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THE FAIR MAID OF PERTH

CHAPTER XXV

The course of true love never did run smootb.

SHAKESPEARE.

The ominous anxiety of o'ır armourer had not played him false. When the good glover parted with his intended son-in-law, after the judicial combat had been decided, he found, what he indeed had expected, that his fair daughter was in no favourable disposition towards her lover. But although he perceived that Catharine was cold, restrained, collected, had cast away the appearance of mortal passion, and listened with a reserve, im- . plying contempt, to the most splendid description he could give her of the combat in the Skinners' Yards, he was determined not to take the least notice of her altered manner, but to speak of her marriage with his son Henry as a thing which must of course take place. At length, when she began, as on a former occasion, to intimate that her attachment to the armourer did not exceed the bounds of friendship, that she was resolved never to marry, that the pretended judicial combat was a mockery of the divine will, and of human laws, the glover not unnaturally grew angry.

'I cannot read thy thoughts, wench; nor can I pretend to guess under what wicked delusion it is that you kiss a declared lover, suffer him to kiss you, run to his house

when a report is spread of his death, and fling yourself into his arms when you find him alone. All this shows very well in a girl prepared to obey her parents in a. match sanctioned by her father; but such tokens of intimacy, bestowed on one whom a young woman cannot esteem, and is determined not to marry, are uncomely and unmaidenly. You have already been more bounteous of your favours to Henry Smith than your mother, whom God assoilzie, ever was to me before I married her. I tell thee, Catharine, this trifling with the love of an honest man is what I neither can, will, nor ought to endure. I have given my consent to the match, and I insist it shall take place without delay, and that you receive Henry Wynd to-morrow, as a man whose bride you are to be with all despatch.'

' 'A power more potent than yours, father, will say no,' replied Catharine.

'I will risk it; my power is a lawful one, that of a father over a child, and an erring child,' answered her father. “God and man allow of my influence.'

‘Then, may Heaven help us!' said Catharine; ‘for, if you are obstinate in your purpose, we are all lost.'

We can expect no help from Heaven,' said the glover, when we act with indiscretion. I am clerk enough myself to know that; and that your causeless resistance to my will is sinful, every priest will inform you. Ay, and more than that, you have spoken degradingly of the blessed appeal to God in the combat of ordeal. Take heed! for the Holy Church is awakened to watch her sheepfold, and to extirpate heresy by fire and steel; so much I warn thee of.' Catharine uttered a suppressed exclamation; and,

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