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At first he tried to hammer an excuse,

To which the sole reply were tears, and sobs,
And indications of hysterics, whose

Prologue is always certain throes, and throbs,
Gasps, and whatever else the owners choose :

Alfonso saw his wife, and thought of Job's;
He saw too, in perspective, her relations,
And then he tried to muster all his patience.

He stood in act to speak, or rather stammer,

Antonia cut him short before
The anvil of his speech received the hammer,

With Pray, sir, leave the room, and say no more, « Or madam dies. Alfonso mutter'd « D--n her,

But nothing else, the time of words was o'er ;
He cast a rueful look or two, and did,
He know not wherefore, that which he was bid.

With him retired his « posse comitatus,

The attorney last, who linger'd near the door,
Reluctantly, still tarrying there as late as

Antonia let him-not a little sore
At this most strange and unexplain’d « hiatus »

In Don Alfonso’s facts, which just now wore
An awkward look ; as he revolved the case
The door was fastep'd in his legal face.

No sooner was it bolted, than-Oh shame!

Oh sin! Oh sorrow! and Oh womankind'!
How can you do such things and keep your fame,

Unless this world, and t’other too, be blind ?

Nothing so dear as an unfilch'd good name !

But to proceed for there is more behind : With much heart-felt reluctance be it said, Young Juan slipp'd, half-smother'd, from the bed.


He had been hid- I don't pretend to say

Slow, nor can I indeed describe the where Young, slender, and pack'd easily, he lay, No doubt, in little

compass, round or square ; But pity him I neither must nor may

His suffocation by that pretly pair , 'Twere better, sure, to die so, than be shut With maudlin Clarence in his Malmsey butt.

CLXVII. And, secondly, I pity not, because

He had no business to commit a sin,
Forbid by heavenly , fined by human laws,

At least 'twas rather early to begio ;
But at sixteen the conscience rarely goaws

So much as when we call our old debts in
At sixty years, and draw the accounts of evil,
And find a deuced balance with the devil.


Of his position I can give no notion :

'Tis written in the Hebrew Chronicle, How the physicians, leaving pill and potion,

Prescribed, by way of blister, a young belle, When old King David's blood grew dull in motion,

And that the medicine answer'd very Perhaps 'twas in a different way applied, For David lived, but Juan nearly died.


What's to be done ? Alfonso will be back

The moment he has sent his fools away.
Antonia's skill was put upon the rack,

But no device could he brought into play-
And how to parry the renew'd attack ?

Besides, it wanted but few hours of day:
Antonia puzzled; Julia did not speak,
But press'd her bloodless lip to Juan's cheek.

He turn'd his lip to hers, and with his hand

Call’d back the tangles of her wandering hair ;
Even then their love they could not all command,

And half forgot their danger and despair : Antonia's patience now was at a stand

Come, come, 'tis no time now for fooling there, She whisper'd, in great wrath-« I must deposit « This pretty gentleman within the closet :

Pray, keep your nonsense for some luckier night

I'V'ho can have put my master in this mood ?
What will become on't ?-1 am in such a fright,

« The devil's in the urchin, and no good w Is this a time for giggling ? this a plight ?

« Why, don't you know that it may end in Llood ? * You'll lose your life, and I shall lose my place, My mistress all, for that half-girlish face.

Had it but been for a stout cayalier

« Of twenty-five or thirty-(Come, make haste) . But for a child, what piece of work is here !

I really, madam, wonder at your taste-

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(Come, sir, get in) my master must be near.

There, for the present, at the least he's fast, And, if we can but till the morning keep « Our counsel—(Juan, mind, you must not sleep.) »


Now, Don Alfonso entering, but alone,

Closed the oration of the trusty maid : She loiter'd, and he told her to be

gone, An order somewhat sullenly obey'd ; However, present remedy was none,

And no great good seem'd answer'd if she staid : Regarding both with slow and sidelong view, She snuff'd the candle, curtsied, and withdrew.

CLXXIV. Alfonso paused a minute—then begun

Some strange excuses for his late proceeding; He would not justify what he had done,

To say the best, it was cxtreme ill-breeding ; But there were ample reasons for it, none

Of which he specified in this his pleading : His speech was a fine sample, on the whole, Of rhetoric, which the learn'd call « rigmarole. »


Julia said nought ; though all the while there rose

A ready answer, which at once enables A matron, who her husband's foible knows,

By a few timely words to turn the tables, Which if it does not silence still must pose,

Even if it should comprise a pack of fables ; 'Tis to retort with firmness, and when he Suspects with one, do you reproach with three.

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Julia, in fact, had tolerable grounds,

Alfonso's loves with Inez were well know?;
But whether' was that one's own guilt confounds,

But that can't be, as has been often shown,
A lady with apologies abounds;
It might be that her silence sprang

From delicacy to Don Juan's ear,
To whom she knew his mother's fame was dear.

CLXXVII. There might be one more motive, which makes two,

Alfonso ne'er to Juan had alluded, Mention’d his jealousy, but never who

Had been the happy lover, he concluded, Conceal'd amongst his premises ; 'tis true,

His mind the more o’er this its mystery brooded ;
To speak of Inez now were, one may say,
Like throwing Juan in Alfonso's way.

A hint, in tender cases, is enough;

Silence is best, besides there is a tact
(That modern phrase appears to me sad stuff,

But it will serve to keep my yerse compact)
Which keeps, when push'd by questions rather rough,

A lady always distant from the fact-
The charming creatures lie with such a grace,
There's nothing so becoming to the face.

They blush, and we believe them; at least I

Have always done so ; ʼtis of no great use,
In any case, attempting a reply,

For then their eloquence grows quite profuse;

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