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way from home, I am benighted in this wood, and have lost my way.
Miller. This does not sound well; if you have been a hunting, pray where is your horse ?
King. I have tired my horse so that he lay down under me, and I was obliged to leave him.
Miller. If I thought I might believe this, now.
Miller. What, do you live at court, and not lie!
I sure you ; and to convince you of it, if you will attend me to Nottingham, or give me a night's lodging in your house, here is something to pay you for your trouble, (offering money); and if that is not sufficient, I will satisfy you in the morning to your utmost desire.
Miller. Aye, now I am convinced you are a courtier ; here is a little bribe for to-day, and a large promise for to-morrow, both in a breath. Here, take it again ; John Cockle is no courtier. He can do what he ought without a bribe. King. Thou art a very extraordinary man, I must
. own, and I should be glad, methinks, to be further acquainted with thee.
Miller. Prithee don't thee and thou me at this rate. I suppose I am as good a man as yourself, at least.
King. Sir, I beg pardon.
Miller. Nay, I am not angry, friend; only I don't love to be too familiar with you until I am satisfied as to your honesty.
King. You are right. But what am I to do?
Miller. You may do what you please. You are twelve miles from Nottingham, and all the way through this thick wood; but if you are resolved upon going thither to-night, I will put you in the road and direct you the best I can ; or if you will accept of such poor entertainment as a miller can give, you shall be welcome to stay all night, and in the morning I will go with you myself.
King. And cannot you go with me to-night?
Miller. I would not go with you to-night if you were the king himself. King. Then I must go with you, I think.
(Enter a courtier in haste.) Courtier. Ah! is your majesty safe? We have hunted the forest over to find
you. Miller. How ! are you the king ! (Kneels.) Your majesty will pardon the ill usage you have received. (The King draws his sword.) His majesty surely will not kill a servant for doing his duty too faithfully !
King. No, my good fellow. So far from having any thing to pardon, I am much your debtor. not think but so good and honest a man will make a worthy and honorable knight. Rise, Sir John Cockle, and receive this sword as a badge of knighthood, and a pledge of my protection; and to support your no
1 bility, and in some measure requite you for the pleasure you have done us, a thousand crowns a year shall be your revenue.
Mary. Aunt Betty, why are you always mending that old picture?
Aunt Betty. Old picture, Miss ! and pray who told you to call it an old picture ?
Mary. Pray, aunt, is it not an old picture? I am sure it looks ragged enough to be old.
Aunt Betty. And pray, niece, is it not ten times more valuable on that account? I wish I could ever make you entertain a proper respect for your family.
Mary. Do I not respect the few that remain of them, and yourself among the rest ? But what has that old-what shall I call it ?-to do with our family!
Aunt Betty. It is our family coat of arms—the only document which remains to establish the nobility and purity of our blood.
Mary. What is purity of blood, aunt? I am sure I overheard Mrs. Pimpleton say your complexion was almost orange, and she believed it arose from some impurity of the blood.
Aunt Betty. Tut tut, you hussy! I am sure my complexion will not suffer by a comparison with any of the Pimpleton race. [Tossing up her head.] But that is neither here nor there : it matters not what the complexion is, or the present state of the blood, provided the source is pure. Do people drink the less water because it filtrates through clay ?
Mary. But what is pure and noble blood, aunt? Aunt Betty. Blood, my dear, which has proceeded from some great and celebrated man, through the veins of many generations, without any mixture with vulgar blood.
Mary. Then whom did we proceed from, aunt Betty ?
Aunt Betty. From Sir Gregory McGrincell, who lived in the time of Elizabeth, and left sons a dozen, from the youngest of whom, James McGrincell, gen. tleman, we are descended.
Mary. What does a gentleman mean, aunt?
Aunt Betty. It means one who has too high a sense of his ancestry to engage in any of what are vulgarly called the useful employments.
Mary. It must mean a lazy man, then, I should think. Was he not extremely poor, aunt ?
Aunt Betty. Poor? What is poverty in the scale of nobility? It is the glory of our house, that they have always preferred honorable poverty to disgraceful industry.
Mary. Why, aunt, everybody does not think as you do. I heard the parson's wife say you would be a better Christian, and serve your maker more faithfully, by doing something profitable, than by spending your time in idleness, and depending upon the church for support.
Aunt Betty. She had better mind her own business, and not slander her parishioners. Mighty well, indeed ! if the descendant of Sir Gregory McGrincell is to be taught her duty to her ancestors by the daughter of a ploughman, and the wife of a country parson !
Mary. I am sure she is a very good woman, and my mother considers her a pattern of humility.
Aunt Betty. Did she display her humility in walk
ing before me at the deacon's funeral ? Answer me that.
Mary. She had not the arrangement of the procession, aunt.
Aunt Betty. She ought to have known her place, however. I shall take care how I go to any more vulgar funerals to be insulted, I promise you.
Mary. I can not see what should make us better than our neighbors, for my mother once told me that your grandfather was only a hostler.
Aunt Betty. Your mother takes a great deal of pains to expose the dark spots in our escutcheon. But did she ever tell you that, when my grandfather was engaged in that profession, it was customary for gentlemen to be their own grooms? No, I'll warrant not.
Mary. Then there is no disgrace in any employment, if it be only fashionable?
Aunt Betty. None at all, my dear; for Count Rumford was a cook, and Sir Isaac Newton a spectacle maker.
Mary. But of what use is our noble blood in this country, aunt, where merit alone is respected ?
Aunt Betty. Merit, indeed ! and what have we to do with merit? It is well enough for those of vulgar origin to possess merit; the well-born do not need it.
Mary. How did our great ancestor obtain his title, then ?
Aunt Betty. O, to be sure, the founder of a family, must do something to deserve his title.
Mary. What did Sir Gregory do?