Kenilworth (Chapter 10, page 1 of 9)

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Chapter 10

There entering in, they found the goodman selfe
Full busylie unto his work ybent,
Who was to weet a wretched wearish elf,
With hollow eyes and rawbone cheeks forspent,
As if he had been long in prison pent.--THE FAERY QUEENE.

"Are we far from the dwelling of this smith, my pretty lad?" said
Tressilian to his young guide.

"How is it you call me?" said the boy, looking askew at him with his
sharp, grey eyes.

"I call you my pretty lad--is there any offence in that, my boy?"

"No; but were you with my grandam and Dominie Holiday, you might sing
chorus to the old song of 'We three
Tom-fools be.'"

"And why so, my little man?" said Tressilian.

"Because," answered the ugly urchin, "you are the only three ever called
me pretty lad. Now my grandam does it because she is parcel blind by
age, and whole blind by kindred; and my master, the poor Dominie, does
it to curry favour, and have the fullest platter of furmity and the
warmest seat by the fire. But what you call me pretty lad for, you know
best yourself."

"Thou art a sharp wag at least, if not a pretty one. But what do thy
playfellows call thee?"

"Hobgoblin," answered the boy readily; "but for all that, I would rather
have my own ugly viznomy than any of their jolter-heads, that have no
more brains in them than a brick-bat."

"Then you fear not this smith whom you are going to see?"

"Me fear him!" answered the boy. "If he were the devil folk think him, I
would not fear him; but though there is something queer about him, he's
no more a devil than you are, and that's what I would not tell to every

"And why do you tell it to me, then, my boy?" said Tressilian.

"Because you are another guess gentleman than those we see here every
day," replied Dickie; "and though I am as ugly as sin, I would not have
you think me an ass, especially as I may have a boon to ask of you one

"And what is that, my lad, whom I must not call pretty?" replied

"Oh, if I were to ask it just now," said the boy, "you would deny it me;
but I will wait till we meet at court."

"At court, Richard! are you bound for court?" said Tressilian.

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