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And, as the common sort still remembered the misfortunes of Earl Walter, they saw in the prosperity of the son only a just award. Whatever dashed his fame or welfare was a wrong done to him—almost a flout to that Providence which had borne him in hand.
No detraction of Court policy (you will see) was able to abide this test. 'Twas such an absolute sway Essex had got over people's hearts, that the Queen mistiked it as a divided rule which she never would abide. They might love those whom her Grace was pleased to countenance; honouring whom she approved. One taking it upon himself to remind her Highness of her former pleasure in that matter: "Should we be offended," said she "(the cause best known to ourselves), let them look to it who would favour him! We are displeasured!"
Before Roan, at Lisbon, in Gades, either what Commander of our times, or what Chevalier spoken of in the Chronicles, hath proved himself so capable, so puissant, so gentle ?" If his birth gave some pledges of this lofty bearing and true nobility" (as Sir Thomas insisted), " hath he not himself so redeemed those hostages that all men count him for a hero? Glories there be which they who have Revels toward.
thrust on can pluck off. This is none such. Her Grace may recall her royal patents (though against all precedent); but the silver of my Lord's shield no sovereign can tarnish!"
And the Knight was borne out, daily: for when Essex rode a jauncing through the City, with a dominant rein pacing that mettlesome beast, Comet to wit; ofttimes capping to the byestanders, waving his plume to the open casement and so forth; you would think the titles of a Court, or the smiles of a still virgin Princess, but poor accessories to the Earl's true greatness.
Now my Lord, who was as friendly with his Peers as he was free with the General, that he might not seem to chafe under the Queen's mistreatment, but rather to solace himself in a grateful leisure, hath resolved on great and solemn entertainments for this Christmas. So now the Clerk's desks have all been removed, and Holiday is come! A cloth awning has been stretched down to the water's edge. The weather shall not ruffle you coming up the steps from your barge. And the Strand wicket stands ajar. Enter an you chuse! You will be welcome! Against the cold winds of this tide, the doorways within are curtained, and hangings have been put up over windows and in the corridors. The passages are all cleanly strawed. Old tapestries, brought up from Chartley by good Thomas Newport, and some fine new pieces bought from a Fleming, are afresh strained on the Arras; for my Lady Countess had ordered many chambers and closets to be prepared for the guests, and that none should lack the screens nor a seemly sea-coal fire in the retiring rooms.
Open house and high feasting! You shall now see how my good Lord is loved. Her Grace keepeth no such Revels!
To-night, being the Epiphany, there will be played (my Lord Chamberlain his allowance had) Master Shakspeare's facetious comedy of "What you Will." To-morrow you shall have a piece by Master Jonson, with singings and dancings, motions and drolleries. There shall be toys enough and to spare, an you have the patience to sit them out.
A Tucket sounds. There is noise as of a strain played in some retired room. Mean disturbances prevent the fall of it. Anon the hautboys swell loftily: then 'tis all too fine at the close; for servants talking and laughing, hiccoughing, whistling, jeering, scolding, are busy in the great Hall of Essex-house. In the middle, sewers remove the Twelfth Night.
boards, pantlers gather up fragments, grooms sweep the floor, strawing it afresh. One kicks out my Lord's dog, he snarling over a bone: my ladies brach yelps anon, coming on scent of some scrap. Then an idle fellow rouseth the Yule log amidst a merry peal: another, trimming the torch and sconce-lights, had well nigh set the place a-fire; treading the reeky snuff i' the rushes. Sir Gilly, having shent him for an unmannerly villain, himself now droppeth pleasant odours here and there. For the great ones, as he said, will return anon to see the Enterlude; and there must needs be a fresh fragrance to welcome sweet ladies.
All is befitting! Again the Tucket sounds. From within—from without. The Martial strain grows louder. The music is more measurely. It is even at the door. Chamberlain withdraws the curtain. Pursuviant maketh a flourish o' the cornet; and, surrounded by a fair company of nobles and gentles, all in great state (the meiny, too, being in their new liveries), the Earl os Essex enters. 'Tis a fine sight all this quality! 'Tis as good as a Twelfth night pageant i' th' olden time to the plain folk at bottom of the Hall. Mass! how they gabble! This one with his curious enquiries—that with his superstitious reverence! Here a vacant gazer, there a scurrilous observer: your critics and your cynics, your satyrical and your merry wits! Then for the allowed interpreters! Such and such who have the ear o' the great; being betimes their bosom comforters—you must believe their confessors like! Fellows, look you, who would cap and knee to a new carpet knight or a city notable—yea, frown on a base plebeian, yet make pew fellows and cup-companions of lacqueys and secretaries! Go to! These be they who can tell you who is who—this nobleman's colours and that lady's favours; counting and recounting others' honours or demerits on their dirty fingers and unsavoury breaths. An the postern be left open, you may not deny them entrance. They'd come through the keyhole else!
"There! there is my Lord! In a white cut velvet suit, looped and tied French fashion, with cherry-coloured ribbons! Ah! Master Chamberlain hath hung the satin cloak to a marvel! See the star and orders be betrayed nicely, yet without ostent; his sword hilt, too, glistening with diamonds. Tis that the French King presented him. A gay estridge feather, sir, carrieth the lightness of the costume, as I may say, up to the welkin! Rubies, sir, Rubies! only