At her first timorous glance at her, Mistress Margery thought she must have been angered, the spark so burned in her eyes, and so evident was the light but quick heave of her bosom; but the next moment it seemed as if she must be in a pleasant humour, for a little smile deepened the dimples in the corner of her bowed, full lips. But quickly she looked up and resumed her stately air.
"This gentleman who comes to visit to-morrow," she said, "Sir John Oxon--do you know aught of him?"
"But little, Madame," Mistress Margery answered with fear and humility.
"Then it will be well that you should, since I have commands to lay upon you concerning him," said the beauty.
"You do me honour," said the poor gentlewoman.
Mistress Clorinda looked her straight in the face.
"He is a gentleman from town, the kinsman of Lord Eldershawe," she said. "He is a handsome man, concerning whom many women have been fools. He chooses to allow it to be said that he is a conqueror of female hearts and virtue, even among women of fashion and rank. If this be said in the town, what may not be said in the country? He shall wear no such graces here. He chooses to pay his court to me. He is my father's guest and a man of fashion. Let him make as many fine speeches as he has the will to. I will listen or not as I choose. I am used to words. But see that we are not left alone."
The tirewoman pricked up her ears. Clorinda saw her in the glass.