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vowed either by force, policie, or free will, to get some jewell or other toy from her, which was enough to persuade the gentleman that he was a cuckold, and win the wager he had laid. This villaine (for hee deserved no better stile) lay at Waltam a whole day before he came to the sight of her; at last he efpyed her in the fields, to whom he went, and kissed her (a thing no modett woman can deny). After his falutation, he said, Gen. tlewoman, I pray pardon me, if I have beene too bold. I was intreated by your husband, which is at London, (I riding this way) to come and see you ; by me he hath sent his commends to you, with a kind intreat that you would not be discontented for his long abfence, it being serious business that keepes him from your light. The gentlewoman very modeitly bade him welcome, thanking him for his kindnes; withall telling him that her husband might command her patience so long as he pleased. Then intreated Mee him to walke homeward, where The him such entertainment as was fit for a gentleman, and her husband's friend.
" In the time of his abiding at her house, he oft would have singled her in private talke, but the perceiving the same, (knowing it to be a thing not fitting a modest woman) would never come in his fight but at meales, and then were there fo many at boord, that it was no time for to talke of love-matters: therefore he saw he most accomplith his desire some other way; which he did in this manner. He having laine two nights at her house, and perceiving her to bee free from lustful desires, the third night he fained himselfe to bee something ill, and so went to bed timelier than he was wont. When he was alone in his chamber, he began to thinke with himselfe that it was now time to do that which he determined: for if he tarried any longer, they might have cause to think that he came for some ill intent, and waited opportunity to execute the fame: there fore he resolved to doe something that night, that might win him the wager, or utterly bring him in despaire of the same. With this resolution he went to her chamber, which was but a paire of staires from his, and finding the doore open, he wens in, placing himself under the bed. Long had he not lyne there, but in came the gentlewoman with her maiden ; who having been at prayers with her houshold, was going to bed. She preparing herselfe to bedward, laid her head-tyre and those jewels Me wore, on a little table thereby : at length he perceiva ed her to put off a littel crucifix of gold, which dayly the wore next to her heart; this jewell he thought fittest for his turne, and therefore observed where she did lay the same.
" At length the gentlewoman, having untyred her felfe, went to bed; her maid then bolting of the doore, tooke the candle, and went to bed in a withdrawing roomne, onely feparaced with arras. This villaine lay ftill under the bed, listen
ing if hee could heare that the gentlewoman slept: at length he might hear her draw her breath long; then thought hee all fure, and like a cunning villaine role without noise, going straight to the table, where finding of the crucifix, he lightly went to the doore, which he cunningly unbolted : all this performed he with so little noise, that neither the mistress noriche maid heard him. Having gotten into his chamber, he wilhed for day that he might carry this jewell to her husband, as figne of his wife's disloyaltie ; but seeing his wishes but in vaine, he laid him downe to sleepe : happy had the beene, had his bed proved his grave.
“ In the morning so soone as the folkes were stirring, he rose and went to the horse-keeper, praying him to helpe him to his horse, telling him that he had tooke his leave of his miftris the last night. Mounting his horse, away rode he to London, leaving the gentlewoman in bed; who, when she rose, attiring herselfe haftily ('cause one tarried to speake with her), missed not her crucifix. So passed the the time away, as The was wont other dayes to doe, no whit troubled in minde, though much sorrow was toward her; onely the seemed a little discontented that her gheft went away so unmanerly, she using him so kindely. So leaving her, I will speake of him, who the next morning was betimes at London ; and coming to the inne, hee asked for the gentleman who was then in bed, but he quickly came downe to him ; who seeing him return'd so suddenly, hee thought hee came to have leave to release himselfe of his wager ; but this chanced otherwise, for having saluted him, he said in this manner-Sir, did not I tell you that you were too yong in experience of woman's subtilties, and that no woman was longer good than till the had cause, or time to do ill? This you believed not; and thought it a thing so unlikely, that you have given me a hundred pounds for the knowledge of it. In brief, know, your wife is a woman, and therefore a wanton, a changeling :-o confirm that I speake, fee heere (hewing him the crucifix); know you this? If this be not sufficient proofe, I will fetch you more.
“ At the sight of this, his bloud left his face, running to comfort his faint heart, which was ready to breake at the sight of this crucifix, which he knew she alwayes wore next her heart; and therefore he must (as he thought) goe something neere, which stole fo private a jewell. But remembering himselfe, he cheeres his fpirits, seeing that was sufficient proofe, and he had wonne the wager, which he commanded should be given to him. Thus was the poore gentleman abused, who went into his , chamber, and being weary of this world (seeing where he had put onely his trust he was deceived) he was minded to fall upon his sword, and so end all his miseries at once: but his better genius persuaded him contrary, and not so, by laying violent
hand on himselfe, to leap into the divel's mouth. Thus being in many mindes, but resolving no one thing, at last he concluded to punish her with death, which had deceived his truft, and himselfe utterly to forsake his house and lands, and follow the fortunes of king Henry. To this intent, he called his man, to whom he said-George, thou knoweft I have ever held thee deare, making more account of thee than thy other fellowes ; and thou hast often told me that thou diddest owe thy life to me, which at any time thou wouldest be ready to render up to doe me good. True, Sir, answered his man, I said no more then, , than I will now at any time, whenfoever you please, performe. I believe thee, George, replyed he ; but there is no such need : I onely would have thee doe a thing for me, in which is no great danger; yet the profit which thou shalt have thereby thall amount to my wealth. For the love that thou bearest to me, and for thy own good, wilt thou do this ? Sir, answered George, more for your love than any reward, I will doe it, (and yet money makes many men valiant); pray tell me what it is : George, said his master, this it is, thou must goe home, praying thy mistress to meet me halfe the way to London ; but having her by the way, in some private place kill her: I mean as I speake, kill her, I say; this is my command, which thou hast promised to performe; which if thou performest not, I vow to kill thee the next time thou comeft in my fight. Now for thy reward, it shall be this—Take my ring, and when thou hast done my command, by virtue of it, do thou assume my place till my returne, at which time thou shalt know what my reward is; till then govern my whole estate, and for thy mistress' absence and my own, make what excuse thou please ; so be gone. Well, Sir, said George, since it is your will, though unwilling I am to do it, yet I will performe it. . So went he his way toward Waltam; and his master presently rid to the court, where hee abode with king Henry, who a little before was inlarged by the earle of Warwicke, and placed in the throne againe.
“ George being come to Waltam, did his dutie to his mistris, who wondered to see him, and not her husband, for whom she demanded of George ; he answered her, that he was at Enfield, and did request her to meet him there. To which thee willingly agreed, and presently rode with him toward Enfield. At length, they being come into a by-way, George began to speake to her in this manner
-Miftris, I pray you tell me, what that wife deserves, who through some lewd behaviour of hers hath made her husband to neglect his ettates, and meanes of life, seeking by all meanes to dye, that he might be free from the same which her wickednesse hath purchased him? Why, George, quoth shee, haft thou met with some such creature? Be it whomsoever, might I be her judge, I thinke her worthy of death. How Vol. IX.
thinkelt thou ? 'Faith, miftris, said he, I think so too, and am so fully persuaded that her offence deferves that punishment, that I purpose to be executioner to such a one myselfe: Miflris, you are this woman ; you have so offended my master (you know best, how, yourselfe), that he hath left his house, vowing never to see the same till you be dead, and I am the man appointed by him to kill you. Therefore those words which you mean to utter, speake them presently, for I cannot stay. Poor gentlewoman, at the report of these unkinde words (ill deserved at her hands) The looked as one dead, and uttering aboundance of teares, she at last spake these words And can it be, that my kindnes and loving obedience hath merited no other reward at his hands than death: It cannot be. I know thou onely tryeft me, how patiently I would endure such an unjust command. "I'le tell thee heere, thus with body proftrate on the earth, and hands lift up to heaven, I would pray for his preservation; those should be my worst words: for death's fearful visage shewes pleasant to that soule that is innocent. Why then prepare yourselfe, said George, for by heaven I doe not jest. With that the prayed him stay, saying,-And is it so ? Then what should I desire to live, having lost his favour, (and without offence) whom I so dearly loved, and in whose fight my happinesse did confift? Come, let
Yet, George, let me have so much favour at thy hands, as to commend me in these few words to him: Tell him, my death I willingly imbrace, for I have owed him my life (yet no otherwise but by a wife's obedience) ever since I called him huf-' band; but that I am guilty of the least fault toward him, I utterly deny; and doe, at this hour of my death, defire that Heaven would powre down vengeance upon me, if ever I offended him in thought. Intreat him that he would not speake aughe that were ill on mee, when I am dead, for in good troth I have deserved none. Pray Heaven blesse him; I am prepared now, Atrike pr'ithee home, and kill me and my griefes at once.
“ George, secing this, could not with-hold himselfe from Medding teares, and with pitie he let fall his sword, saying, Mistris, that I have used you so roughly, pray pardon me, for I was commanded so by my master, who hath vowed, if I let
you live, to kill me. But I being perswaded that you are innocent, I will rather undergoe the danger of his wrath than to staine my hands with the bloud of your cleere and spotlesse brest: yet let me intreat you so much, that you would not come in his fight, left in his rage he turne your butcher, but live in some disguise, till time have opened the cause of his mistrust, and shewed you guiltlesse; which, I hope, will not be long.
“ To this she willingly granted, being loth to die caufelesle, and thanked him for hi kindnesse; fo parted they both, having teares in their eyes. George went home, where he shewed his master's ring, for the government of the house till his mafter and
mistris returne, which he said lived a while at London, 'cause the time was so troublesome, and that was a place where they were more secure than in the country. This his fellowes believed, and were obedient to his will; amongft whom hee used himselfe so kindely that he had all their loves. This
poore gentlewoman (miftris of the house) in short time got man's apparell for her disguise; fo wand'red the up and downe the countrey, for the could get no service, because the time was fo dangerous that no man knew whom he might trust: onely she maintained herselfe with the price of those jewels which she had, alt which the fold. At the last, being quite out of money, and having nothing left (which she could well spare) to make money of, she resolved rather to starve than so much to debase herselfe to become a beggar. With this resolution she went to a solitary place beside Yorke, where she lived the space of two dayes on hearbs, and such things as she could there finde.
“ In this time it chanced that king Edward, beeing come out of France, and lying there about with the small forces hee had, came that way with some two or three noblemen, with an intent to discover if any ambushes were laid to take him at an advantage. He seeing there this gentlewoman, whom he fupposed to be a boy, aked her what the was, and what she made there in that privat place? To whom shee very wisely and modestly withall, answered, that she was a poore boy, whose bringing up had bin better than her outward parts then shewed, but at that time The was both friendlefse and comfortleffe, by reason of the late
He beeing moved to see one so well-featur'd as she was, to want, entertained her for one of his pages; to whom te fewed herfelfe fo dutifull and loving, that in short time The had his love above all her fellows. Still followed the the fortunes of K. Edward, hoping at last (as not long after it did fall out) to be reconciled to her husband.
“ After the battell at Barnet, where K. Edward got the best, the going up and downe amongst the slaine men, to know whether her husband, which was on K. Henrie's side, was dead or escaped, happened to see the other who had been her gheft, lying there for dead. She remembering him, and thinking him to be one whom her husband loved, went to him, and finding him not dead, he caused one to helpe her with him to a house thereby ; where opening his brest to dresse his wounds, she efpied her crucifix, at sight of which her heart was joyfull, hoping by this to find him that was the originall of her disgrace: for the remembering herselfe, found that she had lost that crucifix ever since that morning he departed from her house fo fuddenly. But saying nothing of it at that time, the caused him to be carefully looked unto, and brought up to London after her, whither the went with the king, carrying the crucifix with her. B b 2