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handsome proportions, hung with costly tapestry, on which was very fairly depicted the principal events in the Iliad, and besides such necessary furniture, as chairs, tables, and cabinets elaborately chiselled into every kind of cunning device, the panels of the richly decorated wainscot did contain full length portraits of the late king's highness of glorious memory, Henry the Eighth, with his illustrious consort Anna Boleyn, in dark ebony frames, and done to the life with all the limner's skill.
The whole party seemed to be in an excellent good humour, especially her majesty, who led the example by laughing loud and long, as she sat before two open glass doors that looked into a garden daintily laid out in long shady walks, while leaning upon the edge of the door almost outside of the room as it were, stood Sir Walter Raleigh, against whom, evidently all the mirth was directed; who, with a grave countenance continually disturbed by the merriment of his associates, in which he ever and anon joined right heartily, kept smoking a long pipe, and watching the fumes as he puffed them into the air.
66 Ah, thou hast small cause to look after the fumes, for thou wilt be in a fine fume thyself presently,” said her majesty, and the courtiers and the ladies thereat did laugh more than ever.
“ Please your majesty," replied Sir Walter, taking the pipe from his mouth, and laughing with the rest—“ My fumes are perfumes; and if ever I exhibit any other fumes in your majesty's gracious presence, I should be deserving of banishment, which would make me in a fume indeed.”
66 Thou wilt lose thy wager, Sir Walter Raleigh -which will put thy pipe out, depend on't,” added the queen-at which witty conceit the courtiers were again in raptures.
My pipe will be out anon, please your majesty,” responded Sir Walter in the same jocose spirit. “But I shall have the honour of winning a purse of gold of the most bountiful sovereign that subject ever had.”
“ Odds bodikins, man, thou art mad sure !” exclaimed the queen good humouredly.
66 How canst expect to win such a mad wager-unless peradventure thou seekest to amuse thyself by playing upon us some trick-which if thou dost, by our halidom, thou shalt smoke for it in right earnest.” Thereupon the laugh went round as before, and all in audible whispers did commend her majesty's wit most liberally.
“ Nay, I should be unworthy to breathe in so estimable a presence were I to make so bold,” replied Raleigh gravely. “ And for fear that your majesty should misunderstand my meaning, I will
recal the terms of the wager-in the doing of which this noble company will correct me if I say any. thing in error. Your majesty out of your gracious condescension, hath wagered me a purse of gold against my Barbary courser, that from a certain quantity of this precious tobacco that I have before all these honourable persons weighed and put in my pipe to smoke, I shall not be able to tell the exact weight of the smoke that escapes.”
Why, thou foolish gull, how canst tell the weight of anything that escapes?” asked the queen with a merry malicious glance, and to the infinite amusement of her circle. 66 Canst catch the smoke after it hath mingled with the air, andp ress it into thy scales ! We did think that thou hadst more wit than to undertake such a thing, and when thou first spoke of it, fancying thou wert taking the traveller's privilege, we laid this wager with thee on purpose to have a laugh at thy expense. O’ my faith thy Barbary courser is as good as lost; but though it be taking but a barbarous advantage of thee, we must e'en accept of it."
“ Please your majesty, perhaps he hath the wonderful seven league boots, and meaneth quickly to overtake his smoke,” observed a very lovely young gentlewoman who stood by the side of the queen's chair.
Nay, Lady Blanche Somerset,” replied her
majesty, joining in the general laugh, “he must be a bird if he means to come up with it, for smoke hath the property to ascend—as thou seest.”
“ Methinks Sir Walter be nothing else but a bird,” said Mistress Alice, with an exceeding grave face.
Why so, child ?” asked the queen. “ Doth not your majesty perceive he hath a very owl-like look ?” added her attendant, archly; to the manifest increase of the mirth of the company, the which Sir Walter regarded only as if he had more to laugh at than they.
61 do perceive something in this more than meets your majesty's eye,” remarked a very old courtier, with an exquisitely solemn foolish physiognomy.
“ Speak out, my Lord Bumble,” cried her majesty.
" I hold it as most comfortable Christian doctrine, please your majesty,” said his lordship, advancing a little way on his gold-headed cane-for he stooped much, “that the mouth was made for the accommodation of honest victuals; and though I have lived in the reigns of your majesty's father Henry the Eighth, of pious, chaste, and gloriouz memory, and of his most excellent highness Edward the Sixth, who surely hath a throne in Heaven ; and of our late illustrious Queen Mary, who was of
a most princely disposition, as it becometh a queen to have, and which your majesty doth possess to an extent far beyond that which was exhibited by your majesty's predecessors, I never saw a gentleman, and, to speak the exact truth, I may add, any person of any degree whatsoever, who used his throat to imbibe villainous smoke; and therefore 1 hold it as most comfortable Christian doctrine that the mouth was made for the accommodation of honest victuals. Moreover, I never heard of any one with whom it was customary to make a smoke-jack of himself, but one, and he did do it not from liking, but from necessity.”
6 And who was he, my lord ?” enquired the queen.
“ Please your majesty, it was no other than the devil—from whose machinations be your majesty ever carefully guarded.”
66 Amen, my Lord,” said the queen, gravely.
“ Who, as the learned Dr. Thumpcushion hath stated," added Lord Bumble, "continually doth vomit smoke and brimstone-doubtless, much after the same fashion as yonder honourable gentleman, the captain of your majesty's guard—therefore I hold it as most comfortable Christian doctrine”.
“ Never mind the doctrine, my lord”-here put in the queen rather impatiently, while Sir Walter, with much ado, endeavoured to preserve a serious