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knocking at the door. " Come in !” exclaimed he; and thereupon entered one apparelled like a young gallant, with hat and feather of a goodly fashion, a delicate satin doublet, an excellent fine ruff, a cloak worn daintily on the shoulder, and a long rapier fastened to his side: trunks prettily cut and embroidered, with silk hose and ruffled boots.
“ Ah, Dick !” said he in the chair laughingly, as he recognised the good humoured features of his visitor, and scrutinising his attire as he closed the door and was advancing into the room, “ I'faith thou lookest as fine as a snake that hath just cast its skin; and,” added he with more emphasis, “ art as useful to any good purpose I'll be bound.”
66 Will! Will! thou hast a most malignant wit !” cried the other, as he approached his friend with mock gravity, and shook him earnestly by the hand. « But what thinkest thou of these braveries?” said he, standing as upright as he might, spreading out his cloak, and readjusting his hat. - I fancied that we, the queen's majesty's poor players, ought to dress as becomes the queen's majesty, and therefore have I robed myself anew.
What thinkest thou of the cock of this hat? Tis in admirable conceit, is it not ?-and the feather-doth it not hang marvellously well? Doth not this cloak become me infinitely ? and the slashing of this doublet, is it not of the most superlative fashion ?"
“ In truth, Dick,” remarked his companion,
drily, as he pushed back his chair to take a better view of his visitor, “ I've seen many a jackdaw cut a finer figure.”
“ A plague on thy pestilent jests !” exclaimed the other with assumed indignation.
“ But as thou askest for my opinion,” he resumed, “I will tell thee. Didst thou wish to attire thyself as becometh the queen's majesty, thou shouldst have had recourse to the queen's majesty's wardrobe: for in honest truth, Dick, I do not think thy present dress would become that illustrious princess in the smallest degree”
“ Oh thou pernicious varlet !”
66 As for the cock of thy hat, 'tis certainly in admirable conceit, or rather, the conceit is in it, for thy head is in it; and I do not flatter thee when I say
there is no lack of conceit there." 6 Perdition seize thy wit !”
Thy feather doth hang marvellously welli'faith I doubt much if thou wouldst hang better thyself.”
Enough, enough, Will,” eagerly exclaimed his associate, putting his hands together, as if begging for mercy, “ if thou hast any bowels of compassion,
“ And if thou wert half as well slashed as thy doublet,” continued his friend, inattentive to his remonstrance, “I think thou wouldst be in a much more superlative fashion than thou art now.”
« O’my word, Will,” said the other, laughing, as he took off his hat and flung himself into a chair, “ thou art all points, like a hedgehog, or like the naughty girl in the story-book, out of thy mouth there cometh nothing but venomous things.”
“But what mercer art thou attempting to ruin?” enquired his companion.
“A fig for the mercer—'tis the mercer's daughter I seek !" replied his guest.
“ Attempt to ruin a mercer's daughter !” exclaimed the other, half starting from his chair with affected surprise. « Fie on thee, for a reprobate ! thou art enough to corrupt us all; thou wilt have the whole city up in arms against us, and we shall be obliged to fly from the Bankside to escape the stocks.”
“I meant not that, Will—I am a heathen if I meant that; but thou knowest my failing-I am always after the women. Oh, those exquisite sweet creatures!”
66 Thou shouldst have more ambition, Dick ; precedency is man's natural right in such instances, but if thou art always after the women, thou canst never hope to get before them.”
6 Thou hast me again,” cried his companion, as he threw himself back in his seat to give vent to his laughter; “I would as soon attempt to parry jests with thee as to eat thistles with a jackass ; so
take thy fill, and be hanged to thee. But I tell thee how it is, Will. This mercer's daughter is said to be the richest heiress in the city. I saw her at the Bear Garden with the old hunks her father, whom she ruleth most filially; and observing that she had an eye like Venus”.
Only one, Dick?” enquired his companion, innocently.
“ Two, or I'm a sinner,” replied he, “and a bust like Juno; ay, and every grace that all Olympus possessed. In brief, a beauty of such ravishing perfections, that immediately I found her gaze upon me, I felt as many of Cupid's arrows in my heart as there are pins in her huswife, and thereupon fell most continently in love."
“ With her father's strong box, Dick?” asked the other.
“ With her own sweet self, thou aggravating varlet. I presently made up to the father, and did enter into very sober discourse, till I found I had got hold of the daughter's ear, and then I pointed out the persons of distinction in the company, and seasoned
my conversation with some delicate compliments, all which she did receive in very good fashion, rewarding me with such looks from her soft hazel eyes as warmed my veins like a stoup of canary. The old fellow courteously invited me to his house, and the dear wench did repeat some most
enticing words, which sent me to the mercer's in a presently. To please him, I ordered these fallals, and to please her, I wear them. I met her by appointment since then in Paul's Walk, and after that she gave me some delicious interviews alone in her father's dwelling, of which I made right profit
I tell thee, she is ready to melt in my arms."
66 A wax doll would do the same, Dick," drily remarked the other, “if thou wert warm enough.”
“ Away with thy pestilent similes !” exclaimed his guest, starting up from his seat, as if in anger; then, resuming his place, continued :-“ She shewed me yesterday a sonnet, or some other pernicious mischief of the kind, which had been written in commendation of her beauty-perhaps by some crazy engrosser of parchments. The plague of bad clients be upon him !- and asked me to try what I could do in that way. Now, unless I can produce some such verses—my malediction rest upon Apollo and all his generation ! I feel assured I may spare myself the trouble of venturing within the precincts of her tenement. Thou knowest I could as soon fly as rhyme. I have scratched my head till it ached, and looked up to the ceiling till my neck was as stiff as my ruff; but if ever I succeeded in making reason of my rhyme, or rhyme of my reason, I'm worse than a