She had never seen him before; he must either be a stranger or a rare visitor. As Clorinda was beyond a woman's height, he was beyond a man's.
He carried himself as kingly as she did nobly; he had a countenance of strong, manly beauty, and a deep tawny eye, thick-fringed and full of fire; orders glittered upon his breast, and he wore a fair periwig, which became him wondrously, and seemed to make his eye more deep and burning by its contrast.
Beside his strength and majesty of bearing the stripling beauty of John Oxon would have seemed slight and paltry, a thing for flippant women to trifle with.
Mistress Anne looked at him with an admiration somewhat like reverence, and as she did so a sudden thought rose to her mind, and even as it rose, she marked what his gaze rested on, and how it dwelt upon it, and knew that he had stepped apart to stand and gaze as she did--only with a man's hid fervour--at her sister's self.
'Twas as if suddenly a strange secret had been told her. She read it in his face, because he thought himself unobserved, and for a space had cast his mask aside. He stood and gazed as a man who, starving at soul, fed himself through his eyes, having no hope of other sustenance, or as a man weary with long carrying of a burden, for a space laid it down for rest and to gather power to go on. She heard him draw a deep sigh almost stifled in its birth, and there was that in his face which she felt it was unseemly that a stranger like herself should behold, himself unknowing of her near presence.
She gently rose from her corner, wondering if she could retire from her retreat without attracting his observation; but as she did so, chance caused him to withdraw himself a little farther within the shadow of the screen, and doing so, he beheld her.
Then his face changed; the mask of noble calmness, for a moment fallen, resumed itself, and he bowed before her with the reverence of a courtly gentleman, undisturbed by the unexpectedness of his recognition of her neighbourhood.
"Madam," he said, "pardon my unconsciousness that you were near me. You would pass?" And he made way for her.