The palings of gardens, the screen of shrubs through which the pleasaunce could be dimly discerned within, the high trees holding up their branches to the air, all half guarded, half revealed the same jocund secret.
If none has heard thereof, how do you meet together, and how devise time and place?" "By my faith, Sire, I will tell you all, and keep back nothing, since you know so much of our counsel." So he related the whole story of his goings to and fro within the pleasaunce; of that first covenant with his friend, and of the office of the little dog. Then said the Duke,
Not all the houses are small; some are spacious and ambitious to be of ugly modern patterns; but most are simple and homelike. Their gardens, following the example of Sir William's vanished pleasaunce, drop southward to the shore, where the lobster-traps and the hen-coops meet in unembarrassed promiscuity.
As they passed The Pleasaunce, they saw, a little in from the road, the guards who a few minutes before had executed the strange sentence with which the reader has been made acquainted. The country boy was inconsolable because they rode on and he was not allowed to get a nearer view of the palpitating bodies of the robbers, which could be distinguished forming a horrible group in the distance.
There were about four acres of comfortably wooded land about the house, of which nearly an acre had formed the pleasaunce of the old lodge.
The effect of this brief voluptuous dance, and its equally voluptuous end, was simply indescribable, the young men, who had watched it through in silence and flushed ecstasy, now sprang from their couches with shouts of rapture and unrestrained excitement, and seizing the other dancing-maidens who had till now remained in clustered, half-hidden groups behind the crystalline columns of the hall, whirled them off into the inviting pleasaunce beyond, where the little white and gold pavilions peeped through the heavy foliage, and before Theos, in the picturesque hurry and confusion of the scene, could quite realize what had happened, the great globe in the dome was suddenly extinguished, ... a firm hand closed imperiously on his own, and he was drawn along swiftly, he knew not whither!
The key was in her pocket. But the sly jade wanted him away from that gate; it commanded a view of the Pleasaunce. He was no sooner safe in the lane, than she tore up-stairs to her young ladies, and asked them with affected calm whether they would like to know who left the purse. "Oh, yes, yes!" screamed Rose. "Then come with me. You ARE dressed; never mind your bonnets, or you will be too late."
No trace of flowers or shrubs remained; the walks, the ornamental stone seats and artificial terraces, were merging into brown earth. Here, in the centre of this ruined pleasaunce, the health-giving fountain had lately flowed, bubbling up in a couch-shaped basin of cement. It was now dry. But a damp warmth still clung to its rim, whereon the mineral had left a comely deposit of opaline texture.
The broad acres of meadow and pleasaunce and woodland which had given it consequence in former days had been gradually parted with, as misfortunes and losses came to its original owners.
He was out and about again; he still shunned the paradise of fruits, but wearying of the accustomed pleasaunce, he went further and passed into the wood; how cool and mysterious it was among the great branching trees! the forest led him onwards; now the sun lay softly upon it, and a stream bickered through a glade, and now the path lay through thickets, which hid the further woodland from view; and now passing out into a more open space, he had a thrill of joy and excitement; there was a herd of strange living creatures grazing there, great deer with branching horns; they moved slowly forwards, cropping the grass, and the child was lost in wonder at the sight.