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enter with it in her hands, and place it before him. Ay, marry

does it,” said the old woman-all trace of her late displeasure having vanished66 and there is in it as fine a roasted crab as heart could wish for, with store of all proper things.”

By cock and pie, so there is !” exclaimed her master, gloating over it with his rosy face, and sniffing up the spicy steam with wonderful satisfaction, “ Now, will I believe, Margery, all that thou hast said of thy exceeding virtue: nay, more, looking into thy face, I could take upon me to swear, with a safe conscience, that thou hast never had a lover in thy life.” And thereupon he again burst out a laughing.

Nay, you are wrong there, kind heart," replied Margery, with great complacency, “ I have had no lack of lovers in my time, I warrant you. For, as I was a saying but now, it was just five and twenty years last Martinmas”

“ Since thou wert taken up by the constable on evidence that thou wert like to become chargeable to the parish: a singular fine proof that thou hast had lovers sure enough. Haw! haw! haw !” Thereat he slapped the table so hard that it did overturn one of the drinking horns he had just filled.

The old dame answered not, save by bouncing out of the room more angry than before.

“ Mind it not, Gregory !” exclaimed the jolly mercer, as he beheld his companion trying to save the ale, by catching it in the empty horn, as it run through the chinks of the table.

“ It be a shame to let such good liquor run to waste, gossip,” he replied.

"'Twould have been all the same hadst thou swallowed it,” observed the other; “for to give it thee is to waste it indeed; because thou dost never look the better for it. Here, hand up thy cannikinthough, in truth, thou deservest not to partake of such brave stuff, seeing that thou didst make such a miserable hand at thy ditty."

“ To tell thee the exact truth,” said the old miser, very earnestly, “ though I have, at divers times, essayed many different songs, somehow or another, yet know I not why, I never could find any other tune for them but the hundreth psalm.”

« Then art thou but a goose at singing,” replied his companion, finishing a draught of the good liquor before him, which, by the smacking of his lips, seemed to please his palate mightily, " but I will troll thee a song, Gregory, and one worthy to be mated with such right exquisite tipple

as this.

“ 'Tis famous drinking, indeed !” remarked the

scrivener, after a hearty draught of the same; “and the singing, I doubt not, will match it.”

“ Thou shalt judge,” said the other; then, with a full round voice, and in a very jovial manner, he did give out the following strain.

“ I never had voice for a song that's choice,

And dainty ditties with me must fail :
Yet, weeks at a time, I fain would chime,
Whenever I strike up in the praise of good ale.

Then troul, troul,

Each hearty old soul,
That loveth the sight of a foaming bowl;

For there's nought in the land

He should care to command,
Who hath got such brave liquor as this at his hand.

Full oft to the great have I held my prate

But when I have had good ale enow,
I be not afeard to wag my beard
With any woman's son, be he high or low.

Then troul, troul, &c.

Perchance I am shy when a woman is by

Yet if but good ale my jerkin line,

Wife, widow, or maid-in sun or shade, ’Ere an hour may have passed, shall have sworn herself mine.

Then troul, troul, &c.

Mayhap I've no store of the sage's lorem

But when some good ale is in my pate,
l'faith I can speak in Dutch or Greek,
And argue a whole college as dumb as their gate.

Then troul, troul, &c.

It may be from fright I would run than fight

Yet when with good ale beneath my skin;
With sword or with lance will 1 advance,
And, leagured by my foes, cut through thick and thin.

Then troul, troul, &c.

'Twill needs be my hap to have not a rap

But when that good ale hath warmed my veins,
There be none like myself, so rich in pelf-
For ne'er can I count up the whole of my gains.

Then troul, troul, &c.

I'm nigh unto Death for the lack of breath

Yet if of good ale I am not scant,
Full many a bout shall I see out,
And never shall I know aught of pain or of want.

Then troul, troul,

Each hearty old soul,
That loveth the sight of a foaming bowl:

For there's nought in the land

He should care to command,
Who hath got such brave liquor as this at his hand !"

“ Indeed it be an excellent fine song, gossip, and a merry," observed the old miser, with exceeding complacency.

“Somewhat better than thy miserable ditty, that be only fit to be sung over a kitten in a fit,” replied the jolly mercer, with his customary laugh. 66 But hand up thy vessel, Gregory, for it hath acquired a marvellous resemblance to thyself—it be singularly empty: Haw! haw! haw!"

“ In truth, it hath nothing in it,” said the scrivener, losing no time in doing as he was bid. “ But what hath become of the beautiful Joanna all this time?”

“ Like enough, she be above stairs with some of her gallants,” answered the other, carelessly.

66 With some of her gallants?” exclaimed Gregory Vellum-his leaden visage in no small degree disturbed—“ Prythee, tell me, be there many that consort with her?

“ Some score or two, at least,” replied his companion.

“ But dost approve of it?" asked the old miser, looking still less at his ease.

“ To be sure I do, Gregory. Dost think I know not on which side of the bread the butter lies ?-1 tell thee, there be all sorts of notable gentlemen and brave gallants, come after her upon the fame of her infinite comeliness; and, doubtless, seeking of my favour, they order of me great store of fine things for their own wearing. Many's the piece of satin I have sold for a cloak; and as for velvets and silks, it be beyond calculation the store I have got rid of on that account. Mayhap, in time, some of them owe me a swinging bill, and I go with it to their houses, and, like enough, get no answer—then send I Joanna, and she bringeth me the money in a presently. Odds my life, man! seeing that she

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