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Farina - Pennsylvania State University

Farina - Pennsylvania State University

ing of scattered

ing of scattered spirits. It was this that made his brow so pale, and the round of his eye darker than youth should let it be! She dismissed the feeling, and assumed her own bright face as Dame Farina reappeared, bearing on her arm a convent garb, and other apparel. Margarita suffered herself to be invested in the white and black robes of the denial of life. ‘There!’ said the Frau Farina, ‘and to seal assurance, I have engaged a guard to accompany us. He was sorely bruised in a street combat yesterday, and was billeted below, where I nursed and tended him, and he is grateful, as man should be-though I did little, doing my utmost—and with him near us we have nought to fear.’ ‘Good,’ said Margarita, and they kissed and departed. The guard was awaiting them outside. ‘Come, my little lady, and with thee the holy sister! ’Tis no step from here, and I gage to bring ye safe, as sure as my name’s Schwartz Thier!—Hey? The good sister’s dropping. Look, now! I’ll carry her.’ Margarita recovered her self-command before he could make good this offer. ‘Only let us hasten there,’ she gasped. Farina 50 The Thier strode on, and gave them safe-conduct to the prison where Farina was confined, being near one of the outer forts of the city. ‘Thank and dismiss him,’ whispered Margarita. ‘Nay! he will wait-wilt thou not, friend! We shall not be long, though it is my son I visit here,’ said Frau Farina. ‘Till to-morrow morning, my little lady! The lion thanked him that plucked the thorn from his foot, and the Thier may be black, but he’s not ungrateful, nor a worse beast than the lion.’ They entered the walls and left him. For the first five minutes Schwartz Thier found employment for his faculties by staring at the shaky, small-paned windows of the neighbourhood. He persevered in this, after all novelty had been exhausted, from an intuitive dread of weariness. There was nothing to see. An old woman once bobbed out of an attic, and doused the flints with water. Harassed by increasing dread of the foul nightmare of nothing-to-do, the Thier endeavoured to establish amorous intelligence with her. She responded with an indignant projection of the underjaw, evanishing rapidly. There was no resource left him but to curse her with extreme heartiness. The

Thier stamped his right leg, and then his left, and remembered the old woman as a grievance five minutes longer. When she was clean forgotten, he yawned. Another spouse of the moment was wanted, to be wooed, objurgated, and regretted. The prison-gate was in a secluded street. Few passengers went by, and those who did edged away from the ponderous, wanton-eyed figure of lazy mischief lounging there, as neatly as they well could. The Thier hailed two or three. One took to his legs, another bowed, smirked, gave him a kindly good-day, and affected to hear no more, having urgent business in prospect. The Thier was a faithful dog, but the temptation to betray his trust and pursue them was mighty. He began to experience an equal disposition to cry and roar. He hummed a ballad ‘I swore of her I’d have my will, And with him I’d have my way: I learn’d my cross-bow over the hill: Now what does my lady say? Give me the good old cross-bow, after all, and none of George Meredith 51 these lumbering puff-and-bangs that knock you down oftener than your man! ‘A cross stands in the forest still, And a cross in the churchyard grey: My curse on him who had his will, And on him who had his way! Good beginning, bad ending! ’Tisn’t so always. “Many a cross has the cross-bow built,” they say. I wish I had mine, now, to peg off that. old woman, or somebody. I’d swear she’s peeping at me over the gable, or behind some cranny. They’re curious, the old women, curse ‘em! And the young, for that matter. Devil a young one here. ‘When I’m in for the sack of a town, What, think ye, I poke after, up and down? Silver and gold I pocket in plenty, But the sweet tit-bit is my lass under twenty. I should like to be in for the sack of this Cologne. I’d nose

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