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with his coxcombical singing,” cried Gregory Vellum: but the singer continued his song.
“ I gave my Love a golden ring,
• Dear heart, I vow,
Thou hast me now,'
· The sterling ore
“Oh! the unwhipped rogue ! he sings of love at his age,” exclaimed the old miser, in seeming consternation. “Well, who can doubt the wickedness of the world after this? But I'll trounce him, I'll warrant me. Francis !” he bawled, as loud as he could, first opening the door, that he might be heard, and then muttering to himself, and crying out by turns, proceeded thus. “A young profligate, to think of singing love ditties at his time of life ;-was ever such iniquity in this world ? Francis !” again screamed he, with all the strength of his lungs. “ An I do not make him hear, I'll make him feel. Francis ! Francis ! Francis! I
“ Did you call, uncle?” said the youth quietly, as he presented himself at the door.
“ Call, sirrah !” replied the old man, shaking with rage—“ Call, varlet! have I not been bawling, and squawling, and tearing my lungs piecemeal after thee for these two hours past."
“ I did not hear you till this moment, or I should have come down,” observed the youth.
66 Hear me !” exclaimed Master Vellum vehemently, “ how couldst expect to hear me, thou reprobate! when thou wert making the place ring with thy amorous ballads ? Be that proper matter to sing at an honest scrivener's? Why, the passengers will take the house for a bagnio. Fie upon .thee! when I was of thy age I sung psalms and godly hymns—but I was noted as a youth of a most modest discretion. What art thou noted for, I wonder? for impudency, disobediency, and all manner of dishonesty.”
“Dishonesty, uncle !” said Master Francis, with unaffected surprise.
Ay, dishonesty, sirrah! Look here !” and he took from his vest the dirty rag that hath previously been described, and begun carefully to unfold it“ here be a foul robbery thou hast committed. How didst get these fine pieces of candle I found in thy room? Hast no shame? What, pilfer from thy poor yet too liberal uncle, when candles stand me in fifty crowns to the pound !'
Fifty crowns, uncle !” exclaimed his nephew
with increasing astonishment, “why, I bought them myself of Tobias Mottle, the chandler over the way, and then they had only rose to threepence for the pound, in consequence of the exceeding scarcity of kitchen stuff.”
“ Well, no matter, sirrah, no matter !” cried the old man, in no way abating his passion, “ thou hast robbed me that is manifest. Thou hast taken advantage of the natural generosity of my disposition, and art in the habit of consuming my substance without my privity. I tell thee it be infamous -I tell thee it be felony- I tell thee it be hanging, whipping, and the pillory. What a monster of ingratitude thou art, to defraud me of such exquisite gold of Venice of which they are made.”
“Gold of Venice, uncle !” exclaimed the youth, almost inclined to laugh at the idea; “nay, if they be not made of the most notorious tallow, I am a heathen.”
“ Tush! I forgot,” replied Gregory Velium, striking his stick violently against the floor.
66 But it availeth thee nothing. Thou art a thief.”
“ I am no thief, sir,” said the youth, reddening in the face; “I do confess that I took what you have in your hand, that I might have light to assist me in my studies; but if the loss grieve you, they cannot be worth more than a halfpenny, and you may either keep them, or I will pay you for them.”
Pay, pay! why, how now? who talks of paying ? where dost get the money from, fellow ?” rapidly enquired the old man, fixing on his nephew a searching and inquisitive look; “ and how camest thou by those heathenish books of which thou hast such goodly store ?"
“ I had them from a friend,” replied Master Francis, “and I am obliged to be indebted to the same quarter for such assistance as my necessities require—which are caused by those who should have taken care that I lack nothing.”
6 Lack !—what dost lack? thou ungrateful vagabond !” demanded his uncle angrily, yet not ill pleased that such things were not done at his cost, 66 do I not find thee a most comfortable home?do I not keep thee in excellent wearing apparel ?and as for eating, didst thou not eat right heartily yesterday at dinner of a most princely dish of cabbage and bacon?”
6. As for the home, uncle," said the youth, “ your penuriousness and ill-temper make it anything but comfortable. For the clothing—when you have worn your doublet threadbare, you think it good enough for me ;--and as for my dinner yesterday, it consisted of a piece of rusty bacon, scarcely big enough for the baiting of a rat-trap, with about as much cabbage as might serve for a caterpillar's breakfast.”
“Oh, thou unnatural prodigal !” exclaimed Master Vellum, lifting up his hands and eyes in amazement. “ This comes of writing verses ! this comes of singing love songs ! O’ my life, I have a monstrous inclination to beat thee."
- You had better not, uncle," said the other calmly.
Nay, but I will, caitiff!” replied he, lifting up his stick and approaching his nephew threateningly.
“ If you do,” said Master Francis, his face now as pale as it a moment since was rubicund, "if you do, I'll give you such a shaking you never had since you were born.”
66 Hub—bub—boo !” exclaimed the old man, starting back, stammering, several paces, as if the threat had taken his breath away; and there he stood, with stick uplifted and mouth open, looking the very picture of horror and surprise. In fact, the conduct of his nephew had come upon him with a most perfect astonishment; for the natural modesty of the youth's disposition had hitherto made him bear his uncle's ill humours with meekness; but possibly the wine he had drunk with Master Shakspeare had put a bolder spirit into his nature. There, however, did he stand, pale and melancholy, yet resolute; with arms folded, and eyes with an unmoved fixedness resting upon his terrified kinsman.