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his own, with pledge of safe and worthy dealing, she, much lamenting the chance of so forced intrusion upon a stranger, albeit thankful of his right courteous bearing, did there consent to pass the night. Straight whereupon Sir Guy, with unwilling steps, yet not without hope of more prosperous stead thereafter, ushered her to her chamber, and with a lover's benison committing her to the sleepful god, did sorrowing take his leave. “ In his own
room scarce 'had he tarried five minutes, much pondering upon this occurment and the so strange mystery of the ruff, when he bethought him that he had left with his fair guest no lamp, whereof in a house unknown, and a night so fitful, she might well have special need. Wherewith he took one from the mantel, and, ascending the stairs, went into the lady's room, whom he found already in part unapparelled; her muffler and tirevolant being laid aside from her head, which as she moved, the black locks did bridle up and down upon her white shoulders, like a company of ravens newly alighted upon the snow. But, above all, what did rivet his eyes was to see that her ruff was doffed, and about her throat was there a full broad roundure of black velvet, thickly broidered with pearls and jacinths, close clasped to the skin, which (being moved there unto by a not-to-be-subdued curiosity) he did again approach with offer to unlock ; whereat her visage was again overshadowed with affrightment, she upraised her hands to her neck, and a distant shriek sounded through the air as aforetime. Nathless, so passing
beauteous and bewitching sweet did she appear in that disordered gear, which seemed to celestify her charms, that Sir Guy, more than ever overcome with love, fell upon his knee, and with divers oaths and protestations, not sparing tears withal, did call all the saints to witness that he gave himself up to her with plight of hand, and took her for his betrothed wife, movingly beseeching her to compassionate his case. Nor did the lady, intenerated by his tears and piteous looks, and having moreover taken his plighted troth, which verily is a real spousal, any longer with cold denial repudiate his suit.
Awaking full early next day, and finding the lady still asleep, Sir Guy bethought him of an appointment on that self morning to receive a sum of gold, which he had won on the yester from one of the diceing cavaleros, and kenning him to be a Bezonian and a lozel, he feared he might blench from his engagement did he not meet him; which he the less willed, forasmuch as having latterly been free of dispense, his purse was somewhat more than usual disfurnished. So, slipping deftly from the bed, he donned his gear in silence, and hied with all speed to the White Rose, beside the Duke'sgarden, at the Cross of Charing, where he received the purse of gold; wherewith as he hurried homeward, he conned over in thought what brooches, gimmal rings, carkanets, and jewelled gawds and braveries he should buy, to prank out her whom he termed his alder-liefest love. Whom not to awaken, he did full gently ope the door, and by the glooming light through the shutters oozing, saw her fair round arm,
which Venus might envy, distended upon the counterpoint of the bed. So, taking it hushingly up with fond intent to kiss it-lo! it was key-cold !-he felt the pulse, and it did not beat; he let go the arm, and it lumped deadly down! Amort with fearful misgivings, he threw back the shutters, when the newrisen sun shone bright upon the bed, and drawing aside the curtains-0, God of mercy! he beheld a soulsickening corpse !-Those late glorious eyes were now bloodshot and well nigh brast from their sockets, and albeit that the sun glared full upon them, they were stony and unlustrous; clenched were the teeth, wherefrom the bloodless lips started back; the visage was ghastly wan ; the hair wildly spread about the pillow; and all bore semblance of one who with a violent and sudden death had painfully struggled !
“Rushing, with a loud cry, from that chamber of death, he encountered his host, who, much astonied at his agony, and yet more when he kenned the cause thereof, betook him with right good speed to the Temple, searching a chirurgeon and the officers of justice, who coming with their posse to the house, made prisoner of Sir Guy, and with him straightway entered into the fatal room." But no sooner did they set eye upon the body, than backward shuddering with much horror and consternation, while they crossed their foreheads, and called upon God and the saints to shield them, several voices did at once cry out - That is the Italian lady which was hanged on Thursday last !'-(Seemeth it that this misfortuned woman was the leman of the Italian ambassador, whom having in
a passion of jealousy stabbed, she was judged therefore, and suffered the death at Tybourn.) So unbuckling the broad velvet necklace, behold! her livid throat was all over sore, discoloured, and bruised, and writhled, and deep cut into by the cruel and despiteous rope.
“ Sir Guy, who had awhiles stood aghast in a voiceless dismay, now heaved forth a deep and dread groan,-for well might he remember, when his sister would fain dissuade him from wedding any semblance of the vision, that he profanely did say :-Soothly, Alice, were a she-devil to tempt me in such winning wise, I would certes wed her;' and he sorely trembled to think that some demon, peradventure Sathan himself, had incorporated himself in that now loathed form, to receive his plight, and so delude and win his sinful soul. Thenceforward his gaysome heart and right merry cheer did altogether fail him; he 'gan to wail and dump, shunning converse of man, and in lonesome corners would paddle his neck with his hand, saying he could lay his finger in the wound, as if himself had been hanged; and in this wise gat worse and worse, until at last he went stark distraught, and was mewed up in the Spittal for the crazed, where, some three or four weeks thereafter, he gave up the ghost in great wildness and agony of soul."
On, that unfortunate walk by the river-side! But for that ill-fated excursion I might have enjoyed connubial happiness, of which there is now, alas! but little hope. Let me not, however, be mistaken. No whiskered officer of dragoons, parading the beautiful promenade at Richmond, while music melted on the waves and the setting sun threw its glowing light through the arches of the bridge upon the wooded hill beyond, has whispered soft nonsense in my lady's ear, and so possessed my imagination with the phantasmas of the green-eyed monster. No, I speak of a water-side stroll enacted some four or five thousand years ago by the Egyptian Mercury, the Hermes Trismegistus, or “ thrice illustrious," who, wandering forth, to enjoy the cool breezes of evening upon the banks of the Nile, after its periodical overflowing, and gazing intently on the ascending moon, struck his foot against the shell of a tortoise which had been left by the retiring flood, and was astonished at hearing a melodious sound. Stooping down to ascertain the cause of this phenomenon, he found that the flesh having been dried and wasted by the burning sun, nothing but the nerves and cartilages remained, which being braced and contracted by the heat, had become sonorous; and the idea of a lyre instantly started into his imagination. Constructing the instrument in the