Kenilworth HTML version

Chapter 20
CLOWN. You have of these pedlars, that have more in'em than
you'd think, sister.--WINTER'S TALE, ACT IV., SCENE 3.
In his anxiety to obey the Earl's repeated charges of secrecy, as well as from his own
unsocial and miserly habits, Anthony Foster was more desirous, by his mode of
housekeeping, to escape observation than to resist intrusive curiosity. Thus, instead of
a numerous household, to secure his charge, and defend his house, he studied as
much as possible to elude notice by diminishing his attendants; so that, unless when
there were followers of the Earl, or of Varney, in the mansion, one old male domestic,
and two aged crones, who assisted in keeping the Countess's apartments in order, were
the only servants of the family.
It was one of these old women who opened the door when Wayland knocked, and
answered his petition, to be admitted to exhibit his wares to the ladies of the family, with
a volley of vituperation, couched in what is there called the JOWRING dialect. The
pedlar found the means of checking this vociferation by slipping a silver groat into her
hand, and intimating the present of some stuff for a coif, if the lady would buy of his
"God ield thee, for mine is aw in littocks. Slocket with thy pack into gharn, mon--her
walks in gharn." Into the garden she ushered the pedlar accordingly, and pointing to an
old, ruinous garden house, said, "Yonder be's her, mon--yonder be's her. Zhe will buy
changes an zhe loikes stuffs."
"She has left me to come off as I may," thought Wayland, as he heard the hag shut the
garden-door behind him. "But they shall not beat me, and they dare not murder me, for
so little trespass, and by this fair twilight. Hang it, I will on--a brave general never
thought of his retreat till he was defeated. I see two females in the old garden-house
yonder--but how to address them? Stay--Will Shakespeare, be my friend in need. I will
give them a taste of Autolycus." He then sung, with a good voice, and becoming
audacity, the popular playhouse ditty,--
"Lawn as white as driven snow,
Cyprus black as e'er was crow,
Gloves as sweet as damask roses,
Masks for faces and for noses."
"What hath fortune sent us here for an unwonted sight, Janet?" said the lady.
"One of those merchants of vanity, called pedlars," answered Janet, demurely, "who
utters his light wares in lighter measures. I marvel old Dorcas let him pass."