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What then?

2nd Ret. What then? Why, you, she speaks to, if

she meets

Your worship, smiles on as you hold apart

The boughs to let her through her forest walks,
You, always favourite for your no-deserts,

You've heard, these three days, how Earl Mertoun


To lay his heart and house and broad lands too
At Lady Mildred's feet: and while we squeeze
Ourselves into a mousehole lest we miss

One congee of the least page in his train,
You sit o' one side-"there's the Earl," say I-
"What then," say you!

3rd Ret.

I'll wager he has let

Both swans he tamed for Lady Mildred, swim
Over the falls and gain the river!


Is not to-morrow my inspecting-day
For you and for your hawks?

4th Ret.


Let Gerard be!

He's coarse-grained, like his carved black cross-bow


Ha, look now, while we squabble with him, look!
Well done, now-is not this beginning, now,

To purpose?

Ist Ret.

Our retainers look as fine

That's comfort. Lord, how Richard holds himself
With his white staff! Will not a knave behind
Prick him upright?

4th Ret.

He's only bowing, fool!

The Earl's man bent us lower by this much.

1st Ret. That's comfort, Here's a very cavalcade!

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3rd Ret. I don't see wherefore Richard, and his


Of silk and silver varlets there, should find
Their perfumed selves so indispensable

On high days, holidays! Would it so disgrace
Our family, if I, for instance, stood—

In my right hand a cast of Swedish hawks,

A leash of greyhounds in my left?-


The logman for supporter, in his right

-With Hugh

The bill-hook, in his left the brushwood-shears!

3rd Ret. Out on you, crab! What next, what next? The Earl!

1st Ret. Oh Walter, groom, our horses, do they match The Earl's? Alas, that first pair of the sixThey paw the ground-ah Walter! and that brute Just on his haunches by the wheel!

6th Ret.

You, Philip, are a special hand, I hear,

At soups and sauces: what's a horse to you?
D'ye mark that beast they've slid into the midst
So cunningly?—then, Philip, mark this further;
No leg has he to stand on!

1st Ret.

No? That's comfort.

2nd Ret. Peace, Cook! The Earl descends.—Well,

Gerard, see

The Earl at least! Come, there's a proper man,
I hope! Why, Ralph, no falcon, Pole or Swede,
Has got a starrier eye.

3rd Ret.

His eyes are blue

So young, and yet

But leave my hawks alone!

4th Ret.

So tall and shapely!

5th Ret.

Here's Lord Tresham's self!

There now-there's what a nobleman should be!
He's older, graver, loftier, he's more like

A House's head!

2nd Ret.

But you'd not have a boy

-And what's the Earl beside?-possess too soon That stateliness?

Ist Ret.

Our master takes his hand-
Richard and his white staff are on the move-
Back fall our people-(tsh!-there's Timothy
Sure to get tangled in his ribbon-ties—
And Peter's cursed rosette's a-coming off!)

-At last I see our lord's back and his friend's-
And the whole beautiful bright company

Close round them-in they go!

the window-bench, and
and its jugs.]

[Jumping down from

making for the table Good health, long life,

Great joy to our Lord Tresham and his House! 6th Ret. My father drove his father first to court, After his marriage-day-ay, did he!

2nd Ret.

God bless

Lord Tresham, Lady Mildred, and the Earl!
Here, Gerard, reach your beaker!

Drink, my boys!

Ger. Don't mind me-all's not right about me-drink! 2nd Ret. [Aside.] He's vexed, now, that he let the show escape!

[To GER.] Remember that the Earl returns this way. Ger. That way?

2nd Ret.


Ind Ret.

Just so.

Then my way's here. [Goes.
Old Gerard

Will die soon-mind, I said it! He was used

To care about the pitifullest thing

That touched the House's honour, not an eye
But his could see wherein: and on a cause
Of scarce a quarter this importance, Gerard
Fairly had fretted flesh and bone away

In cares that this was right, nor that was wrong,
Such a point decorous, and such square by rule-
He knew such niceties, no herald more:

And now-you see his humour: die he will!

2nd Ret. God help him! Who's for the great servant's-hall

To hear what's going on inside? They'd follow
Lord Tresham into the saloon.

3rd Ret.

4th. Ret.



Leave Frank alone for catching, at the door,
Some hint of how the parley goes inside!
Prosperity to the great House once more!
Here's the last drop!

Ist Ret.

Have at you! Boys, hurrah!

SCENE II.-A Saloon in the Mansion.


Tresh. I welcome you, Lord Mertoun, yet once more,
To this ancestral roof of mine. Your name
-Noble among the noblest in itself,

Yet taking in your person, fame avers,

New price and lustre,-(as that gem you wear,
Transmitted from a hundred knightly breasts,
Fresh chased and set and fixed by its last lord,

Seems to re-kindle at the core)—your name
Would win you welcome!-



-But add to that,

The worthiness and grace and dignity
Of your proposal for uniting both

Our Houses even closer than respect

Unites them now-add these, and you must grant
One favour more, nor that the least,-to think
The welcome I should give; 't is given! My lord,
My only brother, Austin-he's the king's.

Our cousin, Lady Guendolen-betrothed

To Austin: all are yours.


I thank you-less

For the expressed commendings which your seal,
And only that, authenticates-forbids

My putting from me.. to my heart I take
Your praise.. but praise less claims my gratitude,
Than the indulgent insight it implies

Of what must needs be uppermost with one
Who comes, like me, with the bare leave to ask,
In weighed and measured unimpassioned words,
A gift, which, if as calmly 't is denied,
He must withdraw, content upon his cheek,
Despair within his soul. That I dare ask
Firmly, near boldly, near with confidence

That gift, I have to thank you. Yes, Lord Tresham,
I love your sister—as you'd have one love

That lady.. oh more, more I love her! Wealth, Rank, all the world thinks me, they're yours, you know,

To hold or part with, at your choice-but grant
My true self, me without a rood of land,

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