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Chapter 5
He was a man
Versed in the world as pilot in his compass.
The needle pointed ever to that interest
Which was his loadstar, and he spread his sails
With vantage to the gale of others' passion.
Antony Foster was still engaged in debate with his fair guest, who treated with scorn
every entreaty and request that she would retire to her own apartment, when a whistle
was heard at the entrance-door of the mansion.
"We are fairly sped now," said Foster; "yonder is thy lord's signal, and what to say about
the disorder which has happened in this household, by my conscience, I know not.
Some evil fortune dogs the heels of that unhanged rogue Lambourne, and he has
'scaped the gallows against every chance, to come back and be the ruin of me!"
"Peace, sir," said the lady, "and undo the gate to your master. --My lord! my dear lord!"
she then exclaimed, hastening to the entrance of the apartment; then added, with a
voice expressive of disappointment, "Pooh! it is but Richard Varney."
"Ay, madam," said Varney, entering and saluting the lady with a respectful obeisance,
which she returned with a careless mixture of negligence and of displeasure, "it is but
Richard Varney; but even the first grey cloud should be acceptable, when it lightens in
the east, because it announces the approach of the blessed sun."
"How! comes my lord hither to-night?" said the lady, in joyful yet startled agitation; and
Anthony Foster caught up the word, and echoed the question. Varney replied to the
lady, that his lord purposed to attend her; and would have proceeded with some
compliment, when, running to the door of the parlour, she called aloud, "Janet--Janet!
come to my tiring-room instantly." Then returning to Varney, she asked if her lord sent
any further commendations to her.
"This letter, honoured madam," said he, taking from his bosom a small parcel wrapped
in scarlet silk, "and with it a token to the Queen of his Affections." With eager speed the
lady hastened to undo the silken string which surrounded the little packet, and failing to
unloose readily the knot with which it was secured, she again called loudly on Janet,
"Bring me a knife--scissors-- aught that may undo this envious knot!"
"May not my poor poniard serve, honoured madam?" said Varney, presenting a small
dagger of exquisite workmanship, which hung in his Turkey-leather sword-belt.