Kenilworth eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 697 pages of information about Kenilworth.

And as Tressilian kept the posture of one who would willingly be heard, though, at the same time, expressive of the deepest reverence, the Queen added with some impatience, “What would the man have?  The wench cannot wed both of you?  She has made her election—­not a wise one perchance—­but she is Varney’s wedded wife.”

“My suit should sleep there, most gracious Sovereign,” said Tressilian, “and with my suit my revenge.  But I hold this Varney’s word no good warrant for the truth.”

“Had that doubt been elsewhere urged,” answered Varney, “my sword—­”

Thy sword!” interrupted Tressilian scornfully; “with her Grace’s leave, my sword shall show—­”

“Peace, you knaves, both!” said the Queen; “know you where you are?—­This comes of your feuds, my lords,” she added, looking towards Leicester and Sussex; “your followers catch your own humour, and must bandy and brawl in my court and in my very presence, like so many Matamoros.—­Look you, sirs, he that speaks of drawing swords in any other quarrel than mine or England’s, by mine honour, I’ll bracelet him with iron both on wrist and ankle!” She then paused a minute, and resumed in a milder tone, “I must do justice betwixt the bold and mutinous knaves notwithstanding.—­My Lord of Leicester, will you warrant with your honour—­that is, to the best of your belief—­that your servant speaks truth in saying he hath married this Amy Robsart?”

This was a home-thrust, and had nearly staggered Leicester.  But he had now gone too far to recede, and answered, after a moment’s hesitation, “To the best of my belief—­indeed on my certain knowledge—­she is a wedded wife.”

“Gracious madam,” said Tressilian, “may I yet request to know, when and under what circumstances this alleged marriage—­”

“Out, sirrah,” answered the Queen; “Alleged marriage!  Have you not the word of this illustrious Earl to warrant the truth of what his servant says?  But thou art a loser—­thinkest thyself such at least—­and thou shalt have indulgence; we will look into the matter ourself more at leisure.—­My Lord of Leicester, I trust you remember we mean to taste the good cheer of your Castle of Kenilworth on this week ensuing.  We will pray you to bid our good and valued friend, the Earl of Sussex, to hold company with us there.”

“If the noble Earl of Sussex,” said Leicester, bowing to his rival with the easiest and with the most graceful courtesy, “will so far honour my poor house, I will hold it an additional proof of the amicable regard it is your Grace’s desire we should entertain towards each other.”

Sussex was more embarrassed.  “I should,” said he, “madam, be but a clog on your gayer hours, since my late severe illness.”

“And have you been indeed so very ill?” said Elizabeth, looking on him with more attention than before; “you are, in faith, strangely altered, and deeply am I grieved to see it.  But be of good cheer—­we will ourselves look after the health of so valued a servant, and to whom we owe so much.  Masters shall order your diet; and that we ourselves may see that he is obeyed, you must attend us in this progress to Kenilworth.”

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Kenilworth from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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