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You logger-headed and unpolish'd grooms,
Taming of the Shrew.
THERE is no period at which men look worse in the eyes of each other, or feel more uncomfortable, than when the first dawn of daylight finds them watchers. Even a beauty of the first order, after the vigils of a ball are interrupted by the dawn, would do wisely to withdraw herself from the gaze of her fondest and most partial admirers. Such was the pale, inauspicious, and ungrateful light, which began to beam upon those who kept watch all night, in the hall at Say's Court, and which mingled its cold pale blue diffusion with the red, yellow, and smoky beams of expiring lamps and torches. The young gallant, whom we noticed in our last chapter, had left the room for a few minutes, to learn the cause of a knocking at the outward gate, and on his return was so struck with
the forlorn and ghastly aspects of his companions of the watch, that he exclaimed, “ Pity of my heart, my masters, how like owls you look! Methinks, when the sun rises, I shall see you flutter off with your eyes dazzled, to stick yourselves into the next ivy-tod or ruined steeple.”
“Hold thy peace, thou gibing fool,” said Blount, “ hold thy peace. Is this a time for jeering, when the manhood of England is perchance dying within a wall's breadth of thee?"
" There thou liest,” replied the gallant.
“ How, lie !” exclaimed Blount, starting up, “lie, and to me?”
“Why, so thou didst, thou peevish fool,” answered the youth ; " thou didst lie on that bench even now, didst thou not ? But art thou not a hasty coxcomb, - to pick up a wry word so wrathfully? Nevertheless,
loving and honouring my lord as truly as thou, or any one, I do say, that should Heaven take him from us, all England's manhood dies not with him.”
“Ay,” replied Blount, “ a good portion will survive with thee, doubtless.”
“And a good portion with thyself, Blount, and with stout Markham here, and Tracy, and all of us. But I am he will best employ the talent Heaven has given to us all.”
“ As how, I prithee ?” said Blount; “ tell us your mystery of multiplying.”
“ Why, sirs,” answered the youth, " ye are like goodly land, which bears no crop because it is not quickened by manure; but I have that rising spirit in me, which will make my poor faculties labour to keep pace with it. My ambition will keep my brain at work, I warrant thee.”
“I pray to God it does not drive thee mad,” said Blount; “ for my part, if we lose our noble lord, I bid adieu to the court and to the camp both. I have five hundred foul acres in Norfolk, and thither will I, and change the court pantoufle for the country hobnail.”
“O base transmutation !” exclaimed his antagonist; “ thou hast already got the true rustic slouch thy shoulders stoop, as if thine hands were at the stilts of the plough, and thou hast a kind of earthy smell about thee, instead of being perfumed with essence, as a gallant and courtier should. On my soul, thou hast stolen out to roll thyself on a hay mow. Thy only excuse will be to swear by thy hilts, that a farmer had a fair daughter.”
“ I pray thee, Walter,” said another of the company, “ cease thy raillery, which suits neither time nor place, and tell us who was at the gate just now.”
“ Doctor Masters, physician to her grace in ordinary, sent by her especial orders to inquire after the earl's health,” answered Walter.
" Ha! what !” exclaimed Tracy ; “ that was no slight mark of favour; if the earl can but come through, he will match with Leicester yet. Is Masters with my lord at present ?”
“ Nay,” replied Walter, “he is half way back to Greenwich by this time, and in high dudgeon."
“ Thou didst not refuse him admittance?” exclaimed Tracy. " Thou wert not surely so mad?” ejaculated Blount.
- I refused him admittance as flatly, Blount, as you would refuse a penny to a blind beggar; as obstinately, Traey, as thou didst ever deny access to a dun."
66 Why, in the fiend's name, didst thou trust him to go to the gate ?" said Blount to Tracy.
“ It suited his years better than mine,” answered Tracy; “ but he has undone us all now thoroughly. My lord may live or die, he will never have a look of favour from her majesty again.”
“ Nor the means of making fortunes for his followers,” said the young gallant, smiling contemptuously ; —“ there lies the sore point that will brook no handling. My good sirs, I sounded my lamentations over my lord somewhat less loudly than some of you ; but when the point comes of doing him service, I will yield to none of you. Had this learned leech entered, think'st thou not there had been such a coil betwixt him and Tressilian's mediciner, that not the sleeper only, but the very dead might have awakened ? I know what ’larum belongs to the discord of doctors.”
“ And who is to take the blame of opposing the queen's orders ?" said Tracy; “ for undeniably, Doctor Masters came with her grace's positive commands to cure the earl.”
“I, who have done the wrong, will bear the blame,” said Walter.
“ Thus, then, off fly the dreams of court favour thou hast nourished,” said Blount; “ and despite all thy boasted art and ambition, Devonshire will see thee shine a true younger brother, fit to sit low at the board, carve turn-about with the chaplain, look that the hounds be fed, and see the squire's girths drawn when he goes a hunting.”
“ Not so," said the young man, colouring, “ not while Ireland and the Netherlands have wars, and not while the sea hath pathless waves. The rich West hath lands undreamed of, and Britain contains bold
hearts to venture on the quest of them. - Adieu for a space, my masters. I go to walk in the court and look to the sentinels.”
“ The lad hath quicksilver in his veins, that is certain,” said Blount, looking at Markham.
“ He hath that both in brain and blood,” said Markham, “ which may either make or mar him. But, in closing the door against Masters, he hath done a daring and loving piece of service ; for Tressilian's fellow hath ever averred, that to wake the earl were death, and Masters would wake the Seven Sleepers themselves, if he thought they slept not by the regular ordinance of medicine.”
Morning was well advanced when Tressilian, fatigued and over-watched, came down to the hall with the joyful intelligence, that the earl had awakened of himself, that he found his internal complaints much mitigated, and spoke with a cheerfulness, and looked round with a vivacity, which of themselves shewed a material and favourable change had taken place. Tressilian at the same time commanded the attendance of one or two of his followers, to report what had passed during the night, and to relieve the watchers in the earl's chamber.
When the message of the queen was communicated to the Earl of Sussex, he at first smiled at the repulse which the physician had received from his zealous young follower, but instantly recollecting himself, he commanded Blount, his master of the horse, instantly to take boat and go down the river to the Palace of Greenwich, taking young Walter and Tracy with him, and make a suitable compliment, expressing his grateful thanks to his sovereign, and mentioning the cause why he had not been enabled to profit by