Kenilworth (Chapter 5, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 5

He was a man
Versed in the world as pilot in his compass.
The needle pointed ever to that interest
Which was his loadstar, and he spread his sails
With vantage to the gale of others' passion.--THE DECEIVER, A TRAGEDY.

Antony Foster was still engaged in debate with his fair guest, who
treated with scorn every entreaty and request that she would retire to
her own apartment, when a whistle was heard at the entrance-door of the
mansion.

"We are fairly sped now," said Foster; "yonder is thy lord's signal, and
what to say about the disorder which has happened in this household,
by my conscience, I know not. Some evil fortune dogs the heels of that
unhanged rogue Lambourne, and he has 'scaped the gallows against every
chance, to come back and be the ruin of me!"

"Peace, sir," said the lady, "and undo the gate to your master.--My
lord! my dear lord!" she then exclaimed, hastening to the entrance of
the apartment; then added, with a voice expressive of disappointment,
"Pooh! it is but Richard Varney."

"Ay, madam," said Varney, entering and saluting the lady with a
respectful obeisance, which she returned with a careless mixture of
negligence and of displeasure, "it is but Richard Varney; but even the
first grey cloud should be acceptable, when it lightens in the east,
because it announces the approach of the blessed sun."

"How! comes my lord hither to-night?" said the lady, in joyful yet
startled agitation; and Anthony Foster caught up the word, and echoed
the question. Varney replied to the lady, that his lord purposed to
attend her; and would have proceeded with some compliment, when, running
to the door of the parlour, she called aloud, "Janet--Janet! come to my
tiring-room instantly." Then returning to Varney, she asked if her lord
sent any further commendations to her.

"This letter, honoured madam," said he, taking from his bosom a small
parcel wrapped in scarlet silk, "and with it a token to the Queen of
his Affections." With eager speed the lady hastened to undo the silken
string which surrounded the little packet, and failing to unloose
readily the knot with which it was secured, she again called loudly on
Janet, "Bring me a knife--scissors--aught that may undo this envious
knot!"

"May not my poor poniard serve, honoured madam?" said Varney,
presenting a small dagger of exquisite workmanship, which hung in his
Turkey-leather sword-belt.

"No, sir," replied the lady, rejecting the instrument which he
offered--"steel poniard shall cut no true-love knot of mine."

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