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efforts they make to amuse me.
Well it be not their fault that they have not more sense; and considering how foolish they are by nature, I must do them the justice to say, that they do as well as they can."
6 But I cannot love thee, if thou wilt not love Walter," said Mistress Throckmorton, looking with much seriousness in the face of her witty relative.
“Love him, coz !” exclaimed Alice, affectionately kissing her forehead. “I will do anything to pleasure thee."
And thereupon the two cousins did caress one another with a lovingness that was most touching to behold.
“ But if he make thee melancholy, I'll be hanged if I love him,” continued she with much emphasis.
" It be not his fault, dear Alice,” replied her companion. “ He is always good and kind and noble. I alone am to blame-I am very much to blame.” And, saying this, she suddenly did throw herself upon the neck of her kinswoman, in an uncontrollable agony of hysteric sobs and tears; and wept outright.
66 Bess! Bess! Cousin! Elizabeth !” cried the now alarmed and anxious Alice. 66 What meaneth this? Why are these tears—and for what art thou to blame? Nay, this is mere folly. If the queen find out that Sir Walter love thee, she may be
wrath with him and thee for a time, but it will all blow over harmlessly, I'll be bound for it; and there is no occasion to fret thyself till it happen. Come, dry up thy tears, or I'll not let thee see him for a month."
“ I must see him this morning, dear Alice !” remarked her cousin earnestly. 66 Thou must contrive to let me have speech with him here; for it is of the utmost importance.” “ Here, cousin !”
Ay, here, Alice,” replied she; “my life, all that is dear to me, depends upon it.”
“ Well, if that be the case, I'll strive whatever my love can do to bring it about,” responded the other. “ But see how monstrously thou hast rumpled my ruff. If the queen see it she will swear I have been romping.” At this they both strove to smooth the creases as well as they could. “ And now let me help thee on with thy robe," she continued, as she assisted in attiring her. love's a sad thing, and therefore I like it not, dear Bess; for I like merry things.”
« Thou wilt change thy tune anon, depend on't,” said the elder.
“ Change my tune? I'll change my nature first,” replied the other. By my troth, if the sky were to rain lovers, I'd keep under shelter. Save in the way of sport, if ever I have anything to do with
these man animals, why then pickle me. And what a set I have around me at this present ! Noah's ark contained not such another. First, I have my Lord Burghley, who looks as virtuous as small beer, and is just as sour upon occasion. He taketh upon him to commend my beauty, when the lord treasurer desireth to make himself agreeable to the maid of honour; then sayeth he, with a very infinite gravity, · Be chary of thy smiles, mistress ; butter melts i' the sun! butter melts i' the sun !'” And here she mimicked the voice and manner of that most worshipful and profound statesman, of glorious memory, and then proceeded imitating, in the same ludicrous way, the different individuals she named. 6. Then comes young gravity, his son, Sir Robert Cecil, who hath a smile for every one, and-nothing else; and as he happens to be possessed of a person in no way flattering to the eye, he chooseth to make use of a tongue in every way flattering to the ear. • Sweet Alice,' saith he, in a whisper, if he happen to stand by me in the throng, • Indeed, I cannot help but think thee the flower of the whole court.' After him we have Lord Henry Howard—or rather with him-for they generally hunt in couples, like hounds of better breed; and he is somewhat of a soldier-somewhat of a sailor -somewhat of a gallant, and a great deal of a courtier ;-and he kisseth my hand cavalierly, and looketh into my eyes as if he saw there something
he had long lost-his own modesty, mayhap, if he ever had any—and sweareth me one of the newest oaths, saying, 'I could stand the enemy, but not those lustrous orbs ! »
“ Alice, thy wit will be the ruin of thee.”
“ Then cometh my Lord Pembroke, the hopeful pupil of that marvellous scholar and exquisite specimen of chivalry, Sir Philip Sidney.” continued the laughing girl. “ And he readeth me an essay an hour long, on the surpassing virtues of the dames of antiquity; and looking the very pink of courtesy, telleth me, - Thou wouldst make an admirable Arcadian shepherdess, only the infinite roguery that lurks in the dimple of thy cheek would create a world of mischief among the swains.' Then comes my lord chamberlain, the bluff and martial Earl of Sussex, with guns and pistols in his looks, and cannon balls in his conversation; and he salutes me most soldierly, with an · Hullo, mistress! were I for kissing, I know the pair of lips I'd choose out of a thousand. After him we have the proud and impetuous Essex-all splendour-all gallantry -all impulse--and all nothing: and he cometh to me alone with an irresistible air, protesting, · By this hand, an' I love thee not I am a Turk.'”
66 Alice ! Alice !” exclaimed her cousin seriously, “if thou art heard saying this, thou art utterly undone."
“ Then cometh the gallant, gay, the learned,
witty, brave, and handsome, in fact the very thingSir Walter Raleigh."
« Alice!" cried Mistress Elizabeth Throckmorton, reproachfully.
“Well, dear Bess, I will say nothing of him, since it doth not please thee,” replied her companion. 6 And now, because thou art quite ready, and I have teased thee in some measure, I will go and seek the noble captain; for, if I mistake not, he must by this time be in attendance."
- There's a good wench !” exclaimed her cousin, kissing her affectionately. “ But be cautious in thy proceedings, for if the queen know of his being with me, Walter will be ruined and I undone."
“ Be cautious! will I not?” replied the lighthearted creature, with a toss of her little head. “ I'll be as sly as a cat stealing of cream; and if her majesty find me out, I'll e'en give her leave to box my ears, as she did those of the lovely Mistress Bridges, who was guilty of having had the presumption to be admired by the imperial Essex. But Bess,” continued she, turning round with an arch look, as she reached the door, “'tis a burning shame thou shouldst be in love. I marvel at it hugely. Well, if ever thou catchest me possessed of
any of thy melancholy humours, I'll give thee leave to shut me up in a mouse-trap.” And with a laugh as shrill and musical as the alarum of a