Kenilworth (Chapter 7, page 1 of 21)


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Chapter 7

"This is he
Who rides on the court-gale; controls its tides;
Knows all their secret shoals and fatal eddies;
Whose frown abases, and whose smile exalts.
He shines like any rainbow--and, perchance,
His colours are as transient."--OLD PLAY.

There was some little displeasure and confusion on the Countess's brow,
owing to her struggle with Varney's pertinacity; but it was exchanged
for an expression of the purest joy and affection, as she threw herself
into the arms of the noble stranger who entered, and clasping him to her
bosom, exclaimed, "At length--at length thou art come!"

Varney discreetly withdrew as his lord entered, and Janet was about to
do the same, when her mistress signed to her to remain. She took her
place at the farther end of the apartment, and continued standing, as if
ready for attendance.

Meanwhile the Earl, for he was of no inferior rank, returned his lady's
caress with the most affectionate ardour, but affected to resist when
she strove to take his cloak from him.

"Nay," she said, "but I will unmantle you. I must see if you have kept
your word to me, and come as the great Earl men call thee, and not as
heretofore like a private cavalier."

"Thou art like the rest of the world, Amy," said the Earl, suffering her
to prevail in the playful contest; "the jewels, and feathers, and silk
are more to them than the man whom they adorn--many a poor blade looks
gay in a velvet scabbard."

"But so cannot men say of thee, thou noble Earl," said his lady, as the
cloak dropped on the floor, and showed him dressed as princes when they
ride abroad; "thou art the good and well-tried steel, whose inly worth
deserves, yet disdains, its outward ornaments. Do not think Amy can love
thee better in this glorious garb than she did when she gave her heart
to him who wore the russet-brown cloak in the woods of Devon."

"And thou too," said the Earl, as gracefully and majestically he led
his beautiful Countess towards the chair of state which was prepared
for them both--"thou too, my love, hast donned a dress which becomes
thy rank, though it cannot improve thy beauty. What think'st thou of our
court taste?"

The lady cast a sidelong glance upon the great mirror as they passed
it by, and then said, "I know not how it is, but I think not of my own
person while I look at the reflection of thine. Sit thou there," she
said, as they approached the chair of state, "like a thing for men to
worship and to wonder at."

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