good humouredly interrupting him, as he saw from his manner there was no doubt of his satisfaction; then turning to his butler, who stood respectfully at a little disa tance, added, “ Stephen, see that Master Francis hath all things proper as my secretary.”
“ I will lose no time upon it, an't please you, Sir Walter,” replied the old man cheerfully.
" I will myself instruct you in your duties,” added his patron, “ but at present you must go with Stephen, who will see you want for nothing." Having said this very encouragingly, he went into the house to join his guests.
“ I congratulate you, sweet sir,” exclaimed Stephen Shortcake, as soon as his master was gone. “ Think not ill of me for fancying you driven to such extreme shifts as what I spoke of. I did it out of no unkindness to you, or slight upon your merit, believe me. When
know me well enough, I doubt not you shall give me credit for better intentions."
“ Indeed I am in too pleasant a mood to think of it,” replied Master Francis, who was as rejoiced
at this favourable turn in his fortunes as may be conceived of him. It was just that sort of employment he had most inclination for, and that seemed to give his ambitious hopes the most ground to
“ I pray you, good sir, follow me,” said the old butler, “I must about my master's bidding-so while he is engaged with the noble lords and the
have proper entertainment.” Then entering the house (talking a fair part of the time) he led Master Francis through divers spacious rooms, furnished very costly, and along sundry passages, wherein were many serving men, dressed like those before spoken of (some of whom he reproved sharply for not seeming sufficiently attentive to their duties), till he entered a chamber of more humble appearance.
“ I would fain find you more honourable lodging,” observed Stephen, “ but this being my room, and one in which you are not like to meet intruders, methought 'twould be best. I pray you put up
with it for the nonce-feel as content in it as you may, and when all proper provision be made for your residence with us, then shall
you becomingly accommodated.”
Master Francis found no dissatisfaction in the chamber, which in truth was well stored with comforts, so that when Stephen Shortcake left him with
a courteous excuse for his absence, he flung himself in a convenient chair, and did make comparisons with it and the room he had at his uncle's, in the which the former gained prodigiously, as may be supposed. He then gave himself up to his own reflections, which were gratifying to him in a very prodigal measure. He felt like a prisoner that hath cast off his gyves, and is a free man, after a long and terrible imprisonment; for he had got away from his miserly old kinsman, who had led him a pretty life of it—so far as his remembrance might go. Then his thoughts reverted to his adored Joanna, and he for some time found very exquisite satisfaction in imagining how pleased she would be to know of his success. Here I must leave him for awhile-for what may be thought more attractive matter.
It was about the afternoon of the same day that a gallant well-dressed, without affectation, of a free carriage and noble aspect-somewhat careless in his demeanour, yet evidently meaning no sort of offence-in fact, no other than Master Shakspeare himself, was seen walking up and down upon London Bridge, now looking in at the shops, and sauntering about the houses there, with very much the look of one who is in waiting for another. He amused himself for some time with regarding the passengers, whether of foot or on horse, and specu
66 Thanks, my
lating from their looks of what disposition they might be: but he seemed to tire of this at lastmas who will not tire who is kept an unconscionable time waiting for one who delays coming ? and after looking wistfully several times towards the city side of the bridge, as it seemed without avail, he was on the point of leaving the place with what philosophy he might, when all at once his look brightened up wonderfully, and with the pleasantest air possible, he made for a very pretty woman, well and daintily attired, who was approaching him. sweet, for this coming !” exclaimed he gallantly, as he took his place by her side, and they walked together. " But in honest truth I had like to have been out of patience.”
“ If you loved me but half as well as you have sworn you have,” replied she, in an admirable soft voice, “ you would have had patience enough to have tarried here till doom's day--and longer than that. But I was detained, gentle sir, or I would have been truer to mine appointment."
“ I doubt it not,” said Master Shakspeare, “and the delight I now enjoy in gazing on your perfections doth counterbalance whatever disquietude I found in your delay. Truly never hath true lover suffered as have I since that most endearing hour I chanced to meet you seeing the archery in Finsbury Fields. Methought the queen's company of