Here, my good lady, let me fill your glass; Then send the bottle on, please, to your husband.
I thank you, sir; I hope you like the wine; My husband's choice is praised. I cannot say I am a judge myself.
It needs but to be tasted.
(tasting critically, then nodding).
|That is wine!|
Let me congratulate you, my good sir, Upon your exquisite judgment!
|Thank you, sir.|
(to the Hostess).
And so this man, you say, was here until The night the count was murdered: did he leave Before or after that?
|I cannot tell;|
He left, I know, before it was discovered. In the middle of the storm, like one possessed, He rushed into the street, half tumbling me Headlong down stairs, and never came again. He had paid his bill that morning, luckily; So joy go with him! Well, he was an odd one!
What was he like, fair Hostess?
|Tall and dark,|
And with a lowering look about his brows. He seldom spoke, but, when he did, was civil. One queer thing was, he always wore his hat, Indoors as well as out. I dare not say He murdered Count Nembroni; but it was strange He always sat at that same window there, And looked into the street. 'Tis not as if There were much traffic in the village now; These are changed times; but I have seen the day--
Excuse me; you were saying that the man Sat at the window--
|Yes; even after dark|
He would sit on, and never call for lights. The first night, I brought candles, as of course; He let me set them on the table, true; But soon's my back was turned, he put them out.
Where is the lady?
|That's the strangest thing|
Of all the story: she has disappeared, As well as he. There lay the count, stone-dead, White as my apron. The whole house was empty, Just as I told you.
|Has no search been made?|
The closest search; a thousand pieces offered For any information that should lead To the murderer's capture. I believe his brother, Who is his heir, they say, is still in town, Seeking in vain for some intelligence.
'Tis very odd; the oddest thing I've heard For a long time. Send me a pen and ink; I have to write some letters.
|Thank you, sir,|
For your kind entertainment.
[Exeunt Host and Hostess.]
We've found the badger's hole; we'll draw him next. He couldn't have gone far with her and not be seen. My life on it, there are plenty of holes and corners in the old house over the way. Run off with a wench! Holy brother Julian! Contemptuous brother Julian! Stand-by-thyself brother Julian! Run away with a wench at last! Well, there's a downfall! He'll be for marrying her on the sly, and away!--I know the old fox!--for her conscience-sake, probably not for his! Well, one comfort is, it's damnation and no reprieve. The ungrateful, atheistical heretic! As if the good old mother wasn't indulgent enough to the foibles of her children! The worthy lady has winked so hard at her dutiful sons, that she's nearly blind with winking. There's nothing in a little affair with a girl now and then; but to marry, and knock one's vows on the head! Therein is displayed a little ancestral fact as to a certain respectable progenitor, commonly portrayed as the knight of the cloven foot. Keep back thy servant, &c.--Purgatory couldn't cleanse that; and more, 'twill never have the chance. Heaven be about us from harm! Amen. I'll go find the new count. The Church shall have the castle and estate; Revenge, in the person of the new count, the body of Julian; and Stephen may as well have the thousand pieces as not.