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VOL. II. c


sufficiently strong temptation to begin the attack. Kate
was particularly punctual at church, and once or twice he
caught an equivocating glance towards the warden's seat,
and he really did at times fancy he should like to play
at " Taming tJie Shrew." Kate was sure the stranger
slighted her. He treated her, and her only, with an air
of neglect she could not altogether account for, and she
was in a month's mind to make the young cavalier crouch
at her feet. How this was to be contrived could only be
guessed at by a woman, and w^e will not let the reader
into all the secrets of Kate's sanctuary. Suffice it to say,
that in so harmlessly attempting to beguile her prey into
the snare, the lady fell over head and ears into it herself.
In a word, Kate was in love ! And this was the more
grievous, inasmuch as lier lofty bearing hitherto would not
allow her to whisper the matter even to her own bosom ;
and the pent up and smothering flame was making sad
havoc with poor Kate's repose.

She had ofttimes suspected the state of her heart ; but,
instead of sighing, pining, and twanging her guitar to
love-sick ditties, she would fly into so violent a rage at
her own folly, that nothing might quell the disturbance,
until fairly worn out by its own vehemency. No one
suspected the truth — yes, one forsooth — gentle reader,
canst thou guess ? It was no less a personage than
our one-shouldered friend Timothy Dodge ! How the
cunning rogue had contrived to get at the secret is more
than we dare tell. Sure enough he had it ; and as certain
too that another should be privy to the fact, to wit,
Edward Kelly the seer. Dodge was a fitting tool for this
intriguer, and well able to help him out at a pinch.

Affairs were in this position wlien our story commenced.


Rodolf had formidable auxiliaries at hand, had he been dis-
posed to make the attack ; but his stay was now short — Kate
was petulant and perverse — the siege might be tedious. —
Just on the verge of relinquishing, he met Kate, as we
have before seen, going to church. He caught her, for
the once, completely off her guard, and the rich blush
that ensued set a crowd of odd fancies jingling through
his brain. It was just as the old chimes were ringing
their doleful chant from the steeple ; but these hindered
not a whit the other changes that were set agoing. Not
aware of the alteration in his course, he was much amazed
when he found himself striding somewhat irreverently
down the great aisle of the church, towards the choir,
from whence the low chanting of the psalms announced
that service was already begun.

It was the opening of a bright autumnal day. The
softened lights streamed playfully athwart the grim and
shadowy masses that lay on the chequered pavement, like
the smiles of infancy sporting on the dark bosom of the
tomb. The screen formed a rich foreground, in half
shadow, before the east window. The first beam of the
morning, clothed in tenfold brightness, burst through the
variegated tracery. Prophets, saints, and martyrs shone
there, gloriously pour tray ed in heaven's own light.

Rodolf approached the small door leading into the
choir, when his vacant eye almost unconsciously alighted
on a female form, kneeling just within the recess. A ray,
from her patron saint belike, darting through the eastern
oriel, came full upon her dark and glowing eye. She
turned towards the stranger, but in a moment her head
was bent as lowly as before, and the ray had lost its
power. Rodolf suddenly retreated. Passing through a
C 2


side door, he left the church, directing his steps towards
the low and dark corridors of the college. Near the
entrance to his chamber, on a narrow bench, sate a well-
caparisoned page tuning his lute. His attire was costly,
and his raiment all redolent with the most fragrant per-
fume. This youth, when very young, was sent over as
the companion, or rather at that time as the playmate
of his master. He was now dignified with the honour-
able title of page, and his affection for Rodolf was un-

" Boy," said the cavalier, something moodily, " come
into the chamber. Stay, — fetch me a sack-posset, pry-
thee. I am oppressed, and weary with my morning's

Now the boy did marvel much at his master's sudden
return, but more especially at the great fatigue consequent
on that short interval ; — knowing, too, that a particularly
copious and substantial breakfast had anticipated his de-

" And yet, Altdorff, I am not in a mood for much
drink. Give us a touch of those chords. I feel sad at
times, and vapourish."

They entered into a well-furnished apartment. The
ceiling was composed of cross beams curiously wrought.
On one of these was represented a grim head, in the act
of devouring a child, — which tradition affirmed was the
great giant Tarquin at his morning's repast. The room
was fitted up with cumbrous elegance. A few pieces of
faded tapestry covered one side of the apartment. In a
recess stood a tester bed, ornamented with black velvet,
together with curtains of black stuff, and a figured cover-
let. A wainscot cupboard displayed its curiously-carved


doors ; near to which hung two pictures, or tables as they
were called, representing the fair Lucretia and Mary
Magdalen. A backgammon-board lay on the window-
seat ; three shining, tall-backed, oaken chairs, with a table
of the same well-wrought material, andirons beautifully
embossed, and a striped Turkey rug, formed a sumptuous
catalogue, when we consider the manner of furnishing
that generally prevailed in those days.

The page sat on a corner seat beneath the window.
He struck a few wild chords.

" Not that, — not that, good AltdorfF. It bids one linger
too much of home-longings."

Here the boy's eyes glistened, and a tremulous motion
of the lip showed how his heart bounded at the word.

" Prythee, give us the song thou wast conning yester-

The page began with a low prelude, but was again

" Nay, 'tis not thus. Give me that wild love-ditty thou
knowest so well. I did use to bid thee be silent when
thou wouldest have worried mine ears with it. But, in
sooth, the morning looks so languishing and tender, that it
constrains the bosom, I verily think, to its own softness."

The page seemed to throw his whole soul into the
wild melody which followed this request. We give it,
with a few verbal alterations, as follows : —


" Fair star, that beamest
In my ladye's bower,
Pale ray, that strcamest
In her lonely tower j

c 3


Bright cloud, wlien like the eye of heaven

Floating in depths of azure light,

Let me but on lier beauty gaze

Like ye unchidden. Day and night

I'd watch, till no intruding rays

Should bless my sight.

" Fond breeze, that rovest
Where my ladye strays.
Odours thou lovest

Wafting to her praise ;
Lone brook, that with soft music bubblest.
Chaining her soul to harmony ;

Let me but round her presence steal
Like ye unseen, a breath I'd be,
Content none other joy to feel
Than circling thee ! "

" In good sooth, thou canst govern the cadence well.
Thou hast more skill of love than thine age befits. But,
mayhap, 'tis thy vocation, boy. Hast thou had visitors
betimes this morning?"

" None, good master, but Kelly."

"What of him?"

" Some business that waited your return. I thought
you had knowledge of the matter."

" Are there any clients astir so early at his chamber,
thinkest thou ?"


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Online LibraryJohn RobyTraditions of Lancashire (Volume 2) → online text (page 2 of 20)