of great personal beauty. His wicked, bloodshot eyes and
"Yes, whip him, whip him!" cried the king, laughing, as he pointed to the gigantic vases of Chinese porcelain, containing enormous bunches of roses, on whose long stems arose a real forest of formidable-looking thorns.
"Pull the large bouquets to pieces; take the roses in your hand, and whip him with the stems!" said the king, and his eyes glistened with inhuman delight, for the scene promised to be quite interesting. The rose-stems were long and hard, and the thorns on them pointed and sharp as daggers. How nicely they would pierce the flesh, and how he would yell and screw his face, the good-natured fool!
"Yes, yes, let him take off his coat, and we will whip him!" cried the Duchess of Richmond; and the women, all joining in the cry, rushed like furies upon John Heywood, and forced him to lay aside his silk upper garment. Then they hurried to the vases, snatched out the bouquets, and with busy hands picked out the longest and stoutest stems. And loud were their exclamations of satisfaction, if the thorns were right and sharp, such as would penetrate the flesh of the offender right deeply. The king's laughter and shouts of approval animated them more and more, and made them more excited and furious. Their cheeks glowed, their eyes glared; they resembled Bacchantes circling the god of riotous joviality with their shouts of "Evoe! evoe!"
"Not yet! do not strike yet!" cried the king. "You must first strengthen yourselves for the exertion, and fire your arms for a powerful blow!"
He took the large golden beaker which stood before him and, tasting it, presented it to Lady Jane.
"Drink, my lady, drink, that your arm may be strong!"
And they all drank, and with animated smiles pressed their lips on the spot which the king's mouth had touched. And now their eyes had a brighter flame, and their cheeks a more fiery glow.
A strange and exciting sight it was, to see those beautiful women burning with malicious joy and thirst for vengeance, who for the moment had laid aside all their elegant attitudes, their lofty and haughty airs, to transform themselves into wanton Bacchantes, bent on chastising the offender, who had so often and so bitterly lashed them all with his tongue.
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