Liberty, October 30, 1926
UPSTAIRS, while Mr. Waddington was taking Officer Garroway’s $300, Frederick Mullett was entertaining his fiancee, Fanny Welch, to a light collation in the kitchen of George Finch’s apartment. It is difficult for a man to look devotional while his mouth is full of cold beef and chutney—but not impossible, for Mullett was doing it now. He gazed at Fanny very much as George Finch had gazed at Molly Waddington, Hamilton Beamish at Madame Eulalie, and as a million other young men gaze at a million other young women.
Externally, Fanny Welch appeared not unworthy of his devotion. She was a pretty little thing with snapping black eyes and a small face. The thing you noticed about her first was the slim shapeliness of her hands with their long, sensitive fingers. One of the great advantages of being a pickpocket is that you do have nice hands.
“I like this place,” said Fanny, looking about her.
“Do you, honey?” said Mullett tenderly. “I was hoping you would. Because I’ve got a secret for you.”
“What’s that?” inquired the alert Fanny.
“This is where you and me are going to spend our honeymoon!”
“What, in this kitchen?”
“Of course not. We’ll have the run of the whole apartment, with the roof thrown in.”
“What’ll Mr. Finch have to say to that?” said Fanny.
“He won’t know, pettie. You see, Mr. Finch has just gone and got engaged to be married himself, and he’ll be off on his honeymoon trip, so the whole place’ll be ours for ever so long. What do you think of that?”
“Sounds good to me.”
“I’ll take and show you the place in a minute or two. It’s the best studio apartment for miles around. There’s a nice large sitting-room that looks on to the roof, with French windows so that you can stroll out and take the air when you like. And there’s a sleeping-porch on the roof, in case the weather’s warm. It’s the snuggest place you’ll ever want to find, and you and I can stay perched up here like two little birds in a nest. And, when we’ve finished honeymooning, we’ll go down to Long Island and buy a little duck farm and live happy ever after.”
Fanny looked just a trifle doubtful.
“Can you see me on a duck farm, Freddy?”
“Can I!” Mullett’s eyes beamed adoration. “You bet I can see you there—standing in a gingham apron on the old brick path between the hollyhocks, watching little Frederick romping under the apple tree.”
“Oh? And did you notice little Fanny clinging to my skirts?”
“So she is. And William John in his cradle on the porch.”
“I think we’d better stop looking for a while,” said Fanny. “Our family’s growing too fast.”
Mullett sighed ecstatically.
“Doesn’t it sound quiet and peaceful after the stormy lives we’ve led? The quacking of the ducks—the droning of the bees. . . . Put back that spoon, dearie. You know it doesn’t belong to you.”
Fanny removed the spoon from one of the secret places of her dress and eyed it with a certain surprise.
“Now, how did that get there?” she said.
“You snitched it up, sweetness,” said Mullett gently. “Your little fingers just hovered for a moment, like little butterflies over a flower, and the next minute the thing was gone. It was beautiful to watch, honey, but put it back. You’ve done with all that sort of thing now, you know.”
“I guess I have,” said Fanny wistfully.
“You don’t guess you have, precious,” corrected her husband-to-be. “You know you have. Same as I’ve done.”
“Are you really on the level now, Freddy?”
“I’m as honest as the day is long.”
“Work at nights, eh? Mullett, the human moth. Goes through his master’s clothes like a jealous wife.”
Mullett laughed indulgently.
“The same little Fanny! How you do love to tease! Yes, precious, I’m through with the game for good. I wouldn’t steal a bone collar-stud now. All I want is my little wife and my little home in the country.”
FANNY frowned pensively.
“You don’t think it’ll be kind of quiet down on that duck farm? Kind of slow?”
“Slow?” said Mullett, shocked.
“Well, maybe not. But we’re retiring from business awful early, Freddy.”
A look of concern came into Mullett’s face.
“You don’t mean you still have a hankering for the old game?”
“Well, what if I do?” said Fanny defiantly. “You do, too, if you’d only come clean and admit it.”
The look of concern changed to one of dignity.
“Nothing of the kind,” said Mullett. “I give you my word, Fanny, there isn’t the job on earth that could tempt me now. And I do wish you would bring yourself to feel the same, honey.”
“Oh, I’m not saying I would bother with anything that wasn’t really big. But, honest to goodness, Freddy, it would be a crime to sidestep anything worth while, if it came along. It isn’t as if we had all the money in the world. I’ve picked up some nice little things at the stores and I suppose you’ve kept some of the stuff you got away with, but outside of that we’ve nothing but the bit of cash we’ve saved. We’ve got to be practical.”
“But, sweetie, think of the awful chance you’d be taking of getting pinched.”
“I’m not afraid. If they ever do nab me, I’ve got a spiel about my poor old mother.”
“You haven’t got a mother.”
“Who said I had? . . . a spiel about my poor old mother that would draw tears from the Woolworth Building. Listen! ‘Don’t turn me over to the police, mister; I only did it for ma’s sake. If you was out of work for weeks and starvin’ and you had to sit and watch your poor old ma bendin’ over the washtubs . . .!’ ”
“Don’t, Fanny, please! I can’t bear it even though I know it’s just a game. I . . . Hello! Somebody at the front door. Probably only a model wanting to know if Mr. Finch has a job for her.
“You wait here, honey. I’ll get rid of her and be back in half a minute.”
MORE than twenty times that period had, however, elapsed before Mullett returned to the kitchen. He found his bride-to-be in a considerably less amiable mood than that in which he had left her. She was standing with folded arms.
“Pretty girl?” she inquired frostily, as Mullett crossed the threshold.
“You said you were going to send that model away in half a minute, and I’ve been waiting here nearer to a quarter of an hour,” said Fanny, verifying this statement by a glance at the wrist-watch whose absence from their stock was still an unsolved mystery to a prosperous firm of jewelers on Fifth Avenue.
“It was not a model, darling. It was a man. A guy with gray hair and a red face.”
“Oh? What did he want?”
Mullett’s already somewhat portly frame seemed to expand, as if with some deep emotion.
“He came to tempt me, Fanny.”
“To tempt you?”
“That’s what he did. Wanted to know if my name was Mullett, and two seconds after I had said it was, he offered me three hundred dollars to perpetrate a crime.”
“He did? What crime?”
“I didn’t wait for him to tell me. I spurned his offer and came away. That’ll show you if I’ve reformed or not. A nice, easy, simple job he said it was, that I could do in a couple of minutes.”
“And you spurned him, eh?”
“I spurned him good and plenty.”
“And then you came away?”
“Came right away.”
“Then listen here,” said Fanny in a steely voice. “It don’t seem to me that your times add up right. You say he made you this offer two seconds after he heard your name. Well, why did it take you a quarter of an hour to get back to this kitchen? If you want to know what I think, it wasn’t a red-faced man with gray hair at all—it was one of these Washington Square vamps and you were flirting with her.”
“Well, I’ve read Gingery Stories, and I know what it’s like down here in Bohemia, with all these artists and models and everything.”
Mullett drew himself up.
“Your suspicions pain me, Fanny. If you care to step out on to the roof, you can peek in at the sitting-room window and see him for yourself. He’s waiting there for me to bring him a drink. The reason I was so long coming back was that it took him ten minutes before he asked my name. Up till then he just sat and spluttered.”
“All right. Take me out on the roof.”
“There!” said Mullett, a moment later. “Now perhaps you’ll be ready to believe me.”
Through the French windows of the sitting-room there was undeniably visible a man of precisely the appearance described. Fanny was remorseful.
“Did I wrong my poor little Freddy, then?” she said.
“Yes, you did.”
“I’m sorry. There!”
She kissed him. Mullett melted immediately.
“I must go back and get that drink,” he said.
“And I must be getting along.”
“Oh, not yet,” begged Mullett.
“Yes, I must. I’ve got to look in at one or two of the stores.”
“Well, a girl’s got to have her trousseau, hasn’t she?”
“You’ll be very careful, precious?” he said anxiously.
“I’m always careful. Don’t worry.”
Mullett retired, and Fanny, blowing a parting kiss from her pretty fingers, passed through the door leading to the stairs.
It was perhaps five minutes later, while Mullett sat dreaming golden dreams in the kitchen and Sigsbee H. Waddington sat sipping his whisky-and-soda in the sitting-room, that a sudden tap on the French window caused the latter to give a convulsive leap and spill most of the liquid down the front of his waistcoat.
He looked up. A girl was standing outside of the window, and from her gestures he gathered that she was requesting him to open it.
IT was some time before Sigsbee H. Waddington could bring himself to do so. There exist, no doubt, married men of the baser sort who would have enjoyed the prospect of a tete-a-tete chat with a girl with snapping black eyes who gesticulated at them through windows, but Sigsbee Waddington was not one of them. So for a while he merely stood and stared at Fanny. It was not until her eyes became so imperative as to be practically hypnotic that he brought himself to undo the latch.
“And about time, too,” said Fanny, with annoyance, stepping softly into the room.
“What do you want?”
“I want a little talk with you. What’s all this I hear about you asking people to perpetrate crimes for you?”
Sigsbee Waddington’s conscience was in such a feverish condition by now that this speech affected him as deeply as the explosion of a pound of dynamite would have done. His vivid imagination leaped immediately to the supposition that this girl who seemed so intimate with his private affairs was one of those Secret Service investigation agents who do so much to mar the comfort of the amateur in crime.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he croaked.
“Oh, shucks!” said Fanny impatiently. She was a business girl and disliked this beating about the bush. “Freddy Mullett told me all about it. You want someone to do a job for you and he turned you down. Well, take a look at the understudy. I’m here; and, if the job’s in my line, lead me to it.”
Mr. Waddington continued to eye her warily. He had now decided that she was trying to trap him into a damaging admission. He said nothing, but breathed stertorously.
Fanny, a sensitive girl, misunderstood his silence. She interpreted the look in his eye to indicate distrust of the ability of a woman worker to function for the male.
“If it’s anything Freddy Mullett could do, I can do it,” she said. She seemed to Mr. Waddington to flicker for a moment. “See here!”
Before Mr. Waddington’s fascinated gaze she held up between her delicate fingers a watch and chain.
“What’s that?” he gasped.
“What does it look like?”
Mr. Waddington knew exactly what it looked like. He felt his waistcoat dazedly.
“I didn’t see you take it.”
“Nobody don’t ever see me take it,” said Fanny proudly, stating a profound truth. “Well, then, now you’ve witnessed the demonstration, perhaps you’ll believe me when I say that I’m not so worse. If Freddy can do it, I can do it.”
A cool, healing wave of relief poured over Sigsbee H. Waddington’s harassed soul. He perceived that he had wronged his visitor. She was not a detective, after all, but a sweet, womanly woman who went about lifting things out of people’s pockets so deftly that they never saw them go. Just the sort of girl he had been wanting to meet.
“I am sure you can,” he said fervently.
“Well, what’s the job?”
“I want someone to steal a pearl necklace.”
“Where is it?”
“In the strong-room at the bank.”
FANNY’S mobile features expressed disappointment and annoyance.
“Then what’s the use of talking about it? I’m not a safe-cracker. I’m a delicately nurtured girl that never used an oxyacetylene blowpipe in her life.”
“Ah, but you don’t understand,” said Mr. Waddington hastily. “The necklace eventually will be taken out of the strong-room and placed among the other wedding presents.”
“This begins to look more like it.”
“I can mention no names, of course. . . .”
“I don’t expect you to.”
“Then I will simply say that A, to whom the necklace belongs, is shortly about to be married to B.”
“I might have known it. Doing all those bridge problems together, they kind of got fond of one another.”
“I have my reasons for thinking that the wedding will take place down at Hempstead on Long Island, where C, A’s stepmother, has her summer home.”
“Why? Why not in New York?”
“Because,” said Mr. Waddington simply, “I expressed a wish that it should take place in New York.”
“What have you got to do with it?”
“I am D, C’s husband.”
“Oh, the fellow who could fill a tank with water in six hours fifteen minutes while C was filling another in five hours forty-five? Pleased to meet you.”
“I am now strongly in favor of the Hempstead idea,” said Mr. Waddington. “In New York it might be difficult to introduce you into the house, whereas down at Hempstead you can remain concealed in the garden till the suitable moment arrives. Down at Hempstead the presents will be on view in the dining-room, which has French windows opening on to a lawn flanked with shrubberies.”
“Just what I thought. I will, therefore, make a point tonight of insisting that the wedding take place in New York, and the thing will be definitely settled.”
Fanny eyed him reflectively.
“It all seems kind of funny to me. If you’re D, and you’re married to C, and C is A’s stepmother, you must be A’s father. What do you want to go stealing your daughter’s necklace for?”
“Say, listen,” said Mr. Waddington. “The first thing you’ve got to get into your head is that you’re not to ask questions.”
“Only my girlish curiosity.”
“Tie a can to it,” begged Mr. Waddington. “This is a delicate business, and the last thing I want is anybody snooping into motives and first causes. Just you go ahead, like a nice girl, and get that necklace, and pass it over to me when nobody’s looking, and then put the whole matter out of your pretty little head and forget about it.”
“Just as you say. And now, coming down to it, what is there in it for me?”
“Three hundred dollars.”
“Not nearly enough.”
“It’s all I’ve got.”
Fanny meditated. Three hundred dollars, though a meager sum, was three hundred dollars. You could always use three hundred dollars when you were furnishing, and the job seemed simple.
“All right,” she said.
“You’ll do it?”
“Good girl,” said Mr. Waddington. “Where can I find you when I want you?”
“Here’s my address.”
“I’ll send you a line. You’ve got the thing clear?”
“Sure. I hang about in the bushes till there’s nobody around, and then I slip into the room and snitch the necklace. . . .”
“ . . . And hand it over to me.”
“I’ll be waiting in the garden just outside, and I’ll meet you the moment you come out. The very moment. Thus,” said Mr. Waddington with a quiet, meaning look at his young friend, “avoiding any rannygazoo.”
“What do you mean by rannygazoo?” said Fanny warmly.
“Nothing, nothing,” said Mr. Waddington with a deprecating wave of the hand. “Just rannygazoo.”
* * *
THERE are, as everybody knows, many ways of measuring time, and right through the ages learned men have argued heatedly in favor of their different systems. Hipparchus of Rhodes sneered every time anybody mentioned Marinus of Tyre to him; and the views of Ahmed Ibn Abdullah of Bagdad gave Purbach and Regiomontanus the laugh of their lives. Purbach, in his bluff way, said the man must be a perfect ass. And when Regiomontanus, whose motto was Live and Let Live, urged that Ahmed Ibn was just a young fellow trying to get along and ought not to be treated too harshly, Purbach said: Was that so? and Regiomontanus said: Yes, that was so, and Purbach said that Regiomontanus made him sick.
Tycho Brahe measured time by means of altitudes, quadrants, azimuths, cross-staves, armillary spheres, and parallactic rules: and, as he often said to his wife when winding up the azimuth and putting the cat out for the night, nothing could be fairer than that. And then in 1863 along came Dollen with his Die Zeitbestimmung vermittelst des tragbaren Durchgangsinstrument im Verticale des Polarsterns (a best-seller in its day, subsequently filmed under the title Why Girls Leave Home), and proved that Tycho, by mistaking an armillary sphere for a quadrant one night after an Old Grads reunion at Copenhagen University, had got his calculation all wrong.
THE truth is that time cannot be measured. To George Finch, basking in the society of Molly Waddington, the next three weeks seemed but a flash. Whereas to Hamilton Beamish, with the girl he loved miles away in East Gilead, Idaho, it appeared incredible that any sensible person could suppose that a day contained only twenty-four hours. There were moments when Hamilton Beamish thought that something must have happened to the sidereal moon and that time was standing still.
But now the three weeks were up, and at any minute he might hear that she was back in the metropolis. All day long he had been going about with a happy smile on his face, and it was with a heart that leaped and sang from pure exuberance that he now turned to greet Officer Garroway, who had just presented himself at his apartment.
“Ah, Garroway!” said Hamilton Beamish. “How goes it? What brings you here?”
“I understood you to say, sir,” replied the policeman, “that I was to bring you my poem when I had completed it.”
“Of course, of course. I had forgotten all about it. Something seems to have happened to my memory these days. So you have written your first poem, eh? All about love and youth and springtime, I suppose? . . . Excuse me.”
The telephone bell had rung, and Hamilton Beamish, though the instrument had disappointed him over and over again in the past few days, leaped excitedly to snatch up the receiver.
This time there was no disappointment. The voice that spoke was the voice he had heard so often in his dreams.
“Mr. Beamish? I mean, Jimmy?”
Hamilton Beamish drew a deep breath. And so overcome was he with sudden joy that for the first time since he had reached years of discretion he drew it through the mouth.
“At last!” he cried.
“What did you say?”
“I said ‘At last!’ Since you went away every minute has seemed an hour.”
“So it has to me.”
“Do you mean that?” breathed Hamilton Beamish fervently.
“Yes. That’s the way minutes do seem in East Gilead.”
“Oh, ah, yes,” said Mr. Beamish, a little damped. “When did you get back?”
“A quarter of an hour ago.”
Hamilton Beamish’s spirits soared once more.
“And you called me up at once!” he said emotionally.
“Yes. I wanted to know Mrs. Waddington’s telephone number at Hempstead.”
“Was that the only reason?”
“Of course not. I wanted to hear how you were. . . .”
“Did you? Did you?”
“ . . . and if you had missed me.”
“How sweet of you. I should have thought you would have forgotten my very existence.”
“Guk!” said Hamilton Beamish, completely overcome.
“Well, shall I tell you something? I missed you, too.”
HAMILTON BEAMISH drew another completely unscientific deep breath, and was about to pour his whole soul into the instrument in a manner that would probably have fused the wire, when a breezy masculine voice suddenly smote his eardrum.
“Is that Ed?” inquired the voice.
“No,” thundered Hamilton Beamish.
“This is Charley, Ed. Is it all right for Friday?”
“It is not!” boomed Hamilton Beamish. “Get off the wire, you blot! Go away, curse you!”
“Certainly, if you want me to,” said a sweet, feminine voice. “But——”
“I beg your pardon! I am sorry, sorry, sorry. A fiend in human shape got on the wire,” explained Mr. Beamish hastily.
“Oh! Well, what were we saying?”
“I was just going to——”
“I remember—Mrs. Waddington’s telephone number. I was looking through my mail just now, and I found an invitation from Miss Waddington to her wedding. I see it’s tomorrow. Fancy that!”
Hamilton Beamish would have preferred to speak of other things than trivialities like George Finch’s wedding, but he found it difficult to change the subject.
“Yes. It is to take place at Hempstead tomorrow. George is staying down there at the Inn.”
“It’s going to be a quiet country wedding, then?”
“Yes. I think Mrs. Waddington wants to hush George up as much as possible.”
“I am going down by the one-thirty train. Couldn’t we travel together?”
“I’m not sure that I shall be able to go. I have an awful lot of things to see to here, after being away so long. Shall we leave it open?”
“Very well,” said Hamilton Beamish, resignedly. “But, in any case, can you dine with me tomorrow night?”
“I should love to.”
Hamilton Beamish’s eyes closed, and he snuffled for a while.
“And what is Mrs. Waddington’s number?”
“We’ll dine at the Purple Chicken, shall we?”
“You can always get it there, if they know you.”
“Do they know you?”
“Fine! Well, good-by.”
BEAMISH stood for a few moments in deep thought; then, turning away from the instrument, was astonished to perceive Officer Garroway.
“I’d forgotten all about you,” he said. “Let me see, what did you say you had come for?”
“To read you my poem, sir.”
“Ah, yes, of course.”
The policeman coughed modestly.
“It’s just a little thing, Mr. Beamish, a sort of study, you might say, of the streets of New York as they appear to a policeman on his beat. I would like to read it to you, if you will permit me.”
Officer Garroway shifted his Adam’s apple up and down once or twice; and, closing his eyes, began to recite in the special voice which he as a rule reserved for giving evidence before magistrates:
“ ‘Streets!’ ”
“That is the title, eh?”
“Yes, sir. And also the first line.”
Hamilton Beamish started.
“Is it vers libre?”
“Doesn’t it rhyme?”
“No, sir. I understood you to say that rhymes were an outworn convention.”
“Did I really say that?”
“You did, indeed, sir. And a great convenience I found it. It seems to make poetry quite easy.”
Hamilton Beamish looked at him perplexedly. He supposed he must have spoken the words which the other quoted, and yet that he should deliberately have wished to exclude a fellow creature from the pure joy of rhyming “heart” with “Cupid’s dart” seemed to him in his present uplifted state inconceivable.
“Odd!” he said. “Very odd. However, go on.”
OFFICER GARROWAY went once more through the motions of swallowing something large and sharp, and shut his eyes again.
Grim, relentless, sordid streets!
Miles of poignant streets,
East, west, north,
And stretching starkly south:
Sad, hopeless, dismal, cheerless, chilling
Hamilton Beamish raised his eyebrows.
“I pace the mournful streets
With aching heart——”
“Why?” asked Hamilton Beamish.
“It is part of my duties, sir. Each patrolman is assigned a certain portion of the city as a beat.”
“I mean, why do you pace with aching heart?”
“Because it is bleeding, sir.”
“Bleeding? Your heart?”
“Yes, sir. My heart is bleeding. I look at all the sordid gloom and sorrow and my heart bleeds.”
“Well, go on. It all seems very peculiar to me, but go on.”
“I watch gray men slink past
With shifty, sidelong eyes
That gleam with murderous hate;
Lepers that prowl the streets——”
Hamilton Beamish seemed about to speak, but checked himself.
“Men who once were men,
Women that once were women,
Children like tiny apes,
And dogs that snarl and snap and growl and hate.
Loathsome, festering streets!
I pace the scabrous streets
And long for death.”
Officer Garroway stopped, and opened his eyes; and Hamilton Beamish, crossing the room to where he stood, slapped him briskly on the shoulder.
“I see it all,” he said. “What’s wrong with you is liver. Tell me, have you any local pain and tenderness?”
“High temperature accompanied by shiverings and occasional rigors?”
“Then you have not a hepatic abscess. All that is the matter, I imagine, is a slight sluggishness in the esophageal groove, which can be set right with calomel. My dear Garroway, it surely must be obvious to you that this poem of yours is all wrong. It is absurd for you to pretend that you do not see a number of pleasant and attractive people on your beat. The streets of New York are full of the most delightful persons. I have noticed them on all sides. The trouble is that you have been looking on them with a bilious eye.”
“But I thought you told me to be stark and poignant, Mr. Beamish.”
“Nothing of the kind. You must have misunderstood me. Starkness is quite out of place in poetry. A poem should be a thing of beauty and charm and sentiment and have as its theme the sweetest and divinest of all human emotions—love. Only love can inspire the genuine bard. Love, Garroway, is a fire that glows and enlarges until it warms and beams upon multitudes, upon the universal heart of all, and so lights up the whole world and all nature with its generous flames. Shakespeare speaks of the ecstasy of love, and Shakespeare knew what he was talking about. Ah, better to love in the lowliest cot, Garroway, than pine in a palace alone! In peace, Love tunes the shepherd’s reed; in war, he mounts the warrior’s steed. In halls, in gay attire is seen; in hamlets, dances on the green. Love rules the court, the camp, the grove, and men below and saints above; for love is heaven and heaven is love. Get these simple facts into your silly fat head, Garroway, and you may turn out a poem worth reading. If, however, you are going to take this absurd attitude about festering streets and scabrous dogs and the rest of it, you are simply wasting your time and would be better employed writing subtitles for the motion pictures.”
OFFICER GARROWAY was not a man of forceful character. He bowed his head meekly before the storm.
“I see what you mean, Mr. Beamish.”
“I should hope you did. I have put it plainly enough. I dislike intensely this modern tendency on the part of young writers to concentrate on corpses and sewers and despair. They should be writing about love. I tell thee love is nature’s second sun, Garroway, causing a spring of virtues where he shines. All love is sweet, given or returned. Common as light is love, and its familiar voice wearies not ever. True love’s the gift which God has given to man alone beneath the heaven. It is not—mark this, Garroway!—it is not fantasy’s hot fire, whose wishes soon as granted fly. It liveth not in fierce desire, with dead desire it doth not die. It is the secret sympathy, the silver link, the silken tie, which heart to heart and mind to mind in body and in soul can bind.”
Dawn of the wedding-day! But there’s many a slip in the best-laid plans. Next week the forces set in motion by the love affair of Molly and George begin to clash.
Printer’s errors corrected above:
Magazine had “they kind of get fond”; changed to “got” as in other three sources.
Magazine had “opening into the lawn”; changed to “on to a lawn” as in other three sources.
Magazine had Polarstens; corrected to Polarsterns.
a fire that glows and enlarges … generous flames: From Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Love.
Shakespeare … ecstasy of love: From Hamlet, II,i, 101.
better to love in the lowliest cot: From George Whyte-Melville, The Queen’s Maries. Both US and UK book editions misprint this as “better to live in the lowliest cot.”
In peace, Love tunes the shepherd’s reed: Sir Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Canto III, ii.
Love is nature’s second sun: George Chapman, All Fools, I, i.
All love is sweet … wearies not ever: Shelley, Prometheus Unbound, II, v.
True love’s the gift … in soul can bind: Sir Walter Scott, The Lay of the Last Minstrel, V, xiii. Both book editions misprint “fly” as “die” and “dead desire” as “fierce desire” (thus making erroneous repetitions in both places).