As to Lord Strathern, he was delighted with the account of ma belle’s cunning manoeuvres and witty speeches, even to the point of laughing heartily at her satire on himself; and he reveled in L’Isle’s ill-concealed mortification, exclaiming: “What a pity the plot failed by Mabel’s unmasking too soon. That and your good horse enabled you to keep your appointment at the risk of your neck. Why, L’Isle, you might have become a ballad hero. Mabel would have put your adventure in verse, and set it to music, and you would have been sung by all our musical folks, from Major Lumley down to the smallest drummer-boy. You are a lucky fellow; but this time your luck has lost you fame.”
“And how did you get away at last?” asked Sir Rowland, fully convinced that L’Isle had been a prisoner, under lock, bolt and bar.
The earth-stains on L’Isle’s clothes might have testified that he had gotten a bad fall in jumping out of a lady’s window, at two o’clock in the morning. But this is a scandalous world. L’Isle remembered Bradshawe, without looking at him, and evaded the question.
“I found old Moodie, lantern in hand, at the open gate, looking as if he had drank nothing but vinegar in a month, the picture of sour sobriety!”
Sir Rowland had striven in vain not to join in the laugh; but, in spite of himself, was much diverted at L’Isle’s adventure. But he was provoked at the usage his favorite colonel had incurred, for the best of faults—too much zeal for the service; and he longed to discuss with Lord Strathern the propriety of setting traps for his own officers, when posting, with important intelligence, to their common commander. But there was a lady in the case, and Sir Rowland was afraid to broach the subject; Lord Strathern, too, though his subordinate was nearly old enough for his father—a man of high rank, and a known good soldier; so he put off the discussion to a more convenient season. As to L’Isle, Sir Rowland had been watching him closely, and saw something in his eye and bearing that betrayed too much exasperation for him to be trusted to return at once to Elvas. So, Sir Rowland invented, on the spot, a special duty for him, and bid him accompany him, that evening, to Coria.
Ralph.—Help down with
Roger.—By and by, Ralph.
I am making up the trunks here.
Ralph.—Who looks to my lady’s wardrobe? Humphrey!
Down with the boxes in the gallery,
And bring away the couch-cushions.
Shorthose.—Will it not rain?
No conjuring abroad, nor no devices
To stop this journey.
—Wit without Money.
Away, you trifler!—Love?—I love thee not:
I care not for thee, Kate; this is no world
To play with mammets, and to tilt with lips:
We must have bloody noses, and cracked crowns,
And pass them current, too. Godsme, my horse!