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Has he been seen by any whom we know,
Any of our vassals, chiefs, or friends?

Ulrick. I have met

With none of these have seen him.
Coun. [Abstractedly.] Happy woman:
Ulrick. Madam?

Coun. The Empress is a happy woman.
She can reward desert, ennoble it.

Ulrick. So in this instance hath her highness done,
With such profusion of munificence,

There are not wanting those who think she sees
Less with an empress' than a woman's eyes,

And means her bounties but as costly heralds,
Poor to the costlier comer they forerun.
Coun. What! means she to espouse him?
Ulrick. 'Tis surmised.

Matter to wonder at, yet justified.

For they report him of a presence noble,
As e'er bespoke a man to challenge honour.
Coun. I never dreamt of an abyss so hideous
And to be standing on the very brink of it!

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
On what condition: that at any time

The husband it awards, revolting to me,

1 am at liberty to make a choice Between a husband and the cloister. I'll read the will again.


[Sits down and reads.

Enter STEPHEN, hastily, L.

Stephen. News! news! my lord.

Ulrick. What is it?

Stephen. Huon!

Coun. Ha!

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.

Coun. I was sure of it.

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!

Listen, and do my bidding. I prepare
To give reception to the Empress,-thou
See Huon. Tell him I would speak with him
Soon as occasion serves; or let him make

Occasion, and at once-at once, my


[Aside.] Where shall we meet? In the garden? No; the garden

Is overlooked. In the library? No;


e 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;
And Huon fled, avoiding Catherine !

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.
And so she keeps alone; to all forbidding
Approach to her, except this youth, who sits
In Huon's place, her secretary now,
The forward cousin of fair Catherine.

Sir Con. This secretary is a subtle spark.
He has harped upon our suit to Catherine,
Awakened hopes we had given o'er as dead,
And pledged himself with oaths she would return
Free as she ne'er had plighted troth to Huon,
And yet she comes not. What we take in earnest,
Be sure he only gives in mockery.

Sir O. I'm of your counsel, and will break a lance
To-morrow for the Countess.

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

The Secretary.

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.

Sir Con. Does she not come ?

Cuth. Not till that point is solved.

Now, could you solve it for her, she might come
The sooner.

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?

Cath. Here, .*

Where'er she is; or nowhere, where you are.
Have you a mistress, there your mistress is,
Were she at one end of the world, and you
At the other.

Sir Rup. Ay, were she in another world!
Cath. Why, what's the matter with Sir Rupert ?
The gentleman gone mad? I think myself
A sterling lover, but I take no oath,

Except to flesh and blood. Sir Rupert, what's
Your thought of a mistress?

Sir Rup. A vitality,

Precious, peculiar, not to be supplied;
Once with your being joined, a part of it

Cath. Humph! and you believe, Sir Rupert,
You have met with such a thing?

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,
Say she come back again, released from her
Enforcéd vow?

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
Are in her heart, no fracture warping there.

Sir O. With what a serious face you play the cheat.
Cath. Sir, I look serious at a serious thing.
Sir Con. It is not as you say ?

Cath. Believe 'tis not;

But take this with you-1 should be more grieved
Than you would, to disparage Catherine.

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 O. And hard to hear them, too. Sir Rupert!
Sir Rup. Well.

[blocks in formation]

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,
To tell him she hath squandered all her wealth?
Sir O. Better she halted in her gait than that!
Sir Con. Or cast her white skin for an Ethiop's ?
You do not tell us so?

Cath. I'll tell it him.

Sir O. She is ruined utterly.
Sir Con. Undone,

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