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“ Softly, softly, Gregory Vellum," exclaimed she, quietly disengaging his arms from her neck; for, unable any longer to resist his impatient wishes, he had endeavoured, as our great dramatist hath it, to suit the action to the word. 66 Modest maids are not to be won in such boisterous fashion, and it little becometh the respectability of your deportment to exhibit such unseemly violence. As for your love, you must prove it by something besides words. You have professed for some time to be hugely taken with me; but all professions are nought when unaccompanied by that which proveth their value. You are right liberal in promises, but your performance, as yet, hath been but scanty. If you have such store of gold as you talk of”
“ Hush! hush! not so loud, I prythee, sweetheart," whispered the old man, going cautiously to the door, on tiptoe, opening, and looking out, and closing it carefully after him.
“Of a surety you would act more generously towards me than you have yet done,” continued Joanna, without attending to the interruption; “your true lovers are always bountiful. Now there is a certain Venetian chain
“Ay, 'tis of gold, and of most admirable workmanship," exclaimed Gregory Vellum, “it cost me fifty crowns, or I'm a villainous Jew. I did promise it you, I remember well; but if it please
you, sweetest," continued the old man, sidling up to her, and leering in her face, “it shall be yours for a kiss.-Accept you the conditions ?”
“ For your sake, I will say yes, good Gregory Vellum,” replied she, without hesitation.
“ It shall be yours – it shall be yours," cried the old man, chafing his hands, and every limb of him shaking with excitement. “ Now give me the kiss, my heart ! my soul ! my life ! give me the kiss, I prythee.”
“ The chain first, Gregory Vellum," said the other quietly, as she retreated from his proffered
“ Ay, but wait awhile-- wait awhile, sweetheart, and I will fetch it,” said he, hastening to the door, in an agony of impatience, and immediately returning to her side, before he had got half way; “but when shall be the happy day?-name it, name it, excellent Joanna, for I do long for the time when we two shall be one."
“ We will talk of that anon ;-but, the chain," replied she.
“I fly, sweetest,” cried the old man, shuffling off towards the door ; but, just as he was about to open it, he came back hastily, with his eyes glistening, and his leaden countenance all of a glow, “we will spend all the yellow gold; we will live a right merry life. l'faith you shall have all that heart can desire, you shall, you shall, you shall, my queen of
6. The chain, worthy Gregory Vellum,” repeated his fair companion, as she eluded his eager ad
“ I am gone,” said he, again hastening off; but, before he opened the door, he turned round, clasped his skinny hands together, and turning up the whites of his eyes, exclaimed, “ Indeed, I love thee infinitely."
66 That for thy love," cried she, spitting on the floor, with every mark of indignation and disgust, as soon as she heard him rapidly ascending the stairs—" that for thy love, thou most abhorred and infamous old doatard : but I will use thee. For the sake of one whose little finger is dearer to me than thy old moth-eaten carcase, I will make thee bring out thy long hoarded gold, and squander it right liberally.” Then, hearing a noise at the door which opened into the street, she looked to see who
The same modest youth entered to whom the reader hath been introduced, at Master Shakspeare his lodging, on the Bank Side.
“What, Joanna !” he exclaimed, hastening towards her, with a most smiling countenance -“nay, this is a pleasure I dreamt not of.”
66'Tis I, Francis,” she replied, allowing him to take her hand, which he passionately pressed to his
lips; “but thy cheek is flushed, and thine eye unsteady. What ails thee?"
“ Nothing, dearest,” said he, “I have been detained, and I thought my uncle would be angered with me for stopping; for thou knowest how easy he is of provocation, so I ran all the way home.”
“ Thou hadst best make haste, and conceal thyself somewhere for the nonce,” responded she, “ for thy uncle hath just left me, meaning to return straight; and he is out of all temper with thee, for sundry offences which he saith thou hast committed. So go thy ways, and let me see thee soon, for I have much to say to thee.”
“ I will do thy bidding lovingly; yet it is a most regretful thing to be obliged to leave thee,” he said, as with reluctant steps, and slow, he made towards the door. Then, keeping his eyes upon her till the last moment, eloquent with a most impassioned tenderness, he left the room.
“ Poor boy!” murmured she, as with a countenance full of melancholy interest, she watched his departure —“poor boy ! he little knoweth how many distasteful things I do for his dear sake."
At this moment Gregory Vellum was heard upon the stairs. There was a marked difference betwixt his going and his returning; for, whereas, in the first instance, he had galloped like an ostrich, now he was heard descending, step by step, so slow
that it would not be a great stretch of fancy to say, he might have fallen asleep between whiles. Presently he opened the door, and instead of hastening towards Joanna, with enamoured looks and impatient gestures, as might have been expected from his previous behaviour, he advanced, at a laggard's pace, with his eyes fixed upon a glittering chain of gold, that he kept turning about in his hand, and with a face in which the demon of avarice had evidently got the better of the demon of sensuality.
“ How now!” exclaimed his companion, as she noticed his approach, “you went out as quick of motion as a young colt-you creep in with the preposterous tediousness of a snail.”
“ It cost me fifty crowns !” remarked he, still keeping his eyes on the precious metal, as if there was a fascination in it he could not withstand.
66 Well, and what then?” enquired Joanna; 6 that is nothing to the store of gold of which you mean to make such generous use, you know.”
Ay, said I so ?” said he quickly, and with a monstrous serious look, “no, 'twas a mistake. Gold! I have no gold; where should I get gold ? I am poor, miserably poor, as you see. 'Tis a most admirable chain, and of right delicate workmanship,” he continued, feasting his eyes upon it, as it glittered in his hand.
“ I’faith your love is of a most miserly dispo