Kenilworth (Chapter 3, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 3

Nay, I'll hold touch--the game shall be play'd out;
It ne'er shall stop for me, this merry wager:
That which I say when gamesome, I'll avouch
In my most sober mood, ne'er trust me else. -- THE HAZARD TABLE.

"And how doth your kinsman, good mine host?" said Tressilian, when Giles
Gosling first appeared in the public room, on the morning following the
revel which we described in the last chapter. "Is he well, and will he
abide by his wager?"

"For well, sir, he started two hours since, and has visited I know not
what purlieus of his old companions; hath but now returned, and is at
this instant breakfasting on new-laid eggs and muscadine. And for his
wager, I caution you as a friend to have little to do with that, or
indeed with aught that Mike proposes. Wherefore, I counsel you to a warm
breakfast upon a culiss, which shall restore the tone of the stomach;
and let my nephew and Master Goldthred swagger about their wager as they
list."

"It seems to me, mine host," said Tressilian, "that you know not well
what to say about this kinsman of yours, and that you can neither blame
nor commend him without some twinge of conscience."

"You have spoken truly, Master Tressilian," replied Giles Gosling.
"There is Natural Affection whimpering into one ear, 'Giles, Giles, why
wilt thou take away the good name of thy own nephew? Wilt thou defame
thy sister's son, Giles Gosling? wilt thou defoul thine own nest,
dishonour thine own blood?' And then, again, comes Justice, and says,
'Here is a worthy guest as ever came to the bonny Black Bear; one who
never challenged a reckoning' (as I say to your face you never did,
Master Tressilian--not that you have had cause), 'one who knows not why
he came, so far as I can see, or when he is going away; and wilt thou,
being a publican, having paid scot and lot these thirty years in the
town of Cumnor, and being at this instant head-borough, wilt thou suffer
this guest of guests, this man of men, this six-hooped pot (as I may
say) of a traveller, to fall into the meshes of thy nephew, who is known
for a swasher and a desperate Dick, a carder and a dicer, a professor of
the seven damnable sciences, if ever man took degrees in them?' No,
by Heaven! I might wink, and let him catch such a small butterfly as
Goldthred; but thou, my guest, shall be forewarned, forearmed, so thou
wilt but listen to thy trusty host."

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