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Has he been seen by any whom we know,
Ulrick. I have met
With none of these have seen him.
Coun. [Abstractedly.] Happy woman!
Coun. The Empress is a happy woman.
Ulrick. So in this instance hath her highness done,
With such profusion of munificence,
There are not wanting those who think she sees
And means her bounties but as costly heralds,
Matter to wonder at, yet justified.
For they report him of a presence noble,
Ulrick. [Alarmed at her vehemence.] Madam!
Coun. Ay! what's the matter? [Aside.] I am frightened At myself? [Aloud.[ My lord, my spirits are so dreamy, Things which are not, I see-which are, see not!
Pray do not heed me.
For this tournament,
Thus near without obstruction on my part
Hath it approached; but pray you, keep in mind
The husband it awards, revolting to me,
I am at liberty to make a choice
Between a husband and the cloister.
I'll read the will again.
[Sits dour and reads.
Enter STEPHEN, hastily, L.
Stephen. News! news! my lord.
Ulrick. What is it?
Well, what of Huon-is he found?
Stephen. He is.
Coun. Propitious Heaven, at what a time! where
Stephen. In the suite of the Empress.
Coun. Well,-go on!
Stephen. I saw him! More. That sun of chivalry Hath suddenly blazed forth in the brief war
So late gone by, and dazzled friends and foes
The fav'rite of the Empress————
Coun. Well? Go on!
Stephen. Huon and he are one.
Send him away.
[She staggers to a seat, Ulrick supports her.
Ulrick. Hence, sir.
Coun. Don't wonder at me!
[Exit Stephen, L.
Nor question me, whate'er I say or do!
See Huon. Tell him I would speak with him
Occasion, and at once-at once, my lord!
[Aside.] Where shall we meet? In the garden? No; the garden
Is overlooked. In the library? No;
We may be subject to intrusion there.
What should prevent his coming to my closet?
What place so fit? Why think of any other?
[Aloud.] My lord, bring Huon to my closet. Huon!
The favourite of the Empress I should say.
[Exeunt, Countess, R., Ulrick, L.
SCENE II.-The Garden of the Castle.
Enter SIR RUPERT and SIR CONRAD, R.
Sir Rup. Time is the same. 'Tis our condition's changed.
The hours hang weary-heavy on our hands:
We scarce could catch when Catherine was here,
They went so fleetly by us. Then the death
Of the duke hath left a blank, which, while he lived,
Light offices with grateful tasks filled up,
Forbade our spirits flag.
Sir Con. Eventful day,
The day he died! Eventful day to us!
Our Catherine married Huon then, and fled;
Nor since of either tidings-though for him
Almost the world was searched. Strange, loathing him, As she did, with hate almost unnatural,
How much to heart the Countess took his flight.
She pines for loss of him.
Sir Rup. No, sir; she takes to heart her father's will, Compelling her to choose a husband, or
Accept of him the tournament may send her.
Sir Con. This secretary is a subtle spark.
Sir O. I'm of your counsel, and will break a lance
Sir Rup. Do so, sir.
I break no lance except for Catherine.
Enter CATHERINE, disguised as a man, R., and crosses, L
Cath. Who talks of breaking lances?
Sir O. Ha! our friend
Sir Con. Well, sir, what's your news? Where's Catherine?
Cath. Absorbed in solving, sir,
A knotty point.
Sir Con. A knotty point; what is it?
Cath. The measure of a lover's patience, sir.
Cuth. Not till that point is solved.
Now, could you solve it for her, she might come
Sir O. 'Tis an hour.
Sir Con. A day.
Sir O. A week.
Sir Con. A month.
Sir O. A year.
Cath. [To Sir Rup.] Will you not make a guess? Sir Rup. [Sighing.] It is a life!
Cath. Can't you go further, sir?
Try if you can.
Lovers do miracles:
'Tis said they do; I never saw them, though, Nor met with those that did.
Sir O. Where is our mistress?
Where'er she is; or nowhere, where you are.
Sir Rup. Ay, were she in another world!
Except to flesh and blood. Sir Rupert, what's
Sir Rup. A vitality,
Precious, peculiar, not to be supplied;
Cath. Humph! and you believe, Sir Rupert,
Sir Rup. I have.
Cath. And where?
Sir Rup. In Catherine.
Cath. Heaven help the man, he speaks
As if he thought himself in earnest, sirs.
Whom said he now he'd break a lance for?
Sir Con. & Sir O. Her.
Cath. For Catherine, poor man! far better break A lance for the Countess; as the lists, they say, Are open to all challengers that bear
The rank of knighthood.
Sir O. So they are, and we
Design to try our fortune, and lament
Not to find Sir Rupert of our mind.
Cath. That mortifies you, does it? So, Sir Rupert,
Will you make suit again to Catherine,
Sir Rup. Will I make suit to her?
My heart is ever lying at her feet.
Cath. 'Tis neighbour, then, to an ungainly shoe. She has broken her ancle, and the awkward leech Who set it for her made a botch of it.
Her foot's awry; she limps; her taper waist,
So straight before when she moved, goes zig-zag now. Give your heart joy, sir, of its pleasant seat.
Sir Rup. The gait and shape of gentle Catherine
Sir O. With what a serious face you play the cheat.
Cath. Believe 'tis not;
But take this with you-1 should be more grieved
Sir O. So Catherine doth halt ?
Sir Con. My love doth halt.
Sir O. And so doth mine.
Cath. I have not told him all.
'Tis hard to speak unwelcome things of friends.
Sir Rup. Well.
Sir O. Hear ye?
Sir Rup. I do.
Sir O. And what resolve you?
Sir Rup. What
I did resolve before-to break no lance
Except for Catherine.
Cath. He is mad!
Isn't he, sir?
Think you 'twill bring him to his senses, sirs,
Cath. I'll tell it him.
Sir O. She is ruined utterly.