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shalt get away from here as if on a visit to thy father in Aldgate, and so excite no suspicion; in the meantime, I will increase my attentions to the queen, so that she shall have no reason to quarrel with my behaviour: and when thou art secure in thy asylum, I shall start in my good ships for the voyage I intend.”
" I would not have thee anger the queen for worlds," observed the other, “ for it is in her power to make thy fortunes or mar them. Elizabeth hath a very woman's heart in some things, though she be masculine enough in others; and she loveth the adulation of handsome men.
She much regardeth thee, dear Walter, I know, and from that I am fearful that her knowledge of thy marriage will deeply affect thy prosperity. Indeed, I would rather die than that thou shouldst receive injury for my sake.”
“ O’my life, thou art a most admirable creature,” exclaimed Sir Walter, as he rapturously pressed her within his arms, “and I should be totally unworthy of possessing that rich argosie, thy affections, were I not to risk my life, and all that to it do belong, in endeavouring to secure thy peace of mind. fear not consequences in such a case, dear Bess. As for the queen, I know that flattery is rarely unacceptable to her; and her name and thine being the same, I can easily quiet the scruples of my conscience, if they say aught against my insin
cerity, by imagining that it is to thee my homage is addressed.”
“ I care not, Walter, what thou sayest or what thou doest, as long as thou holdest thy proper quality and station in the court,” replied the devoted woman; and then, with a sudden look of right earnest affection, continued, “ thy proper quality, said I ?-nay, if thou attainest that, by my troth, thou wouldst be king of them all.”
“Oh, thou outrageous flatterer,” cried Raleigh, sportively shaking his head at her.
66 'Tis no flattery, dear Walter —'tis the very truth,” said Mistress Elizabeth fondly. “And who can look on thy noble form clad in these princely vestments, and not say the same? But above all, who can regard thy noble mind-that costly jewel in a rich case—and deny thy pre-eminence ?”
- Bess ! Bess! if thou goest on at this rate," replied Sir Walter with an assumed gravity, “ I shall be reduced to follow the obsolete custom of blushing, which will bear hardly upon me, seeing that I lack blushes most abominably.”
At this moment a quick light footstep was heard proceeding along the corridor, and Mistress Elizabeth, as soon as she recognised it, disengaged herself from the embraces of her lover, hastened to the door, which she immediately unfastened, and opening it, gave entrance to her cousin Alice.
“ A plague on this love, say I,” exclaimed she laughingly, as she bounced into the room nearly out of breath.
“What's the matter, Alice ?” enquired her cousin anxiously.
Ay, what's the matter, sweet coz?” added Sir Walter.
“Coz! coz, indeed !" cried Alice, somewhat disdainfully, yet with an arch glance of her eye, as she turned sharp round upon the last speaker—“I prythee keep thy coz-ening for those who will listen to thee. I'll have none on't."
66 l'faith, Alice, if thy wit be always so sharp, thou wilt lead apes in the next world, depend on't," said Raleigh.
66 I don't know, sweet sir, whether there be apes in the next world," said she, with a curtsey to the ground, “ but o’my word there be nothing else to lead in this, as I can see.” At this Sir Walter good humouredly did laugh outright; in which he was heartily joined by his merry companion.
“ But what brought thee into the room so posthaste, Alice ?” enquired Mistress Elizabeth.
Marry, matter enough,” replied she: 6 there be the queen's majesty in her chamber enquiring most piteously for her captain of the guard, and sending the ushers and the grooms in all directions after the lost sheep. I being asked if I knew where
he was to be found, did innocently answer, that having for some time past suspected him of the criminal intention of setting the Thames on fire, I did opine that he might be met with in the buttery, begging the loan of a wax-taper for the nonce.”
“ I'll give thee a beating for that,” cried Sir Walter laughingly, as following her round the chamber, with his glove he did whip her over the shoulder, while she, ducking her pretty head, cried out, and sought to avoid the blows.
“ Help, good coz, help !" she cried to her cousin, who stood by, shewing by her sweet smiling countenance that she did mightily enjoy the scene.
Help! or this valiant Sir Walter Raleigh, who maketh war upon women, will get the better of me.”
“ Nay, Alice, I'll help thee not-for thou dost richly deserve all that thou receivest,” said Mistress Elizabeth.
66 Confess that thou hast slandered me, thou pretty. mischief,” exclaimed Raleigh, holding up the glove threateningly, as she crouched down at his feet.
“ I will confess, holy father,” replied she, with
admirable mock seriousness, as she put her palms together, and turned up her brilliant eyes to hisall the while a smile playing about her dimpled
cheek that gave to her face an expression of archness infinitely pleasant to look upon.
• In the first place, holy father, the queen is not in her chamber, because she is still with the lords of the council.”
- Oh, thou abominable transgressor !" cried Sir Walter, with all the seriousness he could assume.
“ In the second place, she hath not sent for thee, because she requireth thee not.”
Daughter ! daughter ! thy iniquity is palpable,” said he with the same gravity.
“ In the last place, I have just met with master secretary, who saith that the council is about to break up, and enquired if I had seen thee. Thereupon I sent him where I knew he would not find thee, and hastened to where I knew I should."
6. Thou must do penance for this,” observed Raleigh; then somewhat maliciously added, “ therefore I do condemn thee to the scarcely endurable punishment of holding thy tongue for a whole hour.”
“ l'faith thou hast it this time, Alice !” exclaimed Mistress Elizabeth, with undisguised glee.
“ And now, beauties, I must be under the painful necessity of hurrying my departure,” said Sir Walter, taking up his hat, and gallantly bowing to the fair cousins; then smiling triumphantly on the laughing Alice, who had remained on the floor