Like Elia's old lady, the "rigour of game" is all she cares for. She gives Tom Hescott one or two little turns. "'Then turn about, and turn about," says she, suiting the action to the word, "'And you don't catch me till May-day." With this, she gives him a delicate little shove, and, picking up the train of her gown, springs lightly backwards to the wall behind her.
May-day came, and found Allister and Dan busy in taking down Angus Dhu's fence at least, that part of it that lay between the house-field and the creek. "I didn't think the old man meant to let us have these rails," said Dan. "Not that they are his by rights. I should not wonder if he were down upon us, after all, for taking them away."
On the foregoing May-day, she had sat on the green that fronted the iron gateway, when Dahlia and Rhoda dressed the children of the village in garlands, and crowned the fairest little one queen of May: a sight that revived in Mrs. Fleming's recollection the time of her own eldest and fairest taking homage, shy in her white smock and light thick curls.
He had more than once been tried with insurrection, which he had soothed down without bloodshed, and extinguished in forgiveness; and London long recollected the great scene which followed "evil May-day," 1517, when the apprentices were brought down to Westminster Hall to receive their pardons.
I wondered whether it were possible that Hollingsworth could have watched by my bedside, with all that devoted care, only for the ulterior purpose of making me a proselyte to his views! May-day I forget whether by Zenobia's sole decree, or by the unanimous vote of our community had been declared a movable festival.
It was there, in the square of dappled sunshine and shadow under the apple-trees, at once the loveliest and most sequestered spot on the campus, that the Harding girls were holding a May-day fete. It was a strictly impromptu affair.
Sheres sent me, in two volumes, Mariana his History of Spaine, in Spanish, an excellent book; and I am much obliged for it to him. 29th. Up, and to the Office, where all the morning, and at noon dined at home, and then to the Office again, there to despatch as much business as I could, that I might be at liberty to-morrow to look after my many things that I have to do, against May-day.
These poems of Emerson's find the readers that must listen to them and delight in them, as the "Ancient Mariner" fastened upon the man who must hear him. If any doubter wishes to test his fitness for reading them, and if the poems already mentioned are not enough to settle the question, let him read the paragraph of "May-Day," beginning, "I saw the bud-crowned Spring go forth,"
"To bring the summer home The summer and the May-O!" This was not confined to young people or to country-folk. Chaucer says that on May-day early "fourth goth al the court, both most and lest, to fetche the flowrès fresh, and braunch, and blome," and Henry VIII. kept May-day very orthodoxly in the early years of his reign. Milkmaids have been connected with May-day customs from an early period.
And on the instant the lively sounds of tabor and pipe, mixed with the jingling of bells, arose from the court-yard, and presently afterwards an attendant entered to announce that the May-day revellers were without, and directions were given by Sir Ralph that they should be shown into the great banqueting-hall below the gallery, which had been prepared for their reception.