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Egmont eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 86 pages of information about Egmont.
trifling circumstance, or at any moment give way to fear—­then we’re on the right track, and, I assure you, no beggar-woman seeks for rags among the rubbish with more care than such a fabricator of rogues, from trifling, crooked, disjointed, misplaced, misprinted, and concealed facts and information, acknowledged or denied, endeavours at length to patch up a scarecrow, by means of which he may at least hang his victim in effigy; and the poor devil may thank Heaven if he is in a condition to see himself hanged.

Jetter.  He has a ready tongue of his own.

Carpenter.  This may serve well enough with flies.  Wasps laugh at your cunning web.

Vansen.  According to the kind of spider.  The tall duke, now, has just the look of your garden spider; not the large-bellied kind, they are less dangerous; but your long-footed, meagre-bodied gentleman, that does not fatten on his diet, and whose threads are slender indeed, but not the less tenacious.

Jetter.  Egmont is knight of the Golden Fleece, who dare lay hands on him?  He can be tried only by his peers, by the assembled knights of his order.  Your own foul tongue and evil conscience betray you into this nonsense.

Vansen.  Think you that I wish him ill?  I would you were in the right.  He is an excellent gentleman.  He once let off, with a sound drubbing, some good friends of mine, who would else have been hanged.  Now take yourselves off! begone, I advise you!  Yonder I see the patrol again commencing their round.  They do not look as if they would be willing to fraternize with us over a glass.  We must wait, and bide our time.  I have a couple of nieces and a gossip of a tapster; if after enjoying themselves in their company, they are not tamed, they are regular wolves.

Scene II.—­The Palace of Eulenberg, Residence of the Duke of Alva

Silva and Gomez (meeting)

Silva.  Have you executed the duke’s commands?

Gomez.  Punctually.  All the day-patrols have received orders to assemble at the appointed time, at the various points that I have indicated.  Meanwhile, they march as usual through the town to maintain order.  Each is ignorant respecting the movements of the rest, and imagines the command to have reference to himself alone; thus in a moment the cordon can be formed, and all the avenues to the palace occupied.  Know you the reason of this command?

Silva.  I am accustomed blindly to obey; and to whom can one more easily render obedience than to the duke, since the event always proves the wisdom of his commands?

Gomez.  Well!  Well!  I am not surprised that you are become as reserved and monosyllabic as the duke, since you are obliged to be always about his person; to me, however, who am accustomed to the lighter service of Italy, it seems strange enough.  In loyalty and obedience, I am the same old soldier as ever; but I am wont to indulge in gossip and discussion; here, you are all silent, and seem as though you knew not how to enjoy yourselves.  The duke, methinks, is like a brazen tower without gates, the garrison of which must be furnished with wings.  Not long ago I heard him say at the table of a gay, jovial fellow that he was like a bad spirit-shop, with a brandy sign displayed; to allure idlers, vagabonds, and thieves.

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