“But I would ask, which?”
“There was but one,” said John Law. “The tall one, with the brassy-brown, copper-red hair, the bright blue eye, and the figure of a queen. Her like is not in all the world!”
“Methought ’twas more like to be the other,” replied Will. “Yet you—how dare you think thus of that lady? Why, Jack, ’twas the Lady Catharine Knollys, sister to the Earl of Banbury!”
Law did not at once make any answer. He turned to the dressing-table and began making such shift as he could to better his appearance.
“Will,” said he, at length, “you are, as ever, a babe and a suckling. I quite despair of you. ’Twould serve no purpose to explain anything to so faint a heart as yours. But you may come with me.”
“Whither? Where else, than to the residence of this same lady! Look you, I have learned this. She is, as you say, the sister of the Earl of Banbury, and is for the time at the town house in Knightwell Terrace. Moreover, if that news be worth while to so white-feathered a swain as yourself, the other, damsel, the dark one—the one with the mighty pretty little foot—lives there for the time as the guest of Lady Catharine. They are rated thick as peas in a pod. True, we are strangers, yet I venture we have made a beginning, and if we venture more we may better that beginning. Should I falter, when luck gave me the run of trente et le va but yesterday? Nay, ever follow fortune hard, and she waits for you.”
“Yes,” said Will, scornfully. “You would get the name of gambler, and add to it the name of fortune-hunting, heiress-seeking adventurer.”
“Not so,” replied John Law, taking snuff calmly and still keeping the evenness of his temper. “My own fortune, as I admit, I keep safe at the Green Lion. For the rest, I seek at the start only respectful footing with this maid herself. When first I saw her, I knew well enough how the end would be. We were made for each other. This whole world was made for us both. Will, boy, I could not live without the Lady Catharine Knollys!”
“Oh, cease such talk, Jack! ’Tis ill-mannered, such presumption regarding a lady, even had you known her long. Besides, ’tis but another of your fancies, Jack,” said Will. “Wilt never make an end of such follies?”
“Yes, my boy,” said his brother, gravely. “I have made an end. Indeed, I made it the other morning at Sadler’s Wells.”
“Methinks,” said Will, dryly, “that it might be well first to be sure that you can win past the front door of the house of Knollys.”
John Law still kept both his temper and his confidence.
“Come with me,” said he, blithely, “and I will show you how that thing may be done.”
TWO MAIDS A-BROIDERING
“Now a plague take all created things, Lady Kitty!” cried Mary Connynge, petulantly flinging down a silken pattern over which she had pretended to be engaged. “There are devils in the skeins to-day. I’ll try no more with’t.”