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The Earl had re-entered the bedchamber, bent on taking a hasty farewell of the Countess, and scarce daring to trust himself in private with her, to hear requests again urged which he found it difficult to parry, yet which his recent conversation with his master of horse had determined him not to grant.
He found her in a white cymar of silk lined with furs, her little feet unstockinged and hastily thrust into slippers ; her unbraided hair escaping from under her midnight coif, with little array but her own loveliness, rather augmented than diminished by the grief which she felt at the approaching moment of separation.
“Now, God be with thee, my dearest and loveliest !” said the Earl, scarce tearing himself from her embrace, yet again returning to fold her again and again in his arms; and again bidding farewell, and again returning to kiss and bid adieu once more. “The sun is on the verge of the blue horizon—I dare not stay.—Ere this I should have been ten miles from hence.”
Such were the words with which at length he strove to cut short their parting interview.
“ You will not grant my request, then?” said the Countess. “Ah, false knight! did ever lady, with bare foot in slipper, scek boon of a brave knight, yet return with denial!"
“ Anything, Amy, anything thou canst ask I will grant," answered the Earl“always excepting”- he said, “ that which might ruin us both."
SHERBOURNE CHURCH, DORSETSHIRE.
This church, which stands south-west of the town, and is of free-stone, is a magnificent structure. It is said to have been originally built by bishop Aldhelm ; but a very small part of that early edifice at present remains. Up to the reign of king Henry the Sixth it was used as a parish church by the inhabitants of the town; but a broil occurred at that time between the townsmen and the monks, respecting, it is said, the place in which baptisms were to be performed. In the heat of the quarrel a torch was thrown by a butcher into the church, and a greater part of it was, in consequence, consumed. It was repaired by the abbots during three succeeding reigns, but was not parochial again till the dissolution.
As may be expected, this structure exhibits specimens of various styles of architecture. The semi-circular arches and zigzag mouldings in the porch, transept, west end, and north side of the building, are Norman : the upper part of the nave, the tower, east end, aisles, and some of the chapels, are in the later style of English architecture.
Sherbourne church is cruciform, consisting of a nave, choir, transepts, and several chapels. From the centre rises a beautiful tower 154 feet in height, containing eight bells; the largest of which, weighing more than three tons, was the gift of cardinal Wolsey, and is considered to be the largest bell ever rung in a peal. This tower underwent extensive repairs in 1830.
The roof of this church is supported by groins springing from the aisles, and at the intersection of the tracery is a variety of arms and emblematical devices. The Saxon kings, Ethelbald and Ethelbert, have been interred here, as also many Saxon nobles, bishops of the see, and abbots of the monastery.